Search Results for 'bruce bueno de mesquita'


I’ve mentioned him a number of times here, usually in a favorable light. Via Ben Casnocha I found this page with a heaping of Nassim Taleb flavored critique. I haven’t had time to read much of any of it yet, but decided promptness of output was the better part of blogging valor.

The title of this post comes from Ilkka Kokkarinen’s idea of “synergessays“, although perhaps it doesn’t count when they come from the same source.

The first is Patri Friedman’s talk at Cato on Seasteading, which roughly coincides with his initiation of this month’s Cato Unbound on the same subject. I’ve said before and I’ll say again (even contra Patri) that his is the only viable plan for libertarianism, though it would also help other ideologies achieve their country (to possibly misuse a phrase of Rorty’s). It could best off the ground quickly if there were a very profitable industry which would have a large advantage in operating from a seastead. Unfortunately, Patri notes that governments will likely reach out and crush any “libertopia” that goes full scale into legalizing anonymous banking and the manufacture/exporting of large quantities of illegal drugs, leaving more mundane law-skirting like medical tourism. As someone not especially socially liberal, I’m fine with settling for (if I could get in and obtain a good job) Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Singapore, Hong Kong & Dubai rather than insisting on combining them with the Netherlands or Sweden. However, just as we all gain consumer surplus from the penny-pinchers at the supermarket (to that spillover isn’t contained by coupons) I think the effect of competition and innovation on the rest of the world will outweigh the importance of any particular policy regime on a single seastead.

Though on a different subject, similar constraints popped up in Glenn Greenwald’s talk on drug decriminalization in Portugal. Tim Lynch introduces it with some background on the policies before 2001 with the quote “The U.S’ drug policy is the world’s drug policy” (or something along those lines). Portugal went farther than the Netherlands in that it applies to all drugs and the decriminalization laws are on the books rather than merely unenforced (citations have in fact increased over time, as there is less paperwork police need for mere misdimeanors). The commission that ended up recommending that change in the law convened with the starting constraint that full legalization was off the table (so trafficking is still a criminal offense) due to international treaty obligations. While seasteads do not start out with treaties in the first place, the experience of countries like Portugal (and I would add many tax havens, included landlocked ones like Liechtenstein) shows how far a small nation may go without incurring the wrath of other countries. We may need policy libertarians to retard the response of the U.S to those places pushing the envelope. Peter Reuter began his talk by noting that he doesn’t normally receive such large audiences when the subject is drug policy, though money laundering is another story as people are simply more interested in money. I think the people on the internet who were recommending policies for Obama to discuss were disproportionately drawn from those interested in marijuana, and money is where the real money is (obvious, I know) when it comes to starting up seasteads.

Finally, in a completely unrelated video, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita gives a TED talk on predicting the outcome of complex negotiations, and more specifically the Iranian nuclear program.

Maybe that’s all one last name, and a common one. Via the new poli-sci group blog the Monkey Cage:

The model developed in this study yields three key results. First, it suggests an explanation of the observation that government concessions often lead to an increase in the militancy of terrorist organizations. Namely, concessions draw moderate terrorists away from the terrorist movement, leaving the organization in the control of extremists. Second, it provides an answer to the question of why governments make concessions in light of the increased militancy they engender. The government’s probability of succeeding in counterterrorism improves following concessions because of the help of former terrorists that directly improves counterterror and leads the government to invest more resources in its counterterror efforts. Thus terrorist conflicts in which concessions have been made are more violent but shorter. Third, it demonstrates how the ability of former terrorists to provide counterterror aid to the government can solve the credible commitment problem that governments face when offering concessions.

Ethan Bueno de Mesquita’s webpage at the Harris School at the University of Chicago is here, the paper quoted is here. I mentioned the more well-known Bruce Bueno de Mesquita here, Arnold Kling called him a “data molester” here, his proposal to incentivize peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was highlighted here, and a presentation I like to link to on the system disruption Israeli counter-terrorism organizations engage in is here. Scott Atran bums out rationalists/utilitarians by claiming both sides will have to give up something of symbolic importance here.

