Saturday, May 15, 2010

What would Friedman say

So if he could say what he wanted, what would he say?

This analysis of Friedman's Dream Team column talks about the real kind of immigration that Friedman wants:

His enthusiasm is authentic, but the immigration he's endorsing is of a kind that never figures in any of the tediously repetitive Times editorials in favor of open borders. The immigration Friedman wants – "legal," "orderly," resulting in America's attracting and retaining "the world's first-round aspirational and intellectual draft choices" – can actually be seen as consonant with the Center for Immigration Studies' advocacy of a "pro-immigrant policy of lower immigration" predicated on the national interest.

In fact, it's axiomatic that immigration Friedman-style is wholly antithetical to current immigration policy and "comprehensive immigration reform" – which begins with amnesty, though that's an instrumentality, not remotely an end in itself.

This cataclysmic immigration will come overwhelmingly from oligarchic Latin American cultures with chasm-like divides between the rich and the poor, with oppressive, rigid class systems that give their citizenry, particularly their own poor, little access to learning or the means or motivation to pursue the life of the mind. It will result in the importation of a vast less-skilled demographic that is the inverse of Friedman's "Real Dream Team." According to data from the Pew Hispanic Center, some 30 percent of immigrants from Mexico have not finished 9th grade; some 62 percent lack high school diplomas.

Unlike the 40 finalists, a high proportion of the children of today's legal and illegal less-skilled immigrants from Mexico and Central America have parents with very low levels of education, and the parents' education attainment is one of the best predictors of a child's success. The result is that many children from Latin American immigrant families are dropping out of school and socializing downward. While Hispanics once had the highest rate of intact families of any group, the native-born children and grandchildren of Hispanic immigrants have rates of out-of-wedlock births second only to those in the African-American community, one of the principal causes and symptoms of the crises that beset the black community. Nearly half of Hispanic immigrant families use at least one federal welfare program, and the education system is not providing a basis for upward social mobility. In our knowledge-based, post industrial society it is unlikely that the immigrants who come here from Mexico and Central America will provide many of the finalists for the Intel Talent Search for generations; meanwhile we can predict inverse outcomes: high rates of academic failure, functional illiteracy in two languages, welfare dependency, out-of-wedlock births, and disproportionate rates of incarceration.


If Thomas L. Friedman chose to use his influential voice – one especially resonant among liberal Americans – to help them understand how radically different is the immigration he advocates from the sort being pushed by the cynical, greedy, or ethnically chauvinist "comprehensive reform" crowd, he might actually make a difference.

One is allowed to hope, right?

here is another realistic take on Friedman.

another piece actually accuses Friedman of pro-Asian racism:

In our brave new multicultural world presumably it’s okay to be racist so long as the preferred groups aren’t white. Friedman (or his “brainy Indian friend”) are arguing for more immigration by what used to be called the “model minorities,” East and South Asians, who unlike America’s own minorities apparently possess the human, social, and economic capital to become exemplars of the Protestant Ethic. Of course, arguing certain nationalities inherently possess these superior traits is the essence of racism, the flipside of the Nordicism of historical restrictionism and contemporary Buchananism. Though Friedman does make a passing genuflection for immigration by the world’s “best and brightest,” it’s clear who he thinks they are.

Is that really so bad?

Either way, Mexico is completely hypocritical in it's criticism of the Arizona law

And they are actually trying to push illegal immigrants to the US to remove the powder keg.

Monday, April 26, 2010

How to articulate an immigration policy Part 2: Thomas Friedman is HBD aware

So we've seen somewhat different perspectives on immigration. But ultimately this is the key fact:

Demography is destiny . The higher intelligence a country's population has, the stronger it will be. The better suited it will be to complete in a flat world. The more time will pass before the country's workers become irrelevant through automation. The more likely the country will not be a replay of what happened to Native Indians when the Europeans came .

Anyway, you got my point. But even more basically, I think the United States is the greatest force for good in the world. We spread freedom, communication, democracy, equality, human rights. And the best way for us to keep doing that is to stay as strong as possible by having the most productive people.

