All aboard the Malthusian Chu Chu train

It’s Steven Chu’s turn to fall down the rabbithole of Malthusian pessimism, with a public statement claiming the world’s population is a Ponzi or Pyramid scheme, where the people at the top (old people) are only supported because an increasing number of new entrants (children) enter at the bottom. Apparently, “economists don’t like to talk about this”, which is a funny thing to say given that climate change and a thousand adjacent and dependent pseudo-scientific research fields has become a global industry worth an estimated $1.5 trillion annual to the participants.

That’s a lot of dosh to splash on the problem that dare not speak its name…..

But, let’s go with it for a while and see whether Chu’s claim stands up to an objective test.

In his public statement, Chu suggests that the world economy relies on new entrants to maintain and improve the standards of living for those people in God’s waiting room.

Ok, but when has that not been the case in human history? Surely one of the main incentives for adults to have children was an health care insurance policy for their old age?

We’ve been running this model for tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of years. Yet, now we are on the brink of collapse? Does the evidence support that? Chu suggests it does.

Yet, our old friend HumanProgress.org begs to differ. This is just one of their research articles explaining how a larger global population produces wonderful results. In fact, by any reasonable measure, things are getting better, nearly everywhere for nearly everyone. Even North Korea seems to be warming up to the idea of playing nice with the world, for heaven’s sake.

In fact, the only places where life expectancy, education levels, wealth, the environment, aren’t improving are where there governing class are still labouring under the illusion that, if only they could have more control, they’d manage things for the betterment of everyone (or at least their mates). Hello Venezuela.

Bill’s Opinion

If you really worry about the overpopulation of the planet, you’re faced with very few choices:

  1. Forcibly impose contraception, sterilisation and limits on family size.
  2. Kill the excess people.
  3. Do everything possible to encourage and enable trade with the poorest parts of the world.

#3 works because the well-documented result of increased wealth in a human population is a dramatic lowering of the birth rate.

Whenever you hear someone complain about the dangers of over-population and they don’t enthusiastically-proselytise free trade, you have to assume that they’ve already come to terms with and accepted options #1 and #2.

Thomas Robert Malthus – Still utterly wrong after 221 years.

Bouris Con-son

Mike Winnet (a pseudonym) coined the phrase “contreprenuer” to describe those who flog snake oil on social media, such as Creepbook for Business.

Examples we’ve touched on previously include Brigette and Oleg.

Australians have a few home-grown versions too, such as the very scarily-toothed Adam Hudson and our all-time favourite, Mark Bouris.

Here’s one from Mark that popped up on my timeline this morning:

So, in summary Mark, you’re flying somewhere on the weekend to flog your special brand of inspirational speaking and it became obvious that you’d get a bigger audience if the event was scheduled outside of regular working hours because…… good question, because why, Mark?

Bill’s Opinion
The reason Mark’s inspirational speaking has a bigger audience on a weekend than during regular working hours is because the people who attend aren’t entrepreneurs slogging away at their own business, they are office drones, salary slaves and the sort of people who believe that paying to hear Mark parrot out context-free quotations such as “work smart, not hard” is somehow going to be the inspiration and advice they need to make it on their own and become Australia’s Jeff Bezos.

This is the equivalent of the morbidly-obese and indolent signing up for a gym membership. It’s not the unavailability of exercise equipment that keeps you fat, it’s your innate flaws. There is no quick fix to systemic problems.

As Winnet points out, most of these snake oil salesmen have no credible track record to emulate other than an ability to trick people in to paying $197 (the fee always ends in a 7) to attend an event and receive a free “Amazon best-selling” book.

To be fair to Bouris, he has made a load of money in the past. However, if he were to be really honest about the secret to his success, it would be summed up in the following advice to others:

Firstly, be a ruthless broker between cheap global money and greedy investors during the biggest real estate bubble Australia has ever witnessed. Secondly, take your company public just as the bubble bursts”.

Right plebs, now conquer your fear and break that wooden block with a karate chop and walk barefoot across these barbeque briquettes.

In the words of Mike Winnet,

You have the same number of hours in the day as the world’s most successful people. What you lack is their drive, work ethic and talent. That’s why they are more successful than you.

Sometimes the deck chairs on the Titanic analogy *is* appropriate

Or perhaps we could remind ourselves of the apocryphal story of the English high court judge who asked the defence barrister “what are ‘The Beatles‘?”.

The Australian government is considering enforcing larger quotas on radio stations to ensure more Australian music is played.

No, not just the multiple government radio stations of ABC and SBS but commercial radio stations. ie private-owned businesses.

Let me repeat that; The government of Australia is seriously considering increasing a quota forcing what music can be played on radio stations.

