Tuesday assorted links


"But are digital ads the core problem? "

Consider that digital ads are the core problem is the only way of trying to reconcile the two narratives "social networks are propagating racism, sexism and homophobia" and "there is much capitalist concentration in the social networks".

2. Gallup polling data is contrary to most everything Cowen and Caplan say about the public's attitude toward big business: https://news.gallup.com/poll/5248/big-business.aspx I'm not complaining about the public's much better attitude, just questioning why Cowen and Caplan have such a low opinion of the public. One question asked in the poll is which is a greater threat to the country, big business, big labor, or big government: about 25% answered big business, about 5% answered big labor, and about 67% answered big government. Anyway, look at the poll results.

Good point. I mean, who doesn't trust Boeing?

I would also add that the public responses to big business vs big government is more indicative of their attitudes. It seems as though voters are much more likely to change support for a candidate given new and scandalous information. Whereas, a consumer is unlikely to change the store that they shop from because they found out they use sweatshops to create their product.

However, that brings up another point that Cowen has made, which was in his Bloomberg article. When comparing big business to big government what are we actually comparing? CEO's to politicians? Corporations to Bureaucracies? People seem to trust their corporations and bureaucracies, a valid point that Cowen makes. They don't seem to trust people like CEO's and politicians. Government has too much 'visible personal manifestations' thus the public sees overall government as such and thus distrusts it more. So in reality, these surveys might be comparing corporations to politicians, not a fair comparison in my mind.

The existence of universal publishing will be providing problems for many years to come, have no fear.
But one specific problem, that can be roughly addressed, is the ability to turn money into votes. Without advertising, you have to rely more on your message. Restrictions on advertising are also more enforceable because there there are existing mechanisms for detecting financial collusion.
Finally, focusing on paid communication steers away from censorship based on the message itself, which is the very dangerous "turnkey dictatorship" approach to the problem.

7 -- Thank you for the (NYT) warning!

Yes, agreed. God help us if we have to read another word from that shitlib rag. All fake news, every word.


Elites consistently exhibit low opinions of the public. When they say Trump isn't qualified to be POTUS, they mean Trump voters aren't qualified to vote. And, 800 or 900 econ PhD's toiling at the Fed, FHLMC, FNMA, HUD, Treasury, etc. are smarter than 100 million market participants.

Polls are notoriously wrong, e.g., each one that disapproves the narrative and related purposely counterproductive progressive policies.

Latest Dem poll asked whether respondents preferred SCOTUS Notorious (86 year-old) RBG or Justice Kavanaugh. About 71% preferred Kavanaugh. Obviously, respondents are disqualified from answering polls.

Latest news from Professor Christine Blasey Fraud: It wasn't Brett Kavanaugh who raped her. It was Robert Barr.

Well, those low opinions are pretty accurate.

Now that the field is clear, these splendid comments rule the forum.

As a life long liberal, my only point is that either your father or your race should determine your career path

My daddy was famous, for being wrong about most things but gooder at maths.

I’m bad at maths, but I deserve hundreds of thousands of dollars per year because of my daddy. Just like ni..blacks.

Give me monies. I make community college kids read gud. My daddy smart. Give me money.

Orange man bad, give money. Money makes orange man badder.

How dare you. My students cannot do math, sure. And yes, they cannot follow logic statements. And economics to them is free everything. Teaching economics with resource constraints is Jew Trickery. Kike-ology we call it. KIKES.

BUT. Morality has nothing do with reality or logic. We want a government controlled system. A system by the proletariat is in practice moral. Even if we murder all the Jews and now Asians.

Rosser 2020 as Chief of CEA. Warren has the courage of mass murder of Jews and Yellow Orientals. Let’s do it!

This is horrific and racist. That’s not me. Google search will let my students find me.

I don’t want yellow orientals to go to college, yes. But aside from the yellow monsters, I accept Juden, blacks, and illegals.

