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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mailvox: time-preferences and civilization

JC is is wondering at the intrinsically anti-scientific bent of the SFWA:
I'm a white, Christian, American male of slightly above average intelligence - but far from a super intelligence.  I've been ejoying your writings since the WND days.  Since you left them, and I was forced to discover and follow your Vox Popoli blog - my mind has been quite blown away by the content.  I eagerly digest (or attempt to follow) the economic posts, and love the cultural posts.  The science fiction generally doesn't interest me, but this latest uproar re: SWFA makes me sick.  I just wanted to drop a note of thanks and support.  Between you and Ann Barnhardt, I truly feel blessed to be able to see the examples you set in steadfastly standing for Truth.
Thank you.
Now for a question.  I may have missed it, but your "h8ers" seem to imply you've conferred a superior/inferior distinction to the various human sub-species.  I don't recall seeing anything of the sort, I thought you just noted that they are provably different.   I would personally assume that different groups should have nothing approaching "equality" for quite a number of characteristics, in general from a statistical perspective.  An overall ranking of "superior/inferior" doesn't seem like it would make any sense at all unless we are discussing specific characteristics.  For instance, a Jimmy the Greek foul in discussing fast twitch muscle fiber and athletic performance, or perhaps predisposition to certain hereditary medical conditions.  Or demonstrated contributions to advanced science.  
There's nothing in my mind that would necessarily judge one of God's children as better/worse from an overall intrinsic value sense simply by noting a particular subspecies (or intermingling thereof, such as with my mixed heritage children), but it's absurd to say we can't talk about relative comparisons of discrete characteristics.  I've wandered a bit here, but I assure you I'm no rabbit or troll.  I guess my question was about the conclusions drawn from the variations in subspecies:  you never made any claims that the homo sapiens sapiens are just dirty pieces of shit with no worth, as your critics seem to be claiming, right?  I don't know how you put up with these clowns without having their insanity rub off on you just a little bit.
I have repeatedly stated that it is absolutely meaningless to claim general superiority or inferiority for any of the various human subspecies, (or, if you prefer, genetically distinct population groups), because it completely depends upon the specific metric involved.  Is a Great Dane superior to a Siberian Husky?  Is a bluebird superior to an eagle?  It all depends upon what the basis for comparison is.

Now, the reason that the SFWA pinkshirts are upset is because if one chooses the metric of "civilized", by which I mean "the ability to participate in, maintain, and build a complex, technologically advanced civilization", one can both observe and explain which subspecies are more and less capable of it than others, and therefore it is possible to claim that Group X is superior to Group Y on that particular basis.  As it happens, that particular ability is largely predicated on time-preferences, as longer time-preferences are required in order to a) practice self-discipline, and, b) build wealth, which are two of the primary prerequisites for maintaining and building civilizations.

One can even go so far as to say that the civilizational process, which I observe appears to take around 1,000 years on average, is largely the result of artificially selecting for individuals with longer time-preferences.  If a society regularly gets rid of its short-preferenced, hot-tempered predators and its non-savers, it will eventually find that it has built up considerable wealth as well as a population capable of cooperating and living together in relative peace.  And with cooperation and wealth, a society has the wherewithal to begin advancing technologically so long as it has entrepreneurs and elects to foster them rather than crush them in the interest of established parties.

Having shorter time preferences doesn't make anyone "dirty pieces of shit with no worth", any more than being physically shorter does, it simply makes them human beings with the same intrinsic human value as everyone else who happen to be less able to participate in, maintain, or build an advanced civilization.  The pure savage lives entirely in the moment and does not control his impulses. The entirely civilized individual is self-disciplined and is always capable of putting off for tomorrow, or next year, options that are available today.  This may explain why Christianity tends to be a civilizing force, as it reinforces longer time preferences by extending them beyond one's lifetime, and why atheism, despite the higher-than-average intelligence of atheists, tends to be a barbarising force. Intelligence, while not entirely irrelevant, is somewhat of a red herring in this discussion.

The idea that there are meaningfully different time-preferences between genetically distinct population groups is a testable scientific hypothesis, although aside from some very small-scale studies on children, "the Stanford marshmallow experiment", I am not aware of any studies that have been done in this regard.  In order for it to be useful, I would recommend a study with randomly selected adults, (corrected for income and debt), who would be offered a choice between receiving $200 in cash immediately and a check for a randomly selected amount between $250 and $1,000 in a randomly determined period of time ranging from three months to one year.  A second study would then test the ranges of the time preferences of the various population groups based on the information from the first study, and a third would test children to see if the range of their time preferences were consistent with the adult ranges.

Perhaps the hypothesis that pure homo sapiens sapiens have shorter time preferences than the various homo sapiens-homo neanderthalensis blends would hold up, or perhaps not.  But that is the primary purpose of science, to formulate and test hypotheses.  It is, I think, more than a little ironic that so many self-professed "science fiction" writers are not only horrified by a scientific perspective, but are openly and avowedly anti-science whenever science threatens to upend their cherished ideological beliefs.

Anyhow, it is because the entire concept of a racial supremacist is intrinsically nonsensical that I occasionally describe myself as an "Esquimaux supremacist".  Having grown up in Minnesota, and having lived through more than a few bitterly cold Minnesota winters, I have a particular appreciation for the obvious and undeniable superiority of that noble people of the north.

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208 Comments:

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Blogger Nate June 19, 2013 9:10 AM  

" In order for it to be useful, I would recommend a study with randomly selected adults, who would be offered a choice between receiving $200 in cash immediately and a check for a randomly selected amount between $250 and $1,000 in a randomly determined period of time ranging from three months to one year. "

Well I mean obviously I want the 250 bucks now... I mean..

1) Team Hyper Inflation. FTW.

2) Given your history... its reasonable to conclude you won't even remember you wrote this 12 months from now and will forget all about the grand you owe me.

Blogger Michael June 19, 2013 9:11 AM  

Gotta say ... good answer, VD.

Anonymous DrTorch June 19, 2013 9:14 AM  

why atheism, despite the higher-than-average intelligence of atheists,

I thought it had been demonstrated here that atheists, when considering those outside of academia, had a lower-than-average intelligence.

Oh, and it's science fiction writers you're talking about. By definition they side toward fiction. Asimov, Travis S. Taylor, there are only a few who try to keep their speculative fiction within the boundaries of scientific fact.

Anonymous VD June 19, 2013 9:17 AM  

I thought it had been demonstrated here that atheists, when considering those outside of academia, had a lower-than-average intelligence.

Atheists are disproportional at both ends of the bell curve. I think you're thinking of when I showed that there are far more high-IQ theists than atheists, although there are a disproportionate percentage of high-IQ atheists.

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 9:21 AM  

The idea that there are meaningfully different time-preferences between genetically distinct population groups is a testable scientific hypothesis, although aside from some very small-scale studies on children, "the Stanford marshmallow experiment", I am not aware of any studies that have been done in this regard. In order for it to be useful, I would recommend a study with randomly selected adults, (corrected for income and debt), who would be offered a choice between receiving $200 in cash immediately and a check for a randomly selected amount between $250 and $1,000 in a randomly determined period of time ranging from three months to one year. A second study would then test the ranges of the time preferences of the various population groups based on the information from the first study, and a third would test children to see if the range of their time preferences were consistent with the adult ranges.

I like the idea but I don't know that it's designed right. There are many civilized people who will not be able to get past their "not free lunch" filter to accept free money in the future. You may have to disguise it as an investment.

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 9:23 AM  

Also, I suspect you will find a huge correlation between class/income levels. In most venues it would be the story not any sub-group correlation. Poor people have bad time preferences.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 9:29 AM  

Poor people have bad time preferences

It's a feedback loop. People with bad time preferences become or remain poor, which then reinforces their bad time preferences (if you don't have anything, you're much more likely to take something right now than to wait).

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 9:34 AM  

t's a feedback loop. People with bad time preferences become or remain poor, which then reinforces their bad time preferences (if you don't have anything, you're much more likely to take something right now than to wait).

Agreed - it's sort of hard to blame them. There is no promise for them that tomorrow will be better than today. $200 today or $1000 in a year. IN a year you might be in jail, you might be unemployed, you might be dead. You might be living with your mom.

Anonymous DrTorch June 19, 2013 9:37 AM  

Atheists are disproportional at both ends of the bell curve. I think you're thinking of when I showed that there are far more high-IQ theists than atheists, although there are a disproportionate percentage of high-IQ atheists.

Yes, that's probably it.

Blogger El Borak June 19, 2013 9:38 AM  

Josh: People with bad time preferences become or remain poor...

Precisely, but try to explain to an equalitarian the readily observable fact that people grow rich because over their lives they do the kinds of things that make one rich, while the poor become poorer* because they do the sort of things that make one poor. Obviously a person who treats the poor as adults responsible for their own place in life hates the poor.

* relative to the rich, obviously. The US has the richest poor people the world has ever seen. In any other place and time, a morbidly obese man who did not work, had any food he chose presented to him pre-cooked by uniformed servants, and had his choice of live sport-or-sex 24-hour entertainment, that man was known as "king."

Blogger Michael June 19, 2013 9:39 AM  

@dh "Also, I suspect you will find a huge correlation between class/income levels. In most venues it would be the story not any sub-group correlation. Poor people have bad time preferences."

dh, I suspect you're over-analyzing. Does a typical bottom third American have an identical time preference to a typical bottom third PNGer? Time preference is analog, not digital. Any improvement in time pref provides benefit.

Anonymous wcu June 19, 2013 9:40 AM  

Self control is a key tenant in our Christian faith...we don't just put off our childish, "I want it now" meme for this lifetime only, we do it with a mind of a future reward...of pleasing our Father...our future reward is unthinkably awesome, now is the time for the hard work: tilling and plowing, fertilizing, watering and weeding...

Anonymous Jonathan June 19, 2013 9:44 AM  

@ VD

I have been saying this exact same thing for over a decade, but, then, I'm a relativist.

You do understand, do yu not, that your entire answer is 100% relativism, right?

Blogger Nate June 19, 2013 9:45 AM  

" Poor people have bad time preferences."

The trouble is... how do you control for it? You run into a chicken vs egg deal. Is it the poverty that makes them have short time preferences or is it the short time preference that keeps them in poverty?

You can test the race aspect pretty easy. Just find a bunch of poor white people and a bunch of poor black people and see if the time preferences are different.

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 9:47 AM  

The trouble is... how do you control for it? You run into a chicken vs egg deal. Is it the poverty that makes them have short time preferences or is it the short time preference that keeps them in poverty?

I can't think of a way, but then again, I am Not A Credential And Accepted Member Of The Scientage Community.

I think the class correlation would be so strong it might obscure any genetic correlation.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 9:56 AM  

The trouble is... how do you control for it? You run into a chicken vs egg deal. Is it the poverty that makes them have short time preferences or is it the short time preference that keeps them in poverty?

Like I said, there's a feedback loop where poverty reinforces the short time presences which then reinforces the poverty. So it's both, but I suspect that it starts with the time preferences.

Anonymous Luke June 19, 2013 10:10 AM  

The subject of varying POVs WRT time was addressed adroitly in a chapter of Edward Banfield's book "The Unheavenly City Revisited". It defines groups, or social classes (4 of) specifically by how their members view time. The upper class views time in terms of multiple generations. Contrast that with how there are many millions of people in America today whose time horizons literally are so short-term that they don't see the logic in laboring today for a paycheck they won't receive for 2-3 weeks.

No wonder their lives end up so different, aside from IQ (no small amount of positive correlation IMO, if hardly 1.0)

Anonymous Daniel June 19, 2013 10:13 AM  

You do understand, do yu not, that your entire answer is 100% relativism, right?

Interesting. "100% relativism" is, mathematically, an absolute concept.

Anonymous wcu June 19, 2013 10:13 AM  

So much of our culture is wanting...no. Demanding it NOW. There is so little afterthought to putting off now for getting something better down the road in the people I deal with. People with small attention spans, giant egos and ferocious appetites for quick easy pleasures is the road to hell.

