samedi 16 août 2008

The Federal Reserve Board

Class Warfare: Noam Chomsky Interviews with David Barsamian

May 31, 1995

DB: Wednesday is usually, I forget, is it your golf or tennis day?

Both. [laughs]

DB: I hate to remind you of things, Noam, but 1995 marks your fortieth year at MIT.

That’s right, just finishing it.

DB: How did you get that job?

When I got out of four years at Harvard and the Society of Fellows, I had basically no formal profession, no credentials in any formal academic field, and had no particular commitment to the academic world. I wasn’t at all sure I was going to even try to continue. But I had some friends at MIT. Morris Halle, you know him?

DB: Of course, he has an office right across the hall from yours.

We had been friends already for years as graduate students. He was here, doing part-time research and part-time teaching. There was a project at the Research Lab of Electronics on machine translation which had an interest in linguists. So he and Roman Jakobson helped a bit. I met with the director of the laboratory. We talked a little bit about it. I said I would be happy to come but I wouldn’t work on that project, which I didn’t think had any interest for me, but I would be glad to come to do the kind of work that I was interested in and to do some teaching and so on. They thought that was fine. So I came and did the work I was interested in at the Research Lab of Electronics, the same place where I am now, this old Second World War wooden building. I started doing a little teaching on the side.
Within about five years Morris and I had managed to arrange some things. People began being interested from outside. Visitors came. We pretty soon had a doctoral candidate who we had to put through the electrical engineering department because we didn’t have any department at the time. In 1960, I guess, we managed to start the official department.

DB: You’ve commented to me that when you joined MIT at around that time there was a group of you that were politically active and committed.

Not at that time. At that time it was basically unknown. In fact, I wouldn’t swear to this, but I think that I was the first person at the laboratory who refused to be cleared. It was a military-financed laboratory, and people routinely went through security clearance procedures. I just refused. I know everyone thought it was kind of weird, because the only effect of it was that I missed out on free trips on military air transport and things like that. It was considered strange enough that I suspect that I must have been the first person ever to do that. I didn’t know any politically active people here at all.

DB: So that came later, people like Wayne O’Neil and others.

That’s ten years later.

DB: Did you feel that you had any allies internally?

Internally? Political allies? No, not really. I didn’t expect to. My political life was somewhere else. I should say that within a few years I did meet people on the faculty who themselves had pretty similar interests and backgrounds to mine, some older people, for example Salvador Luria, a Nobel-Prize-winning biologist. I’ve forgotten whether he was here when I came. He was certainly here within a few years. He was older. But we shared plenty of interests. We must have met in the early 1960s. And there were other people. My friend Louis Kampf, and quite a few others. By the early 1960s people were kind of getting together.

DB: That research you were doing in the 1950s and 1960s, was any of it federally funded?

Oh, yeah. Not only was it federally funded, it was militarily funded. In fact, whether anything is military-funded or not is pretty much a bookkeeping exercise. MIT runs primarily on soft money, not on endowments, not on tuition. How the soft money is distributed is a very mysterious matter which they don’t even understand in the bookkeeping department, as I know, having once been on a committee that tried to look into it years later. In a certain sense, everything is military-funded, even the music department. The sense in which that’s true is that if they didn’t have military funding for, say, the electrical engineering department and had to go to other funds for that, that would cut off the departments like the music department. So it is primarily a bookkeeping matter. But if you look at books of mine that were written in the early 1960s, you’ll notice a formal statement on the front page saying, This was funded with the support of, and then it lists the three services. The reason is that the laboratory itself is funded by the three services, or was, maybe still is, for all I know.

DB: How has the institution changed over the time that you have been there?

