Wednesday assorted links


#3 -- Like a small rodent hypnotized by a snake, tech companies keep being fascinated by the possibilities of censorship. It's a bad idea, but how bad is it? Could there be some cases where it's a good idea? You can't have a blanket policy against something when it might sometimes be a good idea, can you? In fact, we'd better start doing it now so we'll have practice if it ever turns out to be a good idea.

Spoiler alert: it's a bad idea.

Tech companies are stuck in a "worst of all worlds" situation. They are private, so in theory they could simply say "yes, we will censor whatever we want and that's it". However, they want to pretend that they are a "open platform for ideas" and therefore cannot be biased. If you are not biased, when/how can you censor anything besides illegal activities?

I find it interesting that the tip of the spear is twitter. It seems that the rule here is "the more you pretend to be open to all, the more you have to cheat".

The censorship makes no sense at all. Any all of the forms of censorship can and will be misused and may well be grounds for civil or criminal charges. Why any of the tech companies would want to buy trouble like this is a mystery. My best guess is that they are so naïve that they actually think they can control it. I predict two results: 1. anti-monopoly laws and breaking up of these large tech companies. 2. Lawsuits. See you in court.

Are you this dumb? Because it makes them money. That's why, OneCuck.

when it comes to free email, i found gmail to be the best and yahoo the worst~

Leave it to Twitter to proclaim it is being noble, when simply put, banning Trump would cost it a crapload of money.

Join Senator Kamala Harris and all patriotic Americans in demanding that Twitter shut down President Trump's account now! The fate of America depends on it!

They called me mad. They called me insane. They called me looney. They were right!

All these personal attacks because I stand for virtue and civic responsibility.
Remember today. Our brave Kurdish allies are being slaughtered. Trump laughs and tweets and invites more foreign interference.

Your allies are ISIS and Russia. Mine are the Syrian Democratic Forces.

This was a weak and uninspiring troll. 2/10.

Bring me the BBC!

They are begging to for their section 230 protection to be lifted.

Jack, are the are their feels of your employees really worth it?

They are acting on advice of the US government. That's why they banned the Ayatollah's tweets but not Trump's. The Deep State has Jack's back.

#2 Germany’s economic strategy has simply been to pump cars into the USA and China. They have very weak domestic consumer demand because they pay there sucks, middle class taxes and like 50%, and renting even a small apartment there gobbles up like half of whatever income you have left. This economic model has run out of gas. Who is going to buy all those BMWs now?

The article itself though was kind of stupid. Sink big money into R&D to come up with German iPod? I think the Germans actually did invent the MP3 and the iPod itself wasn’t the result of some heavy R&D it was just good product design. I guess this is the junk they publish in Bloomberg, Matt Levin is their only good writer. Everyone else writing there is a dunce. Germany IS screwed though.

"I think the Germans actually did invent the MP3 and the iPod itself wasn’t the result of some heavy R&D it was just good product design."


But to be fair the author did mention the Walkman, which was clearly more influential. But even then the Walkman didn't change the direction of the Japanese economy.

What Germany needs is additional high value, high growth companies. I think the Bloomberg article is a tad pessimistic, though.

Nah, they aren’t going to be able to follow their export-heavy growth strategy any more. They can’t keep relying solely on the USA (or China which is just a proxy for the US) continuing to be the sponge for all their products. They need to become more self-sufficient and less like a developing country with suppressed domestic demand. It’s not going to work any more having a country where the majority of people rent their residence and pay like half their take home pay to do so. I mean it’s a country where people in their 40s still buy from IKEA for God’s sake but expects China and the US to continue to buy $100K cars en mass.

Yeah, and it doesn't help that their infrastructure is crumbling, with the next bridge due to collapse somewhere, and the pensioners and crazy austerity policy always try to bite their own legs off. At least the country is more stable politically than France, the UK or the US, but that's only due to pensioners dominating the electorate; either way, at the state and local level, politics are a corrupt mess already. Nobody does anything about insane tax progression, so people just work part time as a workaround to high rates. At the end of the day, declining competitiveness is just the revealed preference of the German society.

"the Germans actually did invent the MP3"

Incorrect. It was created by the MPEG working group, engineers from many countries contributed. With a large weight being the US.

> iPod itself wasn’t the result of some heavy R&D

Meh. The iPod was the result of deep technological investment in many disparate areas and Apple realizing that they could integrate those technologies into an amazing product.

I knew this would trigger you.

