To which countries does the future come first?

In some recent talks I’ve argued that the future may be coming first to both Israel and Singapore.  Today let’s consider Israel by listing a few features of that country:

1. The tech sector is important, and, partially as a result of that, income inequality is very high; see Paul Krugman’s post on the latter.

2. There is a large segment of lower middle class, intelligent bohemians, whose low incomes do not reflect their real standard of living and orderly lives.  Many of them study Torah, and receive a kind of (selective) guaranteed annual income.

3. The rent is too damn high, and that won’t be changing anytime soon, due to building restrictions.  The bohemian class generally chooses lower rent venues to pursue its preferred lifestyle.

4. Unlike most current North Americans, Israelis do not take geopolitical stability for granted.

5. There is intense and widespread concern with demographics and the economics of population.

Comments

"5. There is intense and widespread concern with demographics and the economics of population."

The intellectual level of discourse on those issues within Israel is much higher than within the United States:

http://www.vdare.com/articles/demography-is-it-good-for-the-jews-or-the-americans

Income inequality in Israel has declined dramatically in recent years, and is now even lower than it was in 2002. The reason is a dramatic increase in the number of earners in the lowest quintile. If we are to accept Krugman's criteria - namely that the Prime Minister should be judged by his performance on income inequality - then Netanyahu should be considered a hero of historical dimensions. Krugman conveniently picked the peak, 2010 level in a 2015 blog post.

See table on page 50 of the following report:
http://www.btl.gov.il/English%20Homepage/Publications/Poverty_Report/Documents/oni2013en.pdf

"4. Unlike most current North Americans, Israelis do not take geopolitical stability for granted"

Geopolitical Stability? What exactly does that mean? The US neocon central planning committee does not exactly have a track record of success on any metric with their international social engineering projects.

Where does the billions of dollars of US defense welfare that the US pumps into Israel yearly fit into the growth of Israel? I smell another freerider

Is America a benefactor of this in any way? There may be intelligence sharing but all allies do this to some extent. Has Israel ever fought with the US in any Middle East struggle like the US allies such as Germany in Afghanistan? The media hyped up Jordan with their token airstrikes but Israel is nowhere to be found in the struggle of the "existential threat" of ISIS/ISIL.

Israel managed to alienate most of Europe more so and now taught Americans who their Prime Minister is and why they should not like him. Bibi and elements of Israel are doubling down for another neocon for Israel's future. Without US defense subsidies, Israel cannot nurture its tech sector.

What exactly is your point? You started off asking what geopolitical security means and then started whining about subisides. Clarity is a virtue.

It's alt-right free association, which is in it's way truer to the reality of their thought process than their superficially well considered statements.

Israel is no where to be found? I though the Mossad and CIA and House of Saud were all right alongside each other in helping to create and prop up the ISIS threat.

Israel doesn't take geopolitics seriously, it takes US defense freeloading seriously however.

Bibi's stunt in Congress does not display seriousness in geopolitics either.

Sorry, last post, the phrase "geopolitical stability" seems to imply that there is some master plan, govt. central planning that can use equations and predict geopolitical events which is obviously false and denies the possibility of unintended or secondary or tertiary effects that were unintended and make the original project worse off (see Iraq).

Israel is not promoting geopolitical stability in any way with its internal Palestinian policies or pandering to neocons.

and make the original project worse off (see Iraq).

Which would you prefer, Uday or Qusay?

Wow, someone is still defending OIF??

Estimates around 100k-600k Iraqis have been killed and millions have been displaced since 2003 when they were liberated which surpasses any cruelties Saddam did.

sources:
Iraq Family Health Survey; Lancet survey; Opinion Research Business survey; PLOS Medicine Survey.

Where are your numbers coming from? Are you excluding the billions in US military aid? Those billions help Israel allocate funding for other non-military purposes.

Either one. Saddam was our 'friend' for a long time, remember?

No, I do not 'remember', and neither do you, because it did not happen. Iraq broke diplomatic relations with the United States in 1967 and they were not restored until 1985. Over the next several years there were some trade deals and that is all (until he elected to conquer and despoil a neighboring state).

Estimates around 100k-600k Iraqis have been killed and millions have been displaced since 2003 when they were liberated

When someone gives you a statistic that varies by a factor of six, they're telling you they do not know.

which surpasses any cruelties Saddam did.

I see you're also telling me that recent history is not your strong suit.

Without US defense subsidies, Israel cannot nurture its tech sector.

American aid to Israel amounts to 1.2% of the domestic product thereof, and could be withdrawn this year causing only modest discomfort adjusted to over a business cycle. Try again.

