Monday assorted links


Nevada has big population growth, with a lot of retirees and poor people fleeing higher-cost states like California.

More capita, not much more production.

Can anyone name the best states for those seeking complacent but working lifestyles? Nevada and Delaware look promising.

Nevada has big population growth, with a lot of retirees and poor people fleeing higher-cost states like CONNECTICUT

1. Run down the list and look at what their specialties are.

a. There are no political theoreticians

b. There are no areal specialists in the Far East, India, MENA, or Europe, nor any students of comparative politics who do research there (bar one who has made some field trips but done no publication).

c. The only IR specialist works in the screwball redoubt of 'peace studies'.

d. Every last one includes the status of women in their objects of research and for most of them it's their primary object.

IOW, the American Political Science Association has just turned the gatekeeping function of it's primary journal over to a committee of SJWs. There is not one exception on the list. If that isn't an indicator that political science is now as corrupted as sociology, I don't know what is.

I came to the same conclusions just by looking at the photo.

"Go woke, go broke"?

It might be wise to not focus entirely on Critical-Studies-Related content for your ... political science review?

But, hey, it's not like PoliSci is a serious field or a real science anyway*.

(* I kid. A little. About the first part.)


Are we supposed to be celebrating this?

Yay! Not!

The source of this postmodern, sjw bullsh*t is academia. We need to cut off the oxygen to this cancerous monster.
We can start by reducing public funding to "public" universities and then tax the endowments of the private institutions.

This monster needs to be killed

In an era where 90% of workers must compete in a global and increasingly commoditized labor marketplace, it's preposterous that these tenured zmps get paid to foment their braindead bile on students. Refund them.

Well, if some bold male wants to fight this dragon, he can file a discrimination lawsuit. It is obvious that women are overrepresented and that they have objectively inferior qualifications. The more they flap their gums about Team Gurlz, the greater the chance they'll be found guilty.

One more observation: none of them have any research worth reading. But I guess it's better to have irrelevant "scholars" doing the gatekeeping than occupying the time of people who do research that is actually worth reading (it's not as if they couldn't have found 12 good female scholars in the field).

#3 So that is it: totalitarianism and death marches are great. We, Americans, should be more like Asians.

3. “I’ve always had highly libertarian instincts, for both pragmatic and ideological reasons. You say civilians should be able to own rocket launchers, I demand that these rocket launchers not face a sales tax.”
I smell a rat - this statement is such a caricature of libertarian views that I doubt his credibility.

1. Whoop-de-doo. Most likely means the journal is irrelevant.

it's self-deprecation, it's something humans do sometimes

I read a little further than Rich, and I still smell a rat.

I read some and scanned some to the end. He didn’t need much convincing and AFAICT, he raised few objections. Sort of a Will Wilkinson type.

You don't know how right you are. Or maybe you do. This basic theme is the new Niskanen Center hobby horse. They just released a new thing about it on Friday and they've been trolling people on social media to promote it.

Way back when Friedman wrote "The World is Flat" he noted some insane number of Chinese engineering graduates per year. I remember that people scoffed and said "those are more like trade schools and not real engineers." That was 2005. Now, in 2019 people are starting to say "oh no, Chinese tech supremacy!"

That's a heck of a return on investment.

It's still an investment US libertarians don't want to make.

Besides education, China supplied cheap electric power to industry. Those two are really enough. Though of course there was an environmental cost in their massive coal infrastructure.

We could do better, with free STEM training, and draping the hills with solar panels (now the cheapest incremental addition to many electricity generation portfolios).

In order for free stem training to have a meaningful impact, you have to assume that there are a bunch of people out there who would like to study those subjects but can't because it's cost prohibitive. Seems dubious, in a country with a roughly 50% college completion rates, like the US.

Partially, but also there are STEM capable students choosing majors with less personal and national ROI.


Should we be producing fewer STEM graduates as a percentage, than Belgium?

Why not? You know Flanders is a hot-bed for innovation, right?

I don't know how many we "should" be producing; the question is whether your preferred policy of making tuition free will produce the outcome you desire. I'm suggesting it won't, and in response, you're presenting irrelevancies. Somehow I'm not surprised.

BTW, from Stephen Jay Gould:

"I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops."

I just wanted to throw a little turd in this punch bowl.

Why are we so obsessed with STEM? Everyone should study finance and get their MBAs so we can high frequency trade our derivatives to national prosperity. Biology majors make really good cappuccinos.

I'm fine with anything that shows high ROI, but my suspicion is that scooter ridesharing etc. shows that we have more finance than real innovation right now.

It's kind of bad that dumb ideas are so well funded.

#4 The most surefire way thus far proven to enter the middle-class in the USA is via home ownership and starting your own business.

I remember listening to an "All Things Considered" on NPR years ago (when NPR was still tolerable) and Robert Reich (I think...) said pretty much the same thing while adding that for most black Americans it was more focused on government employment as a way to enter the middle class.

Business ownership and home ownership, success in which leads to compounding capital effects in education, re-investment and inheritance. The chart in the link doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

Wrong! You buy a house AFTER you have wealth and high income, not as a means to attain wealth. Doing otherwise isn't investing, it's gambling. And it creates enormous moral hazard.

Robert Reich is an imbicile. Nearly everything he says about economics and finance is wrong.

Imbecile. My typo.

Who would you recommend reading instead? I found his discussion on the affects of regulations on the free market to be refreshing.


Reich is a Marxist conclusion seeking sophistic confirming evidence that can easily fool leftist economic illiterates.

I could write a Reich speech during an average toidy with generous heaps of greed, dignity, income inequality, fairness, workplace democracy, and all the other communist buzzword bingo terms.


Between this and the all-caps I can practically see the spittle flying as you hyperventilate. Relax. Contradicting common sense is bad enough—you don’t need to do it while having a fit.

>You buy a house AFTER you have wealth and high income, not as a means to attain wealth. Doing otherwise isn't investing, it's gambling.

