Chicago Boyz

What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?

  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Archive for February, 2004

    Demography is destiny

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 17th February 2004 (All posts by )

    Comte was right about that. This excellent article, “Power and Population in Asia”, by Nicholas Eberstadt (via Arts & Letters) gives a 40,000 ft. overview and rundown on the major players on the Pacific side.

    Eberstadt discusses the ongoing Russian demographic disaster. “In absolute arithmetic terms, this Russian mortality crisis qualifies as a catastrophe of historic proportions. … Russia’s burden of illness today, however, is not primarily communicable and infectious, but instead overwhelmingly chronic and/or behavioral — the sorts of problems that are seldom susceptible to quick, cheap medical fixes. … At any given age … today’s Russians are more likely to succumb to fatal risk than their parents.” Zaire with permafrost indeed. At this rate, in the next few decades, Russia will exit the scene forever as a major power. A continent-sized power vacuum is opening up in Eurasia. Woo hoo. Stay tuned.

    Eberstadt also discusses Japan’s slide into senility:

    But the most extreme and extraordinary instance of population aging will be witnessed in Japan. By [2050] … almost 30 percent of Japan’s populace will be 65 or older, and almost every ninth Japanese will be 80 or older. This future Japan would have very nearly as many octogenarians, nonagenarians, and centenarians as children under 15 — and would have barely two persons of traditional “working age” (as the 15–64 cohort is often, not unreasonably, construed) for every person of notional “retirement age” (65 and over).

    Maybe the Japanese can keep workers active, operating manufacturing robots from their wheel chairs. And maybe the Japanese will set up training camps in the former North Korea (once the Commie regime disintegrates) to teach the half-starved, illiterate victims of Communism to be “guest workers” who can live in barracks outside of town and be bussed in to change the bed pans. Whatever happens, this all bodes ill for any hope of a raging Japanese economy in the years ahead. An old-folks home is not going to be a cockpit of economic vibrancy. No way. Remember Paul Kennedy’s prediction, that Japan was going to surpass the USA? Duh, no.

    So Russia and Japan are sliding off into the Sunset. OK. Now, what about that 800 lb gorilla?

    China’s population growth has flattened off. So, the short version is “they’re big, they’ll stay big, but they are not getting lot’s bigger.” But Eberstadt downplays what I think is the big news, the incipient disaster in China as a result of their “girl shortage” due to sex-selection abortions:

    It does not seem wild, however, to propose that the emergence and rise of the phenomenon of the “unmarriageable male” may occasion an increase of social tensions in China — and perhaps social turbulence as well. Exactly how China’s future cohorts of young men are to be socialized with no prospect of settled family life and no tradition of honorable bachelorhood is a question that can be asked today, but not answered.

    Sure it can. One way to answer the question is by reference to other countries and other times, as was done in the more alarmist and believable essay “A Surplus of Men, a Deficit of Peace: Security and Sex Ratios in Asia’s Largest States”. Short answer: All Hell is going to break loose in a Confucian society where 15% of the men can never get married. Things could get ugly. Again, stay tuned.

    Eberstadt notes that India faces much the same problem, with many, many baby girls aborted. But India seems to me to be a more resilient society, with a functioning democracy, courts, free press, etc., i.e. its Anglospheric inheritance. So, I think India is a stronger society even if less stable-seeming on the surface, not relying so much on political repression to keep a brittle sort of order, like China. Also, India seems to be embarking on genuine economic liberalization, with the dismantling of the “license Raj” which means it is poised for major growth. And India seems likely to have more balanced growth than China does. (See the much-cited article, Can India Overtake China?, and this.) So, I am hopeful that India will have a strong economy and polity and be better able to withstand the mayhem when the consequences of this not-enough-girls thing start to become apparent. Fingers crossed.

    Another thing. In a society with a shortage of women, the big losers are likely to be the women themselves. When they are in short supply, that are treated less as autonomous beings and more as scarce and valuable chattels. (Rodney Stark discusses the status of females in Roman society in The Rise of Christianity — the Romans practiced female infanticide and had a chronic deficit of adult women.) The struggle for women’s’ rights in the countries where they are 45% of the population will be dramatic indeed in the years ahead.

