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Submitted by Karen Kwiatkowski via LewRockwell.com,
So, after getting up late, groggy, and feeling overworked even before I started, I read this article . Just after, I had to feed a dozen cats and dogs, each dog in a separate room out of respect for their territorialism and aggressive desire to consume more than they should (hmm, where have I seen this before), and in the process, forgot where I put my coffee cup. Retracing steps, I finally find it and sit back down to my 19-inch window on the ugly (and perhaps remote) world of the state, and the endless pinpricks of the independent media on its vast overwhelmingly evil existence. I suspect I share this distractibility and daily estrangement from the actions of our government with most Americans .
We are newly bombing Libya and still messing with the Middle East? I thought that the wars the deep state wanted and started were now limited and constrained! What happened to lack of funds, lack of popular support, public transparency that revealed the stupidity and abject failure of these wars?
Deep state. Something systemic, difficult to detect, hard to remove, hidden. It is a spirit as much as nerves and organ. How do your starve it, excise it, or just make it go away? We want to know. I think this explains the popularity of infotainment about haunted houses, ghosts and alien beings among us. They live and we are curious and scared.
The "Obama Doctrine" a continuation of the previous false government doctrines in my lifetime, is less doctrine than the disease, as David Swanson points out . But in the article he critiques, the neoconservative warmongering global planning freak perspective (truly, we must recognize this view as freakish, sociopathic, death-cultish, control-obsessed, narcissist, take your pick or get a combo, it's all good). Disease, as a way of understanding the deep state action on the body politic, is abnormal. It can and should be cured.
My summary of the long Jeffrey Goldberg piece is basically that Obama has become more fatalistic (did he mean to say fatal?) since he won that Nobel Peace Prize back in 2009 . By the way, the "Nobel prize" article contains this gem, sure to get a chuckle:
"Obama's drone program is regularly criticized for a lack of transparency and accountability, especially considering incomplete intelligence means officials are often unsure about who will die. "
[M]ost individuals killed are not on a kill list, and the government does not know their names," Micah Zenko, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations told the New York Times."
This is about all the fun I can handle in one day. But back to what I was trying to say.
The deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip. Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it? I once thought so, and maybe I still do. But it doesn't use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program. Ultimately it's not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfarewelfare state.
Because inflated salaries , inflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States. Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood? I'd certainly like to. But I'll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business.
Can a lack of public support reduce the deep state, or impact it? Well, it would seem that this is a non-factor, except for the strange history we have had and are witnessing again today, with the odd successful popular and populist-leaning politician and their related movements. In my lifetime, only popular figures and their movements get assassinated mysteriously, with odd polka dot dresses, MKULTRA suggestions, threats against their family by their competitors (I'm thinking Perot, but one mustn't be limited to that case), and always with concordant pressures on the sociopolitical seams in the country, i.e riots and police/military activations. The bad dealings toward, and genuine fear of, Bernie Sanders within the Democratic Party's wing of the deep state is matched or exceeded only by the genuine terror of Trump among the Republican deep state wing. This reaction to something or some person that so many in the country find engaging and appealing - an outsider who speaks to the growing political and economic dissatisfaction of a poorer, more indebted, and more regulated population is heart-warming, to be sure. It is a sign that whether or not we do, the deep state thinks things might change. Thank you, Bernie and especially Donald, for revealing this much! And the "republicanization" of the Libertarian Party is also a bright indicator blinking out the potential of deep state movement and compromise in the pursuit of "stability."
Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered? Well, it is growing and broadening. Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad the Pandora's box, assisted by technology, can't be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media. Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command.
Maybe we will one day soon be able to debate how deep the deep state really is, or whether it was all just a dressed up, meth'ed up, and eff'ed up a sector of society that deserves a bit of jail time, some counseling, and a new start . Maybe some job training that goes beyond the printing of license plates. But given the destruction and mass murder committed daily in the name of this state, and the environmental disasters it has created around the world for the future generations, perhaps we will be no more merciful to these proprietors of the American empire as they have been to their victims. The ruling class deeply fears our judgment, and in this dynamic lies the cure.Jim in MN Tallest Skil Aug 20, 2016 8:22 PM
I made a list of steps that could be taken to disrupt the Beast. It's all I can offer but I offer it freely.
4:00 AM October 6, 2011
Kitchen Table, USA
LIST OF DEMANDS TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FROM FINANCIAL CATASTROPHE
I.CURB CORRUPTION AND EXCESSIVE POWER IN THE FINANCIAL ARMS OF THE US GOVERNMENT
A. FEDERAL RESERVE
1. Benjaman Bernanke to be removed as Chairman immediately
2. New York Federal Reserve Bank and all New York City offices of the Federal Reserve system will be closed for at least 3 years
3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation
4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels
5. Interest rate manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years
6. Balance sheet manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years
7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years
B. TREASURY DEPARTMENT
1. Timothy Geithner to be removed as Secretary immediately
2. All New York City offices of the Department will be closed for at least 3 years
3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation
4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels
5. Market manipulation/intervention to be prohibited for at least five years
7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years
II. END THE CORRUPTING INFLUENCE OF GIANT BANKS AND PROTECT AMERICANS FROM FURTHER EXPOSURE TO THEIR COLLAPSE
A. END CORRUPT INFLUENCE
1. Lifetime ban on government employment for TARP recipient employees and corporate officers, specifically including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase
2. Ten year ban on government work for consulting firms, law firms, and individual consultants and lawyers who have accepted cash from these entities
3. All contacts by any method with federal agencies and employees prohibited for at least five years, with civil and criminal penalties for violation
B. PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM FURTHER HARM AT THE HANDS OF GIANT BANKS
1. No financial institution with assets of more than $10billion will receive federal assistance or any 'arm's-length' bailouts
2. TARP recipients are prohibited from purchasing other TARP recipient corporate units, or merging with other TARP recipients
3. No foreign interest shall be allowed to acquire any portion of TARP recipients in the US or abroad
III. PREVENT CORPORATE ACCOUNTING AND PENSION FUND ABUSES RELATED TO THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
A. CORPORATE ACCOUNTING
1. Immediately implement mark-to-market accounting rules which were improperly suspended, allowing six months for implementation.
2. Companies must reserve against impaired assets under mark-to-market rules
3. Any health or life insurance company with more than$100 million in assets must report on their holdings and risk factors, specifically including exposure to real estate, mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and other exotic financial instruments. These reports will be to state insurance commissions and the federal government, and will also be made available to the public on the Internet.
B. PENSION FUNDS
1. All private and public pension funds must disclose their funding status and establish a plan to fully fund accounts under the assumption that net real returns across all asset classes remain at zero for at least ten years.
Winston Churchill -> Sam Clemons Aug 20, 2016 7:26 PM
Watch an old program like"Yes, Minister" to understand how it works. Politicians come and go, but the permanent state apparatchiks doesn't.
sinbad2 -> Winston Churchill Aug 20, 2016 7:58 PM
Sir Humphrey Appleby: You know what happens when politicians get into Number 10; they want to take their place on the world stage.
Sir Richard Wharton: People on stages are called actors. All they are required to do is look plausible, stay sober, and say the lines they're given in the right order.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Some of them try to make up their own lines.
Sir Richard Wharton: They don't last long.
rlouis Aug 20, 2016 7:47 PM
The "deep state" programs, whether conceived and directed by Soros' handlers, or others, risks unintended consequences. The social division intended by BLM, for example could easily morph beyond the goals. The lack of law due to corruption is equally susceptible to a spontaneous reaction of "the mob," not under the control of the Tavistock handlers. There's an old saying on Wall St; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.
The failed coup in Turkey is a significant indication of institutional weakness and also vulnerability. The inability to exercise force of will in Syria is another. The list of failures is getting too long.
marknesop.wordpress.comPatient Observer , July 23, 2016 at 7:07 pmAn interesting article on John McCain. I disagree with the contention that McCain hid knowledge that many American POWs were left behind (undoubtedly some voluntarily choose to remain behind but not hundreds ). However, the article touched on some ideas that rang true:
Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.
An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky.
One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.
The gist is that elite need a kill switch on their front men (and women).
Cortes , July 24, 2016 at 11:16 amSeems to be a series of pieces dealing with Vietnam POWs: the following linked item was interesting and provided a plausible explanation: that the US failed to pay up agreed on reparationsmarknesop , July 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm
http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-relying-upon-maoist-professors-of-cultural-studies/Remarkable and shocking. Wheels within wheels this is the first time I have ever seen McCain's father connected with the infamous Board of Inquiry which cleared Israel in that state's attack on USS LIBERTY during Israel's seizure of the Golan Heights.Cortes , July 25, 2016 at 9:08 amAnother stunning article in which the author makes reference to his recent acquisition of what he considers to be a reliably authentic audio file of POW McCain's broadcasts from captivity. Dynamite stuff. The conclusion regarding aspiring untenured historians is quite downbeat:marknesop , July 25, 2016 at 10:40 am
http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-will-there-be-a-spotlight-sequel-to-the-killing-fields/Also remarkable; fantastic. It's hard to believe, and a testament to the boldness of Washington dog-and-pony shows, because this must have been well-known in insider circles in Washington anything so damning which was not ruthlessly and professionally suppressed and simply never allowed to become part of a national discussion would surely have been stumbled upon before now. Land of the Cover-Up.
yalensis , July 25, 2016 at 3:40 pmSo, McCain was Hanoi Jack broadcasting from the Hanoi Hilton?
Dec 31, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comJohnH : December 31, 2016 at 04:38 PMIronic isn't it? "Why didn't ... exhibit the same restraint in his role as a public intellectual?likbez -> JohnH...
The answer, I suspect, is that he got caught up in an essentially political role. Milton Friedman the great economist could and did acknowledge ambiguity. But Milton Friedman the great champion of free markets was expected to preach the true faith, not give voice to doubts. And he ended up playing the role his followers expected. As a result, over time the refreshing iconoclasm of his early career hardened into a rigid defense of what had become the new orthodoxy."
Krugman should have stuck to economics...Yes, this is pretty nasty verdict for Krugman too.
But, in reality, Milton Friedman was an intellectual prostitute of financial oligarchy most of his long life, starting from his days in Mont Pelerin Society ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Pelerin_Society) , where he was one of the founders.
So, if the period when he was a good econometrician exists it is limited to pre-war and war years. As he was born in 1912, he was just 33 in 1945. His "A Theory of the Consumption Function" was published in 1957. And "A Monetary History of the United States, 18671960" in 1963, when he was already completely crooked.
Mont Pelerin Society was founded in 1947 with the explicit political goal of being hatching place for neoliberal ideology as alternative to communist ideology. He served as a President of this Society from 1970 to 1972.
Capitalism and Freedom that many consider to be neoliberal manifesto similar to Marx and Engels "Manifesto of the Communist Party" was published in 1962.
So what Krugnam is saying is a myth. And he is not an impartial observer. He is a neoliberal himself. I still remember Krugman despicable attacks on John Kenneth Galbraith and his unhealthy fascination with the usage of differential equations in economic modeling, the epitome of mathiness.
Dec 31, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comPaul Mathis -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 06:48 PMI have two problems with Prof. K:yuan -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 06:56 PM
1. His refusal to acknowledge the central role of consumption in our economy. As Keynes said, ""Consumption - to repeat the obvious - is the sole end and object of all economic activity." The General Theory, p. 104.
And Adam Smith agreed: "Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production." The Wealth of Nations, Book IV Chapter VIII, v. ii, p. 660, para. 49.
2. Krugman's refusal to endorse fiscal stimulus unless the economy is at ZLB. That is not only anti-Keynesian, it plays directly into the hands of the debt fear mongers. (Krugman is also worried about the debt.)"Krugman's refusal to endorse fiscal stimulus unless the economy is at ZLB."anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 06:57 PM
That is a strawman, and a bad one.
PS: My criticism of Krugman is far more fundamental. I do not believe the profit motive is superior to the mutual benefit motive when it comes to organizing economies.Important criticisms.anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 07:00 PMhttps://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/smith-adam/works/wealth-of-nations/book04/ch08.htmanne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 07:07 PM
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations
By Adam Smith
On Systems of Political Economy
Conclusion of the Mercantile System
Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer. The maxim is so perfectly self evident that it would be absurd to attempt to prove it. But in the mercantile system the interest of the consumer is almost constantly sacrificed to that of the producer; and it seems to consider production, and not consumption, as the ultimate end and object of all industry and commerce.https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/keynes/general-theory/ch08.htmanne -> Paul Mathis... , -1
The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
By John Maynard Keynes
The Propensity to Consume: The Objective Factors
Consumption - to repeat the obvious - is the sole end and object of all economic activity. Opportunities for employment are necessarily limited by the extent of aggregate demand. Aggregate demand can be derived only from present consumption or from present provision for future consumption. The consumption for which we can profitably provide in advance cannot be pushed indefinitely into the future. We cannot, as a community, provide for future consumption by financial expedients but only by current physical output. In so far as our social and business organisation separates financial provision for the future from physical provision for the future so that efforts to secure the former do not necessarily carry the latter with them, financial prudence will be liable to diminish aggregate demand and thus impair well-being, as there are many examples to testify. The greater, moreover, the consumption for which we have provided in advance, the more difficult it is to find something further to provide for in advance, and the greater our dependence on present consumption as a source of demand. Yet the larger our incomes, the greater, unfortunately, is the margin between our incomes and our consumption. So, failing some novel expedient, there is, as we shall see, no answer to the riddle, except that there must be sufficient unemployment to keep us so poor that our consumption falls short of our income by no more than the equivalent of the physical provision for future consumption which it pays to produce to-day.Krugman's refusal to endorse fiscal stimulus unless the economy is at zero lower bound. That is not only anti-Keynesian, it plays directly into the hands of the debt fear mongers. (Krugman is also worried about the debt.)
[ Only correct to a degree, economic weakness is recognized. ]
Dec 31, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comMathew Kahn:2007 Krugman on Milton Friedman : As you read this direct Paul Krugman quote, do y ou hear this song in the background.
"What's odd about Friedman's absolutism on the virtues of markets and the vices of government is that in his work as an economist's economist he was actually a model of restraint. As I pointed out earlier, he made great contributions to economic theory by emphasizing the role of individual rationality-but unlike some of his colleagues, he knew where to stop. Why didn't he exhibit the same restraint in his role as a public intellectual?
The answer, I suspect, is that he got caught up in an essentially political role. Milton Friedman the great economist could and did acknowledge ambiguity. But Milton Friedman the great champion of free markets was expected to preach the true faith, not give voice to doubts. And he ended up playing the role his followers expected. As a result, over time the refreshing iconoclasm of his early career hardened into a rigid defense of what had become the new orthodoxy.
In the long run, great men are remembered for their strengths, not their weaknesses, and Milton Friedman was a very great man indeed-a man of intellectual courage who was one of the most important economic thinkers of all time, and possibly the most brilliant communicator of economic ideas to the general public that ever lived. But there's a good case for arguing that Friedmanism, in the end, went too far, both as a doctrine and in its practical applications. When Friedman was beginning his career as a public intellectual, the times were ripe for a counterreformation against Keynesianism and all that went with it. But what the world needs now, I'd argue, is a counter-counterreformation."
Paul Mathis : , December 31, 2016 at 02:26 PMCounter-reformation? Not exactly.Dan Berg -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 02:38 PM
In an interview with Public Broadcasting System on Oct. 1, 2000, Dr. Milton Friedman said, "Let me emphasize [that] I think Keynes was a great economist. I think his particular theory in The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money is a fascinating theory. It's a right kind of a theory. It's one which says a lot by using only a little. So it's a theory that has great potentiality."
Brilliant economist? Not exactly. For monetarists who believe as Dr. Friedman did that "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon," the nearly $4 trillion added to the money supply by the Fed since 2008 should have produced raging hyper-inflation. For Friedman, the answer was not debatable: "A steady rate of monetary growth at a moderate level can provide a framework under which a country can have little inflation and much growth." The Counter-Revolution in Monetary Theory (1970).$4 T was not "added to the money supply"anne -> Dan Berg ... , December 31, 2016 at 03:35 PM
For Krugman, this is called being hoisted by one's own petard.https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=2VX3 :anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 02:44 PM
this graph, which should have been labelled but was not, depicts the monetary base from October 2012 to December 2015 for reasons that are a mystery to me.https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cfmnanne -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 02:47 PM
January 15, 2016
Adjusted Monetary Base, 2000-2016
January 15, 2016
Adjusted Monetary Base, 2008-2016About $3 trillion was added to the monetary base between 2008 and the beginning of 2015.Dan Berg -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 05:05 PMso why are you depicting the monetary base if they are such a mystery; and without labels?anne -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 05:18 PMPerfectly described and drawn graphs depicting more than a $3 trillion increase in the monetary base between 2008 and 2015. Nice and simple as that:anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 03:44 PM
January 15, 2016
Adjusted Monetary Base, 2000-2016
January 15, 2016
Adjusted Monetary Base, 2008-2016
Tra la, tra la.http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/milton-friedman-unperson/anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 05:26 PM
August 8, 2013
Milton Friedman, Unperson
By Paul Krugman
So Friedman has vanished from the policy scene - so much so that I suspect that a few decades from now, historians of economic thought will regard him as little more than an extended footnote.Do write further on this matter when possible.anne : , December 31, 2016 at 02:39 PMhttp://www.nybooks.com/articles/19857anne -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 03:00 PM
February 15, 2007
Who Was Milton Friedman?
By Paul Krugman - New York Review of Books
The history of economic thought in the twentieth century is a bit like the history of Christianity in the sixteenth century. Until John Maynard Keynes published The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money in 1936, economics-at least in the English-speaking world-was completely dominated by free-market orthodoxy. Heresies would occasionally pop up, but they were always suppressed. Classical economics, wrote Keynes in 1936, "conquered England as completely as the Holy Inquisition conquered Spain." And classical economics said that the answer to almost all problems was to let the forces of supply and demand do their job.
But classical economics offered neither explanations nor solutions for the Great Depression. By the middle of the 1930s, the challenges to orthodoxy could no longer be contained. Keynes played the role of Martin Luther, providing the intellectual rigor needed to make heresy respectable. Although Keynes was by no means a leftist-he came to save capitalism, not to bury it-his theory said that free markets could not be counted on to provide full employment, creating a new rationale for large-scale government intervention in the economy.
Keynesianism was a great reformation of economic thought. It was followed, inevitably, by a counter-reformation. A number of economists played important roles in the great revival of classical economics between 1950 and 2000, but none was as influential as Milton Friedman. If Keynes was Luther, Friedman was Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. And like the Jesuits, Friedman's followers have acted as a sort of disciplined army of the faithful, spearheading a broad, but incomplete, rollback of Keynesian heresy. By the century's end, classical economics had regained much though by no means all of its former dominion, and Friedman deserves much of the credit.
I don't want to push the religious analogy too far. Economic theory at least aspires to be science, not theology; it is concerned with earth, not heaven. Keynesian theory initially prevailed because it did a far better job than classical orthodoxy of making sense of the world around us, and Friedman's critique of Keynes became so influential largely because he correctly identified Keynesianism's weak points. And just to be clear: although this essay argues that Friedman was wrong on some issues, and sometimes seemed less than honest with his readers, I regard him as a great economist and a great man....http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/02/friedman-and-schwartz-were-wrong/anne -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 03:17 PM
March 2, 2009
Friedman and Schwartz Were Wrong
By Paul Krugman
It's one of Ben Bernanke's most memorable quotes: at a conference honoring Milton Friedman on his 90th birthday, he said: *
"Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again."
He was referring to the Friedman-Schwartz argument that the Fed could have prevented the Great Depression if only it has been more aggressive in countering the fall in the money supply. This argument later mutated into the claim that the Fed caused the Depression, but its original version still packed a strong punch. Basically, it implied that no fundamental reforms of the economy were necessary; all it takes to avoid depressions is for central banks to do their job.
But can we say that recent events appear to disprove that claim? (So did Japan's experience in the 1990s, but that lesson failed to sink in.) What we have now is a Fed that is determined not to "do it again." It has been very aggressive about monetary expansion. Here's one measure of that aggressiveness, banks' excess reserves:
[Bank excess reserves, 1990-2009]
And yet the world economy is still falling off a cliff.
Preventing depressions, it turns out, is a lot harder than we were taught.
January 30, 2016
Excess Reserves of Depository Institutions, 1990-2009
Dec 31, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.comLambert StretherDecember 30, 2016 By Lambert Strether of Corrente
... ... ...
Soros Should Simply Stop Funding Neoliberal Projects
Here's how Soros explains Trump, Brexit, the rise of LePen, and so on:
I find the current moment in history very painful. Open societies are in crisis, and various forms of closed societies from fascist dictatorships to mafia states are on the rise. How could this happen? The only explanation I can find is that and that this failure led electorates to become disenchanted with the prevailing versions of democracy and capitalism. Quite simply, many people felt that the elites had stolen their democracy.
Not to mention their money, as the foreclosure crisis showed.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US emerged as the sole remaining superpower, equally committed to the principles of democracy and free markets. The major development since then has been the globalization of financial markets, spearheaded by advocates who argued that globalization increases total wealth. After all, if the winners compensated the losers, they would still have something left over.
The argument was misleading, because it ignored the fact that the . But the potential winners spent enough money promoting the argument that it prevailed .
Globalization has had far-reaching economic and political consequences. It has brought about some economic convergence between poor and rich countries; but it increased inequality within both poor and rich countries. In the developed world, , who constitute less than 1% of the population. The that democracy's opponents have exploited. But there were other contributing factors as well, particularly in Europe.
Therefore, the neoliberal project, considered under the aspect of justice, was destined to implode, and known to be so destined from the very beginning, since ultimately for popular acceptance it depends on redistribution, but "winners seldom, if ever, compensate the losers." So why throw good money after bad?
Now, to be fair, some more fair-minded mainstream academics are trying to improve neoliberalism by bringing redistribution forward. First, why - after forty years of neoliberalism - would anyone trust them? For example, a current popular topic is the replacement of all wage work by robots. And sometimes the topic "How to help all those poor
losersworkers" is vaguely discussed. Are we really to believe any help will be forthcoming? Or that, if it comes, it won't be gate-keepered and means-tested to death? History says no. Experience says no.
Second, neoliberalism puts markets first . Always. So there's no reason to think that losers will ever be compensated, because there's no market in doing that. In any case, how do you put a price on a destroyed Main Street or a child dead from opiates?
The neoliberal project has finally failed. It cannot secure a popular mandate, and by its nature cannot ever secure one. Therefore, anyone dedicated to an open society should not fund it. One might argue that alternatives to that project should be funded, but I think (see above) that only small-d democratic projects can create such alternatives, and they should be self-funded.
I think philanthropy even on the Nineteenth Century Robber Baron model - Carnegie Libraries, the Frick Museum, or genuine scholarship - would be preferable to continuing to fund Democrats, or neoliberal projects generally. Soros should consider those alternatives. Short neoliberalism.Lambert Strether has been blogging, managing online communities, and doing system administration 24/7 since 2003, in Drupal and WordPress. Besides political economy and the political scene, he blogs about rhetoric, software engineering, permaculture, history, literature, local politics, international travel, food, and fixing stuff around the house. The nom de plume "Lambert Strether" comes from Henry James's The Ambassadors: "Live all you can. It's a mistake not to." You can follow him on Twitter at @lambertstrether. http://www.correntewire.com mothyGeithner , December 30, 2016 at 1:26 pmreslez , December 30, 2016 at 3:07 pm
I'm reminded of Dan Snyder, the owner of the football team from Landover, Maryland.
Snyder is a guy who sold three business ventures for crazy valuations for companies that didn't exist in any capacity a few years later or didn't have anything beyond pizzazz. Yet, Snyder is a billionaire. Why? What good is he? Why shouldn't the government say, "hey, we will leave you with $25 million, but we are taking the rest."? There is no rationale reason for billionaires to exist, so billionaires have to come up with a reason for why their billions are justified without giving the money away. Dan Snyder runs a football team into the ground. George Soros tries to fight villains of his youth, Nazis and Communists under the bed before people realize they should just get rid of billionaires.
Snyder has to run the football team because he has to prove he's worth it and not the by product of inane Fed and tax policies that turned two bit operations into over night IPO bonanzas. Why isn't the guy who invented synthetic diamonds a billionaire or even a millionaire?Stephen Gardner , December 30, 2016 at 3:40 pm
Wallace : [while eating some Chicken McNuggets] Man, these s****s is right, yo.
Malik 'Poot' Carr : [with his mouth full] Mm-hmm.
Wallace : Good with the hot sauce too, yo.
Malik 'Poot' Carr : Most definitely.
Wallace : Yo, D, you want some nuggets?
D'Angelo Barksdale : Nah, go ahead, man.
Wallace : Man, whoever invented these, yo, he off the hook.
Malik 'Poot' Carr : What?
Wallace : Mm. M********* got the bone all the way out the damn chicken. 'Til he came along, n****s been chewin' on drumsticks and s***, gettin' they fingers all greasy. He said, " Later for the bone. Let's nugget that meat up and make some real money."
Malik 'Poot' Carr : You think the man got paid?
Wallace : Who?
Malik 'Poot' Carr : Man who invented these.
Wallace : S***, he richer than a m*********.
D'Angelo Barksdale : Why? You think he get a percentage?
Wallace : Why not?
D'Angelo Barksdale : N****, please. The man who invented them things? Just some sad-ass down at the basement at McDonald's, thinkin' up some s*** to make some money for the real players.
Malik 'Poot' Carr : Naw, man, that ain't right.
D'Angelo Barksdale : F*** "right." It ain't about right, it's about money. Now you think Ronald McDonald gonna go down in that basement and say, "Hey, Mista Nugget, you the bomb. We sellin' chicken faster than you can tear the bone out. So I'm gonna write my clowny-ass name on this fat-ass check for you"?
Wallace : S***.
D'Angelo Barksdale : Man, the n**** who invented them things still workin' in the basement for regular wage, thinkin' up some s*** to make the fries taste better or some s*** like that. Believe.
Wallace : Still had the idea, though.scotty_mack , December 30, 2016 at 1:07 pm
I loved The Wire . Great show. Watched the whole over a few weeks of binging. It was an addiction that was fundamentally about addiction. ;-)Lambert Strether Post author , December 30, 2016 at 1:20 pm
Everything Lambert states he is correct, but as much as Soros's money is amplified by and mirrors NED and USAID money, it might be his job to invest in Democrat, Neoliberal, and Regime Change projects. He seems to function as a front/shell company like Chaz T. MAIN (Confessions of an Economic Hitman, John Perkins) or Business International Corp. ( http://johnpilger.com/articles/power-illusion-and-americas-last-taboo )Rhondda , December 30, 2016 at 1:53 pm
Soros is the one with the billions. Why would he be a frontman?Lambert Strether , December 30, 2016 at 2:36 pm
Perhaps so it doesn't look like the regime change money is coming via State Dept, etc. Arms length, as it were.Rhondda , December 30, 2016 at 6:26 pm
No. Soros is the one with the power. The idea that he's fronting for somebody is ridiculous.Darthbobber , December 30, 2016 at 11:04 pm
https://bookofbadarguments.com/Pespi , December 31, 2016 at 3:05 pm
Soros and the State Department (or the dominant faction thereof) have roughly the same prescription for Russia and Eastern Europe. So no need at all to hypothesize one as a front for the other.Waldenpond , December 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm
It's not inconceivable. Think of Pierre Omidyar and USAID in UkraineWaldenpond , December 30, 2016 at 4:45 pm
Isn't he a frontman for the pretense of democracy? and the pretense that billionaires are concerned with the working class in general rather than a resource to be exploited and discarded?
I see Soros useful in that he feeds the myth that there are two parties and is a pr funder marketing the myth of choice to the voters. His words are counter to the vast majority of what he funds. I try to focus on what people are doing not what they say.
He could personally build vast swaths of manufacturing plants and hand them over to the workers. He could leave his wealth to a volunteer co-op board that only grants funds to employee owned start-ups. He could build vast swaths of non-profit public housing and hand them over to the communities.Larry , December 30, 2016 at 1:18 pm
Also, this is not a criticism, but it looks like your argument is for lesser evilism. Your first proposal that he stop investing in D elections as they are losers seems merely to be a capitalist argument that he isn't getting a return on his investment.
I'm not to sure what your second proposal of supporting small d institions refers to maybe think tanks and media? but supporting lower level elections is again back to the 'more and better Ds'.
I get your strategy is to take over the D party but it seems that 'more and better Ds' that just failed to get traction with the 2016 election. Promoting that billionaires could fine tune their influence looks like an amelioration strategy of conservatism rather than an affirmative policy platform in opposition to the Rs.reslez , December 30, 2016 at 3:09 pm
The problem for Soros and all billionaires interested in the politics game is that they cannot fathom voting against their own interests and they must pick credentialed and vetted candidates. Somebody like Hillary is great for them. For example, when she stated during the primary against Bernie that we can't just have outright free public higher education because rich people would benefit unfairly. That is coding to say that we won't redistribute ill gotten gains for the purposes of building a stable and functioning society.susan the other , December 31, 2016 at 10:30 am
> we can't just have outright free public higher education becuase rich people would benefit unfairly
Agreed. Just a dumb excuse to persuade people we can't have nice things. Obama may have campaigned on "Yes We Can" in 2008 but Hillary in 2016 was the soaring voice of "No, You Can't."susan the other , December 31, 2016 at 10:31 am
she also tried to put down Bernie's socialism by saying "We are not Denmark." So what?Propertius , December 31, 2016 at 5:20 pm
she also tried to put down Bernie's socialism by saying "We are not Denmark." So what? does that mean we can't have an equitable society?JTMcPhee , December 30, 2016 at 1:29 pm
Especially since, in the not too distant past, we actually had "nice things" like tuition-free state universities but we allowed them to be taken away from us.reslez , December 30, 2016 at 3:15 pm
Pretty clear from the rich people and a few very rich people I have encountered, professionally and personally (once shared a secretary with Bill Gates Sr.) that the empathy and comity and decency drivers never got installed with the original programming.
And I "follow" Gates Jr. on Twitter, when I can stand to look in, and what a piece of work he, or his Twavatar, is. Always on his book and on his game. And it seems like just a game to him, from the way he plays his position.
Now Trumpunist stars are in the ascendant. And the planet gets more heat load, every moment of every day Too bad the looters are on the way to "conquering death" for themselves, while "dealing death" to the rest of usJTMcPhee , December 30, 2016 at 4:27 pm
> Too bad the looters are on the way to "conquering death" for themselves, while "dealing death" to the rest of us
I wonder what they'll do once they realize they've been had by a bunch of grifting con artists, hardly different from themselves. When the billionaires realize Mars is a death trap worse than Earth, will they feel any remorse about destroying the planet? Or has the "market" whittled that away, along with the rest of the human emotions like shame, guilt, and compassion for their fellow man? When they realize eternal youth and immortality isn't ever going to happen, partly because they've hollowed out their own civilization and corrupted its science, will they regret forcing so many others into destitution and an early grave? Maybe for about 30 seconds, I reckon. The rest cower in self-protective ignorance.alex morfesis , December 30, 2016 at 3:34 pm
It's fun to look to pop culture for illustrative myths and potentially illuminating analogies. I like "Wall-e" and "Elysium" and "Terminator" and "Robocop" and for dessert, a big helping of "Soylent Green "Kieselguhr Kid , December 30, 2016 at 3:59 pm
The dillusionati always drown in their own vomit it has been that way for the last 2 million sunsets all the technology in the world wont change that if one can not find peace and happiness with a few million dollars, chasing billions to spend more money 4 monets on the wall in the hall is a losing proposition
As to georgi sore-ohs redirecting his money the klown princes will soon be abandoning their givings with the coming removal of the estate tax putting many non profits out of business
"non profit" hospitals will now be able to convert to for profit dividend paying entities instead of consultant skim capital kiting enterprises
The rober baron era existed before income taxes so I expect sow-oats to slowly melt away now that he can hand out his remaining assets directly and enjoy the rest of his youth with his robobabe .
