Thursday, July 29, 2010

Three from Yglesias

Senate filibusters and being reelected
If you tell people “we did the best we could, but the structure of the Senate hemmed us in” then people get depressed. If you say “we did the best we could but the structure of the Senate hemmed us in and that’s why I’m fighting to reform the Senate and deliver the reforms we all believe in” then people have something to hang on to.
How communist is China?
... Indeed, if you ask me the status quo in China is pretty similar to the agenda outlined in the Communist Manifesto. Similarly, when Bean says “irony is that the Communist leadership structure is geared toward capitalist ends” he turns out to mean that it’s geared toward economic growth. Growth is something that the post-1960s far left is typically skeptical of, but Karl Marx and all the leaders of the USSR espoused the view that policy should be geared toward maximizing growth.

I don’t want to make too much out of this and obviously the “China embraces capitalism” view has taken hold largely because it contains a lot of truth. Still, I think it’s a mistake to too-quickly reject the idea that China’s leadership may very sincerely see themselves as continuing to carry the Communist torch.
Discussions of monetary policy
Of course given the fact that the policymakers charged with macroeconomic stability aren’t doing their jobs correctly, we have a bunch of interesting phenomena to analyze. For example, firms are hoarding cash and spiking productivity isn’t leading to new hiring. It’s interesting stuff. But if month after month we saw higher-than-anticipated inflation and had no response and then inflation got out of control nobody would be very interested in the micro-dynamics of firms’ pricing decision, they’d be wondering why policymakers weren’t responding to events.

No comments:

Post a Comment