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Preview: Grasping Reality with Opposable Thumbs

Grasping Reality with Both Hands: bradford-delong.com:





Updated: 2017-08-20T20:19:19-07:00

 




2017-07-09T20:20:05-07:00

Highlighted Teaching Reading, Videos, etc. ---- ---- ### Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads: 1. **Justin Wolfers**: Evidence of a Toxic Environment for Women in Economics: "Ms. Wu set up her computer to identify whether the subject of each post is a man or a woman... 2. **Martin Sandbu**: Ten years on: Anatomy of the global financial meltdown: "August 9 2007 was the day when BNP Paribas, the French bank, froze three investment funds... 3. **Oliver Kamm**: On Twitter: "This is extraordinary. Just yesterday I was asked for recommended reading on Srebrenica... 4. **Dean Baker**: Opposition to Trade Deals: Brad DeLong's "Socialism of Fools" Might Look Like Common Sense to Those Outside the Fraternity: "First, Brad is well aware that the economy has operated well below full employment... 5. **Nancy MacLean**: Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America : "As 1956 drew to a close, Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr., the president of the University of Virginia, feared... 6. **Will Dobbie and Jae Song**: Targeted debt relief and the origins of financial distress: Experimental evidence from distressed credit card borrowers: "We identify the separate effects of the payment reductions and debt write-downs using variation from... Highlighted Teaching Reading, Videos, etc. [...]




2017-08-18T17:14:09-07:00

**Should-Read: Kevin Williamson** (May 3, 2016): Pre-planning my 'I Told You So': "Remember, You Asked for This... >...I want to leave a note here, because I expect to have many occasions to link back to it in the next several months. Americans and Republicans, remember: You asked for this. Given the choice between a dozen solid conservatives and one Clinton-supporting con artist and game-show host, you chose the con artist. You chose him freely. Nobody made you do it. I will be reminding you all of that, from time to time.




2017-08-18T14:34:18-07:00

**Must-Read**: It should not be necessary to say that the "community" of EJMR is not Berkeley—or indeed, is not anywhere IRL. Also: cf.: [Griefer][]. Do not ignore or dismiss this. Do note that I can recall only one economics professor of any ideology or university ever praising EJMR: George Borjas of Harvard, who called it "refreshing". [Griefer]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griefer But, again, do not ignore of dismiss this: **Justin Wolfers**: Evidence of a Toxic Environment for Women in Economics: "Ms. Wu set up her computer to identify whether the subject of each post is a man or a woman... >...The simplest version involves looking for references to “she,” “her,” “herself” or “he,” “him,” “his” or “himself.” She then adapted machine-learning techniques to ferret out the terms most uniquely associated with posts about men and about women. >The 30 words most uniquely associated with discussions of women... in order... [are]: hotter, lesbian, bb (internet speak for “baby”), sexism, tits, anal, marrying, feminazi, slut, hot, vagina, boobs, pregnant, pregnancy, cute, marry, levy, gorgeous, horny, crush, beautiful, secretary, dump, shopping, date, nonprofit, intentions, sexy, dated and prostitute.... >Words about men[: juicy, keys, adviser, bully, prepare, fought, wharton, austrian, checkers, homo, genes, e7ee, mathematician, advisor, burning,...




2017-08-17T16:54:43-07:00

**Today's Economic History**: Would I be out-of-turn to point out that these thesis statements by E.P. Thompson from his _The Making of the English Working Class_ are, well, pretty much completely wrong? That there was no English working class in any Marxian sense of what a self-conscious class is that had been "made" by 1832? That there is almost no commonality between the working class of England as it stood in, say, 1926 and what there was in 1832? **E.P. Thompson**: [The Making of the English Working Class](http://amzn.to/1NRYigC): "Class happens when some men, as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared)... >...feel and articulate the identity of their interests as between themselves, and as against other men whose interests are different from (and usually opposed to) theirs.... This book can be seen as a biography of the English working class from its adolescence until its early manhood. In the years between 1780 and 1832 most English working people came to feel an identity of interests as between themselves, and as against their rulers and employers. This ruling class was itself much divided, and in fact only gained in cohesion over the same years because certain antagonisms were resolved (or...




2017-08-17T19:52:48-07:00

**Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Kevin Drum**: Give It Up, Folks: Confederate Statues Are All About Racism: "I got... pushback from folks offering non-racist explanations for why these bursts of monument building happened to coincide with periods of white terror campaigns against blacks... >...For your entertainment, here are the three most popular arguments: >1. This is right around the 50th and 100th anniversaries of the Civil War. No. The first spike starts in 1895, the second in 1955. Those are 35th and 95th anniversaries. Maybe those numbers have some special significance in the South? >2. The Civil War generation was dying right around 1895. The average Confederate trooper would have been about 55 then. They weren’t dying off. As for the Confederate leaders who seem to attract the most statue attention, I looked them up. Robert E. Lee died in 1870, Stonewall Jackson in 1863, Nathan Bedford Forrest in 1877, Roger Taney in 1864, and Jefferson Davis in 1889. Of the eight full generals in the Confederate army, only three died later than 1880. 3. Maybe there was just a big explosion of statue building right around then. Anything is possible, I guess. Knock yourself out if you want...




2017-08-17T10:56:20-07:00

**Should-Read: Oliver Kamm**: On Twitter: "This is extraordinary. Just yesterday I was asked for recommended reading on Srebrenica... >...and here it is. Now, this guyPiers Robinson—a pundit on @RT_com—is, of all things, a prof of journalism at a fine UK university. And he is disseminating an article by a notorious Srebrenica denier, which claims the number of Srebrenica victims is inflated: >>Historical and analytical perspective on 'fake news' and propaganda from Ed Herman... ---- **Oliver Kamm**: On Twitter: "A few recommendations follow. On the massacre itself, I recommend _Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica_ by David Rohde of NYT... >...On heroic work by @TheICMP locating and identifying the remains of Srebrenica victims, read _Bosnia's Million Bones_ by Christian Jennings. On pursuit of Srebrenica's perpetrators: Julian Borger's _The Butcher's Trail_. (My family gave evidence for prosecution in Karadzic trial.) A harrowing BBC film called "Srebrenica: A Cry from the Grave" is vital. Please set aside 100 mins to watch it. And please follow the work of @SrebrenicaUK, and @TheICMP & its director-general @KatBomberger...




