Wednesday assorted links

by on November 8, 2017 at 1:41 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 clockwork_prior November 8, 2017 at 1:51 pm

So, a Caplan double header.

Lucky us. Is there anything that it can be blamed on, at least if one is not a Democrat? Alcoholism is out regardless, one would assume.

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2 Anonymous November 8, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Raise the alcohol tax!

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3 GoneWithTheWind November 8, 2017 at 6:24 pm

The problem with blaming the Republicans is that the Democrats policies will lead to socialism and authoritarianism. There simply isn’t enough money to make all the poor people rich or even middle class by taking that money from the productive. We are trying, spending about $1.2 trillion a years at the federal level and about an equal matching amount at the state level to fight the war on poverty but as the pay for being poor gets better and better more people are choosing to be “poor” and live off the free stuff. The left/Democrats want to tax the rich and middle class to make them poorer and use that money to pay the poor. Their plan is to bring us all down to the same level of poverty. This makes no sense and isn’t sustainable because eventually you run out of other people’s money. The right/Republicans want everyone to have a chance to succeed and accept the responsibility for their own success of lack of success. This makes sense and is sustainable.

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4 Anonymous November 8, 2017 at 7:58 pm

That is classic.

You defend bad economics and bad governance by imagining a worse alternative yet to come. A fever dream.

Try being responsible instead.

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5 Anonymous November 8, 2017 at 7:58 pm

That is classic.

You defend bad economics and bad governance by imagining a worse alternative yet to come. A fever dream.

Try being responsible instead.

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6 GoneWithTheWind November 8, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Of course you have no alternative except to make ad hominem attacks. If you had a legitimate argument or point you would make it. But you do not so you attack the messenger.

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7 Anonymous November 8, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Read your own statement again. You do not have any current law or proposal to oppose, so you just go slippery slope:

“The problem with blaming the Republicans is that the Democrats policies will lead to socialism and authoritarianism.”

Bullshit. There have been progressives in America for 100+ years, and whoops, no socialist authoritarian endgame in all that time.

8 a clockwork apriori November 8, 2017 at 9:51 pm

Look, Lono is proud of Connect. Tyler is proud of his Schilddrüse
Regenschirm

9 GoneWithTheWind November 9, 2017 at 10:19 am

“There have been progressives in America for 100+ years, and whoops, no socialist authoritarian endgame in all that time.”

Reminds me of that joke: A man jumped of the Empire State Building and as he passed the tennth floor was heard to say “so far, so good”.

If you do not recognize the hard left turn of the Democrat party since the early 60’s then you are blind. They are committed to a socialist agenda and in the past 25 years have become Marxist socialist. Most/many of their activist organizations are funded and controlled by communist groups. Their agenda has become anti-American and anti-constitution. This is not yoour grandfathers Democrat party.

10 Anonymous November 9, 2017 at 10:55 am

Is paranoia one of those things that can never be seen in the mirror?

Maybe just note that reasonable people (left, center, and ex-right) do not make the same sort of claims about Republicans all wanting to lead us to ruin.

A reasonable person should be able to find some glimmer of truth on the other side. Or better yet, balance between the two. Example: higher education is good for America, but should not just be free. It should be justified by ROI.

11 JWatts November 9, 2017 at 11:28 am

“Maybe just note that reasonable people (left, center, and ex-right) do not make the same sort of claims about Republicans all wanting to lead us to ruin.”

Agreed, though it does tend to classify a few regular posters on this forum as unreasonable. But I can live with that.

And I think GoneWithTheWind is mischaracterizing the modern Democratic party. The Democratic party (particularly the Hillary Clinton led party) isn’t Marxist. It’s bureaucratic corporatist. Granted, the Bernie Sanders wing was anti-corporatist, but they lost.

According to Donna Brazille the deck was rigged. And maybe in a fairer system, the Democratic party would be less corporatist and more socialist. But that’s not what we have.

12 Anonymous November 9, 2017 at 11:44 am

IMO the Party may decide (it is their function, they are not merely an open primary).

But if they do, they should decide better.

That applies to all Parties.

