Listen now (75 mins) | Garett Jones is a Professor of Economics at George Mason University. He joins the podcast to talk about his new book, The Culture Transplant. Richard asks whether IQ is superior to other measures used to predict prosperity, and the relationship between Garett’s new book and
I've enjoyed this episode a lot but I think the part about Argentina is wrong. Argentina was a wealthy country at the beginning of the 20th century but it wasn't wealthy in the same way the US or Germany were wealthy back then. It was more the way Poland was wealthy in the 16th century or Oman is wealthy today - purely based on natural resources.
A look under the hood reveals that Argentina's wealth came exclusively from exports of agricultural products, which were very expensive at the start of the century due to unprecedented population growth in Europe that challenged European food production (wheat prices have dropped by 75% between 1920 and 2005). But when it comes to e.g. trade of technologies, Argentina was a net importer of those, and excluding agriculture, it had negative trade balances with nearly everyone.
To sustain the agricultural production, Argentina indeed imported a lot of immigrants but more importantly, put their own kids to work instead of educating them. Attendance at primary schools was half compared to France and Germany at the time because kids were helping parents in the fields. Even in the 1960s, an average coming-of-age Argentine had only completed 5 classes of school. For comparison in Japan, which was 30% poorer in 1960, an average person spent 2 more years in school.
So I doubt that immigration had as much effect on Argentina's economy as indicated in the interview.
On affirmative action, I think Jones's view that its the least costly way to address this is out of date.
1) It presumes that only blacks, who are only 13% of the population, will have access to affirmative action. And that outside of that access they will have very little power.
Obviously, both the number of groups and the size of those groups as a % of the population that benefit from affirmative action/civil rights law has exploded.
2) Everyone wants a good thing. So by definition the AA/Civil Rights regime is always looking to and is incented to expand.
3) I think the fact that data and communication getting cheaper means that its very easy to gather and talk about disparate impact in a way that wasn't possible in earlier eras. This raises its salience and therefore raises its demands.
4) It seems to me that as affirmative action both persists and increases in scope, it must provide its own justification. "We have to buy off this group" is to cynical a justification to be of use and also has no limiting principal. So you inevitably have to invent things like wokeism as justification. This was BTW the fundamental criticism that many critics of affirmative action offered at its start.
Do we know the benefits from immigration are certain?
I mean we know on the margin that people who move from the third world see an increase in income, probably still meaningful after PPP adjustment. Some of this may just be that they directly or indirectly receive a lot of government services, but let's leave that to the side for a minute.
Like how many nail salons do we need? Even if you think one nail salon creates enough value in the first world that it really increases the immigrants productivity substantially, that certainly doesn't scale to billions of people.
What are all these people suppose to do? You can only clean someones house so many times a day.
In general I think low skill work is already massively subsidized in America. Everyone inevitably ends up receiving lots of free healthcare, education, etc which is pretty expensive. I have a hard time believing that a 10th nail salon is really going to generate enough to cover these peoples government services.
I don't really understand Garret's "yellow man's burden".
What I got from Hive Mind and "O-Ring" output is that the presence of low IQs in the process destroyed high value processes. They dragged down the group output disproportionately.
This is in contrast to the idea that if you've got a large enough Smart Fraction as a % of population you've got what you need.
Both are probably true in a way (its good to have a Smart Fraction and it's also good to not have any parasites).
So its going to depend a lot on whether you think the best us of high Chinese IQ is either to:
1) Disperse around the world to become the Smart Fraction trying to duct tape together the modest functioning of the third world.
2) Remain in China with all the other smart people and try to be smart together generating ideas and moving human civilization forward.
I tend towards thinking #2 is more important in the long run for everyone.
Its probably better for the individual Chinese descendants too to remain in China until it gets rich rather then move to a country temporarily more rich but with a lower ceiling and lots of hostility.
The best case for understanding how immigrants will effect a polity is to look at migration in the USA (and recently middle eastern immigration to Europe).
How did black migration to Detroit affect it?
How does mass Hispanic immigration affect a polity. Is California and land of Reagen anymore? I could run down a list of Detroit style impacts from Hispanics. Or Arabs in Oslo.
1) Chain Migration is a hell of a drug
2) Once you reach a tipping point where the immigrants (or their leftist allies) are unassailably in charge due to numbers things go down hill really fast
There is essentially zero evidence that diversity limits the welfare state.
1) It's not clear to me that the US does have less of a welfare state than Europe. When you combine fed, state, and local it clocks in at 4X% of GDP. This has been on a steady upward trend for decades, continuing long after the Great Society.
Then there is essentially a big item that is in the eye of the beholder: employer health insurance. If you believe this should be designated as "private" spending then government spending is lower.
But I think a case can be made that both the insurance and the medical care it covers are so tightly regulated and subsidized as to effectively be a "public expense".
Finally, there is out of pocket health expenses and daycare. Now I'm all in favor of private daycare, but COVID nonsense aside necessary medical care and daycare are expenses that are going to happen no matter what whether they are public (like Europe) or private (like America).
2) The most diverse areas in America have the most welfare, and making an area more diverse increases the amount of welfare. There is no track record of importing a bunch of DEM vote banks and welfare programs getting cut or the school budget getting voted down. As the area I grew up in became more diverse the property taxes doubled.
There is a track record of Southern Whites voting to curtail welfare for Southern Blacks, and outnumbering them enough and having enough ethnic coordination to do that. But that doesn't mean that importing a bunch of Puerto Ricans to NYC is going to result in NYC cutting back social services.
There is also the fact that if your average IQ gets low enough that you are too poor to offer social services you might not offer them, but that is hardly a good outcome either.
Near the end, Garett raises the point that most CEOs / monarchs have boards as a strike against neo-monarchists. But this is exactly what the neo-monarchists advocate for. The point is that all the accountability is concentrated so even if the board is the one making most decisions, the monarch must keep the board functioning, or else he or she would face the consequences.