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January 20, 2008

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Half Sigma says:

"Yet this is exactly what Rawls is saying, that poor people are poor because of their genes."

Exactly! Which is why I'm confused by your various conspiracy theories about bankers hoarding money for themselves so that you can't get to it or rich people conspiring to keep people "like you" economically behind via via internships.

Why can't you just accept the fact that you were dealt a bad genetic hand in life and are intrinsically stuck in your current economic situation? As Rawls said, there is a natural array of talents available and you just aren't anywhere close to the top. Conspiracy theories are simply cover for your genetic inferiority.

I've been twiddling my thumbs waiting for HBD-Rawlsianism to be born politically since the Katrina debacle - I'll hitch my wagon to it if it ever does. I haven't noticed any noteworthy movement, though. Our politics seem so puerile that I can't see how any new gestalt can start to really draw blood.

I agree with most of what you are saying. Except that I do not believe educational attainment is dictated by IQ except when we put little into educaton or we educate incorrectly.

The most efficient way to educate is to have an intelligent, proactive mentor who actively seeks to further your individual educational attainment in a closely monitored way ie one-on-one learning. People who are otherwise severely limited can often develop prodigious and socially useful abilities in this way. There is an insurmoutable difference between a dog, parrot, turtle, pig trained by a competent person and one trained by an intelligent, devoted, professional trainer.


When it comes to attainment I take an engineering perspective. Often the most prodigious gains are made not by changing the hardware but by improving the algorithms for the software. In other words, if we teach according to the student, we will get better returns than if we teach in the same way to all students.

In my experience, it is rare that anyone who is very skilled and of high IQ does not spend almost all of their time perfecting, thinking, studying, learning. What I have noticed about low IQ people is they almost never spend any time perfecting, thinking, studying, learning. It makes the attempts to measure differences in 'natural' ability incredibly confounded. In particular, to assume whites and blacks have a fixed IQ difference is to assume that being black and white in America is the same. In other words, one lives in the same environment regardless of race. Some argue people do live in the same environment although we know low socioeconomic status (as blacks have in abundance) goes along with living in neighborhoods with no milk or vegetables, in houses with lead in the walls, in high crime, high stress distincts, with poorer quality schools and reduced healthcare. We know often there is persistent hunger and unstable households. We know one lives in a society where negative stereotypes are propagated telling you specifically that you can not achieve. We know you are less likely to have been breastfed and to have been weaned earlier. We also know all of these things are correlated with reductions in IQ and yet, we disingenously claim that gaps must be completely genetic. I simply do not understand.

HS, I am surprised you care about equality. Also:

1. Your plan is called 'The Plan' and has been put forward by Charles Murray
http://opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008142

2. Your plan might also be called 'Sweden'. You can definitely live on welfare in Sweden without doing any real work. It doesn't seem to be incompatible with a functioning country.

A fundamental flaw in Rawls' thinking as HS presents it is that it assumes 100% genetic determination on life outcomes and there is no free will that merits reward or punishment.

Although humans inevitably believe they are more free and products of self-creation than they are in fact, this errors too much in the other direction.

Vim

Do you have any convincing data to back up your “opinions” so you can also present them as arguments to be taken seriously? Because you’re tossing out some pretty well worn liberal propaganda that has been thoroughly debunked by research and experience.

You may wish to believe IQ doesn’t correlate with educational attainment but it is highly correlated. For example, years of education correlates with IQ at about ~ 0.55. This is considered a high correlation which is relatively rare for something as complex and long-term human years of education.

Your idea of the most efficient way to educate using perfectly competent and sincerely motivated one-on-one mentor closely monitored for each and every student is ridiculously impractical. Why not be quick with your fantasy of infinite and perfect educational resources and just wish each student be assigned a magic fairy that can click her heels and made their ward a strongly motivated, above-average IQ student?

