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Noah Smith & Brad DeLong Record the Podcast We, at Least, Would Like to Listen to!; Aspirationally Bi-Weekly (Meaning Every Other Week); Aspirationally an hour... Key Insights: * Brad DeLong says: You say economics and economists in decline—I see bad economists in decline. * Brad DeLong says: You see missile defense as remarkably effective—I see it…
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Noah Smith & Brad DeLong Record the Podcast We, at Least, Would Like to Listen to!; Aspirationally Bi-Weekly (Meaning Every Other Week); Aspirationally an hour... Key Insights: * A number of years ago, Brad DeLong said that it was time to “pass the baton” to “The Left”. How’s that working out for us? #actually, he had said that we had passed the ba…
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Noah Smith & Brad DeLong Record the Podcast We, at Least, Would Like to Listen to!; Aspirationally Bi-Weekly (Meaning Every Other Week); Aspirationally an hour... Key Insights: * Someone is wrong on the internet! Specifically Brad… He needs to shape up and scrub his brain… * Back in the 2000s, Brad argued that the U.S. should over the next few gene…
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Noah Smith & Brad DeLong Record the Podcast We, at Least, Would Like to Listen to!; Aspirationally Bi-Weekly (Meaning Every Other Week); Aspirationally an hour... Key Insights: * Vernor Vinge was one of the GOAT scifi authors—and he is also one of the most underrated… * That a squishy social-democratic leftie like Brad DeLong can derive so much ins…
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In which Noah Smith & Brad DeLong wish Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson had written a very different book than their "Power & Progress" is... Key Insights: * Acemoglu & Johnson should have written a very different book—one about how some technologies complement and others substitute for labor, and it is very important to maximize the first. * Neither…
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Producer Confidence & Consumer Confidence (in the Economy), & Our Confidence (in Our Analyses): Noah Smith & Brad DeLong Record the Podcast We, at Least, Would Like to Listen to!; Aspirationally Bi-Weekly (Meaning Every Other Week); Aspirationally an hour... Key Insights: * The disjunction between all the economic data having been very good and ver…
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& a start-of-the-semester academic-email-addresses-only paid-subscription sale: Key Insights: * Young whippersnappers Oks and Williams are to be commended for being young, and whippersnapperish—but we disagree with them. * Contrary to what Brad thought, the fertility transition in Africa really has resumed. * The problem of how you provide mass emp…
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Key Insights: * Finally, at long last, over the next two generations the tide is likely to be flowing strongly toward near-universal global development... * The fear was that dehyperglobalization would rob poorer countries of their ability to develop the export comparative advantages to support the manufacturing engineering clusters they need for l…
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The SubStackLand community gains another valuable member. We welcome him to the NFL SubStackLand: Key Insights: * Bing-AI says “Brian Beutler” is pronounced “Bryan Bootler”—that is, rhymes with “lion shooter”, which shows how far political incorrectness has penetrated Silicon Valley… * Noah has figured out a solution to his problem of losing the sc…
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Liberals vs. leftists once again, with the principal conclusion being that trying to find and join your tribe by shouting online—Schmittian picking-an-enemy as the core of your identity—is no way to go through life, son. Nor is artfully screenshotting in order to make sure your readers do not see the sentence just below the ones you quote. In which…
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Key Insights: * The Chinese Communist Party is very like an aristocracy—or maybe it isn’t… * If it is, it will in the long run have the same strong growth-retarding effects on the economy that aristocracies traditionally have… * Or maybe it won’t: China today is not Europe in the 1600s… * We probably will not be able to get Noah to read Franklin Fo…
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Key Insights: * Critics: Cato-style libertarians, including AEI’s Michael Strain. The last die-hard classic Milton Friedman-style economic libertarians—and starting in 1975, Milton Friedman would say, every three years, that the Swedish social democratic model was going to collapse in the next three years. * Critics: Progressives—Biden is a tool of…
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Key Insights: * Brad has a new microphone! * Noah has jet lag: he is just back from Japan. * Brad has jet lag: he is just back from Australia. * Perhaps inflation’s ebbing has not yet made its way into the minds of people when they answer pollsters. * We reject the hypothesis that it is because of lagging real incomes. * More difficult mortgage bor…
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Key Insights: * Brad’s microphone is dying, and a new one is on order. * However, 75% of the talking on this episode is Noah: he came loaded for bear. * Although Noah has not yet read Acemoglu & Johnson’s Power & Progress, he nevertheless has OPINIONS! * Friedrich von Hayek was right when he pointed out that we could not know the shape of future te…
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Key Insights: * Rome did fall. It did not merely “transform”. * Across Eurasia, from 150 to 800 or so there was a pronounced “Late-Antiquity Pause” in terms of technological progress and even the maintenance of large-scale social organization. * There was a proper “Dark Age” only in Britain, Germany, the Low Countries, and France—with Spain, Italy,…
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Key Insights: * The global trade network is immensely valuable… * Friendshoring is not deglobalization, but raher shift-globlization… * Brad was stupid in 2005 in thinking “passing the baton of hegemony” constructively and progressively was a possibility… * Countries have no gratitude, and only remember what is convenient… * William James sought fo…
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Key Insights: * Yes, it is possible to talk about everything in an hour… * We are not very far apart on what the Fed is doing and should be doing—there is only a 100 basis-point disagreement… * Miles would be 100% right about the proper stance of monetary policy if he were in control of the Fed… * Miles is not in control of the Fed… * Thus Brad thi…
