Friday, March 31, 2006

The truth is stranger than fiction

What is the biggest threat to globalisation and an increase in social welfare? You and me!
>
(NB: The above conclusion did not require any econometric regressions or cointegration. The magic ingredient is common sense, which, in all its assumed abundance, is not very common).

I have tried to create a picture board that gives hints for why we live in the turbulent times of today. By far the most obvious theme is selfishness on all counts and by all people. An absolute lack of the human will to do anything that is not rooted from self-interests. Ironically, Adam Smith's invisible hand falls apart because social welfare within countries and internationally is not increasing as a result (it is also invalidated by the existence of wikipedia). If anything, the world is reliably producing more disgruntled and begrudging people. Fear is alienating neighbours, let alone countries, greed is distorting markets, etc.
>
The pictures individually reflect:
1. Immigration policy
2. Terror and the fear it generates
3. Protectionism (The picture shows America but old Europe is included)
All pictures are from the economist (http://www.economist.com/)

The old line goes: "Nothing is certain in life but death and taxes". I disagree. Accountants have successfully been avoiding taxes for many years and people seem to be cheating death when they survive situations that they feel should have killed them. Medical advances are also cheating death. My line goes "Nothing is certain in life but shit happening on occasion". However, this is not a covert advertisement by pharmaceutical companies hoping to boost their sales of anti-depression medicines. Therefore, I hasten to add that I recommend "taking shit on the chin and moving on with life", because "the numerous beautiful bridges, buildings and precipices are for admiring, not jumping off".

Have a mentally healthy, welfare increasing weekend!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Work ethic? What work ethic?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

You get what you pay for?

See this interesting paper by Freakonomics (pdf) about how estate agents exploit informational asymmetry to their advantage and at the expense of their clients. I suppose this finding is consistent with the belief that there is a positive correlation between the amount of money we pay for goods and services, and increasing quality.

But, go into google and type in "you get what you pay for" and you'll get an endless number of sites, most selling pricey products. The truth of the matter is, however, that the statement "you get what you pay for", is as valid or as invalid as the statement, "you'll never get what you paid for", because both are dependent on an individual's expectations of the benefits of a certain product or service. Neither is fact!

In so saying, I appreciate that there is a far greater tendency for people to say that you'll get what you paid for than to say the opposite. This is a cashable concept that allows sellers to play with the reservation prices of their consumers, without needing to know what their consumers' absolute price ceilings are. People would rather believe that when they pay for something, it will be quality. For instance, when seeking financial advice, as a result of paying it, customers attach an immediate value to it. They then believe that it is superior to public-domain information and will, as a result, over-appreciate it.

What about paying for mediocre services and goods? I have come across TVs that are supposed to be high spec, but their technological attributes are apparently not noticeable to the naked eye? Then what good is the product? But the shopkeeper replies that my comfort should lie in the knowledge that I am paying for quality and I will get what I pay for. I should have asked him, "what about government officials who don't do their jobs properly?" I have already paid for their services in my taxes.

Granted, when dealing in areas where knowledge is limited, consumers in general would rather risk being conned under the guise of quality advice than listen to people who – they think – don’t value their own advice enough to charge for it. The flip-side to that is that there are many companies out there that will charge so that they can reveal to you that the sky is blue. After all, it is not illegal and you can – after you’ve been charged – dismiss the "advice".

Consider that in believing in always getting what you pay for, you’ll have a bias towards paying more for perceived quality, and when the quality aspect disappoints, you’ll have a bias for believing that it was one-off bad luck, as a form of self comforting. Essentially, as a consumer, you develop a habit of paying over the odds for goods and services, which then concludes that you're actually not getting what you paid for, you're getting less, an outcome that is a complete opposite of the initial intention.

Conclusion: Through consumers at large believing in always getting what they pay for, the opposite becomes true, as unscrupulous arbitrageurs appear to take advantage of this bias, something that is second nature to humans.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

UK budget 2006

“Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.”

- Frédéric Bastiat.

Some good news though, the Chancellor announced a sharp increase in the supply of very long-dated gilts. He said that he would direct the UK Debt Management Office to increase the share of gilts issued with maturities of greater than 15 years from just under a half, to just under two thirds of issuance. IT'S ABOUT TIME.

