Assorted links

by on July 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 prior_approval July 15, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Number 2 – another one of those articles so enamored at confusing income and wealth that it becomes almost embarassing.

To give a concrete example, Lee Raymond’s ExxonMobil retirement package had little to do with income. The wikipedia entry is fascinating for its attempt to glodd over reality – ‘On April 14, 2006, it was reported that Raymond’s retirement package was worth about $400 million, the largest in history for a U.S. public company. However, the majority of that sum consisted of retirement-independent salary, bonuses, stock options, and restricted stock awards from his final year and prior years that, while high, are by no means unprecedented among major American CEOs. Retirement-specific payments in accordance with the standard pension plan provided to all ExxonMobil employees totaled around $100 million, calculated based on his over forty years of service and his salary upon retirement.’

Do note how carefully that is parsed – 100 million of Raymond’s retirement package is typical, while the other 300 million is something else. And only a fraction of it was income.

2 j r July 15, 2014 at 1:06 pm

I think that you have confused the two yourself. Salary, bonues, stock awards, stock options, use of the company jet, etc. are all considered income. The difference between income and wealth is that the former is a flow (that you earn in a given year) and the latter is a stock (that you simply own). If your company gives you a 100 shares of stock as part of your compensation for year X, that stock award is income. You pay income taxes on it. In year X+1, that 100 shares of stock is wealth.

3 prior_approval July 15, 2014 at 2:07 pm

‘are all considered income’

For some purposes, more or less. But when Steve Jobs was making a symbolic dollar a year as Apple’s CEO, no one seemed to be counting the rise in Apple’s share price as part of his ‘income.’

As a matter of fact, here is an entire article devoted to just that question –

‘The AP recently reported that Steve Jobs took a $1 salary in 2009. In the same story, it is also indicated that he hasn’t cashed in any of his Apple stock since 1997. The question remains: How does the guy maintain a lavish lifestyle? Where does his money come from?

Apple Inc. won’t let us peek into Steve Jobs’ personal bank account, so we’re going to have to rely on some facts and some educated guesses to answer this one.

Apple went public in 1980. From then to when Jobs was forced to resign in 1985, he was likely paid a salary and may have sold some stock. The Associated Press reported that in the summer of 1985, Jobs sold about $14 million worth of Apple shares.

So one guess is that Jobs hired a savvy money manager to invest at least some of those earnings. Between 1985 and today, the S&P 500 has more than quintupled. The Nasdaq has increased nearly sevenfold.

Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, and has been paid $1 a year since 1998. He currently owns about $1.2 billion worth of Apple stock.

Jobs also holds $4.4 billion worth of Walt Disney Co. stock, which he received when he sold Pixar Animation Studios to Disney in 2006. Disney pays investors an annual dividend of 35 cents per share. For Jobs, who has about 138 million shares, that comes out to about $48 million a year.’

At least on my tax returns, dividends are not actually considered income – form 1099-DIV is not for income, after all.

Somehow, I doubt that Raymond’s tax accountants are unaware of all the best ways to remove ‘income,’ with its accompanying higher tax rate, while still ensuring a steady flow of funds into his accounts. But as noted, that wikipedia entry does a fine job trying to muddy the waters.

4 msgkings July 15, 2014 at 4:57 pm

P_A, you’re really embarrassing yourself.

If you can explain what dividends are if they aren’t ‘income’ I’m all ears.

What j r and I are saying here is that ‘income’ as a vocabulary word means value you earn, whether it’s in cash, stock, perks, or whatever. It’s $ coming in (in-come).

Just because the tax code treats different kinds of income differently doesn’t mean it’s not income. Dividends are most definitely INCOME.

5 John July 16, 2014 at 8:42 am

>>The question remains: How does the guy maintain a lavish lifestyle? Where does his money come from?

I can’t find the article now, but I recall reading somewhere that every so many years Jobs would borrow cash using his shares of Apple as collateral. When the loan came due he would borrow again, for more money. The article was from before he passed, but the idea was that when he died his estate would finally settle accounts. This may have been a tax-advantageous time to sell or give away the Apple stock, or it may have just been that since he was dead he didn’t care as much.

6 Jacob July 15, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Please take the Google interview questions with a grain of salt. Questions like “A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?” are actively discouraged for Google’s software engineering interviewers and I have never, ever heard of it being asked in a real interview.

The actual computer-science-related questions are more realistic, but remember that Google tries to make sure the questions asked at interviews aren’t the exact same ones that show up when you search the Web for “Google interview questions”. That would be too easy.

