Friday, November 23, 2018

A Workers' History update

I'm at about 11,000 words (about 1/3 of my goal — about the same length as A Random Physicist Takes on Economics). At this rate, I'll probably be done much sooner than the end of 2019. I've finally collected all of the data I think I need and analyzed it with the dynamic information equilibrium model. On my more technical blog, I wrote a bit about one of the newer analyses looking at unionization and inequality. In that blog post I tested my draft diagrams for the book (in black and white so they render on a Kindle). Click to enlarge:

I also updated the cover art. I changed the color to be more blue — the same blue as on the cover of A Random Physicist [1].


[1] You can see them side by side (plus an alternate less spaced-out title):

I think I might go for Century Gothic or Futura (on which it was originally based) for the cover font for that Keynesian-era feel ...

And here are the spaced-out title versions:

Ok, one last pair — this one includes two data series in the first version above, but were left out in all the single spaced versions. The data was left out because it's actually left out in the diagram inside the book, but also it increases the size of the spacing between lines by about 10% so the single-spaced version isn't cramped. At this point, I'm leaning Futura but then the kid loves Gorillaz and Studio Ghibli which use Century Gothic (the former on the Demon Days cover, the latter in their English titles).

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A workers' history of the United States 1948-2020

It's been awhile since I've posted at A random physicist. I figured since I am going to be self-publishing, I am going to have to give myself my own deadlines. I plan on my second book, A workers' history of the United States 1948-2020, coming out in December of 2019, which gives me a little over a year to write and edit. It should come out in time for people to read before the bulk of the 2020 primary season. I was partially inspired to start writing this book based on this article in the NYRB suggesting that nothing came of the 2008 recession — history failed to turn at a potential turning point. I say it's still too early to say that.

The main thesis of the book will be that changes in labor force participation due to social factors are the primary drivers of economic change in the United States in the post-war period. It will be broken into three broad chapters:

I. Women in the workforce
Women entering the workforce and the social changes that both inspired and followed it were the source of the post-war economic boom as well as inflation.
II. The decline of unions
The breakdown in the post-WWII national unity into racial and gender divides broke the social contract resulting in domestic manufacturing jobs (and their unions) predominantly held by men at the time being shifted overseas, only to be finished off by the shipping container.
III. The Great Recession
The collapse of immigration from Mexico not only popped the housing bubble causing the worst recession since the Great Depression, but brought on the subsequent stagnant growth.
The title (currently, just a play on Friedman and Schwartz's monetary history) and cover are of course subject to change, as well as this structure. Feel free to leave comments (or tweet/DM me @infotranecon). And if any publishers out there are interested in working with me, feel free to contact me via:

Monday, February 5, 2018

A short review from Diane Coyle

Diane Coyle, economist at the University of Manchester and recent winner of the inaugural Indigo Prize, wrote a bit about my book at her blog The Enlightened Economist:
[A Random Physicist Takes on Economics] also made me think about the role of context or environment, and why this might be more influential than individual choice processes in determining economic outcomes. Smith alludes to the literature on biological market theory, pointing out, though, that this does not rest at all on the utility of biological agents, be they pigeons or fungi.
The context it appears (touching on information with two other books from Daniel Dennett who I discussed on my blog) in is also interesting so read the whole thing.

Friday, January 5, 2018

How's this book thing going?

I haven't updated the book blog here in awhile because after the initial release, there hasn't been a lot of news. Diane Coyle mentioned on Twitter today that she'd read it and enjoyed it, and is going to write about it at some point in the future —which I'm looking forward to!

I'd like to thank everyone who has bought a copy! Overall, I've sold a few hundred copies (mostly the e-book version) most of which came in the first month with another burst around the holidays. As an aside, the e-book price is based on the Amazon "Kindle single" target pricing. The paperback pricing is based on several factors: a self-imposed "Carbon tax" as I wanted to encourage e-book purchases, the cost of on-demand printing, as well as interpolation between the list prices of two Dover paperbacks I own that my book fits between:


By the way, that is one of the best introductions to differential forms books for science applications around.

It has been a fun experience publishing through the Amazon Kindle bookstore and it's remarkably easy with a minimum of tedious formatting even for the paperback version. I'm in the process of collecting some notes and outlining a future book on dynamic equilibrium that I'm tentatively calling A Dynamic Information Equilibrium History of the United States: 1920-2020 as a pun on Milton Friedman's book with Anna Schwartz. In it, I plan to write a re-interpretation of the economic history of the US based on the dynamic equilibrium model (graphic below). I will make the case that the social change of women entering the workforce is one of the primary events of the post-war period.