Wednesday, January 30, 2008
An excellent article by George Friedman...
This leaves the option of treating the issue as a military rather than police action. That would mean attacking the cartels as if they were a military force rather than a criminal group. It would mean that procedural rules would not be in place, and that the cartels would be treated as an enemy army. Leaving aside the complexities of U.S.-Mexican relations, cartels flourish by being hard to distinguish from the general population. This strategy not only would turn the cartels into a guerrilla force, it would treat northern Mexico as hostile occupied territory. Don’t even think of that possibility, absent a draft under which college-age Americans from upper-middle-class families would be sent to patrol Mexico — and be killed and wounded. The United States does not need a Gaza Strip on its southern border, so this won’t happen.
The likely course is a multigenerational pattern of instability along the border. More important, there will be a substantial transfer of wealth from the United States to Mexico in return for an intrinsically low-cost consumable product — drugs. This will be one of the sources of capital that will build the Mexican economy, which today is 14th largest in the world. The accumulation of drug money is and will continue finding its way into the Mexican economy, creating a pool of investment capital. The children and grandchildren of the Zetas will be running banks, running for president, building art museums and telling amusing anecdotes about how grandpa made his money running blow into Nuevo Laredo.
It will also destabilize the U.S. Southwest while grandpa makes his pile. As is frequently the case, it is a problem for which there are no good solutions, or for which the solution is one without real support.
.. confirms what I said before.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Harriman, P. (2008). "Investors trade millions for visas: Little-known program encourages foreign investment in S. Dakota dairy expansion," Argus Leader, 13 January 2008. Available online: http://argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080113/NEWS/801130309.
This is a very good idea, and solves two of the major problems associated with immigration in the current debate: that immigration increases crime and that immigration depresses low-skill wages. I did not know this existed, but it's easy to see how this is good for America and society. A news article about the "EB-5 'cash-for-green-cards' Visa:
When Rodney Elliott and his 20 employees milk the 1,700 cows at Drumgoon Dairy near Lake Norden, they complete a unique international financial hookup.
It worked like this: Four South Korean investors each put up $500,000 for the right to gain permanent residency in the United States for themselves and their families. That investment helped finance the Drumgoon Dairy and gave Elliott of Northern Ireland the chance to milk cows in South Dakota.
Elliott and his Korean partners were linked under a federal program designed to encourage investments in rural areas and other regions with high unemployment.
South Dakota was one of the first states to take advantage of the revised U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services EB-5 program that provides 10,000 visas annually for foreign investors.
Half are reserved for those who put at least $500,000 into rural areas such as South Dakota to create at least five jobs. Since 2005, the EB-5 investment/visa program has directly contributed $30 million that leveraged a $90 million expansion of the South Dakota dairy industry, according to Joop Bollen, head of the South Dakota International Business Institute that oversees the state's effort to recruit foreign investment.
This is good, both nationally and socially. Nationally, linking permanent residency to proof of prior success has a similar effect to linking college application to the ACT or SAT. Further, my increasing the supply of high-income/high-wealth workers, it depresses wages at the upper end (all other things being equal) or leads to further economic growth (with a greater supply of high-income/high-wealth laborers).
Interestingly, the EB-5 program was created under Bush 41, lapsed under Clinton and was resumed under Bush 43:
EB-5 was established by Congress in the early 1990s largely as a way to counter efforts by Canada in the 1980s to attract foreign investors, especially from Hong Kong where as much as $1 trillion left the country after Britain returned it to China, according to U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Cal.
The program was suspended in the late 1990s. Congress retooled it to clarify investment goals and to ensure investors followed through on investment commitments and job creation. It was resumed in 2003.
More information on "EB-5: Immigration through Investment" is available from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Monday, September 17, 2007
The factors of production:
In economics, factors of production are resources used in the production of goods and services...
* Land or natural resource – naturally-occurring goods such as soil and minerals that are used in the creation of products. The land or resource need not be on Earth (nor any other planet) as in the future land will include moons (beginning with mining Helium-3 from Luna, for example) and asteroids, and other obtainment of materials in space. The payment for the use of land owned by another is Economic rent.
* Labour – human effort used in production which also includes technical and marketing expertise. The payment for labour (workforce) is a wage or a salary. Wage can be either in nominal value or in real value. Usually the salary or wage are marked as "w".
* Capital – either the prior-produced production goods (business capital, or real capital) that are physically used by businesses to produce other goods, or the funding (financial capital) that is provided by investors to businesses so as to pay the previous producers for those production goods. The return on business capital is profits, part of which may be retained and the rest paid in dividends. The return to financial capital depends on the legal and economic form it takes, where the return on equity capital is the dividends received and the return on debt capital is interest. Capital gains upon investments in equity (from stock value increases) or debt (from bond value increases) are not factor incomes as they are not payments for any additional provision of capital but come from a change in others' opinions about the value of the existing capital and its arrangement.
List of countries by total area
- Russia 17,000,000 square kilometers
- Canada 10,000,000 square kilometers
- People's Republic of China 9,600,000 square kilometers
- United States of America 9,600,000 square kilometers
- Brazil 8,500,000 square kilometers
List of countries by population
- People's Republic of China: 1,300,000,000 people
- India 1,200,000,000 people
- European Union 490,000,000 people
- United States of America 300,000,000 people
- Indonesia: 230,000,000 people
List of countries by GDP (nominal)
- European Union 15,000,000 million dollars
- United States of America 13,000,000 million dollars
- Japan 4,400,000 million dollars
- Germany 2,900,000 million dollars
- People's Republic of China 2,600,000
When different policies are proposed, one question that should be asked is "Does this help shrink the gap?" Another is, "Does this help America's power?"
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Hard not be be impressed with Alan Greenspan's thinking:
Education reform will take years, and we need to address increasing income inequality now. Increasing taxes on the rich, a seemingly simple remedy, is likely to prove counterproductive to economic growth. But by opening our borders to large numbers of highly skilled immigrant workers, we would both enhance the skill level of the overall workforce and provide a new source of competition for higher-earning employees, thus driving down their wages. The popular acceptance of capitalist practice in the United States will likely rest on these seemingly quite doable reforms.
Of course, brain draining other countries by importing the best workers probably will increase income inequality in the long term, all other things being equal, because a country with a higher average general intelligence grows faster and, thus, creates inequality faster. Still, when a country is rich it can afford luxuries such as public goods, universal health care, etc.
Monday, July 30, 2007
While driving to a picnic on Saturday, I was disoriented to discover that a portion of "Capitol Parkway" had been renamed Rosa Parks Way. I was first struck by the criminal nature of this pun, and then secondly struck by how it seems typical of how misguided much of black community politics is.
Much self-consciously "black" politics seems to focus on either the deification of early leaders or rent seeking. Strivers such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, and Jessee Jackson are celebrated, in a move that both marginalizes non-Southern black political cliques and obscures the actual nature of their opponents. The other purpose of the movement appears to be the political diversion of funds from other parts of the conomy. Companies are Coca-Cola are urged to spend resources on the victorious southern black clique, while "affirmative action" programs broaden the clique's powerbase in an iron triangle of patronage.
Latino politics, in contrast, seems focused on a different goal: increasing the number of latinos. This has been quite effective. Rising from negligible status, latinos have risen to be the largest "minority" group in the country. At their current rate of growth, it's likely that in the future "Latinos" will be all places and no places in the same way that, say, "German-Americans" are.
America may be tuned for a large supply of low-wage labor, but the fact is that labor is not coming from the Afro-Carribena or even Africa. The largest quantity of new immigrants are coming from Mexico and the rest of Latin America.
In part because of their different political strategies, the "black community" has consumed greater resources than would otherwise be the case but have made little systematic headway over the past generation. Latinos, by contrast, are becoming every more powerful.
Because they have avoided the "Rosa Parks Way" of doing politics.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
The Miami Herald notes an interest question: why, when America is a greater enemy of al Qaeda than Britain, do most al Qaeda attacks target the Crown and not the Constitution?
Some reasons are straight-forward:
The United States is geographically more separate from the Middle East, the home of Islamic fundamentalism. Beyond that, especially since 9/11, the nation has cracked down on both travel and new-resident visas, making it harder for terrorists from outside to get into the country.
But there's this important one too:
''The Islamic population in the United States is better assimilated into the general population, whereas here, in Germany, in France, they're very much on the outside looking in,'' he said. ``When people get disaffected, sadly, there's not much loyalty to country in that sort of situation.''
Sadly, a fifth column of multiculturalists will do their best to roll back the integration of American Muslims.
When al Qaeda becomes fashionable on college campuses, the multiculturalists will be to blame many times over.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
"They say there is a brain drain. Let these decayed brains flee. Do not mourn them, let them pursue their own definitions of being. ... Don't be concerned. They should escape. [Iran] is not a place for them to live any more. These fleeing brains are of no use to us. Let them flee. If you know that this is no place for you, you should flee too."
- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini [English, Farsi]
Recently, Steve wrote that he was surprised I had not addressed brain drains (the flight of the educated elite from less productive to more productive countries) before. So in this small post, I will. Specifically, I will address the Brain Drain among developing countries, using as examples Ethiopia, China, and Iran.
Intelligence is heritable. When living standards are relatively close, about 50% of variation in intelligence is explained by genetics, about 10% by home environment, and about 40% by "individual differences" (in statistical jargon, the error term). In the United States, where standard of living that much of home environment is itself driven by genetics, intelligence seems to be 70% heritable. In poor countries with large class differences, however, home environment counts for a lot. This matters because the more of intelligence that is explained by genetics in a country, the worse the long term consequences of the brain-drain will be.
Thus, the brain drain has minimal long-term consequences for Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a largely agricultural, tribal-based society where individual differences in intelligence doesn't determine much. You are much more likely to be well fed and have children with wives/mistresses if you are well connected than if you are smart. The intellegentia of Ethiopia is largely determined by political connections, not DNA.
Likewise, the brain drain has minimal long-term consequences for China. Among other reasons, China is a huge country that has a greater population than Europe and the Western Hemisphere combined. A statistically important fraction of China's population is simply unable to leave, as the loss of even .02% of China's population would be enough to double the population of Canada. And even apart from this, China has about 900,000,000 peasants who struggle to survive, let alone achieve the higher education that marks one as intelligent.
However, the brain drain has drastic long-term consequences for Iran. Iran's descent system of public education allows most Iranians a fair shake at greatness. Iran's objective college entrance tests root out corruption and nepotism in the admissions process. In all likelihood, 50% of the variation in intelligence is heritable in Iran, just as it is in other modern countries.
"Every year more than 150,000 educated young people leave Iran for countries such as the U.S. and Canada. Some 4 million Iranians now live abroad." At this rate, within a decade 10% of Iran's population will no longer live in Iran. Unless a massive flight back to Iran takes place, these expatriates and their families will become assimilated into western society and join the rest of the melting pot, losing a desire to return to the old country.
It would be an exaggeration to say that the top 10% of Iranians will have left... But perhaps not much of one to say that a third of the top 30% will have fled. While the drop in Iranian fertility will allow more of society's resources to be focused on fewer children, the genetic loss the brain drain causes will be around for generations. Low intelligence is behind much of Africa's problems of state-failure and institutionalized misery. The longer the brain drain continues in Iran, the dimmer Iran's future will be.
In conclusion: The Brain Drain presents long-term troubles as it reduces the genetically factors that lead to high intelligence. This is only a problem in states where living standards are comparable and good systems exist to educate the general population. Iran's successes in providing a decent life and good educational possibilities for its citizens make her future worse than those of her more corrupt fellow states.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
During the immigration debate, the Republican netroots would say "amnesty!" as if that ends the discussion.
TM Lutas was a voice in the wilderness, however, shouting the real points that the Sean Hannitys of America were ducking:
- The point below which you are being inhumane by splitting up families or preventing their formation
- The point below which you are impeding economic growth by favoring labor over capital so high wages choke growth
- The point below which you start to get cultural stagnation due to cultural insularity
- The point below which you are turning away great political assets to the nation
- The point above which you are favoring capital over labor by crashing wages and destroying bargaining power
- The point above which you lose cultural solidarity and cohesion
- The point above which you lose political stability
- The point above which you lose military control and eventually territorial control
Talk radio and the netroot bloggers would have done better if they would have addressed the real questions, instead of shouting "amnesty." But why should we expect anything but their usual brilliance when it comes to families who will take generations to assimilate (you know, just like everyone else)?
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I may not have determined if the Bush-McCain-Kennedy immigration compromise was slightly good overall, or slightly bad overall, but the Republican netroots have proven one thing:
No matter how hard your party works to integrate latinos into a political coalition, talk radio hosts and bloggers can blow it in a month.
"No to Amnesty" may be incoherent when it comes from a party that would not freeze corporate taxbreaks until every corporate criminal is brought to justice it, but why should it? Talk radio says so!
But no matter how inane the worst conservative influence make the Republicans, Nancy Pelosi is out to prove that, no matter how brain-dead the Republican netroots are, her Democratic Party is even worse. The latest scheme?
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Hernandez, R. 2007. Hispanic voters enjoy new clout with Democrats. New York Times. 10 June 2007. Available online: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/10/washington/10hispanics.html?hp.
When I started this blog, grassroot suicidal foolishness of this scale was typically reserved for the lunatics at Daily Kos.
Helped by the fight over immigration, Democrats seeking their party’s presidential nomination are moving to court Hispanic voters like never before, as a string of early primary states with sizable Hispanic voting blocs prompt candidates to hire outreach consultants, start Spanish-language Web sites and campaign vigorously before Hispanic audiences.
The battle for Hispanic voters is a result of the decision by several states with large Hispanic populations to move their presidential primaries to early 2008, including California, Florida and New York. Roughly two-thirds of the nation’s Hispanic residents live in nine of the states that will hold Democratic primaries or caucuses on or before Feb. 5.
Strategists say the influence of Hispanic voters is likely to be amplified next year because of an unusually intense response in many Hispanic communities to immigration policy. Conservative Republicans, with the help of some left-leaning Democrats, teamed up to derail an immigration bill in the Senate on Thursday that would have provided a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Contempt for latin Americans was once most visible on the left, too.