This is singularly one of the least educated statements I’ve ever seen made about household economics.

Houses are good investments. Rates of return on long-term home ownership are excellent and land value is quite stable.

Young families buy houses before they reach prime earning potential, and often trade up as their income grows, because the ROI is better with greater investment and credit, among other benefits. The managed asset grows in value and provides a significant advantage to family wealth approaching retirement.

Anyone who has even a small amount of experience in managing household wealth can understand this.

All caps, as in the ONE WORD that I capitalized for emphasis in the absence of bold or italics? You're hysterical.

Wrong again. A house is a consumption good. You buy it to live in. It has some investment-like characteristics that are highly speculative. It is precisely people like you who see houses as investments that caused the Great Recession. The gambling was all leveraged, irrational, highly risky, and loaded with moral hazard. It was a government fueled bubble. Paying 50% of your income in PITI and praying for re-fi opportunities on a house you can't really afford is retarded.

I manage investment portfolios for a living, and I've had phenomenal results. I dont give advice on par with the real estate investors who advertise for interns with yard signs on parkway medians.

Real estate is a decent alternative investment for someone who already has substantial income, risk free portfolio, and diversified equity portfolio.

Owner occupied commercial real estate crashed hard in the GR from people gambling with both their business income and property appreciation tied together.

Nobody needs to 'enter the middle class'. There's nothing wrong with being working class, and, in fact, most people are. And there's nothing inherently wrong with rental housing, either.

Our real problem is that political class in this country allows the lumpenproletariat to ruin important components of the common life in metropolitan areas. They isolate themselves from consequences and then have the audacity to impugn the character of impecunious wage-earners who pay the price. Call it 'arthurgarrityism'.

We might also benefit from simplifying the modes of common provision, and excising some of the perverse incentives incorporated within them.

3. Fiction sells, especially in libertarian circles. Hobart takes the ahistorical, and fiction, to new heights. Hobart does not present an accurate account of the China miracle; indeed, it's a highly misleading account. For example, he doesn't even mention that China owes the miracle to western (meaning U.S.) companies that were willing to shift production to China, the sina qua non of the China miracle. He doesn't mention the corresponding de-industrialization of the west, the meager resources invested in productive capital in the west, the redirection of resources in the west to so-called tech, to entertainment, advertising, and surveillance. He doesn't mention the enormous resources invested in China's infrastructure, in 21st century transportation, while the west's infrastructure deteriorated and its transportation network is more 19th century than 21st century. The China miracle didn't just happen: the west made it happen. Hobart's prescription: bring industrial production back. I suppose Trump could not have said it better. And it would be no less useless.

Not to mention American schools that educated their brightest students.


Was listening to a commentary by a Chinese bureaucrat about the current trade war. He said that if China wins this trade war, Harvard is well worth the money.

Did we read the same article? Hobart’s prescription wasn’t to bring back manufacturing, it was merely to stop what we have left from moving overseas.

It is not enough to shift production overseas. You have to climb up the economic ladder from low end goods to higher end goods. This is what separates China, South Korea, and Japan from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and others. If your economy never graduates from making textiles to say making computer memory, you still remain poor.

What are the bridge products between tee shirts and computer memory that make sense for Bangladesh or Pakistan? Asking seriously, so don’t say “Khan’s nuke technology “, lol.

Maybe electronics assembly as in Vietnam, etc? Car assembly under license?

1. Acceptance and rejection will now be based on A) leftist political orthodoxy and B) the time of the month.

#1 If all males groups lack diversity and are hence bad, then all female ones are bad as well.

Umm, no sweetie, all male groups are bad because they are hotbeds of toxic masculinity that can only be broken up with diversity, while all female groups are inherently committed to dismantling systems of oppression and repression.

The inability to distinguish sincerity from sarcasm in an idea is a reliable indicator of really bad ideas.

Lol! That's good! You are either sarcastic and funny or sincere and accidentally funny.

I'm pretty sure he's serious.

If one disagrees with them one is an oppressor, a puritan, a racist, a fascist, a devil-worshipper, etc.

It seems as if no public policy can be discussed in a hate-free forum.

Maybe these women will be different: they all will agree on everything.

Patton said, "if everybody agrees, something is wrong." But, he was an oppressor and uber toxic male.

He's being sarcastic. I know because I used to do it (inspired by A Modest Proposal). No one could tell sarcasm from reality, or to put it another way, there is no difference, so I stopped doing it. Now I'm all about literality and seriousness.

But that's no fun.

With only two of ten members being WOC, this board is clearly using the journal as a platform for advancing systemic white nationalism.

It's actually just two WOC out of 12 -- the photo in Tyler's link helps them look more diverse (2 out of 7) than they really are.

Of course a couple of men might add some true diversity to the ranks, but they'd probably dominate the meetings and start mansplaining stuff, grill some steaks, who the hell knows

How many non lesbos you see? I would ony bonik like, 1 maybe. So probably all of them!

You oppressor!

How many are members of the trans community? They're a bunch of cissexists.

Yea, we need new terminology. Maybe:
1) little-d diverse vs big-D Diverse?
2) classically diverse?
3) paleo-diverse vs. neo-diverse?
4) multi-factor diversity vs. single-factor diversity?
5) cross-tribal?

#4 - " . . . and the subsequent sharp tightening of lending standards on black households . . ."

Seriously? Mortgage originators only tightened underwriting on black households? Are all black households subprime credit?

I'm so old. I remember the notorious Obama/Citibank Litigation (one element of a nation-wide anti-redlining campaign); See "The Daily Caller", 9/3/2012, Neil Munro.

The landmark 1995 court decision required Citibank to grant loans to 186 Obama, low-to-moderate income clients. After the 2007 bust, half of them went bankrupt and/or lost the homes to foreclosure. Today only 19 remain in their homes.

