Sunday assorted links


Productivity and management are completely uncorrelated. Productivity gains, over time, will be almost entirely a function of national governance. China did not start growing at 10% per year because of improved management. It started growing because Deng liberalized the economy.

Ditto for India or Argentina, or Hungary. Or Italy, or pretty much any other country not making a living exporting oil.

I regard that as astoundingly wrong, but I will respond here because you do have it backwards.

I can believe every word in that article *and* believe corresponding gains are available to governments who put good management into practice.

Even if your instinct is to think "size" of government is most important, stop to think that for any given size, government can run well or badly. For any given size government can be complementary to free markets, or adversarial.

East Germany was the best managed communist country. Are you saying that is more important than having a market economy?

Always read to the end.

"For any given size government can be complementary to free markets, or adversarial."

So now you are agreeing that size of government as a gross factor far exceeds any value from management?

Suppose we had a test country that was 100% government. Would scale it back first or instead bring on the east German consultsnts?

Thought experiment. Imagine that the government "owned" everything, then gave citizens tokens, call them "dolla's" to buy and sell everything in a "market" environment.

if they exercised their ownership to any significant extent the value of the citizen's possession of the property would be minimal and the familiar problems of communism would arise.

By the way, while we are unlikely to experience extremes (American shares of the economy move very slowly), there is often a claim that a marginal decrease in size is a marginal increase in freedom.

Would cutting public education from k-12 to k-10 really increase your freedom? The productivity of the sector? The growth rate of the economy?

On the other hand, sure, cutting rent control would help. It varies.

Meant to say "productivity of the private sector"

I would kill them all.

Completely valid point.

Tax rates can be (CAN be) somewhat orthogonal to economic freedom within certain bands of rates. In America, it does not line up that way.

Unfortunately, there is no group that advocates greater economic freedom and an increase in efficiently delivered public goods in the United States. Noone is pushing for more public investment / universal health care AND making it easier to hire and fire, eliminating the payroll tax, eliminating ACA benefit mandates, eliminating discrimination law in employment, eliminating the NLRB, eliminating the federal minimum wage, eliminating FDIC, disbanding the SEC, eliminating federal employee unionization, etc..

I’m not sure Ive met more than 10 Americans that square that circle.

For better or worse, in the US the Anti-tax Party is the economic freedom party. The high tax party is the party of litigation, regulation, and legislating our private transactions (and now interactions? I see the headlines, I’m not paying enough attention to offer much of an opinion) to the promised land.

If you’re starting the economic freedom party, don’t let me stop you.

I do think there is aN opening for a technocratic big state party

"Unfortunately, there is no group that advocates greater economic freedom and an increase in efficiently delivered public goods in the United States. Noone is pushing for more public investment / universal health care AND making it easier to hire and fire, eliminating the payroll tax, eliminating ACA benefit mandates, eliminating discrimination law in employment, eliminating the NLRB, eliminating the federal minimum wage, eliminating FDIC, disbanding the SEC, eliminating federal employee unionization, etc.."

I am!

Well mostly. You throw out some things that might be replaceable without noting their replacement. For instance, universal healthcare and no payroll tax? How does that work?

But as a general proposition, sure. Government should be good at what it does, and stop far short of trying to do everything. Maybe really great public schools for all, and less intervention in hiring and workforce diversity.

And of course I am an "independent" to choose that pattern.

You are correct that coopted partisans cannot.

"Would cutting public education from k-12 to k-10 really increase your freedom? "

It wouldn't have much effect on my freedom, but it would have a substantial effect on the 17 year old cohort.

I never thought about it that way, but it is interesting that the end of truancy is the start of voting.

"East Germany was the best managed communist country. Are you saying that is more important than having a market economy?"
Compared to India?

But he never said size. He said liberalize the economy. I think the point is what's the point of practicing good management if the rules of the game are wretched? Consider the recent MRuniversity video of rent control in Mumbai. Are landlords leaving their properties to decay evidence of "bad management"? The Vox article is confused about causality.

He was responding to me, and I was trying to make that very point.

You can connect those dots. You are describing government adversarial to markets.

"Productivity and management are completely uncorrelated"

An unbelievably stupid comment.


This comment is kind of hilarious. The reason liberalization is what leads to economic growth is that poorly performing companies are punished while highly performing ones are rewarded. Thus, more productive companies captures increasingly larger shares of the labor force. You can believe this is not driven by management practices, but it seems unlikely given that it is the main mechanism to differentiate companies. But it is true that if you just try to improve management in a few companies in a state run economy, that's not going to really help. It just happens to be irrelevant to the article.

#4 prediction is a lot harder than explanation. Every business day we hear an authoritative explanation of why the stock market went up or down but no one could predict it.

Or if anyone can predict it, they're keeping their mouth shut and trading on it. They certainly are not going on TV to tell you about it.

Being a TV stock market analyst has got to be one of the biggest frauds in the world. You look at how things went, what news came out that day, and blame one on the other. I've heard a drop in the Dow blamed on high oil prices, because that's like a tax on the whole economy. I've also heard a drop in the Dow blamed on low oil prices, because oil stocks are a big part of the Dow. It's like you can't lose either way. It's like global climate change -- if it's unusually hot GCC caused it, if it's unusually cold GCC caused it, if it rains too much GCC caused it, if it rains too little GCC caused it. I'd rather people in media blamed fluctuations in the stock market or the weather on the gods,
because then anybody with half a brain would know you're full of BS.

haha, I am waiting for climate change to be blamed for the unusually bad flu season. Someone is bound to connect the two.

Trivia: it is not a bad flu season on the west coast because it has been in the 70s and 80s and we've all been outside.

That's just completely wrong.

The CDC lists California as having a widespread flu outbreak since December 9th. Indeed, California was one of the 5 initial states to report high levels of the flu (week 2 of the flu season).

December 15th, 2017

I was going from memory, from some map I saw on Twitter. Maybe this one?

Did you realize the article you linked to is from 2015?

From your link: "Map of flu in the United States as of Dec. 20, 2014."

5. Shiites make up less than 15% of Muslims worldwide, and Israel is concerned about Shiite Muslims? The current American administration feels the same way. Yet, Sunni Muslims attacked America on 9/11, Sunni Muslims killed and maimed thousands of American soldiers in Iraq, and Sunni Muslim extremists, including ISIS, are committing unspeakable acts of violence against Shiite Muslims, Jews, and Christians. If Israel with assistance from the U.S destroys Shiite Iran, do Israel and the current administration believe it will produce peace? The post WWII policy in Europe was based on the premise that balance of power would produce peace. And it worked. Now, Israel and the US. wish to assure an imbalance of power, an imbalance that favors Sunni Muslims (i.e., Saudi Arabia). If one wishes to see the consequence of an imbalance of power, watch Lebanon in the coming months. Lebanon has enjoyed relative secular peace because Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims make up about equal numbers of the population. Not anymore. About 1.5 million Sunni Muslim refugees from Syria have come to Lebanon. Okay, I realize that all these Sunni Muslim refugees have come to Lebanon because of the minority Shiite (Alawite) government in Syria. But that proves my point: the imbalance in Syria is what produces the brutality of the Assad government because Assad knows that if the majority Sunni Muslims prevail in the Syrian civil war it means certain death for Assad and the rest of the minority Shiite (Alawite) population in Syria. Security is about feeling secure, and right now Shiite Muslims don't feel secure, not in Syria and more importantly not in Iran.

For those paying attention, there's a reason why Saudi Arabia has stepped up the pressure on the Shiite Muslims in Lebanon: it's because of the population imbalance.

Assad kept his hold on Syria aided by Russia and some 80,000 fighters belonging to the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah and another 10,000 other Shi’ite militia fighters.

Iran is the sponsor of Hezbollah and Hamas, two outfits that have been at war with Israel in the past.
Iran is attempting to build missile factories in Syria and Hezbollah with their help wants to build precision rockets in Lebanon.

The drone that crossed into Israel Saturday was launched from the T4 base in the Syrian province of Homs. According to the IDF, Iran and the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards have been operating at the T4 base “for a long time, backed by Syrian-army forces and with the approval of the Syrian regime.

By contrast the Islamic state has refrained from attacking Israel even though some of them were for years in villages across the Golan border with Israel and could be seen with binoculars.

Iran has had a nuclear weapon program at least in the past and has constantly proclaimed its commitment to the destruction of Israel. Israel number one enemy is Shiite Iran and its proxies !

"Iran has had a nuclear weapon program at least in the past and has constantly proclaimed its commitment to the destruction of Israel. Israel number one enemy is Shiite Iran and its proxies !"

