Thursday, May 26, 2016

Shifting Foundations...

Been busy! The hot new Evonomics site has run part II of my extensive exploration of "micropayments," which may be... the next billion dollar industry.

Today  advertising noxiously controls the Internet. Is there a way out? Last time I showed how all past micropayment systems failed.  This time, I discuss the "secret sauce" that may empower the next one to work -- and save modern journalism.


== The ground beneath us trembles... ==


David Sloan Wilson and Sigrun Aasland assert, on the Evonomics site: "It’s no secret that the Scandinavian nations are doing something right. They consistently lead the world in measures of happiness and quality of life."  

Sure, but how the Nordic countries achieve their success–and whether they can be copied by other nations–is another matter. "One reason that the Nordic nations work well might be because they have not—yet—succumbed to the siren’s song of free market fundamentalism."  What the Nordic counties' success suggests to Wilson and Aasland is that centralized planning won’t work and neither will unregulated markets. Something in between is required, which David Colander calls “activist laissez faire.”  


Though shall we add that Norway has benefited from loads of oil? And that Europeans (and Latin American nations) have been able to spend far lower fractions of their national wealth on arms, armies and defense than any generation before them, thanks to a protective umbrella they did not have to pay for?


Oh, but cynicism is the toxic drug addiction of our age. Take this example:

From UltraSociety by Peter Turchin: "There is a principle in Sociology known as the Iron Law of Oligarchy. It says that all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic or autocratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably develop into oligarchies. This principle was first formulated by the German sociologist Robert Michels in 1911. Michels studied the inner workings of socialist parties and labor movements. Both the leaders and the ranks of these organizations professed a strong belief in equality and democracy. And yet in practice, as the leaders accumulated power, they began to subvert democratic procedures. Power corrupts."

Robert Carneiro, an anthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, describes how the Iron Law of Oligarchy could play out in prehistory: 
"As fighting … intensified, autonomous villages formed alliances with each other as they thought to protect themselves from any attacks. To lead the fighting force of allied villages, war leaders were either chosen or imposed themselves. These war leaders were often village chiefs who, elevated to carry out more urgent functions, found their powers greatly augmented. However, once the fighting ceased and villages returned to their normal conditions of autonomy, a war chief’s power reverted back to what it has previously been. Nonetheless, with each successive war, military leaders tended to enlarge their powers and entrench their position. Moreover, they became increasingly reluctant to surrender these powers when the fighting had stopped. Finally, either through a chief’s peremptory refusal to relinquish his once-delegated war powers, or (less likely perhaps) through the outright conquest of neighboring villages by the chief of the strongest one, the first permanent chiefdoms were established.'

Sound familiar? History does seem to support cynical "iron laws." That is, until you look at the exceptions that awe and frighten cynics. Cynics who shrug off the spectacular examples of when humans chose not to follow those "iron" laws.

Hence the legend of Cincinnatus and the way George Washington shocked the Old World and inspired thoughts of change, by repeatedly refusing power. And the way Pax Americana became by far the least-hated "empire" across history, because folks - even our rivals - can sense that becoming a deliberately domineering empire simply does not interest most of us. (Excluding Bushite neocons.)

The crux: Iron laws may have held much of the time.  But recent generations have proved that they do not have to.

== Challenges from overseas ==

Scott Malcomson describes, How Russia and China are cooperating to dismantle America's dominance of the internet, creating firewalls and filtering information. A theme continued in his book, Splinternet: How Geopolitics and Commerce are Fragmenting the World Wide Web.

In the WorldPost, Nathan Gardels writes“In March 1946, Winston Churchill famously declared that an "iron curtain" had descended across the European continent, casting a decades-long chill between East and West known as the Cold War. A new chill is in the air once again as China and Russia seek to draw a new "digital curtain" across the world in a joint effort to thwart the Western web from penetrating their cultural space.” Continues Gardels, “If the arrival in Moscow last week of China's Internet czar, Lu Wei, to advise his Russian counterpart on how to erect a "firewall" against the West is any indication, a new "Cominternet" for the 21st century seems to be in the works - analogous to the so-called "Communist International," or "Comintern," which linked communist parties around the world from Moscow to Beijing during the Stalin era.”


== ah... contrasts ==


Meanwhile, ISIS’s efforts at changing educational curricula in the regions that it controls have led it to adopt, at the beginning of the 2014 school year, new books for middle school children aged 12 to 15. These texts are almost all lifted - almost unaltered - from the Saudi school syste, including the book Kitab al-Tawhid by the famous Islamic scholar Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab—founder of Wahhabism, the fanatical sect that utterly controls life in Saudi Arabia, and that has been exported to Saudi financed madrassas that strive hard to radicalize boys across the muslim world.

This includes a  major toehold in Europe -- Kosovo: "Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists." And "mosques built here with Saudi government money are blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression." 

This fact is, of course, devastating for those who try to excuse the Saudi Royal House as somehow not deeply responsible for modern Sunni irredentist radicalism (e.g. ISIS and Al Qaeda), as the Wahhabis are simply a branch of that clan.

It gets better. ISIS changed the internationally acknowledged mathematical symbol for addition (+), replacing it with a new symbol represented by the letter z. ISIS’s reasoning is that the + sign indicates the cross, which is used worldwide as a symbol for Christians.


You laugh?  Is it any wonder that the (partly) Saudi-controlled American right has sabotaged moves toward efficiency research and energy independence - and science, in general - for 30 years? 

60 comments:

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ (previous post):

Last time I checked, the most tried and failed Constitutional amendment is the one for fixing the Electoral College. Everyone has known for 20+ decades that it has problems. We've learned the only way to fix it is to call a Convention and no one wants to open that can of worms except the people who want to burn the nation down


That's not entirely true. I've heard that many states are attempting a pact to allocate all of their EVs to the winner of the national popular vote. The agreement would have to be made in a legally-binding way. It would not take effect until enough states join in to produce 270 electoral votes. After that, the problem solves itself, without touching the Constitution.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin (previous post):

LarryHart hast post of the day with: “No, my parents taught me to use my powers for good on the farm back in Smallville. Apparently, your parents taught you a different lesson as they lay twitching and bleeding on the streets of Gotham City--that the world only makes sense when you force it to.”


