As we all know, Japan is an economic black hole with a stagnant, aging, unvibrant population. Except as various graphs by Jason Bayz suggest, Japan has been doing a pretty good job keeping the Japanese at work.
As we all know, Japan is an economic black hole with a stagnant, aging, unvibrant population. Except as various graphs by Jason Bayz suggest, Japan has been doing a pretty good job keeping the Japanese at work.
Excerpts from a long article in New York about the high homicide rate in Baltimore after the riots.
A Most Violent Year
BALTIMORE, THE LABORATORY CITY
by Benjamin Wallace-Wells
… Each of the American cities where high-profile police killings have inspired demonstrations these past three years has had a different experience of violence, of political protest, of social change — each is part of a composite. Baltimore’s has been the most prolonged: After Gray’s killing, and then after the protests, there was a third phase, more devastating than anywhere else, in which the police seemed to retreat and then the largest wave of homicides in a quarter-century overwhelmed the city. That wave has still not fully subsided; the disturbance that became visible with Gray’s death continues.
I’m not a big opponent of the passive voice in writing, but the tendency of journalists to lapse into the passive voice when describing black violence is not a coincidence.
… There was something else unique to Baltimore’s experience that deepened its tragedy and mystery. Baltimore’s political leadership is composed almost entirely of progressive African-Americans, many of whom had marched in Black Lives Matter protests.
Is it really that mysterious or unique?
So why has the homicide rate been so high ever since the riots?
… In the first four months of the year, Baltimore’s police had arrested a monthly average of 2,630 people. In May, that number dropped almost in half, to 1,557. The uniformed police, Commissioner Batts would later say, had “taken a knee.”
The shape of public order changed. Russell met a man who ran a West Baltimore halfway house for recovering addicts, most of them heroin abusers, and the counselor called him one day with a comically outsize problem. Streetside dealing had so flourished, the man said, that his residents had to walk past 17 separate locations where dealers were actively selling heroin just to get to the methadone clinic.
Eventually, the cops got back to work, but the killings went on.
… Baltimore, in its poverty and violence, is a laboratory city, its poorest neighborhoods subject to constant social-science observation and experiment; there are data sets reaching back years that detail the number of chicken bones left discarded on select city blocks (as a measure of social disorder) and the number of men clustering outside liquor stores on weekend nights.
The South Side of Chicago is another closely studied city, with the U. of Chicago sociology department having been a world leader since the 1920s or so. I don’t see much correlation between intensive social science attention, such as in Baltimore and Chicago, and good outcomes such as a low homicide rate. It would make an interesting social science study to correlate the depth of social science research in a city and the murder rate. My vague impression is that homicide rates tend to be lower in lower brow cities like San Antonio than in cities with elite research universities like U of C and Johns Hopkins.
Many of these records are maintained by a professor at Johns Hopkins named Debra Furr-Holden, and she could see the data change almost immediately. With so many stores burned or closed, simply conducting your daily business — commuting, shopping — meant you had to travel farther, often outside your neighborhood, sometimes into places you would not have considered safe. The people who had come out of their houses during the protests did not go back inside; for the first part of the summer, something like double the ordinary number of people were outside in the evenings.
Maybe the government should distribute free video games to get people back on their couches? Playing Grand Theft Auto is better than committing Grand Theft Auto.
All of the public talk in the city was about unity. The pleas to end the violence were by that point ubiquitous. But just as all of Baltimore pondered the mystery of how a progressive city could produce such a despotic police force, a second mystery had presented itself: If everyone was organized to prevent violence, why did it continue to happen? The cops were back at their posts. The whole city had been politicized. The poorest streets were filled with activist group meetings and sermons. The gangs were professing nonviolence. Still, the murders continued.
