Tuesday assorted links


2: My impression is that the Eastern European countries there that rank above Japan are losing population through a mix of emigration (not on a Puerto Rico / Irish potato famine level) and natural decrease, whereas I believe that Japan's emigration rate is quite low. Does that make for any differences in the future? (Certainly the Irish diaspora made a difference here, and many of those Eastern European countries have a decent sized diaspora in the UK and elsewhere in the EU.)

If Congress passes the White Immigration Reform Act of 2018 being drawn up now, the US may start receiving a lot of those Eastern European emigrants.

Particularly the ones that the Little Englanders are so happy to be kicking out. Of course, that just shows how far the UK is behind the curve compared to the U.S. when it comes to being able to look at an immigrant and instantly know whether they are suited or not.

Indeed, it is quite ironic how in the US it would be completely 'unacceptable' to suggest that immigration policy should favor Europeans, while in the U.K. the Leftist parties demand it and the Euro-skeptics condemn it. It is of course the British people's right to decide who comes in, but I suspect the attitude against East European immigrants is due more to a desire to signal how not-racist they are than anything else.

Yes that's why England's nativists want to keep out Polish plumbers. Secretly they wish more would come but they have to pretend not to want them.

It is not "the White Immigration Reform Act". It is the no shit hole immigration reform act.

No shitholes? I take it you haven't been to Moldova.

Moldova is relevant why?

Why go for Moldova when Russia is a big sterling example of how white people can mess up a country?

What is Putin's net worth and why?

And is the "why" why Donald likes him?

You say that like it's a bad thing, why? If Whites are 60% of the American population, why shouldn't at least 60% of the immigrants be White people? Do you have some problem with White people, or are you a White race traitor yourself?

You are a racist if you think race has a bearing on citizenship. That's pretty much all it means.

I'm not white, and I hate white people.

I am white and I hate white people. I hate my white dad, my white mom, my white friends. I hate them all.

#1 "@Noahpinion
21h21 hours ago
I didn't ask for white male intellectuals...as for the reason, it could be because of either of those reasons...or that white males feel more comfortable becoming intellectuals in the first place, because they get fewer racist/sexist personal attacks."

How many years is this out of date? 30? 40?

Let Megan McArdle field that one?

I sometimes disagree with her, but when I scan responses already in place, what a misogynist mess. And so I leave it.

Dude, Ta-Nehisi Coates was just hounded off of Twitter!

By losing to another black guy. What's that got to do with my comment?

I dunno. It sounded funnier in my head.

Zero. Is MR the only comments section you read? No Twitter?

'Intellectuals' really really does not equal 'twitter'.

I have been an employee of several small to large sized firms in the past 25 years though.

You think minorities and women get more criticism on Twitter than white men?

#2 So all you keen observers out there, what is it about socialism that leads to a correlation with low fertility.

I think that you'd have to have a pretty broad description of "socialism" to conclude that, one which is broad enough to include Japan, Taiwan, and now South Korea as well. As I noted above, while all of those listed have fairly low birth rates, a number of them (Lithuania, Latvia, etc.) have birth rates and natural increase that are still higher than South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, and other countries. (Some of them do have low birth rates.) What makes the Eastern Europeans decline faster is the free emigration to EU countries, combined with relatively little immigration into those countries.

It's pretty clear that there is a cultural aspect (the experience of Georgia and its patriarch shows this) as well, but both countries with relatively traditional (albeit sometimes changing) sex roles and those with fairly advanced senses of equality (of choice if not necessarily outcome) and social support, as in Scandinavia, are seeing this.

It's possible that (lack of) religious belief is correlated with lower fertility, and socialism can indeed be correlated with lack of religious belief, sometimes as a matter of policy.

True, but let's just pretend that "socialism" is a stand in for state socialism/communism in this thread. The sort of socialism that Eastern Europe experimented with in the last century should be distinguished from W. European social democracies.

Looked to me like the top 10 were all formerly socialist.

Socialism correlates with replacement fertility. https://tinyurl.com/y7tl5mb8

For some reason, after they achieved their famous victory over socialism happy Eastern Europeans stopped having children.

after they achieved their famous victory over socialism

It's kind of odd to describe the collapse of communism as a "victory". They were trying to make it work right up until the end, so it's more aptly described as a defeat. They failed to make socialism work, the end result was an economic wasteland. Describing it as a "victory" implies that it only failed because those darned stubborn wreckers and saboteurs wouldn't go along with it.

It was a victory, Hazel. I was in Hungary from 1990 to 2005, and the defeat, or collapse if you will, of communism was a victory for Hungary. No one in Hungary was 'trying to make it work' in that sense. It was a communist dictatorship which imploded when the contradictions of communism finally undermined it, that is, when the Soviet Union was no longer willing to support it.

