Here is the audio and transcript, here is part of the summary: Tyler and Brad discuss what can really be gleaned from the fragmentary economics statistics of the late 19th century, the remarkable changes that occurred from 1870–1920, the astonishing flourishing of German universities in the 19th century, why investment banking allowed America and Germany
The post My Conversation with Brad DeLong appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.
Here is the audio and transcript, here is part of the summary:
Tyler and Brad discuss what can really be gleaned from the fragmentary economics statistics of the late 19th century, the remarkable changes that occurred from 1870–1920, the astonishing flourishing of German universities in the 19th century, why investment banking allowed America and Germany to pull ahead of Britain economically, what enabled the Royal Society to become a force for progress, what Keynes got wrong, what Hayek got right, whether the middle-income trap persists, his favorite movie and novel, blogging vs. Substack, the Slouching Towards Utopia director’s cut, and much more.
And here is one excerpt:
COWEN: What do you take to be the best understanding of the 17th-century Scientific Revolution, if indeed you view it as a 17th-century revolution?
DELONG: I always think Joel Mokyr is absolutely magnificent on this. I think he understates the role that having printing by movable type played in creating the community of scientific practice and knowledge seeking.
There’s one thing that happens that is extremely unusual. Back before 1870, there’s no possibility at all that humanity is going to be able to bake the economic pie sufficiently large that everyone can have enough. Which means that, principally, politics and governance are going to be some elite constituting itself and elbowing other elites out of the way, and then finding a way to run a force-and-fraud domination and exploitation scheme on society so that they at least can have enough. When Proudhon wrote in 1840s that property is theft, it was not metaphor. It was really fact.
What does this elite consist of? Well, it’s a bunch of thugs with spears, the people who have convinced the thugs with spears that they’re their bosses, and their tame accountants, bureaucrats, and propagandists. Which means, most of the time, when you have a powerfully-moving-forward set of people thinking about ideas, whether the idea is true is likely to be secondary to whether the idea is useful to helping me keep my place as a tame propagandist in the force-and-fraud domination and exploitation elite machine.
This is a point I’ve stolen from Ernest Gellner, and I think it is very true. Yet, somehow, the Royal Society decides, no. The Royal Society decides nothing except through experiment — what we are going to demand that nature tell us, or tell one of us, or at least someone writes us a letter saying they’ve done the experiment about what is true. That is a miraculous and completely unexpected transformation, and one to which I think we owe a huge amount.
Many interesting points are discussed.
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