The run-up to the 2008 catastrophe involved subprime, residential mortgage loans, which by 2005 had risen to 20% of US residential mortgage loans from 5% in 1995. One could suggest the 2008 global financial disaster was caused, in part, by the Community Reinvestment Act (enforced loans to "low-to-moderate income" borrowers) on steroids.

My wording was poor. I meant that standards have been tightened in general and this has had a sharper effect on black ownership.

I was thinking the same after more thought.

The "tightened" standards today are much closer to traditional four-C lending standards of decades past. These standards ensured bank safety and didnt seek social justice objectives.

The fact is, our government supremely screwed a lot of minorities in the name of helping them. Do we really think that 70% of households face conditions with a favorable Buy vs Rent decision, especially segments of the population with higher unemployment, more cyclical jobs, less wealth, less income, lower credit scores and less education?

This is really the core issue with today's economy. So many people, including policymakers in important positions, believe what you just wrote. In hindsight, sources such as the Survey of Consumer Finances show that literally none of the things you just typed are true.

Wealth. I'll give you wealth. There probably was a bit of a shift toward new home buyers with less wealth. You might have gotten one right.

Again, I do this successfully for a living and you are just asserting the opposite of what I say like a pissant.

Our economy and markets have become hotbeds of debt, instability, and stupid management fomented by moronic political objectives.

It is an empirical fact that low tier houses had the largest percentage gains in value and subsequently the largest losses. It is an empirical fact that minorities suffered higher rates of nonperforming loans, foreclosure and short sales. It is a fact that minorities disproportionately CHOSE loans with high-priced affordability features even when they qualified for better terms.

Most of them should never have bought a house. If they had followed time-honored advice, they wouldn't have.

As for wealth, the risky model before the GR was to use home price appreciation to finance the next, larger, more expensive home. When the housing market collapsed, they had finally rolled craps parlaying their whole bankroll. This is the decline in wealth you are seeing. Trillions in wealth evaporated. But it was vapor wealth to begin with.

I don't normally put this much effort into arguing with blog commenters, but just to be a pissant, I wrote a book detailing how your assertions are wrong.

3. What facile gibberish. China has MASSIVE amounts of labor and natural resources. Their economy was dismally underdeveloped, saddled by decades of communism and millenia of autocracy.

There was no "miracle." They merely became somewhat less oppressive than they had previously been and grew rapidly from a low base.

Economic growth in China isn't remarkable. What's remarkable is why they took 5000 years to do it.

What's remarkable is why they took 5000 years to do it.

The family is the basis of Chinese society and is highly cohesive, too cohesive to readily adopt innovations not originating among relations. Late 19th and early 20th Chinese society had little cohesion, and was described as dry sand. Today's Chinese education teaches the disadvantages of that perspective and the hard lessons learned. The Japanese who are more racially homogeneous are more nationally cohesive and less family cohesive. Northern Europeans are more community and less family oriented. The phrase, "It takes a village." doesn't resonate naturally with the Chinese. A Chinese village is to be economically exploited by its members.

That's interesting and far outside my knowledge base. I'm surprised to hear that Northern European families are less family oriented. I'm sure you have some empirical basis, but that isnt in my experience of my or my wife's families from Poland and Lithuania.

I was reading about Indo European languages yesterday and I'm quite certain that other cultural norms like families, food, social mores, music, art, etc. carried with language. China had a distinct lingual and cultural evolution. Both China and Japan were highly nationalistic and xenophobic. Same thing that sank the Spartans. Asians carry deep seated racism to this day.

The one child policy killed family cohesion in China, and it has had an effect on culture and behavior. More and more twenty-something year old Chinese college graduates likely have four living grandparents and two lower-middle class parents who are dependent on them, or will be eventually. The family was a source of funds and investment for him growing up, but they likely planned that investment up until college graduation and not much past that (an acquaintance of mind just took out a 300,000 RMB loan to pay for a bribe to the admissions officer at a top Shanghai middle school). College graduation is the start of the reverse of money flows. Family provides him with very little social capital - no siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles. The type of family network you still see operating in Hong Kong and Taiwan has collapsed to the point of irrelevancy in the PRC. Your social network, support network, etc is going to be 95% outside the family.

A common result is that these guys take a job anywhere they can, across the country if necessary, and they throw themselves at company work with a passion. Friends, former classmates, etc. give you companionship and to some extent a network, but they don't give you a ROLE, the feeling of being needed and having a purpose. The company gives you that. Oh and you have an increasingly financially dependent group of parents/grandparents that are going to be sucking up more and more of your cash, so that's another reason to work your ass off.

As a result, you have incredibly motivated and mobile talent. This is driving a lot of incredible progress at Chinese tech companies in particular.

The downsides, of course, are well-known. My guess is that China will be the first country to deal with the problem of aging through some sort of (to the West) morally abhorrent policy involving unnatural premature death. But that's pure speculation...

We read a study about Chinese families in NYC when I was at university. According to the study, which was already old in 1982, the primary bond in Chinese culture was between brothers (no mention of sisters). Clearly, the one child policy would have demolished that cultural practice in a generation or two.

There was an extensive discussion of Chinese immigrant seamstresses in NY. They would bring their children to work so they could study. Education was highly valued by these women. In the main, according to the study, they were frugal except wrt food, which they considered an investment in health and intelligence and prepared their children to receive an education. All their energies were focused on their children - an investment in human capital.

I think the return on investment was pretty good.

As an aside, I really loved all those anthropological studies - one to a little book. I wish I saved all those little books. I was a math/ CS double major but I took anthro classes for fun. It delayed my graduation and cost me money, but I would do it again.

#2: legalization of gambling in other states taking a bite out of the Vegas economy?

#4: Not sure about this. Erdmann seems to be arguing that lending standards are too high right now, which seems akin to arguing that the rent is too damn high. Too high compared to what?

4. Home ownership is a poor government target for reasons that became obvious in the Great Recession. Not everyone satisfies the criteria for ownership in the rational buy vs rent decision. The lower your income and wealth, the less likely that buy wins. The more cyclical your employment, the greater your risk.

