Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Daily View: Elite Colleges Should Abolish Tuition; Apprenticeships

From Unz:Our Elite Colleges Should Abolish Tuition

Although Harvard is widely known as one of America’s oldest and most prestigious colleges, that public image is outdated. Over the last couple of decades, the university has transformed itself into one of the world’s largest hedge-funds, with the huge profits of its aggressively managed $36 billion portfolio shielded from taxes because of the educational…

I agree, but members of a certain political party would prefer make college cheap for those least intellectually qualified to benefit, for the worst of colleges. The tuition at Harvard, for example, while high, is seldom paid in full, and the high-IQ students with their connections quickly get good jobs anyway. Maybe another idea is to make tuition free and then have students pay it back later, with terms much more lenient than a typical student loan. That’s kinda how alma mater donations works. If you can fill Harvard and the other top schools with the best minds in the world who will create the future Googles, Apples, Teslas, and Facebooks, the schools will reap more in donations than they will ever collect in tuition.

But then the problem arises of too many smart people and not enough slots for these elite schools, which is why a better solution is to just do-away with credentialism and use IQ and SAT scores as a proxy for intelligence and competence instead of expensive, time consuming degrees. This is discussed further in the blog archives.

On a somewhat related note, Henry Dampier from http://www.socialmatter.net/ ponders why the apprenticeship system cannot be revived:

Billionaires like Nassim Taleb and Peter Thiel have both advocated something like a return to the apprenticeship system which was ubiquitous up until the early modern era. These suggestions are also often echoed by bloggers and others who know vaguely about what they want, but aren’t quite clear on what the old apprenticeship system was and why it ultimately faded.

This article will attempt to clear out some of the confusion and obfuscation around the issue.

One company that attempted to revive the apprenticeship concept for high tech companies just shut down earlier this month. In the closing letter, the founders cited some failed matches and high expenses for managing the relationships between ‘apprentices’ and mentors. Their ambition was to create a national apprenticeship network, but the model couldn’t scale.

Perhaps a hurdle is the issue of disparate impact. For a tech apprenticeship (or any apprenticeship), teachers want apprentices who can learn quickly, which would require an IQ-like test of some sort to ascertain learning and critical thinking ability, but this opens the window to litigation and other problems. After all, training is at the company’s dime, so companies want the best trainees that they can find who won’t take too much time grasping the necessary knowledge to begin profitable work. Perhaps a notable example is Google, which says they no longer use GPAs for hiring. They obviously have other methods for screening employees. But training is a different matter; Google expects its coders to be proficient in coding upon applying. Testing for necessary skills that are directly applicable for the job removes the disparate impact risk, but then you don’t have an apprenticeship.

Stock Market Rebounds

Back in August and September during the stock market plunge, I recommended going long here and again here.

Sure enough, stocks have surged since then, with the S&P 500 up about 9% since my reiteration to buy the dip:

The portfolio I ‘manage’ is up 20% this year, vs. 2% for the S&P 500:

By ‘manage’, I tell the client which ETFs and stocks to buy in exchange for a cut of the profits. The historical returns are about 50% per year. This is better performance than probably any active management in existence on an absolute and probably risk-adjusted basis, too. AQR management, for example, a billion-dollar active management firm which is staffed by a team of PHD quants, cannot get these kind of returns. No one else can, and that’s why it’s proprietary. It’s not that my methods are sophisticated (they aren’t), it’s that almost everyone else is so bad.

A bet against the stock market is a bet against IQ, a bet against the best and the brightest who power capitalism and innovation, as well as a bet against the indefatigable American consumer. It means you’re betting against high-IQ tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Visa, Mastercard, Cisco, Oracle, Netflix, Amazon, and Microsoft – that’s a bet no sober individual should ever make.

US stocks have outperformed pretty much all asset classes, going as far back as the 19th century:

(Graph courtesy of the Mega Foundation’s investing page)

Do the fools on Zerohedge think their alarmist nonsense can override 100+ years of gains, can override 100+ years of innovation and free market capitalism by America’s best and brightest? If you get your financial advice from losers, you will have loser returns, sulking under a cloud of self-pity and resentment waiting for the crisis that will never come, the black swan that will never arrive. Doom and gloom, conspiracy theories are a coping mechanism for the unsuccessful to reconcile mediocrity by shifting the blame unto nebulous entities instead of the ‘self’. If I fail, it’s because some shadow entity is keeping me down – not low-IQ, poor work ethic, or lack of talent.

Precious metals and bitcoin are fine for a diversified portfolio, but they should not be your entire portfolio.