Finally we can see the UK government taking advantage of available funds from foreign (mostly Asian) savers like the US has been for a while, to raise its money. It's a win-win situation because it means less dependence on the country's already heavily taxed people and businesses.

Validation of the “uber-modern” economists

Martin Wolf of the Financial Times writes today about "why a long-term bet on the stock market may disappoint", an article in which I find my recent post "the uber-modern economist" validated. Mr Wolf is an "uber-modern" economist.

Yesterday, I wrote about a possible over-dependence of old-school economists on fundamentals in a world where fundamentals are being punched left, right and centre with no reply. This is not to suggest that tried and tested economic heuristics should be ignored, but increasingly, I am wondering whether we [economists] are behaving a bit like historians in that we account very well for past events, and can sometimes come across as looking just into the past to tell us what the future holds, instead of looking at the past, today and utilising current knowledge to forecast the future based on our appreciation of the wiener process.
>
Mr Wolf asks the question:

"…If the market has enjoyed a run of exceptional returns, do you conclude that the prospects are for continued good returns, for relatively bad returns, or for either equally?"…And he answers that the future is random.
>
But, Mr Wolf states that in its strictest form, the Efficient Market Hypothesis would suggest that stock markets are random. I don’t wholly agree with the efficient market hypothesis on the basis that arbitrage has existed because investors and fund-managers have been able to take advantage of some less random occurrings in the market. Additionally, it has been proven that through purchasing certain investment vehicles, investors seem to beat the market when it’s moving down, up, or sideways. This would not be possible in a world where the efficient market hypothesis was 100% effective.

The rule of thumb that investing in stock markets is less risky in the long-term than the short-term is nullified by Professor John Campell of Harvard University’s finding that:

"…if market returns were draws from the same random distribution every year, though the probability of losing money falls with the length of the investment, this is offset by the increasing size of possible losses over long periods"…which Mr Wolf and I both agree with.

In his article, Mr Wolf basically looks beyond fundamentals in explaining why equity markets have been so strong. He talks of cheap money, globalisation (something that I mentioned in my article), aggressively expansionary monetary policy, and more. In my last post, I stated that:
"The uber-modern economist accepts that it is rational to be irrational, and with this understanding, can better anticipate consumer and investor behaviour."
Mr Wolf mirrors this by stating:
"It is as if markets are expecting both inflation and deflation. That is not as irrational as it may seem."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The “uber-modern” economist*

The case for adaptive economics in an evolving world.

Like in Information Technology where a short while is long enough for a graduate/professional to become out of touch with the "real" world, financial markets and the world in general have evolved so much that old-school economists can and have been known to be out of touch with the "real" world. And with the new phenomenon of globalisation, coming hot on the heals of, and made possible by, the computer-age and Internet revolution, adaptive economics is now synonymous with adaptive knowledge of I.T, vis-à-vis its relevance in the "real" world today. Because of these above-described advances, and the current global behaviour of consumers and investors, the uber-modern economist thinks outside the box of the home market and he/she looks at the global consumer/investor under one hat.

Joke:
Q: What happened to the fantastic trader?
A: He went to university and got an economics degree

The above joke holds true for old-school economists who, coincidentally, appear similarly endowed with risk aversion and constantly rational expectations. A view of a rational world and subsequent rational expectations made old school economists too practical, such that, when presented with an investor’s scenario of a falling asset price, the old school economist would have held on and taken the losses if he/she believed that in the long-run, the asset in question would exhibit a reversion of some sort; that fundamentals would restore things. But what about the birth of a new equilibrium? This differs from an investor or trader who would close-out the position as a kind of minimax strategy.

There was a time when economists were known to be rigid in their perception of the market and the world, just like there was a time when the world was thought to be flat. Sometimes schools of thought will be polar opposites and still have a large following, such as the proponents of the efficient markets hypothesis (financial economics) on the one hand, and those of behavioural economics (more recent of the two) on the other. An example of an area where traditional economic theory has failed to impress is that of development. Some outmoded principles in development studies are still taught in universities today, but it is the most adaptive economics – that which incorporates context – that is the most useful for countries that don’t fit the framework, i.e.: most poor countries. To quote Frédéric Bastiat,

"...economic truths should be arrived at by observing not only the immediate consequences of an economic decision, but also by examining the long-term consequences. Additionally, one must examine the decision's effect not only on a single group of people, or a single industry, but on all people and all industries in the society as a whole."

