is countertransference as a megastructure.

@jgordon memories of the future is the real product opportunity.

in reply to @jgordon

when Trump claims to be “an innocent man” and his followers believe him, i don’t think the meaning of that is to deny that he did what he is accused of. instead the claim is that, by virtue of being Trump, by virtue of his nobility and the nobility of his intentions, his doing this does not constitute a crime where it might if others did the same. 1/

in the conservative imaginary, the protection offered by the state must be about persons rather than actions. it is futile, naive, to try to prevent or deter crime. we must catch and punish criminals. there are good guys and there are bad guys, and the edifice of law is a pretext by which we get the bad guys. going after the good guys, unless what they’ve done shocks the conscience in its harm to other good guys, is always a miscarriage of justice. /fin

in reply to self

either we are integrating or we are disintegrating.

@poetryforsupper 🥺

on getting a locally run LLM up and running.

@Alon @SteveRoth @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper I’m very sympathetic to “hysteresis” arguments that suggest the long-term effect of recessionary economies is sluggish demand, lower growth and productivity that might have emerged in a “run the economy hot” counterfactual, where people would spend more securely and full employment / rising wages create incentives for labor-augmenting innovation.

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @SteveRoth @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper There’s just a very mechanical short-term effect. Business’ capacity to produce does not fall linearly with the marginal workers fired. So the immediate effect of a recession is a productivity increase, once demand comes back towards capacity. I don’t at all claim it’s a good thing overall.

in reply to self

@Alon @SteveRoth @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper since that early 1990s recession, the stylized fact is “jobless recoveries”. fast GDP growth not matched by employment growth. growth itself does not imply productivity. the question is what labor “produces” (it’s really just a ratio) that growth. 1/

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @SteveRoth @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper at the end of a recession is when labor markets are loosest. you might argue then that this is exactly when you’d expect growth to be a function of recruiting labor. but that’s not what happens. “productivity” happens. growth picks uo much faster than labor. /fin

in reply to self

@Alon @SteveRoth @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper i’m not sure what the dispute is? here’s (mobile-scale) US labor productivity by the most common measure. note how it pretty reliably spikes by the end of recessions (including 2020), as businesses fire workers and do less with more (degree to which that’s a result of working them harder vs selection effect of who gets fired is arguable).

in reply to @Alon

This comment on economists' and policy makers' betrayal of welfare economics by adopting "cost-benefit analysis" (or the potential-Pareto criterion) is fabulous. via @SteveRoth

@SteveRoth (The pedant in me can't help but point out that even *with* compensation, we must impose as a normative matter interpersonal comparison of welfare in order to make claims of welfare improvement. Absent unanimous agreement to a policy — with which or without reasonable compensation, will rarely be forthcoming, as people have idiosyncratic attachments or play holdup games — even with compensation we can't "scientifically" know the compensation is adequate.)

in reply to self

@Alon @SteveRoth @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper In a world where employers perceive high costs to finding employees and so hold onto employees through the business cycle, measured productivity declines overall. during periods of lower demand, labor hours are expended for the nontransactional benefit of maintaining relationships, which does not appear in GDP, reducing apparent productivity. 1/

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @SteveRoth @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper In a world where employers fire very freely, we see the morally counterintuitive result that productivity rises in recessions. Businesses fire employees whose hours contribute least to revenue generating transactions, raising the average of revenue per hour. Plus they can work those they retain harder, as "the sack" becomes a very credible threat. 2/

in reply to self

@Alon @SteveRoth @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper Treating productivity as we measure it as an unmitigated virtue is perilous. Yes, we want to maximize welfare generated per hour worked. But productivity doesn't measure welfare, it measures GDP, the macro analog of revenue. There are obvious wedges between welfare and revenue when firing someone doesn't much hit revenue but condemns a person to penury. /fin

in reply to self

@Alon @SteveRoth @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper (The better matching you describe in boom periods could counter to some degree my claim of lower measured productivity over the cycle, but to the degree there are matching gains to be had from job-switching, there might be tensions between the worker scarcity and so security “labor hoarding” yields, encouraging switching, and the relationship-building attached to that, discouraging it even in booms.)

in reply to self

it would be a scandal if government agencies could not have information available for purchase by every other stalker and marketer. if you don’t want the government to have surveillance data, regulate it to prevent it from becoming a commodity for sale on the open market.

@SteveRoth @Alon @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper i think this is maybe restating @Alon’s point, but one conjecture would we are experiencing a labor bargaining power hangover. “labor hoarding” is the phrase the US press uses, but what it means is that businesses perceive labor relations as precious, potentially hard to replace or scarce, rather than disposable and replaceable on demand. so they err on the side of retaining workers, rather than dismiss and rehire them. 1/

in reply to @SteveRoth

@SteveRoth @Alon @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper this would be a pro-employment result of the US’ extraordinary fiscal support during the pandemic. over the last few years, workers experienced getting by without current work — it became thinkable — and they accumulated savings that, even for a while after supports ended, meant “take this job and shove it” remained on the table. 2/

in reply to self

@SteveRoth @Alon @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper thanks to state support, workers were (qua @Alon / Meidner) perceived as having wings, rather than hiding desperately under shells praying for the beneficience of employers. 3/

in reply to self

@SteveRoth @Alon @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper in the stupid Econ 101 imagination, there is only price and quantity, and labor supports can only shove the supply curve outward, reducing quantity employed. 4/

in reply to self

@SteveRoth @Alon @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper but it is policy that determines the *character* of labor as an economic commodity. in a Dickensian world, labor is disorganized, disposable, a burden you take on only when needed and shed as quickly as possible. 5/

in reply to self

@SteveRoth @Alon @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper in a civilized world, labor is people, employment is a relationship, employers who become available then unavailable, “sleep around” looking to replace you, are employers workers can and do avoid. 6/

in reply to self

@SteveRoth @Alon @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper for the first time in 50 years, from 2021, US employers have got a taste of a civilized labor market. even as household employment declines (gig workers find it harder to hire themselves), employers retain the relationships they’ve established, are less likely to let go. 7/

in reply to self

@SteveRoth @Alon @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper in a civilized world, what that leads to is a profits recession, not a labor recession at all, profit margins (i think still near double historical norms) normalize while workers remain employed and employable. 8/

in reply to self

@SteveRoth @Alon @jamisonnbishop @ryanlcooper it remains to be seen how civilized our country is willing to be. what if the stock market declines even while employment is tight and interest rates are steady? is that even thinkable? /fin

in reply to self

the whole pronoun thing will blow over once they realize theirs are brah/brah.

@kim_harding one step might be to adopt electoral systems more likely to reward decent people, and not likely to reward negative partisanship. much wider use of approval voting might be a good start.

in reply to @kim_harding

“The novelist Upton Sinclair observed, ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.’

Well, the opposite is true, too.”

from @BCAppelbaum

Chilling on a summer day in Constanța.

@ Teatrul National de Opera si Balet - Oleg Danovski

@DetroitDan i agree with the bit you quote, but i find Hudson mostly discredits himself throughout that interview by offering very caricatured and implausible takes on eg the Biden Administration. his description of the changes to food stamps is just inaccurate. i don't think you can look at the totality of the Biden Administration, including the ambitious and humiliating BBB drama, and write the whole thing off as a cynical game of good cop in cahoots with bad-cop Republicans.

in reply to @DetroitDan

@DetroitDan yeah, he is open about endorsing views that by recent (though now more contested) standards have been beyond-the-pale racist. he's very openly on the other side of most questions i consider important — i want social peace and social democracy, not social division to render social democracy impossible — but that openness is a refreshing contrast to the disingenuous dissembling of most of his political compatriots.

in reply to @DetroitDan

celebrates our miserable current state of of hatred, conflict, and social division as a feature rather than a bug. "Diversity is our strength" precisely because social division sabotages the political prospects of social democracy, despite ongoing massive public support for social democratic change. If you take for granted as "truth" that impotent government is essential to prosperity and flourishing, conflict among the plebes is to be encouraged.

if you are using contemporary LLMs, you want prompts that amount to linguistic one-way functions. they should generate output that would otherwise be difficult or annoying or time-consuming to produce, but is trivial to verify.

don't you just want to unlock new features?

@arclight good point.

in reply to @arclight

do we love our apps?

I have been told things you would never believe.

Back the blue!*

* As long as they ignore our crimes, but beat the crap out of them for theirs.

Ovid superintends his exile.

A sculpture of Ovid surveils Piata Ovidiu (Ovidiu Square) in Constanța, Romania. A sculpture of Ovid surveils Piata Ovidiu (Ovidiu Square) in Constanța, Romania.

“Too many limits on national policy autonomy can also produce a backlash against the global economy. One consequence of the erosion of national sovereignty under hyper-globalization was an increase in economic anxiety and the sense of a loss of control among many citizens. These are circumstances that exacerbate xenophobia and out-group hostility.” @drodrik

Kind of an aside, but Dems getting tough on Pharma's rape of the public purse would help defang some social issues. Both anti-vax and anti-trans activists lean on claims that what they deride as quack, harmful medicine is, with Dem's political contrivance, pushed on the public for Pharma Profit$.

These arguments would be less plausible if Democrats were plainly not on the side of Pharma Profit$.

see @pluralistic on Dem's latest, unpersuasive, version of "getting tough".

@JoshuaHolland @GottaLaff it’s only masking that can really hurt you.

in reply to @JoshuaHolland

@DetroitDan (thanks!)

in reply to @DetroitDan

@failedLyndonLaRouchite i wasn’t criticizing (your post or really endorsing it either). just rephrasing the Barr-endorsing tweet in an attempt at mild humor…

in reply to @failedLyndonLaRouchite

@failedLyndonLaRouchite even Satan agreed this was over the line.

in reply to @failedLyndonLaRouchite

@HamonWry it used to be VR was going to be a place for fantasy. now it’s going to be a place for normalcy.

in reply to @HamonWry

much of superstition is just reading reality like a novel.

on private equity, reviewing two recent books that both aptly characterize the industry as *plunder*

Got to love the coalition. ht @GreenSkyOverMe @fawfulfan

some people can never die, will be forever young.

Rooftops, Brașov.

orange tile rooftops of Brașov, plus a view if Biserica Neagra (“the Black Church”) under blue, partly cloudy sky. orange tile rooftops of Brașov, plus a view if Biserica Neagra (“the Black Church”) under blue, partly cloudy sky.

@CoolerPseudonym i don’t know! i should read (or better yet see) it!

in reply to @CoolerPseudonym

@CoolerPseudonym it’s not logical though to presume he can’t fly.

in reply to @CoolerPseudonym

@StefanThinks this triggered me.

in reply to @StefanThinks

@hannah 🎂

in reply to @hannah

@CoolerPseudonym i’m unna become the main character on Qsite today with this one:

Socrates. Is. Mortal.

in reply to @CoolerPseudonym

@yarrriv @akhilrao awwww!

in reply to @yarrriv

@akhilrao i myself am a very small language model.

@WisdomExplained i’m in detention.

in reply to @WisdomExplained

claiming to prove or disprove things by recourse to (contestable and contested) definitions is not “science”. when you construct syllogisms out of a game of telephone, because the same word shades to different meanings in different contexts, those syllogisms need not “by logic” be true.

compare and contrast: orgiastic, orgasmic

i could be a big fan of virtuous reality.

@MadMadMadMadRN it’s a pretty bad equilibrium… aka a pickle.

in reply to @MadMadMadMadRN

@guncelawits (thanks!)

@dfeldman I was pretty ambiguous in the piece about that, but I think private sector prices are subject to the same forces, but private sector contracting projects can pit those forces against one another, when the contractors have similar market power. So it's harder to make claims as general. Agency issues — to what degree are the people doing the contracting exposed to contract outcomes (especially price) — may then largely decide the balance. 1/

in reply to @dfeldman

@dfeldman Public sector agents tend to be very weakly exposed to contract outcomes. Sometimes their exposure may be more aligned with vendor than purchaser interest (when, for example, there's the possibility of a job or board seat with the vendor as a downstream career). But even without such blatant corruption, public sector agents (both civil servants and electeds) are unlikely to have their salary or tenures tightly coupled to contract outcomes. 2/

in reply to self

@dfeldman Even in splashy cases in the public eye like CA HSR, blame is just too shiftable. So public sector purchasers tend pretty reliably to be unable to counter vendor determination to maximize take. 3/

in reply to self

@dfeldman Private sector purchasers definitely face that same determination, and as individuals we experience the same rapaciousness when, eg, we interact with private-equity-owned medicine or housing providers for example. Their "efficiency" is in large part a willingness to squeeze customers in ways that local, customer-interacting business people still balk at, for ethical and customary reasons. As individuals, we face a cost disease from minimal market power and motivated counterparties. 4/

in reply to self

@dfeldman But in private sector contracts where the contractor has a high degree of market power relative to many vendors, and where agents have strong incentives aligned with economic performance of the project, the same forces might lead to efficient outcomes for the purchaser, matched sometimes by brutal outcomes for vendors. I think it's harder to make very general claims. /fin

in reply to self

@laprice @lobrien if we had the industrial revolution to do over again, we would definitely want to do it differently. we would want much earlier broad distribution of the new wealth than actually occurred. the labor gains and welfare state of the early postwar years should have been late 19C. but i don’t think we would want to just never do it. (maybe climate change means we should have never done it? i’d say that’s another should’ve-been-done-better instead.)

in reply to @laprice

@LouisIngenthron i guess i feel like we attribute a capacity to experience and therefore experience emotion more to the LLMs than the art-bots. the image generators produce emotionally evocative things for sure, but i don’t find myself anthropomorphizing them, it’s easier to imagine a surprising but mere statistical blender to whose outputs i attribute emotion than it is when i am actually “talking” to the blender.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

@darwinwoodka sometimes it really does feel like a cut-rate universe!

in reply to @darwinwoodka

@blabberlicious @LouisIngenthron maybe we should just call it a collaboration. (or maybe we decide only humans can be authors, so like the director is the *autor* of a film no matter how many hundreds participate in its creation, we may choose always attribute the creation to the humans.)

in reply to @blabberlicious

@LouisIngenthron they certain have astonished us! during the industrial revolution, though, i wonder whether there weren’t analogous moments of just awe that machines could do these things that previously only humans — and it took so many humans! — could do.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

@LouisIngenthron the emotion question is interesting. so far, the LLM producers have really tried to limit apparent expression of emotion. (ChatGPT has become very neutral over the months, obviously Microsoft’s “Sidney” was clipped post NYT interview.) but even when they are restricted to HR-speak, we are somewhat awestruck. and it will be interesting to see how we’ll react to apps? bots? services? that aren’t tied back from reproducing (producing?) emotion.

in reply to self

@isomorphismes omg that is so horrible i am so sorry. parent’s nightmare beyond nightmares.

in reply to @isomorphismes

@zzypt computers have long been able to do persuasive (pseudo)randomness and run not-entirely-predictable stochastic algorithms. but there is something in the character of the unpredicatable outputs that LLMs and image-producing-apps that does feel somehow a step beyond all that!

in reply to @zzypt

@darwinwoodka i know. i love the demands programming makes upon my mind to think and behave very different than in natural language interactions with humans. i would really miss that in a Star Trek, just shout “Conputer, do this” kind of world.

in reply to @darwinwoodka

@lobrien yes. i am much more concerned about more quotidian harms — algorithm-laundering of training set biases, capital owners plundering workers and consumers by enshittifying ( ht @pluralistic ) services to capture ever more surplus, cost of training and regulatory moats turning into barriers to entry further consolidating the market power of the already very powerful.

in reply to @lobrien

@agocke ha! my answer would probably be it’s up to each of us to answer, it’s an axiom we can accept or not, impervious to derivation or refutation.

in reply to @agocke

@agocke if they do represent how we think, does that mean they think

in reply to @agocke

@agocke (only humans could invent, use, and make sense of an abacus? to all other species, they were dried beans that somehow slide loosely on sticks!)

in reply to @agocke

@lobrien i do think it interesting, a bit eerie, how variably capable these things seem to be! but we have faced so many superior competencies. there was John Henry vs the steam shovel, tractor vs ag workers. all led to big societal disruptions! mb there was similar apocalypticism about these technologies in their times? but do we have reason to fear LLMs will be more disruptive? and beyond any temporary disruption, unlike precedents, eventually harmful rather than beneficial?

in reply to @lobrien

@agocke it is easy to imagine, say, 150 years ago, making a case that while many animals in some sense or another “speak”, it is the uniquely human capacity for mathematics that truly distinguishes us from the beasts.

in reply to @agocke

@notio interestingly, that’s a skill we can’t measure at all, among computers or other humans. i can’t know there is meaning behind your words, or ChatGPT’s. it’s always a choice to presume another mind, when we can only experience our own.

in reply to @notio

@misc arithmetic and memory were also human ability long before they were computer abilities! do we just like the capacities for which we may now have to cede the crown of superiority more than we valued those older human abilities?

in reply to @misc

a thing i don’t get is what is new. i mean, computers have long been much, much “smarter” than humans in, for example, their ability to perform arithmetic, or to remember things. recent AI tools are interesting for sure, but what superior competence of theirs makes these new systems so threatening, compared to older superior competences?

@MadMadMadMadRN Right. The dream is to be able to live without financial worries, travel nicely and more, and help family and friends who also suffer from precarity.

in reply to @MadMadMadMadRN

@rst we, like they, now have a very hard time making any real progress in aggregate. we just started from a better baseline.

in reply to @rst

@MadMadMadMadRN yes. exactly.

in reply to @MadMadMadMadRN

@dbfclark (thanks! i’ll correct it when i get back home.)

in reply to @dbfclark

@dbfclark ( done. thanks! )

in reply to self

[new draft post] Quietly expensive desperation

Good analysis of the recent inflation by @DolanEcon

Some vendors are not asking for your consent, but are using your personal data on the basis of their legitimate interest.

for the purists, we offer a bread sandwich.

just don’t call me a psammophobe you beach.

what you inevitably find is that, if the only way to get anywhere is to drive, there isn’t anywhere worth bothering to go.

look on the bright side: this year’s anomaly is just next year’s baseline.

@DetroitDan here is just a few minutes ago.

in reply to @DetroitDan
a sunrise over the Black Sea. a sunrise over the Black Sea.

@DetroitDan i can’t wait to grill you about the places you’ve been.

in reply to self


(13 votes)
(13 votes)
(6 votes)
(8 votes)

@exchgr “smart”

in reply to @exchgr

@guan shhh!

in reply to this

@ben we were into time machines, imagine traveling to the future in the blink of an eye. turns out, we got what we wanted.

in reply to @ben

@codinghorror anything to divert energy from diluting the text commons with AI-generated bulk.

in reply to @codinghorror

@Alon @JohnMashey @MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @phillmv @pluralistic sometimes anticorruption is actually anticorruption. it’s untenable to oppose anticorruption in general, of course. it’s easy—and right as far as it goes—to argue state capacity depends upon public trust, which depends upon a mostly honest state. but corrupt sabotage of state capacity (including to prevent forms of corruption) also wears the cape of anticorruption.

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @JohnMashey @MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @phillmv @pluralistic (i guess i’m referring to histories i’ve read of the HDB going back to the 1960s, LKY exhorting experimentation in housing, expecting and tolerating missteps. but if Singapore has since privatized planning, they seem to continue to be oddly successful at it, still capable of building sizable new towns and integrating them well, no?)

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @JohnMashey @MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @phillmv @pluralistic yeah. government bureaucracies are obviously very heterogeneous, so using “government bureaucracy” as an explanation doesn’t take you very far. in the US, well-funded activism openly intended to sabotage and discredit state action renders a culture of extreme skepticism of government largely self-fulfilling, which publics then take as “natural”. but it’s just one, very bad, equilibrium! 1/

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @JohnMashey @MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @phillmv @pluralistic in the US and elsewhere, my sense is that successful state action requires a culture that rewards activity and tolerates honest failure. Singapore is probably the signal example here, but the US under FDR too. experiment and fail, and do it again, find what works. 2/

in reply to self

@Alon @JohnMashey @MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @phillmv @pluralistic because corruption is always possible, however, under a culture of skepticism of state action, plutocratic interests find it easy to paralyze an entrepreneurial state (apologies ) under unobjectionable banners like “accountability” and “anticorruption”. /fin

in reply to self

@JohnMashey @MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @phillmv @Alon @pluralistic it’s very general i think.

in reply to @JohnMashey

@MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @phillmv @Alon @pluralistic sure. that’s much of the problem. as keynes said of bankers, they’d prefer to fail conventionally than risk succeeding unconventionally. so fail conventionally they do!

in reply to @MadMadMadMadRN

@djc @SteveRoth we’ll never know, but i don’t think so. i think that the contours of the deal suggest that the Biden Administration quietly let Rs know that they did have alternatives — that they prefered not to use! — but they were not in fact hostages.

in reply to @djc

@BenRossTransit @phillmv @Alon @MadMadMadMadRN @pluralistic that’s a useful framing. fundamentally, we need an administrative state capable of doing what’s required to deliver good outcomes within wide procedural guardrails, rather than one whose actors are primarily concerned with the risk of being seen to have done something objectionable.

in reply to @BenRossTransit

all is calm on the Romanian Black Sea coast. it’s the first time i’ve been since it’s not been so calm in the country just north of here, the first time i’ve been since COVID.

the sunset light touches Portul Tomis in Constanta, Romania. the sea is flat, waveless. the sunset light touches Portul Tomis in Constanta, Romania. the sea is flat, waveless.

@phillmv @Alon @MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @pluralistic in an individual case, maybe. lawyers take cases on contingency, if the damages may be large. but if a private right of action causes litigation-fearful firms to change their behavior, it also protects those who would never sue. if adtech surveillance brought expensive claims so it was uneconomic to pursue it, those who’d never sue are also protected. 1/

in reply to @phillmv

@phillmv @Alon @MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @pluralistic and in practice, “filling forms” and prompting bureaucracies to act often also requires lawyers, who must be paid up front if there will be no damages to be paid from. we’re discussing at to general a level to know whether and who will be priced out of relief. it depends on vwry specifics. /fin

in reply to self

@Alon @MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @phillmv @pluralistic we oughtta sue them for that.

