June 14, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

JOLTS Day Graphs April 2019 Report Edition Equitable Growth

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed with respect to the forecast—your view of the economic forecast today is different from what it was last week, last month, or three months ago in only minor ways. About the only news is that over the past month we have seen an 0.8%-point decrease in our estimate in what production will be over April-June, largely driven by reductions in durable goods orders, capacity utilization, net exports, and this morning employment. This might be an impact of Trump’s attempt to fight a trade war with China, plus Trump’s attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Jun 14, 2019: Nowcast: “1.4% for 2019:Q2 and 1.7% for 2019:Q3. News from this week’s data releases increased the nowcast for both 2019:Q2 and 2019:Q3 by 0.4 percentage point. Positive surprises from retail sales, capacity utilization, and industrial production…


Key Points:

Specifically, it is still the case that:

  • The Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax cut has been a complete failure at boosting the American economy through increased investment in America.
    • But it has been a success in making the rich richer and thus America more unequal.
    • And it delivered a short-term demand-side Kerynesian fiscal stimulus to growth that has now ebbed.
  • U.S. potential economic growth continues to be around 2%/year.
  • There are still no signs the U.S. has entered that phase of the recovery in which inflation is accelerating.
  • There are still no signs of interest rate normalization: secular stagnation continues to reign.
  • There are still no signs the the U.S. is at “overfull employment” in any meaningful sense.

  • A change from 1 week ago: Slightly good news about retail sales, capacity utilization, and industrial production…

  • A change from 1 month ago: An 0.8%-point decrease in our estimate of what production will be over April-June. This might well be an impact of Trump’s attempt to fight a trade war with China, plus Trump’s attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix.

  • A change from 3 months ago: The U.S. grew at 3.2%/year in the first quarter of 2019—1.6%-points higher than had been nowcast—but the growth number you want to put in your head in assessing the strength of the economy is the 1.6%/year number that had been nowcast. The falling-apart of Trump’s trade negotiating strategy with China will harm Americans and may disrupt value chains, and the might be becoming visible in the data flow.

  • A change from 6 months ago: Stunning dysfunctionality in the British Conservative Party has put a destructive, hard, no-deal Brexit on the scenario list…

#macro #forecasting #highlighted
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June 14, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update #TICKLER

JOLTS Day Graphs April 2019 Report Edition Equitable Growth

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed with respect to the forecast—your view of the economic forecast today is different from what it was last week, last month, or three months ago in only minor ways. About the only news is that over the past month we have seen an 0.8%-point decrease in our estimate in what production will be over April-June, largely driven by reductions in durable goods orders, capacity utilization, net exports, and this morning employment. This might be an impact of Trump’s attempt to fight a trade war with China, plus Trump’s attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Jun 14, 2019: Nowcast: “1.4% for 2019:Q2 and 1.7% for 2019:Q3. News from this week’s data releases increased the nowcast for both 2019:Q2 and 2019:Q3 by 0.4 percentage point. Positive surprises from retail sales, capacity utilization, and industrial production…


Key Points:

Specifically, it is still the case that:

  • The Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax cut has been a complete failure at boosting the American economy through increased investment in America.
    • But it has been a success in making the rich richer and thus America more unequal.
    • And it delivered a short-term demand-side Kerynesian fiscal stimulus to growth that has now ebbed.
  • U.S. potential economic growth continues to be around 2%/year.
  • There are still no signs the U.S. has entered that phase of the recovery in which inflation is accelerating.
  • There are still no signs of interest rate normalization: secular stagnation continues to reign.
  • There are still no signs the the U.S. is at “overfull employment” in any meaningful sense.

  • A change from 1 week ago: Slightly good news about retail sales, capacity utilization, and industrial production…

  • A change from 1 month ago: An 0.8%-point decrease in our estimate of what production will be over April-June. This might well be an impact of Trump’s attempt to fight a trade war with China, plus Trump’s attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix.

  • A change from 3 months ago: The U.S. grew at 3.2%/year in the first quarter of 2019—1.6%-points higher than had been nowcast—but the growth number you want to put in your head in assessing the strength of the economy is the 1.6%/year number that had been nowcast. The falling-apart of Trump’s trade negotiating strategy with China will harm Americans and may disrupt value chains, and the might be becoming visible in the data flow.

  • A change from 6 months ago: Stunning dysfunctionality in the British Conservative Party has put a destructive, hard, no-deal Brexit on the scenario list…

#macro #forecasting #highlighted

The Intergenerational Burden of the Debt: Nick Rowe Tempts Fate Weblogging: Hoisted from the Archives

Cursor and 30 Year Treasury Inflation Indexed Security Constant Maturity FRED St Louis Fed

Until secular stagnation ends—until the yield on U.S. government debt exceeds the growth rate of the economy—worry about reducing of even stabilizing the debt-to-GDP ratio of a country like the U.S. that has assume running room via financial repression to stabilize demand for its debt is premature. Thus the takeaway is this: It would be much more productive right now to worry about how do we maintain normal levels of net investment in a high government debt post-interest rate normalization environment than to propose sending the economy back into recession in order to reduce government debt accumulation. Recession and high unemployment in the short- and medium-run are problems. Low investment in the medium- and long-run are problems. Government debt is a tool to avoid the first and a source of risk of the second. But it is better to keep your mind focused on the things that are real problems

Hoisted from the Archives: The Intergenerational Burden of the Debt: Nick Rowe Tempts Fate Weblogging…: Nick Rowe:

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: The burden of the (bad monetary policy) on future generations: You can try to kill zombie ideas. Or you can try to reframe them. I’m fed up with killing the “The national debt is not a burden on future generations because they will inherit (sic) the bonds as well as the debt so they will owe it to themselves” zombie. I already killed it a year ago…. [I]f you don’t believe in Ricardian Equivalence, and you think the old generation sells the bonds to the next generation, and then consumes the proceeds from that sale, then don’t say that the next generation “inherits” the bonds. They don’t inherit the bonds, they damned well pay for them. And if they pay for them, and at the same time pay taxes to pay interest and/or principal on the bonds they have already paid for, then that next generation is paying twice.

Oh God, I don’t want to have to argue this all over again! Can I just use the argument from authority? Please? My authority is Brad DeLong. Brad DeLong knows his macro. The very fact that Brad DeLong did not jump all over me last year when I said that Paul Krugman was wrong about the burden of the debt proves that Brad DeLong knows I am right. There is just no way he could have managed to stay silent if he had thought I was wrong!…

Well that is certainly tempting fate! Especially because I have to do something on the plane from London to Tokyo, and watching “Prometheus” doesn’t seem attractive somehow…

Let’s move into an overlapping-generations model. It is true that the next generation has to buy the debt from the current generation, but the next generation also gets to sell the debt to the generation two generations forward. Thus the real wealth of any generation will be equal to (a) its Haig-Simons income, plus (b) any difference between the value of the real capital stock it buys and inherits from its predecessor and the value of the real capital stock it sells and bequeaths to its successor.

If we hold constant the value of the real capital stock the next generation sells and bequeaths to its successor—and I see no reason why we should not—then incurring a larger national debt in this generation will burden the next generation only if it means (a) a less productive economy—lower Haig-Simons income—in the next generation, or (b) a smaller real capital stock bequeathed and sold to the next generation. Assume—and I see no reason why we should not—that the influence of the present on future productivity comes through the capital stock, and we are reduced to one factor: the way the present burdens the future is by transferring a smaller real apical stock to it.

That is where Dean Baker is coming from. And that is a perfectly fine place to come from. So why doesn’t Nick Rowe appear to come from there?

I think he really does. In Nick Rowe’s world the next generation’s taxpayers are taxed to pay off the debt—and so they are losers. And in Nick Rowe’s world the next generation’s debt-holders are not gainers. They spend the debt-service payments they receive because bought the debt from the current generation. If they had not bought the debt they would have bought real capital instead, and would have financed their spending via dissaving. Thus the next generation’s taxpayers are losers, and the next generation’s debt-holders are not winners.

But, Dean Baker would correctly say, the reason that the next generation’s debt-holders are not winners is because they acquire debt instead of rather than in addition to real capital—that the current generation invests less in building up the capital stock. What causes the burden is not that government debt is issued, but rather that the issuance of government debt crowds out the formation of useful capital.

No crowding-out of investment, no burden of the debt on the future.

Thus the argument that issuing debt burdens future generations is really an argument that issuing debt right now crowds-out investment by shifting resources from forming capital to working for the government, or that holding debt in the near future crowds-out investment by making people feel wealthier and shifting resources from forming capital to producing consumption goods and services.

