Tuesday assorted links


Surely you saw the latest from Evan Soltas, no? I thought it was interesting:


Solas's problem is that he uses gross industry output, a concept that ignores the point that an industry's apparent productivity might be due to other factors than productivity in that industry. For example, if an auto company outsources engine production to Japan or Mexico, it means that the auto industry is no longer using labor to produce engines. But the engine is counted in its gross output so the auto industry's productivity appears to be higher. Total productivity calculated by the BLS adjust for this.

Yes, this was the best I could do with the data I had. To compute gross value added, I would have needed, as you suggest, intermediate input costs, which were only available for a fraction of the industries.

7. According to the graph skilled immigrants are the least likely to report business income compared with family and humanitarian immigrants.

A lot to digest there.

Are skilled immigrants not that skilled? Perhaps. In Canada they are now classified as one of the poorest pillars of society along with single mothers and aboriginals.

And/or are humanitarian immigrants unable to find employment so resort to self employed status?

"Unincorporated" seems to be a key word there. This could just be a graph showing that humanitarian migrants lack a rudimentary understanding of the benefits of corporations/LLC - if incorporating is as easy in Australia as it is in the US, this may be a damning graph indeed.

As an aside, I am unconvinced by Prof. Cowen's transparent attempts to scrabble together an economic case for allowing Syrians into Europe. The reality is, they will be an economic burden on the EU and its member states. There's a reason they are called *humanitarian* immigrants. The case you should be making is that the humanitarian benefits outweigh the economic costs.

It is problematic to stress refugee intake (an ethical or moral problem ) is contingent on some kind of positive economic metric. Firstly these are often nonsense or contentious (as above) and secondly if they are false then you would have to reserve your position.

7. According to the graph skilled immigrants are the least likely to report business income compared with family and humanitarian immigrants.

There are various ways of interpreting that. One would be that a lot of skilled immigrants come from very low trust societies with very weak law enforcement and yet somehow they have become rich. Many from China, these days, I expect.

One obvious explanation is that they are lying. They are simply not reporting income. Which in many countries would be perfectly normal. It certainly is in Greece. Skilled immigrants may have many skills. But they may not be the skills you want in a high trust society where paying tax is largely voluntary.

Simpler problems with the descriptive statistic in question would be:

1. What does it show? It merely shows frequency of self-employment, which is interesting but a weak measure of human capital. The chaps who ran the hot-dog cart outside the Hall of Justice in Rochester were self-employed. Good hot dogs, but not a high-skill occupation.

2. The 'skilled' may not be self-employed because (a) they are valuable to employers and (b) the skill they have is not readily expressible in a small proprietorship. If the literature I've consulted is true on this point, most businesses close within eight or ten years of their founding not because of failure but because the proprietor can do about as well working for someone else and has gotten tired of the anxieties associated with being in business for yourself.

3. We do not know what sort of effective screens these 'humanitarian' immigrants were put through, or that future waves of of such migrants would face. Policy in Australia varied wildly depending on which party held the majority in the Australian parliament.

All in all, a bit of a con, like the Kathy and Carol [sic] Fata post.

Skilled migrants don't report business income because they come as employees. In fact they have an employer write to the imigration department on their behalf.

Some people come in under a different category where they are expected start a business, but you have to prove you are unusually rich before you get into that category.

What kind of skill are we talking about?

If it is, say, engineering, most engineers will have 0 unincorporated business income, even in the US. They will instead have high salaries!

Am I missing something? I do not think "business income" includes "salary", but I am not in Australia.

Skilled immigrants have jobs waiting for them in fields they are trained in. As a result it is not surprising that many continue in that area as an employee.

My own father was invited into Australia by Prime Minister Robert Menzies as a result of conflict. So he rocked up to the Australian consulate, got there late and hung over and sat down in the waiting room, looked around and saw he was the only white person there. The door opened and he was the first one the official called in and quite possibly the only one. They gave him a physical and asked him if he liked beer. If he hadn't been able to get into Australia his second choice would have been South Africa. Then Canada. (At the time many considered Australia and South Africa to be quite similar.)

My father started his own business because he lacked social skills. He could lead a team and tell people what to do, but wasn't a good member of a team. This was due to a lack of naunced communication ability and not knowing the unspoken cultural "rules of the game" that resulted in him rubbing people up the wrong way.