Expanding home ownership was part of a reckless leftist cart before the horse mentality that their presidential candidates still believe to this day: buy it and wealth will come. Banking on house price appreciation is catastrophically stupid. It should be "nice if it happens." House prices must appreciate like 4 to 5% just to break even, and in high tax, high cost states this is even higher.

Reynold's Law: The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

It’s the Left’s common Cargo Cult mentality. Some weak simulation of form will magically create function.

Their belief in Cargo Cult magic explains a lot of current problems.

Expanding home ownership was part of a reckless leftist cart before the horse mentality

You're forgetting the part where republicans figured that since home owners tend to vote republican if they increased the number of home owners they'd increase the number of republican voters. That's why George W. Bush was moving heaven and earth to try and get as many people into their own home as possible.

True. Everybody was making so much money.

The GOP was equally as guilty of inflating the subprime housing bubble. In fact, GWBush's gang of RINO's fired quickly the one cabinet secretary (John Snow?) that sounded a late warning.

The establishment GOP (think Bushes, Flake, McCain, Romney, Ryan, Boehner, et al) is indistinguishable from dastardly democrats.

True that Bush did this too...

In continuation of Clinton's National Housing Strategy.

Bush's ill favored Ownership Society was cynically aimed at the Hispanic vote.

>House prices must appreciate like 4 to 5% just to break even

Facially wrong thinking after a moment’s consideration, even if you’re correct that enforcing risky lending is a bad practice.

Housing is a necessity good and must always be purchased. If you’re not buying, you’re renting. Taking a ‘loss’ to purchase a house is only a bad move as long as the loss is greater than the absolute loss of rent, and that becomes increasingly unlikely as the investment matures.

Yeah that comment calls into question all his other ones. How could you come up with an idea like that?

No, you're forgetting the opportunity cost of the down payment and the additional PITI over and above rent. There are plenty of financial investments with greater returns and a lower risk profile than housing at certain times.

You dont insulate yourself from severe housing downturns with an IO or neg am mortgage. You dont do it with 0% to 5% down. You dont do it with a second lien. Your investment never matures with a 5-1 or 7-1 arm when there are no refi opportunities or interest rates have risen too high.

That is, it is a bad investment UNLESS you are planning on exercising the option to default in a big loss. And if you're doing that, you're a piece of shit who should never be given a mortgage or any other loan again.

The returns from housing (in the form of rent averted) aren’t taxed, and housing wealth isn’t considered in eligibility for a lot of charity or government programs.

Here is some info. More than a third of Detroit houses are under water. More than a quarter of Baltimore houses have negative equity.

This is TODAY, not 2010.

Oh, I’d definitely say people own more white homes.

That’s what this is about, right?

I own two brick houses. That makes me a "red."

1) I suspect that, because the reviewer pool changes little from editorial team to editorial team, the content of APSR will change only marginally because of the leadership. My main concern, and one that has been raised elsewhere, is that the large size of the new editorial team (12 coequal members!) will lead to severe editorial inefficiencies.

Social research journals typically reject about 70% of submissions. It's higher with a disciplinary flagship like APSA. There's no guarantee that the pool of referees won't be reassembled in unsalutary ways and aside from that, anything that passes the referees needs the approval of the editorial committee for publication.

Aside from the dame from Yale, these women are fairly ordinary academics from among the pool who work at research institutions. The one thing that distinguishes them is their politics.

The top 20 or so journals in political science all reject over 90% of submissions; APSR is about 95%. Even distinctly third-tier outlets reject ~80% of submissions.

It's an odd board. The problem is far less that they are all women, but that they lack any editorial coverage (despite having TWELVE! editors) for the majority of research in the discipline (as well as are far, far less quantitatively adept than the average article in the journal they now publish).

If true, that calls into question the necessity of an editorial board and obviates kudos for doing the job. This is an admission that the board is actually little more than a group of clerks managing a docket.

I doubt though that the board has little influence over referees. Editors of climate science journals famously rejected articles they didnt like to falsely portray consensus.

#4. That's a huge spike in white homeowership at the end of the series.

2) I flirted with the idea of living in Delaware. Low taxes, cheap houses. Reasonably close to Phili or even NY/NJ/MD. Good train access. Some corporate HQs due to low taxes.

The thing is the only place worth living is in the northern tip near the highway. And its major city is Wilmington (which is like a smaller version of Baltimore). Also, past elementary school most of the high schools were all zoned to include undesirables, which would have made it expensive to send kids to private school.

A friend of mine is a tenured professor at the University of Salisbury, but lives across the state line in Delaware, for the lower taxes. He's also close enough to the beaches that in the warm half of the year he has decent possibilities for a social life. Southern Delaware is "lower, slower Delaware" as they joke, but it isn't that bad.

#5 Autistic people have been telling us this for years.
Some data points:

Nevada population in 1984 - 951K

Nevada population in 1999 - 1.809M

Nevada population in 2014 - 2.819M

Nevada statewide Gambling Revenue:
1984 - $3.146B

1999 - $9.022B

2014 - $11.019B

That has to be your answer, right?

Gambling revenue used to grow much faster than population. Now it's growing much more slowly than population growth.

State GDP in 1999 - $73.154B (gambling revenue was equal to 12.3% of GDP)

State GDP in 2014 - $135B (gambling revenue was equal to only 8.2% of GDP)

That's a pretty big decline, no?

Gambling was once considered recession proof. The GR ended that belief. It not only destroyed gambling, it also hurt general tourism and conventions. The GSA scandal also slammed Vegas hard as federal agencies canceled meetings. Law and medicine are being tougher on fake CLE and CME.

And of course Vegas has a LOT more competition now than 30 years ago.

#2 Delaware is the lamest state in the Union

You always make a small one first for yourself to make sure you know what you're doing before you make the full batch. True for pancakes and states.

Best practice is to discard the prototype.

