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August 03, 2018

Comments

Handy Mike

I used to enjoy reading this blog even though I quite often disagreed with it.

It used to offer arguments, evidence and insights worth chewing over even if one was doubtful that they added up to the conclusion claimed.

Something's gone very wrong over the last year or so, at least with those posts outside your specialism of financial economics.

Your political theory and culture war stuff often takes the form of a half-dozen or so non-sequiturs strung together apparently in the service of a quota requirement to weigh in on a topical spat in support of a standard left-ish position.

In the post above, none of your conclusions follow from your premises and most of your premises are question-begging where they aren't straightforwardly false.

On the plus side, this is one snarky, shithead of a troll you're close to boring away from your comments section for good.

Luis Enrique

some similarities to Zingales' arguing that every economist should be a feminist because markets work best when they are competitive: https://promarket.org/every-good-economist-feminist/

Jim

Its more the case that the new thinkers are the ones attempting to deny the free speech of the old ones, not the other way around.....who is being 'no platformed', the former or the latter?

Scratch

"Its more the case that the new thinkers are the ones attempting to deny the free speech of the old ones"

I'm not sure that's true.

The echt bourgeoisie appears to have explicitly coalesced with minorities -one might question whether this is a quest for more rounded understanding of market conditions or whatever or a socioeconomic pincer movement aimed at the living standards of the working class whose achievements appear to be resented from both above and below.

Dennis Smith

If we are serious about promoting diversity (an admirable goal) one of the most effective methods would be to drop all talk of right versus left – one of the most pernicious bits of authoritarian reductionism ever devised. The supposed left-right continuum lumps together and incoherently mashes up a variety of different, much more useful distinctions including individual versus collective, libertarian versus authoritarian, conservative versus radical, progressive versus reactionary, utopian versus pragmatic and particularist versus universalist. None of these distinctions is identical with or reducible to any of the others and – I suspect – each term is capable of being combined with any other to produce an intelligible (though not necessarily desirable) political programme.

And in passing, - surely rather than ?

Dennis Smith

Sorry, the punctuation marks mangled my last sentence above. It was intended to read: In passing, rather than “require us to abandon the wisdom of the past” surely we should say “require us to modify the wisdom of the past”.

Lord

Most fail to doubt their beliefs but have nothing but doubt about those of others. Entertaining new beliefs leads to the possibility of error, while not leads to the persistence of it. Diversity of opinion should not be confused with tolerance of bad ideas. Opinions are worth what you pay for them and everyone has one. That does not mean they are equally valid or valuable, and so often those who complain about a lack of free speech are just pushing some bad ideas of some long dead philosopher to reinforce them in their ideas, position, and status, not to question or discuss them, for their interest is in promoting them, not examining them, nor engaging those of others on their merit, but of changing the subject and attention to their own.

Jim

" Diversity of opinion should not be confused with tolerance of bad ideas. Opinions are worth what you pay for them and everyone has one. That does not mean they are equally valid or valuable, and so often those who complain about a lack of free speech are just pushing some bad ideas of some long dead philosopher to reinforce them in their ideas, position, and status"

In other words, I'm right, you're not only wrong, you shouldn't be allowed to even say it.

Though ironically your statement could well apply to anyone pushing the ideas of Marx......

Noah Carl

Nowadays, viewpoint diversity is a "rightist" ideal:

https://medium.com/@NoahCarl/who-doesnt-want-to-hear-the-other-side-s-view-9a7cdf3ad702

Nick Drew

Brian Leiter (no Rightist, he) makes the point that "diversity for diversity's sake" was a construct of 1970s/'80s American HR departments, trying to concoct a (spurious) business rationale for the changes in recruiting policy they were being forced to introduce by positive-discrimination laws. Hey, we do it because it's good for business!

Whether or not it is true, was beside the point

Every management I've ever been a part of was seriously keen to harvest the wisdom of its employees as regards micro-efficiencies, shop-floor savvy etc. My only employer who was not at all thus keen - it was before I was in management (and I quit) - was Exxon: hardly a small example, but equally, not at all representative of my industry (in more ways than one: no coincidence, BTW)

But as a matter of hard-nosed reality, all the talk in the ads about "our apprentices are wonderful, they bring so much new insight into the company" is utter BS. In all the jobs I've ever worked in, the learning curve was measured in years, and the idea a bright, 'diverse' outsider with anything less than some serious relevant experience / expertise could breeze in and show us a thing or two is deeply unrealistic. We pay more than lip-service to seeking out new ideas and ways of doing things, but they are few and far between. When they come (e.g. breakthroughs in solar PV, or horizontal drilling, or stochastic analysis) they sure as hell don't just walk in through the door as part of a diversity programme.

uair01

There is some research (am too lazy to google it, sorry) that having even one contrary opinion during decision making, increases the quality of the decision making, even when the contrary opinion is rejected. So diversity of opinions seems good.


This contrasts with two recent examples where diversity of opinion was rejected:

https://quillette.com/2018/08/02/the-death-of-the-author-and-the-end-of-empathy/

https://www.wired.com/story/the-ny-times-fires-tech-writer-quinn-norton-and-its-complicated/

And as the article says: "The Cultural Revolution was hardly more efficient in its shaming rituals."

Jim

Incidentally, how much diversity of opinion was James Damore allowed to have?

Swami

Let’s drop the right and left, and shift to what Hayek actually was, which is a Classical Liberal. Classical liberalism stresses the value in diversity of decentralized opinions, values, tastes and perspectives.

However, Classical Liberals are very cautious about extending this to intolerance. Thus they would certainly see that value of having people of diverse backgrounds, perspectives and genders. But they do not see value in the divisive hateful mentality of white supremacists, radical feminism or SJWs. These are intolerant, zero sum, win lose perspectives which preach the destruction of tolerance and diversity.

Hayek certainly believed worker coops are a reasonable alternative and worth considering, but the obvious weakness is they are subject to capture and rent seeking by the workers, thus unlikely to serve consumers optimally (as are corporations which get captured by management or unions). They aren’t a very good idea.

As for you comment on competition being unable to eliminate all inefficiency, you are allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good. Nothing is perfect at eliminating rent seeking. But the article you link to clearly reveals that competition is extremely effective at reducing rent seeking, thus the plug for the more intense US competition over the higher levels of rent seeking in Europe.

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