Sunday , July 5 2020
rosserjb@jmu.edu

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

July 24 Society For Chaos Theory In Psychology And Life Sciences Conference (Continued)

2 days ago

This continues to the final day the schedule for the virtual 30th SCTPLS conference, registration due July 6 at societyforchaostheory.org/2020/conf .Friday, July 248:00-9:30 AMSession AOrlando Gomes, ISCAL, Portugal "Behavioral saving"Yuji Aruka, Chuo University, Japan "The evolution of exchange processes"Akio Matsumoto, Chuo University, Japan "Stability swtiching in Cournot duopoly games with three delays"Session BKarim Cherif, UMMTO, Algeria "Human resource marketing: A new strategy to retain top talent for company"Jose Navarro, University of Barcelona, Spain ‘The rough journey to success: Examining the nonlinear dynamics of processes and performance in teams"Teresa Rebelo, University of Coimbra, Portugal "Does virtuality influence team learning? An analysis with cusp

Read More »

July 23 Society For Chaos Theory In Psychology And Life Sciences Annual Conference (Virtual)

2 days ago

I am currently President-Elect of the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology and Life Sciences (SCTPLS), which means I am in charge of organizing their 30th annual conference. It was to be held this year at the University of Toronto, July 22-24, but it will be a Zoom virtual conference on those dates (first day a workshop). Anyway, the registration deadline is July 6, site to register societyforchaostheory.org/2020/conf . All are welcome.  I list the program for the 23-24 below, for your interest, with the times being those of Toronto, EDT.For this post I just showThursday, July 23:8:00 AM: Welcome, Introduction, and Instructions8:30-10:00 AMSession AMichael Susko, Mindspring.com, Pennsylvania, USA  "Ten pulses of evolution & the logarithmic nature of evolutionary time"Martin D. Pham,

Read More »

Wildly Off Forecasts?

4 days ago

The macroeconomic forecasting business has become quite unhinged in the current situation, with existing models seeming to have their wheels coming off as old relationships simply do not hold and reported data seems unreliable and going in all sorts of directions.  We have already seen this happen regarding forecasts that were made for the May employment numbers, with most forecasters projecting employment declines that would have been more than 10%, some of them by a lot more than that, although none more than 20%. But in the end employment was estimated to have grown by over 2%, a situation of the forecasters simply being wildly wrong.As it is, with the month of June now over and thus the second quarter over, it looks increasingly to me like most of the forecasters have not learned

Read More »

Going Too Far

11 days ago

Unfortunately it was going to happen, and we who support the movement need to call out those instances where it goes too far.  I am talking about the justified Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, mostly characterized by widespread peaceful protests even in small rural towns that never see such things, and with a solid majority of the American people currently supporting both the BLM and its main demands.  As it is, one should probably not tie the BLM to some of these recent unacceptable events, although those engaged in them will justify their actions as being part of the movement. This should not be accepted.OK, the one that has really put me off happened last night at sometime after 10:30 PM in Madison, Wisconsin.  A statue I know well was not only pulled down, but it was decapitated

Read More »

Is The Possible V-Shaped Recovery Flattening As The Second Quarter Comes To An End?

13 days ago

Probably,  although it is unclear whether or not we are having a V-shaped recovery (see most recent post here). However, whatever it is, it looks like the revived spread of the coronavirus is probably slowing it somewhat.  New cases are up by 15% nationally from low point several weeks ago, and there are reports of businesses of various sorts closing, if not whole communities.The pattern of the increase has various aspects:1) It seems to be now more in red states than blue states, with the trend having been toward this since the early days of the pandemic when it first started in major Dem cities in major Dem states, such as Seattle, WA, the Bay Area of CA, and the New York metro area.  Of the states with the most rapid recent increase we have only three that are predominantly Dem: CA,

Read More »

Might There Be A V-Shaped Economic Recovery After All?

