Re: Piketty

1

FINE I'll go read it now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 8:10 AM
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how-to-write-a-marxist-critique-of-thomas-piketty-without-actually-reading-the-book ...Jacobin

A little of that thigh-slapping ROFL intellectual socialist wild and crazy insider humour, like cock-jokes but way worse.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 8:16 AM
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I prefer Piketty reviews. My favorite so far, because it focuses on the political implications in an American context, is sometime blog subject Jedediah Purdy's.

Excerpt:

What is the human meaning of the changes that these numbers describe? If you live in a dramatically stratified society -- and Piketty's point is that you do -- you know this class structure. There's a small set of the super-wealthy, with powerful influence in culture and politics. These people control capital. Then there is a slice of professionals and mid-level executives, as well as some small-business owners, who generally own their houses and save some significant financial assets over their lifetimes - the nine percent. The true middle class, 40 or 50 percent, owns a house but not much else. Many of the rest have negative or neutral net value and live month-to-month.

The biggest problem to me is that, taken as a whole, the 60ish % with some net worth does well enough under neoliberalism to keep any real left from emerging for the foreseeable future.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 8:57 AM
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There was a surprisingly long argument on my Facebook feed among people (mostly physicists) arguing about whether Piketty was or was not just rehashing things that are completely obvious, and also whether or not he was a Marxist and whether or not that's a bad thing. None of the people arguing had read the book. But now they've moved on to pontificating about the extent of the danger posed by superintelligent robots.

I've only made it about 60 pages into the book. It's surprisingly readable, but I keep getting distracted by other things I have to do.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:14 AM
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Like playing 2048 games.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:14 AM
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I've been reading the book for a bit, I'm 5 chapters in. I think what makes it great is not just the main argument, which is clearly stated and extraordinarily important and seems pretty unassailable, but I guess we'll see what happens when the future and others get their hands on it, but the little nuggets of off-hand wisdom and observations.

No review I've seen captures the latter aspect, but IMO it's really that aspect that makes it so absolutely devastating for Econ 101 and its related libertarian arguments, and makes it such a great read. It's also in that way that the book is IMO most similar to Marx (though it's not Marxist); the offhand quips are themselves fonts of wisdom. Really seriously worth reading the book and not just the reviews, I think. It's not fun, exactly, but definitely extremely readable.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:25 AM
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I love his bit in the introduction about his opinion of the discipline of economics as she is practiced. "Hence they must set aside their contempt for other disciplines and their absurd claim to greater scientific legitimacy, despite the fact that they know almost nothing about anything."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:29 AM
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As always, Purdy needs an anti-preciousness editor, but that review is a marvel of clarity--really excellent.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:30 AM
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Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. I for one am glad to have the opportunity to discuss it, since I finally finished it last night.

On a personal note the core argument that r>g and that that means that wealth tends to concentrate, that means a wealth tax is desirable are insights I had in my 20's when I began studying economics. So if I had spent the next 20 years working on proving it perhaps I'd have been in Piketty's shoes.

Being proved right on something my friends and family were skeptical about gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Finally the fact that this has become hugely popular now gives me hope that maybe we will do something about it before our civilization crumbles. I thought we had little to no chance before this.


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:31 AM
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I think one of the most important possible effects is that those who want to preserve their ideology will have to articulate their argument against Piketty.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:35 AM
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10: I hope you're right, but I would think pundits and politicians would just point out that he's French and his title alludes to Marx, so therefore he should be ignored, and academic economists will spout lots of technical-sounding gibberish and conclude that he can be dismissed.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:48 AM
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So is the Kindle version readable, or are there enough charts and tables in the book that I'd be better off getting a hard copy?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:48 AM
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Bought it, but haven't started it yet. Only just finished another blockbuster on a completely different subject and I'm a slow reader. Ask me in August.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:49 AM
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And others will say that it's irrational to focus on any threat other than the rise of superintelligent robots.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:49 AM
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[Exhausted sigh.] This is Borat all over again.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:55 AM
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14. Unless the superintelligent robots can stop climate change and want to, they're a sideshow.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:57 AM
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15: Care to explicate that?

16: I actually had that discussion with someone once who was into the robot-fear thing. He said climate change might be devastating but that at least some people would survive, whereas the killer robots could kill all the humans, so it's clearly more important to spend time on that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 10:13 AM
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And besides, once the superintelligent robots are in charge, if they're friendly, they'll be able to solve climate change for us because they'll be so much better at everything than we are.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 10:14 AM
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I'd also like an answer to 12. Since I 've found a few ostensibly not maths- or diagram-heavy academic books, e.g. works of history, unreadable on kindle (which I like a lot for fiction)


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 10:30 AM
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Its pretty graph heavy.


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 10:38 AM
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The first couple of graphs are in the kindle sample, and are perfectly readable (when expanded) on my paperwhite. You could try the sample on your own device. I don't know if later graphs are bigger/less readable, though. Someone asked the question on Amazon, and the one reply says they're readable.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 10:48 AM
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If you were rich you could buy both. There, now you don't need to read the book.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 10:48 AM
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Solow's review in TNR is by far the best - afaict.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:14 AM
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Where are people finding the book? It's been out of stock at Powell's and Amazon forever, and I can't afford a used copy because I'm not a first-up-against-the-wall filthy rich one-percenter.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:33 AM
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I found it at the local thinly-disguised Barnes and Noble after failing to find it in the Harvard Bookstore.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:44 AM
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Barns and Nobel?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:51 AM
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19 is what I've found. It's too hard to look back and go over something if you find that 100 pages later it required more attention that you gave it at the time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:52 AM
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24: we ordered from Amazon even though it was out of stock and it only took a couple of days extra for one to come in.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:54 AM
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14: the physicists-talking-about-superintelligent-robots thing reminds me of nothing so much as the physicists-talking-about-consciousness thing from the '70s.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:56 AM
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I think I have a copy (unread) of The Dancing Wu Li Masters around the house somewhere.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:58 AM
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Maybe somebody read it (I got it at a used bookstore), but not me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:59 AM
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Kevin Drum of course would argue that the problem with superintelligent robots is inequality-masking productivity gains like those identified by Piketty.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:59 AM
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I know 32 is a joke, but that's not Piketty's argument at all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 12:10 PM
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Even though I only started the book at comment 1, do know that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 12:13 PM
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Although I would have thought it was maybe tangentially related to a sub-argument someplace.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 12:13 PM
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36

