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Commenter / blogger Spotted Toad writes about Raj Chetty’s new study of the backgrounds of American patent inventors that I analyzed in Taki’s Magazine:

Spotted Toad says: • Website
December 6, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT • 300 Words

As Steve has noticed, Chetty’s previous studies have tended to seem dense and unobservant but more or less on the right track; this one just seems wrong headed and destructive.

The way they identify high scoring students (to make the claim that high achieving blacks and women are underrepresented) is just by taking the top 5 percent of scorers on the 3rd grade standardized math test [in New York City public schools]

Chetty assumes that everybody who makes the top 5% cutoff in math test scores on the third grade test in NYC public schools has an equal chance of earning a patent in later life, and then is shocked, shocked to find that Asians and whites and boys and affluent kids actually earn more patents than blacks and Hispanics and girls and poor kids.

Oddly enough, he admits that the power of math scores to accurately predict becoming an inventor with at least one patent increases steadily from 3rd grade to 8th grade, but he insists on using third grade scores.

. That is…not a good way of identifying really smart kids.

The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth took kids who scored in the top 3% in 7th grade (by which time IQs are much more stable and predictive of adult ability) and then gave them the SAT. The kids in the top quartile on the SAT were much more likely to get patents later on than the kids in the bottom quartile (out of the top 3% kids, so everyone was pretty smart.) In other words, there’s a big difference between a kid who is in the top 0.75% in math ability in 7th grade and kid who is just in the top 3%, in terms of whether they get a patent eventually or become a published scientist or whatever. But you can’t get a nice diverse group of kids who score in the top 0.75% in 7th grade on a well designed test the way you can for the top 5% in 3rd grade on a really low reliability test.

There’s also the issue of course of mechanical and spatial abilities that are correlated with IQ but aren’t being directly measured, but probably make a difference for inventiveness. But those abilities probably are even more undiverse than math, given everything we know about the world. Tinkering around in your basement and building stuff is pretty much the most white guy thing in the world.

 
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  1. Luke Lea says:

    “Tinkering around in your basement and building stuff is pretty much the most white guy thing in the world.”

    Nice observation, Spotted Toad. May Steve borrow it?

    Read More
    • Replies: @SimpleSong
    Agree. Asians are obviously very intelligent but they don't seem to mess around in the garage for fun. They are excellent engineers, but only if they are going to get paid--they don't engineer as a hobby. Whites on the other hand seem to do it just for the joy of doing it which is I believe why they still come up with all of the major inventions even today, despite much of the rest of the world having access to modern science, a larger population, etc. Quick--three most recent important inventions? I'm going to say fracking, GPS, internet. White guy inventions. Name a piece of software written by a white guy for fun and given away for free? Linux, python, PHP... Now a non white? Hmm... Might change in the future, I'm not sure.
    , @Bill Jones
    The standard background noise TV for my 16 year old boy is The Science Channel., which I once saw referred to by a South Korean as "The White Guy Channel".
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  2. More bad news…

    The achievement gaps between racial groups in New York City appear as soon as students begin taking state tests and get worse over time, according to a new analysis of state test-score data.

    Black and Hispanic students score below their white and Asian peers beginning in third grade, then fall further behind as they move into middle school, according to a report released Tuesday by the city’s Independent Budget Office.

    https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2017/12/05/new-york-citys-racial-achievement-gaps-widen-as-students-get-older-report-finds/

    Read More
    • Replies: @gregor
    "... and get worse over time."

    That's exactly why Chetty uses 3rd grade. The gap isn't as large, so that allows him to claim a larger pool of potential black Einsteins.

    I believe the data I've seen (from Flynn) indicated black IQ is around 95 in childhood but more like 83 the mid 20s. I would guess this is related to variation in maturation.
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  3. Spotted Toad on Raj Chetty

    Is that an Indian dish? How does it compare with Crunchy, Raw, Unboned Real Dead Frog?

    And what would one pair it with? One’s own urine?

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  4. gregor says:
    @Triumph104
    More bad news...


    The achievement gaps between racial groups in New York City appear as soon as students begin taking state tests and get worse over time, according to a new analysis of state test-score data.

