I Would Not Have Thought þe Light Lifting I Ask My Machines to Do Could Fill an Intel i5...; & BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-05-26 We

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


No. I do not think that this laptop is happy running both mmhmm and zoom at the same time. Why do you ask?:


Very Briefly Noted:

Share Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality


I disagree with part of John Holbo’s thesis here: “tax cuts for the rich!” and “what we have, we will hold!” together do make up a political philosophy. It is not, however, a political philosophy that can win many elections if openly avowed, however. So it must turn into “the Negroes and the Rootless Cosmopolites are coming to steal your stuff!” Frum’s problem was that he did not understand that that was what he had signed up for:

John HolboDead Right: ‘Frum’s conception of liberals as unhappy until there’s a paroled murderer and UN bluehelmet on every corner—is subject to doubt. But we pass over in silence; the man, to his credit, does not mince words about the faults of his party…. I was genuinely curious what Frum thinks conservatism looks like in all its glorious and unalloyed philosophical ideal purity, scoured clean and purified of blemishes, flaws, errors, compromises, distortions due to human weakness, money, K Street, the usual suspects…. [When] I went on a multi-post tear into the NRO… what impressed me then was the lack of discernable political philosophy. To adapt the great conservative Carlyle: seldom have I seen someone execute such a shallow dive into such deep water and emerge so muddy. Day in, day out…

LINK: <https://examinedlife.typepad.com/johnbelle/2003/11/dead_right.html>

Little sense of how complicated the brain is, and how well it has been taught by evolution:

Duncan BlackEschaton: If Only They’d Listened To Atrios: ‘And paid me lots of money for the very fine advice that I gave away for free on this very fine blog: “The wizards of Silicon Valley said people would be commuting to work in self-driving cars by now. Instead, there have been court fights, injuries and deaths, and tens of billions of dollars spent on a frustratingly fickle technology… still years from becoming the industry’s next big thing…. Uber and Lyft, worried about blowing through their cash… have tapped out. Only the most deep pocketed outfits like Waymo… auto industry giants, and a handful of start-ups are…in the game.” “Wizards”…

LINK: <https://www.eschatonblog.com/2021/05/if-only-theyd-listened-to-atrios.html>

IIRC, Solow’s contempt was always more than returned by Lucas’s venom. It was in 1980, after all, that Lucas wrote: “People even take offense if being referred to as ‘Keynesians’. At research seminars, people don’t take Keynesian theorizing seriously anymore. The audience starts to whisper and giggle to one another…” <https://web.archive.org/web/20070610024139/https://www.iisec.ucb.edu.bo/amercado/clases/macroeconomia_maestria/lecturas/The_reincarnation_of_keynesian_economics.pdf>.

A curious thing is that this was written by Lucas a year and a half after what he characterized as “the beginning of the end for my attempts to account for the business cycle in terms of monetary shocks”.

I confess it is one thing to form a “sub-culture… more like… a platoon on the battlefield… [with] loyalty and group cohesion… priority, so models that were illogical or inconsistent with the evidence went unchallenged…” for an intellectual position you believe in. It is quite another for a position that you see as badly underwater and gambling for resurrection:

Paul RomerWhat Went Wrong in Macro—Historical Details: ’ Solow was harshly critical of the new classical macro models pioneered by Robert Lucas, dismissive in a way that seemed to me to skirt uncomfortably close to contempt… concerned that the type of model Lucas was developing might undermine political support for active countercyclical policy. To his credit, there was a legitimate basis for this concern. The new Chicago school of macro eventually did oppose an active response to the financial crisis and its aftermath. But the type of response that Solow exemplified may actually have contributed to the emergence of this new Chicago school…. Tak[ing] seriously what the rebel group that was forming around Lucas was saying… might have kept the rebels from cutting off contact with all outsiders, even those who were taking seriously the issues they were raising. Once they cut off contact with the outside, these rebels developed a sub-culture that was more like what you’d expect to find among members of a platoon on the battlefield than among scientists parsing logic and weighing evidence. Loyalty and group cohesion took priority, so models that were illogical or inconsistent with the evidence went unchallenged. These values might have developed in any department, but they found support and encouragement at the University of Chicago, which was already committed to Stigler conviction instead of Feynman integrity…

LINK: <https://paulromer.net/what-went-wrong-in-macro-history/>

This is really creepy;

McKinley ValentinieThe Polywater Fiasco: ‘Strongest memories are points of disillusionment, because they’re turning points in how you view the world…. The first time I felt true disillusionment was when I found out that caterpillars don’t go into cocoons and grow wings; they go into cocoons, release digestive enzymes, dissolve into soup, and then grow into butterflies from stem cells. It really puts a different spin on all those butterfly/transformation/coming-of-age metaphors…

LINK: <https://thewhippet.substack.com/p/the-whippet-122-the-polywater-fiasco>

Botswana is worth more attention. But “property rights!” and “orthodox economic policies!” is not, IMHO, sufficient:

Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, & James A. RobinsonAn African Success Story: Botswana: ‘Botswana has had the highest rate of per-capita growth… in the world… despite adverse initial conditions… minimal investment during the colonial period… high inequality. Botswana… follow[ed] orthodox economic policies… [but] typically in Africa, “good economics” has proved not to be politically feasible…. We conjecture that the following factors were important…. Effect[s] of British colonialism on Botswana was minimal…. Following independence, maintaining and strengthening institutions of private property were in the economic interests of the elite…. Botswana is very rich in diamonds… rents… [so] no group wanted to challenge the status quo at the expense of “rocking the boat”… critical decisions made by…. Khama and Masire…

LINK: <https://economics.mit.edu/files/284>

Can scale and apps built on top of platforms a step behind and not quite cutting-edge systems come to dominate? Perhaps:

Nicolas ColinChina’s Industry Policy w/ Emily de La Bruyère: ‘[On] Jordan Schneider’s ChinaTalk podcast… the key idea …. "What matters today is the applications of science and technology––the sort of networks you build with it… capturing scale and being able to build and deploy…. [Then] it’s okay to have a slight lag in when you get the patent and when you get the really cutting edge, as long as you can apply it to scale…. The Chinese orientation appears to be focusing on that rather than on basic R&D, which creates this tremendous asymmetry vis-à-vis the U.S. and really vis-à-vis the entire global system because there’s just a different competition underway…. It’s not a matter of just pouring resources into basic research: it’s about competing for applications…

LINK: <https://europeanstraits.substack.com/p/chinas-industry-policy-w-emily-de>

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