MOAR Right-Wing Animus Against Einstein—Note to Self

I was browsing through Friedrich von Hayek's The Fatal Conceit—although it is not clear to me how much of this very late (1988) Hayek is Hayek, and how much is “editor” William Warren Bartley https://web.archive.org/web/20050308180246/http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2005_03/ebenstein-deceit.html. Why? Because Hayek is playing a larger part in my history of the Long 20th Century, Slouching Towards Utopia?, as it moves toward finality, and I am concerned that I be fair to him. And I ran across his claim that the “socialists” felt:

an urgent need to construct a new, rationally revised and justified morality which… will not be a crippling burden, be alienating, oppressive, orunjust', or be associated with trade. Moreover, this is only part of the great task that these new lawgivers—socialists such as Einstein, Monod and Russell, and self-proclaimed 'immoralists' such as Keynes—set for themselves. A new rational language and law must be constructed too, for existing language and law also fail to meet these requirements…. This awesome task may seem the more urgent to them in that they themselves no longer believe in any supernatural sanction for morality (let alone for language, law, and science) and yet remain convinced that some justification is necessary….

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I Should Launch My Substack, Shouldn't I?

Grasping Reality Wednesday Newsletter: On My Mind Right Now: The Current State of the Coronavirus Plague https://braddelong.substack.com/p/on-my-mind-right-now-the-current: ‘We do need to pick a day for this. Let’s pick Wednesday… And what is on my mind right now is the scale and economic impact of the coronavirus plague: Reported case numbers for the coronavirus plague are worth little. Deaths—as long as the health-care system is not in collapse—tell us that there were between 100 and 200 times as many new cases three to four weeks before. It is perhaps fantastical to take Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom—the non-continental Europe nations of the “global north”—as our “yardstick” nations. But if we do, we must be profoundly depressed both at the situation, and at how badly we have fallen short of what nations with competent governance have managed to accomplish…

.#highighted #substack #2020-12-23


Brad DeLong & Om Malik: Is America in Decline?

Pairagraph: Is America in Decline? https://www.pairagraph.com/dialogue/fc2f8d46f10040d080d551c945e7a363/4

I confess I think that this came out very well as an intellectual exercise. I am, however, as I say in it, depressed that Om Malik—for whom I have enormous respect, and whose judgment is very, very good—does not have stronger arguments on his side that America is not "in decline". I had very much hoped to end this debate at least half-convinced to his side. But I am not. Sigh.

I see in my twitter feed right now—the morning of 2020-12-22—that more than 40% of Americans surveyed still "approve" of the job that Donald Trump is doing as president. With the U.S. having had 330,000 coronavirus plague deaths—1 in a thousand people—while Australia has had 908 total—one thirtieth the death rate—with a thousand children kidnapped and permanently separated from their parents, with him and his family trying to steal everything that isn't nailed down, what is to approve? Yet 40%. And 74 million people voted for him.

Om wants to say things like "The sheer number of Americans who participated in our November election should be a source of national pride and renewed optimism" and "it is about taking the steps necessary for moving forward, which we will never do if we insist on dragging our feet while a cloud of gloom swirls above us" and "America has always managed to invent a better tomorrow, even on its most difficult days" and "this is not about pretending".

I say: Yes, America has vast strengths. But we also have 73 million fascists, grifters, asshole racists, assholes, and easily-grifted morons whom the rest of us must carry on our backs as we try to make things better. It would be one thing if they just sat on their hands. But they are trying, actively, to break stuff that we must then fix.

Sisyphus just had to role the rock uphill. He did not have a raving violent madman on his back whom he had to carry while doing so:

Brad DeLong & Om Malik: Pairagraph: Is America in Decline? https://www.pairagraph.com/dialogue/fc2f8d46f10040d080d551c945e7a363/4: Brad DeLong 2020-09-10: Life expectancy at birth in the United States today is 78.6 years. Life expectancy at birth in Japan today is 84.5; in Singapore, 85.1; in Switzerland, 84.3; France, 83.1; in Germany, 80.9. U.S. life expectancy is on a par with Poland, Tunisia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Albania; below Peru, Colombia, Chile, Jordan, and Sri Lanka; and only a year greater than China...

...The United States currently has ~300 deaths per hundred million people per day from the coronavirus plague. The United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Germany, and Canada each have less than 10.

The United States has the amazing spectacle not just of Donald Trump as president, but of a huge number of American worthies—from Mitch McConnell in the Senate and Kevin McCarthy in the House, from Paul Ryan to Chris Christie, from Dean Baquet and Maureen Dowd and James Bennet to James Comey, all of them deciding that rather than do their proper jobs they would work to raise the odds that Trump would obtain and maintain power and increase the likelihood that he would do major damage in order to boost their personal positions in various ways.

As one of my friends from a not-rich part of East Asia says: "Students from my country come to the U.S. these days. They see dirty cities, lousy infrastructure, and the political clown show on TV, and an insular people clinging to their guns and their gods who boast about how they are the greatest people in the world without knowing anything about what is going on outside. They come back and tell me: 'We have nothing to learn from those people! Why did you send me there?’"

This is a very different vibe from what we had twenty years ago, at the end of the Clinton-Gore years, when the U.S. was victorious in the Cold War, trying to build a freer, more integrated, more peaceful, and more prosperous world; riding the wave of the great internet boom; and had—for the first time in a generation—seen eight years in which typical Americans' wages and salaries were rising rapidly. And now it has been another generation since we have seen typical Americans' wages and salaries rise rapidly.

This is a very different vibe from 70 years ago, when we had the U.S. of the great post-WWII boom and the Marshall Plan that was also, finally, turning its attention to advancing Civil Rights.

This is a very different vibe from 100 years ago, when Leon Trotsky would talk about how he regretted leaving New York for Petrograd, for he was "leaving the furnace where the future was being forged.”

This is a very different vibe from 180 yeas ago, when Alexis de Tocqueville was preaching to one and all that everyone needed to closely examine America, for understanding it was the key to understanding the world's democratic future.

The only argument that America is not in decline is that other countries have worse problems. That may well be true. But that strikes me as too low a bar.

====

Om Malik 2020-10-07: It has been a strange year for the planet, and a particularly challenging one for America. It is as if the universe held up a giant mirror to the country and made us look directly at our most severe and festering troubles. A virus has undone our broken healthcare system, made our upside-down economy even more fragile, and exacerbated our political and social divisions. Recognizing all that, readers might assume I am pessimistic about the prospects of our great country.

But humans, unlike mirrors, can see beyond the surface. Even the most beautiful glimpse the ugliness in themselves. And the imperfect can recognize their own potential.

Let me tell you my own story. Over a decade ago, I was an overworked reporter with a three-packs-a-day smoking habit. I didn’t work out and practiced atrocious eating habits. Not surprisingly, I ended up in the hospital fighting for my life. Forced to take a hard look at myself, I didn’t like what I saw. I made a commitment to turn things around — and I followed through.

Our country and its citizens are at a similar point of reckoning. Given the historical arc of a nation’s life, we should not rush to judge a nation’s prospects based on a single (and so far, single-term) administration — or even a bungled response to one specific crisis. America is an ongoing project. As a society, we are fighting tooth and nail to protect our democratic traditions from attacks both internal and external. Is our performance perfect? No. But we are a long way from Belarus.

In college, I read about the American industry’s decline and the offshoring of jobs to other countries. In the twilight of the last century, it seemed the end was near. And yet, we saw the birth of companies such as Amazon, Google, and Netflix. About a dozen of these large American companies have since become part of the global society and economy.

As other American industries have in the past, the modern tech industry provides an ecosystem in which people throughout the world desire to participate and thrive. Even China, our country’s greatest economic rival, takes its technology cues (and intellectual property) from America. What was a little search engine now employs hundreds of thousands. This is also where Elon Musk, whether you like him or not, willed a commercial electric vehicle industry into existence through a combination of chutzpah, capital, and yes, government support. Tesla may sell fewer cars than its German rivals, but it has convinced the world to adopt this new approach to transportation. It is true that Tesla, Google, and Amazon are not perfect. Capitalism never is.

Our planet is facing an arduous future due to our changing climate. The answers to the myriad problems this creates will emanate from American minds and in the same freethinking, entrepreneurial tradition that allowed Google to be born here. Though we certainly don’t have a monopoly on innovation, we have a track record of doing it better and more frequently than anywhere else. While it is fashionable to be bemused by America, nobody overseas should forget that this is where the necessary ingredients for global prosperity are most likely to be found.

There is no shame in admitting that we are in need of self-improvement. We must begin by addressing the horror of this year, which has exposed a range of problems. I am confident that long-term and even permanent solutions to many of these problems exist. We can and will be better. Maybe it is my day job, or perhaps it is the delusion of an immigrant’s mind, but I believe the tradition of dreaming up something from nothing is still alive in this country. And that is what keeps me betting on America.

====

Brad DeLong 2020-10-07: When this was pitched to me, I jumped at the chance: It seemed to me that ranting about American decadence might get it off my chest and improve morale, which was low. And then when I learned that Om Malik was on the other side I was really excited. I have long thought that Om was great. That he was willing to take the non-decline side made me confident there were much stronger arguments for it than I had recognized. I looked forward to ending this debate heartened, encouraged, and much more than half-convinced.

But after reading Om's response, I find myself worried that his heart is not in it. My précis of it would be: We must imagine that America is not in decline. Why? Because if we recognize that it is in decline we will lose all hope of being able to turn things around.

It is an argument along the lines of Camus's "we must imagine Sisyphus happy". Why must we imagine Sisyphus happy? Because we are in his situation, and if we cannot imagine—i.e., "imagine" in the sense of "pretend", not in the sense of entering into his thought-processes—Sisyphus happy, we despair and cannot do our own work, pointless and futile as that own work may be. It is an argument along the lines of Antonio Gramsci, dying of mistreatment in Mussolini's jails, recognizing that the intellect told him to be pessimistic, but that he needed to overcome that with "optimism of the will”.

Sisyphus happy, we despair and cannot do our own work, pointless and futile as that own work may be. It is an argument along the lines of Antonio Gramsci, dying of mistreatment in Mussolini's jails, recognizing that the intellect told him to be pessimistic, but that he needed to overcome that with "optimism of the will”.

Om's message is that America is not in decline because we might still "take a hard look at [our]sel[ves]... not like what [we] saw... ma[ke] a commitment to turn things around—and... follow... through". Perhaps we will.

This is not helping my morale.

The facts that America has astonishing land, abundant natural resources, and a long history of welcoming immigrants who feel cramped and constrained and unappreciated elsewhere—all these should make America's greatness a slam-dunk and America's future bright. But right now, in the world in which we live, I read my friend Dan Wang writing "I’ve spent the past month in Shanghai, which I think is the best place in the world right now: It’s always been the most fun and livable city in China; and there has been no transmission of the virus since April, with restaurants, bars, and museums all open for months..." I think that America has 150,000 new coronavirus cases and 1,000 deaths a day, that that amount of virus risk puts a serious crimp in day-to-day activities, that there is no plan for dealing with it, and that at this caseload we are still... three years from likely herd immunity, which we will reach after 1,000,000 more deaths.

It is certainly true we have a long way to fall. Things can still be very comfortable on the way down for a long time. "There is", Adam Smith said in 1776, "much ruin in a nation”.

But I had hoped Om would change my mind.

====

Om Malik 2020-12-22: I have had a long time to noodle on Professor Delong’s response to my continued optimism in America. He certainly didn’t share that hopefulness, and he may have missed the nuance of my argument. So, I will reiterate: If we recognize our problems, we can fix them.

This is not about pretending. It is about taking the steps necessary for moving forward, which we will never do if we insist on dragging our feet while a cloud of gloom swirls above us. I’m happy to report that the forecast calls for better conditions ahead.

In a matter of months, if not sooner, Professor Delong will (I hope) be administered a vaccine that will prevent infection from a novel coronavirus. It may come from a company called Moderna, a venture-backed, American biotech company that is redefining the next frontier of medicine.

Our handling of COVID-19 is emblematic of what makes America a very unique place. Though we absolutely botched our response to the pandemic, this country has also produced one of the vaccines to fight it. Our country has many problems, and we are uniquely capable of solving them.

In his response, the good professor points to a friend’s comments about Shanghai and how livable it feels. If that friend were a Uighur or a Mongolian, they might think differently. It’s a futuristic place, sure, but one with little room for intellectual freedom and debate. For example, Alibaba founder and CEO Jack Ma paid the price when he spoke bluntly about certain things the ruling party didn’t care to have discussed. The initial public offering of his extremely successful company, Ant Financial, was canceled. It’s also worth noting, as ProPublica recently pointed out, that China’s government-controlled Internet was behind the censorship of coronavirus-related information.

Here at home, we currently have politicians making wild and embarrassing claims about our elections. I suppose in places like Shanghai, where voting for the country’s leader isn’t an option, people are spared such unpleasantness — but that hardly seems preferable. The sheer number of Americans who participated in our November election should be a source of national pride and renewed optimism.

Soon, we will transition to a new administration. Vaccines will be administered. We will move forward. But we must not forget the failures of 2020 or ignore our many other issues. America needs to rebuild its infrastructure, prepare for a changed climate, address its healthcare crisis, and take a hard look at its education system.