Blogger The Deuce June 19, 2013 10:15 AM  

Christians understand that all humans have a fundamental worth that it too great to quantify, on the basis of being made in God's Image and being valued by God, regardless of athletic ability, intelligence, time preferences, or what have you.

I think the reason Leftists like the SFWA get so bent out of shape about this stuff is that as materialists, they lack any such basis for essential human dignity. To them, humans are just the sum of their material attributes and desires (their intelligence especially), and nothing more. Hence, in order for them to maintain the belief in the basic value of all humans, they have to hold to the dogma that all humans are identical in every material or empirically observable manner.

This especially applies to level of intelligence, which Leftists use as a metric of human worth more than anything else. For them, it's the only physically observable trait that makes a human worth more than an animal. Consider that they justify the mass extermination of human fetuses on the basis that they have not developed a sufficiently high level of intelligence, and are therefore (according to the Leftist) sub-human and worthless, fit to be discarded as trash on the whims of human adults.

Thus, for a leftist, to suggest that someone (or some group) has less intelligence than another is to suggest that they are sub-human, fit for subjugation and abuse by other humans. That's why they freak out at mere mention of the possibility. What's actually causing their anger is being faced with the horrible implications of their own perverse beliefs.

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 10:19 AM  

> I think the class correlation would be so strong it might obscure any genetic correlation.

It might, but there is the matter that black poverty is largely an urban problem while white poverty is largely a rural one. That probably makes a significant difference.

Anonymous Mike M. June 19, 2013 10:22 AM  

This discussion reminds me of an observation Peter Capstick, a writer/professional hunter in Africa, had.

He noted that sub-Saharan Africans often had terribly short timeframes, but were fluent in 3-5 languages. Including at least one Western tongue, frequently two.

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 10:24 AM  

That rural/urban divide is in the US, of course. It's probably not true elsewhere.

Blogger The Deuce June 19, 2013 10:25 AM  

VD:

Atheists are disproportional at both ends of the bell curve. I think you're thinking of when I showed that there are far more high-IQ theists than atheists, although there are a disproportionate percentage of high-IQ atheists.

I was under the impression that the measurements finding that atheists have a higher than average IQ were based on self-identified atheists (ie, mostly those you would call "high church" atheists) rather than the masses of godless in general.

For my part, I'd expect self-identified atheists to have above-average IQs for the same reason I'd expect Marxists to have above-average IQs. Sure, Marxism is incoherent gobbledy-gook, but in order to subscribe to a particular economic system in the first place, you have to be someone who ponders abstract matters at least a bit more than the average person. And to self-identify as an atheist, you have to be a person who spent at least some amount of time thinking about the ultimate meaning of reality instead of simply going with the cultural default.

Anonymous Daniel June 19, 2013 10:26 AM  

Eskimox Day: follow the Latin into the Lovecraft at the cost of your sanity.*

*As determined by those compassionate hearts looking out for your best interests at the SFWA Armchair Psychiatry Division of Reconciliation.

Anonymous Stickwick June 19, 2013 10:32 AM  

My father worked with American Indian kids when he was in grad school, and he observed that of all the different groups he'd ever worked with, this was the one that most lived in the present. He said there was literally no concept of the future for them; he found it next to impossible to make progress with them, because he could not get them to make plans even for the next day. It's no coincidence that American Indians are the most troubled people in America. Indian reservations are where you'll find the worst poverty, the worst crime rates, the highest rate of substance abuse, the shortest lifespans, and the highest suicide rates.

Despite our modern sense of time, this 'eternal now' mode of thinking actually seems to be the default setting for humans. We are so used to the concept of linear, abstract time in the West that it's difficult to appreciate that primitive pre-Christian cultures didn't have a notion of time in the abstract sense. For instance, Australian aborigines didn't even have a word for time in the abstract sense. For them, the passage of time was concretely linked to events in their lives -- the past, present, and future formed an indistinguishable whole as the great cycles in nature determined everything. Why make plans when you're just part of the great symphony of cycles?

It's difficult to know what the causative agent is here, as it looks like a chicken-and-egg thing. Are short-term people they way they are, because their culture imbued them with the indistinguishability of past-present-future or is their culture a reflection of a biological predilection for short-term thinking? (This would make a very good topic for a dissertation.) I think a strong case can be made for the former. It's quite reasonable, on the basis of observation, to believe that there are only cycles upon cycles in the world. The only group of people to my knowledge who broke out of the natural cyclical-time worldview were Christians. I think it was Augustine who first figured out that time is linear on the basis of unrepeatable events in the Bible*. After several centuries of Christian thought percolating in the West, we get the Industrial Revolution and the explosion of wealth and progress, thanks largely to Christian puritans who were the ultimate two-marshmallow people.

[* Interesting to note that as science and scientists become more divorced from Christianity, the preference for cycles in cosmology is returning. I don't think it's a coincidence.]

Anonymous Mark Call June 19, 2013 10:34 AM  

"I would recommend a study with randomly selected adults, (corrected for income and debt), who would be offered a choice between receiving $200 in cash immediately and a check for a randomly selected amount between $250 and $1,000 in a randomly determined period of time ranging from three months to one year."

I was all set to point out that I have a pretty long time-horizon, but that this test wouldn't cut it, because the "time horizon" for the dollar is the problem.

But then I see that Nate 'pert-much' already wrote it...

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 10:35 AM  

He noted that sub-Saharan Africans often had terribly short timeframes, but were fluent in 3-5 languages. Including at least one Western tongue, frequently two.

I know an African pastor who ministers in Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe who is fluent in 18 languages.

Blogger IM2L844 June 19, 2013 10:38 AM  

You do understand, do yu not, that your entire answer is 100% relativism, right?

Jonathan, do you think you have discovered some kind of a "gotcha" moment?

Some things are obviously relative and some things are not. There are areas where relativism is perfectly applicable and other areas where it becomes logically incoherent.

It's the forced all-or-nothing, there are absolutely no absolutes variety of relativism that is internally inconsistent and hopelessly untenable.

Anonymous Daniel June 19, 2013 10:42 AM  

On the other hand, Calvinism itself is a form of short time-preference Christianity, so there are certainly countermovements even within long time-preference Christianity that tend to support the hypothesis that short time-preference is, as Stickwick suggests, the default setting. Even when given access to the eternal time-scale, the human tendency is to trade it for the present.

After all, why be so swift to burn Servetus if man is dynamic and can be a change agent, not simply an actor in God's unchanging play?

Anonymous Noah B. June 19, 2013 10:44 AM  

Such an experiment already exists and has been conducted for years: state lotteries.

It is widely publicized that the expected payout is less than the required buy-in. There is no skill involved in winning, only pure chance, and the vast majority of the time, buying a ticket causes the purchaser to lose wealth.

All they would have to do is collect basic demographic data with each ticket sale.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 10:50 AM  

The study’s findings include:“With regard to lottery play for respondents of various racial/ethnic groups, non-Hispanic whites and Native Americans had the highest proportion of gambling on the lottery (51% for each group); however, with regard to mean levels of gambling on the lottery, blacks and Native Americans had the highest averages (20.6 and 25 days, respectively).”

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/gender-race/research-review-lotteries-demographics

Anonymous Will Best June 19, 2013 10:50 AM  

The problem with all those studies is controlling for nurture vs. nature. You would almost need to target children raised by the same parents but different races or figure out how to run the experiment on infants.

Anonymous Noah B. June 19, 2013 10:51 AM  

Granted, willingness to participate in the lottery isn't a test of time preferences, but it is a test of willingness to make tangible sacrifices in exchange for fleeting self-gratification, which may be the more important underlying variable affecting an individual's civilization-building propensity.

Anonymous Northern Observer June 19, 2013 11:02 AM  

I suspect that a thorough study would show some requirement for a balance with certain level of tolerance for risk. Exploration, entrepreneurship and even expansion is handicapped without people willing to gamble on their futures. A balance leaning to far one way would result in barbarism and too far the other way would be stagnation. It could even be that civilizations will typically breed out the risk takers and become stagnant over a predictable time frame.

Anonymous Auntiewhyte Jemisin June 19, 2013 11:02 AM  

The SFWA "racers" completely agree with VD, they simply vote with their feet and crave "non-white" fiction with their mouths, because they all live in whiter-than-white areas.

So while SFWA member Carrie Cuinn wants to read more "non-white" authors, believe me, that concept doesn't extend beyond the safety and order of white neighborhoods. While SFWA members Amal El-Mohtar and Saladin Ahmed pimp the wonder of all things Arabic in fiction over "whiteness," in fact an Arabic country is the last place they'll ever actually live in. Nalo Hopkinson will never live in the Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica she grew up in, precisely because she grew up there. She's no fool, and realizes it's safer just to pimp black SF&F.

What difference does it make if they never say it out loud or don't have specific theories as to why they lives with whites - they have eyes and see the same things everyone else does.

In other words, they think it's racist that VD says a society of Jemisins is not really a society, but Cuinn, Hopkinson, Ahmed and El-Mohtar clearly would never actually live in a society of Jemisins. That makes those 3 racist as well, since they go non-white slumming without ever actually dipping their feet fully into the non-white pool; nor will they ever.

On the day Carrie Cuinn say she's just moved to a non-white neighborhood, then at least she'll have some credibility that goes beyond the safety of a book. Let El-Mohtar and Ahmed announce they've just moved permanently to Egypt and I'll start to listen. Have Hopkinson send me a photo of her new home in Trinidad. Never happen. That scenario stretches the boundaries of even a science fiction novel.

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 11:03 AM  

There is no skill involved in winning, only pure chance, and the vast majority of the time, buying a ticket causes the purchaser to lose wealth.

Close, but even for a very poor person, the percentage of wealth lost is very small given the large chance at a big win. Playing a $2 a week in Powerball gives you non-zero odds at becoming extremely wealthy, while, even if you are at poverty level minimum wage, costing you less than 0.5% of your yearly income. We all know that every jackass on Wall Street would take that bet, everyday.

That's why I think VD's dollar amounts are closer to the mark. It may need to be adjusted for income.

Blogger Eric Wilson June 19, 2013 11:06 AM  

I too have long time prefereences. But I would probably take the cash on the spot because of cynicism. I mean who gives free money away? And if you're giving some to me today vs. "giving" some to me via check in a bit, I might wonder if it were some kind of test to see how many people were stupid enough to not take the money when they had the chance. Kinda like the woman in the levels of a department store analogy that I think I read about over at AG.

Which then now makes me wonder if men or women would be more prone to tale the cash in you're hypothetical scientific study.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 11:07 AM  

Close, but even for a very poor person, the percentage of wealth lost is very small given the large chance at a big win.

That large chance is one in several hundred million.

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 11:07 AM  

Reading the Marshmellow study. It is pretty interesting.

http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=1972-20631-001

Apparently they have done follow-up studies to track those people all through mid-life. Will try to read them as well.

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 11:08 AM  

That large chance is one in several hundred million.

Sorry, that was an awkward English slip. I think a long chance would have been more appropriate.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 11:09 AM  

Actually a better study might be 200 now, 300 in three months, and 1000 in a year.

Blogger Eric Wilson June 19, 2013 11:09 AM  

Take.

Anonymous VD June 19, 2013 11:09 AM  

You do understand, do yu not, that your entire answer is 100% relativism, right?

Yes, I do. I'm curious to know what sort of fixed and absolute metric of civilization you believe would be an alternative. The fact that civilization is relative does not mean morality is.

Blogger Eric Wilson June 19, 2013 11:12 AM  

Stickwick,

Maybe that's why Indians have such a problem with alcohol. They could never wait long enough for fermentation, so it never developed, giving them a chance to acclimate to its effects.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 11:13 AM  

Apparently the average amount spent on the lottery is $25 a week. If that money is just saved under the mattress, or in silver, this is the result:
In 5 years:     $6,500
In 10 years:   $13,000
In 15 years:   $19,500
In 20 years:   $26,000
In 30 years:   $39,000

Now, it's not making anyone rich, and is someone in extreme poverty likely to live for thirty years? What about five?