I'd say I'm waiting for the paperback but sadly I'm still not really reading books anymore.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 1:30 PM
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37

NMM to Gary Becker.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 1:32 PM
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The people who think super-intelligent robots are the biggest threat in the future are making a mistake. The biggest threat in their future is that I'm going to start punching them in the face.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 1:42 PM
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You want to know the greatest threat to the future? Imagine Walt's fist punching a human face--forever.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 1:46 PM
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Kevin Drum of course would argue that the problem with superintelligent robots is inequality-masking productivity gains like those identified by Piketty.

And the solution will be to give the robots enough lead to fuck 'em up. A whole lotta lead I guess because you wouldn't want to just leave them with criminal sociopath level of lead-impairment but otherwise super-human powers. A bad combo.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 2:00 PM
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Everything I know about super-intelligent robots I learned by extrapolating from the lyrics of "Iron Man*."

*Originally conceived of as "Iron Bloke" I just learned via Wikipedia.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 2:04 PM
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I am Iron Bloke,
Wearing a suit that is bespoke.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 2:06 PM
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39: Greatest threat, and greatest hope.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 3:03 PM
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Re: 41

Geezer Butler was kind of dumb (as a song-writer) but also kind of a genius.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 3:41 PM
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45

I think one of the most important possible effects is that those who want to preserve their ideology will have to articulate their argument against Piketty.

I'm with 11. If Piketty is taken this seriously by mainstream economists, we'll have won. But I have serious doubts that it will be. Has any mainstream economist yet shown signs of engaging with it in any serious way?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 4:16 PM
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46

Seriously.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 4:17 PM
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I was thinking of things like this list of how bugged Tyler Cowen is by Piketty. I don't know if Tyler Cowen is mainstream but he writes stupid mainstream books, at least.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 4:23 PM
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I don't know that I'd consider that "engaging in a serious way." It feels more like pretending to while finding excuse to dismiss.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 4:38 PM
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49

s/b "pretending to engage"


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 4:39 PM
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50

And "excuses."


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 4:39 PM
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Capital
is
a
dweam
wiffin
a
dweam.
The
dweam
of
pwofit
wapped
wiffin
the
gweater
dweam
of
hegemony.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 4:44 PM
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Has any mainstream economist yet shown signs of engaging with it in any serious way?

I take it that Krugman is out of the mainstream, by your categorization?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 4:55 PM
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50: but cowen is at the least preoccupied with piketty.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 4:58 PM
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I take it that Krugman is out of the mainstream, by your categorization?

Yes. The profession has treated him as unserious since he began writing for the Times over a decade ago.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 5:08 PM
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I take it that Krugman is out of the mainstream, by your categorization?

And DeLong?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 5:09 PM
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So basically "mainstream" means "freshwater"?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 5:10 PM
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What's DeLong saying about Piketty? I don't read him.

Believe it or not, I was really asking a question--not making a sarcastic dismissal. If mainstream economists are really wrestling with Piketty, I think that's great. I had been under this impression that they were essentially just dismissing him as a silly French Marxist.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 5:14 PM
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By the way, Halford's comment 6 caused me to finally order this book. I'd wanted to read it but had been put off by reviews that suggested that, if you already buy the main idea and have read enough reviews to know the general thrust of the argument, there's not much else there to justify your time spent reading it. But comment 6 makes that seem wrong. Anyway, it's on order now.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 5:17 PM
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Piketty is entirely mainstream within the academy. Conservatives hate his book because it's apparently very threatening to their worldview, but that's a separate issue.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 5:35 PM
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If having a tenured job at Princeton or a $200k+ salary from CUNY is what counts as being treated as unserious by your profession, I really hope people start to see me as unserious soon.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 5:47 PM
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I was hoping I could get away with reading the reviews. I read 6, and though, "dammit, now I have to add a 687 page book to my list."

But I have to finish Nixonland first, which will take me at least another month.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 6:04 PM
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That leaves 2 months for Piketty before the follow-up to Nixonland comes out in August.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 6:07 PM
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Nixonland has so filled me with overall disgust for the American people/humanity that I don't think I can handle Reaganland.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 6:10 PM
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If having a tenured job at Princeton or a $200k+ salary from CUNY is what counts as being treated as unserious by your profession, I really hope people start to see me as unserious soon.

Sounds like more dinosaur papers are in order.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 6:10 PM
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Just wait until we get to Gingrichland.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 6:13 PM
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63: try reading it during the '08 presidential campaign. At least now there's a Democrat in the White House.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 6:18 PM
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I ordered the book from Amazon weeks ago, then they sent me an email saying that it would take at least a month getting it to me and if that was OK then reply right away, then when I didn't reply in time they *canceled my order*. It's that in demand! Evidence of the revolution arriving, or just evidence that Amazon plutocrats like to fuck with people who order this book?

As for economics changing, it's a whole hegemonic ideology that gets its power from the way that it serves the ruling class. A couple of Berkeley and Princeton professors writing positive reviews of Piketty's book ain't gonna change anything. The true power of economics lies not in individual economics, but in a million stupid and ideology-laden econ 101 assumptions accepted by millions of people in positions of power.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 6:20 PM
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lies not in individual *economists*, sorry.

There is nothing any one individual economist could write that would have even a minor impact on the sources of power of economics as a profession.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 6:21 PM
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Also a very good book: Matt Taibbi's new one "The Divide". And it will come from Amazon within days!

