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The Elite are Not Good at Strategic and Long-Term Thinking: 2

August 18, 2012 11 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote about how the so-called intelligent and long-term thinking elite are neither. Their modus operandi and attitudes are far closer to parasites, tumors and cancers than anything that is vaguely beneficial to the society in which they exist. While the previous part highlighted the role of randomness and human gullibility in the rise of “elites”, this post will concentrate on another how their short-term world view guarantees their long-term fall. As I have noted in many previous posts, people who become “elites” through some combination of luck and scam are very status conscious.

They are obsessed with maintaining and increasing their relative status to the point that every action and event in their lives is seen through the lens of status.

This is the reason “elite’ patronize art that they are not enthusiastic about, attend the “right” schools and universities, read books they have no particular liking for or buy yachts and airplanes they seldom enjoy. The same obsession explains why they buy, sell and remodel luxurious houses they seldom live in. It is not about enjoying money, but about showing others you have it- overtly or discreetly.

The need to secure as much status as possible (with the minimum effort) also leads them to devote the majority of their mental energy to making other people poorer and more miserable than themselves. That is why billionaires complain about “high” corporate taxes and regulations while trying to pay their workers as little as they can get away with. The same applies to “millionaires” who abuse their employees and domestic staff even though doing so does not increase their ability to enjoy life. Even relatively average people who make good money such as physicians, professors, middle-level managers, HR shysters etc exhibit the same behavioral patterns.

Such an eternal status-seeking mindset does however have a non-obvious but uniformly fatal flaw. The flaw I am going to talk about is usually ignored because most people, including the “high IQ elite”cannot think beyond a few steps. Furthermore, the “elite” mindset is built around and shaped to ignore such ego-deflating flaws.

The status seeking mindset of “elite” will always amplify the destabilizing effects of external shock to the system.

To understand this problem, let us start with a society in some sort of dynamic equilibrium. Whether they are experiencing growth or simple stagnation, most societies can maintain functional integrity even if they are very unequal and shitty places to live in. Therefore a society will remain reasonably stable and predictable even if most people in it are barely scraping out a mediocre living. The problem I am referring to arises when such a society experiences an external challenge- be it natural events like drought, floods, earthquakes and epidemics to man-made events such as wars, invasions or economic problems caused by external actors. It is important to note that the size of the initial external challenge is not important, as otherwise unremarkable events have a way of magnifying themselves.

Societies usually depend on its “elite” to formulate and coordinate a response to external threat or disruption. They do so because the “elite” portray themselves as especially intelligent and competent. However their hard-wired motivations, mental filters and mindset are geared towards increasing their status- both with respect to the people under them and their peers. Therefore almost all their actions and responses are consciously and unconscionably guided by whether a given path of action, plan or strategy increases their status. This obsession with maintaining and increasing status overrides all other such considerations such as the survival of the society they pretend to lead or their eventual fate.

Therefore almost all of their choices and actions end up making things worse for everybody else in that particular society. Whether this happens on the conscious, or unconscious, level is irrelevant to the effect of such actions which causes a further deterioration in the condition of people in that society. The worsening of conditions for average people in any society damages whatever is left of social cohesion which then feeds back into a further worsening of the overall situation resulting in even more status-driven bad decision by the “elite”. At some stage the forces which hold the stressed society together are overwhelmed by those caused by cascading events caused by the unnecessary suffering of the average people in the system. The people abruptly lose their faith in the “elite” and all institutions associated with them or their apologists, creating a power vacuum that is inevitably filled by some other faction or group.

While those who fill such a power vacuum might not be much better than the old “elite”, they do represent a change from the disastrous policies and institutions which drove that society to implode in the first place. However such large-scale changes cannot occur through democratic elections, as another political party or faction is essentially identical to the one it replaced. It is about the system and institutions, not the party or leaders.

What do you think? Comments?

Why was Usury So Unpopular in the Ancient World?

August 16, 2012 23 comments

OK, here is an open question to the readers. Why was the practice of making loans with interest rates so unpopular in antiquity. Most of you might think that usury was about excessive interest rates, however historical evidence suggests that usury was about charging any interest on loans. But why?

Some of the earliest known condemnations of usury come from the Vedic texts of India. Similar condemnations are found in religious texts from Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. At times many nations from ancient China to ancient Greece to ancient Rome have outlawed loans with any interest. Though the Roman Empire eventually allowed loans with carefully restricted interest rates, in medieval Europe, the Christian church banned the charging of interest at any rate (as well as charging a fee for the use of money, such as at a bureau de change).

How can the idea of charging interest on loans simultaneously offend religions as diverse as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. What makes usury so repulsive that even “god-less” pagans such as the Romans and Chinese had to often explicitly ban it?

What do you think? Comments?

Does the Long-Term Survival of “Civilization” Matter?

August 2, 2012 18 comments

I will begin by asking a simple, yet often ignored, question which has an odd connection with the title of this post.

What are we referring to when we use the word “I”?

As many of you already know, I have no inclination or desire to engage in sophistic arguments about what different religions, philosophies or ideologies have to say about the nature of the self. A mode or regime of thought which cannot achieve anything worthwhile beyond empty debate is utterly worthless and delusional- whether it is Buddhism or Christianity. Moreover you do not have to believe in any particular school of thought to use and understand the concept of self.

So, is “I” a property of the body or the mind?

A person who has lost multiple limbs or received organ transplantation is still the same person and retains the previous self-identity. Since the mind and hence all mental processes such as self-identity are resident in the brain, you could say that “I” is partially a property of the brain. However, a brain under deep anesthesia while alive and functional does not posses self-identity.

Self-identity is an emergent property of one or more states of brain function.

Therefore pretty much everything and anything you do to remain alive is linked to the continued survival of those states of brain activity. Even the so-called higher functions of consciousness such as desire, ambitions and aspirations exist to serve a few states of brain activity. But there is an odd facet to being aware of your own self.

Humans are also aware that they are mortal.

So how do humans reconcile awareness of their own inevitable death and the conflicting need for their ‘self’ to keep on surviving? A few just ignore it and go on, but most try to compensate for the inevitable demise with their physical form by creating something that will outlast them. This takes many forms- from having children, organized religion, art and architecture, wars and nation building, exploring the world , creating new knowledge etc. But doing all of these things requires a seldom discussed but crucial precondition.