2017-08-17T10:45:19-07:00

**Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Josh Marshall**: On Twitter: Bannon: "Journalists will sometimes, I think rightly, give someone the benefit of the doubt if they have no experience with the ground rules of... >...journalism. In such a case, Kuttner might have interrupted and said, you know we're on the record, right? But Bannon is a top presidential adviser and ran a news publication for years. Zero question that if you call up a journalist and start talking you are on the record unless you set ground rules to the contrary. Zero question. Of all people, Bannon knows this. All I can figure is that he somehow thought he could ingratiate himself with Bob over trade policy. Even based on his own account, it's obvious he was on the record... ---- >So I read the whole Kuttner piece. My read is Bannon doesn't care. The economic nationalism is his biggest issue. He's trying to build a right/left alliance for a trade war with China. Bob's been on this issue for decades. Look, Bannon spent something like a year having Josh Green be his Boswell. He told Josh everything and Josh published everything. Did he give a f--- then? Apparently not......



Procrastination on August 17, 2017

2017-08-17T05:53:37-07:00

**Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org): Must- and Should-Reads:** * **Jesse Rothstein**: Inequality of educational opportunity? Schools as mediators of the intergenerational transmission of income: "Chetty et al. (2014) show that children from low-income families achieve much better adult outcomes... in some places than in others... * **Will Dobbie and Jae Song**: Targeted debt relief and the origins of financial distress: Experimental evidence from distressed credit card borrowers: "We identify the separate effects of the payment reductions and debt write-downs using variation from both the experiment and cross-sectional differences... * **Drew Conway**: The Data Science Venn Diagram : "The primary colors of data: hacking skills, math and stats knowledge, and substantive expertise... * **Fardels Bear**: Was James Buchanan a Racist? Libertarians and Historical Research: "Today’s libertarians face a similar problem that Morley faced half a decade ago... * **Sarah Kliff**: Top Democratic, Republican health experts agree on this plan to fix Obamacare: "'This package is no one’s conception of what is perfect health reform', says Ron Pollack... of... Families USA, an ardent defender of the ACA... * **Nick Bunker**: Weekend reading: “Jolting news this week!” edition: "Estimates of the potential growth rate of U.S. gross domestic product have declined... * **Barry Eichengreen**:... Over at Equitable Growth: Must- and Should-Reads: Jesse Rothstein: Inequality of educational opportunity? Schools as mediators of the intergenerational transmission of income: "Chetty et al. (2014) show that children from low-income families achieve much better adult outcomes... in some places than in others... http://equitablegrowth.org/working-papers/inequality-of-educational-opportunity-schools-as-mediators-of-the-intergenerational-transmission-of-income/ Will Dobbie and Jae Song: Targeted debt relief and the origins of financial distress: Experimental evidence from distressed credit card borrowers: "We identify the separate effects of the payment reductions and debt write-downs using variation from both the experiment and cross-sectional differences... http://equitablegrowth.org/working-papers/targeted-debt-relief-and-financial-distress/ Drew Conway: The Data Science Venn Diagram http://www.dataists.com/2010/09/the-data-science-venn-diagram/: "The primary colors of data: hacking skills, math and stats knowledge, and substantive expertise... Fardels Bear: Was James Buchanan a Racist? Libertarians and Historical Research: "Today’s libertarians face a similar problem that Morley faced half a decade ago... https://altrightorigins.com/2017/07/13/was-james-buchanan-a-racist-libertarians-and-historical-research/ Sarah Kliff: Top Democratic, Republican health experts agree on this plan to fix Obamacare: "'This package is no one’s conception of what is perfect health reform', says Ron Pollack... of... Families USA, an ardent defender of the ACA... https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/9/16119244/bipartisan-plan-fix-obamacare Nick Bunker: Weekend reading: “Jolting news this week!” edition: "Estimates of the potential growth rate of U.S. gross domestic product have declined... http://equitablegrowth.org/equitablog/weekend-reading-jolting-news-this-week-edition/ Barry Eichengreen: Hyperglobalization Is Over, But Globalization Is Still with Us: "Hyperglobalization is over... international trade... growing faster than the world economy... has drawn to a close... https://neo.ubs.com/shared/d1JfrUS5WO79UD/9e9d7589-d888-4435-98fc-4792ff141323.pdf Chris Dillow: Stumbling and Mumbling: Reinventing the wheel: "In both the UK and US, wage inflation has stayed low despite apparently low unemployment–to the puzzlement of believers in the Philips curve... http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2017/07/reinve[...]




2017-08-17T05:39:05-07:00

**Should-Read: Will Dobbie and Jae Song**: Targeted debt relief and the origins of financial distress: Experimental evidence from distressed credit card borrowers: "We identify the separate effects of the payment reductions and debt write-downs using variation from both the experiment and cross-sectional differences... >...Debt write-downs significantly improved both financial and labor market outcomes despite not taking effect for three to five years. In sharp contrast, there were no positive effects of the more immediate payment reductions. These results run counter to the widespread view that financial distress is largely the result of short-run constraints...




2017-08-17T05:39:01-07:00

**Should-Read: Jesse Rothstein**: Inequality of educational opportunity? Schools as mediators of the intergenerational transmission of income: "Chetty et al. (2014) show that children from low-income families achieve much better adult outcomes... in some places than in others... >...I use data from several national surveys to investigate whether children’s educational outcomes... mediate the relationship between parental and child income. Commuting zones (CZs) with stronger intergenerational income transmission tend to have stronger transmission of parental income to children’s educational attainment, as well as higher returns to education. By contrast, the CZ-level association between parental income and children’s test scores is only weakly related to CZ income transmission, and is stable across grades. There is thus little evidence that differences in the quality of K-12 schooling are a key mechanism driving variation in intergenerational mobility. >Access to college plays a somewhat larger role, but most of the variation in CZ income mobility reflects (a) differences in marriage patterns, which affect income transmission when spousal earnings are counted in children’s income; (b) differences in labor market returns to education; and (c) differences in children’s earnings residuals, after controlling for observed skills and the CZ-level return to skill. This points to job networks or the...




