Powerful and brutally honest. Especially in today's political atmosphere of "forced inclusion" and "diversity for the sake of diversity (whether racial, religious, or thought based)". I've witnessed the same thing you're talking about in online communities. They start out being created by one group who adhere to a very specific set of rules (often unspoken rules) and as more people gather the community starts to wilt and die, losing the original cohesion it once had. Those who leave often go and start another community, and the cycle repeats.
Sure, diversity for diversity is a shittier reason than diversity to break the glass ceiling, or to cover bases you don't otherwise cover ("hey let's built a web app and never talk to dev ops!" "hey let's build something without figuring out how to sell it!"); there's those statistics that say teams with both men and women function better, yadda yadda...
...but like college graduation, it's not for you, or about you; it's about a bunch of other people.
Diversity-for-diversity looks pointless when you already think you can join those groups. It looks like realizing you have a possibility you never thought could be yours, when you think you can't join those groups.
Does that make any sense?
With regards to what you've seen with online communities, that sounds a lot like gentrification: you have an influx of people that, rather than trying to adapt themselves to the existing culture and contribute to it - to actually join what was there, try (inadvertently or deliberately) to adapt the culture to their existing selves. On the other hand, what's the point if you have to / end up conforming so much you can't add anything new?
The problem is almost immediately obvious: advantaging Y at the expense of X, at a 1:1 ratio, is already very bad compared to eg anti-malaria tents in Africa. Considering the cost of intervention and the cost to market efficiency, this ratio gets much worse.
The X-member being displaced is marginal, which means likely poor. So this is inefficiently redistributing resources from poor people to other poor people.
There is also a natural justice angle, for which I paraphrase an old play:
"But ingroup Y has been treated like slaves for the last eight thousand years -"
"So what, outgroup X should cop it for the next eight thousand?"
Most of the eligible applicants are male. This is easily observed in university graduate numbers as well as stated in their report. These are pretty smart business people. I can't imagine they're doing this without knowing it will impact the bottom line to potentially have to pass up on promising candidates for not having the right sexual organ (which, unless things go very wrong, will not be utilized in their work). Yet this is depressingly common. I am guessing that they have weighed the cost of inefficiency against the improved corporate image - or, put another way, against the decreased media pressure - and chose the lesser of two evils.
Maybe an example outside of US will make it a bit easier to see:
I am assuming without data that those old hiring practices were bad predictors of success, and those women will do more for the firm than the average new hire.
In absence of data you rely on the assumption that hiring practices and corporate practices in general are mostly smart.
In the absence of data I rely on the assumption that hiring practices and corporate practices in general tend to be nepotistic and unrelated to performance.
To me, the best affirmative action just takes demographics and uses them as motivation to find bad performance metrics.
Affirmative action is mostly policed by media pressure. The media does not give a shit about the above math. They will read the line in the annual report that says '90% of our engineers are male' and name and shame you on twitter. Alternatively, being more politically correct than your peer competitors is a way to virtue-signal and you get little award badges to put on your website.
The politically correct ratio is 50:50. Let's say you have 100 available jobs and 1000 candidates, 900 men and 100 women. To enforce 50:50, you choose the best 50 men out of 900 and best 50 women out of 100.
Your hypothesis is that affirmative action unlocks economic benefits. This is asserting that the marginal female engineer who is better than 50% of her peers is superior to the marginal male engineer, who is better than 94% of his peers. Additionally, the difference must be large enough to overcome the inefficiency of messing with market mechanisms.
This is an extraordinary claim and would require extraordinary evidence.
What about the effect of nepotism? Let's say the hiring manager really doesn't like women, and the selection ends up 95:5. Five marginal female engineers are replaced by five marginal male engineers. Compared to the huge skewing above, this is a blip on the radar. Note I am not saying it is not a problem, I am saying the current solution is on average much worse.
I do not doubt that for some pathological cases affirmative action actually does have a positive effect on the bottom line. But this will only happen when the company is badly screwing up recruitment. On the other hand, companies with saner, optimized hiring processes are penalized with an arbitrary ratio.
The effect here is to boost inefficient businesses and penalize relatively efficient ones.
How does one know what the correct target ratio is for their field?
You have blind faith in market mechanisms. I have blind faith in the general equality of the sexes. I'm not saying I'm right, I fully acknowledge it's an article of faith. I'm just hoping I can get to acknowledge that your belief in male superiority in certain fields is also an article of faith.
One can look at the distribution of m:f in the list of eligible applicants, or more generally in university graduate numbers. It will be subject to noise, but the 'natural' outcome should be at least in the same ballpark.
>I have blind faith in the general equality of the sexes. I'm not saying I'm right, I fully acknowledge it's an article of faith.
Blind faith is not necessary here. Nor is a belief in 'male superiority in certain fields'. I agree that given equal qualifications, gender should not affect performance to a great degree, yet affirmative action vastly skews recruitment to one side in this case and only makes sense if it turns out gender does affect performance and women are somehow vastly better (without this effect being picked up and accounted for by the market).