Having that kind of emergency fund would completely change the world of anyone living in poverty. If used wisely.

Blogger The Deuce June 19, 2013 11:15 AM  

Daniel:

On the other hand, Calvinism itself is a form of short time-preference Christianity

Er, are you aware of what the theology of the "ultimate two-marshmallow" Puritans Stickwick referenced was?

Anonymous Joe Doakes June 19, 2013 11:16 AM  

I'd take the cash now and spend it on whiskey, bullets, SPAM and toilet paper because, what Nate said.

My neighbor would take the cash and spend it on 20-inch chrome wheels for his Buick Electra because he's already got subwoofers in the trunk.

I guess we both fail the test.
.

Anonymous mike June 19, 2013 11:16 AM  

The problem with the relativistic answer is that niggers are subhuman in every way that matters. That's essentially what your PC interlocutors are telling you. You're saying niggers are good at A,B,C and humans are good at X,Y,Z. They're saying that if that's true then you're saying niggers are subhuman, because A,B,C are silly and trivial while X,Y,Z are essential and important.

Anonymous E. PERLINE June 19, 2013 11:19 AM  

The Reptilian (or emotional) Brain has a memory that forms in childhood and can't differentiate between what is or what is not recent.

That's why school teachers are frustrated. The hardest thing to overcome is culture that was established in the pre-school family.

Anonymous clk June 19, 2013 11:20 AM  

VD says "I think you're thinking of when I showed that there are far more high-IQ theists than atheists, although there are a disproportionate percentage of high-IQ atheists."

That's an interesting statement although a bit confusing - if I understand correctly you are saying that there are more believers than non believers but as a percentage of the total in each group the non believers tend to have higher IQs ...

Is that what you are saying ?...

Anonymous Noah B. June 19, 2013 11:22 AM  

"Playing a $2 a week in Powerball gives you non-zero odds at becoming extremely wealthy, while, even if you are at poverty level minimum wage, costing you less than 0.5% of your yearly income."

The expected outcome, known to lottery participants in advance, is that they will lose money. A shrewd gambler does everything he can to ensure an expected positive return on his investment. If he can't do that, he doesn't play that game.

Naturally, Wall Street types will take enormous risks too -- even risks comparable to playing the lottery -- but there's a critical distinction. If they lose, it was someone else's money they lost. If they win, they tell everyone else how brilliant they are and pay themselves huge bonuses. They may be greedy and amoral, but they're not completely stupid.

Blogger tz June 19, 2013 11:24 AM  

In order for it to be useful, I would recommend a study with randomly selected adults, who would be offered a choice between receiving $200 in cash immediately and a check for a randomly selected amount between $250 and $1,000 in a randomly determined period of time ranging from three months to one year.

Will the cheque be drawn against an account at AIG, Lehman Brothers, GM Bondholders...?

I think you hit on the important point, but the question is how good is the promise of whatever larger amount later?

Try the experiment on kids where they run out of marshmallows or candy after giving what they had to those that wanted it immediately. Then see what happens the next time.

There is both TIME preference and RISK preference. RISK today is the more important point. Most are dishonest, not directly or strictly, but depend on others keeping their promises in a daisy chain to keep the promises they make.

You first need to have the risk preference reduced to well before the noise threshold to see it.

Perhaps 2 $100 bills now or a randomly post-dated cheque drawn directly on the US Treasury. Or perhaps this would be a good place to think about adding timers to bitcoin crypto. A problem of known difficulty that will take 3-12 months to solve that would release the funds.


Anonymous VD June 19, 2013 11:27 AM  

That's essentially what your PC interlocutors are telling you. You're saying niggers are good at A,B,C and humans are good at X,Y,Z. They're saying that if that's true then you're saying niggers are subhuman, because A,B,C are silly and trivial while X,Y,Z are essential and important.

That perspective is false because humanity does not depend upon A,B,C,X,Y, or Z. There are no subhumans, there are only humans presently capable of attaining and maintaining different degrees of civilization.

Anonymous Athor Pel June 19, 2013 11:27 AM  

This talk of time reminds me of Nate's dragon slaying post. His surprise at his friend's inability to see beyond present personal circumstance is an excellent example of innate time preference as much as it is an example of what Nate was talking about.


That example resonated with me because I was in my 20's before I had a totally conscious concept of constant progress (through willful effort) toward a goal that would only exist in the future for some time to come. Like practicing free throws every day in order to get as close to 100% as possible.

In my childhood and teens I understood it in a semi-conscious way but I didn't fully understand it at a gut level to the point that I knew I could apply to practically any area of life. I knew that practice and patience could help but I didn't fully appreciate just how much.

I don't think I can even relate to an adult that completely lacks the ability to plan for the future. That children can lack long time preference because they don't know the option even exists, or lack the faith in it, is one thing but to be an adult and have literally millions of personal examples of long time preference but still choose short is quite another. I would be forced to treat that adult as a child.

Anonymous Northern Observer June 19, 2013 11:29 AM  

Stickwick: After several centuries of Christian thought percolating in the West, we get the Industrial Revolution and the explosion of wealth and progress, thanks largely to Christian puritans who were the ultimate two-marshmallow people.

But would there have been such an explosion without the Scotch-Irish risk takers?

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 11:32 AM  

But would there have been such an explosion without the Scotch-Irish risk takers?

Per capita, the Scots have to be on par with the Jews when it comes to historically important people.

Anonymous Noah B. June 19, 2013 11:33 AM  

Still, the vast majority of the leftist leadership, who are the ones primarily responsible for dismantling Western Civilization, are white.

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 11:35 AM  

> That large chance is one in several hundred million.

Not quite. Wikipedia says the current MegaMillions odds are 1 in 175,711,536. The Powerball odds are apparently comparable. They due to go up in October though.

But, as dh points out, at $1 or $2, if you're in life changing event territory, it's probably worth wasting it on the chance. As long as you realize you're throwing the money away and aren't actually going to win, it's probably better for you than buying a Big Gulp.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 11:39 AM  

But, as dh points out, at $1 or $2, if you're in life changing event territory, it's probably worth wasting it on the chance.

No, it isn't. Saving that money would allow someone in poverty to eventually build their own safety net. Capital formation uber alles.

Anonymous HardReturn¶ June 19, 2013 11:43 AM  

I don't remember in RGD whether VD addressed influence of fiat money and inflation to shorten time-preferences on a large scale across generations. Seems like if punishing savers or stealing or diluting their savings goes on long enough even a savings-oriented people would shorten time-preferences and result could be decivilizing.

Blogger IM2L844 June 19, 2013 11:43 AM  

Playing a $2 a week in Powerball gives you non-zero odds at becoming extremely wealthy...

dh, I'm interested to know if you think this is a reasonable chance for anyone to take and if you ever play?

Anonymous bob k. mando June 19, 2013 11:44 AM  

The Deuce June 19, 2013 10:15 AM
That's why they freak out at mere mention of the possibility. What's actually causing their anger is being faced with the horrible implications of their own perverse beliefs.





this is a good point. also, an old one. but it never hurts to repeat it.

the simple fact is that if you stipulate to materialist atheism with Darwinian Evolution AND ADHERE SCRUPULOUSLY TO THE LOGIC ... racialist ideas are not merely inevitable ... they are correct.

you can quibble about which racial grouping is the 'best' ( Chinese, Jewish, Aryan, African ... about the only group i can think of that doesn't seem to have any area in which they 'excel' might be Australian Aboriginals ) for various endeavors and you can argue about what solution ( if any ) should be implemented for those with 'undesirable' traits ( did you know that one of Hitler's first programs was euthanasia for defective *Aryan* children? ) but the ugly, incontrovertible fact remains ...

IF humans are nothing but baroquely intelligent animals
THEN humans are every bit as susceptible to 'breeding for traits' as any other stock yard / domesticated / even wild animal.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/03/taming-wild-animals/ratliff-text

does anyone seriously debate that Border Collies, Chihuahuas, Silver Foxes and Great Danes don't have significant differences in temperament, physiology and capabilities?

no? then why debate that such concepts apply to men? are men not Devo?
yes? then why does the AKC exist and why does anyone bother to try breeding dogs for 'traits'? why demonize pit bulls as 'killer dogs' while accepting other breeds?

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 11:46 AM  

> Saving that money would allow someone in poverty to eventually build their own safety net.

Josh, we're talking one ticket whenever the jackpot gets over $100 million or so. That's probably a maximum of $25 or so a year that the person had already planned to spend anyway. That's not going to build a saftey net.

We're not talking about buying a 100 tickets every week, regardless of the jackpot amount.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 11:47 AM  

I don't remember in RGD whether VD addressed influence of fiat money and inflation to shorten time-preferences on a large scale across generations. Seems like if punishing savers or stealing or diluting their savings goes on long enough even a savings-oriented people would shorten time-preferences and result could be decivilizing.

This is a very good point. People respond to incentives, inflation incentivizes them to spend now, or, even worse, to borrow.

Anonymous Daniel June 19, 2013 11:47 AM  

Forget the lottery losers. Look at the lottery winners who can't hang on to the "life-changing" income.

For most players who win, the lottery doesn't make you wealthy.

It only makes you rich.

Blogger tz June 19, 2013 11:48 AM  

Lotteries and most forms of gambling are asymmetric. The loss is barely noticeable - i.e. no pain, but the gain is really significant.

The middle class does the same thing but calls it investing in their house or the stock market via their 401k - can they name the CEOs of their top investments? The earnings yield? They might well do better with the lottery.

Actually working at a place that sells instant tickets allows one to tilt the odds - after a long streak of losers, statistically there should be winners in the remainder - it is random but like the Monty hall paradox - if someone has proven the first half of the strip has no winners, and there are on average 10 winners, the probably is now doubled - not certain but more probable.

Culture and society more than genetics can determine time preferences. If I'm a Viking, why go the long way when I can just sail a bit and grab the collected wealth of someone else? It is easier to sack Rome or Constantinople than to build a civilization - or a Cathedral. This might be a Minsky moment - Long time preferences create pockets of wealth that become a target of those with short time preferences. Usually the form of theft known as taxation. Or things like the social security "trust" fund.

A lot of libertarian economic thought is simply designed so that people will reap the rewards or suffer the consequences of their own time preferences. Because when the accumulation gets raided, the time preferences race to become shorter.

Anonymous VD June 19, 2013 11:49 AM  

Still, the vast majority of the leftist leadership, who are the ones primarily responsible for dismantling Western Civilization, are white.

They may have other long-term plans than you....

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 11:50 AM  

Josh, we're talking one ticket whenever the jackpot gets over $100 million or so. That's probably a maximum of $25 or so a year that the person had already planned to spend anyway. That's not going to build a saftey net.

The average player apparently spends $25 a week on playing the lottery. That's $1300 a year. That's a pretty significant amount to someone at the extreme bottom.

Anonymous bob k. mando June 19, 2013 11:53 AM  

Josh June 19, 2013 11:39 AM
No, it isn't. Saving that money would allow someone in poverty to eventually build their own safety net. Capital formation uber alles.




you're forgetting that 'capital formation', at least through the method of incremental saving, only works when you are using 'sound money'. that is to say, money which maintains it's purchasing power.

when it is A MATTER OF MONETARY POLICY to destroy the value of money at a rate of ~3% every year, without end, and you are only capable of saving ~$50 per year ... you may as well use it as toilet paper. the value of the money is being destroyed faster than the rate of appreciation that you can find in any reasonably secure investment vehicle.

this is one of the ugly secrets of the 70s, money value was being destroyed so quickly and interest rates were so low that it was foolish to NOT indebt yourself.

to sum up, Federal Reserve policy actively punishes people with longer time preferences.

