A simple theory of baseline mood

by on October 14, 2017 at 11:49 am in Current Affairs, History, Uncategorized | Permalink

During much of the 1982-2001 period, the Western world seemed to be moving in a very favorable direction, indeed most of Asia too.  Over time, Westerns intellectuals and commentators came to expect triumphant feelings and relatively low levels of stress.

9/11, the financial crisis, and now Brexit/Trump/populism/nationalism have upset this feeling.  The level of stress is now especially high in part because it was, not long ago, especially low.  The contrast is difficult for us to stomach, and comparisons with say Richard Nixon or Andrew Jackson help only a little.

In the postwar era, running up through the 1980s, the objective level of stress was much higher than today.  The risk of nuclear war was pretty high, overt racism was much more common, the safety net was much weaker, and it was far from clear that so much of the world would develop economically or become democratic.  Yet all this came right after the easily-remembered stress of World War II, and so it felt like a relief nonetheless.

As a kind of coincidence, memories of World War II wore off just as stress-relieving positive events were kicking into full gear.  That gave America an especially long period of low stress, unprecedented by historical standards.

We are not used to feeling as much stress as we do today.  Yet even in the optimistic scenarios in my predictions, the level of stress today is relatively low compared to what we can rationally expect for the next few decades.

1 oriol October 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm

TC is bearish sex

2 Ray Lopez October 14, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Mood affiliation? Keep mind, says science, that stress reduces after age 50, so since the US population is getting older, there’s going to be less stress.

3 Enrique October 14, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Hmmm… How does one define or measure such a subjecting thing as “stress”! (File under: you cannot test what you cannot define.)

4 Luis Rull October 15, 2017 at 3:52 am

Great question

5 Ray Lopez October 15, 2017 at 4:02 am

With a questionnaire? That’s how most social sciences quantify things. How ya feeling Enrique?

6 TalebStrossBot October 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Perhaps. Long volatility is more like it. Hope you all bought your puts.

7 The Other Jim October 14, 2017 at 12:06 pm

>and now Brexit/Trump/populism/nationalism have upset this feeling

If you are Tyler, or one of the few people Tyler knows, all of whom have the exact same personality type.

Hundreds of millions of other Americans are doing just fine, thanks!

I recommend that the rest of you complain online. It hasn’t helped you at all for the last 300 days or so — but I’m an optimist and I think today might be the day!

Sunny and warm where I am, have a good one!

8 Hwite October 14, 2017 at 12:36 pm

+1

Tyler knows it too, see the snowflake troll.

9 Joël October 14, 2017 at 1:19 pm

I have to agree with Tyler on this one, even if I tend to agree with you (the other Jim) on many things. There is something stressful about Trump’s election. Not that he was elected, but that so many people combining so much media and financial power didn’t accept his election, and so openly rejects the basic principle of democracy. Tyler is also right that, 20 or even 10 years ago, one could be excused to think that racism was finally becoming a thing of the past. And now, racism is back everywhere — that this renewal comes almost entirely from the left, something that Tyler sees but refuses to believe, makes it even more distressing.

10 Mike W October 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm
11 The Other Jim October 14, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Fair point – I accept that it is stressful that the Dems have been revealed as nakedly violent rioting fascists, and that 98% of the media has been revealed as just a wing of their party, and that the FBI has been revealed as just the law enforcement division of statism.

But I have known all this since about 1995, so it causes me no additional stress.

And it has certainly NEVER stressed out Tyler. All that bothers him is the fact that he believed it would always be this way, and now he knows that he is wrong.

Just watch him and enjoy it, my friend.

12 Troll Me October 14, 2017 at 7:37 pm

Democracy does not have elected dictators.

It is not required for all media and politicians to get in line with whatever the president says.

I’m curious what leads you to identify some locus of racism as originating from one “side” of the ideological specturm as opposed to the “other side”.

13 Joël October 14, 2017 at 8:46 pm

For example, deciding admissions into universities as students, or deciding hiring as professors, not only on the individual abilities or achievements of the applicants, but on their “race”, is racism by its very definition. It is certainly strongly associated with the left.

14 Troll Me October 15, 2017 at 2:44 pm

There is a black man and a white man.

They have the same GPA, simlar volunteer experience, similar workplace experience, and references from similarly respected individuals. They both have an Anglo-Saxon last name and the both speak with a New England accent (the one that’s everywhere in the world on TV, radio and movies).

Q1: Who do you hire?

Q2: Why are there anti-discrimination rules?

I do not believe the present approach is the best approach, but to call affirmative action on behalf of discriminated minorities “racism” is to pretend that words can be redefined at will. Which is possible in a way, but it makes your argument fraudulent, not persuasive and not correct.

15 Larry Siegel October 16, 2017 at 2:55 am

I accept the results of the election and understand where Trump voters are coming from. It’s Trump himself that I don’t like. He is unintelligent, proud of it, has no intellectual curiosity, has a weirdly inflated opinion of himself, has a nasty disposition and mouth, and nobody wants to work for him. He has exactly one virtue: he is for lower taxes and less regulation.

Can I oppose him without being a leftist democracy denier? I am actually quite far to the right.

16 Art Deco October 16, 2017 at 8:19 am

He is unintelligent, proud of it,

I have to think remarks like this by partisan Democrats and NeverTrumpers derived from a weirdly inflated sense of their own capabilities.

17 mavery October 16, 2017 at 8:31 am

I think it mostly comes from how much he rambles when speaking publicly. If you get most of your Trump statements in written form, it looks particularly bad. The speech pattern doesn’t seem as bizarre when it’s spoken, though lately there have been some doozies.

Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of people put disagreements with their own position down to lack of intelligence of their opponents, but that’s not unique to either “side”.

18 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 9:15 am

Yup. Well, the left thought that importing voters and racialist politics was a game it could never lose at, so it kept doubling down….

…and is still doubling down. Surely enough minorities will give them that permanent majority…

19 Boonton October 14, 2017 at 8:07 pm

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/direction_of_country-902.html

Most people think the country is on the wrong track. Now granted that’s slightly less than a few years ago…but then a few years ago we were in the Great Recession. So we have low interest rates, low unemployment, low crime, high stock market and even those seeming positive things are insufficient to blunt a rise in people who feel things are not right. If even non-stop sunny days with no rain can’t stop this depression what’s going to happen if we suddenly encounter some actual rainy days?

20 Careless October 14, 2017 at 8:44 pm

low crime,

Murder rate was up what, 20% over the last two years of the Obama administration? I wouldn’t say people feel like it’s a low crime period after a spike like that.

21 Boonton October 14, 2017 at 10:50 pm

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/murder
In 2015, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 15,696. This was a 10.8 percent increase from the 2014 estimate, a 7.1 percent increase from the 2011 figure, but a 9.3 percent drop from the number in 2006.

Try again, the only thing you can count on getting from Fox News is sexual harassment.

22 Careless October 15, 2017 at 12:36 am

Are you an idiot? the last two years of the Obama administration were 2015 and 2016. The murders went from about 14000 to 17250.

23 Boonton October 15, 2017 at 8:11 am

“murders went from about 140000 to 17250” Yawn, moron.

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

2016 17,250 murders. More than 2015 15,883 but still lower than 2006 (17,030) when you consider the population grew by nearly 24M people since then. Total crime actually was lower by nearly 56,000 incidents.

Good job cherry picking data to make a point that’s sharp but too fragile to stand up to the slight bit of intelligent scrutiny.

24 Steve Sailer October 16, 2017 at 4:25 am

That the 20% spike in homicides post-Ferguson is closely tied to Black Lives Matter is what of the clearest results in social science. Huge fractions of the increase are in a small number of cities — e.g., St. Louis, Baltimore, Chicago, and Milwaukee — where BLM triumphed. In many cases, you can date the local spikes in killings precisely to with a few days of BLM protests.

25 mavery October 16, 2017 at 8:36 am

Looking at derivatives without also considering the actual value is foolish. I saw an article in the NYT decrying how cell phones are causing people to have more accidents. They showed statistics showing two straight years of large increases to the rate of automobile fatalities. Oh the horror! Didn’t mention that the current year’s rate of death was lower than anything between 1990 and two years before.

It’s a classic tactic for generating clicks, and a classic way to “lie” with data/statistics. Don’t be fooled.

26 Per Kurowski October 14, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Just wait until children in school will, once again, have to exercise taking cover under tables, in order to safeguard themselves from a nuclear threat.

27 A Truth Seeker October 14, 2017 at 12:14 pm

It will create a much needed communal bond. The golden age of Brazilian unity was the war against the Parguayan invader. A nation divided between Liberals and Conservatives united to avenge a date which will live in infamy. Every Brazilian youngester was dreaming to become old enough to march to the front. Young women offered them as nurses. Old women would rather have their sons dead that coming back to them withou the final victory (“Come back with your shield – or on it”)

28 Larry Siegel October 16, 2017 at 2:59 am

Didn’t you used to call yourself by the name of a soccer player? If it takes invasion by a desperately poor country the size of one of your states to achieve Brazilian unity, you are not too unified.