    Black and Hispanic students score below their white and Asian peers beginning in third grade, then fall further behind as they move into middle school, according to a report released Tuesday by the city’s Independent Budget Office.

    https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2017/12/05/new-york-citys-racial-achievement-gaps-widen-as-students-get-older-report-finds/

     

    “… and get worse over time.”

    That’s exactly why Chetty uses 3rd grade. The gap isn’t as large, so that allows him to claim a larger pool of potential black Einsteins.

    I believe the data I’ve seen (from Flynn) indicated black IQ is around 95 in childhood but more like 83 the mid 20s. I would guess this is related to variation in maturation.

    Read More
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  5. J.Ross says: • Website

    He *has* to prefer 3rd over 8th grade, because of both drop-out rates and the cumulative effect of truancy. There is no eighth grade data for these purposes (there’s an eighth grade and there’s scores but they’re unusable). This so obviously the answer that I am now curious about how Chetty explains this. I’m guessing he blames white people.
    —–
    OT, hot on the heels of discovering that Russian athletes are the only ones in the world that dope, the Establishment has decided that poverty and voting irregularities are too big a problem to ignore! A UN Special Reporter will be dispatched! Not to Mexico or Venezuela, but to Alabama, and just Alabama and not Mississippi or Arkansas, and just in time for Roy Moore’s largely inevitable victory. This continues a pattern of completely trashing the authority and credibility of institutions with nakedly political pseudo-investigations that hope to achieve with Colbert-smirking what cannot be done with non-existent evidence. But it also runs into the welcoming spirit Alabamians famously feel when a smug outsider decides to don a pith helmet and go a-judging. I for one certainly hope nothing happens to the vehicles that will convey the UN Special Maligner for his Gunnar Myrdal impersonation. At least nothing that would keep him in-state any longer than necessary.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    That someone can think and write as wickedly as you (and I mean wicked in the best sense of the word) and be able to publish his thoughts--in even as obscure a corner of the internet as this--gives me hope on this otherwise bleak December morn.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. Abe says: • Website

    Poor Obama! So much 3rd grade potential wasted! He simply catapulted up the political ranks, became the Presidential nominee of a major political party at a ridiculously young age, became POTUS, literally found a Nobel Prize in his HR welcome packet, made bank to the tune of $50 million with his wife on a pair of autobiographies yet to materialize, gets invites to the private islands of zillionaires, and is the the beloved, anodyne fake social media friend of about 1/3 the planet. But poor Obama! He never went on to invent the Super Soaker!

    Poor Hillary! So much wasted 3rd grade potential. She merely became First Lady, had 3 major motion pictures made about her and her spouse, became Senator of a state she had never lived a day in her life in, became Secretary of State, pocketed $150 million in favor money, became the Presidential nominee of a major political party despite being ridiculously old and decrepit. Had a TV show made about her stint in the cabinet with a much younger, prettier actress who nevertheless had her hair dyed and styled with stringy bangs just so that you could not mistake who the show was really about. Oh, and was going to be the subject a new documentary, despite being on the short end of one of the greatest political upsets in moderan American history. Poor Hillary! She never went on to invent a new type of mop she would then have to hock on a cable shopping network.

    Read More
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  7. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    The reality is Black Lives Really Don’t Matter. At least not in a setting where they have have to hold their own as responsible adults in a modern world. Blacks themselves are the biggest believers in BLRDM, racking up dead n*ggas from here to the moon each year in the urban jungle. Blacks fail to invent, fail to pay for their own way through life, pay for their children. Can’t behave well enough to maintain a black civilization.

    The inability of blacks to come to terms with their behavior and their limitations drives all of the scapegoating and creates so much trouble for everyone else and themselves. Many more blacks could matter and could live much happier and more fulfilling lives and accomplish a lot more if they would recognize the limitations of their race instead of lashing out at the hand that feeds them, and live under white custodial control. Even though ostensibly slavery has been over for 150 years, we’re still paying for them, leading them along, patiently tolerating their childish behaviors and beliefs.

