Monday Smackdown: Batshit Insane American Nat-Cs Department: Intellectual Leading Light Samuel P. Huntington


Apropos of our National Conservatives—our Nat-Cs—here in America today. It is worth remembering how batshit insane is right-wing “class of civilizations” urberguru Samuel Hintington. Witness his firm belief that immigrants from Cuba have ruined Miami: “Anglos had three choices… [i] accept their subordinate and outsider position… [ii] assimilate into the Hispanic community—“acculturation in reverse”… [iii] they could leave Miami, and between 1983 and 1993, about 140,000 did just that, their exodus reflected in a popular bumper sticker: ‘Will the last American to leave Miami, please bring the flag’…

Samuel P. Huntington: The Hispanic Challenge: “The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages. Unlike past immigrant groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves—from Los Angeles to Miami—and rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream. The United States ignores this challenge at its peril…. Miami is the most Hispanic large city in the 50 U.S. states. Over the course of 30 years, Spanish speakers—overwhelmingly Cuban—established their dominance in virtually every aspect of the city’s life, fundamentally changing its ethnic composition, culture, politics, and language. The Hispanization of Miami is without precedent in the history of U.S. cities…

…The Cuban takeover had major consequences for Miami. The elite and entrepreneurial class fleeing the regime of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in the 1960s started dramatic economic development in South Florida. Unable to send money home, they invested in Miami. Personal income growth in Miami averaged 11.5 percent a year in the 1970s and 7.7 percent a year in the 1980s. Payrolls in Miami-Dade County tripled between 1970 and 1995.

The Cuban economic drive made Miami an international economic dynamo, with expanding international trade and investment. The Cubans promoted international tourism, which, by the 1990s, exceeded domestic tourism and made Miami a leading center of the cruise ship industry. Major U.S. corporations in manufacturing, communications, and consumer products moved their Latin American headquarters to Miami from other U.S. and Latin American cities. A vigorous Spanish artistic and entertainment community emerged. Today, the Cubans can legitimately claim that, in the words of Prof. Damian Fernández of Florida International University, “We built modern Miami,” and made its economy larger than those of many Latin American countries.

A key part of this development was the expansion of Miami’s economic ties with Latin America. Brazilians, Argentines, Chileans, Colombians, and Venezuelans flooded into Miami, bringing their money with them. By 1993, some $25.6 billion in international trade, mostly involving Latin America, moved through the city. Throughout the hemisphere, Latin Americans concerned with investment, trade, culture, entertainment, holidays, and drug smuggling increasingly turned to Miami.

Such eminence transformed Miami into a Cuban-led, Hispanic city. The Cubans did not, in the traditional pattern, create an enclave immigrant neighborhood. Instead, they created an enclave city with its own culture and economy, in which assimilation and Americanization were unnecessary and in some measure undesired. By 2000, Spanish was not just the language spoken in most homes, it was also the principal language of commerce, business, and politics. The media and communications industry became increasingly Hispanic. In 1998, a Spanish-language television station became the number-one station watched by Miamians — the first time a foreign-language station achieved that rating in a major U.S. city. “They’re outsiders,” one successful Hispanic said of non-Hispanics. “Here we are members of the power structure,” another boasted.

“In Miami there is no pressure to be American,” one Cuban-born sociologist observed. “People can make a living perfectly well in an enclave that speaks Spanish.” By 1999, the heads of Miami’s largest bank, largest real estate development company, and largest law firm were all Cuban-born or of Cuban descent. The Cubans also established their dominance in politics. By 1999, the mayor of Miami and the mayor, police chief, and state attorney of Miami-Dade County, plus two-thirds of Miami’s U.S. Congressional delegation and nearly one half of its state legislators, were of Cuban origin. In the wake of the Elián González affair in 2000, the non-Hispanic city manager and police chief in Miami City were replaced by Cubans.

The Cuban and Hispanic dominance of Miami left Anglos (as well as blacks) as outside minorities that could often be ignored. Unable to communicate with government bureaucrats and discriminated against by store clerks, the Anglos came to realize, as one of them put it, “My God, this is what it’s like to be the minority.”

The Anglos had three choices. They could accept their subordinate and outsider position. They could attempt to adopt the manners, customs, and language of the Hispanics and assimilate into the Hispanic community—“acculturation in reverse,” as the scholars Alejandro Portes and Alex Stepick labeled it. Or they could leave Miami, and between 1983 and 1993, about 140,000 did just that, their exodus reflected in a popular bumper sticker: “Will the last American to leave Miami, please bring the flag”…

#mondaysmackdown #orangehairedbaboons #racism #fascism 

Francis Wilkinson: Gun Safety Takes a Back Seat to Gun Culture and Children Die: Weekend Reading

Millie Drew Kelly Girl Fatally Shot by 4 Year Old Brother Heavy com

Francis Wilkinson: Gun Safety Takes a Back Seat to Gun Culture and Children Die: “A mother stored a gun in her car to protect her children. It killed her daughter instead.: On Monday, April 8, Courtney Kelly’s Hyundai Elantra failed. Kelly had just gotten all three kids packed into their car seats in the back. Millie, 6, was on the passenger side. Maddox, 4, was on the driver’s side. Lucas, 2, was strapped in the middle. It was about 5:45 p.m. They were on their way to Maddox’s baseball practice. With the children settled, Kelly was poised to pull out of her driveway on Laurelcrest Lane in Dallas, Georgia. The car wouldn’t start…

…Kelly got out to investigate. She heard the gunshot soon after. The bullet, a Hornaday .380, entered Millie’s right eye at close range and exited the back of her skull. After barreling through Millie’s brain, spreading matter across the back of the car, the bullet still possessed enough force to break the rear window. A spent shell casing was later found on the driveway.

Neighbors, followed by law enforcement officers and emergency medical professionals, rushed to help. Millie was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. She died on April 10.

The following day, Paulding County Sheriff Gary Gulledge announced that no criminal charges would be filed. The decision, posted on the sheriff’s Facebook page, generated some minor controversy. It doesn’t take much for a 4-year-old boy to open an automobile’s console between the two front seats, retrieve a loaded semiautomatic pistol inside, pivot and pull the trigger. Making the child’s task so easy was surely evidence of “blatant negligence,” one Facebook commenter said.

Yet the sheriff’s contrary view is hardly uncommon. Given the permanent trauma visited on the family, a penalty well beyond the reach of the law, police and prosecutors are often reluctant to add to an already unbearable burden.

Besides, when you look at the totality of the evidence, including the logic that drives the gun laws of Georgia, and the gun culture that shapes the attitudes and behavior of many citizens, it’s clear that no one was responsible.

A Safe Community: Dallas, Georgia, an exurb of Atlanta, had a population under 12,000 in the 2010 census. It’s been growing rapidly since. Laurelcrest is one of the few streets threading the Park at Cedarcrest, which is near the end of its three-phase development. It features four-bedroom homes with two-and-a-half baths, ranging in price from $250,000 to $300,000. Just downhill from Laurelcrest Lane is the development’s large pool, tennis courts and basketball court for residents and guests.

The Kelly home appeared unoccupied when I visited Dallas in June.

I had telephoned Sergeant Ashley Henson, spokesman for the sheriff’s department, some weeks before to ask why Courtney Kelly had kept a loaded firearm in her car. “She just kept it for general safety and security,” he said. Did deputies specifically ask why she kept the gun? And where? “The question was asked,” Henson replied. “She kept it in the car.”

