It does depend on your reference class. European political systems have two big differences from the US
Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico have political structures closely modeled after the US constitution (though each is different). They also have similar guns per person. This reference class increases your base rate. Mexico, per capital, probably crosses the threshold (but has 1⁄3 America’s income and is a young democracy).
I still don’t see p>1%. But I didn’t do the math out.
Also, one of the shootings at CHOP/CHAZ in Seattle and one shooting in Portland were clear incidents of PV. The Rittenhouse incidents count. Two separate vehicular manslaughter incidents should be included. But they are such rare events and COVID has everyone on edge. No trend yet IMO.
Hanson’s quite compelling post on the subject. https://www.overcomingbias.com/2020/10/we-are-over-preventing-covid.html
I think EY was right to post that. I do not see why he should apologize. If you listen to Stephen Guyenet on ratspeak discussing the neuroscience of weight, Yud’s comments are consistent with our current knowledge. Caplan’s were more inconsistent because he modeled eating behavior as a pure function of conscientiousness, ignoring the lipostat hormone function.
As regards the shangri la diet, I can’t speak. Stephen Guyenets comments suggest that reducing food reward is important to changing the lipostat, and that is my weight management strategy (I eat high protein and unrewarding food like soylent only).
Guyenet’s episode http://rationallyspeakingpodcast.org/show/rs-189-stephan-guyenet-on-what-causes-obesity.html
I just did a very quick search. The literature focuses really heavily on the relationship between federalism and interethnic violence at the national level (if we give tribe B their own province, are they more or less likely to launch a coup/civil war). Your question is addressed much less often, but if I had the time to dig I could find something. One note—among non-democratic states I doubt a relationship. Soviet Union was federal and high-coup.
In the US case, I strongly agree with your explanation. There are two plausible mechanisms.
The states would resist any coup in distant Washington. GW and TJ could not name themselves kings because the states had much larger armies. Similarly like Macron and Merkel cannot take over Europe by couping the EU. Biggest reason.
Any faction has a reduced incentive to launch a coup. This is more subtle, but it explains the large divergence in regime length in the Christian and Muslim world from 1,000 AD on (because Christian feudalism is “federal”). Each faction controls the wealth of a state/province/barony and has rich opportunities for rent seeking there. They can increase their rent-seeking by couping the capital, but the increase is actually low. They will still have to share with the states, and they already control their base. So the incentive for each faction to coup is much lower.
Imagine, by comparison, being an Ottoman Mamluke. Choose not to coup—you have 0 wealth. Win the coup, you get all the wealth. Huge incentive to take risks.
Caveat—not all coups are about rent-seeking. Actors may launch a coup to avert a national crisis, like the many coup attempts against Hitler. These are a minority (although everyone pretends they aren’t rent seeking).
Another factor is the policy drift. The US congress doesn’t pass much policy anymore, and budget negotiations tend to fail. So money keeps going into policies that made sense decades ago, but are now nonsense. The electoral gridlock is likely to continue or worsen, so the policy drift will only become worse. That could intensify the dissatisfaction with the political system and vulnerability to populism.
Many presidential regimes just solve this through the president openly bribing the legislature.
The statement “The US had something to do with the Pinochet coup” is so vague that it’s obviously true. For example, the statement “The US had something to do with the Soviet launch of Sputnik” is also true, since some paper some soviet scientist read was written by an American, and they were competing with us. Or the statement “the US had something to do with Uruguay’s invention of the pacemaker”, etc.
Let us cache out some more useful statements.
Did US policy increase the probability of a coup occuring in Chile by any amount: Most likely yes. Pinochet knew that America would tolerate a coup based on US past policy. Our available evidence suggests this was a small factor in Pinochet’s calculus, relative to if the US had no signals. The failed attempt in 1971 might have actually protected Allende, we can’t know for sure.
Could a different US policy have decreased the probability of a coup occurring by any amount: Again, almost certainly yes. There are reasonable indications that changes in US policy since 1990 have decreased the rate of coups in Latin America. The effect of this counterfactual is much lower than the endogenous Chilean factors or the influence of Chile’s immediate neighbors. But would have been non-negligible.
Was the main reason for the coup Chile’s internal politics: Clearly yes. The outcome of the US’s early attempt shows that Chilean democracy was difficult to influence from outside. Meanwhile we know that the role of institutional factors in coups is very large. You can look at coup-cast’s predictions for Sudan currently. Or look at outcomes by various taxonomies of democracy.
Finally, this is all Hamilton’s fault for introducing presidentialism and checks and balances). Federalism is cool though, that was a good idea.