2017-08-16T21:48:32-07:00

**Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage**: White House Staff Sing Along:

Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: White House Staff Sing Along:

width="600" height="338" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/29Mg6Gfh9Co" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>





2017-08-16T20:23:07-07:00

**Live from Post-Civil War**: In some ways, the "good" Robert E. Lee was a con game the post-Civil War North ran on the South: unlike the evil terrorist Nathan Bedford Forrest, Robert E. Lee surrendered when he lost, accepted the verdict of history, and turned to work building up the nation as head of Washington College. >Because he accepted defeat, we are willing to acknowledge that he and his army fought bravely and nobly—albeit, as Grant said, for a cause that was one of the worst that humans ever fought for, and one for which there was the least excuse. There was an implicit bargain offered: if you accept the verdict of history and work to build up America rather than undermine the Union victory, you can be an honored part of America again. If you try to reverse the verdict **cough**, you cannot. But this attempt to use the "honorable" Lee to run a con game on white Southern irredentists failed in the long run, and Lee statues became ways of saying to the local African-American population: "Grant and his army are gone, but we are still here and still in control...




2017-08-16T17:48:29-07:00

**Comment of the Day: Charles Steindel**: Weekend Reading: Stephen Vincent Benet: From John Brown's Body : "At this juncture, one might turn to Benet's best known work, The Devil and Daniel Webster: >>And they say that if you go to his grave and speak loud and clear, 'Dan'l Webster--Dan'l Webster!' the ground'll begin to shiver and the trees begin to shake. And after a while you'll hear a deep voice saying. 'Neighbor, how stands the Union?' Then you better answer the Union stands as she stood, rock-bottomed and copper-sheathed, one and indivisible, or he's liable to rear right out of the ground... >Perhaps a trip to the Winslow Cemetery in Marshfield Massachusetts is now in order...




2017-08-16T11:41:57-07:00

**Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage**: Silver Lining Department : One piece of good news from the past week: we now know that the president and his camarilla are not secret Nazis. Secret Nazis are always much more eager to denounce Nazi violence than Trump turns out to be. That is the whole point of being a _secret_ Nazi: you keep your Nazi sympathies secret! Nathan Bedford Forrest was much more eager to denounce the Ku Klux Klan than Donald Trump is to denounce the alt right. And Nathan Bedford Forrest was the leader and founder of the Ku Klux Klan! The whole "plausible deniability" thing is now out the window. And no American can now pretend that it is not there or that if they ignore it it will go away...



Yes, Virginia, Things Will Probably Get Better...

2017-08-16T11:38:38-07:00

**Live from America's Better Self**: Orientation Day : Yesterday we had 750 groups of about 20 people each following standards around the campus: The Berkeley freshmen are here. Young, smart very idealistic, many very upwardly mobile, somewhat scared, very excited—at the prospect of being no longer children but themselves, and grown-ups. You look at them, and you have to think America is very great indeed. It is a very refreshing change from looking at the White House, or the congressional majorities, or the speakers on Fox News: terrifying their elderly viewers to keep their eyeballs glued to the TV set so that they can be sold overpriced gold funds and fake medicines endorsed by republican bigwigs like Huckabee and Carson...




2017-08-16T10:32:09-07:00

**Should-Read: Drew Conway**: The Data Science Venn Diagram : "The primary colors of data: hacking skills, math and stats knowledge, and substantive expertise... >...each... very valuable, but when combined with only one other are at best simply not data science, or at worst downright dangerous.... Being able to manipulate text files at the command-line, understanding vectorized operations, thinking algorithmically... the hacking skills... apply[ing] appropriate math and statistics methods... [but] data plus math and statistics only gets you machine learning, which is great if that is what you are interested in, but not if you are doing data science... [which] is about discovery and building knowledge.... >The hacking skills plus substantive expertise danger zone... people who “know enough to be dangerous”... capable of extracting and structuring data... related to a field they know quite a bit about and... run a linear regression... lack[ing] any understanding of what those coefficients mean. It is from this part of the diagram that the phrase “lies, damned lies, and statistics” emanates, because either through ignorance or malice this overlap of skills gives people the ability to create what appears to be a legitimate analysis without any understanding of how they got there or what they...




2017-08-16T10:27:00-07:00

**Note to Self**: _"Data Science" as an Ephemeral Term_:There was a time—perhaps a century, maybe a bit more, certainly not much less—ago, when the high-tech bleeding edge electricity sector was an important but discrete part of the "economy". Today, if one asks: "Where is the electricity sector? What is the impact of electricity on the economy?"; the only possible answer today is: "Everywhere". Electricity is no longer in any sense any sort of discrete sector. Electricity is _everywhere_. So it is rapidly becoming with computers and "data science". Computers, data, simulations, understanding systems via emergence from the bottom-up, communication—they are no longer a discrete piece of our society and our educational system. Already they are intermixed. Soon they will be everywhere. Soon it will make as little sense to talk about the discrete pieces of the university that make use of computers as it makes sense to talk about the discrete pieces of the university that use electricity. But how soon? How long is the expected lifespan of Berkeley's [Division of Data Sciences][]? How long before it either eats the rest of the college—as everything becomes data science—or sublimes into the rest of the college—as everything becomes data science? [Division...




2017-08-16T10:25:10-07:00

**Note to Self**: I am told that what we are doing here is something called "data science"... I find myself feeling somewhat surprised—like the "Middle-Class Aristocrat" title character in 1600s-era French playwright [Moliêre's][] _[Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme][]_, who is astonished and gratified to learn that he has, his entire life, been a master of that highbrow literary accomplishment of speaking "prose": "Well, what do you know about that! These forty years now I’ve been speaking in prose without knowing it!" I had thought that I was simply: * Studying and analyzing cases to understand how pieces of the world worked. * Counting and aggregating statistical totals to understand which case studies were in fact broadly representative of the world as a whole. But I am now told that this is "data science": the combination of substantive expertise in my particular area, the ability to use mathematical and statistical tools properly and sensibly, plus knowing how to make my computers dance (or, rather, shamble forward in a stumbling zombie-like walk). So let me roll with it and see where it takes us... [Moliêre's]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molière [Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Bourgeois_gentilhomme




2017-08-16T10:23:23-07:00

**Note to Self: Data Science Reading List**: * **John Tukey**: The Future of Data Analysis: "Large parts of data analysis are inferential... but only parts.... Large parts... are incisive.... Some parts... are allocative... dude its in the distribution of effort..." * **Leo Breiman**: Statistical Modeling: The Two Cultures: "The data are generated by a given stochastic data model... [vs.] algorithmic models... treat[ing]... the data mechanism as unknown. The statistical community['s]... commit[ment]... to... models... has led to irrelevant theory, questionable conclusions, and has kept statisticians from working on a large range of interesting current problems..." * **Ben Fry**: computational information design: "Fields such as information visualization, data mining and graphic design... each solv[e]... an isolated part of the specific problem but fail... in a broader sense.... This dissertation proposes that the individual fields be brought together as part of a singular process titled Computational Information Design..." * **Hal Varian**: How the Web challenges managers: "There’s already been a big revolution in how we view intellectual property.... It’s not so much the question of what’s owned or what’s not owned. It’s a question of how can you leverage the assets you have to realize the most value.... Disseminating content... has become intensely...




