Assorted Tuesday links


5. As I said in the Philippines thread, I think this is true stuff, that we should know, and that Larry should know we know.

The "gosh there is a different country out there" aspect seems naive, and plays into the ivory tower elites stereotype.

Maybe you are elite to get everywhere by jet(set) and not have a few road trips under your belt.

I read the Larry Summers thread you cited ( and agree with it, note a lot of people on the East coast 'should' know this stuff but don't, so it's valuable.

As for running, #5, I was averaging 14 kph over 40 minutes, which is pretty fast for a middle aged guy, but running, even on a track as I did, is hard on the feet, so I developed after a couple of years a Morton's neuroma and had to give it up for walking, which burns the same calories if you exercise 2-3x as long, and swimming, which burns about the same number of calories per hour. I also lift weights to keep my T count high, as I'm planning to have kids (I need to sleep more too, it's 2:30 AM already, wow)

It's the sort of thing we'd have written when we went back to school in August: a boy expounding naively on "What I did in my summer holidays".

And yet these people think they are entitled to run the country because we are too stupid or, at best, quaint in our stubborn attachments to family, friends, place, and traditions.

"The Best and the Brightest" should be required reading in American high schools. Hubris ...

#2 The use of Chinese "charter cities" as an example is out of place. There is a phrase in Chinese "The mountains are high and the emperor is far away." This is the principal reason they have been successful, not that they received permission at all.

#4 This was very good.

3. Lambda seems to have put a hi-tech twist on the old fashioned concept of indentured servitude.

Yeah I'm glad I'm not the only one that's sketched out by that

really indentured servitude; how so?

From the website: "Instead of paying tuition, students can agree to pay a percentage of their income after they're employed, and only if they're making more than $50k per year. If you don't find a job, or don't reach that level of income, you'll never pay a cent."

"Payment Options:
$0 + 17% income for two years
$20k up-front + no income-based repayment"

Not really indentured servitude, but nice try.

What? Indentured servitude doesn't have a two-year cost or an up-front alternative?

Does the Larry Summers article (especially his conclusion) make anyone think of Gladwell's telling of the Howard Moskowitz story?

6. OECD Carbon taxes just lower the price of fossil fuels everywhere else. The only good they do is... lower the price of fossil fuels everywhere else, which has probably already prevented tens of thousands of annual excess deaths.

Definitely. Just the other day I dug up 10,000 tonnes of brown coal in Australia's Gippsland Basin and transmitted it to Cambodia through the internet.

CaaS has come a long way.

6. Because Nordhaus was interested in properly nudging behavior and not punishing rich industrialists for being rich?

Charter schools fall under the "Material Witness" bracket, let us not forget that people are arrested all the time, under no presumption of guilt, only association. Is it not true still, however, that in a court proceeding, the jury is swayed more by a material witness then by "circumstantial evidence."?

#4 pro-tip that most of you should know by now - opening wapo or most other gated sites in a new incognito/private tab will bypass the method they use to restrict you to just a few articles a month.

I only mention because there's a backup link posted.

#2, charter cities criticism:

A really long rambling paper is a sign of lack of clear thesis, data, interpretation and conclusion.

A proper charter city would allow a certain contractually determined tribute to the host country, and a tribute to the guarantor country. The guarantor country would use force to enforce the charter in the case of interference by the host country. Given human nature, any other arrangement will fail.

#5 I personally observed my injury risk increase in my late 20s, capping my performance.

Summers overrates the Louisiana Purchase. Americans would have settled the Louisiana territory even if the purchase hadn't happened and France and the US discouraged them-- them they would have wanted an English speaking government. See: the Royal Proclaimation line of 1763, the Texas revolution of 1836 and many Indian treaties the settlers ignored.


Many people today assume that the settlement of the frontier looked something like this:

1. Army conquers territory from the natives and pacifies the area.
2. Government set up land ownership rights and legal framework.
3. Settlers move in.

For much of American history, the process looked more like:

1. Settlers move in as squatters, feuding with the natives.
2. Occasional army units are sent in.
3. Settler community grows.
4. Settlers petition for more army units.
5. Eventually the region becomes an officially organized territory on its way to statehood.
6. Army fully pacifies the region.

Governance and legal rights followed the settlers, it was not the cause of the settlement in the first place. Homesteaders in pre-industrial times would basically just go wherever they wanted to and hope nobody would stop them.

+1. Yes.

Louisiana was probably "unfeasible" for France to hold in face of contemporary demographic / strategic realities. Better to sell whilst you could.

5. MFRTA has come a long way in the last decade, there are a couple good books on it this year. For the first time, it's possible to imagine geriatric treatments that are actually likely to address key physical mechanisms of aging, something that has been very poorly understood until quite recently.

Aging experts say there has been a sea change in understanding how to slow aspects of aging over the past 15 year and that will only increase.

For now, a 2017 study showed that after 8 weeks, healthy non-obese people aged 50 to 79 walked 8% faster if they took 500 mg of NR (Nicotinamide Riboside) and showed an 8% improvement in a balance test. 250 mg didn't help. (500 mg of NR costs $2 a day.)

Yeah those are really promising... eventually we may be able to move beyond mere drugs and actually re-engineer the mitochondria to prevent long-term degradation. If cancer cells can achieve immortality, we probably can too, particularly if protein folding can someday be rapidly modeled.

Paul Romer really comes off like a Cuck here.

That Summers piece was sweet. Even before he mentioned the ex-economic provenance of the roads he took, while he was mentioning the land wasn't even ranchable, I thought, "Yeah, and that road you're on tho, thank a (real) liberal." 'Cause he's right, it's got no justifiable reason, post hoc.

It was also nice to read that people didn't care about the Kavanaugh Carnival.

6. No matter how the amount was determined, a carbon price of $40 per tonne of CO2 is enough to rapidly eliminate most fossil use where applied. Including diesel used for extraction and methane emissions it would add about 4 cents per kilowatt-hour to the price of coal power and roughly half that to gas generation. With wind power now being built for under 3 cents per kilowatt-hour and solar to be built in 2 years time coming in as low as 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour fossil fuel generation will obviously find it hard to compete. This includes existing plants with sunk capital costs.

While it won't add much to what consumers currently pay for gasoline and diesel it will speed up the transition to electrified transport. If the cost of health externalities are added to liquid fuels that would also hasten the change over.

Some methods of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering it will presumably become worthwhile at a carbon price of $40 a tonne, but I think these will be quite limited in the total quantity of CO2 removed from the atmosphere and won't have a significant effect compared to the huge reduction in fossil fuel use.

#6 Carbon taxes, especially on transportation fuels, are regressive taxes.

Do these people hate the poor and working class or what?

People endure these taxes because there is no alternative.

#4 Excellent!

From the article:

"The phrase “way of life” is, I have come to think, an idea that those concerned with political economy could usefully ponder ...

...What I saw on my trip was how many profoundly different ways of life there are within the United States. I began to understand better than I had those who live as their parents did in smaller communities closer to the land...

The United States is a remarkable place because it is an amalgam of remarkable places. Americans want to live in very different ways. Perhaps more appreciation of that on the part of those who lead our society could strengthen and unify our country at what is surely a complex and difficult moment in its history."

Summers almost gets it. Social capital is important - some people love their family and friends more than an elite career.

It's cute how Summers is getting to know the real America - after being in charge of its economy for many years.

This Tweet is pretty amusing :
"Lawrence Summers holidayed in rural America to observe the peasants and commoners up close so FT readers don’t have to"

I wonder if Larry got any on him.

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