The new age economist and adaptive markets hypothesis.
>
What makes the uber-modern economist different? It is his/her appreciation for psychological factors and responses from within a market, taking into account the behavioural biases of consumers or investors, i.e.: the irrationality. The uber-modern economist accepts that it is rational to be irrational, and with this understanding, can better anticipate consumer and investor behaviour. Consumers and investors don’t always want more to less at any given time and it has been proven in many studies, such as this titled: brain battles itself to delay gratification. Increasingly, the consumer and investor psyche has become the new focus of analysis in a world where fundamentals are being blown out of the water, such as in the following scenarios: the UK housing market, the long US consumer boom, the US twin deficits, the conundrum that wasn’t a conundrum a.k.a the inverted US bond yield curve, the recent and sustained US dollar strength, etc.

Chris Dillow of Investors chronicle has suggested that economists often make bad investors because they often fail to see that processes last longer than expected, don’t fully anticipate turnarounds in macroeconomic data, overestimate speeds of adjustments and the market’s discounting ability. To me, the above are characteristics of old-school economists, the kind that still look at the Deutschmark-Sterling cross rate to estimate whether Sterling (£) is overvalued or undervalued against the Euro (€). He suggests that perhaps good investing consists not in being rational but by making the right mistakes. I add to this that if all investors behaved in a rational way, risk preferences would not matter and the market would be extremely predictable and boring. It is the uber-modern economist who champions this new understanding of irrational rationality and spearheads this new chapter of economics.
>
PS: It is encouraging to see that National Statistics have included items such as ipods into the basket of goods used to measure CPI inflation.

Reference: Economic schools of thought
>
* "uber-modern" economists can be young or old in age. It is the mind-frame that qualifies an "uber-modern" economist.

Friday, March 17, 2006

In the name of integration

Those that thought up the concept of active immigrant integration thought they'd had a moment of genius. Let's look at the intelligence behind it.
>
What governments do to "integrate" immigrant communities
>
The UK version: You take a Britishness test that most British people (citizens and residents) would fail appallingly because of ambiguity and lack of relevance (to your daily life and ability to contribute to the country from a social and economic standpoint). I had a quick glance at the "standard" of questions and found a good (bad) example:
>
Q: "In the UK, how often do parents give their children pocket money:
a) Never
b) When they're good
c) Once a week"
>
This is a question in which all the answers are correct and wrong. But just in case you'll be taking the test soon, apparently the correct answer is (b). I am thoroughly flabbergasted. Surely the perceived correct answer to the above question depends on an individual's personal context. For example:
>
a) you're a broke parent
b) you're a rich parent, or
c) you're a tight-fisted parent

An example test can be found on the BBC website: "would you get a British passport?".

The US version: Profiling galore. Leave behind a retina scan, DNA sample, stool sample, piss sample, fingerprint, footprint, toeprint, probably even a print of you buttock cheeks, blood sample, probably even a sperm and ovum sample so that if any of your offspring turn out to be criminals, they'll know which immigrant spawned them (other than checking the respective criminal's birth certificate).
>
The Dutch version: Show a movie of naked women and homosexuality to potential Muslim immigrants, to make sure they understand the Netherlands is about tolerance.
>
More accounts of genius coming soon...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Racial differences in intelligence - the commentary that followed

So the discourse unfolded over at Stumbling and mumbling as follows:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Curious, your post merely proves that if someone is looking to be offended, they will be offended.
Actually to me the author seems to be underlining the point that the problem with the performance of black children in our schools is likely not because of inherent differences but because of cultural and/or institutional barriers, such as those you point out.
Posted by: Aceris March 13, 2006 at 12:17 PM
>
I do find your [Chris Dillow's] 'unworthy thought' a bit conspiratorial. The most obvious reason there is no research showing an intelligence diffence is that there is no intelligence difference. The main reason normally to be suspicous that you aren't getting the whole picture is when the conclusions are clearly at odds with what 'common sense' would tell you. In this case as they are in line with 'common sense' it seems odd to wonder whether they are only partial.
Posted by: Matthew March 13, 2006 at 02:17 PM
>
Ditto to Matthew. If a study showed genetic differences, it would be filed under "interesting but probably an outlier, more research needed". Think of the studies that appeared to show that homeopathy worked; they haven't been discredited, just diluted to insignificance by further studies which didn't show it working.
Posted by: Phil March 13, 2006 at 02:42 PM
>
To Aceris:
I have come across your comment "if someone is looking to be offended, they will be offended" many times within the context of people being unable to comprehend the experiences of others and as a consequence, the interpretation of their actions by other people.
>
Your comment would hold true were it, for example, just one case and one experience. However, many have found that in situations where offence has escalated to verbal and, subsequently, legal action, the accused more often than not states "if someone is looking to be offended, they will be offended." It's a get-out-of-jail-free card that is often used and understandably has the sympathy of others of the same ilk.

