My Faults My Own

…willing to sacrifice something we don't have

for something we won't have, so somebody will someday.

IN  WHICH Ross Rheingans-Yoo—a sometime artist, economist, poet, trader, expat, EA, and programmer—writes on things of int­erest.

Reading Feed (last update: November 24)

A collection of things that I was glad I read. Views expressed by linked authors are chosen because I think they're interesting, not because I think they're correct, unless indicated otherwise.


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power — "[F]or now I’ll just note it is very much in the running for very best book of the year. It brings Native American history to life in a conceptual manner better than any other book I know."


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Favorite popular music listening for 2019


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Do social media drive the rise in right-wing populism? — "Overall, we do not find evidence that online/social media explain support for right-wing populist candidates and parties. Instead, in the USA, use of online media

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Donations 2019

For the sixth year, I remain committed to using at least 10% of what income I earn to support the organizations that I think best make the universe a better place, and to talking about it on this blog. Here are my thoughts at the end of 2019.

These specific organizations I'm supporting are, in relative terms, mostly unchanged from 2018. The biggest changes are:

  • Marginally more saving / investing for later donation opportunities (including the potential for political contributions in 2020).
  • Marginally less donor lottery.
  • The Good Food Institute replacing The Humane League.

note: I'm still working on some parts of this post with more details about these organizations and my thoughts, but wanted to get an early version out in case it was helpful to others making donation decisions before year-end. Watch this space for updates, maybe.


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Compared to years past, I spent relatively more time thinking about donations this year. This reflects a few things:

  • I'll be giving more as my income grows and my personal
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Elasticities, revisited

Hannes Malmberg commented on my review of Saez and Zucman in response to a point I made about the elasticity of capital supply:

I think you are confusing demand and supply elasticities of capital.

The revenue calculations hinge on the elasticity of capital supply, i.e., how fast capital supply rise with the interest rate (how much more do people decide to save).

The Piketty spiral, in contrast, hinges on the elasticity of capital demand, i.e., how fast the interest rate fall with increasing capital (i.e., how fast firms and companies switch away from using capital when it gets more expensive).

There is nothing theoretically preventing us from having an almost horizontal capital demand curve, and an almost vertical capital supply curve. In such a world, a capital tax raises a lot of revenue, but increasing the savings propensity increase the capital stock without reducing the interest rate. (...)

I think he is basically right, and I'll partially retract section 3A of my

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Review: The Triumph of Injustice

Or, the coming debate on moral incidence of taxes

You're going to hear a lot about the triumph of injustice in the next 6-12 months. Or rather, you're going to hear a lot about The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay, by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman (2019).

For one thing, the two economists have signed on as economic advisors to 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who has for years been putting questions of economics and notions of justice front-and-center. But more generally, economic justice is having a moment, and I prophesy that you'll hear more about it before you hear less.

So this is my first real attempt to understand exactly what kind of moment it is, in the best way I know how -- by writing. Specifically, by writing a review that unpacks TToI for non-economists. (I am an economist, but not the kind that helps p— I mean, not a macroeconomist.

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Everybody knows

One of the things I've appreciated about living abroad is that it's helped me better understand context that I used to be swimming in. Sometimes it's context on the breadth of the human condition, but sometimes it's just my daily lesson on filter bubbles.

Google knows enough at this point to show me SCMP articles about the MTR/Cathay Pacific thing (no I'm not going to link this, because my point is precisely that maybe five people reading this know enough not to have to look it up). If it was the MTA that had banned an American Airlines ad depicting a no seriously you don't know what goes here, do you?, then I'm near-certain that it'd be all over (my) Facebook. But no, I logged in today just to check, near-certain that I wouldn't find a single mention of it. I was right.

This isn't an objective fact about the world; it's a subjective fact about who I'm talking to. Somewhere, someone has a Facebook feed full of

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