Thursday assorted links


If I remember correctly, Benedict Anderson made that point about the importance of language standardization for economic development in his book on nationalism, though I think it was more an insight not supported by any rigorous data analysis.

Ernest Gellner also argued that a standardized written language was crucial to industrialization. See e.g. Nations and nationalism, p.34.

SAG statement

6. Examples abound. In western Wisconsin, for instance, there is a very noticeable nasal overtone to ordinary speech that has doomed the population to a life milking cows, brewing and drinking beer and murdering woodchucks.

I predict a huge worldwide spike in economic activity and innovation once a significant number of people complete the Esperanto course on Duolingo.

Oh come on, it's easy to make predictions about things that won't ever happen! If I ever got to have sex with Duane Johnson, it would unleash economic growth the likes of which this world has never seen!

But sadly, I'll never get to prove it (damn restraining order!).

#4 Hardly surprising since A.) It's a cartel B.) The markup on "rough" made available through the current normal channels is ridiculous C.) The demand for their products is going down, at least in the West it is and related D.) Western customers have been increasingly dubious regarding the corruption and ethics within the industry for 20 years + now.

In all honesty the image/marketing campaign surrounding its "forever" status vis-à-vis marriage has been eroding for quite some time. Not soon enough if you ask me.

#6 Yes! How on earth could anyone even doubt that the ability to transmit highly detailed technical information between two people producing a product wouldn't be critical for the iterative process manufacturing entails. This is not requires someone to go into the field and see the manufacturing process first hand.

Vegemite is a salvage industry. It's the dregs left after brewing beer, mostly dead yeast. Sure, it's got a lot of vitamins and umami, but artisanal Vegemite? This is like making something out of orange peels or eggshells.

It strikes me as 'premium mediocre' well and truly jumping the shark.

Serious question - what about rum? I have once or twice had really good rum (Flor de cana, Nicaraguan, aged) and there was something about it that reminded me, in a good way, of Laphroaig. Which is not made from dregs ....

Miso is just fomented beans, but you'' find it wrapped up in highly designed and precisely specified 'rustic' packaging. Same deal.

I eat Vegemite at least once per week, but I won't be buying this version, especially given the limited run.

#1. "Behavioral economics should be most important for education."

Au contraire.

"Should", "must", and "ought"--the unholy trinity of moral language in English--have become outmoded terms and now signify nothing more than any tale told by any idiot that Shakespeare could conjure.

Conventional morality that might suit academics no longer exists outside of the academy: "morality" has been replaced by eleutheromania and emotivist ethics (the latter being no ethics at all, only affective responses to preferred outcomes).

We are far beyond the comforts and assurances of "good and evil" and now await the consequences.

(Not even "education" endures as a reliable institution: whatever continues to pass for "education" in the US is approximately as corrupt as Weinstein and as sleazy as Hollywood, which it apes without any regard for quaint notions of "integrity" or "truth".)

This seems like an overly broad critique.

--and here I had thought innocently that I was indulging in regrettable understatement . . . . perhaps, then, I struck just the right balance.

If we've moved beyond good and evil we may as well move beyond narrow and broad too.

Indeed, we might as well get past making helpful or observable distinctions altogether: uncritical Americans have been so receptive of decades of messaging regarding the inherent evils of "discrimination", they've lost all willingness to observe or draw distinctions whatsoever.

Yep, if only we still had those Whites-only water coolers and bus seats... or there were synonyms for "discriminate" such as "evaluate", "judge"... And, thankfully, no one discriminates, judges, criticizes, singles out people, ideas, speach anymore...

Yep, if only we still had those Whites-only water coolers and bus seats

Yes, then what?

"We are far beyond the comforts and assurances of 'good and evil' and now await the consequences."
And always will await.

Nyet: Technogenic Climate Change, unleashed, will likely prove far more nimble than all the rest of us.

No, it won't.

Since you're arguing from faith, I will cite my enduring belief that our successors will all surrender each and all of their epistemic confidences to the perils Technogenic Climate Change already begins to deliver for us and for them.

Just think: for almost two entire centuries well-populated and highly-educated cohorts of applied scientists, technologists, and engineers, et al., all devoted to an epistemic discipline priding itself on its ability to measure repeatable phenomena, somehow failed to anticipate adequately the onset of Technogenic Climate Change. With such a minor miss like this to our sciences' credit, who needs a measurement problem?

There is no Technogenic Climate Change whatsoever. The Prophet Bandarra has taught that Earth will remain the same until Gog and Magog rise in the East and the King og the North advances over the Holy Land.

You went full retard, man. Never go full retard.

#4. Good riddance to the diamond industry. How in this age of equality does it still make sense for a man to fork over $thousands for the "privilege" of marrying someone? Imagine if the custom were reversed (a dowry i suppose)...we men would be crucified.

Agreed. DeBeers was genius. No one before or since has self-created an industry and a cultural phenomenon for a product that makes prostitution look so classy. Both men and women bought the "forever" veneer hook, line and sinker.