Betting against the stock market and America means betting against companies like Home Depot, Target, Costco, Lowes, Nike, and Disney – all which are posting record profits & earnings quarter after quarter due to consumer spending and exports. Disney is a play on obesity and population growth, neither of which shows any signs of slowing. Disney makes billions of dollars a year exporting its intellectual property all over the world, in addition to billions of dollars from sedentary youths watching Disney programs and movies and parents buying merchandise. It’s not that I personally like this trend, as these obese kids will add to healthcare costs down the road, but it’s the way it is. Google is play on the propensity of the Left Side of the Bell Curve to click contextual ads. Facebook, which is run by high-IQ people, also makes its money from the left of the Bell Curve (to click the ads), as do most companies. As I said, there’s a lot of room on the bottom – a lot of money to be made from the Left Side. But you also have companies like Amazon, which is laying the infrastructure that is powering the trillion-dollar ecommerce economy. Investing in companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook is like investing in the company built the Matrix in the eponymous movie, and I’m sure it would be a good investment considering that everyone is plugged into it. The aforementioned stocks are up 20-30% since August and, despite their $300+ billion dollar market caps, have much further upside. I been telling folks to buy these stocks (Amazon, Mastercard, Visa, and Google) since 2011 and Facebook since the IPO. But you have these doom and gloom liberals who want the economy to fail so that the rich lose money and there is less wealth inequality. At the same time, you have idiots like Peter Schiff and Karl Denninger that keep repeating this hyperinflation/end the fed nonsense. That’s why the populist movements of the left and right are stuck, they keep coming up empty handed as the status quo keeps prevailing. Subscribing to liberalism is like believing in man-made global warming. It’s like believing you can grow an economy by overtaxing its most productive members.

Will the market go lower? Yes, eventually it will. But if you heed these fear mongers, like those fools who say to always rent instead of buy a home, after many years you will have nothing to show for it.

Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia May Lower Healthcare Costs

California Legalizes Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill

To clarify the subtlety between physician assisted suicide and euthanasia:

Physician-assisted suicide refers to the physician providing the means for death, most often with a presciption. The patient, not the physician, will ultimately administer the lethal medication. Euthanasia generally means that the physician would act directly, for instance by giving a lethal injection, to end the patient’s life.

Despite being on the ‘right’, perhaps a good argument can be made for assisted suicide as a way to lower healthcare costs. Studies have shown that end-of-life care disproportionately contributes to health care costs in the United States:

I was pleasantly surprised to find that 41% of Republicans, according to a Gallup poll, support assisted suicide:

So being pro-euthanasia not as ‘liberal’ as some may assume. Part of the problem is the belief shared by both sides of the aisle that ‘every life is worth saving’. Lives stop being sacred/worth saving when they pose a threat to others or are too expensive, as shown by how 1% of the population contributes 20% to healthcare spending:

This is like reverse-Darwinism, survival of the un-fittest. We’re wasting tens of billions of taxpayer dollars a year keeping people alive who, in essence, are natures ‘mistakes’. If you have a lot of money and want to be kept alive another six months or so, fine…it’s your money, but not at taxpayer expense. The same liberals who call themselves ‘pro science’, their belief in Darwinism and survival of the fittest doesn’t apply in real life, as shown, for example, by the leftist outrage over UK TV presenter Katie Hopkin’s observation that allocating public hospital beds to dementia patients is a waste of public healthcare resources.

The only argument I think of for costly, tax-payer funded medical procedures is if they are for research purposes in the hope that successful treatments will lead to lower costs in the future for certain rare and costly diseases, but as evidenced by exploding health care costs, we’re far from that. Public healthcare should be prioritized to, first, American citizens, not illegals; second, to those who have conditions that are are most amenable to therapy; and, finally, for more expensive and difficult produces that involve scarcity such organ transplants, by IQ, with donor waiting lists ranked by IQ. All else being equal, it’s a better use of resources giving a higher IQ person priority over a lower IQ person.

Some argue that the free market will fix healthcare, but the system as it stands right now is out of control. Healthcare has become more like palliative care, spending billions prolonging lives long after they have stopped being useful. From an economic perspective, that sounds very inefficient that even a free market can’t fix it. In eliminating the social safety net, people who cannot afford healthcare would have to find way to raise funds through charity or family and friends, have insurance, pay out of pocket, or simply not get access to healthcare. Since many people, understandably , find the idea of letting sick or injured people who cannot afford treatment die to be repugnant, the role of the government is to allocate a public pool of resources to these individuals. However, this goes back to the trade-off between saving lives and optimal resource allocation. Any time you have a public good, rationing of some form is necessary or costs will balloon, which is what’s happening right now.

Another problem is the issue of insurance; millions of Americans are uninsured, drawing from public resources at little cost to them. That’s kinda why I agreed with the idea requiring people to get insurance or else suffer some consequence, but there many factors that dissuade people from getting insurance:

Many people already have company healthcare plans.

People with insurance can sometimes become underinsured.

A lot of young people draw off their parent’s plans.

Young people typically don’t need insurance.

Older people have medicare; others have VA benefits.