However, communism destroyed the roots of civil society, and it still has not recovered.

Having said that, demographics in Eastern Europe are like Western Europe, only more so.

Emigration also plays a role.

Hungary could increase its population through immigration from European stock countries if it so desired. When I was in Hungary, residence permits and taxes were so cumbersome and onerous. At the time, I wanted a simple pay-to-play system, where I would pay, say, $10,000 / year in lieu of taxes for nothing more than the right to work there. No healthcare, no pension, no education, no social safety net. It would have been all gravy for the Hungarian government. (At the time, it was also 3x the national average wage.)

If they offered that deal, I would probably move back now. So would tens of thousands of young people. And a lot of hedge funds. If you want people, you can get people. You just have to make a competitive offer.

By the way, this thinking underpinned my writing on market-based immigration, which you can read here, among others:

"There is a way to make illegal immigrants pay for Trump's wall"

I don't understand your proposal.

Could you just run through the arithmetic and the mechanics of the alleged market pricing would work, because the description in the article leaves out so much it's hard to see how it would work.

Oh, and one more question. Let's assume there is a way to squeeze $30 billion out of these people, and that the wondrously moral folks who run the country think it's a good idea. Why spend it on that stupid wall?

I'll role out the details in a number of op-eds. I only have 900 words and the limited humor of my editor to work with on any one of them.

You wouldn't build a wall. It's not necessary. But that's not my opening bid with the Trump administration. If they feel a need for a wall regardless, it's still better to build it with market-based immigration than just trying to build a wall with the system as it.

I feel pretty comfortable about the $30 bn swing in net revenues for the Federal government. Some of that is visa fees, some of it is from cost savings. You don't need 17,000 border patrol agents with a market-based system. Probably 5,000-7,000 would do the trick. You could probably reduce the illegal headcount in prisons by 60% or so to around 150,000. You would see the permanent migrant population fall by a bit. So there are some costs savings. Overall, I think the $30 bn number looks pretty solid.

Socialism correlates with location in Eastern Europe. Having been to Eastern Europe, being descended from people who left there, and knowing many people who were born there and left themselves, it's Eastern Europe, not Socialism, that's driving the population decline.

What do birth rates look like in Vietnam and North Korea?

Quick google results: Vietnam =1.96 TFR, NK =1.97, Cuba= 1.60. I don't think that those numbers are so far off from their non-socialist neighbors as to draw any conclusions from them as to whether authoritarian socialism or culture are the culprits.

Also, Venezuela has 2.34 births per woman, and its trend lines look the same as its neighbors.

Fertility rates were healthy under communism in most countries(East Germany being an exception) and only fell afterwards. The big factor here is emigration.

A lag between the destructive effects on society of state socialism and the effect on fertility rates isn't unrealistic. If socialism only works until you run out of other people's money, you obviously wouldn't see the bad effects until after the money pot is gone and the economy collapses and people start going hungry.

Russia's economy collapsed after communism, as did its fertility rate. But in Poland, Czechia, ect, the economy boomed and yet fertility fell anyway. That's the usual pattern, more wealth, less fertility.

Where did the economy collapse? All of these countries are richer than they were 25 years ago. Some countries like the Baltics, Poland, Romania, and Czech Republic are exponentially better off.

David Goldman's thesis from 'How Civilizations Die' is that these days, having children requires an act of faith in - and commitment to- the future.

Sounds reasonable. Talk to many progressives and many will speak pessimistically of overpopulation, ecological collapse, and technological skepticism. The only future is a very bleak one where human population plummets to 1 billion (or even 20 million) at which point, humanity is living "sustainably" in noble savage Malthusian bliss. In this view, going childless isn't merely a choice; it's a moral imperative. This autophagic self-hatred is the true rot in our culture. I wanted to believe better than this about a wide swath of progressives but this is truly the modal argument provided.

3. Lots of good questions by Caplan about the chapter in the book on religion. Caplan points out that Hanson and Simler avoid the word hypocrisy, which seems strange to Caplan since much of the chapter on religion is describing various forms of hypocrisy. Of course, hypocrisy is boring since everyone practices it. I often think about the evolution of religion (borrowing from Robert Wright's book The Evolution of God). I'm Christian, so naturally I think about its evolution. In the beginning (to borrow a phrase), there was Jesus, an apocalyptic Jewish preacher. In His day and time, life for a Jew was so awful that one would be crazy not to have apocalyptic views. Fast forward to today, and Christianity has evolved to fit our day and time, a very popular theology today being the prosperity gospel (i.e., God wants His faithful to be rich). The apocalypse is less than appealing in a time of prosperity. Hypocrisy or just common sense? [For those not paying attention, one can pick any time during the past 2,000 plus years (e.g., the time of the Reformation) and make similar observations about the evolution of Christianity.]

It seemed kind of superficial, and I would choose a different sort of elephant.

The vast majority of the world's religious people are taught a religion by their parents (and in many cases a mono-religious community). The vast majority never change because to do so would be to deny family and community.

Is that something intellectuals and seekers have trouble seeing? The reason for non-seeking is so that you fit in at Shabbat or Sunday School, and never have to deny your father.

As far as the functionality of religion, for most people, there it is.

" In His day and time, life for a Jew was so awful that ...": what was so awful about it?

The same could be said for Jews in Germany and Poland in the 1930s and 1940s. After all, they got free transportation and free room and board, even free medical and dental care. Sure, the accommodations weren't exactly luxurious, the quality of the medical and dental work left a lot to be desired, and the heating system often malfunctioned, but it was free.

3. By the way, being born in the one true religion is another example of being born on 3rd base, isn't it?

You don't have to change. It's all those other people. They have to change.

#2. I guess this is the only way socialism is going to get weeded out of human society. People who try it eventually get their genes wiped out because of the depressive effect of a bad economy on reproduction.

The facts contradict that narrative(compare France or Sweden to the USA, or look at Hong Kong or Singapore) and in any case it's not like Eastern Europe chose communism.

All the secular ideologies currently prominent in the West seem to be bad for reproduction: including Libertarianism and nationalism, though with those two there's the major issue of the gender ratio....

Socialism comes out of societal game theoretics.

First, society can be considered on both the principal and agent level. The principal is concerned with the ideology of classical liberalism (libertarianism): pay me what I am worth. Liberalism tends to be contractual, ie, it is very transactions-oriented. It's what you do.

Conservatism is related to agency and the group, ie, the unit of analysis is the group and the relevant issues revolve the allocation of the group's rewards, efforts and risk (and including standards and habits, 'culture') among its members. In this world, gaining access to or control over the allocative mechanism is very important (ie, social climbing). It's who you know.

There are two variants of egalitarianism (socialism). There is liberal egalitarianism, which is the 'freedom from' version of liberalism's 'freedom to'. Liberal egalitarianism is essentially confiscatory and not easily distinguishable from theft. The poor are entitled to the wealth of the rich. For the moment, this has failed as an ideology.

Conservative egalitarianism is 'compassionate conservatism' or RINO-ness. In this case, downward reallocation is a function of social obligation. This is in full swing, and getting worse with aging demographics. Euro-sclerosis, and pending Americo-sclerosis, are examples.

Now, the functional adherents of egalitarianism tend to be those below the median, usually by some margin. (Pro forma, I use 33% as the normalized share of egalitarians in a society.) For this group, complaining about injustice is a key tactic. Thus, the rich are evil and should be punished for their undeserved success -- ie, we are speaking of confiscatory liberal egalitarianism.

Alternatively, it can be argued that we should take care of the sick, elderly and poor as our obligation in society, eg, conservative egalitarianism.

The point here is that egalitarianism is by no means 'dead', nor will it die. It is a key strategy in the struggle for resources by those below the median. Always has been, always will be. I'd note that egalitarianism and whining are closely related, like the bleating of a lamb for its mother's milk.

I have little doubt that you could find evidence of egalitarian behavior in primate groups or among other social mammals like orcas or dolphins. It's not going away.

More lessons from Hungary, and by the way, an important driver of this piece:
"Trump can win on deficits, solve the debt ceiling, and own Congress forever"

In it, we elevate one of the three objective functions, in this case, classical liberalism, and pay politicians for achieving related goals. (Everyone hated this op-ed, except my mother. It's technically correct, though. And by the way, if you want population growth, pay your politicians for population growth. If you haven't done that, well, don't complain.)


Definition of "public intellectual," please.

3. Caplan's nerd bias is showing when he claims that, because people don't practice or study their religions, they are really subconcious atheists. Ask people if science, engineering, or history are important, they will say they are, but they won't study those things. Matter is made out of atoms? I'm sure that's important, I'll take your word for it. They see religion in a similar way.