Anonymous Noah B. June 19, 2013 11:56 AM  

"Lotteries and most forms of gambling are asymmetric. The loss is barely noticeable - i.e. no pain, but the gain is really significant."

That's certainly the perception that state lottery commissions attempt to create. However, $6,500 over 5 years is significant for someone living in poverty.

"...after a long streak of losers, statistically there should be winners in the remainder..."

If the likelihood that any particular ticket is a winner is truly a random variable, then this presumption is false. However, the state may try to keep a certain number of winners in each roll of tickets, in which case your assumption would be correct.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 11:58 AM  

"Now, the reason that the SFWA pinkshirts are upset is because if one chooses the metric of "civilized", by which I mean "the ability to participate in, maintain, and build a complex, technologically advanced civilization", one can both observe and explain which subspecies are more and less capable of it than others, and therefore it is possible to claim that Group X is superior to Group Y on that particular basis."

Vox, you know why the upset people at SFWA are upset. This isn't it.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 12:00 PM  

Vox, you know why the upset people at SFWA are upset. This isn't it.

Why do you care so much about other people not offending other people?

Blogger Brad Andrews June 19, 2013 12:00 PM  

I would definitely agree that an eternal now preference is due to sin.

Pro 9:17 NKJV - "Stolen water is sweet, And bread [eaten] in secret is pleasant."
Pro 9:18 NKJV - But he does not know that the dead [are] there, [That] her guests [are] in the depths of hell.

Not the reference I was thinking of, but few of us would pursue anything sinful if we had the actual long term consequences in mind.

Look at how even Solomon corrupted himself with a short term preference. He still had great wealth, but left a mess in his wake. (The Kingdom split under his son, etc. The delay in the split also seems to be the grace of God rather than something of Solomon's own doing.)

====

Those on reservations Stickwick notes were likely caught in the "someone gives me everything" trap that pushes us back to focus on the now.

====

I used to believe in nature vs. nurture, but after watching all 4 of our children return to the lifestyle of their birth family (fairly destructive) instead of the middle class structure we raised them in has made me believe in some strong genetic component. Nurture takes a lot more than a single childhood.

Blogger IM2L844 June 19, 2013 12:01 PM  

Still, the vast majority of the leftist leadership, who are the ones primarily responsible for dismantling Western Civilization, are white.

Can a corollary be drawn between the rapidly increasing diversification of the leadership and the observable acceleration of the dismantling?

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 12:02 PM  

"Why do you care so much about other people not offending other people?"

Because I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly offend someone.

Blogger Travis Kurtz June 19, 2013 12:02 PM  

The one statistic that I consistently bring up when addressing home schooling is the fact that SES and race play no role in terms of standardized test scores. It has been empirically shown that minorities and white, when home schooled, equally scored in the 87th percentile and in math whites scored 82nd percentile, while minorities scored in the 77th percentile.
-http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp

I know Vox mentioned above that intelligence can be a red-herring; however if homeschooling can clearly increase test scores for minorities than couldn't other factors greatly increase their social behaviors and ability to exhibit behaviors best suited to build a civilization?

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 12:04 PM  

Because I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly offend someone.

Jesus offended people.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 12:05 PM  

Agreed, but not needlessly or carelessly.

Blogger Brad Andrews June 19, 2013 12:06 PM  

> Because I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly offend someone.

It is impossible to not do that today, just by breathing. That is the problem with getting used to and worshiping a police state, you think living in perpetual sin is a good and tolerable thing.

Evil ceases to be bad when we are all continually stuck in it I suppose....

Blogger WATYF June 19, 2013 12:08 PM  

Such a study would obviously never happen, as it would instantly be declared "RACISS!!" before the ink on the abstract had even dried.

WATYF

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 12:08 PM  

"It is impossible to not do that today, just by breathing."

Okay, I'll change my statement:
I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offend someone

Anonymous Jack Amok June 19, 2013 12:08 PM  

Stickwick, you have to be careful generalizing about Amerindians because the Reservation system provides a strong self-selection filter. A Reservation Indian is someone who choose a small and predictable life over one with greater potential. The children on a reservation are the children of people who have willfully shunned opportunity. If your father was working with children on a reservation, he was working with voluntary welfare recipients. It shouldn't be surprising to find what he did.

The, shall we say "more civilized", Amerindians flee the Reservation as quickly as they can, and do everything possible to avoid raising their children there.

Anonymous Stickwick June 19, 2013 12:10 PM  

Er, are you aware of what the theology of the "ultimate two-marshmallow" Puritans Stickwick referenced was?

Yeah, heh. Weber explained that Calvinists viewed self-confidence and worldly success as evidence of their faith and salvation, so they were quite motivated to work hard and to be prudent in business.

But would there have been such an explosion without the Scotch-Irish risk takers?

I don't know what role that played. I do know that the immense build-up of wealth in England could not have happened in the absence of Puritan values. Puritans came up with the notion that "time is money," and they believed that working was virtually a sacrament to God. Even the most mundane sort of work, and living modestly, were held as religious virtues. As Weber explains, you can have non-Puritan individuals who capable of these things without believing it has anything to do with God, and are thus capable of participating in and even building up civilization, but it could not have happened outside of the context of a Puritan Christian religious movement.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 12:11 PM  

I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offend someone

1) Jesus called people used menstrual rags and vipers. He also used cannibalism as a metaphor. Did he intend to offend.his audience?

2) who judges what is needless and careless?

3) what about those people who offended by reality?

Anonymous Northern Observer June 19, 2013 12:12 PM  

jamsco: "Because I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly offend someone."

Based on what? Does it need to be needless and careless? What qualifies as needless or careless? Are there degrees for either?

What if you purposely offend someone to make a point? That would be neither careless (purposely) nor needless (making a point). Would that still be a sin?

What if you say something that is highly offensive to someone, but it's mostly due to them being overly sensitive and having very different ideas about what is offensive? Still a sin?

What if what you say is completely truthful, and important, but they still get offended? What if what you said wasn't directed to them, but they stumbled across it on the internet and were highly offended? Would that still be a sin?

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 12:13 PM  

The, shall we say "more civilized", Amerindians flee the Reservation as quickly as they can, and do everything possible to avoid raising their children there.

Also they build casinos.

Anonymous bob k. mando June 19, 2013 12:15 PM  

jamsco June 19, 2013 12:08 PM
I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offend someone



now you're contradicting yourself. it's either careless or it's intentional, make up your mind.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/careless
1.not paying enough attention to what one does: a careless typist.
2.not exact, accurate, or thorough: careless work.
3.done or said heedlessly or negligently;

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/+intentionally?s=t&ld=1136
1.done with intention or on purpose; intended: an intentional insult.
2.of or pertaining to intention or purpose.



if you're having difficulty making up your mind i'll simply quote Vox to you:
"Moar Titz"

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 12:15 PM  

> dh, I'm interested to know if you think this is a reasonable chance for anyone to take and if you ever play?

Now, that's a good question. And the math is fairly simple if hard to get exact figures on.

Simply put, the expected payout has to exceed the odds for the gamble to be worthwhile.

The problem with a lottery is that the odds are so high you'll probably never actually win in your lifetime, but that doesn't change the math.

The odds against winning are, as noted above slightly over $175M to 1. So for a $1 ticket,

Anonymous Noah B. June 19, 2013 12:18 PM  

"I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offend someone"

The need to offend these people is urgent. The sooner that bad ideas die, the better off we all are.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 19, 2013 12:20 PM  

Also they build casinos.

Ha, no they don't. Las Vegas gambling orgs build the casinos. They just get a few frontmen from the tribe (occasionally the fabricated tribe) so they can thumb their noses at the local prudes.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 12:22 PM  

"Careless
1.not paying enough attention to what one does: a careless typist.
2.not exact, accurate, or thorough: careless work.
3.done or said heedlessly or negligently;

Intentional
1.done with intention or on purpose; intended: an intentional insult.
2.of or pertaining to intention or purpose. "

I'll go with 2 and 1, respectively.

What Vox did was "done with intention" and "not exact, accurate, or thorough".

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 12:25 PM  

> The average player apparently spends $25 a week on playing the lottery. That's $1300 a year. That's a pretty significant amount to someone at the extreme bottom.

a) As I already noted, that's not what I was talking about.
b) It's an assumption that the average lottery player is at the extreme bottom. It may be a correct assumption, but it's not a given.

> Because I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly offend someone.

I'd be interested in your biblical justification for that. I don't see it myself, but I've been known to be wrong on occasion.

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 12:25 PM  

The average player apparently spends $25 a week on playing the lottery. That's $1300 a year. That's a pretty significant amount to someone at the extreme bottom.

It true that is not what I expected and I would agree this is a catastrophic misallocation of resources. For someone making minimum wage this is close to half-day take home page. Absolutely destructive.

No, it isn't. Saving that money would allow someone in poverty to eventually build their own safety net. Capital formation uber alles.

If the alternative was saving, sure, it's a better. If the alternative is another order of fries or a soft drink or a Wetzel's Pretzel, then it's pretty much a wash. Unless they are running a promotion, any of the alternatives have a zero chance of life altering wealth.

dh, I'm interested to know if you think this is a reasonable chance for anyone to take and if you ever play?

I don't play lotto or participate in other forms of gambling. Among other problems I have a deeply flawed character deficiency and take to addictions very easy. I am sure the rush of even a free ticket win would end up with me at the top of a large mountain of scratch tickets and lotto receipts, and empty bank accounts along the way. It's also the same reason I have abandoned even casually following sports or sporting events.

For other people I don't have an opinion. Seems like a waste to me, but there are worse ways to spend a dollar I presume.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 12:25 PM  

"1) Jesus called people used menstrual rags and vipers. He also used cannibalism as a metaphor. Did he intend to offend.his audience?

2) who judges what is needless and careless?

3) what about those people who offended by reality? "

1. Yes.
2. Well, obviously me, in this case. You are making a different judgement. Fair enough.
3. The SWFA people weren't, in this instance.

Anonymous Noah B. June 19, 2013 12:28 PM  

"The SWFA people weren't, in this instance."

They most certainly were. Why else would they lie about self-defense laws in Florida and Texas?

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 12:29 PM  

And I see my post was cut off above.

The odds against winning are, as noted above slightly over $175M to 1. So for a $1 ticket, the payout has to be over $175M for the purchase to be worthwhile. This ignores both the odds of sharing the jackpot and the odds of winning a smaller payout, which probably increases the necessary jackpot.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 12:31 PM  

"They most certainly were. Why else would they lie about self-defense laws in Florida and Texas?"

If I understand it correctly, the majority of the upset people became upset a few iterations after Florida and Texas were discussed, about another issue.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 19, 2013 12:31 PM  

I know Vox mentioned above that intelligence can be a red-herring; however if homeschooling can clearly increase test scores for minorities than couldn't other factors greatly increase their social behaviors and ability to exhibit behaviors best suited to build a civilization?

Similar to the Reservation Indian issue, home schooling also creates a self-selection filter. All ethnic groups (or subspecies) have significant genetic variance within the group. If you looked strictly at NBA point guards and ignored the general population, you might conclude white people and black people are equally quick, because only the quickest make it there in the first place.

Likewise, parents who homeschool their kids will share many characteristics necessary to make that choice, including the time-preference to invest in it. Black kids being homeschooled have parents who make the short-term sacrifices of time and money now to gain the long-term benefits of well-educated offspring later. Their success says as much about black families who send their kids to inner city madhouses as Wes Welker's career says about my foot speed.

Anonymous Daniel June 19, 2013 12:33 PM  

Er, are you aware of what the theology of the "ultimate two-marshmallow" Puritans Stickwick referenced was?

Er, yes. Neither is time-preference an either/or function, nor are Calvinism/Christianity two entirely separate schools of thought.

Calvinism appears to have a shorter time-preference than many other forms of Christianity, at least as far as its theology and expressed proper execution of its theology goes.

Surely you don't suggest that Calvinism promotes longer time preferences than, say, Eastern Orthodoxy?

