Sunday, March 31, 2013

taxes drive immigration to and emigration from California and shrink the middle class and make more poor and idle rich

Ron, Every time I sit down at the computer I have to turn it off because of a thunderstorm or have to go to sleep because of tiredness due to weightlifting or and other exercise. We have gyrated from freezing several days in a row to 80s excessive heat to rain and thunderstorms almost daily. If Rain I go lift weights. If Dry I exercise outdoors. New York has a high tax rate of 8.82% much less than the California top bracket. I wonder how California still has budget problems with a much higher tax rate? Could there be waste? If NY raises their tax rate 1% for millionaires that will raise an average of $20,000 per millionaire for 32,000 filers which is at least $640,000,000 or about a billion dollars. I wonder if somebody making $2,000,000 per year would move out of the state to save $20,000? Maybe they would be better staying and running whatever racket they are running to continue to get $1,980,000 that they would lose to save $20,000! Same response as to California high tax rates. The exodus of the rich has not happened either in California or New York because they get enough breaks already that the tax rate makes little difference, such as Facebook and Hollywood tax breaks in the article below. Similarly the poor will not move because of generous welfare benefits subsidized by taxes paid in states that have a more equal income distribution. Together the rich and poor conspire to take advantage of the working middle class who pay most of the taxes. This drives the middle class to become idle rich or poor to avoid oppressive taxation making the situation even worse and killing the economy that requires workers. Probably those leaving California and New York are the middle classes who get tired of subsidizing their rich and poor neighbors. They are fed up and not taking it any more. By moving they get less smog, less crime, much lower costs, more sunshine, and a better ecosystem and better health elsewhere. Fog and smog filter out the best ultraviolet sun rays. Get clean air or a little altitude and a lower latitude to optimize Vitamin D and cholesterol sulfate production in the skin. Joe http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/nyregion/albany-deal-would-keep-higher-tax-rate-on-top-incomes.html?_r=0 “I think partly there’s some recognition that the level of income inequality has grown, and the level of income inequality has especially grown in places like California and New York,” In New York, the high-tax bracket, with a marginal rate of 8.82 percent, applies to individuals who make more than $1 million and married couples who make more than $2 million, about 32,000 filers. renewal of the top tax bracket could drive the wealthy to leave the state — an assertion that is disputed by some. The business group said that the deal to increase federal taxes brought the combined marginal effective tax rate for New York City’s highest incomes to 54 percent, and that the extension in Albany would only further the state’s reputation for high taxes. “These are highly mobile people that have options and are being solicited daily by governors of Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, Utah — lower-tax states http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/mccain-gop-grand-bargain/2013/03/22/id/495850 The government could reap “tens of billions” of dollars by ending tax breaks for Hollywood and companies such as Facebook Inc. (FB), McCain, 76, said. The social media company went public with $16 billion in deductions to lower future tax bills because of the way current law allows it to value stock options. In many cases, though, executives who receive the options will have to pay taxes on income from them.*‘Special Interests’***“Why are we doing all these things that only benefit the special interests who still have enormous influence here?” McCain said. “Republicans have betrayed our base by allowing this kind of pork-barrel and earmark spending to go on.” The two-year extension of special expensing rules for movie and television productions that Congress enacted in January is estimated to cost only $248 million over 10 years. McCain also mentioned breaks for ethanol; a 45-cent tax credit expired in December 2011 after senators opposed its extension. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, has estimated that reducing corporate deductions for stock options and taxing carried interest as ordinary income rather than as capital gains could help raise at least $200 billion over 10 years. https://sites.google.com/site/kcarmenianchurch/ Hrametsek!Welcome to Kansas City's Armenian Church website [gallery]

taxes drive immigration to and emigration from California and shrink the middle class and make more poor and idle rich

Ron,

Every time I sit down at the computer I have to turn it off because of a thunderstorm or have to go to sleep because of tiredness due to weightlifting or and other exercise. We have gyrated from freezing several days in a row to 80s excessive heat to rain and thunderstorms almost daily. If Rain I go lift weights. If Dry I exercise outdoors.

New York has a high tax rate of 8.82% much less than the California top bracket. I wonder how California still has budget problems with a much higher tax rate? Could there be waste?

If NY raises their tax rate 1% for millionaires that will raise an average of $20,000 per millionaire for 32,000 filers which is at least $640,000,000 or about a billion dollars. I wonder if somebody making $2,000,000 per year would move out of the state to save $20,000? Maybe they would be better staying and running whatever racket they are running to continue to get $1,980,000 that they would lose to save $20,000! Same response as to California high tax rates.

The exodus of the rich has not happened either in California or New York because they get enough breaks already that the tax rate makes little difference, such as Facebook and Hollywood tax breaks in the article below. Similarly the poor will not move because of generous welfare benefits subsidized by taxes paid in states that have a more equal income distribution. Together the rich and poor conspire to take advantage of the working middle class who pay most of the taxes. This drives the middle class to become idle rich or poor to avoid oppressive taxation making the situation even worse and killing the economy that requires workers.

Probably those leaving California and New York are the middle classes who get tired of subsidizing their rich and poor neighbors. They are fed up and not taking it any more. By moving they get less smog, less crime, much lower costs, more sunshine, and a better ecosystem and better health elsewhere. Fog and smog filter out the best ultraviolet sun rays. Get clean air or a little altitude and a lower latitude to optimize Vitamin D and cholesterol sulfate production in the skin.

Joe

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/nyregion/albany-deal-would-keep-higher-tax-rate-on-top-incomes.html?_r=0

“I think partly there’s some recognition that the level of income inequality has grown, and the level of income inequality has especially grown in places like California and New York,” In New York, the high-tax bracket, with a marginal rate of 8.82 percent, applies to individuals who make more than $1 million and married couples who make more than $2 million, about 32,000 filers. renewal of the top tax bracket could drive the wealthy to leave the state — an assertion that is disputed by some. The business group said that the deal to increase federal taxes brought the combined marginal effective tax rate for New York City’s highest incomes to 54 percent, and that the extension in Albany would only further the state’s reputation for high taxes. “These are highly mobile people that have options and are being solicited daily by governors of Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, Utah — lower-tax states

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/mccain-gop-grand-bargain/2013/03/22/id/495850

The government could reap “tens of billions” of dollars by ending tax breaks for Hollywood and companies such as Facebook Inc. (FB), McCain, 76, said. The social media company went public with $16 billion in deductions to lower future tax bills because of the way current law allows it to value stock options. In many cases, though, executives who receive the options will have to pay taxes on income from them.*‘Special Interests’***“Why are we doing all these things that only benefit the special interests who still have enormous influence here?” McCain said. “Republicans have betrayed our base by allowing this kind of pork-barrel and earmark spending to go on.” The two-year extension of special expensing rules for movie and television productions that Congress enacted in January is estimated to cost only $248 million over 10 years. McCain also mentioned breaks for ethanol; a 45-cent tax credit expired in December 2011 after senators opposed its extension. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, has estimated that reducing corporate deductions for stock options and taxing carried interest as ordinary income rather than as capital gains could help raise at least $200 billion over 10 years.

https://sites.google.com/site/kcarmenianchurch/

Hrametsek!Welcome to Kansas City's Armenian Church website

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Live on a Boat in the USA to avoid Pirates in Muslim Seas

Try to send this mail again from 1and1.com My 15 year old hotmail account gave an error message.

Ron,

I agree with you on the problem of pirates which is why I suggested the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific is too bigand no pirates live there. Pirates aremostly in Africa, Middle East, and Indonesia, the worlds largest Muslim country.

I would recommend staying in the USA. Get a trailer and pull your boat to Branson Missouri, Chicago, Green Bay, New York, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco,... or sail to Honolulu. We have lots of good places to dock boats without pirates. Move around to the best weather and opportunities. I lived part time on a sail boat in San Francisco and Silicon Valley and part time in Lake Tahoe. Marinas are often in the most interesting parts of town. Your boat is your home and escape mechanism if SHTF.

Joe

I agree with you and have known persons that lived aboard sailing vessels. One caveat though: "No criminals in the ocean"? Modern day pirates plague the ocean. Many are wanted by Interpol. International waters can be treacherous. I worked aboard a very small commercial Abalone boat for a short time in my youth. At least we had a 9mm pistol. A half dozen or more pirates with AK 47s could just ruin an idyllic afternoon on the ocean.

Ron

Subject: If SHTF then live on a boat in the Pacific Ocean
Sailboats get over 1000 miles per gallon and no traffic jams or collisions! Sail all over the world nearly free!
Eat fish and seaweed!
No criminals in the ocean.
Sell your guns and buy a sailboat.
Used boats are cheap and available everywhere.
Or buy a kit and build one.
Thousands of USA families already live on a boat in the Pacific Ocean.

http://www.maritime-executive.com/piracy-news

PIRACYNEWS

Pakistani Engineer Missing in Nigeria for a Month, Employer Says
Pakistani Engineer Missing in Nigeria for a Month, Employer Says

Read More »

Former NATO Submarine Commander Signs On as New AdvanFort Business Development...
Former NATO Submarine Commander Signs On as New AdvanFort Business Development Manager

Read More »

Sea Marshals Urges Ship Operators to Stay Vigilant in High Risk Area
Sea Marshals Urges Ship Operators to Stay Vigilant in High Risk Area

Read More »

ATTACKSNEWS

* Pakistani Engineer Missing in Nigeria...
* Pirates Kidnap Three In Offshore...
* Piracy & Armed Robbery At Sea -...
* Pirates Are in Full Force This Month
* [UPDATED] Tug Attacked off Nigeria
* Supply Ship Attacked off Nigeria, 2...
* Somali Pirates Appeal Japan Jail...
* Children and Youth in Marine Piracy:...
* ReCAAP: Piracy and Armed Robbery...
* British Cargo Ship Attacked by Pirates...

