Andrew Yang – THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE (2018)
I don’t normally read the vapid hagiographies that characterize most political manifestoes. The two exceptions are Trump’s ART OF THE DEAL, and Putin’s FROM THE FIRST PERSON. The former was a genuinely well-written book that provided many insights into real estate development, and really explained the logic behind Trump’s showman “style” of politics (see Scott Alexander’s great review). Though it wasn’t a Trump manifesto as such, having been written three decades ago by a guy who now actually hates The Donald, it was probably the closest thing to one amidst the meme wars of 2016. The Putin book was a relatively dull series of interviews, though it still accounts for a significant percentage of what we know about Putin’s career before the Presidency and remains required reading for any serious Russia watcher. That said, I imagine the vast majority of such books hew to the pattern of Hillary Clinton’s HARD CHOICES, which was apparently so bad that Amazon was forced to mass delete one star reviews to avoid embarassing their favored candidate.
So why did I make an exception for Andrew Yang’s THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE? Well, part of it is that he is my favorite candidate to date (as a proponent of Universal Basic Income (UBI) since 2015, there is nothing particularly illogical or contradictory about that). His rational, common sense positions on a bewildering amount of issues help. But what really impressed me is a Twitter post that highlighted his familiarity with the work of Peter Turchin:
Andrew Yang quotes Peter Turchin in his new book. I'd ackshually be interested in reading what he had to say about other collapse theorists ("Spengler" & "Tainter" produce zero hits unfortunately). pic.twitter.com/Z1p2hq2aSM
— Just Loki (@LokiJulianus) March 13, 2019
At this point, it was obvious that reading the rest of THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE would not be a waste of time, even if Yang’s campaign was to otherwise pete out (ha-ha). And good thing I did. While I consider myself relatively well read, especially on “futurist” topics, I was nonetheless continuously regaled with all manner of original insights and things that I didn’t know before.
The Yang bio only takes up one chapter. This is a good thing. I don’t feel people should be writing about themselves unless they’re over 60, or have done something pretty impressive, or participated in a war or something. Quite the welcome contrast to Obama, who wrote an entire memoir on the subject at the age of 34.
Yang is highly intelligent. Both of his parents went to grad school, and his father made 69 patents over the course of his career. His brother is a professor. “Good genes, very good genes.” He got admitted to Stanford and Brown. He is obviously well read, and the literature he reads is K-selected. Apart from Turchin’s book, he also cites Yuval Hari (HOMO DEUS) and Martin Ford (RISE OF THE ROBOTS). After graduation, he worked as a corporate lawyer; as a Silicon Valley businessman; as the CEO of a GMAT prep company; and lastly, as the director of Venture for America, an NGO that provided training and seed money for aspiring entrepreneurs.
One curious, endearingly personal note is that it seems he was bullied at school:
“Hey, Yang, what’s it like having such a small dick? Everyone knows Chinese guys have small dicks. Do you need tweezers to masturbate?” Most of this was in middle school. I had a few natural responses: I became quite self-conscious. I started wondering if I did indeed have a small dick. Last, I became very, very angry.
I admit I chuckled a bit at the idea that there is perhaps a 6% chance (today’s odds on PredictIt) that high school taunts about anatomy might end up playing a role in creating America’s next President. Many of these bullied Asian-Americans tend to become bitter and withdraw into communities such as the SJWs at /r/azidentity or the Chinese nationalists at /r/Sino. Yang didn’t go down that path. That said, as someone raised in an Asian-American family, bused tables at a Chinese restaurant as a teen, and who has maintained strong ties to the wider Asian-American community, those ideological currents must have influenced him to at least some extent.
His father immigrated from Taiwan. Geopolitics regardless, many Taiwanese-Americans are very proud of Chinese progress. The early base of Yang’s support was predominantly Asian-American, and I was told that many of his earliest foreign fans were Chinese. I have a friend who was slightly acquainted with Yang before he became famous, and he confirmed my impressions – based on the exclusively positive mentions of China on his Twitter, and his website – that Yang is a strong Sinophile. As we saw with Trump and Russia – or for that matter, with Gabbard and Syria – being unseemingly friendly with or even just objective towards countries that have been declared strategic competitors, rivals, or enemies of the US isn’t all that great for your political capital. You heard it here first: If Yang somehow wins the Dem nomination, the possibility of a “Chinagate” cannot be excluded.
