October 01, 2003
The Impact of Hamilton's "Report on Manufactures"

A very nice present to find in my mailbox this afternoon: Doug Irwin | The Aftermath of Hamilton's "Report on Manufactures": Alexander Hamilton's Report on Manufactures (1791) is a classic document in the history of U.S. economic policy, but its fate in Congress is not well known. It is commonly believed that the report was never implemented. Although Hamilton's proposals for bounties (subsidies) failed to receive support, virtually every tariff recommendation put forward in the report was adopted by Congress in early 1792. These tariffs were not highly protectionist duties because Hamilton feared discouraging imports, which were the critical tax base on which he planned to fund the public debt. Indeed, because Hamilton's policy toward manufacturing was one of encouragement and not protection, those interests shifted their political support from the Federalists to the Jeffersonian Republicans during the 1790s....

Posted by DeLong at 08:25 PM

September 27, 2003
The Amistad, and the Declaration of Independence

Watched Spielberg's Amistad movie tonight: quite good. One thing in the movie struck me as unbelievable: John Quincy Adams arguing before the Supreme Court and claiming not the Constitution but the Declaration of Independence as his legal authority. But it happened. Indeed, John Quincy Adams claimed the Declaration of the Independence as his sole legal authority. It happened--although not quite as in the movie: The Amistad Case- The Arguments of John Quincy Adams before the Supreme Court: One of the Judges who presided in some of the preceding trials, is said to have called this an anomalous case. It is indeed anomalous, and I know of no law, but one which I am not at liberty to argue before this Court, no law, statute or constitution, no code, no treaty, applicable to the proceedings of the Executive or the Judiciary, except that law, (pointing to the copy of the Declaration of Independence, hanging against one of the pillars of the courtroom,) that law, two copies of which are ever before the eyes of your Honors. I know of no other law that reaches the case of my clients, but the law of nature and of Nature's God on which our...

Posted by DeLong at 09:19 PM

September 07, 2003
Wanting to Be a Writer--Not Just a "Negro Writer"

Department of "race relations": The wise and thoughtful Prometheus 6 finds a Brent Staples article about writer Anatole Broyard: Prometheus 6: As the Bard might say, "Most passing strange.": Back When Skin Color Was Destiny -- Unless You Passed for White By BRENT STAPLES The New Yorker was trying not to speak ill of the dead when it described Anatole Broyard as the "famously prickly critic for the Times, a man who demanded so much from books that it seemed he could never be satisfied." From his early reviews for The Times in the 1960's up to his death in 1990, Mr. Broyard was often gratuitously cruel and clever at the author's expense. The novelist Philip Roth was one of the favored few. Mr. Broyard praised him in the column "About Books" and seemed to see his life through Mr. Roth's work. When Mr. Broyard was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he compared his symptoms to those of Portnoy, Mr. Roth's fictional alter ego in "Portnoy's Complaint." The comparison made perfect sense. Mr. Roth's great theme was his own struggle to preserve selfhood against the smothering pressures of ethnic identity. That, in a nutshell, was Mr. Broyard's life. He was...

Posted by DeLong at 05:35 PM

July 23, 2003
The Current NSC Staff

Recent press reports have led many people to ask, "What kind of people staff the National Security Council these days?" Well, here is NSC director Elliott Abrams on Tail-Gunner Joe (McCarthy, that is): In his review (Elliott Abrams (1996), "McCarthyism Reconsidered," National Review February 26, pp. 57-60. [A review of the reissue of William F. Buckley and L. Brent Bozell, McCarthy and His Enemies (Regnery).]) of the reissue of Buckley and Bozell's infamous McCarthy and His Enemies, Abrams advances on his own--or approves Buckley and Bozell's advocacy of--five theses: The key issue in assessing Joe McCarthy--the bar he has to pass--is not whether his charges were accurate or backed by evidence, but whether the State Department was running its security policy poorly. Senator McCarthy did not need to show that individual State Department employees were spies or even that there were spies in the State Department. Instead, all he needed to do was to show that there was some evidence the State Department had overlooked that an employee was a security or loyalty risk. In most of his cases McCarthy did adduce persuasive evidence; the State Department's efforts stood condemned; and the screams of 'Red Scare' were efforts to occlude...

Posted by DeLong at 06:20 PM

Marking My Beliefs to Market: Soviet Espionage in America: Alger Hiss

Somebody or other wrote: Yet some... do not find it easy, even twenty-five years after the Levine memoir appeared, to credit everything he wrote. Levine reminds us, for example, that in 1939 [Whittaker] Chambers also informed [Adolf] Berle that Assistant Secretary (later Under Secretary) Harry Dexter White of the Treasury was collaborating with the Soviet underground. Three years ago the Venona documents appeared confirming White's discussions with his Soviet controller in parked cars and on park benches. Even so, the former deputy > assistant secretary of the Treasury [that's me] has intimated... that he finds the proof insufficient. It would appear that the sequelae of the last generation's culture wars still make it difficult to examine Soviet espionage in America purely as a historical problem. I would reply as follows: I'm trying to examine Soviet espionage in America purely as a historical problem. It's hard. But I don't think that what makes it hard--for me at least--is the last generation's culture war. What makes it hard is the character of the right-wing anti-communists of the 1950s--for example, what we all know now about the character of Richard M. Nixon. For example, consider Richard Nixon, as taped by himself, on pages...