# More Attacks News » MARITIME SECURITYNEWS

* Former NATO Submarine Commander Signs...
* Sea Marshals Urges Ship Operators to...
* CTF 151 – “Pirate attacks? Not on...
* Royal Navy Warship in Middle East...
* Indonesia To Buy More Russian Jet...
* AdvanFort's New Ocean Security...
* German AVPD Hands Over Protection Of...
* Italy Says India Violating Diplomatic...
* Italy Issues India Travel Warning Over...
* As US Looks Set to Cut Naval Budget,...

# More Maritime Security News »
RELEASESNEWS

* EU Naval Force Warship Ensures Safety...
* Somali Pirates Free Tanker and Crew...
* Six Hostages Freed by Pirates Off...
* Robbed and Released: Pirates Flee with...
* Released MV ICEBERG 1 Hostages Get New...
* Pirates Release 5 Indians Kidnapped in...
* Gunmen Release Hijacked Tanker After...
* ITF Calls on Panama to Help Iceberg 1...
* Somali Pirates Release Syrian Hostages...
* Nigeria: Italian Seamen are Free and...

Live on a Boat in the USA to avoid Pirates in Muslim Seas

Try to send this mail again from 1and1.com My 15 year old hotmail account gave an error message. Ron, I agree with you on the problem of pirates which is why I suggested the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific is too bigand no pirates live there. Pirates aremostly in Africa, Middle East, and Indonesia, the worlds largest Muslim country. I would recommend staying in the USA. Get a trailer and pull your boat to Branson Missouri, Chicago, Green Bay, New York, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco,... or sail to Honolulu. We have lots of good places to dock boats without pirates. Move around to the best weather and opportunities. I lived part time on a sail boat in San Francisco and Silicon Valley and part time in Lake Tahoe. Marinas are often in the most interesting parts of town. Your boat is your home and escape mechanism if SHTF. Joe I agree with you and have known persons that lived aboard sailing vessels. One caveat though: "No criminals in the ocean"? Modern day pirates plague the ocean. Many are wanted by Interpol. International waters can be treacherous. I worked aboard a very small commercial Abalone boat for a short time in my youth. At least we had a 9mm pistol. A half dozen or more pirates with AK 47s could just ruin an idyllic afternoon on the ocean. Ron Sailboats get over 1000 miles per gallon and no traffic jams or collisions! Sail all over the world nearly free! Eat fish and seaweed! No criminals in the ocean. Sell your guns and buy a sailboat. Used boats are cheap and available everywhere. Or buy a kit and build one. Thousands of USA families already live on a boat in the Pacific Ocean. http://www.maritime-executive.com/piracy-news PIRACYNEWS Pakistani Engineer Missing in Nigeria for a Month, Employer Says Pakistani Engineer Missing in Nigeria for a Month, Employer Says Read More » Former NATO Submarine Commander Signs On as New AdvanFort Business Development... Former NATO Submarine Commander Signs On as New AdvanFort Business Development Manager Read More » Sea Marshals Urges Ship Operators to Stay Vigilant in High Risk Area Sea Marshals Urges Ship Operators to Stay Vigilant in High Risk Area Read More » ATTACKSNEWS * Pakistani Engineer Missing in Nigeria... * Pirates Kidnap Three In Offshore... * Piracy & Armed Robbery At Sea -... * Pirates Are in Full Force This Month * [UPDATED] Tug Attacked off Nigeria * Supply Ship Attacked off Nigeria, 2... * Somali Pirates Appeal Japan Jail... * Children and Youth in Marine Piracy:... * ReCAAP: Piracy and Armed Robbery... * British Cargo Ship Attacked by Pirates... # More Attacks News » MARITIME SECURITYNEWS * Former NATO Submarine Commander Signs... * Sea Marshals Urges Ship Operators to... * CTF 151 – “Pirate attacks? Not on... * Royal Navy Warship in Middle East... * Indonesia To Buy More Russian Jet... * AdvanFort's New Ocean Security... * German AVPD Hands Over Protection Of... * Italy Says India Violating Diplomatic... * Italy Issues India Travel Warning Over... * As US Looks Set to Cut Naval Budget,... # More Maritime Security News » RELEASESNEWS * EU Naval Force Warship Ensures Safety... * Somali Pirates Free Tanker and Crew... * Six Hostages Freed by Pirates Off... * Robbed and Released: Pirates Flee with... * Released MV ICEBERG 1 Hostages Get New... * Pirates Release 5 Indians Kidnapped in... * Gunmen Release Hijacked Tanker After... * ITF Calls on Panama to Help Iceberg 1... * Somali Pirates Release Syrian Hostages... * Nigeria: Italian Seamen are Free and... [gallery]

idea funding UCB. make my own old-fashioned paper books?

Ron, Anybody with a good idea should write it up in a blog and maybe paper too. For-Profit and non-profit organizations can help. The article below gets me to think I could make my own paper books. This UC Berkeley grad makes electronic books for google as a day job but also runs a profitable hobby of paper book publishing. Videos on youtube make it look easy. I can do the writing, typing andbook building. I just now realize I can do the binding part. I likethe old fashioned dot matrix printers too. They really slammedcharacters hard onto the paper. I like cotton high quality paper forhigh quality writing. More beautiful and ergononomic too--reducespaper cuts. Much easier to read and flip thru than any computer or e-reader. Most importantly, can control circulation and intellectual property rights. Joe http://alumni.berkeley.edu/news/california-magazine/spring-2013-growing/bind In a Bind Matt Werner talks about the politics of hand-binding his book. Berkeley alumni are a prolific bunch. They all have something to say, and many are moved to put it in writing. What is unusual is to not only publish your own book but to print it yourself, bind it by hand, and cart it to the bookstores on your own. Add in that the author/publisher has a day job at Google, and we think you’ll agree that Matt Werner ‘07 is unusual even for a Berkeley grad. We caught up with Matt via email to ask him a few questions about why, and how, he released his book—Oakland in Popular Memory, a collection of interviews with Oakland artists—the hard way. Why did you—as a Google employee involved in ebook publishing—choose to publish Oakland in Popular Memory as a printed book? Printing today has now become a political statement, and with my books, I don’t think you get the full experience reading the digital version. By printing and hand-binding the books myself, I want to give people a reason to buy the physical copy. Because I put my sweat into the printed copies—making the individually numbered copies by hand in Berkeley using 100% cotton paper—you get something special and personalized, which is hard to replicate in the digital format. However, with digital publishing you can create more interactive content, like what Push Pop Press did with iBooks. You can have people zoom in and zoom out on images, watch videos, and have a rich media experience while reading the book. But I don’t think these devices will replace the printed book. People have a special relationship with books as physical objects that can’t currently be replicated in a digital format. This includes marginalia, and large-scale foldouts and visualizations. It’s hard to replicate that experience on a phone or tablet. How did your background influence your decision to start Thought Publishing and to self-publish your first three books? I was fortunate as a student at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco to be one of the first students to take writing classes from Dave Eggers and Michael Chabon at 826 Valencia, Eggers’s writing nonprofit. And I was also fortunate as an undergrad studying English at Cal to have Professor Julia Bader sponsor my independent study, where I’d go to McSweeney’s Publishing in the Mission District every Friday and pick up writing and editing assignments for McSweeney’s publications. At that time, the entire publishing house consisted of a tiny room packed with quirky editors. You’d get to it by climbing up a ladder behind the pirate supply store at 826 Valencia Street. This experience with 826 and McSweeney’s gave me skills in editing, design, and layout using Adobe InDesign, and it also showed me that I could run a publishing house on my own. So I took over a high school friend’s small, independent publishing house called Thought Publishing in 2010, and I’ve been publishing a book a year since, outside of my work at Google. Could you elaborate on the process of printing and hand-binding the book? When I was an undergrad at Cal, I worked at the Bancroft Library. If we wanted something to last a long time, we printed it on 100% cotton, archival-quality paper. Today the trend in publishing is to mass-produce books as cheaply as possible. However, if you’re printing books on newsprint, you aren’t giving people a good reason to buy the physical book over the digital copy. I used six cartons of Strathmore Pure Cotton ultra-white paper, similar to what people use to print Ph.D. dissertations or resumes. Because I was able to cut costs by using family resources for printing and binding, paper was the one area where I splurged. I negotiated a great deal for 30,000 sheets of some of the finest paper money can buy, through the Xpedx Paper Store in Berkeley before it closed. My cousin Sean Kelly spent years remanufacturing toner cartridges, and he currently tests printer cartridges in Sacramento. His warehouse is full of printers. When I went out there, he pulled toner cartridges out of the trash and was able to make a working cartridge out of two or three broken ones. I’d then print as many pages as I could off that cartridge, then give it to my cousin to swap out whatever needed to be fixed for me to keep printing. After printing the 30,000 sheets on both sides, I then took the boxes of manuscripts to my uncle Jim Kelly’s (who got a bachelor’s in physics at Cal in the late ’60s) book binding shop, Saddle Point Systems on 9th Street in Berkeley. My uncle sells the same binding equipment that many copy shops in Berkeley use to bind course readers. I also used his foil printers to print the covers and spines with silver foil. How do you sell and promote your books? I fundraised for my last two books by running successful Kickstarter campaigns. Funds from these campaigns went to pay my editors, illustrator, cover art designer, ebook conversion on oDesk, and to pay for my modest marketing budget. I used Adobe InDesign to do the design and layout for the books. I sell them online through Fulfillment by Amazon, the Google Play Store, and ThoughtPublishing.org. And I also sell quite a few books at local events such as Oakland’s First Friday Art Murmur. For publicity, I use Eva Zimmerman, Rick Steves’s publicist. I met her at The Albatross in late 2011 at a Berkeley classmate’s birthday party. I asked her if she’d be willing to help publicize Oakland in Popular Memory with a very limited marketing budget. She agreed, and helped me get placement in The Huffington Post, among other publications. I leveraged this publicity to approach Bay Area independent bookstores to take my books on consignment. Oakland in Popular Memory is now at over a dozen local bookstores, and I warehouse my extra books at my parents’ house near the Claremont Hotel. On weekends, I ride my bike to different stores with books in my backpack, and I check to see if the stores need any restocking. I get great exercise and the opportunity to chat with some of the most knowledgeable people about publishing today—bookstore owners. The danger is, once I collect my royalties in-store, I may be tempted to purchase a book they recommend. They know my book preferences better than Amazon’s recommendations. What is the political statement you’re making by printing your books? I’ve self-published my writing because I want to have creative control over it and to distribute it how I like. Currently, my format of choice is the old-fashioned printed book, but I am flexible as I evaluate the best format for my next book, Graduating During the Recession. Given my intended audience of recent college grads, the rich media content in the book, and the proliferation of e-reading devices, I may consider publishing that book straight to digital. Many trade magazines are mourning the “death of print,” similar to when Nas said “hip hop is dead” in 2006. However, neither print nor hip hop is dead. Yes, they’re undergoing deep transformations, but they are by no means gone. Current publishing models just aren’t effectively meeting many readers’ needs and expectations. The political statement in my print-first self-publishing model is to reduce the distance between the producer and consumer. I’ve tried to connect directly with my readers by printing and binding my books by hand. In addition, Kickstarter.com has enabled me to do a subscription model, where people donate money to my book project in return for a copy of the book; this helps me gauge interest in the book before I print it. Where many industries want to scale, replicate, and cut costs in all ways possible, I’ve paradoxically found that by sparing no expense and printing on arguably the most expensive paper money can buy, I’ve given my work value as a handmade object—and unlike many large, corporate publishing houses today, Thought Publishing is profitable. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBSUHbyf7Ss&w=420&h=315] http://www.kickstarter.com/hello?ref=homepage What is Kickstarter? Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects. We’re a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of people like you. Since our launch in 2009, more than 3.7 million people have pledged over $545 million, funding more than 38,000 creative projects. Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now. Each project is independently created. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control over and responsibility for their projects. Kickstarter is a platform and a resource; we’re not involved in the development of the projects themselves. Anyone can launch a project on Kickstarter as long as it meets our guidelines. Together, creators and backers make projects happen. Project creators set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing — projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money. All-or-nothing funding might seem scary, but it’s amazingly effective in creating momentum and rallying people around an idea. To date, an impressive 44% of projects have reached their funding goals. Creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not to profit financially. Instead, project creators offer rewards to thank backers for their support. Backers of an effort to make a book or film, for example, often get a copy of the finished work. A bigger pledge to a film project might get you into the premiere — or a private screening for you and your friends. One artist raised funds to create a wall installation, then gave pieces of it to her backers when the exhibit ended. Creative works were funded this way for centuries. Mozart, Beethoven, Whitman, Twain, and other artists funded works in similar ways — not just with help from large patrons, but by soliciting money from smaller patrons, often called subscribers. In return for their support, these subscribers might have received an early copy or special edition of the work. Kickstarter is an extension of this model, turbocharged by the web. “ The most democratic way art has ever been made.” — Stephen Heleker, who raised $21,000 for his short film “Smoke” Backing a project is more than just giving someone money. It’s supporting their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world. People rally around their friends’ projects, fans support people they admire, and others simply come to Kickstarter to be inspired by new ideas. It is not uncommon for projects, particularly complex ones, to take longer than anticipated. But creators who are transparent about issues and delays usually find their backers to be understanding. Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life. We’re a for-profit company based in New York City’s Lower East Side. We spend our time making Kickstarter a little bit better every day, answering questions from backers and creators, and finding new projects to share. If a project is successfully funded, we apply a 5% fee to the funds collected. We believe that creative projects make for a better world, and we’re thrilled to help support new ones. After 35,000+ successfully funded projects, we know that building a community of backers around an idea is an amazing way to make something new.

