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November 17, 2012

Comments

no, no one is reading your blog

Hello HalfSigma,

I am a fan of your blog, but value capture is a idea that's been around for a while. It really goes back to old-school Austrian economists like Bohm-Bawerk and some other econ guys of a more institutional persuasion (check out Thorstein Veblen). You've expounded on "value transference" in some interesting ways but I wouldn't give yourself too much credit for originating the idea. Sorry.

Tim O'Reilly

He transferred the value of the idea to himself

Isn't value transference just what other people call rent seeking?

[HS: No, it's what other people call value capture.]

"Either he has been reading my blog, or he discovered the concept himself. Either is possible."

Sigma's already inflated ego is expanding to even more astronomical levels.

Intriguing.

And while we're on the topic of HBD themes going mainstream, it appears the mainstream Republican editorialists have given up given up any hope of attracting Hispanics now that they've been forced to look deep into their future political graves a la Scrooge.

While they don't make explicitly HBD arguments against Hispanic immigration, they're starting to call for restricting immigration to lower levels of high skill immigrants.

This is encouraging. From the HBD side, we should also promote citizenship buyouts to get low skill LEGAL third world immigrants with residency or citizenship to leave for their ancestral lands. Citizenship buyouts for LEGAL immigrants could be justified using non-HBD arguments. For instance, citizenship buyouts could be sold as a way to reduce the welfare rolls (a majority of US immigrant households are on the doll) and to lessen wage competition for lower skill Americans.

"It really goes back to old-school Austrian economists like Bohm-Bawerk"

Actually it doesn't really go back to Austrian School economists like Bohm-Bawerk. If anything, the Austrian School economists tend to explain away or justify "value transference". It actually goes back to Classical economics and people like John Stuart Mill, Henry George, etc.

Yes, Thorstein Veblen's ideas on signaling are very similar to HS's reductive analysis of status competition.

This goes with the broader observation that, in some ways, economic thought declined in quality as the 20th century proceeded -- versus the late 19th and early 20th century theorists were far superior to what replaced them.

Until, randomly, complete fiat money in the United States with Nixon changed the equation, rendering Keyes applicable in contrast to when he was alive.

But status and signaling as described by Veblen are human universals, lost on today's quant-jock economists it would seem. The concept that a new sub-field named "behavioral economics" in which, for the first time, human irrationality is to be incorporated with broader economic theory, is a bizarre misconception...

The concept may be correct but the examples are not.

On Von Newmann... he had many accomplishments, arguably the most accomplished scientist (on par with Einstein and Erdos). However, the architecture design is one of those low hanging fruits. Somebody else would have figured it out once the problem was more important. It would not have slowed down progress, because progress was gated by the invention of the transistor.

On Paul Baran ... another low hanging fruit, another minor accomplishment. An average scientist would probably figure out the solution pretty quickly

Vint Cerf et al... same thing. Even worse, there were competing networks at the time, but the US put resources behind DARPA, and DARPA won because... the protocol was free and funded! Same with Tim Berners Lee. I met both Vint and Tim (I worked on the same floor with Tim for many years) and I like them both, but if they wanted to, I doubt they could have made money off their inventions. The invention is commercially useless without the stuff that comes on top, and people who can do the stuff on top can figure out the bases, so, why pay for that!?

The internet examples are very poorly chosen. A much better example is insulin, where the inventor gave it away for free...

We live in a society where people ADD value. With the internet examples, Google and Facebook ADD value on top of the protocols, physical networks, chip technology, the transistor, etc.

If you want to look at what changes the world, there have been only a few inventions out there where things phase-transitioned. And btw, nothing beats the printing press. Maybe fire, bronze and iron work.

On the value transference issue. It's not exactly true. Take a hedge fund, as a prime example. You say it's the clear case of value transference. But money is a promise to exchange services between people. And what a hedge fund does is provide services for people that have lots of money. This is why they can negotiate high fee. Is the hedge fund creating value? It clearly is creating value for the investors, otherwise they wouldn't invest. You can argue that it doesn't create value for society, but this concept is a murkier one. Each of us have their own objectives/goals/values that we pay for. But society doesn't! What would it mean to create value for society? This is a much harder concept to define.