Detective Kaitlin Huffman of the Paulding Sheriff’s Crimes Against Children Unit filed a report stating that “There was no criminal intent from the family or the 4-year-old juvenile brother. The family had safety precautions in place at the time of the incident.”

I emailed Henson about that: “What ‘safety precautions’ did the family have ‘in place’?”

“I believe what they meant was that the gun was not laying out in the open and that it was secured in the center console,” he replied.

“How was it ‘secured’ in the console?” I asked.

“What they are saying is that it was inside the console and not laying on the seat or anywhere else in the vehicle.”

Firearm injury is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. for children under age 18. Kids are both victims and perpetrators — sometimes simultaneously. Since 2015, there have been more than 1,500 shootings by children.

“These are far more common than people realize,” said Katherine Hoops, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University. Shootings are also likely to be undercounted. “Data collection is imperfect at best on fatal injuries,” Hoops said, “and on non-fatal injuries it’s abysmal.”

Stories of children shooting themselves or others are sufficiently frequent that they rarely generate lengthy or lasting news coverage outside of a mass attack.

In June, a 2-year-old in Greenville, South Carolina, fished a gun out of his grandmother’s purse and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A 5-year-old boy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, found a gun and killed himself in the living room. In May, an 11-year-old in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shot and killed his 9-year-old brother. That same month, a 7-year-old in Spartanburg, South Carolina, took a gun from her father’s gym bag and killed her 4-year-old sister.

‘We Are on Our Own’: It’s an eight-mile drive from the Kelly house to the site of another child shooting in the same Georgia town. In 2016, a 3-year-old boy took a Ruger semiautomatic pistol from his father’s backpack and shot himself in the chest. He didn’t survive. No charges were filed.

Journalists, perhaps mimicking law enforcement officials, resist assigning agency to small shooters. Guns are said to have fired “accidentally” even when they were fired quite intentionally, albeit by children with no capacity to gauge the consequences. “The pistol discharged,” is a typical news media construct when the finger pulling the trigger is small.

“We want to remind everyone to keep their firearms unloaded and secured in an area away from children to ensure that this never happens again,” Sheriff Gulledge said after Millie Kelly’s death was confirmed.

A locked-up gun deters criminals as well as children. An Atlanta police sergeant told The Trace, “Most of our criminals, they go out each and every night hunting for guns, and the easiest way to get them is out of people’s cars.”

The cars of Paulding County supply criminals, as well. “We do have firearms that are stolen out of vehicles,” Sergeant Henson said. “We had a rash a little while back where they were hitting fire stations,” stealing guns from the cars of local firefighters.

Two-thirds of gun owners cite “protection” as a major reason for gun possession. Protection from inadvertent shootings, however, is not what many have in mind. Instead, gun purchases and possession are largely driven by fear — often of a general nature, the fear of “a diffuse threat of a dangerous world,” as one research paper defined it.

With hunting in steady decline and sport-shooting a niche hobby, the gun industry relies on fear to propel sales. Here’s how longtime National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre makes a pitch:

We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and carjackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping-mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all. I ask you: Do you trust this government to protect you? We are on our own.

LaPierre delivered this riff in 2014, when the rate of violent crime in the U.S. hit a 45-year low.

Much local television news, which relishes depictions of violence, reinforces the NRA’s theme of chaos. Conservative politicians, tied to the NRA by political partisanship, campaign dollars, ideology and shared culture, have also advanced the NRA’s diagnosis of mayhem. President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural address was a dystopian homage to “American carnage.”

More important, conservative politicians have endorsed the gun industry’s domestic arms race. Georgia has been at the vanguard of the “guns everywhere” movement. In recent years, the state legislature has passed numerous laws allowing citizens to be armed at all times — not only in automobiles but at church, at school, while shopping, even in bars.

With a readily obtainable weapons-carry license, you can carry a handgun in public in Georgia either concealed or openly. If you’re not a felon or otherwise prohibited person, you need no license at all to keep a gun in your home or automobile, or to carry a rifle, including an AR-15, openly. Proficiency, or even rudimentary knowledge of firearms operations or safety, is not required.

The quest to normalize extreme gun culture, militarize domestic life and amateurize gun possession encourages guns in purses and backpacks and gym bags and auto consoles. In 2014, an Idaho mother was shot dead in a Walmart by her 2-year-old son, who had pulled the gun from his mother’s purse. Her father-in-law described the deceased mother as “not the least bit irresponsible.”

‘See My Gun?’: More guns visible in the public square generate demand for more guns for self-protection.

In 2014, frightened parents in Forsyth County, north of Atlanta, called the police when an armed man showed up at a children’s baseball game. A parent told an Atlanta television station: “He’s just walking around [saying] ‘See my gun? Look, I got a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it.’”

When police responded to 911 calls, they informed the parents that the armed man was correct. Under Georgia law, anyone is free to command public space with a gun. The only recourse for targets of intimidation is to arm themselves in turn, with hopes of being able to deploy violence in time to preempt violence. It’s a fraught cycle.

Dallas has had similar experience. “We had a young man that was carrying a .22 rifle slung on his back at our courthouse, not in the courthouse because that’s a secure area, but in the common areas in front of the courthouse,” Sergeant Henson recalled during an interview in his office. “A lot of people were alarmed.”

Google Maps shows eight gun shops within about 20 minutes’ drive of Laurelcrest Lane. At the local Kroger supermarket, patrons occasionally carry firearms openly. An adjacent gun shop shared signage with Just Kiddin, a haircutting “Salon 4 Kids.”

The linkage of guns and kids is more than happenstance. The NRA has long maintained its Eddie Eagle program to acculturate youth to firearms. In 2013, when a 5-year-old in Kentucky shot his 2-year-old sister dead, the boy did so using his own gun. “It’s just one of those nightmares,” a Kentucky state trooper said of the shooting, “a quick thing that happens when you turn your back.”

To keep firearms out of children’s reach, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a gun be stored, unloaded, in a locked device. Ammunition should be stored, locked, in a separate device. State laws regulating safe storage or child access vary widely; they are generally lax. Only Massachusetts has a law requiring guns to be secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant lock or safety device.

But to counter the most vicious threats — road-rage killers, shopping-mall killers, home invaders, rapers and killers who scheme and destroy — many gun owners prefer not to lock a gun away where it might prove difficult to access in a moment of existential peril. Instead, the firearm must be perpetually loaded, ready, accessible.

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey of 3,243 adults, about one-third of Americans with children younger than 18 have a gun in their household, including 34 percent of families with children under 12. Researchers analyzing a 2015 survey of 3,949 adults concluded that 4.6 million American children live in homes in which at least one firearm is stored loaded and unlocked. Later today, or perhaps early tomorrow, one of them will pull the trigger.

Contesting Fear: By the time Detective Huffman arrived at the Kelly home, Millie was on her way to the hospital accompanied by her father, Andrew. Courtney Kelly, Huffman’s report states, remained at the house. “She was very distraught, crying, on her knees in the front yard and her clothes were visibly covered in blood,” Huffman reported.

Shannon Lawhon, a gun safety activist, empathizes with Kelly. “That mom was trying to protect her kids, and I hurt for her,” she said. “You’re kind of told that owning a firearm is going to be an equalizer, right? And keep you safe.”

