Archive for November, 2015

Cognitive Capital

A (July 2014) paper on ‘Cognitive capital, governance, and the wealth of nations’ (by Oasis Kodila-Tedika, Heiner Rindermann, and Gregory Christainsen) discusses exactly what it promises to. From the abstract:

Good governance or “government effectiveness” (per the World Bank) is seen as a critical factor for the wealth of nations insofar as it shapes political and economic institutions and affects overall economic performance. The quality of governance, in turn, depends on the attributes of the people involved. In an analysis based on international data, government effectiveness was related to the cognitive human capital of the society as a whole, of the intellectual class, and of leading politicians. The importance of cognitive capital was reflected in the rate of innovation, the degree of economic freedom, and country competitiveness, all of which were found to have an impact on the level of productivity (GDP per capita) and wealth (per adult). Correlation, regression, and path analyses involving N=98 to 201 countries showed that government effectiveness had a very strong impact on productivity and wealth (total standardized effects of β=.56-.68). The intellectual class’s cognitive competence, seen as background factor and indicated by scores for the top 5 percent of the population on PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS, also had a strong impact (β=.50-.54). Cross-lagged panel designs were used to establish causal directions, including backward effects from economic freedom and wealth on governance. The use of further controls showed no independent impacts on per capita wealth coming from geographical variables or natural resource rents.

(The takeaway for recent discussions here: Contra NRx dirigistes, high levels of economic freedom are a statistically-significant indicator of sound government but — contra libertarians — the foundation of social competence lies in cognitive capital, and not liberal institutions. Stated reverse-wise: Free societies are a product of deeper things, all feedback complexities aside, but they are — from the perspective of techno-economic functionality — an evidently desirable one.)

November 6, 2015admin 11 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Corrosive Individualism?

Everyone’s seen this argument a million times: “So what’s the problem with libertarianism? The problem is that if you put two groups one against another, the one who is best able to work together will overcome the group of individualists.”

An example would be nice. Here are the major modern wars of necessity (or existential conflicts) the Anglosphere has been involved in (‘win’ here meaning ‘came out on the winning side’ — conniving to get others to do most of the dying is an Anglo-tradition in itself):

English Civil War (1642-1651) — Protestant individualists win.
War of the Spanish Succession (17012-1714) — Protestant individualists win.
Seven Years War (1756-1763) — Protestant individualists win.
American War of Independence (1775-1783) — Protestant individualists win.
Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) — Protestant individualists win.
American Civil War (1861-1865) — Protestant individualists win.
First World War (1914-1918) — Anglophone individualists win.
Second World War (1939-1945) — Anglophone individualists win.
Cold War (1947-1989) — Anglophone individualists win.

Have I missed any big ones? I’m simply not seeing the “history is the graveyard of failed individualist societies” picture that seems to be consolidating itself as a central alt-right myth.

This isn’t a moral thing. I get (without great sympathy) the “organically cohesive societies should win” mantra. If there’s any evidence at all that it’s a judgment endorsed by Gnon, feel free to bring the relevant facts to the comment thread.

ADDED: “It’s complicated.” — You’re saying that now?

November 5, 2015admin 140 Comments »

Twitter cuts (#33)

This is too perfect:

November 5, 2015admin 8 Comments »
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Quote note (#197)

NRx in the NYT:

I sort of knew this going in but even so it was remarkable how — well, I think neo-reactionary is really the only term to use to describe what Houellebecq seems to be doing in his portrait of contemporary France and his mischievous prophecy about its potential trajectory. And I do mean neo-reactionary in the internet-movement, Mencius Moldbug sense of the term (if you aren’t familiar with this particular rabbit hole, good luck): The overt political teaching of “Submission” is that Europe is dying from the disease called liberalism, that it can be saved only by a return of hierarchy and patriarchy and patriotism and religion and probably some kind of monarchy as well, but that religion itself is primarily an instrumental good and so the point is to find a faith that actually convinces and inspires and works (and that’s, well, a little manly), and on that front European Christianity and particularly Roman Catholicism is basically a dead letter so the future might as well belong to Islam instead. (Emphasis in original.)