This sounds very much like Tom Wolfe’s Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers from 1970 about the San Francisco ghetto:
Whites were still in the dark about the ghettos. They had been studying the “urban Negro” in every way they could think of for fifteen years, but they found out they didn’t know any more about the ghettos than when they started. Every time there was a riot, whites would call on “Negro leaders” to try to cool it, only to find out that the Negro leaders didn’t have any followers. They sent Martin Luther King into Chicago and the people ignored him. They sent Dick Gregory into Watts and the people hooted at him and threw beer cans. During the riot in Hunters Point, the mayor of San Francsco, John Shelley, went into Hunters Point with the only black member of the Board of Supervisors, and the brothers threw rocks at both of them. They sent in the middle-class black members of the Human Rights Commission, and the brothers laughed at them and called them Toms. Then they figured the leadership of the riot was “the gangs,” so they went in the “ex-gang leaders” from groups like Youth for Service to make a “liaison with the key gang leaders.” What they didn’t know was that Hunters Point and a lot of ghettos were so disorganized, there weren’t even any “key gangs,” much less “key gang leaders,” in there. That riot finally just burnt itself out after five days, that was all.
Here’s one interesting point from Wallace-Wells’ article about an occasional effect of Ending the Era of Mass Incarceration. All respectable opinion is agreed that we must let older cons out of prison. Except, sometimes when they hit the streets, that just sets off new rounds of vengeance violence:
Barksdale mentioned one source of tension the interrupters were working to defuse. A man had just been released from prison, where he had served more than a decade for murder, and had returned to his old neighborhood. The victim’s son, now in his early teens, had become aware that his father’s murderer was in the neighborhood and had mentioned the fact to some friends of his. One of the friends had a family connection to the paroled murderer, and so the murderer knew that the son knew that he was around.
The interrupters had met both the man and the boy. Barksdale believed that the man wanted to go straight, and the boy was a good kid, by nature given to following rules and heeding advice. Nevertheless, it had become a situation. The expectation that the boy might try to avenge his father’s death meant that both the man and the boy had reason to believe the other might try to kill him.
Last week’s Racist Hate Crime Crisis of the Century — some of the tape black protestors put over the Harvard Law School seal was also found over portraits of black professors — always sounded like an exceptionally lazy hoax. Couldn’t the black activists have bothered to bring a second, different roll of tape for the hoax part of their vandalism protest?
Some other HLS students have posted an analysis of the incident:
5. Statements by campus security officer. A main reason we created this blog, convinced that the incident was a hoax, not a “hate crime,” was that one of our friends was in the crowd of students in the hallway about an hour after the black tape was discovered, and overheard a campus security officer reassuring a Harvard employee, who was visibly alarmed at the incident, that this wasn’t a racist incident.
It was black students who had put black tape over the faces of black professors, the security official explained, “to mark them as traitors,” because they “won’t stand with them in protests” — exactly what the black students did last year, during the Ferguson protests.
The contemporaneous conclusion of campus security officials that this was an obvious hoax, and not any sort of “hate crime,” has not yet been reported in the media.
6. Statement by Professor Randall Kennedy. Our confidence that this was, in fact, a hoax was strengthened later that day when we learned of the reaction of Prof. Randall Kennedy (one of the black professors whose portrait was covered with black tape). In a class a few hours after the incident, Prof. Kennedy reportedly said he didn’t know what the black tape meant. He reportedly speculated that the black tape could have been placed by someone seeking to “chastise” black professors for not being outspoken enough on racial issues on campus.
Crediting this report (of which we have only third-hand knowledge), why would this possibility immediately come to mind for Prof. Kennedy? Presumably because, as the security official stated, black students tried this stunt last year, in a selective protest against only certain black professors — but last year, unlike on November 19, the tape was discovered and removed before any students saw it, so that only the professors and administrators (and the hoaxers, who could hardly complain about their hoax being foiled) ever learned about the incident.
Obviously the idea that this incident is a second try by black protesters who failed last year is much more plausible than the idea that a white racist, unaware of what had been tried last year, independently came up with the idea of doing exactly the same thing (to the point of leaving unscathed the portrait of the black professor [Lani Guinier] who has been most outspoken in favor of the black protesters, which one would expect only black protesters to do).
Sure, slack planning of hoaxes is to be expected at, say, Oberlin, but this is Harvard Law School. The public expects scams perpetrated by people associated with HLS to show attention to detail. This example undermines public confidence that an HLS diploma guarantees at least a minimum level of cunning. Are you going to trust HLS alumni to plot, say, your $160 billion tax inversion merger grift if HLS students can’t pull off a simple hate hoax?