Lawhon was sitting in her backyard on the outskirts of Athens, Georgia. A stay-at-home mother, she grew up in a gun-owning family in Oklahoma and South Carolina. She owns a gun now. Her brother, she said, is a licensed firearms instructor.

Lawhon joined the gun-safety group Moms Demand Action

“I think when you take that fear out of the picture and you think about it logically, you can realize that the instance of maybe being carjacked or the victim of a home invasion is pretty low,” she said. “When you have an unsecured firearm in a car or a home every day, you have a risk every single day. You have a risk every single day.”

A growing body of research supports Lawhon’s emphasis. States with more guns produce more gun violence. Residents of homes with guns are more likely to be a victim of a gun-related tragedy than to prevent one. Even as violent crime in the U.S. has plummeted over the past quarter century, U.S. gun deaths remain a high-volume outlier among peer nations.

“It’s the schizophrenia of America,” said Frank Eppes, a gun owner and lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina, who has represented parents in child shooting cases. “The illusion that people have that they are protecting themselves with a loaded gun is just that — an illusion.”

It’s an illusion promoted at the highest levels of American government, and throughout Georgia. In the context of her time and place, Courtney Kelly was far from negligent. In fact, she did everything right.

Georgia requires testing and licensing of all drivers, and the federal government requires safety car seats for small children. Kelly was in full compliance. She was similarly in compliance with all state firearms laws. Georgia requires no testing, permitting, safeguards or paperwork to keep a loaded semiautomatic pistol in a car. It does not require firearms to be stored safely, nor does it necessarily penalize an adult who stores a firearm where a child subsequently gains access to it.

Republican State Representative Rick Jasperse, the author of Georgia’s 2014 “guns everywhere” bill, who has an A+ rating from the NRA, explained the need for his law in language less ghoulish than LaPierre’s. But his message is the same. “We live in a dangerous world,” he said, “and while I cannot begin to explain the reasons someone might seek to take the life of another, I want wholeheartedly that Georgians, should they choose to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and their families, [to] have that option.”

Courtney Kelly chose to take responsibility for the safety of herself and her family. She behaved in a way that state leaders not only condoned, but encouraged.

And what was any such mother to do under the circumstances? Had she taken the gun with her when she got out of the car, what was she to do with it? Open the hood with one hand while holding the gun in the other? Hardly practical, or safe.

Should she have put the gun down on the driveway? The whole point of the gun is to ward off home invaders, drug cartels, carjackers and the rest, who could approach from anywhere, at any time. Small children, too, can scuttle out of cars and find things on the ground.

Perhaps she could’ve holstered the gun when she got out, to keep it close as she worked on her car in her driveway. But if you click the right internet link, here, you can watch a video of a boy sneak up on a man and steal the gun right out of his holster, while he’s working on his car, in his driveway.

In any case, Kelly had three kids under the age of 7. How many times does a mother want to take a gun in and out of a console, waving the tantalizing, forbidden object before eager eyes in the back seat? Better out of sight, out of mind, no?

Harried parents sometimes get distracted, momentarily lose focus. Yet neither Georgia laws, nor the gun culture that inspires them, can accommodate such ordinary human lapses without inviting tragedy.

A mother sought to protect her family with a readily accessible gun. A little boy, fascinated by the pistol, seized an opportunity to grab it. The pistol, a Taurus PT-738, performed its function flawlessly. Variously described as “micro” or “ultralight,” it weighs just 10.2 ounces and extends only 5.25 inches in length, enabling a small child to grasp, point and shoot with deadly accuracy. The Hornady .380 bullet delivered on its manufacturer’s promise to produce “controlled expansion and large, deep wound cavities” in the 6-year-old target.

The tragedy was linear. Gun logic often is not.

#weekendreading #orangehariedbaboons 

July 19, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

Cursor and FRED Graph FRED St Louis Fed

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed. We are where we were a year ago: Stable growth at 2% per year with no signs of rising inflation or a rising labor share.

The only significant difference that the Fed has recognized that its hope of normalizing the Fed Funds rate in the foreseeable future is vain, and has now recognized that its confidence over the past six years that we were close to full employment was simply wrong:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: Jul 19, 2019: “1.4% for 2019:Q2 and 1.9% for 2019:Q3.News from this week’s data releases decreased the nowcast for 2019:Q2 by 0.1 percentage point and increased the nowcast for 2019:Q3 by 0.1 percentage point. Negative surprises from housing data accounted for most of the decline for 2019:Q2, while positive surprises from survey data accounted for most of the increase in 2019:Q3…


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 Keynesian 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.

  • Changes from 1 month ago: The Federal Reserve has—behind the curve—become convinced that it raised interest rates too much in 2018, and is now likely to cut them.

  • A change from 3 months ago: Trump trade-war tensions are higher.

  • 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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Worthy Reads for July 18, 2019

  1. Very wise from Josh Barro: There’s No Need for the Senate to Confirm Anyone to the Fed: “Trump… says he will nominate Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller to… fill out the board…. Moore and Cain were bizarre, unqualified choices whose views on monetary policy appeared to be suspiciously driven by their political links to the president. Both also had significant personal issues…. Waller seems like a fine enough choice. He has dovish views on interest rates, but he comes by those views honestly…. The problem is Shelton, who like Cain and Moore before her has traded in a long track record of hawkish gold-buggery for a new, dovish outlook that calls for the low interest rates President Trump wants. In 2015, she said low interest rates were ‘making suckers out of savers’. Now, even though the economy has gotten stronger and the argument for low rates should have, if anything, gotten a little bit weaker, Shelton is suddenly an advocate of cutting interest rates to zero, in order to increase access to capital. Shelton’s flip-flop is, if anything, more egregious than Moore’s and Cain’s, because monetary policy is supposed to be an actual area of expertise for her…. Art Laffer, to whom the president just awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, has been attacking the very concept of Federal Reserve independence…. Historically, Fed independence has been a bigger concern for conservatives than for liberals…. It is kind of funny that it is a Republican president and conservative economic pundits like Laffer and Moore who are urging politicization of the Fed…. But conservatives in the Senate have reasons to take a long view…. The best tool they have to protect the Fed from Trump is the one they have been using: Their authority to refuse to confirm his nominees…. The Fed Board can work just fine with only five members. So long as Trump is the person making nominations, there’s no reason to aim for seven…

  2. I think I have heard this argument before. Plutarch: _ Life of Tiberius Gracchus_: “This is said to have been the first sedition at Rome, since the abolition of royal power, to end in bloodshed and the death of citizens; the rest though neither trifling nor raised for trifling objects, were settled by mutual concessions, the nobles yielding from fear of the multitude, and the people out of respect for the senate…”: Ricardo Hausmann: How the Failure of “Prestige Markets” Fuels Populism: “Given the requirements of today’s technology, dismissing expertise as privilege is dangerous. That’s why a well-functioning prestige market is essential to reconciling technological progress and the maintenance of a healthy polity…. Henrich suggests… prestige is payment for the generosity with which the prestigious share their knowledge…. A model of human behavior proposed by George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton…. Rising wage differentials may destroy the equilibrium proposed by Henrich. If the prestigious are already very well paid, and are not perceived as being generous with their knowledge, prestige may collapse. This may be another instance of the incompatibility between homo economicus and community morality emphasized by Samuel Bowles…. The collapse in the prestige equilibrium can do enormous damage to a society, because it may break the implicit contract whereby society uses critical skills. To see why and how, look no further than what has happened in Venezuela…

