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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Up and over their heads

MC listened to the Day-Murphy debate on free trade:
I was unable to attend on Friday, but I just listened to the audio.  Excellent debate, loved the format.  Really should make anyone stretch their thinking as well as help them come to their own conclusion.  Admittedly I heard things I had not heard before and my knowledge base was expanded and continues to be with these debates. 

One point you made that "Let reason be silent when experience gainsays it's existence".  This seems to be the problem with most economists and Austrians is that they are so sold on their theories and their ability to come to a conclusion that is elegant reasoning, they totally miss the forest for the trees.  I think most economists lose the common man because the common man lives in the real world and knows that those elegant theories have failed to bring about a better result in reality.  The previous debate and this one has shown me that these economists are not too acquainted with real life and the practical effects free trade has had on this country. 

I did not vote to make my country poorer so as to make the rest of the world richer.  I am a Christian, but my benevolence is my decision, not one forced on me by my government.  I don't think that is what God had in mind when he asked me to help the poor. 

Anyway, both of these debates are more instructive than anything I learned in college and infinitely more practical.  Please keep these coming.     
I wasn't crazy about the format in practice, as it prevented either interlocutor from really pinning the other down, but I think it was both fair and useful in that it illuminated the arguments for both sides, at least for those capable of following them. I suspect it can be improved, but regardless, it wasn't bad for a first experiment.

On the other hand, it has been rather remarkable to witness the slack-jawed astonishment of the lesser free trade advocates, who completely lack the ability to even begin processing the simplest of my anti-free trade arguments.
Who is this guy? I highly question his economic understanding.

All five of his opening arguments are extremely weak. For example, he puts forward the notion that decreased real incomes and increased indebtedness proves free trade doesn't work. I mean, are you serious? How can anyone make such a stupid argument? As if free trade is the only determinant of real incomes and indebtedness, that domestic economic and fiscal policy has nothing to do with it? How naive must he be to think everything bad that happens domestically can only be explained by free trade. People give this Day guy too much credit.
This is further evidence of the inability to communicate across the 30-point IQ gap. The gentleman clearly doesn't realize that he is attacking the same correlation-causation argument that I am, only he is doing so considerably less competently because he doesn't understand that I am not making an anti-free trade argument per se, but rather, explaining the falsity of a very common free trade argument.

He makes the same mistake twice,in fact, as he also fails to understand that I am citing an empirical failure of the theoretical free trade model when it comes to quality:
The example he provides to show that protectionism promotes quality products was the example of Parmesan cheese in the EU, where producers of a definite kind of Parmesan of a cultural value get the legal monopoly on labeling the product vis-a-vis imported versions. In his opinion, the protected cheese is of much better quality.

Well, I guess that's the case for government imposition of restrictions on trade, to ensure the nation state has high quality cheese.
Notice how free trade advocates are reliably dishonest, in that they make appeals to exceptions when it suits them and deny the legitimacy of such appeals even when the exception is valid because it disproves the free trade model. I could as easily say that one very common case for the removal of government restrictions on trade is to ensure the nation state has high-quality automobiles.

How is it intellectually legitimate for free traders to point to low-quality American autos in the 1970s as a meaningful example, but illegitimate for anti-free traders to point to high-quality Italian cheeses in the 2010s as an equally meaningful one? Especially when the latter clearly disproves the assertion that government protection necessitates lower quality goods for the domestic market.

What I found particularly amusing were those critics who simultaneously complained that I was making non-economic arguments, then insisted that my position was immoral or in violation of the human right to freely engage in economic activity. It never even crossed their mind that their arguments were considerably less economic in nature than my own.

One thing I've noticed is that midwits reliably fail to understand the difference between a positive argument and the critique of an opposing argument. This explains why so many people are, on the one hand, saying that my arguments are weak while so many others are impressed at how I have methodically destroyed the pro-free trade arguments. It rather reminds me of the atheist response to TIA, in which many of them expressed disappointment in the weakness of my arguments for the existence of God.

But they were only weak in that they did not exist at all. They were an altogether different creature, being critiques and debunkings of dozens of arguments against the existence of God.

Labels: , ,

61 Comments:

Anonymous Peter Garstig June 22, 2016 6:38 AM  

in violation of the human right to freely engage in economic activity.

"Freely engag"e also means not needing to engage at all. Or just under certain conditions.

Blogger Chris Jackson June 22, 2016 6:50 AM  

"All five of his opening arguments are extremely weak. For example, he puts forward the notion that decreased real incomes and increased indebtedness proves free trade doesn't work. I mean, are you serious? How can anyone make such a stupid argument? As if free trade is the only determinant of real incomes and indebtedness, that domestic economic and fiscal policy has nothing to do with it? How naive must he be to think everything bad that happens domestically can only be explained by free trade. People give this Day guy too much credit."

Not An Argument. All this person did was say "that's silly" in several different ways without supporting the notion at all.