Those are fine arguments to make, and they have a lot of validity.

But, still, if you want to argue that issuing debt in a time of deficient aggregate demand burdens the future, you need to make that argument that there is crowding-out of investment—and you need to recognize that both forms of crowding out, both crowding out via expanded government purchases and crowding out via expanded consumption driven by wealth effects, are smaller and perhaps much smaller than at full employment.

Thus when Nick Rowe writes:

But what I really want to do in this post is reframe the question. Because, deep inside every zombie, there is something that wants to stay alive. If monetary policy were doing its job right, and getting Aggregate Demand where it ought to be, nobody would be arguing for bigger deficits to increase Aggregate Demand. Obviously…. [N]obody would have to argue for imposing a debt burden on future generations just to increase Aggregate Demand now. Which means that ultimately it’s bad monetary policy that is responsible for that burden of debt on future generations.

And the longer monetary policy stays bad, and the bigger the debt gets, the more worried I get about that future burden. With nominal interest rates near zero, and real interest rates sometimes negative, there is nothing to be worried about right now. But recovery will mean a rise in nominal and real interest rates. If recovery gets postponed much longer, I’m going to start to worry whether (e.g. Japan’s) fiscal authorities will be able to afford a recovery.

He should be writing something different: he should be writing: “bad monetary policy that leads to either government purchases or consumption crowding out of capital formation.”

Seems to me it would be much more productive right now to worry about how do we maintain normal levels of net investment in a high government debt post-interest rate normalization environment than to propose sending the economy back into recession in order to reduce government debt accumulation. Recession and high unemployment in the short- and medium-run are problems. Low investment in the medium- and long-run are problems. Government debt is a tool to avoid the first and a source of risk of the second. But it is better to keep your mind focused on the things that are real problems….

#hoistedfromthearchives #secularstagnation #fiscalpolicy #macro #highlighted

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Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings… (June 12, 2019)


  1. John Holbo: “You, for example, are being slightly rude, asking such questions of religious people!: ‘But… it is not usually taken as rude in religious circles to ask of people: Will you be on the left or the right “when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory…'” Oh absolutely. Rude to challenge people about their religious beliefs. Because that’s religious liberty. But it’s not rude for religious people to challenge non-religious people abut their beliefs. Because that’s religious liberty. Purest proof of ‘liberty’ = ‘privilege’ here!…

  2. Brian Lyman: ‘Where Was the Lord?’: On Jefferson Davis’ Birthday, 9 Slave Testimonies

  3. When the person driving the car becomes so exercised by the derogeance inflicted upon newlyweds Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill and Jennie Jerome by their parents’ failure to give them the capital sum to purchase a Stately Home in which to entertain that she misses the turnoff to the Jacksonville airport…

  4. Duncan Black: Do You Even Have Friends: “A legitimate joke about conservatives is they occasionally stumble upon a problem that directly impacts them or their family or friends and suddenly become liberals… on only that issue. Learn to generalize…

  5. Doug Jones: Amplifier Lakes: “Paleontologists and paleoanthropologists are busy sorting out what was special about the climate and ecology of Africa, especially East Africa, that contributed to various phases of hominin evolution… particular times when lakes were flickering in and out of existence along the… East African Rift Valley… a rich (sometimes) but also a particularly challenging environment…. Lewis Dartnell’s very recent Origins: How Earth’s History Shaped Human History…

  6. When and why did the brain eater eat the brain of this guy?: Nick Confessore: “‘[Does] secular liberalism ha[ve] a kind of stopping point that accepts the continued not just existence but flourishing of conservative religious traditions?’ I haven’t yet encountered a liberal answer to this question in the current instance…. Anyone have a recommendation for a piece on the left engaging with that point?” Parker Molloy: “The premise is insane, Nick. There’s not a reasonable rebuttal to it. It’s honestly scary that there are people willing to view the argument as a reasonable position in the first place. We live in a world where it’s legal for a Christian business owner to fire an employee for being gay, but illegal for a gay business owner to fire someone for being Christian…

  7. Charles Jones (1994): “Economic Growth and the Relative Price of Capital,” Journal of Monetary Economics 34, pp. 359-82 https://delong.typepad.com/jones94.pdf

  8. John Amato: Donald: Federal Reserve Are ‘Not His People’ Even Though He Chose 4 Out Of 5: “He apparently forgot that the current Fed panel is one of his creation…

  9. George Orwell (1936): The Road to Wigan Pier

  10. Dan Nexon: Trump Change: Grift and Graft in the New Gilded Age: “Republican concern about many matters – such as the role of congress in overseeing the executive branch and best practices when it comes to securing classified information–extends only so far as partisan political considerations dictates. The same is obviously true of kleptocracy. However, just because the GOP couldn’t care less doesn’t mean that we need to normalize it…

  11. Mark Sullivan: Sign in with Apple Puts Apple’s Privacy Stance to Work: “Sign in with Apple is an impressive, privacy-friendly alternative to one of the main data-harvesting techniques used by its rivals. And Apple isn’t just offering it up as a new option for developers. It will require apps that include sign-in buttons powered by other companies to add its new button as well…

  1. Samuel Bowles and Wendy Carlin: What Students Learn in Economics 101: Time for a Change: “We make the case for a shift in what students learn in a first economics course, taking as our exemplar Paul Samuelson’s paradigm-setting 1948 text. In the shadow of the Great Depression, Samuelson made Keynesian economics an essential component of what every economics student should know. By contrast, leading textbooks today were first written in the glow of the Great Moderation and the tamed cyclical fluctuations in the two decades prior to 2007. Here, using topic modeling, we document Samuelson’s novelty and the evolution of the content of introductory texts since. And we advance three propositions. First, as was the case in the aftermath of the Great Depression, new problems now challenge the content of our introductory courses; these include mounting economic disparities, climate change, concerns about the future of work, and financial instability. Second, the tools required to address these problems, including strategic interaction, limited information, principal-agent models, new behavioral foundations, and dynamic processes including instability and path-dependence, are available (indeed widely taught in PhD programs). And third, as we will illustrate by reference to a new open access introductory text, a course using these tools can be accessible, engaging, coherent and, as a result, successfully taught to first year students. The ‘new economics’ deployed to address the new problems, following Samuelson’s example, provides the basis for integrating not only micro- and macroeconomics but also the analysis of both market failures and the limits of government interventions…

  2. Adam Server: Conservatives Bend the Knee to Trump and Neofascism: “Ross Douthat gets political/moral problem with ‘post fusionist’ US conservatism: it relies upon ginning up racial resentment to win elections. But he misses this: Euro con populists accepts social democracy that US pop right can’t imagine. My problem with this is that it doesn’t engage with the possibility that Trump’s ethnonationalism might not be some kind of subsequent aberration that Trump stapled to his ‘populism’ once that won him the election, but rather the actual reason his populism helped win GOP primary… Richard Yeselson: “It was both—it was white, social democratic gerontocracy SS/Medicare) + racial/nativist/anti-feminist resentment… Greg Sargent: “Yes, I agree. There was a real economic populism buried in all of it. But that turned out to be as ‘weak as straw’ compared to the ethnonationalism, as Orwell put it in a somewhat different context… Adam Serwer: “The real debate here is over whether to pursue a one party illiberal ‘democracy’ where the state crushes its political critics and polices cultural expressions deemed “degenerate,” or whether to adhere to small-l liberal democracy. Everyone is too ashamed to say this directly)…

  3. American Conservative fusionism was always weird: anti-Communists, those who saw Israel as the spearhead of the U.S.’s Cold War panoply, plutocrats, anti-unionists, low-taxers, racists who wanted the federal government to stop interfering with white supremacy, gay-bashers, patriarchs, and those desperate to keep women in their previous place—it was a group considerably less attractive to anyone than even, say, George Orwell’s parody of the left as composed of “every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ’Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England… asks me to say ’whether my diet is ordinary or vegetarian’… [a] kind of thing is by itself sufficient to alienate plenty of decent people. But the current war that those social conservatives who want Blacks, women, and gays to get back in their place are waging against their soi-disant small-government regulatory-rollback allies is quite something. This puts it best: Forrest Chump: “Being into Christendom for the racism and the hierarchy is a heck of a take”. Read Jane Coasten to get a sense of what is going on, but be sure to recognize that most of it is a bunch of people trying to figure out how they can still support Trump 100% and still think of themselves as good people: Jane Coasten: David French vs. Sohrab Ahmari and the Battle Dividing Conservatives, Explained: “First Things… a broadside against ‘fusionism’… for… ‘severing of the link between sex and gender’ and… olding ‘investors and “job creators” above workers and citizens’… fail[ing] to retard… the eclipse of permanent truths, family stability, communal solidarity, and much else… surrender[ing] to the pornographization of daily life, to the culture of death, to the cult of competitiveness… bow[ing] to a poisonous and censorious multiculturalism’…. What kind of moral compromises should conservatives make to win a cultural or political battle? Should conservatism aim to persuade liberals or inoculate conservatives against liberalism? Should conservatism care what private citizens do in their bedrooms or boardrooms or places of worship? The debate over libertarianism and conservatism, and over Ahmari and French, isn’t just about what conservatives believe. It’s about what conservatism is…

