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Acemoglu vs. Cowen on Why Northern Countries Are Richer Than Tropic Countries
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A transcript of a conversation of economist Tyler Cowen interviewing economist Daron Acemoglu on his theory that rich countries are rich because they were bequeathed better Inclusive Institutions than were poor countries, which got stuck with Extractive Institutions:

COWEN: I have so many questions about economic growth. First, how much of the data on per capita income is explained just simply by one variable: distance from the equator? And how good a theory of the wealth of nations is that?

Singapore is at only 1 degree north. But, yeah, it’s kind of famously exceptional. For example, most of the population is not indigenous but from further north in China.

By the way, I believe the overlooked thesis of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther movie is that if white people had only left sub-Saharans only for longer, such as thousands more years, Wakanda would have emerged in the snowy highlands of southern Africa in a place like Lesotho as blacks adapted to the challenge of winter. I was impressed.

ACEMOGLU: I think it’s not a particularly good theory. If you look at the map of the world and color different countries according to their income per capita, you’ll see that a lot of low-income-per-capita countries are around the equator, and some of the richest countries are pretty far from the equator, in the temperate areas. So many people have jumped to conclusion that there must be a causal link.
But actually, I think geographic factors are not a great explanatory framework for understanding prosperity and poverty.

COWEN: But why does it have such a high R-squared? By one measure, the most antipodal 21 percent of the population produces 69 percent of the GDP, which is striking, right? Is that just an accident?

ACEMOGLU: Yeah, it’s a bit of an accident. Essentially, if you think of which are the countries around the equator that have such low income per capita, they are all former European colonies that have been colonized in a particular way.

So, for a variety of reasons — and geography might’ve played a role, though I’m not completely sure — European powers pulled ahead of the rest, and then they went ahead and colonized much of the rest of the world. Today, for about 120 countries, their current institutions are heavily shaped by their colonial experience, and the colonial episode has been very unequal for different countries.
If you take places such as the United States or Australia — they ended up with pretty good institutions, actually better institutions in many ways than their mother country back at home, because the settlers who got to live in these places pushed for better institutions, fought for better institutions. Australia was one of the more democratic places in the 19th century. The US, of course, introduced the smallholder society, much better than Britain.

But in most of the tropical areas, the conditions that Europeans encountered led them to adopt a very different colonization strategy, essentially for two separate but related reasons.

First, many of the more civilized and densely populated areas were in the tropics or near the topics: the Inca Empire, Aztec Empire, the Indian subcontinent with the Mughal Empire colonized by the British, the North African civilizations. And all of those created a much better opportunity for Europeans to set up what James and I called extractive institutions, to essentially control labor and use labor.

Moreover, the settlement pattern that was at the root of the better institutional development of places such as the US, Canada, Australia really was made impossible in most of these places because, associated with both climatic conditions and the dense population, they had vectors of diseases that were very, very different than the ones the Europeans were used to, so the mortality rates that Europeans faced were very different.

The combination of these two factors meant that the colonization experience was very different and the colonial institutions were very different in these places. And to a first approximation, all of that big gap between places such as US, Argentina, Chile, and places like Peru, Bolivia, India, Pakistan, can be explained by these different colonization strategies and their institutional implications.

In other words, in places that after 1492 were unhealthy for the indigenous population due to their lack of readiness to deal with Old World infectious diseases but were relatively healthy for Europeans, such as the U.S. and Australia, population replacement of the indigenes by Europeans led to the emergence of primarily European settler populations with even higher than European standards of living due to the large amount of land per person. For example, in the American colonies by the 1750s, the colonists had reproduced much of the technology of Britain, but, as Benjamin Franklin pointed out, had even higher living standards than Brits in the Mother Country because they had lower land prices and higher wages due to less dense population.

But some examples of this process wound up richer than others.

It might be useful to look at places not colonized by whites, such as Japan, Thailand, Tibet, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and perhaps Tonga.

COWEN: As you know, there’s a famous paper by Comin, Easterly, and Gong showing there’s a reasonably high correlation between per capita income in AD 1500 and the current day, especially once you account for the movement of settlers. Is that because the quality of institutions is so stable over time, over more than 500 years? Isn’t that better explained by having the quality of human capital be more stable over time? That seems more plausible.

ACEMOGLU: Well, I think it’s a complex picture, actually. One of the papers that I wrote with James Robinson and Simon Johnson, which we entitled “Reversal of Fortune,” is exactly on that point. The raw fact is that, if you look at which are the places that are more prosperous in 1500, those turn out to be relatively less prosperous today.

Europeans in 1500 had printing presses and trans-oceaning sailing ships. What their standard of living was relative to other parts of the world is arguable, but their trajectory was less so. In particular, the movable type printing press was immensely important.

It’s not to say that they became less rich today. Every place in the world became much richer because of industrialization, because of much better technologies, trade and all of that.

But relatively speaking, it was places that were empty, without any urbanization, without much established road networks or agricultural surplus, such as Chile, Argentina, US, Canada — relative to the places that I mentioned a moment ago: Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, India, Pakistan — that actually became richer. So, that reversal of fortune is a prima facie evidence against a purely geographic explanation.

Now, what else could explain it? Well, essentially there are two broad categories. The details, of course, within those categories matter, but there are two broad categories. One is that it’s the institutions, as I’ve tried to explain. And second, it’s culture. Perhaps Europeans brought their culture into some places or messed up the culture in some other places.

Or largely replaced the population in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand.

And the human capital is somewhere in between because human capital is an institutional feature, meaning that it really depends on the educational investments, but it also, of course, has a cultural element.

So a lot of the qualitative and the quantitative research that we have done puts much more emphasis and finds more support for the institutional interpretation. For example, if you take human capital, it wasn’t that Europeans brought human capital to the places such as the US or Argentina or Chile. Actually, the Europeans who were more educated were the ones who went to places such as the Inca Empire or the Aztec Empire.

Benjamin Franklin mostly self-educated himself in Boston and Philadelphia, so Franklin, who is perhaps history’s most broadly successful and useful human, doesn’t count as much in the way of human capital under Acemoglu’s definition.

COWEN: But they brought ideas. The Declaration of Independence was brought over by English and other European settlers. And that was a powerful intellectual validation.

ACEMOGLU: Absolutely. It was that idea —

COWEN: Native Americans were not producing the same, so —

ACEMOGLU: No, that’s why I’m saying that the whole European colonization episode has to be taken in its entirety. But it isn’t also a straight line to say that Europeans brought ideas and that’s what really changed the trajectory in a good way.

Europeans settled in some numbers in Barbados. In 1680, about 10,000 people in Barbados had European ancestry and probably about 2,000, 3,000 were British. But these people, who benefited mightily from the plantation complex and from about 40,000 people being chattel slaves, did not have any idea of introducing a Declaration of Independence. They actually established a very draconian regime. Executions were commonplace. All the power was concentrated in the hands of about 150 families that were to be plantation owners.

Barbados is a weird example for Acemoglu to cite of the horrors of Extractive Institutions imposed by European colonists because it’s widely acknowledged as one of the most successful black run countries in the world. In contrast, Haiti decolonized much earlier and much more violently than Barbados, and it’s a mess.

Here is Jared Diamond beating Acemoglu in a debate over Haiti.

… COWEN: Wait, you moved from Turkey to MIT, right? That made you much more productive.

ACEMOGLU: Exactly. I’m moving into an area with better technology and better institutions.

COWEN: But mainly better people to work with?

ACEMOGLU: Some better people to work with, but the better —

… COWEN: If you had to name two or three nonobvious nations to be bullish on, are there any picks you would make?

ACEMOGLU: That’s a great question. Well, I don’t know what nonobvious means —
COWEN: Denmark. Denmark will do fine, we can agree.

ACEMOGLU: In Latin America, I would pick Uruguay and Chile. …

I think Ethiopia is a great example to watch. …

 
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  1. Anon[279] • Disclaimer says:

    The most important factor is that nature has a year-round growing season near the equator. This means that if you wanted food, you just went over and picked it off a tree. ‘Not economically developed’ is actually a phrase that means, ‘mode of living hasn’t changed much in 10,000 years.’

    And why hasn’t it changed? Because they didn’t have to. Lounging around in an eternally warm climate in a banana leaf hut, picking your food off trees and zapping occasional bushmeat with arrows, spending the rest of your day as you please, and not having to answer to anyone, is easy living. They did it because they liked it, and didn’t see any reason to change it.

    We moderns call it ‘poverty,’ but that’s not really the proper name for it. People near the equator are simply resisting the change from one economic mode to another because they are wedded to the old one. Being an 8-hour a day wage slave is not necessarily progress. We are getting a flood of immigrants from those societies because for the first time, the internet is showing them all the goodies they’re missing. They don’t necessarily hate their own way of life and home, many of them just want the same way of life, just with more stuff.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    It’s not just the internet, I think. The transition to cash crops, and overpopulation means most of those third worlders aren’t living in the old, idyllic way.
    , @Anonymous
    Not true.

    For a start, it's undoubtedly true that many third worlders are invading the west, for one reason at least, in order to *flee their own kith and kin people and the ways of their own kith and kin people*. For example, doubtless many Mexicans flee Mexico because they don't want to bring up kids in such a lawless violent society. Ditto Nigerians. Likely subcons cannot stand the duplicity and cheating of their homeland, not that will not inflict on gullible white host fools.
    Sorry, but if you've never lived in a land where even the most trivial medical intervention is denied to you, where beggary and starvation are the norms, you cannot appreciate why they are so keen to impose themselves upon us.
    , @Medvedev
    Population of Kenya skyrocketed form 1.35 million in 1900 to 48 million today.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_1900

    Africans cannot afford to continue with the same lifestyle generations of their ancestors enjoyed. Just like people in North America cannot live off fishing and hunting like Indians prior to the arrival of Europeans. But Africans lack high IQ to sustain modern civilization (or any civilization whatsoever).
    , @Flip
    Rushton and r/K selection theory
    , @Svevlad
    Yes, but you forgot another rule of the tropics: good for human life, even better for other life

    Translated: everyone gangsta until the parasite worms start eating you inside out.

    Then we came and committed atrocities against the tropical disease, which means that the tropical man can now increase numbers greatly

    Suddenly, just pick food of the ground stops being applicable, as wild is not very productive

    Therefore, the best possible course of action is to quarantine the continent, give them all the medical tech they need, but zero food.

    Malthusian conditions happen, the incompetent die and voila, Africa suddenly civilized.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    We moderns call it ‘poverty,’ but that’s not really the proper name for it.
     
    No. That would be "wealth".
  2. Is there a more parsimonious explanation for economic outcomes than who the people are? I mean so much if this is transparent b.s. You look at towns established and peopled by Germans in Brazil ~150 years ago and today they are more like Germany than Brazil. QED.

    • Replies: @SimpleSong
    Exactly. All of this arguing about different economic or educational systems is just blah, blah blah, pointless. Obviously it matters around the margins or in extreme, aberrant situations: South Korea is richer than North, West Germany was better off than East. But generally speaking if you have to choose between good people and a good system, choose the people.
    , @PhysicistDave
    Dave Pinsen wrote:

    Is there a more parsimonious explanation for economic outcomes than who the people are?
     
    Yes, everyone actually does know that. In normal casual conversation among friends, if you mention that some child does well in school and studies classical piano or violin and then add, "Well, you know, he's Chinese" no one ever acts surprised.

    The real debate is why the differences exist -- could be long-term culture handed down within families or could be genetic.

    I recommend reading some of the writings of the anthropologist Christopher Hallpike, who prides himself on being a contrarian: Hallpike argues that cultures are much, much more persistent than commonly realized. The obvious example (not his) is that Maoism seems not to have changed Chinese culture that much, despite murderous attempts to do so.
    , @Mr. Grey
    I agree. The argument that Africa is so messed up because of colonialization is getting old. It only lasted a few decades- most cases less than a century. Even if locals were taken advantage of for cheap labor at the time, all the countries were left with ports, airports, highways, railroads, many things that could have allowed them to compete in the modern world.

    First, many of the more civilized and densely populated areas were in the tropics or near the topics: the Inca Empire, Aztec Empire, the Indian subcontinent with the Mughal Empire colonized by the British, the North African civilizations. And all of those created a much better opportunity for Europeans to set up what James and I called extractive institutions, to essentially control labor and use labor.
     
    Wouldn't the more obvious explanation be that the indigenous culture lent itself to extraction and control? Ireland, Singapore, Finland, for example, are countries that have suffered occupation and colonizing and are doing very well.
  3. Yes, the urge to accumulate wealth is a cold weather adaptation. Equatorial peoples didn’t need to stockpile food and provisions to survive the winter in the past so see nothing wrong with living from paycheck-to-paycheck today.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "Wealth" is a social construct of dense settled societies with agricultural surplus. It's a claim on a stock of assets that can't be produced or defended by an individual man.

    "Wealth" doesn't exist in cold weather environments in which the weather exerts harsh environmental pressures. It exists in cold weather environments that have been urbanized and turned into a replica of agricultural or tropical societies with caloric surplus.
  4. @Anon
    The most important factor is that nature has a year-round growing season near the equator. This means that if you wanted food, you just went over and picked it off a tree. 'Not economically developed' is actually a phrase that means, 'mode of living hasn't changed much in 10,000 years.'