2017-08-16T10:23:21-07:00

**Note to Self**: View jupyter notebook from dropbox (or other) links: * Dropbox: change: "https://www.dropbox.com/" to: "http://nbviewer.jupyter.org/urls/dl.dropbox.com/"; then load the url... * Else: change: "https://" to "http://nbviewer.jupyter.org/"; then load the url...




2017-08-14T11:15:04-07:00

**Should-Read: Sarah Kliff**: Top Democratic, Republican health experts agree on this plan to fix Obamacare: "'This package is no one’s conception of what is perfect health reform', says Ron Pollack... of... Families USA, an ardent defender of the ACA... >>None of the signatories, if acting alone, would offer this precise package. But that is the whole process of bipartisanship. As a composite, we think this is constructive and has the best opportunity to move forward in Congress.... >Continued funding of the cost-sharing reduction subsidies.... “Reassessing” certain health law policies that are meant to stabilize the individual market.... Continue to encourage all Americans to sign up for coverage.... Let states do more experimentation within the health care law.... Allow a “judicious expansion” of health savings accounts.... Ensure funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).... >The policy ideas here aren’t the big deal. The coalition is. Wilensky began organizing the bipartisan group back in January in partnership with Pollack... Chen, who has defended the House’s Obamacare repeal bill; Stuart Butler, a vice president at conservative Heritage Foundation, which supports Obamacare repeal; and Grace-Marie Turner, who was part of John McCain’s 2008 policy advisory team.... John McDonough, a Harvard professor who advised...




2017-08-14T11:17:29-07:00

**Should-Read: Fardels Bear**: Was James Buchanan a Racist? Libertarians and Historical Research: "Today’s libertarians face a similar problem that Morley faced half a decade ago... >...Morley obviously adored Calhoun’s anti-democratic political philosophy, but obviously could not defend slavery; thus slavery simply disappears as a topic in his treatment of Calhoun’s thought. Today’s libertarians admire Calhoun and Buchanan, but they cannot possibly admit that those figures were involved in racial segregation; thus segregation disappears as a topic. We saw the same thing with Constitutional originalists: That the theory was used for decades to defend racial segregation is simply ignored. MacLean has shown how Buchanan did work in an alliance with segregationists. Public choice theorists must face up to this fact as a flaw in their system of thought or admit that they have no answer to her case. They have not yet done so...



Information Technology and the Future of Society

2017-08-14T11:09:03-07:00

**Hoisted from 2001**: Information Technology and the Future of Society (My Bekeley CITRIS Kickoff Talk) : For perhaps 9000 years after the beginnings of agriculture the overwhelming proportion of human work lives were spent making things: growing crops, shearing sheep, spinning yarn, weaving cloth, throwing pots, cutting down trees, copying books, and so on, and so forth. Technology did improve enormously over those 9000 years: contrast the clothes-making technology at the disposal of Henry VIII of England with that of Rameses II of Egypt three thousand years before; contrast the triple-crop paddy-irrigated rice- and water-control-based agriculture of the Yangtze Delta in eighteenth-century China with the scratch-the-soil-with-a-hoe agriculture of two thousand years before. But as Thomas Robert Malthus first wrote in the 1790s, rising populations had put enough pressure on scarce natural resources to offset the benefits of better technology and keep living standards nearly constant for the people if not for the elite: American President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 A.D. certainly enjoyed a higher standard of living than Roman Consul Marcus Tullius Cicero in 63 B.C. But did Jefferson's slaves enjoy a higher standard of living than Cicero's? A large amount of archeological evidence has not yet found significant differences....




2017-08-14T10:03:42-07:00

**Live from Cyberspace**: The elective affinity between fantasy and computer programming: **Paul Dourish**: The Original Hacker's Dictionary: "WIZARD n. 1. A person who knows how a complex piece of software or hardware works... >...someone who can find and fix his bugs in an emergency. Rarely used at MIT, where HACKER is the preferred term. 2. A person who is permitted to do things forbidden to ordinary people, e.g., a "net wizard" on a TENEX may run programs which speak low-level host-imp protocol; an ADVENT wizard at SAIL may play Adventure during the day... ---- **Harold Abelson and Gerald Jay Sussman with Julie Sussman** (1993): _Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs_ : "Computational processes are abstract beings that inhabit computers... >...As they evolve, processes manipulate other abstract things called data. The evolution of a process is directed by a pattern of rules called a program. People create programs to direct processes. In effect, we conjure the spirits of the computer with our spells. >The programs we use to conjure processes are like a sorcerer's spells. They are carefully composed from symbolic expressions in arcane and esoteric programming languages that prescribe the tasks we want our processes to perform. >A computational process,...




2017-08-14T07:50:10-07:00

**Live from the End of the Slavery Rebellion: U.S. Grant**: At Appomattox : >My own feelings... were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse... And: >I had known General Lee in the old army, and had served with him in the Mexican War; but did not suppose, owing to the difference in our age and rank, that he would remember me, while I would more naturally remember him distinctly, because he was the chief of staff of General Scott in the Mexican War. When I had left camp that morning I had not expected so soon the result that was then taking place, and consequently was in rough garb. I was without a sword, as I usually was when on horseback on the field, and wore a soldier's blouse for a coat, with the shoulder straps of my rank to indicate to the army who I was. When I went into...