As Yang recounts it, his travels throughout America opened his eyes to the yawning gap between the flourishing coasts and its depressed hinterlands. From the chapter “Life in the Bubble”:
We joked at Venture for America that “smart” people in the United States will do one of six things in six places: finance, consulting, law, technology, medicine, or academia in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Washington, DC.
Other parts of the book consist of depressive travelogues about cities in the Rustbelt, with their abandoned malls, dilapidated infrastructure, brain drain, opioid epidemics, and casinos filled with people who probably shouldn’t be gambling.
Deaths now outnumber births among white people in more than half the states in the country. Much of this is low birth rates and white men dying from substance abuse and suicide. Our life expectancy has declined for 2 years. We need to do much more. https://t.co/zFRAkFY7FU
— Andrew Yang🧢🗽🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) June 22, 2018
Moreover, I am reasonably sure that Yang is more or less directly familiar with Murray’s thesis:
Think of your five best friends. The odds of them all being college graduates if you took a random sampling of Americans would be about one-third of 1 percent, or 0.0036. The likelihood of four or more of them being college graduates would be only about 4 percent. If that described you, you’re among the educated class (even without necessarily knowing it; in your context, you’re perfectly normal).
This argument that America is developing into a meritocratic caste system is directly lifted from COMING APART, as is the “bubble” metaphor used to describe its Brahmins. E.g., see Charles Murray’s Bubble Quiz.
Today, thanks to assortative mating in a handful of cities, intellect, attractiveness, education, and wealth are all converging in the same families and neighborhoods. I look at my friends’ children, and many of them resemble unicorns: brilliant, beautiful, socially precocious creatures who have gotten the best of all possible resources since the day they were born. I imagine them in 10 or 15 years traveling to other parts of the country, and I know that they are going to feel like, and be received as, strangers in a strange land. They will have thriving online lives and not even remember a car that didn’t drive itself. They may feel they have nothing in common with the people before them. Their ties to the greater national fabric will be minimal. Their empathy and desire to subsidize and address the distress of the general public will likely be lower and lower.
That pretty much cinches it. “Assortative mating” isn’t the sort of term that everyone throws around; although it is a biological term, its popularization in sociology was led by Murray and other “HBD realists.” While I understand and sympathize that these people are generally “unhandshakeworthy”, and hence uncitable by someone running for the Dem nomination, I think it is legitimate to think of THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE as the solutions set to the problems posed by COMING APART.
Here are some of the main problems and challenges that Yang talks about:
1. Automation. I won’t go on here at length, as this has already been widely covered in the media. I recommend Martin Ford’s book RISE OF THE ROBOTS, or at least this 15 minute video, for a full treatment. But the basic thing to take away is that automation is coming for many jobs, and it won’t just be manufacturing ones this time round. Some things that struck me as noteworthy:
- There are now less than 400 NYSE floor traders, down from 5,500.
- Legal review: Humans have 60% accuracy, AI already at 85%.
- Friend of Yang’s who works in a ride-sharing company says that according to internal projections, half of all rides will accrue to autonomous vehicles by 2022.
This will eliminate jobs in truck driving, the ride-sharing sector (Uber, Lyft, etc.), and more and more repetitive cognitive white-collar work.
2. Unsatisfactory jobs. There will be jobs to take the place of automated ones, but these will be low productivity jobs with lower salaries (which will further incentivize companies to automate them away). Perhaps uniquely for a politician, Yang is sympathetic to people who can no longer be bothered to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, as conservative orthodoxy dictates.
Imagine a 21-year-old college dropout who is not excited to make sandwiches at Jimmy John’s and prefers his gaming community. You could say to him, “Hey, this Jimmy John’s job could go places. Sure you make $8 an hour now. But maybe if you stick with it for a few years you could become a manager. Eventually, you could make $35,000 or so if you really excel and are willing to work long and hard hours, including waking up at 5 a.m. to slice up tomatoes and cucumbers every morning, and commit to it.” The above is possibly true. Or, the retail district around his Jimmy John’s could shrink and a management job might never open up. Or Jimmy John’s could bring in an automated system that gets rid of cashiers and front-of-house staff two years from now. Or his manager could just choose someone else.
3. Video games. This explains why NEETs like the above have turned to video games; young men without college degrees now spend 75% of the time they used to spend working with gaming. This is easy, because the marginal cost of video games is near zero; as Yang sagely points out, they are an “inferior good” in economic terms. However, he also notes – as a onetime gamer – that while playing games for hours on end might seem “sad”, their satisfaction level is high, especially relative to their low social status and high rates of unemployment.