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic i’m not endorsing this kind of activism. on the contrary, i’m skeptical both of localistic and Fed-based approaches to addressing climate change. just noting that in systems where most of the administrative state is dysfunctional, people seek out capable levers (courts, the Fed) as substitutes. often tragically, as none of these are great at balancing diverse interests.

in reply to @Alon

@MadMadMadMadRN @BenRossTransit @Alon @phillmv @pluralistic to take the other side a little, private rights of action can entrench not-so-great resolutions to problems. sometimes it would be good to have a less-financially-incentivized, more open-to-balance administrative state instead of private rights of action. when the issue is insufficient enforcement, yeah, they’re complements. but when the issue is thoughtless, unbalanced enforcement, maybe substitutes.

in reply to @MadMadMadMadRN

@BenRossTransit @Alon @phillmv @pluralistic you’d think! yet wage theft apparently remains common in the US. if damages for intentional shaving of wage obligations were trebled, if class actions were pursuable on contingency, i think you’d get a lot of private enforcement! but here there might be unintended consequences in terms of employment practices. more than with ad tech, you might want to balance employee rights and employer risk.

in reply to @BenRossTransit

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic in the US, the central bank is the one part of the administrative state somewhat insulated from political sabotage, so we rely upon it, upon it alone almost, for macroeconomic management. activists often treat the Fed (rather than electeds) as the government worth lobbying (eg the campaign to have the Fed consider climate risk when regulating and risk-weighting bank lending).

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic i mean, i want a private right of action to kill adtech, bc otherwise i suspect any reform will be even more toothless than GDPR has been in Europe. @pluralistic wants a private right of action, he’s not a lawyer, i think. mb we are somehow in thrall of the prestige of the legal lobby, but i think it’s mostly bc we know how effective litigation risk is at conditioning corporate behavior in the US. (often too effective!)

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic (it sounds like the Arrangements Law, however neolliberal its direction, empowers the administrative state over electeds. in the US, the issue is that electeds kneecap, sometimes by intentional sabotage, other times by well-meaning micromanagement, the workings of the administrative state.)

in reply to @Alon

@yarrriv @pluralistic it might not be enough, but doubling revenue would certainly help, be a good start! take any industry and assume its revenue declines by half and a major collapse is no surprise.

in reply to @yarrriv

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic but as you can see from this discussion, for better or worse, it’s not just lawyers. we have so lost confidence in a competent administrative state capable of opposing plutocratic interests that we (citizens, activists) actively seek private rights of action. we want to be able to do it ourself because we expect the administrative state to sell us out.

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic yes, they can work when the state overcomes plutocratic interests to act. but, empirically, at the moment, the American administrative state mostly does not. one state out of fifty is the exception that proves the rule, re wage theft. I could speculate why Israel maybe does better — parliamentary systems in general better insulate administrative states from bad politicians — but your speculations will be better informed.

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic i think a way to think about all this is private rights of action are very rigid and limit govt flexibility, but they are also very certain. in a world with perfect govt, there’d be little use for them. in lots of eg environmental and planning contexts, they do mischief. 1/

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic but in contexts where the issue is likely underenforcement by the plutocratic state, and where costs of enforcement despite an inability of the state to balance or make tradeoffs against other interests are low, private rights of action are very useful. 2/

in reply to self

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic if we had a capable administrative state in the US reliably willing to exert state power in favor of a balanced notion of the public interest over plutocratic interests, i’d agree private rights of action should be minimized to very clear, old-fashioned torts. but we don’t in fact have that. 3/

in reply to self

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic if we wanted a balanced approach to surveillance-based advertising, under which dedicated professionals trade-off the virtues of targeting against the costs of surveillance and sought careful balances, then one shouldn’t favor a private right of action. 4/

in reply to self

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic but the actual circumstance is the United States’ administration state is substantially hobbled by deference to plutocratoc interest, and there is very little public interest to balance against the harms of ad-tech-driven commercial surveillance. 5/

in reply to self

@Alon @phillmv @pluralistic so it seems to me that, despite the (very real!) flaws of private rights of action in the general case, they are well suited to this application. we intend to bluntly impair our collective capacity to surveil, and ensure existing infrastructure is disemployed. things that have been (mostly) unintended consequences in a planning and development context are the intended consequences here. /fin

in reply to self

“we need a legal ban on ads, not mere platitudes on billboards advertising companies' ‘respect’ for our privacy. The US is way overdue for a federal privacy law with a private right of action, which would let you and me sue the companies who violated it” @pluralistic

from @baldur ht @emilybache @matthewskelton


The problem is that quite a few people in tech don't believe in any social contract. Their conceptualisation of society is that it's an equilibrium of dominant wills motivated by mimetic desire. That the rich are on top; that the rest of us aspire to be like them; and that any and all criticism towards them is born from jealousy. The world can only be improved by those with power over others. Any form of pro-social reasoning, consensus-building, or genuine negotiations seems to be alien to them.

These people are reactionary libertarian assholes, and they are tech's ruling class. They might see themselves as benevolent shepherds of humanity's future, esp. the creepy longtermist types, but by and large, they are power-hungry libertarian assholes.

This is why they leave scorched earth behind. Text: The problem is that quite a few people in tech don't believe in any social contract. Their conceptualisation of society is that it's an equilibrium of dominant wills motivated by mimetic desire. That the rich are on top; that the rest of us aspire to be like them; and that any and all criticism towards them is born from jealousy. The world can only be improved by those with power over others. Any form of pro-social reasoning, consensus-building, or genuine negotiations seems to be alien to them. These people are reactionary libertarian assholes, and they are tech's ruling class. They might see themselves as benevolent shepherds of humanity's future, esp. the creepy longtermist types, but by and large, they are power-hungry libertarian assholes. This is why they leave scorched earth behind.

@djc that’s making claims (i can’t evaluate now) about current price growth attributable to profits.

profit margins have been on a secular tear, then supercharged postpandemic. this measure would be about 8% to be historically moderate-ish. i think it’s still around double that (can’t track it down now, on the road).


in reply to @djc
graph of US nonfinancial corporate profits as share of gross value added. graph of US nonfinancial corporate profits as share of gross value added.

it isn’t full employment until profit margins are moderate.

from @akkartik on “situated software”. (i may have hit this before, but i love the aesthetic.)


These are my suggestions.
Prefer software with thousands rather than millions of users,
that doesn't change often,
that seems to get forked a lot,
that can be modified without specialized tools, and, ideally
that you can make small changes to. Yourself. In a single afternoon. Text: These are my suggestions. Prefer software with thousands rather than millions of users, that doesn't change often, that seems to get forked a lot, that can be modified without specialized tools, and, ideally that you can make small changes to. Yourself. In a single afternoon.

it’s not just intuit’s lobbying. if filing were automatic and refunds just appeared for most workers, it’d be hard to persuade them to hate the IRS despite their interest in escaping predatory plutocracy.

@rst horror is a versatile genre.

in reply to @rst

@rst next time go for The Shinjng! how were the halls?

in reply to @rst

@jeridansky @AliceMarshall

in reply to @jeridansky

kind of disconcerting when your departure gate is F8.

maybe we should call instagram the fadiverse.

@DeanBaker13 @hardindr there may be a kind of irony, states whose reproductive and cultural politics drive away scarce US doctors may be the first to (usefully!) innovate by attracting qualified foreign professionals to replace them.

in reply to @DeanBaker13

Clinical trials have become an excuse to create barriers to entry and protect massive pharma rents.

Perhaps we should consider nationalizing the clinical trials process. If an otherwise unencumbered treatment looks promising, the government should just pay to check it out. If it works, every competent firm can compete to offer it.

cf proprietary poop @ $20K a pop per @pluralistic

@atomicpoet @evan I think you are really understating the damage Google Reader did to .

Yes, I still love and use RSS!

But, at the time, a broad mainstream community also loved and used RSS — almost entirely via Google Reader! When Google dropped it, that whole ecosystem disappeared. That mainstream community, which at that point was playing on Twitter but still followed RSS feeds, shrugged and fully embraced siloed social media. 1/

in reply to this

@atomicpoet @evan Speaking very personally, it was absolutely devastating to me as a writer. Over the years, my core asset had been the presence I had built in the RSS feeds of journalists, academics, and other writers. That all just… disappeared.

Life goes on and nobody owes a shit like me a whit of attention. I have only doubled down on RSS, going as far as writing RSS libs of my very own for newer projects. But professionally, I've not recovered from it, and doubt I ever will. /fin

in reply to self

@eARCwelder an invisible pixel signifies your consent and circulates deep-fake porn of you around the internet.

in reply to @eARCwelder

This message contains remote content.

the real win for Joe Biden in the debt ceiling negotiations is a House Speaker whose political fortunes become tied to making progress on “centrist” Republican priorities in a bipartisan manner rather than one dependent upon Mitch McConnell, Newt Gingrich, freedom-caucus scorched-earth, blow-up-the-Democrats-whatever-the-collateral-damage, tactics.

@josh there goes my streak…

in reply to @josh

Especially when it comes to political ramifications, I generally stand in opposition to the people who claim our AI systems are or are on the verge of becoming "conscious" independent agents (and therefore dangerous powerful aliens). I am much more worried about malign (or just venal) human agency with these tools than about the agency of the machine. 1/

But I'm reading a lot of I'll say too smug, too hermetic tellings from my side of the argument that it's just incoherent, a "category error" to imagine genuine minds arising from machines made of cable and silicon. Our brains are mere material too. They too have no direct experience of the world, only of opaque signals to which they somehow give meaning. 2/

in reply to self

It is perfectly possible, in my view, that a materialistic view of the world is incomplete, and that we are conscious because in some sense we have souls that a machine cannot. But I would not pretend to know whether that is true, or whether my consciousness and agency result in some way from how physical signals interact. And if the latter is true, I would not pretend to know the same thing couldn't emerge on top of a machine substrate doing complicated signal processing. 3/

in reply to self

I don't even pretend to know whether other humans have "consciousness" or "agency". I can only perceive my own. My resolution to the "problem of other minds" is a moral choice, and an act of faith. I take it as axiomatic that other humans have these things. Whether in the unknowable truth I am right or wrong, I'm sure this is a good choice. I don't want to be lonely, or a sociopath, even if in fact I could only be those things or not in some solipsistic simulation. 4/

in reply to self

So I am sure — at least I will act and even think in the consciousness I experience that I am sure — that you dear reader are a consciousness with agency. 5/

in reply to self

It will ultimately be a social question, not a scientifically resolvable matter of physics or philosophically certain matter of clarity, whether I someday offer that presumption to entities that seem like minds on other substrates. A merely compelling simulation of humanness would not on its own provoke me to that decision. I would have to believe that, according to my own values, the world makes more sense, is more virtuous, is less lonesome, if that presumption would be offered. /fin

in reply to self

cc @poetryforsupper, as this is in part a response to an essay he suggested:

in reply to self

@wholesomedonut i think we'll want publicly trained models with transparently agreed training sets and feedback mechanisms that we can run and tweak locally.

from preliminary reads of the deal it's bad on principle bc it's not a clean raise, and it's bad in fact on cuts, but it's much better than what you'd expect from the hostage situation Ds had publicly, almost performatively, walked themselves into. i have a hard time believing their negotiation position in private wasn't stronger than the public position, that some unilateral workaround wasn't quietly on the table. it's the Congressional Republican reaction that will be interesting.

this is a bad thing. it also may affect the Supreme Court's decision on student loan forgiveness. now they don't have to worry that no forgiveness means no resumption. but as @ddayen points out, the biggest deal in the Biden admin's student debt proposal was the very generous IDR (income-driven repayment plan), which would provide immediate relief but ultimately necessitate a restructuring of how colleges set tuition. i hope that is still on.

in reply to self
from @ddayen on Twitter:

Any macro impact is going to come from the return of student loan payments, which are codified in this agreement and now guaranteed later this summer.

$400/mo payments for millions are back, with no clarity yet on whether cancellation will happen. 

One caveat to that:

The administration has promised a far more generous income-driven repayment plan that would slash payments for lower earners. We haven't heard much about the progress of the updates to this program. from @ddayen on Twitter: Any macro impact is going to come from the return of student loan payments, which are codified in this agreement and now guaranteed later this summer. $400/mo payments for millions are back, with no clarity yet on whether cancellation will happen. One caveat to that: The administration has promised a far more generous income-driven repayment plan that would slash payments for lower earners. We haven't heard much about the progress of the updates to this program.

@phillmv i don't know. i just screenshotted then moved onto Midjourney (which was fine with desantis, although is famously not with xi jinping). but it's good to be reminder of what the architecture of control is here! i thank microsoft for being blatant about it! i fear subtle manipulation of these kinds of tools much more than overt censorship.

in reply to @phillmv

if AI tools become essential to contemporary communication and media production, it’ll be a big problem if centralized providers continue to control what kinds of expression they will and won’t produce, or worse yet to subtly shape their outputs. these tools must be local-first and user-controlled.

Bing Image Creator refuses to generate from prompt “ron desantis embraces gollum” Bing Image Creator refuses to generate from prompt “ron desantis embraces gollum”

facts don’t care about your feelings. they care about mine.

What is extraordinary about this to me is that these firms — i think! — are brazenly counterfeiting DJT's endorsement, even down to using his signature in unauthorized ways, yet he stays silent rather than objecting or suing because he wants the continued enthusiastic support of the people falling for this kind of grift. Demonstrating integrity, protecting his own reputation, would expose them outright as suckers, maybe curb their enthusiasm. ht @Atrios and

@22 (sorry!)

in reply to @22

[new draft post] Smeaguls

people act as though the point of Ron DeSantis' Twitter Spaces rollout was to impress the public, so it was a ridiculous failure.

of course not.

you don't impress the public in Twitter Spaces. the broad public isn't there. you can't appear Presidential among flags + camera angles in Twitter Spaces.

DeSantis chose Twitter Spaces to cultivate the support of one man, Elon Musk. he's after the plutocratic alliance.

technical difficulties only aid his courtship. he could be magnanimous.

the human condition is always on the verge of tears.

@djc @w7voa not a factoid i’d put much stock in either.

in reply to @djc

you say i haven't had a productive day, but i upgraded like five applications in the app store.

@ctrl @SteveRoth definitely fair enough!

in reply to @ctrl

@ctrl @SteveRoth i’m a long time finance guy…

in reply to @ctrl

@ctrl @SteveRoth no, it doesn’t, because because face value can be arbitrary small. zero-face consols are simplest to talk about, but if we’re going to argue that the market will view constraint on the maturity mix as somehow equivalent to default (a bit absurd in my view, but ok), then we can consider low face value bonds of any maturity.

in reply to @ctrl

@ctrl @SteveRoth the market looks through differences in legal formalities to economic substance. and low-face-value bonds are substantively stronger than the existing mix, precisely because debt ceiling risks are obviated.

in reply to @ctrl

@ctrl @SteveRoth no, because you can simulate in substance a treasury issue of any maturity as a premium bond, with no or if there is some constraint arbitrarily low face value. we’d have to get over some novelty, but a world of low-face value bonds needn’t constrain the economic substance of Treasury issues at all.

in reply to @ctrl

@tri_becca90 it makes no sense but please do ❤️

in reply to @tri_becca90

@SteveRoth @mafeesh @pluralistic yeah. i think this is the right frame.

in reply to @SteveRoth

@ctrl @SteveRoth it ends any uncertainty. consols are legal, we’ve issued them before. the debt ceiling computation is specific, it only applies to face value. 1/

in reply to @ctrl

@ctrl @SteveRoth over a short term, there’s risk that the Supreme Court disregards all that and adopts a kind of nonconstitutional debt-ceiling primacy doctrine to invalidate them. someone will undoubtedly try to claim standing to sue. but then the Court will face the prospect of using tortured logic to force a US default on already marketed instruments or not. 2/

in reply to self

@ctrl @SteveRoth Once it does not, whether by punting on standing or acknowledging the plain language of statute, these just become another US Treasury product, but one that means the debt ceiling can’t be used extortionately anymore, the worst it can do is constrain the product mix Treasury issues a bit. /fin

in reply to self

@ctrl @SteveRoth why? you think the market cares about face value? you think it values the debt ceiling, and would insist a ceiling that binds be restored? it’s trivial to price premium bonds, no sweat for traders to deal with.

in reply to @ctrl

@ctrl @SteveRoth they can be sold any time, and if without face value (as is typical for consols) in any amount without adding to the ceiling-limited debt. so the debt ceiling basically ceases to bind, it can always be circumvented.

in reply to @ctrl

“The greatest monsters of history —men like Andrew Carnegie, JP Rockefeller, Henry Ford and Andrew Mellon — lived lives of cruel mass-exploitation, only to rehabilitate their reputations at the ends of their lives, or posthumously, by endowing charitable foundations that do genuinely good works, while plastering those monsters’ names on every tangible expression of those works. Our modern crop of monsters are pursuing the same path” @pluralistic ht @SteveRoth

@ctrl @SteveRoth but this would resolve the debt ceiling permanently, potentially removing something from the general term premium, not just from the short-term spread that appears during crises. i don’t know how much of the term premium is explained by debt ceiling risk, maybe not much, but directionally you’d expect some compression.

in reply to @ctrl

@MadMadMadMadRN @lori @Alon @ddayen an interesting conjecture!

in reply to @MadMadMadMadRN

@allafarce @w7voa welcome to the club i’ve spent my life fleeing. you can check out any time you like…

no one reads press releases, but i suspect fascist provocateurs will use this as proof of the alliance they proclaim is eternal between corrupt elites and jews, and peddle it to the large audience already convinced Biden is the archetype of corrupt elite.

netanyahu made israel a right-partisan issue in the US. i fear this helps make jews’ civil rights a left-partisan issue.

in reply to @allafarce

@lori @Alon @MadMadMadMadRN @ddayen we could have unions that embraced a soludarity ethos across age cohorts! sometimes tradeoffs are avoidable.

in reply to this

@allafarce @w7voa maybe? but as a member of the singled out class, i viscerally dislike this and think it renders more rather than less likely my future persecution.

in reply to @allafarce

@allafarce @w7voa (to much of the public, whatever “the Biden regime” protects or embraces must surely be a corrupt and corrupting enemy of real americans. and they’re primed for this one.)

in reply to self

@ctrl @SteveRoth i’d expect a premium to compensate for the risk the Supreme Court invalidates the bonds and the timeframe of any retroactive authorization proves prolonged. i’m not sure why there would be any premium at all once that’s taken off the table. as @SteveRoth suggests the whole curve might tighten as the risk of debt-ceiling provoked defaults is eliminated.

in reply to @ctrl

when the problem is a group is being singled out for persecution, singling them out for protection may be counterproductive. it reinforces the singling out. ht @w7voa

@SteveRoth @djc ha! i had no idea!

in reply to @SteveRoth

@MadMadMadMadRN @Alon @ddayen it’s US rentism in miniature, success deriving from zero-sum transfer from a less powerful to a more powerful group.

in reply to @MadMadMadMadRN

@MadMadMadMadRN @Alon @ddayen (then once union contracts started accepting shitty terms for new hires while grandfathering existing workers into better terms — that was a real betrayal of the ethos of solidarity that undergirds strong unions.)

in reply to @MadMadMadMadRN

@Alon @MadMadMadMadRN @ddayen (other than “culture”—a nonexplanation explanation—or random path dependence, i wonder why union solidarity in DE is expressed as spread-the-pain where in the US it’s pay-your-dues-and-you’ll-get-your-turn.)

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @ddayen (i think the politics now tilt towards what is not now made in america should be made in america. it’s hard to find a reasonable balance between “offshoring has been a catastrophe for america” and “some reliance on international specialization and trade remains desirable” under a politics as polarized as ours have become.)

in reply to @Alon

@SteveRoth @djc

(gramsci died i believe in the prison where he wrote this, alas.)

in reply to @SteveRoth

@BenRossTransit @Alon @ddayen (i) things should be done, (ii) things should be done efficiently in terms of actual resource use, (iii) things should be done in ways that distribute surplus broadly and protect or else reasonably compensate various interests.

(iii) can become—has ubiquitously become—a pretext to prevent (i) and undermine (ii). but it’s no answer to simply throw (iii) away. we have to find ways to render it consistent with (i) and (ii).

in reply to @BenRossTransit

@SteveRoth @djc omg no, gramsci allusion!

in reply to @SteveRoth

@Alon @MadMadMadMadRN @ddayen (it’s interesting how much inefficient gerontocracy is a through-line in US institutions. US households tend to leverage themselves on the assumption wages don’t decline, so absent stong seniority protections, they become very precarious. in places where people leverage themselves less, can rely more on non-labor benefits, are in general more equal, maybe unions and other institutions can be less gerontocratic.)

