Hot enough for you?

There’s a new study out in Nature, claiming that economic productivity peaks at 13 degrees Centigrade and that global warming will therefore drastically decrease world GDP.

Singapore.  Phoenix. Queensland.  Air-conditioners!

Now that I’ve made my point, just how stupid are these people? Do they actually believe this shit?  I keep seeing papers by economists – in prominent places – that rely heavily on not knowing jack shit about anything on Earth, papers that could only have been written by someone that didn’t know a damn thing about the subject they were addressing, from the influence of genetic diversity on civilization achievement (zilch)  to the massive race-switching that happened after the Civil War (not).  Let me tell you, there’s a difference between ‘economic imperialism’ and old-fashioned real imperialism: people like Clive of India or Raffles bothered to learn something about the territory they were conquering.  They knew enough to run divide et impera  in their sleep: while economists never say peccavi, no matter how badly they screw up.

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47 Responses to Hot enough for you?

  1. JayMan says:

    “I keep seeing papers by economists – in prominent places – that rely heavily on not knowing jack shit about anything on Earth, papers that could only have been written by someone that didn’t know a damn thing about the subject they were addressing”

    Closing the Black-White IQ Gap Debate, Part 2

    • gcochran9 says:

      You mean like not knowing that the Amhara are ~50% white? From a population that was very similar to the Turkish-origin first farmers of Europe, today best represented today by highland Sardinians?

      Impossible. Everyone knows that.

      • pithom says:

        Sardinians are hardly a high-performing European ethnic group. And ~50% white here would really mean ~50% Yemeni. And you know how Yemen is. Test scores there worse than in Ghana.

        • gcochran9 says:

          No, it does not mean like Yemen. It’s what I said. Most of southern Europe has majority Cardial/LBK type ancestry.

        • Matt says:

          In classical ADMIXTURE runs, where there are high K that distinguish reliably between Early European Farmers / related ancestry in extant Europeans and the Bedouin / Yemen groups, the Eurasian ancestry in Somali, Ethiopian, Amhara and Oromo tends to best approximate the cluster in Bedouin / Yemen groups, not EEF. So in that measure pretty much more like Yemen, yes. (For an example, Dienekes Globe13 – http://dodecad.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/globe13-calculator.html, or for another, the data in the ADMIXTURE supplement for Massive migration from the steppe is a source for Indo-European languages in Europe).

          There are some questions around Southern European populations and EEF giving stronger signals of admixture in East Africa, basically f3 statistics and nothing else. It may end up being quite naive to focus so much on these f3 statistics, as it is not always totally clear that the nearest proxy to the real ancestry gives the strongest f3 statistic, especially when taking into account genetic drifts. Some bright spark may hopefully soon explain these conflicting results.

          • gcochran9 says:

            Go with f3. Chance can’t duplicate drift, not on zillions of loci.

          • Matt says:

            IIUC, f3(X; A, B) is the product of the sum of differences in SNP frequencies between X and A, and X and B. It measures how much C violates a simple tree topology between A and B (if they do in fact have a simple split tree topology). Stronger (more negative) statistics for different pairs of A and B should generally indicate that a particular pair of A and B are closer to the real admixing populations (except when they don’t, due to high levels of post admixture genetic drift in one or more of the three populations).

            ADMIXTURE estimates a set of K populations which combine to fit the maximum likelihood for individual sample allele frequencies in a panel of samples. Randomisation, iteration, updating until the fit does not improve for that level of K.

            Chance may not explain stronger f3 statistics with f3(East African;Yoruba, LBK / Sardinian) than f3(East African;Yoruba,Yemen_Jews). I’m not sure it would explain the ADMIXTURE results either, chance would not be putting them consistent with the same cluster membership. There is a clear Arabian cluster which forms in ADMIXTURE which is present in East Africa (to a greater extent than EEF clusters). This is absolutely clear – http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/01/the-genetic-affinities-of-ethiopians/. And IRC the ADMIXTURE results are more consistent with the y-dna and mtdna analyses – no sign of any Early European Farmer haplos, or upstream mutants from them, instead composition more similar to Arabian groups. By no means is relying on the f3 stats “crazy”. There is a difference to be resolved. But that’s enough on this topic.

