LEFTY WOMEN SHOCKED TO ENCOUNTER LIBERAL MEN who are tired of angry #MeToo feminism. “I’m frustrated and embarrassed, my boyfriend of three years said to me, with how worked up you are.”
1. From Yuval Noah Harari. Without referring to Hazony, Harari writes,
All attempts to divide the world into clear-cut nations have so far resulted in war and genocide. When the heirs of Garibaldi, Mazzini and Mickiewicz managed to overthrow the multi-ethnic Habsburg Empire, it proved impossible to find a clear line dividing Italians from Slovenes or Poles from Ukrainians.
This had set the stage for the second world war. The key problem with the network of fortresses is that each national fortress wants a bit more land, security and prosperity for itself at the expense of the neighbors, and without the help of universal values and global organisations, rival fortresses cannot agree on any common rules. Walled fortresses are seldom friendly.
Good point. But then he writes this:
Creating a mass global identity need not prove to be an impossible mission. After all, feeling loyal to humankind and to planet Earth is not inherently more difficult than feeling loyal to a nation comprising millions of strangers I have never met and numerous provinces I have never visited. Contrary to common wisdom, there is nothing natural about nationalism.
Harari recognizes that in order to scale up our tribal instincts we seem to require a common enemy. But he thinks that such an enemy could be something impersonal, such as climate change. Uniting all of humanity against impersonal enemies strikes me as a hope with little basis in experience.
2. From Alberto Mingardi, who writes,
One can agree with Hazony that it is naive to assume that “political life is governed largely or exclusively on the basis of the calculations of consenting individuals.” But to assume that governments are just bigger families is the oldest trick of the apologists for interventionism. “Paternalism” never goes with limited government.
Here is a new Lancet paper by Stephen S. Lim, et.al., via the excellent Charles Klingman. Finland is first, the United States is #27, and China and Russia are #44 and #49 respectively. There is plenty of “rigor” in the paper, but I say this is a good example of what is wrong with the social sciences and more specifically the publication process. The correct answer is a weighted average of the median, the average, the high peaks, and a country’s ability to innovate, part of which depends upon the market size a person has in his or her sights. So in reality the United States is number one, and China and Russia should both rank much higher (Cuba and Brunei beat them out, for instance, Cuba at #41, Brunei at #29). And does it really make sense to put North Korea (#113) between Ecuador and Egypt? I’m fine with Finland being in the top fifteen, but I am not even sure it beats Sweden. Overall the paper would do better by simply measuring non-natural resource-based per capita gdp, though of course that could be improved upon too.
I think the paper is fine. It seeks to measure human capital, using indicators of health and educational attainment, whereas Tyler seems to be looking for a measure of all intangible assets. Other intangible assets include skills acquired on the job, social norms, and institutions. One certainly can make a case that human capital includes job skills, but social norms and institutions fall in a different category.
If we look at human capital per person, then it strikes me as plausible that Finland is far ahead of the U.S. We make up for it with social norms that encourage successful risk-taking and with institutions like venture capital and deep capital markets in general. Suppose Cuba and China had governments that were equally inclined to tolerate markets. Would you bet against Cuba having higher per capita GDP than China? I wouldn’t. That bottom third of China’s population has got to be a real drag.
Norms and institutions matter. That is why average human capital is not a sufficient statistic to describe a nation’s intangible wealth. But average human capital is nonetheless worth trying to measure.