You're going to hate me now, as you just complimented a quote from a Frank Miller comic book.

But it was from his "Dark Knight" Batman series in the 1980s, long before 9/11 made him insane.

Jumper said...

Why do so many think direct democracy would be a solution to our problems? End the electoral college NOW? Granted, they didn't stop Bush. Maybe they'll stop Trump.

raito said...

It may be the post of the day, but it also has some truth to it, in that you are changed by your circumstances. I have a friend who is a very nice guy. He can't understand my point of view on many things because bad things have not ever happened to him.

Shemp Howard also acted well in other films.

Apropos of the conversation, one definition of Chivalry is how two persons, each of whom could destroy the other, act towards each other.

As for the Iron Laws, I think they must actively be countered. In the exceptions I know of, that's what happened.

David Brin said...

Shemp was the bartender in... dang what was it again?

Stephen Beres said...

Great content. My few critical remarks: "Scandinavia must be doing something right." Generally true, but despite high index of happiness, also paradoxically has high suicide rate. (Time mag). Extremely high taxation. Since 1980s multicultural policies correlate with 400% increase in violent crime, 1370% increase in rapes. This data is Before migrant crisis spiked in Oct. 2015 & still climbing. These are Not Syrian refugees. 80% of the 80,000/month Immigrants are unskilled, illiterate young men from Afghanistan. 90% of them go directly on Welfare. Nov. 2015 15 Stockholm suburbs were ablaze with rioting. Swedish Police number 37,000.
At current rates, Swedes will be a minority in Sweden by 2030.
Summary: Scandinavia does many things right concurrently doing some major things very wrong, many of which endanger what they do right.

Stephen Beres said...

Nordic Economics: "Activist Laissez-Faire" is certainly better than the extremes of Centralized Planning and it's opposite Unregulated Free Market.
Having a 50/50 Economic Model is far from Optimal. History shows (and Milton Freedman, Economics Nobel Laureate can far better explain than I can) that America experienced the fastest, largest economic boom in the late 19th, early 20th century, when Government expenditure was 3% of total wealth generated by the Free Market system. Government expenditure exceeding that 3% lowered productivity by a similar fraction as the increase of govt. spending. Government is certainly important & necessary for many roles & functions. But Not in National Economic Productivity. It is a demonstrable fact that Free Markets work Optimally with Minimum (not 0) Government interference.
On a related note, I can't understand or predict If & How the US can continue to function when our National Debt is 102% of our GDP without an inevitable Currency Crash. (Not stock market crash, housing & dot-com bubbles popping). I mean a Currency Crash when the US Dollar is no longer accepted for international trade, and will be equivalent to Russian Rubles at best, or Yugoslav Dinars at worst.
Currently, the National Debt exceeds America's Entire Gold Reserves & rising at $20,000/second.

Laurent Weppe said...

From the previous comment section:

* "50/35 split among voters seems odd - I still think the Perotists jumped aboard the Gingrich "Contract on America" in '94"

The two aren't mutually exclusive: Mondale/Dukakis voters switching to Perot, then going all the way to the Republican Party... and eventually becoming the bitter old timers who want to "keep the government out of their medicare and vote for Trump.

***

From this post:

* "Europeans (and Latin American nations) have been able to spend far lower fractions of their national wealth on arms, armies and defense than any generation before them."

Germany enjoyed it, sure, but several european countries still spend a sizable chunk of their budget on military matters.
People often think about France and the UK (because of history and the fact that both countries have nukes, and because France is nearly as bombing-happy as the US), but you can add Greece, whose bloated military budget is one of the causes of the country's current budgetary woes, as well as Poland and the baltic republics, which are currently rearming themselves in case Putin decides to send his amy of underfed teenagers on their turf.

***

* "This principle was first formulated by the German sociologist Robert Michels in 1911"

And Michels ended up becoming one of Mussolini's toadies. Some said that it was cynicism that drove him to the fascist leader (if human society is fated to be ruled by parasitic oligarchies, better join the most openly authoritarian leader there is), but maybe he was in 1911 already tempted to become a dictator's best friend and was thus simply trying to justify his own unavowable impulses.

***

From the comments

* "Since 1980s multicultural policies correlate with 400% increase in violent crime, 1370% increase in rapes."

That is not an increase in rapes: it was an increase of women daring to denounce their rapist.

I've heard the same type of racist bullshit in France "the number of rapes increased a hundredfold since 1900! That's because Arabs went to live here!", except they weren't counting the number of rapes happening, but the number of men put on trial for rape.

Europe's dirty secret is that most of its rapists are not only Whites, but wealthy Whites: according to the french ministry of interior, in the late 90s, over 40% of identified rapists belonged to the upper-class and nearly 60% had job that gave them institutional authority (17% were doctors, 15% were CEOs/senior executives, 13% worked in law in law enforcement: magistrates, politicians, cops, 13% were teachers), and that's only accounting for, you know, the rapists who had actually been identified. Many got (and still get) away with it because their victim didn't dare denouncing them, and the higher they are on the food chain, the less likely their victims will dare to speak.

Likewise, when people suddenly discovered how lax German laws regarding sexual assault were after the Cologne assaults, German feminists were quick to point that this permissiveness was deliberate (despite sexual assaults having been so widespread for so long that the local dialect had invented a term to depict the perps, despite 200 rapes and sexual assaults happening every Oktoberfest in Munich, despite countless assaults committed with impunity throughout Germany that only a tiny minority of activists kept track off while everybody else ignored these) because the German political class had for decades opposed toughening the laws as most sexual predators where good old boys from good old German families.

Stephen Beres said...

