Singapore: Island of HBD

October 20, 2011

I’ve been (very slowly) reading Lee Kwan Yew‘s memoirs. I’ll review it later, but there’s a bit I am compelled to post on now. Here’s Lee Kwan Yew:

On the night of 14 August 1983, I dropped a bombshell in my annual National Day Rally address. Live on both our television channels, with maximum viewership, I said it was stupid for our graduate men to choose less-educated and less-intelligent wives if they wanted their children to do as well as they had done. . . . It had taken me some time to see the obvious, that talent is a country’s most precious asset. . . .

The implications were grave. Our best women were not reproducing themselves because men who were their education equals did not want to marry them. . . .

This lopsided marriage and procreation pattern could not be allowed to remain unmentioned and unchecked. . . .

I quoted studies of identical twins done in Minnesota in the 1980s which showed that these twins were similar in so many respects. Although they had been brought up separately and in different countries, about 80 percent of their vocabulary, IQ, habits, likes and dislikes in food and friends, and other character and personality traits were identical.

Obviously, this caused a controversy. However, one Western academic stood up for Lee Kwan Yew . . . Richard Herrnstein (yeah, that guy).

Lee Kwan Yew also has realistic views on sex differences: “Women want to marry up, men want to marry down.”

He goes on:

But we should have foreseen that the better-educated would have two or fewer children, and the less-educated four or more. Western writers on family planning had not drawn attention to this already familiar though less stark outcome in their own mature countries because it was not politically correct to do so. . . .

Since that speech, I have regularly released the statistical analysis of the educational backgrounds of parents of the top 10 percent of students in national examinations. Singaporeans now accept that the better-educated and more able the parents, the more likely are the children to achieve similar levels.


Randoms of the day

October 20, 2011

Still commies.

Mencken: "Man can only achieve dignity if superior men are given absolute freedom to think what they want to think and say what they want to say."

More on commies from Borepatch

When conservatives and libertarians read stuff like this, they condemn government. The better response would be to get in on the good stuff.

Lots of studies show that people with kids are less happy than those without kids. People also complain that everyone seems to ignore these studies. I’m with Ulysses though. Having kids makes you more and less happy. Actually, everything that makes you really happy makes you unhappy for a while. If you don’t have to work at something a bit, it’s worthless (by definition).

All the smart people are suggesting that the Fed target nominal GDP instead of targeting inflation. This seems too clever to me, after all, nominal GDP is just GDP and inflation. Let’s say GDP shrinks by a billion dollars. Targeting NGDP means that you would print money until NGDP gets back the billion plus some amount (after all, we have to allow for constant progress and what is constant progress if not artificial increases in GDP?). Essentially, targeting NGDP gives the central bank a license to ignore inflation. "Who cares if inflation is 15%? We’re not targeting that, we’re targeting a level of NGDP?" You can almost hear Ben Bernank saying something like this. This idea fits with my general thesis that progress in macroeconomics is equivalent to proposing more irresponsible policies. Telling central banks to ignore inflation is retarded.

It’s important to remember that there isn’t enough money in Europe to bail out the sovereigns and the banks.

The bureaucracy pwns the education reformers. Efforts to reform the bureaucracy are always welcome, as far as I’m concerned, since they’ll always result in raising my salary.

Why America collapsed. You may also enjoy pictures from the 21st Century.


A theory of regulation

October 20, 2011

Tyler Cowen laid out a very weird theory of regulation:

The number of laws grows rapidly, yet the number of regulators grows relatively slowly. There are always more laws than there are regulators to enforce them, and thus the number of regulators is the binding constraint.

The regulators face pressure to enforce the most recently issued directives, if only to avoid being fired or to limit bad publicity. On any given day, it is what they are told to do. Issuing new regulations therefore displaces the enforcement of old ones.

If the best or most fundamental regulations are the ones issued first, over time the average quality of regulation will decline.

Let’s review what "a regulator" does (sticking to the federal level, since that’s what I’m familiar with).

As we were taught in basic civics (or social studies as it was called when I was in school), government has three functions: executive, legislative and judicial.

