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Hey Hubski. Good planet, good feast.
It's difficult not to feel somewhat alienated in the year 2019. I mean shit, most of my life feels like I've just been accumulating cultural credit cards. The high school diploma, the university degree, all these things are supposed to make me sound smart, but to who? And meanwhile all the time I sink into these things my body just gets older. And entering adult life where everyone goes a million different directions all these things are fading away in the background... did it even matter in the grand scheme of things? My point is, LinkedIn is an evil, evil website. #leadership #strategicgrowth #ilovemyalmamater #headshotinsuitinfrontofblurrybackground.
Lacroix is good shit though.
Okay, I'm going to sit and try to unpack this for a second. At first, reading Caplan's points made me think he was just oversimplifying. But dude, the things he says are downright offensive. I'm not sure if he's just being lazy or if he's genuinely such an amoralist that he can't anticipate what tf these things are going to sound like on the other end.
- Tenet #1: The main reason today’s workers have a decent standard of living is that government passed a bunch of laws protecting them.
Let's not forget about minimum wage laws here. Not to mention publicly-financed tuition at colleges in countries other than 'murica. And wages aside, labour laws exist to protect people from having to work 80+ hours a week, or do dangerous and illegal things. Pure compensation isn't the only factor here. Naturally, the standard of living in terms of pure $ doesn't come from government regulation but it's not the only factor at play here. Not dying in a workplace accident is pretty high on my list of priorities.
- Tenet #2: Strict regulation of immigration, especially low-skilled immigration, prevents poverty and inequality.
I haven't seen many people other than the GOP seriously argue this. Most lefty-liberal types are pro-immigration. "They're taking urr jobs" has been beated to death and shown to be wrong a million different ways.
- Tenet #3: In the modern economy, nothing is more important than education.
Assuming education is nothing but social signalling, it still confers value to its holder. The problem is education will always be social signalling unless you have a specific trade program teaching students individual tasks a), b), and c) required by your job. Which doesn't exist for most jobs because there are a million things required to do in the economy and not enough resources to design individual programs tailored to each. The signalling functions as both a sign of conformity and having enough intelligence to plow through a bachelor's degree. Learning terms of art is easier after that, because companies are lazy and would rather outsource competency. That being said, I don't necessarily disagree about credential inflation. But so many things we do are irrational.
- Critique: The welfare state primarily helps the old, not the poor – and 19th-century open immigration did far more for the absolutely poor than the welfare state ever has.
Okay, but raising the wages of the absolute poor isn't the issue here. The issue is i'm unemployed and might starve to death because I have no money. That's why unemployment insurance exists. And of course social security.
- Critique: Unless government requires discrimination, market forces make it a marginal issue at most. Large group differences persist because groups differ largely in productivity.
Okay, but the question is why do those differences in productivity exist. Because black people are lazy? Frankly this statement borders on offensive because the wage gap is only one facet of "racial and gender discrimination". Are we forgetting that 60 years ago there was no right to vote?
Political, social, discrimination don't exist. This is why Caplan has his head in his arse. He thinks by distilling everything down to a number he's solved every problem inherent in social organization.
- Critique: While women in the pre-modern era lived hard lives, so did men. The mating market led to poor outcomes for women because men had very little to offer. Economic growth plus competition in labor and mating markets, not feminism, is the main reason women’s lives improved.
Sooo... women's lives got better because their husbands started going straight to the bank. Again, the issue here is not absolute wages. This is what happens when you're so bone-headed you think the only metric that matters is income. Excuse me, the right to vote, second wave feminism (read The Feminine Mystique), not having your ass grabbed by your boss? Like maybe the violation of our most basic human rights might be important here? This is worse than Rev. Peterson.
- Critique: The positive externalities of population – especially idea externalities – far outweigh the negative. Reducing population to help the environment is using a sword to kill a mosquito.
Again, Economic growth > depleting all the Earth's available resources in Caplan's eyes, and assigning value to these things is not "rational".
- My 13-year-old homeschooled sons just finished my labor economics class. I hope they take many more economics classes, but I’ll be perfectly satisfied with their grasp of economics as long as they internalize what they learned this semester.
Hopefully when those kids successfully solve the extensive-form continuous game with imperfect information for their $9.95 they can go to a concert or something. In labour economics vs. the world, I'm putting my money on the world.
Yeah, it's ridiculous. A typical libertarian screed you'd see from econtalk. Essentially the argument is it's free, and sacrificing your data and privacy isn't an actual cost. So where are these companies making money then?
