Sunday assorted links

1. “…we find that the real price of watches in nearly all categories falls steadily by 1.3 per cent per year, equivalent to a fall of 75 per cent over a century, showing that sustained innovation in the production of a highly complex artefact had already appeared in one important sector of the British economy by the early eighteenth century.”  Here is the article.

2. Have tasting menus become too expensive?  I say yes: ““It means D.C. is a town that has come of age, and that should worry us all.”

3. Garett Jones argues for a high-SAT immigration policy.

4. How to store your butterflies (photo).

5. My former student, Dr. Yonas Biru, who did his dissertation on the coup d’etat, is on a hunger strike.

6. Interview with Decius.  Caveat emptor, I say he has been “played” by Trump.  Still, the media of so much coverage of the “hillbilly” and “downtrodden” Trump supporters, I say let’s look at the intellectuals, anonymous though some of them may be.

7. Weiner is a splendid movie with many subtle points, including in the philosophical direction.  It is about leadership, publicity, motivation, compulsion, and what a marriage really consists of, or not.  In another life, Huma Abedin could have been a movie star.  She has exactly the right mix of distance and involvement, and she dominates every scene she is in, even when just sitting quietly in the background.  Um…I guess she is a movie star.  Starlet.  Whatever.


"The media, intelligentsia, and the opinion-making organs of our society have become overwhelmingly biased, partisan, shameless, dishonest and corrupt." That's obviously true, and I loathe it even when I happen to agree with the media on some topic.

A nice little interview, with a lot to chew on. Tyler always seems like he handles any positive view of Trump with disposable latex gloves. He doesn't want to lose credibility at Bloomberg.

'He doesn’t want to lose credibility at Bloomberg.'

Or maybe, and putting it plainly, Bloomberg is both a more credible politician, and a more credible billionaire.

No, Bloomberg is just a nanny state zealot.

#3. The article is a textbook case of being overconfident or overestimating some capacities. Start importing only intelligent ones and they become the new rulers. Indeed, Jews have been accused of this for a long time.

So what? Is the success of Jewish people really a problem? Or does it benefit everyone? If only the problem with immigration were "immigrants are too successful"

Deny our tribal instincts to import a new elite without assurances that they will deny theirs? It's societal suicide, just like importing a new electorate that will vote for leninism or shariah. In a pacifist society, the man willing to kill is always king.

Exactly right. And honestly, if it were possible to import new, smarter rulers from overseas, wouldn't we be insane to refuse? My worry about this policy is that it might be dangerous to drain foreign countries of their brightest citizens, but this downside will be felt mainly within those talent-drained countries. For us, high-skill immigration is a pure win.

I think it's pretty insane to claim that America would be better off if no Jew had ever immigrated here. You're talking about the loss of massive contributions to science, technology, business, and culture. I guess if you're extremely conservative, there'd be a minor political shift. (Can't be that large as Western Europe is more liberal than the US despite having far fewer Jews.) The Democratic party would have fewer donors.

But under even very conservative metrics, it takes a hell of a lot of Republican congressmen to cancel out one Einstein or Google. Even so the losses to the right-wing may even cancel out, you're talking about the loss of tons of conservative intellectuals. From Ayn Rand to Milo Yiannopoulos. Anyway, if your argument is don't let in high-IQ immigrants, because look at what the Jews have done to America, that's really going to have the opposite intended effect on 99%+ of the American populace.

America is one of the best things to ever happen to Jews, and vice-versa.

Axa, pretty much nail on head as *the* major potential problem of Garret's idea.

Are people in the West really keen to live with what is effectively has happened in the Chinese dominated SE Asian economies?

And in those cases, the SE Asian cases, the national ethnic majority can at least use bumiputera type Affirmative Action policies to attempt to improve their position. That would be impossible in a West in which the White ethnic majorities were both reduced to a plurality (as in America, and probably following it, Western Europe in time) and then were conceptualized in a vision of White ethnic privilege that emphasizes that they should have much, much *less* and a heavily restricted voice relative to their numbers compared to every other ethnic group.

