Monday assorted links

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3. Null hypothesis in education strikes again. Paging Dr. Kling...

Success in the classroom is largely a result of conditions outside of the classroom, i.e. home culture.

Read this article by N Kristoff titled "Meet Sultana, the Taliban’s Worst Fear."

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/05/opinion/sunday/meet-sultana-the-talibans-worst-fear.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fnicholas-kristof

Here is one line. "Sultana, now 20, says she leaves her home only about five times a year — each time, she must wear a burqa and be escorted by a close male relative — but online she has been reading books on physics and taking courses on edX and Coursera. I can’t independently verify everything Sultana says, but her story generally checks out. After reading a book on astrophysics by Lawrence M. Krauss, a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University, she reached him by Skype, and he says he was blown away when this Afghan elementary school dropout began asking him penetrating questions about astrophysics."

How can you not be inspired to learn as much as is possible after reading that?

No compare that to the results of Zuckerberg dumping 500 million into Newark's public schools. The only metric he could point to was something like a .05% increase in graduation which is arguably the most suspcious metric out there.

The state can not replace the family, despite as hard as the liberals try!

The real miracle is learning anything of importance from a bozo like Nick Kristoff.

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How ironic; Mr. Krauss is just the sort of man that burqas are designed to defend against.

What does that mean?

Larry was accused of bad behaviour by a woman. Therefore, he is guilty.

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So, in within a decade we should expect Afghan women to dominate Nobel prize awards thanks to the Taliban and smartphone access to online learning?

Ie, the Taliban control drive all girls to be highly focused on learning?

My point is that there is enough free information available for someone to learn the basics if he or she wanted to. Things like wiki and khan are easily accessible to nearly anyone in america.

Poor and black spend more time in front of a computer screen than white and wealthy, but they don't spend their time wisely. Most of it is spent on entertianment. At least that is what I read in the data, albiet I'm no expert.

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#4: There are Chinese sellers who use software to load up millions of print-on-demand products, crossing a database of blank items with a database of stock photos. Hence the “wall decal of old woman with asthma inhaler” from a few years back.

I'd never heard of this, so I had to google it. It's not really as funny as you might anticipate, but on the plus side some of the reviews aren't bad:

https://www.amazon.com/Wallmonkeys-Senior-Inhaler-Graphic-WM335116/dp/B0150BAHNI?th=1

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3. "were not dramatically better than they were for similar sites that did not participate": What the heck is 'dramatically better'? RAND--you can do better than this. Was it significantly better? What is cost-effectively better? What's drama got to do with research?

I looked inside. They seemed to see low statistical significance, some small wins, some loses. I might re-term it "a wash."

Still, that is part of the process of optimization, strike one hypothesis off the list.

You paid the $40 for the book? How many teachers & schools participated? What kind of control did they use? Were the study variables and methods registered ahead of time? I read the abstract and it seems chock full of "partial implementations". I have doubts if this adequately addressed the question. Also, I'd expect it to have greatest effect on the lower tail of the performance distribution. ?

I just skimmed the PDF

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The electronic pdf is free to donwload.

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Dramatically better = a lot better.

If you have an actual number, you can say "a whooping 2 % better" instead of "2 % better"

It sounds more impressive that way.

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Well, we did find the optimized solution. The only exception to the null hypothesis in education...

Direct Instruction

Unfortunately it is vehemently opposed by every major teachers union and thus by the Democratic Party apparatus in the US. It doesn’t require more money and actually works, which probably precludes its adoption into perpetuity.

Truly the nuclear power of education reform.

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1. "I have become all things to all people". St. Paul? No, macro economists.

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So teachers don't matter.

Cool. Then we dont need to give them raises.

Just finished listening to the episode with Mark Zuckerberg and cost disease comes to mind. In Ontario where I live, our education budget has ballooned from $13.4 billion to $29.1 billion since 2004. The result? A 7% decrease in grade 6 math scores.

Clearly, this is proof that you should be spending $40 billion!

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Canada also disproves the notion that paying teachers more will improve education. Teachers in Canada get paid significantly more than the average for teachers in the U.S., and our schools are not much better - especially if you compare comparable demographic regions.

