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Links to Consider, 5/8
Noah Smith on industrial policy; Scott Alexander on mental illness and physical illness; David Henderson on the latest Clark Medal winner; Paul Dobransky on friendship
What are the chances that the same policies that would strengthen the U.S. in the international arena would also boost the middle class at home? In fact, I do think there’s a good precedent for this: World War 2. The massive military manufacturing boom unleashed to fight that war, as well as the advent of science and technology policy, ended up boosting the power of labor, accelerating growth, and creating the preconditions for a robust middle class in the postwar years. It was a double win, and it’s one the Biden administration would like to repeat.
That view of World War II has been refuted, or at least challenged, in a book by economic historian Alexander Field.
I want to like Noah Smith. He keeps up a strong pace. He covers a variety of topics. He says interesting things. But then he writes an essay like this, which is a valentine to the Biden Administration and is full of horse manure.
The New Industrial Policy is the latest fad in justifying runaway deficit spending and clumsy government intervention. I predict that, like Modern Monetary Theory, it will end up doing considerable economic damage. I have to mark down any economist who jumps aboard this train.
Last time I wrote about this, I said that some cases of long COVID were probably psychosomatic, but the majority weren’t. These new data don’t technically disprove that; bisexuals aren’t a majority of anything. But the signal here is strong enough that I’m going to walk my previous statement back and be much less sure that there aren’t a lot of psychosomatic cases (I still think most likely some cases are organic, just because you usually need a few organic cases to seed psychosomatic conditions, and there’s no reason why a serious and novel virus shouldn’t cause occasional post-viral syndrome).
As you know, I am drawn to the view that mental illnesses tend to cluster. And if he is suggesting that LGBTQ types are more likely to have mental disorders than straights, I am drawn to that, also.
Attitudes toward mental illness nowadays are weird. There are disorders that we can medicalize, like ADHD and depression. But otherwise, we seem to go out of our way to deny that treatment is appropriate.
Yes, we approve of you seeing a therapist—if that’s your choice. But we don’t want to say that your mental condition needs to be addressed by therapy. We don’t want to judge you as having a problem.
This seems like it is bound to lead to a society where mental illness goes untreated. It could get to the point where the expectation is that the therapist is only there to assure you that you’re just fine.
As a result of this scrutiny, the president and provost of Harvard vetoed a job offer to Zucman.
And it wasn’t just free-market types who were critical. Larry Summers, who appeared on a panel with Zucman’s co-author Emmanuel Saez, said that after examining the data that Zucman and Saez used to justify a wealth tax, he was “about 98.5% persuaded by their critics that their data are substantially inaccurate and substantially misleading.”(at the 20:40 point in the above link.) Notice, just following this part, how Summers, using his own data, cast doubt on the Zucman/Saez methodology.
Gabriel Zucman was awarded the most prestigious prize offered by the American Economic Association, the John Bates Clark Medal. He is regarded as an intellectual swindler by many, including Henderson. I have not personally dug into Zucman’s work, but in a case of deciding what to believe by deciding who to believe, I am more inclined to go with Zucman’s critics than the AEA committee.
Friendship = Consistency + Mutuality + Sharing + Positive Emotion
If you were to solve the “friendship crisis” at least for yourself, you’d work on these four in yourself and look to find all four in others.
The essay covers loneliness and how one can avoid it.
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