Monday assorted links


#1, #2: twitter sucks for this type of thing.

Indeed, where is the first one, how many are there? Why is there other crap mixed in?

1. Does Tyler not have time to say which is which, or is he just signalling? Also, someone tell 1. and 2. to get a blog.

3. No mention of the massive government and EU subsidies for the agricultural sector, nor the EU's protected market which drives up the price of food.(It's second in the value of food exported) But it is nevertheless an impressive accomplishment, which makes it all the more idiotic that the article then claims:

"That’s because by 2050, the Earth will be home to as many as 10 billion people, up from today’s 7.5 billion. If massive increases in agricultural yield are not achieved, matched by massive decreases in the use of water and fossil fuels, a billion or more people may face starvation."

Partition a sovereign country, defend the interests of Saudi Arabia and Israel. Man, I forgot that 15/19 9-11 terrorists came from Iran! Is this the neocon turn for Tyler?

I wonder if Tyler has any thoughts on second and third order effects of well intentioned neocon projects from chicken hawks that only keep on giving.

Tyler, any thoughts on Yemen and the mass starvation and cholera epidemics from freedom loving Saudis?

You're crazier than a bug.

5. "Protestant university students increasingly studied secular subjects, especially degrees that prepared students for public sector jobs, rather than church sector-specific theology."

The public sector, or, in reality, the governing sector, took over the duties of the church. The jobs were basically the same.

"The jobs were basically the same."

Did the public sector take over the agricultural duties of the big rural monasteries? Or had those anyway dwindled away by the Reformation?

The Catholic universities weren't the equivalent of today's agricultural colleges and neither were their Protestant rivals. They didn't play football against one another, either.

This is perpetuating the myth that the graduates of medieval universities primarily went into theology and served the church. In fact, from the beginning of universities, graduates primarily served secular rulers. The most popular subject in medieval universities was law, not theology.

In fact, the trend of church-educated students serving mainly secular rulers long predates the existence of universities, as this was true during the earlier era of monastery-based schools. In fact, secular rulers in this period even recruited the smartest monks into service in their courts.

Law is the theology of the secular state.

That's a great line actually, are you quoting something? If not, can I use it?

#1: I had to go to #12 before finding one I agreed with. Not off to a good start.

OT. Anybody read the Barron's Shiller interview?

#1 - I wasted 120 seconds of eyesight looking at that nonsense. I already knew that MY literally knows nothing.

Agreed. #1, = curmudgeonly clickbait without an iota of an argument.

MY isn't old enough to be a curmudgeon.

On the other hand, I am an elderly bad-natured, surly cuss.

Glad you come by it "naturally", then.

Keep up the good work. The world needs more of this. Speaking truth to power isn't just Colbert ranting against Trump.

Respect for him saying #2. That is objectively true, and really would be a very unpopular statement among his readership.

17 needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

What is our mercenary army up to these days?

Questions you could legitimately ask in Renaissance Venice and modern America.

Washington is rolling in his grave.

#6 - Au, Ag formed by giant stars colliding, so it's true that gold is a little piece of the sun.

As for A Truth Seeker's link, it shows --BY JOVE-- that the planet Jupiter is the king of all the water in the solar system and that this H2O arose like Athena springing from the head of Zeus, fully formed, gushing forth like Poseidon's fountain in Athens, if you know your Greek mythology.

You're nuttier than a fruitcake.

Mr. Izidoro is a famous - and very reapected - Brazilian scientist.

Yellow is my favorite color.

Gray is mine.

You need to link this far more times than just twice if you want your check.

My other attempts at communication have been censored by the minions of malefactors of great wealth.

Technically gold is a little piece of someone else’s sun. And they’ve been dead for uncountable millenia.
Is that still poetic?

Why didn't you write something above the link before posting if you want people to read it.

Link dumping is lazy and bad etiquette. I am surprised anyone clicks on blind links.

"Using novel microdata, we document an unintended, first-order consequence of the Protestant Reformation: a massive reallocation of resources from religious to secular purposes. "

Unintended perhaps by Martin Luther, but the rulers of the period knew exactly what they were doing, and often said as much!