  4. I would have thought that the honchos who run the Atlantic Monthly would have recognized that Jeffrey Goldberg was a bad choice for editor before they hired him. I would have thought that the honchos who run the Atlantic Monthly would have recognized that Jeffrey Goldberg was a bad choice for editor when he tried to hire Kevin “let’s hang women who have had abortions” Williamson as somebody whose “whose force of intellect and acuity of insight” was just what the Atlantic needed. Let’s see if they recognize that Jeffrey Goldberg was a bad choice for editor now: Duncan Black: Twitter Thread: “Jeffrey Goldberg is a monster. tTe editors who paid him at the New Yorker are monsters and the Atlantic is horrible…” Doug J.: “Some of the stuff Conor writes there must be among the worst writing ever to appear in a commercial magazine…” Scott Gosnell: “What is it now???…” Ms. Informed: “Jeffrey Goldberg doesn’t think women can write long form journalism. I think he meant he doesn’t want to read writers that are women…” Jeffrey Goldberg: “It’s really, really hard to write a 10,000 word cover story. There are not a lot of journalists in America who can do it. The journalists in America who do it are almost exclusively white males…” Helen Rosner: “Imagine not only saying this but actually believing it…” Scott Lemieux: “Oh, look, here’s the editor of the f—ing Atlantic Monthly asserting that the people writing longform articles are ‘almost exclusively white males’. Like saying it out loud.·It’s just astounding that he would say that…” Karen Cox: “Doesn’t he know that there are quite a few women who have written entire books?…” Ostrich Jacket: “Obviously females don’t write long form—their muscle structure and bone density means that they will konk out at 4500 words every time…

  5. And, yes, Dean Baquet is a horrible, horrible, horrible editor for The New York Times: Jay Rosen: Twitter Thread: “@farhio writes about a ‘late-dawning recognition by mainstream news organizations, which until fairly recently shied away…’ The recognition? The president is a chronic liar and does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. ‘The Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, has said his newsroom strives to use the word [lie] “judiciously” because using it repeatedly “could feed the mistaken notion that we’re taking political sides.” Alt reasoning: if Trump lies repeatedly, then you use the word repeatedly…. This was never a question of ‘is it accurate to say he lies?’ It was never about truthtelling at all. The entire debate was how about how to… APPEAR innocent, unbiased, unaligned…. Taking four years to wake up to his chronic lying means that recognition of this fact is dim, as well: His refusal to be briefed, the undermining of climate science, his contempt for intelligence agencies, the put down of diplomacy, attacks on the press, his lying— all one thing. That the press got hung up on intent—’how can we know his intent?’—was striking to me because in the savvy style of analysis nothing is more quotidian than journalists at the capital confidently revealing a politician’s intent during some run-of-the-mill strategy discussion…

  6. Stacey Perman: No, Atlantic Editor Jeffrey Goldberg Was Not Misquoted: “Goldberg was… quoted…. ‘It’s really, really hard to write a 10,000-word cover story. There are not a lot of journalists in America who can do it. The journalists in America who do it are almost exclusively white males.’… Twitter was not amused…. Goldberg took to Twitter to suggest that he’d been misquoted and that the magazine had asked for a correction.

  7. A must-see: an incredibly engaging interview with Columbia’s Alexander Hertel-Fernandez: Worker and Management Preferences for Specific Aspects of Labor Organization

  8. The differences between Clinton’s NAFTA—which Trump called the worst trade deal ever—and the Trump-Lighthizer’s USMCA—of which Trump is very, very, very proud indeed: GREATEST TRADE DEAL EVER!! MAKES AMERICA GREAT!!!!—are either (a) trivial, (b) parts of the Trump-nuked Trans-Pacific Partnership, or (c) changes in auto parts rules of origin that are not on the manufacturers’ wish list and are not really on the United Auto Workers’ wish-list either. How did this happen? Nobody I communicate has yet managed to figure this out. Why are Trump and Lighthizer so proud. Nobody I communicate has yet managed to figure this out. Go figure: Jack Caporal and William Alan Reinsch: From NAFTA to USMCA: What’s New and What’s Next?: “Automotive rules of origin: USMCA will require that 75 percent of auto content be made in North America… 40-45 percent must be made by workers that earn at least $16 an hour… essentially a U.S. or Canada content requirement…. The special arbitration mechanism contained in NAFTA that allowed investors to sue NAFTA countries for discriminatory actions will be phased out between the United States and Canada, and its coverage will be significantly trimmed for investors in Mexico…. The United States was able to win access to Canada’s heavily protected dairy, egg, and poultry markets while allowing Canada to export more dairy, peanuts, and sugar products to the United States…. USMCA contains provisions on digital trade similar to those negotiated in TPP…

  9. Parker Molloy: HOW THE F—!?!?!? does Jeffrey Goldberg have any job in media anymore, let alone as the editor-in-chief of one of the remaining magazines in the country? THANKS FOR THE WAR, JEFF…

  10. Cognitive dissonance and societal dysfunction in dealing with the challenges of global warming: Miami real estate edition: Sarah Miller: Heaven or High Water: “Selling Miami’s last 50 years: ‘Sunny day flooding’ is flooding where water comes right up from the ground, hence the name, and yes, it can certainly rain during sunny day flooding, and yes, that makes it worse. Sunny day flooding happens in many parts of Miami, but it is especially bad in Sunset Harbour, the low-lying area on Miami Beach’s west side. The sea level in Miami has risen ten inches since 1900… will rise in Miami Beach somewhere between 13 and 34 inches by 2050. By 2100, it is extremely likely to be closer to six feet, which means, unless you own a yacht and a helicopter, sayonara. Sunset Harbour is expected to fare slightly worse, and to do so more quickly. Thus, I felt the Sunset Harbour area was a good place to start pretending to buy a home here. Amazingly, in the face of these incontrovertible facts about the climate the business of luxury real estate is chugging along just fine, and I wanted to see the cognitive dissonance up close…

  11. James Davis Nicoll: More, Please! Authors We Wish Would Publish More Often: “Elizabeth Willey wrote three gloriously baroque fantasies: The Well-Favored Man, and the duology prequel, A Sorcerer and a Gentleman, and The Price of Blood and Honor. All were part of her Kingdom of Argylle Trilogy. The first novel in particular, with its family of squabbling quasi-immortals, was enchanting. All three have come back into print after a generation of being out of print. It would be wonderful if more works, in Argylle or elsewhere, followed…

  12. Methinks St. Paul spent a little too much time pouring over the First Book of Enoch back in the day. Let women uncover their hair in church, where thy are in the sight of the angels, and the next thing you know they are cohabiting, the angels are teaching the women the dividing of roots and trees, and the women are giving birth to very large carnivorous giants: Paul: 1 Corinthians 11:5: “Every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head…. A man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man…. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head, because of the angels…” Cf.: Pseudoenoch: 1 Enoch 7:1: “After the sons of men had multiplied… daughters were born to them, elegant and beautiful. And when the angels, the sons of heaven, beheld them, they became enamoured of them, saying to each other, Come, let us select for ourselves wives from the progeny of men, and let us beget children…. Then they swore all together, and all bound themselves by mutual execrations. Their whole number was two hundred…. Then they took wives, each choosing for himself; whom they began to approach, and with whom they cohabited; teaching them sorcery, incantations, and the dividing of roots and trees. And the women conceiving brought forth giants, whose stature was each three hundred cubits. These devoured all which the labor of men produced; until it became impossible to feed them; when they turned themselves against men, in order to devour them; and began to injure birds, beasts, reptiles, and fishes, to eat their flesh one after another, and to drink their blood…

  13. Friend of Equitable Growth Elise Gould on how minimum wage increases are having powerful positive while—so far at least—no negative impacts: Elise Gould: “Look! In states with a minimum wage increase between 2013 and 2018, the 10th percentile wage grew 50% faster than in states without any increase. On the other hand, median wage growth was similar in states that did and did not increase their minimum wage in that same period…

