The interest rate is an optimal-control variable. Almost always, in an optimal control problem—like in steering a boat—you are doing one of two things (1) as much as you can (wheel hard left or hard right), or (2) staying the course (wheel center, unsure whether your next move will be to nudge it left or right, but certainly your next move will be small. Only when something special is going on—like following a narrow channel, or passing a reef—do you tend to deviate from that rule. The Fed knows that its next move is highly likely to be a rate cut. I see no reef. I see no island. Why has the rate cut not happened already? What is the reason?: Tim Duy: Gearing Up For A Rate Cut: "One take on the numbers is fairly positive. The economy continues to generate jobs at a pace sufficient to either lower unemployment further or encourage more people to enter the labor force. The jump in wage growth might even suggest that the economy is finally bumping up against full capacity and that is the primary culprit behind slower job growth. And maybe the August jobs number is revised up. Another take is less positive.The job market has clearly slowed, and, after accounting for the Census hires, may have slowed very close to the point where unemployment at best holds steady. That significant downshift in momentum is very worrisome. The second derivative here is not our friend. Moreover, don’t take too much comfort in the stronger wage numbers as that can easily be a lagging variable; wages might not take a hit until unemployment starts rising.... GDP tracking measures from the New York and Atlanta Federal Reserve Banks are both at a below trend 1.5% for the third quarter. New York is looking at 1.1% growth for the fourth quarter. Most definitely nothing to write home about...

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Comment of the Day: Erik Lund: This is fun! When it comes to Santa Claus, there's one thing I know for sure. He's the last great follower of Ayn Rand. When it comes to J. R. R. Tolkien, there's one thing I know for sure. He kept it brief! When it comes to Erich von Daniken, there's one thing I know for sure. He's one of the great scholars of our time! When it comes to General Custer, there's one thing I know for sure. He's one of the Great Captains. When it comes to me, there's one thing I know for sure. I provide hours of high quality comment on this blog...

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Per Kurowski: We Need Worthy and Decent Unemployments: "Two decades ago, concerned about growing unemployment, half in jest, in an Op-Ed in El Universal of Caracas, I asked something like whether it was better to have one hundred thousand unemployed running each on his side as broody hens, or to seat them all in a huge human circle where everyone would scratch the backs of one of his neighbors, charging a lot for his services, while his own back was scratched by his other neighbor, at an equally high price. The tragedy is that this question seems to me now less and less hypothetical...

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Comment of the Day: Ebenezer Scrooge: "I don't see it. The various wings of the Republican Party, ever since Nixon, have always been a coalition of losers from the democratic process who realized that they can each win in their respective sphere if they just gang up with the other losers. They never have any respect for the others' spheres. The neocons always knew their allies were evil plutocrats, racists, and Talibans. The Talibans always knew their allies were godless plutocrats and Jews. (Some Talibans are racists: others are not.) The racists always knew their allies were godbags, moneybags, and big beautiful mosaic types. But each of these groups knew that they needed the others to get their own goals. And they still know it. On this backdrop, the squabbles of a few intellectuals are irrelevant...

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## Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Comet-Star

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.A. Giles and J. Ingram trans.): The Comet-Star: "A.D. 678. This year appeared the comet-star in August, and shone every morning, during three months, like a sunbeam...

...Bishop Wilfrid being driven from his bishopric by King Everth, two bishops were consecrated in his stead, Bosa over the Deirians, and Eata over the Bernicians. About the same time also Eadhed was consecrated bishop over the people of Lindsey, being the first in that division...

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## Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: MOAR About the Property and Lands of Medhamsted

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.A. Giles and J. Ingram trans.): MOAR About the Property and Lands of Medhamsted: "A.D. 675. This year Wulfere, the son of Penda, and Escwin, the son of Cenfus, fought at Bedwin. The same year died Wulfere, and Ethelred succeeded to the government...

...In his time sent he to Rome Bishop Wilfrid to the pope that then was, called Agatho, and told him by word and by letter, how his brothers Peada and Wulfere, and the Abbot Saxulf, had wrought a minster, called Medhamsted; and that they had freed it, against king and against bishop, from every service; and he besought him that he would confirm it with his writ and with his blessing. And the pope sent then his writ to England, thus saying:

I Agatho, Pope of Rome, greet well the worthy Ethelred, king of the Mercians, and the Archbishop Theodorus of Canterbury, and Saxulf, the bishop of the Mercians, who before was abbot, and all the abbots that are in England; God's greeting and my blessing.

I have heard the petition of King Ethelred, and of the Archbishop Theodorus, and of the Bishop Saxulf, and of the Abbot Cuthbald; and I will it, that it in all wise be as you have spoken it. And I ordain, in behalf of God, and of St. Peter, and of all saints, and of every hooded head, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor any man whatever, have any claim, or gable, or gild, or levy, or take any service of any kind, from the abbey of Medhamsted.

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Nice piece on the origins of the alt-right: John Ganz: The Year the Clock Broke: "Murray Rothbard loved The Godfather... even thought that the Godfather reflected his own worldview: 'Organized crime is essentially anarcho-capitalist, a productive industry struggling to govern itself.'... As early as the Reagan years, [Samuel] Francis called for Middle Americans to ally with a populist, 'Caesarist' presidency to accomplish their revolution, just as the French bourgeoisie aligned themselves with Napoleon.... He didn’t know it yet, but his Bonaparte was right there the whole time. On November, 9, 1992... New York magazine put Donald Trump on the cover...

