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Aspen: Security: Reactions to the Four Ex-National Security Advisors Panel

Aspen—Maroon Bells

Aspen: Security: Nine Reactions to the Four Ex-National Security Advisors Panel: Most important:

  • Joe Nye—and the others—should not have pretended that that the Trump Administration has a strategy, and is some sort of unitary actor. It doesn't. It isn't. For the right analogies, we need to reach back to the Tudor or Stuart dynasties—a King Charles II Stuart without the work ethic, mostly concerned with his mistresses, his parties, and deference to himself; easily bribed by the King of France, &c.; plutocrats maneuvering and using access to advance their interests; other kleptocrats manuevering and using access to advance their interests; and a few technocrats—a Pepys, a Godolphin—trying to hold things together. Graham Allison's three analytical perspectives—rational actor-organizational process-bureaucratic politics—are not sufficient to understand this thing. We need a fourth perspective: weak chaos monkey king, perhaps?...

And here are eight more:

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Mr. Justice McReynolds: NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel: "The Court... Departs From Well-Established Principles Followed in Schechter... and Carter v. Carter Coal...": Weekend Reading

Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS: NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel: Dissenting Opinion: "Mr. Justice VAN DEVANTER, Mr. Justice SUTHERLAND, Mr. Justice BUTLER and I are unable to agree with the decisions just announced....

...Considering the far-reaching import of these decisions, the departure from what we understand has been consistently ruled here, and the extraordinary power confirmed to a Board of three, the obligation to present our views becomes plain. The Court as we think departs from well-established principles followed in Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States, 295 U.S. 495 (May, 1935), and Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U.S. 238 (May, 1936). Every consideration brought forward to uphold the act before us was applicable to support the acts held unconstitutional in causes decided within two years. And the lower courts rightly deemed them controlling.

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My More Polite Thoughts from Aspen...

Farmer and the Cowman

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Aspen—Maroon Bells

Aspen: Multilateral Institutions and International Collaboration: Back when I was in the Clinton administration, I remember pressing the Treasury International people on how better funding and more substantive independence for multilateral institutions ought to be a much higher priority—and their response was: "We want to keep them on their leashes so we can run the show. We are the US. We are the boss".

And then, lo and behold, Bob Dole unleashes Al D'Amato to make trouble about the Mexican financial crisis and the fallout from that leaves the US hobbled when 1997-8 comes around, and there was a general current of: "yeah, it would have been better if a much more well-funded and truly independent IMF had been able to handle both on its own."

US politics now are obviously so fraught and dysfunctional that it seems to me we should be ceding power over multilateral institutions as fast as possible, while also beefing up their financial resources. What roads are available to accomplish that?...

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Aspen—Maroon Bells

Aspen: Approaches to Fragility: One of the great mysteries puzzling me in my Visualization of the Cosmic All is the extraordinary disjunction between the two acts of Chiang Kai-Shek's career. The first act—Chiang Kai-Shek and his Guomindang as rulers of China between the Northern Expedition and the Japanese invasion—produced a highly-corrupt government that did not seem to be nurturing economic convergence and rapid industrialization. The second act—Chiang Kai-Shek and his Guomindang as rulers of Taiwan after 1949—is one of the most glorious episodes of economic development produced by any democracy-minded or not-so-democracy-minded strongman.

What should I read to understand this?...

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Aspen—Maroon Bells

Aspen: Approaches to Fragility: This started as a joke-of-the-moment, in response to talking about "fragile states" in which farmers fight with herders. But it is more. This is Colorado. However, this is the American West. And of the American West we remember that, at least in Broadway's version of Oklahoma, the farmer and the cowman can be friends. But the farmer and the cowman can be friends only when there is a matriarch with a shotgun in the picture.

One reading of world history is that a huge amount of the civilizing process is accomplished when people's mothers and aunts gain social power. The academe that we have has not thought very hard about how it is mothers and aunts gaining social power, or about what we can do to assist this process in the states me regard as fragile...

