Celebrity Experts

A few years ago Greg Cochran pointed out that western economists had been very wrong about the economic condition of the Soviet block countries. Paul Krugman had claimed that the East German economy was 80% of the West German economy. When the wall fell, what was revealed was a backward economy with environmental devastation and low quality consumer goods. All of this was obvious from the outside. All you had to do was take a look at the cars, which were a joke compared to the cheapest western cars.

The reason western economists were so laughably wrong about the Soviet economy is that it was worth their while to be wrong. The Left side of the ruling class wanted to believe the commies were doing well. They owned the media and the academy, so it is not hard to figure out the rest. That, of course, calls into the question the integrity of the field, but in reality they just believed what was convenient. Even PhD’s can delude themselves if it has social value. You see that in this post by celebrity economist Tyler Cowen.

Will Ethiopia become “the China of Africa”? The question often comes up in an economic context: Ethiopia’s growth rate is expected to be 8.5 percent this year, topping China’s projected 6.5 percent. Over the past decade, Ethiopia has averaged about 10 percent growth. Behind those flashy numbers, however, is an undervalued common feature: Both countries feel secure about their pasts and have a definite vision for their futures. Both countries believe that they are destined to be great.

Consider China first. The nation-state, as we know it today, has existed for several thousand years with some form of basic continuity. Most Chinese identify with the historical kingdoms and dynasties they study in school, and the tomb of Confucius in Qufu is a leading tourist attraction. Visitors go there to pay homage to a founder of the China they know.

This early history meant China was well-positioned to quickly build a modern and effective nation-state, once the introduction of post-Mao reforms boosted gross domestic product. That led to rapid gains in infrastructure and education, and paved the way for China to become one of the world’s two biggest economies. Along the way, the Chinese held to a strong vision that it deserved to be a great nation once again.

My visit to Ethiopia keeps reminding me of this basic picture. Ethiopia also had a relatively mature nation-state quite early, with the Aksumite Kingdom dating from the first century A.D. Subsequent regimes, through medieval times and beyond, exercised a fair amount of power. Most important, today’s Ethiopians see their country as a direct extension of these earlier political units. Some influential Ethiopians will claim to trace their lineage all the way to King Solomon of biblical times.

Cowen is either trying hard to please the Ethiopian economic and cultural ministers or he has spent too much time in the sun. The reason Ethiopia has seen growth rates tick up is the Chinese, and to a lesser degree India, have been investing. The reason they are investing is both are competing for control of the the Indian Ocean. In fact, the Chinese have invested in other East African countries, including a naval base in Djibouti. That’s why China and Indian are investing in East Africa. It’s a modern form of colonialism.

Further, comparing China and Ethiopia, at the civilization level, is a bit ridiculous. China is basically one people, the Han, with minority populations around the fringes. This has been true for a very long time. Ethiopia is a combination of pastoral and settled people, who see one another as rivals. The country is experiencing civil unrest, bordering on civil war, in response to the ruling Oromo minority. China has never had this issue. China also has an average IQ over 100, while Ethiopia is one of the lowest on earth, estimated below 70.

Now, economists are easy targets, because the profession has evolved into something similar to the celebrity chef racket. There’s not a lot of money in making good food and running a quality restaurant. There’s big money in being an entertaining chef with a TV show on cable television. Something similar has happened to economics. You don’t actually have to be very good at economics to get a spot in the commentariat. You just have to sing the praises of the managerial class and play the professorial role well.

Even so, it takes special talent to be this wrong about observable reality. Cowen’s trick, like most celebrity experts, is to couch his obsequiousness and nutty ideas in the form of a question. “Is Ethiopia the next China?” This way, when called on it, he can pretend it was just an intellectual exercise, a thought experiment. Meanwhile, he appears to be lending his authority to the rather ridiculous notion that Ethiopia is poised to be the next boom town. It is no wonder that so many in the managerial class are so vapid and silly.

It is tempting to dismiss this, but the proliferation of celebrity experts says something about the nature of managerialism. It has evolved a class of people that are luxury goods. They have no utility, other than to make the people inside feel special. The TED Talk is a great example. Cloud People pay to be told by a celebrity expert that their lives have purpose and they are on the side of angels. It’s not explicit, but the point of the expert is always to confirm the beliefs of the audience, rather than broaden their understanding.