Even with today's non-elite migration, the immigrant effect whereby first and second generation migrants outperform their measured cognitive ability in attainment of qualifications is going to produce some major social stresses when the present day young start hitting their 40s and 50s and seeking elite positions. Then, the people either will see an increasingly ethnically unrepresentative elite that is increasingly unsympathetic to them as weak, pathetic, lazy, dumb, or tactics will be used to block qualified candidates with a migrant background (and we can see the germ of the pressures that will produce in today's Asian activism against the Ivy League).

Add greater IQ elitism combined with greater immigration levels to that, and 50 years hence, you'd probably begin to have an almost wholly Asian immigrant takeover of government, corporations and academia in the West.

IQ elite migration probably wouldn't do anything too good for the West.

Decius argues that Trump will further conservative ends, but Decius' own positions on finance, inequality, immigration, and defense don't remotely resemble my conservative views. His comments on finance have shades of Bernie Sanders:

"But with finance having seized the economy by the … whatevers … and income inequality skyrocketing, should lower taxes really be top priority? Carried interest, 2 and 20? Or is fostering economic solidarity more important? Conservatives have conniptions at the very question. But Aristotle says that the greatest wealth gap in a good regime should be 5 to 1. I’m not saying we want that, but in what way does making hedge fund managers the ultimate winners in our society make any sense?"

And on defense:

"It made sense to challenge the Soviet Union, as it still makes sense to maintain a strong defense. But “strong defense” has morphed into endless, pointless, winless war."

So Trump would make good on the "conservative" agenda to wreck finance and end Pax Americana? Just great.

His views may not be Republican but that does not mean they are not conservative. When Jefferson argued for a society of yeoman farmers - without enormous differences in wealth - he was making a very conservative point. What is more tax cuts, while sensible in theory, are not good politics for the Right. What is the point in giving Goldman Sacks tax breaks so they can make more money and donate even more to the Democrats? Goldman Sacks loved Obama. They love Hillary. How sensible is it to give George Soros more tax breaks? Or Warren Buffett? Or a single Silicon Valley billionaire?

Lenin said the West would sell Russia the rope with which the Communists would hang them. That is genius compared to the Republican policy of giving the Left tax breaks so that they can hang them.

As for Pax Americana, George Washington was not a Leftist. He did not look for dragon to slay. Pointless small wars in the Middle East help with Israel's defense. They do nothing for America. Libya has not helped anyone. Yes, Russia should be contained. But cutting the Armed Forces, forcing them into high heels and pregnancy suits, while sending them all over the world to create chaos is not sensible, much less conservative, policy.

Pointless small wars in the Middle East help with Israel’s defense.

There have never been any such wars outside of your imagination. The closest to qualify might have been the mission in Lebanan in 1982-84, which was conceived of at its inception as patrol duty, not combat.

Not US, but Suez fits that bill.

Britain and France were trying to take back stolen property in Suez. How does that 'fill the bill'?

" ... Trump would ... end Pax Americana?" The youngest voters won't be able to remember Pax Americana, thanks to the Three Dud Presidents: Slick Willie, W, and O. There is no chance of its being restored under a President Hellary. What Trump would do is effectively unpredictable, though I suppose his declaring that he wishes not to provoke war against Russia gives some comfort.

'though I suppose his declaring that he wishes not to provoke war against Russia gives some comfort'

Depends on where you live, I guess. But then, it isn't as if the Baltics aren't intimately familiar with what it is like to be sold out by the West. Not to mention the Poles, the Czechs, ....

It's not 1958 anymore. And if European nations don't care about their borders, why should the US?

Seriously, if the European nations collectively can't find $600 billion for their own goddam defense, it's not my fucking problem, and certainly not my children's fucking problem. We checked Stalin because he was a week's ride away from Paris and total global domination. Who cares about Crimea?

I don't care about Crimea, or Ukraine which would frankly do better under Russian administration, and Putin is not Stalin, nor is Russia the Soviet Union. (For that matter, as we found out in 1991, not even the Soviet Union was the "Soviet Union.") Europe can indeed come up with its own defense budgets and join the league of serious countries.

Lol, apparently the Baltics can't expect to rely on the Germans for help then.

