I listened to this podcast by Spencer and Razib a few months back, & have been wanting to respond to it at some point.
Spencer's basic thesis is that US power is doomed to fall behind that of China this century. I am not so sure about that. https://insitome.libsyn.com/american-collapse-cultural-evolution-peter-turchin-and-the-return-of-history
Spencer Wells is a smart guy, & I have learned a lot about genetics & other topics from him, but I think he has some blindspots due to his economic ideology that near as I can tell is very close to Marxism. He also has a very strong case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
I know someone from my personal life who is older than me and he very bright & knowledgeable. He also can't think clearly when it comes to Trump, just going on-&-on about how he is so much worse than any President we have ever had.
So late last year I asked him to name one thing Trump has done that is worse than anything Obama or Bush did. Guess what? He couldn't. I then listed many things Obama & Bush had done that were far worse than anything Trump had done. He had no response. None.
Do you think this changed his mind at all? Oh hell no. I'm sure if I asked him today he would cry "Coronavirus!" as a kind-of Hail Mary play. TDS is real & the people who have it hate Trump not because of anything he did or didn't do, but for cultural/tribal reasons.
Anyway, getting back to the topic. Spencer might be right that China will dominate the world by the end of the century. I know another very bright & informed person I admire, Anatoly Karlin, thinks the same thing. There are realistic ways it could happen.
However, I don't think it is as certain as they think it is. In fact, I think the better odds are on the USA still being the major world power in 2100. That being said, first I am going to go over some of what I see as Chinese strengths, then I will respond to the podcast.
I think China's main strength is that it does have a large national high-IQ ethnic core. That is pretty much it. A lot of other possible Chinese strengths are mixed-bags that can also be major weaknesses.
China is trying to slowly but *explicitly* genocide many of their minority ethnic & religious groups. That could make China stronger in the long-run by making it more cohesive in that long-run.
But it will make it weaker in the short-to-medium-run because they have created a guaranteed & enormous fifth column should any major conflict break out.
It has the effect of isolating China diplomatically from most of the countries that actually mater in this world. Sure, they can buy-off support from poor African & corrupt Arab gov'ts, but the populations of first-world nations have a MAJOR aversion towards explicit genocide.
Another possible Chinese strength is that due to it being an authoritarian gov't, it can force through big good ideas quickly & without debate or special interests blocking the way.
But most big ideas are BAD ideas, & there are definitely lots of special interests within the CCP
Anyway, I am going to re-listen to the podcast now and respond to it in real time.
Spencer urges #MAGA
Trump-supporters to tune out from this podcast. Why the hell would we do that? Unlike those on the left, Trump-supporters *generally* aren't afraid of listening to differing ideas & points-of-view.
What Happened After This Democrat Went To A Trump Rally
There is some interesting stuff about how Spencer learned from Richard Lewontin in the late-80s to early-90s, & how Lewontin & Stephen Jay Gould were both members of the U.S. Communist Party.
Must have been a fun time to observe those two.
Lewontin sad. Gould sad.
"The world today is fucked." says Spencer Wells.
"Fucked relative to when/what?" asks Pale Primate.
"Jeff Bezos is becoming like Rockefeller, like he is becoming one of the richest people in the history of the world, & you know, there are people out there who are standing in food lines."
And? I'm not a fan of Bezos, but this is a total non sequitur.
If anything, people have access to too much food. Even poor people.
Childhood Obesity Is Rising 'Shockingly Fast' — Even In Poor Countries https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/10/17/770905500/childhood-obesity-is-rising-shockingly-fast-even-in-poor-countries
Spencer says that he isn't a communist, but that he believes that the fruits of capitalism should be shared *equally* among *everyone* who participates.
That's pretty damn close to communism.
So the part-time McDonalds worker should make just as much as those who successfully organize land, labor & capital? As much as those who RISK their saved capital & future by investing in a new business? As much as the owner who takes the risk & is paid last?
One of the wonderful things about late-stage capitalism is that even the lazy can have a pretty damn comfortable standard of living without having to put forward much effort. Has a capitalist county *ever* had an honest-to-god famine during peacetime?
"Lewontin believed in a Leninist view."
I'll take Trump & MAGA any day over Lenin & Lewontin, thank you very much.