I didn't know the term had been around, but I have been using "value capture" to describe the von-neumann type mentioned above where those who create value retain only a portion of it, though I suspect people who are creating value are retaining more and more of that value.

I have been using your "value transference" to mean the second type mentioned above where no value was created.

I guess either can generalize, but maybe it helps to have words for both since the connotations are slightly different.

HS,

Off what Tim said.

How is value transference different from 'rent seeking' as defined by mainstream economics?

It is a fascinating concept none the less, the way you have framed it.

Value creation is obviously a lot harder to do than value transference or capture. Creating new growth industries requires R&D. R&D requires smart people. But what happens is the private market hoovers them up and turns them into hedge fund managers. Long term focus requires some long term guarantee of funding. Governments can provide that; yet many are more concerned about economic equality than economic progress. It seems like wealthier, post-industrial, capitalist countries easily fall into this trap. While they rest on their laurels, others catch up.

America is a prime example. Overgrown finance, insurance, and real estate industries full of unethical salesmen, traders, and top-level managers looking for a quick buck. Our "innovative" captains of industry are either overly litigious or PR-obsessed. We have a government run by lawyers more concerned with "narratives" than policy. A chattering class that consists mainly of sycophantic cheerleaders and retweeters. Pharmaceutical companies that spend more on advertising new variants of viagra than researching useful drugs. Cheap cheap cheap goods and "services" courtesy of Third World Inc. opiate the masses... The list goes on.

This whole apparatus is designed to convince us that value is being created. In truth we are feeding each other our own shit.

@ Tim O'Reilly

Value transference is an easy to understand and contemporary reframing of "rent seeking". Even economists didn't invent that concept. It has it's origins much earlier than that. This debate has existed since the dawn of civilization itself. There is a reason money lenders and merchants were looked down upon and viewed with suspicion while farming and other value creation activities were lauded. This stuff is as old as time.

These value transferrers are using govt to screw up whole industries. HS response: tax them more. That fixes the govt derived problems, right?

anyone who has worked on the tech side and the law/finance side knows this difference by heart already.

Yes, the idea has been around for a long time. And quite frequently it goes along with the idea that one's own favored group is actually creating value while the other, hated group is merely transferring value.

Probably a lot of American blacks believe that whites are mere "parasites" off of black productivity.

Here's a quote from a New York Times article from 1906:

"'Now, there you see non-productive labor extremely defined. What do such men produce? Nothing! The man who watches the ticker from 10 to 3 is the highest development of the economic parasite.'"

Your narcissism is entertaining. Narcissistic people are just captivating. Here, check out this interview that narcissistic Alpha male douche Dane Cook gives as he dominates and humiliates the beta asian interviewer. Funny thing is, there's a nerdy chick who asks Dane some questions and just fawns over Danes Alpha Douchiness. The nerdy girl asks Dane if she could take a pic with him together, and Dane grabs her ass during the capture. This shows that Alpha douches can get away with alot. If a nerdy beta dude did that, SEXUAL HARASSMENT!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtjDHEtTBFU&feature=relmfu


i think hs' grandiose bragging is definitely done tongue in cheek. it's kinda funny.

"Narcissistic people are just captivating. Here, check out this interview that narcissistic Alpha male douche Dane Cook gives as he dominates and humiliates the beta asian interviewer".

If more White guys in America were like him, maybe we wouldn't need to talk about the grievances that TUJ brings up all the time. NAMs and other racial minorities were be put in their place, and PC Liberals would also shut their mouths completely.

This is not so new idea. Nazis already had that in their propaganda during the war:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZzrpp7UAjQ

Starting around 0:09:00.

Inventors often trade the rights to big pay-offs away in order to get steady paychecks before they've produced much. Then, when they produce something valuable (perhaps as a member of a company team) the company will monetize the product while giving a modest bonus to the employee. This is one of the key ideas that red diaper babies don't understand: the worker may never have produced ANYTHING, but was paid the whole time anyway. The company pays for all of its failed ventures (which are unknowable in advance) by scoring big once in a while.