4. Disability. More and more people, especially discouraged workers, are entering the disability rolls. This is an understandable reaction to the loss of good jobs. However, since most disability applications are more or less fake – rates have been soaring, even as the rate of workplace accidents plummets – this encourages a culture of dishonesty, and disincentivizes people from rejoining the workforce since they would then lose their disability “basic income.” There are no solid ways to disprove some common ailments, so getting a note from a doctor is relatively easy. This is a way of life for many depressed rustbelt communities.
5. Other social maladies. These include:
- Abandoned malls creating derelict no-go zones.
- The poverty of communities left behind by falling manufacturing employment, soon to be repeated on an even bigger scale as automation takes off.
- Rising white middle-aged mortality, in which he cites Case & Deaton’s research.
- He is woke to the opioid crisis: “Many of the deaths are from opiate overdoses. Approximately 59,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016, up 19 percent from the then-record 52,404 reported in 2015. For the first time, drug overdoses have surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.” I assume he’s likelier to make progress on it than Kushner.
- “An army of drug dealers in suits marketed addictive opioids to doctors, getting paid hundreds of thousands to do it.“
In the final “problems”-related chapter, he mentions the work of Russian-American biologist/historian Peter Turchin, one of the founders of cliodynamics, a new multidiscplinary field that aims to mathematize the cycles of history*.
In his book Ages of Discord, the scholar Peter Turchin proposes a structural-demographic theory of political instability based on societies throughout history. He suggests that there are three main preconditions to revolution: (1) elite oversupply and disunity, (2) popular misery based on falling living standards, and (3) a state in fiscal crisis. … Most of the variables that he measures began trending negatively between 1965 and 1980 and are now reaching near-crisis levels. By his analysis, “the US right now has much in common with the Antebellum 1850s [before the Civil War] and, more surprisingly, with… France on the eve of the French Revolution.” He projects increased turmoil through 2020 and warns that “we are rapidly approaching a historical cusp at which American society will be particularly vulnerable to violent upheaval.”
Turchin isn’t one of those “doomers” who have predicted all ten of America’s past zero collapses since he began predicting.
But he did predict the rise of Islamic State in Iraq back in 2005:
Western intrusion will eventually generate a counter-response, possibly in the form of a new theocratic Caliphate (War and Peace and War, Penguin, 2005).
And he predicted that populism and social instability in the US would increase through to the 2020s. This was well before either Trump or Sanders came on the radar.
So given this impressive predictive record, it’s certainly worth listening to what Turchin has to say.
In addition to Turchin’s analysis, Yang also mentions that there will be racial ressentiments:
A highly disproportionate number of the people at the top will be educated whites, Jews, and Asians. America is projected to become majority minority by 2045. African Americans and Latinos will almost certainly make up a disproportionate number of the less privileged in the wake of automation, as they currently enjoy lower levels of wealth and education.
… and suggests that SJW policing of speech will complicate frank discussions of these problems:
Contributing to the discord will be a climate that equates opposing ideas or speech to violence and hate. Righteousness can fuel abhorrent behavior, and many react with a shocking level of vitriol and contempt for conflicting viewpoints and the people who hold them. Hatred is easy, as is condemnation.
This could set the stage for RACE WAR NOW as economic dislocations produced by automation further turbocharge preexisting trends towards inequality and polarization:
After the riots, things continue to deteriorate. Hundreds of thousands stop paying taxes because they refuse to support a government that “killed the working man.” A man in a bunker surrounded by dozens of guns releases a video saying, “Come and get your taxes, IRS man!” that goes viral. Anti-Semitic violence breaks out targeting those who “own the robots.” A white nationalist party arises that openly advocates “returning America to its roots” and “traditional gender roles” and wins several state races in the South.
Incidentally, I would say that this explains the context behind Yang’s “whites will shoot up Asian-Americans in another generation” video.
Yang’s signature issue is UBI, so it makes sense that he devotes two entire chapters to the topic. Despite its current association with libertarians, crypto evangelists, NEETS, gamers, digital nomads, and various other eccentrics who have only begun spawning on a reasonably large scale these past 1-2 decades, it was once much more mainstream**.
