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The Death Of Expertise

Posted by hkarner - 19. April 2017

Tom Nichols

By , thefederalist.com

I am (or at least think I am) an expert. Not on everything, but in a particular area of human knowledge, specifically social science and public policy. When I say something on those subjects, I expect that my opinion holds more weight than that of most other people.

I never thought those were particularly controversial statements. As it turns out, they’re plenty controversial. Today, any assertion of expertise produces an explosion of anger from certain quarters of the American public, who immediately complain that such claims are nothing more than fallacious “appeals to authority,” sure signs of dreadful “elitism,” and an obvious effort to use credentials to stifle the dialogue required by a “real” democracy.

But democracy, as I wrote in an essay about C.S. Lewis and the Snowden affair, denotes a system of government, not an actual state of equality. It means that we enjoy equal rights versus the government, and in relation to each other. Having equal rights does not mean having equal talents, equal abilities, or equal knowledge.  It assuredly does not mean that “everyone’s opinion about anything is as good as anyone else’s.” And yet, this is now enshrined as the credo of a fair number of people despite being obvious nonsense. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What Next for Trump and Xi?

Posted by hkarner - 7. April 2017

Rana Mitter

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Men Without Work

Posted by hkarner - 29. März 2017

By John Mauldin

March 28, 2017

I have been promising a review of Nicholas Eberstadt’s very important book, Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis. The book is relatively short at 216 pages, but it is packed with meaty facts and insights. One of the reasons I seldom read an actual physical book anymore is because I can highlight text and make notes in my Kindle app on my iPad and then find those notes and highlighted sections on my Amazon page for later review. I actually highlighted 36 pages with 22,000 words from this book to go back and review. And while I will be using a lot of quotes in this letter, I hope this simply spurs you to order the book and read it for yourself. The “invisible crisis” that the author is writing about is at the very center of our economic and political turmoil.

At its heart, the book is about the fact that there are some 10 million American men of prime working age (25 to 54) who have simply dropped out of the workforce, and the great majority of them have not only dropped out of the workforce, they have also dropped out from any commitments or responsibilities to society. It is not just the labor force they are not participating in; they are not participating in the normal ebb and flow of community life.

This is not a recent phenomenon. I used the following graph last week, but it is important to illustrate the point. Male participation in the civilian labor force has been steadily dropping for 60 years, through boom and bust years, periods of inflation and deflation, Republican and Democratic administrations and congressional control; the trend seems to be relentless – except that it has been accelerating since 2009. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The new political divide, and a plan to close it

Posted by hkarner - 26. März 2017

Date: 23-03-2017
Source: The Economist

David Goodhart, a “post-liberal”, seeks to accommodate the decent elements of identity-based populism

The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics. By David Goodhart. Hurst; 278 pages; $24.95 and £20.

WHY did Britain vote to leave the European Union? Why did America elect Donald Trump? Why are populists on the rise all over Europe? David Goodhart, founding editor of Prospect magazine and now a proud “post-liberal”, has found a culprit. Populism, he argues in his new book, is an understandable reaction to liberal overreach.

Focusing on Britain, he identifies a new divide in Western societies, pitting a dominant minority of people from “anywhere” against a majority from “somewhere”. The first group, says Mr Goodhart, holds “achieved” identities based on educational and professional success. Anywheres value social and geographical mobility. The second group is characterised by identities rooted in a place, and its members value family, authority and nationality.

Whereas Anywheres, whose portable identities are well-suited to the global economy, have largely benefited from cultural and economic openness in the West, he argues, the Somewheres have been left behind—economically, but mainly in terms of respect for the things they hold dear. The Anywheres look down on them, provoking a backlash. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Sozialforscher: „Es wird ohne Crash leider nicht mehr gehen“

Posted by hkarner - 15. März 2017

Günther Strobl, 15. März 2017, 07:00 derstandard.at

Peter Zellmann sieht den Grund für die Probleme am Arbeitsmarkt in falschen Überschriften und Polit-Entscheidungen

Wien – „Die Digitalisierung ist nicht aufzuhalten. Sie kommt mit aller Wucht, erfasst alle Bereiche und wird viele der bestehenden Arbeitsplätze vernichten.“ Peter Zellmann, empirischer Sozialforscher aus Wien mit Schwerpunkt Bildung, Lebensstil, Zukunft ist skeptisch, dass der Übergang in die neue Zeit noch auf sanfte Weise gelingen kann. Zu viel sei verabsäumt worden in den vergangenen Jahren. „Es wird ohne Crash leider nicht mehr gehen, davon bin ich jetzt überzeugt“, sagte Zellmann im Gespräch mit dem STANDARD. „Es gibt seit 20 Jahren Hinweise aus allen Wissenschaftsrichtungen auf diese gesellschaftlichen Entwicklungen. Das wurde und wird noch immer von der Politik ignoriert.“ Falsche Überschriften führten quasi in Permanenz zu falschen Entscheidungen.