idea funding UCB. make my own old-fashioned paper books?

Ron,

Anybody with a good idea should write it up in a blog and maybe paper too. For-Profit and non-profit organizations can help.
The article below gets me to think I could make my own paper books. This UC Berkeley grad makes electronic books for google as a day job but also runs a profitable hobby of paper book publishing.
Videos on youtube make it look easy.
I can do the writing, typing andbook building.
I just now realize I can do the binding part.
I likethe old fashioned dot matrix printers too.
They really slammedcharacters hard onto the paper.
I like cotton high quality paper forhigh quality writing.
More beautiful and ergononomic too--reducespaper cuts.
Much easier to read and flip thru than any computer or e-reader. Most importantly, can control circulation and intellectual property rights.

Joe

http://alumni.berkeley.edu/news/california-magazine/spring-2013-growing/bind

In a Bind

Matt Werner talks about the politics of hand-binding his book.

Berkeley alumni are a prolific bunch. They all have something to say, and many are moved to put it in writing. What is unusual is to not only publish your own book but to print it yourself, bind it by hand, and cart it to the bookstores on your own. Add in that the
author/publisher has a day job at Google, and we think you’ll agree that Matt Werner ‘07 is unusual even for a Berkeley grad. We caught up with Matt via email to ask him a few questions about why, and how, he released his book—Oakland in Popular Memory, a collection of interviews with Oakland artists—the hard way.

Why did you—as a Google employee involved in ebook publishing—choose to publish Oakland in Popular Memory as a printed book?

Printing today has now become a political statement, and with my books, I don’t think you get the full experience reading the digital version. By printing and hand-binding the books myself, I want to give people a reason to buy the physical copy. Because I put my sweat into the printed copies—making the individually numbered copies by hand in Berkeley using 100% cotton paper—you get something special and personalized, which is hard to replicate in the digital format. However, with digital publishing you can create more interactive content, like what Push Pop Press did with iBooks. You can have people zoom in and zoom out on images, watch videos, and have a rich media experience while reading the book.

But I don’t think these devices will replace the printed book. People have a special relationship with books as physical objects that can’t currently be replicated in a digital format. This includes marginalia, and large-scale foldouts and visualizations. It’s hard to replicate that experience on a phone or tablet.

How did your background influence your decision to start Thought Publishing and to self-publish your first three books?

I was fortunate as a student at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco to be one of the first students to take writing classes from Dave Eggers and Michael Chabon at 826 Valencia, Eggers’s writing nonprofit. And I was also fortunate as an undergrad studying English at Cal to have Professor Julia Bader sponsor my independent study, where I’d go to McSweeney’s Publishing in the Mission District every Friday and pick up writing and editing assignments for McSweeney’s publications. At that time, the entire publishing house consisted of a tiny room packed with quirky editors. You’d get to it by climbing up a ladder behind the pirate supply store at 826 Valencia Street. This experience with 826 and McSweeney’s gave me skills in editing, design, and layout using Adobe InDesign, and it also showed me that I could run a publishing house on my own. So I took over a high school friend’s small, independent publishing house called Thought Publishing in 2010, and I’ve been publishing a book a year since, outside of my work at Google.

Could you elaborate on the process of printing and hand-binding the book?

When I was an undergrad at Cal, I worked at the Bancroft Library. If we wanted something to last a long time, we printed it on 100% cotton, archival-quality paper. Today the trend in publishing is to
mass-produce books as cheaply as possible. However, if you’re printing books on newsprint, you aren’t giving people a good reason to buy the physical book over the digital copy.

I used six cartons of Strathmore Pure Cotton ultra-white paper, similar to what people use to print Ph.D. dissertations or resumes. Because I was able to cut costs by using family resources for printing and binding, paper was the one area where I splurged. I negotiated a great deal for 30,000 sheets of some of the finest paper money can buy, through the Xpedx Paper Store in Berkeley before it closed.

My cousin Sean Kelly spent years remanufacturing toner cartridges, and he currently tests printer cartridges in Sacramento. His warehouse is full of printers. When I went out there, he pulled toner cartridges out of the trash and was able to make a working cartridge out of two or three broken ones. I’d then print as many pages as I could off that cartridge, then give it to my cousin to swap out whatever needed to be fixed for me to keep printing.

After printing the 30,000 sheets on both sides, I then took the boxes of manuscripts to my uncle Jim Kelly’s (who got a bachelor’s in physics at Cal in the late ’60s) book binding shop, Saddle Point Systems on 9th Street in Berkeley. My uncle sells the same binding equipment that many copy shops in Berkeley use to bind course readers. I also used his foil printers to print the covers and spines with silver foil.

How do you sell and promote your books?

I fundraised for my last two books by running successful Kickstarter campaigns. Funds from these campaigns went to pay my editors, illustrator, cover art designer, ebook conversion on oDesk, and to pay for my modest marketing budget. I used Adobe InDesign to do the design and layout for the books. I sell them online through Fulfillment by Amazon, the Google Play Store, and ThoughtPublishing.org. And I also sell quite a few books at local events such as Oakland’s First Friday Art Murmur.

For publicity, I use Eva Zimmerman, Rick Steves’s publicist. I met her at The Albatross in late 2011 at a Berkeley classmate’s birthday party. I asked her if she’d be willing to help publicize Oakland in Popular Memory with a very limited marketing budget. She agreed, and helped me get placement in The Huffington Post, among other
publications. I leveraged this publicity to approach Bay Area independent bookstores to take my books on consignment.

Oakland in Popular Memory is now at over a dozen local bookstores, and I warehouse my extra books at my parents’ house near the Claremont Hotel. On weekends, I ride my bike to different stores with books in my backpack, and I check to see if the stores need any restocking. I get great exercise and the opportunity to chat with some of the most knowledgeable people about publishing today—bookstore owners. The danger is, once I collect my royalties in-store, I may be tempted to purchase a book they recommend. They know my book preferences better than Amazon’s recommendations.

What is the political statement you’re making by printing your books?

I’ve self-published my writing because I want to have creative control over it and to distribute it how I like. Currently, my format of choice is the old-fashioned printed book, but I am flexible as I evaluate the best format for my next book, Graduating During the Recession. Given my intended audience of recent college grads, the rich media content in the book, and the proliferation of e-reading devices, I may consider publishing that book straight to digital.

Many trade magazines are mourning the “death of print,” similar to when Nas said “hip hop is dead” in 2006. However, neither print nor hip hop is dead. Yes, they’re undergoing deep transformations, but they are by no means gone. Current publishing models just aren’t effectively meeting many readers’ needs and expectations.

