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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
#### DeLongTODAY: China Stands Up: 1978-2020: Part III 2021-05-14 Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
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Noah Smith & Brad DeLong's 30:00 < [Length of Weekly Podcast] < 60:00 <https://api.substack.com/feed/podcast/47874.rss> Key Insights: Economic arguments against higher taxes that may have been somewhat plausible back in the days of 70% or so maximum individual and 40% or so maximum capital gains tax rates simply do not apply now. Right-wing parties that don't think they can credibly make the argument that cosseting their core constituencies is necessary for rapid economic growth search for some non-economic cleavage in which the rich and the right-thinking poor, or the right-colored poor, can be on one side and the people who seek a fairer and more equal distribution of income and higher taxes on the rich can be put on the other—let's all yell about critical race theory, and maybe they won't pay attention to the fact that we just, you know, take everybody's money. Capital to fund investment is really not a big constraint right now—incentivizing savings in financial assets really is just pushing on a string. Companies with investments that have high societal value in expansion need to be properly incentivized—either by the smell of more profits next year from serving a larger market with lower costs of production through... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember... First: An all-in commitment to weblogging has been extraordinarily successful for Cory Doctorow. But for most of us the connections between the current flow, the past stock, and the larger projects that he has managed to maintain have eluded us. We can either manage the flow, curate the stock, or ship large projects—only one at a time: Cory Doctorow: The Memex Method. When Your Commonplace Book Is a Public Database: ‘The very act of recording your actions and impressions is itself powerfully mnemonic…. The genius of the blog was… in the publishing. The act of making your log-file public requires a rigor that keeping personal notes does not…. Repeated acts of public description adds each idea to a supersaturated, subconscious solution of fragmentary elements that have the potential to become something bigger. Every now and again, a few of these fragments will stick to each other and nucleate…. When one of those nucleation events occurs, the full-text search and tag-based retrieval tools built into Wordpress allow me to bring up everything I’ve ever written on the subject…. The availability of a deep, digital, searchable, published and public archive of my... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
An 11 minute IN FOCUS interview for tbs eFM in Korea... Brad DeLong: INTERVIEW: Inflation Concerns in the US Following Secretary Treasury Janet: ‘Apple Podcasts: tbs eFM This Morning: 0514 IN FOCUS… <https://podcasts.apple.com/kr/podcast/0514-in-focus-2-inflation-concerns-in-us-following/id1038822609?i=1000521665790&l=en> <https://braddelong.substack.com/p/interview-inflation-concerns-in-the-0b5> Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember... First: The world would have been much better advised fifteen months ago to, rather than listening to the infectious-disease community, WHO, & CDC, to have simply observed: This thing evolved it batcaves. Avoid batcaves. Make sure that the respiratory environment in which you breathe is as close to being the exact opposite of a batcave as you can—ventilation, outdoors, distanced, masks: Zeynep Tufekci: The Few Sentences That Explain Much of What Went Wrong With Our Pandemic Response: ‘How could it be so wrong, even after more than a year?… Some of the founders of public health and the field of infectious control of diseases around the world made key errors and conflations around the turn of the 20th century. These errors essentially froze into tradition and dogma that went unchanged and uncorrected for more than a century, until a pandemic forced our hand…. Infection, which is easier at close range, was seen to be due to particles sprayed out of one’s mouth, which fell quickly to the ground but could land on people. The possibility that, even at close range, people were inhaling floating little particles (aerosols!) that could also... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
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I always wish I had done something more with this... Richard Evans (2000), Lying About Hitler: History, the Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial (New York: Basic Books: 0465021522). Richard Evans (1997), In Defense of History (New York: Norton: 0393319598). The Irving Case For about a decade Richard Evans's (1987) book Death in Hamburg: Society and Politics in the Cholera Years 1830-1910 had been on my "read someday" list. But at the beginning of 2000 I ran across his name again. He was to be an expert witness for author Deborah Lipstadt in her defense against David Irving's charge that she had libeled him by calling him a "Holocaust denier." Irving had sued Lipstadt because her 1994 book Denying the Holocaust, had called him a "discredited" historian with "neofascist" connections, an ardent admirer of Hitler who "on some level... seems to conceive himself as carrying on Hitler's legacy," who skews documents and misquotes evidence to reach historically untenable conclusions in the interest of exonerating Hitler (see Evans (2000), p. 6). Irving demanded that Penguin Books, Lipstadt's publisher, withdraw her book from circulation. Penguin refused. And in the summer of 1996 David Irving sued. Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books then had... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