Blogger weka June 22, 2016 6:54 AM  

@1 There is no right to engage in economic activity. There are limits on what count: for instance, gambling, including sports betting, prostitution, and monopolies are legal (and state sanctioned) where I live.

There are always regulations, laws and tariffs. Having the balance between regulation and the market is something each society chooses.

Better societies have people who have some skin in the game make those decisions. Such people are almost never economists or public servants.

Blogger Cataline Sergius June 22, 2016 7:20 AM  

Notice how free trade advocates are reliably dishonest, in that they make appeals to exceptions when it suits them and deny the legitimacy of such appeals even when the exception is valid because it disproves the free trade model

It's religion and a lot them have private doubts gnawing at them. Naturally those are the ones that preach dogma the loudest.

"Theology is an instrument that allows agnostics to stay within the church." -- Sir Humphrey Appleby

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 22, 2016 7:21 AM  

One thing I've noticed is that midwits reliably fail to understand the difference between a positive argument and the critique of an opposing argument

My running theory is that people in this range have fundamental deficiencies in perceiving cause-effect relations, because they rely so heavily on pure association.

So if you imagine that a simple association goes both ways, then for instance racism is related to Hitler. A person who makes this association can simultaneously believe that Hitler caused German racism, and German racism caused Hitler (without contradiction), because firing one heavily associated synapse always fires the other without respect to direction.

(Nevermind the idea of feedback loops, we haven't gotten anywhere near that in terms of cognitive ability.)

In order to have a strong sense of cause-effect relations, the incorrect direction has to be suppressed in response to cognitive dissonance over time.

Anonymous Faceless June 22, 2016 7:24 AM  

Why does GM exist? The Silverado.
Why does Ford exist? The F-150.
Why do those trucks exist uniquely in America and Canada? The chicken tax.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 22, 2016 7:26 AM  

So in effect, a midwit could be defined as a clever person who doesn't experience much cognitive dissonance from contradictions.

A better example is a parent's attitude toward kids going to college. They can simultaneously believe "kids don't need to go to college to have financial success" and "my kid is going to college because it's the way to financial success", and will often say one right after the other in the same conversation.

Blogger Shimshon June 22, 2016 7:30 AM  

This type of response has been common in my own egagements on this as well as immigration/open borders. It appears to be an almost willful disregard of the arguments presented. Along with an almost fanatical devotion to the "Austrian Theory" (intentional scare quotes). They also misunderstand that the theory is attempt to model reality as it exists, not some theoretical and ideal facsimile, which is what other economists do.

If anyone is interested, and I would appreciate feedback if you are, I have had two such encounters in the last few days.

EPJ - The first quote mentioned by Bob is from me commenting to a previous post of his.

Jewish Libertarian

Anonymous SciVo June 22, 2016 7:35 AM  

Aeoli Pera wrote:One thing I've noticed is that midwits reliably fail to understand the difference between a positive argument and the critique of an opposing argument

My running theory is that people in this range have fundamental deficiencies in perceiving cause-effect relations, because they rely so heavily on pure association.


That's a good theory. Low IQ have trouble distinguishing b, d, p, and q because they're the same shape. It makes sense that there would also be a level of cognition that has trouble distinguishing direction of causation.

Blogger Markku June 22, 2016 7:35 AM  

No, midwit is defined quite simply as someone who falls in the region between average intelligence, and high intelligence. Someone with IQ 120 is the canonical midwit.

Blogger Markku June 22, 2016 7:38 AM  

There are the dimwits, and above them are the midwits.

Blogger Lazarus June 22, 2016 7:42 AM  

Aeoli Pera wrote:

My running theory is that people in this range have fundamental deficiencies in perceiving cause-effect relations, because they rely so heavily on pure association.


People with incipient alzheimer's are triggered like that.
They will latch on to one thing that happens and will go off on a spiel about something that may not be necessarily related.

As if a tape is playing in their head.

Blogger Nate June 22, 2016 8:03 AM  

"Who is this guy? I highly question his economic understanding."

reminds me of the fellow that didn't get the "Free Trade is a slave mindset" comment.

Blogger VD June 22, 2016 8:25 AM  

So in effect, a midwit could be defined as a clever person who doesn't experience much cognitive dissonance from contradictions.

For varying degrees of clever, I suppose. A midwit is actually just a person of modestly above average intelligence. Because they are smarter than MOST people, they wrongly tend to assume they are highly intelligent. In IQ terms, up to about +1.5 SD. When they can't understand the product of a higher intelligence, they tend to declare it either crazy or stupid.

The genuine high intelligences grasp that there are significant intelligences both above and below them; their response to something they don't understand is to seek to understand it.

Blogger VD June 22, 2016 8:28 AM  

What most midwits simply cannot, or will not, grasp is that they are less able to follow me than the average person they generally hold in contempt is able to understand them.

Dismissing me as stupid and ignorant is a necessary salve to their pride.

