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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Links - 23rd May 2018 (1)

States and Markets: The Advantage of an Early Start - "States and markets have sometimes been viewed as competitors, but in the last decade, there has been increasing agreement that a capable state can play an important facilitating role in the process of economic development. A number of studies have explored the empirical connection between measures of political stability and bureaucratic competence, on the one hand, and rates of economic growth, on the other. There is some evidence from these, and also arguments at the case study level, that a stable and competent state is indeed a contributing factor in economic growth. In this short paper, we investigate the possibility that differences not only in state capacity but more broadly, in the capacity to mount an effective drive toward economic development, derive in part from very long run historical processes giving rise to different potentials for growth. We test the idea that more longstanding experience with a national state in the past is associated, in recent times, with (a) greater political stability and better quality government, (b) higher incomes, and (c) faster rates of economic growth"
Maybe libertarians will just hand wave and claim that stable and competent states don't interfere in the economy

The Modern Impact of Precolonial Centralization in Africa - "we find a strong positive association between the provision of public goods such as education, health and infrastructure in African countries and the centralization of their ethnic groups' precolonial institutions"

How Deep Are the Roots of Economic Development? - "economic development is affected by traits that have been transmitted across generations over the very long run. This article surveys this new literature and provides a framework to discuss different channels through which intergenerationally transmitted characteristics may impact economic development, biologically (via genetic or epigenetic transmission) and culturally (via behavioral or symbolic transmission)"

National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa - "We exploit the fact that the political boundaries in the eve of African independence partitioned more than two hundred ethnic groups across adjacent countries subjecting similar cultures, residing in homogeneous geographic areas, to different formal institutions. Using both a matching-type and a spatial regression discontinuity approach we show that differences in countrywide institutional structures across the national border do not explain within-ethnicity differences in economic performance, as captured by satellite images of light density"
Maybe post-colonialists will say that because colonialism disrupted ethnic groups, national institutions have no effect on ethnic groups' development

The Neolithic Origins of Contemporary Variations in Life Expectancy - "a significant portion of contemporary variations in life expectancy across countries can be traced to the differences in the time passed since the ancestors of the population of each country experienced the Neolithic Revolution"

Who’s to blame for the government shutdown? A look at the political fallout | PBS NewsHour - "Republicans also noted that during the last government shutdown, Democrats lambasted the GOP for forcing a shutdown over a single issue (health care, in that case) — even though now they’re doing the same exact thing. It’ll be hard for Democrats to duck the Republicans’ charge that they’re being hypocritical after opposing the last shutdown, which took place in 2013"

How scientists taught monkeys the concept of money. Soon after, the first prostitute monkey appeared - "They acted exactly like the current laws of economics dictate for humans as well... The data generated by the capuchin monkeys, Chen says, ”make them statistically indistinguishable from most stock-market investors.”... In almost all aspects, capuchins manage to understand money and use it in a manner not too different from a plain old homo sapiens. The study, titled “How Basic Are Behavioral Biases? Evidence From Capuchin Monkey Trading Behavior“"

Teens roam streets with rifles as crime swamps Sweden - "In a country of 10m people, more than 320 shootings and dozens of bombings were reported in 2017, along with more than 110 murders and 7,226 rapes — a 10% increase on 2016. More than 36% of young Swedish women say they feel unsafe at night... The crime surge is mainly confined to so-called “areas of social exclusion”, a code for neighbourhoods such as Rosengard that are predominantly populated by immigrants. They are not classic ghettos — the infrastructure and services are better than in areas of central London — but these communities are plagued by high crime rates and unemployment. In Malmo, where a fifth of the 340,000 inhabitants are under 18, children as young as 14 roam the streets with Kalashnikov assault rifles and bulletproof vests. The average age of gang members is 22, the vast majority of them hailing from migrant families... Stefan Lofven, the Social Democrat prime minister, said last week that he was ready to deploy the military to “stamp out” organised crime... “We have really reached the bottom: people use machineguns and hand grenades — they want to kill,” said Zoran Markovic, the former chief of community policing in Rosengard. Markovic, a decorated officer, is the Swedish-born son of immigrants from Serbia. Rosengard’s new fortified police station was built after his locker room in the old building was peppered with bullets in a drive-by shooting. The situation has drastically worsened in the past two years. Markovic said the police are overstretched. Rosengard’s main school, which had pupils from nearly 200 different ethnic backgrounds, was closed because of social tension... Stockholm’s mayor, Karin Wanngard, protested that Rinkeby was a “fine neighbourhood” and “teeming with vitality”. A spate of shootings forced her to change her tune. The “growing brutality” among gangs has become “unprecedented” she said earlier this month... Criticism of Sweden’s immigration policy has been the prerogative of the unsavoury far right for so long that Sanandaji’s book, soon to be published in English, was blacklisted by some public libraries, despite praise from experts. “The attacks would have ended my career had I been a white ethnic Swede,” he said. Paulina Neuding, an internationally acclaimed writer, was accused of xenophobia for linking the rise of anti-semitic and sexual crime to mass migration. Neuding, 36, born to a Jewish family who migrated from Poland, said Sweden is experiencing a “sexual assault crisis”. Statistics published last week revealed the percentage of women who reported being victims of sex crimes rose from 1.4% in 2012 to 4.1% in 2016. In 2014 a study on the geography of outdoor rape in Stockholm found two-thirds of the suspects were non-Swedish citizens. “Our government declared itself the world’s first feminist government, yet they have quietly abandoned women,” Neuding said. “There is mounting evidence that large-scale migration of men from extremely patriarchal cultures is limiting women’s freedom.”"