The big change was to a certain extent a result of the changes in science and math education in the country that took place around 1960. To some extent it was sparked by Sputnik, or at least that was used as the pretext for it. That created a great concern in Congress and around the country that somehow we were falling behind the Russians.
That initiated and maybe was exploited for (you can argue about this) a lot of involvement in science education and math education in the schools. Within a short period of time students were coming to MIT who were much better trained. MIT started to shift at that time, more or less as a reflection of the students who were coming in, from an engineering school, which it had been in the 1950s—when I got here it was primarily an engineering school—to a science-math school, which it was by the mid-1960s. So many more students were majoring in the core sciences and mathematics. The classical engineering disciplines started to decline, people who were figuring out how to build bridges and things like that. Students were much less interested in that. The engineering departments that remained generally duplicated science curricula. So like in the electrical engineering department you wouldn’t be studying how to put circuits together, but you would be studying physics and mathematics not unlike what you would be studying in the physics and math departments, except with applications to electrical engineering problems. The same is true of aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering and so on. It became a science-based university instead of an engineering-based one.
One consequence of this was a considerable growth in the humanities. The engineers of the 1950s were pretty vocationally oriented. For them the humanities were kind of a frill. It was something you took so that you could know how to talk to people politely. But by the 1960s, the science and math students, for one thing, had more time. They weren’t totally occupied with applications, and they just had other interests. That led to student pressure to expand the humanities programs. I was personally interested in that myself, especially with philosophy, so I was particularly involved in trying to develop the philosophy program from being kind of like a prep school, read-some-interesting-books type of program, to a real philosophy program, both undergraduate and graduate.
The same happened in history. At about that time, other departments were spinning off. The biology and psychology and brain sciences departments all spun off at that time, actually from the very same electronics laboratory. The electronics laboratory where I was was a place where there was a very strange and complicated mixture of people interested in all sorts of offbeat topics, which later became departments, some of them huge, at the Institute. Biology and psychology and linguistics and philosophy and the computer sciences all came out of that milieu. But by the mid-1960s it was a very different sort of place, like a university based on science rather than a high-quality engineering school. You could see the shift in the nature of the students, the curricula, etc.
It was still very apolitical, in a sense. I should say that the faculty peace activities in this area, signing ads, organizing protests, were mostly based at MIT, not at Harvard, from the early 1960s. So even though overall the Institute has a more conservative cast than, say, Harvard, it’s here that the political activists mostly work. A few people drifted in on the periphery from Harvard, Howard Zinn from Boston University, but it was mainly MIT, even though it’s a very small group of faculty. Among the students, there was a small group, people like Mike Albert and Steve Shalom and others, who were students around the mid-1960s. They were very active starting around 1965, 1966.
Also Louis Kampf and I were teaching at the time very large under-graduate courses with hundreds of students on contemporary affairs and social and political issues, the role of intellectuals, alternative vocations, things like that. They were bringing in lots of students as the ferment of the 1960s finally hit MIT. But it really wasn’t until late 1968 or early 1969 that the Institute became really seriously politicized and became seriously involved in things like the antiwar movement and so on.

DB: You often give talks at MIT. Just in the last few months you’ve given talks on Colombia and the drug war, East Timor, and most recently in solidarity with the workers in Decatur, Illinois.

This role of MIT as the central place for community and university-based activism has continued. So if an organization wants to have a meeting, they’re much more likely to have it here than at Harvard or Boston University. Much more likely. That’s why we always have these meetings where you show up at the same room, 26-100.

DB: The new CIA director is John Deutch. He’s a former MlT provost.
Did you know him?

Not terribly well, but we knew each other.

DB: The reason I’m asking is that I figure when you retire from MIT you’ll have a new career at Langley (CIA headquarters).

I don’t think so [chuckles]. We were actually friends and got along fine, although we disagreed on about as many things as two human beings can disagree about. I liked him. We got along very well together.
He’s very honest, very direct. You know where you stand with him. We talked to each other. When we had disagreements, they were open, sharp, clear, honestly dealt with. I found it fine. I had no problem with him. I was one of the very few people on the faculty, I’m told, who was supporting his candidacy for the President of MIT.

DB: Which he didn’t get, right?

There was faculty opposition.

DB: One of the questions you are often asked after your talks is the one about, How can you work at MlT? You’ve never had any interference with your work, have you?

Quite the contrary. MIT has been very supportive. In the 1960s, particularly, I’m sure I was giving them plenty of trouble. I don’t know the figures now, but in 1969, when the only serious faculty/student inquiry into this was undertaken, into funding, there was a commission set up at the time of local ferment about military labs, and I was on it, and at that time MIT funding was almost entirely the Pentagon. About half the Institute’s budget was coming from two major military laboratories that they administered, and of the rest, the academic side, it could have been something like 90% or so from the Pentagon.
Something like that. Very high. So it was a Pentagon-based university.
And I was at a military-funded lab.
But I never had the slightest interference with anything I did. MIT had quite a good record on protecting academic freedom. I’m sure that they were under pressure, maybe not from the government, but certainly from alumni, I would imagine. I was very visible at the time in organizing protests and resistance. You know the record. It was very visible and pretty outspoken and far out. But we had no problems from them, nor did anyone, as far as I know, draft resisters, etc.