Low-income people have medicade, as well access to emergency rooms.

Millions of insured Americans have had plans canceled due to Obamacare.

The ACA (affordable care act) requires that insurance companies redistribute the costs of covering unprofitable, high-risk members on everyone else, which resulted in the cancellation of millions of plans that didn’t meet the standards of the ACA:

Some policies are being canceled because the law is doing precisely what it was meant to do: create an insurance market where Americans share the cost of getting sick more broadly.

In Obamacare’s central bargain, insurance companies agreed to stop turning people away or charging them more for being sick, in exchange for everyone buying a minimum level of coverage…

To dismantle that system, the law sets new rules for health plans sold after 2013, limiting how much insurers can vary premiums by age, gender, or health status. The new plans must pay for at least 60 percent of members’ medical costs on average. They also have to provide 10 areas of coverage, called essential health benefits, such as hospitalization, mental health treatment, and maternity care. In the past, people buying health plans on their own, rather than through an employer, could lower their premiums by purchasing more limited policies. Now that all policies must provide comprehensive coverage, people who’d bought limited plans on the cheap are seeing their premiums go up.

That means men are paying for maternity care. Is that fair? No.

In addition to cancellations and high premiums, other problems associated with Obamacare include high co-pays and doctors opting out of Obamacare exchanges. The result is more emergency room visits at great cost to taxpayers.

Experts cite many root causes. In addition to the nation’s long-standing shortage of primary care doctors — projected by the federal government to exceed 20,000 doctors by 2020 — some physicians won’t accept Medicaid because of its low reimbursement rates. That leaves many patients who can’t find a primary care doctor to turn to the ER — 56% of doctors in the ACEP poll reported increases in Medicaid patients.

State Medicaid costs are out of control.

Making euthanasia legal in the United States, as well as making physician assisted suicide legal in more states could dramatically lower healthcare costs and improve quality of live for caregivers. Doctors should encourage euthanasia and administer it themselves, perhaps with involuntary euthanasia in certain cases like in dementia.

Obama Should Give His Nobel Prize to Bernanke

If Obama can get a Nobel Prize for doing nothing (and then later being a lousy president), maybe Bernanke deserves one for merely saving the economy in 2008?

Full employment without inflation is in sight. The central bank did its job. What about everyone else?

Agree, the central bank did a good job by stemming the bleeding. The consumer did its job by consuming. And Silicon Valley did a good job by innovating. But Obama? No. Obama’s presidency has been marred by great failures: foreign policy (Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan), the economy (cash for clunkers, the Dodd Drank bill which predictably did nothing, and a failed trillion-dollar stimulus that didn’t create jobs, and more), domestic issues (siding with looters and against the police in the Treyvon Martin and Michael Brown deaths, blaming the ‘gun lobby’ and the NRA for shootings), and healthcare (Obamacare, which will greatly add to the deficit in upcoming years at little benefit).

Even Reuters, which tends to be impartial, can’t help but to notice the abject failure of Obama’s Middle East policy:

In Syria, U.S.-trained rebels surrender supplies and ammunition to al Qaeda-linked insurgents. In Iraq, the battle by American-backed government forces against Islamic State is at a stalemate. In Afghanistan, the Taliban seize a provincial capital for the first time since their ouster in 2001.

The administration is also weighing a proposal to scale back its failed $580 million program to train Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State, U.S. officials said.

The Obama doctrine has floundered partly due to weak national governance in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the failure of moderate Syrian opposition groups to overcome their rivalries.

Putin, in taking the initiative in Syria and Iraq, is making Obama look like a bigger wimp than otherwise thought possible.

Even liberals will admit Obama failed, for not being liberal enough, but a failure nonetheless. The overall consensus by economists is that Obama’s policies contributed little, if any, to the post-2008 recovery. It was Bernanke and Geithner (the Competent Duo) who did all the heavy lifting, with Obama taking all the credit similar to how he took credit for the killing of Bin Laden despite the fact all the important intelligence work was done by the prior administration, and that Bill Clinton ignored intelligence warnings about Osama. Had Bush been given another four years, not only would the stock market have surged, but the economic recovery would have been stronger because there would have been no Obamacare or budget impasses.

Does anyone honestly see a light at the end of this tunnel of prosperity, or are we delusional to believe it’s a freight train heading right at us? The 2nd (or was it 3rd? Whatev) LONGEST Bull market in US HISTORY just occurred….F”N history!! And it’s going to keep going, thanks to consumer spending, low interest rates, exports, rich foreign consumers, and the economic and scientific contributions of high-IQ people both in America and all over the world.

Profits, earnings, and stock prices keep making new highs:

Higgs boson today, Grand Unified Theory of Everything tomorrow? All over the world, from Silicon Valley to Manhattan, from Caltech to MIT, smart, high-IQ people are innovating, creating wealth for themselves and the broader economy.