Criticism of 1 point of fact in the otherwise fascinating piece about the Iron Law of Oligarchy.
I'm not surprised that you ended the piece with a cheap, gratuitous jab at "Bushite Neocons". Your bias is predictable & not unexpected.
I posit that Obama's extra-Constitutional overreach & his Executive Power Grab is more egregious than even Bush Junior, (scary).
Senator Obama protested then Pres. Bush's misuse and accumulation of Power of the Executive Branch on numerous occasions. But when Obama became president,he far surpassed Bush's abuses. Some blatantly, some serepetitiously, many of them broader & deeper in scope than I'd thought possible without any serious protest from the Republican Congress, I hasten to add. Not just simply Legislating from the Executive Branch, which all presidents do, mostly on case by case basis. Obama's EOs were dangerously sweeping in scope and many directly violated existing laws that he swore to enforce. Often without consulting Congress. (Yes, I'm a very persistent nerd who is sleep deprived by downloading EOs & truly scary changes to the Patriot Act in PDF, hundreds of video clips of courtroom testimony & investigations, the 900 page Articles of Impeachment printed, given to Congress & ignored, etc.)
Obama sparked 5 civil wars in the Middle East, toppling dictators and then arming & funding forces to fill the power vacuum, who all turned out to be fanatical Jihadis from the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, Boku Haram, and greatly helped to form what we know as ISIS. Attacking Assad needlessly displaced over a Million refugees, who continue to swarm into Europe,US,Canada (but not to the 57 Muslim countries in the world)
I could (and often do) go on non-stop til morning, but I hope you get my point. Ending a good article with a political cheap shot elevated my cortisol levels. You're a Scientist & Writer. I'm a multidisciplinary Engineer,specializing in Green Tech & former Cold Warrior/Defense Contractor.
Let's keep our politics out of written works unless they really belong.
Let's consider each other as Americans first, rather than political affiliation, where we'll agree to respectfully disagree. Vote for Bernie or Hillary and I'll vote for Trump, only because Ted Nugent isn't running.
I'm a political refugee from Communist Czechoslovakia, which is why I truly appreciate political freedom. Thanks.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin - "Is it any wonder that the (partly) Saudi-controlled American right has sabotaged moves toward efficiency research and energy independence - and science, in general - for 30 years?"

I'm chuckling ruefully at the + sign change. It's an old joke in the region, that the way to convince a government official to accept anything using "Western numerals" is to remind him that we in the West use the actual "Arabic numerals" (after Fibonacci introduced us to them) - while they in the Middle East use the numerals derived from Persian sources.

Who wants to "defend" the Saudis? The error is in the contention they control (or even influence) the American right. Unless Donald Trump is a trojan horse for the Saudis, merely pretending to distrust Muslims...or I missed it somehow when the American right booted him from the party nomination.

The old textbooks were abhorrent. The US Commission on International Freedom has done the best work tracking developments there, and I'd recommend at least perusing the Saudi chapter for some facts. http://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/USCIRF%202016%20Annual%20Report.pdf

"In recent years, a Saudi royal decree banned the financing outside Saudi Arabia of religious schools, mosques, hate literature, and other activities that support religious intolerance and violence toward non-Muslims and non-conforming Muslims. Nevertheless,
some literature, older versions of textbooks, and other intolerant materials reportedly remain in distribution in some countries..."


The gist matches my own observations closely. But it's also hard to remove these books once circulated, because in many countries, they just photocopy an old text and re-use it indefinitely, rather than printing or paying for new books.

Still, Daesh fighters mainly grew up under Saddam and Assad, neither of whom would have tolerated instruction using Saudi texts. It's a little weird to blame nasty textbooks that hadn't actually been read by the bulk of the militants for the nastiness presently in play. Unless these were not only abhorrent, but magical textbooks, which could inject themselves through osmosis across borders into brains that hadn't even read them?

donzelion said...

@Laurent - "50/35 split among voters seems odd - I still think the Perotists jumped aboard the Gingrich "Contract on America" in '94" - The two aren't mutually exclusive: Mondale/Dukakis voters switching to Perot, then going all the way to the Republican Party...

I suppose, "Reagan Dems" weren't fully committed Republicans by '92. Perhaps that's the core group that FoxNews 'converted.' I certainly don't know many young people who watch FoxNews the same way as folks who once thought of themselves as Reagan Dems do.

Jumper said...

I'd call the U.S. right-wing and Saudi alliance an unconscious (mostly) fellow traveler thing. Prince Al Waleed bin Talal sold most of his share of News Corp in '15.

Robert said...

Now that Louisiana has passed a law making it a hate crime to target police or first responders, how long do you think it'll be before hate crime charges are used against someone filming a cop "aggressively arresting" someone?

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

While the European Man is well known for his oligarchical ways (and for bombing the living snot out of Americans, now mostly via unrelenting legal force as putting hot bullets through soon dead matriarchs defending their rightful lands leads to, ah, "bad publicity" for the regime), the just-so story of how prehistory lead to oligarchy came to be is just that, a fantasy of flawed and limited thinking. There is nothing unique about your recent generations; George Washington and ilk copied poorly from the Americans, the Iroquois in particular, before going on to piss on every Indian treaty ever. Water and minerals and trees I guess are just too juicy a plum for the European Man to show any sort of respect for the Law. But so these things go.

Robert said...

I have to. Sorry.

"Not all European Men!"

*flrrd*

Rob H.

raito said...

Dr. Brin,

You probably mean The Bank Dick, starring W.C. Fields.

Robert said...

raito said...

As for the Iron Laws, I think they must actively be countered. In the exceptions I know of, that's what happened.


Nailed it! Iron Laws in human interactions, unlike in physics, are strong tendencies or default conditions that take really hard work to overcome - and we can't let up for even a minute. David knows this, which is why he's not a Utopian. Where I probably differ from him is I would rate the difficulty, and the likelihood of failure, much higher than he does. Which has to do with him being a pragmatic mild progressive, who feels at home with the Democrats, and me being a secular dispositional conservative, who only votes Democratic in emergencies (which means since at least 2000, and especially this year) .

Scandinavia successfully contained and stabilized a substantial welfare state when some (very) moderate conservative parties came in in the wake of budget crises, and cleaned up the messes the Socialists had made in the Sixties and Seventies. The problem is that the ease with which the Nordic countries built and then consolidated their welfare states probably depended on having fairly uniform, cohesive societies to work with. So they're very ill-equipped to handle immigration.

I'd say what matters with Norwegian oil is that Norway had a sound enough diversified economy to keep oil from wrecking the place. Otherwise the oil would have been as helpful as coal was to West Virginia.

I'd also add Germany to the list of "social market economies". It's the term Germans use themselves, ever since the Wirtschaftswunder of the Fifties.