If you're able to understand this key idea, then you'll understand why capitalism has destroyed poverty and Marxists are death eaters.


"Tim O’Reilly, the guy from the company that makes those books for computer nerds,”

His books are written in an analytical-intellectual fashion which differs from most of the other instruction manual IT books out there. It's intended for a high IQ population working in a low IQ occupation perceived to be prolish. I would say IT proles read his books too, but they wouldn't get any of his intellectual gist in them.

Half,

Are you aware of the latest changes to the US patent system that took hold roughly ten years ago?

In the old days, if you submitted a patent, and the patent was rejected, then the patent office would give you all of your plans back so you could refine your idea and re-apply, if wanted.

Now, what the patent office does is publish every patent application 18 months after being rejected. This means anything submitted to the patent office is made public and open-source at most 18 months later, even if it is rejected.

Keep in mind that getting a patent is a high hurdle. Not only must the idea be novel, it must also pass the test of non-obviousness, meaning, what is patented cannot be obvious to a hypothetical expert in the field. Moreover, patents have to be incredibly detailed. They need to show how the object works, meaning blueprints are usually submitted.

Basically, the patent system has been destroyed. Submitting a patent is a minefield that encourages IP theft.

Before communism, everyone knew that people engaging in voluntary transactions often got ripped off for a variety of reasons. A lot of reforms were aimed at eliminating the things that caused this (like asymmetric information or principle/agent problems).

The communists took this to the extreme in thinking that central planners could do a better job then the people in determining what they want. They were wrong.

Of course to fight the communists we came up with our own propaganda, that the individual was this perfect arbiter of what is good for him (the rational economic man, our version of the new soviet man). And that if he engaged in a voluntary transaction then it must have made everyone involved better off. This was false of course, but it was a much better soundbite then a treatise from Hayek on the relative lack of information central planners have.

So instead of saying, "our clearly flawed system is still the best...in most cases." It became, "the individual is always right and market failures are the enemies propaganda."

"Keep in mind that getting a patent is a high hurdle. Not only must the idea be novel, it must also pass the test of non-obviousness, meaning, what is patented cannot be obvious to a hypothetical expert in the field. Moreover, patents have to be incredibly detailed. They need to show how the object works, meaning blueprints are usually submitted." map

This sounds wrong. Everything I read about the patent system says that's it's a huge legal tax. The author of Patent Failure says every programmer he knows who makes money is being sued. They hand out patents like candy without with code much less something like detailed blueprints. Every time I start a programming project, I ask myself what the patent troll implications are. Is it better to target a small specialized market and charge more per customer, staying under the radar until I can sell in effort to dodge specious patent claims, or is the potential profit from a larger audience worth the risk?

http://patentabsurdity.com/

I've been asking how it's different from "rent seeking" before here, and haven't gotten an answer. Maybe seeking rents doesn't necessarily mean obtaining them?

[HS: Rent-seeking is about people looking for apartments to rent. Value transference is about people getting rich from transferring value created by others to themselves.]

"HS: Rent-seeking is about people looking for apartments to rent. Value transference is about people getting rich from transferring value created by others to themselves." HS

I'm probably missing something, but...

"In economics, rent-seeking is an attempt to obtain economic rent by manipulating the social or political environment in which economic activities occur, rather than by creating new wealth." Wiki, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent-seeking

[HS: When 99.9% of the people see "rent seeking" they think what I wrote, not what the Wikipedia article says. And even for the 0.1%, the phase encourages them to think of the phenomenon narrowly because, damn it, if there's no "rent" then there can't be any "rent seeking." The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that rent is about leasing property, usually real property but sometimes personal property. Value transference is a much broader concept which is easier to understand because if you understand value creation they you can understand value transference.]

Rent-seeking is about people looking for apartments to rent.

Did you not actually know what rent-seeking meant?

When 99.9% of the people see "rent seeking" they think what I wrote, not what the Wikipedia article says.

So HS's idea is pretty old hat, but he's given it a new name and tinkered with it a bit.

