Mark Edmundson, “Narcissus Regards a Book” (h/t aldaily) – from the article: Narcissus looks into the book review and finds it good. Narcissus peers into Amazon’s top 100 and, lo, he feels the love. Nothing insults him; nothing pulls him away from that gorgeous smooth watery image below. The editor sells it to him cheap; the professor who might—coming on like the Miltonic voice does to Eve gazing lovingly on herself in the pool: “What thou seest / What there thou seest … is thyself,” it says—the professor has other things to do.
U.S. Factories Still Out-Producing China (cbsnews; h/t Josh) – from the article: …America remains by far the No. 1 manufacturing country. It out-produces No. 2 China by more than 40 percent. U.S. manufacturers cranked out nearly $1.7 trillion in goods in 2009, according to the United Nations. The story of American factories essentially boils down to this: They’ve managed to make more goods with fewer workers.
Megan McArdle, “How Should the U.S. Break Its Promises?” – from the article: The United States currently runs a $1.5 trillion budget deficit. If we miss a debt payment, that means we immediately have to balance that budget, and keep it balanced. You have probably seen a lot of blog posts lamenting the terrible plight of the states, who cannot run budget deficits during recessions and are therefore forced to make draconian cuts to services unless they are bailed out by the Feds. Well, if we can’t borrow money, no one’s going to bail us out–or the states. And you can expect a default to be followed by a pretty ugly recession in an economy as credit-driven as ours.