“Tim Blair is a Newscorp columnist”

That’s what comes at the end of this article by Tim Blair today which is titled: “The riot they did notice”. He begins:

WE’RE all agreed then. Last week’s riot in Washington was a disgrace and police should round up and charge everybody who participated in this shocking affront to democracy. On this, conservatives and leftists speak as one. It’s just that conservatives have had a little more practice. We’ve been condemning political violence for years. Our friends on the left, however, are new to this game. They ignored or downplayed riots across the US throughout last year, sometimes hilariously….

Last week’s deadly assault on the Capitol Building was different to riots in Portland, Seattle, Kenosha, Minneapolis and elsewhere, so people keep claiming, because it was incited by Trump. You’ll have noticed, though, that claims of incitement are never supported by any actual quotes….

And they acted contrary to Trump’s words: “I know everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol Building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” Presumably his critics feel Trump incited events by rejecting the 2020 election’s legitimacy. You know, exactly as his critics have done for the past four years.

All this is very unusual for Newscorp. Apparently it is the wife of one of Murdoch’s sons who is the rabid lefty who has shifted the whole of the Newscorp orientation and Fox News especially. Such is the way of the modern world.

Code breakers

I grew up on Morse Code which I learned from my Dad who had been in the 2nd Divisional Signals during World War II. But it’s not a joke since the effort to shut down communications from the President is relentless. Ultimately without a feedback mechanism in the form of public discourse and debate, a free society cannot function.

Women and the history of economics

Here is an invitation to contribute to a symposium that absolutely mirrors everything about the academic world of today.

Women, Economics and History: Diversity within Europe

The literature on the history of economics that focuses on the presence of
women in economics has recently grown exponentially. Suffice it to think of
the volumes edited by Dimand, Dimand and Forget (1995 and 2000), the huge
bibliographic work by Madden, Pujol and Seiz (2004), the handbook by Madden
and Dimand (2019), as well as the very recent book by Becchio (2020).
Moreover, numerous studies on women’s participation in economic debates or on
the role of women in economic institutions in the historical perspective are
currently in progress.

Some of these works cover a very wide area. For example, The Routledge
Handbook of the History of Women’s Economic Thought includes studies on the
USA, India, Latin America, Japan, China, Africa, the Arab world and Europe
(Italy, Austria, the UK, Russia and the Soviet Union). While recognizing the
urgent need for an inclusive global perspective, this call for papers narrows
its focus to the diversity within Europe for two main reasons. First, there
are no historical works on women in economics specifically devoted to this
geographical area. Second, a broader coverage would make it more difficult to
analyse the complexity of the different European contexts, especially the less
studied ones, which is the main aim of this special issue of Œconomia.

This call for papers seeks to stimulate the reconstruction of the divergent
historical paths of the many European realities that are likely to have
produced a differentiated substratum of thinking about women in economics and
their place within the economy. We intend to attract papers that discuss the
deep diversities within Europe with the aim of linking the analysis of women
in the history of economic thought to the focus on their intellectual
traditions, properly contextualizing it within women’s different countries,
regions and periods. The special issue aims at covering a wide time span,
taking as a starting point the Enlightenment, the period when associations by
women activists were created. We welcome and encourage contributions on any
later period, including recent and contemporary history, considering
specificities linked to the two World Wars, the Cold War, revolutionary
movements, the creation of the European Union, and other major historical and
political events and processes that have marked the history of Europe.

Examples of different perspectives that can be adopted to tackle the
heterogeneity of European histories include:

.  Women as economic researchers. We know that women were not absent, even in
the early developments of the discipline, but they were erased from its
official history. The greatest effort made by historians of economic thought
to date has been to bring the names of women out of the darkness, to give them
visibility, and it is worth continuing to do so. Thus, biographies of European
women interested in economic topics across different time periods and analysis
of their writings are welcome.

