Þere Is Something Wrong wiþ Þose Who Claim "Wokeness" Is þe Major Threat to Democracy; + BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-09-01 We

Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember:

First:

Ryan AventMobs & Justice: ‘Liberalism isn’t just about what you can do, but also what you should do for others: “A growing illiberalism, fueled by social media, is trampling democratic discourse,” reads the homepage tagline on a new essay in the Atlantic, by Anne Appelbaum. “The result is a chilling atmosphere in which mob justice has replaced due process and forgiveness is impossible.”  The piece, you may be surprised to learn, is about the woke mobs which occasionally roam across Twitter and other platforms calling attention to people accused of (or adjacent to those accused of) intolerance toward various disadvantaged groups or, in other cases, sexual harassment or assault. It could have been about other kinds of illiberalism trampling democratic discourse, or indeed democracy…. A frustrating essay…. A useful one in the way that it illustrates the problems with popular arguments about the meaning of wokeness. The piece is built around extensive conversations with the victims of the woke mob…. Appelbaum plays with a few different historical analogies in the piece, including a number drawn from totalitarian states… but the one which frames the essay is that of Hester Prynne, the central figure of The Scarlet Letter. The woke are The New Puritans…. The essay stuck in my craw… an unfortunate lack of perspective. The fact that there is a much more virulent and imminent threat to a liberal America has been noted. The woke mob did not besiege the capital building in an attempt to lynch lawmakers and overturn an election, it isn’t threatening political violence day in and day out or working systematically to undermine American democracy, it doesn’t have the full support of the leaders of one of the nation’s two parties, and so on. That doesn’t mean that one can’t still complain… but perhaps it is possible to do so without using, say, the tagline quoted above…. My jaw fell open when I read the closing paragraph: “Worse, if we drive all of the difficult people, the demanding people, and the eccentric people away from the creative professions where they used to thrive, we will become a flatter, duller, less interesting society, a place where manuscripts sit in drawers for fear of arbitrary judgments. The arts, the humanities, and the media will become stiff, predictable, and mediocre. Democratic principles like the rule of law, the right to self-defense, the right to a just trial—even the right to be forgiven—will wither. There will be nothing to do but sit back and wait for the Hawthornes of the future to expose us…” The right to self-defense? The right to a just trial?… Wokeness… exploded… when white people finally began to pay serious attention to the fact that cops were killing black people with impunity…. People in power actually being racist is, historically, a pretty significant cause of flatness and dullness and manuscripts in drawers…. To imply that there hasn’t until now been an oppressive, illiberal culture denying opportunities for expression or justice to “difficult” people, such that the net effect of the recent push for social justice is, thanks to its occasional excesses, a stultifying one seems to me to massively mischaracterize what’s been happening… 

LINK:

The Bellows
Mobs and justice
“A growing illiberalism, fueled by social media, is trampling democratic discourse,” reads the homepage tagline on a new essay in the Atlantic, by Anne Appelbaum. “The result is a chilling atmosphere in which mob justice has replaced due process and forgiveness is impossible.” The piece, you may be surprised to learn, is about the woke mobs which occas……
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Gary Gorton: Recent Changes & the Future of the US Financial System <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE1_bF8B5zY>:

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Very Briefly Noted:

The Time of Monsters
Madison Cawthorn's Threat
Speaking at an event on Sunday, North Carolina congressman Madison Cawthorn decried “rigged” elections and intimated that “bloodshed” would ensue unless Republicans felt elections were secure. “Because, you know, if our election systems continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen, then it’s going to lea……
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Paragraphs:

Alan ColeThe Mountain Lions: These Nine Cities Boomed in the COVID Era: ‘The 2017 tax law… limiting tax breaks for owning expensive housing… the COVID–19 pandemic changed peoples’ lifestyles and thereby shifted their housing preferences. These seemingly unrelated events both made housing in the most expensive metropolitan areas less attractive relative to housing elsewhere. That created an opening for a second group of cities that provided attractive amenities at more reasonable prices…. Boise, Spokane, Austin, Phoenix, Tucson, Colorado Springs… Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Provo… had a variety of advantages: reasonable prices, a growing high-tech economy, good weather or natural beauty, and relatively lower state and local taxes… strong appreciation in property values.… 

