Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings… (March 31, 2019)

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  • Hoisted from the Archives: What I Wrote in Advance of the FOMC’s September 2018 Meeting: “What a difference six months makes! And now the Fed really wishes it had not raised interest rates in the second half of 2018 and yet is unwilling to move them now back to the summer-of-2018 level. Why they are unwilling I do not know…

  1. Wikipedia: The Old Man & the Gun

  2. Stephen King (2014): Joyland https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1781168490

  3. A close encounter of the fourth kind: A Valentines Day gift gone horribly wrong, a Komodo Dragon, and Sharon Stone’s husband’s toes https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Editor-stable-after-attack-by-Komodo-dragon-2911601.php

  4. Australian cork hat/Monty Python: https://www.evernote.com/l/AAEEa4uqACJLEYfDQosMH6ib2nx5-sYDbycB/image.png http://www.montypython.net/scripts/bruceskit.php

  5. Lindsay Ellis finds a disaffected dwarf in New Zealand https://youtu.be/Qi7t_g5QObs?t=1285

  6. Wikipedia: Alasdair MacIntyre: “1970. Herbert Marcuse: An Exposition and a Polemic…. 1971. Against the Self-Images of the Age: Essays on Ideology and Philosophy…. 1981… After Virtue

  7. Douglas ‘Skoryy’ Hayden: On Twitter: “I’m here for Jacobin’s ‘Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better’ special edition… Matthew Yglesias: On Twitter: “The joke is that after the revolution instead of building a better society they’re going to start killing their enemies and then each other?… Jacob T. Levy: On Twitter: “Bookmarking this for the next time someone says ‘nuh-uh, it only refers to Haiti and therefore has nothing to do with the French Jacobins’… XLProfessor: On Twitter: “Seriously? All the revolutionaries were killed with this thing and some soldier made himself emperor…

  8. [John Holbo: On Twitter: “It’s weirder than a Jekyll-Hyde sort of split. It isn’t strange that ‘good’ people have a ‘bad’ side. But it’s strange that a genuinely broad-minded mentality can be trapped inside a narrow-minded mentality without one or the other utterly cancelling…

  9. Douglas Preston: The Day the Dinosaurs Died: “More than 99.9999 per cent of all living organisms on Earth died, and the carbon cycle came to a halt…. Earth itself became toxic… ten trillion tons of sulfur compounds… combined with water to form sulfuric acid, which then fell as an acid rain that may have been potent enough to strip the leaves from any surviving plants and to leach the nutrients from the soil. Today, the layer of debris, ash, and soot deposited by the asteroid strike is preserved in the Earth’s sediment as a stripe of black about the thickness of a notebook. This is called the KT boundary, because it marks the dividing line between the Cretaceous period and the Tertiary period…

  10. David Glasner: Arthur Burns and How Things Fell Apart in the 1970s: “Thus, in 1973, even without an oil shock in late 1973 used by Burns as an excuse with which to deflect the blame for rising inflation from himself to uncontrollable external forces, Burns’s monetary policy was inexorably on track to raise inflation to 7%…

  11. Thor Berger and Per Engzell: Immigration, Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility in the US: “There are striking regional variations in economic opportunity across the US. This column proposes a historical explanation for this, showing that local levels of income equality and intergenerational mobility in the US resemble those of the European countries that current inhabitants trace their origins from. The findings point to the persistence of differences in local culture, norms, and institutions…

  12. Charles Gaba: Three-Legged Stool: The Motion Picture

  13. Timothy Garton Ash: On Twitter: “Remember the Brexit battle bus £350m a week for the NHS? Brexit has already cost us £360m a week…

  14. Angry Staff Officer: On Twitter: “For Confederate Heritage Month, here’s Virginia-native General Winfield Scott, senior officer in the US Army at the outset of the Civil War, whose strategy eventually won the war and who kept his oath to his country…

  15. Miles Kimball: In Honor of Alan Krueger

  16. Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy: On Twitter: “The Declaration of Independence was fundamentally wrong…. The Confederate States are founded upon exactly the opposite ideas. Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition…

  17. Cassandra Khaw: On Twitter: “A routine reminder that we do not have flying cars, but we have the means to access all of the world’s knowledge with a few clicks of a keyboard, communicate with people thousands of miles away in an instant, and are working on artificial burger meat. Also, the world is going to end catastrophically very soon as a result of climate change and capitalism, but a cyberpunk present wouldn’t be complete without impending doom…


  1. Pharmaceutical price reform is one of the very few equitable growth issues where there are actually Republican legislators willing to talk: CPPC: Senate Finance Committee Grills Drug Executives on Rising Prices, Criticize Them for Terrible Practices: “Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) opened by saying that America has a problem with high prescription drug prices, that a balance can be struck between innovation and affordability, and that the Committee was here to discuss solutions. He and Senator Wyden have launched a bipartisan investigation into the high price of insulin…