Being an outsider also allowed him to identify a gap in the market where Australians were not being served well and fill it.

(At the time many considered Australia and South Africa to be quite similar.)
The per capita income in Australia was likely 3 or 4x that of South Africa and the homicide rate likely 5-10% that of South Africa. Otherwise, quite similar.

The unfortunate facts are that back when Bob Menzies bestrode Australia like a Colossus, Australia had its own system of apartheid (as did the United States) and many potential white immigrants to South Africa only considered the living standards of white South Africans and the white homocide rate when making their choice.

7. So, the best immigrants are the ones who don't really want to immigrate.

#1. “But now, for some distinctly bad timing: vulcanologists with their stethoscopes to the ground in Malaysia and Indonesia are detecting magma buildups that likely will result in the twenty-first century's treating our hurtling planet's northern hemisphere to two eruptions with VEI ratings of 7 or 8: one by mid-century on the scale of Mount Tambora's 1815 blast, another no more than twenty years later and only slightly smaller than the prehistoric Toba blast. Forget anthropogenic contributions: a colorful return of late Jurassic and early Cretaceous hues is in the offing no matter what we do now. By century's end, the air worldwide is expected to re-acquire that bracing sulphuric vigor characteristic of Mesozoic mornings. Goodbye, blue skies! Everything will glow red—after which, everything will glow red quietly . . . .”
(from http://fictionaut.com/stories/strannikov/mesozoic-misanthropy-vs-holocene-humanitarianism-or--the-new-dinosaurs )

#2. Cymru, ewch ymlaen! (before the coffee glows red, too)

"where he braved leeches and razor-sharp leaves to peer across its yawning caldera": ooh, there's brave!

3. Which came first: micro-aggressions or social media. What I mean is that micro-aggressions are both conveyed and policed/punished on social media. This is an acute problem in college communities. Offend someone with a micro-aggression, intentionally or not, and the police will soon punish the offender via social media. And the punishment can be severe, as reputations are the usual object of the police. It's vigilante justice, carried out by a mob. Social media. It's not worth it anymore.

I need advice. I want to bookmark "Where microaggressions really come from ..." but should I put it in my Arch & Anth folder, or my American folder? On the principle that (only) bad American habits spread, I incline to Arch & Anth.

Political Correctness demands that you never remind people that they belong to a group of failures. A micro-aggression occurs when you ignore this convention.

I thought the history on number three was interesting. I wish I could see more on the transition from honor culture to dignity culture in that context. Also, it feels weird to say that this is only the second major transition of moral cultures in the past two-three hundred years.

Plus, are they having the same problem in europe? Is there a clamoring between the various native swedes in sweden over who has the greatest claim for victimhood?

I can't speak for Sweden, but in Britain we copy American bad habits (never good). I blame The Young and those middle-aged saddos who want to be cool.

I find it hard to believe it is a transition to or from anything. After all, modern universities are not big on dignity. Just punishing people they do not like for views they do not approve of.

This is a failure of the grown-ups. They have allowed spiteful and cruel children to behave like spiteful and cruel children, and instead of spanking them or sending them to bed without dinner, they have praised them for their finely tuned moral sensibilities.

The Sixties generation largely rejected American values. They marched behind pictures of totalitarians like Ho Chi-minh. Luckily what is left of the constitutional system prevents them from doing more damage, but in colleges, they can act out their Stalinist fantasies to their heart's content. George Orwell intended 1984 with its Face Crimes as a warning, not a how-to guide.

The Sixties generation largely rejected American values. They marched behind pictures of totalitarians like Ho Chi-minh.
You realize the membership of the Students for a Democratic Society stood at about 2.000 in 1966, grew to about 100,000 in 1969, and then evaporated when the organization was taken over by Maoists? And that's just referring to the 25% or so who were enrolled at baccalaureate granting institutions. About 3/4 of the 1948 cohort would have had no more than post-secondary vocational training. No, Al Tomaselli, b. 1948 was not marching behind portraits of Ho Chih Minh. He finished up at Edison Tech High School in 1966, enlisted in the Navy, and, after his discharge in 1970 landed a job as a millwright at Eastman Kodak.

Absolutely right, Art Deco. Look at the age distribution of the casualties in Viet Nam, and it's mostly from people born between 1946 and 1954.

