Linkfest 2018-07-23: I should have been an economist

The Tech Backlash We Really Need

Embarrassing questions abound regarding the business models of social media companies.


A thread by Gwern on Great Society era social science that should probably be better known, if only to stop us from trying to reinvent wheels that we already know don't roll.

Cultural Evolution and Conservative Thought

This discussion between Tyler Cowen and Joseph Henrich is a fascinating counterpoint to a debate between Elizabeth Bruenig and Bryan Caplan on socialism. Caplan's rebuttal to Bruenig said of the greats of Western tradition:

While these “luminaries” were smart, most were also profoundly ignorant and dogmatic – and apologists for the brutal societies in which they lived.  Most had near-zero knowledge of what actually sustains the true and beautiful in our culture, namely: science, tolerance, and markets.  They have far more to learn from us – both factually and morally – than we do from them.

Whereas Cowen and Henrich came up with a bunch of cases where ancient authorities came up the same thing as modern science.


This reminds me of the actuarial global compliance system discussed by James Franklin. In principle, Franklin argues that the tools of accounting should allow us to accurately cost the things economists like to call "externalities".

Did wages reflect growth in productivity

I went down a long rabbit hole this week learning about wages and economic growth. This is worth a post of its own, but the short answer is: it depends on how you measure it.

America’s Factory Towns, Once Solidly Blue, Are Now a GOP Haven

The share of American counties that have a large proportion of jobs in manufacturing has declined quite a bit in the last twenty years. In that time, the counties that remain have swung strongly Republican.

Trump's Trump-iest Tweets Aren't Popular

There is some reason to think that Trumpism without Trump could be more popular.

Book Review - Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist

I didn't know anyone was still seriously arguing that economic growth should cease. I have my doubts about the way our economy is built upon assumptions of eternal growth in both population and dollars, but the book under review seems...strange.

The Sources Of Russian Conduct

A pretty standard geopolitical analysis of Russia's position. I mostly agree with this.

Where there’s a will, is there a wage?

A great article on what it looks like to get a job for the truly poor.

Housing Costs Reduce the Return to Education

Cost of living means that expensive coastal cities with high wages are harder to live in that average wage numbers might suggest. This led me down another rabbit hole worthy of its own post.