Category: Weblogs

RSS bleg

Google Reader is shutting down in a few months, so what to do?  Your suggestions would be most welcome, please leave them in the comments.

A related question is which blogs will be harmed the most by this development, assuming that the #2 choice of reader isn’t as good.  Very old blogs may be reevaluated as choices to follow, since we all will have to fill out new feeds all over again.  Blogs which post not so frequently will be hurt too, in relative terms as well as absolute.  If you know a blog will post frequently, you simply might substitute into site visits.  This will also likely hurt blogs with a lot of ads, such as the Forbes blogs which I know, again speaking in relative as well as absolute terms.

Addendum: Here are comments from Matt.

Paywalls for blogs?

Andrew Sullivan will give it a try, as you probably have heard by now.  I wish him well with it, but I also hope no one else tries too hard.  (Note by the way that Sullivan will allow a free RSS feed, with complete posts, and free links from other blogs, so this is hardly a full gate.)  In the limiting case, imagine a blogosphere where everything is gated for some price.  What could we at MR link to?  There would be every day “What I’ve been Reading,” with links to Amazon (they’re not going to gate), rather than every few weeks.  More from Wikipedia, and more travel notes.  More abstract requests from readers (“what should I do with my life?”, and “does she really love me?”).  More government statistics and more BBC.

I’ve long thought that the last ten years have been a golden age for the blogosphere, and that soon the financial constraints are really going to start biting on MSM.  Many of you already get upset at FT links, which have a fairly strict gate, and perhaps the few remaining newspapers will all work that way within two or three years’ time.

What do you all think?  Here are comments from Felix Salmon.

David Brooks on the conservative future

It is an excellent column and here is one good bit:

Soft Libertarians. Some of the most influential bloggers on the right, like Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok and Megan McArdle, start from broadly libertarian premises but do not apply them in a doctrinaire way.

Many of these market-oriented writers emphasize that being pro-market is not the same as being pro-business. Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago published an influential book, “A Capitalism for the People,” that took aim at crony capitalism. Tim Carney of The Washington Examiner does muckraking reporting on corporate-federal collusion. Rising star Derek Khanna wrote a heralded paper on intellectual property rights for the House Republican Study Committee that was withdrawn by higher-ups in the party, presumably because it differed from the usual lobbyist-driven position.

There are additional shout outs to many other writers I admire (and like).  And this:

Most important, they matured intellectually within a far-reaching Web-based conversation. In contrast to many members of the conservative political-entertainment complex, they are data-driven, empirical and low-key in tone.

But do read the whole thing.

Addendum: Paul Krugman comments.

The EconLog team winning strategy

Pretend Arnold Kling has departed, get under the salary cap, take on Garett Jones and Luigi Zingales (sixth man), keep Bryan and David in the starting line-up, and then get Arnold back again.  Here is Arnold’s very important post on NYC recovery.  I don’t myself have any particular prediction, but I will say this is a real test of how well this country can these days do infrastructure.

From the Institute for New Economic Thinking

We would like to introduce our new blog on the website of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) entitled ‘Reading Mas-Colell’, which will initially run in the fall of 2012, alongside our teaching of a course which uses the textbook on microeconomics by Mas-Colell, Whinston and Green. We hope to make a modest contribution to economic thinking by engaging in selective close reading and commentary on a very influential text, which in certain ways has become a ‘Bible’.

Our goal is to help through the blog to change the way in which economics teaching is approached at the Ph.D. level (many agree that it is limited and limiting). We hope to generate a lively conversation on how economics is taught and practiced today.

You can find the blog on the INET website at:

http://ineteconomics.org/blog/reading-mas-colell

We very much hope that you and your readers will participate in the conversation that we hope to generate.

Best wishes,

Sanjay G. Reddy and Raphaele Chappe

From the excellent Yichuan (Lulu) Wang

You all should be following him, or so it would seem to me.  Here are excerpts from his post What China Could Be Building:

The real risk is not that the housing won’t be used, but that the crash would have secondary effects. Local governments are dependent upon land sales for revenues, meaning a housing crash could have serious implications for government. In Guangdong province, some local governments are actually tearing down mountains to make new land in the ocean, all to sell the land. This, along with the recent reversal of capital flows and possible insolvency of private wealth management firms, represents a serious liquidity risk that can have disastrous consequences.

