How Should We Teach Political Economy?; & BRIEFLY NOTED: for 2021-03-10 We

Selections from my comments at an N2PE panel; plus things that went whizzing by that I want to be sure to try to remember...

First:

Brad DeLong: Network for a New Political Economy Teaching Panel: 2021-30-05:

Selections: What are we doing when we do political economy?…

Political economy is social theory in… this [Modern Economic Growth Age of the] extraordinary transformation of technology, understood as human powers to transform nature—not always in a good way—and to organize humans—not always in a good way at all. It is not that economists or political scientists have any special expertise in figuring out what the social theory for this age of extraordinary transformation of technology  is. I was having a discussion with two other economist [in which]…. I… Noah… Arin… found that… [we had all] been profoundly influenced… by the course[s we]… took from Mark Granovetter….

Should we follow the Barrington Moore model? Should we, as Allen strongly advocates, make our students read big, difficult books?…. We do have to, in some sense, pick some theorists, and then show how we apply their theories—or rather theories and conceptual approaches that are named after them—to the elements of the real world that we want to study…. I for one, continue to be very, very impressed with the continued relevance of Karl Polanyi…. I also am continually impressed by the continued relevance of John Maynard Keynes…. But for… other[s]… let me leave them as question marks. I am looking for candidates…

Under the auspices of N2PE: Network for a New Political Economy: <https://twitter.com/N2PE_Network/status/1367943000639242241><https://newpoliticaleconomy.berkeley.edu>. Whole thing at: <https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/nnpe-teaching-panel-2021-03-05.txt>

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Very Briefly Noted:

  • Gavin Wright, Shari Eli, Jonathan Levy, Trevon Logan, Suresh Naidu, & Caitlin RosenthalHistorians and Economic Historians in Conversation<https://econfip.org/historians-and-economic-historians-in-conversation/>

  • George Pearkes: ’Core CPI a staggering 1.2% annualized in February, 0.7% annualized over the last three months, 1.2%% annualized over the last six months, and a terrifying 1.3% YoY_ <https://twitter.com/pearkes/status/1369642463569281029>

  • Patrick WymanUruk and the Emergence of Civilization: ‘“Female slave of foreign origin.” “Captive male”… LINK: <https://patrickwyman.substack.com/p/uruk-and-the-emergence-of-civilization>

  • Scott LemieuxLet Us Now Praise Famous Yuppies: ‘Bari Weiss: “The dissidents use pseudonyms and turn off their videos…. They say that they could face profound repercussions if anyone knew they were talking…. These are the rebels: well-off Los Angeles parents who send their children to Harvard-Westlake, the most prestigious private school in the city…” Katharine Trendacosta: ’I’m dying I went to this school. Once in a discussion about affirmative action, a kid said he would always prefer to hire other white people. Once in a debate about flag burning, a white kid said he’d like to set on fire flag burners… LINK: <https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/03/let-us-now-praise-famous-yuppies>

  • Amit Gandhi’I have a vivid memory of sitting in Gary Chamberlain’s econometrics course when he said “omitted variable bias is the most important formula in econometrics”. “Simpson’s paradox” (which I finally looked up) is omitted variable bias with a discrete RHS variable. wow… LINK: <https://twitter.com/AmitEcon/status/1368990015536119813>


Six Paragraphs:

Frances CoppolaThe Dismal Decade: ‘It has become taboo to say, or even imply, that the Brexit vote of 2016 was in any way negative for the UK economy. If the Bank of England governor had dared to say openly that the primary reason for four years of stagnation prior to the Covid–19 shock was investment collapse due to Brexit, he would have been accused of making political statements. But it is the truth. Here’s the evidence from Bailey’s speech:

LINK: <https://www.coppolacomment.com/2021/03/the-dismal-decade.html>


Martin ArnoldUK-EU Trade Falls Sharply as Brexit Disruption Starts to Bite: ‘Latest British export-import data from French customs office mirror declines recorded in Germany and Italy: French exports to the UK were down 13 per cent in January compared with the average of the previous six months, while French imports from the UK fell 20 per cent, according to the French customs office. “Trade with Britain is disrupted due to Brexit,” it said…. The frictional barriers and uncertainty created by Brexit have dealt a heavy blow to commercial activity between the UK and the EU, its biggest trading partner… higher shipping costs, transportation delays, health certificate requirements and more complex customs requirements at the border…. German exports to Britain in January were down about 30 per cent year on year…. Italy last month reported a 38 per cent year-on-year drop in exports to the UK and a 70 per cent drop in British imports in January…. Gabriel Felbermayr, president of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, said research it did for the German government found the country’s exports to the UK were likely to remain 12–15 per cent below pre-Brexit levels… LINK: <https://www.ft.com/content/5b8028a7-edaf-4488-8e96-3761ba8b015f>


