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Untact: Koreans Dream of a Future Where They Never Have to Meet Anybody
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From The Guardian:

South Korea cuts human interaction in push to build ‘untact’ society

The government invests heavily to remove human contact from many aspects of life but fears of harmful social consequences persist

Raphael Rashid
Thu 9 Dec 2021 22.23 EST

… Introduced in 2020, “Untact” is a South Korean government policy that aims to spur economic growth by removing layers of human interaction from society. It gathered pace during the pandemic and is expanding rapidly across sectors from healthcare, to business and entertainment.

The push to create contactless services is designed increase productivity and cut bureaucracy

It’s probably also intended to cut immigration by reducing the need for low-skilled service workers with robots, but don’t tell The Guardian.

but has also fuelled concerns over the potential social consequences.

Choi‬ Jong-ryul, a sociology professor at Keimyung University, says while there are advantages to developing an untact society, it also threatens social solidarity and may end up isolating individuals.

Ya think?

“If more people lose the ‘feeling of contact’ due to lack of face-to-face interaction, society will encounter a fundamental crisis,” Choi says.

In everyday life, small changes brought about by untact are becoming increasingly noticeable.

Robots brew coffee and bring beverages to tables in cafes. A robotic arm batters fries and chicken to perfection. At Yongin Severance Hospital, Keemi – a 5G-powered disinfection robot – sprays hand sanitiser, checks body temperature, polices social distancing, and even tells people off for not wearing masks.

Unmanned or hybrid shops are flourishing. Mobile carrier LG Uplus recently opened several untact phone shops, where customers can compare models, sign contracts and receive the latest smartphones without ever having to deal with a real person.

Civil services too are getting untact facelifts. Seoul City plans to build a “metaverse” – a virtual space where users can interact with digital representations of people and objects – and avatars of public officials will resolve complaints.

Sure they will.

Or at least in the metaverse, every time you demand to talk to the bureaucrat’s supervisor, a new digital supervisory avatar will shuffle in and listen to your complaint until you finally get tired and log off. Or you can keep going forever, hoping to see the ultimate boss avatar. Lots of luck!

Several local governments have launched AI call bots to monitor the health of those self-isolating.

Loneliness problem solved!

… The world of K-pop has also stepped into the metaverse. Fans create avatars where they can “meet” their favourites like Blackpink in a virtual space and receive virtual autographs.

And the young ladies of Blackpink get to not meet you. Everybody wins.

Untact in South Korea is more than a buzzword: it represents a potential economic engine for the country.

“Untact companies have shown greater growth effects than face-to-face companies in attracting investment and creating jobs,” South Korea’s small business and startups minister Kwon Chil-seung told the Guardian, noting that 12 out of 15 Korean unicorn companies – private firms valued at US\$1bn (£750m) or more – use non-face-to-face methods in their primary business.

“South Korea has a very strong (communications) infrastructure in the country and many industries based on that infrastructure,” he says, adding that untact is part of a growing global trend that has accelerated in light of the pandemic.

Maybe some of the craziness of the pandemic social distancing is that it represents a Next Step in a trend that has been growing since the World Wide Web or maybe since television came along in which humans are becoming more averse to face to face contact?

Perhaps what is going on is a shift away from preferring synchronous to asynchronous communications.

Young people more or less stopped talking on the telephone a decade or two ago. Texting is lower bandwidth than talking, but it lets you not respond until you think up something good to say. On the other hand, most people text about as fast as they can, so I’m not sure if people are using it asynchronously…

 
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  1. ‘Unmanned or hybrid shops are flourishing. Mobile carrier LG Uplus recently opened several untact phone shops, where customers can compare models, sign contracts and receive the latest smartphones without ever having to deal with a real person.’

    Considering some of my interactions with human cell phone salesmen, that sounds pretty appealing.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    @Colin Wright

    First of all, we can already do on webpages what is described. I think I got my latest phone that way. I know my wife got hers that way, because it wasn't even offered at any store with meat robots in it.

    Second, you are exactly right about cellular stores. They are ghetto! Every one I have been to has given off that stink. We avoid them. I think they make a lot of their money the way athletic shoe purveyors do: by selling their wares to the lowest common denominator, or just Blacks! Most of the employees are Blacks! too.

    This can't be true in Korea, though, but perhaps even Koreans have their sleeze, and perhaps they encounter it in the same kinds of places we do. Who knows?

    Replies: @nebulafox

    , @James J O'Meara
    @Colin Wright

    I'm sure the basic reason for Amazon's explosive growth was that, hard as it may be for certain old timers to believe, most of us loved the idea of shopping for books or music without having to deal with bookstore or record store "employees". I know I did (Amazon Customer since 1995).

  2. ‘…And the young ladies of Blackpink get to not meet you. Everybody wins…’

    Okay, that’s it. I’m going to give you twenty bucks.

  3. Or at least in the metaverse, every time you demand to talk to the bureaucrat’s supervisor, a new digital supervisory avatar will shuffle in and listen to your complaint until you finally get tired and log off. Or you can keep going forever, hoping to see the ultimate boss avatar. Lots of luck!


    How do you say “Karen” in Korean? Would it be- 카린?

    • Replies: @White Guy In Japan
    @Reg Cæsar

    In Japanese, Karen would be カレン. More or the less the same. Some Japanese like to give their kids English names that fit easily into Japanese phonetics.

  4. Heh, I like your part about the public complaints going up the chain of avatars. I’ve noted this problem with any big organization, meaning Big Business primarily. Websites give you all sorts of “contact us” options before you can get to a phone number, and when you finally get that number and call it, you have to do so much digital dealing before you get to a live human*.

    Big organizations really don’t want you to waste a live human’s time, so they make it hard to do so. On the other side of it, I have found a fundamental difference in the attitude of people under 35 or 40. Unless it’s something really simple like the normal hours of operation, a price, address, etc., for any not-so-easy question, I’d rather get the answer from a thinking person. The younger people really trust the answer from a piece of software more than they do one from a human being. I can’t do that.

    .

    * who, after you’ve typed in all these customer numbers and other info, often asks you for all the same stuff.

    • Replies: @Feryl
    @Achmed E. Newman

    JH Kunstler has been complaining about the difficulty of customer service for like 20 years. He often says that the inability to find and effectively communicate with a company or government representative is a red flag for any society.

    WRT younger people being allergic to interaction, that says something about the increasing alienation, aloofness, and anhedonia that comes from Western culture of the last 30 years. And it's just going to get worse until the Chinese invade us, kill off the autistic weaklings, and absorb and thereby expose the traitorous rats. Western decadence and joylessness arises from facing no serious threats or competition for decades.

    Replies: @JohnnyWalker123, @Achmed E. Newman

    , @GeologyAnonMk3
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Spamming 0, #, and * repeatedly when on a robo-call with customer support will usually get you a human pretty quickly and allow you to skip all the stupid menu options.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    , @Mr. Anon
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Big organizations really don’t want you to waste a live human’s time, so they make it hard to do so.
     
    I recently experienced a new innovation in this regard - when I was able to get through to a human being, after lengthy, tortuous navigation of a phone-tree, the people I talked to wasted my time.

    I was calling Comcast. First I talked to the robot woman that pretends to be a live human. After she asks you a question, they even have a sound-effect of her typing on a keyboard. Really. Who is this fooling? Of course, robot-lady is absolutely worthless, so you stay on the line shouting for an operator or "agent". When they did finally put me through to a real person, it was some variety of foreigner whom I could barely understand, and who was embarrassingly oleaginous and servile. They may as well have said "Yes, effendi, whatever your excellency desires!". When I said thankyou for something, he rushed to add "No, it is I who should be thanking you, sahib! (He didn't actually say "sahib", but he may as well have). He took up most of the time saying how they were pleased to help me, and laboring to answer my question, and dedicated to resolving my problem - all the while, not helping me, answering my question, or resolving my problem. I would rather have talked to an openly hostile American.

    Maybe it's some new customer relations trick to just make those pesky customers go away - repel them with excessive politeness.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    , @AndrewR
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Software is less likely to screw up than a human, plus you're cutting out the middleman when you deal with the software directly. Customer service agents usually just robotically tell you whatever their computers tell them to tell you. It's inefficient.

  5. Young people more or less stopped talking on the telephone a decade or two ago.

    That was weird to me the first few years I’d seen people doing it. After 2 back-and-forths, that’s it – I dial the number and hash it out. I see the value for sending pictures and video, though, which is what “texting” is now, lots of times.

    Before the pictures and video, back when the capacity limits were more important to the cell companies, the fact that people would send 50 ASCII bytes vs. talking for 1 minute even at low resolution saved a LOT of capacity! I bet these companies were loving it. “Suckers!”

    Perhaps what is going on is a shift away from preferring synchronous to asynchronous communications.

    You’ve hit upon something here. Many young people I’ve run into seem stressed out just having a simple conversation, especially when I ask too many questions. They figure I should have googled the answer or gone on an app, I guess.

    Korea sounds like a sad sci-fi story. “Oh, the fun we had!” (Wasn’t that an Asimov short story?)

    • Agree: SafeNow
    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Aha! It's The Fun They Had, and it indeed was an Issac Asimov story.


    Set in the year 2155, when children learn individually at home using a mechanical teacher. They do not have any friends and they are not aware of society.
     
    He wrote it in the early 1950s. I feel like the guy in Idiocracy. I didn't know it was 2155 already.

    Replies: @Mackerel Sky

    , @El Dato
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Many young people I’ve run into seem stressed out just having a simple conversation, especially when I ask too many questions. They figure I should have googled the answer or gone on an app, I guess.
     
    Maybe it's the incessant demands of the always-on terminal in their hand? Fear of Missing Out, gotta view that TikTok clip!

    The push to create contactless services is designed increase productivity and cut bureaucracy
     
    Productivity can't and bureaucracy won't.

    The one thing I remember from contract work (not in Korea but a state org) was phones ringing forever, people checking their mobiles, about three upper-echelon guys for one lone developer and hot ladies cruising the corridors in high boots.

    Bestest moment of last week: Amazon Server Farms Virigina had a little site-down. Oops!

    And now for some maskless fun to spread omicron.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

  6. This has been around for a while in one form or another. One major motivation is the lower cost of doing business this way.

    We used to compare it to “brick and mortar.” The more you could get away from that, the more money you could save.

    In the mid-1990s, I had a job as a “business development officer” (BDO) for a regional bank. My job was to promote telephone banking across my territory of 220 branches. We had a call center with people in cubicles who could do anything our branch employees could do. The more customers in my region that I could switch to telephone banking, the less we would have to spend on buildings and local staff (and the more I would get paid.)

    Well, it worked. Our operators in their cubicles did a fine job.

    (One of my banks now — USAA, for military and their families, a great company that is very good at this — essentially works that way, and I have never met any of their employees in person. They don’t even have branches. That truly is “untact.”)

    It also didn’t work. Our customers were split on it. Very many hated the idea, and they correctly surmised that I/we were just trying to pan them off. It felt impersonal to them.

    This is a generational thing. Younger people now who have grown up with this way of doing things are prime candidates for the very kind of thing I was so kindly pushing 25 years ago.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @Buzz Mohawk


    This has been around for a while in one form or another. One major motivation is the lower cost of doing business this way.
     
    Yes, and another motivation may well be that the dumbest robot is infinitely more competent and intelligent than the average customer-facing employee in the current year.

    Though I expect this is a much worse problem in the USA than in Korea just now. Added bonus: the robots won't go postal and start shooting all the racist white boomers. Yet.

    , @john cronk
    @Buzz Mohawk

    And people are also undoubtedly disillusioned about the fact that USAA instituted overseas transaction fees for withdrawals. Especially disrespectful toward military personnel stationed in foreign countries.

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

    , @epebble
    @Buzz Mohawk

    We don't have to go far to see the push for contactless economy. Today, I went to local Walmart to buy a few things. There was quite a crowd due to all the Holiday shoppers. But I noticed for the first time how hard Walmart is trying to force customers into using self-checkout and not stand in line for cashiers: they had 3 cashiers and kept the 9 or so remaining counters unused. The self-checkout area has about 20 or so counters. The cashier counters each had about 10 people per line and was barely moving. I was able to use the self-checkout in about 10 minutes are so. The cashier line would have taken at least an hour. Same story (a little less aggressively) at Costco and our grocery store. Self-checkout started before Covid; but I think they are using Covid to push near complete self-checkout culture. I think it will be quite a dramatic cultural change to routinely go out and do shopping without interacting with a human - the entire market becoming one giant vending machine.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Malla

  7. avatars where they can “meet” their favourites like Blackpink in a virtual space and receive virtual autographs.

    maybe other things too…

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @anon


    maybe other things too…
     
    And if it doesn’t work out…

    https://youtu.be/sFAPW3W2yMk?t=114
    , @El Dato
    @anon

    This depresses me greatly.

  8. One hopes that the ‘untact’ society is not a tactless society.

  9. https://asimov.fandom.com/wiki/Solaria

    Originally, there were about 20,000 people living in vast estates individually or as married couples. There were thousands of robots for every Solarian. Almost all of the work and manufacturing was conducted by robots. The population was kept stable through strict birth and immigration controls. In the era of Robots and Empire, no more than five thousand Solarians were known to remain. Twenty thousand years later, the population was twelve hundred, with just one human per estate.

    Solarians hated physical contact with others and only communicated with each other via holograms. A few hundred years after Elijah Baley’s visit to the planet, Solarians retreated from the Galactic scene and fled underground. The Solarians genetically altered themselves to be hermaphroditic and have the ability to use telekinesis. They specially made robots that were made to kill any foreigners who came to the planet.

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @IHTG

    Yes, "Foundation". Especially the chronological ending...

    https://d1w7fb2mkkr3kw.cloudfront.net/assets/images/book/lrg/9780/0081/9780008117535.jpg

    https://cloudflare-ipfs.com/ipfs/bafykbzacebcp5ych6vfnqwvbgruc56lj24auoldeiwoztj5vnec7mibr2xakw?filename=Isaac%20Asimov%20-%20Foundation%20and%20Earth%20%281987%29.pdf

    “Our own Galaxy has developed only one species of an intelligence great enough to develop a technological society, but what do we know of the other galaxies? Ours may be atypical. In some of the others-perhaps even in all-there may be many competing intelligent species, struggling with each other, and each incomprehensible to us. Perhaps it is their mutual struggle that preoccupies them, but what if, in some galaxy, one species gains domination over the rest and then has time to consider the possibility of penetrating other galaxies.“Hyperspatially, the Galaxy is a point-and so is all the Universe. We have notvisited any other galaxy, and, as far as we know, no intelligent species from another galaxy has ever visited us-but that state of affairs may end someday. And if the invaders come, they are bound to find ways of turning some human beings against other human beings. We have so long had only ourselves to fight that we are used to such internecine quarrels. An invader that finds us divided against ourselves will dominate us all, or destroy us all. The only true defense is to produce Galaxia, which cannot be turned against itself and which can meet invaders with maximum power.”

    Bliss said, “The picture you paint is a frightening one. Will we have time to form Galaxia?”

    Trevize looked up, as though to penetrate the thick layer of moonrock that separated him from the surface and from space; as though to force himself to see those far distant galaxies, moving slowly through unimaginable vistas of space.

    He said, “In all human history, no other intelligence has impinged on us, to our knowledge. This need only continue a few more centuries, perhaps little more than one ten thousandth of the time civilization has already existed, and we will be safe. After all,” and here Trevize felt a sudden twinge of trouble, which he forced himself to disregard, “it is not as though we had the enemy already here and among us.”

    And he did not look down to meet the brooding eyes of Fallom-hermaphroditic,transductive, different-as they rested, unfathomably, on him.

    , @Muggles
    @IHTG

    Here's a thought I've recently had along these lines.

    In the somewhat near future, with avatars and realistic-ish robots everywhere, imperfect actual humans will begin to become the "pretty" and "beautiful" role models that are seen as desirable.

    Sure there are sci-fi shows and stories that explore this a bit, but here's my twist.

    At some point developers will be forced to use existing videos/films/photos of actual people with all of their imperfections, warts and all. Warts and weird will be increasingly hard to find on actual people for various reasons, but since they will be scarce, they will be valuable commodities.

    They will of course have millions of images to use, but actual 3-D people will be far more valuable, especially as they change due to age, etc. over time. So your "image" (in all dimensions) will be an asset you can sell or license.

    Every lazy homeless zombie will at least have something to sell or earn money from.

    Eventually we will have to decide whether or not to monetize our "soul" (as this artificially constructed persona might be called) for entertainment purposes, in all kinds of ways.

    So my thought extends to this: why not sell your image and human external characteristics now? Before it's too late. Sure, no one wants to buy that now, the work to capture "you" in 3-D, over time, talking and moving, etc. but someday it will have considerable value.

    Yes, it is a very long run economic proposition, but future trillionaires are those who are ahead of the curve. A validly owned library of ready -to-make avatars of real people could be very valuable. The older the better, since the deformities of each era get gradually eliminated.

    Your fat and ugly cousin could be priceless in that market.

    Anyway, something to ponder. Now back to regular programming....

  10. Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.

    • Replies: @Clyde
    @Anonymous


    Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.
     
    Part of the reason for untact is a worker shortage. Or at least a shortage of young people to do common service industry tasks. Such as grilling a hamburger. Untact seems like a formula for less heterosexual sex, less marriage, fewer babies, fewer future workers. During the Vietnam War the Korean sent us 50000 troops who were hardcore. The Vietcong did not want to fight them because these Koreans would match them cruelty for cruelty. 50 years later, when I see Korean men in these K-Pop groups, they all look fem. I am sure these K-Poppers are roughly the same age as the Korean troops in Vietnam.

    On the plus side. Korea seems as strong as ever in electronics and automobiles exports. They seem self-sufficient in rice. They are still bringing in lots of fish to eat. So perhaps this untact stuff is a lot of urban froth and froufrou from the pandemic, with people keeping their distance for health reasons. Imagined or real, or they just imbibe the media narrative.

    Australian automobiles and the Japanese and Korean car models that dominate -- https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/car-insurance/guides/car-buying/best-cars/most-popular-cars-in-australia.html

    Replies: @Ed Case

    , @AnotherDad
    @Anonymous


    Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.
     
    LOL.

    Buf, *if* they can keep the immigrants out it will be worth it.

    They--and everyone else--will have very rapid selection for the kind of men and women who like getting to together, getting busy and making families even when robots are doing all the work.

    Robots in fact, make having a big family easier--all sorts of work pushed out of the way. But for many people that's an excuse to checkout into their phone, video, K-pop, drugs ... whatever. But for other people it will make enjoying male-female bonding and building a family easier. Those people will be the ones who inherit the earth.

    ... or Nigerians.

    The critical question in every society is do you have leaders that want the former--nation, family and civilization--versus the later--death.

    Replies: @Rob McX

    , @Bill Jones
    @Anonymous


    Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.
     
    Easy enough. Every woman is required to eat someone else's kid.

    Time to give the dogs a break anyway.
    , @Colin Wright
    @Anonymous

    'Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.'

    To be fair, if one looks up the numbers, it becomes clear Korea has way too many people. Obviously, they need to control their rate of descent, but maintaining their current numbers wouldn't necessarily be a good thing.

    It's really kind of ironic. In my puppy years, global population was soaring -- and everyone was wringing their hands. Now, the trend is finally reversing -- and everyone is wringing their hands.

    It would seem there are mechanisms governing this we don't even understand. We don't really control what goes on anymore than a female coyote decides to have a large litter because there aren't very many coyotes around, or a small one when there are plenty of coyotes.

    Maybe it'll all work out -- whilst we ineffectually fuss. Black Africa would seem to be the only real problem.

  11. @Achmed E. Newman

    Young people more or less stopped talking on the telephone a decade or two ago.
     
    That was weird to me the first few years I'd seen people doing it. After 2 back-and-forths, that's it - I dial the number and hash it out. I see the value for sending pictures and video, though, which is what "texting" is now, lots of times.

    Before the pictures and video, back when the capacity limits were more important to the cell companies, the fact that people would send 50 ASCII bytes vs. talking for 1 minute even at low resolution saved a LOT of capacity! I bet these companies were loving it. "Suckers!"

    Perhaps what is going on is a shift away from preferring synchronous to asynchronous communications.
     
    You've hit upon something here. Many young people I've run into seem stressed out just having a simple conversation, especially when I ask too many questions. They figure I should have googled the answer or gone on an app, I guess.

    Korea sounds like a sad sci-fi story. "Oh, the fun we had!" (Wasn't that an Asimov short story?)

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @El Dato

    Aha! It’s The Fun They Had, and it indeed was an Issac Asimov story.

    Set in the year 2155, when children learn individually at home using a mechanical teacher. They do not have any friends and they are not aware of society.

    He wrote it in the early 1950s. I feel like the guy in Idiocracy. I didn’t know it was 2155 already.

    • Replies: @Mackerel Sky
    @Achmed E. Newman

    That story was ironic. The kids in the future were thinking about how much "fun" school must have been in the 1950s, whereas readers of the story would be aware that children of that era hated school.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

  12. @Colin Wright
    'Unmanned or hybrid shops are flourishing. Mobile carrier LG Uplus recently opened several untact phone shops, where customers can compare models, sign contracts and receive the latest smartphones without ever having to deal with a real person.'

    Considering some of my interactions with human cell phone salesmen, that sounds pretty appealing.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @James J O'Meara

    First of all, we can already do on webpages what is described. I think I got my latest phone that way. I know my wife got hers that way, because it wasn’t even offered at any store with meat robots in it.

    Second, you are exactly right about cellular stores. They are ghetto! Every one I have been to has given off that stink. We avoid them. I think they make a lot of their money the way athletic shoe purveyors do: by selling their wares to the lowest common denominator, or just Blacks! Most of the employees are Blacks! too.

    This can’t be true in Korea, though, but perhaps even Koreans have their sleeze, and perhaps they encounter it in the same kinds of places we do. Who knows?

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Buzz Mohawk

    "This can’t be true in Korea, though, but perhaps even Koreans have their sleeze"

    They do, but the neighborhoods that provide services like love-only-money-can-buy tend to look like somewhat shabbier versions of normal neighborhoods during the day, rather than addict zombie filled wastelands. The biggest "danger" are potentially belligerent drunks, and even that's way tamer than it was a handful of decades ago when most local young men were more "fresh out of the army" than "fresh out of the Kpop" in terms of attitudes. It's not uncommon for police to give severely drunk women escorts out anyhow.

    (Seoul does have a couple of mildly "alien" neighborhoods-Daerim is where ethnic Koreans from China congregate, most stuff is co-lingual in or outright written in Mandarin-but nothing remotely on the scale or degree of the West.)

    Re, the main thread: this sounds more like a Japanese thing, TBH. I like Steve's notion of "async" comms becoming predominant among the young. It's a succinct way of summing up the changes.

  13. SK’s birth and fertility rates have collapsed further. ‘Experts’ think they will rebound.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-09/world-s-lowest-fertility-rate-to-get-even-lower-korea-reports

    Judging from this ‘untact’ movement, I don’t think so.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
    @The Wobbly Guy


    Judging from this ‘untact’ movement, I don’t think so.
     
    It's basically just slow motion national euthanasia.
  14. @Achmed E. Newman
    Heh, I like your part about the public complaints going up the chain of avatars. I've noted this problem with any big organization, meaning Big Business primarily. Websites give you all sorts of "contact us" options before you can get to a phone number, and when you finally get that number and call it, you have to do so much digital dealing before you get to a live human*.

    Big organizations really don't want you to waste a live human's time, so they make it hard to do so. On the other side of it, I have found a fundamental difference in the attitude of people under 35 or 40. Unless it's something really simple like the normal hours of operation, a price, address, etc., for any not-so-easy question, I'd rather get the answer from a thinking person. The younger people really trust the answer from a piece of software more than they do one from a human being. I can't do that.

    .

    * who, after you've typed in all these customer numbers and other info, often asks you for all the same stuff.

    Replies: @Feryl, @GeologyAnonMk3, @Mr. Anon, @AndrewR

    JH Kunstler has been complaining about the difficulty of customer service for like 20 years. He often says that the inability to find and effectively communicate with a company or government representative is a red flag for any society.

    WRT younger people being allergic to interaction, that says something about the increasing alienation, aloofness, and anhedonia that comes from Western culture of the last 30 years. And it’s just going to get worse until the Chinese invade us, kill off the autistic weaklings, and absorb and thereby expose the traitorous rats. Western decadence and joylessness arises from facing no serious threats or competition for decades.

    • Replies: @JohnnyWalker123
    @Feryl

    Unfortunately. Chinese youth are not much different from here.

    Replies: @Feryl

    , @Achmed E. Newman
    @Feryl

    Feryl, I have read the writings of Mr. Kunstler before. Thanks. I will have to toot my own horn here, as Peak Stupidity has 22 posts, as of this comment, with our wryly named Customer Care topic key.

    Just as a general reply to comments about the phone stores, yes, I have seen over 90% black employees in the stores of multiple cell companies near me. I had a decent experience at the T-mobile story only when I was doing something simple.

    As for the customer service at the corporate level, T-Mobile has gone from best to worst in 20 years. I can remember when the customer service line was answered by nice helpful people in Seattle*, with the phones answered directly after a couple of rings. Now it's gone from a part of the Philippines in which the girls speak very good English and can help if you stay completely on the script to another part of the Philippines in which the English sounds wacky, they really don't know squat, and things take 5 to 10 x as long. (Yes, I did bail out, and I left them a couple hundred in the hole, just because customer "care" was too much trouble to deal with at the end.)

    I pretty much agree with your last part, though I'm not so sure about the Chinese invasion. They've got their own people problems too.

    .

    * My favorite call was one in which I just needed to check on my "minutes" back in the day. I'd just got done with one of those exasperating 3 hour calls with a girlfriend who really would not have liked to have heard "hey, I gotta go. I'm running out of minutes!" Well, right after the call, I called CS and asked the guy if I WAS running out of time for the month, and he said "no you've got x many ..." "That doesn't include the call I just was on for 3 hours with my girlfriend, right, and I don't know exactly ..." "Oh, I know how that goes! I'm tacking on an extra hundred." !!

    Replies: @Anon, @Hangnail Hans

  15. @anon

    avatars where they can “meet” their favourites like Blackpink in a virtual space and receive virtual autographs.
     
    maybe other things too...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL0gX1_NWTk

    Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican, @El Dato

    maybe other things too…

    And if it doesn’t work out…

  16. @Feryl
    @Achmed E. Newman

    JH Kunstler has been complaining about the difficulty of customer service for like 20 years. He often says that the inability to find and effectively communicate with a company or government representative is a red flag for any society.

    WRT younger people being allergic to interaction, that says something about the increasing alienation, aloofness, and anhedonia that comes from Western culture of the last 30 years. And it's just going to get worse until the Chinese invade us, kill off the autistic weaklings, and absorb and thereby expose the traitorous rats. Western decadence and joylessness arises from facing no serious threats or competition for decades.

    Replies: @JohnnyWalker123, @Achmed E. Newman

    Unfortunately. Chinese youth are not much different from here.

    • Replies: @Feryl
    @JohnnyWalker123

    I was being facetious. All of the "great" countries have greying population of their original stock. There's been serious dysgenics going on in virtually every studied country (lower IQ, less physical fitness, poorer social skills) due to immigration patterns, urbanization, more abundant food and medical care, greater tolerance of deviance and unfitness, declining rates of healthy opposite sex relationships/family formation (which selects for pro-social reproduction).

    Ed Dutton says that we're in for near Idiocracy type future in which self indulgent mutants destroy society from within, as opposed to classic human civilizations in which healthy people band together to fight off outsiders and are at constant risk of losing their territory and women to a stronger nation/ethnic group.

    Buckle up, folks, Gen Z boys have a weaker hand grip than Gen X girls.

  17. They should also have a roomful of detached canned brains assign social credit scores and generally administer the whole thing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psycho-Pass

    • LOL: El Dato
  18. Keemi – a 5G-powered disinfection robot – sprays hand sanitiser, checks body temperature, polices social distancing, and even tells people off for not wearing masks.

    Butlerian Jihad coming?

    Sure they will.

    Or at least in the metaverse, every time you demand to talk to the bureaucrat’s supervisor, a new digital supervisory avatar will shuffle in and listen to your complaint until you finally get tired and log off. Or you can keep going forever, hoping to see the ultimate boss avatar. Lots of luck!

    You are clearly jaded from dealing with American civil servants and European Beamte. But in East Asia (and Singapore), bureaucrats are generally the cream of the crop intellectually and tend to be very competent. Moreover, in that region, the government tends to have numerous local offices where citizens can have their issues resolved quite promptly.

    Whether government or business, customer service tends to be staffed well, efficient, and generally very helpful in East Asia. Along with such phenomena as urban cores that are safe and inexpensive, convenient, and ubiquitous public transport, this tends to be an aspect of life in the region, about which foreign visitors and expat residents are often amazed. It’s not unusual to walk into a local government office without an appointment and have some bureaucratic issue resolved and be able to walk out within half an hour to an hour. Sometimes there are even special hours and counters for the elderly that are given special priorities (a practice which these governments carry over to their embassies in the West).

    Totally unthinkable in America, I know.

    • Replies: @SFG
    @Twinkie

    I remember reading the efficiency of the Chinese mandarins supposedly inspires the Brits to develop the civil service exam in the 19th century, which was the beginning of the era of meritocracy in the West. Before that the posts were bought or through connections.

    So it may go back a way.

    , @22pp22
    @Twinkie

    That is not my experience of the Japanese or Korean bureaucracy. The uppermost ranks of the Ministry of Finance may be recruited straight out of Tokyo University, but at lower levels, Japanese and Korean bureaucrats certainly are not the cream of the crop.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @Colin Wright
    @Twinkie

    '...It’s not unusual to walk into a local government office without an appointment and have some bureaucratic issue resolved and be able to walk out within half an hour to an hour...'

    It has a lot to do with attitude. I remember that when we were leaving Japan, we had some hanging or something that was too long somehow.

    In the end, I think we couldn't do what we wanted anyway, but the difference from the US was striking. Here, it would have been 'you can't take this: sucks for you.' There, they were trying to think of some way they could resolve our problem.

    That wasn't unique, either. It happened every time we asked for directions. Our record was seven people standing around -- all anxiously conferring about where this place we wanted could be.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Twinkie

  19. @Achmed E. Newman

    Young people more or less stopped talking on the telephone a decade or two ago.
     