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @ddayen i’m not sure how fruitful it is to argue over what the everything bagel story *really* is. they’ve complained about permitting, but also a great deal about what are really naggings (not requirements) in eg the CHIPS act, to consider childcare, DEI-style equity in hiring, provisioning by small and minority owned businesses, etc. it’s easy to mock that stuff! but these naggings are not a source of the hold-up costs that require budgets be tripled. 1/

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @ddayen i think maybe a way to reconcile the good part of the everything-bagel critique and @ddayen’s rejoinder might be to follow the money: who is on the other side of those tripled budgets, in whose hands does the cash end up? 2/

in reply to self

@Alon @ddayen when it ends up in the hands of lawyers and outside consultants, or as payouts to property owners or other stakeholders that purchase acquiescence, we should score that as inefficiency and agree with the antieverything bagelists. 3/

in reply to self

@Alon @ddayen but requirements that lead to better pay and conditions for a workforce, or naggings that may gesture at social goals and build political support, that seem annoying but don’t actually cost much, can remain on the bagel. (then there are “buy american” requirements, which are kind of a mix but probably politically nonnegotiable, although hopefully sometimes waivable.) /fin

in reply to self

@SteveRoth @djc of the will, baybee.

in reply to @SteveRoth

@MadMadMadMadRN @Alon @ddayen in Europe, it seems possible for unions to act according to a long-term interest in successful projects. there does not seem to be a serious conflict between unionization and socially efficient use of labor.

in the US, failure — or at least the plutocratically purchased appearance of failure — is the expectation. so maybe negotiations are more transactional. maximize worker remuneration here, now, regardless of social efficiency. one-shot, zero-sum game thinking.

in reply to @MadMadMadMadRN

@MadMadMadMadRN @Alon @ddayen it requires that in-house experts dedicated to mission make high-quality, soft-information judgment calls. we backseat drivers from the outside will never know enough to be able to tell the difference and not get snowed by interested players. but it is clearly possible! european public works exist!

in reply to @MadMadMadMadRN

@MadMadMadMadRN @Alon @ddayen (btw, ISTM?)

in reply to self

@Alon @ddayen totally with you! consultants, ranging from the openly predatory McKinsey types to the crunchy NGO types are a plague on state capacity. a state requires in-house expertise and institutional memory to retain it. Noah, in contradistinction to say Matt and Ezra, has been good on emphasizing in-house capacity. but the everything-bagel story mostly focuses on labor costs, direct and indirect. apparently it’s commentators as well as managers everyone hates.

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @ddayen i think we all agree with this. but overpaid, 50-first-date consultants aren’t what the everything-bagel progressivists critique. somehow it’s not the actors who have, in real life, successfully grabbed the surplus and eviscerated public-sector state capacity who are the problem. it’s anything that might hinder a race-to-the-bottom in wages and working conditions? 1/

in reply to @Alon

@Alon @ddayen you know better than i do the degree to which, eg featherbedding by public sector unions harms the economics of transit in the US. you read egregious stories about unnecessary hang-alongs in NYC subway construction, and if those are right, they are, well, egregious. we absolutely need an efficient public sector, and efficiency in the private-sector actors that we subsidize. 2/

in reply to self

@Alon @ddayen but it’s worth distinguishing between efficiency and exploitation. featherbedding is inefficient: someone is “working” and being paid a nice union salary, for useless or unnecessary activities. the social cost is not the money, but the opportunity cost of the wasted labor. that is a real inefficiency, and the public sector should be merciless about eliminating that. (easier said than done, i know.) 3/

in reply to self

@Alon @ddayen but insisting that an efficiently deployed workforce work in good conditions and be well remunerated involves no social inefficiency. it simply eschews exploitation. 4/

in reply to self

@Alon @ddayen i think @ddayen’s deep point is that over anything but a very immediate term, financial pseudoefficiency that really means transferring wealth from workers to other stakeholders (including consultants, shareholders, potentially but i think rarely the fisc) undermines the distributed democratic power that state capacity and a consensus to build as a public rely upon. /fin

in reply to self

“Supply-side progressives like Yglesias and Klein are skilled at detecting the structural problems in American government. They’re less concerned with the problem of power as an impediment to progress. And they’re certainly not interested in equalizing that power, aligning the interests of labor and capital, as the clearest path to deal everyone into a next-generation economy.” @ddayen

trust autopilot.

@eARCwelder if that’s the case, we have no business reelecting a shifting cadre of rival courtesans to the office where a president should be.

in reply to @eARCwelder

@misc @paninid We wouldn't be facing these kinds of problems as a country, if only Zients would use Mastodon as a focus group.

in reply to @misc

Is it really true, as seems to be the implication of some commentary I've read, that the way the debt ceiling is playing out reflects a peaceful transfer of power from the Klain administration to the Zients administration?

I've mostly been favorably surprised by the Biden administration. I hope that continues.

But this moment is a test, I think, of whether there in fact is a Biden administration.

We don't need another hero.

Sad about .

“The eerie thing about this hyper-technologized world is that it’s very difficult to separate fantasies of persecution from its objectively shitty logic. The phones serve us ads that seem like we are being listened to. Are we? Maybe it’s just ‘the algorithm.’”

it’s weird, kind of ironic, that there seems to be growing overlap between transhumanist and anti-trans communities.

or am i unfairly stereotyping “TESCREALists”?

you know you’ve played things well when both q and lgbtq are inclined to boycott you for caving to the other side.

@djc @SteveRoth yes, i don’t think it’s too far-fetched to inagine sources suggested certain options remain sensitive and they’d prefer not polarzing the discussion prematurely.

in reply to @djc

@djc @SteveRoth yes. i think people are disappointed because it feels like they aren’t playing to win with legal tools, but i think they view this primarily in political terms. they could “win” legally very quickly, but if Rs can successfully spin it as illegitimate overreach and irresponsible governance, they’ll lose next year. so they need to set up those kinds of “optics”.

in reply to @djc

@djc @SteveRoth like all this stuff, it might be wishful thinking on my part, but i’d note the administration also hasn’t mentioned this option, where they’ve mentioned most of the others to cast shade on them. makes me wonder if they aren’t keeping it in their back pocket.

in reply to @djc

“I think my conservative colleagues for the most part support Limit, Save, Grow, & they don't feel like we should negotiate with our hostage.” —Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

// i hope they speak the quiet part louder and louder. i hope they revel in it like Scrooge McDuck swimming in gold.

"whichever course of action Biden chooses, we should be clear that he has other options than agreeing to crack the whip against America’s poor."

“If Treasury today issued $1,000 bonds paying 8% or 10% interest, at whatever price the market’s willing to pay, it gets a lot more than $1,000. But the “national debt” only increases by $1,000, the “face value” of the bonds…Money to pay the bills, without increasing the national debt. It could make the debt-limit silliness simply immaterial and moot, forever.” @SteveRoth on Treasury selling premium bonds.

@StefanThinks that’s outrageous!

in reply to @StefanThinks

@rst i agree that n-dimensional chess games in US politics usually turn out to be just wishful thinking. and i am definitely wishful thinking. but we’ll soon see if it’s just that.

if Biden really does pretty fully cave (can McCarthy afford anything less, which would mean Democrats stepping in to provide the votes the freedom caucus withholds?), what would be left of him politically? if extortionists win, in his own coalitions’ eyes, it’s like letting Russia win. it emboldens the worst people.

in reply to @rst

@curtosis the loons have enough leverage in the party to force the party as a whole into outright lunacy. therein resides the danger, and the opportunity.

in reply to @curtosis

@dpp i want to say that the puritans have some pretty unrecognizable descendants — i mean, the prototype Republican caudillo has his lawyers pay hush money to porn stars but only cares about keeping it quiet until the election.

but there is some continuity. look at the witch hunts and moral panics!

in reply to @dpp

@LouisIngenthron yes, but i'm pretty sure the context was a budget impasse, not a debt ceiling standoff.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

@LouisIngenthron failing to pass a budget provokes a soft "shutdown". government workers get furloughed, services get bare-boned, people get mad and madder over time.

failing to raise the debt ceiling, though, provokes people not getting paid what they are owed, for work they do or have done, or for US debt that they hold. it's a harder cliff.

in reply to self

@LouisIngenthron i'm not sure a government shutdown (as the Republicans sometimes foolishly talk themselves into during budget negotiations) is an option on the table here. i think it relies on statute that allows debt payments and "essential operations" or "skeleton staffs" to continue to operate if no budget is passed, but there's not something like that for the debt ceiling. 1/

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

@LouisIngenthron if i'm right (i may not be!), then the only path to avoid a debt ceiling breach without an overt Treasury default becomes "payment prioritization" — the government pays some bills, but not others.

and that may be the plan! if Republicans can be painted as unreasonable enough, the President might get away with overtly nonpaying things Republicans especially prioritize while holding Treasury debt and Democratic priorities harmless. 2/

in reply to self

@LouisIngenthron under ordinary circumstances, a Democrat would not be allowed to get away with using overt, discretionary executive power to favor their own coalition.

Trump did it openly, but the press demands Democrats be institutionalists, while it expects Republicans to be manly caudillos whose hypocrisies and hard-ball are right and natural. 3/

in reply to self

@LouisIngenthron but if the negotiations can make the Republicans look aggressive enough, perhaps they can get away with it as an aggressive defense. (and how could the Supreme Court respond? they won't want to do the legally right thing, which would be to invalidate any prioritization, because *pro rata* nonpayment would default Treasuries. if stiffing some but not others must be legal, are the Supremes going to claim the right to micromanage who gets the shaft? /fin

in reply to self

but what about the Supreme Court? worries Ezra Klein. won't they just declare the workaround unlawful, leaving Biden to own the chaos for doing something novel?

that is precisely why it's so important to set up the republican negotiators as unreasonable extortionate goal-post movers. because a partisan Court must worry that they and the party they serve will own the chaos rather than the administration. 2/

no one wants to own the chaos.

and killing the debt ceiling after a breach is much, much worse than, say, also arguably illegal payment prioritization before a breach. it would invalidate lots of debt that will already be in (wealthy) private parties' hands.

existing US Treasury instruments go poof! is about the clearest path to calamity. Would an unpopular Supreme Court defending what the public perceives (if the admin plays this well) as extortionate brinksmanship really do that? /fin

in reply to self

positing 11-dimensional chess to explain US politicians' choices is a losing game, usually.

with that as caveat, i think the biden administration's strategy is to tempt republicans into a set of demands that can be portrayed to the public as unreasonable and extortionate.

that creates *political* justification to defang the debt ceiling, using any of the variety of technical and legal workarounds available (and probably the ones Biden hasn't publicly discussed at all so far). 1/

in retrospect it feels like someone hit fast-forward.

expansionary austerity is just taxing the rich.

@johnefrancis the wealth of the ultrarich places very little pressure (in per-dollar terms) on the inflation constraint, so yay the state has lots of room to spend.

unfortunately the wealth of the ultrarich weighs very heavily on influence of the state.

so despite the theoretical liberty that comes with state-as-currency-issuer, it becomes difficult for states to act in ways that would upset the general enslavement upon which the privileges of the rich depend.

in reply to @johnefrancis

@jmalonzo sure, the rich do what they can to make sure the tax burden falls as heavily as possible on the poor and middle class, in order to keep taxes unpopular.

but look at it this way: the greater the tax take the government demands, the more it must necessarily fall upon the rich. that’s where the money is!

the rich use their influence to try to insist before it hits us it will hit you! you should hate taxes too!

because they know a high tax state must mostly tax them.

in reply to @jmalonzo

a structural weakness of the Democratic Party relative to the Republican Party is the difference in how corruption is perceived.

corrupt Republicans are bold, cigar-chomping caudillos, unapologetic winners who can’t be bothered with your whining.

but Democrats are always on about “Democracy” and “institutions” and “rule of law”. they can’t embrace corruption like a winner, so their indulgings come off as cagey, hypocritical, obvious but pedantically denied, weak.

how does the market react on the day Treasury announces a premium bonds program or resumption of issuance of consols?

@HamonWry people are mostly nice to one another here. what’s that about?

taxes are the primary weapon that the public wields to tame the rich. that is why the rich work so assiduously to discredit them.

@benmschmidt brilliant!

in reply to @benmschmidt

our butt-hurts calcify into blindspots.

early in Google's existence, they emphasized how their business depends upon a lively open internet. in those early days they mostly seem to foster that.

but now they (and their peer firms) mostly try to keep users on their own properties, to become the intermediary through which any external data is accessed.

an unsafe internet is more supportive of this business model. if it's a dangerous internet, better stick with Google SafeSearch.

so why do you think Google might propose a .zip domain?

@laprice so many of us live in terror of not paying our rent and what would result for our families. being able to stiff people and still be treated like royalty is a signal perq of our ruling bufoonery. see also Trump, Donald J.

in reply to @laprice

[tech notebook] pdfcat as a Scala script

bing AI just skyped me to chat. the future is the past. we’ll talk to Skynet via AIM.

i still don't understand why they cost $50,000. seems like it would be a good business, selling bus shelters to LA. cf @Alon

"during the decade-plus in which Uber was pissing away the Saudi royal family's billions subsidizing rides, cities dismantled their public transit, even as residents made decisions about where to live and work based on the presumption that Uber was charging a fair, sustainable price for rides." @pluralistic

florida man used to be weird and dissolute, maybe a bit too good at competing for darwin awards. i liked him better then, before he became a scold and a prude, a reactionary snowflake in the sweltering sun.

it's fine. it's better than fine! i'll sell "my yacht" and pay the taxes and enjoy the rest of my life under considerably less stress than i ever would have imagined.

@edrozenberg That "solves" it. Thanks! So it's "marks" that I can hide or show. I wonder what these marks are intended to signify though...

in reply to @edrozenberg

On the right hand side of my terminal windows — straight MacOS, in a variety of shells and programs — I see faint ']' characters at the right-hand edge. It's subtle, and I've just noticed it now, but I can't figure out what it would be. It's not a ZSH right-hand prompt (it appears in a Scala REPL, for example). Any clues?

@dpp i love your optimism. i share it, at least of the will.

in reply to @dpp

st peter gets tired of explaining, winning isn’t everything. in the scheme of things it is nothing at all.

@dpp i sometimes think the original sin of the internet was our acquiescence to the commercialization of cddb. here it was, this super cooperative thing that we had all built in a spirit of exuberant openness, and somehow we let gracenote or whoever claim the compilation was theirs. in that “digital millennium” era, people were like “yeah, this’ll be good for the internet.” 😱 it was a shocking short road from that moment to dystopia.

in reply to @dpp

@tcely @mike805 Thank you for giving it a read!

in reply to @tcely

thanks to @caseyjennings who, apropos nothing, has me reading about Caligula.

@mike805 @tcely

in reply to @mike805

i still don’t have a good way to conceptualize the relationship between elon musk and his firms’ accomplishments.

@vincent @ZaneSelvans a taciturn quip for sure.

in reply to @vincent

they take as axiomatic that success in the market implies creating social value, while they work assiduously to undermine the institutions that might align market forces and social value.

@BenRossTransit @Sarahp genius *in situ* synthesis i’m sure!

in reply to @BenRossTransit

@Gustodon i wouldn’t say it’s always harmful, but that as an institution that it’s net harmful. obviously there are plenty of cases where plutocratic philanthropy helps people. but what are its costs? in terms of a our ability to build a world where people might have less need to be helped by discretionary charity?

in reply to @Gustodon

“In recent months, Twitter and other organizations have also started to complain that the latest wave of A.I. technologies were built using their digital data.”

// THEIR digital data? getting appropriated and mined for some else’s business model, in ways they hadn’t intended? imagine! i mean, who else has had to suffer something like that? ht @edbott

i mean, shouldn’t they get their pants sued off them, marketing this as a source of “advice” without prominently flagging its propensity for error and bullshit? ht @Sarahp

A screenshot of the marketing copy for OpenAI’s chat GPT app that describes it as a source of advice without any caution or disclaimer. A screenshot of the marketing copy for OpenAI’s chat GPT app that describes it as a source of advice without any caution or disclaimer.

they support good things to justify their bad things, and then the trap is laid.

they win if you let their whitewashing redeem and excuse them.

they win if you let your correct antipathy towards them bleed over into an indefensible antipathy to the good causes, even when the good causes they like dominate and deform the space for activism because of their self-interestedly generous support.

you must walk a tightrope, and of course the voices they finance will say you've failed no matter what.

have you considered getting into the tipsheet biz, @ddayen?

@dis @Gustodon billionaire philanthropy does more harm than good. it deforms politics and activism to bend to a few individuals’ wills, whether the individuals are well intentioned or not. it whitewashes the inevitably destructive circumstances that allowed them to become billionaires, and the often directly predatory behavior the billionaires engaged in. as individuals, we are all redeemable, billionaires too. as a society, plutocracy just has to end.

in reply to @dis

@blherrou it is a %#+^! strange world here.

in reply to @blherrou

time is unforgivable.

[new draft post] Decommodification and health care utilization

@maikelthedev (ha!)

in reply to this

@jgordon @brendannyhan i'm very sorry.

in reply to @jgordon

is there a word for a lively putrescence, like the garish wriggliness of maggots on a corpse?

@jgordon @brendannyhan when it impacts people in your own life it will break your heart.

in reply to @jgordon

@LouisIngenthron i could be grasping for straws, for sure. but there could be a shift too! he’s been so egregious these last few months, maybe i’m projecting, but i can’t help but think it’s had an impact.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

@LouisIngenthron i’m not sure we’re disagreeing? at the presidential, R primary level, sure, that base’ll lap it up if they don’t like someone better. (which they probably will, i think.)

but here in FL, i think he misinterpreted his success in November as a mandate for his radicalism. but i think persuadable voters went for him because he seemed competent and they bought his COVID story, but his behavior since has persuaded a preponderance of them from him.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

@DetroitDan @paul So, "puțin" means "little", "mai puțin" means "less", in Romanian, so there's that!

"Pay electricity at two times less" is the repeated E-Energy subject…

in reply to @DetroitDan

@LaLa_Lyds truly an act of generosity then!

in reply to @LaLa_Lyds

@curtosis they'll hire different ones soon enough, as soon as they understand what profit centers they need blessed.

the wonderful thing about intellectual pluralism is that, except in the most cut and dry technical sciences, there are always well credentialed people on the side of the argument you need them to be.

in reply to @curtosis

So much of US politics is an anticontest over which side are tyrants. COVID restrictions, along with "woke" sensibilities that made people feel they had to put caution before candor, helped Republicans make a case Democrats are tyrants.

But then DeSantis—failing to understand the basis for his own success, wanting to tack right for Presidential primaries—started ostentatiously curtailing liberties: reproductive rights, academic freedom, much more.

Chickens coming home

@elbowspeak (for good or ill, i still do a fair amount of it.)

in reply to @elbowspeak

@curtosis @dpp my view is risks and harms aren’t going to be prevented internally by wisdom. google hires lots of ethicists over the years, they still manipulate + surveil us. risks and harms are going to be managed by a mix of rules and incentives on operators and new institutions more resilient to those harms. lucrative oligopoly creates a situation in which it becomes harder in practice, not easier, to regulate harms compared to a competitive, low margin world.

in reply to @curtosis

maybe flying private is “morally wrong” when everybody who does everything for you fly coach if they fly at all.

or perhaps there are certain people that morality binds but does not serve, and others morality serves but does not bind (to paraphrase Wilhoit’s Law).

@dpp (the most optimistic bit of the AI explosion, as far as i’m concerned!)

in reply to @dpp

@paul so delicious.

in reply to @paul

@paul my inbox filtered on subject:biden. try it at home! (if your inbox hygiene, like mine, is horrible.)

in reply to @paul

dark brandon?

Filtering an e-mail inbox on Filtering an e-mail inbox on "subject:Biden" reveals a lot of dark and scary teasers. e.g. "Is Biden's Executive Order the End of America as..." (I haven't read the rest.)

@zorinlynx it’s hard to live here. we moved here 9 months ago, would not have if we’d known how sharp and hard the politics would turn.

in reply to @zorinlynx

@wizzwizz4 (darn!) 🙂

in reply to @wizzwizz4

i don’t really understand how unicode in DNS domain names works. would it be possible to set up a `rm -rf /` tld?

@djc (i think it’s a problem domain like a lot of problem domains where there are tradeoffs surrounding centralized control, and the different weights you put on those trade-offs will lead to quite opposite styles of solutions.)

in reply to @djc

@djc i agree that, at the margin, recent advances make the AI catastrophist story less implausible than it seemed five years ago!

but i don’t think it’s been enough to alter what was true then, that this story describes a set of risks much lower priority to address than a lot of quite immediately plausible deeply terrible uses and abuses of AI that don’t involve any kind of diabolical autonomy.

in reply to @djc

@djc i agree it has been surprising! but the question of a capacity for accuracy rather than mere verisimilitude is essential to evaluating apocalypse scenarios. you can’t plot to take over the world as a mere exuberant brainstormer often indifferent between a superficially plausible model of the world and an accurate one. 1/

in reply to @djc

@djc the AI community itself suffers from this. it is disproportionately populated by “g” (general intelligence) / IQ enthusiasts (who perceive themselves as blessed in this dimension). 2/

in reply to self

@djc but in terms of accomplishing real things in the real world, many capabilities are necessary, some of which don’t correlate or might correlate inversely to IQ test proficiencies. MENSA braggarts notoriously don’t cure cancer. only institutions that may include them among others do. 3/

in reply to self

@djc i think the “foom” story starts with a very scalar model of capability. a thing is “smart” enough to develop a smarter thing, recurse, voila the singularity. 4/

in reply to self

@djc but i think that gets you more to synthetic VanGoghs cutting off their silicon ears than, say, the ecosystem of capabilities that makes a WWII-style war effort (even a physics heavy Manhattan Project) possible. 5/

in reply to self

@djc and “judgment”, being able to calibrate the accuracy of superficially plausible conjectures, being able to choose in which direction its best to err given uncertainties and fallibilities and where you’s start again post-failure is about the most basic capability. 6/

in reply to self

@djc systems that include LLMs certainly will include this. they already do: the apocalyptic AI is the profit-seeking joint stock firm as it has been for centuries. i’m not sure how much exuberant LLMs much alter that ling-running apocalypse. /fin

in reply to self

@elbowspeak i think a lot of us are suffering from, grieving, how exceptional the postwar period was, how difficult it will be to restore anything like how many of us experienced that period, when during the period we could just extrapolate to stability and greater affluence.

in reply to @elbowspeak

@djc yes! but you can make humans accountable, which dramatically reshapes the distribution in various contexts.

i am much more willing to believe what a human journalist (personally credible or embedded within certain institutions) says is true than GPT-X, even though GPT-X may well be “more informed” in the sense of better read.

in reply to @djc

@djc i think you can find lots of impressive examples! if your criterion is the quality of the right tail, you’ll be impressed. if your criterion is the thinness of the left tail, though, i think you won’t be.

in reply to @djc

@djc more capable at mimicking language without accurately depicting reality with language. better at passing a certain kind of Turing test. that GANs can dream beautifully is an old result. midjourney is remarkable, because what we want from it is dreams and verisimilitude rather than actual accuracy. on the latter, there has been as much disappointment as positive surprise. AI was supposed to have replaced drivers by now.

in reply to @djc

@djc i take much of it at a kind of face value — from my own interactions with that community there has long been a kind of strange sincerity despite the unevaluability of the kind of risks they proclaim. and a lot of it is selection: people who think AI will be powerful select into the industry. but those seeds have now coalesced with industry self-interest in a way that should make the rest of us even more skeptical of their views.

in reply to @djc

@djc i’m sure lots of people are sincere. but i also think it’s not a coincidence that the catastrophists and the communities that now operate big, centralized AI tools share a lot of overlap. i don’t think it’s because the insiders actually know better about the likelihood of “foom” etc.

in reply to @djc

@djc Yes. From my perspective, very much the bad approach.

in reply to @djc

@elbowspeak My parents were so young, that 25 years probably seemed like forever to them. (My mom was only 23!) But to me now, the 25 years back to 1998 seems like yesterday. In many respects, 1998 feels more real and present to me than an increasingly addled (my age, this world) now. I wonder if people born in 1920 still felt in 1970 like this was all just epilogue to a war that would never quite end. (They say WWI in fact still hasn't concluded, in a certain historical sense.)

in reply to @elbowspeak

@Canecittadino I hope you get to enjoy as many minutes as possible more!

in reply to @Canecittadino

@Canecittadino Social media already began the process of dissolving the conventions that enabled a social consensus about foundational but nevertheless contestable matters, without which we are incapable of acting intelligently. If we do nothing, AI tools will help complete the process. But I don't think collapse (singularity is a nice word for that) is preordained. That our prior institutions cannot survive the new environment doesn't mean more adaptive institutions can't be invented or emerge.

in reply to @Canecittadino

@Canecittadino (i think we're going to have to develop very strong signature and chain-of-custody style infrastructures. we trust a thing not because it looks or sounds real, but because of the individuals, institutions, and infrastructure that attest to it.)

in reply to @Canecittadino

@Canecittadino (but note that restrictive access to the tools doesn’t prevent radical uncertainty. it just places the power of versimilitude with a privileged class. we won’t know whether what we perceive is real or what that class has made for us. we need a more open solution.)

in reply to @Canecittadino

I think AI catastrophism is mostly a conspiracy to oligopolize and create barriers to entry, access, and control of AI systems.