.    Cultural history and intellectual history. Women did not write and publish
like men, and very often we cannot find their economic thought in published
books or articles. They often worked in economic institutions, seldom in
universities, and they often did not sign their writings. Here intellectual
history intertwines with cultural history, and hence attention has to be paid
to private and personal sources in order to reconstruct women’s economic

.    Impact, influences and traditions. The history of economic thought deals
with ideas, their impact and their reception. The historical reconstruction of
the impact of women’s ideas on reality, their influence on subsequent
interpreters, and their links with traditions of thought is a very difficult
task in women’s studies (Fuster and Birulés 2021). Here the relevant
categories are those of network (within a generation) and transmission (among
generations), in order to trace the circulation and the survival of their

.    History of women’s emancipation. We welcome contributions that study
women’s commitment to emancipation (when it involves economic reflections)
from a historical perspective. The analyses might also examine the history of
economic institutions for the promotion of gender equality in various European

.   History of gender economics. Investigations of the roots, the origins and
the development of the economics of gender in European countries are
encouraged. Influenced by home economics and household economics, the new home
economics adopted a standard microeconomic approach to study household
economic decisions, labour and demographic issues. The same neoclassical
analytical framework was then extended by the new discipline of gender
economics in order to study gender differences and their economic
implications, especially in the labour market and in marriage.

. History of feminist economics. It is equally important to look at the
roots, the origin and the development of feminist economics in European
countries, uncovering gender-aware conceptions of economics long before the
institutionalization of feminist approaches. All analyses that use history in
order to adopt a feminist perspective and to propose a reformulation of
economic theory based on the idea that economic agents are not gender neutral
are welcome. Here a broad definition of economics should be adopted in order
to avoid the distinction between the formal and informal sector, to consider
the hidden contribution of women to the growth of wealth, to look at the
labour market from a feminist perspective, to take into account the labour of
caring, to elaborate on alternative indicators of human development, and to
propose new economic explanations of gender discrimination (see Jacobsen

. Historiography. We invite contributions on how and why women have been
represented, misrepresented or absent not only from most economic studies, but
also from the history of economics. Contributions could investigate how
historical studies approached, or ignored, the topic, and how feminist
perspectives could inform, or change the way in which women are addressed in
the history of economics and the history of economic thought.

. Orthodoxy/heterodoxy. The economics of gender stands in the realm of
neoclassical economics, while feminist economics is considered to be a
heterodox approach. The latter shares its dissent regarding the neoclassical
tradition with other heterodoxies, but it shows elements of misalignment with
them as well. In order to deepen and articulate their possible interrelations,
contributions from a range of perspectives (Socialist, Marxist, Institutional,
Evolutionary, Austrian, Post-Keynesian, and other) are encouraged.

Fair weather friends and I’m not so sure they were friends at all

This post by John Hinderaker on why PDT has gone over the top is the last straw for me to think of Powerline as a source of political sense. My response is summed up by the respondents who are listed under the heading “Best”, starting from the top:

I’m rarely disappointed by the PL posts, but this one is abominable. Donald Trump is fighting on principle. We live and die by our principles. To go down fighting is a virtue. There is no virtue in rolling over and exposing a vulnerable underbelly. The Dems will exploit and destroy wherever they see weakness. At this point, the Senators and House members don’t have to believe that the results will be overturned. They will be making the case to the American people and going on record that Biden/Harris deserve a double asterisk in history, and the electorate needs to mobilize to pressure their Reps to close the illicit avenues where fraud has been perpetrated. I look forward to hearing the case as it is challenged tomorrow. I also know that we now have a clearer line drawn in the sand as to who will stand for our Constitution and who will compromise the Republic.

President Trump is right in saying that the 2020 election was rife with voter fraud. I think he is quite likely right, although no one knows for sure, in alleging that absent fraud he would have been re-elected. But his conduct has nevertheless become indefensible.