#3: Step he forgets, in the 5 Step Plan, of course, is

"Convince various other countries to allow you to export heavy industrial products to them despite your rather ridiculously protectionist policies because it's part of fighting Communism or because you promise to pivot from communism to a free society (stop laughing at the back there, 21st centurians)".

Because if you can't do that "Relentlessly push your heavy industry to export; sell products that can compete globally, even if you’re taxing your population to subsidize your exporters" does not work. At all. You get the Galapagos Syndrome, because developed markets will cut you off, seeing no reason why you should export to them and them not to you.

But perhaps libertarians still don't understand trade barriers as a function of the political environment, even when they eventually understand that free markets do not just "naturally" put strategically important industries in your country rather than the one that works to subsidize and develop them, and that competitors subsidizing products is not "free money".

"But perhaps libertarians still don't understand trade barriers as a function of the political environment".

Of course they do. They've recognized this for hundreds of years--that they're fighting groups who (too often successfully) seek to sell their self-interested trade protections on nationalism grounds. Bastiat included this in his Candlemakers Petition with the suggestion that the rival who was undercutting the candlemaker's prices was undoubtedly in cahoots with 'perfidious Albion'. Then, in France, it was 'perfidious Albion'. Now in the U.S., it's 'perfidious China'. But the political machinations are the same.

I don't suspect this struggle will ever end, really. Given human psychology, it's simply easier to get a populace stirred up about enemies than it is to get them to grasp the benefits of free trade. And it probably always will be. I think the Corn Laws in England were finally abolished not because majorities then came to appreciate the general value of free trade, but because the wealthy, landed gentry fighting for the tariffs made for such convenient villains. Richard Corden said the landlords were "a bread-taxing oligarchy, unprincipled, unfeeling, rapacious and plundering".

So maybe Corden showed the way and we're ignoring his lesson at our peril? Perhaps libertarians need to give up on promoting free trade with principled arguments and figure out how to out-demagogue their opponents? Who shall our "unprincipled, unfeeling, rapacious and plundering" protectionist villains be for the 21st century?

Richard Cobden of course. Though your point doesn't show that you understand trade barriers as a function of the geopolitical environment (that there are rational reasons for trade barriers to be desirable, against geopolitical competitors), but the old libertarian saw that any trade barrier is a mere conspiracy.

Though I wonder how consistent libertarians ever are over "hundreds of years"? Byrne Hobart seems quite content with an East Asian model of subsidization of export champions. Perhaps love letters to big business make love of such subsidization of big business easy, even when subsidizing labour remains beyond the pale of such an erstwhile libertarian.

If BB wants access to the cheapest inputs for the largest profit margins, free trade it is, while if BB wants protection and subsidy to grow to compete on world markets, East Asian 'developmental state' protection it is.

"that there are rational reasons for trade barriers to be desirable, against geopolitical competitors"

The two problems with this are 1) Almost any trade barrier can be justified in a 'geopolitical competitor' basis. I see no reason, for example, that it couldn't be used to justify barriers against the EU as well as China. And 2) trade wars risk becoming real ones. Trying to punish geopolitical rivals by erecting trade barriers against them (and twisting arms to get other countries to do the same) is a dangerous game that is likely to lead to more conflict and a less peaceful, cooperative world.

"BB wants protection and subsidy to grow to compete on world markets, East Asian 'developmental state' protection it is."

South American countries pursued 'import substitution' development policies for decades. Would you say that the approach was a success?

As a follow-up, listen to what a N Korean has to say about U.S. economic sanctions:

It's not that she's right, but that her reaction is natural and entirely predictable. Imagine your 'trade barriers against a geopolitical competitor' strategy results in, say, the collapse of Huawei. Or in a big Chinese recession. Or both. Absent all the tariff saber-rattling, a Chinese economic contraction might be seen as an indication of fundamental flaws in the Chinese system. But with the 'easy to win' trade war, it would surely be seen by many Chinese as the result of hostile economic actions by the U.S.

anyone who has ever attempted a last second shot, and I won't speak for any defensemen out there who's cured any frenchman of his lust, has deceived the "anonymous narrator" into feeling famous. The amount of metaphors sports has killed makes farmers who cry out for help feel guilty.

"South American countries pursued 'import substitution' development policies for decades. Would you say that the approach was a success?"

No. Mainly because they lacked the social reforms/pure ability in education to lead to competitive manufacturing.

Also because practicing protection and substituting imports within a backwards territory is also different from subsiding 'champions' on the basis that they will become competitive in the most competitive markets.

Crucially, the United States and other developing economies were not willing to be open to them (or the Latin Americans were not able to manipulate them to be so), so it was impossible for them to catch-up by exporting products to the world consumption frontier.

I'm not endorsing import substitution and export protection; in a world where your competitor countries don't put up with your subsidisation and protection, it probably does not work out best, because they simply shut you out, and your production becomes poor, unmoded and backwards.

The exception is that, in a stupid world of unilateral openess to imports, where the most advanced countries put up with nonsense from developing catch up economies (and some people in them even argue for subsidized imports as "free money"!), it probably does work, though. If your country has the educational chops and labour-demographic chops.

But I am mainly mocking 'libertarian' economists who turn to favour whatever is good for Big Business, even if it means business favouring protectionism of sorts, while remaining opposed to labour favouring protectionism.

Not that labour favouring protectionism is so good, but it's not clearly so bad compared to a regime of higher broad based taxes to fund the dole and in work tax-credits.

1) Almost any trade barrier can be justified in a 'geopolitical competitor' basis. I see no reason, for example, that it couldn't be used to justify barriers against the EU as well as China

I would tend trust that there is a sensible level of judgment that can be applied to the tradeoffs here. Rather than oppose that, for example, anything which should not be applied by New York to Delaware should also not be applied by the Allied powers to the Axis, because where will it all end?

I feel like #3 must really have touched a sore spot with a lot of commenters, because no one seems to be really engaging with the arguments in that essay (with the exception of when people start talking about Latin America's import substitution policies).