>>>Value transference is a much broader concept which is easier to understand because if you understand value creation they you can understand value transference.]

HS,

This is basic economic jargon. Explaining it to any reader of your blog is easy (young children have problems with ambiguous or multi-purpose words, but you don't blog about Pikachu).

Do you prefer the Marxist term because it's part of your heritage? If you explained it that way, at least the traditionalists here might respect your choice.

asdf,

>>>And that if he engaged in a voluntary transaction then it must have made everyone involved better off.

In case you've never come across this, Mike Munger explains in detail the concept of BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement). It's a question of ethics that he and Roberts cover often.

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/06/munger_on_excha.html

Asked: at what point is voluntary exchange not really voluntary?

[HS: Value transference is simply not about leasing real or personal property, which may very well be a value-creation activity. (Constructing an apartment building and then renting out the apartments, that's theoretically a value-creation activity.) ]

"HS: When 99.9% of the people see "rent seeking" they think what I wrote..." HS

Fair enough I guess. It was just really weird to see that phrasing here since no one here thinks what you wrote.

The irony is that while "value transference" does not say anything people did not already know, it has achieved modest use owing to the fact it simply sounds snappier than "rent-seeking."

--------------

THURSDAY: Are you bringing back your blog?

As two people said above, the "value transference" argument is as old as time, and was among other things used by the Nazis against Jews in Der Ewige Jude and Jud Suss.

I also agree with the comment that economic theory has dropped in quality from the XVIIIth to the XXth century. Economists were smarter in the past than now.

"Your narcissism is entertaining. Narcissistic people are just captivating. Here, check out this interview that narcissistic Alpha male douche Dane Cook gives as he dominates and humiliates the beta asian interviewer. Funny thing is, there's a nerdy chick who asks Dane some questions and just fawns over Danes Alpha Douchiness. The nerdy girl asks Dane if she could take a pic with him together, and Dane grabs her ass during the capture. This shows that Alpha douches can get away with alot. If a nerdy beta dude did that, SEXUAL HARASSMENT!"

I feel bad for the interviewer, and cannot help but hate this douche, Dane Cook. The fact that women love him is more of a negative thing about women than a positive thing about Cook.

I disagree that Whites should emulate this jerk alpha behavior. For one thing, Cook looks, acts and sounds like a retard. Only village idiots never cease to smile and laugh. Do you imagine Andrew Carnegie or George Washington doing this? Fuck no.

Comedians need to know their place, not be adulated and looked upon as models to follow.

Just like bodybuilders and sportsmen.

Fuck Dane Cook. I'm OK with him being a comedian, but not playing the comedian when he's not supposed to and acting like a mean jerk toward nerds.

"if there's no 'rent' then there can't be any 'rent seeking.'"

I don't know if you are just trolling here, but if not, would you please take a basic class in economics?

[HS: Why can't you just admit that "rent seeking" is a really horrible god-awful name for a very important concept, possibly ignored because the name doesn't make any sense.]

"So HS's idea is pretty old hat, but he's given it a new name and tinkered with it a bit."

As long as his rebranding of an old idea leads to increased social status it's all good.

"Your narcissism is entertaining. Narcissistic people are just captivating."

Only if they're good looking (or erudite, in a literary context).

Far more important than considerations of narcissism, however, is the question of whether Sigma is right or wrong.

For is he wrong then no amount of humility will save his cause, and if he is right then no amount of narcissicism shall count as a strike against him. So why not judge the argument instead of the argumentator?

"If more White guys in America were like him, maybe we wouldn't need to talk about the grievances..."

Yes. White people need far more "alpha male douches," not less of them.

"Actually it doesn't really go back to Austrian School economists like Bohm-Bawerk. If anything, the Austrian School economists tend to explain away or justify "value transference"

It depends on which area you're talking about. Some applications of the concept are readily explained by Austrian school theory. Not "explained away", mind you, but truly explained. For instance:

"Consider the Wall Street mavens who created new instruments to suck value out of the financial system..."

The financial system is a product of the monetary system and the latter is fiat-currency based and under central bank control. Under a free-market, commodity-based monetary standard, there would be far less incentive to create the types of value-transferring financial "instruments" referenced above. That is the Austrian interpretation and it is correct.