But yellow monsters are a bad case. They make no money and go to Stuyvesant. As my closet homosexual (sub, S&M style) daddy Barkley Senior said, or choked with something in his mouth, better to blow a thousand brown penises than let a chink into Yale.


this is a vicious thread and should be deleted asap

like, Lord of the Flies vicious.

#7: I agree with Tyler's take. If the problem is the spread of "dangerous misinformation and hate speech" which erode "shared values and norms," the problem is a lot bigger than Facebook and Google (Google? The company that failed at social media? Why are they even in the discussion?). The problem is the internet as a whole. Taxing digital advertising isn't going to fix that.

>The problem is the internet as a whole.

If Romer is right*, then it's bigger than the Internet. It's ad driven media, whether Internet, dead-tree, or the airwaves. They all require engagement, which of course, is driven by the 'if it leads, it bleeds' mentality that seems to so concern Mr. Romer.

*his opening line about "commons of shared values and norms on which democracy depends" is classic Civic Nationalist /pun

+1, this is just an acceleration of that trend. The parts of the internet that escape this dynamic can be very pleasant.

Perhaps the real problem is simply that there are people out there disagreeing with Paul Romer and he's powerless to do anything about it.

Yes, people like Romer don't like it when others disagree with them. Suddenly it occurs to them that we need censorship. After all, the first amendment doesn't mean all speech is free - some speech is more free than others.

People are suspicious of big business?

Why? Big business is not shy - ExxonMobil or Philip Morris have been funding a wide variety of people extolling whatever it is that such companies want them to extol.

And it isn't a company's fault when someone like a rocket scientist fails to tell the truth about their funding, right?

#7 It's the advertising. It's the advertising industry. It's advertising's efficacy (or lack thereof depending on who you talk to). It's the advertising economy. Digital, print, televised...whatever. I don't care what anyone else says, public relations is not a product, and it's health, while measurable, does not denote a healthy economy in general.

Far far too much of our global economy is dependent on the capturers and disseminators of BS while producing little in the way of physical and tangible increases in quality of life, and it will end some day.

" When they say Trump isn't qualified to be POTUS, they mean Trump voters aren't qualified to vote."

That doesn't follow. There were serious issues with Hilary Clinton and Trump made enough promises to get some voters to take a chance, and some people genuinely support a party, as Samuel Johnson said "I can see that a man may do right to stick to a party," said he; "that is to say, he is a Whig, or he is a Tory, and he thinks one of those parties upon the whole the best, and that to make it prevail, it must be generally supported, though, in particulars, it may be wrong. He takes its faggot of principles, in which there are fewer rotten sticks than in the other, though some rotten sticks to be sure; and they cannot be well separated." On the other hand, the fact that some people voted for Trump and defend him doesn't persuade me that he isn't a horse's ass. I'm still checking his first 100 Days Contract/ Promise list to see how he's doing. I can't wait for him to start fighting for term limits. Johnson went on to say the following, "But, to blind one's self to one man, or one set of men (who may be right to-day and wrong to-morrow), without any general preference of system, I must disapprove." Trump doesn't have a system. He's a brand.

Trump's brand is saving us from the ruin of Barack Hussein Obama, and I heartily approve. The re-election will be glorious.

Not me.

DP: "He's a brand." Reminds of when President Lincoln was told General U. S. Grant drinks (gasp) whiskey. Lincoln asked "What brand? I'll send it to all my generals." If it works, do it.

DP: Ya' think? Samuel Johnson would disapprove of 4.2% GDP growth vs. 1.0%; or the 0.4% the EU gets?

Or, would disapprove of working to stop China from stealing US IP and dumping on the US? Or, actually doing something about NK nukes?

I am hugely happy with his nominations of rational federal judges. One of Trump's most successful in-kind campaign donations was when that liberal judge (probably citing precedent from Dr. Seuss or French law) ruined them Christian bakers for declining to bake a gay wedding cake.

As I wrote, your left-wing "brand" seems to us unwashed, unqualified to vote low lifes "purposely counterproductive."