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  8. Haven’t similar arguments been made in the past to highlight alleged bias against females in math? I don’t remember all of the details, but as I recall, the general point is made that male and female math scores in elementary are similar (girls may even lead boys to some extent) and then for totally unexplainable reasons, a gender gap exists in high school math. Considerations regarding the math itself being harder and academic interests diverging are never entertained.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Indeed. It would be impolitic to notice the difficulty of high-school mathematics. OTOH, at my high school in the late 70s we did integral calculus--the girls, even!--and somehow I don't see most of the kids now managing that. Many struggle with basic arithmetic.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  9. @Luke Lea
    "Tinkering around in your basement and building stuff is pretty much the most white guy thing in the world."

    Nice observation, Spotted Toad. May Steve borrow it?

    Agree. Asians are obviously very intelligent but they don’t seem to mess around in the garage for fun. They are excellent engineers, but only if they are going to get paid–they don’t engineer as a hobby. Whites on the other hand seem to do it just for the joy of doing it which is I believe why they still come up with all of the major inventions even today, despite much of the rest of the world having access to modern science, a larger population, etc. Quick–three most recent important inventions? I’m going to say fracking, GPS, internet. White guy inventions. Name a piece of software written by a white guy for fun and given away for free? Linux, python, PHP… Now a non white? Hmm… Might change in the future, I’m not sure.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Feeeney
    This is silly. Google: Chinese DIY Inventions
    , @Anonymous
    Oriental (especially Japanese) engineers are great at improving existing concepts in a direction already made obvious by the trends in general, they can correctly infer the path of continuing progress, and they especially are good at making Western ideas work that have been tried and discarded as impractical or superseded by what Westerners see as less trouble but which have hidden advantages (real or imagined). But to "think outside the box" and build entirely new categories of product, it never happens.

    Good examples include the oxygen torpedo, the Walter fuel/oxidizer shaft propulsion system, the Wankel rotary engine, and various audio amplifier circuits using vacuum tubes.

    The microprocessor, for example, was developed when digital IC engineers realized that an assignment to build a specific and complicated controller could be implemented as a generic "all purpose machine" and used in many different applications with different software. The Japanese mindset would never have caused anyone in a position to do it to go in that direction: they would have made it even more specialized for its application. Once the microprocessor became "a thing" they could design one more or less well as Western companies, but their development paths would never have changed in the way those of US and British companies did.

    Post-WWII Japanese aircraft development is another good dataset to mine. They often made "Captain Obvious" changes to a basic American design, such as the two seat trainer made as a stretched F-86 and the four seat liaision aircraft that is a widened T-34 (itself a narrowed Beech Bonanza.) They have had poor success at exploiting export markets for their aircraft for the most part: they had some success with the Mitsubishi MU-2 small turboprop, and of course there is the current Hondajet.
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  10. peterike says:

    Isn’t “Raj Chetty” Sanskrit for “shameless huckster”?

    Read More
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  11. Feeeney says:
    @SimpleSong
    Agree. Asians are obviously very intelligent but they don't seem to mess around in the garage for fun. They are excellent engineers, but only if they are going to get paid--they don't engineer as a hobby. Whites on the other hand seem to do it just for the joy of doing it which is I believe why they still come up with all of the major inventions even today, despite much of the rest of the world having access to modern science, a larger population, etc. Quick--three most recent important inventions? I'm going to say fracking, GPS, internet. White guy inventions. Name a piece of software written by a white guy for fun and given away for free? Linux, python, PHP... Now a non white? Hmm... Might change in the future, I'm not sure.

    This is silly. Google: Chinese DIY Inventions

    Read More
    • Replies: @SimpleSong
    I don't deny that some of that culture exists amongst Asians (it is almost completely absent everywhere else), but remember: 1.2 billion Chinese. If you spend some time on Youtube watching videos like "how I made an electron microscope in my basement" "how I made a bicycle pump out of PVC pipe" "how I cast aluminum ingots in my backyard" the authors of these videos are overwhelmingly white, even though if you go into a US collegiate engineering class it tends to be quite mixed asian/white. Also if you go to a Maker Faire those are super-duper white (self consciously so apparently, as they also tend to be very SJW...)
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  12. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @SimpleSong
    Agree. Asians are obviously very intelligent but they don't seem to mess around in the garage for fun. They are excellent engineers, but only if they are going to get paid--they don't engineer as a hobby. Whites on the other hand seem to do it just for the joy of doing it which is I believe why they still come up with all of the major inventions even today, despite much of the rest of the world having access to modern science, a larger population, etc. Quick--three most recent important inventions? I'm going to say fracking, GPS, internet. White guy inventions. Name a piece of software written by a white guy for fun and given away for free? Linux, python, PHP... Now a non white? Hmm... Might change in the future, I'm not sure.