Links for the Week of August 13, 2017

2017-08-13T06:06:17-07:00

**Must-Reads:** * **Peter Conti-Brown**: Health Care, the Congressional Budget Office, and “Audit the Fed”: "One of the most intriguing institutional players... was the Congressional Budget Office... * **Martin Sandbu**: Ten years on: Anatomy of the global financial meltdown: "August 9 2007 was the day when BNP Paribas, the French bank, froze three investment funds... * **Paul Romer** (2016): The Trouble With Macroeconomics: "For more than three decades, macroeconomics has gone backwards... * **Jared Bernstein**: ‘Why Did Nobody Notice It?’: "Paul Romer... gave a lecture... 'The Trouble with Macroeconomics'... tore contemporary macro a new one... * **Narayana Kocherlakota**: The Neglected Lessons of a Lost Decade: "In some ways... 2007 to 2009 did more economic damage than the Great Depression of the 1930s... * **Ogged**: Google Anti-Diversity Memo: "I tried to read the Google anti-diversity memo, I really did. I even powered through the part where he said that deprecating products too quickly is an example of a leftist failing, but I just couldn't do it. If you'd like to discuss how you, too, couldn't make it through the whole thing, this is the thread for you..." * **Jonathan Portes**: The New York Times, Brexit, and the balance of bulls---: "Two articles...



Weekend Reading: Vachel Lindsay **Stephen Vincent Benet**: Army of Northern Virginia (From John Brown's Body)

2017-08-14T07:44:24-07:00

**Weekend Reading: Vachel Lindsay Stephen Vincent Benet**: Army of Northern Virginia (From John Brown's Body) : >The cold. The mud. The bleak wonder. The weakening sickness--the weevils tainting the bread-- We were beaten again in spite of all we could do. We don't know what went wrong but something went wrong. When will we find a man who can really lead us? When will we not be wasted without success? >Army of the Potomac, army of brave men, Beaten again and again but never quite broken, You are to have the victory in the end But these bleak months are your anguish. >Your voice dies out. Let us hear the voice of your steadfast enemy. >Army of Northern Virginia, fabulous army, Strange army of ragged individualists, The hunters, the riders, the walkers, the savage pastorals, The unmachined, the men come out of the ground, Still for the most part, living close to the ground As the roots of the cow-pea, the roots of the jessamine, The lazy scorners, the rebels against the wheels, The rebels against the steel combustion-chamber Of the half-born new age of engines and metal hands. >The fighters who fought for themselves in the old clan-fashion. Army...



Weekend Reading: Vachel Lindsay **Stephen Vincent Benet**: From John Brown's Body

2017-08-14T07:44:27-07:00

**Weekend Reading: Vachel Lindsay Stephen Vincent Benet**: From John Brown's Body : >The horses, burning-hooved, drove on toward the sea, But, where they had passed, the air was troubled and sick Like earth that the shoulder of earthquake heavily stirs. There was a whisper moving that air all night, A whisper that cried and whimpered about the house Where John Brown prayed to his God, by his narrow bed. ---- >JOHN BROWN'S PRAYER >Omnipotent and steadfast God, Who, in Thy mercy, hath Upheaved in me Jehovah's rod And his chastising wrath, >For fifty-nine unsparing years Thy Grace hath worked apart To mould a man of iron tears With a bullet for a heart. >Yet, since this body may be weak With all it has to bear, Once more, before Thy thunders speak, Almighty, hear my prayer. >I saw Thee when Thou did display The black man and his lord To bid me free the one, and slay The other with the sword. >I heard Thee when Thou bade me spurn Destruction from my hand And, though all Kansas bleed and burn, It was at Thy command. >I hear the rolling of the wheels, The chariots of war! I hear the...



One Year and Four Days Ago at Grasping Reality: August 8, 2016

2017-08-12T08:17:56-07:00

Looking back another decade: By August 8, 2007 I had an idea of what was going down: * The Odds of Economic Meltdown: Hoisted from the Archives from Ten Years Ago : Hoisted from the Archives from Ten Years Ago: Pretty good, no?: "The past 24 years have been an amazing run as far as the business cycle is concerned. There have been only two recessions, and both of those were short and shallow. But Ben Bernanke and Co. are now at real risk of presiding over the third..." * **Must-Read**: Back before 2008, too much conventional wisdom held that the state of the business cycle did not matter much for the standard of living of those who did not own much capital. If inflation was to remain constant over time, a high-pressure economy that pushed inflation up had to be offset by an equal and opposite low-pressure economy that pushed inflation down, and so there was no permanent first-order gain for the working class from working hard to try to improve stabilization policy performance. This was, I think, always false. But now it is obviously false. It now seems very unlikely we will get any rapid growth of potential...



Ten Years and Eleven Days Ago at Grasping Reality: August 1, 2007

2017-08-12T08:06:28-07:00

I was identifying the Fed as behind the curve: * John Berry on the Fed's Decisions This Week : He writes, for Bloomberg: "The Federal Open Market Committee will keep its overnight lending rate target at 5.25 percent and say its 'predominant policy concern' is that inflation may not moderate... ---- **The List**: * John Berry on the Fed's Decisions This Week : He writes, for Bloomberg: "The Federal Open Market Committee will keep its overnight lending rate target at 5.25 percent and say its 'predominant policy concern' is that inflation may not moderate... * Sagebrush BBQ * Max Sawicky Objects to a Paragraph in the Club for Growth's Petition * Barry Eichengreen: Manufacturing Doesn't Matter (Much) (Any More) * Alan Blinder on Taxing Private Equity Managers



Weekend Reading: Jamelle Bouie: The Bubble President

2017-08-12T06:33:44-07:00

**Weekend Reading: Jamelle Bouie**: The Bubble President: "**Trump lives in a fantasy of triumph. He will never do anything to win back the voters he’s lost**... >...Among the most striking aspects of Donald Trump is how, as president, he has taken the pathologies and dysfunctions of the modern Republican Party and brought them careening to their logical conclusions. The racial dog-whistling of Republican campaigns since Richard Nixon becomes outright racism in the hands of the Trump; the contempt for expertise seen from the party’s right-wing base becomes an administration staffed with amateurs and apparatchiks. And now, as the president’s approval sinks to new lows, what was once Karl Rove’s disdain for the “reality-based community” has inevitably given way to a president who chooses to disregard reality altogether, living instead in his own private Idaho where he is beloved and successful. >We see this most clearly in President Trump’s Twitter feed, where he denounces unfavorable coverage as “fake news” and seeks to delegitimize anyone who threatens the edifice he’s built to block out the reality of his tenure. In just the past few days, for example, Trump has claimed that his base is “far bigger & stronger than ever before (despite...