Wasn't that actually one of the driving forces of the Reformation? That the peasantry and the middle classes felt that all those gaudy cathedrals built in the 14th and 15th centuries weren't exactly the best use of scarce resources?

Monasteries were being dissolved in England before the English Reformation. Many had become feeble little parodies of their purpose.

Earlier yet the lower orders had sometimes taken direct action:

"In 1327, the Great Riot occurred, in which the local populace led an armed revolt against the Abbey. The burghers were angry at the overwhelming power, wealth and corruption of the monastery, which ran almost every aspect of local life with a view to enriching itself. The riot destroyed the main gate and a new, fortified gate was built in its stead. However, in 1381 during the Great Uprising, the Abbey was sacked and looted again. This time, the Prior was executed; his severed head was placed on a pike in the Great Market."

[WKPD on Bury St Edmunds]

Beheading was a very popular form of disapproval for a long time.

I mean at first the complaint was that the gaudy cathedrals were being built in Rome not in Germany. But this seems kind of specious because a lot of this funding was being driven by the sale of indulgences in which case who cares where the money goes you got your indulgence.

Basically if the pope had been in Mainz or some other German city the reformation probably doesn't take off.

Or it starts in Italy instead...something like it was bound to happen even if Martin Luther never did anything.

That's true but a reformation in Italy probally doesn't spread as far and as fast. The Germans are hypercompentent and in the middle of Europe. The Italians let's just say aren't either of those things.

Also German had a lot of pent up pan-Germanism whereas Italians couldn't stand each other so that aspect of the Reformation would have suffered.

---- Wasn’t that actually one of the driving forces of the Reformation? That the peasantry and the middle classes felt that all those gaudy cathedrals built in the 14th and 15th centuries weren’t exactly the best use of scarce resources? ---

No, the rising middle classes took a great deal of pride in the great cathedrals. This was a time of rising piety. The popular concern was that church officials weren't living up to proper moral standards.

"Not only can we have our OWN bibles, but we don't have to pay that fat friar in our parish every month!"

Democracy is not always bad...

#3 is really interesting. I was surprised at the scale. I wonder about the medium term implications for farm labor in the US.

They aren't really making that many veggies - its just all of the weed for Europe. in $$ it amounts to a ton of tomatoes, but lets not kid ourselves here...

Right, the Dutch work for half what Mexicans and illegals get paid in the US.

In Europe, food costs more than in the US, in large part because Europeans generally demand tastier food from the farm while in the US, the preference is for factory blends of salt, sugar, and fat. A crisp garden green leaf vs a corn chip. The choice of 15 kinds of garden green leafs vs 15 flavors and shapes of corn chips.

!3. Do you agree with the opinions, or do you agree that the opinions are unpopular?

That should be #1. Finger dyslexia.

I'd say most of the opinions are both accurate and unpopular. He's wrong on the NBA, which is boring compared to the MLB, NFL, and NHL. Coconut is good for some VERY limited things. Beaches are not always bad, but that damn sand is one hell of a cost. Discrimination affecting blacks...probably depends on who you speak it, so can't call it overrated or underrated. The US isn't better as a smaller nation because it impacts the ability to project military force quite severely.

Other than that, mostly spot-on.

5. Should we credit the Reformation with the rise of capitalism and economic development in the West? Or do I have the causation backwards? Absent Luther and Calvin we likely wouldn't be blessed with the prosperity theology and Joel Osteen and other hucksters. According to his obituary in the NYT, grand master and Roman Catholic priest Bill Lombardy left the priesthood because the Roman Catholic Church was "too concerned with amassing wealth". Fr. Lombardy missed his calling: right occupation perhaps, wrong form of Christian doctrine.

Rome, the Roman Republic wasn't the West?

Free market capitalism predates Christianity.

And debtism was either disadvantaged or punished in favor of capitalism. Islam prohibiting money lending and requiring capitalism, shared interest in the assets build with money given to the one in need of money, was far from original.

And the GOP have gone to great lengths to destroy capitalism is favor of debtism contrary to bible teaching. I'm old enough to remember when the GOP quoted bible scripture to get laws against usury and money lending. Today, the GOP favors destruction of capital and ever higher usury and debt. And conservative Christians backed Trump who favors getting rich by becoming so indebted he has all the power.

