Day: May 13, 2016

Media macro vs actual macro, city economists vs academic economists…

Mostly Economics

Simon Wren Lewis introduced this term called media macro. It basically meant financial media taking control over economic matters. Using their propoganda they kept highlighting macro issues which they thought were important. The problem is their understanding of these macro issues is mostly flawed and actually creates further problems. He shows how British media’s obsession over austerity in early part of the crisis got the economy into tailspin laters.

In a longish essay Prof Lewis, explains the issues further:

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Why was the Industrial Revolution British and not Dutch? The innovation angle..

Mostly Economics

Anton Howes, has completed his PhD recently and is a Historian of innovation.

In this piece he looks at this perennial interesting question on industrial revolution. Why Britian? Why not in the other imperial power – Dutch? Being a historian on innovation, he says part of the reason could be that British were pretty good at innovating new things. Then they developed a social network where the innovators passed on their skills to others interested:

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Stress and belief in conspiracy theories

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

A recent a piece of research published by Viren Swami and colleagues has uncovered a link between feeling stressed and belief in conspiracy theories.


Swami and colleagues gathered responses from over 400 people, where the responders completed various measures, such as indicating their perceived stress (over the last month), stressful life events (over last 6 months) and belief in conspiracy theories.  They found that more stressful life events and greater perceived stress predicted belief in conspiracy theories.

There are a couple of reasons proposed why this may be the case.  For example, when people experience stress (say a stressful life event), they may start thinking in a particular way such as seeing patterns when they do not exist, which may lead on to prompting a conspiratorial mind set.  Once this worldview has begun to develop therefore, belief in conspiracy theories are more easily reinforced.

Alternatively, the researchers suggest stress…

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Fascism was not left-wing !!!


John Holbo at Crooked Timber reprises a debate which raged 7 years ago when a book called Liberal Fascism was published. His take focuses on Germany but mine puts more weight on Italy. I think the issue is kind of obvious, but it’s always good to have an excuse to pontificate on matters historical.

[Edit 5/5/15: This blogpost is NOT a comment on or a critique of Jonah Goldberg’s book, which I have not read, but he has responded to me. Edit: 6 May 2015: My follow-up and response to Goldberg, “Nazi Political Economy“.]

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Labour’s Shibboleth

The Gerasites

By Saul Freeman

It’s May 2016 and Ken Livingstone has just been removed from the Corbynite slate for Labour’s upcoming NEC election, due to his long history of Jew baiting finally catching up with him. Ken of course puts his fall down to an alliance of Zionist conspirators and the right leaning bureaucrats of his own party. He’s being replaced on the candidate list by Rhea Wolfson, a young socialist who has stated that “winning 2020 should not be the priority of the Labour Party” and asserts that “to focus only on elections loses sight of other ways of making effective changes in society”.

If Ken & Rhea didn’t exist, some of us would be tempted to invent them as clumsily drawn characters to use in our blog posts where we write about the moral and political collapse of the Left. And then enraged Corbyn supporting folk would pursue us…

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US Wind Power Output Collapse: What Happens When the Wind Don’t Blow



Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

When your power generation ‘system’ depends on the whim of the Wind Gods, results can differ from the operators’ professed claims.

In the US, the Gods haven’t blessed the wind industry with much fortune of late: despite a rapid increase in (massively subsidised) wind power capacity, wind power output has slumped (and babies nesting in treetops can sleep easy).

States subsidized for wind power saw decline in production
Andrew Follett
The Daily Caller
21 April 2016

States with lucrative subsidies for wind power such as California, Oregon and Washington saw huge decreases in the amount of wind power generated during 2015, according to a Thursday report by the Energy Information Administration.

The only major state to see large increases in its wind…

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Most @BernieSanders’ supporters don’t want to #FeelTheBern in their hip-pocket

66 percent of Sanders supporters are unwilling to pay more than $1,000 in higher taxes for universal health care. This includes the 8 percent of Sanders supporters who aren’t willing to pay anything more!


Source: Most Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t willing to pay for his revolution – Vox.

Sanders supporters want free public college tuition but 14 percent said they don’t want to pay additional taxes for it; another half said they would only pay up to $1,000 a year!


Source: Most Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t willing to pay for his revolution – Vox.

Report: 6,549 Postal Workers Were Attacked By Dogs In 2015


4f720552e3889_23477nIt is the classic tort and a virtual cultural icon: mailman versus dog. New figures show that this is not some cultural mythology. According to the U.S. Postal Service’s annual report, 6,549 postal workers were attacked by dogs in 2015. That is an increase of 14 percent from the year before so either dogs are getting more aggressive or mail carriers are getting slower.

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