2017-08-12T06:26:24-07:00

**Should-Read: Nick Bunker**: Weekend reading: “Jolting news this week!” edition: "Estimates of the potential growth rate of U.S. gross domestic product have declined... >...Does this mean productivity growth has slowed down? Not so, argues a new paper.... The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.... Check out some useful graphs.... Bridget Ansel discusses recent research that looks at the effects of new policies to prevent salary history disclosure.... Nisha Chikhale highlights a paper looking at the shift of business income away from corporations and wages and toward so called pass-through entities and toward profits. What’s the best way to boost absolute mobility for the next generation of Americans? Faster growth? A more equal distribution of income? Both help, but more equitable growth will do most of the work...



Weekend Reading: Paul Romer (2016): The Trouble with Macroeconomics

2017-08-12T06:16:50-07:00

**Weekend Reading: Paul Romer** (2016): The Trouble with Macroeconomics : "**Abstract**: For more than three decades, macroeconomics has gone backwards. The treatment of identification now is no more credible than in the early 1970s but escapes challenge because it is so much more opaque. Macroeconomic theorists dismiss mere facts by feigning an obtuse ignorance about such simple assertions as 'tight monetary policy can cause a recession'. Their models attribute fluctuations in aggregate variables to imaginary causal forces that are not influenced by the action that any person takes. A parallel with string theory from physics hints at a general failure mode of science that is triggered when respect for highly regarded leaders evolves into a deference to authority that displaces objective fact from its position as the ultimate determinant of scientific truth. >Lee Smolin begins _The Trouble with Physics_ (Smolin 2007) by noting that his career spanned the only quarter-century in the history of physics when the field made no progress on its core problems. >The trouble with macroeconomics is worse. I have observed more than three decades of intellectual regress. >In the 1960s and early 1970s, many macroeconomists were cavalier about the identification problem. They did not recognize how... Weekend Reading: Paul Romer (2016): The Trouble with Macroeconomics https://paulromer.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/WP-Trouble.pdf: "Abstract: For more than three decades, macroeconomics has gone backwards. The treatment of identification now is no more credible than in the early 1970s but escapes challenge because it is so much more opaque. Macroeconomic theorists dismiss mere facts by feigning an obtuse ignorance about such simple assertions as 'tight monetary policy can cause a recession'. Their models attribute fluctuations in aggregate variables to imaginary causal forces that are not influenced by the action that any person takes. A parallel with string theory from physics hints at a general failure mode of science that is triggered when respect for highly regarded leaders evolves into a deference to authority that displaces objective fact from its position as the ultimate determinant of scientific truth. Lee Smolin begins The Trouble with Physics (Smolin 2007) by noting that his career spanned the only quarter-century in the history of physics when the field made no progress on its core problems. The trouble with macroeconomics is worse. I have observed more than three decades of intellectual regress. In the 1960s and early 1970s, many macroeconomists were cavalier about the identification problem. They did not recognize how difficult it is to make reliable inferences about causality from observations on variables that are part of a simultaneous system. By the late 1970s, macroeconomists understood how serious this issue is, but as Canova and Sala (2009) signal with the title of a recent paper, we are now "Back to Square One." Macro models now use incredible identifying assumptions to reach bewildering conclusions. To appreciate how strange these conclusions can be, consider this observation, from a paper published in 2010, by a leading macroeconomist [Jesus F[...]




2017-08-12T06:14:03-07:00

**Should-Read: Barry Eichengreen**: Hyperglobalization Is Over, But Globalization Is Still with Us: "Hyperglobalization is over... international trade... growing faster than the world economy... has drawn to a close... >...The era when cross-border financial flows were growing faster than the world economy has drawn to a close as well. And the era when international migration was growing faster than the world economy is probably over too. Trade is slowing because Chinese growth has slowed down from 10% to 6% or so, and its export growth has slowed down commensurately. And global supply chains cannot be made more and more elaborate forever. Cross-border financial flows are no longer growing faster than everything else because regulators have wisely cracked down on cross-border bank lending.... But I see no reason in principle why trade and GDP cannot now expand in tandem.... And I see no reason why financial flows cannot grow in tandem.... >Hyperglobalization may be over, but globalization is still with us. US business is deeply invested in globalization and would push back hard against anything the Trump administration did that seriously jeopardized NAFTA or globalization more broadly. And other parts of the world remain committed to openness, even if they are concerned...




2017-08-12T06:07:44-07:00

**Should-Read**: I have never found "power" to be an illuminating and useful word in economics: "threat points", "default outcomes", "bargaining strategies", etc., IMHO, are much more useful ways of thinking about issues. You get somewhere if you ask the question: Why aren't employers today finding that they must offer higher wage increases to retain and attract the workforce they need? You don't get much of anywhere if you say: Workers just don't have the power to make big wage demands. **Chris Dillow**: Stumbling and Mumbling: Reinventing the wheel: "In both the UK and US, wage inflation has stayed low despite apparently low unemployment–to the puzzlement of believers in the Philips curve... >...Felix Martin in the FT says there's a reason for this. The “dirty secret of economics,” he says, is “the central importance of power.” Inflation, he says, is “society’s default method of reconciling, at least for a while, irreconcilable demands.” And because workers don't have the power to make big demands, we haven’t got serious inflation. What's depressing about this isn’t just that it’s right, but that it needs saying at all. Economists of my age were raised to see that inflation was a matter of power. The very...




2017-08-12T05:57:08-07:00

**Should-Read: Guillermo Gallacher**: Manufacturing employment, trade and structural change: "Calls for a return of manufacturing jobs... how feasible is such a goal in light of structural changes in the U.S. economy?... >...This project will try to answer this question by developing a model that will decompose the total decline in manufacturing into decline due to structural change and decline due to increased international trade. It also aims to put the decline of manufacturing in a global perspective. It proposes to study cross-country patterns of structural change by studying 25 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, offering a new look at the current controversy of trade versus technology in employment...




2017-08-11T16:59:57-07:00

**Should-Read: Daniel Davies**: From a logical point of view...: "I have now read that 'google manifesto'... out of a desire to forestall people saying 'but have you ACTUALLY READ IT?'... >... [and not] out of any expectation that it would contain new or unfamiliar information.... Indeed it was your fairly standard evo-psych “just asking questions”... mulberry bush.... I have changed in my old age; I used to be depressed at the generally very poor level of statistical education, now I’m depressed at the extent to which people with an excellent education in statistics still don’t really understand anything about the subject. I’m beginning to think that mathematical training in many cases is actually damaging; simple and robust metrics, usually drawn from the early days of industrial quality control, are what people need to understand. Let’s talk about distributions of programming ability.... >The male/female ratio at Google is... a variable under Google’s control. And when you think of the male/female ratio as an input rather than an output, you can start thinking about recruitment as a quality control process and everything becomes much simpler.... Recruitment... [is] a production process... to produce an output of employees of adequate quality.... Its failure mode...