Spencer talks about how all successful communist revolutions happened in backward countries, but seems to think, like Trotsky in 1934, that communism would work in America despite it failing in Russia.
But Trotsky thought it would work in Russia in 1917! https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1934/08/ame.htm
"One final prophecy: in the 3rd year of the Soviet rule in America you will no longer chew gum!"
Those are the kind of hot-takes America needed!
I get the feeling that Spencer seems to think that maybe if a more advanced people had gone communist, things would have worked out.
I agree that there is a cold civil war going on in the USA that has been getting hotter in small fits-&-starts. But really only one side (left) has been actually violently attacking the other side (right) so far in any sort of organized way.
Even if a real American civil war breaks out in this decade or the next, that doesn't mean USA will not be the top power in 2100. A decade after the American Civil War ended the USA had the largest economy in the world & owned fully half of the world economy after 80 years.
Razib talks about America's decreasing levels of trust & lack of trust in our institutions. I agree that is a problem, but when dealing with international power, everything is relative, & if China is to be our great rival, well...
Corruption Perceptions Index, 2019
"Trust among people in China dipped to a record low with less than half of respondents to a recent survey feeling that "most people can be trusted" while only about 30 percent trusted strangers." https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-02/18/content_16230755.htm
Spencer bitches about Trump invoking the Insurrection Act (he hasn't actually used it yet) & seems to think that is some huge problem because it was written in 1807.
The U.S. Constitution came into effect in 1789. I guess we should just throw that out because it is old, huh?
Both Eisenhower & Kennedy invoked the 1807 Insurrection Act to enforce federally mandated desegregation.
Does Spencer think that black school children needed to be kept out of white schools? That Eisenhower was an evil tyrant?
Governor Orval Faubus said 'no we've got this, we're going to control this using our own methods' & Eisenhower said 'oh hell no' & used what Spencer says is an 'obscure act' (despite it having been used at least 22 times so far, the last time in 1992).
Trump hasn't even used it!
"He could send it Blackhawk helicopters!"
Oh no! Not Blackhawk helicopters! They could be used to medically evacuate sick & wounded people & give them the help they need!
"He could send in drones, with missiles!"
Seems kind-of like a waste of a perfectly good $117,000 Hellfire when a 21 cent 5.56 round would do just fine.
"He could send in federal troops, US Army troops!"
Oh no! That might mean people stop getting attacked, stores stop getting looted, & buildings stop getting burned down!
"The mob threatened & cursed. But the mob retreated, because it had met the one thing that could stop it: force, rooted in justice & backed by moral courage."
He could "literally bomb the shit out of downtown Los Angeles"
Looks like Los Angeles has already literally had the shit bombed out of it by leftists. Would be a waste of good JDAMs to bomb it now.
"America has a history of slavery & racism."
What does China have a history of?
List of massacres in China (many of them are in the millions!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_in_China
Ethnic issues in China (look at what they are doing to the Uyghurs & Tibetans today!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_issues_in_China
List of massacres in the United States (nothing comes anywhere close to what the Chinese have done). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_in_the_United_States
"Killings occurred during the Great Chinese Famine. According to Frank Dikötter, at least 2.5 million (2-3 million) people were beaten or tortured to death, which accounted for 6%-8% of the total deaths in the famine."
But America is the bad guy, not China, right Spencer?
Spencer goes on to bitch about how Americans didn't love immigrants enough & references "Gangs of New York".
Gee, why would Americans have a problem with GANGS OF IRISH IMMIGRANTS BURNING DOWN AN ORPHANAGE!?
Spencer seems to have a soft-spot for rioters. Heaven forbid that the Federal Government should dare do anything to stop those poor, misunderstood angels from looting & burning down every building on a city block! Clearly only a FASCIST like Trump would want to stop them!
"America is about fucking over the latest generation of immigrants that come into the country.."
And yet they just keep coming & coming. Even from communist worker-utopias. Odd that.
Clearly the Chinese are much more welcoming to immigrants than the evil Americans! That is why China deserves to dominate the world! https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/10/china/africans-guangzhou-china-coronavirus-hnk-intl/index.html
Why is it so many rich Chinese are desperate to get both themselves & their money out of China & into USA? So much so that the CCP has had to crack down hard to stop it? All those rich Chinese trying to get their money out must be stupid! They just don't understand China #1!