People must believe that their actions have a reasonably good chance of success.

Since it is hard to measure success after death, people have to rely on proxy indicators that their actions are in the right direction and not in vain. The lives of those who have lived before you are the commonly used and important proxy indicators for the success of your own actions. Therefore people who have seen their parents become more affluent through hard work are far more likely to follow a similar path and approach to life than those whose parents have become poorer over the years inspite of hard work. Similarly, people who have been part of functional families where grandparents are cared for by their own kids (parents) are far more likely to keep that tradition going when their own parents reach that stage of life. Most people will therefore keep the system running as long as it delivers a reasonable chance at non-corporal immortality and sense of purpose to life.

Our concern for the long survival of humanity is therefore dependent upon the belief that doing so helps us achieve non-corporal immortality.

For thousands of years, the majority bought into the whole premise of non-corporal immortality for a number of reasons. Firstly, it offered a sense of purpose and reason for living under conditions that were frankly pretty shitty. Then there was the lack of rational schools of thoughts or open debate and doing something because everybody else was doing it seemed like the easiest course of action. However the most important reason for maintaining the status quo was that it often worked and provided enough of the basic needs and incentives for people to keep on going.

So what happens when the system fails to deliver enough of the basic needs and incentives? What happens when it is seen as the obstacle to doing so?

Now, you might think that the system is delivering because ‘average’ people can check Facebook updates on iPhones, get fresh looking vegetables at the supermarket or buy a 3 dollar chicken sandwich from some fast food restaurant. But is that really the case? Are we not confusing shitty simulacra to satisfy urgent necessities with real needs and incentives? If these simulacra were sufficient, why are so many people dissatisfied with their lives? Why are so many people living by themselves? why are husband-wife and parent-child bonds so weak? Why do we prefer to check twitter updates and Reddit posts over talking a bit more to people we have sex with? Some of you might see such behaviors as “inevitable” consequence of people getting more affluent or something along those lines. I see them as strong evidence that people are actively disengaging from “civilization” because it is not satisfying the needs of the “I” within them.

Throughout human history “civilization” always tried to satisfy the needs and desires of “I” to remain viable. However a series of technological and social changes has resulted in a rapidly increasing divergence between the two to the extent that the “I” within each of us perceives “civilization” as the problem and not the solution. While “civilization” has the power of apparent numbers and inertia, it cannot win a conflict in which its supporters simply choose to gradually disengage and stay away. You cannot have a party if nobody shows up or barely talks with each other.

We now have a society full of people who are very aware that they is no real purpose or meaning in their existence, nor any reason to contribute to it in any meaningful manner.

What do you think? Comments?

Why ‘Older’ Cultures Are More Dishonest

July 16, 2012 16 comments

Have you ever wondered why Chinese, Indians and Italians are generally less honest than Germans, Swedes or even Russians? Some of you might think that this difference is somehow linked to latitude, amount of sunlight in winter or genes. I have a different theory based on an old observation-

The general level of honesty prevalent in any group of people is inversely proportional to the time their ancestors lived under a large, centralized and highly hierarchical state based on violent coercion.

The first “civilizations” (aka ponzi schemes) started in the lower (and warmer) latitudes. Therefore parts of the world such as the Middle-East, Mediterranean Coast, Mesoamerica, India, Egypt, China had towns, cities and large kingdoms a few thousand years before anything comparable arose in Northern and Western Europe. It is my belief that the development of “civilizations” based on intensive and static agriculture based under a centralized and hierarchical regime is the single biggest reason behind the widely varying level of dishonesty across different cultures.

Here is why-

Humans beings have lived as hunter-gatherers for most of their history as a species. For all its supposed faults, this particular life-style had some major advantages over those of people in ALL pre-industrial agricultural societies. Apart from a low incidence of malnutrition and endemic infectious diseases, these societies had a very shallow hierarchy and those at the top of that hierarchy were in the same boat as their followers. Coupled with the inability to accumulate and transmit wealth over generations, these groups were remarkably free of people who were dishonest to their followers. Even the introduction of transient and semi-permanent agriculture did not change this situation to a significant extent.

Then large-scale static agriculture happened.

While this mode of food production and social organization had many differences from its predecessors; I am going to concentrate on one of those differences- effect on settlement size. While previous groups of humans rarely exceeded a few thousands, static and intensive agriculture allowed that number to routinely reach into the tens or hundreds of thousands. The leaders of such large groups (first kingdoms) were increasingly able to isolate themselves from their followers and potentially exploit them in ways that were hitherto not possible. The need to administer and efficiently exploit such groups also necessitated the development of needlessly complex and ‘tall’ hierarchies with all sorts of sociopath-friendly laws and regulations.

So here is my question- What type of personality would gain power in a very hierarchical society with many laws and regulations?

The answer is obvious, but seldom discussed in “polite” society. Such socio-economic systems would select, concentrate and reward people with significant sociopathic tendencies. This unnatural concentration of sociopaths near the lever of power has two knock on effects.

1. To survive under such a regime people would adopt the behavior and attitudes of their “elites”. Therefore such societies would quickly become cesspits of backstabbing, treachery and generalized dishonesty.

2. If sociopaths are successful and sociopathy is partly inherited- it is possible that older civilizations might have a higher percentage of sociopaths just because more offspring of sociopaths survive and attain power.

Now you might wonder- Is it possible to reverse dishonesty in cultures? The answer is.. Yes with one caveat. The process of doing that is kinda messy and involves destroying all major institutions (and their members) in a given society which translates into about 10-20% of the population. Only a fairly deep social reset, be it through natural disasters, war, or internal collapse can reliably make a society less sociopathic.

What do you think? Comments?

The Fatal Flaws of Plantation-type Economies

July 2, 2012 6 comments

I came across a post on salon.com which argues that the USA is headed towards a plantation-type economy based on “southern” aristocratic (read that as feudal) values. While that line of thinking does make some sense, even if the north-easterners were not much better human beings than southern slave owners, it misses an important and rather obvious point concerning the viability of feudal systems in the present and future.

Feudal systems require a large and external market for their labor-intensive products or services.