Indeed the IP history of mp3 is very complex. Look through the various patents, and they are numerous, and you’ll see many from different countries. To say that “mp3 was invented in Germany” is complete non-sense other than in the most simple manner : the format was named mp3 by fraunhofer, the initial implementation was coded by the group, and the implementation was stolen from them.

They impressed me more before I learned about "Psychedelic Warlord".

Look you clowns its not relevant any way. Obviously its hard to say that anyone "invented" any technology - particularly in the modern era, technologies rely on long chains of previous inventions/discoveries.
The article is stupid because the fact is Germany was a major contributor to developing MP3 and does do a lot of R&D. As you said, the iPod was a result of utilizing previously discovered technologies and good product design. Doing lots more R&D isn't going to help Germany invent the next iPod. That's just typical Bloomberg op-ed stupidity.
Germany's problems are not really lack of R&D, they instead appear to be that Germany has a poorly structured economy that has been held afloat (and made to look "Good") over the past couple of decades basically due to the good luck of the China boom. Germany had the good fortune to be strong in certain sectors that could take advantage of this - industrial tools that the Chinese would want to buy as they expanded their manufacturing sector, and luxury automobiles that would be in demand by the raising Chinese upper classes.
This let them be complacent for a long time and ignore the fact that the domestic economy makes no sense. Pay is bad and policy suppresses wage increases to help keep the export sector going, taxes are ridiculous and encourage people to work part-time, encourage married couples to keep one person out of work or working a low-wage job, most Germans don't own a home, rent in all the major cities - and even second tier cities is absurd so you need to spend at least half your take home pay for a decent place to live. Despite the high demand for dwellings they don't build new housing really, and when they do occasionally build, it is very low density despite the fact that they're 85 million people living in a land area smaller than Montana. Few Germans own stocks or any real assets and just like to put all their money in savings accounts and then are shocked to discovered that the savings accounts aren't yielding much interest payments (oh REALLY savings accounts aren't high growth investments - no kidding?!). The Chinese market is drying up for them and things are looking bad for their US market, who is going to buy all those BMWs?

3. That is a very strange response to a very strange situation. A company judges world leaders because .. they imagine their review to be more mature and well intentioned that the leader's own. In some cases it might be. If some tin pot calls for genocide, and somebody can do something, maybe they should.

The path dependency leading to this point is also strange. A gimmick app gets huge network effects, becomes the world's breaking news system, and the managers of the gimmick app end up with the power to mute world leaders.

(A peer to peer system would be largely unmuteable, but none of those have thus far scored a strong network.)

My friend Annoy Sumo thinks I'm right!

See also

what if yoda was 6 feet tall and he smoked weed?

He'd probably writing some software on the blockchain, yes.

But the point is, everyone including "world leaders" choose to use a commercial system with a commercial review of content.

Speaking of being a patriot, the obvious first solution is to ban Trump from Twitter. The second step is to ban any Republican from Facebook and Twitter.

The third is public financing of elections.

Like the one Obama turned down in 2008?

Maybe he should have taken Ukrainian money like Trump?

Lmao-Germany and the rest of Western Europe aren’t performing at USA 1860-1929 levels as a function of right shifting PPF curves? You don’t say?

I thought the Western Euro Econ model is so bad ass. Ho Hum, I guess they can wait for mouth breather USA capitalism to move the needle for the rest of humanity.

Although Americans ostensibly are guaranteed free speech rights by our revered Constitution, a(nother) creepy tech firm can override Constitutional protections and limit speech so that "its rules" are observed and properly obeyed.

OUTLAW TWITTER as a tech platform, in which case, and damn their corporate attorneys.

I hadn't realized Twitter was part of our government.

Nor have I: but if American Constitutional law is intended to apply to US citizens with such broad guarantees as "freedom of speech", then Twitter execs showing contempt for such prized Constitutional guarantees and protections deserve to have their business upended and CLOSED, until such time as their policies can conform to the Constitution.

The government shutting down everyone’s Twitter account seems to be a bigger infringement of freedom of speech than Twitter freezing a couple tweets.

If the country's Tweeters themselves have no more concern for the violation and the overriding of their Constitutional rights than Twitter execs have shown (ditto practically all tech firms by now), they can lose their corporate-restricted speech platform and find one more congenial to their Constitutional political rights.

The US Constitution does not mean what tech execs say it means so long as their bottom line is protected: if tech firms cannot handle the First Amendment and its protections and guarantees, they can move their corporate headquarters and all their tech gadgetry to mainland China.

So, if you were a book publisher, does that you'd have to publish whatever book someone proposes? Is that how the 1st amendment works? I love the 1st amendment. But I'm not sure that makes any obligations on what Twitter chooses to allow on its platform.