I have not misunderstood the article, on the contrary. I, like Mathew (comments above) find the 'unworthy thought' a bit conspiratorial. I agree with Mathew that "The most obvious reason there is no research showing an intelligence difference is that there is no intelligence difference."
My comments address the following question and its premise: "This only raises the question. If there are no innate differences in mental abilities between blacks and whites, why do black boys do so badly at school, in both the US and UK? Are black boys held back by teacher racism or by "black culture" or what?"

WHY DOES THIS SORT OF RESEARCH ALWAYS AROUSE PEOPLE'S ANGER? BECAUSE THE PREMISE OF THE ARGUMENT IS NOT SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE OR FOR ANY OTHER PURPORTED REASON OTHER THAN TO ASSERT ONE RACE OVER ANOTHER. There have been papers published at PhD level in American universities that argue that Blacks are superior. This too is unacceptable!!!

At any given time and place, any time in the past and in the future, this sort of useless, self-fulfilling, prejudicial research will destroy rather than build on society, science, etc, regardless of whatever race the researchers are from.
I hope you get my point.
Posted by: Curious March 13, 2006 at 02:58 PM

'curious', given that Chris D has hypothesised that your explanation (teacher racism) fits the data, why fly off the handle? Part of me is morbidly curious about how you'd react to someone who actually _disagreed_ with you...
Posted by: Chris Williams March 13, 2006 at 03:14 PM

"why do black boys do so badly at school, in both the US and UK?"
Two words: welfare culture.
Posted by: John Hustings March 13, 2006 at 03:24 PM

To Chris Williams:
You wrote: "Part of me is morbidly curious about how you'd react to someone who actually _disagreed_ with you..."
>
I quite love a good debate/discussion. I don't believe in dogma. People can agree or disagree, like you can choose to disagree.
>
I responded to this question: "If there are no innate differences in mental abilities between blacks and whites, why do black boys do so badly at school, in both the US and UK? Are black boys held back by teacher racism or by "black culture" or what?"
>
My view is that the DIRECTION of the question suggests that the "proposer" believes in White intellectual supremacy over blacks, otherwise why ask "why do blacks do worse if it is not because they are intellectually inferior?"...or as Chris put it "If there are no innate differences in mental abilities between blacks and whites, why do black boys do so badly at school", which is the same thing.
>
The premise of this question is extremely racist. And as I said in my comments, maybe you HAVE to be a minority to see it.
Posted by: Curious March 13, 2006 at 03:33 PM
>
I'd like for John Hustings to please clarify his answer.
Posted by: Curious March 13, 2006 at 03:34 PM
>
And by the way, I read Chris' blog and have a link to him from mine. I am thoroughly into plain-good intellectual banter. However, I uncomfortable with this latest post.
Posted by: Curious March 13, 2006 at 03:37 PM
>
This may be of some interest:
http://anjool.co.uk/dissertation.pdf
I am saying no more, this issue is *such* a can of worms!
Posted by: The Moai March 13, 2006 at 03:41 PM
>
Curious,
A premise is "a statement presumed true within the context of a discourse". The only premise I can see in this post is that that black kids fare worse at school that white kids. Your own initial comment give anecdotal evidence of that.
>
You must be offended by something else. You seem to think that the way the question is phrased (its "direction") somehow favours the explanation that there is an innate difference in mental ablity. Is that it? If so, well, I think you're mistaken.
Posted by: Luis Enrique March 13, 2006 at 03:58 PM
>
It's amazing how a small grammatical tweak can make such difference. Curious takes exception to the phrase: "If there are no innate differences in mental abilities between blacks and whites, why do black boys do so badly at school?"What I could have said was: "Given that there are no innate differences in mental abilities between blacks and whites, why do black boys do so badly at school?" Until now, I wasn't aware that the difference between "given that" and "if" was great enough to make the difference between being a racist and a non-racist. Curious, I'm sorry if I gave needless offence. Blame my weak grasp of the English language.
Posted by: Chris (author of stumbling and mumbling) March 13, 2006 at 04:04 PM
>
To Chris:
I read a lot of your stuff on markets (page 42 of the Investor's Chronicle) and other stuff that you write here. The bottom line is that you don't come across as gramatically ineffective nor do you come across as offensive. As regards being racist or otherwise, the question posed comes across conspiratorial and - to me - suggests a predisposition that I obviously cannot prove exists but I cited as infered.Had you worded it as "Given that there are no innate differences..." I would still have offered my comments but there would be nothing relating to the premise of the question.