I fail to see what is 'conservative' about bailing out failure. And I fail to see what is conservative about an economy built on leveraged consumer spending.

As for Pax Americana, it was gone when Obama beat McCain. The Americana seems unwilling to continue providing the blood and treasure required to maintain it. Or maybe it is more like the Americana refuses to put their blood and treasure into something that those foreign potentates won't put their blood and treasure into themselves. And by foreign potentates I mean those people who happen to live in the same country but have nothing in common with the people who pay the price of these adventures but manage to keep their sons safe.

Pax Americana gone? Not too long ago it came out that for the first time in modern history the entire Western Hemisphere is without any wars. In fact the # of armed conflicts around the world is at an all time low...only the Middle East where all the headlines come from seems to be an exception.

So how many wars would Obama have to start for you to credit him with 'Pax Americana'?

Not too long ago it came out that for the first time in modern history the entire Western Hemisphere is without any wars.

So how many wars would Obama have to start for you to credit him with ‘Pax Americana’?

What's BO got to do with the situation in the Western Hemisphere? The Guatemalan insurgency was crushed in 1982-84 (and formally concluded in 1996), the (2d) Nicaraguan insurgency was concluded in 1989, and the Salvadorean insurgency in 1992. The government of Peru broke the back of the Sendero insurgency during the period running from 1992 to 1995 and it's slowly faded away since. The Zapatista revolt in Morelos was never much and concluded 17 years ago. The insurrection in Haiti in 2004 was over in a matter of months. That leaves the interminable insurgency in Colombia. which has been contained and defeated in stages since 2002, concluding with a cease fire in recent years.

And I fail to see what is conservative about an economy built on leveraged consumer spending.

It's not built on leveraged consumer spending, it's built on productive resources.

The ratio of household debt stocks (mortgage and consumer) to personal income flows has been declining for 8 years.

The ratio of the stock of consumer debt to personal income flows in 1995 was about 0.17. It has increased to about 0.22 in the intervening years. Interest rates are lower and its easier for households to service it. The burden of debt service (interest and principal payments) on the sum of consumer debt and mortgage debt is near 35-year lows.

The US economy is leveraged well into the future, hence the frantic calls for globalism and open borders.

The government is up to its eyeballs, but households and businesses aren't swimming naked like they were a decade ago.

"The government is up to its eyeballs, but households and businesses aren’t swimming naked like they were a decade ago."

+ 19.5 trillion (not counting state and local debt)

Conservatives, just like liberals, have never understood the concept of freedom as a self-ordering principle of society.

Conservatives never can see the state as the enemy of what they claim to believe in.

Conservatives love nationalism, militarism, the police, and war... all hallmarks of statism.

The only difference between conservatives and liberals is the identity of the people they wish to control & tax ... and the identity of people they wish to grant special privileges & receive the loot.

Everybody loves nationalism.

"Conservatives, just like liberals, have never understood the concept of freedom as a self-ordering principle of society."

That's probably mostly true, but...

"The only difference between conservatives and liberals is the identity of the people they wish to control & tax."

That's an exaggeration, isn't it? There's a much stronger libertarian element among conservatives.

Conservatives love nationalism, militarism, the police, and war… all hallmarks of statism.

The use of the term 'militarism' is a red-flag that one's interlocutor is an ignorant word-salad meister.

"So Trump would make good on the “conservative” agenda to wreck finance and end Pax Americana?" [SNIP]

Trump: the best presidential candidate since Eisenhower in '52

They would be almost the same if Stalin had supported Eisenhower in 1952.

"They would be almost the same if Stalin had supported Eisenhower in 1952."

Stalin hated Truman, so he probably did implicitly support Eisenhower. The Soviets believed the nuking of Japan was done to prevent further Soviet conquest of Japanese territory and to send a message to the Soviets that the US could destroy them at will.

Tyler, why do you say this person has been played by Trump? A reason why you think so?

Because he shares Hillary's belief that the only people who support Trump are deplorable racists and bigots, but he's smarter than her and doesn't say it in public.

Thus the fallback position: this guy must have been duped!

Much like when Hillary authorized the Iraq War. She was duped! Quick, make her President, so somebody can dupe her on something else!