Bob Pfeiffer.

David Brin said...

donzel I never asserted DT is a shill for the r’oils. They are no doubt as upset as the other oligarchs controlling Fox-etc media, who had whipped the demographic TeaParty horse into a frenzy and are now stunned that a svengali simply leaped aboard and grabbed the reins. I never said the current Dawsh leaders were raised by Saudi texts, though Al Qaeda leaders were and the Taliban anti Soviet fighters who then took over Afgh read them and then pushed them in their schools. And the Daesh and pushed them in their schools

Jumper is I had to bet my house, I’d agree that the r’oil support for the US confederate oligarch was morel likely reflexive and not part of a conscious plan to destroy the west. But the alternative is NEVER mentioned and it is an alternative that is entirely consistent with all known facts and hence it needs to be raised.

The advance political morality of the Iroquois was matched by their southern cousins, the Cherokee. All of them respected their women and allowed all to speak. KS Robinson praised the Iroquois in YEARS OF RISE AND SALT. As do I in a screenplay (never produced) about the Cherokee Trail of tears.

Nevertheless, our anonymous commenter misses the point. There were earlier attempts like the Iroquois and Periclean Athens and none of them fundamentally changed the world.

LarryHart said...

A few days back, someone, I think it was Paul451, asked how I could still believe that Trump doesn't actually want the presidency. Today's www.electoral-vote.com has some relevant passages about that:


Part of the reason that the VP matters so much is that he will apparently be doing a lot of work in a Trump administration, since—according to Manafort—Trump is not terribly interested in doing some of the duties generally associated with the presidency. In fact, "some" might be understating it. It would seem that The Donald "sees himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO."


And while I'm "there", see also this blurb about how well (or not) Bernie Sanders is really doing with independents:


There are three kinds of independent voters. There are the ones who are really closeted Republicans (about 36% of the total). Then there are the ones who are really closeted Democrats (41%). And finally there are the ones who are actually independent (23%). FiveThirtyEight has parsed the numbers, and their analysis makes clear that Sanders is doing no better with the latter group than Hillary Clinton (they both trump Trump), and that most of his "independents" are really closeted Democrats.

If the analysis is correct, it has two obvious implications. The first is that Sanders' remaining, very slim case for the nomination takes a hit, since he is arguing (apparently incorrectly) that he will attract voters to the Democratic banner that Hillary cannot capture. The second is that it will be easier for Clinton to absorb Sanders' supporters than it seemed, since true independents don't like her, but most Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters will ultimately be willing to vote for either of the two candidates


LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

The crux: Iron laws may have held much of the time. But recent generations have proved that they do not have to.


Perhaps, you should add that even iron rusts over time.

;

LarryHart said...

Stephen Beres:

Your bias is predictable & not unexpected.


Whereas yours is...?


Vote for Bernie or Hillary and I'll vote for Trump, only because Ted Nugent isn't running.
I'm a political refugee from Communist Czechoslovakia, which is why I truly appreciate political freedom.


Interesting then that you'll vote to destroy it. You think Trump will eschew executive power? "Sometimes you can get what you want and still not be very happy."


Thanks.


You're welcome. :)

Laurent Weppe said...

* "I'm a political refugee from Communist Czechoslovakia, which is why I truly appreciate political freedom. 


Interesting then that you'll vote to destroy it. You think Trump will eschew executive power?
"

No: he thinks this time HE will belong to the Nomenklatura. Remember: not all refugees from dictatorships are pro-democracy: some simply favored a competing authoritarian faction.

Will Feret said...

David Brin do you think we should be funding moderate Sunni and Shia ideologies like we did for the radicals in the 1980's or will that strategy not work this time? I know our support for Islamic fundamentalism as a weapon against communism is part of the reason it became so popular, so could we try the same tactic against Islamic fundamentalism? For instance suppporting the Nizari Muslims to undermine Shia fundamentalism?

The potential downside of this is that it could backfire on us in some unforeseen way. Also funding any religious ideology, even in a more secular direction, could be seen as violating the constitution (even though we've already done it to the extreme).

locumranch said...


There are many Iron Laws, including those of Nature & Economics, yet these conflict with the Human Law of Reference & Intrinsic Worth, leading to all types of fallacious reasoning, human misery & cyclic history.

Humans (especially in the West) tend to assume that their 'being' has intrinsic value to those other than their parents & themselves, and this belief in deserving 'exceptionalism' tends to degenerate into entitlement & Delusions-of-Reference wherein one "interprets innocuous (and impersonal) events as highly personally significant".

Ricardo, one of the 19th Century's preeminent economists, came up with his 'Iron Law of Wages' in 1817, stating that "the wages of labour will have a tendency to fall, as far as they are regulated by supply and demand; for the supply of labourers will continue to increase at the same rate, while the demand for them will increase at a slower rate".

Of course, Ricardo's 'Iron Law' contradicts our all-to-human desire for ever-increasing wages & rewards -- much in the same way the potential protector/oligarch demands escalating & increasingly burdensome social rewards for past endeavours -- even when Supply & Demand principles predict DECLINING rewards in the event of a human labour superfluity.

This we find intolerable as it offends our belief in our 'Intrinsic Value', resulting in a denial of Ricardo's thesis, a retreat to various doctrines that reassert our special, privileged or chosen status (religiosity), the creation of a parasitic welfare state, and finally social decline.

The assumption of Intrinsic Value appears to precipitate Social Decline:

In the Roman heyday, citizenship was something that was earned by great deeds, military service & social contribution. This earned the Republican citizen the right to participate in government & an allotment of grain so he would never know hunger.

Then, citizenship was granted at birth and, with it, passed the Age of Roman deed & military service. Every male citizen had the right to participate in government; those males who laboured were slaves; and, the citizen's allotment of grain became bread so the citizen would never know labour.

Finally, the Roman citizen (who knew neither hunger nor labour) freed himself from obligation. He did no deeds; he did not not marry; he did not fight; he did not vote; and, Rome passed into Imperial hands while the citizen occupied himself with bread, circuses & some occasional fiddling.


We must reject Intrinsic Value if we would do great things.


