Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Let The Joyous News Be Spread!

While I wasn't looking I accumulated over a million page views. Woo hoo!


During this time Megan McArdle has managed to fail up to spectacular heights and accumulate a tidy little fortune. I would not say my business model has been a successful one but it has amused me from time to time.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Liar

Megan McArdle said this:
 Like a lot of journalists, I get hung up on that pesky issue of "truth." Truth is our job. All we have is the public trust, and every time someone fails to do the work of vetting stories, the whole profession suffers.
Isn't that a precious bit of bullshit? Nothing happens when pundits lie unless the powers-that-be want to get rid of them anyway. They move on to the next place of employment or are given a raise or a better job.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Megan McArdle, In Short

Megan "Koch-head" McArdle: Scott Walker is the victim of a heinous injustice and "There are worse things than campaign finance violations."

McArdle utterly ignores the prosecution's side of the case and of course does not mention the rampant judicial conflict of interest. She ignores all of Walker's history in Wisconsin and peddles National Review talking points. One day she will be run over by an Uber driverless car which failed to recognize her as human.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

David Brooks, Liar

David Brooks is my name
America my nation.
Fantasy is my dwelling place
Reverie my destination.



David Brooks is a liar. It is both his job and his inclination. It is the only way he can be one of the elite, in every sense.  He lives in the Fantasy Island in his head where rich people can grant his wishes. But there was always a catch on the island: be careful what you wish for because you have no idea what will the fantasy will cost you. Brooks has lied so deeply and for so long and with such fervor that he now believes his lies and can no longer tell reality from fantasy. He is deeply and utterly confused by the cognitive dissonance and he would really like all y'all to just shut up and stop trying to force reality into his fantasy.

Brooks can't keep out everything, however. The times, they are a-changing,  just as they did in the 1960s. The era of white privilege is under attack by interlopers who don't belong in Brooks' America. Sure, the white rich still control the country but Brooks is not one of them; he is merely a well-paid servant, the butler who answers the door and keeps out the riff-raff, serves the wine in a silver bucket, and supervises the lesser servants.  The rich don't mind making little sacrifices to appease the peasants and keep the peace because people like David Brooks are the ones who will actually do the sacrificing.

Brooks know this. Servants understand their master' needs quite well; that is how they keep their jobs--anticipate the needs of their master and carry them out before the master has to ask. But now the rich need something that Brooks can't give them. He can't diffuse Black anger or undercut the power of mass action. He cannot force his fantasy on these Others' reality. 

Brooks' job is to whitewash economic exploitation of the masses. Because he is not especially intelligent he uses the same method as everyone else to control other people: morality. But White (Judeo-)Christian authority will not achieve the rich's goals. They need a minority to give them moral authority over minorites.

They need Ta-Nehisi Coates, who does not want to lead a movement or tear down the power structure. Like Obama, he wants to join it. He does not speak violently; he can be reasoned with and he is careful to protect his career. Brooks sees the writing on the wall and it terrifies him.

So he lies his fool head off.
Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White  
Brooks is not listening; he is lecturing.
Dear Ta-Nehisi Coates,  
The last year has been an education for white people.
This last year scared me to death.
There has been a depth, power and richness to the African-American conversation about Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston and the other killings that has been humbling and instructive.
The conversations about the above utterly bypassed me and made me look useless. That frightens and angers me.
Your new book, “Between the World and Me,” is a great and searing contribution to this public education.
I have to say this so I can tear you down later.
It is a mind-altering account of the black male experience.
My mind was not altered but it made an impression on me; is this the future? Will I no longer be of any use?
Every conscientious American should read it.  
When you read Coates remember my disapproval. That is what counts.
There is a pervasive physicality to your memoir — the elemental vulnerability of living in a black body in America.
Black people are so... physical. And there is no way I can exploit their experience to my own benefit!
Outside African-American nightclubs, you write, “black people controlled nothing, least of all the fate of their bodies, which could be commandeered by the police; which could be erased by the guns, which were so profligate; which could be raped, beaten, jailed.” 
Written as a letter to your son, you talk about the effects of pervasive fear. “When I was your age the only people I knew were black and all of them were powerfully, adamantly, dangerously afraid.” 
But the disturbing challenge of your book is your rejection of the American dream.
My job is to sell the American Dream. My job is in jeopardy!
My ancestors chose to come here. For them, America was the antidote to the crushing restrictiveness of European life, to the pogroms. For them, the American dream was an uplifting spiritual creed that offered dignity, the chance to rise. 
Nothing is more conducive to social advancement than being a Jew in the 1800s.
Your ancestors came in chains. In your book the dream of the comfortable suburban life is a “fairy tale.” For you, slavery is the original American sin, from which there is no redemption. America is Egypt without the possibility of the Exodus. African-American men are caught in a crushing logic, determined by the past, from which there is no escape. 
You write to your son, “Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.” The innocent world of the dream is actually built on the broken bodies of those kept down below. 
If there were no black bodies to oppress, the affluent Dreamers “would have to determine how to build their suburbs on something other than human bones, how to angle their jails toward something other than a human stockyard, how to erect a democracy independent of cannibalism.” 