I would suggest that the impressive productivity of the Protestant Work Ethic indicates an interesting combination of mid-range time-preferences, influenced, no doubt, by the relatively (to Christianity in general - but still far longer than the default state) short time-preferences of Calvinism.

Anonymous Stickwick June 19, 2013 12:34 PM  

Stickwick, you have to be careful generalizing about Amerindians because the Reservation system provides a strong self-selection filter. A Reservation Indian is someone who choose a small and predictable life over one with greater potential.

Certainly. I did point out that it was on reservations that you find the extreme social problems with Indians. And note that there are parallels with inner city blacks who are confined in de facto urban reservations and dependent on welfare. My point is that, absent the civilizing effect of Christian Western society, people revert back to the default setting of 'eternal now.' That is most strongly evident on Indian reservations. A close second would be the inner cities.

Anonymous VD June 19, 2013 12:35 PM  

Vox, you know why the upset people at SFWA are upset. This isn't it.

Of course it is. You don't seem to understand that I am saying precisely the same thing I said before, merely rephrasing it. They're upset because they very badly want to be offended, which is why they're falsely claiming that I said things I very clearly did not say.

Do you not understand it would be even more contemptuous to state that NK Jemisin has relatively short time-preferences?

I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offend someone

I'm sure you do. However, I don't recognize the apocrypha of St. Diversity as sacred writ.

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 12:37 PM  

Oh, and for those interested, yes I do put the math into practice. If a MegaMillions jackpot is over about $250M and I happen to be at a store which sells them anyway and have change on me, I do buy a ticket. That happens about 3-4 times/year.

No, I haven't won. :( But then, I don't expect to.

Anonymous Daniel June 19, 2013 12:38 PM  

Musing...does Calvinism result in faster-to-civilization culture building? Does that same essence result in greater malinvestment more rapid and spectacular collapse? Is there a lucrative book contract just waiting to be facilitated by the SFWA, called Calvinist Action?

Anonymous Will Best June 19, 2013 12:39 PM  

$2 buys you the dream which can be its own form of enjoyment plus the probability. And the odds aren't as bad as people like to suggest for two reasons.

1) Its not the primary jackpot or nothing. For every $2 powerball ticket you buy you can expect something like 20 cents back just from the little prizes.

2) A lot of that lotto money is spent on scratch and win tickets with better odds. The people dropping $100 a week on lottery are almost certainly not putting it into mega millions/powerball

If people want to know, I buy the dream over $100-150 million, it costs me about $40-50 to year to do so. I have a savings rate of 18-22% of my income so its not going to kill me as a vice.

Blogger IM2L844 June 19, 2013 12:42 PM  

jamsco, you may think his methods and/or intentions are misguided, but I don't think you actually believe Vox's intended end goal is needless offense.

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 12:43 PM  

If people want to know, I buy the dream over $100-150 million, it costs me about $40-50 to year to do so. I have a savings rate of 18-22% of my income so its not going to kill me as a vice.
Right, that's basically one Xbox game that you didn't buy, or one dinner out. For most people it's just not that substantial.

Blogger GF Dad June 19, 2013 12:44 PM  

You read my mind, Nate.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 12:49 PM  

"You don't seem to understand that I am saying precisely the same thing I said before, merely rephrasing it."

No, this post is much more general and thought through. This should have been your first post on the subject.

"They're upset because they very badly want to be offended, which is why they're falsely claiming that I said things I very clearly did not say."

What are their false claims? At least the claims that I've seen, and what appears to be their biggest claims, are true.

"Do you not understand it would be even more contemptuous to state that NK Jemisin has relatively short time-preferences?"

Wait, I thought you said you were saying the same thing?

""I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offend someone"

I'm sure you do. However, I don't recognize the apocrypha of St. Diversity as sacred writ."

I wish you would recategorize. How you treat people who are different from you is only one subset of this general principle.

So would you agree to this statement: "I think it's okay to make a practice of needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offending people". Or how would you edit it?

Anonymous RedJack June 19, 2013 12:49 PM  

Jack Amok June 19, 2013 12:08 PM Stickwick, you have to be careful generalizing about Amerindians because the Reservation system provides a strong self-selection filter. A Reservation Indian is someone who choose a small and predictable life over one with greater potential. The children on a reservation are the children of people who have willfully shunned opportunity. If your father was working with children on a reservation, he was working with voluntary welfare recipients. It shouldn't be surprising to find what he did.


I grew up around AmerIndians. There are two general groups. The on Reservation, and the off Reservation. The On group is just as described. The off is often successful (many classmates of mine came from first or second generation off Reservation Indians). There are some exceptions to both groups.

Which is why as a kid, I wondered why they were putting black people on "reservations" in the city. Same cycle, same destructive result. Some get out, but the pull of family and culture is very strong.


Blogger Brad Andrews June 19, 2013 12:49 PM  

Strict Calvinism itself is probably bad for a long time frame view, since it views everything as predetermined from the outside. I would bet many of the positive influences from the Puritans can either from outside their view (individual effort matters) or was in spite of their view. Why bother if it is all predetermined? Though that is the whole Calvinism debate that has been rehashed here many times.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 12:52 PM  

Strict Calvinism itself is probably bad for a long time frame view, since it views everything as predetermined from the outside.

In that sense, it's really not that different from the pagan religions that preceded christianity. Or from Islam.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 12:53 PM  

"jamsco, you may think his methods and/or intentions are misguided, but I don't think you actually believe Vox's intended end goal is needless offense."

That's a good clarification. I'll amend again.

I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly offend someone, with intent to offend.



Anonymous WaterBoy June 19, 2013 12:56 PM  

tz: "There is both TIME preference and RISK preference. RISK today is the more important point."

This ^.

Consider this example of risk vs. opportunity. The time factor is negligible, since the opportunity to turn around and make a sizable profit is literally minutes away. What prevents most people from making the deal is the risk factor, and the primary element involved in evaluating that risk is lack of financial knowledge (specifically, about gold).

It would be difficult to imagine how Vox' example would play out any different, given the presumed lack of financial knowledge amongst those at poverty level; it is yet one more element feeding into that feedback loop.

Anonymous Stephen J. June 19, 2013 12:56 PM  

"What qualifies as needless or careless?"

Well, both those terms are transitive: something is needed by someone, someone cares about or for something. Determine your object and your subject first.

"What if you purposely offend someone to make a point? That would be neither careless (purposely) nor needless (making a point). Would that still be a sin?"

That would depend on how sincerely one felt the point necessary to make, and how certain one was that offensiveness was the only effective way to make it. (The problem with claiming this certainty is that in many instances it can be a cheap and unfalsifiable cover for what may really only be laziness or malice, which *are* sins.)

"What if you say something that is highly offensive to someone, but it's mostly due to them being overly sensitive and having very different ideas about what is offensive? Still a sin?"

If you honestly didn't know they were that sensitive and it didn't occur to you they might be, then no. If you knew they were but were honestly convinced they needed to hear it because it was the only way to make a necessary point (and sometimes simply speaking truth is necessary), again no.

If you knew or suspected they were that sensitive and gave offense primarily to enjoy their reaction, using the offense's arguable "necessity" as the excuse rather than the purpose, then yes.

"What if what you said wasn't directed to them, but they stumbled across it on the internet and were highly offended? Would that still be a sin?"

If it was posted with the conscious intent of enjoying any offended responses from whoever might read it and so respond, then yes.

The Christian principle of charity enjoins us against the wilful infliction of suffering primarily for one's own profit. It is permissible to inflict suffering -- and the giving of offense does count as this -- if it is for a purpose sincerely meant to be beneficial to the recipient and that benefit can be reasonably assessed as a likely outcome of the suffering; a battlefield medic is guilty of no sin when he operates without anaesthesia, nor a parent guilty of sin when punishing a child as long as that punishment is just and reasonable.

However, humans are psychologically constituted such that if we learn to enjoy a function, our enjoyment of the function rapidly supersedes the function's outcome as its point: Catholic tradition calls this the concupiscence of Original Sin -- sex becomes about orgasms rather than babies; art becomes about the artist's ego rather than the audience's enjoyment; and, yes, teaching can become about power and humiliation rather than enlightenment. All of these are strains of Pride, and it is generally considered prudent to err on the side of avoiding them.

Anonymous Jonathan June 19, 2013 12:57 PM  

@ IM2L844

If some things a re judged from an absolute position and others are judged on a relative one then one must FIRST have a demarcating criterion whereby one knows whtherthe judgement is relative or absolute. Is the source of that criterion, itself, relative or absolute?

Anonymous VD June 19, 2013 12:58 PM  

No, this post is much more general and thought through. This should have been your first post on the subject.

You're not a schoolmarm, Jamsco. Do stop imitating one. And it's an absurd statement anyhow, because my first post was in response to Jemisin's lies. This doesn't even refer to that particular short time-preferenced individual.

What are their false claims? At least the claims that I've seen, and what appears to be their biggest claims, are true.

No, they're not. You're obviously not paying attention.

"I think it's okay to make a practice of needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offending people".

I would say I think other people's feelings are entirely irrelevant. I don't recall the vast majority of people ever having any concern for mine, so I find it tremendously amusing that so many people suddenly assert that I should have concern for those of others.

I completely reject the idea that I have any responsibility whatsoever for how anyone else feels, just as I reject the idea that they have responsibility for how I feel.

The Bible says, as you sow, so shall you reap.

Anonymous damaged justice June 19, 2013 12:59 PM  

I wish I had an archived copy of the K-12 school webpage where they said time preferences were racist. Flushed down the memory hole once a little light was shone on its existence.

Anonymous Somers'61 June 19, 2013 12:59 PM  

The Indian Reservation issue is an interesting topic...I've read several accounts of the last free Apache Bands under Geronimo and Naiche...some who were adolescents in that band [like Daklugie...who later went to Carlise] described how many of the Indians born into the later reservation system, seemed to have little or no desire to be self-sufficient...Daklugie believed that the govt wanted the Indians to be dependent completely on the gov. handouts...any instinct of self reliance, predictably, was greatly diminished as time went on...Daklugie said that the Apaches who had stayed behind in Fort Sill, Oklahoma,[under the auspices of the US Army] were far better off because they had learned to farm while still under pow status and became very successful and self-sufficient..and he regretted having led his people back to New MExico and into the reservation system.

Blogger IM2L844 June 19, 2013 1:01 PM  

It's also the same reason I have abandoned even casually following sports or sporting events.

Could it also have something to do with reason you have abandoned the idea that God exists even though the ticket is free and there is some non-zero probability for infinite reward?

Anonymous kh123 June 19, 2013 1:01 PM  

"it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offend someone"

I think Markku said it a few threads back in relation to the whole NSA watching who you call, where you websurf, or when you do your daily constitution: "Sabotage the future, because hey, what kind of future would it have been anyhow."

And when have Marxists anywhere never declared war, either ideologically or otherwise - which, like jihadis, to them are fairly inseparable fronts.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 1:02 PM  

I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly offend someone, with intent to offend.

If you intend to offend someone, it's neither needless nor careless.

Come on, jamsco, you're smarter than this.

Blogger IM2L844 June 19, 2013 1:05 PM  

one must FIRST have a demarcating criterion whereby one knows whtherthe judgement is relative or absolute.

Is this an absolute prerequisite?

Blogger Nate June 19, 2013 1:07 PM  

"I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly offend someone, with intent to offend."

This statement is profoundly offensive.

Anonymous Northern Observer June 19, 2013 1:12 PM  

Stephen J: "The Christian principle of charity enjoins us against the wilful infliction of suffering primarily for one's own profit."

Source?

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 1:12 PM  

This statement is profoundly offensive.

It is the will of God that thou art offended.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 1:12 PM  

...my first post was in response to Jemisin's lies.
Yes, an unfortunate and foolish time to launch into it. You shot yourself in the foot with that choice. If you'd started with a post like this one (and never did anything like the Jemisin post) you'd have more people agreeing with you.