7 Ricardo July 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Since you seem to know something about this…

Several of those questions would take me 10-15 minutes to solve. How much time would an interviewee be given?

Also, “Write a function (with helper functions if needed) called to Excel that takes an excel column value (A,B,C,D…AA,AB,AC,… AAA..) and returns a corresponding integer value (A=1,B=2,… AA=26..)” has a bug in it (AA would be 27). If I pointed this out, would it count for or against me?

8 Dan Weber July 15, 2014 at 1:35 pm

> If I pointed this out, would it count for or against me?

Depends if the interviewer just had lunch or not.

9 Jacob July 15, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Google interviews are 45 minutes long. Usually, the interviewers try to have questions that are flexible enough to be longer or shorter depending on the interviewee. A lot of the questions on Tyler’s list would be used more as warm-up questions: e.g. reverse a string. If you take 45 minutes to do that, this is not a good sign.

As for the bug in the question: probably neither — likely the interview would just move on to the “real” question after the interviewer acknowledge the bug.

10 dearieme July 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Why do you want to join Google? It goes without saying.
What do you know about Google’s product and technology? To Google has become a verb: who needs to know more?
If you are Product Manager for Google’s Adwords, how do you plan to market this? But I’m not.
What would you say during an AdWords or AdSense product seminar? Awesome!
Who are Google’s competitors, and how does Google compete with them? The NSA. Oh, probably it co-operates.
Have you ever used Google’s products? Gmail? No, of course not; then you’d know everything in my e-mail: I use e-mail provided by companies I don’t want to work for.

11 carlospln July 15, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Whatever happened to ‘Sell me this pencil’

? 😉

12 Dan Lavatan July 16, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Right, they are just random questions posted by that guy lewis more than 5 years ago.

13 btdt July 15, 2014 at 12:27 pm

#4 Cafeteria is run by a contractor…complaints should largely mirror that of any other Aramark/Sodexo-run cafeteria.

If only Julia Child worked in the kitchen there…

14 anon July 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm


15 Tim July 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Agreed with Jacob. I’ve administered or read feedback from thousands of Google engineering interviews, and I’ve never seen a riddle like the Monopoly one asked, and use of “How do you move Mt. Fuji” questions is very, very rare (and discouraged). Practically everything you read on the web about Google interviews is BS, other than direct accounts from people who were actually interviewed.

16 Dan Weber July 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm

They are reporting on the fad from over 10 years ago as if it were current.

What’s today’s interviewing fad that will be laughed at in ten years?

17 Urso July 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

The fact that the interviewees are people instead of robots.

18 Roe Bott July 15, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Haha, meat puppets are so 2014

In the future we will all bid on jobs – the low bidder gets the job. Heil Google!

19 Anthony July 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm

#5: The author finds that membership in Stormfront tends to correlate with ethnic/racial diversity. This should be no surprise to the author. We know, from Putnam, that diversity reduces social trust, and we know from all of anthropology, and the real-estate business, that most people prefer the company of people like themselves. Since pretty much every behavior pattern exhibits some variation, usually “statistically normal” in behavior, is it any surprise that there is some small proportion of people who really, really dislike Others, and that they’re more likely to feel the importance of this dislike when they’re surrounded by Others?

20 Careless July 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Illinois denazification: success!

21 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 2:17 pm

What’s curious is that their primary target would be Jews. Jews make up about 2.5% of the population overall and most live in one of about 10 metropolitan centers. They’re not obtrusive on the street and not particularly associated with any phenomena which make daily life difficult. I’m wondering if Stormfront draws disproportionately from people who’ve been involved in lawsuits where the opposing party retained a Jewish lawyer.

22 Anthony July 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

I’d assume it has something to do with American anti-authoritarianism, generally, in its populist “fight the power” guise.

It’s pretty obvious that blacks and Hispanics don’t have a lot of power in the U.S. While living near blacks or Hispanics might be a deeply unpleasant experience, the structure of authority in the U.S. is supposed to prevent or mitigate that unpleasantness.

However, while living near Jews is rarely any more unpleasant than living in a non-Jewish white area, it’s pretty obvious that Jews are heavily over-represented in American power structures, both formal and informal. If you subscribe to the idea that people in power generally pull the levers of power to favor people like themselves (which is not an unreasonable belief), or that they *should* do so, which many white nationalists do (so long as those people are like them) it’s not a great leap to believe that everything bad which emanates from the government or the informal power (big business, media, etc.) is somehow the machinations of the Jews.