    And why hasn't it changed? Because they didn't have to. Lounging around in an eternally warm climate in a banana leaf hut, picking your food off trees and zapping occasional bushmeat with arrows, spending the rest of your day as you please, and not having to answer to anyone, is easy living. They did it because they liked it, and didn't see any reason to change it.

    We moderns call it 'poverty,' but that's not really the proper name for it. People near the equator are simply resisting the change from one economic mode to another because they are wedded to the old one. Being an 8-hour a day wage slave is not necessarily progress. We are getting a flood of immigrants from those societies because for the first time, the internet is showing them all the goodies they're missing. They don't necessarily hate their own way of life and home, many of them just want the same way of life, just with more stuff.

    It’s not just the internet, I think. The transition to cash crops, and overpopulation means most of those third worlders aren’t living in the old, idyllic way.

    • Replies: @Clyde

    It’s not just the internet, I think. The transition to cash crops, and overpopulation means most of those third worlders aren’t living in the old, idyllic way.
     
    No one is starving in Guatemala. I see photos of plump mamas with children waiting in Mexico to bum rush our border for asylum. Few are starving in Africa. But life can be inane and stagnant in the third world. So this Nigerian , Ghanaian or Eritrean sees some internet photos of his buddy in Germany with some pale and lovely fräuleins holding up "Welcome Refugees" signs and we know what he does. He knows it is unmanly to remain behind in Nigeria. So he puts some thousands of dollars together, promising to pay back the lenders and eventually help them get into Sweden, UK, Germany etc.

    BTW a puke Texas judge just ruled against Trump using 3.8 billion in Defense Dept funds to build his Wall.
  5. “Well, I don’t know what nonobvious means”

    Is it possible that he’s been trolling us for years?

  6. My god, these fields never make any progress. If you had asked a reasonably educated person this same question 100 years ago you would have gotten more cogent answers.

    Anyway if people live in an environment that selects for intelligence and pro-social traits you will get intelligent and pro-social people and they will then make an advanced society. If you live in an environment that selects for other things you will get other things.

    Practicing agriculture at extremes of latitude is one way to push evolution in this direction. You need to do a lot more planning when you have wild seasonal swings in temperature and sunlight, and you need better technology just to stay alive: better clothes, better houses, etc. And you will probably need to be good at cooperating with your peers and smoothing over differences lest winter pick you all off. And when March rolls around and you’ve got nothing left but your seed corn…better be good at delaying gratification. Due to the gulf stream Europe is about the most extreme latitude at which plant based agriculture is viable.

    But that’s not the only way of pushing evolution towards high intelligence and pro-social traits. The other classic example is rice cultivation which requires close community coordination and detailed planning compared to other crops, but if done well has very high yields. Of course rice cultivation takes place closer to the equator; and given this I’m not sure how well the correlation would hold for Asia specifically. What did they use for the latitude of China? It’s a big place. Did they break down northern versus southern China? I’d be interested to see if there is a latitude-GDP correlation for Asia at a more granular level.

    Anyway a few thousand generations of these agricultural practices and people start to act differently. Most people through history and prehistory, up until very recently, were subsistence farmers, so if you want to know what drove recent human evolution you have to ask what filled the bellies of the subsistence farmers. Africa was/is quite different. It’s not that Africa isn’t a difficult place to survive, it’s that the things that kill you tend to be random–e.g. malaria and other tropical diseases. Carefully planning ahead in the tropics is not as important, since it’s pretty much the same temp year round. So there’s no selective pressure for those traits. So they don’t develop. So you get Africans.

    • Agree: jim jones
    • Replies: @David
    Darwin thinks about human and natural capital... from Voyage of the Beagle:

    We continued slowly to sail down the noble stream: the current helped us but little. We met, during our descent, very few vessels. One of the best gifts of nature, in so grand a channel of communication, seems here wilfully thrown away—a river in which ships might navigate from a temperate country, as surprisingly abundant in certain productions as destitute of others, to another possessing a tropical climate, and a soil which, according to the best of judges, M. Bonpland, is perhaps unequalled in fertility in any part of the world. How different would have been the aspect of this river if English colonists had by good fortune first sailed up the Plata! What noble towns would now have occupied its shores!
     
    , @BlackFlag
    Aren't there lots of poor places where societies were built around rice cultivation for a long time(eg. India, Myanmar, Southeast Asia)?
  7. @Dave Pinsen
    Is there a more parsimonious explanation for economic outcomes than who the people are? I mean so much if this is transparent b.s. You look at towns established and peopled by Germans in Brazil ~150 years ago and today they are more like Germany than Brazil. QED.

    Exactly. All of this arguing about different economic or educational systems is just blah, blah blah, pointless. Obviously it matters around the margins or in extreme, aberrant situations: South Korea is richer than North, West Germany was better off than East. But generally speaking if you have to choose between good people and a good system, choose the people.

    • Agree: neutral
    • Replies: @International Jew

    South Korea is richer than North
     
    And yet North Korea can build ICBMs and nuclear weapons despite having about the worst institutions conceivable. I'd say North Korea is about the strongest datapoint in favor of northeast Asian cognitive superiority.
  8. Since Cowen asked, here are a few non-obvious countries to bet on:

    Malawi: No Dutch disease. Nowhere to go but up.

    Algeria: Robert Morris says that it’s a country to watch.

    Syria: The war will eventually be over.

    Yemen: Ditto.

    Tunisia: Yay democracy!

    • Replies: @Not Raul
    One more:

    Georgia: Yay immigration!

    https://jam-news.net/boers-newfound-home-in-rural-georgia/
  9. Anon[646] • Disclaimer says:

    Institutions and culture are both collections of ideas, carried by their host, people. The question is whether people are blank slates, and Acemoglu thinks they are, apparently.

    Obviously, some aspects of culture are not genetic. Your native language depends only on your parents’ native language. (However see this recent weird result suggesting that German babies and French babies are born with a slight preference for German and French, respectively: “Do Babies Cry in Different Languages?” https://parenting.nytimes.com/baby/wermke-prespeech-development-wurzburg )

    Nicholas Wade’s idea was that people are innately tilted toward certain trait mean values based on their genome. This might be enough to make successful adoption of imposed institutions and cultural values unlikely to stick when imposed into a foreign country. On the other hand, self-selected immigrants from that country to, for instance, the U.S. might have mean settings closer to U.S. norms and adjust just fine.

    Regarding Japan: It’s put forward as a successful (the only successful?) example of U.S. “nation building.” Up close it looks a little different. Japan selectively adopted from various European countries, the U.S., and China in a smorgasbord fashion. Medicine and science had their early influence from Germany. Many of the earlier borrowed scientific and medical terms are from German. The structure of medical and university science hierarchies is more German than U.S. Cooking is more French in how things work, with less creativity and more learning classic ways taught by a master, which is also how ikebana, tea ceremony, horticulture, and martial arts works, very different from the U.S.

    The Japanese constitution, which Americans can read in the original English 😉 here:

    https://japan.kantei.go.jp/constitution_and_government_of_japan/constitution_e.html

    … has an Article 29, the main purpose of which is to establish the government’s right of eminent domain. Eminent domain is rarely used in Japan. It’s culturally not Japanese. So this article of the constitution is mostly ignored. If you zoom into Narita Airport with Google maps, you’ll see a small farm, a shrine, and a house that are blocking runway expansion and have for decades. For private projects, developers use the tradition alternative to eminent domain: Yakuza bone-breakers. The biggest use of eminent domain has been in Okinawa, at the request of the American military.

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666

    On the other hand, self-selected immigrants from that country to, for instance, the U.S. might have mean settings closer to U.S. norms and adjust just fine.
     
    An interesting point that perhaps doesn't get enough attention is that there is no reason to think that settlers and immigrants are purely representative samples of their original societies.

    For example, the type of people who would pull up stakes and move to the New World must have been a fairly non-representative cross-section of Europeans.

    This surely must have had an important "founder effect" on the new population.
    , @Medvedev

    Obviously, some aspects of culture are not genetic. Your native language depends only on your parents’ native language.
     
    That is not obvious at all. When Europeans arrived, most Africans spoke very primitive languages that reflected low level of their development. When Europeans encountered Australian aboriginals they weren't even sure if Abos are humans at all or belong to a different species.
    Second generation Asians or Indians in the US or Canada speak perfect English. Most American Blacks couldn't grasp proper English even after living in the US for 10-20 generations.

    Leave Blacks alone and their English proficiency will drop dramatically to the level of primitive pidgin or bantu-like language.
    , @anonymous coward

    However see this recent weird result suggesting that German babies and French babies are born with a slight preference for German and French, respectively: “Do Babies Cry in Different Languages?”
     
    You're insane if you think that babies magically develop a brain once they pass through a vagina. (If anything, the opposite is true - birth is very traumatic for both the baby and the mother.)

    Of course babies start learning to speak before birth.
    , @Achmed E. Newman
    I've seen that guy's place with a sign in English that you can read if you're in a window seat landing the right direction at Narita. Haha, thanks for that memory, #646!

    The Chinese do a pretty good job standing up to that overused eminent domain bullshit themselves. Read "Fireworks from China" on the Chinese guy in his lone standout house who shot firecrackers at the cops until they came to get him (only after he ran out of "ammo"!). Compare it to the Kelo vs. New London case, in which, after the SCROTUS caved in to Big-Biz over the Constitution, Pfizer never even built anything on the land. It stands empty.

  10. @Not Raul
    Since Cowen asked, here are a few non-obvious countries to bet on:

    Malawi: No Dutch disease. Nowhere to go but up.

    Algeria: Robert Morris says that it’s a country to watch.

    Syria: The war will eventually be over.

    Yemen: Ditto.

    Tunisia: Yay democracy!

  11. Anonymous[137] • Disclaimer says:

    What utter crap !!!!!

    “Institutions” – or whatever Acemoglu likes to call the management of a nation state – are *purely man-made fiat expressions* which, in the final analysis, can be donned and doffed just like the set of clothes on your back.
    In short, there’s absolutely nothing mystical or indeed inevitable about ‘institutions’. No, it’s solely about the people who make and devise them, the people who enforce them – and the people who either follow them or not follow them, as the case might be.

    Surely, this must be the very first lesson they teach you at Business School.

    Not that, I very went, but as the Cockneys say, it’s the ‘bleeding obvious’.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Of course, all this chat about 'institutions' is really a mealy-mouthed weasel way of basically saying that the populations of institution afflicted nations don't particularly trust or even like each other very much.
    , @BlackFlag
    As James Collins said in the famous business book "Good to Great," the first rule is: get the right people on the bus. The second rule: get the wrong people off the bus.
    But of course this could never apply to societies cause blah, blah, blah...

    It's infuriating that we pay countless obviously lying and biased priests/academics to pontificate crap and put forward ruinous doctrines.

    Peter Turchin, for example, refuses to so much as mention that diversity and changing demographics could possibly be one of the causes of instability in the US. Everyone on his blog seems to assiduously avoid bringing it up notwithstanding that most political activists on both sides state that it is their main concern.

  12. Singapore is at only 1 degree north. But, yeah, it’s kind of famously exceptional. For example, most of the population is not indigenous but from further north in China.

    Singapore is a Chinese colony (77% ethnic Chinese) that just happened to find itself at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, astride the world’s most important maritime route in the 20th century, when it declared its independence from the Malaysian Federation (in which ethnic Chinese were facing pogroms and communalism). And yet… the overseas Chinese there insisted on forming a polity that was at least superficially multiethnic. Funny that. The other great market-dominent minority diaspora in the world.

    And still, their women don’t breed.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    Funny irony: Kuala Lumpur is the Malaysian capital founded by Chinese, Singapore is a Chinese dominated city-state founded originally by Malays.

    >And yet… the overseas Chinese there insisted on forming a polity that was at least superficially multiethnic.

    Singapore's early priorities revolved around survival. They prepared for the possibility of a war with larger Islamic neighbors with Israeli help, but also actively tried to not trigger it. Combined with a fortunate regime change in Jakarta, they managed to get out of the 1960s alive.

  13. Anonymous[137] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon
    The most important factor is that nature has a year-round growing season near the equator. This means that if you wanted food, you just went over and picked it off a tree. 'Not economically developed' is actually a phrase that means, 'mode of living hasn't changed much in 10,000 years.'

    And why hasn't it changed? Because they didn't have to. Lounging around in an eternally warm climate in a banana leaf hut, picking your food off trees and zapping occasional bushmeat with arrows, spending the rest of your day as you please, and not having to answer to anyone, is easy living. They did it because they liked it, and didn't see any reason to change it.

    We moderns call it 'poverty,' but that's not really the proper name for it. People near the equator are simply resisting the change from one economic mode to another because they are wedded to the old one. Being an 8-hour a day wage slave is not necessarily progress. We are getting a flood of immigrants from those societies because for the first time, the internet is showing them all the goodies they're missing. They don't necessarily hate their own way of life and home, many of them just want the same way of life, just with more stuff.

    Not true.