All feudal systems require a large pool of poor, low skilled and abundant laborers. However these slaves, serfs and indentured laborers are usually too poor to purchase what they produce. Hence plantation economies require a large, external and wealthy market for their products. The slave owners and plantation aristocrats of the 17th and 18th century (be they in the USA, Caribbean, South or Central America) had a ready-made market for their produce in the rapidly industrializing economies of Europe. Even the indentured labor economies prevalent in the post-civil war south had a market for their products in the rapidly growing and increasingly affluent Yankee north.

But is that still the case?

Where are the new costumers for low-cost products and services offered by plantation-type economies going to come from? Western societies are rapidly aging and the numerical strength of their younger generations is rapidly going down. It certainly does not help that the younger generation have low incomes and poor future prospects due to stupid economic policies. Furthermore, they themselves are either not having any kids or having even fewer kids. East-Asian countries are also following that same path of low and decreasing fertility and poor economic prospects for their next generation. Even countries such as Iran, India and Saudi Arabia now have fertility rates that are either less or close to replacement.

High-tech and skill based industries such as making specialized engineering, electronic products, chemicals etc are somewhat less susceptible to gross demand shrinkage by population aging and contraction, though they can still shed jobs due to automation and outsourcing. However relatively low-tech stuff such as product assembly or raw material extraction and processing are susceptible to gross demand shrinkage and job loss if the size of the overall market decreases.

Plantation-type economies throughout human history never had to face anything more than temporary dip in demand for their products. The loss of old customers through death in wars, epidemics and economic downturns was more than balanced out by even more younger customers. That “unchangeable” historical trend has now changed- throughout the world.

Which brings us to the second flaw of plantation-type economies which is far more relevant today than it was 100 or even 60 years ago. These socio-economic systems are characterized by low social cohesion, even lower trust and an inability to get large projects done or maintained.

But, once again, why?

Feudal societies have only one tool or method to motivate people to slave way- the threat of violence or death. Coercion is capable of forcing people to pick cotton, dig ditches, raise pigs and do other pre-industrial or early industrial era vocations. However you cannot coerce people to build and maintain usable electrical grids, civil engineering projects, high-intensity transportation systems, decent health care systems or even maintain good water supply and sewage disposal systems. A very significant factor behind the lubeless sodomy of the South by the Yankees in the civil-war was the former’s inability to run a functional industrial-age economy.

Today, even totalitarian countries such as China, whose economy is close to the slave-labor model dare not run their economies and societies as true feudal societies. Their feudal minded elite spend tons of money on power, infrastructure, education and betterment of their own population- if only to maintain their own power. They understand something which escapes many american CONservatives- a population which experiences an increase in their living standards under your rule is far more likely to stand behind and overlook your indiscretions. Investing in the betterment of your own country consolidates your power in a way that coercion never can.

Meanwhile american CONservatives are still mentally in the 1800s. They apparently believe that they can get way with much more of their bullshit, because the system has yet imploded. Then again, the stupid lumberjack who is hacking away at the very branch he is sitting on does not stop till the branch ‘unexpectedly’ snaps and kills him. I guess that is what the future really holds for American CONservatism. It is just too bad that they will have caused a lot of damage because they get exterminated in the collapse.

What do you think? Comments?

Why Societies Fool Themselves about their True Selves

June 22, 2012 12 comments

Have you ever wondered if there was a quick and easy way for identifying the weak points and deficits of any given society? Here is one..

A society usually lacks whatever quality, resource or attribute it portray itself to be  full of.

Maybe a few examples would help you understand my point.

Let us start with the USA as our first example. For some odd reasons, more than a few people from that country will never tire of telling you that it is full of happy, hardworking and honest individualists. However, as many of you also know, the reality is rather different. Even the casual visitor quickly notices that the USA is full of joyless, greedy and fat drones who will prefer to work in some ‘safe’ job selling their soul for a few bucks so that they can buy stuff to fit into a ‘cool’ crowd of people they barely know. Or take their much publicized “best healthcare system in the world” which is supposedly patronized by people from other countries. Oddly enough, it provides markedly inferior general outcomes when compared to less expensive systems in ‘socialistic’ countries. The American justice system, which is supposed to be fair and a system governed by ‘laws not me’, somehow manages to incarcerate more people than China or Russia- both in sheer numbers and percentage. Did I mention that most criminal cases in the USA never go to trial and are settled by onerous plea bargains and mandatory sentences.. kinda like they used to do in those ‘bad’ communist countries. Or what about the savage treatment of peaceful protesters during the recent OWS demonstrations?

However such cognitive dissonance is not uniquely American- by any stretch of imagination. Let us look at India as another example. Most people from that country claim that it is a functional democracy. While that country is certainly a democracy, it is well.. not quite functional. Or take the claims that Indians are vegetarians because they are compassionate and spiritual people. The reality is that vegetarianism in India is a stupid and self-destructive status symbol. As far as compassion and spirituality.. let’s just say that those qualities are rather uncommon in Indians. The average Indian is a greedy, dishonest, money and status obsessed shyster- just like your average American. Most Indians also claim to be keepers of a rich five thousand-year tradition. The only problem with that claim is that most people in India cannot read, or understand, the ancient languages in which those traditions were passed down- in written or oral form. Then there is the unique ability to make poor long-term decisions to pursue short-term profit, while proclaiming their ability to be good at long-term thinking. The progress of east-Asians in the last 100 years has been based on copying and selling products to the west. Sure.. east-Asians make good drones and indentured laborers, but much of their so -called superior culture and traditions are ways to cover their own inadequacies.

East-Asians are also full of shit. They talk a lot about their willingness to work hard, study boring crap, be financially frugal and progress in life based on their merit and competence. But they somehow avoid any discussions about the reasons behind their approximately 4,000 years of cultural, social and technological stagnation. Surely all of those wonderful and wise Confucius-based attributes should have resulted in continuous and relentless progress- but did it? Why not? They also talk about how their society places the group about the individual as an example of selflessness. Paradoxically that trait did not stop their social, cultural and technological stagnation nor did it result in any endogenous improvement in their level of prosperity until they found ways to copy and sell inexpensive stuff to western countries. The reality is that the average behavioral profile of east-Asians comes rather close to greedy, amoral sociopaths whose are unable to imagine a society not based on systemic theft, abuse and scams.

