Monday assorted links

by on November 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Unpopular ideas about blockchains?

2. GMU economics job market candidates.

3. “Even so, Yudkowsky endorses anti-modesty for his book readers, who he sees as better than average, and also too underconfident on average.”  From our very own Robin Hanson.

4. What happened to the Notre Dame economics department?

5. American gun culture as stemming in part from Native Americans.

6. An early, metallurgical great stagnation?

1 Clerk November 27, 2017 at 12:35 pm
2 DanC November 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm

McCloskey on Notre Dame economics. I don’t agree with her but the article is interesting’


3 Ann onn November 27, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Meh. Mirowski is a buffoon who couldn’t say an honest word about economics if he tried. But his flowery pseudointellectualism is a pretty obvious attraction for Deirdre.


4 Faze November 27, 2017 at 6:04 pm

I love this from DanC’s linked McClosky article: “The academic bosses take their view of American business from anti-bourgeois artists and intellectuals since 1848: Marx, Shaw, Diego Rivera, Sinclair Lewis, Kurt Weil, Oliver Stone. And so in playing at being businesslike they reckon they have to be brutal and impulsive and thoughtless. And so they don’t succeed.”

So it was in post-Soviet Russia. They’d been taught all their lives that capitalism was a criminal system. So when Russia went “capitalist”, they all acted like criminals, in the belief that that was how it was done.


5 jorod November 27, 2017 at 9:52 pm

I have always been told that Marxism is dogma masquerading as science.


6 Thor November 28, 2017 at 1:33 am

The world would have been a better place in the 20th century if Marxists had realized the bankruptcy of Marxian economists, and laid the foundation for a sensible social democratic economics.

What’s left of Marxism then? I suppose some would claim that the moral critique of inequality remains.


7 msgkings November 28, 2017 at 1:46 am

Moral and practical too. If inequality gets too bad the pitchforks come out.

8 Slugger November 27, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Didn’t read it. Fear of Comanches would promote gun ownership.


9 clockwork_prior November 27, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Well, see what happened when in the documentary film with John Wayne concerning the Comancheros – as soon as they started making their own powder, the jack booted thugs moved in.


10 A clockwork orange November 27, 2017 at 10:05 pm

I needn’t remind you clock_prior of a time when you hadn’t the slightest memory of the Comancheros nor when John Wayne defied civilization itself and enacted an anachronism in Hollywood, to break the realist echo-chamber.


11 Bob November 27, 2017 at 12:57 pm

1 – My favorite unpopular blockchain ideas:
99% of corporate experiments regarding blockchains are better handled with Apache Kafka and multiple archivers
Anything that attempts to be a fast, global ledger has to accept the reality that global ordering is a limitation, not a feature, and instead use logical clocks.
The intersection between blockchain enthusiast and distributed system researchers is close to zero.
When we look back 100 years, Bitcoin itself will be seen as far more relevant in retrospect than blockchain technologies.


12 rayward November 27, 2017 at 1:33 pm

4. A good summary of the split from 2009: It’s far different in degree, but this reminds me of my experience when I studied for my master of laws degree (LLM) in taxation. Law school is highly conceptual, with the Socratic method the prevailing teaching method. In the LLM program, the subject was taught almost exclusively using the problem method. With the problem method, the students were taught to plug in the numbers under various alternatives, and then pick the alternative that produced the best result (i.e., least taxes). [An aside, it’s similar to the teaching method in most MBA programs.] I thought this an odd way to teach the law because it didn’t impress upon the students the concepts on which the particular tax was based. I’ve often commented how subpart F is being exploited today in ways that I would have viewed as tax evasion when I was a student (it was a long time ago). A student taught subpart F using just the problem method would have a far easier time accepting as logical that which I thought was a crime. I should point out that the “winner” at Notre Dame is the neoclassical (quantitative) approach to teaching economics. While it likely won’t produce many criminals, I’m not so sure it develops the background one might need to be trusted with devising public policy.


13 Art Deco November 27, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Hiring fewer Marxists is the least of Notre Dame’s problems.