Neither self-flagellation nor looking enviously at other countries will solve these problems. Many entrepreneurs I get to interact with are working on solutions. They acknowledge our many shortcomings, rather than wallowing in them, and then they move on to designing and implementing better policies.

America has always managed to invent a better tomorrow, even on its most difficult days. Reality is complex. Where there is struggle, there can also be transcendence. In order to experience the latter, we must first convince ourselves that it is possible.

.#americanexceptionalism #highlighted #orangehairedbaboons #politicaleconomy #2020-12-22


Briefly Noted for 2020-12-22

Matthew Yglesias: The Real Economic Challenge in 2021 https://www.slowboring.com/p/the-real-economic-challenge-in-2021: ‘Back in 2018, there were a lot of articles with headlines like “6 reasons that pay has lagged behind US job growth” and “7 reasons why wage growth is so slow.” In retrospect, this wasn’t that mysterious. The labor market recovery had simply been very slow and 2018 turned out to be a year of accelerating wage growth. Then in 2019, things accelerated further. But the existence of articles puzzling over slow pre-2018 wage growth underscores the dangers of a sluggish recovery. Not only does sluggishness directly reduce wages, it generates complicated explanations for the sluggishness which distract policy attention from the urgent need to simply keep on keeping on with job creation…

Duncan Black: The Good Doctor https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/12/the-good-doctor.html: ‘Birx has had some pals in the media all along, desperate to keep her reputation intact, so this won't hurt at all: "WASHINGTON (AP) — As COVID-19 cases skyrocketed before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, warned Americans to “be vigilant” and limit celebrations to “your immediate household.” For many Americans that guidance has been difficult to abide, including for Birx herself. The day after Thanksgiving, she traveled to one of her vacation properties on Fenwick Island in Delaware. She was accompanied by three generations of her family from two households. Birx, her husband Paige Reffe, a daughter, son-in-law and two young grandchildren were present..." Lives are complicated, but the people who rule us should at least try to pretend to set an example…

Tim Miller: This Is Your Brain on Newsmax https://thebulwark.com/this-is-your-brain-on-newsmax/: ‘I would guess with a high level of confidence that all of these gentlemen know that Donald Trump lost. Spicer said as much on November 5 before Newsmax realized just how much juice they could get out of the scam. Ruddy openly told the New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner that he saw a business opportunity in providing wall-to-wall election fraud fanfic. What these characters are doing is exploiting Trump Nation’s need to believe that their great, nectarine idol is unbreakable and that the only way he could “lose” is if people whom they hate—the Deep State, Big Tech, Antifa, the media, black people—are conspiring against him. So here is the dangerous story they are being told—minute by agonizing minute: Monday, November 30, 11:20 a.m.—National Report: For reference, I am working from bed and live streaming Newsmax via the YouTube TV app. I am armed only with my computer and a pour over coffee in an Ellen Show mug. I’m bracing for pain. First up it’s Trump campaign lawyers, Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, together in what appears to be their fancy Washington, D.C. home (Drain the Swamp!). They are praising Jared Kushner’s Middle East genius. The first commercial I see is a Newsmax promo that has Donald Trump saying “Newsmax, you like Newsmax, I like it too” twice in 10 seconds. The next ad is Pat Boone pushing silver. I did not know that Pat Boone was still alive…

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Briefly Noted for 2020-12-21

NASA: The ‘Great’ Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn https://www.nasa.gov/feature/the-great-conjunction-of-jupiter-and-saturn: ‘What makes this year’s spectacle so rare, then? It’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night…

Origins of the Drill Sergeant trope in western literature, and in history: William Shakespeare: Henry V, Act III, Scene 6 https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=henry5&Act=3&Scene=6&Scope=scene&LineHighlight=1554#1554...

Wikimedia Commons: File:Dishing-the-Whigs-1867.jpeg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dishing-the-Whigs-1867.jpeg

Wikipedia: Anton Cermak https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Cermak: ‘44th Mayor of Chicago. In office: April 7, 1931 – March 6, 1933…

Clarence Darrow: Darrow -The Story of My Life http://clarkcunningham.org/PR/Darrow-Strike.htm: ‘The Railroad Strike...

Luke A. L. Reynolds: Who Owned Waterloo? Wellington’s Veterans and the Battle for Relevance https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4392&context=gc_etds

Jason Furman & Lawrence Summers: A Reconsideration of Fiscal Policy in the Era of Low Interest Rates https://www.piie.com/system/files/documents/furman-summers2020-12-01paper.pdf

Aristotle_: Politics http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.1.one.html: ‘Book I…

Jules Verne & Michel Verne: In the Year 2889 http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19362/19362-h/19362-h.htm

Wikipedia: In the Year 2889 (Short Story) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Year_2889_(short_story)

Christine McCloud: How To Use A Shuttle On A Loom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O98vJ8VEF4: ‘How To Use A Shuttle On A Loom…

Anton Howes: Is Innovation in Human Nature? https://www.antonhowes.com/blog/is-innovation-in-human-nature: ‘John Kay’s flying shuttle... an improvement to the loom, which radically increased the productivity of weaving.... Weavers would lift every other warp thread and pass the shuttle from hand to hand, hence passing the weft under the warp threads that were lifted, and over the ones that were not lifted. Under and over, under and over. Kay’s innovation was to use two wooden boxes on either side to catch the shuttle. And he attached a string, with a little handle called a picker, so that the shuttle could be jerked across the loom, at great speed. Here’s a video of it in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O98vJ8VEF4. Kay’s innovation was extraordinary in its simplicity. As the inventor Bennet Woodcroft put it, weaving with an ordinary shuttle had been “performed for upwards of five thousand years, by millions of skilled workmen, without any improvement being made to expedite the operation, until the year 1733”. All Kay added was some wood and some string. And he applied it to weaving wool, which had been England’s main industry since the middle ages. He had no special skill, he required no special understanding of science for it, and he faced no special incentive to do it…

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Smith: Why I'm so Excited About Solar & Batteries—Noted

Noah Smith: Why I'm so Excited About Solar & Batteries https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/why-im-so-excited-about-solar-and: ‘In the 19th century we switched to coal... in the 20th century we upgraded to oil.... After World War 2, a global extraction regime and price controls allowed us to keep cheap oil flowing. That ended with the Oil Shocks of the 70s. And though oil became cheaper again in the 80s and 90s, it never attained its former lows, or its low volatility. Then in the 00s it got expensive again.... We didn’t get anything better than oil during this time.... More expensive energy makes physical innovation harder in every way.... This stagnation in energy technology almost certainly contributed to the productivity slowdown of the 1970s.... Why didn’t bits fill the gap?... IT did drive the re-acceleration of productivity that began in the late 80s and continued through the early 00s.... But around 2005... that productivity growth faded.... Some have argued that digital services are substantially undervalued in our economic production statistics.... Physical technology is less “skill-biased” than IT, meaning that pretty much anyone can be a factory worker but only a few people can use computers productively and effectively... [or] IT simply touches less of our lives than energy does.... “Bits” innovation sometimes drives fast productivity growth, and sometimes doesn’t.… The cost declines in solar and batteries — and to a lesser extent, in wind and other storage technologies—comprise a true technological revolution.... And there’s no end in sight to this revolution. New fundamental advances like solid state lithium-ion batteries and next-generation solar cells seem within reach, which will kick off another virtuous cycle of deployment, learning curves, and cost decreases…

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Phipps: View of Hitler as of 1935—Noted

British Ambassador to Germany Eric Phipps looking back after two years at the extraordinary successes inside Germany and in the opinion of Germans of Hitler’s first two years—saving Germany from Versailles, from domination by the Allies, from the Great Depression, and from his own “gangsters” in the form of the SA:

Eric Phipps: Diary https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-phipps-diary.pdf 1935-04-01: ‘Over two years have now elapsed since the electorate of this country, stampeded by the Reichstag fire, voted for the abolition of the Parliamentary régime and the establishment of a National Socialist dictatorship...

During these two years, Adolf Hitler, without losing the loyalty of his old followers to any alarming extent, has won over the great mass of the Opposition to himself and his policy both internal and external. He has achieved this by accomplishing in the opinion of the masses not one but several miracles. In the first place, he has obtained work (or what amounts to work so far as the individual is concerned) for 3 million people. Secondly, he has torn up Part V of the Treaty of Versailles under the very noses of Germany’s former enemies. And thirdly, he has, as it were, liberated Germany from the clutches of his own National Socialist gangsters who threatened at one time to make life a purgatory for all but a privileged caste. The return to more normal conditions during the last six months has indeed been so rapid and so marked that the great bulk of Hitler’s one-time opponents are now, to say the least of it, reconciled to his rule if not to National Socialism.

Furthermore, it is now dawning upon friends and enemies alike that a benevolent despotism has immeasurable advantages over the Parliamentary system in the case of a defeated country. Not only has it an advantage over the travesty of a parliamentary system known as the Weimar Republic but many intelligent Germans are now of opinion that it is preferable to the French and British systems of representative government. It would certainly seem to an unprejudiced observer that a country which is anxious to free itself from the shackles of an oppressive treaty has better prospects if it is prepared to accept a restriction of individual liberty and a concentration of all powers in one hand, provided of course the hand be firm and wise. In the case of Hitler no doubt exists in the German mind that the country’s choice has been fully justified by the history of the last two years….

For years before he came into power Hitler doggedly refused to give any explanation of his mysterious programme for coping with unemployment. Why, he asked should he betray his panacea to his rivals? The mystery is now cleared up and it is evident that Hitler was well-advised to keep his secret to himself. As we now realise, his programme consists not merely of public works of the normal kind but of the very important work of rearming Germany. Today military contracts and contracts for public works are almost indistinguishable. The provision for motor roads which serve equally as military roads is a case in point. In addition the expansion of the army and air force has absorbed large masses of men from the labour market. The simplicity of many of Hitler’s basic ideas savours of genius to the public mind.

In regard to the rearmament of Germany and her return to the field of international politics on an equal footing, neither the Army, the intelligentsia nor the Ministry for Foreign Affairs conceived that the time was ripe for “calling the allied bluff”. Any attempt on Germany’s part to challenge the Versailles Treaty would lead, they firmly believed, to intervention and possibly to the occupation of the Rhineland. Any parliamentary government in this country would have courted disaster in the Reichstag had it embarked on Hitler’s policy of flouting the Treaty.

Even in Hitler’s case the adventure was not devoid of grave personal risk. There was always the chance during the early stages that the signatories of Versailles would pull themselves together and veto German rearmament by the threat of a preventive war. In that case the Hitler régime would have come to an end and Hitler and his chief supporters would have had to choose between suicide and exile. Now that Hitler has put his bold plan into execution his influence is highest in those very quarters where it was at first regarded with most suspicion, namely the Reichswehr Higher Command, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, permanent officialdom and responsible circles generally.

The Germans are not disposed to minimise their difficulties. But they regard Herr Hitler as a prophet and the majority expect with calm obedience that he will find the way to the promised land. He, on his side, is more convinced than ever that fate has chosen him as its instrument just as it chose Frederick the Great65 for the regeneration of the German people. In truth, can we wonder at his conviction? His foreign policy since my arrival at Berlin has been the reverse of that of a “good European”; it has been a crescendo of violence and has hitherto failed to evoke any stronger reaction on the part of the ex-allies than some notes of platonic protest.

Having helped himself, in defiance of the Treaty, on land and in the air, Herr Hitler now suggests, with grim humour, that the British Empire may some day be grateful for the protection of the fleet that he intends to build.66 The size of that fleet at present seems uncertain, but if Herr Hitler adheres to his intention of attaining naval parity with France he will eventually possess a fleet half the size of our own concentrated in an infinitesimal fraction of the waters over which ours is called upon to sail.

So far as I can see, only economics and finance can be expected to counter these proud plans, but economics and finance have in the past proved so elastic as to defy all expert prophecy. Stalin, on the other hand, when he pointed at “that little island” to Mr. Eden on the map, seemed to think that we alone could finally prevent the hegemony of Germany by withholding from her certain raw materials without which she would be unable to continue her present orgy of expenditure on armaments. I do not know whether this course be feasible or not. In any case let us hope that our pacifists at home may at length realise that the rapidly growing monster of German militarism will not be placated by mere cooings, but will only be restrained from recourse to its idolised “ultima ratio” by the knowledge that the Powers who desire peace are also strong enough to enforce it…

.#noted #2020-12-21


Phipps: View of Hitler as of 1933—Noted

Here we have Britain's ambassador to Germany writing in 1933 that Britain needs to take Hitler seriously but not literally–for if it took him literally it would have no logical choice but ‘to adopt the policy of a “preventive” war’. Food for thought for modern times: Trump, Bolsonaro, Modhi, and Johnson need definitely to be taken literally, and it is only acceptable to not take them seriously if you are dead certain not only of their incompetence but of their inability to pass the baton to anyone both competent and ruthless:

Eric Phipps: Diary https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-phipps-diary.pdf 1933-11-21: ‘In contemplating the present situation arising out of an electoral campaign waged against a practically non-existent adversary and conducted with propaganda methods of unexampled violence and mendacity, one is tempted to put certain far-reaching questions regarding the future of the Hitler movement and the future policy of Hitler. It has been asked, for instance, whether the movement is not a convenient screen behind which the old Prussian Nationalism is weaving its dark web. This may well be, but if so the screen itself is singularly inefficacious and fails to conceal the fact that the youth of Germany is being reared in a purely militarist spirit...