So far as I can tell, the argument that Hobart is making is that Japan, South Korea, and now China are focusing their energies and attentions on changing the economic geography of the globe. They are doing this in a rational manner by focusing on industries in which there are huge economies of scale. In the case of China, they are in part doing this to bolster their geopolitical ambitions, but Japan and South Korea both appeared to just have wanted to become wealthy nations, not regional or global hegemons. Anyway, Hobart's argument seems to be that these East Asian countries prove that it is possible for the government of a nation to use it power to shift the location of industry clusters of manufacturers where there are huge returns to scale, and in doing so set the stage for their populations to become wealthy.

There could be many objections to his argument, one big one being that all of those East Asian nations have capable governments and decent to good educational systems, which is something that is rare globally. The only other nations that seem to fit that description that aren't wealthy countries that I can think of are nations like Iran and Syria, and maybe Morocco and Tunisia (and maybe Libya before the civil war?).

But what Hobart is pointing out is that nations can pretty permanently alter their comparative advantage precisely in industries with huge returns to scale. This is something that is pretty apolitical. And his recommendation isn't that the US become a hugely protectionist country in a ton of different industries, but only that it do something to protect industries with large returns to scale where the US already has a strong exporting industry. Not to build new ones from scratch, or to provide protection to industries that aren't already competitive on a global market, or to spend money on industries that don't have large returns to scale. Only to make sure that the US doesn't lose it most globally competitive, scale dependent industries due to the subsidies and protectionist policies of other nations.

4. Good point about black home-ownership being impacted by tightening of lending standards. That would marginally push out the people who are perceived to be the highest risk. Though I disagree about "affordability" not being part of the reason. The interest rate may be low, but the size of the mortgage increases both the monthly payment, and the riskiness of lending the money. So it's really a double hit against higher risk homeowners - the loan terms are more stringent, AND there's more money on the line because the house itself costs double what it ought to.

Ironically, it is small loans and homes with lower prices where mortgage originations and new sales have collapsed.

Both your statement and hers can be correct. There are, in fact, a fair amount of middle income blacks.

The collapse of the housing market had a profound psychological impact on many Americans similar to the Great Depression. Some people may never become home owners again despite having the means to do so.

The absence of wildcat price appreciation for those low value houses is also an important segmenting factor. Housing actually exists in at least three distinct market segments with different dynamics: low, middle, and high tier. These segments are also differentiated by the potential for gentrification, general neighborhood characteristics, transportation, etc.

But Blacks, as a matter of economic and financial factors, are severely disadvantaged. Racism isn't required to explain different outcomes. There could of course be racism too, but this is masked. It's possible, if not likely, that a racist lender can find sufficient nondiscriminatory reasons for a prejudicial decision.


No American company or investor has improved as many lives by as wide a margin as MITI, Park Chung-Hee, and Deng Xiaoping.

Well of *course* they did. They were heavily involved in economic turnarounds in large countries that were in terrible shape because of the catastrophic loss of a war (Japan) or really bad economic policies (S Korea, and especially China). It's also possible that no American company or investor will improve as many lives as will whoever finally takes over from Maduro in Venezuela.

The rapid growth of Japan, S Korea, and China doesn't show that the policies in effect were the best ones possible -- only that they were vastly better than what had come before.

"...only that they were vastly better than what had come before."

But Japan's rate of growth per capita was about as fast from 1900 to 1940 as it was from 1950 to 1990

Correct but the point that Slocum (and other commenters) made still stands: Japan was so far behind the West that all it had to to was throw off its shogun-era shackles and practically any semi-reasonable political-economic setup would've lead to substantial growth. Same for post-czar Russia: the Soviet Union grew from a backward empire that couldn't even defeat Japan in 1904 to the world's second greatest power by the mid-20th century.

But that wonderful growth doesn't mean that Stalin had the right idea. Nor MITI, nor Xi.

Have we not learned our lessons since the 1990s, when we realized that Japan in fact did not have the magic recipe for continued economic growth? Paul Krugman took a lot of flak for predicting that as Japan's per capita GDP approached the levels of the West, its growth rate would slow down. But he was proved correct: Japan's growth came mainly from better utilization of labor and increases in capital but once both of those neared Western levels, Japan's growth slowed to Western levels (or lower, with its "Lost Decade(s)").

I'm not saying that the libertarians are correct. But East Asia's growth may have come in spite of MITI, industrial policy, etc. rather than because of it. Honda famously was not supposed to enter the automobile industry but disregarded MITI's policies and did so anyway.

Are there examples outside of the EU and the East Asian "Tigers" of countries rapidly becoming wealthy? The only one that I can really think of might be Chile. Would Panama or Costa Rica be wealthy enough to count? One of the problems with getting any clarity on economic development is that outside of nations that are already wealthy, very few nations seems to have governments and education systems that are capable of doing the basics well, and all of those East Asian "Tigers" were countries that had governments that could provide their citizens a decent basic education and "make the trains run on time" so to speak.

But Japan's rate of growth per capita was about as fast from 1900 to 1940 as it was from 1950 to 1990

And what happened between 1940 and 1950 that might have set Japan's economy back a bit and left it behind and ready for another period of catch-up growth?

Well yes but Todd K's point is presumably that from 1900-1940 Japan was able to match those remarkable growth rates. So 1950-1990 was not "vastly better than what had come before".

But both eras were vastly better than what Japan did during its centuries of near-autarky and feudalism or whatever we want to call its system. Which is presumably what your original (and correct) point is.

If curious, look at economist David Flath's GDP per capita of Japan graph on p. 75 at Amazon with 'look inside'. There was a post World War II boost where the rapid growth period, 1953 to 1973 was faster than the 1885 to 1943 period but add the 1990s and the trajectory was about the same.

1950 to 1990 was vastly superior than the period before when its industrial cities were reduced to smoldering rubble and much of its Male population killed.