If the celebrity expert was just the current version of the court jester, it would probably be harmless, but that’s not the case. The people making public policy have risen through the system, never having been told a discouraging word. They end up having opinions about the world that border on lunacy. The people running the Bush foreign policy really believed they could democratize the Middle East. They still believe this and they probably think East Africa is the next economic boom town. That’s what the experts tell them.

There is an argument that the proliferation of lawyers is responsible for the proliferation of laws. The extra lawyers, looking for a way to make a living, inevitably started to pervert the law to create opportunities for themselves. This results in more cases in court, that means more courts, more judges and then more laws to address the crazy outcomes. It is a bit of chicken and egg theory, but there is no question that having a lawyer for ever conceivable case has changed the nature of the law, as well as the volume of laws.

Something similar seems to be happening in the other parts of the managerial class. The excess of middling strivers, means an excess of mediocre men pitching themselves as experts. Since being an expert is hard, the more fruitful course is to tell the audience what they want to hear. As a result, in the public policy arena, the people charged with actually knowing stuff are surrounded by an amen chorus that cheers their every move. Instead of rule by expert, as some imagine, we have rule by people who never faced adversity.

72 thoughts on “Celebrity Experts

  1. LOL. I learned long ago, Z, that seeing the world as it is – is a sin. And it is an act of war to notice certain people’s places in it.

    • A favorite quote of mine:
      “We have now sunk to a depth at which re-statement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”
      —-George Orwell

      Simple, observed reality is terribly out of fashion and the cloud people look at you as if you tracking in dog crap from the outside if you are so gauche as to repeat empirical observation.

  2. Almost every talented young white maIe I know is going to law school. I suspect the reason might be that whites are being crowded out of STEM fields by competition from mathematical Asians. Seems that we are about to see an even more terrific glut of smart lawyers.

    • Law school admissions had been dropping steadily for some time. In 2015, they hit all time lows in the post-war era. Part of it is demographics. Part is opportunity. Applications picked up last year, with some saying it is the Trump effect. I’m not sure how that works. There is another trend and that is the decline in LSAT scores among applicants. Along with the decline in numbers, there is a decline in quality.

      • Interesting. What is your source for this information? I suppose it was the glut of lawyers that caused it.

      • Low end lawyers will be replaced by AI pretty soon. Young people probably grasp this.

        • Even some high end lawyers will be replaced by software. Big chunks of con law can be replaced with software now. For that matter, the enforcement of most contracts can be automated too, thus eliminating the need for that part of the court.

          • A.I. is excellent for legal research. Our system is based on common law and legal precedent. The deep-learni9ng neuro-nets that make up the A.I. technology are optimized for “”learning” this kind of system and coming up with the optimal strategies. Thus, legal research will become the domain of A.I. Litigation and other activities of law that require face to face contact with humans will remain the domain of humans. Thus, the hard part of being a lawyer will still be done by humans in the foreseeable future.

          • Once pretty much every entry into the status professions is closed off things are going to get interesting

            At that point about all that will remain is identity politics and virtue signalling though a lot of people will have a lot less money limiting the later.

            It wouldn’t surprise me if Pol Pot was right becomes a thing

            More seriously, society tomorrow will probably end up heavily regulated at a an almost medieval level for the simple reason it seems that every single society advanced past a certain point stops reproducing.

            Its a transition period now but even the elite need someone to rule over and if say everywhere gets current Puerto Rico level population decline a modest 1% , the people who pull the levers are going o panic faster than ever. You can’t have prosperity without demand and without work, you have neither families nor demand nor anyone to rule over

            Immigration doesn’t work either, Mexican TFR is the same as that of Whites and declining faster as is the Turkish in Germany and other groups elsewhere

            Toys R Us now set to cease to exist and having nothing to lose outright said this,

            http://www.businessinsider.com/toys-r-us-closes-millennials-babies-birth-rate-2018-3

            “Most of our end-customers are newborns and children and, as a result, our revenues are dependent on the birth rates in countries where we operate,” the filing said. “In recent years, many countries’ birth rates have dropped or stagnated as their population ages, and education and income levels increase. A continued and significant decline in the number of newborns and children in these countries could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.”