...When I told the Chancellor that militarism seemed to me to be the Leitmotiv of this country, whereas elsewhere it was merely an incident, that a spark might suffice to kindle the militarist spirit into a war-like flame, I might have added that the above-mentioned campaign of lies, depicting Germany as the one innocent lamb among a pack of wolves, was not calculated to inculcate in German youth that spirit of peace and understanding advocated so inappropriately and so loudly after Germany’s banging of the Geneva door.

As regards Hitler, I doubt whether he himself realises how far he is at pre- sent the author of Mein Kampf, the full-blown blood-and-thunder book as originally published in Germany, that is to say, and not the recent pale abridged and bowdlerised edition which has been published by his direction and translated into English.

Who can tell how far that Hitler resembles the present German Chancellor who has been making the welkin ring with shouts of peace? In some respects it is certain that he remains true to type for he has not varied over the Jewish question or Austria since writing the book; but it would be too simple and even perhaps dangerous to assume that he maintains intact all the views held and expressed with such incredible violence in a work written in a Bavarian prison 10 years ago, though, of course, those views cannot be left out of consideration in any endeavour to gauge the Chancellor’s intentions on any given subject. His hatred of France, Germany’s deadliest enemy, for instance, is written in flaming letters, and certainly seems difficult to reconcile with his recent attempts to wheedle her into a tête-à-tête conversation.

Again, the recent no-force agreement with Poland is undoubtedly regarded by my French colleague as an attempt to drive a wedge between that country and France. Yet, though this may have entered into Hitler’s calculations, the fact of German-Polish apaisement should nevertheless facilitate France and Germany. In this connection General von Blomberg’s remarks to me are of interest.

To revert to Hitler: we cannot regard him solely as the author of Mein Kampf for in such case we should logically be bound to adopt the policy of a “preventive” war, nor can we afford to ignore him. Would it not therefore be advisable soon to try to bind that damnably dynamic man? To bind him, that is, by an agreement bearing his signature freely and proudly given? By some odd kink in his mental make-up he might even feel impelled to honour it. His signature under even a not altogether satisfactory agreement, only partially agreeable to Great Britain and France and not too distasteful to Italy might prevent for a time any further German shots among the International ducks.

His signature, moreover, would bind all Germany like no other Germans in all her past. Years might then pass and even Hitler might grow old, and reason might come to this side and fear leave it. New problems would present them- selves and old problems, including disarmament, might perhaps have solved themselves through the mere passage of time, and without those Hurculean and hitherto vain efforts to satisfy German “honour” and allay French fear…

.#noted #2020-12-21


Briefly Noted for 2020-12-18

Josiah Ober: Political Dissent in Democratic Athens: Intellectual Critics of Popular Rule. https://www.amazon.com/Political-Dissent-Democratic-Athens-Intellectual-ebook/dp/B00EM2W92E/

Josiah Ober: Mass & Elite in Democratic Athens: Rhetoric, Ideology, & the Power of the People https://www.amazon.com/dp/0691028648

Daily Beast: Pence Plans to Confirm Trump’s Defeat Then Flee the Country, Says Report https://www.thedailybeast.com/pence-plans-to-confirm-trumps-defeat-then-flee-the-country-says-report>…

James Politi & Colby Smith: Powell Preserves His Dovish Credentials at Tricky Moment for Fed_ https://www.ft.com/content/2a32037d-612d-43bc-b472-ba124bddf47d

Tyler Cowen: The Ideological Shift of the Libertarian Movement on Pandemics https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/12/the-ideological-shift-of-the-libertarian-movement-on-pandemics.html

Minxin Pei: Totalitarianism’s Long Dark Shadow Over China https://www.ned.org/events/lipset-lecture-minxin-pei-totalitarianism-china/

Richard Setterston & al.: Living on the Edge: An American Generation’s Journey through the Twentieth Century https://uchicago.app.box.com/s/82xshvgproh5xf9sf0np8qby41wszehq/file/722218825412

Amazon.com: Elgato Green Screen https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0743Z892W/: ‘Collapsible chroma key panel for background removal with auto-locking frame, wrinkle-resistant chroma-green fabric, aluminum hard case, ultra-quick setup and breakdown: Computers & Accessories…

Amazon.com: Elaro Pop-Up Retractable Green Screen (Self-Contained Case) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QWXVN9J/

====

Plus:

Charles Sykes: Can We Quit Trump? https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/can-we-quit-trump: ‘For the last four years, Vichy Republicans have rationalized their support by insisting that we ignore the tweets and focus on the policies and “accomplishments”. But in his post-presidency there will no wins, just the rage, narcissism, and tweets.... And that’s all there will be, except for the possible indictments, trials, and bankruptcies. That’s why stoking outrage is so crucial for his post presidency. The stab-in-the-back stolen election lie is the wind beneath his wings; grievance is his only real asset. That may be enough to keep his base riled up. But there is also the possibility that rather than consolidate his control of the GOP, he will marginalize himself by continuing to embrace the most deranged elements of his own MAGAverse. His base of operations may drift from Fox News to OAN and his appeal from populism to raw crackpottery…

Jonathan V. Last: 'McMaster believed that power in the Trump administration derived from his job https://thetriad.thebulwark.com/p/the-nature-of-power. Sarah Huckabee Sanders realized that power in the Trump administration derived from having the president watch you defend him on TV. And further, SHS seems to have figured out that she could parlay that power into power in another context. Watch and see if she becomes governor of Arkansas purely on the basis of being seen as one of the most loyal Trumpists in the country.... Mitch McConnell is entering into a power struggle with Donald Trump.... Mitch declared Joe Biden president-elect yesterday. And good for him, I guess. Though I’m not sure people should get a ton of credit for admitting that the sky is blue after spending five weeks insisting that it was red. McConnell’s calculation is that power derives from holding elected office because that confers the ability to pass legislation.... Trump believes that the real source of power lies further upstream and derives from the ability to command—totally—a large bloc of voters within a single party. Because... it grants him ownership of the Republican party.... McConnell’s view looks like the safer bet right now, because the next time that large bloc of voters gets to exercise their power is two years from now. But my money’s on Trump here.... And then there’s the January 6 vote. McConnell has pushed a lot of chips into the pot by saying that no Republican Senator should force a vote on the Electoral College.... But the dynamics of this are all in the other direction. There will be at least one member of the House who objects and demands a vote, which means that the Senate Republicans will effectively be facing a yes-no vote on supporting Trump, since it will only require one senator to also object. Do you believe that every single Republican senator will be willing to be seen as effectively saying “no” to Trump on what will be basically function as a roll-call vote for a roll-call vote?…

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-12-18" »

Simon Schama: Why John le Carré Is a Writer of Substance

Simon Schama: What Makes John le Carré a Writer of Substance https://www.ft.com/content/04df988d-9b09-4e6a-b7d8-70b1a5e654dc: ‘Someone, sometime, had to translate Dean Acheson’s famous 1962 characterisation of a Britain that had “lost an empire but has not yet found a role” into literature. But until le Carré came along, no writer had nailed the toxic combination of bad faith and blundering, the confusion of tactical cynicism with strategic wisdom, with such lethal accuracy.... His writing did... have some precedents.... He belonged to the same “lower-upper-middle-class” as George Orwell.... Like Orwell... le Carré had a pitch-perfect ear for the disingenuous hypocrisies sustaining those who mistook “Getting Away with It” for national purpose. Le Carré’s other literary pedigree... came from Anthony Trollope: the shrewd sense that institutions had collective personalities and psychologies, as if they were extended families. As such, they were the theatre of deadly, high-stakes dramas of loyalty and betrayal…. The scene at the beginning of An Honourable Schoolboy in the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club, where “a score of journalists, mainly from former British colonies . . . fooled and drank in a mood of violent idleness, a chorus without a hero” is one of the great set pieces of le Carré writing. At its centre is one of his Dickens-Modern creations: the ancient Aussie, “old Craw” based on someone le Carré knew from that field trip to south Asia, and “who had shaken more sand out of his shorts than most of them would walk over”…

============

John le Carré: The Honourable Schoolboy https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-le-carre-schoolboy.pdf: 'Perhaps a more realistic point of departure is a certain typhoon Saturday in mid-1974, three o’clock in the afternoon, when Hong Kong lay battened down waiting for the next onslaught. In the bar of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, a score of journalists, mainly from former British colonies - Australian, Canadian, American - fooled and drank in a mood of violent idleness, a chorus without a hero. Thirteen floors below them, the old trams and double deckers were caked in the mud-brown sweat of building dust and smuts from the chimney-stacks in Kowloon. The tiny ponds outside the highrise hotels prickled with slow, subversive rain. And in the men’s room, which provided the Club’s best view of the harbour, young Luke the Californian was ducking his face into the handbasin, washing the blood from his mouth...

Continue reading "Simon Schama: Why John le Carré Is a Writer of Substance" »

Randall Munroe’s 2020 Election Map—Noted

Randall Munroe is an international treasure. This is the best 2020 election map that I have yet seen. It combines geographic fidelity with information accuracy and density. You will learn a lot not just about what and where Biden’s edge was in the 2020 election, but also about who Americans are…

Randall Munroe: 2020 Election Map https://twitter.com/xkcd/status/1339341149488746498: ‘http://xkcd.com/2399 ...

.#noted #2020-12-17


Briefly Noted for 2020-12-17

Jonathan V. Last: Everyone Trump Touches Dies: The List https://thetriad.thebulwark.com/p/everyone-trump-touches-dies-the-list

Edward B. Foley (2019): Preparing for a Disputed Presidential Election: An Exercise in Election Risk Assessment and Management https://lawecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2719&context=luclj

Jason Snell: ‘I apologize, I forgot to add a label to my Bezos Chart.https://twitter.com/jsnell/status/481863414180896769...

Simon Schama: What Makes John le Carré a Writer of Substance https://www.ft.com/content/04df988d-9b09-4e6a-b7d8-70b1a5e654dc: ‘Someone, sometime, had to translate Dean Acheson’s famous 1962 characterisation of a Britain that had “lost an empire but has not yet found a role” into literature. But until le Carré came along, no writer had nailed the toxic combination of bad faith and blundering, the confusion of tactical cynicism with strategic wisdom, with such lethal accuracy.... His writing did... have some precedents.... He belonged to the same “lower-upper-middle-class” as George Orwell.... Like Orwell... le Carré had a pitch-perfect ear for the disingenuous hypocrisies sustaining those who mistook “Getting Away with It” for national purpose. Le Carré’s other literary pedigree... came from Anthony Trollope: the shrewd sense that institutions had collective personalities and psychologies, as if they were extended families. As such, they were the theatre of deadly, high-stakes dramas of loyalty and betrayal…

Clove & Hoof: Oakland Butchery & Restaurant https://cloveandhoofoakland.com/

Sascha Segan: Qualcomm Is a Little Too Unbothered by Apple's M1 Macs https://www.pcmag.com/opinions/qualcomm-is-a-little-too-unbothered-by-apples-m1-macs: ‘Qualcomm execs brushed off the superior performance of Apple's new ARM-based Macs. They shouldn’t…

John Gruber: M1 Macs: Truth & Truthiness https://daringfireball.net/2020/12/m1_macs_truth_and_truthiness: ‘M1 Macs embarrass all other PCs—all Intel-based Macs, including automobile-priced Mac Pros, and every single machine running Windows or Linux. Those machines are just standing around in their underwear now because the M1 stole all their pants…

Nadim Kobeissi: On the Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Pro https://nadim.computer/posts/2020-11-26-macbookm1.html: ‘Five nanometer process, an ARMv8-AArch64 instruction set, unified memory, separate performance and efficiency cores and a ton of accompanying hardware offering acceleration for video decoding, cryptographic operations and more. There’s also a bunch of dedicated silicon for GPU cores that have been shown to rival the Nvidia GTX 1060. This is all on an integrated SoC that consumes a maximum of 15 watts and that generally runs on far less. This is all in a context where Intel is shipping 45W and 65W processors inside laptops, built on 10-14nm transistors, with a dinosaur-age x64 instruction set and integrated graphics that are certainly not even close to competing with a dedicated GTX 1060…

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-12-17" »

Briefly Noted for 2020-12-13

Supreme Court: 'The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution’ https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/121120zr_p860.pdf...