18 days ago

Maybe.This is a matter where if it happens, I shall be proven wrong.  I have mostly emphasized how much uncertainty and lack of knowledge we face about the pandemic as well as the economy in this situation, and have as a result largely stayed away from making specific or definite forecasts on those matters.  However, here and in other places on the internet, I have made a lot of forecasts that the time path of GDP is likely to look like a "lazy J" or "whoosh," a pattern of a slow recovery after the very rapid decline, with a possible W if a second wave of the pandemic hits hard.  What I often dismissed, sometimes rather pompously to people who seemed to push it for blind political or ideological reasons was that there might be a rapid bounceback, a V-shaped recovery.  Now that looks like

Read More »

Do BLM Protests Prove No More Pandemic?

19 days ago

It has become a widespread meme that the many protests over the murder of George Floyd and other racially based police brutality will show that it is fine to end all shutdowns related to the pandemic and end all rules about social distancing and wearing face masks.  Here we are reaching two weeks since these protests with thousands of people involved, supposedly all violating those rules, and we are not seeing a surge of Covid-19 cases coming out of the locations where these big protests have happened.Well, it turns out, that while the reports are scattered, apparently at many of the protests many people wear face masks, not only that, there is apparently a lot of trying to keep some distance from each other as well, although based on the performance of nations in East Asia, it is pretty

Read More »

Econospeak And Angry Bear Still On List Of Top Economics Blogs, Now For 2020

20 days ago

Intelligent Economist has again put out its annual list of the top 100 economics blogs, with some new ones and some gone, although two of those were due to retirements, especially the much-missed Economists View of Mark Thoma. Anyway, both Econospeak and Angry Bear are still on the list, the latter in the general category while for whatever reason Econospeak continues to be put in the financial blog category. Oh well, at least they say complimentary things about us (not really "they," but Prateep Agarwal, who seems to be the person making this list).Barkley Rosser

Read More »

Tear Gas Versus Pepper Spray

27 days ago

Or pepper gas.So, AG Barr and Pres. Trump (and also the commander of the US Park Police, I think) have been hotly denying that tear gas was used last Mondy in the attack by the Praetorian Guard on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square.  Various of them have also been claiming that as many as three warnings were issued to the crowd before they attacked and also have claimed that the protesters were throwing things at them and hus were violent rioters.  The latter claims have been denied by nearly all observers, including journalists, although it may have been that perfunctory warnings were issued very quietly so that almost nobody could hear them and that maybe one bottle got thrown.  Barr has also denied giving the order for this attack, laying it on the Park Police chief, and also

Read More »

Jobs Report Not Really All That Surprising

June 5, 2020

I am a bit taken aback at how shocked so many are about the new jobs report showing that net hiring in May was positive.  For regular readers here I have made several posts here noting that the US economy was almost certainly growing, probably for at least a month. The most recent was my one a few days ago on Rising Oil Demand, and an earlier one, where I was vaguer about the US economy, was the one on Rising Carbon Emissions.  It has been clear to me that the US economy hit bottom in terms of output about a month ago, which put it about a month behind the world economy as a whole and two months behind China.  All of this correlates with how the relative patterns of the pandemic have gone, with China a month ahead of most of the world and about two months ahead of the US.  I think it has

Read More »

Has Trump Created A Praetorian Guard In Washington?

June 4, 2020

President Trump has already shown his Orwellian tendencies by giving a speech on Monday in the Rose Garden in which he dcclared his "respect" for peaceful protesters at the very moment that forces ultimately responding to an order by Trump violently attacked peaceful protesters in front of the White House to remove them from Lafayette Square, as well as priests and parishioners from the patio of their St. John’s Church across from the White House.  This attack and removal of the protesters as well as church people allowed Trump to walk across the square fot photo op at the church, holding up a Bible backwards and upside down.  While it has been admitted that ultimately this attack reflected Trump wanting to have this photo op, it remains unclear precisely which federal forces were part of

Read More »

Global Oil Demand Rises

June 4, 2020

Back on April 20 we saw briefly the bizarre appearance of negative oil prices in certain markets. Today for the first time in many months Brent crude briefly topped $40 per barrel, although it fell back below that level (WTI is tending to be about $3 behind it, despite a single day recently when for the first time in years it nearly matched Brent crude at only 18 cents lower). However, it looks like the recent trend of global oil prices rising will continue some more, with prices likely to go above $40 and stay there.  How far beyond that I shall not forecast.  But this is a price level where many oil exporting nations can get out of immediate financial crisis, with many of them actually making money, if not as much as they would with still higher prices.

One element of this price rise

Read More »

Ironies Of Minneapolis

June 1, 2020

In 1944 the Minnesota Democratic Party united with the Farmer-Labor Party to form the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, one of the most progressive state branches of the US Democratic Party.  In 1948 its mayor of Minneapolis, Hubert H. Humphrey introduced at the national convention the resolution supporting civil rights for African-Americans whose acceptance led to a walkout by Strom Thurmond and other Dixiecrats, with Thurmond running for president against Truman.  Humphrey would later become a famously progressive US senator and eventually LBJ’s vice president, which dragged him down due to the Vietnam War.He was succeeded by equally progressive Arthur Naftalin as Minneapolis mayor, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota, who served until 1969.  However,

Read More »

Meanwhile, As Minneapolis Burns

May 30, 2020

So now we are all focused on the recent horrific murder in Minneapolis and now the subsequent events that are happening in many parts of the nation, with Minneapolis the epicenter.  This is serious, and I have idea how it will end.  This has even distracted us from the usual pandemic and economic issues, which are historically serious.But while all this has been going on, just in the past week or so our president has been engaging in a series of serious actions that will have long run serious consequences people are barely aware of if they are not undone.  It is almost as if he is just outright melting down his presidency and taking the nation with him, although we are too busy looking at the flames in Minneapolis to notice.Here is a list without comment. The US will withdraw from the

Read More »

Death And The Pandemic Economy

May 28, 2020

The relation between death and the pandemic economy is a fraught one that has become hotly debated, although with not much clear empirical evidence.  I note that recently over on Econbrowser Menzie Chinn has had a series of posts on this matter in various forms.  Obviously a big issue has been the claim by the anti-lockdown crowd that not reopening the economy quickly will lead to an increase in suicides by the increasingly large numbers of unemployed people out there.  There certainly have been many studies in the past showing a variety of bad social outcomes from high unemployment, including suicides, domestic abuse, drug abuse, depression, and more. There does seem to be some strong evidence of several of these notably higher domestic abuse and depression. When it comes to suicide and

Read More »

More On “Obamagate!”

May 28, 2020

Just three items.1) Today (or yesterday late?) AG William Barr appointed yet another Special Counsel to investigate "Obamagate!" John Bash of the Texas Western District of the DOJ. He has been assigned to investigate the various unmaskings of Michael Flynn that happened between the election of 2016 and Flynn’s interrogation by the FBI after Trump became president in January, 2017. The full absurdity of this is that even Barr in making this assignment recognized that there is nothing illegal about unmasking, not even anything improper.  Nevertheless, he thinks this particular set of unmaskings needs further investigation by the Department of Justice.2) This is really just an extension of the first.  Not only are unmaskings normal and legal, but for the particular telephone calls on Dec. 29

Read More »

“Dr. Doom” At It Again: Predicts 10-Year Depression

May 24, 2020

That would be Nouriel Roubini of NYU who got his moniker back during the Great Recession, which he called pretty well in 2006.  He did this clearly yesterday in an interview in The Intelligencer, although he has been pushing something like this for some time now, bringing in all sorts of things like climate change and more pandemics to reinforce this long run forecasr, although he thinks in a decade there may be a sufficient restrucuting of the economy to improve the situation.  While he mostly does not talk about what should or could be done in the US, he seems to improve of a German type economy where the unemployment rate has risen only 1% in comparison to the massive increase towards 20%  we have sseen in the US.  Of course, Germany has managed the coronavirus much better than has the

Read More »

For The Record About These Ads

May 23, 2020

Yet again I am upset that we are getting ads for Trump here.  I have made an inquiry to a knowledgeable person, and I have not been given a clear explanation for why all these ads are appearing here, with there seeeming to be more and more of them all the time.  I do wish to say that I do not believe any of us are getting  any money for any of this; I certainly am not.  And I wish they would go away.  But I do not know how to do it, and nobody else around here that I have communicated with seems to know either, although I suppose it is possible somebody has done something to let this happen and is getting money.  But if they are, they are covering it up.So, I apologize to one and all who find the ads either annoying or, worse yet, downright offensive, which is how I view the Trump ones.