To Luis Enrique:Thanks for the English lesson on semantics. However, I will go a step further and say that the PREMISE" of a study into racial divides in intelligence is racist, IRRESPECTIVE of which race is undertaking it. Hence my comments "There have been papers published at PhD level in American universities that argue that Blacks are superior. This too is unacceptable!!!"
Posted by: Curious March 13, 2006 at 04:38 PM
>
Hey, think nothing of it (although I see you have work to do - a study is not a premise). But anyway, you find very act of investigating possible differences between the races offensive. OK then.
Posted by: Luis Enrique March 13, 2006 at 04:50 PM
>
To Luis Enrique:
You must surely be having a joke at my expense (which I don't mind). You wrote: "(although I see you have work to do - a study is not a premise)."

Even with your provided definition, I mean premise, not something else. I mean the idea that forms the basis for the research, an idea that is deemed reasonable by the researchers and faculty, i.e.: as a line of argument, hence the researchers probe into it to investigate. I mean premise.

You wrote: "you find very act of investigating possible differences between the races offensive."
If, as humans, we don't investigate unknowns then we won't have any advances. This is so in economics, pure science, etc. So I disagree with your statement because it lacks the context of this specific research that we are talking about, i.e.: "Testing for Racial Differences in the Mental Ability of Young Children".

The outcome of such research will invariably be:
1. Who’s better at sports?
2. Who’s smarter?
3. Etc,
4. Etc, etc.
I disagree with this kind of research in as much as I disagree with organisations or countries investigating the possible uses of chemistry for chemical warfare.
Posted by: Curious March 13, 2006 at 05:59 PM
>
"I'd like for John Hustings to please clarify his answer."
Seems pretty self-explanatory to me. Black people are too heavily reliant on welfare of all kinds. Welfare has hugely damaging effects on the family unit, educational attainment, behaviour, self-respect, and career aspiration. When you have a group of people continually demanding something for nothing (and getting it) there is no impetus to go on and achieve something for themselves.
Posted by: John Hustings March 13, 2006 at 07:24 PM
>
Okay... black boys generally perform worse at school than other ethnic groups, and according to this study there's nothing to really indicate that this is genetic, so therefore the question is what does cause it?

That's what I read into the post. No connotations of racial superiority or inferiority, just a plain question.

In a democratic state, if a particular group performs differently to the rest of society then we need to ask why, and look for ways to change it. Research into sensitive topics is one of the only ways we're really going to do that.
Posted by: Matt March 13, 2006 at 08:59 PM

The problem with such questions are that they're used by people with agendas to push their own prejudices...
As an Asian, I'm not offended by the research or the question, but rather by the intention or the agenda. If the BNP lot were to do the 'research' then it would clearly be suspect. Anyway, I think the problems are more social and cultural than racial. For example, Indian/Chinese boys and girls do better than Pakistani/Bangladeshi boys and girls. Though there is a further split with Bangladeshi boys and girls too - with the girls doing much better.

Class is frequently mentioned as a factor, meaning the richer have a bigger emphasis on education. So is the fact that some groups live in socially deprived areas and therefore don't have enough resources or the inclination to study.