However, I think Brazil is pretty unified and that you are not even Brazilian. At least I have been there.

29 Chip October 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm

What do you mean by “wait?”

Japanese kids have already been hearing air raid sirens as North Korea expands their missile capability and testing. Here’s Abe last week:

“The Japanese leader said North Korea had failed to deliver on past promises to end its pursuit of nuclear technology made during “six-party” talks with Japan, China, the U.S., Russia and South Korea.

“They used the framework of the dialogue to earn time so that they could develop their nuclear technology,” Abe said. “As the result, their nuclear capability has reached to this level and we cannot afford being deceived by them again.”

Clear enough for you? Inaction and gullibility has allowed NK to become a threat to its neighbors and, soon, the US mainland.

Responding to that threat isn’t the problem.

30 derek October 14, 2017 at 12:37 pm

When ebola did it’s last outbreak, and there were a few individuals who showed up in the US, there was a media frenzy. Then some well connected Obama person was asked to tamp down the reactions, and within a week there was almost nothing heard about it in the media.

Irregardless of the merits in this case, it was an interesting object lesson in how the media was controlled.

Maybe what Mr Cowan is experiencing is due to the media. The hurricanes that hit the coast during the Obama years, the wars in Afghanistan, the South China Sea excursions by China, the changes in Turkey, the Ukraine and Russian meddling everywhere. All this was happening, but the frenzy in the media coverage since last summer is remarkable. If the mental health of CNN announcers is your basis of how the world is going, maybe time to get out a little.

31 Art Deco October 14, 2017 at 12:53 pm

The media isn’t ‘controlled’. It’s members are part of a hive. The media is largely uniform in its outlook, and a part of the nexus of interests for which the Democratic Party is an electoral vehicle. Run down the list of BO administration officials who had positions in the media (e.g. Jay Carney) or were shacked up with media figures, or were 1st degree relations of media figures. Same social circles.

32 The One Who Knows October 14, 2017 at 4:20 pm

You’re a cry baby you know that?

33 Art Deco October 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm

The term ‘crybaby’ does not mean what you fancy it means.

34 Chip October 14, 2017 at 12:58 pm

I think you’re right. Abandoning Iraq without a single American soldier and allowing Isis to cross the border and start selling women as sex slaves at public auctions was a horrendous decision that drew no comment from the media.

Destroying a defanged Libya and creating a migration disaster for Europe is another.

And using isolated individual police incidents to stir up racial conflict – causing a spike in the homicide rate not seen for decades.

It’s a long list of ineptitude that smart people like Cowen and Sam Harris can’t see. In a way, I think our intellectual elites are much more prone to tribal group-think than we anonymous Internet posters. We don’t worry what our friends and colleagues will say about our comments. We’re not subjected to social cues or faux pas, we’re unconcerned with status and tomorrow night’s dinner party, and don’t need to avoid negative media responses that affect our professional status as elites.

It’s been a dreadful presidency that should worry all

35 anon October 14, 2017 at 1:46 pm

When was the last year Iraq had zero American soldiers?

https://www.stripes.com/news/obama-all-u-s-troops-coming-home-from-iraq-by-year-s-end-1.158360

I don’t see it.

It is really possible Chip that your whole politics depend on not knowing what is actually going on.

36 A Truth Seeker October 14, 2017 at 1:52 pm

“Abandoning Iraq without a single American soldier and allowing Isis to cross the border and start selling women as sex slaves at public auctions was a horrendous decision that drew no comment from the media.”

On the other hand, creating Al Qaeda and the Taliban through the Saudis and Pakistanis and making a war zone out of Iraq (“we must fight them there instead of here”) were brilliant American decisions. After all, after taking over Kabul, Brezhenev would take over Rapid Falls, and after finally gathering enough imaginary uranium for his imaginary A-Bomb, Saddam would nuke Bel-Air with Reagans and all.

The American aggressor was driven out from the Indochina and it is in peace. The Americans took over the Middle East and well… The American invader and is lapdog regimes must be crushed even if it takes opening the Gates of Hell to accomplish it.

37 2nd str October 14, 2017 at 2:29 pm

The perception of anonymity is the key. Soon enough that will be taken away. Whether or not we call it control or the effects of an “elite hive” the end result is the same.

38 Harun October 14, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Removing soldiers is one thing. Obama removed our intelligence teams and apparatus. Why do you think Obama was so surprised by the JV team?

39 Chip October 14, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Anon, I have no idea what point you’re trying to make. Your link just affirms what I said. Here’s more.

From wiki:

“The last 500 soldiers left Iraq on the morning of 18 December 2011.[1][2][3][4][5][6] At the time of withdrawal, the United States had one remaining soldier, Staff Sergeant Ahmed K. Altaie, still missing in Iraq since 23 October 2006, and had offered a $50,000 reward for his recovery.[43”

Here’s Obama:

“As the last of the American troops prepared to exit Iraq, he said the United States was leaving behind a “sovereign, stable and self-reliant” Iraq.[39] ”

And here’s wiki on Isis in Iraq:

“Since December 2013, ongoing clashes have occurred throughout western Iraq between tribal militias, Iraqi security forces, and ISIL. In early January 2014, ISIL militants successfully captured the cities of Fallujah and Hīt,[309] bringing much of Anbar Province under their control. In June 2014 ISIL took over the Iraqi city of Mosul. By December 2015, the Islamic State covered a vast landlocked territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria, with a population estimate of 2.8 to 8 million people.[63][310]”

Get it now? Obama pulls every fighting soldier out of Iraq, declaring the country sovereign and stable. Almost immediately, Isis pours across the border from Syria, bringing slavery and slaughter.

Clearly, my point about the media ignoring this is true because you had no idea what happened.

40 A Truth Seeker October 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm

“Obama pulls every fighting soldier out of Iraq, declaring the country sovereign and stable.”

So Iraq is not sovereign after 14 years of occupation? Is it more like Poland under Nazi occupation or Poland under Soviet occupation? Will it ever be sovereign? Maybe inventing WMDs in Iraq and yelling at everyone who called the fraud a fraud was not such a great idea after all.

41 anon October 14, 2017 at 10:09 pm

My link says 40000 troops in October 2011.

I disbelieve zero, or anything near, especially as a real count of total US Military active service personnel.

More on special forces operations here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American-led_intervention_in_Iraq_(2014–present)

42 anon October 14, 2017 at 10:11 pm

From that:

“The U.S. had withdrawn most of its troops from Iraq by 2011, and later kept a staff though of 20,000 men in their embassy and consulates in Iraq, including dozens of U.S. Marine Embassy Guards and some 4,500 private military contractors”

So zero, no I don’t believe.

43 Robert H October 14, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Simpler theory:

Elite moods were positive before Trump and negative after Trump because Trump is bad.

44 anon October 14, 2017 at 12:35 pm

There is a broader American and Western European problem, but I don’t think the optimistic position is that “it can only get worse.”

As we are seeing by a number of metrics, majorities are turned off by a politics of self-harming resentment.

In a truly optimistic scenario, this pendulum has swung. This shark has jumped.

45 Doug October 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm

> In a truly optimistic scenario, this pendulum has swung.

+1

The optimistic scenario for the next few decades is some combination of AI nearly eliminating scarcity, genetic engineering bringing all humans up to 140+ IQs and eliminating aging, China (and Russia) becoming a liberal democracy with values essentially harmonious to the West, widespread Internet access leading to the end of the remaining rogue authoritarian autarkies, globalization no longer pressuring low-end workers as all the cheap labor sources enter middle-income levels (and hence populism dissipating), and a major rollback to America and Europe’s creeping regulatory burden.

Is this the most likely scenario? Hell, no. But it’s certainly quite plausible. Sure you can make the claim that the pessimistic, and even median scenarios, look quite bad. But that there’s no hope right now for optimism? Not buying it.

46 JMCSF October 14, 2017 at 5:33 pm

I wonder if a lot if it might be growing pains from the development cycle of western countries transitioning to a “post” service sector economy. The challenges from deindustrialization are clear, and maybe the US and Western Europe are entering the next development phase: ultra low birthrates, aging populations, slower growth, and gains that go to the best firms/individuals/owners of capital and AI.

47 msgkings October 14, 2017 at 6:05 pm

i.e. Japan

48 Pshrnk October 14, 2017 at 1:42 pm

because Trump is bad. And because Trump confirms a significant percentage of the electorate are stupid enough to fall for a bad conman.

49 Mr. Sensitive October 14, 2017 at 2:07 pm

I thought former President Obama was the con man.

