Re: One humanity, all in the same boat

From: Chris Hibbert (
Date: Thu Jan 17 2002 - 00:44:44 MST

[This may get threaded wrong on Javien. I deleted Samantha's message that I'm
responding to, so I'm responding to the closest place I can find, which is
Lee's response to the msg I'm answering.]

My comments are quoted by an even number of ">", while Samantha's have an odd
number. Zero is an even number.

>>>Increasingly it may not be economically feasible to
>>>hire and train people in many companies, at least not people
>>>below a certain intelligence and level of training. What then
>>>for these people who are no longer hirable?
>> [I assume "companies" is a typo for "countries".]
>Why would you assume that? It does not follow.

Sorry. Glad I was explicit about what I thought you meant.

I assumed it because, in my world view, it is not the responsibility
of companies to ensure that "people below a certain intelligence and
level of training" are employable.

You seem to believe that it's a collective responsibility, so I groped for
an interpretation of something that didn't make sense to me otherwise.

>> One of the charities I give to (as I've mentioned before) is Trickle Up.

>This is commendable. But the question remains of what happens
>when these measures prove inadequate.

People do something about it. You keep implying that you think the right
answer is "People force other people to do something about it", but you
disclaim any actual plan.

> What of those others who have no aunts and uncles,
> parents or other benefactors in such a position and with such
> generosity? Are we to say it is ok to lose those minds, minds
> that may have been of great benefit?

I said (immediately following the sentence you reacted to) that I believe
that everyone should be allowed to deduct contributions for education
given to anyone. I won't get any tax advantage for contributing to my
nieces and nephews, so I'm only willing to do it for relatives. If it was
tax deductible, many people and companies would give a lot.

>> The best the government could do would be to allow any tax payer to take a
>> deduction for any contribution to anyone's education. Doesn't matter whether
>> the student is related or not. Same for corporations. More education is good
>> for all of us, but making it an entitlement is bad for all of us.

>I don't agree it is bad for all of us.

Okay, we'll have to disagree about that. I believe making it something
anyone can demand and the rest have to pay for (including poor people who
pay taxes--remember that it's not just the rich that pay taxes) is wrong.

>As these things go it is
>one of the few entitlements that I believe makes sense.

If I believed in entitlements, I might agree with you.

>I would limit it in that those who take advantage of
>it must keep certain academic standards.

It will be far easier for me to impose standards on my neices and nephews
than for the government to impose any standards. This is an aside about
efficiency and effectiveness, not about morality.

>>>>The statistics (according to Julian Simon, of course) show that in most
>>>? I am not altogether sure I can trust Julian Simon for such
>> Please, use any source of statistics you desire, or show any attacks on
>> Simon's work that provide better statistics, rather than attacking his
>> motivation. Do you have any sources that disagree that the gap keeps getting
>> smaller? I think Simon's opponents are driven by envy, and think Simon's
>> claims are irrelevant. If there's still a gap, then they will continue to be
>> unhappy. Is this how you feel?

>No. I am unhappy because I personally know a great number of
>bright minds that are wasted and I recognize they are the tip of
>the iceberg. [...] So I am not awfully
>impressed when I see fine graphs saying everything is getting
>better. I do not personally believe it. I don't have the
>statistics to back it up but my gut says something is damn fishy.

Okay. If personal experience is more convincing than statistics, whatever
the source, I'll stop here. Simon's statistics summarize the experience
of far more people than you or I could ever talk to. They abstract out a
lot of personal defeats and successes, but they're the best evidence we
have about the real effects of real policies in the real world over time.


C. J. Cherryh, "Invader", on why we visit very old buildings:
      "A sense of age, of profound truths.  Respect for something hands
      made, that's stood through storms and wars and time.  It 
      persuades us that things we do may last and matter."
Chris Hibbert

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