Look at how angry he is, White America!  He blames you and your ancestors and your culture--the greatest in the world--for his people's exploitation!
Your definition of “white” is complicated.
Your definition is "white" is wrong.
But you write “ ‘White America’ is a syndicate arrayed to protect its exclusive power to dominate and control our bodies. Sometimes this power is direct (lynching), and sometimes it is insidious (redlining).” In what is bound to be the most quoted passage from the book, you write that you watched the smoldering towers of 9/11 with a cold heart. At the time you felt the police and firefighters who died “were menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could — with no justification — shatter my body.” 
You obviously do not mean that literally today (sometimes in your phrasing you seem determined to be misunderstood).
You are an angry Black male, the third most frightening thing in the universe after Muslims and pretty young white women. You have a belligerent chip on your shoulder. You are a liar; you do not mean what you say.
You are illustrating the perspective born of the rage “that burned in me then, animates me now, and will likely leave me on fire for the rest of my days.” 
I read this all like a slap and a revelation.
I felt insulted. How dare you call my superiority exploitation?  But the publication of this slap was a revelation. Am I still relevant? Is my job really in jeopardy?
I suppose the first obligation is to sit with it, to make sure the testimony is respected and sinks in.
I guess I have to listen to you. It's part of my highly paid job as Inspector Of Public Morals.
But I have to ask, Am I displaying my privilege if I disagree?
Am I going to be attacked by the Twitter mob if I try to attack to protect my job? They are legion; I am merely one servant.
Is my job just to respect your experience and accept your conclusions?
What do I do here? I'm totally lost. Do I listen? Attack? Pretend to understand? Just give you my Moral Authority badge and give up?
Does a white person have standing to respond?
Am I passé?
If I do have standing, I find the causation between the legacy of lynching and some guy’s decision to commit a crime inadequate to the complexity of most individual choices.
Okay. Gear up, soldier. This isn't our first rodeo. Let's pull out the same arguments that have served me well for decades.
I think you distort American history.
Oooh, good one! I studied history, I can pretend to pull this off.
This country, like each person in it, is a mixture of glory and shame. 
We are all sinners. That always works!
There’s a Lincoln for every Jefferson Davis and a Harlem Children’s Zone for every K.K.K. — and usually vastly more than one.
It doesn't make any sense but my readers have been so thoroughly trained in "both sides do it" that they won't even notice.
Violence is embedded in America, but it is not close to the totality of America. 
For me. For you, who cares?
In your anger at the tone of innocence some people adopt to describe the American dream, you reject the dream itself as flimflam.
Yeah, innocence is good. We're not venal, we're innocent. We ain't no delinquents, we're misunderstood. Deep down inside of us is good!

Damn, where is my West Side Story album? Did the ex get it? Sigh. 1960 was a great year.
But a dream sullied is not a lie.
Sure it is but that dream is my bread-and-butter. Without it I would be Lou Grant instead of David Fucking Brooks.
The American dream of equal opportunity, social mobility and ever more perfect democracy cherishes the future more than the past.
See, if you sell hope and dreams you don't have to actually change the present. It works great.
It abandons old wrongs and transcends old sins for the sake of a better tomorrow. 
You can drag it out forever. It's a Freidman Unit!
This dream is a secular faith that has unified people across every known divide.
Dream, dreams will keep us together. Think of me babe, whenever some sweet talking Coates comes along, singing a song. Hear with my words and you wont hear a sound!

