Friday assorted links


1. She would definitely be on Disney Channel (given what it has become).

Many of the models one sees in fashion magazines are in their early teens.

You mean Chelsea Clinton right?

4 - I am nervous of anyone who write a detailed multipage memo explaining how to fix every problem of an entire storm-ravaged country, complete with a list of people who be in charge of each part, then closes with "I spent the last four days in Haiti."

On the one side I agree with you, but on the other perhaps because she spent such small amount of time and had to digest it all rapidly she was able to escape the tube vision that comes from too much knowledge and being exposed to the same setting for too long a time. More time, more experience can be a negative (trapped on the 'silos').
But even if I agree with her, and even with the power her family has, I still doubt much of what she recommends will get done...

I believed this was released (via FOIA) 08/31/2015 rather than written recently. I take it as hurricane aftermath coverage.

Her skills at "escaping the vision that comes from too much knowledge" are desperately needed. She will make an ideal president, democrat, politician.

Funny, I was just about to write exactly this. I was pretty impressed by the email, and then got to the part about the four days, and tried to picture how that all went down. The only way I can imagine it is that she was basically relaying the talking points conveyed to her by some unnamed local source, who might be credible, but really should be mentioned. I do wish the email could keep straight the stuff she was told, the stuff she could confirm first hand, the solutions that she thought of, and solutions she endorses though they came from others.

Another thought I had was: So what happened next? And I'm pretty sure the answer is: fuck-all.

Anyway, this reads like an email from an unusually intelligent and sincerely well-intentioned young person.

There were many lessons learned in the aftermath. My takeaway is that a society needs to bootstrap its own way rather than be catered to or invented for.

My takeaway was to support GiveDirectly. No joke.

To your last point, I don't want to say this could ONLY have been written by a recent Stanford grad, but she certainly does sound like every other Stanford undergrad I've ever known.

And the email is clearly from 2010, not 2015. Curious if it doesn't have a date on it though.

Agreed. "I know how to save Haiti; I spent four days there" is what it boils down to. That's like something Jeff Sachs would say. So yes, Tyler is correct: her do-gooder attitude and inflated sense of self-regard does indeed qualify her to be president.

Remember too that Herbert Hoover made his political name by being genuinely excellent at exactly this sort of relief organization work. Not such a great predictor of presidential competence, then, even if you think (and I do) that Hoover was underrated.

Hoover listened to Andrew Mellon prior to the spring of 1932 on how to respond to the Depression. That's more an example of episodic bad judgment then general incompetence. Had the Hoover Administration followed Britain off the gold standard in September 1931 and called Congress into special session some time thereabouts to set up something along the lines of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation or the Home Owners Loan Corporation (as well as some of the public works spending the Roosevelt Administration embarked on), it's a reasonable wager the economic contraction the country experienced from 1929 to 1933 would have been a great deal smaller.

I suspect that Hoover was the most intelligent of US presidents. From that I infer that high intelligence may not be relevant to being a successful president.

How long before we get the NYT profile of her as "smart" "tough" "resourceful" and a foreign policy "expert" adviser to the State Department.....

#d. Construction workers did better because of a labor shortage, but hopefully increased immigration can quickly nullify that:

If only the US was as enlightened as the Arab Gulf States and bought in very low wage serf labors who lived in shipping crates during the time they weren’t working 16 hour days to build luxury high rises for the worlds elites and those who they surround themselves with. Then the US would be great again.

The problem the Gulf States had was how to manage too much, too soon. They did not respond optimally and the skill development and expectations of the indigenous Arabs came to be severely distorted.

They actually imported every kind of labor, not just low-wage 'serf' labor. One of the anomalies I recall offered as illustrative was a school staffed with Egyptian teachers, all of whom were receiving lower pay than the native Kuwaiti security guard (who was regrettably illiterate). Kuwaiti's tended to avoid the building trades in partlicular.

"One of the anomalies I recall offered as illustrative was a school staffed with Egyptian teachers, all of whom were receiving lower pay than the native Kuwaiti security guard (who was regrettably illiterate)."