The politically active among the Sixties generation then. Although even the apolitical get taken up by the general spirit of the times. Not many would have been Communists but since the Sixties, the atheism of the Sixties has been culturally dominant and it is now flowing through to the younger generation.

This is why those politically active 68ers have done all they can to make the atmosphere of "soft totalitarianism" wherever they go. They rejected the democratic values of Jefferson for those other values of Lenin. Academia is just where they are strongest.

#3 It's all about the ressentiment.

It reminds me of the quote attributed to Kissinger: Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.

Sayre's law is not attributed to Kissinger.

Also, global warming really kills it.

It is often attributed to Kissinger, albeit incorrectly. You're also failing to recognize the distinction between substantive, scientific disagreements and bureaucratic infighting in invoking global warming. Other than that, great comment, guy!

+1 to both you and Anon.

#6 is incredibly weird. The Chinese think they are badasses for giving Obama gifts he doesn't understand and for sending their navy near the Aleutians. Or something.

Re the first-grade report card: I've long assumed that the point of giving the kids weird non-grade grades (IE, S, G, E) instead of normal ones was to keep parents from freaking out when Jr got a C in first-grade math.

The point of the complicated new grading system is simple:

Budget must be spent. Bureaucrats must be hired. Consultants consulted. Seminars held.
Teachers want their "progress" to be a mystifying as possible.

#3 says "But note that these campaigns for support do not necessarily emanate from the lowest reaches of society – that they are not primarily stocked or led by those who are completely lacking in property, respectability, education, or other forms of social status. Rather, such forms as microaggression complaints and protest demonstrations appear to flourish among the relatively educated and affluent populations of American colleges and universities. The socially down and out are so inferior to third parties that they are unlikely to campaign for their support, just as they are unlikely to receive it."

That is an excellent observation.

The really down and out still have an honor culture - street gangs. The honor of theives/criminals is exactly the kind of honor culture that flourishes when there is no legal autority to resort to.

I do wonder to what extent the culture of victimhood borrows elements directly from honor cultures because members of victim classes are more likely to actually have been raised in an honor culture. It's sort of a twisted combination of honor culture and dignity culture, where the tendency to take offense at the slightest insult is combined with a resort to third parties to exact revenge. Maybe to some extent what's going on is an incomplete transition from an honor culture to a dignity culture.

People who have aligned their self image tightly to being educated and intelligent frequently don't want to admit a belief in right and wrong. Moral judgments are quite pedestrian and since virtue is relative, an enlightened individual would never suggest action based on ethics.

When faced by something that is a function of right and wrong they meander down torturous paths that are obviously constructed with inverse logic. They start, for example with the idea that Syrian refugees should be accepted, and then find facts to support the position.

Even if these facts are less than factual, they will continue to try to convince themselves and others that their moral position is economic conclusion. It is acceptable to have an academic stance, not an ethical one.

I find the mental gymnastics interesting.

My own liberal position on refugees is based primarily on my Judaism, but I realize I live in a country of differing faiths and/ or moralities. Given that fact, and the fact that this a complicated question, I'm fine with people trying to focus on what the general political and economic consequence might be, even though their morals enter into their opinions.

Many of these people would happily murder you and your family. IF they could press a button and kill every jew in Israel they would. Anti-semitic incidents due to muslims are up across Europe. Why would you help people who would kill your family?

Most of my family is Jewish. I can't fathom somebody who would make the decision to threaten jews in Europe and anywhere else the middle-eastern muslims settle.

Donald Pretari September 8, 2015 at 6:04 pm

My own liberal position on refugees is based primarily on my Judaism

Just out of curiosity, there are about 10 million Palestinian refugees living in camps close to the Israeli line of control. They have an undisputed legal right to return to their homes (from whence they were mainly ethnically cleansed by the Haganah and the Revisionists).

Does your liberal position recognize any limits on the right of said Palestinians to return to their ancestral homes?

Nothing is "undisputed" in the Middle East and saying so unmasks you.

The historical fraud incorporated into his remarks does also.

Who disputes it? On what basis? If you don't like the word, remove it. The question still remains.

I assume what you mean is "no".

Come on Art, what historical fraud?