Damn, I'm good.

I bet she took my Captain and Tennille album too.

Ahem, I mean that a divided house will not stand and a falling house won't pay my bills.
It has unleashed ennobling energies and mobilized heroic social reform movements.
Your dreams give you noble energy to be heroes. Social progress comes from believing that America is fair and good, not from anger and riots and protests. Sounds good (::fistpump::), and it'll undercut Coates' authority.
By dissolving the dream under the acid of an excessive realism, you trap generations in the past and destroy the guiding star that points to a better future. 
Reality destroys fantasy. Fantasy made me rich. Reality is destroying me. Exterminate the Doctor Coates! Exterminate!
Maybe you will find my reactions irksome. Maybe the right white response is just silence for a change. In any case, you’ve filled my ears unforgettably.
Maybe I shouldn't say anything. If I ignore him maybe he'll just go away. In either case I pretended to listen and what else does he want from me? My job?

Shit, man. He wants my job and he might get it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Down The Memory Hole

Candy-ass coward Megan McArdle appears to be blocking my latest comments to her most recent post. I say "appears" because after this complaint they might reappear; McArdle is careful to note when one of her commenters accuses her of blocking and responds that she is not. She did not block everything; she left two comments up and now her commentariat are free to attack but I am not able to defend myself.

Now McArdle has posted in comments and my comment is still gone so I know my comment being "held for moderation" was erased.

This is the offending comment:

Avatar

Perhaps victims of rape should report the crime to police and not a college administrator.
The fact that so many of their cherished "victims" have been liars doesn't seem to have fazed those wanting to use college kangaroo courts to punish accused rapists instead of actual courts, where the charge belongs.
 
  • I agree--the schools should have no say in the matter. Report to the police and let the court system do its job.
    But I don't know who wants a university to handle a rape case rather than a court. The problems arose when schools tried to suppress reporting to the police, getting themselves involved in a legal case to make the school look better. If they stayed out the situations would be much cleaner. Schools usually don't like to see their on-campus rape numbers reported.
    As for your accusation that "many" "cherished victims" are liars, I assume you have statistics for that sweeping statement? According to the FBI, "Only about 2% of all rape and related sex charges are determined to be false, the same percentage as for other felonies (FBI)."
    Do you have some secret knowledge the FBI doesn't have?
The commenters go on to tell me that rape belongs in the courts. They'll never know I agree with them.

Too bad for McArdle that she can't block the entire world. It's the only way she'll be able to avoid criticism for her ineptitude and dishonesty.


Thrilling Update!: A comment of mine was published!

A Member In Good Standing

A little bit of Megan McArdle while I work on Ayn Rand:

You don't have to be right or even intelligent to get on tv and the radio. You just have to be a member of the club. (TM driftglass). From Planet Money:

[Jacob] GOLDSTEIN: We called up really smart people. And they had actually, like, really interesting, really little ideas. One of them is how to get people to lie less. Another one is a way to take the edge off in your personal life when things are going badly.

...

