Tuesday, March 12, 2013 120 Comments

Sam Altman is not a blithering idiot

TL;DR Sam Altman is not a blithering idiot.  That's what's so scary.  When the most elitest minds of a society are full of blithering idiocy, that society is probably doomed.

It's normal for geniuses to be crazed.  But Sam Altman (whom I don't know, but SF is a small town and I probably know someone who knows him) isn't a genius and he definitely isn't crazed.  He didn't analyze any ten-dimensional gauge theory or predict any chiral axigluons.  He's just an entrepreneur, ie, a natural leader, a commodity which especially in our present dire straits is or at least ought to be worth a whole Bolivian prison full of cocaine-tooting particle physicists.

What I find exceptionally terrifying is that Altman's blithering idiocy looks and sounds exactly like sober good senseRead it. You'll agree.

The basic problem with our society is a disconnect between consensus reality and actual reality.  We actually have no shortage of natural leaders.  But they cannot actually lead us anywhere.  They are operating in consensus reality rather than actual reality.  Their joysticks are not plugged in.  When the consensus is nonsense, sober good sense is nonsense.  Nonsense is no use to anyone.

Really?  Can blithering idiocy sound like sober good sense?  Let's try some:
All of that said, in absolute sense I’d much rather live in the world of today than 1950—it’s tough for me to imagine living in a world without the Internet. However, in the same way that one can feel acceleration but not velocity, people seem more sensitive to the annual rate of improvement than the absolute quality of life. So even though people should be happier in an absolutely better world, no one wants to stand still on the hedonic treadmill 
Most of us want our lives to get better every year—the hedonic treadmill is a pain that way.
The world of 1950!  Oh, honey.

Okay, let's apply a gross reality check. You're an alien.  You're observing Earth with an infinitely powerful telescope from Alpha Centauri.  You have a simple question.  Since 1950, has human civilization - or American civilization, which amounts to pretty much the same these days - advanced or declined?

Apparently the easiest way for Sam Altman to answer the question is to trade it for a different one.  He is not alone in this.  He asks: since 1950, has human technology advanced or declined?  Clearly, the alien, you, I, and Sam Altman all have the same answer to this question.

Any question with an obvious answer is a stupid question.  "Is an iPad more advanced than a Smith-Corona?" is a stupid question.  Who asks stupid questions?  Obviously, blithering idiots.

But we can compose an interesting question by factoring out the stupid question.  Which world would Sam Altman rather live in?  2013, with iPads and teh Internet?  Or 1950 - with iPads and teh Internet?

In a sense, this 1950 is just as real as the "real" 1950.  Neither exists.  Sam Altman cannot pack his bags and move to either the real 1950 or my imaginary super-1950.  Both exist only as thought experiments.  It is not hard to construct or define the super-1950, though - one run of a time machine, with a printout of Wikipedia, would be pretty much all the real 1950 needed.  Send the technology back to 1945, and you'll have iPads by '55 at the latest.  Those guys got things done.

The interesting (and scary) question this thought-experiment asks is whether, aside from technical progress, human civilization has advanced or declined since 1950.  In actual reality, this too is a stupid question.  The answer is no less obvious - I assert.  But consensus reality thinks I'm crazy.  So with stupid we must begin.

Aside from technical progress, has human civilization advanced or declined since 1950?  By what criterion?  If Moore's Law is not our benchmark of a successful civilization - what is?

Sam Altman has his answer.  The hedonic treadmill!  Never having sold a startup for $40 mil, there are many subtle, refined and delicious forms of hedonism of which I am as innocent as a cat of tennis.  But allowing (for a moment) this implicit assumption that the purpose of civilization is the satisfaction of human desires, we can refer only to Maslow's pyramid of needs.

At the base of the pyramid are air, water and food.  How does 2013 do at supplying oxygen, hydration and nutrition?  How did 1950 do?  Just fine.  Gentlemen, a draw.  (The food of 2013 is certainly tastier than that of 1950, at least in America.  But this is not the base of the pyramid.)

Next up: safety and security.  All right, gentlemen.  Let's have another thought-experiment.

Picture the Earth - our beautiful, blue, spinning globe.  Take all the habitable land area and color it white - as a neutral background for our thought experiment.

Now, select the subset of this beautiful planet on which a sober, sensible, civilized person, such as Sam Altman, would consider it prudent and safe to wander, "on foot and alone," carrying his iPad, at night.  Leave that part white.  Color the other part brown.  Then, from the brown subset, select the further subset in which Sam Altman, carrying his iPad, would not consider it prudent and safe to wander in the daytime.  Color that part black.  (Why can't Google Maps do this?)

Then do the same for Sam Altman's grandfather, in 1950, with his portable Smith-Corona.  Then, repeat the exercise for 1900.  (Part of the reason this is such a useful mental exercise, and unfortunately such a difficult one, is that it requires you to actually know what the world was like in 1950 or 1900.  If your way of getting this information starts with statistical tables, ur doin it rong.  There are these things called "books" which will help you out.)

If you perform this exercise accurately, or at least if you get the same results as me, you'll see a 20C quite indistinguishable from Stage III melanoma.  And this progress continues, to rousing applause and general self-congratulation, right up into our own dear official NYT-approved 2013.  Hey, been to Egypt lately?  What's that Google guy up to these days?  Is he still tweeting?

Speaking of Twitter, I experience this reality check in person every day.  My daughter's preschool is at 10th and Howard, two blocks from Twitter HQ.  It's actually not too hard to park at 10th and Howard.  So the average number of what Sibyl calls "dangerous persons," and to an ordinary grownup are basically indistinguishable from zombies, that I and my bubbly daughter have to navigate around between the car door and the security guard is... I don't know... 1.3?  1.7?  It can't be much more than 2.

They're just zombies and really they're not that dangerous.  (I think even zombies can sense that when I'm with a child, I am more dangerous to them than the converse.)  On the other hand, a couple months ago a techie (not a Twitter employee) was hit on the head and killed, presumably by zombie or zombies unknown, at 11th and Mission.  Right around the corner from Tweet Central.  Besides a couple of perfunctory boilerplate stories, and of course the victim's wife, no one noticed.  No one cared.  Why would they?  Their iPads have 4.7 million pixels.

Suffice it to say that if you don't know how 1950 would have reacted to exactly the same event, in exactly the same place, you don't know anything about 1950.

Actually, my daughter's preschool is literally in a ruin - that is, a (nicely renovated) space which used to be part of a Catholic church.  (The preschool is the former convent.  The rest of the church remains a ruin proper.)  Where are the people who used to pray in this church?  They fled.  Why?  Because they were afraid for their physical safety.

I know, I know.  It's gauche to even bring this kind of stuff up.  It's not part of our consensus reality.  It's not part of our consensus history.  When it comes to actual history, however, the global decline of security in the second half of the 20th century is (I assert) the salient phenomenon of our era.  Much as the fall of the Roman Empire is the salient phenomenon of 4th-century AD Europe.  (Note that while our historians would desperately love to find one, just one, member of the exquisitely literate 4th-century AD European culture who would even mention that the Roman Empire was falling apart, no such luck.  It's all wall-to-wall Prudentius and Sidonius.)

Consider our alien in Alpha Centauri.  His telescope is just a telescope.  He no speaka the English.   He is absolutely invulnerable to our most respected propaganda authorities and in particular has no way to read the great Harvard scholar Steven Pinker - truly a Prudentius for our age - who has discovered through elaborate statistical models that the 20C was not, in fact, the golden age of titanic mass murder and brazen petty crime, but the dawning of a new age of Aquarius in which all will have peace and prosperity.  (Even Pinker is a piker next to the Times, which has published at least 547 stories about NYC's miraculous conquest of its blatantly managed crime statistics, and precisely 2 about the hospital statistics which show a parallel doubling in actual assault victims.  It's always so easy to lie to those who want to be lied to - you hardly even need statistics.)

But his is an excellent telescope. So our alien can see the fact that many parts of all, and all parts of some, American cities that were thriving in 1950, have now fallen into chaos and ruin.  On the other hand, he can gaze admiringly at the thriving cafes of University Avenue in Palo Alto, Ausonius' Moselle born anew, full of beautiful young people adoring the perfectly antialiased individual subpixels of their new Retina iPads.  Which of these phenomena will he find more relevant?  Which is the narrative, which the distraction?

Continuing the comparison to the fall of Rome, one of the interesting features we see is that while technological competence is certainly an indicator of a successful civilization, it is also a lagging indicator. Civilization produces technology, not the other way around.  When civilization falls, technology is not the first but the last thing to fall.  Yes, technology does decline in the fall of Rome.  No, it has not declined in our era - though its advance has certainly slowed a great deal.  But the centuries of European technology decline are 400-700 AD, a point at which surely any historian would admit that the Roman polity has already been going to the dogs for two centuries minimum.

Am I too hard on Sam Altman?  After all, he admits there's a problem.  He doesn't admit this problem - but isn't his point basically the same?  That something isn't working?  My America is going to the dogs and lies in ruins all around me.  His America has just turned the friction up too high on its hedonic treadmill.  But it's the same, isn't it?  Sort of?

Realizing that something in the 20th-century model of governance, as taught by the best and brightest of Harvard, Stanford, the NYT and other fine institutions of papally infallible veracity, isn't working out quite right, is indeed a step in the right direction.  Everybody's going to have their own particular beef.  Mine, as we've seen, is that 75 years of this rigorously scientific system of government has reduced what was once America's fourth-largest city to a demon-haunted slum - and while extreme, this outcome is anything but an exception.

But so far as I can tell, from the Sam Altman perspective, this is just a nitpick.  Or maybe it's really sad, but would have happened to any regime.  Napoleon, Cato the Elder, Pericles, Peter the Great - morons!  None of them could have done a damned thing to save Detroit, Oakland, Baltimore, etc.  Not where Harvard failed! It's always easy to attribute bad outcomes to irresistible forces of nature, acts of God, etc.  Even if you can't identify the force of nature and you don't believe in God.

No - Sam Altman is concerned with something entirely different.  He is concerned with a number.  This number is about 2, he asserts, when it should be more like 5.  He calls this number "growth."  Or to be more exact, an even more interesting number, "real growth."  Growth is of course a good thing, especially if you're a startup but unless you're a tumor.

Once again, this remarkable number - GDP growth - is an essential part of the 20C tradition of economic governance.  Where would we be without Abba Lerner?  Well, I don't know.  Where would Detroit be without Abba Lerner?  Where was Detroit... before Abba Lerner?  Perhaps the problem with Sam Altman is just that everything he knows about economics he learned at Stanford, whereas everything I know about economics I learned by watching Hardcore Pawn.

What does this number actually mean?  It clearly means something.  We know it goes up when people are happy, generally, and down when they are sad.  Perhaps the great historical puzzle of the 20C is the need to explain this strange phenomenon, broadly defined, of Keynesian economics - which on the one hand seems to make no sense at all, but on the other hand seems to, kind of, work.  At least on a local level.

Well, okay, I lied.  Yes - Hardcore Pawn is very important to me.  But really I'm a mercantilist, and everything I know about economics I learned by reading Friedrich List.  Well, him and Mises.  Odd bedfellows I know.  But I really believe there is nothing in (to use its old name) political economy which is outside the philosophy of these two fine Teutonic gentlemen, opposites though they were.  Please allow me to explain "growth" in this unusual Austro-mercantilist idiom.

Growth is the change in a number called "GDP."  To an Austro-mercantilist there are two kinds of GDP, which we call AGDP (actual GDP, ie, an actually measured number) and FGDP (fudged GDP, which is AGDP multiplied by a mysterious fudge factor).  With its usual fine subtle sense of irony, 20C economics calls AGDP "nominal GDP" and FGDP "real GDP."

20C economics is especially adept at accounting identities.  The late great Murray Rothbard once parodied one of its finest absurdities, the equation of exchange, as: "the amount of water that runs off the ground is the same as the amount of rain that falls from the sky."  Which is true.  But not particularly useful to the weather forecaster.

So let's apply one of these identities to understand AGDP.  Forget foreign trade, which we'll add back in in a sec, and consider an isolated unit like a planet.  How do we measure the economic production of the planet?  We arbitrarily divide economic actors, with some difficulty but not too much, into "consumers" and "producers" - ie, peasants and businesses.  AGDP is simply the total sales of all businesses to all peasants.

Ie, if all businesses were One Giant Business - you can see the attraction of this approach to the mid-20C central planner, snorting boa-thick lines of pure administrative Bolivian as he plays SimCity with real peasants - AGDP is simply the gross revenues of this monster.  And because the amount of water that runs off the ground is the same as the amount of rain that falls from the sky, AGDP is also the number of dollars that consumers spent this year at OGB.

I like this approach because it reduces the veiled mystery of "growth" to a crass urban reality that everyone can understand.  What does "growth" mean?  It means: "spend more, comrades!"  If growth is good by definition, spending is good by definition.  Because the amount of water that runs off the ground is the same as the amount of rain that falls from the sky.  Aggregate demand is your friend.  Spend more, comrades!  It's good for the economy.

How do you increase AGDP?  There are two and only two ways.  One, give the peasants more dollars (and/or reduce their debt).  Two, make them less thrifty and more prodigal.  Why is AGDP not increasing fast enough for the likes of Sam Altman?  Or for that matter, Paul Krugman?  Because both these levers are already pushed down to the floor.  Or at least the second one is.  The first one... we'll get there.

But wait - why increase AGDP?  Why is more spending inherently better than less spending?

There are two answers to this question, corresponding to your understanding of the purpose of an economy.  The first is the false position held by Austrians, and by Keynesians when they want to confuse you: the belief that the purpose of economic activity is the satisfaction of human desires.  More spending means more production, and more production means more satisfaction.  This perspective, of course, originates with 18th- and 19th-century liberals and utilitarians.  You can see it all over Sam Altman's hedonic treadmill.

This false position leads us down the path of FGDP.  Let's explore.

Why the fudge factor?  Because our goal is not to merely assess the price of all goods produced, a mere number which can be measured by mundane if fallible techniques, and still worse can actually be defined - but their value, that is, hedonic utility. This is an almost spiritual and essentially qualitative and personal assessment.  In usual 20C style, we damn the torpedoes and jam this subjective quality into an objective quantity by any means necessary.  Otherwise, how would we model it?

For example: how much more fun of a computer is an iPad than an Apple II?  Is it 37.6 times more fun?  Or 198.2 times more fun?  Or even 547.9?  It would seem clear, to anyone not a blithering idiot, that any process which claims to be able to derive any such number is retarded at best and may well constitute felony math abuse.

Not at all!  The Bureau of Labor Statistics is, in fact, in possession of exactly this figure.  Here's how they do it.  Since Apple was selling computers continuously from Apple II to iPad, we can look at the period when both the Apple II and Apple III were on sale, divide the list price of the Apple III by the Apple II; later, the Mac 512K by the Apple III, and so on until we reach the iPad.  This process is called hedonic regression.  It is thoroughly official - approved of by both Harvard and the US Government.  So who's the blithering idiot now?

What's especially awesome is to imagine a world with a sane financial system in which the quantity of money (perhaps Bitcoin) is fixed, and so are the time preferences of consumers.  As a result, AGDP does not change.  AGDP growth is zero by definition in this model.

But in such a world, nothing prevents the hedonic quality of technology from increasing.  Computers can get better.  Indeed they should.  And FGDP can increase - though all FGDP increases are due to the GDP deflator, ie, hedonic fudge.

Now, consider the logical situation of the Altman position (also held, I think, by Peter Thiel - and certainly not uncommon among otherwise sensible thinkers) in this constant-money, constant AGDP model.  The argument is that we want "real" (FGDP) rather than "inflationary" (AGDP) economic growth, and the only path to this "real" growth is technology advancement.

True enough!  In fact, it's so true that it's... a tautology.  With constant AGDP, we've removed all the variables from the equation.  Oops.

