Wednesday assorted links


5. Politically correct virtue-signaling. Was Tyler one of the draftsmen or draftswomen? (I don't want to presume his gender; I know he hates that.)

Douthat, in his latest column, is right. If this period is defined anything, it is by women changing the conversation. From pink hats to #MeToo.

And so the AEA has to say "message received."

Some of that might be pro forma virtue signalling, but it is not without virtue:

"In particular, the AEA should aspire to a professional environment that promotes equal opportunity and equal treatment for all economists, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, health condition, marital status, parental status, genetic information, professional status, or personal connections."

We all think that is good stuff, right?

No. Wait, make that hell no.

That's some pure Orwellian rhetoric.

It should read: "“In particular, the AEA should aspire to a professional environment that promotes equal opportunity and equal treatment for all economists".

The assumption being that economists should behave in a professional manner.

Furthermore, it's quite unlikely anyone who wrote that is going to actually follow it. Do professionals treat everyone equally disregarding "professional status"? Of course not. Do professionals treat everyone equally disregarding "age"? Of course not. Do professionals treat everyone equally disregarding " health condition"? Of course not.

It's one of those boiler plate ethics statements that everyone knows is wrong, but everyone knows it's politically incorrect to say so.

What a strange reply. You agree that economists should behave in a professional manner. You just don't like the list of unprofessional distractions listed.

You don't argue that the items (as call out status, age or health condition) are necessary for or pertinent to the study of economics.

You just wail that economists can never meet this impossible goal, of keeping their eyes on their work.

Behaving in a professional manner implies discrimination. Intelligent and unbiased discrimination.

The list part is just politically correct virtue signaling.

"You don’t argue that the items (as call out status, age or health condition) are necessary for or pertinent to the study of economics."

I didn't argue it, because anyone with any mental flexibility and honesty knows that those are pertinent attributes.

If I'm presented with hiring a 30 year old economist with a PhD and 5 years of experience versus a 22 year old with a BA who's 8 months pregnant, clearly the former is a higher quality candidate. More experience, better education and status and able to perform the job immediately without needing to take time off.

Society constantly discriminates on those grounds. We don't treat those candidates as equal! Candidate A might well be offered $70K+ whereas candidate B would probably be offered much less. And if candidate B stated that she plan to drop out of the work force after having the baby, she probably wouldn't be hired at all.

Contributing factors matter and productivity matters.

What a cheat.

You take "age," which was on the list, and swap it for "experience," which was not.

If you can't tell one from the other, you have a real problem.

Experience correlates directly with age. But even when it doesn't there are clear reasons to take age into account.

Given a choice between equally qualified candidates with 2 years of experience, then I would lean toward a 28 year old over a 22 year old. A 28 year old will tend to be more mature.

Consider this recent example. Thomas Piketty published a book. Big hoopla. Then a graduate student claimed to have found another view.

Economists, to their credit, listened.

They did not say "oh no, Matt Rognlie is too young (age), or uncredentialed (professional status)." They didn't even say "too inexperienced," they listened.

But you have put yourself on the wrong side of this, arguing against Matt, for reasons other than the quality of his work.

Nonsense. I made no such argument. I argued that those with more experience are probably more knowledgeable and that those with more age are probably more mature.

I didn't argue that being older always makes you correct. Nor am I arguing that you can't or shouldn't listen or hire somebody younger. What I am arguing is that it's ethical to favor one person over another based upon age.

So now you have distanced yourself fully from the matter at hand.

What I am arguing is that it’s ethical to favor one person over another based upon age.

Maybe if you have no other information to go on. Once you start introducing matters of objective merit, like actual years of work experience, age starts being meaningless. Who knows, maybe the 47 year old guy just made a career change and only has 5 years of experience, while the 32 year old guy has 10. Maybe the 47 year old has a personality disorder such as being a compulsive liar. Once you actually observe the relevant variable - experience, or quality of work, or maturity - age itself should be irrelevant. And surely you wouldn't go around hiring people purely on the basis of age - you'd try to find how many actual years of experience they have, and talk to their references to assess what they are actually like and do an interview.

