Saturday assorted links


5: I love the fact that one of our Presidential candidates ran the State Department under an illegal shroud of secrecy for 4 years, while also operating an international slush fund and being "extremely careless" with highly classified information... and you are freaked out that the other guy might be dangerous.

HE MIGHT NOT GO TO WAR WITH RUSSIA!!!!!!!! How irresponsible and deranged.

Maybe he will made a friend out of Russia... like we did with Saudi Arabia.

Better to go to war with them then. Surely that is in the best interest of the American citizenry.

How killing the people who actually atacked America could be better than murdering civilians who actually never attacked us, say, Iraqis? That's crazy talk, man.

If you can turn back time and carpet bomb Saudi Arabia and never have an invasion of Iraq, I will take it.

I just don't particularly want to go to war with Russia, and think that if Europe genuinely sees Russia as a threat, they can put some more money towards defense spending to prove it.

So that's it. Bush sold Georgia, Obama sold Ukraine. Now we must sell Western Europe...

Western Europe is more populous and stronger economically than Russia. If they want to resist the Russian Menace, they can easily do so.

So it is, NATO is dead. We wil, just sell Western Europe. Maybe the Germans, I mean, the Russians won't hurt us then. It worked so well last time. I am ashamed. But you are right, maybe we will not be able to hurt Western Europe the way we hurt Georgia and Ukraine.

Why will Western Europe be incapable of defending itself from Russia? Again, larger economy and population. Should be abe to have a much more powerful military than the Russians.

Or the Germans. So we are back to the 30's, feeding the crocodile and hoping he will eat us last. What happened to America?

Will you be volunteering to fight the ruskies, on behalf of a Europe that despite being more populous and wealthier, apparently can't defend itself?

I love how Free Lunch Trump has made the Republicans the party of both sides of every issue.

Clinton is guilty of keeping secrets and guilty of not keeping the same secrets secret.

If only Clinton had kept her email on the most top secret government servers, we could read them all on wiki leaks thanks to Manning and Snowden. The person who ran her server was not vetted by a private contractor for a private contractor like Snowden, so he failed to understand he was supposed to send every government secret to wikileaks.

At least Free Lunch Trump understands that human right have a price, and he can get stuff from dictators cheap by selling the human rights of those under the boot of dictators.

Clinton's problem is failing to negotiate a great deal in exchange for defending mass murder bordering on genocide. Free Lunch Trump will happily agree to helping Saudi Arabia fund killing Christians and Shia and all non-radical wahhabist muslims. Even American human rights are negotiable.

Clinton is guilty of keeping secrets and guilty of not keeping the same secrets secret.

People look for both competence and probity in their leaders. If not one, then at least the other.

And HRC fails on both counts.

So the criticism is completely valid.

At least Free Lunch Trump understands that human right have a price, and he can get stuff from dictators cheap by selling the human rights of those under the boot of dictators.

Trump understands, at the very least, that you can't effect positive change by haughtily lecturing foreign countries on their democracy.

Which is completely true.

Clinton’s problem is failing to negotiate a great deal in exchange for defending mass murder bordering on genocide. Free Lunch Trump will happily agree to helping Saudi Arabia fund killing Christians and Shia and all non-radical wahhabist muslims.

Yes, of course, it is the candidate who has been condemned by Saudi officials and the one who was clearly and unambiguously spoken out against the persecution of Syrian Christians by the Syrian rebels who will be the tool of the Saudis, and not the one who is funded by Saudi Arabia and pushed for bombing Assad during her time as Secretary of State.

Well, but we only haughtily lecture the bad ones, like Venezuela, Iran and Cuba, so it is funny (evidently we have made so much for democracy in Saudi Arabia by helping its leaders-- we should be proud every time a Saudi dissident is jailed or killed...).