Kind of hard to verify dead bodies in the middle of a civil war in a country with broken central authority and general chaos, hence estimation. Do you have a better estimation? Let me guess, zero casualties since they were liberated.

My intuition tells me to stay out of Israel. It's a nice country, like Singapore, but it's too expensive for me, even though I'm in the 1%. As for 'future' this simply would mean such small countries can adopt the latest in surveillance technology, or perhaps in building a cashless society, or something like that? It's hardly a recipe for attracting settlers. Far more attractive is ideology (religion) for Israel, and for Singapore I suppose it offers the super-rich Asians a chance to be insulated from the masses (like Switzerland does for Europeans) and for high-tech brainacs it offers, like Israel, a 'good place for geeks to work'.

Indeed, neither Israel nor Singapore are for aging lower income rentiers like yourself. They either for the super wealthy (0.01%) like that Facebook guy who renounced his US citizenship, or for the young strivers, still looking for career and advancement. I would recommend either country to people in those categories, perhaps with Singapore ahead of Israel, since the hi-tech niche in Singapore is less crowded.

But as to Tyler's question, which country has the future come to first, the answer has to be Japan. Europe and China are heading in Japan's direction of declining population, while at the same time, maintaining a decent standard of living.

"I would recommend either country to people in those categories, perhaps with Singapore ahead of Israel, since the hi-tech niche in Singapore is less crowded."

Uh ... I think there's an even more relevant distinction between Singapore and Israel for 99.8% of the world's population.

Well I was assuming Tyler's premise. Of course getting a job as a non-Jew in Israel is not as easy as getting a job in Singapore due to work permits.

Does Israel want _any_ non-Jewish upscale guest workers, much less upscale immigrants? They've brought in a lot of easy-going Southeast Asians to replace Palestinians as hewers of wood and drawers of water, but they sure don't seem to want Zuckerbergian H-1B policies for importing Asian computer programmers. Israel could bring in 10 million Asians with 115+ IQs anytime it wanted. Israel just doesn't seem to want to.

They’ve brought in a lot of easy-going Southeast Asians to replace Palestinians as hewers of wood and drawers of water,

Again, non-Arab gentiles are 5% of the population, and that 5% includes gentile relatives of Jews.

As far as I can determine, Israel mostly attracts:

1. Extremely religious or nationalistic Jews (Meir Kahane)
2. Post-Soviets of often tenuous Jewish ancestry who don't have what it takes to get immigrant visas for any other country (Avigdor Liberman), often as a stepping stone to countries more inclined to grant such visas to people carrying Israeli passports (Orly Taitz).

People with options in the developed world other than Israel tend to take them---including many native Israelis.

Fun fact: the current recipient of the most Jewish immgrants from post-Soviet Europe? Germany.

Extremely religious or nationalistic Jews (Meir Kahane)

Kahane's party was good for 1.2% of the vote in Israel during it's heydey. Nice try slander-artist.

Yes, but the marginal (pun! pun!) parties have outsized influence due to the need to form coalitions. Plus, like the senators from the US Farm States, they will agree to anything as long as their sinecures (funding Torah study etc.) are kept intact.

He was never part of any coalition.

People with options in the developed world other than Israel tend to take them—including many native Israelis.

Israel has net immigration and it's the only occidental country where fertility rates are more than minimally healthy.

Ha ha yes that is due to outsized Haredi families (and their Arab brethren)

It's not just the Haredim.

In both Israel and Singapore the real cost of living - the real, underlying, costs of supporting 5-8 million people in a non-too-productive space that demands an exorbitant defense budget, water desalination, and food and oil importation - is extraordinarily high, and there is little that each government can do to realistically improve the situation. The low-hanging fruit has all been picked, so to speak. This is not good for democratic Israel or democratizing Singapore, which demands a larger surplus to resolve internal tensions, not a smaller surplus, to offset middle-class unhappiness from slower growth. Both responded to 2008-inflicted slow growth in markets/suppliers by slaughtering lots of sacred-but-aged cows borne of old political bargains in a hurry, for lots of one-off improvements, but these have not contributed to real growth and that is making both nervous. In the meanwhile, grumbling about the cows starts again.

Israel realizes that post-Soviet or Haredi Jews are not quite Israeli in its mainstream sense, even though they're all Jews, but those demographics resist assimilation. Singapore realizes that recent PRC immigrants are not really Singaporean Chinese, even though Singaporean Chinese are themselves overwhelmingly only-slightly-less-recent Chinese migrants, but the new migrants resist assimilation. Even if pro-immigration policies are maintained (as they would be in Israel), it is harder to erase old identities if the old culture isn't providing unusually explosive material wealth conditional on assimilating into local society. See also: TC's #2.

