Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ubiquitous Robots

A month or so ago I had a long conversation with a relative by marriage who I have interacted with about 10 times over the 30 years or so we have been acquainted.

I have always thought he was very smart and the conversation did nothing to change my mind.

He is working on a book, a policy statement really as I understand it, with the goal of providing a pathway to constructive and productive living in the coming era of ubiquitous robots.

He asserts that without strong leadership and intervention by scientists, including psychologists (not scientists, in my opinion), many young westerners will be without jobs in the relatively near future.

I was somewhat disappointed that a person as smart as he is (something of a scientist himself) would still be in thrall to the Wilsonian notion that well educated people should be given the reins of power so that they can shape the rest of us into a productive society. This sort of thing has never turned out well. The remnants of this "progressive" thinking are still haunting us today, 100 years later, in the form of credentialism, which I have written about before.

There is another school of thought about the impact of ubiquitous robots on employment and it is very positive.

While the potential problem described is the same, our young workers will have to have more skills in order to have meaningful employment in the robot era, the prescription on the right to address the issue is not a cohort of technocrats issuing directives from on high but the marketplace rewarding those who acquire the right skills.

The marketplace is rarely wrong. Among its most endearing features is that when errors occur the market itself forces corrections, when it is not interfered with by the credentialed. The "New Coke" fiasco of the 1980's is one high profile example of the market being allowed to do its job. Every business that fails and almost every one that succeeds are proof of the market's limited fallibility. It does not reward failure and does not wait long to make its conclusions felt.

The automaker bailouts of 2008 are examples of the credentialed interfering with the marketplace. Chrysler, which was bailed out in the 1970's, had to be bailed out again. General Motors was bailed out as well. GM will go broke again too, just as soon as it uses up the advantages that the cancellation of 60 billion dollars of debt produced. That is a lot of advantage so it will take a while but will certainly happen.

The mortgage debt bailout of 2008-9 had the predictable and undesirable effect of prolonging the agony for years. Arguably, it still is. The credentialed again stepped in to prevent the market from correcting its error.

Markets correct errors quickly and completely if they are allowed to function. The market will solve any employment problems caused by ubiquitous robots and we will all be better off for it, if it is allowed to function.

Unfortunately humans often react poorly to the immediate pain of market-style corrections and if we all cry loudly enough the credentialed will step in to ease our pain.

What they fail to understand, or choose to ignore, is that humans do not learn meaningful lessons from being forgiven our transgressions. If there is no pain associated with our misdeeds the odds of our repeating them are markedly higher. Without being made to feel the consequences of our actions we soon forget that we did anything wrong or stupid at all. Human nature never stops working.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


I have written about the illegal immigration crisis we face several times.

There is a second, possibly more urgent problem in the same field. The legal immigration of people who have no interest in democracy and no interest in assimilating to western culture.

An opinion piece published in the Canadian Jewish News came to my attention recently. I can't find it on line so can't link to it.

The author is Dr. Sima Goel, a chiropractor in Montreal. She is also the author of "Fleeing the Hijab,: A Jewish Woman's Escape from Iran".

In the piece I refer to she writes of her escape from Iran as an 18 year-old "Over 30 years ago".

Her story is remarkable to those of us who have had the good fortune to be born into modern western democracies.

She is concerned that Canada is becoming unwelcoming to immigrants "...some of whom have different attitudes toward women, health care and child rearing."

The implication is (she never states it clearly) that her concern is that we are not welcoming to Muslims.

She says " I was entitled to live life as I chose, to adapt and modify my ways to the Canadian ethic". Later, "We have no right to impose our values on other Canadians, but we do share the common ethic of respect and tolerance."

"Are we afraid of these new immigrants," she asks?

Well, if I am correct and she is talking about the latest wave of Muslim immigration the only answer to the question is no, emphatically.

Have you noticed that the left (I am willing to bet she is on the left) tends to try to shame those of us who disagree with them into silence by using loaded terms like "afraid"? Opposition to the admission to our countries is fear of the other, they say. Not a good quality.

As usual, the reason for the taunt is an inability to otherwise support her position.

She has apparently failed to notice that an enormous proportion of the Muslims we are admitting have no intention of modifying their ways to "the Canadian ethic".

In fact the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world prefer sharia law to any other system according to a poll conducted by the left of center Pew Foundation.

"The survey involved a total of more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in 80-plus languages." That is a very substantial sample.

Dr. Goel I am not afraid of immigrants. I have no interest in granting residency to immigrants who have no intention of adopting western ethics. They have every intention of altering the demographics of the west and then installing their preferred regime.

Offering the tolerance and benefits of western society to those who will take advantage of that tolerance and those benefits to make sure they eventually disappear is just stupid.

Those of us who oppose such idiocy are not afraid. We are willing and able to see the truth and act upon it.

Friday, April 07, 2017

This and That

Steven Hayward at Powerline occasionally publishes posts titled "Loose Ends" full of tidbits that have accumulated over time.

I have decided to do a similar thing using the title "This and That", a phrase I often use interacting with my immediate family.

So here is the first post in what will become a series.

I am traveling without my laptop so writing on an iPad. My skill set is such that I am not willing to try and install links so you are going to have to accept my assertion of facts unsupported. Or not.

I speculated a few weeks ago that Obama, ignoring the tradition that former presidents remain out of sight for a while following the end of their term, would be running a parliamentary system style shadow government constantly attacking the Trump administration.

For a few weeks after the inauguration I read similar speculation here and there.

Now Barry seems to have disappeared. I am hoping the reason is that he can't peek out of his bunker for fear of being caught up in the Susan Rice, NSA surveillance mess. I guess we'll see.

Mrs. Clinton opined a few days ago that misogyny was "absolutely" one of the reasons she lost the election. She is probably correct. She is such an abhorrent and corrupt harridan that she even managed to turn large numbers of women into misogynists.  
I am familiar with the notion of anti-Semitic Jews but have never heard of a female misogynist. Good job Mrs. Clinton, you have created a new subspecies.

You may have noticed that we bombed the Syrian air base thought to be the source of the chemical weapons Syria used a few days ago. Jim Geraghty of WSJ's The Morning Jolt summed things up, with respect to Russia's reaction best, I think.

"Somebody didn't get their money's worth out of election meddling".