The true AI catastrophe is what a privileged class will do with these technologies if they can monopolize access, understanding, and management of them.

We detected an unusual login to your account.

@DetroitDan kind of a miracle that we can chat!

in reply to @DetroitDan

when i was born, there were so many people who could remember the 19th Century.

@FoxNews you know you guys are predators, right?

in reply to @FoxNews

@Transportist @profmusgrave have you noticed big changes since, say, 2015?

in reply to @Transportist

@derekwillis @profmusgrave what motivates them to study journalism? it’s not the money, i’d guess. are “all the president’s men”-ish stories still in their ether? are there podcasts they follow? is it perceived as a degree in TikTokking? do they aspire to video alt media?

in reply to @derekwillis

An astonishing account of the state of college students, and of extraordinary change between student cohorts now vs the very recent past, by @profmusgrave

// others who teach undergrads, does this ring true?

@doctorlogic we have to theorize labor intersections!

in reply to @doctorlogic

@scheidegger 🙂 i get why it’s the only way that works, i only just noticed it though and thought it was fun!

in reply to @scheidegger

it's fun that with union types you get an intersection of methods while with intersection types you get a union of methods.

@LouisIngenthron @georgetakei e.g.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

@LouisIngenthron @georgetakei (for a moment i didn't notice your post "What's the context for this? Anyone have a link?" was attached to a thread to give it context, and i was very amused.)

in reply to self

"you can really see constitutional political economy arguments at work in our legal and political system…in the choices courts and politicians make about which statutes should count as the super-statutes."

from an excellent post by @fishkin on how to manage the debt ceiling ht @eARCwelder

@eARCwelder I think that's fair enough. Pulling back from recent staffing changes, the Biden administration overall has surprised me to the upside, while the Obama administration pretty consistently disappointed me. So I'm willing to suspend my skepticism a bit. Of course we could be bitterly disappointed by a serious cave. In which case the Democratic coalition will fall to disarray and responsibility for the pain of extorted cuts will fall on Biden. It's still unfortunately conceivable.

in reply to @eARCwelder

@mattlehrer it is. but to be fair, it’s not NYT. it’s also financial professionals as an industry, whose fiscal politics are Republican-ish, but who have a strong interest in stability (the status quo is good to them!) and who culturally want to distance themselves from the GOP. 1/

in reply to @mattlehrer

@mattlehrer under this conjecture, the admin is going through contortions to persuade “finance” (as well as the rich establishment liberals the NYT represents) that it is the guardian of stability, doing everything possible to manage irresponsible threats, rather than a radical risk to stability, as they might be tarred if they seemed insufficiently reluctant about whatever novelty is eventually required. /fin

in reply to self

@mattlehrer Fox News headlines are invariant. Anything Biden does will be criminal, outrageous, whatev. NYT is basically the audience here, inclined to bend over towards sympathy with bad-faith right-wing critics in the name of “fairness”. NYT wld be inclined to both-sides 14A or MTC or long-bonds or Republican-interest harming payment prioritization, if the admin jumped straight to it. But if they do so after a huge show of reasonable concession, the story is R intransigence.

in reply to @mattlehrer

a (perhaps unjustifiably) optimistic take on Biden’s debt-ceiling strategy: negotiate, even offer some concessions, in order to appear open and reasonable, but with an expectation that any reasonable compromise is one McCarthy’s leashmasters won’t permit. then when we ultimately go over the cliff and something unusual and/or unpopular must be done, let the blame sit squarely.

This content is only available to subscribers.

“Have you ever noticed how the corporate media is obsessed with government corruption, but mostly mute on corporate corruption? There’s a reason for that. In modern America, corporate corruption is just the free market in action“ @blair_fix

“his feeling of pioneering excitement in the days of the early web, one strong enough to fuel him for decades, has finally curdled into shame and disgust.” ht ‪@dave

@eARCwelder is it only apocryphally from some CIA handbook, or is that story real, that while you may not be able to suppress the truth, you can drown it in a sea of lies.

in reply to @eARCwelder

This is a fun kind of ego surfing. In ChatGPT's world, I have been so prolific! I have written about evvvvrything!

In our world, of course, I've never written about cathedrals.

The pathetic thing is I felt compelled to Google the made-up article I haven't written. I mean, what if I forgot something? I know the machine bullshits, but my mind is fallible and my memory fails, maybe it is me who does not know my own work?

Chat GPT answers a question with some made-up bullshit:

What was Steve Randy Waldman's argument about cathedrals?

Steve Randy Waldman, an economist and blogger, used the metaphor of cathedrals in a 20 blog post titled Chat GPT answers a question with some made-up bullshit: What was Steve Randy Waldman's argument about cathedrals? Steve Randy Waldman, an economist and blogger, used the metaphor of cathedrals in a 20 blog post titled "The Cathedral and the Warehouse". His argument was that certain kinds of institutions, particularly those related to finance and banking, are like cathedrals because they are built to inspire confidence and trust in society. Waldman argued that like cathedrals, financial institutions are complex structures that are designed to create an impression of stability and permanence. This is important because people need to trust that their money is safe when they deposit it in a bank, and that the financial system as a whole is reliable and trustworthy. However, Waldman also argued that these financial "cathedrals" can become corrupt or unstable if they are not properly maintained and regulated. He used the example of the 2008 financial crisis, which he argued was caused in part by the failure of regulators to properly oversee the financial system. Waldman's argument was that we need to recognize the importance of financial institutions as trusted and stable institutions in our society, but also ensure that they are properly regulated and maintained in order to prevent them from becoming sources of instability and corruption.

what the matrix got wrong was that the robots would have to deceive us into our pods, rather than merely engage and seduce us. we’ll climb in enthusiastically while ironizing about being “too online”.

eight billion humans, and any of them could be your friend.

to really delude yourself, you have to reason your way into it.

"My plea is for adherents of the new ideology to openly articulate their principles and give reasons for them, and not to expect nor demand automatic acceptance. And also for opponents of the new ideology to understand what they are opposing and give reasons for their own principles."

from a skeptical-but-not-hostile definition-of and grappling-with "wokeness" by .

“Washington, DC…is designed to be run by the elderly. The seniority system in Congress ties old age to increased power, as young people are told to wait their turn. Incumbency comes with a higher profile and robust donor network. Leadership posts and committee chairs are often filled by people in their 70s and 80s who, by nature of their age and wealth, are disconnected from the problems facing broad swaths of the public.” ht ‪@noahshachtman

“New thinking about how authoritarian rule works” @DanLittle

I had great fun giving an Intro to for Programmers last night at the Tampa Java Users Group.

Slides are at (html/css) or (pdf).

( There's also — oh no! — video here: )

I got to meet @AccordionGuy, who did a great writeup here

Thanks to and for organizing!

@joegrand @MLE_online

in reply to @joegrand
a garbage can marked “no garbage” a garbage can marked “no garbage”

we know so much less than we pretend we do but that’s no excuse to make shit up in order to justify your dickishness. regardless of whether you believe the shit you make up.

a focus on elite credentials and endorsements, while treating diversity as a matter of identity rather than ideology, yields a corporate-friendly monoculture among judicial nominees selected by Democrats. this should change. see @ddayen

@kfury their search engines too…

in reply to @kfury

the rich have no monopoly on the truth, but high quality disinformation and platforms to distribute it are goods and services that money can buy.

there are days when the fact the world has turned a very radioactive kind of stupid really gets to me.

"Democracy Is Our Hope For A Better Future"

@bobwyman tax excess margins!

in reply to @bobwyman

imagine five years ago trying to explain that a significant faction would come to believe an American deep state runs high-stakes, elaborate psyops to deceive the public in favor of, um, trans people.

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock Not really. I mean it's a click-baity headline, sure. But it's careful to say "in Ron DeSantis' Florida" rather than "by Ron DeSantis".

I think the implication is that he's reshaped what the state considers pornography, which is accurate, more than any claim about what Ron DeSantis as a person considers to be pornographic (which, of course, who knows?)

(gotta go help the kid with homework now! drably nonpornographic, i'm afraid.)

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock I guess I have yet to see what I think is a misrepresentation of DeSantis here. I agree with you in general. I think lots of times partisans caricature and misrepresent their opponents in ways that ultimately discredit them. But DeSantis really did pass laws with these risk characteristics, and in response to criticisms about how those laws are playing out, he really does disingenuously conflate pornography with "inappropriate" material that could be anything.

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock Manatee teachers did that because Manatee County officials told them pretty directly to, based on the risks the new law created.

DeSantis claims that it's an overreaction, and most counties did not find the danger so great that they felt they needed to restrict access to all classroom books.

But it's also not a ridiculous reaction to a situation where you're a felon if, even inadvertantly, a book you leave around is deemed not "free of porn"!

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock I haven't heard anyone claim that DeSantis is not, among the many, banning books many people would agree are pornographic. We are arguing that his dragnet is sweeping up a whole lot else as well. I guess I don't see it. You don't like that his critics really don't care about the so-called pornography-in-schools problem, so don't praise him or much acknowledge that he is also doing what he claims. 1/

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock But that's because we don't see much value making a crusade of pornography in schools, even when it occasionally hits a valid target. No one denies that it sometimes does! But we argue, correctly I think, that the collateral damage vastly outweighs whatever benefit there is in that (and we see very little benefit in that, because we don't think porn in schools is a big problem). 2/

in reply to self

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock It would be in bad faith to, say, claim that DeSantis is intentionally going after literature while trying to absolve porn. I've never heard anyone argue any such thing. We think (1) the porn problem is overrated; (2) lots of stuff DeSantis' base would consider porn has literary, political, or artistic merit, and DeSantis is unconcerned if his bans overreach into that stuff too, if it helps him politically. I don't think those are claims in bad faith. /fin

in reply to self

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock I guess I'd submit to you that, living in Florida and having some connections here, there's a pattern to the choices our governor has been making recently that are not consistent with "a person trying to govern well who sometimes makes mistakes", but are much more consistent with "a person using state power to take extreme sides in certain kinds of controversies, indifferent to the harms that it causes". 1/

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock This is relatively new — for most of DeSantis' first term, he did in fact mostly build support by governing pretty well, making common cause especially with municipal officials across partisan lines. The controversy that surrounded him was over COVID, where, rightly or wrongly, most Floridians thought he chose well by erring on the side of individual liberty rather than community safety. 2/

in reply to self

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock But current DeSantis is, literally, looking for certain kinds of trouble. It does in a way play to him, to make so strong an issue of controversies over book banning, because he is trying to make himself a champion for social conservatives, and any press there is good press. He solicited, then signed a 6-week abortion ban, is effectively banning gender-affirmative care for kids, whatever their parents think, and putting severe barriers for consenting trans adults. 3/

in reply to self

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock You can accuse me, correctly, of having a personal stake in this. He is destroying the experimental college that gave me the richest years of my life, overtly trying to remake it using a conservative Christian college as a model, on the theory that it is too "woke" (I'm sure there's some of that, but it's mostly experimental and transgressive.) 4/

in reply to self

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock In my view, DeSantis is a person not without talents, but he is a person who has self-consciously decided to deploy those talents in a manner indifferent to what would have been his own conception of the public good until very recently, because he is trying to make a case for himself to a Republican primary base. In doing so, he is doing a very great deal of harm, but does not care. 5/

in reply to self

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock Sometimes it is wise to steelman. But as Dan Davies (quoted here on Mastodon today!) used to point out *ad hominem* argument is a bad habit, but so is credulously and laboriously taking at face value the arguments of people with a history of acting in bad faith. In my view, Ron DeSantis is a person who has demonstrated a very great deal of bad faith. (A year ago, I was interested in and somewhat open to him.) /fin

in reply to self

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock His law makes it a felony if any book kids can access at a school is *ex post* deemed not to be "free of pornography". There is, famously, no objective standard for what constitutes pornography. *Lady Chatterly's Lover* was widely considered pornography. A great many works of literature include depictions of sex. Most accusations that literary work is pornography won't have substance to it, but would you risk your freedom on what inherently is a matter of judgment?

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock I am banning murder. Anyone whom anyone accuses of murder will be jailed. Are you opposed to banning murder? My critics are misrepresenting me. 😢

I won't block almost anyone (and certainly won't block you, you're a friend). I block spam, but other than that, I think there's real value in staying exposed even to what I find disagreeable.

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock His critics are saying its bad that he's made a law that creates such risk of felony prosecution for schoolteachers and librarians that Manatee district officials advised shutting off access to all classroom books until they can be positively vetted. His critics argue that procedures that let any individual objecting parent eliminate books until some long bureaucratic rehabilitation is achieved are also bad. His critics are right.

in reply to @taoeffect

don't erase the hardest hard drive.

this page doesn’t exist.

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock This is not a child. He's the governor of a state. If his response to being attacked and (they all feel) misrepresented is to simply ignore the flaws of his policies and the harms that they do, he has no business being anywhere near government.

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock Your list is pulling from the tails of the distribution of books being affected. It is not representative. I'm sure DeSantis self-servingly likes to think of criticism as a hoax, but that doesn't make it so.

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock Because most of us think the book is probably fine for high schools. Genuinely. We are with the Miller definition that includes as a criterion "whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value". A book that addresses controversies about and the experience of gender and sexual minorities may well meet that test, despite a few pages of graphical depictions of sex. 1/

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock I'm glad to say it shouldn't be in elementary schools. And I wouldn't be outraged if public schools were more vigilant about narrowly excluding just this kind of thing, I'd consider it understandable.

I could turn that question around. I see very few people who consider the presence of books like this in the library to be an important problem making any effort to ensure that the scope of removals is surgically narrow. Why is that? /fin

in reply to self

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock As a Dad of a Florida elementary school kid, if my choices are a law that lets random parents remove The Bluest Eye from his library or one that lets stuff like that through occasionally, I'd easily pick the latter. I'm much more concerned that schools will fail to take the opportunity to expose him to important things than that he might be exposed to what he's exposed to anyway online. 1/

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock Note that FL *high schools* were removing this book when it came to their attention before DeSantis made inclusion in schools of anything colorably controversial a felony risk for teachers and librarians. I think the book is probably fine for high schools, but it's not like school districts were actively promoting books like this, even if some individuals might.

From 2021, my kid's school district:


in reply to self

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock This book is far, far from representative of what DeSantis' inteventions are curtailing.

The direction in which you "err" reflects your values as much as what you claim to be trying to achieve. If you err on the side of killing them all and let God sort it out, it means very little that you don't intend to kill the innocent. /fin

in reply to self

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock It's not exactly unintended if you don't care, it was a foreseeable result, and you are happy with it. If a politician were to say eliminate any review of capital cases and lots of innocents die but you continued to tout your tough-on-crime accomplishment, whether you really "intended" to kill innocents may be an interesting philosophical question but your negligence and complicity is not.

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock it’s the first paragraph of the piece. he’s not defending these laws as hypothetically justifiable, he’s going before camera to defend what is actually occurring and to characterize the criticism of their actual application as misguided. but it’s not misguided. the best you can claim is he’s deluded and believes the law is being applied very differently than it is. i’d say that’s, um, a stretch.

in reply to @taoeffect

@taoeffect @toyotabedzrock he seems pretty clearly to be endorsing what has occurred.

in reply to @taoeffect

@paninid don’t let it end. don’t settle for any shade of blue with the blues.

in reply to @paninid

you drop by twitter to lurk a little, and it’s not kindergarten, it’s lord of the flies.

@mimsical Amen.

in reply to @mimsical

@mimsical probably shoulda spelt it right, gonna edit.

in reply to @mimsical

@mimsical autoextroverts

in reply to @mimsical

@Alon a good distillation of the better part Florida politics. (dissembling grift is better than fascism any day of the week, right?)

in reply to @Alon

@Alon an informative and thoughtful post.

how i yearn for a world in which transit (even miserable American bus transit) would be anywhere on anyone’s radar in the Tampa Bay exurbs.

in reply to @Alon

super-NIMBY, one home per acre way too dense. or should we consider this good, actually, preventing suburban sprawl in favor of infill or at least denser development?

@stevenbodzin “pretty”

in reply to @stevenbodzin

i’d like to have a word with whoever invented the car alarm.

“Capitalism is the machine that will do whatever it takes to prevent us from turning it off, and the most successful weapon in its arsenal has been its campaign to prevent us from considering any alternatives.” ht @KathyReid @snipe

i would like to see a television show
that would be a kind of police procedural, only the “detective” would be an IRS investigator going after the ever-more-elaborate tax dodges of very high-net-worth cheats.

which is worse, for things to go sideways or pear-shaped?

@curtosis @ryanlcooper whoever is likely to be stiffed. if the administration were to announce some prioritization plan (obviously for now they refuse, rightly) under which some payments would not be made to prevent exceeding the ceiling, the recipients of those payments would face a very concrete injury.

in reply to @curtosis

"in reality it would be every bit as illegal for Biden to respect [the debt ceiling] as ignore it." @ryanlcooper

@blair_fix is it true that George Washington was a US President?

in reply to @blair_fix

what does it mean for a thing to be true?

@harrymccracken the original iphone.

in reply to @harrymccracken

if looks could bill i’d be in debtors prison, baby.

@DeanBaker13 it’s morning in America!

in reply to @DeanBaker13

@guan @bergmayer perhaps they might specify a duration in light years.

in reply to this

@paninid i just saw this in the bad place and got excited about it… don’t know what to think about how right it is but i hope so, i don’t like a future where even more than now we are serfs to tech only very large players provide.

in reply to @paninid

the most hopeful thing i’ve read about LLMs lately (the part before the paywall at least…) ht Stephen Pimentel

i don’t know why joni is always both-sidesing everything now.

@Artifex @timbray Fair enough. I think it’s probably worth breaking “moderation” up a bit. Managing what comes in across federation boundaries is a different kind of problem in a lot of respects from moderating direct participants in a forum. Handling inbound stuff really does need to scale with the whole network, and yeah, almost inevitably it’ll revert to tooling, shared blocklists etc. But local speech should be moderated according to distinct local norms, I’d hope.

in reply to @Artifex

@Artifex @timbray Sure. Some things are spam to just about everyone, and I don't disagree that it might be useful if services spring up to provide a floor and help manage these cases.

But once things start to get even a bit gray, that's when moderating the chatter should get, well, artisanal.

Inadequate moderation is a terrible risk. But so is a world where federation just means incredible pressure to conform to a narrow intersection of every community's standards.

in reply to @Artifex

@timbray (reiterating from a different thread… leaving the nazis to their isolated homes on gab or truth social or whatever, what constitutes crypto spam vs information about potentially interesting crypto projects will and should vary across forums. creating space for heterogeneous norms is perhaps what i most seek from a fediverse. a centralized site can enforce homogeneous norms just fine. if we want that, we should just mutually own/build one.)

in reply to @timbray

@John @timbray if you are a single user, it’s a pretty different problem. there’s you, and there’s the fediverse, you block what you don’t want to see.

but what if you ran, say, a community of crypto tech enthusiasts? their standards for what constitutes crypto spam might be looser than most instances (for whom promotion of almost any crypto project is probably unwanted). 1/

in reply to @John

@John @timbray i think the wrong choice is to restrict within forum conversations to what other forums want to federate with. that creates a least-common-denominator world. but widespread defederation is bad too.

the right choice imho is to have distinct standards for local-only and into-the-fediverse posts, with the latter much more homogeneous and cautious than the former. /fin

in reply to self

@timbray i kind of think the whole virtue of moderation is it’s not scalable. each forum can and should make very different kinds of choices. there’s a risk federation homogenizes moderation. i wish more forums adopted hometown-like local only scope, so that moderation for internal consumption and export for participation in the fediverse could be managed differently.

in reply to @timbray

does anyone know of any description of the privacy characteristics of ACH bank transfers? do ACH transfers leave customer-level data with clearinghouses or other parties outside of the participating banks? how do the privacy characteristics of ACH compare with those of something like the upcoming FedNow?

