First: We economists observe the very broad sweeps of data generated by firms and governments accounting systems. They arise out of human propensity to cement social bonds and deepen our societal division of labor by entering into reciprocal gift-... 1/
...We economists observe the very broad sweeps of data generated by firms and governments accounting systems. They arise out of human propensity to cement social bonds and deepen our societal division of labor by entering into reciprocal gift-exchange relationships. We... 2/
... have both extraordinarily amplified yet also narrowly focused these by mediating them via through the social fiction of “money“. Thus gift-exchange gets divided into one-shot cash-on-the-barrelhead quantified discrete episodes. And from the counted-up totals and... 3/
... subtotals we economists can see, plus economists’ present and past introspection into our motives and behavior, we then guess at what the cocial human reality is signalled by those particular patterns that our counts have told us are typical.

But there is a problem... 4/ We count, and our counts tell us what interactions are typical and representative. But then we rely on introspection to help us turn our numbers into ideas of what these patterns really mean. That is not good enough. What we really, really need is for somebody... 5/
...who can dive deep into an individual case study—someone very sensitive to human psychology, to how it signifies itself in human actions, and how human actions combine with the actions of others to generate human group behavior. We need anthropologists.

Gillian Tett... 6/ an anthropologist. The fact that she is also perhaps the best financial and economic journalist of her generation tells us how desperately we need the types of insights anthropologist generate if we economists are to get even a small clue as to what the patterns in... 7/
...the numbers we have counted mean. And she has written a book, and throw vision, about what Modern economic life looks through an anthropologist. Buy it. Read it. I do not know of a better way for you to spend some of your time in the next month:

Gillian Tett... 8/
...: Anthro-Vision: Anthro-Vision A New Way to See in Business & Life <…> @gilliantett 9/END

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More from @delong

12 Jun…

First: I find this from Mervyn King for Bloomberg annoying. Yes, the risk of inflation is “real”—as it was not in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, in all of which we were assured that it was very real... 1/
...indeed. But the risk that the recovery will be anemic is real as well. If inflation risks turn out to materialize, the Federal Reserve has a straightforward way of handling them. If anemic-recovery risks materialize, there is no path to easily handle them. Given the... 2/
...immense uncertainties, an ability to do the math of option value under asymmetric risks mandates that the sensible thing to do is to prioritize rapid recovery now, and to wait until early 2023 to see where we are with respect to inflation. And, no, we are not... 3/
Read 8 tweets
12 Jun

We have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall... 1/
...heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of... 2/
...honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."... So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have... 3/
Read 8 tweets
12 Jun
@jfeckstein @Noahpinion Don't think I haven't thought about it! Wiþ 1 ideogram per syllable—or, actually, more like 0.7—& 2 syllabus per word, 280 characters translates into 200 words. A full op-ed column þen becomes a three-tweet tweet storm.

I favor: "the complex Involved Ideography of Captain... 1/
@jfeckstein @Noahpinion ...Yuan.... Yuan’s Ideography was based on the notion that writing had greater impact the more senses it evoked. Old-style European script... had to work hard to achieve the kind of psychic resonance that Yuan desired.... The Involved Ideography... were intricate... 2/
@jfeckstein @Noahpinion ...hieroglyphs based on the First Aristos’s own ideas about the wiring of the human mind and its relationship to information, were another step toward complexity and many levels higher in symbolism. Looking like a peculiarly convoluted incorporation of baroque Mayan... 3/
Read 7 tweets
12 Jun
@zachdcarter How come back in 1993 Michael Levy & Jack de Vore, Bentsen's Asst. Secys. for LA & PR, were **very** **very** insistent that, even then, things would only pass (a) if they were also Republican priorities, (b) via Reconciliation, or (c) if you were very clever, under... 1/
@zachdcarter ...credible threat of Reconciliation followed by a bargaining-back, & only then if enough Republican senators to get to 60 decided that bipartisan comity was a better look than boob bait for the bubbas?

If this was the view of Bentsen's staff in 1993, 27 years ago, a group... 2/
@zachdcarter ...that actually staffed things that passed via a bipartisan majority, what excuse does Biden's staff and Manchin's staff have for not knowing it now and singing bipartisan kumbayah?

The velvet glove is worn over the steel gauntlet, it is not a substitute for it... 3/END
Read 4 tweets
11 Jun
@FiringLineShow @LHSummers @Harvard @PBS For example, John Cochrane in November 2008, when private construction spending was at 40% of its peak and only 60% of its average share of spending, calling for a further fall in aggregate demand & higher unemployment to push even more people out of construction employment... 1/ Image
@FiringLineShow @LHSummers @Harvard @PBS ...Unless I am fundamentally mistaken at a very deep level, that's not intellectual excellence. Yet neither his colleagues in the finance group, his deans, nor U. of Chicago President Zimmer uttered as much of a peep or pulled John aside to say: "you should count how many...
@FiringLineShow @LHSummers @Harvard @PBS ...people are employed in construction before you go raving off as some kind of right-wing von Hayekian social justice warrior".

It's a big problem. 3/END
Read 4 tweets
11 Jun
@IrishPhilosophy @lastpositivist It's a Roman thing: When you surrender, you give your captor power of life and death over you. If he decides to enslave you, you have agreed to it: if you were not the kind of person who would agree to become a slave, you would have... 1/
...continued to resist, and so died.

The questions in this framework are (a) what if it was not you but your parent that surrendered (easy answer for Romans: you live at your paterfamilias's sufferance, so you have no rights other than those he gives you; easy answer... 2/
...for us too: no, your father's surrender does not bind you in any way); and (b) can you—morally—revoke your surrender and resume your war against your captor-enemy under more favorable conditions. I think the answer for Hobbes is: yes, you can, for you are still in a... 3/
Read 4 tweets

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