What's with these government secrets anyway? How are the citizens of a supposed democracy going to make an informed decision on the capabilities of their leadership if just about everything that leadership does is secret? Trade agreements and foreign policy all the way down to local police department's use of force guidelines and personnel issues are all secrets, as is the criteria for being listed as a potential terrorist. In a truly free society there should be zero secrets in the realm of government and the figures in it.

5. Pretty good. Mutually Assured Destruction has been with us for awhile now, and it is a pretty insane way to live.

Just saw some of the articles on Trump's NATO remarks. So Trump is considered insane and dangerous for saying: (1) he might not take the U.S. to war with Russia; (2) he expects members of a military alliance to actually meet their commitment to be militarily capable of acting as an ally, rather than just being another stretch of land that the U.S. military needs to protect? What a world we live in.

If Trump were to start weighing up critically the advantages to the US of its promise to defend (say) Latvia, who knows where it might end?

A focus on vital American interests might lead to uncomfortable conclusions such as the unwisdom of invading all and sundry.

Latvia pays a high price in the alliance in risk-weighted terms. No one seriously spend much time worrying about a Russian invasion on the continent of North American, for example, do they? Which doesn't mean that it's necessarily worth it for NATO to have Latvia as a member, but don't you think Latvia would chip in at little some effort if there was an attack on a NATO member in North America, for example?

Okay, but what advantage is it to the U.S. to vow to defend Latvia? Seems to be a cost to the taxpayer generaly and a risk to those who do or would serve in the military. It helps the military-industrial complex.

Think containment policy sort of thinking.

If you're going to play a "with us or against us" sort of strategy, things might get hairy if the allies find themselves faced with an imperial military tax despite having almost zero influence in the chain of command.

What does the US get for the whole deal? Top of a chain of command with a free 20+ other countries at their disposal. Yeah, obviously we have common interests, not to get invaded. But not the US can invade other countries and 20+ allies have got their sticks too.

The specific question of Latvia is interesting. Take the case of Ukraine. Not NATO. Is it beneficial for NATO if Ukraine joins? I think not. Without explaining my full reasoning, surely some similar logic must apply to Latvia. Also, look at the map again and think sea, not land. Latvia is more important than you think.

The nation's seeking US assurances and support under NATO are those which as spending far more than the 2% of gdp benchmark on military.
Estonia at 2.04% is much higher than Germany, France. Greece is 2.46%, Poland 2.18%, the UK at 2.07%. Canada is at 1%.

The US is at 3.62%, but unlike the other NATO members, the US has mutual defense alliances with many more nations, most being dictators or authoritarian, though that number is down. Some even became representative republics that are at the US development level of say 1900.

So 46 basis points, at most, is "spending far more than the 2%"???

Oh, and Canada does not need to spend more than 1% of GDP on defense because the little boy masquerading as the Prime Minister took a selfie with Obambi. We're good...

It is 23%;higher than 2%.

"Oh, and Canada does not need to spend more than 1% of GDP on defense because the little boy masquerading as the Prime Minister took a selfie with Obambi. We’re good…"

As everyone knows, before that Canada and its aggressive military used to terrorize the world.

Don't know why some folks harp on JT for Canada's share of GDP taken up by military spending, but were oh so quiet about the fact that those norms were set by a right wing government that would rattle sabres while cutting budgets and bungling procurements in nearly every aspect of defense around.

23 of 28 NATO members are below 2%. It seems like the best stick to change that with is "If you don't spend at least 2% of your GDP on defense, we will not defend you, because we do not believe you can meaningfully contribute to defending us."

Aside from the fact that the entire country faces a "do, die or be ruled" situation before America has to lift a finger, I'm not sure what this notion of "not contributing to defending to America" is about.

How are they defending America?

They are first in line. America is at the end of the line, all the way across an entire ocean.

Empires have always loved buffers, no?

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, for we are underlings.
Sorry, but it's just what I think.