The Hellenistic Age Podcast: Syrian Nights, Macedonian Dreams https://hellenisticagepodcast.wordpress.com/2020/11/26/055-the-seleucid-empire-syrian-nights-macedonian-dreams/

Melissa: My Singing Vegetables https://www.mysingingvegetables.com/

Robert J. Gordon: The Rise & Fall of American Growth: 'The year 1870 represented modern America at dawn. Over the subsequent six decades, every aspect of life experienced a revolution. By 1929, urban America was electrified and almost every urban dwelling was networked, connected to the outside world with electricity, natural gas, telephone, clean running water, and sewers. By 1929, the horse had almost vanished from urban streets, and the ratio of motor vehicles to the number of households reached 90 percent. By 1929, the household could enjoy entertainment options that were beyond the 1870 imagination, including phonograph music, radio, and motion pictures exhibited in ornate movie palaces…

Noah Smith: Why I'm so Excited About Solar & Batteries https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/why-im-so-excited-about-solar-and: ‘In the 19th century we switched to coal... in the 20th century we upgraded to oil.... After World War 2, a global extraction regime and price controls allowed us to keep cheap oil flowing. That ended with the Oil Shocks of the 70s. And though oil became cheaper again in the 80s and 90s, it never attained its former lows, or its low volatility. Then in the 00s it got expensive again.... We didn’t get anything better than oil during this time.... More expensive energy makes physical innovation harder in every way.... This stagnation in energy technology almost certainly contributed to the productivity slowdown of the 1970s.... Why didn’t bits fill the gap?... IT did drive the re-acceleration of productivity that began in the late 80s and continued through the early 00s.... But around 2005... that productivity growth faded.... Some have argued that digital services are substantially undervalued in our economic production statistics.... Physical technology is less “skill-biased” than IT, meaning that pretty much anyone can be a factory worker but only a few people can use computers productively and effectively... [or] IT simply touches less of our lives than energy does.... “Bits” innovation sometimes drives fast productivity growth, and sometimes doesn’t.… The cost declines in solar and batteries — and to a lesser extent, in wind and other storage technologies—comprise a true technological revolution.... And there’s no end in sight to this revolution. New fundamental advances like solid state lithium-ion batteries and next-generation solar cells seem within reach, which will kick off another virtuous cycle of deployment, learning curves, and cost decreases…

.#brieflynoted #noted #2020-12-12


Briefly Noted for 2020-12-12

SIEPR Associate's Meeting with Josh Bolten https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVLqRr-PlhM&feature=youtu.be

Matthew Yglesias: The Real History of Race & the New Deal https://www.slowboring.com/p/new-deal

Wikipedia: Martha Gellhorn https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Gellhorn

Vowel https://www.vowel.com/

Apple: AirPods Max https://www.apple.com/airpods-max/

Filipe Espósito: iPad Air 4 Benchmark Results https://9to5mac.com/2020/10/04/ipad-air-4-benchmark-results-emerge-on-the-web-as-apple-reportedly-prepares-a14-apple-tv/: ‘First observed by the Twitter user Ice universe, the Geekbench test was performed on an iPad Air 4 running iOS 14.0.1. The Geekbench score reports 1583 for single-core and 4198 for multi-core, compared to 1112 for single-core and 2832 for multi-core of the A12 Bionic chip that powers the previous iPad Air 3. That means the A14 chip has 42% better performance than the A12 chip in single-core and 48% better in multi-core — which can be considered a great improvement for those upgrading from an iPad Air 3. Compared to the iPhone 11’s A13 Bionic chip, the A14 chip is about 20% faster in single-core (1327) and 28% faster in multi-core (3286)…

Jessica Price: Do Not Be Daunted...: https://twitter.com/Delafina777/status/1024317315620294657: '"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work. But neither are you free to abandon it...". The text it's referencing is from Pirkei Avot... part of the Mishnah.... Here's the quote that that meme is referencing (Pirkei Avot 2:15-16): "Rabbi Tarfon said: 'The day is short and the work is much, and the workers are lazy and the reward is great, and the Master of the house is pressing'. He used to say: 'It is not your responsibility to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it...'" While it's a translation that definitely isn't word-for-word, it's actually a very good interpretive translation and completely in keeping with the text.... The "do justly, now" triad is from Micah 6:8. The rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud assumed intimate familiarity with the entire Tanakh/Hebrew Bible, so they often make oblique references to verses and assume the reader will know the verse they're hinting at. The passage from Micah is one of the most famous elucidations of what the work of repairing the world, tikkun olam, consists of. So Shapiro adding it here isn't really an interpretive stretch--it's more just making the implicit explicit. And that beautiful opening? "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief"? It's definitely a bit of poetic license, but I'd say that's the point of "the day is short and the work is much”…

Robert J. Gordon: The Rise & Fall of American Growth: 'The year 1870 represented modern America at dawn. Over the subsequent six decades, every aspect of life experienced a revolution. By 1929, urban America was electrified and almost every urban dwelling was networked, connected to the outside world with electricity, natural gas, telephone, clean running water, and sewers. By 1929, the horse had almost vanished from urban streets, and the ratio of motor vehicles to the number of households reached 90 percent. By 1929, the household could enjoy entertainment options that were beyond the 1870 imagination, including phonograph music, radio, and motion pictures exhibited in ornate movie palaces…

Olga San Miguel-Valderrama (2009): Community Mothers & Flower Workers in Colombia https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-sanmiguel-2009-colombia.pdf

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-12-12" »

Briefly Noted for 2020-12-11

Casey Newton: How Microsoft crushed Slack https://www.platformer.news/p/how-microsoft-crushed-slack: ‘And why the era of worker-centered work tools may be over…

George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100021.txt

DeLong COVID Dashboard https://research.stlouisfed.org/useraccount/dashboard/56322

Ellora Derenoncourt & Claire Montialoux: Minimum Wages & Racial Inequality http://www.clairemontialoux.com/files/DM2020.pdf: ‘The earnings difference between white and black workers fell dramatically in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s.... The expansio... in this decline. The 1966 Fair Labor Standards Act extended federal minimum wage coverage to agriculture, restaurants, nursing homes, and other services which were previously uncovered and where nearly a third of black workers were employed.... Earnings rose sharply for workers in the newly covered industries. The impact was nearly twice as large for black workers as for white. Within treated industries, the racial gap adjusted for observables fell from 25 log points pre-reform to zero afterwards. We can rule out significant dis-employment effects for black workers.... The 1967 extension of the minimum wage can explain more than 20% of the reduction in the racial earnings and income gap during the Civil Rights Era…

Jonah Goldberg: Screwtape Went Down to Georgia https://gfile.thedispatch.com/p/screwtape-went-down-to-georgia: ‘A certain subset of the right has convinced itself that the Democrats aren’t just wrong or even bad, but that they are singularly evil and lethally dangerous enemies of America, hell-bent on destroying all that is sacred by imposing godless socialism on us all. I’ll skip the usual structural reasons for this development—the Big Sort, media balkanization, and, yes, the behavior of some Democrats—and focus instead on the part relevant to my point. The president of the United States said this sort of thing a lot.... The president is a deeply flawed and crude person with a thumbless grasp of the Constitution, the duties of his office, and the most rudimentary tenets of religion and traditional morality. Because this is so incandescently obvious, casting the Democrats as an existential threat to All We Hold Dear makes it a lot easier to overlook these things. Hence all of that “He’s our King David” gibberish from the early days of the Trump presidency. When you’re in a Manichean existential battle with the unholy Forces of Darkness, it’s much easier to overlook the adultery, greed, deceit, and corruption of your anointed champion. Now, normally I’m not one to leap to the defense of Democrats, but I think offering the faint praise that they are not all evil incarnate is literally the least I can do.... For nearly five years now, it has been obvious that Trump was unfit for the job and the arguments marshaled in his defense were cynical rationalizations that, for some, eventually mutated into sincerely held delusions.... For a lot of otherwise decent politicians and commentators, doing the right thing was just too damn hard. At every stage, they fed the Trumpian alligator another piece of themselves and said “This much, but no more.” But now all that is left are stumps, and it’s hard to walk in the right direction on stumps or hold your hands up to shout, “Stop!” when you have no hands.... I understand that this all sounds awfully self-righteous. But I’ll tell you, I feel like I deserve my gloating. I’m not alone in my right to it, but I deserve my share. I’ve been saying “don’t do this” for five years and I’ve been mocked and shunned for it. So forgive me if I enjoy my I-told-you-so moment. Or don’t forgive me. I’m used to it…

Lisa Bryan: Hollandaise Sauce (Easy and No-Fail https://downshiftology.com/recipes/hollandaise-sauce/: ‘The key to getting the consistency right all comes down to the hot melted butter. This recipe emulsifies butter into an egg yolk and lemon juice mixture. So you want to make sure you’re streaming in butter that’s hot enough (just melted won’t do). But in the case that your sauce does break and becomes a speckled mess, don’t fret. Below are two methods to try that will help bring your sauce back to life. Blend 1-2 tablespoons of boiling hot water: As you’re blending, slowly add in the hot water and blend until the consistency is right Add an extra egg yolk: While the blender is on, add an extra egg yolk with a teaspoon of hot water into the blender and blend until it becomes perfectly creamy…

Jonah Goldberg: As outrageous as his effort to delegitimize the election is—and it is very outrageous—that outrage pales like a lit candle next to the noonday summer sun when you compare it to an effort to literally overturn the popular and Electoral College vote and steal the election. But because that outcome is so unlikely, and Trump’s effort to pull it off is so comically inept, people are focusing on the more likely outrage rather than the more outrageous outrage. This was the plan.... His goal was always to steal the election if he didn’t win.... He told all of his voters to vote on Election Day. He expected this would give him a “mirage” lead that night, and then, because he had already established the illegitimacy of mail-in ballots, he could pretend to be justified in proclaiming victory on Election Night. Sure, there would be lawsuits and the like later, but Trump would have momentum on his side. He even telegraphed over and over that he expected the Supreme Court to come to his rescue.... That was his primary explanation for why he thought it was important to get Amy Coney Barrett confirmed. But as Grossman points out, there was just one problem: Trump wasn’t actually leading on Election Night.... This, by the way, explains why Trump World was so very, very, very, angry about Fox’s decision to call Arizona.... The Arizona call ruined the pretext. If Pennsylvania had been the tipping point, they thought they could get the election thrown to the court. But the Arizona call combined with the undeclared result in Georgia preempted that…

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Unemployment Insurance Claims Signal Renewed Recession

The Macro News: Th 2020-12-10: Starting last June with every week the US economy got better—at least, the number of people continuing to claim unemployment insurance fell when we calculate it on a seasonally adjusted basis. Some of this was people who had been receiving unemployment insurance finding jobs. Some of this was people reaching the end of the benefits to which they were entitled. Nevertheless, if you were people were flowing into the pool of those receiving unemployment insurance payments then were getting out of it.

But this past week's numbers are a sign that that period has come to an end. While one frost does not make a winter, both the seasonally adjusted number of people continuing to receive and the number of people newly claiming unemployment insurance benefits jumped up last week.

The natural way to read this is that the third wave of the coronavirus plague is starting to send the economy into renewed recession. It is, as it was before, not because of lockdowns. As before, the principal cause of the economy turning down is people getting scared, and deciding that they will postpone spending that requires close personal contact off to next year.

The professional Republicans appear to have decided to claim that what the government needs to do is to keep people hungry this winter so that they think they must go to work will-virus or nill-virus, and to block government action to keep spending economy wide from declining.

It’s going to be a bad winter.

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12.2.1-6. Lectures: Neoliberalism's Bankruptcy :: Econ 115 F 2020

12.2.1. East Asia’s Miracles 22.00 min
12.2.2. China Stands Up 9.00 min
12.2.3. How Do We Think About the State’s Role Here? 10.75 min
12.2.4. The Business Cycle Background 10.75 min
12.2.5. The Coming of the Near-Second Great Depression: 2001–2009 21.75 min
12.2.6. Where Did the Regulators & Macroeconomic Managers Go? 9.75 min

1:32.00 of audio…

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Plus

12.2.7. Zoom Lecture & Q&A https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/94569606763?pwd=VjBPSU5DOVlqUkVQZVJuLzVMTDlMdz09