No: I once worked as an editor for a book publisher, and we were never obliged to publish (and never thought ourselves obliged to publish) each and every unsolicited MS that came our way.

I appreciate that Twitter is a hybrid (speech/text) communications platform, with paying subscribers who may well see fit to consent to restrictions on what the platform permits them to tweet. Unacquainted as I am with Twitter's TOS agreement, I don't know if their execs alert subscribers to the bare fact and the bare truth that by consenting to Twitter's TOS, American subscribers (at least) are surrendering their First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech to anonymous tech tyrants, who seem unable or unwilling to confer as much "freedom" as they are keen to claim for themselves as clever tech tyrants.

Americans who "surrender" their freedom of speech with TOS agreements get what's coming to them don't they?

To themselves, yes: unfortunately, a pernicious spillover effect has ensued, and the millions willing to live with corporately-restricted speech now expose the rest of us who do NOT consent to such corporate-imposed restrictions to the same kinds of speech limitations in and across other media and internet domains. (Tech tyrants are ever keen to learn from each other, more so than mere American citizens can boast.)

Corporate speech restrictions are as vile as our Tech Tyrants are odious. Past time to trim their sails.

If you do not consent, then it does not concern you. Freedom is pretty wonderful isn't it?

Nay nay: when millions of Americans mindlessly begin consenting voluntarily to restrictions of the freedoms expressly treated in their founding political document, it becomes a matter for all Americans to take note and to act--our responsibility is to guard and protect the freedoms won from our colonial masters.

Freedoms that are worthwhile (like our enjoyable freedom of speech) merit protection and vigilant monitoring. Your calculation that this is a matter ONLY of individual concern and the loss of individual liberty is inaccurate and does not merit belief: the threat is systemic and affects us all.

the freedoms won from our colonial masters.

Very much a mischaracterization. Eighteenth century Americans were, in general, citizens of the United Kingdom. They had the same rights as any other Englishmen, who considered themselves the freest men on earth. The American Revolution was simply a continuance of the War of the Three Kingdoms, basically a conflict between the Puritans and normal folk.

I see. Twitter owes you a big, shiny platform. Funny how no one thought the big networks owned, say, the Communist Party of the USA, back during the Cold War, a platform. So are Quakers owned a platform? The Klan?

No, you seem not to see. Twitter owes me nothing and I ask for NOTHING from Twitter (since I own and operate no wireless devices) except, ostensibly as a US tech firm, that they corporately abide by Constitutional First Amendment guarantees and protections on behalf of the subscribers that they claim to value.

Americans enjoy free speech rights WITHOUT Twitter and any and all other such tech firms' that are permitted to impose speech restrictions.

Obviously, our failed politicians are failing to regulate anti-Constitutional tech firms and are letting them chip away at Americans' valued First Amendment protections.

I myself much prefer our hallowed Constitution's First Amendment to Twitter's TOS agreement and I would gladly sacrifice the latter to preserve the former.

see. The Founding Fathers had the foresight to saddle tech companies with First Amendment obligations, but not, say, Fox News or the Washington Times.

It is so silly that it is difficult to believe it is a real political opinion.

Had censorship not been permitted by federal "regulators" to become a real political option for tech companies and corrupt/corrupting media firms, our politics might have averted the silliness with which it has become infected, with lethal effect to judge by sentiments on this page that Twitter's TOS merits primacy over First Amendment protections and guarantees.

Dire days for the Republic.

Twitter, YouTube, and FB are defacto commons. They should not regulate speech.

If they do, we should break them up.

Si oui ja da and yes.

No, they are not. They do not owe you a platform anymore than Benjamin Franklin owed your grandgrandgrandgrandfather a printing press.

Agreed. The left has traditionally stood for the rights of corporations, and we need to take a strong stance here.

I don't care about what the right or the the left has stood for. I care about what the real god, God, commands us to do. It is written: "Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small."

Isn't Twitter a trans-national at this point?

That means either you'd need United Nations Letters of Marque to go destroy them, or it would be on each country to block them by their Great Firewall.

I've no idea what status Twitter enjoys and don't much care as long as they intend to impose--and DO IMPOSE--speech restrictions on Americans, in clear violation of the US Constitution's First Amendment guarantees and protections.

If Twitter execs care to retain whatever coveted trans-national status they might enjoy, again, they can all move to mainland China and take their servers with them and then live happily ever after.

You're mad, but I think you are halfway to letting go.

Imagine Twitter was in some offshore data haven, and people just chose to go there and use their service. Would you try to block them?