(the ADS/CFT correspondence showing how quantum effects are on a lower dimensional boundary than relativistic/gravitational ones)

Bernanke, in saving the day in 2008, threw a lifeline for smart people, mitigating the mistakes made by dumb people so that the healthier parts of the economy (web 2.0, technology, retail) could thrive without being weighed-down by the ailing sectors (housing, financial).

The bailouts are interesting because it’s an application of pragmatism and consequentialism, both pillars of ‘grey enlightenment’ – the bailouts being an example of policy that is unpopular and anti-populist but a success. The system may occasionally suck, but it works. Things do get better, and those who hold their stocks amid the panic can reap substantial gains. Typically, there is no problem that can’t be easily remedied by super efficacious policy in congress and global central bank coordination, although the growing entitlement spending problem could be a concern down the road. Congress deserves a round of applause for saving the financial system in 2008 and not impeding in the subsequent economic & stock market boom with excess regulation and activism. Bernanke deserves a Nobel Prize for defying all the critics and enacting what may be the most successful monetary (or any policy for that matter) policy in the recent history of the United States, even more so than the lionized former fed chairman Paul Volcker who in the early 80′s caused the market to crash and the economy to enter a severe recession by unnecessarily raising interest rates too quickly.

Foucault, Chomsky, Pinker, and the Blank Slate

From evolutionistx: Chomsky on Foucault

“In Foucault’s 1971 televised debate with Noam Chomsky, Foucault argued against the possibility of any fixed human nature, as posited by Chomsky’s concept of innate human faculties. Chomsky argued that concepts of justice were rooted in human reason, whereas Foucault rejected the universal basis for a concept of justice. Following the debate, Chomsky was stricken with Foucault’s total rejection of the possibility of a universal morality, stating “He struck my as completely amoral, I’d never met anyone who was so totally amoral” … “I mean, I liked him personally, it’s just that I couldn’t make sense of him. It’s as if he was from a different species, or something”” (from the Wikipedia page on Foucault)

Foucault is even further ‘left’ than Chomsky, if that even seems possible. The far-left reject the idea that civilized humans have any innate goodness, whereas neoliberals and classical liberals have faith in institutions to enforce fairness under the rule of law. Chomsky, in contrast to Foucault, denies the ‘blank slate’ (Tabula rasa), believing that humans are wired to not only acquire language, but are also endowed with an innate ‘moral compass’. The far-left believe that institutions are poisoned by so-called ‘institutional racism’, which makes any sort of fairness impossible. The far-left advocate a complete overhaul of institutions (an anti-establishment view) to be rebuilt to their high egalitarian standards, whereas neoliberals seek incrementalist reform that keeps the ‘system’ intact. Because of the difficulty of the former, the far-left are often unhappy and pessimistic about human nature, in general. When the far-left group ‘Black Lives Matter’ disrupted Bernie Sander’s Seattle speech, they were essentially rejecting the ‘mainstream left’ view that policy can reform problems; instead, the ‘system’ itself is intrinsically and irredeemably racist and corrupt and needs to be torn down, not reformed.

The left believes that human minds are blank slates to be programmed through indoctrination.

Foucault, in taking his ‘blank slate’ views to an extreme, even agrees with some on the ‘right’ that homosexuality is not biological but rather a recent Western concept. Because the concept of homosexuality is a construct, it’s irrelevant if someone is ‘born’ gay or not.

From telegraph.co.uk: A decade after Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, why is human nature still taboo?

As Pinker wrote, there are two types of feminism: “Equity feminism is a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology. Gender feminism is an empirical doctrine committed to three claims about human nature. The first is that the differences between men and women have nothing to do with biology but are socially constructed in their entirety. The second is that humans possess a single social motive – power – and that social life can be understood only in terms of how it is exercised. The third is that human interactions arise not from the motives of people dealing with each other as individuals but from the motives of groups dealing with other groups – in this case, the male gender dominating the female gender.
“In embracing these doctrines, the genderists are handcuffing feminism to railroad tracks on which a train is bearing down.”
Gender feminism is no more scientific than astrology, yet the idea of total equality of outcomes is still some sort of vague official goal among the European elite, largely because “people’s unwillingness to think in statistical terms has led to pointless false dichotomies”, between “women are unqualified” and “fifty-fifty absolutely”.

In agreement with the ‘blank slate’, the far-left believe that racial and gender differences may be social constructs, not biological. This is as unscientific as creationism, yet universities continue to espouse this view.

So Richard Herrnstein was called a racist for arguing, in 1971, that “since differences in intelligence are partly inherited, and since intelligent people tend to marry other intelligent people, when a society becomes more just it will also become more stratified along genetic lines”, even though he was not even discussing race. He received death threats and his lecture halls were filled with chanting mobs.

