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J. Bradford DeLong
Berkeley, CA
J. Bradford DeLong is an economist teaching at the University of California at Berkeley.
Interests: history, economic history, information age, political economy, grand strategy, international relations, material culture., information technology, economics
Recent Activity
Morgan partner Russell C. Leffingwell (1934): "Monty [Norman] says that Hitler and Schacht are the bulwarks of civilization in Germany and the only friends we have. They are fighting the war of our system of society against communism. If they fail, communism will follow in Germany, and anything may follow in Europe." ---- Ron Chernow (1990): _The House of Morgan_: "When [Morgan partner Thomas W.] Lamont learned that [Reichsbank President Hjalmar Horace Greeley] Schacht was contemplating selective repudiation in 1934... >...he reminded him that Morgans had supplied over half the Dawes funds and a third of the Young funds. With pardonable overstatement, he said the bank had always advocated moderation toward Germany. Most of all, Lamont appealed loftily to international law, promises made to investors that these loans superseded all others and enjoyed special political protection. Lamont was speaking reasonably to a man already hip-deep in diabolic machinations: >>Of course, we expect to see the Reich obligations on [the Young Loan], as on the Dawes loan, carried out. Otherwise all international agreements might as well be torn up... >From Dr. Schacht’s reply, it was clear that the usual norms of business behavior no longer applied in Germany. Written in an... Continue reading
Posted 5 hours ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Live from the Inland Empire:** What I really need to do is get out and reread David Brin’s book: *The Transparent Society*... >...It turns out that, today, the ubiquitous cameras are not or are not exclusively in the hands of the security services. They are also the cellphone video cameras in the hands of ordinary people--and the videos are then our instantly posted and cached on the web. >Official lying to cover up official malfeasance has always been widespread. It has always been buttressed by the deference to its functionaries' version of events that officialdom demands. But that is now at risk. Every mayor and every police chief around the country is now, if they have any smarts at all, telling their police and other functionaries that their and their department’s credibility depends on the reports filed being consistent with whatever cellphone camera footage might eventually emerge. >David Brin has, still, the most thoughtful and well informed speculations on how all of this might work out. I very much wish he would write a sequel... Continue reading
Posted 5 hours ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
An excellent piece by the very sharp and thoughtful Jonathan Chait. The remarkable thing is that Republican ideologues could, right now, be taking a huge victory lap with the apparent success of ObamaCare. All they had to say was: "this is really RomneyCare." But they didn't. How much of what he says these days does Michael Tanner believe? My feeling is: relatively little. **Jonathan Chait**: [Obamacare Doomsday Cult Struggles to Adapt](http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/04/obamacare-doomsday-cult-struggles-to-adapt.html): "As Obamacare continues to operate successfully, conservative elites have renewed their pleas for the party to develop an alternative beyond demanding the law’s repeal... >...The trouble is that anti-Obamacare dogma sits so deeply at the GOP’s core that any discussion of health care must pay fealty to their belief that the law has failed utterly. The Republican Party in the Obamacare era is a doomsday cult after the world failed to end. Its entire analysis of the issue is built upon a foundation of falsehoods. >Michael Tanner, a health-care analyst at the Cato Institute, has a column for National Review usefully summarizing the most current iteration of anti-Obamacare talking points.... Every single one of them is overblown or demonstrably wrong. >Here’s Tanner’s litany of failure: >1. Millions of Americans... Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Must-Read: Erik Loomis**: [Ideology Creators of the New Gilded Age](http://equitablegrowth.org/?p=11206): "I’m not surprised that people are creating ideological justifications for the New Gilded Age... >...I am surprised however that one of them is Eric Hobsbawm’s daughter.... Everyone knows that networking is in fact how people get jobs and how class distinctions get reinforced.... The problem is that rising in life because of who you know is pretty objectively a bad thing.... Selling the idea that networking is awesome and should be embraced is deeply problematic on a number of levels... repackaged bootstrapism. The finest will rise and the less competent of the elite will fall.... It’s all about elite, elite, elite in this article. What about those who aren’t elite?... And now for the winner: >>Ironically, there’s a bootstrapping, almost American aspect to how Hobsbawm got here. Her father, Eric Hobsbawm, was a Marxist historian and one of the most renowned scholars of the 20th century, but young Julia didn’t excel in school. She credits her success to working harder than her more academically-gifted peers, taking on tasks they wouldn’t do, and refusing to coast on her last name. Some people think “there is a shortcut and you just ring... Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
