September 6, 2013
August 29, 2013
One of my earliest musical memories is listening to the song “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel playing on a reel-to-reel tape recorder that my father had brought home when I was very young. I am sure that I had heard music before— on the radio at a minimum—but I remember being very struck by the beauty of the song, particularly the harmony of the voices, in a way that I had never been before. I actually trace my interest in music to that particular song and that particular moment.
I was remembering this in the context of a quiet week in Maine, where I have had the chance to do quite a bit of hiking in fairly unfrequented areas. The area around my cottage has also been quite empty during the week, so I have had a chance to listen to considerably more silence than is normally the case. Silence very definitely has a sound of its own, and, as much as I love Jackson, quiet he is not.
August 7, 2013
August 2, 2013
One of my major themes last year was the return of political economy. This is the discipline that Smith and Ricardo, among others, invented, and it was called that because they understood very clearly the relationship between politics and what we now call economics. The notion of considering them independently would have seemed nonsensical.
July 3, 2013
As I prepare to head to Maine to celebrate the Fourth with my family, I’ve been reflecting on a number of my past themes—the place of the U.S. in the world, the structure of the republic, how grateful and lucky I am to live here, and how well positioned we are in the world.
The first thing I want to mention is an excellent New York Times blog post about the meaning of the Battle of Gettysburg, by Allen Guelzo. Briefly, Professor Guelzo makes a strong case that the Civil War, with Gettysburg as the turning point, helped refute the argument that democracies were unstable and could not survive. Given that democracy has become a de facto gold standard for government, the early elimination of the U.S. as an exemplar would have changed the way the world has evolved—for the worse.
July 2, 2013
June 18, 2013
Yesterday, we talked about the big picture and why the longer-term outlook for the U.S. is actually quite bright. I mentioned in passing that there are some shorter-term risks between here and there, and I wanted to spend some time today catching up on those.
The big one in the papers today is China. As you know, I’ve been very concerned about China for a long time. Most recently, I wrote about the decline in wage competitiveness and about some of the risks to the financial system, discussing in both posts the increasingly tense regional security environment in Asia.