When AGDP inflation, which none of these technology prophets wants to talk about, falls out of the equation, the argument that "we need technical progress to spur growth" turns into... simply the hedonic treadmill.  It expands to "2013 isn't fun enough, so let's get more and better technology to make 2014 more fun than 2013, because otherwise our fun sensors are all burned out and 2014 will be boo-oring."

Well, sure!  I, for instance, am seriously confused about why everyone in 2013 is still wearing headphones with wires.  What's with Bluetooth A2DP?  Doesn't it work?  And definitely, they should speed it up with that Google Glass thing.  If that ain't hedonic I don't know what is.  Especially when it comes to pr0n.  Certainly the BLS is falling down on the job if pr0n isn't part of their GDP deflator.  OMG, pr0n - what could be more hedonic than pr0n?  Google Glass + pr0n - that's what.  As Glenn Reynolds puts it: faster, please!

But, you know, this "2013 isn't fun enough" argument really doesn't tell us anything at all about why Detroit is a ruin.  It doesn't tell us why Baltimore is a ruin.  It doesn't tell us why Oakland is a ruin.  It doesn't tell us why Stockton is sinking into the Sacramento River, or why Newark could absorb all of Mark Zuckerberg's personal net worth without becoming anything at all like Cherry Hill.

What's happened here is that, starting with an absurdity, we have reasoned ourselves into nonsense.  Or at least, into pr0n.  Our premise was that the purpose of economic activity is hedonism, ie, the satisfaction of human desires.  Certainly, technology can satisfy human desires.  Pr0n can too, and so can heroin.  (In fact, it would be interesting if the BLS could determine which is more hedonic: the original iPad, plus heroin, or the Retina with 4.7 million pixels and maybe just a little codeine to take the edge off.  This could be computed easily, and with impeccable quantitative rigor, by combining Apple price series with the latest data from Silk Road.)

This absurdity happens to be the consensus reality.  Yet it is no less absurd.  Let's put on our John Carpenter sunglasses and look at the real reality, terrifying though it is.  Surely if you can read all the way down in a post this long, you can handle the real reality.

In actual reality, we are trying to answer the question: how should America be governed?  We are therefore reasoning from the perspective of the State.  Since sovereignty is conserved, the State is always and everywhere absolute and omnipotent.  Therefore, the hedonic satisfaction of its citizens, who are in fact its slaves, is not and cannot be a goal.  It may be a means to an end, of course.  As when we administer heroin through the barracks water supply to reward Camp #127 for exceeding its uranium production targets three months in a row.

Well, see.  I told you reality was scary.  I don't actually believe absolute government, which is always and everywhere the reality, implies totalitarian government.  USG is an absolute government as well.  I am not a big USG fan.   But I don't seem to find myself in the uranium mines.

In general, the classic 20C phenomena of totalitarianism appears not in absolute governments that are secure and invulnerable, but in extremely weak ones that in consequence have to take extraordinary measures to repress their enemies.  This (among other things) is the difference between Louis XIV and Stalin.  USG's great virtue is that its monopoly of power is far more secure than Louis XIV's, so it doesn't have to give a damn what I post on my stupid blog.

But if we are analyzing real governments in the real world, our financial analysis has to be rooted in political reality.  The political reality is that "citizens" are not owners of their government, but rather assets - in other words, slaves.  Our only hope is for a regime that's more Thomas Jefferson and less Simon Legree.  Fortunately, as we'll see, this analysis aligns the financial interests of the State with our own interests as human beings.

What are the financial interests of the absolute State?  To maximize the value of its productive assets.  The State's assets are (a) land and buildings, (b) equipment, and (c) human chattel.  We understand how to value and manage (a) and (b) just fine.  But most of its equity consists of (c) - an asset not really taught in most business schools.  (Fortunately you still have those yellow old stacks of DeBow's Review.)

There is another way to ask whether, excluding advances in technology (which do fall under (c), since technology is a human ability - but hard to monopolize), America is a more valuable nation in 2013 than it was in 1950.  We can ask: is the average American a better human being than his or her ancestors of 1950?  Ie: has the USG cultivated its human capital, or wasted it?

For example: is this person - this asset, this slave - a harder worker?  We'll assume the State cannot change his IQ, because I have seen no evidence that it can - but is he more knowledgeable?  Is he more moral, more physically healthy, wiser and more prudent?  A better father, a better mother?

Again, I believe the answer is obvious.  There are certainly some ways in which the average American of 2013 is a better person than his grandfather.  He is probably a better feminist, for instance.  He is much less likely to be an anti-Semite, homophobe, etc.  These factors don't really affect his economic value, but perhaps they're worth mentioning anyway.

On the other hand, the American of 2013 is much more likely to be a meth-head, a thug or ho, a worthless trustafarian slacker, etc, etc, etc.  Especially when we look at non-elite ethnic subpopulations - "cracker" Scots-Irish, African Americans, etc (though if we listen to Ron Unz, even the Jews are going to the dogs),  I don't think any serious person could really claim that the average American is superior as a human being to his grandparents.  You might as well assert that the original iPad was teh greatness but this Retina crap they're making these days is just lame.

What's notable about this interpretation is that, again, your interests and your government's are just about perfectly aligned.  You don't want to be a heroin addict.  Washington doesn't want its slaves to be heroin addicts.  You want to be a better person - more informed, more reliable, more capable.  As a better person, you are a better and more valuable capital asset.  You augment your government's market cap.  Back to Sam Altman:
Most of us want our lives to get better every year—the hedonic treadmill is a pain that way.
As "hedonic" implies, "better" means "more fun."  Obviously this is the attitude you'd expect from someone born in the Bush administration.  Could it be any other way?

Us old Nixon fogeys have pretty much exhausted the hedonic treadmill.  There's not much left of your hedonic treadmill after the 17th time cleaning up baby hork in the middle of the night.  At that point (yes, new parents, it does get better) a nice glass of wine and a dinner out with your wife is more or less the hedonic equivalent of a meth-fueled threeway with strippers.

Most of us want to become better people every year.  We're pretty confident, perhaps falsely, that this will lead to more hedonic rewards in the long run or at least has the best chance of doing so.  But this isn't the goal.  The goal, believe it or not, is to become better people.  And ideally our children will be even better than us.  So again - the market cap goes up.

Everything I'm saying here (including the economics) was said by Carlyle more than 150 years ago, notably in Chartism.  The apotheosis of the hedonic principle is the immortal Pig-Philosophy.  Briefly, Carlyle tells us, the difference between man and beast is that maximization of hedonic utility is always and everywhere the method of a beast.  Not coincidentally, it is also the method of a toddler.  And it is also the method of the Austrian economist, although he at least realizes that the "utility function" is qualitative and subjective rather than quantitative and objective, and adds time preference.

To Mises and Rothbard, the human being as economic actor is a very smart pig, often willing to exchange less slop today for more slop tomorrow.  This is not at all the view of Carlyle - nor is it the view of List.  Of course, from the economic perspective of the State, slop production is all that matters.  But the human being is not only an economic actor - nor is the State only an agency of production.  What we'd really like to see is a model in which there is no tension between Pig-Philosophy (which must be acknowledged as true) and actual human civilization.

We are now in a position to attack the mystery of "growth."  Why, if economic hedonism is such a shallow and easily debunked philosophy, do so many people take "growth" so seriously?

All subterfuges and evasions to the contrary, the basic economic problem faced by 20th-century governments (somewhat less in the 19C; far more in the 21C) is unemployment.  The cause of unemployment is simple: in an industrial economy, most human beings are economically useless.  They are not productive assets at all.  They are liabilities.  For a brief transitional period, they could still be used as industrial robots.  This period is close to its end.

For instance, suppose a Sam Altman were given plenary power over the US economy, reorganized into One Giant Business.  His mission: cut costs, while maintaining production.  His methods: eliminate white-collar busywork (real estate agents, lawyers, medical billing clerks, etc); replace human industrial robots with actual industrial robots; and when all else fails, replace high-cost American labor with low-cost Indians housed in barracks and fed only on lentils, Dubai style.

Does anyone doubt that aggressive and autocratic application of these methods could reduce US employment by 5 to 10 percent a year for at least a decade?  Indeed, as the Singularity nears, the future of work becomes clear - there is an IQ threshold below which any human, no matter how cheap to feed, is a liability.  Classic unskilled manual labor remains productive in some domains - gardening, housecleaning, and so on.  Perhaps this will be true for another decade or two.  It will not be true indefinitely.  As the machines get smarter - assuming they get smarter - the threshold will rise.  Eventually, the only human beings worth employing will be Sam Altman and his friends.  Then, at last, even they will be laid off.  Universal unemployment is the definition of the Singularity.

Now, it's important to note that from a strictly economic perspective, there is no problem here at all.  The absolute State as Pig-Philosopher has a simple answer.  As Stalin put it - no person, no problem.  These surplus human robots can simply be sacrificed, like worn-out lab mice.  At this point they stop being liabilities and become assets again, since they can be sold as organs or at least organ meats.  Certainly, when the State itself becomes a computer, this logic will be irresistible.  Let's call this approach to human liabilities Solution A.

From a political perspective, Solution A is a nonstarter.  Hopefully it will always remain a nonstarter.  If we are entirely wedded to Pig-Philosophy, we can explain this by saying that sacrificing human liabilities (especially within earshot) actually damages the capital value of the non-sacrificed pigs, because it terrifies and demoralizes them.  But is this true?  Might it not motivate them, instead?  Whatever.  There are more things in my philosophy than pigs, and yours too as well, and while I am quite willing to take a King I draw the line at a Computer-King - especially if the Computer-King is programmed entirely with Pig-Philosophy.  Since I am more tolerant in this regard than most, I just don't see Solution A happening.

We move on to Solution B, which I think is the solution most people believe in.  Work?  Who the hell wants to work?  Work is anti-hedonic by definition.  If it didn't have negative utility, it wouldn't be work.  So, it's supposed to be a problem that in the future, work will be obsolete, and we'll be able to produce goods and services without any human labor at all?  That doesn't sound like a problem to me.  It sounds like a victory.

The problem with Solution B is that we've already tried it, quite extensively.  You see Solution B every time you go to the grocery store.  Next to the button marked "Debit/Credit" is one marked "EBT."  Ever pressed that one?  Even just by mistake?  It's the Solution B button.  America has entire cities that have moved beyond anti-hedonic labor disutility and entered the gleaming future of Solution B.  One of them is called "Detroit."

Solution B is not the culmination of human civilization, it turns out, but its destruction.  Even in terms of mere Pig-Philosophy, it is destructive, because it ruins a human asset.  If we appraise humans as robots, we see that this is a special kind of robot: it rusts up if not continually operating.  As beasts, we are beasts who evolved to work.  Our species achieved world domination as a result of our capacity for work.  To feed and entertain a human being, without requiring productive effort or at least some simulation of it, is in the end just a way to destroy him - not too different from Solution A.

There are some human beings, Sam Altman presumably among them, who are natural aristocrats.  They can acquire the resources they would need to never work again, and still continue to work.  While this is lovely, we need to face the reality that the human species is what it is.  The population does not consist largely or even significantly of natural aristocrats.  Not, for instance, in Detroit. "Dead corpses, the rotting body of a brother man, whom fate or unjust men have killed, this is not a pleasant spectacle; but what say you to the dead soul of a man, -- in a body which still pretends to be vigorously alive, and can drink rum?"  Carlyle knew all about Hardcore Pawn.

Beyond the creepy A and B, all solutions to the problem involve a State which compels, through economic or other means (it hardly matters), humans who are not economically productive to submit to work or some simulation thereof.  For instance, especially with the Oculus Rift, technology is beginning to present us with a Solution C, which combines physical imprisonment with virtual enrichment.  It's not clear what a life-scale virtual environment would consist of, but it would surely involve work or something like it.  I don't find Solution C particularly creepy, but I may be alone in this.  It is certainly less creepy than A or B.  I suspect that if it was done right, the customers would vastly prefer it to their present vile circumstances.  But I also suspect it will never happen.

Beyond A, B, and C, we enter the domain of solutions which involve distorting labor markets to integrate these human liabilities into some semblance of a normal institution of production.  Solution D is the obvious approach and has been practiced by regimes around the world since Cheops was a little boy: to keep the peasants fit, healthy and happy, pay them to do otherwise unnecessary work.  Like, you know, building pyramids.

There is an apocryphal anecdote which illustrates Solution D perfectly.  It probably never happened. A famous American economist - Milton Friedman, perhaps - is visiting China, perhaps in the '80s, and sees a construction project where workers are digging a canal, with picks and shovels.  "Why not use bulldozers?" the economist suggests.

"But Professor Friedman," his host points out, "this is a jobs project."

"Oh!" says the apocryphal professor.  "Well, in that case, why are they using picks?  Why not give them spoons?"

While this is meant to illustrate the supposed idiocy of Solution D, it actually illustrates the design space.  The purpose of Solution D is to lose as little money as possible, while maintaining the human quality of your assets and preventing them from degenerating into Hardcore Pawn customers, 10th St. zombies or other revolting parodies of the human condition.

Digging ditches with appropriate hand tools is a simple and almost ennobling, in its own small way, form of manual labor which is ideally suited to the condition of most humans, delicate aristocrats perhaps excepted.  (It is possible to construct makework for delicate aristocrats, but it takes more imagination.)  Digging ditches with spoons is a degrading punishment appropriate only for refractory pedophiles.  Since there is never any shortage of ditches you'd rather have than not, there is no need to issue spoons - unless the purpose of the project is exemplary degradation.

So what's the problem?  Why isn't USG sending its millions of gangstaz, its hundreds of thousands of zombies, and its uncountable hordes of ordinary young people who just can't find a damn job, to self-improvement-through-labor facilities where they create gleaming new national parks, which no one ever visits, on the North Slope of Alaska?  It might seem illiberal, but it can't be - FDR did it.

In general, makework programs are restricted to strong governments.  Ours is a large government, but by no means a strong one.  FDR's was a strong one.  When a strong government wants to "create jobs," it just hires people.  If the product is useless and the work is just makework, it says so.  The strong are confident and can tell the truth.  A weak government has to shroud the truth in a cloak of lies - it has to convincingly pretend that our great nation may be doomed without substantial and immediate improvements to "Gates of the Arctic National Park."

Oddly, makework, a superior solution by any standard, is a softer political target than good old Solution B welfare.  Makework has to be defended by lies, whereas welfare is indefensible.  The defenders of welfare are therefore forced into the brazen fortress of property - they and their clients must assert that they are entitled to these emoluments, which is of course the one thing they ain't.  But, having established adverse possession, they make a pretty good go of retaining it.

Politically, the ideal way to apply Solution D is to make the actual work as separate as possible from the source of funding.  This brings us back to AGDP and "growth."  (You didn't think we were digressing, did you?)

Politically, the best way to fund and operate makework is to make it indistinguishable from the rest of the economy.  If you tax productive citizens $1T a year to employ 10 million Americans to build, with hand tools, a 1:1 copy of Rome at the base of Mount Igikpak, you create a giant political target for stupid unruly peasants who persist in not understanding the genius of Lord Keynes.  If instead, you manage to inflate aggregate consumer spending by $1T, you create ordinary jobs for ordinary Americans all across America - because where does that $1T go?

Some of it winds up as profit, of course - but most of it goes into the costs of production, ie, labor costs.  Ie, creating jobs.  The love is spread all over the country as a delicious buttery layer of prosperity.  No one votes against prosperity.  Ever.

Of course, you're still annoying the people you tax.  Nor is it possible to pump tax money directly into consumer spending.  It has to go through government spending instead.  This makes two targets: the taxation and the spending.  It can be managed.  But it also can be improved.