On sites like Reddit and 4chan, there is evidence the pendulum is swinging the other way as millennials, unlike like their stodgy far-left baby boomer parents and teachers, discuss HBD topics freely that offline in the politically correct sphere of liberalism are still taboo. For the left, who pride themselves on being ‘pro-science’ and ‘open minded’, as we saw with the persecution of Larry Summers, Jason Richwine, and Tim Hunt, this ‘open mindedness’ doesn’t extend to HBD-based topics, apparently.

Other controversies down the years included the unmasking of the myth of the noble savage, with scientists who found murder rates in pre-agriculture societies were astonishingly high accused of justifying genocide; and rape, which gender feminists believed was not about sex, despite clearly being about sex.

The far-left believe in the ‘noble savage’ – that society was peaceful and tranquil in its de-industrialized state until evil civilization, along with capitalism, came along, bringing racism, disease, violence and other modern plagues – similar to the liberal Gums Germs and Steel hypothesis. This is why the left seeks crisis in order to bring society to an undeveloped, egalitarian state, even if the result is everyone is worse-off as a result, with great pain and suffering in the process. What matters, above all, is equality of outcomes, not opportunity.

That, unfortunately, is how orthodoxies are enforced across a range of subjects, despite being incredibly weak. On the idea that intelligence is entirely environment, Pinker wrote that “even in the 1970s the argument was tortuous, but by the 1980s it was desperate and today it is a historical curiosity”. And yet now, in the second decade of the 21st century, it is still not considered decent to question the taboo about human nature when it comes to policy.

Yes, indeed, the injection of HBD into public policy is still taboo, which is why politicians keep spinning their wheels, regurgitating the same stale bromides that don’t work.

Bitcoin Going Nuts Again

The left hoped bitcoin would be another fad or bubble, but you can’t keep a good thing down for long, and Bitcoin is surging again:

Bitcoin is not going away. It’s here to stay, having long graduated from the ‘fad’ or ‘novelty’ stage. Transaction volume is at multi-year highs:

As a disclosure I own Bitcoin, having made a purchase in 2013 when it was around $170. Liberal sore losers like Krugman and others said is was bubble, and is has since gained $120.

From money morning: Bitcoin Price Prediction: Why It’s Only Now Finding the True Value

First, critics typically liken the Bitcoin bubble to the infamous Dutch Tulip Bulb Mania of 1634-1637.

In that case, imported tulip bulbs went from being a somewhat pricey luxury to a wildly speculative investment. Prices soared some 1,500% within a few months. When some started to cash out, the whole thing crashed. In less than a month, prices for the once-prized bulbs fell 99%.

Bitcoin, however, is not that kind of bubble. The tulip bulbs had little practical value; they were just pretty flowers.

That’s right, Bitcoin has utility, unlike a tulip. It’s even better than gold, which is a much more saturated market.

The easiest way to make money is to do the opposite of what the left says: when the left says stocks are too high, better buy stocks, which is what I did during the dip in August.

There are about 15 million Bitcoins in existence, giving it a market cap of about $3 billion. In terms of transaction volume relative to established payment options like Paypal and Visa, there is plenty of room for growth:

I would not be surprised if Bitcoin goes to $1,000 within five to ten years. If you have a bunch of cash lying around, investing maybe 5% of it in Bitcoin may be a good move in the fortuitous event Bitcoin becomes a major competitor to Mastercard and Visa. Its much safer then most stocks, as it’s not uncommon to see individual stocks fall 50% in a month with little explanation to never recover. There is an actual underlying infrastructure/economy here, with thousands of individuals and businesses that use Bitcoin. It’s not like some crappy start-up or stock that fails and is soon forgotten. Bitcoin is now a major part of life, having carved out it own unique place in the world of commerce. Because the number of new Bitcoin grows very slowly, if transaction volume increases but Bitcoin monetary velocity falls or stays flat, prices will have to rise. Due to the scarcity of bitcoins, combined with the utility/value of bitcoin, people have an incentive to hold them.

The Rotting Foundation That Is Democracy

Many on the right attack individual symptoms, problems (feminism, crime, growing entitlement spending) without addressing the underlying disease: democracy and the liberal state.

The solution lends itself to NRx, which rejects the post-WW2 ideal of democracy and social liberalism, as quoted by Amerika’s NRx guide:

But as Evola observed, all of us in the post-war period are men among the ruins, because with WWII liberalism achieved its final victory over conservatism. In Europe, states became what we might call 60% liberal, in contrast to the 100% liberal of pure Communism in the Soviet Union. The United States, hovering at 50%, shot upward such that in the present day it hovers in the 90s somewhere.

Also interesting Evola’s Critique of Modernity – Bertonneau:

In words reminiscent of Spengler’s diction, Evola describes the United States “a soulless greatness of a purely technological and collective nature, lacking in any background of transcendence.” Whereas “Soviet communism officially professes atheism,” Evola remarks, and whereas “America does not go that far”; nevertheless, “without realizing it, and often believing the contrary, it is running down the same path in which nothing is left of… religious meaning.”

