People who are unable to find a romantic partner:
- Tell themselves that the quality of the available set of potential partners is so low that it’s not really worth searching for one.
- Tell themselves that the above statement has no bearing on their own potential partnership quality.
- Tell themselves that a lot of ‘lower quality’ males/females are in relationships, so the decision to stay alone/single is their own.
- Tell themselves that potential partners have unrealistic standards, so the fact that they remain single is mostly other people’s fault.
- Tell themselves that life without a partner is simpler and easier – that a relationship is too much work.
- Focus on the downsides of relationships.
- Tell themselves that they’re not missing out on anything much and that the benefits of being in a relationship are exaggerated.
- Tell themselves that they’d not be happier if they were in a relationship.
- Tell themselves that they’d be much happier if they were in a relationship.
- Feel socially rejected and isolated, but attempt to compensate by seeking validation elsewhere (friends, career, hobbies, …).
People who’ve already found a romantic partner:
- Tell themselves that they’ve found the most awesome partner in the whole world (until the temporary insanity wears off)
- Tell themselves that they’re higher status than singles because they have a partner.
- Focus on the upsides of relationships.
- Tell themselves that the work a relationship requires is more than worth it.
- Tell themselves that they’d be very lonely if they didn’t have a partner.
- Tell themselves that they’d be very unhappy if they didn’t have a partner.
- Tell themselves that they’d be better off without such an annoying partner.
- Tell themselves that the downsides of being in a relationship are exaggerated.
- Feel socially validated.
- Feel socially isolated because interactions with the partner take time away from other types of social interaction.
I try to keep reminding myself that the resulting narratives are just that – narratives. They’re stories about the world, nothing more. Stories humans use to justify decisions we make, decisions we’ve already made, or perhaps decisions we’ve decided to make. There is no ‘right’ story, no ‘correct’ story which is somehow ‘objectively’ truer than the other. People without partners find their choice harder to justify because for hundreds of millions of years nature has given preferential treatment to the guys who made the other choice. Perhaps they’re less happy than people in relationships and so one might argue that the ‘looking for a partner-strategy’ will on average make the individuals better off. This however ignores group heterogeneity, search costs, and costs related to repeated social rejection as well as costs related to poor matching.
I’m leaning towards the ‘it’s not worth it’-narrative at this point. Which begs the question: Why the hell do I keep going in the first place? The hope that I’d some day in the future have a relatively normal life where you find a partner and get a job and all that stuff was a big part of what kept me from killing myself in the past. Remove the potential relationship and it starts looking real depressing real fast. I know what people without a partner who compensate with hobbies and work look like – I know more than a few of those people. I don’t want that life. But at this point the alternative isn’t very attractive either; settling with an intellectually incompatible partner (see khadijah & razib’s comments here) seems to be the only alternative outcome worth even spending time thinking about.
I know people ‘on both sides’ like to say that ‘if you don’t learn to love yourself you can’t expect to be able to convince others to’ (or something along those lines). For singles this is often coupled with an argument for not searching while ‘improving yourself’ – in reality just taking a break from getting/feeling rejected all the time. I’ve seen a lot of advice here, but not a lot which does not serve a very specific and convenient purpose.
I’ve been told that it gets easier. My friends and family do not have the type of problems I do regarding finding a partner; most have one. So they keep reminding me, whether they’d like to or not, of what I’m missing out on. Cutting links with these people would make things both easier and much harder – I have no plans of doing that, but in 10 years time? Most
singles lonely people I know who’re significantly older than I am seem to mostly interact with other singles; it’d be naive not to assume that pain associated with this stuff might not at least be part of the explanation.
[warning: long rambling rant about politics, I've already regretted writing it, really shouldn't post it, might take it down again soon. Stupid, stupid, stupid waste of time]
You sometimes see people who argue in favor of ie. free markets using two somewhat related if still quite different sentences together. The first sentence is ‘it’s not a zero sum game’. The second sentence is ‘everybody will be better off’. There are some people who, it seems to me, use them as if they mean pretty much the same thing. Here’s the thing: They don’t. Those two sentences don’t mean the same thing at all. Take if from a guy you know to be relatively free market: It’s dishonest to claim that they do and it tends to make you look bad to do that.
Here’s a classic zero sum game:
A’s utility: 10
B’s utility: 10
C’s utility 10
Total utility: 30
A’s utility: 15
B’s utility: 15
C’s utility: 0
Total utility: 30
Going from 1 to 2 makes A and B better off, but it also makes C worse off and total utility does not change.