    To a Jacksonian like me, the bottom-line best news from Eberstadt is this:

    [T]he United States is [projected] to grow from 285 million in 2000 to 358 million in 2025. In absolute terms, this would be by far the greatest increase projected for any industrialized society; in relative terms, this projected 26 percent increment would almost exactly match the proportional growth of the Asia/Eurasia region as a whole. Under these trajectories, the United States would remain the world’s third most populous country in 2025, and by the early 2020s, the U.S. population growth rate — a projected 0.7 percent per year — would in this scenario actually be higher than that of Indonesia, Thailand, or virtually any country in East Asia, China included.

    This is further support for the article in the Economist last year entitled “Half a billion Americans?” which reported the “shocking” news from America’s decennial census of a far higher fertility rate than expected. That plus continuing to be the world’s immigration magnet means that America is going to have a far younger, more dynamic work force than Europe over the coming decades. (I must quote Gary Brecher’s current War Nerd column: “How do you Europeans live with yourselves? You used to BE somebody. Now look at you. Can’t breed, can’t fight, won’t stand up for yourselves…makes me sick.” Yes. (BTW, read it; it’s good as usual; it’s about Libya.))

    Our destiny appears to be more Americans to work, think, create, innovate, invent, invest, build, trade, buy, sell … and, when necessary, to visit swift and crushing devastation on those who would do us harm. Good. Good. Sounds good. (Getting everybody “assimilated” remains an issue — but we’ll deal with that … .)

    All in all, I like the demographic cards we are holding.

    God bless America, the young, dynamic world-nation of the 21st Century.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

    Posted by In-Cog-Nito on 17th February 2004 (All posts by )

    I found it on Ebay!

    (Thanks to Scott for bringing it to our attention)

    Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »


    Posted by ken on 16th February 2004 (All posts by )

    This is Ken from AlienLandscape I’ve just landed here at ChicagoBoyz, where I’ll be doing some of my blogging from now on. I’ll keep posting over there as well, and maybe even put in something besides text while I’m at it.

    I’m in the IT business, with a Computer Science degree, so I’ve benefitted as a consumer from international trade (not to mention automation) pushing prices down and quality up for my entire life; a little competition from India in my own industry is just par for the course. The best thing government can do for me is (a) stop jacking up the cost of housing, medicine, and education, (b) drop barriers to entry to other fields, and (c) open up immigration and entice their best talent to keep coming here (mainly by offering the blessings of Liberty in as many ways as we can); as long as we’re competing against them anyway, we might as well compete against them while they’re bearing an American cost of living.

    (Much) more to come…

    Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 16th February 2004 (All posts by )

    “Life in an advanced technological society such as ours exposes the individual to a barrage of excessive stimulation, often of stressor intensity, and to assault after assault of stressor situations. Circumstances usually preclude simple animal flight.” — Hans Selye

    Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

    The Boys From Ulan Bator

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 14th February 2004 (All posts by )

    For Valentine’s Day, surely I can do no better than to direct our attention to Genes of history’s greatest lover found?, which, as a bonus, points the Chicago Boyz to a new weapon in our arsenal for total planetary domination:

    “The really interesting find, however, would be Genghis Khan’s DNA,” [Gregory M.] Cochran[, a physicist turned evolutionary theorist,] continued. He suggested that among Inner Mongolians and the Hazaras, on whom Genghis Khan left such a genetic imprint that his Y-chromosome is found in at least a quarter of the men, there must have been a lot of inbreeding among his descendants. Yet, judging from their Darwinian success at surviving and reproducing in large numbers, that might imply that Genghis Khan had very few bad recessive genes of the kind that often damage the health of the offspring of close relations.
    “Between that and the fact that he conquered most of the world, it’s fair to wonder if he was a little genetically unusual,” mused Cochran. “Of course, if you found his corpse and could extract his DNA, eventually, at some point in the future, you’d be able to clone ‘the Perfect Warrior.’ Do you think the Department of Defense would want an army of Genghis Khans?”

    In fact, the U of C’s John Woods may have already found the tomb. Our genetically-engineered caste of Temujin-class warriors will CONQUER THE WORLD! BWAHAHAHAHA!

    Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

    Helpful hint

    Posted by In-Cog-Nito on 14th February 2004 (All posts by )

    When registering to vote, do not put your email address.

    I got spammed today by some podunk political campaign for their candidate. At the fine print was this:

    “A message from This email is being sent to you because you voluntarily listed your email address on your voter registration form, which is public information for political campaigns, journalistic or educational research.”