Not as good as his last book, "Griftopia", but good.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 6:38 PM
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69: I enjoyed Taibbi's Daily Show interview about the new book.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:14 PM
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I was kind of hoping to have strong opinions without doing any of the reading.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:27 PM
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Anyway, the problem won't be a robot uprising; it'll be robot suppression of uprisings.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 9:29 PM
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70: Matt Taibbi has a much more laid-back affect than I would have expected from his prose style.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 12:39 AM
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73: clearly he goes on the smack after he files.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:07 AM
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Ah, that makes sense.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:13 AM
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72. You called?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:54 AM
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77

Also this.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:00 AM
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67.2 was basically my point in 45.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:35 AM
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If having a tenured job at Princeton or a $200k+ salary from CUNY is what counts as being treated as unserious by your profession, I really hope people start to see me as unserious soon.

I have heard multiple economics professors, including a few of the top names, say some variation of: "Krugman's work on trade in the 1980s and 90s was undeniably brilliant. It's too bad he didn't stick with serious academic work. Instead he went to the Times and became polemicist. His columns on issues other than trade tend not to be any better grounded in solid economics than those of any other columnist."

I'm not going to bother digging up links, but I know Krugman himself has complained more than once about receiving this sort of treatment.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:44 AM
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urple you should really check out DeLong's reviews and, more importantly, his reviews of reviews. It is of course the case that ideologically conservative economists are dismissing Piketty for stupidish reasons, but my sense from reading DeLong is that there has been quite a bit of engagement among economists who aren't doctrinally conservative. In any case, talking about who is taking the book seriously without yourself investigating who is taking the book seriously seems doomed to lead to people thinking you're just lightly trolling or something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:10 AM
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urple: Krugman had been a NYT columnist for like 8 years when they gave him the Nobel Prize in Economics. Macroeconomists hate him because he's so contemptuous of the last 40 years of macroeconomics, but other economists think that it's time for macroeconomists to shut their fucking mouths after humiliating the entire field in 2008. Krugman has probably already single-handedly revived IS/LM analysis. Up until 2008, economists thought of it as a stupid thing they just taught undergraduates, but now after Krugman's blog posts it's back to being the default way to explain the aftermath of recessions.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:17 AM
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I haven't read it yet (and I do plan to) but from what I've gathered of the argument from all the reviews, I'm not actually clear what political effect people are expecting it to have. If the argument is "Concentration of wealth is increasing, and will increase, for these reasons," hasn't the right wing been saying "Sure. And we think that's a good thing, that will make even poor people better off over all," all along.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:18 AM
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What's funny about Krugman and the heterodox is that the heterodox hates Krugman most of all. If you look at heterodox economics blogs, every post is about how Krugman is wrong this week.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:19 AM
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In any case, talking about who is taking the book seriously without yourself investigating who is taking the book seriously seems doomed to lead to people thinking you're just lightly trolling or something.

Really? I literally asked the question. I'm supposed to investigate first before asking? It's not exactly something with an easy-to-google answer. And I wasn't asking from a position of complete ignorance. I'd previously read the article on Cowan that heebie linked in 47. Among other things. All of which made me think that mainstream economists were mostly searching for reasons to dimiss Piketty, not to reform their professional worldviews in light of his work.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:21 AM
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82: now that I'm on page twelve I can confidently say that there's more to it than that; it sounds like the theoretical justification for a lot of right-wing economics (while there might be a lot of inequality, "a rising tide lifts all boats") is this curve, which is the (a?) specific model that Piketty is seeking to demolish, and which apparently (as of page twelve) still has a fair bit of currency in mainstream economics.

Or not. I'll let you know when I'm through the introduction.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:22 AM
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I literally asked the question.

I mean, I asked the question believing the answer to be "no", when it sounds like the answer is "actually, yes". To which I say: "Great!" I'm just missing what's coming across as trolling.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:26 AM
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Among other things. All of which made me think that mainstream economists were mostly searching for reasons to dimiss Piketty, not to reform their professional worldviews in light of his work.

I mean you could rephrase this as "grappling with a very well done and hard-to-dismiss book because to accept its conclusions would mean a dramatic rethinking of many things they generally believe", which seems hard to materially disambiguate from "taking it seriously". Were you using "taking it seriously" to mean "accepting all of its conclusions uncritically"?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:29 AM
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86: I think I didn't pick up that you bought the assertion in the second part of your first sentence from your previous comments, which is surely on me. Comity!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:30 AM
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82: They haven't been uniformly saying that. For a long time they denied it was happening, then they said that while inequality of wealth might be increasing that inequality of consumption wasn't decreasing. Now they're left with only that position.

85: Another, more empirical, justification is that the labor share of GDP in the US seemed to be constant. This plus some theoretical handwaving leads you to conclude that the distribution of wealth doesn't matter for macroeconomics. Piketty refutes the empirical claim.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:33 AM
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Isn't one of Piketty's huge contributions simply putting together the data on the distribution of wealth? Stuff like "inequality is getting worse and is now at pre-WWI levels" doesn't come out of thin air, someone has to measure it first.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:44 AM
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"grappling with a very well done and hard-to-dismiss book because to accept its conclusions would mean a dramatic rethinking of many things they generally believe"

With Tyler Cowan in particular, I don't trust that he's doing this, at least not in good faith. I think he's typing a lot of words to make it appear that he's grappling with the book, when he's alraedy actually dismissed it and is just searching for the best justification for that dismissal. But I could be wrong.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:48 AM
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I don't trust Tyler Cowan.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:48 AM
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92. Me either.