The 12 Worst Things in the Star Wars Expanded Universe - "First of all, his name is fucking Skippy the Droid. Second of all, supposedly Skippy is the name of the red R5-D4 droid from the beginning of A New Hope — the one that breaks down after Luke's Uncle Owen buys it, forcing them to take R2-D2 instead. In Star Wars Tales #1, it's revealed that R5-D4 is a droid that can use the Force, which he uses to keep drinks from spilling while he serves in Jabba's palace. Then he uses the Force to free himself and wander the Tatooine desert until Jawas pick him up, because apparently you can't walk 20 feet without being spotted by a sandcrawler on Tatooine. When Luke and Owen buy him, as per the movie, R5-D4 has a vision that unless Luke takes R2, the Rebellion will fail, Princess Leia will be killed, and basically the whole galaxy will be fucked. So he blows his own gasket and uses the Force to make C-3PO tell Luke to take R2 instead. Which is tremendously dumb, but still not as dumb as the fact he's named Skippy."

Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief: 'Open Platforms Threaten to Undermine Democracy' - "Polgreen did not add “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”"

'Babe' Turned a Movement Into a Racket - "A previously obscure website called Babe, which is operated by a group of very young women in Brooklyn, got a hot tip. Through the grapevine, the staff had heard that another young Brooklyn woman had been talking about being sexually violated by the comic Aziz Ansari. They reached out to a woman they called “Grace,” persuaded her to “speak her truth,” albeit anonymously, and rushed the piece into publication: Ansari was given less than six hours to respond to these reputation-destroying allegations. There was no need for the furious pace—this wasn’t a breaking story about a political election or a natural disaster—which seemed to have been motivated by the urgency of the “Time’s Up” motto. Almost immediately the piece became the object of intense cultural interest, with many commentators (including myself) deciding that Ansari had been unfairly treated by the website. Just as many others, particularly young women, said that the account resonated deeply with them, and concluded that Ansari had violated Grace. Predictably, the piece drove huge traffic to Babe, and visitors who explored the site were exposed to its credo: Babe is created by and for “girls who don’t give a fuck.” Collectively, the articles address what the site suggests are universal conditions of the young female heart, or at least conditions universal to its fans. Unfortunately, many of these shared concerns boil down to an almost exact list of traits which blatantly misogynist websites like Return of Kings have enumerated for years. The Babe girl is manipulative (“Period-Trapping Is the Only Way to Find Out if You’re in a Relationship or Not”); insecure (“You Should Be Secretly Looking Through Your Partner’s Phone”); addicted to drama (“We Pranked Our Exes and Asked Them to Be Our New Year’s Kiss and It Was a Complete Disaster”); jealous (“You’re Not Paranoid: This Is How to Tell If Someone Else Is Closing In on Your Man”); and obsessed with alternately fawning over and tearing down the female celebrities she idolizes and envies (“Amber Rose’s Plastic Surgery Is Absolutely a Feminist Statement”; “Sorry, but Kendall Jenner Can’t Model for Shit”)... Ashleigh Banfield, read an open letter to “Grace” in which she said, “You have chiseled away at a movement that I, along with all of my sisters in the workplace, have been dreaming of for decades.”... She wrote back that she wouldn’t go on the program, principally because Banfield was too old and unattractive, called her a “burgundy lipstick, bad highlights, second-wave feminist has-been,” and said that “no woman my age would ever watch your network. I will remember this for the rest of my career—I’m 22 and so far, not too shabby!”... Like many news and information websites created by young women, Babe publishes many stories on sexual assault. But unlike most other such outfits, it also runs stories about the pleasure of rape fantasies... the piece is the almost inevitable consequence of a lifestyle promoted on the website, which enjoins young women to fulfill men’s sexual desires and to— literally—behave whorishly"