…So let’s answer Scott’s [Sumner] fundamental question:

So here’s my question for all of you China skeptics that insist they are building way too much housing, infrastructure, heavy industry, etc.  What precisely do you want them to build more of?  And what are the 100s of millions of Chinese living in tiny ramshackle homes to do?  Sit tight for a few more decades while resources pour into nice urban services for the pampered elite?I want them to start building leaf blowers, so we don’t have so many Chinese people in the low productivity position of sweeping streets. I want them to start building farm equipment, so we don’t have so many Chinese farmers tending the fields. I want them to build more laundry machines, to free the rural Chinese from scrubbing clothes on washboards. I want them to build electric stoves, so my Grandpa can put away the coal fired outside oven. I want them to build computers that can deliver cheaper education to the masses.

Instead of just focusing on “building,” I want them to invest in human capital, so productivity can be at a level that we don’t need “make work” jobs. I want them to build more schools and hire better teachers, so classes aren’t as large and you’re not damned if you can’t make it in a top elementary school. I want productivity to be high enough that high end stores don’t need more clerks than actual customers.

I want these things among many others that will only be more obvious in a freer market.

That Scott can get a haircut for $4 or an ice cream cone for 50 cents shows how low productivity and wages are in China. Yet they will not grow any faster with more housing or more state directed investments. Cheap subway rides are nice, but are they not just another sign that transportation infrastructure has been built too quickly? I’m not saying China is hitting a ceiling for growth, or that vast swaths of China are condemned to poverty. But what I am saying is that we need to worry about the systemic fragility that underpins the Chinese system, and be very, very concerned about the unknown magnitude of the downside risk.

His full blog is here, his short bio is here.

Austan Goolsbee is now blogging

He has started with a post on Glenn Hubbard and the budget.  He closes with this:

I agree with Glenn that one of the key debates in the election should be about how America should deal with our long  run budget challenge (that comes from the aging of our population).

And that debate is coming down to one camp saying let’s have cuts to spending and interest around $3 trillion and tax revenue of $1 trillion to hit the deficit cutting target and the other camp saying let’s have cuts of$7 trillion to hit the deficit target plus pay for $3 trillion of tax cuts.

Hubbard closed his op-ed by saying that he just wants people to see the prices on the menu.  Well then, next item: The Romney Budget.  Glenn, you may want to practice your Heimlich maneuver.

How are left-wing and right-wing blogs different?

Via Kevin Lewis, here is Aaron Shaw and Yochai Benkler:

American Behavioral Scientist, April 2012, Pages 459-487

Abstract:
In this article, the authors compare the practices of discursive production among top U.S. political blogs on the left and right during summer 2008. An examination of the top 155 political blogs reveals significant cross-ideological variations along several dimensions. Notably, the authors find evidence of an association between ideological affiliation and the technologies, institutions, and practices of participation. Blogs on the left adopt different, and more participatory, technical platforms, comprise significantly fewer sole-authored sites, include user blogs, maintain more fluid boundaries between secondary and primary content, include longer narrative and discussion posts, and (among the top half of the blogs in the sample) more often use blogs as platforms for mobilization. The findings suggest that the attenuation of the news producer-consumer dichotomy is more pronounced on the left wing of the political blogosphere than on the right. The practices of the left are more consistent with the prediction that the networked public sphere offers new pathways for discursive participation by a wider array of individuals, whereas the practices of the right suggest that a small group of elites may retain more exclusive agenda-setting authority online. The cross-ideological divergence in the findings illustrates that the Internet can be adopted equally to undermine or to replicate the traditional distinction between the production and consumption of political information. The authors conclude that these findings have significant implications for the study of prosumption and for the mechanisms by which the networked public sphere may or may not alter democratic participation relative to the mass mediated public sphere.