My word isn’t this dreadful behaviour?

But as mainstream journalists across the globe reached out to him for interviews this week, Damore largely ignored the queries and instead selected two rightwing YouTube personalities to make his first, expansive comments on the international firestorm he has ignited.

Damore – who argued in his memo that “biological” differences between men and women contribute to the gender gap in the tech industry – gave lengthy video interviews to Stefan Molyneux and Jordan B Peterson, who both have large followings on YouTube and have espoused anti-feminist views.

Imagine, not talking to the Guardian and yet talking to people who have said anti-feminist things! The Horror!

Peterson, also a University of Toronto psychology professor, has faced backlash for discriminatory remarks against transgender students, saying he would refuse to use gender-neutral pronouns for trans and non-binary students who don’t identify as male or female.

Such a cad, eh?

Snippa Spuds

The First World War was partly paid for with quantitative easing

To put it another way, because the country did not rush forward to fund the Great War as the government expected, the Bank of England (then, admittedly, a privately owned institution), stepped in and saved the government’s day by buying over £2oo million of the debt that had to be raised to fund the initial war effort. In effect, it created money out of thin air to do so, and as a consequence effectively used what we would now call quantitative easing for the purpose of funding the war effort.

Hmm. From the source:

And this episode was to be the first of several instances during the war where the Bank used its own reserves to provide needed capital.

Is the use of the reserves of a privately owned Bank of England actually the same as inventing money out of thin air and QE?

Money is another thing the professor of practice doesn’t understand

First, let’s be clear we’re not printing lots of money to stay afloat. It is true that the Bank of England has created £435 billion of new money using quantitative easing since 2009. Despite this UK broad money supply (M4, as it is called) has fallen since then. To say that printing money is creating excess money supply is just wrong as a result.

Sigh.

Butchering the jargon a bit broad money is MV. Base money times velocity of circulation. We’ve done the QE because V fell hugely, massively increasing (like 10x) the M thus makes sure that MV doesn’t fall. He’s just entirely missed the very reason we did all of this.

To say that’s we’re heavily in debt is also wrong. I refer to the evidence here. The Bank of England would say we owe 89 per cent of GDP in national debt at present. This, however, ignores the fact that the Bank of England actually owns one quarter of that debt. The true figure for national debt actually owing to third parties (which is what matters) is, then, 67 per cent of GDP, which is historically an incredibly low rate.

And as V recovers then we’re going to have to reverse that QE to get the excess M out of the economy or we will have significant inflation.

Nor is inflation a concern. Inflation is running at just over two per cent now. There is not a hint (barring adjustments caused by Brexit) of more to come. To talk of hyperinflation is absurd.

Why then are the Fed and BoE discussing when they’re going to be reversing QE?

And in that case of all these things are taken into account let’s then be clear that the exchange rate cannot be imperilled by money printing. In fact, again the exact opposite is likely to be true because money printing will boost the economy towards full employment, will encourage investment and will boost productivity, all of which improve the exchange rate. So once more the prediction made is wrong.

Depends how much you print. What’s the value of the Z $ these days?

And isn’t it odd that someone attempting to describe a part of economics seems entirely unaware of effects at the margin? Where, you know, all economics happens?

Missing the damn point

But not only did we in Whitehall fail to see the crisis coming, we failed in anticipating its long-term impact. We expected unemployment, repossessions and business insolvencies to surge, just as we had seen in the recessions of the 1980s and 90s. But none of these reached anywhere near the levels seen in the past. Repossessions peaked at a lower level than in 1991; the annual rate of business liquidations remained well below those seen in the 1990s; and unemployment fell just half as far as it had in the 1980s. Some groups, including black men and the young, paid a heavy price, but the infamous 3 million unemployment figure that scarred Britain in a previous recession was never breached.

In contrast, not a single Whitehall meeting I recall remotely anticipated the colossal pay squeeze that would see real earnings fall by over 10%. We should have spotted earlier the changed dynamic of a flexible labour market, very low interest rates and a big depreciation of the exchange rate, which fed quickly through into the higher inflation and lower living standards still evident today. Had we done so, we might have recognised earlier that employment levels were understating the economic damage being done and, for example, pushed harder against opposition to more radical action from Mervyn King, then governor of the Bank of England.

The first is because of the second you idiot.

Recession = GDP falling. GDP = all incomes. Recession = someones’ incomes, somewhere, falling.

Either 10% of everyone lose all their income through unemployment or everyone loses 10% of their income through falling real wages.

The performance of real wages and unemployment in this recent recession is a fucking success. Fool.

There are indeed some puzzles we lack definitive answers to, such as why our productivity levels are flatlining.

Sigh. We know this very well. Output’s not much higher than it used to be, about the same number of people are in employment. Given that productivity is output divided by hours in how could this be any different? Again, this is a fucking success. Fool. Instead of unemployment soaring productivity fell.

How wrong can you be?

Darwin’s second big idea was that Nature is always ruthless: that the strong push out the weak, that compassion and compromise are for cissies whom Nature throws to the wall. Darwin borrowed the phrase “survival of the fittest” from the now forgotten and much discredited philosopher Herbert Spencer. He invented a consolation myth for the selfish class to which he belonged, to persuade them that their neglect of the poor, and the colossal gulf between them and the poor, was the way Nature intended things. He thought his class would outbreed the “savages” (ie the brown peoples of the globe) and the feckless, drunken Irish. Stubbornly, the unfittest survived. Brown, Jewish and Irish people had more babies than the Darwin class. The Darwinians then had to devise the hateful pseudo-science of eugenics, which was a scheme to prevent the poor from breeding.

Having more brats is, in Darwinian terms, being the fittest – having more brats that have brats is in fact the definition of it.

AN Wilson is definitely barking up the wrong tree here.

So Owen hasn’t understood it at all

Google has just reportedly fired one of its workers for circulating a memo discussing the biological inferiority of his female colleagues, and how this made them less suitable for tech.

No, he didn’t say anything like that at all. What he said was that the occurrence of those attributes which make a good engineer – yes, including the interest in being a good engineer – are variably distributed across the populations of men and women. We can thus say absolutely nothing at all about the likely ability of any individual, whether male or female, but we can say something about the likely make up of the workforce as a whole.

And that’s it really.

It’s also what absolutely every damn scientist specialising in the subject tells us is true too.

Horribly missing the point

These reactions to the screed are sound, but they risk missing a larger problem: The kind of computing systems that get made and used by people outside the industry, and with serious consequences, are a direct byproduct of the gross machismo of computing writ large. More women and minorities are needed in computing because the world would be better for their contributions—and because it might be much worse without them.

If there’s no difference between men and women then this doesn’t matter. If there is a difference between men and women then we’ve an explanation for the different representation in the industry.

Sigh.

Isn’t equality the driving force of our times?

Jurors in rape trials will be told more about the previous sexual behaviour of male defendants in a bid to increase the chances of conviction.

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has told prosecutors to focus on the behaviour of men leading up to alleged rapes, rather than just the incident itself.

The move is intended to provide juries with a fuller picture of male suspect’s character, after a series of high profile rape trials ended in acquittals.

This at the same time as the screaming that mentioning the previous behaviour of the alleged victim should be ever more verboeten.

The rational person might assume that previous behaviour is a reasonable guide, or not a reasonable guide, either way.

This is wondrous

Compare, for example, a land value tax (LVT)and the current English and Welsh council tax. To some degree (albeit approximately, and poorly at that) the council tax is a transaction tax. It has implicit within it a charge. That is why, for example, it is capped.

What’s the transaction which takes place? Breathing or summat?

Another is in terms of rate of return: in the modern, imperfect, economy rates of return to those with significant wealth have been much higher than those to people of lesser wealth because of tax abuse, market control through exercise of monopoly power and other reasons. A wealth tax corrects for that.

Next, there is an opportunity cost. As Brooke Harrington has explained in her book Capital Without Borders, a characteristic of modern capital accumulation has been it’s extreme risk aversion, which is a trait accentuated by the role of professional trustees and risk managers in the management of many modern portfolios. This has reduced the amount of capital exposed to entrepreneurial activity, with implications all too obvious in the world economy where, as I suggested in my book Dirty Secrets, this risk aversion is killing capitalism from within.

How can you actually believe both of those things?

And perhaps last for now (although I am very open to persuasion that there are issues I have not listed) is the fact that those with wealth have, come what may, lower marginal propensities to consume meaning that society cannot be indifferent to the distribution of wealth beyond certain limits if it is interested in maximising well-being.

Yes you idiot, they go and invest it to the benefit of society. Sheesh.

This is just wonderful about the Google Diversity piece

No, truly excellent (From cjcjc):

The author of the Google essay on issues related to diversity gets nearly all of the science and its implications exactly right.

In the case of personality traits, evidence that men and women may have different average levels of certain traits is rather strong.

When the memo went viral, thousands of journalists and bloggers transformed themselves overnight from not understanding evolutionary psychology at all to claiming enough expertise to criticize the whole scientific literature on biological sex differences.

It was like watching Trinity downloading the pilot program for flying the B-212 helicopter in The Matrix. Such fast learners! (Even Google’s new ‘VP of Diversity’, Danielle Brown, criticized the memo because it ‘advanced incorrect assumptions about gender’; I was impressed to see that her Michigan State B.A. in Business and her U. Michigan M.B.A. qualify her to judge the scientific research.)

Within the field of neuroscience, sex differences between women and men—when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences—are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong. This is not information that’s considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you’d be laughed at.

The quite wonderful logical point is also made. If men and women are exactly the same then why do we need diversity? But if men and women do bring different things to the table then we’ve not got that hard equality, have we?

Another copy of this is here .

Is she really this stupid?

I am currently preoccupied by Mondelēz and the news that the ethical brand from its stable, Green & Blacks is – for the first time ever – launching a chocolate bar that is neither Fairtrade nor organic.

Green & Black’s, the independent brand that was bought by Cadbury in 2005, was founded by two pioneers of ethical consumerism, and awarded the Fairtrade mark in 1994. So this news has rattled ethical shopping baskets the length and breadth of the country.

The official word from Green & Black’s is that there weren’t enough cocoa beans produced to Fairtrade and organic standard to enable it to produce its new Velvet Edition bar. This necessitated other beans procured to the standards of Mondelēz’s own sustainable programme, Cocoa Life. The driving need for this new bar is apparently that some consumers find the flavour of dark chocolate too rich, and must be provided with an alternative immediately. This raises my first question: must the consumer always have a product to satiate every possible desire?

Yes you idiot dingbat, that’s the fucking point. That’s the purpose of the economy, to produce what satiates consumer desire.

Which is why we’ve got Fairtrade, organic, so that those who prefer Fairtrade, and or organic, can satiate their desire.

More idiocy

Yes, it’s Mason again:

The vast influence of the Kochs’ “dark money” has been documented in Jane Mayer’s 2016 book of the same name. It funds, among other things, nearly 300 academic courses at colleges and universities, where the syllabus is dictated by the right: students learn that Keynes is bad, sweatshops are good and climate change is a myth.

Sweatshops are good. Hmm:

For example, teachers using Edvantage can find economics videos explaining how the Environmental Protection Agency is bad for the environment, how sweatshops are good for third-world workers, and how the minimum wage costs workers jobs. Content featuring opposing viewpoints, however, is sparse.

That’s his link, to Slate. The actual video is here. And very roughly speaking it’s a 2.45 condensation of this article by Pau8l Krugman. In Slate.

But matters are not that simple, and the moral lines are not that clear. In fact, let me make a counter-accusation: The lofty moral tone of the opponents of globalization is possible only because they have chosen not to think their position through. While fat-cat capitalists might benefit from globalization, the biggest beneficiaries are, yes, Third World workers.

That is, yes, sweatshops are good.

Well, yes, obviously

British savers have missed out on at least £90 billion by keeping money in savings accounts rather than investing in shares, a leading think tank has said.

The Social Market Foundation has warned that low rates and rising inflation means that savers are losing money by keeping it in cash accounts.

Its report, entitled “Saving Better”, warns that risk-averse savers could be devaluing their own money by trying to keep it safe in low-risk bank accounts instead of investing in the stock market.

Not that the professor of practice will agree.

However, it is risk adjusted return that we’re supposed to consider, isn’t it?

Predictable and just too, too, ironic

Google on Monday fired a software engineer who wrote an internal memo that questioned the company’s diversity efforts and argued that the low number of women in technical positions was a result of biological differences instead of discrimination.

The memo, called “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” angered many in Silicon Valley because it relied on certain gender stereotypes — like the notion that women are less interested in high-stress jobs because they are more anxious — to rationalize the gender gap in the tech industry. The memo quickly spread outside the company, as other Google employees railed against many of its assumptions.

In a companywide email, Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, said portions of the memo had violated the company’s code of conduct and crossed the line “by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

An alternative solution for Ellie

Let’s restrict the number of privately educated people in Britain’s elite
Ellie Mae O’Hagan

A quota system would redress the woeful under-representation of state-educated people in our establishment, and improve the quality of our government

Why don’t we just make state controlled education less shit?

So here’s a solution: instead of collectively rolling our eyes every time a new report on these statistics comes out, let’s introduce quotas. If 7% of the population goes to private school, then it seems only fair that 7% of Britain’s elite jobs should go to privately educated individuals. This would include chief executives, barristers, journalists, judges, medical professionals and MPs.

BTW, since when has journalism been an elite job? It’s a sodding craft you daft bint. It’s not even well paid.