People from European countries are no less delusional. They keep on trying to live in a bygone era when they used to the center of the world. Reality, has however, moved on. Their self-image of themselves as civilized is at considerable odds with their history- especially the parts about numerous wars between themselves and looting of other countries. They pretend to be be more evolved when any objective reading of history will tell you that the lifestyle and mentality of the average European in the last century was not that different from a slum dweller in Nigeria today. They somehow like to brush over the fact that, even a century ago, their social institutions and customs were not that different from people they look down upon today. They try to portray the technological and industrial revolution of the last 200 years as an ode to their superior intelligence, when it was largely funded by stealing and enslaving people in other countries and abusing many in their own. I could go on, but let us get to the next point.

So, why do people and cultures try to cover their inadequacies by lying to others and themselves?

I believe that the answer lies in their efforts maintaining a positive ‘self-image’. Humans have an instinctive sense of right and wrong that is independent of religion, culture or other secondary belief systems. It is this instinctive sense that pushes people to make up lies, cover stories, rituals and propaganda to reconcile their instinctive sense of right and wrong with reality and their own actions.

Most propaganda, lies and misrepresentations are not meant for others. They are meant to convince yourself that you are basically a decent human being inspite of substantial evidence to the contrary.

What do you think? Comments?

The Elite are Not Good at Strategic and Long-Term Thinking: 1

June 17, 2012 23 comments

Many apparently non-retarded people seem to believe members of the so-called “elite class” are very good at strategic and long-term thinking. This particular belief is the basis for pretty much all conspiracy theories which you would have ever heard or read about. But is that belief true? or is it just a case of wish projection? Remember, I am not denying that people try to conspire or scheme. The real question is whether they can achieve anything beyond pissing in the rain.

In my opinion there are two types of reasons why the “elite” are far less competent than most people can imagine.

1. A ‘winner takes all’ system, like the one we live in, favors luck and chance over competence.

Let me clarify this point with a few examples. Would Microsoft be what it is today if it had not gotten a few important lucky breaks in the beginning or its now-extinct competitors made fewer mistakes? Think about it.. Was MS-DOS or Windows the best or even only Operating System for 1980-1990 era PCs? Was IBM the most popular PC manufacturer throughout the 1980s? Were all of its competitors such as Commodore, Apple and Amiga or even IBM staffed with incompetent engineers and programmers? So why did they not win the PC race? Could it be that it was luck and chance, not competence or ability, that made Microsoft the still undisputed leader in PC operating systems?

Let us take WalMart as another example. Beyond all the talk about their wonderful supply chains and logistics lies the real reason for their success- cheap manufacturing in developing countries. Ask yourself- How much of its success is dependent on the neo-liberal policies followed by the USA since the 1980s and concurrent mercantilism practiced by totalitarian low-wage countries such as China? The success of WalMart is largely due to being the right place at the perfect time with the right attitude. Changing any one of these pre-conditions would have changed the outcome of retail shopping in the USA.

2. Money and reputation from previous “wins” can be used cover current mistakes.

Ok, here are some rhetorical questions. Would any company other than Microsoft Have been able to survive the flops known as ‘Windows Me‘ and ‘Vista‘? In both cases, revenue from their previous successes such as Win98, Win NT and WinXp allowed them to weather failures that would have killed pretty much any other company. But what does repeatedly making such potentially lethal mistakes say about their intrinsic competence? Or take Apple, which also made many mistakes (Lisa, Newton) and took many mistakes (they initially resisted independent apps on the iPhone).

Another good set of examples concerns the recent failures of new drugs in Phase II and Phase III human clinical trials. Many of these new drugs were supposed to be blockbusters, and yet they failed miserably after each consuming billions of dollars and years of research by thousands of people. How could so many thousands of “super-smart” people fuck up so badly? In many cases, the fuck-ups were so basic and obvious that even a bunch of semi-retarded people would have figured them out.

Or look at the F-22.. they still cannot fix problems in the oxygen supply for pilots for an airplane that cost over 200 million dollars a piece. Even worse, the F-22 program has suffered from even more basic failures in the past– in many cases after induction of the aircraft in the USAF. How can people who are supposedly “smart and competent” make such big mistakes.. again and again? Or take Donald Trump.. How many times have businesses run by that guy defaulted on their creditors? and yet he seems to have little problem raising money for his next batch of hare-brained schemes. Or ask yourself- How many of Warren Buffet’s “wins” are due to legalized corruption, sweetheart deals and discrete influence peddling?

The reality is that the so-called “elite” are often less competent than your average village idiot. Only social inertia, slick image manipulation and the willingness of people to believe in a ‘fair’ world keep them relevant.

These people don’t have even the basics of what they claim to excel in. Take strategic thinking. People often forget that quality strategic thinking requires a high degree of objectivity which in turn requires a certain level of detachment from your immediate environment to see the bigger and less obvious picture. The “elite”, on the other hand, use their money and position in society to insulate themselves from the bigger picture. They tend to focus on the minutiae such as status jockeying (where they studied, traveled, ate, drank or what they read, saw, listened to etc). They spend their whole lives trying to think about as small a slice of reality as possible, while claiming to be good at seeing it all.

The “elite” also claim to be good at ‘long-term’ thinking- but the bulk of evidence suggests otherwise. Let us first consider the obvious problem with any ‘long-term’ planning aka our inability to predict the future. Given that many “super-smart” people have been repeatedly shown to be so wrong, should we even trust anybody who claims to predict the future? How can you predict any process which you neither understand nor control? Look at human history.. it is full of so many actions and decisions which in retrospective look like the handiwork of severely retarded persons. However all of these actions and decisions were conceived, executed and supported by the “best of the best” and the “brightest” minds of that era. How come these “most respectable” and “meritorious” people kept on fucking up so badly- century after century, millenia after millenia? Note that many of these fuckups hurt the “elite” in power as bad or even worse that the populations they were lording over.

I believe that the best way to model “elite” thought, behavior and actions in any human society is to ask yourself the simple question- What would a parasite do? aka WWPD?

What do you think? Comments?

The American Work Ethic is a Cancerous Ideology

May 24, 2012 13 comments

Americans in particular, and West-Europeans in general, pride themselves on their so-called ‘work ethic’. It is supposedly an important reason behind their prosperity. Now I could easily make the case that genocide, enslavement and looting of others were (and still are) the major factors behind western prosperity- but that is not the focus of this post. Instead I will show you how this supposedly superior ‘work ethic’ is a rather bizarre and pathological ideology. Let us begin by asking a simple question-

What do most people actually get out of diligent hard work?