        • Erik Sieven says:

          the last I checked at least in TIMSS Yemen was above Ghana, but it was close, thats right

    • pyrrhus says:

      Exhibit 3 could be Part 1 from the same idiot..

      • TWS says:

        That guy is stinking up Unz. His stuff is so far from reality that Martian doesn’t really do it. At the very least he’s Plutonian.

  2. AnonymousCoward says:

    “Publish that in Nature” has become a gag.

    • pyrrhus says:

      This particular Nature article would be embarrassing if it had been published in a high school publication…I have taught 4th graders who could blow it out of the water with little effort.

  3. anon says:

    Australia is pretty hot, and we didn’t always have air-conditioning. I don’t know, we still managed to produce a nation as well-off and scientifically advanced as, say, cold Canada.

  4. The paper certainly has a very narrow focus, and the reference list makes not a single mention of any broader economic history. Although the authors do not consider it, they have shown that one crop seems to have done particularly well at 13C. This particular crop has adapted so well to climatic circumstances that it can then emigrate to hot countries and prosper in economic and cultural terms. Those who doubt this hypothesis can test it by exporting Aboriginals to Finland and Bushmen to Canada.

  5. Cattle Guard says:

    What I wonder more about is are they oblivous how easy it is for somebody to quote a bit from this and brand them forever as racists?

    I remember reading somewhere that global warming is going to make us stupider because of something about brain cooling and the brain sizes of various ancestors of modern humans. That’s even worse.

  6. austmann says:

    Greg is back! Let’s use Sweden as a case study. They are so progressive that they already import people(s) in large numbers that are already adapted to the global warming.

  7. MawBTS says:

    John Hawks once said that the primary route of career advancement in anthropology is to have a “theory”, regardless of whether it makes sense or anyone can test it.

    There might be parallels in other fields.

    • j says:

      Universal Insight! It is true! I have been searching for a route career advancement (in my case: better paid consulting jobs) and now I know ! Thanks. You may laugh but I am serious.

  8. Jim says:

    It’s really puzzling as to whether people believe all this PC nonsense such as no significant genetic male/female behavioral diffrences etc. At first it seems like nobody could believe some of this stuff. Then it seems like “My God, they really believe this”.

    • John Harvey says:

      I’m not sure. My own experience is that if pushed, many of these PC people will, in private, grudgingly begin to admit that there may well be gender or race differences in behaviour. But they would rather not think about it voluntarily because their social theorising becomes far easier if they can convince themselves that at some obscure level all human units are identical. This also gives them a warm inner glow of moral virtuousness, so what chance have harsh evolutionary realities got?

      • Jim says:

        Yes, I think you’re right about this. I suspect that for many of them if placed in a situation with completely different social pressures their verbal output would probably change very quickly. It probably doesn’t really make any sense to ask “what do they really believe?”.

  9. dearieme says:

    It’s in Nature, so nothing much to do with science. It’s to do with that rag’s zealotry about Global Warmmongering, that’s all. Sad days, eh?

  10. Jim says:

    The general reputation of economists seems to be steadily sinking.

  11. Abraham Lincoln says:

    They believe it in their very soul. Greg, why don’t you accept the light of The Equality of Man into your heart? Don’t you want to be saved? Eternal punishment in hell seems pretty rough.

  12. Jim says:

    “Credo quia absurdum” should definitely be the motto of some of these PC types.

  13. Yudi says:

    This is what happens when everyone’s just gotta have a clever new theory and hardly anyone spends time reading the papers that are out there, let alone older writings.

    Joe Henrich tells us in his new book that while getting his PhD he took a reading year, in which he did nothing but immerse himself in the literature; he seems to be a decent social scientist. Maybe this should be required in some fields.

    • Erik Sieven says:

      travel around the world and to see things with your own eyes could also help to prevent the worst theories to get invented

  14. Spotted Toad says:

    Temperature has effects; for example, about 30 percent of the variation in assaults, and a smaller but significant percentage of the variation in murders, is driven by temperature, even if you are comparing the same day of the year. There was another paper that argued plausibly enough that when kids didn’t have air conditioning, it drove down math scores but not reading scores for the year. And so on. Obviously, none of these are going to account for the degree of variation the authors credit to temperature.

  15. Rob King says:

    So, you are well again? Glad to hear it

  16. Calls versus balls, an evolutionary trade off https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUPtPIm9PCc

    At last an evolutionary explanation for loudmouth men.

  17. ghazisiz says:

    I’ve studied economics at the graduate level and know many academic economists. And yes, the assertion often heard here is correct: economists completely ignore genetic variation, and look at people as identical automatons responding identically to incentives. Well, it’s an abstract science, so why expect something different?

  18. BB753 says:

    One word: Tasmania. How do they explain that one? Average temperatures are just fine yet it was home to the most backward culture on the planet until Tasman and the British showed up.

  19. Wanderer says:

    It often seems like they are competing to come up with the most stupid theories.

    Is it all just some sort of grand joke?

  20. Unladen Swallow says:

    Their ( Economics ) imperialism works because the other social sciences are even more full of nonsense, even more rigidly ideological, and not possessing nearly as many smart people both relatively and absolutely ( There are actually economists that understand stats ). So basically when your competition is very weak ( sociology, social psychology, cultural anthropology ) and if you are just average, and you are only challenging them, then you look strong and can invade their turf.

    I have overheard more than once while walking past a classroom, psych profs attacking IQ tests, despite the fact they represent probably the seminal achievement of their field of study. However because they show things that hurt the feelings of “progressives” they must be denounced and purged from their profession. Regarding the economists desire to go into other fields, I think that maybe the economics profession has exhausted the low hanging fruit in their own, so now they are chasing things further and further from their bailiwick and it shows with silly papers like this one.

  21. Wanderer says:

    Alzheimers caused by a fungus?

    http://www.economist.com/node/21676754

  22. IC says:

    Just be a devil’s advocate. Throwing in ideas to stimulating thinking.

    Merury planet is both too cold and too hot for economical activity, which lacks perfect intermediate temp for human economy.

    Might be someday we can change that. Never says never.

    Personally I do not know climate change is for real or speculation. I dont know it as fact yet.

  23. MawBTS says:

    If there’s a non-trivial boost of economic productivity just by working in a 13C environment, what would the implications be?

    Wouldn’t corporate America have noticed by now? Wouldn’t 90% of factories, warehouses, and offices be located in two narrow bands in the north and south hemispheres? Wouldn’t rich people have several homes located at various latitudes, so that they can always stay in the magic 13C zone? The world’s full of “lifehackers” who use standing desks and learn DVORAK to type 5% faster. How could they have missed this for so long?

    Seems like a lot of proposed ideas can be answered with “if this worked, we’d be doing it already.”

  24. IC says:

    Personally I prefer room temp for my economical activity. But nature disasters often stimulate economical activities.

  25. Julian O'Dea says:

    On Australia, we did import Kanakas to work in Queensland:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanaka_(Pacific_Island_worker)

    Canberra, where I live, was chosen as the capital for a number of reasons, one being that it is cool by Australian standards and it was felt that the white man worked best in cooler places.

    I do think that (pre-aircon) temperature made a difference to economic performance:

    https://www.academia.edu/13636070/Catholic_Countries_Warm_and_Lazy

    https://www.academia.edu/13636216/Geography_as_Destiny

    The Tasmanian case is an interesting one. Tasmania is certainly the coolest part of Australia. (Although it is not as far south as people sometimes think – it is roughly at the equivalent latitude of Corsica.) A number of features probably led to the relative lack of economic and technical progress among the Tasmanian Aborigines, including average IQ together with isolation, and probably small population density:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aboriginal_Tasmanians#Tasmanian_Aboriginal_tribes

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