Now, I'm off to buy another box of bullets.

Nice try, idiot liberal (redundant). Although you are right about my need for more bullets.

Not going to say how I used the ones I had, but let's just say there won't be as many left-wing low lifes voting next year in my town (if you get my meaning).

I'm with you, Dick.

Dick, You took the opportunity run far afield, but I must point out that in no way did you provide any coherent argument for your assertion that people who think Trump is an immoral imbecile must believe that anyone who votes for him or supports him must be an immoral imbecile. It doesn't follow logically, you provide zero evidence to support your claim, and I've told you that I certainly don't think that. Try and stay on point.

"Or, actually doing something about NK nukes?"
Have we already started doing something?

First thing we do, let's kill all the tax cuts.

#7...I find the proposal interesting.

I think his point is that taxing targeted ads will have beneficial indirect effects by encouraging a shift in business model. The progressivity of the proposed tax would disincentive consolidation. Insofar as these firms are incentivized to hoover up personal information because it allows them to profitably sell targeted ads, a switch to another business model would lead to incentives more aligned with personal privacy protections.

As to the spread of hate speech, misinformation, etc., it seems possible that reduced consolidation would be helpful (but the reverse could be true as well if social media fractures into even more intense echo chambers).

There's also possibly a third order effect. If targeted ads are taxed heavily enough, then social media loses its comparative advantage vis-a-vis untargeted advertising by more traditional media. So, maybe, this funnels more dollars to more trustworthy outlets (pick whatever you think those are) who then can compete better against social media disinformation.

7. No, the problem isn't the platform companies (Facebook, Google, etc.) that harvest user information to sell targeted digital ads, the problem is the users who place an exceptionally low value on their privacy. I've come to appreciate why Leo Strauss had such a low opinion of liberal democracy: it produced the worst monster of the 20th century. Critics of Strauss have argued that his disdain for liberal democracy is proof of his sympathy for Nazism (see, e.g., William Altman). Others have not gone so far, and have argued that his disdain for liberal democracy is merely proof of his preference for fascism, or authoritarianism, and so on down the line depending on one's fondness or disdain for the man himself. Which brings me back to platform companies and Romer's proposal to impose a tax to induce the platform companies to stop doing what almost all of their users prefer, which is a "free" service in return for giving up the users' privacy. If Strauss were alive today, he'd probably roll his eyes and ask: "Do we really want to let the dolts who would sacrifice their own privacy for "free" social media to decide what government or kind of government is to rule over us?"

It's common down here for a certain sort of entrepreneurial type, at least in terms of showmanship, to go into the church business. At first they might rent space in a local school, or meet in people's homes. ('Cuz Living Rock doesn't do that staid denominational thing!) Before long they're "called" to build a facility on a choice piece of land. At that point they kinda seem to be in the "venue" business, maybe also a coffee shop, bookstore, youth camps. It would be no bad thing if the tax-exemption for these people went away, or they had to join the ranks of other non-profits, if non-profit they are.

But then, if religion lost its tax status, how would we know who the bogeymen were, in these disputes, if they were seen as political instead of religious? Is a wedding planner who doesn't wish to participate in a gay wedding (or whatever the next frontier is) really in such a different category from some entity that resolves not to do business with companies with ties to Israel?

Or maybe these disputes would lose the power they have of sucking up air, getting lawyers paid, and inclining the government to write more laws. Maybe the offending hobby store or Chick Filet or cookie-bouquet business could simply be subject to a boycott, like Israel. Let there be dueling boycotts.

There is no "tragedy of the commons" in social media. They are privately owned platforms that allow open debate within a very wide range. I am not sure why this is a public policy problem in a country with long and rich traditions of freedom of conscience and speech. Romer seems disappointed only in that editorial opinions must now make their own way in a true marketplace of ideas, and his comfy notions and Megaphone Holder-status aren't doing so well in it.

The privacy issues can be very easily addressed - don't spy on your users - and if you do, it's a million dollars per user per day. Of course, that's not what Romer is really concerned about, which is why it's the solution he doesn't propose.