DB: That always surprises people when you tell them that.

It shouldn’t. It just shows that they don’t understand how things work. A science-based university like this is much freer in those respects.

DB: Let’s talk about some economic issues. I want to start with the Federal Reserve. What is its role?

The Federal Reserve basically controls things like interest rates. It’s had various commitments or directives over the years. Originally its official goals, at least, were to keep inflation down and employment up.
So one of its goals was to help achieve the goal of effectively full employment. That never means a hundred percent, but something approaching it. That goal has receded into the distance. Now its primary commitment is to preventing inflation. That’s a reflection of things that have happened in international financial markets. So the amount of unregulated financial capital in the world has exploded astronomically in the last twenty-five years. It moves around very fast, thanks to telecommunications and so on. So there may be, let’s say, a trillion dollars a day moving around financial markets. It’s mostly speculating against currencies. It moves to places where it looks as though currencies are going to be stable with high unemployment and low economic growth, so that there are unlikely to be inflationary pressures. The Federal Reserve has been basically anti-inflation. If you are investing, say, in bonds, your biggest enemy is potential inflation, which means potential growth. Therefore you want to move away from places which are going to be stimulating the economy. The Federal Reserve interest rates will tend to go up to prevent stimulation of the economy and the possibility of inflation—the two tend to go together. So they’ve had a dampening effect on economic growth, also on jobs. They want unemployment to go up, basically. So unemployment goes up, the labor costs go down. There’s less pressure for wage increases. So the commitment to full employment, which was originally at least part of their formal commitment, has disappeared.

DB: There’s an interesting comment that Paul Volcker made in 1979. He was the head of the Fed then. He said the living standard of the average American has to decline. That’s one policy that has certainly produced results.

But it’s not just the Fed. This is part of general processes going on in the domestic and international economy and also very specific social policies. You don’t have to react to them this way. For example, there are ways to slow down the movement of financial capital and to protect currencies and to maintain stimulative policies by government. There are ways to do that, and those ways have been known for a long time.
They’re not undertaken because of a commitment to certain social policies. Those social policies are basically to roll back the welfare state.

There’s a pretty good article on this, if you’re interested, in the current issue of Challenge magazine, a good journal of economics, written by a very fine international economist, David Felix. It’s on what’s called the Tobin tax. This is a proposal made by James Tobin back in 1978, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Yale. This was a well-known talk he gave. He was then President of the American Economic Association.
This was his presidential address. This was the early stages of the process, but he pointed out that the flow of financial capital and the increase of it is going to have the effect of driving down growth rates and wages and it will also have a further effect of increasing inequality, concentrating wealth in narrower sectors of the population. He suggested at the time a tax, which would have to be international, which would penalize movement of financial funds just for speculation against currency. That’s called the Tobin tax. It’s been kicking around the UN for some years, but it’s never been implemented. David Felix’s point in this article is that, nobody knows for sure, but it could very well work, it could very well shift capital from economically useless speculative purposes, in fact, economically destructive speculative purposes, to more productive investment. It could very well have that effect. But even the sectors of private capital that would benefit from it have not supported it. He argues that the reason is that they have an overriding class interest, which overcomes their narrow profit interest. The overriding class interest is to use the fiscal crisis of states to undermine the social contract that’s been built up—to roll back the gains in welfare, union rights, labor rights, and so on. That interest is sufficient that they are willing to see this instrument used to cut back growth in investment, even the sectors that would benefit from it. It is a pretty plausible argument, I think. And the Federal Reserve is just a piece of it.

DB: The Fed is kind of the de facto central bank of the U.S. But it’s private, right?

No, it’s not private. It’s independent of specific government orders.
The President can’t order it to do something. But its members and director are appointed through the government.

DB: So they’re presidential appointments?

Yes. But then they’re essentially independent.

DB: It seems that the Fed and other central banks can’t seem to stabilize and control currency rates as they once could.

That’s gone because the system was dismantled. There was a system up until the early 1970s.

DB: Bretton Woods.


DB: But there was this recent precipitous drop of the dollar against the yen and the mark, for example. The banks tried to stabilize the dollar . . .

