• 27 Posts
Joined 3 years ago
Cake day: December 30th, 2021

  • Before we even start, I’m not the same person you were originally talking to. I’m making the arguments I’m making, and not necessarily the arguments others have had. I’m responding to your argument about major economic metrics.

    Next, would you please consider not being so disrespectful to people who simply hold an opinion? Not every person who has a different opinion than you is trolling. Try to assume good faith. Hey, maybe my sincerely held beliefs are wrong (Unlike many people on the fediverse I do change my mind if I either come to new conclusions through reason or are provided with stronger arguments) but they’re sincerely held. I’ve been studying economics since the GFC, and my opinions are based on hours of research (but I could be wrong anyway, since there’s many avenues you can research for hours that are nonetheless incorrect). If that constitutes “trolling” then trolling is a long and tedious process and I don’t know why anyone would willingly do so in bad faith.

    I’ve already done some research on inflation numbers where I look at a wide number of recurring costs and compare it to the alleged 2% rate of inflation: https://lotide.fbxl.net/posts/32322

    It isn’t an anecdote when you can look up data from 20 years ago and see that prices for the same thing have gone up on product category after product category. At that point if you’re looking at the prices, it isn’t an anecdote anymore. It’s based on several actual data points. You could argue my methodology is poor, but ultimately it does represent real data and not anecdotes.

    Now if you want to ask me how to measure inflation, I think that’s a good start – look at a basket of goods and the prices people pay for those goods, especially as a proportion of an average family’s budget that thing is. Now you might go “Obviously that’s what they do”, but that’s not true. In the early 2000s in particular, they added things like hedonic adjustment where you can say “chicken 20 years ago cost much less than today but it’s better chicken so even though you’re paying more we’re going to say you’re paying less”. Or substitution, where steak went up but you moved to chicken because you can’t afford steak so there’s no inflation, and then you moved to organ meats because you can’t afford chicken so there’s no inflation. In addition, there are situations such as “owner equivalent rent” which asks homeowners how much they think they’d have to pay to rent a home equivalent to the one they own. It’s proven that this value is consistently lower than actual rent people pay and so it helps reduce inflation.

    The provided shadow stats link proposed using the same inflation calculations used in the 1970s before the calculations were revised to show lower values, so there’s an example of data people could use. As the shadow stars link shows, if we had continued using that number then inflation would be considered consistently higher than it does under the current methodology. Given that I provided that link, it’s disingenuous to suggest I’m suggesting metrics can’t possibly be taken.

    When I say “They change the inflation number so inflation stays down”, it should be obvious I’m not referring to the actual experienced inflation. I’m referring to the measured numbers being lower than are actually reflected in what people actually buy.

    It’s part of the core problem of measurement and business control, that you can have a value that’s important and measured and controlled, people will find ways to make sure the number looks better, even at the cost of not actually improving the actual metric. This isn’t limited to economics, it’s something management schools such as the Harvard Business School in their Harvard Business Review magazine have written about at length, because good managers (and arguably government consists of managers) need to be cognizant of the effects that measurement and control can have on values separate from the reality we’re trying to measure and control.

    I’m not arguing that government is impotent and omnipotent. It doesn’t have to be either for what I said to be correct. However, economics is the study of incentives, and the incentives are powerful for government to fudge the numbers with respect to inflation. If the government measures inflation low, then they can claim a chunk of prices going up as economic growth. It can claim a chunk of the debt it runs up is just keeping pace with inflation. It gives the central bank an excuse not to fight inflation, since fighting inflation is a really painful thing. None of those incentives represent an omnipotent or impotent organization, but one made up of humans who prefer to do the thing that’s incentivized for them. When everyone has the incentive to do the wrong thing, it’s likely everyone will go along with doing the wrong thing.

    If you’d like an example, when Ronald Reagan was president, the national debt was about 1T dollars. Since then, every president since has roughly doubled the national debt. Reagan more than doubled the debt (according to FRED, the debt went from about 1T to about 3T), and since then every president has taken on some form of his “spend more money cut more taxes” regime, and the democrats and republicans have been in the presidency roughly the same amount of time, and they’ve often been in congress about half the time, and it doesn’t really matter, whoever is president, whoever is in congress, whoever is in the senate, the debt has about doubled since the very late 1970s. (there was a brief reprieve during Clinton’s presidency, but it’s highly arguable that one of the reasons they could do that was the unprecedented dot com bubble and surrounding economic activity) It’s obvious that this will lead to problems down the road, but the incentives are such that it’s very difficult to get elected on a platform of raising taxes and cutting spending. It’s one of the dangers of democracy Plato warned about.

    Of course, that example also shows some of the strong incentives for keeping the inflation number low.

    If inflation can be said to be low, then central bank interest rates can be kept low, and that’ll help keep overall debt costs low by ensuring there’s lots of money in the monetary system to buy that debt, which will help keep debt service costs low, which means borrowing is easier to justify since the cost of borrowing is low. We’re seeing that right now, where in spite of only a relatively small increase in nominal debt, the debt service costs have doubled, and they’re on track to increase considerably more.