Suppose you borrow instead of taxing?  This is better because no one feels the bite.  However, government borrowing - which, as we've discovered, is identical in every way to mere "money printing," ie, equity issuance, since fiat currency is government equity and there is no real accounting distinction between Fed and Treasury, or between Fed notes and Treasury obligations - still has a downside.  The downside is that it's reported and has to appear in the newspapers - alarming the stupid peasants who persist in not understanding the genius of Lord Keynes, instead believing that Washington has to pay back its debts as though it was some stupid peasant.

Moreover, even the most dedicated bureaucrat who is more Keynesian than Keynes himself feels a slight sense of alarm about the indiscriminate use of this privilege, because somewhere in the back of his reptile brain he understands what he is doing: imposing a stealth capital levy on the wealthy, by diluting the dollar supply.  Suppose dollar holders evaded this tax, which after all is a tax, by switching to some other monetary asset?  Gold?  Bitcoin?  Honus Wagner baseball cards?  Besides, if the dollars have to pass through Washington, the spending side remains a target.

Therefore, absolutely the best way to inflate AGDP is to increase private-sector capitalization, generating a wealth effect.  Moreover, there are two ways to do this, since there are two forms of capital asset: debt and equity.  Debt is dangerous because it has to be paid back.  More on this in a moment.  So we have a second-best way to inflate AGDP, convincing the private sector to borrow more; and a first-best way, making the stock market and real estate go up.

The latter is solution D-1, the absolute bestest way (from a political perspective) to create jobs, and the mainstay of the Greenspan-Bernanke era of American prosperity.  In short, our actual reality.  The former is solution D-2, as practiced in the great nation of China.  (And, wonderfully, Angola.)

Is there a downside?  Of course there is.  Capitalization (debt or equity) is supposed to reflect actual capital.  When you increase capitalization (debt or equity) without a corresponding creation of productive assets, you are storing up trouble.  Excessive market cap is like nuclear waste.  If it gets out, as in 2008 - you have a problem.  Fortunately, this problem can always be solved by solution D-3, printing money to buy nuclear waste.

Note that all of this is a question of financial alchemy.  None of it has anything at all to do with the resolution on your iPad, or other technology ingredients that go into computing the FGDP hedonic deflator.  It is all a matter of AGDP.  It's true that AGDP inflation is reflected in FGDP, but the number that matters is AGDP - the quantity of money, not the quality of products.  If you try to solve the problem of inadequate AGDP inflation by improving the GDP deflator, ie, by better technology, you are committing cargo cult economics.  You are trying to cause a cause with an effect.

Is there any problem at all with this insane machine?  Sure there is.  It's insane, after all.  Its insanity is totally disproportionate to its actual purpose, ie, employing otherwise idle and useless humans.  As we'll see, a sane regime could accomplish the same goal far more sanely.

A financial system is a central planning mechanism.  To the extent that a planning mechanism, whether automatic or bureaucratic, is sane, it instructs economic actors to make sane and rational decisions, like investing in productive assets.  To the extent that it instructs economic actors to do insane things, like building empty cities in the middle of Mongolia, its automatic and supposedly free-market nature is no different from the bureaucratic insanity of a Gosplan, or the autocratic insanity of a Houphouet-Boigny.  Of course, it still fulfills its actual mission of creating jobs.  But not without significant and unnecessary financial weirdness, whose only purpose is to pretend that the machine is not in fact a makework scheme.

In America, the consequence of job creation through AGDP inflation is the notorious FIRE economy, a central-planning system in which the only income source is asset-price inflation, and the employment created involves Mexican immigrants installing granite countertops and nice white ladies selling real estate to each other.  For instance, this is essentially the economy of Ohio, once one of the world's great industrial centers.  As a way for human beings to spend their time, frankly, it seems lame and depressing.  Is it that much better than digging ditches with spoons?

Moreover, nuclear waste is dangerous.  A critical point is passed in an event like that of 2008, which might be described as the transition from debt capitalism to debt communism.  Under debt capitalism, it is possible to sustain the illusion that both borrower and lender are private-sector agents.  Under debt communism, a state we have now attained, borrowing remains a private action, but the Fed is now and forever the lender of first resort.

The bottom line is that in business terms, what's wrong with the American economy is very simple.  It loses money.  In order to keep operating on an even keel, it needs to borrow roughly $1.2T a year.  In other words, we have a simple way to get 2% AGDP growth per year - expand the debt bomb by 2% a year. We can also inflate the stock and real estate markets, which is better, of course, because equity does not create obligations.  It's a way of enriching the rich at the expense of the poor, but hey, what else is new?

A money-losing economy, like a money-losing restaurant, sucks.  It sucks in all kinds of ways that have no apparent connection to finance.  The entire dining experience is grim.  This, indeed, is the experience of the entire "old economy" outside the little bubbles of Silicon Valley and Wall Street.  My in-laws live in Columbus.  Columbus sucks.  Even with Chairman Ben's 85-billion-a-month bond-buying "recovery."  It is more and more palpably a Soviet restaurant.

The fantasy of the money-losing economy, like that of the money-losing restaurant, is that if enough money is pumped in, eventually the "pump will be primed" and the engine will restart on its own.  On this theory, America has been expanding its debt bomb since the 1930s.  Yo, it's not working.  I'd be happy to bet any sum of money on what would happen if Chairman Ben turned off the QE.  If you are into professional betting, bet on zero interest rates for the infinite future.  "Capitalism" with zero interest rates is a mockery and a monstrosity - but there is no alternative within the system.

Worse, we will face a 2008 all over again when the private sector's debt becomes so large that even borrowing from an infinite lender is no longer a market operation.  Goldman Sachs can borrow at 0%, but you can't.  Debt has to be serviced.  Debt saturation happens.  When it happens, debt deflation begins - and in a debt-deflation phase, even borrowing at 0% is no longer a market operation.  Once debt deflation begins, there is no alternative but reflation by direct government spending, in the classic "Bernanke helicopter" mode.  While the political system is always capable of helicopter drops in theory, it may not be capable of it in practice.  And if it can achieve direct inflation, it has still entered a purely Soviet mode in which all investment is directed by the State.

And all this, just so that marginally employable Americans with an IQ of 95 can have jobs.  Which many of them can't.  Evaluated as a job creation mechanism, which is what it is, this insane financial inflation machine earns no better than a C-.  Granted, it has put us so far behind the debt 8-ball that if you turn it off, you go straight from C- to F-.  Which was about to happen in 2008 before Bernanke fired up his helicopter.  It's a trap!  And the bait isn't even that tasty.

So are there other solutions?  Is there a Solution E?  An F?  Well, sure.  They're not politically possible.  Nothing other than what we're doing now is politically possible, at least, not without regime change.  As Hunter S. Thompson put it, that bothers me the way VD bothers a Hell's Angel.  If not less.

E is a factor we left out: foreign trade.  As it happens, the US with its disastrous 37% labor-force nonparticipation rate (ie, the real measurement of "unemployment", which is commonly cited in terms of the meaningless benefit-claims number), besides borrowing $1.2T a year, runs a trade deficit of $600B a year.  Ie, 3% of US GDP.  What does this mean?

What it means is that if USG entirely eliminated foreign trade, closing its ports like Tokugawa Japan, US businesses would experience an immediate 3% jump in gross revenue, and hence in employment.  Of course, this would involve a boom in import substitution industries and a bust in export industries, but the net effect would be a boom.  500B ain't nothing.  The hedonic effect, of course, would be negative - but as we've seen, inadequate hedonism is anything but our problem.

We could do even better than this.  We could eliminate imports, while maintaining exports.  Of course, we would be admitting the mercantilist reality of world trade, something our Asian trading "partners" already understand.  Does it hurt that much to say: "Friedrich List was right?"  Let's say that retaliation would cut our exports not to zero, but just in half.  In that case, we have $0 in imports and $650B in exports, meaning a net gain in revenue to US businesses of roughly 1.2T - and that's not counting a multiplier effect of money spent over and over again.

Again, we'd see some hedonic pain.  We'd also see something like a 10% boost in AGDP overnight, as all the crap we buy from China now had to be made in America.  Which means a titanic economic boom perhaps unparalleled in history, except at the inception of the Third Reich when Hitler adopted more or less the same autarkic policies.  Less fun - more prosperity.

Call me crazy, but I don't believe mercantilism - which, before Adam Smith, was no more than conventional wisdom in political economy - is inseparable from yet another persecution of the Jews.  Indeed, any pre-liberal mercantilist would regard the combination of free trade, massive trade deficits, and massive unemployment, as economic insanity on a par with persecuting the Jews.

(I'm sure Professor Krugman, who can be accused of many things but not of misunderstanding the power of aggregate demand, understands this perfectly.  Which makes him yet another concern troll - ie, a person concerned not with solving the problem, but with exploiting it.)

As List puts it, free trade is the weapon of the strong.  England and later America adopted free trade when we were strong.  Well, face it, we're not strong anymore.  But we keep hitting ourselves over the head with the weapon.  Why?  It's simple: blithering idiocy.

And yes, there is also a Solution F.  Solution F is a reality we'll eventually have to face: technology restriction.  Actually, Solution E is a special case of Solution F, because foreign imports are best considered as a technology of production.  From the perspective of the American economy, there is no difference between production by Chinese workers, and production by robots - both imply production which does not employ American workers.

It is hard to imagine technology restriction working, because we have to get past imagining this terribly powerful tool being wielded by our utterly incompetent and corrupt rulers.  The same problem exists in contemplating effective protectionism.  The most obvious outcomes of both these tools simply amount to featherbedding if not outright theft.  As a result, protectionism has gained a bad name, and technology restriction is well outside the policy landscape.  Yet in actual reality, the problem is not with the tool, but the wielder.  Once we admit that USG isn't working and has to go, we can imagine replacing it with something that doesn't suck - and can actually wield such a tool.

I am not suggesting across-the-board technology restriction, general medieval stasis, low-res iPads, banning Google Glass, or anything of the kind.  My idea of Solution F involves targeted technology controls designed to create market demand for the type of unskilled human laborers that modern industry has made obsolete, but that we are politically unwilling to kill and sell as organ meat.  Being so unwilling, we have no choice but to provide these people with a way to survive as human beings - preferably as human as possible.

For instance, two forms of semi-skilled labor well-known to be good for the human soul are (a) craftsmanship and (b) farming.  Compared to the demand for these professions that once existed, both have been essentially eradicated.  How many meth-heads, thugz, etc, are there in America whose great-great-grandparents were craftsmen, farmers, or both?

Consider one targeted technology restriction: no plastic toys.  If my children are going to have toys, these toys will be made from wood, with hand tools, by Americans, in America.

Results: (a) negative financial impact on parents who need to buy toys for their children, and might have to increase their toy budgets; (b) negative hedonic impact on children, whose toy bins are no longer filled with brightly colored Chinese plastic crap; (c) negative economic impact on China, which is not our country, so who cares; (d) gigantic economic boom in American wooden toy industry, providing employment to any fool who can whittle.

How can anyone contemplating these outcomes not agree with me that (d) considerably outweighs the sum of (a), (b) and (c)?  Or take agricultural labor, for which an arbitrary level of demand can be created simply by banning industrial farming techniques.  Every ghetto rat in America today could find employment as an organic slow-food artisan.  Crap - even a 10th Street zombie can milk cows. We'd have to pay them for their work, of course.  We already pay them for not working.  Is this better for us?  For them?  WTF, America?

Is this unrealistic?  Of course it's unrealistic.  To be exact, it is completely inconsistent with consensus reality, to the point of seeming utterly bizarre.  I doubt a Sam Altman would even be able to evaluate it.  Normal sane people, especially rich ones, are socially well-integrated and live in consensus reality, ie, a Plato's cave of pure blithering idiocy.

And yet, I assert, in actual reality - my Solutions E and F are slam-dunk no-brainers.  (We'd still need a way to safely shut down the Solution D debt bomb, but that's a matter for another post.)  Will this gap ever be bridged?  Will we ever escape from the 20th century?  Almost certainly not.  But for whatever crazy reason, I still feel the need to point out that we could.  Perhaps it's just because I'm a nut.

120 Comments:

Blogger Mitchell said...

It's very plausible that the future of the American economy lies somewhere among this gamut of options; it just won't be described with this vocabulary or justified with these rationales.

March 13, 2013 at 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Clerestorian said...

You're beginning to sound like you're part of the virtue ethics revival. In a way, maybe that's the basis at quite a bit of reactionary thought?

And I have always been a fan of Half Sigma's WoW-esque simulated work as a solution to the mass unemployment that is going to plague us in the robotic pre-singularity future.

March 13, 2013 at 1:21 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

I couldn't finish this post...
Although I currently have no TV, no cell phone, no I pad, etc, you get the picture, just one car for two people, haul my shower water to flush my excrement down the toilet, I could not manage to keep the myriad points you make in this post in my head in order to respond to it in point by point analytic rebuttal...
But then, this post was not structured in a way that would allow me to retain it either.
If you take a look at.. "Beowulf", or Shakespeare, for example, you will see how rhetorical devices, and repetition allow us to retain and memorize thick chunks of words/text...
That said, a few anecdotal comments, working from my very imperfect memory.
Since I am very... unplugged from Western technology right now, I have a perspective on some of its salient features.
Words like "stupid" "reality", "economic" "insane" are omnipresent, and constantly repeated.
They are an accurate, Platonic ? reflection of what we believe at this time. (Personally, I have thrown "reality" out of my vocabulary. If one must use it, at least avoid its more totalitarian temptations by sticking an "s" on the end of it...)
For "reality", back to Calderon de la Barca, in the 16th century Spanish golden age (much farther back than Carlyle, right ??) to see how we have made this word a new... God. "Life is a dream" is very contemporary, and luxury of all luxuries, it sounds so much better than the current 300 word vocabulary that many of us are now reduced to in the Western world (all the while repeating words like "stupid", "reality", "insane"...).
On hedonism :
Right back to Descartes, once again in the 16th century. Descartes, whose utopia (remember that "utopia" means no place...) you and I are now living in...
"But as soon as I had acquired some general notions of physics, and having started to apply them in certain individual circumstances, I noticed where they could lead, and how different they were from the principles which we have used up until now, I believed that I couldn't keep them hidden without sinning against the law which obliges us to seek to obtain, insofar as it is possible for us, the general good of all men : for (these notions) made me see how it is possible to acquire knowledge which is very useful in life, and instead of the speculative knowledge taught in our schools, we can find a practical philosophy by which, knowing the force and actions of fire, water, air, the stars, the skies, and all the other bodies around us as distinctly as we know the divers trades and occupations of our artisans, we could employ it (the knowledge, me...) towards everything for which it is proper, and thus RENDER OURSELVES MASTERS AND OWNERS OF NATURE (my emphasis of course...). Which is not only desirable for the invention of an infinite number of artifices which would enable us to enjoy with no toil the fruits of the earth and all of the commodities within, but principally also for the conservation of health, which is doubtless the first good, and the foundation of all the other.. goods ( ? ;-), me...) of this life..." Part 6, in "The Discourse on Method".

Descartes.. dreamed his utopia, and you and I are living in the uh... "reality" of it ? Sobering thought...

March 13, 2013 at 3:04 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

Descartes' utopia is propped up on and against his Christian heritage. If you take out your Bible, you will see that Descartes utopia looks as much like Satan''s temptation of Eve as one pea in the pod looks like another...
But Descartes would have been shocked and horrified to hear that, and he would probably not have listened to me, or believed me either, if I had told him so. (You, Mencius, go drag out your Bible, Genesis, and look at it, and compare.)

We constantly tend to forget that Western civilisation has the.. schizophrenic ? (another much bandied about word..) task of juggling many conflicting narratives and values about work.. Work was anathema to the Greco-Roman world, but... it was the status quo for the Jews... (who also had slaves, by the way, even though their identity is founded on being led out of slavery..) And for the Celts ?
There is an important distinction to be made between... work for money, and work NOT for money...