Blogger James Dixon June 22, 2016 8:32 AM  

> In IQ terms, up to about +1.5 SD. When they can't understand the product of a higher intelligence, they tend to declare it either crazy or stupid. ... The genuine high intelligences grasp that there are significant intelligences both above and below them; their response to something they don't understand is to seek to understand it.

A functional education system should be able to explain this flaw to people of average to above average intelligence and train to how to avoid it. But then we haven't had a functional education system in this country for at least 50 years now.

Blogger Derek Kite June 22, 2016 8:36 AM  

The only things Austrians get right is the notion that bad ideas prosper when there isn't a limiting factor. Other economic schools have this magical thinking that processes such as the market, free trade, government regulation and the like are destined to produce wonderful results because wonderfulness is that natural state.

It isn't. Free markets don't magically create great products and services. Free markets kill bad ones, quickly and efficiently.

Free trade isn't working because the limiting factor is ignored. There is a case to be made how foreign competition forces local enterprise to sharpen up. But there is also a case to be made that currently the foreign competition and extremely low cost goods provide a cover for failed economic structures in the high cost economies of the west.

You can federally mandate the reconfiguration of all the bathrooms in the United States only when there are below cost fixtures, labor, construction materials available via imports and immigrant labor.

And only an economist would consider that productive economic activity.

Nassim Taleb described the one opera singer required in a globalized world. It is an untenable situation and it won't continue.

Blogger PoseidonAwoke June 22, 2016 8:54 AM  

> "I mean, are you serious? How can anyone make such a stupid argument?"
Carl the Cuck uttered these same word, which are now as internet-famous as
"It is [the current year]" as a defense of policy. Sad!

Blogger dienw June 22, 2016 9:21 AM  

4. Cataline Sergius
Quoting fictional, cynical BBC characters is not winning an argument. We are going to have to add a sub-category to the fallacy of appealing to authority.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

Anonymous Toddy Cat June 22, 2016 9:36 AM  

"I did not vote to make my country poorer so as to make the rest of the world richer. I am a Christian, but my benevolence is my decision, not one forced on me by my government."

A good point, but there is very little evidence that free trade has actually helped the world's poor, and plenty of evidence that it has hurt the very poorest. The book "Free Trade doesn't Work" has an entire chapter on this. As so often happens, Christianity and common sense are in agreement here...

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian June 22, 2016 9:52 AM  

I am surely a midwit, yet I do follow Vox's thought process enough to grasp, "Let reason be silent when experience gainsays it's existence".

This is the key to me. These men that are probably much higher IQ than I cannot see the truth of the reality around them.

Debt, inflation, cheap goods that do not last a lifetime. These matter whether they hand wave by them or not.

I have kept a huge double set of flatware (made of steel) that my grandmother had (Mrs. Cimmerian thinks it ugly, I would say utilitarian). The stuff could be re-purposed for battlefield they are so strong and enduring.

You cannot find the like today.

Blogger PW June 22, 2016 10:11 AM  

The Atlantic (liberal propaganda, I know) had a great article on how the history of protectionism and economic growth (in 1993): http://www.theatlantic.com/past/politics/foreign/jfhww.htm

Some choice quotes:

" Yes, indeed--ask Hong Kong. Since the end of the Second World War its policy has generally been laissez-faire. Compared with the rest of Asia, Hong Kong interferes less, plans less, and leaves market forces more on their own. What has been the result? During the 1980s the real earnings of Hong Kong's people rose more slowly than those of the people of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan. It is a busy, bustling entrepot of merchants, especially those handling commerce in and out of China. But as an industrial center it is falling behind its neighbors."

"These countries varied in countless ways, of course. The United Kingdom had a huge empire; the United States had a huge frontier; Japan had the advantage of applying technology the others had invented. Yet these success stories had one common theme, Lazonick showed. None of the countries conformed to today's model of "getting-prices right" and putting the consumer's welfare first. All had to "cheat" somehow to succeed."

"Yet the British theorists did not ask themselves why their products were so advanced, why "the world market...in the late eighteenth century was so uniquely under British control." The answer would involve nothing like laissez-faire."

"What America actually did while industrializing is not what we tell ourselves about industrialization today. Consumer welfare took second place; promoting production came first. A preference for domestic industries did cost consumers money. A heavy tariff on imported British rails made the expansion of the American railroads in the 1880s costlier than it would otherwise have been. But this protectionist policy coincided with, and arguably contributed to, the emergence of a productive, efficient American steel industry."

History is on your side Vox--protectionism is superior to free trade.

Blogger Alexander June 22, 2016 10:18 AM  

It rather reminds me of the atheist response to TIA, in which many of them expressed disappointment in the weakness of my arguments for the existence of God.

Oh, good. For a minute there I thought that a bunch of free trade advocates had run off to Nevada to become hookers.

Blogger Alexander June 22, 2016 10:24 AM  

The argument 'makes the country richer' also ignores the key point that only someone with an economics degree is foolish enough to believe anyone really cares if a given geographical square is rich, in and of itself.

