Two can't miss weekend reads: One. the "Economist Essay" on the history of financial crises; and two, DeLong on Piketty--i.e., P's magisterial new study of inequality. The Economist piece explains itself and I stand ready to offer it to anybody who needs an updated analysis of why banks ye have always with you and why they are such a damn nuisance. DeLong is a bit more technical and abstract, but he makes a couple of thoroughly accessible points that I hadn't seen elsewhere. One, that Piketty (this isy) seems to assume that “wealth” in a society = concentration. Perhaps it does, but it need not; we can imagine a society that piles up wealth and spreads it around so everyone becomes a rentier. Likewise I suppose we could imagine one where wealth concentrates even as it declines.
Two, DeLong points out that Piketty is shaky on what means by “return.” DeLong suggests four candidate-meanings and I think I get the drift although I'll admit I'm a little unclear on just how he draws his lines (hey, I was a little drunk last night and I didn't get to class until half an hour late—can I come by your office hours?).