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Hoisted from the Archives: James Scott and Friedrich Hayek

Il Quarto Stato

James Scott and Friedrich Hayek: My review of James Scott (1998), Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press: 0300070160):

 

I. Introduction

There is a lot that is excellent in James Scott's Seeing Like a State.

On one level, it is an extraordinary well-written and well-argued tour through the various forms of damage that have been done in the twentieth century by centrally-planned social-engineering projects—by what James Scott calls 'high modernism' and the attempt to use high modernist principles and practices to build utopia. As such, every economist who reads it will see it as marking the final stage in the intellectual struggle that the Austrian tradition has long waged against apostles of central planning. Heaven knows that I am no Austrian—I am a liberal Keynesian and a social democrat—but within economics even liberal Keynesian social democrats acknowledge that the Austrians won victory in their intellectual debate with the central planners long ago.

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Herbert Hoover: As Bad to Ally with Stalin and Churchill Against Hitler as to Ally with Hitler Against Stalin and Churchill

Clowns (ICP)

I was reading Herbert Hoover (1964): Freedom Betrayed on the plane, and it is really clear to me why nobody wanted Hoover to publish it during his lifetime and why his heirs buried it for half a century:

I will tell you what I think. I think Hoover does not quite dare say:

When Hitler attacked Stalin in June 1941, the U.S. should have told Britain to cool it—embargoed Britain until and offered it security guarantees when it made peace with Germany—and then the U.S. should have supported Hitler in his war on Communism, by far the worst of the three totalitarianism of Communism, Naziism, and New Dealism. Afterwards, Hitler and his successors would have had their hands full ruling their Eurasian empire, and Naziism would have normalized itself, and Communism would be gone. Too bad about Nazi rule over the French, Belgians, Dutch, Danes, and Norwegians, but that would have been a price well worth paying.

He does not quite dare say it, but he is thinking it, and almost gets there...

Herbert Hoover:

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Monday Smackdown: Who Wants Charles Murray to Speak on Their Campus, and Why?

I have a question for Stanford's Michael @McFaul ...

We know that "If the heritability of IQ were 0.5 and the degree of assortation in mating, m, were 0.2 (both reasonable, if only ballpark estimates), and if the genetic inheritance of IQ were the only mechanism accounting for intergenerational income transmission, then the intergenerational correlation of lifetime incomes would be 0.01..." (see Bowles and Giants (2002)). That is only two percent the observed intergenerational correlation—49/50 of the intergenerational transmission of status in America comes from other causes.

Why, then, is it important to invite to your campus to speak someone whose big thing is the intergenerational transmission of intelligence through genes, and racial differences thereof? And if one were going to invite to your campus to speak someone, etc., why would you pick somebody who likes to burn crosses? Wouldn't a healthier approach be to regard such a person—who focuses on the intergenerational transmission of intelligence through genes, harps on genetic roots of differences between "races", and likes to burn crosses—as we regard those who know a little too much about the muzzle velocities of the main cannon of the various models of the Nazi Armored Battlewagon Version 4?: Jonathan Marks: Who wants Charles Murray to speak, and why?: "The Bell Curve cited literature from Mankind Quarterly, which no mainstream scholar cites, because it is an unscholarly racist journal... http://anthropomics2.blogspot.com/2017/04/who-wants-charles-murray-to-speak-and.html

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Health Care and Public Health: Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads

stacks and stacks of books

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"Populism" or "Neo-Fascism"?: Rectification of Names Blogging: Hoisted from a Year Ago

Hoisted from a Year Ago: "Populism" or "Neo-Fascism"?: Rectification of Names Blogging: That is neither the post-WWII Latin American nor the pre-WWI North American form of "populism". I do not think we are well served by naming it such. What should we name it instead? There is an obvious candidate, after all...

Il Quarto Stato

The highlight of last week's JEF-APARC Conference at Stanford https://www.jef.or.jp for me was getting to sit next to Frank Fukuyama https://fukuyama.stanford.edu, whom I had never met before.


Frank is a former Deputy Director of Policy planning at the State Department, author of the extremely good books on political order The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution http://amzn.to/2sEt4AI and Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy http://amzn.to/2sU0WZP, and a very sharp guy.