Europe enjoyed similarly rapid economic growth. Aside from growth from a low base, I think they benefited from renewed capital enabling them to leapfrog.

On this latter point, I admit some confusion as to why growth is better from replacing rubble as opposed to replacing an existing stock of capital. It seems that their enemies did some free demolition work.

I'd appreciate an explanation as to whether this happened at all and if so how it happened.

Japan's outlook on industrialization and the shogunate changed dramatically after a flotilla of warships from a second-rate power steamed into Tokyo Bay in 1853.

They were from the USA.

#3...I have a similar feeling as he does, given that I've read the Studwell book and the Chalmers Johnson book, both of which are excellent. However, it does not persuade me to give up on capitalism. What's described is a stage of development in which industrial policy was effective in leading to a more capitalist society. It doesn't mean we need industrial policy here and now. I would have wished the development story was more free market, but remember, these countries are developing in a capitalist world that has previously developed elsewhere, and to which these countries now need freer markets to prosper going forward, or so I believe. No need to panic about free markets from this story, especially when we have so many people trying to render capitalism a hard sell right here in the U.S. right now.

Chalmers Johnson, who was a political scientist, got much on Japan's economy wrong.

To be sure, controversial. What authors do you recommend?

Todd K, I have no idea who you are so I can't tell why you made that comment or what you based it on. Help me out here. What sources can you recommend that call the Johnson book into question? I read a lot.

Just about everything but mostly articles. Paul Krugman summarized part of Japan's mediocre industrial policy in his trade and finance text and concluded long term MITI neither helped nor hurt Japan's growth from 1960 to 1990.

Thanks. I'll check out Krugman's writings on this.

#5...I highly recommend How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett It presents info that explains a comment I made in posting a comment about facial recognition a while back, , I believe. My comment was basically that you have to know the person to determine emotions, and only the ability to organize the responses from some subset of the possible range of emotions will be able to develop something really effective in reading emotions via AI. I hope I made sense.

I did grad work on the emotions back in the day. Lisa Feldman Barrett espouses a very biased and tendentious “constructionist” view, iirc with little room for biological universals.

Angry, I don't know you, so just list something I can read about your views. I'll check it out. I've plenty of free time.

3. To be clear, just like water seeking its own level, capital will seek the highest rate of return. It's a law of nature. Western (U.S.) firms have grown fat due to globalization: not only could they produce goods at a much lower cost in China, they could avoid U.S. taxes with schemes that lack substance. The idea that we will return to the good old days is fanciful. Anybody who claims otherwise is either a buffoon or a liar. [That U.S. firms didn't foresee that China wouldn't be satisfied producing goods for U.S. firms and would eventually produce goods for China firms to compete with goods made by and for U.S. firms is evidence of, what, lack of imagination?]

Was there anything in that essay that suggested a "return to the good old days?" In part, it seems the essays main point is that other countries actually have industrial policy, and the US should at least have some expertise in economic geography within the government and in policy making so that the country isn't flying blind.

3. Only until January 2021!

#3 is crapola.

He’s not a libertarian.

And China’s growth has not been from industrial policy it’s from moving slightly in the direction of free markets.

How that’s an indictment of libertarianism and support for industrial policy is beyond me. It’s beyond anyone.

Latin American import substitution industrialization had some mixed results, possibly bad on net, but China appears to have implemented it well with an assist from a debt dependent American society and government.

I agree with your main point though, which I similarly stated elsewhere.

1: "An incoming editorial team for the APSR — all of them women — aims to confront these issues head-on ... Wood and her team applied for the editorship in October 2018, competing with other teams who responded to the call for applications for new editors from the American Political Science Association."

I never paid much attention to the editors of journals; I'd always assumed they were appointed and served as individuals. But the APSA appoints entire teams. Are editorial teams common in Poli Sci ... or other fields?

Not exactly common in Poli Sci, which is all I can speak to (I also know law journals, but those are student-run so incomparable to actual peer-reviewed scholarly outlets).

The current team is a collection of people at different universities in Europe, but before that it was department-based (4-5 people from the various subfields all at one university, e.g. UCLA a decade ago). Prior to that, it was generally not team-based editorial boards, and generally speaking team-based editorial boards remain uncommon in the discipline. The "second" journal (AJPS) currently has one, because the person who was editing the journal as an individual had some #metoo accusations. As he used the journal's imprimatur in his defense, he was removed. My perception is the sentiment is that this was not unrelated to the choice of the incoming APSR team.

For what it's worth, political scientists have agreed on few things in the past decade as much as the team-based editorial boards of the APSR have been a disaster.

How short is the step from team to tribe?

#3) Libertarian brainhurt. Giv'em an aspirin.

3. Interesting article, although studying East Asian countries naturally leads to survivorship bias, as East Asian countries are one of only two clusters of developing countries in the entire world that managed convergence. Many more countries have tried industrial policies with dismal results (including China's own attempt at promoting heavy industry in the Great Leap Forward). Pointing to South Korea to argue for industrial policy is like pointing to Warren Buffet to argue for active investment management. Overall, industrial policy is unlikely to beat the free market, especially in a country like the United States where we have very well-developed capital markets and government work does not attract the best, and especially after the "fees" of suppressed consumption and economic freedom.

(Also, the article's attribution of Europe's escape from Malthusianism as being the Black Death is wrong. The Black Death had the biggest impact in Southern Europe, and the Middle East and China too, whereas the Industrial Revolution began in England, hundreds of years after the Black Death. England escaped the Malthusian equilibrium because the settlement of the New World resulted in a massive increase in land and resources before population could catch up. Obviously, this option is not available to developing countries today).

The free market could use a helping hand from science R&D like the US government did with atomic energy, aerospace, semiconductors, and the internet. It certainly doesn't need Park Chung-Hee levels of authoritarian reach but the free market unfortunately cares too little about research spending while making their quarterly numbers. Venture capital hasn't quite hit this spot either. Like Al Gore, they'll wait until something like the internet gets invented to fully capitalize on it. The free market is also blind to geopolitically strategic industries like 5G telecom equipment which is a huge gaping hole in the otherwise formidable US tech industry. Unlike oil which sometimes requires war for access, telecom is a matter of growing the intellectual capital at home.