3. I've been to André and left unimpressed. On the other hand I loved Waku Ghin (but it's too similar every night to go back). I have a hard time imagining I'd bother with either Joel Robuchon in Singapore when I will (1) be there a limited number of days and (2) can have both in so many other cities (Vegas!).

5. I recall that after 9/11 liberals as well as conservatives expressed relief that wise adults were in charge. It does seem that nature has provided humans with the benefit of amnesia; otherwise, we wouldn't go outside, much less take risks. More recently amnesia seems to take effect much more quickly. After the financial collapse of 1929 and the Great Depression, it took a generation for the country to allow Republicans to return from exile; after the 2008 financial collapse and the Great Recession, it took less than two years. Amnesia or grace? Of course, in 1929 the country wasn't blessed with Fox News to educate them about the events of the day. According to Mr. Robins (at Cowen's link), the reason pundits today are so frequently wrong is that many of them have a background in economics rather than in history. Sure, they read history, but not the past at it was but the past as they believe it to be. Isn't it ironic that the country looks to economists to predict the future when they know so little about the past.

Personally! His chopper is already painted black for covert operations, and it would have flown him to bin Laden so he could repel down and kill bin Laden man to man.

#4 Lanchester: These jobs are dependent on the UK being a liberal, open, internationalised economy with high skill levels in particular areas. That has been the direction of travel in UK politics and economics since 1979, and both parties have pursued policies with that goal in mind.
The people in the rich parts of the country pay the taxes which support the poor parts.

It’s a system bitterly resented both by the beneficiaries and by the suppliers of the largesse.

So go most countries these days, with a different geography (If average is truly over).

But the cultural reaction might be different in different places; power distance in Britain is reported to be low (the degree to which individuals accept inequality and hierarchy over themselves), individualism and self responsibility is an important cultural value, the accruing of achievement is perceived to give life meaning, and on top of that, perhaps it's never been a society that has ever been great at depicting people with lower status with dignity.

Other places are possibly neither quite so enthusiastic about the consumer society (obtaining the sense of self worth, self esteem, identity and social status by buying products and publicly consuming those products), nor had an ongoing conflict between the industrial working class and the establishment before the transition to consumerism.

Though, one thing that gives me particular pause with this argument, is that for the regional association Lanchester proposes, the idea of an angry, disaffected periphery, is pretty damn inconsistent with data on personality -

London's the part of the country that most identifies itself as disagreeable - unfriendly, hostile, towards others, mistrusting, self centered. It's also how that part of the country is perceived. Doesn't back the idea of an angry periphery, and a comfortable, pro-social, forward looking capital. London's low in conscientiousness too - impatient, lacking in self control, impulsive - indicating a low future orientated life strategy.

With all that, you'd expect the London region to have a disproportionate share the hostile, impulsive citizens who look only to personal, immediate gain, if anywhere in the country.

(Note -

Specifically, regional Agreeableness was positively associated with median age, proportions of females, Caucasians, low-income residents, service and skilled workers, and married couples, and negatively related to the proportions of university-educated residents, high-status professionals, foreign-born residents, gay couples, as well as rates of violent crime.

"As with Agreeableness, regional Conscientiousness was positively related to age and the proportion of Caucasian residents."
In the personality data, again, the indications are that the smooth, metropolitan, high skilled, high income, high foreign born areas would tend to be the hostile, impulsive people, not the poor White areas.)

"Immigrants are high skill....immigrants are students....immigrants contribute to the economy on average...." blah blah blah

Leaving aside these questionable claims and total lack of externalities, what is it about immigration "at the margin" that so-called economists don't understand? Not every immigrant in a Chinese biomedical professor in a Cambridge unicorn. Oh, look, there's the Somalis....

This site is called marginal revolution. It might as well be called Labour Theory of Value for the way Tyler bleats on about the panacea of immigration.

These are good points, but there's a total lack of control for age and gender in the regional data.

Also "crazy-angry with political class" does obviously NOT simply map onto "(dis)agreeable on a casual basis". I think that's the first hurdle to clear.