The modern regulator in USG performs all three of the roles. (Hint: this is the problem, not the number of regulators or regulations).

"Issuing new regulations" is a legislative function. I know you believe you vote for law-makers, but your notions of how your government works are stuck in the 19th Century.

Modern regulations are written vaguely since the agencies that write the rules are – in many cases – tasked with the judicial function as well. In other words, the guy that writes regulations also interprets them. Nice work if you can get it.

Modern regulators also serve an executive function, but this function is outsourced when possible, since it’s boring by comparison to the other two. For example, much of what happens on an airplane is required by FAA regulations. All procedures are followed even though I’ve never been on a plane with a regulator from the FAA as far as I know. Another example, changes to financial reporting rules are enforced during audit processes. To cut to the point, old regulations generally don’t need to be enforced as aggressively, since they’ve already become part of industry practice. I would be willing to argue that the executive function occupies the smallest portion of the average regulators time (though the line between executive and judicial gets blurred by the current practice).

Finally, Cowen claims that regulators are pressured to enforce recent regulations most strongly. This is wrong for 99% of regulations. Generally, the only people paying attention to a regulation (except in extreme cases) are the people being regulated. They generally want weaker regulations and weaker enforcement.

If you followed my explanation, you’ll see that our regulatory system is retarded. It polices itself according to its own rules, which it then judges. Worse, if policies fail, nothing happens. Failure and success, in fact, have identical pay outs (arguably failure is rewarded more highly). What we see here isn’t just retarded, it’s . You can’t change the number of regulators of the number of regulations in such a way to make such a system work. It’s broken by design.


Randoms and thoughts on the past week

October 18, 2011

Can black people be guilty of plagiarism if they all do it? These are the dilemmas of the modern university. It appears we haven’t progressed much since debates about angels and pins.

Jim on Fast and Furious: "’Fast and Furious’ confirms what we all know: That the government wants criminals armed, and productive citizens disarmed, in order to make its subjects dependent on the state."

Jim also makes the differences between progressives and communists very clear. I now see the error of my ways.

David Friedman thinks that the Amish are a strange form of anarchy. Actually, this is exactly how I expect anarchy to work.

Here’s an article that talks about how badly run California’s death row is and then concludes that . . . California should abolish the death penalty. Behold, progressive logic in action.

Laura Wood has some complaints about NYT coverage of an interracial couple. We have some good friends that are an interracial couple (she’s black and he’s white). I’ve never heard them complain about racism, but they’ve often complained that people are excessively nice to them (everyone wants to demonstrate their open-mindedness), which they find annoying. DC, of course, may not be representative of the nation as a whole.

CWNY:

During what the Northern liberals called “Reconstruction” and the Southern people experienced as hell, the liberals of the North tried to exterminate the white race in the South, just as the whites in San Domingo were exterminated, by placing them at the mercy of black barbarians who had no concept of mercy. The Northern liberals failed to exterminate the white Southerners for one reason and one reason only.

The best quote of the week though, was Moldbug’s:

If you convert loanable funds of one duration into loanable funds of another duration, either by wholesome George Bailey banking or by synthesizing collateralized instruments (a category which logically includes nominally zero-term demand deposits), you are taking this elegant market signal, the yield curve, and raping it in the ass. You will give it AIDS. It will give you AIDS back. This will become known as the "business cycle" – a sort of historical quartan ague. Though no one understands it, it exists.

Chuck writes that big banks are the pawns of USG. As you know, I think it’s a mistake to think of big banks and USG as separate entities. They are one entity.

Tino (and his brother) on the Swedish model.

Notes for the reactionary of tomorrow (I haven’t read this yet)

Dead people on race.

Everyone has a point beyond which they will resort to violence against ruling elite. This may be my breaking point.

Tribalism is still interested in you.

Optimism is self-defeating.

"The extension of human rights does not liberate us; it turns us into feral egotists who are at the same time dependent." - TD

Lots of bloggers were discussing the lack of hot flight attendants last week (I think Megan McArdle started it). Two points: 1) hot flight attendants still exist – have you ever flown an Asian airline? and 2) if hot flight attendants are gone in the US, could we at least get not fat flight attendants? Thanks.