If you value your privacy and data, it is a cost. At this point it's just nitpicking over value judgments. The kind that economists refuse to believe are important in society to try and have some artificial moral high ground. Similarly, when I go to work, I love it, so it's not actually sacrificing anything for money! ROFLcopter.
There's a girl at my uni who was an art major. She told me she didn't think these kinds of people lived in the "real world". I thought it was funny how she flipped that on its head.
Regarding my interest in physics, I am obsessed by abstract math but am really obsessed with the dream of somehow materializing my dreams into hardware. When I first encountered the Schrodinger equation in 11th grade chemistry class I literally lost my shit. I love the condensed matter field, I would want to do what much more so than astronomy or string theory. I don't really give a hoot about whatever the origin of the universe was. I have a bit of masculine energy but not enough to make me want to be a mechanical engineer or something like that. I was studying economics for 2.5 years because like I said somewhere else on this site, I wanted to solve all the world's problems when I was 17. I'm a lot more cynical towards political processes now and am not sure what is good for people. I figure a good song or work of art can lift people up more than abstract social plans, and the community organizations I was a part of felt fake. I kind of hate political ideologies and law school now. I took my shitty BA and split because a lot of my classmates hated the gays and I don't want to die pegging the inflation rate at 1.75%. People in the physics department are chill as hell and joke about Karl Marx and hallucinogens. I'm like 21 now so I'm too old for both those things, but still beats hating the gays. What am I going to do, move to America and solve their political problems? Other countries aren't really as concentrated in wealth and power as that place.
If I do decide to pursue physics, I'm going to double or minor in computer science because writing software is my fall-back plan, because academic careers seem like the 9th circle of hell. I've never really given a shit about money. I ate bread for dinner one day when I was at work because I'm broke as shit. I suppose a true aristocrat owns nothing. Much more important than money is time. That being said, I find coding to be a bit too easy though. I taught myself how to code when I was 10 (sorry about the flex.... that's #middleclass). I had a domain name, blog I coded myself in PHP/mysql with content management system, apache server, validated login, hashing, input validation guard against SQL injection, pagination, whatever). Of course there are way harder things you can do in computer science and math, but I'm not sure if I'd get there unless I'm in the A.I. department of Google or academia. Also I don't find a lot of tech culture to be aesthetically pleasing.
Recap of the past few months. Went on a cruise, lamented being 20-something, nearly hurled myself off the boat in a moment of drunken sadness, returned to the disco and boogied down with some forty year old woman from South Korea (she looked way younger on the dance floor), saw a bunch of pictures of her kids, heard her say something extremely racist, friend smuggled weed on to the boat (only CBD), friend accidentally ordered porn on the TV box and had to call room service to get it to work, was terrified I was going to blink my eyes and be an elderly man who specializes in mortgages and be on that exact same ship, returned to Canada, returned to my $1 over minimum wage working grind where I'm a low level manager of high school students taking shit from everyone and never seeming able to work hard enough. Got transferred stores and am subjected to mysterious schedule changes the day my shift starts and am written up for not knowing), feeling jealous of my high school peers who are in med school (why?), or just majored in whatever would get them middle class quick, worked like a dog, developed a paranoid attitude that everyone hates me and thinks I'm a failure, did vector calculus for fun despite school not being in session, put many more songs on soundcloud despite it being immature.
Concluded that the reason I was bored as an adult is because I no longer have sex, drugs, and rock and roll in my life like when I was a teen. Decided to do that again and cried at what a waste of time and money it was. Did shitty ecstasy alone for the first time and read Hubski while turning up the phase shifter on a guitar track. Felt like a boulder the next day. Moved out of parents house (finally), learned how to cook (spaghetti), was berated only once by roommates for not cleaning up, picking classes for next year (5th year, because I majored in econ like a dummy). Discrete structures, algorithms, advanced calc, differential equations, I really want a fucking physics major but I feel like it's a really stupid road to go down despite my brain saying do it and I need to graduate asap. Worried I'm going to get too old for college stuff. Glad I didn't go to law school like I originally intended because my classmates were dumb. Debating whether "follow your heart" is ever a good idea or if pragmatism should reign supreme. Realizing that being bat shit crazy seems to be a common theme in my life and being an artist means one can't avoid following their heart if they fucking tried. Hearing parents non ironically mention us getting married and realizing I'm not a kid anymore.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I love you all.
Is this type of music okay for these threads? Fuck yeah.