Remember that I am not asking you what you are supposed to get out of it or what you should get out of it- theory and empty promises are not the same as real life outcomes. Religions are supposed to lead to enlightenment, peace and happiness. Eating more whole grains instead of fats is supposed to help people lose weight and become healthier.

So.. let me repeat my question- What do most people actually get out of diligent work? and is it really what they want? You can invoke the writings of any dead white man or talk yourself blue but the unpleasant fact is that diligent hard work by the dupe majority only serves to enrich a few. Did I mention that the dupe majority also assume all of the risks and take the bulk of losses.

Historically, hard work has seldom benefited those who actually did it- even indirectly. Only in the last 60 odd years has there been even a vague connection between diligent hard work and rewards.

Therefore we must conclude that all of those whites who slaved away from whenever till after WW2 were willing slaves. They were stupid enough to justify and celebrate their own exploitation slaving away at something that would not benefit them, their kids, grand-kids… well you get the picture. It is interesting to note that Blacks and Hispanics never had the same childish beliefs about the true nature of the society around them. Even events such as WW1 and WW2 show that most whites were stupid enough to enthusiastically fight and die for causes and institutions which treated them like so much cannon fodder.

But back to the main focus of this post- What does hard work achieve? Why do people work hard or at least pretend to do so? If you think about it, hard work is not (and never was) about doing something useful or beneficial. It is about dull people and willing slaves demonstrating their loyalty to his masters- for a few more scraps from the table. It is this particular disconnectedness of the willingness to work and its purpose that make it a cancerous ideology.

Here is a simple example that will help you understand my point. Let us say I decided to pay a majority of people in a group to torture and kill each others children. Would they do it? In most cultures and societies, they might take the money and maybe pretend to do it, or just forget to do it. Americans, and other assorted west-European morons, are “special” in that they will gladly torture and kill each others kids and then go on to use evidence of their deeds to claim competence and ask for some more money. Most americans, and west-Europeans, lack the ability to actually think through beyond the immediate consequences of their actions. They along with east-Asians are largely incapable to seeing the big picture. I believe that the majority of west-European and east-Asian people lack a theory of mind. Such an aspergy mind is helpful for short-term gains, kinda like cancerous cells demonstrate excellent growth and innovative work arounds the bodies defense mechanisms.

So-called “hard” work that lacks a socially useful component is rather like relentless cellular growth with consideration of its effect on the organism.They are very successful in the short-term, but at the cost of their chances for long-term survival. Social atomization only makes it worse and you end up with a society containing 300 million cancers- if you get my point.

What do you think? Comments?

Why “Farewell to Alms” is Pure Bullshit

May 16, 2012 3 comments

You might have noticed that CONservatives and LIEbertarians constantly refer to certain books as if they were some sort of semi-divine gospel. I would go so far as to say that some books such as Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged‘, Charles Murray’s ‘The Bell Curve and Friedrich Hayek’s ‘The Road to Serfdom‘ are literary masturbatory aids for people with certain world views.

Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World” by Gregory Clark is one such, somewhat recent, addition to that cannon of masturbatory material. The main thesis of this book is that somehow the “super intelligent” and “well-bred” children of the “totally meritocratic” rich had to take menial jobs left vacant by the death of the “undeserving” poor whose kids died because of a Malthusian struggle for the basics of life such as food and shelter. He then makes some noise about the rise of a different type of man.. a homo economics, who was willing to diligently slave away for shit wages and crappy lifestyle for the high-minded purpose of building a civilization because of the superior genes for intelligence inherited from his illustrious noble ancestry. Ya.. it appears pretty ridiculous when you look at it in perspective, doesn’t it?

CONservatives and LIEbertarians loved the book, because it suggested that they might be the descended from “deserving” and “smart” aristocrats than stupid proles. Of course, tracing the ancestry of prominent families would reveal that their founders were always some lucky proles rather than some super-human ‘John Galt’ types- but why spoil a good fantasy. But back to the book itself..

The idea that people with more money and resources might have more children who lived to adulthood is not new. Infact I would argue that it was universal in the pre-contraception era across all organized civilizations. But somehow it did not seem to have any effect in other cultures- from China and Japan to India and pre-colombian Meso-America.

Furthermore, it did not have an effect in European populations before the 17th century.

Think about it.. the conditions in Europe from the beginning of the dark ages (4-5th century AD) to the 17th century AD were pretty dire. While there were periods of good weather and general plenty- there were also large blocks of time when the weather was shitty, starvation was rampant, bloody wars were frequent and diseases killed millions of people. I would argue that the median conditions, social customs and conventions did not change much over 10 centuries- from the 4th to the 14th century AD. The first real changes in Europe occur in the 1400s and 1500s, when a combination of simple, but profound, technological advancements such as the printing press and gunpowder weapons changed the palate of options for the people in those countries. But that was still not enough to jump-start the industrial revolution. So what changed by the 17th and 18th centuries that finally did it? Remember that science, technology and institutions do not develop unless there is a plausible need for them.

What was the ‘need’ that made developing them worthwhile?

Is it a mere coincidence that the late 17th to early 18th century was also the era when the west was finally able to steal gold, land and resources from many other parts of the world? While the Spanish had been stealing gold from south and central America for over a century, their spending patterns and economic system meant that the new gold quickly ended up in the hands of those who built stuff and provided services for them. By the time countries like England and France entered the colonialism game in earnest- all the easy gold was gone. Therefore their colonial enterprises were based on enslaving people to work on stolen land to harvest resources for producing something that could be sold at profit to some other sucker. Alternatively the products could be used to expand their empires to enslave more people for more free labor and resources.

The industrial revolution did not start as an altruistic and noble endeavor to uplift mankind. It was about finding better ways to rob, steal, enslave and murder for profit.

It therefore started in those parts of the world that were in the best position to do so. By the late 17th century, Spain and Portugal were ‘have-beens’ whose socio-economic systems were still mentally stuck in a more primitive and direct form of mercantilism. Other parts of the world such as China, Japan, India were too rooted in their ancient ways and mindsets to change. Countries in North-Western Europe were pretty much the only players in the game and they had the right level of technology at the right time in history to take the lead and run with it. Furthermore they were young enough to not have the cultural sclerosis that had afflicted Asian civilizations, since like forever.