I would speculate that Cowen does not buy Decius' claim that Trump would not run the presidency for his own ends and that Trump is uninterested in the trappings/expansion of power. Decius seems to think of Trump as a wholly sincere and benevolent actor, which, to me, is a pretty wild assertion.

"Does that mean I think his motives are as pure as George Washington’s? No, Trump clearly likes to be a star, to be the center of attention, he’s clearly—if not a narcissist—something in that vein."

"He’s said disturbing things about the First Amendment and he is a litigious man, and that is troublesome."

"One attack that people have made against me is “this idiot thinks Trump is a savior!” Of course I haven’t said that and don’t believe it. He is like a burly blocker who’s opening a path for us to run through. It’s still up to us to run through the gap. He won’t—and can’t—do that for us. We have to do it ourselves."

Wholly sincere and benevolent?


How about if I retreated to "Decius thinks trump presents little threat of corruption and abuse of power"

Fair enough. I have similar reservations. But I would expect Decius to make two points - while "you too" isn't a strong argument, it is worth noting that Trump's private record on this sort of thing is hardly worse than HRC's public record. Second, Decius has stuck to the line that what evidence exists favors the interpretation that Trump is an incompetent buffoon rather than a dastardly vicious tyrant in the making.

One could also argue that a Trump presidency and the resistance of many, many parts of the government to it would increase the "multiplicity of interests" and check any of his personal "tyrannical" wishes in a way that certain similar impulses certainly have not been checked in BO's DOJ and use of the IRS.


what if he's primarily concerned with his legacy? his legacy benefits most if he does the sorts of things that historians can point to as evidence that he at least ''tried'' to make America great again.

Oh, I see. From the article: Then again, Machiavelli says that the selfish desire for glory can only be satisfied by the highest level of service to others, to the greatest possible multitude.

Because an argument on the merits of such things as immigration, globalism, U.S. treaty obligations, political correctness, cannot be countenanced.

I was about to ask the same question. You could argue everyone who votes for a president is being "played" at some level. This isn't just a flippant remark.

Tyler's suggestion invites more cynicism. Even the most cynically negative version of Trump I can imagine seems better than Hillary.

Tyler has quoted several well written supports of Trump recently. Also, Cowen colleague Peter Thiel is a full open Trump backer. I suspect Tyler has some Trump fan in him.

" I suspect Tyler has some Trump fan in him."

Yep. But he can't quite come out and admit it.

1.5. There is no Great Stagnation in stroke treatment: "Stanford researcher stunned by stem cell experiment that helped stroke patient walk." (The WaPo, June 2016)

This is slightly more newsworthy than "Have tasting menus become more expensive?" but not as newsworthy as the 1.3 percent decline in the price of watches, so I'll slip this in between 1. and 2. The story is three months old but in case you missed it as Cowen must have or he would have undoubtedly put it at #1 in June:

"One 71-year-old wheelchair-bound patient was walking again," said Steinberg, who personally performed most of the surgeries."

These snide insinuations again Hillary must stop.

What is worrying to us all about tasting menus (or DC having come of age)? Don these taste menus actually manage to affect price or quality of the local pupuseria or Chinese takeout? Or is it just that DC is expensive, which we already knew - is it getting moreso?

2. Have tasting menus become too expensive? I say yes: ““It means D.C. is a town that has come of age, and that should worry us all.”

DC is the imperial capital.

Rather than "coming of age", whatever that means, it may instead mean that we are approaching peak imperium.

Yes, it is getting more expensive. I suspect this is a trailing indicator though.

Almost all of the most interesting people I knew during the time I lived in DC left before I did, have left since, or have plans to leave in the near future. Who wants to pay prices that are up there with the cultural capitals of the country to live in a place like DC?

"I say let’s look at the intellectuals..."

Reihan Salam has been showing some Trumpishness, though nothing incriminating (and who can blame him?). How about a Conversation with him, Tyler? You have talked of him approvingly on this blog (and who can blame you?).