But the problem is not so much with feminism, but with too much freedom, that I think some mistakenly present as some unalloyed ‘good’, which ultimately gives rise to feminism, excess entitlement spending and other other forms of social liberalism. It’s like building a house of wood and then complaining about termites and rot. Even if the house is structurally sound initially, after many decades things eventually fall apart, and the house has to be rebuilt or town down. Better to just built it out of stone. The ‘liberal democracy’ is a relatively new concept in the history of Western civilization, and for good reasons.

However, in disagreement with Spengler and Evola, this does not mean we have to regress and abandon technology, nor do I share Evola’s detain for the bourgeois, a detain that is also shared by the left. Hating the elite is just another form of populism, this time from the right. If anything, technology is hastening the decline of democracy and egalitarianism, as evidenced by recent trends of growing wealth inequality. Technology does not have to lead to liberalism; in fact, the biggest critics of technology are leftist primitivists like John Zerzan, who argue that the world was ‘nicer’ and ‘fairer’ before agriculture. The left also complains about technology destroying jobs and creating income inequality, in agreement with their affinity for anarcho-Marxism and other leftist ideologies. If so many on the left blame technology and Western civilization for imagined social problems, why do we want to follow their heed?

Perhaps the political spectrum is locally linear (6 o’clock), but when you take higher-order approximations it becomes circular with both the far-left and far-right meeting on the opposite side (12 o’clock). The right-wing anti-populist status-quo is at 3 o’clock; the left-wing variety is at 9 o’clock. Going too far to either the left or the right may lead to disorder, upheaval. Related to my criticism of populism , the French Revolution, which epitomized the populist up-ruling, lead to Napoléon and the Reign of Terror to fill the void, which lead to French First Republic and planted the seeds much later for democracy.

The United Arab Emirates could be an example of a reactionary-style of government given that democracy is rejected and traditionalism and private property are enforced. However, the labour force of the United Arab Emirates is primarily made up of foreign temporary workers, most of whom come from the Indian subcontinent and other parts, which runs afoul of the entho-nationalist elements of NRx.

Related:

NRx and Modernity
Embracing Modernity, Part 2

STEM, Immigration, H-1B Visas, and Wages

There is no diversity crisis in tech:

Repeat after me: there is no “diversity crisis” in Silicon Valley. None. In fact, there is no crisis at all in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is doing absolutely gangbusters. Apple has $200 billion in cash reserves and equivalents — and a market valuation of about $630 billion. Amazing. Facebook now garners a billion daily users. This is a nearly unfathomable number. Google is worth nearly $450 billion and has $70 billion in cash on hand.

This is not a crisis. Silicon Valley is swimming in money and in success. Uber is valued at around $50 billion. Companies like Airbnb are remaking travel and lodging. Intel is moving forward into the global Internet of Things market. South Korea’s Samsung just opened a giant R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley. Google and Facebook are working to connect the entire world. Netflix is re-making how we consume entertainment.

Silicon Valley is home to the next phase of the global auto industry. Fintech and biotech are transforming banking and medicine. The success of Silicon Valley is not due to diversity — or to any bias. Rather, to brilliance, hard work, risk taking, big ideas and money.

Want to be part of this? Great! Follow the example of the millions who came before you. Their parents made school a priority. They took math and science classes, and did their homework every night. They practiced ACT tests over and over. They enrolled in good schools and focused on English, Political Science and Humanities.

Okay, that last bit is not true. They took computer programming, engineering, chemistry — hard subjects that demand hard work. They then left their home, their family, their community, and moved to Silicon Valley. They worked hard, staying late night after night. They didn’t blog, they didn’t let their skills go stale, they didn’t blame others when not everything worked out exactly as hoped.
Are you doing all of these? Are you doing any of these? Do them!

This is hilarious to read and also true. Some people insist the economy is weak because of too much wealth inequality or not enough job creation, and here we have Silicon Valley in a wealth-creation boom. If you’re failing to participate post-2008 tech boom, maybe blame low-IQ, majoring in a low-ROI subject, or a lousy work ethic – not discrimination, crony capitalism, or other imagined roadblocks. Not to make this too political, as epitomized by the likes of Sanders, we’re becoming a nation of crybabies looking for excuses and scapegoats for our own failings, while wishing ill upon the successful. We want to believe IQ is not important and that the only way people get ahead is through connections, not competence. People are getting rich for being smart and creating economic value, not by sitting around and whining all day.

We keep hearing about how foreign tech workers are displacing native tech workers and suppressing wages, so I decided to investigate the veracity of these arguments.

