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Barkley Rosser

Barkley Rosser

I remember how loud it was. I was a young Economics undergraduate, and most professors didn’t really slam points home the way Dr. Rosser did. He would bang on the table and throw things around the classroom. Not for the faint of heart, but he definitely kept my attention and made me smile. It is hard to not smile around J. Barkley Rosser, especially when he gets going on economic theory. The passion comes through and encourages you to come along with it in a truly contagious way. After meeting him, it is as if you can just tell that anybody who knows that much and has that much to say deserves your attention.

Articles by Barkley Rosser

Why Did Trump Initially Support The Saudi-UAE Effort To Overthrow Qatar’s Government?

4 days ago

Why Did Trump Initially Support The Saudi-UAE Effort To Overthrow Qatar’s Government?

 One of the more curious things in 2017 in the first year of the Trump presidency was how when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) placed a boycott on Qatar and more directly attempted to overthrow the government of Qatar, President Trump openly supported this effort initially.  He would later be pulled back from this position as his first Secretary of Defense and that of State also after they noted that Qatar hosts the largest US airbase in the Middle East, al-Udeid, from which many operations are carried out, including much of the drone warfare by the US. Less well publicized is that these secretaries also attempted later to get Trump to host a

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Why Did Trump Initially Support The Saudi-UAE Effort To Overthrow Qatar’s Government?

6 days ago

One of the more curious things in 2017 in the first year of the Trump presidency was how when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) placed a boycott on Qatar and more directly attempted to overthrow the government of Qatar, President Trump openly supported this effort initiallly.  He would later be pulled back from this position his first Secretary of Defense and that of State also after they noted that Qatar hosts the largest US air base in the Middle East, al-Udeid, from which many operations are carried out, including much of the drone warfare by the US. Less well publicized is that these secretaries also attempted later to get Trump to host a peace-making summit between the leaders of those three nations and some others in an effort to bring an end to the boycott campaign

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The Vaccination/Infection/Political Divergence Where I Am

7 days ago

The Vaccination/Infection/Political Divergence Where I Am

 In Virginia, cities and counties are separate, not one containing the other as in most of the US. So I live in the City of Harrisonburg, population about 53,000, which is surrounded by Rockingham County, population about 82,000, both in the Shenandoah Valley about 120 miles southwest of Washington.

In the past Harrisonburg, which contains James Madison University, tended to politically almost perfectly mirror statewide voting outcomes.  However, since 2008 essentially it has become solidly liberal Democratic in its voting patterns and who controls the local government. We used to have GOP mayor not long ago, although they were of the moderate “mountain-valley” type who were holdovers

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The Vaccination/Infection/Political Divergence Where I Am

9 days ago

In Virginia, cities and counties are separate, not one containing the other as in most of the US. So I live in the City of Harrisonburg, population about 53,000, which is surrounded by Rockingham County, population about 82,000, both in the Shenandoah Valley about 120 miles southwest of Washington.In the past Harrisonburg, which contains James Madison University, tended to politically almost perfectly mirror statewide voting outcomes.  However, since 2008 essentially it has become solidly liberal Democratic in its voting patterns and who controls the local government. We used to have GOP mayor not long ago, although they were of the moderate "mountain-valley" type who were holdovers from the days of Abe Lincoln, when the valley was fairly anti-slavery, and Lincoln’s father was born in

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Bad News About Iran And Nuclear Deal

10 days ago

Bad News About Iran And Nuclear Deal

 In yesterday’s Washington Post it was reported that there will be no further negotiations between the US and Iran (and other parties) in Vienna over the US and Iran rejoining the JCPOA nuclear agreement that Iran had been adhering to when Donald Trump withdrew the US from it in 2018, then reimposing economic sanctions on Iran, with Iran then starting to violate the agreement in various ways starting a year later.  President Biden had promised to rejoin the agreement as part of his campaign, but negotiations on doing so had bogged down.