This means people with high IQ. This will mean an immigration policy that screens for IQ. This will mean disparate impact between races. This isn't allowed.

So, how do we gain such a policy without it being defeated by egalitarians? Marketing.

And we consult the go to guy of sexy policy marketing, Thomas Friedman.

In a recent column on America's capital, he talks about the role of intelligent immigrants in improving the US.

Linda Zhou, Alice Wei Zhao, Lori Ying, Angela Yu-Yun Yeung, Lynnelle Lin Ye, Kevin Young Xu, Benjamin Chang Sun, Jane Yoonhae Suh, Katheryn Cheng Shi, Sunanda Sharma, Sarine Gayaneh Shahmirian, Arjun Ranganath Puranik, Raman Venkat Nelakant, Akhil Mathew, Paul Masih Das, David Chienyun Liu, Elisa Bisi Lin, Yifan Li, Lanair Amaad Lett, Ruoyi Jiang, Otana Agape Jakpor, Peter Danming Hu, Yale Wang Fan, Yuval Yaacov Calev, Levent Alpoge, John Vincenzo Capodilupo and Namrata Anand.

No, sorry, it was not a dinner of the China-India Friendship League. Give up?

O.K. All these kids are American high school students. They were the majority of the 40 finalists in the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search, which, through a national contest, identifies and honors the top math and science high school students in America, based on their solutions to scientific problems. The awards dinner was Tuesday, and, as you can see from the above list, most finalists hailed from immigrant families, largely from Asia.

Not shocked. China and India are the two biggest countries in the world. So when both each are limited to only 50K immigrants per year you're naturally going to get some sort of cream. Also, the elites in both countries (especially so in India) have cultures pro-Education.

When I asked her the secret, she said it was the resources provided by her school, extremely “supportive parents” and a grant from Intel that let her spend part of each day inspiring and preparing students to enter this contest. Then she told me this: Local San Jose realtors are running ads in newspapers in China and India telling potential immigrants to “buy a home” in her Lynbrook school district because it produced “two Intel science winners.”

Haha. Supportive parents? That's code of high IQ and good parents. But yes, I agree. We've got to get the best talent possible.

But let's transition away. In wake of the Arizona law, we have to look at Mexican immigration. Well, let's see what Friedman has to say about that.


No, I'm serious. On the biggest issue of the day, Thomas Friedman has absolutely nothing to say even though he's the guru of "how can America compete in the globalized economy" industry.

Oh, wait. I think I've found something from his column on green energy.

After months of heroic negotiations, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman had forged a bipartisan climate/energy/jobs bill that, while far from perfect, would have, for the first time, put a long-term fixed price on carbon — precisely the kind of price signal U.S. industry and consumers need to start really shifting the economy to clean-power innovations. The bill was supposed to be unveiled on Monday, but it was suddenly postponed because of Graham’s justified fury that the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, had decided to push immigration reform first — even though no such bill is ready — in a bid to attract Hispanic voters to revive his re-election campaign in Nevada.

That's it? Oh, wait there's one more from another recent column.

This critical piece of energy legislation was supposed to be unveiled by the three senators on Monday, but it was suddenly postponed late Saturday because of Senator Graham’s fury that the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and the White House were planning to take up a highly controversial immigration measure before the energy bill.

If this is what the Obama administration is doing — to score a few cheap political points with Hispanics — it is a travesty.

This is something. Friedman rants about the paralysis in our political system, and is usually on. Too many extremists, not enough centrists. Too much political correctness. But I think he's trying to use complaining about our political system as a means by which to go against amnesty in immigration reform.

But he can't outright say it, or he'll lose alot of his neocon (invade the world/invite the world) supporters.

So, in today's column on the Mexico Narco war, he goes for the sensational.

The Mexican government just issued a travel advisory warning Mexicans about going to Arizona — where they could get arrested by the police for no reason — and the U.S. government just issued a travel advisory warning Americans about going to northern Mexico — where they could get shot by drug dealers for no reason.

Funny. Not so much for the people living there.

