Assorted links

1. “Wanting to be liked.”

2. Trifecta (good photos too).

3. Hobson, underconsumption, globalization, and the great stagnation, by Robert Skidelsky; uneven but interesting.  I’ve been waiting for this tradition to be rediscovered, I suppose Hilferding is next.

4. WSJ reviews the excellent Arnold Kling.

5. I am more pro-immigration than he is, but Ross Douthat is right now writing the best material on immigration reform.  It is odd for me how, in the midst of a major policy discussion of the issue, most of the people I read cover the topic but do not mention or much discuss five nights of riots in Sweden.  The economics of additional immigration work out fine in my view, and I am happy to count the well-being of foreigners without hesitation.  The real question is how much immigration a nation’s politics can handle.  Fortunately we are not at the “five nights of riots” margin in the United States, but Ross still raises the key question, namely “the kind of social solidarity that mass immigration often tends to undercut…” and the role of that solidarity in supporting a free society.  The key question is how many low-skilled immigrants a nation can take in and still keep a good politics.

6. Location-aware radio.


"It is odd for me how, in the midst of a major policy discussion of the issue, most of the people I read cover the topic but do not mention or much discuss five nights of riots in Sweden."

What "major policy discussion of the issue?" Nobody wants to get Richwined. Ross is being bravely rational, but the conventional wisdom in the media is 99 and 44/100ths schmaltz taken straight from Emma Lazarus's lowbrow poem.

To the rioters in Sweden, you can add the bloody choppers in London and the violent Chechen "refugees" in America.

This guy Ibragim Todashev who just got shot by the FBI had permanent resident status as a refugee because his life was supposedly in danger in Russia. Yet his father turns out to be head of municipal services for the city government of Grozny, which puts him about two levels in the org chart below Russia' proxy dictator in Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, and thus only about three levels below V. Putin.

The whole Boston Bombing story is a tale of immigration fraud, but nobody wants to talk about that. What would Emma Lazarus think?

Being a friend of Ramzan and Putin is not universally well received in Chechnya, Steve.

You've hit upon the hilarious essence of the refugee program: Sure, Ibragim Todashev comes from a family that has used massive political violence to put themselves near the top of the dictatorship in their own land, but someday the relatives of the victims of the Todashevs might strike back, so we have to shelter poor defenseless Ibragim in America so he can pursue his American Dream of hurting people while sponging off his wife and girlfriend.

LOL. Being a friend of Bashar Assad isn't universally well-received in Syria. Maybe we should give his buddies refugee status.

If you want to compare the London and Stockholm riots then you can point to the police tactic of standing around and watching rather than trying to stop it. If you are talking about immigration, then you have to face the fact that London rioters were came in white as well as black and brown.

"The key question is how many low-skilled immigrants a nation can take in and still keep a good politics."

You really mean this? The key question isn't only how cheap chalupas get? I thought you'd think that Sweden badly needs good ethnic food to replace the native fare. If a couple of city quarters get burnt down every 3 years it's not that much of a loss.

I always thought the "key question" was how much rape by billionaire bankers a nation can take and still keep a good politics and, spoiler alert, I think we surpassed it. (Note that Tyler doesn't qualifies finance-related policies in this way).

So why doesn't Tyler cover finance-related policies in that way? Is it because he favors unspeakable acts by billionaire bankers? Or maybe is it because he doesn't interpret what happened the same way you do?

Come now Tyler, you revel in the non-integrated immigrant communities. You no doubt have seen "restaurant kids" become doctors and engineers. I know I have. In my area we have dozens of ethnic neighborhoods. Many of them (most of them?) rapidly progress beyond more longstanding ethnic enclaves. More than one spot in Southern California that used to be poor and Hispanic is now rich and Asian. So I don't see the "5 nights" as an integration issue. We should admit it is part of the modern Christian-Muslim conflict, and a very sad 21st century "crusade."

"More than one spot in Southern California that used to be poor and Hispanic is now rich and Asian."

And where did the Hispanics go?