Come on, it’s kind of funny, right?


Hamster in overdrive

October 18, 2011

I was going to write something criticizing this piece in The Atlantic, but Dalrock wrote a good response. And Ilkka summarized it in a sentence, saying it "hilariously confirms everything that Roissy ever wrote, especially his observation that the sixties ‘sexual revolution’ was really just a return to the sexual organization of the Pleistocene."

I’d like to add a few points to Dalrock’s able response.

Ms Bolick’s piece is particularly frustrating because – in several cases – she seems to understand the issues at hand.

For example, she makes several realistic assessments of sexual market value. She also notes that the lifestyle she comes close to supporting has been prevalent in the black community for decades, with devastating results. And yet . . . she can’t stop the hamster.

She claims that she has yet to decide whether or not she’s having children, for example. Newsflash: if you’re 39 and single, you’ve decided not to have children.

The article concludes with a strange discussion of alternative lifestyles. She seems to be suggesting that women should get together and live in whorehouses, sorry, I mean communal houses and collectively raise their bastard children.

Truly, the power of the hamster is awesome to behold.

Al Fin makes perhaps the most important point: "When too many people in a society grow old and childless, the potential — the future — of that society withers on the vine. The generations of the unborn begin to haunt the false over-cheeriness of the singles gathering in bars and pubs."


The top 20%

October 18, 2011

[The following is a rant]

I don’t believe that it’s possible to solve the problem of income stagnation for the bottom x% of the population without making things much worse.

We’ve made it easier and less costly for people to screw up their lives and they’ve done so. Stagnation of larger portions of the population is the obvious consequence. The masses have embraced their new freedoms and they don’t like the results. They want to be able to act as if they’re free without suffering the consequences of their actions (they seek the freedom of a child). As Theodore Dalrymple recently put it:

The problem with meritocracy, however, even in its purest imaginable form, is that few people are of exceptional merit. The realisation that the fault lies in us, not in our stars, that we are underlings, is a painful one; and in the nature of things, there are more underlings than what I am tempted to call overlings.

Here’s a thought experiment: What should be the economic situation of the following people:

- person A dropped out of high school or college to follow his or her dreams of traveling the world/etc;
– person B had a kid with someone they didn’t know and got stuck paying child support or raising a child (or multiple children) alone;

- person C took on $100,000 in student loan debt to get a degree in a worthless field;
– person D pissed away a small fortune on one or more divorces, which is ever easier to do;
– person E never took a job because he or she never found something that excited his or her passions?

Their economic situations should be stagnant – they’ve made bad choices. In any free society bad choices have consequences.

I’ve read a seemingly endless number of statistics about the modern worker or whatever he/she is called these days. However, no matter how the data is cut, someone who sticks with school, gets a job, stays married and doesn’t have kids until he’s married does fine. He always has and it seems he always will. If you fuck one of those things up, you’re going to stagnate, at least for a while.

Everyone seems to write as if this life path – i.e. school, work, marriage, kids – is obvious, common and easy. The major disconnect is that not that many people seem to be following it and it can be quite difficult. Increasingly, we’ve become freer – a term which has come to mean making it easier for people to not do these things (i.e. finish school, get a job, etc.) – and at this point it may not be reasonable to expect more than 20% of the population to be able to stick to this path.

I should also note that – though it’s obvious, this path is also incredibly rewarding, in my experience. Accordingly, I strongly agree with Mangan:

While I’m mostly in agreement that the man who wants to get married and have a job ought to tread very carefully across the landmine-strewn field of marriage, feminism, divorce, and tax theft, the alternatives as set forth across the manosphere seem pretty unappealing to this blogger. Sitting on a beach? Yeah, I could do that for a few days, after which it would get old in a hurry. Clubbing? Nah, a pursuit for young (under 25) guys. Travel? Been there, done that, in spades.

One needs a sense of purpose in life, one that goes beyond the pursuit of pleasure, and I don’t see that taken very seriously by these blogs. To each his own of course, but hedonism is a vapid ideology in which pleasure must run ever faster just to stay in the same place.

Related thoughts from OneSTDV are here.