Afterall, there's more wealth concentrated in my box of the world, but I think you'd have a hard time convincing the Cherokee that everything played out for the best.

It's the people in your square that matter, not the square itself. Any argument about enriching a location implicitly suggests the people are an expendable variable.

People able to catch that are unlikely to remain fans of free trade for very long, particularly when they're the variable in question.

Anonymous Roundtine June 22, 2016 10:38 AM  

Austrians assume all action is rational.
Austrians do not aggregate time preference or make value judgments (when sticking to the economy).
Austrians believe in private borders, but oppose national borders because they don't want to be part of the group.

Most of the conflict over free trade hits on these assumptions/beliefs.

Blogger allyn71 June 22, 2016 10:43 AM  

When I first read Mises and Rothbard they were powerful and rational.

Now that they are being challenged openly from the right instead of the left their defenders all seem to be hand wavers with varying degrees of Aspberger's.

Spurge on Aspie, spurge on.

Blogger 罗臻 June 22, 2016 10:43 AM  

foolish enough to believe anyone really cares if a given geographical square is rich

The Austrians are quick to point out there is no "national deficit," GDP is a made up statistic. Yet when it comes time to defend free trade, they abandon the individual liberty argument in the context of gains because it is quite obviously not evenly distributed. A good starting point is to ask if your debate opponent believes in the nation, or if they value their neighbor over someone in Thailand. Often times these debates are pointless because the other side will openly admit they do not.

Blogger allyn71 June 22, 2016 10:44 AM  

@27

+1 Asian symbol guy.

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents June 22, 2016 10:51 AM  

Clearly mainstream economists and their fanboys are not at all used to having to defend their positions in any rigorous way. Their intellectual “muscles” are weak and flabby; the constant flip flopping between rhetoric and dialectic shows this.

From the outside, mainstream economics looks pretty much like a yuge exercise in groupthink.

Blogger praetorian June 22, 2016 11:10 AM  

I mean, are you serious?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

End of the day, free trade requires free movement of people, full stop. If you don't want completely unrestricted movement of people (well, do you punk?) you don't want completely unrestricted free trade.

Libritaricucks would sell their children into a Brazilian hell-hole for the right price. Oh wait, they already have, and that price was inexpensive flat screen TVs.

*golf clap*

Blogger August June 22, 2016 11:12 AM  

As much as Austrians don't like models, I think there would be interesting results modeling some of their ideas. I'd like to see time preference and banning fractional reserve banking put into Minsky. Might to it myself if I get the time and manage to find a version of it that'll actually work on my computer.

Anonymous Gen. Kong June 22, 2016 11:29 AM  

25. Roundtime.
Austrians assume all action is rational. Austrians do not aggregate time preference or make value judgments (when sticking to the economy). Austrians believe in private borders, but oppose national borders because they don't want to be part of the group.

They also assume that rational people's economic interests trump all other interests or driving forces (like ideologies, religion, tribal identities, etc.). Like republican government and democratic elections, it never seems to dawn on Austrians that they don't have any followers in the ummah (or numerous other places). They also fail to factor in things like the rigged markets generated by legalized counterfeiting cartels - regularly referred to as "free market capitalism" by lying morons like Limbaugh, etc. Austrians are rather like theologians who argue over how many angels can fit upon the head of a pin - maybe interesting from a certain intellectual POV but quite detached from reality on the ground.

Blogger justaguy June 22, 2016 11:40 AM  

I’m outside of the midwit range by a bit and while I grasp that VD’s argument makes good points, I still need to think through several issues regarding what we call free trade. The basic logic and benefit of specialization have brought wonders to society and mankind as a whole and the issues I’m grappling with are what other factors are involved in the negative consequences VD brings up as caused by free trade. Meaning if we can isolate some of the effects we can determine where the backlash outweighs the good i.e trade with Britian or northern European modern country ok, trade with third world bad?
That said, it is pretty obvious economics took a wrong fork when politics started using it to justify policies (no science or discipline survives contact with politics, politics and the ruling class will always coopt it for its uses.) The current orthodoxy has become so ensorcelled with models and methodology that the fact it has no predictive or other uses is lost to the many many econ PhDs who have advanced mathematics, but nothing worthwhile other than supporting calls for more government spending.

I view VD’s arguments in as two set: one economic- attacking the basic theory of free trade by denoting the logical/mathematic fallacies that derive from going from simple solutions to complex real-world ones; and second a values attack on the unanticipated results of free trade from a civilization/nationalist standpoint. For the first I would think that Mises methodology would handle these issues, but do not know the outcomes. We really don’t have Austrians thinking about the econ and math issues VD raised, they are all too defensive about being the ignored branch of economics. I’m basically okay with Austrian economic theory but never understood how it was summed up beyond the thought problems Mises proposed. In other words, Austrians have issue going from individual to the economy at large, and maybe that is okay. So, hopefully VD’s issues here will cause some thinking and new avenues of research.