    Oriental (especially Japanese) engineers are great at improving existing concepts in a direction already made obvious by the trends in general, they can correctly infer the path of continuing progress, and they especially are good at making Western ideas work that have been tried and discarded as impractical or superseded by what Westerners see as less trouble but which have hidden advantages (real or imagined). But to “think outside the box” and build entirely new categories of product, it never happens.

    Good examples include the oxygen torpedo, the Walter fuel/oxidizer shaft propulsion system, the Wankel rotary engine, and various audio amplifier circuits using vacuum tubes.

    The microprocessor, for example, was developed when digital IC engineers realized that an assignment to build a specific and complicated controller could be implemented as a generic “all purpose machine” and used in many different applications with different software. The Japanese mindset would never have caused anyone in a position to do it to go in that direction: they would have made it even more specialized for its application. Once the microprocessor became “a thing” they could design one more or less well as Western companies, but their development paths would never have changed in the way those of US and British companies did.

    Post-WWII Japanese aircraft development is another good dataset to mine. They often made “Captain Obvious” changes to a basic American design, such as the two seat trainer made as a stretched F-86 and the four seat liaision aircraft that is a widened T-34 (itself a narrowed Beech Bonanza.) They have had poor success at exploiting export markets for their aircraft for the most part: they had some success with the Mitsubishi MU-2 small turboprop, and of course there is the current Hondajet.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  13. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @J.Ross
    He *has* to prefer 3rd over 8th grade, because of both drop-out rates and the cumulative effect of truancy. There is no eighth grade data for these purposes (there's an eighth grade and there's scores but they're unusable). This so obviously the answer that I am now curious about how Chetty explains this. I'm guessing he blames white people.
    -----
    OT, hot on the heels of discovering that Russian athletes are the only ones in the world that dope, the Establishment has decided that poverty and voting irregularities are too big a problem to ignore! A UN Special Reporter will be dispatched! Not to Mexico or Venezuela, but to Alabama, and just Alabama and not Mississippi or Arkansas, and just in time for Roy Moore's largely inevitable victory. This continues a pattern of completely trashing the authority and credibility of institutions with nakedly political pseudo-investigations that hope to achieve with Colbert-smirking what cannot be done with non-existent evidence. But it also runs into the welcoming spirit Alabamians famously feel when a smug outsider decides to don a pith helmet and go a-judging. I for one certainly hope nothing happens to the vehicles that will convey the UN Special Maligner for his Gunnar Myrdal impersonation. At least nothing that would keep him in-state any longer than necessary.

    That someone can think and write as wickedly as you (and I mean wicked in the best sense of the word) and be able to publish his thoughts–in even as obscure a corner of the internet as this–gives me hope on this otherwise bleak December morn.

    Read More
    • Agree: Autochthon
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  14. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @NoWeltschmerz
    Haven't similar arguments been made in the past to highlight alleged bias against females in math? I don't remember all of the details, but as I recall, the general point is made that male and female math scores in elementary are similar (girls may even lead boys to some extent) and then for totally unexplainable reasons, a gender gap exists in high school math. Considerations regarding the math itself being harder and academic interests diverging are never entertained.

    Indeed. It would be impolitic to notice the difficulty of high-school mathematics. OTOH, at my high school in the late 70s we did integral calculus–the girls, even!–and somehow I don’t see most of the kids now managing that. Many struggle with basic arithmetic.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. @Luke Lea
    "Tinkering around in your basement and building stuff is pretty much the most white guy thing in the world."

    Nice observation, Spotted Toad. May Steve borrow it?