#2. Twitter makes my eyes bleed.

Does Yglesias articulate why safe spaces are 100% make sense? I haven't read a defense of safe spaces that is coherent enough to be an opinion. All I've seen is nonsensical emotion wrapped up in accusations of thought crimes for dissenters.

As a place where trauma survivors can go to get away from whatever stuff is traumatizing them, safe spaces make sense. The problem is that the concept gets abused by people who either want the "safe space" to extend to the entire campus/community, or else they are just using it as a rhetorical ploy - "Your views are so offensive that people have to go hide in this padded room to recover from the trauma of hearing them".

Yeah, I can see the usefulness of space spaces for recent trauma victims I suppose, but at least some psychologists insist that the only effective way to deal with such trauma effectively is to confront it. On this view, safe spaces may not even be good for trauma sufferers.

For the rest of us, trying to crawl back into the womb is no way to go through life.

Yup, nothing wrong with a "safe space." The "safe space," however, does not encompass an entire campus or an entire community. That's demanding the world be re-ordered for your psychological benefit. That's not a "safe space."

Can you give a real world example of this ?

Nowhere have I seen or heard of this being about spaces for literal trauma victims. Wouldn’t that be the hospital?

Instead it’s all been about college speakers or classes and safe spaces to protect people from words.

Would love to be wrong about this. No snark intended.

Trauma is one of the more abused words of our time. So is the world "abuse", now that I think about it. Let's agree that an emotional boo-boo is not really comparable to physical trauma. I mean, if you had a choice, would you take a punch in the nose over having your feelings hurt?

The obvious example is rape survivors. Not everyone wants to run to the hospital just because they become distraught after having a bad memory triggered. Some people just want a quiet room to chill out in.

#1 Pretty good, regular season NBA basketball is horrible though.

1. MY is my hero. What's most impressive about MY is the vast improvement in his ability to write a simple and clear declarative sentence. Sure, he's always been mostly right, but his ability to write has broadened his influence. I love my dog but I appreciate why MY doesn't care for dogs or the people who have them - I believe it's the latter that causes people to hate dogs. Unfortunately, most of the cheap stuff made in Asia ends up in landfills. I agree with his point about Americans being better off if America were broken up into several smaller countries, but for reasons that are likely more concrete, such as that America would be more committed to public transit (transit in such a large country seems impractical to most Americans, forgetting as they do that most trips are not across the country). I don't know if Joe Biden likes dogs, but he is a buffoon. It's strange that Americans prefer politicians that aren't particularly smart. Maybe so as not to remind them how stupid they are.

A pedestrian hero for a pedestrian man. That said I can't think of someone who more deserves a character limit than you.

America [would be better off if it] were broken up into several smaller countries, but for reasons that are likely more concrete, such as that America would be more committed to public transit (transit in such a large country seems impractical to most Americans, forgetting as they do that most trips are not across the country)

Wow. hahahahaha

wow, even for Ray.

1.22: Madrid really is better than Barcelona, but both are highly overrated compared to smaller cities with more character, but worse economic outcomes. Want to see a very different Spain than every other tourist? Visit towns north of Salamanca and west of Bilbao. Spend only a day or two on each place. If you are renting a car, eat lunch at the places the truckers and road construction workers do.

I once spent 2 days in Gijon (160 miles west to Bilbao) after crossing the Bay of Biscay for a regatta and was underwhelmed by the city. But I agree that Madrid is a much more beautiful city than Barcelona. One more reason to let the Catalan go if they wish to.

Great. Another pontificator who wants 25% of the population to determine the political fate of the other 75%...

Just because they are louder and more righteous.

By 25% I mean to refer to the actual Catalan secessionists, who may only number a quarter of the population of Catalonia.

Good. That's one more reason for Madrid to organize a referendum on independence in Catalonia. If pro-independence are only 25%, they will be routed in the referendum and the problem will go away for a generation. (But you do not support this option, apparently, since this was I suggested and that made you protest. Perhaps you do not really believe in your figure of 25%...)

"1. I agree with most (not all) of these (propositions from Matt Yglesias)."

And you start on prop 35. Makes you wonder.

I'm not that surprised. When the Presidential vote becomes for X or Not X, then X wins.