This doesn't even refer to that particular short time-preferenced individual.
Obviously. This post, being less personal, was much more effective. And I'd just like to point out that you have still given no evidence that she has a time preference issue. As you say, maybe she just has different goals.

You're obviously not paying attention.
So where can I go to pay attention, since you're hesitant to just spell it out for us

I would say I think other people's feelings are entirely irrelevant. I don't recall the vast majority of people ever having any concern for mine, so I find it tremendously amusing that so many people suddenly assert that I should have concern for those of others.
I'm asserting that two wrongs don't make a right.


Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 1:14 PM  

you'd have more people agreeing with you.

This is rabbit thinking distilled.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 1:15 PM  

"I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly offend someone, with intent to offend."

This statement is profoundly offensive.


Apparently. But it's neither needless or careless.

Anonymous Anonymous June 19, 2013 1:15 PM  

How can you laud the superiority of those from cold winters and deride the concept of generic superiority in one post?

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 1:15 PM  

"If you intend to offend someone, it's neither needless nor careless."

Why do you say that?

Anonymous GreyS June 19, 2013 1:17 PM  

"I occasionally describe myself as an "Esquimaux supremacist"...I have a particular appreciation for the obvious and undeniable superiority of that noble people of the north."

I knew there was a reason you were a Denier. You can't stand that those you think of as superior will be brought down a notch as the thermometer rises. And yes Global Warming is real-- one need only look at the policies of dozens of governments across the globe to verify this.

Equality Through Thermality!!!

Blogger RobertT June 19, 2013 1:18 PM  

I've read many times about how quantum mechanics, quantum leaps, the behavior of photons and other things about quantum mechanics unnerve scientists. Many of them say they wish they'd never heard of quantum mechanics. It makes some of them sick at their stomach. There is a school dedicated to reconciling relativity with quantum mechanics, and Velikovsky isn't even on the charts. He's considered a quack. Maybe he should be, but my take is there's high iq and then there's high iq. That's an odd reaction for a scientist viewing the latest theories. My guess is that a lot of those high iq types at the top of the bell curve have other disabilities, that, if identifiable and measurable, would drop their iq down a ways.

Blogger Anthony June 19, 2013 1:18 PM  

Vox - Mike's comment, while rather rudely stated, is the essence of why the Diversicrats are offended. The typical lefty thinks that intelligence is *the* most important virtue. Look at how they complain that supposedly less-smart business people make more money than supposedly-smarter academics. So if you say that, for example, Africans are less intelligent than Europeans, *in their world view*, you've said that Africans are inferior to Europeans.

Blogger wrf3 June 19, 2013 1:18 PM  

Brad Anderson wrote: Strict Calvinism itself is probably bad for a long time frame view, since it views everything as predetermined from the outside.

Oh, for goodness sake. Even if superdeterminism is true (and, you'll note that the arguments against it are not scientific but, rather, feelings-based), we can't predict what will happen. As Ecclesiastes says, "time and chance happen to all". So we know that God determines everything, but we have to base our actions on our inability to predict the future.

Daniel asked: After all, why be so swift to burn Servetus if man is dynamic and can be a change agent, not simply an actor in God's unchanging play?

Because Scripture seems to put a premium on being "swift to do what is right", including "purge[ing] evil from your midst."

Are you the type of person who would delay treatment for leukemia in order to "take the long view"?

Anonymous Jeromus June 19, 2013 1:19 PM  

OT but Vox, they found a video from your Martial Arts days and posted it to YouTube. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTHDCeJlr_U

Blogger Travis Kurtz June 19, 2013 1:20 PM  

Jack "Likewise, parents who homeschool their kids will share many characteristics necessary to make that choice, including the time-preference to invest in it. Black kids being homeschooled have parents who make the short-term sacrifices of time and money now to gain the long-term benefits of well-educated offspring later. Their success says as much about black families who send their kids to inner city madhouses as Wes Welker's career says about my foot speed."

Me: Okay, African American's are the fastest growing segment it turning towards homeschooling. This shows that African-Americans are increasingly taking this risk-reward process that is valued in creating a civilization. Doesn't this show environment playing a role that quite possible trumps genetics?

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 1:20 PM  

Why do you say that?

Other people have already pasted from dictionary definitions of the relevant words.

If you needlessly or carelessly offend someone, the offense is a byproduct of what you said. It was an accident. If you intend to offend someone, the offense is the product of what you said.

Anonymous VD June 19, 2013 1:21 PM  

If you'd started with a post like this one (and never did anything like the Jemisin post) you'd have more people agreeing with you.

I doubt it. Most people agree with me.

How can you laud the superiority of those from cold winters and deride the concept of generic superiority in one post?

Because the particular is not the generic. Do you have similar trouble confusing the exceptional with the average, or the peak with the mean?

Anonymous Stephen J. June 19, 2013 1:22 PM  

Northern Observer: "Source?"

The Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (the section at this link, www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a8.htm, may be particularly relevant to the case being here discussed), the writings of most Christian theologians.... I would be interested if you could find a valid Christian argument anywhere that it was permissible to cause suffering merely for one's own amusement.

Blogger Anthony June 19, 2013 1:23 PM  

A time preference study has been done, though it didn't actually involve giving people the money, just asking which they preferred.

Gene Expression covered this in:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/12/which-nations-think-over-the-long-term/#.UcHoFL1cN_4

The original study is at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1481443

"Actually some students from our Norway survey even complained that the question was ridiculous because everybody would choose to wait for one month given the high implicit interest rate."

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 1:23 PM  

"Other people have already pasted from dictionary definitions of the relevant words."

Please go look at my response to the dictionary paste comment. I covered it there.

Anonymous VD June 19, 2013 1:23 PM  

Anyhow, you're off-topic, Jamsco. Enough. The topic is not "why Jamsco thinks X is bad today". Believe it or not, it's not quite as endlessly fascinating to everyone else as it is to you.

You have been very, very clear. You disapprove. We understand and applaud you for your sensitivity for the feelings of others.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 1:27 PM  

" Believe it or not, it's not quite as endlessly fascinating to everyone else as it is to you."

There is evidence to the contrary, but okay, I'll stop.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 1:28 PM  

But I hope you've noticed my restraint on the Calvinism thread.

Anonymous VD June 19, 2013 1:29 PM  

But I hope you've noticed my restraint on the Calvinism thread.

I commend your restraint. Your self-discipline is a civilized example to us all.

Blogger jamsco June 19, 2013 1:31 PM  

Thanks!

Blogger Nate June 19, 2013 1:36 PM  

"Apparently. But it's neither needless or careless."

Given that you clearly didn't intend to offend me or anyone else... it obviously was careless. Additionally... I should very much like to hear your explanation as to why the offense was necessary.

Blogger Desert Cat June 19, 2013 1:38 PM  

jamsco June 19, 2013 12:08 PM
"I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offend someone"

Spoken like a true Minnesotan.

Blogger Guitar Man June 19, 2013 1:38 PM  

VD, this is a very interesting discussion. I grew up in a low income neighborhood, vibrant with diversity (I'm a white male). I did have two parents, but my dad had an extremely short time preference, so we were always struggling to make ends meet.

As I became an adult, I had to learn to shake off the tendencies of the poor. One is that the poor always believe they will never be anything but poor. With that, you make foolish decisions. Early in my marriage, as a leader, I was extremely foolish with money. Credit card debt and not saving for the future, because I thought you had to be rich to balance a budget. I also had disrespect for my elders, which didn't help with my career in technology while I was getting my feet wet.

In my mid-20s, I found a Bible believing church, and started attending regularly. My pastor was also a very successful business owner. I started to watch people like him, and see how they became the way they are.

Almost 10 years later, and the "poor" attitude is now gone. I'm also more successful in my career, realizing the employer is not the enemy, he now knows I'm someone he can trust to get the job done right. Even so, my wife and I are now starting to consider starting a business with the hopes of being able to pass it on to our four homeschooled children, or give us the ability to give them a nice start in life when they reach adulthood.

You can go from having a short time preference to a long time preference, but that person will probably need a good mentor, and will need to break bad habits and attitudes before that can happen.

Anonymous Auntiewhyte Jemisin June 19, 2013 1:40 PM  

Jamsco, I think you're wrong. Jemisin is permanently offended and lights up white people daily and has for years, as does the SFWA if you follow their Twitter feeds. Although Jemisin didn't use the word "savage," it's clear that's exactly what she meant about Australians, and she made it predicated solely on race. Furthermore, she typically for her used nothing more than her race to claim a superior refinement on such issues, though in fact no such refinement exists. The only difference between Jemisin and David Duke is none.

At the same time she claimed whites were more dangerous than blacks, this expert on "race" conspicuously ignored the 5.4 million killed in ethnic hatred in Africa in the 2nd Congo War just ended in 2008.

Jemisin's hate speech required a response, especially in light of the fact that the SFWA gave it unqualified support. In fact, the SFWA is a brutally racist organization whose highest profile members are mirror opposites of neo-Nazis. They use the same language, just a different target. Take Scalzi's white privilege and put it on Jews and what is that? Different target, same principle: racial bigotry.

What's it called when an SFWA member publicly states they want to read more SF by "non-whites?" What if I say I want to read more whites? We all know the answer to that, because the SFWA launches preemptive strikes on that issue though no one actually even states such a thing. If they did, it'd be even more screaming and whining.

When SFWA member Jim Hines, a guy who never shuts up about gender and whites and rape, links to an anti-white web site that says "whites fear us," and when the creator of that web site sets up racially segregated spaces in an SF convention as "safer" from whites to great acclaim and approval, it's clear these are not innocent Bambis caught in the headlights, but racialists who refer to whites in the negative DAILY. D-A-I-L-Y.

The SFWA is institutionalizing racial and gender hatred. Even if VD was wrong, I say, compared to what? For all their outrage over VD's remark about a society of Jemisins, in fact even the black members of the SFF community won't live in a society of Jemisins. Throw in the fact that the SFWA openly supports literature solicited by race, something even VD doesn't do but Nazis did, and I fail to see your point.

Worst case scenario is that VD is a mirror to the SFF community but outnumbered by 100 to 1. And which came first, the chicken or the egg? And we know the SFWA isn't satirizing anyone, but simply straight up bigots. Can you say with certainty VD isn't using straight-faced satire, at least some of the time, purposefully using and parroting the SFWA's own language back at them? It's easy enough to do.

Underground comix used to do the same thing in the late '60s. They were so provocatively vulgar they were prosecuted. Yet they were obviously a response to a thing and not merely vulgar for the sake of being vulgar. Ironically, the SFWA member who wants to read more non-whites, Carrie Cuinn, is a member of a the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, originally set up to defend underground comix. Cuinn has lost her way. R. Crumb and S. Clay Wilson would've spit on that woman. I know, I've met them, at exhibitions set up by who else, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Blogger Desert Cat June 19, 2013 1:42 PM  

Eleventh Commandment in the catechism of Minnesotanism:
"If you don't have something NICE to say, then don't say anything at all."

Anonymous civilServant June 19, 2013 1:43 PM  

The pure savage lives entirely in the moment and does not control his impulses. The entirely civilized individual is self-disciplined and is always capable of putting off for tomorrow, or next year, options that are available today. This may explain why Christianity tends to be a civilizing force, as it reinforces longer time preferences by extending them beyond one's lifetime

Could not the same be said of love? In addition to reaching beyond the present reaching beyond oneself?

Matt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [ap]be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore [aq]you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Blogger Nate June 19, 2013 1:44 PM  

"I think it's a sin to needlessly, carelessly, intentionally offend someone"

The primary problem this statement is the fact that observable reality demonstrates that being offended is the favorite self-indulgence of this particular sub culture.

Thus... by offending them... you're doing them a favor.

Blogger Scott June 19, 2013 1:47 PM  

If a society regularly gets rid of its short-preferenced, hot-tempered predators and its non-savers

My in-laws!