It’s not clear that they tried. Maybe the European banks did. It’s not at all clear that the American government did, or its banks. It’s just not at all obvious that that was their goal. They may be happy to see the dollar drop.

DB: But it is your contention that traders and speculators command more capital today than the central banks?

I don’t think it’s my contention. It’s everybody’s contention.

DB: David Peterson alerted me to a passage in John Maynard Keynes’s classic work from the mid-1930s, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. Keynes says: “As the organization of investment markets improves, the risk of the predominance of speculation does, however, increase. Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise, but the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation.”

That’s happened. That’s why the Bretton Woods system, which Keynes was instrumental in helping to craft, did have mechanisms for regulation of currencies. The basic idea of the system was that the dollar was the international currency in those days because of the over-whelming industrial and economic power of the U.S., which was indeed overwhelming. So the dollar was the international currency. It was fixed relative to gold. Then other currencies were regulated relative to the dollar. There were various devices to allow a certain degree of flexibility, depending on economic growth, recession, and so on. That was the fundamental system. That was dismantled unilaterally by the U.S. in the early 1970s, when the U.S. determined that it no longer wanted to function as basically the international banker. This had to do with a lot of things: the growth of the more or less trilateral economic system (with the growth of the Japanese-based system and the growth of the German-based European system), and also the cost of the Vietnam War and its economic benefits to rivals of the U.S. These led to these decisions by the Nixon administration.
At the time that these decisions were made, financial speculation was a bubble. So estimates are that about ten percent of the capital in international exchanges at the time was for speculation and about ninety percent was related to the real economy, for investment and trade. By the 1990 those figures were reversed. It was about ninety percent speculation and ten percent investment and trade. David Felix did a recent study done for UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in which he cites estimates that by 1994 it was about ninety-five percent speculative and about five percent real economy-related. So that’s pretty much what Keynes was worried about.

DB: To continue with Keynes, he said, “When the capital development of a country becomes a byproduct of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

By the 1980s, the international economy was being called a “casino economy.” There is a book with that title by a well-known British international economist, Susan Strange, The Casino Economy. And others were using the same phrase. It becomes in thrall to speculation.
It’s this that James Tobin was warning about in 1978, when the whole process was still in its early stages.

DB: Do you think the current economic system can continue in this cycle of ups and downs, or is it prone to collapse? Have they built in enough safeguards to protect themselves from another 1929?

Nobody has the slightest idea. In the early 1980s, when the debt crisis hit, the banks were worried that they wouldn’t be able to contain it. They were bailed out by the public. The huge Third World debt, which had been developed very fast, became a major problem when U.S. interest rates shot up, since a lot of the debt is keyed to the dollar.
As interest rates shot up, for one thing, a ton of money began flowing out of places like Latin America. Not East Asia, because East Asia has capital controls. So rich Koreans couldn’t send their capital to the U.S.
There are controls on that. But the wealth of Latin America, which is much more open to international markets for various historical reasons, simply flowed to U.S. banks. This led to a complete collapse in Latin America. In fact, the debt owed by Latin America is not all that different from the amount of capital flight from Latin America. Also, the interest rates on the debt went way up because they’re tied to U.S. interest rates.
Then came this huge debt crisis. It looked like major countries, Brazil, Mexico, and others, were going to default. The big banks were very worried. That was finessed mainly by a taxpayer bailout. It was picked up by the World Bank. One way or another, most of the debt was transferred over to the public domain and the banks were bailed out.
In 1987 there was another apparent crisis. We just saw one in December 1994. Nobody knew what the domino effect might be of the Mexican collapse, whether it was going to start toppling other Third World financial markets, which are also based very heavily on speculation, just as the Mexican one was. The Clinton bailout was not so much to pay off the people who invested through speculation in Mexico. They had already pulled out their money or lost it. It was to prop up export capital to countries like Argentina and so on and to guarantee people against losses there. So it is a taxpayer bailout going to promote relatively risk-free investment through public funds, but not so much for the Mexican investors. This one seems to have been contained, too. But what will happen next time I don’t think anybody knows.
Predictions on this are almost meaningless. Just take a look at what the international economists and the World Bank were predicting about Mexico, and that will tell you how reliable their forecasts are. Up untilthe collapse, they were just euphoric about the prospects for Mexico, this great economic miracle. After the collapse they started explaining how they knew it all along. But try to find it before.