That reminds me of the stories from the Soviet Union of Moscow bus drivers being paid better than surgeons working in rural areas.

My mom was a pediatrician and received less than the cleaning lady working at the same place.

There seem to be two regimes of a macroeconomy -- a high inflation "quantity theory of money" regime and a low inflation "IS-LM" regime. In my draft paper, I derive both frameworks and show there are explicit assumptions that go into each formulation that make it obvious IS-LM is not a good representation of e.g. the 1970s and 80s and the QTM is not a good representation of e.g. today

1. "I’ve never seen a 13 year old look like this…" said the man to the judge.

She was enough to make Frank Sinatra lose his mind.

1) paging Ray Lopez

We are all Ray Lopez.

Ober sure is making the rounds with this book. Tyler, do you have any comments about it other than your initial impression a few weeks ago?

Ober's book on the relatively egalitarian, middle-class nature of Classical Greek at its peak sounds similar to Victor Davis Hanson's incredible 'The Other Greeks'.

Has any historian of Ancient Greece of the last 30 years been more influential than VDH? After listening to Donald Kagan's Princeton lectures and reading some general histories, it seems like he completely changed the face of at least two fields of Ancient Greek scholarship.

I'm not familiar with VDH's theories really (except that nobody would actually cut down an olive grove as it's too much hard work). But the thing that strikes me about Ancient Greece is that its heyday lasted less than a century.

So in some sense, all this energy we devote to discussing Ancient Greece is seriously misguided.* It really wasn't that successful for that long. If we want to know about sustained success, we should probably spend a lot more time on Rome and Byzantium.

* OK, "seriously misguided" is a bit harsh. After all Greece was an innovator, the first to do many things, and for that reason alone should be studied. But I think it should be kept in mind always that Greece's successes were short-lived.

I don't know what you mean by "heydey", but it was a prosperous area for more than just a century:


And culturally, Greek was a major center of arts and thought for much longer than a century. Thales was mid-late 7th century BC, and the Greek world kept producing major philosophers at least through the 3rd century BC (e.g., Epicurus and Pyrrho). The artistic production is more inconsistent, with a seeming decline in the Hellenistic period (although Menander was late 4th century BC), but consistent production was still at least a few centuries long. We shouldn't just look at the peak and ignore the rest of the mountain.

By "heyday" I meant the fifth century BC, from 500 BC to 400 BC. This was the century with most of the events that people associate with Ancient Greece: Thermopylae, Salamis, the zenith of Athens, the Peloponnesian War, a lot of the Greek drama we still talk about, the beginning of the Socrates-Plato-Aristotle tradition (though Aristotle was more in the 300s BC).

I wasn't aware of Ober's work until now, so thanks for that. It's good to know that Ancient Greece was prosperous for longer than I thought.

But Ober and others want to claim that the institutions of Ancient Greece that we admire (democracy, etc.) were a cause of this blossoming of Ancient Greece. And that's the problem. The democracy and the flourishing of the arts and all that were largely confined to the 400s BC. So Greece's prosperity before and after the 400s BC cannot be attributed to democracy. Greek prosperity before and after the 400s BC was more due to other factors (e.g. geographical luck) than democratic institutions and freedoms.

I don't think that's accurate at all. I've already pointed out how the arts and philosophy flourished both before and after the 5th century BC. As for political institutions, they began to open up in the 7th century BC, where you have tyrants/lawgivers given power in response to aristocratic political domination and feuding and then a transition to more democratic forms of government. Regular citizens tended to have more rights and protections under those tyrants/lawgivers than they did under the domination of the aristocratic clans (hence the tyrants often given their power voluntarily by the population). In the hellenestic era, you still have democratic type governments that, though nominally under the rule of the Macedonian empire, are really just paying regular tribute. As Ober says, those local political institutions aren't done away with until Rome's domination.

" Greece’s prosperity before and after the 400s BC cannot be attributed to democracy."

It's a minor factor in that of the US as well. Prosperity is easy to come by when a continent can be wrested from its inhabitants for practically nothing.