[David] KESTENBAUM: Which brings us to our last tweak. This tweak is useful exactly at moments like that, when your plan to fix the tax forms doesn't work, when your plan to change the legal forms doesn't work.
GOLDSTEIN: Really in general, when anything doesn't go your way.
KESTENBAUM: That's what this tweak is for.
GOLDSTEIN: It comes from Megan McArdle. She's a columnist at Bloomberg View. And we're going to call her tweak, bet against yourself.
KESTENBAUM: Megan discovered the genius of betting against yourself back when she was in business school. She and her classmates were out at a bar. They were waiting to hear if they were going to get job offers from the places they'd interned at.
MEGAN MCARDLE: I'm out with a bunch of friends. And we've now been talking about the fact that we are not going to get - we might not get our jobs.
GOLDSTEIN: How are you feeling at that moment?
MCARDLE: Extremely anxious (laughter).
KESTENBAUM: Someone came up with the idea of creating a pool. Everyone would put in 50 bucks. And if you do not get a job offer, you get the money in the pool. If multiple people don't get jobs, those people will split the pool. It's not like the winner gets it. The loser gets it.
GOLDSTEIN: There's a technical term for betting against yourself. It's called a hedge. And McArdle says hedging is great. She says everybody should do it in all kinds of settings. Bet against yourself - not a lot, just enough to take the edge off.
MCARDLE: Then, when something bad happens, you've got that little psychological backstop, you know, like, I won money. Everyone loves winning money.
KESTENBAUM: If you're a sports fan and there's a really big game coming up, she says bet against your own team. You can do this with all kinds of stuff, she says, even really personal stuff.
GOLDSTEIN: Find a friend. They will bet on you. You can bet against yourself.
MCARDLE: One example is if you are - if you're going to propose to your girlfriend. You're not quite sure she's going to say yes. That would be an excellent time.
GOLDSTEIN: (Laughter) You are making a bet, before you propose...
MCARDLE: Yes.
GOLDSTEIN: That your girlfriend is going to say no, is going to reject you. That's your advice.
MCARDLE: Yes (laughter). That is something you could do, yes.
GOLDSTEIN: Who - who would do this? Like, what kind of person, at this key moment in life, would bet against themselves? It makes sense. But it feels wrong, right? It feels wrong for, like, the super fan to be voting against their team. I mean, why do you think that is? Why do you think it feels wrong?
MCARDLE: Human beings, if you think about how we evolve - right? - we evolve in these small groups. And one of the biggest things that these small groups worry about is loyalty.
GOLDSTEIN: We as human beings are sort of built to be loyal. And betting against yourself or betting against your team is disloyal.
MCARDLE: Exactly.
GOLDSTEIN: Megan says there are times when you should not bet against yourself. You know, for example, if you're a professional athlete, do not bet against your team. That's against the law. If you're actually married, do not bet against your marriage. It screws up the incentives.
KESTENBAUM: But if you are, say, in graduate school and worried that you might not get that job offer, that is a great time to bet against yourself. It worked for her, sadly.
MCARDLE: I did not get a job offer from the place where I'd interned.
KESTENBAUM: But she did get the money from the pool.
MCARDLE: I got enough money to take myself to a pretty nice dinner. And it did - it really - it was funny how much that lessened the sting because now, instead of just thinking, oh, this is terrible; I didn't get a job offer, I had something nice to think about at the moment when I needed it most.
GOLDSTEIN: So tweaks are hard to make happen. The status quo is really powerful. But one good thing about this tweak, about betting against yourself, you don't need an act of Congress. You don't need some big company to do anything. This tweak, it's on you.
KESTENBAUM: Jacob, I like this tweak. I'm not going to do it.
GOLDSTEIN: No, there's no way. I'm not going to do it either (laughter).

Her ideas were dumb but let's pay her to give them anyway because she's super smart.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Coming Soon: The Next Exciting Installment Of Atlas Shrugged!

Our next thrilling installment will discuss the emotional genesis of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and as a  prelude let us look at one man's emotional reaction to Rand's magnum opus. Vice agreed to print a most unfortunate declaration of affection for the book and contempt for liberals by an unsuccessful public gadfly named Milo Yiannopoulos. (No link because Milo is a twit.) Mr. Yiannopoulos never achieved the greatness he aimed for but such technical details did not deter him from taking his self-anointed position as Ubermensch anyway.

Now we know what Vice the magazine is named after: Vanity.

Your David Brooksian pundit would say that vanity is ego, but more often it is compensation for feelings of inadequacy. A man who feels inadequate boasts of his accomplishments, hoping to convince others that he is what he is not. Whether Donald Trump, Ayn Rand or all the little Randians, they are driven by their neediness to grab what they were never given.

Liberals are constantly begging for more female authors and female lead characters in literature, but one woman author and philosopher remains stubbornly absent from progressive reading lists. Her name is Ayn Rand, and she is responsible for a theory called objectivism, which holds that reality exists independently of consciousness and that rational self-interest is the proper moral purpose of life.