50 TMC October 14, 2017 at 3:22 pm

As pshrni proves

51 Potato October 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm

They’re all con men. Hillary was a con woman. This is national politics. What else do you expect ?

What the Trump voters knew, beyond a reasonable doubt, was that Trump was at least not literally against their interests. Apathetic and stupid, maybe. Loudmouth and buffoonish.

But not literally plotting against them. And at this point for those deplorables that was good enough.

52 Art Deco October 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm

They’re all con men.?

Sanders, Cruz, Paul, Santorum, Huckabee, Bradley, Forbes, Buchanan, Tsongas, Simon, Anderson, Reagan, Henry Jackson, Morris Udall, George McGovern, Edmund Muskie, and Hubert Humphrey weren’t con men. Gary Hart and Jimmy Carter had their sales pitches, but ultimately weren’t either. Walter Mondale was wretchedly other-directed, but offered voters no surprises. Windsock Mitt Romney might be a con man, but we’d likely have benefited from his talents.

53 JMCSF October 14, 2017 at 5:34 pm

Who said that Washington is the ugly version of Hollywood? Kind of true, just a lot of vapid know-nothings trying to claw their way to the top.

54 Art Deco October 15, 2017 at 7:45 am

just a lot of vapid know-nothings trying to claw their way to the top.

Below a certain level, federal agencies incorporate quite a bid of specialized expertise. The leadership positions in Congress require seniority and certain people skills. You can only ‘claw’ your way up a notch or two. The skeezy quality in DC is the clawing upward, but the revolving door between public payrolls on the one hand and lobbying or slots in law firms with a ‘government relations’ practice on the other. Still, the connections biz implicates a five-digit population in a town with a workforce of 2 million.

Even political Washington has it’s rank-and-file. We have among our circle of friends a Congressional aide. He may or may not have had a promotion in the 14 years he’s worked there and I’ll wager he’s just hoping he’ll have a salary until he retires in a half-dozen years (his member may be leaving Congress). Perfectly decent chap.

Creatures like Mitch McConnell and Haley Barbour are frankly gross, as are upChuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in a different way. And they are know nothings in the sense that nothing in their schooling or occupational life prepared them for the positions they have today. They aren’t clawing anyone. They’re already on top.

55 anon October 15, 2017 at 9:30 am

“They’re all con men. Hillary was a con woman.”

Still just a bleat to avoid civic responsibility.

56 Potato October 15, 2017 at 9:43 am

Civic responsibility to do what ? Wear pussy hats? Riot in Berkeley when conservatives are not banned from campus? Don a ski mask and attack random yuppies #resistance?

What in the hell are you talking about?

There are a lot of people who did not vote for Trump. Millions of us. We also did not vote for Hillary.

It’s not an abrogation of civic responsibility to be disgusted by our current crop of political leaders. Mencken has some quotes about this.

57 anon October 15, 2017 at 9:56 am

What a tremendous fail.

To for the high ground. It is right there in front of you.

We have a civic responsibility to select sober stewards as our representatives, and to demand from them conscientious effort on behalf of all Americans.

58 anon October 15, 2017 at 9:57 am

As opposed to “I saw a woman in a hat she knit herself!”

59 anon October 15, 2017 at 10:15 am

Speaking of optimism, the best possible outcome of the Trump era could be that it makes it okay for politicians to be boring again.

I really think the median voter is ready for a gray and boring president.

60 Bob October 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Brexit, Poland, Greece, Turkey, Catalonia… Trump is not the cause, just a symptom of something larger, with an economical and cultural focus. We have both a great stagnation, and broadening differences in outcomes. The winners are either already rich and well connected, or liberal geeks. Many roads that people expected would lead to success happen to be closed, and even joining the cohort of the liberal geeks isn’t easy: One Susan Fowler was griping on Twitter today about how owning a house in the bay was unaffordable for her family, despite all the press she and her husband have received. If someone like her has trouble making it, then who can?

People are complaining that electoral systems don’t represent them and are unfair. Meanwhile successful Chinese do their best to take their money out of their country. There’s change in the air. There’s far less risk than in the 80s, but there’s far more uncertainty. No wonder stress is going up. I suspect that the world in 2037 will be far more different from today than 1997 was.

61 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 7:42 am

+1

Certainly leading members of The Cathedral, including the good professor Cowen, are feeling stress. They are worried that the world may not continue to be ordered to their benefit. Why can’t the little people do what they are told?!?

62 derek October 14, 2017 at 12:12 pm

82? Pershing II missiles were deployed in Western Europe in 1983. Reagan was going to kill us all. I remember the frantic and overwrought media coverage of that time. He was senile, and idiot, his economics were barbaric, on and on and on and on.

1987 stock market crash, first Iraq war in 1990. 1992 collapse of the pound. 1997 asian crisis.

I thereby discard the very premise.

If there was a period of seeming calm, it was simply that a certain class that makes opinion had it very good for a couple of decades and actually believed that their experience was what everyone enjoyed.

63 mulp October 14, 2017 at 6:04 pm

More to the point, in the 60s, workers had the stress of all the overtime and time and a half and double time forced on them, and white collar, the stress of promotions entailing moving with employers paying for upgrading to a new better house.

In the 80s, the stress was being fired as every industry and most businesses shutdown and you were faced with selling your home for a third what you paid in 1969 and less than the mortgage due, and then paying to move your family to a new city where you would be lucky to be hired at half your old salary because every employer considered you over qualified based on salary history.

64 Larry Siegel October 16, 2017 at 8:14 pm

That (house price decline) only happened in the ghettoes. Most people experienced a nice rise in housing values between 1969 and the 1980s. There was a decline after 1987 in some markets but not down to early 1980s levels.

65 Todd K October 14, 2017 at 6:32 pm

and…

1986 to 1997: The AIDS scare, where Oprah Winfrey announced in 1987: ““Research studies now project that one in five — listen to me, hard to believe — one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years. That’s by 1990.”

1988 to 2008: The global warming scare was fairly strong in the late 1980s and 1990s even if it didn’t peak until 2006 with Al Gore’s movie.

Post tax/transfer inequality in the U.S. grew the fastest in the 1990s but not discussed as much until Bush was President in 2001.

66 Careless October 14, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Holy cow, Oprah actually said that. It’s not quite Guam tipping over stupid, but it’s not that far off.

67 Thomas Sewell October 14, 2017 at 7:50 pm

+1 Came to the comments to make a similar post. I remember the 1980s were when Reagan was supposedly going to destroy the world in nuclear fire by actually standing up to the Soviets. The only thing new about recent news moods is that we now have more 24/7 coverage on cable channels and blogs which have a need to fill themselves with the outrage de jour.

68 Boonton October 14, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Indeed because there was no nuclear war in the 1980’s the true risk was zero…media was just too silly to see that.

In other news I’m certain I drove drunk a few times in my youth, the fact nothing bad happened proves this whole drunk driving thing is fake news alarmism…just a way for cops and lawyers to make money off of tickets at the expense of hardworking bar tenders.

69 derek October 14, 2017 at 9:27 pm

All you are really saying is that you don’t know what we are talking about, because you weren’t around then.
Tyler’s premise is wrong. 1982-2001 weren’t some glory days without existential crises to worry about.

70 Steve Sailer October 16, 2017 at 4:16 am

“During much of the 1982-2001”

Peak late Cold War stress was in 1982-83. 1984 was unexpectedly triumphant, with the Opening Ceremony of the L.A. Olympics when it suddenly dawned on a lot of people that the worst was over.

71 Art Deco October 16, 2017 at 8:24 am

The hypothesis promoted by Wm. Buckley at the time was that NATO began deploying Pershing II missiles in Europe in December 1983 and nothing palpable changed. The Green Party in Europe and people like Helen Caldicott were claiming it was 5 minutes to midnight and nothing happened. Took a great deal of wind out of their sales.

72 Art Deco October 16, 2017 at 8:24 am

sails.

73 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 7:45 am

Agree peak Cold-War stress was 1982-83. Not sure 1984 notably lower but by 1987 stress was falling and the west was clearly “winning”.

74 Careless October 14, 2017 at 9:35 pm

What you guys are apparently missing: They were bullshitting when they said those things about other Republicans. It was theater. Politics.

They actually believe that Trump might get us into nuclear war.

75 So Much For Subtlety October 14, 2017 at 11:58 pm

“Sure, other times I was lying about the wolf, but *this*time* I am telling the truth. I swear!”

76 Brian Donohue October 16, 2017 at 10:27 am

Between 1973 and 1982, average real wages in this country fell 4%. Anyone around in the late 1970s remembers an America more lost and drifting than anything seen since.

When Reagan got shot, a woman was interviewed who said he deserved it because of his policies. And the world turned. There is nothing new under the sun.