  3. EG: Jacob Levy: The Weight of the Words: “The power of elite speech in a democracy is only partly that of giving partisan cues to one’s supporters. It’s also the power to channel and direct the dangerous but real desire for collective national direction and aspiration. Humans are tribal animals, and our tribal psychology is a political resource…. Whether… presidents are named ‘Reagan and George W. Bush’ or ‘JFK and Barack Obama’… all… put forward a public rhetorical face that was better than their worst acts…. They kept the public aspirations of American political culture pointed toward Reagan’s ‘shining city on a hill’… a free and fair liberal democratic order, the protection of civil liberties, openness toward the world, rejection of racism at home, and defiance against tyranny abroad. And their words were part of the process of persuading each generation of Americans that those were constitutively American ideals. Trump’s apologists are now reduced to saying that his speech has been worse than his actions so far, the reverse of this usual pattern. The effect is the reverse, too…. The norm against publicly legitimizing Klan-type explicit racism was built up over a long time, calling on white Americans to be better than they were, partly by convincing them that they were better. The norm is still strong enough that Trump grudgingly kind of walked back his comments after the Charlottesville protests last year. But a norm that was built up through speech, persuasion, and belief can be undermined the same way. Trump’s own racism, his embrace of white nationalist discourse, and his encouragement of the alt-right over the past two years have, through words, made a start on that transformation…

  4. Dani Rodrik: What’s Driving Populism? : “If… [fascism] is rooted in… culture and values, however, there are fewer options. Liberal democracy may be doomed by its own internal dynamics and contradictions…. Racism in some form or another has been an enduring feature of US society and cannot tell us, on its own, why Trump’s manipulation of it has proved so popular…. Will Wilkinson… urbanization… creates thriving, multicultural, high-density areas where socially liberal values predominate. And it leaves behind rural areas and smaller urban centers that are increasingly uniform in terms of social conservatism and aversion to diversity. This process, moreover, is self-reinforcing…. The cultural trends… are of a long-term nature, they do not fully account for the timing of the populist backlash…. Those who advocate for the primacy of cultural explanations do not in fact dismiss the role of economic shocks. These shocks, they maintain, aggravated and exacerbated cultural divisions, giving… [fascists] the added push they needed….. The precise parsing of the causes… may be less important than the policy lessons…. There is little debate here. Economic remedies to inequality and insecurity are paramount…

  5. *Arindrajit Dube *: “Concentration plays only a modest part in understanding [labor-market] monopsony power. Firms in totally unconcentrated markets still have a labor supply elasticity of 3.7. In other words, even if you totally got rid of labor concentration concentration, you would still have a substantial degree of monopsony, which is endemic. Paper:

  6. Per-Anders Edin, Tiernan Evans, Georg Graetz, Sofia Hernnäs, and Guy Michaels: The Individual Consequences of Occupational Decline: “Outcomes for similar workers in similar occupations over 28 years… the consequences of large declines in occupational employment…. Mean losses in earnings and employment for those initially working in occupations that later declined are relatively moderate, [but] low-earners lose significantly more…

  7. N. Piers Ludlow: Did We Ever Really Understand How the EU Works?: “Michael Gove… referred… to a free trade zone… from Iceland to Turkey of which Britain would, he was confident, still be part… irrespective of the outcome of the referendum. But this focus on tariffs was quaintly anachronistic, because ever since the 1980s the main target of European liberalisation efforts has… been… non-tariff barriers… regulatory convergence…. But–remarkably–hardly anyone took Gove to task for this misleading claim. Instead the vast majority of commentators seem to have regarded his statement as relevant and legitimate…. A second feature of the EU that we ought to have known about but have blithely failed to think through is the importance of timetables. European integration history is studded with the use of timetables and deadlines designed to compel member states to respect their obligations and to bring about simultaneously the administrative, commercial and legal changes that they have agreed to make…. Another avoidable error has been to underestimate the degree to which Brexit’s impact upon Ireland would become a central concern for the whole EU…. The EU is always prone to support an insider in a tussle with an outsider…. Finally, and perhaps most fundamentally, the British debate about what was likely to prove negotiable has failed repeatedly to take into account the political nature of the entity with which it is dealing, and the fact that it is the UK and not the EU that is asking for change. The first of these realities is best illustrated by the Boris Johnson ‘prosecco’ argument–or the idea that the strength of Britain’s bargaining position in the negotiations springs from the commercial interest of many continental exporters in keeping access to the lucrative UK market. This overlooks the extent to which all of the EU27 regard a flourishing EU as even more valuable than the British market, whether economically or politically…

  8. Alwyn Scott: General Electric to Scrap California Power Plant 20 Years Early: “General Electric Co said on Friday it plans to demolish a large power plant it owns in California this year after only one-third of its useful life because the plant is no longer economically viable in a state where wind and solar supply a growing share of inexpensive electricity. The 750-megawatt natural-gas-fired plant, known as the Inland Empire Energy Center, uses two of GE’s H-Class turbines, developed only in the last decade, before the company’s successor gas turbine, the flagship HA model, which uses different technology. The closure illustrates stiff competition in the deregulated energy market as cheap wind and solar supply more electricity, squeezing out fossil fuels…

  9. Michael Jordan: Artificial Intelligence—The Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet: “Just as humans built buildings and bridges before there was civil engineering, humans are proceeding with the building of societal-scale, inference-and-decision-making systems that involve machines, humans, and the environment. Just as early buildings and bridges sometimes fell to the ground—in unforeseen ways and with tragic consequences—many of our early societal-scale inference-and-decision-making systems are already exposing serious conceptual flaws. Unfortunately, we are not very good at anticipating what the next emerging serious flaw will be. What we’re missing is an engineering discipline with principles of analysis and design…

  10. I took the 1980-1981 version of this, co-taught by Richard Musgrave and Manuel Trajtenberg. It was amazing: Irwin Collier: Harvard. Social Influences on Economic Actions, outline and readings. Musgrave and Spechler, 1973: “An ambitious Harvard course organized jointly by Richard Musgrave and Martin C. Spechler in 1973…. (1) September 27 Spechler on Marxism. (2) October 4 Unger on Weber. (3) October 9 (Tues.) Galbraith on institutionalism. (4) October 18 Duesenberry on consumer behavior. (5) October 25 (?) on entrepreneurs. (6) November 1 M. Roberts on government bureaucracy. (7) November 8 J. Bower on corporate organization. (8) November 15 Doeringer on workers and unions. (9) November 20 (Tuesday) Bowles (?) on Marxian theory of the state. (10) November 29 D. Bell (?) on elite theory. (11) December 6 J. Q. Wilson on pluralism. (12) December 13 Hirschman on trade policy. (13) December 20 Musgrave on objectivity in economics and social science…

  11. Martin Wolf: States Create Useful Money, but Abuse It: “What then are the problems with MMT?… Suppose holders of money fear that the government is prepared to spend on its high priority items, regardless of how overheated the economy might become… fear that the central bank has also become entirely subject to the government’s whims…. They are then likely to dump money…. The focus of MMT’s proponents on balance sheets and indifference to expectations that drive behaviour are huge errors…. If politicians think they do not need to worry about the possibility of default, only about inflation, their tendency may be to assume output can be driven far higher, and unemployment far lower, than is possible without triggering an upsurge in inflation…

