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Rakesh Bhandari
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Perhaps the decline of the idea of progress is also tied up with deindustrialization. In manufacturing you are looking for ways to reduce error rates, use inputs more efficiently, and reduce time required to complete an operation. This becomes possible by better understanding, and improvements are objectively measurable. The manufacturing is thus tied up with the idea of objective progress. Perhaps then our period is not only post-truth but also post-progress.
http://anthropomics2.blogspot.com/2017/04/who-wants-charles-murray-to-speak-and.html?spref=tw
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Why has the debate over PNTR and NAFTA captured the imagination? If the US had spent the $3+ trillion on the Iraq War more wisely, the economy would have performed better and the benefits of trade would be clearer for everyone to see. Still we'd rather blame others for how their laws and standards subject us to unfair competition than examine critically what we did to ourselves.
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Some answers. 1. Morris offers Hobbesian argument for why agricultural societies less violent than foragers: sovereign keeps peace 2. Yes. Institutions can only vary so much given the form of energy capture. If it's foraging, then the band will prevail. He gives many reasons. If farming, the republic will tend to give way to the Kingdom organized around axial values. Morris should cite the arguments in the Arthashastra for why kingdoms prevail. 3. Farming requires a lot more calories per person. The labor is more arduous. Energy needed for ceramics, tools. Energy needed to support specialists in coercion and doctrine. 4. He thinks climate change will necessitate changes in liberal democracy, going so far to say that Fukuyama's End of History applies only the fossil fuel age.
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Fantastic book. Basic thesis: how a society captures energy affects its population size and density which in turn favor determinate kinds of social organization for which certain values are functional. The three major types of energy capture are foraging, farming and fossil fuels to which the band, the kingdom and eventually liberal democracies correspond, respectively. 1. What is Morris trying to explain? Historical variation in both (a) widely shared values about equality and hierarchy, as well as violence; and (b) empirical levels of equality and violence. See pp. 134-135 2. One can challenge Morris on factual accuracy of what he takes to be the historical pattern that he sets out to explain. How do we know how equal or violent foraging society really was? Is how violent we think fossil fuel society is, based on a dubious operationalization of violence? Could fossil fuel society become more violent before it has ended, though the source of that violence may well be ultimately found in fossil fuel extraction? Do fossil fuel societies really tend to middling levels of inequality (Marx and Piketty think not; Atlantic slavery and colonialism have been tied to fossil fuel society)? But Morris asks provocatively: What happened to the God-like kings and slavery and other forms of formally unfree labor that defined the Age of Agraria? He proposes a bold explanation which he does not hedge and which gives us a powerful new explanation of human history. 3. Morris’ enterprise is explanatory, not interpretive. He does not provide a thick description of a society as an interpretation of what it would mean to live in any of his respective societies. See pp. 139-140 for organizing idea of the whole book. 4. Morris argues that this historical variation can best be explained by classifying societies in terms of their modes of energy capture on the basis of which he creates ideal types. He emphasizes energy capture over and above, say, modes of water capture a la Karl Wittfogel or modes of information collection and transmission, e.g. literacy. Indeed Morris reduces history to the equation C= E x T. Culture being determined by Energy and Technology. He shows the power of the equation through a preliminary statistical test. 5. Morris also suggests explanations for why people in a given time and place come to depend on modes of energy capture that they do. These explanations invoke climate change, geographic factors, exogenous shocks, diffusion through conquest, and economic factors. That is, at times he turns his explanans itself into an explanandum. 6. Morris argues that the mode of energy capture a society depends on determines its social organization, and the values people hold tend to be functional for that that type of social organization: “Each age gets the thought it needs.” This is not only a functional but also materialist theory of values, which tends to minimize valuation as an autonomous force in human history (p.10) (A) Functional explanations cannot be substituted for account of how exactly societies come to have the thought it may need: societies may not always get the thought it needs, so Morris offers cultural evolutionary accounts of how values could have arisen. (B) It may be the values in a society are not as widely shared as Morris thinks. (C) It could be that the shared values admit of another explanation than the one Morris proffers. (D) It could be that widely shared values in a given society cannot be explained ultimately by the mode of energy capture because (i) the mode of energy capture may admit of more than one type of normative social complex, making necessary the inclusion of additional variables to explain the specified normative complex; or (ii) the values people hold are already pre-figurative of an emergent normative complex based on a new mode of energy capture or are remnants of the values functional for an older mode of energy capture. 