Douthat’s notable dodginess credentials are probably not going to be helped by this.

November 5, 2015admin 15 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction

Quote note (#196)

Internally sourced (replying to this):

Mercantilism *is* quite poor. It’s a system of tarifs, subsidies, protections and monopoly grants which is what we already have today (the only difference being that in the age of actual Mercantilism they had hard money and low taxes and we now have fiat money and high taxes).

November 4, 2015admin 51 Comments »

Sweet Tweets

Twitter just did the most nauseating thing since Spike Jonze made Her.

Continue Reading

November 3, 2015admin 9 Comments »

Beyond IP Addresses?

The technical competence required to evaluate this (MegaNet) initiative far exceeds my capabilities (that’s what you lot are for).

(a) If doable, it’s huge.
(b) It seems to follow the grain of The Process (and cross-link not only to Bitcoin, but also to Urbit).

According to Kim Dotcom, the key to a safer, more secure and decentralized Internet will lie within blockchain technology, or a version of Bitcoin’s original concept. He has spent two years working on the program, and basically turning the Internet into a encrypted, decentralized smartphone app. In general terms, here’s how it works: […] “If you have 100 million smartphones that have the MegaNet app installed, we’ll have more online storage capacity, bandwidth and calculating power than the top 10 largest websites in the world combined,” Dotcom claims. “Over the years with these new devices and capacity, especially mobile bandwidth capacity, there will be no limitations. We are going to use very long keys, systems that will not be reverse engineered or cracked by any supercomputer. […] … Dotcom says it will use a faster version of blockchain technology to exchange data globally. There will be no IP addresses within MegaNet, like the current Internet IpV4 protocol uses for enhanced user security. Yet, it will use the current Internet protocol initially as a “dumb pipe” to get the ball rolling. He and his staff are working on a new type of encryption that will work regardless of how MegaNet is accessed. Bandwidth would come from Wi-Fi use and when the phone is idle, so no charges would come through an IP.

Another source.

Pirate credentials.

November 3, 2015admin 13 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Technology
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Twitter cuts (#32)

November 2, 2015admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Fertility
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Chaos Patch (#86)

(Open thread + links)

Pillars of right unity. The moralistic prestige engine. The logic of civil rights. Dim enlightenment. TFP postrationalism. Zeitgeist skepticism. Diversity and authoritarianism. The weekly round, in doom.

Strategic pessimism. The coming Chinese global splurge (also), and population policy. Problems in Portugal. Japan’s strange choice. Straight-up Jacobins are the new extreme right. Indonesia burning. The land without a left. The power of ISIS. Venezuelan money troubles. Brazilian dissent.

Deflationary nemesis (can’t be stopped). “… big businesses … have increasingly used Left-ish politics as a form of public relations.” Over-extension (also). The age of distrust. Obstacles to apprenticeship.

Clueless and splintering. Dems ain’t what they used to be.

Sex and gender wars (and avoiding war, also, and more 1, 2, 3). So many tears. “Who cares what you feel?” Beyond comment. Drunken utilitarianism. Brown scare.

How Luther stopped. Douthat in the Cathedral (brings mixed response, and more). Mencken on traditional mass. Satanic squabbles (plus).

The flow (keeps coming). Winter-Chan worries. Disappearing natives.

Climate change. Putin’s cool.

On Cixin Liu.

The military tech in your phone. Innovation virus, and ‘temes‘. Innovative universities. Nero‘s new gig (1, 2). Accidental genius.

Two-Europes. Super-elites. Sequencing costs (graphic). Ritual in social complexity.

Quantum foundations of entropy. Efficient slime. Hot-head rats. Chimera. Hilbert curves.

November 1, 2015admin 26 Comments »
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