Best
_____
Poor, poor Laurent:

By arguing that the "400% increase in violent crime, 1370% increase in rapes" does NOT reflect a statistical increase crime but an "increase of women daring to denounce their rapist", Laurent (1) engages in faith-based gossip, (2) rejects the empiric method, (3) devalues past & present human males as malevolent antisocial rapists and (4) elevates parasitical human females to 'beings' of indisputable intrinsic worth.

What, pray tell, have these poor victims done to earn their protected status?

Robert said...

Ricardo's thesis is flawed. It assumes that X, the number of workers, will always grow, while Y, the number of jobs available, is fixed (with Wages being Z - thus Y/X=Z). It is the ultimate in Zero Sum thinking and shows why Zero Sum thinking is flawed.

The number of jobs is not a fixed amount. It changes constantly. When a company lays off workers, Y declines. When the economy does well and added input is required, Y increases. And when new businesses start up, Y also increases.

Thus labor supply can go through points of labor scarcity - especially for fields requiring specific training that may not be available, thus meaning the ACTUAL labor pool isn't Y but is instead L (Limited labor pool). Wages do not thus decline constantly.

Oh, and there is definite historical proof of this. One such example is when the Black Death swept across Europe and wiped out a huge portion of the labor supply, meaning the labor supply from peasants was much more constrained. ;)

---------

Likewise, your accusations of bias against Laurent's claims is false. Let us say that it is not a crime to wear seat belts. After some outcry because of accidents with people being ejected from their cars, they make NOT wearing a seatbelt a crime. Suddenly you have a significant increase in crime... from the sudden appearance of a new type of crime (not wearing seatbelts).

Similarly, by altering how society views rape and changing the onus from being the victim's fault to being the attacker's fault, more women DO report rape. This is true for all crimes. For instance, you might not report that you were beaten up by a woman because everyone knows big burly men can't be beat up by a small petite woman! If you report that crime you are a girly-man! So suck it up! But... does that mean that you weren't beaten up by a petite woman? Or that you just didn't report the crime?

If a woman is in an abusive environment and is getting bones broken by her husband or boyfriend and constant black eyes but refuses to press charges because if her husband or boyfriend is arrested then her children will go hungry... is she not being beaten up and abused by her husband or boyfriend? After all, she's not willing to press charges.

If society changed enough that the woman has a safe place to go and can get food for her children and doesn't have to rely on the abuser, and she now presses charges... does that mean only now that a crime was committed? That she is faking it?

You claim to be a doctor. How many abused women have you seen who refuse to press charges?

Rob H.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "Let us say that it is not a crime to wear seat belts. After some outcry because of accidents with people being ejected from their cars, they make NOT wearing a seatbelt a crime. Suddenly you have a significant increase in crime... from the sudden appearance of a new type of crime (not wearing seatbelts)."

Your metaphor is a bit flawed: a more accurate would be more like:
"It is a crime to run over pedestrians. For years, police and courts remain very complacent toward pedestrian-squishing drivers, because after all, they're red-blooded car-drivers themselves, and "understand" that sometimes, drivers gonna be drivers and drive a little too fast and loose and that doesn't mean that they're bad people who deserve to be put in jail for years for some little "accidental", "involuntary" squishing.
Then two things happen: first "pedestrianists" start convincing more and more pedestrians that it's not okay to stay silent when you've been hurt by a guy in a car, or when you had to run from one sidewalk to the next to avoid the car rushing toward you; and immigrants start getting driving licenses and some of them get on the squishing game. At this point, cops and magistrates suddenly realize that their pedestrian kids might get squished by brown-skinned drivers, toward whom they don't feel the same "natural" kinship and understanding than toward the other squishers and therefore they start arresting every brown-skinned drivers caught squishing a pedestrian alongside a few white-skinned squishers who were sloppy and left too many evidences and witnesses behind them. So suddenly you have many more squishing-survivors denouncing their squishers and a sudden increase of brown skinned car-drivers being put in prison for squishing because that's where law enforcement focused their search
"

David Brin said...

WF: We need a much lighter hand in the Middle East, which dems are more likely than goppers to at least try to do: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-democrats-and-republicans-wage-war.html

But the real solution may have slipped away. Obama has scared the r’oils with his Iran Rapprochement and perhaps the Saudis are ready to stop blocking a Palestine-Isarel deal. Alas, possibly too late as Israelis slip farther right.

Locum continues taking vitamins. He uses better logic and wording … though still in service of the stunning blindness to even the conceptual possibility of positive sum games… of exactly the sort that abound, all around him and that proved Ricardo - and Malthus - dead wrong. Plain wrong. Spectacularly wrong.

Duncan Cairncross said...

The issue with increased crimes of violence is very very simple

A lot of actions that used to be "OK" or "below the radar" are now considered criminal

It used to be "OK" to beat or even rape your wife
It used to be "OK" for a policeman to administer a quick beating
Country to country different criteria are used for defining crimes,
I believe that a crime that the USA calls "assault" would be a more serious crime in the UK and that you could get convicted of assault in the UK for something that would not be a crime in the USA

This is why when looking at historical crime rates Pinker used murder - it is the only crime of violence that has always been the same

donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - I’d agree that the r’oil support for the US confederate oligarch was more likely reflexive and not part of a conscious plan to destroy the west.

Then I've achieved my goal. I have no intention of trying to convince you to like them. Only to urge you not buy into a myth that they 'control' our right wing.

Jumper notes Waleed dumped some shares in News Corp (I believe he kept shares in certain properties as they shuffled about) - after a Murdoch's people called him a terrorist. That allegation hurt Waleed (raising risks of financial barriers rising in America) - this is not evidence of joint control. (And again, there's a lot that isn't public suggesting a less friendly relationship still - though enemies often strive to appear friendly in public when a fight would not serve any benefit).

For the Bush/Bandar side of the story, consider: Bandar was fired when Bush became president. Why would Saudis remove their 'best buddy' to the president? You'd think if the connections were authentic, they'd keep him around. They didn't.

But the alternative is NEVER mentioned and it is an alternative that is entirely consistent with all known facts

No, it's not consistent at all. There are facts in isolation that fit the story, but in context, the evidence goes strongly to the contrary.