The willingness of north-west Europeans to play nice with their fellow countrymen during the industrial revolution was linked to opportunities to steal, rob, enslave and murder ‘other’ people for a feasible shot at making it. The development of institutions and mores that made the industrial revolution possible and successful was also largely due to the willingness of people to take some shit for a lottery ticket to riches. Given that they lacked other options to improve their lives, it was quite rational. In any case, it did pay off for a moderate percentage of people.

The question that CONservatives and LIEbertarians must ask is- Would the first phase of the industrial revolution have occurred if there were no new lands to plunder, people to enslave and resources to extract? While the later phases of the industrial revolution have benefited humanity as a whole, it most certainly did not start out that way.

What do you think? Comments?

Highly Organized Civilizations Lack a Purpose for Continued Existence

May 15, 2012 9 comments

While I do have a generally nihilistic view about life, some things stick out as more worthless than others. Highly organized civilizations are something that I have always found to be particularly undeserving of continued existence. Many of you might find that idea odd because you have been brainwashed into believing that highly organized civilizations are the greatest accomplishment of mankind.

But are they? and by what criteria?

If we consider everything that we now know about the condition of the average person throughout human history and prehistory- one thing becomes rather clear. With the possible exception of the post-WW2 era, civilization has been an unmitigated disaster as far as the median person is concerned. I would go so far as to say that with the probable exception of a tiny percentage of people, civilization fucked it up for everybody else.

Don’t believe me? Consider the objective facts. If we look at the skeletons of pre-historic humans, especially hunter gatherers, it is quite clear that they had a pretty good life, few infectious diseases and a pretty good diet. Civilized humans did not achieve the same body size, relative freedom from infectious diseases and generally physically undemanding lifestyle till a decade after WW2. Therefore by the most basic criteria of human welfare, civilization has been a grand failure.

But why stop at physical evidence alone? Consider the shitty lifestyle of the majority of humans throughout most of human history. Most people worked from dusk to dawn in physically demanding and repetitive jobs just to scrape by. Do you think that farming and livestock rearing was fun? What about endless constructions of, often useless, fortifications to keep those ‘invaders’ out? Fancy fighting wars for causes that will never benefit you? Do you like worshiping gods and demons who don’t seem to care about you anyway? What about priests, prophets and “saints” who promise a lot but can’t deliver shit. Life for the vast majority of people in all civilizations was about lifelong hard labor that rarely benefited them, sacrificing for people who did not give a shit about them and believing in ideas that did not improve the quality of their life. There was no significant difference in the quality of life of a peasant in Egypt circa 3,000 BC and average guy in mid-19th century London.

Isn’t it odd that civilization could not deliver any worthwhile improvement in lifestyle for the majority of humans until the last 100-odd years? Why not? Doesn’t civilization always advertize itself as concerned with the betterment of humanity and progress? Isn’t there something fundamentally dishonest about a system that repeatedly delivers the opposite of what it promises?

In my opinion, highly organized and long-lived civilizations are the worst offenders in this regard. What did greco-roman civilization really deliver to its unwitting followers? What has Chinese civilization really done for its followers? How has Indian civilization made the life of the average Indian better? Didn’t western civilization only start delivering in the aftermath of WW1 and WW2?

The unpleasant truth is that civilization, as we know it, is incapable of making the life of an average person better. It is, if anything, a hindrance to making the life of such people better as most of what you call civilization is essentially a series of endless zero sum games involving continual strife, conflict, lies and bullshit. Nobody wins in the end, as even the so-called “winners” pay a much higher cost for their lifestyle than they otherwise would have.

Civilization, as we know it, is a disease.

What do you think? Comments?

The Fundamental Problem with ‘IQ’ Based Arguments

May 12, 2012 22 comments

As many of you know, I have absolute contempt for people who use any version of the race, “genetics” or “IQ” argument. While the beliefs of these so-called “HBD-aware” and “race realist” human scum can be trashed in many ways, there is one aspect of their belief system that I find amusing and bizarre at the same time.

They expect the rest of the world to give a fuck about their beliefs.

In my opinion- it is this belief of the “HBD-aware” crowd, more than any other, which makes me wonder if they are retarded. Let me explain..

People, regardless of their intelligence, will only cooperate as long they believe that is profitable to do so. Sure, you can terrorize people for a few years or even a generation to make them work hard, but then things start to unravel. Once an entire generation has grown up under such conditions, even tyranny and force can no longer motivate people to work hard. Of course you can keep on increasing the amount of tyranny- but at some point the cost of doing so reaches a level that makes the whole enterprise unprofitable.

The “HBD-aware” crowd seem to believe that “lesser humans” will gladly bow down to and serve them based on spreadsheets full of numbers from concocted and subjective “tests”. I am surprised that they don’t go on and demand that these “lesser humans” slave for them while singing catchy calypso-themed songs. Did you get the point of my satire? In case you did not, here it is-

The “HBD-aware” crowd are a bunch of morons who dream of returning to a nostalgic world which never existed- other than in folklore, movies and novels.

As I have previously said, all appeals for preferential treatment based on IQ are modern versions of an attested certificate of noble birth. While some of you might believe that feudal or slave based social systems were great places to live in, that was never the case- even if you were the local lord, king or emperor. Ever wonder why the majority of kings, lords and emperors from previous eras died from unnatural causes? Have you ever tried to follow the genealogy of various prominent and rich families from previous eras? A lot of them just disappear from history once they have fallen out of luck. Why?

It comes down to the lack of social stability.

A socio-economic system infested with widespread poverty, widespread injustice and systemic rent-seeking is far more unstable than one in which these maladies are kept under control. Dysfunctional socio-economic systems are almost always characterized by the ruling class claiming privilege because of their ancestry, “education” or some watery tart throwing a sword at them. However their ability to rule is always based on their ability to terrorize people- typically for a generation or less. The small percentage of individuals who ruled longer than that were often far less coercive or just plain lucky.

When “HBD-aware” morons make the case for privileges based on some “test” they are making the same basic argument as someone being fit for the kingship because a ‘moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at them’. It comes down to demanding respect and obedience because they say so, without any apparent benefit to their followers. Moreover, they have little or no ability to project force- unlike the tyrants of yore.

Anybody who is stupid enough to believe that people will willingly slave away for them because they have some certificate proclaiming their ‘high IQ score’ needs to have their head examined.

What do you think? Comments?