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Key Insights: * Information really wants to be free—if it is not free, if it is “charged for” by advertising, or otherwise, you will get into a world of hurt. * In the information age the capitalist mode of production has become a fetter on economic development and human flourishing: Friedrich Engels was right. * We need free public-funded Mastodon…
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Pre-Note: Here in the U.S., at the leading edge of the world economy, measured producivity growth fell off a cliff in the late 1960s, recovreed somewhat in the 1980s, resumed what had been its “normal” pre-1970 pace in the 1990s with the dot-com boom—and then fell off a cliff again in the mid-2000s. Did the neoliberal swing toward “short-termism”, …
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Pre-Note: One thing we did not get into was the relationship between the claps of FTX and the associated fraud and “Effective Altruism”—Effective Altruism not so much as a philosophy, but rather as a doctrine preached by a life-coach. If you want to have the highest chance of becoming rich, you make your bets as if you had a logarithmic utility fun…
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Key Insights: * Since 1870, we humans have done amazingly astonishingly uniquely and unprecedentedly well at baking a sufficiently large economic pie. * But the problems of slicing and tasting the pie—of equitably distributing it, and then using our technological powers to live lives wisely and well—continue to flummox us. * The big reason we have …
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Key Insights: * The only way to buy insurance against the fiscal theory of the price level’s becoming relevant for the inflation outlook is to keep Trump and Trumpists out of office * We have one political party that could well, someday, turn us inflation-wise into “Argentina”: the Republicans. * But thankfully we have only one such political party…
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Key Insights: * We should avoid the tendency to paint the past, nostalgically, as a golden age. * If we take the long view there is an overwhelming continuity in the immigrant experience. * The immigrant experience is a very positive story—both then and now. * There is great hope for positive change in our immigration system: comprehensive immigrat…
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Key Insights: * Be pragmatic! Do what works! Reinforce success! Abandon failure! * CHIPS & IRA are only, at most, 1/4 of what we should be doing. * These are both very good things to do, as far as running a successful industrial policy is concerned. * Maybe there was something to Biden’s claims that he could lead congress after all. * Hexapodia! Re…
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Key Insights: * The most recent round of Tech elephants, rhinoceroses, unicorns, and spiny lizards—Netflix, Shopify, etc.—are very unlikely to payoff for those investors who stay on the ride to the very end. * That said, they were very much worth doing even if they never make their shareholders any money. The growth of communities of engineering, e…
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Key Insights: * Not so much key insights, as key questions: (a) What are the teams? (b) 1920, 1948, 1951, 1974, or 1980? (c) Are there any true members of Team Transitory left? (d) Who is on Team The-Fed-Has-Got-This? (e) Who is on Team Hit-the-Economy-on-the-Head-with-a-Brick? (f) What inflation rate do we want to support economic reopening? (g) W…
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Key Insights: * There is a perspective from which “today” means “post-Ordovician” * Catul-Huyuk as 900 families living cheek-by-jowl, and after 1500 years… people leave… * Angkor’s uniquely vulnerable water reservoirs… and eventually… people leave… * Cahokia’s sophisticated organization of labor… but eventually… people leave… * Pompeii… well, we kn…
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We Truly Did Not Have History Rhyming to the Spanish Civil War on Our 2022 Bingo Card!… Subscribe to get this in your email inbox. Become a paid subscriber if… I will not say that this ‘Stack will cease to exist without paying subscribers. I will say that the frequency of this ‘Stack depends on enough people being paying subscribers for me to feel …
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Become a free subscriber to receive this ‘Stack in your email. Do note that this Grasping Reality newsletter is a reader-supported publication—I really would like to collect enough from it to hire an RA. So consider becoming a paid subscriber, please, if you find this project worthwhile and think it worth continuing: Thanks for reading this. And pl…
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Become a free subscriber to receive this ‘Stack in your email. Do note that this Grasping Reality newsletter is a reader-supported publication—I really would like to collect enough from it to hire an RA. So consider becoming a paid subscriber, please, if you find this project worthwhile and think it worth continuing: Thanks for reading this. And pl…
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Key Insights: * We may well face a generation of right-wing culture war-fueled minority rule in this country. * American Progressives have proven bad at making alliances with moderate conservatives—and at giving conservative voters reasons to vote for moderates. * Worry most about American national decline—which is happening anyway. * American exce…
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Key Insights: * Nearly all successful political movements over the past 150 years have been strongly nationalistic * A successful cosmopolitanism must therefore be a nationalistic cosmopolitanism—one that says your country is great because it learns from and has important things to teach other nations. * We—somewhat surprisingly—find ourselves endo…
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Key Insights: * Matt Suandi—forced off of his India RCT development-economics project by the COVID plague—has taken the plague year to write a brilliant paper: Matthew Suandi: Promoting to Opportunity: Evidence and Implications from the U.S. Submarine Service