The good times are invariably only good times in retrospect.

77 Chip October 14, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Depends on your perspective, I guess.

I’m more optimistic about Asia than ever. China, India and many others are increasingly free market with hundreds of millions of young people who won’t easily be put back in the communist/socialist bottle.

As for post-2001, my biggest concern has been the emergence in the west of statism at the expense of individual liberty and decentralized decision-making. Brexit was clearly a rebuke to unrepresentative rule-making while Trump is taking a flame thrower to the administrative, ‘you didn’t build that’ culture that’s infected Washington. Forget about his tweets. Check out Kim Strassel today on his judicial appointments and Google ‘Trump and deregulation.’

And if you’re not worried about the politicization of the IRS, use of unmasking on political opponents, ginned-up investigations of non-existent Russian collusion and the media’s Pravda-like approach to covering – or not covering – stories like the Dem IT scandal, then you’re not paying attention.

And as a part-time Canadian, there’s no comfort in watching socialists win elections across the country. The business climate up north is getting very frosty.

Look, the natural state of politics is government steadily acquiring power at the expense of individual freedom. That is stressful. The sharp mini-revolutions we use to push back make me feel all warm inside.

78 derek October 14, 2017 at 12:29 pm

The Canadian situation will correct very quickly. The tax levels here were finely tuned over a decade and a half following 1983 to extract the maximum economic growth and revenue out of the economy. Once the Chinese money flows into Vancouver and Toronto slow down, reality will hit very very hard.

I’m already seeing a sudden pullback on investment here in BC. A light switch. Projects are being finished, but the new stuff is not happening. Hints are already showing in the numbers.

What is funny is that the bright spots are export manufacturing to the US due to the low dollar and a revived US economy. It is all Trump’s fault.

79 Art Deco October 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm

I’m more optimistic about Asia than ever. China, India and many others are increasingly free market with hundreds of millions of young people who won’t easily be put back in the communist/socialist bottle.

The total fertility rate in Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Singapore averages somewhere around 1.3 children per woman per lifetime. Sounds like a P.D. James scenario. Not much ground for optimism, there.

80 Chip October 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm

You’re right. The ‘demography is destiny’ argument is one that concerns me. But that’s a background stress commin to the west and independent of Tyler’s political milestones.

81 Todd K October 14, 2017 at 6:36 pm

The ‘demograpy is destiny’ argument will be seen to make less and less sense in the next ten to twenty years.

82 msgkings October 14, 2017 at 6:40 pm

So much certainty

83 Todd K October 14, 2017 at 9:41 pm

So much certainty with those who insist ‘demography is destiny’ and that health care in 2037 will be about the same as it is in 2017 – just more expensive.

84 Careless October 14, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Given that it’s been playing out with Japan for quite a while now…

85 msgkings October 14, 2017 at 10:51 pm

@Todd: the thing is it feels like you posted the same certainties in 1997 too.

86 Todd K October 14, 2017 at 11:21 pm

Nope. I predicted different things at different times. 1996: Machine translation will be very good by 2007 (Google Translate came out then) and translators will start to be replaced by 2009 for European languages (true) while human translation, except for literature, will be an editing job by 2015 (off a little). 2002: Thanks to the human genome and Moore’s Law, all major diseases will be slashed (over 80% lower) by 2020. (Getting there.) 1998: The global warming industry has ballooned and so we can expect bias and a little fraud but mostly good science. The Earth will get slightly warmer by 2008 and most will no longe see it to be a threat. (Climategate happened in 2009) Solar costs will continue to exponentially decrease into the 2020s and nuclear fusion will likely be available in the 2020s as cars require less and less fuel. 1995: Virtuality reality everywhere by 2025; early VR for games from 2015. There are more, but I’ll spare you.

Those who cry “demographics!” are like Tyler as they assume no major medical changes through 2030 (Cowen said this in 2011). And Tyler is really no different than social scientists who have written countless articles on the demographics of the 2050s implying they understand what technology of the 2050s will be in use while few could even explain today’s technolology well. As with climate change, alarmists grant proposals are what draws in the bucks. No one starts a proposal with: “Japan will be demographically fine in 2055, but our research group is interested in exploring….”

87 anon October 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

From the mid 2000s onward some in the left, but many more in the right, turned against solutionism.

A resentment, and to repeat because it is important, a tear it down movement is fundamentally anti-solutionist.

And government built on anti-solution cannot last, for the very fundamental reason that approval will fall with lack of solution, people will tire of resentment, and want something better.

88 A Truth Seeker October 14, 2017 at 1:56 pm

The Chinese totalitarian regime is no different from Nazi Germanexcept inn the view of its paid apologists. The fact Americans are making blood-soaked money out of it, as they made money out of Hitler until 12-7, doesn’t change it.

89 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 7:51 am

Much as I dislike the Chinese communist state, objectively it’s not as bad as the Nazis. State-sanctioned deaths per capita-year are much lower, and the general level of repression is lower too.

90 230587532 October 14, 2017 at 2:40 pm

> non-existent Russian collusion

Wait till Mueller is done, why don’t you.

91 Chip October 14, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Riiiight, because the yearlong flood of leaks and saturated media coverage about every distorted tidbit picked up by unmasked NSA intercepts and dodgy dossiers on urine soaked Moscow hotel rooms just means that the real evidence of collusion is being hermetically sealed by the gaggle of Democrat donors and Comey friends officially known as Mueller’s investigative team.

The collusion story was a farcical attempt by Clinton to deflect blame for her loss. She must be agog at how long this joke has persisted.

Unless you really believe that Putin wanted Trump, the guy who promised to unleash American energy development and shred Russia’s oil revenues while reversing US military spending and defriending Moscow ally Iran.

A crime needs a motive. Putin’s clearly wasn’t with Trump.

92 Careless October 14, 2017 at 9:46 pm

While I think the Russia stuff is most likely a nothingburger, I can easily imagine a scenario where Putin preferred an incompetent putz in the presidency over, well, someone at least more competent

93 msgkings October 14, 2017 at 10:52 pm

Plus pure trolling. How can Putin not prefer the chaos of Trumpworld in the US?

94 TMC October 14, 2017 at 11:13 pm

How does that not equal Russian support for Clinton??

95 Art Deco October 14, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Wait till Mueller is done, why don’t you.

The smart money says Mueller’s Democratic donor crew secures a BS indictment of x, y, or z on a process crime. Trump is more brazen than Bush pere or Bush fils. He might just respond by quashing the indictment and shutting Mueller’s crooked operation down.

96 the smart money October 14, 2017 at 7:43 pm

why don’t you just do us a favor and get out already, you fossil.

97 middyfeek October 15, 2017 at 11:41 am

I can’t wait until he’s done. If there were any honesty in D.C. he would be done now. But then that’s not what you meant.

98 Harun October 15, 2017 at 12:46 pm

I assume every agency is stonewalling him like the IRS stonewalled congress.

//sarc

99 Troll Me October 14, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Try keeping the BS factor under 90% and maybe right wingers representing traditionally sensible positions as opposed to mean-spirit abd vacuous absurdity after absurdity offered up as political dialogue, and perhaps the “socialists” will be less relatively favoured.

But it’s not likely to change, because those who are supportive of fiscal responsibility are liable to be banned from participating in certain groups (e.g., that representing the former governing party) if they speak to the science of climate change or if they are anti-racist or other such things. In terms of its online presence, the way the CPC is operated these days, it seems set up more to to promote personality cults rather than good policy, which necessarily includes room for viewpoint diversity and disagreement with party figures.

100 jared October 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm

” We are not used to feeling as much stress as we do today ”

Who is “We” ?

Very weak thesis and support … and near-sighted view of human history

101 derek October 14, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Snowflakes? Is this a clickbait posting?

102 Hwite October 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm

It’s second level signalling. The post, treating “Brexit/Trump/populism/nationalism” as a bad thing, is signalling, while the image is a wink-wink toward his real point.

103 The Other Jim October 14, 2017 at 7:18 pm

Five-dimensional chess!!!!

104 A clockwork orange October 14, 2017 at 7:43 pm

So this is what has happened to Baseball in America. The passenger has become the driver.

105 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 7:53 am

+1

TC does this a lot now. It’s like a medieval scholastic debate where he can’t be seen to criticise the orthodoxy directly.

106 Art Deco October 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm

9/11, the financial crisis, and now Brexit/Trump/populism/nationalism have upset this feeling.

Brexit / Trump / populism upsets people like you two and your disordered chum Scott Sumner. They do not upset anyone concerned with local control and political participation.

As for the financial crisis, it was the work of sketchy characters on the local level (mortgage brokers and loan officers working for people like Kerry Killinger), ineffectual public employees (like the securities lawyer who could not make sense of Mr. Markoplous’ presentation on Bernard Madoff’s phony retail brokerage), crooked pols and insiders like Barney Frank and Franklin Raines, and, more than anyone else, casino bankers and allied types like Joseph Cassano. That is to say, people notable for cupidity that academics usually lack but not bereft of a similar cosmopolitan outlook.