Compartmentalisation of anger for sure. I would admit many people who are quite hostile and suspicious politically can be quite pleasant personally. I suppose it is more in contradiction to the impression I get from Lanchester's piece that the "left behind" parts of the country are suffused with generalised interpersonal hostility, anger and impulsiveness in their lives in general (rather than this being more the case in the more foreign born heavy metropole), than it shows that anger is not a more motivating political force in those places.

Brexit parts were generally poorer, so I would entirely expect some spurious correlation with impulsiveness/concientiousness and agreeableness via the OCEAN-IQ nexus.

But it's a crappy explanatory variable. There's just not much explanatory power in it. Lanchester is projecting the typical Bremainer narrative that all their opponents are irrational and suffering from false consciousness, unlike his entirely "scientific/enlightened" position which has no self interest at all, dear me!

You may have seen the same conceit in other areas of policy debate.It's all virtue signalling. Look how often the author slyly references himself and his openness/trustworthyness. Total narcissist.

I simply don't recognise this idea that people in provincial UK are seething with repressed anger at their crappy jobs. When I visit Manchester or York or Hull or even Norfolk it seems the people there are pretty happy with their lot and mostly don't really think about the metropolitan elite unless they know them from the telly. I think Lanchester is simply projecting his concerns on people.

My impression is that most of the Brexit voters were simply concerned over the lack of accountability of the EU and wanted the politicians that they did vote for to have more power.

No, no, no.

You haven't absorbed the narrative at all. It's not possibly issues of sovereignty or self-determination regardless of that pesky polling data. Us Brexiteers are all closet racists who can't so much look at a Polish plumber without falling into some antediluvian xenophobic rage. Racists, you hear? Make sure to begin each statement with a bit of even handed "There might be some Brexiteers who are not slavering racist Mosley types" before continuing to "but 95% or so of them are plainly fascists". You can add a few lines about how we all suffer from false consciousness and don't realise that cheap fruit pickers and massively overcrowded housing demand actually improve our lives. Bonus points if you can mention that immigrants are vital for our future pensions or the NHS...."the envy of the world"! But mainly....we're all racist. OK?

There. On message with Mr Lanchester :-)

yes good points M, ChrisA and Alistair. I thought the Lanchester article had some merit but was bizarrely confident in its own projected assertions. He smugly explains everything before him, why those fools voted as they did, yet doesn't even seem to have noticed how the country changed between 1997 and 2016. Some odd thing about an Overton window, as if all that changed in that time was public perception about the merit of referendum...

6 gets so much wrong. Everyone loves to point out how research labs "always fail", pointing for example to the Xerox research.

First, Xerox "invented" more than the mouse, but graphic displays, except they really didn't. Second, Jobs turning the graphic workstation he saw into Lisa, which failed just like the Xerox workstation, spawned the Mac at Apple, but also X Windows at MIT funded by DEC, IBM, and others.

These spin offs created products for desktop document and graphics which exploded the demand for low volume printing, Xerox primary business. Leading to document management. A Xerox business.

Xerox also entered into a partnership on its csma/cd research with DEC, Intel, and Metcalf a Xerox researcher, to create Ethernet as an industry standard which made computer workstation networks practical so Xerox could build network printers.

Individually, the mouse, a gui, a personal computer were largely unimportant, but combining them in a lab and putting applications on the system to demonstrate the practical applications laid out the future that Xerox would face better than its sales force could.

An aluminum company doing research into forming aluminum sheet into cans and developing new alloys does not need to bottle soda and beer in aluminum cans to profit from its research, nor even make the can extruder to go into existing filling lines which have lots in common with glass and box lines.

For Xerox to directly profit from its workstation would have required building computer hardware and software engineering, manufacturing, and sales and support divisions, or required major retraining of its sales and support employees.

The Xerox board's failure was in failing to make sure Xerox was focused on developing the products for the computer revolution that included printers in people's homes.