DB: To get back to the whole issue of employment, there was a notion in the U.S. that full employment was a desirable policy goal.
That has changed dramatically.

There no longer is even a theoretical commitment to full employment, as there had been from the late 1940s. There was a commitment, at least a theoretical commitment, which was sometimes partially implemented from the late 1940s on, but that’s gone. Now the commitment is to something different. It’s to what’s called the “natural rate of unemployment.” There’s supposed to be some natural rate. As unemployment goes down below some natural rate of unemployment, then inflation is supposed to go up, and you want to make sure that unemployment stays at the natural place. People differ on what that is, but it’s pretty high, over six percent.

DB: That’s a pretty bogus figure.

It’s not bogus. It has a certain meaning. It means that you want wages to stay low enough so that they don’t carry the risk of potential inflation.

DB: I say bogus in that a lot of people are simply not counted.

But that’s always been true. What they call unemployment is a figure well below the number of unemployed. That’s always true. There are people who are off the labor market or who have given up, who are out of the visible economy. So these are just the numbers. That was also true when they were aiming at three percent.

DB: Even if you work one hour a week, for example, you’re considered employed.

I wouldn’t say “bogus,” because everybody knows the way it’s done.
The numbers measure something. They certainly don’t measure the number of people who have a regular job that they want.

DB: There seem to be some obvious advantages to corporate power to have a permanent army of the unemployed.

Although we should bear in mind that by now they have an international army of the unemployed. During the latest recession, the Clinton recovery, this growth period of the last couple of years, there has not been a corresponding growth in wages, even though employment has gone up, which is what you’d expect in a normal labor market. As the employment goes up and the reserve army of unemployed goes down, you’d expect the pressure on wages to go up. But that hasn’t happened. Nobody knows for certain, but it’s probable that a large part of the reason for that is that there always is the threat of simply transferring production elsewhere. You don’t even have to implement the threat. The fact that it’s there is enough.
There’s nothing abstract about this. Take, say, the current strikes in Decatur, a crucial moment in labor history. Three major corporations, only one of which is based in the U.S. (one is based in Britain and one in Japan) are involved in trying to basically destroy some of the last remnants of the industrial labor unions in the U.S. in this old working-class town. One of them is a strict lockout. The other two are technically strikes—”were,” I should say, because the United Auto Workers have already collapsed. So there are only two still going. The others are strikes, but they’re strikes that the corporations wanted, because they wanted to be able to destroy the unions.
They’ve explained how they could do it. Caterpillar, the U.S.-based one, first of all has profits coming out of its ears. It’s making huge profits, like other major corporations, so it’s got plenty of capital. There’s no problem that way. But furthermore, they’ve been using their profits over the past years to build up excess capacity in other countries. For example, they have plants in Brazil where they can get much cheaper labor and they can keep filling their international orders. Notice that that’s not done for reasons of economic efficiency. Quite the contrary.
It’s done for power reasons. You don’t build up excess capacity for economic efficiency, but you do build it up for power reasons, as a threat against the domestic work force. And this is true in case after case.
Take another current example. It indicates that this is not abstract.
It’s very real. It is the trade war that’s going on with Japan. Have a close look at it. The U.S. is trying to get Japan to open its markets to auto parts manufactured by U.S. manufacturers. That’s the big issue. But when the Wall Street Journal interviewed the CEOs of the corporations that make the parts, they said of course they’d be delighted to have the Japanese markets open. But they said that they would not supply them from U.S. plants. They would mostly supply them from plants in Asia.
Because they’ve built up a network of producers elsewhere where they again get much cheaper workers and, of course, are much closer to the Japanese market. So if Japan capitulates in this conflict, it’s not (according to the Wall Street Journal analysis, at least) very likely that there will be many more American jobs, though there will be plenty more American profits.

DB: Why is Clinton pushing Japan now?

He would like to see the U.S. auto makers and their investors make more profits.

DB: What might happen if the World Trade Organization hears this case and it goes against the U.S.?