No, not Cuba or Venezuela. Australia.

Check the date. No, it’s April 3rd, not the 1st.

Bill’s Opinion

Podcasts

Spotify

Apple Music

Google Play

Slacker

Tidal

Amazon Music

Who the hell listens to the radio in 2019?

My name is Ozymandias

King of kings,

Look upon my works, Ye mighty, and despair.

Many people in management roles in western businesses have visited India at some point in their career.

The following axioms apply to most of these visits:

– There is a 90% chance the visit was of little value to their organisation above being a chance at “corporate tourism”,

– The likelihood that they witnessed much of “real India” during their chauffeur ride to the five star hotel and world class modern office is trending close to zero,

– It’s highly doubtful any local currency was ever spent; the hosting supplier generally pays for everything, especially meals but sometimes the gifts to take home. Arran’s spare £12 was probably burning a hole in his pocket all week.

– Anyone who is surprised by India clearly hasn’t been watching the National Geographic channel enough.

Bill’s Opinion

Let’s be generous to Arran and assume he posted this after a few glasses of wine in the British Airways lounge.

The alternative explanation is that he’s a virtue-signalling corporate tourist projecting his uninformed and inaccurate world view on a country of a billion people.

Hey Arran, maybe try being a mensch for once.

Pope Francis, tear down this wall!

The Communist Pope (no, not the Nazi Pope, he’s playing bowls in his retirement slippers) has called border walls immoral.

Anyone who has visited or seen pictures of the Pope’s home will have been struck by the incredible displays of conspicuous wealth around every corner, crevice and niche.

Amazingly, the gold, jewels and priceless art seems to stay firmly in-situ, despite the Pope’s clear desire for open borders and his kum by yah attitude to the hordes of envious visitors each day.

It’s almost as if, oh I dunno, the huge walls, heavy doors, sophisticated locks and an actual private army seem to assist in some way in ensuring the visitors don’t doss down on the floor of St. Peter’s basilica each night and wander off with a few orbs and sceptres on their way out the following morning.

In fact, during WWII, the Vatican actively prevented asylum-seekers from entering the church by use of an ID card system. There were some famous exceptions to this such as Hugh O’Flaherty, but the general rule was “sod off and good luck with the Germans“.

Bill’s Opinion

Our trusty rule of looking at the delta between an expressed vs. revealed opinion helps determine what the truth is in this situation.

Where are the April Fool articles?

Stop reading this. Open a new browser window and go to your favourite news source (I’m talking about Australia here).

Where are the April Fools joke articles?

Traditionally, editors have a bit of fun on this day, publishing articles on Italian spaghetti trees or the Olympics creating a backwards 100m event.

Perhaps I’ve not looked hard enough but there seems to be nothing that qualifies as an April Fool on the main Australian news sites. I’m not dismissing the possibility that I’ve been gullible and walked past one and assumed it was true.

Please correct me in the comments.

Bill’s Opinion

Perhaps we are in a “post humour” era where every joke offends someone, somewhere and, because of this, all jokes must be silenced.

Oh wait, we’re saved; The Sydney Morning Herald have one;

I played a round with my secretary

…..and she’s hoping I will get her in the club.

From Creepbook for Business;

Golf is a male pastime, apparently. So presumably these ones are simply the most convincing transgender women of all time who just happen to play golf?

Angela is correct however, golf is bollocks. It’s played exclusively by people who were never any good at team sports when they were young. It’s one of those hobbies (let’s not flatter it by pretending it’s a sport) where the gear and clothing is as important as the game itself. Basically, it’s cycling for fat fuckers who want to spend most of Saturday away from their families.

Anyway, shared prejudices against golf aside, what does Angela’s posting on the social media platform for professionals say about Practicus and her?

Bill’s Opinion

Without knowing anything else about Practicus or Angela, we can safely conclude the following;

1. Practicus need to amend their mailing list for future invitations to networking events to exclude whining harridans, and

2. Angela, ironically, really needs to get out more and lighten up. Oh, and consider quite how ungrateful and spiteful she appears by this sort of virtue signalling…. except self-reflection is probably an alien concept to her.

Finally, here’s a close up of Angela’s profile picture.

When I zoom in, I’m certain I can count the hairs of at least three different cats on her clothes. Thank goodness smell-o-vision isn’t an option on LinkedIn yet.

Here come the freedom restriction laws

A good knee-jerk reaction is only worth doing if it’s quick enough, especially in election season (which, to be fair, is every second year in Australia);

Media bosses face jail over sharing content.

Hasty legislation is so very tempting to those in power as they feel under pressure to be seen to be doing something, anything, in the wake of exceptional or unique events.