More seriously, there are serious resource constraints and not enough bright and competent teachers. Intelligent and motivated students have been shown to excel even in the worse schools while dumb and unmotivated students fail in even the best schools. This has more to do with intrinsic talents than externalities that liberals and race profiteers always shout about. Separated twin studies and the lower IQ and academic performance by the kids of black middle class parents factor out potentially confounding factors like poverty, lead paint, differential parenting, etc and show the same black-white IQ gap and resulting life outcome correlations.

And no, there are a lot of low-IQ students who will never learn math, writing, critical reasoning and other fundamental skills above low levels no matter how you package and present the information just as most people will never be able to play college level football no matter how motivated or good their coaching is. Furthermore, pouring in $100k/yr to try to turn a slow, overweight 5’6” slight build schmo into even a middling community college linebacker is a disservice to the kid and a criminal misallocation of limited resources.

Low IQ people spend little time thinking because “real” thinking is hard, even for high-IQ people. Many people are lazy, undisciplined and get frustrated and ultimately quit doing things that are both hard and which they are not good at. The tendency of low-IQ people to not practice and perfect “thinking” is not a confounding factor, it is a largely a direct consequence of having a low-IQ which makes thinking hard, confusing and ultimately frustrating in the lack of results.

Cultures do not evolve independent of their members genetic predispositions. Black culture is violent and anti-intellectual one, in part, because it consists of a relatively large number of lower-IQ individuals who have higher testosterone levels than other major races. Asian culture tends to be opposite in these two aspects because it consist of individuals with higher-IQ individuals with lower testosterone levels.

The blame whitey for creating a hostile environment that holds down the black man from achieving his potential is largely B.S. Blacks tend to have an over exaggerated sense of ego if anything. One study even showed Blacks thought they were smarter than Whites in various academic fields except math despite knowing that this is the opposite of reality. White racism or “negative sterotypes” against non-whites didn’t stop the non-whites, including Blacks, from outperforming Whites over time if they were fundamentally more talented like Asians and Jews in academics and Blacks in sports/entertainment.

Stop the mealy-mouthed excuses of blaming everyone and anything beyond your control, embrace reality for your limitations, take responsibility and enjoy the different beautiful and good things found in different groups as well as individuals. There is no evil racists conspiracy just because Blacks are not as good at intellectual endeavors as they are in sports. Groups differ in average abilities, why anyone would expect otherwise is liberal fantasy thinking that goes against all science and practical experience.

But the "Swede" plan as you label it works primarily because it exists in a country populated primarily with Swedes.

You don't see this system in the rest of the world, and it would be especially difficult to implement in low-IQ 3rd world nations unless they were sitting on the worlds largest reserve of oil like Saudi Arabia.

enjoy the different beautiful and good things found in different groups as well as individuals. There is no evil racists conspiracy just because Blacks are not as good at intellectual endeavors as they are in sports. Groups differ in average abilities, why anyone would expect otherwise is liberal fantasy thinking that goes against all science and practical experience.

I hate when the "blacks are good athletes" slogan being tossed around by the race realists. Given the distribution of spots on professional sports, the average black athlete cannot make use of his talents to become successful or even working class.

I don't see anything beautiful or good in the fact that different groups of people with an easily discernible appearance that the rest of the world identifies as ugly or evil is lacking in the intellectual capability to build functioning societies even as minorities in the functioning societies of the first world. Please, tell me what is so beautiful about an average IQ of 85 for native born US blacks or 65 for Africans?

If a certain group (such as the poor) were genetically predisposed then there's no real point to welfare. Similarly, doesn't a cosy minimum income reward slackerism (I agree a cosy minimum income would cause cost-push inflation) hence welfare is supposed to be uncomfortably low. Or maybe welfare should be combined with sterilization?

Rawls says that economic inequalities are allowed in a just society so long as they are “reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage.”

In other words Rawls is fully compatible with the most extreme forms of cut-throat libertarianism.

I'm sure Randian economists like Bryan Caplan will tell you science is "reasonably" on the side of 0% socialism as the best deal for the poor.

Ethics are pointless, everybody already thinks they know everything, and are on the side of the angels. Only science and real knowledge about how the world works will improve human lives.

In the "Original Position", the consensus would converge on the conclusion that a just society would be without coercion.