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Mark Price: Adam Looney. Phd from Harvard. Undergrad at Dartmouth https://twitter.com/price_laborecon/status/1332651699450810371. Oh boy, can you smell trouble. If you can’t you may want to get tested for COVID-19. He served among other places in Obama’s Treasury. He has an op-ed from a little over a week ago which I’m not going to share again where he argues against the Warren-Schumer proposal to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt…. The point of the Schumer-Warren proposal is Biden can act without the Senate. We all want and need effort to help people cushion the crippling blow of COVID-19 but we have to wait for the Senate. Elevating food stamps as a superior form of stimulus is dishonest at best and deeply hypocritical for a man whose income is facilitated by a Koch-funded enterprise.... Another economist tweeted out the Looney Op-ed invoking their having worked with him in the Obama Administration.... The world is full of really wonderful people who went to Dartmouth and Harvard and work very hard to make sure that millions of poor and middle income children don’t get the same opportunities in life as their own children. That’s a hard lesson for people to learn and it’s an illustration of the way elite networks reinforce and reproduce inequality… Duncan Black: ell Paid Bullshit Artists https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/11/well-paid-bullshit-artists.html: ‘A standard trick in DC policy circles is to derail any policy by focusing on a "better" policy, which lets you imply the policy's advocates are stupid and/or cruel. One reason to focus on something like debt reduction is that it is something Biden has the power to do, unlike most everything else. This isn't the only reason. It's good on the merits, too, for a variety of reasons, but unless you have a plan to get Mitch McConnell to pass your fantasy plan, then you are just trolling…\ Andy Matuschak & Michael Nielsen: Quantum Country https://quantum.country/ Jean-Louis Gassée: PC Life After Apple Silicon https://mondaynote.com/pc-life-after-apple-silicon-a96861f58442: ‘Apple Silicon, in its first incarnation as the M1 System-on-a Chip, combined with a new macOS version, is about to expand Apple’s share of the PC market — at Intel’s expense… Paul Musgrave: McDonalds Peace Theory Epitomized America's 1990s Hubris https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/11/26/mcdonalds-peace-nagornokarabakh-friedman/: ‘In the rich, lazy, and happy 1990s, Americans imagined a world that could be just like them… Scott Cunningham: Causal Inference: The Mixtape https://scunning.com/cunningham_mixtape.pdf Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-11-28" » Briefly Noted for 2020-11-26 Sully Prudhomme: Le Vase Brisé (The Broken Vase) https://onbeing.org/poetry/le-vase-brise-broken-vase/ Jay Rosen: https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu/status/1329582924728037376: The GOP's verified account sent this out. That he won in a landslide. Here, I think, the party made official its break with American democracy. Not saying it wasn't apparent before. It was. Just more official now. As ridiculous as Sydney Powell is, this is a sobering moment. https://twitter.com/GOP/status/1329490975266398210 Kevin Liptak & Devan Cole: Chris Christie Calls Trump's Legal Team a 'National Embarrassment' https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/22/politics/chris-christie-donald-trump-election/index.html: ‘Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Trump has failed to provide any evidence of fraud, that his legal team was in shambles and that it's time to put the country first. "If you have got the evidence of fraud, present it," Christie said.... He decried efforts by the President's lawyers to smear Republican governors who have not gone along with the President's false claims of voter malfeasance. "Quite frankly, the conduct of the President's legal team has been a national embarrassment," he said, singling out Trump attorney Sidney Powell's accusations against Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp… Lex: Workers vs Robots: A New Kind of Onshoring https://www.ft.com/content/734d7da1-737d-481c-8838-b58b471338ae: ‘Oil rigs have been on the automation march for most of the past decade. Remote control rooms can manage everything from drilling to procurement. The safety advantage of having fewer bodies on rigs is obvious in a pandemic. Benefits to the bottom line are just as clear. Equinor, as Statoil is now known, says the move added more than NKr2bn ($212m) to earnings within a year of its Johan Sverdrup rig going digital. The biggest savings come from shrunken payrolls. In the developed world, robots are set to replace humans in a range of physically tough, repetitive jobs, from order picking in warehouses to lifting the old and infirm…

Josh Marshall: Folks, Let’s Get It the F--- Together https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/folks-lets-get-it-the-fuck-together: ‘I really don’t know what the two years holds. But I’m certain of one thing. It is and will be immeasurably better than Donald Trump having been reelected to a second term in office. No question. You did that. You owe it to yourself to get pumped and rejoice in that. It’s something to savor. It will help sustain you through endless civic work to come…

Jodi Enda: Trump’s Unexpected Power Helps Republicans Win Even If He Doesn’t https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/11/04/trumps-unexpected-power-helps-republicans-win-even-if-he-doesnt/: ‘When Trump’s name is on the top of the ballot, Republicans down the line do better. It feels strange to write that sentence since Trump himself might lose the presidency in this nail-biter of an election. But it remains true that both times he topped the ticket, Republicans down the ballot out-performed expectations…

Wikipedia: Leo Strauss https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Strauss#American_years: Strauss had also been engaged in a discourse with Carl Schmitt. However, after Strauss left Germany, he broke off the discourse when Schmitt failed to respond to his letters…. In 1932, Strauss left his position at the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies in Berlin for Paris… married Marie (Miriam) Bernsohn, a widow with a young child…. Strauss became a lifelong friend of Alexandre Kojève and was on friendly terms with Raymond Aron, Alexandre Koyré, and Étienne Gilson…. Strauss found shelter, after some vicissitudes, in England, where, in 1935 he gained temporary employment at University of Cambridge, with the help of his in-law, David Daube, who was affiliated with Gonville and Caius College. While in England, he became a close friend of R. H. Tawney…. Unable to find permanent employment in England, Strauss moved in 1937 to the United States, under the patronage of Harold Laski, who made introductions and helped him obtain a brief lectureship…. Strauss secured a position at The New School, where, between 1938 and 1948, he worked the political science faculty and also took on adjunct jobs…. In 1949 he became a professor of political science at the University of Chicago…

Om Malik: Why Are We Underestimating Zoom & It’s Impact? https://om.co/2020/11/25/zoom-its-long-term-impact/: ‘The prevalence of Zoom has shown us that working from a home office can be better than sitting in traffic for two hours. Even if, at this point, we find ourselves despising Zoom and complaining of persistent Zoom fatigue, we will not be going back to our pre-Zoom ways after the pandemic subsides. Whether Zoom remains the standard or gets overtaken by some upstart, Bill Gates predicts “that over 50% of business travel and over 30% of days in the office will go away”…

Rated: 5: Scott Peterson: ROX Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2019 https://us.nakedwines.com/products/rox-scott-peterson-sonoma-coast-chardonnay-2019#

Alison Roman: Dan Roman's Buttery Roasted Chestnuts in Foil https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/dan-romans-buttery-roasted-chestnuts-foil

Christy Denney: Classic Stuffing Recipe https://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/classic-stuffing-recipe/...

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Boehlert: A Crack in the Noise Machine: How Murdoch Derailed Trump—Noted

The thoughtful and insightful Eric Boehlert misses the major moment at which Rupert Murdoch put his press empire at the service of Joe Biden and America in ending the insane clown show that his been the presidential reign of Donald Trump. On the evening of election day, at 23:20 EST, Arnon Mishkin on the Fox News decision desk called Arizona and its 11 electoral votes for Joe Biden. Without Arizona, Trump would need not just Georgia (which Biden won by 0.2%) and Wisconsin (which Biden won by 0.7%) but also at least one of Pennsylvania (which Biden won by 1.2%) or Michigan (which Biden won by 2.8%). Calling Arizona for Biden put out of reach an election close enough that it could be decided for Trump by complaisant judges and a little more voter suppression. Yet Biden won Arizona, in the end, by only 0.3%.

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0yDiAW0blL0iFnRMqyYSAuWIQ

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Briefly Noted for 2020-11-25

Bibliotheca Augustana: Tapetum Bagianum http://www.hs-augsburg.de/~harsch/Chronologia/Lspost11/Bayeux/bay_tama.html: ‘c. 1080…

Bret Devereaux: Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Part I: Farmers! https://acoup.blog/2020/07/24/collections-bread-how-did-they-make-it-part-i-farmers/

Bret Devereaux: Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part I, Mining https://acoup.blog/2020/09/18/collections-iron-how-did-they-make-it-part-i-mining/

Wikipedia: Pioneer Hi Bred International https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_Hi_Bred_International

Wikipedia: DeKalb Genetics Corporation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeKalb_Genetics_Corporation

Steven Rattner: God Help Us if Judy Shelton Joins the Fed https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/22/opinion/federal-reserve-judy-shelton.html?smid=tw-share: ‘Trump’s latest unqualified nominee to the Federal Reserve Board must be rejected...

Jeremiah: 22 KJV https://biblehub.com/kjv/jeremiah/22.htm: ‘Thus saith the LORD: "Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself", saith the LORD, "that this house shall become a desolation." For thus saith the LORD unto the king's house of Judah: "Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon: yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited. And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons: and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast them into the fire. And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, 'Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city?' Then they shall answer, 'Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them'"…

Duncan Black: Failed 4th Estate https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/11/failed-4th-estate.html: ‘I think the very Trump-specific sin of the media (as opposed to their normal sinning) was confusing an understandable decision to "treat this lunatic freakazoid as we would normally treat a president" with "go out of our way to portray this lunatic freakazoid as normal." I get it. It was difficult to do the first part without doing the second part. If the scandal-o-meter goes up to 7 on a tan suit, then anything resembling normal practices can't cope when Trump makes it hit 11 by 7am most days. And, who knows, maybe they didn't even do him any favors. Maybe The People love their lunatic freakazoid president. But the first draft of history has hardly been an accurate one…

Utah HERO Project: Covid-Research State Chart https://marriner.eccles.utah.edu/covid-research-state-chart/

Joan Robinson (1962): Economic Philosophy

Bret Devereaux: Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part I, Mining https://acoup.blog/2020/09/18/collections-iron-how-did-they-make-it-part-i-mining/

Oliver Wyman: Model Projections for COVID-19 Cases https://pandemicnavigator.oliverwyman.com/forecast?mode=country&region=United%20States&panel=baseline

On 2017-12-17, Michael Boskin claimed the TMR tax cut would generate a big boom in equipment investment. Perhaps a full percentage point or so. None of the model-builders agreed with him. And he was wrong: there was none such in 2018 or 2019; spending did not wheel from consumption to investment; “unlocked” foreign earnings were paid out in dividends, not invested in equipment. He has never explained or analyzed why he was wrong. Or why he was confident in the first place: Michael Boskin (29017): Another Look at Tax Reform and Economic Growth__https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/republican-tax-plan-growth-effects-by-michael-boskin-2017-12

100+ Economists (2017): Pass tax reform and watch the economy roar https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-tax-reform-opinion-congress-pass-2017-11

Stan Sakai: Usagi Yojimbo https://www.usagiyojimbo.com/: ‘First published in 1984, [it] continues to this day. Usagi Yojimbo is one of the longest independent serialized comic book series in existence. Stan Sakai, the sole creator, author, and artist who is best known for his series Usagi Yojimbo, the epic saga of Miyamoto Usagi, a samurai rabbit living in late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth-century Japan.  Since then, Stan Sakai has received numerous awards for Usagi Yojimbo including the  National Cartoonists Society Award, multiple Eisner Awards, the Parents' Choice Award, and Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist…

An unprofessional beat sweetener about a Trumpism lobbyist who could neither plan nor execute a successful trade war: Jim Zarroli (2019): China Trade Talks: USTR Robert Lighthizer Is Trump's Hardball-Playing Negotiator https://www.npr.org/2019/02/21/696277594/expect-change-robert-lighthizer-is-trump-s-hardball-playing-china-trade-negotiat

John Gruber: One More Thing: The M1 Macs https://daringfireball.net/2020/11/one_more_thing_the_m1_macs: ‘The M1. The new M1-based MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini are... three different manifestations of the same computer... far faster machines than the Intel-based Macs they’re replacing. But the big win, and clear focus from Apple, isn’t speed but battery life.... This is the sellable bullet point for the mass market consumer.... The M1 really is an entire system on a chip. Everything is on the M1. The various processors, of course: the CPU cores, the GPU cores, the Neural Engine cores. But everything else is on the M1 too: the storage controller, the Secure Enclave, the memory controller, and, yes, the memory itself. The DRAM for M1-based Macs is on the package (“on the substrate”, I believe, is the technical lingo).... There’s no separate “video memory” and “system memory”—just memory.... Apple’s chip team is really proud of this UMA system and the integrated GPU on the M1. It’s a design that increases performance and power efficiency.... For over a decade, iPhones and iPads have had Apple-designed chips the competition could not and still cannot match. Now the Mac does too…

Sara Gibbs: Everything I Never Wanted to Have to Know About Labour & Antisemitismm https://medium.com/@sararoseofficial/everything-i-never-wanted-to-have-to-know-about-labour-and-antisemitism-649b5bc1e576: ‘I want the last four years of my life back.... If you’re new to this and listening, thank you. I know a lot of my fellow activists will be annoyed that I’m taking this tone but at this point I am so exhausted from four years of begging people to listen on this subject that I am grateful for any new allies and support. If you are listening, you’re already doing more than most. One of the most devastating aspects of Labour’s antisemitism crisis has been seeing the sheer volume of people I like, respect, even consider friends, denying or minimising this issue which has caused me so much personal devastation…

A huge amount—an absolutely huge amount—was lost when Harry Dexter White overrode John Maynard Keynes at Bretton Woods and placed responsibility for closing "fundamental disequilibria" on deficit countries alone. This policy mistake still haunts us. And odds are that it is about to haunt us again. Jeremy Bulow and Company sound the alarm: Jeremy Bulow & al.: The Debt Pandemic https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2020/09/debt-pandemic-reinhart-rogoff-bulow-trebesch.htm: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly lengthened the list of developing and emerging market economies in debt distress. For some, a crisis is imminent. For many more, only exceptionally low global interest rates may be delaying a reckoning.... Yet new challenges may hamper debt workouts unless governments and multilateral lenders provide better tools to navigate a wave of restructuring…

*Neil Fligstein & Steve Vogel *: Political Economy After Neoliberalism http://bostonreview.net/class-inequality/neil-fligstein-steven-vogel-political-economy-after-neoliberalism: ‘First, then, governments and markets are co-constituted. Government regulation is not an intrusion into the market but rather a prerequisite for a functioning market economy.... Second, real-world political economy hinges on power, both political and market power. Specific forms of market governance—of the kinds we just sketched—do not arise naturally or innocently. They are the product of power struggles between firms, industries, workers, and governments within particular markets and in the political arena.... Third, there is more than one way to organize society to achieve economic growth, equity, and access to valued goods and services. The balance of power between government, workers, and firms differs greatly across countries and time…

Rachel Reeves: Best for Britain https://twitter.com/BestForBritain/status/1288825505333030923: ‘The PM said… a trade deal would be secured by the end of July. Well… we don’t have a trade deal. All we have is a blueprint for a giant lorry park in the middle of Kent…