The political statement in my print-first self-publishing model is to reduce the distance between the producer and consumer. I’ve tried to connect directly with my readers by printing and binding my books by hand. In addition, Kickstarter.com has enabled me to do a subscription model, where people donate money to my book project in return for a copy of the book; this helps me gauge interest in the book before I print it.

Where many industries want to scale, replicate, and cut costs in all ways possible, I’ve paradoxically found that by sparing no expense and printing on arguably the most expensive paper money can buy, I’ve given my work value as a handmade object—and unlike many large, corporate publishing houses today, Thought Publishing is profitable.

http://www.kickstarter.com/hello?ref=homepage

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects.

We’re a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of people like you. Since our launch in 2009, more than 3.7 million people have pledged over $545 million, funding more than 38,000 creative projects. Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now.

Each project is independently created.

The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control over and responsibility for their projects. Kickstarter is a platform and a resource; we’re not involved in the development of the projects themselves. Anyone can launch a project on Kickstarter as long as it meets our guidelines.

Together, creators and backers make projects happen.

Project creators set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing — projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money. All-or-nothing funding might seem scary, but it’s amazingly effective in creating momentum and rallying people around an idea. To date, an impressive 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.

Creators keep 100% ownership of their work.

Backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not to profit financially. Instead, project creators offer rewards to thank backers for their support. Backers of an effort to make a book or film, for example, often get a copy of the finished work. A bigger pledge to a film project might get you into the premiere — or a private screening for you and your friends. One artist raised funds to create a wall installation, then gave pieces of it to her backers when the exhibit ended.

Creative works were funded this way for centuries.

Mozart, Beethoven, Whitman, Twain, and other artists funded works in similar ways — not just with help from large patrons, but by soliciting money from smaller patrons, often called subscribers. In return for their support, these subscribers might have received an early copy or special edition of the work. Kickstarter is an extension of this model, turbocharged by the web.

“ The most democratic way art has ever been made.”

— Stephen Heleker, who raised $21,000 for his short film “Smoke”

Backing a project is more than just giving someone money.

It’s supporting their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world. People rally around their friends’ projects, fans support people they admire, and others simply come to Kickstarter to be inspired by new ideas. It is not uncommon for projects, particularly complex ones, to take longer than anticipated. But creators who are transparent about issues and delays usually find their backers to be understanding.

Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life.

We’re a for-profit company based in New York City’s Lower East Side. We spend our time making Kickstarter a little bit better every day, answering questions from backers and creators, and finding new projects to share. If a project is successfully funded, we apply a 5% fee to the funds collected.

We believe that creative projects make for a better world, and we’re thrilled to help support new ones. After 35,000+ successfully funded projects, we know that building a community of backers around an idea is an amazing way to make something new.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Brad DeLong : Why Does Gavyn Davies Think "The Fed’s exit [from extraordinary accomodation] will be gradual and difficult"?

I've seen a lot of statements like this flying around, and what it comes down to is that the people who don't understand the process of easing and exiting assume it will be difficult. What they really mean is that it is difficult for them to understand the process. It just sounds better to say the process is difficult than today the process is difficult for them to understand.

via Brad DeLong : Why Does Gavyn Davies Think "The Fed’s exit [from extraordinary accomodation] will be gradual and difficult"?.

If SHTF then live on a boat in the Pacific Ocean

Sailboats get over 1000 miles per gallon and no traffic jams or collisions! Sail all over the world nearly free! Eat fish and seaweed! No criminals in the ocean. Sell your guns and buy a sailboat. Used boats are cheap and available everywhere. Or buy a kit and build one. Thousands of USA families already live on a boat in the Pacific Ocean.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkaH_UUH0Ek?list=PLC4410B2302C05146&w=560&h=315]

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

rich 1% bankers avoid taxes. Retire in Puerto Rico paradise

Here is where your bailout tax money is going to. So they don't have to pay either state or federal income tax but are still in the USA. Spend winters in Puerto Rico and summers in cool San Francisco. This news is from the New York Times so I guess it is right.


Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, but for tax purposes, it is treated differently. Most residents of Puerto Rico, with the exception of federal employees, already pay no federal income tax. A person needs to live 183 days a year on the island to become a legal resident.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/puerto-rico-creates-tax-shelters-in-appeal-to-the-rich/

Known for its white-sand beaches and killer rums, Puerto Rico hopes to stake a new claim: tax haven for the wealthy.

Since the beginning of the year, the island has gone on a campaign to promote tax incentives that took effect last year, marketing its beautiful beaches, private schools and bargain costs in an effort to lure well-heeled hedge fund managers and business executives to its shores.

So far, Puerto Rico’s pitch has attracted a handful of under-the-radar millionaires. Several American executives of mostly smaller financial firms say they have already relocated to the island, and Puerto Rican officials say another 40 persons, mostly from the United States, have applied.

The new tax breaks are a radical shift in that they focus on financial, legal and other services, not manufacturing. Puerto Rico slashed taxes on interest and dividends to zero from 33 percent, and it lowered taxes on capital gains, a major source of income for hedge fund managers, to zero to 10 percent.

The incentives work with existing United States breaks. While residents still have to file a federal tax return, they do not have to pay capital gains taxes of 15 percent on assets held before moving and sold after 10 years of island residency.

Because of its new aggressive tax breaks, Puerto Rico is a supercharged version of Florida, which does not tax individuals on ordinary income.

“discretion to billionaires is important,” she said multiple individuals had recently looked at the 8,379-square-foot penthouse in the Acquamarina in the chic Condado neighborhood of San Juan. The $5 million condo has underground parking and a panoramic view of the ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows, and is near luxury boutiques like Cartier, Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton. It’s like being in the best part of Manhattan,”
[gallery]

rich 1% bankers avoid taxes. Retire in Puerto Rico paradise

Here is where your bailout tax money is going to. So they don't have to pay either state or federal income tax but are still in the USA. Spend winters in Puerto Rico and summers in cool San Francisco. This news is from the New York Times so I guess it is right. Joe Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, but for tax purposes, it is treated differently. Most residents of Puerto Rico, with the exception of federal employees,already pay no federal income tax. A person needs to live 183 days a year on the island to become a legal resident. http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/puerto-rico-creates-tax-shelters-in-appeal-to-the-rich/ Known for its white-sand beaches and killer rums, Puerto Rico hopes to stake a new claim: tax haven for the wealthy. Since the beginning of the year, the island has gone on a campaign to promote tax incentives that took effect last year, marketing its beautiful beaches, private schools and bargain costs in an effort to lure well-heeled hedge fund managers and business executives to its shores. So far, Puerto Rico’s pitch has attracted a handful of under-the-radar millionaires. Several American executives of mostly smaller financial firms say they have already relocated to the island, and Puerto Rican officials say another 40 persons, mostly from the United States, have applied. The new tax breaks are a radical shift in that they focus on financial, legal and other services, not manufacturing. Puerto Rico slashed taxes on interest and dividends to zero from 33 percent, and it lowered taxes on capital gains, a major source of income for hedge fund managers, to zero to 10 percent. The incentives work with existing United States breaks. While residents still have to file a federal tax return, they do not have to pay capital gains taxes of 15 percent on assets held before moving and sold after 10 years of island residency. Because of its new aggressive tax breaks, Puerto Rico is a supercharged version of Florida, which does not tax individuals on ordinary income. “discretion to billionaires is important,” she said multiple individuals had recently looked at the 8,379-square-foot penthouse in the Acquamarina in the chic Condado neighborhood of San Juan. The $5 million condo has underground parking and a panoramic view of the ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows, and is near luxury boutiques like Cartier, Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton. It’s like being in the best part of Manhattan,”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

tony lawson 3 book reviews. and why nobody ever heard of him.

