Assorted links II

  1. Rescuing Economics from Neoliberalism

    Reductive summary of claims: It’s not that the core principles of economic theory are wrong. The problem comes when we apply those principles with insufficient imagination.

    “But isn’t economics a science, and aren’t you one of its most distinguished practitioners? Even though you do not know much about our economy, surely there are some general theories and prescriptions you can share with us to guide our economic policies and reforms.”
    So [the visiting economist] begins. The efficiency with which an economy’s resources are allocated is a critical determinant of the economy’s performance, he says. Efficiency, in turn, requires aligning the incentives of households and businesses with social costs and benefits. The incentives faced by entrepreneurs, investors, and producers are particularly important when it comes to economic growth. Growth needs a system of property rights and contract enforcement that will ensure those who invest can retain the returns on their investments. And the economy must be open to ideas and innovations from the rest of the world.
    By the time the economist stops, it appears as if he has laid out a full-fledged neoliberal agenda. A critic in the audience will have heard all the code words: efficiency, incentives, property rights, sound money, fiscal prudence. Yet the universal principles that the economist describes are in fact quite open-ended. … And therein lies the central conceit, and the fatal flaw, of neoliberalism: the belief that first-order economic principles map onto a unique set of policies, approximated by a Thatcher–Reagan-style agenda.
  2. The Jackson plan: a struggle for self-determination, participatory democracy, and economic justice

    The three fundamental programmatic components are:
    • Building People’s Assemblies
    • Building a Network of Progressive Political Candidates
    • Building a broad based Solidarity Economy

    Cf. Envisioning Real Utopias

  3. The Effect of the H-1B Quota on the Employment and Selection of Foreign-Born Labor

    The annual quota on new H-1B issuances fell from 195,000 to 65,000 for employees of most firms in fiscal year 2004. … Using a triple difference approach, this paper demonstrates that cap restrictions significantly reduced the employment of new H-1B workers in for-profit firms relative to what would have occurred in an unconstrained environment. Employment of similar natives in for-profit firms did not change, consistent with a low degree of substitutability between H-1B and native workers.
  4. Tetris with words

    Now you too can feel a visceral frustration at opaque, brittle ML algorithms. Recent lowlights include “von Braun” not matching “rockets” until the third try.

    In related news, autonomous cars driving into highway barriers,

  5. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s Featured Tall Buildings

    Keep the Internet weird.