    That was weird to me the first few years I'd seen people doing it. After 2 back-and-forths, that's it - I dial the number and hash it out. I see the value for sending pictures and video, though, which is what "texting" is now, lots of times.

    Before the pictures and video, back when the capacity limits were more important to the cell companies, the fact that people would send 50 ASCII bytes vs. talking for 1 minute even at low resolution saved a LOT of capacity! I bet these companies were loving it. "Suckers!"

    Perhaps what is going on is a shift away from preferring synchronous to asynchronous communications.
     
    You've hit upon something here. Many young people I've run into seem stressed out just having a simple conversation, especially when I ask too many questions. They figure I should have googled the answer or gone on an app, I guess.

    Korea sounds like a sad sci-fi story. "Oh, the fun we had!" (Wasn't that an Asimov short story?)

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @El Dato

    Many young people I’ve run into seem stressed out just having a simple conversation, especially when I ask too many questions. They figure I should have googled the answer or gone on an app, I guess.

    Maybe it’s the incessant demands of the always-on terminal in their hand? Fear of Missing Out, gotta view that TikTok clip!

    The push to create contactless services is designed increase productivity and cut bureaucracy

    Productivity can’t and bureaucracy won’t.

    The one thing I remember from contract work (not in Korea but a state org) was phones ringing forever, people checking their mobiles, about three upper-echelon guys for one lone developer and hot ladies cruising the corridors in high boots.

    Bestest moment of last week: Amazon Server Farms Virigina had a little site-down. Oops!

    And now for some maskless fun to spread omicron.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @El Dato


    And now for some maskless fun to spread omicron.
     
    Preach it, frat brother! Don't step foot in Omicron House with one of those face diaper thingies on, because the Greeks don't want no freaks!

    Sorry, the only way to get this song out of my head is to keep embedding it on The Unz Review:

    Gator!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEiDPGoMhMw
  20. @Reg Cæsar

    Or at least in the metaverse, every time you demand to talk to the bureaucrat’s supervisor, a new digital supervisory avatar will shuffle in and listen to your complaint until you finally get tired and log off. Or you can keep going forever, hoping to see the ultimate boss avatar. Lots of luck!
     

    How do you say "Karen" in Korean? Would it be- 카린?

    Replies: @White Guy In Japan

    In Japanese, Karen would be カレン. More or the less the same. Some Japanese like to give their kids English names that fit easily into Japanese phonetics.

  21. Choi‬ Jong-ryul, a sociology professor at Keimyung University, says while there are advantages to developing an untact society, it also threatens social solidarity and may end up isolating individuals.

    Sociology: the “science” that discovers the stunningly obvious.

  22. Time to reinvent the Orgasmatron, I guess.

  23. @Twinkie

    Keemi – a 5G-powered disinfection robot – sprays hand sanitiser, checks body temperature, polices social distancing, and even tells people off for not wearing masks.
     
    Butlerian Jihad coming?

    Sure they will.

    Or at least in the metaverse, every time you demand to talk to the bureaucrat’s supervisor, a new digital supervisory avatar will shuffle in and listen to your complaint until you finally get tired and log off. Or you can keep going forever, hoping to see the ultimate boss avatar. Lots of luck!
     

    You are clearly jaded from dealing with American civil servants and European Beamte. But in East Asia (and Singapore), bureaucrats are generally the cream of the crop intellectually and tend to be very competent. Moreover, in that region, the government tends to have numerous local offices where citizens can have their issues resolved quite promptly.

    Whether government or business, customer service tends to be staffed well, efficient, and generally very helpful in East Asia. Along with such phenomena as urban cores that are safe and inexpensive, convenient, and ubiquitous public transport, this tends to be an aspect of life in the region, about which foreign visitors and expat residents are often amazed. It's not unusual to walk into a local government office without an appointment and have some bureaucratic issue resolved and be able to walk out within half an hour to an hour. Sometimes there are even special hours and counters for the elderly that are given special priorities (a practice which these governments carry over to their embassies in the West).

    Totally unthinkable in America, I know.

    Replies: @SFG, @22pp22, @Colin Wright

    I remember reading the efficiency of the Chinese mandarins supposedly inspires the Brits to develop the civil service exam in the 19th century, which was the beginning of the era of meritocracy in the West. Before that the posts were bought or through connections.

    So it may go back a way.

  24. The trouble with Robot servants is that the Cylons eventually Rebel. This has happened before and will happen again.

    • Thanks: El Dato
  25. LOL. Well, I guess you’d expect something like this to eventually develop in Asian societies, but they envision it for the West too.

    I don’t know… On one hand, there are times when I am more anti-social and don’t want to see anybody, so this could be good.

    On the other hand, sometimes you really want to see or talk to a real human being.

    Also, what others said about automated customer service. Not good.

    It’s true that young people seem increasingly alienated and avoiding person to person contact and even voice calls and communicate mostly through texting.

    I wonder how it will be after corona-times. Even if this ends, I don’t see social interaction going back the same way it was before. Some things, such as movie theatres, may even end forever or turn into a very small niche.

    As for the “metaverse”… It seems mostly hype about nothing. These “avatars” are just annoying. I can see this going the same way of that “Windows paper clip” that interacted with users.

  26. @IHTG
    https://asimov.fandom.com/wiki/Solaria

    Originally, there were about 20,000 people living in vast estates individually or as married couples. There were thousands of robots for every Solarian. Almost all of the work and manufacturing was conducted by robots. The population was kept stable through strict birth and immigration controls. In the era of Robots and Empire, no more than five thousand Solarians were known to remain. Twenty thousand years later, the population was twelve hundred, with just one human per estate.

    Solarians hated physical contact with others and only communicated with each other via holograms. A few hundred years after Elijah Baley's visit to the planet, Solarians retreated from the Galactic scene and fled underground. The Solarians genetically altered themselves to be hermaphroditic and have the ability to use telekinesis. They specially made robots that were made to kill any foreigners who came to the planet.
     

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Muggles

    Yes, “Foundation”. Especially the chronological ending…

    https://cloudflare-ipfs.com/ipfs/bafykbzacebcp5ych6vfnqwvbgruc56lj24auoldeiwoztj5vnec7mibr2xakw?filename=Isaac%20Asimov%20-%20Foundation%20and%20Earth%20%281987%29.pdf

    “Our own Galaxy has developed only one species of an intelligence great enough to develop a technological society, but what do we know of the other galaxies? Ours may be atypical. In some of the others-perhaps even in all-there may be many competing intelligent species, struggling with each other, and each incomprehensible to us. Perhaps it is their mutual struggle that preoccupies them, but what if, in some galaxy, one species gains domination over the rest and then has time to consider the possibility of penetrating other galaxies.“Hyperspatially, the Galaxy is a point-and so is all the Universe. We have notvisited any other galaxy, and, as far as we know, no intelligent species from another galaxy has ever visited us-but that state of affairs may end someday. And if the invaders come, they are bound to find ways of turning some human beings against other human beings. We have so long had only ourselves to fight that we are used to such internecine quarrels. An invader that finds us divided against ourselves will dominate us all, or destroy us all. The only true defense is to produce Galaxia, which cannot be turned against itself and which can meet invaders with maximum power.”

    Bliss said, “The picture you paint is a frightening one. Will we have time to form Galaxia?”

    Trevize looked up, as though to penetrate the thick layer of moonrock that separated him from the surface and from space; as though to force himself to see those far distant galaxies, moving slowly through unimaginable vistas of space.

    He said, “In all human history, no other intelligence has impinged on us, to our knowledge. This need only continue a few more centuries, perhaps little more than one ten thousandth of the time civilization has already existed, and we will be safe. After all,” and here Trevize felt a sudden twinge of trouble, which he forced himself to disregard, “it is not as though we had the enemy already here and among us.”

    And he did not look down to meet the brooding eyes of Fallom-hermaphroditic,transductive, different-as they rested, unfathomably, on him.

  27. While South Korea’s birth rate continues to plummet below 1, North Korea’s continues to chug along at just above replacement rate. In the not too distant future, they’ll just be able to take over by walking across the border.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
  28. South Korea is a dying country, a rapidly dying country, eventually there will come a time when the population will no longer be Korean. This begs the question on how North Korea will react to this in the future, with a population that is no longer Korean, what would it mean to unify Korea to them? Once the US empire is too weak to defend its puppet would North Korea undertake some kind of ethnic resettlement back into South Korea.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @neutral

    Neutral, I'm guessing the N. Korean people really don't want to live like N. Koreans. Perhaps the next Dear Leader Ill-somebody could do a Deng Xiaoping thing and have "Communism with K-pop characteristics" and let go of the economy. A reconciliation could work then. The North would be like the former East Bloc in Europe, being wise to modern evil cultural influences vs. the decadent South (and the decadent West in Europe).

    The US military should not have been defending a country we have yet another big trade deficit with since at least the end of the Cold War. 1/2 the manpower over there could be guarding the entire US southern border.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    , @Anonymous
    @neutral

    North Korea isn't far behind South Korea. It's an aging decrepit old country and those types of societies don't "resettle" other countries.

    Only youthful, expanding populations can "resettle" others. It is far more likely that the aging North Korean economy will break down and become absorbed by the more dynamic South Korea. The diversity will penetrate in to North Korea and yes the hapless fickle drones of North Korea will accept it just like they accept starvation and abuse from their current overlords.

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

    , @Kaz
    @neutral

    Cut the dramatics.. The population of Korea has gone from 25M to 50M over the past ~40 years.

    It's not like they need to pack in that many people in that tiny peninsula..

    Same thing about Japan, why are people so worried that a country of a 100mllion might one day stabilize around a more comfortable figure.

    Replies: @Anon, @Bill Jones, @Adept

  29. OT: Editorials of “Communications of the ACM” seem to be generated by Woke-GPT-4 now. I am moderately amused.

    https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2021/12/256938-communicating-acm-priorities/fulltext

    Events of the past two years have raised the social consciousness of us all. There is a desire by many to work in areas of computing that have the potential to improve our society [maybe someone can do better than horribad spreadsheets?]. There is also a desire to be part of a professional organization whose values reflect who we are as individuals. Over time, ACM has defined a set of core values that underlie all our activities and interactions. These values are technical excellence, education and technical advancement, ethical computing and technology for positive impact, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.

    Here I will focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This core value motivates ACM’s five-year goal of continuing to diversify the ACM global community, providing a welcoming community for all. The fact that this goal is stated in terms of continuing to diversify the community is an acknowledgment, first, that we have made progress, and second, that our work here is not yet done.

    For years, ACM’s commitment to gender diversity has been deeply woven into the fabric of ACM’s committees and activities. Over the past two years, however, many community members have drawn attention to the fact that racial and ethnic equity have not been similarly prioritized. As an organization, it is imperative that ACM promote equity across all our activities by re-examining existing processes that have allowed this situation to persist. We do so recognizing that the need for DEI is not only an issue of fairness, but also of excellence; research consistently finds that diverse teams produce better results than non-diverse teams [citation needed]. Multiple voices, bringing new perspectives, increase both the breadth and depth of ACM’s important work.

    Shouldn’t ACM been dealing with computing instead of this DIE nonsense. Yes, yes it should!

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @El Dato

    You know, someday, we will have a Congress filled with an actual diverse subsection of Americans. I mean actual differences in work backgrounds, ways of thinking, etc, not the Ivy lawyer clones with exotic skin and names.

    I'll be sure to bring it up in these better times. Good nice sneer, an allusion to the times and people that nearly ruined America... "Why, would you look at that? I believe I've pursued diversity and inclusion effectively, eh ladies and gentlemen? Let's drink a toast to that, too."

  30. @Twinkie

    Keemi – a 5G-powered disinfection robot – sprays hand sanitiser, checks body temperature, polices social distancing, and even tells people off for not wearing masks.
     
    Butlerian Jihad coming?

    Sure they will.

    Or at least in the metaverse, every time you demand to talk to the bureaucrat’s supervisor, a new digital supervisory avatar will shuffle in and listen to your complaint until you finally get tired and log off. Or you can keep going forever, hoping to see the ultimate boss avatar. Lots of luck!
     

    You are clearly jaded from dealing with American civil servants and European Beamte. But in East Asia (and Singapore), bureaucrats are generally the cream of the crop intellectually and tend to be very competent. Moreover, in that region, the government tends to have numerous local offices where citizens can have their issues resolved quite promptly.

    Whether government or business, customer service tends to be staffed well, efficient, and generally very helpful in East Asia. Along with such phenomena as urban cores that are safe and inexpensive, convenient, and ubiquitous public transport, this tends to be an aspect of life in the region, about which foreign visitors and expat residents are often amazed. It's not unusual to walk into a local government office without an appointment and have some bureaucratic issue resolved and be able to walk out within half an hour to an hour. Sometimes there are even special hours and counters for the elderly that are given special priorities (a practice which these governments carry over to their embassies in the West).

    Totally unthinkable in America, I know.

    Replies: @SFG, @22pp22, @Colin Wright

    That is not my experience of the Japanese or Korean bureaucracy. The uppermost ranks of the Ministry of Finance may be recruited straight out of Tokyo University, but at lower levels, Japanese and Korean bureaucrats certainly are not the cream of the crop.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @22pp22


    The uppermost ranks of the Ministry of Finance may be recruited straight out of Tokyo University, but at lower levels, Japanese and Korean bureaucrats certainly are not the cream of the crop.
     
    You don’t go straight to the uppermost ranks of any bureaucracy out of college. You are promoted based on seniority and merit (ideally, of course, whereas there is always some varying effect of patronage in reality).

    I can’t speak to your personal anecdotes or experiences, but in general civil service attracts much higher quality university graduates in Japan and South Korea than is the case in the West, particularly the U.S. This is, of course, quite natural, considering that the former are highly statist countries where the civil service have high prestige and wield considerable power.

    Replies: @Johann Ricke, @22pp22

  31. The South Koreans left behind in a contact-free society
    https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200803-south-korea-contact-free-untact-society-after-coronavirus

    Date – August 2020 and from the BBC —

  32. Asynchronously…is that like comment moderation?

    • LOL: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @El Dato
    @Ralph L

    It's a buzzword that appears in the JavaScript pocket universe employed by people who don't want to "wait for an operation to complete and just go on", who have no idea that threads have been invented back in the 80s and are actually supported by proper languages, and thus are exploring new ways to write not-actually-faster and actually-unmaintainable programs that fall downstairs but that can support "10'000 web connections per second".

    NURSE! My pills!

  33. @Buzz Mohawk
    @Colin Wright

    First of all, we can already do on webpages what is described. I think I got my latest phone that way. I know my wife got hers that way, because it wasn't even offered at any store with meat robots in it.

    Second, you are exactly right about cellular stores. They are ghetto! Every one I have been to has given off that stink. We avoid them. I think they make a lot of their money the way athletic shoe purveyors do: by selling their wares to the lowest common denominator, or just Blacks! Most of the employees are Blacks! too.

    This can't be true in Korea, though, but perhaps even Koreans have their sleeze, and perhaps they encounter it in the same kinds of places we do. Who knows?

    Replies: @nebulafox

    “This can’t be true in Korea, though, but perhaps even Koreans have their sleeze”

    They do, but the neighborhoods that provide services like love-only-money-can-buy tend to look like somewhat shabbier versions of normal neighborhoods during the day, rather than addict zombie filled wastelands. The biggest “danger” are potentially belligerent drunks, and even that’s way tamer than it was a handful of decades ago when most local young men were more “fresh out of the army” than “fresh out of the Kpop” in terms of attitudes. It’s not uncommon for police to give severely drunk women escorts out anyhow.

    (Seoul does have a couple of mildly “alien” neighborhoods-Daerim is where ethnic Koreans from China congregate, most stuff is co-lingual in or outright written in Mandarin-but nothing remotely on the scale or degree of the West.)

    Re, the main thread: this sounds more like a Japanese thing, TBH. I like Steve’s notion of “async” comms becoming predominant among the young. It’s a succinct way of summing up the changes.

    • Thanks: Buzz Mohawk
  34. @Anonymous
    Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.

    Replies: @Clyde, @AnotherDad, @Bill Jones, @Colin Wright

    Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.

    Part of the reason for untact is a worker shortage. Or at least a shortage of young people to do common service industry tasks. Such as grilling a hamburger. Untact seems like a formula for less heterosexual sex, less marriage, fewer babies, fewer future workers. During the Vietnam War the Korean sent us 50000 troops who were hardcore. The Vietcong did not want to fight them because these Koreans would match them cruelty for cruelty. 50 years later, when I see Korean men in these K-Pop groups, they all look fem. I am sure these K-Poppers are roughly the same age as the Korean troops in Vietnam.

    On the plus side. Korea seems as strong as ever in electronics and automobiles exports. They seem self-sufficient in rice. They are still bringing in lots of fish to eat. So perhaps this untact stuff is a lot of urban froth and froufrou from the pandemic, with people keeping their distance for health reasons. Imagined or real, or they just imbibe the media narrative.

    Australian automobiles and the Japanese and Korean car models that dominate — https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/car-insurance/guides/car-buying/best-cars/most-popular-cars-in-australia.html

    • Replies: @Ed Case
    @Clyde

    Hyundai is a popular car in Australia, look okay too.

    There's a Caste System in Korea, there's the white Koreans who own the place and are soft as, and there's the darker Koreans who do all the manual work.
    We get plenty of those working commercialo tiling contracts in australia, they're reasonable tilers, very solid workers.

  35. It’s funny how nobody can trust price signals. You can just zero out immigration and the market will figure out how to do without a bunch of service sector folk via raising the price, without you having to do anything. Principle: the market is smarter than you.

    In fact removing a bunch of service folk would likely reduce atomization. Rather than getting parasocial relationships, which have a palliative effect, Koreans would directly feel the urge to create social contacts. They would seek out and drive genuine connection, rather than simulants.

    Blackpink is terrible. Dunamophobic. They want you to be weak and sick.
    Perhaps that’s why they’re popular? If you’re already weak and sick, they “affirm” your commitment to anti-health. Perhaps you can even blame them for your self-harm and shed responsibility.

    It seem the Korean leaders, like most modern leaders, want their populace to be sick and weak. What with replacing less-unhealthy service-sector parasocial relationships with more-unhealthy evil-pop-star parasocial relationships.

    P.S. You’ll find the market is also smarter than you if you try to “nudge” demand. E.g. trying to reduce demand for drugs by criminalizing it actually increases drug use. The black market is corrupt and pushes things that lock in customers extra hard – with none of those pesky advertising laws to temper things.

  36. @El Dato
    OT: Editorials of "Communications of the ACM" seem to be generated by Woke-GPT-4 now. I am moderately amused.

    https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2021/12/256938-communicating-acm-priorities/fulltext


    Events of the past two years have raised the social consciousness of us all. There is a desire by many to work in areas of computing that have the potential to improve our society [maybe someone can do better than horribad spreadsheets?]. There is also a desire to be part of a professional organization whose values reflect who we are as individuals. Over time, ACM has defined a set of core values that underlie all our activities and interactions. These values are technical excellence, education and technical advancement, ethical computing and technology for positive impact, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.

    Here I will focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This core value motivates ACM's five-year goal of continuing to diversify the ACM global community, providing a welcoming community for all. The fact that this goal is stated in terms of continuing to diversify the community is an acknowledgment, first, that we have made progress, and second, that our work here is not yet done.
     


    For years, ACM's commitment to gender diversity has been deeply woven into the fabric of ACM's committees and activities. Over the past two years, however, many community members have drawn attention to the fact that racial and ethnic equity have not been similarly prioritized. As an organization, it is imperative that ACM promote equity across all our activities by re-examining existing processes that have allowed this situation to persist. We do so recognizing that the need for DEI is not only an issue of fairness, but also of excellence; research consistently finds that diverse teams produce better results than non-diverse teams [citation needed]. Multiple voices, bringing new perspectives, increase both the breadth and depth of ACM's important work.
     
    Shouldn't ACM been dealing with computing instead of this DIE nonsense. Yes, yes it should!

    Replies: @nebulafox

    You know, someday, we will have a Congress filled with an actual diverse subsection of Americans. I mean actual differences in work backgrounds, ways of thinking, etc, not the Ivy lawyer clones with exotic skin and names.

    I’ll be sure to bring it up in these better times. Good nice sneer, an allusion to the times and people that nearly ruined America… “Why, would you look at that? I believe I’ve pursued diversity and inclusion effectively, eh ladies and gentlemen? Let’s drink a toast to that, too.”

  37. @neutral
    South Korea is a dying country, a rapidly dying country, eventually there will come a time when the population will no longer be Korean. This begs the question on how North Korea will react to this in the future, with a population that is no longer Korean, what would it mean to unify Korea to them? Once the US empire is too weak to defend its puppet would North Korea undertake some kind of ethnic resettlement back into South Korea.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @Anonymous, @Kaz

    Neutral, I’m guessing the N. Korean people really don’t want to live like N. Koreans. Perhaps the next Dear Leader Ill-somebody could do a Deng Xiaoping thing and have “Communism with K-pop characteristics” and let go of the economy. A reconciliation could work then. The North would be like the former East Bloc in Europe, being wise to modern evil cultural influences vs. the decadent South (and the decadent West in Europe).

    The US military should not have been defending a country we have yet another big trade deficit with since at least the end of the Cold War. 1/2 the manpower over there could be guarding the entire US southern border.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Achmed E. Newman

    A certain degree of economic liberalization has taken place under Kim III over the last several years, but the nature of North Korea's very existence is always going to make doing what China and Vietnam have done a tricky and slow process. Theoretically, what's the point of a "North Korea" at all without that ideological divide?

    (Of course there are reasons for North Korea to exist, not the least of which is that most Southerners don't want reunification. The generation that remembers the war is getting thin on the ground. But not ones that the regime can really use as justification for legitimacy. For its part, the DPRK tends to lean heavily on race based nationalism for domestic legitimacy, and that seems to work OK.)

    I think Kim's goal is simply to keep his regime going-the Myers argument about a long-term plan for confederation assumes a level of naivety in Northern perceptions of the South that I'm skeptical exists. And you have to admit, he might be a cold hearted SOB, but for someone who inherited such a crappy hand a decade ago, he's played his cards pretty well.

    Replies: @GeologyAnonMk3

  38. A geographical anecdote: Several months ago this Californian had occasion to deal with a small company in a smallish city in Alabama. They worked with me on the phone with proficiency and courtesy, answering my stupid questions and worries with infinite patience. They even picked up the phone on the first or second ring. No “aggressive apathy” as I call it. And these were young people. My conclusion: While the profound shift to untact is largely generational, there are geographical exceptions; and these chunks are all over the place. They are fighting a losing battle. But for now, in the chunks, not just the old, but also the young, are human-contact people.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Paperback Writer
    @SafeNow

    I had the same experience in Pennsylvania, recently. Both over the phone and personally. Good, salt of the earth people.

  39. @Feryl
    @Achmed E. Newman

    JH Kunstler has been complaining about the difficulty of customer service for like 20 years. He often says that the inability to find and effectively communicate with a company or government representative is a red flag for any society.

    WRT younger people being allergic to interaction, that says something about the increasing alienation, aloofness, and anhedonia that comes from Western culture of the last 30 years. And it's just going to get worse until the Chinese invade us, kill off the autistic weaklings, and absorb and thereby expose the traitorous rats. Western decadence and joylessness arises from facing no serious threats or competition for decades.

    Replies: @JohnnyWalker123, @Achmed E. Newman

    Feryl, I have read the writings of Mr. Kunstler before. Thanks. I will have to toot my own horn here, as Peak Stupidity has 22 posts, as of this comment, with our wryly named Customer Care topic key.

    Just as a general reply to comments about the phone stores, yes, I have seen over 90% black employees in the stores of multiple cell companies near me. I had a decent experience at the T-mobile story only when I was doing something simple.

    As for the customer service at the corporate level, T-Mobile has gone from best to worst in 20 years. I can remember when the customer service line was answered by nice helpful people in Seattle*, with the phones answered directly after a couple of rings. Now it’s gone from a part of the Philippines in which the girls speak very good English and can help if you stay completely on the script to another part of the Philippines in which the English sounds wacky, they really don’t know squat, and things take 5 to 10 x as long. (Yes, I did bail out, and I left them a couple hundred in the hole, just because customer “care” was too much trouble to deal with at the end.)

    I pretty much agree with your last part, though I’m not so sure about the Chinese invasion. They’ve got their own people problems too.

    .

    * My favorite call was one in which I just needed to check on my “minutes” back in the day. I’d just got done with one of those exasperating 3 hour calls with a girlfriend who really would not have liked to have heard “hey, I gotta go. I’m running out of minutes!” Well, right after the call, I called CS and asked the guy if I WAS running out of time for the month, and he said “no you’ve got x many …” “That doesn’t include the call I just was on for 3 hours with my girlfriend, right, and I don’t know exactly …” “Oh, I know how that goes! I’m tacking on an extra hundred.” !!

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Obviously an aging and decrepit old country like China isn't going to invade the USA. Feryl is just having a psychotic breakdown as he frequently does around here.

    , @Hangnail Hans
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I will have to toot my own horn here, as Peak Stupidity ...

     

    NFW! What happened to the Achmed we're used to around here?

    But seriously, yes T-Mobile has gone from best to worst, but [read: "and"] they've totally diversified their technical and customer service staffs over the same time period.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

  40. @Ralph L
    Asynchronously...is that like comment moderation?

    Replies: @El Dato

    It’s a buzzword that appears in the JavaScript pocket universe employed by people who don’t want to “wait for an operation to complete and just go on”, who have no idea that threads have been invented back in the 80s and are actually supported by proper languages, and thus are exploring new ways to write not-actually-faster and actually-unmaintainable programs that fall downstairs but that can support “10’000 web connections per second”.

    NURSE! My pills!

  41. @Achmed E. Newman
    @neutral

    Neutral, I'm guessing the N. Korean people really don't want to live like N. Koreans. Perhaps the next Dear Leader Ill-somebody could do a Deng Xiaoping thing and have "Communism with K-pop characteristics" and let go of the economy. A reconciliation could work then. The North would be like the former East Bloc in Europe, being wise to modern evil cultural influences vs. the decadent South (and the decadent West in Europe).

    The US military should not have been defending a country we have yet another big trade deficit with since at least the end of the Cold War. 1/2 the manpower over there could be guarding the entire US southern border.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    A certain degree of economic liberalization has taken place under Kim III over the last several years, but the nature of North Korea’s very existence is always going to make doing what China and Vietnam have done a tricky and slow process. Theoretically, what’s the point of a “North Korea” at all without that ideological divide?

    (Of course there are reasons for North Korea to exist, not the least of which is that most Southerners don’t want reunification. The generation that remembers the war is getting thin on the ground. But not ones that the regime can really use as justification for legitimacy. For its part, the DPRK tends to lean heavily on race based nationalism for domestic legitimacy, and that seems to work OK.)

    I think Kim’s goal is simply to keep his regime going-the Myers argument about a long-term plan for confederation assumes a level of naivety in Northern perceptions of the South that I’m skeptical exists. And you have to admit, he might be a cold hearted SOB, but for someone who inherited such a crappy hand a decade ago, he’s played his cards pretty well.

    • Replies: @GeologyAnonMk3
    @nebulafox

    An overlooked part of NK's continued existence is the USA and China both tacitly realizing that having US armored divisions on the literal border of China within once tactical lunge distance to the major shipyards/North Seas Fleet Headquarters at Dailian (sp?) and two tactical lunges to Beijing would probably be too volatile and inflammatory.

    Or at least I tell myself that our leaders agreed to the status quo for reasons like that when I want to believe we aren't run by corrupt clowns. We get all worked up about Taiwan, for... reasons I guess, but the reunification of NK would be a strategic disaster for China. Imagine if the PLA 1st and 5th armored divisions were stationed in Niagara Falls, Ontario. That would be the situation reversed. I think a NK-SK reunification is more likely to trigger the big show with USA and China than Taiwan, personally.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Wokechoke

  42. @anon

    avatars where they can “meet” their favourites like Blackpink in a virtual space and receive virtual autographs.
     
    maybe other things too...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL0gX1_NWTk

    Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican, @El Dato

    This depresses me greatly.

  43. At Yongin Severance Hospital, Keemi – a 5G-powered disinfection robot – sprays hand sanitiser, checks body temperature, polices social distancing, and even tells people off for not wearing masks.

    I’m glad that name doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.

    • Thanks: Bill Jones
    • Replies: @Charles
    @Rob McX

    True; if I was told I had a mandatory appointment at the "Severance Hospital", well, call me mint jelly, because I'm on the lam.

    , @Twinkie
    @Rob McX


    Yongin Severance Hospital
     
    I believe that is a satellite location for a Yonsei University-run hospital in Seoul that was founded by an American missionary, Dr. Horace Newton Allen:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Newton_Allen

    The hospital is so named for an American benefactor, “Louis Severance, a philanthropist in Cleveland Ohio.”

    Replies: @Rob McX

  44. Steve,

    There is an economic term called “Shadow Work” that explains how companies have increased their productivity by taking tasks that used to be done by paid employees and having the customer do the task. Pump your own gas. Scan your own purchase. Order your carry out with an app. Tag your own bag the the kiosk at the airport. Use carry on instead of checking a bag so one becomes your own baggage handler. Marriott has gotten to the point that one checks in yourself and uses your cell phone to open the door to one’s hotel room.

    Much of what South Korea appears to be doing is using shadow work so that no one has to interact with others.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @guest007

    Shadow Work is particularly exasperating when we have to do it for government agencies, and pay a user fee for the privilege.

    So what are taxes for? The answer always comes back the same: those roads you drive on, boomer!

    But don't gasoline taxes pay for those? The answer: shut up racist or I'll call security.

    , @Achmed E. Newman
    @guest007

    "Shadow work" - thank you! I had been thinking of this kind of thing regarding ALDI grocery stores. With that quarter in hock, they've got all customers I've ever seen returning the buggies, and with no shopping bags the've got guys like me taking out their corrugate for them to box up my stuff which everyone does himself. It's an amazing operation, but yeah, there are not many jobs, and you work hard and fast there it seems. Your examples are very good ones.