  12. Marjorie A. Flavin: The Joint Consumption/Asset Demand Decision: A Case Study in Robust Estimation: “The Michigan Survey of Consumer Finances… whether… consumption tracks current income more closely than is consistent with the permanent income hypothesis can be attributed solely or partially to borrowing constraints…. Households do use asset stocks to smooth their consumption…. There is no evidence that the excess sensitivity of consumption to current income is caused by borrowing constraints…. Robust instrumental variables estimates are more stable across different subsamples, more consistent with the theoretical specification of the model, and indicate that some of the most striking findings in the conventional results were attributable to a single, highly unusual observation…

  13. Sean Gallagher: The Fourth Industrial Revolution Emerges from AI and the Internet of Things: “IoT has arrived on the factory floor with the force of Kool-Aid Man exploding through walls…. Smart, cheap, sensor-laden devices paired with powerful analytics and algorithms have been changing the industrial world…. Companies are seeing more precise, higher quality manufacturing with lowered operational costs; less downtime because of predictive maintenance and intelligence in the supply chain; and fewer injuries on factory floors because of more adaptable equipment. And outside of the factory, other industries could benefit from having a nervous system of sensors, analytics to process ‘lakes’ of data, and just-in-time responses to emergent issues—aviation, energy, logistics, and many other businesses that rely on reliable, predictable things could also get a boost. But the new way comes with significant challenges, not the least of which are the security and resilience of the networked nervous systems stitching all this new magic together…. And then there’s always that whole ‘robots are stealing our jobs’ thing. (The truth is much more complicated—and we’ll touch on it later this week)…

  14. Candace Taylor: A Growing Problem in Real Estate: Too Many Too Big Houses: “Baby boomers and retirees built large, elaborate dream homes across the Sunbelt—only to find that few people want to buy them…. Elaborate, five or six-bedroom houses in warm climates, fueled in part by the easy credit of the real estate boom. Many baby boomers poured millions into these spacious homes, planning to live out their golden years in houses with all the bells and whistles. Now, many boomers are discovering that these large, high-maintenance houses no longer fit their needs as they grow older, but younger people aren’t buying them…. The problem is especially acute in areas with large clusters of retirees. In North Carolina’s Buncombe County, which draws retirees with its mild climate and Blue Ridge Mountain scenery, there are 34 homes priced over $2 million on the market, but only 16 sold in that price range in the past year, said Marilyn Wright, an agent at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Asheville…

    1. Felipe Benguria and Alan M. Taylor: After the Panic: Are Financial Crises Demand or Supply Shocks? Evidence from International Trade: “Are financial crises a negative shock to demand or a negative shock to supply?… Arguments for monetary and fiscal stimulus usually interpret such events as demand-side shortfalls. Conversely, arguments for tax cuts and structural reform often proceed from supply-side frictions…. simple small open economy… deleveraging shocks that impose binding credit constraints on households and/or firms…. Household deleveraging shocks are mainly demand shocks, contract imports, leave exports largely unchanged, and depreciate the real exchange rate. Firm deleveraging shocks are mainly supply shocks, contract exports, leave imports largely unchanged, and appreciate the real exchange rate…. Empirical analysis reveals a clear picture: after a financial crisis event we find the dominant pattern to be that imports contract, exports hold steady or even rise, and the real exchange rate depreciates. History shows that, on average, financial crises are very clearly a negative shock to demand…
  15. Martin Wolf: ‘Global Britain’ is an Illusion Because Distance Has Not Died: “Why has distance not died and the world not become flat?… The nature of trade has changed and, in particular, it has become more control-intensive and time-dependent…. Regional trade arrangements also matter… because procedures tend to be far more reliable and efficient…. Regulatory and procedural harmonisation… was the price of integration…. There are only two possible explanations for the immense bias towards trade with the EU: either the preferential advantages of being within the EU are very large or the vital fact is that these are neighbours. Either way, the idea that there is a global alternative… is a delusion. It is the biggest of the many Brexit delusions…

  16. George J. Stigler and Gary S. Becker (1977): De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum: “The establishment of the proposition that one may usefully treat tastes as stable over time and similar among people is the central task of this essay. The ambitiousness of our agenda deserves emphasis: we are proposing the hypothesis that widespread and/or persistent human behavior can be explained by a generalized calculus of utility-maximizing behavior, without introducing the qualification ‘tastes remaining the same’…

  17. Wolfgang Munchau: Age of the Expert as Policymaker Is Coming To an End: “Where the conflation of the expert and the policymaker did real damage was not to policy but to expertdom itself. It compromised the experts’ most prized asset—their independence. When economics blogging started to become fashionable, I sat on a podium with an academic blogger who predicted that people like him would usurp the role of the economics newspaper columnist within a period of 10 years. That was a decade ago. His argument was that trained economists were just smarter. What he did not reckon with is that it is hard to speak truth to power when you have to beg that power to fund your think-tank or institute. Even less so once you are politically attached or appointed. Independence matters…

    1. 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?…
  18. 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’…

    1. Wolfgang Dauth, Sebastian Findeisen, Jens Südekum, and Nicole Woessner: Robots and Firms: “Our study is based on firm-level data from Spain, a country with one of the highest robot density levels per worker in Europe. The data come from the Encuesta Sobre Estrategias Empresariales (ESEE), an annual survey of around 1,900 Spanish manufacturing firms…. We reveal significant job losses in non-adopting firms. Our estimates imply that 10% of jobs in non-adopting firms are destroyed when the share of sales attributable to robot-using firms in their industries increases from zero to one half. The same logic applies to changes in output and survival probabilities…. Aggregate productivity gains are partly driven by substantial intra-industry reallocation of market shares and resources following a more widespread diffusion of robot technology, and a polarization between high-productivity robot adopters and low-productivity non-adopters…
  19. Umair Haque: How Online Radicalization Is Destabilizing Democracy: “They’d regressed back to their little selves. A scalpel no one could see had somehow excised the adult parts of their brain responsible for reason, wisdom, and change. And that was when I really began to be troubled. It felt to me as if an info-bomb had gone off… radiating disinformation, misinformation, and folly…. I’d never seen minds change so suddenly, fast, or extremely…. So even then I warned that to use social media was to put yourself squarely in the explosion radius of this info-bomb. Today we understand all this a little bit more. There really was an info-bomb—weaponized, military grade propaganda was used against whole nations, with the encouragement, and even the guidance, of social media companies, while political leaders and media were asleep at the wheel. What was the goal? What was the result?… Once-sensible people came to believe foolish and strange things. Some turned into religious zealots. Some turned into xenophobes and authoritarians and bigots. The vector of this radicalization was often the mosque, the TV station, or even the bookshop…. Some significant portion of society has now been thoroughly radicalized. They believe in outlandish and foolish things. They have become ignorant and blind and petty and easily provoked. That isn’t an insult—they can undo all that. It is just an observation of empirical reality. A major social question for the West now is: how does it undo the radicalization of the last few years? Can it? How does one undo military-grade propaganda at a social scale?…

