Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings… (December 28b, 2018)


  1. Comment of the Day: Cervantes: There’s No Process: “Individual-1 told Mnuchin to do something to talk up the stock market and Mnuchin thinks this will have that effect. So he’s an idiot. That’s basically all there is to it. Possibly Individual 1 suggested these specific steps, possibly they’re Mnuchin’s idea. Doesn’t matter since they’re both idiots anyway…

  1. Vastly superior to Tom Holland—and vastly, vastly superior to the likes of Niall Ferguson—on the decline and fall of the Roman Republic: Edward J. Watts: Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0465093825: “If the early and middle centuries of Rome’s republic show how effective this system could be, the last century of the Roman Republic reveals the tremendous dangers that result when political leaders cynically misuse these consensus-building mechanisms to obstruct a republic’s functions. Like politicians in modern republics, Romans could use vetoes to block votes on laws, they could claim the presence of unfavorable religious conditions to annul votes they disliked, and they could deploy other parliamentary tools to slow down or shut down the political process if it seemed to be moving too quickly toward an outcome they disliked… #books #history

  2. Hyman Minsky: [Stabilizing an Unstable Economy](https://delong.typepad.com/hyman-minsky-stabilizing-an-unstable-economy-2008.pdf” title=”hyman-minsky-stabilizing-an-unstable-economy-2008.pdf) #books #finance #macro

  3. Aline Bütikofer, Sissel Jensen, and Kjell G. Salvanes: The Role of Parenthood on the Gender Gap Among Top Earners: “A recent literature argues that a ‘motherhood penalty’ is a main contributor to the persistent gender wage gap in the upper part of the earnings distribution. Using Norwegian registry data, this column studies the effect of parenthood on the careers of high-achieving women relative to high-achieving men in a set of high-earning professions. It finds that the child earnings penalty is substantially larger for mothers with an MBA or law degree than for mothers with a STEM or medical degree… #gender #equitablegrowth

  4. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is only one of many organizations that bought the snakeoil from Paul Ryan. We have a significantly less responsible federal budget as a consequence: Michael Grunwalde: Paul Ryan’s Legacy of Red Ink: “The speaker of the House’s reputation as a budget hawk has somehow survived his actual record… #orangehairedbaboons

  5. Trump Is a Bully, But He Is Your Bully—He is going to bully corporations into giving you good jobs…

  6. Paul Krugman: “Disputes over trade can seem gentlemanly because economists, at least, mostly talk sense. Disputes over macroeconomic policy can’t, because they don’t. Sad!

  7. Menzie Chin: On Recession: Hassett, Prediction Markets, and Markets: “Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett said he is willing to bet, based on the economy and indicators, that there will not be a recession any time soon…. My first observation is  that Hassett’s statement regarding current growth rates surprising. Atlanta Fed GDPNow does indicate 2.9% growth SAAR in 2018Q4 (12/18), but as of 12/14 the New York Fed’s nowcast indicates 2.42% growth, while the St. Louis Fed nowcast is 2.65%. Macroeconomic Advisers today nowcasts 2.6%, latest Goldman Sachs is 2.7% (12/17). I don’t know of any nowcasts for over 3% for 2018Q4 Q/Q SAAR…. The second observation is that the prediction market’s odds on a recession over the next year is not as low as suggested by Hassett’s comments…. The current probability of recession using the term spread is in the 15% range, a bit less than the 30% or so from the prediction markets…

  8. Pseudoerasmus: Labour repression & the Indo-Japanese divergence: “I illustrate the relevance of labour relations to economic development through the contrasting fortunes of India’s and Japan’s cotton textile industries in the interwar period, with some glimpses of Lancashire, the USA, interwar Shanghai, etc….

  9. John Maynard Keynes: Essays in Persuasion

  10. John Maynard Keynes: Essays in Biography

  11. John Steinbeck: The 1930s: A Primer: “Except for the field organizers of strikes, who were pretty tough monkeys and devoted, most of the so-called Communists I met were middle-class, middle-aged people playing a game of dreams. I remember a woman in easy circumstances saying to another even more affluent: “After the revolution even we will have more, won’t we, dear?” Then there was another lover of proletarians who used to raise hell with Sunday picnickers on her property. I guess the trouble was that we didn’t have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist. Maybe the Communists so closely questioned by investigation committees were a danger to America, but the ones I knew–at least they claimed to be Communists–couldn’t have disrupted a Sunday-school picnic. Besides they were too busy fighting among themselves…

  12. Robert Feenstra, Hong Ma, Akira Sasahara, Yuan Xu: Reconsidering the ‘China Shock’ in Trade: “While previous studies focus on the job-reducing effect of the surging imports from China or other low-wage countries on the US employment, the job-creating effect of exports has receive much less attention. This column employs two approaches—an instrumental variable regression analysis and a global input-output approach—to argue that the negative effects of import competition on US employment are largely balanced out once the country’s job-creating export expansion is taken into account….

  13. This by the very sharp Henry Farrell seems to me to be largely wrong. Farrell thinks that parties, plural, became “unwilling to compete for voters across tricky political issues”. I see it as right-wing party, singular, taking the neo-fascist turn to which the system was always vulnerable—winning mass support for policies of plutocracy and kleptocracy by mobilizing fear and hatred of a distinct and sinister internal and external other. Four times in the past hundred yeras have we seen this in the United States. Teddy Rooevelt vs. the Malefactors of Great Wealth, Ike Eisenhower vs. the McCarthyites, and Richard Nixon’s Flaws vs. Richard Nixon and Pat Buchanan were three earlier episodes. We won through because of conservative elitss that valued liberty and an open society. We may win through again: Henry Farrell: The Hollowing Out of Democracy: “There are strong similarities between what is happening in the United States, Hungary, the United Kingdom, and France… where democracy is backpedaling rapidly, such as the Philippines. This is the product both of common shocks… and of cross-national reinforcement… the family resemblances are undeniable. What Davies arguably gets wrong though is the significance of these changes…


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