Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What's new

Here's another 60 or so new links and indexes from the past month.  Books are added with placeholder descriptions, just to get them in efficiently so that they can be linked and indexed later.

NEW 5/27/2014: The Brothers Koch: Family Drama and Disdain for Democracy [More...]
For the Kochs, buying our democracy, and maybe killing it is pure self-interest. A favorable review of Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty[more...]
NEW 5/27/2014: The Myth Of The Rational Market
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NEW 5/27/2014: The Rhetoric of the Right: Language Change and the Spread of the Market
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NEW 5/27/2014: The Art of Always Being Right: The 38 Subtle Ways to Win an Argument
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NEW 5/27/2014: The Myth of American Exceptionalism
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NEW 5/27/2014: Liberty, Desert and the Market: A Philosophical Study
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NEW 5/27/2014: Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools
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NEW 5/27/2014: Erasing the Invisible Hand: Essays on an Elusive and Misused Concept in Economics
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NEW 5/27/2014: Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty
The first biography of the 4 Koch brothers and their rise to billionaire plutocracy. Explains the interlocking system of domination of the political apparatus by Charles and David.[more...]
NEW 5/23/2014: Economists used to be the priests of free markets -- now they’re just a bunch of engineers [More...]
Economics is being rescued from libertarianism. "[...] most economists favor government intervention in the economy in a wide range of areas, including income redistribution, minimum wage laws, environmental regulation, anti-discrimination laws, and others (and that was before the financial crisis!)" [more...]
NEW 5/23/2014: The Anti-Reactionary FAQ [More...]
"Neoreaction is a political ideology supporting a return to traditional ideas of government and society, especially traditional monarchy and an ethno-nationalist state. It sees itself opposed to modern ideas like democracy, human rights, multiculturalism, and secularism." [more...]
NEW 5/23/2014: Libertarian Dismissals Of Inequality
Rebuttals to libertarian's five dismissals for problems of extreme inequality: it is market-based just dessert, it is needed for incentives, it is freedom, it is the fault of government, and it is unimportant. All five are wrong. [more...]
NEW 5/20/2014: Nuclear Anarchism Part 1: The Specter of Private Nuclear Weapons [More...]
Everybody should be able to own nuclear weapons. Yes, really. Case "proven" by illegitimate demands for perfection. Part 2: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Private Nuclear DevicesPart 3: Climbing the Kardashev Scale for Fun and Profit[more...]
NEW 5/20/2014: Antibiotic Resistance: A Mismanaged Public Good [More...]
"In the case of antibiotic resistance, health care providers who prescribing antibiotics frequently and easily are seeking to benefit each individual patient, while the costs of accumulating resistance to antibiotics are shared across the population. In this way, the pursuit of health for individual way, resistance to antibiotics builds in a way that can impose heavy costs." [more...]
NEW 5/20/2014: What would constitute an end to the race war? [More...]
"Whites coming out every day and asserting hugely disproportionate power over blacks through the proxy of wealth is not a cessation of conflict. It is renewed daily conflict, which can either be responded to or not." [more...]
NEW 5/20/2014: Mouthbreathing Machiavellis Dream Of A Silicon Reich [More...]
Anti-democratic authoritarianism is at the core of neoreactionary thought, combined with a large amount of bigotry. [more...]
NEW 5/16/2014: Left-Libertarianism Is Bunk Because It’s Still Libertarianism [More...]
"My thought process lead me to reject libertarianism in general as an ideology, and in the aftermath of that I have come to see left-libertarianism as carrying the fundamental problematic aspects of libertarianism along with it for the most part: obsession with opposition to the state, the adoption of capitalist ideology of the market, reliance on overly simplistic and sociologically neutralized analysis, and so on." [more...]
NEW 5/16/2014: Freedom as a Triadic Relation [More...]
Gerald MacCallum's interpretation that: ""x is/is not free from y to do/not to do or become/not become z". This allows you to make complete "Subject verb object." sentences out of vaguer philosophical claims. That helps eliminate concealed assumptions. [more...]
NEW 5/16/2014: One Concept of Liberty: Freedom as a Triadic Relation [More...]
Gerald MacCallum's interpretation that: ""x is/is not free from y to do/not to do or become/not become z". Sections 4 and 5 of Positive and Negative Liberty (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)[more...]
NEW 5/16/2014: Positive and Negative Liberty (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) [More...]
A fairly clear comparison of many interpretations of positive and negative freedom, along with the description of several alternatives, including Freedom as a Triadic Relation.[more...]
NEW 5/16/2014: Externalities
Few actions can be undertaken in a society without affecting other people. These effects are called externalities, and they can be beneficial or costly. Econ 101 covers how to deal with externalities, but this is conveniently forgotten for the sake of libertarian argument. [more...]
NEW 5/16/2014: Two Concepts of Liberty [More...]
Isaiah Berlin's famous overview of how two ideas (of the hundreds) of liberty relate to various historical philosophers' ideas. He uses a different definition of positive liberty than prior authors. [more...]
NEW 5/16/2014: Liberty Is Liberty [More...]
