BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-04-18 Su

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


This paper seems to me to bury the lead—which is that it is the interaction of past slave-raiding and present decolonization that seems to be associated with very low present-day economic productivity. What are the mechanisms that could generate such an association?: 

Margherita Bottero & Björn WallaceIs There a Long-Term Effect of Africa’s Slave Trades?: ’[The] negative relationship between past slave exports and economic performance within Africa… did not become significantly negative until 1970, and that it was close to zero in 1960…

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Very Briefly Noted:

  • Beth MoleCDC Expert Panel Punts on Deciding Fate of J&J Covid Vaccine: ‘Experts brace for more clotting cases as 52% of doses were given in the last 2 weeks… LINK: <>

  • John AravosisRepublicans Twice as Likely to Be Unvaccinated Against Covid: ‘ The curse of Trump lives on. A new Monmouth poll shows that Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to be unvaccinated against Covid…. 67% of Democrats have already received at least one vaccine dose, compared to only 36% of Republicans. And nearly half of Republicans say they don’t ever plan on getting vaccinated… LINK: <>

  • Scott LemieuxThere Must Always Be a Republican Hate Object: ‘Bigotry and bullying are central to what the Republican Party does. The specific group(s) being attacked might change, but the song remains the same… LINK: <>

  • Dan NexonKicking Down as Political Creed - Lawyers, Guns & Money: ‘It wasn’t that long ago that Republican politicians saw opposition to same-sex marriage as an important weapon in their political arsenal…. Democrats… didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory… Clinto… Obama…. It doesn’t seem like any of the politicians who decried same-sex marriage in apocalyptic terms—let alone did so for obviously cynical reasons—paid any price. I’ve been thinking of this history as I read about Republican efforts to turn transphobia into the gay-baiting of the 2020s… LINK: <>

  • Molly Jong-FastThe Squishy Sadness of the Last Moderate Republicans: ‘You’d think that four years of rolling over for abuses of democracy might make the last moderate Republicans at least pretend to be a little sheepish about what they’re entitled to, but no. They’re triggered, so triggered that anonymous aides are making the rounds saying things like, “The administration roundly dismissed our effort as wholly inadequate in order to justify its go-it-alone strategy”…. Rob Portman… is retiring… Bill Cassidy… did vote to impeach Trump after he led an armed insurrection at the Capitol…. I guess the others—Shelley Moore Capito, Todd Young, Jerry Moran, Susan Collins, Thom Tillis and Mike Rounds—consider themselves moderates because they didn’t try to overturn the election?… LINK: <>

  • Paul CamposThe Kash Patel Saga: ‘Patel is a young lawyer, with zero qualifications for a high ranking IC job, let alone CIA director [!], who wormed his way into Trump’s inner circle via being Devin Nunes’s Roy Cohn…. [Was] Trump… actively planning a coup, to be carried out via the IC and the military, and that he didn’t pull it off in large part because he was simply too lazy and cowardly…. We still have no real idea what happened in the White House between the night of November 3rd and the afternoon of January 6th, but it seems increasingly clear that “the system” just barely held, and that Republicans are plotting even now to make sure it doesn’t the next time around… LINK: <>

  • Rishi R. Goel & al.Distinct Antibody & Memory B Cell Responses in Sars-Cov–2 Naïve & Recovered Individuals Following mRNA Vaccination: ‘Our data demonstrated robust serological and cellular priming by mRNA vaccines and revealed distinct responses based on prior SARS-CoV–2 exposure, whereby COVID–19 recovered subjects may only require a single vaccine dose to achieve peak antibody and memory B cell responses. These findings also highlight the utility of defining cellular responses in addition to serologies and may inform SARS-CoV–2 vaccine distribution in a resource-limited setting… LINK: <>

  • CharlemagneThe EU’s Calhounian Moment: ‘As the eu tiptoes in a Hamiltonian direction, it will have to deal with the Calhounian tendency…. Some think… these are teething issues that can be settled via judicial dialogue rather than conflict. For others, only overhauling the eu’s treaties, and spelling out directly who has the final say, can fix the problem…. But at least this problem, unlike America’s at the time of Calhoun, can be solved without a war. Europe has had enough of those. LINK: <>