It was completely unsurprising that the moderate Iranian President Rouhani would be succeeded by a hardliner, Raisi, who is due to take office next month. Nevertheless, there

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Bad News About Iran And Nuclear Deal

12 days ago

In yesterday’s Washington Post it was reported that there will be no further negotiations between the US and Iran (and other parties) in Vienna over the US and Iran rejoining the JCPOA nuclear agreement that Iran had been adhering to when Donald Trump withdrew the US from it in 2018, then reimposing economic sanctions on Iran, with Iran then starting to violate the agreement in various ways starting a year later.  President Biden had promised to rejoin the agreement as part of his campaign, but negotiations on doing so had bogged down.It was completely unsurprising that the moderate Iranian President Rouhani would be succeeded by a hardliner, Raisi, who is due to take office next month. Nevertheless, there had been reports that Supreme Leader Khamenei in Iran was supporting completing

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Almost Record Heat In Death Valley

15 days ago

Almost Record Heat In Death Valley

 My niece, Erica Werner, is a reporter for the Washington Post.  She long covered heated debates in Congress over economic policy, getting on the front page a lot as during the passing of the Covid relief bill earlier this year. But then she moved to South Pasadena, CA a few months ago for family reasons and disappeared from the WaPo front page.

But there she is on today’s front page and above the fold with a story whose headline reads “Just short of an infernal mark” sub-headline “”; Heat tourists’ marvel even as Death Valley temperature fails to reach world record.” Above the story is a photo of a man taking a photo of a woman pointing to a digital thermometer outside the Furnace Creek Visitor Center reading

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Almost Record Heat In Death Valley

16 days ago

My niece, Erica Werner, is a reporter for the Washington Post.  She long covered heated debates in Congress over economic policy, getting on the front page a lot as during the passing of the Covid relief bill earlier this year. But then she moved to South Pasadena, CA a few months ago for family reasons and disappeared from the WaPo  front page.But there she is on today’s front page and above the fold with a story whose headline reads "Just short of an infernal mark" sub-headline "";Heat tourists’ marvel even as Death Valley temperature fails to reach world record." Above the story is a photo of a man taking a photo of a woman pointing to a digital thermometer outside the Furnace Creek Visitor Center reading 134 F 56 C," which would have indeed been an all time world record high

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The Removal of Robert E. Lee’s Statue from Charlottesville

17 days ago

The Removal of Robert E. Lee’s Statue from Charlottesville

Early this morning the statue of Robert E. Lee was finally removed from a park in the city of Charlottesville.  This issue had brought the awful racist riot on August 17, 2017, which led to Heather Heyer being killed by a racist in a car. A statue of Stonewall Jackson, long located on the city courthouse site, was also removed, as well as later in the day without warning a statue of Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea. The statues are going into city storage with the ultimate destination of these statues still to be determined. The statue of Lee in Richmond remains in place, more seriously in place.  It took a change in Virginia state law in 2020 to allow the City of Charlottesville to remove

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The Removal of Robert E. Lee’s Statue from Charlottesville

17 days ago

Early this morning the statue of Robert E. Lee was finally removed from a park in the city of Charlottesville.  This issue had brought the awful racist riot on August 17, 2017, which led to Heather Heyer being killed by a racist in a car. A statue of Stonewall Jackson, long located on the city courthouse site, was also removed, as well as later in the day without warning a statue of Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea. The statues are going into city storage with the ultimate destination of these statues still to be determined. The statue of Lee in Richmond remains in place, more seriously in place.  It took a change in Virginia state law in 2020 to allow the City of Charlottesville to remove these statues.I note that the statue of Lee in Charlottesville, an impressive piece that I have always

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On The Centennial Of The Chinese Communist Party

22 days ago

On The Centennial Of The Chinese Communist Party, EconoSpeak, Barkley Rosser

July 1, 2021 is now over in China but for a few more moments it is still the centennial of the CCP where I am.  Just a couple of observations.  This is partly driven by seeing multiple posts on Econbrowser by “ltr” praising the CCP and not allowing for even a hint of crirticism.