For the second, the impact of free trade on nations and nationalism I have an affinity for these arguments. As a nationalist, and a realist, I understand that all people are naturally tribal and nationalism allows tribalism to transcend into a greater larger tribe within some limits. Civilization was built by nations and nationalism, and I agree with Rothbard that open immigration (free trade in people) has tremendous downsides and should not part of free trade. I’m hoping that once some theory and clear thinking get put into place, that the result will still allow the effects of specialization (I really don’t want my grandchildren to be subsistence farmers.) The globalist impact of free trade on nationhood appears to be tremendous, but with the other attack by the ruling class (think leftist, with enablers) on the concept of nations, I can’t rule out that many of the bad impacts we see are also caused by the globalist polices put into effect by the elite. So would NAFTA have had the same effect if immigration was pre-1965 (very very limited, little or no illegal immigration), a decent education system and the welfare state was small? Is the effect we are seeing from NAFTA (large joblessness with no offsetting jobs created and little wage raises) caused by our retrograde education system that does not teach (purposely I think) the young to think and adapt combined with the “plantation effect policies” that encourages displacement and helplessness for political goals as well as the huge illegal (30+ million to date) and legal immigration? If the low skill jobs that NASFTA sent to Mexico were replaced by those displaced citizens finding other more productive employment would there be the same issues?

Bottom line: VD brings up very good points that have been obvious for quite a while, and they need much more discussion and thought instead of being tossed into the “crack-pot” pile and ignored

Blogger praetorian June 22, 2016 11:41 AM  

OT: Trump, killing it.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 22, 2016 12:04 PM  

So in effect, a midwit could be defined as a clever person who doesn't experience much cognitive dissonance from contradictions.

This isn't - as Markku and Vox have pointed out - the definition of a midwit, but rather a characteristic commonly observed about them. It's almost that Aeoli got cause and effect mixed up here...

But I think he is onto something about most midwits. They are able to form abstract thought patterns (setting them apart from dimwits), but aren't good at connecting feedback loops to those patterns (differentiating them from really smart people). Understanding a critique of an argument requires a feedback loop, but positive arguments are all feed-forward, so they prefer the latter and dismiss the former as not making any sense.

It makes them really susceptible to dogma

Blogger RobertT June 22, 2016 12:10 PM  

"Who is this guy? I highly question his economic understanding."

This guy thinks he's smarter than he is, and isn't afraid to showcase it.

Blogger RobertT June 22, 2016 12:14 PM  

"he doesn't understand that I am not making an anti-free trade argument per se, but rather, explaining the falsity of a very common free trade argument."

Who doesn't do this in any argument they've ever been in? It's a natural response to refute points the opponents make.

Blogger Natalie June 22, 2016 12:22 PM  

By that definition I'm a midwit and a female to boot, and I can still follow much of what Vox posts here. There's more to midwittery than middling IQ.

Blogger Natalie June 22, 2016 12:23 PM  

Markku wrote:No, midwit is defined quite simply as someone who falls in the region between average intelligence, and high intelligence. Someone with IQ 120 is the canonical midwit.

And the above was supposed to be a response to Markku

Anonymous Jack Amok June 22, 2016 12:25 PM  

You can federally mandate the reconfiguration of all the bathrooms in the United States only when there are below cost fixtures, labor, construction materials available via imports and immigrant labor.

Another problem with free trade (globalism in general) is that it allows governments to hide the impact of their meddling on productivity. A furniture maker in Oregon closed down its factory and is now shipping logs to China and then shipping the finished furniture back for sale in the US because OSHA, the EPA, and workers comp regulations made it prohibitively expense to run a place with spinning blades, whirring bits, and chemicals. The pulp mills in my home town were shuttered and re-opened in Chile. I'm sure others can fill in more stories.

It's part of a common pattern for failed government - mask failures by enlisting outsiders, one way or another.

Blogger LP9 Solidified in Gold! Rin Integra June 22, 2016 12:29 PM  

Nein, non way, I'm MPAI and I declare Vox has the complete expertise here. Of course I must read or listen to those whom disagree and debate., its all good to explore for the sake of a new found understanding.

Our host, Vox Day doesn't even need econo degree to be an expert and a completely credible source regarding all schools of thought/matters in Econ.

Vox Day remains a stable, rational, reliable source regarding a host of issues in econ. VD has proven to be a reliable, trustworthy source in many industries or many areas, its called genius.

Anonymous BGKB June 22, 2016 12:37 PM  

8 Shimshon- I posted in support of you on the jewish libertian blog, since it probably wont make it thru moderation I will put part of it here:
" about minorities reshaping things in host cultures"

The reason most gay Jews fear Bibi Netanyahu more than moslem beheaders is they don’t get real news. They think that because religious Jews are the only ones that are breeding, people like Bibi will be able to take away gay rights in Israel, which they would only escape to if things went badly in their host nation. Every gay pride film festival has at least one film of an Israeli guy falling in love with an arab moslem rent boy, & gay Jews think that’s how Israel is. Do you really want those gay Jews coming to Israel to undermine it like Graham Spanier undermined South Africa so he could have black boys before overseeing pedo coverups in Nebraska and PSU?