  14. Mark Thoma sends us to: Marco Tabellini: Lessons from the Age of Mass Migration | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal: “Gifts of the immigrants, woes of the natives: Recent waves of immigration in the US and Europe have triggered debate around the economic and political impact. This column uses evidence from migration of Europeans to the US in the first half of the 20th century to show that large cultural differences can incite anti-immigrant sentiment despite their positive economic impact. Therefore, policymakers should give due attention to cultural assimilation and cohesion policies…

  15. Will McGrew: Investments in early childhood education improve outcomes for program participants—and perhaps other children too: “Zerpa constructs the largest and most representative dataset of targeted and universal state preschool programs in the United States, using individual-level data from the Current Population Survey and the National Health Interview Survey to analyze the short- and medium-term effects of early childhood education on academic outcomes…

  16. John Holbo: Twitter Thread: “Michael Brendan Dougherty says, reasonably, that Catholics should do some institutional soul-searching, not attributing all misfortunes to rampant liberalism…. But once you notice that buried lede MBD digs out, you can’t help but notice a bigger one[:]… ‘Liberty… as formerly understood’ under pressure… is something that is true of the BEST fights for freedom and rights. It is not a danger sign…. Women’s rights resisted because it felt like denial of liberty (men’s former liberties). African-Americans. Civil rights, a gross affront to white liberty. Anti-slavery = vicious assault on liberty…. ײַt is weird to point out that some of these changing attitudes might be due to changes in-weaknesses in-the church-rather than symptoms of some monstrous cancer-growth of liberalism beyond its healthy bounds. But then NOT to point out…

  17. Menzie Chinn: Recession Anxieties, June 2019: “Different forward looking models show increasing likelihood of a recession. Most recent readings of key series highlighted by the NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee (BCDC) suggest a peak, although the critical indicator—nonfarm payroll employment—continues to rise, albeit slowly…

  18. Moral fault attaches to anybody who pays money to or works for the New York Times. You need to do better. Just saying: Jeet Heer: “They should publish two editions of the New York Times: one made up just of beat sweetener to please Trump & his staff and another that publishes just, you know, the news.” Daniel Radosh: These two articles were posted to @nytimes within an hour of each other. Seems like one of them has to be incorrect, right?…

  19. Duncan Black: Public Accommodation: “Once and not all that long ago I went on a trip with some friends. A lesbian couple. We were going hiking. I am a dumb person so it did not occur to me that checking into a hotel could be problem. It was not a problem! The lovely woman at the checkout desk was a trans woman and she was very happy to see us. But I am dumb and until that moment it did not occur to me that getting a hotel room in Pennsyltucky could be a problem. And the problem isn’t that someone might not rent to you. It’s not knowing if they will. Not knowing that when you walk into a store if you will be served. It is a concern and holy crap what a concern. Maggie Haberman once told us that Donald Trump was a friend to LGTB. This is why I tell you to cancel your New York Times subscriptions. Donald Trump has turned trans people into unpersons. I am not as dumb as I used to be…

  20. In a way, America in the twenty-first century has hit a trifecta, with respect to proving to everybody else in the world that America is not a good model—that ָָmerica now has a dysfunctional government, and behind it a dysfunctional society which appears incapable of reform. The George W. Bush administration’s foreign policy demonstrated that America—or, at least, the bipartisan foreign policy establishment to whom America had given the keys—could not assess its own or the global interest in avoiding pointless war. the blocking of policies to guarantee rapid economic recovery under the Obama administration—and the Obama administration’s fair to pull the levers it had—demonstrated that Republican elites, at least, had no concerns about getting to full employment and rapid growth if it might somehow redound to the benefit of their political adversaries. And now the Trump administration has demonstrated that when the chips are down a very large proportion of America simply does not care about freedom or democracy: is very happy putting children in cages, disenfranchising legitimate voters, and appointing stunningly incompetent officials all to own the libs. Hitting this trifecta was self-inflicted. But until we have a diagnosis and have implemented a cure, Xi Jinping can rightly say to China that we are not a superior model: Gideon Rachman: Why Donald Trump Is Great News for Xi Jinping: “Trump… likes to create a crisis, let it run a while and then announce that he has solved it… striking an agreement that he self-certifies as ‘tremendous’… [but is] superficial and the underlying issues will remain largely unaddressed. This is the model that the Trump administration has followed with North Korea, as well as with Mexico and Canada. And it is the model that is pretty clearly going to emerge in Mr Trump’s ‘trade war’ with China…. But calling off the trade war will not be the only gift from Mr Trump to Chinese president Xi Jinping. For Mr Trump has already disarmed America in an even more important battle—the battle of ideas…. America’s most potent weapon in its emerging contest for supremacy with China is… its ideas… ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ are powerful…. Sadly, that has now changed. As a candidate, Mr Trump gave a very ambiguous reply when asked about the Tiananmen massacre of 1989, stating: ‘they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength’. As president, he has made it clear that he is an admirer of authoritarian strongmen around the world…

  21. I am not sure that it is right to say that advocate of “Mothers’ Pensions” believed that “the woman’s sphere was in the home”. They certainly believed that women’s work was important, and beieved that the first and most dire need for social insurance was to make sure that mothers of children had the resources they needed to raise the next generation. But they—and here I am generalizing from my own family history: my great-grandmother Fonnie and my great-great-grandmother Florence—also recognized that their generations were having four pregnancies on average while their grandmothers had had eight, and that they were assisted in the home by an increasing amount of modern technology in the form of consumer durables. And my mother-in-law Barbara maintains to this day that the thing that most changed her life was the clothes-washing machine. Half the number of pregnancies plus consumer durables meant that a lot of female energy could be—and was—directed outside the home: Alix Gould-Werth: After Mother’s Day: Changes in Mothers’ Social Programs Over Time: “As Anna Jarvis was crusading to get Mother’s Day a place on the nation’s calendar, her peers—wealthy, white women who shared her progressive, reform-minded impulses—were laying foundation for our modern social safety net. Though most of these women chose to pursue social change rather than traditional family life, as architects of Mothers’ Pensions, they sided firmly with the view that the woman’s sphere was in the home. Mothers’ Pensions—which were passed into law state by state from 1911 to 1920—were targeted at widows and provided cash payments designed to simultaneously keep children out of orphanages and mothers out of the workplace…

  22. Nick Kapur: “Grover Cleveland Had One of the The Sketchiest Marriages.: “A bachelor upon entering office in 1883, in 1886 the 49-year-old president married 21-year-old Frances Folsom, who was 28 years his junior…. So far there’s a massive age difference, but otherwise it sounds okay. But… It turns out that Grover had known Frances since birth. He was a very close family friend and had actually gifted her family with her first baby carriage. Even worse, when Frances’s father died in 1875 without heirs or a will, a court declared Grover the executor of the estate. This put Grover in charge of supervising Frances’s upbringing and education. Frances was just 11 years old at that time…. Cleveland had been grooming his court-appointed ward perhaps since age 11 or even earlier. As soon as Frances graduated from Wells College at age 21, Grover immediately wrote her a letter proposing to her and she accepted. He had not seen her in several years, on account of being President. Grover said nothing about Frances while campaigning to be president, and kept their engagement secret until five days before their surprise White House wedding. Even by the misogynistic standards of the time, what he was doing was pretty sketchy. Grover later made a big deal about having asked Frances’s mother for permission in advance. But given that Grover had controlled the family’s finances for years, and was by then, you know, President of the United States, one wonders how much choice Frances or her mother really had…

  23. Charles Sykes: Donald Trump and the New Cruelty: “The children were not collateral damage of Trump’s policy: They were the entire point. Removing them from their parents was designed to be shocking because their trauma was intended as a deterrent. Under the New Cruelty, the pitiless separation of young children from their mothers was supposed to send a chilling message to anyone foolish enough to seek asylum here… supposed to project strength, or at least the bully’s imitation of strength. Perhaps more than any other trait, it is this that motivates Trump: his need to appear strong and his fear of looking weak. Lewandowski… is a bit player… another of the menagerie of misfit toys… feed[ing] off Trump’s sundry insecurities…