107 Massimo Heitor October 14, 2017 at 1:15 pm

+1

108 Lanigram October 14, 2017 at 12:47 pm

When Tyler says “we” he means his tribe, the cognitive elite. The suffering of the working class was well underway and 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2007 were the straw that broke the camel’s back. Brexit and Trump are the pushback from the “left-outers”. The election of Trump was a cathartic event for us, and yes, I am not with you. Consider Trump as an outcome in the ultimatum game – a vote to punish the elite for a bad faith offer, for which we are willing to pay. We are delighted – we love to watch you whine and squirm. Appeals to “but you get the dollar store” and “life is better for you and we have the data” fall on deaf ears. We are not stupid, we know the split is not a good deal – it is both condescending and insulting. Our choice has actually had a positive effect – there is a good deal of conversation among the pontificates about the abandonment of the middle class, such as it is. The cognitive elite needs to listen more and lecture less. We are actually protecting you from the torches and pitchforks. Who knows, maybe the knowledge class will gain some personal insight. Well, maybe not…

Cognitive Sophistication Does Not Attenuate the Bias Blindspot:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22663351/

109 catter October 14, 2017 at 1:17 pm

Great link; the abstract is a gem.

110 anon October 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm

As someone in the cognitive elite, who worried plenty about automation and outsourcing from the mid 2000s onward, do I deserve a ..

WTF?

There were plenty of rational responses, like Obama’s many attempts at jobs programs, which were rejected by the right as too socialist, only the to turn and seethe with “you never tried to help us!” resentment.

Clean your own damn house.

111 derek October 14, 2017 at 2:18 pm

If only the Republicans would have let Obama run a $2 trillion dollar deficit for 8 years, then there would be no problems to solve.

Take you damn medication

112 anon October 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm

A member of the cognitive elite would know about counter-cyclical fiscal policy, and how ironic it is for the GOP to start loving debt now, instead.

113 derek October 14, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Someone of the cognitive elite would recognize the utter stupidity of increasing regulatory costs upon US businesses at the same time they are borrowing trillions in an attempt to stimulate the economy.

And would also know now to read a calendar and some numbers. How may years between the US coming out of the recession in 2009 and the beginnings of cutting spending?

Someone really smart would also recognize that the zero interest policy implemented by the Federal Reserve by buying Treasury paper was an attempt to prevent the poor fiscal management from causing a run on the bonds, and allowing the Obama administration to continue borrowing enormous amounts of money?

You see, I don’t think the cognitive elites are very bright. Blitheringly stupid in fact.

114 anon October 15, 2017 at 9:33 am

You throw up a great deal of confusion, but the critical point is that the GOP hated debt when it was needed, in a Great Recession, and suddenly loves it now well into an economic expansion.

Ever heard of keeping your powder dry?

115 Troll Me October 14, 2017 at 7:57 pm

What do you think would have happend to aggregate tax receipts, income and aggregate production if he had done whatever it takes to run a balanced budget during that period?

116 Joël October 14, 2017 at 2:31 pm

There is no “elite” as a group — there are only (few) elite individuals. Maybe you are one, but you cannot be “in the elite”.

117 Harun October 14, 2017 at 2:39 pm

remembet when Romney showed that there were already duplicate ineffective jobs programs by the dozens?

Maybe Obama should have reformed those instead of asking for a new bureaucracy that would take years to approve weatherizong a few houses

118 Gary S October 14, 2017 at 5:03 pm

My guess is that they don’t want a jobs program, they want to start the day knowing that they’re not being funked with. As someone in the cognitive elite, you probably can’t see outside of your licensing cartel bubble to recognize this.

119 A clockwork orange October 14, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Je ne peux pas voir plus alors je suis allé chez le médecin pour obtenir des lunettes – Ethan Hawke (translation: Yes, the passenger became the driver, after the crash)

120 anon October 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm

You are not grasping the 1-2 punch of the Obama and then Trump years.

In the Obama years the Trumpians-to-be rejected every wonky plan to improve jobs, to compensate for automation and outsourcing, as ivory tower and elitist.

In the Trumpian election they turned around and had an orgy of resentment because the ivory tower elitists “hadn’t been worrying about their problems.”

If you ask me, the resentment should be resolved by a little more honest introspection.

And maybe it will be, because resentment is crapping out as an actual plan.

121 Harun October 15, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Name the programs that were “rejected” and how they would actually work.

Also, you do know the stimulus had tons of job programs in it, right?

$800 billion to play with and you’re whining about the Republicans not giving him a chance? LOL.

My example of the weatherizing: it was not an actually crazy idea. But its takes the government 2-3 years to approve a handful of homes. This is not on Congress, dude, this on the executive and administrative state. Government doesn’t work very well, and instead of lefties working hard to make it work better, they just want more money…

Your side would be far better served if you started working on making government actually be effective.

122 anon October 15, 2017 at 2:49 pm

I might look some up later.

But aren’t you now caught on the flip side?

If YOU know of all this work, what then about the resentment? Can’t have it both ways.

123 anon October 15, 2017 at 6:51 pm
124 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 7:59 am

+1 for ultimatum game.

“The split may be 90-10 in favour of the elite, but you non-elites types are still better off! You should be grateful!”.

*kicks over table*

125 DanC October 14, 2017 at 1:02 pm

I worked with a man, a Russian, who survived the battle of Leningrad. That is a horror.

I knew Jewish people who survived concentration camps. That is horror.

I had a friend who volunteered in Africa to help the refugees in a civil war. That is horror.

I knew an old man that talked of his fear of the KKK when he was a child in Mississippi. That is horror.

The problems that Trump is causing are minor. I am not a fan of his, I think he is wrong on many issues, but the willingness of the press to allow animus to replace facts is scarier then Trump.

Today we have the threats of violence in our cities from violent gangs. That is horror that we permit everyday.

Today we have an explosion in drug addiction. That is a horror we allow every day.

When the press can devote so much time to the habits of football players during the National Anthem, a Russian collusion story without evidence, and Harvey Weinstein, how much trouble are we in?

126 Art Deco October 14, 2017 at 1:20 pm

I knew an old man that talked of his fear of the KKK when he was a child in Mississippi. That is horror.

Very unappealing and anxiety-provoking, but not quite a horror on the scale of WWii battlefields.

The 2d incarnation of the KKK was a fad organization which had a five-digit membership in 1918, a seven digit membership in 1923, and a five digit membership in 1935. It formally dissolved in 1944. Lynchings actually declined in frequency by about 2/3 between 1920 and 1935.

127 DanC October 14, 2017 at 2:27 pm

I can not judge how valid his fears were. I assume he was born around 1900-1910. He worked at a carwash near where I lived. He owned an old 56 Cadillac that he kept spotless. I was a kid and asked him about his car one day. After that he would say hello to me and we would sometimes talk. Sometimes we talked about blues music and his growing up in Mississippi. He was a very nice older man. When he talked about racial oppression, which was rare, the KKK, Jim Crow, various indignities, were thrown in together. More often we talked of the weather, sports, school, food, and cars.

128 mulp October 14, 2017 at 6:23 pm

The kkk never ran death camps for Jews and Catholics like the nazis, but they were none the less killing blacks, Jews, and on occasion Catholics.

At least on WWII battlefields, everyone had guns, ammo, bombs, to at least give everyone a chance at preemptive revenge by unleashing horror.

I lived when Catholics were treated and disrespected and harmed like Muslims in the US are today. Then JFK was killed, so hopes and threats against him as a Catholic made animosity against Catholics much less politically correct.

Note Catholic women depending on degree of orthodoxy covered up their bodies and we’re never alone with men lest they be deemed whores during my lifetime. And the most pious wore Catholic burkas.

129 So Much For Subtlety October 15, 2017 at 12:05 am

Another posting from Planet Mulp.

I lived when Catholics were treated and disrespected and harmed like Muslims in the US are today.

No you did not because Muslims are not disrespected much less harmed in the US today. Whereas people did say mean things every now and then about Papists in the Good Old Days.

Then JFK was killed, so hopes and threats against him as a Catholic made animosity against Catholics much less politically correct.

Unless you are a Democrat. Then you can openly say that Catholics are not fit for office. As Amy Coney found out:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/451198/dick-durbin-dianne-feinstein-senators-grill-judicial-nominee-amy-coney-barrett-religion-catholic

Note Catholic women depending on degree of orthodoxy covered up their bodies and we’re never alone with men lest they be deemed whores during my lifetime. And the most pious wore Catholic burkas.