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Comment of the Day: RW: "Cultures do not articulate authoritarianism the same everywhere; e.g., Trump/Johnsonism appears less 1984 and more Brave New World: 'What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture." —Neil Postman...

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One problem here is that strongly progressive taxes, national health insurance, expanded social security, and universal basic income are the most effective remedies to inequality and insecurity, yet those who vote for modern-day neo-fascist poliicians vote for politicians who oppose such police, root and branch—maybe not in their rhetoric, but in committee and on the floor where the rubber hits the road. The dominant rhetorical mode is not "we need to help each other through our agency that is the government" but rather "we need to crush our enemies, and then everything will be okay". My view is that equitable growth policies are worth doing for their own sake, but do not expect them to have much purchase in preserving liberal democracy:

Dani Rodrik: What’s Driving Populism?: "If... [fascism] is rooted in... culture and values, however, there are fewer options. Liberal democracy may be doomed by its own internal dynamics and contradictions.... Racism in some form or another has been an enduring feature of US society and cannot tell us, on its own, why Trump’s manipulation of it has proved so popular.... Will Wilkinson... urbanization... creates thriving, multicultural, high-density areas where socially liberal values predominate. And it leaves behind rural areas and smaller urban centers that are increasingly uniform in terms of social conservatism and aversion to diversity. This process, moreover, is self-reinforcing.... The cultural trends... are of a long-term nature, they do not fully account for the timing of the populist backlash.... Those who advocate for the primacy of cultural explanations do not in fact dismiss the role of economic shocks. These shocks, they maintain, aggravated and exacerbated cultural divisions, giving... [fascists] the added push they needed..... The precise parsing of the causes... may be less important than the policy lessons.... There is little debate here. Economic remedies to inequality and insecurity are paramount...

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The extremely sharp center-right economist Ricardo Hausmann comes from Venezuela, and has been trying to understand the roots of the collapse of the social contract there. The great fear is that Venezuela is, for us, the canary in the coal mine. His argument is strong, and I think that I have heard his argument before, in Plutarch's understanding of the downward spiral of the last days of the Roman Republic:

Plutarch: _ Life of Tiberius Gracchus_: "This is said to have been the first sedition at Rome, since the abolition of royal power, to end in bloodshed and the death of citizens; the rest though neither trifling nor raised for trifling objects, were settled by mutual concessions, the nobles yielding from fear of the multitude, and the people out of respect for the senate...":

Ricardo Hausmann: How the Failure of “Prestige Markets” Fuels Populism: "Given the requirements of today’s technology, dismissing expertise as privilege is dangerous. That's why a well-functioning prestige market is essential to reconciling technological progress and the maintenance of a healthy polity.... Henrich suggests... prestige is payment for the generosity with which the prestigious share their knowledge.... A model of human behavior proposed by George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton.... Rising wage differentials may destroy the equilibrium proposed by Henrich. If the prestigious are already very well paid, and are not perceived as being generous with their knowledge, prestige may collapse. This may be another instance of the incompatibility between homo economicus and community morality emphasized by Samuel Bowles.... The collapse in the prestige equilibrium can do enormous damage to a society, because it may break the implicit contract whereby society uses critical skills. To see why and how, look no further than what has happened in Venezuela...

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It is certainly true that you have to look at both demand and supply to figure out what happens in equilibrium. But Milton Friedman's first rule is that supply curves do slope upward. Things have to be very weird indeed for equilibrium effects to do more than modestly attenuate impact effects. Sometimes things are really weird But that is not the way to bet: Raj Chetty: In Conversation: "We talked about moving-to-opportunity.... You might worry that if we help one low-income family move out of a low-opportunity area, do they simply get replaced by another low-income family who moves into that area, so we have essentially a musical chairs phenomenon?... Empirical research has recently mainly been focused on identifying individual-level effects. But trying to figure out how things play out in equilibrium is a very challenging problem, which, I think, is something we should have on our agenda to focus on going forward...

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Filipe Campante and Edward L. Glaeser: Yet Another Tale of Two Cities: Buenos Aires and Chicago: "Buenos Aires and Chicago grew during the nineteenth century for remarkably similar reasons. Both cities were conduits for moving meat and grain from fertile hinterlands to eastern markets. However, despite their initial similarities, Chicago was vastly more prosperous for most of the twentieth century. Can the differences between the cities after 1930 be explained by differences in the cities before that date? We highlight four major differences between Buenos Aires and Chicago in 1914. Chicago was slightly richer, and significantly better educated. Chicago was more industrially developed, with about 2.25 times more capital per worker. Finally, Chicago’s political situation was far more stable and it was not a political capital. Human capital seems to explain the lion’s share of the divergent path of the two cities and their countries, both because of its direct effect and because of the connection between education and political instability...

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## Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Centwin King of Wessex

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.A. Giles and J. Ingram trans.): Centwin King of Wessex: "A.D. 676. This year, in which Hedda succeeded to his bishopric, Escwin died; and Centwin obtained the government of the West-Saxons. Centwin was the son of Cynegils, Cynegils of Ceolwulf...

...Ethelred, king of the Mercians, in the meantime, overran the land of Kent...