But, paradoxically, the incompetence of the incident only motivates Harvard authorities to treat it more seriously. From the Harvard Crimson today:
Harvard Law School Will Reconsider Its Controversial Seal
Law School Dean Martha Minow appoints a committee to research “whether to continue” the Royall family crest
By ANDREW M. DUEHREN , CRIMSON STAFF WRITER 15 hours ago
On the heels of an incident of racially-charged vandalism on campus, Harvard Law School Dean Martha L. Minow has appointed a committee to reconsider the school’s controversial seal—the crest of the former slaveholding Royall family that endowed Harvard’s first law professorship in the 19th century.
Think about it from the perspective of Dean Minow. What’s the alternative? To not take it seriously would to to imply that Harvard Law School blacks tend to be transparent screw-ups who can’t carry out a simple racial hate hoax without embarrassing themselves.
As I mentioned last week in my Taki’s column “Strong Mutually Antagonistic Governments Everywhere,” Putin of Russia and Erdogan of Turkey have a lot in common, so it will be illuminating to see whether they can work out their clash without a disastrous war. Here’s an NYT article expanding upon that theme:
Discord Between Turkey and Russia Is Fueled by Leaders’ Similarities
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR NOV. 29, 2015
It’s not well-known, but on 9/11 the death toll included 343 firemen and zero firewomen (who are known to firemen as “firewatchers”).
To rectify that, Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder was hired by the FDNY. But, sensibly enough, she probably won’t stick around long enough to get killed on the job. From the New York Post:
By Susan Edelman November 22, 2015 | 4:12am
Modal Trigger Firefighter who flunked physical injured 10 days into job
A firefighter who was allowed to graduate the Fire Academy despite failing physical tests has already gone out on medical leave — just 10 days into the job, The Post has learned.
Probationary firefighter Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder injured herself Monday while conducting a routine check of equipment at Queens’ Engine 308 in South Richmond Hill. Getting off the truck, Doirin-Holder missed a step and landed on her left foot, suffering a fracture, sources said. …
“If you’re going to get hurt in the firehouse checking a rig, what would happen at a fire?” an insider asked.
On Nov. 6, Doirin-Holder celebrated her FDNY graduation as one of four new female Bravest, bringing the number of women to 49 — an all-time high in the FDNY’s 150-year history. …
Doirin-Holder, who turns 40 this month, is one of 282 “priority hires” passed over in 1999 and 2000. Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis ordered they must get preference as victims of past discrimination against minorities.
It was Doirin-Holder’s third attempt to pass the academy. …
Doirin-Holder started another class in early 2014 but dropped out because of an injury. The FDNY then gave her a desk job and kept her on the payroll at top firefighter salary, $76,488…
Since she was injured on duty, she is eligible for a disability pension that would pay three-quarters of her annual salary, tax-free, if deemed unfit to return.
From the Wall Street Journal, one of those articles where the reporter starts out with the current party line, then undermines it with an abundance of distressing facts.
PROMISE OF YOUTH
Will a baby boom pull the world’s poorest continent into the center of global affairs?
By Drew Hinshaw
… The biggest human increase in modern history is under way in Africa. On every other continent, growth rates are slowing toward a standstill for the first time in centuries, and the day is in sight when the world’s human population levels out.
But not here—not yet.
Some 2.5 billion people will be African by 2050, the U.N. projects. That would be double the current number and 25% of the world’s total. There will be 399 million Nigerians then, more than Americans. When the century closes, if projections hold, four out of 10 people will be African.
The article has a perhaps overly sophisticated graph of birth rates using that 2015 U.N. Population Prospects data that I’ve been emphasizing so much in recent months. The problem is that you have to scroll down through it to make it go through its animation and you can get the incorrect impression that your computer is hung up.
Billions of them will be living in cities that are today small towns. The land of open spaces that was Africa will have blended into one big megalopolitan web.
Whether that makes Africa the next emerging giant, or giant emergency, one thing is certain: At 93, Mr. Musa has something to do with all this. In his seven decades as the reigning nut trader in town, he has had 21 children by five wives, and 118 grandchildren.