As Orange County has become more flush, more and more people have been forced to San Bernardino. Of course Hispanics moving there wouldn't really be a "change." The city of San Bernardino is one of the oldest communities in the state of California. Named for Bernardino of Siena on May 20, 1810.

San Bernardino/Riverside -- a.k.a., the Inland Empire -- was one of the Ground Zeros of the Mortgage Meltdown that began in 2007 and set off the Great Recession, along with Las Vegas and Phoenix.

This is hardly coincidental, although nobody engaged in the "policy debate" has noticed over the last half dozen years.

What, you think AAA bond fraud was invented in 1810 by Hispanics? Or even dominated by? What a racist freak.

Read charitably? Nah, just call him a racist.

There is no rational connecting between local Hispanic migration and a national mortgage meltdown. And so, race. But yes, I'm sure Steve's goal is always to skirt such racism, with plausible deniability.

I believe his point is merely that the Hispanic areas have not become "rich". Rather, they continue to be poor.

"There is no rational connecting between local Hispanic migration and a national mortgage meltdown"

The data has been published in a number of studies since 2010, and the connections between Hispanics and high mortgage default in 2007-2008, helping set off the Great Recession, are clear.

It's magic! (It's also the underreported epilogue to that "Stand and Deliver" movie.)

Are there many areas in Southern California that are now rich and Hispanic?

I'm not sure it's possible to make that question obvious enough for him to see the flaw in his thinking.

You no doubt have seen “restaurant kids” become doctors and engineers. I know I have. In my area we have dozens of ethnic neighborhoods. ...More than one spot in Southern California that used to be poor and Hispanic is now rich and Asian.

Most unintentionally hilarious pro-illegal immigration post in the history of MR?

From The Simpsons:

Our top story, the population of parasitic tree lizards has exploded, and local citizens couldn't be happier! It seems the rapacious reptiles have developed a taste for the common pigeon, also known as the 'feathered rat', or the 'gutter bird'. For the first time, citizens need not fear harassment by flocks of chattering disease-bags.

Later, Bart receives an award from Mayor Quimby outside the town hall. Several lizards slink past.

For decimating our pigeon population, and making Springfield a less oppressive place to while away our worthless lives, I present you with this scented candle.

Skinner talks to Lisa.

Well, I was wrong. The lizards are a godsend.

But isn't that a bit short-sighted? What happens when we're overrun by lizards?

No problem. We simply unleash wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They'll wipe out the lizards.

But aren't the snakes even worse?

Yes, but we're prepared for that. We've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat.

But then we're stuck with gorillas!

No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.

When people study, as I assume they do, the economic success of earlier waves of immigrants, do they include the wave often referred to as "the slave trade"? If not, why not?

1. The issue of positive feedback is an interesting one ... I am not sure technology is our only enemy here, efficiency is doing its fair share. A career coach once told me that he optimal ratio of positive to negative feedback was 3:1 at work at 5:1 at home. I totally cracked up laughing because on a good day for me those ratios (excluding from my kids) were reversed.

But at work, why should anyone give me positive feedback? The signal of a job well done is my pay check and the interesting projects I get to work on...why waste time on words when everyone is working hard? It would be inefficient. On the other hand, criticism is necessary to enforce standards and quality. Asymmetric behavior makes sense when failure has big downsides.

And yet, this '100 likes' minimum on a picture seems unhealthy to me. Some critique is good and I fear this young woman is being set up for a rude awakening. I kind of like blogs with up-vote/good and down-vote/bad buttons. Depending on the site, I like to see more up votes, but I also like to see some down is helpful. Silence is hard to parse and if you have an inner critic it's easy to spin it as negative. Otherwise, I read that post as social dynamics are tough, we just find new ways to torture ourselves and others, duh.

Interesting comments. They lead me in a couple different directions. One is that a certain kind of social climber would have been this wrapped up in position even before technology. My second thought is that technology has "gamified" the climb. Perhaps we can hope that kids are aware of the gamification at some level, and already discount its seriousness.

Good perspective. Reminds of capitalism, a system of profit AND loss. Feedback is important.