2017-08-10T17:52:20-07:00

**Should-Read: Economist**: Who will be the next chair of the Federal Reserve?: "The interest-rate opinions of the favourite to succeed her are less clear. Mr Cohn... >...thinks that monetary policy is a global endeavour, and that central banks may have been playing beggar-thy-neighbour. In March 2016 he told a conference that if every central bank suddenly raised interest rates by three percentage points, “the world would be a better place”. Yet he also said he was not sure Ms Yellen had been right to raise rates three months earlier. And he criticised the Fed’s recent forward guidance as confusing for the markets. He said it should worry more about what it does than what it says. >The Fed is not only responsible for monetary policy. It is also the biggest regulator of banks. Here Mr Cohn is more in sync with Mr Trump’s deregulatory agenda. However, that may not matter much. The president recently nominated Randal Quarles, another critic of recent regulation, to be vice-chairman for supervision, a post left empty since it was created in 2010 (though in practice the job was done by Daniel Tarullo, who left the Fed in April). Whoever heads the Fed, Mr Quarles will...




2017-08-10T17:49:52-07:00

**Live From Berkeley**: In the Academic Innovation Studio; Unique challenges of teaching large enrollment courses * Dwinelle 117 * Thursday, August 10 * 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Open and informal conversation. Light refreshments. Bring your questions, experience, suggestions, and successes to share with colleagues and generate new ideas for your own teaching.



Ten Years and Eleven Days Ago on Grasping Reality: July 31, 2007

2017-08-10T17:49:21-07:00

**Worth Highlighting:** * Felix Salmon starts to see the train coming: Felix Salmon on Noise--Literally: Noise--Traders : He watches Jim Cramer, and is scared: "Great Moments in Punditry: Jim Cramer on Housing: Is it worth responding to this as though it's rational? Is this what passes for informed commentary on TV these days? I can see how it gets ratings, in a train-wreck kind of way–hell, I'm blogging it. But the idea that wealthy people will stop paying their mortgages because their houses are 'fungible' (unless we get a 100bp cut in the Fed funds rate, of course)–it's like some kind of incredibly unfunny parody. Nouriel Roubini et al might be shrill, but at least there's coherent logic to their position. What scares me is that this could be a rare and genuine glimpse into how traders actually think. In which case the Great Moderation and decline in volatility of recent years is doomed to die a sudden and extremely unpleasant death..." * No, Fox News has always been a slough of iniquity. Why do you ask?: Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Bill O'Reilly Edition) : Atrios tells us that it is Felafel Day, and...




2017-08-10T17:46:36-07:00

**Should-Read: Fabio Ghironi**: Micro Needs Macro: "An emerging consensus on the future of macroeconomics views the incorporation of a role for financial intermediation, labor market frictions, and household heterogeneity in the presence of uninsurable unemployment risk as key needed extensions to the benchmark macro framework... >...I argue that this is welcome, but not sufficient for macro and international macro to tackle the menu of issues that have been facing policymakers since the recent global crisis. For this purpose, macro needs more micro than the benchmark setup has been incorporating so far. Specifically, artificial separations between business cycle analysis, the study of stabilization policies, and growth macro, as well as between international macroeconomics and international trade, must be overcome. I review selected literature contributions that took steps in this direction; outline a number of important, promising directions for future research; and discuss methodological issues in the development of this agenda...




2017-08-10T17:41:19-07:00

**Should-Read: Nancy MacLean**: Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America : "As 1956 drew to a close, Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr., the president of the University of Virginia, feared... >...second Brown v. Board of Education ruling, calling for the dismantling of segregation in public schools with “all deliberate speed.” In Virginia, outraged state officials responded with legislation to force the closure of any school that planned to comply.... Darden... could barely stand to contemplate the damage.... Even the name of this plan, “massive resistance,” made his gentlemanly Virginia sound like Mississippi. >On his desk was a proposal, written by the... chair of the economics department... James McGill Buchanan [who] liked to call himself a Tennessee country boy. But Darden knew better.... Without mentioning the crisis at hand, Buchanan’s proposal put in writing what Darden was thinking: Virginia needed to find a better way to deal with the incursion on states’ rights represented by Brown. >To most Americans living in the North, Brown was a ruling to end segregated schools—nothing more, nothing less. And Virginia’s response was about race. But to men like Darden and Buchanan, two well-educated sons of the South who were...



Procrastination on August 10, 2017

2017-08-10T09:10:24-07:00

**Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org): Must- and Should-Reads:** * **Barry Eichengreen**: Revenge of the Experts: "The Brexit debate is an endless source of mirth for anyone with a dark sense of humor... * **Dean Baker**: Opposition to Trade Deals: Brad DeLong's "Socialism of Fools" Might Look Like Common Sense to Those Outside the Fraternity: "First, Brad is well aware that the economy has operated well below full employment... * **PGL**: The Output Gap per the Gerald Friedman Defenders: "Menzie Chinn back on February 20, 2016 had some fun with the defenders of that awful paper by Gerald Friedman... * **Peter Conti-Brown**: Health Care, the Congressional Budget Office, and “Audit the Fed”: "One of the most intriguing institutional players... was the Congressional Budget Office... * **Fardels Bear**: Was James Buchanan a Racist? Libertarians and Historical Research: "'Eschewing overt racial appeals, but not at all concerned with the impact of black citizens, they framed the South’s fight as resistance to federal coercion in a noble quest to preserve states’ rights and economic liberty'" (MacLean, p. 50)... * **Ben Friedman**: HAS ECONOMICS FAILED US?: The Search for New Assumptions: "Democracy doesn’t always deliver what the technical experts recommend... * **Martin Sandbu**: Ten years on:...