    BTW wrt HH's reply comment about taxes and doing work for government agencies, that together is a perfect example of what pisses me off. I WILL NOT pay anyone to do my taxes, which are not that awful hard. However, when I get to something complicated, where the forms go round-and-round and back and forth, I put something down and let the paid IRS people sort it out. I don't care - I'm not spending a day of my life each year doing work for the IRS to figure how much I owe to the US Gov't.

    Therefore, I had a really "spicy" Attachment A last time, in which I just wrote that "this is what I owe, but the forms are too complicated, and you all get paid to figure it out." with a cussword as I recall. It wasn't your official Attachment A, just my own one.

    Replies: @Muggles

  45. @The Wobbly Guy
    SK's birth and fertility rates have collapsed further. 'Experts' think they will rebound.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-09/world-s-lowest-fertility-rate-to-get-even-lower-korea-reports

    Judging from this 'untact' movement, I don't think so.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard

    Judging from this ‘untact’ movement, I don’t think so.

    It’s basically just slow motion national euthanasia.

  46. Unmanned or hybrid shops are flourishing. Mobile carrier LG Uplus recently opened several untact phone shops, where customers can compare models, sign contracts and receive the latest smartphones without ever having to deal with a real person.

    What’s the big deal?

    I’ve been able to go online and buy unlocked cellphones and sign service contracts or buy month-to-month SIMs for years without dealing with annoying, uninformed, commission-driven sales drones.

  47. At Yongin Severance Hospital, Keemi – a 5G-powered disinfection robot – sprays hand sanitiser, checks body temperature, polices social distancing, and even tells people off for not wearing masks.

    Well, there are robots doing that in the West too.
    Or maybe they are not robots?
    Well, sometimes, it’s hard to tell… 😛

    • Replies: @Uncle Dan
    @Dumbo

    There is a convergence.

  48. @Rob McX

    At Yongin Severance Hospital, Keemi – a 5G-powered disinfection robot – sprays hand sanitiser, checks body temperature, polices social distancing, and even tells people off for not wearing masks.
     
    I'm glad that name doesn't mean what I thought it meant.

    Replies: @Charles, @Twinkie

    True; if I was told I had a mandatory appointment at the “Severance Hospital”, well, call me mint jelly, because I’m on the lam.

    • LOL: RadicalCenter
  49. Anonymous[812] • Disclaimer says:
    @neutral
    South Korea is a dying country, a rapidly dying country, eventually there will come a time when the population will no longer be Korean. This begs the question on how North Korea will react to this in the future, with a population that is no longer Korean, what would it mean to unify Korea to them? Once the US empire is too weak to defend its puppet would North Korea undertake some kind of ethnic resettlement back into South Korea.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @Anonymous, @Kaz

    North Korea isn’t far behind South Korea. It’s an aging decrepit old country and those types of societies don’t “resettle” other countries.

    Only youthful, expanding populations can “resettle” others. It is far more likely that the aging North Korean economy will break down and become absorbed by the more dynamic South Korea. The diversity will penetrate in to North Korea and yes the hapless fickle drones of North Korea will accept it just like they accept starvation and abuse from their current overlords.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    @Anonymous

    You may be right. Here's a useful 2019 analysis of North and South Korean demographics in the event of reunification:

    https://carnegieendowment.org/2021/06/29/how-unification-would-affect-demographics-of-korean-peninsula-pub-84821

  50. Great news! As if today’s society was not already highly autistic

  51. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Feryl

    Feryl, I have read the writings of Mr. Kunstler before. Thanks. I will have to toot my own horn here, as Peak Stupidity has 22 posts, as of this comment, with our wryly named Customer Care topic key.

    Just as a general reply to comments about the phone stores, yes, I have seen over 90% black employees in the stores of multiple cell companies near me. I had a decent experience at the T-mobile story only when I was doing something simple.

    As for the customer service at the corporate level, T-Mobile has gone from best to worst in 20 years. I can remember when the customer service line was answered by nice helpful people in Seattle*, with the phones answered directly after a couple of rings. Now it's gone from a part of the Philippines in which the girls speak very good English and can help if you stay completely on the script to another part of the Philippines in which the English sounds wacky, they really don't know squat, and things take 5 to 10 x as long. (Yes, I did bail out, and I left them a couple hundred in the hole, just because customer "care" was too much trouble to deal with at the end.)

    I pretty much agree with your last part, though I'm not so sure about the Chinese invasion. They've got their own people problems too.

    .

    * My favorite call was one in which I just needed to check on my "minutes" back in the day. I'd just got done with one of those exasperating 3 hour calls with a girlfriend who really would not have liked to have heard "hey, I gotta go. I'm running out of minutes!" Well, right after the call, I called CS and asked the guy if I WAS running out of time for the month, and he said "no you've got x many ..." "That doesn't include the call I just was on for 3 hours with my girlfriend, right, and I don't know exactly ..." "Oh, I know how that goes! I'm tacking on an extra hundred." !!

    Replies: @Anon, @Hangnail Hans

    Obviously an aging and decrepit old country like China isn’t going to invade the USA. Feryl is just having a psychotic breakdown as he frequently does around here.

  52. @Anonymous
    Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.

    Replies: @Clyde, @AnotherDad, @Bill Jones, @Colin Wright

    Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.

    LOL.

    Buf, *if* they can keep the immigrants out it will be worth it.

    They–and everyone else–will have very rapid selection for the kind of men and women who like getting to together, getting busy and making families even when robots are doing all the work.

    Robots in fact, make having a big family easier–all sorts of work pushed out of the way. But for many people that’s an excuse to checkout into their phone, video, K-pop, drugs … whatever. But for other people it will make enjoying male-female bonding and building a family easier. Those people will be the ones who inherit the earth.

    … or Nigerians.

    The critical question in every society is do you have leaders that want the former–nation, family and civilization–versus the later–death.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
    @AnotherDad


    They–and everyone else–will have very rapid selection for the kind of men and women who like getting to together, getting busy and making families even when robots are doing all the work.

    Robots in fact, make having a big family easier–all sorts of work pushed out of the way. But for many people that’s an excuse to checkout into their phone, video, K-pop, drugs … whatever. But for other people it will make enjoying male-female bonding and building a family easier. Those people will be the ones who inherit the earth.
     
    I'm not entirely convinced about that, because it's a hypothesis that hasn't been tested yet. But trying it out is the only alternative to responding to the fertility drop by opening the borders and replacing ourselves. Anyway, there are many incentives to family formation that would be affordable in a homogeneous society with no minorities to support.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Farenheit

  53. anonymous[155] • Disclaimer says:

    Solitude or individualism is a northern thing.

    AbstractHumans distinguish between we-groups and they-groups, such as relatives versus strangers and higher-ups versus lower-downs, thereby creating crucial preconditions for favouring their own groups while discriminating against others. Reported here is the finding that the extent of differentiation between us and them varies along latitude rather than longitude. In geographically isolated preindustrial societies, intergroup differentiation already peaked at the equator and tapered off towards the poles, while being negligibly related to longitude (observation study 1). Contemporary societies have evolved even stronger latitudinal gradients of intergroup differentiation (survey study 2 around 1970) and discrimination (mixed-method study 3 around 2010). The geography of contemporary differentiation and discrimination can be partially predicted by tropical climate stress (warm winters, hot summers and irregular rainfall), largely mediated by the interplay of pathogen stress and agricultural subsistence (explanatory study 4). The findings accumulate into an index of intergroup discrimination by inhabitants of 222 countries (integrative study 5).

    Scotland, which archaeologists are beginning to recognise was anarchic in nature – not chaotic but composed of autonomous households and communities lacking institutionalised leadership.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    @anonymous

    The best aspect of the current plandemic is the social distancing and isolation. Give me space and time with nary a human in it and I have peace. I don't hate humans. I do dislike meeting humans. They billow static into my thought-stream. Which impedes Big Idea formulation.

  54. I go to the gym twice a week for 45 minutes work with a personal trainer. I realized, as I was reading this, that part of why I value this time so much is that it is the only time that I get to spend interacting with another person who is not wearing a mask.

    Perhaps I should say “actually interacting with another person.” You cannot really interact with a person who is masked.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
    • Troll: guest007
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Bill H.


    Perhaps I should say “actually interacting with another person.” You cannot really interact with a person who is masked.
     
    Talk to the mask.
  55. @Achmed E. Newman
    Heh, I like your part about the public complaints going up the chain of avatars. I've noted this problem with any big organization, meaning Big Business primarily. Websites give you all sorts of "contact us" options before you can get to a phone number, and when you finally get that number and call it, you have to do so much digital dealing before you get to a live human*.

    Big organizations really don't want you to waste a live human's time, so they make it hard to do so. On the other side of it, I have found a fundamental difference in the attitude of people under 35 or 40. Unless it's something really simple like the normal hours of operation, a price, address, etc., for any not-so-easy question, I'd rather get the answer from a thinking person. The younger people really trust the answer from a piece of software more than they do one from a human being. I can't do that.

    .

    * who, after you've typed in all these customer numbers and other info, often asks you for all the same stuff.

    Replies: @Feryl, @GeologyAnonMk3, @Mr. Anon, @AndrewR

    Spamming 0, #, and * repeatedly when on a robo-call with customer support will usually get you a human pretty quickly and allow you to skip all the stupid menu options.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @GeologyAnonMk3

    I do that GAM3, as I simply will not ever talk to a computer. Some of the systems will hang up on you after 2 "0"s - I've been through it all. Others, yes, will just keep trying to say "OK, I'll get you to ___, just one more thing..." 0 "OK, got it... to help you better ..." 0 "OK! I'll..." 0! and then you get someone.

    For the ones that don't get you to a human so easily, I will sometimes end up making 3 or 4 calls until I figure out the combination that works quickly. Unfortunately, after 4 presses, I often forget what it was I did, so I hope I never have to call them again.

    BTW, one thing I miss about old land-line phones is that you could hang up in anger. Try that with a $800 iPhone!

  56. @nebulafox
    @Achmed E. Newman

    A certain degree of economic liberalization has taken place under Kim III over the last several years, but the nature of North Korea's very existence is always going to make doing what China and Vietnam have done a tricky and slow process. Theoretically, what's the point of a "North Korea" at all without that ideological divide?

    (Of course there are reasons for North Korea to exist, not the least of which is that most Southerners don't want reunification. The generation that remembers the war is getting thin on the ground. But not ones that the regime can really use as justification for legitimacy. For its part, the DPRK tends to lean heavily on race based nationalism for domestic legitimacy, and that seems to work OK.)

    I think Kim's goal is simply to keep his regime going-the Myers argument about a long-term plan for confederation assumes a level of naivety in Northern perceptions of the South that I'm skeptical exists. And you have to admit, he might be a cold hearted SOB, but for someone who inherited such a crappy hand a decade ago, he's played his cards pretty well.

    Replies: @GeologyAnonMk3

    An overlooked part of NK’s continued existence is the USA and China both tacitly realizing that having US armored divisions on the literal border of China within once tactical lunge distance to the major shipyards/North Seas Fleet Headquarters at Dailian (sp?) and two tactical lunges to Beijing would probably be too volatile and inflammatory.

    Or at least I tell myself that our leaders agreed to the status quo for reasons like that when I want to believe we aren’t run by corrupt clowns. We get all worked up about Taiwan, for… reasons I guess, but the reunification of NK would be a strategic disaster for China. Imagine if the PLA 1st and 5th armored divisions were stationed in Niagara Falls, Ontario. That would be the situation reversed. I think a NK-SK reunification is more likely to trigger the big show with USA and China than Taiwan, personally.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @GeologyAnonMk3

    Any reunification plan would require Chinese approval, and it's certain that would be contingent on American troops leaving. Kim Jong Un is aware that the Chinese look upon his country much like we look at Pakistan, which is part of the reason he tried to curry favor with Putin and Trump. He wants his options diversified, not just at home, but abroad.

    He clearly doesn't trust the Chinese like his father did, which I think is a rational impulse: the Chinese enjoy cordial relations with the ROK, which is still prone to childish outbursts of anti-Japanese sentiment dominating the domestic political zeitgeist. Meanwhile, Kim's purges in 2012-2013 were aimed largely at the pro-Beijing camp in Pyongyang, and while I think the primary motives for that lay elsewhere, that fact certainly didn't dissuade him.

    >We get all worked up about Taiwan, for… reasons I guess

    Semiconductors. The Taiwanese have the highest quality semiconductor industry the world. The mainland's semiconductor industry has really come a long way over the last decade, but it's still not on par with Taiwan (or the ROK).

    There's a reason we've been relocating plants to Arizona in collaboration with the Taiwanese.

    > I think a NK-SK reunification is more likely to trigger the big show with USA and China than Taiwan, personally.

    Most young South Koreans don't want reunification, whatever they say in public to appease their grandparents who left family behind in the North. (They can't outright say they don't care like the sons and daughters of Ostrefugees did in Cold War West Germany.) Most Chinese do want Taiwan back.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @Colin Wright

    , @Wokechoke
    @GeologyAnonMk3

    Nork is the buffer state. Excellent point.

  57. This might have something to do with all the sex-selective abortion that was happening in Korea around 1995.

  58. And the young ladies of Blackpink get to not meet you. Everybody wins.

    Yeah, no.

  59. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Aha! It's The Fun They Had, and it indeed was an Issac Asimov story.


    Set in the year 2155, when children learn individually at home using a mechanical teacher. They do not have any friends and they are not aware of society.
     
    He wrote it in the early 1950s. I feel like the guy in Idiocracy. I didn't know it was 2155 already.

    Replies: @Mackerel Sky

    That story was ironic. The kids in the future were thinking about how much “fun” school must have been in the 1950s, whereas readers of the story would be aware that children of that era hated school.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Mackerel Sky

    Nah, I read it as a kid, and I didn't think of it that way. The irony goes the other way, as kids reading who might complain about school will realize that they might miss spending all day without other people. Just to make sure, I just read the book again here. It'll take you less than 5 minutes, so let me know what you think.

    Keep in mind, this was way before the PC and wokeness. If you homeschool, you just have to find groups in which the kids get together - science, sports and hour-long recess.

    Replies: @Mackerel Sky

  60. Or at least in the metaverse, every time you demand to talk to the bureaucrat’s supervisor, a new digital supervisory avatar will shuffle in and listen to your complaint until you finally get tired and log off.

    This is here now, try telling Amazon your package was stolen.

  61. @neutral
    South Korea is a dying country, a rapidly dying country, eventually there will come a time when the population will no longer be Korean. This begs the question on how North Korea will react to this in the future, with a population that is no longer Korean, what would it mean to unify Korea to them? Once the US empire is too weak to defend its puppet would North Korea undertake some kind of ethnic resettlement back into South Korea.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @Anonymous, @Kaz

    Cut the dramatics.. The population of Korea has gone from 25M to 50M over the past ~40 years.

    It’s not like they need to pack in that many people in that tiny peninsula..

    Same thing about Japan, why are people so worried that a country of a 100mllion might one day stabilize around a more comfortable figure.

    • Agree: Mr. Anon, Bumpkin, Alden
    • Replies: @Anon
    @Kaz

    It's not about land use but modern finance. The financial system heavily depends on population growth and was constructed around the assumption of. Population crashes = economy crashes.

    Asians aren't even bothered by living in high population densities the way most white people are. It's pretty much a defining characteristic of "farming" Asian cultures.

    , @Bill Jones
    @Kaz

    The fear is because everybody knows deep down that just about every government on the planet is run as a Ponzi scheme, reliant on the next, always bigger generation picking up the tab for the old farts.
    If they can't breed them. they'll ship them in. As the shipee's and their spawn become increasingly less economically productive we've about reached the end game.
    Buy metal: AU and PB.

    Norway seems to have managed its Sovereign wealth fund fairly well and may be the exception but I've not looked at it in any detail for 15 years or so. Japan's robotization is I think driven by the same issue and a healthy racist refusal to import gaijin. I wish them luck.

    , @Adept
    @Kaz

    Japan is at 125M currently. It's projected that they hit 100M by about 2060.

    That's not the problem. The problem is that Japan's 2060 population is going to be old. Unless things change, nearly 60% of the population by then is going to be over 50 years of age. That's unprecedented, and is going to be very strange. No country for young men.

    The way I see it, Japan's top national security and even fiscal priority is in anti-aging and de-aging tech. Or in artificial wombs. Something will need to be done.

    For what it's worth, projections are that China's still going to be at 1.33B by 2060, and they have a more balanced population pyramid. I don't think that their position will weaken quite so much as Japan's and S.Korea's, if indeed it weakens at all.

    Replies: @Anon

  62. @Buzz Mohawk
    This has been around for a while in one form or another. One major motivation is the lower cost of doing business this way.

    We used to compare it to "brick and mortar." The more you could get away from that, the more money you could save.

    In the mid-1990s, I had a job as a "business development officer" (BDO) for a regional bank. My job was to promote telephone banking across my territory of 220 branches. We had a call center with people in cubicles who could do anything our branch employees could do. The more customers in my region that I could switch to telephone banking, the less we would have to spend on buildings and local staff (and the more I would get paid.)

    Well, it worked. Our operators in their cubicles did a fine job.

    (One of my banks now -- USAA, for military and their families, a great company that is very good at this -- essentially works that way, and I have never met any of their employees in person. They don't even have branches. That truly is "untact.")

    It also didn't work. Our customers were split on it. Very many hated the idea, and they correctly surmised that I/we were just trying to pan them off. It felt impersonal to them.

    This is a generational thing. Younger people now who have grown up with this way of doing things are prime candidates for the very kind of thing I was so kindly pushing 25 years ago.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @john cronk, @epebble

    This has been around for a while in one form or another. One major motivation is the lower cost of doing business this way.

    Yes, and another motivation may well be that the dumbest robot is infinitely more competent and intelligent than the average customer-facing employee in the current year.

    Though I expect this is a much worse problem in the USA than in Korea just now. Added bonus: the robots won’t go postal and start shooting all the racist white boomers. Yet.

  63. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Feryl

    Feryl, I have read the writings of Mr. Kunstler before. Thanks. I will have to toot my own horn here, as Peak Stupidity has 22 posts, as of this comment, with our wryly named Customer Care topic key.

    Just as a general reply to comments about the phone stores, yes, I have seen over 90% black employees in the stores of multiple cell companies near me. I had a decent experience at the T-mobile story only when I was doing something simple.

    As for the customer service at the corporate level, T-Mobile has gone from best to worst in 20 years. I can remember when the customer service line was answered by nice helpful people in Seattle*, with the phones answered directly after a couple of rings. Now it's gone from a part of the Philippines in which the girls speak very good English and can help if you stay completely on the script to another part of the Philippines in which the English sounds wacky, they really don't know squat, and things take 5 to 10 x as long. (Yes, I did bail out, and I left them a couple hundred in the hole, just because customer "care" was too much trouble to deal with at the end.)

    I pretty much agree with your last part, though I'm not so sure about the Chinese invasion. They've got their own people problems too.

    .

    * My favorite call was one in which I just needed to check on my "minutes" back in the day. I'd just got done with one of those exasperating 3 hour calls with a girlfriend who really would not have liked to have heard "hey, I gotta go. I'm running out of minutes!" Well, right after the call, I called CS and asked the guy if I WAS running out of time for the month, and he said "no you've got x many ..." "That doesn't include the call I just was on for 3 hours with my girlfriend, right, and I don't know exactly ..." "Oh, I know how that goes! I'm tacking on an extra hundred." !!

    Replies: @Anon, @Hangnail Hans

    I will have to toot my own horn here, as Peak Stupidity …

    NFW! What happened to the Achmed we’re used to around here?

    But seriously, yes T-Mobile has gone from best to worst, but [read: “and”] they’ve totally diversified their technical and customer service staffs over the same time period.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Hangnail Hans


    NFW! What happened to the Achmed we’re used to around here?
     
    LOL! So sorry, I have been slack. More links comin' up!
  64. @guest007
    Steve,

    There is an economic term called "Shadow Work" that explains how companies have increased their productivity by taking tasks that used to be done by paid employees and having the customer do the task. Pump your own gas. Scan your own purchase. Order your carry out with an app. Tag your own bag the the kiosk at the airport. Use carry on instead of checking a bag so one becomes your own baggage handler. Marriott has gotten to the point that one checks in yourself and uses your cell phone to open the door to one's hotel room.

    Much of what South Korea appears to be doing is using shadow work so that no one has to interact with others.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Achmed E. Newman

    Shadow Work is particularly exasperating when we have to do it for government agencies, and pay a user fee for the privilege.

    So what are taxes for? The answer always comes back the same: those roads you drive on, boomer!

    But don’t gasoline taxes pay for those? The answer: shut up racist or I’ll call security.

  65. @AnotherDad
    @Anonymous


    Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.
     
    LOL.

    Buf, *if* they can keep the immigrants out it will be worth it.

    They--and everyone else--will have very rapid selection for the kind of men and women who like getting to together, getting busy and making families even when robots are doing all the work.

    Robots in fact, make having a big family easier--all sorts of work pushed out of the way. But for many people that's an excuse to checkout into their phone, video, K-pop, drugs ... whatever. But for other people it will make enjoying male-female bonding and building a family easier. Those people will be the ones who inherit the earth.

    ... or Nigerians.

    The critical question in every society is do you have leaders that want the former--nation, family and civilization--versus the later--death.

    Replies: @Rob McX

    They–and everyone else–will have very rapid selection for the kind of men and women who like getting to together, getting busy and making families even when robots are doing all the work.

    Robots in fact, make having a big family easier–all sorts of work pushed out of the way. But for many people that’s an excuse to checkout into their phone, video, K-pop, drugs … whatever. But for other people it will make enjoying male-female bonding and building a family easier. Those people will be the ones who inherit the earth.

    I’m not entirely convinced about that, because it’s a hypothesis that hasn’t been tested yet. But trying it out is the only alternative to responding to the fertility drop by opening the borders and replacing ourselves. Anyway, there are many incentives to family formation that would be affordable in a homogeneous society with no minorities to support.

    • Agree: AnotherDad
    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    @Rob McX


    Anyway, there are many incentives to family formation that would be affordable in a homogeneous society with no minorities to support.
     
    Agree.

    There's this tedious meme that you just can't move fertility with social policy, "nothing has worked", blah, blah, blah ...

    It's nonsense. The things have been done are very mild, weak tea stuff. (Even in nominally "based" places, a focus on the long term fertility issue is not what drives politics.)

    I could craft a tax policy that i guarantee you would have young men and women marrying off and humping like rabbits. We can pass a tax policy like that just yet, but it exists.

    And you can certainly work toward it. When Lot was still here, he and I batted around the sort of massive child tax deduction that could start to move the ball and reward the conservatives natural constituency (families) to do more of what they are doing. (Note: always have a deduction, never a refundable credit--i.e. welfare. You want to encourage eugenic fertility.)
    , @Farenheit
    @Rob McX


    I’m not entirely convinced about that, because it’s a hypothesis that hasn’t been tested yet. But trying it out is the only alternative to responding to the fertility drop by opening the borders and replacing ourselves.
     
    I've worked in Silicon Valley now for thirty years, and have a whole bunch of mildly humorous anecdotes that end with the punchline, "don't worry, in 200 years the only people left will be the Amish and the Mormons."

    This may apply to the Koreans as well.
  66. This is why I read you: interesting, (often) important stuff that doesn’t make the political and clickbait media.

  67. anon[512] • Disclaimer says:

    OK….minor point, but:

    A robotic arm batters fries and chicken to perfection. ?

    A distinction needs to be made concerning the elimination of work that is inherently mindless, poorly compensated, and distasteful. And elimination of all social interaction.

    I think losing the textile industry was a fine thing. Norma Rae was never going to be all that happy with the same job with a union.

    I’ve toured the Boeing factory in Washington, and it is surprisingly quiet and calm.

    Current US Steelworkers make \$100k + in highly automated plants

    I can’t really draw a red line here…but I would prefer to never have another face to face interaction with a car dealership.

    Fast food? People in the US don’t seem to want the work. So automate it. I’ve never had a enjoyable interaction with the workers there.

  68. @Rob McX
    @AnotherDad


    They–and everyone else–will have very rapid selection for the kind of men and women who like getting to together, getting busy and making families even when robots are doing all the work.

    Robots in fact, make having a big family easier–all sorts of work pushed out of the way. But for many people that’s an excuse to checkout into their phone, video, K-pop, drugs … whatever. But for other people it will make enjoying male-female bonding and building a family easier. Those people will be the ones who inherit the earth.
     
    I'm not entirely convinced about that, because it's a hypothesis that hasn't been tested yet. But trying it out is the only alternative to responding to the fertility drop by opening the borders and replacing ourselves. Anyway, there are many incentives to family formation that would be affordable in a homogeneous society with no minorities to support.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Farenheit

    Anyway, there are many incentives to family formation that would be affordable in a homogeneous society with no minorities to support.

    Agree.

    There’s this tedious meme that you just can’t move fertility with social policy, “nothing has worked”, blah, blah, blah …

    It’s nonsense. The things have been done are very mild, weak tea stuff. (Even in nominally “based” places, a focus on the long term fertility issue is not what drives politics.)

    I could craft a tax policy that i guarantee you would have young men and women marrying off and humping like rabbits. We can pass a tax policy like that just yet, but it exists.

    And you can certainly work toward it. When Lot was still here, he and I batted around the sort of massive child tax deduction that could start to move the ball and reward the conservatives natural constituency (families) to do more of what they are doing. (Note: always have a deduction, never a refundable credit–i.e. welfare. You want to encourage eugenic fertility.)

  69. @anonymous
    Solitude or individualism is a northern thing.

    AbstractHumans distinguish between we-groups and they-groups, such as relatives versus strangers and higher-ups versus lower-downs, thereby creating crucial preconditions for favouring their own groups while discriminating against others. Reported here is the finding that the extent of differentiation between us and them varies along latitude rather than longitude. In geographically isolated preindustrial societies, intergroup differentiation already peaked at the equator and tapered off towards the poles, while being negligibly related to longitude (observation study 1). Contemporary societies have evolved even stronger latitudinal gradients of intergroup differentiation (survey study 2 around 1970) and discrimination (mixed-method study 3 around 2010). The geography of contemporary differentiation and discrimination can be partially predicted by tropical climate stress (warm winters, hot summers and irregular rainfall), largely mediated by the interplay of pathogen stress and agricultural subsistence (explanatory study 4). The findings accumulate into an index of intergroup discrimination by inhabitants of 222 countries (integrative study 5).

    Scotland, which archaeologists are beginning to recognise was anarchic in nature – not chaotic but composed of autonomous households and communities lacking institutionalised leadership.

    Replies: @SunBakedSuburb

    The best aspect of the current plandemic is the social distancing and isolation. Give me space and time with nary a human in it and I have peace. I don’t hate humans. I do dislike meeting humans. They billow static into my thought-stream. Which impedes Big Idea formulation.

  70. @22pp22
    @Twinkie

    That is not my experience of the Japanese or Korean bureaucracy. The uppermost ranks of the Ministry of Finance may be recruited straight out of Tokyo University, but at lower levels, Japanese and Korean bureaucrats certainly are not the cream of the crop.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    The uppermost ranks of the Ministry of Finance may be recruited straight out of Tokyo University, but at lower levels, Japanese and Korean bureaucrats certainly are not the cream of the crop.

    You don’t go straight to the uppermost ranks of any bureaucracy out of college. You are promoted based on seniority and merit (ideally, of course, whereas there is always some varying effect of patronage in reality).

    I can’t speak to your personal anecdotes or experiences, but in general civil service attracts much higher quality university graduates in Japan and South Korea than is the case in the West, particularly the U.S. This is, of course, quite natural, considering that the former are highly statist countries where the civil service have high prestige and wield considerable power.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
    @Twinkie


    I can’t speak to your personal anecdotes or experiences, but in general civil service attracts much higher quality university graduates in Japan and South Korea than is the case in the West, particularly the U.S. This is, of course, quite natural, considering that the former are highly statist countries where the civil service have high prestige and wield considerable power.
     
    It's possible for highly-capable functionaries to nonetheless be so self-interested as to be impervious to the needs of the people they ride herd over. That is presumably the reason that various Oriental regimes have collapsed and been replaced by others that were, at minimum, better at making war than the ones they replaced.
    , @22pp22
    @Twinkie

    When I lived in Japan eighteen years ago, the highest ranks of the bureaucracy were exclusively Todai graduates put on a fast track. Todai functioned like the Ecole Nationale d'Adminstration in France. Many of them did a year at a top UK or US university and then would do things like run a regional tax office. I got to know some when I was an undergraduate.

    There is a huge difference between them and those at the bottom of the pecking order. I used to call Japan the Land of Chotto Dekimasen.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Twinkie

  71. @Kaz
    @neutral

    Cut the dramatics.. The population of Korea has gone from 25M to 50M over the past ~40 years.

    It's not like they need to pack in that many people in that tiny peninsula..

    Same thing about Japan, why are people so worried that a country of a 100mllion might one day stabilize around a more comfortable figure.

    Replies: @Anon, @Bill Jones, @Adept

    It’s not about land use but modern finance. The financial system heavily depends on population growth and was constructed around the assumption of. Population crashes = economy crashes.

    Asians aren’t even bothered by living in high population densities the way most white people are. It’s pretty much a defining characteristic of “farming” Asian cultures.

  72. It may be true that in these business interactions the robots are becoming more lifelike, but it is certainly true that the humans are becoming more robotic.

  73. @Rob McX

    At Yongin Severance Hospital, Keemi – a 5G-powered disinfection robot – sprays hand sanitiser, checks body temperature, polices social distancing, and even tells people off for not wearing masks.
     
    I'm glad that name doesn't mean what I thought it meant.

    Replies: @Charles, @Twinkie

    Yongin Severance Hospital

    I believe that is a satellite location for a Yonsei University-run hospital in Seoul that was founded by an American missionary, Dr. Horace Newton Allen:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Newton_Allen

    The hospital is so named for an American benefactor, “Louis Severance, a philanthropist in Cleveland Ohio.”

    • Replies: @Rob McX
    @Twinkie

    That's right. As I didn't know it was a proper noun, the name conjured up images of the type of thing transsexuals get up to.

  74. @Anonymous
    Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.

    Replies: @Clyde, @AnotherDad, @Bill Jones, @Colin Wright

    Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.

    Easy enough. Every woman is required to eat someone else’s kid.

    Time to give the dogs a break anyway.

  75. From an old folder on the harddisk:

  76. @Anonymous
    Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.

    Replies: @Clyde, @AnotherDad, @Bill Jones, @Colin Wright

    ‘Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.’

    To be fair, if one looks up the numbers, it becomes clear Korea has way too many people. Obviously, they need to control their rate of descent, but maintaining their current numbers wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing.

    It’s really kind of ironic. In my puppy years, global population was soaring — and everyone was wringing their hands. Now, the trend is finally reversing — and everyone is wringing their hands.

    It would seem there are mechanisms governing this we don’t even understand. We don’t really control what goes on anymore than a female coyote decides to have a large litter because there aren’t very many coyotes around, or a small one when there are plenty of coyotes.

    Maybe it’ll all work out — whilst we ineffectually fuss. Black Africa would seem to be the only real problem.

  77. @GeologyAnonMk3
    @nebulafox

    An overlooked part of NK's continued existence is the USA and China both tacitly realizing that having US armored divisions on the literal border of China within once tactical lunge distance to the major shipyards/North Seas Fleet Headquarters at Dailian (sp?) and two tactical lunges to Beijing would probably be too volatile and inflammatory.

    Or at least I tell myself that our leaders agreed to the status quo for reasons like that when I want to believe we aren't run by corrupt clowns. We get all worked up about Taiwan, for... reasons I guess, but the reunification of NK would be a strategic disaster for China. Imagine if the PLA 1st and 5th armored divisions were stationed in Niagara Falls, Ontario. That would be the situation reversed. I think a NK-SK reunification is more likely to trigger the big show with USA and China than Taiwan, personally.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Wokechoke

    Any reunification plan would require Chinese approval, and it’s certain that would be contingent on American troops leaving. Kim Jong Un is aware that the Chinese look upon his country much like we look at Pakistan, which is part of the reason he tried to curry favor with Putin and Trump. He wants his options diversified, not just at home, but abroad.

    He clearly doesn’t trust the Chinese like his father did, which I think is a rational impulse: the Chinese enjoy cordial relations with the ROK, which is still prone to childish outbursts of anti-Japanese sentiment dominating the domestic political zeitgeist. Meanwhile, Kim’s purges in 2012-2013 were aimed largely at the pro-Beijing camp in Pyongyang, and while I think the primary motives for that lay elsewhere, that fact certainly didn’t dissuade him.

    >We get all worked up about Taiwan, for… reasons I guess

    Semiconductors. The Taiwanese have the highest quality semiconductor industry the world. The mainland’s semiconductor industry has really come a long way over the last decade, but it’s still not on par with Taiwan (or the ROK).

    There’s a reason we’ve been relocating plants to Arizona in collaboration with the Taiwanese.

    > I think a NK-SK reunification is more likely to trigger the big show with USA and China than Taiwan, personally.

    Most young South Koreans don’t want reunification, whatever they say in public to appease their grandparents who left family behind in the North. (They can’t outright say they don’t care like the sons and daughters of Ostrefugees did in Cold War West Germany.) Most Chinese do want Taiwan back.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
    @nebulafox


    Semiconductors. The Taiwanese have the highest quality semiconductor industry the world.
     
    I would add the Taiwanese electronics industry as well.

    Taiwanese brands like Acer, Asus, MSI, etc. produce many, many high-value products that don't suffer the ridiculous markups of products with Dell, HP, or Apple logos on them.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    , @Colin Wright
    @nebulafox

    'Most Chinese do want Taiwan back.'

    Ahem. Most Chinese do want Taiwan 'back.'

    There you go. The Chinese -- and their fanboys -- have auto-hypnotized themselves into a belief that Taiwan was ever fully incorporated into China. The awful truth is that China has no particular claim to it.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @nebulafox, @J.Ross

  78. The World Economic Forum has been pushing this very thing since the earliest days of the pandemic, and with an enthusiasm and comprehensiveness that suggests they were thinking about it long before:

    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/covid-19-in-pictures-this-is-what-social-distancing-looks-like/

    Check out those photos, with all the people standing in their little circles, 2 m apart. Regimented, isolated. They are literally telling people to know their place.

    This is the future they want for us. They want us to be atomized individuals, alienated from our fellow human beings – viewing them as nothing but icky disease vectors to be avoided. They want all bonds between people dissolved, the better to strengthen the only bonds that matter to them – between the serf and his feudal liege-lord.

    This is evil.

    • Agree: mike99588
  79. @nebulafox
    @GeologyAnonMk3

    Any reunification plan would require Chinese approval, and it's certain that would be contingent on American troops leaving. Kim Jong Un is aware that the Chinese look upon his country much like we look at Pakistan, which is part of the reason he tried to curry favor with Putin and Trump. He wants his options diversified, not just at home, but abroad.

    He clearly doesn't trust the Chinese like his father did, which I think is a rational impulse: the Chinese enjoy cordial relations with the ROK, which is still prone to childish outbursts of anti-Japanese sentiment dominating the domestic political zeitgeist. Meanwhile, Kim's purges in 2012-2013 were aimed largely at the pro-Beijing camp in Pyongyang, and while I think the primary motives for that lay elsewhere, that fact certainly didn't dissuade him.

    >We get all worked up about Taiwan, for… reasons I guess

    Semiconductors. The Taiwanese have the highest quality semiconductor industry the world. The mainland's semiconductor industry has really come a long way over the last decade, but it's still not on par with Taiwan (or the ROK).

    There's a reason we've been relocating plants to Arizona in collaboration with the Taiwanese.

    > I think a NK-SK reunification is more likely to trigger the big show with USA and China than Taiwan, personally.

    Most young South Koreans don't want reunification, whatever they say in public to appease their grandparents who left family behind in the North. (They can't outright say they don't care like the sons and daughters of Ostrefugees did in Cold War West Germany.) Most Chinese do want Taiwan back.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @Colin Wright

    Semiconductors. The Taiwanese have the highest quality semiconductor industry the world.

    I would add the Taiwanese electronics industry as well.

    Taiwanese brands like Acer, Asus, MSI, etc. produce many, many high-value products that don’t suffer the ridiculous markups of products with Dell, HP, or Apple logos on them.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    Taiwan lacks the brand name of Japan or South Korea, but it's no joke in STEM fields. They produce some seriously impressive stuff: and impressive scientists. That does not translate into armed readiness, of course. Unlike the ROKA, which not only deals with North Koreans instead, but has a very well entenched culture of shame around stuff like draft dodging (just look at what happens to pop stars who try to get out of service in the Korean media), Taiwan has dealt with problems in those areas for decades.

    However, nobody in Taipei or Washington has really prepped seriously for increased pressure from Beijing until recently. It's a bit late now, especially with the abject rot of America's navy. I tend to advocate the "sacrifice the empire to save the nation" course in general, of course. But domestic recovery would be a lot easier if we can get some of our supply chains back as we go.

  80. @Achmed E. Newman
    Heh, I like your part about the public complaints going up the chain of avatars. I've noted this problem with any big organization, meaning Big Business primarily. Websites give you all sorts of "contact us" options before you can get to a phone number, and when you finally get that number and call it, you have to do so much digital dealing before you get to a live human*.

    Big organizations really don't want you to waste a live human's time, so they make it hard to do so. On the other side of it, I have found a fundamental difference in the attitude of people under 35 or 40. Unless it's something really simple like the normal hours of operation, a price, address, etc., for any not-so-easy question, I'd rather get the answer from a thinking person. The younger people really trust the answer from a piece of software more than they do one from a human being. I can't do that.

    .

    * who, after you've typed in all these customer numbers and other info, often asks you for all the same stuff.

    Replies: @Feryl, @GeologyAnonMk3, @Mr. Anon, @AndrewR

    Big organizations really don’t want you to waste a live human’s time, so they make it hard to do so.

    I recently experienced a new innovation in this regard – when I was able to get through to a human being, after lengthy, tortuous navigation of a phone-tree, the people I talked to wasted my time.

    I was calling Comcast. First I talked to the robot woman that pretends to be a live human. After she asks you a question, they even have a sound-effect of her typing on a keyboard. Really. Who is this fooling? Of course, robot-lady is absolutely worthless, so you stay on the line shouting for an operator or “agent”. When they did finally put me through to a real person, it was some variety of foreigner whom I could barely understand, and who was embarrassingly oleaginous and servile. They may as well have said “Yes, effendi, whatever your excellency desires!”. When I said thankyou for something, he rushed to add “No, it is I who should be thanking you, sahib! (He didn’t actually say “sahib”, but he may as well have). He took up most of the time saying how they were pleased to help me, and laboring to answer my question, and dedicated to resolving my problem – all the while, not helping me, answering my question, or resolving my problem. I would rather have talked to an openly hostile American.

    Maybe it’s some new customer relations trick to just make those pesky customers go away – repel them with excessive politeness.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Mr. Anon

    LOL and thanks for that story, Mr. Anon. You read Peak Stupidity, so you have probably read my story about the "Customer Care" people we talked to about a Dell computer. They had such wierd-ass accents, and operated so slowly, that at one point I was sure that we had called some scam number. "You want my wife's email. You ought to know it. You tell me."

    It went on for over an hour, and before we sent the computer to Texas, I went to bing maps to look at an aerial view of the address to see if it's a real place and then still wasn't sure if we'd ever see the computer again!

    It's getting pretty bad.

  81. @Bill H.
    I go to the gym twice a week for 45 minutes work with a personal trainer. I realized, as I was reading this, that part of why I value this time so much is that it is the only time that I get to spend interacting with another person who is not wearing a mask.

    Perhaps I should say "actually interacting with another person." You cannot really interact with a person who is masked.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Perhaps I should say “actually interacting with another person.” You cannot really interact with a person who is masked.

    Talk to the mask.

  82. @Buzz Mohawk
    This has been around for a while in one form or another. One major motivation is the lower cost of doing business this way.

    We used to compare it to "brick and mortar." The more you could get away from that, the more money you could save.

    In the mid-1990s, I had a job as a "business development officer" (BDO) for a regional bank. My job was to promote telephone banking across my territory of 220 branches. We had a call center with people in cubicles who could do anything our branch employees could do. The more customers in my region that I could switch to telephone banking, the less we would have to spend on buildings and local staff (and the more I would get paid.)

    Well, it worked. Our operators in their cubicles did a fine job.

    (One of my banks now -- USAA, for military and their families, a great company that is very good at this -- essentially works that way, and I have never met any of their employees in person. They don't even have branches. That truly is "untact.")

    It also didn't work. Our customers were split on it. Very many hated the idea, and they correctly surmised that I/we were just trying to pan them off. It felt impersonal to them.

    This is a generational thing. Younger people now who have grown up with this way of doing things are prime candidates for the very kind of thing I was so kindly pushing 25 years ago.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @john cronk, @epebble

    And people are also undoubtedly disillusioned about the fact that USAA instituted overseas transaction fees for withdrawals. Especially disrespectful toward military personnel stationed in foreign countries.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    @john cronk

    Fuck military personnel stationed in foreign countries. Stop murdering people who pose no threat to us here in the USA, causing hundreds of millions to rightly hate us and want to harm us, and wasting our tax money, you overrated self-important warmongering dimwits.

  83. @nebulafox
    @GeologyAnonMk3

    Any reunification plan would require Chinese approval, and it's certain that would be contingent on American troops leaving. Kim Jong Un is aware that the Chinese look upon his country much like we look at Pakistan, which is part of the reason he tried to curry favor with Putin and Trump. He wants his options diversified, not just at home, but abroad.

    He clearly doesn't trust the Chinese like his father did, which I think is a rational impulse: the Chinese enjoy cordial relations with the ROK, which is still prone to childish outbursts of anti-Japanese sentiment dominating the domestic political zeitgeist. Meanwhile, Kim's purges in 2012-2013 were aimed largely at the pro-Beijing camp in Pyongyang, and while I think the primary motives for that lay elsewhere, that fact certainly didn't dissuade him.

    >We get all worked up about Taiwan, for… reasons I guess

    Semiconductors. The Taiwanese have the highest quality semiconductor industry the world. The mainland's semiconductor industry has really come a long way over the last decade, but it's still not on par with Taiwan (or the ROK).

    There's a reason we've been relocating plants to Arizona in collaboration with the Taiwanese.

    > I think a NK-SK reunification is more likely to trigger the big show with USA and China than Taiwan, personally.

    Most young South Koreans don't want reunification, whatever they say in public to appease their grandparents who left family behind in the North. (They can't outright say they don't care like the sons and daughters of Ostrefugees did in Cold War West Germany.) Most Chinese do want Taiwan back.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @Colin Wright

    ‘Most Chinese do want Taiwan back.’

    Ahem. Most Chinese do want Taiwan ‘back.’

    There you go. The Chinese — and their fanboys — have auto-hypnotized themselves into a belief that Taiwan was ever fully incorporated into China. The awful truth is that China has no particular claim to it.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Colin Wright

    Has anyone bothered to ask the Dutch and the Spanish what they think?


    https://www.taipeitimes.com/images/2017/08/20/P08-170820-NEW%20taiwan%20map.jpg

    Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan's Ryukyu Islands almost completely block China's open access to the Pacific. Without Taiwan, a total blockade is possible. It's not about the land, it's about the sea.

    Same with Tibet, which serves as China's water tower.

    Chinese geopolitics is a stir fry of cockiness, arrogance, and paranoia. Most countries' are, but with the Chinese, it's ever so much more so.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @nebulafox
    @Colin Wright

    Whether it is historically accurate really makes no difference. The salient point is that most mainland Chinese believe that the Taiwanese properly belong with them in a way that most South Koreans have ceased to believe the North Koreans are. Too many times when outsiders analyze China, they tend to ascribe some inscrutable 3,000 year old Asiatic awareness to their political consciousness. But they are just people, like anybody else, with selective memories and emotions rooted in more recent history. To your average Chinese nationalist, the memory of the Treaty of Shimonoseki (which even at the time was far more bitter of a pill than losing to the Europeans, for several reasons) is a lot more relevant than anything about Koxinga, Manchus be damned.

    I'm not saying it is right. I'm saying it is what it is. (Beyond American security concerns, I don't care. I'm not Chinese, after all.)

    , @J.Ross
    @Colin Wright

    Neither do they have a claim to Vietnamese, Phillipine or Indonesian fish. What they further lack is anyone stopping them.

  84. “It’s probably also intended to cut immigration by reducing the need for low-skilled service workers with robots, but don’t tell The Guardian.”

    A global race for migrants is underway. Will Australia be left behind?

    After almost two years of restricted international travel, developed nations are racing to recruit migrants to add to their labour forces. But what’s Australia doing, and is it enough to compete?

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/a-global-race-for-migrants-is-underway-will-australia-be-left-behind/cc6d2323-45bc-46d9-8d81-ca43dff365af

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SBS_(Australian_TV_channel)#History

  85. @guest007
    Steve,

    There is an economic term called "Shadow Work" that explains how companies have increased their productivity by taking tasks that used to be done by paid employees and having the customer do the task. Pump your own gas. Scan your own purchase. Order your carry out with an app. Tag your own bag the the kiosk at the airport. Use carry on instead of checking a bag so one becomes your own baggage handler. Marriott has gotten to the point that one checks in yourself and uses your cell phone to open the door to one's hotel room.

    Much of what South Korea appears to be doing is using shadow work so that no one has to interact with others.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Achmed E. Newman

    “Shadow work” – thank you! I had been thinking of this kind of thing regarding ALDI grocery stores. With that quarter in hock, they’ve got all customers I’ve ever seen returning the buggies, and with no shopping bags the’ve got guys like me taking out their corrugate for them to box up my stuff which everyone does himself. It’s an amazing operation, but yeah, there are not many jobs, and you work hard and fast there it seems. Your examples are very good ones.

    BTW wrt HH’s reply comment about taxes and doing work for government agencies, that together is a perfect example of what pisses me off. I WILL NOT pay anyone to do my taxes, which are not that awful hard. However, when I get to something complicated, where the forms go round-and-round and back and forth, I put something down and let the paid IRS people sort it out. I don’t care – I’m not spending a day of my life each year doing work for the IRS to figure how much I owe to the US Gov’t.

    Therefore, I had a really “spicy” Attachment A last time, in which I just wrote that “this is what I owe, but the forms are too complicated, and you all get paid to figure it out.” with a cussword as I recall. It wasn’t your official Attachment A, just my own one.

    • Replies: @Muggles
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Therefore, I had a really “spicy” Attachment A last time, in which I just wrote that “this is what I owe, but the forms are too complicated, and you all get paid to figure it out.” with a cussword as I recall. It wasn’t your official Attachment A, just my own one.
     
    As one who has considerable experience in the tax prep field, your plan can and does work on very simple scenarios when 3rd party input (1099s, K-1, W-2s, etc.) are very simple or few.

    Yes the system sucks and when you start moving up economic ladders (plus state taxes in most cases) you will vastly overpay letting some poorly educated, unmotivated IRS drone "figure it out for you." Or their computers.

    The complexity at an individual level is immense. At the business entity level, far worse.

    So if you want to be a generous government tipper (hefty interest/penalties are also levied when you omit something or err) then fine. I don't recommend it for anyone at an iSteve reader IQ level however.

    The IRS is working towards what you suggest, which is what I term the European model. There as in Germany the State will send you an annual bill or refund. They figure they have all data they need to figure what you owe. Deductions are few. If you are more than middle class poor, you might have a paid tax preparer. Or just enjoy those "progressive" tax rates.

    (However other than in the US and in one or two other countries, in Europe you don't pay national income tax on income earned outside of your nation of citizenship. Hence their love of tax havens. Doesn't legally work for US citizens though.)

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @guest007

  86. @GeologyAnonMk3
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Spamming 0, #, and * repeatedly when on a robo-call with customer support will usually get you a human pretty quickly and allow you to skip all the stupid menu options.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    I do that GAM3, as I simply will not ever talk to a computer. Some of the systems will hang up on you after 2 “0”s – I’ve been through it all. Others, yes, will just keep trying to say “OK, I’ll get you to ___, just one more thing…” 0 “OK, got it… to help you better …” 0 “OK! I’ll…” 0! and then you get someone.

    For the ones that don’t get you to a human so easily, I will sometimes end up making 3 or 4 calls until I figure out the combination that works quickly. Unfortunately, after 4 presses, I often forget what it was I did, so I hope I never have to call them again.

    BTW, one thing I miss about old land-line phones is that you could hang up in anger. Try that with a \$800 iPhone!

  87. @Hangnail Hans
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I will have to toot my own horn here, as Peak Stupidity ...

     

    NFW! What happened to the Achmed we're used to around here?

    But seriously, yes T-Mobile has gone from best to worst, but [read: "and"] they've totally diversified their technical and customer service staffs over the same time period.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    NFW! What happened to the Achmed we’re used to around here?

    LOL! So sorry, I have been slack. More links comin’ up!

  88. @Twinkie
    @Rob McX


    Yongin Severance Hospital
     
    I believe that is a satellite location for a Yonsei University-run hospital in Seoul that was founded by an American missionary, Dr. Horace Newton Allen:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Newton_Allen

    The hospital is so named for an American benefactor, “Louis Severance, a philanthropist in Cleveland Ohio.”

    Replies: @Rob McX

    That’s right. As I didn’t know it was a proper noun, the name conjured up images of the type of thing transsexuals get up to.

  89. @Kaz
    @neutral

    Cut the dramatics.. The population of Korea has gone from 25M to 50M over the past ~40 years.

    It's not like they need to pack in that many people in that tiny peninsula..

    Same thing about Japan, why are people so worried that a country of a 100mllion might one day stabilize around a more comfortable figure.

    Replies: @Anon, @Bill Jones, @Adept

    The fear is because everybody knows deep down that just about every government on the planet is run as a Ponzi scheme, reliant on the next, always bigger generation picking up the tab for the old farts.
    If they can’t breed them. they’ll ship them in. As the shipee’s and their spawn become increasingly less economically productive we’ve about reached the end game.
    Buy metal: AU and PB.

    Norway seems to have managed its Sovereign wealth fund fairly well and may be the exception but I’ve not looked at it in any detail for 15 years or so. Japan’s robotization is I think driven by the same issue and a healthy racist refusal to import gaijin. I wish them luck.

  90. @Dumbo

    At Yongin Severance Hospital, Keemi – a 5G-powered disinfection robot – sprays hand sanitiser, checks body temperature, polices social distancing, and even tells people off for not wearing masks.
     
    Well, there are robots doing that in the West too.
    Or maybe they are not robots?
    Well, sometimes, it's hard to tell... :P

    Replies: @Uncle Dan

    There is a convergence.

  91. @Rob McX
    @AnotherDad


    They–and everyone else–will have very rapid selection for the kind of men and women who like getting to together, getting busy and making families even when robots are doing all the work.

    Robots in fact, make having a big family easier–all sorts of work pushed out of the way. But for many people that’s an excuse to checkout into their phone, video, K-pop, drugs … whatever. But for other people it will make enjoying male-female bonding and building a family easier. Those people will be the ones who inherit the earth.
     
    I'm not entirely convinced about that, because it's a hypothesis that hasn't been tested yet. But trying it out is the only alternative to responding to the fertility drop by opening the borders and replacing ourselves. Anyway, there are many incentives to family formation that would be affordable in a homogeneous society with no minorities to support.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Farenheit

    I’m not entirely convinced about that, because it’s a hypothesis that hasn’t been tested yet. But trying it out is the only alternative to responding to the fertility drop by opening the borders and replacing ourselves.

    I’ve worked in Silicon Valley now for thirty years, and have a whole bunch of mildly humorous anecdotes that end with the punchline, “don’t worry, in 200 years the only people left will be the Amish and the Mormons.”

    This may apply to the Koreans as well.

  92. @IHTG
    https://asimov.fandom.com/wiki/Solaria

    Originally, there were about 20,000 people living in vast estates individually or as married couples. There were thousands of robots for every Solarian. Almost all of the work and manufacturing was conducted by robots. The population was kept stable through strict birth and immigration controls. In the era of Robots and Empire, no more than five thousand Solarians were known to remain. Twenty thousand years later, the population was twelve hundred, with just one human per estate.

    Solarians hated physical contact with others and only communicated with each other via holograms. A few hundred years after Elijah Baley's visit to the planet, Solarians retreated from the Galactic scene and fled underground. The Solarians genetically altered themselves to be hermaphroditic and have the ability to use telekinesis. They specially made robots that were made to kill any foreigners who came to the planet.
     

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Muggles

    Here’s a thought I’ve recently had along these lines.

    In the somewhat near future, with avatars and realistic-ish robots everywhere, imperfect actual humans will begin to become the “pretty” and “beautiful” role models that are seen as desirable.

    Sure there are sci-fi shows and stories that explore this a bit, but here’s my twist.

    At some point developers will be forced to use existing videos/films/photos of actual people with all of their imperfections, warts and all. Warts and weird will be increasingly hard to find on actual people for various reasons, but since they will be scarce, they will be valuable commodities.

    They will of course have millions of images to use, but actual 3-D people will be far more valuable, especially as they change due to age, etc. over time. So your “image” (in all dimensions) will be an asset you can sell or license.

    Every lazy homeless zombie will at least have something to sell or earn money from.

    Eventually we will have to decide whether or not to monetize our “soul” (as this artificially constructed persona might be called) for entertainment purposes, in all kinds of ways.

    So my thought extends to this: why not sell your image and human external characteristics now? Before it’s too late. Sure, no one wants to buy that now, the work to capture “you” in 3-D, over time, talking and moving, etc. but someday it will have considerable value.

    Yes, it is a very long run economic proposition, but future trillionaires are those who are ahead of the curve. A validly owned library of ready -to-make avatars of real people could be very valuable. The older the better, since the deformities of each era get gradually eliminated.

    Your fat and ugly cousin could be priceless in that market.

    Anyway, something to ponder. Now back to regular programming….

  93. OT. Meanwhile, in Wakanda:

    Kenyan students keep setting their schools on fire. Where’s the alarm?

    https://africanarguments.org/2021/12/kenyan-students-keep-setting-their-schools-on-fire-wheres-the-alarm/

    When the pandemic struck in 2020, students, parents and educators across Kenya worried about how school closures would affect children’s wellbeing and progress. Nearly as soon as lockdowns eased in early-2021, the overriding concern became whether those students would set fire to their schools. In their first month back, students in Kenya set alight at least 25 secondary boarding schools. This October and November, at least 40 more were hit with arson.

    Secondary boarding students are aggrieved about many things. The reason they turn to arson is because they believe it’s their only option to be taken seriously. Yet in response to school fires, the government’s typical response is to double-down on discipline and punishment. For years, education secretaries have issued ultimatums, called students “primitive” or “hooligans”, and vowed to “crack down” on them through more severe punishments.

    Often this devolves into big men like the current Education Cabinet Secretary pleading for permission to hit students. All year, George Magoha has been making headlines by declaring his desire to “bring back the cane”. He argues that “we need to give teachers power to punish” because there are children “who have grown horns.”

  94. @Achmed E. Newman
    @guest007

    "Shadow work" - thank you! I had been thinking of this kind of thing regarding ALDI grocery stores. With that quarter in hock, they've got all customers I've ever seen returning the buggies, and with no shopping bags the've got guys like me taking out their corrugate for them to box up my stuff which everyone does himself. It's an amazing operation, but yeah, there are not many jobs, and you work hard and fast there it seems. Your examples are very good ones.

    BTW wrt HH's reply comment about taxes and doing work for government agencies, that together is a perfect example of what pisses me off. I WILL NOT pay anyone to do my taxes, which are not that awful hard. However, when I get to something complicated, where the forms go round-and-round and back and forth, I put something down and let the paid IRS people sort it out. I don't care - I'm not spending a day of my life each year doing work for the IRS to figure how much I owe to the US Gov't.

    Therefore, I had a really "spicy" Attachment A last time, in which I just wrote that "this is what I owe, but the forms are too complicated, and you all get paid to figure it out." with a cussword as I recall. It wasn't your official Attachment A, just my own one.

    Replies: @Muggles

    Therefore, I had a really “spicy” Attachment A last time, in which I just wrote that “this is what I owe, but the forms are too complicated, and you all get paid to figure it out.” with a cussword as I recall. It wasn’t your official Attachment A, just my own one.

    As one who has considerable experience in the tax prep field, your plan can and does work on very simple scenarios when 3rd party input (1099s, K-1, W-2s, etc.) are very simple or few.

    Yes the system sucks and when you start moving up economic ladders (plus state taxes in most cases) you will vastly overpay letting some poorly educated, unmotivated IRS drone “figure it out for you.” Or their computers.

    The complexity at an individual level is immense. At the business entity level, far worse.

    So if you want to be a generous government tipper (hefty interest/penalties are also levied when you omit something or err) then fine. I don’t recommend it for anyone at an iSteve reader IQ level however.

    The IRS is working towards what you suggest, which is what I term the European model. There as in Germany the State will send you an annual bill or refund. They figure they have all data they need to figure what you owe. Deductions are few. If you are more than middle class poor, you might have a paid tax preparer. Or just enjoy those “progressive” tax rates.

    (However other than in the US and in one or two other countries, in Europe you don’t pay national income tax on income earned outside of your nation of citizenship. Hence their love of tax havens. Doesn’t legally work for US citizens though.)

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Muggles

    First, Muggles, I do have a guy who did tax prep for a living (he hates the IRS as much as I do), who I can ask an occasional question to. As I wrote, though, mine are just not hard. We take the standard deduction, and we have nothing fancy going on.

    I will give you my example (with the Attachment A) now:

    I had estimated the taxes owed until my wife showed me a form from an investment in which she made a long-term capital gain (as I had advised her, but forgotten about). OK, I know the rate is 15%. However, when I got into the forms, it got complicated quickly, yet I know it's all going to wind up adding 15% of the profit on that business to the taxes owed, just in a really roundabout way (the usual).

    I didn't have all evening - got a blog to write, boy to play foosball with, etc., so I made my own line on the main form, put in 15% x that gain, and then referred any human reader to my Attachment A, which explained that I don't have time for that shit.

    I do appreciate your concern, Muggles. I have one time gotten a few hundred bucks sent to me by a computer. Twice (the last time with 2 problems), I've had a correction letter in which I owed, but it all made sense - I didn't have an argument with the logic of it. I am NOT spending any more of my life than 2 or 3 hours a year working for free to tell the US Gov't how much money I owe them.

    PS: I used to do taxes during Superbowl halftime, at the bar nearby. I'd do all calculations with a pen on a napkin, round everything to the nearest 1 or 10 bucks, set my beer on the forms to keep them in place, and get it ready for the mail before the 2nd half. You might say I have an "attitude". Yes, I sure do.

    , @guest007
    @Muggles

    In 2019 87% if Americans just used the standard deductions. Anyone using a tax preparation service to take the standard deductions is a fool.
    However, my personal pet peeve about income taxes is the people who brag about their refund. Making an interest free loan to the federal government is nothing to brag about.

    Replies: @Abolish_public_education

  95. @Muggles
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Therefore, I had a really “spicy” Attachment A last time, in which I just wrote that “this is what I owe, but the forms are too complicated, and you all get paid to figure it out.” with a cussword as I recall. It wasn’t your official Attachment A, just my own one.
     
    As one who has considerable experience in the tax prep field, your plan can and does work on very simple scenarios when 3rd party input (1099s, K-1, W-2s, etc.) are very simple or few.

    Yes the system sucks and when you start moving up economic ladders (plus state taxes in most cases) you will vastly overpay letting some poorly educated, unmotivated IRS drone "figure it out for you." Or their computers.

    The complexity at an individual level is immense. At the business entity level, far worse.

    So if you want to be a generous government tipper (hefty interest/penalties are also levied when you omit something or err) then fine. I don't recommend it for anyone at an iSteve reader IQ level however.

    The IRS is working towards what you suggest, which is what I term the European model. There as in Germany the State will send you an annual bill or refund. They figure they have all data they need to figure what you owe. Deductions are few. If you are more than middle class poor, you might have a paid tax preparer. Or just enjoy those "progressive" tax rates.

    (However other than in the US and in one or two other countries, in Europe you don't pay national income tax on income earned outside of your nation of citizenship. Hence their love of tax havens. Doesn't legally work for US citizens though.)

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @guest007

    First, Muggles, I do have a guy who did tax prep for a living (he hates the IRS as much as I do), who I can ask an occasional question to. As I wrote, though, mine are just not hard. We take the standard deduction, and we have nothing fancy going on.

    I will give you my example (with the Attachment A) now:

    I had estimated the taxes owed until my wife showed me a form from an investment in which she made a long-term capital gain (as I had advised her, but forgotten about). OK, I know the rate is 15%. However, when I got into the forms, it got complicated quickly, yet I know it’s all going to wind up adding 15% of the profit on that business to the taxes owed, just in a really roundabout way (the usual).

    I didn’t have all evening – got a blog to write, boy to play foosball with, etc., so I made my own line on the main form, put in 15% x that gain, and then referred any human reader to my Attachment A, which explained that I don’t have time for that shit.

    I do appreciate your concern, Muggles. I have one time gotten a few hundred bucks sent to me by a computer. Twice (the last time with 2 problems), I’ve had a correction letter in which I owed, but it all made sense – I didn’t have an argument with the logic of it. I am NOT spending any more of my life than 2 or 3 hours a year working for free to tell the US Gov’t how much money I owe them.

    PS: I used to do taxes during Superbowl halftime, at the bar nearby. I’d do all calculations with a pen on a napkin, round everything to the nearest 1 or 10 bucks, set my beer on the forms to keep them in place, and get it ready for the mail before the 2nd half. You might say I have an “attitude”. Yes, I sure do.

  96. @Mackerel Sky
    @Achmed E. Newman

    That story was ironic. The kids in the future were thinking about how much "fun" school must have been in the 1950s, whereas readers of the story would be aware that children of that era hated school.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    Nah, I read it as a kid, and I didn’t think of it that way. The irony goes the other way, as kids reading who might complain about school will realize that they might miss spending all day without other people. Just to make sure, I just read the book again here. It’ll take you less than 5 minutes, so let me know what you think.

    Keep in mind, this was way before the PC and wokeness. If you homeschool, you just have to find groups in which the kids get together – science, sports and hour-long recess.

    • Replies: @Mackerel Sky
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Maybe it's just me. I feel like if it isnt read ironically, it doesn't have any punch as a story. As you say, maybe the irony works the other way.

    I hated school, and knew few others who didn't feel the same.

    On the other hand, I got to see my friends and look at the girls, so you may well be right even going by my own miserable experience!

  97. @SafeNow
    A geographical anecdote: Several months ago this Californian had occasion to deal with a small company in a smallish city in Alabama. They worked with me on the phone with proficiency and courtesy, answering my stupid questions and worries with infinite patience. They even picked up the phone on the first or second ring. No “aggressive apathy” as I call it. And these were young people. My conclusion: While the profound shift to untact is largely generational, there are geographical exceptions; and these chunks are all over the place. They are fighting a losing battle. But for now, in the chunks, not just the old, but also the young, are human-contact people.

    Replies: @Paperback Writer

    I had the same experience in Pennsylvania, recently. Both over the phone and personally. Good, salt of the earth people.

  98. S. Korea’s birthrate is something like 0.79 per woman. Just saying.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Paperback Writer


    S. Korea’s birthrate is something like 0.79 per woman.
     
    Well, better than birthing a whole 10 lb baby. Easier on the vagina, I'd guess.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

  99. @Colin Wright
    'Unmanned or hybrid shops are flourishing. Mobile carrier LG Uplus recently opened several untact phone shops, where customers can compare models, sign contracts and receive the latest smartphones without ever having to deal with a real person.'

    Considering some of my interactions with human cell phone salesmen, that sounds pretty appealing.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @James J O'Meara

    I’m sure the basic reason for Amazon’s explosive growth was that, hard as it may be for certain old timers to believe, most of us loved the idea of shopping for books or music without having to deal with bookstore or record store “employees”. I know I did (Amazon Customer since 1995).

  100. Self-paced, i’net-delivered education only works for older kids who are self-motivated. Schools will embrace the hybrid approach.

    • Their budgets don’t get cut.
    • Bullying and illicit romance decreases by a lot.
    • Unionized babysitters like it.
    • Taxpayers are willing to vote for bonds to pay for tech upgrades.

    Results will still suck.

  101. In a way, I find the untact idea appealing. In my work, I meet many, many people, and am expected to treat each with familiarity and friendliness. On top of that I deal with lots of people involved with my family in some way: teachers, parents of my children’s athletic teammates, coaches, home renovation contractors, grocery store cashiers, insurance agents, dentists and dental assistants, physicians and nurses, neighbors, etc. — all of whom I greet and chat with whenever we meet. Too many people, and unfortunately, many of the relationships have begun to feel phony. It has gotten to the point that whenever I meet someone new, I catch myself trying to maintain a distance between us.

    If our purely instrumental relationships can be divested of their human content, then that would probably make us cherish more our relationships established on the basis of empathy, which would be a good thing.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Cato


    Too many people, and unfortunately, many of the relationships have begun to feel phony. It has gotten to the point that whenever I meet someone new, I catch myself trying to maintain a distance between us.
     
    That used to be accomplished through greater formality - the use of titles and family names: Mr., Mrs., etc. I bristle when some teenager behind a counter calls me "Bud".
  102. I think the North Korean ‘never meet anyone else (as a country)’ sounds like a better long-term plan than the South Korean ‘never have to meet anyone else (as individuals)’…

  103. @El Dato
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Many young people I’ve run into seem stressed out just having a simple conversation, especially when I ask too many questions. They figure I should have googled the answer or gone on an app, I guess.
     
    Maybe it's the incessant demands of the always-on terminal in their hand? Fear of Missing Out, gotta view that TikTok clip!

    The push to create contactless services is designed increase productivity and cut bureaucracy
     
    Productivity can't and bureaucracy won't.

    The one thing I remember from contract work (not in Korea but a state org) was phones ringing forever, people checking their mobiles, about three upper-echelon guys for one lone developer and hot ladies cruising the corridors in high boots.

    Bestest moment of last week: Amazon Server Farms Virigina had a little site-down. Oops!

    And now for some maskless fun to spread omicron.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    And now for some maskless fun to spread omicron.

    Preach it, frat brother! Don’t step foot in Omicron House with one of those face diaper thingies on, because the Greeks don’t want no freaks!

    Sorry, the only way to get this song out of my head is to keep embedding it on The Unz Review:

    Gator!!

  104. @Mr. Anon
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Big organizations really don’t want you to waste a live human’s time, so they make it hard to do so.
     
    I recently experienced a new innovation in this regard - when I was able to get through to a human being, after lengthy, tortuous navigation of a phone-tree, the people I talked to wasted my time.

    I was calling Comcast. First I talked to the robot woman that pretends to be a live human. After she asks you a question, they even have a sound-effect of her typing on a keyboard. Really. Who is this fooling? Of course, robot-lady is absolutely worthless, so you stay on the line shouting for an operator or "agent". When they did finally put me through to a real person, it was some variety of foreigner whom I could barely understand, and who was embarrassingly oleaginous and servile. They may as well have said "Yes, effendi, whatever your excellency desires!". When I said thankyou for something, he rushed to add "No, it is I who should be thanking you, sahib! (He didn't actually say "sahib", but he may as well have). He took up most of the time saying how they were pleased to help me, and laboring to answer my question, and dedicated to resolving my problem - all the while, not helping me, answering my question, or resolving my problem. I would rather have talked to an openly hostile American.

    Maybe it's some new customer relations trick to just make those pesky customers go away - repel them with excessive politeness.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    LOL and thanks for that story, Mr. Anon. You read Peak Stupidity, so you have probably read my story about the “Customer Care” people we talked to about a Dell computer. They had such wierd-ass accents, and operated so slowly, that at one point I was sure that we had called some scam number. “You want my wife’s email. You ought to know it. You tell me.”

    It went on for over an hour, and before we sent the computer to Texas, I went to bing maps to look at an aerial view of the address to see if it’s a real place and then still wasn’t sure if we’d ever see the computer again!

    It’s getting pretty bad.

  105. @Paperback Writer
    S. Korea's birthrate is something like 0.79 per woman. Just saying.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    S. Korea’s birthrate is something like 0.79 per woman.

    Well, better than birthing a whole 10 lb baby. Easier on the vagina, I’d guess.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Achmed E. Newman



    S. Korea’s birthrate is something like 0.79 per woman.
     
    Well, better than birthing a whole 10 lb baby. Easier on the vagina, I’d guess.
     
    Crowd-birthing
  106. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Paperback Writer


    S. Korea’s birthrate is something like 0.79 per woman.
     
    Well, better than birthing a whole 10 lb baby. Easier on the vagina, I'd guess.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    S. Korea’s birthrate is something like 0.79 per woman.

    Well, better than birthing a whole 10 lb baby. Easier on the vagina, I’d guess.

    Crowd-birthing

    • LOL: Achmed E. Newman
  107. @Cato
    In a way, I find the untact idea appealing. In my work, I meet many, many people, and am expected to treat each with familiarity and friendliness. On top of that I deal with lots of people involved with my family in some way: teachers, parents of my children's athletic teammates, coaches, home renovation contractors, grocery store cashiers, insurance agents, dentists and dental assistants, physicians and nurses, neighbors, etc. -- all of whom I greet and chat with whenever we meet. Too many people, and unfortunately, many of the relationships have begun to feel phony. It has gotten to the point that whenever I meet someone new, I catch myself trying to maintain a distance between us.

    If our purely instrumental relationships can be divested of their human content, then that would probably make us cherish more our relationships established on the basis of empathy, which would be a good thing.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Too many people, and unfortunately, many of the relationships have begun to feel phony. It has gotten to the point that whenever I meet someone new, I catch myself trying to maintain a distance between us.

    That used to be accomplished through greater formality – the use of titles and family names: Mr., Mrs., etc. I bristle when some teenager behind a counter calls me “Bud”.

  108. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Mackerel Sky

    Nah, I read it as a kid, and I didn't think of it that way. The irony goes the other way, as kids reading who might complain about school will realize that they might miss spending all day without other people. Just to make sure, I just read the book again here. It'll take you less than 5 minutes, so let me know what you think.

    Keep in mind, this was way before the PC and wokeness. If you homeschool, you just have to find groups in which the kids get together - science, sports and hour-long recess.

    Replies: @Mackerel Sky

    Maybe it’s just me. I feel like if it isnt read ironically, it doesn’t have any punch as a story. As you say, maybe the irony works the other way.

    I hated school, and knew few others who didn’t feel the same.

    On the other hand, I got to see my friends and look at the girls, so you may well be right even going by my own miserable experience!

  109. @Buzz Mohawk
    This has been around for a while in one form or another. One major motivation is the lower cost of doing business this way.

    We used to compare it to "brick and mortar." The more you could get away from that, the more money you could save.

    In the mid-1990s, I had a job as a "business development officer" (BDO) for a regional bank. My job was to promote telephone banking across my territory of 220 branches. We had a call center with people in cubicles who could do anything our branch employees could do. The more customers in my region that I could switch to telephone banking, the less we would have to spend on buildings and local staff (and the more I would get paid.)

    Well, it worked. Our operators in their cubicles did a fine job.

    (One of my banks now -- USAA, for military and their families, a great company that is very good at this -- essentially works that way, and I have never met any of their employees in person. They don't even have branches. That truly is "untact.")

    It also didn't work. Our customers were split on it. Very many hated the idea, and they correctly surmised that I/we were just trying to pan them off. It felt impersonal to them.

    This is a generational thing. Younger people now who have grown up with this way of doing things are prime candidates for the very kind of thing I was so kindly pushing 25 years ago.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @john cronk, @epebble

    We don’t have to go far to see the push for contactless economy. Today, I went to local Walmart to buy a few things. There was quite a crowd due to all the Holiday shoppers. But I noticed for the first time how hard Walmart is trying to force customers into using self-checkout and not stand in line for cashiers: they had 3 cashiers and kept the 9 or so remaining counters unused. The self-checkout area has about 20 or so counters. The cashier counters each had about 10 people per line and was barely moving. I was able to use the self-checkout in about 10 minutes are so. The cashier line would have taken at least an hour. Same story (a little less aggressively) at Costco and our grocery store. Self-checkout started before Covid; but I think they are using Covid to push near complete self-checkout culture. I think it will be quite a dramatic cultural change to routinely go out and do shopping without interacting with a human – the entire market becoming one giant vending machine.

    • Thanks: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    @epebble

    We shop a lot at Trader Joe's, and everything they do is human, including all checkouts. It's amazing in today's world, and kind of surprising because Trader's is a place where you will find staff and customers who both fit the liberal, modern stereotypes. Here you might find your checker to be a clear lesbian or gay, but they will check your groceries politely and efficiently, even if you are an evil, White, heterosexual couple like us.

    Somehow, Trader Joe's works -- with old-fashioned, friendly human contact and a small store atmosphere.

    People think it is an expensive or affluent-type store, but my wife figured out how to work it. It actually has very good produce, dairy, breads and other products at better prices than our regional supermarkets. And they check you out in person, efficiently. Our supermarkets are mouth-breathing, retarded, union infestations in comparison, but we still have to go to them for certain items Joe's doesn't carry.

    Then there are the local farms... (Wonderful, but that's another story.)

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Twinkie

    , @Malla
    @epebble


    But I noticed for the first time how hard Walmart is trying to force customers into using self-checkout and not stand in line for cashiers:
     
    In the future they hope they would not have to hire cashiers and customers do their work for free. Would save a lot of money. One time capital investment in machines and less labour costs in the long term. Smart business strategy.
    Just like self filling petrol pumps ( Indian term, "gas stations" for you Yanks) save money by not having to hire staff to fill gasoline. Customers do some of the work, you would have to pay salaries to staff for doing.

    Replies: @epebble

  110. @Twinkie
    @22pp22


    The uppermost ranks of the Ministry of Finance may be recruited straight out of Tokyo University, but at lower levels, Japanese and Korean bureaucrats certainly are not the cream of the crop.
     
    You don’t go straight to the uppermost ranks of any bureaucracy out of college. You are promoted based on seniority and merit (ideally, of course, whereas there is always some varying effect of patronage in reality).

    I can’t speak to your personal anecdotes or experiences, but in general civil service attracts much higher quality university graduates in Japan and South Korea than is the case in the West, particularly the U.S. This is, of course, quite natural, considering that the former are highly statist countries where the civil service have high prestige and wield considerable power.

    Replies: @Johann Ricke, @22pp22

    I can’t speak to your personal anecdotes or experiences, but in general civil service attracts much higher quality university graduates in Japan and South Korea than is the case in the West, particularly the U.S. This is, of course, quite natural, considering that the former are highly statist countries where the civil service have high prestige and wield considerable power.

    It’s possible for highly-capable functionaries to nonetheless be so self-interested as to be impervious to the needs of the people they ride herd over. That is presumably the reason that various Oriental regimes have collapsed and been replaced by others that were, at minimum, better at making war than the ones they replaced.

  111. @Twinkie

    Keemi – a 5G-powered disinfection robot – sprays hand sanitiser, checks body temperature, polices social distancing, and even tells people off for not wearing masks.
     
    Butlerian Jihad coming?

    Sure they will.

    Or at least in the metaverse, every time you demand to talk to the bureaucrat’s supervisor, a new digital supervisory avatar will shuffle in and listen to your complaint until you finally get tired and log off. Or you can keep going forever, hoping to see the ultimate boss avatar. Lots of luck!
     

    You are clearly jaded from dealing with American civil servants and European Beamte. But in East Asia (and Singapore), bureaucrats are generally the cream of the crop intellectually and tend to be very competent. Moreover, in that region, the government tends to have numerous local offices where citizens can have their issues resolved quite promptly.

    Whether government or business, customer service tends to be staffed well, efficient, and generally very helpful in East Asia. Along with such phenomena as urban cores that are safe and inexpensive, convenient, and ubiquitous public transport, this tends to be an aspect of life in the region, about which foreign visitors and expat residents are often amazed. It's not unusual to walk into a local government office without an appointment and have some bureaucratic issue resolved and be able to walk out within half an hour to an hour. Sometimes there are even special hours and counters for the elderly that are given special priorities (a practice which these governments carry over to their embassies in the West).

    Totally unthinkable in America, I know.

    Replies: @SFG, @22pp22, @Colin Wright

    ‘…It’s not unusual to walk into a local government office without an appointment and have some bureaucratic issue resolved and be able to walk out within half an hour to an hour…’

    It has a lot to do with attitude. I remember that when we were leaving Japan, we had some hanging or something that was too long somehow.

    In the end, I think we couldn’t do what we wanted anyway, but the difference from the US was striking. Here, it would have been ‘you can’t take this: sucks for you.’ There, they were trying to think of some way they could resolve our problem.

    That wasn’t unique, either. It happened every time we asked for directions. Our record was seven people standing around — all anxiously conferring about where this place we wanted could be.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Colin Wright

    I think it's how they square the circle of conformity. Both Japanese and Chinese love to have never-ending pseudo-democratic meetings, where everyone can ask questions, but the real purpose of the meeting is actually a very gentle command issuing, with a very thorough check that the command was properly understood. There are a few anecdotes where an American (especially in the postwar reconstruction) sat in one of these meetings and didn't pick up on what was really happening.

    Replies: @Colin Wright, @Wokechoke

    , @Twinkie
    @Colin Wright


    It has a lot to do with attitude... In the end, I think we couldn’t do what we wanted anyway, but the difference from the US was striking. Here, it would have been ‘you can’t take this: sucks for you.’ There, they were trying to think of some way they could resolve our problem.
     
    Yup. I've dealt with the civil services in East Asia and in the U.S. (as well as in Europe and the Middle East) a great deal, for both professional and personal reasons. The differences in "customer service" attitude and competence were just night and day.

    Or take something silly like an issue with your subway fare. I had an issue with my subway card the last time I was in Seoul. I buzzed the customer service button. Within minutes, a subway system employee appeared, apologized for the inconvenience I experienced, resolved the issue, and I was on my merry way. And, mind you, this was not a major subway station. It was at some random out-of-the-way station at the edge of the city.

    Try that in the NYC subway system.

    Replies: @Johann Ricke

  112. @Colin Wright
    @nebulafox

    'Most Chinese do want Taiwan back.'

    Ahem. Most Chinese do want Taiwan 'back.'

    There you go. The Chinese -- and their fanboys -- have auto-hypnotized themselves into a belief that Taiwan was ever fully incorporated into China. The awful truth is that China has no particular claim to it.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @nebulafox, @J.Ross

    Has anyone bothered to ask the Dutch and the Spanish what they think?

    Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan’s Ryukyu Islands almost completely block China’s open access to the Pacific. Without Taiwan, a total blockade is possible. It’s not about the land, it’s about the sea.

    Same with Tibet, which serves as China’s water tower.

    Chinese geopolitics is a stir fry of cockiness, arrogance, and paranoia. Most countries’ are, but with the Chinese, it’s ever so much more so.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Reg Cæsar


    It’s not about the land, it’s about the sea.
     
    There is a reason why the PRC has cozied up to Myanmar. It's on the other side of the Straits of Malacca, a choke point - which we control - through which much of the raw materials, including petroleum, that China needs.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @epebble

  113. South Korea has just solved the problem of the rude black lady at the DMV.

  114. @Clyde
    @Anonymous


    Having driven their fertility rate below 1 child per woman, Koreans now scrambling to find a path towards sub-zero fertility.
     
    Part of the reason for untact is a worker shortage. Or at least a shortage of young people to do common service industry tasks. Such as grilling a hamburger. Untact seems like a formula for less heterosexual sex, less marriage, fewer babies, fewer future workers. During the Vietnam War the Korean sent us 50000 troops who were hardcore. The Vietcong did not want to fight them because these Koreans would match them cruelty for cruelty. 50 years later, when I see Korean men in these K-Pop groups, they all look fem. I am sure these K-Poppers are roughly the same age as the Korean troops in Vietnam.

    On the plus side. Korea seems as strong as ever in electronics and automobiles exports. They seem self-sufficient in rice. They are still bringing in lots of fish to eat. So perhaps this untact stuff is a lot of urban froth and froufrou from the pandemic, with people keeping their distance for health reasons. Imagined or real, or they just imbibe the media narrative.

    Australian automobiles and the Japanese and Korean car models that dominate -- https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/car-insurance/guides/car-buying/best-cars/most-popular-cars-in-australia.html

    Replies: @Ed Case

    Hyundai is a popular car in Australia, look okay too.

    There’s a Caste System in Korea, there’s the white Koreans who own the place and are soft as, and there’s the darker Koreans who do all the manual work.
    We get plenty of those working commercialo tiling contracts in australia, they’re reasonable tilers, very solid workers.

  115. @Kaz
    @neutral

    Cut the dramatics.. The population of Korea has gone from 25M to 50M over the past ~40 years.

    It's not like they need to pack in that many people in that tiny peninsula..

    Same thing about Japan, why are people so worried that a country of a 100mllion might one day stabilize around a more comfortable figure.

    Replies: @Anon, @Bill Jones, @Adept

    Japan is at 125M currently. It’s projected that they hit 100M by about 2060.

    That’s not the problem. The problem is that Japan’s 2060 population is going to be old. Unless things change, nearly 60% of the population by then is going to be over 50 years of age. That’s unprecedented, and is going to be very strange. No country for young men.

    The way I see it, Japan’s top national security and even fiscal priority is in anti-aging and de-aging tech. Or in artificial wombs. Something will need to be done.

    For what it’s worth, projections are that China’s still going to be at 1.33B by 2060, and they have a more balanced population pyramid. I don’t think that their position will weaken quite so much as Japan’s and S.Korea’s, if indeed it weakens at all.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Adept

    China's aging rate is worse than Japan's has ever been. China's working age population will drop by 100 million by 2040 according to the Hoover Institution.

    Replies: @Adept

  116. @Twinkie
    @22pp22


    The uppermost ranks of the Ministry of Finance may be recruited straight out of Tokyo University, but at lower levels, Japanese and Korean bureaucrats certainly are not the cream of the crop.
     
    You don’t go straight to the uppermost ranks of any bureaucracy out of college. You are promoted based on seniority and merit (ideally, of course, whereas there is always some varying effect of patronage in reality).

    I can’t speak to your personal anecdotes or experiences, but in general civil service attracts much higher quality university graduates in Japan and South Korea than is the case in the West, particularly the U.S. This is, of course, quite natural, considering that the former are highly statist countries where the civil service have high prestige and wield considerable power.

    Replies: @Johann Ricke, @22pp22

    When I lived in Japan eighteen years ago, the highest ranks of the bureaucracy were exclusively Todai graduates put on a fast track. Todai functioned like the Ecole Nationale d’Adminstration in France. Many of them did a year at a top UK or US university and then would do things like run a regional tax office. I got to know some when I was an undergraduate.

    There is a huge difference between them and those at the bottom of the pecking order. I used to call Japan the Land of Chotto Dekimasen.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @22pp22

    Your meaning was clear enough but "directly" was a clumsy word choice (and Twinkie is over-interpreting it to mean that you don't know what a career is, which is a condition other than the British version of baseball). Use clearer language next time.

    (A lot of Asians have this positive assertion expectation of people's knowledge, a readiness to see themselves surrounded by complete retards. If you fail to mention that it's Tuesday to an American, he probably won't notice, and certainly won't draw any conclusion from that. An Agarwal will realize that you don't know what the days of the week are and may seek to educate you. A completely avoidable annoyance forced on us by globalization. When immigration is allowed but lower and slower, the newcomer has time and incentive to adjust to the local expectations. Now both sets of expectations are always crashing.)

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @Twinkie
    @22pp22


    There is a huge difference between them and those at the bottom of the pecking order.
     
    Of course there is. The issue here is not one of the differences between the elite and the bottom in Japan (or in East Asia in general), but that of the overall quality of the civil service (top or bottom) compared to their equivalents in the West, particularly the U.S.

    Setting aside the issue of loyalty and patriotism (which is a whole other ball of wax), the highest ranks of the Foreign Service in the U.S. and those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan are fairly comparable in human-intellectual quality. Stereotypically, you find intelligent men (the highest ranks are still men) who are cosmopolitan (you know, the types who know foreign countries well and are Jazz aficionados or something).

    Where you find the big difference is in the quality of the respective civil services at the mid- and low-tier. Japanese and South Korean civil servants at the lower tier may not be Todai or SNU graduates, but they will be reasonably intelligent and personable and will be fairly motivated and capable of resolving bureaucratic issues for the citizenry. In comparison, the lower tier of the civil service in the U.S. is filled with clock-gazers who, frankly, wouldn't be able to hack it in the private sector and would barely qualify for "customer service" jobs.

    Replies: @Anon, @22pp22

  117. @Colin Wright
    @nebulafox

    'Most Chinese do want Taiwan back.'

    Ahem. Most Chinese do want Taiwan 'back.'

    There you go. The Chinese -- and their fanboys -- have auto-hypnotized themselves into a belief that Taiwan was ever fully incorporated into China. The awful truth is that China has no particular claim to it.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @nebulafox, @J.Ross

    Whether it is historically accurate really makes no difference. The salient point is that most mainland Chinese believe that the Taiwanese properly belong with them in a way that most South Koreans have ceased to believe the North Koreans are. Too many times when outsiders analyze China, they tend to ascribe some inscrutable 3,000 year old Asiatic awareness to their political consciousness. But they are just people, like anybody else, with selective memories and emotions rooted in more recent history. To your average Chinese nationalist, the memory of the Treaty of Shimonoseki (which even at the time was far more bitter of a pill than losing to the Europeans, for several reasons) is a lot more relevant than anything about Koxinga, Manchus be damned.

    I’m not saying it is right. I’m saying it is what it is. (Beyond American security concerns, I don’t care. I’m not Chinese, after all.)

  118. @Adept
    @Kaz

    Japan is at 125M currently. It's projected that they hit 100M by about 2060.

    That's not the problem. The problem is that Japan's 2060 population is going to be old. Unless things change, nearly 60% of the population by then is going to be over 50 years of age. That's unprecedented, and is going to be very strange. No country for young men.

    The way I see it, Japan's top national security and even fiscal priority is in anti-aging and de-aging tech. Or in artificial wombs. Something will need to be done.

    For what it's worth, projections are that China's still going to be at 1.33B by 2060, and they have a more balanced population pyramid. I don't think that their position will weaken quite so much as Japan's and S.Korea's, if indeed it weakens at all.

    Replies: @Anon

    China’s aging rate is worse than Japan’s has ever been. China’s working age population will drop by 100 million by 2040 according to the Hoover Institution.

    • Replies: @Adept
    @Anon

    Well, check out the population pyramids that are projected for both nations, circa 2060:

    China - https://www.populationpyramid.net/china/2060/
    Japan - https://www.populationpyramid.net/japan/2060/

    And here's S. Korea - https://www.populationpyramid.net/republic-of-korea/2060/

    China is easily in the best position of the three, as should be trivially obvious.

    China's looking better than almost all European countries, as well. Besides, China is unique among nations in that it likely has the state capacity to increase birthrates.

    Replies: @Anon, @Reg Cæsar, @Erik Sieven

  119. @Muggles
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Therefore, I had a really “spicy” Attachment A last time, in which I just wrote that “this is what I owe, but the forms are too complicated, and you all get paid to figure it out.” with a cussword as I recall. It wasn’t your official Attachment A, just my own one.
     
    As one who has considerable experience in the tax prep field, your plan can and does work on very simple scenarios when 3rd party input (1099s, K-1, W-2s, etc.) are very simple or few.

    Yes the system sucks and when you start moving up economic ladders (plus state taxes in most cases) you will vastly overpay letting some poorly educated, unmotivated IRS drone "figure it out for you." Or their computers.

    The complexity at an individual level is immense. At the business entity level, far worse.

    So if you want to be a generous government tipper (hefty interest/penalties are also levied when you omit something or err) then fine. I don't recommend it for anyone at an iSteve reader IQ level however.

    The IRS is working towards what you suggest, which is what I term the European model. There as in Germany the State will send you an annual bill or refund. They figure they have all data they need to figure what you owe. Deductions are few. If you are more than middle class poor, you might have a paid tax preparer. Or just enjoy those "progressive" tax rates.

    (However other than in the US and in one or two other countries, in Europe you don't pay national income tax on income earned outside of your nation of citizenship. Hence their love of tax havens. Doesn't legally work for US citizens though.)

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @guest007

    In 2019 87% if Americans just used the standard deductions. Anyone using a tax preparation service to take the standard deductions is a fool.
    However, my personal pet peeve about income taxes is the people who brag about their refund. Making an interest free loan to the federal government is nothing to brag about.

    • Replies: @Abolish_public_education
    @guest007

    I knew a salaried worker who bragged, on April 15th, about not having to pay anything. To that nitwit, those monotonically increasing numbers, at the bottom of its weekly paycheck, were random.

    I fill-out my own, unremarkable taxes. My peeve is how many times I have to call up, and how many hours I have to spend on hold, in order to resolve the Dear Taxpayer letters -- their fault -- that come my way.

  120. @JohnnyWalker123
    @Feryl

    Unfortunately. Chinese youth are not much different from here.

    Replies: @Feryl

    I was being facetious. All of the “great” countries have greying population of their original stock. There’s been serious dysgenics going on in virtually every studied country (lower IQ, less physical fitness, poorer social skills) due to immigration patterns, urbanization, more abundant food and medical care, greater tolerance of deviance and unfitness, declining rates of healthy opposite sex relationships/family formation (which selects for pro-social reproduction).

    Ed Dutton says that we’re in for near Idiocracy type future in which self indulgent mutants destroy society from within, as opposed to classic human civilizations in which healthy people band together to fight off outsiders and are at constant risk of losing their territory and women to a stronger nation/ethnic group.

    Buckle up, folks, Gen Z boys have a weaker hand grip than Gen X girls.

  121. Next Step in a trend that has been growing since the World Wide Web or maybe since television came along in which humans are becoming more averse to face to face contact

    Yes but don’t forget, before that was the automobile

  122. @The Wild Geese Howard
    @nebulafox


    Semiconductors. The Taiwanese have the highest quality semiconductor industry the world.
     
    I would add the Taiwanese electronics industry as well.

    Taiwanese brands like Acer, Asus, MSI, etc. produce many, many high-value products that don't suffer the ridiculous markups of products with Dell, HP, or Apple logos on them.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    Taiwan lacks the brand name of Japan or South Korea, but it’s no joke in STEM fields. They produce some seriously impressive stuff: and impressive scientists. That does not translate into armed readiness, of course. Unlike the ROKA, which not only deals with North Koreans instead, but has a very well entenched culture of shame around stuff like draft dodging (just look at what happens to pop stars who try to get out of service in the Korean media), Taiwan has dealt with problems in those areas for decades.

    However, nobody in Taipei or Washington has really prepped seriously for increased pressure from Beijing until recently. It’s a bit late now, especially with the abject rot of America’s navy. I tend to advocate the “sacrifice the empire to save the nation” course in general, of course. But domestic recovery would be a lot easier if we can get some of our supply chains back as we go.

  123. @22pp22
    @Twinkie

    When I lived in Japan eighteen years ago, the highest ranks of the bureaucracy were exclusively Todai graduates put on a fast track. Todai functioned like the Ecole Nationale d'Adminstration in France. Many of them did a year at a top UK or US university and then would do things like run a regional tax office. I got to know some when I was an undergraduate.

    There is a huge difference between them and those at the bottom of the pecking order. I used to call Japan the Land of Chotto Dekimasen.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Twinkie

    Your meaning was clear enough but “directly” was a clumsy word choice (and Twinkie is over-interpreting it to mean that you don’t know what a career is, which is a condition other than the British version of baseball). Use clearer language next time.

    [MORE]

    (A lot of Asians have this positive assertion expectation of people’s knowledge, a readiness to see themselves surrounded by complete retards. If you fail to mention that it’s Tuesday to an American, he probably won’t notice, and certainly won’t draw any conclusion from that. An Agarwal will realize that you don’t know what the days of the week are and may seek to educate you. A completely avoidable annoyance forced on us by globalization. When immigration is allowed but lower and slower, the newcomer has time and incentive to adjust to the local expectations. Now both sets of expectations are always crashing.)

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @J.Ross


    (A lot of Asians have this positive assertion expectation of people’s knowledge, a readiness to see themselves surrounded by complete retards.
     
    Bro, stop with the essentialism already.

    I'm like that, because I am a smart-alec, know-it-all (and a former academic, to boot), not because I am "Asian."

    And your assertion about Asians may be closer to the mark where educationally highly-selected Asian immigrants are concerned, but is completely off kilter about Asians in general (however you mean to define "Asian").

    You don't need me to point out the huge difference in respective verbosity and argumentativeness between, say, Indians and Japanese.

    Replies: @J.Ross

  124. @Colin Wright
    @Twinkie

    '...It’s not unusual to walk into a local government office without an appointment and have some bureaucratic issue resolved and be able to walk out within half an hour to an hour...'

    It has a lot to do with attitude. I remember that when we were leaving Japan, we had some hanging or something that was too long somehow.

    In the end, I think we couldn't do what we wanted anyway, but the difference from the US was striking. Here, it would have been 'you can't take this: sucks for you.' There, they were trying to think of some way they could resolve our problem.

    That wasn't unique, either. It happened every time we asked for directions. Our record was seven people standing around -- all anxiously conferring about where this place we wanted could be.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Twinkie

    I think it’s how they square the circle of conformity. Both Japanese and Chinese love to have never-ending pseudo-democratic meetings, where everyone can ask questions, but the real purpose of the meeting is actually a very gentle command issuing, with a very thorough check that the command was properly understood. There are a few anecdotes where an American (especially in the postwar reconstruction) sat in one of these meetings and didn’t pick up on what was really happening.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    @J.Ross

    'I think it’s how they square the circle of conformity. Both Japanese and Chinese love to have never-ending pseudo-democratic meetings, where everyone can ask questions, but the real purpose of the meeting is actually a very gentle command issuing, with a very thorough check that the command was properly understood. There are a few anecdotes where an American (especially in the postwar reconstruction) sat in one of these meetings and didn’t pick up on what was really happening.'

    Well, I think Japan is a great place, so I'm reluctant to agree with your implied criticism -- but it is true that when the wires get crossed, things go sideways.

    Colin 'I want this' runs into Japanese 'we're going to go pretend there's no disagreement.' It happened once or twice.

    But still. Don't talk shit about Japan. It's very high on my list of 'places I want to visit again.' They're not us -- but that's okay.

    Incidentally, the amusing thing about your example is that it's been pointed out that medieval parliaments weren't evidence of nascent democracy at all. The evidence is that they served to allow the king to say 'I know you all heard me say that and didn't object. You were there.'

    ...sort of like your Asian meeting.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @Wokechoke
    @J.Ross

    The Great Archemedes War, a very neat film from Japan. It’s a series of conference meetings between naval staff arguing about battle ships, aircraft carriers and budgets. Yamamoto is firmly insisting that battleships are obsolete and other admirals firmly insist on funding a superbattleship the Yamato. The Yamato designer insists his ship is cheaper than the aircraft carrier that Yamamoto and Nagumo design. They suspect the Battleship designer is a liar and hire a Tokyo University drop out from the mathematics department to come up with an equation proving the battleship will cost more than 90million yen. It’s highly entertaining stuff. Sounds dry but the film gives you a window into the Japanese soul and their aestheticism. The math Guy is a pacifist but that changes in the course of the film in the most unexpected and shocking way. Should be a cult film.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8708802/

    Replies: @J.Ross

  125. @Colin Wright
    @nebulafox

    'Most Chinese do want Taiwan back.'

    Ahem. Most Chinese do want Taiwan 'back.'

    There you go. The Chinese -- and their fanboys -- have auto-hypnotized themselves into a belief that Taiwan was ever fully incorporated into China. The awful truth is that China has no particular claim to it.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @nebulafox, @J.Ross

    Neither do they have a claim to Vietnamese, Phillipine or Indonesian fish. What they further lack is anyone stopping them.

  126. Clifford Simak wrote City in 1952. His portrayal of our terminal whimper is very haunting. Maybe BLM will save us from euthanizing ourselves by acting as our barbarians and giving us a reason to fight, but compared to barbarians of the 70’s they’re fairly tame, and they’re goals, such as they are, all seem really gay.

    I’ve also been thinking of the “metaverse” as the beginning of Moldbug’s virtual option.

  127. @epebble
    @Buzz Mohawk

    We don't have to go far to see the push for contactless economy. Today, I went to local Walmart to buy a few things. There was quite a crowd due to all the Holiday shoppers. But I noticed for the first time how hard Walmart is trying to force customers into using self-checkout and not stand in line for cashiers: they had 3 cashiers and kept the 9 or so remaining counters unused. The self-checkout area has about 20 or so counters. The cashier counters each had about 10 people per line and was barely moving. I was able to use the self-checkout in about 10 minutes are so. The cashier line would have taken at least an hour. Same story (a little less aggressively) at Costco and our grocery store. Self-checkout started before Covid; but I think they are using Covid to push near complete self-checkout culture. I think it will be quite a dramatic cultural change to routinely go out and do shopping without interacting with a human - the entire market becoming one giant vending machine.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Malla

    We shop a lot at Trader Joe’s, and everything they do is human, including all checkouts. It’s amazing in today’s world, and kind of surprising because Trader’s is a place where you will find staff and customers who both fit the liberal, modern stereotypes. Here you might find your checker to be a clear lesbian or gay, but they will check your groceries politely and efficiently, even if you are an evil, White, heterosexual couple like us.

    Somehow, Trader Joe’s works — with old-fashioned, friendly human contact and a small store atmosphere.

    People think it is an expensive or affluent-type store, but my wife figured out how to work it. It actually has very good produce, dairy, breads and other products at better prices than our regional supermarkets. And they check you out in person, efficiently. Our supermarkets are mouth-breathing, retarded, union infestations in comparison, but we still have to go to them for certain items Joe’s doesn’t carry.

    Then there are the local farms… (Wonderful, but that’s another story.)

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Buzz Mohawk

    All true. If I ever get to move to the country the one reason to periodically visit cities will be Trader Joe's. There are two quibbles: sudden product line death at any time to excellent products lacking decent mainstream analogs, just when you came to depend on that thing, and when the lockdowns were imposed Trader Joe's was the leader in voluntarily enforcing every silly behavior. I remember standing in a slow-moving train of stupidity, aspiring shoppers ten feet apart, no bringing your own bags, for nearly two hours, as masked individuals were admitted one at a time to maintain the occupancy limit of a comically small location where actual distancing would be completely impossible.

    Replies: @Brutusale

    , @Twinkie
    @Buzz Mohawk


    Somehow, Trader Joe’s works — with old-fashioned, friendly human contact and a small store atmosphere.
     
    That's because that's Trader Joe's business model. It wants to present itself as a friendly, corner neighborhood grocery store that stocks some interesting items from elsewhere. Trader Joe's cashiers are encouraged and rewarded for carrying out conversations with the customers. A lot of this, though, is just the facade like their seemingly "indie" products, which are simply large manufacturers' products repackaged.

    It actually has very good produce
     
    My wife and I like TJ's a lot, but we never buy produce there. Invariably, it goes bad earlier than our local grocery store (Wegmans) produce. I suspect it's because TJ has fewer distribution centers and has longer storage/transport time. And as another commenter pointed out, TJ's supply can be very inconsistent. We got addicted to Argentine shrimp (which has a similar taste to Maine lobster) and took to buying a couple of bags a week and then, bam, suddenly they were gone, never to return.

    Interestingly, even though Aldi has the same ownership lineage as Trader Joe's (the Albrecht family of Germany), Aldi has a very different model. Aldi doesn't pretend to be a friendly, corner grocery store. It simply sells certain basics (and unusual, temporary items that are being clearanced at heavy discounts) very inexpensively and doesn't even provide bags or bagging service. Its cashiers are supposed to clear the customers as quickly as possible and pass them along to the self-bagging station nearby.

    Replies: @Barbarossa

  128. Koreans, like almost all Asians, are one of the most masked up and obedient societies with near 100% mask compliance including in gyms while working out. I haven’t seen one anti-scamdemic or anti-mask protest in Korea and get the feeling they will continue complying like sheep until their governments back off, if ever.

  129. @22pp22
    @Twinkie

    When I lived in Japan eighteen years ago, the highest ranks of the bureaucracy were exclusively Todai graduates put on a fast track. Todai functioned like the Ecole Nationale d'Adminstration in France. Many of them did a year at a top UK or US university and then would do things like run a regional tax office. I got to know some when I was an undergraduate.

    There is a huge difference between them and those at the bottom of the pecking order. I used to call Japan the Land of Chotto Dekimasen.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Twinkie

    There is a huge difference between them and those at the bottom of the pecking order.

    Of course there is. The issue here is not one of the differences between the elite and the bottom in Japan (or in East Asia in general), but that of the overall quality of the civil service (top or bottom) compared to their equivalents in the West, particularly the U.S.

    Setting aside the issue of loyalty and patriotism (which is a whole other ball of wax), the highest ranks of the Foreign Service in the U.S. and those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan are fairly comparable in human-intellectual quality. Stereotypically, you find intelligent men (the highest ranks are still men) who are cosmopolitan (you know, the types who know foreign countries well and are Jazz aficionados or something).

    Where you find the big difference is in the quality of the respective civil services at the mid- and low-tier. Japanese and South Korean civil servants at the lower tier may not be Todai or SNU graduates, but they will be reasonably intelligent and personable and will be fairly motivated and capable of resolving bureaucratic issues for the citizenry. In comparison, the lower tier of the civil service in the U.S. is filled with clock-gazers who, frankly, wouldn’t be able to hack it in the private sector and would barely qualify for “customer service” jobs.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Twinkie

    It doesn't matter. South Korea has a substantially lower GDP per capita than the tiny US state of Rhode Island.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    , @22pp22
    @Twinkie

    I have always found the bureaucracy in Australia and New Zealand to be fairly efficient. The problem with Australia is that it is a federal system, which massively increases the amount of bureaucracy. We removed from Queensland to South Australia we had to register and deregister our car. I wouldn't call the process pleasant but what we needed to do was explained clearly and the two girls who dealt with us were polite and competent.

    I am assuming you are a Japanese citizen is which case you have never has the joy of passing through the immigration office. At the local shiyakusho, the staff often wanted to help, but often seemed to feel that they didn't have the freedom to do so.

    The worst thing in New Zealand is the dreadful postal service. It can take ten days for a letter to get across the South Island. It was more efficient a hundred years ago than it is today.

    JR employees can be offensive.

    Replies: @Twinkie

  130. @J.Ross
    @22pp22

    Your meaning was clear enough but "directly" was a clumsy word choice (and Twinkie is over-interpreting it to mean that you don't know what a career is, which is a condition other than the British version of baseball). Use clearer language next time.

    (A lot of Asians have this positive assertion expectation of people's knowledge, a readiness to see themselves surrounded by complete retards. If you fail to mention that it's Tuesday to an American, he probably won't notice, and certainly won't draw any conclusion from that. An Agarwal will realize that you don't know what the days of the week are and may seek to educate you. A completely avoidable annoyance forced on us by globalization. When immigration is allowed but lower and slower, the newcomer has time and incentive to adjust to the local expectations. Now both sets of expectations are always crashing.)

    Replies: @Twinkie

    (A lot of Asians have this positive assertion expectation of people’s knowledge, a readiness to see themselves surrounded by complete retards.

    Bro, stop with the essentialism already.

    I’m like that, because I am a smart-alec, know-it-all (and a former academic, to boot), not because I am “Asian.”

    And your assertion about Asians may be closer to the mark where educationally highly-selected Asian immigrants are concerned, but is completely off kilter about Asians in general (however you mean to define “Asian”).

    You don’t need me to point out the huge difference in respective verbosity and argumentativeness between, say, Indians and Japanese.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Twinkie

    Irrelevant even when right: the point is you knew exactly what he meant. You knew that he knew that twenty-year-olds aren't running the self-defense force. This need to correct leaves a vulnerability because it adds workload without generating results, like when that quiet New Jersey realtor chick tricked the media into telling the truth, or even just by being a kind of informational groundhog malleting.

    Replies: @Twinkie

  131. @Colin Wright
    @Twinkie

    '...It’s not unusual to walk into a local government office without an appointment and have some bureaucratic issue resolved and be able to walk out within half an hour to an hour...'

    It has a lot to do with attitude. I remember that when we were leaving Japan, we had some hanging or something that was too long somehow.

    In the end, I think we couldn't do what we wanted anyway, but the difference from the US was striking. Here, it would have been 'you can't take this: sucks for you.' There, they were trying to think of some way they could resolve our problem.

    That wasn't unique, either. It happened every time we asked for directions. Our record was seven people standing around -- all anxiously conferring about where this place we wanted could be.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Twinkie

    It has a lot to do with attitude… In the end, I think we couldn’t do what we wanted anyway, but the difference from the US was striking. Here, it would have been ‘you can’t take this: sucks for you.’ There, they were trying to think of some way they could resolve our problem.

    Yup. I’ve dealt with the civil services in East Asia and in the U.S. (as well as in Europe and the Middle East) a great deal, for both professional and personal reasons. The differences in “customer service” attitude and competence were just night and day.

    Or take something silly like an issue with your subway fare. I had an issue with my subway card the last time I was in Seoul. I buzzed the customer service button. Within minutes, a subway system employee appeared, apologized for the inconvenience I experienced, resolved the issue, and I was on my merry way. And, mind you, this was not a major subway station. It was at some random out-of-the-way station at the edge of the city.

    Try that in the NYC subway system.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
    @Twinkie


    Or take something silly like an issue with your subway fare. I had an issue with my subway card the last time I was in Seoul. I buzzed the customer service button. Within minutes, a subway system employee appeared, apologized for the inconvenience I experienced, resolved the issue, and I was on my merry way. And, mind you, this was not a major subway station. It was at some random out-of-the-way station at the edge of the city.

    Try that in the NYC subway system.
     
    That's a whole different issue - in the NYC subway, you are dealing with blacks and the bottom-of-the-barrel standards set by blacks, who are the 46% (page 37 at the link) of MTA subway (aka NYCT) employees.

    https://new.mta.info/document/20206

    If you've ever wondered why the NYC subway stinks, wonder no more. It could be worse - think about the possibilities if it were 90% black like the DC subway.

    Replies: @Twinkie

  132. @Twinkie
    @22pp22


    There is a huge difference between them and those at the bottom of the pecking order.
     
    Of course there is. The issue here is not one of the differences between the elite and the bottom in Japan (or in East Asia in general), but that of the overall quality of the civil service (top or bottom) compared to their equivalents in the West, particularly the U.S.

    Setting aside the issue of loyalty and patriotism (which is a whole other ball of wax), the highest ranks of the Foreign Service in the U.S. and those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan are fairly comparable in human-intellectual quality. Stereotypically, you find intelligent men (the highest ranks are still men) who are cosmopolitan (you know, the types who know foreign countries well and are Jazz aficionados or something).

    Where you find the big difference is in the quality of the respective civil services at the mid- and low-tier. Japanese and South Korean civil servants at the lower tier may not be Todai or SNU graduates, but they will be reasonably intelligent and personable and will be fairly motivated and capable of resolving bureaucratic issues for the citizenry. In comparison, the lower tier of the civil service in the U.S. is filled with clock-gazers who, frankly, wouldn't be able to hack it in the private sector and would barely qualify for "customer service" jobs.

    Replies: @Anon, @22pp22

    It doesn’t matter. South Korea has a substantially lower GDP per capita than the tiny US state of Rhode Island.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Anon


    ...the tiny US state of Rhode Island.
     
    Which is even tinier once you exclude Providence Plantations.


    https://img.google-wiki.info/storage/big/437490.jpg

  133. @Twinkie
    @J.Ross


    (A lot of Asians have this positive assertion expectation of people’s knowledge, a readiness to see themselves surrounded by complete retards.
     
    Bro, stop with the essentialism already.

    I'm like that, because I am a smart-alec, know-it-all (and a former academic, to boot), not because I am "Asian."

    And your assertion about Asians may be closer to the mark where educationally highly-selected Asian immigrants are concerned, but is completely off kilter about Asians in general (however you mean to define "Asian").

    You don't need me to point out the huge difference in respective verbosity and argumentativeness between, say, Indians and Japanese.

    Replies: @J.Ross

    Irrelevant even when right: the point is you knew exactly what he meant. You knew that he knew that twenty-year-olds aren’t running the self-defense force. This need to correct leaves a vulnerability because it adds workload without generating results, like when that quiet New Jersey realtor chick tricked the media into telling the truth, or even just by being a kind of informational groundhog malleting.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @J.Ross


    the point is you knew exactly what he meant.
     
    I stopped assuming motives and knowledge levels on the anonymous internet a long time ago.

    Replies: @J.Ross

  134. @Buzz Mohawk
    @epebble

    We shop a lot at Trader Joe's, and everything they do is human, including all checkouts. It's amazing in today's world, and kind of surprising because Trader's is a place where you will find staff and customers who both fit the liberal, modern stereotypes. Here you might find your checker to be a clear lesbian or gay, but they will check your groceries politely and efficiently, even if you are an evil, White, heterosexual couple like us.

    Somehow, Trader Joe's works -- with old-fashioned, friendly human contact and a small store atmosphere.

    People think it is an expensive or affluent-type store, but my wife figured out how to work it. It actually has very good produce, dairy, breads and other products at better prices than our regional supermarkets. And they check you out in person, efficiently. Our supermarkets are mouth-breathing, retarded, union infestations in comparison, but we still have to go to them for certain items Joe's doesn't carry.

    Then there are the local farms... (Wonderful, but that's another story.)

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Twinkie

    All true. If I ever get to move to the country the one reason to periodically visit cities will be Trader Joe’s. There are two quibbles: sudden product line death at any time to excellent products lacking decent mainstream analogs, just when you came to depend on that thing, and when the lockdowns were imposed Trader Joe’s was the leader in voluntarily enforcing every silly behavior. I remember standing in a slow-moving train of stupidity, aspiring shoppers ten feet apart, no bringing your own bags, for nearly two hours, as masked individuals were admitted one at a time to maintain the occupancy limit of a comically small location where actual distancing would be completely impossible.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    @J.Ross

    I love Trader Joe's, but I haven't been back since Covid started. Their store policies when they reopened made the Nazis look like Quakers.

    Replies: @J.Ross

  135. @Twinkie
    @22pp22


    There is a huge difference between them and those at the bottom of the pecking order.
     
    Of course there is. The issue here is not one of the differences between the elite and the bottom in Japan (or in East Asia in general), but that of the overall quality of the civil service (top or bottom) compared to their equivalents in the West, particularly the U.S.

    Setting aside the issue of loyalty and patriotism (which is a whole other ball of wax), the highest ranks of the Foreign Service in the U.S. and those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan are fairly comparable in human-intellectual quality. Stereotypically, you find intelligent men (the highest ranks are still men) who are cosmopolitan (you know, the types who know foreign countries well and are Jazz aficionados or something).

    Where you find the big difference is in the quality of the respective civil services at the mid- and low-tier. Japanese and South Korean civil servants at the lower tier may not be Todai or SNU graduates, but they will be reasonably intelligent and personable and will be fairly motivated and capable of resolving bureaucratic issues for the citizenry. In comparison, the lower tier of the civil service in the U.S. is filled with clock-gazers who, frankly, wouldn't be able to hack it in the private sector and would barely qualify for "customer service" jobs.

    Replies: @Anon, @22pp22

    I have always found the bureaucracy in Australia and New Zealand to be fairly efficient. The problem with Australia is that it is a federal system, which massively increases the amount of bureaucracy. We removed from Queensland to South Australia we had to register and deregister our car. I wouldn’t call the process pleasant but what we needed to do was explained clearly and the two girls who dealt with us were polite and competent.

    I am assuming you are a Japanese citizen is which case you have never has the joy of passing through the immigration office. At the local shiyakusho, the staff often wanted to help, but often seemed to feel that they didn’t have the freedom to do so.

    The worst thing in New Zealand is the dreadful postal service. It can take ten days for a letter to get across the South Island. It was more efficient a hundred years ago than it is today.

    JR employees can be offensive.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @22pp22


    I have always found the bureaucracy in Australia and New Zealand to be fairly efficient.
     
    I don't have much experience in dealing with either, but my limited impression overall of the governments in both countries is very positive. However, they are both small countries, especially New Zealand with something like 5 million. That's not even a large city in East Asia.

    I am assuming you are a Japanese citizen
     
    No. I am a naturalized American, originally from East Asia.

    you have never has the joy of passing through the immigration office.
     
    You think that's bad, you should try what used to be the INS in the U.S. The Japanese immigration office will seem like a model of efficiency and friendliness in comparison.

    There is an additional point I ought to make. So, the civil service in places such as Japan and South Korea is much more service-oriented than that in the U.S. But, in the U.S. while the civil service is completely unresponsive and uncaring, if you could enlist the constituent services of the local congressman or senator, things can get done - that day - magically. Phone calls are picked up immediately, the paperwork is processed that day, documents can be issued that week, and bureaucratic nightmares lasting years can be resolved promptly. In contrast, members of the Diet or the National Assembly in Japan and Korea, respectively, are not nearly as responsive to their constituents' plights in dealings with the civil service. Nor, for that matter, are they as influential in comparison to their equivalents in the U.S.

    Again, the civil service in East Asia is not a joke - either way - and is both more responsive to the citizenry and more powerful (in that "permanent government" way) than its equivalent in the U.S.
  136. @J.Ross
    @Colin Wright

    I think it's how they square the circle of conformity. Both Japanese and Chinese love to have never-ending pseudo-democratic meetings, where everyone can ask questions, but the real purpose of the meeting is actually a very gentle command issuing, with a very thorough check that the command was properly understood. There are a few anecdotes where an American (especially in the postwar reconstruction) sat in one of these meetings and didn't pick up on what was really happening.

    Replies: @Colin Wright, @Wokechoke

    ‘I think it’s how they square the circle of conformity. Both Japanese and Chinese love to have never-ending pseudo-democratic meetings, where everyone can ask questions, but the real purpose of the meeting is actually a very gentle command issuing, with a very thorough check that the command was properly understood. There are a few anecdotes where an American (especially in the postwar reconstruction) sat in one of these meetings and didn’t pick up on what was really happening.’

    Well, I think Japan is a great place, so I’m reluctant to agree with your implied criticism — but it is true that when the wires get crossed, things go sideways.

    Colin ‘I want this’ runs into Japanese ‘we’re going to go pretend there’s no disagreement.’ It happened once or twice.

    But still. Don’t talk shit about Japan. It’s very high on my list of ‘places I want to visit again.’ They’re not us — but that’s okay.

    Incidentally, the amusing thing about your example is that it’s been pointed out that medieval parliaments weren’t evidence of nascent democracy at all. The evidence is that they served to allow the king to say ‘I know you all heard me say that and didn’t object. You were there.’

    …sort of like your Asian meeting.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Colin Wright


    Colin ‘I want this’ runs into Japanese ‘we’re going to go pretend there’s no disagreement.’ It happened once or twice.

    But still. Don’t talk shit about Japan. It’s very high on my list of ‘places I want to visit again.’ They’re not us — but that’s okay.
     
    As should be clear from my comment history, I love my adopted country, the United States. I am willing to die for it.

    But that doesn't mean there aren't "nice" places in other parts of the world or that we shouldn't admire/learn from the best practices of others. Whenever I comment something positive about East Asia (or anywhere else), there is invariably a comment or two (sometimes more) along the lines of "Well, then go back there" or "No, our country does everything better."

    This isn't the 1950's or the 1960's and these people should take their heads out of the sand. A lot of these countries have been improving their countries busily while we have been on "rock and roll and drugs" (and sundry other internal social upheavals) for the past half a century.
  137. @Twinkie
    @Colin Wright


    It has a lot to do with attitude... In the end, I think we couldn’t do what we wanted anyway, but the difference from the US was striking. Here, it would have been ‘you can’t take this: sucks for you.’ There, they were trying to think of some way they could resolve our problem.
     
    Yup. I've dealt with the civil services in East Asia and in the U.S. (as well as in Europe and the Middle East) a great deal, for both professional and personal reasons. The differences in "customer service" attitude and competence were just night and day.

    Or take something silly like an issue with your subway fare. I had an issue with my subway card the last time I was in Seoul. I buzzed the customer service button. Within minutes, a subway system employee appeared, apologized for the inconvenience I experienced, resolved the issue, and I was on my merry way. And, mind you, this was not a major subway station. It was at some random out-of-the-way station at the edge of the city.

    Try that in the NYC subway system.

    Replies: @Johann Ricke

    Or take something silly like an issue with your subway fare. I had an issue with my subway card the last time I was in Seoul. I buzzed the customer service button. Within minutes, a subway system employee appeared, apologized for the inconvenience I experienced, resolved the issue, and I was on my merry way. And, mind you, this was not a major subway station. It was at some random out-of-the-way station at the edge of the city.

    Try that in the NYC subway system.

    That’s a whole different issue – in the NYC subway, you are dealing with blacks and the bottom-of-the-barrel standards set by blacks, who are the 46% (page 37 at the link) of MTA subway (aka NYCT) employees.

    https://new.mta.info/document/20206

    If you’ve ever wondered why the NYC subway stinks, wonder no more. It could be worse – think about the possibilities if it were 90% black like the DC subway.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Johann Ricke


    That’s a whole different issue – in the NYC subway, you are dealing with blacks and the bottom-of-the-barrel standards set by blacks
     
    You don't exactly get friendly or efficient service from non-black MTA employees either.
  138. @Anonymous
    @neutral

    North Korea isn't far behind South Korea. It's an aging decrepit old country and those types of societies don't "resettle" other countries.

    Only youthful, expanding populations can "resettle" others. It is far more likely that the aging North Korean economy will break down and become absorbed by the more dynamic South Korea. The diversity will penetrate in to North Korea and yes the hapless fickle drones of North Korea will accept it just like they accept starvation and abuse from their current overlords.

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

    You may be right. Here’s a useful 2019 analysis of North and South Korean demographics in the event of reunification:

    https://carnegieendowment.org/2021/06/29/how-unification-would-affect-demographics-of-korean-peninsula-pub-84821

  139. @john cronk
    @Buzz Mohawk

    And people are also undoubtedly disillusioned about the fact that USAA instituted overseas transaction fees for withdrawals. Especially disrespectful toward military personnel stationed in foreign countries.

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

    Fuck military personnel stationed in foreign countries. Stop murdering people who pose no threat to us here in the USA, causing hundreds of millions to rightly hate us and want to harm us, and wasting our tax money, you overrated self-important warmongering dimwits.

  140. @22pp22
    @Twinkie

    I have always found the bureaucracy in Australia and New Zealand to be fairly efficient. The problem with Australia is that it is a federal system, which massively increases the amount of bureaucracy. We removed from Queensland to South Australia we had to register and deregister our car. I wouldn't call the process pleasant but what we needed to do was explained clearly and the two girls who dealt with us were polite and competent.

    I am assuming you are a Japanese citizen is which case you have never has the joy of passing through the immigration office. At the local shiyakusho, the staff often wanted to help, but often seemed to feel that they didn't have the freedom to do so.

    The worst thing in New Zealand is the dreadful postal service. It can take ten days for a letter to get across the South Island. It was more efficient a hundred years ago than it is today.

    JR employees can be offensive.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    I have always found the bureaucracy in Australia and New Zealand to be fairly efficient.

    I don’t have much experience in dealing with either, but my limited impression overall of the governments in both countries is very positive. However, they are both small countries, especially New Zealand with something like 5 million. That’s not even a large city in East Asia.

    I am assuming you are a Japanese citizen

    No. I am a naturalized American, originally from East Asia.

    you have never has the joy of passing through the immigration office.

    You think that’s bad, you should try what used to be the INS in the U.S. The Japanese immigration office will seem like a model of efficiency and friendliness in comparison.

    There is an additional point I ought to make. So, the civil service in places such as Japan and South Korea is much more service-oriented than that in the U.S. But, in the U.S. while the civil service is completely unresponsive and uncaring, if you could enlist the constituent services of the local congressman or senator, things can get done – that day – magically. Phone calls are picked up immediately, the paperwork is processed that day, documents can be issued that week, and bureaucratic nightmares lasting years can be resolved promptly. In contrast, members of the Diet or the National Assembly in Japan and Korea, respectively, are not nearly as responsive to their constituents’ plights in dealings with the civil service. Nor, for that matter, are they as influential in comparison to their equivalents in the U.S.

    Again, the civil service in East Asia is not a joke – either way – and is both more responsive to the citizenry and more powerful (in that “permanent government” way) than its equivalent in the U.S.

  141. @Reg Cæsar
    @Colin Wright

    Has anyone bothered to ask the Dutch and the Spanish what they think?


    https://www.taipeitimes.com/images/2017/08/20/P08-170820-NEW%20taiwan%20map.jpg

    Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan's Ryukyu Islands almost completely block China's open access to the Pacific. Without Taiwan, a total blockade is possible. It's not about the land, it's about the sea.

    Same with Tibet, which serves as China's water tower.

    Chinese geopolitics is a stir fry of cockiness, arrogance, and paranoia. Most countries' are, but with the Chinese, it's ever so much more so.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    It’s not about the land, it’s about the sea.

    There is a reason why the PRC has cozied up to Myanmar. It’s on the other side of the Straits of Malacca, a choke point – which we control – through which much of the raw materials, including petroleum, that China needs.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Twinkie

    A few years ago, a couple of Burmese associates of mine invited me to this shindig for foreign investors tapping into the country's national resources. I'd estimate it was maybe 2/3rds mainland Chinese that night, with non-mainlanders being a fair portion of the rest.

    Interestingly, mixed in with the official businessmen, there were a fair amount of independent small-timers looking to strike big: "gold rush" types, really. (Fun guys experienced in the limits of human depravity, chemical and sexual.) This is the sort of thing I really can't envision coming back after COVID, judging from China's external travel policies. Obviously not in Burma given the security implications and China's status in the country after the coup, but I think that's a general trend. What is interesting-and disturbing-is seeing how neatly this overalaps with Davos views on their native peasants. After all, you can't have true diversity if they can... no, wait, something about carbon emissions. Right.

    , @epebble
    @Twinkie

    There is a reason why the PRC has cozied up to Myanmar

    And also Pakistan. They practically own the Gwadar port, right at the mouth of Persian Gulf. If they decide to set up a full fledged base in Gwadar, it is game over for U.S. in Middle-East. It is amazing how quickly they converted Pakistan into a client state a la North Korea. This is after we spent untold Billions (and got killed in return).

  142. @Anon
    @Adept

    China's aging rate is worse than Japan's has ever been. China's working age population will drop by 100 million by 2040 according to the Hoover Institution.

    Replies: @Adept

    Well, check out the population pyramids that are projected for both nations, circa 2060:

    China – https://www.populationpyramid.net/china/2060/
    Japan – https://www.populationpyramid.net/japan/2060/

    And here’s S. Korea – https://www.populationpyramid.net/republic-of-korea/2060/

    China is easily in the best position of the three, as should be trivially obvious.

    China’s looking better than almost all European countries, as well. Besides, China is unique among nations in that it likely has the state capacity to increase birthrates.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Adept

    "Populationpyramid.net's" 2060 projections are not a source.


    https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/asia/article/2180421/worse-japan-how-chinas-looming-demographic-crisis-will


    https://www.hoover.org/research/chinas-demographic-prospects-2040-opportunities-constraints-potential-policy-responses

    If China had "state capacity" to raise its birthrate it likely would have done so by now. They already tried to incentivize births and got the opposite intended effect.

    Replies: @Adept

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Adept


    China’s looking better than almost all European countries, as well.
     
    The non-Han population has doubled from 4% to 8% since Mao. If it doubles twice more, that's a third-- about where non-whites are now in America.

    Besides, China is unique among nations in that it likely has the state capacity to increase birthrates.
     
    From forced abortions to forced pregnancies. Ain't communism wonderful? And an ant-race that puts up with it.

    Replies: @Adept

    , @Erik Sieven
    @Adept

    China is following the path of South Korea, I guess in a few years both will battle to win the world championship of low TFR. The outlier in East Asia in Japan, with a TFR higher than some European countries and even more so than the native population in European countries.

    Replies: @Malla

  143. @Twinkie
    @Reg Cæsar


    It’s not about the land, it’s about the sea.
     
    There is a reason why the PRC has cozied up to Myanmar. It's on the other side of the Straits of Malacca, a choke point - which we control - through which much of the raw materials, including petroleum, that China needs.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @epebble

    A few years ago, a couple of Burmese associates of mine invited me to this shindig for foreign investors tapping into the country’s national resources. I’d estimate it was maybe 2/3rds mainland Chinese that night, with non-mainlanders being a fair portion of the rest.

    Interestingly, mixed in with the official businessmen, there were a fair amount of independent small-timers looking to strike big: “gold rush” types, really. (Fun guys experienced in the limits of human depravity, chemical and sexual.) This is the sort of thing I really can’t envision coming back after COVID, judging from China’s external travel policies. Obviously not in Burma given the security implications and China’s status in the country after the coup, but I think that’s a general trend. What is interesting-and disturbing-is seeing how neatly this overalaps with Davos views on their native peasants. After all, you can’t have true diversity if they can… no, wait, something about carbon emissions. Right.

  144. The singularity has occurred already.

  145. @GeologyAnonMk3
    @nebulafox

    An overlooked part of NK's continued existence is the USA and China both tacitly realizing that having US armored divisions on the literal border of China within once tactical lunge distance to the major shipyards/North Seas Fleet Headquarters at Dailian (sp?) and two tactical lunges to Beijing would probably be too volatile and inflammatory.

    Or at least I tell myself that our leaders agreed to the status quo for reasons like that when I want to believe we aren't run by corrupt clowns. We get all worked up about Taiwan, for... reasons I guess, but the reunification of NK would be a strategic disaster for China. Imagine if the PLA 1st and 5th armored divisions were stationed in Niagara Falls, Ontario. That would be the situation reversed. I think a NK-SK reunification is more likely to trigger the big show with USA and China than Taiwan, personally.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Wokechoke

    Nork is the buffer state. Excellent point.

  146. @J.Ross
    @Colin Wright

    I think it's how they square the circle of conformity. Both Japanese and Chinese love to have never-ending pseudo-democratic meetings, where everyone can ask questions, but the real purpose of the meeting is actually a very gentle command issuing, with a very thorough check that the command was properly understood. There are a few anecdotes where an American (especially in the postwar reconstruction) sat in one of these meetings and didn't pick up on what was really happening.

    Replies: @Colin Wright, @Wokechoke

    The Great Archemedes War, a very neat film from Japan. It’s a series of conference meetings between naval staff arguing about battle ships, aircraft carriers and budgets. Yamamoto is firmly insisting that battleships are obsolete and other admirals firmly insist on funding a superbattleship the Yamato. The Yamato designer insists his ship is cheaper than the aircraft carrier that Yamamoto and Nagumo design. They suspect the Battleship designer is a liar and hire a Tokyo University drop out from the mathematics department to come up with an equation proving the battleship will cost more than 90million yen. It’s highly entertaining stuff. Sounds dry but the film gives you a window into the Japanese soul and their aestheticism. The math Guy is a pacifist but that changes in the course of the film in the most unexpected and shocking way. Should be a cult film.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8708802/

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Wokechoke

    And, as though by a gigantic floating Totoro capable of bombing nighttime Georgian London, my otak' covetousness is fully awakened. I most humbly receive this information.

    Replies: @Wokechoke

  147. @Twinkie
    @Reg Cæsar


    It’s not about the land, it’s about the sea.
     
    There is a reason why the PRC has cozied up to Myanmar. It's on the other side of the Straits of Malacca, a choke point - which we control - through which much of the raw materials, including petroleum, that China needs.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @epebble

    There is a reason why the PRC has cozied up to Myanmar

    And also Pakistan. They practically own the Gwadar port, right at the mouth of Persian Gulf. If they decide to set up a full fledged base in Gwadar, it is game over for U.S. in Middle-East. It is amazing how quickly they converted Pakistan into a client state a la North Korea. This is after we spent untold Billions (and got killed in return).

    • Agree: Twinkie
  148. @guest007
    @Muggles

    In 2019 87% if Americans just used the standard deductions. Anyone using a tax preparation service to take the standard deductions is a fool.
    However, my personal pet peeve about income taxes is the people who brag about their refund. Making an interest free loan to the federal government is nothing to brag about.

    Replies: @Abolish_public_education

    I knew a salaried worker who bragged, on April 15th, about not having to pay anything. To that nitwit, those monotonically increasing numbers, at the bottom of its weekly paycheck, were random.

    I fill-out my own, unremarkable taxes. My peeve is how many times I have to call up, and how many hours I have to spend on hold, in order to resolve the Dear Taxpayer letters — their fault — that come my way.

  149. @Adept
    @Anon

    Well, check out the population pyramids that are projected for both nations, circa 2060:

    China - https://www.populationpyramid.net/china/2060/
    Japan - https://www.populationpyramid.net/japan/2060/

    And here's S. Korea - https://www.populationpyramid.net/republic-of-korea/2060/

    China is easily in the best position of the three, as should be trivially obvious.

    China's looking better than almost all European countries, as well. Besides, China is unique among nations in that it likely has the state capacity to increase birthrates.

    Replies: @Anon, @Reg Cæsar, @Erik Sieven

    “Populationpyramid.net’s” 2060 projections are not a source.

    https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/asia/article/2180421/worse-japan-how-chinas-looming-demographic-crisis-will

    https://www.hoover.org/research/chinas-demographic-prospects-2040-opportunities-constraints-potential-policy-responses

    If China had “state capacity” to raise its birthrate it likely would have done so by now. They already tried to incentivize births and got the opposite intended effect.

    • Replies: @Adept
    @Anon

    ...Imagine sourceposting in 2021...

    Anyway, so click on the link at the bottom of the page, the one called "sources." You'll see that there's a list of sources, and that the two relevant ones in particular are:

    United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision. (Medium variant)

    United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision. (Medium variant)


    As sources go, it's really not unreasonable. It's a damn sight better than an SCMP or Hoover Institute blog post.

    China really is in a much better position than its neighbors -- and indeed is in a better position than almost any developed country. Fearmongering or wishful thinking to the contrary is not warranted.

    Replies: @Anon, @Malla

  150. @J.Ross
    @Twinkie

    Irrelevant even when right: the point is you knew exactly what he meant. You knew that he knew that twenty-year-olds aren't running the self-defense force. This need to correct leaves a vulnerability because it adds workload without generating results, like when that quiet New Jersey realtor chick tricked the media into telling the truth, or even just by being a kind of informational groundhog malleting.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    the point is you knew exactly what he meant.

    I stopped assuming motives and knowledge levels on the anonymous internet a long time ago.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Twinkie

    That's a perfectly reasonable starting point but it doesn't work at this juncture. You know he knew the leadership isn't 20. He used a word sloppily, he didn't doubt that Asians have promotions.

  151. @Johann Ricke
    @Twinkie


    Or take something silly like an issue with your subway fare. I had an issue with my subway card the last time I was in Seoul. I buzzed the customer service button. Within minutes, a subway system employee appeared, apologized for the inconvenience I experienced, resolved the issue, and I was on my merry way. And, mind you, this was not a major subway station. It was at some random out-of-the-way station at the edge of the city.

    Try that in the NYC subway system.
     
    That's a whole different issue - in the NYC subway, you are dealing with blacks and the bottom-of-the-barrel standards set by blacks, who are the 46% (page 37 at the link) of MTA subway (aka NYCT) employees.

    https://new.mta.info/document/20206

    If you've ever wondered why the NYC subway stinks, wonder no more. It could be worse - think about the possibilities if it were 90% black like the DC subway.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    That’s a whole different issue – in the NYC subway, you are dealing with blacks and the bottom-of-the-barrel standards set by blacks

    You don’t exactly get friendly or efficient service from non-black MTA employees either.

  152. @Colin Wright
    @J.Ross

    'I think it’s how they square the circle of conformity. Both Japanese and Chinese love to have never-ending pseudo-democratic meetings, where everyone can ask questions, but the real purpose of the meeting is actually a very gentle command issuing, with a very thorough check that the command was properly understood. There are a few anecdotes where an American (especially in the postwar reconstruction) sat in one of these meetings and didn’t pick up on what was really happening.'

    Well, I think Japan is a great place, so I'm reluctant to agree with your implied criticism -- but it is true that when the wires get crossed, things go sideways.

    Colin 'I want this' runs into Japanese 'we're going to go pretend there's no disagreement.' It happened once or twice.

    But still. Don't talk shit about Japan. It's very high on my list of 'places I want to visit again.' They're not us -- but that's okay.

    Incidentally, the amusing thing about your example is that it's been pointed out that medieval parliaments weren't evidence of nascent democracy at all. The evidence is that they served to allow the king to say 'I know you all heard me say that and didn't object. You were there.'

    ...sort of like your Asian meeting.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    Colin ‘I want this’ runs into Japanese ‘we’re going to go pretend there’s no disagreement.’ It happened once or twice.

    But still. Don’t talk shit about Japan. It’s very high on my list of ‘places I want to visit again.’ They’re not us — but that’s okay.

    As should be clear from my comment history, I love my adopted country, the United States. I am willing to die for it.

    But that doesn’t mean there aren’t “nice” places in other parts of the world or that we shouldn’t admire/learn from the best practices of others. Whenever I comment something positive about East Asia (or anywhere else), there is invariably a comment or two (sometimes more) along the lines of “Well, then go back there” or “No, our country does everything better.”

    This isn’t the 1950’s or the 1960’s and these people should take their heads out of the sand. A lot of these countries have been improving their countries busily while we have been on “rock and roll and drugs” (and sundry other internal social upheavals) for the past half a century.

    • Agree: nebulafox, Colin Wright
  153. @Buzz Mohawk
    @epebble

    We shop a lot at Trader Joe's, and everything they do is human, including all checkouts. It's amazing in today's world, and kind of surprising because Trader's is a place where you will find staff and customers who both fit the liberal, modern stereotypes. Here you might find your checker to be a clear lesbian or gay, but they will check your groceries politely and efficiently, even if you are an evil, White, heterosexual couple like us.

    Somehow, Trader Joe's works -- with old-fashioned, friendly human contact and a small store atmosphere.

    People think it is an expensive or affluent-type store, but my wife figured out how to work it. It actually has very good produce, dairy, breads and other products at better prices than our regional supermarkets. And they check you out in person, efficiently. Our supermarkets are mouth-breathing, retarded, union infestations in comparison, but we still have to go to them for certain items Joe's doesn't carry.

    Then there are the local farms... (Wonderful, but that's another story.)

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Twinkie

    Somehow, Trader Joe’s works — with old-fashioned, friendly human contact and a small store atmosphere.

    That’s because that’s Trader Joe’s business model. It wants to present itself as a friendly, corner neighborhood grocery store that stocks some interesting items from elsewhere. Trader Joe’s cashiers are encouraged and rewarded for carrying out conversations with the customers. A lot of this, though, is just the facade like their seemingly “indie” products, which are simply large manufacturers’ products repackaged.

    It actually has very good produce

    My wife and I like TJ’s a lot, but we never buy produce there. Invariably, it goes bad earlier than our local grocery store (Wegmans) produce. I suspect it’s because TJ has fewer distribution centers and has longer storage/transport time. And as another commenter pointed out, TJ’s supply can be very inconsistent. We got addicted to Argentine shrimp (which has a similar taste to Maine lobster) and took to buying a couple of bags a week and then, bam, suddenly they were gone, never to return.

    Interestingly, even though Aldi has the same ownership lineage as Trader Joe’s (the Albrecht family of Germany), Aldi has a very different model. Aldi doesn’t pretend to be a friendly, corner grocery store. It simply sells certain basics (and unusual, temporary items that are being clearanced at heavy discounts) very inexpensively and doesn’t even provide bags or bagging service. Its cashiers are supposed to clear the customers as quickly as possible and pass them along to the self-bagging station nearby.

    • Replies: @Barbarossa
    @Twinkie


    our local grocery store (Wegmans) produce
     
    We have Wegmans as well and I have to say that it is by far the best grocery store I've ever been to. I actually like their bakery section, which is an accomplishment for a chain.

    I have family from NC who actually make a multi-hour pilgrimage to Wegmans when they come up to visit. It's a good store, but that seems way beyond the pale!
  154. @Twinkie
    @J.Ross


    the point is you knew exactly what he meant.
     
    I stopped assuming motives and knowledge levels on the anonymous internet a long time ago.

    Replies: @J.Ross

    That’s a perfectly reasonable starting point but it doesn’t work at this juncture. You know he knew the leadership isn’t 20. He used a word sloppily, he didn’t doubt that Asians have promotions.

  155. @Adept
    @Anon

    Well, check out the population pyramids that are projected for both nations, circa 2060:

    China - https://www.populationpyramid.net/china/2060/
    Japan - https://www.populationpyramid.net/japan/2060/

    And here's S. Korea - https://www.populationpyramid.net/republic-of-korea/2060/

    China is easily in the best position of the three, as should be trivially obvious.

    China's looking better than almost all European countries, as well. Besides, China is unique among nations in that it likely has the state capacity to increase birthrates.

    Replies: @Anon, @Reg Cæsar, @Erik Sieven

    China’s looking better than almost all European countries, as well.

    The non-Han population has doubled from 4% to 8% since Mao. If it doubles twice more, that’s a third– about where non-whites are now in America.

    Besides, China is unique among nations in that it likely has the state capacity to increase birthrates.

    From forced abortions to forced pregnancies. Ain’t communism wonderful? And an ant-race that puts up with it.

    • Replies: @Adept
    @Reg Cæsar


    The non-Han population has doubled from 4% to 8% since Mao. If it doubles twice more, that’s a third– about where non-whites are now in America.

     

    That's a big if.

    Besides, China's minorities are hardly distinguishable from the Han. It's true that the Hui are Muslim -- but, almost unique among Muslim groups, they are relatively sedate and amiable. Many of the other large minority groups, like the Manchus, are fully assimilated for all practical intents and purposes, especially their younger generations.

    And I suppose the bottom line is that these are all E.Asian populations that are indigenous to the region and have coexisted -- or, at least, have lived in some degree of proximity -- for a very long time.

    This is not quite the same thing as Miguel coming up the border from Mexico, or Jean hitching a ride to the US from Haiti.
  156. @Anon
    @Twinkie

    It doesn't matter. South Korea has a substantially lower GDP per capita than the tiny US state of Rhode Island.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    …the tiny US state of Rhode Island.

    Which is even tinier once you exclude Providence Plantations.

  157. @Wokechoke
    @J.Ross

    The Great Archemedes War, a very neat film from Japan. It’s a series of conference meetings between naval staff arguing about battle ships, aircraft carriers and budgets. Yamamoto is firmly insisting that battleships are obsolete and other admirals firmly insist on funding a superbattleship the Yamato. The Yamato designer insists his ship is cheaper than the aircraft carrier that Yamamoto and Nagumo design. They suspect the Battleship designer is a liar and hire a Tokyo University drop out from the mathematics department to come up with an equation proving the battleship will cost more than 90million yen. It’s highly entertaining stuff. Sounds dry but the film gives you a window into the Japanese soul and their aestheticism. The math Guy is a pacifist but that changes in the course of the film in the most unexpected and shocking way. Should be a cult film.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8708802/

    Replies: @J.Ross

    And, as though by a gigantic floating Totoro capable of bombing nighttime Georgian London, my otak’ covetousness is fully awakened. I most humbly receive this information.

    • Replies: @Wokechoke
    @J.Ross

    A pity white men ever had to fight and defeat these amazing people. The final conference show down is thrilling management seminar stuff capped off by unadulterated terror.

    Replies: @J.Ross

  158. @Anon
    @Adept

    "Populationpyramid.net's" 2060 projections are not a source.


    https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/asia/article/2180421/worse-japan-how-chinas-looming-demographic-crisis-will


    https://www.hoover.org/research/chinas-demographic-prospects-2040-opportunities-constraints-potential-policy-responses

    If China had "state capacity" to raise its birthrate it likely would have done so by now. They already tried to incentivize births and got the opposite intended effect.

    Replies: @Adept

    …Imagine sourceposting in 2021…

    Anyway, so click on the link at the bottom of the page, the one called “sources.” You’ll see that there’s a list of sources, and that the two relevant ones in particular are:

    United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision. (Medium variant)

    United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision. (Medium variant)

    As sources go, it’s really not unreasonable. It’s a damn sight better than an SCMP or Hoover Institute blog post.

    China really is in a much better position than its neighbors — and indeed is in a better position than almost any developed country. Fearmongering or wishful thinking to the contrary is not warranted.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Adept

    Again, those are not sources but references. Show the actual projection data from the UN, not a reference. PopulationPyramid is not a source.


    And you still haven't posted what the actual population pyramid of China 2020 looks like.

    Replies: @Adept

    , @Malla
    @Adept

    Agreed. As automation increases, there will be less need of people anyways. China will still be Chinese (Han + minorities) with a smaller but richer population while the Western World will turn into a Balkan like war zone or even worse, a Brazil-India like mixed race melting pot with lowered average IQ and Rio-Mumbai like cities (Rich Villas surrounded with slums and gangs) . And maybe even a caste system. An high IQ light brown elite ruling over a low IQ darkish population.
    The Chinese Government will never allow that to happen in China. As the Western World slowly turns third world, advanced civilization will survive only in East Asia and Eastern Europe.With time the population will stabilize at a lower level but will still be White or Yellow and high IQ and surrounded by robots doing a lot of the work,.

    Replies: @Anon

  159. @Reg Cæsar
    @Adept


    China’s looking better than almost all European countries, as well.
     
    The non-Han population has doubled from 4% to 8% since Mao. If it doubles twice more, that's a third-- about where non-whites are now in America.

    Besides, China is unique among nations in that it likely has the state capacity to increase birthrates.
     
    From forced abortions to forced pregnancies. Ain't communism wonderful? And an ant-race that puts up with it.

    Replies: @Adept

    The non-Han population has doubled from 4% to 8% since Mao. If it doubles twice more, that’s a third– about where non-whites are now in America.

    That’s a big if.

    Besides, China’s minorities are hardly distinguishable from the Han. It’s true that the Hui are Muslim — but, almost unique among Muslim groups, they are relatively sedate and amiable. Many of the other large minority groups, like the Manchus, are fully assimilated for all practical intents and purposes, especially their younger generations.

    And I suppose the bottom line is that these are all E.Asian populations that are indigenous to the region and have coexisted — or, at least, have lived in some degree of proximity — for a very long time.

    This is not quite the same thing as Miguel coming up the border from Mexico, or Jean hitching a ride to the US from Haiti.

  160. @Adept
    @Anon

    ...Imagine sourceposting in 2021...

    Anyway, so click on the link at the bottom of the page, the one called "sources." You'll see that there's a list of sources, and that the two relevant ones in particular are:

    United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision. (Medium variant)

    United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision. (Medium variant)


    As sources go, it's really not unreasonable. It's a damn sight better than an SCMP or Hoover Institute blog post.

    China really is in a much better position than its neighbors -- and indeed is in a better position than almost any developed country. Fearmongering or wishful thinking to the contrary is not warranted.

    Replies: @Anon, @Malla

    Again, those are not sources but references. Show the actual projection data from the UN, not a reference. PopulationPyramid is not a source.

    And you still haven’t posted what the actual population pyramid of China 2020 looks like.

    • Replies: @Adept
    @Anon


    B-but that's not a source!

     

    Those are sources, because the population pyramids on that site were built from data from the UN's "World Population Prospects" dataset.

    If you want the raw data, just Google it. There's a UN site that has all of it, and you can download it in raw form if you like.

    So here's a false notion, and one which I've only seen espoused by the extremely suggestable and low-IQ: That China is collapsing but every other nation is fine. If anything the opposite is true. China's population statistics are decent, and Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, etc. are doing much more poorly. China also has a very deep population reservoir, so it can sustain poor trends for a longer period of time.

    Here's another source for you: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/field/birth-rate/country-comparison

    Not only is it illustrative to compare China with its geographical neighbors -- who are on the very bottom of the list -- but it's also worth highlighting the close proximity between China and the USA on that same list. If the CIA is correct, it seems that the birthrate in China is as high as -- or higher than -- the white American birthrate. (Which is 20% lower than the Hispanic American birthrate, which population also skews much younger, and 10% lower than the black birthrate.)

    B-but they're gonna collapse any day now.
     
    Yeah, any day now, Gordon Chang.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Anonymous

  161. @J.Ross
    @Wokechoke

    And, as though by a gigantic floating Totoro capable of bombing nighttime Georgian London, my otak' covetousness is fully awakened. I most humbly receive this information.

    Replies: @Wokechoke

    A pity white men ever had to fight and defeat these amazing people. The final conference show down is thrilling management seminar stuff capped off by unadulterated terror.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Wokechoke

    Have you seen Noises Off? Not in the same ベースボール park, but one of those really good little movies which was somehow forgotten.

  162. @epebble
    @Buzz Mohawk

    We don't have to go far to see the push for contactless economy. Today, I went to local Walmart to buy a few things. There was quite a crowd due to all the Holiday shoppers. But I noticed for the first time how hard Walmart is trying to force customers into using self-checkout and not stand in line for cashiers: they had 3 cashiers and kept the 9 or so remaining counters unused. The self-checkout area has about 20 or so counters. The cashier counters each had about 10 people per line and was barely moving. I was able to use the self-checkout in about 10 minutes are so. The cashier line would have taken at least an hour. Same story (a little less aggressively) at Costco and our grocery store. Self-checkout started before Covid; but I think they are using Covid to push near complete self-checkout culture. I think it will be quite a dramatic cultural change to routinely go out and do shopping without interacting with a human - the entire market becoming one giant vending machine.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Malla

    But I noticed for the first time how hard Walmart is trying to force customers into using self-checkout and not stand in line for cashiers:

    In the future they hope they would not have to hire cashiers and customers do their work for free. Would save a lot of money. One time capital investment in machines and less labour costs in the long term. Smart business strategy.
    Just like self filling petrol pumps ( Indian term, “gas stations” for you Yanks) save money by not having to hire staff to fill gasoline. Customers do some of the work, you would have to pay salaries to staff for doing.

    • Replies: @epebble
    @Malla

    U.S. has been having Self-Service gas stations as long as I have been driving. The exceptions being Oregon where I live and New Jersey. When I first moved to Oregon, it felt strange to sit in the car and have someone else push buttons and fill your car. Now, when I drive across the river to Washington sometimes, it takes me a while to realize nobody will come and fill your car.

  163. @Adept
    @Anon

    ...Imagine sourceposting in 2021...

    Anyway, so click on the link at the bottom of the page, the one called "sources." You'll see that there's a list of sources, and that the two relevant ones in particular are:

    United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision. (Medium variant)

    United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision. (Medium variant)


    As sources go, it's really not unreasonable. It's a damn sight better than an SCMP or Hoover Institute blog post.

    China really is in a much better position than its neighbors -- and indeed is in a better position than almost any developed country. Fearmongering or wishful thinking to the contrary is not warranted.

    Replies: @Anon, @Malla

    Agreed. As automation increases, there will be less need of people anyways. China will still be Chinese (Han + minorities) with a smaller but richer population while the Western World will turn into a Balkan like war zone or even worse, a Brazil-India like mixed race melting pot with lowered average IQ and Rio-Mumbai like cities (Rich Villas surrounded with slums and gangs) . And maybe even a caste system. An high IQ light brown elite ruling over a low IQ darkish population.
    The Chinese Government will never allow that to happen in China. As the Western World slowly turns third world, advanced civilization will survive only in East Asia and Eastern Europe.With time the population will stabilize at a lower level but will still be White or Yellow and high IQ and surrounded by robots doing a lot of the work,.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Malla

    But robots do absolutely nothing to compensate for the financial consequences of population decline. The biggest problem that comes from population decline is not a shortage of workers, but a shortage of debtors. Fewer people with fewer children = fewer debtors. The world economy runs on finance not industry. Consumer finance, government spending, and media are together a much bigger sector of contemporary economies than industry is. Robots don't spend money on anything, don't watch movies and don't buy stocks.

    US economy just keeps on winning with diversity!

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Malla

  164. Anon[118] • Disclaimer says:
    @Malla
    @Adept

    Agreed. As automation increases, there will be less need of people anyways. China will still be Chinese (Han + minorities) with a smaller but richer population while the Western World will turn into a Balkan like war zone or even worse, a Brazil-India like mixed race melting pot with lowered average IQ and Rio-Mumbai like cities (Rich Villas surrounded with slums and gangs) . And maybe even a caste system. An high IQ light brown elite ruling over a low IQ darkish population.
    The Chinese Government will never allow that to happen in China. As the Western World slowly turns third world, advanced civilization will survive only in East Asia and Eastern Europe.With time the population will stabilize at a lower level but will still be White or Yellow and high IQ and surrounded by robots doing a lot of the work,.

    Replies: @Anon

    But robots do absolutely nothing to compensate for the financial consequences of population decline. The biggest problem that comes from population decline is not a shortage of workers, but a shortage of debtors. Fewer people with fewer children = fewer debtors. The world economy runs on finance not industry. Consumer finance, government spending, and media are together a much bigger sector of contemporary economies than industry is. Robots don’t spend money on anything, don’t watch movies and don’t buy stocks.

    US economy just keeps on winning with diversity!

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Anon

    And there you go just having to ask why Glycon's mouth moves with the priest's lips.

    , @Malla
    @Anon

    Thanks, did not think of that point. But in the long term, it will be a disaster as the US becomes more low IQ, more low trust and more third World.

  165. @Anon
    @Adept

    Again, those are not sources but references. Show the actual projection data from the UN, not a reference. PopulationPyramid is not a source.


    And you still haven't posted what the actual population pyramid of China 2020 looks like.

    Replies: @Adept

    B-but that’s not a source!

    Those are sources, because the population pyramids on that site were built from data from the UN’s “World Population Prospects” dataset.

    If you want the raw data, just Google it. There’s a UN site that has all of it, and you can download it in raw form if you like.

    So here’s a false notion, and one which I’ve only seen espoused by the extremely suggestable and low-IQ: That China is collapsing but every other nation is fine. If anything the opposite is true. China’s population statistics are decent, and Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, etc. are doing much more poorly. China also has a very deep population reservoir, so it can sustain poor trends for a longer period of time.

    Here’s another source for you: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/field/birth-rate/country-comparison

    Not only is it illustrative to compare China with its geographical neighbors — who are on the very bottom of the list — but it’s also worth highlighting the close proximity between China and the USA on that same list. If the CIA is correct, it seems that the birthrate in China is as high as — or higher than — the white American birthrate. (Which is 20% lower than the Hispanic American birthrate, which population also skews much younger, and 10% lower than the black birthrate.)

    B-but they’re gonna collapse any day now.

    Yeah, any day now, Gordon Chang.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Adept

    I'm not sure how much the CCP's pro-natalist policies are going to work, long-term. Overall, the only developed nation to transcend the birthrate issue is Israel, and they have a bunch of factors going for them that just aren't reproducible, nor are worth reproducing. Does anybody really want the impetus for population growth to be a baby arms race?

    But TBH, I don't think it'll matter as much as people think, especially as jobs continue to disappear. Japan and South Korea are going down the robots route. The PRC will probably do the same. Once young people have money and are able to have lives again, they'll form families. Even if the nation is smaller and less crowded, they won't go away.

    >Yeah, any day now, Gordon Chang.

    People don't serve America well by refusing to acknowledge reality. China is not going away. Really, in terms of the broader scope of human history, we've gotten back to "normal" insofar as China is a predominant power in world affairs. And I say this as someone who does believe that the PRC's strategic position isn't as strong as it appears on first glance. (Albeit their internal problems are paltry compared to what the US is up against, and they do have leadership who-whatever else you can say about them-are willing to actually attack those problems.)

    Replies: @Anon

    , @Anonymous
    @Adept

    Haha, who said anything about China collapsing? Seems like somebody is paranoid. You have repeatedly failed to provide a source for China's actual population pyramid and your CIA data is in fact incorrect, because they got it from a lying source.

    https://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20210513-china-s-population-puzzle-was-the-latest-census-cooked

    Replies: @Adept

  166. @Adept
    @Anon


    B-but that's not a source!

     

    Those are sources, because the population pyramids on that site were built from data from the UN's "World Population Prospects" dataset.

    If you want the raw data, just Google it. There's a UN site that has all of it, and you can download it in raw form if you like.

    So here's a false notion, and one which I've only seen espoused by the extremely suggestable and low-IQ: That China is collapsing but every other nation is fine. If anything the opposite is true. China's population statistics are decent, and Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, etc. are doing much more poorly. China also has a very deep population reservoir, so it can sustain poor trends for a longer period of time.

    Here's another source for you: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/field/birth-rate/country-comparison

    Not only is it illustrative to compare China with its geographical neighbors -- who are on the very bottom of the list -- but it's also worth highlighting the close proximity between China and the USA on that same list. If the CIA is correct, it seems that the birthrate in China is as high as -- or higher than -- the white American birthrate. (Which is 20% lower than the Hispanic American birthrate, which population also skews much younger, and 10% lower than the black birthrate.)

    B-but they're gonna collapse any day now.
     
    Yeah, any day now, Gordon Chang.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Anonymous

    I’m not sure how much the CCP’s pro-natalist policies are going to work, long-term. Overall, the only developed nation to transcend the birthrate issue is Israel, and they have a bunch of factors going for them that just aren’t reproducible, nor are worth reproducing. Does anybody really want the impetus for population growth to be a baby arms race?

    But TBH, I don’t think it’ll matter as much as people think, especially as jobs continue to disappear. Japan and South Korea are going down the robots route. The PRC will probably do the same. Once young people have money and are able to have lives again, they’ll form families. Even if the nation is smaller and less crowded, they won’t go away.

    >Yeah, any day now, Gordon Chang.

    People don’t serve America well by refusing to acknowledge reality. China is not going away. Really, in terms of the broader scope of human history, we’ve gotten back to “normal” insofar as China is a predominant power in world affairs. And I say this as someone who does believe that the PRC’s strategic position isn’t as strong as it appears on first glance. (Albeit their internal problems are paltry compared to what the US is up against, and they do have leadership who-whatever else you can say about them-are willing to actually attack those problems.)

    • Replies: @Anon
    @nebulafox


    China is not going away
     
    The news media is implying that China is going away as its embargo backfires and its largest creditors default, however, would just like to remind everyone that nobody in this thread said that to you. So CCP shills can restrain themselves from jumping the gun about that (I know it causes you grief)
  167. @Malla
    @epebble


    But I noticed for the first time how hard Walmart is trying to force customers into using self-checkout and not stand in line for cashiers:
     
    In the future they hope they would not have to hire cashiers and customers do their work for free. Would save a lot of money. One time capital investment in machines and less labour costs in the long term. Smart business strategy.
    Just like self filling petrol pumps ( Indian term, "gas stations" for you Yanks) save money by not having to hire staff to fill gasoline. Customers do some of the work, you would have to pay salaries to staff for doing.

    Replies: @epebble

    U.S. has been having Self-Service gas stations as long as I have been driving. The exceptions being Oregon where I live and New Jersey. When I first moved to Oregon, it felt strange to sit in the car and have someone else push buttons and fill your car. Now, when I drive across the river to Washington sometimes, it takes me a while to realize nobody will come and fill your car.

    • Thanks: Malla
  168. @Adept
    @Anon


    B-but that's not a source!

     

    Those are sources, because the population pyramids on that site were built from data from the UN's "World Population Prospects" dataset.

    If you want the raw data, just Google it. There's a UN site that has all of it, and you can download it in raw form if you like.

    So here's a false notion, and one which I've only seen espoused by the extremely suggestable and low-IQ: That China is collapsing but every other nation is fine. If anything the opposite is true. China's population statistics are decent, and Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, etc. are doing much more poorly. China also has a very deep population reservoir, so it can sustain poor trends for a longer period of time.

    Here's another source for you: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/field/birth-rate/country-comparison

    Not only is it illustrative to compare China with its geographical neighbors -- who are on the very bottom of the list -- but it's also worth highlighting the close proximity between China and the USA on that same list. If the CIA is correct, it seems that the birthrate in China is as high as -- or higher than -- the white American birthrate. (Which is 20% lower than the Hispanic American birthrate, which population also skews much younger, and 10% lower than the black birthrate.)

    B-but they're gonna collapse any day now.
     
    Yeah, any day now, Gordon Chang.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Anonymous

    Haha, who said anything about China collapsing? Seems like somebody is paranoid. You have repeatedly failed to provide a source for China’s actual population pyramid and your CIA data is in fact incorrect, because they got it from a lying source.

    https://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20210513-china-s-population-puzzle-was-the-latest-census-cooked

    • Replies: @Adept
    @Anonymous


    You have repeatedly failed to provide a source for China’s actual population pyramid
     
    You're apparently can't read. I told you where the data came from, and I'm not here to spoonfeed you.

    And that article you've posted, citing research from a Chinese defector who now works at a US university, is itself hardly credible.

    The Worldbank has China's TFR at nearly 1.7, which is higher than Japan's and nearly double S. Korea's: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?locations=CN-KR-JP

    The UN, the CIA, and the Worldbank could all be wrong, sure. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest; in fact, I expect that they are wrong.

    ...But, even so, it's very foolish to assume that China is somehow in a uniquely bad position. China is by all accounts doing much better than its neighbors. (And virtually all European countries. And the USA, for Chinese TFR may very well be higher than the white American TFR -- and aren't roughly half of all births in the US now to racial minorities?) If China's TFR is 25% lower than all of those estimates, it's still far higher than S.Korea's and not far from Japan's, with a much larger and younger population than Japan.

    So, to sum up, China's position is at least decent, and may even be advantageous.

    Replies: @Anonymous

  169. Anon[266] • Disclaimer says:
    @nebulafox
    @Adept

    I'm not sure how much the CCP's pro-natalist policies are going to work, long-term. Overall, the only developed nation to transcend the birthrate issue is Israel, and they have a bunch of factors going for them that just aren't reproducible, nor are worth reproducing. Does anybody really want the impetus for population growth to be a baby arms race?

    But TBH, I don't think it'll matter as much as people think, especially as jobs continue to disappear. Japan and South Korea are going down the robots route. The PRC will probably do the same. Once young people have money and are able to have lives again, they'll form families. Even if the nation is smaller and less crowded, they won't go away.

    >Yeah, any day now, Gordon Chang.

    People don't serve America well by refusing to acknowledge reality. China is not going away. Really, in terms of the broader scope of human history, we've gotten back to "normal" insofar as China is a predominant power in world affairs. And I say this as someone who does believe that the PRC's strategic position isn't as strong as it appears on first glance. (Albeit their internal problems are paltry compared to what the US is up against, and they do have leadership who-whatever else you can say about them-are willing to actually attack those problems.)

    Replies: @Anon

    China is not going away

    The news media is implying that China is going away as its embargo backfires and its largest creditors default, however, would just like to remind everyone that nobody in this thread said that to you. So CCP shills can restrain themselves from jumping the gun about that (I know it causes you grief)

  170. @Wokechoke
    @J.Ross

    A pity white men ever had to fight and defeat these amazing people. The final conference show down is thrilling management seminar stuff capped off by unadulterated terror.

    Replies: @J.Ross

    Have you seen Noises Off? Not in the same ベースボール park, but one of those really good little movies which was somehow forgotten.

  171. @Anon
    @Malla

    But robots do absolutely nothing to compensate for the financial consequences of population decline. The biggest problem that comes from population decline is not a shortage of workers, but a shortage of debtors. Fewer people with fewer children = fewer debtors. The world economy runs on finance not industry. Consumer finance, government spending, and media are together a much bigger sector of contemporary economies than industry is. Robots don't spend money on anything, don't watch movies and don't buy stocks.

    US economy just keeps on winning with diversity!

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Malla

    And there you go just having to ask why Glycon’s mouth moves with the priest’s lips.

  172. @Anon
    @Malla

    But robots do absolutely nothing to compensate for the financial consequences of population decline. The biggest problem that comes from population decline is not a shortage of workers, but a shortage of debtors. Fewer people with fewer children = fewer debtors. The world economy runs on finance not industry. Consumer finance, government spending, and media are together a much bigger sector of contemporary economies than industry is. Robots don't spend money on anything, don't watch movies and don't buy stocks.

    US economy just keeps on winning with diversity!

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Malla

    Thanks, did not think of that point. But in the long term, it will be a disaster as the US becomes more low IQ, more low trust and more third World.

  173. @Twinkie
    @Buzz Mohawk


    Somehow, Trader Joe’s works — with old-fashioned, friendly human contact and a small store atmosphere.
     
    That's because that's Trader Joe's business model. It wants to present itself as a friendly, corner neighborhood grocery store that stocks some interesting items from elsewhere. Trader Joe's cashiers are encouraged and rewarded for carrying out conversations with the customers. A lot of this, though, is just the facade like their seemingly "indie" products, which are simply large manufacturers' products repackaged.

    It actually has very good produce
     
    My wife and I like TJ's a lot, but we never buy produce there. Invariably, it goes bad earlier than our local grocery store (Wegmans) produce. I suspect it's because TJ has fewer distribution centers and has longer storage/transport time. And as another commenter pointed out, TJ's supply can be very inconsistent. We got addicted to Argentine shrimp (which has a similar taste to Maine lobster) and took to buying a couple of bags a week and then, bam, suddenly they were gone, never to return.

    Interestingly, even though Aldi has the same ownership lineage as Trader Joe's (the Albrecht family of Germany), Aldi has a very different model. Aldi doesn't pretend to be a friendly, corner grocery store. It simply sells certain basics (and unusual, temporary items that are being clearanced at heavy discounts) very inexpensively and doesn't even provide bags or bagging service. Its cashiers are supposed to clear the customers as quickly as possible and pass them along to the self-bagging station nearby.

    Replies: @Barbarossa

    our local grocery store (Wegmans) produce

    We have Wegmans as well and I have to say that it is by far the best grocery store I’ve ever been to. I actually like their bakery section, which is an accomplishment for a chain.

    I have family from NC who actually make a multi-hour pilgrimage to Wegmans when they come up to visit. It’s a good store, but that seems way beyond the pale!

    • Agree: Twinkie
  174. @Adept
    @Anon

    Well, check out the population pyramids that are projected for both nations, circa 2060:

    China - https://www.populationpyramid.net/china/2060/
    Japan - https://www.populationpyramid.net/japan/2060/

    And here's S. Korea - https://www.populationpyramid.net/republic-of-korea/2060/

    China is easily in the best position of the three, as should be trivially obvious.

    China's looking better than almost all European countries, as well. Besides, China is unique among nations in that it likely has the state capacity to increase birthrates.

    Replies: @Anon, @Reg Cæsar, @Erik Sieven

    China is following the path of South Korea, I guess in a few years both will battle to win the world championship of low TFR. The outlier in East Asia in Japan, with a TFR higher than some European countries and even more so than the native population in European countries.

    • Replies: @Malla
    @Erik Sieven

    What is the TFR situation in Taiwan? I think Singapore has a major demographic problem too, below 1 child per woman. I wonder what is the ethnic breakup. Do Chinese Singaporean women have a lower TFR than Malays and Indians. The Tamils, who are the dominant Indian group in Singapore are also seeing their fertility rate slip below 2/woman, in their Southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu and are now below replacement levels. Their Sinhalese enemies in Sri Lanka have slipped below replacement levels too.
    In Confucius societies there is a lot of pressure to have a great career before you can get a wife because of yuchus (status) craze. Also to provide for parents and grand parents. That along with extremely high cost of housing pushes family formation behind. Maybe these pressures are comparatively less in Japan because the Japanese are comparatively less yucchus (status) crazed compared to the Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans. Say like Germanics/ Scandinavians of Asia.
    I think except African blacks and some Islamic societies, most societies on Earth are rushing towards below replacement fertility. Blacks just have kids, irrespective of if they can afford them or not. However not many are talking about how some Caribbean countries have seen a massive drop in fertility. For example Barbados has a TFR of 1.41!! while Jamaica next door which is poorer has a TFR of 1.42!!! Iceland has a higher fertility rate of 1.72 and since there is very little immigration there, it reflects the TFR of native Icelanders.

    Replies: @nebulafox

  175. @Erik Sieven
    @Adept

    China is following the path of South Korea, I guess in a few years both will battle to win the world championship of low TFR. The outlier in East Asia in Japan, with a TFR higher than some European countries and even more so than the native population in European countries.

    Replies: @Malla

    What is the TFR situation in Taiwan? I think Singapore has a major demographic problem too, below 1 child per woman. I wonder what is the ethnic breakup. Do Chinese Singaporean women have a lower TFR than Malays and Indians. The Tamils, who are the dominant Indian group in Singapore are also seeing their fertility rate slip below 2/woman, in their Southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu and are now below replacement levels. Their Sinhalese enemies in Sri Lanka have slipped below replacement levels too.
    In Confucius societies there is a lot of pressure to have a great career before you can get a wife because of yuchus (status) craze. Also to provide for parents and grand parents. That along with extremely high cost of housing pushes family formation behind. Maybe these pressures are comparatively less in Japan because the Japanese are comparatively less yucchus (status) crazed compared to the Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans. Say like Germanics/ Scandinavians of Asia.
    I think except African blacks and some Islamic societies, most societies on Earth are rushing towards below replacement fertility. Blacks just have kids, irrespective of if they can afford them or not. However not many are talking about how some Caribbean countries have seen a massive drop in fertility. For example Barbados has a TFR of 1.41!! while Jamaica next door which is poorer has a TFR of 1.42!!! Iceland has a higher fertility rate of 1.72 and since there is very little immigration there, it reflects the TFR of native Icelanders.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Malla

    Until the 1980s, the Singaporean government tried to curb birth rates. Then they turned on a dime and tried to encourage the "right" kind of woman to have kids... which, yeah, even Singaporeans notice that kind of thing.

    Chinese Singaporean women have among the lowest birth rates in the world. The government has enacted pro-natalism policies, but they haven't worked. Unfortunately, the temporary fix to keep Singapore a Han dominated place-immigration from mainland China-is part of the problem, because it keeps rent costs high and wages down. It has to remembered that Singapore is even more crowded than it seems because a big chunk of the island is given to military usage.

    As for the other ethnic groups: Indian Singaporeans aren't quite as low as the Chinese, but they are still well below replacement rate. Thanks to a mixture of Islam (the point of marriage is to produce children which are, after all, gifts from Allah) and their own indigenous culture (unlike the Chinese or Indians, they'll prioritize family over career without second thought, which is part of why they are poorer, but does have its up-sides), Malays are far and away the most relatively fecund at around replacement rate. Even their birth rates have declined drastically, though. It was not uncommon for Malay Singaporeans to have 10, 12 kids back in the 50s and 60s.

    (Chinese numbers back in that era were probably more modest, but 5-6 kid families were still a common sight then, especially given the influence of Christianity.)

  176. @Anonymous
    @Adept

    Haha, who said anything about China collapsing? Seems like somebody is paranoid. You have repeatedly failed to provide a source for China's actual population pyramid and your CIA data is in fact incorrect, because they got it from a lying source.

    https://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20210513-china-s-population-puzzle-was-the-latest-census-cooked

    Replies: @Adept

    You have repeatedly failed to provide a source for China’s actual population pyramid

    You’re apparently can’t read. I told you where the data came from, and I’m not here to spoonfeed you.

    And that article you’ve posted, citing research from a Chinese defector who now works at a US university, is itself hardly credible.

    The Worldbank has China’s TFR at nearly 1.7, which is higher than Japan’s and nearly double S. Korea’s: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?locations=CN-KR-JP

    The UN, the CIA, and the Worldbank could all be wrong, sure. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest; in fact, I expect that they are wrong.

    …But, even so, it’s very foolish to assume that China is somehow in a uniquely bad position. China is by all accounts doing much better than its neighbors. (And virtually all European countries. And the USA, for Chinese TFR may very well be higher than the white American TFR — and aren’t roughly half of all births in the US now to racial minorities?) If China’s TFR is 25% lower than all of those estimates, it’s still far higher than S.Korea’s and not far from Japan’s, with a much larger and younger population than Japan.

    So, to sum up, China’s position is at least decent, and may even be advantageous.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Adept

    You have not given me a single source or a citation for a source listing China's current population pyramid.

    So, since you've repeatedly failed, I will now publicly crush your dreams for you:

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/b8INR3N4PSo/maxresdefault.jpg


    China's pyramid is far wider at the middle and upper regions than the bottom, relative to the USA's.


    Also, nice try discrediting that source by claiming it's just a Chinese defector. In fact the majority of scholars support the idea that China's birthrate has been faked, including an Unz contributor (Peter Frost). Read his excellent article Autumn in China and weep:


    http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2019/03/autumn-in-china.html


    China's fertility rate is actually closer to 1 child per woman than 1.7.

    Replies: @Adept

  177. Anonymous[218] • Disclaimer says:
    @Adept
    @Anonymous


    You have repeatedly failed to provide a source for China’s actual population pyramid
     
    You're apparently can't read. I told you where the data came from, and I'm not here to spoonfeed you.

    And that article you've posted, citing research from a Chinese defector who now works at a US university, is itself hardly credible.

    The Worldbank has China's TFR at nearly 1.7, which is higher than Japan's and nearly double S. Korea's: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?locations=CN-KR-JP

    The UN, the CIA, and the Worldbank could all be wrong, sure. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest; in fact, I expect that they are wrong.

    ...But, even so, it's very foolish to assume that China is somehow in a uniquely bad position. China is by all accounts doing much better than its neighbors. (And virtually all European countries. And the USA, for Chinese TFR may very well be higher than the white American TFR -- and aren't roughly half of all births in the US now to racial minorities?) If China's TFR is 25% lower than all of those estimates, it's still far higher than S.Korea's and not far from Japan's, with a much larger and younger population than Japan.

    So, to sum up, China's position is at least decent, and may even be advantageous.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    You have not given me a single source or a citation for a source listing China’s current population pyramid.

    So, since you’ve repeatedly failed, I will now publicly crush your dreams for you:

    China’s pyramid is far wider at the middle and upper regions than the bottom, relative to the USA’s.

    Also, nice try discrediting that source by claiming it’s just a Chinese defector. In fact the majority of scholars support the idea that China’s birthrate has been faked, including an Unz contributor (Peter Frost). Read his excellent article Autumn in China and weep:

    http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2019/03/autumn-in-china.html

    China’s fertility rate is actually closer to 1 child per woman than 1.7.

    • Replies: @Adept
    @Anonymous

    lol. That pyramid you've just posted is the same as the one at:
    https://www.populationpyramid.net/china/2020/


    B-but that's not a sooource.
     
    Anyway, if anything, it really shows that things are not that bad in China. Compare with Japan or S.Korea when you get a minute. Or Italy, for that matter. Or Germany.

    It's foolish to compare China with the USA in any case. The US has demographic problems that are entirely different, and are not represented in population pyramids. Its numbers are juiced by dysgenic immigration. Ultimately, its situation is no better.

    China’s fertility rate is actually closer to 1 child per woman than 1.7.

     

    I still don't see where you're getting this from. Defectors with an axe to grind and contrarian Unz columnists aren't exactly reliable sources.

    Replies: @Anon

  178. @Anonymous
    @Adept

    You have not given me a single source or a citation for a source listing China's current population pyramid.

    So, since you've repeatedly failed, I will now publicly crush your dreams for you:

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/b8INR3N4PSo/maxresdefault.jpg


    China's pyramid is far wider at the middle and upper regions than the bottom, relative to the USA's.


    Also, nice try discrediting that source by claiming it's just a Chinese defector. In fact the majority of scholars support the idea that China's birthrate has been faked, including an Unz contributor (Peter Frost). Read his excellent article Autumn in China and weep:


    http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2019/03/autumn-in-china.html


    China's fertility rate is actually closer to 1 child per woman than 1.7.

    Replies: @Adept

    lol. That pyramid you’ve just posted is the same as the one at:
    https://www.populationpyramid.net/china/2020/

    B-but that’s not a sooource.

    Anyway, if anything, it really shows that things are not that bad in China. Compare with Japan or S.Korea when you get a minute. Or Italy, for that matter. Or Germany.

    It’s foolish to compare China with the USA in any case. The US has demographic problems that are entirely different, and are not represented in population pyramids. Its numbers are juiced by dysgenic immigration. Ultimately, its situation is no better.

    China’s fertility rate is actually closer to 1 child per woman than 1.7.

    I still don’t see where you’re getting this from. Defectors with an axe to grind and contrarian Unz columnists aren’t exactly reliable sources.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Adept

    Uh, there's nothing "contrarian" about Peter Frost. He has no bone to pick with China and never promotes anti-China narratives. He's a level-headed and uninvolved scholar giving you an unbiased analysis of the data. He's done similar analyses of Western coubtries' fertility rates, including his own.


    The United States doesn't have "dysgenic" immigration. Its legal immigrants are some of the most competent and successful people from their respective countries. They outearn native-born Americans, are less criminally inclined, better educated and pay more taxes. We're literally stealing the best of the best from Asia and Europe. That's why they call it a brain drain. China is ironically fueling this by threatening Hong Kong and the Taiwanese, who will eventually be migrating in large numbers to the West.

    Did you know that China even GAVE us a substantial share of its own female newborns from 1990-2015? 20% of the Chinese population in the USA are women who were adopted from China. I bet China regrets that now. You're kidding yourself if you think that pyramid looks anything but atrocious and if you truly believe China's fertility rate is above 1.3. China's in demographic limbo and mis-managed their population in to that hideously deformed pyramid you call "not that bad".

  179. @J.Ross
    @Buzz Mohawk

    All true. If I ever get to move to the country the one reason to periodically visit cities will be Trader Joe's. There are two quibbles: sudden product line death at any time to excellent products lacking decent mainstream analogs, just when you came to depend on that thing, and when the lockdowns were imposed Trader Joe's was the leader in voluntarily enforcing every silly behavior. I remember standing in a slow-moving train of stupidity, aspiring shoppers ten feet apart, no bringing your own bags, for nearly two hours, as masked individuals were admitted one at a time to maintain the occupancy limit of a comically small location where actual distancing would be completely impossible.

    Replies: @Brutusale

    I love Trader Joe’s, but I haven’t been back since Covid started. Their store policies when they reopened made the Nazis look like Quakers.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Brutusale

    Hilariously so, because every TJ's, even in Royal Oak, is just physically not able to accommodate any kind of distancing.
    The day breaks forth, for buzzwords and for oats!
    What is that in your hand? Are you trying to recycle bags? That was last panic, now it's bad.

  180. @Brutusale
    @J.Ross

    I love Trader Joe's, but I haven't been back since Covid started. Their store policies when they reopened made the Nazis look like Quakers.

    Replies: @J.Ross

    Hilariously so, because every TJ’s, even in Royal Oak, is just physically not able to accommodate any kind of distancing.
    The day breaks forth, for buzzwords and for oats!
    What is that in your hand? Are you trying to recycle bags? That was last panic, now it’s bad.

  181. @Malla
    @Erik Sieven

    What is the TFR situation in Taiwan? I think Singapore has a major demographic problem too, below 1 child per woman. I wonder what is the ethnic breakup. Do Chinese Singaporean women have a lower TFR than Malays and Indians. The Tamils, who are the dominant Indian group in Singapore are also seeing their fertility rate slip below 2/woman, in their Southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu and are now below replacement levels. Their Sinhalese enemies in Sri Lanka have slipped below replacement levels too.
    In Confucius societies there is a lot of pressure to have a great career before you can get a wife because of yuchus (status) craze. Also to provide for parents and grand parents. That along with extremely high cost of housing pushes family formation behind. Maybe these pressures are comparatively less in Japan because the Japanese are comparatively less yucchus (status) crazed compared to the Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans. Say like Germanics/ Scandinavians of Asia.
    I think except African blacks and some Islamic societies, most societies on Earth are rushing towards below replacement fertility. Blacks just have kids, irrespective of if they can afford them or not. However not many are talking about how some Caribbean countries have seen a massive drop in fertility. For example Barbados has a TFR of 1.41!! while Jamaica next door which is poorer has a TFR of 1.42!!! Iceland has a higher fertility rate of 1.72 and since there is very little immigration there, it reflects the TFR of native Icelanders.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    Until the 1980s, the Singaporean government tried to curb birth rates. Then they turned on a dime and tried to encourage the “right” kind of woman to have kids… which, yeah, even Singaporeans notice that kind of thing.

    Chinese Singaporean women have among the lowest birth rates in the world. The government has enacted pro-natalism policies, but they haven’t worked. Unfortunately, the temporary fix to keep Singapore a Han dominated place-immigration from mainland China-is part of the problem, because it keeps rent costs high and wages down. It has to remembered that Singapore is even more crowded than it seems because a big chunk of the island is given to military usage.

    As for the other ethnic groups: Indian Singaporeans aren’t quite as low as the Chinese, but they are still well below replacement rate. Thanks to a mixture of Islam (the point of marriage is to produce children which are, after all, gifts from Allah) and their own indigenous culture (unlike the Chinese or Indians, they’ll prioritize family over career without second thought, which is part of why they are poorer, but does have its up-sides), Malays are far and away the most relatively fecund at around replacement rate. Even their birth rates have declined drastically, though. It was not uncommon for Malay Singaporeans to have 10, 12 kids back in the 50s and 60s.

    (Chinese numbers back in that era were probably more modest, but 5-6 kid families were still a common sight then, especially given the influence of Christianity.)

    • Thanks: Malla
  182. Anon[516] • Disclaimer says:
    @Adept
    @Anonymous

    lol. That pyramid you've just posted is the same as the one at:
    https://www.populationpyramid.net/china/2020/


    B-but that's not a sooource.
     
    Anyway, if anything, it really shows that things are not that bad in China. Compare with Japan or S.Korea when you get a minute. Or Italy, for that matter. Or Germany.

    It's foolish to compare China with the USA in any case. The US has demographic problems that are entirely different, and are not represented in population pyramids. Its numbers are juiced by dysgenic immigration. Ultimately, its situation is no better.

    China’s fertility rate is actually closer to 1 child per woman than 1.7.

     

    I still don't see where you're getting this from. Defectors with an axe to grind and contrarian Unz columnists aren't exactly reliable sources.

    Replies: @Anon

    Uh, there’s nothing “contrarian” about Peter Frost. He has no bone to pick with China and never promotes anti-China narratives. He’s a level-headed and uninvolved scholar giving you an unbiased analysis of the data. He’s done similar analyses of Western coubtries’ fertility rates, including his own.

    The United States doesn’t have “dysgenic” immigration. Its legal immigrants are some of the most competent and successful people from their respective countries. They outearn native-born Americans, are less criminally inclined, better educated and pay more taxes. We’re literally stealing the best of the best from Asia and Europe. That’s why they call it a brain drain. China is ironically fueling this by threatening Hong Kong and the Taiwanese, who will eventually be migrating in large numbers to the West.

    Did you know that China even GAVE us a substantial share of its own female newborns from 1990-2015? 20% of the Chinese population in the USA are women who were adopted from China. I bet China regrets that now. You’re kidding yourself if you think that pyramid looks anything but atrocious and if you truly believe China’s fertility rate is above 1.3. China’s in demographic limbo and mis-managed their population in to that hideously deformed pyramid you call “not that bad”.

  183. The United States doesn’t have “dysgenic” immigration.

    Oh brother.

    You’re kidding yourself if you think that pyramid looks anything but atrocious and if you truly believe China’s fertility rate is above 1.3. China’s in demographic limbo and mis-managed their population in to that hideously deformed pyramid you call “not that bad”.

    Did you even bother to take a look at Japan’s pyramid? Or S.Korea’s? Or, say, Spain’s?

    Here’s a really good one for you: Taiwan, straight from their government.
    https://pop-proj.ndc.gov.tw/main_en/Pyramid.aspx?uid=4106&pid=4104

    China’s population pyramid is “not that bad” relative to its neighbors and to other developed countries. They’re doing better than most. They’re certainly not in some sort of uniquely horrible position.

  184. @Achmed E. Newman
    Heh, I like your part about the public complaints going up the chain of avatars. I've noted this problem with any big organization, meaning Big Business primarily. Websites give you all sorts of "contact us" options before you can get to a phone number, and when you finally get that number and call it, you have to do so much digital dealing before you get to a live human*.

    Big organizations really don't want you to waste a live human's time, so they make it hard to do so. On the other side of it, I have found a fundamental difference in the attitude of people under 35 or 40. Unless it's something really simple like the normal hours of operation, a price, address, etc., for any not-so-easy question, I'd rather get the answer from a thinking person. The younger people really trust the answer from a piece of software more than they do one from a human being. I can't do that.

    .

    * who, after you've typed in all these customer numbers and other info, often asks you for all the same stuff.

    Replies: @Feryl, @GeologyAnonMk3, @Mr. Anon, @AndrewR

    Software is less likely to screw up than a human, plus you’re cutting out the middleman when you deal with the software directly. Customer service agents usually just robotically tell you whatever their computers tell them to tell you. It’s inefficient.

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