To contrast, here’s a positive sum game:
A’s utility: 10
B’s utility: 10
C’s utility 10
Total utility: 30
A’s utility: 15
B’s utility: 15
C’s utility: 8
Total utility: 38
Going from 1 to 2 increases total utility by 8 but it still makes C worse off. That doesn’t change the fact that this is not a zero sum game.
People of a free market bent sometimes use the argument that it’s usually possible to set up some sort of transfer system to compensate the loser(s) so that everybody will be better off if a game is a positive sum game, it’s a well known argument and it’s been around for a long time. If you play the positive sum game and if it is somehow possible to compensate the losers, ie. by making A and B each give C 2 ‘utility units’ (money, whatever) each – then by playing the positive sum game, all three will be better off. Sometimes people miss this step about compensating losers. If you don’t compensate the losers in the game, some people, the Cs, will be worse off even if it’s not a zero sum game. It’s by no means certain that A and B will compensate C if they are left with a choice – indeed there are good reasons to assume they will not.
Now assume that the utility units in the examples are money equivalents, that no compensation takes place and that you play the positive sum game above. Now that game looks remarkably like a wealth transfer from the Cs to the As and Bs.
Sometimes the positive sum game will have pay-offs of say 15, 15 and 11 and everybody will be better off – but that’s not always the case, and in that case, even though everybody is better off, maybe they’re still not ‘equally better off’, however one might define that term, making the outcome look unfair to Cs. Sometimes a game that A and B think is a 15, 15, 11 game, say because they evaluate the utility parameters primarily in terms of the monetary gains alone, actually looks like, say, a 15, 15, 8 game to C, because C values equality highly, and the game caused (perceived?) inequality to go up.
Most free market reforms, like all other kinds of reforms, will cause some people to be better off and some people to be worse off. If one of the main goals of a specific reform proposal is less government, as a proponent of such a reform you’ll probably not be all that keen on combining your reform proposals with new (‘temporary’) government programs to compensate the losers. Maybe the distributional effects related to your proposal is part of why you like the proposal in the first place – maybe you think it’s a good thing that there’s less to the Cs because they don’t work, whereas As and Bs do; maybe you want the reform because you want less Cs and more As and Bs.
But to repeat the main thing here: No matter what other things you might do when arguing, at least be honest. Don’t lie, not even by omission. Don’t make claims that are untrue, don’t claim everybody will be better off if they won’t, and make it clear what it takes for everyone to be better off. If not, it’ll just look like wishful thinking, magic that never gets explained and makes you look untrustworthy. Either that or something even worse. Argue why you want less Cs, if that’s what you want, and why you like a specific reform proposal. Ideally, you should work hard not to miss any important steps in the argument process, no matter if you think people know them already or you consider them obvious. If you do, it can easily make you come off as a really unpleasant person. Even to people like me.
According to USA Today, the average age of a House member this term will be 57 — which is a day nursery compared to the Senate, where the average age now stands at 63.
More here, via instapundit.
Incidentally, I recently stumbled upon this article “on theory and practice in fighting new terrorism in Israel”. Very much worth a read.
The day before yesterday Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. In case you’d missed it, yesterday things took a turn from bad to worse.
Follow the finance/economics blogs closely for the next few days…
…youtube er en slem tidsrøver. Men somme tider finder man noget rigtig godt:
En af mine undervisere i folkeskolen anbefalede faktisk lige netop Lipatti’s indspilning af (bl.a.) opus 27b – ikke fordi jeg var ved at lære den, men som mere generel ‘inspiration’ – men jeg fik aldrig anskaffet mig den. Fortryder jeg det en lille smule i dag? Ja. Men kun en lille smule. Jeg fik Maria Joâo Pirez’ fortolkning i stedet, og den er heller ikke at kimse ad.
It suffers from major omitted-variables bias, and the estimate should, needless to say, not be taken too seriously. According to the longevity game, I can expect to live to the age of 83, and well, let’s just say that this is not very likely to happen. I set the possibility that I should live that long to less than 10% (no, I’m not going to explain why or elaborate further. “Omitted variables” shall have to suffice).
Btw. I think it is a little strange that most people seem not to like this question. No, it’s not nice to think about the fact that you have to die someday, but you have to do it sooner or later, and if the goal is to maximize utility over time, then it is hardly irrelevant to figure out how much of it you have left.