Parents may not be too bothered about their kids doing well at school...
The sociological 'self-fulfilling-prophecy' whereby teachers assume that black students are not going to do well anyway. The list is endless. However, I believe its time we, as ethnic minorities, took charge of this problem, rather than blaming the system. How exactly that translates into action... well I'm still working on it.
Posted by: Sunny March 14, 2006 at 05:10 AM
>
To John Hastings:
Why don't you sign up to the KKK whilst your at it.
Your sweeping and heavily skewed views, which you made very arrogantly warrant no attention or merit at all. Perhaps the BNP would be interested in your views
Posted by: Curious March 14, 2006 at 09:32 AM
>
...And one more thing for Mr Hastings.
Coincidentally, in today's Metro, there's an advertisement for Mayor Ken Livingstone's conference to debate the state of race equality in London (I know this has nothing to do with the research paper above, but your comments have digressed away from the point).

In the advertisement, it states "40% of Londoners are from Black, Asian and minority backgrounds, but many are concentrated in low-grade and menial roles".

I think this is a fantastic opportunity for you to email race.equality@london.gov.uk and tell them that (I quote you) "Black people are too heavily reliant on welfare of all kinds", and "When you have a group of people continually demanding something for nothing (and getting it) there is no impetus to go on and achieve something for themselves."

I also encourage you to show your face an exhibit the same arrogant conviction that you write with. Who knows, you may be seeing the naked emperor that we think is clothed.
Posted by: Curious March 14, 2006 at 11:12 AM
>
Let's look at the question: "If Fred Bloggs is not greedy, how come he's so fat?"
Does this imply that Fred Bloggs is or is not greedy?

Neither and both - it all depends on the context.

The question could be angling at two types of response:
(i) Fred Bloggs is not greedy; he just eats the wrong things(ii) Fred Bloggs is greedy; it's the only thing that can be at the root of his fatness. Curious interpreted Chris's question:
"If there are no innate differences in mental abilities between blacks and whites, why do black boys do so badly at school?" along the lines of (ii) - even though I read it along the lines of (i) - that is, "if we're ruling out hypothesis a, what should we be looking at". So it's not just grammar, it's context, and the context you read it in will reflect your entire lifetime of experiences.

As for researching differences in intelligence between the 'races' - I agree it is wrongheaded but do not find it offensive. Viewing differences between groups as if they had racial causes is so ENDEMIC that I have given up hope that people will stop doing it.

Ask geneticists about the use of race as a biological category and they'll shrug their shoulders and sigh. There is more genetic variation within the so-called races than there is between them.
But as a social category, race clearly exists and affects people's identities, the ways the are treated, how they perform at school etc, jobs, where they tend to live (where they tend to have been born, in effect)...

Fifty years ago, the same sort of debate went on about innate intelligence differences between the classes. What am I saying? Fifteen years ago I had posh students at Oxford telling me that the working classes were obviously genetically less intelligent than the middle to upper classes and why couldn't I see this????
Posted by: Dander March 14, 2006 at 11:28 AM

It's Hustings, not Hastings.
And my point had nothing to do with "race". My point applies equally well to the "white" working class. Welfare culture has ruined many generations of people.
I don't see what you achieve by dismissing all those who wish to address racial disparities as "racist". You're the one who sounds "racist" to me.
Posted by: John Hustings March 14, 2006 at 10:38 PM

Pardon me Mr Hustings for getting your name wrong.

You conclude:"...And my point had nothing to do with race."
"My point applies equally well to the "white" working class."

But you started:"Black people are too heavily reliant on welfare of all kinds."
"When you have a group of people continually demanding something for nothing (and getting it) there is no impetus to go on and achieve something for themselves."

I think B&Q are having a sale. You clearly need a bigger shovel to keep digging with.

I wonder if you are going to take up my suggestion, i.e: go to the Mayor of London's conference on racial equality in London and voice your opinion "Black people are too heavily reliant on welfare of all kinds."

I think we all need our eyes opening so that we can see what you see. I for one would like to know what gives you the right to make such sweeping comments, if it is not because you are prejudiced - against blacks, or Asians, or the white "lower" class, or whoever. Prejudice, in principle, can be expressed towards different targets on a whim, be it sexism, racism, ageism, etc.
You might want to hurry, the B&Q sale ends soon.
Posted by: Curious March 15, 2006 at 09:57 AM

And another thing Mr Hustings...
You said:"I don't see what you achieve by dismissing all those who wish to address racial disparities as racist."

