by Tyler Cowen
on April 17, 2017 at 12:37 pm
1. 100 must-read books about Los Angeles?
2. Making the Soviet intelligentsia.
3. Communism for kids?
4. Edible CRISPR pill to kill bacteria?
5. How the Chinese use social media to distract. And is Chinese economic growth understated?
6. Robert VerBruggen reviews Complacent Class.
#3: all communist books are for kids. The problem is that some adults don’t seem to know this.
Post of the year. Thread over.
A comment winner at the link: “there already is a book on communism for kids, Animal Farm.
Same is true of so-called holy books.
But that’s not what we are talking about, right? I find that, if you cannot agree with a statement without making another statement that is somewhat opposed to it or completely orthogonal to it, you are simply avoiding the issue.
What would the problem with such a book really be?
You don’t get it. You’re supposed to be OUTRAGED. OUTRAGED, I say! Burn the book! Competing views must be silenced!
Haha, you are somewhat amusing. A more serious worry is that views of all stripes are being silenced at the moment. I once had the temerity to say to some faculty members than Weber is vastly more important than the sainted Foucault and I thought for a while there’d be a kangaroo court convened.
One cannot reason with lunatics.
No, we must defend all viewpoints. But I would ask you, what would your reaction be to “Nazism for Kids”? I would defend it’s publication. Would you?
It has been done.
Your tears they taste like skittles.
Heh. You must be living in some counterfactual where Trump hasn’t become a weak follower of steadier minds.
Geez, it only took Xi ten minutes to flip him on “currency manipulation.”
“Geez, it only took Xi ten minutes to flip him on ‘currency manipulation.’ ”
maybe . . . but it seems to me that, for Trump, every stated position is a mere negotiation point. He has no core positions and therefore everything can be used for trading on an ad hoc basis. He appears to have traded “currency manipulation” for Chinese action on North Korea.
and there is nothing to prevent him from re-introducing “currency manipulation” if it is needed for a future negotiation.
I am no Trump apologist, but I have serially underestimated him for a year and a half now, so I am open to this and other interpretations.
I don’t think you are wrong in “no positions” but I think that is climbing down from what his fans believed, they “their positions were the real ones.”
If Trump is, as analysts believe this week (snark), only interested in personal popularity, he will trend toward Obama-like policies because .. guess what, those were more popular than what he’s tried so far. He’d be ahead.
Please, have some respect for the office.
Every single University arts faculty I have ever seen contains avowed Marxists. Admittedly many are ineffectual posturing useful idiots, but I still find it disappointing.
We can buy a translation of “Mein Kampf” in translation from Amazon. There’s a distinct lack of outrage at this (nor should there be).
“Mein Kampf” is a historical work at this point. What would be the reaction of a University press published the fairy tale book “Nazism for Kid”, which portrayed Nazism in a positive light? I suspect the outrage would be much greater.
That some addled, tin pot Central American despot will become convinced that communism can function better than a decent bourgeois liberal democracy and be attracted to the ideal, destroying civil society and imprisoning slash “re-educating” (read: murdering) hundreds of thousands of his or her fellow citizens, not to mention impoverishing them, in the pursuit of the goal?
It’s a manifestation of the degree to which MIT Press is an unserious enterprise. They draw their personnel from unserious college graduates and have as their clientele unserious teachers.
Howard Zinn was made a wealthy man by all the secondary schools who bought the umpteen editions of People’s History of the United States. Plenty of silliness among teachers.
I can imagine that you might say that a public educated by MIT press would be a bunch of effete rascals who are more interested in posing for one another than ____. But what is the thing you believe they should be putting forth instead?
Fukuyama and Bernie Sanders at least agree on one thing. The goal should be to get some the assorted hellholes of the world to resemble Denmark as much as is possible. Not Cuba, not Maoist China, not the Soviet Union, not Vietnam, Denmark.
What aspects of Scandinavian countries that can be recreated elsewhere?
Bernie Sanders did not choose to honeymoon in Denmark. He chose to do so in the Soviet Union and then in Cuba.
Sanders does not agree that the hellholes of the world should look like Denmark. He may say so to get elected but Sanders has been consistent since he was a student – his aim was to make hellholes like Cambodia’s Killing Fields. To destroy countries like Denmark.
Denmark is said to be the world’s leading exporter of semen for artificial insemination, so you can’t say that the Danes aren’t doing their share in helping the rest of the world become more like Denmark.
There is probably no topic in the world, and certainly not Los Angeles, about which anyone must read 100 books.
The list would have been more appropriately titled “100 must-read books which were set in Los Angeles” but I guess that was a bit wordy.
#1 – as an Angeleno, I probably would put Blake Gumprecht’s “The Los Angeles River” at the top of the list, certainly at the top of the nonfiction list
Thanks! I’ve added this to my list.
who ever wrote this comment must be smart
Bacteriophages have a number of ways to kill their hosts. CRISPR might be cleaner, but the big issue with phage therapy is finding the right phage that will infect the relevant bacteria. This doesn’t seem to be new on that front.
#1 – the genre of fiction is very nuanced, not unlike chess books (a book on every opening in chess, several books actually, and each one a little different). But to me they all look the same. Thus this person’s “Top 100 books about LA” seem to me meaningless pablum. I recently checked out, on the advice of Thor, a Tim Dorsey satirical book on Florida involving cracker protagonist Serge Storm. It was OK as a quick read but I notice this writer, to cater to his fan, has dozens of books on this same theme. Like chess books, there’s a market for this kind of fiction. Harry Potter is another example. Does anybody care if these characters live or die? Will you learn anything from a slow reading of the Potter series? Not likely. Better if you trained your mind playing the Kasparov Variation of the Nimzo-Indian opening.