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BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-05-12 We; + A Guess at the State of the Plague in India, & the Right Wing Long Con First: A Snippet from a Dialogue: The Current Plague in India: Axiothea: How much worse are things in India than the statistics the Indian government is reporting say? Parmenides: We do think that here in the United States we have had 900,000 rather than 600,000 deaths—out of a total caseload of perhaps 60 million, perhaps 120 million. How bad are things in India right now, really? And how bad are they going to get? Aesclepius: We do not know. We guess that true plague deaths are between three and eight times officially recorded deaths. And we guess that India is only halfway through this current plague wave. Axiothea: If so, note that India currently is at 200 reported deaths per million—say the true number is 1000, 0.1% of the population, and it is going to double before this wave is through. With a population of 1.4 billion, that would be 3 million dead by the time this wave ebbs… The Right-Wing Short Con: With America’s right wing, it is always, always the grift. Always: Paul Campos: Josh Hawley,... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
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Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember... First: Here we see a striking difference between Paul Krugman and Larry Summers. Krugman sees models as intuition pumps—and believes strongly, very strongly, that if you cannot make a simple model of it, it is probably wrong. Summers believes that our models are, at best, filing systems (and at worst tools for misleading the unwary)—and that the right way to think about the economy is as, in some way, a two-state system, with expansion being one state and recession the other, so that you cannot halt an expansion without tipping the economy fully into recession: Paul Krugman: Wonking Out: Braking Bad?: ‘A more explicit critique comes from Larry Summers, who has warned that the stimulus may lead to stagflation. He appears to believe that the Fed can’t use monetary tightening to offset overheating generated by fiscal expansion without causing a nasty recession. But I have to admit to being a bit puzzled about why…. Summers[’s]… underlying macroeconomic model is pretty much the same as mine…. And that model seems to say that the Fed can indeed tap on the brakes if needed. Indeed, the Fed has done that in the... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
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Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember... First: Here we see a striking difference between Paul Krugman and Larry Summers. Krugman sees models as intuition pumps—and believes strongly, very strongly, that if you cannot make a simple model of it, it is probably wrong. Summers believes that our models are, at best, filing systems (and at worst tools for misleading the unwary)—and that the right way to think about the economy is as, in some way, a two-state system, with expansion being one state and recession the other, so that you cannot halt an expansion without tipping the economy fully into recession: Paul Krugman: Wonking Out: Braking Bad?: ‘A more explicit critique comes from Larry Summers, who has warned that the stimulus may lead to stagflation. He appears to believe that the Fed can’t use monetary tightening to offset overheating generated by fiscal expansion without causing a nasty recession. But I have to admit to being a bit puzzled about why…. Summers[’s]… underlying macroeconomic model is pretty much the same as mine…. And that model seems to say that the Fed can indeed tap on the brakes if needed. Indeed, the Fed has done that in the... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
First: A Snippet from a Dialogue: Anti-Anti Tory Little Englandism: Kephalos: I am pretty sure that—within the population of Great Britain—the Tories are a marked minority. And—yet—they could easily be governing with a pretty comfortable margin for the next 10 years. It is kind of unnerving how a minority faction has—more or less—run the joint ever since “the strange death of Liberal England”. Even when Blair and Gordon were PMs—they still had to triangulate. And—perhaps the strangest thing of all – the Conservatives have run the joint, but everyone else gets blamed for (i) haphazard retreat from Empire and (ii) relative economic decline. Its almost as if the Conservative are “alcoholic Daddy” who everyone is supposed to clean up after… Thrasymakhos: “Almost”? The Tories are a minority in Great Britain. There is, however, a durable majority that would rather see the Tories rule than Labour rule. They would like somebody else—not, of course, them; heavens forbid!—to rid them of feather-bedding union members, officious bureaucrats, and uppity women; and ensure that the Pakies are kept in their place. This majority can be overcome when Labour’s leadership persuades the electorate that it is really a centrist Liberal Party in disguise. The problem... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember... First: Best-case—i.e., most optimistic scenario for employment—is employment corresponding to a “true” unemployment rate of 2.5% in 2023 with core inflation at 2.75%/year. That is enough to get inflation expectations up to the Fed’s target of 2.5%/year on a CPI basis. That is not enough for anyone reasonable to claim that an ever-upward inflationary spiral is on the way. The definition of “stagflation” is a world in which expectations are anchored on the belief that inflation is going to rise over time, hence an unemployment rate greater than the natural rate is required in order to hold inflation steady. That does not seem to be the world we are headed for in the optimistic scenario. And that stagflation equilibrium is much further away in the non-optimistic scenarios: Laurence Ball & al.: US Inflation: Set for Take-Off?: ’How high is the ongoing US fiscal expansion likely to push inflation? This column presents new evidence that underlying (weighted median) CPI inflation has so far steadily declined since the start of the COVID–19 crisis, broadly as predicted by its historical Phillips curve relation. If the ongoing fiscal expansion reduces unemployment to 1.5–3.5%, as... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember... First: Duncan Black: The Story Of The Day: ‘“Everyone” expected a big jobs number today, everyone was all set for their “ZOMG LABOR SHORTAGE CANCEL THE UI” pitches, and then it was a small jobs number and they… ran with it anyway: Justin Wolfers: "This one simple trick can turbocharge the recovery: Get vaxxed, get your friends to join you, make the marketplace safe, and watch people return. If counterfactual you would have interpreted a strong payrolls report as evidence that labor demand was running ahead of labor supply stoking concern about a ‘labor shortage,’ then you shouldn’t also be in the business of seeing a weak payrolls report and yelling ‘labor shortage’… LINK: <https://www.eschatonblog.com/2021/05/the-story-of-day.html> One Video Adam Posen: Against Nostalgia in Economic Policymaking: Very Briefly Noted: Wikipedia: Shadow & Bone (TV Series)<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_and_Bone_(TV_series)> Duncan Black: ’The kids won’t remember, but the “Torture Discourse” (and of course, the torture!) was horrific back then, a lot of people showed themselves to be monsters, and it all turned out to be both as horrific and pointless as critics said (SHUT UP STUPID HIPPIE CRITICS)… <https://twitter.com/Atrios/status/1389199019608522753> James Medlock: ’“Monopsony” isn’t just, or even primarily,... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
First: Kevin Kwok: Populism: 'We have lived in the golden era provided by the industrial revolution in so many ways that we take for granted. One of them is that the industrial revolution was an innately distributed wave. It was a huge technological, productivity, and financial wave. But it required a large base of humans. This is because its returns to scale tilted towards many mid to large cities co-located with transportation and natural resource hubs. And labor was a major factor of production. This was not the sole factor, but one of the major ones for why we see a middle class arise in the world. Before the industrial revolution we see far greater inequality, with elites capturing far more power and wealth.... The question then, is whether we are living through the reversion to the mean..... Another macro trend... for the last 75 years, the US has been an anomalous market by absorbing value from the rest of the world... Platform Americana. By rejecting the full stack nature of the European Colonial Approach and instead becoming a platform–the US struck a bargain with the rest of the world. It would provide the production, consumption, guarantee of trade routes,... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
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PROJECT SYNDICATE: Is þe US Economy Recovering or Overheating? The fact that core inflation is rising on the back of substantial GDP growth and declining unemployment should not come as a surprise. Those who are wringing their hands about economic "overheating" should remember that an absence of price increases would reflect an economy that is still struggling. <https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/us-inflation-shows-economy-is-reshuffling-and-recovering-by-j-bradford-delong-2021-05> BERKELEY – The financial and economic news in the United States lately has been dominated by concerns about inflation. “Runaway inflation is the biggest risk facing investors, Leuthold’s Jim Paulsen warns,” according to the cable news channel CNBC. As a potential hedge against inflation, “Bitcoin’s time to shine is fast approaching,” reportsFortune’s Robert Hackett. According to US News and World Report, “There is a lot of talk about inflation in 2021 as fears of high government spending creep in and the recent rebound in prices from pandemic-related levels has some investors worried that the trend will continue for some time.” And yet, one also reads that “US Treasury yields hold ground even as inflation picks up.” After growing at an annualized rate of 33.4% in the third quarter of 2020, 4.3% in the fourth quarter, and 6.4% in the first quarter of... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember... <https://braddelong.substack.com/p/briefly-noted-for-2021-05-05-we> Subscribe now First: Ian Leslie: Biden's Bet: ‘Biden... is... hinting at... “I think they’re going to write about this point in history… about whether or not democracy can function in the 21st century. Not a joke. Whether autocracy is the answe—these were my debates I’d have in the many times I met with Xi.”... Biden believes that technology and science are moving so fast that they pose an existential challenge to democracy itself. The consensus used to be that if China wanted to catch with the West it would have to democratise—become more free, and more diverse, with power less centralised. But Xi has doubled down on autocracy and centralisation, partly by deploying new technologies. China is still growing. For Biden, it’s up to America to show the rest of the world that democracy is still the best platform… LINK: <https://ianleslie.substack.com/p/bidens-bet> Share Very Briefly Noted: World Time Buddy: _Time Converter and World Clock: Conversion at a Glance <https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/> Rod van Meer: Understanding Quantum Computers<https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/intro-to-quantum-computing> W.E.B. Du Bois (1910): The Souls of White Folk <https://loa-shared.s3.amazonaws.com/static/pdf/Du_Bois_White_Folk.pdf> Ezra Klein: Interviews Chuck Schumer<https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/30/podcasts/ezra-klein-podcast-chuck-schumer-transcript.html> Share Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality Paragraphs: Paul McLeary (2007): Is... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
The fact that core inflation is rising on the back of substantial GDP growth and declining unemployment should not come as a surprise. Those who are wringing their hands about economic "overheating" should remember that an absence of price increases would reflect an economy that is still struggling. <https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/us-inflation-shows-economy-is-reshuffling-and-recovering-by-j-bradford-delong-2021-05> BERKELEY – The financial and economic news in the United States lately has been dominated by concerns about inflation. “Runaway inflation is the biggest risk facing investors, Leuthold’s Jim Paulsen warns,” according to the cable news channel CNBC. As a potential hedge against inflation, “Bitcoin’s time to shine is fast approaching,” reportsFortune’s Robert Hackett. According to US News and World Report, “There is a lot of talk about inflation in 2021 as fears of high government spending creep in and the recent rebound in prices from pandemic-related levels has some investors worried that the trend will continue for some time.” Share And yet, one also reads that “US Treasury yields hold ground even as inflation picks up.” After growing at an annualized rate of 33.4% in the third quarter of 2020, 4.3% in the fourth quarter, and 6.4% in the first quarter of this year, the US economy is on track... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
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With Cory Doctorow; Noah Smith & Brad DeLong's 30:00 < Weekly Podcast < 60:00 <https://braddelong.substack.com/p/podcast-hexapodia-xiii-mandated-interoperability> <https://api.substack.com/feed/podcast/47874.rss> Share Key Insights: Cory Doctorow is AWESOME! It is depressing. We once, with the creation of the market economy, got interoperability right. But now the political economy blocks us from there being any obvious path to an equivalent lucky historical accident in our future. The problems in our society are not diametrically opposed: Addressing the problems of one thing doesn't necessarily create equal and opposite problems on the other side—but it does change the trade-offs, and so things become very complex and very difficult to solve. Always keep a trash bag in your car. Hexapodia! Share Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality References: Books: Cory Doctorow: How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism <https://www.google.com/books/edition/How_to_Destroy_Surveillance_Capitalism/W20NzgEACAAJ> Cory Doctorow: Attack Surface <https://www.google.com/books/edition/Attack_Surface/rFfEDwAAQBAJ> Cory Doctorow: Walkaway <https://www.google.com/books/edition/Walkaway/MKMsDAAAQBAJ> Cory Doctorow: Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom <https://www.google.com/books/edition/Down_and_Out_in_the_Magic_Kingdom/h8DvDwAAQBA> Cory Doctorow: Little Brother <https://www.google.com/books/edition/Little_Brother/r1zne2mZDW8C> William Flesch:Comeuppance: Costly Signaling, Altruistic Punishment, and Other Biological Components of Fiction<https://www.google.com/books/edition/Comeuppance/JSRWPYp1nNUC> Daniel L. Rubinfeld: A Retrospective on U.S. v. Microsoft: Why Does It Resonate Today? <https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0003603X20950227> Louis Galambos & Peter Temin: The Fall of the Bell System: A Study in Prices & Politics <https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Fall_of_the_Bell_System/CXNPVjdxfAEC> Websites: Electronic Frontier Foundation: <http://www.eff.org>... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember... Subscribe now First: Zeynep Tufekci: Sunday Open Thread for Subscribers: ‘The one big part of the tragedy here is that we had most of the science we needed really early on…. There was more to learn, for sure, but the basics were there. There have been very few scientific surprises… outside of how vaccinable this (luckily!) turned out to be (we didn’t know partly because we didn’t really try for the others exactly because we didn’t care). But sociologically, I am shaken. I knew about all of this, because I teach and study it. The group-think, the institutional resistance and inertia, the cognitive biases, the social dynamics… I know about them all! But I’ve been truly surprised most is how much stronger than I thought these dynamics were, even in a crisis. Perhaps because of the crisis. I’ve learned a lot about viruses last year, but I did not really need that much beyond an introductory textbook to write the policy oriented pieces I’ve published. I think we need to update our social science textbooks and assumptions, though. The dynamics that have dominated our world aren’t novel in the sense... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
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This, I thought, was an interview that turned out very well... The Best Books on the Classical Economists recommended by Brad DeLong They were an eclectic bunch, including, among others, a stock market speculator, a moral philosopher, a cleric, a lawyer and a journalist. From the late-18th to the mid-19th century, they provided the first systematic explanations of how economies work, where they fail and how they might be made to work better. Here, Brad DeLong, a professor of economics at UC Berkeley, introduces the classical economists, and suggests books to read to learn more about them and what they were trying to achieve. Interview by Benedict King The Passions and the Interests by Albert Hirschman The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L Heilbroner The Classical Economists Revisited by D. P. O'Brien Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet and the Enlightenment by Emma Rothschild Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life by Jonathan Sperber Share Before we get into the books, could you just set the scene by telling us who the classical economists were, individually speaking. There was Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, and Jean-Baptiste Say in France. Are there other obvious ones that you would include in that list? I would... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
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My testimony before Sen. Sherrod Brown's subcommittee... Earlier today Eric Rauchway @rauchway wrote that people should take a look at my 2009-03-31 testimony that Sen Sherrod Brown (D-OH) invited me to give: Eric Rauchway @rauchway or see @delong 's Congressional testimony of 2009 Lessons from the New Dealbooks.google.com April 27th 2020 2 Retweets72 Likes He is right: my 2009-03-31 testimony is damned good! LESSONS FROM THE NEW DEAL: HEARING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC POLICY OF THE COMMITTEE ON BANKING, HOUSING, AND URBAN AFFAIRS :: UNITED STATES SENATE :: ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS :: FIRST SESSION ON: WHAT LESSONS CAN CONGRESS LEARN FROM THE NEW DEAL THAT CAN HELP DRIVE OUR ECONOMY TODAY? MARCH 31, 2009 Printed for the use of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Available at: <http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/senate/senate05sh.html>) U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 53–161 PDF WASHINGTON : 2009… Share WRITTEN PREPARED STATEMENT OF J. BRADFORD DELONG PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT BERKELEY MARCH 31, 2009 Chairman Brown, Senator DeMint, other Members of the Committee: It is always an honor to be invited here to participate in a small part in our self-rule via representative government here in the oldest and strongest and most successful large... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember... First: Free speech advocates who care about the functioning of their community have never thought it appropriate for the free-speech principle to empower chaos monkeys who seek to destroy their society and replace it with something with speech that would be less free: John Milton: Areopagitica: ‘Yet if all cannot be of one mind—as who looks they should be?—this doubtless is more wholesome, more prudent, and more Christian, that many be tolerated, rather than all compelled. I mean not tolerated popery, and open superstition, which, as it extirpates all religions and civil supremacies, so itself should be extirpate, provided first that all charitable and compassionate means be used to win and regain the weak and the misled: that also which is impious or evil absolutely either against faith or manners no law can possibly permit, that intends not to unlaw itself: but those neighbouring differences, or rather indifferences, are what I speak of, whether in some point of doctrine or of discipline, which, though they may be many, yet need not interrupt THE UNITY OF SPIRIT, if we could but find among us THE BOND OF PEACE… LINK: <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/608/608-h/608-h.htm> Share... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember... John Scalzi: ’I’m a dude with the usual amount of bullshit on his karma; I try to imagine the better version of me, and then cosplay that in public until hopefully it sticks. Or to quote Vonnegut: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be”… John Scalzi @scalzi I'm a dude with the usual amount of bullshit on his karma; I try to imagine the better version of me, and then cosplay that in public until hopefully it sticks. Or to quote Vonnegut: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Jeffrey Skarski @JeffreySkarski @scalzi You seem like a really nice guy, and you write really good books. January 29th 2021 64 Retweets599 Likes Share Very Briefly Noted: Wikipedia: Emanuel Derman <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Derman> PIIE: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard <https://www.piie.com/experts/senior-research-staff/jacob-funk-kirkegaard> Eyepatch Wolf: Buying a PC with Dell: My Journey Into Hell Eyepatch Wolf @EyePatchWolf Buying a PC with Dell: My Journey Into Hell April 14th 2021 1,543 Retweets6,507 Likes Travis Gettys: Trump-loving lawyer Lin Wood Bizarrely Claims He Roamed White House—& Found Ex-President... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
By Noah Smith & Brad DeLong: Joan Robinson to Bob Solow: "I would not be unkind if you would not be pig-headed..." Listen in podcast app Subscribe now Key Insights: Getting the rate of profit—the sums that are charged businesses for renting machines and renting space, and for access to the generalized social power to deploy resources that is finance—right is a very, very important thing to do. Why? Because the market economy is a complicated institutional calculating machine for determining how to promote societal wellbeing. It cannot do its job if it cannot see the the constraints imposed on us by nature and current technology. And having the market get the profit rate right is a very important part of that. To say “it’s all ideology” or “it’s all power” or “it’s all distribution” and go the full Sraffa production-of-commodities-by-means-of-commodities is to miss a truly powerful, relevant, and important insight. That’s the strongest statement of what the Cambridge, Massachusetts-MIT side was really getting at—or ought to have been getting at, although they phrased it badly and inaccurately. If we attempt to use toy mathematical models applied to macro aggregates to say anything quantitative about whether business owners are getting... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
FIRST: Robert P Baird: The Invention of Whiteness: The Long History of a Dangerous Idea: ‘By the time The Bell Curve appeared, Du Bois’s assertion that racial categories were not biologically grounded was widely accepted. In the years since, the scientific evidence for that understanding has only become more overwhelming. A 2017 study examined the DNA of nearly 6,000 people from around the world and found that while that while some genetic differences among humans can be traced to various ancestral lineages—for example, eastern African, southern European or circumpolar—none of those lineages correspond to traditional ideas about race…. During the second half of the 20th century a number of historians demonstrated that… Du Bois… was correct that it was only in the modern period that people started to think of themselves as belonging to something called the white race.… LINK: <https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/apr/20/the-invention-of-whiteness-long-history-dangerous-idea?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other> Share Very Briefly Noted: Wikipedia: Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deng_Xiaoping%27s_southern_tour> Wikipedia: Great Helmsman <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Helmsman> CMP: A Brief History of the Helmsmen<https://chinamediaproject.org/2020/11/02/a-brief-history-of-the-helmsman/> Wikipedia: Wei Jingsheng <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wei_Jingsheng> Zhao Ziyang: Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang<https://books.google.com/books?id=_3WTqOaAOWkC> Wikipedia: Miracle on the Han River<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_on_the_Han_River#1948%E2%80%931960:_The_First_Republic_and_Korean_War> Global Demographics: China’s Labour Force is, and is not, Growing: ‘The total employed labour force... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong
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MacFarquhar's final prediction turned out to be true: "Communism in China... end[ed] not with a bang but a whimper" Subscribe now Roderick MacFarquhar (1992–12–17): Deng’s Last Campaign: ‘China had its own form of grueling political campaign this year, which ended when the Fourteenth Congress of the Communist Party (CCP) took place in October. There, too, the issue was “change” and the main concern the economy. But in China the economy has been in good shape: it was the aged incumbent who wanted ever more change to keep it that way, and he won. Of course, Deng Xiaoping is a very peculiar sort of “incumbent.” The “patriarch,” as some Hong Kong papers like to call him, no longer has any formal post. At eighty-eight, he reportedly spends much of his time amusing his grandchildren and playing bridge with his cronies, leaving the daily conduct of affairs to the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, the premier, Li Peng, and their colleagues in the Politburo standing committee (PSC). It is only on major matters of national policy, such as voting in the UN on the use of force against Saddam Hussein, that the PSC consults Deng and does what... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at Grasping Reality by Brad DeLong