On security : "Beowulf" was written around 1000, or so. At the end, when the hero fights the dragon, out of 60 or so of his "men" who accompany their leader, only one sticks around to help, and risks his life to kill the dragon...
The more things change, the more they stay the same, on this subject, at least. Beowulf in the ghetto in 2012 would have had as few loyal and COURAGEOUS comrades, I submit...
You, I hope, will admit that the American man and woman is perhaps.. less courageous than he would like to think ? That he has fewer and fewer contexts and circumstances in which he can be ? courageous (unless you count the video games, and they give a jaded taste to my mouth...).
Or maybe even that the word has fallen into disuse ?? Like honor ?
Like so many other lovely, pagan FEUDAL words that could give new meaning to our lives, without having to resort to the (now) plastic sword of Christ the King ?

On money, production, and exponential multiplication : From "The Merchant of Venice" : Antonio : "But is your gold and silver rams and ewes ? Shylock : I cannot tell, I make it breed as fast." Act 1, scene 3 ? from memory...

One last correction : the peasants PRODUCED. They worked... They worked the land, and if they hadn't worked the land, well, people would not have eaten. THEY wouldn't have eaten, but the... lords wouldn't have eaten either...
Gotta take those blinders off.
Over 500 years of Renaissance ideological indocrination are still taking their toll...

March 13, 2013 at 3:08 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

"(The food of 2013 is certainly tastier than that of 1950, at least in America. But this is not the base of the pyramid.)"

Some of the restaurants are tastier, but modern women can't cook like their grandmothers. I would guess the average meal for the average person is less tasty.

March 13, 2013 at 3:30 AM  
Anonymous Remnant said...

You also need to get rid of B for E or F to work. "Any fool who can whittle" will not whittle while the EBT cards are still loaded. Also, how do you turn these meth-heads and thugz into whittlers, rather than rioters, if you do take away the EBTs?

March 13, 2013 at 3:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Their PR team sounds kind of idiotic though


Loopt is a company based in Mountain View, California, United States. Loopt produces mobile location-based services that allow users to discover the world around them, and find and enjoy the friends, places and events around them via smartphones.

March 13, 2013 at 4:19 AM  
Anonymous Marduk said...

Solution F is not as great as it seems. It has it's limits. There are only so many areas of economy that can be realistically technology restricted for the benefit of otherwise unemployables.
That brings the question - what proportion of unemployables in a population is required for a "critical mass" that solution F will not be able to employ without an impossible political price?
For one, importation of third world diversity into first world countries is definitely a movement towards this critical mass in the latter.

I also propose a solution G. It's effectively a combination of A and E. Basically, cast out and separate the unemployables into a society and economy of their own. Then, as with China, who cares? They will need to do some work, or else they will starve with no roofs over their heads.
It can also be described as a mutation of solution F, in which most, if not all of the anti-hedonistic effect of the technology restriction is aimed at the unemployables themselves, instead of being spread out around all the population.
It's definitely more politically platable than solution A, and from the perspective of employables, also more platable than solution G.
Though the end effect for the unemployables (who will always opt for the most hedonistic B) is even worse than that of F.

March 13, 2013 at 4:19 AM  
Anonymous Heh said...

how do you turn these meth-heads and thugz into whittlers, rather than rioters, if you do take away the EBTs?

Transport them to the base of the Brooks Range, and announce, "he who does not whittle, neither shall he eat."

March 13, 2013 at 4:35 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Is there any evidence for Maslow's hierarchy?

March 13, 2013 at 5:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant post. How you wrote this as a parent of a young child is mind-boggling.

Historically, ruling cultures that have completely lost touch with reality - your basic accusation made against the USG and the Cathedral - have been brought to their senses with the hard steel of an invaders sword. Where is that hard steel to come from? I doubt that low-IQ underclass thugs have the ability to bring this country to its heels, even in its current state of decrepitude. Certainly not from some fantasy of debt-restructuring imposed by a foreign financial power. So from where? Could this fantasy-world extend indefinitely as the USG and the country it rules sinks into Gerontocracy and torpor?

jult52

March 13, 2013 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

This world:

"Two forms of semi-skilled labor well-known to be good for the human soul are (a) craftsmanship and (b) farming. Compared to the demand for these professions that once existed, both have been essentially eradicated. How many meth-heads, thugz, etc, are there in America whose great-great-grandparents were craftsmen, farmers, or both?

Consider one targeted technology restriction: no plastic toys. If my children are going to have toys, these toys will be made from wood, with hand tools, by Americans, in America.

Results: (a) negative financial impact on parents who need to buy toys for their children, and might have to increase their toy budgets; (b) negative hedonic impact on children, whose toy bins are no longer filled with brightly colored Chinese plastic crap; (c) negative economic impact on China, which is not our country, so who cares; (d) gigantic economic boom in American wooden toy industry, providing employment to any fool who can whittle.

How can anyone contemplating these outcomes not agree with me that (d) considerably outweighs the sum of (a), (b) and (c)? Or take agricultural labor, for which an arbitrary level of demand can be created simply by banning industrial farming techniques. Every ghetto rat in America today could find employment as an organic slow-food artisan. Crap - even a 10th Street zombie can milk cows. We'd have to pay them for their work, of course. We already pay them for not working. Is this better for us? For them? WTF, America?"

I want to live in this world.

March 13, 2013 at 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Ave Maria said...

Congratulations, you spent 10,000 words justifying an action that liberal crunchy moms with Pinterest in their Firefox bookmarks bar would easily do anyway.

Only half-joking. Yes, employing craftsmen is great. You're sitting on a pile of startup cash that was essentially generated, even in your own evaluation, by the hedonistic treadmill that's driving the whole economy to hell, so you want to do something a little nice with the money. You can buy your wooden alphabet blocks. Bill Gates can buy some vaccines for Africa. While you're doing that, a future gangbanger has been born at an overcrowded and understaffed hospital in Oakland, such an uncomfortable thought that we feel ashamed to even think it, let alone attribute our real names to the thought on a blog.

Rather than your fantasy of informed and ethical consumption, indistinguishable from the Pinterest mom's aesthetic consumption, it may be healthier for our Internet yammerings about long-term cultural decline to admit that the survivalists have it right.

March 13, 2013 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

AM--the idea is that once those crunchy ideals are not longed for but implemented & required, the wild spawn of useless folks will have something to do--which always makes for a better place.

March 13, 2013 at 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Ave Maria said...

Yeah, I understand that. Turning it from taste into "requirement" is still a political fantasy, as he himself admits. It would require forcing millions of people to do what they don't want to do. Could you even imagine turning off welfare?

March 13, 2013 at 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Lapsed Bohemian said...

Solution F is here for you now. You can buy from artisans, craftsmen, small farmers, etc. People in upscale SWPL neighborhoods do this to feel righteous and impress their friends. They're typically not buying from people displaced by automation, but the taste for such things can be made felt in the broader world.
Stop at roadside stands and buy things you like. Take the occasional detour from the interstate, drive through a town, stop in a shop, and buy something that looks handmade. Back home, set it next to the piece of Indonesian sculpture you have on your hall table.
Two hundred years of this, alongside the occasional USG debt default, and you have the world Solution F built.

March 13, 2013 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Matt Beck said...

(Note that while our historians would desperately love to find one, just one, member of the exquisitely literate 4th-century AD European culture who would even mention that the Roman Empire was falling apart, no such luck. It's all wall-to-wall Prudentius and Sidonius.)

How did you forget about St. Augustine?

Aside from that quibble, the rest of the post s great.

March 13, 2013 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

AM:

It's a question of aesthetics. It is not currently pleasing for the underclass to work. The art is rather the opposite of that.

That could, however, be changed.

March 13, 2013 at 9:09 AM  
Anonymous TJIC said...

As a recreational woodworker who has built a 4' x 4' x 1' CNC milling machine in his basement and is currently deciding which market to stick it in, I don't see the craftsmanship approach working...which is too bad, because I'd really like to live in that world.

As much as I love Greene and Greene architecture and would love to become rich enough to commission Darryl Peart and his assistants to fill my entire mansion with laboriously hand-created reproductions, I think that for all but the top end of the range, craftsmanship won't require many craftsmen.

March 13, 2013 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Been tweeting one great line after another from this post.

Unlike ^Debra^, I didn't just read it all, I savored it. It was not myriad points to retain, to me, since it was a masterful progression of a time-worn and long-lived history of "our people," i.e., the producers. We know it as surely as a fan knows the baseball stats of his favorite player. It was satisfying in the way that a documentary on a cultural force is to those who live within it. "Finally," we think, "somebody got it right."

It was every bit as entertaining as it was thoughtfully presented. Sadly, even reasonable young people are quite illiterate about economic principles, and unable to understand the concept of balancing a checkbook. The Debit Card is as much to blame as the EBT Card in this respect: "Is there money in my account? I can buy stuff!"

At any rate, the localvore movement can't feed the cities, which is where the USG wants everyone to live. The Sun can't power the cities. And craftsmanship won't fight the next worldwide virus outbreak. Which may be solution G. . .

March 13, 2013 at 9:52 AM  
Anonymous dff said...

I understand that it is not currently politically possible to export low IQ unemployables, but surely there's no need to import gazillions of them just to create make-work for them at the cost of economic craziness and reality-distortion? Or is the creation of make-work for them merely make-work for our bureaucratic class?

March 13, 2013 at 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't really listen to anyone who claims he wants to live in 1950s America with iPads while residing in San Francisco, which is as far from there as it is possible to be in the US. Start posting from Lubbock or Indianapolis or Colorado Springs, then maybe I can take you seriously. As it is, you come across as an elaborate piece of performance art.

March 13, 2013 at 11:51 AM  
Anonymous survivingbabel said...

I suppose there is nothing more demotist than an anonymous commentator popping into a comment thread in order to tell the world that they don't plan on taking the author seriously until XYZ conditions are met. I feel as though Alone over at TLP might have a word to describe this phenomenon.

March 13, 2013 at 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Interestingly, this technology-wiping-out-jobs thing is only a problem for the countries with enough smart people to run technology.

I doubt that sub-Saharan Africa is going to be using robots to grow food and built mud huts any time soon.

So split America up into new countries, one or more of which contains the people too dumb to maintain a robot society. They can subsistence farm like Africans. The smart people can live in the small separate parts for smart people where robots do most everything and the smart people spend their time making crafty gew-gaws and artisinal foods.

Of course in the real world, ambitious smart people want to conquer as much territory as they can so they're not likely to leave fertile, resource-laden lands for dumbbells to live on. I suppose the dumbbells end up like the Indians living on shitty reservation lands, eking out a living and drinking a lot.

March 13, 2013 at 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Nyk said...

What does our benevolent dictator MM and our distinguished commenters think about Pope Francis? As I recall, our Sith overlord expressed admiration for Jesuits.

March 13, 2013 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger DR said...

"You also need to get rid of B for E or F to work. "Any fool who can whittle" will not whittle while the EBT cards are still loaded. Also, how do you turn these meth-heads and thugz into whittlers, rather than rioters, if you do take away the EBTs?"

Exactly. How about Solution 0: Simply end the welfare state. Abolish minimum wage. And eliminate labor market restrictions that impose a cost to employing a worker. That is no more EEOC, OSHA, 40 hour work weeks, child labor laws, wrongful termination liability, mandatory healthcare, payroll taxes and W2s, etc.

There is a singularity future where unskilled laborers earn sub-substinence wages. We are not nearly there. Virtually every working-age, able-bodied American has productivity of at least $5. A lot higher if they stay employed (longer employed workers tend to double their productivity).

At 60 hours a week that comes out to $15,000 a year. Subsistence is about $750 a year. Does that mean that these unskilled ghetto welfare queens will be able to live fabulous Kim Kardashian lives of leisure? Of course not, but there's no reasonable expectation for unskilled workers to.

It's only because the New Deal progressive-universalist state has drilled into their heads that janitors are just as important and valuable as brain surgeons. Ergo if a janitor isn't paid commensurate with a surgeon, it's beneath them to even show up to work. Add in a massive welfare state to support their life-long labor strike of this social injustice.

In actuality there are very few "human liabilities" in the United States. That may change as technology improves, but its not true now. You're trying to cure a disease that hasn't been contracted (yet).

First generation Mexican peasants (in Moldbug's parlance "Helots") come here and manage to find gainful employment with wages far above subsistence levels. And they're far less educated and productive than even the lowest skilled American (no knowledge of English for one). This is because first generation immigrants are largely ineligible for most welfare. (Though there "Dalit" kids certainly aren't).

Unemployment is a labor market problem (sticky wages) combined with a business cycle interaction. In the future unemployment will probably be technological, but it isn't now. The 1930s didn't have 20%+ unemployment because technology was just really good in that decade. Singapore doesn't have 2% unemployment today because they have less technology.

There are plenty of jobs for people to do, I'd easily pay $6/hour for a dozen Downton Abbey-style servants. Moore's law hasn't replaced the good old fashioned Butler. I can't find a cleaning lady that will work for less than $15/hour though. It's not worth it to get off your ass and work, because your benefits phase out.

The solution isn't make work in any sense of the word. The solution is simply to stop subsidizing non-employment and increase labor market flexibility.

March 13, 2013 at 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Lumbo said...

I can't believe how relieved I feel to read someone that makes my view of "reality" feel less crazy. Bittersweet upon reflection.

Truly an argument of the ages, for those looking backward no need for "AD" when you have arete and hedone. As for the great kingdom of china, they came to much the same conclusion, if, as ever, presented in a slightly different fashion, try the fall of the Eastern Zhou for a time period.

For a modern take (from the halcyon days of the '50s no less!), try one of Vonnegut's better: Player Piano. Though some prefer Huxley. Seems we have been wrastlin' with this for more than a bit.

March 13, 2013 at 1:20 PM  
Anonymous survivingbabel said...

@DR

"At 60 hours a week that comes out to $15,000 a year. Subsistence is about $750 a year. Does that mean that these unskilled ghetto welfare queens will be able to live fabulous Kim Kardashian lives of leisure? Of course not, but there's no reasonable expectation for unskilled workers to. "

Really? $750? Where, Tajikistan? Or is this true, unvarnished subsistence, where you barely keep alive the peasant? How soon until your subsistence class starts rioting again? If you paid a gaggle of servants $6/hr. in Manhattan, you'd find your family's throats slit in short order.

Your homo economicus conception of humanity is the root cause of the problem, and any "solution" that is still beholden to that view of mankind is condemned to fail the same way the current system has failed. When you force people to live as paupers while surrounding them with people living as kings, and you provide no potential or alternate salvation (remember, these people's IQs aren't going to jump 30 points overnight), you destabilize society. Very anti-reactionary.

March 13, 2013 at 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Chevalier de Johnstone said...

The assumption of a political solution is a false one. Culture trumps politics, always.

Mencius' discussion of the problem and potential solutions (which discussion is well put) makes the true and obvious - to anyone but a depraved materialist, i.e., roughly 2/3 of Western population - statement that men are not pigs. Since flouting natural law, by going against one's own nature, causes all sorts of problems, things are better when men do not behave like pigs, but instead behave like men.

The proper behavior of men is called "morality". It is not relative. Every human being knows that killing a human infant is wrong. Some cultures make up elaborate excuses to justify such an action, often by changing the definition of "human" or "infant"; this is not morality, it is culture. In an immoral culture men treat other men like pigs. Or worse. In a moral culture men treat other men like men.

Mencius aptly describes the problem: we live in a culture which encourages men to be treated like hedonistic animals - pigs. The solution is to live in a culture in which men are treated like moral animals - men. This is the solution: to live it.

The assumed political solution is a non-starter, a waste of time, a useless step, a dead end. It is not possible to legislate, order, direct, cajole, bribe, or otherwise force men to be moral. Indeed, without the aspect of free will, morality is a moot point. Thus no political actor, be it a King, a Computer King, or a Representative Congress, can create a moral culture. Political actors are created by cultural forces, not the other way around. The solution for "how to live in a moral society" is for enough men to simply decide to live morally.

How do the economics of a moral society work? Moral persons do not arbitrarily restrict technology so that low-IQ simpletons can be kept out of trouble. Moral persons choose to favor the trade of craftsmen because there is honor in supporting a man in his livelihood and dishonor in replacing a man's livelihood with a machine: and honor is more important to the moral man than are profit or loss. How, then, are invention and technological advancement achieved in a moral society, absent the bare materialist calculus of profit and loss? The use of the gifts of the mind to discover new methods and explore new frontiers is a noble endeavor.

The effect is the same, but behaving morally and, in fact, nobly, is natural for man. Effecting the semblance of moral action by means of the materialist forces of a material government is simply impossible.

This is not a new solution. The problem of how to live morally with advancing technology, both machine-based and organisational, was addressed in Rerum Novarum. "Respect in every man his dignity as a person."

This is not to say the Pope's explanation of the solution is the only one. You don't have to take the Pope's word for it. In fact the Pope was somewhat late in expressing this obvious truth.

No law can make you respect another man as a man. Either you do so or you do not. If you do so, you are a moral animal, fulfilling your true nature. If enough do so, they will form a moral society. If not, you will have lived morally, which is to say, you will have truly lived.

March 13, 2013 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger DR said...

"Really? $750? Where, Tajikistan? Or is this true, unvarnished subsistence, where you barely keep alive the peasant? How soon until your subsistence class starts rioting again? If you paid a gaggle of servants $6/hr. in Manhattan, you'd find your family's throats slit in short order."

Dubai, which is more expensive than Manhattan, has tons of workers that make less than $6/hour. Most of these workers in addition support several other members of their family on the subcontinent.

The idea that workers working in high-cost areas should live in those areas is a retarded legacy of the 1960s New Left. "Let's build these housing projects in the middle of downtown!" Even loony left-wing France doesn't follow this advice, and puts its poor in what essentially constitute concentration camps outside the cities.

So, let's see how a worker could survive in Manhattan on $6/hour. First, up until the 20th century a typical person only had about 50 square feet/person. Even in modern day Hong Kong 100 square foot apartments are common. 150 square feet a person is quite generous.

Construction costs run about $50/square foot for Dubai style worker barracks. Amortized at 5% the capital cost comes out to $325/year. Double that for maintenance, so $750/year. Multiply to support a 4 person family and the cost is $3000/year.

Now said worker will probably need to commute 2 hours each day since his cheap barrack will be far away from the expensive real estate of Manhattan. The bolt bus between Manhattan and Philly cost $5 a trip. We could put his barrack in the Pennsylvania wilderness where land costs nothing, and his round-trip commute would cost $10/day. Times 6 days a week that comes out to $3100/year.

Finally food. A kilo of lentils offers 2000 calories for $1.20 (again that's what workers in Dubai eat, Sheikh Maktoum has already done the leg work for us). Double that to add spices, vitamin supplements and the occasional animal protein. That comes out to $3500 a year for a family of 4.

The basic necessities of life for a worker supporting a family of 4 is $9,600/year. Said worker earning $6/hour and working 60 hours a week would earn $18,000/year. That would leave a good chunk leftover for savings, education, healthcare, luxuries, etc.

It's time for unskilled Americans to start expecting little more than unskilled Indians in Dubai. The fact that we brainwashed every redneck and ghetto kid into thinking that he'd grow up to live like a reality TV star is at the root cause of the entitlement crisis.

Globalization has destroyed those dreams. America has awesome skilled laborers. American corporate management is by far the best in the world. American software developers are unparalleled. American financial sector workers are unmatched. American unskilled labor however is essentially no different than Chinese or Indian unskilled labor.


March 13, 2013 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger DR said...



"Your homo economicus conception of humanity is the root cause of the problem, and any "solution" that is still beholden to that view of mankind is condemned to fail the same way the current system has failed. When you force people to live as paupers while surrounding them with people living as kings, and you provide no potential or alternate salvation (remember, these people's IQs aren't going to jump 30 points overnight), you destabilize society. Very anti-reactionary.""

You're using that work reactionary. As Indigo Montoya would say "I don't think you know what it means."

A reactionary is not an American conservative. Nor is it a right-wing populist, nationalist, or right-wing New Dealist. It is not Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Ron Paul, Lawrence Auster, Steve Sailer, Dennis Mangan, Fox News, VDare, or AmRen.

A reactionary is not someone who worries about "the people." The difference between the modern left and the modern right is that they both worry about "the people." It's just for the former the people include ghetto welfare recipients, while for the latter the people primarily are made up of salt-of-the-earth hard-working co-nationals and co-ethnics.

Do you know who typifies the reactionary? Frederick the Great, Louis XIV, Augustus Caesar, Henry VII, Nicholas I, Prince Metternich. Why don't you go read up on how the Bourbons, Hohenzollerns and Romanov aristocracy lived compared to the peasants surrounding them. It makes my vision seem like a quaint little kibbutz by comparison.

You're still buying into the lie of the liberal movement that revolutions occur when popular outrage at inequality overwhelms a small ruling class. You may not be a liberal for 2013, but if you believe this hogwash you're certainly a liberal for 1900, and hence no reactionary.

In reality nothing could be further from the historical and reactionary truth. The state is absolute and omnipotent. It can subject its peasants to any abuse it chooses as long it has the will. The strong do what they want, they weak do what the must.

Revolution is virtually always a product of weak government combined with international interference. The strong governments of Louis XIV and Nicholas I were secure while the weak reign of Louis XVI and Nicholas II resulted in collapse.

The American Antebellum South had fabulously wealthy plantation owners living in the same houses as enslaved human beings, in many cases outnumbered 20 to 1. The history of slave revolts over a 200 year period was virtually unheard of. How many plantation owners got their throats slit? I guaranteed you they paid their slaves well less than $6/hour.

Rhodesia and South Africa both consisted of societies with incredible wealth disparities. Do you think it was a coincidence that they were perfectly secure and unthreatened for more than a hundred years, until coincidentally falling at the very moment the international community turned against them?

You believe in a fantasy. The ruling class in America can crush the unskilled workers with complete impunity. It can take away all their pathetic welfare benefits and move them to Victorian style work houses paying them a pittance. USG has predator drones and Abrams tanks. This so-called would-be ghetto uprising has gangstaz who couldn't shoot properly to save their lives.

March 13, 2013 at 2:19 PM  
Anonymous survivingbabel said...

DR, all you've shown is why reactionaries lost: a reactionary without empathy will eventually court disaster. I guess I missed in all of my education the part where Augustus Caesar and Prince Metternich cared not a lick for the people. But, good like with your sociopathy!

FTR, this is why I support a controlled die-off of unskilled labor (say, through incentives/forced sterilization). Sure, it might mean DR has to run his dishwasher all by hisself, but it's much more humane than forced 12-14 hour days, with 2+ hour commutes each way, which not only demonstrate's DR's sociopathy, but also rules out Civil Engineer as his line of work.

It is an astounding thing for a person to look at the conditions of Dubai and think about how they could be brought to Manhattan.

March 13, 2013 at 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'd easily pay $6/hour for a dozen Downton Abbey-style servants"

Only a crazy person or a universalist would feel comfortable putting their family in the hands of a resentful vibrant NAM making 6$ an hour.

Times have changed and so has the underclass.

March 13, 2013 at 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Federico said...

DR, that isn't a good sales pitch. Surely unskilled workers can expect more once they are no longer trapped in limbo by minimum wages, termination liability, payroll taxes etc.? They might be employed for $2-an-hour as trainee mechanics, rather than scrabbling for dead-end jobs in McDonalds.

Likewise, is not welfare an imposition of social disorder, and amputation of destiny? And is not $15000 p.a. a decent wage, once the burden of taxation—formal and Keynesian—is completely lifted from the poor?

March 13, 2013 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

This good piece of work reminds me of this post from two and a half years (!) ago where you suggested that the solution was to somehow "virtualize" the people of negative economic value so that the cost of keeping them alive and out of the way of the productive people became negligible.

As Clerestorian alluded to, this is becoming a somewhat hot idea among reactionary bloggers. Can game environments ever progress in quality far enough that they will become reasonable and rewarding proxies for everyday life, at least for the bottom X% of the IQ and ability bell curve? If so, will this happen before It All Goes to Shit? I sure hope so.

I think what we need right now in the actual existing world, more than anything really, is for the next few technological geniuses out there at MIT or Stanford or IIT or wherever to devote themselves to solving (not exploring, as you well put it) this problem.

Of course, in order to solve a problem it very much helps to know the historical context of how it came about and what some previous tries at solving it were, so hopefully UR and all of the other well-reasoned thought in this strange corner of the Internet will inspire someone with the brute mental force needed to engineer an acceptable long-term life simulation. It would even be helpful to prove that this wasn't possible, so other options could get more attention.

March 13, 2013 at 4:52 PM  
Anonymous John Connor said...

So essentially the ultimate culmination of all this is SKYNET takes control and ushers in Judgment Day?

March 13, 2013 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem looks a lot less difficult once you give African-Americans and mestizos their own countries (by force). I'm not talking about reservations, real countries, like the whole state of California and a few adjoining areas, minus the nuclear weapons of course.

Only 16% of white people have an IQ below 85 and we can use a lot of them as prison guards and border guards, not to mention artisan farmers, sandwich artists, landscapers and the like.

A high IQ population can simply take a shotgun approach for a long time to come. A bit of welfare through "living wages" for sandwich artists, a bit of protectionism for important industries, a bit of technology restrictions where it is most effective, a bit of make work. Easy peasy.

The problem arises when you have entire populations with an average IQ of 85. Which is why those populations need to be Aztlan's problem, not our problem.

March 13, 2013 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Wow, this is probably the dumbest thing you've ever written. Abolishing industrial agriculture and closing the doors to trade is an invitation to starvation and probably political collapse. The mercantalists and reactionaries of old wouldn't have gone in for that nonsense. They'd deal with troublesome portions of the population by shooting them (since he who didn't work didn't eat back then, they didn't have the same unemployment problem), although I suppose your virtual prison could accomplish much the same thing at greater cost.

March 13, 2013 at 5:16 PM  
Anonymous ComplexMeme said...

> Hey, been to Egypt lately? What's that Google guy up to these days? Is he still tweeting?

Evidently.

March 13, 2013 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

One big flaw in the post, however, is that the proposed idea to bring back protectionism is laughable given that there are no countries anymore, at least not to people with any degree of control over such things. As Mencius himself has pointed out many times, no person is illegal.

If this problem is to be solved, the solutions will either have to work on a hyper-local (city-state) level or on a global level. This weird middle ground that they teach in schools of many states competing against each other is a mid-20th century concept at latest. We already have world government, as so succinctly established in the phrase "the Cathedral".

The fictional construct of an American (or English or Chinese or German or Brazilian or...) national identity and common interests has long since lost any sway it might have had over the real elite.

March 13, 2013 at 5:46 PM  
Anonymous ComplexMeme said...

Not wanting my entire response to this post to be a nitpick about a particular choice of rhetorical question, I should say that I thought this was an excellent post. Though rather more in line with liberal thinkers than the average Moldbug post. My impression is that sufficiently-left-wingers would be happy to bring back the WPA. (Is that a component of the "Great Compromise" you describe here?) There's no shortage of plausibly-useful things you could have such a program do before you get to national parks in Alaska, and it would probably create some real equity along the way (assuming, e.g. not-falling-down bridges are more economically beneficial than falling-down ones).

The hard problem (assuming physical limits are in fact harder to overcome than political ones) is what to do when/if energy supply issues put real constraints on the amount of stuff that can be produced/transported. Not what to do if robots can produce everything necessary for cheap.

Other commenters are right on about the prospects of protectionism. At least, the political situation is pretty different if we're talking about Chinese companies selling stuff in the United States versus if we're talking about US companies (well, trans-national companies anyways) producing stuff in one place and selling it in another. Who's trading with who?

March 13, 2013 at 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Lapsed Bohemian said...

@ Chevalier de Johnstone

"Moral persons choose to favor the trade of craftsmen because there is honor in supporting a man in his livelihood and dishonor in replacing a man's livelihood with a machine: and honor is more important to the moral man than are profit or loss."

Very well stated, and what I was driving at earlier. As you say, politics cannot summon forth such honor. Men can. They can in their own example and in forthright and honest discourse.

March 13, 2013 at 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Federico said...

Abolishing industrial agriculture and closing the doors to trade is an invitation to starvation and probably political collapse.

To steel-man Moldbug, he did stipulate that only a superb (Neocameralist) government could be trusted to adjust these things. "Arbitrary" levels of demand for agricultural labour implies banning specific techniques, not industrial agriculture in general.

If we imagine a country that vests Bodinian sovereignty in Steve Jobs, whose integrity and security is assumed absolute, then a lot of broad-brush libertarian strokes about free trade et al, which I am happy to make in the real world, would change.

This is considerably less dumb than dangerous ideas in the blogsphere which aren't firewalled from mundane reality, e.g. the notion of absolute monarchy itself, which Moldbug has always espoused, open borders, anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-communism, futarchy, anti-natalism, Coherent Extrapolated Volition...

March 13, 2013 at 6:41 PM  
Anonymous StackedMidgets said...

I agree with DR: this is one of the worst essays that you've written.

Considering the issue of unemployment without also bringing up the problems related to the minimum wage and other labor regulations is ridiculous, and not a little bloodthirsty in a gratuitous matter.

Living in the Bay Area myself, I understand what you're saying about the zombies who wander the streets in San Francisco. However, those creatures are a long-term consequence of an unnatural labor market.

This problem exists to a far lesser degree in countries without minimum wages and with fewer burdensome regulations. Somehow, cultural backwaters all over the world have transitioned from subsistence peasantry to industrial productivity. The transition from the mud hut to the factory is much larger, in my view, than the one from the housing project to domestic servitude.

There is no middle class person who couldn't today benefit from a staff of housekeepers and other assistants to handle problems ranging from book-keeping to childcare to grocery shopping. The staffing only available to the rich in today's regulated economy could be far more widely distributed.

Access to this sort of lower class labor pool is, in fact, part of the distinguishing characteristics of a true bourgeoisie, and what elevates the class. Technologists tend to over-rate the pathetic software and robots we have today.

March 13, 2013 at 6:58 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Is there any evidence for Maslow's hierarchy?

After he gave it more thought, Maslow turned against his own hierarchy chart and spent the rest of his career trying to come up with a less flawed one.

March 13, 2013 at 7:09 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

I deplore Moldbug's comparison of the late Roman Empire with our technocrat Western elite. The bureaucratic West is the worst elite of any developed in history, and hands down.

It is even worse than the Soviet regime in everything but death toll - and the technocrats are only better in this aspect because the bureaucratic dictators' agencies don't enjoy unilateral control of the armed forced the way Stalin did. If the technocrats could kill us at will, they would surely surpass the death toll of both Hitler and Stalin within a few years.

March 13, 2013 at 7:16 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Continuing,

The Western elite is by light years the worst developed nation ruling elite of all time because they have managed to be 100% wrong on almost every issue. With the single exception of abortion, their policies have all failed. From the macro issues (non-white immigration, Global Warming) to the nanny state level (mercury poisoned light bulbs, and low-fat high-carb diets) their policies have either made existing problems worse or invented entirely new problems.

Many conservatives have wrongly called the Western elite Communist. They are wrong, the Western elite is worse then the Communists.

The simplest way to explain the difference between the old Bolsheviks and technocrat elite is that the Bolsheviks were evil but rational except on certain macro-policies (mainly economics) that led to the fall of the hard left. The soft left is evil and insane on all issues.

Though fatally flawed at it's foundations, there were still some governmental positives that came from Communist Russia such as the promotion of the high arts (e.g., ballet and the preservation of the Hermitage) and the science education system.

USG can claim no policy success whatsoever, other than abortion. And even in abortion's case they are right for the wrong reasons.

March 13, 2013 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger Stanislav Datskovskiy said...

Question for Mr. M:

In an "arbeit macht frei" world, will you - in particular - be permitted to busy yourself with writing unorthodox operating systems - or, for that matter, articles like this one? Or with carving wooden toys?

Who gets to become a "delicate aristocrat," dodging carving duty, and why?

Could we instead ask for concertina wire, mine fields, and automatic turrets separating the human beings - with their robotic plenty - from the zombies, with their decay and hunger for flesh?

Has anyone considered the possibility that the living dead are kept around, safe from the Soilent Green pot, encouraged to be fruitful and multiply, etc. precisely to help make arbeit macht frei ever so slowly more palatable to the remaining humans?

I hope you like carving toys (or demunging databases) for Mr. Altman and his ilk. Because that is what we'll both be doing soon enough. If permitted to live...

"Where do you want to go today?" To a Sharashka or garden-variety GULAG? Largely a matter of taste (and luck.)

March 13, 2013 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Morgan Warstler said...

I'm sure i can help...

There's one other option, the best possible one, we do a GI and auction the unemployed:

http://www.morganwarstler.com/post/44789487956/guaranteed-income-auction-the-unemployed

check my math.

March 13, 2013 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger werouious said...

"Every ghetto rat in America today could find employment as an organic slow-food artisan."

Sir, I think that they are usually referred to as "hood rats."

March 13, 2013 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger DR said...

"Only a crazy person or a universalist would feel comfortable putting their family in the hands of a resentful vibrant NAM making 6$ an hour."

Romans frequently put their family in the hands of enslaved barbarian tribes, who I guarantee you were a lot more "vibrant" then whatever the local population here has to offer. Residents of Dubai hire workers from the sub-continent, many parts of which are much rougher than West Baltimore. The difference is how those states treat disobedience compared to ours. Any people can be brought to submission with proper will and discipline.

Besides with modern-day technology the problem is almost trivial. Step 1: Attach a non-removable GPS tracked ankle bracelet. Step 2: Also attach the shock collars commonly used on pets with enough voltage to render any human immobilized for an arbitrary amount of time. Step 3: Add in a microphone and possibly video recording device that's constantly uploaded to the cloud. Step 4: Monitor the servants adrenaline, heart rate and blood pressure. Step 5: Require the servant to sign a contract that stipulates the death sentence for any assault on the owner, and stiff lashings of the cane for any theft.

This creates a highly effective safety net. First the servant is absolutely sure that any crime committed will absolutely be provable, and the punishment draconian. Second the shock collar and GPS guarantees that he's unable to flee and will undeniably be caught.

Third, even if he insists on carrying out the crime despite certain death, the owner can very likely shock him and renders any physical advantage impotent. Fourth even if he sneaks up on the owner, our cloud monitoring software will instantly alert central security of a likely crime through the heart rate/adrenaline monitoring. They'll quickly check the recording device, and remotely shock the servant, stopping him in his tracks.

Even with the most barbaric, vicious and resentful population such a system would offer near total security. The risk of personal injury from owning a dog would be comparatively much higher.

Needless to say such a system would violate about a gazillion laws today, but would certainly be allowable in an actual reactionary state that doesn't limit its subject freedom to contract or intervene in the labor markets.

March 14, 2013 at 1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With an NPV of US citizenship of approximately $225k, 40 years of diluting that value and tax cuts approximately $300G/year for the last 30 years and a risk free interest rate of about 3%, there has been a total value of $35T transferred from the middle class to the wealthy during the years of boomer fertility.

Now, let me ask you one question:

If that much wealth has been stolen by the upper class, why should we expect the economy to have a consumer base at all?

The principle victims of this were the mid to late boomers, as early boomers got to ride the demographic wave providing them real estate appreciation and managerial upward mobility. There are also the children of the boomers who were victims. Assuming a 1.6 total fertility rate among the boomer females, we have approximately 125M citizen creditors due that $35T. If paid down over a period about as long as it took to run up that social debt, each citizen creditor is due an annuity of $13,000 or about $1100/month.

That wouldn't restore the entire consumer base immediately but it would allow for trickle up to start creating wealth in the quantity required to finance the government.

It's pretty obvious that the energy, environment and productivity problems could be solved except for the maldistribution of capital -- and that the de facto goal of continuing this situation is a die off that preserves the managerial elite that benefited most from the breach of the social contract against those born subsequent to 1950.

The primary question before us is: How can the death burden be shifted to be more equitable?

You don't need a large population with high intelligence and skills to have explosive productivity. You need just a few Wright Brothers' bike shops updated to the modern era. We've destroyed those Yeomen during the 20th century but it would be relatively easy to get them back were it not for the maldistribution of capital.

March 14, 2013 at 1:53 AM  
Anonymous spandrell said...

DR is right.

Criminality is an enforcement problem, if there was a will inequality is very easy to manage.

That it isn't enforced is a political/ideological problem with our present rulers. There's nothing inherent to it.

Still, DR, do you think your scenario is plausible? Will the elite recover the will to go back to Romanov Russia? Can they?

March 14, 2013 at 1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The robots and jobs issue reminds me somewhat of the immigration and jobs issue. At the critical juncture the debate becomes about feelings.

In both cases, the idea is to be invited to give talks to people who think they are immune to losing their jobs so that the speaker can salve their collective consciousness. However, they needn’t worry. They too will probably lose their jobs. They won’t even be able to compete with the sex droids in the “new service economy”.

So what’s the _real_ answer?

Here’s something that could be talked about but isn’t because it is depressing to think about how hard it would be to implement given the powers that be:

A citizen’s dividend paid equally to all adults that is financed by collecting the economic rent of civilization.

Since the powers that be have increasingly turned to rent-seeking, they will, of course, resent the very idea that “their” rents should belong to everyone. And they’re in a position to make sure that doesn’t change, aren’t they? As a result, things _will_become dystopian.

March 14, 2013 at 2:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Romans frequently put their family in the hands of enslaved barbarian tribes, who I guarantee you were a lot more "vibrant" then whatever the local population here has to offer. Residents of Dubai hire workers from the sub-continent, many parts of which are much rougher than West Baltimore. The difference is how those states treat disobedience compared to ours. Any people can be brought to submission with proper will and discipline.

The Romans of course got sacked by the barbarians and ended up being ruled by them and paying them protection money.

And Dubai is only around because the US is around. If the US wasn't around covering its ass, it would be taken over by Iran or a Baathist Iraq.

March 14, 2013 at 2:07 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

Agree with you, Undiscovered Jew on the dismal record of the 20th century Western elites, particularly in the land which is the laboratory of the Enlightenment political experiment, the U.S.
Should that really surprise us though ?
To the extent that, in most of the comments of people who probably consider themselves.. enlightened, the "might makes right" paradigm triumphs, in contradiction to what scientific and.. enlightened unprejudiced observation of animal behavior discloses, could it be otherwise ?
Since elites are inevitable, we have now managed to put in place elites who are accountable to no one, and have no.. loyalties, no concept of what representation is, no feeling of privilege, or the obligations that it confers (unlike Louis XIV, for example...).
And we have done this through a particularly infantile obsession with throwing our religious heritage to the dogs, while forgetting that there just may be something of value to our current predicament going down with it...
The triumph of individual, and collective greed (middle class greed, too, let's not get too worked up over the "rich"...) coupled with colossal cynicism...
The good news is that the bottom has ? is ? already falling out...
Ironically enough, the Old Testament is crammed with incidents which show just this.. paradigm playing out in human history.
Sobering.

March 14, 2013 at 2:15 AM  
Blogger Morgan Warstler said...

I guess most aren't used to hearing someone say they have a problem solved, and it is actually solved.

http://www.morganwarstler.com/post/44789487956/guaranteed-income-auction-the-unemployed

You get your citizen's dividend, but along with it, the citizen is STILL required to work his 40, he's got an almost unlimited set of immediate bosses to serve, and the entire labor rights issue is flipped upside down.

Empowered labor without a union.

And again, oh yeah, I also solve illegal immigration.

March 14, 2013 at 2:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still, DR, do you think your scenario is plausible? Will the elite recover the will to go back to Romanov Russia? Can they?

The Romanovs lost, remember? They all got killed. Their Prime Minister, Stolypin, had soldiers fire on the crowds, hanged peasants daily, imprisoned peasants by the thousands, etc. Stolypin ended up with a bullet in his chest. Why would "the elite" want to "go back to Romanov Russia" unless they had a death wish or something?

March 14, 2013 at 2:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DR, you sound like a libertarian sperg who's completely oblivious to human nature and reality. You're essentially talking about waging perpetual war and assume that having gadgets will ensure eternal victory. You forget that people fight back and that the other side will have gadgets as well, gadgets like suitcase nukes, bioweapons, etc. that make any "elite" increasingly vulnerable every day. And the "elite" will be dependent on mercs to wage this perpetual war, and the mercs of course could end up in a position to own the "elite", turn on them, dispose of them, defect, etc.

March 14, 2013 at 3:03 AM  
Anonymous Alrenous said...

I'm scared. I agree with TGGP. (I suppose it has to happen sometimes.)

One flaw? I hardly know where to begin.

Is this a post about good government, or about having 'impact?'

"There are some human beings, Sam Altman presumably among them, who are natural aristocrats. They can acquire the resources they would need to never work again, and still continue to work."

Most humans are gullible idiots and you can lead them to try pretty much anything. Lead them into working for social status, instead of for money. That's what men are really in it for anyway.

So there's solution H. Hey, it might not work. But let's at least consider it, yes?

Here's solution I:

Stop giving them free stuff for no reason. Unlike horses, they'll work it out for themselves. As long as we're being pitiless, why not just let them starve for all the dictator cares? I understand charity is a thing...coercive state charity, however, is an entirely different thing.

Note also: killing is very different from letting die.

Moldbug is obviously smarter than I am. Why didn't he come up with H and I? And J and K and L? Well, in a word, framing. Framing is sophistry.

-

TGGP is bang-on about economic collapse. We've already tried this. Even discounting all the death in the USSR. As, of course, being against death is a hedonic principle.

Look, the US trade deficit is trading bits of paper for steel girders. That's a pretty good kind of 'deficit.' You do not get wealthier by destroying wealth.

Or maybe you do. How about you just draft all these supposedly non-productives, divide them into two groups, and fight a real war? Really, 1984 is the best we can hope for, right?

As a bonus, your armies will avoid decadence. Win for civilization!

In any case,

"The cause of unemployment is simple: in an industrial economy, most human beings are economically useless. [...]
Indeed, as the Singularity nears, the future of work becomes clear - there is an IQ threshold below which any human, no matter how cheap to feed, is a liability. "


This is a class of prediction that has always turned out to be false. It claims not only to perfectly understand human abilities, but future mechanical abilities.

Unemployment is a price problem. Occasionally a tax friction problem. Yeah, firms won't hire someone they have to pay under minimum wage when there's a fixed overhead of at least $5000 a year per person. Weird! Those bastards!

-

"The problem with Solution B is that we've already tried it, quite extensively. You see Solution B every time you go to the grocery store. Next to the button marked "Debit/Credit" is one marked "EBT." "

Nope.

Let's try it without the utterly degrading political philosophy, shall we? Proggies are incredibly racist, and blacks respond by acting as proggies expect them to. See also entitlement and 'bad fortune' and 'oppression.' Let's try holding them responsible for their crimes? Maybe this is relevant?

Strangely, someone who can only get a minimum-wage job that will pay them less than their regulatory overhead won't take that job when you practically shove free shit down their throat. Damn proles, am I right? Such slackers.

March 14, 2013 at 5:11 AM  
Anonymous spandrell said...

It took a while for the Romanov to get killed, and only because of technological issues that can be solved today.

It's been a while since the last October revolution, hasn't it?

Why aren't poor Indians killing their hosts every day? Africans? Arabs? And they don't have drones and subcutaneous chips

March 14, 2013 at 5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So war has been abolished today because certain "technological issues" have been "solved"?

It took a while for the Romanovs to get killed, but when they got it, they got it good and hard. The entire family and extended family were hunted down and killed. Sounds like a long term losing strategy. I don't know how enticing that would be for the "elite".

There is plenty of killing among Africans and Arabs. The perpetual war is apparent.

March 14, 2013 at 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any people can be brought to submission with proper will and discipline.

And carrots. Don't forget the carrots.

The folks in the 6 usd/hour gedankenexperiment can afford to support their family from 1 working adult. Basically the KuK empire (& what a hellhole that was, no? Catholic! Monarchy! - no wonder it had 2go) Daily commute of 3-4 hours total was pretty common (5-15% of workforce) in commie countries, allowing people to combine city wages with rural /suburban living expenses. And the family improved its food supply by small time animal husbandry. Like it would be feasible in this gedankenexperiment, too.

The Popish Sauromatian.

March 14, 2013 at 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: buybuydandavis

Nice rationalization for mercantalism, but I'm not convinced.

The problem with denizens of Detroit isn't that they're given handouts. All sorts of people get handouts and aren't a problem to society. There isn't a great social problem associated with trust fund brats, aside from their voting patterns.

The problem is that most any useful work they might do is illegal, and if they manage to find some that isn't, their effective marginal tax rates often exceed 100%.

In short, they are prevented or punished for working. Put human beings in a universe where work is prevented or punished, and you're on the road to Detroit, although you have to add other perverse government policies to get you all the way there. Starting with government schools and drugs wars.

Make the handouts universal and unconditional, liberate people from public schools, give them accounts at Khan Academy, repeal the laws that prevent them from working, and then see whether you still get Detroit.

Obamaphoners were created in a government lab that perverted reality to prevent or punish labor. Close the lab and see if human beings can remain human beings when they're assured of basic income for food and shelter.

Lots of people in that situation do just fine.

March 14, 2013 at 11:13 AM  
Anonymous José Luis said...

Mencius: "What it means is that if USG entirely eliminated foreign trade, closing its ports like Tokugawa Japan, US businesses would experience an immediate 3% jump in gross revenue, and hence in employment"

I didn't dream of seeing Mencius writing such a silly thing, as DR an TGGP have said.

Merchantilism has been refuted to many times. If you close frontiers with China, for example, you just loose all the things they are giving you for little rectangles of paper with a little ink. They are proud of pilling them to the trillions.

You are buying chinese products because Bernanke uses his printing money. If you just want to stop de commercial deficit, all you have to do is to stop the printing press and the govenment deficits.

But that measure doesn't create wealth per se, the society has to work and save in order to capitalize the economy, so as to have new factories, etc.

March 14, 2013 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Aris Katsaris said...

'Now, select the subset of this beautiful planet on which a sober, sensible, civilized person, such as Sam Altman, would consider it prudent and safe to wander, "on foot and alone," carrying his iPad, at night.'

Nice thought experiment, but can't we also choose to select the subset of this beautiful planet where it is safe to e.g. mention you're having sex with a person of a different race and the same sex without significant cost? Or to describe yourself as an atheist? Or to criticize your own government? (It's also probably marginally safer for a modern Russian to criticize Putin than for a 1950s Russian to criticize Stalin)

Wouldn't modern UK be safer for Alan Turing than 50s UK turned out to be?

As for regression of liberties in Egypt and the like, aren't most such problems in the Muslim world caused by Islamists, which is hardly a progressive but rather a reactionary force?

March 14, 2013 at 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 50s were better because you could keep Jews out of your neighborhoods, schools, etc. via real estate covenants and the like. I don't see why that would appeal to someone named Sam Altman though.

March 14, 2013 at 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems relevant to this post:

"Company Immediately Calls Job Applicant Upon Seeing 'B.A. In Communications' On Résumé"

http://www.theonion.com/articles/company-immediately-calls-job-applicant-upon-seein,31669/

"SEATTLE—Calling his résumé “exceptional” and “like nothing we’ve ever seen,” the human resources department at local public relations firm Brink & Tiller called 22-year-old job applicant Corey Wilhelm immediately after noticing he had a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, sources confirmed Wednesday.

Wilhelm’s résumé, which was e-mailed to the firm in regards to an entry-level job opening, was reportedly forwarded to the highest levels of the company, after which executives scrambled to contact the 2012 University of Washington graduate and offer him the position.

“A Bachelor of Arts? In communications? I mean, where did this kid come from?” said HR director Robert Bradshaw, who, after seeing Wilhelm’s impressive 3.20 cumulative GPA, walked the résumé directly into the company president’s office and said, “We must hire this person immediately.” “I mean, not only did Corey manage to get into the University of Washington School of Communication right out of high school, but—get this—he then graduated with a degree in that very field. A Bachelor of Arts, no less. Rare and gifted is all I have to say.”

“Jesus Christ,” Bradshaw continued, “his résumé says he minored in History, too. We really have to move fast if we want to snag this guy.”"

March 14, 2013 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Ventriloquist said...

Prove to us that you are not a blithering idiot.

Lose the Bullshit.
Become real and forget the claptrap you are promulgating.

Go outside and into your yard and/or forest.
Sink your hands into the soil and pull up what the earth has been creating for thousands of years.
Consider how many billions of creatures are held between your hands.

Take what you have, plant seeds of vegetables in it.
Nuture the seedlings until they prosper and you harvest the fruit.

Give thanks.
Do it again next Spring, Summer and Fall.

And please . .. .
Stop Bitching and get to planting.

THAT is the solution.

March 14, 2013 at 8:50 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

The 50s were better because you could keep Jews out of your neighborhoods, schools, etc. via real estate covenants and the like.

Your Jew problems are only going to get worse - Der Juden have intermarried into the gentile elite at an astonishing rate to spawn a new hybrid population. 5% of white Americans now have enough Ashkenazi ancestry to qualify for Israeli citizenship and half of today's Ivy League's Jews are first degree Mischlings.

Worse (for your side) the Mischling population shows the classic markers of hybrid vigor: So far we've produced arguably the best mathematician since Gauss, Alexander Grothendieck, Niels Bohr, Mencius Moldbug, Jennifer Connelly, Alison Brie and Chelsea Handler.

And against this pipeline of genetically enhanced talent* what has your side got to stand in the way of Mischling-Jew domination? A motley crew of keyboard concentration camp guards and those wannabee Alfred Rosenberg race theorists you seemingly bought off the shelf from Dollar General.

If you thought the Yentas were a pain in the ass before, just wait and see what they'll be like now that they're blond.

* We do, however, sincerely apologize to humanity for Steve Ballmer; not every half-Jew can be Grothendieck...

March 14, 2013 at 8:51 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Romans frequently put their family in the hands of enslaved barbarian tribes, who I guarantee you were a lot more "vibrant" then whatever the local population here has to offer.

Nah. The Roman slave population wasn't that diverse. Most of their slave population consisted of other Europeans. The slave rebel Spartacus was born in what is now Bulgaria. And those slaves placed into servitude weren't necessarily slobs; the Romans enjoyed using Greek slaves to do white collar work such as teaching Roman children the arts and doing family finances.

March 14, 2013 at 8:59 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Or to criticize your own government?

Bureacratic dictatorship is a slow motion takeover. You may, may, be able to criticize USG today. But in a few years, freedom of speech will be eroded unless the Cathedral implodes. There was an Australian professor who wanted to execute Global Warming deniers and there's no reason to doubt he and his bureaucratic ilk will exceed Stalin and Hitler's death tolls once the bureaucracy gains enough control over the military to kill at will.

March 14, 2013 at 9:04 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Of course, instead of waiting for the technocrats to acquire the ability to kill large numbers of us at will (they can already get away with this at smaller scales such as Waco Texas and Ruby Ridge) we could send the vast majority of the academic apparatus to the soup lines.

How timely of Moldbug to post about the threat of automating of jobs given the legislation just introduced in California. What better way to cripple the Left's academic pillar than to use online education as a figleaf for crushing them.

Does MOOCing the Cathedral from orbit appeal to anyone?:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/california-considers-outsourcing-higher-education-to-moocs/story-e6frgcjx-1226596981815

For example, California faculty unions remain on alert following years of budget battles. And some of their leaders are already deeply suspicious about using MOOCs to replace traditional classroom instruction.

Bob Samuels, president of the University Council-American Federation of Teachers, which represents 4,000 University of California instructors and librarians, said there’s a “gold rush” for profit-seeking companies hoping to have the state steer students in their direction. One of them is Udacity, he said.

“We think that the whole MOOC thing is drawing attention away from the real issues, especially the funding issues,” Samuels said.

March 14, 2013 at 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Jew problems are only going to get worse - Der Juden have intermarried into the gentile elite at an astonishing rate to spawn a new hybrid population. 5% of white Americans now have enough Ashkenazi ancestry to qualify for Israeli citizenship and half of today's Ivy League's Jews are first degree Mischlings.

So you agree that as things have gotten worse since the 1950s:

1) Free association for gentiles has been under attack and prohibited

2) Jews have been replacing gentiles among the elite and the elite has increasingly become Jewish

And against this pipeline of genetically enhanced talent* what has your side got to stand in the way of Mischling-Jew domination? A motley crew of keyboard concentration camp guards and those wannabee Alfred Rosenberg race theorists you seemingly bought off the shelf from Dollar General.

So you agree that you are in a state of war to prevent gentiles from having free association?

March 14, 2013 at 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Ian said...

My suggested solution: any American can choose to have a lifetime of housing, food, and spending money provided to them by the government. But anyone who makes this choice is sterilized, and so are all of their offspring. And this all-or-nothing choice is in the only form of welfare/social service.

Result: IQ and productivity eventually rise, population unemployment and crime eventually drop.

March 15, 2013 at 1:57 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

> arguably the best mathematician since Gauss

I'll take that on your authority

> You may, may, be able to criticize USG today. But in a few years, freedom of speech will be eroded unless the Cathedral implodes.

The Temple is a bunch of girlz. If they really have you half-whipped like this, speak for yourself. First try dipping your toes in blue-collar America, Europa. Heresy and sense are alive & well. The truth tells. The modern West may not be very impressive on average, but history is determined by dedicated minorities of persons.

Mischlinge are overwhelming married to real bio-Europids. I like you and all, but stop masturbating and treat for alliance with reasonable people.

March 15, 2013 at 6:10 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

> If you close frontiers with China, for example, you just loose all the things they are giving you for little rectangles of paper with a little ink.

Why do you think they are doing that, did you ever follow that piece of string see where it goes or just look at it? You seem to be missing the eudaimonist/virtuist thrust of the post. I think they are 'dumping value' mainly as a national exercise in apprenticeship, so they can move up to making jetliners ASAP, so the matter is mutualistic to that extent -- but they probably don't mind seeing the decadence over here, either.

Eudaimonism aside, there's the enormous spending of time and effort on avoiding 'bad schools'. BROADEN YER THINKING AN REPORT BACK SOLDIER.

March 15, 2013 at 6:34 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

Both sides have some points here. Regulatory overhead... yeah... but is it as bad for part-time jobs?

Faith in IndustRev 2.0 does seem overblown.

March 15, 2013 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger Edward said...

Your ideas about virtual employment and containment remind me of the Black Mirror episode '15 Million Merits'. The make-work is cycling on electric bikes, and the rewards are new avatar customisations for the virtual reality.
We seem to be approaching that reality anyway.

The automation -> unemployment -> containment scenario is also explored in some detail in Manna but with a much more positive potential alternative.

March 15, 2013 at 8:00 AM  
Blogger Morgan Warstler said...

We don't have to go BLACK MIRROR (great show!) to SOLVE the problem.

I'm winning Muldbug converts with my SOLUTION H here:

http://www.morganwarstler.com/post/44789487956/guaranteed-income-auction-the-unemployed

I kinda disturbed Mencius hasn't re-edited the end of his screed by saying, AND THAT IS WHY WE MUST FOLLOW MORGAN'S PLAN!

This is the Milton Friedman solution, it will win the progressives, it will save the ghetto, it will solve illegal immigration, and it will turn of the Fed's printing machine.

March 15, 2013 at 8:37 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

I agree your plan is pretty serious. There are blue collar temp agencies for this, but your plan is not quite the same thing ; plus it eliminates vast overhead by using the ebay feedback model, also introducing major Hayekian efficiency.

Even without the state involvement part it would still seem to be a huge improvement over c-list for short or medium term labor exchange.

March 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM  
Anonymous whatever said...

Well, we just kinda have to ignore something for your little story to make sense.

You said "slave" when describing Americans, accurate enough, but then we must ask:

What's notable about this interpretation is that, again, your interests and your government's are just about perfectly aligned. You don't want to be a heroin addict. Washington doesn't want its slaves to be heroin addicts. You want to be a better person - more informed, more reliable, more capable. As a better person, you are a better and more valuable capital asset. You augment your government's market cap. Back to Sam Altman:


Is the "slave" who doesn't get to keep his harder work interests "perfectly aligned" with that of the government?

No? Obviously no?

While Americans in 1950 were hardly free, it is an ABSURDITY to claim that they were allowed to keep less of their labor or were less free than Americans of today.

And I'm not talking about taxes. I'm talking about Health Care. As one example. I'm talking insane divorce policy as another.

What you wish for, is simple. Wouldn't it be neat if people worked hard AND WE DIDN'T HAVE TO GIVE THEM ANYTHING FOR IT.

Much progress has been made in this, but there does seem to be some problems.

March 15, 2013 at 2:09 PM  
Anonymous whatever said...

I read a little farther.

Apparently you believe Americans today aren't hopelessly poorer than the 1950s.

That would be totally wrong.

You apparently believe there is to little "work" to be done.

If by that you mean "work that directly benefits the US Government and the Ruling Class RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW" then you might be right... I personally think they are to dumb to think of what they need, but you might be right. But everyone else? The Bottom 90%? There is PLENTY THEY NEED.

March 15, 2013 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So far we've produced arguably the best mathematician since Gauss

Actually the Nazis (a small subset of all the Germans throughout history) alone had better mathematicians and scientists than Jews ever produced. Teichmuller, von Braun, Heisenberg, Zuse, etc. were better than an Einstein or von Neumann.

The greatest mathematicians of the past century were gentiles: Weyl, Cartan, Carl Ludwig Siegel, Kolmogorov, Leray, Teichmuller, etc.

Even American gentiles like Claude Shannon, Whitney (founder of differential topology), Linus Pauling, John Bardeen, etc. made greater contributions than Jews did in the past century.

March 15, 2013 at 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note that Einstein added nothing to Lorentz's and Poincare's work, which were years ahead of Einstein.

Einstein told the story dozens of times about how he invented special relativity, but he was never able to explain how his theory was better than Poincare's. Einstein sometimes attempted to explain how his 1905 work was better than Lorentz's, but always gave arguments based on what Lorentz had done ten or more years earlier, and avoided Lorentz's recent work.

Poincare did explain how his theory differed from Lorentz's. After Einstein's 1905 paper appeared, it was called the "Lorentz-Einstein theory" as everyone agreed that Einstein's paper was just a recapitulation of Lorentz. Within a couple of years, it was universally recognized that Poincare's approach was superior.

Einstein's first relativity paper was in 1905. He did not have the crucial concepts of relativity such as the 4-dimensional spacetime geometry and the electromagnetic covariance. He had no new ideas or formulas. He did not have the essence of the theory as it is known today, or even as it was known in 1908. Things such as clocks in a moving frame showing the local time in that frame was an essential concept of special relativity due to Lorentz and Poincare, and it has been taught in the textbooks ever since. Einstein never had such an original and brilliant idea in his whole life.

March 15, 2013 at 3:41 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

I cannot quite grasp this post (and I'm not sure how good it is) -- but I feel like if I can, I may be on the verge of initial Orientation in econ.

Which is the feeling of, oh, I know what to do with this -- of having bootstrapped to the point where I rapidly feel several possibilities for accepting or rejecting or adjusting/reconciling the claims of whatever I'm reading. Because I have some facts and views and I can see how they make an organon together.

I first felt this way about history after much study under Mencius (& co), so, thanks.

March 15, 2013 at 4:27 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> Your ideas about virtual employment and containment remind me of the Black Mirror episode '15 Million Merits'. The make-work is cycling on electric bikes, and the rewards are new avatar customisations for the virtual reality.
We seem to be approaching that reality anyway.

Why?

People certainly do lots of things, but most people are most concerned with

1. (partly cardinal, mostly ordinal) rigorous competition for desirable sexual love relationships

2. having kids and taking care of them

This can only change so much.

Money and status mostly reduce to the rigorous competition. The competition gets virtualized to some extent, but I think this is self-limiting. I'm deeply skeptical on highly desirable sexual love itself being virtualized. I hardly doubt that people will yank it in advanced ways ; I just don't think that will come anywhere near closing the gap anytime soon.

Media and virtual activities of all sorts are a loser for the rigorous competition, so I think they are right up against a hard cap, as of right now, or ten years ago.

March 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Special relativity wasn't completely original, but general relativity was. People claiming Ashkenazi scientists weren't that important are kind of like Afrocentrics who think whites didn't really invent anything.

Morgan, you continue to have a very high opinion of yourself without any sort of track record of having accurate beliefs. Did you ever send Greenwald that money after you lost that bet with me?

March 15, 2013 at 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Upon further reflection, I think that too much emphasis is put on IQ and too little is put on conscientiousness and inclination to criminality.

Only 4% of the white population has an IQ of below 75 and that is including people who are mentally disabled and don't have to work.

If the dummies in society had high conscientiousness and low inclination to criminality we could easily find jobs for them, although there might be some need for an artificially high "living wage" that allows them to support maybe one child.

Landscaping, maintenance, street cleaning, cart pushing, burger flipping, house painting, manservant, groom, maid, some of the building tasks, etc, etc.

Our streets look shabby, our homes are slovenly because both the man and the women are at work. Our public spaces are poorly maintained, our infrastructure needs to be repaired and expanded, etc.

The problem is segments of the underclass have become surly and resentful. Many of them have low conscientiousness and high potential for criminality. Those are the unemployable.

I'm not really convinced that all that much of the white underclass is unemployable, yet. Just the drug addicts and damaged people mostly.

It's a NAM problem, most a black problem, but later generations of Mexican immigrants may suffer from it as well.

March 15, 2013 at 6:28 PM  
Blogger Morgan Warstler said...

I'm in the business of fixing people and I can fix those few racists here as easily as I can alter the criminally lazy.

Stop running your yaps and go read my friggin plan.

I solve illegal immigration. I deliver barrel fulls of hayek gravy. I'm your huckleberry.

Real technocrats ship.

Jesus Christ when a man says SOLVED if you aren't deep enuff to go inspect it it means you aren't worth listening to.

I'm smarter than you and I'm not interested in reading a steve sailer diatribe he's a waste of humanity.

Don't be a waste of humaniry. Respect your betters.

You are being challenged you beat my plan or you adopt it.

Selah.

March 15, 2013 at 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How can anyone contemplating these outcomes not agree with me that (d) considerably outweighs the sum of (a), (b) and (c)?"

Actually, anyone could value (a), (b) or even (c) greater than (d). Under the Pig-Philosophy (a) may be the common choice. Lastly, "unrelatistic" solutions being "slam-dunk no-brainers" is odd.

March 15, 2013 at 9:43 PM  
Anonymous 691 said...

Sorry, Teichmuller is not a great mathematician. Very bright but his contributions to the field named after him are fairly minor.

March 15, 2013 at 11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Special relativity wasn't completely original, but general relativity was. People claiming Ashkenazi scientists weren't that important are kind of like Afrocentrics who think whites didn't really invent anything.

Well we aren't talking about who was "important" or not. We're talking about who was the best or greatest. And the fact is that even a small subset of Germans, the Nazis, had better mathematicians and scientists than Jews ever produced. The greatest mathematicians of the past century were gentiles, and even American gentiles made greater contributions than Jews did in the past century.

Lorentz and Poincare had every major aspect of relativity and published them before Einstein.

Einstein did not come up with the field equations nor the underlying requirement of general covariance.

The term "general relativity" means (special, spacetime, electromagnetic) relativity applied to gravity. It is called general because it is nonlinear. The first breakthrough was in 1905, when Poincare discovered the space-time metric, proposed a Lorentz-invariant theory of gravity, and explained how gravity could propagate at the speed of light and still be consistent with solar system observations. A couple of years later he announced that he had figured out how to use relativity to partially explain an anomaly in Mercury's orbit.

We know from Einstein's letters that he spent several years trying to extend Poincare's work on Mercury. David Hilbert derived the relativity equations, which convinced Einstein that the equations were right. Einstein then published his general relativity paper, with no mention of Poincare or Hilbert.

March 16, 2013 at 2:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is called general because it is nonlinear.

What? It's been a long time since I took a physics class in College, but I was under the impression that it was called General Relativity, because it was a generalized case of Special Relativity (with GR being any reference frame, not just inertial).

March 16, 2013 at 3:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then, from the brown subset, select the further subset in which Sam Altman, carrying his iPad, would not consider it prudent and safe to wander in the daytime. Color that part black. (Why can't Google Maps do this?)

My wife commented that there should be an "Avoid ghetto" tick box for google maps and gps.

March 16, 2013 at 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Scott W. said...

P.S. Actually you can get maps that do this. Try (with my town as an example): http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ny/buffalo/crime/

March 16, 2013 at 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Siggyboss said...

F.Intelligence (fudged intelligence) == IQ

"This is an almost spiritual and essentially qualitative and personal assessment. In usual 20C style, we damn the torpedoes and jam this subjective quality into an objective quantity by any means necessary. Otherwise, how would we model it?"

Aside: Forgive my use of your own words to save time.


"How can anyone contemplating these outcomes not agree with me that (d) considerably outweighs the sum of (a), (b) and (c)?"

Actually, anyone could value (a), (b) or even (c) greater than (d). Under the Pig-Philosophy (a) may be the common choice. Lastly, "unrelatistic" solutions being "slam-dunk no-brainers" is odd.

March 16, 2013 at 10:14 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

I was referring to half-Jews (Grothendieck is half German on his mother's side.)

Einstein is arguably overrated, though maybe not to the extent you suggested, but what did Teichmuller and Zuse do to deserve being ranked above von Neumann and Feynman?

March 16, 2013 at 4:18 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

I'll take that on your authority

You don't have to rely only on me. It's the opinion of many math aficionados. However it's probably not a consensus position as there are other mathematicians for whom a strong case could be made that they were the best 20th century mathematician.

http://www.fabpedigree.com/james/mathmen.htm#Grothendieck

Alexandre Grothendieck (1928-) Germany, France

Grothendieck has done brilliant work in several areas of mathematics including number theory, geometry, topology, and functional analysis, but especially in the fields of algebraic geometry and category theory, both of which he revolutionized. He is especially noted for his invention of the Theory of Schemes, and other methods to unify different branches of mathematics. He applied algebraic geometry to number theory; applied methods of topology to set theory; etc. Grothendieck is considered a master of abstraction, rigor and presentation. He has produced many important and deep results in homological algebra, most notably his etale cohomology. With these new methods, Grothendieck and his outstanding student Pierre Deligne were able to prove the Weil Conjectures. Grothendieck also developed the theory of sheafs, generalized the Riemann-Roch Theorem to revolutionize K-theory, developed Grothendieck categories, crystalline cohomology, infinity-stacks and more. The guiding principle behind much of Grothendieck's work has been Topos Theory, which he invented to harness the methods of topology. These methods and results have redirected several diverse branches of modern mathematics including number theory, algebraic topology, and representation theory. Among Grothendieck's famous results was his "Fundamental Theorem in the Metric Theory of Tensor Products", which was inspired by Littlewood's proof of the "4/3 Inequality."

Grothendieck's radical religious and political philosophies led him to retire from public life while still in his prime, but he is widely regarded as the greatest mathematician of the 20th century, and indeed one of the greatest geniuses ever. (I've left him off the Top Ten in part because he only barely passes the "born before 1930" rule imposed to ensure historical perspective.)

March 16, 2013 at 4:24 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

The French are also well represented on that list of "100 Greatest Mathematicians" I just linked to.

March 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> Grothendieck is considered a master of abstraction, rigor and presentation. He has produced many important and deep results in homological algebra, most notably his etale cohomology.

Hmmm... oddly prominent 'homo' interests, lispy sounding name... elementary hbd analysis shows he is extremely unlikely to be an eminent mathematician let alone truly great

March 16, 2013 at 4:53 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> You don't have to rely only on me

That is highly reassuring. My point such as it was (I was mostly fooling around) is that you and I can't even analyze these authorities meaningfully, let alone analyze the works of the mighty Grossenschwanz themselves.

Where does this widespread technical overconfidence come from? Hundreds of otherwise brilliant and penetrating people around these parts (some of them /extremely/ brilliant) confidently trash AGW, when Cochran and Szabo, our dual monarchy of sheer technical genius, present a united front of skepticism about their skepticism. Most of them seem to have no heavy math or physics at all, Jim maybe being an exception. I wouldn't say MM has, yet he too rails against AGW.

(Perhaps some of the above commenters on math/ advanced physik really do have heavy math and physik, but anyway these commenters are anon or are not well known to me.)

If I'm not mistaken, Mitchell looked pretty deeply into AGW and came up agnostic-to-favorable.

March 16, 2013 at 5:42 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Let us turn to the far less technical issue of bots. Here lots of people seem to have some failure of imagination based on some sort of pie in sky feelings. They don't really think thru artificial sex or sexual love very well, but neither do they think well about more ordinary sorts of bots.

I work unskilled labor, and the main task of this human type is to not destroy shit. He can so easily (1) damage human beings, (2) damage expensive property or capital objects, (3) pervasively ruin/waste the labor product/process at hand, eg lay one bad course of bricks relatively basally and you have really fucked things up, or just get a forklift stuck in the mud and then make it waaay worse... Or, in reference to (1) and (2), get over-comfortable when you chainsaw all day every day.

Now it is one thing to have bots doing things on rails in totally controlled environments ie factories. Put them in 'field situations' and I think you are going to be really disappointed with the expense/results. Sure, the latest wunder-prototypes can get around the room and sense and fold clothing as was widely seen on YouTube. USUALLY. Yet even something as simple as a bot lawnmower has not proliferated well at all in actual practice, I assume because it is (rarely) going to run over the foot of some idiotic dog, or similar.

The clothing-folding bot is probably going to eventually wrench your kid's nose off or something at a rate of 1 event per 100,000 days, or squeeze your penis while you are doing nude yoga on mushrooms obliviously blaring Mahler, which means it will never actually be in your house folding your clothes. So temper your IndustRev 2.0 hysteria, ye hearties.

A dishwasher is a sort of factory, though it does not automate an entire process because it can't clear the table, and is unlikely to return the dishes to the cupboard, though the latter is at least quite possible. But bots are stuck in factories, in this broad sense of the word, a soybean field being loosely a factory.

Softbots can do a lot of amazing things, but they can't manipulate and influence minds, which is an immense class of white-collar tasks.

So there are at least two absolutely enormous classes of activity where robotization is problematic. I'm not claiming robotization won't advance greatly, but don't get too carried away, that is my message on bots. None of this is as difficult as AGW and it should be more obvious to a lot of people than it seems to be.

March 16, 2013 at 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Contemplationist said...

"Don't be a waste of humaniry. Respect your betters." -- Morgan Warstler

This from the piece of shit who was at first predicting a Rick Perry win, and then a handy Romney win. This from the shitbag who abuses the gentlemanly Steve Sailer with leftist epithets.

Kindly fuck off Morgan. And read more LessWrong if you hope to get any better at this rationality and prediction business.

March 17, 2013 at 12:23 AM  
Anonymous abprosper said...

The economy is not that great a problem in the long run. Just stop immigration and repatriate the surplus people .

If its an immediate issue, than just pay people to say out of trouble and not have kids unless they work.

Heck everywhere save the most feral and backwards parts of the world are approaching homeostasis . In a more than reasonable time frame we certainly can develop technology to keep the fuzzy wuzzys far away from our shores,

In a shocking short amount of time the population will reach equilibrium and the most reproductively fit will probably be the faithful, which deals away with the hedonic issue too.No necessarily stupid mind you, just devout.

Given that the industrialized world has pretty much come to the 1.5 (or sometimes 1) and done approach to child bearing, a correction is in play now,

.Look at Japan as your example or Singapore or Europe. As I see it that rate of population decline will take care of the problem.

All we have to do is accept that there will be less people for the indefinite future.

This of course is politically intolerable, if the elite and the devout were the only people, the elite in particular would hate this. Not much fun to rule over the flyover country and be surrounded by orthodox anything, no one to sell too, no one to boss around. It would suck

However from a species wide POV its quite workable ans will solve a myraid of issues,

March 17, 2013 at 12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm smarter than you and I'm not interested in reading a steve sailer diatribe he's a waste of humanity.

If you continue posting your goony bullshit on this blog I'll sign up a fake you to Myspace and have you start insulting various ethnic gangs in your area like MS13 or the Bloods/Crips.

Do you value the safety of yourself and your family? Then stop posting here you pasty, arrogant four-eyed faggot.

March 17, 2013 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Morgan Warstler said...

I'm FOR the entrepreneurs NIMROD, even if they are in gangs, my plan is FOR THEM.

What I'm not for is nativists hiding in my libertarian Austrian econ think space.

I know the guys at MySpace, so go nuts. I know lots of guys.

Steve Sailer is a piece of shit racist.

Even in the ghetto, REAL CAPITALISTS, REAL AMERICANS spend their time turning over rocks looking for talent. That's PROFIT!

Anyone can buy known talent, finding it undiscovered, thats what real players do.

Steve Sailer isn't a capitalist. And that makes him anti-American.

----

WHEN ONE OF YOU actually has an argument against my plan, we'll se if you can leave policy making kiddy pool.

March 17, 2013 at 6:26 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Cyprus - Ein kleinstaat bedroht Deutschland!

March 17, 2013 at 7:53 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

If I'm not mistaken, Mitchell looked pretty deeply into AGW and came up agnostic-to-favorable.

Cochran is sometimes silly.

AGW is inherently harder for skeptics to disprove (and, however loathe the GangGreeners are to admit it, for its proponents to prove) because of the climate's inherent complexity.

There are too many variables for even the most sophisticated supercomputer to pour through all of the variables contributing to climate and then spit out a convincing causal link between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

That said, everything about how the AGWers act suggests they are religious cultists and/con bureaucratic con artists.

March 17, 2013 at 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Morgan "Hulk Hogan" Warstler said...

Steve Sailer BROTHER, why don't you come out back from the locker rooms and FACE ME, like a REAL AMERICAN, BROTHER. Are you afraid that my 21-inch Austrian Pythons, built with the power of CAPITALISM and AMERICA will run wild over YOU? Come out here to the ring brother.

Better yet Steve Sailer, brother, why don't you come face me at at SUMMERSLAM for the first ever Austrian Scrooge McDuck Money Bank cage match. Whatcha gonna do, Steve Sailer, when Austriamania RUNS WILD over you?

March 17, 2013 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Morgan Warstler said...

America is not for Sever Sailer, America is for entrepreneurs.

Note: my plan SOLVES illegal immigration, the very thing Steve Sailer thinks is the 'problem" with America.

My plan does it, by not giving any thought to Steve Sailor's concerns, my plan simply evaporates what he thinks is scientific data.

My plan ALTERS the criminally lazy, thru a weekly feedback loop, weeding out, exposing, punishing, forgiving, anything but our best efforts to serve the interests of market demand.

Racism is profitable for non-racists. Sailer and his ilk spend their time, turning away in disgust out of ignorance from the joy of mining gold in humanity, turning over rocks, washing them to find talent, and gives up his claim on growth.

My plan allows the entrepreneurs in each ghetto to rise up and claim their social status. If Steve wants to grow rich he'll become expert at living and loving in the ghetto.

He's a sad man. I'm his better. He moans. I fix. He hates. I profit. This is my country. He's lucky I let him live here.

March 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: AGW

And running your own (simplistic) unstable computer simulation, teaches one to take any dramatic computer code outputs realy carefully.

The yelps of impending doom and the demands for absolute power though give the game up.


Re: Raysism

Its better that the antisemitic troll stays anonymous, lest I shove its gonads down its throat.

My&spawns' current comfortable existence is solely the result of a number of mutually beneficial relationship with a number of US zhyds.

Which is why forever zhyds were harrassed and killed, i.e., for providing untermensch brutes like me a way out of ubermenschen laborious slave/serf traps.

The Popish Sauromatian

March 18, 2013 at 7:49 AM  
Anonymous FLiszt said...

Of course unrealizable, but this is among the more compelling sentences I've read all year, so far:

"My idea of Solution F involves targeted technology controls designed to create market demand for the type of unskilled human laborers that modern industry has made obsolete, but that we are politically unwilling to kill and sell as organ meat."

March 19, 2013 at 12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a total singularity is where all human labour is rendered superfluous, then there are certain logical reasons why that could not happen. However, I could certainly see a "singularity" where only creative geniuses, natural aristocrats, are still productive happening. Instead of all of this pointless crap, we should either increase the proportion of the population which is a natural aristocrat, or Solution A them.

Under Moldbug's assumptions I don't see why we should do anything other than Solution A.

March 20, 2013 at 3:37 AM  
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March 21, 2013 at 3:36 AM  
OpenID mukatsuku said...

Morgan Warstler - I am overjoyed at hearing of your New Greatly Improved Method of Negro Husbandry. Not since Jack Kemp by way of Herman Cain roundabouts George W. Bush per Bill Gates and now Ben Carson have I been so uplifted by a plan to honkify the non-honkies.

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March 25, 2013 at 7:57 PM  
Anonymous energy prices said...

Unfortunately, even teenagers are quite illiterate about financial concepts, and incapable to understand the idea of controlling their finances.

March 25, 2013 at 9:58 PM  
Anonymous rockyfeler said...

In the words of Lewis Black:

"In our city, New York, they cut after-school programs. If anybody needs to be distracted, it's those little pricks. So I said, "You know, if you're gonna cut after-school programming, it seems to me the least you could do is give each one of those kids a knife... and they could whittle! They could whittle and sell their crafts at the fair."

April 8, 2013 at 11:25 PM  
Anonymous rockyfeler said...

I don't think preventing american kids from playing with legos and giving them scarce crap toys handmade by semi-convicts would improve state of US economy in 20 years.

April 8, 2013 at 11:27 PM  
Anonymous rockyfeler said...

Only mature solution seems to be the Solution B. The only problem is that we are not rich enough.


If you give money to the people who don't work you can't take it away when they decide they would like to do some work to earn bit more money and respect.


Also if you give useless people money, it has to be enough so they can entertain themselves fulltime. You also have to provide free education or even pay them to attend schools so one in hundred of them can aspire to be doing something useful.


And what's most important. You can't make them feel bad about all this. No 'charity' or 'welfare' but all the 'entitlements', 'rights' and so on. I don't see many rich people being crushed by their sense of inability to do anything useful.

April 8, 2013 at 11:35 PM  

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