1992: Bush vs. Clinton. Actually allowed a Clinton victory, and wasn't framed as Bush vs. Not Bush.
1996: Clinton vs. Not Clinton. Clinton wins.
2000: Bush vs. Gore. Honestly close.
2004: Bush vs. Not Bush. Bush wins.
2008: Obama vs. Not Obama. Palin tried her best, but this election was All About Obama.
2012: Obama vs. Not Obama again. Obama wins.
2016: Trump vs. Not Trump. Trump wins.
2020: You've got to find a contender who's more interesting and colorful than Trump, or else it's Trump vs. Not Trump again.

Well, that's an unfortunate comment parsing.

Are the Trump, not Trump, markets open?

You're close here but I think it's more accurate to say the more charismatic candidate usually (always?) wins. Sometimes both candidates are equally (un)charismatic so then it's other factors.

This goes back even before 1992...

1952 Eisenhower more charisma than Stevenson
1956 Same
1960 Kennedy more charisma than Nixon
1964 LBJ slightly more than Goldwater
1968 This one was sort of equal
1972 Nixon a slight charisma edge here, or at worst equal
1976 Carter slight edge in charisma over Ford
1980 Reagan, enough said
1984 Same
1988 Equal charisma, slight edge to Bush
1992 Clinton more charismatic than Bush (or Perot)
1996 Clinton way more than Dole
2000 Bush more than Gore, but it was still a squeaker
2004 Bush more than Kerry
2008 Obama over McCain for sure
2012 Same vs Romney
2016 Love him or hate him, Trump is far more charismatic than Hillary

So 2020 the Dems need to at least get someone close to Trump in charisma or he will win again. This is why the Oprah type rumors may turn out true over the bland typical politicians

An Oprah v. Trump fight would be great.

I agree with the more likeable candidate winning but is it causation or just coincidence.

The fundamentals of each election pretty much favored the winner. For instance, in 2008 after an unpopular war and an October economic panic, would anyone have beaten Obama?

If it keeps happening it's gotta be more than coincidence. 'Fundamentals' are less determinative, the economy was still not good in 2012 and Obama won easy, fundamentals favored the Dems in 2000 and 2016, etc.

"fundamentals favored the Dems in 2000 and 2016, etc."
With an employment rate at 40%?!

"......., fundamentals favored the Dems in 2000 and 2016, etc"
The Dems did win in 2000 , but not in the Supreme Electoral college.

Oprah strikes me as impressively apolitical. And does she really have the stamina for a gruelling campaign ... let alone one against Trump? I don't say this to disparage Oprah. I really think she's got better things to do with her time than run for office.

But if she runs, cue the Democrats who deplored the entry into the Presidential race of a show biz type like Trump, suddenly switching gears and lauding Oprah for being "woke" or something like that.

A warped personality like John McCain promising to out-Bush Bush certainly wasn't going to.

Trump is far more charismatic than Hillary

Really? I'm not disagreeing, as I have no personal understanding of who is charismatic or not, but large numbers of people find Trump charismatic?

2008: Obama vs. Not Obama.

2008 was Republican vs not Republican

#1 I also agree with most of them. I think Matt Yglesias and Noah Smith are two moderate libertarians in denial about being libertarians.

Or ... maybe YOU are a mild leftist in denial.

The only differences between a libertarian and a mild leftist are taxes and guns.

Taxation is a huge issue. Throw in stuff like ACA, min wage, industry regulation, etc. I can see libertarians leaning politically left depending on how they rate and think about stuff like police abuse and the massive US incarceration rate, but agreement on stuff like ACA won't happen.

There's that whole free markets and regulation thing, but since the left and right switched sides on trade, maybe that one is just lost in the noise now.

Moderate libertarians arguing that socialism is compatible with capitalism?

Heh, they like public schools (socialists!) and so they want us to be Venezuela (no, something else entirely).

The numbers herein refer to the MY tweets....

1. This is a strange thing to object to.

2. To paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes on FDR, Trump may have a second-class intellect, but he has a fifth-class temperament.

5. 100% correct. Coconuts suck.

6. Very heavily depends on the beach.

10/11. I like dogs, but this is a good reason to dislike them.