Assigning a base rate here is difficult. We know presidential systems have more coups, and there are very few multi-century presidential systems. If your base rate is based on only those factors its low because of New Zealand and Sweden and the UK, which almost never have divided legislatures or divided judiciaries. This is a real problem—all the democracies that last as long as us look different. The democracies that are most like us had coups long ago.
If you ignore that problem, the base rate is like .3%. If your reference class is presidential democracies, then your base rate is more like 3%.
Chile had lots of other risk factors:
Of Chile’s three neighbours, two experienced 7 or more coup attempts in 1950-89. The other, Peru, experienced 5.
Executive and parliament not just divided, the legislature in coalition against the executive
President elected with just 36% of the vote
Riots and protests were common.
Escalating political violence
Judiciary publically criticizing the executive
Failed coup just one month prior
All of those combined I say make coups quite likely. Over the 5 year period from 71 to 76, maybe 25%.
Practical question: Say I were willing to break the law. Is there an easy way to bet on BetFair from the US?
Totalitarianism is not a very useful political category. Authoritarianism is a preferred concept. In general democracies tend to have larger and more effective bureaucracies. China and the Soviet Union are outliers in this regard, inaccurately suggesting that authoritarian states are necessarily large and interventionist. They are usually much less competent.
Authoritarian states can emerge from democracies. The following risk factors are observed
Presidential systems rather than parliamentary
Countries with large natural resources. This is well established
Weak democracies are sometimes created to protect the outgoing elites. Examples include Lebanon, Burma, Hungary, and (sort of) the US. The resulting democracies are less successful at creating legitimacy and may backslide more often. This theory is debated. See https://faculty.washington.edu/vmenaldo/Articles in Journals/BJPS Article.pdf
There’s coupcast model. It’s not very good https://oefresearch.org/activities/coup-cast
Because the US is a presidential model with many veto points and FPTP, it is more likely to have a coup. This makes it unusual among long established democracies. Japan is also a younger democracy (first regime change in 1994).
You are missing the extraordinary claim here. The extraordinary claim which requires extraordinary evidence is that the CIA successfully instigated a coup. That’s a really hard thing to do. Had they done so we would expect good evidence of them planning it and being involved.
The fact that we know they tried two years prior and failed suggests that
We would probably have evidence of them trying in 1973 if they did so
We need evidence that their attempts were effective, since most encourage coup attempts fail
The Chile-driven coup explanation looks good because
A coup makes sense given the high levels of disorder in Chile at the time
Chile’s political institutions fit the coup profile
The structure of the coup is ordinary (no events which demand a CIA explanation)
The claim that the CIA had a decisive role in the coup really is silly because the evidence is weak and unnecessary to explain the outcomes.
This is misleading. Firstly, it selects on the depenent variable. Secondly it implies that the USA is responsible for the the majority of backsliding instances, which is not correct. Thirdly, it overstates the role of the US in several backsliding instances and understates local dynamics.
Thank you for increasing my resolve to ban certain websites.
Have you gained status or security lately? I have a pattern where I think people are smarter when I am unemployed/low status/professionally insecure. Then when I gain security I think “why would I ask that person; I could have solved it better myself”.
I think it’s a status regulatino mechanism.
Thanks for responding directly to the arguments. It would be a waste of time to copy and paste all of Robin Hanson’s points into this particular instance. I’m just posting a real world example which illustrates Hanson’s argument. You can find these details more thoroughly explored on Overcoming Bias and in a past debate between Zvi and Hanson.
Original posts on overcoming bias
Finally, I recommend reading Mettler’s article to motivate the issue.
Wait what? Obviously I’m not asserting the counterfactual the “the case definitely would have succeeded” with 100% probability. My argument clearly rests on the likelihood ratios, not a bizarre assertion that absolute certainty hinges on a particular law.
Let us consider two possibilities.
The world in which Sallie Mae committed a crime. In this case, blackmail being illegal lowers the likelihood that they are convicted. SM only had to have Zahara arrested to tarnish his personal reputation and prevent whistleblowing. Future whistleblowers can see what happened to Zahara and will choose not to come forward.
The world in which Sallie Mae is innocent. In this world blackmail is irrelevant to our practical concerns. Zahara would have lost the case either way.
We do not know if we live in world one or world two. We do know that, if blackmail were legal, we would have better information about which world we are in. In no world would we have perfect information (this is provable from Bayes theorem). We still want to be in a higher-information world about matters of the public trust.
Also public institutions sometimes commit misconduct which is not technically illegal. The public still benefits from having that information, in fact a great deal. Reducing the risks for both whistleblowers and extortionists achieves that objective.
Here’s another link https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-politics/article/reconstituting-the-submerged-state-the-challenges-of-social-policy-reform-in-the-obama-era/124850252051794EB3E1AE87E1D082C8 . Use www.sci-hub.se to get around the paywall.