I wouldn't be opposed to taking care of those with the bad luck to have been born with lower intelligence or any other hindrance to their independence or success in life through no fault of their own. But with such care, the person surrenders his / her right to procreate. In those instances in which he / she does procreate, the child would be taken from them and placed into a state-run orphanage if not adopted by a self-sufficent family. In this way, we would gradually work toward eliminating the problem of low IQ.

This was pretty much the mainstream progressive position in the early 20th century, wasn't it? Personally, I don't believe that social contingencies have no effect, but it's obvious that some people are born with vastly more talents than others.

I make a lot of money, compared to the average American. I'm much smarter than the average American, yes, but I was also born to educated, upper-middle class parents who sent me to good schools, paid for my college, and encouraged me to go into a practical field. I honestly believe that I work much less hard than the average working poor person.

There's nothing fair about this situation. I would probably be a communist, if I thought communism could work. Why do I deserve to make four or five times as much money as a man working long days of manual labor? Capitalism with some controls (anti-trust laws, labor laws, etc.) combined with progressive taxation is simply far superior as a way of raising all boats.

These are just a few references on the otherside of the coin:

Twin studies have a lot of problems:
"Twin Studies in Psychiatry and Psychology: Science or Pseudoscience?", Pychiatric Quarterly

The costs of being black:
"The Causes and Consequences of distinctively black names"

"Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School"

"An Economic Analysis of “Acting White”"

Effect on minorities of stereotypes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotype_threat

Memorization is learned:

Gaining expertise is strongly related to circumstances:
"Exceptional Memorizers: made, not born"

The type of practice determines educational attainment:

"The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert performance"

(I tried to put the links in but the spam filter does not like that so you just have to google scholar the titles.)

Vim, I looked up "Twin Studies in Psychiatry and Psychology: Science or Pseudoscience?" on the internet.

I was unable to find the actual article, but I read the abstract. So, it is difficult to really say what the article was about unless we know exactly what your and their criticisms are and telling us to read somebody else's work and figure it out makes it difficult to do so- even with the internet.

Anyway, the authors seem to imply that there are going to be persistent environmental variables that will confound the results. Again, I couldn't get to the entire article, but it seems like their threshold for what constitutes a flawless study is quite high and that anything less is worthless.

Due to ethical constraints, there is no way you're going to completely get rid of every single potential confounding variable. Good twin studies (like the famous MN twin study on IQ) do a great job of getting rid of as many confounding variables as possible given the ethical considerations.

However, if that is truly the threshold, let's get rid of all the social science research that constitutes much of economics, psychology, psychiatry, anthropology...

Second, do people who believe in the 'blank slate' ideology actually have any much research that they'd like to show supports their claim? I don't think it's unreasonable to ask them to prove this since these individuals are demanding massive redistribution of income and entitlements predicated on their belief being true. I'd like to analyze up their 'studies' with the same criteria they are using on others.

Third, as I alluded above, the MN Twin Study has stood the test of time to most psychiatrists, psychologists, and other social scientists. Like a lot of social science research, it was actually and unsurprisingly headed by a liberal. If you want to seriously poke major holes in twin study research, I'd start there and read that one single study even if you're busy.

anonymous1:

"I was unable to find the actual article, but I read the abstract."

Obviously you can't agree or disagree if you can't read it. So I don't think it makes sense to critique the paper that you can't read. However, some of the things I listed are publicly available.

Being an academic, I have access to a large number of journals ... I figured it might not be fruitful to post the references as quite often one does not have access without a major university library to fall back on.

However, this is the cost of proper citation of opinions.

There are quite a few articles that I have listed that are publicly available. This is a Wiki-garbled summary of some of the opinions of the author of the paper you mentioned:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gene_Illusion

I can not speak for others but I do not believe in the blank slate. Human beings seem to have quite a few basic traits. One of them is using stereotype to define and control others. As I have stated repeated, and it's of benefit to actually develop some scholarship in this direction, many of the current 'race realist' opinions were fully developed centuries ago based on many, many theories we know to be incorrect such as phrenology and bogus phylogenies. Generations of white scientists have wildly speculated on the inferiority of other races based on completely inaccurate data and theories. I do not see any reason to believe we are in some new golden era when this has ceased to occur. on the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that western society has historically had this tendency. It is absolutely fascinating to see the 'race realist' position completely developed based on bumps on the head.