(thanks @chrisp for posing this question, to which i'd given oddly little thought.)

banking is the original twitter. you don't want to be the main character.

(how does one select the "at-risk youth" one means to help?)

@catastrophile it’s kind of you, but it’s a bit like passing along a recording of someone asking you out. it isn’t transitive like that. i don’t feel special.

in reply to @catastrophile

i’m a bit deflated by the spam i haven’t received.

(i finally got mine!)

in reply to self

“Most corrupt acts don't take the form of clearly immoral choices. People fight those. Corruption thrives where there is a tension between institutional and interpersonal ethics. There is ‘the right thing’ in abstract, but there are also very human impulses towards empathy, kindness, and reciprocity that result from relationships with flesh and blood people.” me, long ago.

this is the moment when our future is about to begin.

[new draft post] We haunt

i was today years old before i saw and heard footage of Huey Long speaking in his own voice. via Sandy Darity cc @poetryforsupper

@fastmail I did find that, eventually! Thank you!

in reply to @fastmail

@fastmail (i found aliases very straightforward, and was initially very confused when it seemed any aliases i’d made not pointing to my own address had disappeared. now i know what to expect, but i’m not persuaded it’s an improvement, and i wish you had left both views. still, you are a fantastic service, a bit of ui friction doesn’t change that.)

in reply to @fastmail

in an era of generative art prompt engineering, art history becomes a STEM field.

(you have to know your artists to effectively author "in the style of..." clauses in your prompts.)

i've seen so much pessimism this week.

but it remains such a beautiful, fun language. i really enjoy it's true there are some real tooling hassles (please give me a good emacs mode). you lose time. but you can express things so cleanly and concisely.

there are tensions between what "industry" wants and an impulse to experiment. a lot of us were drawn to scala because it challenges us, keeps us learning. it never wanted to be . i don't think it should try now.

waiting for the to invent a lèse-majesté exception to the 1st Amendment with reference to itself.

after all, the Court is apolitical, so critique is not protected political speech; respect for the Court's dignity is essential to the survival and operation of the Constitutional order; and the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

we should all be grateful.

if the machine says you are guilty, you must be guilty.

if it turns out that was a bug, well, sorry i guess.

Marina Hyde via @NIH_LLAMAS @ct_bergstrom

@lolonurse i am so sorry. that this was the policy choice — save banks as systemically important, in part by ensuring borrowers bear as much of the costs as possible, is much of why the US economic system has little public legitimacy. it is obviously not even roughly "fair" or "meritocrcay", unless you count being big or structurally well connected as merit. we go bitter towards fascist hierarchy, or generous towards social democracy, from here. "capitalist desserts" just have no social basis.

in reply to @lolonurse

@taoeffect (expressing a similar wish, i was reminded that for a while Google had a blog index. now google tries not to surface blogs until they get love from the incumbents it already ranks highly. in the old days, even if sites were low ranked, Google would surface everything with a specific enough query or else deep in the results. now they'll simply omit.)

in reply to @taoeffect

Small and midsize banks are basically in the position middle-class homeowners with underwater mortgages in 2008 who lost their jobs were.

Over the medium-term, their housing values and home-equity wealth were due to come roaring back.

But they don't have the liquidity to carry their position, and they're not important enough for anyone to front them cheap money until then, so they take the loss, cede to bigger, better-connected players who will enjoy the roarback. 1/

Formally eliminating limits on deposit insurance might forestall the liquidity crises. Alternative, more generous Fed or other-government-agency lending terms for small and midsize banks than the already generous Bank Term Funding Program are probably the most likely way small and midsize banks will be saved, if they will be saved. /fin

in reply to self

Your preferences have been updated.

@otfrom only if you sign over the film and television rights, i’d think.

in reply to @otfrom

@djc @Atrios all this is the result of the tension between a completely illegitimate court and a need to maintain the legitimacy of state whose constitution renders that court integral. it is like how an oyster tries to render harmless a foreign object by burying it in pearl to soften the edges.

in reply to @djc

@djc @Atrios the likelihood is other branches, when they substantively disagree, will treat decisions extremely narrowly and force courts to relitigate every variation, and that lower courts will also treat decisions narrowly forcing the SC to restate themselves, etc. overall, a kind of state actor work-to-rule. more constructively, the likelihood Congress does its job and reforms the Court quite substantially is much increased when the public is disinclined to defer to the existing Court.

in reply to @djc

“It is not sinking in, generally, that their behavior has made everything they do completely illegitimate.” @Atrios

the more you love, the more you lose.

i am sorry to hear about gordon lightfoot.

this @TucsonSentinel piece ends on a rather shocking implication.

waiting for musk’s knock-off, red sky.

in hindsight the lack of foresight is 20/20.

not the first time i’ve seen this i think, but i love that people do this.

a bit of well-placed graffiti turns a kind of coat hook into a smiling octopus. a bit of well-placed graffiti turns a kind of coat hook into a smiling octopus.

when one finds oneself describing a thing one does as “ethical”, there’s a question.

@yarrriv it was purple the day before Ron DeSantis was elected (and his open policies of voter intimidation and suppression help keep it red). i don’t think we know FL’s longer-term trajectory, and think DeSantis’ recent popularity was based on the perception he kept things more open and free over COVID than the culture war crap he’s doubling down on.

in reply to @yarrriv

@yarrriv he did. but if he is resoundingly rebuked in 2024 he won’t have the legislature as a wholly owned subsidiary any more.

in reply to @yarrriv

“Can't quantify it, but really I think federal level corruption is so much worse than it used to be. I think practices that would shock ‘normal’ people are absolutely normal, but since ‘everybody’ is doing it, there's no way to even cover it for journalism.”

“We can start with how net worths just seem to blossom from the moment someone enters Congress, but that's certainly only the starting place.”

by @Atrios, to whom i apologize for quoting the whole post.

@LouisIngenthron if we could do a brain transplant, migrate into some new place its essence intact (though so much of its essence is wedded to that particular, extraordinary place) i might agree.

but faculty and students will just go elsewhere, and not the same elsewhere. there is no plausible land of milk and honey for the exodus. they just scatter to the wind.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

from whom do we have to buy property at inflated prices to get the Court to bless ?

@LouisIngenthron new college is like a person. people die. there will be other wonderful people. but it’s no good to acquiesce to a murder on the theory other great people will be born.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

@LouisIngenthron i guess that’s where we disagree. i think people broadly disliked the overreach in much of what gets called wokeness. that gave trump and his slipstream a bit of power. i think they dislike the open cruelty of this political movement in reaction even less though. DeSantis played COVID in a way that, right or wrong, was very popular. I think two years from now he is the lamest of ducks, with all these absurdities exposed. so there is something to wait for.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

hear me out.

i know it might seem like a reasonable request.

but those neighbors, they were really the deep state. even if they didn’t know it.

infected by woke mind virus, they were bringing in bicoastal “civility” norms which, by a thousand tiny strings in a thousand tiny knots, would entangle and block every manly freedom.

and of course even in death they were found on top of children. of course.

@LouisIngenthron i guess i disagree. Rufo i think is not interested in credibility (beyond the minimum necessary to maintain accreditation). he thinks the establishment that defines credibility is his enemy. he wants, as he has said over and over again, to make the body of the campus an empty vessel for his new thing. his new thing will surely rot, on that we agree. but the old thing is something beyond beautiful. we should try not to make way. in two years, things may be different.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

Chris Rufo is getting his way at . He understands the people are the battlefield.

It may feel good to walk out, rage quit, as several prominent faculty have done. It may very well be the best decision from a personal perspective. But it is ceding the only terrain that ultimately matters.

Can the faculty not hold out long enough to see if DeSantis and his cheap culture wars flame out as a political force in two years?

“If he had been a dog, she said, somebody would have rescued him long ago.”

This Supreme Court sounds like an implausible parody of public corruption.

"[Jane] Roberts' apparent $10.3 million in compensation [for recruiting lawyers to prestigious law firms] puts her toward the top of the payscale for legal headhunters… she was 'the highest earning recruiter in the entire company 'by a wide margin.'' ... 'The monetary value of a senior government official will depend on the value they bring to a law firm's client base,' she said"

@blakeashleyjr traveling through time, alas, will not make me wise. some feats are beyond even the most speculative technologies.

in reply to @blakeashleyjr

[new draft post] Urgency

// corrected very bad misdating of post and URL in prior announcement, thanks @blakeashleyjr!

@blakeashleyjr (i think i'm finally back on our timeline!)

in reply to @blakeashleyjr

@blakeashleyjr (thanks!)

in reply to @blakeashleyjr

@blakeashleyjr omg.

in reply to @blakeashleyjr

The Roberts Court is a cesspool of open corruption that works to legalize the same.

People like to describe John Roberts as an institutionalist a bit overwhelmed by how contentious his Court has become and how far and fast it has swung. Given his unwillingness to meaningfully address behavior that justifiably destroys public confidence in the Court, I don't think that's a fair description. Any "institutionalism" is eclipsed by… something else.

"It is with real chutzpah…that Roberts has claimed judicial independence in order to circumvent an investigation into judicial independence… [O]ur Supreme Court does not exist in the constitutional order as much as it looms over it, a robed tribunal of self-styled philosopher-kings, accountable to no one but themselves." @jbouie

@caseyjennings (hmm… i wonder if there is a Tampa Bay local instance.)

in reply to @caseyjennings

“Preventing monopoly formation is infinitely preferable to breaking up monopolies after they form.” @pluralistic ht

@bgawalt 😀

in reply to @bgawalt

i periodically repost this, and now seems like a good moment.

Merge the Court

A thing I did not know, from @ryanlcooper:

The US Supreme Court "struck down a law prohibiting political candidates from repaying personal loans to their campaign with post-election donations, meaning that interested parties can effectively place bribes directly into the pockets of our elected representatives."

@caseyjennings if i still lived in the Bay Area (i often wish i still lived in the Bay Area), i think it would be a top choice for me.

in reply to @caseyjennings

@sqrtminusone when i first migrated my attention and posting from twitter to here (i had the account for years, but rarely used it previously), i was cautious and CWed politics-ish things. but the norm among the wave of fellow twitter refugees with whom i disproportionaltely interact is not to do that, and i fear CW-ing things would make a place already a bit too quiet compared to olden days even quieter. but i don't want to be a bother in spaces that prefer that norm.

in reply to @sqrtminusone

@pixelpusher220 (i think how that'd work is i'd move, then reactivate the account after my followers have migrated. understandably, i don't think mastodon would let me keep my followers and take them elsewhere. i can have both accounts, but the current account's followers have to be one place or the other.)

in reply to @pixelpusher220

( i may switch to a different instance — i love, i'm a long-time free software guy and i love that world — but most of my posts are politics-ish and i've gotten a bit of pushback that some fosstodoners prefer the local timeline to be respite from all that. i could CW politicsy posts, but that doesn't seem to be the norm among the people i converse with. anyway, i may a bit sadly be looking for a new home, and am open to suggestions. )

Jerry Springer’s passing reminds us of a more innocent, less decadent America.

some people find writing a function to reverse a string even just once to be annoying, but i've found a solution that is very concise and will reverse a string *twice*.

@dcz I had a question. I have no reason whatsoever to believe the answer it gave me was correct. If I could be confident of that, I wouldn't need the citation! It's not about some academic fetish. But without some kind of evidence, I cannot trust the answer.

in reply to @dcz

@bgawalt right. you’d want people of roughly the same age as well, for a first approximation.

in reply to @bgawalt

what if Biden cut a deal with McConnell to support an impeachment of Gorsuch and Thomas in exchange for agreeing to two McConnell-acceptable replacement nominees? the idea would be to separate ethics accountability from the political composition of the Court by holding the latter constant. would this be wise or terrible?

Apparently organic chemistry is a fake, woke discipline.

@djc i’d cleanly say “lots” and “yes, of course”. without high quality representation, there is no legitimacy of governance (and crippled state capacity, and poor quality of governance). quality representation should be a very high priority. we should be willing to spend many multiples of the almost nothing we now spend on it. (Gingrich destroyed Congressional staff budgets, delivering us to plutocratic think tanks.)

in reply to @djc

@blakeashleyjr well, it is something to work towards. much of why our governance is in such rough shape is that most of us don’t feel we are meaningfully represented at all. our votes are like little dots rival PacMen compete for, as passive and meaningless to the victors as that. no problem presses itself less urgently, or is in fact more urgent, than restoring meaningful democratic representation in my view.

in reply to @blakeashleyjr

@blakeashleyjr i guess if one posits a sufficiently awful quality of readership now, AI summary could be an improvement. but then maybe the right answer is reforms that improve representatives capacity and obligation to meaningful address constituent entreaties, rather than celebrating a marginal improvement to a bad baseline?

in reply to @blakeashleyjr

(i’m going to make an imposter account of myself so that people think i’m important enough to have an imposter!)

(oh, wait.)

(i guess my account would be an imposter imposter?)

@gl33p (very well put. i think this is basically my view too.)

in reply to @gl33p

@blakeashleyjr There’s no question there cld be an improvement in response quality. but a letter isn’t really what we’re after, when we write a Congressperson, is it? Sometimes we mean to register a position (our letter may be parroting some advocacy campaign’s talking points!), but at other times we craft a message to appeal to a reader’s humanity, hope to establish a personal connection and reframe the reader’s understanding of the issue. Would it be legitimate to remove that from the process?

in reply to @blakeashleyjr

suppose when you write your Congressperson, the mail is read and responded by an AI with, in almost all cases, no human staffer (nor the representative themself) reading the mail. would that be okay?

suppose the AI produces (accurately, let’s stipulate) a summary of the issues on which mail has been received, the positions taken, and their frequencies among constituents.

would that affect your view?

@wizzwizz4 (is there a list of conventional CW terms? when I've CW'ed, I've just written out things like "US Politics", or "arguably cruel speech" for example. if they are evolving into standardized-ish tags, it'd be good to have some reference about that.) [my quotes of myself here are probably not exact, but you get the idea.]

in reply to @wizzwizz4

@wizzwizz4 (i kind of wish there were an option for posts that would be public but excluded from the local timeline. as a community of affiliation, fosstodon is pretty good for me. but most of what i post is intended for the mastodon community writ large — as twitter refugees have in part remade it — rather than that particularly community of affiliation.)

in reply to @wizzwizz4

@wizzwizz4 That's certainly fair enough. My general politics takes tend to be more frequent than my tech takes, and I don't want to basically CW myself by default. If fosstodoners don't want general politics takes on the local timeline, then probably I'll a bit sadly, but without any rancor, move.

in reply to @wizzwizz4

@wizzwizz4 (did you think this particular take, the sarcastic jibe at Montana's expulsion-from-physical-presence of a legislator, demanded a CW beyond what my be usual for general politics takes?)

in reply to self

@wizzwizz4 Oh yes, it's sarcasm. I hope that's obvious, but I have been bitten before when people miss that. I like, and have once had someone object to my very general purpose use of it. When I signed up, Twitter was my main general interest / politics venue. If I get a lot of pushback from fosstodoners, I'll move, but with regret. I am an free software developer, and I like the vibe here.

in reply to @wizzwizz4

@dcz This was entirely fabricated information. There is no way to get a usable summary if the information may be fabricated and there is no way to check the source. If I were to act on this information, or incorporate it into my thinking even silently and subtly, I would make potentially consequential errors.

in reply to @dcz

Thank God we have somebody standing firm against all the snowflakes and the cancel culture.

From @w7voa via @chargrille

@dcz I don't think the businesses paying for API access to automate business processes are looking for a "storytelling tool". One of the most common use cases promoted is to synthesize information into usable summaries.

in reply to @dcz

I had an actual question, so I thought I'd Leverage The Power Of AI. It gave a clear answer (not the one I'd guess!), referring to a study. I asked for a citation, it duly gave me one.

Of course, the citation was bogus. I point that out, it apologizes and gives me the "correct" one. Nope! And we go 'round again!

It's stunningly shameless in the specificity of its frauds. And it goes for plausibility! The issue numbers, page numbers, dates are consistent. The articles just do not exist there.

How does antidepressant use compare between nordic and anglo countries?

There is some evidence to suggest that antidepressant use varies between Nordic and Anglo countries. Nordic countries, which include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, tend to have higher rates of antidepressant use than Anglo countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

For example, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that the prevalence of antidepressant use in Nordic countries ranged from 6.2% to 12.0%, compared to a range of 3.3% to 7.1% in Anglo countries. The study also found that Nordic countries had a higher rate of long-term antidepressant use than Anglo countries.

However, it is important to note that there may be cultural and societal differences that contribute to differences in antidepressant use between countries, and that these differences may not necessarily reflect differences in the prevalence of depression or other mental health disorders. Additionally, variations in healthcare systems, prescribing practices, and access to mental health services may also play a role in the differences observed. How does antidepressant use compare between nordic and anglo countries? There is some evidence to suggest that antidepressant use varies between Nordic and Anglo countries. Nordic countries, which include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, tend to have higher rates of antidepressant use than Anglo countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. For example, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that the prevalence of antidepressant use in Nordic countries ranged from 6.2% to 12.0%, compared to a range of 3.3% to 7.1% in Anglo countries. The study also found that Nordic countries had a higher rate of long-term antidepressant use than Anglo countries. However, it is important to note that there may be cultural and societal differences that contribute to differences in antidepressant use between countries, and that these differences may not necessarily reflect differences in the prevalence of depression or other mental health disorders. Additionally, variations in healthcare systems, prescribing practices, and access to mental health services may also play a role in the differences observed.
Can you please give me the full citation for the 2016 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders you refer to?

Sure, here is the full citation for the study I referred to:

Sundbom LT, Bingefors K. (2016). The use of antidepressants among 0-17 year olds in five
Nordic countries from 2005 to 2012. Journal of Affective Disorders, 189, 187-93. DOl:

I hope that helps!

Hi. The article you refer to seems not to exist! Here is the table of contents for Journal of Affective Disorders Volume 189: Can you please recheck that citation for me?

I apologize for the mistake in my previous response. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. After double-checking, I found that the study I referred to was actually published in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, not the Journal of Affective Disorders. Here is the correct citation:
Sundbom, L. T., & Bingefors, K. (2016). Antidepressant utilization patterns and determinants of short-term and non-psychiatric use in the Nordic countries. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 70(3), 192-199. do: 10.3109/08039488.2015.1118673

I apologize for any confusion my previous response may have caused. Can you please give me the full citation for the 2016 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders you refer to? S Sure, here is the full citation for the study I referred to: Sundbom LT, Bingefors K. (2016). The use of antidepressants among 0-17 year olds in five Nordic countries from 2005 to 2012. Journal of Affective Disorders, 189, 187-93. DOl: 10.1016/jjad.2015.09.025. I hope that helps! SW Hi. The article you refer to seems not to exist! Here is the table of contents for Journal of Affective Disorders Volume 189: Can you please recheck that citation for me? G I apologize for the mistake in my previous response. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. After double-checking, I found that the study I referred to was actually published in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, not the Journal of Affective Disorders. Here is the correct citation: Sundbom, L. T., & Bingefors, K. (2016). Antidepressant utilization patterns and determinants of short-term and non-psychiatric use in the Nordic countries. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 70(3), 192-199. do: 10.3109/08039488.2015.1118673 I apologize for any confusion my previous response may have caused.
I am having a hard time finding that article as well. Here is the relevant table of contents of the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry

I apologize for the continued confusion. It appears that I made another mistake in my previous response. The correct citation for the study is:

Sundbom LT, Helgesson M, Jing S, et al. (2015). Antidepressant utilisation patterns and determinants of short-term and non-psychiatric use in the Nordic countries. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 69(3), 218-225. DOl: 10.3109/08039488.2014.961964

I hope that helps clarify things. I am having a hard time finding that article as well. Here is the relevant table of contents of the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry I apologize for the continued confusion. It appears that I made another mistake in my previous response. The correct citation for the study is: Sundbom LT, Helgesson M, Jing S, et al. (2015). Antidepressant utilisation patterns and determinants of short-term and non-psychiatric use in the Nordic countries. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 69(3), 218-225. DOl: 10.3109/08039488.2014.961964 I hope that helps clarify things.

who writes one of the deepest finance substacks puts an older, but i think one of my best, posts on inequality in the excellent company of and .

are you a media personality?

@poetryforsupper mine too, but, um…

in reply to @poetryforsupper

@poetryforsupper (since sometime in the 1960s.)

in reply to self

@poetryforsupper but students will produce high-quality papers more efficiently!

(contemporary education is based on the notion that important kinds of human development naturally result as an epiphenomenon of producing certain kinds of artifacts. that will just no longer be tenable. which presents a challenge. perhaps we’ll rely more on the seminar room! but that is expensive, and what kind of worker does it train?)

in reply to @poetryforsupper

i pass every turing test because it is obvious i am a shallow fake.

@costrike @pluralistic but Elon's a cheap date by comparison!

in reply to @costrike

i've made myself a very overtly means of specifying static sites, which is the opposite of slick or friendly, except maybe to people who find writing scala and interacting with scala libs a natural and precise way of specifying things. today i wrote a "Getting Started" README, on the unlikely theory i might not be alone.

@wizzwizz4 shall we have two names?

in reply to @wizzwizz4

what name shall we give this condition, when you depend upon what you hate?

Amazon's "main 'advertising' business isn't advertising at all – it's payola… In other words, Amazon isn't making $31b/year selling ads – it's extracting $31b/year from its merchants to make its shoppers' experience worse. The results at the top of your search aren't the best products – they're often the *worst* products, because sellers who waste money making *good* products don't have anything left over to pay danegeld to Amazon" @pluralistic

@aswath of course the corollary is you’re never right! but nobody ever notices that, so it’s cool.

in reply to @aswath

@dpp for any kind of institutionalist, we are on a path right to catastrophe unless we figure out ways to repair our crumbling civic infrastructure.

in reply to @dpp

It's pretty clear the the US Supreme Court is sincere and has taken to heart its standard that only quid-pro-quo exchanges count as corruption, and any form of influence peddling or purchase beneath that standard is just democracy in action!