Zahara could publish, the court proceedings are publicly available from wikipedia. The challenge is that the public doesn’t understand these more obscure privatized policies enough to represent their own interests.
After he was arrested for extortion his lawyers refused him counsel, and he could not find replacement council. It appears that after his exoneration he still could not find council and gave up. I suspect the public humiliation of his arrest stopped him from continuing the case with the Justice Department.
Forbearance = “a refraining from the enforcement of something (such as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due”. In this case, Sally Mae was granting stays of payment to increase the principal of the debt. Normally, this is a risky thing for a lender to do. However, the taxpayer was on the hook for half of the interest and the insurance on the loans, so we were paying for the risk. The granting of forbearance effectively allowed Sallie Mae to subsidize itself at the taxpayers expense. This subsidy mechanism is less efficient than direct loans, see page 16 of this document.
Clearly this allowed a private company to transfer money from the treasury to themselves without improving the intended outcomes of the policy. Go ask a lawyer if that’s criminal. I can only tell you its against the interest of the state and citizens.
Because the presence of an anti-blackmail norm enables the company to accuse whistleblowers of blackmail. All Sallie Mae had to do was get Zahara arrested. The charges didn’t stick but Zahara’s public reputation was completely tarnished and the focus of the story moved. From a conversation about betrayal of the public trust, it became a story about Zahara’s personal integrity and status-regulation.
The point is that for the US taxpayer, it does not matter if Zahara did blackmail them. It only matters if Sallie Mae was exploiting the public trust. Whatever the truth of the matter, the blackmail norm itself was a powerful red herring that asocial elites used to protect their misbehavior. If blackmail were legal, more people like Zahara would come forward, which would be awesome for the taxpayer.
What exactly is the argument for outlawing blackmail? Protecting the asocial actions of elites?
The World Bank now forecasts an that COVID-19 will push 88 million to 115 million people into poverty in 2020. Extreme poverty in this case is defined as living on $1.90 or less per day. This is the first reversal in global poverty in decades taking us back 3 years. The change in trend is very sharp, see figure on page 5.
Many of the new poor are in the urban informal sector, where government redistribution is unlikely to help. The world bank report stresses government interventions in poor countries, but the informal sector is hard to reach (unregistered, less politically powerful, less organized).
Some of these mechanisms are intensified by lockdown policies. The World Bank’s report scrupulously avoid that connection, but I suspect it is important. Disambiguating between rich-country lockdowns and poor country lockdowns is important.
Much of the effect comes from the contraction of global gdp of 5-8 percent. To the extent that lockdowns increase the GDP reduction, they contributed to the loss.
The decisions of the wealthiest countries to lockdown contracted demand for tourism and manufactured goods. South-Asian exporters like India, Bangladesh and Indonesia come up repeatedly in the report. Also the new poor are more urban and formerly worked in tourism and manufacturing. This suggests that western consumer choices contributed to the increase. Probably a minority of total change, roughly.
Like in west, service workers have the least education. They got hit the hardest by lockdowns in counries like India and Ethiopia.
Millions of Indian migrant workers had to migrate by foot in one crazy week in India. Documented events along indicate hundreds of deaths. Malnutrition likely the biggest killer. Kids have a lot if QALY’s left.
Back of the envelope calculation. Let’s assume the increase in poverty is 110 Million. It’s unclear when he affect washes out over time, but let’s say that it persists for 5 years. Currently 40% of the extreme poor in SSA and south Asia are 0-14. Over five years, the number of children who will go through the dangerous begining of life will be
110 x 10^6 x .4 x .33 = 15 x 10^6 additional children growing from 0 to 5 in extreme poverty.
A cursory look at OWID’s child mortality and income plots suggests the change in child mortality is about 5%. So assume that an 5% additional counterfactual deaths. Assume 70 QALY’s per child.
5 x 10^6 x .05 x 70 = 54 * 10^6 lost QALYs
Then also assume that lockdowns caused 1⁄4 of the increase in global poverty. Just a guess.
54 x 10^5 / 4 = 13 x 10^6 lost QALYs from lockdowns.
Given my high uncertainties, 1.3 to 130 QALY’s is a 95% range.
This only includes from those people that crossed the magic line at $1.9 / day. Non-extreme poverty also increased.
I use blogposts to explore new ideas, improve my writing and publish intermediary ideas. At first articles were difficult for me because no one will read bad articles and give you feedback on your writing/ideas. But people are happy to read a blogpost and provide criticism.
But my incentives professionally to blog are much lower than my incentives to produce articles.
Surprisingly, that is mostly true in my experience. Good articles overcome the challenges of the medium to do both, but most articles are not good. As a beginner writer, conveying your ideas, evidence and why it is important is easier in blog form.