Quality is its own reward, Milo. Rand would sit you down on a chair in her living room and rip you from stem to stern, expecting her collective to applaud when she paused. Superior people don't whine about the lice and scum's reading habits.
Of all the tiresomely self-satisfied rituals played out regularly in the liberal blogosphere, competitive Rand-hating is among the most fatuous and infuriating. But why do the chattering classes hate her so much? I sense that the reasons given—her alleged psychopathy, selfishness, lack of literary talent, and hypocrisy, among others—are much less compelling than the real motivations driving their criticisms.

Actually, those reasons are exactly why people ignore Ayn Rand, putting aside the fact that most people have no idea who she was. But Milo 's senses have determined that liberals are tiresome, self-satisfied, fatuous, and infuriating. His proof is their hatred of Rand. Take that! But he also promises to reveal the real motivation driving them, which is, along with raindrops on roses, one of my very favorite things.

What follows is eight paragraphs describing a lost play (Ideal) that even Rand rejected as poor. Surely our revelation is coming up....

Rand's critics, often humourless literalists, will find plenty in Ideal to gnaw on: There's the classically Randian was-it-rape-or-wasn't-it sex scene and a blisteringly heartless remark after a death that will have fans sniggering and detractors drumming up all the manufactured fury they can muster. And, yes, Rand's writing can be a bit... much.   
So far Rand's critics are correct by Milo's own admittance.
But profound, existential loneliness, coupled with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer–esque sense of ordained personal greatness is why so many cheerleaders for capitalism relate to Rand's lead characters, from Gonda to the Fountainhead's Dominique Francon.  
Ah, starved ego and tortured soul, we meet again. Rand was mostly ignored by her father and heavily criticized and unwanted by her mother.  Withdrawn by nature, intelligent but dogmatic, starved for affirmation, the boy Randian develops "a sense of ordained personal greatness" to compensate. Thus Ross Douthat seeks transcendence via a cushy job at the Times, David Brooks seeks importance from sitting as close to the .01% as he can before they sidle away, and Megan McArdle seeks belonging from corporations as if they truly are a person and might offer a 10-carat diamond ring any minute now.
Shoshana Knapp, an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, said that these two characters are "to some extent reflections of Ayn Rand herself... Ayn Rand said that Dominique was herself in a bad mood." This is perhaps why Rand's literary agent, Alan Collins, said Ideal was a novel that only she could have written: In 1946, he wrote to Rand, "Had I come on a copy of this play in the midst of the Fiji Islands I would have had no doubt as to the authorship, as the writing, theme, and conception of the characters are uniquely yours."  
"Then I would have burnt it by throwing it on a luau fire, giving it an honest use for the first time ever."
 
Critics never pass up the opportunity to be cruel about Rand fans. "Rand's fan club has always been filled out not by committed literary critics but by insecure sulkers," the New Republic wrote. Given how many books Rand has sold, though, that's an awful lot of sulky people. 
I hear Ted Cruz sold a lot of books too, no matter what that commie New York Times says.

The insecure sulker goes on to say:
  
Let's be honest, though, Randroids are idiosyncratic, to put it mildly. In fact, and I say this with love, objectivists are the most thin-skinned fandom in existence. The vaguest hint of implied criticism of their grande dame is enough to trigger endless tweetstorms, crossly worded blog posts, and YouTube commentary. Seriously: Bitcoin-obsessed cryptoanalysts, Directioners and even the Beyhive have nothing on these guys. 
He admits they are volatile, vindictive, grossly insecure, and verbose.
There's just one problem with all the preening and posturing this author is subjected to: In order to sneer at Rand, you have to read her.
Poor Milo is constantly subjected to preening and posturing and sneering. About Ayn Rand, of course. Not Milo himself. Milo does not notice he is in the process of preening and posturing and sneering about liberals because Milo is too busy preening. And posturing. And sneering.