7. Generally it could be argued that Morris thinks that the mode of energy capture can do more explanatory work that it can. Societies based on the same mode of energy capture may differ from each other as much as they do from societies based on a different mode of energy capture. The values a people hold may be explained in terms of social forces and epistemological factors as well as the pressures created by its mode of energy capture. Or it could be argued that different types of society differ more in values than Morris recognizes because the moral dispositions people share across time and space due to our common evolutionary history are very weak, allowing for more variation. In other words, we are even more plastic or genetically underdetermined a species than Morris recognizes. 8. Morris has to be read carefully to understand the exact causal pathway he is laying out. It is not always clear that his causal pathway works from forms of energy capture through population size and density to the features of the ideal type that he wants to explain, e.g. the Axial Age values of Agraria. How exactly does fossil fuel capture bring about over the long term pacified liberal democracies with normatively-sanctioned middling levels of inequality (alternative question: does history end with this social form made of the borromean rings of nation-state-capital)? Why is a society capturing its energy primarily through farming more hierarchical in its values, more unequal in its wealth and income, and less violent than foraging society? Why does foraging society tend to value and achieve greater equality than farming society? See pp. 36, 59-60, 64, 83, 109-110, 115, 124, 236-238 Morris grapples with all these questions in clear and lucid language because he does have compelling ideas to offer to make sense of historical change. This is a most stimulating contribution to an interdisciplinary social science. He then fields replies from the following four authors Seaford: Farming does not produce the same values everywhere; what does Morris mean by saying values work best—work best for whom? by what measure? Spence: ideal types obliterate the fine detail of actual societies, making it impossible to understand the lives lived in them. Other questions about difficulties of understanding other societies with our categories foreign or alien to them. Korsgaard: alternative to the idea that our values are shaped by our method of energy capture is her theory that the capacity for valuing has some tendency to attach itself to real moral values, but this tendency is extremely fragile and subject to distortion. Atwood: How many Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Morris recognizes many factors that have led to epochal change in the past. Will they play out again. Will new ones appear? Also, if the tools we invent change our nature, what will our new values in terms of which we judge future developments become? Morris then offers a robust response to his critics.
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Great post. Thank you. The electoral college may not have failed had the Courts not allowed voter suppression and the FBI not unfairly intervened. Democracy was compromised not only by the electoral college but also by said two other factors. And let us be clear that these are three reasons why Clinton lost, not that she was insufficiently populist. Sanders stumped and raised funds for populist Feingold who lost by a bigger margin to Johnson than Clinton did to Trump in WI.
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Do note that Trump is at this hour set to lose the popular vote in the country as Latino votes are counted in LA county (Nate Cohn predicted this hours ago). But Trump has won the Presidency due to what he would have called the rigged system of the electoral college which has effectively "walled out" Latino votes that actually make Clinton the popular democratic choice in the country. The ironies abound.
Toggle Commented Nov 9, 2016 on Election Day at Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
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Let's not rule out that some or even many not not appearing in the LFPR are simply working off the books (repairs, child care, plumbing, etc.), given the explosion of the number of jobs that require a license. It does not fit with the neo-liberal self-understanding of our times that the number of jobs requiring licensing has increased severalfold over the last 30 years. Jason Furman: "the fact that around a quarter of jobs now require an occupational license, up from just five percent in the 1950s. In some states, one must obtain an occupational license to work as a florist or an interior decorator, for example, even though it is highly unlikely that licensing in such professions meaningfully protects consumers" IFurman does not consider that people may be doing these jobs without a license.
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Note that the expected value of Trump remains the same because his declining chance of winning is neutralized by the rising risks that his Presidency would pose. Given how negative his expected value remains, I caution us about letting our guard down. Trump true believers say that his supporters are keeping on the down low and will come out in the ballot box. Trump is unleashing new emotions. Let's be cautious.
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No we should give Trump credit. He is taking his best election strategy. He's got the Republican base down. His best bet is to reach missing white voters who sit elections out out of disgust for both parties--veterans, the poor, the cynical. By attacking GOP elite, Trump is appealing to these millions of white people, trying to bring them into a new American Party. Trump is signaling that he is just like 'em, not one of those elites like "mealy mouthed" Paul Ryan. We can't rule out Trump's closing this race on the basis of his turning out those missing white voters. The Democrats are much too optimistic. Our poll amalgamators are not considering all those people who have been, so far, too alienated to respond to poll questions. Trump could still get them in the last days and close with them. Still have to bet HRC wins, but perhaps by only 3 to 4 points.