I'm looking forward to reading Piketty's book. IMO, economists are very happy to invoke loose evolutionary analogies when talking about human suffering as a consequence of market action. Much less interested in evolutionary critiques of maximal efficiency or fastest possible growth.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:15 AM
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(It's Cowen)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:17 AM
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Him too.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:17 AM
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I'm sure 91 is right, but all I claimed in 10 is that ideologically-driven economists would have to articulate an argument against Piketty (and then their arguments would presumably seem weak and petty), not that they would grapple meaningfully with the content


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:23 AM
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96: And I was agreeing that would be a wonderful outcome. I am not under the impression that we're at a point where ideologically-driven economists "have" to articulate an argument against Piketty, instead of just dismissing him. (Which is what it feels like Cowen is doing. And, for similar treatment, here's Mankiw on Piketty.) My baseline suspicion is that we'll ride out the Piketty new cycle with these lame dismissals and then no one will fell compelled any longer to even offer that much thought to Piketty, and very little about mainstream economic analysis/policy recommendations will have changed. But again, I'd really love to be wrong. And it sounds like the book is already getting deeper engagement in the profession than I'd realized, which is obviously good news.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:45 AM
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My assumption has been that something close to Mankiw's response will become the conventional wisdom.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:01 AM
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Mankiw's "unless mating is perfectly assortative, or we return to an era of primogeniture, wealth per family shrinks as it is split among children" surprises me---how many children do the super-rich have, on average?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:01 AM
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Well, maybe so. We'll always have r > g though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:02 AM
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Piketty new cycle

That was supposed to be "news cycle". I'm having a very hard time typing today.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:07 AM
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Also, don't super-rich families tend to keep the wealth concentrated rather than actually dividing it among children? My sense is that you get family trusts, with some, more responsible children with management authority, and the goofier kids just get money (on a scale that's large to us civilians but small in relation to serious wealth).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:08 AM
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99, 102: and doesn't Piketty sort of explicitly say that the thing that Mankiw says will ineluctably happen didn't actually happen before the world wars and great depression? Seems like you have to make primogeniture do an awful lot of work to wave that away. I should probably read further into Piketty before making this comment. Too late!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:14 AM
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Well, primogeniture did do an awful lot of work, didn't it? Very rich families had one seriously rich heir, and then tried to get the rest of the boys either killed somehow or downwardly mobile in the professions? (This is not historical knowledge, it's all Trollope and such, admittedly.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:17 AM
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But I mean primogeniture per se isn't even required for his point not to hold, it seems like. It just needs to be the case that some number of heirs hold on to enough capital that the total amount of capital held by all the heirs at whatever time n in the future is greater than it is at the time of divvying up. It doesn't seem like r needs to be so all-fired > g for that to be true, which I take to be essear's point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:20 AM
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True.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:22 AM
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It would seem to me that the empirical question is important: does intergenerational wealth dispersion, which to the extent it occurs obviously tends to be fairly slow as it occurs on a generational basis, occur at a rate greater than or less than the rate at which capital inherently concentrates (because r>g)?

(Nevermind the fact that "rich families can't stay dynastically wealthy forever because they divide their immense wealth among multiple kids, who divide it further among grandchildren, etc., so that each generation tends to be slightly less dynastically wealthy than the generation before" is hardly a rousing defense of the dynamic nature of the capitalist market system.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:26 AM
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107.1 before seeing 105, which I think is saying the same thing.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:28 AM
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Theoretically you placed your 2nd son in the army or navy; 3rd in the church; subsequent sons in a respectable profession (basically medicine, law, architecture or some branch of scholarship where they could be supported cheaply.) The British elite encouraged younger sons to emigrate to the colonies, an option not exactly available to Americans: did they send their sprogs west instead?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:28 AM
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did they send their sprogs west instead?

That would explain California.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:29 AM
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The British elite encouraged younger sons to emigrate to the colonies, an option not exactly available to Americans: did they send their sprogs west instead?

Per the one book I've read on the subject (Albion's Seed) primogeniture only really told hold in the coastal south, where slavery made everything all weird, and anyhow the division-of-lands thing was distorted by the fact that there was so fucking much land to be had.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:31 AM
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I think Urple's argument might be improved by either (a) reading the book or (b) reading reactions to the book, but that's just me.

In any event, the part that seems most devastating in Piketty's book for popular consumption is something that I think underlies, but is ancillary to, his main argument -- his point that (a) economic growth is almost certain to be lower in the rich world than most assume; (b) economists have almost no idea whatsoever how to create growth (c) much, on the whole roughly half, of economic growth is driven purely by growth in population, not per capita growth. He absolutely agrees that a high growth rate will, on the whole, lead to both a shrinking ratio of capital to income and reduce the trend towards inequality. However, growth rates of the kind that you see everywhere, with any kind of mix of social-democratic or neoliberal policy, won't suffice, and, in particular, as long as you have slowing or zero demographic growth (which people may, and likely should, want for other reasons) you won't have sufficient growth to avoid the inequality trap he talks about. So capitalism not only (absent massive external shocks) produces inequality, but there is essentially no hope that neoliberal policy can do anything about it or, really, make any significant difference in people's lives. "A rising tide lifts all boats" was always a decent argument for neoliberalism if you thought it would indeed cause the tide to rise; in fact, there's pretty much no reason to think it will do so, or do much of anything other than create a continuing situation in which those who have capital already continue to increase their share of wealth and power at the expense of those who do not.

[I mostly wrote the last paragraph to record my own thoughts on reading the book; it could be wrong]


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:31 AM
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112 was me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:32 AM
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112: what do you take my argument to be?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:33 AM
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(a) economic growth is almost certain to be lower in the rich world than most assume barring super-intelligent robots; (b) economists have almost no idea whatsoever how to create growth aside from the creation of super-intelligent robots (c) much, on the whole roughly half, of economic growth is driven purely by growth in population of intelligent entities of some sort or another.

Solved!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:35 AM
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Solutions: a) inflation, very much in the sense of "generalised rise of prices driven by wage bargaining", b) I dunno...sumptuary laws? "Sir, it appears you haven't fulfilled your Section 208 spendthrift requirement for fiscal 2015. You must get rid of at least another million by year-end or face paying tax. May I recommend coke and hookers?"