Since the fall of the Berlin wall, few have defended actually existing communism and those few have been ripe for satire. Some claim that “true” communism has never existed and what happened instead was a form of state capitalism, some say Stalin ruined the good thing Trotsky had going, and some leftists admit that Marx as all wrong and the right path for socialism is anarchism. I should admit that many of my fellow libertarians (particularly the anti-vulgar ones) take the no-true approach, while I prefer to admit the imperfections but emphasize actually existing capitalism contrasted with actually existing socialism. I’m satisfied with the “foot vote”, but the unrepentant commies have some arguments that objective evidence of well-being supports their system.

I bring this up thanks to (Chip) Smith’s recent response to (Michael) Smith’s review of (Bradley) Smith’s autobiography as a Holocaust denier. My impression is that Holocaust deniers tend to come in varieties that would be considered right-wing, either racial/ethnic nationalists or anti-interventionist libertarians. Even the somewhat hippy-dippy anti-anti-communist Denierbud repeatedly cites Kevin MacDonald, a white nationalist who excoriates the Soviet Union and its communist apologists as Jewish plotters against white gentiles. Michael Smith is different. He strikes me as generally goofy (my guess is his site is mostly dedicated to 9/11 conspiracy theories) and thinks both Hitler and the communist dictators have been libeled (I should note that Denierbud also thinks we were sold a bill of goods on Saddam and Idi Amin). He doesn’t just think they weren’t as bad as advertised, he thinks their system was better for human flourishing than capitalism. He cites the respected (oddly) Amartya Sen on changes in mortality in China, and compares it to India. Neoliberals agree: the Gapminder folks touting the changes in China note that they concentrated on health under Mao, but shifted to wealth under Deng.

How can we explain that? Possibly the data are just bad, but then I wouldn’t have anything more to write about in this post. I noted that Robert Lindsay defended communism on health grounds previously, he believes the difference is that capitalism gives people what they want and what they want is not what they should have. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (of the notorious hotbed of pinkos known as the Hoover Institute) explained the high literacy/education rates and good health in communist regimes by saying that they acted in a self-interested and rational manner, like Mencius Moldbug’s utopia under Fnargl. Just like a farmer wants his chattel to be healthy, a slaveowner or communist dictator wants his subjects to be healthy enough to produce lots of labor. I’d been reading some of Greg Clark’s “A Farewell to Alms” recently and had another idea. Maybe the mass deaths were the reason for good health. Clark notes that life expectancy (and income) shot up in England after the Black Death. A lower population in an agricultural economy where the fixed supply of land is the main constraint on production means a higher marginal product for labor. China under Mao notoriously had a “one-child” policy which kept population down. Lindsay is right then that the “foot vote” indicates people desire things other than what communist health nuts give them, and the Chinese in particular might have wanted more fertility. So one’s opinion on communism may depend on how they view the repugnant conclusion.

I often reference an EconTalk podcast with Bruce Bueno de Mesquita where he explains why communist dictatorships are well known for their health-care and literacy. I could never remember though whether that was in his first or second podcast. I decided to go back and check when making a comment to this post at Gene Expression about the difference in development in East and West Germany. It’s the first podcast, starting at about the 34th minute. It’s also the one that discusses the difference between King Leopold’s personal fiefdom of the Congo Free State and how he ruled the constitutional monarchy of Belgium.

This one has little connection to the previous two editions and wanders around rather aimlessly. It thus follows the long and ignoble tradition of declining sequel quality. (more…)

I just started listening to the latest EconTalk with Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. Despite accusation of neo-connery I’ve heard about him (and he is a foreign policy expert at the Hoover Institute), his take on Iran isn’t that different from mine. He’s actually even less fearful of the possibility of someone smuggling in a nuke than I am. Perhaps in an attempt to get in Robin Hanson’s good graces, he justifies his confidence despite lacking Iran expertise by citing his track record of succesful predictions about Iran.

If you’re tired of the Slavophilic, anti-American, democracy & freedom hating, paleo take on the Georgia conflict (we even cite Victor Davis Hanson for unintended support) provided by my blog and others I link to, you could do worse than this chain of posts at the Volokh Conspiracy, which also delves into the question of when secession is acceptable. I got into a similar dispute comparing the 13 colonies to the Confederate States at the Art of the Possible here. Look near the bottom of the comments in that TAOTP thread for response threads.

While he often mocks economists for their different way of thinking, Steve Sailer’s suggestion for dealing with South Ossetia is positively Coasean (his earlier suggestion for Kosovo is also rather economically minded). As I’ve mentioned before here though, Scott Atran casts doubt that such sensible solutions will work precisely because people are idiots.

The Georgia issue is another place where Sailer pokes the Jewish hornet nest. I find it interesting that while he tries to phrase things in a way that seems rational and acceptable in polite society, I can’t recall him ever offering any “Hey, I’m not an anti-semite and this proves it” defense. He could easily say “Such an idea is so outlandish only notorious anti-semites like Phillip Weiss would approvingly repeat it”. The Inductivist tries something like that rather weakly here. However as comments to this article on a renegade from the Satmar (that the reporter clearly wants to schtup) indicate, even being a full-blooded and observant Jew will not prevent such accusations. I found that article via this Bloggingheads diavlog that I thought raised some interesting questions about pluralism, religion and democracy. It was kind of funny to see how incredulous the Western feminist was about women making such a choice (which may be the result of the opposite of modesty).

In a somewhat similar but less ambitious vein than my own post, Steve Sailer traces the vicious cycle of stupid policies involved in the subprime mess. As expected, part of this is immigration, but I don’t think he had in mind British refugees seeking asylum from their countries thought police. “they are entitled to hold unpleasant points of view, but what they aren’t entitled to do is publish or distribute written material”. You can view some of that material here. Via Mangan.

I recently mentioned a supposedly obvious subtext I failed to pick up in Fight Club. Now I dare anyone to tell me they thought of this when they watched Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren in El Cid.

Finally, something Hopefully Anonymous may be interested in, a pill for aging. Via HA’s comment section I discovered the Men of Letters blog by Kinky Kathy, which is so similar to the writings of Carter van Carter that I have a suspicion they are the same person.

I’m in the middle of reading a discussion between Jim Manzi, Razib and Steve Sailer (UPDATE: and Mencius too) on genetic determinism and Social Darwinism. In the middle of it a TAS contributor linked to an old post of his on political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita who I just can’t shut up about at Unqualified Reservations (or here). I wouldn’t have thought of associating the two subjects (though JA’s comment was not a non-sequitur) and found it a bit creepy for two disparate interests of mine to come together. It kind of reminds me of how I hear of stuff at the Hoover Hog I never would have thought of that nearly invariably fascinate me (though perhaps an initial good impression causes me to make a biased evaluation). Is it a downer to imagine that I’m not a unique person with an eclectic curiosity but rather a common type whose reactions one might be able to predict? I would say no but I suspect Hopefully Anonymous would accuse me of being of just that type to “perform” seemingly hard-headed deprecation of feel-good idealism.

I have obligations to fulfill that conflict with writing posts. Maybe I’ll start up again sometime next week, but I do not plan on doing so earlier.

In the meanwhile I note (via the Hoover Hog) that Jim “Answer Me!” Goad has a blog and a forum, though finding perma-links for the former is hardly convenient and the latter requires registration to post. Cosma Shalizi has followed his post on heritability with g, a statistical myth, which might have been in the works before the James Watson controversy (which Sailer has an article on here), but is timely nevertheless. Robert Lindsay has lots of stories about K-A-R-A-Z-Y folks, including some autobiographical ones. Three paleos from AmConMag have a foreign policy blog called Exit Strategies. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, whose podcasts you really should listen to, claims more for his predictive model than seems credible considering what Tetlock had to say on expert political judgment. Via Ilkka I find Ironic Sans making histograms that form pictures. Scott Aaronson’s ideas on quantum mechanics have been plagiarized by actresses/models in an Australian commercial.

I leave you with evil satanic homosexual rock and/or roll band Nazipenis.