The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari - "I thought it would take a little longer for the hit squad of privileged young white women to open fire on brown-skinned men. I had assumed that on the basis of intersectionality and all that, they’d stay laser focused on college-educated white men for another few months. But we’re at warp speed now, and the revolution—in many ways so good and so important—is starting to sweep up all sorts of people into its conflagration: the monstrous, the cruel, and the simply unlucky. Apparently there is a whole country full of young women who don’t know how to call a cab, and who have spent a lot of time picking out pretty outfits for dates they hoped would be nights to remember. They’re angry and temporarily powerful, and last night they destroyed a man who didn’t deserve it."
To feminists, even though Ansari asked "Grace" if she was okay, that's not enough. Presumably men need to check in with women every 30 seconds. Then again, such men would still be thrown under the bus by feminists if it were convenient

Experts have worked out which majors have the highest IQ - "Physics, Mathematical Sciences and Philosophy are among the majors with the highest IQs in America... Physics and Astronomy come out on top with 133."
Lowest include Education, Home Economics, Early Childhood Education and Social Work

Islam provides some answers on sex harassment and assault - "An Islamic adage says: “When a man and a woman are in seclusion, the third party is the devil” (referring to non-familial situations). This concept, similar to the “Billy Graham Rule” to never be alone with a woman who is not his wife, causes some to shout sexism. However, in light of recent sexual harassment accusations, there are some who adhere to similar principles... With recent news, there is a need to re-examine socially acceptable male/female interactions. I’m not suggesting everyone follow, or even like, Islamic guidelines; however, I hope people who choose to do so will be treated respectfully."
How to get feminists to support gender segregation

Get Over Yourself, America - "If one man could bring down an empire, America would have collapsed several times over in just the past two decades. After all, in 2007 it was fashionable to blame President George W. Bush for imperial overstretch in light of the failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That helped President Barack Obama win the 2008 election, but his presidency clearly did not so substantially restore American prestige that it could not be quickly dismantled by Trump—otherwise these trite commentaries would have little to complain about. The facile nature of circular logic that conflates individual personality with national power is already self-evident. So too is America’s self-centric worldview in an age where globalization has many drivers beyond the United States"

The morality and integrity of Donald Trump “girther” memes - "The “girther movement” posits that Donald Trump’s doctor is lying about his height, weight – or both... Jackson is not Trump-appointed and has been the Physician to the President since 2013 (meaning he was also Barack Obama’s doctor). The girther conspiracy is tempting because it posits that not only is Trump actually obese – he is also a liar. It feeds our innate cognitive biases about a leader who many find morally grotesque, but this doesn’t automatically make it true. Even if it were revealed in unclassified documents in 50 years’ time that the president did cover up his weight, social media’s current evidence for this claim is at present very flawed... More troublingly, doctored images are being used as evidence that the president is obese... When the New Statesman spoke with Kim LaCapria, a Snopes editor, after the inauguration of President Trump last year, she was quick to point out that “there has always been a sincerely held yet erroneous belief misinformation is more red than blue in America, and that has never been true.”"
Fat shaming is alright by liberals if it's against Trump
Maybe Jackson was keeping secrets about Obama's health too

Being black in America is a ‘disability,’ black law professor argues - "Kimani Paul-Emile, an associate professor of law at Fordham University and associate director of its law school’s Center on Race, Law & Justice, argues that while Africans Americans might initially spurn the “blackness as disability” label, it can actually be a wise courtroom plan... The College Fix reached out to Paul-Emile for comment several times via email to ask her whether Hispanics or other minorities could also be labeled disabled, and what her opinion would be if a white person made the claim that black people are disabled. She did not respond."

