Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings… (May 6, 2019)

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  1. Britannica.com: Fasces

  2. George Orwell* (1937): The Road to Wigan Pier

  3. This Time It Is Not Different: Walter Bagehot and the Persistent Concerns of Financial Macroeconomics: Origins of Central Banking: E.M. Forster’s Great Aunt Marianne

  4. Peter Temin (1990): _Soviet and Nazi Economic Planning in the 1930s

  5. Hans-Peter Ullmann: Organization of War Economies

  6. EMB Numbers: Why are Red and Purple “Next to Each Other”?: “I make colored paint by starting with white and adding varying amounts of pigments from my three buckets, CMY. To see ‘purple’ I add pigment only from the magenta bucket…. I add cyan to magenta to get blue. I add yellow to magenta to get red. Therefore, it makes sense for red and blue to be adjacent on opposite sides of magenta…

  7. Adolf Hitler (1941): Top 10 Quotes from World War II: “You only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down…

  8. Online Etymology Dictionary: Nazi

  9. John Maynard Keynes (1936): The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: Concluding Notes on the Social Philosophy Towards Which the General Theory Might Lead: “If effective demand is deficient, not only is the public scandal of wasted resources intolerable, but the individual enterpriser who seeks to bring these resources into action is operating with the odds loaded against him. The game of hazard which he plays is furnished with many zeros, so that the players as a whole will lose if they have the energy and hope to deal all the cards. Hitherto the increment of the world’s wealth has fallen short of the aggregate of positive individual savings; and the difference has been made up by the losses of those whose courage and initiative have not been supplemented by exceptional skill or unusual good fortune. But if effective demand is adequate, average skill and average good fortune will be enough…

  10. John Maynard Keynes (1936): The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: Concluding Notes on the Social Philosophy Towards Which the General Theory Might Lead: “Whilst, therefore, the enlargement of the functions of government, involved in the task of adjusting to one another the propensity to consume and the inducement to invest, would seem to a nineteenth-century publicist or to a contemporary American financier to be a terrific encroachment on individualism. I defend it, on the contrary, both as the only practicable means of avoiding the destruction of existing economic forms in their entirety and as the condition of the successful functioning of individual initiative…

  11. John Maynard Keynes (1936): The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: Concluding Notes on the Social Philosophy Towards Which the General Theory Might Lead: “The result of filling in the gaps in the classical theory is not to dispose of the ‘Manchester System’, but to indicate the nature of the environment which the free play of economic forces requires… There will still remain a wide field for the exercise of private initiative and responsibility. Within this field the traditional advantages of individualism will still hold good…. These advantages are… partly advantages of efficiency… decentralisation and of the play of self-interest…. Above all, individualism, if it can be purged of its defects and its abuses, is the best safeguard of personal liberty in the sense that, compared with any other system, it greatly widens the field for the exercise of personal choice. It is also the best safeguard of the variety of life, which emerges precisely from this extended field of personal choice, and the loss of which is the greatest of all the losses of the homogeneous or totalitarian state. For this variety preserves the traditions which embody the most secure and successful choices of former generations; it colours the present with the diversification of its fancy; and, being the handmaid of experiment as well as of tradition and of fancy, it is the most powerful instrument to better the future…

  12. Jacob Viner (1937): Mr. Keynes on the Causes of Unemployment: “In a world organizedin accordance with Keynes’ specifications there would be a constant race between the printing press and the business agents of the trade unions, with the problem of unemployment largely solved if the printing press could maintain a constant lead and if only volume of employment, irrespective of quality, is considered important…

  13. J.R. Vernon: Unemployment Rates in Postbellum America: 1869-1899

  14. Julia Carrie Wong: ‘I See Any Dinosaur, I Buy It’: At Home with the Embattled Owner of the Flintstone House: “Florence Fang’s colorful home is a landmark for many in California’s Bay Area. But the town of Hillsborough is suing her, declaring the property a ‘public nuisance’…


  1. From Carole Cadwalladr as she uses TED to try to hold Silicon Valley to account—to get the social media companies to thin of themselves as information utilities rather than misinformation utilities: Carole Cadwalladr: My TED Talk: How I Took on the Tech Titans in Their Lair: “The world needs all kinds of brains. But in the situation we are in… not these…. If they’re not sick to their stomach about what has happened in Myanmar or overwhelmed by guilt about how their platforms were used by Russian intelligence to subvert their own country’s democracy, or sickened by their own role in what happened in New Zealand, they’re not fit to hold these jobs…. I don’t think they set out to enable massacres to be live-streamed. Or massive electoral fraud in a once-in-a-lifetime, knife-edge vote. But they did. If they don’t feel guilt, shame and remorse, if they don’t have a burning desire to make amends, their boards, shareholders, investors, employees and family members need to get them out. We can see the iceberg. We know it’s coming. That’s the lesson of TED 2019. We all know it. There are only five people in the room who apparently don’t…