The average salary for a teacher in Alberta is $99,300 for 9 month's work.. Plus they get a large pension (2% of salary per year worked, plus benefits) and can retire at 55 if they started early enough.

My kid's public high school had a graduation rate of 68%.

Of course, this hasn't stopped teachers from threatening strikes every time they want another pay or benefit increase 'for the children'.

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1. What I tell students is that if you want precise answers and sophisticated theory that actually works pretty well study microeconomics, however there's one thing macro has going for it and that is that regular people really, really care about macro - why some countries are rich or poor, what's going to happen to their jobs, etc...

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#1: Meh, sound and fury. His post is correct of course, but trivial. It's why every econ program requires its students to take both macro and micro. And econometrics, of a sort (some undergrad programs are pretty watered down).

The perhaps more interesting question is whether history of econ should be required. I haven't done a deep or even shallow look; years ago it was required in Harvard's PhD program but not at MIT's (they required economic history instead).

I don't see how you can call yourself an economist without some grounding in both economic history and history of economic thought.

If you teach economic history and the history of economic thought you might actually have to cover the ideas that work against the current narrative, and explain away uncomfortable people like Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek. Much better to go tabula rasa, and teach your new theories without having to point out that they've been discussed before and found wanting.

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2. The Chinese government is totally going to swing the other way on fertility policy, aggressively encouraging couples to have at least two children. I don't think it will work, but they'll try.

I suppose if all else fails, they can start bringing in immigrants. There's some strong Chinese economic connections to sub-Saharan African countries, although I doubt they'll get citizenship rights.

The Chinese bring in immigrants? That’s Baizou talk.

I wouldn’t put it past the PRC to have Qatar style immigration if they get wealthy enough.

I mean, if you are going to make a Baizuo statement, might as well really commit to it.

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1. If.
2. There is a difference in scale between Qatar and China.

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The Chinese government has shown a growing willingness to use draconian measures. If fertility really became an issue they might "draft" young women into a term of service in a fertility corps in the same way that they draft young men into a term of military service.

Older families might then be socially pressured into adopting the resulting children. After "demobilization" the young women could go on to live their lives, marry and have children in their own right.

In the long run, AI and surveillance will make raising children much less burdensome. Every child will receive a free individually-tailored education from AI tutors, and the AI-powered real-time surveillance society will let small children wander the streets by themselves in perfect safety and explore and learn and live somewhat independent lives even when their age is in the single digits. They will never be unsupervised because everyone will be supervised.

Thank you, Phillip K. Dick.

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#2 Why don't the chinese buy up some diversity from Europe? We give it for free.

Markets in Everything: Diversity Credits!

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I have read that China has quite a few educational facility to teach non-Han Muslims mandarin and job skills.

And don't forget the direct hands on medical research.

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3. $575 million in grants over 7 years at $868 - $3,541 spent per pupil and no significant effect. That's pretty disheartening to hear. Interesting to read that greater than 50% of teachers predicted the lack of results compared to only about 10% by school leaders.

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#5 - Just weird. States with higher levels of opioid deaths saw slower growth in opioid deaths. Just what you would expect irrespective of Oxcycontin or triplicate prescriptions. Also not very surprising that states with lots of opioid problems would try to get things under control with more strict prescribing rules. Oxycontin is just a red herring. Based on the abstract, all the study shows is that states with high levels of abuse and stricter steps to control abuse saw smaller increases in abuse. Surprise.

So, Purdue Pharma chosing to promote opioid addiction for high profits beginning in the 90s based on adopting Milton Friedman's admonish to serve only share holders, customers, workers, society be damned, had nothing to do with the surge in drug addiction in the more conservative States?

I grew up when drug companies were finding ways to sell drugs in large volumes, but most corporations saw serving customers, workers, and the common good as having at least as high a priority as shareholders, and most drug companies sought no economic profit, but only market return on invested capital, just as all medical practitioners did under medical ethics.

This was perhaps a corrective to the patent medicine era which sold miracle cures containing radium, mercury, etc, with the active ingredients being alcohol, opiates, coca, etc. That era was holding on the the south border region, sponsoring Wolfman Jack, and evangelical preachers, among other on high power AM radio.

Purdue Pharma could have at least given us a new Wolfman Jack.