14 A Truth Seeker November 27, 2017 at 1:39 pm

“Between 2003 and 2010, the College of Arts and Letters of the University of Notre Dame had two rival economics departments, one that was resolutely mainstream and the other that was just as resolutely heterodox. This (…) was an effort to accommodate a paradigmatic conflict about the kind of economic scholarship needed to lift the university in national rankings while, at the same time, maintaining its Catholic identity, a conflict that unfolded over three decades and that resulted, ultimately, in the closure of the heterodox department in July 2010 and a full embrace of mainstream economics. Our analysis shows how the goal of becoming a major research university (…) created contested terrain, (…) and set off a variety of conflicting moves and counter moves that engaged identity and power and that required forceful leadership to resolve.”

In other words, to the lions with them! Or as Ann Coulter pointed out, that is why the Founders feared Catholics, too much heterodox for their tasts. Hail, Friedman, they who are about to die salute you!


15 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 2:41 pm

“In other words, to the lions with them!”

Isn’t that the Brazilian motto?


16 msgkings November 27, 2017 at 3:54 pm

No, silly, it’s “Our lions will eat you”. Says it right on the flag.


17 A Truth Seeker November 27, 2017 at 4:52 pm

No, it is not. The motto is “Order and Progress”. The average Brazilian has never seen a person being literally thrown to the lions.


18 msgkings November 27, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Oh come now, aren’t Brazilians above average?

19 A Truth Seeker November 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Above the international average, not national average, and not and not concerning people-eating lions watching.

20 A TruthSeeker November 27, 2017 at 4:51 pm

No, there are no lions roaming Brazil’s streets. People are no thrown to the lions.


21 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Oh that’s right! It was the jaguars that were eating people in Brazil.

” (an old Brazilian indian warrior, when told that men shouldn’t eat men, replied that he was not a man, he was a jaguar — — Brazilians have carried this proud spirit throught the ages).”


22 A Truth Seeker November 27, 2017 at 6:53 pm

1) It was during the Portuguese colonial rule. Jaguars are much more rare now, they rarely attack cities and, when they do, they are promptly repelled by the vigilant and farsighted authorities.

2) Cannibalism has becoming exceedingly rare in Brazil, only isolated tribes practise it now. Unlike our forefather, we are not dealing with food shortages. Our land is rich, our people is hardworking, equal to the most laborious undertakings.

3) Although Brazilians keep carrying through the ages the proud spirit of our brave native forefathers, it doesn’t mean we eat people as they once did. We are like jaguars in our courage (the same way an old Brazilian anthem urges us to be “Greeks in glory and Romans in virtue” – it has nothing to do whatsoever with wearing togas), not in our eating habits. We have the biggest meat producing company the world has ever seen, we mastered agriculture and we also can exchange our industrial for money, which can be exchanged for goods and services, including food.

23 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 9:44 pm

““Greeks in glory and Romans in virtue””

So, kind of a Aristotle Onassis and Caligula combo?

24 A clockwork orange November 27, 2017 at 10:08 pm

“Wow this landscape is out there. Like a carriage for Maurice and Giorgio. I’m Kenneth by the way.” He reaches into his pocket, tears the red tape from around the top and pulls out a stick. “Would you like some Juicy Fruit?”
“Why not?” She opens it with both thumbs and sticks it in her mouth like a piece of licorice. “Say, you on a first name basis with the Brat-Pack?”
“I was just trying to be encouraging.”
“I know.” She chews fast and pauses and swallows. “My names Hannah. To tell the truth, I’m only here because the drywall in my room is being checked for asbestos.” She chews again and swallows. “Not sure why I lied.”

25 A Truth Seeker November 28, 2017 at 1:56 am

No, a Pericles and Cato combo.

26 Art Deco November 27, 2017 at 1:51 pm

What happened to the Notre Dame economics department?

What happened to Notre Dame? Well, the Holy Cross fathers turned the supervision of it over to a lay board which indubitably aids and abets the process of rendering the institution a sandbox for its faculty, which is what Fr. Hesburgh wanted. As for the Holy Cross fathers, it’s a passable wager that they are less corrupt than the Society of Jesus. Small favors.


27 clockwork_prior November 27, 2017 at 1:57 pm

5. Wow, I hadn’t realized that Native Americans possessed a well financed lobbying arm to ensure continued profitability for their weapons manufacturers. What one learns at the Volokh Conspiracy.

But this? ‘The American Revolution began when Americans used their firearms to resist house-to-house gun and powder confiscation at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.’ is just inaccurate, as noted below concerning the events of April 19 – ‘At about 5 a.m., 700 British troops, on a mission to capture Patriot leaders and seize a Patriot arsenal, march into Lexington to find 77 armed minutemen under Captain John Parker waiting for them on the town’s common green. British Major John Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun.’

And this is laughable – ‘The American colonists of the 17th century moved away from the European model that civic virtue in use of firearms meant standing in line, blindly obeying your social superiors and shooting with minimal skill a gun you didn’t even own.’ ‘Civic virtue’ was not prized – discipline was, and as a certain obscure 18th German military leader noted, soldiers needed to fear their officers more than they did the enemy.


28 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 2:44 pm

“and as a certain obscure 18th German military leader noted, soldiers needed to fear their officers more than they did the enemy.”

That certainly sounds like a German.


29 clockwork_prior November 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Well, a Prussian, at least. Bavarians, in the main, think that Frederick the Great is worth nothing but their contempt.

Though in the following quotes, Frederick the Great sounds quite German “A man who seeks truth and loves it must be reckoned precious to any human society” which matches well with another of his quotes – “The greatest and noblest pleasure which men can have in this world is to discover new truths; and the next is to shake off old prejudices.”


30 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 3:17 pm

“… and the next is to shake off old prejudices.””

That’s quite an ironic quote from you prior. How many hundreds of posts bashing, Tyler Cowen & GMU have you written? And as you have repeatedly said, you were a former employee of GMU, and obviously you are quite bitter about it.


31 clockwork_prior November 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm

‘How many hundreds of posts bashing, Tyler Cowen & GMU have you written?’

Lots, though not GMU per se, though definitely the GMU econ dept., which is just a minor part of GMU actually. And of course, the Mercatus Center is absolutely not a part of GMU. But then, I used to work in GMU’s PR department, and was also paid by the GMU Foundation. I don’t need to discover any new truths how the game is played there. Just hearing the story about how MRU was the work of two GMU profs, youtube, and a $4 app brought back those old days – since such a pat story had all the hallmarks of the sort of thing that the GMU PR dept. would do its damnedest to stay separate from (though in the age of the Internet, finding the company that actually did all the work was not that hard).

‘you are quite bitter about it’

Guilty is a much better word than bitter, to be honest.

32 Art Deco November 27, 2017 at 3:42 pm

You were fired for cause. Get over it.

33 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 3:42 pm

“Guilty is a much better word than bitter, to be honest.”

Ummm, the post you just wrote doesn’t express guilt, no, it’s far closer to bitterness.

“I don’t need to discover any new truths how the game is played there. Just hearing the story about how MRU was the work of two GMU profs, youtube, and a $4 app brought back those old days”

34 msgkings November 27, 2017 at 3:57 pm

In any case, prior, clearly you will never live up to Frederick’s call to shake off old prejudices.

35 Victor Sletten November 27, 2017 at 2:04 pm

On #5 – I didn’t see any mention of the cultural influence of the Ulster Scots, and Scots-Irish more generally. It’s hard to take these views seriously when they paint a picture of “English settlers” and everyone arriving from the UK as a culturally monolithic bloc. It’s no mystery that our martial / gun culture comes from the influence of the Scots-Irish – even the organizational structure of the Marine Corp is Scots-Irish in origin.


36 MOFO. November 27, 2017 at 2:34 pm

” they paint a picture of “English settlers” and everyone arriving from the UK as a culturally monolithic bloc.” I

I didnt get that impression at all. Sure they didnt name the scots-irish by name, but i dont think his thesis rests on the english diaspora being culturally monolithic really,


37 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 2:49 pm

” It’s no mystery that our martial / gun culture comes from the influence of the Scots-Irish”

There’s no gun culture in either Scotland or Ireland today. At least not to the extent of American gun culture. I’d say that the authors specific thesis that American gun culture is derived from American Indians is somewhat unusual/hypothetical. However, claiming that American gun culture has roots in a relatively recent frontier culture is pretty common.