13 Nifong November 8, 2017 at 1:57 pm

The idea that one must pitch a screenplay it to anyone is a bad idea from a bygone age. Just make a draft and throw it up on the internet. If it gets attention, make it a little better, fill out the story, fill in the sketches with color, take some advice on the jokes. Organically grown content is just way more interesting. If you were pitching a screenplay to me, i’d be thinking “Why do you need my help? did this not work out as a YouTube video? maybe it sucks.”

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14 Thor November 8, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Sure, that’s how it (mostly) works. But there’s a problem.

Much of what “gets attention” is attention-seeking, loud, brash, lewd, crude, coarse, stupid but vivid. And thus dumbed down.

So we viewers and theatre / movie theatre (etc.) goers get crap.

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15 Nifong November 8, 2017 at 3:33 pm

An organic creative process can still produce sophisticated content under the right conditions. I think those conditions are having finely divided and specific communities, so that if someone writes say, a comic about economics that may one day become a film, they can still find an audience by starting in the right small community. YouTube falls short on this admittedly.

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16 MOFO November 8, 2017 at 4:21 pm

We just call it the latest Michael Bay movie.

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17 Albert November 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Chances are it won’t get meaningful feedback. It’s very difficult to get anyone to give feedback on a final draft, much less something that still needs the sketches filled in with color.

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18 Chip November 8, 2017 at 9:47 pm

One of my closest friends had a lifelong dream of becoming a screenwriter. When he sent me one of his first scripts, I considered whether to be nice and encouraging or be honest and critical. I chose the latter because I really wanted him to succeed.

He wasn’t happy and we didn’t speak for a while. Later he had another script optioned and then made into a $35 million film with an A list actor.

He really just wanted support and affirmation during a time of self-doubt.

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19 A Truth Seeker November 8, 2017 at 2:11 pm

“If it gets attention, make it a little better, fill out the story, fill in the sketches with color, take some advice on the jokes.”
Then, I will sue you for using my joke about the chicken crossing the road. I want a share of gross box office earnings and 10% of merchandise.

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20 Anonymous November 8, 2017 at 2:17 pm

5 is very nice, and Republicans are not uniquely blameworthy.

But when you are backseat driving you do not give advice to other passengers.

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21 Dick the Butcher November 8, 2017 at 4:56 pm

BWAHAHA

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22 A clockwork orange November 8, 2017 at 8:07 pm

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged the sun shines on Seth.

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Because It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

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23 Anonymous November 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

2 is surprising. Even I assumed a fade out for all mortgage holders. This grandfathering on the other hand is kind of a proposition 13. Benefits for the current generation, and a new disincentive to sell.

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24 Boris_Badenoff November 8, 2017 at 3:56 pm

But it is quite logical given the justification for the interest deduction has always been to spur home buying. The case illustrates the utter perversity of using the tax code for social policy instead of solely to achieve the revenue objectives of the government.

We could of course simply pass direct subsidies to home buyers – and this has been done several times thru the last 8 years, with easy refi terms guaranteed by the government. That sort of largess is harder to justify, though.

Now is the best time to eliminate this deduction. With interest rates frightfully low, the impact is minimized. The market will easily adjust (to the extent that the deduction actually worked as an incentive) to accommodate the new rules. Note also the benefit goes over 90% to taxpayers earning over $100,000. The lowest earning taxpayers are financing a benefit for wealthier taxpayers.

Now, if only we could eliminate the rest of the deductions and their distorting effects, and get real reform to a simpler tax system with lower rates & far less need for professional help for taxpayers . . .

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25 Joël November 8, 2017 at 2:37 pm

3. is simple, clear, convincing, original. A nice read.

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26 Ted Craig November 8, 2017 at 2:37 pm

“an inchoate mess of actors’ improvisation and directorial overreach.” This sums up a lot of Hollywood movies. After reading about Hollywood, I’ve come to the conclusion that the industry undervalues scripts in practice despite placing a high monetary value on them. It also overrates the importance of a director as an artist and underrates the importance of a director as a project manager.

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27 Anonymous November 8, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Don’t forget the AD as scheduling dogsbody.