Anonymous bob k. mando June 19, 2013 1:47 PM  

jamsco June 19, 2013 12:22 PM
"Careless
2.not exact, accurate, or thorough: careless work.

Intentional
1.done with intention or on purpose; intended: an intentional insult.


I'll go with 2 and 1, respectively.

What Vox did was "done with intention" and "not exact, accurate, or thorough".



no, your original use of "careless" was in reference to the "offen[se] someone" takes, not the exactitude with which Vox had constructed his argument. you don't get to reconstruct the sentence meaning on the fly without, at the least, saying that your previous formulation had itself been 'careless'.

Vox did thoroughly and exactly intend to cause offense. considering that it was in response to someone who had ALREADY libeled him with careless speech ... well ... it seems a rather fitting response.

Anonymous civilServant June 19, 2013 1:48 PM  

Having shorter time preferences doesn't make anyone "dirty pieces of shit with no worth"

Should they be considered more dangerous? And if so then how should the equally valuable longer-ranged individuals respond in simple self-defense?

If a society regularly gets rid of its short-preferenced, hot-tempered predators and its non-savers....

Ah.

Anonymous Anonagain June 19, 2013 1:49 PM  

Eleventh Commandment in the catechism of Minnesotanism:
"If you don't have something NICE to say, then don't say anything at all."


Obviously doesn't apply to anklebiters, otherwise Jamsco would have very little to say to Vox.

Anonymous the bandit June 19, 2013 1:51 PM  

The cold winters theory seems more tenable if selecting for time preference rather than intelligence.

Anonymous Noah B. June 19, 2013 2:08 PM  

"They may have other long-term plans than you...."

Either that or they're incredibly stupid. I honestly can't decide which one it is, and for us, I'm not sure it matters.

Anonymous Pedro June 19, 2013 2:51 PM  

I think I'll read this post manana...

Anonymous RedJack June 19, 2013 2:54 PM  

The cold winter theory doesn't hold up.

Look at the Indians pre and post Reservation. Or look at some of my people, the Saxon's and Jutes.

Cold weather helps. Starving over the winter tends to make you plan ahead some. But the Eskimo's didn't make a grand civilization, the warm weather Greeks and Romans did.

Long periods of winter (or other stress) can force a people to build up and plan ahead, but it doesn't mean they are making a civilzation.

Blogger Brad Andrews June 19, 2013 3:05 PM  

@wrf3

> we can't predict what will happen

Of course not, we don't have the right perspective. That doesn't mean that we can change things either, based on that view.

Perhaps I am compelled to write these posts!

====

Having people say they prefer the larger mythical amount later is meaningless. I would prefer a million dollars in ten years over 10K now, but I might take the 10K now in real life for any number of reasons if that was really available. (I would probably still gamble on the million, but it is dicey given the Fed's actions.)

Anonymous bob k. mando June 19, 2013 3:14 PM  

RedJack June 19, 2013 2:54 PM
The cold winter theory doesn't hold up.


true that.

We Die Alone is the story of Jan Baalsrud's participation in a commando raid into Norway during WW2. basically, the whole thing immediately degenerated into a clusterfvck and Jan was the only one to escape the Germans.

in his escape, he had to cross the high mountains into Sweden. to do this, he had to count on the help of the Sami.

the Sami, who were bloodily singleminded refused to give him any assurances that they would return for him or meet him at any given time or date, even tomorrow. because unknown circumstances might intervene between now and tomorrow.

in the event, they came through for him and Jan escaped into neutral Sweden ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Baalsrud

Anonymous Anonymous June 19, 2013 3:26 PM  

The trouble is... how do you control for it? You run into a chicken vs egg deal. Is it the poverty that makes them have short time preferences or is it the short time preference that keeps them in poverty?

My great-grandparents who lived through the Great Depression were quite poor, but they managed to save a little here and there until they were able to buy a small piece of land to farm on. My grandmother is quite well off because she and my grandfather saved every dollar they could 60 years ago. They never would have bought a lottery ticket.

It wouldn't be the easiest thing to study -- not something you could do with a simple poll -- but it could be done, if we wanted to do so.

Other things to look at might be smoking and tattoos. If you spend much time around lower-class people, it's obvious that the poorer someone is, the more likely he is to smoke and have tattoos, even though both cost a considerable amount of money and are negative investments in the future. So is he poor because he makes bad short-term decisions that will cost him later, or does he make those decisions because he's poor?

If we ever broke out future time orientation and measured it on its own, I suspect we'd finally find something that correlates with income and success even better than IQ does.

Anonymous Jonathan June 19, 2013 3:31 PM  

@ IM2L844

A demarcating criterion isn't an absolute predicate but it is a necessary one. The concepts of Absolute and Necessary are not the same thing, although they are often conflated.

Anonymous Josh June 19, 2013 3:32 PM  

If we ever broke out future time orientation and measured it on its own, I suspect we'd finally find something that correlates with income and success even better than IQ does.

Given the study linked upthread it certainly looks plausible.

Anonymous WaterBoy June 19, 2013 3:37 PM  

civilServant: "Should they be considered more dangerous?"

The black rhino certainly thinks so.

Short-sighted is hunting a species into extinction, rather than employing sustainable game management to allow your progeny to enjoy the same benefits in years to come.

Of course, every modern civilized nation has run afoul of this one....

Blogger RobertT June 19, 2013 3:40 PM  

... The average player apparently spends $25 a week on playing the lottery. That's $1300 a year. That's a pretty significant amount to someone at the extreme bottom ...

I get the impression you don't think much of playing the lottery. The liklihood of winning is negligible, but if you can afford $2 bucks a week and still eat, it's not such a bad idea. Losses are capped at $2, but the upside often tops $500 million. I try to buy a ticket a week but I often forget.

Anonymous Noah B. June 19, 2013 3:54 PM  

"The liklihood of winning is negligible, but if you can afford $2 bucks a week and still eat, it's not such a bad idea."

It's a bad idea for the vast majority of people.

Anonymous Anonymous June 19, 2013 4:34 PM  

The point about the lottery is that, for many of the people who play it, $2/week is a significant amount of money. Go to a gas station in the right part of town and watch people buy lottery tickets, cigarettes, and junk food, putting the junk food on their EBT cards. Those are the core players, not people who have mutual fund portfolios.

Other examples:

I know people who claim fewer exemptions than they could on their tax withholding, so they'll get a bigger "refund" the next year. Now, that might seem like future-oriented thinking, because it's a way to save money for a big future purchase. But it's actually the opposite, because they're losing the money they could have made in interest if they'd saved it themselves, but they know if they had it they'd spend it instead. So those people at least know they have bad time-preferences and try to do something about it, but it's a costly solution.

Or take people who chronically pay their utility bills late. The late fees they charge are sky-high if calculated as an interest rate. If you're always one month behind, then you're always paying more than your on-time neighbor, making yourself poorer. Thing is, if you're not getting further behind all the time, then you do make enough money to cover it; you just need to catch up. But bad time-preferences mean you don't think about it until the late notice comes.

Or take the guy who ignores the low-oil light in his car and then, instead of paying $50 for an oil change, has to spend a couple thousand for a new engine.

I've been poor and I've been -- well, not rich exactly, but comfortable. When I've been poor, I was doing it to myself by having terrible time-preferences -- not just in big things, but in all sorts of little ways, like stopping and spending $10 for fast food instead of going home and cooking a healthy meal with $3 of ingredients. The choices poor people make just bleed money from their pockets left and right.

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 4:49 PM  

I know people who claim fewer exemptions than they could on their tax withholding, so they'll get a bigger "refund" the next year. Now, that might seem like future-oriented thinking, because it's a way to save money for a big future purchase. But it's actually the opposite, because they're losing the money they could have made in interest if they'd saved it themselves, but they know if they had it they'd spend it instead. So those people at least know they have bad time-preferences and try to do something about it, but it's a costly solution.
Oh come now, this is complete bullshit. Your grand or few you let Uncle Sam hold onto could earn you, what, $3 in interest over the course of a year (and not even a year, at maximum of a year, at the bottom a few weeks).

Anonymous Jack Amok June 19, 2013 5:12 PM  

My point is that, absent the civilizing effect of Christian Western society, people revert back to the default setting of 'eternal now.'

But the Reservation doesn't really prove that point, because it's not really what Amerindian society was pre-contact. Reservation society is made up of the tribe minus the most ambitious and self-sufficient members who have deliberately chosen not to live there. Certainly Western contact makes a difference, but one of the great problems you get when tribalism embraces the rabbit warren is that your tribe ends up pretty damn pathetic because the non-rabbits opt out.


Doesn't this show environment playing a role that quite possible trumps genetics?

Genetics provide the hardware, culture (environment) is the software. Good culture causes the neural pathways necessary for civilization to be strengthened, so it definitely helps.

There is both TIME preference and RISK preference

I think there are three major genetic brain traits in humans - IQ, time preference, and risk tolerance. The three seem to be mostly independent, though advancing in all three is important for human civilization. The small fraction with high IQ, long-view Time Preference, and who are not paralyzed by risk are the ones who drive civilization forward.

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 5:18 PM  

> ... like stopping and spending $10 for fast food instead of going home and cooking a healthy meal with $3 of ingredients.

If you're spending $10 for a fast food meal, it's not just your time preferences that are having problems, as just over $10 will get you a full all you can eat buffet at places like Golden Corral and Ryan's. And the food is a lot better.

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 5:21 PM  

> I know people who claim fewer exemptions than they could on their tax withholding, so they'll get a bigger "refund" the next year.

In my case I claim fewer exemptions. But not to get a bigger refund. It's because the state and federal withholding amounts aren't properly synced, and if I claim the correct amount I wind up underpaying the state and getting hit with a penalty. So every year we pretty much break even on the state refund and get a big refund from the feds.

Anonymous WaterBoy June 19, 2013 5:24 PM  

dh: "Your grand or few you let Uncle Sam hold onto could earn you, what, $3 in interest over the course of a year (and not even a year, at maximum of a year, at the bottom a few weeks)."

Simple savings calculator

$1 initially invested (does not allow $0) and $100 monthly in excess income tax withholding, at 1% compounded monthly = $6.53 interest; enough to buy several lottery tickets. If you shop around, you could get a better rate (say, 2%)...and that example used the "grand" you stipulated; if it was the "few" that you also allowed for (let's say, $250/month), that comes out to $28.67 interest. Still not a lot, but it will provide for several meals, and it's $28.67 that you wouldn't otherwise have had.

Keep this account going, year after year, and the lifetime savings is pretty substantial...which is the point you missed. $28.67 in interest the first year is not a lot...but $135,000 after 40 years is.

Anonymous WaterBoy June 19, 2013 5:48 PM  

Sorry, big mathematical error there...interest after 40 years is only $63K.

Anonymous Godfrey June 19, 2013 6:05 PM  

Capitalism is inherently a long time preference system since it literally depends on the ability to accumulate capital over time. A system that shortens time preference and devalues accumulated capital or prevents its formation is not capitalism. Civilization is built upon sound money.

Anonymous realmatt June 19, 2013 6:08 PM  

It's especially fun discussing this sort of thing with a sensitive leftist believer in evolution because they have no choice but to admit that perhaps, according to their own beliefs, Africans may never reach the level(s) of non Africans. After all, they never left Africa.

Anonymous Jake June 19, 2013 6:18 PM  

Short-sighted is hunting a species into extinction, rather than employing sustainable game management to allow your progeny to enjoy the same benefits in years to come.

It's not short sighted when you have no claim of ownership over the rhino (owning them is illegal), and if you don't shoot it today someone else is probably going to shoot it tomorrow.

Given the way legislation tends minimize the value of endangered animals and maximize their nuisance level one wonders if governments and the idiot environmentalists supporting such measure WANT to drive the rare (insert nearly extinct animal here) into oblivion.