Tom Palmer schools David Schmidtz and Jason Brennan for confusing several meanings of positive and negative liberty. Then he goes off the deep end, claiming "liberty as a uniquely social concept". [more...]
NEW 5/16/2014: Libertarians Misunderstand Liberty
Liberty (also known as freedom) is a glittering generality of libertarian propaganda. Libertarians do not adequately define it, and often think the mistaken ideas of "positive" and "negative" liberty resolve problems. Liberty can be correctly understood as a triadic relation. [more...]
NEW 5/15/2014: Positive and Negative Liberty
The concepts of positive and negative liberty are not generally agreed upon: major philosophers such as T. H. Green and Isaiah Berlin used different meanings, and modern libertarians have their own bastardized meaning. Many philosophers think the distinction is a word game. American legal philosopher Gerald MacCallum explains liberty as a triadic relationship, with positive and negative being a false dichotomy, different viewpoints of the same thing. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Adam Smith is not the antidote to Thomas Piketty [More...]
"Smith’s attacks on the laws that allow the concentration of wealth, primogeniture and entail, are not simply policy prescriptions; they are the lynchpin of his explanation for the delayed growth of Europe before 1700." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: On Piketty's Capital: What Is Wealth? [More...]
"For Piketty, wealth and capital are ultimately socially constructed categories. [...] The pioneer of this legal constructivist account of market valuation was legal realist Robert Hale. [...] Laws do not just affect valuation of assets. Laws are the very core of asset values." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Fighting Poverty And Inequality The Proven Way [More...]
David Brooks suggest improving education to fight poverty and inequality. 40 years of history demonstrates that does not work. Transfer programs do work. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Bitcoin to revolutionise the economy [More...]
It is completely incorrect to describe Bitcoin as a “pyramid scheme.” Technically, it’s a “pump-and-dump.” Some excellent sarcasm too. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: The social world [More...]
"Methodological individualism is not a valid basis for the social science." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Greening Economics: It is time [More...]
"The concept of environmental capital is throughly entrenched in policy dicussions but largely missing from mainstream economic curriculums. [...] The teaching of economics, especially growth economics, should stop ignoring them." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: High Plains Moochers [More...]
"It’s true that some of the people profiting from implicit taxpayer subsidies manage, all the same, to convince themselves and others that they are rugged individualists. But they’re actually welfare queens of the purple sage." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: The English Language, Pedantry and Libertarianism [More...]
Libertarians are trying to take the word "liberalism" for themselves from progressive and left liberals. Part of their Orwellian newspeak strategy. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: 10 Things I Learned About the World from Ayn Rand's Insane "Atlas Shrugged" [More...]
It's fun to hoot at the blatant propaganda, horrible writing, and moral idiocy of Atlas Shrugged[more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Economics is too important to leave to the experts [More...]
"[...] it is entirely possible for people who are not professional economists to have sound judgments on economic issues, based on some knowledge of key economic theories and appreciation of the political and ethical assumptions underlying various theories. Very often, the judgments by ordinary citizens may be better than those by professional economists, being more rooted in reality and less narrowly focused. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Begging The Inequality Question [More...]
All too often, market advocates assume that markets work fine and fixing inequality might make them inefficient. But actually existing markets always depart from perfect models, and already have inefficiencies. Fixing the inequalities might make them more efficient. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Mark Blaug was Right on Mises’ Method [More...]
Mark Blaug in his influential book The Methodology of Economics dismissed Ludwig von Mises’ later methodological work and apriorist praxeology as “so idiosyncratic and dogmatically stated that we can only wonder that they have been taken seriously by anyone”. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Political Correctness: A Proposed Definition [More...]
"The problem with the term ‘political correctness’ is that, at least since it was born as a right-wing term of abuse, it’s never had to do a day’s honest work in its life." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Inequality and the arts [More...]
Tyler Cowen's defensive observation that inequality allows patronage of the arts gets properly skewered by Henry Farrell and assorted commenters such as Corey Robin[more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Micro-foundations don't escape Lucas Critique [More...]
"The micro-foundations approach has merely been an excuse to continue to conceptualise the economy as self-stabilising and in equilibrium in the face of the Lucas Critique [....]"[more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine [More...]
An index and a short video detailing the enormous funding of climate denialism by the Koch brothers through a huge network of front groups.. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: The Billionaires Tea Party Documentary [More...]
Behind the Tea Party movement’s rhetoric of ‘freedom’ versus ‘socialism’ lies a highly co-ordinated network of shadow groups, funded by the likes of billionaire ideologues Charles and David Koch[more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Why we talk about the Kochs [More...]
"The Kochs threaten to destroy American democracy, regardless of their views. And, as it happens, their extreme and self-interested positions are taking over the Republican Party." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Militia Leader Who Wants To Have Harry Reid’s ‘Balls Ripped Off’ Lives On Gov. Disability Money [More...]
Libertarian Mike Vanderbeogh gets all upset about collectivism while living off of government disability checks. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Tyler Cowen's anti-Piketty crusade [More...]