Posted by DeLong at 06:17 PM

Marking My Beliefs to Market: Soviet Espionage in America: Harry Dexter White

Somebody or other wrote: Yet some... do not find it easy, even twenty-five years after the Levine memoir appeared, to credit everything he wrote. Levine reminds us, for example, that in 1939 [Whittaker] Chambers also informed [Adolf] Berle that Assistant Secretary (later Under Secretary) Harry Dexter White of the Treasury was collaborating with the Soviet underground. Three years ago the Venona documents appeared confirming White's discussions with his Soviet controller in parked cars and on park benches. Even so, the former deputy > assistant secretary of the Treasury [that's me] has intimated... that he finds the proof insufficient. It would appear that the sequelae of the last generation's culture wars still make it difficult to examine Soviet espionage in America purely as a historical problem. I would reply as follows: I'm trying to examine Soviet espionage in America purely as a historical problem. It's hard. Before VENONA, I used to think that the case against Harry Dexter White deserved the Scottish verdict: Not proven. I used to think that in large part because of Whittaker Chambers. Coming from a Democratic political family (some of whose members used to be strong supporters of Helen G. Douglass, smeared as an agent...

Posted by DeLong at 06:16 PM

July 06, 2003
What Should College Professors Be Paid?

The past is a different country. Even the relatively recent past of, say, a century ago is a very different country. In 1905 "G.H.M.", an anonymous college professor, wrote a four-page article for the Atlantic Monthly in which he pleaded for more money for college professor salaries, and claimed to be vastly underpaid. The first thing to note is the relative level of professorial salaries back then: he claimed that the "average college professorís salary"--the salary that he saw as clearly inadequate and unfairly low--"is about $2,000." Stan Lebergott's estimates in the Historical Statistics of the United States are that the average annual earnings of an employee in America in 1905 were $490 dollars if employed for the entire year--or $451 taking account of the hazards of unemployment. What G.H.M. says is the average college professor's salary is more than four times annual average earnings of the time. Today's professors don't make such large relative salaries (except in business, law, and medical schools). In order to match turn-of-the-century college professors in terms of income relative to the national average, a professor today would have to make an academic salary of roughly $250,000--a height far above any professorial average, and one...

Posted by DeLong at 04:09 PM

July 05, 2003
A Paragraph Struck from the Declaration of Independence

Partha Mazumdar reminds us of a paragraph that is not in the Declaration of Independence: Jumping To Conclusions: On this day, it is appropriate to also remember the great paragraph of the first draft of the Declaration of Independence which Jefferson submitted to the Congress and but was deleted. Only if it would have remained: He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, & murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying...

Posted by DeLong at 09:40 PM

July 04, 2003
By the Rude Bridge That Arched the Flood

Ralph Waldo Emerson's Concord Hymn: 43. Concord Hymn. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Yale Book of American Verse Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.   Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1803–1882   43. Concord Hymn   Sung at the Completion of the Battle Monument, April 19, 1836   BY the rude bridge that arched the flood,    Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,  Here once the embattled farmers stood,    And fired the shot heard round the world.     The foe long since in silence slept;         5   Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;  And Time the ruined bridge has swept    Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.     On this green bank, by this soft stream,    We set to-day a votive stone;  10 That memory may their deed redeem,    When, like our sires, our sons are gone.     Spirit, that made those heroes dare    To die, and leave their children free,  Bid Time and Nature gently spare  15   The shaft we raise to them and thee. ...

Posted by DeLong at 11:16 AM

May 26, 2003
Memorial Day

Arlington National Cemetary:...

Posted by DeLong at 06:53 AM

May 14, 2003
Notes: Chiaki Moriguchi: Last Economic History Seminar: "Did American Firms Break Their Welfare Capitalist Promises During the Great Depression?"

Chiaki Moriguchi from Northwestern. Here to talk about welfare capitalism--or maybe better to call it corporate welfarism--in the U.S. in the 1920 and 1930s. Vibrant, growing movement in the 1920s: corporations to provide social welfare benefits that the state would have provided in Europe. Collapse in the 1930s. Corporations wanted to cut costs, and with unemployment so high why bother on programs to attach workers to the firm? Loss of trust thereafter hard to regain--workers turned to CIO instead to negotiate for benefits, et cetera. Did the NLRA foreclose a return of corporate welfarism? Survival in high-wage high-skill firms: IBM, GE, Proctor and Gamble. Foreshadowing of modern HRM for skilled high-wage workers? Chiaki approaches the topic from a perspective that treats Japan--not the U.S., not western Europe--as the typical case. Very refreshing and instructive approach: to presume that welfare capitalism and company unions a la post-WWII Japan should be the rule in mass-production high-skill manufacturing, and to search for explanations for American divergence from the "natural" pattern... Great, great topic!...