We take the Mexican-American relationship for granted. But with the drug wars in Mexico turning into Wild West shootouts on city streets and with our own immigration politics turning more heated, what’s happening in Mexico has become much more critical to American foreign policy and merits more of our attention. Mexico is not Afghanistan, but it also has not become all that it hoped to be by now. Something feels stalled here.

And that's all he has to say about immigration. How can you talk about Mexico and ignore the elephant in the room - illegal, low skilled immigration?

You can't, so he shut off comments for this column.

But anyway, the something feels stalled here has a very simple explanation. In terms of Mexico's potential it has already been reached. For the amount of educated, intelligent people in the country relative to the illiterate, Mexico has been maxed out. Unlike China and India, which still have a ways to meeting their potential, Mexico has been intertwined with the US for decades and so already has had the chance to meet it's potential but hasn't. We can't say that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to articulate an immigration policy Part 1

So, on the heels of a new immigration bill recently passed by the Arizona legislature , I'm going to dive into this issue.

First, I want to get both perspectives on this issue without hitting the key issue. here is a roundtable with different views.

Liberal View:

LUIS GUTIERREZ, D-IL, CONGRESSIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS: The lunacy of rounding up people because they look a certain way or are suspected of being in violation of immigration statutes can only lead to one thing — violations of people's basic, fundamental civil rights — profiling

Not shocked

Conservative view:

RUSSELL PEARCE, R-ARIZ. STATE SENATE: Illegal is not a race. It's a crime. Our citizens have a constitutional right to expect our laws to be enforced.

Moderate View (Charles Krauthammer):

What liberals don't understand who support the rights of illegals in the country is that if the American people had a fence, that the borders are secure, they are shut — if we built a fence all the way — and we can — and they had a sense this is the last cohort of the illegals, the ten or so million already here, the majority of Americans including me would be in favor of amnesty. If that is the last group that were coming in and the border is shut, that would be OK.

As long as the border remains unsecure, as long as the fence is un-built, you will have states acting in this — I would agree with Fred, in this draconian way.

Frustrated View:

People who want amnesty for illegal immigrants here oppose a fence. And the people who want a fence don't want amnesty.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Did Thomas Friedman miss the memo? Or did Africa?

So we live in a flat world, right? You know, borders don't matter, instant communication, location is irrelevant, information economy, etc.

At least that's what I thought.

Washington Post has a recent article on second life and the virtual economy.

Second World's economy looks remarkably like that of the physical world. At one end, where most users are, small-business owners such as Moore keep their physical-world day jobs but make a few hundred dollars a year selling niche products such as rain and T-shirts. But as Second Life has grown, some users have built much bigger, full-time businesses: Stiletto Moody sells thousands of high-end shoes for about $8 a pair, and Curious Kitties is a Japanese maker of somewhat risqué clothing.

More than 50 businesses in the virtual world made more than $100,000 each last year.

Second Life's owner, Linden Lab, makes money by selling land plots and islands. An island runs about $1,000, a high barrier of entry for most Second Life users. But to open a strip mall, dance club or office tower, or to build a home, avatars need land. Some Second Life users have taken on Donald Trump-like personas, buying land from Second Life and then leasing plots to small-business owners or would-be homeowners, or flipping their properties as speculators.

I think what we're seeing here is a precursor to a a greater prevalence of virtual reality. As time goes on and the virtual worlds become more sophisticated and people can make a living off of the virtual world, there will be more withdrawal and people will live out entire lives in their apartments since all interaction can be gained through the internet.

Despite it's low rate of success, internet dating has been in the mainstream for several years now.

Apparently, social networking sites are starting to see flattening demand.

Tom Friedman has his latest column on Intel and American Innovation:

While America still has the quality work force, political stability and natural resources a company like Intel needs, said Otellini, the U.S. is badly lagging in developing the next generation of scientific talent and incentives to induce big multinationals to create lots more jobs here.