Obviously, banking and corporate management is anti-capitalism, pure pillage and plunder. Rewarded for success and richly compensated for failure. Like the raider rushing into a village with lots of gold and virgins vs rushing into the village too soon after the last raid and finding only food and no longer virgin women, so the reward is only somewhat less rich.

1. Along with alcohol, heroine and cocaine, the Internet is a great scourge of humanity.

Heroine? I'm going back to bed. It's early.

Lord, deliver us from the scourge of female protagonists.

The link could be titled: inside the mind of the female voter.

3. Hobson, underconsumption, globalization, and the great stagnation, by Robert Skidelsky; uneven but interesting.

Hmm, how much planning and coordination and TBTF is too much?

The nature of evolution, innovation, and "progress" is ongoing failure, adaptation, and survival (spontaneous order). Good luck trying to stop that process in nature, in business, and in societies.

Kevin Williamson (in The End Is Near and It's Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure) is correct: the hubris is stunning of people (especially politicians and pundits) who believe they can understand and prescribe detailed solutions for large complex problems to avoid failure. See, e.g., Ozymandias.

"Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

I like and agree with some of what TC and AT and many of the commenters here say, but no way in hell do I want any of you laying out a plan for my life that I must follow.

Yeah okay, but there is the small problem that chaos at this point in human history could get pretty ugly.

The article about the prototype radio has a link to an article about there still being 13,000 black-and-white TVs in Britain.

I'm surprised they still have TV licensing. How can the TV detector vans detect LCD and LED digital sets? They don't produce the strong signals of the old analog CRT sets.

Effectively you assume everyone has a television of some kind - and pester the heck out of the few people who don't - on the not unreasonable assumption that most people who claim not to have a TV are lying.

"Hobson, Keynes’s near-contemporary...": what a pity, I had hoped that it would prove to be the Hobson of Hobson's Choice. I'm sure economists could develop his great idea further.

'Five nights of riots' is a tiny part of the grave failure of immigration policy in Sweden, which have led to extremely high segregation, violence and poverty. Although there are major cultural and economic differences between Sweden and the US, it would be sensible for the US to try to understand this better.

(Actually, these riots are quite common in summer in immigrant suburbs of all the Swedish cities -- it's not clear why it crosses to English language media this year and not others.)

it’s not clear why it crosses to English language media this year and not others.

Benghazi, IRS, DOJ monitoring journalists, Espionage A - Oh! Look! Squirrel!

5. Yeah, it's pretty clear that host country institutions need to be ready to assimilate newcomers. If you re-establish the institutions of poor countries in rich countries, you get a permanent underclass. Here in the U.S. identity politics is making assimilation harder and thus making immigration more problematic, but there is still a strong American identity despite active and ongoing attempts to destroy it.

Yep, that's why we had the many riots in places like Watts here in the US - those damn African immigrants just could not assimilate. And now that they have taken over DC, the only hope is some Asian immigrants move in and take over.

Apparently, Marion Barry doesn't agree:

As the father of a 13 year old with an iPhone, I can assure you she isn't at all interested in Facebook. She asked if she could have a FB account when she was 11, and I said no. (I let her lie about her age to get a gmail account, but told her not to lie for a FB account.) Now that she's old enough, she's moved on to the newest things. And, yes, she can tell me how many people like the random photo of whatever she was doing yesterday posted on instragram (or whatever), and is pleased when it's a high number, but, like most kids, she doesn't obsess.

(She had also already seen the pictures in "Trifecta", so now our media consumption has some overlap.)

The US has "good politics"?

With the most progressive taxation in the OECD, amongst the most onerous overall taxation upon the rich in the developed world, and we're worried about *keeping* good politics?

I don't see what we've got to lose.

"...amongst the most onerous overall taxation upon the rich in the developed world..."

Poor baby. If you can find better, move.

How ironic that you should suggest moving, as the US is alone in the OECD in taxing its rich citizens even after they move out of the country.

Further to the point, the US taxes the rich harder than do any other OECD nations save - and even these are arguable - France, South Korea, and Japan.

"the commentariette" is right.

The mass-immigration to europe is on big failure.