I am also still waiting for our explanation of why liberals really hate Atlas Shrugged. Is it because they didn't read it and are too shy to explain? The suspense is killing me.
That's why you'll sometimes see ridiculous social media spectacles of angsty liberal bloggers and overwrought students burning copies of the Fountainhead.
No, you won't, because it doesn't happen. The only reason a college student would burn The Fountainhead is if he ran out of rolling papers. (joke stolen from source whose name escapes me)

That's it? That's the great psychological revelation? McArdle's old "you didn't understand me because you didn't read me?"

I hope Vox didn't pay too much for this article. It reads like it was dictated to his teddy bear after a night of cocktails and self-pity. "Thatcher, you have no idea of the kind of day I just went through....."
And just how many Vox bloggers have made it all the way through Atlas Shrugged ?
Poor Milo realizes that no matter how many times he taunts the cool kids they are never going to invite him to a party in the woods so he must goad his co-workers into responding.
The next time someone is rude about that novel in your earshot, ask him to name a single character besides John Galt and you'll see what I mean.
Perhaps the next time you are seated next to a liberal at a dinner party, or while riding a bus.

Yes, Milo is a nasty piece of work and we are very grateful to learn more about the kind of people who adore Ayn Rand. We already knew but confirmation is always appreciated.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

McMonster

See, there's the planet and all the people on it. The planet has stuff on it that can be sold. The people can make things or buy things. (The people should not expect to do both; that would decrease profit.) All that stuff-an entire world, the entirety of humanity--belong to the rich. Because the rich own everything and everyone they also have the right to dispose of the planet and its people as they please.

Think of the aliens in, well, every movie ever. They come to Planet Earth, convert its atmosphere to their liking, suck up all its resources, consume the people, and when the planet is depleted and the people no longer of use it moves on to the next planet.

But instead of sticking a cigar in Will Smith's mouth, handing him a plane and an unconventionally attractive genius co-pilot, and bidding him to go with God and kill every last planet-raping, people-eating monster, some humans watch aliens on reality tv so they can admire the aliens' wealth and power and appetites. They buy books about how to become a better and more successful monster. And some of them even gather together in rhapsodic harmony to imagine what it would be like to be monster, and share tales of all the monstrous things they do to be just like the aliens.

Which brings us back to McMegan McArdle, McMonster.

If Africa wants to get rich, a good place to start is probably the garment trade.
Hmmm. Would Africa get rich if it got into the garment trade? Well, Africa is a country continent, so probably not. Maybe some people might get rich but they will be Africans who are already rich and a bunch of global billionaires.
Historically, the path to wealth for nations has run through manufacturing. Manufacturing gives you a way to quickly move a lot of people from low-productivity farming to higher-productivity jobs without requiring that they pick up lots of new skills first. And the garment industry fits the bill admirably; it does not not require lots of expensive infrastructure or a skilled population that can supply and maintain fancy machines, and it does use lots of low-skilled labor. Once you get people through the factory gates, their higher productivity and earnings will support improvements in infrastructure, education and services, that can fuel further growth. Eventually, one hopes that your country will get too rich to support much garment manufacturing, because workers will be able to command wages too high for low-margin, hypercompetitive garment factories. Then the workers move into higher-wage jobs, the factories move to a lower-wage locale, and everyone enjoys a higher income through the magic of Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage.
Now we are getting to the point where I must spend a lot of time looking up statistics that McArdle doesn't even think to question, time more pleasantly spent commenting at alicublog or communing with the cats, raccoons, mice, rats, and opossums that scamper through my back yard like it's Penn Station and they have a train to catch. Does manufacturing enrich countries like China? In a way.
The discussion highlights the uneven distribution of wealth that persists amid China’s rapid economic growth. China has the world’s most billionaires after the US, according to a report by Wealth-X and UBS. At the same time, 18 provinces have downgraded their expectations for per capita disposable income this year, and overall measures of inequality in China only improved a smidgeon last year, according to government statistics. Bloggers found that even higher-range Chinese salaries don’t fare very well in the global league tables. The average salary for public-sector workers is around 60% higher than the equivalent in the private sector, but is still only 60% of the global average. Using CNN’s tool, Chinese media plugged in government figures for the country’s “high income” bracket of urban disposable income (link in Chinese)—and discovered that the closest equivalent is a taxi driver in South Africa.