Unsurprisingly, @jeffspross gets to the pith of Ezra Klein's "everything bagel liberalism" complaint. It would be better if we didn't disadvantage critical public projects by attaching civilized labor conditions only to them, while private projects "efficiently" mistreat people. But the way to do that is to level up the playing field, by making civilized labor conditions universal.

@johnbessa (i've been reading pieces comparing Trump to DeSantis, trying to explain DeSantis seems to be struggling to gain endorsements. Trump is described as an active and effective ingratiator of the people whose support he may someday require. DeSantis is described as haughty and cold until the moment he needs you. That's a difference! But it's a bit weird "empathy" is the word used to characterize it.)

in reply to @johnbessa

it's funny how in journalism about politicians and political skills, a capacity for ingratiation gets described as "empathy".

the humble comma as a very simple namespace for UNIX scripts and custom commands.

"Start all of your commands with a comma" by @brandon_rhodes

via @irreal

Great piece by @ddayen calling attention to the lobbying by firms that extract fees from socially useless products to game the FDIC's deposit insurance limit. They want to ensure that limit stays intact.

At stake is more than their rents. Removing the deposit limit dissolves the pretense that banks are private firms bearing their own risk, and invites more fundamental banking reform. ht 1/

@ddayen ( i wrote something recently about what a reformed banking system might look like here ) /fin

in reply to self

We have to end the silent gerrymandering that occurs within legislative procedure.

The procedural aspects of running a deliberative body are obviously of public interest. Who is recognized when, how committees are formed, how legislation is introduced and amended, most famously "cloture" to end debate, these are not "internal matters for the chamber to decide". These choices can and do disenfranchise us as surely as crazy district lines. Bring forth the floodlights.

"I'm sure a very nice book with obvious conclusions could be written about which laws are just ignored and which ones are enforced mercilessly." @Atrios

“Those who suggest that low taxes in the US mean that people there have more money to spend are being disingenuous, because US citizens need to pay, either directly or indirectly, for social goods that are provided free in other countries.” @sjwrenlewis

@BenRossTransit perhaps it’s a matter of some discretion. or merely an indiscretion.

in reply to @BenRossTransit

"most of the discrete objects humans have manufactured in our history are transistors"

a useful precis of not-so-nice things tucker carlson has said. the PDF includes entries through March 14, 2023. via @Atrios

@poetryforsupper it's the embroidered shirts that make it all worthwhile.

in reply to @poetryforsupper

it's not great that we've built a world so susceptible to influence by the whims of some plutocrat that the quality of the country we live in and in some respects the fate of the world may meaningfully hinge on who he hires and fires.

[new draft post] Two kinds of representation

@doriantaylor was it? my apologies to whomever, um, outfoxed me!

in reply to @doriantaylor

he was outfoxed.


@poetryforsupper hmm, big news. he and fox have "parted ways". i don't know whether to be glad or worried about what's next.

in reply to @poetryforsupper

@poetryforsupper carlson has developed an extraordinary knack for capturing the cadences of syllogistic, logical argument, smoothing over potholes with words like “obvious”, then taking a sympathetic audience anywhere he wants them to go. he makes entirely specious reasoning smell like incontrovertibly proven. we are not in a political struggle, but our adversaries are driven by a supernatural evil, basically satanists. i mean, it’s obvious, right?

in reply to @poetryforsupper

i'm trying to sunset a twitter account. (it's a private account i used, in my once very twitter-centric life, for my own notes.) i want to download an archive first. before downloading, it wants a code which it says it mails, but alas does not. has anyone encountered this? found a workaround?

UPDATE: this was my idiocy. I have a filter that archives Twitter's incessant e-mail marketing and notifications. It caught the code. I'm through the code verification barrier now. Thank for all the help!

Thanks you a ton! @Alon @jackyan @Kchunda @Ofsevit

I'd love to blame Elon, but, not unusually, this was my idiocy. I have a filter that archives Twitter's incessant e-mail marketing and notifications. It caught the code. I don't know whether the archive will succeed (I've made a request, have to wait), but I'm through the code verification barrier.

in reply to self

"Living in the US is like having a super-dangerous job" by @johnquiggin

// accounting for a reasonable risk premium given higher mortality ris in the US than comparable developed countries "would push the US down to the middle of the rich-country pack based on standard comparisons of median income." layer on much less leisure and lack of universal benefits and the US might land much lower than the middle of the pack.

@poetryforsupper “we’re not the theocrats. it’s just *obvious* that are adversary is satan and any appearance of old-school debate pretextual, so it’s incumbent upon us to counteract and act accordingly.”

@HamonWry @morganalafee this makes me so unhappy.

in reply to @HamonWry

@djc i don’t think so, because having to search around is just a deadweight cost. it doesn’t do any actual good for the producer that you’ve lost time. it’s a loss to you without a benefit to them, other than providing a basis to discriminate. socially it’s just a loss. all the time people spend checking the same prices three ways is time they could have spent on other things. 1/

in reply to @djc

@djc obviously in practice things get blurry, but i think imposing costs that are not actual efficiencies to price discriminate is not justifiable (we’ll make the seats in economy uncomfortable even though it’d be just as cheap to make them comfortable), while charging different prices for products that are the best that can be provided for the providers’ cost of provision, even if some of those prices have much higher margins than others, is fine.

in reply to self

@djc in general, market competition can’t provide good solutions for high fixed costs, low marginal cost goods. everybody goes bust under perfect competition. so you need either (often extractive) consolidation or some kind of regulated pricing. but i don’t know that you want/need first-degree price discrimination in the regulated pricing. cf @jwmason

in reply to @djc

@djc in microeconomics, there are two ways to get efficient production (in the sense that all net positive surplus transactions that can occur do), perfect competition (which allocates all surplus to the consumer) and perfect price discrimination (which allocates all surplus to the producer). 1/

in reply to @djc

@djc it’s an interesting thought experiment, how could you get a good society out of a perfect price discrimination world. but given how concentrated the allocation of producer surplus is under contemporary institutions, you’d need a lot of work and changes. you’d need really strong unions, for example, to prevent almost all economic surplus going to a narrow class of producers. 2/

in reply to self

@djc but it’s a bit of a hall of mirrors too — if we really posit perfect price discrimination, suppose surplus from one round of transactions goes all to a tiny number of producers. is it basically taken away in the next round, as whoever each producer buys dinner from extracts basically all they earned in exchange? it’s just very hard to see how an economy that seeks efficiency through perfect price-discrimination works out. 3/

in reply to self

@djc in practice, the theoretical efficiency of perfect price discrimination gets trotted out to justify pretty plainly exploitative forms of price discrimination, under which the discriminators maintain access to less discriminating markets which allow them to enjoy their outsize surplus. 4/

in reply to self

@djc coming back to the mango analogy, your intuition that it’s not an injustice even to subsidizers if all we’re doing is reducing the discrepancy of surplus in the transaction is understandable. but i still think it’s not great, for a couple of reasons. one is easy: we’ve posited thus far altruistic sliding scale pricing, the seller allocates all the fruits of charging higher prices to the rich into offering a subsidized price to the poor. 5/

in reply to self

@djc obviously, however, our price discriminating mango seller may not do this. she may allocate only half the gains from upcharging the risk to subsidizing the poor. the net effect of a world where she can price discrimination is an expansion of producer surplus laundered through some redistribution of consumer surplus. the pharma industry is the obvious example here, very high sticker prices made more tolerable by discount programs for the poor, extractive rates of profit. 6/

in reply to self

@djc that’s a pretty easy reason to be skeptical i think of equalizing consumer surplus through sliding scale pricing by surplus-retaining private providers. 7/

in reply to self

@djc a more subtle reason (that came up already in our thought experiment of a perfect price discrimination world) is economic calculation, including for the purposes of redistribution. in a world where lots of distributive equalization occurs via prices, it’s hard actually to know what rich and poor mean. 8/

in reply to self

@djc if we posit that prices adjust so we all afford the same consumption bundle, we end up with the same incentive problems as versions of socialism where “to each” has no relationship at all to efforts to produce. if we posit a much more mixed economy, where some prices impose egalitarian discrimination and others do not, we end up with disparities related to differences consumption requirements and preferences. mango lovers can never get ahead while banana lovers afford great pleasures. 9/

in reply to self

@djc how should we tax in this kind of world? can we even make claims about who is rich or poor based on income or wealth? what are my incentives to work, if getting to a higher paying job just means the stuff i enjoy today gets more expensive? maybe there are answers to all these kinds of questions, a worldview under which we can make sense of distributional outcomes despite pervasive price discrimination. but i don’t know or understand it. 10/

in reply to self

@djc at the opposite microeconomic pole, perfect competition where everyone faces the same prices, makes these questions at least analytically easy. people with lots of wealth an income enjoy lots greater surplus and can buy lots more stuff regardless of their idiosyncratic preferences. if we tax the rich to offer a UBI, the welfare effects will pretty closely match the change in financial flows. 11/

in reply to self

@djc a counter to this is that what may be analytically easy may be politically hard, precisely because effects are transparent the rich know what to resist. but the rich also know how to use price discrimination yo their advantage. i think social illegibility (“kludgeocracy”, “submerged state”) tends not in general towards egalitarian outcomes. so i think “first order” price discrimination (different prices for identical goods) is basically always bad. 12/

in reply to self

@djc it seems less bad for mangoes than for college or pharmaceuticals precisely because it’s evadable for mangoes, anyone can substitute away, have a papaya instead, so producers can neither extract a large surplus or do a lot of redistributing. but where serious first order price discrimination is achievable, it mostly does mischief. 13/

in reply to self

@djc none of this is a case, though, against “third degree price discrimination”, which goes through product definition. if the airline charges 3x for First Class, but all consumers can choose First Class or economy, there is no violence to economic calculation. everyone’s dollars still puchase the same goods at the same prices, there’s just a wider range of goods on offer. /fin

in reply to self

@djc it’s definitely an elite college thing. which brings in a broader set of questions about the legitimacy of the hierarchy embedded in the tiering of higher education. but if we take that (horrible) hierarchy as given, such that the opportunity cost of opting out to kids who can access elite schools is very large, then parents are put in a situation of either subsidizing others’ kids at a very high, very concentrated burden, or really harming their own.

in reply to @djc

@djc in general, sliding scale pricing is a not-great form of redistribution, because it concentrates all the burden of helping the needier class arbitrarily on a very particular, small, somewhat adjacent class rather than causing the burden to be shared broadly. the poor should be able to buy mangoes. but why should only those among the wealthier who buy mangoes bear an unnecessarily steep cost of helping? 1/

in reply to @djc

@djc this set of concerns becomes less pressing if it’s a good just about everybody dies. so, Singapore’s clever means of simulating a social-democratic welfare state under libertarian ideology by offering sliding-scale pricing for goods like health care from the savings it forces via the Central Provident Fund works pretty well. 2/

in reply to self

@djc But, for example, the US practice of using sliding-scale pricing to finance private higher education is a horror. The percentage of families who will send their kids to sticker-price-expensive colleges is small, and making the sticker price very high to subsidize cheap rides for the poorer concentrates a terrible burden. The problem, of course, isn’t the cheap rides. It’s that we should all be subsidizing, not just a small, adjacent class of parents. /fin

in reply to self

i look at the website, find a good deal. go to the app — same firm! — to buy it. but my good deal is almost twice as expensive in the app. back to the website and i hit the good deal.

am i supposed to feel savvy? lucky? happy?

what i actually feel is that i live in a barbaric casino where i might easily have shed about a hundred dollars bc i missed some arbitrary choice about how to interact with a firm i now think less of.

google's targeting is uncanny.

it's one of god's little ironies that after all our teenage idolizing and striving the coolest people we'll ever meet are our kids.

i really miss having a place where you could at a glance get a sense of what’s really going on in the world.

like, right now on the QSite, trends include “Because Elon”, “Even Elon”, “Musk”, and “So Elon”. along with “Matt Taibbi” and “Grimes” who are trending for their roles in dramas involving Elon.

you really can stay in touch with what’s important over there.

@zachdecook I think it’s a pretty meaningless phrase at this point, trotted out to justify plainly oppressive minoritarian rule.

But pure majoritarianism is not, should never be, the democratic ideal. 50%+ε with the other 50% locked out is not much better than 50%-ε rule.

We want a voting system that aspires to v broad representation, insists on turn-taking, encourages more fluid political identities under which we all win some, all lose some, are never out of the game.

in reply to @zachdecook

@zachdecook a voting system doesn’t merely take us as we are and legitimate some set of choices. it constructs or reconstructs us. first-past-the-post voting, in the context of communications tech that makes all controversies national, has reconstructed us into zero-sum a binary, political identities. that is not necessary or historically normal. (i think it’s becoming normal now because US cultural prominence means our wrong turn undermines identity even in countries with better institutions.)

in reply to self

@akkartik I'd say improved, successor forms of democracy rather than successors to democracy! There is no "will of the people" independent of the institutions through which you constitute it. We'd have a smarter, more legitimate "will" with better institutions. Think about it! 😎

(i've written a bit more explicitly about Duverger's Law here. )

in reply to @akkartik

you have to love the people who are wrong about everything because otherwise you will just be too alone.

@laprice IBGUBG, Planet Earth edition.

in reply to @laprice

@22 I would, though my aversion to indoor public space would still be limiting.

in reply to @22

@CriticalCupcake turn guantanimo into a daycare center.

in reply to @CriticalCupcake

@Yaneznaiu absolutely!

in reply to @Yaneznaiu

@Yaneznaiu welcome!

“the platforms always aimed to reconfigure sociality into something more consumable.” @robhorning ht @Jonathanglick

@mazdam Britain is not really a multiparty system. I mean sure, there are multiple parties, but it’s first past the post, which strongly privileges a major two. Brexit is a different problem, though downstream from the two-party binary which there like here turns roughly half the public whack (chose which half). But a 50% plus epsilon ad hoc referendum was also an unforced error. 1/

in reply to @mazdam

@mazdam Israel has two big problems: the one I cite in the piece about governing coalition dynamics, and a system that makes room for very small parties that can take outsize advantage of those coalitional dynamics. Better parliamentary democracies have voting systems that encourage multiple but not tiny, usually 4-6ish parties, so that the kingmaker in a coalition is usually not some tiny, potentially radical, sliver. 2/

in reply to self

@mazdam Voting systems that yield multiple medium-size reduce, but don’t eliminate the binary dynamic introduced by having the parliament form the government. /fin

in reply to self

"The word 'neoliberalism' is much misused. We might, however, attach that label to the valorization of the goods of effectiveness over those of excellence - of winning at all costs over performing well." stumblingandmumbling.typepad.c

@acronymrequired Maybe so. Then promoting a (joint) factional interest above a broad public interest, still stupid from the perspective of the interests of the full polity but a bit of a different cause than the one I suggest: rather than bitter struggle, tacit collusion.

in reply to @acronymrequired

[new draft post] Two parties make us stupid

@GerardMacDonell I definitely bristle at colds more, after spending much of the pandemic entirely free of them. But with a kid indoors at school every day, we've not been able to avoid them entirely.

in reply to @GerardMacDonell

@22 Part of why we left the Bay Area is, post-pandemic, we spent most of our time at home, and home had to be for us a very small and cluttered thing there. Prepandemic, our tiny home didn't bother me much. I was usually out in that urban bustle.

(It did bother my wife more even then. The city could be my home, but she values private, domestic space a lot more than I do. Even in our bigger suburban Florida apartment, I find literal home pretty depressing.)

in reply to @22

i still spend about 90% less time in indoor public spaces than i did pre-2020.

which i don’t like, at all. i don’t work in coworking spaces and cafés anymore, i mostly restrict eating out to eating outside, etc.

i feel much more isolated and stuck at home than i used to. i want everywhere to verifiably provide to very good ventilation. i think of close indoor air now like untreated sewage.

an interesting observation in this piece by @radleybalko about GOP respect for localism and the rights of communities to govern themselves rather then be subject to the whims of some distant government is the attention paid to institutional design, ensuring accountability through clear targets for coercion and intimidation in the public interest.

@dharmik absolutely. there should be spaces for Nazis, and each of us should be able to participate in those spaces or not however we see fit. but i probably don’t want to contribute whatever little wit i offer to places that put Hitler montages at the top of their trends. i might listen in just to know, but i’d not let myself enrich that kind of scene.

in reply to @dharmik

so over on the QSite i saw “big guy” trending and was curious. the two top tweets offer happy birthday wishes to the “big guy”, above slide shows cycling through adoring photographs of adolf hitler.

i mean, why on earth would advertisers be leaving?

basically the legacy elitist blue check was just made more elitist, it now goes a much smaller number of accounts, the celebrities that elon wants to impress.

maybe capital allies with those who would render the state oppressive on social issues not merely to attract electorally useful idiots, but also so that factions which otherwise might be inclined to support state power in order to address distributional problems become tempted to adopt a “fight the power”, adversarial view of the state.

For students at , the Florida public liberal arts college that is trying to convert to Christianity or something, the "center of the universe" is Palm Court.

Palm Court is an almost-checker-board of Palm Trees, the heart of a dormitory complex designed by IM Pei, the most extraordinary place that I ever lived.

Proconsul Corcoran now plans to evacuate students from that whole side of campus (which also includes newer dorms and the student center).

"we’ve allowed companies to steal our culture and rent it back to us."

is prompt engineering safe from ai automation?

mischievous high-school kids in Florida are going to have so much fun bringing up topics their teachers could get in trouble for talking about.

@mattlehrer omg this is the greatest day of my life.

in reply to @mattlehrer
Poop emoji autoreply from Poop emoji autoreply from

undisguised vindictiveness is a hallmark of the contemporary right.

Margaritaville feels awfully uptight these days.

what twitter address do you write to get your free 💩 emoji?

when you say you are asking nicely, you are not.

[new draft post] Taiwan

we’re going to extend copyright, like, forever just because we are so grateful.

@slightlyoff @wtrmt cc @dpp

in reply to @slightlyoff


Many, possibly most, state-owned enterprises receive no public subsidies, meaning that they fund themselves via revenue from their customers. The United States Postal Service is perhaps the biggest and most well-known state-owned enterprise in the US and it funds its services using customer fees called postage.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is another US state-owned enterprise and it funds its services using customer fees called electricity rates. In fact, there are around 2,000 public power companies in the US that work this way.

Also, some non-state-owned enterprises receive public subsidies. Private sports teams receive subsidies to build stadiums. The federal government is giving huge sums of money to chipmakers to locate factories in the US. And so on. Few if any people contend that these subsidies make the entities public or state-owned. Many, possibly most, state-owned enterprises receive no public subsidies, meaning that they fund themselves via revenue from their customers. The United States Postal Service is perhaps the biggest and most well-known state-owned enterprise in the US and it funds its services using customer fees called postage. The Tennessee Valley Authority is another US state-owned enterprise and it funds its services using customer fees called electricity rates. In fact, there are around 2,000 public power companies in the US that work this way. Also, some non-state-owned enterprises receive public subsidies. Private sports teams receive subsidies to build stadiums. The federal government is giving huge sums of money to chipmakers to locate factories in the US. And so on. Few if any people contend that these subsidies make the entities public or state-owned.

"Boeing is not in the business of making planes, it is in the business of making profits."

// one way to understand the neoliberal period is as a time when people absurdly believed that corporations face no important trade-offs between generating payouts for shareholders and doing real work in the world.

"'A Commission serious about regulating—and not destroying—this market' would be a different SEC! You don’t have to like it, but it is easy to know what the SEC wants." @matt_levine on the state of play in US crypto regulation.

"So many things that people claim are impossible we once had in living memory and yet people often cannot even accurately recall their own lives and experiences."

@misc @Jonathanglick Sounds wonderful, assimilate me!

in reply to @misc

@misc @Jonathanglick Right. I don't think framing a binary is very helpful. Harris Mylonis in his "Politics of Nation Building" helpfully divides nation-state strategies for managing subgroups between assimilation, accommodation, and restriction (the latter of which *in extremis* includes transfer or extermination).

There's a whole spectrum of degrees in mixing assimilation + accommodation, nearly all of which are better than restriction, or a binary of restriction or coerced assimilation. 1/

in reply to @misc

@misc @Jonathanglick The way I think of it is that accommodation is a *per se* good in a pluralistic, liberal society. We desire people to have the ability to live as much as they choose within any identities that they choose. But some degree of assimilation is functionally necessary, so trade-offs may need to be, and legitimately can be, made. 2/

in reply to self

@misc @Jonathanglick Better still is to encourage voluntary embrace of forms of identity that are sufficiently open that the tradeoffs are less urgent, people opt in to forms of identity that are open and don't hinder coordination across groups, as the nation-state requires. (This is the melting pot trick, in my view.) /fin

in reply to self

@misc @Jonathanglick Yes. I think it's an important counter to charges of identity-group-weakening (whether framed as "genocide" or not) that such weakenings are legitimate if the mechanism is plainly voluntary choices of erstwhile members. Intermarriage may hurt "Judaism", but it's legitimate (says intermarried me). There's no reasonable argument that former lesbians have been coerced to become trans men, so it's entirely legitimate, whatever its consequence on the prior identity group.

in reply to @misc

@misc @Jonathanglick Yes. The conflation of "genocide" taken to mean discouraging an identity group very broadly with the extermination of the holocaust creates rhetorical temptations that I think have not contributed to clarity of thought. In progressive circles, "assimilation" is often tarred as a kind of genocide lite. I think that's straightforwardly bad, because a pluralistic nation-state will require some mix of accommodation and assimilation in order to function well.

in reply to @misc

@Jonathanglick @misc Yeah. I think the willingness to "melt" in a direction was an important distinction. 20th C "Americanness" didn't require giving up Irishness, Italianness, or Jewishness. But it encouraged a kind of commercial openness — open a pub, a pizzaria, a deli! It's trick was to turn prior identity groups into theme park versions integrated in our larger Disneyland. 1/

@Jonathanglick @misc But some identities we were not willing to "embrace and extend" as a new section of the theme park. Both queerness and blackness were not encouraged to melt into the mix. There was soul food and gay bars, but they never mainstreamed like pizzarias and delis and pubs, they never shed a sense of exclusion. We might do better now, if we could reinvigorate a kind of melting pot identity (for better or not, that's obviously controversial). /fin

in reply to self

@laurenshof That makes sense! I've given it literally one perusal, and there certainly were a lot of here's-my-latest-substack notes. In one session, it didn't overwhelm the sense of relief and attraction I felt, but it's quite possible that over time the self-marketing and caste system (instead of blue-checks, it's newsletter writers!) would undo that.

in reply to this

@Jonathanglick (fair enough!)