There's a lot of validity to what Vox is saying here, but don't over-apply it. Some of you folks are trying to attribute every problem in the world to racial/cultural differences. Any time people are acting stupidly/irrationally, the first place to look is government policy. When you want to say "oh those people are just stupid" look around first, more often than not people aren't acting "irrationally" so much as they're coping with or exploiting irrational laws/policy.

Anonymous Stickwick June 19, 2013 6:21 PM  

Jack,

According to this website, only 22% of American Indians and Alaska Natives live on reservations -- I didn't realize the number was so low. Yet the statistics for education, employment, income, health, and mental health for AIs overall are not very good compared with other groups, particularly whites. Can the relatively small reservation population account for these disparities? This report on Urban Indian America indicates that even those who live in urban areas are worse off than the rest of the urban population in terms of education, employment, income, health, homelessness, and child abuse -- in terms of prenatal care, they're worse off than those on reservations. There's got to be more to it than just reservation vs. non-reservation. Also, I now recall that the kids my dad worked with were urban AIs, since he was in a major urban center. These were the kids who had zero concept of the future.

Anonymous Azimus June 19, 2013 6:49 PM  

VD: Having grown up in Minnesota... I have a particular appreciation for the obvious and undeniable superiority of that noble people of the north.

And yet, you choose a Cheesehead for a bride. Actions speak louder than words; admit - you must admit - that you agree... Wisconsin is the top of the totem pole.

Full disclosure - I married a 2nd generation emigre from Minnesota...

Anonymous WaterBoy June 19, 2013 6:53 PM  

Jake: "It's not short sighted when you have no claim of ownership over the rhino (owning them is illegal), and if you don't shoot it today someone else is probably going to shoot it tomorrow."

It is short-sighted if it leads to reducing the breeding population below its sustainable level -- whether you do it or somebody else does, doesn't matter. It's fine as long as there is no need for sustaining a revenue stream, but that was not the case with the rhino. The short term gain (sales of rhino horn by the individual poacher) is given precedence over the long term benefit to the society as a whole (sustainable rhino population allowing future sales of rhino horn).

"Some of you folks are trying to attribute every problem in the world to racial/cultural differences."

That's the exact opposite of what I was pointing out -- that short-sightedness is not limited to particular races/cultures. North Americans have been just as short-sighted with regards to the passenger pigeon, for example, and Michiganders completely wiped out their native moose population in all of the LP and most of the UP over a century ago (it has just now recovered through importation and conservation efforts to the point where moose hunts there are now possible). Other countries in the West have done similarly with some of their native species, too, so short time preferences are not strictly a "third-world" issue.

Legislation had nothing to do with species like the passenger pigeon going extinct through over-harvesting, unless such was passed to allow these activities to occur in the first place.

Anonymous Azimus June 19, 2013 7:04 PM  

Eric Wilson June 19, 2013 11:12 AM Stickwick,

Maybe that's why Indians have such a problem with alcohol. They could never wait long enough for fermentation, so it never developed, giving them a chance to acclimate to its effects.


Also why they make excellents soldiers but terrible generals...

Anonymous dh June 19, 2013 7:40 PM  

Keep this account going, year after year, and the lifetime savings is pretty substantial...which is the point you missed. $28.67 in interest the first year is not a lot...but $135,000 after 40 years is.
Right, I understand over the long term, compounding interest and whatnot. But again, you misunderstand the poor. Because if they have the money, the money will be gone. 100% of the time. If it wasn't gone, 100% of the time, it wouldn't be gone.

That's why the "forced savings" plan of over withholding is the least-worst option for many poor.

Anonymous Cail Corishev June 19, 2013 8:01 PM  

But again, you misunderstand the poor. Because if they have the money, the money will be gone.

That was the point. Letting the government hold their money for a year is better than spending it as fast as they make it, so the people who do the former are showing better time-preferences than those who do the latter.

But it's not a coincidence that the financially stable and savvy people I know have as little tax withheld as they can get away with, even if it means they have to pay something at tax time; while it's the people who are always short who look forward to that big "refund" every year.

(Of course, the head-of-household single moms who get the "earned-income" credit often get much more in "refund" than they paid in, so they can't get it early by claiming more exemptions.)

Blogger Justthisguy June 19, 2013 8:17 PM  

I appear to resemble C. S. Lewis in at least one respect, my fear of taking chances. I have other vices, but I don't gamble. He mentioned that his not taking chances on a vice might be a flip side of failure to take a chance when that might be the right thing to do, such as (my example) failing to cut away from a partially-malfunctioning parachute in favor of getting a reserve open.

Blogger IM2L844 June 19, 2013 8:17 PM  

A demarcating criterion isn't an absolute predicate but it is a necessary one. The concepts of Absolute and Necessary are not the same thing, although they are often conflated.

Well then explain it. Let's not dance around the sophistic pedantry bush. Is the necessity of a prerequisite demarcating criterion for judgment frangible or inviolable?

Blogger James Dixon June 19, 2013 9:04 PM  

> ...$28.67 in interest the first year is not a lot...but $135,000 after 40 years is.

That assumes the return is not invested when you get it. If it is, all you've lost is the $1.63 each year and it's growth. If they don't invest the return, they're far less likely to invest the monthly amount.

Anonymous Jake June 19, 2013 9:04 PM  

The short term gain (sales of rhino horn by the individual poacher) is given precedence over the long term benefit to the society as a whole

Commie.

I jest, but I don't think "society as a whole" is particularly motivating when there are a dozen other people, only one of whom has to put their own well-being ahead of "societies," for the Rhino to get shot. It's a game-theory thing, there's no getting around it until the government stops preventing people from having ranches full of rhinos and enforces property rights to the same.

I don't think you can attribute the poacher's shooting an endangered animal to short time preference. It's only a question of time preference if you expect to receive more value in the future by abstaining today. The poacher can't really expect that, he can only expect there to be no rhino in the future.

If a farmer were to butcher his entire herd, or throw a big feast and serve up all his seed-crop, THAT would be an example of foolishly short time preference. (unless he expected his cattle to die anyway due to drought, or Monsanto to confiscate his seed as tainted with their IP-protected variants or something... which would be more akin to our poacher's dilemma.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 19, 2013 9:11 PM  

Maybe that's why Indians have such a problem with alcohol.

Oh, well, that problem absolutely is genetic. Asians (Amerindians being a subgroup that migrated to the Americans) tend to produce lower quantities of dehydrogenase enzymes, which are responsible for the processing of alcohol. It takes their bodies longer to process the same amount of alcohol than it does someone from European stock. They're genetically easier to get drunk.


There's got to be more to it than just reservation vs. non-reservation.

Oh, I'm sure there are other differences, but also keep in mind that the only urban residents you'll find on the right hand side of their ethnic bell curves tend to be SWPLs, so urban Amerindians are only going to be a half-step above their Reservation cousins.

In terms of raw IQ, I think Amerindians actually rate moderately high, about a 90 average, equivalent to Turkic and Slavic groups, a little behind Celts and Mediterranean Europeans (95-ish), a little ahead of Semitic and India-Indians (85-ish).

But, there's clearly a lack of entrepreneurial attitude. The Salish people had a stable civilization that lasted 8,000 years - likely the longest run any civilization has had uninterrupted by war, conquest or catastrophe - and though they were prosperous they didn't invent much. Sort of stagnated for generations upon generations. The first Amerindians must have been adventurous people to colonize the Americas, but perhaps having an entire, sparsely populated continent to wander around in bred it out. I dunno.

Well, losing your land to invaders is never a good thing for a people. The survivors are almost certainly going to have various problems.

Anonymous WaterBoy June 19, 2013 9:33 PM  

"That's why the "forced savings" plan of over withholding is the least-worst option for many poor.<"

And that's what I disagree with -- since "least-worst" also means "best" in this context, the best option is an interest-earning plan where the money cannot easily be withdrawn. It's simple enough to do -- at the very least, automatic payroll deduction into an online savings account (where it is difficult or inconvenient to make withdrawals) would fit the bill here. If they never touch the money, it's harder to spend it.

Since they have already made the decision to force themselves to save by removing access to their money via government stewardship, this is simply the next step to take by giving that stewardship to a financial institution instead.

Hmmm...on second thought....

Anonymous WaterBoy June 19, 2013 9:45 PM  

James Dixon: "That assumes the return is not invested when you get it. If it is, all you've lost is the $1.63 each year and it's growth."

This is true, in which case the only money lost would be the compounded interest itself over 40 (or whatever) years. Still > 0, which was the original point that cailcorishev seemed to be making: those who have the time-preference awareness to force themselves to save via excess withholding can also do so via another savings mechanism that will actually earn them a return on their "investment" -- something the government will not give them. And if they need a forced-savings mechanism to keep them from getting at that money before the year is up, there are options available to do so.

Anonymous zen0 June 19, 2013 10:12 PM  

@ Jack Amok

It takes their bodies longer to process the same amount of alcohol than it does someone from European stock. They're genetically easier to get drunk.

But they (Amerinds) seem to be able to stay concious longer which means they get more drunker and do stupider shit til all hours of the night.
Pure Asians can't do that. They just get silly.

There is an expression used as a warning to not drink too much in these parts. One is warned "not to go Indian on us".

Anonymous Azimus June 19, 2013 10:30 PM  

Is time-preference an existing or accepted term out there? Would "planning horizon" more clearly describe the concept being discussed?

Anonymous Anonymous June 19, 2013 10:39 PM  

I have other vices, but I don't gamble.

Same here. I only play games of chance if I have reason to think I'll win. I played online poker for a while and determined that if I played by the numbers (no hunches), I could make about minimum wage, but it was way too boring to do for that kind of money. It was easy to quit; no thrill in it at all.

I can be plenty stupid about money in other ways, though, so it seems like there's something special about the push-pull of gambling that just hooks some people.

Anonymous Stickwick June 19, 2013 10:44 PM  

The Salish people had a stable civilization that lasted 8,000 years ...

Salish is one of the First Nations tribes where I lived in B.C.; in fact there was a very old settlement discovered not far from where I went to high school, but I had no idea it went back that far. I know very little about American Indian / First Nations history, but it seems like the tribes in the Pacific Northwest were a lot less warlike than other tribes.

The survivors are almost certainly going to have various problems.

Yes, and it's pretty tragic. I can't even fathom the suffering that takes place on the reservations.

Anonymous zen0 June 19, 2013 10:57 PM  

The Salish people had a stable civilization that lasted 8,000 years ...

Hmm... 8,000 years of "civilization" and not one wheel was produced, let alone a city. Color me extremely skeptical.

I know very little about American Indian / First Nations history, but it seems like the tribes in the Pacific Northwest were a lot less warlike than other tribes.

The Haida used to raid the mainland to take slaves. Oh the Noble Savage, how they suffered so when Whitey brought the Nanny State. The traditional cedar bark clothing replaced by denim and cashmere.

The horror, the horror.

Anonymous zen0 June 19, 2013 11:29 PM  

Azimus June 19, 2013 10:30 PM

Is time-preference an existing or accepted term out there? Would "planning horizon" more clearly describe the concept being discussed?


Possibly. "Time-preference" is an term taken from Mises relating to financial decisions. Very much related to short-term versus long-term planning.

Maybe just splitting hairballs here.

This being the internet, however, I am sure someone will pop up excoriating you for some imagined grievance for even suggesting such a thing.

Me it will not be.

Anonymous Northern Observer June 19, 2013 11:55 PM  

Hmm... 8,000 years of "civilization" and not one wheel was produced, let alone a city. Color me extremely skeptical.

I was surprised on my first trip to Vancouver island. The natives (Haida?) noticeably carry themselves differently than indians I've seen in the plains or in the south. I read later than their culture/civilization was quite a bit more advanced than the stone age levels found elsewhere in North America and that's probably why they adapted to live with the Europeans better.

Oh the Noble Savage, how they suffered so when Whitey brought the Nanny State. The traditional cedar bark clothing replaced by denim and cashmere.

They used to take slaves?! The savages!

They should be thanking us for giving them the nanny state. It's done so much good for them. And cashmere!


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