That said, Texans came spooky close a week ago to electing a certifiable nut job who claimed Obama was a gay prostitute, whow would have presided overy textbook prep. Without elective processes to vet their own contenders jockeying for power - they get a lot more nut jobs into positions of authority than we do. Again: oligarchy is inherently ineffective, whether the oligarchs are mendacious or not.

David Brin said...

"Then I've achieved my goal. I have no intention of trying to convince you to like them. Only to urge you not buy into a myth that they 'control' our right wing."

What a silly and self-serving interpretation. Just because I deem stupidity and reflex to be slightly more likely than a conspiracy based on intelligent if fanatical planning, that does not mean you've "convinced" me of a thing. I have always said that I give around a 1:3 chance that the r'oils have been engaged in all-out and deliberate war to destroy the west, instead of an opportunistic culture war to manipulate our harm in shorter term ways.

What I deem to be the stupidest of all possible positions is to simply laugh or shrug off something that - even if it seems slightly less likely - is utterly consistent with all known facts, with all events and with human nature. The fact that no one will even posit the POSSIBILITY of such a high-minority probability strikes me as stunning inflexibility and intransigence.

If it did turn out to be true, then it is an existential war. If it is NOT true, then it is still pretty much the same thing.

And yes it is totally consistent.

David Brin said...

Aaaaall Riiight! "SpaceX launched an Asian communications satellite into a distant orbit Friday and for the fourth time managed to recover the rocket that did the work." Again on a drone ship at sea. This one was another really tough geosynch launch like the previous one and hence may not be re-usable except for spares. But that just makes it double impressive! HOW did we become a people capable of being ho-hum about this sort of thing, so quickly?

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re SpaceX

And they put a camera on it so there is a "rocket's eye view" -
Superb!

Anonymous said...

Muslim Wahhabists aren't the only ones trying to remove "Christian" symbols from math texts: http://blog.aliyahland.com/2014/05/things-that-are-weird-in-israel-8-plus.html

Stephen Beres said...

My bias is crystal clear, solid and unapologetic. Trump has decades of successful, Executive Leadership skills. That's not necessarily"Authoritarian". My short list of Great Leaders include Reagan, JFK, Gorbachev, Pope John Paul 2, Yeltsin, MLK, Vaclav Havel, Putin, Netanyahu, Lech Walesa,Eisenhower,Benazir Bhutto,Jordan's King Abdullah & King Hussein, Mandela,Churchill, Ghandi, Dalai Llama,FDR,Lincoln, Frederick Douglass,James Madison Thomas Jefferson, G.Washington, Ben Franklin and especially Teddy Roosevelt.

These were all Powerful, Effective, Good & Great men &. women who didn't need to be Authoritarian. They all were Charismatic, Natural Leaders with exceptional Strategic Executive Talents with Bold yet Decent Power of Personality and sense of Duty to Principles that transcended their Egos and didn't need to resort to the façade of Authoritarianism.

Evil or weak Leaders must resort to Authoritarianism, Force, Threat & control because they can't lead by Principles.
Examples: Napoleon, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Saddam & most dictators in general.

donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - I’d agree that the r’oil support for the US confederate oligarch was more likely reflexive and not part of a conscious plan to destroy the west.

Then I've achieved my goal. I have no intention of trying to convince you to like them. Only to urge you not buy into a myth that they 'control' our right wing.

Jumper notes Waleed dumped some shares in News Corp (I believe he kept shares in certain properties as they shuffled about) - after a Murdoch's people called him a terrorist. That allegation hurt Waleed (raising risks of financial barriers rising in America) - this is not evidence of joint control. (And again, there's a lot that isn't public suggesting a less friendly relationship still - though enemies often strive to appear friendly in public when a fight would not serve any benefit).

For the Bush/Bandar side of the story, consider: Bandar was fired when Bush became president. Why would Saudis remove their 'best buddy' to the president? You'd think if the connections were authentic, they'd keep him around. They didn't.

But the alternative is NEVER mentioned and it is an alternative that is entirely consistent with all known facts

No, it's not consistent at all. There are facts in isolation that fit the story, but in context, the evidence goes strongly to the contrary.

That said, Texans came spooky close a week ago to electing a certifiable nut job who claimed Obama was a gay prostitute, whow would have presided overy textbook prep. Without elective processes to vet their own contenders jockeying for power - they get a lot more nut jobs into positions of authority than we do. Again: oligarchy is inherently ineffective, whether the oligarchs are mendacious or not.

LarryHart said...

Stephen Beres:

Trump has decades of successful, Executive Leadership skills. That's not necessarily"Authoritarian".


Not "necessarily" maybe, but in Trump's case it is. His defining characteristic is that he's a bully. He'll reward his toadies, but if you cross him, even in a trivial way, he'll unload on you with both barrels. That may be an effective leadership style in the sense that it cows people into following your orders, but it's not the sort of attitude I'm looking for in a president.


Evil or weak Leaders must resort to Authoritarianism, Force, Threat & control because they can't lead by Principles.
Examples: Napoleon, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Saddam & most dictators in general.


Have you seen any Trump rallies? I don't see daylight between Trump and Mussolini.

David Brin said...

Mr. Beres, your inclination to make lists of good-strong leaders vs evil ones is okay but simplistic and leads you down some wrong paths. Boris Yeltsin was weak. Vladimir Putin has yet to prove he’s not a maffia don. You clearly know little about Napoleon.

As for Trump, his rabble rousing of the mob with conspiracy theories and falsehoods and stoked caste resentments puts him in category II.

donzel you’ve achieved no “goal.” I have always said that conspiracy theories bear some burden of proof and hence, no matter how logical and consistent and compelling, have to be treated as “minority” probabilities. Longer denizens of this blogmunity know that I have always said that.

But when a consistent and extremely dangerous hypothesis is NEVER discussed, out of some reflex to pooh-pooh anything non-canonical or dramatic, then that’s when someone has to raise the very real and palpable possibility to general attention.

Bandar was “fired”? How silly. Musical chairs happen in oligarchies all the time.

David Brin said...

Viedo: ride the SpaceX first stage back down to a barge landing! https://spaceflightnow.com/2016/05/28/ride-aboard-the-falcon-9-rockets-first-stage-on-descent/

so uttergloss cool.