Blogger James Dixon June 22, 2016 12:47 PM  

> Might to it myself if I get the time and manage to find a version of it that'll actually work on my computer.

Compiling from the source on Sourceforge isn't for the weak of heart. :) I took a look at it, but gave up when I realized how many dependencies there would be. I think they have a version you can install on OpenSuse, but that appears to be it.

However, the current beta seems to have a Windows build and can be downloaded from https://sourceforge.net/projects/minsky/files/beta%20builds/

Anonymous BGKB June 22, 2016 12:55 PM  

Trump offers matching donations to his own campaign.


Steve,

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And, I'm going to help make it the most successful introductory fundraising email in modern political history by personally matching every dollar that comes in WITHIN THE NEXT 48 HOURS, up to $2 million!

Steve, this means any donation you make between $1 and $2,700 (the maximum allowable contribution) will be matched, dollar-for-dollar.

OpenID aew51183 June 22, 2016 1:12 PM  

@30

"End of the day, free trade requires free movement of people, full stop. If you don't want completely unrestricted movement of people "

Free movement of people is simply impossible.

Even if the borders vanish, name me one self-respecting American worker who would submit themselves to the cartel warfare in Mexico or the severe authoritarian censorship of China.

Anonymous LastRedoubt June 22, 2016 1:19 PM  


@14 @VD

The genuine high intelligences grasp that there are significant intelligences both above and below them; their response to something they don't understand is to seek to understand it.

Midwits - just smart enough to think they're smart and look down on the average, but not smart enough to realize they're not REALLY smart.

I have far more respect for the typical "average". In my experience, the average people may not have the curiosity to "go and understand" - but are generally more willing to aknowledge tehy don't, and ask for clarification / simplification to "just tell me what I need to know to decide"



@15

What most midwits simply cannot, or will not, grasp is that they are less able to follow me than the average person they generally hold in contempt is able to understand them.

Dismissing me as stupid and ignorant is a necessary salve to their pride.


The average person can certainly understand the contempt the common midwit feels for them.

The common midwit projects being corrected as the contempt they themselves hold.

@Conan the Cimmerian

You likely underestimate yourself. or have offsetting wisdom.



@35 jack Amock

But I think he is onto something about most midwits. They are able to form abstract thought patterns (setting them apart from dimwits), but aren't good at connecting feedback loops to those patterns (differentiating them from really smart people). Understanding a critique of an argument requires a feedback loop, but positive arguments are all feed-forward, so they prefer the latter and dismiss the former as not making any sense.

It makes them really susceptible to dogma


Food for thought

Anonymous Alexander, #10 June 22, 2016 2:15 PM  

@40

Another benefit of tariffs: If the government insists that some things are such a moral imperative that it is absolutely necessary for businesses to carry the cost of such... then it's absurd that we allow a 'ship logs to China' loophole.

At an absolute minimum, a tariff to equalize those requirements.

And if it's not actually one of those things we really feel strongly about, but are government insists companies do anyway, because why not, then it needs to stop doing that.

Anonymous Alexander, #10 June 22, 2016 2:16 PM  

So really, Tariffs (like Science!) is a "self-correcting" process.

I look forward to the progressive "I fucking love Tariffs!" facebook profile.

Blogger Spencer Rathbun June 22, 2016 2:21 PM  

In short, a midwit is not wise a la Proverbs. He isn't correctable.

Blogger weka June 22, 2016 4:03 PM  

@39 People overvalue "G" intelligence. There is a lot to be said for reflecting on experience, and listening to those who are brighter than you or have lived through times you would prefer not to. That requires effort.

Most people don't want to make that effort. If it cannot fit on a tweet, they won't read it. You are not your IQ score. There are plenty of people at +3SD who function in midwit mode.

@33 Agreed: the model is not the economy.

That said, it is pretty obvious economics took a wrong fork when politics started using it to justify policies (no science or discipline survives contact with politics, politics and the ruling class will always coopt it for its uses.) The current orthodoxy has become so ensorcelled with models and methodology that the fact it has no predictive or other uses is lost to the many many econ PhDs who have advanced mathematics, but nothing worthwhile other than supporting calls for more government spending.

With the politicization of the measurement of indices such as GDP or inflation or unemployment. I tend to use my eyes. How many shops are closed? How well are the people dressed? How full are the coffee shops or McDonalds, because that is one of the last places discretionary spending stops?

The numbers can look very good: the offical GDP in NZ is up 2.3%. But the money is going into a property bubble: most of the populace were burnt by the stock market in 1987 or 1997 or 2004 and think property is safe (it is not). The number of closed shops is increasing, and I don't have to queue for an espresso.

