Must-Read: Timothy B. Lee: The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Great for Elites. Is It Good for Anyone Else?

Must-Read: Timothy B. Lee: The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Great for Elites. Is It Good for Anyone Else?: "Critics say the treaty will lead to a lot more disputes like the one in Australia... ...where powerful interest groups try to use trade rules to overrule democratically elected governments.... The WTO's dispute-settlement process... puts pressure on countries to actually keep the promises they make in trade deals.... But the complex, secretive, and anti-democratic way the TPP is being crafted rubs a lot of people the wrong way.... We... More >

Must-Read: Zeynep Tufekci: The Machines Are Coming

Must-Read: Zeynep Tufekci: The Machines Are Coming: "Today, machines can process regular spoken language and not only recognize human faces... ...but also read their expressions. They can classify personality types, and have started being able to carry out conversations with appropriate emotional tenor. Machines are getting better than humans at figuring out who to hire, who’s in a mood to pay a little more for that sweater, and who needs a coupon to nudge them toward a sale. In applications around the world, software is... More >

Must-Read: Nick Bunker: What Is the Right Size and Purpose of the U.S. Financial System?

Must-Read: Nick Bunker: What Is the Right Size and Purpose of the U.S. Financial System?: "The finance sector as a whole has actually become less efficient since the 1980s, according to... Thomas Phillippon.... ...[Noah] Smith notes that they all [pieces of finance]... take savings and turn them into investments.... Size might not be the only relevant question when it comes to the financial sector. The structure and the purpose of the financial system and its constituent parts are important to consider as well. If finance... More >

Must-Must-Read: Adam Kotsko: The Good Inequality

Must-Must-Read: Adam Kotsko: The Good Inequality: "My working theory is that virtually no one wants equality as such... ...They want inequality, but the good kind, the justified kind. Hence it is plausible that someone could rail against the power of the 1% and yet still get snippy: “They want $15 an hour for flipping burgers?!” The good inequality now would be based on getting a college education, but whether you received that education and the degree of quality would be based solely on your merits... More >

Things to Read at Lunchtime on April 23, 2015

Must- and Should-Reads: Ted Genoways: "Climate change is making the Texas panhandle, birthplace of the state’s iconic Longhorn, too hot and dry to raise beef. What happens to the range when the water runs out?" Dave Gilson: "It's Not the 1% Controlling Politics. It's the 0.01 Percent.... About 1,200 Americans control more than 40 percent of election contributions... Must-Must-Read: Daniel Davies: Greece--The Next Steps and Scenarios Umair Haque: The Asshole Factory Nick Bunker: The path to more U.S. exports? Must-Read: Jérémie Cohen-Setton: The Critique of... More >

Thinking About Ken Rogoff: Overleverage, Secular Stagnation, Savings Glut, Impaired Financial Trust

Ken Rogoff--of whom my standard line is: everything he says is very interesting, and almost everything he says is completely correct--is weighing in: on secular stagnation, the global savings glut, the safe-asset shortage, the balance-sheet recession, whatever you want to call it.   His view is that excessive debt issue and overleverage are at the roots of most of our problems. He thus believes that our difficulties will end when deleverage has reduced the overhang of risky and underwater debt to a sustainable level: Ken... More >

Today’s Must-Must-Read: Daniel Davies: Greece–The Next Steps and Scenarios

Must-Must-Read: Daniel Davies: Greece--The Next Steps and Scenarios: "Is there unambiguous political support in Euroland... for doing what is necessary to keep Greece in the Euro? No. Is there enough goodwill to support a bridging effort to buy time for detailed discussion of how much money Greece needs and how much control the lender countries want to keep? Yes. Is it natural for the Greek side to use that bridging period to create ‘facts on the ground’? Yes. Are the institutions going to let them... More >

Must-Read: Paul Krugman: That Old-Time Economics

Must-Read: Paul Krugman: That Old-Time Economics: "Why has Europe done so badly?... ...In the past few weeks, I’ve seen a number of speeches and articles suggesting that the problem lies in the inadequacy of our economic models--that we need to rethink macroeconomic theory, which has failed to offer useful policy guidance in the crisis. But is this really the story?... It’s true that few economists predicted the crisis.... Since then, however... basic textbook models, reflecting an approach to recessions and recoveries that would have seemed... More >

Must-Read: Tony Yates: With Enemies Like These?

Must-Read: Tony Yates: With Enemies Like These?: "DeLong and Krugman think you can and should get along fine without nonlinearities.... ...Krugman’s latest offers an argument that is a version of Occam’s razor. I don’t agree, but... they are extremely clever, and both have lots of prior experience.... Blanchard makes the following point.  We should aspire to stabilising the economy.  [Surely one can’t argue with that.]  And if we succeed [we might not, but if], and assuming it’s not done perfectly, but just quite well, then... More >

Must-Read: Umair Haque: The Asshole Factory

Must-Read: Umair Haque: The Asshole Factory: "What is Mara’s job like?... ...Her sales figures are monitored…by the microsecond. By hidden cameras and mics. They listen to her every word; they capture her every movement; that track and stalk her as if she were an animal; or a prisoner; or both. She’s jacked into a headset that literally barks algorithmic, programmed ‘orders’ at her, parroting her own ‘performance’ back to her, telling her how she compares with quotas calculated…down to the second…for all the hundreds of... More >