So indeed there is much to praise in the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) today, with indeed by and large the CCP able to take credit for leading to these outcomes.  These include such widely publicized matters as apparently eliminating deep poverty, having a successful space program that is matching achievements made by the US in the past and is moving into new ones in the future such as a

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On The Centennial Of The Chinese Communist Party

26 days ago

July 1, 2021 is now over in China but for a few more moments it is still the centennial of the CCP where I am.  Just a couple of observations.  This is partly driven by seeing multiple posts on Econbrowser by "ltr" praising the CCP and not allowing for even a hint of crirticism.So indeed there is much to praise in the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) today, with indeed by and large the CCP able to take credit for leading to these outcomes.  These include such widely publicized matters as apparently eliminating deep poverty, having a successful space program that is matching achievements made by the US in the past and is moving into new ones in the future such as a joint moon base with Russia. It also includes developing a substantial solar energy industry, and getting the largest real

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RIP Steve Horwitz

27 days ago

RIP Steve Horwitz

Steven G. Horwitz died the day before yesterday of lymphoma at age 57.  Probably most reading this do not know who he was, but he was somebody I knew quite well, even as I disagreed with him quite a lot about economics. He was arguably the leading monetary economist out of the group of neo-Austrian economists who came out of George Mason University and who have been closely linked to Peter Boettke who is there, arguably the leader of the Hayekian branch of modern Austrian economics. Probably his most influential work was a book he published in 1992, Mometary Evolution, Free Banking and Economic Order. While I have never been a supporter of free banking what I liked about this book was that he clearly based his arguments on Hayek’s

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RIP Steve Horwitz

28 days ago

Steven G. Horwitz died the day before yesterday of lymphoma at age 57.  Probably most reading this do not know who he was, but he was somebody I knew quite well, even as I disagreed with him quite a lot about economics. He was arguably the leading monetary economist out of the group of neo-Austrian economists who came out of George Mason University and who have been closely linked to Peter Boettke who is there, arguably the leader of the Hayekian branch of modern Austrian economics. Probably his most influential work was a book he published in 1992, Mometary Evolution, Free Banking and Economic Order. While I have never been a supporter of free banking what I liked about this book was that he clearly based his arguments on Hayek’s view of economic complexity and how this brought about the

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Will Tether Bring All The Cryptocurrencies Way Down?

June 24, 2021

Will Tether Bring All The Cryptocurrencies Way Down?

 I do not know, but there is a fairly serious argument now out there that this could happen.  It is made by Gennaro at hackermoon.com/tether-and-the-great-crypto-ice-age-115h329k , picked up on by Tyler Cowen on Marginal Revolution without comment. Among those Gennaro cites at least partly supporting his argument is Nassim N. Taleb.

So the argument is that bitcoin and most other major cryptocurrencies are now fundamentally based on stablecoins tied to the US dollar, with claims those stablecoins can be easily traded into dollars.  According to Gennaro, and I do not know if he is right, the various non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies now use stablecoins to trade between each other at low costs,

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Will Tether Bring All The Cryptocurrencies Way Down?

June 23, 2021

I do not know, but there is a fairly serious argument now out there that this could happen.  It is made by Gennaro at hackermoon.com/tether-and-the-great-crypto-ice-age-115h329k , picked up on by Tyler Cowen on Marginal Revolution without comment. Among those Gennaro cites at least partly supporting his argument are Nassim N. Taleb.So the argument is that bitcoin and most other major cryptocurrencies are now fundamentally based on stablecoins tied to the US dollar, with claims those stablecoins can be easily traded into dollars.  According to Gennaro, and I do not know if he is right, the various non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies now use stablecoins to trade between each other at low costs, with these stable coins providing liquidity, but at the cost of a dangerous potential instability.

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The Iranian Presidential Election

June 21, 2021

The Iranian Presidential Election

 The outcome is as expected, a solid victory with 18 out of 28 million votes or so for the hardline winner, Ebrahim Raisi, who is currently head of the Supreme Court.  He was previously Attorney General, ran four years ago for president, and has a long history of being a public prosecutor going back into his 20s (he is now 60). In 1988 he played a role in the killing of about 5,000 prisoners, which led him to be sanctioned from traveling in the US. He has regularly ordered executions, gaining a reputation as a “hanging judge,” although I think they mostly use the electric chair there.  While has run against corruption, there are reports that he is involved in some, and this will probably be used against selected

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The Iranian Presidential Election