I say:If you want to do something constructive, let's all try to address why minorities are marginalised when looking for jobs, learning in schools, get harassed by the police, get followed around shops by security guards (regardless of how well presented and well spoken they are), get confused for the cleaner when they are queuing for a coffee in the office, get approached by unassuming white upper and middle-class for drugs for absolutely no apparent reason, AND THE LIST IS ENDLESS...

Let's NOT instead delve twice as much effort in investigating which race is smarter, because, as Dander above put it, "As for researching differences in intelligence between the 'races' - I agree it is wrongheaded".

That's all I have to say about this issue
Posted by: curious March 15, 2006 at 10:08 AM
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, March 13, 2006

Racial differences in intelligence

I have been forced out of a busy work schedule to deal with the outcome of research undertaken by an idle Havard economist and his comrade. Their paper is titled:
>
The abstract starts:
"On tests of intelligence, Blacks systematically score worse than Whites,
whereas Asians frequently outperform Whites."
...So yet another round of research and funding to split society into racial hate, because absolutely nothing positive can come out of such an undertaking.
>
After reading the paper, (full pdf here), Chris Dillow (Investor's Chronicle/Stumbling and mumbling) asks: "...If there are no innate differences in mental abilities between blacks and whites, why do black boys do so badly at school, in both the US and UK? Are black boys held back by teacher racism or by "black culture" or what?"
>
I have offered the following response:
>
I challenge you to pose your above question to an audience of mainly Black and Asian people and I can guarantee that it will cause offence. The fact that I see no expression of such an offence in your blog suggests that your readers are mostly white, which means that you may find a few sympathisers and even those ridiculous enough to try to rationalise your question, maybe even using economics to do it.
>
Well, let me help you out:"If there are no innate differences in mental abilities between blacks and whites, why do black boys do so badly at school, in both the US and UK?"
>
The DIRECTION of this question suggests that you believe in White intellectual supremacy over blacks, otherwise you wouldn't ask why blacks do worse if it is not because they are intellectually inferior? And I see no argument offering other reasons, such as the possibility of a systemic failure of their teachers to see beyond their own prejudice.
>
The premise of this question is extremely racist. In an audience of non-whites, it will not be construed in any other way. Maybe you have to be a minority to see it, but it's a fact. It is people with questions like these in their heads - teaching in schools with a predisposition - that worsen the stereotype and cause it to happen. I know of a young black boy who represented our country abroad in foreign languages and was by far the best performer in his entire borough and probably the next. He went to the best colleges in London only to be categorically told to his face BY HIS TEACHERS that people like him (black, ethnic minority) didn't belong in top universities. Some other teachers told him - ironically as an encouragement - that he would get in because he was black. There was no consideration of the fact that he was probably a genius, NO!! The teachers predicated the outcome of his education upon favours from the "system" because of his race, not because he was obviously and overwhelmingly intelligent and an excellent achiever. This is a perfect example because it presents a scenario of an obviously very gifted child being deliberately mentally degraded by the people that he looks up to, i.e.: his teachers!!!
>
I have many other examples from well achieved Blacks and Asians, people that I know personally, where their careers advisers in school tried to discourage them from pursuing science or maths related degrees for economics, etc, urging them instead to pursue music or NVQs (or whatever they call them these days). What I see is a career adviser who is acting upon their view that the minority child in front of them is incapable, purely based on thier race.
>
Because my examples capture both boys and girls from different schools, in different rankings of the league tables (top to bottom) and from different parts of the country, I am convinced that it is the teachers who are to blame (who are just white individuals in society who believe - actively or passively/denial - that whites are superior as a race and just happen to be teaching).
>
THAT IS THE PROBLEM. SO IS THERE A RACIAL DIFFERENCE IN PERFOMANCE? YES. IS IT DOWN TO INTELLIGENCE? HOW DARE YOU EVEN INFER THIS!!!
>
I'M DISGUSTED BY THE PERSISTENCE OF SOME IN TRYING TO ASSERT - COVERTLY OR OPENLY - A RACIAL PECKING ORDER IN MATTERS SUCH AS INTELLIGENCE. To make it as an ethnic minority, you need an opportunity, someone to give you a chance without the predisposition, the stereotype, the impatience, the intolerance, all that stuff that white kids cannot even begin to relate to.
>
At any given time and place, any time in the past and in the future, this sort of useless, self-fulfilling, prejudicial research will destroy rather than build on society, science, etc, regardless of whichever race the researchers are from.