LINK: <https://fullstackeconomics.com/the-rise-of-the-mountain-lion-economies/>


Stefan NicolaVW & Daimler Going Electric Overwhelms German Auto Suppliers: ‘Germany’s $94 billion car-parts industry is struggling with the once-in-a-generation shift…. After spending decades perfecting the production of crankshafts, diesel injectors and other components not needed for electric motors, the industry is now scrambling to adapt as its traditional products become obsolete sooner than expected. From global players like Robert Bosch and Continental to the hundreds of small- and medium-size companies, parts makers are key to Europe’s biggest economy. Roughly 75% of the value-add of a car made in Germany comes from this supply network, which employs more than 300,000 people. Many of those jobs are dependent on how swiftly the sector can change. Doing so will be a bit like merging onto a crowded autobahn at high speed… 

LINK: <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2021-08-26/vw-and-daimler-going-electric-overwhelms-german-auto-suppliers>


Eric PosnerCOVID & the Conservative Economic Crack-up: ‘Two prominent economists, both former Trump administration officials… veered into incoherence: A recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal exposes the dark hole into which conservative economic thinking has sunk…. Casey B. Mulligan and Tomas J. Philipson… used the COVID–19 pandemic to make the case for abandoning what they see as the conventional wisdom among economists: “that the purpose of government policy is to correct market failures”…. The “government-bad-market-good” argument had a good run back in the 1980s. But it was dealt a body blow by the 2008 financial crisis, when “good” government, led by the US Federal Reserve, rescued financial markets from self-destruction caused by the deregulation promoted by free-market advocates. Another blow has come with the pandemic…. Trump’s major achievement was using government to create the conditions for rapid vaccine development; his major failure was not going further and undermining efforts by state and local governments to control the pandemic. Mulligan and Philipson… take the worst market failure in decades as an opportunity for arguing that markets solve the problems created by government. Redefining a massive government intervention as “getting out of the way of business” seems at best an effort to rationalize their former boss’s political opportunism… 

LINK: <https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/decline-of-conservative-free-market-economics-by-eric-posner-2021-08>


Jeet HeerThe Establishment’s Afghanistan Mythss: ‘Richard N. Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and thus as emblematic a representative of the American national security establishment as one could want. On Friday, he commented about the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan, “The alternative to withdrawal from Afghanistan was not ‘endless occupation’ but open-ended presence. Occupation is imposed, presence invited. Unless you think we are occupying Japan, Germany, & South Korea. And yes, withdrawal was the problem.”… In advancing this consensus, ghouls who should have been discredited for their advocacy have been dug up and given prominent platforms: not just John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz but even that ultimate undying security state vampire, Henry Kissinger. The basic argument goes something like this: Until Joe Biden came along, Afghanistan was a manageable problem. It was on path to becoming a Japan, Germany or South Korea, a country that would have a permanent American military presence under stable conditions with little or no loss of military life…. This establishment myth… is clearly designed to scapegoat Joe Biden for problems that are not caused by the withdrawal but are in fact inherent in bipartisan policy going back two decades in four administrations. To gauge how fantastical the establishment party line is, it is worth reading “The Afghanistan Papers,” a blockbuster Washington Post report by journalist Craig Whitlock that ran in 2019 (which will soon be available in expanded form as a book set to be released next week). Unfortunately, “The Afghanistan Papers” were largely ignored by the rest of the media and by the political elite. Yet it stands as the best and most clear-cut account of the failed American war…. The debacle is… the fault of… an entire national security establishment. In creating the myth that “withdrawal was the problem”… 

LINK:

The Time of Monsters
The Establishment's Afghanistan Myths
Richard N. Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and thus as emblematic a representative of the American national security establishment as one could want. On Friday, he commented about the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan, “The alternative to withdrawal from Afghanistan was not ‘endless occ……
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Noah SmithWhy Has the Gig Economy Been a Disappointment?: ‘Maybe because traditional companies still have a good reason to exist…. Uber… prices have gone way way up… wait times… have also risen…. Cory Doctorow has a long article about the situation, and while it’s too polemic, it does make some good points…. Uber is still losing money…. The company is also cash-flow negative. It releases an “adjusted EBITDA” metric that looks better but really just excludes a lot of expenses that shouldn’t be excluded (like stock-based compensation). This can’t continue, of course. But what will stanch the bleeding? The idea that self-driving car breakthroughs will save the company was always wrong…. One hope was always that investor subsidies would allow Uber to drive competitors like Lyft out of the market, and then jack up prices… Uber got a lot of people to start using the service by subsidizing rides, but that didn’t hook people into becoming dependent on ride-hailing…. Uber and Lyft will survive… [as] boutique services for the well-heeled… 

LINK:

Noahpinion
Why has the gig economy been a disappointment?
Startup investment tends to go in waves; there’s usually one or two “big things” that a lot of people are rushing to put money in. Right now it’s crypto, a little while ago it was A.I. But back in the misty dawn of time — i.e., about five years ago — it was…
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