A report from Brookings sheds doubt on the belief that foreign tech workers are undercutting wages of American tech workers:

H-1B visa holders earn more than comparable native-born workers. H-1B workers are paid more than U.S. native-born workers with a bachelor’s degree generally ($76,356 versus $67,301 in 2010) and even within the same occupation and industry for workers with similar experience. This suggests that they provide hard-to-find skills.

And from a report, H-1Bs Don’t Replace U.S. Workers:

Furthermore, foreign workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher actually had 4 percent higher median earnings in 2013 than native-born workers, which discredits the idea that foreign workers are“undermining” the wages of Americans.

Also from the report:

If employers were turning to H-1Bs to cut labor costs, we would expect petitions to rise during times when employers are laying off experts in computer and mathematical fields, which include 60 percent of H-1Bs. This classification includes computer and information scientists, computer systems analysts, software and web developers, computer programmers, actuaries, and other similar positions. It excludes positions at tech companies that do not involve mathematics or computer expertise.

Chart 1 compares the unemployment rate in these occupations to the pace of H-1B applications, as measured by the number of months before the cap on visas was reached. If the H-1B opponents’ theory is correct, we would predict that the cap would be reached faster as the unemployment rate increases when companies are looking to cut back on labor costs. But the opposite is true. When companies begin to shed workers, they also decrease their requests for H-1Bs.

The number of H-1B visas has stagnated due the cap which is limited to 65,000, relative to the much more common D1 visa:

Also, the quantity of H-1B visas has been stagnant for over a decade. And STEM jobs are hard to fill, further lending credence to a shortage:

In a statistical analysis of over 50,000 openings, we find that those requiring STEM knowledge take significantly longer to fill, even controlling for requirements for education, experience, training, and managerial knowledge, as well as wage rates and metropolitan area location. The most commonly requested H-1B occupations in each metropolitan area also take longer to fill.

From US News and World Report: Short on STEM Talent

Moreover, many people are economically better off with STEM skills. It’s often noted that college graduates out-earn those with only high school diplomas, and among workers with college degrees, STEM majors earn some of the highest salaries.

Likewise, jobs are more plentiful in STEM fields, which is why the unemployment rates are low for grads with these degrees. According to the Conference Board, there are currently three job vacancies advertised online for every unemployed computer worker; by contrast, there are more than six unemployed construction workers per vacancy.

It pays to be smart. STEM jobs, unlike most blue collar jobs, pay well, have comfortable working conditions, and are impervious to macroeconomic swings. The housing sector was roiled in 2006-2008, resulting in the loss of many construction jobs that have not returned since due to the vast oversupply of housing that remains to this day. A lot of low-IQ but well-paying clerical jobs in the housing/financial sector were lost in 2007-08, which too have not returned. Ditto for the manufacturing sector, which has been in decline since the 60′s:

Then in 2014-2015, the oil/energy sector imploded, resulting in the loss of even more blue collar jobs. A lot of low-IQ but high-paying clerical jobs in the housing/financial sector were lost in 2007-08, which too have not returned. Meanwhile, despite a small overblown hiccup in 2001-03, the quantity and salaries of STEM jobs keep rising, with no obvious headwinds:

High IQ jobs pay more and offer superior job security. Software developers, for instance, saw salaries soar 26 percent over the same period, culminating in an average of $82,000 in 2013, up from $48,000 in 1980, which agrees with the post-2008 theme of competence, IQ, and technical ability being more valued more than social skills.

Pop Psychology Charlatans

How to act less stupid, according to psychologists

“The stupidest thing someone can do is overestimate themselves,” he said. “What that tells us is that you don’t have to have a low IQ, in people’s eyes, to act stupidly. You just have to misperceive your abilities.”

In other words poseurs, who overestimate their abilities, come across as the most stupid, which is not surprising. This ties into earlier posts about millennials, the culture of authenticity, and how HBD-based science and post-2008 economic reality is making liberalism obsolete. In the workforce throughout the 90′s and 2000′s, all these ‘poseurs’ were getting by on social skills and connections, and then 2008 came along and then these overpaid, semi-competent employees that were just ‘coasting by’ lost their jobs. And those jobs, especially clerical jobs in the finance sector, will never come back.

Take the work of Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate and professor of psychology at Princeton University who, using arithmetic questions, has found that intelligence can make simple answers harder to find.

He hasn’t figured out why, but hypothesizes that intelligent people might be less capable of evaluating themselves, making them more vulnerable. When given a math problem, for instance, an intelligent person might assume they aren’t capable of the same thinking errors that their peers are, which, in turn, makes them more prone to commit them.