38 Victor Sletten November 27, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Read about the history of the highland clearances, Ulster Plantation, and the Scots-Irish migration waves to the new world. They brought a 1000 year old warrior culture informed by centuries of conflict with the English to North America. Related: theory that modern Scandinavian welfare states were made possible because the massive out migration from Scandinavia in the 18th and 19th century cleared out all the “ne’er-do-wells”. Population genetics matters. Genetics influences human social behavior (think of NMDA receptor functioning).


39 Victor Sletten November 27, 2017 at 3:21 pm
40 Victor Sletten November 27, 2017 at 3:23 pm
41 Thor November 27, 2017 at 3:43 pm

What the article — fascinating in many respects and very much worth reading — does a poor job of is stating clearly that American gun culture doesn’t have it’s roots in Indian culture per se, but in the overall context of colonization/settlement. The colonists adapted to North American contexts (more individualistic fighting, a greater need for guns in every household, more stealth etc. because more hunting allowed!, and so on) and that included adapting to the Indians who were of course themselves adapting to the arrival of people who had different technologies. (To wit, the Indians were keen to acquire an upgrade on their bows and arrows, which certainly the musket and flintlock represented.)

So it wasn’t just adopting the cultural practices of Indians (arms available to able bodied men; hunting regularly, etc) but needing guns because, well, as we know, colonization wasn’t exactly peaceful.


42 Victor Sletten November 27, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Your assertion is historically incorrect. Read about the cultural influence of the Scots-Irish. Trust me, if you understand the different cultures, histories, and population genetics of the various groups which migrated in large numbers to the U.S., lots of what is happening today would make far more sense to you.


43 Victor Sletten November 27, 2017 at 3:50 pm

The Scots-Irish possessed individual arms and a familial warrior tradition for centuries before arriving in the New World. Contrary assertions are easily refuted by the historical record as being the result of sloppy, “Theory of Human Neural Uniformity”-inspired bunk.

44 Victor Sletten November 27, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Also “adopting the practices of” sounds like what you’d expect a “cosmopolitan” urban dweller with no cultural roots of their own to say. The Scots-Irish IMPOSED their culture on a wilderness, not the other way around.

45 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Sorry, I’m not buying it’s all the Scot/Irish influence. Though I don’t doubt that it’s a contributing factor. While the Scot/Irish influence is very marked in the Appalachian valley area, it’s far less influential in the Great Lakes or Western regions. There’s a distinct gun culture throughout America that’s far more extensive than the Scots/Irish footprint.

46 Careless November 27, 2017 at 11:22 pm

While the Scot/Irish influence is very marked in the Appalachian valley area, it’s far less influential in the Great Lakes or Western regions.

those parts of the continent were not settled at the time being discussed (pre-Revolutionary War)

47 Victor Sletten November 29, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Do you dispute that Scots-Irish folk music is the precursor to American country (and bluegrass) music? (Pro tip: it’s well-documented)
Do you dispute that the organizational structure of the U.S. Marine Corps was borrowed from the family / clan structure of the Scots-Irish? (Pro tip: it’s well-documented)
Do you dispute that Scots-Irish influence is far from confined to Appalachia today? (Pro tip: it’s well-documented)

You tend to speak at length on that which you do not know.

48 chuck martel November 27, 2017 at 2:08 pm

5. About the kind of mis-information to be expected from the WaPo.

For instance: “Likewise, the quality of the English militia was uneven, at best. The despotic Stuart kings ruled England from 1603 to 1688. They were terrified of popular revolution and worked hard to disarm most of the population. ”

The despotic Stuart kings were beset in the English Civil War from 1642 to 1646. Charles I was beheaded on 30 January, 1649. Oliver Cromwell, once head of the New Model Army and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, ruled the country until his death on Friday 3 September 1658. Charles II return to the UK in May 1660, becoming the focus of the greatest celebration in the country before or since. Oddly, the democracy-obsessed English citizens that made up the population of the New World colonies never had a plebiscite on secession from British rule. No one knows for sure even today if a majority of the colonists were actually in favor of making war on the mother country.