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"Macro matters 3: Or think about the awful experience of the Great Depression where lack of good macro theory contributed to making things worse."
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That was micro theory, the reaction of shoppers to the sudden appearance of broadcast radio.
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"Macro matters 1: Take a trip to Zimbabwe, many other African countries, Venezuela, Argentina, or look at Greece or even Italy. Here you can see examples of what happens when you screw up macro policies. The amount of harm that bad policies can induce is enormous."
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That was micro, sunbelt economies having to compete with the ice countries.
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"Macro matters 5. First agents amongst the non-treated may be affected directly (example: subsidize job search in one county, vacancies may fall in neighboring counties). This could potentially be controlled for in some cases with great(er) data but theory would help too. "
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Micro problem related to the state system of government and the resulting information skew between state and federal government.
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"Macro matters 3: Third, the macro environment may matter if experiment adopted nationwide. I have in mind government debt dynamics, monetary policy stance etc. Higher spending on a good policy may eg force higher taxes or lower spending on other things when debt is high."
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National vs local and state government skew.

Badly educated central bankers having to keep national government liquid. Explainable with one instance, Bernanke claiming we solved the central bank problem, pure micro delusion.
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It is all the micro theory o congestion management, and the fixes are all micro changes in accounting, mostly. Coase theorem, let transaction costs go to zero and most problems becomes a micro adjustment.

My favorite micro problem, why do we get sudden stops in the Senate?

Micro problem, small state senators have an existential problem, if they do not get ear marks their state dies and we have civil war.

Solution is micro. Just move the earmarks up the accounting tree and have the House deliver a single cash subsidy to the state, on a state basis. It is micro because I let transaction costs go to zero and observe the accounts and can see a redundancy in the earmarks infiltrating all the House programs. I am using what??? any guesses? Abstract tree theory, or in economic terminology, the Baumol process is happening in Congress. The result is a simple accounting change resulting on one difficult negotiation per budget period. The individual small state senators are incentivize to manage cash and reduce interest payments, their states gets more money. The small state capitals can manage the irregular gains to scale on their own.

In every case, reduce transaction costs, identify the reduced accounting tree, and then remove redundancy. The tree trunk gets round and macro is a happy hologram. Works every time everywhere.

Why is it micro? Because I know the eight or ten senators involved, I can reach all of them with this simple trick, and have already reached them, the idea now under discussion.

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#1 - Does anyone actually claim that macro doesnt matter i.e. the state of a nations economy does not matter?

I think the criticism is the ability of macroeconomics to understand the macro economy, predict where its heading and make specific and evidence based policy recommendations for a particular country.

Macroeconomics has seemed to be based more on ideology than evidence.

Bingo!

Plus, it seems that they're bullied/overridden by politicians, lobbyists, favored climate/tech billionaires, too-big-to-fail bankers/investment houses, et al that inject illogical and self-serving diktats.

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Macroeconomics are dealing with the emergent properties of a nontransparent complex adaptive system that no one truly understands.

There is lots of value in Macroeconomists trying to understand certain characteristics, but the idea that the future economy can be predicted is and has always been false. Also, the notion that you can push and pull on emergent properties and control the economy that way is ridiculous. An economy that cannot be predicted is an economy that cannot be planned.

If you think of the economy as an ecosystem (which it is), then a Macroeconomist is more like an evolutionary biologist than an engineer of systems. And no biologist would ever suggest that they should use models to intervene in nature to make the ecosystem 'better', because they understand that any interventions they make will have unintended consequences because they don't truly understand all the relationships in the system. Hence the adoption of the 'precautionary principle'

Macroeconomists should adopt the precautionary principle, and have an ethos that they should not screw around with the macro economy because they don't really know how it works and what will happen when they intervene.

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#1. Shouldn't macro based on microeconomics, sort of in the same way that chemistry is based on physics? Even if they're are complex and emergent features, you should at least be able to posit some causal and deterministic linkage between the macro and the micro, right?

Microfoundations was in vogue for a while.

Didn’t really pan out.

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Maybe sometimes, but emergent properties can be the result of millions of interactions. In complex adaptive systems, these are always changing, and emergent properties can be thought of as the result of computation, as that's what these systems do. And we don't have the source code because it's wrapped up in the minds of millions, the rules under which they behave, and the connections between them.