As for research, I cited quite a bit.

Try this paper (it is publicly available) and this like to nytimes(I would read this one first):

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/07/magazine/07wwln_freak.html?ex=1304654400&en=2cf57fe91bdd490f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

"The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert performance"

Vim:
"Obviously you can't agree or disagree if you can't read it. So I don't think it makes sense to critique the paper that you can't read. However, some of the things I listed are publicly available."

No, but you could clearly summarize a study's major points if you wanted to and make it clear for us who don't have easy access to certain studies what the potential criticisms raised are.

Vim:
"Generations of white scientists have wildly speculated on the inferiority of other races based on completely inaccurate data and theories."

This is too vague and general a criticism about a huge body of work. There are a lot of studies out there. And, peer reviewed science in this day and age in respected publications is held to a high standard. Again, if you have any specific criticisms with certain studies, I'd honestly like to hear them.

HS, I agree with your analysis and your solution of a safety net for every citizen. I'd add an inheritance tax to greatly reduce the wealth gap in the US. Otherwise even the safety net won't make people happy.

Obviously this cannot occur unless we strongly reduce immigration. Otherwise the wealth and spaciousness of our society will be quickly drained by billions of immigrants wanting to participate in the safety net.

I think the Rawls' plan is BS but the big question to me is why does it have to be implemented here?

Instead of the endless destructive agitation against the philosophical basis of the country, why can the Leftists be content to decamp and establish the utopian schemes in another country?

Can't at least one country be left as quasi-capitalist, or do their schemes only work when there is no basis for comparison.

If you tell the typical liberal that the poor people are poor because they are born with bad genes, the liberal will get pissed at you. Yet this is exactly what Rawls is saying, that poor people are poor because of their genes.

No, you fool. He's saying that even if we could eliminate social problems, that there would still be an unequal distribution of talents. He's not saying that we already have eliminated those social problems. He's talking about a hypothetical society where there were none. This paragraph has nothing to do with actually-existing society.

If Rawls were around to ask about the distribution in American society or the world, no doubt he would have a lot to say about colonialism, slavery, apartheid, and the like, and a lot less to say about genetic inferiority.

Life is unfair. What else is new?

From the utilitarian point of view, extra money to the rich must count less than extra money to the poor; you're not going to tell me the millionaire gets the same amount of pleasure from an extra dollar as the beggar.

I think Rawls was, more or less, assuming genetics (at least as far as he understood the term) when he talked about an unequal distribution of talents; apart from the blank-slate school of recent years, nobody's really argued that there are no such things as innate talents. It doesn't really make sense anyway, otherwise you wouldn't have children from the same family following such widely divergent courses.

I do agree that Rawls would probably be more upset about inequity than tolerant of it as a result of genetic differences. His point seems to be that (a) some inequity seems to be necessary and (b) the idea of the veil of ignorance (which of course doesn't exist) means that you can't morally support, say, repealing the inheritance tax if you know your daddy has a big trust fund ready for you. Would you support not having an inheritance tax if you didn't know your daddy had the cash to give you? Maybe not.

But of course you might. Rawls' weakness is that much self-serving prejudice operates at the unconscious level, so a lot of libertarians from well-off backgrounds might still believe in the sanctity of private property and support a repeal of the death tax even if they'd be statistically unlikely to benefit from it behind the veil of ignorance.

But hey, it wasn't a bad try. Certainly better than anything I've come up with. ;)

I can not speak for others but I do not believe in the blank slate. Human beings seem to have quite a few basic traits. One of them is using stereotype to define and control others.

So, tell us. Exactly which stereotypes are you yourself using to define and control others?

Actually, Ralwsianism requires a sophisticated misunderstanding of economics. Unfortunately this is not hard to come by.