No, I would not even think of trying to block them: instead, I would warn them straight up that they are sacrificing valuable political freedoms as a matter of convenience and that by consenting to Twitter's TOS agreement they are consenting to tech enslavement ("tech serf" no longer applies simply to tech employees but to tech subscribers as well, as to the rest of us by extension if we fail ourselves to oppose tech commissars' imposition of speech and thought restrictions on Americans).

I would invade them and chute 'em up. No more shorting little people in Wal Marts, it's time to go after the nerd boys.

Love love love that you think Twitter half-assedly enforcing their terms of service is an outrageous Constitutional violation, but that passing a law obliterating one particular company from existence is a-ok.

--UNLESS or UNTIL their crappy TOS agreement conforms to Constitutional guarantees (for American subscribers) providing for freedom of speech.

I have no use for tech tyrants keen to whittle down valuable and hard-won political freedoms just so their crappy tech platforms can flourish (--whose abolition would not curtail Americans' free speech rights as much as it would stifle all the tech tyrants eager to persuade Americans that their crappy TOS agreements are somehow superior to the US Constitution and its glorious First Amendment).

Or: it's as simple as the simple fact that our contemporary Tech Sector (the one born since the advent of our regrettable Internet Age) has NEVER faced federal regulation from top to bottom in any kind of comprehensive manner: tech companies still are keen to dispute just exactly what regulatory status they will permit the government to impose upon them. Regulations that have squeaked through have been ad hoc cosmetics and piecemeal pretend regulation with nominal fines resulting in no change in odious corporate behavior, EVERY TIME.

(All those European restrictions on Tech Tyrannies look more and more inviting as a regulatory regime for elected US Congresspeople to build upon.)

(By the way: you do seem to have misread some of my previous prose, it really is that simple, too.)

NOWHERE have I said (and as certainly: nowhere did I intend to suggest) that the First Amendment is Americans' Constitutional guarantee of getting their views "published". I never said that. (Look above and you'll see I pointed out to someone that I once worked in book publishing, with the explanation that I and all I worked with never for one moment considered our small company had any obligation to publish every unsolicited MS that came our way.)

My argument DOES continue to be that these tech-proffered TOS documents (that NO ONE reads prior to accepting) lure subscribers through convenient tech platforms and apps into venues where their Constitutionally-protected free speech rights WILL be curtailed and restricted.

You are correct when you say "the government is not allowed to decide what is published OR not published by a private entity": but by failing to provide a comprehensive regulatory regime for our internet-era Tech Sector, our Federal legislators and regulators de facto have permitted "tech publishers" (note again just how convenient tech firms celebrate the mystery of whatever kind of service they provide--tech firms? telecom firms? online publishers? utilities?) to permit "restricted 'free' speech".

I have never subscribed to Twitter, so I do not know the content of their TOS agreement: but even though the small print may boast it, I rather doubt that the company conspicuously alerts American subscribers that their Constitutionally-protected freedom of speech and expression IS and WILL BE curtailed in Twitter forums . . . because Twitter execs and management say so.

As millions of Americans blindly surrender their Constitutional guarantees of free speech rights (with all the limits that we understand) for the convenience of participating in nifty-keen tech "culture", the industry understanding that Americans are not being mindful and covetous of their Constitutional rights gives other tech firms incentive to limit online "speech" as they see fit, too--thereby "closing American minds" the Tech Sector way.

And you have done so from a laughably false premise. prior is right, the only thing the Constitution guarantees is your right to say, write, or publish anything you want without fear of government restriction or punishment of that speech (outside of certain exceptions like libel). You absolutely DO NOT have a guarantee that a private corporation must broadcast your speech.

You are completely wrong about this.

You seem to have completely misapprehended and misrepresented what I've posted, also: congratulations on a job well done, forum monitor.

Alas, methinks the US Constitution prohibits CONGRESS from restricting speech!

Indeed: therefore should our elected legislators in DC commence with rolling out overarching regulation of our tyrannical Tech Sector so that our tech tyrants can no longer restrict ANYONE's speech. (Only platforms and publications that demonstrate their willingness to forgo First Amendment speech guarantees and protections bear such regulation.)

That would be the kind of Big Government (TM) that nobody wants. Better to keep the leviathan on the other side of the fence, Edward Burke?

Holy Science and its avatar Applied Technology ARE Leviathan, and their unelected tyrannies are already helping to kill our imperiled democracy, as President Eisenhower warned us all in his Farewell Address. Our corrupt and corrupting Media Establishment helps in every way it can by managing American public discourse without a license and without Constitutional imprimatur, diverting Americans with diverting "must-see" entertainment and vapid cults of celebrity, hoorah hooray. Many of our talented academics are bought and paid for, the rest are spineless or intellectually (or emotionally) addled, and some manage to occupy both camps.