… One of the great questions of the 21st century is unfolding outside his window: How will the world look with vastly more Africans in it?
Better, by some measures. Humanity is aging. By 2050, nearly a fourth of the people on earth will have passed their 60th birthday, compared with just one-eighth now. A swelling portion of the global economy will be spent hospitalizing or retiring old people.
By comparison, the average African will be 28. Some 1.3 billion people here will be both young and old enough to start a business, educate themselves, build new homes, embark on a career—and give the world’s farms and factories a reason to grow.
Simply put: A baby boom will lift the poorest continent on Earth into the center of global affairs. Africa will soon become the world’s most reliable source of new life: of college graduates, young workers and budding consumers.
The big question looming over all of this: Will Africa figure out a way to tap this fountain of youth? Will the world?
So far, the prospects seem mixed at best. The developed world faces a coming shortage of workers—but a disinterest in taking more immigrants, especially Africans. Europe would be a natural destination for young Africans, most of whom speak a European language. But the continent is currently dialing back its intake of Africans to clear room for Middle Eastern refugees and to reassure voters worried about terrorists.
Africa isn’t finding much use for its young, either. In Nigeria, just 9% of adults are employed full time by someone else, according to a 2012 Gallup poll. It is a number typical for the continent.
There is no clarity on where the next batch of jobs will come from. Africans have watched car dealerships and shopping malls land in their biggest cities after a decade of economic growth. But that is slowing, and what hasn’t followed are factory jobs or modern farm work. If Africa is to follow East Asia’s example and become a manufacturing base for the global economy, evidence is thin.
I’ve been intermittently following the “Made in …” labels on my shirts for the last 35 years, because making cotton shirts has been pretty much the first phase of the industrial revolution in a country since Britain in the 18th Century. In this century it’s not unkown to see labels from African countries, which you never saw in the 1980s.
In the meantime, this continent is losing one of the great races of the century. Africa’s population has been growing faster than governments can lay down the basics of a modern economy: power plants, roads and schools.
In Nigeria, electricity cuts out daily. The public schools are packed, their textbooks few, and teachers regularly strike. …
Banks barely lend. Nigeria has just 20,000 mortgages open for a country of 182 million. Ports are congested and mainly ship out oil—and there isn’t enough of that to support a population that grows by 13,000 people daily.
Hundreds of day laborers sit on a single strip in downtown Lokoja and periodically fistfight over gigs. “We are too many here,” said Sani Mohammad, a 33-year-old watching cars drive past. Another day laborer, Jamidu Mohammad, leaned on his shovel and agreed. “But if there’s no work, what can we do?” he said.
… It is here in the cities where the next and paradoxical second chapter in Africa’s demographic story is unfolding. The larger Africa’s cities grow, the more families inside them shrink.
Africans in town are having fewer children these days than their village compatriots. Many have broken away from extended families, into nuclear abodes. A new African suburbia is branching out, as young parents try to buy distance from their elders and siblings….
This shift is what economists call the demographic dividend. It is the moment when big families become small. Parents find themselves with fewer mouths to feed, and more money on hand at the end of the month.
Invariably, many spend it educating their children, creating a workforce that will earn higher wages—and one day pay for their retirement. It is a phenomenon that has already helped push Latin America and East Asia up from poverty.
The next candidate for that economic miracle is Africa. And yet the continent is still a ways off.
In every African country, women are averaging fewer children now than their mothers had in 1990. But not by much: In Nigeria, it has taken 25 years for the birthrate to fall from 6.8 children per woman to six. Meanwhile, millions of mothers are giving birth in a delivery room for the first time in their family’s history. So their children are surviving more often, and growing up to have more children.
Birth control has been slow to catch on. Women in Nigeria who choose it are typically waiting until their 30s. Mariam Audu, a walk-in to Lokoja’s state family planning clinic, waited until she was 34, when she finally convinced her husband.
A few weeks after he agreed, he announced he was marrying a second wife—a teenager—so he could keep bringing children into the world.