  24. David French: President Trump & Sohrab Ahmari:The Cruelty Is the Point: “Sohrab Ahmari… made three core points: Politics is ‘war and enmity’, ‘civility and decency are secondary values’, and the right should fight the culture war ‘with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good’…. People asked, ‘But what does that look like. What do you mean when you make the case for enmity and against civility?’… It looks a lot like what Sohrab did to me in his essay and what Trump’s supporters did to me in response. A man committed to ‘enmity’ and who believes decency is secondary repeatedly misrepresented my approach to politics and my role in critical public controversies… created a fictional version of me…. a signal flare, calling a truly enormous number of committed Trump supporters to spend day after day attacking me in the most vicious of terms, including by spreading many of the same falsehoods in the original piece…. Allow the falsehoods to issue unchallenged, and you can see your reputation… left in tatters…. Respond, and the attackers… thrill to their ability to trouble you enough to trigger an answer… [which] triggers swarms of additional personal attacks often made in steadily darker terms, culminating in zombie elements of the alt-right lurching up to take their shots…. In this brave new political world, personal attacks are indispensable. A discussion of only ideas represents exactly the kind of politics the pugilists now abhor…. But it’s all for the sake of the ‘Highest Good’, right?…

  25. I’m with “ignorant” rather than “willfully wrong” here, Eric: Eric Rauchway: “Ross Douthat says: ‘The crisis of the 1930s ended happily for liberalism because a reactionary imperialist withstood Adolf Hitler and a revolutionary Bolshevik crushed him.’ This argument is at best ignorant and incomplete, and at worst willfully wrong. If you… hear any of many edited versions of Churchill’s great ‘never surrender’ speech, you might miss its major point, because often people cut it off after the words ‘never surrender’. THAT’S NOT HOW THE SPEECH ENDS. The speech is directed at the administration and the radio audience across the ocean, in the United States… ‘even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, THE NEW WORLD, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old’. That speech is a plea for American materiel, inasmuch as much British materiel—’the first-fruits of all that our industry had to give’—was left on the beach at Dunkirk…. The ‘reactionary imperialist’ needed American aid…. Certain elements didn’t want him to have it… America First… portray[ed] Roosevelt as a warmonger… the Willkie campaign in 1940 followed suit…. The Nazis financed anti-Roosevelt propaganda in the US and even tried to set up a credible left alternative to him in the 1940 election, knowing that of all US politicians, Roosevelt was the worst news for them. Roosevelt, as you know, won reelection anyway—and shortly afterward… announced… lend-lease…

  26. I wouldn’t call it “crashing”, but… And it is not just the south: Wisconsin and Kansas joined, and Michigan and Indiana and Ohio are teetering on the edge: John Cole: The Decline of the South: “…Good piece in the WSJ about the crashing economy in the south”: Sharon Nunn: The South’s Economy Is Falling Behind: ‘All of a Sudden the Money Stops Flowing’: “Since 2009, the South’s convergence has turned to divergence, as the region recorded the country’s slowest growth in output and wages, the lowest labor-force participation rate and the highest unemployment rate…. Low taxes and low wages that attracted factories and blue-collar jobs—have proven inadequate in an expanding economy where the forces of globalization favor cities with concentrations of capital and educated workers. ‘Those policies worked before, then they became fundamental constraints on the [South’s] long-term growth’, said Richard Florida, an urbanization expert at the University of Toronto…. In part because of its legacy of racial segregation the region has, relative to others, underinvested in human capital…. Against the Northeast…the South’s per capita income peaked at 79.1% of the Northeast’s level, and has since fallen to 71.6%…. Sunbelt cities like Charlotte and Atlanta have attracted both wealthier white-collar workers and retirees….Texas, with its own unique economy… is relatively urban, with five major metro centers… a thriving tech sector and ample reserves of oil and gas….Many economists say the most effective way for the South to regain its momentum would be to invest more in education, which would over time create a more skilled workforce to attract employers. But Mississippi State University economist Alan Barefield notes that is difficult to reconcile with southern states’ historic desire to keep spending and taxes low…

  27. David S. Jacks, Christopher M. Meissner, and Dennis Novy: Trade Booms, Trade Busts, and Trade Costs: “What has driven trade booms and trade busts in the past and present? We derive a micro-founded measure of trade frictions from leading trade theories and use it to gauge the importance of bilateral trade costs in determining international trade flows. We construct a new balanced sample of bilateral trade flows for 130 country pairs across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania for the period from 1870 to 2000 and demonstrate an overriding role for declining trade costs in the pre-World War I trade boom. In contrast, for the post-World War II trade boom we identify changes in output as the dominant force. Finally, the entirety of the interwar trade bust is explained by increases in trade costs…

  28. Right-wing grifters gotta grift: Jemima Kelly: The Rick Santorum-Backed Coin for Catholics: “Backing a project that combines his religious fervour with another area of modern-day fanaticism: blockchainism (thanks to Buttcoin and in particular contributor David Gerard for drawing our attention to this)… a company and soon-to-be digital coin (stablecoin, specifically) called Cathio… ‘a new payment, remittance and funding platform which provides efficient, secure, and transparent movement of funds within the Catholic world’, promising to provide a ‘turnkey solution for Catholic organizations to bring their financial transactions into alignment with their beliefs’…

  29. Barry Eichengreen: Unconventional Thinking about Unconventional Monetary Policies by Barry Eichengreen: “Defenders of central-bank independence argue that quantitative easing should have been avoided last time and is best avoided in the future, because it opens the door to political interference with the conduct of monetary policy. But political interference is even likelier if central banks shun QE in the next recession…

  30. Why Charles L. Black thought Wechsler, Bickel, and company were mendacious morons: Charles L. Black (1960): The Lawfulness of the Segregation Decisions: “IF the cases outlawing segregation 1 were wrongly decided, then they ought to be overruled… [and] will be overruled, slowly or all at once, openly or silently…. The hugely consequential error cannot stand and does not stand…. There is call for action in the suggestion that the segregation cases cannot be justified… practical and not merely intellectual significance in the question whether these cases were rightly decided. I think they were rightly decided, by overwhelming weight of reason, and I intend here to say why I hold this belief. My liminal difficulty is rhetorical-or, perhaps more accurately, one of fashion. Simplicity is out of fashion, and the basic scheme of reasoning on which these cases can be justified is awkwardly simple…. The equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment… the Negro race… is not to be significantly disadvantaged by the laws of the states…. Segregation is a massive intentional disadvantaging of the Negro race…. That is really all there is to the segregation cases. If both these propositions can be supported by the preponderance of argument, the cases were rightly decided…

  31. Is this like a human making a tool, or a bird making a nest? And what is a bird making a nest like anyway?: Dietrich Stout: Stone Age Hand Axe Shaped by Complex Brain: “Train[ing] novices to make Stone Age tools to explore the evolution of the human brain…

  1. Wikipedia: Fusionism

  2. Wikipedia: Hatfield House

  3. Hatfield House: The Old Palace

  4. Edward Feser: Hayek and Fusionism: “Central planning of the socialist kind is impossible, for no would-be planner could have the knowledge requisite to doing the job. Only prices generated in a capitalist economy can encapsulate the scattered and otherwise ungatherable information needed for rational economic activity, and individuals responding to price signals in the marketplace ensure the most efficient allocation of resources as is practically possible. But there are moral and social implications as well. For tradition, in Hayek’s view, plays a role similar to that of the price system, embodying the inchoate moral insights of millions of individuals scattered across countless generations, and sensitive to far more information than is available to any individual reformer or revolutionary. The radical moral innovator, who falsely assumes he can design from scratch new institutions superior to existing ones, suffers from a hubris analogous to that inherent in socialism. Obviously all of this calls for further development and qualification, but it is clear enough that Hayek’s thought has a decidedly fusionist tenor. The combination of free market economics and moral traditionalism is, in Hayek’s system, no shotgun wedding; both components flow organically from the same theory of knowledge. The common criticism of fusionism to the effect that it is a sheer artifice concocted for purposes of political expediency, and can have no coherent philosophical rationale, is thus without foundation. The very existence of Hayek’s philosophy proves otherwise…

  5. The Book of Common Prayer (1549): The Forme of Solemnizacion of Matrimonie

  6. Jorge Luis Borges: Three Versions of Judas: “God, argues Nils Runeberg, lowered himself to be a man for the redemption of the human race; it is reasonable to assume that the sacrifice offered by him was perfect…. In order to save us, He could have chosen any of the destinies which together weave the uncertain web of history; He could have been Alexander, or Pythagoras, or Rurik, or Jesus; He chose an infamous destiny: He was Judas…

  7. Antonio Fatas: This time might not be different: “Statistical patterns suggest that a recession is imminent. Can this time be different because large imbalances are not present? Maybe. But let’s not forget the previous times when we did not see the size and implications of the ongoing imbalances…

#noted #weblogs 

Hoisted from Eleven Years Ago: Poverty Traps: The High Price of Investment Goods in Poor Countries

Untitled key

Hoisted from Eleven Years Ago: Poverty Traps: The High Price of Investment Goods in Poor Countries http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/06/poverty-traps-t.html:Here is how Larry Summers and I formulated it back in the early 1990s, and I believe that we were correct:

Begin with the large divergence between purchasing power parity and current exchange rate measures of relative GDP per capita levels. The spread between the highest and lowest GDP per capita levels today, using current exchange rate-based measures, is a factor of 400; the spread between the highest and lowest GDP per capita levels today using purchasing power parity-based measures is a factor of 50. If the purchasing power parity-based measures are correct, real exchange rates vary by a factor of eight between relatively rich and relatively poor economies. And the log GDP per capita level accounts for 80 percent of the cross-country variation in this measure of the real exchange rate, with each one percent rise in GDP per capita associated with an 0.34 percent rise in the real exchange rate.

