Assorted links

by on April 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Six false claims about automated AI grading.

2. Review of the new Knausgaard, it sounds spectacular.

3. Luttwak blames South Korea.

4. Eleven of the most unusual elevators.

5. Arnold Kling predicts no useful discussion of the disability issue.

derek April 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm

#1 One advantage is that it disabuses students (and those who are paying for the education) of any notion that the Education Establishment gives a damn about you and what you have to say. Not a bad thing to learn, and would have been a more useful data point before any checks were written.

john personna April 13, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Is this news? I knew a guy who put “circle this for a free pizza” in every physics lab report. (I discovered that well-drawn illustrations in said reports were better than text, for grades.)

Enrique April 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm

#3 Luttwak’s essay is excellent … if you give in to extortion in the past, you should expect more extortion in the future … but this raises an interesting question, why doesn’t the Coase theorem work in the context of South and North Korea?

So Much for Subtlety April 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm

I love Luttwak’s work. All of it. Even, or perhaps especially, Give War a Chance. But I think he is wrong on this.

Because North Korea has a bigger threat than attacking the South – collapse. West Germany was almost driven into economic bankruptcy by East Germany’s collapse. Despite East Germans being less than a quarter of the West’s population and having an economy that was thought to be a quarter of the size per head of population. They are still paying for it. North Korea has a population that is twice as big as a proportion of the South – about half the population of South Korea. It is so poor that it is hard to measure, but it might be 50 times poorer than the South. So the costs of rebuilding the North come unification would be crippling for the South. It is simply not possible and both North and South know it.

Hence Kaesong. The South’s only hope is that the North will embrace the Chinese model. It will allow the slow growth of a free economy while retaining strict political control. That will enable the North to grow until it is a lot closer to the South in GDP per head of population. Then the North can collapse.

The thought of 22 million half starved impoverished Northerners pulling down the fences and demanding to be free must scare the living day lights out of the South’s leadership.

But some of his article is good. America should demand the South spend more to look after itself. But then it should in Europe as well. In fact I would say that the Korean War was a mistake and America should never have committed itself to holding Communism back on the mainland of Asia. But I expect that is a minority position – as nice as it has been for South Korea. Not quite sure what we got out of it. They don’t like us and their intellectuals have all been demanding unification under the leadership of the Kim family since the Armistice. Should have let them have it.

Norman Pfyster April 13, 2013 at 6:24 pm

We got a much more de-militarized and healthy Japan our to the Korean War.

So Much for Subtlety April 13, 2013 at 6:36 pm

It was good for the Japanese economy. I will give you that. Whether that was a cause or a necessary condition of Japan’s modern wealth is another matter.

But the Korean War led directly to the re-creation of the Japanese Armed Forces. Something that is hard to reconcile with Japan being even more de-militarized. Unless you mean the Japanese Communist Parties became even more opposed to the capitalist world protecting themselves from Soviet liberation? Well that is true.

Joe Smith April 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

“So the costs of rebuilding the North come unification would be crippling for the South. It is simply not possible and both North and South know it.”

There would be a tidal wave of foreign capital available to rebuild North Korea. South Korea would not have to finance it on its own.

So Much for Subtlety April 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm

South Korea has not been all that welcoming of foreign investment. Why do you think they would want it?

Also, why do you think it would happen? The North does not look a good place to invest to me. It did not happen in East Germany and East Germany looks a much better place to invest to me. Also Northerners have a great deal of trouble adjusting to life in the South – they have been institutionalized. What makes you think they will be good workers?

Even if you ignore all that, think of the massive investment the South would have to make in roads, electricity, schools, universities and so on. It would be staggering. The World Bank and so on might lend, but they would lend. The South has studied this extensively and they say that America is the only likely source of money and given the costs would run into the trillions, the Americans are unlikely to cough up. More so now.

Dismalist April 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm

#3: Luttwak is blind.

What we are seeing is the Coase Theorem working! And it’s incredibly cheap for the South to keep the North at bay. The North merely has to stir up the mud from time to time to prevent prices from falling too much. But the North’s threat is so incredible, that it can’t make enough from extortion to feed the peasants halfway properly.

It’s only a question of time before the superstructure crumbles. Any accident will do, like the boss being sick and the border troops not having fresh orders to shoot, which is part of what happened in East Germany. Or the soldier is too weak to pull the trigger.

ThaomsH April 14, 2013 at 8:39 am

I think the media is at fault for taking the NK “threats” too seriously. That may in part lie behind SK’s and other countries policies.

Mark Thorson April 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm

. . . what the algorithms learn to do are reproduce the already questionable behavior . . .