[**Over at Equitable Growth:**][1] I have never gotten it straight whether Vladimir Lenin actually did say: "The worse, the better." But Eduardo Porter does!: >The bloated incarceration rates and rock-bottom life expectancy, the unraveling families and the stagnant college graduation rates amount to an existential threat to the nation’s future. That is, perhaps, the best reason for hope. The silver lining in these dismal, if abstract, statistics, is that they portend such a dysfunctional future that our broken political system might finally be forced to come together to prevent it. Talk about grasping at straws... [**READ MOAR**][1] [1]: http://equitablegrowth.org/?p=11204 In a thumbnail, the plutocratic American right these days appears to try to: * mobilize the top by promising an unequal distribution of wealth, and * mobilizes the bottom by provoking them to hate "others"--the liberals, the minorities, the most recent wave of immigrants. Policies to enrich and improve the lives of *even their voters* who are not at the top of the income and wealth distribution appear to be the furthest thing from their minds. The contrast of the political economy of this Second Gilded Age with the political economy of the First Gilded Age a century ago is striking.... Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Must-Read: Noah Smith**: [Americans Get Free Trade's Dark Side - Bloomberg View](http://equitablegrowth.org/?p=11202): "Mankiw is failing to give his readers much credit... >...For one thing, some of the opposition to the TPP comes from people who support free trade, and who worry that the treaty’s intellectual property provisions amount to a restriction of trade. As Krugman points out, Mankiw ignores this. Mankiw’s second problem is that this same old case has failed again and again to persuade the general public. Yes, economists overwhelmingly favor the idea of free trade. But the public remains stubbornly skeptical. Is this because they are just not smart enough to get the Econ-101-David-Ricardo thing even after hearing it a hundred times? Or is it because people are irrational and biased? >In his article, Mankiw lists three biases that he blames for people’s refusal to accept the free-trade argument. These are ‘anti-foreign bias,’ ‘anti-market bias,’ and ‘make-work bias.’ Essentially, Mankiw is telling you that you don’t believe the simple truth because deep down within you lurks a xenophobic socialist. Call me crazy, but I don’t think this is a beneficial, constructive way for economists to engage with the public. Maybe the public is neither xenophobic nor socialist.... Continue reading
Posted 12 hours ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
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**Must- and Should-Reads:** * **Jason Sanford**: [When science fiction authors are no longer grounded in reality](http://www.jasonsanford.com/blog/2015/4/when-science-fiction-authors-are-no-longer-grounded-in-reality) * **Joshua Holland** (2012): [How an Astounding New Right-Wing Lie About the Economy Was Born](http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-astounding-new-right-wing-lie-about-economy-born) * **Noah Smith**: [Wonks Abandon an Economic Dream](http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-04-23/wonks-give-up-on-economic-model-to-explain-everything) * **Walter Johnson**: [The Economics of Ferguson: Emerson Electric, Municipal Fines, Discriminatory Policing](http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/fergusons-fortune-500-company/390492/) **Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org)--[The Equitablog](http://equitablegrowth.org/blog)** * [Things to Read at Nighttime on May 3, 2015](http://equitablegrowth.org/2015/05/03/things-read-nighttime-may-3-2015/) **And Over Here:** * [Across the Wide Missouri: No, the Laffer curve does not apply to state-level public finances in the United States](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2015/05/across-the-wide-missouri-no-the-laffer-curve-does-not-apply-to-state-level-public-finances-in-the-united-states-jobs-a.html) * [Today's Not-Quite-Economic History: Shorter John Holbo: Why the Nazis Are Best Thought of as "Right-Wing"](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2015/05/todays-not-quite-economic-history-shorter-john-holbo-why-the-nazis-are-best-thought-of-as-right-wing.html) * [Liveblogging World War II: May 3, 1945: The RAF's Last Battles](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2015/05/liveblogging-world-war-ii-may-3-1945-the-rafs-last-battles.html) * [Live From the Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm: Rocky Ridge: Discussion with Senator Blunt. Subject: King v. Burwell.](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2015/05/live-from-the-laura-ingalls-wilder-farm-rocky-ridge-discussion-with-senator-blunt-subject-king-v-burwell-me-a-gr.html) * [Across the Wide Missouri: Sounds to me as though Ed Miliband is planning on resigning--or others are planning on him being resigned--if the British election produces a Labour-SNP majority](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2015/05/across-the-wide-missouri-sounds-to-me-as-though-ed-miliband-is-planning-on-resigning-or-others-are-planning-on-him-being-re.html) * [Weekend Reading: Kenneth Rogoff (1998): Comment on Paul Krugman: It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2015/05/weekend-reading-kenneth-rogoff-1998-comment-on-paul-krugman-its-baaack-japans-slump-and-the-return-of-the-liquidity-t.html) * [Weekend Reading: Francis Fukuyama (2006): After Neoconservatism](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2015/05/weekend-reading-francis-fukuyama-after-neoconservatism.html) * [Liveblogging World War II:... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Across the Wide Missouri:** No, the Laffer curve does not apply to state-level public finances in the United States. Jobs aren’t fleeing Missouri for Kansas. Cutting taxes on the state level does not induce a large enough surge of economic activity via sucking up jobs and businesses from neighboring states to actually raise tax revenues: **Invictus**: [We Know What’s the Matter With Kansas](http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2015/04/we-know-whats-the-matter-with-kansas/): "When pushing his tax cuts for Kansas in July 2012... Sam Brownback wrote... >...“Our new pro-growth tax policy will be like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy.” Art Laffer and Stephen Moore wrote that “many states like Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma are seriously considering abolishing their income taxes to accelerate growth,” and that they “have advised Oklahoma, Kansas, and other states to cut their income tax rates if they want the most effective immediate and lasting boost to their states’ economies.” >So, how’s it going? Census released its 2014 Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections today, which was not a good day if you’re Sam Brownback, Art Laffer, or Stephen Moore. Kansas turned in the third worst performance in the US – its tax revenues dropped 3.8%. Below is the chart... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
There is no point in including entire John Holbo posts in Weekend Reading--Crooked Timber (unlike most of the rest of the online world) is highly unlikely to suffer from linkrot, and those who want to read his posts at their Holbonian length can do so over there. But there is a need for a Shorter John Holbo. Me? I see five political dimensions as one tries to maneuver through the weeds: 1. pacifist-militarist, 2. cosmopolitan-nationalist, 3. egalitarian-hierarchical, 4. liberal-authoritarian, and 5. invidualistic-communitarian (with none of any of the poles being entirely bad--or entirely good, for that matter). The Nazis thus tended to be: militarist nationalist hierarchical authoritarian communicatarian, except for the Strasser-Roehm bunch who tended to be militarist nationalist egalitarian authoritarian communitarian. (And someone like Jonah Goldberg would tend to be militarist nationalist hierarchical authoritarian individualistic.) Shorter John Holbo: **John Holbo**: [Were The Nazis Right-Wing?--or--Weimar Culture: The Insider As Outsider — Crooked Timber](http://crookedtimber.org/2015/05/03/were-the-nazis-right-wing-or-weimar-culture-the-insider-as-outsider/): "The reason the Nazis are regarded by historians as right-wing... >...is... the way it began in party politics in Weimar Germany.... It’s impossible to narrate the ins-and-outs of the story of how the Nazis came to power without regarding them as, basically, an extreme right-wing party. There... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Pierre Closterman**: [The Big Show](http://ww2today.com/): >In front of us, either on the ground or just taking off, were more than 100 enormous transport planes – theoretically my primary objective. In the air, about 100 enemy fighters. One group at 1,500 feet, another at 3,000, a third at 4,500 and two others on a level with us, i.e. at about 10,000 feet. Above us there were certainly one more, perhaps two. And I only had 24 Tempests! >My mind was quickly made up. Filmstar Yellow and Blue Sections would attack the fighters above us, and Pink, Black and White Sections, commanded by MacDonald, would engage the Focke-Wulfs below us. >In the meantime I would try to slip through with my Red Section and shoot-up the airfield. I passed this on over the radio and then, closely followed by the rest of my section, I released my auxiliary tanks and went into a vertical dive, passing like a thunderbolt at 600 m.p.h. through a formation of Focke-Wulfs which scattered about the sky like a flock of swallows. >I straightened out gradually, closing the throttle and following a trajectory designed to bring me over the airfield at ground level, from south-west to north-east.... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Live From the Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm:** Rocky Ridge: Discussion with Senator Blunt. Subject: King v. Burwell. Me: "A great many people here in Missouri might be unable to afford their health insurance in three months." Ann Marie: "You need to be on the right side". Sen. Blunt: "That's really up to the judges." Me: "But you in Congress could fix it in a sentence". Sen. Blunt: "You are right." Of course, "You are right" means not "we will do the one sentence fix if necessary" but "I came to Rocky Ridge on a Saturday afternoon to be avuncular, not to justify my rhetorical pose of root-and-branch opposition to something that is at bottom 'RomneyCare'". Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Across the Wide Missouri:** Sounds to me as though Ed Miliband is planning on resigning--or others are planning on him being resigned--if the British election produces a Labour-SNP majority: **Damien Gayle**: [Election 2015: Top Labour figures question Miliband's SNP stance](http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/02/election-2015-top-labour-figures-question-milibands-snp-stance): "Senior Labour politicians have expressed reservations about Ed Miliband... >...flatly ruling out any kind of deal with the Scottish National party in order to govern after the election. Henry McLeish, a former first minister of Scotland, on Saturday joined a growing number of party figures saying the Labour leader could not deny himself the chance of being prime minster by refusing to talk to the SNP. Andy Burnham, Labour’s health spokesman, said on Friday the party would ‘of course’ have a dialogue with the nationalists, while Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, suggested the parties could make informal arrangements. Their comments contrast with the hardline stance taken by Miliband, who in a Question Time interview on Thursday ruled out any Labour-SNP pact, even if it cost him the chance to form a government. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Kenneth Rogoff** (1998): [Comment on Paul Krugman: It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap](http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/projects/bpea/1998%202/1998b_bpea_krugman_dominquez_rogoff.pdf): "This is a truly inspired paper... >...on Japan's ongoing "Great Recession," although I have to keep pinching myself to ask if its main thesis can really be true. Is the equilibrium (full-employment) medium-term real interest rate for Japan actually negative, so that unless the Bank of Japan (BOJ) resigns itself to sustained inflation, the zero bound on nominal interest rates will present serious problems? Has the BOJ so thoroughly convinced the public of its anti-inflation credibility that it has lost the power to rekindle inflation now that Japan needs it? >The idea that the non-negativity constraint on nominal interest rates may pose problems in a world of low inflation has been receiving a growing amount of attention. Lawrence Summers has warned that there may be times when optimal stabilization policy calls for temporarily inducing negative nominal interest rates, but that this may be impossible for a central bank that has successfully drained all inflationary expectations out of the economy.' Recent papers that explore this issue in more detail (without necessarily calling it the liquidity trap) include those by Jeffrey Fuhrer and Brian... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Francis Fukuyama** (2006): [After Neoconservatism](http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/magazine/neo.html?pagewanted=all): "How did the neoconservatives end up overreaching to such an extent that they risk undermining their own goals?... >...Four common... threads ran through... [Neoconservative] thought... a concern with democracy, human rights and, more generally, the internal politics of states; a belief that American power can be used for moral purposes; a skepticism about the ability of international law and institutions to solve serious security problems; and finally, a view that ambitious social engineering often leads to unexpected consequences and thereby undermines its own ends.... The skeptical stance toward ambitious social engineering... [was] applied... to domestic policies like affirmative action, busing and welfare.... The belief in the potential moral uses of American power... [called for] American activism... [to] reshape the structure of global politics.... >[Neoconservatism] did not have to develop this way.... [The] largely Jewish intellectuals who attended City College of New York... Irving Kristol, Daniel Bell, Irving Howe, Nathan Glazer and, a bit later, Daniel Patrick Moynihan... a documentary film by Joseph Dorman called 'Arguing the World'... an idealistic belief in social progress and the universality of rights, coupled with intense anti-Communism. It is not an accident that many in the C.C.N.Y. group started out... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**James Magellas**: [All the Way to Berlin](http://ww2today.com/): >The forward element of the 3rd Battalion, H Company, set up a road-block on one of the roads leading into the division sector to disarm the surrendering Germans. >On that historic day, an entire army, with a vast array of tanks, trucks, half-tracks, howitzers, vehicles of all types, and motorcycles, began to pass through the division’s checkpoints heading to the rear. With Russians not far behind, the convoy of German soldiers and armaments bore little resemblance to the Wehrmacht that had fought so hard against us. >We were witnessing an unprecedented event. First, an entire German army, about 150,000 men, surrendered to a division of about 10,000. Second, their frontline units were combating Russian forces, not American. Third, the Germans passed through our lines in reverse order—army headquarters first, then corps, divisions, and regiments; the combat troops came through last. >The general staff included ten generals; the headquarters appeared to be in excellent condition. They seemed to have prepared for the grand finale. Clean-shaven and groomed, uniforms clean and neatly pressed, boots shined, with monocles and medals, they were proud to the very end. They represented some of the top brass of the... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Jonathan Zasloff**: [When David Brooks decides](https://m2.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1581911355430222&id=100008341183679) to blame the poor for their predicament... >...and then cites an untrue and grotesquely dishonest 'statistic' to support his thesis without bothering to check it out, one might say that such behavior represents a failure of... character: > Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
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**Must- and Should-Reads:** * **Peter Sullivan**: ["Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) on Friday outlined a contingency plan for his state in case the Supreme Court guts ObamaCare. Wolf’s plan calls for Pennsylvania to set up its own insurance marketplace if the court rules against the Obama administration in the case King v. Burwell. The case could revoke subsidies that help 7.5 million people afford healthcare coverage..."](http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/240797-pa-announces-back-up-plan-if-court-cripples-obamacare) * **Jay Nixon** (D-MO): ["I don't think that coming after working people is how you build an economy"](http://www.progressmissouri.org/content/nixon-i-dont-think-coming-after-working-people-how-you-build-economy) * **Alexis Goldstein**: [Elizabeth Warren is Not Impressed with Your Diamond-Encrusted Ring](https://medium.com/bull-market/elizabeth-warren-is-not-impressed-with-your-diamond-encrusted-ring-2b590b2feed7) * **Today's Must-Must-Read: Steve Randy Waldman**: [There Is a Name for This](http://equitablegrowth.org/?p=11183) * **Ernst Fehr and Simon Gächter**: [Altruistic punishment in humans](http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v415/n6868/abs/415137a.html) * **Gillian Tett**: [What Detroit can teach us all](http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/16108af8-eea9-11e4-a5cd-00144feab7de.html?ftcamp=published_links/rss/comment/feed//product) * **Must-Read: Paul Krugman**: [This Is Not A Trade Agreement](http://equitablegrowth.org/?p=11171) * **Josh Brown**: ["This morning the markets are shocked thanks to a year-over-year gain in US salaries and wages of 2.6%. The ten-year Treasury yield is now up almost 10% over the last four days...."](http://thereformedbroker.com/2015/04/30/the-new-new-new-normal-us-wages-rising/) * **Rich Yeselson**: [Is Cosmopolitan Communitarianism still Possible? Was it ever?](http://crookedtimber.org/2015/04/30/is-cosmopolitan-communitarianism-still-possible-was-it-ever/) * **Must-Read: Nick Bunker**: [The role of consumption in economic inequality](http://equitablegrowth.org/?p=11173) * **Must-Read: Adair Turner**: [Money, Banking... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
[**Over at Equitable Growth:**][1] When I was taught economics lo more than a generation ago now, I was taught that there were six major and significant political-economic market and governance failures that called for action: [**READ MOAR**][1] [1]: http://equitablegrowth.org/?p=11189 1. failures of the distribution of income to accord with utility and desert, which called for social insurance--and we had about the right amount of that. 2. failures of the market in the area of public goods, which called for government spending on physical, organizational, and social infrastructure--and we had about the right amount of that. 3. failures of the demand for money to remain stable over time, which called for aggressive monetary policy to stabilize the path of total spending around its trend--and we needed to better at that. 4. failures of voters to understand that low interest rate policies were ultimately counterproductive and created costly inflation, which called for independent and conservative hard-money technocratic central banks. 5. voter myopia about spending and taxes, which called for pressure and institutions to make the public sphere of discussion fear deficits--and we were moving toward that. 6. failures of the financial markets to actually mobilize society's risk-bearing capacity and so make the... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Micah Sifry**: [Civicist](http://civichall.org/civicist/): "Hello, World! Civicist Is Born" Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Live from Crow’s Coffee:** 435 Magazine. I was reading [435 Magazine](http://www.435mag.com) (offices at 11775 W. 112th Street, Suite 200, Overland Park, KS 66210, ten miles away from here) on the airplane on my way back from California to Kansas City. I found myself getting scared. The scary thing is that Los Angeles is not that very much larger than Kansas City. And yet it has about nine times the population. From Independence to Olathe is about 45 miles. From San Bernardino to the beach at Malibu is about 80. As I figure it, LA has about 3 times the area and 9 times the population of Kansas City. And it is not as though Kansas City as any kind of walkable urban core. To the extent that Kansas City these days has a main street at all, that main street is Interstate 435: a beltway with a total circumference of 81 miles . 435 is at an average radial distance of 13 miles from the center, if there were still a real center. Someday we will get our act together to impose the carbon tax we need if we want to keep the Chinese, the Indians, and the Africans who... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