Share Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality


Tae KimIntel’s Plan to Take On TSMC & Win Big in Chips Has Big Risks: ‘Intel’s strategic pivot to chip making comes at an ideal moment, but that won’t make its task any easier…. Intel will spend $20 billion to build two new factories in Arizona, vastly expanding capacity for both internal use and for customers of its new program, called “Intel Foundry Services," or IFS…. Here’s the biggest question for the chipmaker: Can it win a large chunk of business away from market leader Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.? During his strategy presentation, Gelsinger confirmed for the first time that the company will be using TSMC to manufacture some of its top-of-the-line CPU processors in 2023. This is a result of years of Intel delays in moving to the latest chipmaking technologies. With Intel compelled to use TSMC for some of its leading products, it’s going to be difficult at least in the near term for the company to argue that its services are significantly better than its Asian rival…. There are some tailwinds for Intel’s manufacturing business… security concerns… future subsidies and tax incentives from the Biden administration…. While it is easy for Intel to talk a big game about building a “world-class” foundry business, it will be much harder to create a viable and profitable one… LINK: <>

Martin WeitzmanPrices vs. Quantities: ‘The benefit of a final good is essentially the utility which arises out of consuming the good. It could be highly curved at the optimum output level if tastes happen to be kinked at certain critical points…. Our intuitive feeling, which is confirmed by the formal analysis, is that it doesn’t pay to “fool around” with prices in such situations…. There is, it seems to me, a rather fundamental reason to believe that quantities are better signals for situations demanding a high degree of coordination. A classical example would be the short run production planning of intermediate industrial materials. Within a large production organization, be it the General Motors Corporation or the Soviet industrial sector as a whole, the need for balancing the output of any intermediate commodity whose production is relatively specialized to this organization and which cannot be effortlessly and instantaneously imported from or exported to a perfectly competitive outside world puts a kink in the benefit function. If it turns out that production of ball bearings of a certain specialized kind (plus reserves) falls short of anticipated internal consumption, far more than the value of the unproduced bearings can be lost… LINK: <>

Dan WangChina, the U.S., & Technology: ‘The economic relationship between China and the US is massive. Over the last few years, US direct exports of goods and services to China clocks in at around $200 billion every single year, but that’s really dwarfed by the amount of sales that US companies make in China, which the last figure we have from the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the US is $600 billion…

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Emily StewartInflation: What Is It, Will Rates Change, & What Economists Think the Risks Are, Explained: ‘I spent most of 2008 to 2014 in Argentina, a country that is one of the examples of hyperinflation people often invoke to scare others about the dangers of inflation…. Prices are constantly going up, to the point that restaurants sometimes just write menu prices on stickers, and cash isn’t really worth saving, at least not in pesos. People and businesses rush to convert their pesos to dollars because they’re aware the currency is unstable. The country has a dual exchange rate: the “official” rate and the black market rate, known as the “blue.” Right now, the official rate is about 90 pesos to the dollar, the blue is about 140. If you’re paid in dollars, it’s a good deal. If you’re paid in pesos, it sucks, and prices are going up a lot faster than wages. Consumers pay for stuff in a bunch of interest-free installments when they can because the assumption is everything will probably be way more expensive soon…. What some economists are worried about right now is that the US might be headed toward a ’70s-like period of inflation, due in large part to the federal government’s response to the pandemic, most recently President Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid–19 relief bill…. Is the worst-case scenario the likeliest scenario? In a word, no. There’s reason to stay vigilant—as policymakers say they are—but not reason to panic…. That doesn’t mean the Fed wouldn’t react if things go awry, or that Powell and Yellen might not wind up being wrong in their predictions. But doomsday isn’t the most probable scenario on the horizon, or close to it…. “Inflation has been very low for over a decade. And, you know, it’s a risk, but it’s a risk that the Federal Reserve and others have tools to address,” Yellen told CNBC in February. “The greater risk is of scarring the people, we having this pandemic take a permanent lifelong toll on their lives and livelihoods”… 

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