18. I'd have had an easier time buying this one before Trump.

23. May be technically true, but but a poor critique of the genre. Good longform journalism is usually worth reading, and not very hard to find.

29. This is worth reiterating. We have much more pressing infrastructure issues in the US.

30. I like Joe Biden, sorry.

31. I have never been to Texas, but this strikes me as believable.

34. It strikes me as quite possible that "lame cop-out" is basically what happened in the writer's room. But it was a fantastic ending, even if it was conceived for the wrong reason.

39. In the abstract, it's a good idea, but it's abused in some quarters.

44. It's good to see that I'm not the only one who thinks this.

46. I was only there once, years ago, but was a bit non-plussed by it.

50. This should be shouted from the rooftops.

"3. How the Netherlands feeds the world.

This seems like a puff article.

For example, this is a ridiculously misleading comment.
"The global average yield of potatoes per acre is about nine tons. Van den Borne’s fields reliably produce more than 20."

It might be technically true, but if you bother to check you'll fine that the US average production of potatoes is 43,300 pounds per acre. Which is 19.7 metric tons per acre.

1.25: We are all Hoppeians now.

My unpopular opinion list
-Donald Trump's election victory was mainly about race and identity and had little to do with economic anxiety or class alienation.
-Donald Trump will probably be reelected.
-For the foreseeable future, labor shortages will be a bigger problem than unemployment created by automation.
-Most people who say they believe in God don't actually believe in God.
-God actually exists.
-Elected officials are very underpaid.
-The Government underspends on bureaucracy.
-Politicians should be less accountable to the public.
-There is a serious chance that authoritarianism would be preferable to democracy.
-The US constitution is highly overrated.
-In many cases, corporal punishments that inflict physical pain or discomfort would be a more humane and effective form of criminal punishment than confinement.
-Foreigners should be allowed to purchase US citizenship.
-Credit and debit services should be nationalized.
-There should be no government guarantee of health insurance coverage.
-Medicare and social security are bad programs.
-Popularity can contribute the the artistic merit of a creative work and, all else being equal, a popular work is better than an unpopular work.
-Creating a scholarship program that enables convicted drug dealers to attend business school would be a worthwhile philanthropic effort at least experimentally.
-Divorce and premarital sex should be more socially stigmatized than they currently are.
- In the second half of the 21st century, India will be more geopolitically and economically important than China.
-In the second half of the 21st century, the United States will be more economically and geopolitically important than India.
-Capitalism is an an intrinsically good economic system and is not merely preferable to alternatives.
-Amazon and Tesla are very overvalued.
-States should have the right to secede from the union.
-The 1927 Yankees weren't the greatest ever baseball team, not even close.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. It's just the things that popped into my head while compiling this. I'm sure that I have many additional unpopular views.

Perhaps with improved formatting, I would have read this more carefully.

Edit: good interesting stuff, thanks. Still wish it was formatted better.

I liked this one: "Capitalism is an an intrinsically good economic system and is not merely preferable to alternatives."

Me too! I like about half of them.

So who was the greatest baseball team?

In every sport that can can be objectively measured (track, swimming, ect.), athletes have gotten much better overtime. In 1953, no one had ever run a 4 minute mile. Now, the typical good college athlete can run a 4 minute mile. World records just keep getting broken. This may result from a larger pool of contenders or, perhaps, better training techniques. I'm guessing that this same pattern applies to sports that are more difficult to measure such as baseball. The 1927 Yankees probably couldn't even win a division today. So, the best team ever is probably relatively recent. The 1998 Yankees would be a strong contender. The 2016 Chicago Cubs would also have a chance at that distinction.

Good comment, concur.

Why think a President with negative approval would be elected?

An opponent merely needs to eke out 50:50.

Look at his approval numbers [not the horse race] in late October, 2016. 35% approval per Gallup, today 36%. He still won.

True, but only because his opponent's approval ratings were pretty much equally awful.

Listen to the coaches. They know.

Claiming Kirkuk is another Jerusalem seems a bit exaggerated. It is not a the location of a site of major holy significance for any religion, unlike Jerusalem, where the Old City contains such sites for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as probably the most hotly contested real estate in the world. Strong Kurdish influence there only dates to the 18th century, with Arabs, Turkmen, and especially the less numerous Assyrians all having prior claims, even if the Kurds are currently in charge.