5) Huh. Good luck with that, I suppose? I remember getting fired from a job that I enjoyed and was extremely good at, because one of the managers of a different department absolutely hated me (for not bending the knee and kowtowing to her, I suppose). I went on unemployment for ~5 weeks and found a new job. In the same professional industry, even, where I've got more authority and make more money (easier to get promotions through changing jobs, it seems).

It worked for me. I'll just throw that out there as an option.

The article says that not only was he fired, but his entire professional record was destroyed, leaving him basically unemployable. If he was just fired and could get a new job, he probably wouldn't be going on a hunger strike.

I'm sorry, but that's blatantly false. Here's how my CV works-I list my experience, my degree, and references. The only thing I need records for are my engineering degree and license, both of which I own. I can produce those. The references will verify experience. Outside of an internal records system.

There's nothing holding him back unless he's crap at picking references or made so few friends that he has none (which indicates a larger problem). Surely he is not entitled to work at World Bank, and has skills to help another organization.

Hmmm, he's worked for 15 years at the World Bank. Which is a highly political operation. I imagine if what he says is true:

"In order to justify their claims that he was unqualified for the promotion, the World Bank removed all public references to my father’s managerial and leadership contributions to the team and downgraded my father from a manager to a ‘team contributor’ on all projects."

That there is significant pressure on his former colleagues to toe the company line. So, he very well might not be able to get anything better than a non-commital reference.

Re: Do Immigrants Import Their Economic Destiny?
"low-skilled immigrants don’t have a major effect on the rest of the economy one way or the other"
Ask the middle class in a city that gets excessive immigration. Increased crime and the associated costs. Sudden and unsustainable increase in school attendance with the tax costs that drive the middle class out of their homes. There is a long list of negative social and economic results from immigration. It reminds me of what someone once said about congress; "This is the reason we can't have nice things".

The Decius interview is pretty funny. Thanks for the pointer.


6. Decius, whoever he is, is not an intellectual. He's a blowhard with grievances. What he does is redefine "conservative". And he's not alone. Ever since the disaster that was the Bush administration, conservatives have been redefining conservative to mean anything that isn't a failure, an ongoing project since conservative has to be redefined every time policies promoted by conservatives prove to be a failure. Which brings me to Trump, who is the perfect candidate for an ever-changing conservative since Trump believes in nothing and everything, adopting and rejecting positions with the ease of a schizophrenic. Maybe that's what Decius means by "Paleo-Straussianism".

Stop projecting, Rayward. Redefining terms is a hallmark of the progressives (racism = power + prejudice, lol). How is Decius redefining conservative? How SHOULD it be defined, O wise one?

Bush the Lesser ran on a platform of environmentalism, smaller government, no nation building, and (if I remember from his website at the time, #4, put education first, which I thought was funny). That's what he was elected on the first time round, as well. Clearly what he delivered and what he promised were two vastly different things. The conservatives in the US fell under a madness for a time, believing that the Office of the President actually knew great secrets and could be trusted. That delusion has largely burned away... for conservatives. Environmentalism, smaller government, no nation building... conservativism,,, have not been proven a fraud by the Bush administration - the Establishment has been proven a fraud. The scales have not fallen from the eyes of progressives, who too many still see Obama as a man after transparency, limited executive powers, and peace. Those are still good things, despite the realities of Obama's presidency.


Back in the real world, portside politics is now reduced to status games and vandalism.

"6. Decius, whoever he is, is not an intellectual. He’s a blowhard with grievances. "

rayward, wouldn't that be used to describe yourself, myself and almost any regular poster on this board by someone taking the opposite point of view?

3. High IQ immigrants benefit society but low IQ ones (Somalis, Pakistanis) benefit Politicians by increasing the demand for Government services.

Similar to Marx dividing humans into classes according to their economic place in society, many commenters here make their class division based on supposed IQ. Even though measurement of intelligence is, at best, an extension of craniometry, if it did have some validity it certainly couldn't be applied to individuals in a collective sense. Aside from that, humans occupy two worlds, a mental one and a very different physical one. The most intelligent person in the world isn't very useful, even to himself, without some physical capabilities. Furthermore, intelligence doesn't necessarily imply the commenters' desire for the conformity of immigrants to norms. In fact, stupid people are more likely to accept barriers than the more intelligent. An unwillingness to abide by imposed restrictions isn't a feature of the stupid, but is frequently found in criminals. The commenters here don't want immigrants with high IQs, they want them to be willing to conform to what is, to them, an alien value system that they may not completely understand.