When one side has but models, anecdote has more validity: each business is its own trial, with the home and savings of a couple frequently the stakes.

As we cannot do RCTs, I monitor those with skin in the game.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 22, 2016 4:29 PM  

Jack Amok wrote:This isn't - as Markku and Vox have pointed out - the definition of a midwit, but rather a characteristic commonly observed about them. It's almost that Aeoli got cause and effect mixed up here...


My problem is I'm not smart enough for what I do.

And I should have used the term "clever silly" to disambiguate from "smart redneck", which is another common type that occupies the 115-130 IQ region but doesn't have this particular problem.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 22, 2016 4:33 PM  

weka wrote:@39 People overvalue "G" intelligence.

Generally, it's not valued or appreciated highly enough. However, we should pay attention to the times where it breaks down because this yields insights like the neanderthal-Asperger's theory. So, g predicts that social skills and social success increase with intelligence, which is true in the high-resolution range of IQ tests (70-130) but ceases to be strictly true above that.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 22, 2016 5:58 PM  

weka wrote:You are not your IQ score. There are plenty of people at +3SD who function in midwit mode.

This is true to the extent that it's a good point, although typically what you find in this range is people who pursue deep, narrow knowledge and prefer to maximize local coherence over holistic reasoning. They do okay in technical specialties but this approach doesn't translate well to human affairs.

Blogger Groot June 22, 2016 6:41 PM  

@25. Roundtine:
"Austrians assume all action is rational."

This mistaken impression is an unfortunate side effect of poor word choice by Mises, whether because he sucked at word choice or because he natively spoke German I don't know (he can be a real slog to read). What he meant by "rational" was purposeful, intentional, having agency and preferences. It emphatically does not require all people to be purely logical Vulcans. "Human Action" (the title of his greatest work) more clearly reflects this.

"Austrians do not aggregate time preference or make value judgments (when sticking to the economy)."

Sorry, wrong again. The Marginal Revolution in economics of the early 1870s, one of the most important inflection points in economics, is sometimes called subjective economics, specifically because of the huge importance they placed on value judgments. Carl Menger, the father of Austrian Economics, was one of the three instigators of that Revolution. It is what replaced the labor theory of value.

"Austrians believe in private borders, but oppose national borders because they don't want to be part of the group."

I don't know where this came from. If you've been arguing with someone who believes this and he is trying to pass this off as something all Austrians believe, he is incorrect.

@26. allyn71:
"Now that they are being challenged openly from the right instead of the left their defenders all seem to be hand wavers with varying degrees of Aspberger's. Spurge on Aspie, spurge on."

I'll just assume you're projecting here. Name-calling requires no wit at all. There has never been a time when the Austrian school has not been challenged from both right and left.

@30. praetorian:
"End of the day, free trade requires free movement of people, full stop."

It is an interesting proposition, but, insofar as anyone has even heard of it, it is highly controversial. Promoting it requires deft arguments. If "full stop" is your best argument, then you only aspire to midwittery, and must remain Galadriel.

@52. Aeoli Pera:
"'weka wrote:
'@39 People overvalue "G" intelligence.'

"Generally, it's not valued or appreciated highly enough"

I agree with you. There's a take-off point representing a positive feedback loop, where not only following along, but reading, researching and putting new ideas leads to not only novel insights, but allows access to writing by other smart people whom you would simply not have found. Looking things up is reflex. Reading a book is a snap. I read Robert Murphy's book Choice because this debate made me curious.

Anonymous Eric the Red June 22, 2016 6:53 PM  

The relative speed or quantity of an economic change can cause various tipping points in the effected economic structure, such that any associated theory is voided. There is no economic school that really focuses on tipping points at which things fail, turn into their opposite, or otherwise stop acting ceteris paribus as assumed.

Blogger Joe A. June 22, 2016 7:47 PM  

Ya... they're taking shits all over Vox at Tom Woods' Youtube of the debate... unfortunately there is nothing of substance to be found in any of their commentary. I invited them to comment here, but I don't think they're brave enough to.

Blogger Vishal Mehra June 23, 2016 2:36 AM  

The Austrians critically fail to appreciate the point that the private borders only exist because the national borders do.
They do not make requisite distinction between a property and a territory.
Property is something owned, territory is something possessed.
Owning is through arguments, possessing is through brute force.
Nations possess their territories, individuals own their properties within the national territories.

A rule of law is necessary to have ownership and property in the first place. For the rule of law enables arguments (such as those presented in a court of law) to proceed to a conclusion. For instance, economics says that one acquires an unowned thing by mixing one's labor with it. But only a rule of law can define how much labor is required with precisely which thing as to realize a particular ownership relation.

Blogger Doc Rampage June 23, 2016 3:36 AM  

"How is it intellectually legitimate for free traders to point to low-quality American autos in the 1970s as a meaningful example, but illegitimate for anti-free traders to point to high-quality Italian cheeses in the 2010s as an equally meaningful one?"