You have gone off the rails, Mr. Hinderaker. I’m too mad to do more than scan this post at the moment, but I caught enough of the gist to realize You Just Don’t Care. I’ve been saying prayers for President Trump and his family ever since this whole sorry episode began. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be him. He has been under relentless, serous attack and under illegal and sham investigations since the moment he announced his candidacy, he has been impeached, he has watched his friends and associates be imprisoned and suffer great financial harm just for being his associates. He has watched his family be tormented by investigators and the media. At the same time, he has probably worked harder for the American people than any other President with the probable exception of Lincoln. I see nothing going wrong with his post below, and in fact I think it is remarkably mild-mannered considering that the election has been stolen from him by a man with likely progressing dementia who hardly ever left his basement and is being run by handlers who do not like America or our Constitution. The whole thing reeks to high heaven and was an obvious set-up from the get-go. That you are more upset at Trump than those who have in all likelihood permanently destroyed our Constitutional Republic says more about you than him.

Trump has my total support in NOT conceding, EVER!

I am sure this is going to tick a bunch of you off, but I am past caring. Between Mr. Mirengoff and the rest of you, this site has become just another bastion of RINO cave and bow down behavio

Where is YOUR ire for the SCUM in Congress … like Swalwell, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, Tlaib, Maxine Waters, Pelosi, Schumer, and so many others? Where is YOUR ire for the CHINESE COMMUNISTS who created and unleashed a world-wide pandemic that continues to inflict uncounted financial and personal suffering. 20% (and counting) of small business are gone. Their destruction is to the benefit of the huge corporations; Amazon, Walmart, etc. Where is the praise for a President who directed the creation and distribution of a vaccine that is now being administered inside of one year to relieve this pandemic? Where is the praise for a President who created the best economic growth in our lifetimes if not ever? What President defeated ISIS which had its ‘caliphate’ spread across the Middle East while not starting a single war? What President has created what has been “impossible” over the past 70 years: peace sweeping through the Middle East with fierce enemies of Israel now signing peace agreements with them? I could go on and on. John, do you get a sense of why at least 75 million people voted to re-elect this President and are enraged with the way he has been treated? Name a single person that could have gone through this unwarranted political destruction and handled it better than DJT?

It’s true it’s only an opinion, “the world has simply gone bonkers”, but some opinions are actually true

What is left to say? Actually, there’s quite a lot left to say but who is listening? Here, however, are the opening words of the first para.

I have not written much about COVID19 recently. What can be said? In my opinion the world has simply gone bonkers.

I will pick my favourite quotes from the rest but you can go to the link and pick the ones you like best, or go somewhere else and pick whichever quotes you like for yourself.

It appeared that tens of thousands died in some countries, almost none in others. What I was waiting to see, was the impact on the one outcome that you cannot alter, or fudge. The outcome that is overall mortality i.e. the chances of dying, of anything….

In the UK, and several other countries if you have had a COVID19 positive test (which may, or may not, be accurate) and you die within twenty-eight days of that positive test, you will be recorded as a COVID19 death. I do not know much for sure about COVID19, but I do know that is just complete nonsense.

There are so many cases where – even if the COVID19 test was accurate – COVID19 would have had nothing whatsoever to do with the death. Another thing known, or at least we probably know, is that the vast majority of people who die had many other things wrong with them….

So, what you need to do, is look beyond what is written on death certificates. You need to look at what is happening to the overall mortality. Whilst you can argue endlessly, pointlessly, about specific causes of death. What you cannot argue about is whether or not someone is alive, or dead. Even I usually get this one right. No pulse, no breathing, no reaction of the pupils to light, no response to pain… and suchlike. Yup, dead. Now… what they die of? Um… let me think….

Here is the graph of overall mortality for all ages, in all countries. The graph starts at the beginning of 2017 and carries on to almost the end of 2020.

As you can see, in each winter there is an increase in deaths. In 2020, nothing much happened at the start of the year, then we had – what must have been – the COVID19 spike. The tall pointy bit around week 15.

It started in late March and was pretty much finished by mid-May. Now, we are in winter, and the usual winter spike appears. It seems to be around the same size as winter 2017/18. It also seems to have passed the peak and is now falling….