The whole artificially created mystique around the diamond engagement ring serves one useful purpose - to sort the gold diggers from the keepers. I knew my future wife would stick with me through thick and thin when she dropped a hint about getting engaged and not wanting a ring.

1. A nudge toward a 401k is a good example of why nudges -- whether or not they are even effective on their own terms and fewer people unenroll -- are worthless. People who need this 401k nudge are by and large not making enough money for it to be useful long-term, and they're not staying long enough at their companies for the matching to vest. A far more serious overhaul of a lot of things in society at large would be necessary for the retirement prospects of Millennials to look anything but humorous.

Rearranging deck chairs on the titanic and all that.

Don't blame the nudgers. They are operating on low level sign-off, at firms. They operate within the crap framework Congress created, accidentally in the case of 401k's.

"People who need this 401k nudge are by and large not making enough money for it to be useful long-term, and they’re not staying long enough at their companies for the matching to vest."

I've known plenty of young engineers who didn't elect to start contributing for several years. When you consider that the amount invested in the first few years compounds the most, it's likely to make a noticeable difference in the long run.

Those engineers are going to be fine anyways. Sure, maybe nudges will help the already responsible reach a slightly greater level of prosperity, but they're not the ones that are in danger.

No, I know a lot of software engineers that are saving close to nothing for retirement and are on course to be woefully dismayed to realize their sad state around, say, 55 or so.

I'm not saving a penny for retirement, but I am paying off mortgages on my home and rental units as fast as possible, living off of ramen in the meantime.

Interest rate on the loans are ~4%, I'd have to do better than that. Plus the rentals give dividends, so to speak.

@Sam the Sham

If you have bought rental units, that's an investment, whether you think of it as retirement investment or not.

And I have done considerably better than 4% over my investing career, mostly in stocks.

That's not to say I am criticizing your choices, that sounds like a fine approach. I was really talking about my colleagues that only "invested" in expensive cars, expensive vacations, and similar purchases.

I would say that social security is actually a nudge AGAINST saving for retirement. Social Security* will take care of me when I'm older, after all, I don't need to worry about it!

*assuming it still exists, but it's not politically correct to mention such heresies.

#3 about the diamond trade is an extremely well-written and researched paper, very interesting read.

Concur; except for giving Greif grief for his name.

#2 I am not a Communist (Communism means enslavement and dehumanization and is antithetical to the Brazil ethos), but I fully support the Hoxhaite U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization's demands for gradual dismantling of the Zionist Entity, immediate withdraw of all American troops overseas and for total cancellation of debts of Developing Countries and unilateral cancellation of all narionl dabt and municipal bonds.

#2 - I couldn't read it b/c I will not subscribe. What did it say?

You omitted cancellation of all student debt and home mortgage loans.

That being said having read your comment, in conclusion, you are an anti-Semite and literally know nothing.

No, I am not. I am anti-Zionist. Zionism is a racist doctrine that preaches that Jews must (e.g, Pollard working for Israel's political police) must betray their countries to Israel. Brazil always treated the Jews well, saved many Jewish refugees while America send Jews back to Hitler's owens. Many of Brazil's most respected scientist, artists, bankers, writers and businessmen are of Jewish srock. There is no racial persecution in Brazil. President Temer is from Lebanese stock and his immigrant parents were very poor, but, in Brazil, he could prosper and be respected. Many Jews, too, prospered in Brazil. As famous Brazilian senator Ruy Barbolsa told French Literature Nobel Prize Anatole France, Brazil stands for interntional peace and harmony.

Brazil welcomed Nazi war criminals like Dr. Josef Mengele presumably to help Brazilians get the plastic surgery that reflects the plastic personality of its people.

No, Brazil did not welcomed war criminals as opposed to America and its Paperclip operation, with uts von Brauns... Mengele was an illegal immigrant. The Paraguayans and Argentinians, who favored Hitler's awful regime, helped him to infiltrate Brazil. He was not a doctor in Brazil, he was an automobile plant'-s taskmaster.
American anti-Brazilian fringepress has been saying that Hitler immigrated to Brazil after WW II. It is a fascislie. Brazil opposed Nazism and fought the Nazist occupation forces in Italy. Famous American respected statesman Dean Acheson famously wrote to Soviet Communist Molotov, who had slandered the Brazilian government, as you just did, ssigning to it nin-existent Nazist sympathies, to tell him that Brazil was a heroic helper of the cause of Freedom and Civilization.

So what you are saying is that either the Brazilian government was complicit in sheltering Nazis like Pakistan was with bin Laden or utterly incompetent and outsmarted by Argentina and Paraguay(!).

The Paraguayans and Argentinians gave Mengele new identification papers. In those days, they were almost impossible to detect. America, too, can't stop all ilegal immigrants and Saudi terrorista. At least, Brazil did not employ war criminals. War crimes are wrong and their authors must be punished.

"Why did the countries with the highest literacy rates fail to contribute to the innovations of the Industrial Revolution?" Really? Which does he have in mind?

"Recent empirical research shows that people tend to mistrust those perceived to speak with an accent." Everybody speaks with an accent: it's in the nature of things.

