Science: Slavery In The Old US South Not A Major Economic Variable

May 11, 2022

(Illustration: MC Escher’s ‘The Second Day Of The Creation‘ (1925), and found here).

In the science contextual slipstream from this morning, a couple of cases/reports/studies/essays/whatnot ever you want to call, and with an interest for the nowadays.
This first one is a horrid historical clusterf*ck for no reason other to be pieces of white-ass, holier-than-thou pieces of shit — slavery wasn’t the economic boom for America’s Old South as it’s been depicted — so reports an essay published at the American Economic Association’s Journal of Economic Perspectives.
From the Abstract:

The essay considers the claim that slavery played a leading role in the acceleration of US economic growth in the nineteenth century. Although popular among pro-slavery apologists, the proposition fails under rigorous historical scrutiny. The slave South discouraged immigration, underinvested in transportation infrastructure, and failed to educate the majority of its population. It is not even clear that the region produced more cotton than it would have under a counterfactual alternative settlement by free family farmers, on the free-state pattern. The grain of truth in recently popular narratives is that many northerners and business interests were complicit in the crime of slavery: routinely engaging in transactions with slaveholders, even promoting activities that facilitated slavery and the domestic slave trade. Complicity complicates simple historical moralism, but it is quite different from the notion that the prosperity of the nation as a whole derived from slavery in any fundamental way.

Horribly ironic, terrible shit.

Meanwhile and secondly, away from the dark into a lighter tone, and research science looking at one-hit wonders in the popular music field, who actually never recover from the event, according to a study published in March.
From the Abstract:

… The main idea is that a creator’s path to sustained success depends on the creativity in their portfolio at the time of their initial hit—relatively creative portfolios give creators more options for leveraging their past portfolios while adapting to market changes, increasing their odds of additional hits … These findings suggest that new creators face a tradeoff between their likelihood of initial versus sustained success, such that building a relatively creative early portfolio is a risky bet that can make or break a creator’s career.

In the non-abstract: Justin Berg, a social scientist who researches creativity and innovation at Stanford University’s business school, studied a database of about 3 million songs from 1959–2010, even utilizing a song-rating Spotify system, to compare those one-hit wonders to the continuous hitmakers.
Via ScienceNews yesterday:

“There actually isn’t a way to thread the needle,” Berg says. “You face a … trade-off as a new creator, between a likelihood of initial [or] sustained success based on the novelty of your portfolio.”

Hits are rare, the data show. Of the 69,000 artists in the original database, 93-percent never had a hit, 3-percent had one and 1-percent had two hits. The success rate for additional hits drops from there.
Berg found that musical artists with what he termed low-novelty portfolios that closely resembled other already existing music were about twice as likely to have initial success. But those who built a more innovative and varied catalog before fame hit were more likely to generate a series of hits.

“It’s a music nerd’s dream to read something like this,” says Storm Gloor, a music industry researcher at the University of Colorado Denver. He says it puts some heft behind a lot of the intuition that artists and record executives have developed over the years.

Berg doesn’t want his research to diminish the accomplishments of one-hit wonders such as Los Del Rio, who recorded the 1990s smash “Macarena.”
“A lot of them in their time were quite famous and successful,” he says. “You go out and try to make a song that catchy. It’s not an easy challenge.”

One hit sometimes/can be enough.
Or it can be part of a sad story:

Blind Melon Hoon or not, once again here we are…

(Illustration out front: ‘Tower of Babel,’ 1928 woodcut by MC Escher, and found here).

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