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Note to Self: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents: "Since the recession a decade ago, free-market economics (also known as neoliberalism) has been questioned on multiple fronts. As the dominant governing strategy for the past 40 years—including the Democratic administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama—the Left today is increasingly challenging neoliberalism. Indeed, as the primaries approach, many former Clinton and Obama officials are even openly challenging the 'power of markets' belief. In his new book, A Crisis Wasted, Reed Hundt, chair of the Federal Communications Commission under Clinton and a member of Obama’s transition team, makes the argument that Obama missed an opportunity to push for a new progressive era of governance, a miscalculation that ultimately hobbled his administration. Hundt is not alone on this score. In a viral Vox article earlier this year, former Clinton administration economist Brad DeLong said that the Democratic Party has and should move past market friendly neoliberals like himself. Please join us for a very special conversation between Hundt and DeLong about the limits of, and challenges to, free-market economics with Joshua Cohen, co-editor of Boston Review. WHERE: Outdoor Art Club, One West Blithedale, Mill Valley, CA 94941. WHEN: Monday, September 9, 2019, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm (PST)...

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## Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Escwin King of Wessex

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.A. Giles and J. Ingram trans.): Escwin King of Wessex: "A.D. 674. This year Escwin succeeded to the kingdom of Wessex. He was the son of Cenfus, Cenfus of Cenferth, Cenferth of Cuthgils, Cuthgils of Ceolwulf, Ceolwulf of Cynric, Cynric of Cerdic...

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## Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Founding of Ely

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.A. Giles and J. Ingram trans.): Founding of Ely: "A.D. 672. This year died King Cenwal; and Sexburga his queen held the government one year after him...

...A.D. 673. This year died Egbert, King of Kent; and the same year there was a synod at Hertford; and St. Etheldritha began that monastery at Ely...

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Comment of the Day: Kaleberg: "'...the general effect of cold war extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union by the end of the 1980s.' - George Kennan. 'The suggestion that any Administration had the power to influence decisively the course of a tremendous domestic political upheaval in another great country on another side of the globe is simply childish. No great country has that sort of influence on the internal developments of any other one.' - also George Kennan. Still, the Cold War was a wonderful piece of myth making. It was the end of history and the start of history. Novus ordo seclorum....

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## Fifteen Worthy Reads for September 6, 2018

Worthy Reads from Equitable Growth:

1. A working paper I thought was very good, but that for some reason did not get a lot of attention: My take was always that this was overwhelmingly that "feminized" occupations have low pay. But Folbre and Smith make a strong case that other causes are also important: Nancy Folbre and Kristin Smith: The wages of care: Bargaining power, earnings and inequality: "The earnings of managers and professionals employed in care industries (health, education, and social services), characterized by high levels of public and non-profit provision, are significantly lower than in other industries...

2. Another working paper from our past that should have gotten more buzz than it did: Yes, "overeducation" is a thing: Ammar Farooq: The U-shape of over-education? Human capital dynamics & occupational mobility over the life cycle: "The proportion of college degree holders working in occupations that do not require a college degree is U-shaped over the life cycle and that there is a rise in transitions to non-college jobs among prime age college workers...

3. Applause for our attempt to focus on the broader implications of rising monopoly: Noah Smith: [Economists Gear Up to Challenge the Monopolies(https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-09-04/economists-gear-up-to-challenge-the-monopolies): "The antitrust movement is making a comeback.... Think tanks like the Washington Center for Equitable Growth are starting to zero in on the issue as well": Jacob Robbins: How the rise of market power in the United States may explain some macroeconomic puzzles - Equitable Growth: "Gauti Eggertsson, Ella Getz Wold, and I at Brown University argue that these diverse trends are closely connected, and that the driving force behind them is an increase in monopoly power together with a decline in interest rates...

4. Equitable Growth alumnus makes an excellent catch here: Nick Bunker: Fascinating: "Fascinating dive into the data on industries with above-average earnings in the 90s, but now pay less than average": Andrew Van Dam and Heather Long: How the U.S. economy turned six good jobs into bad ones: "Six industries that provided an above-average weekly paycheck in the 1990s but now pay less than an average wage.... These downgraded jobs have one thing in common: They don’t require a college degree...

5. Homeowner bankruptcy and foreclosure are liquidity events, not solvency events: Peter Ganong and Pascal Noel: Liquidity vs. wealth in household debt obligations: Evidence from housing policy in the Great Recession: "We use variation in mortgage modifications to disentangle the impact of reducing long-term obligations with no change in short-term payments ('wealth'), and reducing short-term payments with approximately no change in long-term obligations ('liquidity')...

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Larry Meyer: In John Cassidy: The Decline of Economics: "In our firm, we always thanked Robert Lucas for giving us a virtual monopoly. Because of Lucas and others, for two decades no graduate students are trained who were capable of competing with us by building econometric models that had a hope of explaining short-run output and price dynamics. [Academic economics Ph.D. programs] educated a lot of macroeconomists who were trained to do only two things--teach macroeconomics to graduate students, and publish in the journals...

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Josiah Ober: The Greeks and the Rational: The Discovery of Practical Reasons: "September 19 Lecture 1. Gyges’ Choice: Rationality and Visibility. September 26 Lecture 2. Glaucon’s Dilemma: Origins of Social Order. Lecture 3. Deioces’ Ultimatum: How to Choose a King. Lecture 4. Cleisthenes’ Wager: Democratic Rationality. Lecture 5. Melos’ Prospects: Rational Domination. Lecture 6. Agamemnon’s Cluelessness: Reason and Eudaimonia...