These local incentives matter because smart, skilled labor is everywhere now. Intel can thrive today — not just survive, but thrive — and never hire another American. Asked if his company was being held back by weak science and math education in America’s K-12 schools, Otellini explained:

“As a citizen, I hate it. As a global employer, I have the luxury of hiring the best engineers anywhere on earth. If I can’t get them out of M.I.T., I’ll get them out of Tsing Hua” — Beijing’s M.I.T.

But there's a problem with this narrative. OK, so talent is everywhere. OK, so people are plugged in and compete with us. I get it.

But what about this:

The Genocide in the Congo with 4-5 million dead in the past decade from disease, starvation, and violence associated with the civil war.

The absolute mess in Somalia that the US is trying to clean up. Funny, I don't hear complaints about US imperialism when we're talking about Africa.

The genocide in Darfur

Continuing rampages of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda

inter religious violence in Nigeria

breast ironing in Cameroon as a preventative measure to prevent rape of adolescent women.

Female genital mutilation throughout Africa

Modern Slavery in Africa

Honestly, I'm getting a bit tired of these example. We keep looking, and unfortunately it's not too hard to find continuous evidence of dysfunction on the lost continent.

But I think it demonstrates a key problem with the flat world thesis. Yes, technology makes us interconnected, and yes, we do have access to all the world's information. I don't deny that.

What Friedman forgets is a set of fundamental facts:

1) Not all people have the same level of intelligence or propensity to obey the law

2) This difference is highly correlated with ethnicity

3) In the world we live in, geography and nation states are still largely organized along ethnic lines for the majority of countries

4) Interconnectedness and access to information cannot help an individual if the said individual chooses to ignore it

5) Internet usage is different between countries and intelligence is the largest determinant of interest in adopting the internet

6) There is a multiplicative factor. Regions where intelligence is low and people are less likely to adopt the internet are even more likely to fall behind because the few intelligent people will have less access to the internet and will therefore have to spend a greater portion of their lives interacting with stupid people, therefore not gaining sufficient stimulation to utilize their brains

When was the last time Friedman wrote an article about Africa? He may gush on and on about India, but ignores the fact that India has more slaves than the US ever did in it's history.

I think to some degree that he an other flat worlders try to never mention the middle east, Africa, or latin America, or Southeast Asia, or the backwards part of South Asia, is that it really bring HBD into focus.

After all, even though there are more than 4 billion mobile phones in circulation, why has the internet penetrated only 1.4 billion of the world's 6.7 billion people?

After all, if all information is available, why are they still so backwards? If everyone is equal, shouldn't we all be on facebook? Should the stigma of being tagged on your myspace profile while performing a child sacrifice ceremony be enough shame to not do it anymore?

I guess not.

Monday, January 25, 2010

HBD Denialism kills: Part 2

But there's hope. David Brooks in his column on the underlying tragedy of Haiti.

The simple fact is that the tragedy in Haiti is a tragedy of poverty. It’s a story about poorly constructed buildings, bad infrastructure and terrible public services.

So, if the 50,000 dead in Haiti is due to Haiti's poverty, what causes Haiti's poverty?

The first hard truths are universally known but rarely acknowledged among economists:
- the countries that have not received much aid, like China, have seen tremendous growth and tremendous poverty reductions. The countries that have received aid, like Haiti, have not.
- There are no policy levers that consistently correlate to increased growth. There is nearly zero correlation between how a developing economy does one decade and how it does the next. There is no consistently proven way to reduce corruption. Even improving governing institutions doesn’t seem to produce the expected results.
-By some estimates, Haiti has more nongovernmental organizations per capita than any other place on earth. They are doing the Lord’s work, especially these days, but even a blizzard of these efforts does not seem to add up to comprehensive change.

This is Brook's explanation:

Haiti, like most of the world’s poorest nations, suffers from a complex web of progress-resistant cultural influences. There is the influence of the voodoo religion, which spreads the message that life is capricious and planning futile. There are high levels of social mistrust. Responsibility is often not internalized. Child-rearing practices often involve neglect in the early years and harsh retribution when kids hit 9 or 10.

So this is why Haiti is poor, in comparison with Barbados and the Dominican Republic, which have had similar cultural influences.