  2. Yes, it is time for the center-left to pass the baton to those further left for the next lap in the race for equitable growth. But what does that mean, concretely, for policies. Paul Krugman gives his opinion: Paul Krugman: “A few thoughts inspired by @delong’s ‘I am no longer a neoliberal’ piece. Brad is really saying two things: [1] there is no center-right, so centrists must deal with the left; and [2] market-oriented policies don’t work as well as thought. I’ve been there on both fronts for a while (although I have been fairly left of center for many years). But I think it’s useful to ask what it means for policy proposals in different areas…

  3. Go watch Michael Kades testify on Capitol Hill on Thursday March 7: Michael Kades: To Combat Rising U.S. Prescription Drug Prices, Let’s Try Competition: “Look at the variety of problems with anti-competitive practices engaged in by U.S. pharmaceutical companies. Take ViroPharma Inc. When faced with the possibility that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would approve generic versions of its Vancocin product (a drug to treat a potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal infection), the company filed 43 petitions to delay or prevent generic approval. Although none were successful on the merits, it took years before the FDA approved any generic competitors. The Federal Trade Commission alleged the strategy increased costs by hundreds of millions of dollars…

  4. How did I miss this before? Kate Bahn about how it really is the case that holders of H-1 and H-2 visas really are close to indentured servants—and suffer for it: Kate Bahn: The Search for and Hiring of Guest Workers in the United States Displays the Complexity of Market Concentration and Monopsony Power: “Eric M. Gibbons… Allie Greenman… Peter Norlander… and Todd Sorensen… monopsonistic effects for workers who are employed under guest worker visas such as H-1 and H-2… review lawsuits against employers of guest workers and confirm widely held beliefs about wage theft and abusive employment… The four researchers exploit the application process to the U.S. Department of Labor for guest worker visas to estimate employer concentration for guest workers and how this affects wages…. Guest workers are in a more concentrated set of occupations than the overall U.S. labor market, with more than a third of them working in computer and mathematical occupations on H-1B visas and nearly half working in building, grounds cleaning, and maintenance on H-2B visas… Herfindahl-Hirschman Index…is sufficiently high to warrant U.S. Department of Justice scrutiny of mergers in these sectors of the U.S. economy…

  5. The Story of China’s Economy as Told Through the World’s Biggest Building: Economist: The Story of China’s Economy as Told Through the World’s Biggest Building: The Global Centre: “The world’s biggest building got off to a bad start. On the eve of its opening, Deng Hong, the man who built the mall-and-office complex, disappeared… swept up in a corruption investigation just before the building’s doors opened in 2013. The media focus shifted to his hubris and his wasteful, pharaonic venture. Inside, it had a massive waterpark with an artificial beach, an ice rink, a 15-screen cinema, a 1,000-room hotel, offices galore, two supersized malls and its own fire brigade, but just a smattering of businesses and shoppers. It became a parable for the economy’s excesses and over-reliance on debt. Today, more than five years on, the story has taken a series of surprising turns. For one, the building is not a disaster. During the summer, the waterpark is crowded. The mall has come to life, a testament to the rise of the middle class. The offices are a cauldron of activity: 30,000 people work there in every industry imaginable, from app design to veterinary care. Mr Deng has been released and is back in business, declaring last summer that he had a clean slate…

  6. Equitable Growth alumnus Nick Bunker sends us to the always-valuable Brookings Hamilton Project on how the post-2000 prime-age female labor-force participation define was not due to anything other than a weak economy in which it was hard to get well-paying jobs: Trends in Women’s Labor Force Participation: “much like 2000 is now recognized as a pivotal year for the U.S. labor market, 2015 is beginning to look like another turning point. In part due to the ongoing strengthening of the labor market, both prime-age women’s labor force participation and prime-age men’s participation have increased sharply from 2015 through the beginning of 2019. Figure 1 shows that prime-age women now participate at higher levels than prior to the Great Recession and have now made up 70 percent of their January 2000–September 2015 decline…

  7. I confess I do not understand why Jeff Miron and Dean Baker disagree with our Fearless Leader Heather Boushey’s tame observation that more information relevant to societal well-being is better than less: Emily Stewart: GDP: Democrats Want to Know Who’s Benefiting from the Economy’s Growth: “Democrats are pushing for is for the BEA to produce a new metric, the ‘income growth indicator’, to be reported quarterly and annually with GDP numbers starting in 2020 that would show who is and isn’t benefiting from economic growth…

