Arrived in my pile

by on February 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm in Books | Permalink

Thomas Rid, Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History.  Lots on Timothy Leary and the Whole Earth Catalog, among other topics, my browse of it was interesting.

Stephen S. Cohen and J. Bradford DeLong, Concrete Economics: The Hamiltonian Approach to Economic Growth and Policy; “And so America needs another redesign — and it needs it right now.”  My browse impressions are all positive, although perhaps I see larger roles for spontaneous order, and luck, in any new Hamiltonian redesign.

Aileen M. Kelly, The Discovery of Chance: The Life and Thought of Alexander Herzen.  A “fully-rounded” study of a thinker who is not read enough by Anglo-Americans.

Dennis Hale, The Jury in America: Triumph and Decline.  Appears to be a quite good survey and overview, from the beginning of the republic up through the present day.

Todd G. Buchholz, The Price of Prosperity: Why Rich Nations Fail and How to Renew Them.  This one I haven’t pawed through yet.

1 Ray Lopez February 27, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Todd G. Buchholz turned me on to economics with his pity book “New Ideas from Dead Economists”. First.

2 anon February 27, 2016 at 2:04 pm

I was a WELL (Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link) user. Definitely a forerunner of a wider networked world.

3 rayward February 27, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Should the Hamiltonian redesign be global? I suspect that many with a market preference would answer yes. Of course, that isn’t Hamiltonian. Or is it?

4 RM February 27, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Re Alexander Herzen: What do you mean by “not read enough by Anglo-Americans”. has a few possibilities of what you may mean. Could you say which of these definitions of Anglo-Americans you are using.

Is being read by Japanese-, Spanish-, Chinese-speaking Americans, etc., or by French-, German-Americans, etc.

5 Mark Thorson February 27, 2016 at 7:05 pm

If you want to learn something about juries, read these two documents:

6 Horhe February 27, 2016 at 7:17 pm

I’ve never read anything by Todd Buchholz, and the summary of his book does strike some appropriate notes, but what can I really expect from the man who advised the man who started the NAFTA train rolling until it was inaugurated by his political rival? If I get the book, will I find some good points about immigration and its effect on the wages and employment levels of American lower and middle classes? is his schtick to chide Americans for losing faith in themselves and not having patriotic barbecues while forgetting to sanction rapacious elites, many of whom were in his party or whom he served, or to distinguish between immigration in the American interest and immigration in the elite or the migrant’s interest? Sounds like a sort of opiate of the masses.

7 Ray Lopez February 27, 2016 at 9:44 pm

TB is funny, and won’t kill you reading him. Try it and see, it might change your mind. As for the cost of illegal immigrants to the American workforce, it’s positive in all studies save one: where it was found the class of Americans who were hurt by illegals was US high school dropouts, who lost, on average, the cost of a high-quality T-shirt: about $50 a year. As the economist and stand-up comedian that TC linked to a while ago said, we could have a fundraiser for these guys to buy them their T-shirt, funded by say a small tax on all illegals found in this country. Illegal aliens keep US prices low. Already your prices in the USA are too high. Here in the Philippines I can hire a skilled craftsman (he build me a primate house) for $15 a day (I have him $25 since he was so good) and an ordinary laborer to clear our farm for $5 a day.

8 Horhe February 28, 2016 at 7:44 am

Your excitement at cheap labor notwithstanding, there is more to a country than GDP. And I would question the value of the studies you mention, which probably did not compute the social cost of importing a sizable underclass of perpetually impoverished people (if they were ever to advance, then you would need to import new ones and so on, forever). The benefit of cheap labor accrues to you and your other 1% buddies, but costs are borne by society, by the state as the agent of society, and especially, as you casually mentioned, by the lower rungs of pre-existing American society who cannot insulate themselves professionally or socially from the new arrivals and whatever social pathologies or regression of behavioral norms they bring. I’d rather pay more for knick-knacks and construction than live with a slum next door or countenance the formation of slums or the conversion of previously healthy communities into slums. It’s one thing to inherit the mistakes of your predecessors and it’s another to willfully commit your own when the evidence against it has presented itself and the silenced majority would disapprove if anyone ever thought to ask them without loaded questions.

9 Horhe February 28, 2016 at 7:44 am

But I will take your advice and read him, when I get the chance.

10 Ed February 28, 2016 at 11:47 pm

Ray, you had built a primate house? As in, a house for monkeys or other simians?

Or do you mean a primary residence?

11 efim polenov February 27, 2016 at 8:28 pm

The Herzen book will probably be interesting. Herzeniana that probably will not appear in that book- first, although Herzen is spelled with a z in English, the Russian letter is ts; this puts Jeapordy contestants who know Russian at an instinctual disadvantage whenever Herzen comes up in a category denominated “Z-something”. Second, the well-designed 1962 Soviet stamp issued to commemorate Herzen’s 150th is the only post-war Soviet stamp, I believe, dedicated to a great writer that is light blue in color (golyboi in Russian, Sky-blue or robins-egg blue in English, although in Russian the term covers half of the English spectrum signified by blue, not the special subsets that sky-blue and robins-egg blue designate): the choice was probably made because most of Herzen’s works reached Russia by sea (and illegally), as he was for most of his life , an emigre writer (Tolstoy’s best designed Soviet stamp was blue, too, but with an electric violet shading, signifying the same thing that the metallic blue on the Mitsubishi Zero plastic kits of my youth signified – high and intense intelligence shockingly unassociated with the level of compassion one would hope and expect from someone so smart; Chekhov also merited a blue stamp, but it was federal blue, signifying his concern for the compassion that social humans feel for each other). Third, Herzen, like his contemporary doppelgänger Gareth Edwards, looks like an adult version of Linus Van Pelt. (For the record, Herzen, who died in his 50s, reminds me of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory – a middle aged child with great intellectual charisma and lots to say but with the proud agnostic’s typically limited understanding of what humans experience in this world).

12 Ray Lopez February 27, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Thanks for that trivia, or is it trivial? The Russians and Soviets are into stamp collecting; for example chess giant Anatoly Karpov has an extensive stamp collection.

13 efim polenov February 28, 2016 at 12:12 am

Not trivia, not trivial, I guess. For example, I am no biographer, but I have little doubt that Tolstoy, who really enjoyed being Tolstoy, and I am glad that he did – I don’t know many, if any, people who would be completely unhappy to have a son like him – regretted not understanding and caring about other people as well as Chekhov did. Here in the U.S. in 2016 we think of the seven decades of the Soviet Union as some kind of unsalvageable Bog of Despond, but many of the stamp makers of the Soviet Union were not all that different from their Western hemisphere counterparts, and even in the dark night of the Soviet years many or even most people understood other people, and the limited group of people who got to work on stamps got things right fairly frequently (as Karpov and many other collectors of Soviet-era stamps understand) – hence, my comments on the different versions of stamps for the insightful and compassionate Chekhov, the overwhelming but not fully compassionate genius Tolstoy, and the more or less admirable Herzen.

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