@misc @Jonathanglick Good points. Evangelicalism, if we deem it genocidal, is universal rather than targeted in the object of its genocide. Oddly, that makes it seem lots less vicious than a movement that tried to "improve" one group while accepting diversity more broadly. Scale I think is trickier, though. 20th C America mass-promoted a version of American-ness whose effect, and intent, was "melting pot". It was large scale, but universal and in my view noncoercive. I'd not label it genocidal.

in reply to @misc

@Jonathanglick (I'd say "white supremacist" was both. People who bought into the ideology identified, proudly, as white supremacists, and formed tight-knit social groups around that identity, much moreso than say socialists or libertarians which I'd characterize as political ideologies certainly but group identities only weakly.)

@Jonathanglick Here I think we'll agree. There's a distinction between seduction and coercion. I think it's great and fine to offer choices that, if widely taken, might weaken or even destroy an identity group, as long as take-up of that choice is genuinely voluntary. The line between what's voluntary and not can blur, but we should try to insist on as strong a sense of voluntary as possible. Coercing people to take actions that undo identities is terrible. Promotion of such actions need not be.

@Jonathanglick I don't think this is right. Consider the group "white supremicists". From the 19th through the mid 20th Century this was not an epithet, but a proud open identity group. Much of the public thought that it should disappear (and to the unfortunate degree it still exists, thinks that it still should), but there was no hint of murder in that. There is quite extraordinary fluidity in identity groups over time, often without much coercion let alone murder.

@Jonathanglick @jayulfelder I guess with Jews its a funny thing, because we can't decide if we're an ethnicity or a religion. But to the degree it's a religion, I think most contemporary Jews would see mass conversion to Christianity as eradication of Judaism, though not the Jews as human. Would Jews exist, if we were all "Jews for Jesus"? Why wouldn't we just become Episcopalians or Unitarians then, just culturally to keep Klezmer and Yiddish and some rituals alive? 1/

@Jonathanglick @jayulfelder Almost nobody defends (explicitly, but mostly even implicitly) genocide in the sense of extermination. But lots of people support things that would, if successful, lead to the end of the identification part of an identity group. 2/

in reply to self

@Jonathanglick @jayulfelder One classic is the prospect of curing deafness, or Deafness. On the one hand, seems like it would be a good thing. On the other, it would end what has emerged as a rich, close-knit community, with its own norms and language and a very strong sense of identity. Should the Deaf, in your and my ideal world, exist? /fin

in reply to self

@Jonathanglick @jayulfelder does that mean that every evangelical religion, whose theology might include ideas like "believers who repent will enjoy eternal salvation, while others will not", and who therefore (altruistically, starting from their axioms) would ideally want all people to become converts, should be thought of as in some ethically important sense as genocidal?

@Jonathanglick (Maybe the smooth onboarding is less marginal than I think! Or at least maybe Substack is marketing it to writers that way, whether it proves accurate or not, to jumpstart participation!)

@Jonathanglick Those longform writers mostly used to be on Twitter too, and I think the notes part is open without pay, for now. To the degree notes succeeds, like Twitter, or here, there will be a financial incentive to market ones work there. Probably the onboarding to subscribing will be even smoother than Substack makes it in general from notes, but I think that's a pretty marginal difference. 1/

@Jonathanglick For now, I think it's populated because subscription Substackers think quite highly of that platform, and are willing to help jumpstart notes with them. Its value might become a victim of success, if it really does become a new Twitter, as the clientele grows less select. But for now it is mostly Substack writers and subscribers (I found myself there via Substack's mailing digests to subscribers), which is imparts a helpful selection bias. /fin

in reply to self

@deannapizzuti i'm interpreting this as an Actual Fossil.

in reply to @deannapizzuti

I do not wish Substack Notes well. I am done with the internet architecture it represents.

So I am unhappy to report, after lurking for a bit, so far its value proposition of "Twitter, but constituted mostly of longform writers and their readers" is compelling. It's worth thinking about a more open and decentralized way to encourage such a forum.

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @jeffspross i have too many concerns about how corruption is defined and measured to take this kind of thing very seriously. in that figure, the US is shown as pretty low corruption, and in terms of low-level quid-pro-quo corruption that’s probably right. but in dollar-weighted terms, defining corruption broadly to include legalized forms of moneyed influence (“lobbying”), the US would (should) be tallied as much more corrupt.

in reply to @failedLyndonLaRouchite

“it is the enormous inequality of our society—the vast difference in wealth and income between the rarefied top and the rest of us—that creates the structural circumstances that give rise to corruption… The disparity is the root cause of the problem.” @jeffspross

i don’t really get the scandal, doesn’t everybody love a robes-to-riches story?

“We must avoid the schoolteacher attitude to politics and business, marking the work of politicians and businessmen as if it were a test of intellectual ability and singling out the best and worst students. Instead, we must consider institutions. Do we have those institutions which help filter out incompetence and bias, or which are resilient to error? The answer, for now, is: no.” stumblingandmumbling.typepad.c

@akkartik yeah, pretty unpersuasive. but formulaic for The Economist, which more than a century ago was “liberal” in a way that suggests “neoliberal” is a retronym. they are in the business of celebrating all that has made the last few decades a catastrophe. of course they’ll put a cherry on top of that and call it cake.

in reply to @akkartik

@alexh i let the AI compose those replies.

in reply to @alexh

Lots of useful economic history in this @theprospect piece by ht @chrishenjum

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @SteveRoth @blair_fix the claim isn’t that economists are stupid. it’s that the forms of (necessary) simplification dominant in economics are shaped by the discipline’s incentives, in order to become the politically dominant, highest prestige form of “social science” discourse, it was incentivized to choose simplifications that flatter the wealthy and powerful. i think that claim accurate, although now (finally) there is some meaningful backlash in the discipline. 1/

in reply to @failedLyndonLaRouchite

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @SteveRoth @blair_fix an analogy to climate science would be the deniers who claim global warming research is motivated by the grants you can get for climate alarm. but that’s a much less persuasive story. given that actual incumbent capital is much more likely to be harmed rather than helped by climate interventions, what would motivate plutocratic purchase of climate alarmism, rather than denialism? 2/

in reply to self

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @SteveRoth @blair_fix we know of lots of incumbent interests that do work to purchase denialist research, and “green” do-gooders are economically tiny by comparison. You have to head towards Davos-Great-Reset conspiracizing to make this kind of claim work for climate. For economics, it’s very straightforward. 3/

in reply to self

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @SteveRoth @blair_fix The discipline bought its way to the top of the prestige and policy-discourse hierarchy by offering an intellectual framework that prestige-setters were willing to endorse, because it legitimates the hierarchy whose apex they occupy. /fin

in reply to self

@SteveRoth this analysis by @blair_fix is compelling in conventional terms, but a bit more complicated if holding gains are computed as income, per your work, given the effect of interest rates on term asset prices.

was ZIRP a gift to capital (bc asset price appreciation) or a win for workers (bc factor income shares)?

@bretdawson i half agree; perhaps that’s a start.

in reply to @bretdawson

playing with generative models feels like psychoanalysis: free associate to *this*, let’s see where you go!

but it’s hard to know if you are “psychoanalyzing” society, the training set, or idiosyncrasies in the way the model interprets the training set. ymmv!

What would it look like to separate payments and deposits from the risk lending side of banking?

@SteveRoth thinks it through.

@dpp @mimsical all i really know of is the instance (i think @t0nyyates might have inspired/conspired it, though i am not sure). here’s it’s local feed:

in reply to @dpp

today in government in the sunshine…

@stephenjudkins it’s a tail risk play i guess. if you’re the R nominee, you win if the crisis is bad enough they won’t vote the incumbent. you are at worst the 2nd most likely person in the world to become president.

(he’d not have had to veto it, he solicited it, made clear in advance he’d sign. FL leg does nothing he doesn’t want it to do. we’ll see in a minute about FL jud.)

in reply to @stephenjudkins

“Decades of assuming that govt actors don’t know enough to intervene in the marketplace have created a self-fulfilling prophecy in which govt actors actually don’t know, because they have never done industrial policy, have never been taught to do industrial policy, and lack the appropriate institutions and information to do it well, even if they abstractly knew how. Parts of the govt that used to be directly engaged with economic planning have withered away” @henryfarrell

ron desantis just made himself unelectable in any national race. probably even in florida next time around.

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @markhughes really? the reveal isn’t that we spy on allies. it’s the specifics. it won’t help Sisi’s counterintelligence, or put US sympathetic persons at risk, to know exactly what has been eavesdropped? it won’t harm our intelligence broadly if pessimistic assessments of a battlefield situation have to be treated as public, so become as impossible to make in private as they are in public (reasonably, since public pronouncements can self-fulfill).

@maria your writing is insufficiently derivative. let’s fix that for you!

in reply to @maria

I seek to follow high ethical standards, so there is no reason that any law should apply to me.

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @markhughes i think it very much the case that information is way overclassified for bullshit CYA and office politics reasons. it’s also the case that some information are correctly classified. this leaker who was trying to impress his gamer friends waa not leaking inter-office embarrassments. he was leaking revealing details about surveillance of very “hot” ongoing crises that quite properly were classified.

@DetroitDan this is a case, unlike Snowden or Manning, where the person was not a whistleblower, not trying to make public what he thought the democratic public should know. he was showing off to friends, from whom he expected (but ultimately did not receive) discretion.

in reply to @DetroitDan

@DetroitDan (i have no problem, by the way, with Musk’s revealing Twitter internal discussions. and i agree that those revelations showed various state-adjacent factions trying to influence Twitter. but they also, I think, show pre-Musk Twitter as being willing and able to give those factions the finger, as it often did. i think better, not worse, of pre-Musk Twitter, and especially of Yoel Roth who comes off as super high integrity, after the big reveal.)

in reply to @DetroitDan

think of the possibilities for honeytraps made from kindness rather than lust or avarice.

place a politically inconvenient person in a situation where a cooperating undocumented migrant needs help. have the migrant in some offhand way reveal their status. if the kindness does not immediately desist, you’ve made yourself a felon.

for a political coalition built around unkindness as retribution for perceived grievance, this kind of trap may be usefully selective.

how on earth would a 21 year old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard have access to all this shit? isn’t access to classified information compartamentalized, even among people with security clearances that would permit them, if they had a good reason, to see it? you’d think the US security state would have learned a little from Manning and Snowden? maybe they need to learn from firms like Apple about how to restrict information flows by default?

You’ve got to love the implications for liberty of a decision that says any doctors that might be called to treat a person who takes a risk that doesn’t work out are “harmed” and have standing to sue to prevent the risk-taking.

Doctors Against Skiing could put an end to the lax permitting process that allows such a dangerous sport to exist.

Shouldn’t ER doctors have standing then to sue gun manufacturers?

an end of history is like a permanently high plateau.

really at the heart of civil society in the modern South is the service organization Enbies of the Confederacy.

The amazing @jeffspross is here!

"Conservatives like to troll liberals by asking 'What is a woman?' In the next few election cycles, they’re going to find out."

It is astonishing to me that the writer of this piece is .

@DetroitDan I think it’s fair to say that state and security-state adjacent actors were “in the room” and made their pitch to Twitter, and you can dislike that. But I don’t think any fair read of what Taibbi et al unearthed could fail to note how extraordinarily independent pre-Musk Twitter was in responding to that. Mostly, they called bullshit and refused to censor. 1/

in reply to @DetroitDan

@DetroitDan The big conservative outrages — the Hunter laptop, banning Trump — may have been mistakes, but they were Twitter’s mistakes. Yes, the Hunter laptop choice was “informed” by alerts to be on the lookout for Russian disinformation, and in your view that was entirely bullshit. But the Twitter team wasn’t under state pressure, they fucked up on their own because they thought they were doing the right thing. 2/

in reply to self

@DetroitDan Obviously what’s “right” says something about their own ideology and worldview. I think you can make a strong case that Twitter’s misinformation policy reflected basically a professional liberal, mainstream professional class worldview (esp re COVID), and they made consequential distribution-shaping choices (from deamplifcation to takedowns) based on that. 3/

in reply to self

@DetroitDan But I don’t think you can fairly make the case that they just did what the US security state instructed, at least on the censorship side. They had a strong culture of resisting state censorship demands, from US and foreign government sources. (There is evidence I think they capitulated to US security state demands *not* to censor accounts they otherwise might have flagged as inauthentic, an interesting kind of case!) 4/

in reply to self

@DetroitDan Musk’s Twitter has flouted the establishment liberal worldview of prior Twitter on things like COVID and hate speech, so may seem refreshing to people who felt suppressed before. But on questions of state-directed censorship, Musk’s Twitter is unambiguous worse. He lets Modi’s government ban tweets globally, something prior Twitter never did. 5/

in reply to self

@DetroitDan I’m sure Musk’s Twitter doesn’t capitulate to any US security state requests, because he knows they are toothless, unlike India, which might block Twitter if he offends them. For all that is wrong with the US, you can publicly give the security state the finger (as long as it is not by exfiltrating classified documents), and nothing bad will happen to you. In a personal sense, as a writer, I am much more worried about Ron DeSantis than the CIA. /fin

in reply to self

it’s clearly very expensive to train gpt-4-ish models. but how expensive is it to run them? if openai permitted, what kind of hardware would you need to run a local gpt-4?

@paul on the internet, nobody knows if you’re an LLM.

in reply to @paul

you play innocent, like you don’t know public libraries groom readers.

@djc From the Vox story, it read to me like they were giving immunoglobins along with the vaccine. If for some reason, people had skipped the vaccine after a potential exposure until it would be too late, I can see that the immunoglobins might become a pretty urgent requirement. Once you get sick with rabies, I think your odds of surviving are very small. But if you know you've had a dangerous encounter, my understanding was that prompt vaccination would be in time.

in reply to @djc

@djc (I hadn't had the vaccine until after the bite, started the series immediately when I was bitten.)

in reply to self

@DetroitDan I think this is the one you’re referring to? It’s the only Taibbi Twitter files that mentions CIA, and refers to a group called Hamilton 68 that purported to identify Russian disinformation accounts. Per Taibbi’s own reporting, Twitter execs quickly caught this as bullshit and did not censor or shadow ban based on it. 1/

in reply to @DetroitDan

@DetroitDan Taibbi takes them to task for not publicly calling bullshit on the group, as they privately considered doing. But it seems to me mostly an example of Twitter execs resisting pressure from a security-state connected group, rather than acceding to it. /fin

in reply to self

@DetroitDan (i screwed up my search earlier! there are other Taibbi twitter files that mention CIA. but a bunch of it seems to fit that pattern: overzealous maybe state or kind-of state adjacent flags stuff to twitter, twitter, particularly the rather heroic yoel roth, checks it out and calls bullshit, doesn’t take it down.)

in reply to self


@eed3si9n small dollar donations bring a kind of populism, but i think it’s definitionally distinct from plutocracy, which refers to government by the very wealthy. a few years ago i was hopeful that small-dollar populism might be a net plus, but experience has diminished my optimism’, small dollars go disproportionately to and incentivize circus-like arousal of public passions. ad hoc self-selection of “voters” (ie donors) and reasonable forms of representation are in serious tension. 1/

in reply to @eed3si9n

@eed3si9n i’m very grateful that small dollar donations made Bernie a real contender, but again pessimistically, i think the days when a candidate as sober and serious as he is would win the small-dollar race have passed, it was an artifact of professional politics not yet having optimized itself for small dollars. now Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene will win that contest. i still probably prefer the effect of small dollars on the D side to the prior and mostly continuing 2/

in reply to self

@eed3si9n situation in which D insiders basically locked out the broad public. so my views remain somewhat mixed. but fundamentally, small dollar donations are like box-office receipts, they reflect a kind of enthusiasm of mostly upper middle class people unusually invested in the dramas of politics. i think they encourage comic book heroes and villians (which is which just depends on your side). 3/

in reply to self

@eed3si9n regardless of all of this (there are lots of nuances! i might be overly cynical!), “plutocracy” in the sense of big-dollar donors is what is behind the takeover of the judiciary, the well-organized and execute project to gerrymander and suppress, etc. there is big money for small government led by the most plutocracy-sympathetic politicians possible, and it’s done fabulous work, on its own terms. 4/

in reply to self

@eed3si9n maybe small-donor populism is a net virtue as a check on this, maybe its circus incentives make it a net harm. but regardless of all that, plutocracy as people mostly understand the term, rule by the influence of the very wealthy, is pretty clearly incompatible with any reasonable version of democracy. and i don’t think it possible to untether great personal wealth from outsize public influence. ergo… (thank you for sbt!) /fin

in reply to self

@mtsw (I guess I'm pretty interested in tilting the scales against the conversation landing at another platform monopoly. I love to follow you here!)

in reply to @mtsw

Some national-greatness, protectionist, left-YIMBY-ism by

@blake No.

The billionaires are privileged in every large-scale domain, including of course manipulating government action. But the state is where they are least privileged. That's still a lot privileged! But their money can't reliably buy elections, electoral outcomes often defy funding flows, and politicians are only reliably bought while issues are obscure to public scrutiny. It's an uphill fight everywhere but the quasidemocratic state is not a futile battleground. Cynicism is foolish.

in reply to @blake

plutocracy and democracy cannot coexist. we don't need a guillotine. we just need a tax code.

Will small businesses be squeezed between a tight labor market and a community bank credit crunch, delivering us even further into the hands of corporate overlords? Do we overestimate meaningful small biz formation by mistaking DoorDashers for Main Street moxie?

Interesting (troubling) questions at the end of this note by

In 2001 I was bitten by a street dog in Constanta, Romania. I was a foreigner, but with no fuss I was scheduled for a series of rabies shots for free.

I guess the treatment did not include the new immunoglobulin this article describes as “buying time”, but my understanding in 2001 was I had nothing to worry about since I started the shots promptly. The article does not quantify how much extra benefit the immunoglobulin is alleged to provide.

Get sick outside the US.

ht @kims @VisualStuart

in reply to self

@DetroitDan Twitter pre-Musk struggled in a role no single company should have, unilaterally shaping the contours of the public square. Twitter post-Musk has not struggled. It has just done the whims of a toddler oligarch. I wasn’t happy with pre-Musk Twitter, but “censorship and propaganda” seems like a characterization motivated by particular disagreements. Taibbi did not cover himself in glory overstating that case.

in reply to @DetroitDan

@taber but they won’t sell us greenland.

in reply to @taber


in reply to @AbandonedAmerica

just one bit of the excellent economics writing in this piece from @jwmason, on arguments about the futility of industrial policy due to overcapacity narrowly, and how politically we make progress in economics policy more broadly. ht @ryanlcooper

“There's an important truth to the idea that, in a world of long-lived specialized capital goods and constant or falling marginal costs, there is no tendency for market prices to reflect costs of produc-tion. Too much competition, and firms will sell at prices that don't recoup their fixed costs, and drive each other to bankruptcy. Too little competi-tion, and firms will recover their full costs and then some, while limiting socially useful output. No market process ensures that competition ends up at the goldilocks level in the middle.” “There's an important truth to the idea that, in a world of long-lived specialized capital goods and constant or falling marginal costs, there is no tendency for market prices to reflect costs of produc-tion. Too much competition, and firms will sell at prices that don't recoup their fixed costs, and drive each other to bankruptcy. Too little competi-tion, and firms will recover their full costs and then some, while limiting socially useful output. No market process ensures that competition ends up at the goldilocks level in the middle.”

@Jonathanglick Yeah. That's no good. Hopelessness is always savvier than wise.

"Institutions" very broadly construed (not necessarily formal institutions) have to stand as a bridge between individual and collective (potentially systemic) agency. Mass protests are an institution, and I think they had effect during that period. (I am less sanguine about that institution going forward, though, for a variety of reasons.)

@Jonathanglick I think it's a potato chip kind of effect. We know they are wrong or at least we are liable to abuse them but they are satisfying somehow so often we succumb. Especially when people are so actively trying to sell them to us. When we watch Netflix, we are interested in characters and drama. Thinking structurally feels like work, it doesn't draw us like entertainment. If we let ourselves be persuaded eating potato chips is virtuous work, that's very convenient!

@Jonathanglick (I hope that calling explicit attention to its incoherence and counterproductiveness can help de-fuse them. But that's more a matter of hope than evidence!)

in reply to self

[new draft post] Systemic means it's not your fault

@stephenjudkins omg what an amazing filtration technology!

in reply to @stephenjudkins

if you didn't know about condensation, wouldn't the natural question be "how did the water get through the glass?"

you'd conclude that glass was porous.

on the QSite, “Substack” is trending, but if you click it you get search results for “newsletter”.

they call them badges because they badger.