  8. Jonathan Bernstein: 2020 Elections: Far Left Won’t Take Over the Democratic Party: “Questions of Democratic pragmatism have a relevant history, too, going back to efforts to reform the party’s image after it lost five of six presidential elections through 1988. The Democratic Leadership Council of that era was split, I always thought, between those such as Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt who favored traditional liberal goals but believed market-oriented means were the best way to achieve them, and those such as Georgia Senator Sam Nunn who believed the Democratic Party had become too liberal and who wanted to preserve a large place in the party for conservatives…

  9. Has David Brooks ever before put himself on the line in support of any policy that would make African-Americans’ lives better? Asking for a friend: David Brooks: The Case for Reparations: “All sorts of practical objections leapt to mind. What about the recent African immigrants? What about the poor whites who have nothing of what you would call privilege? Do we pay Oprah and LeBron? But I have had so many experiences over the past year—sitting, for example, with an elderly black woman in South Carolina shaking in rage because the kids in her neighborhood face greater challenges than she did growing up in 1953—that suggest we are at another moment of make-or-break racial reckoning…

  10. Leo Strauss (1933): To Karl Lowith: “I will also spend my second year in Paris…. I have major ‘competition’: the entire German-Jewish intellectual proletariat is assembled here. It’s terrible-I’d rather just run back to Germany. But here’s the catch…. I see no acceptable possibility of living under the swastika, i.e., under a symbol that says nothing more to me than: you and your ilk, you are physei subhumans and therefore justly pariahs. There is in this case just one solution. We must repeat: we, “men of science,”-as our predecessors in the Arab Middle Ages called themselves-non habemus locum manentem, sed quaerimus.… And, what concerns this matter: the fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l’homme to protest against the shabby abomination…

  11. What is the status of this Adolf Hitler quote? It is reported by Hermann Rauschning, whom as I recall is not the most reliable of sources: Adolf Hitler: We Socialize Human Beings: “”The people about us are unaware of what is really happening to them. They gaze fascinated at one or two familiar superficialities, such as possessions and income and rank and other outworn conceptions. As long as these are kept intact, they are quite satisfied. But in the meantime they have entered a new relation; a powerful social force has caught them up. They themselves are changed. What are ownership and income to that? Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories? We socialize human beings…

  12. Jeet Heer: The historian John Lukacs (1924-2019), whose death at age 95 has just been announced…. In 1975… predicting that a post-Soviet Russia would be dominated by a criminal underworld…. Lukacs was born in Hungary in 1924…. Lukacs was a conservative… of a type that is virtually extinct…. a traditionalist wary of mass politics based on nationalism and scapegoating of minorities. He was for that reason properly scornful of American conservative movement. Lukacs’ scorn for right-wing populism surfaced in the early 1950s. As a refugee from Hungary he was anti-communist, but still quick to detect and denounce the dangers of demagogues like Joseph McCarthy, who he feared would destablize society and incite war…. Lukacs’s anti-populist conservatism… proved prophetic…. He long feared that populist-nationalist-authoritarian demagoguery was the wave of the future…. He once dismissed movement conservatives’ worldview as… ‘narrow enough to be ignorant, broad enough to be flat’…. Aside from his valuable critiques of nationalist populism, Lukacs was an eloquent defender of historical consciousness as a distinct & valuable form of thinking, with his own work exemplifying how being steeped in history can help illuminate the present and future…


  1. Wikipedia: Ogden L. Mills

  2. Google Maps: Hotel Cristal Mar Resort & Club

  3. Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Statistics

  4. Margaret Thatcher (1982): Letter to Friedrich Hayek: “Some of the measures adopted in Chile are quite unacceptable…. I am certain we shall achieve our reforms in our own way and in our own time…

  5. Dictatorships and Double Standards: Jeet Heer Has a Ludwig Von Mises Quote…: “Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history…

  6. Wikipedia: Hermann Rauschning

  7. Wikipedia: Thule Society

  8. Spartacus Educational: Anton Drexler

  9. Wikipedia: Karl Mayr

  10. Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Statistics

  11. Markus K. Brunnermeier: ECO529: Financial and Monetary Economics

  12. Chris Lu: “On the one-year anniversary of #BeBest, former staffer to Melania Trump announces that she’s ‘been cooperating since last fall with federal prosecutors in Manhattan investigating the [inaugural] committee’s spending and fund-raising’…

  13. Paul Krugman: “This chart… GOP-enforced austerity had a huge impact in retarding the recovery. If they’d been willing to tolerate the kind of deficits they’re happy with now, the Obama years would have looked much better…


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