Digitalisierung statt Entschleunigung

In seinem eben erschienenen Buch „Die Zukunft, die wir wollen. Was den Menschen wirklich wichtig ist“ (Manz-Verlag, 198 Seiten, 21,90 Euro) gibt Zellmann „Denkanstöße“. Mit der Digitalisierung werde kein Problem gelöst, ist eine seiner Thesen: „Das ist die Fortschreibung des immer Gleichen, Business as usual.“ Statt Entschleunigung, die viele Menschen herbeisehnten, finde mit fortschreitender Digitalisierung eine dramatische Beschleunigung statt. Das treffe auf die App am Handy genauso zu wie auf die sich selbst organisierende Fabrik, die deutlich weniger Beschäftigte weit mehr auf Trab hält als früher.

80 Prozent der Menschen klagten in Umfragen bereits jetzt, wesentlich weniger Zeit zur Verfügung zu haben als jemals zuvor – trotz vermeintlich ersparter Zeit dank der vielen unsichtbaren Helferlein. „Grund ist, dass wir immer mehr Erledigungen in immer kürzere Zeitintervalle hineinpacken,“ sagt Zellmann.

Fortschritt nicht verteufeln

Technik verteufeln ist seine Sache nicht. „Es geht um den richtigen Umgang damit. Der müsse gelehrt werden, in der Schule, im Elternhaus, Hauptsache irgendwo. In der Schule aber würden noch großteils Inhalte vermittelt, als ob wir noch im Industriezeitalter lebten. „Wenn wir so weitermachen, haben wir zwar jede Menge Akademiker, aber alle arbeitslos, weil falsch qualifiziert“, sagte Zellmann. Seiner Ansicht nach wird der Großteil der Menschen künftig im Bereich der persönlichen Dienstleistungen eine bezahlte Beschäftigung finden. „Wenn Roboter mit Robotern sprechen und diese teilweise schon in der Pflege zum Einsatz kommen, ist die persönliche Ansprache, das Zuhörenkönnen, der wirkliche Mehrwert, den der Mensch gegenüber Maschinen bieten kann.“ Dazu sei aber ein gerüttelt Maß an Empathie erforderlich – etwas, das aber nirgendwo gelehrt werde.

Ein Beispiel für eine falsche Überschrift, die in der Folge zu falschen Entscheidungen führt, ist die von der alternden Gesellschaft. „Nicht die Gesellschaft altert, sondern die Menschen werden älter“, sagte Zellmann. Das sei nicht nur nicht dasselbe, sondern bedeute für die meisten Lebensbereiche sogar das Gegenteil. Die Menschen seien fitter als früher, pflegebedürftig seien die Menschen in der Regel erst in den letzten vier Lebensjahren, egal wie hoch der Altersdurchschnitt in der Bevölkerung ist. Dass die „Generation Praktikum“, die sich von einer prekären Stelle zur nächsten hangelt, nicht längst revoltiert, liegt laut Zellmann an Eltern und Großeltern: „Viele haben es zu einem gewissen Wohlstand geschafft, davon profitieren die Kinder.“ Und die ticken in der Regel auch anders, wollen mehr teilen als besitzen. (Günther Strobl, 15.3.2017) – derstandard.at/2000054171249/Sozialforscher-Es-wird-ohne-Crash-leider-nicht-mehr-gehen

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Prof. Dr. Joseph Hubers Vollgeldtheorie – gebaut auf Sand und schlechtem Denken

Posted by hkarner - 14. Februar 2017

Gero Jenner, 10/2Jenner

Wissenschaftliche Arbeiten lassen eine Beurteilung nach verschiedenen Kriterien zu, von denen ich die folgenden für wesentlich halte:

  1. Sprachliche Kompetenz
  2. Sachliche Kompetenz im Hinblick auf vorhandenes Wissen
  3. Pädagogische Kompetenz bei der Vermittlung des eigenen Standpunktes
  4. Sachliche Kompetenz im Hinblick auf den Wahrheitsgehalt der Theorie

Ich möchte meine Besprechung des wissenschaftlichen Hauptwerks von Prof. Huber von vornherein so anlegen, dass ich sie mit dem wissenschaftlichen Hauptwerk von Helmut Creutz vergleiche, der über dasselbe Thema, die Geldtheorie, sein bekanntes Werk „Das Geldsyndrom“ verfasste. Dieser Vergleich scheint mir in mehrfacher Hinsicht erhellend.

Zunächst ist anzumerken, dass die vier oben genannten Kriterien in verschiedenen Wissensgebieten nicht die gleiche Bedeutung aufweisen. Für einen Mathematiker ist es möglich, auf sprachliche Kompetenz weitgehend oder auch ganz zu verzichten. Wenn es ihm gelingt, die richtige Lösung für ein komplexes Problem zu finden, dann braucht er dafür nicht mehr als eine abstrakte Formel. Es spielt nicht einmal eine Rolle, ob er sich in seinen Erklärungen der deutschen, der chinesischen oder der englischen Sprache bedient – so verhält es sich mit den Arbeiten der Physik und generell mit dem ganzen Bereich der Naturwissenschaften. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can markets be too free?

