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Veteran Poetics

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/06/2019 - 7:35pm in

Book at Lunchtime: Veteran Poetics: British Literature in the Age of Mass Warfare, 1790–2015 In this first full-length study of the war veteran in literature, Kate McLoughlin draws new critical attention to a figure central to national life. Offering fresh readings of canonical and non-canonical works, she shows how authors from William Wordsworth to J. K. Rowling have deployed veterans to explore questions that are simultaneously personal, political, and philosophical: What does a community owe to those who serve it? What can be recovered from the past? Do people stay the same over time? Are there right times of life at which to do certain things? Is there value in experience? How can wisdom be shared? Veteran Poetics features veterans who travel in time, cause havoc with their reappearances, solve murders, refuse to stop talking about the wars they have been in, and refuse to say a word about them. Through this last trait, they also prompt consideration of possible critical responses to silence.

Women and Power: Changing the Stories We Tell Ourselves – keynote by Melissa Benn, Writer and Campaigner

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/03/2019 - 2:35am in

'Women and Power: Changing the Stories We Tell Ourselves’ is the keynote by the writer and campaigner Melissa Benn at the Women and Power conference which took place on the 6th and 7th March 2019. Women and Power: Redressing the Balance was a 2-day conference, jointly convened by the National Trust and the University of Oxford, which took place on the 6th and 7th March 2019 at St Hugh’s College in Oxford. The conference brought together professionals from across the academic and heritage sectors to reflect on programming around the 2018 centenary of the Representation of the People Act which granted some women the right to vote and to look to the future of researching and programming women’s histories.

The conference featured papers from a range of heritage, cultural and academic institutions who marked the centenary anniversary. Many of the programmes, exhibitions and events that responded to the centenary not only explored the stories of 100 years ago but openly questioned the representation of women’s lives in the histories inherited by curators and researchers, and experienced in public life, today.

‘Women and Power: Changing the Stories We Tell Ourselves’ is the keynote by the writer and campaigner Melissa Benn.

Speakers:

Prof Senia Paseta, Associate Professor of Modern History and Women in Humanities Programme Co-Director, University of Oxford (Introduction)
Melissa Benn, Writer and Campaigner

For more information about the Women and Power conference and the National Trust Partnership at the University of Oxford please visit:
www.torch.ox.ac.uk/national-trust-partnership

How not to Ruin Everything: Futures Thinking Launch

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/03/2019 - 11:56pm in

Launch event for Futures Thinking, a new research group looking into future problems and opportunities created by advances in technology and artificial intelligence. In literature, in popular media, in scientific research, and in public consciousness, discourse about the future, machine learning, and the human elements of digital technologies proliferates more now than ever before. Thanks to developments in artificial intelligence (AI), we are able to speculate about how our fundamentally social species might interact with performatively human-like machines of our own making. Television shows like Black Mirror and The Handmaid’s Tale, and novels like The Circle or Never Let Me Go speculate about dystopian futures that reflect political realities not unlike those that are currently unfolding in the Global North.

Ethics in AI are much debated in science fiction. However, the scholars in the fields of AI and those in literature, history, and gender studies seldom interact to discuss the realities and probabilities of the future of a technologically advanced mankind. Crucially important to our network is the recognition of how narrative informs and shapes the future. Bringing scholars of historical and literary narratives into conversation with ethicists and developers of digital AI technologies is of paramount importance to futures thinking.

Discussion on AI and global governance is thriving at Oxford, while speculative fiction is an important emerging field in literary studies. This network brings these fields into conversation. We extend from exploring speculative fiction research, questions about the robustness of machine learning, the future trade-offs between privacy and security, to thinking about how we might use historical feminist consciousness-raising methods to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration.

We are keen for interested parties to join our group so if you work on or are interested in any aspect of futures thinking, be it in science or the humanities, in any of the University’s divisions, please contact us and come along to our events!

We are a network founded on principles of access and inclusion, and strive to host events that consider the lifestyle ethics and carer-responsibilities of our members and attendees, as well as their access needs, pronouns, and other inclusion needs. Please do contact us for further information on our manifesto.
Chelsea Haith, Futures Thinking Founder, DPhil in Contemporary Literature

Prof Robert Iliffe, Professor of History of Science

Dr Gretta Corporaal, Sociologist of Work and Organisations in the OII

Dr Alexandra Paddock, Editorial Lead on LitHits, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of English

Prof Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, LitHits Founder, Professor of English and Theatre Studies

Alice Billington, Futures Thinking Co-Convenor, DPhil in Modern History

Discussion: What is a decolonial curriculum?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/02/2019 - 12:01am in