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28 rayward November 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm

2. As I read section 1302 of the Act (which contains the limitation on interest), the provision would only allow a mortgage interest deduction if the property securing the mortgage is the taxpayer’s principal residence. Under current law, the deduction is allowed with respect to the principal residence and one other residence of the taxpayer (i.e., a second, or vacation, home). This change will slam the second home market.

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29 msgkings November 8, 2017 at 3:49 pm

We’ll see what actually gets passed after the Senate does its bill, and the revisions to both, etc. They may have to drop a lot of the bill to enable passage, with zero Dems voting for it.

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30 msgkings November 8, 2017 at 3:50 pm

That said, is there any reason second homes should have a mortgage interest deduction?

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31 The Other Jim, the real one November 8, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Sure — to inflate the real-estate value of places where people only want to live seasonally, thus rewarding the local banks and governments, as well as (to a smaller extent) any other local who can charge more money for damn-near anything.

The number of properties you own is irrelevant. I do not care if backwater clowns like msgkings own two $40,000 houses.

Just cap everyone’s total mortgage-interest deduction at $X.

And we’re done.

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32 Anonymous November 8, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Fade it all out, uniformly, over 30 years.

No pain and ultimately an end to subsidy.

33 The Other Jim November 8, 2017 at 8:07 pm

Precisely.

34 Dick the Butcher November 8, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Anyone remember Reagan’s tax reform bill?

Among the many Federal income tax deductions, the bill killed the passive real estate investment expense deduction. It wasn’t a primary cause of the S&L crisis, but, it didn’t help the situation, either.

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35 Art Deco November 8, 2017 at 8:05 pm

The chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board began sounding the alarm to journalists and politicians in 1982 to no avail. The deposit insurance funds maintained by the Ohio and Maryland state governments were wiped out in 1985 by savings bank failures. You were seeing newspaper articles in the mid-1980s reporting that about a 1/3 of the thrifts in this country were insolvent. All of that antedated any changes in tax law. While low-end banks were losing their shirts on commercial real estate loans, high-end banks were carrying 10s of billions of dollars in sour loans to Latin American governments (and Poland). Suggest your problem wasn’t tax law, but a lousy institutional culture in banking, top-to-bottom.

It took 7 years for our worthless Congress to pass enabling legislation for an institutional architecture to resolve the thrift situation and another five years for those agencies to complete their work.

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36 A clockwork orange November 8, 2017 at 9:37 pm

why the long face jack?

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37 Thor November 8, 2017 at 3:22 pm

4. Very good talk by Dan Klein, thanks.

Incidentally, nice opening shot of the hosting institution of this talk: Francisco Marroquín University. Lovely gardens. A classical liberal (“private. secular”) University, hope it does well.

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38 Steven Kopits November 8, 2017 at 4:56 pm

You could cover Klein’s presentation much more easily and convincingly using a three ideology model. It gets to the same place using economic and game theoretic, rather than historical, analysis.

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39 Ray Lopez November 8, 2017 at 3:24 pm

#1 – Rome Industrial Revolution was the best link. I like how Koyama summarizes the various schools of what caused the Industrial Revolution (“British Coal”, “Adam Smith low taxes, small government”, “Solow type innovation”). Goes into my archives.

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40 Thor November 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm

This. I follow him on Twitter now, he’s good.

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41 Melmoth November 8, 2017 at 11:35 pm

The author of the Rome book mentioned – Helen Dale – has an interesting history. Twenty years ago in Australia she published a novel “The Hand that Signed the Paper” about Ukraine in WW2, under the name ‘Helen Demidenko’, claiming she was Ukrainian and the story was based on experiences of her relatives. There was a large controversy in Australia over accusations that the novel contained anti-semitism, which were exacerbated when it came out that her real name was Helen Darville and she had no Ukrainian connection at all.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Darville

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42 Melmoth November 8, 2017 at 11:46 pm

I recommend the BBC ‘In Our Time’ program 2-part podcast on the Industrial Revolution from a few years ago. There’s a good bit where the host Melvyn Bragg gets into an argument with a lefty academic after she accuses him of racism for asking whether the Industrial Revolution had any causes arising from British culture.