It probably makes sense that the native Americans of the 17th century take the blame for gun violence last weekend in Chicago. Anything but reality.


49 MOFO. November 27, 2017 at 2:37 pm

So is your complaint that he doesnt mention the 9 or so years of rule by Cromwell? Seems a bit nit picky to me.


50 Thor November 27, 2017 at 3:50 pm

From one angle, the rise to power (via a brutal civil war and the shocking beheading of a monarch) of Cromwell and the establishment of a Commonwealth was a truly fascinating and remarkable thing, as many have opined. But from another (obviously wider) angle, it is equally remarkable how much social and political and scientific and economic continuity there was, under the roiling superficial froth.


51 Thor November 27, 2017 at 3:56 pm

“It probably makes sense that the native Americans of the 17th century take the blame for gun violence last weekend in Chicago. Anything but reality.”

I know you want to score points, but that’s a misreading of the article. While it has its flaws, it does establish that the native population of the continent played a part in the generation of a very novel gun culture. Conflict (colonization, westward movement, raids, attacks, the “Indian Wars”) made gun ownership necessary for survival, and the Indians too — naturally — also wanted this technology. Had there been no firearms, only bows and arrows, the trade patterns would have been very different: but they would have concerned bow technology no doubt.

Some of the history of the world can be told through its arms races, for better or for worse…


52 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 6:01 pm

I think the author should have used the phrase “arms race”. He implies that the American gun culture is a result of a frontier culture involved in an escalating arms race between the Indians and European settlers. The new nation was founded and had it’s essential rights codified at a time when that arms race was an implicit part of frontier life.


53 chuck martel November 27, 2017 at 7:59 pm

Conflict … made gun ownership necessary for survival, and the Indians too — naturally — also wanted this technology.

Of course, they needed arms comparable to those of the white invaders to defend their homes and families. The US military was continuously engaged against the various Indian tribes, with firearms, for over 300 years. In the post-Civil War years freed slaves were armed, with guns, and formed into units expressly to subjugate the natives. Guns were a necessity for the tribes. But they also enthusiastically adopted any other of the useful new items that appeared from Europe; horses, metal pots and pans, axes, blankets and other woven clothing, canvas, fish nets, metal traps, sugar, tea, coffee, just about anything that the whites themselves might use. The native adoption of metal cooking equipment isn’t mentioned as creating a “culinary culture” that exists to this day.


54 chuck martel November 27, 2017 at 8:38 pm

The native Americans were also in an arms race with their indigenous neighbors and needed state-of-the-art firearms to hold their own. The Ojibwas, for instance, acquired firearms before their western opponents, the Dakota, and were able to push them even further west.


55 Careless November 27, 2017 at 11:24 pm

The native adoption of metal cooking equipment isn’t mentioned as creating a “culinary culture” that exists to this day.



56 Axa November 27, 2017 at 2:15 pm

#5: what was that?

I’ll buy that indians are responsible of gun culture in the good old USofA. The only problem is how to explain the gun cultures in Canada and all the countries between Mexico and Tierra del Fuego.


57 clockwork_prior November 27, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Though California’s lack of a distinctive gun culture of the variety that developed against a backdrop of French/English imperial machinations involving various Native American groups in a place like Virginia is worth noting.


58 Victor Sletten November 27, 2017 at 3:16 pm

California has a huge gun culture once you get outside of LA and SF


59 clockwork_prior November 27, 2017 at 3:35 pm

In 1840? 1880? 1920? Really?


60 Victor Sletten November 27, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Today. You clearly need to get outside of your urban bubble more often.

61 Thor November 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm


Guns for hunting. Guns for defence. Guns to trade with the Indians who did a lot of the trapping and fur supplying.

Maybe there were more regulations, since the power of the Crown and its agents (and the Hudson’s Bay Co.) and the RCMP extended further? So very similar to here, just on a smaller scale than in the US, because the tundra of the north and the muskeg of Manitoba was not teeming with immigrants, to the extent it was in the US.