Alan S. Blinder & Mark W. Watson (2016): Presidents & the US Economy: An Econometric Exploration https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/aer.20140913: ‘The US economy has performed better when the president of the United States is a Democrat rather than a Republican, almost regard- less of how one measures performance. For many measures, includ- ing real GDP growth (our focus), the performance gap is large and significant. This paper asks why. The answer is not found in technical time series matters nor in systematically more expansionary mone- tary or fiscal policy under Democrats. Rather, it appears that the Democratic edge stems mainly from more benign oil shocks, supe- rior total factor productivity (TFP) performance, a more favorable international environment, and perhaps more optimistic consumer expectations about the near-term future…

Wikipedia_: Cocoliztli Epidemics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoliztli_epidemics: ‘A mysterious illness characterized by high fevers and bleeding. It ravaged the Mexican highlands in epidemic proportions... often referred to as the worst disease epidemic in the history of Mexico.... Recent bacterial genomic studies have suggested that.. a serotype of Salmonella enterica known as Paratyphi C, was at least partially responsible for this initial outbreak.[3] It might have also been an indigenous viral hemorrhagic fever

Paul Krugman: Why Did Trump’s Trade War Fail? https://www.gc.cuny.edu/CUNY_GC/media/CUNY-Graduate-Center/PDF/Programs/Economics/Other%20docs/tradewarfail.pdf: ‘There used to be an extensive literature on “effective protection”.... Tariffs on imported inputs provided negative effective protection to downstream activities. And that’s what seems to have happened with the Trump trade war. Tariffs were largely focused on intermediate rather than final goods. The net effect, then, may actually have been to discourage manufacturing!…

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Plus: Kevin Drum: Why Are Republicans Being Such Assholes?s https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/07/why-are-republicans-being-such-assholes/: ‘Bonus unemployment payments... expire today.... The main reason for extending them is because there are millions of Americans who are out of work and they desperately need the money.... [Plus] if the payments are cut off it will devastate an already ravaged economy.... So why are Republicans hemming and hawing?... From a purely selfish perspective, Republicans ought to be in favor of doing anything they can to keep the economy in decent shape through the election.... The whole thing is a disgrace.... Why are Republicans acting so contemptibly?…

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson & Mark Vandevelde: Stephen Schwarzman Defended Donald Trump at CEO Meeting on Election Results https://www.ft.com/content/558f2a68-7d42-4702-b86d-fae5458b3e64: ‘Mr Schwarzman, a Republican donor who has been one of Mr Trump’s most energetic supporters on Wall Street, sought to assuage such fears, saying the president was within his rights to challenge election results and forecasting that the legal process would take its course. He asked whether other participants did not find it surprising that early votes in Pennsylvania had favoured Mr Trump, only for later counts to tip the state in Mr Biden’s favour. Mr Schwarzman said there had been news reports stating that ballots continued arriving days after the election and that some of them may not have been real—issues, he said, that needed to be resolved by the courts, as the president’s legal team has argued…

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Briefly Noted for 2020-11-24

Jonathan Bernstein (2020-11-19): Senate Republicans, Stop Trump’s Vote Antics Now https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-11-19/senate-republicans-stop-trump-s-vote-antics-now: ‘It’s no longer enough just to acknowledge the obvious fact that Biden won…

Jonathan Bernstein (2020-11-10): Donald Trump’s Antics Show Contempt for His Own Voters https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-11-19/donald-trump-s-antics-show-contempt-for-his-own-voters: ‘The president’s election challenges have no realistic chance of succeeding. The goal now is to keep the donations flowing…

Jonathan Bernstein (2020-11-18): Why Are Republicans Embracing Judy Shelton for the Fed Now? https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-11-18/why-are-republicans-embracing-judy-shelton-for-the-fed-now: ‘After months of blocking her nomination to the Fed, suddenly the Senate majority has had a change of heart…

Jonathan Bernstein (2020-11-17): Joe Biden Has One Urgent Task Right Now https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-11-17/joe-biden-has-one-urgent-task-right-now: ‘The president-elect can do something Donald Trump never has: offer a coherent message on Covid-19…

Jonathan Schifman: The Entire History of Steel https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a20722505/history-of-steel/: ‘From hunks of iron streaking through the sky, to the construction of skyscrapers and megastructures, this is the history of the world's greatest alloy…

Wikipedia: David Malpass https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Malpass

Wikipedia: Ferrous Metallurgy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrous_metallurgy | History of the Steel Industry (1850–1970) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_steel_industry_(1850%E2%80%931970) | History of the Steel Industry (1970–Present) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_steel_industry_(1970%E2%80%93present)

Steve Randy Waldman: Social democracy or feudalism https://www.interfluidity.com/v2/8012.html: ‘if we should recognize an echo of empire in contemporary trade imbalances, should we not also recognize an echo of feudalism in contemporary class dynamics? The class wars embedded in trade wars of the past generation have provoked growing chasms of inequality (within societies inscribed by nation-state borders), along with (oh Gatsby curve) declining mobility and dynamism between classes…

Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales https://www.gutenberg.org/files/22120/22120-h/22120-h.htm: ‘Now preye I to hem alle that herkne this litel tretis or rede, that if ther be any thing in it that lyketh hem, that ther-of they thanken oure lord Iesu Crist, of whom procedeth al wit and al goodnesse. And if ther be any thing that displese hem, I preye hem also that they arrette it to the defaute of myn unconninge, and nat to my wil, that wolde ful fayn have seyd bettre if I hadde had conninge. For oure boke seith, 'al that is writen is writen for oure doctrine'; and that is myn entente…

Scott Lemieux: COVID's Been Everywhere, Man https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/11/covids-been-everywhere-man: ‘Remember when Bret Stephens assured us that it was unpossible for COVID to spread beyond the densest urban areas? Obviously, he started with the premise that doing anything to stop the pandemic was bad…. Pro-Trump Republicans are no more likely to update their priors despite them being massively wrong all along…. Bret Stephens is, at least in a strictly formal sense, a professional writer…

Steve M.: Is This Futile? https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/11/are-we-sure-they-know-this-is-futile.html: ‘47% of the country will have an even darker view of Democrats and cities and black voters and "the Deep State." Then we'll be even more divided and the right will be even angrier and more paranoid…. But these cynics don't care that they're encouraging a state of permanent cold civil war…

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11.1. The Neoliberal Turn, & Hyperglobalization: Readings: Econ 115 F 2020

The required readings for Module 11 are rather long—but not nearly as long as for Modules 9 & 5, where I wound up taking two weeks per module.

There is Skidelsky chapter 6 https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/chapter-skidelsky-keynes-6.pdf. The chapters of Skidelsky before this one I've been all about how Keynes was smart and right. This chapter is, from Skidelsky’s view as of 1995, as an enthusiastic advocate of the neoliberal turn, how Keynes’s disciples were dumb and wrong. It is a very good analysis, on the level of events and ideas, of why people decided to take the neoliberal turn.

11.1. The Neoliberal Turn, & Hyperglobalization: Readings
https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0wiN44cBruFAXnvv0weXzgCNw

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Let's Make Matt Yglesias's New Weblog a Success!

I very much hope that Matt Yglesias’s new weblog http://slowboring.com becomes the place to see and be seen on the internet.

Not, mind you, that I expect Matt to get everything right. Or that I expect all of his quick takes to be sound takes:

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Matt--

I find myself more with Tom Scocca here than you. You write https://www.slowboring.com/p/whats-wrong-with-the-media:

The problem here, to me, is not that Walker ought to “stick to sports.” It’s that the analysis is bad. But because it’s in a video game console review rather than a policy analysis section and conforms to the predominant ideological fads, it just sails through to our screens...

And then you say:

What actually happened is that starting in March the household savings rate soared.... Middle class people are seeing their homeowners’ equity rise and... their debt payments fall, while cash piles up on their balance sheets…

This makes sense as a criticism of Ian Walker only if you think that when Ian Walker wrote 'I’d be remiss to ignore all the reasons not to be excited for the PlayStation 5...', it was meant to be the start of an argument that the PS5 will not sell very well because of the epidemiological-economic-cultural uproar of the plague year.

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0HbVeT91VG7G4lI6FMjrekmQw

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DeLong Debt Memo: 2020-11-17

You asked me to think about long-run downside via fiscal drag and higher required tax rates and revenues in the future, after the economy has returned to full employment, from additional debt-financed COVID depression-fighting stimulus expenditures. You asked me to think in the context of Larry Summers’s and my “Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy” of a decade ago.

My conclusion: RIGHT NOW THERE IS NO PROSPECT OF ANY FUTURE FISCAL DRAG FROM ADDITIONAL DEBT-FINANCED FISCAL STIMULUS...

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0UJ2pg4UkvegNtUljgTL-Qhdg

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The Siren Song of Austerity: Project Syndicate

J. Bradford DeLong: The Siren Song of Austerity https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/return-of-austerity-in-us-by-j-bradford-delong-2020-11: ‘Among the many lessons of the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath in the United States is that there is no good reason to start worrying about debt when unemployment remains high and interest rates low. The hasty embrace of austerity derailed the last recovery, and it must not be allowed to do so again: BERKELEY–Ten years and ten months ago, US President Barack Obama announced in his 2010 State of the Union address that it was time for austerity. “Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions,” he explained. “The federal government should do the same.” Signaling his willingness to freeze government spending for three years, Obama argued that, “Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t.” So great was the perceived need for austerity that he even vowed to “enforce this discipline by veto,” just in case congressional Democrats had something else in mind…

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0mfYblEaFhtRC9uF-9OFxB5bw

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Do I Really Need to Say, Again, That Judy Shelton Does Not Belong on the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors? Apparently I Do...

And it looks like even without Trump Republican senators will continue to be orange-haired baboons:

That any Republican senators at all are thinking of voting for Judy Shelton—a woman views whom Milton Friedman dismissed by saying "it would be hard to pack more error into so few words"—for a Fed Governor position reveals an astonishing lack of spine. Yet the Senate Banking Committee chair appears to be attempting to advance her nomination on Tuesday:

Hoisted from the Archives:_ Shelton the Charlatan_ https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/03/shelton-the-charlatan-project-syndicate.html: In 1994 Milton Friedman wrote about Judy Shelton: "In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece (July 15)... Judy Shelton started her concluding paragraph: “Until the U.S. begins standing up once more for stable exchange rates as the starting point for free trade...” It would be hard to pack more error into so few words.... A system of pegged exchange rates, such as the original IMF system or the European Monetary System, is an enemy to free trade. It is no accident that the 1992 collapse of the EMS coincided with the agreement to remove controls on the movement of capital..." https://miltonfriedman.hoover.org/friedman_images/Collections/2016c21/NR_09_12_1994.pdf. To turn monetary policy away from internal balance toward preventing exchange rate movements that market fundamentals wanted to see occur was, in Friedman's view, the road toward disaster. It was simply wrong. And it could be held together only if economies moved from free trade back toward managed trade—and so beggared not just their neighbors but themselves.

Two and a half decades later, today's Judy Shelton seems no freer from error, but to it has added an enormous amount of incoherence. There is no consistent thread of argument in what she says. She is, rather, a weathervane pointing in the direction of whatever political wind she thinks likely to get her her next job. Last year she said that the Federal Reserve should be careful not to do anything to curb stock prices: "More than half of American households are invested through mutual funds or pension funds in this market. I don’t want the Fed to pull the rug out from under them..." https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-05/trump-fed-pick-shelton-says-central-bank-should-support-markets. But in 2016—when unemployment was higher and the case for easy money stronger—it was the Fed's "appeasing financial markets" that was the thing to be avoided https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/yes-trumps-latest-fed-pick-is-that-bad-heres-why/2020/02/10/a13fa1ec-4c44-11ea-9b5c-eac5b16dafaa_story.html. Back then under the Obama administration when there were lots of unemployed workers who could be put to work producing exports, policies to produce a weaker dollar to boost exports were to be shunned: "The obvious quick route to export success for any nation is to depreciate its currency. Dollar depreciation is already being pushed by the Obama administration.... Let's not compromise our currency in a misguided attempt to boost U.S. job growth. America's best future is forged through sound finances and sound money..." https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704698004576104260981772424. These days "compromising the currency" is a plus from the interest-rate cuts she wants to see https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-fed-choice-judy-shelton-says-interest-rate-cut-needed-because-europe-is-set-to-devalue-euro-2019-07-05. Today monetary policy should be made looser "as expeditiously as possible" https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/06/19/fed-meets-trumps-potential-next-pick-wants-see-lower-rates-fast-possible. Back then "loose monetary policy... leads to internal bankruptcy... whole nations have foundered on this path..." https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB123742149749078635.

Catherine Rampell https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/yes-trumps-latest-fed-pick-is-that-bad-heres-why/2020/02/10/a13fa1ec-4c44-11ea-9b5c-eac5b16dafaa_story.html earlier this month correctly called Judy Shelton "an opportunist and a quack", and reported that Republican senators think she is not qualified.

Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said: "I wouldn't want five [Fed Board] members like her".

Thom Tillis (R-NC) said that her views on the gold standard do not matter because return to the gold standard is off the table.

Tim Scott (R-SC) agreed with Tillis, stating that "controversial statements" were "not relevant".