            A little population decline isn’t harmful but it cannot go on forever and note there are no population other than Africans and Muslims left to tap for human capital

            The elite will probably try this in some areas assuming they remain White and are not purged or replace but those groups can’t sustain modernity

            No matter how this plays out people get dumber and/or more religious (the most fertile white groups are Amish, some LDS and some Evangelicals) and the machines are controlled or kill off society

          • In the midst of running a proof using AI for contract analysis in the insurance business . Work normally done by junior GCs or outside counsel. Training the software is interesting, but reasonably expect 80% of the work will be done by “the machine” within two years.

          • Interesting. Its going to get stroppy when it comes down to ‘If machines have all the jobs, whose buying all the stuff?”

            The answer is “the State” and you’ll get Communism/Marxism or collapse , probably both

    • For any young guys reading this, don’t go to law school unless it’s free (or close to free) at a high-ranking school or you’re very connected through friends and family in law and/or politics. And even then, probably not a good idea.

      Just being smart and hard-working is not enough to succeed in the legal profession. And if you really are smart and hard-working, there are many easier, more pleasant ways to make a good living.

  3. Did some work years ago for Ethiopian brothers who had restaurants with their native cuisine. Tasty and different. That and they were the only black types except for a few that actually put their own money into a business.

    So what I’m saying that, yes, I can see a new super power coming from this 🙂
    Oh, and Krugman was, and always will be the supreme idiot serving his masters.

    • Yes, Krugman is a complete moron – at least at being an “economist”. Back in the 2005 -2008 era it seemed that Krugman was always popping up proclaiming some new piece of wisdom : ” The housing market will rise forever!!” ” The Federal Reserve should bail out everything !!! “.

      I know you slam libertarians ZMan – but I have to say: back in that era – when it was clear to myself and many people I knew that the ride simply could not last ….. it was the Lew Rockwell libertarian types and Austrian economist types who got things correct. Krugman and his cohorts were so drastically wrong it was comical. My somewhat naive brain thought: ” now that he’s been proven completely wrong maybe people will start paying attention to what’s really going on”.

      Now – ten years later – I think : “Yeah , good luck with that – people are just downright dumb – including a good many of the cloud people”

      • I’d say the cloud people are not only dumb, but hopeful. Very, very hopeful.

        • Being hopeful is a variation of being dumb.

          One of the things that has always stuck with me from taking psych classes back in college was hearing about studies where they looked at the views of depressed people vs. “happy” people – and how they perceived reality.

          Depressed people had a better grip on reality than the “happy” people did. I think this finding dovetails nicely with the whole leftist experiment and it’s insistence on living in fantasy land. THEY want to live in nice little happy world – and when somebody starts talking reality – the hammers of the Gods come down on their heads.

  4. There has to be a correlation between the number of “International Development” white papers and the number of wars/conflicts in third world areas. There must be.

    • Probably. I do know there’s a direct correlation between “amount of NGO ‘help'” and “being a hellhole.” William Easterly’s White Man’s Burden should be required reading for anyone wishing to say, let alone do, anything about Africa.

      • It should be a crime to give aid of any kind to Africa given the looming population boom of these destructive people. China is working with many African countries right now building infrastructure and trying to develop them. I wonder if they’ll keep the Africans at arm’s length rather than taking them in to their own society and trying to domesticate them. They must see the albatross the black demographic is to America — no gain, just pain and cost.

        • I have friends in Burundi, Kenya and Mozambique. According to them, Chinese will have no truck with the locals. They pay off the corrupt local and “federal” leaders to farm, mine, develop whatever. They bring in their own Chinese workers and all the products, profits, wages etc go back to China.
          China has never been a non “racist” people

          • If you watch the “Empire of Dust” on youtube you’ll know they use the approach they do.

          • Even though that is all true, the Chinese would use local labor but experience demonstrates it is very unreliable. The absence of future time orientation among the Bantu is what keeps Africa Africa. .

  5. “The reason Ethiopia has seen growth rates tick up is the Chinese, and to a lesser degree India, have been investing.”

    Yeah, but the real reason Ethiopia’s economy is “booming” is because if you earn 10 cents one year and 20 cents the next, your income has increased 100%! Why, that’s the largest in the world! All hail diversity! Of course, when you compare it to a country like China that had a GDP of $11 trillion in 2016 and only increased by $500 billion, that’s less than a 5% increase. Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

  6. I often begin a discussion/negotiation by stating “The less I know about a given subject/situation, the more of an Expert I am.”

    It can be a good icebreaker and it is important to remind myself to approach unknowns with humility. After all I am first and foremost an unabashed Fan! of my own ideas.