One would suspect that an economist would pay a great deal of attention to the "welfare state" and how that affects the whole "The economics of additional immigration work out fine in my view, and I am happy to count the well-being of foreigners without hesitation."

So far it is hard to see how it works out for the europeans - it is a crazy experiment.

Even considering the well-being of foreigners doesnt help. There is always an alternative, e.g. the money spend on immigrants could have been send to the poor kids in South Sudan and Somalia. But then again, who cares about them, they are in Africa. Only the people who care enough to travel to Europe should we be happy to count the well-being of without hesitation. Let pretend there no alternative, no opportunity-cost.

Its not a matter of zero immigration vs. open borders, but that it is outright stupid to have mass-immigration of unskilled people into a wellfare state. In Europe the case is even so, that a lot of the immigrants from the middleeast, pakistan and so, are hostile towards the europeans. What could go wrong then.

To support in a way you don't intend, look at what happened to what is now the USA.

From those Tea Party Constitutionalists, I defy anyone to point to any authority of Congress to limit immigration to the US, though the power to tax anything crossing the borders is absolutely clear. But nothing to limit immigration, or emigration either, so it is clearly embracing love it or leave it.

Citizenship in the Constitution was simply the right to participate in republican government, a privilege, not a right. Any interpretation to the contrary makes it clear women had no right to be in the USA, because no woman could be a citizen under the Constitution because women were denied the right to participate in Federal government by the Federal courts (by letting lower court rulings to that effect stand.)

Obviously, the immigrants destroyed American culture and led to massive riots and many deaths caused by the immigrants. Immigrants who refused to assimilate into American culture.

"under the Constitution because women were denied the right to participate in Federal government by the Federal courts": why was that? I mean, the Americans were largely English and there were parliamentary constituencies in England, before the Great Reform Act of 1832, where suitably qualified women did have the vote. (Maybe there were in Scotland or Ireland too; I don't know).

So why did the English-Americans ban women from voting?

#5 - As long as the native low-skilled population keeps voting for the people who enthusiastically support bringing in foreign low-skilled competition, U.S. politics can handle immigration.

"the people who enthusiastically support bringing in foreign low-skilled competition" ... that would be both political parties. The other option is not not vote (or vote 3rd party, which is nearly the same thing).

"The key question is how many low-skilled immigrants a nation can take in and still keep a good politics."

Not that I put much stock in the Rep vs Dem nonsense, but under 1980 demographics Romney would have won in a bigger landslide then Reagen.

"Fortunately we are not at the “five nights of riots” margin in the United States"

Certainly not. We just have no go slums, desert cities (Detroit), and massive incarceration rates.


Thank G-d for the War on Drugs!

Yes, the war on drugs turned Detroit into a burnt out husk.

BTW, now that I think about it weren't things like the LA Riots our version of this?

And I won't even get into flash mobs.

"The economics of additional immigration work out fine in my view"

Is there any theoretical piece of evidence that would cause you to change your mind? Could you outline a data point that if you found it you would start writing that you oppose new immigration?

I think this is a very important question ot answer Tyler. If you can't think of a data point that would cause you to change your mind then I'd say your view is based on dogma rather then reality. Like most high IQ white male nerds I was roughly a libertarian and pro immigration when I was young, but as I saw more and more data points against it I changed my mind. Thus when I see someone that is not convinced by the same data there are one of two possibilities:

1) They dispute the data or its meaning
2) They are idealogically committed to a certain view no matter the data

If #1 then there is a debate to be had. And you ought to be able to supply a data point that you believe would unquestionably swing the debate in my favor were it to occur.

If #2 then we are all wasting our time aren't we. If that is the case then your an enemy under any circumstances and the role of dialouge is simply to highlight your monstorous idealogy in the clear and bereft of rhetorical make up so that people can understand and reject it.

You're assuming everyone with an opinion on immigration has the mysterious data you mention that has turned you against immigration. My observation regarding this topic is that most people with an opinion on the topic have never been an immigrant, lived with one or even had a deep connection with one. They make the most blatantly false assumptions about the motivations for immigration, the skills of immigrants, their intelligence, even who they are. It's all hypothetical blatter rooted in stereotypes. And this is from pro and anti immigration folks.
How would you answer your question to TC?