Libertarians make these deflections in other areas. They argue about a 'tragedy of the commons,' but insist the government maintain the borders as precisely that. They urge the untrammeled operation of the supply-demand curve and freedom to fail in all markets, except the markets for sovereign debt, student loans and CDO's.

Much more of this, and I just might start questioning whether libertarian economists are arguing in good faith.

"Libertarians make these deflections in other areas. They argue about a 'tragedy of the commons,' but insist the government maintain the borders as precisely that. They urge the untrammeled operation of the supply-demand curve and freedom to fail in all markets, except the markets for sovereign debt, student loans and CDO's."

Lol, wut?

It was a period of abstinence in America, Vietnam had ended and steel was still profitable, in 1984 the Raiders beat the Redskins and Apple introduced the Macintosh. Cocaine took off, politics took a back seat, the shade of sunglasses set in, and taxes were cut across the board so by the end of the decade, the Bolivar experienced eighty-four percent inflation. I knew the wave was crashing too as my advertising career subverted to the confabulated rise of music videos and streaming television. For a short while, I enjoyed the poolhalls and small cars in New York, then the chicken wings and pantsuits in Chicago.

"Romer seems disappointed only in that editorial opinions must now make their own way in a true marketplace of ideas, and his comfy notions and Megaphone Holder-status aren't doing so well in it."


1) Non-gated here:

"These schools share a set of practices that includes high expectations, strict discipline,
increased time in school, frequent teacher feedback, high-intensity tutoring, and data-driven instruction. Evidence based on randomized admission lotteries shows that No Excuses charter schools generate test score gains large enough to close racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps in a short time, "

So, they are just being "old fashioned".

Sounds awful. Like paradise for bureaucrats and other control freaks.

You're certainly welcome to open your own charter school and show that you can generate superior results.

I guess old fashioned approaches are the only way to get good results on old fashion standardized tests.

Romer has a pretty unique way of writing. He can be (almost extremely) rude to who ever he is arguing against (search his blog for Lucas or Prescott) while tearing apart their points.

I especially liked the last question in the FAQ and his response, straight and to the point.

I just have different values to him on this topic. That said I feel that I have learnt a lot from his work on economic growth and other topics. A well deserved Nobel!

#7: Doesn't this just make it more attractive to fb to sell the data on to ad vendors who'll bear the cost? It seems Romer's proposal suggests that ad-funding would push fb totally away from free services, but would they not simply accept this as a cost of doing business?

#2 Let's see. Caplan claims we don't hate government and churches despite their shortcomings like we hate large corporations. He provides no proof.

Large corporations have certainly made a lot of people richer. But not without drawbacks.

What you have to remember is if power gets too concentrated, ordinary, less powerful people will pay the price. If, in fact, it's true that people hate large corporations, maybe these corporations have given them good reason.

2008 Banks get bailed out despite their corrupt practices. Homeowners do not.

2017 Corporations get huge tax cut.

Unions get busted.

Employees can no longer bring class action law suits.

Tax laws are written so large multinational corporations can escape taxes almost everywhere.

Military suppliers encourage wars. (See Eric Prince)

The new NAFTA agreement has a special deal for pharmaceutical companies built into it.

Other trade agreements allow secret courts so that corporations can enforce their will on countries.

Copyrights now last over one hundred years. Over 100 YEARS!

Net neutrality has died, or is in intensive care.

This list is just off the top of my head. With a little bit of work I could add a lot more.

Too much power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is no exception for corporations.

2008 Banks get bailed out despite their corrupt practices.

No, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, and some portions of the auto industry were bailed out. The banks received bridge loans which they paid back, for the most part within two or three years.

FNMA, Freddie have more than paid back their "bridge loans." Way more.

And ... at the time, we didn't know the banks were getting "bridge loans." When Hank Paulsen called in the big banks and handed them each a check for $25 billion, he didn't call it a "bridge loan."