So, again, what have I learned about COVID19? I learned that all Governments are floundering about, all claiming to have exerted some sort of control over this disease and ignoring all evidence to the contrary. In truth, they have achieved nothing. As restrictions and lockdowns have become more severe, in many cases the number of infections has simply risen and risen, completely unaffected by anything that has been done.

The official solution is, of course, more restrictions. ‘We just haven’t restricted people enough!’ Sigh. When something doesn’t work, the answer is not to keep doing it with even greater fervour. The real answer is to stop doing it and try something else instead….

If I were to recommend actions. I would recommend that we stop testing – unless someone is admitted to hospital and is seriously ill. Mass testing is simply causing mass panic and achieves absolutely nothing. At great cost. We should also just get on with our lives as before. We should just vaccinate those at greatest risk of dying, the elderly and vulnerable, and put this rather embarrassing episode of mad banner waving behind us.

Well, it’s an opinion.

Thomas Sowell on editors and editing

Thomas Sowell on Editors and Writing which does not entirely parallel mine who has been very fortunate in the light-handed editing I have experienced, while not having had to do much of it myself. Anyway, this is from The Conversable Economist where he plucks the following from reading Sowell.


Thomas Sowell offers some autobiography and vivid examples in his 2001 essay, “Some Thoughts about Writing.” He offers both a case for the importance of editing, and also some vivid frustrations about overly officious editors. He writes near the start: “People who want to be complimentary sometimes tell me that I have a `gift’ for writing. But it is hard for me to regard as a gift something that I worked at for more than a decade—unsuccessfully—before finally breaking into print. Nor was this a case of unrecognized talent. It was a case of quickly recognized incompetence.”

Here’s Sowell on his own experience with editing academic writers (footnote omitted): 

To say that my relationship with editors has not always been a happy one would be to completely understate the situation. To me, the fact that I have never killed an editor is proof that the death penalty deters. However, since nowadays we are all supposed to confess to shameful episodes in our past, I must admit that I was once an editor. Only once. And I didn’t inhale.

It was the most painful kind of editing—editing academic writers. Too many academics write as if plain English is beneath their dignity and some seem to regard logic as an unconstitutional infringement of their freedom of speech. Others love to document the obvious and arbitrarily assume what is crucial. A typical work of this genre might read something like this:

As surely as the world is round (Columbus, 1492), and as surely as what goes up must come down (Newton, 1687), when Ronald Reagan was elected President (Cronkite, 1980) and then re-elected (Rather, 1984), it signaled a change in the political climate (Brinkley, 1980–88). Since then, we have seen exploitation (Marx, 1867) and sexism (Steinem, 1981) on the rise.

But no attempt to parody academic writing can match an actual sample from a scholarly journal:

Transnationalization further fragmented the industrial sector. If the dominant position of immigrant enterprises is held to have reduced the political impact of an expanding industrial entrepreneurate, the arrival of multinational corporations possibly neutralized the consolidation of sectoral homogeneity anticipated in the demise of the artisanate.

You can’t make that up.

If academic writings were difficult because of the deep thoughts involved, that might be understandable, even if frustrating. Seldom is that the case, however. Jaw-breaking words often cover up very sloppy thinking. It is not uncommon in academic writings to read about people “living below subsistence.” The academic writers I edited seemed to have great difficulty accepting my novel and controversial literary doctrine that the whole purpose of writing is so that people can read the stuff later on and know what you are trying to say. These professors seemed to feel that, once they put their priceless contributions to mankind on paper, a sacred obligation fell upon the reader to do his damndest to try to figure out what they could possibly mean.  I’ve worked 34 years as an academic editor, so I enjoyed reading that passage. But I would also say that while the problems of academic writing are well-described here, my own experience is that authors are quite willing, and even grateful, to work with my editing in producing an improved draft. 

Sowell also conveys the horror of the kind of copy-editing that makes everything taste the same, or worse. He writes: 

But these are just two kinds of absurdities from the rich spectrum of the absurdities of copy-editors. Where Shakespeare wrote, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” a copy-editor would substitute: “The issue is one of existence versus non-existence.” Where Lincoln said, “Fourscore and seven years ago,” a copy-editor would change that to: “It has been 87 years since . . .” Where the Bible said, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” a copy-editor would run a blue pencil through the first three words as redundant.