Pat Toomey (R-PA) worried about the "very, very dangerous path to go down" she advocated. Richard Shelby (R-AL) was "concerned".

John Kennedy (R-LA) said: "Nobody wants anybody on the Federal Reserve that has a fatal attraction to nutty ideas" https://www.wsj.com/articles/republican-senator-raises-concerns-over-sheltons-fed-candidacy-11581608467?mod=hp_major_pos1.

But the Wall Street Journal editorial board has decided to back Judy Shelton's "more error packed into so so few words" over Milton Friedman by praising her as a believer that "monetary policies that ignore exchange-rate stability wreak political and economic havoc". Trump wants Judy Shelton on the Fed Board so he can threaten to—and possibly actually—replace Jay Powell with her as chair. If we have learned anything over the past three years, it is that furrowed brows of concern from Republican senators are worth precisely nothing. John Kennedy (R-LA) followed his furrowed brow by saying "I’m not saying that’s the case here". Mike Crapo (R-ID) praised her "deep knowledge of democracy, economic theory and monetary policy", and denounced the "war on Judy Shelton".

If Republican senators are going to save the country from yet another Trump misstep that makes America less great, first core Republican supporters have to step up and give their senators 53 spine transplants.

Maskell & Rybicki: Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session

Note to Self: I very much hope that Pelosi and Schumer are already talking to Collins, Murkowski, Romney, Sasse, and company: the potential for an absolute dog’s breakfast on January 6, 2021 is already remarkably high, and may well increase in probability as things get crazier and crazier over the next two months.

It is also not too early for the House of Representatives to be thinking hard about how to maintain their own security—both on the U.S. Capitol grounds, and for members in transit to the Capitol itself.

The argument that Trump is not trying to gain support among the Republicans for a coup, and that Republicans are not egging one another one to see if they dare to do it, but rather doing something else seems to me to be overhasty and overconfident. Yes, Trump might be trying to establish an extradition-free bolthole for himself in Abu Dhabi. Yes, Trump might be trying to destroy as much evidence linking him to criminality as he can. Yes, Trump might be trying to show that he can disrupt the system so that he can then strike a deal that will leave him confident he will remain out of jail next year. Yes, Trump might simply be confused.

But he might not. And while Giuliani is clearly neither his Göring, his Himmler, or his Heydrich, that does not mean that nobody else is:

Jack Maskell & Elizabeth Rybicki: Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session, Including Objections by Members of Congress https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32717.pdf: ‘Basis for Objections: The general grounds for an objection to the counting of an electoral vote or votes would appear from the federal statute and from historical sources to be that such vote was not “regularly given” by an elector, and/or that the elector was not “lawfully certified”...

Continue reading "Maskell & Rybicki: Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session" »

Frost: Entrepreneurial Transformation of Socialist China—Noted

Adam Frost: Entrepreneurial Transformation of Socialist China https://ysi.ineteconomics.org/project/5f316897689c756fb5c52785/event/5f6b2b94a21037043d0c1458: ‘Generations of scholars argued that beginning with the Communist’s victory over the Nationalists in 1949 and culminating until the establishment of collective economic institutions in 1957, private entrepreneurship was effectively purged from the Chinese economy.... [But] capitalist entrepreneurship was an enduring feature of the modern Chinese economy.... 2,600 cases of “speculation and profiteering” that were prosecuted by local government agencies in the 1960s and 1970s...

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0z0Btdoy-vo9Rm1GKFxXBwoBw

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BioNTech 90% Effective Messenger RNA COVID Vaccine?

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0aP8gr2_cfSeHzTQEw9OVC6hg

Little additional information seems to be available at this moment:

Pfizer and BioNTech (2020-11-09): Announce Vaccine Candidate Against COVID-19 Achieved Success in First Interim Analysis from Phase 3 Study https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201109005539/en/: ‘Vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first interim efficacy analysis. Analysis evaluated 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in trial participants. Study enrolled 43,538 participants, with 42% having diverse backgrounds, and no serious safety concerns have been observed; Safety and additional efficacy data continue to be collected. Submission for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) planned for soon after the required safety milestone is achieved, which is currently expected to occur in the third week of November. Clinical trial to continue through to final analysis at 164 confirmed cases in order to collect further data and characterize the vaccine candidate’s performance against other study endpoints…

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9.2.0. Intro Video: Glorious Post-WWII Years in the Global North: Equitable Growth & Inclusion: Econ 115

Interactive Video: https://share.mmhmm.app/ed6bb654a1bb406394e149ce53ecbbd4

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0veWFCQ04v48yvwHSZVb2i6kA

.#economicgrowth #economichistory #highlighted #slouchingtowardsutopia #socialdemocracy #thirtygloriousyears #2020-11-03


Introductory Video for Fall 2020 Instantiation of Econ 115 Module 9: Post-WWII Glorious Years of Equitable Growth & Inclusion in the Global North

econ-115-9.2.0-module-intro-video-11.00-2020-10-28

https://share.mmhmm.app/ed6bb654a1bb406394e149ce53ecbbd4

As of 1945, there was not that many grounds for optimism, as far as the world economy and the world political economy were concerned.

The greater totalitarianism had been squashed. The lesser was flourishing. It used the blood of the Russian people spilled fighting Nazism over 1941 to 1945 as a powerful source of legitimating energy—never mind the active and eager collaboration of Stalin and his acolytes with Hitler whenever it had seemed to be to their even momentary advantage.

Market economies continued to fail to deliver Polanyian rights. Their ability to even deliver economic growth at all had been cast in the grave doubt by the Great Depression. As for democratic parliamentary politics—it could still be easily dismissed as a swamp that needed to be drained.

Yet 1940-1980 saw the victory and secure establishment of the market-heavy mixed economy as an engine for delivering unprecedented economic growth in the global north. It also saw the overwhelming victory of parliamentary democracy as a system that could generate good economic management and also increasing human freedom. And it saw the world system deliver independence and somewhat increasing prosperity, if neither democracy nor economic convergence, to the global south.

• In the G7 nations, 1870 to 1913 had delivered average measured real-income growth of 1.4% per year, albeit unequally distributed.

• That fell over 1913 to 1938 to 0.7% per year.

• But then 1938 to 1973 saw growth at 3.0% per year, catching up to and leaping ahead of what a continuation of pre-1913 trends would have forecast.

Why did things go so right? And why, given that things went so right up through the 1970s, was that system of mixed-economy social democracy rejected for one of neoliberalism after 1980?

• Some of it was that Keynes was at least half right, and his technical and technocratic adjustments to economic management did a great deal of good.

• Some of it was that the disasters of 1913 to 1938 and the disaster on the other side of the iron curtain that was really-existing socialism that might move west—and east—concentrated everybody’s mind on making an imperfect system work.

• Some of it was that the backlog of potential innovations undeployed over 1913 to 1938 made growth easy

• Much of it was that with strong and equitable growth the market economies’ failure to vindicate Polanyian rights no longer seemed so salient

• Some of it was that social insurance systems did, to some extent, manage to vindicate Polanyian rights

• And much of it was that the plutocrats and the rightists had lost their nerve, after the disasters that their attempts to suppress labor organizations and political majorities had generated

But why then did things fall apart in 1980?

Keep that question in the back of your minds.

In addition to strong economic growth that was equitable, in the sense of being divided across economic classes rather than hogged by one, there was the increase in human freedom.

The equitable growth of 1938 to 1980 stopped afterwards in the age of neoliberalism. But the forward march of inclusion has continued.

Inclusion of people as first-class citizens. Who are the first-class citizens of the civilization that we define as the one in which the Anglo-Saxon language is the lingua franca—the tongue spoken by free people? At the start, in the days of Leader Elf-Wisdom of the west branch of the knife-guys—King Alfred of Wessex—it was his own landholding trained-warrior male-Saxon thains. But even in Alfred’s day, he was reaching to include others, and not just other branches of the Saxon tribe. Alfred called his expanded kingdom “England”, after the name of the neighboring tribe of the Angles that he wanted to include as well.

And as history passes it becomes the English, and then the British—but, remember, the WOGS—the worthy oriental gentlemen—begin as soon as you cross the English Channel and set foot on the European continent at the port of Calais.

There are still those who hold to that. England, if not Great Britain, is still in its majority in support of its ruler Boris Johnson. Boris at least claims to believe that the most important thing is to keep England pure from European pollution. (You are not supposed to remember his full name: Alexander Boris de Pfefle Johnson. Alexander is Greek. Boris is Russian. The de is French. The Pfeffel is German. The Johnson is Welsh, half Keltic, not fully Saxon. If you trace his male line of descent, it goes back not to the Saxons or the Vikings but rather a Turkish nomads who came boiling out of Kazakhstan in days gone bye.)

But I digress.

From male, British, and upper-class, the set of “gentlemen” expands. It expands to include the middle-class males who have good manners. And then Anglo-Saxon is expanded to include by courtesy others of Northern European stock who walk the walk. By the time of Teddy Roosevelt it is anyone white, or mostly white, who is willing to behave like a male Anglo-Saxon Puritan—children of the Mayflower by adoption as well as by birth. And Teddy Roosevelt still believed in the Republican parties historical obligation for the freedom and uplift of African-Americans. He was swimming against the tide of the American power structure of his day. But he was swimming.

And working class people are people.

And women became people too.

Next: America is a Protestant nation.

With the coming of World War II and the strong need to rally everyone against Nazism, and then with the coming of the age of social democracy, the progress of full inclusion speeds up.

Then: America is a Christian nation. Then: America is a Judeo-Christian nation. Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower says: “It is very important that an American have a strong faith and I don’t care what”.

Jimmy Carter as president in the 1960s talks about the “Abrahamic” faiths, bringing Muslims into the religious circle of inclusion. But that does not seem to stick.

Women become full people. Freedom is redefined so that your freedom does not include the right to discriminate against African-Americans in public accommodations. Who people love or choose to be in their private lives becomes “not your business” as well.

But Senator Rand Paul still believes in his heart of hearts that it does. Only the fact that it is not electorally wise to say that out loud, even in Kentucky, keeps him quiet now. And every year Fox News and company try to remove the Judeo- from “Judeo-Christian nation” and roll back inclusion by demanding an end to the “war on Christmas”.

We know where we are supposed to be now: equal opportunity as a goal, rather than a joke; tolerance and celebration of our diversity because trapping yourself in one point of view is going to makes you stupid and narrow.

We are not there yet.

The cultural DNA of the global north today is still roughly 50% from the North-Atlantic Anglo-Saxons of the Victorian era.

But this is a civilization in which people are less limited by what their parents happenned to look like and be than any previous one.

A story to inspire. But not a story to make us comfortable about where we are right now.

1268 words 11.00 minutes

Wolf: Long Economic COVID—Noted

Martin Wolf: The Threat of Long Economic Covid Looms https://www.ft.com/content/f9a0c784-712e-4bf9-b994-55f8d63316d9: ‘Covid-19 has left many patients with debilitating symptoms after the initial infection has cleared. This is “long Covid”. What is true of health is likely to be true of the economy, too…. To meet the threat of a “long economic Covid”, policymakers must avoid repeating the mistake of withdrawing support too soon, as they did after the 2008 financial crisis. This danger is real, even if there remains much uncertainty about how the crisis will unfold…. We know that many businesses have been hurt, as demand for their output collapsed or they were locked down. The second waves of the disease now crashing on to many economies will make this worse.... But we also know that things could have been far worse. The world economy has benefited from extraordinary support from central banks and governments.... We know, nevertheless, that what has already happened is going to leave deep scars. The longer the pandemic continues, the bigger those scars will be.... Fiscal policy has to play a central role, as it alone can provide the necessary targeted support... Governments have to spend. But, over time, they must shift their focus from rescue to sustainable growth. If, ultimately, taxes have to rise, they must fall on the winners. This is a political necessity. It is also right…

.#noted #2020-10-30 <https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/10/wolf-long-economic-covidnoted.html>


Trump: In California, You Have a Special Mask...—Noted

Donald Trump: 'In California https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1321548174427852801, you have a special mask. You cannot under any circumstances take it off. You have to eat through the mask. Right, right, Charlie? It's a very complex mechanism. And they don't realize those germs, they go through it like nothing…

DeLONGTODAY 2020-10-30: American Republicans Are Bad Economic Managers

Video at: http://delongtoday.com

Today is an economic-analysis day:

• I will start with the large gap between economic performance under Democratic and under Republican presidents, and with Alan Blinder’s and Mark Watson’s puzzlement as to where it comes from

• I will then run through the history of what went wrong with Republican economic policy

• I will then point out the technocratic idiocies of economic policy under the Trump administration

• And I will then set forth my theory of where the performance gap—that American incomes grow 1.8%-points per year faster when Democrats are president than when Republicans are—comes from. Democratic politicians and legislators are willing, at least sometimes, to listen to their economists. Republican politicians and legislators will not even let their economists into the room where it happens until they have agreed that the politicians and legislators are already pursuing great policies.