Why? Because real exchange rates are such as to make the prices of traded manufactured goods roughly the same in the different nation-states of the world, putting to one side over- or undervaluations produced by macroeconomic conditions, tariffs and other trade barriers, and desired international investment flows. Thus the eight-fold difference in real exchange rates between relatively rich and relatively poor economies is a reflection of an approximately eight-fold difference in the price of easily-traded manufactured goods: relative to the average basket of goods and prices on which the “international dollar” measure is based, the real price of traded manufactures in relatively rich countries is only one-eighth the real price in relatively poor countries.

This should come as no surprise. The world’s most industrialized and prosperous economies are the most industrialized and prosperous because they have attained very high levels of manufacturing productivity: their productivity advantage in unskilled service industries is much lower than in capital- and technology-intensive manufactured goods.

And a low relative price of technologically-sophisticated manufactured goods has important consequences for nation-states’ relative investment rates. In the United States today machinery and equipment account for half of all investment spending; in developing economies–where machinery and equipment, especially imported machinery and equipment is much more expensive–it typically accounts for a much greater share of total investment spending (see Jones, 1994; DeLong and Summers, 1991).

Consider the implications of a higher relative price of capital goods for a developing economy attempting to invest in a balanced mix of machinery and structures. There is no consistent trend in the relative price of structures across economies: rich economies can use bulldozers to dig foundations, but poor economies can use large numbers of low-paid unskilled workers to dig foundations. But the higher relative price of machinery capital in developing countries makes it more and more expensive to maintain a balanced mix: the poorer a country, the lower is the real investment share of GDP that corresponds to any given fixed nominal savings share of GDP.

The gap between nominal savings and real investment shares of GDP that follows from the high relative price of machinery and equipment in poor countries that wish to maintain a balanced mix of investment in structures and equipment is immense. For a country at the level of the world’s poorest today–with a real exchange rate-based GDP per capita level of some $95 a year–saving 20% of national product produces a real investment share (measured using the “international dollar” measure) of only some 5% of national product.

In actual fact poor economies do not maintain balanced mixes of structures and equipment capital: they cannot afford to do so, and so economize substantially on machinery and equipment. Thus here are three additional channels by which relative poverty is a cause slow growth:

First, the fact that investment in general–taking equipment and structures together–is expensive relative to consumption goods and services in poor countries provides them with an incentive to diminish their nominal savings effort: to reduce the share of nominal incomes saved.

Second, the fact that relative poverty is the source of a high real price of capital means that poor countries will have a low rate of real investment corresponding to any given nominal savings effort, and thus a low steady-state aggregate capital-output ratio corresponding to any given nominal savings effort.

Third, to the extent that machinery and equipment are investments with social products that significantly exceed the profits earned by investors (see DeLong and Summers, 1991), the price structures in relatively poor developing economies lead them to economize on exactly the wrong kinds of capital investment…


“The Singer-Prebisch Thesis,” Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singer-Prebisch_thesis (accessed June 25, 2007).

J. Bradford DeLong (1997), “Cross-Country Variations in National Economic Growth Rates: The Role of ‘Technology'”, in Jeffrey Fuhrer and Jane Sneddon Little, eds., Technology and Growth (Boston: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston) http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/Econ_Articles/Growth_and_Technology/Role_of_Technology_.pdf (accessed June 25, 2007).

J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers (1991), “Equipment Investment and Economic Growth,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 106: 2 (May), pp. 445-502 http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/archives/000606.html (accessed June 25, 2007).

J. Bradford DeLong and Joseph Rosenberg (2006), “Problem Set 3: Economic Growth: Further Explorations,” U.C. Berkeley Economics 101b, Fall 2006 Version http://delong.typepad.com/print/20060911_101b_f06_ps3.pdf (accessed June 25, 2007).

Francesco Caselli and James Feyrer (2007), “The Marginal Product of Capital” http://www.aeaweb.org/annual_mtg_papers/2006/0106_1430_0703.pdf (accessed June 25, 2007).

Chang-Tai Hsieh and Pete Klenow (2006), “Relative Prices and Relative Prosperity” http://www.klenow.com/RPandRP.pdf (accessed June 25, 2007).

Charles Jones (1994), “Economic Growth and the Relative Price of Capital,” Journal of Monetary Economics 34, pp. 359-82 https://delong.typepad.com/jones94.pdf (accessed June 25, 2007).

#highlighted #economicgrowth #equipmentinvestment #investment #industrialpolicy #hoistedfromthearchives 

Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Introduction

Journey To Normandy Scene 1

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.A. Giles and J. Ingram trans.): Introduction: “The island Britain is 800 miles long, and 200 miles broad. And there are in the island five nations; English, Welsh (or British), Scottish, Pictish, and Latin…

…The first inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia, and first peopled Britain southward.

Then happened it, that the Picts came south from Scythia, with long ships, not many; and, landing first in the northern part of Ireland, they told the Scots that they must dwell there. But they would not give them leave; for the Scots told them that they could not all dwell there together; “But,” said the Scots, “we can nevertheless give you advice. We know another island here to the east. There you may dwell, if you will; and whosoever withstandeth you, we will assist you, that you may gain it.” Then went the Picts and entered this land northward. (Southward the Britons possessed it, as we before said.) And the Picts obtained wives of the Scots, on condition that they chose their kings always on the female side; which they have continued to do, so long since.

And it happened, in the run of years, that some party of Scots went from Ireland into Britain, and acquired some portion of this land. Their leader was called Reoda (5), from whom they are named Dalreodi (or Dalreathians)…

#liveblogging #history #anglosaxonchronicle 

The Myth of Kevin Williamson: Weekend Reading

Danielle Tcholakian: The Myth of Kevin Williamson: “After a week or so of mostly women questioning The Atlantic’s hiring of Kevin Williamson, a conservative columnist who has advocated for hanging women who have had abortions, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg announced Williamson is no longer in his employ. Goldberg had justified hiring Williamson on the grounds that he’s a talented writer, and his assertion that women who have abortions should be hanged was an errant tweet, not to be taken seriously. But Media Matters dug up a 2014 podcast for the National Review in which Williamson talked at length about how much he likes this idea. ‘I’m kind of squishy about capital punishment in general, but I’ve got a soft spot for hanging as a form of capital punishment’…

…Williamson’s writing on women makes one wonder if he’s ever actually spoken to one. He once asserted that “the ladies” (his words) should all vote for Mitt Romney because “the ladies do tend to flock to successful executives and entrepreneurs.” In the same piece, he declared that Romney “in another time and place would have the option of maintaining” a harem, seeming to lament that this isn’t something Americans “do.”

Women, in Williamson’s world, have two settings: sexy yet “maddening” playthings or “sexually repugnant” untamed whores. From a 2008 essay for the National Review:

Every female police officer knows there is something maddeningly sexy about a woman enforcing rules, and something sexually repugnant about a woman without any rules at all… Miss Manners is sexy for the same reason that librarians and teachers and nurses can be sexy: she is an authority — it’s fun to play with authority.” 

In 2008, Hillary Clinton assembling political power was “getting in touch with her inner dominatrix (which does not seem to have been much of a reach for her.)” On Sandra Fluke, a respected lawyer who was labeled a “slut” and a “prostitute” by Rush Limbaugh after she advocated that the insurance policies should cover contraception, he wrote, “whatever Sandra Fluke is up to, you can be sure she’s looking for somebody else to pay for it.” Just like a prostitute, get it?

This kind of mealy-mouthed writing is Williamson’s bread-and-butter. He called Lena Dunham “distinctly unappealing,” but no doubt would claim that descriptor had nothing to do with her appearance. He referred to a 9-year-old black child as a “primate” and a “three-fifth-scale Snoop Dogg,” later denying that the reference had anything to do with slavery and the period in U.S. history in which black people were considered three-fifths of a person. Sure, Kevin.