Leviathan has already crashed through the barricades, no one is stopping its rampages.

Science and technology are Leviathan? Is mathematics Cthulhu? This is why Red China will surpass us. We are intellectually incapable of understanding our physical world while attempting to regulate it out of existence. The ignorant must never rule over the informed.

Or: the ignorant rule AS the informed.

Feyerabend put it well (or well enough, to begin with) in his "Science in a Free Society" chapter titles:

"The Prevalence of Science a Threat to Democracy",

"Laymen can and must supervise Science",

"Arguments from methodology do not establish the excellence of Science", and

"Science is One Ideology among many and should be separated from the State just as Religion is now separated from the State" (he wrote c. 1978).

Feyerabend may have been poorly served through his publishing career by poor indexers, but in the four titles of his on my shelves nowhere do I see an index reference to President Eisenhower, who warned Americans and the entire world in January 1960 of the threats posed to American democracy by the advent of the fabled "military-industrial complex": so do be sure to take up your quarrel with ignorant civilian Eisenhower when you get to it.

Peter Navarro's alter ego, "Ron Vara", reminds me of Tyrone. But Tyler is AFAIK wise enough to confine Tyrone to MR, he doesn't actually put fake quotes from Tyrone into his books.

More like Fat Tony in Taleb's works.

Bring on the parade of statements from the Very Humorless People.
Although Stu Rasu says the indignant criticism is just a continuation of the joke.

Navarro is the ultimate crackpot economist. It is amazing counter example to the concept that a Harvard Econ PhD might know a thing or two about economics.

Navarro must have been an ALDC legacy admission.

Breaking news: according to policy experts, a raskol has developed in the bossom of Brazil's ruling party, PSL. Brazil's Captain Bolsonaro's ally, Mr. Hugo, has been sacked by the Party's leadership from the Congress commission discussion reforms of the military pensions system.

I oppose a raskol in Brazil.

#5: I have not been impressed by most of the links that Tyler has been providing that relate to progress studies. But I liked this one, the author seems to make good points (unless he's omitting some signature characteristic that Britain had that was their secret to success). Capitalism and property rights? Yes they're a factor, but neither necessary nor sufficient.

> In the early 1600s the Dutch Republic collected twice as much tax as England, despite being less than half as populous.

The logic of the article is that the Dutch Republic had a more powerful state, and should therefore have been the site of the industrial revolution. But one can spin the fact in the opposite direction. Less tax shows that England had a less predatory state, surely an advantage for wannabe industrial revolutionaries attempting to accumulate capital.

Lower tax in England at this time probably mostly reflects lower burden of defense per head, and lower incomes in England vs the Dutch Republic meaning less practical extraction is possible without reducing incomes to starvation level and causing mass revolt. Possibly to some degree may also reflect lower degree of income inequality (higher income inequality can indicate richer individuals with more tax potential).

No need for it to reflect a dispositional difference in how "predatory" the English and Dutch state were.

The biggest one would likely be religion and security.

The author makes light of England's defenses against the Armada, but the truth is Spain was doomed from before setting forth. Parma was supposed to have 50,000 men to invade, but disease had already set in and he was down to 16,000 before the fleet arrived. Cramming a bunch of disease ridden soldiers onto barges to then go make a hostile landing and subdue a country ... unlikely to be successful. After all, back in 1544 England mustered 12,000 men just to go loot Scotland.

Beyond that, Parma was simply unable to get his troops the high seas. The Sea Beggars very effectively controlled the shallow waters and the Spanish were unable to even pack the invasion army onto barges for conveyance, let alone hope land the army safely.

And lest we forget, Spain had actually invaded Ireland in 1580. In support of a Catholic revolt in Ireland where the English were not particularly popular. It ended in disaster as the Spanish were unable to move inland in a timely fashion before being trapped by the English.

Nor has landing in England and "just invading" ever been easy. Bonny Prince Charles and the many failed revolts often had foreign backing and military components. In the end, the only times that England has fallen in anything like a single campaign was back in 1066 when Edward faced not one, but two invasion armies separated by a whole three days was finally enough.

England, to whit, was impossible for anyone to invade without truly massive foreign support int he 16th century. After all, the French had an active ally in Scotland, a royal match to the Scottish princess, and actual French soldiers in Scotland just a few decades prior and even facing a bankrupt English state, they, at best, could hold the line in Scotland with some minor raiding.