"Consider the patent trolls who invent nothing, but file patents in legal language so broad..."

Which is why patents are a sham. "Intellectual property" doesn't exist -- it's an oxymoron. One can originate an idea, but one can't "own" an idea. The concept is ludicrous. All copyright laws should be abolished yesterday. So say the Austrians. And they are correct. As usual.

Time and again, statism creates its own problems and then blames them on "natural conditions" or the free market or something else.

>>>[HS: Why can't you just admit that "rent seeking" is a really horrible god-awful name for a very important concept, possibly ignored because the name doesn't make any sense.]

Does someone else write the legal posts at this blog? Do you think Americans all speak Latin? Law is designed to confuse. Economic rents are readily understood by any non-Marxist.

The biggest "value transferrers" in society are govt and lawyers. So why don't you blog about all the twisted ways that these two parasitic classes steal from us?

"You can argue that it doesn't create value for society, but this concept is a murkier one. Each of us have their own objectives/goals/values that we pay for. But society doesn't! What would it mean to create value for society? This is a much harder concept to define."

There are two types of people in the world: those who believe in the subjective theory of value (Austrians) and those who don't (statists).

http://mises.org/austecon/chap4.asp

Jargon deemed acceptable by legally-trained Marxist:
"stare decisis"

Doubleplus ungood, three alarm fire, blood in the streets jargon:
"rent-seeking"

Why would a Marxist be so ANGRY about a commonly used secondary meaning of a word?

Marxists never complain about govt "value transference." How much money would special interests have to pay Clinton and his shrike to get the attention of inequality shriekers? $50 million clearly isn't enough. Maybe if their taxes were higher it would fix the problem.

"Rent-seeking" means the seeking of economic rents.

According to Robert Tollison (1982), economic rents are "excess returns" above "normal levels" that take place in competitive markets. More specifically, it is "a return in excess of the resource owner's opportunity cost".

Henry George, best known for his proposal for a single tax on land, defined rent as "the part of the produce that accrues to the owners of land (or other natural capabilities) by virtue of ownership" and as "the share of wealth given to landowners because they have an exclusive right to the use of those natural capabilities."

Professors of law Lucian Bebchuk and Jesse Fried define the term "to refer to extra returns that firms or individuals obtain due to their positional advantages."

I like the value transference stuff, but I hope the above helps.

"Why can't you just admit that 'rent seeking' is a really horrible god-awful name for a very important concept, possibly ignored because the name doesn't make any sense."

Because "rent-seeking" is the generally accepted term for the concept. Just like "calculus" is generally accepted even though there are no stones involved. And "anti-Semite" refers to Jews even though there are millions of non-Jews who speak Semitic languages.

Anyway, there is a difference between saying "I'm going to talk about rent-seeking, which I will refer to as 'X', because I think that 'rent-seeking' is a misleading phrase" and "there cannot be rent-seeking if there is no leasing of property involved." The former is a bit peculiar, the latter demonstrates cringe-worthy ignorance.

Anyway, there is no point in taking a mainstream university class on HBD or climate science because you will be taught a bunch of horse-hockey. But that's not the case with economics.

"According to Robert Tollison (1982)..." map

Nice. Was Robert Tollison really the first person to come to mind? I keep thinking I will pick up The Marketplace of Christianity which he cowrote. I ran across it a while back, and later realized Robert was probably something like a 5th cousin (once removed?), since our family has really long lifespans/generations. My granddad was born in '99 (I'm 34), and not that many more generations gets us back to 1670 when the first Tollison came to the (s carolina) upstate from England as far as I can tell.

@ Alerious

"Yes. White people need far more "alpha male douches," not less of them".

Most White guys are usually not douches, regardless of their alpha or beta status. You find a lot more NAMs and Asians who act cocky because they feel they've been wrong by Whites, and there's sort of a jealousy issue they want to redress.

We need more domineering guys who just could tell the liberals to fuck off.

"We need more domineering guys who just could tell the liberals to fuck off."