But there are two serious problems with his piece. He points to "intrusive paternalism" as a potential way to salvage the people of Haiti, pointing to the Harlem CHildren's Zone. But what's the reality?

As Steve Sailer blogged last year about the Harlem miracle, he made a key point:

there's no control group of white students in this study. Nobody bothered to check to see how much white students' scores would go up if a huge amount of money was given to a well-known superstar educator

It's the same situation as the Head Start Program

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, authors of Freakonomics, conclude that Head Start participation has no lasting effect on test scores in the early years of school, based on regression analysis of data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

So if we give up on paternalism, David Brooks has a quote hidden in his column earlier by the economist Abhijit Banerjee It is not clear to us that the best way to get growth is to do growth policy of any form. Perhaps making growth happen is ultimately beyond our control

The scary thing is that alot of economists are throwing their hands up in the air and giving up. But to do that is to continue to condemn the millions of children who will die this year because of preventable causes. And that's simply not something we should accept.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

HBD denialism kills

I'm not going to lie to you and say I feel truly saddened and emotionally upset with what happened in Haiti.


Maybe I am a little to unemotional, but to a utilitarian, every person's life is important, every needless death a tragedy. Regardless of whether it's a single incident or spread out over the course of a day .

I think the website has a key quote which we should look at:

The continuation of this suffering and loss of life contravenes the natural human instinct to help in times of disaster. Imagine the horror of the world if a major earthquake were to occur and people stood by and watched without assisting the survivors! Yet every day, the equivalent of a major earthquake killing over 30,000 young children occurs to a disturbingly muted response. They die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death."

Does anyone see the irony in this? 50,000 Haitians are dead as a result of this earthquake. It's a tragedy, sure. But this tragedy happens literally every day.

So I was again dismayed by the predictable response to such an event.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What century are we living in?

I have trouble believing that in the age of the apple tablet we have access to all the recent published books and all the information of the world available over a wireless internet signal,

but in this same world we have child sacrifice.

Do people who are protesting democracy and free speech and open markets in Afghanistan have any clue as to how backwards a good chunk of the world is?

Do the invite the world invade the world cohort realize that most of the world still has not internalized the values that western nations have cherished for the last 100 years?

Is the human race any better than animals?

Monday, January 4, 2010

IQ reality and terrorism

So when the HBD-friendly community talks about Islam and terrorism, they make the obvious connections: Islam is a backward, violent religion. I don't deny it. I know that from Paris, New York, and London, to Sudan, Nigeria, and Somalia, all the way to Southern Thailand/Phillipines, and Bali, Islam's borders have been violent, and we can point to the Koran and ant secular attitudes of the religion to blame.

But in the course of discussing the < a href=""> recent Christmas terror plot, we've been missing out the role of IQ.

One, is the role of IQ in Yemen becoming a terror haven. Well, let's see:

This Slate article tries to get at it, and they largely succeed. Yemen is poor because of civil war, corruption, and economic mismanagement. And of course low oil reserves.

But they also ask a question:
Lebanon, for example, generates six times as much wealth with no oil at all. How did Yemen get so poor?

Hmmm, just look at the Lebanese diaspora. Lebanese dominate tons of businesses in Africa with a tiny population. The world's richest man at one point was of Lebanese descent, a first generation immigrant in Mexico.

But anyway, does anyone ask WHY Lebanon is so corrupt and mismanaged? Well, let's look at a basic indicator: Average IQ and corruption index!

Top 5 least corrupt countries and their and their average IQ :

1 New Zealand 100
2 Denmark 98
3 Singapore 103
3 Sweden 101
5 Switzerland 101

And the bottom 5:

176 Iraq 87
176 Sudan 72
178 Myanmar 87
179 Afghanistan 84
180 Somalia 68

I'm shock and appalled. Yawn.

This should make us think long and hard about our overseas. post up. Shouldn't the failure of our previous policies in Afghanistan and Iraq make us think a little harder about imagining utopia in other countries?

We are all not the same.

Anyway, I've been profiled before. You learn to deal with it.