    The standard background noise TV for my 16 year old boy is The Science Channel., which I once saw referred to by a South Korean as “The White Guy Channel”.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  16. Lagertha says:

    it’s too late. The Millennials are getting bigger money from China & Russia. Russia is closer to Europe and all. DUH factor: If you are smart, companies are gonna pay ya. Ya rules. “Show me the money.”

    True West: I am so surprised that all of our MIC and elected govt are still, so, so, so pedestrian.

    Read More
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  17. @Feeeney
    This is silly. Google: Chinese DIY Inventions

    I don’t deny that some of that culture exists amongst Asians (it is almost completely absent everywhere else), but remember: 1.2 billion Chinese. If you spend some time on Youtube watching videos like “how I made an electron microscope in my basement” “how I made a bicycle pump out of PVC pipe” “how I cast aluminum ingots in my backyard” the authors of these videos are overwhelmingly white, even though if you go into a US collegiate engineering class it tends to be quite mixed asian/white. Also if you go to a Maker Faire those are super-duper white (self consciously so apparently, as they also tend to be very SJW…)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Yan Shen
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGJ5cZnoodY

    That seems off. Making things, i.e hardware/manufacturing seems to be much more of an East Asian thing, as evidenced by first the rise of Japan to post WW2 industrial prominence and more recently by the rise of China. One of most fascinating things about the rise of Shenzhen to being the so called Silicon Valley of hardware is its embodiment of the sort of free-wheeling tinkering culture that you've alluded to above!

    Pretty much any major consumer electronics you've bought today had parts mostly made in East Asia, including Apple products. As I noted in an earlier thread about Apple vs Samung, two of the most expensive components typically found in say the latest iPhone would be the OLED display and the NAND storage. These parts are all supplied by East Asian companies, often times by direct competitor Samsung. The father of the OLED is typically considered to be a Chinese American, Ching Tang and flash memory was invented by Fujio Masuoka while working for Toshiba around 1980.

    The US is skewed much more towards software and services. This clear contrast in how East Asian economies are oriented versus Western economies has long been noted by many, including Eammon Fingleton. In the case of Apple, it doesn't make its' own hardware components, it buys them from East Asia. What Apple is more known for is software, services, and design.

    , @Yan Shen
    Where I think you may have a point is regarding software. One of the most noticeable phenomenon is that East Asia skews significantly towards hardware/manufacturing and away from software. Although China has the BAT companies, i.e. Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, other places in East Asia have a minimal presence in the world of software, i.e. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan.

    In a discussion I had with someone elsewhere, we both agreed that East Asians in Silicon Valley tended to have a disproportionate presence in founding the sorts of hardware oriented engineering companies like Nvidia or the likes, and less so in say a consumer app company like Uber or Snapchat. (Let's not forget the fact that China has its own versions of some of these things, i.e Didi, not Uber, reigns in China.)
    Another good example might be the founding of ATI Technologies in Ontario back in 1985 by 4 Chinese-Canadian guys. As you know, ATI was acquired by AMD in the mid 2000s and basically is their Radeon graphics division today.

    From having worked in the Bay Area, my anecdotal impression is that East Asian Americans are more likely to skew towards more quantitative areas like algorithms, machine learning or AI. On the other hand, I've met a number of white guys who majored in history or business as an undergrad, later on learned something like Ruby or Javascript, either on their own or from a coding bootcamp, and then became a front end or back end dev. I can see that whites are more likely to follow that sort of developmental path, i.e. learn front-end or back-end dev without necessarily a super technical background and maybe create say some new social media or middle man, i.e. Uber, app that becomes a big thing.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  18. Yan Shen says:
    @SimpleSong
    I don't deny that some of that culture exists amongst Asians (it is almost completely absent everywhere else), but remember: 1.2 billion Chinese. If you spend some time on Youtube watching videos like "how I made an electron microscope in my basement" "how I made a bicycle pump out of PVC pipe" "how I cast aluminum ingots in my backyard" the authors of these videos are overwhelmingly white, even though if you go into a US collegiate engineering class it tends to be quite mixed asian/white. Also if you go to a Maker Faire those are super-duper white (self consciously so apparently, as they also tend to be very SJW...)