    In addition, if inflation is reported as low, then government costs that are indexed with inflation can be kept lower. For example, social security is indexed to inflation, but despite that fact nearly half of baby boomers are considering re-entering the workforce because the cost of living is in fact rising faster than official inflation values. In addition, the government sells inflation indexed bonds, and as much as inflation can be downplayed, every basis point is money in the government’s pocket.

    If inflation is reported as low, then that also changes the econometrics elected officials can run on, and it changes the required strategy moving forward. If inflation has been 2% from the end of the GFC around 2009 to the beginning of the pandemic in Q1 2024, then it was the longest period of economic expansion in history. If inflation was 6% or more, then it was the longest economic decline on record. If inflation is low, then it justifies continuing availability of debt which feels really good. If inflation is getting higher, then the availability of debt must be restricted which under conventional macroeconomic theory will cause a reduction in economic activity. If

    Again, none of these incentives require the government to be omnipotent or impotent, they’re just incentives that exist and will promote certain behaviors generally within government.

    The issues with econometrics have been well understood in other contexts as well. For example, the famines in both Mao’s China and the Soviet Union were both caused by perverse incentives surrounding reported data. In both cases, the people in charge were incentivized to make their numbers look good regardless of whether they actually were good or not, and then the leaders looked better than they actually were in the short term at the expense of the people and decisions were made that had negative consequences because they were based on bad data. That case was a lot more direct, but human beings react to incentives, and it doesn’t need to be “Mao will have you shot” to modify people’s behavior significantly, and it doesn’t need people to be actively trying to lie or be malicious to affect reporting or design of econometrics to the detriment of understanding the real world data.

    My comment isn’t really about the Washington Post per se (Their motto to me is “Democracy dies in the darkness we provide”), but about the reality of econometrics and economic central planning. Many large newspaper outlets have found themselves in a bind lately because they’ve published articles saying “things are better than ever before, why are the dumbdumb lower classes incorrectly believing things aren’t great?”, which has been really embarassing. The same newspapers have been facing declining subscriptions and large layoffs because they’re publishing things that nobody believes anymore.




  • One of the risks of controlling to a certain number is that the number eventually stops being indicative of anything other than the degree to which it is controlled.

    Inflation is higher than the government pretends, which changes everything. One example of this is housing which has become a dominant part of most people’s budgets. Another example is food – someone compared the cost of fast food in 2024 to fast food in 2019, and it’s many multiples higher in cost. Those two things alone make up a large portion of people’s budgets so changes to those prices represent mass inflation to people.

    If we measured inflation the same way we did in 1990, first of all inflation measurements have been at least double what they have been, and second of all that increased inflation totally changes the story of “the greatest economic expansion on record”. Instead it tells a story of 2008s financial crisis never ending.


    The “official numbers” are bullshit. They stop reporting crime so crime claims to have gone down. They change the inflation numbers so inflation stays down. They post numbers they don’t even believe then quietly revise them down after the press hoopla goes away month after month. We’re all supposed to ignore the growing homeless camps everywhere.

    I mean… The Soviet Union was doing better than ever before until the moment in 1992 it ceased existing.

  • The most important risk you face is if somehow mains voltage ends up contacting somewhere you get electrocuted and die.

    There are 2 purposes of an earth ground: First it can be used as a reference for certain signals, such as microphones. Second, it can be used to protect against turning yourself into a sparker.

    There is a clear separation between mains voltage and system voltages so it’s typically not going to be a problem, but if a little wire ends up contacting the power supply case it can become energized and things start to get really bad.

    Most of the electrical code where I live focuses on grounding as “Bonding”, which is purely safety related for giving dangerous voltages a safe place to go.

  • It seems to me that the studying is focusing on the extent to which the life of mothers affects the life of children, particularly looking at multiple stages of life including menopause whereupon the mothers of mothers can directly contribute. It isn’t really about K vs. R, but rather understanding that primate mammals are already type K (investing more heavily in fewer offspring) what the effects of self-preservation on the mother are.

    Regarding the comment on “weird conservative ‘women are for breeding’ undertones”

    That seems like a strangely anthropocentric viewpoint. For most primates other than humans, breeding and childrearing are dominated by the females because the successful strategy for males is often to try to impregnate as many females as possible, and the successful strategy for females is often to try to have sex with as many males as possible to help reduce the chances of infanticide.

    It was with the homo sapiens larger brain and the greater negative effect on females that cooperative reproduction strategies became particularly important.

  • I think this speaks to a specific thing that can be transferred to human beings. We often focus on the sacrifice for children which is true and real, but the study shows that parents need to take care of themselves because having your parents alive has an impact on you beyond your weaning stage. I think that even though this study is about primates, that’s a truth that also applies to humans.

    The article looks at females because it’s using datasets from primates, but I also believe this would apply to some degree to both parents in human populations. There is data supporting the fact that the 2-parent household is more ideal than a single parent household (and a household with no surviving parents would be worse than that, even after the weaning period is over for a variety of reasons)

    Primate societies would likely help tribemates who are not direct kin the same as humans do, but both primate societies and human societies see people helping others less than their direct kin. There’s studies showing that stepparents are not the same as parents statistically in this regard.