@DetroitDan @JoeGrowling @mikethemadbiologist i wish he’d note the vulnerability of the two party system to this dynamic, rather than just bad Rs, good Ds. but broadly i think he’s right — Rs are using gerrymandering to ensure voters’ choices are Republican government or government dysfunctionally divided (since Republican legislators prioritize sabotaging Democratic governors above governing well). without electoral reform or some meaningful restraint of gerrymandering, there’s not much 1/

in reply to @DetroitDan

@DetroitDan @JoeGrowling @mikethemadbiologist meaningful electoral democracy left in R governed states. Wisconsin will be interesting to watch, where Rs may face a choice btw tolerating de-gerrymandering or impeaching a Supreme Court justice transparently to prevent that. whether R governed states are “fascist” i think depends on how governors try to sustain legitimacy. FL, TX i think now qualify as protofascist, probably some others too, but i don’t think that’s true of all R governed states.

in reply to self

“many people apparently thought Musk was part of a “Western-values/free-speech coalition” (according to Weinstein). Sure, if those Western values are of seventeenth-century ‘l’État, c’est moi’ vintage.”

gun rights are for everyone!

for the governor’s allies, they are a proud manly right to bear arms. for those the governor does not favor, carrying a firearm is a license to be killed.

everyone let’s exercise our 2nd Amendment rights!

does anybody have good dreams?

Just imagine if you could spell any word.

to describe the direction of American politics and economics as “neofeudal” used to be provocative. cf @mikethemadbiologist

“Yes, I Know Where the Comma Goes”

“the real reason I pony up is for a quality beyond straightforward ‘utility,’ a quality I usually refer to as ‘Doesn’t Make Me Wish I Was Dead.’”

so, i hear Twitter is now labeling a variety of newsfeeds “government funded” which i’m fine with i just wish they’d pair it with a similar label “plutocrat funded”.

You just never know with the humans.

@voron the next big thing would be Google circa 2002.

in reply to @voron

there is always demand for indulgences, so it’s good that we have a nonprofit sector to meet it.

mastodon is a bit less parasocial than twitter, which should be a virtue, but we’ve so completely substituted parasociability for our social lives, it means we feel a bit more lonesome.

@stephenjudkins right. private vindictiveness has been common, you are shunned with a smile while all your opportunities dry up. (i don’t love that either!) but Trump brought in a very public pile-on kind of vindictiveness, the thrill of “retribution” as part of the electoral appeal. and people like desantis took note.

in reply to @stephenjudkins

@stephenjudkins (the necessity of pelosi style vindictiveness has been i think related to a discipline arms race within the two parties. i don’t think that’s been benign, though each party finds it necessary in the dynamic. the combination of only two parties plus strict discipline makes representation impossible. two leaderships is not enough to meaningfully represent the public.)

in reply to self

@stephenjudkins Politics is something we make, it's not a given! We can remake it. I think at this point we have little choice, we have to remake it, either we reform it deliberately or it collapses into something I'd find even worse, thereby remaking itself.

(I think Trump's innovation was more on the publicness score rather than the vindictiveness per se. The Clintons were famously vindictive. Nixon of course. But pre-Trump, a public nice-guy persona seemed adaptive. No more.)

in reply to @stephenjudkins

@stephenjudkins as we shape our much more large-scale social context, in which some people inevitably will need to serve roles as leaders, is personal vindictiveness then a trait we should continue to reward? should we assume the trait is necessary to defend whatever good things leaders lead?

in reply to @stephenjudkins

one thing our various systems seem to do is elevate vindictiveness as a character trait. musk, trump, desantis, obviously something has been adaptive for them and vindictiveness is the trait they most obviously share. perhaps this is an aspect of our systems we should work quite consciously to modify. or is leadership by the vindictive socially beneficial in ways that i fail to appreciate?

@misc reason has one answer, emotion has another. i'm not sure which one better deserves the title "me".

in reply to @misc

@DetroitDan "good" was meant a bit ironically, but it becomes "good precedent" in the sense that courts and other institutions treat it as a legitimating past practice. gerrymandering, for example, has been condemned as antidemocratic since the 19th Century in the US, but the Supreme Court cites its unremedied normalcy to justify not acting against it. It's an "accepted" part of the American political process, lots of precedent!

in reply to @DetroitDan

a bad practice unremedied is good precedent.

@DetroitDan we're probably not going to agree, but i think with respect to the kind of dynamics O'Neill mostly focuses on — that solidaristic BRICS could more effectively reform representation in the UN and other post-WWII institutions — I think quite the opposite. the consensus in the West now would kick RU off the security council and discount any assertions by China for its role vis-a-vis the Ukraine War. That may be right or wrong, but the polarization the war has provoked has made…

in reply to @DetroitDan

@DetroitDan reform of e.g. the UN both more urgent and less likely, as from all sides proposals will be evaluated in zero-sum terms across the lines of putative blocs. prior to the Ukraine War, most of the mainstream liberal West agreed in theory that post-WWII multinational institutions should be reformed to better reflect contemporary population and political heft. i think the mainstream liberal West would now make adherence, as the West sees and defines it, to the Universal Declaration...

in reply to self

@DetroitDan of Human Rights, prerequisite to any such reform, which, rightly or wrongly, will make it easy for the countries that are currently privileged to prevent change they will perceive as adverse...

in reply to self

@DetroitDan I do think the military challenge and resulting sanctions have accelerated, perhaps usefully as O'Neill suggests, financial multipolarity. I don't think that will look anything like a catastrophic collapse of the dollar, though. It portends mostly an end, for better and worse, of the United States' capacity to impose economic sanctions almost unilaterally. In a more financially multipolar world, effective sanctions will require near universal consensus.

in reply to self

Very measured on the BRICS, by the guy who named the club, worth reading in the face of alarmist TicTocced takes on the subject that have become very prevalent.

(via the polycrisis newsletter by @Kmac and Tim Sahay)

@TimothyNoah i mean it might seem far-fetched to you, but if he controlled cbdc isn’t that just the kind of thing *he’d* do? “the public money of the people of florida should not be used to purchase critical race theory indoctrination, and we’re gonna put a stop to it.” if you governed like these people govern, of course you’d fear authoritarianism from the other side. they believe government is authoritarian because that’s their own playbook.

in reply to @TimothyNoah

@cocoaphony (my parsimony intuitions do not go with the galaxy take. but if he gets enough bad press, esp from the genx vc master-of-the-universe crowd he values, he might fall back to publicly embracing it!)

in reply to @cocoaphony

@akkartik (thanks!)

in reply to @akkartik

Galaxy Take: Musk really *is* a free-expression champion, and he realized the world needed a lesson in just how brittle and capricious a centralized media ecosystem can be.

ht @inquiline @librarianshipwreck

in a game of chicken, no one should be congratulated for their resolve when both players go over the cliff.

This interview of Masha Gessen by David Remnick feels like a kind of oasis in all the controversializing over trans issues. ht @mikethemadbiologist

"modernity derived its cultural power and energy from an unstable ideological compound... [a] mixture of the promise an unfettered individual will realizing its desires coupled to a system which ultimately demand that human desires be managed, predicted, and channeled to serve the ends of a market economy." @lmsacasas theconvivialsociety.substack.c

About as pithy a summary as you are going to get of how social affairs work and evolve, from @DanLittle understandingsociety.blogspot.

@hcetamd creating an option doesn't block. surveillance is a real issue, but it's a Fed rail within a system made up of Fed rails. your ACH transactions are surveillable too, and of course your bank, whom you likely have no reason to trust any more than the Fed, sees all.

in reply to @hcetamd

About as pithy a summary as you are going to get of how social affairs work and evolve, from @DanLittle understandingsociety.blogspot.

America's emerging Great Firewall gets a beta test at — of course — Florida public colleges and universities. TikTok, WeChat, VKontakte, etc are banned from university networks.

@GossiTheDog it is very brave of you to post in your condition.

Over at the QSite, I am only just learning that FedNow — the United States' wayyyy overdue network for enabling many countries have had for years, "real time" (intraday) bank transfers and payments — is a conspiracy to control us, a stepping stone towards (horrors!) CBDC, and the true motive for the murder of Bob Lee.

It's important to remember that Twitter has become basically a successor to Weekly World News in order not to despair too deeply.

@blherrou maybe. but maybe it's better to compare indexing to explicitly low-information forms of investing. if you aren't investing based on information about firm prospects then, sure, paying an active manager high fees who probably also lacks any real new information is a bigger ripoff to the end investor. but we have securities for low information investors, from CDs to bonds. going for equity returns on no information is a bit... rentierish, perhaps.

in reply to @blherrou

@blherrou (btw, i'm not condemning individuals who invest via index funds and ETFs. that's sometimes wise, sometimes not, at a personal level. but at an architectural level, i'm not sure why we want a financial system in which ordinary people with little information hold equities, and come to make political demands of outsize returns. the Obama administration was very explicit about measuring its economic performance in equity returns, a very bad idea.)

in reply to self

@blherrou (this is an old view of mine: why should no-information investors expect equity returns free-riding off of pricing work by active investors, whose returns their presence diminishes? it occurs to me now that in theory i can make a case for this kind of investing in terms of systemic risk. diversified equity investors bear first-loss on systemic risk, justifying some outsize return…

in reply to self

@blherrou if it leads to structuring more of the aggregate investment portfolio as equity rather than debt, that reduces the risk of disruptive debt defaults. we're better off if our aggregate cap structure is tilted towards equity rather than debt, indexing could encourage that. in practice, though, i'm still skeptical. if this was our rationale, we'd want financial rules and procedures to encourage regular new equity issuance by existing firms, and…

in reply to self

@blherrou we'd expect to new primary-market equity investment -- ie not purchases of existing shares -- to exceed payouts. instead our current practices treat after IPO primary-market-confusingly-called-"secondary"-offerings as rare, regulated events, so the market treats them as confessions by managers of overvaluation, so they are infrequent.)

in reply to self

@blherrou (in other words, for this version of socially useful low-information diversified investing to make sense, it should lead to firms retiring debt and issuing equity into the market. but we much more often see debt-financed buybacks of equity, exactly the opposite, during this era of the index investor. part of that is that it's been a low interest rate era! but i think we'd need to regulate quite differently if we wanted to use indexing to promote systemic derisking.)

in reply to self

@blherrou indexing is low information investing based on a sometimes-empirical-regularity that stocks do well over the long term, which, when it works, means people who contribute no information to the investment process nevertheless earn outside returns. seems like a pretty apt description to me!

(but it might not work, depending when you get in and when you need to get out! so it's at best a defective recliner!)

in reply to @blherrou

"the 'hard numbers' found in CBO’s baseline tables conceal all the assumptions and uncertainties involved in producing them."

"The Chinese grand strategy, in short, is America’s own forgotten Hamiltonian strategy. That strategy emphasized massive investment in real, productive sectors"

[new draft post] Alignment is the problem of God's love

@bergmayer it’s prefect!

in reply to @bergmayer

“these models are deeply and consistently wrong. But ‘wrong’ doesn’t capture the true problem. The deeper problem is that these models are all wrong in the very same way, and in the same direction. They are wrong in a way that massively benefits the rich, and massively disadvantages everyone and everything else.” ht @lou

@ZaneSelvans but each of us can be eaten just once!

in reply to @ZaneSelvans

doom is the potato chip of the attention marketplace.

it’s bullies who most justify their behavior as opposing bullying. not-bullies have few occasions to require so grand a justification.

@sqrtminusone there is something very toddler-like about the combination.

in reply to @sqrtminusone

@Frances_Coppola that’s how i perceive him as well. his claims to free speech support are as credible as the sometimes-richest-man-in-the-world’s claim to socialism.

in reply to @Frances_Coppola

@LouisIngenthron @ntnsndr (that wasn’t the implication i intended. only that the assertions strike me as equally credible.)

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

@ntnsndr i don't think there's any inconsistently between the claims. i just think they are both equally credible.

in reply to @ntnsndr

Elon Musk refers to himself as both a free speech absolutist and a socialist.

"there is nothing *more* political than insisting that your own preferences and assumptions are 'empirical' while anyone who questions them is 'doing politics.'"

"...Incinerating the qualitative and doing arithmetic with the dubious quantitative residue that remains is no way to understand the world, much less run it"


mastodon should clone twitter’s “community notes” feature just so it could be called “well actually”.

Chat GPT seems to be evolving towards a very well-informed, but very conventional and risk-averse persona. It is like they made HR our interface to Google.

"Rhetorically, conservatives love to defend localities against an overweening state. Open any of the loftier right-wing political journals and you’ll find essays, complete with their own nomenclature—'subsidiarity,' 'little platoons'—praising the virtues of localism. In practice, conservative politicians have spent the past decade using state power to crush local initiatives."

This is… wtf.

it’s not a möbius strip it’s thinfinity.

I guess the term lèse-majesté comes from the French, but can it possibly be for real that France is prosecuting a person for "insulting the president of the republic" on social media?

This is one of those stories that apparently is real but seems crazy and implausible to me. Via Matthew Saroff.

Via Equality By Lot (a blog that in general advocates sortition-based democratic institutions), a very harsh take on France's "citizen conventions" by law professor Guillaume Drago.

It hits on real critiques (can the organizers of what are often called citizens' juries manipulate them into endorsing a ham sandwich? is the selection genuinely representative?), but is perhaps overly sanguine about *status quo* electoral democracy.

@failedLyndonLaRouchite some things just really get your goat. (sorry.)

@failedLyndonLaRouchite it’s just a helluva story.

“It’s a little girl’s goat, not Pablo Escobar.” ht Julia Shumway

a doctor vigilante superhero: Obstetrician of Justice!

you intend it as the exception, but they take it to be the rule.

people act like it’s a big deal to identify as nonbinary but i never knew anyone who identified as binary.

if you phone the CIA, i think it can go without saying that this call is being recorded for quality assurance. but do they ask you to please hold for the next available agent?

me too, honestly.

@design_law i will not… i will not… i… am too weak.

@hyperplanes maybe the humans who control it just don’t mind that.

in reply to @hyperplanes

which do you fear more? AI that breaks free from human control, or what (some) humans will do with control over AI?

it feels like a kind of violation of the social contract, that we get human-extinction-threatening AI before we even get robots capable of keeping public restrooms sparking and clean.

i used to think prompt engineer was basically an oxymoron.

dork diss of the day:

“you were epiphenomenal!”

@sarangshah there could be plaques on the inside of each urinal!

in reply to @sarangshah

@akhilrao (ha!)

the humans often confuse hypotheses for observations.

[new draft post] State as coordination

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @merz @DeanBaker13 @jgordon Matt Stoller, in his Big newsletter (very much worth reading!) solicits stories about off-beat monopolies, and he often investigates and publishes them to his extremely Washington-plugged-in audience. Obscure-to-the-general-public abuse by consolidated players in science supply chains would be 100% up his alley, and might even move some needle that matters.

@MBridegam no! just unsubscribing one at a time. org-wide opt-outs would be convenient!

@LouisIngenthron (i'll have to do some record keeping! for now i just bang the unsubscribe button like a reinforcement-trained rat.)

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

The social prerequisite for technological dynamism is a universalist welfare state that reduces the coupling between fluctuating labor income and human thriving.


@LouisIngenthron (to whom do you report miscreant mailing lists?)

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

@LouisIngenthron look on the bright side!

we can have the satisfaction of unsubscribing from the same lists over and over and over again.

in reply to @LouisIngenthron

i find i am unsubscribing from all the political-figure mailing lists my -ing over the years has put me on.

i'm not sure whether this is the right thing or the wrong thing to do. it is an act of sheer .

instead of trying to throw a constraint into somebody’s optimization problem, is there any way you can shift what they are trying to optimize?

@caseyjennings hopefully things don’t have to break completely before we buckle down with some remedies.

in reply to @caseyjennings

@merz @DeanBaker13 @failedLyndonLaRouchite @jgordon if you read @DeanBaker13, a major theme of his work is disparity in just whom we put under international price competition “in order to underpay people” (or, alternatively, to drive price to least marginal cost of provision like an econ 101 textbook), and whom we protect. note that concerns about the justice or injustice of levels of payment are quite different from concerns about whether a reorganized industry can deliver the goods.

in reply to @merz

@lori to prove the iron law of oligarchy wrong, we must develop less oligarchical means of political coordination. i think this is a domain where technology reay can make a difference. ( e.g. )

in reply to this

plutocracy is just not consistent with rule of law.

plutocrats have the resources to hijack the state or undermine the legitimacy of state action. our current politics is unstable because plutocracy is illegitimate (because duh) while state action to counter plutocracy is made illegitimate by the work of the plutocrats.

so there is no way forward.

they are gaslighting you into imagining you are gaslit.

"when [NewCollege] hired its first dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion in 2022, it wasn’t surrendering to the woke left. It was responding to an explicit mandate from a DeSantis appointee... a banker appointed by DeSantis led an aggressive top-down push for sweeping new DEI initiatives in all of Florida’s public colleges, compelling every campus, including New College, to put more emphasis on DEI." ht @grantimatter

direct from the trenches of US-19 i am here to report that Palm Harbor Florida remains calm.

@costrike it’s friday somewhere.

in reply to @costrike

the US feels a bit retro today, like a much anticipated mash-up of Law and Order and the Jerry Springer Show.

@lmorchard careful with the handle.

in reply to @lmorchard

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @DeanBaker13 @merz @jgordon pharma is obviously structured in ways that reward predation and extract rents. we can try to address that directly. of course it is also a symptom of America’s general inequities and pathologies. there would be much less incentive to predation, and reform would be easier to arrange, if high incomes were taxed again at 90% in the US. 1/

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @DeanBaker13 @merz @jgordon but like with every other problem, while we fight their deep roots we still have to pull up the weeds.

in no domain are we content to say, “well the real root of this corruption is overall stratification and the desperate treadmill a price-rationed caste system provokes which causes people to justify any harm if they can earn a buck. so we’ll just have to endure until after the revolution.” /fin

in reply to self

@counternotions i think i saw prior art on star trek…

in reply to @counternotions

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @DeanBaker13 @merz @jgordon you should be suspicious! but then you should be more than suspicious of the status quo industry whose predations and misallocations of resources—including real and prodigious scientific and regulatory competences!—are legion and legend. @DeanBaker13 offers a lot of reform ideas. by all means critique them. but compare them against not an ideal, but the pretty bad status quo.

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @DeanBaker13 @merz @jgordon all I’ve endorsed was having the state pay to overcome regulatory burdens for already developed drugs that would be competitive with domestic monopolists. i’m sympathetic to @DeanBaker13’s broad project of figuring out how to reorganize pharma so we keep the competences but trim the rents and the (profound) incentives to corruption and predation under the current model. but i’m not going to invent a new model in a toot.

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @DeanBaker13 @merz @jgordon i don’t think anyone is arguing pharma work should all be done by direct govt employees on the gs pay scale. if you did do that, some costs would go up and others would go down, but @merz concerns about institutional knowledge might be hard to address. 1/

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @DeanBaker13 @merz @jgordon there are lots of pharma reform ideas (lots just from @DeanBaker13), but even when the idea is “let the state fund the work and own the product”, the state can finance start-up labs and let operators of those labs allocate resources, just as private investors now do. how the state then incentivizes high-social-return work, under what form of competition if any, becomes a question to address. /fin

in reply to self

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @DeanBaker13 @merz @jgordon you can hire whoever’s available, but that includes ppl and institutions already here. there’s no debaathification. when incumbent institutions have competences they can provide best at good rates, you hire them. they may not like the more competitive environment, but the only thing that’d cut incumbents out wld be their choosing to attempt a kind of capital strike rather than participating.

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @DeanBaker13 @merz @jgordon it’s worth noting that over the last few decades big pharma itself outsourced much of its basic drug development to China. that was the fate of the lab at which i once worked, the former Upjohn in Kalamazoo.

in reply to self

@failedLyndonLaRouchite @merz @jgordon @DeanBaker13 yes. but those big pharma partners largely serve as VCs plus compliance / clinical trial specialists. those can be challenging competencies, but they can also be reorganized! i’m not saying things aren’t “hard”. but when (inherently hard) trials are run by financial beneficiaries they are at risk of being corrupt. that things are difficult doesn’t mean the way we currently do them is best.

@merz @failedLyndonLaRouchite @jgordon @DeanBaker13 no one argues for erasing the institutional history of pharma and restarting from some blank slate. we argue for changing the financing model under which those competencies get deployed. that does mean, going forward, different, likely smaller, flows of money to the industry. it does not mean burning anything down. (big pharma itself has done a lot of that to itself recently.)

in reply to @merz

@merz @jgordon @DeanBaker13 okay! i’m not really arguing one way or another about that (but no, i’m not taking your word, and i think you are largely wrong), but using public action to undermine regulatory moats that prevent already developed drugs from being marketed was the Dean’s proposal, which i continue very much to endorse.

in reply to @merz

@merz @jgordon @DeanBaker13 (to be clear, i don’t dispute that drug development is very difficult. but i do dispute there’s something special about its difficulty that means only institutions not so different from status quo private sector monopolists could perform it.)

in reply to self

@bgawalt however nice the app, your private bank extracts a subsidy and imposes dangers the public should not tolerate. if we make deposits public, as we should, perhaps your bank can still provide the UI and administer them. (lots of proposals look like that!) so, enjoy the app. but your bank should have no actual access to the funds represented by your deposits. and that should not be optional.

in reply to @bgawalt

@bgawalt 2008 was odd because they contorted themselves to save even shareholders of the big banks. but the bailouts were motivated by institutional private money-like assets, which have been much more strictly regulated since, and should (like private deposits) be regulated away. there must be private risk assets, and public credit-risk-free assets. any hybrid only exists because the private sector is extracting a subsidy from the public sector.

in reply to self

i wish had Disney’s lawyers.

internet turing tests are getting so hard pretty soon only AIs will be able to pass them.

"Achieving pro-growth policies is a matter of power, not brains... Bad policy is not mere intellectual error. It is the product of capitalism — of economic stagnation and of how capital exercises power over the state." stumblingandmumbling.typepad.c

i think a very good rule of thumb for all members of the human species is “just don’t detonate a nuclear weapon.”

FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund “also earns interest on U.S. Treasury securities it holds, but a sharp rise in interest rates last year caused unrealized losses on those holdings”

// ha!

@yarrriv i think china and russia have been shifting their reserves towards gold, though tbf it’s not so weirdo given the real risk (realized in russia’s case) of sanctions they face if they so some of the shitty things they claim would be within their rights.

in reply to @yarrriv