Important: I highly recommend that you get this transcript of a debate between Vox Day and Dr. James Miller. Vox Day was kind enough to send me a copy and it since the arguments are logical and especially irrefutable when it comes to the labor mobility part, I would suggest to take my remarks below with a pound of salt. Not deleting the post, it will illustrate the path of re-thinking a subject when presented with better arguments.
Warning! Very, very long blog post.
I watched the discussion between Vox and Stefan, now for the second time. It’s rare to see Stefan, not stumped, but challenged. This makes the discussion very interesting. I don’t want to write a full transcript, but I feel the need to add something to the discussion. I’m not a native speaker, but I do hope my writing is easy to understand.
Start to 4:26 – Vox points out that the basic theory of free trade is around 230 years old and that the effects on societies are real and fundamental.
This can be proven by the history of German development. In the year 1790 we had 1800 tariff borders in Germany. Moving goods from Königsberg (today Kaliningrad) to Cologne meant 80 checkpoints and dozens of tariffs. Getting Germany’s tariff zones organized into what was called “Deutscher Zollverein“ changed all that. It also meant more control for Prussia. You can read the whole article on Wikipedia here1.
4:27-6:37 Nothing to argue here. What we call “Free Trade” is just a label now, operating under vastly different parameters than envisioned by the theorists of Free Trade. No Gold Standard, Central Banks, The Welfare State. And it is unlikely, if you change all the parameters, that you can expect the envisioned outcome.
6:38-9:34 Vox makes his case around the problem of labor mobility and compares the US vs the EU in numbers. His argument is, if you apply the US labor mobility to the international level, 49% of Americans would need to immigrate by the time they turn 35. Stefan then asks for clarification.
9:42-10:50 Vox explains that people would be able to work globally in specialties like robotics. And these places tend to concentrate in a few spots in the world. He mentioned robotics and South Korea / Japan and that people would probably have to go there if it’s their specialty.
I could be wrong, maybe Vox is thinking about “advanced”, human like robotics. This is somewhat true, while there is also the very well known US company Google wants to sell, called Boston Dynamics. In the industrial area, the German company Kuka comes to mind, or Fanuc in the US. I don’t quite get this argument, since especially these companies are worldwide and not concentrated. Yes, there is a HQ, but global corporations tend to spread out and are not trying to concentrate. For example, GE as 8 Global Research Facilities, one is even in my hometown due to the large university campus. Even new economy companies like Google and Facebook have offices around the world – with development departments. There are exceptions of course, like Apple, which is very secretive. Everything is done out of Cupertino, they have sales offices around the world and stores, but if you would like to develop for Apple, you would have to go to California. He also mentions the example of doctors that are specialized in certain procedures. I also disagree here. There is an Indian doctor called Devi Shetty who revolutionized costs for operations like heart surgeries. Since the doctors in his facilities do nothing else but heart surgeries, the cost for such an operation is around 800$2 on average. It’s more likely patients from poorer countries will go there for an operation, than a US doctor moving to the Indian hospital. Some Indian surgeons however, might try to move to the US. The overall effect could be that it drives down costs for surgeries.
10:51-11:17 There is an argument for really special jobs like acting, and that someone would have to move to Los Angeles to become a star.
True, but this is only for a tiny fraction of the population. Same goes for models, there is Paris, Milan, New York. But this is just a tiny fraction of the population, physical attractive people. And only a sub group out of these people will “make” it. Vox also argues that they would have to move, since the industry would be elsewhere. I don’t see that. Models are booked where fashion companies reside. If tomorrow, Ralph Lauren decides to move his whole operation to Europe, than yes, we would see such an effect. However, a city like New York sees constantly new fashion companies and demand for models.
11:18-11:33 Stefan points out that maybe if we would have full free trade, these companies would maybe spread out more.
11:34-13:37 Vox argument then is that corporations, before globalization and the Internet, would grow on their home market and then compete internationally, basically battling it out. Today, if you were to start a business, the internationals would crush you. Again, the example being Google, if you would try to start a competitor. Vox‘s argument is, wherever you go, the much bigger competition is already there.
I understand this argument but let’s look at the example of Nokia: They were the behemoth of mobile phones. Everyone had a Nokia. If you wanted to work on mobile phone technology, you would have to move to Finland. And then came Apple and killed Nokia. A current example is the head of Siemens, warning of being arrogant. He mentioned that in the 80ies some guys from California came over and asked Siemens to invest in their technology. They declined. These guys went back and became Cisco. And killed the Siemens telecommunication market3.
Google and Facebook seem like unstoppable behemoth’s. But wait if some bright person finds a better way to search on the Internet. Or creates a Facebook alternative, that is really uncensored and cooler and resists the urge to sell his idea. Facebook is where it is, because Zuckerberg did not sell the company.