In terms of culture, England was without peer when it came to accessible literature. We talk today of "French" and "Spanish" but in this era their linguistic unity was vastly less than English. English was further helped by having had vernacular Bibles for literally centuries; commerce by the many is vastly easier when more of the many can read. Likewise, the Magna Carta seems to have spawned a very unique legal/social system that balanced the monarch, the taxpayers, and the nobility quite well during the early industrial periods. Even when the Lord Protector was running amok, there still was an expectation of the Rights of Englishmen to be respected. England managed to miss out on the troubles from having the common folk (e.g. Munster), the nobility (e.g. Poland), or the monarch (e.g. France) run away with control of the state.

Certainly when we look back at ancient Greece having highly defensible territory, broad franchise without descent into mob rule, and high literacy was associated with compound growth in an era where that was rarely seen.

I was going to say this. Add to that England's highly strategic positioning in the middle of the road between the Germanic innovators and booksellers and the rich Spanish New World looters. That made for a good natural safe space for highly educated religious minorities in exile like Huguenots or Jews.

The Jews were banned from England from the time of Edward III until Cromwell's days. It was the Netherlans that benefited from the exiled Jews of Spain.

The link was interesting, but so was your précis, thanks for writing it out.

A quibble, but England was successfully invaded by other Englishmen, with support at home, several times: by Henry Tudor in 1485, and by Roger Mortimer and Queen Isabella in 1327, for exampke.

The security explanation is intriguing but ultimately not convincing. A secure nation rapidly becomes insecure if there's a civil war or divisions that can be exploited by a foreign country. In addition to the examples that JonFraz cites, there's also William of Orange's easy invasion in 1688.

The religion explanation does remain intriguing. Widespread literacy would certainly aid the transmission of information. A slight quibble is that other cultures besides the Protestant ones have had high rates of literacy, although perhaps not at the time of the Industrial Revoluion.

Even if there is a civil war, it typically does not result in the conquest of the state. Sure it happens, but England, France, Spain, and many other states endured multiple civil wars without conquest. Typically one side wins and things move on.

What really worked in England's favor is how cheap its defense was. France, for instance, had many periods where it was not invaded. But during those periods they had to pay for large garrisons and a standing army. The Dutch, likewise had periods with minimal invasions, but their defenses often required opening the dikes which meant that they lost productive farmland for the duration.

England built ships that provided training for sailors and were eventually sold into civilian service. Further, during war, the Royal Navy had a very good track record of seizing enemy shipping and heavily offset its costs.

Being able to invest in territory that was not in danger of being looted or seized was absolutely clutch. Likewise even a small lowering of tax rate allowed for compound investment instead of nothing. Cheap defense is exceedingly useful.

#3 Related:

When you import millions of people from the third world, your GDP per capita necessarily converges to a point in the middle. Enjoy!

3. World leaders should be subject to the same rules as everyone else. If Twitter bans certain types of speech (and private companies are fully within their rights to ban certain types of speech, such as threats), those should be banned for everyone or no one.

6. I’d argue 1650-1750 was a more critical century for England. That’s when colonization really took off, which provided the wealth and institutions to fuel the Industrial Revolution. If anything helped England in the 1550-1650 period, it was probably the Protestant Reformation and Thirty Years’ War wrecking the European continent.

#5 - Anton Howes is a economic historian of innovation... So when he identifies a specific set of institutions, it kind of carries weight.

(It's bit odd how you gamely keep on plugging in MR comments the idea that the industrial revolution is explained by build up of wealth through colonial flows, which Western Europe had and China, when virtually every academic economic historian worth their salt on twitter is like, "No." and points to institutions and social structures.)

Appeal to authority much?

The idea of colonial wealth powering up an industrial revolution is beyond stupid. The industrial revolution is just a historical period (late 18th century early 19th century) when modern economic growth took off. For economic growth to occur it's better to have the fewest restrictions to economic activity. Colonial empires are extremely restrictive to economic activity and they never tend to be conductive to economic growth (see Spain and Portugal's vast colonial empires).

I would guess the biggest single institutional development that powered up the industrial revolution was the development of the patent system which internalized the positive externalities of technological development.

Quite a bit, yeah. But its not like I haven't referred the specific arguments to the guy in the past, and expertise does give weight to a stance....

A lot of work to show that the going gets rough as one approaches the technological frontier.

Is being at the technological frontier the root cause? Is that what the authors are showing?

I'm not being snarky. I'm just not sure exactly what they mean.