Even simpler systems where the agents have small sets of fixed rules we can understand, the systems that arise when they interact can be extremely complex and impenetrable.

As an example, if you discovered an individual ant and knew nothing about anthills, there is nothing you could study about that ant that would allow you to predict anthills or the behaviour of such things. And vice versa, if you study anthills and fully understand how the individual ants contribute to its emergence, as well as all the interactions, you still are no closer to predicting specifically what that anthill will do in the future.

And needless to say, human organization is vastly more complex.

Macroeconomics would be a lot healthier if macroeconomists saw themselves more like evolutionary biologists and less like social and economic engineers.

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#2. If rising percentages of the population are over 65, then that might be because people are living longer. Shouldn't we be celebrating longer human lifespans, instead of going "Oh no! There are too many OLD PEOPLE around!" ?

The "oh no" is about how does the world work with more and more older people needing to be supported by the production of fewer and fewer working age people?

The artihmetic answer is simply bring in all those young people from the Third World. Good luck with that.

Well, some of those old people can probably work longer, when push comes to shove.

Inverted demographic pyramid problem is solved!

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There's also a large number of non-elderly people not in the work force. So we have a reserve army of potential workers. If labor markets get tight enough so that wages rise they will join the labor force. We ran that experiment in the late 90s and that's what happened.

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Well, no, it's because of very rapid fertility decline with very rapid economic change. This is described in the twitter thread.

Isn’t China just converging with other East Asian countries?

Who knows?

In recorded human history no nation has ever gone more than a full generation with such low fertility. Is China converging or is it running ahead? How would we tell.

About the only historical antecedents for this sort of fertility within a group comes from religious movements. Extremely decreased fertility was found among the Pythagoreans, the Marcionites, and the Shakers. The only the latter sect still survives.

I would not be willing to make any 200 year bets on any society surviving with current East Asian demography.

Well, Japan might find it hard to field much of an army to defend itself against invasion in 2100 when its population will have dropped by a third, but when other countries also have declining populations there's probably not going to be a lot of pressure to capture territory from other nations.

As for internal dissent, I doubt a nation of senior citizens will say, "We're not spending nearly as much as we used to on childcare and construction. Let's burn it all down!"

But I could be wrong about this.

It's tough to invade an island, if you don't have excellent amphibious assault capabilities. It's not all that easy even if you do.

The People's Republic may be working diligently on this. But challenges remain.

'The People's Republic may be working diligently on this.'

Well sure, but Taiwan is a lot closer to China than Japan.

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China hasn't been working on it. If they had any desire to assault Japan, Taiwan, or (these days) Hong Kong, they would be building landing craft and training staging exercises with mock amphibious assaults. They have not been doing this and lack the ability to mount any serious seaborne invasion. Yes, people have calculated they could do a lot of damage using civilian vessels, but they would also do a lot of damage to themselves. It's not the sort of strategy you want to rely on 30 years after instigating a one child policy.

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Children per women - https://tinyurl.com/vf8rjpp
Births per 1000 - https://tinyurl.com/u8qe4w4

Converging yes. Transition like Japan no. Far more rapid. Like South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, at far lower levels of income.

Aging pop issues in Japan, which are higher than in most Western countries, will be much higher again in East Asia later economic growth countries.

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3. "Reformers should not underestimate the resistance that could arise if changes to teacher-evaluation systems have major negative consequences for staff employment"

I take this as indicating that after they carefully measured effectiveness, they didn't then cull the worst teachers.

I'd be curious to know if this careful measurement produced results very different from just asking "who are the best 10% and worst 10%" - I suspect this is pretty well known in most work groups, including schools.

Culling the worst 10% of teachers is probably the most effective change one could make. If you aren't going to do that ...

There was a paper a few years ago that made this point, One of their findings was that if all you did was fire the worst performing 10% of teachers and distributed their students to the other classes, the change would be enough to make America's education system perform as well as any in the world. The increase in class sizes did not come close to offsetting the gains from dumping the worst teachers. So you could actually save 10% of the single biggest ticket item in education, while improving educational outcomes dramatically.

The teacher's unions are the single biggest impediment to improving the education of children.