Kwame Dawes, Jok Madut Jok, Peter D Mcdonald and Anu Anand discuss What is a decolonial curriculum? Held at TORCH on 28th November 2018. Decolonising the curriculum must mean more than simply including diverse texts. As Dalia Gebrial, one of the editors of the new book, Decolonising the University (Pluto Press, 2018) has written, any student and academic-led decolonisation movement must not only 'rigorously understand and define its terms, but locate the university as just one node in a network of spaces where this kind of struggle must be engaged with. To do this...is to enter the university space as a transformative force

Peter D Mcdonald - What is a decolonial curriculum?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/02/2019 - 11:52pm in

Peter D Mcdonald, Professor of English and Related Literature, University of Oxford gives a talk for the workshop, What is a Decolonial Curriculum? Held at TORCH on 28th November 2018. Decolonising the curriculum must mean more than simply including diverse texts. As Dalia Gebrial, one of the editors of the new book, Decolonising the University (Pluto Press, 2018) has written, any student and academic-led decolonisation movement must not only 'rigorously understand and define its terms, but locate the university as just one node in a network of spaces where this kind of struggle must be engaged with. To do this...is to enter the university space as a transformative force

Jok Madut Jok - What is a decolonial curriculum?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/02/2019 - 11:47pm in

Jok Madut Jok, TORCH / Mellon Global South Visiting Professor, University of Oxford, gives a talk for the workshop, What is a Decolonial Curriculum? Held at TORCH on 28th November 2018. Decolonising the curriculum must mean more than simply including diverse texts. As Dalia Gebrial, one of the editors of the new book, Decolonising the University (Pluto Press, 2018) has written, any student and academic-led decolonisation movement must not only 'rigorously understand and define its terms, but locate the university as just one node in a network of spaces where this kind of struggle must be engaged with. To do this...is to enter the university space as a transformative force

Wealth and the National Accounts: Response to Matthew Klein

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 09/03/2018 - 6:23am in

I’m both abashed and delighted that the truly stand-out econ writer Matthew Klein has offered wonderfully fulsome praise of one of my pieces, Why Economists Don’t Know How to Think about Wealth, and some very interesting discussion as well. Some responses here. Please excuse me if I repeat some of the points from the first article.

>His key point is that changes in net worth caused by asset prices fluctuations are just as important as standard measures of income and saving.

That’s important, but there are really three key points I’d really like to come through:

1. Wealth matters. Net worth and total assets. Those are absent from the Flow of Funds matrix, because it ignores: A. Nonfinancial assets — the (L)evels tables aren’t balance sheets — and B. Holding gains. Yes: changes in wealth measures also matter a lot (see below), and they’re of course also invisible and largely unexplained in the FFA matrix.

2. Accounting statements are economic models, based on deeply-embedded assumptions that are largely invisible except to accounting-theory adepts. The FFAs’ closed-loop construct depicts, promulgates, and validates the whole factors-of-production worldview (each according to its contribution…) which underpins travesties like Greg Mankiw’s “just deserts” claptrap. See in particular national-accounting-sage Robert Hall’s discussion of the accounts’ implicit “zero-rent economy.”

3. The dumpster fire (@noahpinion) of terminology that economists rely on to communicate — and really to think (together) — is (or should be) rigorously defined based on accounting identities. But that requires deeply understanding #2 above: what those measures and identities mean. To repeat: accounting classes don’t even count as electives for econ degrees at Harvard and U Chicago. (Really, the situation is more like the sub-basement of Fukushima Three. One word: “saving.” Many economists vaguely think that more individual saving results in some larger stock of monetary “savings.” Sheesh.)

>Roth’s presentation…is not new. Alan Greenspan wrote about these ideas back in the 1950s

Johnny-come-lately. Haig-Simons, who I refer to repeatedly, bruited their comprehensive accounting definition of income in the 20s and 30s. (Dead-cat bounce. I’m thinking the rich hate this idea. The political implications of fully revealing wealth and wealth accumulation could be…revolutionary?)

Wikipedia informs me that a German legal scholar named Georg von Schanz was on it somewhat earlier. (Modern Money Network, are you listening?)

>Roth ends up downplaying the importance of the liability side of the balance sheet.

Perhaps. At least three reasons:

1.The FFA matrix does an excellent job of accounting for (inevitably “financial”) liabilities. Nothing to complain about there. That’s where the IMAs get most or all of their liability accounting from. And economists have made very good use of that data.

2. Looking at households as the “buck stops here” balance sheet, liabilities are surprisingly (to me) small percentage of assets. Yes, a long secular trend with one big spike (not much for sample size…). Click for Fred.

3. For the economic import of (change in) assets versus liabilites, I’ll just point to one economic factoid which I find darned significant:

Post-1960s (post Bretton-Woods?), every time you see year-over-year decline in real household net worth or assets, you’re just into or about to be in a recession. (There are two bare false positives, just after the ’99 and ’08-’09 market dives; they look to me like blowback, residual turbulence, if that suffices as cogent economic terminology…)

Notice: The two measures are equally predictive; including liabilities (in net worth) adds no predictive power. These two measures move closely together. This especially makes sense for declines; asset markets dive, while liabilities are much more sticky downward. (They tend to climb together over time.)