2017-08-10T06:05:49-07:00

**Should-Read: Barry Eichengreen**: Revenge of the Experts: "The Brexit debate is an endless source of mirth for anyone with a dark sense of humor... >...My own favorite quote is from Michael Gove, currently Britain’s environment secretary.... “People in this country have had enough of experts,” Gove testily explained.... Indeed, we economists have had little success at reliably predicting when and why uncertainty spikes. And there is little agreement on the severity of its impact. Maybe we would be better off placing less weight on the effects of uncertainty when making forecasts in general, and in the case of Brexit in particular. But this view looks rather less compelling with the passage of a couple of additional quarters.... >The drop in confidence, some might object, reflects an inconclusive general election and a hung parliament, not the Brexit vote. Or worsening conditions can be blamed on the government’s less-than-stellar negotiating strategy and the appearance that it is entering discussions with its EU partners unprepared. But the inconclusive election reflects the schizophrenia of both the Conservative and Labour parties.... Some argue that if the government adopted a more coherent negotiating strategy the damage would be less. But the fact is that there is...




2017-08-10T06:05:47-07:00

**Should-Read**: A well-argued smackdown from the smart Dean Baker: **Dean Baker**: Opposition to Trade Deals: Brad DeLong's "Socialism of Fools" Might Look Like Common Sense to Those Outside the Fraternity: "First, Brad is well aware that the economy has operated well below full employment... >...I would argue this has been the case for almost all of the period since the collapse of the stock bubble in 2001. But he attributes this to a simple failure of the government to run full employment policies, rather than the large trade deficits we saw develop following the East Asian financial crisis in 1997. While... the government could maintain full employment by running much larger budget deficits... that does not appear to be politically feasible. Even among Democrats, very few are willing to say that we should have larger budget deficits to bring the economy to full employment.... >The costs of being below full employment are disproportionately borne by disadvantaged groups in the labor market, especially African Americans and Hispanics. >Anyhow, if the political reality is that we will not have full employment fiscal policies, does it take a "fool" to argue that big trade deficits are a real problem? The cost of the...




2017-08-09T07:55:59-07:00

**Should-Read: Bridget Ansel**: Disclosing salary history perpetuates past discrimination: "Two people working for the same employer do the exact same job... >...have the exact same qualifications, and are equal in output and productivity. The only difference? One gets paid more than the other. Perhaps one of them successfully negotiated a better salary, which is much more likely for men. Or perhaps one of them is a woman or person of color, which suggests that discrimination may be at play. Or maybe it’s simply that one worker was underpaid at her last job, while the other was not. When workers apply for jobs, they often receive a salary offer based on what they earned at previous jobs...




2017-08-09T07:07:14-07:00

**Should-Read**: IMHO, the smart PGL does good here... And, J.W. Mason, please don't say that Coibion et al.'s state-of-the-art potential output estimate "gives a very similar estimate for the output gap as simply looking at the pre-2008 forecasts or extrapolating from the pre-2008 trend". That's not the way to gain a reputation—at least, not they way to get any reputation that you would like to have. The Blanchard-Quah concept potential output estimates being made by Coibion, Gorodnichenko, and Ulate do not look to me "very similar estimate for the output gap as simply looking at the pre-2008 forecasts or extrapolating from the pre-2008 trend". Look at the gap between the current estimate—the purple line—and the red or dot-dash green line that are the 2007 and 2009 vintage BQ forecasts. Look at the thick blue line that is (my drawing) of the upper hull of real output in this millennium a la Menzie Chinn: Yes, BQ gives a large current output gap. No, BQ as applied by Coibion et al. does not give a "very similar estimate for the output gap as simply looking at the pre-2008 forecasts or extrapolating from the pre-2008 trend". You should not say it does. **PGL**:...




2017-08-09T06:23:32-07:00

**Must-Read**: Is "Audit the Fed" like creating the CBO, or like trying to destroy the CBO? Does the Federal Reserve need more oversight from the Congress, or less? Shades of the Mytilene and Syracuse debates: with respect to the Federal Reserve, is Congress best seen as (a) a useful oversight body, or (b) a source of chaos and policy disaster that should be kept far away from a closed guild of hermetic monetary technocrats? The very smart Peter Conti-Brown weighs in, tentatively, in favor of (b): **Peter Conti-Brown**: Health Care, the Congressional Budget Office, and “Audit the Fed”: "One of the most intriguing institutional players... was the Congressional Budget Office... >...[its] verdict on the nature of cuts to Medicaid and the increased number of the uninsured became a rallying cry for those opposed to the Republicans’ efforts.... The CBO’s role... led to deep criticisms.... The White House cast aspersions on the credibility of past CBO analysis. President Trump’s budget director, former Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney, offered an even more existential critique, saying that the CBO’s role providing independent analysis has “probably come and gone.” And the House Freedom Caucus, that group of legislators who pride themselves on their fiscal conservatism,...




2017-08-09T06:20:04-07:00

**Must-Read**: It still boggles my mind that the Federal Reserve did not move ten years ago today to set up a Subprime Mortgage and Home Equity Resolution Authority. Ben Bernanke! If there were one person who ought to have understood the need to be prepared, it would have been Ben Bernanke! And yet he showed no signs of understanding what the fan of possible futures he was then facing happened to be. And, no, it is not appropriate for a central bank to wait for the political branches to act before it undertakes its lender-of-last-resort mission... **Martin Sandbu**: Ten years on: Anatomy of the global financial meltdown: "August 9 2007 was the day when BNP Paribas, the French bank, froze three investment funds... >Investors whose money was placed in suddenly toxic securities linked to US real estate, were no longer permitted to cash out their investments.... As my colleagues John Authers and Alan Smith point out... the summer months of 2007 saw a rapid deterioration of the market values of many financial products—a sign that the Bear Stearns episode raised broader fears.... Bear Stearns’ move was the first clear admission that the assets its funds had invested in were worth...




2017-08-09T06:17:27-07:00

**Should-Read: Fardels Bear**: Was James Buchanan a Racist? Libertarians and Historical Research: "'Eschewing overt racial appeals, but not at all concerned with the impact of black citizens, they framed the South’s fight as resistance to federal coercion in a noble quest to preserve states’ rights and economic liberty'" (MacLean, p. 50)... >...This perfectly summarizes both the segregationist and libertarian lines in the 1950s. Chodorov’s writing at the time backed up the segregationist position right down the line.... It is not [so much] that libertarians were racists, [as] it was they they did not care about black people. One simply cannot find in libertarian literature of the time ANY concern about the special problems faced by black citizens. And, libertarians somehow convinced themselves that the problem of race would disappear if only we embrace every policy position recommended by the racists...