Similarly, the biggest benefit from charter schools is the ability to close low-performing existing schools. Just closing the lowest 5% performing schools and redistributing the kids to other schools would be a large improvement.

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"Reformers should not underestimate the resistance that could arise if changes to teacher-evaluation systems have major negative consequences for staff employment."

lol. what did they send in a couple MBAs fresh out of college?

Seriously, the headline should read: "naive education market reformers discover that education is complicated, political, non-homogeneous, and not at all like an auto assembly line."

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"Reformers should not underestimate the resistance that could arise if changes to teacher-evaluation systems have major negative consequences for staff employment."

Said the young research assistant upon exiting the hospital...

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2: Another Baizou gives silly suggestions in Twitter response:

“@stuartbasten
In other words, policy on childcare, gender discrimination, work family balance, housing, tackling the excesses of the education system and so on and so on. (9/X)”

The answer will be to increase faith and love of China to give men and women the fervor to have many children for China’s glorious future.
In other words, war and expansionism.

I think that the last thing the CCP wants is a populace that is trained in using firearms and that feels entitled to a glorious near future. Pissed off soldiers aren’t a recipe for harmony and order.

What they truly have to fear is Chinese grandmothers losing their only grandchild.

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2. Well, the good news is, a lot of coal plants under construction in China -- the estimated amount of which has fallen by one-third over 13 months -- will never be used.

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4. Evidently "Auschwitz" has become a verboten word. The actual name of the Polish town was " Oswiecim", the Krauts changed it to "Auschwitz", like the British changed "New Amsterdam" to "New York" and the Canadians changed "Berlin, Ontario" to"Kitchener. Ontario" in 1916.

There must be some kind of statute of limitations on horrendous geography, however. The Roman Coliseum, where Christians and other undesirables were fed to wild animals or killed in staged fights, retains its name and is a world famous tourist attraction that doesn't seem to suffer from its sick history.

It's like this the world over. TGI Fridays in Australia no longer serves its Flaming World Trade Center dessert. It's political correctness run amok, I tell you.

(One and a half vertical chocolate brownie on bed of glacis and peanut brittle and chocolate sauce, soaked in brandy, en flambe.)

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4) This is why I don't use twitter (other than when links take me there). Look at these internet rando's virtue signalling here:

"Julia Burrell @republiclvr
Dec 1
Replying to @AuschwitzMuseum and @amazon

Jeff Bezo's @amazon I join my family's voice w/ @AuschwitzMuseum to request you IMMEDIATELY REMOVE all "holiday" ornaments and other "gifts" for sale that display Auschwitz. Not only is this disrespectful but SHAMEFUL that someone in your org would even think this appropriate!"

She forgot to mention that Amazon is in breach of "The Rome Statute"

Don't worry, one day we will crush all dissent and those who dare to complain online about anything will be cleansed from the body politic. I'm not exactly sure what will happen to them. Maybe they'll be sent to Madagascar.

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"I love other fields, think they matter enormously, but I also think that macro is at the core of economic theory and practice." Am I the only one who thought of the irony of the etymology of "economics," without regard to the validity of the author's arguments or not? Given the root comes from the Greek oikonomikos, "practiced in the management of a household or family",' perhaps we should distinguish "macroeconomics" from just "economics" (and drop the "micro"). :)

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2. Falling birthrates in China are a good thing. It’ll be tough environmentally to bring Chinese people up to first-world living standards as is, a couple hundred million more wouldn’t help. I also doubt that this will have dire consequences on the Chinese economy—China still has a huge rural population that produces little of economic value and could be integrated into the modern economy, the retirement age in China is much lower than in the West and could be raised, and old people in China who have lived in third-world poverty for most of their lives aren’t suddenly going to demand US-level pensions or vote to redistribute the lion’s share of national wealth to themselves. These trends will probably be enough to sustain strong economic growth for another generation at which time China will probably be rich enough to significantly increase automation or attract immigrants.

The common doctrinaire liberal and libertarian arguments for migration to the US are as follows: "Migration is good for the US - it will ease their demographic burden caused by aging, and the 'Lump of Labor' is a fallacy and the more people who you have, the higher possible division of labor".

