Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade


Sorry again for the slow posting, but I’ve been busy with work et al. It’s not only Civ, I swear. I’m a productive member of the community. I don’t know quite which one though.

Most of human life can be described using Bell Curves and Pareto distributions. Say blogs and comments. The quality of comments in any given blog is distributed normally, and 20% of the comments have 80% of the insight. The bigger the blog, the more numerous the commenters, the most pronounced this effect is. In any popular blog, most comments are probably garbage. But once in a while there’s  marvelous gem that kinda justifies having the blog on the first place.

On Cheap Chalupas, Why are CEOs salaries rising? Comments are mostly divided between “because CEOs are John Galts superior specimens and they deserve the money” libertardians and opponents claiming a conspiracy. But you don’t need a conspiracy if you talk sense, like Justin does:

My personal guess is that we are just dealing with ignorance. Back in the day supply lines were short, personal connections were obvious, prices were clear, and you had a dozen other firms to compare CEOs and see what happened if you went with the bargain rate CEO option.

Today, supply chains are deep and nigh unto incomprehensible. Personal connections are vastly more important, but you need to know the right wonks and staffers as well as the right congressmen, CEOs, and labor leaders. Prices are ever less clear as more and more of the economy swaps over customized and service pricing. And, of course, we’ve had mass consolidation and niche targeting so there are endless internet arguments about who is actually comparable – if anyone. You have ever smaller safety margins everywhere (no warehousing, fewer slack man hours, and fewer facilities).

So say you just bought up a major of a generic major corporation worth 10 billion. How will you rate potential CEO inputs? How much will it *cost* to accurately measure them? Even assuming you can for a reasonable price, how much risk are you taking with the bargain option? If you could quantify senior executives, how will you price marginal risk? If there is only a 5% chance that the bargain option will do worse than the gold plated option, just how bad does the potential downside have to be before you say, screw it I’m paying the extra few million per annum as insurance?

People and investors tend to be risk averse particularly in ambiguous situations. CEO pay may be objectively too high, but that is hard to measure and harder still to justify with the possibility of major downside risk. In practice, this should mean that executive pay should be the most obscene for the firms that have the most ambiguity measuring a CEO’s utility and at the firms where low likelihood/high impact downsides are the most likely.

On Steve Sailer’s, talking about the quasi-negro ex Washington mayor who is now in California banging Steve Jobs’s widow:

Maybe this is why Silicon Valley isn’t producing ground breaking tech anymore. The inventive, Midwestern pioneer types that founded the place are gone and it’s been increasingly taken over by technically weak, politically savvy and minded types.

Brezhnevism avec diversity. That pretty much explains the future of the Anglosphere.

Greying Wanderer on Education, at Cochran’s:

If there are dumb, average and smart people and they can answer up to and including dumb, average and smart questions then you if you have an exam with two dumb questions and an average one then the final scores are:

d/a/s get 2/2/3 marks each and the IQ distribution magically disappears

However if you ask one dumb question, one average and one smart the final scores are:

d/a/s get 1/2/3 marks each and the IQ distribution reappears.

It’s amazing.

The state education system in the UK is currently based on this magic trick.

I wonder how homeschoolers grade their kids.

On Jim’s blog, B, the hardcore Jew, started an awesome fight by throwing the first stone against the oxymoron of traditionalist christianity:

Christianity was the original transgressive Leftist movement (though an argument could be made for the preceding Jewish heresies like Sadduceanism and Essenism.) It really served as the prototype of all the subsequent ones. Any attempt to have a sustainable Christian government without sliding off into the Leftist Singularity necessitated tons of hypocrisy, unprincipled exceptions, special pleading and the rest of it, embodied most vividly in the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages. Any attempt to actually implement Christianity in real life on any scale rapidly turns into feral Leftism, the Munster Republic, etc.

Of course, by the standards of original Christianity, today’s Leftists are insanely far to the Left. So what? By the standards of Leftism 100 years ago, today’s Leftists are also insanely far to the Left. It’s an exponential curve. I’m sure that, barring a Restoration, in 100 years Barney Frank will be denounced as a reactionary for his failure to take up a principled stance in favor of mandatory pedophilia, or whatever form the eternal boot stomping on a human face will have taken by then. The point is that all this started with Christianity’s transgression against Judaism in the name of being holier than the High Priest, holier than the Prophets, holier than Moses, etc.

A discussion started which seemed endless, but it wasn’t because Red settled the whole issue in one strike.

Paul’s revelation was quite right wing. He was establishing order to a religion that was out of control. Peter’s was about turning Christianity into a universal religion instead of a ethic one. Universal monotheism was clearly an idea who’s time had come. The church spent a great deal of time putting down “revelations” that was useless bullshit. It’s a feature of religion that can be hard to control with out a good hierarchy running things.

Leftwing revelations are about power grabs. Rightwing revelations are about establishing order and making things work. They’re easy to tell apart.

One of the reasons that Jesus was promoted to Godhood was to prevent any future game changers like Jesus. Hell even the biggest sect of Christianity that denied his divine nature (Arab Christianity, aka Islam) had to slam that door shut by saying that Mohamed is God’s last prophet and thus no one can change the game after him. The trinity doesn’t make sense because the reason for the trinity is to prevent a new Jesus showing up to ripping Christianity apart.

I have some good stuff coming in for the next days, hopefully I can start running the blog at the usual pace.

Update: I had messed up Red’s quote.

Speaking of comments, I sent the following to Bryan Caplan’s post tiresome post on Open Borders:

It’s funny how Caplan rightly argues for the signaling theory of higher education.