Neither are polities that adapt well to a future of slow growth, even though both graphically exhibit the benefits of stability and good government to their residents by simply pointing to their neighbours. They're also not polities that can realistically do anything to accelerate that growth, as tiny countries dependent on major powers for supplies and markets.

Like real estate agents always say: "Real estate, they aren't making anymore of it!"

Oh, wait, they are in the West Bank ...

No, Israel is builiding housing on extant settlements, not establishing new settlements About 80% of the settlement population in Israel is located in settlements established prior to 1987. Another 15% is to be found in Modi'in Illit, which was established in 1995 and is smack on the Green Line.

Indeed settlement expansion is pretty much a myth.

A couple of months ago Israel took control of about 1.5 sq mile in the Bethlehem/Gush Etzion region. The NY Times and others called this "hundreds of acres" and "the biggest land grab in decades" (which it was).

Citation please

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/world/middleeast/israel-claims-nearly-1000-acres-of-west-bank-land-near-bethlehem.html?_r=0

That just means there are more people living in settlements. And, more people who have a vested interest in continuing the settlements.

According to Krugman, 20 families control companies that account for 50% of the value of the Israeli stock market, not as the result of the growth of the tech sector, but, like Russian plutocrats, as the result of gaining control when the government privatized businesses in the 1980s. When Cowen says that the future may become first to Israel and Singapore, what does he mean? Those two countries are alike in that they spend very little on programs intended to lift people out of poverty. Is that the future Cowen sees, one of excessive inequality, a future of very few haves and many have nots, a future in which they haves owe their prosperity less as the result of innovation an skill and more as the result of plutocracy and rentiers? Is that a bright future or a bleak future?

Is that the future Cowen sees, one of excessive inequality, a future of very few haves and many have nots, a future in which they haves owe their prosperity less as the result of innovation an skill and more as the result of plutocracy and rentiers?

Yes. He wrote a book about it which was well reviewed by rich people who realise that this is sadly inevitable, and all attempts to create a more decent and humane future are so obviously doomed to fail that they are sadly, definitely not worth trying.

Further, eugenics will play a major part in that small steps to an average is over world, as soon as we all get over that Nazi road bump.

It will. Between pre-natal screening, genetic testing, etc., we are well on our way to the Alpha-Beta-Gamma world.

According to Krugman,

And that's supposed to persuade whom?

Where are you tenured? What was your nobel in? Which major US paper are you a columnist for?

I have not yet been caught blatantly lying in a newspaper column about unemployment statistics. Nor has the public editor of the New York Times said I am impossible when told to make corrections.

Israel need only lose one war, and everyone will get their throats cut. The US can lose war after war without noticeable immediate effect.

Singapore will someday be scooped up by China, perhaps. Or Malaysia. Or Indonesia. But that may be centuries away. Venice continued for centuries until the megalomaniac Napoleon decreed otherwise. It's conceivable that Singapore could outlast the USA. Or at least the USA with its current borders.

Israel need only lose one war, and everyone will get their throats cut.

Israel's enemies are Arabs. Game, set, match. And Jews like playing tennis.

A more nuanced view of the '73 War shows this isn't that simple, particularly without Fortress America supplying all the weapons.

They did not 'supply all the weapons'. They supplied some weapons during the battle, which never got out of the western Sinai on the Egyptian front.

Prior to 1973, American aid to Israel was minimal.

Prior to 1973, continual aid to Israel was minimal. Israel received bulk shipments whenever they were fighting. If Egypt does not leave their defenses in 1973, and israel doesn't get Nickel Grass, Israel is dead in the water. Israel is also not going to win Battle of Damascaus without US weapons, not against Syria AND Iraq. They can of course resort to their nuclear deterrent, which results in the USSR launching a preemptive nuclear attack on Israel when Israel starts mating warheads.

Prior to 1973, continual aid to Israel was minimal. Israel received bulk shipments whenever they were fighting.

Rubbish. Israel was not an American aid recipient in 1948 and 1949. The U.S. Government was opposed to the Suez campaign in 1956 and 1957, and stabbed Britain, France, and Israel in the back. The war in 1967 lasted less than a week. There was neither the time nor the necessity to send aid. And, again, aid to Israel was minimal prior to 1973, including during Nasser's 'War of Attrition'.

Dammit Art Deco might be right this time.