Isn't a century of Greece better than a Millennium of Rome?

"3. 2015 was not a year of significant U.S. wage gains "

"The unemployment rate is low by any historical standard at 5.1 percent."

Is an unemployment rate at 5.1% with a Labor Force participation rate of 62.6% the same as; the unemployment rate of 5.1% with a Labor Force Participation rate of 66.1% of May 2005?

My guess is that the former is a lot softer than the latter. I suspect that there are more marginal employees that will be willing to come back into the Labor Force for just a little more money when you have a lower LFPR. Which would put downward pressures on wages.

And when you look at the current LFPR chart, you'll noticed it's developed a flat tail this year.

I don't see how demographics flattens it like that. The trend of people leaving the labor force has abated and we're flat lining. Isn't the most likely explanation that there's a better incentive to work now, so people are more apt to seek work than to opt out?

3. Last year San Francisco passed an even more draconian version of the New York City law that restricts and penalizes buyouts. The result was predictable. landlords resorted to the next best option, eviction.

"3. And New York City ramps up its war against Coase."

"There are too many cases in this city of landlords using cash offers to get tenants to move so they can increase the rents," de Blasio said at a news conference in the Bronx. "This will end now. Those days are over."

de Blasio has repealed the Law of Economics. New Yorker's can rejoice in no longer being subject to forces of income. Maybe, Bernie Sanders can get him on the ticket as a VP nominee. They'd be a complimentary pair.

You are not very complimentary about them, Perhaps you meant "complementary."

"4. Chelsea Clinton for President."

It's an articulate, well written letter with thoughtful observations. It has a tone that makes me feel as if a young, competent Princess is writing to her parents the King and Queen. So, perhaps your comment should have been "Chelsea Clinton for Queen".

"The Office of Special Envoy - i.e., you Dad - needs authority over the UN and all its myriad parts"

"Re: mental health in settlements and beyond: clear people are thinking about this now - largely because Dad asked about it and made it prominent -but still unclear what the action plan is"

Also, The letter points a pretty terrible picture of the UN.

"Again, the UN seemed at best chaotic and at worst absent as I travelled around in an action-oriented sense " "There is NO accountability in the UN system or international
humanitarian system" "In contrast to the UN, there appears to be respect for the US Military on the ground"

Inter-annual variations in wind output are not a concern, as variability in fuel supply affects nearly all sources of energy.

Baloney. It is a concern. The wind can drop 50% in a few minutes. Other sources like coal and gas aren't that twitchy. That's why wind and solar need much more headroom in reserve generating capacity, as compared to other sources. Typically, this is provided by combined-cycle natural gas plants operating well below their full capacity, but producing power and synchronized to the grid. If the wind stops blowing or a cloud moves over a solar array, you can throttle up the natgas plant faster than pretty much anything else. But you pay a price for that -- a considerable amount of expensive plants operating below capacity to cover the cheap but unreliable sources of power. That sets a limit on how much power the grid can get from wind and solar.

Oops. Inter-annual Never mind.

Yeah, he makes a good point.

1. I really doubt that photo is properly dated, would like to see some proof. It looks like a glamour shot and according to her wikipedia page before her photographer uncle took her photo in 1941 there's nothing to indicate she was involved in film or modeling before then. So, I'd say she was 18 or 19 here.

Yes, definitely strikes me as someone older than 13. And that looks like a back-lighted professional shot with someone that's spent some time getting the hair and makeup picture perfect.

It doesn't look like the 13 year old daughter of a poor cotton and tobacco North Carolina family in the middle of the Great Depression.

Lesson for Cowen: never link to anything on tumblr, unless to make an example of stupidity.

My mother around age 14 looked several years older than her actual age and would get propositions from soldiers after USO performances she was in. She told me that to some extent it was the style of the times and that young women generally strived to look older than they were.

2 - for warmblooded creatures, this explanations feel backwards - small mammals have high metabolisms in order to maintain body temperature

Comments for this post are closed