College: Normal-Sized Seats Are a Microaggression

Andrew Sullivan: #MeToo and the Taboo Topic of Nature - "in the years of being HIV-positive, my testosterone levels had sunk, and I decided, given my lassitude, depression, and lack of sexual desire, to go on hormone replacement therapy to get me back in a healthy range for a 30-something male. It was a fascinating experience to witness maleness literally being injected into me, giving me in a sudden jump what had been there all along, and what I now saw and felt more vividly. You get a real sense of what being a man is from an experience like that, as the rush of energy, strength, clarity, ambition, drive, impatience and, above all, horniness overcame me every two weeks in the wake of my shot... I mention this because in our increasingly heated debate about gender relations and the #MeToo movement, this natural reality — reflected in chromosomes and hormones no scientist disputes — is rarely discussed. It’s almost become taboo. You can spend a lifetime in gender studies and the subject will never come up. All differences between the sexes, we are now informed, are a function of the age-old oppression of women by men, of the “patriarchy” that enforces this subjugation, and of the power structures that mandate misogyny. All differences between the genders, we are told, are a function not of nature but of sexism. In fact, we are now informed by the latest generation of feminists, following the theories of Michel Foucault, that nature itself is a “social construction” designed by men to oppress women. It doesn’t actually exist. It’s merely another tool of male power and must be resisted. This is, however, untrue. Even the newest generation of feminists concede this on the quiet. Although they will organize to shut down an entire magazine to prevent an airing of an alternative view of gender, they are not currently campaigning to shut down the Planet Earth series because it reveals that in almost every species, males and females behave differently — very differently — and there appears to be no “patriarchy” in place to bring this about at all... they are as hostile to Darwin as any creationist... My suspicion is that it’s more about nature than about society, and one reason I believe this (apart from all the data) is I because I’m gay. I live in a sexual and romantic world without women, where no patriarchy could definitionally exist, a subculture with hookups and relationships and marriages and every conceivable form of sexual desire that straight men and women experience as well. And you know what you find? That men behave no differently in sexual matters when there are no women involved at all. In fact, remove women, and you see male sexuality unleashed more fully, as men would naturally express it, if they could get away with it... The old joke applies: What does a lesbian bring on a second date? A U-Haul. What does a gay man bring on a second date? What second date?... Two-thirds of Independents now suspect the sincerity of most claims of sexism. Congrats, Brooklyn. Other polls show a declining support for core feminist principles among high-school seniors in the last decade. When I stumble across young male Trump supporters — and there are plenty of gay men among them — this is what they point to. They are defending their core being from left-feminist assault. Insofar as they are pushing back against the latest wave of feminist misandry, I’m not without some sympathy."

Andrew Sullivan: It’s Time to Resist the Excesses of #MeToo - "A month or so ago, a friend and I mulled over when exactly the backlash to the then-peaking #MeToo moral panic would set in. Mid-January, we guessed, and sure enough here we are. No, we were not being clairvoyant, just noting certain dynamics. The early exposure of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Harvey Weinstein — achieved by meticulous, scrupulous journalists and smart, determined women — quickly extended to more ambiguous and trivial cases. Distinctions among many different types of offenses — from bad behavior at private parties to brutal assault and rape of employees and co-workers — were being instantly lost in the fervor. Punishment was almost always the same — social ostracism and career destruction — whether you were Mark Halperin, who allegedly sexually assaulted women in his workplace, or Al Franken, damned because of mild handsiness and pretending to grope a woman’s breasts as a joke. Any presumption of innocence was regarded as a misogynist dodge, and an anonymous online list of accusations against named men in the media was created and circulated with nary an attempt by its instigators to substantiate a single one. Within a few weeks, the righteous exposure of hideous abuse of power had morphed into a more generalized revolution against the patriarchy. This kind of mania will always at some point exhaust itself and this kind of zeal will always overstep. In a free society, a pushback was inevitable, and healthy... “A woman can, in the same day, lead a professional team and enjoy being the sexual object of a man, without being a ‘slut’, nor a cheap accomplice of the patriarchy.” Imagine that: enjoying being the sexual object of a man!... rumors spread of the impending publication of an essay by Katie Roiphe in Harper’s magazine that might take a similarly skeptical tack. Some believed that Roiphe might even hold the instigator of the legendary Shitty Media Men list accountable, and that this person might thereby be subjected to online abuse. And so a Twitter campaign was launched, in a backlash-backlash, to preemptively stop the publication of an essay no one had actually read... This strikes me as a new development for the social-justice left: They now believe in suppressing free speech — even before they know its content! It also strikes me as ominous for journalism as a whole. When journalists themselves wage campaigns to suppress the writing of other journalists, and intend to destroy a magazine for not toeing their ideological line, you can see how free speech truly is on the line... The act of anonymously disseminating serious allegations about people’s sex lives as a means to destroy their careers and livelihoods has long gone by a simple name. It’s called McCarthyism, and the people behind the list engaged in it. Sure, they believed they were doing good — but the McCarthyites, in a similar panic about communism, did as well. They believe they are fighting an insidious, ubiquitous evil — the patriarchy — just as the extreme anti-Communists in the 1950s believed that commies were everywhere and so foul they didn’t deserve a presumption of innocence, or simple human decency. They demand public confessions of the guilty and public support for their cause … or they will cast suspicion on you as well. Sophie Gilbert just berated the men at the Golden Globes for not saying what they were supposed to say"
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