There has never been a time Catholic women have refused to be alone with a man in case they are deemed whores. Not in your lifetime. Not in the lifetime of the oldest Redwood in the United States. And if you mean “nuns” by the “most pious” you may have a point. Of sorts. Not that Catholic treatment of women was remotely like that of Muslim women.

130 anon October 14, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Something fell apart in that. You moved from actual horrors to imagined ones.

Life in an American city is not Auschwitz.

131 DanC October 14, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Chicago this year

Shot and killed 517
Shot and wounded 2479
Total shot 2996

And that isn’t total homicides.

Most of these (about 1,500) are in nine neighborhoods on the west and south sides with a combined population of about 425,000 people.

As bad as the holocaust, of course not. Trivial, I don’t thing so. I think that was the point.

We don’t have the horrors that humans have seen. But to be clear, we still have pockets of horrors.

The threat of terrorism is relatively small, but we spend a great deal of time and resources trying to prevent it. Perhaps we are all less connected and our fear of potential threats has increased in proportion to our social isolation.

Perhaps an old black man remembering the KKK felt, in his isolated environment, that he was under greater threat from the unknown then he was. Does that make the fear less real?

I don’t really know the answer.

132 prior_test3 October 14, 2017 at 3:19 pm

‘Shot and killed 517’

So around the number killed in DC (a city of 600,000) during the height of the crack epidemic. Let me know when the number gets up around 1500, then we are taking a DC style murder rate – back in the good old days of which Prof. Cowen writes.

133 Lanigram October 14, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Pre DC gentrification – blacks and poor people have been shoved out of area by wealthy liberals who constantly lecture blue-collar whites abour racism. A welcome side effect is all the virtue signalling that elevates their status among the cognitive elite. They live a dream life in the bubble, but the barbarians are just outside the gate…waiting.

134 anon October 14, 2017 at 5:12 pm

So big City murder rates are on the order of 16 per hundred thousand. That compares to past catastrophe how?

135 DanC October 14, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Ok. Over 500 people killed in about nine months to you is acceptable. If those are your values … well those are your values. What can I say.

136 anon October 14, 2017 at 7:48 pm

Not part of the cognitive elite, eh?

Recognizing the scale of a problem is not the same as accepting it.

137 Troll Me October 14, 2017 at 8:04 pm

If drugs were legalized and regulated, that number would be cut in half inside the decade with no special effort, while benefitting the public purse in many ways.

Yes, it would be that easy. That it does not receive serious consideration is almost suspicious.

138 Careless October 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Odd seeing the white racist SMFS toss out anti-white racism so casually

139 msgkings October 14, 2017 at 10:57 pm

LOL at SMFS thinking he’s got a good handle on “Black urban male culture”, probably from watching Boyz N The Hood

140 So Much For Subtlety October 15, 2017 at 12:12 am

Careless October 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Odd seeing the white racist SMFS toss out anti-white racism so casually

It is not odd to see people who are upset but have no coherent argument throw out insults like “racist” casually. I have never once said or done anything remotely racist. I am just smarter and more honest than you.

Still, if I had moved from anti-Black racism to anti-White racism, I would just be following the path of the Democratic Party, wouldn’t I? So that would make me your moral and intellectual superior. Or so I have read in every mainstream media outlet ever.

106 msgkings October 14, 2017 at 10:57 pm

LOL at SMFS thinking he’s got a good handle on “Black urban male culture”, probably from watching Boyz N The Hood

You have no idea what I do know and what I don’t. You are just smarting from something honest that you cannot rebut. After all, I could be Spike Lee’s little brother Nail for all you know. Because you know nothing about me. But, for the record, I am definitely not his bigger sister Restraining Bolt.

141 Troll Me October 15, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Turf. People fight over it.

Legal and regulated activities would not have this problem, while offering more numerous avenues to promote reduced and/or more responsible consumption of substances with potential for addiction and/or harm.

142 rayward October 14, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Of course, Americans came to expect the roughly 40 year period of shared prosperity that followed WWII. It’s the rising level of inequality, inequality of opportunity, inequality of income, and inequality of wealth, that has created not only emotional stress among Americans but stress in our economy, stress in our politics, and stress in our relationships among and between Americans. Layer on top of all that stress the stress caused by so-called tech companies (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/13/opinion/sunday/Silicon-Valley-Is-Not-Your-Friend.html) and one might see ahead an unraveling of the American experiment. On the other hand, while America has been experiencing stress, globalization has sharply reduced the stress in the undeveloped world caused by poverty and disease. Indeed, globalization and the enormous increase in global productive capacity make it possible to eliminate global poverty if we were inclined to do so. Moreover, all that stress caused by inequality is self-correcting if only we would allow the correction, although the self-correction would cause its own form of stress, but shared stress among every income and wealth level, such shared stress to be followed by another period of shared prosperity. One of the many ironies of Trump is that he may not only trigger the self-correction but allow the self-correction to occur because he is such an ignoramus.

143 mulp October 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm

A period of extremely high taxes, and huge tax dodges if you paid workers wastefully.

Ie, LLCs that lost lots of money for the dentist or radiologist investor from oil depletion allowances and tax write offs for drill baby drill even with high rates of dry holes all to sell at a net loss of 20% after 5 years and then pay 20% capital gains on the 70% plus business loss write off you netted on sale.

During the 50s and 60s, the US drilled ten times the number of oil and gas wells as the entire rest of the world has drilled in a century, including the US since about 1970. In many other sectors, building factories, power plants, etc were very profitable as tax dodges converting 80% of the wages paid from 70% tax rate income as a tax dodge into 20% long term capital gains income.

This was precisely Keynes: “Thus we might aim in practice (there being nothing in this which is unattainable) at an increase in the volume of capital until it ceases to be scarce, so that the functionless investor will no longer receive a bonus; and at a scheme of direct taxation which allows the intelligence and determination and executive skill of the financier, the entrepreneur et hoc genus omne (who are certainly so fond of their craft that their labour could be obtained much cheaper than at present), to be harnessed to the service of the community on reasonable terms of reward.”

Ie, high tax rates on profits of the stupid, but rewarding tax dodges to the determined and skilled who pay lots of workers more than the stupid to build lots more capital. Capital, from paying workers untaxed money, they end up owning.

144 Millian October 14, 2017 at 1:52 pm

Nah, this might have been cleverer last December. Relative to 2016, there’s grounds to be much more optimistic about Europe (euro area economic recovery; euro is stable; EU is winning the Brexit negotiations; no over-reaction to migrant crisis); and very optimistic about America, now that America’s revealed strength is greater than feared, as the separation of powers and the rest of Republican party are working very well to restrict the pornocrat from doing lasting damage. Though there’s not much of a case for being optimistic about China, Hong Kong, or anyone in short range of Pyongyang.

As for the snowflakes. Dumb racists have been stressfully whining, including around here, ever since the half-black half-white guy was elected in 08. Now they are coping by getting addicted to prescription painkillers or opiates, so who’s really been “stressed”?

145 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 8:07 am

“…no over-reaction to migrant crisis”

Seen the Austrian elections, much? Much less the German ones? And don’t get me started on “winning” Brexit negotiations where the EU seems to want to ensure a hard Brexit.

The Euro-Federalists seem utterly incapable of recognising anyone’s concerns but their own and are utterly tone-deaf in their style. Everything they do seems to build a bigger coalition against them.

146 Mr. Sensitive October 14, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Media frenzy over every little damn thing = more stress

147 Engineer October 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm

TV “news” is designed to evoke emotion, rather than provide information. I turned off cable about 10 years ago, and found that went a long way to reduce stress.

Other than a little NPR radio at the gym, almost all my news consumption now is via text. It’s an intrinsically cooler medium, and attempts to create emotional frenzy via text don’t generally work very well.

I think of Krugman’s NYT columns as an example of that – its sad to see so accomplished a guy reduced to creating the 2 Minute Hate in his later years, and in the wrong medium at that. Maybe the digital NYT will find Harvey Weinstein is available produce a video version now, if he can line up the right on-air talent.

148 dearieme October 14, 2017 at 2:05 pm

“overt racism was much more common”: come, come. You probably mean that the amount of racism directed at blacks was higher. Now there’s lots directed at whites and some directed at Asians. Anyone concerned with universities and the students they admit cannot plead ignorance.

149 Art Deco October 14, 2017 at 2:42 pm

I’m a proximate contemporary of the moderator and grew up a workday’s driving distance to his west. The worst example of ‘overt racism’ I can recall from my youth was a claque of black girls at a high school in Rochester beating on a white girl in a bathroom for poaching. That was around about 1972.

150 prior_test3 October 14, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Now I know you really aren’t from the South.

But then, the Fairfax schools I went to didn’t really have any black students – see how easy it is to solve your racism problem?