I would probably want to write for a mainstream high rank journal out of the 1117 at http://ideas.repec.org/top/top.journals.recurse.html so it does not get lost and may get read. Maybe even if it requires moving to Chicago and living in a slum to talk to editors and referees for years to convince them. Tony Lawson mentioned in his interview that he rarely goes to the major meetings or gives many seminars (unless somebody pays him). Probably that is why nobody heard of him. There is more audience in the USA. Some people commented similarly on Amazon.com reviews below. Rather than saying math is irrelevant and a distraction I would point out exactly how the models are wrong mathematically going through encyclopedically model-by-model (I found a book by UCB math Smale in Reno library 1997 that was clearer than what I had found in Economics started me thinking alternatively). Lawson probably needs to get more specific on this. I got excited when I read Lawson has a pure math degree which is the kind of math I think is needed and is easier and clearer than the applied math mess usually encountered. I also agree with Gintis and many other that computable agent-based modeling is probably the way forward (I wrote such a model in 1980 after thinking of it thru the 1970s). And I may discuss one reason why the models wrong -- what social classes benefit from the erroneous math and exactly why using detailed USA institutional history. Joe http://www.amazon.com/Ontology-Economics-Routledge-Advances-Heterodox/dp/0415546494 Ontology and Economics: Tony Lawson and His Critics (Routledge Advances in Heterodox Economics) This original book brings together some of the world's leading critics of economics orthodoxy to debate Lawson's contribution to the economics literature. The debate centres on ontology, which means enquiry into the nature of what exists, and in this collection scholars such as Bruce Caldwell, John Davis and Geoffrey Hodgson present their thoughtful criticisms of Lawson's work while Lawson himself presents his reactions. Of course many social scientists disagree with him, but Lawson’s arguments are so powerful that few economists now feel that his case can be ignored. Bringing Lawson head-to-head with eleven of his most capable critics, this is a book of intellectual drama. More than that, it is a collection of fine minds interacting with each other and being changed by the process. This book is particularly useful for students and researchers concerned primarily with methodology and future development of economics. It is also relevant to the concerns of philosophers of science and to all social scientists interested in methodological issues. "Tony Lawson is famous for being the most powerful and effective critic of mainstream economics. His criticism is made more effective by the fact that he has an alternative conception of economics and indeed the rest of the social sciences, a conception deriving from his ontological theorising. This volume gives eleven important writers from a variety of fields and points of view within economics a chance to appraise Lawson's work; and with his replies the reader gets a deeper sense of Lawson's point of view and achievement." John Searle, Slusser Professor of Philosophy, University of California at Berkeley "Over the past 15 years, Tony Lawson's prosecution of a programme to establish a field of social ontology has inspired leading post-positivist economists to think anew about the ends, means, and possibilities of economics as a social science. Much constructive dialogue and debate has been generated and Ontology and Economics chronicles and extends these probing dialogues. Lawson's fans and critics, and first-timers looking for a colourful snapshot of the realist movement in contemporary economics, will find this an immensely rewarding read." Rob Garnett, Texas Christian University, USA "This collection of essays between Tony Lawson and his critics is an important contribution to the ongoing critical discourse on ontology, realism and heterodox economics. While the critics do have their say, Lawson's responses convincingly demonstrate that his project in social ontology not only makes a significant contribution to heterodox economics but also is indispensable for its future development." Frederic S. Lee, Professor of Economics, University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA About the Author Edward Fullbrook is the founder and editor of the Real-World Economics Review and a research fellow in the School of Economics at the University of the West of England. Herbert Gintis (U Mass Amherst): This book, which consists of brief critiques of Tony Lawson, a professor of economics at Cambridge University, by eleven economists, along with replies to each by Lawson, is part of the Routledge Press series "Advances in Heterodox Economics." Heterodox economists generally agree that mainstream economics enjoys an unwarranted degree of legitimacy, power, resources, and political influence. Indeed, the top economic journals are all more or less "mainstream." Moreover, although the journals are not ideologically rigid, they generally agree on what constitutes publishable economic research, and this covers an extremely narrow range compared to some other disciplines, including sociology and political science. Finally, this narrowness is not deserved in terms of the explanatory power of the theory they espouse. Many articles in the journals run by heterodox economists are superior to many articles in the most prestigious of the mainstream journals. I think it is fair to say that not only Lawson, but all of his critics in this volume are more or less firmly attached to the heterodoxy camp. This does not lessen the value of their critiques, several of which are extremely insightful in pointing out and analyzing key weaknesses in Lawson's opus. The only substantive distortion arising from this within-group parry-and-thrust is the strong tendency of participants, and especially the editor, --- vastly to overstate Lawson's presence in the economics profession. ---- "Tony Lawson has become a major figure of intellectual controversy...Lawson's arguments are so powerful that few economists now feel that his case can be ignored." (overleaf). The truth is exactly the contrary: in my experience, most economists neither know of Lawson's critique nor are the impressed with this critique when it is presented to them (e.g., by students). Having suggested as much in a critique of Lawson several years ago, I am accused in this book of being a "defender of the status quo" who resorts to "hurling personal abuse at [Lawson]." (p.7). A more monster misrepresentation of my position in the economics profession would be difficult to imagine; I have been considered an enemy of the received wisdom in economics throughout my career. It is true that I have been critical of the general tendency of the "heterodox economists" to set up an alternative set of journals and to ignore the mainstream by simply talking to one another and complaining about being frozen out of the big time. My personal attitude is that there is only one truth, and we must do the research necessary to convince "mainstream" economists that we deserve to be published. In this sense, I am "homodox" rather than heterodox. The heterodox position tends to be that the mainstream is ideologically biased and closed to new ideas, but this is true only of a fraction of mainstream economists. I am convinced that if my ideas are rejected by major economics journals, the error is mine, not the editors and reviewers of the journals. My evidence is the breathtaking rate at which such fields as experimental economics and neuroeconomics have been represented in the top journals, and the extent to which relatively innovatory journals, such as the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the Journal of Economic Perspectives, have increased in readership and citation popularity in recent years. This does not mean that there is no substance to the ideas that the reigning orthodoxy is too narrow, and that there are likely to be great gains from recognizing the limitations and biases of this orthodoxy. However, as I argue in my book The Bounds of Reason (Princeton, 2009), overcoming these weaknesses is likely to require more formal modeling, analytical, agent-based, and other, rather than the less formal modeling preferred by Lawson. Lawson's economics is all philosophical critique and hence fails to present a viable alternative. Scientists---not just in economics but in all areas of natural and behavioral science---do not care about methodology. Rather, they uniformly adhere to the notion that the only effective critique is a superior alternative. Every smart, young, economist who goes the way of reading Wittgenstein and Popper, and whining about the shortcomings of traditional methodology, rather than rolling up his or her sleeves and tackling the weaknesses of mainstream theory with superior alternatives is, to my mind, another creative possibility lost. This is not, of course, an argument against being well-read in philosophy; rather it is an argument against thinking a philosophical critique is an alternative to the status quo. http://www.amazon.com/Reorienting-Economics-Social-Theory/dp/0415253365/ref=la_B001H6WSU6_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1364353680&sr=1-2 Reorienting Economics (Economics as Social Theory) This eagerly anticipated new book from Tony Lawson contends that economics can profit from a more explicit concern with ontology (enquiry into the nature of existence) than has been its custom. By admitting that economics is not exactly a picture of health at the moment, Lawson hopes that we can move away from the bafflingly intransigent belief that economics is at its core reliant upon mathematical modelling. This maths-envy is the reason why economics is in a state of such disarray. Far from being a polemic against the mainstream, this excellent new book is concerned that if economics is to be saved from itself then there must be a realistic dialogue between the classical heterodox fields. Of interest to philosophers, sociologists and social scientists as well as economists, this comprehensive, logical book is a vital contribution to an important debate. Lawson's systematic philosophical work on the reorientation of economics warrants a careful reading by any economist, heterodox or mainstream, who takes seriously the intellectual responsibility for the scientific viability the discipline. –Paul D. Bush, California State University, Fresno By Herbert Gintis (Northampton, MA USA) I finished reading Lawson's first book a few days ago, Economics and Reality. I did not have much sympathy with his argument (see my review), but when I saw that there was a new volume coming out, some seven years later, I purchased it to see what progress had been made on forging an alternative to mainstream economics. The answer is simple: none. This book is simply a rewrite of his earlier book, with several journal articles appended as chapters. The fact is that the twin ideas of ontological commitment and critical thinking are simply generalities that have no possiblity of generating a research program. Lawson will appeal to people who (a) don't like math; (b) have a vague idea that there must be something better than contemporary capitalism, but they don't quite know what; (c) believe that superficial description, when suitably enveloped in philosophical jargon, becomes deep (critical realism, ontology, consciousness, human subjectivity, etc.) Lawson's assertion that there is something wrong with contemporary mainstream economics has no intellectual basis at all. He notes that undergrads are not majoring in economics (not true, except perhaps in a couple of countries), that French students critique their curriculum, and mainstream economists sometimes gripe about the discipline. Economics is not a popularity contest for undergraduates. Economics is quite imperfect, and there is lots of room for complaining. But Lawson wouldn't know success in economics if it smacked him in the face, because he never deals in the least with modern economics. Nothing on classical game theory. Nothing on evolutionary game theory. Nothing on experimental economics. Nothing (more) on econometrics. The economics of the period 1950-1975, which he continues to take for all of economics, has been mightily succesful, and more than half of economists are employed (at good salaries) applying it in industry and government. Perhaps their employees are also completely deluded. Perhaps they should hire economists who understand ontology. But I doubt it. Lawson is the height of blandness. He doesn't say economics should be an art rather than a science. He doesn't say that mainstream economists are evil or self-serving. He doesn't claim that mainstream economics is an ideological apology for capitalism, patriarchy, or materialism. He simply says that mainstream economics ignores methodology, and hence can't be sufficiently scientific. The problem is that scientists never care much about methodology. The great economists (like great physicists, geologists, et al.) learn a very simple set of messages concerning how research is done, and then they do it. It doesn't require extended training. Philosophers who think they can preach to scientists how they should ply their trade are profoundly wrong. Philosophy is wonderful, but not when it tries to tell