.#forecasting #economicgrowth #highlighted #politicaleconomy #politics #2020-10-30


Today is an economic-analysis day:

• I will start with the large gap between economic performance under Democratic and under Republican presidents, and with Alan Blinder’s and Mark Watson’s puzzlement as to where it comes from

• I will then run through the history of what went wrong with Republican economic policy

• I will then point out the technocratic idiocies of economic policy under the Trump administration

• And I will then set forth my theory of where the performance gap—that American incomes grow 1.8%-points per year faster when Democrats are president than when Republicans are—comes from. Democratic politicians and legislators are willing, at least sometimes, to listen to their economists. Republican politicians and legislators will not even let their economists into the room where it happens until they have agreed that the politicians and legislators are already pursuing great policies.

.#forecasting #economicgrowth #highlighted #politicaleconomy #politics #2020-10-30


Today is an economic-analysis day:

• I will start with the large gap between economic performance under Democratic and under Republican presidents, and with Alan Blinder’s and Mark Watson’s puzzlement as to where it comes from

• I will then run through the history of what went wrong with Republican economic policy

• I will then point out the technocratic idiocies of economic policy under the Trump administration

• And I will then set forth my theory of where the performance gap—that American incomes grow 1.8%-points per year faster when Democrats are president than when Republicans are—comes from. Democratic politicians and legislators are willing, at least sometimes, to listen to their economists. Republican politicians and legislators will not even let their economists into the room where it happens until they have agreed that the politicians and legislators are already pursuing great policies.

.#forecasting #economicgrowth #highlighted #politicaleconomy #politics #2020-10-30


Today is an economic-analysis day:

• I will start with the large gap between economic performance under Democratic and under Republican presidents, and with Alan Blinder’s and Mark Watson’s puzzlement as to where it comes from

• I will then run through the history of what went wrong with Republican economic policy

• I will then point out the technocratic idiocies of economic policy under the Trump administration

• And I will then set forth my theory of where the performance gap—that American incomes grow 1.8%-points per year faster when Democrats are president than when Republicans are—comes from. Democratic politicians and legislators are willing, at least sometimes, to listen to their economists. Republican politicians and legislators will not even let their economists into the room where it happens until they have agreed that the politicians and legislators are already pursuing great policies.

.#forecasting #economicgrowth #highlighted #politicaleconomy #politics #2020-10-30


Today is an economic-analysis day:

• I will start with the large gap between economic performance under Democratic and under Republican presidents, and with Alan Blinder’s and Mark Watson’s puzzlement as to where it comes from

• I will then run through the history of what went wrong with Republican economic policy

• I will then point out the technocratic idiocies of economic policy under the Trump administration

• And I will then set forth my theory of where the performance gap—that American incomes grow 1.8%-points per year faster when Democrats are president than when Republicans are—comes from. Democratic politicians and legislators are willing, at least sometimes, to listen to their economists. Republican politicians and legislators will not even let their economists into the room where it happens until they have agreed that the politicians and legislators are already pursuing great policies.

.#forecasting #economicgrowth #highlighted #politicaleconomy #politics #2020-10-30


Today is an economic-analysis day:

• I will start with the large gap between economic performance under Democratic and under Republican presidents, and with Alan Blinder’s and Mark Watson’s puzzlement as to where it comes from

• I will then run through the history of what went wrong with Republican economic policy

• I will then point out the technocratic idiocies of economic policy under the Trump administration

• And I will then set forth my theory of where the performance gap—that American incomes grow 1.8%-points per year faster when Democrats are president than when Republicans are—comes from. Democratic politicians and legislators are willing, at least sometimes, to listen to their economists. Republican politicians and legislators will not even let their economists into the room where it happens until they have agreed that the politicians and legislators are already pursuing great policies.

.#forecasting #economicgrowth #highlighted #politicaleconomy #politics #2020-10-30


Today is an economic-analysis day:

• I will start with the large gap between economic performance under Democratic and under Republican presidents, and with Alan Blinder’s and Mark Watson’s puzzlement as to where it comes from

• I will then run through the history of what went wrong with Republican economic policy

• I will then point out the technocratic idiocies of economic policy under the Trump administration

• And I will then set forth my theory of where the performance gap—that American incomes grow 1.8%-points per year faster when Democrats are president than when Republicans are—comes from. Democratic politicians and legislators are willing, at least sometimes, to listen to their economists. Republican politicians and legislators will not even let their economists into the room where it happens until they have agreed that the politicians and legislators are already pursuing great policies.

.#forecasting #economicgrowth #highlighted #politicaleconomy #politics #2020-10-30


Today is an economic-analysis day:

• I will start with the large gap between economic performance under Democratic and under Republican presidents, and with Alan Blinder’s and Mark Watson’s puzzlement as to where it comes from

• I will then run through the history of what went wrong with Republican economic policy

• I will then point out the technocratic idiocies of economic policy under the Trump administration

• And I will then set forth my theory of where the performance gap—that American incomes grow 1.8%-points per year faster when Democrats are president than when Republicans are—comes from. Democratic politicians and legislators are willing, at least sometimes, to listen to their economists. Republican politicians and legislators will not even let their economists into the room where it happens until they have agreed that the politicians and legislators are already pursuing great policies.

.#forecasting #economicgrowth #highlighted #politicaleconomy #politics #2020-10-30


The Economic Incompetence of Republican Presidents: Project Syndicate

J. Bradford DeLong: The Economic Incompetence of Republican Presidents https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/democratic-administrations-historically-outperform-on-economy-by-j-bradford-delong-2020-10: In a United States rife with disinformation, one of the most persistent myths is that Republicans are better than Democrats for business and economic growth. In fact, Republicans have consistently under-performed on the economy for almost a century. One hears many strange things nowadays, not least because “they” (a complicated term) are flooding the zone with misinformation. Without a shared set of facts upon which to base ethical and policy debates, democracy inevitably breaks down. The system’s virtue lies in its unique ability to elevate and consider a broad range of ideas emanating from society. Ideally, through a good-faith exchange of arguments and a weighing of the alternatives, a majority of voters converges on the best course of action...

We hear many strange things today. They—and it is a complicated “they”—are flooding the zone with misinformation. Why? For lots of reasons. But democracy breaks down under a flood of misinformation. Democracies’ excellences spring from its ability to consider ideas from different places in society, and converge on the good ones. But that requires that the flow of information into the public-sphere be reality-based—or at least that there be confrontations in which the people can watch Lincoln debate Douglas and decide who is trustworthy and correct and who is not. And we have lost that.

But we keep on trying. Here Sisyphus. Here rock. Here hill. And, as Camus wrote now long ago, we must imagine Sisyphus happy, with what he meant depending on which of the many possible ways we choose to read the word “must”.

One piece of misinformation I see more and more these days is that on election day America faces a tradeoff. On the one hand, electing a Democrat means that America will no longer have a government that permanently kidnaps children just because it can. On the other hand, electing a Democrat “who will be radical and hurt the economy…”, as the Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy “No Republicans Should Ever Stab Trump in the Back” Noonan puts it, before writing that “[Biden] should not be going out for ice cream in a mask like John Dillinger on the lam…” and that “[Kamala Harris] is embarrassing. Apparently you’re not allowed to say these things because she’s a woman…. I will not sweat it, I will be myself…. If you can’t imitate gravity, could you at least try for seriousness?…”

So let me give the microphone to economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson, who write that: “The superiority of economic performance under Democrats rather than Republicans is nearly ubiquitous: it holds almost regardless of how you define success…. The performance gap… strains credulity…. 1.8 percentage points [per year]… from Truman through Obama…” And note that if they went back two more presidents—to Hoover-Roosevelt—the gap would be even bigger: about 3%/year.

Note that in this context Trump was an unusually good president as far as economic performance in his first three years was concerned. In teh first three years of his presidency the economy matched the 2.4%/year growth it achieved in Obama’s second term. Even matching the previous Democrat is something that Trump’s and only Trump’s, of all post-WWII Republican presidencies, has seen.

Blinder and Watson are flummoxed on where this performance gap comes from: greater fixed investment, more consumer optimism and thus spending on durables, fewer unfavorable oil shocks, and perhaps stronger growth abroad. But these can explain less than half of the gap. It is not that Democrats pursue overinflationary policies that borrow growth from the future and move it into the present.

When I first read Blinder and Watson, the oil factor jumped out at me. Both President George Bushes—and also Nixon and Ford’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—were deeply confused about whether the U.S. wanted a high or a low price of oil as far as boosting real income growth was concerned. Other presidents grabbed for chances to make or keep oil prices lower.

When we look back at history, it seems that Republican presidents and their administrations have little sense of what economic policies are likely to work. It simply never entered George W. Bush’s mind, or the mind of anyone in his administration, that a financial crisis could be produced by underregulation and would be a bad thing. It simply never entered Ronald Reagan’s mind, or the mind of anyone in his administration, that the big budget deficits they created gave America a choice between seeing investment collapse—slowing growth—or borrowing from abroad and in the process importing lots more manufactures—thus turning the Midwest into a rust belt. And Nixon’s belief that low interest rates plus wage-and-price controls could keep both inflation and unemployment low was hard to fathom either at the time.

Here we can say of Trump that he has played true to type. NAFTA: worst trade deal in American history. TPP: second worst. Add some TPP provisions to NAFTA and call it USMCA, and all of a sudden it makes America great again. A trade war with China: “good, and easy to win”. But the result has been no change in manufacturing employment, a widened manufacturing trade deficit, U.S. consumers suffering reduced real incomes because they, not China, have paid the tariffs. Why? Because Robert Lighthizer and company had no clue how to plan or fight a trade war.

Republican presidents with their repeated failures to understand how the economy works have been hurting it since at least 1928. There is no tradeoff here.

829 words

.#economicgrowth #highlighted #macro #politicaleconomy #projectsyndicate #2020-10-30<!--more-->


We hear many strange things today. They—and it is a complicated “they”—are flooding the zone with misinformation. Why? For lots of reasons. But democracy breaks down under a flood of misinformation. Democracies’ excellences spring from its ability to consider ideas from different places in society, and converge on the good ones. But that requires that the flow of information into the public-sphere be reality-based—or at least that there be confrontations in which the people can watch Lincoln debate Douglas and decide who is trustworthy and correct and who is not. And we have lost that.

But we keep on trying. Here Sisyphus. Here rock. Here hill. And, as Camus wrote now long ago, we must imagine Sisyphus happy, with what he meant depending on which of the many possible ways we choose to read the word “must”.

One piece of misinformation I see more and more these days is that on election day America faces a tradeoff. On the one hand, electing a Democrat means that America will no longer have a government that permanently kidnaps children just because it can. On the other hand, electing a Democrat “who will be radical and hurt the economy…”, as the Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy “No Republicans Should Ever Stab Trump in the Back” Noonan puts it, before writing that “[Biden] should not be going out for ice cream in a mask like John Dillinger on the lam…” and that “[Kamala Harris] is embarrassing. Apparently you’re not allowed to say these things because she’s a woman…. I will not sweat it, I will be myself…. If you can’t imitate gravity, could you at least try for seriousness?…”

So let me give the microphone to economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson, who write that: “The superiority of economic performance under Democrats rather than Republicans is nearly ubiquitous: it holds almost regardless of how you define success…. The performance gap… strains credulity…. 1.8 percentage points [per year]… from Truman through Obama…” And note that if they went back two more presidents—to Hoover-Roosevelt—the gap would be even bigger: about 3%/year.

Note that in this context Trump was an unusually good president as far as economic performance in his first three years was concerned. In teh first three years of his presidency the economy matched the 2.4%/year growth it achieved in Obama’s second term. Even matching the previous Democrat is something that Trump’s and only Trump’s, of all post-WWII Republican presidencies, has seen.

Blinder and Watson are flummoxed on where this performance gap comes from: greater fixed investment, more consumer optimism and thus spending on durables, fewer unfavorable oil shocks, and perhaps stronger growth abroad. But these can explain less than half of the gap. It is not that Democrats pursue overinflationary policies that borrow growth from the future and move it into the present.

When I first read Blinder and Watson, the oil factor jumped out at me. Both President George Bushes—and also Nixon and Ford’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—were deeply confused about whether the U.S. wanted a high or a low price of oil as far as boosting real income growth was concerned. Other presidents grabbed for chances to make or keep oil prices lower.

When we look back at history, it seems that Republican presidents and their administrations have little sense of what economic policies are likely to work. It simply never entered George W. Bush’s mind, or the mind of anyone in his administration, that a financial crisis could be produced by underregulation and would be a bad thing. It simply never entered Ronald Reagan’s mind, or the mind of anyone in his administration, that the big budget deficits they created gave America a choice between seeing investment collapse—slowing growth—or borrowing from abroad and in the process importing lots more manufactures—thus turning the Midwest into a rust belt. And Nixon’s belief that low interest rates plus wage-and-price controls could keep both inflation and unemployment low was hard to fathom either at the time.

Here we can say of Trump that he has played true to type. NAFTA: worst trade deal in American history. TPP: second worst. Add some TPP provisions to NAFTA and call it USMCA, and all of a sudden it makes America great again. A trade war with China: “good, and easy to win”. But the result has been no change in manufacturing employment, a widened manufacturing trade deficit, U.S. consumers suffering reduced real incomes because they, not China, have paid the tariffs. Why? Because Robert Lighthizer and company had no clue how to plan or fight a trade war.

Republican presidents with their repeated failures to understand how the economy works have been hurting it since at least 1928. There is no tradeoff here.

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