  20. Martin Wolf has an aggressive thumbs-down on Facebook’s Libra payments system. Basically, it is “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”. Facebook’s claim that it is built on ‘blockchain technology’ seems simply wrong, and a grift—a second-order grift given that ‘blockchain technology’ is already a grift. Plus “Facebook has been grossly irresponsible over its impact on our democracies. It cannot obviously be trusted with our payments systems…. Beware”: Martin Wolf: Facebook Enters Dangerous Waters With Libra Cryptocurrency: “Facebook has been grossly irresponsible over its impact on our democracies. It cannot obviously be trusted with our payments systems. Facebook has an answer: it has just one vote in the Libra Association…. But Facebook seems likely to dominate Libra’s technical development. That will surely give it predominant influence…. Quite apart from doubts about the sponsor, a new global payment system must be evaluated for its technical stability, impact on monetary and financial stability (not least in developing countries) and openness to fraudsters, criminals and terrorists. Big questions also arise about concentrations of power, should the venture succeed…. I cannot judge the technical stability of the proposed system. The claim that it is based on ‘blockchain’ technology seems rather questionable…. There is indeed potential for greatly improved payment systems. But the emergence of a payment system on a network of Facebook’s scale would raise some huge questions…. This would be true even if the lead sponsor were not Facebook. But it is. So beware…

A Year Ago on Equitable Growth: Twenty Worthy Reads from the Past Week or so: July 19, 2018

stacks and stacks of books

TOP MUST REMEMBER: Here is the website for Zucman, Wier, and Torslavon’s work on missing profits from tax avoidance and tax evasion (yes, I have decided I should spend some time occasionally listing paper authors in reverse alphabetical order): Gabriel Zucman et al.: The Missing Profits of Nations: [Working paper][1], June 2018. [Online appendix][2], June 2018. [Presentation slides][3], June 2018…

Worthy Reads on and from Equitable Growth:

  1. Here is the website for Zucman, Wier, and Torslavon’s work on missing profits from tax avoidance and tax evasion (yes, I have decided I should spend some time occasionally listing paper authors in reverse alphabetical order): Gabriel Zucman et al.: The Missing Profits of Nations: [Working paper][1], June 2018. [Online appendix][2], June 2018. [Presentation slides][3], June 2018…

  2. I have not yet welcomed the extremely sharp Kate Bahn to Equitable Growth: Equitable Growth: Kate Bahn: “Her areas of research include gender, race, and ethnicity in the labor market, care work, and monopsonistic labor markets…. She was an economist at the Center for American Progress. Bahn also serves as the executive vice president and secretary for the International Association for Feminist Economics…. She received her doctorate in economics from the New School… and her Bachelor of Arts… from Hampshire…

  3. Wealth inequality measures have been grossly understating concentration because of tax evasion and tax avoidance in tax havens: Annette Alstadsæter, Niels Johannesen, and GabrielZucman: Who owns the wealth in tax havens? Macro evidence and implications for global inequality: “This paper estimates the amount of household wealth owned by each country in offshore tax havens…

  4. The “optimal tax” literature in economics has always been greatly distorted by the fact that models simple enough to solve bring with them lots of baggage that leads to misleading—and usually anti-egalitarian and anti-equitable growth—conclusions that would not follow if we had better control over our theories. Here Saez and Stantcheva make significant progress in resolving this problem: Emmanuel Saez and Stefanie Stantcheva: A simpler theory of optimal capital taxation: “We first consider a simple model with utility functions linear in consumption and featuring heterogeneous utility for wealth..

  5. Very much worth reading from Equitable Growth alum Nick Bunker: Nick Bunker: Puzzling over U.S. wage growth: “Hiring has not been particularly strong during this recovery…

Worthy Reads Elsewhere:

  1. I am genuinely confused here: Do we have an “eastern heartland” problem? Or do we have a “prime age male joblessness” problem? Those two problems would seem to me to call for different kinds of responses. yet Summers, Glaeser, and Austin are smooshing them into one: Edward L. Glaeser, Lawrence H. Summers and Ben Austin: A Rescue Plan for a Jobs Crisis in the Heartland: “In Flint, Mich., over 35 percent of prime-aged men—between 25 and 54—are not employed…

  2. Wise to people who want to be journalists in our current age: (1) Don’t expect backup from your peers. (2) rather, the reverse. (3) Falsehood comes faster than you can report it, let alone debunk it: Alexey Kovalev: A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media: “Congratulations, US media! You’ve just covered your first press conference of an authoritarian leader with a massive ego and a deep disdain for your trade and everything you hold dear. We in Russia have been doing it for 12 years now — with a short hiatus when our leader wasn’t technically our leader—so quite a few things during Donald Trump’s press conference rang a bell. Not just mine, in fact—read this excellent round-up in The Moscow Times…”

  3. I think that this is a very important thing to remember. The Fed View—and the zero-marginal-product workers view—and a lot of other pessimistic views about the economy’s non-inflationary speed limit for recovery and growth were totally, catastrophically wrong over the past decade. The people who strongly advocated for such views thus had a badly-flawed Vision of the Cosmic All. Thus I think there is no reason to put a weight higher than zero on their current views of how the world works—unless they have publicly and substantially done the work to mark their beliefs to market. Certainly the Federal Reserve has not yet done so: Timothy B. Lee: “Every additional month of strong employment growth and weak wage growth makes people who said we were near full employment in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 look wronger…”

  4. If real wages are not growing faster than productivity, we are not yet at full employment. We aren’t: Matthew Yglesias: “I think it [a labor shortage] would be a good thing, but it’s also mostly fake. We had a labor shortage in 1999 and it was glorious. I think we’ll get there again. But not yet…”

  5. Extremely wise and interesting on how the more empirical reality tells the Trumpists to mark their beliefs to market, the more desperate they are to avoid doing so: John Holbo: Epistemic Sunk Costs and the Extraordinary, Populist Delusions of Crowds?: “Here’s a thought…. The first rule of persuasion is: make your audience want to believe…

  6. The Trump administration and the Republicans that enable it do not understand that disrupting value chains does not get you the benefits in terms of shifting the terms-of-trade in your favor that (with no retaliation) tariffs can in the “optimal tariff” literature when levied on finished goods: Chad P. Bown:” BMW says it will build more of its SUVs overseas and NOT IN SOUTH CAROLINA because of China’s retaliation on US autos in response to Trump’s tariffs…

  7. People are not effective price-sensitive consumers for health insurance. We can argue why they are not. But first we need to admit that we are not: Zarek C. Brot-Goldberg, Amitabh Chandra, Benjamin R. Handel, and Jonathan T. Kolstad: What does a Deductible Do? The Impact of Cost-Sharing on Health Care Prices, Quantities, and Spending Dynamics: “We leverage a natural experiment at a large self-insured firm that required all of its employees to switch… to a nonlinear, high-deductible plan…

  8. The empirical studies are finding more and more hysteresis—more hysteresis in the sense of a persistent downward shadow cast by a recession than I would have believed likely. I keep hunting for something wrong with these studies. But there are too many of them. And they all—at least all those published that cross my desk—point in the same direction: Karl Walentin and Andreas Westermark: Stabilising the real economy increases average output: “DeLong and Summers (1989)… argue that (demand) stabilisation policies can affect the mean level of output and unemployment…

  9. See: here is another study that finds a lot of hysteresis—an ungodly amount: Christina D. Romer and David H. Romer: Why Some Times Are Different: Macroeconomic Policy and the Aftermath of Financial Crises: “Analysis based on a new measure of financial distress for 24 advanced economies in the postwar period shows substantial variation in the aftermath of financial crises…

  10. I think this a very interesting framework. But it is, I think, too simple to be of material use in trying to understand what is going on in the real world. Your mileage may vary: Daron Acemoglu (2001): Directed Technical Change: “Whether technical change is biased towards particular factors is of central importance…

  11. Judea Pearl, Madelyn Glymour, and Nicholas P. Jewell (2016): Causal Inference in Statistics: A Primer (New York: John Wiley & Sons: 978119186847>) : “Inquisitive students may wonder why it is that dependencies associated with conditioning on a collider are so surprising to most people—as in, for example, the Monty Hall example. The reason is that humans tend to associate dependence with causation…

  12. How to use and misuse the argument ad hominid: Belle Waring (2003): Just Not So Stories: “Like everyone else, I’m tired of hearing about how Darwinian pressures cause men to think that young women with a fetching hip-to-waist ratio…

  13. A paper I badly need to read, and to read today: Talia Bar and Asaf Zussman: Partisan Grading: “We study grading outcomes associated with professors in an elite university in the United States who were identified…

  14. Nick Stern is right: Discount rates are highly endogenous to scenarios—and go way, way down in true catastrophe scenarios in which insurance is not possible. Nick Stern is right: Societal discount rates cannot be read off of imperfect capital markets. Climate change studies that start from either the assumption of a pure positive real intertemporal discount rate or from financial market perfection are, I think, as close to worthless as anything on God’s Green Earth: Nicholas Stern: Public economics as if time matters: Climate change and the dynamics of policy “Subjects such as the dynamics of innovation, of potentially immense and destabilising risks, and of political economy, together with technicalities around non-linearities and dynamic increasing returns…

  15. How, again, is Donald Trump supposed to win a breath-holding contest with an authoritarian régime that both controls its media and sees little downside in redirecting resources to cushion the impact on potentially noisy losers?: Paul Krugman: How to Lose a Trade War: “Trump’s declaration that ‘trade wars are good, and easy to win’ is an instant classic, right up there with Herbert Hoover’s ‘prosperity is just around the corner’…

#noted #weblogs #eqitablegrowth

Jo Walton: The Spearpoint Theory: The Dyer of Lorbanery: Weekend Reading

JoBannerNarrower 1

Jo Walton: The Dyer of Lorbanery (Spearpoint Theory): “There comes a point in writing, and it’s a spear-point, it’s very small and sharp but because it’s backed by the length and weight of a whole spear and a whole strong person pushing it, it’s a point that goes in a long way. Spearpoints need all that behind them, or they don’t pack their punch in the same way. Examples are difficult to give because spear-points by their nature require their context, and spoilers. They tend to be moments of poignancy and realization. When Duncan picks the branches when passing through trees, he’s just getting a disguise, but we the audience suddenly understand how Birnam Wood shall come to Dunsinane…

…Shakespeare there is making a spearpoint out of air—goodness knows, maybe it was in Holished, but that doesn’t matter because he couldn’t have expected his audience to know it. There are all sorts of things you can expect the audience to know, that you can rely on them essentially bringing along their own spear-shafts for. Card talks about hurting children as a way of creating sympathy—hurting children is something where people bring their own spear-shafts to slot into the point you give them.

There are a whole lot of things like this—though sometimes they change over time, and readers of another age, without the spear the author expected, laugh or are confused when they learn that a character has lost a hat, or had sex with his boyfriend. Coffeeandink wrote a little while ago about what a non-revelation hidden homosexuality is these days, when writers as recently as the 1970s could confidently expect a certain kind of spear coming ready to the hand there.

For a writer using that historical period now to get that spear-point effect (the one Sumner Locke Elliott’s The Man Who Got Away gave me in 1980 and didn’t give Mely in 2003), it would be necessary to do a lot of set-up about the significance of male friendship in the context of the time, and even then it wouldn’t be a revelation in the same way.

Sometimes the spear has to be very long—the events at the end of Dunnett’s Pawn in Frankincense don’t reliably work without the spear reaching all the way back to A Game of Kings, just reading Pawn hasn’t been enough for two readers that I know of. Likewise some of Bujold’s spearpoints work much better with the longer context, although they do still work without.

When writing SF and F, it’s possible to make the whole spear out of air and know that’s what you’re doing. The example I usually give of this is Cherryh writing about people going through Jump without drugs. There’s no such thing as Jump—FTL hyperspace—and humans don’t need drugs for it, she made it all up, but she also set it all up such that by the time the reader gets to it, it’s a spear-point.

Another is the one I used as a title for this—in The Farthest Shore, a minor character shouts out her name for all to hear. For someone who read that page alone, this would be inexplicable and possibly silly. For someone who has come all the way through Earthsea as far as Lorbannery already, it’s terrible and revelatory—and when Ged does the same thing later, quoting his own name in what Orm Embar says to him, there’s an even longer spear-point that goes back to Ged’s naming at Ogion’s hands near the beginning of A Wizard of Earthsea.

Now we get to what I wanted to say:

It isn’t always possible to build the spear so that it will work the first time through.

If you keep stepping back to show the reader that there is irony here, that there is a wider context, that things work out this way, you risk losing absolute raftloads of immediacy. You can do that now and again, but not too much. You certainly need to do a lot of set-up, carefully, towards what you want to do later, and the reason for that is so that when you actually get to doing it, it can stand alone at that point, be that point, because the spear needs to be behind it, and a spear-point supported right there with scaffolding doesn’t have any impact at all.

It needs to be moving when it hits you, and it needs to have the spear already there, whether you and the reader built the spear together along the course of the book or whether the reader came into the room with it. And if you’re building the spear, you have to come by it honestly, even though you’re doing set-up, it all has to fit with what’s there it all has to work in its own context or you won’t end up with anything but a pile of splinters.

And sometimes you don’t have room and it isn’t going to be fully there until afterwards, and I think it’s better to suck that up and trust the reader to think, to come back and re-read, to get the impact then, than to try to hammer the spear-point in when there hasn’t been time to build the spear, because what happens then is telling in the way that people mean when they tell you not to do it, and distancing, which can blunt the impact not just the first time but always…

#books #cognition #weekendreading 

July 12, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

FRED Graph FRED St Louis Fed

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed. We are where we were a year ago: Stable growth at 2% per year with no signs of rising inflation or a rising labor share.

The only significant difference that the Fed has recognized that its hope of normalizing the Fed Funds rate in the foreseeable future is vain, and has now recognized that its confidence over the past six years that we were close to full employment was simply wrong:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Nowcasting Report: Junly 5, 2019: “The… Nowcast stands at 1.5% for 2019:Q2 and 1.8% for 2019:Q3. News from the JOLTS, CPI, and PPI releases were small, leaving the nowcast for both quarters broadly unchanged…


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 Keynesian 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.

  • Changes from 1 month ago: A 1.0%-point decrease in our estimate of what production will be over April-June. The Federal Reserve has—behind the curve—become convinced that it raised interest rates too much in 2018.

  • 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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Liveblogging: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Prophecy of Augustine

Journey To Normandy Scene 1

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.A. Giles and J. Ingram trans.): “A.D. 604. This year Augustine consecrated two bishops, Mellitus and Justus. Mellitus he sent to preach baptism to the East-Saxons. Their king was called Seabert, the son of Ricola, Ethelbert’s sister, whom Ethelbert placed there as king. Ethelbert also gave Mellitus the bishopric of London; and to Justus he gave the bishopric of Rochester, which is twenty-four miles from Canterbury…

…A.D. 606. This year died Gregory; about ten years since he sent us baptism. His father was called Gordianus, and his mother Silvia.