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**UrsulaV:** [Puddleglum in Heaven](http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016231.html#4113882): "@ 119 - 'It's all very well for us,' said Puddleglum gloomily... >...'but what about everyone else, eh? Not exactly sunny skies and eel-pie for them, now, is it?' He gestured vaguely, presumably in the direction of Earth, or the now-defunct Narnia. 'Great crashing train wrecks--whatever a 'train' is, though I'm given to understand it involves a lot of metal and steam and boilers and fantastic speeds and you can't tell me THAT was a good idea, whoever came up with it--and some poor sod's got to go picking through the wreckage, don't they?' >He sniffed and picked up his fishing pole. 'I'm not saying anything bad about Aslan, you understand. I'm with the Lion, through thick and thin. I'm just saying someone's got to clean up the mess back... wherever you humans come from. Not much fun for them, now, is it?' >The eels were biting. In Heaven, the eels were always biting. Whether or not they were actual living eels was a matter of some theological debate among marsh-wiggles, though they didn't want to trouble Aslan with it. Probably eels didn't actually die in Heaven, but they made quite a good pie and acted... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Must-Read: Steve Randy Waldman**: [There Is a Name for This](http://equitablegrowth.org/?p=11183): "Politically motivated riots are a form of altruistic punishment... >...Look it up. Altruistic punishment is a ‘puzzle’ to the sort of economist who thinks of *homo economicus* maximizing her utility, and a no-brainer to the [evolutionary] game theorist who understands humans could never have survived if we actually were the kind of creature who succumbed to every prisoners’ dilemma. Altruistic punishment is behavior that imposes costs on third parties with no benefit to the punisher, often even at great cost to the punisher. To the idiot economist, it is a lose/lose situation, such a puzzle. For the record, I’m a fan of the phenomenon. Does that mean I’m a fan of these riots, that I condone the burning of my own hometown? Fuck you and your tendentious entrapment games and Manichean choices, your my-team ‘ridiculing’ of people you can claim support destruction. Altruistic punishment is essential to human affairs but it is hard. It is mixed, it is complicated, it is shades of gray... > ---- **Ernst Fehr and Simon Gächter**: [Altruistic punishment in humans](http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v415/n6868/abs/415137a.html): "Human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle... >...Unlike other creatures, people frequently cooperate with genetically unrelated... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
[**Over at Project Syndicate:**][8] For the past twenty-five years those of my elders whom I regard as the barons of policy-relevant academic macroeconomics--at least the reality-based and sane barons--have been asking themselves fundamental questions. The first question was whether the business-cycle pattern of the post-World War II generation of full employment, a bias toward moderate inflation, and rapid growth had in fact come to an end. The second question was how best to think about the business cycle after the end of the post-WWII era's "Thirty Glorious Years." [**READ MOAR**][8] [8]: http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/economy-debate-post-world-war-ii-by-j--bradford-delong-2015-04 First out of gate, in 1991, was [Larry Summers][1], with his "How Should Long-Term Monetary Policy Be Determined?" Summers was not certain that the economic policy régime and economic reality had changed. Thus his first goal was to stengthen the technocratic independence of the central bank. "Institutions should do the work of rules". And attention should be devoted to "strengthening the[ir] independence". While politicians should and could set goals, technocrats could carry them out better than politicians micromanaging or politicians prescribing rules that would inevitably fail in unexpected circumstances. That would guard against a repetition of the inflationary disturbances of the 1970s. His second goal, however, was to... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...
**Must-Read: Adair Turner**: [Money, Banking and Financial Markets](http://equitablegrowth.org/?p=11175): The pre-crisis orthodoxy defined central banks... >...to a very significant extent as having one primary objective – low and stable inflation (with some countries in addition including a broad employment mandate) – and one policy tool, the policy interest rate. I think that this definition involving a very small set of objectives and one policy tool was fundamentally mistaken... > Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...