See my essay on the Rawlsian god.

Briefly, redistribution is inconsistent with consistent, formal property rights, which makes it essentially violent on a permanent basis.

You can redistribute land to the poor. But what happens if it doesn't stay in the hands of the poor? You have to go in and steal it back.

You can give the poor welfare checks. Ie, a revenue stream. But it is subjectively better for welfare recipients if these checks are securitized, ie, they are defined as income-producing instruments, ie bonds, which they can sell. Our recipients can then sell these instruments, spend the proceeds on coke and Cadillacs, and end up right back where they were. Do you give them new ones? Whom do you tax to do so?

You wind up with three choices: (a) let everyone keep whatever they have now, and just enforce the law; (b) redistribute once, and then revert to (a); and (c) continuously and unpredictably steal from the rich and give to the poor.

If people can't support themselves, they are wards of the state, or of whoever decides to support them. This makes them, effectively, slaves. That's what a slave is: a dependent. Liberty and dependency are orthogonal.

So the question is really how many slaves the state should own. My view: as few as possible. (I think the purpose of the state is security, not charity.) Rawls's view: as many as possible.

I agree that Rawl's theory makes more sense than your typical liberal-lefty. However, if we are to do any kind of redistribution, I would much rather have it coupled with efforts to either "improve" the less capable (presumably through genetic engineering) and/or reductions on their reproduction.

The fact that Rawl's is arguing for redistribution in and of itself indicates that the people needed redistribution are a "problem" to be solved.

kurt9: "if we are to do any kind of redistribution, I would much rather have it coupled with efforts to either "improve" the less capable (presumably through genetic engineering) and/or reductions on their reproduction."

I never said anywhere in the post that I was opposed to eugenics.

Why do I deserve to make four or five times as much money as a man working long days of manual labor?

Presumably because your work is worth more than the laborer's. If it's not, I fully support the reduction of your wages - except that I'd expect market forces to have done that for us already. Surely you're familiar with the saying "work smarter, not harder". Why should people who work harder be more deserving than someone who doesn't?

Caledonian: "Why should people who work harder be more deserving than someone who doesn't?"

Because hard work is something you have control of. Hard work is the opposite of sloth, which is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Being born smart, however, is purely a matter of luck and not something you have any control over, and there are those who think it's unfair for society's rewards to be distributed based on luck.

Of course it's unfair. It's unfair that !Sa the Bushman has to live in the Kalahari Desert and I get to live in San Francisco. The question is: if you have your soldiers equalize this, perhaps by moving both !Sa and I to somewhere halfway awful between them (Cairo, perhaps), have you done a good thing?

Rawlianism is not a theory of justice. Justice needs no theory. Its principles are known. The principles of justice are pacta sunt servanda and suum cuique tribuere. Agreements should be respected and property preserved. Problem solved.

Rawlsianism is a theory of fairness. In other words, it is a theory of when fairness demands the violation of justice. In other words, it's a theory of violence. The point of Rawls is to produce a set of rules for when it's okay for "society" (read: the big battalions) to confiscate X from A and give it to B.

Note that Rawls fails completely at this task. He produces no such rules. He produces a set of vague general principles that more or less any C with a gun can use as an explanation of why X should belong not to A, but to B. Who is typically a friend of C's, if not C himself.

Fortunately, Rawls was hardly the first to propound a general theory of justified violence. Nor was he exactly influential in the thug world. So the amount of blood on his intellectual hands is probably quite limited, except inasmuch as his theories discouraged the suppression of banditry private and official.

Where's Ulpian when we need him?

See also: Antony Flew [PDF].

Being born smart, however, is purely a matter of luck and not something you have any control over, and there are those who think it's unfair for society's rewards to be distributed based on luck.

Being smart takes a great deal of work and effort. Being stupid is far, far easier, and takes hardly any effort at all. If you lack the capacity no amount of effort will do, but if you possess the capacity you need to work hard to manifest it.