“It’s our culture,” said the mother of five. “I didn’t want it, but as God brings it, I accept it.”
Family planning remains a delicate subject in this conservative country, which is almost equally divided between Muslims and Christians. Women need permission slips from their husbands to take birth control in the city of Kano, whose metropolitan population nears 10 million. All of the files from all the women who went on birth control last year in the largest hospital in the state don’t fill a single filing cabinet drawer.
Still, the idea is spreading, slowly, privately. In Lokoja, nurses at the state hospital have helped women hatch elaborate plans to covertly begin contraceptives. On a recent day, a new mother purposefully left her purse in the office—then ran back, without her husband, for a quick and surreptitious birth-control shot.
“Some people are with seven children, and their husband still wants more, but the strength of the woman, they can’t take it,” said Esther Akubo, the head nurse here. “So they come in secretly.”
If there’s a preview into how the world will be remade by Africa’s baby boom, it is to be had in Lokoja.
Much of the economy here revolves around petty trade—outdoor markets, or salesman stepping through traffic. What’s for sale is largely for children.
The article ends with a 91-year-old patriarch with 5 wives telling one of his 118 grandchildren that it’s time to cut back on having so many kids.
Who will you blame once Obama’s gone?
By John Blake, CNN
Updated 9:33 AM ET, Fri November 27, 2015
… Consider the question of whether racial strife is now the norm.
“I don’t see that stopping when Obama is no longer president,” says Steve Sailer, who writes for Unz Review and Taki’s Magazine, both started by alumni of The American Conservative. “I can imagine a white president like Hillary [Clinton] upping the ante because she doesn’t have the benefit of being black.”
Sailer says Clinton will need to talk more about racial grievances to attract minority voters because she can’t count on the strong black support that Obama enjoyed.
Democrats, he says, have decided to build a coalition of “fringe” groups by demonizing people who “have rightful reasons for representing the core of Middle America.”
That decision, however, is sparking a white backlash, Sailer warns. More whites are starting to see the need to unite like other ethnic groups.
“It’s become more acceptable for people to insult whites, especially white men,” he says. “You’re seeing more and more whites starting to develop a certain amount of white identity.”
A modest degree of racial tension is pretty much inevitable, since you are talking about different people with different interests and different sets of relatives. Obama cynically relaunching the Battle of the Sexes during his re-election campaign, however, is more culpable since men and women have the same relatives on average. And it’s not as if Obama has any personal belief in the dogmas of feminism whatsoever.
Affirmative action in college admissions based on race/ethnicity has been common since the end of the 1960s. It rather quickly was discovered to benefit primarily blacks and Latinos from above average homes.
So, slowly, the rationalization for affirmative action was rewritten by the Supreme Court from original assertions of fairness, anti-discrimination, and reparations for slavery and other past sins, which, presumably, diminish over time, to “diversity,” which we never ever can get enough of. Sure, the Rwandan U.N. ambassador’s granddaughter, whose white mother graduated from Wellesley, doesn’t really have any moral claim for special privileges in the United States, but that’s not the point, the point is that it’s good for the white kids in class to enjoy the fruits of diversity, such as the current Black Autumn on campus.
But let’s try putting together a new argument for a new kind of affirmative action in college admissions targeting the previously untargeted; kids who are a lot smarter than their parents. I have a theory that our society tends to under-invest in the smart kids of not so smart parents. If you are looking for a group for colleges to recruit more intensively among, this would likely have a higher payoff than more traditional affirmative action categories.
The basics of The Bell Curve suggest that tens or hundreds of thousands of children born each year will be significantly smarter than the average of their parents. But because they show up fairly randomly in the population, they have been ignored (in Sapir-Whorf terms, we barely even have a name for them) because they don’t fit into the usual identity politics categories. They are a little like lefthanders, a common minority but too randomly distributed a group to develop political mojo. (For example, major league baseball discriminates 100% against lefthanded catchers, but even in a world obsessed with teasing out instances of discrimination, nobody cares).
One thing that has been widely remarked is that applying to college has gotten more complicated in terms of competitive strategizing. This may well be overblown, but it’s a widespread social stereotype beloved by Tiger Parents and feared by Sloth Parents that getting into a “good” college is immensely complicated.