Once global manufacturing leaves Asia for Africa those low-paid Chinese will have a small problem. We all know what happens when manufacturing leaves a country; the poor can't find work and now they no longer live on a farm. How will the poor educate their children now? Chinese schools are state and parent funded. Without a large pool of consumers, how will the higher-paid Chinese stay employed?

Over the last few decades, we've seen the dazzling effects of this as economies moved up the value chain from simple products to fancy ones. There was a time in America when "Made in Japan" was a standard joke denoting cheap schlock, but the Japanese had the last laugh, as they leveraged their tchotchke dominance into a global manufacturing juggernaut that started competing to make our cars and televisions. Japan, in turn, shed its low-skill jobs to neighbors like South Korea and China. And now China is getting rich enough that other countries are luring away some of the lower-skilled work. But normally, we think about that work going to Vietnam or Bangladesh, not Africa. That may be starting to change; the Wall Street Journal notes that "Ethiopia was recently identified as a top sourcing destination by apparel companies, according to McKinsey & Co., which surveyed executives responsible for procuring $70 billion of goods annually — the first time an African country was mentioned alongside Bangladesh, Vietnam and Myanmar." With Asia getting richer, global corporations are looking farther afield. A garment worker in China, the Journal says, gets anywhere from $150 to $300 a month; that same worker in Ethiopia makes only $21. Those those kinds of wage differentials are quite enticing, as Americans have learned by watching manufacturing jobs move abroad.
Again we are told that "now China is getting rich." The rich who own factories are getting richer but remember, the humans don't own China, the rich aliens do. The humans are fodder. McArdle goes on to say that lack of infrastructure, violence and corruption would be impediments on Africa's journey to richness.
That said, there are still a lot of hurdles to overcome. African manufacturing is currently a blip on the radar compared to China, and it will take a long time to see the kind of revolution we've seen elsewhere. Catch-up growth takes quite a while to take off. There's a lot standing between Africa and that goal, such as some basic infrastructure; it doesn't matter how low your wages are if there aren't any good roads to get your products to port, or if there are no good ports.
That's what the taxpayer is for!

Armed conflict is obviously another. Corruption usually makes this list as well, and at a certain level -- say, where Iraq was a few years ago -- it seems clear that it's going to choke off growth. But I doubt you need Swedish levels of corruption control to get economic growth, either. Corruption is a huge civic issue, but quite a lot of Asian countries have managed quite a lot of growth without anything like the corruption control and "good government" that I used to assume would naturally boost a country's economic prospects. So I've gone back to loving good government for its own beautiful self, rather than its economic benefits. Economically, I'm much more interested in whether you have reliable electric power and somewhere nearby that a container ship can dock.


In this paragraph McArdle links to two of her lying posts in support of her alien masters. The Iraq post blamed the lack of a post-invasion government on Iraqi corruption and regulation, ignoring the CPA altogether. The article on corruption claims that political corruption is necessary to ease legislative gridlock. Obviously China does not have a problem with corruption. They don't need no stinkin' regulations.  Executions suffice when China does have a problem with corruption. If McArdle wants to imply we should execute the Koch brothers for manslaughter I agree wholeheartedly.

The remaining question is, of course, whether we should be rooting for profit-seeking global corporations to take manufacturing jobs to Africa if they will pay such pitifully low wages. You'll probably not be surprised to hear that my unequivocal answer is "yes." Just consider what the alternatives must be if people are willing to slave in a factory for $21 a month. So moving jobs to Ethiopia, or elsewhere in Africa, does good for dreadfully impoverished people.

Yes. Just consider how much better it would be for Africans to work like slaves.

She actually said "slave."

I could go on and might do just that but really, is there any more to be said? This statement should end her career for all time but I've said that so often I ought to make a macro.

Of course this is not about Black or White or Asian. It's about power, the power to see the world and mankind itself as a commodity up for grabs.

It's amazing that proper journalists don't get rid of McArdle to protect their own marketability. They work in the same circles and she is devaluing their brand. One would think self-preservation would kick in if not ethics.