23 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 7:52 pm

it’s pretty obvious that Jews are heavily over-represented in American power structures, both formal and informal.

I grew up in an area which is average Jewish. Prominent Jews in the area tend to be associated with the legal profession. Three exceptions would be one (of the eight) local college presidents and a couple of chaps in the real estate business.

24 Peter Akuleyev July 16, 2014 at 7:33 am

Jews are very visible in the media and the entertainment industry, and are certainly overrepresented in academia and finance relative to their share of the population . Since extremists on both the right and left tend to ascribe almost magical powers of persuasion and consent manufacturing to those institutions, it is not surprising that Anti-Semitism finds favorable soil on the political fringes.

25 Ricardo July 18, 2014 at 1:45 am

On the other hand, Jews make up 11% of the U.S. Senate and 5% of the House and there has never been a Jewish President. The more direct and obvious link between white nationalism and anti-Semitism is that both rest on paranoia and conspiracy theories.

As Hofstadter put it, the non-conspiratorial way of viewing all the problems that exist in a country like the U.S. is that life is tragic and unfair, people are imperfect and people with power tend to magnify their imperfections to the detriment of everyone else. For conspiracy theorists, this is not an adequate or acceptable explanation. Instead, the source of problems rests with a secret group of people who are individually obscure but who who wield enormous power collectively and positively enjoy using that power to screw over other people. Jews are a natural target of conspiratorial thinking precisely because they are not particularly over-represented at the highest levels of formal power structures but might work for or advise those who are.

26 Zephyrus July 15, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Most Stormfront users are better educated and higher earning on average, apparently.

Who is likely a more competitive threat to them in employment and dating? Black people, or Jewish people?

27 Clover July 16, 2014 at 2:25 am


28 Axa July 16, 2014 at 6:36 am

Perhaps reality is not the cause. There’s a real life joke of a mexican that owns a pawn shop. People arrive to the shop and tell the owner “I want to talk with the owner, the jew”. Ignorance is an issue.

29 Justin July 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm

The real question is whether the eroded social capital and increased Stormfront membership is

a. merely a passing phase towards a more tolerant and cosmopolitan era
b. a warning signal that steers us towards a multi-ethnic but culturally homogeneous society
c. an early sign that we’re heading towards de facto apartheid along ethno/cultural lines.

30 rayward July 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

2. Manzi is among the data criticism crowd. Of course, the problem with the data criticism approach to Piketty is best described by Groucho Marx: who you gonna believe, Piketty’s critics or your lying eyes. Granted, Manzi attempts to throw in a little theoretical criticism, but his heart’s not in it. A reminder to readers that criticism of Piketty has come in phases: the first phase, in which Piketty’s critics didn’t deny increasing inequality but claim that inequality is a good thing; the second phase, in which Piketty’s critics take the theoretical approach and argue that Piketty’s now famous r > g is all wrong; and the third phase, in which Piketty’s critics didn’t actually deny increasing inequality but claim that Piketty’s data is wrong (Manzi is in this group). The first phase was short-lived, for obvious reasons (it was a variant of how to love the bomb). The second phase was perhaps best because critics could sympathize with Piketty’s concern about increasing inequality while making the case that the concern is simply misplaced because Piketty’s got his numbers wrong. The third phase, as mentioned, has the Groucho Marx problem. I suggest Manzi take the phase two approach – he mentions that he’s late commenting on Piketty, an acknowledgment that, unfortunately for him, he came in after the critics had entered phase three.

31 Jim Manzi July 15, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I think you’re argument that I take the the position that “Piketty’s data is wrong” is somewhat undercut by the fact that in the linked article, I begin the the analytical discussion with the following sentence: “I’ll focus on the case of America, and start by stipulating to all of his data.”

My argument is that he misinterprets the causes of rising income inequality in the US to date.

32 dead serious July 15, 2014 at 2:47 pm

So what are the causes of rising income equality in the US to date, since you seem to accept that it is in fact rising?

Do I believe you or that chart? Technically, the ratio of CEO pay:avg worker has fallen since the lofty early aughts, so you’d be correct in that sense. But as a historical ratio, it’s pretty disgusting.