Goldberg took issue with the “callous and violent” language Williamson used in the podcast, saying it “runs contrary to The Atlantic’s tradition of respectful, well-reasoned debate.” This is a weird form of respectability politics.

Typically, respectability politics is foisted on marginalized communities—black people are told to “walk a little straighter and write a little neater and speak a little clearer” so that white people might be more accepting of them. But it’s also used as a cover for indulging toxic ideology. As the writer Tess Mendola pointed out on Twitter, “Horrible ideas have a long history of advancement through ‘respectful debate’ among folks whose bodies those ideas do not affect.”

Remember Williamson likening a 9-year-old black boy to a primate? Pseudosciences like phrenology were used to politely assert the inferiority of black people. For decades if not centuries, polite people made polite justifications of slavery, of racism, of the inferiority of women.

Circulating these ideas in the media has a history of harmful consequences. Before World War II, denigrating and hyperbolic news was disseminated about Jewish people with the goal of conditioning the larger population to see them as less than human. Before the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Hutus referred to Tutsis systematically as “cockroaches” in a similar effort to dehumanize, making people more amenable to future violence against people they were conditioned to view as less than human.

Advocating for people who have or perform abortions to be murdered is an extremist position, even if abortion itself is a politically controversial matter. Doctors have been murdered because rhetoric that advocates doing so was given mainstream airtime. It’s not unbelievable that someone might be emboldened by Williamson’s words to actually murder a woman who has had an abortion. It follows, logically, that people given to extreme actions are susceptible to extreme rhetoric.

The demographics that Williamson chooses to denigrate are vulnerable ones. His comments about abortion and black people have been paramount in complaints against him, but he has also written, in relation to a black transgender woman, that identifying as transgender is a “delusional tendency.”  Trans women, and particularly trans women of color, are murdered at alarming rates, when the raw number is considered as a ratio of their overall population.

Despite all of this, liberals and conservatives alike continue to insist that Williamson is a talented writer, just like convicted Stanford rapist Brock Turner was a “talented swimmer.” Even Ta-Nehisi Coates praised his craft in 2014. Setting aside the question of whether such talent should or does trump all else, a look at Williamson’s work doesn’t really support that assertion.

Slate’s Jordan Weissmann highlighted a piece in which Williamson argued that poor communities in America “deserve to die.” In the piece, Williamson argues that the white working class hasn’t been victimized by outside forces, and boohoos the closing of factories and industries on which generations of rural families have been dependent for work. Reading this, I remembered talking to young people in Maine who grew up believing they would work in the mills that employed their parents, only to come of age as the mills shuttered and the job prospects for which they had prepared no longer existed.

The idea that these communities weren’t left behind is simply wrong. Over the past half-century, industry and technology sped ahead without a glance back at them. Money that came from those industrial and technological advances went into the pockets of a select few, instead of into a public education system that could have prepared these people for the jobs that would be available to them. Our fascination with an improbable minority of self-made geniuses blinded us to the ills befalling segments of our society, and now we’re aggrieved to learn that when segments of society are infected, that means the whole of society is infected.

Williamson’s advice to these people is to move. Where? To overcrowded cities with skyrocketing rents and tenuous employment opportunities? This isn’t a solution. Williamson’s original wording was correct: It’s a death sentence. Setting aside the question of whether Williamson’s writing is harmful or offensive, the question arises of whether it has any value. His aversion to nuance undermines that.

Williamson’s stated aversion to capital punishment is consistently paired with a belief that if we’re going to have state-sanctioned murder, it ought to be as brutal as possible—hence his love of hanging. Lethal injection is “antiseptic,” he says, though anyone who has witnessed an execution would likely tell you the way those injections work is horrific to observe. Sex reassignment surgery, to Williamson, is “brutal and lamentable” because it is “surgical mutilation basically for cosmetic purposes.”

He opposes exceptions for rape and incest in anti-abortion restrictions because “if we are going to protect unborn human lives, then we are going to protect them regardless of the circumstances of their conception.” This has been praised as being indicative of some level of ideological consistency, which is a bizarre way to measure intellect. How does an editor not interrogate a valuation of life that is hierarchical in this way? In Williamson’s world, an “unborn” life is more valuable than that of one that is not only born, but lived. What logic decrees that we humans become less valuable the longer we spend on this earth?

During the week or so of Williamson controversy, Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum posited a sort of defense of Williamson. “Nearly every conservative believes that abortion is murder,” Drum wrote. “Williamson was willing to take this publicly to its logical endpoint—that women who get abortions should be prosecuted for murder one—but that act of folly is the only difference between him and every other right-wing pundit.”

I couldn’t stop thinking about that assertion. Does every conservative want women who have abortions to die? The question was stuck in my brain. It seemed unreasonable, but then I wondered if I was being naive. I thought there must be conservatives who oppose abortion, who see it as murder, but don’t want to kill women who don’t carry their pregnancies to term. There must be conservatives who would push for advancements in contraception as a way to lessen the number of abortions, or who would want to see the state of healthcare in this country improve so that giving birth doesn’t put women at serious risk of death. There must be conservatives who understand that women fear stigma, fear the prospect of depression and other mental illness during and after pregnancy, fear an inability to cover the financial burdens of raising a child in a country with a poor public education and healthcare systems. There must be conservatives who are looking at the whole picture, not just the piece of it that they find abhorrent.

But the reaction of high-profile conservatives to Williamson’s firing belied that conviction. Erick Erickson tweeted, “Kevin Williamson’s firing is a reminder that there are two Americas and one side will stop at nothing to silence the other. This is not about a bad tweet or a bad view. It is about the left wanting on a monopoly on the public square so none can be exposed to competing ideas.” Noah Rothman, associate editor at Commentary tweeted, “I don’t think it is outside the remit for gatekeepers like the Atlantic to suppress certain ideas: eugenics, racial superiority, etc. But believing that abortion is violence and should be treated like that, while I disagree, is not an uncommon view. Is that beyond the arena of ideas?” Myriad other conservatives spoke of Williamson in the past tense, as though he himself had been murdered or imprisoned or exiled, rather than simply denied a job.

This is a common phenomenon among conservatives of late, as Moira Donegan noted on Twitter and as I’ve written before. Criticism, or one’s words or actions having consequences, is seen as an infringement on some fundamental right. But the right to free speech is not a right to speech free of consequences. It is not a right to say what you wish, unquestioned. That belief is a strange entitlement found among those who prefer the status quo, who are cozy with those who have long held power, and resent that power today is unusually dynamic, that people who have long been marginalized are increasingly changing the game. The power brokers feel that the goalposts are being moved on them. They can’t accept that the others have the ability to decline to play the game according to rules that have always favored those who are already ahead.


A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Must- and Should-Reads from the Past Week or so: June 7, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

Worthy Readings at Equitable Growth:

  1. That monetary policy is best which avoids creating needless unemployment while still maintaining confidence in the value of the unit of account. Yet surprisingly little thought has been devoted to figuring out which monetary policy jumps the highest with respect to this objective: Nick Bunker: Getting on the level with the Fed’s targeting of prices: “John Williams’s move to New York is a sign that the Federal Reserve may soon reconsider its target for monetary policy. It’s not clear whether a new target would emerge from such a process or how radical a change current members of the FOMC would consider. The current inflation targeting structure may have gotten the U.S. economy to where it is, but it took some time. A quicker recovery from the next recession would be to the benefit of everyone in the U.S. economy. So, a rethink is needed. Hopefully it’s coming soon…”

  2. I think “top 20%” is wrong. The fact that most of percentiles 80%-97% perceive themselves as having catastrophically lost the game of relative status vis-a-vis percentiles 98% and 99%—and that most of percentiles 98% and 99% perceive themselves as having catastrophically lost the game of relative status vis-a-vis the 99.9%, and most of the 99.9% perceive themselves as having catastrophically lost the game of relative status vis-a-vis 99.99% makes arguing that they have in some sense succeeded in realizing a dream that they now hoard a hard argument to make: Richard Reeves: Equitable Growth in Conversation_: “Dream hoarders… are the people at the top… the winners of the inequality divide… the top 20 percent roughly of the income distribution. That means they earn healthy six-figure household incomes, with average incomes of about $200,000 a year…”