scientists how to do their work. It is really sad, to me, that something this shoddy could get the rave blurbs it does, from people who should know better. I am, frankly mystified. The simplest explanation is that Lawson has a small but loyal following, and he is preaching to the choir. I will get lots of "unhelpful" votes for this review, but I've never seen an naked emperor without exclaiming his lack of suitable attire. ------ I must say that I was quite surprised to read Herbert Gintis's negative review of Tony Lawson's recent book Reorienting Economics (2003) on this website. Especially puzzling is Gintis's impression that the book is simply a rewrite of Lawson's earlier book Economics and Reality (1997) with no new material added. I simply cannot explain how Gintis could have missed so much I found in the book that is new. The only possible explanation is that he must have an edition different from my own; perhaps the one he bought in the US does not have the same content as the one I bought in the UK when the book first came out. So let me tell the readers of this Amazon reaction line about all of the new material that was in my version of Lawson's book. Let's see: The new book extends Lawson's original ontological analysis (distinguishing among different forms of closed systems, as well as including a transcendental deduction of his conception of social reality) and an account of contrast explanation (tying it in with dialectical reasoning). The book covers such new ground as the role of metaphor in social theorizing, the nature and utility of evolutionary economics, the possibility of borrowing from Biology, the relevance to social theorizing of mimetics, the nature of economics itself, and whether it can qualify as a separate social science. It also provides a lucid account of the current heterodox traditions, careful to identify what constitutes them as heterodox and also what distinguishes them from each other. In that regard, I think that Lawson makes a reasonable attempt at resolving what has been perceived by some as incoherence within Post Keynesianism. Moreover, he indicates ways in which tensions within Feminist projects of epistemology and emancipation might be overcome. The latter analysis includes a novel interpretation and defense of feminist "standpoint theorizing" as well as a contribution assessing the nature of what he calls "sustainable emancipatory projects." Further, in addressing the project of (old) Institutionalism, Lawson makes, in my opinion, a major contribution to the interpretation of Thorstein Veblen. There were things there that I just had never realized before in my reading of Veblen. And further still, the book contains what I consider to be a very significant contribution to the history of formalistic economics (presented in the form of an illustration of Lawson's extremely important and novel model of evolutionary change elaborated in an earlier chapter). As far as I can tell, the coverage and exposition of these issues are entirely new to Reorienting Economics. So let me warn those of you who plan to purchase Lawson's latest book (and I do encourage you to do so): make sure that you get the one that I did, and not the one purchased by Gintis. Mine has all the new stuff; he should ask for his money back! By S. Fleetwood (Lancaster University, UK) - Thousands of books have been written since the mid 20th century dedicated to exploring orthodox or mainstream economics. Little more than a handful of these books have reflected upon the philosophical and methodological underpinnings of economics. The result is not only that orthodox economics has marginalised heterodox alternatives and come to dominate economics departments in universities around the world, but also the impression has been created that discussion of philosophy and methodology is simply a wasteful distraction from `doing' economics. Orthodox economics has not benefited from this splendid isolation: quite the opposite. The absence of serious criticism has allowed a body of economic theory to develop that has extremely weak predictive, explanatory and descriptive power. Indeed orthodox economics may well have become the 21st century equivalent of the flat earth theory - something, incidentally, that many (astute) non-economists have known for a long time. Occasionally, however, books come along that are not afraid to say `the Emperor has no clothes.' Tony Lawson's Reorienting Economics (significantly advancing the ideas of Economics and Reality) says just this. Because iconoclastic books like this challenge deeply ingrained habits of thought, they instil some people with a sense of anxiety, and are often dismissed with a range of rhetorical devices - especially in book reviews where cheap, and often superficial, shots can be passed off as good coin. The author is accused, variously, of failing to understand the technicalities of the subject, misunderstanding theorist X, failing to discuss theory Y or approach Z and so on. This seems to be the unfortunate response of some of the reviewers of Lawsons' books. No doubt Lawson does not understand everything, or everyone, and he certainly does not discuss every theory, theorist, or approach: but then again, who does. What makes Lawson's work stand out is that he introduces the issue of ontology to the subject matter of economics. Ontology is the study of being; of the fundamental structure or components of a domain of reality; of the general kinds of things that exist. Lawson's books are concerned to elaborate the basic structure of the socio-economic domain specifically. His purpose is to draw out the implications of ontological theorising for all other forms of social theorising, including economics. This, however, is not how orthodox economists proceed. Instead, they start with a kind of `off the shelf' fixed set of (mathematical) tools and simply presume, quite unreflexively, that it will be everywhere appropriate to socio-economic analysis. Lawson's argument is as clear as it is bold: this particular tool box is mostly inappropriate for investigating the socio-economic world and is certainly not of universal validity. Researchers in economics, typically, end up with a set of tools that predict, explain, and describe little or nothing about the way real (as opposed to fictitious) socio-economic practices actually work. In Reorienting Economics Lawson urges us not to follow orthodoxy. Instead, he encourages us to embrace ontological investigation, that is, to proceed by enquiring into the way socio-economic reality is. And here economists have much to learn from other disciplines outside of economics - Lawson, in fact, refers to his oeuvre as `social theory.' We should strive to include in our tool box all those techniques that have the potential for uncovering, illuminating and explaining socio-economic phenomena. Following the path sketched in Lawson's books does not mean that we merely describe reality, but it does mean that we have to take the process of abstraction very seriously. Indeed Lawson is careful to differentiate legitimate abstraction from the illegitimate process of making knowingly false assumptions for no other purpose than making possible the deduction of outcomes from initial conditions. There is, of course, no guarantee that following Lawson's suggestions will lead to a solid understanding of socio-economic practices - there is an awful lot of work to be done to get from ontology to theory and practice. Yet the orthodox route, proceeding as it does on the basis of knowingly fictitious theories and models of reality, seems as the outset, doomed to fail. If you suspect that orthodox economics lacks predictive, explanatory, and descriptive power, if you are interested in why this might be the case, and if you are interested in joining those heterodox economists engaged in the search for a plausible alternative, then Reorienting Economics (and Economics and Reality) should be By Leonidas Montes (Santiago, Chile) Lawson's new book has been the object of a rather unfair criticism, ie, that 'there is nothing new, creative, original, innovative or novel in his latest book'. I do not agree with this judgement as I see 'Reorienting Economics' as part of a process that began with 'Economics and Reality'. Although Lawson relies on the main foundations of what is known as 'critical realism', there are many original contributions in his new book, and even amendments of certain issues that reflect evolution of Lawson's thought. This is part of an intellectual process that does not show signs of stagnation at all, on the contrary, it evolves. Instead of pointing out some of these changes, and what seems to me the obvious (and apparent) novelties of the book (which any potential reader might simply corroborate contrasting the contents of both books), I would like to reflect on a deeper issue, which is extremely relevant to understand Lawson's intentions. When he insists that Economics is not in a very healthy situation, I believe that Lawson has a point worth considering. There is nothing wrong with the predominance of one method of doing economics, what has been labelled as 'mainstream economics'. But when this stance is systematically enforced, with no regard to other disciplines, we are facing a different story. Some movements and reactions at different universities in their Economics Faculties (including Harvard and Cambridge) are a simple reflection of this reality. Economics is an offspring of political economy. Currently its teaching has lost political economy's multidicisplinary character. Today Economics has become a discipline that could be worshipped as the mother of social sciences. Those devout and pious economist know what to do. In that sense I believe Lawson raises an important issue pointing out that Economics has sacrificed reality for the sake of formal modelling. Of course there has always been a divide between 'orthodox' and 'heterodox' economists. But today this is not merely a political stance, it is simply on how economists approach economics. The former have a clear approach which emphasises standard micro, macro, econometrics plus all the necessary mathematical tools. But mathematics can become the method, a master that can slave Economics and its original realtionship with human reality. Then we face a problem. The latter group includes institutionalists, historians of economic thought, behaviour and experimental economists, etc. Pluralism is a healthy situation in any intellectual discipline, therefore Lawson's attempt to recover what Economics is all about, is a very welcome contribution. By Rajani K. Kanth "soothsayer" Tony makes an important argument in this work, and one that bears repeating: that, put plainly, and in rank simplification, mainstream economics serves to mask (socio-economic) reality if only in its very ignorance of it. The best check to the pretensions of this pseudo-science is, therefore, Reality itself, perhaps even more than elaborate theoretical critiques. Radicals and socialists may well chafe at the simpliste nature of the Argument but nonetheless it is a powerful argument, even more potent for being quite irrefutable. Now the Realist Argument is not the only Argument to make, nor is it the Last Argument of its genre, nor is it entirely an original argument in the history of the sciences, but it is of import in this neo-classical / neo-liberal world which takes it methodology (when aware of such things at all) from Friedman's notorious irrealist critique of yesteryear which blithely scoffed at realism as a non-issue. Whilst these hegemons may never read, or understand , Tony's book the knowledgeable few amongst even their ilk (and they do exist) will know that their metatheoretical hegemony is not quite complete. And, in this age of their triumphal Unilateralism, even such brand of minimalism may well be worthy of consideration. I am not saying that Tony's work will feed the hungry, empower women, and/or save the rain-forest, which I would personally consider far more worthy as far as ideals go: but we are speaking here of economics as it lives in the Ivory Tower (more specifically , the Ivy League Tower) where argument and debate are the tools of the trade. In that rarefied world, Tony is about the only one making the Realist argument seriously and nobody, frankly, does it better. I would, therefore, unreservedly recommend his work to any one interested in a realist methodology for the sciences. His Cambridge Realist Seminar has attracted the attention of many scholars , even from the Mainstream: and his new book will carry that Conversation even further. I suspect that even those whose ire is easily aroused by the Realist use of the Oh-So-very-Un-Anglo-Saxonish terms like 'ontology' may yet, upon fair reflection, grant that philosophy and method are legitimate fields for debate, even in a discipline that portrays itself rather vainly (in a double sense!) as a natural science. The arena of theoretical struggles has, necessarily, many corners, cusps, and corridors and we would be rash to privilege some and scorn others. Guru of the Economic Flat Earthers There are cracks in the foundation and the neoclassicists are getting nervous. The twin pillars of modern economic theory, "infinite economic growth" and "infinite substitutability of resources", have shown to be untenable positions that lack historical and empirical foundations. Mainstream economists dazzle each other with byzantine hyper-complex