Tag Archives: the gap

Labor, capital, climate change, and The Gap

Commenting on a surprisingly utilitarian post by Eddie, a517d0gg writes

It seems to me that a lot of people (you, Soob, TDAXP) are contrarian on climate change for the sake of being contrarian.

I can’t speak for Eddie or Soob, but Adrian’s assessment of my motives is incorrect.

Essentially, the controversy on climate change boils down to one line:

Certain capital-producing activities are altering the nature of certain stocks of capital.

Hmm. A potential problem. What is then needed is a judgement of the productivity benefits of the capital-producing activities (very large, as they compound over time) and a judgement of the alteration of capital-stocks. For instance,

  • sea levels will rise (bad)
  • the cost of the rising sea levels is trivially low (good)
  • rainfall in certain parts of Africa will lessen (bad)
  • rainfall in Africa overall will increase (good)
  • there will be more deaths from heat (bad)
  • there will be many times less deaths from cold (good)


Climate change is thus a “problem” we are near the optimal solution for already. While certain technological adjustments can doubtless be made, there are more pressing matters.

One such more important issue is shrinking the Gap. Essentially, the problemof the Non-Integrating Gap is:

The opportunity cost of not shrinking the Gap is an alteration in the quality of the labor supply.

Another potential problem. IT can be analyzed by examining the opportunity cost of not shrinking the Gap and the nature of the alteration conducted on the labor supply.

A problem worth thinking about

Compared to shrinking the gap, labor loss in the present environment is very high. Apart from the “bottom billion” being almost completely unmonetized, biological plays a role, too. Unhygenic and primitive living conditiosn leads to an increase in exports of diseases from the Gap, while the co-evolution of genes and culture by natural selection continually optimizes the population of the Gap for a world less and less like the one everyone else lives in.

However, shrinking the Gap has its own opportunity costs. Certian things, which we may otherwise not want to spend:

  • billions, if not trillions, on defense (Leviathan and Systems Administration)
  • subversion of the constitutional order (“Ethan Allen” is right on this one)

and more

While climate change is a trivial problem with a trivial solution, the Gap is a complex problem with a complex solution. It’s both more worthy of attention and more interesting to think about.

And that isn’t “contrarian” at all.

Life after Systems Administration

Hughes, J. (2007). South Africa’s rising wave of crime. Christian Science Monitor. August 24, 2007. Available online: http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0824/p09s01-coop.html.

The Christian Science monitor is optimistic, to say the least:

It is now 13 years since South Africa turned its back on the oppressive era of apartheid and, in a remarkably peaceful transition, embraced democracy. Much has been accomplished as blacks and whites sculpt a new, multiracial nation. But the warning in the Sowetan’s boardroom is a reminder that democracy must be nurtured to flourish.

Besides “democracy,” the fall of the Nationalist government brought hope on one front: the Nationalists ran their economies along welfareist-socialist lines, and a shock therapy program by the new rulers (of the African National Congress) might jump-start the economy.

Instead, solid economic growth is accompanied with an increasingly violent society and ethnic cleansing against the most educated demographics within the country. And of coures,

courtesy hdr.undp.org

As can be seen in the chart above, South Africa’s human development index under the Nationalist government was essentially that of a Latin American or Caribbean state. Since the African National Congress has taken over, South Africa’s human development has fallen below Latin America’s, below East Asia’s, below the Arab states’, nearing South Asia’s, and is steadily regressing to the mean for sub-Saharan Africa.

Generally, two factors are behind Gappishness — having your country be one of the worst in the world. One is economic system. The other is the average intelligence of the population that runs the state. The easiest states to bring up are those with bad economic systems but high general intelligence, such as those of East Asia. The hardest countries to bring up are those that suffer from both bad institutions and low general intelligence.

The worst parts of the Gap will not shrink themselves. Pretending they will confines a billion people to misery, terror, and death. Shrinking the Gap requires a long term, institutional commitment by the Core.

The Core’s last attempt has failed everhwere or is failing everywhere in Africa. The European states were too weak and too self-destructive to complete their mission. Hopefully, the next wave of Systems Administration will be luckier.

Why We Must Not Lose the Gap, Again

A Morsel of Goat Meat,” by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, 23 March 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/23/opinion/23kristof.html.

At the beginning of the century, the British Empire was engaged in the largest nations-building campaign in human history.

Two deadly European civil wars nearly bankrupted the Empire and so weakened London that it lost the will to remain. Everywhere it lost to native thugs, settler racist, or (in the case of Zimbabwe) both.

This is the price of that failure.

The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970’s.

“If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we’d do it,” said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. “Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job.”

Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that.

An elderly peasant in another village, Makupila Muzamba, said that hunger today is worse than ever before in his seven decades or so, and said: “I want the white man’s government to come back. … Even if whites were oppressing us, we could get jobs and things were cheap compared to today.”

His wife, Mugombo Mudenda, remembered that as a younger woman she used to eat meat, drink tea, use sugar and buy soap. But now she cannot even afford corn gruel. “I miss the days of white rule,” she said.

These are not normal beliefs. These are not what you would hear in a function post-colonial state, like India, or an integrating post-colonial state, like Vietnam.

A combination of local thugs of all races, misguided western leftists, isolationist western rightists, and insane European policies lead to the abandonment of Africa.

Not that it is America’s turn for world leadership, we cannot fail like the British before us. Shrink the Gap.