But the thought never crosses his mind, that there might be such a thing as the signaling theory of open borders advocacy.

After all he doesn’t live with diversity. He doesn’t understand its consequences, nor actually give much of a shit. So why is he constantly talking about it?

Signaling his faith to his media and government benefactors. What else?

But it wasn’t published. Their moderator, I guess some grad student they have working for peanuts, said:

Crude language such as obscenities and four-letter words are inappropriate on EconLog. That includes using the word “shit.” Comments should address the economic content of the post and the discussion in the thread without resorting to profanity, anger, or obscenities.

In addition, your comment violates our stated policies about making personal, ad hominem, remarks.

I thought I had addressed the economic content of the post, namely that he makes up shit to make his employers happy. I did say “shit” though. Oops I just did it again.


17 responses to “Gems

  1. August 11, 2013 at 06:36

    But B “won”!

  2. Bill August 11, 2013 at 19:57

    After all he doesn’t live with diversity. He doesn’t understand its consequences, nor actually give much of a shit. So why is he constantly talking about it?

    Exactly. Not only that, he has explicitly written about how he lives in a “bubble” shielded from everything by multiple layers:

    He’s supposed to be highly intelligent, so how could he fail to recognize or admit that he may be biased here, that his ability to live in a “bubble” and avoid consequences may play a role in influencing his views and what he advocates?

    There’s no excuse for holding conflicting ideas like this unless you’re either stupid, deceptive and unethical, or engaging in self-deception. The last of these is actually the most scary. We understand stupid people after all: they’re just, uh, stupid. We understand liars: they consciously deceive others for personal benefit. But people engaging in self-deception are engaging in unconscious deception of others. Self-deception arises when there is some benefit to it, and the benefit of convincing yourself that something wrong is true is if it better convinces other people that something wrong is true. At least conscious liars are aware that they’re telling untruths. People engaging in self-deception are essentially promoting untruths to others for personal benefit.

    • Thales August 12, 2013 at 14:48

      “There’s no excuse for holding conflicting ideas like this unless you’re either stupid, deceptive and unethical, or engaging in self-deception.”

      You are correct in the sense of natural law. But appealing to natural law is low status. High status people are insulated from the immediate consequences of natural law — that’s why it’s signalling. It’s memetic conspicuous consumption. The act of calling for open borders on Earth is a sign that you live on Elysium.

  3. asdf August 12, 2013 at 00:37

    We’ve all gotten banned from Bryan Caplan’s blog before. Take it as a mark of honor.

  4. Nyk August 12, 2013 at 19:19

    I always liked Civ because it is a clever little game, quite a rarity especially in the COD decade. I’d love to see some HBD or reactionary mods enhancing the differences between civs, religions, civics, and ideologies. The three choices of ideologies already are a good fit to the 3 major strands of demotism: Freedom (i.e., Universalism), Autocracy (i.e., Fascism), and Order (i.e., Communism). We have no Reactionary ideology to choose from in the game, perhaps an inevitable outcome in real life as well.

    Speaking about HBD, I quite like the bonuses of, say, the Zulus and Aztecs already. Right now I’m having loads of fun playing as Arabia and picking the most violent tenets for my religion (guess which!) and my ideology (autocracy). I am making loads of money, conquering left and right, sending inquisitors to cleanse my cities of unbelievers, and somehow even managed to get some good science output.

    • spandrell August 12, 2013 at 19:21

      Europa Universalis cripples all non European civs unless they undergo a (very hard) westernization. I like the idea but it doesn’t result in a fun game.

    • Greying Wanderer August 21, 2013 at 20:26

      Civ is great.

      “I’d love to see some HBD or reactionary mods enhancing the differences between civs, religions, civics, and ideologies.”

      I’ve started mods like that but i get distracted all the time and never finish them.

  5. Handle August 13, 2013 at 11:32

    Econlog is, ironically, the most closed, regulated, and selectionist of any mostly-public econoblog. The email registration makes sense both as a robot/spam filter and as a clumsy way to ban ‘violators’. The adult-language and rudeness moderation is a bit severe. I once had a post with “BS” in it and it was nicked. Which it was in the context of a post quoting Alex Tabarrok and saying, “A Bet is a Tax on Bull****”. I guess ‘Bull****’ is more polite than ‘BS’.

    Anyway, the comments threads over there are rarely productive, mostly just fun for trolling the libertardians. Caplan, at least, is a little more sophisticated, but the others are impassioned cultists. ‘It is immoral for the government to impose any policy unless it has unanimity’. ‘No, it’s not. Few organizations set up their decision rule as perfect consent amongst the membership.’ ‘But it’s the Government!!!!” “Ah, I guess you got me there.”

  6. Baker August 13, 2013 at 15:44

    > Few organizations set up their decision rule as perfect consent amongst the membership.’ ‘But it’s the Government!!!!” “Ah, I guess you got me there.”

    Difference is that organization members have option to leave and form their own organization. We don’t have that option with governments.

  7. Alrenous September 8, 2013 at 14:17

    Justin could have cut almost everything but this:

    “Personal connections are vastly more important, but you need to know the right wonks and staffers as well as the right congressmen, CEOs, and labor leaders.”

    The supply of CEOs that can personally (not professionally) shake the palms that need greasing is very small. And those palms are, bar none, the most critical part of any large business. After all, the owners of the palms don’t need an unlimited supply of friends. From the other side, figuring out who is who through the clouds of BS and obfuscation is quite the task.

    (Phrasing it this way makes it sounds like I thought of it before Justin/you pointed it out. Didn’t, though.)

    He used the idea of ignorance, which makes me happy. In case my biases aren’t obvious enough.

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