“To live in a glass house is a revolutionary virtue par excellence”

(In Moscow I lived in a hotel in which almost all the rooms were occupied by Tibetan lamas who had come to Moscow for a congress of Buddhist churches. I was struck by the number of doors in the corridors that were always left ajar. What had at first seemed accidental began to be disturbing. I found out that in these rooms lived members of a sect who had sworn never to occupy closed rooms. The shock I had then must be felt by the reader of Nadja.) To live in a glass house is a revolutionary virtue par excellence. It is also an intoxica­tion, a moral exhibitionism, that we badly need. Discretion concerning one’s own existence, once an aristocratic virtue, has become more and more an affair of petty-bourgeois parvenus.

Walter Benjamin in “Surrealism: The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia” (1929)

Tories have their internet bubble – A lesson for the Left?

In a recent twitter spat between Jonathan Portes and the Tory MP Stewart Jackson, Douglas Carswell, another Tory MP, tweeted the following:

I thought this was odd. A Tory MP saying that they “no longer need to have folk like” the Director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research “determine parameters of debate”. In other words “Thanks to internet” Tories can ignore people like Jonathan Portes, former Chief Economist at the Cabinet Office, and don’t need to debate them or seriously consider their opinions.

But then I thought this is basically how much of the twitter-left conducts itself today: border-policing, disavowal and ressentiment.

A statute-book is a people’s bible of freedom

{L}aws are in no way repressive measures against freedom, any more than the law of gravity is a repressive measure against motion, because while, as the law of gravitation, it governs the eternal motions of the celestial bodies, as the law of falling it kills me if I violate it and want to dance in the air. Laws are rather the positive, clear, universal norms in which freedom has acquired an impersonal, theoretical existence independent of the arbitrariness of the individual. A statute-book is a people’s bible of freedom.
—Marx, Debates on Freedom of the Press (1842)

h/t Harrison Fluss

A story to make you love Ireland

This is brilliant:

A BROTHER of a government minister whose bread van is still missing after being stolen on Thursday evening has called for the deployment of the Army on to the streets in order to thwart criminals, write Tom Shiel and Sam Griffin.

John Ring, brother of junior minister Michael Ring, made the call yesterday as gardai continued their search for his van.

The vehicle, containing about €1,000 in cash and cheques and €1,500 worth of bread and cakes, disappeared from outside ‘Ronnie’s Shop’ in Springfield, Castlebar, Co Mayo.

“It’s worse than Vietnam here now and absolutely nothing is being done to stop it,” Mr Ring said. “The Army should be brought on to the streets to curb the growing lawlessness.”

God I love Ireland sometimes.

A story to make you love Ireland

PIMCO CEO calls for radical policy shift at the Fed

Monhamed El Erian, the CEO of PIMCO, has suggested NGDP targeting or shifting to Employment/Population targetting in an article for Project Syndicate. Granted PIMCO have some form for being a bit Keynesian in its policy proposals, but its still interesting to see something this radical being proposed by them.

In assessing how far it is from meeting its mandate, the Fed may be better served by shifting from unemployment to employment thresholds (for example, the employment/population ratio). It could even start moving to a more holistic operational measure (say, nominal GDP), together with indicators of the economy’s structural fragility.