Tracy LightcapOn Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address: ‘The Cooper Union speech is the best example we have of Lincoln in full campaign attack mode. It starts with a lawyer’s direction of arguments for and against forbidding slavery in the territories and seems rather dry. But you have to remember that Lincoln’s audience wanted that; he was playing to their foregone conclusions and showing that there was support for them and that, if he was president, he would act accordingly. Then he starts in on the political arguments. Here Lincoln is swinging right and left hooks from his waist and he lands every single time. We don’t see that in his presidential speeches; he’s all reconciliation and reunification and let’s make freedom ring in those. At Cooper Union he was out for blood and he drew it every time. I always assigned this speech in my classes in our junior multi-disciplinary course, just so the students could get a flavor of just how good Lincoln was on the stump. And that was really, really good… 

LINK: <https://www.bradford-delong.com/2021/03/reading-abraham-lincoln-1860-02-27-cooper-union-address.html?cid=6a00e551f080038834027880199611200d#comment-6a00e551f080038834027880199611200d>


Austin ClemensNew Great Recession Data Suggest Congress Should Go Big: ‘Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, critics now argue that it will “overshoot”…. Undershooting the policy response would be a far more dangerous prospect and could lead to a repeat of the slow and inequitable economic growth that followed the previous U.S. recession…. A new data series from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis—its Distribution of Personal Income series—shows just how devastating this pattern was for most U.S. workers and their families…. In the bottom 50 percent… because disposable personal income incorporates transfers from the federal government to households, so losses in this group were partially compensated for by rising Unemployment Insurance payments, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, and other government benefits. But this group then became mired in years of stagnant, or even declining, income as these benefits ended amid a still-tepid economic recovery, and did not experience substantial income gains until 2015. By comparison, households in the top 10 percent of income recovered almost immediately after the end of the Great Recession and ended 2018 up 22 percent compared to 2007…

LINK: <https://equitablegrowth.org/new-great-recession-data-suggest-congress-should-go-big-to-spur-a-broad-based-sustained-u-s-economic-recovery/>


Kathryn GehrenAbout Hum. Servt: ‘Women in the 18th and early 19th century wrote about all sorts of things. They discussed health, family news, gossip, courtship, and much more. However, while most historians love to find a letter that describes George Washington’s granddaughter teaching her pet parrot to sing along with her harpsichord, they might not be able to find a place to quote it in their research article. This podcast is an attempt to showcase these letters in a fun and informative way…. Each episode features one letter to or from a woman from the 18th or early 19th century. Host Kathryn Gehred uses her training in history and documentary editing to dig up the story behind each letter. She spends a little time setting up the context before reading the letter in full. She and a guest then dig into the details, discussing what makes this document interesting, and what it can tell us about its time… 

LINK: <https://humservt.com/about-your-host/>


Ryan Mac & Craig SilvermanJoel Kaplan’s Policy Team Sways Big Facebook Decisions Like Alex Jones Ban: ‘“Mark Changed The Rules”: How Facebook Went Easy On Alex Jones And Other Right-Wing Figures: Facebook’s rules to combat misinformation and hate speech are subject to the whims and political considerations of its CEO and his policy team leader: In April 2019, Facebook was preparing to ban one of the internet’s most notorious spreaders of misinformation and hate, Infowars founder Alex Jones. Then CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally intervened. Jones had gained infamy for claiming that the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre was a “giant hoax,” and that the teenage survivors of the 2018 Parkland shooting were “crisis actors.” But Facebook had found that he was also relentlessly spreading hate against various groups, including Muslims and trans people. That behavior qualified him for expulsion from the social network under the company’s policies for “dangerous individuals and organizations,” which required Facebook to also remove any content that expressed “praise or support” for them. But Zuckerberg didn’t consider the Infowars founder to be a hate figure, according to a person familiar with the decision, so he overruled his own internal experts and opened a gaping loophole: Facebook would permanently ban Jones and his company — but would not touch posts of praise and support for them from other Facebook users. This meant that Jones’ legions of followers could continue to share his lies across the world’s largest social network… 

LINK: <https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ryanmac/mark-zuckerberg-joel-kaplan-facebook-alex-jones>