BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-01-27 We

What I have been reading this morning that has arrested me, and made me think. This may be one use I make of my substack as I try to figure out what this platform is useful for. Let me start with t...

…hings that whizzed by, and follow with some long-paragraph chunks that I think are very worth reading, and that I noted this morning.

But first:


Very Briefly Noted:

  • Jen SorensenFor January 26, 2021: GoComics: Freedom LINK

  • William H. Shrank, Nancy-Ann DeParle, Scott Gottlieb, Sachin H. Jain, Peter Orszag, Brian W. Powers, and Gail R. WilenskyHealth Costs & Financing: Challenges & Strategies For A New Administration | Health Affairs: ‘The HHS secretary should… work… with Congress to decrease the age of Medicare eligibility to fifty-five… LINK

  • WikipediaEquestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius LINK

  • Hannah KuchlerModerna develops new vaccine to tackle mutant Covid strain LINK

  • STEGVirtual Course on “Key Concepts in Macro Development”LINK

  • Erik Brynjolfsson, Daniel Rock, & Chad Syverson: The Productivity J-Curve: How Intangibles Complement General Purpose Technologies LINK

  • WikipediaAndré Gide: ‘The Immoralist’: ‘Published in France in 1902…. Important points of Michel’s story are his recovery from tuberculosis; his attraction to a series of Arab boys and to his estate caretaker’s son; and the evolution of a new perspective on life and society. Through his journey, Michel finds a kindred spirit in the rebellious Ménalque… LINK


Seven Paragraphs for Lunchtime:

Rich MillerPowell, With Year to Run at Fed, Aims to Avoid Past QE Mistake: ‘Fed chair likely to signal he’s in no rush to taper bond buys…. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell heads into what could be his last year atop the central bank determined not to repeat the mistake he made when he was a neophyte monetary policy maker seven years ago. Then a Fed governor, Powell was among those leading the charge to scale back the central bank’s quantitative-easing program – a stance that led to the economically debilitating and market-wrenching taper tantrum of 2013… LINK: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-26/powell-with-year-to-run-at-fed-aims-to-avoid-past-qe-mistake?sref=wOrDP8KX

EconomistCovid–19 vaccines—How fast can vaccination against covid–19 make a difference?: ‘Israel is the place to watch for the first evidence about how mass vaccination may change things, for it has vaccinated its citizens faster than anywhere else. By January 19th, a month after the campaign had begun, Israel had given 26% of its 9m people at least one dose…. For the study’s first 12 days, positive test rates remained identical between groups. On the 13th, the vaccinated group’s rate fell slightly. Then, on day 14, it dropped by a third…. A sign that vaccination is starting to give Israeli hospitals some breathing space emerged a fortnight after January 2nd, the day when the proportion of those over 60 who had been vaccinated reached 40%.… LINK: https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2021/01/23/how-fast-can-vaccination-against-covid-19-make-a-difference

Michael GreshkoCOVID–19 will likely be with us forever. Here’s how we’ll live with it: ‘The world could be facing several years of a halting post-pandemic transition—one marked by continued viral evolution, localized outbreaks, and possibly multiple rounds of updated vaccinations…. The long road to another common cold. One of the essential factors governing the future of COVID–19 is our immunity to the illness…. Past studies make clear that partial immunity can keep people from getting seriously ill, even as coronaviruses successfully enter their systems. Long-term, the same is likely to be true for the new coronavirus… LINK: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2021/01/covid-19-will-likely-be-with-us-forever-heres-how-well-live-with-it/

Eric BoehlertBiden, the press, and the “unity” charade: ‘Just days into Joe Biden’s first week as president, the Beltway press — reading off GOP talking points — was buzzing about “unity.” Specifically, reporters wanted to know when the new president was going to make a grand gesture, or even a policy concession, to Republicans as an expression of his goodwill. The overeager New York Times noted that in the first “hours” (!) of Biden’s presidency, there hadn’t yet been any “tangible actions” towards bipartisanship, such as adopting “Republican priorities.” Instead, the Democrat’s outreach had been “more about words.” Days later at a White House press briefing, it was a Times reporter again who pressed the issue, demanding to know, “When are we going to see one of those substantial outreaches that says , ‘This is something the Republicans want to do, too’?”… To date, there’s been virtual no news coverage on which “Democratic priorities” the GOP is willing to adopt in the name of unity… LINK: https://pressrun.media/p/biden-the-press-and-the-unity-charade

John GanzThe Third Republic & Today: ‘There is a spookily close parallel with an event that occurred in the late French Third Republic—the attempt by right-wing militants to march on the Chambre des députés in the night of February 6, 1934. In the street fighting between police and marchers on the bridge that links the Place de la Concorde to the Chambre sixteen people were killed. That demonstration and the polarization that it reflected and deepened are often considered to mark the beginning of the process that led to the fall of the Republic and arrival of the Vichy regime. I couldn’t help but think of that last evening as we watched the unbelievable images on TV….. To kick off my Substack, I am going to take a look in a multi-part series at two crises of the Third Republic: first, the Dreyfus affair around the turn of the century, which gave birth to an insane form of conspiratorialism and a reactionary nationalism with racial underpinnings, according to some scholars the first hints of what would become fascism, and then the February 6 crisis of 1934, which still generates a controversy whether it was a failed fascist coup or the somewhat farcical demonstration of a disorganized radical right… LINK: https://johnganz.substack.com/p/the-third-republic-and-today

Noah SmithCan knowledge industries escape superstar cities?: ‘Here’s what would be required. It’s a tall order…. So far, clustering has just conquered everything. Insane rents and house prices, crazy numbers of car break-ins, massive homelessness, dysfunctional social services, deep social tensions between transplants and natives… nothing could knock SF off its perch. NYC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and other Superstar Cities were less dysfunctional, but they’ve all had their own affordability crises over the past decade, and yet their positions have also seemed unassailable. Essentially, this has made knowledge industry workers, and the companies that employ them, prisoners of superstar cities…. The question is whether Zoom and Slack are game-changers…. This is a hard question to answer…. But it’s also important to remember that companies don’t have to go fully distributed in order to mostly escape the pull of the superstar cities. They just have to shrink their main offices, and manage the rest of their workers either remotely or at branch offices in cheaper places….. In order to escape the cluster cities, both businesses and workers will have to learn to do job search and hiring mostly remotely (except for flyouts for a few very high-value workers)…. Knowledge spillovers… is going to be harder…. City lifestyle… is the final hurdle, and—I predict—the hardest one to solve. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though. Cities are not awesome for everyone… LINK: https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/can-knowledge-industries-escape-superstar

EconomistHow to defuse a bomb—Can China’s long property boom hold?: ‘LOTTERY WINNERS normally win money. In China the big prize is being allowed to spend it. Demand for new homes in good locations is so high, and supply so limited, that several cities use lotteries to allocate them, some with odds as low as 1 in 60…. Similar splits are common around the world, with prices high in large cities and low in small towns. But the degree of the divergence in China, multiplied by the sheer size and growth of its market, means that understanding property is essential if you want to get to grips with what is happening in the economy. Every year China starts building about 15m new homes, more than quintuple the amount in America and Europe combined. The property sector—both the direct impact of all the construction and its indirect effect on everything from concrete to curtains—accounts for a quarter of China’s GDP… LINK: https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2021/01/25/can-chinas-long-property-boom-hold

Leave a comment

Share

Share Grasping Reality Newsletter, by Brad DeLong