  2. Almost a decade old, but well worth reading. Sam Bowles argues that liberal culture and order do not so much dissolve natural human sociability and compassion in the market nexus, but rather enable positive-sum ties of solidarity by weakening the zero-sum intra-clan sorority combined with inter-clan enmity: Sam Bowles (2011): Is Liberal Society a Parasite on Tradition?: “Market-like incentives may crowd out ethical motivations, illustrating the parasitic liberalism thesis and the cultural and institutional processes by which it might work….Cross-cultural behavioral experiments…cast doubt on the thesis: liberal societies are distinctive in their civic cultures, exhibiting levels of generosity, fairmindedness, and civic involvement that distinguish them from non-liberal societies…. The idealized view of tradition embodied in the “parasitic liberalism” thesis overlooks aspects of non-liberal social orders that are antithetical to a liberal civic culture. Thus while markets and other liberal institutions may indeed undermine traditional institutions as claimed, by attenuating familistic and other parochial norms and identities, this may enhance rather than erode the values necessary for a well functioning liberal order…

  3. Kim Clausing’s is the best defense of globalization and openness I have read in years. And former Obama CEA Chair Jason Furman agrees: Jason Furman: Review of Kim Clausing: “Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital”: “If I had to assign policymakers one up-to-date guide to the latest economic policy issues on taxes and trade it would be this one. Kimberly Clausing has done research in both areas and has been a leader in the economics of international corporate taxation, including profit shifting by multinationals, and it shows throughout this book. Open makes a strong, fact-based case for openness towards trade and immigration. The case ranges from explaining long-standing ideas like comparative advantage to a sensible evaluation of the latest literature, including a balanced assessment of the “China shock” literature that has found a large and persistent impact from Chinese imports but also serious methodological issues that make it a potentially less reliable guide to untangling the causal impact of changing trade policies towards China.Open, however, is not a polemic for the status quo and in fact nearly one-third of the book is a case for policy agenda to better prepare workers for the global economy, reform the tax system, and reshape globalization more broadly. Clausing does not offer any one simple solution, but then again I don’t think that there is one…

  4. Equitable Growth’s Will McGrew has a pinned tweet pushing back against the meme that there are “really” no worrisome ethnicity or gender wage gaps because researchers can make such gaps disappear by adding sufficient variables to the right-hand side of a regression analysis. But when you add additional explanatory variables—when you “control”—you need to be very careful that you are only controlling for things that confound the relationship you are trying to study. When you control for things that mediate that relationship, you land up in garbage-in-garbage-out territory: Will McGrew: Wage Gaps: “Some claim that the wage gap disappears if you control for all relevant variables. This is 100% false. According to the evidence, workplace segregation and discrimination are the largest causes of the wage gap faced by Black women…

  5. Adam-Troy Castro: Young People Read Old SFF: “Nobody discovers a lifelong love of science fiction through Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein anymore, and directing newbies toward the work of those masters is a destructive thing, because the spark won’t happen. You might as well advise them to seek out Cordwainer Smith or Alan E. Nourse—fine tertiary avenues of investigation, even now, but not anything that’s going to set anybody’s heart afire, not from the standing start. Won’t happen…

  6. Alexandra Petri: The Zuckerberg Hearings, Condensed: “Senator 1: Mr. Zuckerberg, we hear that you started Facebook in your dorm room…

  7. Anna Stansbury: “The Black Death in England in the mid-1300s was an enormous human tragedy-and a fascinating labor supply shock. (Who said economists are heartless?) A thread FRED has a new record holder: The longest data series now belongs to a new addition, Population in England, which dates back to 1086. Check it out here: http://ow.ly/Dzkb50kfrvA. The Black Death first hit England in 1348. The population fell by more than a third in just a few years: from over 6 million to less than 4 million. As the graph from @stlouisfed and @bankofengland shows, it would take another 250 years for the population to recover…

  8. THE SPICE MUST FLOW! NO HARD BORDER IN IRELAND!!: John Holbo: On Twitter: “May loses by >50 votes hence can’t quit as she would have if she had won. Could have been worse. If >100 loss -> May becomes dictator for life. >200 loss would make her god-emperor. Dodged that bullet…

  9. The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh was a huge mistake. Of course, the confirmations of the other four corrupt Republican justices were huge mistakes as well: Robert Barnes: Brett Kavanaugh Pivots as Supreme Court Allows One Execution, Stops Another: “The Supreme Court on Thursday night stopped the execution of a Buddhist inmate in Texas because he was not allowed a spiritual adviser by his side, when last month it approved the execution of a Muslim inmate in Alabama under the almost exact circumstances…. Kavanaugh on Thursday was the only justice to spell out his reasoning: Texas could not execute Patrick Murphy without his Buddhist adviser in the room because it allows Christian and Muslim inmates to have religious leaders by their sides…. But Kavanaugh was on the other side last month when Justice Elena Kagan and three other justices declared ‘profoundly wrong’ Alabama’s decision to turn down Muslim Domineque Ray’s request for an imam to be at his execution, making available only a Christian chaplain…. Kavanaugh and the court’s other conservatives did not address Kagan’s argument, saying only that Ray had brought his challenge too late. Kavanaugh said in a footnote Thursday he was satisfied with the timing of Murphy’s litigation. But the difference in when Ray and Murphy brought their requests was not substantial…


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