Sunday Links, May 2nd.

I like to thank my more general readers for sticking through the coverage of the deep end of the Dodd Bill. Here are some links to end this weekend:

Chris Hayes talks about financial reform on the breakdown (which you should subscribe to on iTunes). He uses Roosevelt Institute’s very own Rob Johnson’s 2×2 mental grid for how to think about bailouts and regulation, which is always good to clear some of the debate very quickly. (We use it at the office all the time.)

Adam Serwer on prison gerrymandering. Prison gerrymandering is a practice so vile I can only keep relatively sane by thinking it isn’t being stopped because not enough people know about it, so read up.

Blaming Rubin by Felix Salmon is good pushback. I think the implications of Rubin running an arb desk isn’t mentioned enough, and Felix brings that up right at the beginning of his bullet points.

How is Economic Sociology Different From Behavioral Finance?, the comments are also very good.

The New New Left Book Club. What would you add? I like Tom Slee’s book, and as commenters point out, something that deals with neoliberalism is one of the essential problem of our times (Harvey’s book combined with Wendy Brown’s short article “Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy” are probably the best combo.)

– New favorite blog, potlatch. Here he is on the financial crisis:

…Ironically, the rapidity and apparent totality of this intellectual collapse then potentially acts in the system’s favour. As Bob Jessop argued, this crisis is in marked temporal contrast to the 1970s and the collapse of Keynesianism. The recent crisis struck with such rapidity, that it could be immediately re-framed as a policy emergency, to be dealt with by the very same elites that had overseen it arising. Alternative cognitive frameworks – or leftwing responses – were caught even more unawares than the regulators and bankers themselves, hence the surreal feeling that nothing much has changed….

Like the scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson experience the miracle of blazing gun fire failing to kill them, the emergency of autumn 2008 leaves society astonished to be still standing, despite the mountainous debt. Yet mountainous debt itself is normalised in this system. Mirowski made the observation (that had never occurred to me) that the ‘knowledge economy’ discourse is a critical feature of how neo-liberalism sustains itself, because it enforces a connection between knowledge and debt: students and universities are nurtured, pampered and prioritised in the knowledge economy, but then end up owing everyone and everything.

And he does a Weberian Take on The Wire:

The central theme running through the drama, which its title aludes to, is the political challenge of collecting and mobilising evidence…The implication running through all of this is strictly Weberian: modern society involves relationships of domination based on the capacity to know, test and prove…

What gives the series its gravitas is the fact that its characters are not entirely consumed by this, though nor can they escape it. They retain (what Weber called) their own individual substantive rationalities – sources of meaning, value systems and ethical goals. These substantive rationalities are not necessarily compatible, and may – as with Omar – be entirely private to the individual concerned. Read Weber’s Science as a Vocation and you encounter this bleak sense that we moderns must each develop our own individual sources of meaning, comfort and justification, in amongst an over-arching technological apparatus that is entirely devoid of such things. At best we can build miniature lifeworlds of ethics, potentially moving between rival spheres of value. As Weber put it “we are placed in various life orders, each of which is subject to different laws”. The Wire is a tour through a single city’s multiple life orders, each of which makes sense to those inhabiting it, but fails to translate beyond its own code and language.

He also does Foucault and Mad Men.

“I’ll just read a book instead…” Music video is Kate Nash’s Do-Wah-Doo.

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