Well, OK, W.T. Woodson did, but that is only because it was hard to keep a member of the Redskins (Roy Jefferson – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Jefferson ) from sending his children to a school named after a school superintendent who was a dedicated believer in busing (busing black secondary school students to Manassas instead of educating them in his school district, that is) after Jefferson bought a house within Woodson’s school boundaries.

Oddly enough, the kindergarten I went to did have a couple of black students – but then, Louise Archer was originally called the Vienna Colored School, and whites did not attend. That school was desegregated in the mid-60s. by the way. ‘The school was established in its current location, then a black neighborhood, in 1939, as a school for African-American children, under the name “Vienna Colored School.” Mrs. Louise Archer served as the school’s principal and taught students with two other teachers. She taught and fed all of the students. In the early 1940s, the only water was from the Salisbury Spring a mile away. Boys had to go and fetch water, and Mrs. Archer fed the children meals she cooked on a pot-bellied stove. The old school building is what is now part of the northern section of the school near the cafeteria.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Archer_Elementary_School

That different parts of America have very different circumstances is probably the easiest way to look at it.

151 Art Deco October 14, 2017 at 5:38 pm

Now I know you really aren’t from the South.

You grew up in NoVa. Neither are you.

152 prior_test3 October 15, 2017 at 3:28 am

That is an interesting point – I remember the feed store in downtown Fairfax City and the saddle shop in Oakton, back when Vienna was still considered horse country (a childhood friend owned a nice place with several horses, of the sort that would look normal in Middleburg). I was taught in elementary school mainly by women who went to colleges like JMU with the accents to match, and remember the time before both the Beltway and Tysons Corner were built. Along with the SS silo/fuel lot at the corner of Rt 123 and 29/50, and the corn fields next to where I went to elementary school. Not to mention going to places on gravel roads where you forded creeks (think around Hunter Mill) as the only way to get to a house.

NoVa today is not the NoVa of 1969 – by something like 700,000 people in Fairfax County alone.

153 Cock Piss Partridge October 14, 2017 at 4:16 pm

/boggle

154 anon October 14, 2017 at 2:16 pm

It is funny that anyone would want to define themselves outside the “cognitive elite” but going with it, some really simple questions:

Are a majority of Americans loving the Trump presidency?

Are a majority of Americans loving the Republican Congress?

Are a majority of Americans loving the interactions between the two?

If the majority aren’t loving it, in what way are you winning?

155 Tanturn October 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm

We won the 2016 election.

156 Moo cow October 14, 2017 at 2:54 pm

3,000,000 votes less than the other person, and if not for ~70k votes in 3 states, he’s dead.

Yes, EC etc etc. Yawn.

But yeah, historic election and all that…like historic unpopularity and loltastic governance. Where’s our lower premium, lower deductible, better covetage health insurance, that’s what I want to know. Day 1, wasn’t it?

157 Moo cow October 14, 2017 at 2:54 pm

*fewer! Shoot me now.

158 anon October 14, 2017 at 4:16 pm

I am liking that snowflake image more and more.

If all you can point to is a past high water mark, you might be losing.

159 Anonymous October 14, 2017 at 6:29 pm

He must have forgotten about your landslide victory in the most recent election.

160 Lanigram October 14, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Anon,

By education, IQ, and career I am inside the “cognitive elite”, I just don’t like you. Alex. Sol. wrote the Gulag Archipeligo, was chased by the Soviets, sheltered by the west, but he did not like westerners. He thought westerners, unlike Russians, were soft, weak, and maybe even complacent. He thought Russians had suffered but were, hard, strong, and resilient. I feel that way towards the CE.

Your faithnin rational choice theory is predictably irrational. Don’t underestimate the dopamine rush humans get by punishing unfair behavior. Michael Moore understood the Trump phenomena but the smarty pants in the CE do not. The best and the brightest (good read)..,

Enjoy: do listen to the whole thing

http://bigthink.com/videos/molly-crockett-why-inequality-and-injustice-makes-us-and-our-brain-so-angry

161 anon October 14, 2017 at 9:57 pm

Oh I get the motivation. It has been there since the dawn of time.

It just doesn’t work that well at maintaining civilizations.

I am a lot less worried now, as people see the result of irrational governance, and as I say, they aren’t loving it.

162 msgkings October 14, 2017 at 10:59 pm

More are loving it than you realize, sorry to say. The sides are so far apart it’s hard for either to truly see the other.

163 anon October 14, 2017 at 11:24 pm

Trump approval is at 36%

That only looks good compared to bigger disasters, never compared to any actual success.

164 msgkings October 15, 2017 at 1:11 am

Still good enough to keep winning elections very possibly

165 anon October 15, 2017 at 9:05 am

I don’t know.

The latest drama is Bannon fighting both Trump and Congress.

Who wins in that scenario?

166 msgkings October 15, 2017 at 11:51 pm

Trump. That asshole always wins.

167 Edward Burke October 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

A simple test of contemporary baseline mood might begin with analysis of “intersectionalism”, a current hypothesis of social epistemology.

Exactly how seriously is “intersectionalism” taken WITHIN the academy (not only in minority studies departments, mind you, but in philosophy and poli sci departments, let’s say, and in humanities professors’ lounges and offices and at their dining tables: do professional academics actually take “intersectionalism” seriously? [who takes it seriously, to what extent, under what conditions, et cetera . . . also, how much explanatory power is imputed to the hypothesis of “intersectionalism”–and on what basis?])

From outside of academia, “intersectionalism” looks to possess no cogency whatsoever: what might account for the appearance of cogency within the analytic context of post-secondary institutions?

168 Troll Me October 14, 2017 at 8:08 pm

If you start by trying to define the term, or understand a definition of the term, it may be possible to have a better understanding of what people mean when they use the word.

169 Edward Burke October 14, 2017 at 8:37 pm

I for one cannot even say whether the term is meant to be taken as self-explicating, its apologists have done so poor a job to date.

170 Kevin- October 14, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Post summary: Winter is coming.

171 Mike W October 14, 2017 at 3:37 pm

“…compared to what we can rationally expect for the next few decades.”

Like, for example…what? Comparatively.

172 chuck martel October 14, 2017 at 3:53 pm

” Brexit/Trump/populism/nationalism have upset this feeling.”

Brexit, a maybe change in the relationship between the UK and Europe, is giving me insomnia. When I do finally get to sleep, nightmares starring Trump are featured. Populism, which is apparently the democratic republic without adult supervision, causes migraines and nationalism, a favoritism of one’s own culture over the unknown makes for an upset stomach.

173 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 8:22 am

ROFL.

Brother, I share your stress. In my dreams, Putin flies in on a Fake News bulletin and destroys all my transgender bathrooms. Fevered visions of multicultural falafel restaurants being torched by white-hooded mobs alternate with concentration camps for rap musicians and my Mexican cleaner being deported through a giant oil pipeline.

174 Victoria Rivero October 14, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Tyler: I live in Argentina. Our level of stress has not decreased in 50 years. And at this moment, we are starting to see the light.

175 A Truth Seeker October 14, 2017 at 5:51 pm

And always will be seeing. I still remember when Menem and Salinas were, according to Americans, the good Latin Americans, so different from those primitive Brazilians…Argentina and Mexico should heed Brazil’s leadership. If Maximilian had liatened to out Emperor’s advice, he would not have been murdered.

176 Hoosier October 15, 2017 at 6:48 am

Yeah, Argentina is the model we’re following at this point. Still a very nice country! But very stressed out, and not nearly as prosperous as it could be. Trump as Peron.

177 Art Deco October 15, 2017 at 7:28 am

Trump bears no resemblance to Peron and our economic situation bears little resemblance to that in Argentina in 1950. The analogy is silly. The only point in common is that Trump’s appeal is stronger among wage-earners than it is among salaried professionals.

178 msgkings October 15, 2017 at 11:52 pm

Art is correct here, the closest political analogue to Trump is Silvio Berlusconi

179 A Truth Seeker October 14, 2017 at 4:42 pm

While we are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause, Americans talk themselves to death. We will bury them with their own confusion. Brazil, yes. America, no.

180 Ryan Reynolds October 14, 2017 at 4:43 pm

“We are not used to feeling as much stress as we do today. Yet even in the optimistic scenarios in my predictions, the level of stress today is relatively low compared to what we can rationally expect for the next few decades.“

So my stress levels today should rise in anticipation of higher stress levels later on? Or are my elevated stress levels today a correct anticipation of higher stress later?

181 edgar October 14, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Tyler makes a mint peddling Great Stagnation, Average is Over, Complacency, then blames Trump for upsetting folk’ s feelings about positive directions. HA HA HA HA HA HA

182 edgar October 14, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Consumer sentiment at 13 year high.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-13/consumer-sentiment-in-u-s-unexpectedly-surges-to-13-year-high

What evidence for real stress (rather than motivated expressions of stress)? The only real stress I see is in the talk-funny/make-money crowd. The phony slick-talkers are sick to the stomach that the smartest man in DC is succeeding and he ain’t from their cocoon and his tweets don’t follow their approved Phony Baloney Style Manual for Maintaining the Myth of Elite Expertise.

