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#1) is this better or worse than hanging a sign in the employee break room that reads: "The beatings will continue until morale improves" ?

If they have to choose between a life where they have to go inside coffins and death ("When I am, it is not ; when it is, I am not"), where they don't have to taste being inside a coffin (they may experience something after this life, but I doubt it is beind inside a coffin), I can see how death can be tempting.
Anyway, life is made of trade-offs. Poor or rich, East Asians will kill themselves. Why not rich, then? I remember a Japanese prime-minister (Ichirō Hatoyama, maybe) said he didn't care how many little business owners would kill themselves as long as his reforms were enabling Japan to double its GDP in a decade. It worked. If we could double Brazilian GDP per capita (PPP), that is, achieve Korean GDP level by making our female suicide rates go up five-fold (that is, to Korean levels), only fools would not make the deal (even if only women were to have a say on it, it would still be approved easily-- even in Korea, most people don't kill themselves).

If we could double Brazilian GDP per capita (PPP), that is, achieve Korean GDP level by making our female suicide rates go up five-fold (that is, to Korean levels), only fools would not make the deal

That offer has been available to Brazilians for generations. All they have to do is work hard, stay in school and not break the law. It is not rocket science. Not voting for corrupt buffoons would help too but it is not strictly necessary.

The majority of Brazilians have rejected it. They prefer to be Brazilians. On the other hand immigrant communities who have not fully embraced the Brazilian way of life - the Germans and Japanese for instance - are not so poor. In fact a lot of them seem to be doing very well.

"the Germans and Japanese for instance – are not so poor. In fact a lot of them seem to be doing very well."
I cannot complain of my lot either (I earn more than the median Korean wage), but my grandparents hadn't to be thrown in concentration camps for treason, neither in Brazil nor in the USA. I guess it is a handicap I -- and most Brazilians--will have to live with. Evidently, we are all proud of what we did for them, even if the reason they didn't "work hard, stay in school and not break the law" back at home is a mystery for me.
"All they have to do is work hard, stay in school and not break the law."
Well, most poor Brazilians haven't broken any law, it doesn't seem it have helped most of them, although I guess doing otherwise could harm them more. As for staying in school, the mean schooling years have gone up almost three-fold since the end of the military regime.Until then, there simply was not enough schools. Staying (or going in the first place) to school was not exactly a choice (my grandmother only studied until the 5th grade for there was no public education beyond that grade where she lived). As for working hard, do you want to point specific culprits or just employ circular reasoning (Brazilians are generally poor because they don't work, the proof they don't work is them being poor)?

Thiago Ribeiro December 16, 2015 at 6:02 pm

I cannot complain of my lot either (I earn more than the median Korean wage),

Of course not. Because you are an accountant from Ohio.

"Well, most poor Brazilians haven’t broken any law"

Actually I suspect most of them have as the economy that employs the poor and provides them with housing is mostly illegal.

As for staying in school, the mean schooling years have gone up almost three-fold since the end of the military regime.Until then, there simply was not enough schools.

Chicken and egg isn't it? Besides, providing schools won't help if students don't want to learn and teachers don't want to teach. Haiti provides as much schooling as Italy did in the 1950s. I bet Brazil provides more. Not helping much is it? Too much Brazilian schooling is Leftist propaganda.

"Of course not. Because you are an accountant from Ohio."
The only relation seems to be you knowing as little about Ohio as you do about Brazil. After the 1889 Brazilian Revolution, the republican revolutionaries decided to create a Ministry of Education (until them, a department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs handled educational issues) and merge it with the Brazilian equivalent of the old Post Office Department. A monarchist said it must be because both organizarions deal with paper (books, mail, etc.), so republicans could not tell them apart. I guess you can't tell apart places that didn't vote Republican in 2012.
"Actually I suspect most of them have as the economy that employs the poor and provides them with housing is mostly illegal."
I wouldn't say most-- there are lots of poor people boringly employed as construction workers, factory workers, rural workers or as servants, cleaners, salespeople, etc., but a large share. Anyway, I will reformulate what I said: there is no way "not breaking the law" would help the poor who are breaking the law, they didn't get grey economy jobs and went to live in illegaly built slums because they had better options, quite the opposite.
"Chicken and egg isn’t it?"
Maybe, but if you don't have chickens or eggs, what is left? Abiogenesis.
"Besides, providing schools won’t help if students don’t want to learn and teachers don’t want to teach."
If the teachers don't want to teach, I am not sure what "staying in school" is supposed to accomplish.
"Haiti provides as much schooling as Italy did in the 1950s. I bet Brazil provides more. Not helping much is it? "
By 1900, Italy's illiteracy rate was already lower than Haiti's is today (and was lower than Brazil's 1900 illitracy rate, too). It is hard to believe it is all to be blamed on lazy 5-year old children.
"Too much Brazilian schooling is Leftist propaganda."
So are, or we are told, much of American schooling and--even if toned down-- Chinese schooling. http://shanghaiist.com/2014/12/31/shandong-students-make-posters-promoting-socialist-core-values.php
Besides, we had twenty years of a right-wing military regime, whose first president Business Week tenderly described as "our boy". It didn't much to raise Brazil's educational standards --even if they replaced Philosophy (seem as communist propaganda) with Civic and Moral Education, which was their regime's propagaganda).

#6) The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. What a surprise.

7) I picked up this book and like it so far. Definitely good for reinforcing one's optimism.

#2. Damn building codes. A man can't build his home with his own two hands anymore these days.

Toronto had a much more interesting tunnel story recently.

http://www.macleans.ca/society/elton-mcdonald-and-the-incredible-true-story-behind-the-toronto-mystery-tunnel/

6. How to predict bad cops in Chicago.

They are the ones wearing a badge? Come on. This is Chicago. The Mayor covers up a police shooting a Black man for the duration of his re-election campaign. Silence. Not just from the usual suspects like Black Church leaders. That is to be expected. But from the media. They aren't asking questions. And from the White House. I guess if Obama had a son he would not look like Laquan. A small number of protestors are busy being ignored.

The entire political culture of Chicago has been so corrupt for so long, how could any policeman not be corrupt? Some of them are clearly just dumb. So a small number are reaching ten or so complaints? Sure, some will work in bad neighborhoods with people who complain. But some of them look to be pretty stupid if they don't change. The rest? Of the 12,000 or so police officers, the data base has recorded complaints against 7,758. That is almost two thirds.

It makes you wonder. Well not if you work for CNN obviously.

Chicago is a machine town. A machine with very high levels of political capital and connections.

"But from the media." That is to be expected too. They're all Democrats, after all.

" (Efforts to compel the release of still more complaint data are ongoing but are at risk because of legal action by the Fraternal Order of Police.)"

That tells you all you need to know about bad cops, they're organized. The situation isn't limited to Chicago, it's endemic to the occupation.

The situation isn’t limited to Chicago, it’s endemic to the occupation.

You remind me that there are some private citizens who should just be ignored if they're in any kind of trouble.

Perhaps the police should abolish the people and elect another.

I am about as strong a defender of the police as you can get.

But I am appalled by the way that police unions work to cover up and protect their own no matter how bad their behavior is.

The problem is Chicago is that it is a One Party city. It has been run by the northern version of PRI for too long. The results are not much better than in Mexico before the PRI lost.

The Soviets might have pulled the wool over Lincoln Steffen's eyes but his personal experience with city governments all over the country, as related in his autobiography, shows that police corruption exists wherever police do.

It is quite clear that there is a culture of covering for and supporting the bad cops so in that sense the "good" cops are part of the problem and creating their own bad image

#5 some ratios I computed a few months ago re IMF, AIIB .

%WGDP %AIIB %IMF Country

1.005|1.16|2.077|Netherlands

1.65|1.79|1.626|Spain

0.871|2.47|2.801|SaudiArabia

2.472|2.49|3.156|Italy

3.827|2.91|4.29|UnitedKingdom

2.554|3.02|1.716|Brazil

3.313|3.19|4.29|France

1.68|3.46|1.313|Australia

1.901|3.5|1.365|SouthKorea

4.579|4.15|5.808|Germany

1.577|5.93|2.388|Russia

3.096|7.5|2.339|India

15.039|26.06|3.809|China

In AIIB Russia is considered 'Asian' hence the high %. China ended up holding the AIIB shares supposed to go to US and Japan.

Insider view of what happen according to Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr, ex Executive Director IMF, currently Vice President of AIIB https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-HhWrQIFoA

Correction. Should be VP of New Dev Bank (BRICS Dev Bank) which is diff from AIIB.

#1) Claims of culture are crutches for lazy post hoc rationalizations. I say this after 9 years immersion in S. Korea, that any group of people would react the same way given the same socio-economic conditions.

....also note the high suicide rate despite lack of guns...

I find it odd that you disregard cultural explanations, but then observe high suicides despite guns, which is generally attributed to ... cultural reasons.

> which is generally attributed to … cultural reasons.

That is exactly my point though. These sorts of facts are problematic for many, so they wave their hands and say "Its the culture!". Meanwhile these people don't know shit about the culture. Its just lazy post hoc rationalizations, something the human mind excels at.

What is harsh about the socio-economic conditions? They seem some what wealthy. What seems stressful is that they are quite explicit about the meriotocracy, but what's the alternative?

Nothing really so harsh, rather I think it may have to do with rapid economic development, they just need time to adjust. They went from a per-capita GDP equivalent of Chad to worlds 11th largest economy in two generations. There is nothing innately cultural about it though. Their economic status imparts changes. Some might call it "westernization", but I would ague westernization is not exported by us, but rather imparted on people by their economic development the way economic development imparted it on us. In that sense we only call it western culture because it happened to us first.

"In Seoul, parents of candidates climbed to a Buddhist temple on a mountain to pray for success. Every day for 12 weeks, mothers and grandmothers had stood, knelt and bowed repeatedly in a ritual of prayer. Above them hung lanterns with the names of the object of those prayers - the pupils sitting the test."

They may be missing the point of Buddha's teachings. Or maybe it's just another way to pressure their children.

What percentage of parents do this? They don't say, Its just anecdotal. In a nation of 50 million people you can always find someone doing something silly, like that "poo wine" episode vice-guide did on North Korea... scholars pored over text trying to find historical evidence of it, turned out vice just found some random crazy guy in N. Korea making wine with poo in it and acted as if it was a thing up there.

I spent 9 years there being told how harsh Koreans parents were on their kids, pressuring them to study and them came home to find once the Gen-Xrs became parents they were doing the same thing. Cultural my ass. Turns out millennials graduating today face grim employment realities similar but not as bad as those in South Korea, thus pressure from parents to do well in school, and thus middle schoolers killing themselves from academic pressure... just like over there. It is economic.

So if culture is not the reason why Northeast Asians in the U.S. have higher educational attainment and higher incomes than other groups, what is the reason? This isn't intended as Steve Sailer-bait either. And why do the children and grandchildren of Chinese immigrants do exceptionally well not just about everywhere from the U.S. and Canada to Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines and even Mauritius?

The same reason Indians here have insanely high educational attainment. The individuals from those places we see immigrating here are those who were ahead of the development curve, had the financial capacity to leave, and did not want to wait for their country to catch up. I maintain these people are going to be ones with naturally higher educational attainment. Look at Japan, you rarely see any immigrant from there anymore because they are fully developed. Immigration from Korea has peaked and subsided too.

We have the opportunity right now to capture Chinas best and brightest, it would be a boon to our economy. This window will not stay long, our immigration policy is wasting this chance.

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