33 Jim Manzi July 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm

I’ve written frequently, and linked to some of this in the linked article, that I think growing inequality is both real and a serious problem. I think Piketty’s argument for the primary reason why inequality has been rising in the US to date — top managers of large companies gaming the comp system — is incorrect, as a matter of arithmetic if nothing else. I’ve previously written that increasing inequality is a complicated phenomenon that I don’t think anybody fully understands, but that contributing factors include: technological change; US immigration policy; the oil shocks of the 1970s; and changing cultural norms.

I’ve also written that another factor has been conservative economic policies, which I have supported. I referenced this at the start of the linked article. I think that we face a difficult trade-off in which some policies that serve to encourage innovation (which we need) also serve to increase inequality and threaten social cohesion (which we obviously don’t want). I see this tension between innovation and cohesion as a fundamental problem of politics in modern Western democracies.

34 rayward July 15, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I view excessive inequality as an economic issue because it’s so highly correlated with financial and economic instability. Of course, that’s not Piketty’s thesis; his is more of a social concern. Indeed, I’ve been mildly critical of Piketty for his focus on theory (r > g) because it’s an invitation to criticism, legitimate and not so legitimate. Which has the effect of being a distraction from what in my view is the overwhelming issue – the economic issue. Piketty does point out the correlation between excessive inequality and financial instability, but he assumes, wrongly in my view, that with every financial crisis to come governments and central banks will respond, as they did in 2007-08, with countermeasures designed to prevent the value of financial assets from plummeting, avoiding another depression but preserving the very inequality (in wealth) that correlates with instability (it might be called the rinse and repeat response to financial crisis). I say I disagree with Piketty’s assumption that governments and central banks will always intervene because today, even after avoiding a depression, there’s no consensus, even among economists, that Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner did the right thing. And more importantly, the populists on the right have made it clear that politicians “save” the financial sector at their peril.

35 FE July 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Manzi, like Piketty doesn’t have enough data. In the excerpted paragraph, Piketty concedes that according to the SEC filings, which only list top 5 highest-compensated employees “there are not enough top corporate managers to explain the increase.” So Piketty notes instead that there are “many” large firms with more than five 0.1 percenters.

Manzi responds by proving the point Piketty already conceded, that most SEC listings for Fortune ranks 491-500 and 9901-1000 don’t list five 0.1 percenters. As for Piketty’s note that “many” of the larger companies have more than five, Manzi doesn’t have data either, so he just makes assumptions about how many there are likely to be. Then he makes fun of Piketty for assuming the can opener.

36 Jim Manzi July 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm

That’s not quite the case.

First, I showed (via sampling) that something like 80 – 90 percent of public companies report fewer than 5 employees with incomes above the threshold for the top 0.1 percent. For Piketty to be correct in his relevant statement, the actual number of employees above this threshold would have to average about 20. I went through an exercise to show that only extremely unrealistic assumption for the number of such employees at the 10 – 20 percent with more than 5 such employees reported would get anywhere close to Piketty’s estimate. And in fact even with very aggressive assumptions for this, you only get to something like 25 – 30 percent of the top 0.1 percent who could be managers at public companies.

Second, I then separately went to the report that Piketty cites for income distribution data and showed that only about 25 – 30 percent of the top 0.1 percent are managers in companies subject to Piketty’s proposed mechanism of top managers gaming the comp system.

And finally, this only addresses one of the three objections I made to Piketty’s argument about what is causing growing income inequality in America.

37 Jim Manzi July 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Also, LOL…you’re = your

38 Finch July 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm

In some post-singularity science fiction future, we’ll have autocorrect software that catches there/their, your/you’re, and the million different ways apostrophes are supposed to be used…

39 Willitts July 15, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Will it correct “Andrew’?”

40 Finch July 16, 2014 at 11:46 am

That comedy operates on multiple levels.

But I do kind of like having Andrew-Prime around. I also like to spell his name out.

41 Andrew Smith July 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Those Google questions are not accurate. We are not allowed to ask questions such as “Why are manhole covers round” in engineering interviews.

42 Todd Kreider July 15, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Any chance you can tell us why the guy pushed his car to the hotel?

43 Dan Weber July 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Boardwalk, $2000.

44 BZ July 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Haha.. I saw it as a challenge in creativity.
“A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?”
A1: The damage from pushing his car through the glass doors was larger than his fortune.
A2: The damage from pushing his car into the hotel wall totaled the car, which was his fortune.
A3: The hotel was a casino, which he entered after pushing his car there and bet away his fortune.
A4: The man stayed at the hotel and hid his fortune somewhere in the room. The next day, he couldn’t figure out where.
etc, etc..