I agree. I'm not particularly fond of the term "douche," nor do I know enough about Dane Cook to assess its applicability to him. I was just going with the flow and using the word of the day. Whether you call it "douchebag," "domineering," assertive, or my preferred label -- chauvinistic -- we need more of them. Preferably intelligent and well-spoken ones, so that they can tell liberals to fuck off in the vocabulary to which they're accustomed. Even better if they're highly credentialed by the academic-industrial complex, but no matter if they aren't. You just need someone who both looks and acts masculine and can hold an intelligent conversation. Importantly, they have to be the type of person who wouldn't take offense at being labeled a "douche" or any variation thereof. An unreformed, unrepentant chauvinist with conservative sensibilities but one who was well-versed in the language of liberal academia.

Mark Steyn serves as one example, in some respects. Joe Rogan as well, if we're looking at male comedians. But I'd be ideal for this role, if I do say so myself.

@ Allerious

There aren't enough high IQ Alpha White guys, and too many low IQ NAMs who are given preferential treatment. But the real problem is miscegenation propagated by the Liberals. We have a significantly large population of Beta White males who are being sidetracked by their own women. Some of them opting out for those low IQ Alpha Black men. These same Beta White guys are then taking women from another group of Beta men. We often hear Asian men complain about their own women dating and marrying White men. Sadistic Liberals enjoy seeing all of this, as they want Black men to falsely succeed and Asian men fail to fullfill sick agendas. All of these problems will go away if White men would just step to the game and start acting Alpha again.

"I agree. I'm not particularly fond of the term "douche," nor do I know enough about Dane Cook to assess its applicability to him. I was just going with the flow and using the word of the day. Whether you call it "douchebag," "domineering," assertive, or my preferred label -- chau

I'd rather follow Scott Walker's example in Wisconsin and simply defund the organizations that SWPLs work for.

Since private and public unions are straining under financial burdens and the newspaper industry is going to be driven into bankruptcy because of the internet and computer tablets, I say we start defunding the non-STEM and non-business departments.

I like the idea of going after college departments because it allows to simultaneously achieve these objectives:

1) It gives conservatives something to do other than wait every 4 years to hope we can sneak in a marginally useful Republican president.

2) We can attract more middle class voters by supporting education reforms that make tuition cheaper.

3) Our education reforms will throw a majority of college professors into the unemployment lines and potentially cripple the left.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida is looking at policies to defund the liberal arts via price controls on tuition and tiering tuition costs to give economically valuable majors lower tuition prices.

We also need to lobby to make federal and private student loans dischargeable (this could be the Republican version of the "forgive my college loan" gambit by the left) and eliminate gened requirements so students can get bachelor degrees with only 60-90 credits instead of the current 120 credits:


http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/11/should-colleges-force-liberal-arts-students-to-pay-more/264417/

Down in Florida, a task force commissioned by Governor Rick Scott is putting the finishing touches on a proposal that would allow the state's public universities to start charging undergraduates different tuition rates depending on their major. Students would get discounts for studying topics thought to be in high demand among Florida employers. Those would likely include science, technology, engineering, and math (aka, the STEM fields), among others.

But Art History? Gender Studies? Classics? Sorry, but the fates are cruel. Unless a university could show that local companies were clamoring to hire humanities students, those undergrads would have to pay more for their diploma.

Ramesh: Overemphasizing the Liberal Arts

http://thedartmouth.com/2012/10/25/opinion/ramesh

While most countries begin specialization early in high school, the United States has a unique tradition in liberal arts education. In India, students begin to specialize in their “plus two” years, the equivalent of their junior and senior years of high school. Based on the track they choose, they apply to colleges for a specific program. Computer science majors would not take any literature courses, and business students would not take biology classes. Most proponents of the liberal arts argue that a well-rounded education provides broader tools to tackle a wide range of problems, and, presumably, such personal development also plays a crucial role in happiness.

