Friday, June 8, 2018

Steve Keen on Can we avoid Another Financial Crisis?

Steve Keen gives a talk below on 22nd March, 2018 at the Bournemouth Labour Party members’ meeting on “Can we avoid Another Financial Crisis?”:

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Steve Keen on Banking and the Money Multiplier

Steve Keen gives a talk here on banking and the money multiplier (published on 2 May 2018):

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Steve Keen on Alternative Foundations for Macroeconomics

Steve Keen gives a talk here on alternative (non-Neoclassical) foundations for macroeconomics:

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Steve Keen on Endogenous Money and a Tribute to Basil Moore

Steve Keen gives a talk in March 2018 here on endogenous money as tribute to Basil Moore:

Friday, April 13, 2018

No War on Syria!

Stephen Cohen points out how dangerous the current drive to military action in Syria is:



Fortunately, there are signs that, if any US missile strikes happen, it will essentially be a PR stunt with the Russians being warned in advance of the targets, as Russia Insider has reported. If true, the real danger is that mistakes can be made and things could get out of control quickly, especially if wider Middle East tension erupts and military intervention is taken by Israel, Iran or Hezbollah in Lebanon, which could ignite a regional war. We are approaching the moment of truth.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Witch Hunt against Sam Harris

Back on April 22, 2017, Sam Harris had Charles Murray on his podcast.

You can hear it here:



Since then, Sam Harris has been hysterically attacked by all the usual suspects: blank slate Liberal journalists, Cultural Leftists, Marxists and so on. The latest attack is here.

But most of these attacks are pure lies, fraud and charlatanry. Rarely do the critics of Sam Harris have anything of substance in their criticisms when it comes to the actual science.

There are certainly a few mistakes that Sam Harris made: for example, he claimed nothing much can be done to increase the IQ of children (at 2.14 in the video above). In fact, the genetic component of children’s IQ seems to be less strong than in adulthood, and so childhood IQ is more malleable, and you can make IQ gains in childhood years. But, unfortunately, it remains true, as Charles Murray has pointed out, that the genetic component of IQ rises as a child becomes an adult, so IQ gains in childhood are generally lost as the person becomes an adult and the genetic determination of IQ rises to something like 75%.

But most of the major contentions of Charles Murray, which are actually just the findings of modern psychometrics, have never been refuted. These include the following:
(1) Culturally unbiased, fair IQ tests measure a person’s general faculty of intelligence, or what is now called Spearman’s g (general intelligence), which is clearly a unified, single cognitive trait of human beings. IQ has extraordinary predictive power in predicting school and academic achievement, socio-economic status, wealth, job productivity, and success in life.

(2) the consensus of psychometrics is that differences in individual variance of IQ between people is about 0.75 heritable. Even the liberal/leftist American Psychological Association (APA) admitted this in the 1990s and accepted the 0.75 figure (see Neisser et al. 1996: 96). Worse still for Leftists, even the democratic socialist James R. Flynn (after whom the “Flynn Effect” is named) – the leading environmentalist on gaps in IQ between population groups – himself accepts that current evidence shows that the heritability of IQ variance between adults is probably about 0.75 (Dickens and Flynn 2001: 346). Very good evidence for this comes from twin studies (especially genetic twins adopted and separated at birth) and adoption studies (Plomin and Petrill 1997; Bouchard 2009 and 1998), and increasingly genetic science. The particularly strong evidence is that siblings (either fraternal or genetic) adopted at birth or infancy will have IQs strongly correlated with their biological parents, while a correlation with their adopted parents is either very low or almost zero (Petrill and Deater-Deckard 2004; Hunt 2011: 230–231; Haier 2017: 47).

(3) Moreover, the heritability of IQ rises with age, so that by the time one is an adult perhaps as much as 80% of IQ is heritable (Plomin and Spinath 2004; Plomin and Deary 2015).

(4) There are real differences between the IQs of men and women. Men and women have a different distribution of IQs when plotted on a bell curve graph: the IQ scores of women tend to cluster around the average (with less distribution in upper and lower ranges), while male IQs tend to be distributed less around the average and more in the upper and lower ranges as compared with the IQ distribution of women (see Hedges and Nowell 1995; Lubs 1999; Roberts 1945; Deary et al. 2007). There may well be a small difference between the average IQ of men as compared with that of women (Lubs 1999; Johnson and Bouchard 2007; Nyborg 2005). Men appear to have a slightly higher average IQ, with about a 3–5 point advantage over women. By examining the sub-tests of IQ tests, we have discovered that – in terms of sub-tests and specific cognitive abilities – men and women also differ. Women tend, on average, to be much better at verbal abilities and language, but men tend on average to outperform women on numerical/mathematical and spatial cognitive abilities (Neisser et al. 1996; Wechsler 1958: 144–149; Lubs 1999; Johnson and Bouchard 2007; Johnson et al. 2008; Halpern et al. 2007).

(5) The average IQs of different human population groups who have been subject to divergent evolution in different regions as measured by modern psychometrics is different. You can see the data as organised by region and by nation here. The average IQ for European people is about 100. We can see the average IQ of population groups as follows:
(1) Ashkenazim | 107
(2) East Asians | 105
(3) white Europeans | 100
(4) Inuit-Eskimos | 91
(5) South East Asians | 87
(6) Native American Indians | 87
(7) South Asians & North Africans | 84
(8) Sub-Saharan Africans | 82.
Notably, the most recent metastudy of Wicherts et al. (2010) finds that the average IQ of sub-Saharan Africans is just 82.

It would appear that these differences in average IQ between populations may well have an evolutionary, genetic and environmental explanation, not just a purely environmental one.
Everywhere we look modern science is exploding the religious cult of blank slateism and social constructivism, as can be seen here, here, and here. But blank slateism remains a fanatical quasi-religious article of faith for Liberals, Leftists and even some Conservatives.

For example, take the case of violence in human societies. Contrary to Leftist mythology, the finding of modern social science is actually that violence cannot be properly explained by poverty or unemployment (see Pinker 2011: 142; Zimring 2007: 63; Levitt 2004). If you think about it and look at the data, the “poverty” explanation is absurd: for example, women are subject in all societies to extreme poverty to varying degrees, but why is it the case that women commit hardly any violent crime at all?

Instead, it is very likely that the general phenomenon of violence is explained by biology: it is a combination of certain genetically-determined cognitive traits that causes a human being to be violent and aggressive. These traits are likely to be as follows:
(1) low impulse control + high time preference;

(2) a high genetically-determined predisposition to aggression and violence, driven either by high levels of testosterone, or the Warrior gene (MAOA-L) and other undiscovered polygenetic factors, and

(3) low IQ.
Notably, it is men who commit the overwhelming majority of violence, not women, and men who are most affected by these traits, which are distributed unevenly in the male population. But the combination of these traits in certain men is deadly: most violence will be from the minority of men who have the misfortune to have inherited these traits, and so most violence in society, fundamentally, has a biological explanation.

At any rate, the hysterical attacks on Sam Harris (or Charles Murray) over IQ and average IQ differences are absurd, because Sam Harris isn’t the source of the scientific data on IQ and genetics that are discrediting the blank slateist Left: the actual source is just mainstream science itself.

But Cultural Leftists and Liberals need a figure of hate to blame their own humiliation and intellectual failure on. That figure is Sam Harris at the moment.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Bouchard, Thomas J., Lykken, David T., McGue, Matthew, Segal, Nancy L. and Auke Tellegen. 1990. “Sources of Human Psychological Differences: The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart,” Science n.s. 250.4978: 223–228.

Deary, Ian J., Irwing, Paul, Der, Geoff, and Timothy C. Bates. 2007. “Brother–Sister Differences in the g Factor in Intelligence: Analysis of Full, Opposite-Sex Siblings from the NLSY1979,” Intelligence 35.5: 451–456.

Dickens, William T. and James R. Flynn. 2001. “Heritability Estimates Versus Large Environmental Effects: The IQ Paradox Resolved,” Psychological Review 108.2: 346–369.

Haier, Richard J. 2017. The Neuroscience of Intelligence. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY.

Halpern, Diane F., Benbow, Camilla P., Geary, David C., Gur, Ruben C., Hyde, Janet Shibley and Morton Ann Gernsbacher. 2007. “The Science of Sex Differences in Science and Mathematics,” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 8.1: 1–51.

Hedges, Larry V. and Amy Nowell. 1995. “Sex Differences in Mental Test Scores, Variability, and Numbers of High-Scoring Individuals,” Science n.s. 269.5220: 41–45.

Hunt, E. B. 2011. Human Intelligence. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Johnson, W., Bouchard, T. J., Krueger, R. F., McGue, M. and I. I. Gottesman. 2004. “Just one g: Consistent Results from Three Test Batteries,” Intelligence 32.1: 95–107.

Johnson, Wendy and Thomas J. Bouchard Jr. 2007. “Sex Differences in Mental Abilities: g masks the Dimensions on which they lie,” Intelligence 35.1: 23–39.

Johnson, Wendy, Carothers, Andrew and Ian J. Deary. 2008. “Sex Differences in Variability in General Intelligence: A New Look at the Old Question,” Perspectives on Psychological Science 3.6: 518–531.

Levitt, Steven D. 2004. “Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that do Not,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 18.1: 163–190.

Lubs, H. A. 1999. “The Other Side of the Coin: A Hypothesis Concerning the Importance of Genes for High Intelligence and Evolution of the X chromosome,” American Journal of Medical Genetics 85.3: 206–208.

Neisser, Ulric, Boodoo, Gwyneth, Bouchard Jr., Thomas J., Boykin, A. Wade, Brody, Nathan, Ceci, Stephen J., Halpern, Diane F., Loehlin, John C., Perloff, Robert, Sternberg, Robert J., and Susana Urbina. 1996. “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns,” American Psychologist 51.2: 77–101.

Nyborg, H. 2005. “Sex Related Differences in General Intelligence g, Brain Size, and Social Status,” Personality and Individual Differences 39.3: 497–509.

Petrill, S. A. and K. Deater-Deckard. 2004. “The Heritability of General Cognitive Ability: A Within-Family Adoption Design,” Intelligence 32: 403–409.

Pinker, Steven. 2011. The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined. Viking, New York, NY.

Plomin, R. and I. J. Deary. 2015. “Genetics and Intelligence Differences: Five Special Findings,” Molecular Psychiatry 20.1: 98–108.

Plomin, R. and S. A. Petrill. 1997. “Genetics and Intelligence: What’s New?,” Intelligence 24: 53–77.

Plomin, R. and F. M. Spinath. 2004. “Intelligence: Genetics, Genes, and Genomics,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 86.1: 112–129.

Roberts, J. A. Fraser. 1945. “On the Difference between the Sexes in Dispersion of Intelligence,” The British Medical Journal 1.4403: 727–730.

Schmidt, F. L. and J. E. Hunter. 2004. “General Mental Ability in the World of Work: Occupational Attainment and Job Performance,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 86.1: 162–173.

Wechsler D. 1958. The Measurement of Appraisal of Adult Intelligence (4th edn.). Williams & Wilkins Company, Baltimore.

Wicherts, Jelte M., Dolan, Conor V., and Han L. J. Van Der Maas. 2010. “A Systematic Literature Review of the Average IQ of Sub-Saharan Africans,” Intelligence 38.1: 1–20.

Zimring, Franklin E. 2007. The Great American Crime Decline. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Clement Attlee on Immigration into Britain in 1948

As noted in this post here, even in 1948 low level immigration into the UK from its colonies caused a number of Labour Party MPs to oppose mass immigration, and they sent a letter to Clement Attlee, as follows:
“This country may become an open reception centre for immigrants not selected in respect to health, education, training, character, customs and above all, whether assimilation is possible or not.

The British people fortunately enjoy a profound unity without uniformity in their way of life, and are blest by the absence of a colour racial problem. An influx of coloured people domiciled here is likely to impair the harmony, strength and cohesion of our public and social life and to cause discord and unhappiness among all concerned.

In our opinion colonial governments are responsible for the welfare of their peoples and Britain is giving these governments great financial assistance to enable them to solve their population problems. We venture to suggest that the British Government should, like foreign countries, the dominions and even some of the colonies, by legislation if necessary, control immigration in the political, social, economic and fiscal interests of our people.

In our opinion such legislation or administrative action would be almost universally approved by our people.”

Letter to the Prime Minister, 22 June, 1948.
Prime Minister Clement Attlee replied to them, in the following letter:
Letter from Prime Minister Attlee to an MP about immigration to the UK, 5 July 1948 (HO 213/ 715)

10 Downing Street,
S.W.1
5th July, 1948

I am replying to the letter signed by yourself and ten other Members of Parliament on the 22nd of June about the West Indians who arrived in this country on that day on board the “Empire Windrush”. I note what you say, but I think it would be a great mistake to take the emigration of this Jamaican party to the United Kingdom too seriously.

It is traditional that British subjects, whether of Dominion or Colonial origin (and of whatever race or colour), should be freely admissible to the United Kingdom. That tradition is not, in my view, to be lightly discarded, particularly at this time when we are importing foreign labour in large numbers. It would be fiercely resented in the Colonies themselves, and it would be a great mistake to take any measure which would tend to weaken the goodwill and loyalty of the Colonies towards Great Britain. If our policy were to result in a great influx of undesirables, we might, however unwillingly, have to consider modifying it. But I should not be willing to consider that except on really compelling evidence, which I do not think exists at the present time. We have not yet got complete figures on the disposal of the party which arrived on the “Empire Windrush”, but it may be of interest to you to know that of the 236 who had nowhere to go and no immediate prospects of employment, and who were therefore temporarily accommodated at Clapham Shelter, 145 had actually been placed in employment by the 30th June and the number still resident in the Shelter at this last week-end was down to 76. It would therefore be a great mistake to regard these people as undesirable or unemployables. The majority of them are honest workers, who can make a genuine contribution to our labour difficulties at the present time.

You and your fellow signatories say that Colonial Governments are responsible for the welfare of their peoples. That is true, and all the Colonial Governments have their ten-year plans of development, assisted from the Colonial Development and Welfare Act of the United Kingdom. But they, like this country, are embarrassed by shortages of skilled directing personnel as well as to some extent the universal dollar shortage. These factors prevent them driving ahead as fast as they and we would wish.

It is difficult to prophesy whether events will repeat themselves, but I think it will be shown that too much importance – too much publicity too – has been attached to the present argosy of Jamaicans. Exceptionally favourable shipping terms were available to them, and there was a large proportion of them who had money in their pockets from ex-service gratuities. These circumstances are not likely to be repeated; yet even so not all the passages available were taken up.

It is too early yet to assess the impression made upon these immigrants as to their prospects in Great Britain and consequently the degree to which their experience may attract others to follow their example. Although it has been possible to find employment for quite a number of them, they may well find it very difficult to make adequate remittance to their dependants in Jamaica as well as maintaining themselves over here. On the whole, therefore, I doubt whether there is likely to be a similar large influx.

(SIGNED) C.R. ATTLEE
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/attlees-britain/empire-windrush-2/
Despite Clement Attlee’s liberal policy, note carefully what he said here:
“It is traditional that British subjects, whether of Dominion or Colonial origin (and of whatever race or colour), should be freely admissible to the United Kingdom. That tradition is not, in my view, to be lightly discarded, particularly at this time when we are importing foreign labour in large numbers. It would be fiercely resented in the Colonies themselves, and it would be a great mistake to take any measure which would tend to weaken the goodwill and loyalty of the Colonies towards Great Britain. If our policy were to result in a great influx of undesirables, we might, however unwillingly, have to consider modifying it. But I should not be willing to consider that except on really compelling evidence, which I do not think exists at the present time.”
This strongly suggests to me that Clement Attlee never envisaged huge mass immigration levels from the Third World radically changing Britain’s demographics. In his time, he simply could never have imagined the insane levels of mass immigration that were inflicted on Britain from the 1990s onwards.

Rather, when Attlee said at the end of his letter he did not envisage another “large influx,” he was referring to just 492 Jamaican immigrants (who had arrived on the “Empire Windrush”), not even thousands, or hundreds of thousands.

Attlee regarded such Commonwealth immigration as likely to be small and not likely to cause serious problems precisely because it would remain small in numbers.

Moreover, the very fact that Attlee was – for perfectly good reasons – not in favour of a “great influx of [sc. immigrant] undesirables” into Britain would probably get him indicted for hate speech in today’s vicious, authoritarian and politically correct Europe.

Attlee would probably get expelled from the modern Labour Party, as would James Keir Hardie – the very founder of the Labour Party – given that Hardie famously opposed immigration into Scotland and remarked: “Dr. Johnson said God made Scotland for Scotchmen, and I would keep it so.”

If we could only resurrect Clement Attlee and show him Britain in 2018.

I think he would have closed the borders immediately and abandoned liberal immigration policies.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Academic Agent on “Six Key Lessons from Classical Economics”: A Critique

“The Academic Agent” has a video here on what he calls “Six Key Lessons from Classical Economics” (but actually from both Classical and Neoclassical economics):



Of course, not all of his points are wrong. And, since I assume various followers of “Academic Agent” will read this, let me state: I support Post Keynesian economics, a non-neoclassical version of Keynesianism.

But let us break this down as follows, point by point:

(1) “Wealth is not Money”.

This is true. Money is clearly not wealth (if we understand by “wealth” the good and services we consume). Money cannot be consumed in the way that commodities can. Libertarians are fond accusing Keynesians of saying that “money is wealth” or that “money creation is wealth creation.” But I can’t even recall seeing any left heterodox economists who even say this. The maxim that money is not everything – which many people on the Left are fond of saying – is even a subtle admission of the point.

One can readily agree that money is not wealth. Money is (1) a unit of account, (2) a medium of exchange and (3) a store of value.

So this point, while true, is largely a straw man, if it is supposed to be directed against Keynesian economists.

Further reading here:
Money: Is it Wealth?, October 12, 2010.

(2) “The Economy is not a Zero Sum Competition”.

While there are numerous economic activities in modern capitalism that are indeed not zero sum games, there clearly do exist economic activities which are precisely that.

Many speculative activities are like this: for example, activity on secondary financial asset markets where two (or more) parties engage in a trade in which one loses and the other gains. If I “bet” on a futures option or on a currency trade, I win or lose. This is a type of zero sum game.

It is notable that “The Academic Agent” doesn’t even bother to discuss financial markets, which are a fundamental part of modern capitalism.

Furthermore, if a person goes to a casino and gambles (which is clearly a form of capitalist exchange), he wins or loses. Either he comes out with more money than he went in with or less. This is a zero sum game. One could argue that, even if a person loses, he got in return the possible thrill of winning.

But this is a specious argument, because one can also point out that gambling addicts “lose” not only their money but also social well-being as they experience devastating negative personal and social consequences as the result of gambling problems. Such people are losers, and their gambling is a zero sum game.

Of course, plenty of other economic activities and transactions are not zero sum games, but the point remains.

(3) “International Trade is not a Zero Sum Game.

Once again, while a lot of international trade may well be mutually beneficial, not all trade is.

“The Academic Agent” relies on Ricardo’s Principle of Comparative Advantage, which claims that free trade is always mutually beneficial to nations engaging in it.

Ricardo’s argument takes the example of cloth and wine production in Portugal and England. Ricardo’s argument is simple: Portugal can produce more wine by concentrating on the production of wine (where it has a comparative advantage in needing less labour), and import cloth from England, even if (as in Ricardo’s example) it takes fewer labourers to produce cloth in Portugal than in England. The aggregate effect of England concentrating on producing cloth (where its comparative advantage lies in needing fewer workers or labour hours per unit) and Portugal producing wine is that a greater quantity of these commodities can be produced in total, and Portugal and England can exchange them to mutual benefit, instead of producing fewer goods in isolation and autarky.

But this argument contains all sort of unrealistic assumptions, and a fatal flaw in that Ricardo (like other Classical economists) assumed a pre-Marxist Labour Theory of Value.

First, the argument for unrestricted free trade by Ricardo’s principle of comparative advantage requires a number of stated or hidden fundamental assumptions to work properly, as follows:
(1) if a nation focusses on comparative advantage, domestic capital or factors of production like capital goods and skilled labour are not internationally mobile, and will be re-employed in the sector/sectors in which the country’s comparative advantage lies and within that nation;

(2) workers are fungible, and will be re-trained easily and moved to the new sectors where comparative advantage lies.

(3) it does not matter what you produce (e.g., you could produce pottery), as long as you do it in a way that gives you comparative advantage;

(4) technology is essentially unchanging and uniform; and

(5) there are no returns to scale in all sectors.
Assumption (1) doesn’t hold today and what happens is movement of capital under the principle of absolute advantage. By practising free trade a nation could experience capital flight and severe de-industrialisation. This results in a type of race to the bottom for industrialised countries that do not protect their industries. Movement of capital to a place where it has absolute advantage tends to cause de-industrialization in Western countries, as capital moves to nations with the lowest unit labour and factor costs, and higher wage countries experience falling wages, high unemployment and rising trade deficits.

Assumption (2) is plainly untrue.

Assumptions (3), (4) and (5) are utter nonsense.

In essence, Ricardo’s argument ignores the long-run benefits of industrialisation (a sector which gives increasing returns to scale), and manufacturing and industrialisation are the only real way to escape the grinding rural poverty of underdevelopment (unless of course you are lucky enough to be one of the minority of nations that has lucrative commodities like energy, or to be some tiny city-state that can get by on service industries).

In the long run, Portugal is better off producing cloth and other manufactured goods, not just wine. By adopting free trade, Portugal will reduce its future aggregate output and reduce its future per capita wealth.

Finally, there is also another devastating flaw in Ricardo’s argument: Ricardo actually uses a naive Labour Theory of Value assumption in its argument! (see also Reinert 2007: 301–304 for discussion). To be more precise, one of Ricardo’s crucial arguments in favour of free trade by comparative advantage is based on the idea that specialising in the production of some commodity is inherently better just because of the comparatively lower labour time involved in production. But this is false.

Even if it takes more labour hours and human labourers to produce manufactured goods, in the long run this is a key to becoming rich, whereas dead-end production of commodities with diminishing returns to scale, even if it requires fewer labour hours and labourers, is a path to Third World poverty.

Erik S. Reinert explains the flaw here:



So, quite clearly, international trade can be a zero sum game in that some nations engaging in free trade will lose, in the sense that they will have much lower future aggregate output and lower future per capita wealth.

It also follows that protectionism may be a better policy to create industries that gave increasing returns to scale (generally manufacturing) – rather than dead-end “diminishing returns to scale,” since this is what marks successful economic development. Once the new manufacturing sectors become internationally competitive, it is possible to reduce or eliminate tariffs. Note also that this policy is perfectly compatible with the fact the other types of tariffs (protecting inefficient rent seekers) or poorly targeted tariffs can be harmful to economic development.

Further reading here:
“Robert Murphy’s Debate on Free Trade,” August 7, 2016.

“The Cult of Free Trade in a Nutshell,” July 4, 2016.

“Ricardo’s Argument for Free Trade by Comparative Advantage,” July 5, 2016.

“Erik Reinert versus Ricardo on Free Trade,” July 5, 2016.

“Erik S. Reinert on Heterodox Development Economics,” July 9, 2016.

“Britain’s Protectionism against Indian Cotton Textiles,” July 12, 2016.

“Mises on the Ricardian Law of Association: The Flaws of Praxeology,” January 25, 2011.

(4) Say’s Law.

“The Academic Agent” seems to define Say’s Law in two senses, as follows:
(1) you must produce commodities before you consume them, and

(2) supply and demand are not independent of one another, but dependent in the sense that factor payments by producers or income to producers provide the source of demand for other goods.
No serious economist even disputes (1) or (2), and certainly not Keynesians, who would merely add that the creation of credit money within capitalism (for example, by banks) is a further source of demand for goods.

The trouble is that “The Academic Agent” then proceeds to garble Say’s law and what it actually says.

He also seems unaware that historians of economic thought like Thweatt (1979: 92–93) and Baumol (2003: 46) conclude that Jean-Baptiste Say’s role in formulating the law is grossly overrated, and that Adam Smith was in fact the real father of what is recognisably Say’s law in Classical economics, with the major work in developing the idea conducted by James Mill (1808), not Jean-Baptiste Say himself.

Furthermore, Keynes did not misrepresent what the 19th century economists had said about “Say’s Law.”

If we look at how Say’s law was formulated by the Classical economists, as defined by Thomas Sowell (1994: 39–41), it was as follows:
(1) The total factor payments received for producing a given volume (or value) of output are necessarily sufficient to purchase that volume (or value) of output [an idea in James Mill].

(2) There is no loss of purchasing power anywhere in the economy. People save only to the extent of their desire to invest and do not hold money beyond their transactions need during the current period [James Mill and Adam Smith].

(3) Investment is only an internal transfer, not a net reduction, of aggregate demand. The same amount that could have been spent by the thrifty consumer will be spent by the capitalists and/or the workers in the investment goods sector [John Stuart Mill].

(4) In real terms, supply equals demand ex ante [= “before the event”], since each individual produces only because of, and to the extent of, his demand for other goods. (Sometimes this doctrine was supported by demonstrating that supply equals demand ex post.) [James Mill.]

(5) A higher rate of savings will cause a higher rate of subsequent growth in aggregate output [James Mill and Adam Smith].

(6) Disequilibrium in the economy can exist only because the internal proportions of output differ from consumer’s preferred mix—not because output is excessive in the aggregate” [Say, Ricardo, Torrens, James Mill] (Sowell 1994: 39–41).
It is not clear that (1) is true, since most real-world prices include a profit mark-up and their aggregate value is much higher than the aggregate value of factor payments paid out in the production of the commodities.

Ideas (2), (3) and (6) are ridiculously false, since people can hoard money. In reality, people can hold money without purchasing goods and services. Furthermore, money can be spent on secondary financial or real asset markets where it is not used to purchase commodities.

This will lead to a situation where aggregate output is excessive, since some people do not wish to purchase commodities at all but save their money, hoard it, or spend it on financial assets.

In any real world economy, money from income streams from production, either to capitalists or workers, can become diverted to asset markets and may not be spent on goods. For this reason alone, Say’s law is a grossly unrealistic picture of market economies. Moreover, capitalists themselves have subjective expectations about the future and the future profitability of investment, and when their expectations are shattered, they will not necessarily invest out of retained earnings.

Lastly, as a matter of historical interest, eventually Jean-Baptiste Say actually repudiated the strong form of Say’s law that we call “Say’s Identity” in his letters to Malthus.

But “The Academic Agent” is blissfully unware of this.

More reading here:
“Say’s Law: An Overview and Bibliography,” April 13, 2013.

(5) “Every part of the economy is connected to the whole of economy… .”

While this is true, this does not vindicate Léon Walras’ Neoclassical economics, which “The Academic Agent” cites as his source for this insight, which has quite specific assertions about capitalist economies.

“The Academic Agent” argues against government intervention in the economy (by quoting a passage of Thomas Sowell) and tacitly invokes Walrasian Neoclassical theory and Austrian economic theory that envisage a capitalist economy as a self-correcting or self-equilibrating machine, which gravitates towards a long-run general equilibrium state.

But this is a profoundly mistaken view of market economies, and is wrong for the following reasons:
(1) both Austrian and Neoclassical theory ultimately hold that free markets have a tendency towards general equilibrium, and hence economic coordination by means of a flexible wage and price system, and a (supposed) coordinating loanable funds market that equates savings and investment. This is an empirically false view of market economies: it is essentially the product of Marginalists from the 1870s onwards who had physics envy and wanted to model a market economy like a self-equilibrating physical system.

(2) the core Neoclassical and Austrian model in (1) is false because:
(i) market systems are complex human systems subject to degrees of non-calculable probability and future uncertainty, so that market economies would not converge to general equilibrium states even if wages and prices were perfectly flexible. This makes human decision-making highly different to the fundamental model proposed by Neoclassical economics (even with their modern ad hoc models that invoke asymmetric information and bounded rationality), and, even if Austrians supposedly accept subjective expectations in decision making, they fail spectacularly to apply it properly in their economic theory. At the heart of this failure of both Neoclassical and Austrian theory is the mistaken ergodic axiom.

Investment is essentially driven by expectations which are highly subjective and even irrational, and come in waves of general optimism and pessimism;

(ii) the loanable funds model is a terrible model of aggregate investment (partly because the mythical natural rate of interest can’t be defined outside one commodity worlds) but very importantly because of (i) (which is the point that kills both Austrian economics and Neoclassical loanable funds models).

(iii) the price and wage system is highly inflexible, and even if it were flexible all sorts of factors prevent convergence to equilibrium states anyway (e.g., the reality of a non-ergodic future, subjective expectations, shifting liquidity preferences, failure of Say’s law, spending of money on non-reproducible financial assets, wage–price spirals, debt deflation, failure of the Pigou effect);
(3) the quantity theory of money is virtually useless, because of the following reasons:
(i) the modern money supply is endogenous because broad money creation is credit-driven (that is, created by private banks and its quantity is determined by the private demand for it), and, furthermore, a truly independent money supply function does not actually exist in an endogenous money world, since credit money comes into existence because it has been demanded, and so the broad money supply is not independent of money demand, but can be demand-led;

(ii) money can never be neutral, neither in the short run nor in the long run.

(iii) the direction of causation is generally from credit demand (via business loans to finance labour and other factor inputs) to money supply increases, contrary to the direction of causation as assumed in the quantity theory, and

(iv) changes in the general price level are a highly complex result of many factors, and not some simple function of money supply.
(4) the (non-Keynesian) Neoclassicals and Austrians have an obsessive-compulsive fixation with the supply-side, but this cripples their economic theory. In our capital-rich Western economies historically (and once we re-implement some kind of industrial policy now), what mostly constrains our prosperity is the demand-side, not the supply-side.
Once we realise there is no reliable or automatic tendency to general equilibrium in capitalist economies, then nearly all arguments against government interventions to promote economic activity collapse. The whole basis of Neoclassical and Austrian economics collapses.

For example, the assumption of “The Academic Agent” that a government program to build a bridge would automatically destroy private sector jobs, or harm the economy, does not follow at all, and certainly not if we have a recession or depression and vast resources are idle, and there is no private sector impetus for using such idle resources on capital investment or production.

Finally, George L. S. Shackle summed up the essence of Keynes’ theory as follows:
[sc. Keynes’s] ... theory of involuntary unemployment is perfectly simple and can be expressed in a paragraph, or in a sentence. If you express it in a sentence, you simply say that enterprise is the launching of resources upon a project whose outcome you do not, and cannot, know. The business of enterprise involves investment, the investing of large amounts of resources--huge sums of money--in things whose outcome you cannot be certain of, which could perfectly well turn into a disaster or a brilliant success.

The people who do this kind of investing are essentially gamblers and they can lose their nerve. And if they decide to withdraw from trade, they sweep their chips up from the table. If they decide it’s too risky, if their nerve gives out and they can’t bring themselves to go on investing, they cease to give employment and that is the explanation.
When business is at all unsettled--when there’s any sign at all of depression--or when there’s been a lot of investment and people have run out of ideas, or when their goods are not selling quite as fast as they have been, they no longer know what the marginal value product of an extra man is—it’s non-existent. How can you say that a certain number of men have a certain marginal productivity when you can’t know what the per unit value of the goods they would produce if you employed them would sell for?”
“An Interview with G.L.S. Shackle,” The Austrian Economics Newsletter, Spring 1983.
This is actually a splendid summing up of what Keynes’s theory is about, and why both Austrian and Neoclassical economics are nonsense.

More reading here:
“The Essence of Keynesianism is Investment,” December 8, 2012.

“Steve Keen, Debunking Economics, Chapter 6: Wages,” February 12, 2014.

“Steve Keen, Debunking Economics, Chapter 5: Theory of the Firm,” February 13, 2014.

“Kaldor on Economics without Equilibrium,” March 9, 2013.

“Kaldor on the Irrelevance of Equilibrium Economics,” May 15, 2013.

“Steve Keen on Consumer Theory,” March 14, 2014.

“What is Wrong with Neoclassical Economics?,” March 30, 2014.

“The Law of Demand in Neoclassical Economics,” June 1, 2013.

“What is the Epistemological Status of the Law of Demand?,” September 19, 2013.

“Steve Keen on the Law of Demand,” September 20, 2013.

“Price, Average Total Cost, Average Variable Cost and Marginal Cost,” November 28, 2013.

(6) “Marginal Utility”.

“The Academic Agent” ends with pointing out the “value” in the sense of desiring or evaluating commodities is subjective. This is true, but does not take you very far.

The law of diminishing subjective marginal utility states that, as a person consumes an additional unit of the same good (or a homogenous good), then the satisfaction or utility derived from the consumption of that good diminishes and continues to diminish with each additional good.

As a general empirical principle, it is true, but there are important exceptions, as can be seen here. But this general principle does not refute the case for government intervention in the economy.

Moreover, most prices in modern capitalist economies are not determined by the dynamics of supply and demand, but in reality are cost-based mark-up prices, which tend to be relatively inflexible downwards. Moreover, this is now the overwhelming conclusion of the Neoclassical empirical research literature itself, as can be seen here (with full citation of literature on price determination).

The relative downwards price rigidity in modern capitalism (largely an outgrowth of businesses and corporations themselves trying to avoid flexible price markets) also destroys the whole basis of the correction mechanism envisaged in Neoclassical and Austrian economics, since they think that product markets have a tendency to clear by highly flexible prices, when in reality this is confined to a minority of markets.

More reading here:
“The ‘Law’ of Diminishing Marginal Utility,” March 7, 2014

Mark-up Pricing in 21 Nations and the Eurozone: the Empirical Evidence.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Baumol, William J. 2003. “Retrospectives: Say’s Law,” in S. Kates (ed.), Two Hundred Years of Say’s Law: Essays on Economic Theory’s Most Controversial Principle. Edward Elgar Pub, Cheltenham and Northampton, Mass. 39–49.

Reinert, Erik S. 2007. How Rich Countries Got Rich, and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor. Carroll & Graf, New York.

Sowell, T. 1994. Classical Economics Reconsidered (2nd edn.). Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.

Thweatt, W. O. 1979. “Early Formulators of Say’s Law,” Quarterly Review of Economics and Business 19: 79–96.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Catastrophic Failure of Multiculturalism

Explained in this interesting and concise video:



In reality, human beings evolved to have ethnic identity and ethnocentric cooperation. This is the real basis of socialism as a political or economic form of political organisation within a modern nation state.

Multiculturalism and multi-ethnic mass immigration will undermine and destroy a society that has a strong level of social and ethnic cohesion with democratic “socialism” in the non-Marxist sense (that is, a welfare state, generous social security, universal health care, and interventionist government policies to promote the common social and economic well-being of the community).

The modern left is too stupid and deranged to understand that (1) ethnic nationalism must be the basis of progressive liberalism, old-fashioned Social Democracy, or democratic socialism, and that (2) the Cult of Diversity is, ultimately, a death sentence for economic and social progressivism or socialism that many on the Left support.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Opposition to Mass Immigration in the British Labour Party of 1948

In 1948 after World War II, Britain started to receive low-level immigration from its colonies. But – even within the British Labour party of that era – there were those who sensed that this could be the beginning of mass immigration on a scale likely to cause serious problems in Britain.

For example, the Prime Minister Clement Attlee was sent a letter on 22 June, 1948 signed by eleven Labour members of parliament who opposed mass immigration into Britain.

This letter said the following:
“This country may become an open reception centre for immigrants not selected in respect to health, education, training, character, customs and above all, whether assimilation is possible or not.

The British people fortunately enjoy a profound unity without uniformity in their way of life, and are blest by the absence of a colour racial problem. An influx of coloured people domiciled here is likely to impair the harmony, strength and cohesion of our public and social life and to cause discord and unhappiness among all concerned.

In our opinion colonial governments are responsible for the welfare of their peoples and Britain is giving these governments great financial assistance to enable them to solve their population problems. We venture to suggest that the British Government should, like foreign countries, the dominions and even some of the colonies, by legislation if necessary, control immigration in the political, social, economic and fiscal interests of our people.

In our opinion such legislation or administrative action would be almost universally approved by our people.”

Letter to the Prime Minister, 22 June, 1948.
The notion that Liberals and Leftists have always accepted open borders and mass immigration into the West is a lie.

In reality, concern about mass immigration on political, social, economic, and even demographic grounds was firmly part of the pre-1960s Left, and there has even been a strong tradition of support for severe immigration restriction on sectors of the Left too.

The eleven dissident Labour members of parliament in 1948 were also correct that the British people were strongly against mass immigration. Much later when Enoch Powell, a Tory, came out against mass immigration into Britain after his “Rivers of Blood” speech of 20 April, 1968, Powell received massive popular support not only from the middle class, but also from the British working class (see Lindop 1998), as can be seen in this documentary:



It is likely that Brexit too was to a great extent the result of working class hostility to mass immigration.

In short, the British public never voted for Third World mass immigration, and never desired it. Instead, it was a policy implemented from above by both Labour and Conservative governments who did not have a mandate for a policy that would have such far-reaching economic, social and demographic effects on Britain.

See my posts here:
“James Keir Hardie’s Views on Mass Immigration,” August 26, 2017.

“The 1908 Resolution against Mass Immigration by the Socialist Party of America,” August 4, 2017.

“The Mass Immigration Debate within the Socialist Party of America from 1910–1912, Part 1,” August 2, 2017.

“The Mass Immigration Debate within the Socialist Party of America from 1910–1912, Part 2,” August 3, 2017.

“Keynes’ Early Views on Population and Immigration,” April 1, 2017.

“Henry Sidgwick on Open Borders and the Free Movement of People,” April 5, 2017.

“The Old Left and Mass Immigration,” August 17, 2016.

“Ha-Joon Chang on Wage Determination in First World Nations,” July 6, 2016.

“Mass Immigration is the Last Fraud of Neoliberalism,” March 24, 2016.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Lindop, Fred. 1998. “Racism and the Working Class: Strikes in Support of Enoch Powell in 1968,” Labour History Review 66.1: 79–100.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Darwin, Evolution, and Human Gender Differences (or Darwin the Evil Sexist!)

To see the abominably ignorant and crazed science-denying state of our civilisation, you need only look at this interview of Jordan Peterson:



This stems from the insanity caused by the Liberal/Leftist cult of blank slateism, social constructivism, and the denial of biological reality and even basic principles of Darwinian evolution.

Let us run an experiment, and go back to what Darwin said about biological differences between men and women caused by evolution.

Charles Darwin – the discover of evolution by natural selection – wrote a book called The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), and a second edition of the book was published in 1874. I quote from the second edition.

Chapter 19 is called the “Secondary Sexual Characters of Man.” In this chapter, Darwin noted some truly sexist, bigoted biological differences between men and women:
There can be little doubt that the greater size and strength of man, in comparison with woman, together with his broader shoulders, more developed muscles, rugged outline of body, his greater courage and pugnacity, are all due in chief part to inheritance from his half-human male ancestors. These characters would, however, have been preserved or even augmented during the long ages of man’s savagery, by the success of the strongest and boldest men, both in the general struggle for life and in their contests for wives; a success which would have ensured their leaving a more numerous progeny than their less favored brethren. It is not probable that the greater strength of man was primarily acquired through the inherited effects of his having worked harder than woman for his own subsistence and that of his family; for the women in all barbarous nations are compelled to work at least as hard as the men. With civilized people the arbitrament of battle for the possession of the women has long ceased; on the other hand, the men, as a general rule, have to work harder than the women for their joint subsistence, and thus their greater strength will have been kept up.

Difference in the Mental Powers of the two Sexes. —With respect to differences of this nature between man and woman, it is probable that sexual selection has played a highly important part. I am aware that some writers doubt whether there is any such inherent difference; but this is at least probable from the analogy of the lower animals which present other secondary sexual characters. No one disputes that the bull differs in disposition from the cow, the wild-boar from the sow, the stallion from the mare, and, as is well known to the keepers of menageries, the males of the larger apes from the females. Woman seems to differ from man in mental disposition, chiefly in her greater tenderness and less selfishness; and this holds good even with savages, as shown by a well-known passage in Mungo Park’s Travels, and by statements made by many other travelers. Woman, owing to her maternal instincts, displays these qualities towards her infants in an eminent degree; therefore it is likely that she would often extend them towards her fellow-creatures. Man is the rival of other men; he delights in competition, and this leads to ambition which passes too easily into selfishness. These latter qualities seem to be his natural and unfortunate birthright. It is generally admitted that with woman the powers of intuition, of rapid perception, and perhaps of imitation, are more strongly marked than in man; but some, at least, of these faculties are characteristic of the lower races, and therefore of a past and lower state of civilization.

The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. If two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry, painting, sculpture, music (inclusive both of composition and performance), history, science, and philosophy, with half-a-dozen names under each subject, the two lists would not bear comparison. We may also infer, from the law of the deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on ‘Hereditary genius,’ that if men are capable of a decided pre-eminence over women in many subjects, the average of mental power in man must be above that of woman.

Amongst the half-human progenitors of man, and amongst savages, there have been struggles between the males during many generations for the possession of the females. But mere bodily strength and size would do little for victory, unless associated with courage, perseverance, and determined energy. With social animals, the young males have to pass through many a contest before they win a female, and the older males have to retain their females by renewed battles. They have, also, in the case of mankind, to defend their females, as well as their young, from enemies of all kinds, and to hunt for their joint subsistence. But to avoid enemies or to attack them with success, to capture wild animals, and to fashion weapons, requires the aid of the higher mental faculties, namely, observation, reason, invention, or imagination. These various faculties will thus have been continually put to the test and selected during manhood; they will, moreover, have been strengthened by use during this same period of life. Consequently, in accordance with the principle often alluded to, we might expect that they would at least tend to be transmitted chiefly to the male offspring at the corresponding period of manhood.

Now, when two men are put into competition, or a man with a woman, both possessed of every mental quality in equal perfection, save that one has higher energy, perseverance, and courage, the latter will generally become more eminent in every pursuit, and will gain the ascendancy. He may be said to possess genius—for genius has been declared by a great authority to be patience; and patience, in this sense, means unflinching, undaunted perseverance. But this view of genius is perhaps deficient; for without the higher powers of the imagination and reason, no eminent success can be gained in many subjects. These latter faculties, as well as the former, will have been developed in man, partly through sexual selection,—that is, through the contest of rival males, and partly through natural selection,—that is, from success in the general struggle for life; and as in both cases the struggle will have been during maturity, the characters gained will have been transmitted more fully to the male than to the female offspring. It accords in a striking manner with this view of the modification and re-inforcement of many of our mental faculties by sexual selection, that, firstly, they notoriously undergo a considerable change at puberty, and, secondly, that eunuchs remain throughout life inferior in these same qualities. Thus man has ultimately become superior to woman. It is, indeed, fortunate that the law of the equal transmission of characters to both sexes prevails with mammals; otherwise it is probable that man would have become as superior in mental endowment to woman, as the peacock is in ornamental plumage to the peahen.

It must be borne in mind that the tendency in characters acquired by either sex late in life, to be transmitted to the same sex at the same age, and of early acquired characters to be transmitted to both sexes, are rules which, though general, do not always hold. If they always held good, we might conclude (but I here exceed my proper bounds) that the inherited effects of the early education of boys and girls would be transmitted equally to both sexes; so that the present inequality in mental power between the sexes would not be effaced by a similar course of early training; nor can it have been caused by their dissimilar early training. In order that woman should reach the same standard as man, she ought, when nearly adult, to be trained to energy and perseverance, and to have her reason and imagination exercised to the highest point; and then she would probably transmit these qualities chiefly to her adult daughters. All women, however, could not be thus raised, unless during many generations those who excelled in the above robust virtues were married, and produced offspring in larger
numbers than other women. As before remarked of bodily strength, although men do not now fight for their wives, and this form of selection has passed away, yet during manhood, they generally undergo a severe struggle in order to maintain themselves and their families; and this will tend to keep up or even increase their mental powers, and, as a consequence, the present inequality between the sexes.” (Darwin 1874: 557–560).
If Darwin were alive today, he would probably be jailed for “hate crimes.”

But was Darwin right? He was not correct in everything he argued here, but nevertheless right in many other ways.

But let us run through some of his most important assertions:

(1) Darwin said: “There can be little doubt that the greater size and strength of man, in comparison with woman, together with his broader shoulders, more developed muscles, rugged outline of body, his greater courage and pugnacity, are all due in chief part to inheritance from his half-human male ancestors.”

Modern science absolutely has found sex differences between men and women, as follows:
(1) on average, men are taller than women;

(2) on average, men have greater upper and lower body strength (with greater muscle mass, thicker tendons, and greater bone density) than women;

(3) on average, oxygen is better circulated around the male body because of higher haemoglobin levels so that, physiologically, men are better at physical activity than women;

(4) on average, men have greater stamina (with higher levels of anabolic steroids);

(5) on average, men have greater maximal oxygen uptake capacity than women

(6) on average, men have higher levels of testosterone, and this causes behavioural differences between men and women, including greater male aggression, violence and competition (essentially what Darwin calls “pugnacity”).
So Darwin was right.

(2) Darwin said: “Woman seems to differ from man in mental disposition, chiefly in her greater tenderness and less selfishness;” and “We may also infer, from the law of the deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on ‘Hereditary genius,’ that if men are capable of a decided pre-eminence over women in many subjects, the average of mental power in man must be above that of woman.”

Modern science and psychometrics have found the following:
(1) there really is some evidence of a small difference between the average IQ of men as compared with that of women. Men appear to have a slightly higher average IQ, with about a 3–5 point advantage over women.

(2) more importantly, when the IQs of a representative sample of men and women are plotted on a graph, it has been discovered that the distribution of IQs is not the same. See the graph of male and female IQ distribution here. As we can see, the manner in which the IQs of men and women fall on the graph differs: the IQ scores of women tend to cluster around the average (with less distribution in upper and lower ranges), while male IQs tend to be distributed less around the average and more in the upper and lower ranges as compared with the IQ distribution of women.

The average IQ for European people is about 100. So, for example, more European women have IQs that tend to cluster around 100 than the IQs of men do. This means that, numerically, there are far more high IQ men than there are women (also, it means there are far more low IQ men than there are women). Furthermore, it means that, numerically, there are fewer men of about average IQ than there are women.

(3) by examining the sub-tests of IQ tests, we have discovered that – in terms of sub-tests and specific cognitive abilities – men and women also differ. Women tend, on average, to be much better at verbal abilities and language, but men tend on average to outperform women on numerical/mathematical and visual-spatial cognitive abilities.

(4) There are also general psychological and behaviour differences between men and women that affect each gender’s educational choices and career choices. Women are better at verbal/language abilities, and have a general propensity to choose professions where they can use those abilities, and professions that involve greater social interaction, caring and nurturing (e.g., nursing).

(5) on average, men are more competitive (because of higher levels of testosterone) and more aggressive than women.
So here Darwin was essentially right too (full references to scientific literature can be found here), and the only problem being he should have focussed more on differences in the distribution of male versus female IQ, and on average differences in specific cognitive abilities such as verbal IQ, numerical/mathematical IQ, and visual-spatial IQ.

Curiously, Darwin was a Liberal and a type of progressive Liberal in his day, and many of his defenders and followers were too, so there was clearly a time when Liberalism was compatible with accepting biological differences between men and women.

For some reason, modern Liberalism and Leftism have been poisoned by science-denial and blank slateist social constructivism.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Darwin, Charles. 1874. The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (2nd edn.). Merrill and Baker, New York and London.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Steve Keen on the Reformation of Economics

Steve Keen, with other speakers, talks here on the “Reformation of Economics”:


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Steve Keen on Cryptocurrencies

Steve Keen gives a talk here on the nature of money and cryptocurrencies:



My own post on Bitcoin can be read here.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Noam Chomsky on the Blank Slate

From his Language and Problems of Knowledge: The Managua Lectures (1988):
The evidence seems compelling, indeed overwhelming, that fundamental aspects of our mental and social life, including language, are determined as part of our biological endowment, not acquired by learning, still less by training, in the course of our experience. Many find this conclusion offensive. They would prefer to believe that humans are shaped by their environment, not that they develop in a manner that is predetermined in essential respects. I mentioned earlier the remarkable dominance of the behaviorist conception that language and other aspects of our beliefs and knowledge, and of our culture in general, are determined by experience. The Marxist tradition too has characteristically held that humans are products of history and society, not determined by their biological nature; of course this is not true of physical properties, such as the possession of arms rather than wings or the property of undergoing puberty at roughly a certain age, but it is held to be true of intellectual, social, and general cultural life. This standard view makes nonsense of the essentials of Marx’s own thought, I believe, for reasons already briefly indicated, but let us put that aside; there is no doubt that it is proclaimed as a point of doctrine by many who call themselves Marxists. For several centuries now the dominant intellectual tradition in Anglo-American thought adopted similar conceptions. In this empiricist tradition it was held that the constructions of the mind result from a few simple operations of association on the basis of contiguity, phenomenal similarity, and so on, perhaps extended by a capacity for induction from a limited class of cases to a larger class of the same type. These resources must then suffice for all intellectual achievements, including language learning and much else. ….

When some doctrine has such a powerful grip on the intellectual imagination over such a broad range and when it has little in the way of empirical support but is rather in conflict with the evidence at every point, it is fair to ask why the beliefs are so firmly maintained. Why should intellectuals be so wedded to the belief that humans are shaped by the environment, not determined by their nature?

In earlier years environmentalism was held to be a ‘progressive’ doctrine. It undermined the belief that each person has a natural place fixed by nature: lord, servant, slave, and so on. It is true that if people have no endowments, then they are equal in endowments: equally miserable and unfortunate. Whatever appeal such a view may once have had, it is hard to take it seriously today. In fact, it was dubious even then; as noted, the traditional dualism to which it was opposed had deeper and far more persuasive reasons for assuming the essential unity of the human species and the lack of significant variation within it in any of these respects.” (Chomsky 1988: 250–252).
Noam Chomsky is basically the Grand Old Man of the radical Left at this point, but it is frequently forgotten that the whole basis of his academic and scholarly work was a vehement rejection of the blank slate and a defence of biological essentialism.

Chomsky has defended (1) the view that human beings are not blank slates as in radical (and mistaken) empiricism, and (2) the observation that human language and other cognitive traits are innately biological to a significant extent.

The latter view was brought out in Chomsky’s now famous 1959 review of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior, where Chomsky attacked Skinner’s behaviourism and effectively discredited that theory.

This is confirmed in Chomsky’s statement above when he says the following:
“The evidence seems compelling, indeed overwhelming, that fundamental aspects of our mental and social life, including language, are determined as part of our biological endowment, not acquired by learning, still less by training, in the course of our experience. Many find this conclusion offensive. …. The Marxist tradition too has characteristically held that humans are products of history and society, not determined by their biological nature; of course this is not true of physical properties, such as the possession of arms rather than wings or the property of undergoing puberty at roughly a certain age, but it is held to be true of intellectual, social, and general cultural life. This standard view makes nonsense of the essentials of Marx’s own thought, I believe, for reasons already briefly indicated, but let us put that aside;” … . (Chomsky 1988: 250–251).
As Chomsky points out, the blank slate is a popular but flawed assumption of much of the Left, certainly the Marxist left, and is not supported by the evidence.

Chomsky talks about human nature here:



But his claim that the genetic basis of human nature is difficult to study is collapsing now, owing to the genetic and genomic revolution. Chomsky is also wrong to be skeptical about modern evolutionary psychology.

Chomsky is entirely correct, however, that biological essentialism is true, and the fact is that there was a strand of the Left that did not deny biological nature: the early-20th-century progressive Left, including the progressive Liberals, who defended the truth of Darwinian evolution, the truth that evolution applies to human beings, the understanding that even many of our human cognitive traits like intelligence are highly heritable, and, most controversial of all, that evolution has produced human beings in different regions with different phenotypic traits under different selective pressures.

Of course, that kind of progressivism that defended biological essentialism has been shunned and ejected from any influence on the modern Left, which tends to embrace radical blank slateism and social constructivism.

But all the scientific evidence today shows that blank slateism and social constructivism are utterly discredited: yet the Left continues to fanatically defend these discredited pseudo-scientific religious dogmas. Obviously, to make any progress on reforming the errors and flawed assumptions of the Left, blank slateism and social constructivism have to be abandoned.

Of course, Chomsky himself can be criticised for not taking his commitment to the biological basis to human nature far enough, or making strange denials about the role of evolution.

Take Chomsky’s view of the human language faculty. In standard neo-Darwinian theory not everything biological and innate is a direct adaptation, but evolution can be caused by multiple processes:
(1) direct adaptation;

(2) exaptation (some prior adaptation then “re-designed” to solve a different adaptive problem);

(3) as a by-product (or spandrel);

(4) sexual selection, or

(5) genetic drift.
Chomsky has suggested that the human language faculty is (3), while most other biologists or evolutionary psychologists like Steven Pinker argue it is (1) (see Pinker and Bloom 1990). At other times, Chomsky has also suggested that the language faculty is caused by some unknown even more fundamental principles of physics (Dennett 1996: 395), but this seems absurd.

Chomsky himself has not shrunk from commenting on the most controversial issue of all: race and average IQ differences. Chomsky has said:
“Such arguments for environmentalism are often heard today in connection with debates over race and IQ and the like. Again, it is true that if humans have no biologically determined intellectual endowments, then there will be no correlation between IQ (a socially determined property) and anything else: race, sex, or whatever. Again, though the motivation can be appreciated, it is difficult to take the argument seriously. Let us pretend for the moment that race and IQ are well-defined properties, and let us suppose that some correlation is found between them. Perhaps a person of a particular race, on the average, is likely to have a slightly higher IQ than a person of another race. Notice first that such a conclusion would have essentially null scientific interest. It is of no interest to discover a correlation between two traits selected at random, and if someone happens to be interested in this odd and pointless question, it would make far more sense to study properties that are much more clearly defined, say, length of fingernails and eye color. So the interest of the discovery must lie in the social domain. But here, it is clear that the discovery is of interest only to people who believe that each individual must be treated not as what he or she is but rather as an example of a certain category (racial, sexual, or whatever). To anyone not afflicted with these disorders, it is of zero interest whether the average value of IQ for some category of persons is such-and-such. Suppose we were to discover the height has a slight correlation with ability to do higher mathematics. Would that imply that no one under a certain height should be encouraged to study higher mathematics, or would it mean that each person should be considered as an individual, encouraged to study higher mathematics if their talents and interests so indicate? Obviously the latter, even though it would then turn out that a slightly higher percentage of taller people would end up pursuing this path. Since we do not suffer from the social disease of ‘height-ism,’ the issue interests no one.

Surely people differ in their biologically determined qualities. The world would be too horrible to contemplate if they did not. But discovery of a correlation between some of these qualities is of no scientific interest and of no social significance, except to racists, sexists, and the like. Those who argue that there is a correlation between race and IQ and those who deny this claim are contributing to racism and other disorders, because what they are saying is based on the assumption that the answer to the question makes a difference; it does not, except to racists, sexist, and the like.” Chomsky (1988: 252).
Chomsky here is saying that blank-slate environmentalism is not needed to dismiss concerns about racial differences in average IQ, because Chomsky thinks that, if there were such differences, it is of “essentially null scientific interest” or “of no scientific interest.”

But here Chomsky himself is absurdly wrong. If there are significant differences in average IQs between the races and other cognitive traits, then this has profound social, economic, and political implications, implications which Chomsky refuses to discuss or honestly consider.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Chomsky, Noam. 1988. Language and Problems of Knowledge: The Managua Lectures. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass and London.

Dennett, D. C. 1996. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life. Penguin Books, London.

Pinker, Steven and Paul Bloom, 1990. “Natural Language and Natural Selection,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13.4: 707–784.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sargon of Akkad goes Full SJW Retard

And also mixed in with a good portion of libertarian/Classical Liberal retard too.

At this point, it is difficult not to lose all respect for Sargon. For years, he did sterling work refuting and countering all the nonsense of the SJW Left, but now seems to have fallen into – or at least been forced to throw up – Cultural Leftist nonsense. All this has happened because of his picking a fight with the Alt Right. Unfortunately, Sargon isn’t intellectually up to debating such people, and it is not just his lame Classical Liberal individualist rubbish that is the cause of this. Sargon is also ignorant of science.

In a recent debate with Millennial Woes below, Sargon is forced to invoke social constructivist idiocy and, yes, literally goes full SJW, and asserts that white people are just a “social construct”:



When Sargon says that white people are just a “social construct,” he is denying evolution, biology and modern science, and falling back on social constructivism – a cult of nonsense on the Cultural Left.

One can easily find the facts about race in Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History (New York, 2014). Wade was a New York Times science writer and, typically, he and his book were subject to all sort of vicious slanderous attacks, even though his basic facts are the findings of modern science and have not been refuted.

It is easy to prove Sargon wrong by referring to the scientific facts. By “white people,” what Sargon really means is “white European Caucasians,” a sub-branch of the Caucasian/Caucasoid population group or race.

The broad Caucasian/Caucasoid race includes more than just Europeans, of course, since it includes North African Caucasians, Middle Eastern Caucasians, the indigenous people of the Caucasus, and Central Asian Caucasians. But Europeans are an objective and real subgroup of this broad population group, which has a distinctive set of phenotypes and genetic markers.

We can easily prove this.

As Wade points out, humans have the same types of genes, but human races differ in terms of gene allele frequencies (Wade 2014: 96), which cause distinctive phenotypes because of a common ancestry and evolutionary history.

Genome sequencing shows us that human populations have been subject to genetic and evolutionary changes in the various regions of settlement and in recent history, because of different selective pressures and other evolutionary processes, and that these changes differ from population to population (Wade 2014: 103).

Genes under selection actually do differ from region to region in the genome: of genetic regions under selection, there were 206 distinct regions in the genome of Africans, 185 in East Asians, and 188 in Europeans (Wade 2014: 103).

Evolution is driven to a great extent by the prevalence of gene variants called alleles. These alleles spread through a population by natural selection. Many important phenotypic traits are caused by a number of different genes (Wade 2014: 111). But an allele need only become more common in a population with respect to another population to cause significant evolutionary change.

Human beings can be objectively divided into 5 major continental races, with minor races as well as additional “clines” (people of mixed ancestry). It is also a total myth that a race has to be “pure” in order to exist. This is utterly false. Modern Mestizos are a real objective race, but by origin they were a “cline,” an admixture between mostly male European Caucasians and female Amerindians.

We can genetically classify human beings into different population groups by two objective criteria as follows:
(1) differences in “tandem repeats” or DNA repeats, and

(2) single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPs).
Genetic studies by either of these methods confirm that there are 5 main races:
(1) Caucasians/Caucasoid,
(2) East Asians,
(3) sub-Saharan Africans,
(4) Australian Aborigines, and
(5) Amerindians (Wade 2014: 97–98).
There are also minor races like New Guineans and Melanesians (Wade 2014: 97), as well as “clines” (admixtures of two originally separate groups) like the people of sub-continental India (Wade 2014: 96). Within broad races, one can also find sub-groups with finer genetic testing, which often line up with traditional ethnicities (Wade 2014: 98), which have themselves shared common descent and further minor evolution.

The hard scientific evidence for this can be found in these ground-breaking genetic studies:
(1) For classifications based on differences in “tandem repeats” or DNA repeats, see:

Rosenberg, N. A., J. K. Pritchard, J. L. Weber, H. M. Cann, K. K. Kidd, L. A. Zhivotovsky, and M. W. Feldman. 2002. “Genetic Structure of Human Populations,” Science 298: 2381–2385.

(2) For classification based on Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPs), see:

Li, J. Z., Absher, D. M., Tang, H., Southwick, A. M., Casto, A. M., Ramachandran, S., Cann, H. M., Barsh, G. S., Feldman, M., Cavalli-Sforza, L. L., and Myers, R. M. 2008. “Worldwide Human Relationships inferred from Genome-Wide Patterns of Variation,” Science 319.5866: 1100–1104.
So science says that Caucasians are a real objective group defined by objective gene allele frequencies derived from common descent and evolution.

What of Europeans? Europeans are a subgroup of the broad Caucasian/Caucasoid race. When people speak of white people, what they normally mean is “white European Caucasian.”

The science of genetics also says Europeans are an objectively real group with a three-fold common descent. The evidence can be seen in Gibbons (2014), Allentoft et al. (2015), Günther et al. (2015), Mathieson et al. (2015) and Hofmanová et al. (2016). These studies are based on gene sequencing of ancient DNA in the remains of people who died thousands of years ago.

In terms of descent, the facts appear to be that indigenous modern Europeans are a three-fold mix of three ancient populations as follows:
(1) Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers who lived in Europe from c. 45,000 years ago;

(2) Neolithic Anatolian and Aegean farmers who migrated into Europe from c. 6,500 BC–4,000 BC, and

(3) Indo-European-speaking Yamnaya-culture people who swept into Europe from the Russian steppe from 3,000 to 2,000 BC.
We can examine the history of these groups in greater detail as follows:
(1) Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers from c. 45,000 years ago
These were the earliest members of Homo sapiens in Europe; they were a hunter-gatherer people who lived in Europe from about 45,000 years ago during the end of the last Ice Age (which lasted from about 108,000 to 10,000 BC). They came from the Middle East along a Mediterranean route. But Europe must have been sparsely populated by these people: in essence, the earliest European hunter-gatherers must have been a relatively small population. These Mesolithic hunter-gatherers have contributed to modern European genetics, though to a different extent in different regions.

It appears that some of them interbred with the Neanderthals (who had in turn evolved from Homo erectus populations) (see here). But, even if true, the Neanderthal genetic contribution to modern Europeans is low, maybe as low as 1.5–2.1% (Prüfer et al. 2014). (For a useful family tree, see here).

There also seems to be some evidence that the mysterious Homo sapiens denisova lived in Europe in the Stone age.

At any rate, the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers appear to have had dark skin, which lightened by Darwinian evolution over the centuries, but perhaps accelerated by the adoption of farming which involved a reduced intake of vitamin D. Blue eyes may have evolved amongst these early European hunter-gatherers as well (see here and here).

(2) Neolithic Anatolian farmers from c. 6,500 BC–4,000 BC
From c. 6,500 BC–4,000 BC, Neolithic Anatolian farmers from northern Greece and north-western Turkey started migrating into central Europe through the Balkan route and then by the Mediterranean route to the Iberian Peninsula. They brought sedentary agricultural communities and new domestic animals and plants. Modern southern Europeans still seem to have inherited much more of their genes from these people. The original Anatolian farmer phenotype was probably similar to that of the modern people of Sardinia (Hofmanová et al. 2016: 3), and, generally speaking, the swarthy phenotype of southern Europeans is the legacy of their greater descent from the Neolithic Anatolian farmers as opposed to northern Europeans. Genetic analysis of ancient farmers seems to show that after their arrival in Europe the Neolithic Anatolian farmers only mixed infrequently and at low levels with the hunter-gatherers, but increasingly from the later Neolithic period (Hofmanová et al. 2016: 4).

(3) Indo-European-speaking Yamnaya-culture people from 3,000 to 2,000 BC
From 3,000 to 2,000 BC, there was massive migration of people from the South Russian steppe into central Europe, and then into northern and western Europe, and these people were of the Yamnaya culture north of the Black Sea. These people were almost certainly proto-Indo-European speakers (Balter and Gibbons 2015), cattle herders, and probably had a phenotype with brown eyes, pale skin, and taller height. It is also interesting – and not surprising – that the Caucasian Yamnaya-culture people have bequeathed to modern Europeans the trait of persistent adult lactose tolerance (Allentoft et al. 2015: 171). The migration of the Yamnaya-culture people west and east spread the Indo-European languages (Allentoft et al. 2015: 171).
All modern indigenous Europeans (e.g., even those partly descended from the later invaders from the Eurasian steppe like the Magyars or Turkic-speaking Bulgars or Cumans) have a mix of genes from these three types of ancient people (see here).

The distinctive European traits of blue eyes (from hunter gatherers), lactose tolerance (from the Yamnaya people) and fairer skin spread by interbreeding and natural selection (see here and here).

The genetic contribution of the Neolithic Anatolian farmers is important, but admittedly less so as you move northwards in Europe. However, even the Scandinavians have significant descent from the Neolithic Anatolian farmers, and even a marginal population like the Irish do as well (see here).

The further north you go in Europe, it appears the more is the genetic contribution of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers.

And virtually everyone has some descent from the Indo-European-speaking Yamnaya-culture people. Linguistically, this third group is fundamentally important because virtually everyone in Europe now speaks an Indo-European language, apart from the Hungarians, Finns, and Estonians (who speak Finno-Ugric languages), and the Basques (who probably speak a modern descendant of the ancient Anatolian farmer language).

The Indo-European Yamnaya-culture people of the steppe had themselves mixed with a population of hunter-gatherers isolated in the Caucasus region, so that the early Yamnaya pastoralists were a mix of Eastern European hunter gatherers and another group of hunter-gatherers from the Caucasus. These people then migrated back into Europe in a mass movement from c. 3,000 to 2,000 BC (Balter and Gibbons 2015: 815). For example, they flooded into eastern and central Europe and created the Corded Ware culture (c. 3100–1900 BC) (see the map here). Their descendants appear to have arrived in Greece from 2400–2000 BC bringing with them the Proto-Greek language that would evolve into Mycenaean Greek and then the later Greek dialects of Classical Greece.

Conclusion
So we have objective criteria for defining a white European Caucasian: a person whose ancestors lived in Europe for thousands of years and who shares a three-fold descent from (1) the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of Europe, (2) Neolithic Anatolian and Aegean farmers who migrated into Europe, and (3) the Indo-Europeans. All these groups were also ancient Caucasians/Caucasoids, and Europeans are also a sub-group of a broader Caucasian/Caucasoid race.

So Sargon can be refuted easily. I challenge him to read and respond to the evidence above, or just read the evidence in Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History (New York, 2014), and the other genetic studies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Allentoft, Morten E. et al. 2015. “Population Genomics of Bronze Age Eurasia,” Nature 522 (11 June): 167–172.

Balter, Michael and Ann Gibbons. 2015. “Indo-European Languages tied to Herders,” Science 347.6224: 814–815.

Gibbons, Ann. 2014. “Three-Part Ancestry for Europeans,” Science 345.6201 (5 September): 1106–1107.

Günther, Torsten et al. 2015. “Ancient Genomes link Early Farmers from Atapuerca in Spain to Modern-Day Basques,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.38: 11917–11922.

Haak, Wolfgang. 2015. “Massive Migration from the Steppe was a Source for Indo-European Languages in Europe,” Nature 522: 207–211.

Hofmanová, Zuzana et al. 2016. “Early Farmers from across Europe directly descended from Neolithic Aegeans,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, June 6
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/06/01/1523951113.full

Jones, Eppie R. et al. 2015. “Upper Palaeolithic Genomes reveal Deep Roots of Modern Eurasians,” Nature Communications 6
http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/151116/ncomms9912/full/ncomms9912.html

Mathieson, Iain et al. 2015. “Genome-Wide Patterns of Selection in 230 Ancient Eurasians,” Nature 528.7583: 499–503.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v528/n7583/full/nature16152.html

Wade, Nicholas. 2014. A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History. The Penguin Press, New York.