They seem to have been out-maneuvered with respect to Iran. And 1973 was a near thing.

The feeling I get about Israel is a lot like the feeling I get about NYC. This place has too many enemies and eventually it's going to be a smoking hole in the ground.

No, it was not a 'near thing'. Egypt was able to make it across the canal, but they ultimately lost territory and the Egyptian 3d Army was in danger of starving to death during the negotiations Kissinger was running.

If Israel lost one war, everyone would be vaporized. No state actor has attacked Israel since 1973 for precisely that reason.

Civilians weren't informed of the Samson Option for a few more years, which is the truly shocking part about it. Israel might have been spared the Yom Kippur War entirely and gotten concessions from Egypt and Jordan years earlier if they'd been more upfront about their nuclear capabilities.

Incidentally, in a better-ordered world Mordechai Vanunu would be a hero in Israel, putting the likes of Edward Snowden to shame. A nuclear deterrent is useless if its presence is not publicly known.

everyone would be vaporized.

Which everyone.

Civilians weren’t informed of the Samson Option for a few more years, which is the truly shocking part about it.

Israel has never made a public point of having nuclear weapons. Do you say anything non-false?

Would you believe me if I said that I'm not actually opposed to Israel having a nuclear deterrent or in favour of seeing it wiped off the map?

Now that's settled, what on earth do you mean by "which everyone?" Fine, pick an "everyone."

1. Direct hits on Cairo (for example) or the other capitals of the Arab belligerents would have been catastrophes in and of themselves, regardless of the final outcome of the war. Even a victorious Israel could not have easily escaped their manifold effects.

2. As Egypt was a Soviet client, any such strike could easily have provoked a broader nuclear war, and we would not be having this conversation.

No, Israel has never officially admitted it has nukes. In the real world, everyone knows they're there, and it's been years since Israeli politicians bothered trying very hard to deny the Samson Option's existence.

It's not becoming to be quite this obtuse.

In reality, those bombs are more diplomatic pressure than credible threats. Israel, to our knowledge, does no training in delivering nuclear weapons, nor do they train in receiving them. They also do not conduct weapons tests, which are essential to making sure your weapons actually, ya know, work. So they are more for show, than for doing anything with them.

A lot of people think Israel did some testing in the 60s and 70s.

And recent history has led people to believe that the hard part of building nuclear weapons is the industrial effort to generate fissionable material. The weapon engineering isn't that hard and everybody seems to succeed on the first try. Remember, we had nuclear weapons before we had color TV. North Korea builds nuclear weapons.

Israel probably didn't go for a "get the most out of your throw weight" strategy that cuts the margins more closely and relies on continual testing. Anyway, I wouldn't have done that. You can engineer a weapon to be simpler and more reliable, at the cost of weight and nuclear material.

In the real world, everyone knows they’re there,

No, journalists assume they are there.

As Egypt was a Soviet client,

Soviet advisers were ejected from Egypt in 1972. The Soviets were patrons of Sadat's rival, Ali Sabry. Syria was a Soviet client.

Lol how will the Jews ever figure out how to use nuclear weapons?! Where will they find the theoretical and practical know how to use them effectively?!?!

The Israeli Air Force is so superior to any other air force that it could destroy any muslim army long before it approaches it's borders.

Any other Muslim air force.

2 & 3. Is Cowen saying that the dreadlocked guitar-strummers of Tel Aviv and the Haredim of Jerusalem are really the same sort of people? If so, that's funny and more than slightly correct.

In regards to inequality, it is important to note that the bottom 30% of Israelis live in parallel societies - by choice.
Additionally, Israel has a high percentage of citizens who think about income in a different way (think Kibbutzim)

Israel has a huge amount of low hanging fruit to be taken; from breaking monopolies on land to having greater participation in the workforce.

Dr. Krugman writes: "The share of children in poverty almost quadrupled, to 27.4 percent from 7.8 percent."

I think Krugman has this backwards. The growth of child poverty in Israel is a triumph of Israel's welfare state.

A large fraction of children in official poverty in Israel are in large ultra-Orthodox families with fathers who study sacred writings all day. (Similarly, the town of Kiryas Joel, NY is said to have the youngest average age and the highest poverty rate in America.)

The ultra-Orthodox are being subsidized via welfare by the state of Israel to wage the "war of the cradle" with Arab residents. The government of Israel appears to be subsidizing a reserve breeding stock. This welfare policy seems to be successful: the total fertility rate for Jewish women in Israel is around 3.0, which is phenomenally high for a wealthy country in the 2010s.