    For a start, it’s undoubtedly true that many third worlders are invading the west, for one reason at least, in order to *flee their own kith and kin people and the ways of their own kith and kin people*. For example, doubtless many Mexicans flee Mexico because they don’t want to bring up kids in such a lawless violent society. Ditto Nigerians. Likely subcons cannot stand the duplicity and cheating of their homeland, not that will not inflict on gullible white host fools.
    Sorry, but if you’ve never lived in a land where even the most trivial medical intervention is denied to you, where beggary and starvation are the norms, you cannot appreciate why they are so keen to impose themselves upon us.

    • Replies: @anon
    many Mexicans flee Mexico because they don’t want to bring up kids in such a lawless violent society

    Many Mexicans in the US do not want their sons or daughters to marry Mexicans. They'd rather have them marry white Americans than any Mexicans. Is that racist? Asking for 3 or 4 married friends.
    , @Amerimutt Golems
    Your opinion isn't supported by facts.

    Take medical fraud and look at the names in the below 2017 Sailer article. The list includes one Patricia Chisanga who was born in the same country as Chanda Chisala, a regular Unz Review columnist.

    America Achieves Diversity Nirvana (At Least, on Feds' Most Wanted List for Health Care Fraudsters)
    https://www.unz.com/isteve/america-achieves-diversity-nirvana-at-least-in-feds-most-wanted-list-for-health-care-fraud/
  14. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    Yes, the urge to accumulate wealth is a cold weather adaptation. Equatorial peoples didn't need to stockpile food and provisions to survive the winter in the past so see nothing wrong with living from paycheck-to-paycheck today.

    “Wealth” is a social construct of dense settled societies with agricultural surplus. It’s a claim on a stock of assets that can’t be produced or defended by an individual man.

    “Wealth” doesn’t exist in cold weather environments in which the weather exerts harsh environmental pressures. It exists in cold weather environments that have been urbanized and turned into a replica of agricultural or tropical societies with caloric surplus.

  15. I’ve been watching the “great example” of Ethiopia since before “Do They Know it’s Christmas”. They were at around 38 million people at that time, getting $600 million in aid. Now they’re over 109 million, getting $1.6 billion. In 40 years, they’re projected to hit population 210 million.
    They speak 90 languages.
    The Economist says that Ethiopians remain mired in poverty. I find it is, in fact, a great example: I use it to explain the concept of moral hazard.

  16. . For example, if you take human capital, it wasn’t that Europeans brought human capital to the places such as the US or Argentina or Chile. Actually, the Europeans who were more educated were the ones who went to places such as the Inca Empire or the Aztec Empire.

    Dunno.Literacy rates in 17th century New England were vastly higher than they were in colonial Mexico and Peru…….And Puritan elites were very learned….

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    The settlers were probably more literate than their descendants. A local guy who writes historical fiction and portrays John Adams at living history events, said a large number of people at the time of the Revolution were illiterate or effectively so.
  17. Anonymous[344] • Disclaimer says:

    Is Cowen taken seriously by other economists these days or does he basically just spend all his time popularizing bits of economics that the rich want everyone to believe?

    I notice that if you look at his GoogleScholar or Microsoft Academic pages, a good chunk of his citations seem to be recent books rather than journal articles. Do the former contain new insights and receive the same amount of peer review scrutiny the way the latter do?

    Compare this to his department mate Bryan Caplan, who has more citations, with way more coming from journals, despite being nearly a decade younger.

  18. Acemoglu’s preferred theory seems to be that rich countries are rich because they have more “human capital.” But that’s about as insightful as saying they are rich because they have more money.

  19. @SimpleSong
    My god, these fields never make any progress. If you had asked a reasonably educated person this same question 100 years ago you would have gotten more cogent answers.

    Anyway if people live in an environment that selects for intelligence and pro-social traits you will get intelligent and pro-social people and they will then make an advanced society. If you live in an environment that selects for other things you will get other things.

    Practicing agriculture at extremes of latitude is one way to push evolution in this direction. You need to do a lot more planning when you have wild seasonal swings in temperature and sunlight, and you need better technology just to stay alive: better clothes, better houses, etc. And you will probably need to be good at cooperating with your peers and smoothing over differences lest winter pick you all off. And when March rolls around and you've got nothing left but your seed corn...better be good at delaying gratification. Due to the gulf stream Europe is about the most extreme latitude at which plant based agriculture is viable.

    But that's not the only way of pushing evolution towards high intelligence and pro-social traits. The other classic example is rice cultivation which requires close community coordination and detailed planning compared to other crops, but if done well has very high yields. Of course rice cultivation takes place closer to the equator; and given this I'm not sure how well the correlation would hold for Asia specifically. What did they use for the latitude of China? It's a big place. Did they break down northern versus southern China? I'd be interested to see if there is a latitude-GDP correlation for Asia at a more granular level.

    Anyway a few thousand generations of these agricultural practices and people start to act differently. Most people through history and prehistory, up until very recently, were subsistence farmers, so if you want to know what drove recent human evolution you have to ask what filled the bellies of the subsistence farmers. Africa was/is quite different. It's not that Africa isn't a difficult place to survive, it's that the things that kill you tend to be random--e.g. malaria and other tropical diseases. Carefully planning ahead in the tropics is not as important, since it's pretty much the same temp year round. So there's no selective pressure for those traits. So they don't develop. So you get Africans.

    Darwin thinks about human and natural capital… from Voyage of the Beagle:

    We continued slowly to sail down the noble stream: the current helped us but little. We met, during our descent, very few vessels. One of the best gifts of nature, in so grand a channel of communication, seems here wilfully thrown away—a river in which ships might navigate from a temperate country, as surprisingly abundant in certain productions as destitute of others, to another possessing a tropical climate, and a soil which, according to the best of judges, M. Bonpland, is perhaps unequalled in fertility in any part of the world. How different would have been the aspect of this river if English colonists had by good fortune first sailed up the Plata! What noble towns would now have occupied its shores!

  20. @Anon
    Institutions and culture are both collections of ideas, carried by their host, people. The question is whether people are blank slates, and Acemoglu thinks they are, apparently.

    Obviously, some aspects of culture are not genetic. Your native language depends only on your parents' native language. (However see this recent weird result suggesting that German babies and French babies are born with a slight preference for German and French, respectively: "Do Babies Cry in Different Languages?" https://parenting.nytimes.com/baby/wermke-prespeech-development-wurzburg )

    Nicholas Wade's idea was that people are innately tilted toward certain trait mean values based on their genome. This might be enough to make successful adoption of imposed institutions and cultural values unlikely to stick when imposed into a foreign country. On the other hand, self-selected immigrants from that country to, for instance, the U.S. might have mean settings closer to U.S. norms and adjust just fine.

    Regarding Japan: It's put forward as a successful (the only successful?) example of U.S. "nation building." Up close it looks a little different. Japan selectively adopted from various European countries, the U.S., and China in a smorgasbord fashion. Medicine and science had their early influence from Germany. Many of the earlier borrowed scientific and medical terms are from German. The structure of medical and university science hierarchies is more German than U.S. Cooking is more French in how things work, with less creativity and more learning classic ways taught by a master, which is also how ikebana, tea ceremony, horticulture, and martial arts works, very different from the U.S.

    The Japanese constitution, which Americans can read in the original English ;-) here:

    https://japan.kantei.go.jp/constitution_and_government_of_japan/constitution_e.html

    ... has an Article 29, the main purpose of which is to establish the government's right of eminent domain. Eminent domain is rarely used in Japan. It's culturally not Japanese. So this article of the constitution is mostly ignored. If you zoom into Narita Airport with Google maps, you'll see a small farm, a shrine, and a house that are blocking runway expansion and have for decades. For private projects, developers use the tradition alternative to eminent domain: Yakuza bone-breakers. The biggest use of eminent domain has been in Okinawa, at the request of the American military.

    On the other hand, self-selected immigrants from that country to, for instance, the U.S. might have mean settings closer to U.S. norms and adjust just fine.

    An interesting point that perhaps doesn’t get enough attention is that there is no reason to think that settlers and immigrants are purely representative samples of their original societies.

    For example, the type of people who would pull up stakes and move to the New World must have been a fairly non-representative cross-section of Europeans.

    This surely must have had an important “founder effect” on the new population.

    • Agree: Alice
  21. @Anon
    The most important factor is that nature has a year-round growing season near the equator. This means that if you wanted food, you just went over and picked it off a tree. 'Not economically developed' is actually a phrase that means, 'mode of living hasn't changed much in 10,000 years.'

    And why hasn't it changed? Because they didn't have to. Lounging around in an eternally warm climate in a banana leaf hut, picking your food off trees and zapping occasional bushmeat with arrows, spending the rest of your day as you please, and not having to answer to anyone, is easy living. They did it because they liked it, and didn't see any reason to change it.

    We moderns call it 'poverty,' but that's not really the proper name for it. People near the equator are simply resisting the change from one economic mode to another because they are wedded to the old one. Being an 8-hour a day wage slave is not necessarily progress. We are getting a flood of immigrants from those societies because for the first time, the internet is showing them all the goodies they're missing. They don't necessarily hate their own way of life and home, many of them just want the same way of life, just with more stuff.

    Population of Kenya skyrocketed form 1.35 million in 1900 to 48 million today.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_1900

    Africans cannot afford to continue with the same lifestyle generations of their ancestors enjoyed. Just like people in North America cannot live off fishing and hunting like Indians prior to the arrival of Europeans. But Africans lack high IQ to sustain modern civilization (or any civilization whatsoever).

    • Replies: @MikeatMikedotMike
    "Africans cannot afford to continue with the same lifestyle generations of their ancestors enjoyed. "

    A more accurate observation is Western Benefactors cannot afford for Africans to continue with the same lifestyle etc.

    Africans pay for almost nothing. When the West can no longer pay for Africans to have food and healthcare, Africa will descend into the nearest resemblance to an apocalypse.
  22. @Dave Pinsen
    Is there a more parsimonious explanation for economic outcomes than who the people are? I mean so much if this is transparent b.s. You look at towns established and peopled by Germans in Brazil ~150 years ago and today they are more like Germany than Brazil. QED.

    Dave Pinsen wrote:

    Is there a more parsimonious explanation for economic outcomes than who the people are?

    Yes, everyone actually does know that. In normal casual conversation among friends, if you mention that some child does well in school and studies classical piano or violin and then add, “Well, you know, he’s Chinese” no one ever acts surprised.

    The real debate is why the differences exist — could be long-term culture handed down within families or could be genetic.

    I recommend reading some of the writings of the anthropologist Christopher Hallpike, who prides himself on being a contrarian: Hallpike argues that cultures are much, much more persistent than commonly realized. The obvious example (not his) is that Maoism seems not to have changed Chinese culture that much, despite murderous attempts to do so.

    • Replies: @Athletic and Whitesplosive
    Well that's contrary to the obvious observation that sexual mores have deteriorated massively over the last 50 years, exceptionally so over the last 20, in ways I should hope are obvious. Likewise popular values have massively shifted, away from Christianity toward irreligion, away from nominal nationalism toward xenophilia. And that's just in the western world, look at the incredible shift towards materialism within Japan, their transformation from vital aspiring conquerers to sterility and suicide might be even more radical than what's happened in the west.

    But if culture really were the deciding factor, and was so intractable that extermination campaigns or 200ish years of living within a radically different culture (ala Africans in America, but even more so Gypsies in Europe) can't change them, then that's a pretty hollow victory for environmentalists. If you can even call it that; it actually better makes the argument that culture is almost wholly genetic (which I think it only partly is), than the argument that foreigners will be just like us once they assimilate (since culture as per this argument is extremely resistant to change and thus assimilation ain't gonna happen).

    Likewise it still leaves the testing gap; maybe the b-w gap is somewhat aligned (w more efficient culture than b, thus in testing w>b), but the modest white<asian gap isn't (white culture modestly more efficient [wrt overall economic and institutional development] therefore asians test modestly greater? Doesn't align). And likewise it doesn't explain the impressive technological level (functional nuclear program) of North Korea, which has achieved it despite perversely organized institutions and a malformed culture.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    But culture and genetics affect each other in obvious ways, such as marriage patterns. And even within places like China, you see ancestry reign. E.g.,

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/909566716816052224?s=21
    , @Dave Pinsen
    But culture and genetics affect each other in obvious ways, such as marriage patterns. And even within places like China, you see ancestry reign. E.g.,

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/909566716816052224?s=21
  23. @Anon
    Institutions and culture are both collections of ideas, carried by their host, people. The question is whether people are blank slates, and Acemoglu thinks they are, apparently.

    Obviously, some aspects of culture are not genetic. Your native language depends only on your parents' native language. (However see this recent weird result suggesting that German babies and French babies are born with a slight preference for German and French, respectively: "Do Babies Cry in Different Languages?" https://parenting.nytimes.com/baby/wermke-prespeech-development-wurzburg )

    Nicholas Wade's idea was that people are innately tilted toward certain trait mean values based on their genome. This might be enough to make successful adoption of imposed institutions and cultural values unlikely to stick when imposed into a foreign country. On the other hand, self-selected immigrants from that country to, for instance, the U.S. might have mean settings closer to U.S. norms and adjust just fine.