183 JMCSF October 14, 2017 at 5:40 pm

What is the worse case scenario? Apart from nuclear war, I would say the US ends up similar to South Africa or Argentina. There are a lot worse places to live than those countries too.
The wealthy will be fine at the end of the day. If shit hits the fan then there is always Australia or Canada to move to. I’d personally choose Australia for its clime and relative isolation from the rest of the world.

However, I still hope and believe that eventually all these troubles will pass. New technology will improve living standards. The kids will be ok.

184 Troll Me October 14, 2017 at 8:10 pm

If poor countries grow faster than rich countries, this does not make the rich countries poorer, it just means that they are getting richer slower than the presently-poorer countries.

185 Massimo Heitor October 14, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Tyler Cowen is surprisingly negative. What are these horrific scenarios in Cowen’s predictions?

186 Dan October 15, 2017 at 11:50 am

I’m guessing he’s referring to nuclear proliferation and eventually nuclear war. Remember, even very limited nuclear exchanges could trigger a nuclear winter and famine. Which I guess is one way to stop global warming.

187 Dan October 15, 2017 at 11:53 am
188 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 8:27 am

Rhubarb. The nuclear winter modelling was pure modelling-as-advocacy from a bunch of pacifist physicist types. You had to burn every major city in the western hemisphere to have an effect. And even then you needed a dry summer and a very questionable upper-atmosphere model to make it stick.

If you know nothing else about the Nuclear Winter stuff, the relentless “worse-case” assumptions of its advocates should put you seriously on guard. It’s right up there with the Doomsday clock nonsense.

189 The Other Jim October 14, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Leaving aside the unsupported claim that Ty is an intellectual, it goes like this:

“Intellectuals” in 2014: “This is awesome. I support statism, and so does the President. And it’s clear that his party will reign for a thousand years — at least according to WaPo. I love my stress-free existence!”

Trump in 2015: “America, listen up. These so-called intellectuals care only for themselves, and their policies are killing you.”

“Intellectuals” in 2015: “Ha! Let us jauntily berate this loser in the WaPo every day! Along with anyone who deigns to hear him out!”

American voters in 2016: “Yeah, Trump is right. These people are absolutely useless clowns.”

“Intellectuals” in 2017: “Oh, shit. Oh, Jesus Freaking Shit.”

190 Millian October 15, 2017 at 6:17 am

Nah. Most American voters did not prefer Trump. The pornocrat is where he is because he played the electoral college game well, but as we have seen, there are consequences to not being very popular, i.e. your own party will disregard your irrelevant opinions and all you will be left with is executive orders.

191 justinwonder October 15, 2017 at 6:48 pm

TOJ – Perfect!

192 Li Zhi October 14, 2017 at 7:46 pm

What rubbish. I guess if TC didn’t see something like 9/11 as inevitable, I can only conclude that while he is undoubtedly a voracious reader, the WSJ must not be (must not have been) on his reading list in the decade before 2001, but I’ll give him a pass on that, since it wasn’t in his area of professional interest (although I’d classify his as ‘willfully blind’ wrt terrorism, if the FIRST WTC bombing plot failed to wake him up). But the Mortgage Implosion of 2008 was clearly an economic issue. We were building homes at TWICE the historical rate. Prices were out of control. Regulation was almost non-existent. The Economists have never been called on the carpet for their astounding incompetence in not calling that, imho. And then we have the 2016 election. So, what? 3 events spaced over 16 years and this is supposedly “stressful”??? Oh, wow. I personally think Trump is the result of “the Establishment”‘s failure to explain to John Q Public how the Middle-class can survive the “Information Age”. Our politicians are STILL claiming that “more education” is the answer. Risible.

193 Troll Me October 14, 2017 at 8:16 pm

They tried to use 9-11 to force biometric ID on Canada.

Did anyone ever figure out how that type of building could have collapsed at the speed it did, in the absence of being a controlled explosion? Curiosly, Congress spent less time discussing 9-11 in its entirety, than it spent on Banghazi.

By the way, not a single one of the 9-11 attackers had come through Canada to enter the USA. However, even years later, high political figures were still beating this drum about 9-11 as being evidence of the need to enforce various ID and other “security”-related demands on Canada.

194 derek October 14, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Are you that crank from Western University that was blathering on about 9/11 conspiracy theories?

195 Troll Me October 15, 2017 at 3:02 pm

It is literally possible for two or more people to conspire to perform illegal acts.

This is even possible within the CIA. This is also possible within the NSA. As frequently demonstrated on NCIS, a TV show, it is even considered as possible that two or more individuals in the US military (presumably applicable to such forces of other countries as well) may also plausibly conspire to perform some illegal activity.

Theoretically speaking, it would not be entirely surprising, in view of the historcal record, to find that those who seek to control things may conspire to do things which contribute to their ability to control things. For example, throughout history, many people in many places and many times have done things to be able to manipulate situations in order to control them.

Naturally, the fact of the ability of two or more people to conspire does not constitute evidence that all people at all times and all places are conspiring. For example, it is possible that certain actors embedded in the CIA, NSA, DoD and/or FBI – and/or very numerous (knowing or unknowing) plants/assets in many other organizations -, could have conspired in some mannner, without necessarily implicating every other member of those organizations, most of whom might be assumed to be essentially decent people who work basically in line with what the un-knowing public might hope they would be more or less up to.

196 justinwonder October 15, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Two conspiracy theorists walk into a bar.,.

No way that is a coincidence!

197 Ron October 14, 2017 at 10:04 pm

In regards to the building collapse. The plant my father worked at provided the steel for the towers. I asked him a typical child’s question. “Wouldn’t that hit a lot of other buildings if it tipped over.” He told me that the buildings were specifically designed to pancake down in case of structural failure. So no, I wasn’t surprised by the way they collapsed. Engineered to limit collateral damage.

198 msgkings October 14, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Good comment. Also the thing about conspiracies of that magnitude is, no way everyone keeps it secret. Hollywood has us a little blinkered on those.

199 So Much For Subtlety October 15, 2017 at 12:22 am

And yet Harvey Weinstein got away with it for years. If he had not fallen out with his brother he might be doing it still.

Now we can see why Hollywood writers keep making these movies about powerful men who engage in secret conspiracies to commit murder. Hollywood is all they know.

200 msgkings October 15, 2017 at 1:17 am

Also a good comment.

201 Troll Me October 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm

It would be interesting if you could identify which line of argumentation in the following video should be seen as lacking in credibility.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYUYya6bPGw

Please note, that the video does not positively assert a specific alternative storyline. Rather, it interviews experts, who continue to practice and be respect in their fields of expertise, who are able to categorically demonstrate that whatever happened, the official narrative is not it.

In a freedom-loving government-distrusting nation, it is more than a little suspicious that to say so much as “uh … the official storyline doesn’t add up” is now, 15 years later, widely viewed as crazy talk, perhaps worthy of mental incarceration.

202 Troll Me October 15, 2017 at 3:11 pm

There’s a difference between a) acknowledging an interest and a capacity, but nevertheless disbelieving that some particular explanation underlies whatever conspiracy occurred, and b) sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting out “la la la la la la la”.

As must commonly be pointed out, even if some conspiracy occurred under GWB, this in no way, shape or form constitutes evidence that “GWB brought down the twin towers so he could …”.

In can also be noted that, earlier on, GWB expressed many approachable and not-crazy not-warmongering positions with respect to Saddam and whatever concerns there were about him and Iraq in general. But then it transformed into unacceptable demand after unacceptable demand that could only lead to refusal to expect one last slap in the face enroute to war. And considering GWB’s earlier positions, it is essentially not plausible that that is really where he wanted things to go from that earlier vantage point.

203 Troll Me October 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm

It was the freefall speed of the collapse. It’s not that surprising that a tall building in one of the most important CBDs in the world would be constructed in a way that would fall in, more than fall out.

Also, the type of melting of the metals in the structure of the building was not consistent with jet fuel, the explanation officially proposed, as opposed to this evidence being consistent with explosives, which are not considered in the official explanation.

Without proposing any specific alternative explanation, basically every part of the analysis in the 20-page official explanation can be categorically rejected.

204 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 9:11 am

Now for ever post you make I can just label you a 9-11 Truther.

Thanks. I’ll never have to waste time with a considered reply again.

205 Alistair October 17, 2017 at 9:09 am

That’s a bad mistake, Troll, there’s a line between effective trolling and conspiracy theorist.

If you’re effectively ragging people you NEVER give the evidence to smile and think you’re just a nutter after all.

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