A.D. 607. This year Ceolwulf fought with the South-Saxons. And Ethelfrith led his army to Chester; where he slew an innumerable host of the Welsh; and so was fulfilled the prophecy of Augustine, wherein he saith “If the Welsh will not have peace with us, they shall perish at the hands of the Saxons.” There were also slain two hundred priests, (18) who came thither to pray for the army of the Welsh. Their leader was called Brocmail, who with some fifty men escaped thence. A.D. 611. This year Cynegils succeeded to the government in Wessex, and held it one and thirty winters. Cynegils was the son of Ceol, Ceol of Cutha, Cutha of Cynric.

A.D. 614. This year Cynegils and Cwichelm fought at Bampton, and slew two thousand and forty-six of the Welsh…

#liveblogging #history #anglosaxonchronicle 

Thomas Wyatt the Younger: Weekend Reading:

Wyatt s Rebellion Wyatt Revolt Context Facts Summary Outcome

Weekend Reading: Great12-grandfather: Wikipedia: Thomas Wyatt the Younger – Wikipedia: “Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger (1521 – 11 April 1554) was an English politician and rebel leader during the reign of Queen Mary I; his rising is traditionally called ‘Wyatt’s rebellion’. He was also the son of the English poet and ambassador Sir Thomas Wyatt…

…Wyatt was the son of Sir Thomas Wyatt who introduced the sonnet into English literature, a form of verse later popularized by Shakespeare and Elizabeth Brooke, the daughter of Thomas Brooke, 8th Baron Cobham, by Dorothy Heydon, daughter of Sir Henry Heydon and Elizabeth or Anne Boleyn, daughter of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn. He was the grandson of Sir Henry Wyatt and Anne Skinner, the daughter of John Skinner of Reigate, Surrey.

Born the eldest of four boys, Thomas Wyatt the Younger was raised a Roman Catholic. His godfather, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk had a significant influence on Wyatt’s upbringing. Throughout his childhood, Thomas accompanied his father on a delegation to Spain where the Inquisition began. Subsequently, at the young age of sixteen, Thomas was married to Jane Haute.

He inherited at his father’s death in 1542 Allington Castle and Boxley Abbey in Kent, but found both estates encumbered by debt. Further financial difficulties arose from the fact that, having been unfaithful to his wife (rumour had it that they were both unfaithful), the elder Wyatt separated from her. He had a child named Francis Wyatt, whose mother was Elizabeth Darrell, an unmarried daughter of Sir Edward Darrell of Littlecote House in Wiltshire. The elder Sir Thomas left Elizabeth property in Dorset, thus diminishing his son’s inheritance. Nonetheless, the younger Thomas was evidently on friendly terms with his half-brother Francis, to whom he made a gift of his manor of Tarrant.

He was described as a young man of somewhat wild and impulsive temperament, and in 1543, along with other young noblemen, including Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, he was in trouble with the authorities for causing a serious public disturbance in London. In the autumn of 1543, Wyatt and Surrey joined a group of volunteers to take part in the Siege of Landrecies. Wyatt established himself as a prominent figure in the military and was praised by the professional soldier Thomas Churchyard. Next, Wyatt took part in the Siege of Boulogne with a responsible command. In 1547, he was elected Member of Parliament for Kent. In 1550, he was given the title of commissioner to delimit the English frontier in France but became ill and incapable of performing his duty. Later, Wyatt claimed to have assisted Queen Mary I against the Duke of Northumberland when the Duke claimed the throne for his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey.

Wyatt’s Rebellion: Stemming from experiences with the Spanish Inquisition while accompanying his father, Wyatt developed an aversion to the Spanish government, which greatly affected him when he learned of Queen Mary’s decision to marry Philip of Spain. Thomas Wyatt viewed this decision as an injustice to the nation. According to Wyatt, he never planned on protesting against the Queen’s marriage until he was approached by Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, who wished to prevent the Queen’s plan.

When the official marriage announcement was published on 15 January 1553–54, Wyatt and friends joined at Allington Castle to discuss plans of resistance. After several instigators were arrested, Wyatt became the leader of the rebellion. He then published a proclamation at Maidstone stating that his plan had been approved by ‘dyvers of the best shire’. People were told to secure the advancements of ‘liberty and commonwealth’ which were being threatened by ‘the Queen’s determinate pleasure to marry with a stranger.’

Wyatt proved himself to be a responsible leader, earning the praise of the French ambassador, Antoine de Noailles. Soon, Wyatt was responsible for commanding 1,500 men. He set up his command headquarters in Rochester.

Shortly after he had established his headquarters, Queen Mary was informed of Wyatt’s plan. The Queen offered a pardon to followers of Wyatt who retreated peacefully to their homes within twenty-four hours. Despite this, Thomas Wyatt encouraged his followers to stay by falsely announcing imminent support from France and victorious uprisings in other areas. He was given a surprising advantage when the government instructed the Duke of Norfolk to approach Wyatt and his forces. The Duke’s forces were inferior to Wyatt and the rebels. When the Duke came into contact with Wyatt, many of his own men joined the rebellion, which led the Duke to flee to Gravesend.

Following these events, Wyatt and the four thousand men who accompanied him marched through Gravesend and Dartford to Blackheath in January 1553–54. The government addressed this issue with great seriousness. In an effort to gain time, the government offered Wyatt an opportunity to establish demands; however, this was only a formality. By this point, Wyatt had been deemed a disloyal adversary in the eyes of the monarchy.

On 2 February 1554, over twenty thousand men volunteered to aid the Queen as defenders against Wyatt and his troops. In addition to these precautions, other security measures were also taken. The court and the Tower of London were under especially heavy guard. Furthermore, a lucrative reward was offered in exchange for Wyatt’s capture: a valuable sum of land would be awarded to anyone who handed Wyatt over as captive.

Upon entering Southwark, Wyatt and his companions soon discovered the high security measures that had been implemented. As a result, many of his followers abandoned him, forcing him to leave Southwark. He instead headed towards Kingston-on-Thames, with new plans to surprise Ludgate and intentions to capture the Queen’s refuge in St James’s Palace. The government soon found out about his strategy, and responded by allowing him to progress into the city, only to corner him from all sides. After several skirmishes along the way, with the numbers of his followers dwindling continually, Wyatt eventually admitted defeat. He was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. On 15 March, after a trial which was little more than a formality, he was sentenced to death for high treason.

Execution: On 11 April 1554, the scheduled date of his execution, Wyatt asked permission of John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos, the Lieutenant of the Tower of London, to speak to the Earl of Devonshire, Edward Courtenay. During their half-hour-long meeting, Wyatt knelt down before Courtenay and begged him “to confess the truth of himself,” as Wyatt believed Courtenay was the original instigator of the crime.

However, when on the scaffold, Wyatt confessed his own blame and was determined to exculpate Mary I’s half-sister Elizabeth and Courtenay. After Wyatt was beheaded, his body was further punished according to the standards of treason. His head, before it was stolen on 17 April, was hung from a gallows. His limbs were then circulated among towns and also hung up…

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