mathematical models that have become disconnected from real-world variables. Neoclasical economists have now become vulnerable to research showing economic activity inextricably linked to much larger ecological patterns. The notion of "economic growth" when viewed in the context of thermodynamic energy flow and population ecology now shows a pattern of expanding resource depletion not "growth" in any sort of true economic sense. What is viewed by mainstream economists as growth is the increase in market availability provided by population growth which in turn relies on ever increasing amounts of the two most critical resources-water and oil. There are no viable substitutes for either of these. Once the tremendous energy inputs resulting from the transition to hydrocarbon fuels are factored into econometric models along with the externalization of industrial waste to the commons we now see that what has been modeled as growth is in reality decay. The large-scale energy inputs gained during industrialization are subject to the process of diminished marginal utility and are steadily being lost over time. When combined with the unfactored costs of cleaning up industrial waste along with other unfactored variables associated with urbanization it is now becoming apparent that there has been no growth only a steady accumulation of material goods within a miniscule community which in turn is embedded in the much broader pattern of geometrically-increasing natural resource consumption. Lawson and other are finally exposing the myths of modern neoclassical economics as nothing more than an ideological rationalization of mindless selfish consumption. Lawson(L) has written a book which covers the same material and makes exactly the same arguments as in his previous books and journal articles.There is nothing new,creative,original,innovative or novel in his latest book. L has said it all many times before.Any potential buyer of this book will find the constant repetition unsatisfying. L emulates Paul Davidson and G L S Shackle by saying the same thing over and over again. Again,we are told that the economic and/or social world is open,nonergodic and inorganic due to the fact of constant change over time .Lawson is only partly correct. This change is primarily brought on by technological innovation and advance over time that introduces "irregular regularity",to use Joseph Schumpeter's description of this process,into the social world.This means that the phenomenon studied by economists and other social scientists is a mixed bag that is partly ergodic,partly nonergodic;partly organic,partly inorganic;partly open,partly closed.Lawson is partly incorrect.The particular mixture that is occurring at any particular point in time is sometimes clear and sometimes unclear.However, it is very clear,at least to J M Keynes but not to L, that the problem of sufficient long run investment in long lived durable capital goods(factories,plants,machinery,computer hardware and software)has been (and will continue to be in the distant future) a CONSTANT problem throughout time.The uncertainty of the information base upon which probabilities (primarily intervals for Keynes) are formed and calculated is a CONSTANT problem for decision makers. Given the fact that the problem of technological obsolescence ,in the face of technological change ,is a CONSTANT problem that repeats either irregularly or regularly through time,Keynes has all the elements needed to come up with a general theory that will be applicable over time. Given these constants,involuntary unemployment will constantly be occurring ,to a greater or lesser degree,and reoccurring as the amount of spending on fixed investment exhibits its unstable,volatile,"unpredictable"pattern throughout time.Only on p. 42 of his book does L vaguely appear to recognize this: "And many patterns appear and disappear only later to reappear,,,".Of course,this is precisely Schumpeter's point,as it was also for Keynes and currently for Benoit Mandelbrot. Finally, L is simply ignorant of the basic nature of Keynesian probabilities. Keynesian probabilities are primarily intervals.The only case where such probabilities could not be specified would be in the case of complete and total ignorance(total uncertainty).L's brief comments about Keynes's approach to probability (pp.173-176) are a caricature of Keynes's theory. L still accepts the erroneous reviews of Keynes's approach to probability made in 1922 and in 1926 by F Ramsey.Nowhere in this book does L operationalize any of the "new" verbiage and terminology he "introduces". He presents no clearcut analysis showing HOW he(and/or assorted post keynesians/cambridge keynesians) has improved in any area of economic or public policy application that has not already been explicitly or implicitly discussed by J M Keynes. --------------------------------------------------- http://www.amazon.com/Economics-Reality-Social-Theory/dp/0415154219 'No reality please. We're economists'. There is a wide spread belief that modern economics is irrelevant to the understanding of the real world. In a controversial and original study, Tony Lawson argues that the root of this irrelevance is in the failure of economists to find methods and tools which are appropriate for the social world it addresses. Supporting his argument with a wide range of examples, Tony Lawson offers a provocative account of why economics has gone wrong and how it can be put back on track. Tony Lawson's book is extraordinarily interesting and profound. Surely his work will help to shape the economics of the twenty-first century. Economists of all schools are in his debt. –Mario Rizzo, New York University In Economics and Reality, Tony Lawson presents his carefully thought out position on the practice of economics. Even those who disagree with his conclusions will benefit from considering and having to respond to his arguments. –Warren Samuels, Michigan State University Economics and Reality is an important, ambitious, and radical work. It will make a valuable addition to the growing body of dissent from orthodox conceptions of economics to which this Journal is a major contributor. ...Lawson's book is an exemplary study of the disastrous consequences of shackling an investigative project to a misguided and simplistic conception of what it is to be scientific. –International Association for Feminist Economics For me the book is very good. I do not take it as a show-off of erudition but as a thorough explanation of why recognition of subject and context matter if we are to address problems more meaningfully. The authors goes into indicating a `broad criteria and strategy', as giving a recipe is not consistent with critical realism, the philosophy of social science proposed as appropriate to move on to leaving a traditional lack of sense in much economic research. Those readers that are suspicious of the methodological foundations of modern economics will definitely find a lot of interesting material in Lawson's book. There is no doubt that Lawson's work (which is a product of more than 10 years of research at Cambridge) is deep and raises fundamental questions. One big problem, however, is that the book assumes that the reader has a substantial amount of knowledge about philosophy of science and this is surely not the case as far as the "representative" economist is concerned. Too bad. Lawson's message deserves to be made available to a larger audience. This would only be accomplished, however, if Lawson had chosen to cut the amount of philosophical blah-blah-blah and give more direct to the point examples of what he has in mind. He preferred to demonstrate his erudition, though. There are two claims made, either implicitly or explicitly,by critical realists (Lawson,Hodgson,Runde,Fleetwood,etc.)in general, and by Lawson specifically in this book,that are simply incorrect. The first claim is that J M Keynes was a critical realist. Keynes was an early logical empiricist upon whom R.Carnap based his formal Logical Empiricism. All of the major points made by Keynes in the A Treatise on Probability(1921;TP)-the importance of intuition,a priori reasoning, Kant's synthetic a priori,the logical theory of probability,the weight of the evidence(argument),the equal importance of experience and reason in making decisions, the principle of indifference, the special nature of frequency theories of probability versus the generality of the logical approach to probability,were all upheld in Carnap's 1969 defense of his philosophy. Carnap got one thing,and only one thing, wrong. He,like so many others,fell for the canards spread by F Ramsey ,in his 1922 and 1926 book reviews of Keynes's TP, that Keynesian probabilities were "nonnumerical" and "nonmeasurable"(Lawson is a prime example of the "so many others"). He failed to recognize that Keynes's basic approach to probability estimation was interval valued.In general,probabilities are indeterminate or imprecise or indefinite intervals which have a lower and an upper bound. Nowhere in his book ,or in any other book written by any other critical realist or economist, is the above connection noted or even alluded to in a footnote. This ignorance about the basic nature of Keynes's philosophy calls into question the accuracy and reliability of practically every statement made by Lawson about Keynes ,not only in this book,but in the entire corpus of Lawson's published writings. The second error of both Lawson and his fellow critical realists is the explicit and/or implicit claim that Keynes did not provide a general theory of employment in his 1936 work,The General Theory of Employment,Interest and Money(GT). This claim is the result of the pervasive mathematical illiteracy,ineptness and innumeracy prevalent among critical realists(institutionalists,post keynesians,cambridge keynesians). The following summary of the technical aspects of Keynes's GT can be duplicated by any reader,economist or critical realist included, of this review who knows how to integrate(take the antiderivative of)derivatives.First,go to the pages of the GT where Keynes presents derivatives.These pages are pp.55-56, ft.2, pp. 280-286(chapter 20), pp.304-306(chapter 21), pp.271-278(chapter 19),and pp.114-117,126 (chapter 10;Keynes's definition that Y=PO on p.209 refers back to chapter 10 and the Y-multiplier model. The other pages listed above all refer to Keynes's D-Z model). Keynes's expected aggregate supply function Z(Z1+Z2)=g(N)=P +wN,where P equals expected profit,w equals the money wage,and N equals aggregate employment. Keynes's expected aggregate demand function D(D1+D2)=f(N)=pO,where p is the expected price level of aggregate output and O,real output,is a function of N.Keynes has just specified an aggregate production function(p.283,GT).The actual or current aggregate demand function is Y(=C+I)=PO=bY+(1-b)Y,where b is the marginal propensity to spend on consumption goods(mpc), 1-b is the marginal propensity to spend on investment goods(mpi),and Y is a function of N.P,in the context of the Y-multiplier model,is equal to the actual price level of aggregate output.Setting D=Z,one obtains the aggregate supply CURVE,a locus of all possible expected prices and expected profits. Assuming that Say's Law holds,set the elasticity at the bottom of p.116 of the GT equal to the elasticity at the bottom of p.283 of the GT.The following result is obtained: w/p = mpl/(mpc+mpi),where w/p equals the expected real wage and mpl equals the marginal product of labor.If,and only if,mpc+mpi=1 will the classical and neoclassical labor market clearing equilibrium condition ,needed to obtain an optimal result,occur.There will be no involuntary unemployment,only voluntary and frictional unemployment.If mpc+mpi is < 1,involuntary unemployment will occur since as (mpc+mpi) falls,the ratio on the RHS will rise.To maintain the equality requires that the money wage rises or that the money wage rises by more than the price level.The LHS ratio must rise.This simply means that labor as a whole can do nothing in this situation to LOWER the money wage ,since this would violate the necessary first order condition for optimality THAT THE W/P = MPL.Obviously,government(public)goods,export goods,and import goods can be divided into consumption and investment goods,in which case Keynes's general optimality condition does not need to be expanded.It can ,of course ,be expanded in the following way.Let mpg,mpe,and mpm equal the marginal propensities to spend on public goods,exports,and imports.Keynes's general theory would then be summarized and read as follows:w/p=mpl/(mpc+mpi+mpg+mpe-mpm).Unless mpc +mpi+mpg+mpe-mpm=1,involuntary unemployment will occur.Finally,the strange objections made by Richard Kahn and Joan and Austin Robinson that Keynes ignored imperfect competition are easily met by multiplying the LHS(w/p) by the elasticity 1-[1/(Es)]and the RHS by the elasticity 1+[1/Ed].Until Lawson and/or his fellow critical realists deal correctly with Keynes's philosophy,approach to probability , and his general theory of employment, important side issues, like the proper role that methodological considerations should play in economics if it is to become a science,the misuse of econometrics(addiction to the normal probability distribution),the relative importance of a particular set of evolving labor ,political,social,financial and economic institutions over time, etc., will offer no challenge to the reigning neoclassical school at all.