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## Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Eoppa Brings Baptism to the Isle of Wight

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.A. Giles and J. Ingram trans.): Eoppa Brings Baptism to the Isle of Wight: "A.D. 658. This year Kenwal fought with the Welsh at Pen, and pursued them to the Parret. This battle was fought after his return from East-Anglia, where he was three years in exile. Penda had driven him thither and deprived him of his kingdom, because he had discarded his sister...

...A.D. 660. This year Bishop Egelbert departed from Kenwal; and Wina held the bishopric three years. And Egbert accepted the bishopric of Paris, in Gaul, by the Seine.

A.D. 661. This year, at Easter, Kenwal fought at Pontesbury; and Wulfere, the son of Penda, pursued him as far as Ashdown. Cuthred, the son of Cwichelm, and King Kenbert, died in one year. Into the Isle of Wight also Wulfere, the son of Penda, penetrated, and transferred the inhabitants to Ethelwald, king of the South-Saxons, because Wulfere adopted him in baptism. And Eoppa, a mass-priest, by command of Wilfrid and King Wulfere, was the first of men who brought baptism to the people of the Isle of Wight...

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Jess Phillips: House of Commons: ""Tonight I will vote against a general election just like I will vote against pretty much anything the current PM put in front of me.... I have no faith in literally anything the prime minister says. There is no distance that I could trust him.... The PM is playing some bully boy game, of some bully boy public school that I probably won't understand. [Tory MP shouting] Sorry, would the hon gentleman like to make an intervention? Crack on.... Yesterday I watched Conservative colleagues begging him to tell them what he wanted... to give them a deal to vote for. This is some game that three men in No. 10 have come up with to try to game the system so that they win.... Personally I will not vote for any election that falls before October 31st..... "It's just a shame that quite a lot of the people who are sat in front of me who know that what happened over the last two days is wrong are too cowardly to actually say in here, in public, what they're all saying in the tea rooms. "You've all crowed and given sympathy to me about the problems that we have in the Labour Party and you have just sat by silently as your colleagues were marched out.... "We shouldn't go on conference recess. We shouldn't be proroguing parliament. We are currently in a national crisis. This is not a game. This is not some toy we can play with.... I'm meant to believe the PM is really doing this because he has a vision for the people in this country? He has a vision that comes to him every night and it is his own face..."

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Alexis Lothian: Alice Sheldon and the Name of the Tiptree Award: "In recent days, we’ve seen questions raised on social media about whether the name of the Tiptree Award should be reconsidered.... The questions relate to Alice Sheldon’s actions at the end of her life. On May 19, 1987, she shot first her husband, Huntington Sheldon, and then herself.... The Motherboard does not believe that a change to the name of the Tiptree Award is warranted now. But we believe that this is a very important discussion, and we do not think it is over. The community that has grown up around this award since its founding in 1991 deserves to have its voice heard in any conversation as significant as renaming.... Alice Sheldon... the story of how she and her husband, Huntington Sheldon (known as Ting), died. Friends and family—and the science fiction community at the time—viewed this tragedy as resulting from a suicide pact: the desperate and tragic result of a combination of physical and mental illness and the Sheldons’ desire to die on their own terms. He was 84 years old; she was 71. However... the story can also be seen as an act of caregiver murder.... Ting’s friends and family understood his death and Alice’s as the fulfilment of an agreement between the two of them.... Phillips writes: 'Ting didn’t leave a statement, but all Ting’s friends that I talked to plus his son Peter were unanimous that it was a pact, and that Ting’s health was failing'...

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Aldous Huxley: Brave New World: "Outside, in the garden, it was playtime. Naked in the warm June sunshine, six or seven hundred little boys and girls were running with shrill yells overs the lawns, or playing ball games, or squatting silently in twos or threes among the flowering shrubs […] The air was drowsy with the murmur of bees and helicopters. The Director and his students stood for a short time watching a game of Centrifugal Bumble-puppy. Twenty children were grouped in a circle round a chrome steel tower. A ball thrown up so as to land on the platform at the top of the tower rolled down into the interior, fell on a rapidly rotating disk, was hurled through one or other of the numerous apertures pierced in the cylindrical casing, and had to be caught. 'Strange', mused the Director, as they turned away, 'strange to think that even in Our Ford’s day most games were played without more apparatus than a ball or two and a few sticks and perhaps a bit of netting, imagine the folly of allowing people to play elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption. It’s madness. Nowadays the Controllers won’t approve of any new game unless it can be shown that it requires at least as much apparatus as the most complicated of existing games'...

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Doug Jones: language Evolution: "People don’t just communicate by encoding and decoding literal meanings, but by inferring one another’s communicative intentions, always thinking 'I wonder what he meant by that'. There’s a whole branch of linguistics, linguistic pragmatics, that studies how this works. And pragmatic inference in language is just one instance of a special, powerful human aptitude for creating shared intentions. This aptitude means that there are always ways to subvert official speech, in any language, even Ascian or Newspeak. Or Korean: the news several years ago was that North Korea had banned sarcasm:׳Officials told people that sarcastic expressions such as “This is all America’s fault” would constitute unacceptable criticism of the regime׳...

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Note to Self: The Ten Americans Who Did the Most to Win the Cold War: Hoisted from the Archives](https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/02/note-the-ten-americans-who-did-the-most-to-win-the-cold-war-archive-entry-from-brad-delongs-webjournal.html): Harry Dexter White... George Kennan... George Marshall... Arthur Vandenberg... Paul Hoffman... Dean Acheson... Harry S Truman... Dwight D. Eisenhower... Gerald Ford...