People Don’t Accumulate Money Beyond Usability for Rational Reasons

May 11, 2012 20 comments

The ability to fool yourself knows no boundaries of time, culture, race or religion. Sometimes these delusions are not particularly harmful, but more often than not- they are harmful to the believers and others other them. One of the most popular, and destructive, delusion is-

People accumulate money for rational reasons.

Now I am fully aware that many readers will find any suggestion that accumulating money is irrational as itself bizarre. But who is really being bizarre? Let me explain with a few examples.

Imagine a person who just had finished a tasty and perfectly cooked meal. Now imagine that the person also has more food in storage than he or she could possibly eat and the resources to prepare it all. Would you not find it very odd if the person was still obsessed about obtaining more food? What is the rationale behind obtaining so much of something, even as essential as food, that you cannot possibly consume it all?

Now imagine a person who had hundreds to thousands of bottles of all the booze he or she ever wanted. Would it not be odd if that person kept on obsessing about getting more booze, even as they drank very little of what they already had? What could possibly drive a person to spend all of their waking hours obsessing about newer ways to acquire more booze when he did not drink the good stuff around him? Or take a person with unlimited access to sex with hot and willing chicks? Would you not find it odd if that person most of time acquiring more willing partners than actually having sex with them?

Did you see the common thread in my examples? In each case- the hypothetical person exhibits a total disconnect between the urge to acquire more of what he wants and the ability to actually consume it. Most of you would see such a person as nuts and urge him to seek psychiatric help.

But would you do that if the person was obsessively seeking money rather than food, alcohol or sex?

Nope.. most of you would see that as admirable and express your desire to emulate such behavior. The CONservatives and LIEbertarians amongst you might actually build shrines and worship such a person. So what is so different about money that obsession about acquiring it in amounts that cannot possibly improve your life any further is OK? Is money that different from food, alcohol or sex?

Now ask yourselves a few questions. Can any amount of money buy you immortality? Can it buy you everlasting respect? Can it buy you god-like omnipotence? Can it buy you anything useful that an upper-middle class person in a developed country does not already have? While money can certainly buy you a good life, amounts beyond that necessary for a certain level of existence don’t make things any better.

So why do allegedly “smart” and “high-IQ” people obsess over acquiring more of something that cannot make their lives any better?

An analogous process in multi-cellular animals might be helpful to model the behavior of behavior of rich people. An animal with some form of cancer is less fit and will live a far shorter life than a similar animal without that disease. However cancerous cells cannot survive the death of their host and therefore die along with it. So why do cells become cancerous in the first place? Wouldn’t they live longer if they had just stuck to their original program? Don’t the vast majority of cells stick to their original program and not become cancerous?

Cancerous transformation in cells is growth taken to its ultimate extreme. While the ability of cells to multiply is an important component of their overall role in multi-cellular organisms, it is not the only one. The ability of cell to differentiate, maintain differentiation and perform other functions is as important as their ability to multiply.

Growth for its own sake without concern for the other cells that constitute an multi-cellular organism is the hallmark of cancerous transformation.

A cancerous cell does not keep on multiplying and stealing resources from other cells in the organism because it has to. It does so because it can get away with it. That is right, there is no underlying rationale to the behavior of a cancerous cell. It will keep on being cancerous until other cells in the body or surgery, radiation and drugs kill it- or the host dies. The desire to accumulate money beyond what a human being CAN consume is not driven by any rational reasons, though those who do so always try to explain their behavior as rational. If you could ask a cancer cell why it was cancerous, its excuses would sound remarkably similar to those given by humans who accumulate money beyond the point of usability.

and don’t expect cancerous cells or cancerous humans to change their ways.

What do you think? Comments?

Why didn’t the Industrial Revolution start Earlier?

May 5, 2012 12 comments

Have you ever wondered why the industrial and scientific revolution of the last two Centuries not start earlier. I mean.. it does not make much sense. Many civilizations approached the requisite level of technology, organization and size (in some cases more than once) to have started down that path. But in every case they simply stagnated at a level that was just on the doorstep of a true revolution of ideas and technology.

Why? What stopped them from going over that threshold?

Conventional answers to this question invoke bad luck, complacence, climate changes, social structure, race and pretty much everything else under the sun. While there is no denying that external factors and social structures were often major secondary factors, I believe that the primary reason is somewhat different and often overlooked. To understand what I am getting at, you will have to ask yourself a rather odd question.

What motivates most human beings to do anything?

The conventional answer goes something along the lines of satisfying needs and wants, impressing others, profiting from you work etc. But is that really true? Can you explain what we know about human history if you model human behavior as being rational? Remember that logical behavior is not necessarily rational. OK, here is another question. Why did the quality of life for the vast majority of people actually go down after civilization started? And why did it not start going up until we were halfway through the scientific and industrial revolution? If civilization was such a great thing, why did it cause so much deprivation, starvation, diseases, wars and other types of strife?

What did civilization do for bettering the life of the average person? Was a single new plant or animal domesticated after civilization started? Did putting so many people together create a true exchange of ideas or more strife? Do regions with thousands of years of continuous civilization like India, China or Levant have anything to show for it- other than old palaces, temples, some luxury artifacts and some doctored records of the deeds or misdeeds of rulers? Why are humans living in tribes without civilization more rational and humane than people who proudly proclaim their civilization superiority? How many of the so-called primitive people will kill you because of your disbelief in their god, holy men or mythology? Now they can be certainly violent when it comes to defending their own interests, but only because you are trying to steal something or harm them.

Most of these “primitive” people would consider those who fight and suffer for “their” country, religion or a similar abstract notion to be nuts. While they would certainly stand by those in their immediate group or those they knew for years- the idea of putting your own life at risk for a cause that is very unlikely to benefit them would be rightly dismissed as absurd. Now think of how many wars, strife and low-level conflict throughout history has occurred for abstract notions which bring no benefit to the vast majority of those who participate in them. Or consider things like public sanitation, effective medical treatment of diseases, equitable distribution of food etc. Why did all of the above also diminish during the development of civilizations?

Did you notice a pattern? Everything that actually benefited people or made their lives better went to shit during periods of civilization. How come? Isn’t civilization supposed to make things better for all or most of its participants?