As for 'society's rewards', the economy isn't Father Christmas, pulling gifts out of an unending sack to distribute to those it approves of. Money is meaningless if it is not used to represent worth, and worth is produced by individuals and exchanged by individuals - 'society' has nothing to do with it.

It's easy to expend effort without producing things of value. Why should worthlessness be deserving of worth?

You can redistribute land to the poor. But what happens if it doesn't stay in the hands of the poor? You have to go in and steal it back.

Amen, bra. You read my book! (And understood it better than I did).

If they could find a birth control pill for men, society should require anyone coming to collect their social assistance to get a shot of birth control before they hand over the check.

I wanted to clarify something about money. It measures demand not worth. There are lots of things that we have no monetary value for, like the air we breath, that I think we might all agree have quite a bit of worth.

We also discussed market efficiency. There are lots of markets which are efficient but there are many that are not. The market in airplanes is not efficient as there are only a small number of providers. The market in oil is not efficient because the price is dictated by a cartel. The housing market is not efficient as evidenced by the housing bubble.

We must also not deify the role of market efficiency, which maximizes growth. Most importantly, our planet is showing signs of strain, crashing fish stocks, mass extinctions, peak oil. It is not clear we can sustain much more planet wide growth. Further, we might desire slower growth in order to have a more humane society as many economies in Europe and Canada have done. Usually when one invokes the specter of Europe and Canada, people often point out their slow growth. Luckily at the time I make this argument the Canadian and European economy are manifestly more muscular than the anemic US economy.

Finally, I wish you all a pleasant Dr. Martin Luther King day: may we all one day have harmony.

True growth (for my two cents) means greater efficiency. Which is to say it means people figuring out how to get twice as much food from the same plot of land in a sustainable manner as opposed to creating new farmland by clearing a forest to double the food supply. The second one is the type of growth that utimately risk runnning of existing limited resources (heck the second one is more or less a zero-sum game).

I wanted to clarify something about money. It measures demand not worth. There are lots of things that we have no monetary value for, like the air we breath, that I think we might all agree have quite a bit of worth.

There's quite a lot of demand for air, but no one can possess or exchange it, and so the medium of value exchange that is money has nothing to do with it - at the present time.

Air is quite valuable. Hard work isn't valuable at all. Salaries and wages aren't "rewards", they're exchanges of one kind of valuable thing for another.

Caledonian:

Yes I think you have pointed out some clumsiness in my defition. When I say demand, I sort of mean market demand and I mean demand normalized over supply. (In order words, there is a lot of demand for nails but when we take into account supply, there is little demand per nail.) In general, if it's not part of what people trade with other people for then it's not part of what I mean by demand. We do not measure resources we take from the earth in terms of money except relative to other people's interest in how that resource is allocated.

I accept your clarification, Vim.

What disturbs me is that so many people want to believe, and choose to do so, that:

1) society is a sort of deity that has access to unlimited resources and doles them out to people as it sees fit,

2) we can gain access to sufficient amounts of resources to be comfortable by doing, saying, and thinking the things society wants us to, and

3) that 'society' is the ultimate source of resources and benefits.

Robert, you're too funny.

"Being smart takes a great deal of work and effort. Being stupid is far, far easier, and takes hardly any effort at all. If you lack the capacity no amount of effort will do, but if you possess the capacity you need to work hard to manifest it."

i call shenanigans. being smart takes zero effort because u're either born smart or u're not. getting smartness to pay is what takes effort, but the smarter u are the less effort u need to invest as compared w/ less intelligent ppl to achieve the same goal. u're not comparing apples w/ apples.

Caledonian:

1. Relative to the perspective of the invidual, the resources of society are infinite. But obviously, there are limits to our resources in terms of truely massive physical projects ... In terms of knowing when we are at our limits, we can usually detect things in economic and social indicators like inflation, joblessness, suicide rates, usage of narcotics, crime rates etc.

I know it's something of an American tradition to pretend certain social benefit programs are beyond them but Europe and Canada are good examples of why this is not the case.

2. This is just politics.

3. I am sensing a dichotomy between the invidual and society here that I do not think is the case. I am both an individual and a member of society. Modern specialization is what leads to my dependence on others for resources. It seems to me that we've found specialization is more efficient.