What a bizarre comment. The importance of IQ is very well established.

I've worked with a Pakistani and two Afghanis, and they were all very competent and good at their work. Exceptionally so, really. I think there's sort of a filtering function so that we mostly get the good ones.


To be pointlessly pedantic,

Afghan. Afghani is useless paper currency that few people use. It's also useful to note that these two countries are barely countries at all; they are closer to loose affiliations of vastly different ethnic and lingual groups. Saying "I've worked with people from Pakistan" in a white collar job in the US inevitably means "I've worked with people who are ethnically Punjab." It's almost like saying "I have worked with people from Europe." There must be thousands of Punjabi doctors, engineers, and investment bankers in the US.

As to the racist comments about limiting immigrants from Pakistan...what? I would love a percentage breakdown of earnings from immigrants from Pakistan. People of Punjabi descent regularly out earn Americans. You made a strong claim, now let's see the data.

I would note that Google, Apple, and every FinTech company in the world seems to completely disagree with your claim.


#2: Garett Jones is awesome on immigration. Of course, immigrants import their own culture and society and voting habits as well. Most would intuitively recognize that but Garett Jones formalizes it.

I'd point out much of our current immigration policy is in many ways the exact opposite of a high SAT score policy. We help some of the poorest and problematic groups enter as refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, immigration lottery winners, or extended family members of the above.

"Refugees" ordinarily amount to about 8% of the legal immigrant population. The legal conduits give preference to the family members of recent immigrants, the illegal border jumping conduit gives preference to Mexicans and Central Americans, and the visa overstay conduit gives preference to Canadians, Mexicans, South Americans, and Europeans (in about that order). It's a reasonable inference that the illegals have extant social networks to repair to (i.e. relatives or friends from the home town). On balance, it's a nepotistic system.

" On balance, it’s a nepotistic system."

Yes, that's probably the closest approximation to our current muddle of an immigration system.

3. And the example Jones gives of a group that voted for expanded government after gaining "citizenship"? Women. Am I to infer that women are a low-SAT group? Jones uses "high-SAT" as a euphemism for supporting the ideology Jones prefers.

You cannot possibly be that stupid, ray.

Here's what Ray's talking about:

Here’s one way to check this “New Voters = No Change” theory: Look at times when large groups of individuals were suddenly given the vote, and then check to see if government policies changed within a few years. Even better, only look at large groups of individuals who had been living somewhat peacefully in the nation for decades. Here’s one such case: The women’s suffrage movement across Western civilization.

Yeah, Ray, obviously he means that women are stupid, and is not talking about what he's explicitly talking about

Women's suffrage gave us prohibition.

Evidently, women's suffrage also gave you then end of prohibition. And lynching.

Peter Thiel has many millions of dollars, so he can come out and say that women's suffrage made democracy an undesirable mortal threat to his freedoms. Most don't have that luxury to say what they really think, but most don't think things like that, either.

#1 yet another study showing that capitalism works. Water still wet.

#3 arguing for immigration from countries with higher IQ populations with a different fig leaf. While probably the correct policy it will go over like a ton of bricks in today's America. Too bad we didn't do this 100 years ago.

#5 the story told makes not one iota of sense. Vast sections of the story are clearly missing. That such a screed would be published by the huffington post says a lot about the organization.

#6 very strong when dealing with the media in America, mediocre when he got side tracked into other areas. He should have brought each and every question back to the media, their double standards and their partisanship.

#7 I will watch. He was simply so broken beneath his layer of bluster. I hope that they deal with the media's defense of his character. I kid, they won't.

#3 arguing for immigration from countries with higher IQ populations with a different fig leaf. While probably the correct policy it will go over like a ton of bricks in today’s America. Too bad we didn’t do this 100 years ago."

actually we did! look up the 1922 and 1924 immigration acts. they were overturned by the 1965 act. ted kennedy told congress to vote for it because it would have no impact on america's racial balance and culture.