13:38-14:56 Stefan makes this argument and points out that many big corporations have failed over time and only government influence will give some an edge and keep them alive.
14:57-15:27 Again, Vox makes the argument that if you start a company in your home market, your competition is not only the other competitors but also international corporations.
The argument is true, but not necessarily a threatening one. Take Tesla, the electric car company. They are drowning in debt, but they started and became a pretty strong competitor in the luxury car segment. Let’s take the counter argument: You have a protective approach. There are many new car manufactures in China. It looks like they try to grow in China first, and then move internationally. We’ve seem some attempts to sell them in Germany, but they failed so far. The biggest obstacle they have to face is a limited market. There are only so many people, that will buy new cars every year in Germany or Europe as a whole. I think the much more important factor is the limit of growth. I was in a car factory a couple of month back and they produce a new car every 80 seconds or so. And that is only one manufacturer. I think the limiting resource is buyers in the long run.
15:28-16:00 Stefan makes the interesting argument, the question of capital and investors. That it is possible to start a new business and be shielded for some time to start and grow your business.
I think this is very true, if you try to create a new Google, you would need a really good idea or technology and some massive investment. But it is possible.
16:01-18:01 Vox brings the argument for a lingering thought or problem that I also have thought about for quite some time: Peak innovation and Peak production. Larger companies like Google snatch up smaller innovative start-ups so that they will not grow into the Google killer in the long run. Facebook does the same. They bought Instagram, they bought WhatsApp.
The more fundamental issue that I see is: There is no huge step in innovation. Currently there is a large push for Industry 4.0 or Internet of things. It basically is a change in production methods, you turn things around. No longer are the factory lines operating and turning out Volkswagen Beetles, identical units by the 100.000. The future is, the piece of metal you turn into the plant knows, what it’s supposed to be in the end. A Volkswagen Passat or a Golf (this is a very limited view of the idea). The problem is: This almost works now already. You can produce different models in one plant, with vastly different accessories on the same line. The future idea is to make it even more flexible. The bigger problem I see is peak innovation. Where is the next big thing? Where is the flying car? Some people say “Data” is the future. Collect lot’s and lot’s of data and create services out of this data. Could be. But is it really “New”, as in the introduction of the car or the airplane? Or the iPhone? Also the problem of “Peak production”. The idea is to produce more, cheaper, faster. We need buyers for all of that. We see more automation. We do not need laborers, like in the old days on a factory line. One skilled worker takes care of dozens of robots, that turn out more cars, than any humans could produce. The argument is not new, but I see it accelerating, as politicians see this on the horizon and prescribe the wrong medicine. Take McDonalds. They are threatening to drop most of their workers, if the 15$ guaranteed wage is coming to the US. They will automate. Who will then buy their food?
18:02-18:40: Stefan explains in short terms, the idea of exchange and how the market works.
18:41-20:14 Vox comes back at that, explaining, that the simplified idea of looking at a voluntary exchange at the moment of it happening, does not take into account the time and outcome. For example: Buying crack cocaine makes the seller and buyer happy, the dealer has money, the user has the drug. But for the user, this could lead to death.
20:15-21:00 Stefan makes the good counter argument that people learn and change their decisions. And that trusting politicians with solutions would be much worse.
21:01-23:38 Vox: He sees a big problem with corporations being worse than politicians. They will start to dictate laws and maybe even become part of the government.
And the evidence is clear that it already happened and it will happen again. One major example is the Federal Reserve in the US, which is a not fully private and not fully government. Another example is IG Farben, which was the largest chemical corporation the world, enabling the second world war and being almost like a small country within Germany.
23:39-25:49 Stefan explains that he sees the root cause of the problem in the Government interference and this created ripples throughout, needing more and more layers of Government control.
A fine argument, that we can see in our market places, even in Germany. Rent to high? Make a “rent increase slowdown” law. Not enough income? Create a minimum wage. And then you need controllers who enforce the rules and so forth.
25:50-28:15 Vox basic argument is that he would like to see corporations treated like people. Break the law, get “jail time”.
I like the idea from the outside, however the consequences could be enormous. Being German, and thinking what could happen to Volkswagen in such a scenario is frightening. And not just VW, all the companies that do business with VW. Some people had exactly this argument for politicians that make laws, that would later be called unconstitutional. If they passed such a law, they would be suspended from parliament. An interesting idea for sure.
28:16-28:54 Stefan is basically ok with the idea that there are defects in the area of corporation malpractice and fines.
28:55-30:23 Vox sees a problem with the silo mentality of economy and politics. I think he basically calls for more experts in the field of political economy?