> The ultra-Orthodox are being subsidized via welfare by the state of Israel to wage the “war of the cradle” with Arab residents.

No no no

Over the past 10 years the govt has realized that the continued subsidization is impossible, and has made a big push to get haredim into the army and into vocational programs.

Dr. Krugman writes: “The share of children in poverty almost quadrupled, to 27.4 percent from 7.8 percent.”

If you noodle around with the definition of 'poverty', you too can make the case for more income transfers and social workers.

Authoritarian, mercantilist city-states, ethno-nationalist republics ... One year from now, Tyler starts posting at MPC.

What is MPC?

An offshoot of stormfront.

One could have a more cynical interpretation of what the future would look like. If it's one dominated by a new nationalism, Islamic terror, etc. you might be right that Israel is leading the path for western countries.

Interesting that one of the two most future-friendly countries in the world, Israel, is also the most vegan, and that Singapore is also one of the most vegetarian-friendly countries in the world. Perhaps a sign of what the future brings for our relationships with our fellow creatures.

Perhaps a sign of what the future brings for our relationships with our fellow creatures.

Frequent use of the death penalty and inter-ethnic warfare.

What inter-ethnic warfare? Israel has not been at war with any Arab state since 1973, bar some dogfights with Syria. All of Israel's conflicts have been with paramilitary organizations camped over the border, not with their domestic Arab population nor any Arab state.

I believe he's referring to conflicts which have been with paramilitary organizations camped over the border.

Are you advising Israel to stand down from its current defense posture?

No, I'm asking you what 'inter-ethnic warfare'. Israel confronts criminal organizations, not foreign armies or their own ethnic minorities.

The one between Israelites and Ishmaelites that's been going on since Genesis 16, you gibbering old fool.

"Multiculturalism" will eventually collapse. Only White people ever believe in it, and eventually either they will stop believing in it(I hope), or it will oblige them to give up their countries to foreigners who don't. Either way, you'll see the states of the future will act more like Israel, at least pretending to act in the interests of the majority ethnic group.

Go back to stormfront where you belong.

LOL. The pseudo-country that has to resort to banning pornography and alcohol on its aboriginal reservations and housing refugees in offshore camps has it all figured out!

“Multiculturalism” will eventually collapse

Come to Sydney! *

http://theconversation.com/state-of-the-states-new-south-wales-17348

* Bigots allowed

Flip question then. Where is the future coming to last? (No points for being pedantic and picking some totally off-the-grid third world backwater). My pick based on the post's enumerated points would be Canada, Austria and Qatar.

"To which countries does the future come first?"

But that depends on what you mean by "the future," doesn't it?

If "the future" is demographic collapse, Japan is likely to get there first.

They're racing Taiwan and South Korea.

I don't see any reason to assume it will happen in America.

The whole world's population will plateau later this century, and likely decline from there. The US won't see the worst of it, but it's a global thing.

That's based on the assumption that Africa in 2075 will look like Europe does now because Progress and People Are Widgets.

No, it's based on the well understood fact that birthrates drop sharply as populations become more affluent, even in Africa and the Middle East. I'm not your research assistant but it's easy to find this data. You don't have to reach European wealth to see this effect. And while Africa and other regions may never fall below replacement fertility, there are large parts of the world that are or will be.

Demography is a science with very few variables or disagreements. Obviously no one knows the future, but the reasonable take is plateauing population for the world as a whole.

The Science Is Settled!!!!

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140918-population-global-united-nations-2100-boom-africa/

Here's a gem from the promised land:

Chinese workers at a company in Israel have been forced to agree not to have sex with or marry Israelis as a condition of getting a job.

According to a contact they are required to sign, male workers may not have any contact with Israeli women - including prostitutes, a police spokesman, Rafi Yaffe, said.

He said there was nothing illegal about the requirement and that no investigation had been opened.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/dec/24/israel1

Why is this a 'gem', because you fancy it will injure Israel's reputation?

Guest workers are bad policy. That having been said, these people were granted visas under the understanding that they were guest workers and would not be claiming residency. Under the Law of Return as currently composed, they could claim residency if they had children in Israel.

Here's why it's a gem, pops: because Jews get to have a proudly and blatantly ethno-nationalist state (not that there's anything wrong with that), but it's racist and immoral for anybody else to do so.

Here’s why it’s a gem, pops: because Jews get to have a proudly and blatantly ethno-nationalist state (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but it’s racist and immoral for anybody else to do so.

My suggestion would be that you quit displacing your resentments onto the domestic Jewish population. It's unsightly.

China is the future, a dystopian post natural future.

Comments for this post are closed