    Common sense and humility are increasingly rare in everyday social interactions. Let alone in ‘media’.
    .

  7. Ethiopia does have potential..but so much of that potential is undone by tribal politics and the presence of very low IQ muslims, somalis and bantus. As always, Diversity sucks.

    • I am an expert on Ethiopia, my last two cab drivers from the airport being Ethiopians. They were obviously from different tribes, one an elderly ex-college professor and the other a young fellow attending nursing school. I asked them the same question–is there any hope for Ethiopia? I got identical one word answers and no further comment.

      • Had one of those on long Uber ride in CA. 30s, finishing a graduate degree in mechanical engineering. Christian. Told me back in Ethiopia, all his family, including him had to join militias, simply for self-defense against Muslim encroachment. Basically a shit show, even for reasonably well educated families like his. No future. At all.

        • Chatted with another in Atlanta, this one a Christian. You could tell he had a good soul, it just leaked out of him.

          Nonetheless, I’ve never met someone so haunted. This guy had lived through true hell.

  8. The degree to which they can’t accept, or choose the ignore, the differences between China and Ethiopia, may correlate very closely to the degree to which they can’t accept, or choose to ignore, the IQ question. I suspect that correlation is real.

  9. These so called “experts” typically view the world from the comfort of their office as they want to believe it exists. They know that going out into the field and seeing how things really are first hand is extremely risky. Because there’s nothing more terrifying or more dangerous than coming face to face with the truth.

  10. This posting is a good description of the so-called “experts”. Let me tell you, this problem is especially rampant in medicine as well.

  11. Nice tie in with your post from the 28th — The Dull Man’s Burden. And the same question arose in my mind as I read these two: What do we do about it?

    No sarcasm and criticism intended. These are great analyses. These and many others like them are a critical step. From these, and many other clear explications of the otherwise nearly incomprehensible threat we face, we are getting a good picture of what we must know if we have the slightest chance of regaining / maintaining our culture, our nation, history, traditions and freedoms — our very history. But all of this screams the follow-on question — What do we do?

    Certainly, most of us in this and other fora are likely not in a position to engage in grand unification, movement development, strategy development or implementation and significant leadership. But perhaps we could somehow force this necessary step to coalesce.

    As a retired military officer, I look at the tremendous commentary I read daily as akin to an intel analysis and statement of the threat. But overall, we all seem to stop there. Yes, there are some small actions on our side, but nothing with even the barest resemblance to what is coming from the LEFT / Uniparty / Cloud People / “counter-culture” etc etc. But many of those actions seem to originate from the more unstable corners of this group being systemically marginalized and positioned for extermination.

    NOTE: And as an aside, I think “side” is a misleading term; perhaps “LEVEL” is more appropriate, given the vertical stratification that’s really at work now.

    So what do we do? Until we unify the entirety of those peoples and groups who still ascribe to our original beliefs and structures — until we clearly set out a real counter-culture — then act on established objectives, we will continue to simply observe, report and criticize.

    A parallel image might be one of an alternate early-1940s scenario wherein the Japanese kept swallowing China, SE Asia and the Western Pacific, while we carefully watched and chronicled their actions, reported their atrocities, implemented some ineffective countermoves, and kept talking. Yes, we did really do something with Trump, but I’m afraid that’s not going to be enough.

    • Most people won’t do anything until it’s forced upon them and at that time their choices will be limited on how they respond…Only when it gets too painful that they can’t hide from it anymore only then will they change their situation, beliefs, or life… Hardly anyone wants to be proactive so we don’t end up repeating past mistakes or rhyming with past genocides and catastrophe’s…Most are still to comfortable and the ones that are not are at the reacting point and don’t have a lot of options to be of a help to themselves let alone a cause…It saddens me that too many just don’t give a damn about God, Themselves, Family, Tribe, Country…My solution has been the same for quite some time now and that is to be building self-sufficient Community’s of like minded souls and then be pushing out from there once that’s accomplished… Eating the Elephant one bite at a time you might say…Hope You’re Well..

      • Yes, for sure. Moving from the state that’s been my home for four decades. Looking to find a place that’s not popular, still hews a bit more closely to an earlier ethic, and that will not soon be positioned behind enemy lines.