I agree with Hazel. In an abstract, unspecified, situation, it might be so that you have no better choice than to use age as a proxy for experience. But concretely, in the situations we meet in academia, we have as close of a perfect information on the applicant as may exist: we have access to all his/her academic work (research papers, books, presentations, etc.). In these cases, using age don't tell you much, and race and ethnicity absolutely nothing.

I'm not in disagreement with Hazel. Experience, skillset and knowledge trump age. I'm just stating that it shouldn't be considered unethical to take age into account. A professional shouldn't have to ignore age as a factor. Nor any other factor.


I don't like your +1 because you are fat.

.. would be an example of the behavior you are backing.

Strawman demolished!

It should read: ““In particular, the AEA should aspire to a professional environment that promotes equal opportunity and equal treatment for all economists”.

That would be simple and concise. It's more sensible to actually list all 578,453 dimensions upon which people can differ in rank order from most to least significant and/or common in order to demonstrate wokeness.

It is a funny list (somebody is out there discriminating by genetic information?) but that doesn't make it wrong.

I suggest "planet of origin" just to see who is paying attention.

The problem is that once everyone else has swallowed their pride by signing on to some dubious pledge to never beat their wife, you look like an ass for refusing to do the same.

The real problem is that once they have bullied everyone into signing on to their absurd pledge, they will be bullied into signing on to the next step which will be more demeaning, more discriminatory towards normal Americans and even worse for everyone else concerned.

As the NKVD man said, don't ever be the first to stop clapping.

The passage you quote is nice. However it is logically incompatible with "The AEA appears to be attentive to the diversity of the Executive Committee with respect to gender and race. This attention should be ongoing. Additionally, the AEA should consider the diversity of its committees and officers along dimensions including the range of academic departments, universities and colleges, and types of careers represented in nominations." (on page 3/4).

Either you act "regardless of gender, race, etc." or you pay "attention to" it. It needs indeed a high level in double-think to be able to profess both at the same time.

Lulz. Nice catch.

No, there is a line to walk there. If you believe people of all categories can be qualified, then you can select from all categories, to provide diversity, without lowered standards.

If you really believe that, then admitting/hiring/promoting the best candidates at each step, regardless of their race or gender, will *automatically* result in diversity at all levels. If you do not believe that, well, I suppose that means you're a racist bigot.

When you are hiring an individual for a specific role, absolutely.

But when you are hiring groups, for group performance, you want to optimize for group performance.

"Research on team composition has suggested that homogeneous teams are more satisfied and experience more positive reactions, while heterogeneous teams experience enhanced team creativity and also bring a wider variety of solutions to a given problem."

And so on.

Some of that might be pro forma virtue signalling, but it is not without virtue:

“In particular, the AEA should aspire to a professional environment that promotes equal opportunity and equal treatment for all economists, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, health condition, marital status, parental status, genetic information, professional status, or personal connections.”

We all think that is good stuff, right?

No we do not. Stalin's lawyers made sure that the definition of genocide excluded genocide by class. Because they wanted to punish the people they wanted to punish. This is the same. It is a long list of protected interest groups the Left supports. It is a way to bully themselves and their allies into well paying academic jobs so they can continue to exclude anyone who might vote to the right of Bernie.

After all, where is the condemnation of discriminating against people based on class? On the basis of "privilege"? They say "race" but they do not mean it because of course this *requires* affirmative action for some races. Or it will when they have redefined what words like discrimination mean.

It is the same as Affirmative Action which how well meaning it started out is just an excuse to get more Democrats into college and keep Republicans out. That is why mainly Democrat-voting Jews are not discriminated against but often Republican-voting Asians are.

Even when it was economists, I knew it was Jews. As for Republican-voting Asians, . By the way, what about Muslims? They voted for Bush in 2000, it is more than can be said about the rest of the country.

If Asian Americans start voting for the Democrats consistently, and it seems they are, then expect them to be lifted out of the Affirmative Action system.

As in fact seems to be happening.

Stalin? That's too crazy for me to touch.

But let's step back. A whole bunch of you claim to be for unbiased professionalism in the abstract - but against it in every darned specific form we can name.

I say that is a very dark form of mood affiliation.

Shut up.

Unbiased professionalism doesn't come from some nonsense public statement.

In face, public statements are in response to pressure, an attempt to placate.