Posted by DeLong at 05:22 PM

September 03, 2002
More From Civilization: Democracy Is Way Too Hard!

"Dad?" "Yes?" "Democracy is way too hard!" "Yeah! Democracy is way too hard!" It is the twelve-year-old and the nine-year-old, speaking in chorus from the back seat. "In democracy, when you move one military unit out of its home city two people become unhappy," says the nine-year-old. "And if you don't spend a complete and total fortune on entertainment and luxuries, your people riot," says twelve-year-old. "It's impossible to wage an aggressive campaign of conquest," says the nine-year-old. "They force you to make peace prematurely." "But aren't your people much more productive? Aren't people richer? isn't scientific progress faster? Isn't total production much, much higher?" I ask. "Yes. But what good is that if I want to conquer the world?" asks the nine-year-old. "Remember. Civilization is not just a war game. It's a peace game too. You can win by creating a great and peaceful civilization," I say. "Not if another civilization on earth happens to be led by Genghis Khan and possesses nuclear weapons," says the twelve-year-old. "You're looking at it from the wrong perspective," I say, changing the subject, hoping to distract my children from the moral question--unsuitable for Berkeley--of whether it is possible for a preemptive war...

Posted by DeLong at 06:15 PM

August 15, 2002
...Shall Not Perish From the Earth

Carey Gage of Cognocentric defends the idea of reading the Gettysburg Address on the one-year anniversary of 911. I agree. It's very relevant--all except the "four-score" and "civil war" parts. We have now been running for more than two hundred years. Thank God, our current ongoing war is not a civil one. And it is: ...for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth. CognoCentric: The Gettysburg Address is only nominally about a nation at civil war. It is about the sacrifice made by those who died in a war being waged so that "government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." It is about renewing the commitment of the living "to the great task remaining before us[:] ... that cause for which they...

Posted by DeLong at 01:59 AM

August 14, 2002
Did Anything Noteworthy Happen at Runnymede?

Dan Kohn pleads for judicial review. If this goes awry, it will be the result of a very long chain of historical events originating with Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney's attempts to use his office to fight for the South in the Civil War... Dan Kohn's Blog: If you don't know the name Yaser Esam Hamdi, you soon will. He was in court today to determine whether the right of Habeas Corpus, first granted to a few English nobles in the fields of Runnymede in 1215 and guaranteed by the constitution to all US citizens, will now be taken away by the Bush Administration's cavalier definition of an :"enemy combatant". The NYT reports on the federal judiciary playing their role as one of the main bulwarks of liberty: "'I have no desire to have an enemy combatant get out,' the judge said. 'But due process requires something other than a declaration by someone named Mobbs that he should be held incommunicado. Isn't that what we're fighting for?'"...

Posted by DeLong at 06:17 PM

July 04, 2002
An Historical Document

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America: When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that...

Posted by DeLong at 08:00 PM

July 03, 2002
The Accumulation Century, the Education Century, and What Comes Next...?

The nineteenth century was the age of invention, innovation, and accumulation. New technologies were developed in the lab and installed in the field, on the road, and in the factory. These new technologies were for the most part embodied in expensive and sophisticated capital goods. Hence economic growth in the nineteenth century was overwhelmingly the accumulation and deployment of physical capital goods that embodied productve modern technologies. By contrast, the twentieth century saw not a rise but a fall in the physical capital-output ratio. We have many more and much more sophisticated machines and structures now, yes. But the ratio of the value of capital to the value of output has fallen. In this sense, the twenteith century was the human-skill century, one in which the key complementarity was not between technology and machines but between technology and the skills and capabilities of the labor force. What comes next? What will the start of the twenty-first century bring? Unless the U.S. makes a major national effort, a variety of forces seem to be working to make the upgrading of the educational and skill level of the American labor force much slower in the future than it has been in the...

Posted by DeLong at 01:20 PM

June 01, 1990
Robert B. Barsky and J. Bradford DeLong (1990), "Bull and Bear Markets in the Twentieth Century," Journal of Economic History 50: 2 (June), pp. 1-17.

Robert B. Barsky and J. Bradford DeLong (1990), "Bull and Bear Markets in the Twentieth Century," Journal of Economic History 50: 2 (June), pp. 1-17....

Posted by DeLong at 03:10 PM

January 01, 1990
J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers (1990), "Price Level `Flexibility' and the Coming of the New Deal: A Response to Sumner," Cato Journal 9: 1 (Winter), pp. 729-735.

J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers (1990), "Price Level `Flexibility' and the Coming of the New Deal: A Response to Sumner," Cato Journal 9: 1 (Winter), pp. 729-735....

Posted by DeLong at 03:04 PM

December 01, 1989
J. Bradford DeLong (1989), "Review of Nicholas Spulber, Managing the American Economy from Roosevelt to Reagan," Journal of Economic History 49:3 (December), pp. 1058-1059.

J. Bradford DeLong (1989), "Review of Nicholas Spulber, Managing the American Economy from Roosevelt to Reagan," Journal of Economic History 49:3 (December), pp. 1058-1059....

Posted by DeLong at 02:59 PM