    That seems off. Making things, i.e hardware/manufacturing seems to be much more of an East Asian thing, as evidenced by first the rise of Japan to post WW2 industrial prominence and more recently by the rise of China. One of most fascinating things about the rise of Shenzhen to being the so called Silicon Valley of hardware is its embodiment of the sort of free-wheeling tinkering culture that you’ve alluded to above!

    Pretty much any major consumer electronics you’ve bought today had parts mostly made in East Asia, including Apple products. As I noted in an earlier thread about Apple vs Samung, two of the most expensive components typically found in say the latest iPhone would be the OLED display and the NAND storage. These parts are all supplied by East Asian companies, often times by direct competitor Samsung. The father of the OLED is typically considered to be a Chinese American, Ching Tang and flash memory was invented by Fujio Masuoka while working for Toshiba around 1980.

    The US is skewed much more towards software and services. This clear contrast in how East Asian economies are oriented versus Western economies has long been noted by many, including Eammon Fingleton. In the case of Apple, it doesn’t make its’ own hardware components, it buys them from East Asia. What Apple is more known for is software, services, and design.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    You are out of your damned mind. The SoC – specifically the baseband, CPU, and GPU – are orders of magnitude more expensive than the display and memory. You are also, I suspect, perhaps accounting only for the costs of material and manufacture (a kind of raw BOM) and ignoring R&D and licensing for intellectual property * – the most charitable way to describe this accounting is "disingenuous."

    *Oh, wait, that's right: the thieving Chinese don't pay to license patents; they just steal intellectual property with near impunity under their corrupt legal system. I suppose we'll at least have to concede their innovation at that.

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  19. Yan Shen says:
    @SimpleSong
    I don't deny that some of that culture exists amongst Asians (it is almost completely absent everywhere else), but remember: 1.2 billion Chinese. If you spend some time on Youtube watching videos like "how I made an electron microscope in my basement" "how I made a bicycle pump out of PVC pipe" "how I cast aluminum ingots in my backyard" the authors of these videos are overwhelmingly white, even though if you go into a US collegiate engineering class it tends to be quite mixed asian/white. Also if you go to a Maker Faire those are super-duper white (self consciously so apparently, as they also tend to be very SJW...)

    Where I think you may have a point is regarding software. One of the most noticeable phenomenon is that East Asia skews significantly towards hardware/manufacturing and away from software. Although China has the BAT companies, i.e. Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, other places in East Asia have a minimal presence in the world of software, i.e. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan.

    In a discussion I had with someone elsewhere, we both agreed that East Asians in Silicon Valley tended to have a disproportionate presence in founding the sorts of hardware oriented engineering companies like Nvidia or the likes, and less so in say a consumer app company like Uber or Snapchat. (Let’s not forget the fact that China has its own versions of some of these things, i.e Didi, not Uber, reigns in China.)
    Another good example might be the founding of ATI Technologies in Ontario back in 1985 by 4 Chinese-Canadian guys. As you know, ATI was acquired by AMD in the mid 2000s and basically is their Radeon graphics division today.

    From having worked in the Bay Area, my anecdotal impression is that East Asian Americans are more likely to skew towards more quantitative areas like algorithms, machine learning or AI. On the other hand, I’ve met a number of white guys who majored in history or business as an undergrad, later on learned something like Ruby or Javascript, either on their own or from a coding bootcamp, and then became a front end or back end dev. I can see that whites are more likely to follow that sort of developmental path, i.e. learn front-end or back-end dev without necessarily a super technical background and maybe create say some new social media or middle man, i.e. Uber, app that becomes a big thing.

    Read More
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  20. Yan Shen says:

    So here’s another good example of the contrast between East Asia vs America. California tech is primarily software, not hardware. So you have a plethora of middle man companies/apps like Uber or the likes, that match supply with demand and take a cut of the ensuing transaction. But they operate purely in the software and services realm.

    One of the interesting things pioneered in China that only very recently sprung up is dockless bike sharing, where you can basically leave the bike anywhere reasonable.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2017/jul/06/manchester-mobike-review-better-than-londons-boris-bikes

    Mobike and Ofo are the two big Chinese players in this, with Mobike slowly beginning to expand outside of China/Asia. See the article above about its somewhat recent expansion to Manchester, UK. Dockless bike sharing is only possible because companies like Mobike don’t just provide the software and services side of things, but also manufacture its own bikes (although recently it entered into a partnership with Foxconn to expand its manufacturing capabilities).

    So we can see how the underlying business model is fundamentally different when a company also significantly controls/manufactures the hardware associated with its business, as opposed to being a middle man purely operating in the software/services realm.

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  21. Yan Shen says:

    Since this is such a fascinating topic and given that this is an HBD blog, let me uh summarize a few more of my thoughts. This will probably span more than one comment.

    I linked to this YouTube video in an earlier thread.

    Although we generally tend to think of STEM in the aggregate, when you separate out the TE part from that, it’s pretty amazing how California and East Asia supply so much of the software and hardware that power much of our modern day lives around the world. Europe has a minimal presence in TE in the 21st century, the result of the aftermath of competition from CA and the Pacific Rim.

    From the height of Japan bashing back in the early 1990s…

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1991/06/16/europes-new-rage-japan-bashing/0b9b1f7b-e578-4aae-926b-e2bdd6809f68/?utm_term=.4970def49754

    A new wave of anti-Japanese sentiment is spreading across Europe as public admiration for Japan’s remarkable postwar recovery is rapidly turning to fear that its economic juggernaut will soon smash key industries, conquer the unifying European market and transform the continent into an industrial colony.

    Books and newspapers are jammed with references to the “Japanese peril.” The Japanese “salaryman’s” arduous office hours, skimpy vacations and fanatical work ethic are scorned in France and Germany as anathema to an enlightened lifestyle, yet considered a warning of what the future might bring if Japanese firms succeed in dominating the European economy.

    Europe’s computer industries are on the verge of collapse because they cannot compete with Japanese and American companies that adapt more quickly to swiftly changing technologies. The Netherlands’ electronics giant Philips, Italy’s Olivetti and France’s Bull have been forced to slash thousands of people from their employment rolls this year. Even with more billion-dollar bailouts from governments, their survival prospects are bleak.

    So what might be going on here? Commenter Spotted Toad references mechanical and spatial skills and it seems highly likely that TE in particular draws upon these skillsets. From one of Steve’s own posts from back in the day…

    Interestingly, many of the most striking racial differences can be thought of as resembling faint sex differences. For example, contrast the triumph of Japanese manufacturing with Japan’s near-total failure in the brutally competitive global market for celebrities. (A recent survey revealed that Americans believe the most famous living Japanese person is Bruce Lee, a dead Chinese guy.) It’s the mirror image of African-Americans’ undistinguished technological achievements versus their outstanding performance in producing media personalities.

    Why? Japanese talents extend far beyond chopstick-handling to a set of extremely masculine intellectual skills. Tests show they tend to excel at objective abilities like mathematics and mentally manipulating 3-d objects through “single-tasking” (focusing deeply upon a one impersonal logical problem). Blacks, on the other hand, are often better at typically feminine, more subjective cerebral skills like verbalization, emotional intuition and expression, sense of rhythm, sense of style, improvisation, situational awareness, and mental multi-tasking. Michael Jordan’s brain, for instance, enables him to anticipate his opponent’s every move while simultaneously demoralizing his foe with nonstop trash-talking. (Try it sometime. It’s not easy.)

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  22. Yan Shen says:

    Which of course leads to the topic under discussion. Raj Chetty thinks that we should be trying to find black and Hispanic diamonds in the rough. Maybe this would yield some fruit, although more likely is probably Steve’s suggestion of looking for overlooked whites in the middle of nowheresville in America.

    In general though, America is significantly further along the developmental curve relative to a country like China and so most likely has a fairly good rate of human capital utilization. Given China’s still nascent stage of growth and development and given that East Asians tend to excel at the mechanical and spatial skills that are conducive to TE, Mr. Chetty would surely be better off served by trying to funnel more Chinese into the sorts of technical activities that his article mentioned. If tiny Japan was able to cause such a stir with its rise to industrial prominence post WW2, imagine how a country with 10x the population might be able to shake up the world!

    Mr. Chetty often likes to focus on finding diamonds in the rough among the poorer segments of society. China has grown by leaps and bounds since righting the ship after the disaster that was the cultural revolution, but even today has a PPP per capita GDP of around $16000-$17000. By comparison, per capita income for blacks in this country is $18000+, I believe. Given Mr. Chetty’s focus on expanding opportunity for the less economically well off, it seems to me that there are significantly more potential returns from say trying to figure out how to integrate more Chinese guys good at math into the Shenzhen ecosystem than to finding Hidden Figures blacks and Hispanics.

    Mr Chetty, like Ta Nehisi, seems to me to suffer from narrowness of focus, in that he primarily likes to focus on whites and blacks in the United States. Perhaps one day Mr. Chetty will do similar sorts of analyses on a country like China, instead of focusing primarily on URMs in the United States…

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  23. @Yan Shen
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGJ5cZnoodY

    That seems off. Making things, i.e hardware/manufacturing seems to be much more of an East Asian thing, as evidenced by first the rise of Japan to post WW2 industrial prominence and more recently by the rise of China. One of most fascinating things about the rise of Shenzhen to being the so called Silicon Valley of hardware is its embodiment of the sort of free-wheeling tinkering culture that you've alluded to above!

    Pretty much any major consumer electronics you've bought today had parts mostly made in East Asia, including Apple products. As I noted in an earlier thread about Apple vs Samung, two of the most expensive components typically found in say the latest iPhone would be the OLED display and the NAND storage. These parts are all supplied by East Asian companies, often times by direct competitor Samsung. The father of the OLED is typically considered to be a Chinese American, Ching Tang and flash memory was invented by Fujio Masuoka while working for Toshiba around 1980.

    The US is skewed much more towards software and services. This clear contrast in how East Asian economies are oriented versus Western economies has long been noted by many, including Eammon Fingleton. In the case of Apple, it doesn't make its' own hardware components, it buys them from East Asia. What Apple is more known for is software, services, and design.

    You are out of your damned mind. The SoC – specifically the baseband, CPU, and GPU – are orders of magnitude more expensive than the display and memory. You are also, I suspect, perhaps accounting only for the costs of material and manufacture (a kind of raw BOM) and ignoring R&D and licensing for intellectual property * – the most charitable way to describe this accounting is “disingenuous.”

    *Oh, wait, that’s right: the thieving Chinese don’t pay to license patents; they just steal intellectual property with near impunity under their corrupt legal system. I suppose we’ll at least have to concede their innovation at that.

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  24. Yan Shen says:

    http://www.unz.com/efingleton/nikkeis-ft-takeover/#comment-1039594

    Please see the discussion above. The display is the most expensive part of the iPhone. Also, given that all of the components combined cost some hundreds of dollars, I suspect that you probably don’t under what orders of magnitude means. But I mean uh what would I know, I’m just a somewhat numerate Asian American…

    Mr. Fingleton’s specific comment below.

    A further reply to Bliss:
    Our conversation-on-the-margins began when you pronounced false my statement that Apple’s “most advanced components and materials are made in Japan.” You went on to suggest that Korean-made SoCs are the most important single components in most iPhones. We have now established that this is not true. Displays are costlier and Japan dominates the display business. I am grateful to you for admitting that Japan dominates also the supply of several other crucial components. As for the Koreans and the Taiwanese, although they are major contributors to the iPhone’s added-value, they in turn source much of their added value — in the form of key materials and equipment — from Japan. All in all, a reasonable guess is that Japan accounts for close to one-third of the hardware cost. Yes, this is a relatively small proportion of the total retail price of an iPhone but Apple’s super-high profit margins will ultimately prove ephemeral. Certainly previous highly profitable corporations that were once held in the same sort of reverent regard as Apple is today have gone the way of all flesh. Where is Xerox now? Digital Equipment? RCA?

    The East Asians have consistently targeted hardware not software as the key to fast economic growth. All the evidence is that they are right. You might wish to read my book In Praise of Hard Industries (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999) for more details.

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