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Trump's method is the Stalinist purge: On the party purge–April 28, 1933 On the basis of this Comintern directive our party conducted a party re-registration in 1920, a party purge in 1921, a purge of non-production cells in 1924, a verification of village cells in 1925, and a purge in 1929-30. As is known, these purges and re-registrations reinforced the ranks of our party, improved its fighting efficiency, and intensified the feeling of responsibility of each party member for the work of the party. The function of the party purge is to elevate the ideological level of the party members, to strengthen the party politically and organizationally, and further to intensify the confidence in the party of the millions of non-party masses. During a purge this task is accomplished: (a) by the open and honest self-criticism of party members and members of party organizations, (b) by verifying the work of each party cell to ascertain how it has executed decisions and instructions of the party, (c) by involving the toiling non-party masses in the purge, and (d) by ridding the party of those persons who have not justified the lofty name of party member. McNeal, Robert. Resolutions and Decisions of the CPSU–The Stalin Years: 1929-1953. Vol. 3. Toronto, Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1974, p. 125
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Juanita Broadrick is not at all credible about her charge that Hillary Clinton threatened her; that charge amounts to HRC thanking her for her campaign support. That is not a threat, and frankly it's so absurd that she undermines her credibility generally by going after Hillary Clinton.
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You got me wrong: I have nothing against the anti-Christ. The question is whether Trump understands how government works, though it does not matter. He knows that he is going to lose, so he is positioning himself as the true voice of the people that can't make it through the interference of ordinary politics. This will give him a media venture after the loss where he will ask viewers to watch him and Alex Jones expose deep truths. There is some chance that his media network will outperform Oprah's, but it's too early to tell.
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Trump implied that American Muslims are to blame for terrorist attacks in the US because they do not report the extremists among them, even when they witness bomb-building. That was in a reply to a question about Islamophobia which he again strengthened on the basis of malicious lies. He also made it seem that Hillary Clinton's 550% increase in the acceptance of Syrian refugees is a huge number, but it's only 45K more people from Obama's 10K while Jordan and Turkey are receiving millions of refugees. Again his Islamophobia is frightening. But it's not really critiqued on the cable news networks. He made no sense about how he is going to protect people with preexisting conditions if he abolishes Obamacare. How does interstate competition solve the problem?
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Don't buy this. It may not be active racism but there may well be insensitivity to the pain that Trump would inflict on minorities (deportation force, religious ban, end of due process for minorities--see Central Park 5) if one won't vote for Clinton, the one person capable of defeating Trump, in the general election. She's for raising the minimum wage and for help with college costs. She's for federal jobs creation. What would be the reason for not pulling the lever for her over Trump for these young voters?
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What Is Populism? Hardcover – August 22, 2016 by Jan-Werner Müller University of Pennsylvania Press Muller had an editorial in the FT a few days ago.
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Jan-Werner Muller has shown why the Sanders' movement should not be confused with Trump's populism. By populism, Muller refers to leaders who claim to be able to express the soul of the true (and in Trump's case this means "white") people in such an unmediated way that any frustration in the electoral sphere can only be the result of fraud and manipulation or machinations by actors who do not belong to the "real people". Because Trump has poised himself as such a populist, he openly says that failure at the electoral level cannot possibly invalidate that he alone expresses the will of the real people. Sanders on the other hand representa to a large extent the insurgency of those whose voices were yet to be respected in the messy processes of democratic will-formation. For Muller, Sanders is not a populist but a small "d" democrat.
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Trump has brazenly called for international war crimes (support of torture, seizing of oil fields) and the tearing up of the Constitution (religious ban, deportation force, due process for the Central Park 5). He has probably committed tax fraud, and he has now associated himself with criminal assault. At this point 40% of the American people seem to be willing to vote for him; two weeks ago he had pulled even. It seems that what saves us from Trump is that a good number of college educated white women will vote for Hillary Clinton. Otherwise, Trump represents to millions of white Americans such a pure expression of the soul of the true American people that Trump should not respect any contrary electoral result. Such a contrary result, to these Americans, could only result from fraud or manipulation. Win or lose, Trump has unleashed terrible forces in American politics."
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Trump has brazenly called for international war crimes (support of torture, seizing of oil fields) and the tearing up of the Constitution (religious ban, deportation force, due process for the Central Park 5). He has probably committed tax fraud, and he has now associated himself with criminal assault. At this point 40% of the American people seem to be willing to vote for him; two weeks ago he had pulled even. It seems that what saves us from Trump is that a good number of college educated white women will vote for Hillary Clinton. Otherwise, Trump represents to millions of white Americans such a pure expression of the soul of the true American people that Trump should not respect any contrary electoral result (see Jan-Werner Muller, What is Populism?). Such a contrary result, to these Americans, could only result from fraud or manipulation. Win or lose, Trump has unleashed terrible forces in American politics.