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Key Insights: * Paul Feyerabend was right—science is whatever scientists do: anything goes. But what healthy sciences that survive and flourish and good scientists do is put first and foremost discovering what actually is and making theories to understand reality. So Kuhn and Popper are also right. * Economics has not been much of a science. But th…
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Key Insights: * Yes, Americans are now in a selfish defensive crouch, but just wait 8 years—if we get a high-pressure economy for those years… * We are finally getting back to normal politics, in which we slag each other because some claim we can afford to spend $3.5 and others that we can only afford to spend $1.5 trillion. And that is a very good…
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Key Insights: * I do not understand how the Chinese economy works. * The Chinese economy is an odd combination of market and party in which the party has enormous reach and control, but somehow that has not triggered the “soft budget constraint” problems of the Soviet model. * Financial constraints are not real—a government that wants to can evade …
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Key Insights: * Today’s meaning of “neoliberalism” is the result of the collision of two different applications of the term—to Margaret Thatcher, and to the Washington Monthly… * Intermediary institutions are very suspicious to liberalism, at least in its pure form… * Liberalism has a bias toward atomizing solutions to social problems… * YIMBY vs. …
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Key Insights: * The Taliban should go to the World Bank and say: “For 42 years now, mechanized, airborne, and infantry armies and air and drone forces have been driving, walking, and flying over our country, killing us. that has done enormous amounts of damage. We are absolutely dirt poor. We will try as hard as we can: please give us money so that…
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“I have seen the future, and it works”. That was what Lincoln Steffens wrote in a letter to Maria Howe in 1919 with respect to Vladimir Lenin’s Soviet Union. Which societies are thought to “work”, and how does that influence the power and authority such societies have, and the global leadership they can exercise? Key Insights: * We need to have ano…
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Key Insights: * There are a great many reasons to fear that the rise of industrial and post-industrial economic concentration is doing serious harm to the market economy’s (limited) ability to function as an efficiency-promoting societal calculating mechanism. * None of these have yet been nailed down. * But the neo-Brandeisians will have their cha…
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Key Insights!: * Hexapodia! * Drop the embargo now! * There is nothing that enables an authoritarian régime—or, indeed, pretty much any type of régime—hang together other than an implacable external enemy. * For the Cuban military-bureaucratic junta-oligarchy, that implacable external enemy consists of the Cuban exiles in Miami and their descendant…
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Key Insights: * “This time, for sure!…” Are the Democrats Bullwinkle Moose or Rocket J. Squirrel “that trick never works!” in hoping that they can get a high-investment high-productivity growth full-employment high-wage growth economy, and then the political life for true equality of opportunity will be doable?… * Milton Friedman is of powerful his…
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Zach Carter, who was supposed to be our guest this week, has a cold. So we have a grab-bag: vaccination & votes, NIMBYism & California growth, aversion to continuing UI, Google’s quality as a search engine, & Wilhelmine Germany & Contemporary China Key Insights: * Red states will see a lot of COVID-hurt this summer fall and winter for… reasons we s…
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Key Insights: * Hexapodia! * Periodically, America has had “the frontier has closed, now scarcity rules!” panics—& they have been bad, but so far they have all been false alarms. * The “new frontier” to alleviate scarcity in America is intensive growth, right here, but more: economic poldering. References: * John F. Kennedy (1960): “The New Frontie…
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Key Insights: * There is a four-day creative-destruction festschrift for Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt starting June 9: The Economics of Creative Destruction * When industrial policy in America has been successful, it has always had a profound political driving motive: maintaining independence, manifest destiny, Spu…
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Key Insights: * Brad cannot, in fact, reliably and accurately multiply two-digit numbers in his head… * When people comment on twitter that we are a nerdy podcast, we respond by going nerdier.. * If we get an relatively egalitarian income distribution, the care-centered service economy will give us at least as many interesting jobs to do in the fut…
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Key Insights: * Josef Schumpeter’s “depressions are… forms of something which has to be done, namely, adjustment to previous economic change. Most of what would be effective in remedying a depression would be equally effective in preventing this adjustment…” is perhaps the most zombie of zombie economic ideas. * Schumpeter’s zombie leads to episode…
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Key Insights: * Henry: We need to be critical of other people in the public sphere, but we need to be critical in an extraordinarily humble way—to recognize that we, all of us, are incredibly biased as individuals. We see the moats in our brothers' eyes very well. We do not see the beams and our own. We have a duty to others to try to help them to …
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Brad DeLong: INTERVIEW: Inflation Concerns in the US Following Secretary Treasury Janet: ‘Apple Podcasts: tbs eFM This Morning: 0514 IN FOCUS… Get full access to Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality at braddelong.substack.com/subsc…
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Key Insights: * Economic arguments against higher taxes that may have been somewhat plausible back in the days of 70% or so maximum individual and 40% or so maximum capital gains tax rates simply do not apply now. * Right-wing parties that don't think they can credibly make the argument that cosseting their core constituencies is necessary for rapi…
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