However, from an employment perspective, a liberal arts education is disastrous. With 53 percent of all college graduates under the age of 25 unemployed or severely underemployed, this economy does not offer the luxury of postponing specialization until graduate school. According to Payscale, the top 10 schools with the best starting salaries were all technical schools, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology and Loma Linda University topping the list. Many students know from the beginning that they want to pursue a field in a hard science, and for them the “liberal arts” education is nothing but an obstacle. As these fields have shown, solving specialized, narrow problems is incredibly valuable, if not more valuable than solving broad, wide-ranging problems.

snip

I’m not espousing the superiority of hard sciences over all other fields of study, nor am I claiming that the humanities are not worthy of study. Rather, if a student wishes to pursue the humanities or the sciences, then let him do so without mandates. Not everyone comes to college with the hope of earning an enormous starting salary, and that is perfectly understandable. Those who believe in a broad-based approach to education will continue to take classes from a variety of departments, but those who want to utilize their four years in specialization and honing their talents in a field should be offered the same opportunity.

http://www.popecenter.org/commentaries/article.html?id=2763

And that’s about it. Certainly, it would be nice to include many other topics. But the need for efficiency means that many staples of existing general education programs, such as literature, foreign languages, or art appreciation, must be excluded. While desirable, they cannot truly be called essential for an understanding of the world.

Restricting general education courses to a select few will be extremely unpopular with some faculty. There are large numbers of teaching jobs at stake: many departments that now teach popular general education courses could lose half or more of their students. If that were to occur, financial sanity dictates that faculty jobs in those programs be cut. (Of course, new jobs will be created at the same time for specialists in the essential subjects.)

But this is not about professors and their jobs; it is about the intellectual development of students. For a long time, academia has been hesitant to make judgments about what knowledge is the most valuable. As a result, many general education programs are of little value. Our institutions of higher learning can, and should, do better.

@ TUJ

Your ideas are good, but they don't empower young White men who have been shut off by the Liberals.

I actually thought HS was making a joke in his response to me. I am stunned he was unfamiliar with how incredibly common a term it is in econ.

I agree it's a terribly inapt set of words that became the standard, lots of things in language are stupid. In this particular case blame Ricardo.

[HS: I'm aware of the stupid term because people have been telling me about it for the last five years. It's an absolutely HORRIBLE name that doesn't make any sense to anyone. If you want the concept to catch on, you have you call it something understandable like "value transference."]

"Explaining it to any reader of your blog is easy (young children have problems with ambiguous or multi-purpose words, but you don't blog about Pikachu)." - Secret of NAM

Please blog about Pikachu and Ash Ketchum, Half Sigma :).

"Your ideas are good, but they don't empower young White men who have been shut off by the Liberals."

The liberals won't be able to "shut off" white men if their leftist institutions are defunded and their SWPL employees are sent to the unemployment lines.

When SWPLs are unemployed that would reduce much of the incentive for them to support liberalism because SWPL institutions get more money and regulatory power the more SWPL policies fail. SWPL academic jobs depend on nonsense like promoting failed policies such as non-existent Global Warming and 'diversity' to justify their departments existence.

I want to go after the liberal arts departments in particular because other SWPL organizations like newspapers and public unions are weakening. Newspapers are particularly screwed now that high quality small tablets are becoming available because smaller tablets are easier for old people to hold.

However, the colleges continue to grow and expand despite the utter failure of the social policies they promote.

The college reforms I listed above could all be done by state legislators and imposed on public colleges. Now, private schools would be more resistant to these reforms because state legislators have less control over them. However, once public colleges are reformed and become cheaper and earning a degree from them only takes 2 to 3 years (because the gened would be eliminated) the public colleges would suddenly become much more financially attractive than private college. This new price incentive structure would force private colleges to alter their curriculum to attract students.

Reforming college also would play in to a pro-middle class policy platform the Republicans are scrambling to develop. Cutting college costs has even more appeal to the middle class than eliminating collective bargaining rights for public sector unions.

@ Just Speculating

If you're looking for a real firebrand I introduce you to "Firepower". Hated by one and all across the alt-right he's always provocative and unlike TUJ he takes a big picture view of the problem. TUJ doesn't take a hardline against all leftists.

http://eradica.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/five-fingered-fist-of-liberalism/

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