30:24-32:53 Stefan makes the case of intelligence and jobs. The problem he sees, is the IQ and the bell curve, that there are certain jobs, that are very well suited for people in the lower end of the spectrum. If these jobs are now shipped overseas, what will happen with those people? You can’t raise their IQ and you can’t train them for jobs that require a higher IQ. They will probably end up in welfare. They will be unhappy and this is a huge bulge of people, that could then lead to disaster. Stefan also says, no one knows how to raise the IQ.
Thomas Sowell might disagree4 on the possibility to raise IQ, but the problem is, this takes time. You need a strong western culture and challenge those, that are at the lower spectrum. If you have sub-cultures within a society, lower IQ groups grow.
32:54-37:07 Vox mentions the current state of the US and compares it to a Douglas Adams novel. He mentions from his debate with Dr. Miller, that the Dr. is an optimist, and sees us moving in a post scarcity world. The idea is, that we will have much more time for other things than work. He then goes on to Africa, where 4 billion people are expected by the year 2100. Also the fact, that 61 million people came to the US since 1965.
And yes, this is a real threat. Germany’s population was and is declining. Japans population is declining. I think, this could be a natural reaction to our social economic situation. We simply do not need all these people anymore. Japan now plans to use robotics in farming. But it took us centuries to get there. We have barbarians at the gates and the information flow is much faster then their development. So they decide to move to the land of milk and honey. Politicians claim, that the best and brightest are the ones that are mobile and so they come and enrich us. But I disagree. Is it not more likely, that the ones that have nothing to lose come? The ones with small businesses in their home countries have something to lose. Vox also mentions the problem with declining IQ in Britain and France. I think this indicates exactly what Thomas Sowell mentioned. The import of sub-cultures that will never adapt. In the US he mentions Gangster Rap and that whole sub culture. But this is just a place holder or example for a larger problem of disability or unwillingness to embrace the culture people moving in to.
37:08-37:49 Stefan mentions the situation in the US, with people pouring in from Mexico. That they have lower IQ, want more government service and lower taxes. Can’t comment on that.
37:50-39:50 More on the Mexican situation, Vox explains, that the two largest Mexican political parties are members of the socialist international and that they are not natural allies with the US conservatives.
39:51-40:34 Something about Mexican women getting raped as they cross the border.
40:35-41:15 Vox claims equality is a delusion.
43:20-45:10 Vox argues, that even the first waves of immigrants to the US never fully understood the foundation of the US. The limited government and the Anglo-American way. With further waves of immigrants and their realization, that they have the numbers to shape the political landscape, we will see changes.
I think I agree with this. Compared to Germany, where we have the ethnic Turkish/Kurdish conflict popping up in cities, to the surprise of the government. We also see influence and threats against those, that speak against the Turkish government from people that live here and are supposed to be integrated Germans. As Mark Steyn said: Merkel can’t make the Greek (fiscal) Germans, how will she make Arabs into Germans? It is a delusion.
45:12-45:50 Stefan makes the great case of turning the tables. What if he would move to Somalia? Would he ever be a Somali?
This is a fundamental question, and it should be thrown in the face of every multiculturalist. Imagine you are German and you go to Japan, to China, even to Hungary. How long will it take you to become Japanese or Chinese or Hungarian, even if you speak the language perfectly and try to embrace local culture? The answer is probably never.
45:51-49.00 Vox explains from his own experience in Europe that culture and heritage are much different than in the US. That you could be from another village next to your village and you will be the stranger forever.
I can absolutely confirm this. People from parts of Germany will sometimes work somewhere else. As the weekend approaches, they will go “home”. Even if it is hundreds of kilometers away. Of course there are exceptions and people move to a new place, but overall I think Europeans are much more tribal and bound to their place of birth. We are not clay that can be formed in whatever politicians dream up. Take the youth unemployment in Spain for example, I think it’s at 50%. One argument for accepting the refugees was: “we need the workers”. However, we have Europeans that are looking for work, that are much more compatible with German culture. But they would not come in troves. Europeans are bound to their traditions and their soil. This is also a reason why the “European Union” is a false ideal. It is something, that can never work because it is not in our DNA so to speak.
49:01-50:02 Stefan points out the hypocrisy of the left. The majority in media and the academia is leftist. They promote diversity, however, conservatives, libertarians and right-wing people are kept out, or thrown out of these institutions. The left does not want any kind of diversity within their organizations.
50:03-51:50 Vox adding that equality is a lie. There is no equality in materials, even in theology. The christian doctrine applies, if you are a christian, otherwise you are damned. This is of course true for all religions. The right should therefore embrace that fact and state and challenge the leftist claim that equality exists.
51:55-53:50 Stefan points out that other cultures are often vastly different in childcare. And this could be a major problem if they come to a completely different culture. What has happened, is, that white males are then blamed for the non-performance of these immigrant cultures and called racists and so forth.