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:41 AM
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Yes, inflation gets discussed, but largely in parts of the book I haven't gotten to yet.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:43 AM
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Re: 10. My impression is that mainstream economists are remarkably adept at simply ignoring things they find inconvenient, so I suspect they'll settle on just ignoring the book.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:46 AM
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More seriously, I expect the result to be that formalized economic modeling will (where relevant) begin both incorporating other assumption that make this unimportant to the model (such as those tossed out by Mankiw: assume that consumption expenditures of capital owners rise in line with their wealth so that so that r>g does not lead to increased concentration of wealth, or assume non-assortive mating and multiple children leads to decreases in wealth concentration over time, offsetting r>g, etc.), the end result of which will be models that for most purposes work exactly the same as they would have if you hadn't bothered taking any of this into account.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:58 AM
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More seriously, I expect the result to be that formalized economic modeling will (where relevant) begin incorporating r>g into their models, but also will begin incorporating other assumptions that make this unimportant to the models (such as those tossed out by Mankiw: assume that consumption expenditures of capital owners rise in line with their wealth so that so that r>g does not lead to increased concentration of wealth, or assume non-assortive mating and multiple children leads to decreases in wealth concentration over time, offsetting r>g, etc.), the end result of which will be models that for most purposes work exactly the same as they would have if you hadn't bothered taking any of this into account.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:00 AM
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Oops. Ignore 119.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:01 AM
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What is "this" in the first sentence 119?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:01 AM
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I guess ignore 121. 120 is weird but... I haven't read the book either, so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:03 AM
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Another, more empirical, justification is that the labor share of GDP in the US seemed to be constant.
Wasn't this only true if you lumped in the financial services industry with labor? The obvious conclusion should have been "finance isn't like labor", rather than "everything is hunky-dory with labor".
inflation, very much in the sense of "generalised rise of prices driven by wage bargaining"
How is this to be accomplished?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:04 AM
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120: I don't know any economists, but, in general, that is not how people making models think.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:05 AM
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"Let's all burn degrees of freedom without increasing our explanatory power."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:06 AM
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Well, I'd love to be wrong.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:08 AM
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126 sounds like much of freshwater economics.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:08 AM
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in general, that is not how people making models think.

It is if you have people who want to cling to their existing model even when people tell them they neglected something important. "Oh, that thing? Yeah, we can throw that in, but it won't make any difference because..."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:10 AM
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"Oh, that thing? Yeah, we can throw that in, but it won't make any difference because... of all this cocaine."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:12 AM
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120, 129: How do you think economists ever manage to write a new paper? Do you think the entire literature consists of the same model over and over again?

Macroeconomic models were constrained by a list of apparent regularities in the data, the Kaldor facts. Piketty and others have assembled data to show that the Kaldor facts aren't true.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:18 AM
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Something, something, Kuhn. Something, something, I read Lakatos and mention it too often...


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:20 AM
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It occurred to me that the rational expectations revolution and the rise of freshwater economics coincide exactly with cocaine and disco.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:20 AM
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Also, lead.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:22 AM
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131-133: there should really be some massive history-of-science work about the various social/cognitive/computational science revolutions of, oh, 1955-1965 or so and the social/political forces that made them all so interestingly linked in their wrongness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:28 AM
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Be the change.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:29 AM
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Let's all write a book.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:31 AM
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I could take it on as a summer project!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:31 AM
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the various social/cognitive/computational science revolutions of, oh, 1955-1965 or so and the social/political forces that made them all so interestingly linked in their wrongness.

I blame Rock n Roll.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:32 AM
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Do you think the entire literature consists of the same model over and over again?

It would be an interesting contrast to what I'm used to: a literature filled with thousands of models, all of which are wrong. Well, except the one.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:42 AM
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Cybernonsense: How Norbert Wiener Pulled A Boner


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:44 AM
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E = mc1.97
E = mc1.98
E = mc1.99
E = mc2.00
E = mc2.01
E = mc2.02


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:45 AM
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131.2.1 to 131.1.2


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 10:07 AM
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90: Along with Emmanuel Saez, Piketty has spent the last decade or so putting together a vast trove of data on wealth and income inequality -- this is really his (their) great achievement. Anything you read anywhere that talks about the economics of the 1% probably draws on their data somehow. This book is kind of just the tip of that iceberg, or [other more appropriate analogy]. I haven't read the book yet, but I'm guessing that the book is him taking the liberty to talk about the meaning of what he's found, but it isn't really 'theory' in the sense of doing a mathematical theory. r>g is an observed empirical regularity, not a theory.

But once I manage to get my hands on a copy of the book I'll have more of an opinion. Aren't markets supposed to be good at distributing things like this?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 10:16 AM
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(I finally ordered the book. I know I won't read it as an e-book, so I'm waiting for the paper.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 10:36 AM
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Maybe Piketty could revive the reading group that Heidegger killed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 10:41 AM
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Stupid Nazis.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 10:41 AM
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Oh, neat idea. Heidegger really was an incredible bitch to read -- I think I lasted as long as anyone, but I was suffering. But I'd kind of like a discussion schedule to keep me honest in terms of actually thinking about this.

The logistics are a little weird in terms of getting your hands on a copy of the book, though. Maybe when mine arrives, I'll put up a post and ask who'd want to be in a reading group, and we'll work through who hasn't got their copy yet then?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:11 AM
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I'll put an order in.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:16 AM
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I ordered mine last night.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:18 AM
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If r>g becomes an easy truism, it will be harder to claim that people who went from *some* capital to *lots* of capital got there through special virtue, eh? It won't change the extremes of politics but it might blunt pluto-worship in the middle.

My won't-get-there dinosaurish summer project would be an argument that the base rate of r is derived from some global ecological and/or MaxEnt limit. British Consols and zakat converged on the same number, afaict, so that's my target. I need a third example.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:35 AM
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MaxEnt

"We've reached peak Treebeard!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:37 AM
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Is it possible to purchase an r>g t-shirt yet?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:38 AM
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151.2 Don't think so. Cinsider a theoretical economy where most assets are imaginary (game credits, bank credits, whatever). There's no upper limit to size of this minecraft economy. (Well, size of largest computer imaginable, I guess).