  3. There was a lot of noise about how giving repatriated profits a tax break would boost investment in America. As near as I can see it, none of it was well-founded at all: Kimberly Clausing: Equitable Growth in Conversation: “We are distorting repatriation decisions by having this repatriation tax. But I don’t think we’re dramatically changing the investments found in the United States. The companies that have profits abroad can borrow against them to finance any desired investment. And some of the money isn’t really truly abroad—it’s invested in U.S. assets…”

  4. This web page at Slate has the wrong headline. It should be: “Education Won’t Solve Inequality: Not without workers’ power too”. Sigh. On the substance, blaming increasing inequality on “Skill Biased Technical Change” was always a non-sequitur. Given the way the models were set up, SBTC was a residual: anything that diminished worker bargaining power was going to be labeled “SBTC” regardless of what it really was: Kate Bahn: Study: Unions increasingly represent educated workers: “Herbst, Kuziemko, and Naidu throws a wrench in the SBTC [Skill-Biased Technical Change] explanation of rising inequality. They find that the education level of union members also followed a U-shape curve from 1936–2016…”

  5. Looking forward to what we can learn from this BLS initiative: Kate Bahn: New data on contingent workers in the United States: “On Thursday, June 7, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release data from its freshly collected Contingent Worker Supplement. It’s important for policymakers and economists alike to know what to look for ahead of Thursday’s data release…”

Worthy Readings Not at Equitable Growth:

  1. To keep track of what the Federal Reserve is doing, focus on the University of Oregon’s Tim Duy:

  2. If you do not read Steve Randy Waldman regularly, you are doing your weblog scaling wrong…

  3. You should experiment with this as a way of keeping track of information sources you find interesting: Blogtrottr

  4. A very interesting study of what appears to be highly successful job search assistance in Nevada: Day Manoli, Marios Michaelides, and Ankur Patel: Long-Term Effects of Job-Search Assistance: Experimental Evidence Using Administrative Tax Data: “Administrative tax data… examine the long-term effects of an experimental job-search assistance program operating in Nevada in 2009…

  5. I have never believed the critics of Whorfianism—those who claim that the language you speak does not shape what you see and how you think. Non-native speakers have a very hard time even hearing the native phonemes of a language, so how can their thoughts be unaffected? Linguistic sources of gender essentialism: Pamela Jakiela and Owen Ozier: Gendered Language: “At the cross-country level, this paper documents a robust negative relationship between the prevalence of gender languages and women’s labor force participation…

  6. The Trumpists appear unhappy to lose, as long as they can convince themselves that others are losing more. So much “winning”. May I have more of this “winning” please?: Edward Luce: The west minus one: how Donald Trump is helping China: “Europe, Canada and Japan are united against Mr Trump’s trade belligerence…. America First requires diplomatic skill. You need knowledge of those you want to divide and rule. Then you pick them off. Yet Mr Trump is doing the opposite…. Two explanations…. The first is that he is incompetent…. The second is that Mr Trump’s id is bigger than his ego…. The result is rolling confusion…”

  7. He uses only the first half of he textbook. And I think students are the better for it: Miles Kimball: On Teaching and Learning Macroeconomics

  8. I think the highly estimable Catherine Rampall is wrong. The trade theories of the 1680s were zero-sum theories. Trump’s theory is a negative-sum theory: shoot ourselves in the foot because argle bargle bargle somehow it will hurt the more: Catherine Rampall: Trump’s trade policy is stuck in the ’80s—the 1680s: “Trump seems to have missed this lesson, however. Like an 18th-century mercantilist, Trump perceives no mutual gains from trade. In any transaction, he sees only a winner and a loser. And the winner is determined by who has the trade surplus…”

  9. If ever you talk about the marvel of the private sector in inducing “medical innovation”, think of this story: Mark Kleiman: A primer on fentanyl(s): “Kevin Drum asks about the causes of the change: ‘Fentanyl has been around for a long time, and only recently has its use become widespread. Why?’ Why, I thought you’d never ask. Settle back; this is a complicated story, and it’s going to take a while to tell. But Keith is right: this is a BFD. So it’s worth understanding…”

  10. The problem is that Perry Anderson has no clue in how to be “radical… and… coherent” in a way that is not destructive: Perry Anderson: Why the system will still win: “For anti-systemic movements of the left in Europe, the lesson of recent years is clear. If they are not to go on being outpaced by movements of the right, they cannot afford to be less radical in attacking the system, and must be more coherent in their opposition to it…”

  11. I suspect that other countries will prove much more effective at compensating the losers from a trade ar than Trump will be: Paul Krugman: Oh, What a Stupid Trade War: “My professional training wants me to dismiss the jobs question as off-base. But… we… want to know whether the Trump trade war… would add or subtract jobs holding monetary policy constant, even though we know monetary policy won’t be constant…. This trade war will actually be a job-killer…. Trump is putting tariffs on intermediate goods…. Whatever gains there are in primary metals employment will be offset by job losses in downstream industries…. Other countries will retaliate…. We’re dealing with real countries… they have pride; and their electorates really, really don’t like Trump. This means that even if their leaders might want to make concessions, their voters probably won’t allow it…. This is a remarkably stupid economic conflict to get into. And the situation in this trade war is likely to develop not necessarily to Trump’s advantage…”

  12. Not yet lifespan. Nevertheless, this is another John Donne bell-tolling moment for the American century (and a half): Tom Miles: China overtakes U.S. for healthy lifespan: WHO data: “Chinese newborns can look forward to 68.7 years of healthy life ahead of them, compared with 68.5 years for American babies, the data-which relates to 2016-showed. American newborns can still expect to live longer overall-78.5 years compared to China’s 76.4 – but the last 10 years of American lives are not expected to be healthy…”

  13. Truth be told, macroeconomics has been moving this direction ever since Mitchell and Burns’s Business Annals and Schumpeter’s Business Cycles were published: Simon Wren-Lewis: Did macroeconomics give up on explaining recent economic history?: “he New Classical Counter Revolution in macro… led to this downgrading of what we might call structural time series analysis of key macro relationships. Equally responsible was Sims… ‘Macroeconomics and Reality’… which proposed instead VAR methods. This perfect storm relegated the time series analysis that had been the bread and butter of macroeconomics to the minor journals. I do not think it is too grandiose to claim that as a consequence macroeconomics gave up on trying to explain recent macroeconomic history…”

  14. Can we have a well-functioning public sphere?: Philip Kitcher: Science, Truth, and Democracy https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=frrhdqnMNzsC

  15. Wise words on how a progressive society makes use of historical memory, in this case, the historical memory of the Puritans: Teddy Roosevelt (1907: Address on the occasion of the laying of the corner stone of the Pilgrim memorial monument”: “We have traveled far since his day. That liberty of conscience which he demanded for himself, we now realize must be as freely accorded to others…. We other Americans who are not of Puritan blood also claim… our heritage…. We all gather to pay homage, no matter from what country our ancestors sprang. We have gained some things that the Puritan had not…”

  16. Zack Beauchamp: Right-wing prof Niall Ferguson plotted to get dirt on a liberal student: “A conservative professor conspiring with students, in emails that sound like they were written by comic book villains…. At Stanford University… Ferguson was one of the faculty leaders of Cardinal Conversations, a Stanford program run by the conservative Hoover Institution that aims to bring speakers to the university who would ‘air contested issues on our campus’…”

  17. Trump’s attention span is so short and his knowledge base is so small: why have Wilber Ross and company been unable to corral him here?: Ed Luce: Make America 1929 again: “America’s trading partners are learning how to read Mr Trump the hard way. The US president is committed to the pursuit of a trade war of all against all…. Trump knows exactly what he is doing. The fact that it poses a threat to the global order is a feature, not a bug, of his actions…”

  18. Superb twitter precis of what looks to be a superb book that family members have taken from me before I could read: Nicole Cliffe: On John Carreyrou on Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes: Bad Blood: “The most amazing thing about the Theranos book is how utterly and completely nothing ever worked…”

  19. The “economic anxiety” meme is indeed strong here: worries about high unemployment, job insecurity, and stagnant wages are not convincing proximate causes of neo-fascism—not in Europe, not in the United States. Even though the thoughtful Perry Anderson thinks it is: Perry Anderson: Why the system will still win: “It is no surprise that the ever more oligarchic cast of the EU, defying popular will in successive referendums and embedding budgetary diktats in constitutional law, should have generated so many movements of protest against it…. Movements of the right predominate over those of the left because from early on they made the immigration issue their own, playing on xenophobic and racist reactions to gain widespread support among the most vulnerable sectors of the population…”

  20. A plea for pluralism in economic method, among other things: Andrei Shleifer (2015): Matt Gentzkow

#noted #weblogs #worthyreads #hoistedfromthearchives #highighte d