#notetoself


In the modern world, it is not tariff reduction but regulatory harmonization that is required for grasping increased benefits from the world division of labor. We need to work to level up rather than level down or level stupid, but we need to work to level the regulatory landscape. The Brexit hope is for a free-trade zone with the United States but also with "national sovereignty" over regulatory matters. That is just not how it works:

N. Piers Ludlow: Did We Ever Really Understand How the EU Works?: "Michael Gove... referred... to a free trade zone... from Iceland to Turkey of which Britain would, he was confident, still be part... irrespective of the outcome of the referendum. But this focus on tariffs was quaintly anachronistic, because ever since the 1980s the main target of European liberalisation efforts has... been... non-tariff barriers... regulatory convergence...

## Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Egferth and Lothere

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.A. Giles and J. Ingram trans.): Egferth and Lothere: "A.D. 670. This year died Oswy, King of Northumberland, on the fifteenth day before the calends of March; and Egferth his son reigned after him...

...Lothere, the nephew of Bishop Egelbert, succeeded to the bishopric over the land of the West-Saxons, and held it seven years. He was consecrated by Archbishop Theodore. Oswy was the son of Ethelfrith, Ethelfrith of Ethelric, Ethelric of Ida, Ida of Eoppa...

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## Sixteen Worthy Reads for August 30, 2018

Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth:

1. IMHO, this is closely akin to William Julius Wilson's "the declining significance of race"—i.e., the rising significance of class: Robert Manduca: How rising U.S. income inequality exacerbates racial economic disparities: "In 1968... median African American family income was 57 percent of the median white American family income. In 2016, the ratio was 56 percent. The utter lack of progress is striking...

2. How much of this correlation is causal? And how much is associational? I do not think we really know, in spite of studies of the build-out of broadband in France. The U.S. is a very different country. Nevertheless, I for one think that it is long past time to put universal broadband in the same bucket as basic sanitation and rural electrification—as something that is part of the citizens' share of being an American: Delaney Crampton: Why accessibility to broadband matters in reducing economic inequality in the United States: "A strong correlation between household income and in-home connectivity—a pattern that persists across both rural and economically depressed urban communities...

3. Austin Clemens: Schumer and Heinrich Introduced a Bill to Create New Measures of Economic Growth: "Very excited.... @HBoushey and I have written extensively about the need to track growth not just for the economy as a whole but for Americans at every point along the income curve...

4. Kate Bahn sends us to NPR's Planet Money: Kate Bahn: My Girl Joan Robinson: "My girl Joan Robinson is discussed in this episode of @planetmoney on underrated economists https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2018/08/22/641002632/the-underrated-economists...

5. Newly-arrived at Equitable Growth, Will McGrew retweets Matthew Yglesias quoting Ryan Cooper: Will McGrew: Matthew Yglesias: "Ryan Cooper: 'There was no skills gap, nor an innovation shortage, nor an explosion of stay-at-home dads. There was a collapse in aggregate demand that was left to rot, while a lot of people who should have known better made things worse...'

6. Equitable Growth alumnus Nick Bunker reminds us of this WCEG working paper from a year and a half ago: Emmanuel Saez, Thomas Piketty, and Gabriel Zucman: Economic growth in the United States: A tale of two countries: "We combine tax, survey, and national accounts data to build a new series on the distribution of national income...

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Erica Grieder (2015)The Politics of Jade Helm: "Greg Abbott’s announcement... that he would direct the Texas State Guard to monitor Operation Jade Helm... has been widely derided as political pandering, stoking paranoia, wasting state resources, and making Texas look silly. Way harsh, guys.... LTC Mark Lastoria did a good job of explaining the purpose of the operation and how local residents specifically might be affected. Less clear, at least to me, is whether the community as a whole was being unduly conspiratorial.... Several... had tinfoil-hat type questions.... Others may just have been wondering whether to make note of any planned amphibious landings at Lost Pines, or trying to assess the risk of cross-fire at Buc-ees. The latter type of concern is not deranged, especially coming from civilians who may have had little personal experience with the military or military personnel. And Abbott’s announcement is apparently in response to such concerns, rather than those being fueled by the right-wing fear machine.... Abbott notes that US Special Operations Command has already assured the state that there will be no risks to the safety of residents, or their rights, but he wants the Texas State Guard to keep an eye on the situation, just in case.... Activating the Texas State Guard in such a situation would entail some costs to the state (from current appropriations) and I wouldn’t call it the best use of state resources. Other than that, though, I don’t really see the harm...

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## I. Grand Narrative

J. Bradford DeLong :: U.C. Berkeley, NBER, WCEG https://www.icloud.com/pages/0TzensY9YyNvqcY8elYagLUnQ https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0_nA1dc3XLgFa_2rEVsk3nuWQ

### 1.1: The Long 20th Century in Human History

The Long 20th Century began around 1870 and ended in 2016.

Before 1870 humanity was poor, and life was typically nasty, brutish, and short. Before 1870, over and over again, technology lost its race with human fecundity, and greater numbers coupled with resource scarcity to produce a humanity where most people most of the time could not be confident that they and their families would have their 2000 calories, plus essential nutrients, plus a roof over their head in a year. Before 1870 those on the make overwhelmingly focused on how to take from others or keep what they had while maintaining order, rather on how to make more for everyone. It is true that between 1800 and 1870 technology and organization gained a step or two in their race with fecundity. But only a step. Any post-1870 slackening of the pace of technological or organizational progress, or any major redivision of society’s dividends devoting less to the sinews or peace and more to the sinews of war, and “nasty, brutish, and short” would reassert itself.