Unfortunate side-effect: The minecraft winners can mess up the physical economy pretty severely when they pay attention to it, cf housing crash of 08, oil spike before that.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:44 AM
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151... but everyone knows that to make money investing, you need to start with money. It's right there in the lists of products offered by financial firms. Great Returns Fund: Minimum investment $250,000. Generic Boring Fund: Minimum investment $50,000. Savings Account: Minimum investment $500.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:45 AM
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There's no upper limit to size of this minecraft economy.

Well, there can be only three strongholds. And I just found one last weekend.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:47 AM
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Well, there can be only three strongholds. And I just found one last weekend.
laydeez


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:54 AM
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154: I'd be piffling about the physical economy, not the Minecraft/financial one. The financiers insist on taking real physical goods as rewards for their game, so the two have to join there, at least. (I haven't read Piketty either. What's his timescale?)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:54 AM
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Another vote for the reading group. It may be the only way I read this thing.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 12:40 PM
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If I had a Kindle edition, I could read the Kindle edition, if I had a Kindle.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 12:51 PM
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160: you can get the Kindle app for lots of devices--no need to have a Kindle.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 12:53 PM
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I was making a formulaic joke. I want the book.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 12:59 PM
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Though I suppose the better response would have been, "If I had a Kindle edition, I could read the Kindle edition, if I had an iPad."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:01 PM
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I'd be in for the reading group and will work on procuring a copy.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:01 PM
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160: You could read it on your sandwiches, if you had a lot of sandwiches and some help.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:05 PM
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I'm probably going to end up reading it on my iPhone. I've been slowly working my way through this paper on my phone, so Piketty can't be any worse.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:08 PM
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It just happens to be the format with the lowest barrier to reading for me. I can even use it to substitute for playing 2048 and the like, or browsing Unfogged.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:09 PM
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I will read it on Google Earth after I selectively fertilize Nebraska to produce the text. Let's talk about it in the fall.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:18 PM
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(Over lunch, I read an item about the guy who texted the entire works of Shakespeare to some scammer. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/weird-news/man-gets-revenge-on-gumtree-seller-by-texting-him-entire-works-of-shakespeare-9202851.html An option worth considering, friends. . .)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:49 PM
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168 made me laugh. Last conference had a picture of automated precision cultivation going over a vernal pool field -- the harrows/ploughs hadn't actually been down within a meter of the official pool area, but the machines had clearly driven back and forth straight *through* the pools. All the inter-pool area is also watered and fertilized so the water and nutrient balance in the protected pools is likely to be totally borked.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:54 PM
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168: You're going to use the 1% as fertilizer, aren't you? Fitting.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:54 PM
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I'd probably try to hang in for a reading group, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:58 PM
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Another vote for the reading group. It may be the only way I read this thing.

Hmmm, I was thinking that the reading group might make me feel guilty about not reading it. Whereas I had been expecting to not read it and not feel guilty about it.

But it seems like a good idea, and maybe it would be sufficient motivation.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:05 PM
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Assuming we can get a good discussion going, if you don't plan to read it, the reading group might provide a slightly better way to pretend you did than just reading reviews.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:08 PM
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Hmmm, I was thinking that the reading group might make me feel guilty about not reading it. Whereas I had been expecting to not read it and not feel guilty about it.

That was my plan as well. I have a feeling that this book just has better arguments for things I already believe. And that I won't really understand the better arguments.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:10 PM
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I couldn't tell how long the wait is for a copy on Powells or Amazon. And is it really $40? But yeah, I'd be down for a reading group.

In the meantime, Foucault's Birth of Biopolitics is my morning subway reading these days. Anyone want to do a Gary Becker Memorial Neoliberalism Reading Group?


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:15 PM
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if you don't plan to read it, the reading group might provide a slightly better way to pretend you did than just reading reviews.

Speaking of which, has anybody spent time with this Brad DeLong post about Piketty. It looks fascinating, but I haven't made any effort to work through his math.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:31 PM
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but everyone knows that to make money investing, you need to start with money. It's right there in the lists of products offered by financial firms. Great Returns Fund: Minimum investment $250,000. Generic Boring Fund: Minimum investment $50,000. Savings Account: Minimum investment $500.

This is important because it can't be that r in general is always greater than g. Otherwise we should just privatize social security and give all our money to the financial markets. It's 'the rich get richer', not 'the ordinary investor gets richer'.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:39 PM
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177: I've tried reading it a couple of times and I haven't been able to make it through the first section.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:49 PM
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The first r, r1, is what Larry Summers is talking about when he talks about secular stagnation. When that r1 falls to a level equal to minus the rate of inflation, the economy is in big trouble. At that point, wealthholders would rather become coupon-clipping rentiers holding government bonds then invest in industry of any sort.
I think he's saying that when wealthholders can earn interest on government debt above inflation they won't invest in industry. But that doesn't make sense (surely they would still happily invest if they find projects with higher returns). I'm obviously missing something.
It's possible he's describing this in a backwardly causal way? That when investors can't find rewarding projects they flood the market for government debt, driving yield down to zero, which may be below the level of inflation.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:59 PM
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Then the following purportedly complete list of ways to full employment seems to be sadly ommitting "Take from the rich and redistribute", I assume because DeLong doesn't believe that would help or he doesn't approve.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:03 PM
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Larry Summers is worried that this is the dilemma we face: that we are in a world in which r1 is too low...