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43 Thor November 9, 2017 at 3:29 am

Thanks, I will look this up.

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44 Homeros November 9, 2017 at 5:07 pm

As a former classicist, just let me add that no one alive today can begin to get into the mindset of someone who lived in the ancient world. The more one learns, the more one realizes that there are great uncrossable gulphs between us and them. Since our idea of who they were is so different from who they actually were, that kind of puts a limit on contrafactuals that require them to be more like us. If they were more like us, yes, they might have acted more like us. But that is rather banal.

Before one gets excited about what we have discovered about the ancient economy, think about:
There are no statistics in the ancient world. There is only rhetoric with numerical flourishes. So what would we know about our own economy if this were still true?
Likewise, whatever evidence gets developed today, whatever measurement we rely on, how would such an approach work in understanding today’s economy?

Also, bypassing a millennium and a half of Christianity remolding our sense of self and interiority and of universality before the Enlightenment begs a rather big question.

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45 JonFraz November 10, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Re: The more one learns, the more one realizes that there are great uncrossable gulphs between us and them.

That’s true of any era that has passed out of living memory. Consider the Civil War era in the US, or the Victorian era in Britain. Sure, we can learn the history and study the minutiae of daily life, but if you start trying to imagine yourself living there all kinds of disconnects happen.

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46 Dave Smith November 8, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Maybe I misunderstood, but I doubt that the survival of one person could spur an industrial revolution.

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47 A B November 8, 2017 at 3:38 pm

3- Does anyone here still believe that one can maintain a growing prosperous country without either (a) strong empowered religious leadership, (b) strong nationalistic fascistic leadership, or (c) enough immigration to change the culture and thus very definition of the country in question?

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48 msgkings November 8, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Which of those categories do the following belong to: Switzerland, Canada, USA, Germany, Australia?

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49 Tanturn November 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Germany? You must have missed the “growing” part.

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50 msgkings November 8, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Plenty of economic growth there, do you just mean population? OK then tell me about the other 4.

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51 A B November 8, 2017 at 10:09 pm

All of them are declining. Just Google their birth rates. Yes, population is the metric.

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52 A clockwork orange November 8, 2017 at 10:23 pm

beer or coffee, and or dna

53 msgkings November 8, 2017 at 11:41 pm

I believe the population is increasing (slowly) in all of those except Germany. Yes a good portion of that growth is immigration, but I don’t think you can put any of those countries in any of the 3 buckets you asked about.

54 A B November 9, 2017 at 11:00 am

I believe in most cases in Western Countries, (a) is driving any local higher birth rates (e.g., Monsey NY, Utah), and (b) is starting to appear in some of the countries. Over time, immigration has to increase to stem the declines in population which are expected to happen over the next 100 years if birth rates remain low. As immigration increases, it will be harder and harder to assimilate the immigrants into the pre-existing culture, so (c) will happen. As it did with Rome and, earlier, with Greece.

55 msgkings November 9, 2017 at 11:34 am

You are speculating about the future. To answer your initial question: ” Does anyone here still believe that one can maintain a growing prosperous country without either …”, I provided many examples of countries doing fine growing slowly without being religious, fascist, or destroyed by immigration. There’s no evidence that will change meaningfully in the future. Comparing modern Australia or even the US to ancient Rome or Greece is sort of meaningless. You may have ideological blinders on.

As far as sheer population growth, eventually the entire world’s population will plateau and possibly even shrink. I am very concerned about what this means for global capitalism. Can the whole world function like Japan and Germany? We’ll see. Humans adapt.

56 A B November 10, 2017 at 9:36 am

You did not provide examples, and there is plenty of evidence that things will change in the future. Germany is expected to lose 10 million people by 2050. I went to population pyramid dot net and looked at the others (I should have mentioned this earlier, apologies). Switzerland, Australia, the US, and Canada are all going to have a vastly increased growth in elderly population relative to the size. They will not be able to be handled because of the vastly decreased relative size of the younger populations supporting them. Thus, there is no evidence that they can “maintain a growing prosperous country” unless things dramatically change, which was and is my claim.