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Epistemic Sunk Costs, Political Bankruptcy, and Folding Your Tent and Slinking Away: The Approaching End of the Trump Grift?

Clowns (ICP)

I see this as a sign that it is all starting to break. Why do I think so? Because I see this as John Holbo's concept of epistemic sunk costs and debt http://crookedtimber.org/2018/06/13/epistemic-sunk-costs-and-the-extraordinary-populist-delusions-of-crowds/, as Nils Gilman's edge of political bankruptcy ...

My feeds:

  • were: "Trump is awesome!", "Trump is crude but effective!", "Trump is accidentally playing eleven-dimensional chess!".

  • but a while ago they shifted to: "At least Trump is owning the libs!" and "We are transferring two trillion dollars–roughly 1/10 of the total value of the stock market–to the superrich, raising our own taxes, poisoning ourselves, and putting Hispanic children in cages, but it is worth it because it owns Jewy people in Scarsdale and Santa Monica."

  • and now they are: "It is all the liberals' fault! Mitt Romney was a nice guy! Because liberals would not vote for Mitt Romney, we had to vote for Trump! Yes, he is awful, but it is all the liberals' fault!".

That is what this is:

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Understanding Trump's Flailing About: Weekend Reading

The other alternative is that they will stick with him forever: the tax cut—redistributing $2 trillion in wealth to the superrich—is the only kahuna, after all. Nothing else matters: Nils Gilman: "What we're seeing with Trump's current political strategy is something very similar to the maneuvers of a corporation pulling out the stops to delay the inevitable coming bankruptcy...

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Note to Self: Obama essentially turned monetary, fiscal, and housing policy over to two guys who were “calm down and hope for the best“ rather than “prepare for the worst“ guys: Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner. Those were, in retrospect, disastrous choices—not because of what they did but because of their opposition to thinking well outside the box and preparing to deal with the worst case scenario’s. So when the “green shoots” of a strong recovery that both saw were not there at all—when they claimed the strong recovery glass was mostly full but in fact there was no glass—their position kept others who would have been preparing for the worst, and who might have been able to do better at dealing with the situation, from being able to take any effective action...


The Meiji Restoration: A Probable In-Take for "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

Tokaido road Google Search

The problem with this is that I do not think that I have the story of Japan's successfully pre-WWI development path nailed, the way I have the Chinese story of failure nailed. Oh well:


The opposite of China in the pre-World War I years was Japan.

In the early seventeenth century the Tokugawa clan of samurai decisively defeated its opponents at the battle of Sekigahara, and won effective control. Tokugawa Ieyasu petitioned the—secluded Priest-Emperor to grant him the title of Shogun, the Priest-Emperor's viceroy in all civil and military matters. His son Hidetaka and grandson Iemitsu consolidated the new régime. From its capital, Edo—renamed and now Tokyo—the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan for two and a half centuries.

At its very start, early in the seventeenth century, the Tokugawa Shogunate took a look to the south, at the Philippines. Only a century before, the Philippines had been independent kingdoms. Then the Europeans landed. Merchants had been followed by missionaries. Converts had proved an effective base of popular support for European influence. Missionaries had been followed by soldiers. And by 1600 Spain ruled the Philippines.

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George Washington's Conviction That Thomas Jefferson Was a French Puppet...

The_Directory__1795-99___Framing_of_the_Constitution_of_France

Note to Self: I have been looking for this for a while: Washington's judgment that Jefferson was, at best, not an American patriot but rather an agent of influence for the corrupt French Republic.

It is thought that "John Langhorne" was not Thomas Jefferson, but rather Jefferson's favored nephew Peter Carr. The extent to which Carr was acting on his own rather than for Jefferson is not clear to me. Carr was certainly a "Jeffersonian"—and thus distance between him and Jefferson (like distance between Freneau and Jefferson) seems to me much more like plausible deniability than true divergence: George Washington: To John Nicholas, 8 March 1798: "Nothing short of the Evidence you have adduced, corroborative of intimations which I had received long before, through another channel...