I just impressionistically thought their measure of complexity or whatever is highly correlated with GDP per capita. I'm sure the authors didn't mean that, but that's what they're measuring.

I could buy that. But it would still lead to Germany being an outlier on their data chart. Of course, I'm not sure that it indicates the kind of long term problem the author talks about.

Is Germany in trouble? Is it worse off than other countries on the technological frontier? Clearly the US is doing better with the creation of recent very large, very dynamic businesses that benefit it's population. But is Japan noticeably better than Germany? What about the UK? France?

After looking into that graph a little deeper, it looks flawed. According to the graph Kenya and the US should have similar levels of complexity.

Which I don't understand, but let's just go with that for a moment.

So then I look at the linked chart that measures that Complexity:

Kenya (-0.49) and the US (1.47) are nowhere near each other. Is this a flawed graph?

Roughly speaking, Japan, France, the UK, and Germany, with similar per capita incomes, are in the same sorts of trouble of not catching up any more, or not catching up quickly. How complexity or some such affects this, I do not know. I would stick to some of the usual suspects: too little competition in all spheres, dsysfunctional industrial policies, and misguided labor market policies.

Eh. Germany, France, UK and Japan only really have similar per capita GDP because of different employment of labour and different composition of working age adults.

Germany+France are at US levels of productivity but with lower employment of hours, Britain somewhat less less productive than US and comparable employment, Japan somewhat less productive. But Japan converges again when considering GDP per working age adult. There's little room for the Germans to catch up with the USA, other than by intensifying labour, which is not their social model, and would not clearly deliver them anything they want.

And in any case, the GDP/capita ranking of nations is no longer correlated among rich, developed nations with welfare, or technological innovation...

In the late 1980s Krugman and Summers were telling us that Germany and Japan were going to be pushing forward the economic and technological frontier. Now that's morphed into a somehow externally determined technological frontier that the Germans have nothing to do with. The real issue is why can't the Germans extend the frontier and why has European and Japanese TFP growth been so pathetic over the last 30 years? Somehow it always seems to come back to the US and the projects it has initiated. Even China some 40 years after reforms began has done much less for the frontier than Japan had done by the mid 80s. If only one country is responsible for the bulk of frontier innovation and growth in the developed world since the late 1990s, then when that country -- the USA -- slows down its pace of innovation so does the world. That wasn't true in the 1960s to the 1980s but that has been true for a few decades now.

One of the most tedious incarnations of Thiago. Step it up, lunatic, your entertainment value is plummeting.

I know no Thiago. I am Mr. Johnson, from Iowa, The Hawkeye State. I speak for the little guy whose rights are being trampled to death by Washington insiders.

See what I mean? You just don't have it any more. You used one of the funniest things about this blog.

I think you may be mistaking me for a friend of yours.

#5 - given how much this has been studied, I cannot imagine that my half-assed theory on the IR is worth a dime, but here goes: the Protestant Reformation demanded Bibles printed in the vernacular and the church in Scotland took it further, demanding everyone (males anyway) be taught to read, regardless of social station... not, of course, to advance the cause of humanity, but to know the word of God. Now we have hundreds of thousands of people reading, and they need something to read (ketchup labels, cereal boxes... ANYthing) so they start writing, and exchanging ideas... and off we go. Thus IMHO the IR was a completely inadvertent spin-off from the Reformation. Were there other parts of the world where the priests encouraged the proles to read sacred texts (versus hoarding them to maintain their own power base)? That would destroy my theory pretty much.

Thoughtful. The Tyndale Bible was the first English translation from Greek, published in the first half of the 16th century (it was introduced in partial editions, the first complete edition of the New Testament in 1526). The Church opposed the Tyndale Bible, if for no better reason than nobody could read it anyway. Poor Tyndale was burned at the stake for his heresy. But people learned to read by reading the Tyndale Bible. That most people are ignorant of the Bible's meaning is beside the point. ["Reading is fundamental" is one promotion of reading that I recall. Reading the Bible might be described as "reading is fundamentalist", a not enlightening thought.]

The main reason Tyndale was put to death is that he opposed Henry VIII annulling his marriage with Catherine of Aragon and marrying Anne Boleyn. Henry VIII vacillated on the question of an English Bible, sometimes favoring and sometimes suppressing translations. His last wife Catherine Parr made several translations of the Epistles and even published some
with Henry's permission.

Indeed, for all the gold and silver the Spanish took from the New World(tax, tribute, plunder) they ended up with nothing more than inflation.

