June 28, 2013, 9:14 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

For All The Poor Wells Fargo Tellers. I actually kinda like the fake-nice customer service thing. Better than the usual experience anyway.

QE Won’t End—It Will Increase. I’m in a weird position; didn’t want QE in the first place, and I was disgusted by how the markets became QE addicts, but now that the markets are freaking out that it’s gonna end my position is like ‘hey don’t worry everyone, QE isn’t going anywhere, so relax’. Unfortunately.

The Technical Interview Is Dead (And No One Should Mourn). (But also see Half Si^^Lion.) I guess I was an early adopter of this trend, because I’ve always generally preferred just chatting to the ‘brain-teaser’ style of interview and by the time I think to remember to try to get into the technical stuff, there’s no time left. Either that or I’m just a terrible interviewer.

Russell Brand Is A Social Genius. There’s something to that.

Arming Syrian Rebels Is Strategic Suicide. I’m not sure it’s even accurate to bring the concept of ‘strategy’ into the conversation.

Jim responds to that 13-year-old Alex Tabarrok immigration piece. You know, the one I instantaneously obtained a responsibility to respond to in normative-ethical terms a week or so ago (on the day that Bryan Caplan decided to link to it). So now I don’t have to.

Questions for Krugman and Kuehn on Keynesian multipliers, from Russ Roberts.

Restrepo, Cobb

Matthew Yglesias has some good observations on rules and tyranny that he should like, you know, try applying more broadly sometime. You know, to topics other than condo boards:

Essentially everything is against the rules, and daily life is made tolerable only through the fact that the rules aren’t actually enforced. But then anytime someone wants to be a pain in the ass, they can demand enforcement of some random provision or other. [...] And the problem is that there’s essentially no escape. In any condo, the rules are made by the condo board and at condo meetings. And while the boards and the meetings are theoretically democratic institutions, in practice they self-select for busybodies who feel like wasting their time on condo business.


Matt Levine, national treasure, on leverage measures:

If you buy protection via a five-year credit default swap with $100mm notional that has a positive value to you of $5 million, it’s $10 (IG) or $15 million (HY) of assets.5 If you sell protection via a five-year credit default swap with $100mm notional that has a positive value to you of $5 million, it’s … I think $105 million of assets?6 In any case, the answer is never $5 million: derivatives assets are never measured at what they’re worth.

Heh. Also – in a surprising twist – there’s footnotes.

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“The best argument against wide open unrestricted immigration from crappy places to good places is that past some threshold, it will destroy the good places. No more civilization, in other words, or at least such a diminution in the success of the host societies that people no longer even want to emmigrate there.”

By all means, do explain why this argument isn’t plain racism. No further follow-up comments from me.

Comment by RPLong

How weird, because race was not mentioned in that passage. It seems to be in your head.

Comment by The Crimson Reach

If it’s “racism” to notice that ethnic Mexicans live and act like ethnic Mexicans and that moving them over a border doesn’t change that then yeah, it’s racist – and so what?

Do you think you’re on the winning side of the argument when one side says:

This will make everyone’s life worse

and the other side counters with:

Making that prediction is racist!

It makes sense if you put “don’t be a racist” above “have a nice country to live in” in your hierarchy of civilizational values – where being a “racist” consists of noticing true things and making correct predictions.

Comment by Steve Johnson

“Racist” is a word invented quite recently for official propaganda purposes by the US government. There was no such word, nor any word carrying that meaning until 1930 or so. It means whatever they say it means.

And what “racist” means is failure to keep up with the current Cathedral line. So if you agreed 100% with the Democrats policies in 2008, you were not a racist, but if you still agree with those policies even though official truth has now moved leftwards of them, you are now a racist.

Comment by jamesd127

RPLong, you’re obviously not much of a critical thinker. If you are, try applying it to your own argument. You could try to debate whether large masses from “crappy countries” immigrating to “good places” (as in: places they wish to live) will lead to making the good countries more similar to the bad ones. You could ask whether that would always or sometimes be the case or you could try to argue why that would never be the case but to see the entire debate as “plain racism” makes you look like anything other than a thinker.

Comment by Anon

You said “crappy,” and he jumped to the question of race. I guess it couldn’t possibly be a question of the crappy culture the immigrants imbibed in their place of origin that explains why their place of origin was crappy in the first place? Which actually leads me to a possible counterpoint to your post: if the immigrants genuinely understand and reject the crappy culture they’re leaving, then they’ll be a wonderful addition here. It takes a lot of gumption to pull up stakes and leave a crappy country. But if they don’t understand what’s wrong with their country of origin and are just looking for a place that does a better job of giving them free stuff, and we accommodate them in that fatal desire, then they’ll exacerbate the problem we already have here.

But no doubt the correct point of view is to assume that all that was wrong in Mexico was that they tolerated too much income inequality, so all we need to do with the immigrants is start redistributing our wealth to them: presto, egalitarian Utopia! It’s bound to work this time if we do it right.

Re QE: I understand the wish to avoid a market meltdown, but is there any future in QE other than a currency meltdown? Our savings and investments are toast either way.

Comment by Texan99

Re: “crappy”, just for the record, it wasn’t even me who said it – that’s not a quote from me – it was from a post I linked to. Apparently the rule now is that I have to ‘explain why’ stuff other people write ‘isn’t racism’, according to someone who gave no logical reason to think that it *is*, other than whatever (racist?) free-associations were occurring in his head.

Comment by The Crimson Reach

Perhaps you’re not even allowed to assume that the immigrants think their country of origin is — if not “crappy” — then at least undesirable in some respect. Though it’s going to be hard to explain why they want to leave it, in that case.

Comment by Texan99

Clearly countries are either nice or bad places to live according to some kind of natural luck of the draw that is beyond anyone’s control and has no roots in anyone’s choices or ideas let alone culture in general. ‘Nice’ vs ‘crappy’ is sewn into the landscape somewhere, we just need to perceive it. Cue Jared Diamond.

Diffusion of people amongst countries (or not) can therefore have no meaningful effect. To think anything else is racist and (therefore) not-allowed.

There’s an interesting lazy convergence of libertarian with leftist thought going on here that you don’t often see on other issues. But I do understand the mathematical/theorem-proof style appeal of thinking: ‘if I can just reduce that person’s position to ‘racism’ in a few steps, I will have constructed a disproof and need give this no further thought’. It’s elegant and clean and I do wish that sort of thing were available to me sometimes.

Comment by The Crimson Reach

I’m afraid I do something similar with reducing arguments to the point where the recommended behavior is parasitical. I have such a mania for finding ways for people to interact with each other respectfully, by consent — right up to the point where violence is necessary to defend against really outrageous behavior.

Comment by Texan99

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