Well, for one reason, the lower quality of American cars was an objective fact while the alleged high quality of Italian cheeses is a subjective opinion. And such subjective opinions are notoriously influenced by interests. The French scoffed at California wines for decades until some French wine experts made the mistake of participating in a blind comparison and preferred the California wines. They didn't even realize how subjective their judgment was.

For another thing, the argument isn't that lower quality inevitably accompanies trade protections. The argument is that there is a theoretical reason why trade protections would lead to a worse deal for consumers, typically either in higher prices or lower quality. The car quality is a confirmation of that theory because (1) the theory explained it and (2) there was no better explanation.

It's like finding the murder weapon in the suspect's car. It's not that there is no possible way the murder weapon could have gotten there if the suspect is innocent, but that the suspect's guilt is the best explanation, so it tends by that logic to confirm the suspect's guilt.

The opposite situation is not a refutation of the theory either in the free trade case or the murder case. There are lots of things that could have happened to the murder weapon and lots of ways that the Italian cheese could have ended up high-quality even though the economic incentives were not there.

Anonymous SciVo June 23, 2016 6:27 AM  

Alexander, #10 wrote:Another benefit of tariffs: If the government insists that some things are such a moral imperative that it is absolutely necessary for businesses to carry the cost of such... then it's absurd that we allow a 'ship logs to China' loophole.

At an absolute minimum, a tariff to equalize those requirements.

And if it's not actually one of those things we really feel strongly about, but are government insists companies do anyway, because why not, then it needs to stop doing that.


I've been saying that for years and years. The industrialists and labor/environmental activists are screaming at each other, "You want to hollow us out!" "No, you want a race to the bottom!" And the simple solution is a compensatory tariff that makes up for the difference in regulatory burden, but then the financiers screech like you just said "gas the Jews" or something.

Talk to any American who makes in the six figures or more, and it's as if tariff-free trade is such a holy principle that it's worth exporting jobs, bad working conditions, productive capacity, and pollution rather than sin against the neo-pagan goddess Columbia. Admit it: it would explain a lot if they're actually idol-worshipers.

It would be impossible for us to pivot to a war footing like we did in the past. We can't retool a factory that isn't here, even if we still had the tool & die makers (which we don't). But that doesn't mean we have to accept dangerous factories and dirty air and water. Just slap a damn tariff on them already.

Blogger praetorian June 23, 2016 10:38 AM  

It is an interesting proposition, but, insofar as anyone has even heard of it, it is highly controversial. Promoting it requires deft arguments. If "full stop" is your best argument, then you only aspire to midwittery, and must remain Galadriel.

Labor is an input for production of traded goods. For a market efficient allocation of labor, labor must be allowed to move, unrestricted, to where it is most needed/efficiently deployed. Therefore, your choices are either a sub-optimal market allocation of labor or open borders.

If you maintain labor mobility restrictions while, at the same time, allowing free trade across those restrictions, you disadvantage labor v. capital investment. And so we find it. The same logic applies to domestic environmental requirements, labor standards, quality requirements, etc.

I make no claims above midwit, m'lady.

Blogger Groot June 23, 2016 3:42 PM  

@55. Eric the Red:
"There is no economic school that really focuses on tipping points"

There was great excitement around 25 years ago about Complexity, Chaos and Emergence (these are highly readable books for the general public), but it's fizzled as tools haven't emerged that are very helpful. The subject awaits its Isaac Newton. Complexity economics is a thing, but a backwater, as well.

@57. Vishal Mehra:
"The Austrians critically fail to appreciate... Owning is through arguments, possessing is through brute force.
"A rule of law is necessary to have ownership and property in the first place."

I like your thinking: orderly, prepared to define terms, and drawing logical conclusions. You think like an Austrian. You're mixing up Austrians with Anarchists, however. While you're making up your own idiosyncratic vocabulary, though (the distinction between ownership and possession is your own personal language), all of your ideas are not only accepted, but central to libertarian thinking (within which the Austrians are subsumed and very influential). As a famous example, the American Founding Fathers established the US Constitution as a legalistic and honor-based means (including oaths taken by every elected official) of enacting the principles articulated by the Declaration of Independence. This established the nation, its borders, a legislative, executive and judicial system, fully concerned with law and its enforcement. All very libertarian (the term used today), not only not contradictorily but central to libertarianism.

@60. praetorian:
"I make no claims above midwit, m'lady."

You have to admit you feel better about stating your perspective so intelligently. And now we can debate your points intelligently. For instance, you list some different interests often enacted as legislation, some of which compete with each other, some of which can work together. Free Trade is one, Open Borders another, and environmental protection yet another. Compensating for Coasian negative externalities via environmental legislation doesn't necessarily entail hypocrisy on the Free Trade front. They're simply competing interests, as we struggle here in the real world.

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