62 drive-by commenter November 27, 2017 at 4:40 pm

2: Why are GMU candidates incapable of even writing their job market paper on their own?


63 Barkley Rosser November 27, 2017 at 5:08 pm

Regarding the Notre Dame matter, I also wrote a letter to the president at the time protesting what went down, although not being as prominent as either Deirdre or Solow, mine did not get quoted, although it pointed out some details that did not appear in the article. Oh, and Solow’s very accurate line that I did not see in the article was that “What we do not need is another third MIT economics department,” noting that he is at MIT. He was right, and that is exactly what the current econ dept at ND is.

A detail left out of the article is that there already was a neoclassical mainstream economics department at Notre Dame prior to 2003. The problem was, for an egomaniacal dean, it was not in his college. It was in the College of Business. What went down, with the A&S dean wanting his own mainstream econ dept, that the dept in the COB was turned into a finance department in 2003, although it still has some senior level econ PhDs who are leftovers of the previous regime. Unlike people like Mirowski, they were allowed to hang around and do their things rather than being shipped out to philosophy or some other department where they were explicitly forbidden to teach anything beyond their very narrow specialty topics.

Regarding the broader issue, much of this has to do with the value of books (which Deirdre likes, even if she disagrees with Mirowski and Marxists such as Ruccio, who was editing the journal, Rethinking Marxism; Esther Miriam-Sent was more up Deirdre’s alley) versus articles in leading journals. Of course the latter determine department ranks, but arguably in the longer run books are more important, even though they basically count zero, if not negative, in these rankings. I have more than once challenged defenders of what went down at ND to claim that the overpaid people they brought in to the new department (there was also pressure from outside conservative funders on this matter, something not discussed in the article) will produce articles that will be cited a quarter or a halfl century from now, in comparison with the books being published by those heterodox people being shoved aside and put in their places. I have no doubt that nearly zero being pubbed in top journals today by these members of this third rate MIT department will be cited at all in a quarter of a century, while certainly Phil Mirowski’s books will be widely and heavily cited then. He alone is worth more than that entire department, besides being wrong about a lot of things and half off his rocker.


64 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 6:09 pm

I feel like there might be some truth embedded in your comments. However it’s always so hard to determine what’s relevant versus what’s bias. Many of the posts you make use language that indicates an obvious slant. Your comments would be more persuasive if you attempted to present a neutral point of view.


65 Barkley Rosser November 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm


Are you kidding? I have no interest in being “neutral.” However, I always stand ready to correct any factual errors I make in my comments. I do happen to believe that there are such things as facts, biased as that might be.


66 JWatts November 27, 2017 at 9:55 pm

Fine, then can you cite sources that support the following: That the dean was an egomaniac? Professors “were explicitly forbidden to teach anything beyond their very narrow specialty topics.”? Evidence that “the books being published by those heterodox people being shoved aside and put in their places”? Evidence there was “pressure from outside conservative funders on this matter”?


67 Barkley Rosser November 28, 2017 at 12:11 am

For all your questions, the answer is primary sources from the campus, more than one. I know a lot of the people involved there, including people in other departments who knew the players, including the deans involved. Sorry, but no names.

Do you have any reason to doubt any of the claims I made, I mean good reasons?

68 JWatts November 28, 2017 at 9:04 am

You show obvious bias in your writing and indeed state, ” I have no interest in being “neutral.”” Then you claim to be relying on facts, but when asked to cite a source instead you reply with anonymous hearsay.

As I previously said, your comments would be more persuasive if you attempted to present a neutral point of view. As it is, no one can find your comments particularly credible. Which is a shame, because you probably could be a credible source if you put any effort into it.

69 Barkley Rosser November 28, 2017 at 3:39 pm


Just asking me to name a whole bunch of people who would rather not be named that I happen to know personally is not going to go anywhere, and you are just a complete creep to make such a demand. I will grant that since my sources are specific people, it is possible that they are/were misinformed or somehow misinformed me. I cannot rule that out, but giving out their names will not solve anything, and I am certainly not going to do it on this site full of disgusting trolls and scumbags..