Now, anyone who follows on from those could not then turn around and spout the Chinese government propaganda line about how reductions in fertility* are necessary because China had "too many people" and aging could have no burden on China.

*including those which are 1) natural and unavoidable, 2) achieved through their somewhat silly-in-the-long-term but immediately beneficial and non-coercive "Later, longer, and fewer" rapid fertility reduction programme, 3) achieved through their coercive, absolutely stupid and unjust One Child Policy.

Incidentally for anyone interested, great lecture on the consequences of the One Child Policy and more generally sharp fertility reduction+son preference+incomplete urbanisation in child, by Dudley Poston https://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/chinas-one-child-policy-was-stupidest-thing-country-ever-could-have-done (with a somewhat clickbaity page title, but don't let that fool you).

The difference between immigration and fertility is that immigration doesn’t increase total world population, merely moves it from one country to another (in fact immigration decreases global fertility when people move into lower fertility environments). Given global environmental challenges such as climate change, it would be good for overall world population to stabilize even if population growth would enhance the economy of any given country. Concern about global population is not a “lump of labor” fallacy (which I agree is a fallacy), but concern about what everyone living at first world living standards would mean for the global environment, which is a real concern.

I agree that China’s falling fertility could be a problem for China (although not as significant as many people assume given that China still has room for huge internal immigration, as well as to decrease emigration even if it doesn’t take a single new immigrant). However, it is a great thing for the world as a whole, and we should all be thankful to China for being the only country in history that limited its own people’s fertility. No other country has made a similar sacrifice of its own potential geopolitical power to improve sustainable global living standards.

Also, you can’t really compare the US and China because the circumstances are very different. The US has 1/4th as many people on three times as much arable land. China has a massive internal unproductive rural population that can be an internal source of immigration; the US doesn’t. China doesn’t have as generous pensions as the US so won’t have the same burdens caring for the old even if the ratio of young to old is the same. Most importantly, China is experiencing net emigration, while the US is experiencing net immigration—that’s a free market judgment that China is overpopulated relative to the rest of the world but the US is not. So it is entirely consistent to think that the US would benefit from more population but China wouldn’t.

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It absolutely is a limited resources, Malthusian argument. But even if we did hold as true a limited resources perspective, being against movements by migration from low to high environmental impact nations would still be a better strategy than anti-natalism in low impact ones...

Net emigration from China is only arguable as a "market judgment" (for better or worse) if you assume China has no barriers to entry. Speak to billions of Africans and millions of Chinese internal "floating migrants" about what they think of that!

I think you're even wrong on migration reducing fertility. Emigrant fertility often higher (e.g. mex american!)

Resources are obviously limited at some point—I don’t think we’re close to hitting it now (which is why Malthusianism is wrong). But the bigger issue is climate change, which is certainly real and likely to cause problems.

However, I believe global poverty is a bigger issue than climate change. I don’t think it’s right to keep poor people poor in order to mitigate climate change—which is what the anti-migration strategy (and generally anti-development stance of some environmentalists) you mention implies. It would be far better to have a lower global population so that we can have high living standards with the high per-capita emissions that implies while still keeping a lid on overall emissions.

Further, I don’t think China would have net immigration without barriers to entry. For one, I’m not sure those barriers are that high. I’ve had many friends who’ve worked in China and they have had much easier visa processes than it takes to come to the US. Africans aren’t moving to China en masse because most people aren’t going to want to go to a middle-income country with a totally different culture. Africans aren’t moving en masse to Mexico either. They don’t even seem to be moving en masse to Spain or Greece, but only use those countries which are a good bit richer than China as transit stations.

Also, what do you mean about Mexican-Americans? Fertility among Hispanics in the US has been falling rapidly: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/us/us-birthrate-hispanics-latinos.html.

Re; poverty - I'd say it's probably worse to without family than to be in poverty, or to have a smaller family than you desire than to have less stuff than you desire. if we're talking about denying anyone anything against their desires. Family is more decisive on "living standards" than stuff. You could argue that's not the case if people opt into it (although that overstates the case for poverty reducing economic change as voluntary), but certainly not the case for coercive population controls. This is a values thing, of course, but I suspect many Chinese would agree.