Now let us consider another possibility. Maybe civilization is not about making things better for most people. Maybe it is about making things worse for most people. Maybe civilization is about impoverishing, killing, starving, abusing and torturing others. Maybe it is about depriving people of happiness and human decency. Maybe civilization, as we know it, is about a few getting lucky and screwing others just to feel a bit better about their own pathetic lives.

Maybe the industrial and scientific revolution occurred because those who were busy trying to keep others down lost control.

What do you think? Comments?

What the Behavior of Physicians, Academics and Lawyers Says About IQ

April 10, 2012 18 comments

I have noticed that many white and asian morons have a peculiar and obsessive belief about the supposed benefits of ‘high IQ’. I have previously expressed my cynicism about the rather questionable purpose and supposed benefits of civilization, and views on the dubiousness of the ‘high IQ’ argument are well-known. This post takes yet another angle to expose the fallacy of the ‘high IQ is better’ belief.

Let us look at three fairly common professions which are supposedly filled with ‘high IQ’ types. Most of you will agree that people who become physicians, academics and lawyers do actually score pretty high on IQ tests. But what do their professions, activities, beliefs, behaviors and impact on society tell us about IQ?

Let us start with Physicians. Have you ever wondered about what type of person gets into medical school, especially in N. America? The typical person who does so is good at things such as- writing essays full of the “right” lies, doing the “right” volunteer work, cheating in tests to get the “right” grades, blowing the “right” people etc. The vast majority people of people who go on to become physicians are reasonably clever with good memory and superficial, if somewhat geeky, charm.

But how many of them think beyond what they have learnt? How many of them question dogma? How many of them make the same mistakes that their colleagues make- just to fit in? How many of them ‘just do things’ because it makes them more money-regardless of the consequences for their patients? How many use Google for diagnosing illnesses? Here is my question- What part of their behavior justifies the supposed benefits of high IQ?

Moving on to Academia.. It supposedly contains some of the most intelligent and conscientious people. But is that really the case? What type of people are successful in academia, anyway? Contrary to their popular image as objective, poverty loving and rational truth-seekers the vast majority of successful academics are duplicitous and conformist CONartists who spend a lot of time begging from grant agencies, playing political games in committees, screwing over graduate students and post-docs and pretending to be knowledgeable about their supposed areas of expertise.

The reality is that your typical academic, especially under 65 years old, is closer to a dogmatic and dishonest priest than an intellectual free-spirit. They spent most of their supposed intellectual ability on perpetuating petty scams and acting self-righteous. They are, at best, poorly compensated and willing tools of an educational system that uses them as front men for even larger scams. Which part of their behavior is reflective of the supposed advantages of their high IQ? How does a hard-working and pretentious CONartist who makes the same amount of money as a high school teacher a good advertisement for the benefits of possessing a high IQ?

Now let us turn our attention to Lawyers. How many of you believe that having more lawyers would make the world a better place? If not- why not? Let us begin by, once again, asking ourselves the two basic questions- who becomes a successful lawyer and what do successful lawyers do? Based on what I have seen, people who are successful at being admitted into decent law schools are clever and underhanded workaholics who believe that they are the’chosen’ ones.

While lawyers from decent law schools probably make more than either physicians or academics, it is worthwhile to note that they do so by sucking money out the productive economy. Every dollar earned by a lawyer represents one dollar stolen from somebody who does productive work, and their occupation is not useful to society unlike the previous two occupation categories. If anything, they encourage the creation of more laws requiring even more lawyers and thereby reducing the opportunities and money for everybody else.

Having said that- did you notice a series of common threads which seem to run through the three occupation categories listed above?

1. All of the above mentioned occupations are cartels, which use assymetric information to exploit the rest of society.

2. The structure of these cartels and entry into them requires a very high degree of conformity with pre-existing dogma.

3. They do not participate in innovation or change for the better of society, and if anything vehemently resist it.

4. They pretend to care about the welfare of society while bleeding it dry- many of them even believe their own lies.

The bulk of evidence suggests that ‘high IQ’ people are clever and selfish shysters who are supreme conformists, lie a lot, slavishly worship tradition and have no interest in innovation. Their relationships with society, and effect on it, is rather similar to a slow-growing cancer or tumor on the body.

What do you think? Comments?

Popular Culture is a Reflection of Reality, not Vice Versa

April 5, 2012 10 comments

I recently read a few posts on Hawaiian Libertarian’s Blog about his take on a popular sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” and TV in general, especially its tendency to justify and encourage narcissism.

He apparently sees it as an intentional, and somewhat diabolical, manipulation of popular culture by corporate interests to make people unhappy and dissatisfied with the intention of making them buy more crap. While there is some merit to that line of thinking, I believe that the underlying reason is even more basic.

It comes down to two interlinked aspects of contemporary western culture-

1. Women watch more TV than men and buy the majority of consumer crap.

2. It is simply more profitable to pander to those who buy the majority of crap.

Women are the biggest consumers of TV and other passive forms of entertainment (romance novels, self-help books etc). Most men simply cannot watch, let alone enjoy, large quantities of passive entertainment. That is why most forms of passive entertainment, such as TV, movies and popular literature, are heavily slanted towards feminine tastes.

The depiction of TV sitcom characters as backstabbing, superficial, narcissistic, untrustworthy and dysfunctional is therefore not some grand conspiracy aimed at breaking up human relationships. It is however a fairly accurate depiction of how women perceive, and behave with, each other. Furthermore, since most human beings are incapable of perceiving themselves as the “bad guys”, sitcoms often project such behavior on male and subordinate female characters.

Some of you might say- “but women have always been like that, so why are we seeing so much pandering now?”. The answer lies in the somewhat recent ability of women to financially support themselves. Consequently- they don’t have to even fake basic human decency, piety or respectability to obtain a comfortably middle-class existence. Also don’t forget that many woman with jobs spend from two income streams- his and hers.

It is this increase in the relative spending power and legal status of women, in parallel with a diminution of both for most men, that have made it acceptable for TV sitcoms to go in a full “goddess worship” mode.

The depictions and behaviors of sitcom characters are therefore a reflection of the true mindset and desires of most women. While some guys who watch those shows might get brainwashed into accepting such behavior, the majority of younger men have other male-centric avenues for entertainment such as video games, internet porn etc. Furthermore since most younger men nowadays are single or act single, the women in their lives have a significantly reduced influence on their entertainment choices. The same cannot be said of older men who grew up in the pre-internet age.

What do you think? Comments?