Regarding your specific questions, the matter of the crucial dean being an “egomaniac” is obviously an opinion, although one I heard from more than one person. He was reportedly in a serious competition with the College of Business dean at the time. I have this from people in the COB, not either the old het econ dept or the new mainstream one. Sorry, but no, I am not going to name my sources on that one, but they are people the authors of the article linked to did not interview for their article.

That those from the old het dept were forbidden to teach anything beyond their very narrow specialties I have from several of them personally. I think this is also a matter of public knowledge. General econ courses were to be taught only by people in the boring mainstream dept, not by these no good heterodox people, and quite a few of them simply left, either moving to other institutions or retired. Those left behind in various departments are expected to teach courses that fit those departments. So, Phil Mirowski can teach about the history and philosophy of economic thought, but that is it. You think this is biased or unlikely, JWatts? Of course they were forbidden to teach general econ courses. That was the whole point of this exercise of ideological and methodological repression and conformism.

The matter of books being shoved aside is simply a widely known matter of record. If you do not know this or believe it, that simply means you are not an academic and just plain ignorant of what counts and what does not. For some time what counts in ranking departments is the journals that their people publish their papers in, not the books they have published. This is not from secret sources, this is common public knowledge. Period.

The matter of outside conservative funders is murkier, and I do not have the names of those funders. But I do know that they exist and that they put pressure, and also very importantly, they provided funds to hire most of the senior members of the new department at very high salaries. The latter is a fact, although I am less clear or certain on the details of the earlier outside pressure, but it was there at various times and ways, with some of this being documented in the article, but not all of it. The sources of this are again several people both from the now ended department and some others from other departments still on campus, none of whom I am going to name.

70 mkt42 November 27, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Indeed, the past descriptions of the heterodox Notre Dame econ dept lacking in research do seem strange. The article has this quote ““fundamentally a teaching department that was doing some research” and some people saw that as a bad thing but Mirowski et al were publishing notable work. As with McCloskey (and Barkle Rosser), I disagreed with most of it but at least he made you think.

Amitava Dutt is another interesting case; MIT degree, again plenty of publications but apparently they were too post-Keynesian or something.

From a distance, that seems like an interesting department to me, one that had a distinctive niche and had several people who were published research.

I know an econ prof who got fed up with neoclassical economics and went and got a second PhD in theology from Notre Dame during this period. I think she chose Notre Dame for the theology and not for the heterodox econ but maybe not.

The “fundamentally teaching with some research” description also makes it interesting to look at that list of GMU job market candidates or more precisely their advisors. I see three advisors with two candidates plus two more with just one candidate — and I don’t recognize any of their names. Conversely, when I think of the names of GMU econ profs, starting with Tyler and Alex and including the ones who blog or whose work Tyler links to, none of their names show up as advisors of any of these job market candidates. Are they too busy doing research, writing, blogging, etc. to do teaching (where I’m including dissertation advising in the category of teaching)?

I think of doctoral programs as places where the research tends to be complementary with, rather than a substitute for teaching (again including dissertation advising under teaching). But maybe not, or maybe not at places that aren’t Harvard or MIT?


71 drive-by commenter November 28, 2017 at 3:55 am

>Are they too busy doing research, writing, blogging, etc. to do teaching (where I’m including dissertation advising in the category of teaching)?

ha, the idea that the proprietors of this blog are spending their time doing research! as if.


72 Slocum November 27, 2017 at 8:59 pm

#5. I was reminded of Charles C Mann’s argument that American egalitarianism and antiauthoritarianism may also have had a strong Native American influence: (page 335-336)


73 jorod November 27, 2017 at 9:34 pm

6. So, why didn’t Native Americans develop metals?


74 carlospln November 27, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Software is ‘developed’

Metals are refined.


75 Careless November 27, 2017 at 11:28 pm

that is a ridiculous objection to his post.


76 November 28, 2017 at 1:18 am

#3 That is the normal global trend as shown in my previous results, higher IQ reduces overconfident level. There are other studies that confirmed this, e.g.

