Schmitt and the contemporary left

Schmitt and Polany, both think of the golem

Schmitt and Latour, both critical of modernity

Schmitt in contemporary communist china thought


Piketty and Kuznets

Is inequality temporary? Piketty’s response to Kuznets’ false optimism

started off here, quiet beefy for a side note 🙂

the Twitter 3d is also quiet interesting, Modernization Theory which puts together capitalism and democracy

Physics, Economics and energy transition

a mathematicians put it very simply, where an economist sees productivity a physicist sees energy

replies in the 3d are also interesting, the economy makes a better use of energy since the oil crisis, will it make a difference. Therphysicist might be unimpressed and remain skeptical.

Here a Lotke wheel is introduced and supports that physicist’s skeptiscism, it will be hard to keep growing if energy production does not grow herself. We grow the wheel and accelerate the circulation by adding more energy in the process. From this paper:

Lotka’s wheel and the long arm of history: how does the distant past determine today’s global rate of energy consumption?

In this approach future GDP is also caused by the cumulative GDP, all its history and, while the enrgy efficiency is clearly going up, the relationship between current and cumulative GDP remain steady

This is beacfuse cumulated GDP (which is W) captures all the wealth amassed over time, not just the one that gets monetised and depreciates quickly halving every 3,5 minutes. Greek fig trees might be dead 2,000 years but a culture of the fig tree remains owing to the ancient greeks

Does this model captures societal resistance or hysteresis to change ? It rather captures a “dark matter” of knowledge, insituttions, belifs a practices that shape the hidden metabolism of the world, beyond the markets. The relationship W/E stayed constant over 50 years in which 2/3rd of the wealth was created so, if we expect to stay constant as it is hard to change, continued growth will require growing.

Therefore “Even if world GDP growth falls to zero from its recent levels close to 3 % yr−1, long-term decadal-scale growth in resource demands and waste production will continue to accelerate. It is only by collapsing the historic accumulation of wealth we enjoy today, effectively by shrinking and slowing Lotka’s wheel, that our resource demands and waste production will decline” and this could happen via hyperinflation. But this is not doomism, is just a n implication of the model.

Approached from the opposite side it means that, as energy consumption will keep growing, decarbonization will have to proceed faster in order to decouple effectively growth from CO2, while growth and energy seems not easy to decouple. Unless something very deep

Talent by Cowen

Tyler Cowen wrote a book on talent

here he says their idea of talent is heideggerian “Nervous energy and obsessiveness are markers of talent, for Cowen and Gross; for Heidegger, we might say, they are signs of anxiety in the ontological sense. Those who know their ownmost nothingness are likely to react by leaping towards their ownmost sense of possibility at every turn. Those who do not know the sting of death are happier to be complacent, just steering along, like Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilyich.”

I stumble upon a Joel Mokyr interview where he says economic growth is led by the 2%, the 3% “

You said the question was controversial, so will my answer be, but I don’t care. Here is the point. Economic growth and economic progress is not driven by the masses. It is not driven by the population at large. It is driven by a small minority of people who economists refer to in their funny language as upper-tail people, meaning if you think of the world following some kind of bell-shaped or normal distribution, it’s the elite, it’s the people who are educated—not necessarily intellectuals. They could be engineers, they could be mechanics, they could be applied mathematicians.

…I don’t care if 95 percent of people are not willing to question traditional knowledge, or anything like that. I care about the other 5 percent.