"My observation regarding this topic is that most people with an opinion on the topic have never been an immigrant, lived with one or even had a deep connection with one."

I live in a heavily-immigrant area, and have had extremely close relationships with immigrants (my best friend for about 10 years starting in high school was an immigrant) and I also have had long-term sexual relationships with immigrant women... and I think that all these factors make someone LESS able to understand the immigration issue rather than more able to understand it. When you're talking about a group that includes tens of millions of people, statistics and "stereotypes" are far more useful tools than first hand knowledge. As someone on the restrictionist side, I find that the discourse is absolutely POISONED by personal experiences that do not take into account the less visible and broader effects of this massive policy. "Look at how immigration has transformed California" is trumped by "My housekeeper Consuela is very nice (I think, although we are mutually incapable of communication)" - this is not good for getting to rational policy.

I disagree. The way we talk about immigration reflects a complete disconnect with the reality on the ground. The way to make policy is to actually understand who the immigrants are and why they come, not invent some self serving explanations and react in shock (or anger) when our policies fail.
Let's set aside our ignorance regarding our own history and culture, which explains our shock at the fact that the Southwest and the West, are a little more Hispanic than we thought (they were part of Mexico, what did you expect?)
If we actually understood that different people come here for different reasons, that not all of them come here to stay but are forced to because they're afraid they won't be able to come back to their jobs and/or families, that not all are looking for a path to citizenship, but rather a path to and from work, that very few are even aware of our awesome (sarcasm) welfare state among other things, our policies would be very different.
Here is an example of how someone becomes an illegal: a foreign college student works for more than 20 hours on campus. So some Indian computer science student goes underground because his 5 hours OT at his campus Taco Bel have made him an illegal. I've actually seen this happen.
We create lawlessness with stupid policies mainly because we have no clue. Drafting rational policies requires actually understanding their applications. And that starts with getting out of our fantasies and dealing with the real world. People go where the jobs are and leave when there are no jobs. It's that simple. That's the way it's always been.
All the Hoopla about culture and riots and whatnot, that just tribalism (euphemism).

Hand wave, hand wave, appeal to emotion.

Mike is right. The statistics are against it, and I can add just as many negative anecdotes to your positive ones. People who are pro immigration are almost always "pro some hard luck case I know" or just wanting to signal what a caring person they are even if they don't know any immigrants at all.

As for tribalism, you bet! My tribe is the one that built a functional society I'm proud of. I don't want the rioters to be a part of that tribe because they ruin it. I'm going to fight for my tribe. And you're a traitor to that tribe (usually for personal gain, even if just status points). Let's see how long people from our tribe tolerate traitors trying to destroy them.

But that's just it, the statistics don't agree with you, your reading of statistics do. And your reading of statistics is already dependent on your views. What's missing when we're drafting policies? Understanding of the reality on the ground. Let me give you another example: State A decides to deny driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Does it make immigrants go away? No, it makes them drive without a license and without insurance. You read your statistics and conclude immigrants are more likely to drive without a license or insurance, people who otherwise would have had insurance. How do I know? Because they do in states that don't deny driver's licenses.
And I agree with you about pro immigration people. That's my point. People are pushing narratives rather than dealing with reality and it's resulting again and again in disastrous policies.
To claim one tribe is responsible for the ascendance of the U.S. in the last 150 years is the most bizarre reading of American history. The U.S. success is nothing but the result of immigration.
Finally, are those riots spontaneous and started because immigrants exists? Riots are the result of immigrants' anger at the treatment received from natives. To point to riots as the result of immigration is like blaming the flu on fever and congestion.
We've had our own share of riots in our history. Should we have deported all Whites after the Tulsa riots of 1921?
Minorities will tell you when a minority commits a crime, it's attributed to the whole group but not when the majority does the same. Then we claim it's statistical evidence.

"Minorities will tell you when a minority commits a crime, it’s attributed to the whole group but not when the majority does the same. Then we claim it’s statistical evidence."