June 20, 2021

The outcome is as expected, a solid victory with 18 out of 28 million votes or so for the hardline winner, Ebrahim Raisi, who is currently head of the Supreme Court.  He was previously Attorney General, ran four years ago for president, and has a long history of being a public prosecutor going back into his 20s (he is now 60). In 1988 he played a role in the killing of about 5,000 prisoners, which led him to be sanctioned from traveling in the US. He has regularly ordered executions, gaining a reputation as a "hanging judge," although I think they mostly use the electric chair there.  While has run against corruption, there are reports that he is involved in some, and this will probably be used against selected political opponents. He was clearly the favorite of the supreme leader,

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Bottom Line On The Biden-Putin Summit

June 19, 2021

Bottom Line On The Biden-Putin Summit

 According to Robyn Dixon of the Washington Post on 6/18/21 regarding the outcome of the Buden-Putin summit in Geneva, I shall simply quote directly from what looks to be the bottom line from Putin himself:

Despite a packed European tour schedule, Biden “looked fresh” and was “fully aware of the materials” during the two hours of talks, Putin said:

‘Biden is a professional. One should be very observant when working with him in order not to miss anything. He misses nothing. I can assure you,” he added.

 Barkley Rosser

Tags: Biden-Putin Summit

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Bottom Line On The Biden-Putin Summit

June 19, 2021

According to Robyn Dixon of the Washington Post on 6/18/21 regarding the outcome of the Buden-Putin summit in Geneva, I shall simply quote directly from what looks to be the bottom line from Putin himself:Despite a packed European tour schedule, Biden "looked fresh" and was "fully aware of the materials" during the two hours of talks, Putin said:’Biden is a professional. One should be very observant when working with him in order not to miss anything. He misses nothing. I can assure you," he added. Barkley Rosser

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Why Are Infrastructure Costs So High In The US?

June 17, 2021

Why Are Infrastructure Costs So High In The US?

Sorry, but anybody wanting some simple answer on this one, especially an ideologically neat one, sorry, there is not one, Indeed, on this important issue, there is a large problem, but not remotely a clear answer regarding why there is this large and important problem.

For numbers on this problem, I draw on a Washington Post column yesterday by Catherine Rampell. Here are some of the crucial data. In the early 1930s, just to pick one major infrastructure project, the Oakland-Bay bridge was approved and built within four months.  Yeah, the Great Depression.  But now compared to Europe, where supposedly they have higher labor costs and more regulations, well: a tunnel in Seattle cost three times as

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Why Are Infrastructure Cost So High In The US?

June 17, 2021

Sorry, but anybody wanting some simple answer on this one, especially an ideologically neat one, sorry, there is not one, Indeed, on this important issue, there is a large problem on this, but not remotely a clear answer regarding why there is this large and important problem.For numbers on this problem I draw on a Washington Post column yesterday by Catherine Rampell. Here are some of the crucial data. In the early 1930s, just to pick one major infrastructure project, the Oakland-Bay bridge was approved and built within four months.  Yeah, the Great Depression.  But now compared to Europe, where supposedly they have higher labor costs and more regulations, well: a tunnel in Seattle cost three times as much as one in Paris and seven times as one in Madrid. This is not an oddball, this is

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The Cornwall Paradox

June 15, 2021

The Cornwall Paradox

 The County of Cornwall has been in the news as the site of the G7 summit, just ended. In today’s Washington Post an article “In Cornwall, a jarring contrast of power and poverty,” by Karla Adam and Loveday Morris, a paradox of this visit is highlighted and brought out, indeed, that Cornwall is one of the poorest places in Great Britain, indeed in Northern Europe more generally, but that it is drawing much attention and some money, if not necessarily what it most needs.  

A deep part of this paradox is that Cornwall was probably the part of Britain that got more per capita aid from the EU than any other, certainly as much as any other, due to its poverty, but also was one of the most strongly supportive of Brexit, with much

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The Zhou Enlai Paradox

June 14, 2021

The Zhou Enlai Paradox

A bit over a half century ago when Henry Kissinger was organizing Richard Nixon’s visit to China, he was largely interacting on this matter with Zhou Enlai (Chou-Enlai in Wade-Giles transliteration). He reported that during their negotiations he asked Zhou what he thought of the French Revolution.  Zhou replied that “It is too soon to tell.” This has since been taken as deep insight by Zhou on a deep historical issue, which indeed is still debated, at least in parts of the West. More recent scholarship has decided that probably rather than being Mr. Deep Historical Genius, Zhou was simply commenting on recent current events, most notably the student-worker uprisings in France in 1968, two-three years prior to their