45 Willitts July 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I wonder what the ideal Buddhist answers to these questions are.

46 8 July 16, 2014 at 8:33 am

The answer to all the questions is: Google is Evil.

47 Silas Barta July 15, 2014 at 1:46 pm

#6 was on Hacker News where reader caught that:

1) Confidence here means “updates less upon learning what others believe”.

2) The result requires that all estimating people have an incentive to guess correctly.

The result is an improvement on the Wisdom of Crowds result, which said, “hey, if we average all the guesses from non-communicating people, we get close to the truth”.

It says “we can do even better if the average is weighted by how little they change their estimate when they learn the group average, assuming they have a disincentive to be wrong.”

Seems like an inexpensive way to improve on estimation.

48 Willitts July 15, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Suppose you were playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and you polled the audience. Nobody knows when they key their response what the other audience members are selecting.

Wouldn’t this result hold by weighting the response by the response time?

What if the game asked you to rate yourself on confidence or, alternatively, altered an audience payoff by penalizing wrong answers?

My point is that the improved wisdom of the crowd doesn’t necessarily rely on people updating their answers based on how others respond.

When I used to watch WWTBAM, I wasn’t surprised that the audience frequently got the answer right, but how large the second best (wrong) answer was and how frequently they were obviously wrong. Distractors seem to work very well on some people, but answers from left field also attract a lot of attention.

49 Justin July 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Tyler, any chance you’d update your reviews of Vox and FiveThirtyEight now that they’ve been out for a while and had a chance to get their legs under them? I think FiveThirtyEight is starting to do some good work on sports, like the Lionel Messi is Impossible article.

50 Willitts July 15, 2014 at 5:05 pm

5. One didn’t have to read past the source, title, and author’s name to guess as the smarmy content.

By no means am I condoning hatred and racism, but I see a fair bit of that from less fair individuals and groups.

I’m wondering why the author thinks the young woman is filled with ‘hate’ because she finds Asians “repulsive.” Is she required to be equally physically attracted to all races? Is she required to regard all cultures, habits, cuisines, and languages to her liking? I find Visigoths and spiders repulsive. So there!

The New York Times doesn’t have a Jewish agenda? I always get a free copy of the Times at our world domination meetings.

Jews hold a vastly disproportionate number of seats in Congress, cabinet positions, federal boards, and the courts. Is it any wonder the hatred or fear is disproportionate, albeit misplaced?

The author kindly informs us that these racists aren’t all dumb, uneducated hicks, but I question his motives. On the one hand, did anyone other than a New York Times subscriber ever think racists were inherently stupid or uneducated?

I recently read that some American Indians oppose team names like Warriors, Braves, etc despite reverence for their better qualities. In their telling, honoring the easily vanquished foes only serves to raise the esteem of the conquerors. Maybe he is making the racists look better so he can claim a sweeter victory and marshal more allies against an underestimated foe.

51 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Jews hold a vastly disproportionate number of seats in Congress, cabinet positions, federal boards, and the courts. Is it any wonder the hatred or fear is disproportionate, albeit misplaced?

Derived from their position in the legal profession. There are some other loci: entertainment and media companies, investment banking, wholesale trade, and gems and jewelry. The number employed in the legal profession and wholesale trade might make it into the seven digits. The rest, doubt it.

Affluent does not mean influential. These knuckleheads are kvetching about a population of rank-and-file professional people and small business.

The problem is the wretched excess of influence held by the bar and elements of higher education.

52 Willitts July 15, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Hollywood, newspapers, sports, academia…

Jews are overrepresented in most of the influential media.

It isn’t that I think this is a problem, but people who think that we have disproportionate power are not lunatics.

53 Peter Akuleyev July 16, 2014 at 7:46 am

Jews as a group are overrepresented in influential media – not even debatable. Do Jews in media consciously collude? Certainly not. Jewish professionals have plenty of rivalries and status struggles with other Jewish professionals, and are no more nepotistic, clannish or conspiratorial than any other ethnic group, and in my experience far less clannish than recent immigrants from Asia. The one criticism that might be fair is that diversity of opinion in elite American media suffers due to the fact that the majority of Jewish professionals across the political spectrum tend to share the same values on issues like immigration, social acceptance of homosexuality, affirmative action, abortion, support for free trade, globalization, support for Israel, etc. But that is not a conscious conspiracy, and WASP elites are almost as homogeneous.