David Brin said...

Notice the landing legs straddle bullseye perfectly.

Stephen Beres said...

Yes I've seen Trump rallies turn violent by anti-Trump protestors. Ever see Trump supporters crash Clinton or Sanders rallies? Burn American flags? Riot & attack Clinton or Sanders supporters? Set police cars on fire? Me neither. The more I see the behavior of Trump opponents, the stronger becomes my support for Trump. Sorry to hear about your blindness to the gap between Trump & Mussolini. Trump is far more like Churchill or Teddy Roosevelt. Trump & Netanyahu have been close friends for at least a decade. Trump is the only candidate that Putin has respect for. Trump is the only candidate that Muslim fanatics rant against.

Stephen Beres said...

Dr. Brin. You are correct about my ignorance of Napoleon. You are correct that Putin has some similar traits with those of a mafia don, but Trump is the only candidate he has respect for.

As for rabble-rousing, who are the rabble? Trump Opponents, clearly. The violence is instigated anti-Trump protestors
Ever see Trump supporters crash Clinton or Sanders rallies? Burn American flags? Riot & attack Clinton or Sanders supporters? Set police cars on fire? Me neither. The more I see the behavior of Trump opponents, the stronger becomes my support for Trump.

David Brin said...

Mr Beres you are well-spoken and welcome here. But seriously, notice that your support for DT is based upon your perception of his "strength." I note that you make no effort to assess the verity of his statements... which is almost nil.

Seriously, almost nothing that he says is actually actually true. But the American right, which once supported science via intellects like Barry Goldwater, has been schooled in recent decades to hate factualness with a livid passion.

Nor the acerbically immature style of his strength, based on demeaning and insulting all opponents, which is diametrically opposite to the style of strong democratic leaders like both Roosevelts or the founders or Lincoln. He proclaims he is a "negotiator." No he does not know the meaning of the word.

I'd mention inconsistency, that nearly every position he now touts is opposite to those he maintained five years ago, but his supporters have made clear that they could not care less.

Now let me surprise you. I actually like Trump better than any other GOP politician today. At least he is not a toady to Rupert Murdoch and his priorities are not precisely those of promoting oligarchy at the expense of the American middle class... which has been the absolute and sole purpose of every single other Republican office holder for two decades, ever since Dennis Haster (role model for all boys) staged his coup against Newt Gingrich.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Larry

"I don't see daylight between Trump and Mussolini."

I do lots!
Mussolini was actually extremely competent compared to the Donald,

"He made the trains run on time" - The Donald has only shown that he can shout at people and waste money

LarryHart said...

Stephen Beres:

Yes I've seen Trump rallies turn violent by anti-Trump protestors.


You mean when those ant-Trump protestors hit the goons in the fist with their chins or the backs of their heads?


Ever see Trump supporters crash Clinton or Sanders rallies? Burn American flags? Riot & attack Clinton or Sanders supporters? Set police cars on fire? Me neither.


Ever see Clinton or Sanders have dissenting voices forcibly removed from their rallies, and then have those dissenters beat up while in the process of being escorted out? Me neither.

The more I see the behavior of Trump opponents, the stronger becomes my support for Trump.


Funny, the more I se the behavior of Trump supporters, the stronger becomes my opposition to Trump.


Sorry to hear about your blindness to the gap between Trump & Mussolini. Trump is far more like Churchill or Teddy Roosevelt.


I missed the newsreel shots of the goose-stepping and seig-heiling at Churchill and Roosevelt events.


Trump & Netanyahu have been close friends for at least a decade.


That's not a good thing, but it makes sense. Netanyahu is a bully too.

Trump is the only candidate that Putin has respect for. Trump is the only candidate that Muslim fanatics rant against.


Trump is the only candidate that Western Europe is terrified of.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"Trump is the only candidate that Muslim fanatics rant against."

The same reason that Bin Laden wanted Bush 2 to win against Kerry, having an idiot in charge of your enemy is a major advantage

David Brin said...

Trump has had business dealings with many peers and companies, etc. Almost no one who has doned business with him does so a second time. That is most telling.

Stephen Beres said...

Thank you for pointing out my lack of more effort to assess the verity of Trump's rhetoric.
I've spent hundreds of research-hours since 2012 accumulating, disseminating & criticism of Obama and his political ilk.

Their positions in scientific endeavours are only a portion of their positions in other areas.

When I asserted earlier in this thread that My Own Bias is Crystal Clear, Solid & Unapologetic, I would hasten to add that Conservative mindset in the Sciences is frustratingly Stupid. I take time daily to post some sense to counter this, perhaps in futility, but I persist.

Allow me to insert a quote from Eisenhower here; "Government funded Science is more Political than Scientific." I would greatly appreciate your response to this.

It may very well be that we will never come to terms politically.
Let's just accept that fact.
Let's set our sights beyond politics and build a foundation of understanding on the bedrock of Science, rather than trying to build a future on the shifting sands of political ideology.
Much gratitude & thanks.

Stephen Beres said...

And so the Conclusion is clear.
We both see the same thing but somewhere between Perception & Cognition, we Diverge to Opposite Conclusions.
That is a very common limitation of Human Nature.
Let's agree to disagree.
Then move on beyond political vicissitudes.

David Brin said...

Stephen B I appreciate your courteous effort to reframe the debate, but I will not play along. Your portray it as between to separated political mind-sets. I know better. I am not a person of the left. I despise many of the same lefty antics that you do, but I can see plainly that the Blue or Union America simply CONTAINS some lefty twits. Meanwhile, the Gray or confederate wing of this re-ignited civil war CONSISTS of stunning lunacy. That is a difference great enough to require that I pick sides.

This despite the fact that no one alive touts Adam Smith more vigorously online than I do. The simple fact is that U.S. market enterprise and flat-competitive capitalism do not only better across democratic administrations, but vastly better, under every single conceivable metric. And that includes the rate of change of deficit spending. See:

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

Your portrayal of scientists is straight out of the Fox-Saudi playbook, as whimpering conformist lemmings, following "grants" and ideological sameness. And thus you reveal that you know no scientists, who are by far the most competitive (and smartest and most knowledgeable) humans our species ever produced. Sci-tech is responsible for half of the wealth that Americans accumulated since 1945, yet ingrates buy into an insulting War on science that serves oligarchs, but has ensured that the fraction of US scientists who are in the GOP has dropped from 40% to 4% and plummeting.