Re; Mex-American fertility, initially after migration I believe it tends to be higher. May have eventually regressed to the mean of US though. But so has Mexico anyway (and so the Baby Bust will end much of the Latin American migration pattern from Central America to the USA).

Another point I'd have to go back to is I really would have to object to your comment on: "China ... being the only country in history that limited its own people’s fertility"

China's fertility reduction driven by government had two parts - the "Later Fewer Longer" programme which was largely non-coercive and worked, well and the coercive "One Child Policy" backed by state sponsored fines, expropriation of property, peer pressure (only so many children in a work unit, so those that have too many are often punished by others), and which enabled corruption and bribery, child trafficking, child abandonment (particularly of girls) and involved forced sterilization and forced late-stage abortion.

Most of the reduction in fertility is credited by Poston above to the non-coercive policy, with the "One Child Policy" doing little more, and certainly little more that justified its harms.

But the non-coercive policy is not particularly unique to China - a large number of developing and even developed nations have introduced non-coercive family planning policies that can take some of the "credit" (for better or worse) of fertility reduction and its "benefits".

The unique part of the People's Republic's policy on fertility reduction is mostly the pretty unquestionably bad, coercive policy, whatever we think of the wisdom of the non-coercive family planning policies it shared with many nations (were these good or bad?).

There has definitely been coercive fertility control in other countries. For example, some regions in India had some horrible practices. Fortunately ended now. But China does win on scale and time.

Also, there were plenty of horrible measures in many countries aimed not at reducing the fertility of the general population, but the fertility of specific groups.

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@Zaua
"The difference between immigration and fertility is that immigration doesn’t increase total world population, merely moves it from one country to another (in fact immigration decreases global fertility when people move into lower fertility environments). Given global environmental challenges such as climate change, it would be good for overall world population to stabilize even if population growth would enhance the economy of any given country. "

And people are totally fungible and have no right to countries or posterity. Accommodating the surplus of fecund nations, who have less incentive to control reproduction and more to achieve power through numbers, is who we are!

I disagree with you. The utilitarian and moral arguments for becoming the overflow tank of the third world are not attractive to me, or convincing.

Rawls in The Law of Peoples:
"Concerning the second problem, immigration, in #4.3 I argue that an important role of government, however arbitrary a society’s boundaries may appear from a historical point of view, is to be the effective agent of a people as they take responsibility for their territory and the size of their population, as well as for maintaining the land’s environmental integrity. Unless a definite agent is given responsibility for maintaining an asset and bears the responsibility and loss for not doing so, that asset tends to deteriorate. On my account the role of the institution of property is to prevent this deterioration from occurring. In the present case, the asset is the people’s territory and its potential capacity to support them in perpetuity; and the agent is the people itself as politically organized. The perpetuity condition is crucial. People must recognize that they cannot make up for failing to regulate their numbers or to care for their land by conquest in war, or by migrating into another people’s territory without their consent."

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Macro matters. Macro theory has been useless. I wager that there is not a single DSGE paper that has been absolutely necessary for the proper guidance of macro policy in the world. Every single major reform and 99.9% of minor ones could have been undertaken with low powered macro models and macro econometrics.

To be even more provocative I'll say that modern macro is as useless as game theory in most of IO or even contemporary modern philosophy. They please their practioners but do nothing to help us function in life or rearrange our institutions and rules.

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2. Very rapid urbanization (now 60% in China vs. 81% in USA) means a very rapid change from children being an economic plus working on the farm to being an economic dead weight in a towns and cities. In Europe my grandparents put their children to work in factories and kept their wages, but even in countries such as India with a much lower per capita GDP than China, this child exploitation avenue is becoming less practical.

With slow unskilled manufacturing becoming uncompetitive with automation and closing off the opportunity to make money from the sweat and tears of children, my predictions for peak world population are well below average.

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There's no double burden on those middle-aged Chinese if they don't have kids. They will just have to care for their elderly, which seems doable, including financially, considering government pension allowances are higher in most cases than kid allowances. Retirement ages will just be pushed back until either the mid-70s or full descent into the sickness that comes with old age. What's in question is who will care for 'the last generation' that are now children. But due to ecological collapse, that may not even be a question we would need to ask (in any case that question has been already illustrated by the Max Max movies. No country for old people).

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