  • I don’t think that would be useful in the context of what the study was trying to understand, which is the effect of female survival on children of that female.

    The question was about the biological mother, which can be tracked because the mother gives birth. If the biological mother dies but another female continues to behave in such a way to nurture the child, then that is relevant to the analysis only insofar as the primate society took care of the child anyway which would reduce the impact of losing the mother.

    With respect to the father potentially taking on a maternal role, I don’t think the structure of many primate societies is conducive to such research, because primates are typically not monogamous. As a result, neither the researchers nor the primate fathers know who is the father of which baby, and so if a female presenting male were to “take a baby under its wing” after the death of a mother, I would expect that to be similar to a female presenting male who is not the father of the baby and so fit under the data set of death of a mother and just have the effect of flattening out the effects of the measurement.

  • If you think about it, there have been poorly thought out inflationary policies for a long time. Between bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden, theyve increased the money supply massively and also massively increased the federal debt that was only 4 trillion around 1999. Anyone who is alive and uses money knows that things have gotten massively more expensive, but the calculation for consumer prices has been fiddled with enough to make the claim that inflation has barely broken 2%. It’s marking your own homework at that point, but they could find enough half marks to pass. The result of all this monetary policy for 20 years it’s been two make the economy and the aggregate look better by creating some of the richest people in the history of the world. Elon Musk wouldn’t be the richest man on earth in a sane world – his car company isn’t that good and people are finally starting to realize that, but people bought it because it went up, and it went up because people bought it, and all the extra money sloshing around helped.

    Covid lockdowns did 3 things:

    1. Shut down a lot of productive capacity by fiat. Inflation is often a self-limiting process because higher prices cause companies to spin up new productive capacity, but where the capacity is not allowed due to government, prices can go up an unlimited amount.

    2. Hand out money to everyone. People who get money often spend it, leading to that product being accounted for. The rich invest, driving up assets, but the poor consume, driving up goods prices.

    3. They funded the money that they gave to everyone with monetized debt. QE works by the central bank going to banks and buying their government debt from them for printed money. It replaces bonds on A bank’s balance sheet with cash, which can then be used to buy more bonds (because the banks need a certain amount of debt which is an asset for them since they lend the money). This means that of the trillions of dollars spent, many of them are effectively new dollars that were magiced into existence by the central bank. Compared to typical bond buying where somebody with money has to spend that money to lend the money to the government, meaning that the net amount of money in the system hasn’t really changed, here the money just comes to exist.

    So while the inflationary policies before covid didn’t help, and I definitely would agree they helped set up a pile of wood to burn, and policies after covid haven’t helped, trying to make people’s lives more expensive when they need the opposite, it was the policies during covid that led to the inflation we are in right now.

  • Ironically, I’ve also come around to the idea that the worst predictions about the vax turned out to be wrong too.

    We know it was by definition an untested experimental vaccine (since that was the point of project warp speed) and while there’s strong circumstantial evidence that some fatalities and injuries occurred due to the vaccine, it isn’t the apocalyptic worst case scenario many people feared, much in the same way covid turned out not to be the apocalyptic worst case scenario most people feared either.

    Now that doesn’t mean that there were no measurable consequences to anything – for example the stagflation I warned about in early 2020 ended up coming exactly as I said and everyone can see that – it actually is a “bring out yer dead” scenario with tent cities popping up around the world in cities that typically never had them. We also saw many apocalypse scenarios with respect to childhood development and education.

  • They use two ways to measure inflation, neither of which are accurate.

    “How can you say that?!?!?” Well, I’m a human who uses money for goods and services and I wasn’t born yesterday.

    The rule of 72 is something investors and economists use to estimate how long it should take for something to double given a certain start price and a certain growth rate, you divide 72 by the percent rate of growth. For example, if the growth rate is 7.2% it should double every 10 years, and if the growth rate is 2% then it should double every 36 years.

    Now the keen sighted among you might notice that if prices of a thing double in 36 years if it rises at 2% then many millennials and all of gen Z should have never seen a full doubling of prices.

    That hasn’t been the experience of most people on a lot of things. Housing is quadruple what it was 20 years ago where I live, and rents similarly went up (but who needs a place to live?) gasoline has tripled since I pumped gas saving for college. Electricity has doubled. Bread (a simple staple food) has doubled. Forget about steak and chicken and pork chops! Internet has quadrupled easily. Used cars went into the stratosphere.

    All while the state goes “don’t worry everyone! 2%! In fact we might not even hit 2% this year we better monetize more debt!”

  • sj_zero@lotide.fbxl.nettoMemes@hilariouschaos.comAged Like Milk
    3 months ago

    It’s sad seeing the redditors pretending reality matches with their models.

    But I guess they need to keep thinking that or the way they’ve treated people who disagree with them will have turned out to be absolutely terrible and they might have to apologize for how they acted instead of just apologizing for what other people did.