According to some studies, fiction does train your mind:
Nice link. It definitely reinforces my bias, that is it confirmed the subjective feeling of reading a good story.
I feel good reading, and I feel even better knowing I’m being improved while doing something that makes me feel good*.
* for “feel good” substitute the appropriate lingo (experiences subjective well being etc).
Joseph Wambaugh, LAPD homicide cop turned fine crime writer, has a series of novels called (if I recall correctly) the “Hollywood hills” series. A couple of these are memorable.
The list of 100 L.A. books isn’t bad. For example, Wambaugh’s “New Centurion” cop novel makes it.
But it’s too fiction and diversity oriented. Most of the really interesting people in the history of Southern California were white guys, and they short shrift past the Chandler – Cain inevitables. For example, I’d add to the list animator Chuck Jones’ memoir “Chuck Amuck” and aerospace engineer Ben Rich’s “Skunk Works.”
Why not just read three books about Hollywood since that’s ultimately makes LA more interesting that Seattle or Portland.
Ironically while every other industry seems to have spurned the prognostications about disaggregation and instead consolidated further and further in one hub, entertainment looks like the one industry that might actually see its main hub lose influence and become more geographically dispersed.
How so? I hear Dallas is becoming the Hollywood of conservative filmmaking, but that’ll remain a very unfashionable niche market for some time to come.
Dallas is a White Metropolis. Certainly on its way to greater popularity with the crowd here.
I guess a lot of it depends on how Netflix, Amazon, et al want to proceed with their content creation arms. Conceivably they could stay in Hollywood, but they don’t really need to. It certain seems like a lot of big actors prefer to live elsewhere but can’t realistically do so because of the studio system maybe they can nudge the new content guys towards disspersion.
Austin is home to some center-right film makers: Terrance Malick, Mike Judge, Richard Linklater, etc. I don’t think Dallas can compete with Austin for artsy conservatives.
#1 What? No Valley of the Dolls?
Almost the entire novel takes place in NYC.
That might be why!
6. VerBruggen’s now reduced to writing for The American Conservative? Chump needs a career change.
Is it “reduced to” or in addition to his other outlets?
6. The hostile comments to the VanBruggen book review surprised me (not here, at the link). Who reads the American Conservative? I’m also surprised that the NYT hasn’t reviewed the book (or did I miss it?), especially since (or maybe because) Cowen was a contributor. Apocalypticism strikes me as an easy sell – it certainly is for religion. And like a good religious apocalypse, better days follow in Cowen’s telling of it. I suspect that an explanation for the somewhat lukewarm reception to the book is the opaque Great Reset. Maybe Cowen needed to include some really scary stuff, like in Revelation.
So well stated.This gets to the difference between Mao’s China and the now China. The Government does not care that much what you think as it does what you actually do.
Unfortunately the US seems to be going the other way. On our elite campuses it’s more important that students engage in goodthink than actually do good.
#5 – The China’s GDP Growth May be Understated – Hunter Clark, Maxim Pinkovskiy, Xavier Sala-i-Martin
Interesting paper, Xavier Sala-i-Martin admits he curve fits data based on many parameters; data mining to see what fits the hypothesis. It could well be that they started out with the hypothesis that China growth is not understated and the found what data is consistent with this hypothesis. My energy analysis from years ago, published on Usenet, showed China GDP is overstated by about 30%. Still it’s growing (even if 30% understated) year by year.
6). Hoisted from comments beneath review:
“Tyler Cowen should go get a job as a health care aide in a nursing home for 10 years and then and only then report back from real life”
“I get the impression already that [the book] is quite blinkered ideologically, for example no mention even of the possible role increased wealth inequality might be playing on the decline of democracy, the economy, and entrepreneurship in the US today”
“Cowen has been flogging this mule for quite a while now, and I just can’t take seriously a lecture from a tenured professor on how we all need to take more risks”
“From the point-of-view of the tens of millions of unemployed Americans who have been thrown out of work by globalist elites – either by their bad trade deals that have shipped good American manufacturing jobs overseas, or by their immigration policies that have allowed millions of other jobs to be stolen from Americans and that have driven down the wages of millions more — comfortably-tenured Tyler Cowen is the Kevin D. Williamson of gun-for-hire, globalist economists”
“But Cowen is remarkably out of touch of Life Among The Lowly. His understanding of labor markets may be excellent in an academic sense– but he occasionally betrays a remarkable, even cringe-worthy, ignorance of what’s it’s like out here in the real world”
1: That’s a good list, especially the inclusion of Jonathan Gold’s _Counter Intelligence_ (but it should be ranked above Mike Davis’s _City of Quartz_, if the numbers are meant to represent a ranking). It helps that it’s 100 books long, so it’s easy to include a wide range.
So I don’t have any books to add to the list. But Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Pedestrian” is a good must-read. I read it years ago and didn’t understand it — until I move to Los Angeles.
Leave a Comment
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
Previous post: A Twisted Tale of Rent Control in the Maximum City
Next post: Can Uber make it in India?
Email Tyler Cowen
Follow Tyler on Twitter
Email Alex Tabarrok
Follow Alex on Twitter
Subscribe in a reader
Follow Us on Twitter
Marginal Revolution on Twitter Counter.com
Get smart with the Thesis WordPress Theme from DIYthemes.