tony lawson 3 book reviews. and why nobody ever heard of him.

Klaus,

I would probably want to write for a mainstream high rank journal out of the 1117 at http://ideas.repec.org/top/top.journals.recurse.html so it does not get lost and may get read. Maybe even if it requires moving to Chicago and living in a slum to talk to editors and referees for years to convince them. Tony Lawson mentioned in his interview that he rarely goes to the major meetings or gives many seminars (unless somebody pays him). Probably that is why nobody heard of him. There is more audience in the USA. Some people commented similarly on Amazon.com reviews below. Rather than saying math is irrelevant and a distraction I would point out exactly how the models are wrong mathematically going through encyclopedically model-by-model (I found a book by UCB math Smale in Reno library 1997 that was clearer than what I had found in Economics started me thinking alternatively). Lawson probably needs to get more specific on this. I got excited when I read Lawson has a pure math degree which is the kind of math I think is needed and is easier and clearer than the applied math mess usually encountered. I also agree with Gintis and many other that computable agent-based modeling is probably the way forward (I wrote such a model in 1980 after thinking of it thru the 1970s). And I may discuss one reason why the models wrong -- what social classes benefit from the erroneous math and exactly why using detailed USA
institutional history.

Joe

http://www.amazon.com/Ontology-Economics-Routledge-Advances-Heterodox/dp/0415546494

Ontology and Economics: Tony Lawson and His Critics (Routledge Advances in Heterodox Economics)

This original book brings together some of the world's leading critics of economics orthodoxy to debate Lawson's contribution to the economics literature. The debate centres on ontology, which means enquiry into the nature of what exists, and in this collection scholars such as Bruce Caldwell, John Davis and Geoffrey Hodgson present their thoughtful criticisms of Lawson's work while Lawson himself presents his reactions. Of course many social scientists disagree with him, but Lawson’s arguments are so powerful that few economists now feel that his case can be ignored. Bringing Lawson head-to-head with eleven of his most capable critics, this is a book of intellectual drama. More than that, it is a collection of fine minds interacting with each other and being changed by the process.

This book is particularly useful for students and researchers concerned primarily with methodology and future development of economics. It is also relevant to the concerns of philosophers of science and to all social scientists interested in methodological issues.

"Tony Lawson is famous for being the most powerful and effective critic of mainstream economics. His criticism is made more effective by the fact that he has an alternative conception of economics and indeed the rest of the social sciences, a conception deriving from his ontological theorising. This volume gives eleven important writers from a variety of fields and points of view within economics a chance to appraise Lawson's work; and with his replies the reader gets a deeper sense of Lawson's point of view and achievement." John Searle, Slusser Professor of Philosophy, University of California at Berkeley

"Over the past 15 years, Tony Lawson's prosecution of a programme to establish a field of social ontology has inspired leading
post-positivist economists to think anew about the ends, means, and possibilities of economics as a social science. Much constructive dialogue and debate has been generated and Ontology and Economics chronicles and extends these probing dialogues. Lawson's fans and critics, and first-timers looking for a colourful snapshot of the realist movement in contemporary economics, will find this an immensely rewarding read." Rob Garnett, Texas Christian University, USA

"This collection of essays between Tony Lawson and his critics is an important contribution to the ongoing critical discourse on ontology, realism and heterodox economics. While the critics do have their say, Lawson's responses convincingly demonstrate that his project in social ontology not only makes a significant contribution to heterodox economics but also is indispensable for its future development." Frederic S. Lee, Professor of Economics, University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA

About the Author Edward Fullbrook is the founder and editor of the Real-World Economics Review and a research fellow in the School of Economics at the University of the West of England.

Herbert Gintis (U Mass Amherst): This book, which consists of brief critiques of Tony Lawson, a professor of economics at Cambridge University, by eleven economists, along with replies to each by Lawson, is part of the Routledge Press series "Advances in Heterodox Economics." Heterodox economists generally agree that mainstream economics enjoys an unwarranted degree of legitimacy, power, resources, and political influence. Indeed, the top economic journals are all more or less "mainstream." Moreover, although the journals are not ideologically rigid, they generally agree on what constitutes publishable economic research, and this covers an extremely narrow range compared to some other disciplines, including sociology and political science. Finally, this narrowness is not deserved in terms of the explanatory power of the theory they espouse. Many articles in the journals run by heterodox economists are superior to many articles in the most prestigious of the mainstream journals.

I think it is fair to say that not only Lawson, but all of his critics in this volume are more or less firmly attached to the heterodoxy camp. This does not lessen the value of their critiques, several of which are extremely insightful in pointing out and analyzing key weaknesses in Lawson's opus. The only substantive distortion arising from this within-group parry-and-thrust is the strong tendency of participants, and especially the editor, --- vastly to overstate Lawson's presence in the economics profession. ---- "Tony Lawson has become a major figure of intellectual controversy...Lawson's arguments are so powerful that few economists now feel that his case can be ignored." (overleaf). The truth is exactly the contrary: in my experience, most economists neither know of Lawson's critique nor are the impressed with this critique when it is presented to them (e.g., by students). Having suggested as much in a critique of Lawson several years ago, I am accused in this book of being a "defender of the status quo" who resorts to "hurling personal abuse at [Lawson]." (p.7). A more monster misrepresentation of my position in the economics profession would be difficult to imagine; I have been considered an enemy of the received wisdom in economics throughout my career.

It is true that I have been critical of the general tendency of the "heterodox economists" to set up an alternative set of journals and to ignore the mainstream by simply talking to one another and complaining about being frozen out of the big time. My personal attitude is that there is only one truth, and we must do the research necessary to convince "mainstream" economists that we deserve to be published. In this sense, I am "homodox" rather than heterodox. The heterodox position tends to be that the mainstream is ideologically biased and closed to new ideas, but this is true only of a fraction of mainstream economists. I am convinced that if my ideas are rejected by major economics journals, the error is mine, not the editors and reviewers of the journals. My evidence is the breathtaking rate at which such fields as experimental economics and neuroeconomics have been represented in the top journals, and the extent to which relatively innovatory journals, such as the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the Journal of Economic Perspectives, have increased in readership and citation popularity in recent years.

This does not mean that there is no substance to the ideas that the reigning orthodoxy is too narrow, and that there are likely to be great gains from recognizing the limitations and biases of this orthodoxy. However, as I argue in my book The Bounds of Reason (Princeton, 2009), overcoming these weaknesses is likely to require more formal modeling, analytical, agent-based, and other, rather than the less formal modeling preferred by Lawson.

Lawson's economics is all philosophical critique and hence fails to present a viable alternative. Scientists---not just in economics but in all areas of natural and behavioral science---do not care about methodology. Rather, they uniformly adhere to the notion that the only effective critique is a superior alternative. Every smart, young, economist who goes the way of reading Wittgenstein and Popper, and whining about the shortcomings of traditional methodology, rather than rolling up his or her sleeves and tackling the weaknesses of mainstream theory with superior alternatives is, to my mind, another creative possibility lost. This is not, of course, an argument against being well-read in philosophy; rather it is an argument against thinking a philosophical critique is an alternative to the status quo.

http://www.amazon.com/Reorienting-Economics-Social-Theory/dp/0415253365/ref=la_B001H6WSU6_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1364353680&sr=1-2 Reorienting Economics (Economics as Social Theory)

This eagerly anticipated new book from Tony Lawson contends that economics can profit from a more explicit concern with ontology (enquiry into the nature of existence) than has been its custom. By admitting that economics is not exactly a picture of health at the moment, Lawson hopes that we can move away from the bafflingly intransigent belief that economics is at its core reliant upon mathematical modelling. This maths-envy is the reason why economics is in a state of such disarray. Far from being a polemic against the mainstream, this excellent new book is concerned that if economics is to be saved from itself then there must be a realistic dialogue between the classical heterodox fields. Of interest to philosophers, sociologists and social scientists as well as economists, this comprehensive, logical book is a vital contribution to an important debate.

Lawson's systematic philosophical work on the reorientation of economics warrants a careful reading by any economist, heterodox or mainstream, who takes seriously the intellectual responsibility for the scientific viability the discipline. –Paul D. Bush, California State University, Fresno

By Herbert Gintis (Northampton, MA USA)

I finished reading Lawson's first book a few days ago, Economics and Reality. I did not have much sympathy with his argument (see my review), but when I saw that there was a new volume coming out, some seven years later, I purchased it to see what progress had been made on forging an alternative to mainstream economics. The answer is simple: none. This book is simply a rewrite of his earlier book, with several journal articles appended as chapters.

The fact is that the twin ideas of ontological commitment and critical thinking are simply generalities that have no possiblity of generating a research program. Lawson will appeal to people who (a) don't like math; (b) have a vague idea that there must be something better than contemporary capitalism, but they don't quite know what; (c) believe that superficial description, when suitably enveloped in philosophical jargon, becomes deep (critical realism, ontology, consciousness, human subjectivity, etc.)

Lawson's assertion that there is something wrong with contemporary mainstream economics has no intellectual basis at all. He notes that undergrads are not majoring in economics (not true, except perhaps in a couple of countries), that French students critique their
curriculum, and mainstream economists sometimes gripe about the discipline. Economics is not a popularity contest for undergraduates. Economics is quite imperfect, and there is lots of room for
complaining. But Lawson wouldn't know success in economics if it smacked him in the face, because he never deals in the least with modern economics. Nothing on classical game theory. Nothing on evolutionary game theory. Nothing on experimental economics. Nothing (more) on econometrics. The economics of the period 1950-1975, which he continues to take for all of economics, has been mightily succesful, and more than half of economists are employed (at good salaries) applying it in industry and government. Perhaps their employees are also completely deluded. Perhaps they should hire economists who understand ontology. But I doubt it.

Lawson is the height of blandness. He doesn't say economics should be an art rather than a science. He doesn't say that mainstream economists are evil or self-serving. He doesn't claim that mainstream economics is an ideological apology for capitalism, patriarchy, or materialism. He simply says that mainstream economics ignores methodology, and hence can't be sufficiently scientific.

The problem is that scientists never care much about methodology. The great economists (like great physicists, geologists, et al.) learn a very simple set of messages concerning how research is done, and then they do it. It doesn't require extended training. Philosophers who think they can preach to scientists how they should ply their trade are profoundly wrong. Philosophy is wonderful, but not when it tries to tell scientists how to do their work.

It is really sad, to me, that something this shoddy could get the rave blurbs it does, from people who should know better. I am, frankly mystified. The simplest explanation is that Lawson has a small but loyal following, and he is preaching to the choir. I will get lots of "unhelpful" votes for this review, but I've never seen an naked emperor without exclaiming his lack of suitable attire.