“””Our research over the past 20 years has shown that most students tend to be overconfident. When we compare ability and confidence on the same scale there is a pronounced tendency towards overconfidence. Furthermore, people who obtain very low scores on a test tend to be more overconfident than those with high scores. Our studies also found that some high-ability people – less than 10% of those studied – show underconfidence.”””

Interestingly it seems that self-confident level is correlated with the amount of after school tuitions. Since over-confident people will not think that they need extra after school tuitions, it is most probably that the extra tuitions make them over-confident. The hidden common connection could be that most of the over-confident students tended to be poor performers who need extra tuitions in the first place.

OECD PISA 2009 survey has global data on the percentage of students that have extra tuition at the rate of more than 4 hours per week TuteGt4.

Zconf = +0.091538*TuteGt4 -0.683347; # n=47; Rsq=0.2291; p=0.0006653 ***

There are lots of hand wavings about East Asians having lots of tuitions. The real data from large sample OECD PISA survey showed that except for Korea, they were comparatively moderate. Nobody moans about the much higher tuition rates of Greeks, Turks and Isreali.


77 November 28, 2017 at 1:20 am

Rank %TuteGt4 Country

1 22.3 Tunisia

2 19.9 Korea

3 19.4 Greece

4 18.8 Turkey

5 17.8 Israel

11 9.0 Macao_China

12 8.7 HongKong_China

13 8.7 ChineseTaipei

14 7.4 Mexico

18 6.3 UnitedStates

25 5.1 OECDav ***

— 4.8 US White ??

28 4.7 Canada

35 4.1 Germany

44 2.8 Japan

55 1.8 UnitedKingdom

58 0.9 Finland

The extra tuition rate for US at 6.3% is not that much lower than that for the Chinese at 8.8% Taken into consideration for the high tute rates for Latino (proxy by Mexican) and Chinese, the rate for US Whites is estimated to be 4.8%, about the same as that for Canada, very much higher than that for UK at 1.8%.

Extra tuition for the East Asians is like the arm race that once entered they cannot get off. The case for the genetically and culturally similar Japanese shows that there might be little value added for the extra tuitions.


78 Robin Hanson November 28, 2017 at 10:05 am

Less overconfident is not the same as under confident.


79 November 28, 2017 at 8:41 pm


The reply button does not seem to work for me.

Working the data derived from OECD PISA, with respect to the zscore ChineseTaipei is closest to the mean at 0.04 SD. Quite a few high intelligent countries (PISAMath > 500) are below -0.67 SD (CQ 90), e.g. the top 3 European countries Switzerland (-1.67 SD), Estonia (-0.71 SD) and Netherlands (-3.09 SD !!)

Rank CQ Zscore PISAMath Country

43 89.32 -0.71 520 EST Estonia

46 85.85 -0.94 504 POL Poland

48 84.17 -1.06 544 MAC Macao_China

49 82.56 -1.16 510 SVN Slovenia

52 80.85 -1.28 506 DEU Germany

53 78.99 -1.4 507 BEL Belgium

54 77.43 -1.5 511 FIN Finland

55 74.9 -1.67 521 CHE Switzerland

56 58.99 -2.73 532 JPN Japan

57 53.58 -3.09 512 NLD Netherlands


80 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 28, 2017 at 11:34 am

5. Guns are awesome, but the need for them seems rather divided between practical and fanciful. The hunters I know have a rather concrete and traditional use in mind. The friend who shoots skeet has a hobby. The guy who says he has two ARs “so that when the shit hits the fan he can take the neighbors’ good” (true story) less so. So too all the people who play at “tactical” and dress up for the mirror or a selfie, before hopefully putting it all away to go back to mild lives.

Native Americans needed guns, which are awesome, but the question today is who has a need, and who is indulging in a fantasy. Possibly a fantasy that runs off the rails at some point, and ends in a hotel suite full of bump stocks.


81 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 28, 2017 at 11:36 am

WTF man, Android literally corrected food to good.


82 Steve November 29, 2017 at 10:03 am

$31 to look at the Notre Dame paper for 24 hours? Forget it.


83 Nate December 5, 2017 at 6:55 am

OECD is in the market for a new chief economist:


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