"The rise of Indian merchants ... even fueled financial improprieties": and yet the individual cases of crookedness he alludes to sound as if he's implying that the malefactors are from traditional Jewish diamond families. Is he simply being racist, or have I skimmed his paper too quickly?

Perhaps the Hasidic and Gujarati merchants have high trust within their own castes but don't mind cheating other so much. And once cheating becomes public it makes everyone more suspicious overall.

Hooray for Diversity!

If only the Hasidic merchants could kill or displace the the Gujarati merchantes (or the other way round)...

That has been one method of resolution in the past. Another might be some kind of Jewish-Jain syncretism. (Historically the amalgation of smaller tribal faiths is how the great religions started.)

"Aah this meal has meat in it. And such small portions!"

Then, the Jewish Jains will respect one another and cheat everyone else...
They have Moses and the prophets, et them hear them.

A science--an a priori science--can be based on the premise of universal rationality. Unfortunately this will be a somewhat unworldly science, since people do not always behave rationally. But each individual has his own departures from rationality; there is no universal psychological law specifying a sort of irrationality from which we all suffer (and have suffered, and will suffer) in the same degree. There will be no science of "behavioral economics."

Adults differ from each other in the kinds and degrees of their irrationality, and *children* are still different. Presumably children are even less rational than adults; but where is the dividing line for maturity? If, per impossibile, we had a successful "behavioral economics" that described behavior in a society where the age of majority was n, and then that society changed the age of majority to (n + 1) or (n - 1), a new "behavioral economics" would have to be developed for the new "adult" population, which would have become more nearly rational (in the first case) or less so (in the second).

Yet, as we Brazilians say, thw sound policy is thw daughter of morals and reason.

Wait, you're Brazilian?

Yes, what did you think?

It's obvious you are Paraguayan

No, I can assure you that I have no relatios whatsoever with Paraguay. I oppose the Paraguyn regime and I think Brazil should extract important demands from the Paraguayan regime.

I wasn't sure. Sometimes you post and don't mention your nationality- it is very confusing.

Yes Borjigid is correct, you need to post more positively about Brazil here please, so we know you're not Paraguayan. You really come across like a Paraguayan. You need to let us know some of the positive things about Brazil, can you do that?

What about the 🐒 scientific method requires things to be equal? Are stars 🏜 equal?

#1. Flabbergasted. Are Economists actually taking credit for the invention of paternalism and nagging? Seriously? No wonder so many educated people hold the "profession" in such low regard.

+1. Thaler really should be sharing the award with Dr. Seuss. "“Oh, the jobs people work at! Out west near Hawtch-Hawtch there's a Hawtch-Hawtcher bee watcher, his job is to watch. Is to keep both his eyes on the lazy town bee, a bee that is watched will work harder you see. So he watched and he watched, but in spite of his watch that bee didn't work any harder not mawtch. So then somebody said "Our old bee-watching man just isn't bee watching as hard as he can, he ought to be watched by another Hawtch-Hawtcher! The thing that we need is a bee-watcher-watcher!". Well, the bee-watcher-watcher watched the bee-watcher. He didn't watch well so another Hawtch-Hawtcher had to come in as a watch-watcher-watcher! And now all the Hawtchers who live in Hawtch-Hawtch are watching on watch watcher watchering watch, watch watching the watcher who's watching that bee. You're not a Hawtch-Watcher you're lucky you see!” Come to think of it, Seuss cogently explains supranationalist ideology as well.

"Are Economists actually taking credit for the invention of paternalism and nagging?"

No, they aren't. Your premise is wrong, so even if the conclusion is true, it is not for that reason.

"No wonder so many educated people hold the “profession” in such low regard."

'Educated' is not the same as 'intelligent', but putting that aside, it is very easy to knock economics until you try to understand some economic phenomenon sufficiently to formulate policy that you'd stake your money/reputation on.

1.) Look--behavioral economics is great and all, but the reason we've had "homo economicus" for so long is because economics has a *theory*. This theory does not always correctly predict or explain behavior, but it is dang good. Behavioral economics has no theory--or rather, it has a theory for each anomaly, which is to say there is no theory at all.

The NYRB article is available to non-subscribers at

While Srugim does capture the basic atmosphere of the society it depicts, the scripts are often ridiculous and the apartments are unrealistically large.

Srugim is available on Amazon Prime

6. Did standardized languages help drive the Industrial Revolution?

Did not read the link, but have an opinion of course. es, one particular item, the rotary steam press. That capability boosted printing efficiency and cheap books became universal. Cheap books means lists of standard definitions for bolt, nuts, screes, pipes, and so on; including electrics. The sales catalogues generated drove interconnectability for mechanics and then electrics.a design in advance capability.

#4 - Artisanal Vegemite? You want my traditional vegemite on toast? You can prise if from my cold dead hands. Vegemite is perfect already, it's essence lies in it's total lack of sophistication. Is nothing in this modern world sacred, is nothing beyond the shallow manipulative reach of marketers?

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