Morning Ed: World {2017.04.19.W}

Wait, I am pretty sure I’ve seen this entrance before. Right behind it is a party of four goblins, three orcs, and a mage.

Brazil is struggling to determine who gets affirmative action, as it tries to balance the ledger of historical sin.

The planet is a little too large for distance to actually die, from a globalization perspective. This is one of the reasons I remain skeptical of a world government ever occurring. It would have to be pretty confederated or federal, and federalization is considered de facto illegitimate by a lot of people.

It looks like Mowgli-Girl wasn’t living with the monkeys for very long?

This is literally how Kryptonians destroyed their planet.

This strikes me as going a bit overboard, to be honest, though perhaps necessary for satiating the public’s anxiety. And, of course, laws must step in when culture fails.

Tyler Cowen considers why some colonies did so much better under British rule than others.

Did Brexit lay the groundwork for Scandinexit?


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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63 thoughts on “Morning Ed: World {2017.04.19.W}

  1. Brazilian racial history makes an interesting contrast to American racial history. The Portuguese like the Spanish were always more open to inter-racial relationships than the Whites in the Anglo-phone countries. This meant that after slavery was abolished, the Brazilians could make a better faith argument that they were a more racially egalitarian society than the United States even if White Brazilians pre-dominated everything. While this led to much less overt racism and racial violence than exists in the United States, it makes it much harder for the Brazilians to have meaningful conversations on racism in Brazilian society.

    The comments on the Tyler Cowen article on which British colonies benefited are horrible and clueless in that unique way that certain libertarians can get sometimes. A lot of stuff on how Malaysia and Singapore are only doing well because of Chinese immigrants and how the Malays aren’t that entrepreneurial.

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    • One of the things you also have to keep in mind is that there were far fewer slaves in the British colonies in North America than in Brazil and the Caribbean where the entire enterprise was basically a giant sugar cane plantation. That combined with the relatively sparse and diffuse population was more conducive to African slaves and their descendants being treated as a distinct group in the area that would become the US.

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      • There were only one million White Brazilians are the time of Brazilian independence out of a population of three million, so yes the social dynamics were going to be very. Some southern states like South Carolina were majority Black but not to the level of Brazil.

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    • “While this led to much less overt racism and racial violence than exists in the United States, it makes it much harder for the Brazilians to have meaningful conversations on racism in Brazilian society.”

      I don’t know if this is true, considering the favelas, the racial segregation, the abject poverty of much of the population of color and other aspects of Brazilian society. It may look that way from a few thousand miles, but I would need to see much more info to make that judgement.

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      • I took several history courses on South America in college. From what we studied the racial situation in places like Brazil is different but I’d be hesitant to call it less violent. It might be fair to characterize it as more stratified though.

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          • There’s plenty of violence in Brazil. Much more than in the USA. The vast majority of that violence impacts poor people.

            Perhaps 90% of violence on poor people is poor-on-poor, the remainder is wielded security forces (public and private) on behalf of rich people.

            Most poor people are black (and most rich people are white). Hence, by the inexorable rules of the transitive property, blacks bear a disproportionate brunt of the violence.

            But Jim Crow violence against blacks because they are black, and need to be reminded of their place, that’s way beyond living memory (while my still alive mother remembers blacks getting off the sidewalk in the South to let her walk by. And she is Spaniard, so this was a shock to her)

            tl/dr. I think to say that Brazil has less racial violence is correct, even if local blacks are victims of substantially more violence

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            • I think your comment down below that it is different than the US is perhaps the most accurate. Attempting to map other countries onto some approximation of the US is not very helpful. Despite many of the issues you mention above, the US is the only western democracy that has elected an African descended president. Brazil may not of had de regueur segregation, but the de facto might have been much worse, with the lingering consequence of possibly greater violence.

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            • I actually strongly disagree with your implicit conclusion that you can take poor on poor violence out of the equation. Most homicides in the US would probably fall into the poor on poor violence category, and a hugely disproportionate number of those homicides are black on black. Meanwhile, despite high profile incidents like Charleston, SC, race based vigilante type murders have become rare.

              This isnt to say there arent plenty of differences, but like Brazil we have economically excluded, historically oppressed racial minorities concentrated in blighted and impoverished areas where they commit violence against each other at rates that much of the country would never tolerate, all while violence in general reaches historical lows. The fact that the Brazilians permit that to continue show that they really aren’t that different from us, where it arguably counts the most.