Proximately, Francis Bacon. It was the change in ideas beginning with Descartes' reformulation of method (in reaction to the medieval recovery and acceptance of Aristotle), which culminated in Bacon's singular, remarkable advocacy of the practical manipulation of nature for human improvement. Bacon rang the bell for everyone, and his renown was supreme for over a hundred years. The IR's sociological change was finalized with the inversion of the Great Chain of Being in the mid-18th Century (see Lovejoy), which set free the individual's initiative for status advancement.

In ~1550 the most plausible spot would have probably been the U.K or maybe The Netherlands. China really is the only place in the world that would have plausibly had an industrial revolution but didn't. Why not China is a more vexing questing than why England did in my view.

I've read a fair amount about the long run trends in growth, technology, and institutions. Indeed, the existence of certain technology, instituions, or policies can matter hundreds, even thousands of years latter.

Europe was probably where the IR was going to happen, but not just anywhere in Europe. The U.K, and even more narrowly, England, makes the most sense. The best books on the subject are The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective(2009) and The Enlightened Economy(2009). Neither are perfect but they are useful starting points in the modern literature.

Ming China was a bureaucratic mess, sometimes banning foreign trade, something allowing it, with exorbitant taxes.

#1 My friend Aaron Pervert tells me that it is all bull dust. The accusations are "never pro rata" to deeds. He has "over-earn part" in the affairs. Turning "rare oven part" into weapon.

The reason the IR started in the UK is probably multiple factors, like a polygenic cause of something in biology. If you read the biography of James Watt you would be able to identify many factors that contributed to his invention of a practical steam engine, including patents, his background and training (grandfather a mathematician, he trained as an instrument maker), effective legal system to protect his patents, ability to raise finance, limited liability companies and so on. Each of these factors have deeper reasons in English history for being as they are, but I don’t think they ever converge on one factor.

Patents were a major cause of the Industrial Revolution? Watt wouldn't have invented the steam engine without patent protection? So without patents we'd be sitting around the fire chipping out arrowheads even today?

#2. What an idiotic article. Which German company has been posting great growth in recent years? SAP, which grew 16% in 2017 and 7% in 2018. Germans need to stop worrying about building the next Ipod (seriously outdated reference) and focus on growing services-oriented businesses where they are severely lacking.

Yeah the article was extremely dumb. But it has the agenda of saying "well-- nothing can really be DONE here just gotta throw up their hands, invest in R&D and hope for the best!!!" when really there are a lot of structural problems that could be tackled but it would take effort.

Exporting services is hard.

The test will be Germany beating Tesla in building electric vehicles.

And Germany contributing to Arianespace beating SpaceX.

Consider, Germany was first in rockets until circa 1945. Granted, all the German rocket engineers were spirited away to Russia and the US.

Germany is industrial still. It manufactures lots of production machines, thanks in part to first manufacturing the products the machines produce.

Tesla uses lots of machines from German industry. And Tesla bought Grohmann Engineering to gain its German automation expertise two years ago, as an example.

So, the ability of Germany to enter what many see as a totally new and difficult manufacturing sector, or easy manufacturing sector, depending on how Elon Musk is being attacked, will be tested in the next five years.

Germany produces important energy components for buildings. It's well integrated in in international stands so the products can be exported, or the production machines. German firms have not built factories outside Germany/EU until recently, so that means German mastery of complexity is not fully exploited. Many high value products are not easily exported, eg housing components, because the sales and marketing investment is high.

Re: #1, I wasn't sure what to make of it, so I asked my friend Ugeer Orr. He said, "Pull your head out of your ass, Bernard, "Ron Vara" is an anagram for "Navarro". Was this not obvious?"

Twitter will now regulate the tweets of world leaders.

It has been my longstanding dream to have a perfectly non-governmental and private organization attempt to regulate the government.

This is a good starting point.

The ultimate goal is to have a formal organization which reports only to the taxpayers and regulates the regulators. The main points are - (a) this organization reports to taxpayers in proportion to the taxes they pay, (b) It will always ignore all demands for equality and compassion towards the less fortunate (poor).

#5: There are a couple of things this article misses. 1) The legal structure in England meant that the King could not raid the banks for funds, like in France. Your money was safe in London. 2) Trade was big for England. In Spain, they were captivated by gold from the new world but England never struck gold like that. 3) Compared to the continent, poor farmers were less of a serf class and thus more mobile. 4) There is actually a good argument to be made that the incompetence of the government helped. In France, the guild structure was strong and slowed innovation. In England guilds were there but the gov was slow to intervene when new inventions were introduced or some industry crossed multiple guild lines. England had laws protecting traditional industries, but rarely enforced them.

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