The Australian government is therefore making noises about introducing legislation enabling the prosecution of the leaders of technology companies on whose platforms the video footage of the Christchurch murderer’s crimes were shared should similar situations occur in the future.

Our confirmation biases trick us into thinking there is merit with this approach. There are multiple problems with what has been proposed in this thought bubble of a policy description however. Let’s list them and see if you agree:

1. Opportunity cost – given finite resources of time, money and personnel, is this the best and most urgent response the legislators and law enforcement authorities can take to minimise the risk similar murderous violence doesn’t re-occur? I say “minimise the risk” because, despite what anyone would like to think, there is no palatable way to completely prevent murders occurring. The shooter was hiding in plain sight on various internet discussion forums, perhaps some more diligence on behalf of those tasked with crime prevention might be the better priority?
2. Legislation requiring innovation – a law that would deliver jail time to the CEO of Facebook Australia for hosting a snuff movie is, in effect, demanding the company either throw thousands of content moderators at the problem 24×7 OR they invent 100% foolproof algorithms to automatically remove the content the moment it is uploaded. Neither of which is particularly likely, which brings us to problem #3….
3. The law of unintended consequences – the CEO will be extremely motivated to remain at liberty and without a criminal record, therefore they will scale back their content and offering to the Australian market. 99.9999% of livestream content breaks no law, yet faced with the risk of jail, an intelligent CEO is going to simply pull that functionality and content from the Australia IP addresses. Worse, the risk to the CEO has still not gone away due to problem #4…..
4. Virtual Private Networks – VPNs are cheap and easily procured. If content is blocked in Australia, it’s likely users could hop on to a VPN and spoof their location to a different geography and see it anyway. Anyone who enjoys using torrent services that are geo-blocked in Australia already knows this. Faced with this risk, perhaps the tech companies would withdraw or scale back their Australian office footprint?
5. Who defines what content is banned? – if we were to legislate against “dangerous” content, hasty legislation would be a mistake. The definition of what is to be banned is going to require significant discussion and debate, followed up with extreme legal scrutiny to ensure the legislation is unambiguous and not simply providing a censor’s charter to a future government.

Bill’s Opinion
In a crisis, people revert to what they know. Politicians know how to announce and create rapid, ambiguous legislation that satisfies the expediency of being seen to act but fails the test of sustainability and desirability over the long term.

Expect more of this.

Also expect legislation to make subscription to a VPN illegal once someone explains their use to the politicians.

New Zealand’s Princess Diana moment

Mass hysteria is an incredible phenomenon to observe.

These women are not Muslim and are living in a western democracy with a thousand year history of the freedoms of Common Law;

As with the public hysteria following Princess Diana’s death, it’s not clear what percentage of the Kiwi population are quietly seething at this virtue signalling compared with those who are playing dress up.

That’s the story the press are not reporting, the “dog that isn’t barking”. It was the same in the weeks following the tragic death of Princess Diana; perhaps 2% of the population of the UK went utterly insane while the other 98% of us quietly got on with our lives hoping our friends and relatives would soon return to normality.

There’s a confirmation bias at play in these situations; you can see the women in headscarves pointing an index finger upwards. What’s less obvious are the thoughts going through the minds of everyone else who isn’t wearing a scarf.

The upwards-pointing index finger in the picture above is interesting too. One wonders whether much research and contemplation had gone into these ladies’ decision to perform what is, in effect, the gang hand signal of choice of the murderous beheading jihadis?

When ISIS militants hold up a single index finger on their right hands, they are alluding to the tawhid, the belief in the oneness of God and a key component of the Muslim religion. The tawhid comprises the first half of the shahada, which is an affirmation of faith, one of the five pillars of Islam, and a component of daily prayers: “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” 

Perhaps no thought went into it at all.

Bill’s Opinion

If you wanted to convince murderous white supremacist crazies that western democracy and freedom isn’t currently experiencing an existential threat which justifies taking up an armed response in defence, this would be about the absolute worst method of persuasion.

Similarly, if you think pulling Jordan Peterson’s book out of bookstores is going to help, consider the possibility that your analysis is deeply flawed and you don’t understand human nature at all.

Fortunately, we have a word which adequately describes what is occurring in New Zealand:

Dhimmitude

Longbowmanship over Christchurch

As suggested earlier, in the wake of a major atrocity or tragedy, it’s safer to steer well clear of all forms of social media. There’s likely to be some truth available and even some cool heads but finding it amongst the virtue signalling and calls for further limitations to freedom will be nigh on impossible.

Some of the rubbish washes up on the shore regardless of how little time one tries to spend on websites and apps where it lives.