It sounds like you don't understand what statistical evidence is.

Is that all you understood? The last sentence is short for "Then we claim it’s statistical evidence that guides our conclusions when in fact we're just reading what we want to read because of our biases."

Claude Emer,

"The U.S. success is nothing but the result of immigration."

Of white people with similar cultural backgrounds and IQ. Not of current immigrants.

"Riots are the result of immigrants’ anger at the treatment received from natives."

The bomber brothers up in Boston were warmly welcomed by the US. The senior bomber brother got a white woman from an elite family convert to Islam and accept his fists of fury. The state provided welfare for all of them. He still bombed us.

Sweden is as pro immigrant as you can possibly be and they get riots.

NAM immigrants are low IQ and clannish (due to cousin marriage). The west should have nothing to do with these lumpen.

#1 and #2 were interesting. #6 seems like a non-starter.

#3. I got about 1/3 of the way through. (tl;dr), enough to determine that Skidelsky is a clown unworthy of further links from you. Really awful.

5. Is this a question worth asking in the U.S. in the midst of a conversation about what to do with 1.3% of the population?

My take on the Swedish riots and what it means for American immigration reform:

Why has it not effected the US yet:

1) We had race riots 50 years ago. Also see Rodney King of 20 years ago.
2) America is for the most part very open and there has already been a lot of assimilation occuring for decades. Euorepean have not had this as much.
3) Most immigrants have longer term communities and these communities have middle amongst them. However these a few heavily immigrant neighbors are within a few blocks.
4) It is in Sweden over there and Boston is their prime example. If not for Boston the riots might be a bigger example.

*** The economics of additional immigration work out fine in my view, and I am happy to count the well-being of foreigners without hesitation. ***

whoa Whoa WHOA!!! Hold it RIGHT THERE!

This is the most central fundamental point of all, on which most of the contention depends.

Let me make some simple assumptions to create a test case with concrete numbers, ignoring social effects and considering ONLY purely economic effects.

Situation before a proposed immigration wave: 300 million Americans, average wealth X, 25 million would-be-immigrants, average wealth in their home countries Y.

Predicted situation after the immigration wave: 300 million old Americans, average wealth X-5, 25 million new Americans, average wealth Y+100.

The overall wealth of the 325 million people in question has increased by 1 billion units -- the original Americans lost 1.5 billion, the new Americans gained 2.5 billion. The average wealth has increased by 3.08 units.

Question: would this be change "good for Americans"?

If you are an American politician, you should say no, because your responsibility is to the electorate which elected you, not to a future electorate which might include many grateful immigrants who will make you more sure of re-election. It's like the situation of a CEO who issues stock dividends not only to the company's shareholders but to non-shareholders as well. He would be regarded as violating his fiduciary duty.

One can complain that the situation is somehow not "optimal", and invent transfer payments which would compensate the old Americans so that everyone is better off, but these transfer payments NEVER OCCUR IN REAL LIFE, and we have not even begun to count the social costs of immigration that are not directly reducible to how much wealth everyone has (greater welfare obligations and crime costs and educational costs could mean that even if the 300 million old Americans now have average wealth X+1 and the 25 million immigrants are reduced to Y+28, the real utility for the 300 million will be worse off than it was before because the contents of their bank accounts would be outweighed by their expected future tax increases and reduced employment opportunities and reduced safety etc.),

If you were looking at it as an executive of a multinational organization that serves the 25 million would-be immigrants as well as the 300 million Americans, for example a Catholic bishop, you might be "happy to count the well-being of foreigners without hesitation", but don't you think Americans considering American political policies ought to "hesitate"? Instead of hesitating, we are being stampeded.

Your willingness to "count the well-being of foreigners" has an unpleasant air of moral superiority; if you were speaking as a Christian and want to tell Americans they have a charitable duty to share their wealth with foreigners, then you would make your assumptions explicit; I think it much more likely that you are mindlessly inheriting a universalist moral reflex from previous less secularized generations, and applying it because it makes you feel like a good person even though it doesn't make sense outside the context of an explicitly Christian nation.

Comments for this post are closed