Review of “Reamde” by Neal Stephenson

October 18, 2011

One has to be careful reviewing Neal Stephenson, as they’re liable to mis-interpret him. For example, Aretae says, that Stephenson’s writing shows that "The future does not resemble the past." Yet I thought that the whole point of the Baroque Cycle was that the 17th Century experienced a wave of innovation much like the one experienced in the late 20th Century. Reamde has a couple characters who are completely preoccupied by medieval times, for example, "they had managed to convince him [i.e. one such character] that the medieval world wasn’t worse or more primitive than the modern, just different."

Matthew Yglesias likes Stephenson even though all of Stephenson’s books seem to be preoccupied with creating better currencies, while Yglesias himself seems preoccupied with debasing the currency we’ve got.

The better currency in Reamde is a fictional one. Actually it’s the currency of an MMORPG. The creator of Stephenson’s MMORPG, who plays a large part in the story, seems to have created the MMORPG – at least in part – to launder money. The soundness of the currency is emphasized a couple times: "He [i.e. the creator of the game] sensed at a primal, almost olfactory level that the game could only be as successful as the stability of its virtual currency."

The other problem with reviewing Stephenson is that it’s almost impossible to summarize the book. Here’s my shot (minor spoilers follow):

The main character of the book is the world’s only black female engineer (ha, just kidding, sort of). Her boyfriend gets involved with selling stolen credit card numbers to the Russian mob. The particular Russian mobster who’s buying the stolen credit cards has his computer infected by the Reamde virus, which encrypts his files (encryption being another favorite Stephenson theme). The mobster can only get his files back by depositing some gold in a certain location in the MMORPG.

It just so happens that the main character’s uncle created the MMORPG in question. The Russian mobster does not like settling disputes using computer games, so he kidnaps the main character and various other hackers and makes them track down the Chinese kids that wrote Reamde.

Chaos ensues when an Islamist terrorist cell is living about the Chinese kids apartments. Now, we’re following the Chinese kids, the Russians, the hackers, the terrorists, the creator of the MMORPG and the rest of the main character’s family, and various government officials and spies.

Along the way, you get lots of asides of the sort that only Stephenson can write. For example, would you like a brief and enlightening summary of the history of Hungary? You either love this stuff or you don’t. I do.

Some other themes pop up in the book. For example, Stephenson touches on class conflicts or the culture war in several different contexts. There are several references to the differences between the people on the coasts and those in the middle of the country. For example, here’s a brief aside on recombinant food (i.e. the food of the Midwest):

The unifying principle behind all recombinant cuisine seemed to be indifference, if not outright hostility, to the use of anything that a coastal foodie would define as an ingredient. Was it too much of a stretch to think that the rejection, by the Dales of the world [a member of the Forces of Brightness (see below)], of traditional fantasy-world races such as elves and dwarves was motivated by the same deep, mysterious cultural mojo as their spurning of onions and salt in favor of onion salt?

Or here is an interaction between John (the Iowan) and his brother, Richard, the Seattleite:

“It’s fine,” John insisted, speaking to Richard from across a cultural divide that never got any easier to navigate. The idea being that even if John’s seat [in Richard's car] were positioned too far forward—limiting his legroom and reducing his level of physical comfort—the mere act of scooting it back a few inches was, by midwestern standards, a gratuitous waste of energy as well as an implicit admission that the scooter was the sort of person who could not handle a little bit of trouble.

I really miss the Midwest.

Anyway, in the MMORPG, the culture war flares up as well. The world of the MMORPG is initially set up in a good vs evil alignment. Over time however, it switches into a "Earthtone coalition" vs "Forces of Brightness" alignment, with the former being composed of the coastal types (generally) and the latter composed of those with less taste, as one might put it.

Finally, I can’t resist noting that the rationalization hamster makes an appearance:

Olivia [just coming off a one night stand], a highly cultivated and rational woman, was unwilling to admit that she was the kind of person who could engage in such a liaison, and so she was even now putting her powerful brain to work coming up with a story according to which it was really much, much more than that.

It’s Stephenson, so it’s self-recommending, as they say. Enjoy.


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