    Regarding Japan: It's put forward as a successful (the only successful?) example of U.S. "nation building." Up close it looks a little different. Japan selectively adopted from various European countries, the U.S., and China in a smorgasbord fashion. Medicine and science had their early influence from Germany. Many of the earlier borrowed scientific and medical terms are from German. The structure of medical and university science hierarchies is more German than U.S. Cooking is more French in how things work, with less creativity and more learning classic ways taught by a master, which is also how ikebana, tea ceremony, horticulture, and martial arts works, very different from the U.S.

    The Japanese constitution, which Americans can read in the original English ;-) here:

    https://japan.kantei.go.jp/constitution_and_government_of_japan/constitution_e.html

    ... has an Article 29, the main purpose of which is to establish the government's right of eminent domain. Eminent domain is rarely used in Japan. It's culturally not Japanese. So this article of the constitution is mostly ignored. If you zoom into Narita Airport with Google maps, you'll see a small farm, a shrine, and a house that are blocking runway expansion and have for decades. For private projects, developers use the tradition alternative to eminent domain: Yakuza bone-breakers. The biggest use of eminent domain has been in Okinawa, at the request of the American military.

    Obviously, some aspects of culture are not genetic. Your native language depends only on your parents’ native language.

    That is not obvious at all. When Europeans arrived, most Africans spoke very primitive languages that reflected low level of their development. When Europeans encountered Australian aboriginals they weren’t even sure if Abos are humans at all or belong to a different species.
    Second generation Asians or Indians in the US or Canada speak perfect English. Most American Blacks couldn’t grasp proper English even after living in the US for 10-20 generations.

    Leave Blacks alone and their English proficiency will drop dramatically to the level of primitive pidgin or bantu-like language.

  24. @syonredux

    . For example, if you take human capital, it wasn’t that Europeans brought human capital to the places such as the US or Argentina or Chile. Actually, the Europeans who were more educated were the ones who went to places such as the Inca Empire or the Aztec Empire.
     
    Dunno.Literacy rates in 17th century New England were vastly higher than they were in colonial Mexico and Peru.......And Puritan elites were very learned....

    The settlers were probably more literate than their descendants. A local guy who writes historical fiction and portrays John Adams at living history events, said a large number of people at the time of the Revolution were illiterate or effectively so.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    The settlers were probably more literate than their descendants. A local guy who writes historical fiction and portrays John Adams at living history events, said a large number of people at the time of the Revolution were illiterate or effectively so.
     
    That's nonsense. Literacy rates (especially for women) were higher in 18th century New England than they were in the 17th.
  25. @Anon
    The most important factor is that nature has a year-round growing season near the equator. This means that if you wanted food, you just went over and picked it off a tree. 'Not economically developed' is actually a phrase that means, 'mode of living hasn't changed much in 10,000 years.'

    And why hasn't it changed? Because they didn't have to. Lounging around in an eternally warm climate in a banana leaf hut, picking your food off trees and zapping occasional bushmeat with arrows, spending the rest of your day as you please, and not having to answer to anyone, is easy living. They did it because they liked it, and didn't see any reason to change it.

    We moderns call it 'poverty,' but that's not really the proper name for it. People near the equator are simply resisting the change from one economic mode to another because they are wedded to the old one. Being an 8-hour a day wage slave is not necessarily progress. We are getting a flood of immigrants from those societies because for the first time, the internet is showing them all the goodies they're missing. They don't necessarily hate their own way of life and home, many of them just want the same way of life, just with more stuff.

    Rushton and r/K selection theory

  26. Congratulations Steve! Your influence on Cowen is clear. Winning!

  27. @SimpleSong
    Exactly. All of this arguing about different economic or educational systems is just blah, blah blah, pointless. Obviously it matters around the margins or in extreme, aberrant situations: South Korea is richer than North, West Germany was better off than East. But generally speaking if you have to choose between good people and a good system, choose the people.

    South Korea is richer than North

    And yet North Korea can build ICBMs and nuclear weapons despite having about the worst institutions conceivable. I’d say North Korea is about the strongest datapoint in favor of northeast Asian cognitive superiority.

  28. The best explanation still is that richer countries are those generally populated by smarter people. And why some people are smarter than others? Those ancestral populations that moved from Africa to much colder climates in Eurasia eons ago as they faced a harsher environment felt selection pressures to survive. Not the stronger but the smarter survived in the cold. Also to survive they need to collaborate more creating higher trust societies than in the Equator

  29. @Anon
    The most important factor is that nature has a year-round growing season near the equator. This means that if you wanted food, you just went over and picked it off a tree. 'Not economically developed' is actually a phrase that means, 'mode of living hasn't changed much in 10,000 years.'

    And why hasn't it changed? Because they didn't have to. Lounging around in an eternally warm climate in a banana leaf hut, picking your food off trees and zapping occasional bushmeat with arrows, spending the rest of your day as you please, and not having to answer to anyone, is easy living. They did it because they liked it, and didn't see any reason to change it.

    We moderns call it 'poverty,' but that's not really the proper name for it. People near the equator are simply resisting the change from one economic mode to another because they are wedded to the old one. Being an 8-hour a day wage slave is not necessarily progress. We are getting a flood of immigrants from those societies because for the first time, the internet is showing them all the goodies they're missing. They don't necessarily hate their own way of life and home, many of them just want the same way of life, just with more stuff.

    Yes, but you forgot another rule of the tropics: good for human life, even better for other life

    Translated: everyone gangsta until the parasite worms start eating you inside out.

    Then we came and committed atrocities against the tropical disease, which means that the tropical man can now increase numbers greatly

    Suddenly, just pick food of the ground stops being applicable, as wild is not very productive

    Therefore, the best possible course of action is to quarantine the continent, give them all the medical tech they need, but zero food.

    Malthusian conditions happen, the incompetent die and voila, Africa suddenly civilized.

  30. I can’t imagine much that is likely to be more divorced from reality than a conversation between two fundamentalist libertarian economists.

  31. @Anonymous
    What utter crap !!!!!

    "Institutions" - or whatever Acemoglu likes to call the management of a nation state - are *purely man-made fiat expressions* which, in the final analysis, can be donned and doffed just like the set of clothes on your back.
    In short, there's absolutely nothing mystical or indeed inevitable about 'institutions'. No, it's solely about the people who make and devise them, the people who enforce them - and the people who either follow them or not follow them, as the case might be.

    Surely, this must be the very first lesson they teach you at Business School.

    Not that, I very went, but as the Cockneys say, it's the 'bleeding obvious'.

    Of course, all this chat about ‘institutions’ is really a mealy-mouthed weasel way of basically saying that the populations of institution afflicted nations don’t particularly trust or even like each other very much.

    • Replies: @Moses
    Western countries have property rights, rule of law.

    If we airdropped thousands of copies of the US Constitution on equatorial countries we could lift their GDPs quickly.

    The USA and its institutions are just ideas after all. American success had nothing at all to do with the kind of people living in America.

    Everyone knows this.
  32. Tyler is also (wilfully?) naive in that interview. At one point he decides to point to Russia as a country with poor institutions that produces high human capital:

    “But if Russians come here, they almost immediately move into North American per capita income levels as immigrants, right?”

    Of course, the really successful “Russian” immigrants are almost always Soviet Jews, Soviet Germans, Soviet Armenians, or Baltic people that Americans confuse with Russians. Your Petrovs, Ivanovs, and Sidorovs are generally no better than whites from the Balkans or Scots Irish.

    Acemoglu is actually correct when he talks about a selection effect for Soviet immigrants, but he probably doesnt understand what is actually going on.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Your Petrovs, Ivanovs, and Sidorovs are generally no better than whites from the Balkans or Scots Irish.
     
    American statistics disagree: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income
    , @nebulafox
    > Your Petrovs, Ivanovs, and Sidorovs are generally no better than whites from the Balkans or Scots Irish.

    Not in physics.
  33. @PhysicistDave
    Dave Pinsen wrote:

    Is there a more parsimonious explanation for economic outcomes than who the people are?
     
    Yes, everyone actually does know that. In normal casual conversation among friends, if you mention that some child does well in school and studies classical piano or violin and then add, "Well, you know, he's Chinese" no one ever acts surprised.

    The real debate is why the differences exist -- could be long-term culture handed down within families or could be genetic.

    I recommend reading some of the writings of the anthropologist Christopher Hallpike, who prides himself on being a contrarian: Hallpike argues that cultures are much, much more persistent than commonly realized. The obvious example (not his) is that Maoism seems not to have changed Chinese culture that much, despite murderous attempts to do so.

    Well that’s contrary to the obvious observation that sexual mores have deteriorated massively over the last 50 years, exceptionally so over the last 20, in ways I should hope are obvious. Likewise popular values have massively shifted, away from Christianity toward irreligion, away from nominal nationalism toward xenophilia. And that’s just in the western world, look at the incredible shift towards materialism within Japan, their transformation from vital aspiring conquerers to sterility and suicide might be even more radical than what’s happened in the west.

    But if culture really were the deciding factor, and was so intractable that extermination campaigns or 200ish years of living within a radically different culture (ala Africans in America, but even more so Gypsies in Europe) can’t change them, then that’s a pretty hollow victory for environmentalists. If you can even call it that; it actually better makes the argument that culture is almost wholly genetic (which I think it only partly is), than the argument that foreigners will be just like us once they assimilate (since culture as per this argument is extremely resistant to change and thus assimilation ain’t gonna happen).

    Likewise it still leaves the testing gap; maybe the b-w gap is somewhat aligned (w more efficient culture than b, thus in testing w>b), but the modest white<asian gap isn't (white culture modestly more efficient [wrt overall economic and institutional development] therefore asians test modestly greater? Doesn't align). And likewise it doesn't explain the impressive technological level (functional nuclear program) of North Korea, which has achieved it despite perversely organized institutions and a malformed culture.

    • Replies: @Leopold

    And likewise it doesn't explain the impressive technological level (functional nuclear program) of North Korea, which has achieved it despite
     
    er.... NK was GIVEN nukes by China. Just like Pakistan was given nukes by China.

    Get a clue..
    , @PhysicistDave
    Athletic and Whitesplosive wrote to me:

    Well that’s contrary to the obvious observation that sexual mores have deteriorated massively over the last 50 years, exceptionally so over the last 20, in ways I should hope are obvious. Likewise popular values have massively shifted, away from Christianity toward irreligion, away from nominal nationalism toward xenophilia.
     
    Well... the West is still more individualistic and East Asia more group-oriented. Chinese still take family and ancestors more seriously than Westerners (do you know anything abut any of your great-great grandparents?). I think that is the sort of thing Hallpike has in mind.
  34. @Anon
    Institutions and culture are both collections of ideas, carried by their host, people. The question is whether people are blank slates, and Acemoglu thinks they are, apparently.

    Obviously, some aspects of culture are not genetic. Your native language depends only on your parents' native language. (However see this recent weird result suggesting that German babies and French babies are born with a slight preference for German and French, respectively: "Do Babies Cry in Different Languages?" https://parenting.nytimes.com/baby/wermke-prespeech-development-wurzburg )

    Nicholas Wade's idea was that people are innately tilted toward certain trait mean values based on their genome. This might be enough to make successful adoption of imposed institutions and cultural values unlikely to stick when imposed into a foreign country. On the other hand, self-selected immigrants from that country to, for instance, the U.S. might have mean settings closer to U.S. norms and adjust just fine.

    Regarding Japan: It's put forward as a successful (the only successful?) example of U.S. "nation building." Up close it looks a little different. Japan selectively adopted from various European countries, the U.S., and China in a smorgasbord fashion. Medicine and science had their early influence from Germany. Many of the earlier borrowed scientific and medical terms are from German. The structure of medical and university science hierarchies is more German than U.S. Cooking is more French in how things work, with less creativity and more learning classic ways taught by a master, which is also how ikebana, tea ceremony, horticulture, and martial arts works, very different from the U.S.

    The Japanese constitution, which Americans can read in the original English ;-) here:

    https://japan.kantei.go.jp/constitution_and_government_of_japan/constitution_e.html

    ... has an Article 29, the main purpose of which is to establish the government's right of eminent domain. Eminent domain is rarely used in Japan. It's culturally not Japanese. So this article of the constitution is mostly ignored. If you zoom into Narita Airport with Google maps, you'll see a small farm, a shrine, and a house that are blocking runway expansion and have for decades. For private projects, developers use the tradition alternative to eminent domain: Yakuza bone-breakers. The biggest use of eminent domain has been in Okinawa, at the request of the American military.

    However see this recent weird result suggesting that German babies and French babies are born with a slight preference for German and French, respectively: “Do Babies Cry in Different Languages?”

    You’re insane if you think that babies magically develop a brain once they pass through a vagina. (If anything, the opposite is true – birth is very traumatic for both the baby and the mother.)

    Of course babies start learning to speak before birth.

  35. @Peter Akuleyev
    Tyler is also (wilfully?) naive in that interview. At one point he decides to point to Russia as a country with poor institutions that produces high human capital:

    "But if Russians come here, they almost immediately move into North American per capita income levels as immigrants, right?"

    Of course, the really successful "Russian" immigrants are almost always Soviet Jews, Soviet Germans, Soviet Armenians, or Baltic people that Americans confuse with Russians. Your Petrovs, Ivanovs, and Sidorovs are generally no better than whites from the Balkans or Scots Irish.

    Acemoglu is actually correct when he talks about a selection effect for Soviet immigrants, but he probably doesnt understand what is actually going on.

    Your Petrovs, Ivanovs, and Sidorovs are generally no better than whites from the Balkans or Scots Irish.

    American statistics disagree: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income

  36. @Peter Akuleyev
    Tyler is also (wilfully?) naive in that interview. At one point he decides to point to Russia as a country with poor institutions that produces high human capital:

    "But if Russians come here, they almost immediately move into North American per capita income levels as immigrants, right?"

    Of course, the really successful "Russian" immigrants are almost always Soviet Jews, Soviet Germans, Soviet Armenians, or Baltic people that Americans confuse with Russians. Your Petrovs, Ivanovs, and Sidorovs are generally no better than whites from the Balkans or Scots Irish.

    Acemoglu is actually correct when he talks about a selection effect for Soviet immigrants, but he probably doesnt understand what is actually going on.

    > Your Petrovs, Ivanovs, and Sidorovs are generally no better than whites from the Balkans or Scots Irish.

    Not in physics.

  37. @Thomas

    Singapore is at only 1 degree north. But, yeah, it’s kind of famously exceptional. For example, most of the population is not indigenous but from further north in China.
     
    Singapore is a Chinese colony (77% ethnic Chinese) that just happened to find itself at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, astride the world's most important maritime route in the 20th century, when it declared its independence from the Malaysian Federation (in which ethnic Chinese were facing pogroms and communalism). And yet... the overseas Chinese there insisted on forming a polity that was at least superficially multiethnic. Funny that. The other great market-dominent minority diaspora in the world.

    And still, their women don't breed.

    Funny irony: Kuala Lumpur is the Malaysian capital founded by Chinese, Singapore is a Chinese dominated city-state founded originally by Malays.

    >And yet… the overseas Chinese there insisted on forming a polity that was at least superficially multiethnic.

    Singapore’s early priorities revolved around survival. They prepared for the possibility of a war with larger Islamic neighbors with Israeli help, but also actively tried to not trigger it. Combined with a fortunate regime change in Jakarta, they managed to get out of the 1960s alive.

  38. @Anon
    The most important factor is that nature has a year-round growing season near the equator. This means that if you wanted food, you just went over and picked it off a tree. 'Not economically developed' is actually a phrase that means, 'mode of living hasn't changed much in 10,000 years.'

    And why hasn't it changed? Because they didn't have to. Lounging around in an eternally warm climate in a banana leaf hut, picking your food off trees and zapping occasional bushmeat with arrows, spending the rest of your day as you please, and not having to answer to anyone, is easy living. They did it because they liked it, and didn't see any reason to change it.

    We moderns call it 'poverty,' but that's not really the proper name for it. People near the equator are simply resisting the change from one economic mode to another because they are wedded to the old one. Being an 8-hour a day wage slave is not necessarily progress. We are getting a flood of immigrants from those societies because for the first time, the internet is showing them all the goodies they're missing. They don't necessarily hate their own way of life and home, many of them just want the same way of life, just with more stuff.

    We moderns call it ‘poverty,’ but that’s not really the proper name for it.

    No. That would be “wealth”.

  39. Georgia

    Joe’s, not Jimmy’s.

    But will they assimilate, or just isolate and k̕rt̕mndzhal (grumble)? Can they even say k̕rt̕mndzhal? (A single syllable, by the way.)

    Or will they miss the clicks?

  40. anon[149] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    Not true.

    For a start, it's undoubtedly true that many third worlders are invading the west, for one reason at least, in order to *flee their own kith and kin people and the ways of their own kith and kin people*. For example, doubtless many Mexicans flee Mexico because they don't want to bring up kids in such a lawless violent society. Ditto Nigerians. Likely subcons cannot stand the duplicity and cheating of their homeland, not that will not inflict on gullible white host fools.
    Sorry, but if you've never lived in a land where even the most trivial medical intervention is denied to you, where beggary and starvation are the norms, you cannot appreciate why they are so keen to impose themselves upon us.

    many Mexicans flee Mexico because they don’t want to bring up kids in such a lawless violent society

    Many Mexicans in the US do not want their sons or daughters to marry Mexicans. They’d rather have them marry white Americans than any Mexicans. Is that racist? Asking for 3 or 4 married friends.

  41. If that theory is true, the Eskimos would be the smartest people on earth, as would native Americans, but we all know US would be just another wasteland if it weren’t for white settlers.

  42. I wouldn’t completely discount the Acemoglu hypothesis, although it’s mostly bunk. He does have a few more specific examples that are hard to explain by genes or geography – for example some very specific pair-comparisons of neighboring African states that he assigns to different colonial era institutions (Botswana and its neighbors).

    Perhaps Peter Turchin’s updated conceptualization of ‘asabiya’ (1000 year cycles of ethnic solidarity) offers a kind of half way house between this thin ‘institutions lead to success’ theory and pure geographical / genetic theories. And of course asabiya levels will impact who is selected for marriage partners so there is causality in many directions.

    On a personal level, I’m well acquainted with a third world country whose human capital is much better than its economic and institutional performance (I see this when I follow the trajectories of its diaspora into entrepreneurship and really difficult hard sciences). Such gaps do happen in third world countries with truly horrible, path dependent institutions, although mostly genes and geography interactions might predominate.

    • Replies: @Jack D

    for example some very specific pair-comparisons of neighboring African states that he assigns to different colonial era institutions (Botswana and its neighbors).
     
    Maybe these effects exist but they are of secondary or tertiary importance.

    If you take off your PC glasses, it's pretty obvious that the success of European colonies depending on these factors (in this order):

    1. Who the colonial power was, in this order : English, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese.

    2. How successful the colonial power was in replacing the local population with Europeans (and not primarily with Africans in case of non-African colonies).

    3. Whether the local climate and resources lent themselves to independent farming and business rather than to large scale plantations or mines.

    Maybe in some alternative universe where the West did not experience the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution it could have all turned out differently but in the version of reality that we live in, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution happened in Europe and there was a reason why they happened in Europe and not in Zimbabwe and no amount of fast talking is going to change that.
  43. @Anon
    Institutions and culture are both collections of ideas, carried by their host, people. The question is whether people are blank slates, and Acemoglu thinks they are, apparently.

    Obviously, some aspects of culture are not genetic. Your native language depends only on your parents' native language. (However see this recent weird result suggesting that German babies and French babies are born with a slight preference for German and French, respectively: "Do Babies Cry in Different Languages?" https://parenting.nytimes.com/baby/wermke-prespeech-development-wurzburg )

    Nicholas Wade's idea was that people are innately tilted toward certain trait mean values based on their genome. This might be enough to make successful adoption of imposed institutions and cultural values unlikely to stick when imposed into a foreign country. On the other hand, self-selected immigrants from that country to, for instance, the U.S. might have mean settings closer to U.S. norms and adjust just fine.

    Regarding Japan: It's put forward as a successful (the only successful?) example of U.S. "nation building." Up close it looks a little different. Japan selectively adopted from various European countries, the U.S., and China in a smorgasbord fashion. Medicine and science had their early influence from Germany. Many of the earlier borrowed scientific and medical terms are from German. The structure of medical and university science hierarchies is more German than U.S. Cooking is more French in how things work, with less creativity and more learning classic ways taught by a master, which is also how ikebana, tea ceremony, horticulture, and martial arts works, very different from the U.S.

    The Japanese constitution, which Americans can read in the original English ;-) here:

    https://japan.kantei.go.jp/constitution_and_government_of_japan/constitution_e.html

    ... has an Article 29, the main purpose of which is to establish the government's right of eminent domain. Eminent domain is rarely used in Japan. It's culturally not Japanese. So this article of the constitution is mostly ignored. If you zoom into Narita Airport with Google maps, you'll see a small farm, a shrine, and a house that are blocking runway expansion and have for decades. For private projects, developers use the tradition alternative to eminent domain: Yakuza bone-breakers. The biggest use of eminent domain has been in Okinawa, at the request of the American military.

    I’ve seen that guy’s place with a sign in English that you can read if you’re in a window seat landing the right direction at Narita. Haha, thanks for that memory, #646!

    The Chinese do a pretty good job standing up to that overused eminent domain bullshit themselves. Read “Fireworks from China” on the Chinese guy in his lone standout house who shot firecrackers at the cops until they came to get him (only after he ran out of “ammo”!). Compare it to the Kelo vs. New London case, in which, after the SCROTUS caved in to Big-Biz over the Constitution, Pfizer never even built anything on the land. It stands empty.

  44. @Redneck farmer
    The settlers were probably more literate than their descendants. A local guy who writes historical fiction and portrays John Adams at living history events, said a large number of people at the time of the Revolution were illiterate or effectively so.

    The settlers were probably more literate than their descendants. A local guy who writes historical fiction and portrays John Adams at living history events, said a large number of people at the time of the Revolution were illiterate or effectively so.

    That’s nonsense. Literacy rates (especially for women) were higher in 18th century New England than they were in the 17th.

  45. @Dave Pinsen
    It’s not just the internet, I think. The transition to cash crops, and overpopulation means most of those third worlders aren’t living in the old, idyllic way.

    It’s not just the internet, I think. The transition to cash crops, and overpopulation means most of those third worlders aren’t living in the old, idyllic way.

    No one is starving in Guatemala. I see photos of plump mamas with children waiting in Mexico to bum rush our border for asylum. Few are starving in Africa. But life can be inane and stagnant in the third world. So this Nigerian , Ghanaian or Eritrean sees some internet photos of his buddy in Germany with some pale and lovely fräuleins holding up “Welcome Refugees” signs and we know what he does. He knows it is unmanly to remain behind in Nigeria. So he puts some thousands of dollars together, promising to pay back the lenders and eventually help them get into Sweden, UK, Germany etc.

    BTW a puke Texas judge just ruled against Trump using 3.8 billion in Defense Dept funds to build his Wall.

    • Replies: @Jack D

    I see photos of plump mamas
     
    Mezoamerican Indians evolved in conditions of scarce food and ample exercise. If you feed them a reasonable number of calories and mechanize agriculture and transportation so they are not running from village to village all day, they naturally tend toward obesity because they are optimized to survive on a low calorie diet.
  46. i want to put forward the idea that africans not being very motivated workers, is actually adaptive, and makes sense. 50,000 years ago on the dry, hot savanna, with almost zero technology, it would have been dangerous to work hard all day in the sun, with no good water supply around.

    in that environment, being lazy protects you from dying. anybody who did work hard all day hunting or building stuff would have ended up dead. maybe you could get away with gathering, which is what they defaulted to, but that’s about it.

    how this relates to Aborigines is probably similar, but they aren’t smart enough to ever do any productive work really, whereas the smartest africans are.

    why not indians then, since India is almost as hot, and a lot of indians are almost as brown? probably because India is crisscrossed with many rivers, bringing water to lots of it’s land.

    Spain and it’s tradition of siesta is probably organized around the same principle. with no AC, which would be the case for all of human history until 120 years ago, you gotta take a break in the middle of the day in the summer. Spain had to give this up, to remain competitive internationally – if you voluntarily give up 5 to 10 hours of work per week, you end up 500 hours of work per year behind every other economy. which adds up.

  47. @Medvedev
    Population of Kenya skyrocketed form 1.35 million in 1900 to 48 million today.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_1900

    Africans cannot afford to continue with the same lifestyle generations of their ancestors enjoyed. Just like people in North America cannot live off fishing and hunting like Indians prior to the arrival of Europeans. But Africans lack high IQ to sustain modern civilization (or any civilization whatsoever).

    “Africans cannot afford to continue with the same lifestyle generations of their ancestors enjoyed. ”

    A more accurate observation is Western Benefactors cannot afford for Africans to continue with the same lifestyle etc.

    Africans pay for almost nothing. When the West can no longer pay for Africans to have food and healthcare, Africa will descend into the nearest resemblance to an apocalypse.

  48. @PhysicistDave
    Dave Pinsen wrote:

    Is there a more parsimonious explanation for economic outcomes than who the people are?
     
    Yes, everyone actually does know that. In normal casual conversation among friends, if you mention that some child does well in school and studies classical piano or violin and then add, "Well, you know, he's Chinese" no one ever acts surprised.

    The real debate is why the differences exist -- could be long-term culture handed down within families or could be genetic.

    I recommend reading some of the writings of the anthropologist Christopher Hallpike, who prides himself on being a contrarian: Hallpike argues that cultures are much, much more persistent than commonly realized. The obvious example (not his) is that Maoism seems not to have changed Chinese culture that much, despite murderous attempts to do so.

    But culture and genetics affect each other in obvious ways, such as marriage patterns. And even within places like China, you see ancestry reign. E.g.,

  49. @PhysicistDave
    Dave Pinsen wrote:

    Is there a more parsimonious explanation for economic outcomes than who the people are?
     
    Yes, everyone actually does know that. In normal casual conversation among friends, if you mention that some child does well in school and studies classical piano or violin and then add, "Well, you know, he's Chinese" no one ever acts surprised.

    The real debate is why the differences exist -- could be long-term culture handed down within families or could be genetic.

    I recommend reading some of the writings of the anthropologist Christopher Hallpike, who prides himself on being a contrarian: Hallpike argues that cultures are much, much more persistent than commonly realized. The obvious example (not his) is that Maoism seems not to have changed Chinese culture that much, despite murderous attempts to do so.

    But culture and genetics affect each other in obvious ways, such as marriage patterns. And even within places like China, you see ancestry reign. E.g.,

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
  50. @blank-misgivings
    I wouldn't completely discount the Acemoglu hypothesis, although it's mostly bunk. He does have a few more specific examples that are hard to explain by genes or geography - for example some very specific pair-comparisons of neighboring African states that he assigns to different colonial era institutions (Botswana and its neighbors).

    Perhaps Peter Turchin's updated conceptualization of 'asabiya' (1000 year cycles of ethnic solidarity) offers a kind of half way house between this thin 'institutions lead to success' theory and pure geographical / genetic theories. And of course asabiya levels will impact who is selected for marriage partners so there is causality in many directions.

    On a personal level, I'm well acquainted with a third world country whose human capital is much better than its economic and institutional performance (I see this when I follow the trajectories of its diaspora into entrepreneurship and really difficult hard sciences). Such gaps do happen in third world countries with truly horrible, path dependent institutions, although mostly genes and geography interactions might predominate.

    for example some very specific pair-comparisons of neighboring African states that he assigns to different colonial era institutions (Botswana and its neighbors).

    Maybe these effects exist but they are of secondary or tertiary importance.

    If you take off your PC glasses, it’s pretty obvious that the success of European colonies depending on these factors (in this order):

    1. Who the colonial power was, in this order : English, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese.

    2. How successful the colonial power was in replacing the local population with Europeans (and not primarily with Africans in case of non-African colonies).

    3. Whether the local climate and resources lent themselves to independent farming and business rather than to large scale plantations or mines.

    Maybe in some alternative universe where the West did not experience the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution it could have all turned out differently but in the version of reality that we live in, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution happened in Europe and there was a reason why they happened in Europe and not in Zimbabwe and no amount of fast talking is going to change that.

  51. @SimpleSong
    My god, these fields never make any progress. If you had asked a reasonably educated person this same question 100 years ago you would have gotten more cogent answers.

    Anyway if people live in an environment that selects for intelligence and pro-social traits you will get intelligent and pro-social people and they will then make an advanced society. If you live in an environment that selects for other things you will get other things.

    Practicing agriculture at extremes of latitude is one way to push evolution in this direction. You need to do a lot more planning when you have wild seasonal swings in temperature and sunlight, and you need better technology just to stay alive: better clothes, better houses, etc. And you will probably need to be good at cooperating with your peers and smoothing over differences lest winter pick you all off. And when March rolls around and you've got nothing left but your seed corn...better be good at delaying gratification. Due to the gulf stream Europe is about the most extreme latitude at which plant based agriculture is viable.

    But that's not the only way of pushing evolution towards high intelligence and pro-social traits. The other classic example is rice cultivation which requires close community coordination and detailed planning compared to other crops, but if done well has very high yields. Of course rice cultivation takes place closer to the equator; and given this I'm not sure how well the correlation would hold for Asia specifically. What did they use for the latitude of China? It's a big place. Did they break down northern versus southern China? I'd be interested to see if there is a latitude-GDP correlation for Asia at a more granular level.

    Anyway a few thousand generations of these agricultural practices and people start to act differently. Most people through history and prehistory, up until very recently, were subsistence farmers, so if you want to know what drove recent human evolution you have to ask what filled the bellies of the subsistence farmers. Africa was/is quite different. It's not that Africa isn't a difficult place to survive, it's that the things that kill you tend to be random--e.g. malaria and other tropical diseases. Carefully planning ahead in the tropics is not as important, since it's pretty much the same temp year round. So there's no selective pressure for those traits. So they don't develop. So you get Africans.

    Aren’t there lots of poor places where societies were built around rice cultivation for a long time(eg. India, Myanmar, Southeast Asia)?

  52. @Clyde

    It’s not just the internet, I think. The transition to cash crops, and overpopulation means most of those third worlders aren’t living in the old, idyllic way.
     
    No one is starving in Guatemala. I see photos of plump mamas with children waiting in Mexico to bum rush our border for asylum. Few are starving in Africa. But life can be inane and stagnant in the third world. So this Nigerian , Ghanaian or Eritrean sees some internet photos of his buddy in Germany with some pale and lovely fräuleins holding up "Welcome Refugees" signs and we know what he does. He knows it is unmanly to remain behind in Nigeria. So he puts some thousands of dollars together, promising to pay back the lenders and eventually help them get into Sweden, UK, Germany etc.

    BTW a puke Texas judge just ruled against Trump using 3.8 billion in Defense Dept funds to build his Wall.

    I see photos of plump mamas

    Mezoamerican Indians evolved in conditions of scarce food and ample exercise. If you feed them a reasonable number of calories and mechanize agriculture and transportation so they are not running from village to village all day, they naturally tend toward obesity because they are optimized to survive on a low calorie diet.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    Yeah, Austro-Polynesian women are similar. Doesn't help when your cuisine revolves around the assption that you'll be working on a rubber plantation or in a tin mine or on a fishing boat and will need all the calories you can get.

    Interestingly, Deep Southern food-both with whites and blacks-has the same problem revolving around the same assumption. The diet is made for laboring in cotton fields, not sitting in an office.
    , @BlackFlag
    Seems right but why aren't East Asians most adapted to a low calorie/high activity lifestyle? Weren't calories scarcest in China and didn't most people do gruelling work in the rice fields 12 hours a day? You think they would be better at storing fat.

    Or shouldn't it be people from areas with variable seasons who should be optimized for storing fat during lean times?

    But the fattest seem to be Africans who originate from a place where calories were easier to get and where there was no need to store fat.
    , @Craken
    Populations with a longer experience of agriculture tend to be healthier on an agricultural diet. In America, Natives have the highest rate of diabetes mainly because they suffer from limited historical exposure to an agricultural diet, 2k years at most--usually much less. Evolutionary adaptation matters. Of course, stupidity and poverty also contribute to these problems.
  53. Barbados is a weird example for Acemoglu to cite of the horrors of Extractive Institutions imposed by European colonists because it’s widely acknowledged as one of the most successful black run countries in the world. In contrast, Haiti decolonized much earlier and much more violently than Barbados, and it’s a mess.

    Barbados has less Sub-Saharan Africans compared to Haiti or equally chaotic Jamaica.

    Its affluence is based partly on money laundering, essentially economic parasitism. Services (including tourism) account for nearly 90% of GDP.

    Mauritius, another former plantation economy, has a similar model and is where India’s corrupt ruling class types stash money.

    While Singapore is also a tax haven, it has at least moved up the value chain with sectors like oil refining, petrochemicals and manufacturing.

    History of tax havens
    http://www.historyandpolicy.org/policy-papers/papers/history-of-tax-havens

  54. @Anonymous
    What utter crap !!!!!

    "Institutions" - or whatever Acemoglu likes to call the management of a nation state - are *purely man-made fiat expressions* which, in the final analysis, can be donned and doffed just like the set of clothes on your back.
    In short, there's absolutely nothing mystical or indeed inevitable about 'institutions'. No, it's solely about the people who make and devise them, the people who enforce them - and the people who either follow them or not follow them, as the case might be.

    Surely, this must be the very first lesson they teach you at Business School.

    Not that, I very went, but as the Cockneys say, it's the 'bleeding obvious'.

    As James Collins said in the famous business book “Good to Great,” the first rule is: get the right people on the bus. The second rule: get the wrong people off the bus.
    But of course this could never apply to societies cause blah, blah, blah…

    It’s infuriating that we pay countless obviously lying and biased priests/academics to pontificate crap and put forward ruinous doctrines.

    Peter Turchin, for example, refuses to so much as mention that diversity and changing demographics could possibly be one of the causes of instability in the US. Everyone on his blog seems to assiduously avoid bringing it up notwithstanding that most political activists on both sides state that it is their main concern.

  55. @Anonymous
    Not true.

    For a start, it's undoubtedly true that many third worlders are invading the west, for one reason at least, in order to *flee their own kith and kin people and the ways of their own kith and kin people*. For example, doubtless many Mexicans flee Mexico because they don't want to bring up kids in such a lawless violent society. Ditto Nigerians. Likely subcons cannot stand the duplicity and cheating of their homeland, not that will not inflict on gullible white host fools.
    Sorry, but if you've never lived in a land where even the most trivial medical intervention is denied to you, where beggary and starvation are the norms, you cannot appreciate why they are so keen to impose themselves upon us.

    Your opinion isn’t supported by facts.

    Take medical fraud and look at the names in the below 2017 Sailer article. The list includes one Patricia Chisanga who was born in the same country as Chanda Chisala, a regular Unz Review columnist.

    America Achieves Diversity Nirvana (At Least, on Feds’ Most Wanted List for Health Care Fraudsters)
    https://www.unz.com/isteve/america-achieves-diversity-nirvana-at-least-in-feds-most-wanted-list-for-health-care-fraud/

  56. @Jack D

    I see photos of plump mamas
     
    Mezoamerican Indians evolved in conditions of scarce food and ample exercise. If you feed them a reasonable number of calories and mechanize agriculture and transportation so they are not running from village to village all day, they naturally tend toward obesity because they are optimized to survive on a low calorie diet.

    Yeah, Austro-Polynesian women are similar. Doesn’t help when your cuisine revolves around the assption that you’ll be working on a rubber plantation or in a tin mine or on a fishing boat and will need all the calories you can get.

    Interestingly, Deep Southern food-both with whites and blacks-has the same problem revolving around the same assumption. The diet is made for laboring in cotton fields, not sitting in an office.

  57. @Jack D

    I see photos of plump mamas
     
    Mezoamerican Indians evolved in conditions of scarce food and ample exercise. If you feed them a reasonable number of calories and mechanize agriculture and transportation so they are not running from village to village all day, they naturally tend toward obesity because they are optimized to survive on a low calorie diet.

    Seems right but why aren’t East Asians most adapted to a low calorie/high activity lifestyle? Weren’t calories scarcest in China and didn’t most people do gruelling work in the rice fields 12 hours a day? You think they would be better at storing fat.

    Or shouldn’t it be people from areas with variable seasons who should be optimized for storing fat during lean times?

    But the fattest seem to be Africans who originate from a place where calories were easier to get and where there was no need to store fat.

  58. @Athletic and Whitesplosive
    Well that's contrary to the obvious observation that sexual mores have deteriorated massively over the last 50 years, exceptionally so over the last 20, in ways I should hope are obvious. Likewise popular values have massively shifted, away from Christianity toward irreligion, away from nominal nationalism toward xenophilia. And that's just in the western world, look at the incredible shift towards materialism within Japan, their transformation from vital aspiring conquerers to sterility and suicide might be even more radical than what's happened in the west.

    But if culture really were the deciding factor, and was so intractable that extermination campaigns or 200ish years of living within a radically different culture (ala Africans in America, but even more so Gypsies in Europe) can't change them, then that's a pretty hollow victory for environmentalists. If you can even call it that; it actually better makes the argument that culture is almost wholly genetic (which I think it only partly is), than the argument that foreigners will be just like us once they assimilate (since culture as per this argument is extremely resistant to change and thus assimilation ain't gonna happen).

    Likewise it still leaves the testing gap; maybe the b-w gap is somewhat aligned (w more efficient culture than b, thus in testing w>b), but the modest white<asian gap isn't (white culture modestly more efficient [wrt overall economic and institutional development] therefore asians test modestly greater? Doesn't align). And likewise it doesn't explain the impressive technological level (functional nuclear program) of North Korea, which has achieved it despite perversely organized institutions and a malformed culture.

    And likewise it doesn’t explain the impressive technological level (functional nuclear program) of North Korea, which has achieved it despite

    er…. NK was GIVEN nukes by China. Just like Pakistan was given nukes by China.

    Get a clue..

  59. @Dave Pinsen
    Is there a more parsimonious explanation for economic outcomes than who the people are? I mean so much if this is transparent b.s. You look at towns established and peopled by Germans in Brazil ~150 years ago and today they are more like Germany than Brazil. QED.

    I agree. The argument that Africa is so messed up because of colonialization is getting old. It only lasted a few decades- most cases less than a century. Even if locals were taken advantage of for cheap labor at the time, all the countries were left with ports, airports, highways, railroads, many things that could have allowed them to compete in the modern world.

    First, many of the more civilized and densely populated areas were in the tropics or near the topics: the Inca Empire, Aztec Empire, the Indian subcontinent with the Mughal Empire colonized by the British, the North African civilizations. And all of those created a much better opportunity for Europeans to set up what James and I called extractive institutions, to essentially control labor and use labor.

    Wouldn’t the more obvious explanation be that the indigenous culture lent itself to extraction and control? Ireland, Singapore, Finland, for example, are countries that have suffered occupation and colonizing and are doing very well.

  60. It might be useful to look at places not colonized by whites, such as Japan, Thailand, Tibet, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and perhaps Tonga.

    How about Andaman and Sentinel Islands, Darien Jungle, and remote Amazonian rain forests? As areas remain “uncontacted” and thus uncontaminated or poisoned by the West, surely these must be utopian marvels of inclusivity, health, and welfare. Why stop at “uncolonized”?

    I sound like a broken record (that’s a black plastic disk that has music stored on it – like a 1950’s iPod for you youngsters) but the only solution is repatriation of all populations to their respective homelands prior to white folk’s meddling. I’d go further and suggest that we remove all sign of white influence such as water treatment plants and power generating plants, but if Congo post-Belgium is any example it will only take a few decades before all evidence of white interference (ie roads & railroads) has vanished.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Stan d Mute wrote:

    the only solution is repatriation of all populations to their respective homelands prior to white folk’s meddling.
     
    "Prior to white folks' meddling," all of the ancestors of us Euro-Americans lived in Europe. So, it's back to Ireland or whatever for the d Mutes!

    Indeed, we're probably all descended from the Kurgan Culture. So, we all have to move back to Ukraine.

    Though I've heard Ukraine is not very pleasant nowadays...
  61. @Jack D

    I see photos of plump mamas
     
    Mezoamerican Indians evolved in conditions of scarce food and ample exercise. If you feed them a reasonable number of calories and mechanize agriculture and transportation so they are not running from village to village all day, they naturally tend toward obesity because they are optimized to survive on a low calorie diet.

    Populations with a longer experience of agriculture tend to be healthier on an agricultural diet. In America, Natives have the highest rate of diabetes mainly because they suffer from limited historical exposure to an agricultural diet, 2k years at most–usually much less. Evolutionary adaptation matters. Of course, stupidity and poverty also contribute to these problems.

    • Replies: @Malla

    Populations with a longer experience of agriculture tend to be healthier on an agricultural diet.
     
    True, but what happened is many agricultural societies (before Western medicine and improved industrial/agricultural productivity) quickly reached their dense Malthusian limits and then became victims to famine cycles, lack of food due to poverty etc...

    http://indianheartassociation.org/why-indians-why-south-asians/diabetes-and-south-asians/
    What is the reason for the increased risk among South Asians?
    While research is still underway, the risk for DM is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and lifestyle related changes. The genetic contributors appear to be related to a prior history of “feast” and “famine” cycles in South Asian countries. It makes genetic sense that in times of plenty, more fat is stored so that in times of famine, starvation can be stopped. However, this feast-famine cycle is no longer applicable to many South Asians who face an increasingly sedentary lifestyle with an excess of food choices.
    Also
    Developmental origins of adult metabolic disease: The Indian scenario, driving toward a unified hypothesis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3401741/

    https://www.intechopen.com/books/diabetes-and-its-complications/diabetes-mellitus-in-south-asia
    South Asian populations are much more likely to possess thrifty genotypes than Europeans. The reason for this is believed to be because South Asian populations have not had sufficient time to adapt from this variant genotype to a normal genotype, as Europeans evolved in environments where they were relatively unaffected by famine cycles

    https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/L0yV3tO2o9DmYLAjpq5JJJ/The-deal-with-diabetes.html
    The “thrifty genes hypothesis” explains the Indian phenotype. It states that in ancient times the human race lived through alternating times of famine and abundance— especially in the subcontinent. During times of abundance, the body would store energy to survive drought and famine by way of fat.
  62. Cowen seems to be on the verge of crimethink although in an obtuse unspecific way, whereas Acemogulu you can tell is a dyed in the wool True Believer. All that matters is culture and/or “institutions” Really? no other possibilities spring to mind?

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Unladen Swallow wrote:

    All that matters is culture and/or “institutions” [to Acemogulu}...
     
    Well, the "New Institutional Economics" has, quite justifiably, been a very big deal in economics during the last fifty years. Secure property rights, rule of law, etc. really do matter.

    When you stumble on something big, it is indeed tempting to think it is the only thing that matters.
  63. @Athletic and Whitesplosive
    Well that's contrary to the obvious observation that sexual mores have deteriorated massively over the last 50 years, exceptionally so over the last 20, in ways I should hope are obvious. Likewise popular values have massively shifted, away from Christianity toward irreligion, away from nominal nationalism toward xenophilia. And that's just in the western world, look at the incredible shift towards materialism within Japan, their transformation from vital aspiring conquerers to sterility and suicide might be even more radical than what's happened in the west.

    But if culture really were the deciding factor, and was so intractable that extermination campaigns or 200ish years of living within a radically different culture (ala Africans in America, but even more so Gypsies in Europe) can't change them, then that's a pretty hollow victory for environmentalists. If you can even call it that; it actually better makes the argument that culture is almost wholly genetic (which I think it only partly is), than the argument that foreigners will be just like us once they assimilate (since culture as per this argument is extremely resistant to change and thus assimilation ain't gonna happen).

    Likewise it still leaves the testing gap; maybe the b-w gap is somewhat aligned (w more efficient culture than b, thus in testing w>b), but the modest white<asian gap isn't (white culture modestly more efficient [wrt overall economic and institutional development] therefore asians test modestly greater? Doesn't align). And likewise it doesn't explain the impressive technological level (functional nuclear program) of North Korea, which has achieved it despite perversely organized institutions and a malformed culture.

    Athletic and Whitesplosive wrote to me:

    Well that’s contrary to the obvious observation that sexual mores have deteriorated massively over the last 50 years, exceptionally so over the last 20, in ways I should hope are obvious. Likewise popular values have massively shifted, away from Christianity toward irreligion, away from nominal nationalism toward xenophilia.

    Well… the West is still more individualistic and East Asia more group-oriented. Chinese still take family and ancestors more seriously than Westerners (do you know anything abut any of your great-great grandparents?). I think that is the sort of thing Hallpike has in mind.

    • Replies: @Moses

    Well… the West is still more individualistic and East Asia more group-oriented.
     
    Yes and no.

    There is a Western sense of civic responsibility to fellow citizens that is absent in Asia (except Japan, which is a weird outlier).

    Westerners tend to follow rules at a small cost to themselves but that generate a wider benefit to society.

    A simple example is stopping to let other traffic go first, or holding a door for a stranger.

    These considerations for strangers largely are absent in Asia outside Japan. People really don’t give a damn about strangers, and will cut in front of you in the airport queue or jam their car into an intersection and gridlock it because “me first! Me first!” is their #1 concern.

    When Asians travel to the USA they are always amazed that cars stop for pedestrians.

    So, yeah.

  64. @Unladen Swallow
    Cowen seems to be on the verge of crimethink although in an obtuse unspecific way, whereas Acemogulu you can tell is a dyed in the wool True Believer. All that matters is culture and/or "institutions" Really? no other possibilities spring to mind?

    Unladen Swallow wrote:

    All that matters is culture and/or “institutions” [to Acemogulu}…

    Well, the “New Institutional Economics” has, quite justifiably, been a very big deal in economics during the last fifty years. Secure property rights, rule of law, etc. really do matter.

    When you stumble on something big, it is indeed tempting to think it is the only thing that matters.

    • Replies: @Unladen Swallow
    I guess that is why the Chinese in Malaysia have run circles around the native Malaysians ever since they arrived, even after Singapore split off. Of course Singapore is far wealthier than they ever were under Malaysian control as well. My guess is economists just ignore these things, since they never should happen according to their models.
  65. @Stan d Mute

    It might be useful to look at places not colonized by whites, such as Japan, Thailand, Tibet, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and perhaps Tonga.
     
    How about Andaman and Sentinel Islands, Darien Jungle, and remote Amazonian rain forests? As areas remain “uncontacted” and thus uncontaminated or poisoned by the West, surely these must be utopian marvels of inclusivity, health, and welfare. Why stop at “uncolonized”?

    I sound like a broken record (that’s a black plastic disk that has music stored on it - like a 1950’s iPod for you youngsters) but the only solution is repatriation of all populations to their respective homelands prior to white folk’s meddling. I’d go further and suggest that we remove all sign of white influence such as water treatment plants and power generating plants, but if Congo post-Belgium is any example it will only take a few decades before all evidence of white interference (ie roads & railroads) has vanished.

    Stan d Mute wrote:

    the only solution is repatriation of all populations to their respective homelands prior to white folk’s meddling.

    “Prior to white folks’ meddling,” all of the ancestors of us Euro-Americans lived in Europe. So, it’s back to Ireland or whatever for the d Mutes!

    Indeed, we’re probably all descended from the Kurgan Culture. So, we all have to move back to Ukraine.

    Though I’ve heard Ukraine is not very pleasant nowadays…

    • Replies: @black sea

    Though I’ve heard Ukraine is not very pleasant nowadays…
     
    With a change of institutions, anything is possible.
  66. @PhysicistDave
    Stan d Mute wrote:

    the only solution is repatriation of all populations to their respective homelands prior to white folk’s meddling.
     
    "Prior to white folks' meddling," all of the ancestors of us Euro-Americans lived in Europe. So, it's back to Ireland or whatever for the d Mutes!

    Indeed, we're probably all descended from the Kurgan Culture. So, we all have to move back to Ukraine.

    Though I've heard Ukraine is not very pleasant nowadays...

    Though I’ve heard Ukraine is not very pleasant nowadays…

    With a change of institutions, anything is possible.

  67. @PhysicistDave
    Unladen Swallow wrote:

    All that matters is culture and/or “institutions” [to Acemogulu}...
     
    Well, the "New Institutional Economics" has, quite justifiably, been a very big deal in economics during the last fifty years. Secure property rights, rule of law, etc. really do matter.

    When you stumble on something big, it is indeed tempting to think it is the only thing that matters.

    I guess that is why the Chinese in Malaysia have run circles around the native Malaysians ever since they arrived, even after Singapore split off. Of course Singapore is far wealthier than they ever were under Malaysian control as well. My guess is economists just ignore these things, since they never should happen according to their models.

    • Replies: @BlackFlag
    Couldn't you rank states within Malaysia by wealthiest and best run and it'd pretty much coincide with level of "Chineseness?"

    Suppose that's cause the British were incentivized to build better institutions in those areas, blah, blah...

    Penang
    KL
    Johor
    Etc
    , @PhysicistDave
    Unladen Swallow wrote to me:

    I guess that is why the Chinese in Malaysia have run circles around the native Malaysians ever since they arrived, even after Singapore split off.
     
    I think Lee Kuan Yew pretty much followed the precepts of the New Institutional Economics, although probably more by instinct than academic knowledge. Singapore seems to be pretty strong (maybe oppressively strong!) on rule of law, security of property, etc.

    To be sure, there is no African Singapore. On the other hand, China itself never really became a Singapore either, though I suppose they are now sort of aspiring to that.

    So, yes, a good deal of credit for Singapore is due to its being Chinese, but surely the institutions there are also very important.

    Same thing for the West, of course: Britain did not do so well under post-WW II socialism. When Maggie Thatcher altered the institutional structure, things really picked up.

    And then, tragically, there is East vs. West Germany: yes, culture and ethnicity matter, but so do institutions.
  68. @Anonymous
    Of course, all this chat about 'institutions' is really a mealy-mouthed weasel way of basically saying that the populations of institution afflicted nations don't particularly trust or even like each other very much.

    Western countries have property rights, rule of law.

    If we airdropped thousands of copies of the US Constitution on equatorial countries we could lift their GDPs quickly.

    The USA and its institutions are just ideas after all. American success had nothing at all to do with the kind of people living in America.

    Everyone knows this.

  69. @PhysicistDave
    Athletic and Whitesplosive wrote to me:

    Well that’s contrary to the obvious observation that sexual mores have deteriorated massively over the last 50 years, exceptionally so over the last 20, in ways I should hope are obvious. Likewise popular values have massively shifted, away from Christianity toward irreligion, away from nominal nationalism toward xenophilia.
     
    Well... the West is still more individualistic and East Asia more group-oriented. Chinese still take family and ancestors more seriously than Westerners (do you know anything abut any of your great-great grandparents?). I think that is the sort of thing Hallpike has in mind.

    Well… the West is still more individualistic and East Asia more group-oriented.

    Yes and no.

    There is a Western sense of civic responsibility to fellow citizens that is absent in Asia (except Japan, which is a weird outlier).

    Westerners tend to follow rules at a small cost to themselves but that generate a wider benefit to society.

    A simple example is stopping to let other traffic go first, or holding a door for a stranger.

    These considerations for strangers largely are absent in Asia outside Japan. People really don’t give a damn about strangers, and will cut in front of you in the airport queue or jam their car into an intersection and gridlock it because “me first! Me first!” is their #1 concern.

    When Asians travel to the USA they are always amazed that cars stop for pedestrians.

    So, yeah.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @Malla

    When Asians travel to the USA they are always amazed that cars stop for pedestrians.
     
    Very true. I am from India and when I observed Brits and Germans stopping their cars for pedestrians, I was amazed. In India, some scumbag who was recently shitting in some gutter somewhere, now suddenly can afford a car and suddenly he starts behaving like an arrogant "ghetto thug" and drives like one.
    , @PhysicistDave
    Moses wrote to me:

    There is a Western sense of civic responsibility to fellow citizens that is absent in Asia (except Japan, which is a weird outlier).

    Westerners tend to follow rules at a small cost to themselves but that generate a wider benefit to society.
     
    Yeah, I agree.

    Westerners tend, and have tended for a very, very long time going back to the Middle Ages, to be competitive individualists who are also very "clubbable": we easily give loyalty to and cooperate in groups that are not our kinship group and among whom we did not grow up.

    You see this in everything from the Crusades to the growth of the Scientific Community in the seventeenth century (the Royal Society and all that) to the Boy Scouts, the March of Dimes, etc. in the twentieth century.

    Frank Fukuyama made this point very forcefully in his book Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity . Fukuyama is a bit of a crazy neocon and the book is not easy reading, but the points he makes are, I think, important and valid. Of course, he includes Japan, as you do, as the one non-Western country that is similar (he is, of course, Japanese-American).

    Of course, the one European country that shows this more than any other is England: I think it was Sailer who made me aware of how strange a phenomenon the English Kennel Club is. And the English still have all sorts of local, private, voluntary organizations like that ranging from science to historical preservation, etc.

    The one country that is even weirder is, of course, the United States of America. I lost track of how many clubs my own kids formed when they were young. We Americans strike the world as simultaneously social, individualistic, conformist, and hyper-competitive.

    Yet it seems quite natural to all of us: why wouldn't there be an American Athletic Union or a West Coast Ragtime Society (with numerous local chapters -- I know some of these people: quite fanatical about Ragtime!) or more religious denominations than anyone can count?

    To the degree that there is a single key to the "Rise of the West," I do think this may be it -- this strange combination of hyper-competitive individualism with an ability to spontaneously associate with people you have never met before.

    It would not be good for the world if this is lost.
  70. @Unladen Swallow
    I guess that is why the Chinese in Malaysia have run circles around the native Malaysians ever since they arrived, even after Singapore split off. Of course Singapore is far wealthier than they ever were under Malaysian control as well. My guess is economists just ignore these things, since they never should happen according to their models.

    Couldn’t you rank states within Malaysia by wealthiest and best run and it’d pretty much coincide with level of “Chineseness?”

    Suppose that’s cause the British were incentivized to build better institutions in those areas, blah, blah…

    Penang
    KL
    Johor
    Etc

  71. @Moses

    Well… the West is still more individualistic and East Asia more group-oriented.
     
    Yes and no.

    There is a Western sense of civic responsibility to fellow citizens that is absent in Asia (except Japan, which is a weird outlier).

    Westerners tend to follow rules at a small cost to themselves but that generate a wider benefit to society.

    A simple example is stopping to let other traffic go first, or holding a door for a stranger.

    These considerations for strangers largely are absent in Asia outside Japan. People really don’t give a damn about strangers, and will cut in front of you in the airport queue or jam their car into an intersection and gridlock it because “me first! Me first!” is their #1 concern.

    When Asians travel to the USA they are always amazed that cars stop for pedestrians.

    So, yeah.

    When Asians travel to the USA they are always amazed that cars stop for pedestrians.

    Very true. I am from India and when I observed Brits and Germans stopping their cars for pedestrians, I was amazed. In India, some scumbag who was recently shitting in some gutter somewhere, now suddenly can afford a car and suddenly he starts behaving like an arrogant “ghetto thug” and drives like one.

    • Replies: @Anon
    Russians and Eastern Euros are the same way. Complete thugs on the road.

    The worst are Chinese. Zero regard for human life.


    Anglos and Germanics>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Indians>Eastern Euros>Chinese

    Anglos and Germanics have civics that other races lack.
  72. @Craken
    Populations with a longer experience of agriculture tend to be healthier on an agricultural diet. In America, Natives have the highest rate of diabetes mainly because they suffer from limited historical exposure to an agricultural diet, 2k years at most--usually much less. Evolutionary adaptation matters. Of course, stupidity and poverty also contribute to these problems.

    Populations with a longer experience of agriculture tend to be healthier on an agricultural diet.

    True, but what happened is many agricultural societies (before Western medicine and improved industrial/agricultural productivity) quickly reached their dense Malthusian limits and then became victims to famine cycles, lack of food due to poverty etc…

    http://indianheartassociation.org/why-indians-why-south-asians/diabetes-and-south-asians/
    What is the reason for the increased risk among South Asians?
    While research is still underway, the risk for DM is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and lifestyle related changes. The genetic contributors appear to be related to a prior history of “feast” and “famine” cycles in South Asian countries. It makes genetic sense that in times of plenty, more fat is stored so that in times of famine, starvation can be stopped. However, this feast-famine cycle is no longer applicable to many South Asians who face an increasingly sedentary lifestyle with an excess of food choices.
    Also
    Developmental origins of adult metabolic disease: The Indian scenario, driving toward a unified hypothesis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3401741/

    https://www.intechopen.com/books/diabetes-and-its-complications/diabetes-mellitus-in-south-asia
    South Asian populations are much more likely to possess thrifty genotypes than Europeans. The reason for this is believed to be because South Asian populations have not had sufficient time to adapt from this variant genotype to a normal genotype, as Europeans evolved in environments where they were relatively unaffected by famine cycles

    https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/L0yV3tO2o9DmYLAjpq5JJJ/The-deal-with-diabetes.html
    The “thrifty genes hypothesis” explains the Indian phenotype. It states that in ancient times the human race lived through alternating times of famine and abundance— especially in the subcontinent. During times of abundance, the body would store energy to survive drought and famine by way of fat.

    • Replies: @anon
    The “thrifty genes hypothesis” explains the Indian phenotype.

    Indeed. Nearly 40% of the Pima Indians in Arizona are diabetic. Their cousins in Mexico? Not so much. The Indians of the Sonoran desert are biologically still set up for hunter-gatherer menus, not all-you-can-eat buffets.

    https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/29/8/1866

  73. @Malla

    Populations with a longer experience of agriculture tend to be healthier on an agricultural diet.
     
    True, but what happened is many agricultural societies (before Western medicine and improved industrial/agricultural productivity) quickly reached their dense Malthusian limits and then became victims to famine cycles, lack of food due to poverty etc...

    http://indianheartassociation.org/why-indians-why-south-asians/diabetes-and-south-asians/
    What is the reason for the increased risk among South Asians?
    While research is still underway, the risk for DM is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and lifestyle related changes. The genetic contributors appear to be related to a prior history of “feast” and “famine” cycles in South Asian countries. It makes genetic sense that in times of plenty, more fat is stored so that in times of famine, starvation can be stopped. However, this feast-famine cycle is no longer applicable to many South Asians who face an increasingly sedentary lifestyle with an excess of food choices.
    Also
    Developmental origins of adult metabolic disease: The Indian scenario, driving toward a unified hypothesis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3401741/

    https://www.intechopen.com/books/diabetes-and-its-complications/diabetes-mellitus-in-south-asia
    South Asian populations are much more likely to possess thrifty genotypes than Europeans. The reason for this is believed to be because South Asian populations have not had sufficient time to adapt from this variant genotype to a normal genotype, as Europeans evolved in environments where they were relatively unaffected by famine cycles

    https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/L0yV3tO2o9DmYLAjpq5JJJ/The-deal-with-diabetes.html
    The “thrifty genes hypothesis” explains the Indian phenotype. It states that in ancient times the human race lived through alternating times of famine and abundance— especially in the subcontinent. During times of abundance, the body would store energy to survive drought and famine by way of fat.

    The “thrifty genes hypothesis” explains the Indian phenotype.

    Indeed. Nearly 40% of the Pima Indians in Arizona are diabetic. Their cousins in Mexico? Not so much. The Indians of the Sonoran desert are biologically still set up for hunter-gatherer menus, not all-you-can-eat buffets.

    https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/29/8/1866

    • Replies: @Malla
    The "Indians" in my post refereed to Asian Indians from the Indian subcontinent but seems like both the types of Indians, dot and feather, suffer from a high prevalence of diabetes.
  74. Anon[341] • Disclaimer says:
    @Malla

    When Asians travel to the USA they are always amazed that cars stop for pedestrians.
     
    Very true. I am from India and when I observed Brits and Germans stopping their cars for pedestrians, I was amazed. In India, some scumbag who was recently shitting in some gutter somewhere, now suddenly can afford a car and suddenly he starts behaving like an arrogant "ghetto thug" and drives like one.

    Russians and Eastern Euros are the same way. Complete thugs on the road.

    The worst are Chinese. Zero regard for human life.

    Anglos and Germanics>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Indians>Eastern Euros>Chinese

    Anglos and Germanics have civics that other races lack.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The British aren't super-polite drivers. A lot of the English traditions of politeness, like queuing for trams and buses, stem from the Victorian era when the English were super-well-behaved. In contrast, their driving customs come from the 20th Century when they were pushier.
    , @Malla
    Where would you place the Japanese in driving manners? If you have any knowledge/experience about this?
  75. @anon
    The “thrifty genes hypothesis” explains the Indian phenotype.

    Indeed. Nearly 40% of the Pima Indians in Arizona are diabetic. Their cousins in Mexico? Not so much. The Indians of the Sonoran desert are biologically still set up for hunter-gatherer menus, not all-you-can-eat buffets.

    https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/29/8/1866

    The “Indians” in my post refereed to Asian Indians from the Indian subcontinent but seems like both the types of Indians, dot and feather, suffer from a high prevalence of diabetes.

  76. @Moses

    Well… the West is still more individualistic and East Asia more group-oriented.
     
    Yes and no.

    There is a Western sense of civic responsibility to fellow citizens that is absent in Asia (except Japan, which is a weird outlier).

    Westerners tend to follow rules at a small cost to themselves but that generate a wider benefit to society.

    A simple example is stopping to let other traffic go first, or holding a door for a stranger.

    These considerations for strangers largely are absent in Asia outside Japan. People really don’t give a damn about strangers, and will cut in front of you in the airport queue or jam their car into an intersection and gridlock it because “me first! Me first!” is their #1 concern.

    When Asians travel to the USA they are always amazed that cars stop for pedestrians.

    So, yeah.

    Moses wrote to me:

    There is a Western sense of civic responsibility to fellow citizens that is absent in Asia (except Japan, which is a weird outlier).

    Westerners tend to follow rules at a small cost to themselves but that generate a wider benefit to society.

    Yeah, I agree.

    Westerners tend, and have tended for a very, very long time going back to the Middle Ages, to be competitive individualists who are also very “clubbable”: we easily give loyalty to and cooperate in groups that are not our kinship group and among whom we did not grow up.

    You see this in everything from the Crusades to the growth of the Scientific Community in the seventeenth century (the Royal Society and all that) to the Boy Scouts, the March of Dimes, etc. in the twentieth century.

    Frank Fukuyama made this point very forcefully in his book Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity . Fukuyama is a bit of a crazy neocon and the book is not easy reading, but the points he makes are, I think, important and valid. Of course, he includes Japan, as you do, as the one non-Western country that is similar (he is, of course, Japanese-American).

    Of course, the one European country that shows this more than any other is England: I think it was Sailer who made me aware of how strange a phenomenon the English Kennel Club is. And the English still have all sorts of local, private, voluntary organizations like that ranging from science to historical preservation, etc.

    The one country that is even weirder is, of course, the United States of America. I lost track of how many clubs my own kids formed when they were young. We Americans strike the world as simultaneously social, individualistic, conformist, and hyper-competitive.

    Yet it seems quite natural to all of us: why wouldn’t there be an American Athletic Union or a West Coast Ragtime Society (with numerous local chapters — I know some of these people: quite fanatical about Ragtime!) or more religious denominations than anyone can count?

    To the degree that there is a single key to the “Rise of the West,” I do think this may be it — this strange combination of hyper-competitive individualism with an ability to spontaneously associate with people you have never met before.

    It would not be good for the world if this is lost.

  77. @Unladen Swallow
    I guess that is why the Chinese in Malaysia have run circles around the native Malaysians ever since they arrived, even after Singapore split off. Of course Singapore is far wealthier than they ever were under Malaysian control as well. My guess is economists just ignore these things, since they never should happen according to their models.

    Unladen Swallow wrote to me:

    I guess that is why the Chinese in Malaysia have run circles around the native Malaysians ever since they arrived, even after Singapore split off.

    I think Lee Kuan Yew pretty much followed the precepts of the New Institutional Economics, although probably more by instinct than academic knowledge. Singapore seems to be pretty strong (maybe oppressively strong!) on rule of law, security of property, etc.

    To be sure, there is no African Singapore. On the other hand, China itself never really became a Singapore either, though I suppose they are now sort of aspiring to that.

    So, yes, a good deal of credit for Singapore is due to its being Chinese, but surely the institutions there are also very important.

    Same thing for the West, of course: Britain did not do so well under post-WW II socialism. When Maggie Thatcher altered the institutional structure, things really picked up.

    And then, tragically, there is East vs. West Germany: yes, culture and ethnicity matter, but so do institutions.

  78. @Anon
    Russians and Eastern Euros are the same way. Complete thugs on the road.

    The worst are Chinese. Zero regard for human life.


    Anglos and Germanics>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Indians>Eastern Euros>Chinese

    Anglos and Germanics have civics that other races lack.

    The British aren’t super-polite drivers. A lot of the English traditions of politeness, like queuing for trams and buses, stem from the Victorian era when the English were super-well-behaved. In contrast, their driving customs come from the 20th Century when they were pushier.

  79. @Anon
    Russians and Eastern Euros are the same way. Complete thugs on the road.

    The worst are Chinese. Zero regard for human life.


    Anglos and Germanics>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Indians>Eastern Euros>Chinese

    Anglos and Germanics have civics that other races lack.

    Where would you place the Japanese in driving manners? If you have any knowledge/experience about this?

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