Noah Smith observes the Koch-funded propaganda drumbeat, though he is too polite to call it that. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Robert Nozick Agrees With Thomas Piketty [More...]
"As diehard a libertarian as Nozick was, even he found himself bothered by the prospect of "patrimonial capitalism" to borrow Piketty's phrase [....]" "Like all of his prior forays into the realm of philosophy, Mankiw has this one entirely wrong." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: The mainstream economics curriculum needs an overhaul [More...]
Undergraduate economics education is not properly training tomorrow’s policymakers. At the minimum they need some economic history, the diversity of economic viewpoints and training in skepticism of all economic claims. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: The Mismeasure of Technology [More...]
Total factor productivity is a residual, the unexplained causes of growth. Blaming government for slow growth is in part wrong, since diffusion of collective "knowhow" seems to be the limiting factor of much growth. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: The Four Biggest Right-Wing Lies About Inequality [More...]
The right wing lies about job creation, just desert, opportunity and minimum wage. Demand creates jobs, pay rates depend on bargaining power, opportunity requires better education, and minimum wages are good for the economy and the poor. [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: The Inefficiency of Inequality [More...]
"This problem, which economists call inefficient allocation, is present in the market for opportunities as well. [...] To a great degree, access to opportunity in the United States depends on wealth. Discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and sexual discrimination may be on the wane in many countries, but discrimination based on wealth is still a powerful force." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Why Economists Are Finally Taking Inequality Seriously [More...]
"Inequality could be a natural outcome of capitalist systems, and market failures could magnify unequal outcomes, but the main point is that economic research has not yet settled these fundamental questions. " [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Wealth: earned or inherited? [More...]
"The fact that currently wealthy Americans have not, in general, inherited their wealth follows logically from the fact that, in their parents’ generation, there weren’t comparable accumulations of wealth to be bequeathed." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: Property and Conflict [More...]
"That private property is extremely anti-libertarian poses a problem for libertarians, who are notable for their near worship of private property institutions. One of the ways they have taken to getting around this is to talk about the necessity of private property institutions for the avoidance of conflict [...] libertarian institutions are neither necessary nor sufficient for conflict avoidance." [more...]
NEW 5/12/2014: State Taxes Have a Negligible Impact on Americans' Interstate Moves [More...]
"The available data, however, fail to support claims that much interstate migration is driven by high-income people -- or anyone else -- consciously choosing low-tax locations."[more...]
NEW 5/11/2014: Libertarians’ scary new star: Meet Bryan Caplan, the right’s next “great” philosopher [More...]
"You might be tempted to dismiss Bryan Caplan as just another Koch-funded libertarian hack. But I think he may well be the next great libertarian philosopher. Caplanism may represent the future of that near-oxymoron, libertarian thought." (sarcasm) [more...]
NEW 5/11/2014: How Thomas Piketty Destroys Libertarian Talking Points [More...]
"The wrong-headed policies promoted by libertarians and their ilk, who hate any form of tax on the rich, such as inheritance taxes, have ensured that big fortunes in America are getting bigger, and they will play a much more prominent role in the direction of our society and economy if we continue on the present path." [more...]
NEW 5/11/2014: How the US stopped its fisheries from collapsing [More...]
Fishing regulations do work to end the overfishing tragedy of the commons. Where governments step in, the fish stocks recover. [more...]
NEW 5/11/2014: Desert Theory, Rehashed [More...]
The idea of "just deserts", so important to laissez-faire ideas, would not result from laissez-faire and in reality has significant problems.. [more...]
NEW 5/11/2014: Why Inequality Matters and What Can Be Done About It [More...]
Inequality is not "natural", nor is it "just deserts": it is in large part a result of policy, which we can change. Economic inequality is harmful to democracy, because it causes political inequality. [more...]
NEW 5/06/2014: Market Efficiency
Market efficiency is the great benefit of capitalism, but capitalists hate it because it means low profits. Capitalists battle market efficiency through monopoly, marketing and other assaults on the assumptions of Free Market Theory[more...]
NEW 5/04/2014: Pareto, Inequality and Government Debt [More...]
"Pareto efficiency [is] obviously not a value free criteria. So those who argue that economists should only look for Pareto improvements – changes where no one is made worse off -- are making a value judgement." Focussing on Pareto improvements ignores the diminishing marginal utility of consumption. [more...]
NEW 5/04/2014: Pareto Optimality and Pareto Improvements
Pareto optimality is often an illusory hope. It does not help us choose WHICH Pareto Optimum we'd want, and there can be many. Pareto improvements assume many things which are not true, such as that inequality doesn't matter. They also are frequently used in bait-and-switch: lump-sum transfers to make sure everybody benefits are often conveniently forgotten. [more...]
NEW 5/04/2014: Ethical Assumptions in Economic Theory: Some Lessons from the History of Credit and Bankruptcy [More...]
Capitalism does not "distinguish between free contracts and contracts into bondage, or between agreements reached by self-debasement or a dignified offer." Thus it will "often require constraints on the scope of freedom of contract and property rights, against the laissez faire ideal." [more...]