Blame is being directly thrown at a wide range of targets.

Let’s be clear; The person responsible for the decision to murder 50 unarmed men, women and children last week, was the same person who stockpiled the weapons and fired them.

Nobody else.

It’s a shame I feel the need to have to state that axiom, but it seems like a day doesn’t go by without a serious commentator claiming other sources of blame which, utterly coincidentally, reflect their previously-stated biases.

Examples follow;

1. Trump – the go-to blame focus for all that is bad in the world. The shooter’s own manifesto states that he likes Trump because of his ethnicity but can’t stand his policies. On that basis, anyone in the Whitehouse who was white might be blamed. Trump’s actions, words and opinions have been documented in detail for decades, yet there’s nothing we can point to encouraging violence against Muslims. Longbow.

2. Candace Owens – anyone who took the shooter’s claims that she was his greatest influence at face value is clearly not paying attention and has not read or listened to her opinions. The shooter is trolling the media and they’ve taken the bait. Longbow.

3. CNN – on a recent podcast, Scott Adams suggested CNN have contributed to the misinformation by focusing on race and identity. Longbow.

4. Facebook, Twitter, etc. – various political figures are stating the platforms are responsible because live-streaming functionality enabled the shooter to have a far wider audience. Do we think he wouldn’t have murdered anyone if he was unable to live-stream? Longbow.

5. Gun laws – The NZ parliament is bound to pass stronger gun legislation in the next few weeks. New Zealand’s gun laws are far looser than Australia’s, however, despite there being far more guns in circulation per capita, the ratio of guns deaths was (prior to this incident) about the same. Do we really think the legalities of gun ownership are a factor in a murderous extremist’s decision to slaughter 50 people. Longbow and, unless there is a massive search and confiscate programme, pointless virtue signalling.

6. “Islamophobic” comments by politicians – Waleed Aly seems to conflate criticism of a violent interpretation of Islam with taking a gun to kill unarmed citizens. Longbow.

And then there’s this;

Internet service providers and mobile phone network operators took the decision to block a group of websites, ranging from a financial discussion forum (Zerohedge) to the home of those crazy 4Channers. Curiously, the ISPs all decided to do this together at the same time, almost as if they were instructed to do so.

As the screenshot above points out, these smaller players had a minimal percentage of the traffic of the killer’s video compared to Facebook or YouTube, yet these didn’t get banned.

I checked this for myself and can confirm that, for a while, the block was in place but could be bypassed by use of a VPN. The block has since been lifted.

In other more ridiculous news, there’s a push to rename the local rugby team, the Canterbury Crusaders, to something less offensive to the residents of the holy land circa 1095 to 1492. May I suggest The Canterbury Cucks?

Perhaps while they’re at it should they rename Saracens to something less offensive to people living in Spain in the 12th century and the Barbarians to a name that won’t upset the residents of Rome living there in the year 410?

Bill’s Opinion

Shutting down speech, particularly the blocking of internet discussion forums (I want to write “fora” but I know that makes me pretentious) is not a road we should travel any farther along.

The New Zealand government has already been tacitly involved in the de-platforming of Stefan Molyneaux and Lauren Southern and the Kiwi media were clearly incredibly biased in their interviews.

The Australian government has had three positions in as many weeks on whether or not Milo Yiannopolous would be granted a visa, despite allowing him to visit 2 years ago and, as far as I am aware, he’s not committed any criminal offences in the meantime.

Gavin McInnes and Tommy Robinson remained banned.

You don’t have to agree with anything these people say to question whether it’s a smart move to prevent the people who would want to listen to their views from doing so on Australian or Kiwi soil. They can still consume their output via the internet.

Blocking the websites where these views can be read or heard is impractical, as proven by use of a cheap VPN last week.

But, if you wanted to disprove the widely-held belief of the crazies that there’s a global conspiracy against them, private companies blocking websites would be about the worst possible action you could take.

I want these violent crazies to have a public forum to spout their views, for two clear reasons:

1. People who are sane can argue with them and show the insanity of their claims, and

2. If they’re speaking this shite in public we at least know who they are.

The alternative is that they go deeper down their rabbit holes and end up communicating via in game messages on Fortnite, private Whatsapp groups or a range of similar covert technology solutions. The conspiracy would be easily-believed by newcomers if that were to occur.

Finally, in all this blame-chucking, I’ve yet to see a single suggestion that there has been a failure of the domestic intelligence services. The killer was apparently prolific on the various Internet forums and platforms, what monitoring is in place to alert the security services of the threat? For fuck’s sake, it was all there in plain sight to anyone with a computer, they didn’t even need the police state internet snooping legislation of recent years to view it.