It is all nonsense, and if it has an effect will be used to promote 'correct' candidates.

But it makes you feel better. But not enough to be quiet. So in fact it is worthless.

This isn't about unbiased professionalism. That is the point. As Jeff R says, It should read: ““In particular, the AEA should aspire to a professional environment that promotes equal opportunity and equal treatment for all economists”. If they were interested in unbiased professionalism that is what it would read.

What they mean is that this is a list of their preferred clients and anyone who stands in the way of their leftist agenda is committing a Hate Crime. The Left has weaponized concepts like professionalism far too often, far too deeply, and for far too long for anyone to take them seriously now.

"The Left has weaponized concepts like professionalism.."


2. I have no idea if Twitter will ever be able to monetize, but they definitely do preserve brand and source. If you follow the links, anyway. And Twitter is good for experienced readers and semi-cynics who can scroll past the stupid stuff and look for well grounded stories.

I wonder how newspapers in particular view this. Double down on Twitter and Google News? Is there another path to readers?

1. That a Mexican beer (Dos Equis beer) would feature the Most Interesting Man in the World is what was interesting. Mexico may not be a shit-hole (is that hyphenated?) country, but the most interesting man in the world isn't from Mexico and doesn't drink beer made in Mexico. And let's be honest: the new most interesting man in the world is about the most homely man I have ever seen, which means he isn't threatening to the toothless goobers who drink beer. Bottoms up!

the most interesting man in the world isn’t from Mexico

I don't know if I agree. For one thing Mexico retains a sort of Spanish aristocratic heritage. It's a place of great wealth inequalities, so it's fairly plausible that there are wealthy urbane cosmopolitans with refined taste living in Mexico City. I'd guess that they probably drink cocktails, not beer, but "the most interesting man" isn't just a rich guy, he's a rich guy who has culturally cosmopolitan tastes. He defies stereotypes. He's not afraid of drinking beer with the common folk. But the beer he would choose, that would be a particularly refined beer.

I do not know if he is Mexican, but the most interesting man in the world surely drinks mostly Romanée-Conti.

Remember, Ferrari was not afraid to call their 1952 340 the "Mexico."

A good car for a beer run today.

" which means he isn’t threatening to the toothless goobers who drink beer."

That's rayward. Never ashamed to be an aristocratic bigot, promoting an obvious false stereotype, as he looks down on the lower classes.

Rayward's always struck me as more of a fortified wine guy.

The old Most Interesting Man in the World, actor Jonathan Goldsmith, was doing his impression of his late sailing buddy, Argentine movie star Fernando Lamas. The upper class macho Latin angle was a big part of the appeal. Rich Latin American playboys - race car drivers, yachtsmen, that kind of thing - were a fun part of American cafe society a couple of generations ago. And Goldsmith and his writers got right that part of the appeal was their having a code of conduct with deep aristocratic roots: e.g., "Cheating is only in good taste when it comes to death."

Interesting. I know few rich people in real life, but .... Wodehouse was completely aware of the phenomenon you have described - Portillo and various hangers on in the Hemingway and Ian Fleming circles being the sort of person whom he would have named (as candidates for themes interesting man in the world), back when Lamas was a young pup, still unknown - and Bertie was always disappointed when some young woman expressed too much of an interest in that sort of character. One has standards, after all.

Bertie's expression of his disappointment always made the young woman in question more interested in Bertie than she had heretofore been (at least in the novels - who knows how true those novels were to the corresponding real world back in the day? More, or less, than we might think - each of us, even the most ardent Wodehouse appreciators, having lived, say, a thousand days in the real world for every two or three fugitive hours spent reading a Wooster novel) .... . In any event, an education in Wodehouse's view of the world leads one to ask: why is the most interesting man in the world so often uninteresting to the most interesting woman in the world? Most people can guess the answer by the time they are 50 years old or so: right?

Absent angelic inspiration, or absent simple grace, we are all fairly dull, and unable to convince others that we are not. While we will always be appreciated for kindness, Money and Health and Looks and Wit don't really last very long. Think about it.

There are historic roots for this sort of Mexican character, from Wikipedia on the Battle of San Jacinto:

"Over the next several hours, two brief skirmishes occurred. Texians won the first, forcing a small group of dragoons and the Mexican artillery to withdraw.[56][62] Mexican dragoons then forced the Texian cavalry to withdraw. In the melee, Rusk, on foot to reload his rifle, was almost captured by Mexican soldiers, but was rescued by newly arrived Texian volunteer Mirabeau B. Lamar.[62] Over Houston's objections, many infantrymen rushed onto the field. As the Texian cavalry fell back, Lamar remained behind to rescue another Texian who had been thrown from his horse; Mexican officers "reportedly applauded" his bravery.[63] Houston was irate that the infantry had disobeyed his orders and given Santa Anna a better estimate of their strength; the men were equally upset that Houston had not allowed a full battle.[64]"

Applauding the valor of your enemy is pretty good.

(1) Remember when advertising was used to spread product information. Now they use it to manipulate people into thinking that one particular piss-flavored beer will make its drinker more interesting and good looking that those who drink some other piss-flavored beer.

"Remember when advertising was used to spread product information."

Like Coca-Cola basicaly reinventing Santa Claus and polar bears and wanting the world to sing in perfect harmony?!

Remember when advertising was used to spread product information.


Yep. Those were the days:

Were they trying to teach babies how to shave?

#5. I see that political orientation is not included in the "things to be protected" list.

To say that would be to admit too much about economics.

#4: "Education’s like John Gotti,” Bryan Caplan writes in a new broadside against the U.S. system. “Guilty as sin, but everyone’s petrified to testify against it.”

That's a quality one liner.

When I was young, we valued Educrion and we were grateful for our educations.

Oof. That might be the high-water mark of the review.

In a 2015 column for the Hechinger Report, an education website, Andre Perry, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, writes that the cliché “college isn’t for everyone” is code for “those people aren’t smart enough for college.” Good lord. Did the author finish his community college degree? Who in their right mind would disagree with either of those statements?

But the system needs to change in a way that would narrow society’s gaps, not widen them.

Ugh. If the book's thesis is correct, though, that education being a costly signal, both in terms of time and money, then isn't it likely to promote gaps rather than widen them? Afterall, the closer you are to the bottom of the heap, the larger an imposition those costs are on you.

To continue the mafia analogy, it seems like the reviewer pulled a Frank Pentangeli: began to testify against his bosses, then lost his nerve in court.

#3 I know some good ones.

Your Queen is sooo fat, she needs her own chess board.
Your Bishops were defrocked for pedophilia charges.
Your Knights can't tell horse from a mule.
All your chess pieces are pawns.

"so interesting so"..."ad hooc"

Two typos in one post? A new low, Tyler!

At least he didn't say "the list .. listed."

How delightfully self-referential!

#1. Coolness is NEVER defined by what is popular and mainstream. It is always about being onto fashionble things *before* they become mainstream and being aloof from what is mainstream. I'm surprised people in the media world don't realize this, but I see the same problem all the time. They always ruin cool things by introducing something that has already gone mainstream. Like making Dr. Who a guitar playing guy with "Sonic Sunglasses". (Seriously, WTF?)

Because Dr. Who was sooo cool before. Grow up, nerd.

That Facebook article seems low-quality. The author doesn't seem to understand that "groups" when used by a Facebook VP refers the name of a specific Facebook product, Facebook Groups, which is not where fake news spreads. Also Building 10 isn't the center of Facebook, that has like HR and lawyers. Zuck sits in Building 20 ;-)

1: Not bad, but that post linked to one that I liked better: The Most Interesting Sociologist in the World". Most of which was merely decent, but this line was gold:

'The IRB does not ever grant him “exempt” status so they can read his research at a leisurely pace.'

Except they should have used "expedited" instead of "exempt".

2. It seems obvious to me that the political gap between their user base and themselves was growing ever more painful and problematic to the people at facebook. Rather than further angering and alienating half the population by censoring their preferred content and pushing the opposite in their faces, they're retreating from polarizing content entirely. Good.

"equal opportunity and equal treatment for all economists, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, health condition, marital status, parental status, genetic information, professional status, or personal connections." I see they are careful not to rule out arse-licking.

That sounds like a very personal connection.

It's not personal; it's just business.

I always find it interesting in discussions of higher education how many people ignore that it's already mostly vocational education. Business, health, education, and engineering majors combined dwarf the humanities. Really, if we removed the bachelor degree requirements for law and various medical and counseling degrees we'd be set. I'm sure there are some reforms that could be made in the specific content of a bachelors of business administration degree or an education degree, but they're already clearly vocational education. But of course down with college breadth requirements doesn't exactly make you a radical iconoclast and sell books.

The humanities are small as a share of majors, but everyone at US schools has to take a lot of gen ed requirements. Also, within the technical programs, you could argue there’s still a lot of signaling going on. Computer science students at Berkeley, until a few years ago, had to do coursework in lisp, even though it’s rarely ever used in industry. Most of the students will end up programming with specific tools in modern languages, but there’s little emphasis on the latest tools and tons of work on algorithms and theory. Algorithms are important, but software designed by the brightest minds is reproducible. there’s no need for armies of undergrads who barely remember, a year after graduating, some obscure data structure. For instance, React is based on an interesting diffing process, but people using react don’t have to program react from scratch or even understand well how it works under the hood: they just have to know a lot of useful patterns for using it, how to test react code using some testing suite, etc.

Business and engineering are not remotely vocational and I doubt the others are, either.

4. Peter Coy reviews Bryan Caplan.

Signalling is a good thing, don't blame signalling for some other crime.

5. It's a silly idea from the start. A proffesional code of conduct?

Economists are not "professionals" in the sense of being certified with legally binding fiduciary or other duties.
Unlike physicians, lawyers, physicians, nurses, chartered accountants, qualified engineers designing bridges...
The idea that the AEA has some authority or even influence over economists is absurd.
110% virtue signalling.

There's a similar push in computer science. Part of it's enforcement of the PC orthodoxy, it's also just rent seeking by the people who hope to be on the committee. They make the comparison to lawyers or doctors, but the difference is that in those fields there are clear ethical gray areas, end of life, medical privacy, how much a lawyer can behave dishonestly to get his client off the hook, ect. But most of the examples of "unethical" behavior in computer science are obvious, like "don't deliver a product with a security flaw and pretend not to know about it."

Two good posts. There endeth the discussion.

1. "When he drives a new car off the lot, it increases in value.....Presidents celebrate his birthday by taking the day off..." 'nuff said.

I think they use the new and young actor to represent their products on the ad is not a bad idea. Although the old character has a good and very well effect on attracting people for their ads as well. However, it can't represent for the today's character. The old version is kinds of like the last century of America. It can be very popular for the old American, but it may hard to attract the younger generation. The ads works only for the short run on attract people's attention. It needs to update and follow the social step to get better effect for the market effect.

Beer commercials are fairly generic: shots of young people with a fair amount of bare skin doing active things while the voiceover tells us that their brand is cold as if other beers are somehow not affected by the laws of thermodynamics. The most interesting man was a little different. Does anyone know if there was any impact on sales or market share?

#1 -- I think they made a big mistake replacing the old guy with a young guy. He's not the coolest man in the world, just the most interesting. He's not in direct competition with the viewer, because the things he's done are so unusual and so long ago -- very few Dos Equis drinkers are going to be threatened by a jai alai champion.

Having The Most Interesting Man in the World be a young man means that he has to be doing the interesting things right now, which introduces an element of one upmanship relative to the viewer. An old man telling you about his trip to Kathmandu in the 1960s is interesting, a young man telling you about his trip last year is competing with you.

Same problem with college football. The most interesting man in the world should be good at some sport nobody has ever heard of, not a sport that many play and many more watch.

I would agree with this except I would phrase it slightly differently - the Most Interesting Man in the World ought to be an aspiration. A young man ought to see that ad and aspire to become that man - by drinking the right things for instance. If he is a young man, then other young men, as you say, will see him as a rival but also a rebuke.

I would compare him to other 1950s style unrepentant men - James Bond and Hugh Hefner. Hefner was selling a dream. Young men read his magazine and wished to be the sort of sophisticated, urbane, man Hefner pretended to be. And have lots of sex. James Bond probably worked better with boys who could still dream of a career in espionage. Any older and you start to be Walter Mitty.

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