Randoms of the weekend

Frost on traditionalism.

This is not a good sign. Neither is this.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to buy Greece’s debt because I don’t believe Greece will be allowed to default. Megan McArdle points to the common wisdom. Unfortunately, no one is talking about what the costs of actually bailing Greece out will be – those costs are harder to imagine and more theoretical, so they’ll probably just be ignored.

Auster starts a conversation that needs to be had. If someone beats Obama, the shit will hit the fan.

Al Fin on literacy rates and the Flynn Effect.

A change of heart on free trade and an intersting proposal:

This suggests that a variable tariff should be introduced based on per capita GDP difference between the two countries, to ensure wage parity. With suitable allowances to prevent cheating by poor countries using rich ones as an intermediary to evade the tariff.

More on Nietzsche from Alt Right.

Sonic Charmer on teenagers as royalty. Obviously, I object to the suggestion that royals are not held responsible for their actions (compared to modern politicians, especially). Nevertheless, I’ve often written on how the modern conception of "freedom" corresponds to the old fashioned conception of what it meant to be a child.

After Matthew Yglesias got beat up by diversity, he lamented the fact that the area in which he was beaten up was not denser – he believes density reduces crime. Unfortunately, this theory seems to be wrong.


6 Responses to Randoms of the weekend

  1. Handle says:

    One of the less told aspects of the Greek situation is the new pressure (mostly from the Germans) for Greece to privatize and sell off some of its many large, inefficient, state-owned enterprises in order to raise the financing needed to prevent a default. I’ve seen several figures, but there’s at least $50 billion worth of good money to be made.

    But one of the major reasons for the push is that the Germans have a glut of savings without any other promising investments to make at this time. Buying large, secure-revenue-stream state-run enterprises is the perfect healthy-dividend-yielding sink for this money, and a great way to transform the precarious short-term Greek notes help on the books of German banks into actual equity in productive businesses. They’ll be especially productive when the pro-efficiency measure to be undertaken after privatization go into effect – the railroads and ports, for example, would stop being giant make-work schemes.

    The ECB wants this to happen as well – not so much to “save Greece” but to stabilize the German banks and also the Euro. Part of the Greek bailouts so far have been guarantees by the ECB to allow European banks that hold Green notes to use them as collateral for more borrowing at face value instead of market value – which they all did – to the gills. If Greece defaults, the German banks will pass on the loss to the ECB which isn’t authorized to automatically monetize it away.

    I’m with David Merkel at Aleph Blog, the Germans should have just saved their own banks, and let the peripheral-country chips fall where they may. The Euro project is doomed anyway.

  2. RS says:

    I don’t see how IQ and C can decline so much, while demographic aging also takes place, and the real GDP per capita remain the same, much less grow at the 2% rate seen in the long run since ~1820 (very slightly slower since the 1970s).

    Not to mention the stuff pointed out by Cowen: slowing technical progress, the end of under-exploited (education-unsaturated) human capital, etc.

    Something I haven’t seen pointed out much is that if the Flynn effect is real, /it/ may have been a major cause of growth through 1980. Anyway, it stopped in 1980.

    Therefore I am inclined to believe, ignorant though I am about econ, the ideas of those like Karl Denninger who think the GDP is and has been fake, largely caused by increased debt, private debt being far greater in fact than public.

    Aside from racial change, IQ has also been declining within-race for dysgenic reasons, for 30 years. The decline is fairly modest (0.9 points per generation in Whites, more like 1.5 in US Hispanics and Blacks), but what about declining C? It’s pretty clear that lower-C parents are very likely outbreeding higher-C ones; unfortunately, the genotypic level is not the whole story. A Flynn-like effect on C is conceivable, so phenotypic C conceivably can rise even while genotypic C is falling. It is hard to address C directly over time. If a phenotypic decline in C is actually happening, this will be multiplicative with declines in IQ – not additive. So if it is happening, the total effect could be quite sharp.

    I think Denninger’s charts show a pronounced rise in private and public debt (as a fraction of GDP) since well before 2000. I am highly tempted to believe Denninger’s doom and gloom even though I don’t know how much GDP/cap is apt to have been falsified by these increases in borrowing, and how long. I guess there could be other ways too for GDP numbers to be false, such as worthless financial paper supposedly worth untold 100-billions. Denninger says, if I understand him, that trash paper is still out there on the books as alleged value.

    By doom and gloom I don’t mean double-dip! Far worse than that – semi-permanent decline. .

    • PRCalDude says:

      You can almost confirm what you’re saying just by taking your own sample. Ask engineers and scientists how many kids they have and when they had them. Then ask the proles and dumbs you know. On average, engineers and scientists have their kids 10 years later and have fewer.

      In a relatively short period of time, we bred different breeds of dogs to have different levels of intelligence and athleticism. We can do the same amongst ourselves on slightly-longer time-scales.

      Providing positive feedback to the situation is the government that subsidizes dumbs and taxes the producers and offers them pathetic child tax credits.

      Look out below.

  3. Jehu says:

    If you want to see low birthrates, look at scientists, not engineers. Engineers actually have fairly decent sized families in my experience.

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