Given that I have imported all posts and comments from the old blogger account and have by now given even the very casual readers time to figure out that the blog has moved, I found that it was about time I deleted the old blogger site. The internet is crowded enough as it is, and there’s no reason why two sites should display the same content – one will do. I have left one post linking to this site, but that’s it.
I know that some of the people who have me on their blogroll still links to the blogspot site. If you have not yet changed the link, now would be a good time to do so.
I guess this site gives me a couple more things to add to my birthday wish list – along with some of these. I love being a student – or maybe it’s being single?
Jeg færdiggjorde for nyligt Goldensohn/Gellately’s værk, og synes den fortjener et par ord med på vejen.
Bogen er en samling af interviews med anklagede og vidner fra Nürnbergprocessen foretaget af psykiateren Leon Goldensohn, redigeret af historikeren Robert Gellately og oversat af Lars Rosenkvist. Der er en del kilde- og metodemæssige problemer med bogen, både for så vidt angår den overordnede fremgangsmåde, strukturen samt dokumentation, men det er ikke dem jeg vil bruge tiden på her, og der henvises i stedet til denne gennemgang (et eller andet med linkene skaber problemer lige nu, så jeg har prøvet at fjerne de øvrige og placere linket til denne post nederst. Kritikken er at finde i 3. og 2. nederste spalte i linket), hvor hovedparten af disse problemer er skitseret.
Bogen er fascinerende læsning, og den illustrerer på glimrende vis hvilke mekanismer, de anklagede benyttede sig af for at undslippe skylden og det personlige ansvar. Moralsk stillingtagen og konfrontation, kombineret med løgn, manipulation og efterrationalisering, er gennemgående temaer i de mange interviews. Det bliver hen ad vejen klart, at de fleste af de anklagede selv i løbet af krigen har tumlet med det moralske fundament som lå til grund for deres handlinger, og på et principielt plan har været i tvivl om rigtigheden af deres egne gerninger – men at de har ignoreret den lille stemme inde i deres hoved, som sagde at det her er forkert, og at de stadig forsøger at holde stemmen væk, selvom det bliver sværere og sværere foreholdt konsekvenserne af deres passivitet og eftergivenhed. Hovedparten af Hitlers håndlangere var, bliver man efter at have læst bogen overbevist om, simpelthen svage individer, som gennem en blanding af opportunisme, fatalisme, eftergivenhed og frygt simpelthen ikke formåede at sige fra.
Hvor grænsen mellem løgn og sandhed går når det kommer til de svar, de interviewede leverer, er ikke altid klart ud fra bogen, bl.a. fordi notematerialet er mangelfuldt (
Alt i alt: 3,5 Uncle Sams ud af 5.
Here is I a translation of the last blogpost Kareem wrote before he was arrested. Very much worth a read.
This is very bad news even though I guess I’m not all that surprised.
“In short, the distribution of wealth represents differences in taste. Many people prefer jobs with less income and more of other characteristics.”
Read the whole thing here.
While I tend to agree on this point, I still think there’s more to it. The fact that the pay to the very best in investment banking is an order of magnitude higher than that of those who are quite good, makes me think the average investment banker do not easily substitute the top earner. That is, differences in taste do not tell the whole story.
Arnold Kling elaborates on the part about investment banking.
Bjørnskov har skrevet et længere indlæg om global opvarmning.
Regner med at skrive lidt mere om emnet inden så længe, måske her, måske som kommentar til Bjørnskovs post.
Don Boudreaux on fair trade:
“No one believes that trade should be unfair, or that unfair trade should be tolerated. But those persons who bleat most loudly and most incessant about “fair trade” cannot be allowed to win arguments simply by labeling patterns and instances of trade that they disapprove of as “unfair” and then insisting that all “unfair” trade be condemned and prohibited.”
Read the whole thing here.
Much longer than I thought – you’re not done for before after ~90 seconds.
Hat tip to marginalrevolution.
I, being a monetary rule kind of guy, find the results quite interesting. They present a challenge to the economists who like to think that the existence of downward nominal wage rigidity implies that monetary policy should be more discretionary (due to a greater Phillips curve trade-off).