The free market shoveled money to Amazon for years even though it made no profits. I think that disproves this idea that investors prefer quarterly numbers over research spending. Research spending that increases the value of a company will also increase the net present value of its future earnings, and therefore its stock price.

And why is 5G telecom equipment geopolitically strategic? Most countries don't have a native 5G producer. And technologies are rarely strategically important for long. Perhaps the free market is not investing much in creating a US 5G producer because in ten years, 5G might be as much of a commodity as PCs are today and smartphones are becoming.

The Americas, certainly North America, don't explain anything in the escape from the Malthusian trap GDP/capita terms.

European states are at a higher steadier state than East Asia for quite some time, and increases are not attributable to land from the Americas -

It's not Europeans lucking out through colonialism. Western European societies were more productive at a steady state for quite some time.

The population of the Americas was small (limiting total production very sharply), and so was grain trade from the Americas, mostly being used for local subsistence.

Europeans gained more from New World crops, like the potato, than they did from New World land.

But China gained still more from New World crops than Europe, more doubling population in the late Qing, after tracking roughly the same population size as Europe. If escaping the Malthusian trap (low incomes) were simply about brute shock of increased agricultural yields. China would have been there. But it was not. It was about specific changes in society towards higher productivity and away from population growth.

You can’t compare the most advanced societies of Western Europe to all of China (China is the size of Europe). Kenneth Pomeranz’s research in the Great Divergence showed that the most advanced region of China had similar wages and living standards to England until the 1700s. The data you provided is also odd in that it suggests Italy had a higher standard of living than the UK around 1700, which seems like an outlier view.

The New World provided a settlement option for the excess population in Europe as well as new crops. This sudden windfall is what allowed an escape from the Malthusian equilibrium. China’s population boom (which occurred in the early Qing, not the late Qing) is evidence of my argument. New World crops in China led to a population boom that eventually brought China right back into the Malthusian trap by 1850 because China did not have a spare continent to send all its extra people, whereas England did.

Madison project data, stronger on these matters than the California school! Italy was long the most advanced part of Europe, so no mystery, surely?

England wasn't sending that many folk abroad. Natural population growth within the USA. Not responsible for "escape from Malthusianism". Only productivity growth by changes in methods and economy was.

5: I'd thought that I'd recently read an article that said that humans -- forget about computers -- have difficulty recognizing emotions from facial expressions. I couldn't find it, but Tyler's linked article directly cites the same research.

In trying to track down the article I came across the blog of a psychologist, Ekman, who seems to specialize in training people to recognize micro-expressions, which allegedly are harder to hide or fake. There was even a TV show based on him and his work, with Tim Roth playing a crime-fighting psychological consultant who helps people detect liars: "Lie to Me".

The show was initially successful but then petered out and was cancelled after three seasons. I never watched it, wasn't aware of it. I do like Tim Roth. It sounds like an attempt to be like the TV show "Numb3rs" but with psychologists instead of mathematicians, they could've called it "Fac3s" or "F8ces".

Don't even get me started on cops, judges, and juries who think they are experts in body language for credibility determinations. It is one of the weakest links in law. Without a baseline of experience with the individual, most observations are wild guesses at best and confirmation bias at worst. This is not to say that some people aren't good human lie detectors. It's that the Dunning Krueger effect is in full force.

Proper credibility determinations combine observations with an analysis of other evidence, internal and external consistency, motives to lie, prior inconsistent statements or behavior, etc. None of these are decisive by themselves. And the standard of proof is supposed to insulate the accused from uncertainty, but the fact is that juries convict by slim credibility margins every day.

There was a splendid article a few years ago in the New Yorker before it became woke on the tiny minority of our species who are essentially meaty lie detectors.

Ekman is great.

Paul Ekman's work is worth reading (example, Telling Lies) but has been exaggerated and misinterpreted. Body Language and Lie Detection (so-called) experts are generally selling inaccurate and dangerously misleading information.

Lisa Barrett (et al's) recent article (and others by same authors), recently linked from MR, is must-reading.

Wonderful article. Thanks.

My brother is a doctor at UCSF. He might know Ekman.

While I find the psychology fascinating, the article doesnt go into any other evidence of truth or deception. I suspect there is more going on such as race, sex, clothing, etc.

The hypothesis that mankind must have evolved some sense of truth and lies is offset by the evolution of lying and being believed, as well as political and prejudicial motives for confirmation bias.

One common problem, for example is the 911 effect. In any altercation between two people, the police and hence prosecutors, judges, and juries tend to believe the person who called 911 regardless of the facts. Many people try to resolve an argument in their favor by being the first to invoke outside authority.

I'm going to buy his book.

I am struck that, just one hour ago, I learned that Nevada and Delaware provide the most favorable (i.e. lowest/least) tax and regulatory burdens for starting a business in the US as a non-US resident.

3. This guy has lost his mind. He's putting countries that are much poorer than America on a golden pedestal. He's also likely ignoring the disasters caused by state intervention such as the Asian financial crisis and post 1990 Japan.

You said that DE shrank in per capita income. The measure was GDP.

Nevada has seen tremendous growth over the past couple decades in its immigrant population. An immigration website claims that immigrants were 25.5% of Nevada's labor in 2015. A Reuters article from 2014 reported "Nevada has the highest proportion of illegal immigrants of any U.S. state at 7.6 percent of its population."

So, if this is why the per capita wealth of Nevada has dropped, it seems like a good test of the idea that Tyler Cowen has promoted before that this doesn't matter because the per capita wealth of Nevada plus the places the immigrants came from is higher than it would have been if the immigrants had stayed in their homelands. Does he, or anyone, feel satisfied seeing such a scenario actually unfolding?

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