Despite the best efforts of the dillusionati these past 5 10 thousand years once they run out of people to prey with they turn on each other
these are weak creatures, power hungry and control crazy based on their own fears and limitations
The bernaze sauce isnt spicy enough anymore
the rewind button on vcrs killed the soviet union and youtube and the capacity of the average shmoe to cut, paste, edit and freeze frame has reduced the mesmerization to a near stand still
The game is up and there is no more room left to squeeze more gold tips on a chip no matter how much cooling one throws into the mix
The iPhone is just newton with the security state release of tech that has been aroud for over 20 years
The programs still have bugs/features that can not be fixed based on a unix/linux platform from over 50 years ago designed to exist in a closed loop circuit decades of patch and pray can not be fixed by decree
one of the funders of one of the fake news "overseers"(u of penn/annanb) runs an outfit in nyc that prices out derivatives out over 150 years from now but all the tech can't tell me if it is going to rain or snow in 72 hours
The dillusionati are running on fumes
What is amusing is watching the panic as they fear resistance and revolution that will never develop people just want to eat, breath and live a reasonable life these weak dillusionati contemplate and imagine how "they" in their weakness and fears would react but many parts of america have already seen and lived thru an economic apocalypse
even manhattan was a dead zone on the west side when all their shipping moved to LA and all the piers were left open and abandoned with jokes about the only place to find nypd was at donut shops abounding
Living in the south bronx or coney island was living a real life version of madmax
Anyhoot methinx, in respects to the original posting sore-oats just does his freedom and democracy funding to tip the scales on his out of the money tail risk currency options investing he just games the system with a smile
Onto a wondrous and pleasant 2017
The fun has just begun
Less fences and more dances let 2017 be the year we talk past our differences with our neighbors and get on with the being of being
(Damn that was long winded I thought I gave that up )Kurt Sperry , December 30, 2016 at 11:39 pm
bravo!Altandmain , December 30, 2016 at 1:30 pm
Bravo x2John Morrison , December 30, 2016 at 2:36 pm
Everything Soros does is to line his own pockets I'm afraid. This will fall on deaf ears. For them, it's never enough money. That is what this is really about. Behind the curtains, you are dealing with a bunch of people who care nothing about the collective good and everything about their own net worth. Nothing else matters to them.
They'd rather watch the world burn than lose money.Lambert Strether Post author , December 30, 2016 at 2:53 pm
Based on my own personal experience regarding suggestions that I've published, the suggestions won't even reach him, let alone be followed up on.John Morrison , December 30, 2016 at 5:12 pm
Well, we do what we can.Pirate Laddie , December 30, 2016 at 2:42 pm
TrueNotSoSure , December 30, 2016 at 3:05 pm
Hope this isn't dinged as an ad hominem, but I recall that old central European expression: "Anybody with a Hungarian for a friend doesn't need an enemy."
Now that can be read in several ways - but always to the same end, some allies you don't want. Soros may be a Dark Side conduit for neocon or neolib instincts and pelf; or he may just be pissing away his own money, a la Snyder, just in a less benign enterprise. Neither scenario undercuts the "bootstrap" metaphor for progressive funding. We should, therefore, be prepared to see increased efforts to diminish "self-funding" mechanisms that leave too much power in the hands of the little people. Not an ad hom, I'm not talking about Munchkins.BecauseTradition , December 30, 2016 at 4:42 pm
Soros need not be worried. Even without his money funding all these projects, plenty of people will join him in hell afterwards. Once his Open Ideas have been tested there, then he is welcomed to port those here, the lesser hell.Kim Kaufman , December 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm
The argument was misleading, because it ignored the fact that the winners seldom, if ever, compensate the losers.
Yep, which is why sources of unjust wealth inequality such as government privileges for private credit creation should be precluded at their SOURCE.
In other words, ethical financing is needed to insure that increases in productivity and wealth are justly shared.
One thing all Americans should believe in is "Thou shall not steal" even if by subtle means such as implicit privileges for a usury cartel.John Morrison , December 30, 2016 at 5:16 pm
I would argue that the U.S. hasn't been interested in democracy since, at least, WWII. They have performed coups and assassinations and other destabilizations in other countries (and, I would argue, here with JFK, RFK, MLK, Jr., and who knows how many others in those "freak" small plan accidents over the years) in favor of "friendly" dictators and tyrants. Although Soros claims to hate Nazis and Communists, Allen Dulles was quite partial to Nazis and made sure many of them did not face trial at Nuremberg but instead were employed in the U.S., West Germany and other places.
If Soros wanted to put his money to good use, he could invest in getting some transparency and cohesiveness to our election system. Had he done that after 2000, John Kerry would have been president and probably Hillary also. And many Dem senators, congress critters, etc. To pretend that the elections are honest and represent the people's will has pretty much been discredited, as far as I'm concerned.
My understanding is that Soros likes instability. It's good for his market plays.clarky90 , December 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm
TrueParker Dooley , December 31, 2016 at 12:09 pm
Call an annihilation an annihilation. Auschwitz was NOT a "resettlement to the East". The 1931 Ukrainian Famine was NOT a "Collectivization". Using our precious language to lie and obscure .
DespicableBugs Bunny , December 30, 2016 at 5:59 pm
"Rectification of borders "Nittacci , December 30, 2016 at 6:46 pm
Hope (pray) Monsieur Soros' secretary prints this one out for his morning press review.Deloss Brown , December 31, 2016 at 10:37 am
Can we please get more posts explaining why Democrats lost? They are my favorite think pieces.Alberto Rabilotta , December 31, 2016 at 2:37 am
Nittaci, I get emails from something called PEN which have the best, most reasonable explanation I've found.
If you would like to be added to our distribution list, go to
There is a recording out today of Hillary Clinton talking to her
biggest donors, laying blame for her loss entirely on the shoulders
of Putin and Comey.
Let's break this down, shall we?
In the first place, she is talking to her "donors." There's your
first problem right there. Hers was always a campaign of the donors,
by the donors and for the donors. That's exactly what the American
people were turned off by. At no time did she actually talk to and
connect with them.
But more fundamentally, there was never a chance of her winning
unless she won the popular vote by MORE than 2 1/2 million. As we
have already pointed out, the last four presidential elections that
Democrats have won in the electoral college were associated with a
MINIMUM popular vote margin of about 5 million and an average of 7
Let's take WI for example. The governor, lieutenant governor,
attorney general and state treasurer are all Republicans, as are 5 of
8 members of the US House, and the senators are split. By what
delusional political consultant standard is WI to be seen as an
inherently blue state? And she never set foot in WI to campaign after
What blue wall where?
If you win the popular vote by a minimum of 5 million, OK then sure,
there's your blue wall, otherwise all you have is blue tissue paper.
So the day Clinton locked up the Democratic nomination, question
number one, two and three should have been, "How the hell can I, the
Democratic nominee with the highest negatives ever, win by at least 5
million in the popular vote count?"
She told her donors then that the general election was going to be
close. The general election was lost right there.
Where could all those extra votes have come from?
At that very moment we were pleading with you to rally behind an
initiative to tap Bernie Sanders for VP. The Clinton people shouted
us down. The Bernie people told us to shut up. Bernie can still win
it all they claimed, totally detached from the reality of even the
pledged delegate count.
But Bernie still got more than 13 million votes in the primaries.
There's your general election victory right there, including taking
back the Senate and bigger gains in the House.
Just as they are doing now, the Clinton's political genius dream team
came up with the wrong answers last July. Not only have they learned
nothing, they are perversely determined to learn nothing.
Clinton had a 65% negative approval rating before Putin did a thing.
If Comey was the big problem that should have been known on July 5th
when he called her out for being extremely careless. The "good news"
that she was not going to be indicted did not give her a big positive
bump. The tone deaf Kaine VP pick was more than 2 weeks later.
She had more than 2 weeks to come up with the answer to the question,
"How the hell do we overcome all these negatives by a WIDE margin?"
And her answer was a corporate TPP supporter for VP?
Are you kidding us?
As unpopular as she was, Trump was only MARGINALLY more unpopular.
That was not a wide margin in her favor, and a wide margin was
mandatory. That was why she lost.
The blame list does not stop with Putin and Comey. Also this week she
accused President Obama of not doing enough. If Obama actually
retained the power to substantially rally anyone, he would have
rallied people to demand confirmation of Merrick Garland for the
Supreme Court, and THAT would have positively impacted Hillary's
chances by highlighting Republican disrespect and obstructionism.
Some blame Bernie for not doing enough. Bernie never had the power to
MAKE his supporters like her. By doing what . . . standing on stage
next to her more? We guarantee you she did not want him standing on
stage with her more times that he did.
But all his 13 million votes, not just a begrudging part, would have
been hers if she had genuinely embraced him and his supporters by
putting him on the ticket too as VP in a display of unity. His
popularity, the highest of any candidate, would have rubbed off on
her big time.
The White House was hers and she threw it away to appease her donors,
to raise an extra 100 million dollars to burn.
How are we so sure of this?
We did a private outreach to the Bernie or Bust people at the time.
What if she picks Bernie for VP, would you go for it? The answer was
not hell no. It was, we'll consider it.
That's called a yes.
And tomorrow we will talk about how to reconstruct the big tent that
was lost by people too busy condemning people on the other side of
the tent to actually win an election.templar555510 , December 31, 2016 at 5:33 am
Soros is repeating Lampedusa: "everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same."JTMcPhee , December 31, 2016 at 7:48 am
Making money is a knack usually with some very modest intellectual input. These guys know this and that's why once they have their big pile they start meddling in politics using the clout ( read power ) that their billions gives them. The politicians on the other hand know little, or nothing about making money, but are enthralled by the billionaires . What they have in common is that they all crave kudos to justify their position and its maintenance. That they are a bunch of vain, self-aggrandising sociopaths is beyond question; it's just that it took the Great Financial Crash of 2008 for most of us to realise this and that realisation has now spread to large numbers of the populations in most of the West . So now they have a problem, but how to deal with it they have no idea because there isn't a scintilla of empathy in those minds of theirs. And so now we have Trump and Brexit etc.mf , December 31, 2016 at 10:11 am
From a Guardian article on insecure "smart Meters" put up by Jerri-Lynn in the 12/31 Links, the humors line of the year: "The Power [players] have to understand that with great power comes great responsibility." Nyuk nyuk nyuk Should read, "with great power comes great power "Nippersmom , December 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm
democracy with a small d is a fine idea for your schools and other issues that affect your local community. Alas, for everything else, you are living in a complex post-agrarian society in which your very ability to eat depends on the amorphous structure called "the economy". Which in turn depends on central banks, trade, national policies, etc. One could deconstruct this economy, but I somehow doubt that such deconstruction would lead to exceptional prosperity for all. There are multiple examples of deconstructed countries around the world, and they are not exactly an inspiration.
Soros is one of the few bright spots among billionaires, though I am sure he is not perfect. He understands that, through generational forgetting, the world is now facing a resurgence of fascism. He understands it better than most, because he is one of the very few survivors of the holocaust that are still alive. Fascism is so dangerous because, as a method of political advancement, it works well. Appeal to emotion, particularly fear, works better that appeal to reason. It has always been thus. You can second guess him all you want, but you have to give this to him: he is one of the very few left that are trying to do something to stop this wave before it plunges the world into a sequence of wars with nukes on day one.
You would do well to join him, rather than dis him.
As far as neoliberalism goes, one should also be careful throwing this label around indiscriminately. Human population more than doubled in my lifetime, and all these new people are competing for resources. The US will not escape unscathed. Governments can mitigate to some degree, but they cannot fully stop some decline in the living standard until technologies catch up and reduce pressures on resources. Furthermore, US relies on imports for 50% of her oil, which also means US needs to trade and be competitive on world markets. There are no free lunches and easy solutions that will magically make everything better overnight. Thinking there are is unrealistic in its own right.
Hillary Clinton, for all her faults, was a center left politician. She was defeated by a con artist who was riding a wave of about 10-15 years worth of fascist propaganda emanating from increasingly radicalized Republican party. The greatest danger now is actually radicalization of the left, as this will put the US on the path to become another South American permanent disaster. So, when you attack those "Democratic elites", be careful what you wish for, and be careful not to become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.mf , December 31, 2016 at 4:41 pm
"Hillary Clinton, for all her faults, was a center-left politician."
Her record at State, not to mention most of the policy positions she has supported throughout her career, is a vehement refutation of that assertion.annie , December 31, 2016 at 10:25 am
vehement according to you. The world is both complicated and violent place, while armchair advice makes it a simple place.susan the other , December 31, 2016 at 10:44 am
why can't Soros pay down student debt?Marshall Auerback , December 31, 2016 at 11:24 am
We are living in the twilight of the ideologues. Whatever proves to be practical will now prevail. Soros always had one wheel stuck in the ditch. And Hillary, for all her experience, wound up knowing nothing. It was amazing. Very wizard of oz. Capitalism can morph but it can't go back. We have all new, complex circumstances now and free marketeering in an open society BS just hasn't got a chance of fixing things anymore. Soros should try to understand this. So should Trump.Marshall Auerback , December 31, 2016 at 11:28 am
All I can say is, if Soros's Quantum Fund performed the way the Democrats had the last 8 years, heads would definitely be rolling. Odd that he doesn't demand the same accountability for his dollars when it comes to his Open Society Foundation.
All I can say is that if Soros's fund, Quantum, delivered performance comparable to what the Democrats had delivered over the last 8 years electorally, heads would definitely roll and there would be no more dollars forthcoming. Interesting that this accountability doesn't apply here.
Aug 06, 2011 | nytimes.com
When Barack Obama rose to the lectern on Inauguration Day, the nation was in tatters. Americans were scared and angry. The economy was spinning in reverse. Three-quarters of a million people lost their jobs that month. Many had lost their homes, and with them the only nest eggs they had. Even the usually impervious upper middle class had seen a decade of stagnant or declining investment, with the stock market dropping in value with no end in sight. Hope was as scarce as credit.
In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it, and how it was going to end. They needed to hear that he understood what they were feeling, that he would track down those responsible for their pain and suffering, and that he would restore order and safety. What they were waiting for, in broad strokes, was a story something like this:
"I know you're scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn't work out. And it didn't work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. But we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we will draw on their wisdom. We will restore business confidence the old-fashioned way: by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can't promise that we won't make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they will be honest mistakes, and that your government has your back again." A story isn't a policy. But that simple narrative - and the policies that would naturally have flowed from it - would have inoculated against much of what was to come in the intervening two and a half years of failed government, idled factories and idled hands. That story would have made clear that the president understood that the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this would not be a power-sharing arrangement. It would have made clear that the problem wasn't tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit - a deficit that didn't exist until George W. Bush gave nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered $1 trillion in two wars.
And perhaps most important, it would have offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right, that our problem is not due to spending on things like the pensions of firefighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it.
But there was no story - and there has been none since.
In similar circumstances, Franklin D. Roosevelt offered Americans a promise to use the power of his office to make their lives better and to keep trying until he got it right. Beginning in his first inaugural address, and in the fireside chats that followed, he explained how the crash had happened, and he minced no words about those who had caused it. He promised to do something no president had done before: to use the resources of the United States to put Americans directly to work, building the infrastructure we still rely on today. He swore to keep the people who had caused the crisis out of the halls of power, and he made good on that promise. In a 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden, he thundered, "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred."
When Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office, he stepped into a cycle of American history, best exemplified by F.D.R. and his distant cousin, Teddy. After a great technological revolution or a major economic transition, as when America changed from a nation of farmers to an urban industrial one, there is often a period of great concentration of wealth, and with it, a concentration of power in the wealthy. That's what we saw in 1928, and that's what we see today. At some point that power is exercised so injudiciously, and the lives of so many become so unbearable, that a period of reform ensues - and a charismatic reformer emerges to lead that renewal. In that sense, Teddy Roosevelt started the cycle of reform his cousin picked up 30 years later, as he began efforts to bust the trusts and regulate the railroads, exercise federal power over the banks and the nation's food supply, and protect America's land and wildlife, creating the modern environmental movement.
Those were the shoes - that was the historic role - that Americans elected Barack Obama to fill. The president is fond of referring to "the arc of history," paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous statement that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." But with his deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics - in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time - he has broken that arc and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation.
When Dr. King spoke of the great arc bending toward justice, he did not mean that we should wait for it to bend. He exhorted others to put their full weight behind it, and he gave his life speaking with a voice that cut through the blistering force of water cannons and the gnashing teeth of police dogs. He preached the gospel of nonviolence, but he knew that whether a bully hid behind a club or a poll tax, the only effective response was to face the bully down, and to make the bully show his true and repugnant face in public.
IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public - a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn't bend that far.
Michael August 7, 2011Bill Levine August 7, 2011
Eloquently expressed and horrifically accurate, this excellent analysis articulates the frustration that so many of us have felt watching Mr...AnAverageAmerican August 7, 2011
Very well put. I know that I have been going through Kόbler-Ross's stages of grief ever since the foxes (a.k.a. Geithner and Summers) were...cdearman Santa Fe, NM August 7, 2011
"In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it,...SP California August 7, 2011
Unfortunately, the Democratic Congress of 2008-2010, did not have the will to make the economic and social program decisions that would have improved the economic situation for the middle-class; and it is becoming more obvious that President Obama does not have the temperament to publicly push for programs and policies that he wants the congress to enact.
The American people have a problem: we reelect Obama and hope for the best; or we elect a Republican and expect the worst. There is no question that the Health Care law that was just passed would be reversed; Medicare and Medicare would be gutted; and who knows what would happen to Social Security. You can be sure, though, that business taxes and regulation reforms would not be in the cards and those regulations that have been enacted would be reversed. We have traveled this road before and we should be wise enough not to travel it again!farospace san francisco August 7, 2011
Brilliant analysis - and I suspect that a very large number of those who voted for President Obama will recognize in this the thoughts that they have been trying to ignore, or have been trying not to say out loud. Later historians can complete this analysis and attempt to explain exactly why Mr. Obama has turned out the way he has - but right now, it may be time to ask a more relevant and urgent question.
If it is not too late, will a challenger emerge in time before the 2012 elections, or will we be doomed to hold our noses and endure another four years of this?Richard Katz American in Oxford, UK August 7, 2011
Very eloquent and exactly to the point. Like many others, I was enthralled by the rhetoric of his story, making the leap of faith (or hope) that because he could tell his story so well, he could tell, as you put it, "the story the American people were waiting to hear."
Disappointment has darkened into disillusion, disillusion into a species of despair. Will I vote for Barack Obama again? What are the options?An Ordinary American Prague August 7, 2011
This is the most brilliant and tragic story I have read in a long time---in fact, precisely since I read when Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt. When will a leader emerge with a true moral vision for the federal government and for our country? Someone who sees government as a balance to capitalism, and a means to achieve the social and economic justice that we (yes, we) believe in? Will that leadership arrive before parts of America come to look like the dystopia of Johannesburg?
We (yes, we) recognise that capitalism is the most efficient way to maximise overall prosperity and quality of life. But we also recognise that unfettered, it will ravage the environment, abuse labor, and expand income disparity until violence or tragedy (or both) ensues.
These are the lessons we've learned since the industrial revolution, and they're the ones that we should be drawing from the past decade. We recognise that we need a strong federal government to check these tendencies, and to strike a stable, sustainable balance between prosperity, community, opportunity, wealth, justice, freedom. We need a voice to fill the moral vacuum that has allowed the Koch/Tea/Fox Party to emerge and grab power.
Americans know this---including, of course, President Obama (see his April 13 speech at GW University). But as this article by Dr. Westen so effectively shows, Obama is incompetent to lead us back to America's traditional position on the global economic/political spectrum. He's brilliant and eloquent. He's achieved personal success that is inspirational. He's done some good things as president. But he is not competent to lead us back to a state of American morality, where government is the protector of those who work hard, and the provider of opportunity to all Americans.
Taxes, subsidies, entitlements, laws... these are the tools we have available to achieve our national moral vision. But the vision has been muddled (hijacked?) and that is our biggest problem. -->martin Portland, Oregon August 7, 2011
I voted for Obama. I thought then, and still think, he's a decent person, a smart person, a person who wants to do the best he can for others. When I voted for him, I was thinking he's a centrist who will find a way to unite our increasingly polarized and ugly politics in the USA. Or if not unite us, at least forge a way to get some important things done despite the ugly polarization.
And I must confess, I have been disappointed. Deeply so. He has not united us. He has not forged a way to accomplish what needs to be done. He has not been a leader.
I've heard him called a mediator, a conciliator, a compromiser, etc. Those terms indicate someone who is bringing divergent views together and moving us along. That's part of what a leader does, though not all. Yet I don't think he's even lived up to his reputation as a mediator.
Almost three years after I voted for Obama, I still don't know what he's doing other than trying to help the financial industry: the wealthy who benefit most from it and the technocrats who run it for them. But average working people, people like myself and my daughter and my grandson, have not been helped. We are worse off than before. And millions of unemployed and underemployed are even worse off than my family is.
So whatever else he is (and that still remains a mystery to me), President Obama is not the leader I thought I was voting for. Which leaves me feeling confused and close to apathetic about what to do as a voter in 2012. More of the same isn't worth voting for. Yet I don't see anyone out there who offers the possibility of doing better.
This was an extraordinarily well written, eloquent and comprehensive indictment of the failure of the Obama presidency.
If a credible primary challenger to Obama ever could arise, the positions and analysis in this column would be all he or she would need to justify the Democratic party's need to seek new leadership.
I knew that Obama was a charade early on when giving a speech about the banking failures to the nation, instead of giving the narrative Mr. Westen accurately recommended on the origins of the orgy of greed that just crippled our economy and caused suffering for millions of Americans, he said "we don't disparage wealth in America." I was dumbfounded.
He should have been condemning the craven, wanton, greed of nihilistic financial gangsters who hijacked our economy. Instead he seemed to be calling for all Americans not to hate rich people. That was not the point. Americans don't hate rich people, but they should hate rich people who acquire their wealth at the expense of the well being of an entire nation through irresponsible, avaricious, and in some instances illegal practices, and legally bribe politicians to enact laws which allow them to run amok over our economy without supervision or regulation.
I knew then that Obama was either a political lemon, in over his head, an extremely conflict averse neurotic individual with a compulsive need for some delusional ideal of neutrality in political and social relations, or a political phony beholden to the same forces that almost destroyed the country as Republicans are.
Perhaps all of these are true.
Dec 31, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
To belabor what should be obvious: either the wealthy care about having more money or they don't. If lower marginal tax rates are an incentive to produce more, the prospect of personal gain is an incentive to engage in corrupt practices. You can't go all Ayn Rand/Gordon Gekko on the importance of greed as a motivator while claiming that wealth insulates ... from temptation. ...
And this is telling us something significant: namely, that supply-side economic theory is and always was a sham. It was never about the incentives; it was just another excuse to make the rich richer.Anomalous Cowherd : December 29, 2016 at 11:35 AMIn one sentence, you still can't beat John Kenneth Galbraith's assessment: "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."DrDick -> Anomalous Cowherd... , December 29, 2016 at 12:31 PM
Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero WolfeYou need to know nothing else to understand the entirety of the conservative edifice.JohnH :"choosing a cabinet of billionaires, because rich men are incorruptible"...kind of like showering ZIRP on the Wall Street banking cartel and letting them how to ration credit to the rest of economy...mostly their wealthy clientele, who use it for stock buy-backs and asset speculation.Gibbon1 : , December 29, 2016 at 12:29 PM
Of course, 'liberal' economists see nothing wrong with trickle down, supply side economics, as long as it's the Wall Street banking cartel who's in charge of it...Why do we need Krugman to tell us this?DrDick -> Gibbon1... , -1*We* do not, but our pandering press does and I think that is Krugman's intended target.JohnH -> pgl...Stiglitz: "I've always said that current monetary policy is not going to work because quantitative easing is based on a variant of trickle-down economics. The lower interest rates have led to a stock-market bubble to increases in stock-market prices and huge increases in wealth. But relatively little of that's been translated into increased and broad consumer spending."yuan -> JohnH...
But pgl and many other '[neo[liberal' economists just can't get enough of the trickle down monetary policy...all the while they vehemently condemn trickle down tax policy.and few liberal economists have been more skeptical of QE's economic impact than Krugman.ilsm :
PS: bernie, please save me from your bros.You all think Trump can do worse than the sitting cabal adding $660B from Sep 2015 to the federal debt quietly keeping the economy going for the incumbent party?yuan -> ilsm...
The losers think the winners are as crooked as they!when we can borrow over the long-term at 3% and have truly massive infrastructure and clean energy needs we should be borrowing like military Keynesian republicans...
Dec 31, 2016 | www.nytimes.com
Chris G said...
And this is telling us something significant: namely, that supply-side economic theory is and always was a sham.
Urgh. That it is and always a sham is irrelevant. It is THE NARRATIVE that matters! They had a compelling story and they stuck to it. That's how you sell politics in this country.
Trump told a significant fraction of the population that he understood their problems and that he would fix them. He told enough people what they wanted to hear - and did so with a convincing tone - that he got himself elected. That's how you win. You sell people on your vision. If you tell a good story most people aren't going to reality-check it. Sad but true.
On the importance of narrative: Drew Westen, "What Happened to Obama?" - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/opinion/sunday/what-happened-to-obamas-passion.html
Dec 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comPeter K. : All of the Democratic primary voters somehow believed Hillary Clinton would make a better candidate against Trump than Sanders would.
And now we're stuck with Trump for at least 4 years.
As Saul Bellow once said, "a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is strong". Reply Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at 07:09 PM Peter K. -> Peter K.... , December 28, 2016 at 07:11 PMSeriously why should we ever believe these neoliberal centrist Democrats again?likbez -> Peter K.... , December 28, 2016 at 10:09 PM
Why when they were so very, very wrong!
Krugman ASSURED us Clinton was a great candidate who would easily win.Krugman was clearly a neoliberal propagandist on payroll. He should not be even discussed in this context because his columns were so clearly partisan.Cal -> likbez... , -1
As for "Centrist Democrats" (aka Clinton wing of the party) their power is that you have nowhere to go: they rule the Democratic Party and the two party system guarantees that any third party will be either squashed or assimilated.
In no way they need that you believe them: being nowhere to go is enough.
Remember what happened with Sanders supporters during the convention? They were silenced. And then eliminated. That's how this system works.Krugman is a polarizing agent here in RiverCity...to our collective loss IMHO...as you know I don't have the Nobel.Egmont Kakarot-Handtke : , -1
But you might be giving him some hope with that "was"? Clearly he does not need $.
He is writing for our....yes, American, maybe even Global citizenship, which he thinks is in peril. It is. Otherwise I'd be out fishing.
And you? What's in it for you? Are you familiar with the history of political party systems that transition in and out of 2 parties? Is this little forum an example of the 2 party system: pro/con Krugman?
Americans believe crazy things, yet they are outdone by economists
Comment on Catherine Rampell on 'Americans - especially but not exclusively Trump voters - believe crazy, wrong things'#1
Americans are NOT special. Since more than 5000 years people believe things JUST BECAUSE they are absurd - in accordance with Tertullian's famous dictum "credo quia absurdum".#2
As a matter of principle, almost everybody has the right to his own opinion no matter how stupid, crazy, wrong, or absurd; the only exception are scientists. The ancient Greeks started science with the distinction between doxa (= opinion) and episteme (= knowledge). Scientific knowledge is well-defined by material and formal consistency. Knowledge is established by proof, belief or opinion counts for nothing.
Opinion is the currency in the political sphere, knowledge is the currency is the scientific sphere. It is extremely important to keep both spheres separate. Since the founding fathers, though, economists have not emancipated themselves from politics. They claim to do science but they have never risen above the level of opinion, belief, wish-wash, storytelling, soap box propaganda, and sitcom gossip.
The orthodox majority still believes in these Walrasian hard core absurdities: "HC1 economic agents have preferences over outcomes; HC2 agents individually optimize subject to constraints; HC3 agent choice is manifest in interrelated markets; HC4 agents have full relevant knowledge; HC5 observable outcomes are coordinated, and must be discussed with reference to equilibrium states." (Weintraub)
To be clear: HC2, HC4, HC5 are NONENTITIES like angels, Spiderman, or the Easter Bunny.
The heterodox minority still believes in these ill-defined Keynesian relationships: "Income = value of output = consumption + investment. Saving = income - consumption. Therefore saving = investment."
Until this day, Walrasians, Keynesians, Marxians, Austrians hold to their provable false beliefs and claim to do science. This is absurdity on stilts but it is swallowed hook, line and sinker by every new generation of economics students. Compared to the representative economist the average political sucker is a genius.
#1 The Washington Post
Dec 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Catherine Rampell:American Believe Crazy, Wrong Things : Many Americans believe a lot of dumb, crazy, destructive, provably wrong stuff.
JohnH, December 28, 2016 at 03:23 PMAmericans are also led to believe a lot of crazy, wrong things, such as Saddam had WMDs, or Iran had a nuclear weapons program, to cite only the most outrageous lies dutifully propagated by the mainstream media.yuan -> JohnH... , December 28, 2016 at 03:50 PM
Before Catherine Rampell criticizes ordinary Americans, she should have the Washington Post engage in a little serious introspection and self-criticism...The media should certainly shoulder some blame for parroting militarist propaganda but ordinary USAnians who continue to reward these scoundrels with their votes. And with Trump ordinary USAnians appear to have elected someone even more willing to shamelessly lie and loot than his predecessors.Chris G -> yuan... , -1
It is time for ordinary USAnians to engage in a lot of serious introspection and self-criticism. I doubt this will happen until it's too late. (Very thankful that I am not tied to this nation!)>It is time for ordinary USAnians to engage in a lot of serious introspection and self-criticism.
Don't hold your breath. Introspection and self-criticism aren't our strong suits. They run counter to that whole "American exceptionalism" thing.
> I doubt this will happen until it's too late.
I doubt that it will ever happen but, if it does, I have no doubt that it will happen until after its too late to salvage what currently passes for civilization in these parts.
"There's a big difference between the task of trying to sustain "civilisation" in its current form... and the task of holding open a space for the things which make life worth living. I'd suggest that it's this second task, in its many forms, which remains, after we've given up on false hopes." ( http://dark-mountain.net/blog/what-do-you-do-after-you-stop-pretending/)
Time to let go of false hopes.
Dec 28, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comsanjait -> Peter K.... December 28, 2016 at 05:02 PM , 2016 at 05:02 PMAt this point, when I hear people use the words "neoliberal," "elites" and "the media" in unspecified or highly generalized terms to make broad characterizations ... I know I'm dealing with an unserious person.sanjait -> sanjait... , December 28, 2016 at 05:05 PMIt's a lot like when someone says "structural reform" without specification in an economic discussion: An almost perfect indicator of vacuity.likbez -> sanjait... , -1Let's define the terms.
Neoliberals are those who adhere to the doctrine of Neoliberalism (the "prohibited" word you should not ever see in the US MSM ;-)
In this sense the term is very similar to Marxists (with the replacement of the slogan of "proletarians of all nations unite" with the "financial oligarchy of all countries unite"). Or more correctly they are the "latter day Trotskyites".
Neoliberalism consists of several eclectic parts such as neoclassic economics, mixture of Nietzscheanism (often in the form of Ann Rand philosophy; with the replacement of concept of Ubermench with "creative class" concept)) with corporatism. Like with Marxism there are different flavors of neoliberalism and different factions like "soft neoliberalism" (Clinton third way) which is the modern Democratic Party doctrine, and hard neoliberalism (Republican party version), often hostile to each other.
But there are other flavors too. For example Trump introduced another flavor which I called "bastard neoliberalism". Which is the neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization and without "Permanent revolution" mantra -- efforts for enlargement of the US led global neoliberal empire. Somewhat similar to Eduard Bernstein "revisionism" in Marxism. Or Putinism - which is also a flavor of neoliberalism with added "strong state" part and "resource nationalism" bent, which upset so much the US neoliberal establishment, as it complicates looting of the country by transnational corporations.
Neoliberalism also can be viewed as a modern mutation of corporatism, favoring multinationals (under disguise of "free trade"), privatization of state assets, minimal government intervention in business (with financial oligarchy being like Soviet nomenklatura above the law), reduced public expenditures on social services, and decimation of New Deal, strong anti trade unionism stance and attempt to atomize work force (perma temps as preferred mode of employment giving employers "maximum flexibility") , neocolonialism and militarism in foreign relations (might makes right).
Like for any corporatist thinkers the real goals are often hidden under thick smoke screen of propaganda.
The word "elite" in the context of neoliberalism has the same meaning as the Russian word nomenklatura. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomenklatura, -- the political establishment holding or controlling both public and private power centers such as media, finance, academia, culture, trade, industry, state and international institutions.
Dec 28, 2016 | www.unz.com
November 28, 2012 | The American Conservative Just before the Labor Day weekend, a front page New York Times story broke the news of the largest cheating scandal in Harvard University history, in which nearly half the students taking a Government course on the role of Congress had plagiarized or otherwise illegally collaborated on their final exam.  Each year, Harvard admits just 1600 freshmen while almost 125 Harvard students now face possible suspension over this single incident. A Harvard dean described the situation as "unprecedented."
But should we really be so surprised at this behavior among the students at America's most prestigious academic institution? In the last generation or two, the funnel of opportunity in American society has drastically narrowed, with a greater and greater proportion of our financial, media, business, and political elites being drawn from a relatively small number of our leading universities, together with their professional schools. The rise of a Henry Ford, from farm boy mechanic to world business tycoon, seems virtually impossible today, as even America's most successful college dropouts such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg often turn out to be extremely well-connected former Harvard students. Indeed, the early success of Facebook was largely due to the powerful imprimatur it enjoyed from its exclusive availability first only at Harvard and later restricted to just the Ivy League.
During this period, we have witnessed a huge national decline in well-paid middle class jobs in the manufacturing sector and other sources of employment for those lacking college degrees, with median American wages having been stagnant or declining for the last forty years. Meanwhile, there has been an astonishing concentration of wealth at the top, with America's richest 1 percent now possessing nearly as much net wealth as the bottom 95 percent. 
This situation, sometimes described as a "winner take all society," leaves families desperate to maximize the chances that their children will reach the winners' circle, rather than risk failure and poverty or even merely a spot in the rapidly deteriorating middle class. And the best single means of becoming such an economic winner is to gain admission to a top university, which provides an easy ticket to the wealth of Wall Street or similar venues, whose leading firms increasingly restrict their hiring to graduates of the Ivy League or a tiny handful of other top colleges.  On the other side, finance remains the favored employment choice for Harvard, Yale or Princeton students after the diplomas are handed out. The Battle for Elite College Admissions
As a direct consequence, the war over college admissions has become astonishingly fierce, with many middle- or upper-middle class families investing quantities of time and money that would have seemed unimaginable a generation or more ago, leading to an all-against-all arms race that immiserates the student and exhausts the parents. The absurd parental efforts of an Amy Chua, as recounted in her 2010 bestseller Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother , were simply a much more extreme version of widespread behavior among her peer-group, which is why her story resonated so deeply among our educated elites. Over the last thirty years, America's test-prep companies have grown from almost nothing into a $5 billion annual industry, allowing the affluent to provide an admissions edge to their less able children. Similarly, the enormous annual tuition of $35,000 charged by elite private schools such as Dalton or Exeter is less for a superior high school education than for the hope of a greatly increased chance to enter the Ivy League. 
Many New York City parents even go to enormous efforts to enroll their children in the best possible pre-Kindergarten program, seeking early placement on the educational conveyer belt which eventually leads to Harvard.  Others cut corners in a more direct fashion, as revealed in the huge SAT cheating rings recently uncovered in affluent New York suburbs, in which students were paid thousands of dollars to take SAT exams for their wealthier but dimmer classmates. 
But given such massive social and economic value now concentrated in a Harvard or Yale degree, the tiny handful of elite admissions gatekeepers enjoy enormous, almost unprecedented power to shape the leadership of our society by allocating their supply of thick envelopes. Even billionaires, media barons, and U.S. Senators may weigh their words and actions more carefully as their children approach college age. And if such power is used to select our future elites in a corrupt manner, perhaps the inevitable result is the selection of corrupt elites, with terrible consequences for America. Thus, the huge Harvard cheating scandal, and perhaps also the endless series of financial, business, and political scandals which have rocked our country over the last decade or more, even while our national economy has stagnated.
Just a few years ago Pulitzer Prize-winning former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Golden published The Price of Admission , a devastating account of the corrupt admissions practices at so many of our leading universities, in which every sort of non-academic or financial factor plays a role in privileging the privileged and thereby squeezing out those high-ability, hard-working students who lack any special hook.
In one particularly egregious case, a wealthy New Jersey real estate developer, later sent to Federal prison on political corruption charges, paid Harvard $2.5 million to help ensure admission of his completely under-qualified son.  When we consider that Harvard's existing endowment was then at $15 billion and earning almost $7 million each day in investment earnings, we see that a culture of financial corruption has developed an absurd illogic of its own, in which senior Harvard administrators sell their university's honor for just a few hours worth of its regular annual income, the equivalent of a Harvard instructor raising a grade for a hundred dollars in cash.
An admissions system based on non-academic factors often amounting to institutionalized venality would seem strange or even unthinkable among the top universities of most other advanced nations in Europe or Asia, though such practices are widespread in much of the corrupt Third World. The notion of a wealthy family buying their son his entrance into the Grandes Ecoles of France or the top Japanese universities would be an absurdity, and the academic rectitude of Europe's Nordic or Germanic nations is even more severe, with those far more egalitarian societies anyway tending to deemphasize university rankings.
EliteCommInc., November 28, 2012 at 11:09 am GMT EliteCommInc. November 28, 2012 at 11:21 am GMT
Well, legacy programs are alive and well. According to the read, here's the problem:
"The research certainly supports the widespread perception that non-academic factors play a major role in the process, including athletic ability and "legacy" status. But as we saw earlier, even more significant are racial factors, with black ancestry being worth the equivalent of 310 points, Hispanics gaining 130 points, and Asian students being penalized by 140 points, all relative to white applicants on the 1600 point Math and Reading SAT scale."
These arbitrary point systems while well intended are not a reflection of AA design. School lawyers in a race not be penalized for past practices, implemented their own versions of AA programs. The numbers are easy to challenge because they aren't based on tangible or narrow principles. It's weakneses are almost laughable. Because there redal goal was to thwart any real challenge that institutions were idle in addressing past acts of discrimination. To boost their diversity issues, asians were heavily recruited. Since AA has been in place a lot of faulty measures were egaged in: Quotas for quotas sake. Good for PR, lousy for AA and issues it was designed to address.
I think the statistical data hides a very important factor and practice. Most jews in this country are white as such , and as such only needed to change their names and hide behaviors as a strategy of surviving the entrance gauntlet. That segregation created a black collegiate system with it's own set of elite qualifiers demonstrates that this model isn't limited to the Ivy league.
That an elite system is devised and practiced in members of a certain club networks so as to maintain their elite status, networks and control, this is a human practice. And it once served as something to achieve. It was thought that the avenues of becoming an elite were there if one wanted to strive for it. Hard work, honesty, persistence, results . . . should yield X.
And while I am not as focused on the poverty ve wealth dynamic. this century has revealed something very disappointing that you address. That the elites have done a very poor job of leading the ship of state, while still remaining in leadership belies such a bold hypocrisy in accountability, it's jarring. The article could actually be titled: "The Myth of the Best and the Brightest."
I don't think it's just some vindictive intent. and while Americans have always known and to an extent accepted that for upper income citizens, normal was not the same as normal on the street. Fairness, was not the same jn practice nor sentiment. What may becoming increasing intolerant has been the obvious lack of accountability among elites. TARP looked like the elites looking out for each other as opposed the ship of state. I have read three books on the financials and they do not paint a pretty portrait of Ivy League leadership as to ethics, cheating, lying, covering up, and shamelessly passing the buck. I will be reading this again I am sure.
It's sad to think that we may be seeing te passing of an era. in which one aspired to be an elite not soley for their wealth, but the model they provided od leadership real or imagined. Perhaps, it passed long ago, and we are all not just noticing.
I appreciated you conclusions, not sure that I am comfortable with some of the solutions.Russell Seitz November 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm GMT
Since I still hanker to be an elite in some manner, It is interesting to note my rather subdued response to the cheating. Sadly, this too may be an open secret of standard fair - and that is very very sad. And disappointing. Angering even.Sean Gillhoolley November 28, 2012 at 3:06 pm GMT
The shifting social demography of deans, house masters and admissions committees may be a more important metric than the composition of the student body, as it determines the shape of the curriculum, and the underlying culture of the university as a legacy in itself.
If Ron harrows the literary journals of the Jackson era with equal diligence. he may well turn up an essay or two expressing deep shock at Unitarians admitting too many of the Lord's preterite sheep to Harvard, or lamenting the rise of Methodism at Yale and the College of New Jersey.Rob in CT November 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm GMT
Harvard is a university, much like Princeton and Yale, that continues based on its reputation, something that was earned in the past. When the present catches up to them people will regard them as nepotistic cauldrons of corruption.
Look at the financial disaster that befell the USA and much of the globe back in 2008. Its genesis can be found in the clever minds of those coming out of their business schools (and, oddly enough, their Physics programs as well).
They are teaching the elite how to drain all value from American companies, as the rich plan their move to China, the new land of opportunity. When 1% of the population controls such a huge portion of the wealth, patriotism becomes a loadstone to them. The elite are global. Places like Harvard cater to them, help train them to rule the world .but first they must remake it. Replies: @Part White, Part Native I agree, common people would never think of derivatives , nor make loans based on speculationBryan November 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm GMT
First, I appreciated the length and depth of your article.
Having said that, to boil it down to its essence:
Subconcious bias/groupthink + affirmative action/diversity focus + corruption + innumeracy = student bodies at elite institutions that are wildly skewed vis-a-vis both: 1) the ethnic makeup of the general population; and 2) the makeup of our top-performing students.
Since these institutions are pipelines to power, this matters.
I rather doubt that wage stagnation (which appears to have begun in ~1970) can be pinned on this that part stuck out, because there are far more plausible causes. To the extent you're merely arguing that our elite failed to counter the trend, ok, but I'm not sure a "better" elite would have either. The trend, after all, favored the elite.
Anyway, I find your case is plausible.
Your inner/outer circle hybrid option is interesting. One (perhaps minor) thing jumps out at me: kids talk. The innies are going to figure out who they are and who the outies are. The outies might have their arrogance tempered, but the innies? I suspect they'd be even *more* arrogant than such folks are now (all the more so because they'd have better justification for their arrogance), but I could be wrong.
Perhaps more significantly, this:
But if it were explicitly known that the vast majority of Harvard students had merely been winners in the application lottery, top businesses would begin to cast a much wider net in their employment outreach, and while the average Harvard student would probably be academically stronger than the average graduate of a state college, the gap would no longer be seen as so enormous, with individuals being judged more on their own merits and actual achievements
Is a very good reason for Harvard, et al. to resist the idea. I think you're right that this would be a good thing for the country, but it would be bad for Harvard. I think the odds of convincing Harvard to do it out of the goodness of their administrators hearts is unlikely. You are basically asking them to purposefully damage their brand.
All in all, I think you're on to something here. I have my quibbles (the wage stagnation thing, and the graph with Chinese vs USA per capita growth come on, apples and oranges there!), but overall I think I agree that your proposal is likely superior to the status quo.Anonymous November 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm GMT
Don't forget the mess one finds after they ARE admitted to these schools. I dropped out of Columbia University in 2010.
You can "make it" on an Ivy-league campus if you are a conservative-Republican-type with all the rich country-club connections that liberals use to stereotype.
Or you can succeed if you are a poor or working-class type who is willing to toe the Affirmative Action party line and be a good "progressive" Democrat (Obama stickers, "Gay Pride" celebrations, etc.)
If you come from a poor or working-class background and are religious, or culturally conservative or libertarian in any way, you might as well save your time and money. You're not welcome, period. And if you're a military veteran you WILL be actively persecuted, no matter what the news reports claim.
It sucks. Getting accepted to Columbia was a dream come true for me. The reality broke my heart.Scott McConnell November 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm GMT
Regarding the overrepresentation of Jewish students compared to their actual academic merit, I think the author overstates the role bias (subjective, or otherwise) plays in this:
1) , a likely explanation is that Jewish applicants are a step ahead in knowing how to "play the admissions game." They therefore constitute a good percentage of applicants that admission committees view as "the total package." (at least a higher percentage than scores alone would yield). Obviously money and connections plays a role in them knowing to say precisely what adcoms want to hear, but in any case, at the end of the day, if adcoms are looking for applicants with >1400 SATs, "meaningful" life experiences/accomplishments, and a personal statement that can weave it all together into a compelling narrative, the middle-upper-class east coast Jewish applicant probably constitutes a good percentage of such "total package" applicants. I will concede however that this explanation only works in explaining the prevalence of jews vs. whites in general. With respect to Asians, however, since they are likely being actively and purposefully discriminated against by adcoms, having the "complete package" would be less helpful to them.
2) Another factor is that, regardless of ethnicity, alumni children get a boost and since in the previous generation Jewish applicants were the highest achieving academic group, many of these lesser qualified jews admitted are children of alumni.
3) That ivy colleges care more about strong verbal scores than mathematics (i.e., they prefer 800V 700M over 700V 800M), and Jewish applicants make up a higher proportion of the high verbal score breakdowns.
4) Last, and perhaps more importantly we do not really know the extent of Jewish representation compared to their academic merit. Unlike admitted Asian applicants, who we know, on average, score higher than white applicants, we have no similar numbers of Jewish applicants. The PSAT numbers are helpful, but hardly dispositive considering those aren't the scores colleges use in making their decision information.HAR November 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm GMT
@Bryan Getting accepted to Columbia was a dream come true for me. The reality broke my heart.
I'm touched by this. I've spent tons of time at Columbia, a generation ago -- and my background fit fine -- the kind of WASP background Jews found exotic and interesting. But I can see your point, sad to say. There are other great schools -- Fordham, where my wife went to law school at night, has incredible esprit de corps - and probably, person for person, has as many lawyers doing good and interesting work as Columbia.KXB November 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm GMT
"There are other great schoolsFordham, where my wife went to law school at night, has incredible esprit de corps - and probably, person for person, has as many lawyers doing good and interesting work as Columbia."
Someone doesn't know much about the legal market.Anonymous November 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm GMT
"Tiffany was also rejected by all her other prestigious college choices, including Yale, Penn, Duke, and Wellsley, an outcome which greatly surprised and disappointed her immigrant father.88″
In the fall of 1990, my parents had me apply to 10 colleges. I had the profile of many Indian kids at the time ranked in the top 10 of the class, editor of school paper, Boy Scouts. SAT scores could have been better, but still strong. Over 700 in all achievement tests save Bio, which was 670.
Rejected by 5 schools, waitlisted by 3, accepted into 2 one of them the state univ.
One of my classmates, whose family was from Thailand, wound up in the same predicament as me. His response, "Basketball was designed to keep the Asian man down."
The one black kid in our group got into MIT, dropped out after one year because he could not hack it. The kid from our school who should have gone, from an Italian-American family, and among the few who did not embrace the guido culture, went to Rennsealer instead, and had professional success after.a November 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm GMT
As a University of Chicago alum, I infer that by avoiding the label "elite" on such a nifty chart we can be accurately categorized as "meritocratic" by The American Conservative.
Then again, this article doesn't even purport to ask why elite universities might be in the business of EDUCATING a wider population of students, or how that education takes place.
Perhaps, by ensuring that "the best" students are not concentrated in only 8 universities is why the depth and quality of America's education system remains the envy of the world.Weighty Commentary November 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm GMT
In my high school, there were roughly 15 of us who had been advanced two years ahead in math. Of those, 10 were Jewish; only two of them had a 'Jewish' last name. In my graduate school class, half (7) are Jewish. None has a 'Jewish' last name. So I'm pretty dubious of the counting method that you use.
Also, it's clear that there are Asian quotas at these schools, but it's not clear that Intel Science Fairs, etc, are the best way to estimate what level of talent Asians have relative to other groups.
I was curious so I google High School Poetry Competition, High School Constitution Competition, High School Debating Competition. None of the winners here seem to have an especially high Asian quotient. So maybe a non-technical (liberal arts) university would settle on ~25-30% instead of ~40% asian? And perhaps a (small) part of the problem is a preponderance of Asian applicants excelling in technical fields, leading to competition against each other rather than the general population? Just wonderin'Adam November 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm GMT
Regarding the declining Jewish achievement, it looks like it can be primarily explained through demographics: "Intermarriage rates have risen from roughly 6% in 1950 to approximately 4050% in the year 2000. This, in combination with the comparatively low birthrate in the Jewish community, has led to a 5% decline in the Jewish population of the United States in the 1990s."
Jewish surnames don't mean what they used to. And intermarriage rates are lowest among the low-performing and highly prolific Orthodox.
Jewish birth rates have been falling faster than the white population, especially for the non-Orthodox:
"In contrast to the ongoing trends of assimilation, some communities within American Jewry, such as Orthodox Jews, have significantly higher birth rates and lower intermarriage rates, and are growing rapidly. The proportion of Jewish synagogue members who were Orthodox rose from 11% in 1971 to 21% in 2000, while the overall Jewish community declined in number.  In 2000, there were 360,000 so-called "ultra-orthodox" (Haredi) Jews in USA (7.2%). The figure for 2006 is estimated at 468,000 (9.4%)."
"a very low fertility rate of 1.9, of which 1.4 will be raised as Jews (2.15 is replacement rate)"
"As against the overall average of 1.86 children per Jewish woman, an informed estimate gives figures ranging upward from 3.3 children in "modern Orthodox" families to 6.6 in Haredi or "ultra-Orthodox" families to a whopping 7.9 in families of Hasidim."
These statistics would suggest that half or more of Jewish children are being born into these lower-performing groups. Given their very low intermarriage rates, a huge portion of the secular, Reform, and Conservative Jews must be intermarrying (more than half if the aggregate 43% intermarriage figure is right). And the high-performing groups may now be around 1 child per woman or lower, and worse for the youngest generation.
So a collapse in Jewish representation in youth science prizes can be mostly explained by the collapse of the distinct non-Orthodox Jewish youth.
Incidentally, intermarriage also produces people with Jewish ancestry who get classified as gentiles using last names or self-identification, reducing Jewish-gentile gaps by bringing up nominal gentile scores at the same time as nominal-Jewish scores are lowered.Bryan November 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm GMT
The center of power in this country being located in the Northeast is nothing new. Whether it be in it's Ivy League schools or the ownership of natural resources located in other regions, particularly the South, the Northeast has always had a disproportionate share of influence in the power structures, particularly political and financial, of this nation. This is one of the reasons the definition of "white" when reviewing ethnicity is so laughably inaccurate. There is a huge difference in opportunity between WASP or Jewish in the Northeast, for instance, and those of Scots Irish ancestory in the mountain south. Hopefully statistical analysis such as this can break open that stranglehold, especially as it is directly impacting a minority group in a negative fashion. Doing this exercise using say, white Baptists compared to other white subgroups, while maybe equally valid in the results, would be seen as racist by the very Ivy League system that is essentially practicing a form of racism.Anonymous November 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm GMT
Scott, thanks for your words of commiseration.
Yeah, my ultimate goal was to attend law school, and a big part of the heartbreak for meor heartburn, the more cynical would call itwas seeing how skewed and absurd the admissions process to law school is.
I have no doubt that I could have eventually entered into a "top tier" law school, and that was a dream of mine also. I met with admissions officers from Duke, Harvard, Stanford, Fordham, etc. I was encouraged. I had the grades and background for it.
Butand I'm really not trying to sound corny 0r self-important herewhat does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul? I really don't feel that I'm exaggerating when I say that that's exactly how it felt to me.
The best experience I had while In New York was working as an after-school programs administrator for P.S. 136, but that was only because of the kids. They'll be old and bitter and cynical soon enough.
At one point it occurred to me that I should have just started claiming "Black" as my ethnicity when I first started attending college as an adult. I never attended high-school so it couldn't have been disproved. I'm part Sicilian so I could pass for 1/4 African-American. Then I would have received the preference toward admission that, say, Michael Jordan's kids or Barack Obama's kids will receive when they claim their Ivy-league diplomas. I should have hid the "white privilege" I've enjoyed as the son of a fisherman and a waitress from one of the most economically-depressed states in America.
The bottom line is that those colleges are political brainwashing centers for a country I no longer believe in. I arrived on campus in 2009 and I'm not joking at all when I say I was actively persecuted for being a veteran and a conservative who was not drinking the Obama Kool-aid. Some big fat African-American lady, a back-room "administrator" for Columbia, straight-up threw my VA benefits certification in the garbage, so my money got delayed by almost two months. I had no idea what was going on. I had a wife and children to support.
The fact that technology has enabled us to sit here in real-time and correspond back-and-forth about the state of things doesn't really change the state of things. They are irredeemable. This country is broke and broken.
If Abraham Lincoln were born today in America he would wind up like "Uncle Teardrop" from Winter's Bone. Back then, in order to be an attorney, you simply studied law and starting trying cases. If you were good at it then you were accepted and became a lawyer. Today, something has been lost. There is no fixing it. I don't want to waste my time trying to help by being "productive" to the new tower of Babel or pretending to contribute.TM says: Website November 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm GMT
Perhaps only one thing you left out, which is especially important with regard to Jewish enrollment and applications at Ivy leagues, and other schools as well.
Jewish high school graduates actively look out for campuses with large Jewish populations, where they feel more comfortable.
I don't know the figures, but I believe Dartmouth, for example, has a much smaller Jewish population than Columbia, and it will stay that way because of a positive feedback loop. (i.e. Jews would rather be at Columbia than Dartmouth, or sometimes even rather be at NYU than Dartmouth). This explains some of the difference among different schools (and not solely better admission standards).
This is also especially relevant to your random lottery idea, which will inevitably lead to certain schools being overwhelmingly Asian, others being overwhelmingly Jewish, etc., because the percentage of applicants from every ethnicity is different in every school. This will necessarily eliminate any diversity which may or may not have existed until now.Luke Lea November 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm GMT
I like the lottery admissions idea a lot but the real remedy for the US education system would be to abandon the absurd elite cult altogether. There is not a shred of evidence that graduates of so-called elite institutions make good leaders. Many of them are responsible for the economic crash and some of them have brought us the disaster of the Bush presidency.
Many better functioning countries Germany, the Scandinavians do not have elite higher education systems. When I enrolled to University in Germany, I showed up at the enrollment office the summer before the academic year started, filled out a form (1), and provided a certified copy of my Abitur certificate proving that I was academically competent to attend University. I never wasted a minute on any of the admissions games that American middle class teenagers and their parents are subjected to. It would surely have hurt my sense of dignity to be forced to jump through all these absurd and arbitrary hoops.
Americans, due to their ignorance of everything happening outside their borders, have no clue that a system in which a person is judged by what "school" they attended is everything but normal. It is part of the reason for American dysfunction.Jack November 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm GMT
Since they are the pool from which tomorrow's governing elites will be chosen, I'd much rather see Ivy League student bodies which reflected the full ethnic and geographic diversity of the US. Right now rural and small town Americans and those of Catholic and Protestant descent who live in the South and Mid-West - roughly half the population - are woefully under-represented, which explains why their economic interests have been neglected over the last forty years. We live in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic representative democracy and our policy-making elites must reflect that diversity. Else the country will come apart.
Thus I recommend 'affirmative action for all' in our elite liberal arts colleges and universities (though not our technical schools). Student bodies should be represent 'the best and the brightest' of every ethnic group and geographical area of the country. Then the old school ties will truly knit our society together in a way that is simply not happening today.
A side benefit - and I mean this seriously - is that our second and third tier colleges and universities would be improved by an influx of Asian and Ashkenazi students (even though the very best would still go to Harvard).Pat Boyle November 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm GMT
I believe that this article raises and then inappropriately immediately dismisses the simplest and most likely reason for the over-representation of Jewish students at Ivy League Schools in the face of their declining bulk academic performance:
They apply to those schools in vastly disproportionate numbers.
Without actual data on the ethnicity of the applicants to these and other schools, we simply cannot rule out this simple and likely explanation.
It is quite clear that a large current of Jewish American culture places a great emphasis on elite college attendance, and among elite colleges, specifically values the Ivy League and its particular cache as opposed to other elite institutions such as MIT. Also, elite Jewish American culture, moreso than elite Asian American culture, encourages children to go far away from home for college, considering such a thing almost a right of passage, while other ethnic groups tend to encourage children to remain closer. A high performing Asian student from, say, California, is much more likely to face familial pressure to stay close to home for undergrad (Berkeley, UCLA, etc) than a high performing Jewish student from the same high school, who will likely be encouraged by his or her family to apply to many universities "back east".
Without being able to systematically compare with real data the ethnicities of the applicants to those offered admission, these conclusions simply cannot be accepted.Anonymous November 28, 2012 at 11:06 pm GMT
Different expectations for different races should worry traditional Americans.
If we become comfortable with different academic standards for Asians will we soon be expected to apply different laws to them also? Will we apply different laws or at least different interpretations of the same laws to blacks?
The association of East Asians with CalTech is now as strong as the association of blacks with violent crime. Can not race conscious jurisprudence be far behind?
Around a millenium ago in England it mattered to the court if you were a commoner or a noble. Nobles could exercise 'high justice' with impunity. They were held to different standards. Their testimony counted for more in court. The law was class concious.
Then we had centuries of reform. We had 'Common Law'. By the time of our revolution the idea that all were equal before the law was a very American kind of idea. We were proud that unlike England we did not have a class system.
Today we seem to be on the threshold of a similar sytem of privileges and rights based on race. Let me give an example. If there were a domestic riot of somekind and a breakdown of public order, the authorities might very well impose a cufew. That makes good sense for black male teens but makes little or no sense for elderly Chinese women. I can envision a time when we have race specific policies for curfews and similar measures.
It seems to be starting in schools. It could be that the idea of equality before the law was an idea that only flourished between the fifteenth century and the twenty first.Kelly November 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm GMT
"But filling out a few very simple forms and having their test scores and grades scores automatically forwarded to a list of possible universities would give them at least the same chance in the lottery as any other applicant whose academic skills were adequate."
They get a lot of applications. I am guessing they chuck about 1/2 or more due to the application being incomplete, the applicant did not follow instructions, the application was sloppy, or just obviously poor grades/test scores. The interview and perhaps the essay and recommendations are necessary to chuck weirdos and psychopaths you do not want sitting next to King Fahd Jr. So the "byzantine" application process is actually necessary to reduce the number of applicants to be evaluated.Anonymous November 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm GMT
I have a friend who went to Stanford with me in the early 80s. She has two sons who recently applied to Stanford. The older son had slightly better grades and test scores. The younger son is gay. Guess which one got in?FN November 28, 2012 at 11:44 pm GMT
If you were in Columbia's GS school, (or even if you were CC/SEAS/Barnard) you ought to reach out to some of on-campus and alumni veteran's groups. They can help you maneuver through the school. (I know there's one that meets at a cafe on 122 and Broadway) CU can be a lonely and forbidding place for anyone and that goes double for GSers and quadruple for veterans.
You ought to give it another go. Especially if you aren't going somewhere else that's better. Reach out to your deans and make a fuss. No one in the bureaucracy wants to help but you can force them to their job.Ben K November 29, 2012 at 12:24 am GMT
Mr. Unz, the issues of jewish/gentile intermarriage and the significance of jewish-looking names do indeed merit more consideration than they were given in this otherwise very enlightening article.
What would the percentage of jews in Ivy-League universities look like if the methodology used to determine the percentage of jewish NMS semifinalists were applied to the list of Ivy League students (or some available approximation of it)?Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 12:28 am GMT
For background: I'm an Asian-American who worked briefly in legacy admissions at an Ivy and another non-Ivy top-tier, both while in school (work-study) and as an alum on related committees.
Mendy Finkel's observations are spot on. Re: her 1st point, personal "presentation" or "branding" is often overlooked by Asian applicants. An admission officer at another Ivy joked they drew straws to assign "Night of a 1000 Lee's", so accomplished-but-indistinguishable was that group.
A few points on the Asian analysis:
1. I think this analysis would benefit from expanding beyond HYP/Ivies when considering the broader meritocracy issue. Many Asians esteem technical-leaning schools over academically-comparable liberal arts ones, even if the student isn't a science major. When I was in college in the 90′s, most Asian parents would favor a Carnegie Mellon or Hopkins over Brown, Columbia or Dartmouth (though HYP, of course, had its magnetic appeal). The enrollment percentages reflect this, and while some of this is changing, this is a fairly persistent pattern.
2. Fundraising is crucial. The Harvard Class of '77 example isn't the most telling kind of number. In my experience, Jewish alumni provide a critical mass in both the day-to-day fundraising and the resultant dollars. And they play a key role, both as givers and getters, in the signature capital campaign commitments (univ hospitals, research centers, etc.). This isn't unique to Jewish Ivy alumni; Catholic alumni of ND or Georgetown provide similar support. But it isn't clear what the future overall Asian commitment to the Ivy "culture of fundraising" will be, which will continue to be a net negative in admissions.
Sidenote: While Asians greatly value the particular civic good, they are uneasy with it being so hinged to an opaque private sector, in this case, philanthropy. That distinction, blown out a bit, speaks to some of the Republican "Asian gap".
3. I would not place too much weight on NMS comparisons between Asians and Jews. In my experience, most Asians treat the PSAT seriously, but many established Jews do not the potential scholarship money isn't a factor, "NMS semifinalist" isn't an admissions distinction, and as Mendy highlighted, colleges don't see the scores.
On a different note, while the "weight" of an Ivy degree is significant, it's prestige is largely concentrated in the Northeast and among some overseas. In terms of facilitating access and mobility, a USC degree might serve you better in SoCal, as would an SMU one in TX.
And like J Harlan, I also hope the recent monopoly of Harvard and Yale grads in the presidency will end. No doubt, places like Whittier College, Southwest Texas State Teachers' College, and Eureka College gave earlier presidents valuable perspectives and experience that informed their governing.
But thank you, Ron, for a great provocative piece. Very well worth the read.M_Young November 29, 2012 at 1:46 am GMT
Hey Ron, your next article should be on the military academies, and all those legacies that go back to the Revolutionary War. How do you get into the French military academy, and do the cadets trace their family history back to the soldiers of Napoleon or Charles Martel or whatever?Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 4:04 am GMT
"Thus, there appears to be no evidence for racial bias against Asians, even excluding the race-neutral impact of athletic recruitment, legacy admissions, and geographical diversity."
Yes, at UCLA, at least up to 2004, Asian and white admits had nearly identical SATs and GPAs.
Further, it just isn't the case that Asians are so spectacular as people seem to think. Their average on the SAT Verbal is slightly less than whites, their average on SAT Writing is slightly more. Only in math do they have a significant advantage, 59 points or .59 standard deviation. Total advantage is about .2 over the three tests. Assuming that Harvard or Yale admit students at +3 standard deviations overall, and plugging the relative group quantiles +(3, 2.8) into a normal distribution, we get that .14% of white kids would get admitted, versus .26% of Asian kids. Or, 1.85 Asian kids for every one white kid.
But, last year 4.25 times as many whites as Asians took the SAT, so there still should be about 2.28 times as many white kids being admitted as Asians (4.25/1.85).
On GPA, whites and Asians are also pretty similar on average, 3.52 for Asians who took the SAT, 3.45 for whites who took the SAT. So that shouldn't be much of a factor.Todd November 29, 2012 at 5:49 am GMT
I am a Cadet at the US Military Academy at West Point and generally pretty familiar with trans-national Academy admissions processes. There's an excellent comparative study of worldwide military academy admissions that was done in the late '90′s you might find interesting (IIRC it was done by a group in the NATO Defence College) and I think you will find that although soldiers are often proud of their family histories to a fault, it is not what controls entrance to the officer corps in most countries.
"Legacy" is definitely meaningless in US Military Academy admissions, although can be very helpful in the separate process of securing a political appointment to attend the Academy once accepted for admission and in an Army career. West Point is not comparable to the Ivy League schools in the country, because (ironically) the admissions department that makes those comparisons lets in an inordinate number of unqualified candidates and ensures our student body includes a wide range of candidates, from people who are unquestionably "Ivy League material" to those who don't have the intellect to hack it at any "elite" institution.
Prior the changes in admissions policies and JFK ordering an doubling of the size of the Corps of Cadets in the '60′s, we didn't have this problem. But, I digress. My point is, the Academy admissions system is very meritocratic.Interesting November 29, 2012 at 7:02 am GMT
Thank you for the great article.
I am a Jewish alum of UPenn, and graduated in the late 90s. That puts me almost a generation ago, which may be before the supposed Jewish decline you write about. I was in an 80%+ Jewish fraternity, and at least 2/3 of my overall network of friends at Penn was also Jewish. As was mentioned earlier, I have serious qualms with your methods for counting Jews based upon last name.
Based upon my admittedly non-scientific sample, the percentage of us who had traditionally Jewish last names was well under half and closer to 25%. My own last name is German, and you would never know I am Jewish based solely upon my name (nor would you based upon the surname of 3/4 of my grandparents, despite my family being 100% Jewish with no intermarriages until my sister).
By contrast, Asians are much easier to identify based upon name. You may overcount certain names like Lee that are also Caucasian, but it is highly unlikely that you will miss any Asian students when your criterion is last name.
Admittedly I skimmed parts of the article, but were other criterion used to more accurately identify the groups?A Jew November 29, 2012 at 7:44 am GMT
The Jewish presence is definitely understated by just looking at surnames. As is the American Indian.
My maternal grandfather was Ashkenazi and his wife was 1/2 Ashkenazi and 1/4 Apache. He changed his name to a Scots surname that matched his red hair so as to get ahead as a business man in 20s due to KKK and anti-German feelings at the time. Their kids had two PHDs and a Masters between them despite their parents running a very blue collar firm.
My surname comes from my dad and its a Scottish surname although he was 1/4 Cherokee. On that side we are members of the FF of Virignia. Altogether I am more Jewish and American Indian than anything else yet would be classified as white. I could easily claim to be
Jewish or Indian on admissions forms. I always selected white. I was NMSF.
Both my sister and I have kids. Her husband is a full blood Indian with a common English surname. One of my nieces made NMSF and another might. My sisters kids do not think of themselves as any race and check other.
My wife is 1/4 Indian and 3/4 English. My kids are young yet one has tested to an IQ in the 150s.
Once you get West of the Appalachians, there are a lot of mutts in the non-gentile whites. A lot of Jews and American Indians Anglicized themselves a generation or two ago and they are lumped into that group as well as occupy the top percentile academically.Leon November 29, 2012 at 10:24 am GMT
Interesting article with parts I would agree with but also tinged with bias and conclusions that I would argue are not fully supported by the data.
I think more analysis is needed to confirm your conclusions. As others have mentioned there may be problems with your analysis of NMS scores. I think graduate admissions and achievements especially in the math and sciences would be a better measure of intellectual performance.
Now, I didn't attend an Ivy League school, instead a public university, mainly because I couldn't afford it or so I thought. I was also a NMS finalist.
But I always was of the opinion that except for the most exceptional students admission to the Ivies was based on the wealth of your family and as you mentioned there are quite a few affluent Jews so I imagine they do have a leg up. Harvard's endowment isn't as large as it is by accident.
It is interesting that you didn't discuss the stats for Stanford.
Lastly, I think your solution is wrong. The pure meritocracy is the only fair solution. Admissions should be based upon the entrance exams like in Asia and Europe.
There are plenty of options for those who don't want to compete and if the Asians dominate admissions at the top schools so be it.
Hopefully, all of this will be mute point n a few years as online education options become more popular with Universities specializing in graduate education and research.Weighty Commentary November 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm GMT
Ron Unz on Asians (ie Asian Americans): "many of them impoverished immigrant families"
Why do you twice repeat this assertion. Asians are the wealthiest race and most of the wealthiest ethnic groups tracked by the Census Bureau, which includes immigrants.
A potentially bigger issue completely ignored by your article is how do colleges differentiate between 'foreign' students (overwhelmingly Asian) and American students. Many students being counted as "Asian American" are in reality wealthy and elite foreign "parachute kids" (an Asian term), dropped onto the generous American education system or into boarding schools to study for US entrance exams, qualify for resident tuition rates and scholarships, and to compete for "American" admissions slots, not for the usually limited 'foreign' admission slots.
Probably people from non-Asian countries are pulling the same stunt, but it seems likely dominated by Asians. And expect many more with the passage of the various "Dream Acts"
So American kids must compete with the offspring of all the worlds corrupt elite for what should be opportunities for US Americans.
New York PSAT data:
In New York Asian-Americans make up 9.5%, whites 50.4%, Latinos 18.3% and African-Americans 15.7%.
California PSAT data:
In California Asian-Americans make up 19.7% of PSAT takers, and whites make up 31.9%, with 37% Latino and 5.7% African-American.Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm GMT nooffensebut says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment November 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm GMT
Am I the only one that finds the comparison of Asians (a race) to Jews (a religion) as basis for a case of discrimination completely flawed? I got in at Harvard and don't remember them even asking me what my religion was.
The value of diversity is absolutely key. I have a bunch of very good Asian friends and I love them dearly, but I don't believe a place like CalTech with its 40% demographics cannot truly claim to be a diverse place any more.Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm GMT
Regarding the SAT, we do know more than just differences of averages between whites and Asians. We have some years of score distributions . As recently as 1992, 1.2% of whites and 5.1% of Asians scored between 750 and 800 on the math subtest. As recently as 1985, 0.20% of whites and 0.26% of Asians scored in that range on the verbal/critical reading subtest.
On a different form of the writing subtest than is currently used, 5.0% of whites and 3.0% of Asians scored greater than 60 in 1985. We also know that, as the white-Asian average verbal/critical reading gap shrank to almost nothing and the average math gap grew in Asians' favor, the standard deviations on both for Asians have been much higher than every other group but have stayed relatively unchanged and have become, in fact, slightly lower than in 1985.
Therefore, Asians probably greatly increased their share of top performers.Rob Schacter November 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm GMT
@Milton F.: "Perhaps, by ensuring that "the best" students are not concentrated in only 8 universities is why the depth and quality of America's education system remains the envy of the world."
Hardly. America's education system is "the envy" because of the ability for minorities to get placement into better schools, not solely for the education they receive. Only a very select few institutions are envied for their education primarily, 90% of the colleges and universities across the country are sub-standard education providers, same with high schools.
I would imagine you're an educator at some level, more than likely, at one of the sub-standard colleges or even perhaps a high school teacher. You're attempting to be defensive of the American education system, when in reality, you're looking at the world through rose colored glasses. Working from within the system, rather than from the private sector looking back, gives you extreme tunnel vision. That, coupled with the average "closed mindedness" of educators in America is a dangerous approach to advancing the structure of the American education system. You and those like you ARE the problem and should be taken out of the equation as quickly as possible. Please retire ASAP or find another career.Anonymous says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm GMT
Aside from the complete lack of actual ivy league admission data on jewish applicants, a big problem with unz's "jewish affirmative action" claim is how difficult such a policy would be to carry out in complete secrecy.
Now, it would be one thing if Unz was claiming that jews are being admitted with similar numbers to non-jewish whites, but in close cases, admissions staff tend to favor jewish applicants. But he goes much further than that. Unz is claiming that jews, as a group, are being admitted with lower SAT scores than non-jewish whites. Not only that, but this policy is being carried out by virtually every single ivy league college and it has been going on for years. Moreover, this preference is so pervasive, that it allows jews to gain admissions at many times the rate that merit alone would yield, ultimately resulting in entering classes that are over 20% Jewish.
If a preference this deep, consistent and widespread indeed exists, there is no way it could be the result of subjective bias or intentional tribal favoritism on the part of individual decision makers. It would have to be an official, yet unstated, admissions policy in every ivy league school. Over the years, dozens (if not hundreds) of admission staff across the various ivy league colleges would be engaging in this policy, without a single peep ever leaking through about Jewish applicants getting in with subpar SAT scores. We hear insider reports all the time about one group is favored or discriminated against (we even have such an insider account in this comment thread), but we hear nothing about the largest admission preference of them all.
Remember, admissions staffs usually include other ethnic minorities. I couldn't imagine them not wondering why jews need to be given such a big boost so that they make up almost a quarter of the entering class. Even if every member of every admissions committee were Jewish liberals, it would still be almost impossible to keep this under wraps.
Obviously, I have never seen actual admission numbers for Jewish applicants, so I could be wrong, and there could in fact be an unbreakable wall of secrecy regarding the largest and most pervasive affirmative action practice in the country. Or, perhaps, the ivy league application pool contains a disproportionate amount of high scoring jewish applicants.Julia November 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm GMT
As some who is Jewish from the former Soviet Union, and who was denied even to take an entrance exam to a Moscow college, I am saddened to see that American educational admission process looks more and more "Soviet" nowadays. Kids are denied opportunities because of their ethnic or social background, in a supposedly free and fair country!
But this is just a tip of the iceberg. The American groupthink of political correctness, lowest common denominator, and political posturing toward various political/ethnic/religious/sexual orientation groups is rotting this country inside out.
Worse things are yet to come.Ben K November 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm GMT
"Similarly, Jews were over one-quarter of the top students in the Physics Olympiad from 1986 to 1997, but have fallen to just 5 percent over the last decade, a result which must surely send Richard Feynman spinning in his grave."
Actually, Richard Feynman famously rejected genetic explanations of Jewish achievement (whether he was right or wrong to do so is another story), and aggressively resisted any attempts to list him as a "Jewish scientist" or "Jewish Nobel Prize winner." I am sure he would not cared in the slightest bit how many Jews were participating in the Physics Olympiad, as long as the quality of the students' work continued to be excellent. Here is a letter he wrote to a woman seeking to include him in a book about Jewish achievement in the sciences.
Dear Miss Levitan:
In your letter you express the theory that people of Jewish origin have inherited their valuable hereditary elements from their people. It is quite certain that many things are inherited but it is evil and dangerous to maintain, in these days of little knowledge of these matters, that there is a true Jewish race or specific Jewish hereditary character. Many races as well as cultural influences of men of all kinds have mixed into any man. To select, for approbation the peculiar elements that come from some supposedly Jewish heredity is to open the door to all kinds of nonsense on racial theory.
Such theoretical views were used by Hitler. Surely you cannot maintain on the one hand that certain valuable elements can be inherited from the "Jewish people," and deny that other elements which other people may find annoying or worse are not inherited by these same "people." Nor could you then deny that elements that others would consider valuable could be the main virtue of an "Aryan" inheritance.
It is the lesson of the last war not to think of people as having special inherited attributes simply because they are born from particular parents, but to try to teach these "valuable" elements to all men because all men can learn, no matter what their race.
It is the combination of characteristics of the culture of any father and his father plus the learning and ideas and influences of people of all races and backgrounds which make me what I am, good or bad. I appreciate the valuable (and the negative) elements of my background but I feel it to be bad taste and an insult to other peoples to call attention in any direct way to that one element in my composition.
At almost thirteen I dropped out of Sunday school just before confirmation because of differences in religious views but mainly because I suddenly saw that the picture of Jewish history that we were learning, of a marvelous and talented people surrounded by dull and evil strangers was far from the truth. The error of anti-Semitism is not that the Jews are not really bad after all, but that evil, stupidity and grossness is not a monopoly of the Jewish people but a universal characteristic of mankind in general. Most non-Jewish people in America today have understood that. The error of pro-Semitism is not that the Jewish people or Jewish heritage is not really good, but rather the error is that intelligence, good will, and kindness is not, thank God, a monopoly of the Jewish people but a universal characteristic of mankind in general.
Therefore you see at thirteen I was not only converted to other religious views but I also stopped believing that the Jewish people are in any way "the chosen people." This is my other reason for requesting not to be included in your work.
I am expecting that you will respect my wishes.
Richard FeynmanEric Rasmusen November 29, 2012 at 7:58 pm GMT
@Rob Schacter your last point is basically spot-on. The Ivies are fairly unique in the high proportion of Jewish applicants. History, geographical bias, and self-selection all play a role. I think the overall preference distortion is probably not as wide as Unz claims, but you will see similar tilts at Stanford, Northwestern, etc. that reflect different preference distortions.
@Leon, two quick points.
1st the census tracks by household, which generally overestimates Asian wealth. Many families have three generations and extended members living in one household (this reflects that many of them work together in a small family business).
2nd most of the time, it's clear in the application (the HS, personal info, other residency info, etc.) which Asian applicants are Asian-American and which are "Parachute Kids". But the numbers are much smaller than one might think, and the implication depends on the school.
At Ivies, parachute kids (both Asian and not) tend to compete with each other in the application pool, and aren't substantially informing the broader admissions thesis in this article. I'm not saying that's right, just saying it's less material than we might think.
They more likely skew the admissions equation in great-but-not-rich liberal arts colleges (like Grinnell) and top public universities (like UCLA), which are both having budget crises and need full fare students, parachute or not. And for the publics, this includes adding more higher-tuition, out-of-state students, which further complicates assertions of just whose opportunities are being lost.
I will bring this back to fundraising and finances again, because the broader point is about who is stewarding and creating access: so long as top universities are essentially run as self-invested feedback loops, and position and resource themselves accordingly (and other universities have to compete with them), we will continue to see large, persistent discrepancies in who can participate.David in Cali November 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm GMT
When I applied to Harvard College back in 1976, I was proud of my application essay. In it, I proposed that the US used the Israeli army as a proxy, just as the Russians were using the Cuban army at the time.
Alas, I wasn't admitted (I did get into Yale, which didn't require free-form essay like that).
This, of course, illustrates the point that coming from an Application Hell instead of from central Illinois helps a student know how to write applications. It also illustrates what might help explain the mystery of high Jewish admissions: political bias. Jews are savvier about knowing what admissions officers like to hear (including the black and Latino ones, who as a previous commentor said aren't likely to be pro-semite). They are also politically more liberal, and so don't have to fake it. And their families are more likely to read the New York Times and thus have the right "social graces" as we might call them, of this age.
It would be interesting to know how well "true WASPS" do in admissions. This could perhaps be estimated by counting Slavic and Italian names, or Puritan New England last names. I would expect this group to do almost as well as Jews (not quite as well, because their ability would be in the lower end of the Legacy group).
David in Cali November 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm GMT
The missing variable in this analysis is income/class. While Unz states that many elite colleges have the resources to fund every student's education, and in fact practice need-blind admissions, the student bodies are skewed towards the very highest percentile of the income and wealth distribution. SAT scores may also scale with parents' income as well.
Tuition and fees at these schools have nearly doubled relative to inflation in the last 25-30 years, and with home prices in desirable neighborhoods showing their own hyper-inflationary behavior over the past couple of decades (~15 yrs, especially), the income necessary to pay for these schools without burdening either the student or parents with a lot of debt has been pushed towards the top decile of earners. A big chunk of the upper middle class has been priced out. This could hit Asian professionals who may be self made harder than other groups like Jews who may be the second or third generation of relative affluence, and would thus have advantages in having less debt when starting their families and careers and be less burdened in financing their homes. Would be curious to see the same analysis if $$ could be controlled.
I would also like to add that I am a late '80′s graduate of Wesleyan who ceased his modest but annual financial contribution to the school after reading The Gatekeepers.
Rebecca November 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm GMT
If I had a penny for every Jewish American I met (including myself) whose first and last name gave no indication of his religion or ethnicity, I'd be rich. Ohand my brother and I have four Ivy League degrees between us.
Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm GMT Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm GMT
I almost clicked on a different link the instance I came across the word "elite" , but curiosity forced my hand.
Just yesterday my mom was remarking how my cousin had gotten into MIT with an SAT score far below what I scored, and she finished by adding that I should have applied to an ivy-league college after high school. I as always, reminded her, I'm too "black for ivy games".
I always worked hard in school, participated in olympiads and symposiums, and was a star athlete. When it came to applying for college I found myself startled when forced to "quantify" my achievements in an "application package". I did not do or engage in these activities solely to boost my chances of gaining admission into some elite college over similarly-hardworking Henry Wang or Jess Steinberg. I did these things because I loved doing them.
Sports after class was almost a relaxation activity for me. Participating in math olympiads was a way for me to get a scoop on advanced mathematics. Participating in science symposiums was a chance for me to start applying my theoretical education to solve practical problems.
The moment I realized I would have to kneel down before some admissions officer and "present my case", outlining my "blackness", athleticism, hard work, curiosity, and academic ability, in that specific order I should point, in order to have a fighting chance at getting admitted; is the moment all my "black rage" came out in an internal explosion of rebellion and disapproval of "elite colleges".
I instead applied to a college that was blind to all of the above factors. I am a firm believer that hard work and demonstrated ability always win out in the end. I've come across, come up against is a better way to put it, Ivy-league competition in college competitions and applications for co-ops and internships, and despite my lack of "eliteness" I am confident that my sheer ability and track record will put me in the "interview candidate" pool.
Finally, my opinion is: let elite schools keep doing what they are doing. It isn't a problem at all, the "elite" tag has long lost its meaning.
Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 11:34 pm GMT
The difficulty with using Jewish sounding last names to identify Jewish students works poorly in two ways today. Not only, as others have pointed out, do many Jews not have Jewish sounding last names, but there are those, my grandson for example, who have identifiably Jewish last names and not much in the way of Jewish background.
Anon November 29, 2012 at 11:50 pm GMT
Interesting reading. The article opens a deceptively simple statistical window into a poorly understood process - a window which I would guess even the key participants have never looked through. I especially appreciated the insights provided by the author's examination of Asian surname-frequencies and their over-representation in NMS databases.
Though this is a long and meticulously argued piece, it would have benefited from a more thorough discussion of the statistical share of legacies and athletic scholarships in elite admissions.
Perhaps, though, it would be better to focus on increasing meritocracy in the broader society, which would inevitably lead to some discounting of the value of educational credentials issued by these less than meritocratic private institutions.
It is precisely because the broader society is also in many key respects non-meritocratic that the non-meritocratic admissions practices of elite institutions are sustainable.
Allan November 30, 2012 at 3:00 am GMT
Despite the very long and detailed argument, the writer's interpretation of a pro-Jewish admissions bias at Ivy-league schools is worryingly flawed.
First, he uses two very different methods of counting Jews: name recognition for counting various "objective" measures such as NMS semifinalists and Hillel stats for those admitted to Harvard. The first is most likely an underestimate while the latter very possibly inflated (in both cases especially due to the very large numbers of partially-Jewish students, in the many interpretations that has). I wonder how much of his argument would just go away if he simply counted the number of Jews in Harvard using the same method he used to count their numbers in the other cases. Would that really be hard to do?
Second, he overlooks the obvious two sources that can lead to such Asian/Jewish relative gaps in admissions. The first is the different groups' different focus on Science/Math vs. on Writing/Culture. It is very possible that in recent years most Asians emphasize the former while Jews the latter, which would be the natural explanation to the Caltech vs Harvard racial composition (as well as to the other stats). The second is related but different and it is the different group's bias in applications: the same cultural anecdotes would explain why Asians would favor applying to Caltech and Jews to Harvard. A natural interpretation of the data would be that Jews have learned to optimize for whatever criteria the Ivy leagues are using and the Asians are doing so for the Caltech criteria.
Most strange is the author's interpretation of how a pro-Jewish bias in admissions is actually put into effect: the application packets do not have the data of whether the applicant is Jewish or not, and I doubt that most admission officers figure it out in most cases. While it could be possible for admissions officers to have a bias for or against various types of characteristics that they see in the data in front of them (say Asian/Black/White or political activity), a systematic bias on unobserved data is a much more difficult proposition to make. Indeed the author becomes rather confused here combining the low education level of admissions officers, that they are "liberal arts or ethnic-studies majors" (really?), that they are "progressive", and that there sometimes is corruption, all together presumably leading to a bias in favor of Jews?
Finally, the author's suggestion for changing admittance criteria is down-right bizarre for a conservative: The proposal is a centralized solution that he aims to force upon the various private universities, each who can only loose from implementing it.
Despite the long detailed (but extremely flawed) article, I am afraid that it is more a reflection of the author's biases than of admissions biases.
WG November 30, 2012 at 11:53 am GMT
Both the article and the comments are illuminating. My takeaways:
1) Affirmative action in favor of blacks and Hispanics is acknowledged.
2) Admissions officers in the Ivy League appear to limit Asian admissions somewhat relative to the numbers of qualified applicants.
3) They may also admit somewhat more Jewish applicants than would be warranted relative to their comparative academic qualifications. The degree to which this is true is muddled by the difficulty of identifying Jews by surnames, by extensive intermarriage, by changing demographics within the Jewish population, by geographic factors, and by the propensity to apply in the first place.
4) (My major takeaway.) White Protestants and Catholics are almost certainly the sole groups that are greatly under-represented relative to their qualifications as well as to raw population percentages.
5) This is due partly to subtle or open discrimination.
6) I would hypothesize that a great many of the white Protestants and Catholics who are admitted are legacies, star athletes, and the progeny of celebrities in entertainment, media, politics, and high finance. White Protestant or Catholic applicants, especially from the hinterlands, who don't fit one of these special categoriesthough they must be a very large component of Mr Unz's pool of top talentare out of luck.
7) And everyone seems to think this is just fine.
The inner and outer ring idea seems to me an excellent one, though the likelihood of it happening is next to nil, both because some groups would lose disproportionate access and because the schools' imprimatur would be diminished in
The larger point, made by several respondents, is that far too many institutions place far too much weight on the credentials conferred by a small group of screening institutions. The great advantage of the American system is not that it is meritocratic, either objectively or subjectively. It is that it isor wasProtean in its flexibility. One could rise through luck or effort or brains, with credentials or without them, early in life or after false starts and setbacks. And there were regional elites or local elites rather than, as we increasingly see, a single, homogenized national elite. Success or its equivalent wasn't something institutionally conferred.
The result of the meritocratic process is that we are making a race of arrogant, entitled overlords, extremely skilled at the aggressive and assertive arts required to gain admission to, and to succeed in, a few similar and ideologically skewed universities and colleges; and who spend the remainder of their lives congratulating each other, bestowing themselves on the populace, and destroying the country.
No wonder we are where we are.
candid_observer November 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm GMT
This article is the product of careful and thoughtful research, and it identifies a problem hiding in plain sight. As a society, we have invested great trust in higher education as a transformative institution. It is clear that we have been too trusting.
That the admissions policies of elite universities are meritocratic is hardly the only wrong idea that Americans have about higher education. Blind faith in higher education has left too many people with largely worthless degrees and crushing student-loan debt.
Of course, the problems don't end with undergraduate education. The "100 reasons NOT to go to grad school" blog offers some depressing reading:
The higher education establishment has failed to address so many longstanding internal structural problems that it's hard to imagine that much will change anytime soon.
candid_observer November 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm GMT
Jack above makes the following point:
"I believe that this article raises and then inappropriately immediately dismisses the simplest and most likely reason for the over-representation of Jewish students at Ivy League Schools in the face of their declining bulk academic performance:
They apply to those schools in vastly disproportionate numbers."
Here's the problem with that point. What Ron Unz demonstrates, quite effectively, is that today's Jews simply don't measure up to either their Asian or their White Gentile counterparts in terms of actual performance when they get into, say, Harvard. The quite massive difference in the proportions of those groups who get into Phi Beta Kappa renders this quite undeniable. What is almost certain is that policies that favored Asians and White Gentiles over the current crop of Jewish students would create a class of higher caliber in terms of academic performance.
If indeed it's true that Jews apply to Harvard in greater numbers, then, if the desire is to produce a class with the greatest academic potential, some appropriate way of correcting for the consequent distortion should be introduced. Certainly when it comes to Asians, college admissions committees have found their ways of reducing the numbers of Asians admitted, despite their intense interest in the Ivies.
Howard November 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm GMT
One way of understanding Unz's results here might be not so much that today's Jewish student is far less inclined to hard academic work than those of yesteryear, but rather that others - White Gentiles and Asians - have simply caught up in terms of motivation to get into elite schools and perform to the best of their abilities.
Certainly among members of the upper middle class, there has been great, and likely increasing, emphasis in recent years on the importance of an elite education and strong academic performance for ultimate success. This might well produce a much stronger class of students at the upper end applying to the Ivies.
It may be that not only the Asians, but upper middle class White Gentiles, are "The New Jews".
Daniel November 30, 2012 at 7:39 pm GMT
I don't always agree with, Mr. Unz, but his expositions are always provocative and informative. As far as the criticisms of his data set go, he openly admits that they are less than ideal. However, the variances are so large that the margin of error can be excused. Jews are 40 TIMES more likely to be admitted to Harvard than Gentile whites. Asians are 10 times more likely. Of course, it could be possible that Jews, because of higher average IQs, actually produce 40 times as many members in the upper reaches of the cognitive elite.
Given Richard Lynn's various IQ studies of Jews and the relative preponderance of non-Jewish and Jewish whites in the population, however, whites ought to have a 7 to 1 representation vis-a-vis Jews in Ivy League institutions, assuming the IQ cutoff is 130. Their numbers are roughly equivalent instead.
Because Ivy League admissions have been a hotbed of ethnic nepotism in the past, it seems that special care should be taken to avoid these improprieties (or the appearance thereof) in the future. But no such safeguards have been put in place. David Brooks has also struck the alarm about the tendency of elites to shut down meritocratic institutions once they have gained a foothold: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/opinion/brooks-why-our-elites-stink.html?_r=1&ref=global-home
Clannish as the WASPs may have been, they were dedicated enough to ideals of fairness and equality that they opened the doors for their own dispossession. I predict that a new Asian elite will eventually eclipse our Jewish elite. Discrimination and repression can restrain a vigorously ascendant people but for so long. When they do, it will be interesting to see if this Asian cohort clings to its longstanding Confucian meritocratic traditions, embodied in the Chinese gaokao or if it too will succumb to the temptation, ever present in a multiethnic polity, of preferring ethnic kinsmen over others.
Does anyone know how a minority such as the Uighurs fares in terms of elite Chinese university admissions?
Nick November 30, 2012 at 9:06 pm GMT
This may sound like special-pleading, but it's not clear that full-scale IQ measures are meaningful when assessing and predicting Jewish performance. Jewish deficits on g-loaded spatial reasoning task may reflect specific visuo-spatial deficits and not deficits in g. As far as I know, no one doubts that the average Jewish VIQ is at least 112 (and possibly over 120). This score may explain jewish representation which seems to exceed what would be projected by their full-scale iq scores. Despite PIQ's correllation to mathematical ability in most populations, we ought also remember that, at least on the WAIS, it is the VIQ scale that includes the only directly mathematical subtest. We should also note that Jewish mathematicians seem to use little visualization in their reasoning (cf. Seligman
That said, I basically agree that Jews are, by and large, coasting. American Jews want their children to play hockey and join 'greek life' and stuff, not sit in libraries . It's sad for those of us who value the ivory tower, but understandable given their stigmatiziation as a nerdish people.
Alex November 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm GMT
I wonder if it would be at all possible to assess the political biases of admissions counselors at these schools by assessing the rates at which applicants from red states are admitted to the elite universities. I suppose you would have to know how many applied, and those data aren't likely to exist in the public domain.
Ben K November 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm GMT
One major flaw with this article's method of determining Jewish representation: distinctive Jewish surnames in no way make up all Jewish surnames. Distinctive Jewish surnames happen to be held by only 10-12% of all American Jews. In fact, the third most common American Jewish surname after Cohen and Levy is Miller. Mr. Unz' methodology does not speak well for itself, given that he's comparing a limited set of last names against a far more carefully scrutinized estimate.
I'm not suggesting his estimate of national merit scholars and the like is off by a full 90%, but he's still ending up with a significant undercount, possibly close to half. That would still mean Jews may be "wrongfully" over-represented are many top colleges and universities, but the disproportion is nowhere near as nefarious as he would suggest.
candid_observer November 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm GMT
@Nick the "red state" application and admission rates isn't useful data.
Short answer: There are many reasons for this, but basically, historical momentum and comfort play a much bigger role in where kids apply than we think. I assure you, far more top Nebraska HS seniors want to be a Cornhusker than a Crimson, even though many would find a very receptive consideration and financial aid package.
Long answer: 1st, although this article and discussion have been framed in broad racial/cultural terms, the mechanics of college admissions are mostly local and a bit like athletic recruiting coverage (and cultivation) of specific regions and districts, "X" high school historically deliver "X" kinds of candidates, etc. So to the degree we may see broader trends noted in the article and discussion, some of that is rooted at the HS level and lower.
2nd, in "red states", most Ivy applicants come from the few blue or neutral districts. E.g.: the only 2 Utah HS's that consistently have applicants to my Ivy alma mater are in areas that largely mirror other high-income, Dem-leaning areas nationwide rather than the rest of Utah.
3rd, but, with some variation among the schools, the Ivy student body is more politically balanced than usually assumed. Remember, most students are upper-income, Northeastern suburban and those counties' Dem/Rep ratio is often closer to 55/45 than 80/20.
But to wrap up, ideology plays a negligible role in admissions generally (there's always an exception); they have other fish to fry (see below).
@soren in Goldman's post ( http://bit.ly/TrbJSB ) and other commenters here:
"Quota against Asians" is not entirely wrong, but it's too strong because it implies the forward intent is about limiting their numbers.
Put another way, Unz believes the Ivies are failing their meritocractic mission by over-admitting a group that is neither disadvantaged nor has highest technical credentials; and this comes at the expense of a group that is more often disadvantaged and with higher technical credentials. The Ivies would likely reply, "well, we define 'meritocractic mission' differently".
That may be a legitimate counter, but it's also what needs more expansion and sunlight.
But Unz' analysis has a broader causation vs correlation gap. Just because admissions is essentially zero-sum doesn't mean every large discrepancy in it is, even after allowing for soft biases. I've mentioned these earlier in passing, but here are just a couple other factors of note:Admissions is accountable for selection AND marketing and matriculation these are not always complementary forces. Essentially, you want to maximize both the number and distribution (racial, geographic, types of accomplishment, etc.) of qualified applicants, but also the number you can safely turn down but without discouraging future applications, upsetting certain stakeholders (specific schools, admissions counselors/consultants, etc.) or "harming" any data in the US News rankings. And you have a very finite time to do this, and not just your competition, but the entire sector is essentially doing this at the same time. You can see how an admissions process would develop certain biases over time to limit risks in an unpredictable, high volume market, even if rarely intended to target a specific group. Ivy fixation (but especially around HYP) is particularly concentrated in the Northeast a sample from several top HS' across America (public and private) would show much larger application and matriculation variations among their top students than would be assumed from Unz's thesis. Different Ivies have different competitors/peers, which influences their diversity breakdowns to some degree, they all co-compete, but just as often don't. E.g.: Princeton often overlaps with Georgetown and Duke, Columbia with NYU and Cooper Union, Cornell with SUNY honors programs because it has some "in state" public colleges, etc.
There's much more, of course, but returning to Unz's ethnographic thesis, I have this anecdote: we have two friends in finance, whose families think much of their success. The 1st is Asian, went to Carnegie Mellon, and is a big bank's trading CTO; the 2nd is Jewish, went to Wharton, and is in private equity.
Put another way, while both families shared a pretty specific vision of success, they differed a lot in the execution. The upper echelon of universities, and the kinds of elite-level mobility they offer, are much more varied than even 25 years ago. While the relative role of HYP in our country, and their soft biases in admission, are "true enough" to merit discussion, it's probably not the discussion that was in this article.
Bud Wood November 30, 2012 at 11:43 pm GMT
While you may have a point as to the difficulty in some cases of identifying a Jewish surname, the most important thing methodologically is that the criteria be performed uniformly if one is comparing Jewish representation today vs. that of other periods. I can't think, for example, of any reason that Cohens or Levys or Golds should be any less well represented today as opposed to many years ago if indeed there has not been an underlying shift in numbers of Jews in the relevant categories. (Nor, for that matter, should issues like intermarriage affect the numbers much here - for every mother whose maiden name is Cohen who marries a non-Jew with a non-Jewish surname, and whose half Jewish child will be counted as non-Jewish, there is, on average, going to be a man named Cohen who will marry a non-Jew, and whose half Jewish child will be counted as Jewish.)
Neil Schipper December 1, 2012 at 4:54 am GMT
One might suppose that all this "inequity" and "discrimination" matters if we're keeping score. However, seems to me that too much emphasis is typically placed on equality whereas real criteria in productive and satisfying lives are neglected. Kind'a like some people wanting bragging rights as much, if not more, than wanting positive reality.
I guess I just went about my way and lived a pretty god life (so far). Who knows?; maybe those "bragging rights" are meaningful.
Grad Stanford Elec Engrg.
Alex December 1, 2012 at 6:12 am GMT
Thought provoking article.
Ditto to many comments about the "last name problem", even if its correction weakens but doesn't invalidate the argument. (One imagines, chillingly, a new sub-field: "Jewish last name theory", seeking to determine proportionalities of classic names validated against member/donor lists of synagogues and other Jewish organizations.)
Regarding the 20% inner ring suggestion, it suffers from its harsh transition. Consider a randomized derating scheme: a random number between some lower bound (say 0.90) and 1.00 is applied to each score on the ranked applicant list.
The added noise provides warmth to a cold test scores list. Such an approach nicely captures the directive: "study hard, but it's not all about the grades".
By adjusting the lower bound, you can get whatever degree of representativeness relative to the application base you want.
That it's a "just a number" (rather than a complex subjectivity-laden labyrinth incessantly hacked at by consultants) could allow interesting conversations about how it could relate to the "top 1% / bottom 50%" wealth ratio. The feedback loop wants closure.
Anonymous December 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm GMT
You missed my point, candid. A relatively small proportion of Jews, intermarried or otherwise, have distinctive Jewish names. I didn't make that 10-12% figure up. It's been cited in numerous local Jewish population studies and is used in part (but certainly far from whole) to help estimate those populations. It's also been significantly dragged down over the years as the Jewish population (and hence the surname pool) has diversified, not just from intermarriage, but in-migration from groups who often lack "distinctive Jewish surnames" such as Jews from the former Soviet Union. Consider also that for obvious reasons, Hillel, which maintains Jewish centers on most campus, has an incentive to over-report by a bit. Jewish populations on college campuses in the distant past were easier to gather, given that it was far less un-PC to simply point blank inquire what religious background applicants came from.
Again, I'm not saying there isn't a downward trend in Jewish representation among high achievers (which, even if one were to accept Unz's figures, Jews would still be triple relative to were they "should" be). But Unz has made a pretty significant oversight in doing his calculations. That may happen to further suit his personal agenda, but it's not reality.
conatus December 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm GMT
This is interesting, but I suspect mostly bogus, based on your not having a decent algorithm for discovering if someone's Jewish.
I'm not sure what exact mechanism you're using to decide if a name is Jewish, but I'm certain it wouldn't have caught anyone, including myself, in my father's side of the family (Sephardic Jews from Turkey with Turkish surnames), nor my wife's family, an Ellis Island Anglo name. Or probably most of the people in her family. And certainly watching for "Levi, Cohen and Gold*" isn't going to do anything.
And none of us have even intermarried!
Andrew says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm GMT
Isn't the point about Jewish over representation in the Ivy League about absolute numbers?
Yes the Jewish demographic has a higher IQ at 115 to the Goyishe Kop 100 but Jewish people are only 2% of the population so you have 6 million Jewish people vying with 200 million white Goys for admission to the Ivy League and future control of the levers of power. That is a 33 times larger Bell curve so the right tail of the Goys' Bell curve is still much larger than the Jewish Bell curve at IQ levels of 130 and 145, supposedly there are seven times more Goys with IQs of 130 and over 4 times more Goys with IQs of 145. So why the equality of representation, one to one, Jewish to white Goy in the Ivy Leagues?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-phu-quoc-nguyen/asian-american-students_b_2173993.html I hope everyone can participate in gaining admittance and everyone can improve the system legally. Real repair is needed.
Amanda December 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm GMT Scott Locklin says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm GMT
Russell K. Nieli on study by Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford (mentioned by Unz):
"When lower-class whites are matched with lower-class blacks and other non-whites the degree of the non-white advantage becomes astronomical: lower-class Asian applicants are seven times as likely to be accepted to the competitive private institutions as similarly qualified whites, lower-class Hispanic applicants eight times as likely, and lower-class blacks ten times as likely. These are enormous differences and reflect the fact that lower-class whites were rarely accepted to the private institutions Espenshade and Radford surveyed. Their diversity-enhancement value was obviously rated very low."
Having worked with folks from all manner of "elite" and not so elite schools in a technical field, the main conclusion I was able to draw was folks who went to "elite" colleges had a greater degree of entitlement. And that's it.
Shlomo December 2, 2012 at 4:27 am GMT Anonymous December 2, 2012 at 5:22 am GMT
If all of the author's suspicions are correct, the most noteworthy takeaway would be that Jewish applicants have absolutely no idea that they are being given preferential treatment when applying to Ivys.
Not that they think they are being discriminated against or anything, but no Jewish high school student or their parents think they have any kind of advantage, let alone such a huge one. Someone should tell all these Jews that they don't need to be so anxious!
Also, I know this is purely anecdotal but having gone to an ivy and knowing the numbers of dozens of other Jews who have also gone, I don't think I have ever witnessed a "surprise" acceptance, where someone got in with a score under the median.
Anonymous December 2, 2012 at 9:16 pm GMT
I don't doubt for a minute that it's increasingly difficult for Asian students to get into so-called "elite" universities. Having grown up in that community, I know a lot of people who were pressured into applying at Harvard and Yale but ended up *gasp* going to a very good local school. My sarcasm aside, we can't really deny that having Harvard on your CV can virtually guarantee a ticket to success, regardless of whether or not you were just a C student. It happens.
But what worries me about that is the fact that I know very well how hard Asian families tend to push their children. They do, after all, have one of the highest suicide rates and that's here in the US. If by some means the Asian population at elite universities is being controlled, as I suspect it is, that's only going to make tiger mothers push their children even harder. That's not necessarily a good thing for the child's psyche, so instead of writing a novel here, I'll simply give you this link. Since the author brought up the subject of Amy Chua and her book, I think it's a pretty fitting explanation of the fears I have for my friends and their children if this trend is allowed to continue.
to respond to Alice Zindagi
Asian American does not have higher suicide rate.
Anonymous says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm GMT Michael O'Hearn says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm GMT
As a former admissions staff person at Princeton, I always sigh when I read articles on elite college admissions processes which build cases on data analysis but which fail to consult with admissions experts on the interpretation of that data.
I am neither an expert in sociology, nor am I a statistician, but I have sat in that chair, reading thousands of essays, and I have a few observations:The most selective part of any college's admissions process is the part where students themselves decides whether or not to apply. Without data on the actual applicant sets, it is, at the least, misleading to attribute incongruities between the overall population's racial/ethnic/income/what-have-you characteristics and the student bodies' make-ups entirely to the admission decisions. The reality is that there is always a struggle in the admission offices to compensate for the inequities that the applicant pool itself delivers to their doorsteps. An experienced admission officer can tell you that applicants from cultures where academics and education are highly valued, and where the emphasis on a single test is quite high, will generally present with very high SAT scores. Race does not seem to be correlated, but immigrant status from such a culture is highly correlated. (This may partially explain Unz's observation of a "decline" in Jewish scores, although I also do not believe that the surname tool for determining which scores are "Jewish" holds much water.) One of the reasons that such students often fare less well in holistic application processes is that the same culture that produces the work ethic and study skills which benefit SAT performance and GPA can also suppress activities and achievement outside of the academic arena. Therefore, to say that these students are being discriminated against because of race is a huge assumption. The true questions is whether the students with higher test scores are presenting activity, leadership and community contributions comparable to other parts of the applicant pool which are "overrepresented". All of these articles seem to miss the point that a freshman class is a fixed size pie chart. Any piece that shrinks or grows will impact the other slices. My first thought upon reading Unz' argument that the Asian slice shrank was, "What other pieces were forced to grow?" Forced growth in another slice of the class is the more likely culprit for this effect, much more likely than the idea that all of the Ivies are systematically discriminating against the latest victim. I could go on and on, but will spare you! My last note is to educate Mr. Unz on what an "Assistant Director" is in college admissions. Generally that position is equivalent to a Senior Admission Officer (one step up from entry level Admission Officer), while the head of the office might be the Dean and the next step down from that would be Associate Deans (not Assistant Directors). So while Michelle Hernandez was an Assistant Director, she was not the second in charge of Admissions, as your article implies. A minor distinction, but one which is important to point out so that her expertise and experience, as well as my own, as AN Assistant Director of Admission at Princeton, are not overstated.
A last personal note: During Princeton's four month reading season, I worked 7 days a week, usually for about 14 hours a day, in order to give the fullest, most human and considerate reading of each and every applicant that I could give. I am sure that the admission profession has its share of incompetents, corruptible people and just plain jerks, and apparently some of us are not intelligent enough to judge the superior applicants . . . . But most of us did it for love of the kids at that age (they are all superstars!), for love of our alma maters and what they did for us, and because we believed in the fairness of our process and the dignity with which we tried to do it.
The sheer numbers of applicants and the fatigue of the long winters lend themselves to making poor jokes such as the "Night of 1000 Lee's", but a good dean of admission will police such disrespect, and encourage the staff, as mine did, to read the last applicant of the day with the same effort, energy and attention paid to the first. We admission folk have our honor, despite being underpaid and playing in a no-win game with regard to media coverage of our activities. I am happy to be able to speak up for the integrity of my former colleagues and the rest of the profession.
Michael O'Hearn says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 3, 2012 at 3:09 am GMT
My own position has always been strongly in the former camp, supporting meritocracy over diversity in elite admissions.
When these Ivy League institutions were first begun in the colonial period, they were not strictly speaking meritocratic. The prevailing idea was that Christocentric education is the right way to go, both from an eschatological and a temporal perspective, and the central focus was on building and strengthening family ties. The Catholic institutions of higher learning took on the vital role of preserving Church tradition from apostolic times and were thus more egalitarian and universalist. The results went far beyond all expectations.
Nothing lasts forever. Your premise misses the essential point that the economy is for man and not vice-versa.
Perhaps this should have been titled The Reality of American Mediocrity ?
Janet Mertz December 4, 2012 at 12:56 am GMT mannning December 4, 2012 at 6:28 am GMT
Many of the statements in this article relating to Jews are rather misleading: for while the Hillel data regarding percentage of students who self-identify as Jews may be fairly accurate, the numbers the author cites based upon "likely Jewish names" are a gross under-count of the real numbers, leading to the appearance of a large disparity between the two which, in reality, does not exist. The reason for the under-count is that a large percentage of American Jews have either Anglicized their family name or intermarried, resulting in their being mistaken for non-Hispanic whites. Thus, one ends up with incorrect statements such as "since 2000, the percentage (of Jewish Putnam Fellows) has dropped to under 10 percent, without a single likely Jewish name in the last seven years". The reality is that Jews, by Hillel's definition of self-identified students, have continued to be prominent among the Putnam Fellows, US IMO team members, and high scorers in the USA Mathematical Olympiad. I have published a careful analysis of the true ethnic/racial composition of the very top-performing students in these math competitions from recent years (see, Andreescu et al. Notices of the AMS 2008; http://www.ams.org/notices/200810/fea-gallian.pdf ). For example, Daniel Kane, a Putnam Fellow in 2002-2006, is 100% of Jewish ancestry; his family name had been Cohen before it was changed. Brian Lawrence was a Putnam Fellow in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011; his mother is Jewish. Furthermore, many of the non-Jewish Putnam Fellows in recent years are Eastern European or East-Asian foreigners who matriculated to college in the US; they were not US citizen non-Jewish whites or Asian-Americans, respectively. Rather, my data indicate that in recent years both Jews and Asians have been 10- to 20-over-represented in proportion to their percentage of the US population among the students who excel at the highest level in these math competitions. The authors conclusions based upon data from other types of competitions is likely similarly flawed.
Eric Rasmusen December 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm GMT
The title of this piece captured me to read what it was all about. What was discussed was admissions into elite colleges as the only focus on "meritocracy" in America. That leaves the tail of the distribution of high IQ people in America, minus those that make it into elite colleges, to be ignored, especially those that managed to be admitted to Cal Tech, or MIT, or a number of other universities where significant intellectual power is admitted and fostered. this seems to further the meme that only the elite graduates run the nation. They may have an early advantage through connections, but I believe that the Fortune 400 CEO's are fairly evenly spread across the university world.
MEH 0910 December 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm GMT
A couple more thoughts:
(1) Jews are better at verbal IQ, Asians at math. Your measures are all math. That woudl be OK if all else were equal across time, but especially because Jews care a lot about admissions to Ivies, what we'd expect is that with growing Asian competition in math/science, Jews would give up and focus their energy on drama/writing/service. I wonder if Jewish kids are doing worse in music competitions too? Or rather- not even entering any more.
(2) For college numbers, adjustment for US/foreign is essential. How many Asians at Yale are foreign? It could well be that Asian-Americans are far more under-represented than it seems, because they face quota competition from a billion Chinese and a billion Indians. Cal Tech might show the same result as the Ivies.
(3) A separate but interesting study would be of humanities and science PhD programs. Different things are going on there, and the contrast with undergrads and with each other might be interseting.biaknabato December 6, 2012 at 12:59 am GMT
Half Sigma wrote about this Ron Unz article :
I also learned that Jews are no longer as prominent in math and science achievement, and that's not surprising to me at all, because everyone in the elite knows that STEM is for Asians and middle-class kids. Jewish parents have learned that colleges value sports and "leadership" activities more than raw academic achievement and nerdy activities like math olympiads, and that the most prestigious careers are value transference activities which don't require science or high-level math.
You should re-read my critique of Amy Chua's parenting advice . Jews have figured out that's crappy advice for 21st century America.Eric Rasmusen December 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm GMT
The higher representation of Jews in the Ivies compared to Asians who have better average academic records compared to Jews (applicants that is ) in the Ivies is due to the greater eligibility of Jews for preferences of every kind in the Ivies. In a typical Ivy school like Harvard, at least 60% of the freshman class will disappear because of the vast system of preferences that exists. There is no doubt that there is racial animus involved despite the denials of the Ivies and other private universities despite the constant denials involved like that of Rosovsky who happens to be a historian by training. Jews are classified as white in this country, hence there would presumably greater affinity for them among the white Board of Trustees and the adcom staff. This is in contrast to Asians who do not share the same culture or body physiogonomy as whites do.
I had read the Unz article and the Andrew Goldman response to it. I just do not agree with Unz with his solutions to this problem. First of all private schools are not going to give legacy preferences and other kinds of preferences for the simple reason that it provides a revenue stream. Harvard is nothing but a business just like your Starbucks or Mcdonald's on the corner.
Around the world private universities regarded as nothing but the dumping ground of the children of the wealthy, the famous and those with connections who cannot compete with others with regards to their talent and ability regardless of what anyone will say from abroad about the private universities in their own country. Bottomline is in other countries , the privates simply do not get the top students in the country, the top public school does. People in other countries will simply look askance at the nonsensical admissions process of the Ivies and other private schools, the system that the Ivies use for admission does not produce more creative people contrary to its claims.
The Goldman response has more to do with the humanities versus math . My simple response to Andrew Goldman would be this : a grade of A in Korean history is different from a grade of A in Jewish history, it is like comparing kiwis and bananas. The fast and decisive way of dealing with this problem is simply to deprive private schools of every single cent of tax money that practices legacy preferences and other kinds repugnant preferences be it for student aid or for research and I had been saying that for a long time. I would like to comment on the many points that had been raised here but I have no time.Anonymous December 8, 2012 at 12:29 am GMT
The solution to a lot of problems would be transparency. I'd love to see the admissions and grade data of even one major university. Public universities should be required to post publicly the names, SAT scores, and transcripts of every student. Allowing such posting should be a requirement for admission.
The public could then investigate further if, for example, it turned out that children of state senators had lower SAT scores. Scholars could then analyze the effect of diversity on student performance.
Of course, already many public universities (including my own, Indiana), post the salaries of their professors on the web, and I haven't seen much analysis or muckraking come out of that.Anonymous says: Website December 9, 2012 at 12:44 am GMT
One factor hinted at in the article, but really needing to be addressed is the "school" that is being attended.
By this, I mean, you need philosophy students to keep the philosophy department going. When I was in college 20 years ago, I was a humanities major. I took 1 class in 4 years with an Asian American student. 1 class. When I walked through the business building, it was about 50% Asian.
Could Asian-American students only wanting to go to Harvard to go into business, science, or math be skewing those numbers? I don't know, but it's just a thought to put out there.
You are preaching to the choir! I blog on this extensively on my Asian Blog: JadeLuckClub. This has been going on for the last 30 years or more! All my posts are here under Don't ID as Asian When Applying to College:
http://jadeluckclub.com/category/asian-in-america/dont-id-as-asian-when-applying-to-college/biaknabato December 12, 2012 at 7:42 am GMT
All private schools basically practice legacy prefrences and other kinds of preferences and this practice has been going on in the Ivies since time immemorial. The income revenue from these gallery of preferences will certainly not encourage the Ivies to give them up.
In many countries around the world, private universiites are basically the dumping ground for the children of the wealthy , the famous and the well connected who could not get into the top public university of their choice in their own country. This no different from the Ivies in this country where these Ivies and other private universities are just a corral or holding pen for the children of the wealthy, the famous and the well connected and the famous who could not compete with others based on their won talent or ability.
Abroad you have basically 3 choices if you could not get into the top public university of that country , they are:
- Go to a less competetive public university
- Go to a private university
- or go abroad to schools like the Ivies or in other countries where the entrance requirements to a public or private university are less competetive compared to the top public universities in your own home country.
You can easily tell a top student from another country, he is the guy who is studying in this country under a government scholarship ( unless of course it was wrangled through corruption ). the one who is studying here through his own funds or through private means is likely to be the one who is a reject from the top public university in his own country. That is how life works.
I am generally satisfied with the data that Ron provided about Jews compared to Asians where Jews are lagging behind Asians at least in grades and SAT scores in the high school level, from the data I had seen posted by specialized schools in NY like Stuy , Bronx Sci, Brook Tech, Lowell (Frisco ) etc.
Ron is correct in asserting that the Ivies little represents the top students in this country. Compare UCLA and for example. For the fall 2011 entering freshman class at UCLA , there were 2391 domestic students at UCLA compared to 1148 at Harvard who scored above 700 in the Math portion of the SAT and there were 439 domestic students who scored a perfect 800 in the Math portion of the SAT at UCLA, more than Harvard or MIT certainly. For the fall 2012 freshman classs at UCLA the figure was 2409 and 447 respectively.
We can devise a freshman class that will use only income, SATS,grades as a basis of admissions that will have many top students like UCLA has using only algorithms.
The central test of fairness in any admissions system is to ask this simple question. Was there anyone admitted under that system admitted over someone else who was denied admission and with better grades and SAT scores and poorer ? If the answer is in the affirmative, then that system is unfair , if it is in the negative then the system is fair.Anonymous December 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm GMT biaknabato December 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm GMT
I like the comments from Chales Hale. (Nov. 30, 2012) He says: "Welcome to China". It said all in three words. All of these have been experienced in China. They said there is no new things under the sun. History are nothing but repeated, China with its 5000 years experienced them all.biaknabato December 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm GMT
I meant that there were 439 domestic students in the fall 2011 freshman class at UCLA and 447 domestic students in the fall 2012 freshman class at UCLA who scored a perfect score of 800 in the Math portion of the SAT. In either case it is bigger than what Harvard or MIT has got.
In fact for the fall 2011 of the entire UC system there were more students in the the freshman class of the entire UC system who scored above 700 in the Math portion of the SAT than the entire fall 2011 freshman of the Ivy League (Cornell not included since it is both a public and a private school )'
As I mentioned earlier there were 2409 domestic students in the fall 2012 UCLA freshman class who scored above 700 in the Math portion of the SAT. We know that Harvard had only 1148 domestic students in its fall 2011 freshman class who scored above 700 in the Math portion of the SAT, why would Harvard ever want to have that many top students like Berkeley or UCLA have ? The answer to that is simple , it has to do with money. For every additional student that Harvard will enroll it would mean money being taken out of the endowment .
Since the endowment needs constant replenishment. Where would these replenishment funds come from ? From legacies,from the children of the wealthy and the famous etc. of course . It would mean more legacy admits, more children of the wealthy admitted etc.
That would mean that the admission rate at Harvard will rise, the mean SAT score of the entering class will be no different from the mean SAT scores of the entering freshman classes of Boston University and Boston College
down the road. With rising admission rates and lower mean SAT scores for the entering freshman class that prospect will not prove appetizing or appealing to the applicant pool.
Harvard ranks only 8th after Penn State in the production of undergrads who eventually get Doctorates in Science and Engineering. Of course Berkeley has the bragging rights for that kind of attribute.Been there December 13, 2012 at 5:32 am GMT
In the scenario I had outlined above, it would mean that the mean SAT score of the Harvard freshman class will actually go down if it tried to increase the size of its freshman class and that kind of prospect ia unpalatable to Harvard and that is the reason as to why it wants to maintain its current " air of exclusivity ".
There is another way of looking at the quality of the Harvard student body. The ACM ICPC computer programming competition is regarded as the best known college competition among students around the world , it is a grueling programming marathon for 2 or 3 days presumably. Teams from universities around the world vie to win the contest that is dubbed the "Battle of the Brains " What is arguably sad is that Ivy schools, Stanford and other private schools teams fielded in the finals of the competition are basically composed of foreign students or foreign born students and foreign born coaches.
The University of Southern California team in this competition in its finals section was made up of nothing but foreign Chinese students and a Chinese coach. The USC team won the Southern California competition to win a slot in the finals. Apparently they could not find a domestic student who could fill the bill. However the USC team was roundly beaten by teams from China and Asia,Russia and Eastern Europe. The last time a US team won this competition was in 1999 by Harvey Mudd, ever since the US had gone downhill in the competition with the competition being dominated by China and Asia and by countries from Eastern Europe and Russia. Well I guess USC's strategy was trying to fight fire with fire (Chinese students studying in the US versus Chinese students from the Mainland ), and it failed.Anonymous December 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm GMT
Thank you Mr. Unz for scratching the surface of the various forms of corruption surrounding elite college admissions. I hope that your next article further discusses the Harvard Price (and Yale Price and Brown Price etc). The recent press surrounding the Hong Kong couple suing the person they had retained to pave their children's way into Harvard indicates the extent of the problem. This Hong Kong couple just were not savvy enough to lay their money down where it would produce results.
Additionally, a discussion of how at least some North Eastern private schools facilitate the corrupt process would be illuminating.
Finally, a more thorough discussion of whether the Asian students being admitted are US residents or nationals or whether they are foreign citizens would also be worth while and reveal. I suspect, an even lower admit percentage for US resident citizens of Asian ethnicity.
For these schools to state that their acceptances are need blind is patently untrue and further complicates the admissions process for students who are naive enough to believe that. These schools should come clean and just say that after the development admits and the wealthy legacy admits spots are purchased, the remaining few admits are handed out in a need blind fashion remembering that many of admit pools will already be filled by the development and wealthy legacy admits resulting in extraordinarily low rates for certain non-URM type candidates (I estimate in the 1% range).Larry Long says: Website December 14, 2012 at 4:33 am GMT
"By contrast, a similarly overwhelming domination by a tiny segment of America's current population, one which is completely misaligned in all these respects, seems far less inherently stable, especially when the institutional roots of such domination have continually increased despite the collapse of the supposedly meritocratic justification. This does not seem like a recipe for a healthy and successful society, nor one which will even long survive in anything like its current form."
I completely agree that it is not healthy for one tiny segment of our population to basically hold all the key positions in every major industry in this country. If Asians or Blacks (who look foreign) all of a sudden ran education, media, government, and finance in this country, there would be uproar and resistance. But because Jewish people look like the majority (whites), they've risen to the top without the masses noticing.
But Jewish people consider themselves a minority just like blacks and Asians. They have a tribal mentality that causes stronger ethnic nepotism than most other minority groups. And they can get away with it because no one can say anything to them lest they be branded "jew-hunters" or "anti-semists."
The question is, "where do we go from here?" True race-blind meritocracy will never be instituted on a grand scale in this country both in education and in the work force. One group currently controls most industries and the only way this country will see more balance is if other groups take more control. But if one group already controls them all and controls succession plans, how will there ever be more balance?Anonymous December 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm GMT
If Jews become presidents or regents of universities, that's a credit to their ability. Nothing sinister there.
But when Jews (or anyone) buy into an institution to create the 'Goldman School of Business', or when they give large donations, that is not a credit to anyone's ability and there may well be something sinister there.
It is no secret that corporations and individuals look for influence, if not control, in return for cash. The same thinking can easily affect admissions policy.
It's always the same. In spite of all the jingoism about "democracy" and "freedoms" and the "free market capitalist system", the trail of money obfuscates and corrupts. It is still very true that whoever pays the piper, calls the tune. And naive to believe otherwise.
How recent was it that Princeton cancelled its anti-Semitism classes for lack of participation, and at least one Jewish organisation was screaming that Princeton would never get another penny from any Jew, ever.
That is close to absolute control of a curriculum. I give you money, and you teach what I want you to teach.
How far is that from I give you money and you admit whom I want you to admit? Or from I give you money and you hire whom I want?
A university that is properly funded by the government "the people" doesn't have these issues because there is nothing you can buy.
Operating educational institutions as a business, just like charities and health care, will always produce this kind of corruption.
Two other points:
1. It occurred to me that the lowly-paid underachiever admissions officers might well have been mostly Jewish, and hired for that reason, and that in itself could skew the results in a desired manner.
2. I think this is a serious criticism of the othewise excellent article:
At the end, Ron Unz wants us to believe that a $30-billion institution, the finest of its kind in the world, the envy of the known universe and beyond, the prime educator of the world's most prime elites, completely abandons its entire admissions procedures, without oversight or supervision, to a bunch of dim-witted losers of "poor human quality" who will now choose the entire next generation of the nation's elites. And may even take cash payments to do so.
Come on. Who are you kidding? Even McDonald's is smarter than this.Anonymous December 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm GMT
Some of the comments suggest major problems with estimating who is Jewish. But the authors information is underpinned by data collected by Jewish pressure groups for the purpose of ensuring the gravy train keeps flowing. It's either their numbers, or the numbers are consistent with their numbers.Achaean December 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm GMT
This article, to me, is shocking and groundbreaking. I don't think anyone has gone this in-depth into this biased and un-meritocratic system. This is real analysis based on real numbers.
Why is this not getting more coverage in the media? Why are people so afraid to talk about this?
There is an excellent analysis of this article at The Occidental Observer by Kevin MacDonald, "Ron Unz on the Illusory American Meritocracy". The MSM is ignoring Unz's article for obvious reasons.tomo December 15, 2012 at 10:46 pm GMT
I don't know if there's any truth behind the idea that Japanese Americans have become lazy relative to their Korean and Chinese counterparts. I've grew up in Southern California, a part of the country with a relatively high percentage of Japanese Americans, yet I've know very few other Japanese Americans in my life. I can recall one Japanese American classmate in jr. high, and one Japanese classmate in my high school (who returned to Japan upon graduating). Even at the UC school I attended for undergrad, I was always the only Japanese person in the every class, and the Japanese Student Association, already meager in numbers, was almost entirely made up of Japanese International students who were only here for school.
If, in fact, 1% of California is made up of Japanese Americans, I suspect they are an aging population. I also think many 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese Americans are only partially Japanese, since, out of necessity, Japanese Americans have a very high rate of out marriage.Anonymous December 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm GMT Lynn December 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm GMT
The carefully researched article makes a strong case that there is some discrimination against Asian-Americans at the Ivy League schools.
On the other hand, I don't see how a percentage of 40-60% Asian-Americans at the selective UC schools, even given the higher percentage of Asian-Americans in California, does not perhaps reflect reverse discrimation, or at least affirmative action on their behalf. To be sure one way or the other, we would have to see their test scores AND GPA, apparently the criteria that the UC schools use for admission, considered as well in the normalization of this statistical data.Titanium Dragon December 20, 2012 at 9:59 pm GMT
The replies to date make some good points but also reflect precisely the biases pointed out in the article as likely causing the discussed distortions.
1) use of name data in achievement vs use of Hillel data for Ivy admits: definitely an issue but is this only one of the measures used in this study. Focusing only on this obscures the fact that Jewish enrollment as measured over time by Hillel numbers (apples to apples) increased significantly over the past decade while the percent of Jewish high school age students relative to other groups declined. One explanation for this surge could be that Jewish students became even more academically successful than they have been in the past. The achievement data using Jewish surnames is used to assess this thesis in the absence of other better data. Rejecting the surname achievement data still leaves a huge enrollment surge over time in Jewish attendance at the Ivies relative to their percentage of the population.
2) many comments accept that the numbers show disproportionate acceptance and enrollment growth but simply then go on to assert that Jewish students really are smarter (absolutely or in gaming the system) relying on anecdotal evidence that is not at all compelling. All definitions of "smarter" contain value judgments". Back in the '20s the argument was that the Ivies should rely more on objective testing to remove bias against the then high testing Jewish students; now the writers argue conveniently wthat the new subjective tests that are applied to disproportionately admit Jewish students over higher scoring Asians and non-Jewish Caucasians are better measures. In both cases, there is still an issue of using a set of factors that disproportionately favors one group. In all such cases of significant disproportionate admits, the choice of the factors used to definemmerit and their application should be carefully evaluated for bias. The burden of proof should shift to those defending the status quo in this situation. In any event, it is clear that given the large applicant pool, there is no shortage of non-Jewish caucasians and Asians who are fully qualified, so if the desire was there for a balanced entering class, the students are available to make it happen
3) the numbers don't break down admissions between men and women. When my child was an athletic recruit to Harvard, we received an ethnic breakdown of the prior year's entering class. I was surprised to discover that the Caucasian population skewed heavily male and the non-white/Asian population skewed heavily female. It seemed that Harvard achieved most of its ethnic diversity that year by admitting female URMs, which made being a Caucasian female the single most underrepresented group relative to its percentage in the school age population. I'm curious if this was an anomaly or another element of bias in the admissions process.
I will note that there is one flaw in this whole argument, and that flaw is thus:
Harvard and Yale aren't the best universities in the country. As someone who went to Vanderbilt, I knew people who had been to those universities, and their evaluation was that they were no better and perhaps actually worse than Vanderbilt, which is "merely" a top 25 university.
While there is a great deal of, shall we say, "insider trading" amongst graduates of those universities, in actuality they aren't actually the best universities in the country today. That honor probably goes to MIT and Caltech, which you note are far more meritocratic. But most of the other best universities are probably very close in overall level, and some of them might have a lot of advantages over those top flight universities.
Or to put it simply, the Ivy League ain't what it used to be. Yeah, it includes some of the best universities in the country, but there are numerous non-Ivy League universities that are probably on par with them. This may indeed be in part a consequence of some of what you have described in the article, as well as a sense of complacency.
I suspect that in twenty or thirty years a lot of Ivy League graduates are going to feel a lot less entitled simply because there has been an expansion of the top while they weren't paying attention.Anonymous December 21, 2012 at 9:06 am GMT McRoss December 22, 2012 at 12:49 am GMT
I'm against the Ivies going up to 30-50% Asian but I'm also against the over-representation of a tiny minority group. This country is going to go downhill if we continue to let one group skirt a fair application process just because they possess money and influence. Who will stand up for fairness and equality?Anonymous December 22, 2012 at 4:11 am GMT
Many of those commenting above don't seem to be picking up on Unz's evidence of bias against white Gentiles, which by meritocratic measures is far worse than the bias against Asian Americans.
A drop of 70 PERCENT??? What's going on? Why is so much of the discussion that this article has spawned focused only on Asian Americans and (secondarily) Jews?Anonymous December 25, 2012 at 3:22 am GMT
National Merit Scholarship semifinalists are chosen based on per-state percentiles.
What this means is that NMS semifinalist numbers would be skewed _against_ a high-performing demographic group to the extent that group's demographics concentrate geographically. Mr. Unz acknowledges that geographical skewing of Jewish populations is huge. However, he ignores its effect on the NMS semifinalist numbers he uses as a proxy for academic performance on a _national_ level to predict equitable distributions at _national_ universities.
Please somebody explain to me how this oversight isn't fatal to his argumentsAnonymous December 25, 2012 at 9:12 am GMT
Surely the author must be aware that approximately half the children with "Jewish" names are not fully Jewish. Over half of the marriages west of the Mississippi are reportedly mixed. Many non-Jews have last names that start with "Gold". Just these two facts make the entire analysis ridiculous. Hillel does not keep statistics on how Jewish a student is, while many of Levys and Cohens are not actually Jewish. What would we call Amy Chua's daughters? Jewish or Asian? It is therefore impossible to tease out in a multi-racial society who is who.
I am an elementary school teacher at a Title One school in northern California. I supported your "English for the Children" initiative when it was introduced.
However, the law of unintended consequences has kicked in, and what exists now is not at all what you (or anyone else, for that matter) had intended.
The school day was not lengthened to create a time slot for English language instruction. Instead, history and science classes were elbowed aside to make way for mediocre English language instruction. These usually worthless classes have crowded out valuable core academic instruction for English language learners.
To make matters worse, while English language learners are in ESL classes, no academic instruction in science or history can be given to "regular" students because that would lead to issues of "academic inequity." In other words, if the Hispanic kids are missing out on history, the black kids have to miss out on it, too.
As a teacher, I hope you will once again consider bringing your considerable talents to focus on the education of low-income minority children in California.
Shelly MooreAnonymous December 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm GMT Anonymous December 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm GMT
Fascinating and disturbing article.
Could it be that the goal of financial, rather than academic, achievement, makes many young people uninterested in competing in the science and math competitions sought out by the Asian students? I wonder about the different percentages of applicants to medical school versus law or business.
I must also add that I am surprised that the author used the word "data" as singular, rather than plural. Shouldn't he be stating that the data ARE, not IS; or SHOW, not SHOWS.Anonymous says: Website December 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm GMT
The author perhaps pays an incredible amount of attention to those with strengths in STEM fields (Science, technology, engineering, and math), even though the proportion of all native-born white students majoring in these fields has plummetted in recent decades. That means that he overlooks a shift in what kinds of training is considered "prestigious," and that this might be reflected in the pursuits of students in high school. Perhaps there is a movement away from Jewish students' focus on Math Olympiad because they are in no way interested in majoring in math or engineering fields, instead preferring economics or business. Is that the fault of the students, or of the rewards system that corporate America has set up?
Jobs in STEM fields pay considerably less than do jobs in numerous professions - investment banking and law. So that is why ~ 40% of the Harvard graduating class - including many of its Jewish students - pursue that route. But to rely on various assessments of math/science/computing as the measure of intelligence fails to incorporate how the rewards structure in our society has changed over time.
I teach at an Ivy League university, and believe that many of the authors' arguments have merit, but there are also many weaknesses in his argument. He sneers at Steinberg and the other sociologists he cites for not quite getting how society has changed - but he clearly doesn' tunderstand how other aspects of our society have changed. Many of our most talented undergrads have no desire to pursue careers in STEM fields. Entrance into STEM jobs even among those who majored in those fields is low, and there is very high attrition from those fields, among both men and women. Young adults and young professionals are voting with their feet. While our society might be better off with more Caltech grads and students interested in creating our way to a better future rather than pursuing riches on wall street, one cannot fault students for seeking to maximize their returns on their expensive education. That's the system we have presented them with, at considerable cost to the students and their families.
Personally, what I found profoundly disturbing is not the overrepresentation of Jewish students or the large presence of Asians who feel they are discriminated against, but the fact that Ivy League schools have not managed to increase their representation of Blacks for the last 3 decades. We all compete for the same talent pool. And until the K-12 system is improved, Black representation won't increase without others screaming favoritism. The other groups - high performing Asians, middle class Jews - will do fine, even if they don't get into Ivy League schools but have to "settle" for elite private schools. But if the Ivy Leagues are the pathway to prestige and power, than we're not broadening our power base enough to adequately reprewsent the demographic shifts reshaping our nation. more focus on that, please.Dismalist December 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm GMT
I've been an SAT tutor for a long time in West Los Angeles (a heavily Asian city), and I feel that at least some of Asians' over-representation in SAT scores and NMS finalists is due to Asian parents putting massive time and money into driving their children's success in those very statistics.
In my experience, Asian parents are more likely than other parents to attempt to ramrod their kids through test prep in order to increase their scores. For example, the few students I've ever had preparing for the PSAT - most students prepare only for the SAT - were all Asian.
Naturally, because it's so strange to be preparing for what is supposed to be a practice test, I asked these parents why their 9th or 10th grade child was in this class, and the answer was that they wanted to do well on the PSAT because of its use in the NMS! Similarly, many Asian immigrants send their children to "cram school" every day after regular school lets out (and I myself have taught SAT at one of these institutions), essentially having their students tutored in every academic subject year-round from early in elementary school.
Because whites are unlikely to do this, it would seem to me that the resulting Asian academic achievement is analogous to baseball players who use steroids having better stats than baseball players who do not.
It seems reasonable that the "merit" in "meritocracy" need not be based solely on test scores and grades, and that therefore a race-based quota system is not the only conclusion that one can draw from a decrease in the attendance rate of hard-driving test-preppers. Maybe the university didn't want to fill its dorms with grade-grubbers who are never seen because they're holed up in the library 20 hours a day, and grade-grubbers just happen to be over-represented in the Asian population?
Unz's piece analyzes only the data that lead up to college - when the Asian parents' academic influence over their children is absolute - whereas the Ivy League schools he criticizes are most concerned with what their students do during and after college. Is the kid who went to cram school his entire life as likely to join student organizations? To continue practicing his four instruments once his mom isn't forcing him to take lessons 4 days a week? To start companies and give money to his university? Or did he just peak early because his parents were working him so hard in order to get him into that college?
That's an article I'd like to read.Anonymous December 25, 2012 at 11:11 pm GMT
The analysis is a tour de force!
However, the remedies considered are not. It is silly to believe that all abilities can be distilled into a small set of numbers, and anyway, no one knows what abilities will succeed in marketplaces. The source of the problem is the lack of competition in education, including higher education, a situation written in stone by current accreditation procedures. The solution to the problem is entry. Remember Brandeis U? With sufficient competition, colleges could take whomever they pleased, on whatever grounds, and everyone would get a chance.Anonymous December 26, 2012 at 12:18 am GMT
Concerning the drop in non-Jewish white enrollment:
I am a recent graduate of a top public high school, where I was a NMS, individual state champion in Academic Decathlon, perfect ACT score, National AP Scholar, etc. etc. Many of my friends almost exclusively white and Asian had similar backgrounds and were eminently qualified for Ivy. None of us even applied Ivy, let alone considered going there. Why? At $60,000/yr, the cost is simply not worth it, since none of us would have been offered anything close to substantial financial aid and our parents were unable/unwilling to fully fund our educations. Meanwhile, my Asian friends applied to as many Ivies as they could because it was understood that (a) their parents would foot the bill if they got in or (b) they would take on a large debt load in order to do it.
This article discounts financial self-selection, which (at least based on my own, anecdotal evidence) is more prevalent than we tend to think.Simon December 26, 2012 at 2:35 am GMT
- The author ignores the role that class plays in setting kids up for success. At one point he notes, "Given that Asians accounted for just 1.5 percent of the population in 1980 and often lived in relatively impoverished immigrant families. . ." When I was at Harvard in the mid-1980s, there were two distinct groups of Asian students: children of doctors, academics, scientists and businesspeople who came from educated families in China, Korea and Vietnam, and therefore grew up with both strong educational values and parental resources to push them; and a much smaller group of kids from Chinatown and Southeast Asian communities, whose parents were usually working class and uneducated. The second group were at a severe disadvantage to the first, who were able to claim "diversity" without really having to suffer for it.
- I would expect you'd see the same difference among higher-caste educated South Asian Brahmins and Indians from middle and lower castes or from places like Guyana. It is ridiculous to put South Asians and East Asians in the same category as "Asian." They have different cultural traditions and immigration histories. Ask any Indian parent what race they are and they'll answer "Caucasian." Grouping them without any kind of assessment of how they might be different undermines the credibility of the author.
- The takeaway is not that affirmative action is damaging opportunities for whites, but that whites are losing against Asians. The percentage of Hispanic and Black students at leading schools is still tiny. Hence, if invisible quotas for Asians are lifted, there will be far fewer white students at these schools. This isn't because of any conspiracy, but because white students are scoring lower than the competition on the relevant entry requirements. I would love to see an article in this publication titled, "Why White Students Are Deficient." How about some more writing about "The White Student Achievement Gap?"Anonymous December 26, 2012 at 2:42 am GMT
As parents of 2 HYP grads, We can tell you from experience that Asian students are not under-represented in the Ivies today. (In fact, I think they are slightly over represented, for the same reasons and stats the author cited).
True, if one looks at stats, such as SAT, scientific competition awards etc, it seems to imply that a +35% enrollment of Asian students is warranted. However, these indicators are just a small part of a "holistc" approach in predicting the success of a candidate not only in the next 4 years, but the individual's success in life and be able to impact and contribute to society later.
I have seen candidates of Asian background, who score almost full mark in SAT but was less than satisfactory in all other aspects of being a potential achiever in life.
Granted, if one wants to be an achiever in science and technology, by all means go with Caltech and MIT. But if one wants an real "education" and be a leader later on in life, one has to have other qualities as well (skin color is NOT one of them). Of course, history, and current cultural and political climate may influence the assessment of such qualities because it is highly subjective. (Is is unfair to pick a pleasant looking candidate over a lesser one, if the rest are the same?)
That is why an interview with the candidates is a good way to assess a potential applicant. I always encourage my children to conduct interviews locally for their alma mater.
I just hope that the Ivies do not use this holistic approach to practice quota policies.
Oh btw I am Asian.
SAnonymous December 26, 2012 at 2:53 am GMT
Here's a quote from a friend just today about this related topic: "Just like the Catholic church in the middle ages recruited the smartest peasants in order to forestall revolutionary potential, and to learn mind bending religious dogma to befuddle the remaining peasants, current practice is much the same. To twist Billy Clinton's mantra, "its the economy stupid", No ,"its the co opted brains"! "
We can substitute economics dogma to the befuddlement mix. The bottom line is every ruling elite has co-opted the top 1%-5% of high wage earners, to make the pyramid work. Sociology writing is all over this. Veblen, Weber, etc. We can see this little group created everywhere minerals or natural resources are coveted by private empires.
The universities are doing exactly what they are supposed to do to protect the interests of the Trustees and Donors who run them for a reason. They are a tool of, not a cause of, the inequality and over-concentration. It is interesting how the story goes into hairsplitting and comparing Asians to others, etc. But, the real story is a well understood sociology story. This article explains why Napoleon established free public education after the French Revolution.Anonymous December 26, 2012 at 4:19 am GMT
This is a fascinating article. So much data. So many inferences. It's hardly surprising to any parent of high school students that college admissions are only marginally meritocratic. Whether that's a good a thing or a bad thing is an open question. I think meritocracy has a place in college admissions. But not the only place. Consider athletics, which are themselves almost exclusively meritocratic. Only the best among the best are offered Division I scholarships. The same, I think, applies to engineering schools, the physical sciences, and (to a lesser degree), elite law schools. It also applies to auto-mechanics, plumbers, and electricians. Regarding the humanities (a field in which I hold a PhD), not so much. I think Unz's beef is less with admissions policies per se (which I agree are mind-bogglingly opaque) than with the status of elite institutions. I also think, and I may be wrong, that Unz appears heading down the Bobby Fisher highway, intimating that those pesky Jews are
America never promised success through merit or equality. That is the American "dream." America promises freedom of religious belief and the right to carry a gun.Anonymous says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm GMT Anonymous says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 27, 2012 at 4:48 am GMT
This is a fascinating and extremely important article which I am very eager to discuss privately with the author, having spent my whole life in higher education, albeit with a unique perspective. I was flabbergasted the findings about Jewish and non-Jewish white representation, and intrigued, all the more so since my own ancestry is evenly divided between those two groups. I do want to make one criticism, however of something the author said about the 1950s which I do not think is correct.
At one point in the article the author makes the claim that the breakdown of Ivy League Jewish quotas in the 1950s reflected the power of Jews in the media and Hollywood. The statistics he gives about their representation there may be correct, but the inference, I believe, is unsustainable. The Proquest historical database includes the Washington Post, New York Times, and many other major newspapers. I did a search for "Harvard AND Jewish AND quota" for the whole period 1945-65 and it turned up only 20 articles, not one of which specifically addressed the issue of Jewish quotas at Harvard and other Ivy League schools. The powerful Jews of that era had reached their positions by downplaying their originsoften including changes in their last namesand they were not about to use their positions overtly on behalf of their ethnic group. (This could be, incidentally, another parallel with today's Asians.) Those quotas were broken down, in my opinion, because of a general emphasis on real equality among Americans in those decades, which also produced the civil rights movement. The Second World War had been fought on those principles.
I could not agree more that the admissions policies of the last 30 years have produced a pathetic and self-centered elite that has done little if any good for the country as a whole.Jordan December 27, 2012 at 5:12 am GMT
It is really refreshing to see in print what we all know by experience, but I have to wonder out loud, what is our higher purpose? Surely, you have a largely goal than merely exposing corruption in the academy. Lastly, I have to wonder out loud, how would the predicament of the working class fit into your analysis? I thank you for this scathing indictment of higher ed that has the potential to offer us a chillingly sobering assessment.Anonymous December 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm GMT
This is why we need to reinstate a robust estate tax or "death tax" as conservatives derisively call it. To break the aristocracy described in this article. No less than Alexis de Tocqueville said that the estate tax is what made America great and created a meritocracy (which now is weaker and riddled with loopholes, thus the decline of America). Aristocracies dominated Europe for centuries because they did not tax the inheritance.Peter December 28, 2012 at 3:37 am GMT
The day when I learned so many Chinese ruling class' offspring are either alumni or current students of Harvard (the latest example being Bo GuaGua), it was clear to me Harvard's admission process is corrupt. How would any ivy college determine "leadership" quality? Does growing up in a leader's family give you more innate leadership skills? Harvard obviously thinks so.
Therefore, it's not surprising that Ron said the following on this subject. " so many sons and daughters of top Chinese leaders attend college in the West ..while our own corrupt admissions practices get them an easy spot at Harvard or Stanford, sitting side by side with the children of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and George W. Bush." I hope world peace will be obtained within reach in this approach.
The chilling factor is a hardworking Chinese immigrant's child in the U.S. would have less chance of getting into ivies than these children of privileged.
It was also very disappointing to see another Asian parent whose children are HYP alumni saying too many Asians in ivies, despite the overwhelming evidence showing otherwise.Anonymous December 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm GMT
Perhaps it's to be expected given the length of the article (over 22,000 words), but so many of the objections and "oversights" raised in the comments are in fact dealt with in detail and with a great deal of respect by Unz in the article itself.
For example, this:
National Merit Scholarship semifinalists are chosen based on per-state percentiles.
What this means is that NMS semifinalist numbers would be skewed _against_ a high-performing demographic group to the extent that group's demographics concentrate geographically. Mr. Unz acknowledges that geographical skewing of Jewish populations is huge. However, he ignores its effect on the NMS semifinalist numbers he uses as a proxy for academic performance on a _national_ level to predict equitable distributions at _national_ universities.
Please somebody explain to me how this oversight isn't fatal to his argument
because geographical skewing of Asian populations is also huge, yet we don't witness the same patterning in admissions data pertaining to Asian students. As the article states: "Geographical diversity would certainly hurt Asian chances since nearly half their population lives in just the three states of California, New York, and Texas."
Unz goes on to note: "Both groups [Jews and Asians] are highly urbanized, generally affluent, and geographically concentrated within a few states, so the 'diversity' factors considered above would hardly seem to apply; yet Jews seem to fare much better at the admissions office."
So there's your answer.
And aside from the fact that your "basic question" has a very simple answer, it's just ludicrous in any case to suggest that the validity of the entire article rests on a single data point.Anonymous December 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm GMT
There is no doubt this is more of a political issue than the academic one. If only merit is considered then asian american would constitute as much as 50% of the student population in elite universities. Politically and socially this is not a desired outcome. Rationale for affirmative action for the african americans and hispanics is same leaving a large population is in elite institution is not desired, it smacks of segregation.
But the core issue remains unsolved. Affirmative action resulted in higher representation but not the competitiveness of the blacks. I am afraid whites are going the similar path.Anonymous December 29, 2012 at 2:31 am GMT
Anyone famliar with sociology and the research on social stratification knows that meritocracy is a myth; for example, if one's parents are in the bottom decile of the the income scale, the child has only a 3% chance to reach the top decile in his or her lifetime. In fact, in contrast to the Horatio Alger ideology, the U.S. has lower rates of upward mobility than almost any other developed country. Social classses exist and they tend to reproduce themselves.
The rigid class structure of the the U.S. is one of the reasons I support progressive taxation; wealth may not always be inherited, but life outcomes are largely determined by the class position of one's parents. In this manner, it is also a myth to believe that wealth is an individual creation;most financially successful individuals have enjoyed the benefits of class privilege: good and safe schools, two-parent families, tutors, and perhaps most important of all, high expecatations and positive peer socialization (Unz never mentions the importants of peeer groups, which data show exert a strong causal unfluence on academic performance).
And I would challenge Unz's assertion that many high-performing Asians come from impovershed backgrounds: many of them may undereport their income as small business owners. I believe that Asian success derives not only from their class background but their culture in which the parents have authority and the success of the child is crucual to the honor of the family. As they assimilate to the more individualist American ethos, I predict that their academic success will level off just as it has with Jews.Rosell December 29, 2012 at 8:00 am GMT
1. HYP are private universities: the success of their alumni verifies the astuteness of their admissions policies.
2. Mr. Unz equates "merit" with "academic". I wonder how many CalTech undergrads would be, or were, admitted, to HYP (and vice-versa).
3. I would like ethnic or racial stats on, for several examples, class officers, first chair musicians*, job holders, actors^, team captains, and other equally valuable (in the sense of contributing to an entering freshman class) high-school pursuits.*By 17, I had been a union trombonist for three years; at Princeton, I played in the concert band, the marching band, the concert orchestra, several jazz ensembles, and the Triangle Club orchestra.^A high school classmate was John Lithgow, the superb Hollywood character actor. Harvard gave him a full scholarship and they should have.Anonymous December 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm GMT
What if we were one homogeneous ethnic group? What dynamic would we set up then?
I suggest taking the top 20% on straight merit, based on SAT scores, whether they crammed for them or not, and take the next 50% from the economically poorest of the qualified applicants (1500 1600 on the SAT?) by straight ethnicity percentages to directly reflect population diversity, and 30% at random to promote some humility, and try that for 20 years and see what effects are produced in the quality of our economic and political leadership. And of course, keep them all in the dark as to how they actually got admitted.
Maybe one effect is that more non-ivy league schools will be tapped by the top recruiters.Anonymous December 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm GMT
"Surely the author must be aware that approximately half the children with "Jewish" names are not fully Jewish. Over half of the marriages west of the Mississippi are reportedly mixed. Many non-Jews have last names that start with "Gold". Just these two facts make the entire analysis ridiculous. Hillel does not keep statistics on how Jewish a student is, while many of Levys and Cohens are not actually Jewish. What would we call Amy Chua's daughters? Jewish or Asian? It is therefore impossible to tease out in a multi-racial society who is who."
Well, there are several arguments to be made. First, unless you are advocating that there has been a mass adoption of words like "Gold" in non-Jewish last names these past 10, 15 years, that argument sinks like a stone. Second, by selecting for specifically Jewish last names, intermarriage can be minimized but not eliminated. How many kids with the lastname "Goldstein" was a non-Jew in the last NMS? Not likely a lot of them.
Intermarriage can account for some fog, but not all, not by a longshot. Your entire argument reeks of bitter defensiveness. You have to come to grips that Jews have become like the old WASPs, rich, not too clever anymore, and blocking the path forward for brighter, underrepresented groups.
Sucks to be you.Jewess December 30, 2012 at 2:02 am GMT
With all due respect, I was worried that I would get an answer that lazily points to the part of the essay that glosses over this point (which mind you I had combed through carefully before posting my question). However, I was hoping that in response someone might respond who had thought a little more carefully about the statistical fallacy in Unz's essay: that far-reaching statements about nation-wide academic performance can be drawn directly from per-state-percentiles.
Yes, Asian Americans, like Jews, have concentrations. But their geographical distributions differ. Yes, it might be possible that upon careful analysis of relative distributions of populations and NMS semifinalists in each state Unz might be able to draw a robust comparison: he might even come up with the same answer. The point that I made is that he doesn't even try.
Given the lengths Unz goes to calculate and re-calculate figures _based_on_ the assumption of _equal_ geographic distributions among Asians and Jews, it is - and I stand by this - a disservice to the reader that no effort (beyond hand-waving) is made to quantitatively show the assumption is at all justified.Anonymous January 2, 2013 at 2:49 am GMT
The statistical analysis used in this article is flawed. The author uses last names to identify the religion (or birth heritage) of NMS semifinalists? Are you serious? My son was a (recent) National Merit Finalist and graduated from an ivy league university. His mother is Jewish; his father is not, thus he has a decidedly WASP surname and according to the author's methods he would have been classified as WASP. With the growing numbers of interfaith and mixed-race children how can anyone draw conclusions about race and religion in the meritocracy or even "IQ" argument? Anecdotally, my son reported that nearly half his classmates at his ivy league were at least one-quarter Jewish (one or more parents or one grandparent). To use last names (in lieu of actual demographic data) to make the conclusion that Jews are being admitted to ivies at higher rates than similarly qualified Asians is irresponsible.Anonymous January 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm GMT
Essentially, the leftist forces in this country are trying to put the squeeze on white gentiles from both directions.
Affirmative action for underachieving minorities to take the place of white applicants.
Meritocracy for highly achieving Asians to push down white applicants, while never mentioning that full meritocracy would push out other minorities as well (that's not politically correct).
The whole thing has become more about political narrative than actual concern for justice. I want you to know that as an Asian man who graduated from Brown, I sympathize with you.Anonymous January 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm GMT
Very interesting article. The case that East Asian students are significantly underrepresented and Jewish students overrepresented at Ivy League schools is persuasive, although not dispositive. The most glaring flaw in the analysis is the heavy reliance on performance on the PSAT (the discussion of the winners of the various Olympiad and Putnam contests has little informational value relevant to admissions, since those winners are the outliers on the tail of the distribution), which is a test that can be prepped for quite easily. Another flaw is the reliance on last names to determine ethnicity, which I doubt works well for Jews, although it probably works reasonably well for East Asians.
Unfortunately, the article is also peppered with (very) thinly supported (and implausible) claims like Asians are better at visuospatial skills, worse at verbal skills, and that the situation is reversed for Jews. This kind of claim strikes me as racial gobbledygook, and at least anecdotally belied if one considers the overrepresentation of Jews among elite chess players, both in the US and worldwide.
In any event, the fundamental point is that the PSAT (as is the case with all standardized tests) is a fixed target that can be studied for. Whether one chooses to put in 100s of hours studying for the PSAT is not, and should not be, the only criterion used for admissions.
I find the relative percentage of East Asians and Jews at schools like MIT (and also Caltech and Berkeley, although obviously those are in part distorted by the heavy concentration of East Asians in California) as compared to HYP as strong evidence that the admissions process at HYP advantages Jews and disadvantages East Asians.
I suspect, though, that the advantages Jews enjoy in the admissions process are unconscious and unintentional, whereas the disadvantages suffered by East Asians are quite conscious and intentional.Anonymous says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment January 21, 2013 at 5:03 am GMT
The graph entitled "Asians Age 18-21 and Elite College Enrollment Trends, 1990-2011″ is misleading. It contrasts percentage of enrolled Asian students vs. the total number of the eligible Asian applicants. Therefore, it led to a flawed argument when comfusing number vs. percentage . For proof, if a similar graph of Hispanic student percentage vs. eligible applicants were drawn, it would appear that they were discriminated against as well. So would be the Black!Anonymous January 24, 2013 at 1:21 am GMT
well, even a fair and objective admission criteria can have devastating consequences. here at IIT, we admit about 1 in 100. this has the same effect on student ethics, career options and so on. in fact, even worse, since IIT is an engineering college, the very definition of engineering in India has now distorted as serving international finance or distant masters in a globalized world. our own development problems remain unattended.
also, the above is a part of the current trend of knowledge concentration, i.e., a belief that only a few universities can impart us "true" knowledge or conduct "true" research.
regs, milind.Thos. January 27, 2013 at 3:39 am GMT
This is a very valuable article. It deals with a subject that has received too little attention. I believe that cultural bias in many cases outweighs the racial bias in the selection program. Time and again, I have seen young people with great potential being selected against because they are culturally different from what the selectors are looking for (often people who are like them culturally). The article's mentioning that students who participated in R.O.T.C., F.F.A. and/or 4H are often passed over is a good illustration.
It was interesting to note that the girl who wrote an essay on how she dealt with being caught in a drug violation found acceptance. I suspect that a student with similar academic qualifications who wrote an essay on the negative aspects of drug use would not be so lucky.
LMMJF January 29, 2013 at 10:36 am GMT
comes news that Yale President Levin's successor will be Peter Salovey, tending to confirm Unz's observations regarding the grossly disproportionate number of Jewish presidents at Ivy League schools.Raymond February 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm GMT
All very interesting but I am among the National Merit Scholars from California who has a not obviously Jewish name despite having two Jewish parents. It was changed in the 1950s due to anti-Semitism and an urge to assimilate. A lot of other names can be German or Jewish for example. I suspect in light of that and intermarriage cases where the mom is Jewish and the dad is not, not to mention a lot of Russian names, you may be undercounting Jews among other things. Although to be fair, you are probably also undercounting some half-Asians given most of those marriages have a white husband and Asian wife.Anonymous February 8, 2013 at 4:47 am GMT
I'm an Asian HYP grad. I applaud this article for being so extremely well researched and insightful. It's an excellent indictment of the arbitrariness and cultural favoritism concentrated in the hands of a very small group of unqualified and ideologically driven admissions officers. And I hasten to add that I am a liberal Democratic, an avid Obama supporter, and a strong proponent of correcting income inequality and combating discrimination in the workplace.
To me, the most compelling exhibit was the one towards the end which showed the % relative representation of enrolled students to highly-qualified students (I wish the article labeled the exhibits). This chart shows that in the Ivies, which administer highly subjective admission criteria, Jews are overrepresented by 3-4x, but in the California schools and MIT, which administer more objective criteria, Jews are overrepresented by only 0-50%, a range that can easily be explained by methodology or randomness.
This single exhibit is unequivocal evidence to me of systematic bias in the Ivy League selection process, with Jews as the primary beneficiary. I tend to agree with the author this this bias is unlikely to be explicit, but likely the result of cultural favoritism, with a decision-making body that is heavily Jewish tending to favor the activities, accomplishments, personalities, etc. of Jewish applicants.
The author has effectively endorsed one of the core tenets of modern liberalism that human beings tend to favor people who look and act like themselves. It's why institutions dominated by white males tend to have pro-white male biases. The only twist here is that the decision-making body in this instance (Ivy League admissions committees) is white-Jewish, not white-Gentile.
So if you're a liberal like me, let's acknowledge that everyone is racist and sexist toward their own group, and what we have here is Jews favoring Jews. We can say that without being anti-semitic, just like we can say that men favor men without being anti-male, or whites favor whites without being anti-white.Anonymous February 14, 2013 at 12:29 am GMT
Just some puzzling statistics: In p. 32, second paragraph, it is mentioned "The Asian ratio is 63% slightly above the white ratio of 61 percent", then in the third paragraph "However, if we separate out the Jewish students, their
ratio turns out to be 435 percent, while the residual ratio for non-Jewish whites drops to just 28 percent, less than half of even the Asian figure", leading to the conclusion that "As a consequence, Asians appear under-represented relative to Jews by a factor of seven, while non-Jewish whites are by far the most under-represented group of all". Not very clear on the analysis!
Let me try to make a guess on the calculation of this statistics ratio: Assume that all groups in NMS will apply, with mA=Asians, mJ=Jews, mW=Whites be the respective numbers in NMS. Suppose that nA, nJ, and nW are those Asians, Jews, and Whites finally admitted. Then if the statistics ratio for G means ((nG)/(mG))/(mG/mNMS), where mNMS is the total number in the NMS, then the ratio will amplify the admission rate (nG/mG) by (mNMS/mG) times and becomes very large or very small for small group size. For example, for a single person group, being admitted will give a ratio as large as mNMS, and a zero for not being admitted. Why can this ratio be used for comparing under-representation between different groups?Al February 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm GMT
Very well. Loved the fact that the author put a lot into reseaching this piece. But i would like to know how many asians who manage to attend this ivy schools end up as nobel leaurets and professors?? This demonstrates the driving force behind the testscore prowess of the asians-financial motivation. The author talks about asians being under-represented in the ivies but even though they manage to attend then what?? do they eventually become eintiens and great nobel leurets or great cheese players. Also what is the stats like for asian poets, novelist, actors.etc Pls focus should be given on improving other non-ivy schools since we have a lots of high SAT test scores than high running universities.Fred February 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm GMT
Look at Nobel prizes, field medals and all kind of prizes and awards that recognize lifetime original academic contributions. Not many asians there yet. Perfect grades or SAT scores does not guarantee creativity, original thinking, intelectual curiosity or leadership. The problem is that those things are hard to measure and very easy to fake in an application.Anonymous February 26, 2013 at 8:09 pm GMT
Loved all the research in the article and I am on board with the idea that moving in the tiger mother direction will kill creativity in young people. And I agree with the observation that our country's top leadership since 1970 or so has been underwhelming and dishonest especially in the financial services industry which draws almost entirely from the Ivies.
However, I am not so convinced that the over representation of Jewish students in the Ivy league is created by intentional bias on the part of Jewish professors or administrators at these institutions. Is it possible that admissions officers select Jewish applicants at such a high rate because they are more likely to actually attend? Once a family of four's income exceeds $160k the net price calculation for a year at Harvard jumps up pretty quickly. By the time you hit annual income of $200k you are looking at $43k/yr or $172k for 4 years. And at the lower income levels, even if a family has to pay just $15k a year, how will they do that if they are struggling to make it as it is? Do they want/does their student want to graduate with $60k worth of debt? Why not choose a great scholarship offer from a state university to pay nothing at all or go to community college for 2 years and then on to the state public institution?
There are many options for top students who can compete at the Ivy level. If I am an admissions officer looking to fill slots left over after minority admissions (ones poor enough to get the education for free and thus to say yes), legacies, athletic recruits, and the few super special candidates, wouldn't I choose those most likely to take me up on the admissions offer and protect my yield number? Might an easy way to get this done be to consult a demographic tool showing net worth by zip code? And to stack the yield odds a little more in my favor might I also choose families with Jewish appearing last names knowing they would be extremely likely to accept my offer since I obviously have recent history to show me that these families say yes to our prices? I think this is a much more plausible explanation then assuming some secret quota in force at these schools.
I am a conservative but I cannot believe Jewish liberals would go that far just to ensure more Jewish liberals attend their institutions or to keep conservative white non Jewish middle income students out. Dollars and cents and the perception a yield number conveys about the desirability of a school are what is at work here in my humble opinion.Anonymous March 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm GMT
There is a very simple solution. There is no legal definition of race. Simply check the "Negro" (or "African-American" or whatever it is called today) box on the application form. You don't look it? Neither do many others, because your ancestry is really mixed. This may get you in. It won't hurt your chances, which are essentially zero before you check that box. At the very least, it will make it harder for the bigots in the admissions office to exercise their bigotry.Doom March 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm GMT
"Look at Nobel prizes, field medals and all kind of prizes and awards that recognize lifetime original academic contributions. Not many asians there yet. Perfect grades or SAT scores does not guarantee creativity, original thinking, intelectual curiosity or leadership. The problem is that those things are hard to measure and very easy to fake in an application."
Last year, 75% of Ph.D candidates where foreign born, most of which were either Indian or Chinese. You should rely on statistics that are more current and relevant.Anonymous March 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm GMT
Wow, another article on how corrupt higher eduation is.
Folks, open your eyes a bit. Online education is growing massively; sharing this growth are websites that write academic papers (even Ph.D. theses) on demands .these websites in toto have nearly as many customers as there are online students.
Harvard is unusual in that they actually banned students for cheating. Every investigation of cheating on campus shows it exists on a massive scale, and reports of half or more of a class cheating are quite common in the news.
The reason for this is simple: administrators care about retention, nothing else. Faculty have long since gotten the message. I've taught in higher education for nearly 25 years now, and I've seen many faculty punished for catching cheaters; not once has there been any reward.
Over 90% of remedial students fail to get a 2-year degree in three years, yet administration sees no issue with talking them into loans that will keep them in debt forever. Admin sees no issue with exploiting the vulnerable for personal gain, of course.
Here's what higher education is today: desperate people take out loans to go to college. They use the money to pay the tuition, and they use the money to buy academic papers because they really aren't there for college, they're there for the checks. Their courses are graded by poorly paid faculty (mostly adjuncts), again paid by those checks. The facutly are watched over by administrators to make sure there is no integrity to the system and again, admin is paid by those checks (in fact, most of the tuition money goes to administrators).
Hmm, what part of this could be changed that would put integrity back into the system?Bobby March 13, 2013 at 1:57 am GMT
I think your sources who claim to be familiar with China are very wrong concerning entrance into Chinese universities, especially those so-called upper tier unis. It is well known amongst most Chinese students who take the gaokao, the all-or-nothing university entrance examination, bribes, guanxi (connections) and just being local, are often better indicators of who will be accepted. Replies: @KA Same and some more in India.
In India it is politics of the gutter. Someone can get to medical school and engineering school even if he or she did not qualify,if scored say 3 points out of 1000 points as long as he or she belonged to lower caste of Hindu. The minimum requirements they have to fulfill is to pass the school leaving examinations with science subjects .A passing level is all that matters . The process then continues (in further education -master , training, post doctoral, and in job and in promotion)
While upper caste Hindu or Christian or Muslim may not be allowed despite scoring 999 out of 1000. It is possible and has happened.
Unfortunately the lower caste has not progressed much. Upper caste Hindus have misused this on many occasions and continue to do do by selling themselves as lower caste with legal loopholes .Muslim or Christians can't do that for they can't claim to be HinduThom March 13, 2013 at 7:04 pm GMT
Ron Unz is a brilliant man. He created software that made him rich, and has written articles on all kinds of subjects. But apparently, Ron shares a problem with a very tiny number of humanity. Ron is one of those oddball characters, that, no matter where the truth leads him, he simply has to express it, regardless of political correctness. He did this in California with the debate on English,etc.
Compared to the administrators of these Ivy League Institutions, Ron is a mental giant, not even near being in the same class as these supposedly important but in reality, worthless beurocrats.Anonymous March 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm GMT
If ten million Gentile whites and Asians changed their surname to Kaplan, Levy, Golden, Goldstein, Goldman, it obviously would throw a monkey wrench into the process of ethnic favoritism.
To paraphrase Unz - the "shared group biases" of Ivy League college admission officers that have "extreme flexibility and subjectivity", does harm white Gentiles and Asians, but only because the process lacks objective, meritocratic decision making, and in its place is a vile form of corrupt cronyism and favoritism.Michael N Moore March 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm GMT
An Asian speaking here, I agree that America isn't a meritocracy, but has it ever been? It seems like this article's falling for the oldest trick in the book - looking back at the "good old days". I'd argue that now more than ever, the barrier to entry is lower than ever, and that every individual can rise to the occasion and innovate for the better. Places like Exeter (my alma mater) aren't just playgrounds for the rich - I'm not extremely wealthy, and neither were my classmates. Most of us were even on financial aid. Don't just point fingers at institutions to account for shortcomings - if you had the stroke of fortune to be born in a nation with such opportunity, with hard work and CREATIVITY and INNOVATION, anything is possible.
Has anyone thought about why the test-prep business has expanded so much? It's to feed into the very same system that you're complaining about. Be the change you wish to see in the world, not a victim of it. To many of the Asians out there, I'd say get over your 4.0 GPA and 2400 SAT score and be unique for once.marc April 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm GMT
To put Unz's findings in social and historical perspective, it is important to understand where Jewish academics come from. The Eastern European Jews who immigrated to Northeast US in the Twentieth Century ran into an immigrant world dominated by Catholics and particularly Irish Catholics. The Irish, who were as "hungry" as the Jews got control over government and its ancillary economic benefits. I wasn't there at the time, but I imagine we Irish did not do much to help Jewish immigrants compared with Catholic immigrants.
One area abandoned by the Catholic Church was public and secular education. The Church formed its own educational Catholic ghetto. Jewish immigrants adopted the public-secular educational world as their own and became strong adherents of education as the key to Americanization. Education became their small piece of turf. The only memorable political conflict between Jews and AfricanAmericans in New York City was over control of the public schools.
Just as the Irish react against affirmative action for non-Irish in government jobs, the descendants of these Jewish immigrants react to the plagiarism of their assimilation plan by the Chinese/Koreans. When you have de facto Irish affirmative action you don't want de jure African American affirmative action. When you have Jewish "meritocracy" you don't want Asian meritocracy.
The result is what you see today. The Irish still have a stranglehold on government related jobs in the Northeast with a smattering of minorities ("New Irish") and the Jews try to protect their secular education turf from the "New Jews". It's just business. Don't take it personally.Anonymous April 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm GMT
All I can say is see a book: "Ivy League Fools and Felons"' by Mack Roth. Lots of them are kids of corrupt people in all fields.
But I disagree that opportunity is being closed off to most Americans. Here in North Dakota I work for a high school graduate, self made trucking millionaire. Five years ago she was a secretary in Iowa. But she got off her butt and went to where the money is circulating. Just my 2 centsRand April 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm GMT
Sorry, but quick correction regarding rankings (and I only have to say this because I go to MIT). Technically, MIT and Caltech are *both* ranked the same. The only reason why Caltech appears on the list before MIT is because it come before it alphabetically to suggest otherwise would be untrue. When you look at individual departments, you'll find that MIT consistently ranks higher than that of Caltech in all engineering disciplines and most scientific disciplines. Also, personally speaking, MIT has a far better humanities program that Caltech (especially in the fields of economics, political science, philosophy, and linguisitics). We do have a number of Pulitizer Prize winners who teach here.
Also generally, in academic circle, MIT is usually viewed with higher regard than Caltech, although that isn't to say Caltech isn't a fantastic school (it really and truly isI loved it there and I wish more people knew more about it)NotAmerican April 15, 2013 at 4:56 pm GMT
One observation about methodology that struck me while reading this:
The Jewish population of universities is being evaluated based on Hillel statistics, with the "Non-Jewish white" population being based on the white population minus the Jewish population.
This can be problematic when you consider that these population are merging at a pretty high rate. (I don't have much information here, but this is from the header of the wikipedia article: "The 1990 National Jewish Population Survey reported an intermarriage rate of 52 percent among American Jews.")
What percentage of partially Jewish students identify as "Jewish" or does Hillel identify as Jewish? If you're taking a population that would have once identified as "white" and now identifying them as Jewish, obviously you'll see some Jewish inflation, and white deflation. And when a large percentage of this population bears the names "Smith", "Jones", "Roberts" etc., you're obviously not going to see a corresponding increase in NMS scores evaluated on the basis of last names.
Of course, I have no idea what methodology Hillel is using, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it's an inflated one.NotAmerican April 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm GMT
Thank you Mr. Unz for this provocative article. It isn't the author's first one on Jewish & Asian enrollment at Ivy League colleges. I remember another one, in the 1990s I believe.
According to what I read, less and less American Jews apply for medical school nationwide, and Jewish women are very educated, but it comes also with a low birthrate and high median age. It makes the recent spike in Jewish admissions at Harvard College all the more curious, intriguing.
This month, the NY Times published a list of the highest earners in the hedge fund industry in 2012, and 8 out of 10 were Jewish. Are certain universities aggressively seeking donations from this super rich demographic since the 2000s?
History has a way of repeating itself.Ira April 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm GMT
I'm referring to HYP(Harvard-Yale-Princeton)'s history, during the Gilded Age for example.N. Joseph Potts April 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm GMT
The young American Jew is not like his grandparents. They are just as fun loving and lazy as any other. This is the result of a lack of perceived persecution that use to keep the group together. In the major cities, half of the young people leave the tribe through intermarriage. This is human nature. The Rabbis changed the rules some time ago to define a Jew as coming from the mother, so the Jewish man would marry a Jewish woman, instead of a woman outside of the tribe. Read the Bible. In David's time, the men had an eye for good looking women outside of the tribe(like all men). Now days, the young people just laugh at the Rabbi's words.
Instead of the old folks liberal ideas of race and ethnic divisions, let us change it to go by economic class. According to liberal thought, intelligence is equally distributed throughout all economic classes, so higher education admissions should be by economic class, and not the old divisive ideas of race and ethnic background. After all, affirmative action programs are institutionalized racism and racial profiling. Replies: @KA Yes . You have points . This is one of the fears that drove the Zionist to plan of Israel in 1880 . It was the fear of secular life free from religious persecution and freedom to enjoy life to its fullest in the post industrial non religious Europe guided by enlightenment that drove them embrace the religious ethnic mix concept of statehood.Clark Coleman May 14, 2013 at 4:13 am GMT
These and many other ills would be alleviated if government would stop: (a) banning aptitude tests or even outright discrimination as determinants of employment; (b) subsidizing private institutions such as Harvard; and (c) close down all government schools, starting with state institutions of "higher learning."
I know, pie in the sky. But the author's suggestions by comparison are mere Band-Aids.Anonymous May 23, 2013 at 4:00 am GMT
Great analysis, but pie-in-the-sky prescription, which was presumably just intended to be thought provoking. If you want to know why Harvard would never adopt the author's recommendation, just read what he wrote:
"But if it were explicitly known that the vast majority of Harvard students had merely been winners in the application lottery, top businesses would begin to cast a much wider net in their employment outreach, and while the average Harvard student would probably be academically stronger than the average graduate of a state college, the gap would no longer be seen as so enormous, with individuals being judged more on their own merits and actual achievements. A Harvard student who graduated magna cum laude would surely have many doors open before him, but not one who graduated in the bottom half of his class."
I wonder why Harvard officials would desire this outcome?foo May 31, 2013 at 5:31 am GMT
So a lot of ivy league presidents with Jewish-sounding names somehow influence admissions staff who may not have Jewish-sounding names to favor undeserving applicants because they also have Jewish-sounding names? And this is because of some secret ethnic pride thing going on? And nobody's leaked this conspiracy to the outside world until our whistle blowing author? The guy's a nut job.Anonymous July 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm GMT
Benj Pollock says: [...stuf...]
What a weird ad-hominem attack! One of the weakest I have seen..you should really be calling the author an "anti-semite" shouldn't you ?NB says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 5, 2013 at 7:52 pm GMT
All of your statistics are highly suspect due to the enormous, and rapid annual increase in Jewish intermarriage. I do not have the statistics, but over many years, it certainly appears that Jewish men are far more likely to intermarry than Jewish women (the lure of the antithesis to their Jewish mother??) and to complicate matters further, Jewish men seem to have a predilection for Asian women, at least in the greater NY Metro Area. But that still does not represent the majority of Jewish men marrying Christians. QED. More Jewish last names, for children who are DNA wise only half Jewish than non Jewish names for the intermarried. And if one wanted to get really specific, the rapidly rising intermarriage is diluting the "Jewish" genetic pool's previously demonstrable intelligence superiority., strengthened by the fact that most couples use the Jewish fathers last name.
These observations are in no way associated with how the various Jewish denominations define 'Jewish"
Methinks the statistics are highly flawed.Walter Sobchak December 11, 2013 at 3:43 am GMT
I have posted a critique of Unz's article here: http://alum.mit.edu/www/nurit
Columbia statistician Andrew Gelman discusses it here: http://andrewgelman.com/2013/10/22/ivy-jew-update/
In short: Unz substantially overestimated the percentage of Jews at Harvard while grossly underestimating the percentage of Jews among high academic achievers, when, in fact, there is no discrepancy.
In addition, Unz's arguments have proven to be untenable in light of a recent survey of incoming Harvard freshmen conducted by The Harvard Crimson, which found that students who identified as Jewish reported a mean SAT score of 2289, 56 points higher than the average SAT score of white respondents.
I have a couple of thoughts about this article:
First. I was thrilled to see your advocacy of admissions by lottery. I have advocated such a plan on various websites that I participate in, but you have written the first major article advocating it that I have seen. Congratulations.
Just a small quibble with your plan, I would not allow the schools any running room for any alternatives to the lottery. They have not demonstrated any willingness to administer such a system fairly. After a few years of pure lottery it would be time to evaluate it and see if they should be allowed any leeway, but I wouldn't allow any variation before that.
I would hypothesize that one effect of a lottery admissions plan would be a return to more stringent grading in the class rooms. It would be useful to the faculty to weed out the poor performers more quickly, and the students might have less of an attitude of entitlement.
Second, I am glad that you raised the issue of corruption of the admissions staffs. It would be a new chapter in human history if there was no straight out bribe taking of by functionaries in their positions. My guess is that the bag men are the "high priced consultants". Pay them a years worth of tuition money and a sufficient amount will flow to the right places to get your kid in to wherever you want him to go.
Third, three observations about Jewish Students.
First, Jews are subject to mean reversion just like everybody else.
Second, the kids in the millennial generation were, for the most part, born into comfortable middle class and upper class homes. The simply do not have the drive that their immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents had. I see this in my own family. My wife and I had immigrant parents, and we were pretty driven academically (6 degrees between us). Our kids, who are just as bright as we were, did not show that same edge, and it was quite frustrating to us. None of them have gone to a graduate or professional school. They are all working and are happy, but driven they aren't.
Third, Hillel's numbers of Jewish students on their website should be taken cum grano salis. All three of our kids went to Northwestern U. (Evanston, IL) which Hillel claimed was 20% Jewish. Based on our personal observations of kids in their dorms and among their friends, I think the number is probably 10% or less.
Finally, the side bar on Paying Tuition to a Hedge Fund. I too am frustrated with the current situation among the wealthy institutions. I think that it deserves a lot more attention from policy makers than it has received. The Universities have received massive benefits from the government (Federal and state) - not just tax exemptions, but grants for research and to students, subsidized loans, tax deductions for contributions, and on, and on. They have responded to this largess by raising salaries, hiring more administrators, spending billions on construction, and continually raising tuitions far faster than the rate of inflation. I really do not think the tax payers should be carrying this much of a burden at a time when deficits are mounting without limit.
Henry VIII solved a similar problem by confiscating assets. We have constitutional limits on that sort of activity, but I think there a lot of constitutional steps that should be considered. Here a few:
1. There is ample reason to tax the the investment gains of the endowments as "unrelated business taxable income" (UBTI, see IRS Pub 598 and IRC §§ 511-515) defined as income from a business conducted by an exempt organization that is not substantially related to the performance of its exempt purpose. If they do not want to pay tax on their investments, they should purchase treasuries and municipals, and hold them to maturity.
2. The definition of an exempt organization could be narrowed to exclude schools that charge tuition. Charging $50,000/yr and sitting on 30G$ of assets looks a lot more like a business than a charity.
3. Donations to overly rich institutions should be non deductible to the donors. Overly rich should be defined in terms of working capital needs and reserves for depreciation of physical assets.jholloway August 23, 2014 at 4:40 am GMT
Is the proposed mechanism that Jewish university presidents create a bias in the admissions department?
That could be tested by comparing Jewish student percentages between schools with Christian and Jewish presidents. If Christian presidents produce student bodies with a high proportion of Jews, then Jewish ethnocentrism is not the cause. (We'd have to find a way to control for presidents' politics.)
If admissions departments are discriminating in favor of liberals, that will boost the proportion of all liberals, including many Jews, but it will be political discrimination, not ethnic discrimination. (Both are bad, but we should be accurate.)
Liberals see a discrepancy in ethnic outcomes and consider it proof of ethnic discrimination. Are we doing the same thing?KA October 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm GMT KA October 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm GMT
After Russian emancipation, the Jews from Pale settlement spread out and took up jobs in government services, secured admissions in technical and medical schools, and established positions in trade in just two decades. Then they started interconnecting and networking more aggressively to eliminate competition and deny the non-Jews the opportunities that the non Jews rightfully claimed. This pattern was also evident in Germany after 1880 and in Poland between interwars .
The anti-Jewish sentiment seen in pre revolutionary Russia was the product of this ethnic exclusivisity and of the tremendous in-group behaviors .@Ira The young American Jew is not like his grandparents. They are just as fun loving and lazy as any other. This is the result of a lack of perceived persecution that use to keep the group together. In the major cities, half of the young people leave the tribe through intermarriage. This is human nature. The Rabbis changed the rules some time ago to define a Jew as coming from the mother, so the Jewish man would marry a Jewish woman, instead of a woman outside of the tribe. Read the Bible. In David's time, the men had an eye for good looking women outside of the tribe(like all men). Now days, the young people just laugh at the Rabbi's words.KA October 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm GMT
Instead of the old folks liberal ideas of race and ethnic divisions, let us change it to go by economic class. According to liberal thought, intelligence is equally distributed throughout all economic classes, so higher education admissions should be by economic class, and not the old divisive ideas of race and ethnic background. After all, affirmative action programs are institutionalized racism and racial profiling.
Yes . You have points . This is one of the fears that drove the Zionist to plan of Israel in 1880 . It was the fear of secular life free from religious persecution and freedom to enjoy life to its fullest in the post industrial non religious Europe guided by enlightenment that drove them embrace the religious ethnic mix concept of statehood.
@Anonymous I think your sources who claim to be familiar with China are very wrong concerning entrance into Chinese universities, especially those so-called upper tier unis. It is well known amongst most Chinese students who take the gaokao, the all-or-nothing university entrance examination, bribes, guanxi (connections) and just being local, are often better indicators of who will be accepted.Ivy October 16, 2014 at 3:20 am GMT
Same and some more in India. In India it is politics of the gutter. Someone can get to medical school and engineering school even if he or she did not qualify, if scored say 3 points out of 1000 points as long as he or she belonged to lower caste of Hindu. The minimum requirements they have to fulfill is to pass the school leaving examinations with science subjects .A passing level is all that matters . The process then continues (in further education -master , training, post doctoral, and in job and in promotion)
While upper caste Hindu or Christian or Muslim may not be allowed despite scoring 999 out of 1000. It is possible and has happened. Unfortunately the lower caste has not progressed much. Upper caste Hindus have misused this on many occasions and continue to do do by selling themselves as lower caste with legal loopholes .Muslim or Christians can't do that for they can't claim to be HinduAnonymous November 26, 2014 at 5:06 pm GMT
Jews are really good at networking and in-group activity. They have centuries of practice, and lived a meritocratic existence of self-sorting in the Pale and elsewhere.
That is evident to all who look.
Other groups have different approaches, and different organizational or affiliation bonds, based on their history, culture and other factors.
NE Asians share some traits, and both value education as a way to improve themselves and to some extent their groups.
S Asians will demonstrate their own approach, focusing heavily on STEM.
Expect demographics to win out, given 2.5B Asians versus a smaller NAM or NE European-base populace.Truth December 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm GMT
Thanks for the informative article. Your proposal sounds reasonable. Another option would be to attempt to vastly decrease the significance of these elite private schools. Why should we allow undemocratic little fiefdoms to largely control entry into our country's ruling class? It would probably be considerably more fair, more transparent and more efficient to pour a lot of resources into our public universities. If Berkeley, Michigan, UVA, UMass, etc. were completely free, for instanceor if they provided students with living expenses as well as free tuition, the quality of their students would conceivably surpass that of the Ivy League's, and over time the importance and prestige of Harvard, Stanford, etc. would diminish. Instead, we are subsidizing students at elite private colleges more than those at public collegesan absurd state of affairs (see this article, whose author is a bit of an ideologue but who is right on this issue: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Robert-Reich/2014/1014/How-the-government-spends-more-per-student-at-elite-private-universities-than-public ).Anonymous March 11, 2015 at 3:34 am GMT
Mr. Unz; thank you for the long, informational and scholarly article. I read the whole thing, and from Sailer I am familiar with your reputation as a certified genius. I must admit however, after the 5-10,000 words you had written, I was a bit shocked that your answer to how to improve elite University enrollment, was to FLIP A FIGURATIVE COIN.
I expected some chart with differential equations that I would have to consult my much more intelligent brother, the electrical engineer to explain to me. Not that it does not make a lot of sense.
The issue with your solution is that you go from a three class university:
1) Legacy Admits
2) Non athletic, black admits
3) everyone else
to a much-more rigid, two class university:
1) academic admits
2) coin-flip admits
One tier being one of the smartest 15-18 year olds in the world, the other being "somewhat better than good student at Kansas State."
Talk about a hierarchy!Joe Franklin August 20, 2015 at 8:25 pm GMT
My brother works at a little ivy league school. Well endowed because the parents Dun and Bradstreet reports are at the top of the selection sheets with parents jobs also. Extra points for finance and government jobs at executive levels.
This article was excellent and reinforced everything he has told me over the years. One thing he did mention i would like to add. Asians, which for years were their choice for filling minority quotas, are horrible when it comes to supporting the alma mater financially during the fund drives. This information was confirmed by several other schools in the area when they tried a multi-school drive in the far east and south east asia to canvas funds and returned with a pitiful sum.Joe Franklin August 29, 2015 at 4:42 pm GMT
Diversity is a scheme that is the opposite of a meritocracy. Diversity is a national victim cult that generally demonizes gentiles, and more specifically demonizes people that conform to a jewish concocted profile of a nazi.
Why would anyone use the word diversity in the same sentence as the word meritocracy?Part White, Part Native September 1, 2015 at 6:45 am GMT
"Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?" Why would anybody claiming to be intelligent include meritocracy and diversity in the same sentence?Gandydancer December 26, 2015 at 1:43 am GMT
@Sean Gillhoolley Harvard is a university, much like Princeton and Yale, that continues based on its reputation, something that was earned in the past. When the present catches up to them people will regard them as nepotistic cauldrons of corruption.
Look at the financial disaster that befell the USA and much of the globe back in 2008. Its genesis can be found in the clever minds of those coming out of their business schools (and, oddly enough, their Physics programs as well). They are teaching the elite how to drain all value from American companies, as the rich plan their move to China, the new land of opportunity. When 1% of the population controls such a huge portion of the wealth, patriotism becomes a loadstone to them. The elite are global. Places like Harvard cater to them, help train them to rule the world....but first they must remake it.
I agree, common people would never think of derivatives , nor make loans based on speculation .
"Tiffany Wang['s] SAT scores were over 100 points above the Wesleyan average, and she ranked as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist "
"Julianna Bentes her SAT scores were somewhat higher than Tiffany's "
Did Ms. Wang underperform on her SATs? NMS semifinalist status depends purely on the score on a very SAT-like test being at a 99.5 percentile level, as I understand it (and I was one, albeit a very long time ago) and I gather from the above that her SAT scores did not correspond to the PSAT one. That is, merely " 100 points above the Wesleyan average" doesn't seem all that exceptional. Or am I wrong?
Mr. Unz several times conflates NMS semifinalist status with being a top student. Which I most definitely was not. It's rather an IQ test. As was the SAT.
Dec 28, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comEconomists believe crazy things: December 28, 2016 at 06:05 PM
[As if] protectionist Japan is now backward and poverty stricken; free trade Africa is soaring on the wings of giant trade deficits :Economists lead the way in silly beliefs that defy empirical reality and common sense. The most glaring example of this is the view that free trade is beneficial. All evidence points in the opposite direction, but no matter - our fake economists are happy to say/believe whatever so long as their foreign government paymasters and banks write the ten thousand dollar checks for "consulting" and "academic reports".
likbez -> Economists believe crazy things.. December 28, 2016 at 07:31 PMYou are probably wrong. Free trade is a delicate instrument, much like tennis racket. If you hold it too tightly you can't play well. If you hold it too loose you can't play well either.
Neoliberals promote "free trade" (note "free" not "fair") as the universal cure for all nations problems in all circumstances. This is a typical neoliberal Three-card Monte.
The real effect in many cases is opening market for transnationals who dictate nations the rules of the game and loot the country.
But isolationism has its own perils. So some middle ground should be fought against excessive demands of neoliberal institutions like IMF and World Bank. For example, any country that take loans from them (usually on pretty harsh conditions; with string attached), has a great danger that money will be looted via local fifth column. And will return in no time back into Western Banks leaving the country in the role of the debt slave.
The latter is the preferred role neoliberals want to see each and every third world country (and not only third world countries -- see Greece and Cyprus). Essentially in their "secret" book this is the role those counties should be driven into.
Recent looting of Ukraine is the textbook example of this process. The majority of population now will live on less then $2 a day for many, many years.
At the same time, balancing free trade and isolationism is tricky process also. Because at some point, the subversion starts and three letter agencies come into the play. You risk getting color revolution as a free present for your refusal to play the game.
Neoliberals usually do not take NO for the answer.
That's when the word "neoliberal" becomes yet another dirty word.
Dec 28, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comDid William Casey (CIA Director) really say, "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."?
Catherine Rampell:American Believe Crazy, Wrong Things : Many Americans believe a lot of dumb, crazy, destructive, provably wrong stuff.
JohnH : , December 28, 2016 at 03:23 PMAmericans are also led to believe a lot of crazy, wrong things, such as Saddam had WMDs, or Iran had a nuclear weapons program, to cite only the most outrageous lies dutifully propagated by the mainstream media.yuan -> JohnH... , December 28, 2016 at 03:50 PM
Before Catherine Rampell criticizes ordinary Americans, she should have the Washington Post engage in a little serious introspection and self-criticism...The media should certainly shoulder some blame for parroting militarist propaganda but ordinary USAnians who continue to reward these scoundrels with their votes. And with Trump ordinary USAnians appear to have elected someone even more willing to shamelessly lie and loot than his predecessors.yuan -> yuan... , December 28, 2016 at 03:50 PM
It is time for ordinary USAnians to engage in a lot of serious introspection and self-criticism. I doubt this will happen until it's too late. (Very thankful that I am not tied to this nation!)"but it is ordinary"
Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comFred C. Dobbs : December 27, 2016 at 05:06 AM , 2016 at 05:06 AM(Does this have something to do
with Jon Stewart's retirement &
Stephen Colbert 'going legit'?)
Wielding Claims of 'Fake News,' Conservatives
Take Aim at Mainstream Media http://nyti.ms/2iuFxRx
NYT - JEREMY W. PETERS - December 25, 2016
WASHINGTON - The CIA, the F.B.I. and the White House may all agree that Russia was behind the hacking that interfered with the election. But that was of no import to the website Breitbart News, which dismissed reports on the intelligence assessment as "left-wing fake news."
Rush Limbaugh has diagnosed a more fundamental problem. "The fake news is the everyday news" in the mainstream media, he said on his radio show recently. "They just make it up."
Some supporters of President-elect Donald J. Trump have also taken up the call. As reporters were walking out of a Trump rally this month in Orlando, Fla., a man heckled them with shouts of "Fake news!"
Until now, that term had been widely understood to refer to fabricated news accounts that are meant to spread virally online. But conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. Trump himself, incredulous about suggestions that fake stories may have helped swing the election, have appropriated the term and turned it against any news they see as hostile to their agenda.
In defining "fake news" so broadly and seeking to dilute its meaning, they are capitalizing on the declining credibility of all purveyors of information, one product of the country's increasing political polarization. And conservatives, seeing an opening to undermine the mainstream media, a longtime foe, are more than happy to dig the hole deeper.
"Over the years, we've effectively brainwashed the core of our audience to distrust anything that they disagree with. And now it's gone too far," said John Ziegler, a conservative radio host, who has been critical of what he sees as excessive partisanship by pundits. "Because the gatekeepers have lost all credibility in the minds of consumers, I don't see how you reverse it."
Journalists who work to separate fact from fiction see a dangerous conflation of stories that turn out to be wrong because of a legitimate misunderstanding with those whose clear intention is to deceive. A report, shared more than a million times on social media, that the pope had endorsed Mr. Trump was undeniably false. But was it "fake news" to report on data models that showed Hillary Clinton with overwhelming odds of winning the presidency? Are opinion articles fake if they cherry-pick facts to draw disputable conclusions?
"Fake news was a term specifically about people who purposely fabricated stories for clicks and revenue," said David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes, the myth-busting website. "Now it includes bad reporting, slanted journalism and outright propaganda. And I think we're doing a disservice to lump all those things together."
The right's labeling of "fake news" evokes one of the most successful efforts by conservatives to reorient how Americans think about news media objectivity: the move by Fox News to brand its conservative-slanted coverage as "fair and balanced." Traditionally, mainstream media outlets had thought of their own approach in those terms, viewing their coverage as strictly down the middle. Republicans often found that laughable.
As with Fox's ubiquitous promotion of its slogan, conservatives' appropriation of the "fake news" label is an effort to further erode the mainstream media's claim to be a reliable and accurate source. ...
Dec 27, 2016 | econospeak.blogspot.comhttp://econospeak.blogspot.com/2016/12/peak-robot-fragment-on-machines.html
December 25, 2016
Peak Robot: the Fragment on Machines
Martin Sklar's disaccumultion thesis * is a restatement and reinterpretation of passages in Marx's Grundrisse that have come to be known as the "fragment on machines." Compare, for example, the following two key excerpts.
...to the degree that large industry develops, the creation of real wealth comes to depend less on labour time and on the amount of labour employed than on the power of the agencies set in motion during labour time, whose 'powerful effectiveness' is itself in turn out of all proportion to the direct labour time spent on their production, but depends rather on the general state of science and on the progress of technology, or the application of this science to production. ...
Labour no longer appears so much to be included within the production process; rather, the human being comes to relate more as watchman and regulator to the production process itself. (What holds for machinery holds likewise for the combination of human activities and the development of human intercourse.)
In consequence [of the passage from the accumulation phase of capitalism to the "disaccumlation" phase], and increasingly, human labor (i.e. the exercise of living labor-power) recedes from the condition of serving as a 'factor' of goods production, and by the same token, the mode of goods-production progressively undergoes reversion to a condition comparable to a gratuitous 'force of nature': energy, harnessed and directed through technically sophisticated machinery, produces goods, as trees produce fruit, without the involvement of, or need for, human labor-time in the immediate production process itself. Living labor-power in goods-production devolves upon the quantitatively declining role of watching, regulating, and superintending.
The main difference between the two arguments is that for Marx, the growing contradiction between the forces of production and the social relations produce "the material conditions to blow this foundation sky-high." For Sklar, with the benefit of another century of observation, disaccumulation appears as simply another phase in the evolution of capitalism -- albeit with revolutionary potential. But also with reactionary potential in that the reduced dependence on labor power also suggests a reduced vulnerability to the withholding of labor power.
Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 25, 2016 @05:05PM from the Bob-Cratchit-vs-Scrooge dept.
In early December, Carnival Corp. told about 200 IT employees that the company was transferring their work to Capgemini, a large IT outsourcing firm. The employees had a choice: Either agree to take a job with the contractor or leave without severance. The employees had until the week before Christmas to make a decision about their future with the cruise line.
By agreeing to a job with Paris-based Capgemini, employees are guaranteed employment for six months, said Roger Frizzell, a Carnival spokesman.
"Our expectation is that many will continue to work on our account or placed into other open positions within Capgemini" that go well beyond the six-month period, he said in an email.
Senior IT engineer Matthew Culver told CBS that the requested "knowledge transfer activities" just meant training their own replacements , and "he isn't buying any of it," writes Slashdot reader dcblogs . "After receiving his offer letter from Capgemini, he sent a counteroffer.
It asked for $500,000...and apology letters to all the affected families," signed by the company's CEO. In addition, the letter also demanded a $100,000 donation to any charity that provides services to unemployed American workers. "I appreciate your time and attention to this matter, and I sincerely hope that you can fulfill these terms."
And he's also working directly with a lawyer for an advocacy group that aims to "stop the abuse of H-1B and other foreign worker programs ."Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 5 , Insightful) by Anonymous Coward writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:00PM ( #53553189 )Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 2 ) by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:13PM ( #53553247 )
Foreign workers are willing to do a job at a lower salary in most if not all cases b/c the cost of living in their respective countries is a fraction of ours.
I would be willing to do my job at a fraction of what I am paid currently should that (that being how expensive it is to live here) change. It is equally infuriating to me when American companies use loopholes in our ridiculously complicated tax code to shelter revenues in foreign tax shelters to avoid paying taxes while at the same time benefiting from our infrastructure, emergency services, military, etc..
Its assholes like you that always spout off about free market this or that, about some companies fiduciary responsibilities to it's shareholders blah blah blah... as justification for shitty behavior.Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 2 ) by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:33PM ( #53553303 )It is equally infuriating to me when American companies use loopholes in our ridiculously complicated tax code to shelter revenues in foreign tax shelters to avoid paying taxes
So who are you infuriated at? The companies that take advantage of those loopholes, or the politicians that put them there? Fury doesn't help unless it is properly directed. Does your fury influence who you vote for?... while at the same time benefiting from our infrastructure, emergency services, military, etc.
No. Taxes are only sheltered on income generated overseas, using overseas infrastructure, emergency services, etc. I am baffled why Americans believe they have a "right" to tax the sale of a product made in China and sold in France.Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 3 ) by fibonacci8 ( 260615 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @08:43PM ( #53553777 )I am baffled why Americans believe they have a "right" to tax the sale of a product made in China and sold in France.
In a seriously silly Monty Python sketch about taxes, someone mildly suggested:
"I think we should tax foreigners, living abroad."
Kinda sorta the same idea . . .Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 5 , Insightful) by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:37PM ( #53553317 )
I suppose it's related to the idea that intellectual property "rights" granted by a country of origin should still have the same benefits and drawbacks when transferred to another country. Or at the very least should be treated as an export at such time a base of operations moves out of country.Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 5 , Insightful) by geoskd ( 321194 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @07:35PM ( #53553547 )
Except that calling, say iOS sales 'generated overseas' when the software was written in the US, using US infrastructure, etc . And the company is making the bogus claim that their Irish subsidiary owns the rights to that software. It's a scam - not a loophole.Re: ( Score: 2 ) by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) writes:It's a scam - not a loophole.
They are the same thing. The only way to ensure that there are no tax dodges out there is to simplify the tax code, and eliminate the words: "except", "but", "excluding", "omitting", "minus", "exempt", "without", and any other words to those same effects.
Americans are too stupid to ever vote for a poltiician that states they will raise taxes. This means that either politicians lie, or they actively undermine the tax base. Both of those situations are bad for the majority of americans, but they vote for the same scumbags over and over, and will soundly reject any politician who openly advocates tax increases. The result is a race to the bottom. Welcome to reaping what you sow, brought to you by Democracy(tm).Re: Dear Matthew ( Score: 2 , Insightful) by Anonymous Coward writes:
Except that calling, say iOS sales 'generated overseas' when the software was written in the US, using US infrastructure, etc .
That makes no sense. Plenty of non-American companies develop software in America. Yet only if they are incorporated in America do they pay income tax on their overseas earnings, and it is irrelevant where their engineering and development was done.
It has nothing whatsoever to do with "using infrastructure". It is just an extraterritorial money grab that is almost certainly counterproductive since it incentivizes American companies to invest and create jobs overseas.
Yes, taxes are based on profits. So Google, for instance, makes a bunch of money in the US. Their Irish branch then charges about that much for "consulting" leaving the American part with little to no profits to tax.
Re: ( Score: 2 ) by SwashbucklingCowboy ( 727629 ) writes:Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 4 , Insightful) by msauve ( 701917 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @07:45PM ( #53553601 )
Oh get real. Companies make it appear that nearly all income is generated overseas in order to get around that. It's mostly a scam.
"I am baffled why Americans believe they have a "right" to tax the sale of a product made in China and sold in France."
Because the manufacturing and sales are controlled by a US based company, as is the profit benefit which results. If a US entity, which receives the benefits of US law, makes a profit by any means, why should it not be taxed by the US?
Mar 29, 2015 | Angry Bear
Noam Scheiber has a hard hitting article on the front page of www.nytimes.com "2016 Candidates and Wealthy Are Aligned on Inequality"
The content should be familiar to AngryBear readers. A majority of Americans are alarmed by high and increasing inequality and support government action to reduce inequality. However, none of the important 2016 candidates has expressed any willingness to raise taxes on the rich. The Republicans want to cut them and Clinton (and a spokesperson) dodge the question.
Rich individuals (who are willing to be interviewed) also express concern about inequality but generally oppose using higher taxes on the rich to fight it. Scheiber is very willing to bluntly state his guess (and everyone's) that candidates are eager to please the rich, because they spend much of their time begging the rich for contributions.
No suprise to anyone who has been paying attention except for the fact that it is on the front page of www.nytimes.com and the article is printed in the business section not the opinion section. Do click the link - it is brief, to the point, solid, alarming and a must read.
I clicked one of the links and found weaker evidence than I expected for Scheiber's view (which of course I share
"By contrast, more than half of Americans and three-quarters of Democrats believe the "government should redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich," according to a Gallup poll of about 1,000 adults in April 2013."
It is a small majority 52% favor and 47% oppose. This 52 % is noticeably smaller than the solid majorities who have been telling Gallup that high income individuals pay less than their fair share of taxes (click and search for Gallup on the page).
I guess this isn't really surprising - the word "heavy" is heavy maaaan and "redistribute" evokes the dreaded welfare (and conservatives have devoted gigantic effort to giving it pejorative connotations). The 52% majority is remarkable given the phrasing of the question. But it isn't enough to win elections, since it is 52% of adults which corresponds to well under 52% of actual voters.
My reading is that it is important for egalitarians to stress the tax cuts for the non rich and that higher taxes on the rich are, unfortunately, necessary if we are to have lower taxes on the non rich without huge budget deficits. This is exactly Obama's approach.
March 29, 2015 10:40 pm
Get rid of tax breaks that only the wealthy can take advantage of and perhaps everyone will pay their fair share. The same goes for corporations.
March 30, 2015 11:42 am
Of course another way to reduce inequality is to raise wages. Buried way down around paragraph 9 I found this gem: "Forty percent of the wealthy, versus 78 percent of the public, said the government should make the minimum wage "high enough so that no family with a full-time worker falls below the official poverty line."
I'm fine with raising people's taxes by increasing their wages. A story I heard on NPR recently indicated that a single person needs to make about $17-19 an hour to cover most basic necessities nowadays (the story went on to say that most people in that situation are working 2 or more jobs to get enough income, a "solution" that creates more problems with health/stress etc.). A full time worker supporting kids needs more than $20.
You double the minimum wage and strengthen people's rights to organize union representation. Tax revenues go up (including SS contributions btw) and we add significant growth to the economy with the increased purchasing power of workers. People can go back to working 40-50 hours a week and cut back on moonlighting which creates new job opportunities for the younger folks decimated by this so called recovery.
Win Win Win Win. And the poor overburdened millionaires don't have to have their poor tax fee fees hurt.
Mark Jamison, March 30, 2015 8:09 pm
How about if we get rid of the "re" and call it what it is "distribution". The current foundational rules embedded in tax law, intellectual property law, corporate construction law, and other elements of our legal and regulatory system result in distributions that favor those with capital or in a position to seek rents.
This isn't a situation that calls for a Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to the poor. It is more a question of how elites have rigged the system to work primarily for them. Democrats cede the rhetoric to the Right when they allow the discussion to be about redistribution. Even talk of inequality without reference to the basic legal constructs that are rigged to create slanted outcomes tend to accepted premises that are in and of themselves false.
The issue shouldn't be rejiggering things after the the initial distribution but creating a system with basic rules that level the opportunity playing field.
coberly, March 30, 2015 11:03 pm
Thank You Mark Jamison!
An elegant, informed writer who says it better than I can.
But here is how I would say it:
Addressing "inequality" by "tax the rich" is the wrong answer and a political loser.
Address inequality by re-criminalizing the criminal practices of the criminal rich. Address inequality by creating well paying jobs with government jobs if necessary (and there is necessary work to be done by the government), with government protection for unions, with government policies that make it less profitable to off shore
etc. the direction to take is to make the economy more fair . actually more "free" though you'll never get the free enterprise fundamentalists to admit that's what it is. You WILL get the honest rich on your side. They don't like being robbed any more than you do.
But you will not, in America, get even poor people to vote to "take from the rich to give to the poor." It has something to do with the "story" Americans have been telling themselves since 1776. A story heard round the world.
That said, there is nothing wrong with raising taxes on the rich to pay for the government THEY need as well as you. But don't raise taxes to give the money to the poor. They won't do it, and even the poor don't want it except as a last resort, which we hope we are not at yet.
urban legend, March 31, 2015 2:07 am
Coberly, you are dead-on. Right now, taxation is the least issue. Listen to Jared Bernstein and Dean Baker: the problem is incomes and demand, and the first and best answer for creating demand for workers and higher wages to compete for those workers is full employment. Minimum wage will help at the margins to push incomes up, and it's the easiest initial legislative sell, but the public will support policies - mainly big-big infrastructure modernization in a country that has neglected its infrastructure for a generation - that signal a firm commitment to full employment.
It's laying right there for the Democrats to pick it up. Will they? Having policies that are traditional Democratic policies will not do the job. For believability - for convincing voters they actually have a handle on what has been wrong and how to fix it - they need to have a story for why we have seem unable to generate enough jobs for over a decade. The neglect of infrastructure - the unfilled millions of jobs that should have gone to keeping it up to date and up to major-country standards - should be a big part of that story. Trade and manufacturing, to be sure, is the other big element that will connect with voters. Many Democrats (including you know who) are severely compromised on trade, but they need to find a way to come own on the right side with the voters.
coberly, March 31, 2015 10:52 am
i wish you'd give some thought to the other comments on this post.
if you are proposing raising taxes on the rich SO THAT you can cut taxes on the non rich you are simply proposing theft. if you were proposing raising taxes on the rich to provide reasonable welfare to those who need it you would be asking the rich to contribute to the strength of their own country and ultimately their own wealth.
i hope you can see the difference.
it is especially irritating to me because many of the "non rich" who want their taxes cut make more than twice as much as i do. what we are looking at here is simple old fashioned greed just as stupid and ugly among the "non rich" as it is among the rich.
"the poor" in this country do not pay a significant amount of taxes (Social Security and Medicare are not "taxes," merely an efficient way for us to pay for our own direct needs . as long as you call them taxes you play into the hands of the Petersons who want to "cut taxes" and leave the poor elderly to die on the streets, and the poor non-elderly to spend their lives in anxiety and fear-driven greed trying to provide against desperate poverty in old age absent any reliable security for their savings.)
Kai-HK, April 4, 2015 12:23 am
Thanks for your well-reasoned response.
You state, 'i personally am not much interested in the "poor capitalist will flee the country if you tax him too much." in fact i'd say good riddance, and by the way watch out for that tarriff when you try to sell your stuff here.'
(a) What happens after thy leave? Sure you can get one-time 'exit tax' but you lose all the intellectual capital (think of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Steve Jobs leaving and taking their intellectual property and human capital with them). These guys are great jobs creators it will not only be the 'bad capitalists' that leave but also many of the 'job creating' good ones.
(b) I am less worried about existing job creating capitalists in America; what about the future ones? The ones that either flee overseas and make their wealth there or are already overseas and then have a plethora of places they can invest but why bother investing in the US if all they are going to do is call me a predator and then seize my assets and or penalise me for investing there? Right? It is the future investment that gets impacted not current wealth per se.
You also make a great point, 'the poor are in the worst position with respect to shifting their tax burden on to others. the rich do it as a matter of course. it would be simpler just to tax the rich there are fewer of them, and they know what is at stake, and they can afford accountants. the rest of us would pay our "taxes" in the form of higher prices for what we buy.'
Investment capital will go where it is best treated and to attract investment capital a market must provide a competitive return (profit margin or return on investment). Those companies and investment that stay will do so because they are able to maintain that margin .and they will do so by either reducing wages or increasing prices. Where they can do neither, their will exit the market.
That is why, according to research, a bulk of the corporate taxation falls on workers and consumers as a pass-on effect. The optimum corporate tax is 0. This will be the case as taxation increases on the owners of businesses and capital .workers, the middle class, and the poor pay it. The margins stay competitive for the owners of capital since capital is highly mobile and fungible.Workers and the poor less so.
But thanks again for the tone and content of your response. I often get attacked personally for my views instead of people focusing on the issue. I appreciate the respite.
coberly, April 4, 2015 12:34 pm
yes, but you missed the point.
i am sick of the whining about taxes. it takes so much money to run the country (including the kind of pernicious poverty that will turn the US into sub-saharan africa. and then who will buy their products.
i can't do much about the poor whining about taxes. they are just people with limited understanding, except for their own pressing needs. the rich know what the taxes are needed for, they are just stupid about paying them. of course they would pass the taxes through to their customers. the customers would still buy what they need/want at the new price. leaving everyone pretty much where they are today financially. but the rich would be forced to be grownup about "paying" the taxes, and maybe the politics of "don't tax me tax the other guy" would go away.
as for the sainted bill gates. there are plenty of other people in this country as smart as he is and would be happy to sell us computer operating systems and pay the taxes on their billion dollars a year profits.
nothing breaks my heart more than a whining millionaire.
April 4, 2015 11:32 pm
Sure I got YOUR point, it just didn't address MY points as put forth in MY original post. And it still doesn't.
More importantly, you have failed to defend YOUR point against even a rudimentary challenge.
coberly, April 5, 2015 12:45 pm
rudimentary is right.
i have read your "points" about sixteen hundred times in the last year alone. made by the ayn rand faithful. it is wearisome.
and i have learned there is no point in trying to talk to true believers.
William Ryan, May 13, 2015 4:43 pm
Thanks again Coberly for your and K's very thoughtful insight. You guys really made me think hard today and I do see your points about perverted capitalism being a big problem in US. I still do like the progressive tax structure and balanced trade agenda better.
I realize as you say that we cannot compare US to Hong Kong just on size and scale alone. Without all the obfuscation going Lean by building cultures that makes people want to take ownership and sharing learning and growing together is a big part of the solution Ford once said "you cannot learn in school what the world is going to do next".
Also never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level then beat you with experience. The only cure for organized greed is organized labor. It's because no matter what they do nothing get done about it. With all this manure around there must be a pony somewhere! "
- A typical voice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues". FDR.
- Rich people pay rich people to tell middle class people to blame poor people
- Earth doesn't matter, people don't matter, even economy doesn't matter . The only thing that matters is R.W. nut bar total ownership of everything.
- I'm sorry I put profits ahead of people, greed above need and the rule of gold above God's golden rules.
- I try to stay away from negative people who have a problem for every solution
- We need capitalism that is based on justice and greater corporate responsibility. I do not speak nor do I comprehend assholian.
- "If you don't change direction , you may end up where you are headed". Lao-Tzu.
- "The true strength of our nation comes not from our arm or wealth but from our ideas". Obama..
- "If the soul is left to darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not the one who commits the sins, but the one who caused the darkness". Victor Hugo.
coberly , May 16, 2015 9:57 pm
as a matter of fact i disagree with the current "equality" fad at least insofar as it implies taking from the rich and giving to the poor directly.
i don't believe people are "equal" in terms of their economic potential. i do beleive they are equal in terms of being due the respect of human beings.
i also believe your simple view of "equality" is a closet way of guarantee that the rich can prey upon the poor without interruption.
humans made their first big step in evolution when they learned to cooperate with each other against the big predators.
Jerry Critter, May 17, 2015 12:10 am
it is mildly progressive up to about $75,000 per year where the rate hits 30%. But from there up to $1.542 million the rate only increases to 33.3%.
I call that very flat!
Jerry Critter, May 17, 2015 11:20 am
"i assume there are people in this country who are truly poor. as far as i know they don't pay taxes."
Read my reference and you will see that the "poor" indeed pay taxes, just not much income tax because they don't have much income. You are fixated on income when we should be considering all forms of taxation.
Jerry Critter, May 17, 2015 9:25 pm
Oh Kai, cut the crap. Paying taxes Is nothing like slavery. My oh my, how did we ever survive with a top tax rate of around 90%, nearly 3 times the current rate? Some people would even say that the economy then was pretty great and the middle class was doing terrific. So stop the deflection and redirection. I think you just like to see how many words you can write. Sorry, but history is not on your side.
Dec 27, 2016 | www.unz.comMike Whitney... ... ..
Bottom line: Trump's Santa Rally could turn into a stock market bloodbath unless he's able to deliver on his promises, which doesn't look very likely. Check this out from Bloomberg:
"President-elect Donald Trump's race to enact the biggest tax cuts since the 1980s went under a caution flag Monday as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned he considers current levels of U.S. debt "dangerous" and said he wants any tax overhaul to avoid adding to the deficit.
"I think this level of national debt is dangerous and unacceptable," McConnell said, adding he hopes Congress doesn't lose sight of that when it acts next year. "My preference on tax reform is that it be revenue neutral," he said
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan think tank, has projected that Trump's plans would increase the debt by $5.3 trillion over a decade, with deficits already over $600 billion a year and rising on autopilot
What I hope we will clearly avoid, and I'm confident we will, is a trillion-dollar stimulus," he said. "Take you back to 2009. We borrowed $1 trillion and nobody could find that it did much of anything. So we need to do this carefully and correctly and the issue of how to pay for it needs to be dealt with responsibly." ( McConnell, Warning of 'Dangerous' Debt, Wants Tax Cut Offsets , Bloomberg)
It doesn't sound like McConnell is a big fan of Trump's economic plan, does it? So why has the Dow risen to within 26 points of the 20,000-mark if that's the case?? Do investors think that Trump can simply issue an executive order and force Congress to do what he wants?
Good luck with that. The deficit-crazed Republicans are just as committed to austerity as ever, mainly because slashing government spending coupled with low interest rates is a tried-and-true method of transferring obscene amounts of money to the 1 percenters. Why would they tinker with a mechanism that works perfectly already?
They won't, at least not to the extent that it'll have any meaningful impact on the living standards of millions of working people across America. Congress is going to prevent that at all cost. And so will the Fed. Just listen to what Yellen had to say to a journalist from the Washington Post last week following the FOMC meeting. She was asked point-blank whether she thought the economy needed more fiscal stimulus or not. Her answer:
"Well I called for fiscal stimulus when the unemployment rate was substantially higher than it is now. So with a 4.6 percent unemployment, and a solid labor market, there may be some additional slack in labor markets, but I would judge that the degree of slack has diminished, So I would say at this point that fiscal policy is not obviously needed to help us get back to full employment But nevertheless, let me be careful that I am not trying to provide advice to the new administration or to Congress as to what is the appropriate stance of policy."
Nice, eh? Yellen threatens Trump with three more rate hikes in 2017, torpedoes his $1 trillion infrastructure plan with a wave of the hand, and then has the audacity to deny that she's dictating policy.
Of course she's dictating policy. What else would you call it?
Yellen is saying as clearly as possible, that if Trump launches his fiscal spending plan, the Fed's going to slap him down by raising rates. If that's not a threat, then what is??
Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comanne :http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/PSZ2016.pdf
Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States
By Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman
This paper combines tax, survey, and national accounts data to estimate the distribution of national income in the United States since 1913. Our distributional national accounts capture 100% of national income, allowing us to compute growth rates for each quantile of the income distribution consistent with macroeconomic growth. We estimate the distribution of both pre-tax and post-tax income, making it possible to provide a comprehensive view of how government redistribution affects inequality.
- Average pre-tax national income per adult has increased 60% since 1980, but we find that it has stagnated for the bottom 50% of the distribution at about $16,000 a year.
- The pre-tax income of the middle class-adults between the median and the 90th percentile-has grown 40% since 1980, faster than what tax and survey data suggest, due in particular to the rise of tax-exempt fringe benefits.
- Income has boomed at the top: in 1980, top 1% adults earned on average 27 times more than bottom 50% adults, while they earn 81 times more today.
- The upsurge of top incomes was first a labor income phenomenon but has mostly been a capital income phenomenon since 2000.
The government has offset only a small fraction of the increase in inequality. The reduction of the gender gap in earnings has mitigated the increase in inequality among adults. The share of women, however, falls steeply as one moves up the labor income distribution, and is only 11% in the top 0.1% today.Reply Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at 01:09 PM anne -> anne... , December 27, 2016 at 01:13 PMhttp://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/PSZ2016.pdf
Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States
By Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman
Introduction Income inequality has increased in many developed countries over the last several decades. This trend has attracted considerable interest among academics, policy-makers, and the general public. In recent years, following up on Kuznets' (1953) pioneering attempt, a number of authors have used administrative tax records to construct long-run series of top income shares (Alvaredo et al., 2011-2016). Yet despite this endeavor, we still face three important limitations when measuring income inequality. First and most important, there is a large gap between national accounts-which focus on macro totals and growth-and inequality studies-which focus on distributions using survey and tax data, usually without trying to be fully consistent with macro totals. This gap makes it hard to address questions such as: What fraction of economic growth accrues to the bottom 50%, the middle 40%, and the top 10% of the distribution? How much of the rise in income inequality owes to changes in the share of labor and capital in national income, and how much to changes in the dispersion of labor earnings, capital ownership, and returns to capital? Second, about a third of U.S. national income is redistributed through taxes, transfers, and public good spending. Yet we do not have a good measure of how the distribution of pre-tax income differs from the distribution of post-tax income, making it hard to assess how government redistribution affects inequality. Third, existing income inequality statistics use the tax unit or the household as unit of observation, adding up the income of men and women. As a result, we do not have a clear view of how long-run trends in income concentration are shaped by the major changes in women labor force participation-and gender inequality generally-that have occurred over the last century.
This paper attempts to compute inequality statistics for the United States that overcome the limits of existing series by creating distributional national accounts. We combine tax, survey, and national accounts data to build new series on the distribution of national income since 1913. In contrast to previous attempts that capture less than 60% of US national income- such as Census bureau estimates (US Census Bureau 2016) and top income shares (Piketty and Saez, 2003)-our estimates capture 100% of the national income recorded in the national accounts. This enables us to provide decompositions of growth by income groups consistent with macroeconomic growth. We compute the distribution of both pre-tax and post-tax income. Post-tax series deduct all taxes and add back all transfers and public spending, so that both pre-tax and post-tax incomes add up to national income. This allows us to provide the first comprehensive view of how government redistribution affects inequality. Our benchmark series uses the adult individual as the unit of observation and splits income equally among spouses. We also report series in which each spouse is assigned her or his own labor income, enabling us to study how long-run changes in gender inequality shape the distribution of income.
Distributional national accounts provide information on the dynamic of income across the entire spectrum-from the bottom decile to the top 0.001%-that, we believe, is more accurate than existing inequality data. Our estimates capture employee fringe benefits, a growing source of income for the middle-class that is overlooked by both Census bureau estimates and tax data. They capture all capital income, which is large-about 30% of total national income- and concentrated, yet is very imperfectly covered by surveys-due to small sample and top coding issues-and by tax data-as a large fraction of capital income goes to pension funds and is retained in corporations. They make it possible to produce long-run inequality statistics that control for socio-demographic changes-such as the rise in the fraction of retired individuals and the decline in household size-contrary to the currently available tax-based series.
Methodologically, our contribution is to construct micro-files of pre-tax and post-tax income consistent with macro aggregates. These micro-files contain all the variables of the national accounts and synthetic individual observations that we obtain by statistically matching tax and survey data and making explicit assumptions about the distribution of income categories for which there is no directly available source of information. By construction, the totals in these micro-files add up to the national accounts totals, while the distributions are consistent with those seen in tax and survey data. These files can be used to compute a wide array of distributional statistics-labor and capital income earned, taxes paid, transfers received, wealth owned, etc.-by age groups, gender, and marital status. Our objective, in the years ahead, is to construct similar micro-files in as many countries as possible in order to better compare inequality across countries. Just like we use GDP or national income to compare the macroeconomic performances of countries today, so could distributional national accounts be used to compare inequality across countries tomorrow.
We stress at the outset that there are numerous data issues involved in distributing national income, discussed in the text and the online appendix. First, we take the national accounts as a given starting point, although we are well aware that the national accounts themselves are imperfect (e.g., Zucman 2013). They are, however, the most reasonable starting point, because they aggregate all the available information from surveys, tax data, corporate income statements, and balance sheets, etc., in an standardized, internationally-agreed-upon and regularly improved upon accounting framework. Second, imputing all national income, taxes, transfers, and public goods spending requires making assumptions on a number of complex issues, such as the economic incidence of taxes and who benefits from government spending. Our goal is not to provide definitive answers to these questions, but rather to be comprehensive, consistent, and explicit about what assumptions we are making and why. We view our paper as attempting to construct prototype distributional national accounts, a prototype that could be improved upon as more data become available, new knowledge emerges on who pays taxes and benefits from government spending, and refined estimation techniques are developed-just as today's national accounts are regularly improved....