57 msgkings November 10, 2017 at 11:25 am

A B your claim is still speculation about the future. The future may result in those issues, the past never has, that’s all I’m saying. So far, countries have been able to grow without being fascist or religious. Maybe that changes in the future, but whether or not you think that depends on your priors about immigration.

58 chuck martel November 8, 2017 at 4:03 pm

1. Major hindrance for the Romans. . . .their numerical system, which made engineering and accounting much more inefficient than the Arabic one. As Arabic numerals were adopted by later societies business profit and loss became more easily determined and more important. The work of mathematicians like Newton and Gauss simplified complex engineering problems. Mathematics changed from a branch of philosophy to a practical field and could easily be considered one of the most important factors in the growth of the industrial revolution.

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59 msgkings November 8, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Holy smokes an accurate and intelligent post from ol’ chuck.

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60 JWatts November 8, 2017 at 5:25 pm

“1. Major hindrance for the Romans. . . .their numerical system, which made engineering and accounting much more inefficient than the Arabic one. ”

The most distinct factor would be the use of the 0 as a positional notation.

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61 Anon November 8, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Which the Arabs got from India.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/0

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62 Al November 8, 2017 at 6:59 pm

That’s a great point.

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63 charlie November 8, 2017 at 10:04 pm
64 Careless November 8, 2017 at 10:46 pm

LOL

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65 Zach November 8, 2017 at 4:32 pm

#1 — The trouble with economic explanations of the Industrial Revolution is that the Industrial Revolutionaries weren’t economists. They tended to be tinkerers / mechanics, etc. The economic side wasn’t much more sophisticated than “And then we’ll sell it!”

If it were economically driven, wouldn’t you expect the early adopters to be people who were unusually attuned to economics? Bankers, financiers, folks who are just generally rich?

You could persuade me that conditions driving Silicon Valley today have a large economic component — witness the role of the venture capitalist. But early industrialization seems to have been driven more by supply than by demand.

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66 Zach November 8, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Put another way: the demand was always there, such that any fool could see it. But supplying that demand was heavily dependent on the existence of necessary technologies and theoretical understanding, to the extent that names like Watt (steam engine) and Tesla (electricity and magnetism) survive as scientific terms related to power and magnetism, respectively.

In areas where the necessary technology already exists, the names that survive tend to be entrepeneurs, like Fuller (brushes), Gillette (razors), McDonald (fast food — they sold out to Kroc, but the principle stands), Howard Johnson, etc. Business model innovators, rather than scientific innovators.

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67 Donald Pretari November 8, 2017 at 4:36 pm

#1…Many people forget to factor in the amount of money the Christian mediterranean countries spent fending off the Ottoman navy. My recollection is that it was huge. The Northern European countries sold goods like lumber to the southern countries, benefiting both by not having to fight the Ottomans and supplying the Christian counties.

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68 Melmoth November 8, 2017 at 11:42 pm

Indeed and it seems that a pre-condition for significant economic and cultural development of any society was “don’t have a large land or sea border exposed to predatory Huns/ Mongols/ Turks/ Arabs/ Xiongnu/ Jurchen/ Manchu/ Germans etc.” Britain and NW Europe were well insulated from the middle ages onwards.

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69 JonFraz November 10, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Re: Britain and NW Europe were well insulated from the middle ages onwards.

The countries of northern Europe spent huge amounts of money fighting each instead.
The Hundred Years War. The generations-long Italian Wars between the French and the Habsburgs (pulling in other nations, including England occasionally). The Anglo-Spanish war. The Dutch War for Independence. The Thirty Years War. The several Northern Wars involving Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Poland. War of the Spanish Succession. War of the Austrian Succession. The Seven Years War. The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars,

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70 stephan November 8, 2017 at 5:01 pm

#1 I am with Chuck Martel on this, The Romans seem to have produced no mathematics and no Physics.They only had what was known from the Greeks but did not build upon it.