Did the foreclosed home owners receive bridge loans????????

HARP and other programs did exist. Also, super low interest rates for borrowers helped consumers...But yeah, I think handing out money to taxpayers would have been better.

Didn't they also get to sell the CDOs and other derivatives to the Fed at a book value well above market value (i.e., illiquid)? Open to correction on this.

Military suppliers encourage wars. (See Eric Prince)

LOL. Numerous blatant propagandists prominently employed by media and think tanks who never saw a war they didn't love and you choose a merc company that's a blip in the whole stew and would quietly cease operations if governments took their SF back in-house. Not to mention multinational corporations like Raytheon et al.

Erik Prince! That's like blaming 7-11 for global warming.

The only real problems in your list are caused by government granting indefinite monopolies (pharma, copyright), or using tax payer dollars for stupid things (war). Eric Prince engenders outsized attention and hatred for no real reason. And no, it wasn’t outsourcing special ops. It was outsourcing low skill security and escort operations.

Union legislation needs to be scrapped entirely. It’s a lagging indicator anyways.

“It’s raining because the ground is wet.” No, it’s not.

The decline in unions followed both the decline in American heavy manufacturing and the decline in labor intensity of what manufacturing remained.

2) Praise for The Myth of Capitalism, Jonathan Tepper:

"'Capitalism without competition is not capitalism,' writes Jonathan Tepper in The Myth of Capitalism. He is right. After decades when most economists dismissed antitrust actions as superfluous so long as consumers were not the victims of price-gouging, we are slowly waking up to the reality that monopoly capitalism is back — and it can be harmful even if its core products (as in the case of Google and Facebook) are free. But it's not just Big Tech that's killing competition. As Tepper shows in this engagingly written polemic, there's also excessive concentration in air travel, banking, beef, beer, health insurance, Internet access, and even the funeral industry. If you want to understand the real cause of rising inequality, discard Piketty and read Tepper instead. This is a tract for the times with a rare bipartisan appeal."
—Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and author of The Ascent of Money

"Tepper and Hearn have written an impressive and important book, documenting via their own research and that of many scholars, the very substantial increase in concentration on the supply side of US industry, leading to a decline in competition and a substantial shift in market and political power away from consumers and labor and toward the owners of capital. The consequences extend to rising inequality, slowing productivity growth, and shifts in the pattern of regulation in favor of corporations. Pieces of these growth patterns have been described before. But this book uniquely pulls it all together. One hopes that it will have the impact that it clearly deserves."
—Michael Spence, Economics professor at Stern School of Business NYU, Nobel Prize in Economics (2001)

"What's wrong with American capitalism today? Why is it so good for the elite, and so bad for everyone else? Is inequality the problem? Tepper and Hearn make the case that inequality is the symptom, not the disease. The problem is too little competition, not too much. They provide an immensely readable and persuasive account, superbly well-informed by a mass of recent data and research."
—Sir Angus Deaton, Princeton University, Nobel Prize in Economics (2015)

"A broad-ranging and deeply-researched analysis of the inexorable growth of monopolies and oligopolies over the past four decades. Tepper makes a compelling case that the government's failure to reign in tech titans and other corporate behemoths is at the root of perhaps the most troubling macroeconomic trends of our time, including rising inequality and slowing productivity. Clear and highly accessible, the book takes no prisoners, arguing that monopolists' funding and sloppy thinking has corrupted every aspect of the system, from politicians to regulators to academics."
—Kenneth Rogoff, Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, author of the bestselling book, This Time is Different [SNIP]

But who cares about monopolies, oligopolies and lack of choice?

Send in Bryan Caplan, another hapless economist who's never held a real job.

March of the Eunuchs!

7. NO! In order to prevent the formation of a joint venture between Big Tech and Big Brother, all revenues resulting from taxing advertising income should be shared out among all those who provide the data to be exploited, namely we the citizens.

Sbp auto an Aluminium washers manufacturer and also provides copper washer manufacturer in India…..

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