Month: March 2022
That is the theme of my latest Bloomberg column:
The Metropolitan Opera of New York has announced it will no longer stage performers who have supported Russian President Vladimir Putin. Carnegie Hall has done the same, and the Royal Opera House in London is canceling a planned Bolshoi Ballet residency. I expect more institutions to follow suit. Russia’s contemporary art scene, already financially struggling, fears ostracism from museums and collectors, mostly because of Putin’s recent actions.
Unwise, says I. And:
It is simply not possible to draw fair or accurate lines of demarcation. What about performers who may have favored Putin in the more benign times of 2003 and now are skeptical, but have family members still living in Russia? Do they have to speak out?
Another question: Who exactly counts as Russian? Ethnic Russians? Russian citizens? Former citizens? Ethnic Russians born in Ukraine? If you were an ethnic minority born under the Soviet Union, your former Soviet passport may have explicitly stated that you were not Russian.
And what about citizens of Belarus, which according to some reports is planning to send troops into Ukraine? Might they be subject to such strictures as well? How about citizens of China, which abstained from the United Nations vote condemning Russia’s invasion? Which wars are performers from Rwanda or Democratic Republic of the Congo required to repudiate?
When exactly is this ban supposed to end?
And to close:
If anything, the McCarthyism of the 1950s is a bit more explicable than the cancel culture of the present. At least it was trying to address what was then considered a great threat. That said, McCarthyism is not a practice America should want to revive. Witch hunts, by their very nature, do not bring out the best in people, Americans very much included.
I guess we will really see who is against cancel culture and who is not.
Betonit.blog, with an RSS feed as well. Now in my feed!
We’re thrilled to announce the FTX Future Fund: a philanthropic fund making grants and investments to ambitious projects in order to improve humanity’s long-term prospects. We plan to distribute at least $100M this year, and potentially a lot more, depending on how many outstanding opportunities we find. In principle, we’d be able to deploy up to $1B this year.
We have a longlist of project ideas that we’d love to fund, but it’s not exhaustive—we’re open to a broad range of ideas. We’re particularly keen to launch massively scalable projects: projects that could grow to productively spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Our areas of interest include the safe development of artificial intelligence, reducing catastrophic biorisk, improving institutions, economic growth, great power relations, effective altruism, and more.
If you’d like to launch one of our proposed projects, or have another idea for a project in our areas of interest—please apply!Please submit your applications by March 21 to be considered in our first open funding round.
And the team is:
Nick Beckstead (CEO), Leopold Aschenbrenner, Will MacAskill, and Ketan Ramakrishnan.
Here is much more information, including for applying, and the links on top of the page have further detail yet. Emergent Ventures winner Leopold Aschenbrenner has been a driving force behind this, congratulations to Leopold! Also notable is this:
- Our Regranting Program. We’re offering discretionary budgets to independent grantmakers. Our hope is that regrantors will fund great people and projects that weren’t on our radar! We’ve already invited the first cohort, and we’re also opening up a public process to be considered as a regrantor.
Cultural norms diverge substantially across societies, often within the same country. We propose and investigate a self-domestication/selective migration hypothesis, proposing that cultural differences along the individualism–collectivism dimension are driven by the out-migration of individualistic people from collectivist core regions of states to peripheral frontier areas, and that such patterns of historical migration are reflected even in the current distribution of cultural norms. Gaining independence in 939 CE after about a thousand years of Chinese colonization, historical Vietnam emerged in the region that is now north Vietnam with a collectivist social organization. From the eleventh to the eighteenth centuries, historical Vietnam gradually expanded its territory southward to the Mekong River Delta through repeated waves of conquest and migration. Using a nationwide household survey, a population census, and a lab-in-the-field experiment, we demonstrate that areas annexed earlier to historical Vietnam are currently more prone to collectivist norms, and that these cultural norms are embodied in individual beliefs. Relying on many historical accounts, together with various robustness checks, we argue that the southward out-migration of individualistic people during the eight centuries of the territorial expansion is an important driver, among many others, of these cultural differences.
That is new work by Hoang-Ang Ho, Peter Martinsson, and Ola Olsson. Via the excellent Kevin Lewis.