Posted by hkarner - 3. Januar 2017

Date: 02-01-2017
Source: The Economist

To mark the publication of “Go Figure”, a collection of The Economist’s explainers and daily charts, the editors of this blog solicited ideas on Facebook and Twitter. This week we publish five explainers suggested by our readers, who will each receive a copy of the book.

ASKED why the Federal Reserve had failed to anticipate the lax bank lending that ultimately led to the global financial crisis, Alan Greenspan, the Fed’s former chairman, said he had the wrong model. He had assumed that bankers, acting in their self-interest, could not blow up their own banks. He was wrong, and the regulation of banks has since become far stricter. Indeed partly as a consequence of the crisis, and the political upsets (Brexit, Donald Trump’s electoral victory) that it helped give rise to, the bias against intervening in markets (for credit, for internationally traded goods, and much else) has greatly weakened. The question for policymakers no longer seems to be “How can markets be liberated?” Rather it is, “Can markets be too free?” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Inequality and Skin in the Game

Posted by hkarner - 2. Januar 2017

– INCERTO – 27/12/2016


Inequality and Skin in the Game

The Static and the Dynamic — How to go bankrupt and be loved by the many –Piketty’s equals

Inequality vs Inequality

There is inequality and inequality.

The first is the inequality people tolerate, such as one’s understanding compared to that of people deemed heroes, say Einstein, Michelangelo, or the recluse mathematician Grisha Perelman, in comparison to whom one has no difficulty acknowledging a large surplus. This applies to entrepreneurs, artists, soldiers, heroes, the singer Bob Dylan, Socrates, the current local celebrity chef, some Roman Emperor of good repute, say Marcus Aurelius; in short those for whom one can naturally be a “fan”. You may like to imitate them, you may aspire to be like them; but you don’t resent them.

The second is the inequality people find intolerable because the subject appears to be just a person like you, except that he has been playing the system, and getting himself into rent seeking, acquiring privileges that are not warranted –and although he has something you would not mind having (which may include his Russian girlfriend), he is exactly the type of whom you cannot possibly become a fan. The latter category includes bankers, bureaucrats who get rich, former senators shilling for the evil firm Monsanto, clean-shaven chief executives who wear ties, and talking heads on television making outsized bonuses. You don’t just envy them; you take umbrage at their fame, and the sight of their expensive or even semi-expensive car trigger some feeling of bitterness. They make you feel smaller. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The state of the world: Better and better – There are still reasons for a merry Christmas!

Posted by hkarner - 24. Dezember 2016

xmas-ccDate: 01-09-2016
Source: The Economist

Human life has improved in many ways, both recently, according to a Swedish economic historian, and in the 19th century

Norberg ProgressProgress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. By Johan Norberg. Oneworld; 246 pages; $24.99 and £16.99.

HUMANS are a gloomy species. Some 71% of Britons think the world is getting worse; only 5% think it is improving. Asked whether global poverty had fallen by half, doubled or remained the same in the past 20 years, only 5% of Americans answered correctly that it had fallen by half. This is not simple ignorance, observes Johan Norberg, a Swedish economic historian and the author of a new book called “Progress”. By guessing randomly, a chimpanzee would pick the right answer (out of three choices) far more often.

People are predisposed to think that things are worse than they are, and they overestimate the likelihood of calamity. This is because they rely not on data, but on how easy it is to recall an example. And bad things are more memorable. The media amplify this distortion. Famines, earthquakes and beheadings all make gripping headlines; “40m Planes Landed Safely Last Year” does not.

Pessimism has political consequences. Voters who think things were better in the past are more likely to demand that governments turn back the clock. A whopping 81% of Donald Trump’s supporters think life has grown worse in the past 50 years. Among Britons who voted to leave the European Union, 61% believe that most children will be worse off than their parents. Those who voted against Brexit tend to believe the opposite. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Brace yourself: the most disruptive phase of globalization is just beginning

Posted by hkarner - 20. Dezember 2016

Date: 19-12-2016
Source: http://qz.com/

robot-bartender-ccRobot bartender

To properly understand globalization, you need to start 200,000 years ago.
Richard Baldwin skillfully takes on this daunting task in a new book, starting all the way back with the hunter-gatherers. For too long, he says, traditional analysis of trade has been too narrow, he argues.

The economist, who is a professor at the Graduate Institute in Geneva and president of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London, has been researching globalization and trade for 30 years. As anti-globalization forces now sweep across the world, The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization (Harvard University Press) is well timed.

Baldwin argues that globalization takes shape in three distinct stages: the ability to move goods, then ideas, and finally people. Since the early 19th century, the cost of the first two has fallen dramatically, spurring the surge in international trade that is now a feature of the modern global economy.

The standard line from politicians in recent times is that everyone wins from globalization. But the backlash from low-skilled workers who lost their jobs to cheaper labor abroad has forced a change in tone.

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, gave a candid speech on globalization in northwest England this week, where unemployment is among the highest in the country. He said: Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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