        Now this state’s northern urban center is being over-run by Calilfornians. It’s astounding, the numbers who keep pouring over the Sierras, like some dam has burst and finally loosed them on poor Nevada. Previously tame streets are now choked with cars; homes and apartments are sprouting from the arid ground, and non-Nevada license plates abound. Of course, Las Vegas was taken two decades back, its fate set by the earlier migration into the state’s real monetary engine.

        Interesting … California is turning into the state that keeps on giving. It’s like a huge reservior of human madness and destruction, coupled with a limitless source of corrupting power.

        There’s been that endless trample of humans moving there since the mid-1800s; pushing west following the gold fever; following the trails into the new cities in the early 20th Century; braving the great corduroy road across the Southwest to escape the Depression and dust bowl, with more then moving in for war work in WWII. Post-war boom, the summer of love etc etc.

        The place swallowed up a huge number of our people, transformed them. and is now vomiting them back out across the American landscape that was home to their ancestors in earlier American times. Truely dreadful. for sure the Silver State is lost.

        • Yea agree it’s a lot of retirees looking to stretch their retirement by having no state income tax and lower cost of living… Problem is they bring their poison with them and they have time to kill…If you ever do meatspace we could meet for coffee sometime…

          • Don’t know what that is …. but yes, lots of retirees, but certainly many of them are soft, urban LEFTies too. Bear in mind … many of todays grandfatherly looking retirees were 1968’s commune dwellers, Woodstock attendees, SDS supporters and returning Vet abusers.

            And downtown — the new Midtown experience — is all gracile males with pink hair and piercings riding shotgun with their Alpha female friends and eating ethnic food or sipping boutique lattes with the other hipsters. Not the Reno I came to back in the 70s, and not where I’m going to stay.

            And yes, some conservatives are among the throng; they’re just stopping some number of states too short for continued traditional culture and freedom.

            “Meatspace?”

          • P.P.

            Meatspace = Millennial for ‘Real Life’ as opposed to Cyberspace (not real life).

        • Used to really enjoy visiting Reno and Vegas back in the 70’s and 80’s. Alas!

          • Yes, it’s tragic. No longer even recognize the place. Would move in-state farther east, but the legislature has been taken (like the Boy Scouts National Council) and like them, NV will soon be hollowed out and sacrificed to the new religion.

    • We have to find a way to get money into our politics. A think tank, lobbyist, non profit, etc. the popular sites can raise money. Whoever runs it have to have credibility like Z.

      Turning the talk into action requires money, get politicians, make them pressure google and youtube about censorship. Money is the key. Without it we go nowhere. Eventually you get to the point the left is where you’re requiring anti-white training in classes by threatening colleges with DOJ lawsuits.

      Copy what (((they))) do. A little at a time.

      • I think we do that and all we are doing is playing in the game they created do you really think you can win when they make all the rules…The key is to build your own casino so they have to play your game…

    • P.P.
      Have to differ about your comparison to Imperial Japan in WestPac. The handwringing you accurately describe was doing political work that had to be done, at least in my part of the world.

      Because: Most people hereabouts (accurately) felt in the late 1930s that the US had been suckered into WWI by the Yankee Elite and Wall Streeters who stood to lose big if all the Allied war bonds they floated over here went Tango Uniform. That is, if the noble Allies lost and couldn’t vampire out Central Europe and take over exploiting the Central Powers’ colonies, etc., they would stop paying the vig on their war loans.* Then all that Wall St. sweet, sweet leverage would unwind just like it started doing in the Real Estate Bubble’s collapse. Unthinkable_!

      The above (largely accurate) perception lead to a large preference for neutrality that was hard to overcome. Constant (accurate) stories about Japanese atrocity** began to move sentiment towards intervention. This lead FDR to feel that he could begin to bait Japan economically and diplomatically. After FDR cut off US (& allied) petroleum supplies to Japan in July 1941, Japan had three choices:
      1. Capitulate, which was unthinkable to their military dictatorship: Would result in their displacement by their domestic rivals, etc.
      2. Attack the USSR to gain resources. The needed resources were distant, undeveloped and had to be extracted overland. *And* future Marshal Zhukov had just demonstrated in Mongolia in 1939 that Japan was no match for the USSR in a land war in Asia.
      3. Attack the vulnerable allied colonies in SE Asia. Their mother countries had all been subjugated by Hitler. The vital resources could be extracted by sea. There was only one problem: Us. The Philippines lay astride the necessary sea routes. ‘US, divided and hostile, controls the Philippines. They’ve been building them up militarily. Now they’ve declared economic war.’ So the IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) decided they had to go all in. All in meant neutralizing the US Pacific Fleet.