How did this get past the automated reading program?

mulp April 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Other than the Kling sneer that is visible in 5, what does #5 offer to any discussion or debate?

If farmers were required to provide accommodations for disabilities, Klng’s example of the disabled being able to work – say by outfitting harvesters and such so the quadriplegic can drive them around the fields. Is Kling suggesting putting more meat behind the ADA to force employers to employment more disabled? That’s his #3.

We did go through a solid five years of borrowing to fund consumption to drive demand, from 2001-2005, both in government borrowing to shower cash on taxpayers and tell them patriotism is going shopping, plus the banks figured out how to take other peoples money and lend it out in frantic churn to get people to go on cruises and shopping, but when the policy is that high paying jobs are replaced by low paying jobs plus borrowing to keep the demand up, that is hardly sustainable. What does Kling offer on that point he lists under 1.

And is the libertarian solution for people who can’t get a job that supports their ability to live to be homeless and hungry until early death in survival of the fittest. under #2.

The assumption is that the labor market is just like any other market with the worker being just like the firm.

Well, firms have capital and operating costs, and if they deplete their capital due to operating losses, they are liquidated.

Obviously, the equivalent for workers is to liquidate by a bankruptcy judge overseeing the auctioning off the worker and family in a liquidation, That would solve Alex’s organ supply problem nicely, wouldn’t it?

Norman Pfyster April 13, 2013 at 6:21 pm

His insistence on fitting everything into his newfound formulation makes him overlook a genuine economic (science) puzzle about the labor/job market that does indeed inhibit communication across the political spectrum: what is the supply and what is the demand? Notice I called in ambiguously the labor/job market. Is labor the supply and employers the demand or are jobs offered by employers the supply and labor the demand? Both can describe the market. I have noticed that a significant amount of the ink and bits spilled on this issue occurs between people using these opposite models of the market.

bjssp April 13, 2013 at 11:51 pm

I emailed a progressive economist who helped me clear up my confusion over this issue and Autor’s claims. This economist said that, if you adjust for age since 1980, the SSDI rate has risen about 10-15 percent, and it’s mostly men without high school degrees. Thus, it does reflect economic conditions, although whether the answer is to stimulate aggregate demand or to deal with what is a structural issue isn’t clear–to me, at least. Whatever the case, this doesn’t seem like some sort of astonishing result. These people are probably without a lot of options; what do we expect them to do? In fact, as I’ve stated, I’m kind of surprised the results aren’t bigger.

prior_approval April 14, 2013 at 3:21 am

‘what does #5 offer to any discussion or debate’

Narrative within a well woven network of interlinking Internet presences is the simple explanation, thus increasing visibility in terms intended to influence ‘debate.’

Andrew' April 14, 2013 at 5:26 am

Holy shit, PA distills a comment down to something mildly interesting!

It’s pretty simple. Disability is broken. Progressives don’t care because as long as it helps somebody they think it’s good. Conservatives hate it because as long as it corrupts one person it’s bad. Libertarians just see that it is broken and chalk it up to government not being able to get anything right.

prior_approval April 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I was just talking about the intentionally promiscuous linking – and then, a link to a Kling e-book appears a day later.

Such a non-coincidence, already talked about before it occurred (again – but as you know, showing the mechanisms involved leads to such comments being deleted – deletion itself being part of the process of ensuring the narrative remains palatable to those creating it).

bjssp April 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Speaking as a progressive who is in line with other progressives, I don’t agree. There have been increases from people who would, in most circumstances, otherwise be working, but it’s not some sort of sinkhole. (In fact, as I keep saying, I’m surprised it’s not higher.) Most of it is due to aging, and that’s not going really going to change. Autor, et al have some solutions, and in fact, they have been posted by organizations like CAP, where many in the Obama administration have worked or probably will work.

Dismalist April 13, 2013 at 7:46 pm

#4: A reassuringly large share of the 11 elevators shown are actually useful. The others are, well, Kunst.

Andrew' April 14, 2013 at 5:32 am

I can’t freaking stand annoying Kunst.

Andrew' April 14, 2013 at 5:45 am

A real education system might have a professor grade the gradings of advanced students who grade the gradings of lower students. In other words, we might view the production of students as opportunities for other students rather than mountains of detritus to only be disposed of efficiently by robots.

Thomas H April 14, 2013 at 8:34 am

Kling predicts no discussion on the basis of his own decision to “lie low” on the issue and his belief that only conservatives admire a disabled person who was able to largely overcome his disability?

prior_approval April 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm

The conservative love for a polio victim who overcame his condition to become president and lead the nation to victory in WWII is notable, right?

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