#5...I must be very tired, since the Goldwater and Trump statements seem quite different. Goldwater's statement is in the nature of a warning, the point being to deter the adversary from aggression, while Trump's statement seems like an invitation to agression. I think the deterent statement makes more sense, but that's just me.

Are you going to drop the bomb or not? Let us die young or let us live forever. We don't have the power but we never say never. Sorry, but it's just what I think.

Or Trump's statement could encourage the NATO members to up their military spending, which would have more deterrant affect than the status quo.

Just so people don't get me wrong, as I understand it, Goldwater did not advocate the use of tactical nuclear weapons. He advocated that it be considered, and it was, by a panel including Freeman Dyson and Steven Weinberg. The panel found no good use for nuclear weapons in Vietnam.

There's not a happy ending to this story, though. Goldwater had suggested the tactical nuclear bombs be used for deforestation. Although that idea was rejected, another weapon was used instead...napalm.

If David Chang has figured it out, hopefully he shares some of that at Momofuku.

I guess since the WSJ has a fashion section, in which they make the attempt to prescribe fashion and good taste - that the vacuous notion that "art" is something which is objective - or can be objectively defined - is so pervasive not just on the Left Coast, but on the East Coast as well. What bores. Not just Liberals who want to prescribe what we "should" like.

#5. Does anyone in NATO take mutual defense seriously? Weren't the Dutch recently going on about not resisting a Russian incursion? What would we fight them with anyway? We can't field a single major weapons system that works and we can't even handle The Taliban who control most of Afghanistan and even more now than they did 8 years ago. "Insane" just seems to be life outside a classroom for Tyler. He needs to listen to Melville: "And at first, this sort of thing is unpleasant enough. It touches one's sense of honor, particularly if you come of an old established family...And more than all, if just previous to putting your hand into the tarpot, you have been lording it as a country schoolmaster, making the tallest boys stand in awe of you. The transition is a keen one, I assure you, from a schoolmaster to a sailor, and requires a strong decoction of Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin and bear it." The world is just too blinded and arbitrary to fathom the lonely genius of a Mason economist.

Hillary and Bill took money from Russians, too.

#4 Great article! May we finally call Brexit the Marginal Revolution of the London bankers?

That Google X boasts of being 'not just a bunch of techies' and having just 50% of employees as engineers are in my opinion the biggest red flags about it.

Recommend Postcapitalism by Paul Mason.

#2 Re: David Chang and great food, anyone else find it hard to trust the rest of the article after he more or less claims to have invented Gua Bao, rather than that he merely bastardised it (in the nicest possible sense) with the duck pancakes that were better known to the West? It's a little like if you read an second generation European in China launching into his bid about about how he knows great food because he invented the chicken sandwich.

#5 "A lot of these pundits and reporters are younger, part of the Vox generation of journalism. Unlike the older generation of journalists, whose calling card was that they know how to pick up a phone and track down a lead, the signature of this younger crew is that they know their way around J-STOR.

Many of them have read the most up-to-date social science as well as the best history, from Ira Katznelson to Eric Foner and so on. Bouie, in particular, is among the most talented and learned of his generation. His articles, even when I disagree with them, are well-researched and grounded in the latest scholarship.

Yet so many of them seem to lack the most basic gut impulse of any historically minded person: if you think something is unprecedented, it’s probably not. Check your amnesia, dude."

Kids these days! Get off my lawn!

Isn't this generational mood affiliation?

Yeah, that J-STOR bit was dumb. It's like an academic making fun of people who go to the library. Which it is.

I gather he's annoyed that he had to spend umpteen thousand hours looking around for periodicals, journals, etc., when that's all done with a few taps and clicks now.

And instead of "picking up a phone and tracking down a lead", the kid these days is likely to have downloaded and consumed half the life works of the person before it ever crosses their mind that a phone call would be of any additional use.

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