I will say the three points you have made seem to me like they could be problems if people take them to the extremes. Certain countries for instance have rulers who bankrupt the country trying to make great monuments or palaces which are clearly beyond the means of their economies.

"Being smart takes a great deal of work and effort."

Gaining expert level skill can take as much as 10-15 years of unpaid effort. During this period most people need some form of external support ... this is universally true for artists, soccer players, chess players, scientists, writers etc.

Practice is in general unpleasant but undertaken because the participant perceives future rewards.

We want to blame genes for inequality in society, and that people who work hard but are stupid are shafted.

Okay, but the thing is that ALL personality factors are affected by chemicals, genes, or hormones, from violence to laziness. To that degree, we don't really control much. The charismatic with an IQ of 115 will likely be more successful than the uber geek with an IQ of 130. So, should money be distributed from one to the other?

If I was born short, should money from NBA players be redistributed to me?

IQ matters probably more than any other general characteristic in predicting wages, but there is so much else that is genetic/chemical in origin that affects our earnings. Where does it end?

i call shenanigans. being smart takes zero effort because u're either born smart or u're not.

No, no, no! You're either born talented or you're not - the hard work and discipline required to turn that talent into skill, and to apply that skill well, is not inborn but acquired.

. Relative to the perspective of the invidual, the resources of society are infinite.

Society only tends to possess the resources that it can take away from individuals. This is not a logical inevitability, merely how things usually work in practice. But this is irrelevant when considering individuals exchanging value between themselves, which is virtually all of the economy - society isn't involved.

2. This is just politics.

I disagree. This is politics that presumes society as a whole possesses resources and decides how to allot them - that presumption is neither inevitable nor (I would argue) generally correct.

3.Modern specialization is what leads to my dependence on others for resources. It seems to me that we've found specialization is more efficient.

Agreed, but being dependent on others is not the same as being dependent on society.

I would also point out that society as a whole can establish programs that the economy cannot tolerate.

'Rawlianism is not a theory of justice. Justice needs no theory. Its principles are known. The principles of justice are pacta sunt servanda and suum cuique tribuere. Agreements should be respected and property preserved. Problem solved.'

pshaw. the earliest definition of justice:

'to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people [i.e. sumerians] like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.'

http://eawc.evansville.edu/anthology/hammurabi.htm

"No, no, no! You're either born talented or you're not - the hard work and discipline required to turn that talent into skill, and to apply that skill well, is not inborn but acquired."

fine, i'll use ur definition of smart to mean talent. either way we're talking about the same thing. i'm in no way disputing that it takes effort to turn talent into skill. i'm saying it requires less effort to do so when a person has more talent. at person w/ avg iq will struggle more w/ learning algebra than a person w/ iq 2 SD above avg even tho they both have the "capacity" to learn it.

i'm saying it requires less effort to do so when a person has more talent.

For a given level of performance or accomplishment, the more talent, often the less work is required to reach that level.

But it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes talent merely makes levels available, and it still requires massive amounts of effort to be invested.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. No amount of natural talent will substitute for the work. An untalented person might invest as much work, go up as many levels, and still be far behind someone who started with an advantage. How would they get to their equivalent of Carnegie Hall? Practice.

The inheritance dividend solution you propose would/will only work in a racially homogenous country with immigration restricted to those with skills. Indeed Sweden have a de facto arrangement like this.

A burgeoning undercalss created by immigartion would bankrupt this very quickly. America as it is today is not suited to this sort of scheme.

"For a given level of performance or accomplishment, the more talent, often the less work is required to reach that level.

But it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes talent merely makes levels available, and it still requires massive amounts of effort to be invested."

i fail to see the problem u have w/ what i've written. u agree that at any given lvl of performance, ppl w/ talent will reach that lvl w/ less effort than ppl w/ no talent. then u go on to say that some lvls require massive effort. when did i dispute that? at no point did i say effort isn't required. however even at high lvls, someone w/ +4 SD talent will need less effort than someone at +3 SD. if they put in the same amount of effort, the +4 SD person will ALWAYS end up ahead.

if they put in the same amount of effort, the +4 SD person will ALWAYS end up ahead.