This tends to become self-fulfilling.
Research by Caroline Hoxby of Stanford has discovered that the biggest concentration of overlooked smart kids that colleges should recruit harder are, unsurprisingly, exactly whom the conventional wisdom doesn’t expect them to be: male, white, flyover states, maybe from broken homes.
Why is the conventional wisdom’s expectation wrong that the real most overlooked demographic shouldn’t be the beneficiaries of White Male Privilege but should be the gay black Latinas from East Coast? Because it’s the conventional wisdom, obviously. The universities have been tilling those more ideologically congenial fields intensively for 40 or 50 years now, so they long ago hit diminishing marginal returns in Closing The Gap. But they can’t admit that, so they are constantly trumpeting: the theory can’t be wrong, comrades, so we must redouble our efforts!
Obviously, nobody respectable is going to invest in explicit special preferences for white boys from Flyover Country. But perhaps we can operationalize the Hoxby-Avery findings as calling for special investment in children who are smarter than their parents.
But is my theory correct that those are the kids most likely to be underinvested in relative to their potential? We should test it to find out.
Here’s a new research agenda: We probably now have multiple ways for social scientists to track two generations of achievement relative to test scores. For example, the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth, from which much of The Bell Curve, was derived, is following thousands of children of female members of the original sample. This public database available to legit professional social scientists has cognitive test data for two mother and child, along with life events such as type of college they attend. If the average NLSY panelist was 18 in 1979, she’d be 54 today in 2015, with a majority of her children already having reached the age to apply to college.
So my theory that our society is underinvesting in the smart children of less smart parents could be tested thoroughly over the next few years using NLSY data.
I throw a lot of research ideas out there in the hopes that academics will pick them up and carry them out. So don’t feel any need to credit me for the idea if you want to go ahead and study this. I just like knowledge.
Commenter Hail notes that white women who identify more or less as Republicans have 18% more children than white women who identity more or less as Democrats:
According to GSS: White women born 1944-1974 (sample size=5,343) who were between ages of 40-50 at the time of data collection (in 1994-2014, i.e., having reached their final lifetime completed fertilities) had the following fertility rates by political orientation:
[Political Identification] (% of Pop.): Final Lifetime TFR (Whites age 40+) (GSS variables: childs, age, race, 1994-2014)
I think this is actually Completed Fertility, which is not exactly the same as Total Fertility Rate, but pretty close. Also, if you are looking at women 40 to 50, a few will have more children, so these numbers are slight understatements.
1. [Strong Democrat] (10%): 1.61 Final TFR
2. [Not Strong Democrat] (16%): 1.83
3. [Independent, Near Democrat] (11%): 1.79
4. [Independent] (18%): 2.00
5. [Independent, Near Republican] (10%): 1.86
6. [Not Strong Republican] (19%): 2.12
7. [Strong Republican] (13%): 2.14
8. [Other Party] (2%): 1.89
The difference in final fertility (acc. to GSS) between White Democrats (categories 1,2,3 above) and White Republicans (5,6,7) is 2.07 : 1.76, or given equal starting numbers, a Republican child generation 118% as large as a Democrat child generation.
Another way of looking at it (given replacement fertility = 2.1) is that both groups are shrinking, but White Democrats are shrinking somewhat faster.
White Republicans, base population 100, at 2.07 TFR
First child generation: 98
Second child generation: 96
Third child generation: 94 (Starting today as Year Zero, this will be past year 2100)
White Democrats, base population 100, at 1.76 TFR
First child generation: 84
Second child generation: 70
Third child generation: 59
New ratio, given equal starting numbers, in third child generation: 94 : 59, or 160 White Republicans for 100 White Democrats (assuming that political ideology is perfectly inherited).
Since it’s not 100% perfectly inherited, the changes in number are likely to be slower due to random remixing. But I may be getting the logic wrong, so your comments are, as usual, welcome.
It would be interesting to know if this gap is growing and how far back into the past it’s discernible. If you go back a half century into the past, the stereotype was that Irish Catholic Democrats had the biggest families.