#6 Lost me at "The conservative critics who think she has a point are liberals. Or useless. Or not conservative." If this is what passes for "intellectual" thought, then we are in deep deep trouble. The entire interview strikes me as a riff on the "What is Wrong with the Youth of Today" meme (Plato/Socrates, Hesiod, Peter the Hermit (all dubious attributions, by the way)). He confuses pathos, as a basis for (intellectual??) discourse, with logos and ethos. He makes such silly claims as while Trump doesn't understand the Constitution, he will support it (I suppose having a religious litmus test for immigrants is an example of this support?). While counterfactual, if Trump were running against, say Goldwater or Reagan, few of this guy's arguments would make sense. In other words, his arguments are tactical; more about what Trump is not, than about what he is. Mostly wishful thinking about what Trump might inadvertently do, than about what Trump is on the record claiming to desire to do. He makes the foolish mistake of describing what the Emperor's new clothes look like.

7. I had the same feeling about Huma Abedin from the Weiner movie, but I thought that meant I was crushing on her a little. Are you sure you aren't? A bit, maybe?

#3 is very disturbing. I'm half Sicilian and my wife is from Honduras.

I guess that we should teach morality and classical liberalism.

#3: Obviously we want immigrants who are interested in pursuing economic liberty and have a greater chance at becoming economically self-reliant. We do NOT need more immigrants who are likely to favor increased government regulation of the economy and economic redistribution (aka parasitism). I do not know how these personality traits co-related with SAT scores (presumed a proxy for IQ). I would think there would be some correlation. However, other traits such as executive function are much more likely to correlate with the first set of traits. Unfortunately, there is no easy metric for executive function. There are plenty of people who have become successful entrepreneurs who were not "book" smart in the academic definition. There are also plenty of people who score high on IQ tests who, nevertheless, subscribe to socialistic economic policies such as income redistribution. The trick is to parse out those who are likely to become economically self-reliant from those who favor the parasitism of socialist economics. This is not an easy trick to perform.

Then don't try to parse people out. Make broad based assumptions based on large statistical groupings which will effectively be good enough to get desired outcomes. Exceptions granted only for those clearly in the +3SD crowd, a tiny fraction of world population. It's the effective immigration policy of many members of the OECD already.

The USA has a labor surplus in nearly every category except true geniuses. There is no need to get desperate trying to find diamonds in the rough.

"We do NOT need more immigrants who are likely to favor increased government regulation of the economy and economic redistribution (aka parasitism). "

Since the government decides who enters the country, who do you think they'll want to let in, those that are into increased government regulation (ergo bigger government) or those that are self-reliant, independent types?

That's a problem, isn't it.

The various strands of research that Garret Jones cites in article #3 would seem to cast a slight bit of doubt on the wisdom of the Caplan-Tabarrok open borders orthodoxy. I wonder what their response is. Do they update their priors ever so slightly or do they deny the validity or relevance of the research?

#4 - if genuine not to be missed; who knew how little it takes to make a little gator look so happy?

3: Perhaps it exists and I've missed it, but why don't libertarian economists who want to meet conservative half-way propose to just auction some portion of work visas? Wouldn't the best & most efficient way to screen for work skills be to just have quarterly auctions for the sponsoring employers? Auctions would

- pretty much automatically weed out low value-add positions
- avoid the lobbying mess that would result from trying to construct a Canada/Australia-style point system
- create a real incentive for enforcement (since companies that hired illegal aliens would now be depriving the IRS of revenue)
- change the political economy of immigration by splitting high-value and low-value employers, which would probably result in eventually going to an all-auction or majority-auction situation when the high value industry lobbyists out-muscle the low-value industry ones
- naturally produce flexibility among industries when relative labor market conditions change
- produce a market price that would would provide a useful measure of how restrictive or not the overall immigration was and how much value employers themselves think they are creating

If part of the value of immigration is diversity, even if you don't particularly like that idea, do you think it's really a good idea to use US curriculum to evaluate potential newcomers?

I'd think that signals like ... an employer actually wants to hire them, a university admits them, etc., would be much better.

Comments for this post are closed