    Update: Another lesson to never make your email publicly available anywhere. It’s ridiculous how spammers are able to get at us – perfect market theory must be. Makes me want to go out and vote for his opponent just to cancel out one of the votes that he gets.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

    Media Bias

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 13th February 2004 (All posts by )

    You could spend hours over on reading about the canons of classical rhetoric and structural biases in the media.
    Or you could just graze on over to Something Awful and see how today’s media might have covered famous events in history. I think the SA “goons” have a pretty good intuitive grasp of the “master narrative” concept, in particular …

    Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

    “Top 10 Reasons to Not Shop Online”

    Posted by Jonathan on 12th February 2004 (All posts by )

    This is worth reading.

    (via BusinessPundit and Dana VanDen Heuvel )

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “Top 10 Reasons to Not Shop Online”

    Appalling Elitist Arrogance

    Posted by Jonathan on 11th February 2004 (All posts by )

    Michelle Malkin nails NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg for his refusal to acknowledge the right of individuals to possess weapons for self-protection. Bloomberg’s behavior on this issue, like that of Richard Daley and numerous other big-city pols, is unfortunately nothing new. What makes it appalling is its rank, inhumane hypocrisy. Bloomberg is a wealthy man who can afford to live in the safest of places and hire bodyguards. And now that he’s a prominent public official, he gets full-time police protection for which the taxpayers pay the bill. But for ordinary NYC residents who live and work in relatively dangerous areas (dangerous in part because the City doesn’t police them as assiduously as it does the Mayor’s neighborhood), Bloomberg’s message is: You’re on your own, but if you try to defend yourself against vicious killers we’ll throw the book at you.

    Yeah, it’s the greatest city and it has the opera and the library and all that. But in this fundamental way it treats its residents like serfs. I don’t know why they put up with it.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 26 Comments »

    The Euro’s up my ass. But it’s been there before, so it fits.

    Posted by Jonathan on 11th February 2004 (All posts by )

    (I first heard a version of this expression a long time ago from another trader. It comes in handy from time to time.)

    Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

    Kerry vs. Bush: Why does Vietnam matter more than 9/11?

    Posted by Jonathan on 10th February 2004 (All posts by )

    The likely Democratic candidate FOUGHT in a war 35 years ago. He cites his military service to support his claim of fitness to be Commander in Chief. Meanwhile the Republican incumbent and his staff have successfully RUN two wars during his term. In light of these facts, can someone explain to me why Bush’s old National Guard record is a more important credential of military competence than is his record since Sept. 11, 2001?

    UPDATE: The question may now be moot. Jim Miller explains why.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

    Posted by In-Cog-Nito on 9th February 2004 (All posts by )


    Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »


    Posted by In-Cog-Nito on 9th February 2004 (All posts by )

    Good article by Larry Kudlow on Reaganomics.

    Hard to believe, but taxes were that high just 25 years ago:

    “When Reagan moved to implement his tax-cutting policies in 1981, he was severely criticized for favoring the rich and decimating U.S. financial solvency. Democratic candidates on the campaign trail are echoing those very same criticisms today. But Reagan was unmoved by partisan attacks 20 years ago. He first lowered top marginal personal tax rates to 50 percent from 70 percent, making the rate reduction fully effective in 1983. He next lowered corporate tax rates to 34 percent from 48 percent. Then, in 1986, in a second tranche of tax reform, the Gipper reduced the personal rate for individual incomes all the way to 28 percent.”

    Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments »

    Wastin’ money

    Posted by In-Cog-Nito on 8th February 2004 (All posts by )

    Joe Trippi was Howard Dean’s campaign manager until he got fired. Drudgereport made it a point to say that the Dean campaign blew $7.2 million alone with Trippi’s firm. Most of it ($6.7m) was to buy airtime. Little solace I’m sure to the ultra-leftists who sent in money via the web. In essence, they bought air. It’s nice to see it affect their pocketbooks. Funny how top liberals rail against fat cats, but in fact are fat cats themselves.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

    Political Competition, Libertarians and Democrats

    Posted by Jonathan on 7th February 2004 (All posts by )

    (In response to my post below about election probabilities, Jay left some thoughtful comments about political competition. I was going to leave some comments of my own in response, but things got out of hand and I decided to turn my comments into the post which you are now reading.)