The only thing making Kirkuk more conflictful than Jerusalem is that it has oil around it.

Interesting. It is difficult to find good reporting on the Kurdish independence movement at this time. Would they accept an independence of a smaller region, without Kirkuk? (Perhaps this depends on which faction you ask... I have no idea.)


I suspect that they would, although clearly they are going to try to hang on to Kirkuk. Just over two weeks ago I made much more detailed commentary on all this on Econospeak at .

Good read.

3. Isn't that kinda outdated alarmism? "That’s because by 2050, the Earth will be home to as many as 10 billion people, up from today’s 7.5 billion. If massive increases in agricultural yield are not achieved, matched by massive decreases in the use of water and fossil fuels, a billion or more people may face starvation." people should tell NatGeo that it's not the 1970's anymore, now the problem is Climate Change (which is actually real) not "overpopulation".

Well, about 11% of people in the world suffer from chronic under nutrition now, so without improvement we are likely to be in a similar situation when (and if) world population reaches 10 billion.

Of course, one of the greatest risks of climate change from a humans not dying point of view is the risk of massive climate related reductions in food production.

"massive climate related reductions in food production."

Is that a real concern? I thought it would improve food production in the U.S., Canada, EU which are already highly productive. Increased CO2, warmer weather, more rain in certain places...

Reduced agricultural output as a result of climate change is a pretty big concern.

All else equal increased CO2 reduces water loss in plants, which is a good thing, but all else is not equal. There are a number of problems that include increased temperatures causing heat stress in crops, higher humidity reducing plants' ability to use water, the drying out of what is currently arable land, the elimination of cold winters leading to the type of pest problems seen in tropical agriculture, the lack of productive soils outside of temperate zones, and there are probably other issues I've overlooked.

So while I hope we can improve agricultural productivity, there are challenges ahead. And they will be huge challenges unless we can limit climate change.

Developed countries are well protected against food shortages, but if the average cost of grain doubles in real terms we'll all be poorer and those who are already very poor may end up dead.

As CO2 has risen quite a bit I guess we should already have pretty good examples of these deleterious happenings, right? Truth is the world is doing fine with current levels of CO2, and will probably do well with even more.

Well, when you think about it, I guess three dead is a small price to pay for the invigorating new experience of Ireland being hit by a hurricane.

now the problem is Climate Change (which is actually real) not “overpopulation”.

That's an odd way to look at what I am assured is a most dire problem. Human industrial activity generates CO2. More human industrial activity (to feed, shelter, transport, medicate, and entertain more humans) means more CO2. It seems like a deflection from a more fundamental issue.

Re #1.34:

Most pretentious television since the Sopranos has ended by tying things together much too neatly (and I say this as a bigger fan of several such shows than of the sopranos). Given that, I'm kind of happy that the Sopranos did *anything* other than tying things together, so they get a lot of points for that in my book, even if I'm not sure it totally works.

3. No mention of the Netherland's phenomenal lock on pig poo. Grain goes down the Rhine to the Netherlands were it is fed to pigs and used to produce pork and splendid quantities of hog effluent which can then be spread agriculturally using a super duper pooper scooper. (Note: It may be sold under a different brand name in the United States.)

#3 I remember my resource economics professor Dr Weaver (URI around 1978) talking about how ridiculous the Netherlands was being with their agriculture policy. The inputs are so high that they would be much better off buying more food. I bet it's still true to some extent but they do show that the world is far from over populated. Growing Food being what we most need land for and that with more inputs we can produce probably 5 times as much per acre as current world average with just today's technology all you need is for the price of food to rise sufficiently.

BTW IMHO there is not much stupider in the world than organic growers not using Haber Bosch fertilizer.

They specialise in high value perishable foods and plants, not low value commodities. They don't really feed the world as measured by calories instead of value.

Re #5: go to Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, which ranks nations according to how corrupt their inhabitants perceive them to be. Look at the 20 least corrupt. Note how many have a first-stage (native) or second-stage (colony-parent) connection to the Reformation.

Thank you this is very usefull

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