Sounds like the people Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross talk about in Talent. Sounds like Elon. I could have excerpted other parts of the transcript. Strongly recommended.

the ITW

Price Wars

una sorpresa un bellissimo libro che vi invito a leggere ed eccovi una recensione di Price Wars di Rupert Russell in 1,2,3

1 come dice il sottotitolo è un libro sul contributo dei prezzi delle commodity al caos politico ed economico dei nostri tempi. Russell visita tutti i luoghi delle crisi degni anni 10,, Mosul, il Donbass,, Caracas, Mogadishu, il Guatamela. Bellissimi i reportage su Donbass e Caracas. Nella narrazione i reportage sono intervallati da interviste a studiosi portatori di piccoli pezzi di teoria che formano l’argomentazione, anche del calibro di Jeffrey Sachs per dire. Alla fine da una narrazione viva, emozionale della sociale e politica, emerge una rigorosa trattazione dei risvolti finanziari ed economici in un continuo zoom-dezoom dal macro al micro, dai luoghi dei reportage ai mercati globali, caos e frattali usati bene insieme nell’argomentazione. E dal caos degli anni 10 emerge chiaramente come i prezzi del petrolio causano guerre, i prezze dei cereali fame e rivolte per il pane, i prezzi della case, sappiamo delle grandi crisi finanziarie ma c’è dell’altro. La cosa che si apprezza di più di questo libro è la capacità di svelare un filo conduttore nelle crisi del decennio passato e, nel capitolo finale dedicato al Covid, riconoscere la discontinuità e proporre una tesi per il decennio in corso

2 è un libro che mi ha sorpreso per la forza della narrazione e degli argomenti. Molto incuriosito, ho cercato info sull’autore, è phd di sociologia ad Harvard ma complimenti, capisce davvero economa e finanza . In realtà il suo titolo è Sceneggiatore e Regista e quindi mi sono accorto, ma lo sapevo perchè lo dice nel libro, che esiste un documentario Price Wars, quindi progetto multimediale, ed è già stato trasmesso da Artè in Francia e Germania nel 2021, adesso lo sto cercando

3 ciliegina sulla torta, ho scoperto che figlio di Ken Russel, il regista inglese di Tommy e Quadrophenia e in qualche modo tutto è tornato a posto, figlio d’arte e non di un regista qualunque 🙂

Marshall Sahlins on economists

this bit from Anarchy, in a manner of speaking told by Graeber: “I’m a student of Marshall Sahlins, so I was trained to see unlimited desire as a theological illusion. Marshall always insisted the trouble with what we have come to call Western civilization is that it was founded on a false idea of human nature that traces back to the Sophists perhaps, through the Christian fathers’ conception of original sin, to liberal economists’ conception of utility.”

Money isn’t neutral

“There is no inherent money neutrality, neutrality must be constructed by institutional arrangements. Much of the New Deal in the 1930s and 1940s was designed to build alternative channels for lending”

it’s the Cantillon effect, the closer to the mine, the first to spend the new coins and drive inflation against those farther away.

In current terms, it’s the central banks who are very good to discount bonds and inject liquidity into big corps, but there’s no one just as good in lending to homeowners, small businesses, workers etc.

So, in the big financial crisis, banks get bailed while homeowners are kicked out of their homes.

In Covid times, the government makes a multi.trillion rescue package and the stock market rally, because money gets more easily to listed companies.

related, since money isn’t neutral, creating money is intrinsically politcal and we come to this Crypto and the Politics of Money Adam Tooze interviewed by Eugney Morozov

George vs Harbinger

rather, georgism vs harbinger tax, that latter, read in Radical Markets, struck as market nerdy (name your own price and pay taxes on it, but not too low or you’ll risk being bought out of your home) in principle has some advantages, encted in a world of great financial disparity, recurrent real estates bubbles, what can possibly go wrong ?

Why I thought about Harbinger ? I read Vitalik here on Bulldozers and Vetocracies, while I am not convinced this dimension he introduces is profound, fundamental and close to the basic mechanism, I got intrigued by his preference for Harbinger Tax and Quadratic Voting. QV was in Radical Markets but I have much recollections, it markets nerdy, introduces prices ion political decisions and the same doubts apply.

While we are not talking the same thing, lottery seems better solution to get out of dysfunctional prestige and charisma politics which attracts the wrong people. But then, quadratic voting would apply also fo lottery politicians, so better have a second look