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My guess is that the LFPR has collapsed because it is missing the number of workers who are working illegally without licenses. In Foreign Affairs Jason Furman noted that “Another obstacle to improving the U.S. labor market is the fact that around a quarter of jobs now require an occupational license, up from just five percent in the 1950s. In some states, one must obtain an occupational license to work as a florist or an interior decorator, for example, even though it is highly unlikely that licensing in such professions meaningfully protects consumers." Furman does not consider however whether workers who can't get licenses are working off the books and don't show up in the LFPR. They may be doing plumbing and repairs without a license. Or doing small moving jobs. I would guess those that have felonies may have a tough time getting licenses and may find themselves locked out of the formal sector. But they may be working in the shadow economy.
Toggle Commented Oct 4, 2016 on Out of Prison, Out of Work at Economist's View
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My guess is that the LFPR has collapsed because it is missing the number of workers who are working illegally without licenses. In Foreign Affairs Jason Furman noted that “Another obstacle to improving the U.S. labor market is the fact that around a quarter of jobs now require an occupational license, up from just five percent in the 1950s. In some states, one must obtain an occupational license to work as a florist or an interior decorator, for example, even though it is highly unlikely that licensing in such professions meaningfully protects consumers." Furman does not consider however whether workers who can't get licenses are working off the books and don't show up in the LFPR. They may be doing plumbing and repairs without a license. Or doing small moving jobs. I would guess those that have felonies may have a tough time getting licenses and may find themselves locked out of the formal sector. But they may be working in the shadow economy.
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A lot of interesting twitter commentary. 1. How do we know that Michelle Obama was not plagiarizing Melania Trump? 2. Revealing that the part Melania left out was on giving respect and dignity to others. 3. The plagiarism should have been obvious once Melania said: "When I was growing up in Chicago as a young black girl..." 4. Also revealing that Melania could not replace Michele Obama's moving and, eight years later, memorable personal anecdotes of Barack Obama as a loving father and husband and a devoted public servant with detailed anecdotes about Donald Trump's compassion and altruism.
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To compensate for a falling rate of profit, capitalists must raise the level of investment, and to remain competitive they must raise the organic composition of capital, i.e. the capital intensity of production. Consumption demand can only fall in relative terms, but this does not mean that capitalism is haunted by a permanent demand shortfall. Investment demand fills the gap. For some time. Why does the investment-led boom end? Well due to a higher overall level of investment the mass of profit does grow in spite of a falling rate of profit from the rising capital intensity of production (that is, a lower rate of profit on a bigger investment can return a bigger sum of profit than a higher rate of profit on a smaller investment). Still there will come at some point an absolute fall in the mass of profit. Or at the least the mass of profit won't be sufficient to continue the accumulation process. Then a crisis sets in. But the crisis leads to the devaluation of capital assets as well as worker acceptance of a higher rate of profit. Profit prospects improve. The confidence fairies come back. Accumulation resumes. ******** I wrote in reply to the first time this was posted: But Marx was not criticizing Keynesians of course. He was writing, inter alia, a critical appreciation of Sismondi--appreciation because he sensed the contradictions of capitalist production better than Ricardo had and criticism because he feared that Sismondi wanted to embed capitalist production within a feudal superstructure to avoid the overproduction brought about by ceaseless capital accumulation and also thought it would be possible to adjust consumption via the State to sop up production--that is, Sismondi did not understand that the relations of distribution were determined in the last instance by the relations of production. Some Keynesians are underconsumptionists in a tradition that goes back to Sismondi (Marx thinks Malthus was inspired by Sismondi), but Keynes himself was not. Hayek is simply wrong that Keynes was a simple underconsumptionist. Marx is doing a lot of other important things in this section--making an analytical distinction between gross and net revenue, examining the role of the replacement of fixed capital in business cycles (I think Marx would have granted that the examples that John Hicks developed were clearer than what he says here; but also see Capital vol II), and trying to understand the nature of money. Yes, JS Mill saw that Say's Law was false, but he, not Marx, was the minor post-Ricardian. Which means that Mill, like Ricardo, did not have a theory of money. Ricardo understood the relation between commodities and money as one of quantitative equivalence determined by labor time. But Marx points out that commodities and money are also opposed in qualitative terms. Money, in a way, opposes any and every other commodity from having a monopoly on direct exchangeability. How did gold, though arising in the world of commodities, come to be the polar opposite of all other commodities? This is a puzzle that did not even occur to JS Mill. Moreover, showing that Say's Law can break down due to demand for money does not explain why crises of general overproduction happen only periodically. Marx himself would never have submitted this chapter for publication without major revisions.
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Also I understand and like Sanders. Trump, I hate. But I think Sanders' platform and promises will not withstand just a bit of scrutiny.
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