BRIEFLY NOTED: 2021-03-21 Su

Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember...

Very Briefly Noted:


Six Paragraphs:

Of all the things I understand least well, it is that we dare not aim to have production hit potential output and thus hit the inflation target because we cannot handle even a small overshoot because… of what, exactly? This kind of thinking perhaps avoids some risk of a bumpy future by creating an eternal very bumpy present:

Benjamin Wallace-WellsLarry Summers Versus the Biden Administration’s Coronavirus-Stimulus Plan: ‘The Biden rescue package will pour out enough sand to fill a hole, and then keep pouring. In Summers’s view, this is economically risky, because it means that the Federal Reserve will probably eventually need to manage inflation, a recipe for a bumpy future. “My reading is that there are roughly zero historical examples where we got inflation to the point where the Fed got nervous and had to tighten and the whole thing happened smoothly,” Summers told me last week. He also sees the stimulus as politically risky, in that there are only so many times the Biden Administration can ask Congress to spend huge amounts of money without raising taxes to offset it, and fewer still if they spend this round inefficiently…

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The Malthusian picture, the 1870-1914 escape, and fears that World War I had permanently deranged the economic growth process in such a way as to raise the specter of the return of the Devil of Malthus:

John Maynard Keynes (1919): The Economic Consequences of the Peace: ‘[Their] view of the world… filled with deep-seated melancholy the founders of our Political Economy. Before the eighteenth century mankind entertained no false hopes. To lay the illusions which grew popular at that age’s latter end, Malthus disclosed a Devil. For half a century all serious economical writings held that Devil in clear prospect. For the next half century he was chained up and out of sight. Now perhaps [with World War I] we have loosed him again…

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Ummm… You target asset bubbles by reducing leverage, not by raising interest rates. I have a bad feeling about this:

Ruchir Sharma: By Targeting House Prices, New Zealand Shows the Way: ‘While consumer prices have been held in check by globalisation and automation, easy money pouring out of central banks has been driving up the price of assets from stocks to bonds and housing…. A global political celebrity, the liberal Ardern was elected on a promise of affordable housing. Fed up, her government has ordered the central bank to add stabilising home prices to its remit, starting March 1. It is novel and healthy for a politician to recognise the unintended consequences of easy money. If this idea catches on, it could lead to greater financial and social stability worldwide…. Ardern’s move may not slow the housing boom soon, because supply-and-demand dynamics are too strong. But ordering the central bank to make housing price stability a higher priority is a start, and could inspire others to rethink the role easy money has played in driving financial instability…

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I confess hope that Facebook dies rapidly. Silicon Valley needs a very obvious and pointed lesson that treating your users like cattle to be exploited and misled leads to your bankruptcy and to your permanent exclusion from all polite society. Feeding your users to the likes of Alex Jones for the Luz & the advertising dollars is despicable.

This applies to you to, Google, for the current state of Youtube:

Justin Bariso: Tim Cook May Have Just Ended Facebook: ‘Cook aptly points out, “advertising existed and thrived for decades” without using data that was collected in less than transparent ways. And as customers are offered more choice when it comes to how apps and websites track their data, experts predict that more and more people will opt out of said tracking. If you’re an advertiser, you’ll need to adapt. Or die.But there’s also a bigger lesson at stake. Now is the time to ask yourself: Which philosophy do I want to pursue? Do I want a business that serves my customers? Or one that takes advantage of customers to serve my business? Because in the end, only one of these philosophies is sustainable for the long-term. The other will lead you to crash and burn. And while the long-term solution may initially prove more challenging, remember: “The path of least resistance is rarely the path of wisdom”…

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But, Scott, the ARP is not “a bloated, stealth, and wholly partisan vehicle”. If it were, Republicans would be running against it rather than trumpeting its accomplishments and hoping to make voters think they voted for rather than against it, capisce?:

Scott Lincicome: While You Were Seussing: ‘While Republicans fight the culture war on TV, Democrats enact progressive priorities into law…. Republicans are only now scrambling to define the ARP and are left to hope that it doesn’t work, while Democrats are on the attack. A big reason for that is that instead of mounting an effective messaging campaign to highlight these provisions—ones almost entirely unrelated to the pandemic—and others (such as that ridiculous union pension bailout or the $60 billion in tax hikes), and to define the ARP as a bloated, stealth, and wholly partisan vehicle to achieve progressive social change under the cover of Covid, Republicans were on TV yelling about children’s books and cancel culture…

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The huge gap between the performance of the biomedical establishment and the performance of the Trump administration is truly remarkable:

Jason Kottke: How Were the Covid–19 Vaccines Developed So Quickly?: ‘1. The need was urgent…. 2. Funding & focus. Companies and governments threw billions and billions of dollars at this… 3. Availability of volunteers & high incidence of disease…. 4. International & corporate collaboration. Countries and companies shared research, data, and resources…. 5. We knew a lot about coronaviruses from previous work…. 6. Scientific and technological capability…. Humanity’s general scientific and technological abilities have never been stronger or more powerful…. Bloomberg: “Remember also that technology has evolved rapidly—for example, we’re now about able to sequence the genomes of every mutant version of the virus in less than a day. That helps in speeding up vaccine development.” Dr. Mark Toshner sums up the effort: “However we have collectively now shown that with money no object, some clever and highly motivated people, an unlimited pool of altruistic volunteers, and sensible regulators that we can do amazing things”…

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Why is it, anyhow, that a “measurement” is a self-adjoint operator? A measurement is entangling the quantum wave function of the experiment with that of a measuring device that has a macro-visible pointer. What does that have to do with a self-adjoint operator?

Sydney Coleman: Quantum Mechanics in Your Face: ‘The state of a physical system at a fixed time is a vector in Hilbert space… ѱ…. It evolves in time according to the Schrödinger equation i∂ѱ/dt = Hѱ, where the Hamiltonian H is some self-adjoint linear operator…. Some, maybe all, self-adjoint operators are “observables”. If the state is an eigenstate of an observable A, with eigenvalue a, then we say the value of A is a, is certain to be observed to be a.... There’s an implicit promise in here that, when you put the whole theory together and start calculating things, that the words “observes” and “observable” will correspond to entities that act in the same way as those entities do in the language of everyday speech under the circumstances in which the language of everyday speech is applicable. Now to show that is a long story. It’s not something I’m going to focus on here, involving things like the WKB approximation and von Neumann’s analysis of an ideal measuring device8, but I just wanted to point out that that’s there…

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