Read More »

RIP Oliver Williamson

May 22, 2020

Oliver Williamson died yesterday at age 87, I do not know of what. He was famous as the main developer of New Institutional Economics, following the influence of Ronald Coase, which emphasizes the role of transactions costs in the formation and development of economic (and some other) institutions.  He received the Nobel Prize in 2009, along with Elinor Ostrom, but his influence was really quite vast for a man from a working class background, born in Superior, Wisconsin.I checked, and although there may be another one ahead of him, as near as I can tell at his death only one other living economist had more Google Scholar citations. Andrei Shleifer has about 295,000 (h has a problem getting that trip to Stockholm because of his infamous corruption problem involving Russia), while Ollie had

Read More »

Maybe This Is Not (Technically) A Recession?

May 20, 2020

Here I am using what is the journalistic definition of a "recession," also used in many nations although not officially in the US, where these things are determined ex post by an NBER committee.  Anyway, that "journalistic" definition is that there be two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.  Today in the Washington Post I saw a story on global carbon emissions, which are very closedly correlated with GDP, if not perfectly. Anyway, it appears that global carbon emissions hit bottom on April 7 and have been slowly rising since then (not sure about US separately, although US somewhat behind most other nations on the covid curve and so on the economic impact as well). I note that April 7 is one week into the second quarter.This means it is very likely that at the global level we

Read More »

“Obamagate!”

May 17, 2020

I know, I should probably not waste everybody’s time commenting on this nonsense, but the push on it has been masssive, with it seeming to influence a lot of people it should not, so I have decided some pushback is called for, even if those who should see it do not.   I am partly triggered in this by getting defriended on Facebook yesterday by a generally intelligent libertarian academic economist I know who started massively linking to every crackpot pushing this nonsense, and when I pointed out some serious problems with all of it and declared the whole thing to be "insane," I was told that my "TDS was showing" and was defriended.  As far as I am concerned, TDS is people who believe lunatic lies by Trump, showing as a result their own derangement.As part of all this the Trump media push

Read More »

How Likely Is A Second Wave Of SARS-CoV-2?

May 13, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci has testified before a Senate committee that he is worried that there may be a serious "Second Wave" oof the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the United States.  The basis for this fear is the experience over a century ago with the Spanish flu, still deadlier than the current pandemic.  It came in three full waves, and of those the second was easily substantially larger than the other two.  The lag between the first and second was several months, and as of now no nation that has had its first wave essentially ger under control has not had it under control for as long as that gap. So we are not yet in a position to see if this pandemic can or will imitate that former pandcmic.Nevertheless, there is some evidence about the possibility of more immediate, less dramatic, second

Read More »

The 75th Anniversary Of VE Day: Forgettable Or Boring?

May 9, 2020

My wife, Marina, as many of those reading this know, is from the Soviet Union, and takes extremely seriously the anniversary of the victory of the Soviet Union and its allies over Nazi Germany, which became official at 10:45 PM in Berlin on May 8, 1945, which was 12:15 May 9 Moscow time. So, while all of the rest of the world celebrates VE Day on May 8, now in Russia today is Victory Day, as it is called everywhere outside the US, although I just saw a clip from the day itself in London where Winston Churchill declared that what had happened was "Victory in Europe," although while UK did play a minor role in subsequent events in the Pacific, aside from the US for the rest of the allies VE Day was simply Victory Day in Europe.So, yesterday in UK there was a flyover of planes in celebration

Read More »

What Is the Shape Of This Cyclel As A Letter: V, L, W, J, U, Or Maybe A Lazy J or Wiggly W?

May 8, 2020

For some time now it has become commonplace for people to describe business cycles by how they resemble one letter or another, although obviously this amounts to a lot of handwaving. But it does provide bright images.  Thus Trump and crew seem to believe that the US will experience a V recovery, one that will boom up as rapidly as it fell down, so the sooner we can reopen America the sooner he can get that boomy uptrun to guarantee his reelection. Somehow he fails to understand that if he gets it going too soon, the uptrun is more likely to get sideswiped by a serious Second Wave of the coronvirus tht would turn the upturn back into a downturn, making it into a W, or if, as I suspect, given that the douwnturn we have just seen pushing the unemployment rate upo 10% in two months is truly

Read More »

RIP John Horton Conway

May 8, 2020

I am late to issue this RIP as John Horton Conway died on April 11, 2020, having been born in England, Dec. 26, 1937. He died of coovid-19.  I was aware of his death when it happened, but have since become aware of things he did that I did not know about that have pushed me to post this.Conway was one of the world’s best known mathematicians, most famous for creating the Game of Life a half century ago in 1970, which was publicized by Martin Gardner in Scientific American.  It is what I knew of him mostly about, as the canonical cellular automata model that generated simulation modesl capable of generating chaotic and unprredictable emergent outcomes within a Turing complete framework, the sort of thing that goofy complexity theorists like me salivate over.  However, it inspired similar

Read More »

A Very Grey Swan

May 5, 2020

Keynes and Knight famously simultaneously in 1921 identified the concept of fundamental uncerainty as a situation not understandable by using a probability distribution, an idea popularized by Nassim Taleb just as the 2008 crash happened as a "black swan."  Taleb defined white swans as situations describably by Gaussian normal distributions.  For situations not full uncertainty or white swans Taleb coined the idea of "grey swans," situations exhibiting "fat tails" and more generally lots of extreme outcomes, but yet possibly describable by probability distributions allowing more readily extreme outcomes.I think this is what we are dealing with, although I claim no special expertise here.  Indeed, for me the issue is whether or not this current pandemic actually a black swan of fundamental

Read More »

Donald Trump Goes Absolutely Bonkers Over China

May 1, 2020

Yesterday President Trump erupted with a series of demands and threat against China, focusing on various claims about its role in the current pandemic.  I have here noted some issues with China’s conduct, but Trump makes it completely impossible that there will be any of the much-needed cooperation between the US and China to overcome this virus.  He has gone absolutely bonkers.He has now threatened to remove China’s sovereign immunity so people can sue it, with a former lawyer of his organization, George Sorial  now of Berman and Associates, cooking up a class action suit against China; a threat to stop paying interest on US bonds held by China, which he probably will not do because it occurs to him that this default on the US national debt might "damage the sacred standing of the

Read More »

RIP Robert May

May 1, 2020

Robert May died on April 28 at age 84 of unreported causes.  He has been described as "the grandfather of chaos theory," which I think exaggerates, but he was the second person to adopt the term after James Yorke first applied to a porticular type of irregular nonlinear dynamics subject to the "butterfly effect" of sensitive dependence on initial conditions (butterfy effect having been coined by the late Edward Lorenz to climate modeld, a reason we cannot make weather forecasts beyond a week or so usually), well ahead of May’s work.  But May was one one of the most influential people working on chaos theory as well as many other important dynamical issues in a variety of disciplines, including ecology, medicine (he modeled pandemics), as well as economics and finance.From Australia

Read More »

Which Nations Have Most Rapid Rate Of Increase In Deaths Per Million from SARS-Cov-2?

April 29, 2020

As of earlier tody, 4/29/20,. according to "Our World in Data" ourworldindata.org/coronavirus, there are currently nine nations that based on looking at the three-day rolling average, have rates of increase of more than 5 per million per day.  They are in order with their rates:Belgium 15.97
Ireland 10.73
UK 9.2
Spain 9.01
Sweden 8.38
Italy 7.82
France 7.32
USA 6.2
Netherlands 6.13.For what it is worth, many of these are declining, although source only showed this over time for a sub-sample of these (not including Sweden, but including Canada, whose rate of increase is accelerating)..Barkley Rosser

Read More »

The Wide Open Origin Question Regarding SAR-Cov-2

April 25, 2020

More than a century later, we still do not  know the origin of the Spanish flu, with at least three currently scientifically supporte origins out thers: North America (possibly Kansas), China, and British soldiers in France. This will not be resolved.  I suspect that this may become the outcome of the current debate over the origin of our current pandemic.  While mostly this seems to have become a matter of random infection from animals versus an accident in a lab in Wuhan, upon further study this seems more complicates on all sides of this, with crucial data missing forever.  I fear the outcome of this debate will be no more resolved a centuury from now than the matter of the Spanish flu is now.I also note befor proceeding further that this discussion has become highly politically

Read More »