I am sure Syria and its allies invaded Israel because they wanted Isreal to thrive. You just want an excuse to support Wahhabism. That, 16 years after 9-11, people like you are not hung upside down at the Ground Zero is a shame.

“Shiites make up less than 15% of Muslims worldwide, and Israel is concerned about Shiite Muslims?”

Are ye daft?

Most Muslims have been indoctrinated to hate Israel/Jews, but only a few have the ability to harm Israeli citizens. They don’t care about the creed Rayward, they care about the capacity. Sheesh.

Sunni Muslims killed over 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Are you daft?

Maybe, if Israel didn't attack and subjected Muslims, nothing like that would have happened. There is no moral difference between Germany and the Soviet Union conquering Poland and Israel conquering Palestine. Soon or later, the aggressor will be expelled.

Israel didn’t conquer Palestine. Most of the land was bought from absentee landlords and a lot of it was uncultivated. In every decade you can think of, Muslims have killed many more Muslims than Israel did. And by the way, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini was actively on the nazi side during WW2 and recruited Muslims for the Waffen SS.

They bought political power from absentee landlords? A doubtful claim! Can I buy national sovereignty by buying a house?

"And by the way, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini was actively on the nazi side during WW2 and recruited Muslims for the Waffen SS."
And America supported death squads. So what? If Zionists stopped meddling in Palestine, peace could be achieved. Zionists are not interest in peace. They are not like you and me.

The last thing that MR needs is a Israeli-Palestinian flamefest, but whatever. Yes, Israel did conquer Palestine. I can't be bothered to look up the exact figure but something like 4-6% of Israeli land was owned by Jews before 1947. During the fighting the Palestinians were ethnically cleansed and the new Israeli government gave something like 90% of the land - all the land of those who fled, even if they just fled to the next village and were still in Israel - to the Jewish Land Agency. Purchase has never been a big source of land transfer.

The Grand Mufti did lose out politically and did turn to the Nazis. So did Sadat. So did the Stern Gang. So what? Isn't this just an attempt to smear an entire ethnic group for the wrong doing of one man? Let his blood be on us and our children?

Not purchased:

As of 1931, the territory of the British Mandate of Palestine was 26,625,600 dunams (26,625.6 km2), of which 8,252,900 dunams (8,252.9 km2) or 33% were arable.[116] Official statistics show that Jews privately and collectively owned 1,393,531 dunams (1,393.53 km2), or 5.23% of Palestine's total in 1945.[117][118] The Jewish owned agricultural land was largely located in the Galilee and along the coastal plain. Estimates of the total volume of land that Jews had purchased by 15 May 1948 are complicated by illegal and unregistered land transfers, as well as by the lack of data on land concessions from the Palestine administration after 31 March 1936. According to Avneri, Jews held 1,850,000 dunams (1,850 km2) of land in 1947, or 6.94% of the total.[119] Stein gives the estimate of 2,000,000 dunams (2,000 km2) as of May 1948, or 7.51% of the total.[120] According to Fischbach, By 1948, Jews and Jewish companies owned 20% percent of all cultivable land in the country.

Virtually all the land in Israel was taken from the Palestinians and given to Jews by the State of Israel. Purchase was never a particularly big phenomenon.

I do not blame the Zionists for their expansionism any more than I blame the Arabs for their reaction. If I were a Zionist, I would be in Israel killing Arabs, not in New York theorizing about it. If I were an Arab, I would be killing Zionists, not spending oil money.

I'll give you credit, you're an equal opportunity troll.

I believe in equality, not in superior races, be them Aryans, Hutus or ... Zionists. It is sad to see Jews joining the Stormfront.

Hezbollah is certainly Israel's greatest immediate threat. If they can murder Israeli civilians, they will. And they are building up the capacity to do so. Meanwhile, Sunni Muslim governments are becoming more cooperative.

"If they can murder Israeli civilians, they will."
As opposed to Suni terrorists, who want to buy them flowers and fine chocolates!!

@Charles The creation of the state of Israel did not come at the expense of either the Palestinians or the Arabs. The area proposed by the U.N. partition of 1947 was neither Arab nor Palestinian. It had simply passed from one empire to another ( from the Ottomans to the British ). The time had come for self determination for the groups that lived in two different parts of it. ( the last independent state in Palestine was the Jewish state which was destroyed by the Romans circa 70 AD.)