But starting in 1870 all that changed. Science reached critical mass and gave birth to engineering. A liberal political order gave birth to a market economy. Engineering and the market produced an explosion of economic growth: these days one single year sees as much proportional technological and organizational advance and change in the human economy as a typical fifty years did back before 1800.

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## DevEng 215: Pre-Class Note: Welcome!

Let us set the scene with an introductory note:

Back in 1800, nearly the entire world lived in dire poverty—what we today see as the dire poverty line of $1.90 a day, a level at which you are spending more than half your income on bare calories and essential nutrients, the minimum of heat and shelter, and the minimum of clothing. Below that line, certainly your health and perhaps your life is impacted: women become too skinny to reliably ovulate, and children become too malnourished to have healthy and effective immune systems. Back in 1800, there were only a few economies where the median household had a standard of living of more than$3 a day: Germany, France, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, the U.K., the U.S., and that was it.

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## American Twentieth-Century Exceptionalism: An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016"

### Sources of American Exceptionalism

In 1870 the focus of economic growth crossed the Atlantic to America, where continent-wide scale, a flood of immigration, vast resources, and an open society that made inventors and entrepreneurs culture heroes welcomed economic growth. In the United States the Belle Époque, the Gilded Age, the period of the explosion of prosperity set in motion around 1870 lasted without interruption longer than elsewhere in the world. China collapsed into revolution in 1911. Europe descended into the hell of World War I in 1914. In America the period of progress and industrial development lasted longer—perhaps from when the guns fell silent at the end of America’s Civil War at Appomattox in 1865 until the start of the Great Depression in the summer of 1929.

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Comment of the Day: Marc Robbins on Economist James Buchanan: "I think this falls into the "hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue" category. He's guilty enough to acknowledge that discrimination is a problem and greedy enough to clothe himself in those vestments. I think that people who follow this line are actually more vulnerable to coming around than the true believers and principled types who don't believe that in a free-market, libertarian heaven discrimination is impossible...

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## Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Solar Eclipse

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.A. Giles and J. Ingram trans.): Solar Eclipse: "A.D. 664. This year the sun was eclipsed, on the eleventh of May; and Erkenbert, King of Kent, having died, Egbert his son succeeded to the kingdom. Colman with his companions this year returned to his own country. This same year there was a great plague in the island Britain, in which died Bishop Tuda, who was buried at Wayleigh—Chad and Wilferth were consecrated—And Archbishop Deus-dedit died...

...A.D. 667. This year Oswy and Egbert sent Wighard, a priest, to Rome, that he might be consecrated there Archbishop of Canterbury; but he died as soon as he came thither.

A.D. 668. This year Theodore was consecrated archbishop, and sent into Britain.

A.D. 669. This year King Egbert gave to Bass, a mass-priest, Reculver—to build a minster upon...

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Steve M.: Neither Haley Nor Pence Will Be the Republican Nominee: "Elizabeth Bruenig... a conversation... with several evangelical Trump supporters in Texas.... 'I asked whether any of them would be willing to vote for a more traditional evangelical challenger to Trump, should one hypothetically rise to oppose him in the primaries.... Maria Ivy warned that Pence is soft compared with Trump, too decent and mannerly.... Bob Collins agreed: “The president is having to deal with a den of vipers,” he said. “I’m not sure Pence could do that.” “It’s spiritual warfare,” Dale Ivy added, emphasizing that Trump is the only man in the field who seems strong enough to confront it.' Given the choice between a brawler who doesn't talk about Jesus enough and a devout Christian who doesn't brawl enough, evangelical voters will choose the brawler every time.... Dan Crenshaw, Tom Cotton, Liz Cheney, Matt Gaetz, Donald Junior. (UPDATE: I should add Josh Hawley to this list.)... The nominee won't be a break from Trumpism or a 'healer'...

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Duncan Black: No Method In The Madness: "One might be tempted to see bucking trade orthodoxies and reconsidering our various relationships with China as good things. They probably are good things! But Trump has no idea what he's doing and even if he accidentally settled on smart policies he'd forget about them and do something differently the next day...

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Note to Self: A not atypical tankie: Paul M. Sweezy:

An Obituary (2004): Marxist Economist Paul Sweezy Is Dead: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal: I would like Paul Sweezy to be remembered for the following passage: "The publication in 1952 of Stalin’s Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR would make possible today a more satisfactory reply.…In the light of [Stalin’s] explanation…I would like to amend the statement which Mr. Kazahaya criticizes.…[The amended statement] conveys my meaning more accurately than the original wording and is, I think entirely in accord with Stalin’s view." (Paul Sweezy (1953): The Present as History (New York: Monthly Review Press), p. 352.) Paul Sweezy called himself an intellectual. Paul Sweezy publicly revised his opinion on an analytical issue in order to agree with the position taken by a genocidal tyrant. Fill in the blank: Paul Sweezy was a ...