54 asdf July 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm

I don’t think anyone is proposing a “Jewish conspiracy”. What they are proposing is that:

1) Jews tend to favor other Jews (not that they all have secret meetings with all the other Jews in the world, but that there is nepotism). And that minorities tend to increase nepotism and clannishness in society.

2) That Jews don’t really seem to care about long term health of their host society (except for Israel). That a ruling elite with tighter bonds to the host society (religious, ethnic, cultural, etc) would have more genuine noblese oblige. The Jewish attitude seems to be , “get mine while the getting is good”, to a greater degree then people from the host culture put in the same positions.

3) That Jews don’t even really seem to understand their host cultures deeply because they don’t have the same shared heritage and see themselves apart, yet they influence the culture greatly.

4) That most Jewish influence has been universally negative (you mention them above) and mostly seem to have been pursued at the host nations expense in order to fuel the interests and careers of Jews.

55 msgkings July 16, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Fuck you, asdf.

56 Willitts July 15, 2014 at 9:37 pm

To put a finer point on it, these guys are only about kvetching. Sure, they commit more violent crime than the average US citizen, but they were far from my biggest problem as a prosecutor. Granted, I’m from the big dark blue splotch in the center of the country, but the difference between the Land of Lincoln and Big Sky Country is 7 skinheads per 100,000. They can barely muster a bowling team.

Who do these bozos in Montana and Idaho kill? My guess is, mostly each other but I will let the SPLC provide their talking points.

57 Tom West July 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

did anyone other than a New York Times subscriber ever think racists were inherently stupid or uneducated?

Yes, and the article didn’t change my mind.

58 Willitts July 15, 2014 at 6:45 pm

It parodies itself.

59 Peter Akuleyev July 16, 2014 at 8:05 am

Only intelligent, educated people can truly be “racist” (like Woodrow Wilson). Stupid or ignorant people don’t generalize well. An ignorant person tends to judge the individual. If you read experiences of Jews living in Nazi Germany it is striking how often Jews would receive kindnesses from tramway drivers or middle-aged women selling flowers on street corners, people who just felt sorry for someone who seemed to be in pain. Whereas the most vicious anti-Semitism seems to have been in German academic and legal circles. It takes some power for abstract thought to be able to generalize your hatred to a “race”, and consider, say, the intelligent black lawyer or kind Jewish schoolteacher you personally know to simply be statistical anomalies. This is how a reasonably intelligent man like Hitler was able to simultaneously feel sympathy for the Jewish doctor who had cared for his mother, while still being able to rationalize the destruction of an entire people, and build a pseudo-scientific ethical scaffolding to justify his actions. Obviously it seems to be dangerously easy to lead ignorant people on racist crusades, but I still submit the leaders are generally the true racists, the followers are often just acting on emotion.

60 asdf July 16, 2014 at 10:11 am

Accurate racism requires an understanding of the bell curve, outliers, genetics, etc. In my experience there is an IQ floor under which such abstractions become impossible. One can get proles to engage in a kind of vulgur racism, and in many cases its “accurate enough”, but its a messy job.

61 Brian Donohue July 16, 2014 at 11:06 am

General phenomenon: smart people are capable of more monstrous evil than dumb people.

62 Yosemite Semite July 15, 2014 at 10:34 pm


Isn’t the link content misleading? Would you really characterize Stormfront as a “white nationalist” group?

63 Careless July 16, 2014 at 2:01 am

Stormfront began in 1990 as an online bulletin board for white nationalist activist David Duke’s campaign for United States Senator of Louisiana. (Wikipedia)

Sounds like it, although there’s obviously a lot of Nazi, too.

64 JVM July 16, 2014 at 2:38 am


> Judith Chevalier Yale Strongly Disagree 9 The Fed’s track record in economic policy-making, while imperfect, is vastly superior to that of congress

…exactly. The problem isn’t rules. The problem is congress.

65 conor July 16, 2014 at 8:11 am

Not really related but does anyone know what the relationship is between participation rates in a lottery and the size of the purse? I assume if the purse goes from 1 million to 10 million the number of people getting tickets goes up but I’m curious as to the degree.

66 Douglas Knight July 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Manzi is following the citations incorrectly, reading the wrong papers, and falsely describing Piketty’s argument. But he refuses to say which papers he is actually reading, so it’s hard to be sure.

67 Jim Manzi July 17, 2014 at 10:15 am

Actually, I directly linked to the two papers cited in Piketty’s book that I used (and to the predecessor paper that established the methodology used in one of these), and I named the specific exhibit and addendum that I used in one if the papers.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: