Thursday, April 13, 2017

Will N.E. Asia eclipse Caucasians by the end of this century?

It seems obvious that they will.  Japan and S. Korea are already rich and influential countries and China is just getting into its stride -- while economic growth rates in Europe and America are very sluggish.

And something I notice because I read a lot of academic journal articles across several disciplines is that there always seems to be an East Asian among the list of authors.  There are very few single-author papers these days.  So East Asians are already there at the heart of Western science. How soon will it be before the corresponding (main) author usually has an Asian name?

Prophecy is a mug's game unless it is based on clear extrapolations from the past and present and even then "Black Swan" events can upset the applecart.  But we are all interested in the future so at least we can attempt informed opinions.  My opinion is that China will once again be the centre of the world by the end of this century. So I want to look at why I might be wrong. No Leftist ever seems to do that but it is certainly in  line with conservative caution.

An obvious factor is the law of diminishing returns and the ogive curve that seems to describe most variations in biological phenomena.  Apologies for that bit of academic-speak but it will become VERY clear if we look at Japan.  For about 4 decades after WWII, Japan astonished the world by it huge economic growth rates.  It leapt to some sort of parity with European countries very rapidly and European countries were growing richer at that time too.

But it did not continue.  It just about hit a brick wall.  Japan has had negligible growth for around a couple of decades now.  A statistician might say that Japanese economic growth has approached an asymptote.  And lots of things do approach an asymptote.  It is normal for natural processes to have limits on how far they can change.  So Japan will almost certainly never again see high rates of econnomic growth.  It will probably stay on some sort of parity with Western countries but may never get further than that.  Could that happen to China too?  It is clearly possible.

It is also possible that the USA could get steam up again. Under Obama, huge numbers of Americans left the workforce, middle incomes stagnated and business was ever more tightly strangled by regulations. But that already seems to be going into reverse under Trump. And it's early days yet. The more Uncle Sam gets his fingers out of business, the more the economy is likely to grow. And in my reading we are in fact due for a boom under Trump.

It would be too much of a diversion to tackle the arguments of economists against Trumpenomics but let me just note that Trump does have an economics degree and America thrived mightily behind high tariff walls in the 19th century.

So if America booms again, it might be very difficult for N.E. Asia to keep up, let alone excel.

A standard criticism of E. Asians is that they are not creative.  They just use well what others have invented.  That might seem like stupid old racism but some recent work in genetics gives it some substance.  And it is in part the work of that intrepid  outspeaker, Edward Dutton -- a Briton who has been "exiled" to Northern Finland.  Maybe he just likes cold climates. His latest paper that I know of (2015) is below:

Why do Northeast Asians win so few Nobel Prizes?

Kenya Kura, Jan te Nijenhuis & Edward Dutton


Most scientific discoveries have originated from Europe, and Europeans have won 20 times more Nobel Prizes than have Northeast Asians. We argue that this is explained not by IQ, but by interracial personality differences, underpinned by differences in gene distribution. In particular, the variance in scientific achievement is explained by differences in inquisitiveness (DRD4 7-repeat), psychological stability (5HTTLPR long form), and individualism (mu-opioid receptor gene; OPRM1 G allele ). Northeast Asians tend to be lower in these psychological traits, which we argue are necessary for exceptional scientific accomplishments. Since these traits comprise a positive matrix, we constructed a q index (measuring curiosity) from these gene frequencies among world populations. It is found that both IQ scores and q index contribute significantly to the number of per capita Nobel Prizes.


Linking Nobel prizes to genetics is undoubtedly clever and impressive so my objections to their conclusions are rather weak.  My objections may however be right.  The key statistic in their results is the variance explained by their q factor and IQ combined.  It is only 19%.  Many other factors could be at work.

And an obvious factor is history.  Nobel prizes are normally awarded late in the Nobelist's life.  And for something like 98% of the time over which Nobels have been awarded, China had not even got its boots on academically.  Among those Asian co-authors of academic papers today may be a majority of the Nobelists of tomorrow.  In other words, the criterion for achievement -- a Nobel -- may be too narrow.  I believe it is.

So where does that leave us?  All things considered, I suppose the future will be a lot like the present, with the new ideas coming mainly from people of N.W. European ancestry (including Russians, Britons and Americans) and Asia implementing those ideas even more effectively than we do.

I am still vastly impressed by China, however.  My only visit to China was many years ago but my son has been to China a couple of times on problem-solving missions and I have Sinophilic friends.  All tell me that China already dazzles in many ways.  My son is a software engineer and his verdict from contact with them is that the Chinese are unbeatable.  I am inclined to agree.  I am inclined to think that China will eventually pull ahead of the USA in most ways.  But I am also of the view that the USA will remain an indispensable second place-getter in many ways.


United Airlines Flunks Economics 101

Supply and Demand: After forcing a paying customer off a flight to make room for an employee, United Airlines is catching hell, and rightly so. But what's really disturbing is that no one at United understood the most basic principle of free market economics.

The story goes like this. United overbooked a flight from Chicago to Louisville, Ky., on Sunday night. That's hardly unusual. But in this case, United wanted to make room for four employees who needed to be in Louisville the next day, and the next flight to Louisville wasn't until Monday afternoon.

According to news accounts, United offered passengers at the gate $400 and a hotel to give up their seats. But nobody took them up on it. After everyone had boarded the plane, United upped the offer to $800 for anyone willing to get off. Again, it got no takers.

So, the airline decided to do the "fair" thing and have a computer randomly pick four passengers, who were then told to get off the plane. When one refused, United called in cops. Another passenger recorded that man being yanked from his seat and dragged off the plane.

A high school student just learning about economics could explain what United did wrong. Namely, it tried to ignore the supply and demand curve and the market clearing price.

Clearly, the combination of an overnight stay and the reason for being bumped (to accommodate United workers) pushed the market price for giving up a seat above $800.

United spokesman Charlie Hobart said the airline tries to come up with a reasonable compensation offer, but "there comes a point where you're not going to get volunteers."

That's simply not true. Yes, United's contract of carriage gives them the ability to bump passengers. But United could have — and given the circumstances should have — continued to increase its offer price until it got enough volunteers. At some point, there would have been a rush to give up seats.

The result: Everyone would have gone away happy. The passengers who agreed to get off the flight would have received something they valued more than arriving on time, and United would have been able to get its own employees where they needed to be without raising a fuss.

Instead, United tried to impose its own form of price controls and then have the police enforce its nonmarket decision.

Does that sound familiar to anyone? It should, because this is precisely what happens when government interferes in any market, either by forcing prices higher or lower, or mandating businesses offer this or that, to accommodate some other alleged social goal — and then forcing everyone to abide by these rules. The result is economic inefficiency, rising animosity and a growing police state.

Price controls are why there were gasoline shortages in the 1970s and doctor shortages in Medicaid today. They explain why the individual insurance markets are failing under ObamaCare, and why Venezuelan grocery store shelves are empty.

Such economic illiteracy might be excusable among government regulators and bureaucrats who make their living telling other people what to do. But the fact that a private company — in an industry that is constantly changing ticket prices to meet even slight changes in demand — didn't understand this basic economic principle is really troubling.

Then again, it was the airlines themselves that fought to keep the government in charge of setting their routes and fares when Congress decided to deregulate the industry in the 1970s.



Trump wins trade concessions from China in first meeting: Report

President Trump's first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly made progress on trade issues with the world's largest country.

The Financial Times reported China offered to drop the ban on American beef, in place since 2003, and offered to allow foreigners to have majority stakes in Chinese investment and securities companies.

The former concession from the Chinese would allow American cattle producers to have access to a massive new market, while the Financial Times reported the latter is something that was discussed under former President Barack Obama but was received positively by Trump last week.

Trump and Xi met for two days of talks at Mar-a-Lago in Florida last week. Trump tweeted that he and Xi made progress on a personal relationship level but only time would tell about how the country's trade relationship would go.



Democrat Russia narrative implodes


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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