Elsby’s argument goes like this:
“it has been claimed that DNWR implies the existence of a greater Phillips curve trade-off at low rates of ination (Akerlof, Dickens & Perry, 1996). The intuition underlying these claims is quite compelling. Low ination implies that reductions in real labor costs can only be effected through nominal wage cuts. If firms are prevented from cutting nominal wages, then their only recourse is to layoff workers, leading to increased unemployment. Thus, when ination is low, increased ination can relax the constraint of DNWR on wage-setting for a significant fraction of firms, and thereby reduce unemployment. This result has been of particular interest in recent years due to the adoption of ination targeting by many monetary authorities as it implies that implementing a low ination target could result in a persistent increase in unemployment.“
“In this paper I show how a model of DNWR in which the wage is allocative is nevertheless
consistent with relatively weak unemployment effects of low ination. Based on the evidence cited above, the model assumes that wage rigidity arises due to an aversion to nominal wage cuts on the part of the workers. The key insight in the analysis is that nominal wage increases in this setting are partially irreversible. [...] In this sense we can think of there being an asymmetric adjustment cost to changing nominal wages.
This insight equips us with a fundamental prediction: firms will compress wage increases as well as wage cuts in the presence of DNWR. This occurs through two channels. First, forward-looking firms temper wage increases as a precaution against future costly wage cuts. Raising the wage today increases the likelihood of having to cut the wage, at a cost, in the future. Second, even in the absence of forward-looking behavior, DNWR raises the level of lagged wages in the economy, so firms do not have to raise wages as often or as much to obtain their desired wage level. These properties of the model imply the perhaps surprising prediction that worker resistance to wage cuts should have no effect on aggregate wage growth.
These results have important implications for the previous empirical literature on DNWR. This literature has assumed (implicitly or otherwise) that the existence of DNWR has no effect on the upper tail of the wage change distribution. In particular, this is a key identifying assumption in Card & Hyslop (1997), and leads them to use the observed upper tail of the distribution of wage changes to infer the properties of the lower tail in the absence of DNWR. The above prediction that wage increases will be compressed indicates that this assumption may be misguided. By neglecting the compression of wage increases, previous empirical research may have overstated the increase in aggregate wage growth due to DNWR, and thereby the costs of DNWR to firms.
I seek evidence for these predictions using micro-data for the US and Great Britain. I find
significant evidence that the upper tail of the wage change distribution exhibits a compression of wage increases related to DNWR. In particular, I find that this limits the estimated increase in aggregate real wage growth due to DNWR from around 11.5% to no more than 0.3%. This is because firms can save at least 75% of the increase in wage growth due to restricted wage cuts by reducing nominal wage increases.
Based on this evidence, I conclude that there is no reason to expect the macro effects of DNWR to be as large as previously envisaged, and therefore that it does not provide a strong argument against the adoption of a low ination target.“
I find it strange that nobody has proposed the idea in previous studies that the existence of DNWR rigidity would also affect the upward rigidity. But after reading this, one explanation springs to mind. People who might get such an idea often choose not to enter “the world of academia”.
- 180 grader
- alfred brendel
- Arthur Conan Doyle
- Bent Jensen
- Bill Bryson
- Bill Watterson
- Claude Berri
- current affairs
- Dan Simmons
- David Copperfield
- david lynch
- den kolde krig
- Dinu Lipatti
- Douglas Adams
- economic history
- Edward Grieg
- Eliezer Yudkowsky
- Ezra Levant
- Filippo Pacini
- financial regulation
- Flemming Rose
- foreign aid
- Franz Kafka
- freedom of speech
- Friedrich von Flotow
- Fyodor Dostoevsky
- Game theory
- Garry Kasparov
- George Carlin
- george enescu
- global warming
- Grahame Clark
- harry potter
- health care
- isaac asimov
- Jane Austen
- John Stuart Mill
- Jon Stewart
- Joseph Heller
- karl popper
- Khan Academy
- knowledge sharing
- Leland Yeager
- Marcel Pagnol
- Maria João Pires
- Mark Twain
- Martin Amis
- Martin Paldam
- mikhail gorbatjov
- Mikkel Plum
- Morten Uhrskov Jensen
- Muzio Clementi
- Nikolai Medtner
- North Korea
- nuclear proliferation
- nuclear weapons
- Ole Vagn Christensen
- Oscar Wilde
- Pascal's Wager
- Paul Graham
- people are strange
- public choice
- rambling nonsense
- random stuff
- Richard Dawkins
- Rowan Atkinson
- Saudi Arabia
- science fiction
- Sun Tzu
- Terry Pratchett
- The Art of War
- Thomas Hobbes
- Thomas More
- walter gieseking
- William Easterly