The consensus is that the U.N. plan was fair. It was accepted by the Jews and rejected by the Palestinians. They would not have accepted the state of Israel even if it had been the size of a postage stamp. In an interview in 2011, the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said the Arabs made a mistake by rejecting the U.N. 1947 plan.

Zionists did not live in Palestine before they were awarded the Palestine lands. Golda Meir? Russian! Begin? Pole! Ben-Gurion? Polish! Eskhol? Russian? Funny, isn't it? Israel was invented by Truman.
"In an interview in 2011, the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said the Arabs made a mistake by rejecting the U.N. 1947 plan."
It is like saying the Jews who did not leave Germany and ended up inside gas chambers should have left? It is true from a practical point of view. Does it make driving them from Germany right?!

Obviously the creation of Israel came at the expense of the Palestinians. Who were driven out of their homes, their villages and now allowed to come back. As their leaders knew they would be. As the Zionists had, of course, said they would be. The area proposed for Partition was indeed controlled by the British and not the Palestinians. If it had been controlled by the people who actually lived there, there would be no state of Israel. You miss a few steps in-between the Ottomans and Israel. Like the Zionists taking up terrorism and murdering British kidnap victims. A lot like al-Qaeda really except without the on-line video. Two people did not live in two different parts of it. A lot of Palestinians lived all over what became Israel. They were mixed. But the ethnic cleansing of the Haganah ended that.

The consensus among whom precisely? Fair in what sense? The Jewish state would have got 56% of Palestine. The Palestinians would have got 43%. There were just under 500,000 Jewish in Palestine in 1947 and there were on the order of 1.2 million Palestinians. How is this fair precisely?

And it is true that the Palestinians would have rejected any Partition - as would have the Zionists. It was their country after all. The Palestinians were just more honest about it and did not have clever lawyers who played silly PR games. The Zionist community also rejected the partition plan after all. The massacre at Deir Yassin took place *before* the end of the Mandate, outside the Jewish zone and as part of a wider campaign to capture Jerusalem and clear the population from the surrounds while the British Army still prevented the Arabs from interfering.

@smfs. The British allocated 70% of the land to the Arabs ( which became Transjordan) the remaining 30% was split between Jews and Palestinians. The bulk of the land allocated to Jews by the U.N. partition was the Negev desert.” The desert was not suitable for agriculture nor for urban development at that time( WIkipedia )

If we subtract the Negev the Jews got about 30% of the 30% portion. of which at least 25% was already privately owned by them. This does not mean the rest of the land was in Arab hands. The large majority was state owned.

As far as the Grand Mufti is concerned, he wasn’t a one man show. He enjoyed great popularity in Palestine during the war and even after he was declared a war criminal at Nuremberg precisely because of his nazi sympathies not in spite of it.

Let’s note that the Palestinians were on the wrong side of WW1 and the wrong side of WW2 and on the wrong side of all the wars started by the Arabs against Israel. There are usually consequences for backing the loser.

Before the 1947 partition plan, there was the 1937 Peel plan which was more generous to the Arabs. They rejected it.

What is your view ?.
The Palestinians should reject any plan that recognizes Israel. Everything else is too much of a loss. How well has this strategy served them in the last 70 years ?

stephan February 11, 2018 at 9:36 pm

So you are going to re-define the territory of "Palestine" to include another country in order to make the land grab look less shameful? An interesting if common approach. Unfortunately it does not mollify people who have been kicked out of their homes to tell them related peoples have 32 other countries they can move to.

They did give the Jewish state the Negev. Because they asked for it. Ben Gurion moved there almost immediately. They also gave them the fertile coastal plain, access to the majority of the water around the sea of Galilee and pretty much anything else of value. It was an entirely one-sided deal.

Sorry but how do you come to that conclusion? Jews owned about 5% of Palestine. They got 56% of it. So they pretty much owned a tenth of the state assigned to them. Israel does that "state owned" thing in the West Bank where anyone who cannot produce a modern Jordanian land title is deemed to sit on "state owned" land. Even if they have been farming it since the Crusades. The Turks did not go in for state owned land much. So yes, it was owned by Palestinians.

There is zero evidence for the Grand Mufti's popularity. After the War of Independence he retired into private life and everyone went back to ignoring him. The British only wanted him because he was a British citizen who supported the Nazis. There is no evidence of war crimes. Which is all irrelevant anyway because the blood is not on the hands of the children and grand children.

Actually since we all agreed to rule out war as a means of solving problems there are no consequences for backing the loser. Nor is it obvious that there should be. That is the whole point about making invading other countries for fun and profit a war crime.

The Israelis have no intention of accepting any plan either. They are just smarter at how they do it. So yes, the Palestinians should reject and continue to reject. There is no sign they would have been better off if they accepted any deal put to them. They cannot lose in the long run. The BDS movement is already making enormous in-roads among the people Israelis want to support them - smart urban educated left wing people. If it was up to the European Left Israel would not exist. The American Democrats are a few decades behind them at best. Israel is supported only by people most people who support Zionism loathe - people like Mike Pence. Southern Baptists.

It obviously bothers SMFS that his anti-Semitism gives him something in common with those evil leftists and their worship of Chomsky and Pol Pot.

+1. Maybe the Iraq project will help us in the end after all by providing a moderate Shi'a alternative.

6. Excellent. I'll look forward to reading the papers in a couple of years. BTW, they make an excellent point -- "escotericism" is the better term for this, not "Straussian", since Melzer has shown it was practiced by a far larger number of authors from antiquity to 1800 than Strauss ever covered, and Strauss 'merely' rediscovered the phenomenon. If we call it Straussian, then we would have to say, "We're all Straussians now."


There's so much more to being Straussian than taking esotericism seriously.

Thus, taking esotericism seriously does not imply being Straussian.

Reading between the lines, one might conclude my comment was addressed to the original poster.

I dunno if anyone’s interested but “Leo Strauss: Man of Peace” (Cambridge) was a fine book, for beginners who want to know more, though it’s also worth it for non beginners.

#4 - "The goal of scientific psychology is to understand human behavior." Good luck with that.

This may help. Predicted by 2020 China techno-police state will be able, within three seconds, to identify any person's face using billions of cameras. Brave New World.

2. "Now this is definitely signaling — but shouldn’t they be having sex instead?"

A very TC title. As a former class clown, I'm naturally drawn to these kinds of articles, vicariously enjoying the antics which I can no longer engage in, as I have too much to lose. Why not have sex? Well, you need a willing female for that, and for me the antics were in part to substitute for the fact that I didn't. But there's something particularly pathetic about this one. It's usually a guy, usually alone, talking into his phone about hiding in some space over the course of a night. It's as if he's taping a sign to his forehead saying "I have nothing better to spend my nights doing." It doesn't require intelligence or physical ability. You aren't making a splash. Nobody in the mourning is saying "who's responsible for this?" "Success" is measured by no one knowing anything ever happened, except for people you tell after the fact.

And there appears to be no risk. An element of risk would at least make it somewhat worthwhile.

#2: Well, that was a nice weird article. But if you want weirdness on an industrial scale, you might try this list of Reddit links. Warning: massive timewaster :-)

Ah, for the good old days when children ran away to live the MMA to figure out if Michelangelo sculpted a statue!

2. Having sex at age 11?

Teens. Some are 14-year (and maybe older) for instance. In America, sexual initiation usually happens very early due to loose morals.
What surprises is he failure of imagination of government and business.
"We appreciate that people are interested in IKEA and want to create fun experiences, however the safety and security of our co-workers and customers is our highest priority which is why we do not allow sleepovers in our stores."
Couldn't the homeless and poor people be housed for the night at private business in exchange for a symbolic charge, maybe even a government subsidy? Ankle monitors could be used to make sure they are not leving heir assigned sectors and looting or sabotaging the business.

Ikea should make some furniture specifically designed for this purpose. Something like a coffin, but with ventilation holes.

People would be housed, safe and warm. Government-business cooperarion could solve a terrible social problem and save billions of dollars. The existing structure is quite adequate.

#1: By all means let's send our managers to Africa.

#1 interesting article, but having Japan rated number 2 in the world in terms of management quality made me suspicious of the rest.

In the call for papers on Hume, Smith, and Esotericism, the JEBO editors are unintentionally hilarious:

by far the best treatment of it is Arthur Melzer, Philosophy between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing (Chicago UP, 2014), which explains esotericism clearly and enables one to separate the phenomena from other Straussian baggage.

It's the "other" that I was tickled by: Melzer helps us separate this piece of Straussian baggage- the esotericism crap- from other pieces!

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