Thomas Piketty, by contrast, says that he is worried about the world in which r2 is too high.
These two statements seem strange. Summers isn't directly worried that r1 is too low, is he? And Piketty is only worried that r2 is higher than g. It feels like DeLong is setting me up for an elision.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:15 PM
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Oh hi, Eggplant! Any luck making your list?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:21 PM
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Sincerely,

Megan


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:25 PM
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Not yet. Honest self-appraisal has led me to conclude that I'm unfit for a relationship with anyone I like.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:34 PM
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It's a big world out there. Conceive of the possibility that there's someone out there that is both appealing to you and has suffered such horrific emotional damage that they wish to punish themselves by being involved with a person as loathsomely degraded as yourself and making you blissfully happy. Tragic for them, but a situation with potential for you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:38 PM
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(Or, if you wanted to take a simpler approach, you could just look for people you like and leave it up to them to determine your fitness for the intended purpose.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:39 PM
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You don't have to have (and list) the complete set of virtues that makes someone a good partner. You just have to have (and list) 6-10 virtues.

You can have those virtues and simultaneous disqualifying faults. But your homework was to list the virtues.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:44 PM
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I've got a copy and could use external motivation to actually read it...


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:45 PM
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189 to 188


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:46 PM
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188: Strictly, you don't have to do anything. On the other hand, Megan's pretty intimidating. Probably best to stay on her good side.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:47 PM
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Let's workshop Eggie's OKC profile!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:47 PM
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Eggplant, you could base a list solely on your contributions to this thread. Optimize Piketty's hotness as a commodity.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:48 PM
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This tuna noodle casserole ALSO calls for simmering things in milk! What is up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:53 PM
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194 is a disaster of thread-appropriateness.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:57 PM
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So far I've got:
1) A willingness to pseudonymously embarrass myself asking questions about things I don't know.
2) A desire to make the list itself.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:59 PM
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Ooh! 180 makes me realize that I've never understood what the hell "coupon clipping" means in this context. Rich people who have so much investment income from boring sources that they never, ever need to work doesn't seem like the primary target of coupon-filled circulars. So I feel that I must be missing something.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:01 PM
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I believe bonds used to have little coupons for the ?interest? ?dividends? that one clipped off to redeem. Hence the reference to rentiers.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:03 PM
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The tuna noodle casserole seems to be fine, if a bit bland.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:07 PM
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Also, fixed-income, living-on-investments, genteel not-immiserated-poverty that clips grocery coupons used to be a thing. I kind of aspire to this, but my investment counselors were very surprised that I took a bus to my annual meeting with them, so I guess it's rare. (They're reliably amused by tales of environmental research, too. `And does this make anyone any money?' )


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:07 PM
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199: Say hello to 1978 for me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:16 PM
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201: are we talking about my kitchen remodeling again?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:19 PM
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You want the best tuna noodle casserole recipe?

Start with this soup:
http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/lynnes-green-bean-casserole-fresh-mushrooms-and-bonus

Make your own pasta

Get the imported jarred tuna packed in olive oil

Use real parmigianno-reggiano

Yum!


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:22 PM
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Make my own pasta?!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:24 PM
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Perhaps we could look harder at a relationship setting. We don't have to get all fancy about your virtues.

Are you prompt? Reliable? Would you be nice to the right someone, if you were in a position to be? Would be you willing to share responsibilities, if it got that far?

(I kinda laugh at prompt, but I also think the fact that my boyfriend and I are both equally prompt spares us a whole bunch of hassle. I mean, I could adjust to someone who ran 15 minutes late all the time, but it would bug me a lot and how nice that we both already prefer to arrive on time.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:25 PM
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If someone you like likes something, are you happy that they've found something they like? Do you try to like it? Are you happy if they discover they like something you like?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:27 PM
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204: You have to plan ahead a bit, but it's super easy.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:27 PM
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For the record, Eggplant is cute and personable. This self-deprecation thing is not grounded in reality. Let's find him twoo luvvvv!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:30 PM
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Chopper, just curious - exactly how many children do you have?!?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:35 PM
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Two, why?

To be clear, I only made the tuna casserole this way once, because i had leftover soup from making green bean casserole at Thanksgiving. Normally I follow the Cambell's route.

I'm the only one in my family who likes tuna casserole at all. To me it's the food of the gods, but I only get it about once every 6 months when I get sullen that I haven't had it in a while and make myself a batch.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:39 PM
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The idea of suggesting to a pregnant woman with three small children that she throw together homemade pasta (and for tuna noodle casserole!!!), it just boggles my mind.

I realize hg is on the other side of the internet, but I'd still be worried I risked being throttled.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 4:57 PM
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Eh, she's on summer break. What else does she have to do? She could make Jammies do it.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:00 PM
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||

Stark cancer news from Jim Henley.

He's characteristically pragmatic. Making jokes about Ensure.

I know folks here have followed/liked him, so just wanted to share for those not on Twitter.

||>


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:08 PM
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208 is right. I think Megan's list-making is more finding stuff you like about yourself than what others find appealing, but there are some easy ones: you're quite nice in person. Also, being fond of animals cannot possibly be overvalued in my book. That's two. Can you laugh at yourself? That's valuable.

211 is sad. Hopefully it ends more like Grant Achatz than Roger Ebert.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:23 PM
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There's a regular on Making Light who had similar cancer and surgery -- posts as Xopher Halftongue and seems to be doing fine. Hopefully Henley's results will be as good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:28 PM
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Speaking of coupon clipping: as far as I can tell, if someone in my position agrees to volunteer in a certain job for three years, he will be eligible to take an accrediting test that everyone who passes it can get a high-paying job. So effectively this would be like law school, but with no tuition, and would actually get you a job instead of being a cruel joke. And yet the idea of working for no pay, instead of taking out student loans, sounds crazy bonkers.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:38 PM
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Continued from 205, 208, 214: Helpful when faced with a clogged sink, although I'm not sure how to get that across in a personal ad. What are the Boy Scout virtues: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent?