Same is true for every single knowledge caste in American life. Name... an... exception.

The fact that you would take at face value the fact free rantings of DT does not equip you to credibly diss science.

"We both see the same thing but somewhere between Perception & Cognition, we Diverge to Opposite Conclusions."

Yes, I can see you believe that. Exactly as campus lefty postmodernists say the same thing. Everything is subjective!!! Yippee! That is the mantra at both political extremes, faced with the fact that their dogmas are unsupported by facts. (e.g. not a single supply side economic prediction ever came true. Once. Ever.)

Sorry. There are indeed such things as facts.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Stephen

Science and engineering are not matters of opinion
At some stage the rubber hits the highway and Kipling's "Secret of the Machine" takes over

But remember, please, the Law by which we live,
We are not built to comprehend a lie,
We can neither love nor pity nor forgive.
If you make a slip in handling us you die!

David Brin said...

A guide to the almost-endless list of conspiracy theories espoused by Donald Trump.

http://www.npr.org/2016/05/24/479331275/a-guide-to-the-many-conspiracy-theories-donald-trump-has-embraced

David Brin said...

This may be the year that the Libertarian party makes a real move, having nominated two ex-Republican governors in a real stab at the party with the biggest potential for mass-desertions, this summer. And speaking as the only sci fi author to speak at several LP conventions, I wholly approve. Oh, I disagree with the Randian-Rothbardian oligarch-loving VERSION of libertarianism that's dominant, at present. But that leaning may help bring in funding from the Koch brothers and others fleeing Trumpism. And I surely would love to see the LP candidate in national debates.

No I am not proposing them as a genuinely plausible alternative for governing. But refugees from the GOP self-immolation in a pyre of insanity should ponder voting LP down the line. These guys may be a bit crazy, but at least they aren't science-hating feudalist confederate carnival barkers.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/29/politics/libertarian-party-nominee-vote/

Duncan Cairncross said...

Does not appear to have hit the US news

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/libertarian-party-chair-candidate-strips-on-stage-during-national-convention-a7055751.html

Marino said...

"Badiou Studies"? Is it real or is it a very elaborate hoax like those website about the dangers of dihydrogen monoxyde or supporting the threatened Californian mountain octopus?

btw. I don't like the postmodernist jargon but they got something. Think gender studies and how they portrait gender as a flexible cultural construct (here in Italy gender studies are a bogeyman for the rightwing culture warriors...can we name them Social Injustice Warriors?). Very post modern and all. Then a conservative (both politically and in writing style) guy like David Weber has his main character in Safehold, Nimue Alban/Merlin Athrawes, being a woman's mind uploaded in a man's cyborg body...and s/he first gets aroused while swimming with naked men and later has even sex in a male body with a woman... stuff that in the Golden Age wouldn't have been published outside avant-garde stuff like Burroughs or Dangerous Visions.

David Brin said...

69 percent of households said they were “living comfortably” or “doing okay,” up from 62 percent in 2013. Improvements were across the board. For households headed by someone with a high school diploma or less, 61 percent felt this way, up from 53 percent in 2013. For college graduates, the gain was to 80 percent from 77 percent. Saving also has increased. The number of households saving was up 9 percentage points over 2013. Only 15 percent of households reported spending more than their income.

So why all the downer gloom?
1) The skyrocketing aggrandizement of a top oligarchy has still seized most of the benefits of our hard work and economic recovery.

2) Media have pushed gloom relentlessly because it sells, but also because it is an essential polemical ploy of the far-left and the entire-right. Both of whom are mad.

3) Snarling feels great! Self-righteous anger offers a far better drug high than contingent, tentative optimism and determination to negotiate pragmatic, steady reforms.

4) There is still real pain. The fact that we have not made jobs for the lower middle class, creating high velocity money through - say - infrastructure repair, is entirely and 100% the fault of the Republican Party. Even the Trumpists know this in their hearts. They are not republicans anymore... bless their boiling confederate hearts.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/good-news-for-the-middle-class/2016/05/29/b485c9b6-242a-11e6-aa84-42391ba52c91_story.html

David Brin said...

onward

onward


Stephen Beres said...

I implied nothing about subjectivity. Facts are facts.
Conclusions drawn from Interpretation of Incomplete sets of Facts can & do vary.
I do not claim any monopoly of the facts. I make claims based upon a necessarily limited fact base, receive feedback which either strengthens or weakens my claim, increasing my fact base. I am never, nor ever claim to be right in most areas, especially outside my specialty. I am wrong to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the topic. But each iteration hopefully brings greater understanding. This blog is challenging for me because it leans far left of other sources I have been frequenting. When I say "agree to disagree" it means that there is not enough consensus (subjective or otherwise) to have a meaningful discussion. Debate would be futile given constraints of time & effort. I'd rather learn what I don't know than persuade what I do know.
When it comes to politics, too often I must choose the Least Worst candidate. And even then, there are policies or traits or actions that I would oppose. But a Choice must be made despite conflicting information & opinions. I am compelled to choose Trump because I Cannot Stand Clinton or Sanders the same way I Cannot Stand Obama now and for the past 8 years. Foreign policy, Domestic policy, Everything. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how an American President can possibly be so bad, and yet he continues to shock me when I thought it can't get worse.

Simplified, I'm supporting the most anti-Obama candidate.

Stephen Beres said...

I am an Engineer. My brother is a Geophysicist. My success as an Engineer depended on Solid Scientific Principles,Practices & Methods and Accurate Data.
(I was an EE & a Chemist prior)
I don't know how you came to the wrong conclusion that Engineering & Science are matters of opinion.
(Are you in Sales/Marketing,BTW?)

Stephen Beres said...

I would not rule out a Libertarian candidate, if there was one with a decent chance of winning. The entrenched Republican & Democratic Oligarchies would strongly oppose it.

Stephen Beres said...

LOL. Saw that. He didn't have to say a word. I Just Said NO.