GATT, which was the predecessor of the World Trade Organization, has ruled against the U.S. on a number of occasions. They just don’t pay any attention. And nobody is going to put any pressure on the U.S. It’s just too big. There are mechanisms in the international trade organizations. GATT and the World Trade Organization have methods to penalize countries that don’t play by the rules. But just remember what the methods are. For example, if, say, Nicaragua objects to U.S. violations of the GATT rules, as it did, and if GATT concludes that
Nicaragua is right, as it did, Nicaragua is then completely free to penalize the U.S. by raising its tariffs on U.S. imports, let’s say. That’s not even a joke. On the other hand, if the U.S. wants to do something to Nicaragua, they can kill it, by the same rules. But who’s going to try to close their markets to U.S. exports?

DB: A couple of months ago we talked about the World Court case involving Portugal and Australia on East Timor oil. Is there any update on that?

There won’t be for several months. The litigation was completed around early February. Then the court takes a number of months to reach a decision. People are guessing probably in the fall. It won’t be very easy to keep informed. As far as I’m aware—I haven’t checked it in the data base—but I haven’t seen any reference to the World Court case in the U.S.

DB: How did you hear about it?

I know about it from other sources. For one thing, it’s all over the
Australian, Portuguese, and European press.

DB: At a talk you gave at MIT on May 9th for the striking and locked-out workers in Decatur, you made a couple of interesting comments that I’d like you to expand on. You said the current political climate in the U.S. “is kind of an organizer’s dream. . . . It’s a situation in which the opportunities for organizing and rebuilding a democratic culture are very, very high.” What’s the basis of your optimism?

Actually, to give credit where it’s due, I was stealing a line from my friend Mike Albert, who made that comment. I think the comment is accurate. There is a general mood of fear and concern and disillusionment and cynicism and recognition that things aren’t going right which is based in reality. For maybe eighty percent of the population living standards have either been stagnant or have actually declined over the last fifteen years or so. They don’t see any hope of anything better. Their anger is mostly focused on government, not on the Fortune 500. But that’s the result of very effective propaganda over many years, which kind of puts in the shadow the source of decision making. But the concerns are there. If they can be mobilized, there could be a very constructive response. Again, let’s make it concrete.
Take these people who call themselves “militias.” They’re not militias, of course. Militias are things set up by states. But these paramilitary organizations that are called militias—people like the Timothy McVeighs, assuming that the government’s story is accurate—if you look at those people, who are they? They’re mostly white, working-class men with something like high school educations. They’re pretty much the kind of people who were building the CIO sixty years ago. Why aren’t they doing something similar now? It’s an organizer’s dream, but they’re not being organized.

DB: Right.

In fact, you remember in the meeting, when the worker from Staley was talking?

DB: Very well.

I thought he gave a very eloquent talk. I don’t know if you have it on tape, but if you do you ought to play it. He’s describing his picture of what he wanted his life to be and thought it ought to be. I’ll bet you that if you were to pick a person at random from those paramilitary groups, you’d get the same picture or something similar to it. If people like the guy who was talking are driven—if that life is taken away from them, and the possibilities of their having a meaningful existence with serious work and family life and the rest of what he was saying—there’s nothing unreasonable that he was asking for, not at all. In fact, it was praiseworthy. But if those possibilities are taken away, they’re going to go in one of two directions. Either they too will be doing something like joining paramilitary groups, or some other destructive activity (there are plenty of possibilities) or they will be the people who will rebuild the civil society that’s being dismantled and restore some semblance of a democratic system. The differences between him and the people in the paramilitary groups I think are differences of commitment and understanding, not so much a social background or even goals, necessarily.

DB: I noticed particularly after you came back from Australia in late January your spirits were really up and you had a lot of energy. It seems to have sustained itself through this whole spring period. Am I seeing you correctly?

I don’t know. It was a kind of a shot in the arm in many ways. It was sort of exhilarating. But I doubt that it would have been very different.
There’s a kind of natural cycle of activism and things to do and energy and a decline as things quiet down.

DB: Your academic year is almost over.

But it’s not just the academic year. The point is that the rhythm of activism in the U.S., meaning organized activities, meetings, talks, and so on, that’s pretty correlated with the academic year. So things do die down around June.

DB: Are you looking forward to the summer at Wellfleet, on the Cape?

Yes. Plenty of work to do. It’ll be good to be away for a bit, and I’ve got a ton of things to do.

DB: And you get a little sailing and swimming in on the side?

I hope so. We’ll see.

DB: See you at the Z Media Institute in Woods Hole in a few weeks.
Take care.

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