Reverent, I'm guessing probably not. Obedient sounds a little odd in a personal ad, although if you thought it was a strong point of yours, I'm sure there's an audience for that. Of the rest, after a day's RL acquaintance, I'd spot you Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Cheerful, and Clean, remaining agnostic on the rest. Surely you can work up that list into something with specifics.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:38 PM
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185: Eggplant, your honest self-appraisal is lying to you.

213: Yikes. If I had such a gloomy prognosis, I'd... consider a lot of alternatives, some of them quite irresponsible (but fun!).


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:43 PM
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Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent?

Just remember "That Log He Flung Can Kill Only Cats Though Bats Cringe Rabidly"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:48 PM
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Also, Eggplant, maybe you have an overly generous assessment of how good other people are? Average human behavior is not that great. You can do something awful every now and then, and still score slightly above average! Like that xkcd cartoon where the guy mails you a bobcat. Not that I'm recommending this.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:49 PM
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Thanks guys, but I really do seem to be lacking in the social skills needed to build and maintain lasting relationships.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:56 PM
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213: Thank you for sharing that, Witt. I was an internet friend of his way back when (pre-Thorn name) and he appreciated my getting in touch more recently when he was having some hard times. If others are inspired to reach out, I suspect it might be appreciated.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:01 PM
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221: Have you considered a bobcat? Seems like that wouldn't last, at least.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:24 PM
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For someone going in a mid-size feline direction, I'd suggest a lynx. Better ears and feet, generally fluffier.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:36 PM
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Need we say it was not love

Just because it perished?


Posted by: Opinionated Small Alpine Mammal | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:40 PM
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221: If you don't want to date, you shouldn't. If, on the other hand, you'd like to date but think you're too messed up to manage it? There's an awful lot of very crazy people out there, lots of whom are dating. (I think a working majority of them have actually been involved with my college roommate at one time or another.) So you shouldn't let that hold you back.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:48 PM
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God damn it. Poor Jim.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:56 PM
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So I have only read the reviews of piketty, not the book itself. Is it correct to simplify it as Malthusian economics applied to wealth generation rather than population? Or alternatively a growth process with negligible mutation between income classes? I am wondering whether there is a single underlying mental model of income and growth or the book is better described as an aggregation and analysis of income and wealth trends.


Posted by: abf | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:59 PM
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227 gets it right. On the other hand, the last time he had surgery he went back to blogging, so there is that.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:12 PM
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Am I understanding correctly that Henley has ... throat cancer?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:14 PM
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226 suggest the promising approach of making lists of the negative qualities some other people have that I don't have quite as much.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:16 PM
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230: I think the main clue is what body part they're cutting out.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:17 PM
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232: and I think the ? stems from not having access to twitter.

More useful menu planning tip, BLTs. The enjoyment to effort ratio is quite skewed.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:21 PM
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I'm just not used to reading twitter threads, gswift.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:22 PM
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233: Oh, she has access, same way she has access to Google, with similar results.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:31 PM
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If you're insulting me, gswift, I'd ask you to lay off.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:37 PM
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What about positive qualities that I may not have but can fake for a while, until I project my self-loathing onto the relationship sabotaging it. Can I put those on the list?
I also intend to highjack the Piketty reading group with my social dysfunction.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:05 PM
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231: you're well-groomed and don't spray food everywhere when you eat. That's a start!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:08 PM
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Except when it isn't. You never know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:09 PM
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If you're insulting me, gswift, I'd ask you to lay off.

You have a long time schtick of not doing things like basic Googling and in this case, scrolling down. Do what you like but it's unrealistic to expect people to be tolerant of it.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:19 PM
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until I project my self-loathing onto the relationship sabotaging it

You mean you're humble and self-deprecating but with a good sense of humor about it? I think you can list those, but I'll let Megan be the final arbiter.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:23 PM
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until I project my self-loathing onto the relationship sabotaging it.

You need a self-loathing diffuser.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 8:23 PM
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242: Isn't that the premise behind this whole discussion? The question is how to find one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 9:08 PM
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Ooh! 180 makes me realize that I've never understood what the hell "coupon clipping" means in this context. Rich people who have so much investment income from boring sources that they never, ever need to work doesn't seem like the primary target of coupon-filled circulars. So I feel that I must be missing something.

Investment bonds used to come with pages of actual coupons, each of which represented one of the interest payments on the bond. These coupons had to be clipped off and mailed in to claim the interest payment. That's why interest payments on bonds are also often referred to as "coupon payments". "Coupon clipping" is literally referring to the labor that the investment class had to do in order to receive their monthly income. Obviously this is very outdated (but still common) usage and now they track all this electronically and just send bondholders money (and most bondholders now don't even have possession of the physical bond in the first place).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 6-14 6:02 AM
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Oh, sorry, 198 already got there.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 6-14 6:03 AM
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242: You need a red panda. I'll bet it would serve the same purpose.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 6-14 6:08 AM
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Or some cheesecloth painted tp look like Yul Brynner.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-14 6:16 AM
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-p+o


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-14 6:16 AM
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re: above

I'd also be up for a reading group, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 6-14 6:16 AM
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I finished the Introduction last night. It's dynamite. I highly recommend it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-14 6:17 AM
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Also I had no idea that dude was so young. Prepare to feel mildly humiliated at the scope of your accomplishments in life.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-14 6:18 AM
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Oh, sorry, 198 already got there.

Don't be sorry, 244 added lots of value.

Kai's kindergarten class did a cookbook (one recipe from each kid, ranging wildly in quality/edibility), and it includes a life-altering recipe for tuna noodle casserole. I probably make it more often than anything else in my entire repertoire, because everyone in the family loves it. Dead simple, too.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-14 6:48 AM
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8 oz penne or similar noodle, boiled & drained (should be slightly underdone, will finish in the oven)

1 C sour cream
2 eggs
1/4 C Parmesan
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar, plus 1/2 C for topping
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 can tuna

Combine all ingredients, fold in pasta. Put in casserole dish, sprinkle on cheddar, bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Serves 4-5.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-14 6:53 AM
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