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## John Cochrane Prostitutes Himself to Republican Politicians Department: Monday Smackdown/Hoisted from 2015

Noah Smith: John Cochrane Smackdown: "John writes: 'My surprise in reading Noah is that he provided no alternative numbers. If you don't think Free Market Nirvana will have 4% growth, at least for a decade as we remove all the level inefficiencies, how much do you think it will produce, and how solid is that evidence?...' I don't really feel I need to produce an alternative to a number that was made up as a political talking point. Why 4 percent? Why not 5? Why not 8? Why not 782 percent? Where do we get the number for how good we can expect Free Market Nirvana to be? Is it from the sum of point estimates from a bunch of different meta-analyses of research on various free-market policies? No. It was something Jeb Bush tossed out in a conference call because it was 'a nice round number', after James Glassman had suggested '3 or 3.5'. You want me to give you an alternative number, using the same rigorous methodology? Sure, how about 3.1. Wait, no. 3.3. There we go. 3.3 sounds good. Rolls off the tongue..."

I must say, Cochrane here reminds me of one of my most favorite quotes from tank economist Paul M. Sweezy:

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## Who Are the Tankies, and Why Do They Fight for Dystopia?

Note to Self: And, of course, the curious thing is that when the chips are down it is the authoritarianism rather than the aolition of private property that is the key: Urban Dictionary: Tankie: "The term derives from the fact that the divisions within the communist movement first arose when the Soviet Union sent tanks into communist Hungary in 1956, to crush an attempt to establish an alternative version of communism which was not embraced by the Russians. Most communists outside the eastern bloc opposed this action and criticised the Soviet Union. The 'tankies' were those who said 'send the tanks in'. The epithet has stuck because tankies also supported 'sending the tanks in' in cases such as Czechoslovakia 1968, Afghanistan 1979, Bosnia and Kosovo/a (in the case of the Serbian state)...

German classical liberal Max Weber... saw that [really existing] socialism could become nothing but a synonym for bureaucratic despotism. For:

History shows that wherever bureaucracy gained the upper hand, as in China, Egypt, it did not disappear. A progressive elimination of private capitalism is theoretically conceivable. What would be the practical result? The destruction of the [dehumanizing] steel frame of modern industrial work? No! Simply that also the top management of the socialized enterprises would become bureaucratic. There is even less freedom, since every power struggle with a state bureaucracy is hopeless.

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## Migration 1870-1925 and International Economic InequalityOuttake from "Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century 1870-2016

What did matter for inequality and upward mobility in the pre-World War I era was not trade but migration. The descendants of those who lived in Ireland at the start of the nineteenth century are, today, one of the richest groups in the world: less than half of the descendants of the Irish of 1800 live in Ireland today; instead, they are spread throughout America, Britain, and Australia, and they have prospered.

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## Twenty Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth and Elsewhere... August 23

Worthy Reads at Equitable Growth:

1. Antitrust law and policy is probably the most "relatively autonomous" piece of our whole legal system. The laws as enacted by Congress and signed by the President change rarely and slowly. How those laws are enforced—and how business is then conducted in the shadow of the possibility of resort to the courts for antitrust cases—changes much more radically and substantially. It is a dance of intellectual fashion, some serious benefit-cost analysis, and a great deal of lobbying and lobbying-funded motivated reasoning. My view is that the answers to the three questions Michael Kades suggests the FTC examine are: yes, no, and no, respectively. But it is very good that the FTC is thinking about this: Michael Kades: In re: Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century: "Equitable Growth suggests that the hearings include the following three topics: 1. Is monopoly power prevalent in the U.S. economy?...

2. Paul Krugman writes: "As Greg Leiserson of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth points out, 'every month in which wage rates are not sharply higher than they would have been absent the legislation, and investment returns are not sharply lower, is a month in which the benefits of those corporate tax cuts accrue primarily to shareholders'. A tax cut that might significantly raise wages during, say, Cynthia Nixon’s second term in the White House, but yields big windfalls for stock owners with only trivial wage gains for the next five or 10 years, is not what we were promised..." See Greg Leiserson: Assessing the economic effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: "Key takeaways: An assessment... should focus on the impact... on wage rates... [on] the return on business investment, and... [on] future federal budget deficits, as these will determine the impact... and the fiscal sustainability of the law....

3. Very much worth listening to: Heather Boushey, Helaine Olen, and Katie Denis: Americans vs. vacation: "Half of American workers didn’t take all the paid vacation days they were entitled to in 2017. Why are so many of us unwilling or unable to take the vacation days that we’ve earned?...

4. This was the first working paper the WCEG published. It did not get the attention it deserved then. So why not hoist it?: Arindrajit Dube and Ben Zipperer: Pooling multiple case studies using synthetic controls: An application to minimum wage policiesh: "We assess the employment and wage effects minimum wage increases between 1979 and 2013 by pooling 29 synthetic control case studies...

5. Darrick Hamilton is asking the right questions. And he might have the right answers. But I suspect not. Yes, there is something very deep in America's culture that discourages public responsibility for the conditions of poor and especially poor black Americans, to the country's shame. Adam Smith wrote in 1776 that: "no society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity... that they who feed, clothe, and lodge... the people, should... be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged..." We today can replace his "greater part" with "substantial part", and it is still true. But I suspect that the health gaps between high-status, high-income, and high-wealth African Americans and their white peers have other origins—not that I know what those other origins are, mind you: Darrick Hamilton: Post-racial rhetoric, racial health disparities, and health disparity consequences of stigma, stress, and racism: "High achieving black Americans, as measured by education, still exhibit large health disparities...

Elsewhere than Equitable Growth:

1. Encyclopedia of Chicago (1899): Mr. Dooley Explains Our "Common Hurtage": "In the late 1890s, Finley Peter Dunne's newspaper columns in Irish dialect brought to life a fictional Bridgeport bartender, Mr. Dooley...

