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Eric Schliesser
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If all this is true, it would be as silly and immoral to "let nature take her course" as for a physician to neglect a case of pneumonia. It would also be a libel on economic science, which has its therapeutics as truly as medical science.--Irving Fisher (1933) "Debt-Deflation Theory... Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at Digressions&Impressions
[5] Love is not blind, nor yet forgiving. "O yes, believe me," as the song says, "Love has eyes!" The nearer the intimacy, the more cuttingly do we feel the unworthiness of those we love; and because you love one, and would die for that love to-morrow, you have not... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
[This has been contributed by M.A. Khan.--ES] In retrospect we can see that Scarf's course mapped out the whole development of high economic theory for the next twenty or twenty-fi ve years. Scarf's teaching was a revelation to me of what could be accomplished in the classroom, with the appropriate... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Macroprudential policy is a complement to microprudential policy and it interacts with other types of public policy that have an impact on systemic financial stability. Indeed, prudential regulation, as carried out in the past, also had some macroprudential aspects, and the recent crisis has reinforced this focus; hence, a clear... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
It is not all books that are as dull as their readers. There are probably words addressed to our condition exactly, which, if we could really hear and understand, would be more salutary than the morning or the spring to our lives, and possibly put a new aspect on the... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
[This is the five-hundredth D&I; this post is dedicated with gratitude to my regular readers.--ES] I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
That which Epicurus could promise his friend, this I promise you, Lucilius. I shall find favour among later generations; I can take with me names that will endure as long as mine [habebo apud posteros gratiam, possum mecum duratura nomina educere.] --Seneca, Letter XXI Seneca reveals that he writes for... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
More than half a decade has passed since the start of the financial crisis. So it is worth investigating if the elite policy economists that advise governments and that dominate policy discussions rely on more robust models of reality than the generation that dominated discussion prior to the crisis (allowing... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
The only coöperation which is commonly possible is exceedingly partial and superficial; and what little true coöperation there is, is as if it were not, being a harmony inaudible to men. If a man has faith, he will coöperate with equal faith everywhere; if he has not faith, he will... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Normally bank failures occur when macro-economic conditions have worsened, and asset values are falling. Bank failures during boom conditions, e.g. resulting from fraud, such as Barings, are easier to handle with less danger of contagion. In the uncertain conditions of generalized asset value declines, the new (incoming) accountants, employed by... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
The protector, the two secretaries, the council of state, with any five or more that the senate appoints, are possessed, on extraordinary emergencies, of dictatorial power for six months.--Hume, Idea Of a Perfect Commonwealth In Hume's plan for a perfect commonwealth (recall this post), foreign policy is insulated from democratic... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
My dad and his parents lived in Berlin during Kristallnacht seventy-seven years ago. Wikipedia describes it as "a pogrom (a series of coordinated deadly attacks) against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria on 9–10 November 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary forces and non-Jewish civilians. German authorities looked on without... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Let's distinguish between crony capitalism and regulatory capture. An exemplary case of the former is the way in which campaign donations can be linked to financial support during the 2008 bail-out, the so-called 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program, (as I learned from Diane Weinert Thomas): "firms that lobbied or had... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Maybe it's because Digressions lacks a category for 'political theory' and I am halfway through my first semester as an analytically trained philosopher employed as a political theorist in a political science department, but the other day I read (perhaps re-read) Jacob Levy's entertaining and illuminating essay on the distinction... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
At the first constitution of their government, Utopus having understood that before his coming among them the old inhabitants had been engaged in great quarrels concerning religion, by which they were so divided among themselves, that he found it an easy thing to conquer them, since, instead of uniting their... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
The Volkswagen diesel scandal is revealing several layers of corruption. It turns out lots of people within Volkswagen and outside the company knew about the company's cheating and law-breaking, including folk at the highest regions of the European Union. For several years there was a conspiracy of silence not just... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
[A] paper in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences that details a shocking level of political groupthink in academia. The authors show that for every politically conservative social psychologist in academia there are about 14 liberal social psychologists. Why the imbalance? The researchers found evidence of discrimination and hostility within... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
It may fall to the political scientists rather than the economists to give us a complete story of what happened" [during the financial crisis]. To make this contrast more stark, compare the authoritative and conclusive accident reports of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)—which investigates and documents the who–what–when–where–and–why of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
[S]hould propose to them the resolutions of the Achorians...who long ago engaged in war in order to add to the dominions of their prince another kingdom, to which he had some pretensions by an ancient alliance: this they conquered, but found that the trouble of keeping it was equal to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Philadelphia, October 2015. *Originally, the title of this post included "abandoned" (as in "Abandoned Urban railroad"), but Michael Weisberg convinced me that I was wrong about this. Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
You will notice, my dear C***, that the incentive to behave unjustly in order to acquire wealth supposes the possibility that one might succeed. But this possibility is still, in many respects, a product of the law. If the law were clear, it would warn all equally, if it were... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Somerville, 8/13/92 1 While we were walking we felt the violent wind blow sleet through our hair. Garbage rolled over the street, 5 splashing clumsily into the dirty water, where it floated for a while, before sinking to the bottom of that ancient canal. 10 The trees, which outlined the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
The problem with Anselm's Other Argument relates, rather, to the book's aim. The most generous course is to take the aim as to establish and assess a new Anselmian argument, one suggested by a passage in his Reply, the 'other' or the Metaphysical Ontological Argument. Smith does indeed succeed in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions
Today I gave a talk at my Alma Mater (Tufts). It's more than twenty years since I have left, and I have returned far less frequently (but recall) than I would have expected, especially given how much I love visiting Boston, and given how significant the area's universities are. I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2015 at Digressions&Impressions