              There was an article several years ago which posited that from a socio-economic perspective, the US is really much more like Latin America, even if we’ve become richer and have closer cultural connections to Western Europe (struggling to locate it but will share if I find it). I think it was instructive on this issue.

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              • If somehow i seemed to give the impression I didn’t think poor on poor, or black on black violence is a problem, I apologize. It is a great problem, far worse in Brazil and most of Latin America than in the USA.

                I was trying to make the more limited point that white on black violence, based on racism, racial superiority, or “keeping them on their place”, has been rarer in Brazil than in the USA, be that in the 20s, 50s, or the 2010s.

                That societal conditions in Brazil result in a very large percentage of the population being marginalized and trapped in a vicious circle or poverty, ignorance, and violence I won’t deny, nor will I deny that most blacks belong to that marginalized percentage of the population. My concern is that phenotype based AA will hinder rather than help their integration, by creating a racial category where currently we only have a social/class one.

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    • The person who made that comment about Malaysia only doing so well because of the Chinese minority, “So Much For Subtlety,” is, IIRC, not a libertarian. As another commenter points out, Malays, while not as successful as ethnic Chinese, aren’t that much worse off, but there is some element of truth there. Despite their minority status and a long and continuing history of governmental discrimination against them, Chinese Malaysians excel socioeconomically, and are driving a disproportionate share of Malaysia’s prosperity. It’s not clear whether Malaysia would be as poor as Indonesia without its Chinese population, but it’s hard to see how it would be as rich as it is now. Singapore is 75% Chinese, so who knows what it would be like without them? For one, they wouldn’t have had Lee Kuan Yew.

      I don’t understand why so many people are so insistent on pretending that ethnic differences in socioeconomic performance don’t exist. It’s not as though acknowledging this means that it’s appropriate to treat members of lower-performing groups as subhuman. And there’s a large degree of overlap, so you can’t infer much if anything about any particular individual from group differences. This is an empirical question, not a moral one, and there’s nothing righteous about denying reality.

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      • Considering human history, the people most insistent on the existence of ethnic differences in socioeconomic performance used as a way to justify treating members of lower-performing groups as subhuman or at least deserving of their low socioeconomic status. Its safe to assume that this could easily happen again.

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      • Byran Caplan recently answered your last question:

        I’m an IQ realist, all the way. IQ tests aren’t perfect, but they’re an excellent proxy for what ordinary language calls “intelligence.” A massive body of research confirms that IQ predicts not just educational success, but career success. Contrary to critics, IQ tests are not culturally biased; they fairly measure genuine group differences in intelligence.

        Yet I’ve got to admit: My fellow IQ realists are, on average, a scary bunch. People who vocally defend the power of IQ are vastly more likely than normal people to advocate extreme human rights violations.

        Link

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        • PD Shaw,
          I know people who write better IQ tests than those psychologists, and have better penetration on actually giving the IQ tests. (Cellphones are great, no?).

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            • tf,
              Firstly, they aren’t so reliant on linguistical knowledge. (I’m not sure how much they measure linguistical capabilities, but there’s a ton of tests you can run which don’t presuppose English (or, as the earliest IQ tests did, WASP identity)), Western, or FirstWorld.

              IQ is a tricky subject, but I think one of the best definitions is creative problemsolving and ability to pattern-match (and note when your patterns are wrong). This is what I get from talking with comedians, mind — they do have a bit of a different cant on the subject.

              I suppose you can measure improvements in IQ and actually show them translating into real-world equivalents. (It shouldn’t surprise you that IQ can change, and sometimes dramatically — but it’s a bitch to work on).

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        • I liked that piece very much. There are a lot of conflicts where saying things that appear to be empirically true but are also mostly said by terrible people gets the wrong sort of pushback. “That’s not true” is usually not the correct pushback. “OK, so what do you conclude from those observations?” is usually better.

          Stopping at, “That’s not true,” is how we get tribally-reinforced beliefs like, “Global warming is a conspiracy invented by the Chinese,” or, “Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam,” or, “GMOs cause cancer.”

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      • Brandon,
        It’s because you aren’t pointing at the right differences.
        And because you don’t know jack about making profit about it.

        Someone ought to point at the achievements of Blacks in America and Blacks in Europe. Apples to apples, except it’s really not. And break that down, because it’s less nature or nurture, and more selection than anything.

        There’s nothing righteous about denying reality? Dude! Denying reality is the point of most political thingummies. Well, that and getting laid.

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  2. Trade & globalization: assuming it is all about human networks, his recommendation for the US with regards to China runs both ways – China needs to be more open & welcoming, even though that will cause the party much pain.