Yeah, so?

wonga, Caledonian:

Expertise research contradicts the 'talent' hypothesis":

"In most domains of expertise, individuals begin in their chldhood a regimen of effortful activities designed to optimize improvement. Individual differences, even among elite performers, are closely related to assessed amounts of deliberate practice. Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years. Analysis of expert performance provides unique evidence on the pontential limits of environmental adaptation and learning."

"The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquistion of Expert Performance", Psychological Review, 1993.

okay, i'll go thru the logic even tho this is getting tedious, and i regret writing anything at all. HS, in reply to u, said some ppl don't think distribution of society's rewards should be based on luck b/c ppl are born smart/dumb.

mencius then countered that smartness entailed hard work, not luck.

i argued that ppl born smarter got that for free. it was only reaping rewards that required work, and smarter ppl needed to work LESS to achieve the same result. essentially that luck was still a dominating factor.

then we got into some weird talking past each other issue ... and continued it ad nauseum.

it was only reaping rewards that required work, and smarter ppl needed to work LESS to achieve the same result.

Let me see if I understand this - you're saying that people are rewarded for their work, yet smarter people can do less work and receive the same reward, and you perceive this to be problematic. Yes?

First off, people generally are not 'rewarded' at all - they exchange with other people, whether through barter or monetary exchange. This may be profitable and rewarding, but it is not a reward - it's not a prize granted.

Secondly, it's the value of what is produced that determines what people can exchange it for, not how much work was used to produce it. People could work really hard to produce something totally without value.

There's nothing unfair about innately more talented people receiving a greater amount of exchanged value if they produce a greater amount of value themselves. How hard they have to work is utterly irrelevant.

i didn't say i perceived the issue to be problematic. i only meant to respond to a particular point in mencius's post b/c i thought it was a glib response.

ur first point is just semantics. i was using HS's words. i could have said "wealth distribution." i'm not gonna argue more about it. the second point i also don't contest.

i don't see current wealth distribution as necessarily unfair. what bothers me is the denial or minimization of the fact that luck is involved. it's a factor and it's a very big one. i have no data on this, but if willpower or studiousness is a trait that is passed down, then even the ability to work hard is based on luck.

The free market way to redistribute wealth from the rich to poor: work.

Choose which option you want: liberty, or equality. Because if you choose equality, you will have to set up a totalitarian state to enforce this most unnatural condition. And we all know how extremely dangerous totalitarian states are.

If we focused more on having/keeping jobs in America, like making shoes or Levi's, that actually paid a living wage for high school graduates or dropouts, none of this stuff would be problem. But the "free trade" mantra has shipped those jobs overseas.

We need to dismatle free trade, impose high tariffs on imported goods, and keep those types of low-skill factory jobs here, period. If they aren't here, the poor will demand redistribution through a totalitarian government, or turn to vice and crime to make more money, costing us a fortune for cops, courts, and jails.

Either make redistribution possible by productive work, or use the government and crime to do it--take your pick. I say the first is the obviously superior choice. Oh, and those high tariffs making things more expensive? Well, just think how much money could be saved through lower taxes because you don't need government redistribution, and the lower crime/incarceration rates.

What’s the best way to redistribute wealth? I'd say wage subsidies paid for by a graduated consumption tax. I make the case at BornAgainDemocrats.com. Nice post btw.

The underclass liberal-voters of course know about genetic differences. Read any uneducated message board on the internet. As for the elite liberals, I'm sure deep down they know that people are born with different genes, and that (gasp) this might correlate with certain phenotypes. They are just lucky that in the current public debate they can get away with pretending equality, achieving both a moral high ground and making their redistributionary policies practical.
Very disingenuous of course, and because genetic difference do play a big role in success in life, a real liberal's policy would indeed mean total redistribution. I always argue with pretty smart liberal white girls that they should share their body with the ugly underclass, for example.

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