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The Zhou Enlai Paradox

June 14, 2021

A bit over a half century ago when Henry Kissinger was organizing Richard Nixon’s visit to China, he was largely interacting on this matter with Zhou Enlai (Chou-Enlai in Wade-Giles transliteration). He reported that during their negotiations he asked Zhou what he thought of the French Revolution.  Zhou replied that "It is too soon to tell." This has since been taken as deep insight by Zhou on a deep historical issue, which indeed is still debated, at least in parts of the West. More recent scholarship has decided that probably rather than being Mr. Deep Historical Genius, Zhou was simply commenting on recent current events, most notably the student-worker uprisings in France in 1968, two-three years prior to their discussions. According to the Chaguan column in The Economist, 6/5/21,

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The Cornwall Paradox

June 13, 2021

The County of Cornwall has been in the news as the site of the G7 summit, just ended. In today’s Washington Post an article "In Cornwall, a jarring contrast of power and poverty," by Karla Adam and Loveday Morris, a paradox of this visit is highlighted and brought out, indeed, that Cornwall is one of the poorest places in Great Britain, indeed in Northern Europe more generally, but that it is drawing much attention and some money, if not necessarily what it most needs.  A deep part of this paradox is that Cornwall was probably the part of Britain that got more per capita aid from the EU than any other, certainly as much as any other, due to its poverty, but also was one of the most strongly supportive of Brexit, with much of this driven by a dislike of EU fishing regulations, but now

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Global Polls

June 11, 2021

Global Polls

OK, so I think the nations surveyed are biased, but I have now seen two polls with roughly similar polls.  

So Pew, with a larger base and solid credibility has that among foreign nations polls in their nations data set showed an improvement in favorability rating for the POTUS have gone from 17% to 75% give or take a few percents. OTOH, the attitude towards the US among whichever nations Pew polled had the attitude towards the US only rising from 34% to 62%.  Most commentary has this as foreigners now fear that either Trump himself or some clone of his might well become POTUs in the not too far distant future.

In the meantime, I wish the best to the current POTUS on his current trip abroad.

Barkley Rosser

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Global Polls

June 11, 2021

OK, so I think the nations surveyed are biased, but I have now seen two polls with roughly similar polls.  So Pew, with a larger base and solid credibility has that among foreign nations polls in their nations data set showed an improvement in favorability rating for the POTUS have gone from 17% to 75% give or take a few percents. OTOH, the attitude towards the US among whichever nations Pew polled had the attitude towards the US only rising from 34% to 62%.  Most commentary has this as foreigners now fear that either Trump himself or some clone of his might well become POTUs in the not too far distant future.In the meantime, I wish the best to the current POTUS on his current trip abroad.Barkley Rosser

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Treasury Secretary Yellen Achieves A Victory

June 8, 2021

Treasury Secretary Yellen Achieves A Victory

 This is her getting the G-7 finance ministers to agree to a minimum 15% corporate tax. It is easy to sneer at this. Some of the nations involved may not pass it. There are many problems with details, such as whether the tax would be on gross or net income.  There are a lot of nations not in on this agreement, including especially large China.

But currently many large corporations are paying zero anywhere, with this reflecting their ability to shift earnings around from nation to nation.  Frankly, although I have long been a fan of Janet Yellen’s I really did not expect this plan to go anywhere.  There would simply be too much international opposition. But she has pulled off at least the quite

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Treasury Secretary Yellen Achieves A Victory

June 8, 2021

This is her getting the G-7 finance ministers to agree to a minimum 15% corporate tax. It is easy to sneer at this. Some of the nations involved may not pass it. There are many problems with details, such as whether the tax would be on gross or net income.  There are a lot of nations not in on this agreement, including especially large China.But currently many large corporations are paying zero anywhere, with this reflecting their ability to shift earnings around from nation to nation.  Frankly, although I have long been a fan of Janet Yellen’s I really did nor expect this plan to go anywhere.  There would simply be too much international opposition. But she has pulled off at least the quite significant agreement, supported by President Biden. So I would like to recognize this

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