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Hoisted from the 2007 Archives: Dilemmas of Economists in Government

Max Sawicky on the Dilemmas of Economists in High Government Office http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/max-sawicky-on-.html: Max Sawicky writes about the dilemmas of economists in government.

These dilemmas were very, very soft indeed in the Clinton administration. (Here's where I state that the "200,000 net jobs projected from NAFTA" number was mine: we took an estimate of overall economic efficiency gains from tariff reductions and an employment elasticity with respect to the real wage from the Labor Department, and estimated that in the long run stable-inflation employment would grow by 0.14 percent as a result of the deal. I think it was the right answer to the question being asked by the entire Washington journamalistic community in 1993; I don't think that was the right question for the public sphere to have been asking.) Indeed, the dilemmas were close to nonexistent, and limited to not getting out your megaphone and saying "that's wrong!" when one of your political masters said somthing wrong in public.

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Eagleton on Rorty: Hoisted from the Archives from 1998

Eagleton: "[Following Rorty,] I now object to nuclear warfare not because it would blow up some metaphysical abstraction known as the human race, but because it would introduce a degree of unpleasantness into the lives of my Oxford neighbors.... The campaign is no longer the bloodless, cerebral affair it once was, but pragmatic, experiential, lived sensuously on the pulses. If my bit of Oxford survives a nuclear catastrophe, I really couldn't care less about the University of Virginia..."

Hoisted from the Archives: Eagleton on Rorty http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/Politics/Eagleton.html: English literary critic Terry Eagleton has a very nice--a very effective--a very snide--a very sarcastic--demolition of U. Va. philosopher Richard Rorty. From Terry Eagleton (1996), The Illusions of Postmodernism (London: Blackwell: 0631203230):

pp. 85-86: ...postmodernism combines the worst of [liberalism and communitarianism].... It has, to begin with, an embarrassing amount in common with communitarianism.... The self for both doctrines is embedded in a purely parochial history, and moral judgements thus cannot be universal. Moral judgements, for [Richard] Rorty and his ilk, really say "We don't do that kind of thing around here"; whereas... to say "sexual discrimination is wrong" usually means that we do do that kind of thing around here, but we shouldn't...

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Note to Self: Alexander Hamilton: America as "Grand Experiment": Ari Kelman: "The description of the United States as a Grand Experiment in democracy or sometimes as a lower-case grand experiment in democracy. I always assumed that one of the founders* said that, that it was a quote in other words. But no, it seems that’s not the case. Unless I’m missing something—which is entirely possible; no, really, it’s entirely possible—the whole thing is a charade..." How about this? Will it do?: Alexander Hamilton: "The advocates of despotism have... decried all free government as inconsistent with the order of society, and have indulged themselves in malicious exultation over its friends and partisans. Happily for mankind, stupendous fabrics reared on the basis of liberty, which have flourished for ages, have, in a few glorious instances, refuted their gloomy sophisms. And, I trust, America will be the broad and solid foundation of other edifices, not less magnificent, which will be equally permanent monuments of their errors..."

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Teasers for "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

Il Quarto Stato

Current Versions of Chapters 1-3:

  1. DRAFT: My Grand Narrative
  2. DRAFT: Themes
  3. DRAFT: Making a Global Economy and Society, 1870-1914

Outtakes and Deleted Scenes:


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Why Was the 20th Century Not a Chinese Century?: An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

15000px Along the River 7 119 3 jpg 15 000×463 pixels

10000 words on why the 20th Century was not a Chinese century. Very few of these belong in a 20th Century history book, alas...

https://www.icloud.com/pages/0pebTWadZO0frIs90_JSUKMnw

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From Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 9 September 1792: Weekend Reading

As Conor Cruise O'Brien remarks, whenever Jefferson swears by some Higher Power, he is apt to be lying:

Thomas Jefferson: To George Washington, 9 September 1792: "I received on the 2d. inst the letter of Aug. 23. which you did me the honor to write me; but the immediate return of our post, contrary to his custom, prevented my answer by that occasion...