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  3. I travel to Brazil about once a month

    Brazil racism is real, but diffuse, and difficult to explain in USA terms. A bad analogy would be

    “All things been equal, blacks in Brazil are disadvantaged in the same way as short people fare less well than tall people in the USA”

    Obviously, the all things been equal is false. Blacks, as a group, in average are poorer, less educated, with less social mobility.

    But the converse is also true, if by any chance you are black, well educated, and not poor, a lot of the disadvantages disappear. Most people have internalized the concept of racial equality in theory. The otherism is related to class, education, and fear of violence. I doubt people would have a problem with a Barack Obama like president the way a non trivial percentage of people reacted to him in the USA.

    In a blunt way, people don’t think blacks as a group are inferior per se, they believe that due to circumstances the vast majority of black individuals are -individually, each one- inferior.

    You might argue that the effect on society is the same, wether you believe the whole group is inferior, or that just all of the members of the group happen, by coincidence, to be inferior. But I’d argue that it is a distinction WITH a difference. You can move individuals, one by one, out of the inferior and into the equal categories. This, in my experience, is the way “white” Brazilians believe.

    Because there is a big correlation in Brazil between color and poverty, I would just had done a class based affirmative action program. A phenotype based program could have, Im afraid, the effect of changing people’s minds in an unintended way: that, if dark people need help, irrespective of class, poverty or educational level, dark people are per se unable to succeed without help. It’s not their circumstances of poverty and lack of education what keeps them at the bottom, it’s their genes.

    That would be the mother of all unintended consequences

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    • That’s a good way to put. The African experience in Brazil is different than the African experience in America because there was more official class hierarchy in Latin America.

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  4. As an aside, the most racist place I have ever had the pleasure to do business in is Trinidad

    There is a clear, in your face Racism there, based in the hue of your skin color. Every nuance of shade matters. A lot.

    It’s funny, of sad, to see annual reports of large Trinidadian companies (banks, for instance) and look at the pictures of management. The higher up, the lighter your skin

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    • One of the best sports books ever is “Beyond a Boundary” by C.L.R. James. The sport in question is cricket, but don’t let that stop you from reading it. James was black and poor growing up in Trinidad. He discusses the fine racial gradations of cricket clubs. He comments that the proof of success in Trinidad society is socializing with persons of lighter skin color.

      I’m not exaggerating about how good the book is. It is a plausible candidate for best sports book ever. You don’t have to be a sports fan to like it. If a book about Trinidad culture in the early 20th century, written by a really smart citizen from the lower social class, sounds interesting, this is the book to read.

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      • That reminds me of McPhee’s Levels of the Game, the best sports book that I have ever read. That said, I have a feeling you have read more sports books than I have. I will look for James’ book as it does sound very interesting.

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      • In Trinidad, socializing with people of lighter skin color does not mean socializing with whites. Socializing with a Barack Obama hued person is a mark of success for a Denzel Washington colored person.

        I was once dining with a counterpart in Trinidad, and he was talking about his family and life, and, as the most normal thing, he would tell me how her younger sister was the bane of their dad, always picking the wrong kind of boyfriends, and that said dad would kill her if she ever though marrying for real a (word describing not clean, that starts with “f”) black (a line apparently she hadn’t dared to cross)

        The important point I wanted to make was that this gentleman was darker than Obama himself.

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        • James goes into some detail on this phenomenon, especially but not entirely as it applied to cricket clubs. If you were a really good player this could get you into a lighter-hued club than your own skin color warranted.

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  5. British Imperialism: that is an uncharacteristically poor piece from TC. We are not going to discover meaningful distinctions across various British colonies (soft or hard versions) by comparing a country the size of India with the city-state of Singapore.

    I also think some of his points about India are misleading: (1) “British policy forced India to accept free trade for British goods, without receiving the same privileges in return.” British policy moved towards free trade in India in the latter half of the nineteenth century as it did in other places, and the Indian government did impose tariffs on goods from Britain during that period. (2) “the British viewed [India] as a source of soldiers” No, the British viewed India as a place for investments with good returns, returns that were sufficiently large to justify and support a military that could defend India from the East and West so that these investments would bear fruit. (That Indian soldiers were used in WWI and WWII does not mean that soldier-gathering was a motivating source that explains British policy)

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  6. German child-marriage ban – bulk-annulling all marriages where either spouse was under 16 seems a bit overboard.

    How are they going to inform a 55 year old lady that her 59 year old husband of 40 years is now her live-in boyfriend? Wait until they file their taxes jointly and reject the returns?

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