Just another example of how the left uses bogus behavioral ‘science’ to try to turn high-IQ into a handicap. Let’s see…if I were going to wager on who con solve a complicated math problem, my money would be on the high-IQ math PHD, not a less intelligent person with ‘street smarts’. Daniel Kahneman and the rest of his social pseudoscience ilk are promoting ‘leveling’ – the idea that smart people are not much better than anyone else, as part of the liberal war on individual cognitive exceptionalism. Smart people solve problems and create technologies, and if smart people sometimes act stupid, how do stupid people act? Part of the problem is confirmation bias – our awareness of mistakes made by smart people is heightened, but we ignore the fact that less intelligent people tend to make more mistakes overall. Many people, understandably so, are uncomfortable with the reality that some are individuals are intrinsically better than others, so we look for any excuse however small to knock these exceptional people down to size.

Diederik Alexander Stapel, a former professor of social psychology at Tilburg University, was suspended in 2011 for fabricating data to give politically correct results.

Over half of psychology studies fail reproducibility tests, which should tell you how useless this field is.

Kahneman, Taleb, Dan Ariely, and Gladwell rose to preeminence, along with the empty suit Obama, before and after the financial crisis as millions of people who felt ‘wronged’ by the financial and cognitive elite took comfort in the leftist message that ‘smart people are no better than everyone else’, which is pretty much the synopsis of every book written by the aforementioned authors. Gladwell, the embodiment of the pseudo-intellectual hipster, is possibly the worst of all of pop-psychology charlatans, the 10,000 hour rule he helped popularize in 2008 thoroughly debunked.

Even though I’m on the ‘right’, there is a serious epidemic of parents who think their otherwise dull kids are special. Due to inflated expectations and easily hurt feelings, the learning process is hindered because of the mismanagement of resources – both time and money – in trying to bring slow kids up to speed and neglecting the needs of exceptional children.

Related:

Nature Beats Nurture
How Liberalism Distorts Perception of IQ
Liberal Denial of Individual Congenital Cognitive Exceptionalism
The Uselessness of Pop Social Psychology

America the Intellectual Capital of the World, or Why Smart People Deserve More

With the Nobel Prize nominations in the news, the alleged ‘dumbing down’ of America is mostly anecdotal, like an old wives’ tale regurgitated by liberal pundits until many hold it to be truth. For example, America leads the world in Nobel Prize laureates, and this is most evident in the high-IQ science categories:

The United States has won more Nobel prizes for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and economics since World War II than any other country, by a wide margin

And from Arxiv last week, a high-IQ repository of research: BULK LOCALITY FROM ENTANGLEMENT IN GAUGE/GRAVITY DUALITY. The location? Chicago. Not China or Europe, but America. Thousands of physics and math papers are produced every year at leading American research institutions like Caltech, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and so on. It’s not surprising America has the highest per-capita research output of any country:

And America has the 3rd highest research and development (R&D) spending per capita in the world, bested only by Korea and Israel.

Per-capita, the US continues to lead the pack in patent applications:

Why do so many high-IQ foreigners want to come here? Because America, through its generous STEM grants & loans, institutions, as well as free market, rewards intellect more so than any other country. If you’re a promising physicist, mathematician or computer scientist, going to America offers the best shot at recognition and riches.

Yeah, there is a lot of useless leftist propaganda taught at universities, but there is also a lot of good theoretical and applied research in the sciences, many of which will have practical commercial applications in the future. Some people say you can learn everything online, and maybe this is true for certain STEM fields like pure math, but some fields like physics, engineering, and computer science require labs and other capital-inventive equipment that necessitates a research facility.

I can understand why some people get mad that STEM academics make a lot (if $60-120k is ‘a lot’) of money, especially taxpayer money, but here is the ‘unfair’ reality of how the modern world works: governments, corporations, and colleges like to give smart people free stuff. Why? Because those are the people who create the most economic value, so investing in them is a good idea. Maybe it’s not fair, but little in life is. They are the people who create innovation and jobs, which in turn grows the economy. In addition, smart people also make more money, which means more money for Uncle Sam. Here’s that Pareto Principle again: the top 20% of earners pay 84% of income tax, and the lowest 20% of income earners have a negative effective tax rate:

And smart people earn more money:

High-IQ immigrants create companies, which means more jobs, tax revenue, and consumer spending. High-IQ researchers create technologies – stuff like computers, airplanes, phones, appliances, and medical devices – that indirectly create billions of dollars of economic value:

Or to quote professor George Reisman, “…highly productive and provident one percent that provides the standard of living of a largely ignorant and ungrateful ninety-nine percent…The wealth of the 1 percent is the overwhelming source of the supply of goods that people buy and of the demand for labor that people sell…The wealth of the rich is not to be found in a huge pile of goods from which only capitalists benefit, but in the means of production that benefit us all.”

This is not an argument for open borders, but the economy benefits by opening the door to high-IQ people from all walks of life, and then offering economic incentives for smart people to innovate and create.

Or, to put it Keynesian terms, investing in smart people has a higher multiplier than investing in low/average-IQ people.

Related: No Love For The High-IQ Basic Income