...The proceedings of Spain mentioned in your letter are really of a complexion to excite uneasiness, and a suspicion that their friendly overtures about the Missisipi have been merely to lull us while they should be strengthening their holds on that river. Mr. Carmichael’s silence has been long my astonishment: and however it might have1 justified something very different from a new appointment, yet the public interest certainly called for his junction with Mr. Short as it is impossible but that his knolege of the ground of negotiation of persons and characters, must be useful and even necessary to the success of the mission.

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No, the Trump administration is not very competent at achieving its stated goals. But that does not mean that the Trump administration is not doing enormous harm under the radar by simply being its chaos-monkey essence. The smart David Leonhart tries to advise people how to deal with this: David Leonhardt: Trump Tries to Destroy the West: "[Trump's] behavior requires a response that’s as serious as the threat...

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Tyrannies: An In-Take from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

Stalin mao hitler Google Search

The twentieth century’s tyrannies were more brutal and more barbaric than those of any previous age. And—astonishingly—they had much of their origins in economic discontents and economic ideologies. People killed each other in large numbers over, largely, questions of how the economy should be organized. Such questions had not been a major source of massacre in previous centuries.

Twentieth-Century governments and their soldiers have killed perhaps forty million people in war: either soldiers (most of them unlucky enough to have been drafted into the mass armies of the twentieth century) or civilians killed in the course of what could be called military operations.

But wars have caused only about a fifth of this century’s violent death toll.

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There are two ways this could go—extending "whiteness" or permanent Republican minority status. In the past, "whiteness" has always been expanded so that it includes a vast majority of the American population—and so now we have people named Mark Krikorian denouncing the threat of a Hispanic wave that will pollute America: Kevin Drum: White Party, Brown Party: "I don’t think that our political system will literally become the White Party vs. the Brown Party, but it’s already closer to this than any of us would like to admit. What’s worse, it’s all but impossible to imagine how Republicans can turn things around in their party. They’re keenly aware of the need to address their demographic challenges, but the short-term pain of reaching out to non-whites is simply too great for them to ever take the plunge. Democrats aren’t in quite such a tough spot, but their issues with the white working class are pretty well known, and don’t look likely to turn around anytime soon either.

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The Circa-1870 Disjunction Between Production and Distribution: A Possible Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

Il Quarto Stato

Do I have space for this in the ms.? Or do I need to go into kill-my-darlings mode?


3.1: The ca.-1870 Disjunction Between Production and Distribution

In the world as it stood in 1870 there was seen to be a huge disjunction between the growing effective economic power of the human race and the proper distribution of this potential wealth to create a prosperous and happy society. That science, technology, and organization could wreak miracles had become commonplaces. Best friends Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels probably put it best in 1848:

The business class, during… scarce 100 years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature’s forces to [hu]man[ity], machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground—what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?…

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This is as true now as it was half a century ago when Galbraith first began saying it: John Kenneth Galbraith (1963): Wealth and Poverty: "The modern conservative... not even especially modern... is engaged... in one of man’s oldest, best financed, most applauded, and, on the whole, least successful exercises in moral philosophy. That is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness...

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The Dire Poverty of the Globe in 1870: An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

I see no way to justify including this in the ms. But should any of it go in? Or does it just belong in some other intellectual project?


The Dire Absolute Poverty of the Globe in 1870

J. Bradford DeLong

U.C. Berkeley, NBER, and WCEG

7,137 words https://www.icloud.com/pages/0-ZwSIf-ES3dfIBtF_dW_DBmQ

 

John Ball (1381):

When Adam delved and Eve span,/
Who was then the gentleman?

From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free.

And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty…

You need to understand three things to grasp the state of the world economy in 1870: that the drive to make love is one of the very strongest of all human drives, that living standards were what we would regard as very low for the bulk of humanity in the long trek between the invention of agriculture and 1870, and that the rate of technological progress back before 1870 was glacial, at best.

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How Far Will Byron York Go to Defend Donald Trump?

Byron York is useful to Donald Trump for always giving the un- but semi-plausible defense of Trump on which those who want to see or profit from Trump's attempt to remake America into a neo-fascist country succeed around which they can coordinate their day-to-day attempts to strengthen Trump. Byron York will be useful to future historians as a marker of where those who wanted to see Trump succeed in his projects were thinking they could draw the line without losing all credibility. The current line, as of July 17, 2018, is that the investigation is a witch hunt because it has not yet proven that Trump personally colluded with Putin's attempts to disrupt the election: Byron York: Why Trump doesn't admit Russian election interference: "There have always been two parts to the Trump-Russia probe: the what-Russia-did part... and the get-Trump part...

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A Britain led by Theresa May or Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbin will not "rediscover its own way... the Britih re most resilient, most inventive, and happiest when they feel in control of their own future". That is simply wrong. And if it were right, May and Johnson and Corbin are not Churchill or Lloyd-George or even Salisbury: Robert Skidelsky: The British History of Brexit: "I am unpersuaded by the Remain argument that leaving the EU would be economically catastrophic for Britain...

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How much of the forthcoming announcement of an upward bump in GDP growth in the second quarter is due to people battening down the hatches for Trump's trade war, and will be reversed over the course of the next year? That is what we are all trying to estimate right now: Paul Krugman: Trump, Tariffs, Tofu and Tax Cuts: "More than half of America’s soybean exports typically go to China, but Chinese tariffs will shift much of that demand to Brazil, and countries that normally get their soybeans from Brazil have raced to replace them with U.S. beans. The perverse result is that the prospect of tariffs has temporarily led to a remarkably large surge in U.S. exports...

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John Maynard Keynes (1926): Trotsky on England: Weekend Reading

Preview of John Maynard Keynes 1926 Trotsky On England Weekend Reading

John Maynard Keynes (1926): Trotsky On England: "A CONTEMPORARY reviewing this book says: 'He stammers out platitudes in the voice of a phonograph with a scratched record'...

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Joseph Goebbels (1932): Those Damned Nazis!: Weekend Reading

Preview of Joseph Goebbels 1932 Those Damned Nazis Weekend Reading

Joseph Goebbels (1932): Those Damned Nazis!: "Why Are We Nationalists? We are nationalists because we see the nation as the only way to bring all the forces of the nation together to preserve and improve our existence and the conditions under which we live...

...The nation is the organic union of a people to protect its life. To be national is to affirm this union in word and deed. To be national has nothing to do with a form of government or a symbol. It is an affirmation of things, not forms. Forms can change, their content remains. If form and content agree, then the nationalist affirms both. If they conflict, the nationalist fights for the content and against the form. One may not put the symbol above the content. If that happens, the battle is on the wrong field and one’s strength is lost in formalism. The real aim of nationalism, the nation, is lost.

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Cedarbrook Notes

Cedarbrook Notes

American religion, at least white Protestant and Catholic religion, is overwhelmingly a self-righteousness multiplier...

Becky Henderson to me: "You need to read moar Stiglitz on environmental degradation and nature capital...

The principal use of “neoliberalism” as a word is to erase the difference between the Mussolini-love of Ludwig von Mises and center-left technocratic economists who want to get the incidence of policies right. Why? So you can then have more freedom to propose policies that do not make technocratic sense......

We Should Not Call It "Populism": "Now is the time for the second hobbyhorse I promised myself I would ride at this conference...

Is there a good biography of George Stigler? Beatrice Cherrier says that Stigler’s autobiography is still the best......

On My Grand Counterfactuals: The most interesting question is not “do you know?” But “does Dora Costa know?”, which is very close to “is it knowable”?...

The late Rudi Dornbusch liked to say that: "German ordoliberalism was something an economist could recognize if there was a benevolent Kindlebergian hegemon stabilizing the global system.” But if not, not...

Keynes, Polanyi, Foucault, Again: Cedarbrook Notes: "... >...As a product of Harvard’s undergraduate Social Studies program, I realized around 30 that I had been perfectly prepared to understand reality and act in western Europe between, say, 1860 and 1950...

Angus Deaton: "Judea Pearl knows a lot that Jim Heckman does not. And vice versa...”

Needed: A Better Karl Polanyi: I wondered coming up here whether this conference would turn into Karl Polanyi bingo. I am now confident that it will. Indeed, it has. As someone who thinks the master social theorists for the mid-21st century are likely to be Foucault, Keynes, Polanyi, this is not unwelcome...

Convergence Weighting by People Divergence Weighting by Nations: Yes, the world as a whole has become more equal over the past generation. This is overwhelmingly because two very large countries—India and China—have harvested a great deal of the low-hanging fruit of development because of better policies...

Big Questions for Left Opposition Social Scientists: Occupy had zero impact on austerity budgets. Mont Pelerin was not important because they gathered by a lake, sang “kumbaya”, and felt a sense of solidarity. We should not pretend defeats were victories. What can we do? I think there are three levels that we ought to be operating on—all, right now, understanding the world rather than trying to change it: understanding policies, understanding mobilizations, and understanding utopia...

I, on Behalf of the Economists Thinking Correct Economic Thought, Plead Not Guilty: We—at least my fraction of economists—plead “not guilty” to the indictment: The Minsky tradition had the financial sector nailed.... Paul Krugman... spearheading the analysis of how great the risks posed by the zero lower bound were.... Economists had been tracking decreasing competition, increasing financialization, and rising income inequality.... The problem, as Simon Wren-Lewis of Oxford likes to say, is not that the economists did not know what was going on in real time, but rather that they were not listened to...

Don't Like My Neoliberal Party Card? I Have Others!: Don't like the others? I have my neoliberal party card...


Cedarbrook Notes

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I, on Behalf of the Economists Thinking Correct Economic Thought, Plead Not Guilty: Cedarbrook Notes

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Cedar Brook Notes: We—at least my fraction of economists—plead “not guilty” to the indictment:

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We Should Not Call It "Populism": Cedarbrook Notes

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Cedar Brook Notes: Now is the time for the second hobbyhorse I promised myself I would ride at this conference: "populism". I think in his new book, The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era ((New York: Oxford University Press: 9780190866280) https://books.google.com/books?isbn=9780190866280), Barry Eichengreen gives away the arcanum imperii: “I define populism as a political movement with anti-elite, authoritarian, and nativist tendencies...” and “charismatic leaders with anti-establishment, authoritarian, and nationalist tendencies, from Benito Mussolini to Ioannis Metaxas...” The American Populists of the late 19th Century were a political movement that sought egalitarian economic policies: breakup of the trusts, regulation of railroad rates, the free coinage of silver. There is a word for a pro-plutocrat political movement fueled on ethnic and national animosity toward others, especially rootless cosmopolites. That word ain’t “populism”.

We should use “fascism” where it applies. If we do not, we will not have rectified names. If names are not rectified, thought will not be clear. If thought is not clear, governance will not be just. If governance is not just, the people will not prosper.

We should use the word "fascism". It is appropriate.

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Cedar Brook Notes: The principal use of “neoliberalism” as a word is to erase the difference between the Mussolini-love of Ludwig von Mises and center-left technocratic economists who want to get the incidence of policies right. Why? So you can then have more freedom to propose policies that do not make technocratic sense...


Needed: A Better Karl Polanyi: Cedarbrook Notes

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Cedar Brook Notes: I have two hobbyhorses I promised I would ride at this conference:

First hobbyhorse: I wondered coming up here whether this conference would turn into Karl Polanyi bingo. I am now confident that it will. Indeed, it has. As someone who thinks the master social theorists for the mid-21st century are likely to be Foucault, Keynes, Polanyi, this is not unwelcome. And this opens an opportunity for us here to actually do something constructive: Polanyi writes horribly. I want to beg for someone here to rewrite Polanyi well—to do for Karl Polanyi what Charlie Kindleberger did for Hyman Minsky, in the sense of explaining what Polanyi meant and applying it to cases. And someone needs to raise the money and run the celebration of the 75 anniversary of The Great Transformation...