      Hence the Pearl Harbor attack, which finished in one day the political battle-space prep done by all the agitation about Japanese (& Nazi) atrocities that had been going on for years. After all, the US had been building up our military since 1939, a step at a time, as the neutrality sentiment was slowly rolled back.*** Without this buildup (conscription introduced in 1940, for example), however inadequate it proved to be, WW II could have turned out very differently.

      My Conclusion: Agitation was then and is now absolutely necessary. It is, as you say, insufficient. We must prepare the political battle-space and be ready to act on opportunity.
      ____________________________________
      * The noble Allies did, of course, default, but not all at once. The (sorta-accurate) excuse was that they had floated the Russians and now the Russians wouldn’t pay, so they couldn’t pay either. Of course The City of London and Wall St. kept all the origination fees.

      **Turns out we didn’t know the half of Japanese depravity until after the war. Then we figured out about 1948 or 9 that we were going to need Japan against the USSR, so it all kinda died down. But, just by coincidence, it sprang up again after the USSR imploded. Not a deliberate plot, IMHO, just that the forces for disclosure, reparations, etc. now had no impediment from us.

      ***Likewise, I don’t believe that there was a deliberate plot in DC to ‘trick’ the IJN into attacking Pearl Harbor. But there *was* great overconfidence in DC that they were in control of events and great underestimation of the capabilities of the IJN. They bet the farm on Option 1. They discounted option 2 but didn’t rule it out (didn’t know about Japan’s 1939 humiliation – why? Stalin_!). They got Option 3 ++.

      • I swear to gosh we need to lift this guy up on a shield and declare him proconsul.

        President Trump, are you hiring?
        This one sees beyond the battlefield.

  12. On the lawyer analogy, I was truly amazed to hear (somewhere, sorry) that America has more lawyers than all the rest of the worlds lawyers combined. Maybe you mentioned that. Is that true? That seems unreal.

  13. Western Economists have been wrong about just about everything. When I was getting my MBA, I got into an argument with one of the professors about TARP, the “stimulus”, etc. as they pertained to GDP and employment. By his math – the math in the textbook, the math all the Economists rely on – we should have been growing at 5% GDP and down to 5% unemployment within a year. It never happened. The argument I made was that I was trained as a physicist…to be THAT wrong over THAT long would utterly disprove my theory. But in Economics, falsification is just proof that your theory is right but your “assumptions” need to be adjusted. (Like anthropogenic global warming.)

    His great retort intended to shut me down was, “This is NOT a political science class.” Just to burn him, I shot back with, “Macroeconomics is a subdiscipline of political science. See also: TARP, the “stimulus”, etc.”

    You wanna make an Econ guy burn, just tell him he’s a poly sci major who can solve Algebra 1 problems.

  14. We’ve done ourselves a grave disservice by outsourcing our empire. The 19th century British had some barmy ideas, no doubt, but it wasn’t for lack of people who knew the situation on the ground. When questions of national honour weren’t involved, they were steely-eyed realists, because everyone had an Eton classmate who’d been out there for twenty years and had the malaria shakes to prove it. We let Exxon do it, so the only folks in America who have spent time in strategic places have no way of telling our rulers what they need to hear. If I were running this place, I’d require at least 6 months in-country and fluency past “donde esta el bano?” in the local tongue a condition of opining on any foreign country except Canada.

  15. It should be noted that the prevailing economic and political theories about China in the 1990’s and 2000’s have all be proven wrong. Greater economic expansion has not liberalized China, and it has not made them our friends. It has made them more nationalistic and more fascist.

    Also, it’s important to note that China is “the world’s second-largest economy” based almost entirely on its population. The average Chinese citizen earns about $8K/yr and lives in a police state. But there are over 1.3B+ of them (4-5 USA’s), so they have a $11T economy. In the U.S., also a fairly large country at 330M+, the average American earns about $50K/yr so we have an $18T economy. (This is also the unspoken rationale behind the open borders types…the worship of GDP above all else.)

    Hence all the progress we’re making with North Korea and US auto manufacturing wrt China. There does come a point where the cost of Chinese labor + logistics of ocean transport becomes more costly than just building the thing somewhere else (or here at home).