It’s hard to fathom now, but the idea of a guaranteed annual income was mainstream political wisdom in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Medicare and Medicaid had just been passed in 1965, and the country had an appetite for solutions for social problems. In May 1968, over 1,000 university economists signed a letter supporting a guaranteed annual income. In 1969, President Nixon proposed the Family Assistance Plan, which would provide cash benefits of about $10,000 per family and serve as a guaranteed annual income with some eligibility requirements; this bill was supported by 79 percent of respondents polled at the time. The Family Assistance Plan passed the House of Representatives by a wide margin—243 to 155—but then stalled in the Senate due to, of all things, Democrats who wanted an even more robust plan.
But then the Reagan Revolution rolled out, economists produced (now discredited) studies that UBI depressed work hours and increased the divorce rate, and the general public lost interest.
The literature that Yang has amassed tells a different story. He mentions a study by Evelyn Forget (2005) in Canada, who found the effect on work to be “minimal.” The only groups of people that worked substantially less were new mothers and teens, which seems to be a perfectly fine outcome. There was also a rise in high school graduation rates, a reduction in hospital visits, less domestic violence, and fewer cases of mental illness. Another study by Akee on Native Americans who got basic income from casino earnings found that children became more conscientious and agreeable.
I was genuinely surprised to learn that there is one major country that has already adopted UBI: Iran. During the 2011 reforms, it eliminated inefficient food and gas subsidies, and replaced them with basic income of $16,000 per year. (Strictly speaking, this is not quite accurate on Yang’s part; this is far too much for a middle-income country like Iran, and as I subsequently confirmed, $16,000 is their basic income NORMED to US standards, i.e. what Americans would get under a scheme that drew on a similar share of the national income). But in any case, there was apparently no reduction in hours worked. I don’t know what effect it had on Iranian economic productivity, and Yang doesn’t go into it. I would imagine that doing such analyses on the Iranian economy would be complicated by the relative opacity of its national accounts, as well as by the (much larger) economic shocks created by US sanctions over this past decade.
Either way, the general picture – so far as we can say based on the limited UBI experiments to date – is that they don’t have much effect either way on employment or GDP, but they do increase happiness and general welfare. But in any case, when the current President thinks it is very normal to mark Easter with an economic growth update…
Easter is a time for us to reflect on the words of Jesus concerning the importance of the GDP.
— RAMZPAUL (@ramzpaul) April 21, 2019
… perhaps it is time to stop worshipping the latest quarterly GDP figures, as was suggested by Simon Kuznets in 1934, the inventor of the GDP:
… economic welfare cannot be adequately measured unless the personal distribution of income is known. And no income measurement undertakes to estimate the reverse side of income, that is, the intensity and unpleasantness of effort going into the earning of income. The welfare of a nation can, therefore, scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined above.
In Yang’s vision, the size of American UBI – the “Freedom Dividend”, as he calls it – will be $12,000 for each American aged 18-64, subsequently indexed to inflation. This is just above the current poverty line of $11,700.
But will it be affordable?
An analysis by the Roosevelt Institute of this $12,000 per year per adult proposal found that adopting it would permanently grow the economy by 12.56 to 13.10 percent—or about $2.5 trillion by 2025—and it would increase the labor force by 4.5 to 4.7 million people. Putting money into people’s hands and keeping it there would be a perpetual boost and support to job growth and the economy. The cost would be about an additional $1.3 trillion per year on top of existing welfare programs, most of which would be folded into the plan, as well as increased taxable revenue and cost savings. …
The cost of $1.3 trillion seems like an awful lot. For reference, the federal budget is about $4 trillion and the entire U.S. economy about $19 trillion. But there are myriad ways to pay for it. The most sensible way to pay for it in my view would be with a value-added tax (VAT)—a consumption tax—that would generate income from the people and businesses that benefit from society the most. …
A VAT would result in slightly higher prices. But technological advancement would continue to drive down the cost of most things. And with the backdrop of a universal basic income of $12,000, the only way a VAT of 10 percent makes you worse off is if you consume more than $120,000 in goods and services per year, which means you’re doing fine and are likely at the top of the income distribution.
This counters one of the central “leftist” arguments against UBI – that it is regressive, and falls disproportionately on the poor. Sure, they’ll be paying 10% more for most goods and services. But their income will also increase by at least 50%, and by around 100% if they work part-time. It will be rich consumers who lose out.
For people who consider this farcical, consider the bailouts that took place during the financial crisis. You may not recall that the U.S. government printed over $4 trillion in new money for its quantitative easing program following the 2008 financial collapse. This money went to the balance sheets of the banks and depressed interest rates. It punished savers and retirees. There was little to no inflation.