Pedestrian uniformity and shriveled brevity are the holy grail of copy-editors, the bureaucrats of the publishing industry. Like other bureaucrats, copy-editors tend to have a dedication to rules and a tin ear for anything beyond the rules. Seldom is there even the pretense that their editorial tinkerings are going to make the writing easier for the reader to follow, more graceful, more enjoyable, or more memorable.

Self-justifying rules and job-justifying busy work are the only visible goals of copy-editors.

My own approach here is that in the process of hands-on editing, I try to make all the small-scale copy-editing changes that are needed. Then the author has a chance to revise, and while authors may differ with other suggestions I offer, they hardly ever care about the copy-editing details like spelling out “United States” as a noun but using “US” as an adjective, whether to use a serial comma when listing more than two authors, and the like. But as a result, when authors see galley proofs, they have already seen and digested the copy-editing changes, so there aren’t any last-minute surprises. 

Sowell’s methods may not work for everyone. For example, he describes his usual approach of working on several books at once, and putting aside the ones where he doesn’t feel inspired for years, before perhaps returning to them. 

One more example why classical economic theory is far superior to modern Keynesian macro

Let me take you to the article by Ross Gittens today displaying his typically ignorant views on the economy. But if he is going to invoke Keynes to explain anything, let me remind you that no one who uses Keynesian economics to explain anything ever gets it right. Evil Lord Keynes flies to rescue of disbelieving Liberals. This is what Gittens wrote:

When we entered lockdown in March this year, many people (including me) pooh-poohed Scott Morrison’s assurance that the economy would “snap back” once the lockdown was lifted. Turned out he was more right than wrong.

We could, of course, compare what I wrote on March 26 on the AIER website: A Classical Economic Response to the Coronavirus Recession.

That is why when I hear discussions of the need for a stimulus I am even more than usually amazed at how beyond sense economic policy has become. What is needed, and what is largely being done, are measures to hold both capital and labour in place until the closures are brought to an end. There are businesses that will open the moment the law allows. There are millions of jobs that will be immediately filled again the moment these businesses reopen, which will see their customers flooding back. The aim of policy is therefore to maintain a holding operation on business and to ensure workers who are being temporarily displaced can purchase necessities.

Back in March, as Gittens himself emphasises, he had no idea that the economy might “snap back” once the lockdown was lifted, but that’s precisely because he is a Keynesian who has no idea how a market economy works.

BTW have I ever mentioned the book I published this year: Classical Economic Theory and the Modern Economy. It is unbelievable how ignorant of economics a modern economist is.

I dreamt last night that Donald Trump had died

I was in the middle of getting some paperwork done so that I could get some document completed that needed his name and was then told the President had died. We were on some aircraft so the news was presented as uncertain. The rest of the dream was about whether I could still get the paperwork accepted even if it had his name on it.

Not mentioned at Drudge so it isn’t true. Never dream about politics. Very unusual.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over

17 States Join Texas in Supreme Court Lawsuit Against Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania Over Fraudulent Election.

For more detail, A Total Of 18 States Have Joined Texas’ Lawsuit. The conclusion:

I find these arguments compelling. I can’t conceive of any reason for the SCOTUS to refuse to hear the case. Especially when the case is supported by 18 cases, led by Texas.

Plus this: Trump Administration Will Join Texas Lawsuit Against Battleground States.

There is also this today which I found quite interesting.

Of course, the idea that men who identify as more masculine would be more supportive of the president isn’t that much of a shocker considering they have been among his biggest fans from the beginning. According to the AEI survey, that was true this year as well: When broken out by how masculine or feminine they identified themselves, completely masculine men were the only group where the majority (60 percent) said they had voted for Trump.

Apparently, the way this is presented by a typically lefty source, being a masculine male is a bad thing, but I can live with it.