Is it not micro-aggressive to publicly express offence? Does it not perpetuate stereotypes of members of allegedly, historically dominant subcultures as ignorant, prejudiced, and indifferent to others? Is the interpretation of a statement in a negative light (say "Where are you from?" as revealing ethnic prejudice) micro offensive?

Is saying "I went to Harvard" an assertion of membership in a culturally privileged class, one that should be forbidden on, say, job applications?

Does a micro aggression require a micro-payment of micro reparations? A micro-eye for a micro-eye; a micropound of flesh.

"I went to Harvard" is a nano-aggression, not a micro-aggression. Please get it straight.

What about "I went to MIT"? Or "I'm a white male columnist for the NYT's and you're an idiot"?

Obviously we need to use a logarithmic scale when measuring aggressions. As a starting point, I refer you to the Journal of Victimology's metric system for the accurate comparison of one decimal aggression to another.

Although, just eyeballing it here, I would say that your claiming of not only racial privilege but institutional privilege puts you squarely above micro-aggression territory and into milli-aggressions, perhaps even deci-aggressions.

Why are you privileging ....: oh fuck it, who cares?

Stop imposing your white euro-centric mathematics and linear thinking on a problem that clearly requires an intuitive emotional response.

3) Good comments above. I've noticed the way the concept of micro-aggressions leads to oversensitivity to perceived slights, just like the "honor culture" used to do (and which is now the butt of jokes, like Monty Python's "I'll bite your kneecaps off"). Glad to see someone like Jonathan Haidt writing about it.

I haven't read that point before, but it does seem to make sense. And in an honor culture, offending one member was an offense against the entire clan and might well result in a clan war. It does seem as if sub-groups of "Social Justice Warrior"'s practice the same kind of, "Offend one of us, suffer a massive attack from all of us" mode of operating.

As if that sort of piling on is unique to any group.

"As if that sort of piling on is unique to any group."

Well of course it's not unique, hence the comments about it being similar to "honor cultures".

4. I thought there will be a lot of comments on 4.

Sounds similar to Kuhn's "normal science" and Revolutions.

#4...Colander writes about what I more elegantly described as a circle jerk between MIT and Harvard econ graduates in an earlier post. Although this bothers me, the lock that a few law schools have on Supreme Court Justices bothers me moreso. In any case, I find it unhealthy and unseemly to limit top positions to a few schools.

7. The chart is for ***unincorporated*** businesses. Like a guy with a pick-up that under bids native Australians for lawn-care work.

Unincorporated business owners are common in Australia. One in seven working Australians earn at least some of their income from being one. Someone with a lawn mowing business would be an unincorporated business owner and would be paid about $30 Australian an hour. With a 1.5 PPP conversion factor that comes to $20 US.

6. What would Lord Macartney do?

#1. A synopsis: https://play.spotify.com/album/7f9n3X55rYk1j1ZhwD7599/21

On 3: Isn't this claim a tad overblown?: "We’re beginning a second transition of moral cultures." I mean, that claim is just bonkers. Isn't this whole micro-aggression fad just the same old post-Christian liberal puritanism that Nietzsche diagnosed, but just updated for the era of multiculturalism and Facebook?

Yeah, this.
There is barely a hairs difference between the twitter scolds of today and the temperance church ladies of 100 years ago.

The Temperence ladies were likely pretty abstemious in the course of their lives and accustomed to domestic drudgery that is unusual today.

"On 3: Isn’t this claim a tad overblown?: “We’re beginning a second transition of moral cultures.”"

How do you tell the difference between overblown and presentient?

3. The real money is to be the third party. All these squabbling rich kids insulting each other, then coming to you to sort things out. The issues are minuscule and unimportant, so not much at stake, but lots of money to collect.

You may be onto something.

Maybe an advice column for publicizing / scolding microaggressions/ microaggressors.
Instead of offering actual "advice" just be a forum for shunning and shaming.

While I was reading David Colander's paper "Intellectual Incest on the Charles: Why Economists are a little bit off," I was reminded that when I was considering graduate school (in economics) in 1969, I looked at the faculty, and where they came from. I was shocked at the number of programs with a high proportion of their faculty who were BA (or BS), MA, PhD from that institution. I pretty much eliminated such schools from those I was interested in. Among the schools I applied to, UCLA, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Minnesota had faculty with the most diverse--in terms of where their faculty studied--faculty.

#6 Chinese microaggressions. Twitter trolls unite!

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