  16. Long term affluence enables carrying a lot of deadweight in society. Stupidity used to get you dead in our ancient ancestral environment. Now it gets you promoted to expert.

  17. Ted Talks as the replacement for church. Krugman as the pope of a new geocentric orthodoxy. A choir of “experts” to exalt the virtues of the obedient. Lawyerly inquisitors to codify and persecute every deviation. Are we suicidal Catholics?

  18. Ethiopia’s GDP was non-existent until about 2005. Doesn’t take much to show fast growth.

    What will be interesting is how the Chinese react to the inevitable attempts at expropriation of Chinese assets in Ethiopia, and how SJWs react to the Chinese reaction…

    • It reminds one of GM’s proud announcement that they are fastest growing car company. That must mean that they are still suffering from government downsizing….

    • That’s easy! The SJW reaction to the Chinese reaction to expropriation would be that it must be Trump’s fault, because of all his badness…

  19. “Since being an expert is hard, the more fruitful course is to tell the audience what they want to hear. As a result, in the public policy arena, the people charged with actually knowing stuff are surrounded by an amen chorus that cheers their every move. ”

    All the think tanks in Washington and NY are pretty much this, saying what the ruling class wants to hear.

  20. Now, economists are easy targets, because the profession has evolved into something similar to the celebrity chef racket. There’s not a lot of money in making good food and running a quality restaurant. There’s big money in being an entertaining chef with a TV show on cable television. Something similar has happened to economics. You don’t actually have to be very good at economics to get a spot in the commentariat. You just have to sing the praises of the managerial class and play the professorial role well.

    ***

    This is such a great analogy. There is a highly popular cooking competition show here, first prize $500k, massive national fame.

    Constantly through the show contestants are asked their “food dream” and of course it’s opening their own steakhouse, Asian restaurant, dessert bar etc.

    The show has been on for a decade and last year I looked up how many winners actually followed through on their stated dream.

    One. Out of eight. With essentially unlimited resources, noteriety and training. Know how many have tv shows? Like 4. NONE of whom said they wanted a tv show throughout the show when asked. Why? Becayse running a restaurant is really really really hard work. Making a seafood risotto on camera is easy…i could do it.

    Sorry for the massive digression but think it ties in well with this massive impossible gap between reality and rhetoric in modern society. People believe and recite this nonsense because it’s EASY. I look back on my normie days and realise the issue: I was motivated by the incentives of my culture (especially those related to social status) not to think too hard about the “there be dragons” parts of our intellectual infrastructure.

    This relates to this other part of the post I liked:

    The reason western economists were so laughably wrong about the Soviet economy is that it was worth their while to be wrong. The Left side of the ruling class wanted to believe the commies were doing well. They owned the media and the academy, so it is not hard to figure out the rest. That, of course, calls into the question the integrity of the field, but in reality they just believed what was convenient

    • “But millions more would benefit from the increased K–12 integration, which decades of research show improves public schooling.”

      They hate you. They really, really hate you and want you dead. See Europe.

  21. I know a danish ph.d in international politics. 25.years ago he was employed in a independent think-tank put up by the english government after the 1.ww. They wanted independent research and advice on state-relations in international politics. So, the institution should be free from government interference. The danish government was inspired by this and put up a institution 20.years ago after the english model. He was hired to a job as researcher there. This was prior to the Euro currency and the danish government wanted Denmark to join the Euro. He wrote that the Euro in that design and the differences between the countries would be a disaster. It would put southern Europe into a recession. This brought him into conflict with the director that would have a report that recommend the Euro.A lot of top ranking civil savants came from the ministies to put pressure of its reports. He refused to change his mind and insisted that it was a independent institution. The director then tried to get him fired by various means and made different kinds of harassment. In the end he left very disillusioned. So, many so-called indenpendent expects are under different kinds of pressure- to be dependent. P.S The Rubin Report has a very intersting interview with prof. in history(Harvard/Stanford) Naill Ferguson on the situation on the universities related to institutional intolerance.

  22. Thanks for the post, Z Man, but do you know where I can get a plate of Injera or Wat for less than $10?

  23. Taleb captures this dynamic well with the concepts of no skin ion three game and IYI (intellectual yet idiot).

  24. P. J. O’Rourke pretty much predicted the fate of communism in “Holidays in Hell”. Still use the term “commie concrete” on a regular basis.

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