"America, among all developed nations on Earth, has been happy to live with a high Gini coefficient."
Median Household Income:
Germany: $33,333 PPP https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/median-income-by-country
Mississippi: $43,567 PPP https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/median-household-income-by-state
Take it away Maggie!
But since Spencer cares so much about the Gini coefficient, he should be happy to know that under Evil Racist Orange Hitler the gap was getting SMALLER.
Workers at the lower end of the pay scale finally are getting the most benefit from rising wages. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/13/workers-at-lower-end-of-pay-scale-getting-most-benefit-from-rising-wages.html
Spencer says that things started to get dark in America in the 70s, 80s, & 90s. Complains that it is harder for American workers to get a square deal.
Spencer might want to look up the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
Enjoy the cognitive dissidence Spencer.
Oh, something I forgot to mention before regarding the riots. Trump has been asking & asking Democrat governors to please let him help them, but they keep refusing so the riots keep happening.
There was one exception in Wisconsin. At first the Democrat governor refused Trump's help, but then violent rioting leftists who tried to burn down a gas station & then tried murder a kid who put out the fire ended up getting shot, & Democrats can't have their pets getting hurt.
So then the Democrat governor, saddened at the death of his violent criminal pets, finally asked for help from Orange Hitler. Orange Hitler heard the governor's desperate pleas & sent help. And guess what happened to the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin? They immediately stopped.
Spencer complains about the US healthcare system, saying it is at third-world levels.
Witch doctors sacrificing children in this drought-stricken African country.
"... many believe sacrificial rituals can bring quick wealth and health." https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/09/26/witch-doctors-sacrificing-children-drought-stricken-african-country-uganda/703756001/
"Police in Tanzania have arrested 65 "witchdoctors", or traditional healers, in connection with the ritual killing of at least 10 children." https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47447103
But officially trained third-world medical doctors must be okay!
"After complaints were made against the Nigerian-qualified doctor he was removed from clinical duty..."
"...did not have the “basic medical knowledge even a medical student should know”." https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/doctor-tried-to-use-scalpel-to-put-tube-in-patient-s-hand-hears-medical-council-1.1627673
And in the UK medical system that Spencer says is so much better than America's.
"A doctor who caused a baby to be decapitated during birth has been cleared of misconduct and can return to work." https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/dr-vaishnavy-laxman-baby-decapitated-ninewells-hospital-dundee-cleared-misconduct-a8385186.html
The UK system is so great!
Gee, it is almost like since pet healthcare is an actual free market, it works better & costs less.
Oklahoma Doctors vs. Obamacare
Three years ago, Dr. Keith Smith, co-founder and managing partner of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, took an initiative that would only be considered radical in the health care industry: He posted online a list of prices for 112 common surgical procedures.
Medical Price Honesty Benefits Patients at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
Imagine if everyone did this? How much real competition would drive down prices even more?
How is Big Super China #1 doing?
China’s Health Care Crisis: Lines Before Dawn, Violence and ‘No Trust’
"... hundreds of thousands of children were found to have been injected with faulty vaccines." https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/30/business/china-health-care-doctors.html
Spencer says that if you have a good idea & a business plan, America is where you want to go.
I agree. And that is how the wealth & jobs are created in the first place. We should have more Elon Musk-type immigrants, & a lot less of whatever this is. https://wjla.com/news/local/ice-undocumented-immigrant-deported-twice-before-caught-raping-woman-under-stairwell
Spencer says "If you're a worker, if you're somebody who wants to feed his family, if you're somebody with a health condition, America is the worst place in the world to be."
If you care so much about American workers so much, maybe we stop importing immigrant workers? Or at the very least, kick out all the illegal parasites. But only evil Trump voters want to do that.
Obama's aunt was an illegal alien & she was such a gem!
Spencer says that Indonesia has better healthcare than America for the average person.
Indonesia struggles to pay for huge universal health care program.
Government annoys public with planned hike in premiums to reduce deficit. https://reliefweb.int/report/indonesia/indonesia-healthcare-system-failing-millions
I'm going to have to finish this thread later. I remembered this podcast having been more about China vs America, but we haven't really gotten into that so much yet, so I guess most of that must be in the second half.
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