#3. Seven of the 10 are EU member nations, so why surprising or why an issue? Wasn't this exactly why the EU is sold as such a great boon to mankind? Free movement of people and all that. But wait, these are projections out to the year 2050! Maybe the EU is not the Garden of Eden that we are told we must worship. Or, maybe it might be looking at the methodology for these projections. Must be making some extreme assumptions given that only Romania and Poland are in the bottom 10 of soveriegn states ranked by total fertility rates (10 and 9 from the bottom respectively) Source: 2017 CIA Factbook. http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Total_fertility_rate,_1960%E2%80%932015_(live_births_per_woman)_YB17.png Looking at actual data on net migration rates per 1,000 inhabitants (2007-2012), we get quite a range: Ukraine (+4.28) Hungary (+3.02), Poland (-1.94), Moldava (-2.68), Bulgaria (-6.84), Serbia (-13.89), Romania (-21.8), Latvia (-36.1) and Lithuania (-56.7). Oh well, maybe differences in current average age account for something. By way of comparison Puerto Rico comes in at 5 from the bottom on fertility and was -28.49 on the net migration measure. Maybe worht noting that the projected shrinkage in the 10 listed countries seems to correspond to shrinking US states, and probably for similar reasons: http://www.governing.com/topics/mgmt/gov-states-losing-population-census.html

Is it just me or does Noah come off, more than other bloggers, as a smug know-it-all?

He touts himself as Mr. Evidence Based but.... I'm skeptical.... is he really so dedicated to a sound assessment of all the evidence on any given topic or does he just cherry-pick the research that's out there?

I think it is more that he is naively open, rather than smug. He knows thousands of people (and/or bots) disagree with him. And they are free to counter-tweet any evidence they like. He just says what he thinks anyway. As may you.

Maybe you are wrong in expecting anyone in any conversation to have a final word on "all the evidence."

5: "more than just about anyone else in tech, Wennmachers is the person responsible for harnessing that prototype to build the legend of Silicon Valley. Before Andreessen Horowitz launched in the summer of 2009, most venture capital firms believed that no press was good press."

The writer seems to be saying that "the legend of Silicon Valley" was built by Wennmachers, starting in 2009? I'm not sure what legend they're referring to, Silicon Valley has been a legend, a phrase, a place, a meme, a thing -- whatever you want to call it -- for decades. The article says Wennmacher is 53 years old, so (to use just one notable Silicon Valley event) she was 12 or 13 years old when the Apple II came out and Jobs and Wozniak became household names.

I can easily believe that she's a skilled publicist and communications strategist. But the person who "more than just about anyone else" built "the legend of Silicon Valley"? I guess her communications skills are so high that she can bamboozle journalists.

4: I'm reminded of a science fiction short story by Robin Scott (anthologized in Damon Knight's _Orbit 6_): "Maybe Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck, Was a Little Bit Right"

It's merely an okay short story, but the title was memorable and because Lamarck is never mentioned explicitly in the story it caused me to run to the encyclopedia and get introduced to Lamarck's theory of evolution, which has been enjoying a renaissance in recent years.

I meant to add: RIP Ursula K. LeGuin.

Don't know Lamarck? What high school did you go to?

"Don’t know Lamarck?"

You're using the wrong tense. "Didn't know Lamarck" is the correct tense; I read that short story when I was in junior high school and that's when I went to the encyclopedia (no internet in those days) and learned about Lamarck.

But, the question about high school does raise a point. When I did take biology in high school, they didn't mention Lamarck at all, only Darwin, Mendel, maybe Watson & Crick. This was decades ago, when Lamarck's theory was perhaps viewed as being especially un-noteworthy. Certainly the encyclopedia article said that his theory was all wrong just like Lysenkoism.

Chemistry classes don't teach alchemy these days and biology classes in those days -- or at least the one that I took -- didn't teach Lamarckism. That's why the title of that short story is notable, because of what one might call neo-Lamarckism in recent years.

I kind of doubt the worth of looking for "influential intellectuals.". My thought is, we've got hordes of people running about these days proclaiming their libertarian views, trying to convert other people to those views, trying to get governments to enact laws based on those views, and so on. Think of House Speaker Paul Ryan, for instance.

And if we ask where all those libertarians came from, since they're clearly a 20th and 21st Century phenomenon, not something that can be easily traced to Adam Smith or John Locke or Cicero or Montesquieu or whomever, the answer comes back AYN RAND. A Russian-Jewish woman novelist who had a certain vogue around the middle of the last century, but whose ideas and pretentions were never taken seriously by the likes of Noah Smith -- and probably wouldn't be even today by a Serious Historian writing am academic tome on American political thought.

You don't like that example? How about Werner von Braun? V-2 rockets, American ICBM programs, flights to the moon and space stations -- any of those seem significant?

I think many are missing the point. We need controlled immigration if for no other reason than health. Do you want people here who don't have vaccinations against common diseases? Do you want to know about their criminal history? Do you want a bunch of socialists revolutionaries form Latin America who want to overthrow the government? Look at Venezuela for God's sake.

Shrinking population? Any socialist country. They are all coming to the US. I wonder why...

Comments for this post are closed