They could have invented the windmill and similar machines but nothing more sophisticated. Before the industrial revolution there were already tremendous scientific advances ( Copernicus/Galileo/Newton). The vacuum pump, the gas laws ( Boyle) were known. The scientific method, and scientific societies were well established.James Watt was not just a “tinkerer” but collaborated with the physicist Joseph Black. So, in addition to economic conditions, lots of favorable scientific conditions pre-existed.

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71 Matthew Young November 8, 2017 at 5:29 pm

1. Mark Koyama on whether Rome could have had an industrial revolution.

No. Industrial revolutions are caused by ten year children huddling by the fire in the middle of winter in Northern Europe. The kids begin to experiment with various ways to contain and move heat.

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72 byomtov November 8, 2017 at 8:26 pm

#5

Caplan is wrong about Democrats and liberals, as he usually is about almost everything.

Yeah. I know he’s one of the supposedly Great Minds in the GMU Econ dept. You guys need to get over yourselves.

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73 johnWH November 8, 2017 at 8:37 pm

“Strong assertion without any supporting evidence”

“Snarky put-down used to bolster strong assertion”

Internet comment threads circa 2017, everybody

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74 The Other Jim, the real one -- last post November 8, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Greetings MR, and goodbye. Not a joke.

I just watched Tyler’s video about Keynesians and aggregate demand, and I gotta say, my world has changed. I’ve been mocking his absurd hypocrisy on this site for quite some time, and his laughable assertion that he’s libertarian when he’s just another boilerplate lefty, and his insane hyperventilations about things that happen outside of his bubble. All of this was entirely fair game.

But Dear God, I had no idea he looked like that, and sounded like that, and even gestured like that. I feel very sorry for the man. I can’t believe I ever took him seriously. I feel like I’ve been picking on a cripple, and I just had no idea.

So, I have to move on. If you see my name used here ever again, it’s just the batshit-crazy Thiago.

A big thanks to the sane people here — you know who you are — and I’m sure our shared ongoing Quest For Sanity In The World is in good hands. I feel like there are more of you than I expected, so I think the movement will survive. But I would still encourage you to take the battle elsewhere. The Emperor here truly has no clothes, or relevance to anything, or any hint of self-awareness, frankly. Honestly, you really need to pity him, not fight him.

So goodbye, and remember to wake up every morning knowing that Hillary Clinton got her ass kicked in the most historic election in the history of all things historical, and this is both hilarious and also proof that God loves you.

Bye!

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75 Careless November 9, 2017 at 12:12 am

Who?

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76 TMC November 9, 2017 at 9:31 am

Hillary. Some chick thought she was owed the presidency.

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77 Anonymous November 9, 2017 at 10:01 am

I smell a “getting while the getting is good.”

One last swipe at Hillary (and Tyler) before the reality of November 7, 2017 really sinks in.

It turns out I was right. You can’t run a movement on 35% approval and make it up in volume.

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78 Ali Choudhury November 9, 2017 at 11:36 am

The Romans were more interested in acquiring land, celebrating triumphs and building temples than expanding knowledge of science and mathematics. When the more numerous German barbarians learned how their military operated by working as their auxiliaries, their days were numbered.

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79 Rafael R November 9, 2017 at 3:01 pm

1. Actually, since there was sustained economic growth in the ancient world (see Ober’s Wealthy Hellas paper) there WAS an industrial revolution. Growth wasn’t as fast as during the 19th and 20th centuries I think mainly because of the fact that:

1st – The population of the ancient world was much smaller than the 19th world, fewer people means fewer ideas, specially given that the “free population”, meaning citizens with rights either from local poleis or from Rome, were a small fraction of the mediterranean world’s population.
2nd – In the years between the 19th century and the 1st many technologies were developed but not fully incorporated into the economy: scope for Smithian growth in the 19th century was already higher than in the 1st century.

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80 Evans_KY November 9, 2017 at 9:20 pm

2. Grandfathering is insidious and undermines social cohesion.

5. We are all to blame. Voters and the 40% who consistently do not vote. The pedantic Republicans and the mealy-mouthed Democrats. Those who worship supply-side/market driven B.S. and those who maraude as champions of the working man. Those who relinquish what little power they have based on the lie that government is inherently bad and those who over-promise what government can deliver. The future is messy and I look forward to it.

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