So yeah, I’m with Roger Farmer about stock-market declines “Granger-causing” recessions, though 1. I cringe at that faux-statistical usage, and 2. at least for the GFC, I’d say the real-estate crash caused the stock-market crash. In any case, overall, it sure looks to me like wealth (asset) declines (proximate?) cause recessions. I’d say high debt levels amplify the effects when that does happen.

So yeah of course, net worth is not some kind of tell-all economic measure. You gotta deconstruct it. But it’s a bloody-well-necessary measure that economists (and national accountants) have largely ignored, like forever.

>defining “saving” as the “change in net worth”, as Roth does, is that this obscures as much as it clarifies

Note that I use a particular term for that, Comprehensive Saving, while leaving what I call Primary Saving (largely) intact. (The IMAs’ measure of primary income hence saving is after “Uses of property income (interest paid)” are deducted, which seems crazy (and politically pernicious) to me. I’ve moved it from it’s sort-of-hidden position in Sources, to appear explicitly in Uses, so my Primary Income and Primary Saving measures are a bit higher than the IMAs’.)

hh-sources-uses

Now it’s true that I relegate Primary Saving to an addendum, favoring Comprehensive Saving as the more important measure. This imparts how deeply rhetorical all accounting presentations are. But I think this privileging makes sense give the relative magnitudes we see. (Net Lending + Capital Formation here is traditional primary “saving”).

This is J.W. Mason’s recent graph, which I was delighted to see, showing the same measures (the IMAs’ ∆NW decomposition) that I’ve also graphed in the past.

>asset price appreciation generally leads to proportionally tiny increases in spending.

The linked study, like others of its kind, in my opinion gives too much weight to marginal propensities, based on one-time changes. So I question how good a guide they are to determining economic reaction functions. This is too much of a subject to address here, so I’ll only suggest that more straightforward, long-term propensity-to-consume measures by wealth/income classes might be more illuminating. Also velocity of wealth. (I’m a monetarist! As long as “money” means “wealth”…)

Whether or not you consider these figures illuminating, they are the kind of figures you can derive from a complete accounting construct that tallies total assets and net worth. Note that both are also dependent on data from Zucman/Saez/Pikkety’s magisterial Distributional National Accounts (DINAs). What I’d really like to see is Distributional IMAs (DIMAs). I corresponded with Gabriel Zucman on this a bit; he’s given me permission to quote him:

You are correct that there can be pure asset valuation effects in the long run (i.e., capital gains in excess of those mechanically caused by retained earnings). These pure valuation effects are not part of national income, hence not included in our measure of income and our distributional series. However, they could be included down the road by computing income as delta wealth + consumption (i.e., Haig-Simon income). We have wealth in our database so we’re not far from being able to do this.

To conclude on a decidedly accounting-dweeby note, here’s the key accounting identity for Haig-Simons (which I call Comprehensive) Income:

∆ Net Worth + Consumption = Primary (traditional) Income + Holding Gains (+ Other Changes in Volume)

Subtract taxes, and you’ve got Comprehensive Disposable Income. Subtract Consumption, and you’ve got Comprehensive Saving. Equals…change in Net Worth.

Accounting identi-tists, have fun!

(For those who prefer this kind of thing in slide-deck form, here’s a PDF of my presentation from the recent Modern Monetary Theory conference.)

Related posts:

  1. Where MMT Gets Its Accounting Wrong — And Right
  2. Why You Probably Don’t Understand the National Accounts. In Pictures.
  3. Is GDP Wildly Underestimating GDP?
  4. The “Global Savings Glut” Is Conceptually Incoherent. “The Economy” Cannot “Save”
  5. The Mysterious Stock of “Loanable Funds”


A £7,500 fee cap? How a headline changed everything

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 18/09/2017 - 9:04am in

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Politics

Team Wonkhe take a look into the politics and potential issues around the latest HE finance rumours from the Treasury, as reported in the Sunday Times.

The post A £7,500 fee cap? How a headline changed everything appeared first on Wonkhe.

Six practical steps to deal with vice chancellor pay

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/09/2017 - 9:12am in

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Politics

After a bruising summer on VC pay, how can the sector take the initiative? Charles Heymann has six practical ideas to get institutions back on the front foot.

The post Six practical steps to deal with vice chancellor pay appeared first on Wonkhe.

There’s a difference between ‘good’ and ‘good value’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 30/08/2017 - 9:01am in

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Politics

Universities will struggle to improve their public image without understanding their critics' point over whether they offer good value to students and the taxpayer. David Morris tries to illustrate this point with a drawn-out metaphor.

The post There’s a difference between ‘good’ and ‘good value’ appeared first on Wonkhe.

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