53:51 -56:12 Vox mentions that the military historian Martin van Creveld links migration to war. And that the outlook is quite grim. If we are lucky, we see deportations, but he mentions the already burning refugee centers in Sweden and Germany. And if the trend is not stopped, real war is the endgame.
56:14-57:15 Stefan points out the problem of where white people are supposed to go. He mentions the camera crew of Australias 60 minutes program, that went into “little Somalia” in Sweden and was attacked. There are growing numbers of places in Europe where white people can’t go and the police can’t go.
I can totally confirm. Certain places in Berlin and other cities in Germany can only be patrolled by massive police presence.
57:16-1:01:09 Vox explains, what he sees on the horizon. Within two election cycles, he sees the nationalist parties in many European countries come to power. He calls them the responsible ones, that will do what the other parties fail to do: Deport people, close borders and so forth. The truly scary part will come, when the so called democratic parties keep the nationalists out. Then the ultra-nationalists probably come to power, and they will not bother with going the legal and humane route. He mentions something from the Algerian riots in Paris in the 60ies, where a chief of police handcuffed around 60 of them and threw them into the Seine. They drowned. The police chief was awarded a medal.
I see this too, but probably not in Germany. Maybe in the east, but only in smaller pockets. The reason why, is the re-education of West Germans after the war. 70 years of constant propaganda from birth to the grave had a massive effect on most Germans. I do hope for other countries in Europe.
1:01:10-1:02:13 Stefan points out, that the most of the so called “far right” parties in Europe are not far right at all. The crazy left calls them that, but they have no idea what a true far right party would look like.
1:02:15-1:03:45 Vox mentions the fact that the Viktor Orban of the ruling Fidesz party is often called “extreme right”.
I can totally confirm that, the media in Germany is terrible and will smear everyone, that is not totally left wing. What the media fails to mention, is the Jobbik party in Hungary. They are at 20% already in the country and the young people in Hungary support them in overwhelming numbers. If our media and politicians have problems with Orban, wait until the EU bureaucrats pressure him to leave, or impose the suggested fine of 250.000€ per refugee Hungary will not take. Because Jobbik will probably change the whole situation.
1:03:46-1:04:45 Stefan gives the example of Brasil, and how the population of citizens of western European heritage is declining, leading to a decline of the whole country. Correlation is not always causation and I haven’t looked into that to be honest. He then asks Vox if he believes that Europeans have it in them, to take up arms so to speak and demand the right for their culture to exist.
1:03:45-1:09:05 Vox explains that the younger generation that experiences multiculturalism and it’s effects is very, very angry.
For a guy like Vox, who likes to drink the blood of SJW’s from a silver skull, to call young Italians scary is something remarkable. But politicians will not listen and they will pay a price.
1:09:06-1:10:21 Stefan explains that the first wave of immigrants to a country is usually the best.
I can somewhat agree. The first wave is people a country really needs and they feel a chance to make it. We can see it in Germany, where the second and third generations, especially Muslims, regress to behavior, much more severe than their parents. And ongoing waves of migrants are probably not the best of the best. Even worse, migrants from other parts of the planet might just be the ones, that have nothing to lose, so they sail for the welfare state.
1:10:22-1:13:00 Vox explains how homogenous nations are created or come into existence. It happens, due to people of different ethnic groups starting to kill each other, or the forced deportation of people. He mentions one of the largest examples in European history, the forced deportation of Germans from Slavic countries.
I know this very well, my own Grandmother grew up in the Batschka region, in what was later called Yugoslavia.
After the war, she, like 12 million other people of German origin where forcefully deported. Error: Grandma came in 1938. 2 million died during the process. And, later in Yugoslavia, we all remember what happened, when the Bosnians started the conflict with the Serbs, which ended in total war with ethnic cleansing. Vox is also very pessimistic about the left and the outlook, what their policies will lead to: Blood and War.
1:13:01-1:14:30 Vox tells the anecdote of his debate with Dr. Miller, where they come to the singularity and the question what to do with the people that are simply not needed. Miller explained that the machines will probably kill us any way…
Maybe he was trying to be funny, but there is chance in my opinion, and this even goes back to Bill Joy, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, who wrote an essay called “Why the future doesn’t need us”. Scientists have warned that AI might be a threat rather than a salvation.
1:14:50-1:18:12 Stefan starts with ranting of and you can hear his frustration. The whole multicultural idea is a government idea. People of the same ethnic and cultural background tend to live and work well together.
Germans, Austrians and Swiss, would they be forced together, it would at least work on the economic level. But simply look within a country. How different are Bavarians from people from Hamburg – in the same country! Of course Stefans main quarrel is with the welfare state and I somewhat agree. If there would not be free housing and free healthcare for migrants, none of them would come. Stefan hopes that the madhouse of the European union will explode in a somewhat controlled manner (I have my doubts).
1:18:13-END Ending arguments. They basically go back and forth and invite opinions.