    I am libertarian in most respects but have always thought that the Libertarian Party had an institutional screw loose on foreign and defense issues. For some unfathomable reason the admirable concept of “it’s wrong to initiate force” has been mistranslated into “we must not defend ourselves as a nation until enemy parachutists are landing on the White House lawn” (or whatever the post-9/11 equivalent of this notion is).
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »

    Misframing the Electoral Odds

    Posted by Jonathan on 6th February 2004 (All posts by )

    I agree with Bruce Bartlett about the election: Bush is likely to be reelected, and by a large margin, as long as the economy remains strong. I add the caveat that the odds could change if Bush makes a major blunder on the war and the Democrats present a serious alternative to his war policies, but this combination of events seems unlikely.

    Speculations about which Democratic candidate is best on defense miss the bigger point, which is that none of the electorally competitive Democrats is good on defense. The press has to pretend that they are, because otherwise the race is over and there’s nothing to write about, but the rest of us can call a spade a spade.

    (I agree that Bush is vulnerable in many areas — Saudi Arabia, not restraining government spending, not dealing seriously with intelligence failures, etc. But Clinton had at least as many political weaknesses in 1996. As long as economic growth continues to expand, a mediocre Democratic candidate is no more likely to defeat the incumbent now than a mediocre Republican candidate was then.)

    Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

    A New Politics?

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 6th February 2004 (All posts by )

    Via InstaPundit, a typically excellent Fred Turner piece (2,800 words; reading time 7-14 minutes) that views American politics through, as it were, a polarizing filter rotated by 90° relative to the usual liberal/conservative one.
    While this model is familiar to libertarians, it is not without its difficulties:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

    New SETI Technique

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 4th February 2004 (All posts by )

    Covington suggests (if that link doesn’t work, page down to Friday, January 30) that we look for alien intelligences by attempting to detect signatures of exotic experiments in physics. Given the problematic course of development of extraterrestrial civilizations, this is at least as good an idea as the more conventional approach. I hereby dub it the Covington Technique.
    This reminds me of a proposal …
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »


    Posted by Jonathan on 4th February 2004 (All posts by )

    Posted in Photos | 9 Comments »

    Posted by In-Cog-Nito on 4th February 2004 (All posts by )

    God Bless America.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

    Can They Triangulate on Defense?

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 2nd February 2004 (All posts by )

    Walter Russell Mead’s two recent pieces (in the Wall Street Journal and in the LA Times) argue that the Democrat’s weakness on defense are likely to cost them the next election. Mead suggests in both articles that the Democrats can win by running to the right of Bush on the war. Kennedy, after all, ran on the “missile” gap and outflanked Nixon on the right. Mead notes that historically, the Democrats have been the “war party” — Wilson, FDR, Truman, Johnson all led us into major overseas commitments. But that really is ancient history. Since 1972, with McGovern, the Donks have been peaceniks. Mead correctly points out that Democrat voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have signalled that opposition to the war is not the issue they care about most. This, he suggests, opens the way to a more hawkish stance for a Democrat candidate. He notes, astutely, that the Clintons are already taking this stance.

    Some proposals he offers:

    For example, Democrats in Congress could introduce a bill to make it harder for immigrants from countries that condone terror to enter the United States. Or one that would make it easier for the families of terror victims to sue, say, European and Middle Eastern banks and other companies that have done business with terrorist organizations. They could announce a strategy for the war on terror that is more comprehensive than anything the Bush administration has offered — and they could attack the administration for lacking a strategy for victory.

    Mead omits one that I think could be a winner — a vocal public attack on Saudi Arabia as oppressive, misogynistic, terror-supporting, undemocratic, Islamic fundamentalist, anti-semitic, and the homeland of the 9/11 hijackers. Attacking Bush’s handling of Saudi Arabia could be very popular.

    Still, while Mead would like the Democrat party to move back toward the public mainstream on foreign policy, I don’t see it happening until after the primaries are over, and by then it will probably be too late to convince moderate voters in the general election that they are reliable on defense. Still, this is the area where the Democrats are weakest, and you can count on them making some efforts, even bold ones, to catch up with Bush in this area. Nominating General Clark probably won’t do it, since he has come off as a nutcase.

    But there is another bold step the Democrats could take to hammer Bush on his foreign policy — nominate Anthony Zinni for VP.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 49 Comments »

    The Economics of Science

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 2nd February 2004 (All posts by )

    — deserve a blog all their own; a paid one, which is why I won’t be doing it unless somebody offers me an outrageous rate, like 40¢/word. So all I’m putting in this post is tidbits:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »