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[ 🎶 Thinking Cap ] This post is framed around results of cypher-based queries for the number 1234 against my custom lexicon files built up over a year of phrase inputs (mostly gleaned from newspaper headlines and their 'quoted phrases', or stream of conciousness inspired by them). There are not very many, but the few there are appear to be instructive. I have used some repetition to aid those with trouble remembering numbers. Perhaps NSFW. (For the confused: see here, here and here)
If you are brand new to this collection of scrolls, I recommend reading (as much as you can of) this before returning here, which will help to justify my particular focus below (the belt).
Did you gnow A=1?
There are 26 letters in the English-Latin Alphabet.
The basic alphabetic gematria code acknowledges that A=1, B=2, C=3, ..., Z=26 (ie. ordinal gematria).
In this basic alphabetic cypher (which is implied if I do not specify):
If you flip the numeric ordering about (ie. look in the mirror: treat 'Z' as 1, down to 'A' as 26), then...
This ("The ABC") is the name of the earliest alphabet primer textbooks for kids.
The first church primers paralleled the introduction of school textbooks known as “the ABC”
The Alphabet is a vessel for messages:
If, instead of the basic alphabetic ordinal cyphers above, we use another cypher some call Agrippa's Key, and some call the 'jewish cipher', which is based on the ancient Hebrew and Greek gematria charts, and maps that scheme to the Latin Alphabet, we can ask a catch-phrase question (written more formally than usual)
What's in a name?
Here we move beyond the three steps of ABC and arrive at the Door of Dalet. Behind it, if we have the write keys, we might discover...
The results of...
Itself the result of...
... of the Masters of the Ages.
Or not.
Many folks shun numbers:
  • "Obnoxious" = 1234 trigonal
  • ... ("number" = 73 = "crazy" ... but "perfect" = "count" = 73)
  • "The Great Learning" = 1234 trigonal
  • ... "Great Knowledge" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... ( "Great Knowledge" = 449 primes (*) )
  • ... ( .. ... "Mental Contact" = 449 primes )
  • ... ( .. .. "Population" = 449 primes )
  • "Silence is Golden" = 449 primes (ie. Hush in the Library)
  • "Great Knowledge" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... "Forbidden Word" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... .. .. ( "Silence is Golden" = 449 primes )
  • "My Call of Duty" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... "Great Knowledge" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • .. ... .. "What is in a name?" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • "Silent Warrior" = 1234 english-extended
  • ... ( "Rain" = 322 trigonal ) ( "Number" = 73 alphabetic; "Jake" = "Bard" = 73 primes )
  • ... ( .. "Counting" = 322 trigonal ) ( "Count" = 73 = "Perfect" = "Number" )
  • ... ( .. "To Know" = 322 trigonal ) ( "The Mind" = 73 = "Count" = "Number" )
  • ... ( .. "The Proof" = 322 trigonal )
  • ... ( .. .. "Final Proof" = 322 jewish-latin-agrippa )
Genesis 3:22 (KJV Bible)
And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
  • "To Know" = 322 primes
  • "A Magic Number" = 322 primes
  • .. .. ... "Magician" = 322 trigonal
Make it ...
  • "Rain" = 322 trigonal
... for the ...
  • "Girl" = 322 trigonal
Thor and Jane meet again:
  • "Full Name" = 322 jewish-latin-agrippa (ie. Count it! ... but you are fool to reveal it)
  • ... .. .. ( "What is in a name?" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa )
  • .. .. ... ( ... )
  • . .. ... "Counting" = 322 primes
  • ... .. "Count" = 393 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • .. . "Accurate" = 393 primes
  • . "Accountancy" = 393 primes
  • "Counting" = 322 primes
  • "Full Name" = 322 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... ( "A Magic Number" = 322 primes )
  • "What is in a name?" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... "Great Knowledge" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... .. .. "The Spells of Eden" = 1234 trigonal
The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge...
  • "Great Knowledge" = 449 primes
  • "Sex Education" = 449 primes
  • ... ( building "Population" = 449 primes )
...And they knew they were naked (ie. eyes opened):
  • "Shame On You" = 1234 trigonal
  • ... "The First Day" = 1234 trigonal
  • ... .. .. "The Spells of Eden" = 1234 trigonal
  • "Sex Education" = 1337 english-extended (ie. Elite codes)
  • "The Spells of Eden" = 1234 trigonal
  • ... "Great Knowledge" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... .. .. "The Great Learning" = 1234 trigonal
  • .. .. ... "A Great Work" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... "Speak Loud and Clear" = 1234 trigonal
  • ... .. "Water out!" = 1234 trigonal (ie. 'The Number' ~= 'Pregnant' ~= 'A Baby')
  • ... .. .. "The Spells of Eden" = 1234 trigonal (ie. spell-casting -> spillage -> spoil it)
Serpents, and Tower of Babylon:
  • "What is in a name?" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... "The Unpatchable Code" = 1234 trigonal (DNA code; written language, (relatively) hard to change)
  • ... .. .. "The Spells of Eden" = 1234 trigonal
  • .. .. ... "The One Source" = 1234 trigonal
  • .. .. ... .. "The Duration of One Year" = 1234 jewish-latin-agripa
  • ... .. .. ... .. "The Source" = 365 primes (ie. days in a year, solar orbit)
ie. Matrix Code - Mother Code Pregnancy Procedure and Cascading Responsibility.
  • "My little Pony" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
If you're lucky:
  • "Birth of Twins" = 1234 english-extended
ie. quantum-entanglement: you cannot give birth to your first alphabetic Son, a strong boy named Aleph, and deny he is '1'. You cannot have your second child, a beautiful maiden, Beth, and deny she is '2'.
Animals on the ark 2 by 2. You cannot order the alphabet, and deny the letters have ordinal indexes (ie. numbers associated with them - significant others)
  • "Boat" = 123 primes
To travel down...
  • "Denial" = 123 primes as easy as ABC.
Again, many folks shun numbers:
Obstetrics is the field of study concentrated on pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. As a medical specialty, obstetrics is combined with gynaecology under the discipline known as obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) which is a surgical field.
  • "Obnoxious" = 1234 trigonal
  • ... "The Number" = 333 primes
  • ... "Unspeakable" = 333 primes
  • ... "The Unspeakable Number" = 666 primes
  • .
  • "Counting" = 322 primes
  • "Magician" = 322 trigonal
  • ... "Magician" = 156 primes
  • ... "Apple" = 156 primes
  • ... ( the 156th prime number is 911 )
  • ... ( ... "Divine Feminine" = 911 jewish-latin-agrippa )
  • ... ( ... "She is a Beauty" = 911 jewish-latin-agrippa )
  • ... ( ... "Sexy Girl" = 911 jewish-latin-agrippa )
  • ... ( "The Last Proof of Life After Death" = 911 primes )
I have a spell-matching feature that can cross-match multiple cypher results and return the 'closest frequency matches' of all the spells I've ever entered into my gematria tools. At the time of writing the lexicon file is half a megabyte in size (plain text) and contains 37,694 words and phrases.
When I ask for the spellings that most closely match: "live forever", I get the following three results as top matches:
  • 'white liquid', 'into the girl', and 'the dilution' (with 8+ cypher matches)
There are a lot of flowery symbolic or metaphorical phrases that it could have returned, but it seems the Heptapods are rather blunt.
  • "Divine Feminine" = 911 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... .. "Sexy Girl" = 911 jewish-latin-agrippa
Revelation 9:11 King James Version (KJV):
And they had a king [41] over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon [41] , but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
This is perhaps a dual - the Abaddon is both Father Beast (and Lord of the Harem, perhaps, given the plural 'them') and the Beastly Progeny (ie. King and Prince):
  • "Pregnant" = 333 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • "The Temple" = 333 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... "A Baby" = 333 trigonal
The angelic little baby, retrieved from the bottomless pit, is the apple of mommy and daddy's eyes (even though it is very naughty, ruling over their lives for many years after his or her noxious retrieval from the Underworld).
"I wonder why?" = 474 primes ( "Accountancy" = 393 primes )
  • "Numerology" = 474 primes
  • "Great Pattern" = 474 primes
  • "Object of Lust" = 474 primes ( "Deny Nature" = 419 primes )
  • "The Devil, Woman" = 474 primes (ie. Beauty and the Beast)
  • .
  • ... "The Number" = 333 primes
  • ... .. .. "A Baby" = 333 trigonal
  • "The Great Emergence" = 474 primes
  • "Population" = 449 primes
  • ... "Sex Education" = 449 primes
  • .. .. .. "Surveillance" = 449 primes
  • ("A Pornographic" = 616 englist-extended [ie. "Number" = 616 trigonal ] )
  • ("Pornographica" = 616 eng-ext [ie. "Perfect Number" = 616 jewish-latin-agrippa ] )
  • ... ("The Law" = 616 trigonal )
  • ... ("Garden of Eden" = 616 trigonal )
  • .
  • "To Know" = 322 primes
You cannot unsee it:
  • "Girl" = 322 trigonal <---- pornographic numeric hieroglyph
To each there own:
  • "Tradition" = 393 jewish-latin-agripa
  • "The Perfect Woman" = 1,393 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • "Tradition" = 393 jewish-latin-agripa
  • ... "Count" = 393 jewish-latin-agripa
  • .. .. ... "Accountancy" = 393 primes
Occult Alphabet = English Alphabet = Statistics
  • "Figures Reveal..." = 1234 trigonal
  • .... "Liberal Party" = 1234 trigonal
  • Q: .. "What Rules?" = 1234 english-extendedd
  • A: .. "Just Sign Here"* = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
The closest multi-cypher spectrum match against dictionary files (as described here), to the spell "One Thing" is:
  • "enduring" (with 9+ matches)
  • "Tradition" = 393 jewish-latin-agripa
  • ... "Survive" = 393 primes
  • ... .. .."Greyhound race" = 1234 trigonal
  • .. .. ... ... "The Rat Race" = 314 primes (ie. pi; commute in circles)
  • "Great Place" = 1234 square
Viva Las Vegas (ie. V.L.V ):
777 (ie. to win at slots):
  • "A Triple-Seven" = 1234 trigonal | 2,322 squares
The Boeing 777 is a premiere passenger aircraft.
The Boeing 787 is called the Dreamliner (ie "The Call" = 787 squares ... of Morpheus)
The Boeing 747 is Old Faithful, the Jumbo Jet of Time
Air Force One is a 747
  • "Air Force" = 223 primes
  • "Winds" = 223 primes
  • "Goddess" = 223 primes
  • ... "The Law" = 223 primes
  • ... "Air Force" = 223 primes
  • "Winds" = 223 primes
  • .
  • "The Law" = "Goddess" = 223 primes
She steps on "The Scale" = 223 primes ...
...and hopes she is ...
  • "Weightless" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
From an old Alphabet Primer:
... He that ne'er learns his ABC,
... For ever will a Blockhead be.
... But he that learns these Letters fair,
... Shall have a Coach to take the Air.
Are you ready, Icarus?
  • "This is the deal" = 139 = "Occult Alphabet"
  • ... "Competition" = 139 = "Pyramid scheme" = "Ancient Egypt"
Mirror Mirror, upon the wall, who is the Pharaoh over all?
Extra credit:
Read about the taming of Enkidu, in the myth of Gilgamesh:
  • "The Spells of Eden" = 1234 trigonal
  • "Great Knowledge" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... "Great Knowledge" = 449 primes
  • ... "Sex Education" = 449 primes | 1337 english-extended
  • ... .. .. "Prostitute" = 1234 english-extended
  • .. .. ... .. "Carnival Row" = 1234 english-extended
  • ... .. .. "Prostitute" = 1234 english-extended
  • .. .. ... ... "Presidential Golf Course" = 1234 english-extended
  • "One, Two, Three, and Four" = 227 basic alphabetic (the 'and' was for ... metrical reasons.)
  • ... ( "The Emergence" = 722 trigonal ... ie. pi and reverse pi; circles)
Q: ?
  • "A: The Emergence" = 314 primes (ie. classic Amorican pi)
  • "A: The Emergence" = 1337 squares (ie. "sex education" = 1337 english-extended)
  • "The Alphabetical Epidemic" = 1234 trigonal
  • ... "Not entirely true(?)" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
Enregisterment is often partially, rather than completely, true, sort of like an accent viewed through a funhouse mirror.
I was triggered to made this post due to various recent media 'events', this 'crazy' 'news item' the final straw that broke the gimel's black (I link to old reddit theme because it is objectively better ):
Also, see recent threads:
Relevant numbers & links:
Also, perhaps relevant pings:
You might have noticed the game I've long played with the dots used for spacing and indenting lists of spells. They usually follow the pattern of:
  • ... (ie. 3, trinity, the Beatrice of the Matrix Code)
  • ... .. (ie. 32, life, Eve)
  • ... ... (ie. 33, magic, name, a life)
  • . .. ... (ie. 123, alphabetic codes, the ABC, initation)
  • ... .. . (ie. 321, countdown to church society)
  • ... .. .. (ie. 322, to know, the proof is counting)
  • .. .. ... (ie. 223, the law, chapter 1, the scale, goddess, Lucifer, the moon)
  • .. ... .. (ie. 232, scary, number, Satan)
  • ... .. ... (ie. 323, Lucifer, 1 Goddess)
  • ... .. .. ... (ie. 3223, the upward spiral, ascending the tower of babylon)
Sometimes the layout is thematically tied to the associated text.
  • . "Scary" = 232 primes
  • .. "Number" = 232 primes
  • ... "Tell All" = 232 primes
Wiki Index:
Chinese researcher accused of trying to smuggle vials of ‘biological material’ out of US hidden in a sock
Sweeping ban on semiautomatic weapons takes effect in New Zealand
  • "The Semiautomatic Rifle" = 232 basic alphabetic
  • ... "Bullet" = 232 primes
  • ... "Scary" = 232 primes
  • ... .. .. "Number" = 232 primes
  • ... "Scary" = 232 primes
  • ... .. .. "Satan" = 232 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • .
  • "Semiautomatic Rifles" = 1776 trigonal
  • .
  • "The Semiautomatic Rifle" = 232 basic alphabetic
  • ... "Bullet" = 232 primes
  • ... "Number" = 232 primes
Bullet News Bulletsin Bullet points Bullet Bull ET Extraterrestrial Bull Bull God
  • "The Bull God" = 322 primes
EDIT: - moments later - :
Does anyone know what this symbol represents, it's familiar to me and puts of a very unique energy and I cannot place it
  • "unique energy" = 322 baconis | 522 primes ("the prime number" = 522 primes)
  • "(a) very unique energy" = 232 basic alphabetic | 2,247 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... "very unique energy" = 2023 trigonal (ie. 223 with zephyr)
  • "the very unique energy" = 264 basic alphabetic ("Source" = 264 primes)
The golden ratio is 1.61(8...)
  • ... "unique energy" = 161 basic alphabetic
  • ... "unique energy" = 1601 english-extended
  • ... "unique energy" = 1061 jewish-latin-agrippa
  • ... .. "energizer" = 1061 english-extended
  • ... .. .. "unique energy" = 161 basic alphabetic | 322 baconis
  • .. .. ... "undercurrent" = 161 basic alphabetic | 322 baconis
  • .. .. ... "song of creation" = 161 basic alphabetic | 322 baconis
EDIT - again, next day (remembering that 'president' ~= 'count' ~= 'accountancy'):
I wrote here, a few days ago:
These are things we can imagine Alphabet Sages might desire to encode and honour - as much for a mnemonic purpose, as for teaching purposes, or for archiving [...] knowledge [...] or purely for the sake of esoterica itself (ie. wizard just likes math, or architecture, and thus honours math and arches, secretely in words using basic algebra and references to certain idioms and golden numbers. Wizard works for King, shows him tricks. King decrees new Bible edition, and new Dictionary version).
China orders Christians to rewrite the Bible for the era of President Xi
China orders Christians to rewrite the Bible for the era of President Xi
  • "Right the Bible" = 369 primes
  • "The Alphabet Code" = 369 primes
  • "Ritual Code" = 1,666 squares
  • "Aright the Bible" = 1,666 squares
  • "The Bible: 1 Right" = 1,666 squares
EDIT - next day again (Christmas Eve) -- re: bullets (first edit above)
How Do Bullets Work in Video Games?
Q&A(stronony) —
Lessons from scorching hot weirdo-planets
The first kind of exoplanet found, Hot Jupiters still perplex and captivate
from The Comte De Gabalis, discourse 1:
He found me to be of a tractable, inquiring, and fearless disposition. A dash of melancholy is lacking in me, else I would make all, who are inclined to blame the Comte de GABALIS for having concealed nothing from me, confess that I was a not unfit subject for the Occult Sciences. One cannot make great progress in them, it is true, without melancholy; but the little that I possess in no wise disheartened him. You have, he told me a hundred times, Saturn in an angle, in his own house, and retrograde; some day you cannot. fail to be as melancholy as a Sage ought to be; for the wisest of all men, as we learn in the Cabala, had like you Jupiter in the Ascendant, nevertheless so powerful was the influence of his Saturn, though far weaker than yours, that one cannot find proof of his having laughed a single time in all his life. The Amateurs must, therefore, find fault with my Saturn and not with the Comte de GABALIS, if I prefer to divulge their secrets rather than to practise them.
Photons are (almost) supreme —
Why I dislike what “quantum supremacy” is doing to computing research
  • "Photonics" = 119 | 47 reduced (ie. Orthodox, Foundation, Master Plan)
  • "Photonics" = 968 trigonal
  • "A+ Photonics" = 969 trigona (ie. Matrix Code)
Q: Light particles?
"A: Bits of Light" = 393 primes (ie. Bits of a Light )
submitted by Orpherischt to GeometersOfHistory [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: I am Bryan Caplan, economist and professor at George Mason University and advocate of free immigration and free trade. AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2014-02-05
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
What would happen if we began trading with Cuba again? They'd quickly get a lot richer, and we'd get some very nice vacations. In the longer run, the chance that Communism in Cuba would collapse or collapse into mere rhetoric is high.
Would you endorse something like a BIG? As a replacement for the status quo, maybe. As an addition, no.
Why do you think the idea is so appealing to both libertarians and socialists? Should proponents in each group be worried that the idea appeals to their ideological opponents? Libertarians like it because they think it will be a replacement. Socialists like it because they think it will be an addition.
I'm a regular reader of Econlog and love watching your debates. Myth of the Rational Voter influenced me tremendously. I've been waiting patiently for your magnum opus that will put you in the realm of Rothbard and Friedman regarding anarcho capitalist literature (no pressure). David Friedman is working on his 3rd edition of Machinery, and you're busy writing about having kids. What gives? ;) What is your position on the legitimacy of IP laws? Are 'digital copies of songs' or 'general ideas for software' or 'specifications for a toaster with a window', etc. property? For the typical left-anarchist, I'd just start with, "Who will take out the garbage?" Or more generally, "What about people who don't want to go along with the collective?"
I see no problem with contracts that forbid sharing. Laws against independent discoverers do seem wrong, though.
Bryan, What do you think about the viability of Bitcoin as money? If Bitcoin, or some crypto-currency, gets widely adopted as money what do you see as the most important economic ramifications? It's done 10x better than I expected, but I still don't expect it to be more than a niche financial instrument. It's long been noted that people around the world continue using their national currencies even in the face of 20 or 30% inflation because national currencies are more convenient and focal. Also, I expect regulators to crack down if Bitcoin becomes much of a threat.
But hopefully I'm wrong!
Economists' consensus estimate is that open borders would roughly double world GDP, enough to virtually eliminate global poverty (Clemens 2011). What I can't understand is indifference to the mind-boggling potential benefits of immigration. The knowledge that we're sitting on an ocean of talent should haunt great minds day and night. They should pace around their offices telling themselves, "There's got to be a way to unlock these wasted trillions of dollars of human potential. There's just got to be a way." My question is: Are there other libertarian policies that would result in similarly-massive benefits as open borders if implemented? If so, what are they? After open borders, the biggest policy change would be for Third World countries to fully open their doors to international investment. Work by van Reenen and many others shows that multinational corps in the 3rd World are vastly better-run than local firms. If multinationals could freely compete, they would quickly raise productivity. Back of the envelope calculate is that if all firms on earth were managed at multinational levels, global GDP would go up by 25-50%. Most of the benefit, of course, would be in the Third World.
Guess you should have asked "and if so, why?"!! ;) When countries produce cheap stuff to sell us, it is good for us. And rich countries are very rarely militarily aggressive, at least once they've been rich for a full generation.
rich countries are very rarely militarily aggressive. Is the US a counterexample? Not really. Most dominant powers throughout history have been far more aggressive. The U.S. today is scared to lose a few thousand soldiers. Why? Because rich people value their livess. Thankfully!
Hi Dr. Caplan. I think that many of your EconLog entries are very insightful. If you had to pick your favorite ones (say, top 5), which ones would they be? "The Magic of Education," "Tough Luck," "The Common-Sense Case for Pacifism," "The Tiger Mother versus Cost-Benefit Analysis," and "Tell Me the Difference Between Jim Crow and Immigration Restrictions."
Hey Bryan, great admirer of yours! You once wrote me back on an email, which meant a lot. Thanks. Cambodia. I'd love to see a great capitalist success overshadow the Communist horrors of the Killing Fields. Vegetarianism. He's sold, I'm not. I think I'd ask Noam to spell out what qualifies as "private tyranny." I think he tends to lump together everything from the conquistadors' mass murder to WalMart selling cheap stuff.
Which under-developed country would you like to see a charter city begin? - What do you Michael Huemer quarrel over? - How would you rebuttal Noam Chomsky’s statement on libertarianism forming unaccountable private tyranny?
Dr. Caplan - what do you think of the usual way welfare economics is taught? That is, do you think that Consumer and Producer surplus calculations for various regulations and policies are legitimate tools to compare policies? Do they rely on interpersonal utility comparisons, or can they successfully aggregate benefits across people? Welfare economics is usually talk very poorly: constant equivocation between the Pareto standard and the cost-benefit (or Kaldor-Hicks) standards.
I see nothing wrong with looking at Consumer or Producer surplus, as long as you realize that this is just one of many metrics.
I have no problem with doing interpersonal welfare comparisons. I compare people's well-being every day. And if you can't compare one person's happiness to another's, why can you compare your own happiness today to your own happiness yesterday?
Many libertarians use welfare economics to try to short-circuit utilitarianism. I'd rather just criticize utilitarianism.
Does the signaling model of education ever depress you while you're prepping your classes? Not at all. Students' apathy is a little depressing, but I always focus on the students who are happy to be in class.
What books have influenced you and your career? Atlas Shrugged, For a New Liberty, Economic Sophisms, The Armchair Economist, The Bell Curve, The Myth of Democratic Failure, The Nurture Assumption, and Modern Times. Mike Huemer's been a massive influence on me, but mostly his articles, especially "Moral Objectivism."
Do you feel that the rise of China is beneficial to the interests of the United States? YES!
With the drought in Southern California is it possible the state is over populated? Meaning we have to halt immigration into the south west? No. Just raise the price of water!
Hey Bryan. Suppose your robust, non-reductive form of moral realism turned out to be false. What do you think is next most plausible metaethical position? Mackie's view: That moral statements are genuine assertions, but they're all false because there are no moral facts.
But other topics - wasteful signaling in education, that good parenting takes less time than widely believed - can have effects on the margin. But open immigration won't happen until the median voter is okay with it, i.e. never, so working on it seems less fruitful than other topics. Open borders seems like one of the many nice things the world can't have, because it'll never be politically feasible. Do you think open immigration might actually happen, or is your work on the topic just driven by an intellectual impulse to defend a good, under-appreciated policy? Open borders will come eventually - but only after the gains become small because national incomes aren't too far apart. Writing about parenting is nice because I really do see concrete improvements in the world. Several people tell me their children exist because I convinced them. I can't help think, "My words create LIFE!" For any public public issue - immigration, education, minimum wage, whatever, I see the odds of substantially changing policy as miniscule. But I think there's a small chance I ever-so-slightly tip policy in a better direction. Not satisfying, but it's all I've got.
Anyway, my question for you is this: Of the many issues brought up against immigration, you have given convincing counterarguments indicating that they, if not wrong, can at least be more humanely addressed than simply closing the border. One argument I hear often, but have not (to date) heard your thoughts on, is that immigrants commit more crime and thus should be kept out to keep crime from spiraling out of control. Is this true, and if it is, is there a more humane way to address it than simply keeping people out? PS: Any idea when your book on (or should I say against) education will be out? Standard social science is that immigrants have LOWER crime rates than natives. Link to There are some concerns about 2nd-generation Hispanic crime, but even that is only modestly above the native rate (by 20-40% or so). Bonding. You have to post some money to immigrate, to ensure that you can compensate any victims if you happen to commit a crime. Vouching. Only letting in people if someone here will vouch for their good character (and make themselves liable for your bad behavior, if any).
How do you write so much?? Do you have a regular routine in addition to all the work you do for George Mason? I save a lot of time by blogging stuff I'm already thinking about or talking about at lunch.
If given the chance, is there anything you'd do differently if you could re-do the immigration IQ2 debate you were a part of last year? Yes. I would have asked the host to pre-emptively admonish the audience NOT to vote yes unless they favor unlimited immigration from low-income countries like Haiti. That would have sharply depressed our initial Yes vote, allowing us to beat the point spread.
Also, in all honesty, I should have requested a different partner because Vivek didn't actually agree with the resolution. I don't blame him for losing, but it was distressing.
Do you believe that philosophy plays an important role in economics? For instance, you have promoted Michael Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority. Do the ethical arguments put forward by Huemer have any bearing on your work in or your views regarding economics? Every economist who gives policy advise is implicitly relying on philosophy. Unfortunately, most economists want to rely on philosophy without really reflecting on it, so they're usually just crude utilitarians (with a heavy bias toward the status quo and democratic fundamentalism).
For my own part, I start with a strong presumption of liberty, but admit that we should override this presumption when the benefits of violating liberty heavily outweigh the costs. (See Link to So economics ends up being a vital servant of political philosophy, but nothing more.
How do you reconcile anarcho-capitalism with the fact that successful market outcomes are almost always proceeded by a successful government enforcement of property rights? But why does successful government enforcement come first? Largely because government is a monopoly. Whether it does a good or a bad job, it still bans competition. So the only places that have solid property rights have government-enforced rights.
So if it were possible to preserve that information and recreate a brain (whether made of cells as we know them, or some other substrate), wouldn't that preserve you? Similar to when you're unconscious, and some of the matter in your brain changes, but you're still you when you wake up? An exact replica would be just that - a replica. I'd love to meet him, but he wouldn't be me.
Dr. Caplan, in MotRV, there were parts that came across as very critical of public choice. Did I misunderstand, or is there even a dichotomy between the questions of whether voters get what they want, or politicians and regulators get what they want? I am very critical. Many public choice economists just aren't curious about public opinion. They'd rather just assume that voters want what they'd advise, then blame special interests for defying the will of the people. Not good science.
Hi Bryan. I listened to a lecture you gave at ISFLC last year and had a great time. I've referenced many of your essays whenever I've found myself in a political discussion with someone. I wanted to ask you something unrelated to politics, though :) What are some of your favorite bands? At heart I'm a 18th & 19th-century German opera guy. Wagner's my #1, Bach's my #2. But by the normal definition of "bands," I'd say Bad Religion, Tsunami Bomb, tATu, P!nk, and No Doubt. I'm also a big fan of world music, especially the Rough Guide series.
Professor Caplan, do you feel that the libertarian movement's love affair with Austrian economics is doing a disservice to the goals it fights for? That is, that since the Austrian school is viewed with derision in mainstream circles, Libertarianism's other philosophical arguments are tainted by association? Maybe. But Austrianism also inspires a lot of enthusiasm from the base, so it's hard to say. My main argument against Austrianism is that it's false, not that it's bad publicity.
Big fan here! A personal question: from your experience, how to make the best of a phD? What are the most important skills developed in your phD that turn out to be essential? I'm doing a master in economics and planning for a phD.Thank you!!! Coursework is greatly overrated. Instead, focus on (a) finding research topics you're passionate about, and (b) meeting and impressing researchers who share your passion. Robin Hanson advises students to read to journals, then pick their favorite one or two topics. It's kind of like hanging out at the medical school, then marrying for love.
Stephen Earl Bennett and Jeffrey have critiqued your rational irrationality theory. They claim that in order for your theory to be more than just ignorance, you assume voters must know at some level that they are wrong. cannot believe that a policy that one considers good on sociotropic grounds (and thus favors) is, in fact, sociotropically bad (such that one considers it to be an irrational “indulgence”). They accuse you of projecting your own irrationality on to voters. The critique is many pages and has many other criticisms. I find the criticism to be harsh and not very convincing. Have you responded to them? Not that I recall. But since writing MRV, I've discovered more psychological work that makes my story even more intuitive. E.g. here: Link to
Hey Mr. Caplan, Do you think Israel should open their borders? Yes. But I wouldn't strongly object if they excluded people with violent criminal records or denied new-comers the vote. (Same goes for countries other than Israel, too).
Why did you decide to do an AMA during the Ham/Nye creationism debate when everyone's attention is on the insanity in Kentucky? Probable path: As country's incomes converse, free migration will gradually cease to seem like a big deal. See the EU. Once two country's per capita GDP's are in the 2:1 zone, opening borders lead to little permanent migration but a lot of convenience. That can and has been sold to voters.
OK, that isn't my question. My question is do you see any possible path to a world with open borders? If so, what path? Economically, this is a big let-down, because the biggest gains come when country's incomes are highly UNequal. But late is better than never.
How can free trade be beneficial to a countries job market? Free trade has historically fucked the Canadian job market. How is it different in the US? Canadian unemployment has been low for a long time. It's been rich for a long time. Why is it so clear that free trade has been anything but good for Canada?
What arguments would you give against cynically manipulating the political system rather than trying to reform or undermine it? In many cases, I think cynical manipulation is moral and wise. If you're filling out your income tax, I'd advise you to just game the system to pay as little as possible.
But when cynical manipulation involves treating other people unjustly, I advise against it. The argument? Nothing better than "You shouldn't act unjustly, this is unjust, so don't do it."
Do you have an idea what portion of economists are friendly towards immigration? (even if not total open borders) whats a good source for it? And who's the anti George Borjas? (besides you) The vast majority of economists favor liberalization of immigration. See e.g. MRV for some numbers. Michael Clemens is the anti Borjas: Link to
Will you be at the ISFLC this year? Do you believe Bitcoin will stabilize and become a legitimate currency anytime soon? While it has the perceived value necessary of a currency, it's fluctuations prevent it from storing value, something necessary of a unit of exchange. I will be at ISFLC on Sat. On Bitcoin, see prior question.
Is there still a viable argument for the minimum wage? To the best of my understand, Card and Kreuger has been thoroughly refuted by Neumark and Wascher; in fact, practically every one of the major papers that purports to show a zero or small positive effect of a higher min. wage has been replicated and refued by Neumark and Wascher. There is the work by Dube, Lester, and Reich. What do you think of that? I have heard it is relatively poor and easily refued. What do you think of the allegations of publication bias favoring "interesting" and consequently anti-status quo, pro-minimum wage papers? Link to
What advice would you give to parents, especially new ones? For new parents: Ferberize your baby! Don't turn yourself into a zombie for two years because you won't let your baby cry for ten minutes. Also, safety-proof your home to the point where you don't have to watch your baby constantly.
General advice: Relax and ignore peer pressure.
Was the American Civil War mostly about slavery? Yes, but in a weird way. Moderate Southerners correctly believed that slavery was safer in the Union that out. Southern secessionists, in contrast, falsely believe that Republicans had a serious intention to end slavery. In fact, Republicans were only willing to pay a modest cost to end slavery in a timely manner. (Lincoln even offered to support an amendment protecting slavery in perpetuity). By the time the South fell, the cost of ending slavery was temporarily very low, so Republicans seized the chance.
Hi Bryan, given your principled opposition to war, I was wondering if you consider the Falklands war to be a justified one? No. I assume some innocent people were killed (or at least recklessly endangered) by the British response, and I don't see why British rule over the Falklands is vastly better than Argentine rule.
Thanks for joining us Dr. Caplan, great to see a fellow libertarian on here. You're an inspiration to us all. As a person with a loved family member who has high functioning Aspergers, I was curious where you identified on the autism spectrum? I asked all my FB friends. About half say I'm not autistic at all, and half say I'm moderate. I'd split the difference.
Are you a vegan? Have you written or read anything persuasive either way on the subject of speciesism or animal rights? No, I'm not a vegan. Veganism seems to imply that even stepping on bugs is wrong, and that seems crazy to me. Claims about which animals do/don't feel pain mostly strike me as wishful thinking.
Why aren’t you the world leading economist yet? Part of the answer is that I'm not smart or hard-working enough. But the bigger reason is that the hoops you have to jump through to be the world's leading economist repel me. Most work in top journals just bores me. And even the good work usually makes me say, "I'm glad someone other than me is doing this research."
Why are open borders helpful for high wage natives? High-wage natives have already borne the brunt of a lot of foreign competition. But truly open borders would bring in a lot of lower-skilled workers who produce the goods that high-wage natives consume.
What is your opinion on the calculation problem and the socialist calculation debate? Do large organizations become less effective at decision making because they don’t have market prices to provide needed information? Pure socialist economies can't calculate. But I doubt this has been a big reason why socialist economies have historically done poorly. The main problem they've had is collectivization-spurred famines, which are all about incentives. See Link to at the subsequent exchanges in Critical Review.
What is the best practical (individual level, not public policy) way to promote pro-natalism? Aside from buying people your book, of course. (Hail from /natalism!) Be the change you want to see in the world. Have fun with your kids, treat them with kindness and respect, and don't haze prospective parents with lurid tales of doom and gloom.
You've written that you're a moral intuitionist. Given that people have different intuitions, doesn't this collapse into relativism? If you have libertarian intuitions and someone else doesn't, what can you say to convince him if he bites the bullet and says that beating people up is acceptable if it's done to (for example) reduce inequality? People have different intuitions about non-moral topics, too. E.g. the age of the universe. Does that mean there is no fact of the matter about how old the universe really is?
On any issue, moral or non-moral, the right response to conflicting intuitions is to repeatedly back up to less controversial questions until you find some common ground.
Do you have a written version of the arguments from your Rethinking the Night Watchman State lecture? More or less: Link to
Why do you suppose the fine folks at An Anarchist FAQ have made such a concerted effort to rebut your Anarchist Theory FAQ? Do you think there will ever be a ceasefire among left- and right-anarchists? I ceasefired a long time ago. Arguments between radically different viewpoints are usually fruitless. I'd rather talk to moderates than my polar opposites.
Given that we do not live in a pure service economy, do you think the conclusions from "Distributive Justice in A Pure Service Economy" are applicable to distributive justice in our world? Many moral theories can lead to gruesome conclusions in fantastical settings, is that a good reason to reject them? Not exactly "applicable." But definitely illustrative. The point of the hypothetical is to show that the taxation=slavery view is more plausible than most people want to admit.
Do you have plans for adding to the Museum of Communism? Probably not. At this stage in my career, I could imagine writing a book on Communism. But a web museum is more of a grad student project.
If a worthy student wanted to take up the project, I'd be happy to discuss it.
Relating to Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, what is your view on peer effects? Peer effects are probably over-rated, too. Sacerdote's Korean adoption study found, for example, that average income in adoptee's childhood zip code had little effect on their outcomes, too.
What have you changed your mind about recently? Most recently, I've changed my mind about the probable consequences of fully legalizing IQ tests. I used to think the law was a huge barrier to strong pent-up demand. Now I think the law is mostly a paper tiger. Few firms want to hire on IQ, despite its demonstrable advantages. Even countries where IQ tests are fully legal barely use them for hiring.
What RPG games would you recommend to someone without any previous exposure to RPG games? What's the best group dynamic for a beginner to start? I've tempted to say Pandemonium. It's very rules light, and has a great mechanic - past lives - for getting people to truly role-play.
I'm also of course a fan of my True20 House Rules. I can teach the rules to newbies in 10 minutes, yet they have high re-play value. Link to
Do you think investing in private companies that provide services that are traditionally provided by government is an effective strategy for bringing about anarcho-capitalism? No, but it is an effective strategy for moving the world in an anarcho-capitalist direction.
Are there any contemporary thinkers that you admire? It doesn't just have to be in economics. Mike Huemer, above all. But absolutely. The world is full of admirable thinkers. Some non-libertarian favs: Bill Dickens, Daniel Kahneman, Josh Barro.
I see you enjoy the book "The Myth of Democratic Failure".Why was it so influential to you? Before I read it, I was largely an orthodox Public Choice guy. Wittman convinced me that orthodox Public Choice greatly overstated its claims - and led me to search out a lot of relevant empirics, too.
Vivek posted on your blog that he would agree to debate you on immigration. Is this debate going to happen? News to me.
You know what they say. "Diversity is good, diversity is a strength, diversity is what makes the middle east so peaceful!" The Middle East really could use a lot more diversity. One religion gives you totalitarianism. Two gives you civil strife. A hundred gives you peace. (With apologies to Voltaire).
Oh god. He better be at ISFLC! That'd be rad. See you there. I'm bringing my 11-year-old sons.
I'd love to hear a bit about your approach to teaching graduate econ. In particular, I'm interested in your thoughts on the proper role of math in econ grad programs. My first rule: I only teach math I plan to test. Otherwise, students suffer for no reason.
Big fan of your work in general, keep it up. Overall, I try to expose grad students to standard mainstream stuff, give them some perspective on why it's overrated, then move to the research frontier.
Last updated: 2014-02-08 21:39 UTC
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