This one is for the inflation bears.
While UBI is the mainstay of Yang’s policy platform, he has many other excellent ideas, which he elucidates in the three final chapters.
1. Raise government worker retirement packages, with President getting $4 million per year. This is to be coupled with a lifetime prohibition on making money from their office through speeches, etc.
I very strongly agree with this, and have proposed this on many occasions in the past as well. Admittedly, I was talking about Russia, but it really applies to any country. Politicians and bureaucrats get less money than businessmen, even though they are often just as talented. This is a truism nigh well everywhere. This makes them resentful. Many of them want to close the gap. In the more corrupt countries, they do that directly, from pressuring companies to “contribute” to their family’s accounts (at best) to directly “raiding” successful companies and stealing from government accounts. In less corrupt countries, they tend to be slaves to lobbyist interests, on the unspoken understanding that they would be rewarded for their service once out of office (this describes the US). I suppose that in a few countries they might genuine “servants of the people” but the number of such countries isn’t all that high.
As it is, the only country that I am aware of that runs similar policies is Singapore, where Ministers get close to $1 million per year. As a high IQ authoritarian state, it is able to resist populist demotism.
2. Stop corporate welfare. This one, I wager, would play well with both Bernie and Trump supporters:
Here’s an idea for a dramatic rule—for every $100 million a company is fined by the Department of Justice or bailed out by the federal government, both its CEO and its largest individual shareholder will spend one month in jail. Call the new law the Public Protection against Market Abuse Act. If it’s a foreign company, this would apply to the head of the U.S. operation and the largest American shareholder. There would be a legal tribunal and due process in each case. The president would have the ability to pardon, suspend, shorten, or otherwise modify the period or sentence. The president would also have the ability to claw back the assets of any such individual to repay the public.
3. Education realism. He notes that while tertiary enrollment is rising, its efficiency is falling.
That is, only 59 percent of students who started college in 2009 had completed a bachelor’s degree by 2015, and this level has been more or less consistent the past number of years. For those who attended private, selective colleges, this number will seem jarringly low; the same number at selective schools is 88 percent. Among schools with open admissions policies the rate is only 32 percent, and among for-profit universities the six-year graduation rate is 23 percent.
This is inevitable. Only 25% of students can benefit from a university education, as there is only so much space on the right hand side of the IQ bell curve. Only choice is to fail more and more students, to lower standards, or to abandon the fiction that everyone is suited for university.
While Yang can’t exactly couch it in such terms, he is – unlike the increasing number of Democrats agitating for free college – obviously woke to the Education Question:
(a) Administrative staff at US universities is blooming, and they are passing on the costs to the captive student market. Meanwhile, they use their tax exempt status to run hedge funds.
One way to change this would be a law stipulating that any private university with an endowment over $5 billion will lose its tax-exempt status unless it spends its full endowment income from the previous year on direct educational expenses, student support, or domestic expansion. This would spur Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, MIT, Penn, Northwestern, and others to spend billions each year directly on their students and expansion within the United States. There could be a Harvard center in Ohio or Michigan as well as the new one they just opened in Shanghai.
Incidentally, describing the Ivy League colleges as hedge funds with a university attached is something that Ron Unz has also done, though his solution was to suggest forcing Harvard to eliminate its fees.
(b) He talks of the need for more vocational training and apprenticeships.
(c) Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are largely ineffective. While I wasn’t expecting miracles, I was still surprised to learn that Udacity’s course completion rate is only around 4%. They are not a panacea.
(d) He is especially hard on government “retraining” programs for displaced workers:
The reality is more often displaced workers spending government funds or racking up debt at the University of Phoenix or another for-profit institution in desperate bids to stay relevant and marketable.
In particular, he agrees that “learn to code” is useless advice for the vast majority of these people. They would be better off with a UBI.
4. Mandate “serenity” settings for smartphones and social media. Currently it’s a pain to get notifications settings down to a manageable level. Would be good to have an all-in-one option.
5. Social credits. No, this is not the quasi-totalitarian Chinese scheme to coercively promote good behavior. This is similar to a thing called “time banking”, which are already exisiting voluntary associations in the US where people get credits within communities by performing useful tasks, e.g. minor home repairs, walking dogs, etc. The idea is to have the government allocate these credits towards solving some major problem, e.g. “100 million DSCs to reduce obesity levels in Mississippi”, and let normal people sort out the details in a more efficient way than bureaucrats could dictate. Apart from the direct benefits, it should also help people feel more useful and enhance life satisfactino. I am not fully convinced having the government being involved in this is such a good idea, but I will reserve judgment until I learn more about it.