2. Economist: Why is macroeconomics so hard to teach?: "Mr Rowe remained... 'fairly low down the totem pole' as a researcher. But he became a thunderbird at conveying macroeconomic intuition...

3. Noah Smith wonders if he can make a supply-and-demand argument to people who are allergic to "supply and demand" with a spoonful of sugar. He has three types of housing: newly-built yuppie fishtanks, old housing that can switch between working-class and yuppie, and newly-built "affordable housing" unattractive to yuppies: Noah Smith: YIMBYism explained without "supply and demand": "YIMBYism is the idea that cities need to build more housing in order to relieve upward pressure on rents...

4. Dick Schmalensee: Handicapping the Highstakes Race to Net-Zero: "Economists argue that a broadly applicable incentive-based system... could reduce emissions at a much lower total cost than any alternative regime. Incentives to reduce emissions could be produced directly by a tax on emissions or through... cap-and-trade system. But the argument for relying primarily on financial incentives has historically not been very persuasive.... Even in California and the European Union, where cap-and-trade systems for CO₂ have been established, so-called “ancillary” or “belt-and-suspenders” policies that target particular sectors or sources have also been deployed...

5. EG: Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Debora Revoltella, Jan Svejnar, Christoph Weiss: Dispersion in productivity among European firms: "This column uses firm-level data from all EU countries to explore how the dispersion of resources affects macroeconomic performance...

6. Scott Jaschik: Author discusses his new book on anti-intellectualism and fascism: "A country that is not fascist may still experience fascist politics... efforts to divide society and demonize groups.... How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley...

7. This is the most hopeful take on American productivity growth relative stagnation I have seen. I thought it was coherent and might well be right 20 years ago. I think it is coherent and might possibly be right today. But is that just a vain hope?: Michael van Biema and Bruce Greenwald (1997): Managing Our Way to Higher Service-Sector Productivity: "What electricity, railroads, and gasoline power did for the U.S. economy between roughly 1850 and 1970, computer power is widely expected to do for today’s information-based service economy...

8. Potsdam this year is 7F warmer than it averaged in the century before 1980. Berkeley is now Santa Barbara: Stefan Rahmstorf: Europe’s freak weather, explained: "Naive.... The smoothed curve shows... global warming... the scattering of the grey bars... random variations of the weather.... Slightly more than half of the 4.3 degrees would be due to global warming, the rest to weather. That... likely underestimates the contribution of climate change...

9. Thiemo Fetzer: Did Austerity Cause Brexit?: "The rise of popular support for... UKIP... strongly and causally associated with an individual’s or an area’s exposure to austerity since 2010...

10. Interesting. The question is always: do you make money by devoting effort to selling them things they will be happy they bought, or do you make money by devoting effort to selling them things they will be unhappy they bought—by grifting them? And what determines the balance of providing value vs. deception in selling commodities aimed at different income classes? I am not sure they have it right here. I am sure that this is very important: James T. Hamilton and Fiona Morgan: Poor Information: How Economics Affects the Information Lives of Low-Income Individuals: "How information is produced for, acquired by, and utilized by low-income individuals...

11. I concur with Noah Smith here that the biggest dangers of machine learning, etc., are not on the labor but on the consumer side. They won't make us obsolete as producers. They could make us easier to grift as customers: Noah Smith: Artificial Intelligence Still Isn’t All That Smart: "Machine learning will revolutionize white-collar jobs in much the same way that engines, electricity and machine tools revolutionized blue-collar jobs...

12. We keep looking for thoughtful intellectual voices on political economy and equitable growth to the right of the intellectual center of gravity of our organization. But they turn out to be remarkably hard to find, as we are learning again this week. Suggestions for interlocutors are very welcome: John Holbo: Do The Nordic Codetermination Moonwalk: "Amused: 'Matthew Yglesias: 'Every conservative institution in America appears to be simultaneously maintaining that @SenWarren’s codetermination proposal is economically ruinous but that Nordic countries, which have codetermination, are free market success stories'...

13. Claudia Sahm: Alice in Wonderland: "One year ago today, Alice Wu’s research about sexism at an online economics forum made the news...

14. Kimberly Adams: The disturbing parallels between modern accounting and the business of slavery: "The common narrative is that today's modern management techniques were developed in the factories in England and the industrialized North.... According to... Caitlin Rosenthal, that narrative is wrong...

15. Really surprised that there is no evidence of boom-bust asymmetry here. I am going to have to dig into what reasonable alternatives are and how much power they have here: Adam M. Guren, Alisdair McKay, Emi Nakamura, and Jon Steinsson: Housing Wealth Effects: The long View: "We exploit systematic differences in city-level exposure to regional house price cycles...

Duncan Black: But 100% Of Trump Supporters Who Say They Still Support Trump Still Support Trump: "The bizarre coverage of the electorate in the age of Trump-and all reporters are quite aware of this criticism and they do it anyway-is that the only voters who matter are the people who support Trump. Weirdly if you focus on them, it seems like Trump has 100% support!... Trump has never been popular.... But Obummer was always treated as a fairly unpopular president-with his critics dominating the narrative-and Trump has been treated as a popular one. Again, reporters know this.... They are not too stupid to be aware that this is what they have been doing.... 'Trump's low approval provides a unique challenge for Democrats' will be a NYT headline soon. And the sad thing is, Democrats will believe it...

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