6. Primary care doctors helped by AI in healthcare. This will also help keep costs down, and lessen the strain on overworked doctors.
Martin Ford, the author of Rise of the Robots, suggests that we create a new class of health care provider armed with AI—college graduates or master’s students unburdened by additional years of costly specialization, who would nonetheless be equipped to head out to rural areas. They could help people monitor chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes and refer particularly hairy problems to more experienced doctors. Call them primary care specialists. AI will soon be at a point where technology, in conjunction with a non-doctor, could offer the same quality of care as a doctor in the vast majority of cases. In one study, IBM’s Watson made the same recommendation as human doctors did in 99 percent of 1,000 medical cases and made suggestions human doctors missed in 30 percent of them. AI can reference more cases than the most experienced physician while keeping up to date with the latest journals and studies.
In return for a less hectic pace and greater freedom to focus on patients as opposed to paperwork, doctors will need to take a salary hit:
What’s required is an honest conversation in which we say to people who are interested in becoming doctors, “If you become a doctor, you’ll be respected, admired, and heal people each day. You will live a comfortable life. But medicine will not be a path to riches. On the bright side, we’re not going to burn you out by forcing you to see a million patients a day and fill out paperwork all the time. We’re going to supplement you with an army of empathetic people equipped with AI who will handle most routine cases. We’ll only call you when the case genuinely requires distincthuman judgment or empathy. We want you to become the best and most human version of yourself, not Dr. Speed Demon who can bang out a nine-minute appointment. Let’s leave that to Watson.”
It should be blindingly obvious, but yes, Yang is really the only US Presidential candidate that interests me at this point in time. I consider his policies to be head and shoulders above those of any other candidate. Note that many of his other great ideas, such as banning robocalls, regulating social media as a public utility, and promoting nuclear power are not even in this book. The one mostly blank spot on his policy agenda – admittedly, a very big one – is his stance on foreign policy.
— Andrew Yang🧢🗽🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) April 26, 2019
In my view, Yang correctly identifies that a war is being waged on “normal people.” And he has a battlefield strategy – a mixture of paternalistic technocracy and capitalism with a human face – that has at least some chance of turning the tables.
I mean look, here is the situation come 2020:
1. An orange man turned POTATUS whose foreign policy agenda is set by neocons and AIPAC, and who has gone from calling for a Wall to calling for millions of LEGAL immigrants to work in factories that will soon be swept away by automation. Yang, at least, will favor cognitively elitist immigration, i.e. which actually creates tons of value and will continue to be viable in the age of automation.
2. A vomit-inducing brew of Establishment globalists, SJW-appeasing identity politicians, bland corporate stooges, Russiagate conspiracy theorists, and “liberal interventionists” who call Christians “Easter worshippers.” Sure, there’s one other decent candidate there, but she doesn’t seem to have policies between foreign policy and has a <1% chance of getting elected, while Yang has at least a distant shot at it.
3. While I like people such as Tucker Carlson, the problem is that he is not running. It doesn’t seem that there will be any challenger to Trump from the Dissident Right. Fortunately, there is no great contradiction, as Yang and Carlson also seem to like each other. Furthermore, while both Yang and Carlson are concerned with automation, the Freedom Dividend is clearly a better and more adaptive policy than the latter’s Neo-Luddism.
Most likely, Yang will not win the Dem nomination, and will fade from the scene by this time next year. (Just like Audacious Epigone, I bet on Kamala Harris on PredictIt). This does not mean he will fade from history. Automation isn’t going anywhere, and pressure for UBI will continue to build up (and not just in the US). It is reasonable to posit that Yang will continue to serve as a figurehead for it within the US. However, at the rate that “contradictions” are piling up in US society, it is unclear if it will come about in time to prevent mayhem.
The choice is essentially to cut and run or to stand and fight. We must convert from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance. The revolution will happen either before or after the breakdown of society. We must choose before.
On the off chance that Yang actually makes it, I hope this book review will convince at least a few people into helping bring that about and launch fully automated luxury cyborg space human capitalism.
* Note that I reviewed Turchin’s most important book, WAR AND PEACE AND WAR.
** I also learned that Thomas Paine was a fan, writing in 1796: Out of a collected fund from landowners, “there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance,… to every person, rich or poor.”