"Gentrification" is frequently just a polite euphemism for diversity that the person making the statement finds undesirable.
You have a historically poor & hispanic neighborhood. Typically, the youth will hang out on a particular street corner; it's not like they've got other places to go, or, the other place they have to go (home) are worse.
Wealthier white people move in. They don't see kids being the only place the kids can be; they see thugs making them feel unsafe. They complain to the cops, or maybe actually call the cops. Kids end up dispersed. What community they had, they can't have anymore. Bad cases, some end up arrested. Worst cases, some end up shot.
Is this necessarily the fault of the new people? Eh. Fault, maybe not; cause, yeah, probably. A summation is: People with drastically different expectations for their neighborhood use power [they probably don't realize they have] to enforce those expectations. Existing community is displaced [without the new people realizing it].
Diversification doesn't result in displacement; (near as I can tell) gentrification does.
Yes, it is still a more complicated question (I have a new society, where do I put it?), continues to stay more complicated (cultures with non-monetary wealth get out-competed by cultures with monetary wealth), but the gist remains: are you participating in the existing culture, or replacing it? (Of course, if the existing culture doesn't let you participate, well...)
This is one of the better demonstrations / explanations of, I guess, benevolent tyranny, that I've seen: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-32-3/ (occurs over the next ~8 pages)
The comic doesn't mention this, but looking up the history of the word "fascist" tells a similar story.
What about the 3rd one - the startup? Can you tell us more about it?
The startup is Skymind.io, which supports an open-source deep learning platform that we created, Deeplearning4j, ND4J, DataVec and some other libs in the JVM big data ecosystem.
Startup as utopia is particular, different from previous communities in its main goals of growth and focus on product and customer. But underneath those differences, there are many similarities around how people communicate with and treat each other, and how the organization configures itself to share information, allow for individual autonomy and perform tasks together.
The Collison brothers probably have some interesting thoughts about this. I'd be interested to hear from some of the YC partners, too, about the extent to which they want YC to have utopian characteristics.
Ever tried. Ever failed.
No matter. Try Again.
Fail again. Fail better.
-- Samuel Beckett
So the fact that there's perceived progress, which is then overdone to the point the structures in question collapse, then people pull back (too far in the opposite direction?) and are apprehensive for a while, but then try again, differently, having (hopefully) learned a lesson.
One interesting observation: the "pull back" phase is not uniformly distributed across societies.
For us in Eastern Europe, we observe West's cheerful march into deep Socialism with despair (our collapse being too recent). Apparently, in the West, it's a distant memory or never really happened, and the societies there are ready to give these utopias another shot (again, hopefully, having learned their lesson...).
This is an honest question. I can see plausible answers, but I don't think that the plausible answers suggest that fitness = utopia.
Say what now?!
You don't happen to know Ayn Rand by any chance do you?
Everybody knows the consequence, there are companies that are "too big to fail", people in power "too big to jail", and at the end saving institutions with public money not only do not improve the banks but makes them feel entitled.
At the end we have the entire society collapsing, like it is happening in Japan, or with Deutsche Bank because in a society when nobody can fail you are rewarding bad behavior and making everybody fail.
The Banks that made enormous bets were rewarded with enormous profits but then are rewarded when those profits turned to be completely fictional, and loses were socialized.
Society and companies that do the right thing are punished with hardships like high taxes while those that created misery retire with Golden Parachutes. Nobody wants to work anymore, and everybody wants to speculate.
The Panic of 1907 was no joke; the Fed is Our Robotic JP Morgan, who forced the network of haircuts and liquidity support needed to end that.
It's not clear to me that the accusations of moral hazard hold that much water. Calomiris and Haber wrote the excellent "Fragile by Design", which examines the difference between the Canadian and US financial systems.
I'm far from an expert, but this seems the most fruitful examination so far - everybody was operating on towers of just-so stories. "Break the banks up" and "jail them" most likely would have accomplished very little. It's less corruption than it is Dunning-Kruger, less Mr. Burns than it is Homer Simpson.
Socializing the losses has little actual cost - no matter how fictional you think this is, it's even moreso - and the big profits in the end were made by Micheal Burry and the others who shorted those markets. If money is a convenient fiction, then the Fed balance sheet is five degrees of separation from that fiction.
Japan? Demographic collapse. Deutsche bank? Uh, Euro problems. What has gone well with the Eurozone?
IMO? The US used to be planted thick with $10, $20, $40M per year topline companies. They went the way of the dodo bird because who wants that? Just making a living? Nah, we wanna make a killing. Make a better product? No, use finance to edge the competition out, even ( perhaps especially ) if it cripples the company doing it.
That's culture rot. People did this sort of thing in, say 1950. Just not everybody.
I do want to work. This is widely disbelieved; it's probably cost me jobs, incredibly. After all, we're supposed to use real work as prep for the rent-seeking Olympics, right? If you're still doing Real Work(tm) at 30, you're a looser ( sic ). Oh, and we're going to dumb Real Work down for you because we don't trust you.
But even more profound is the observation that actual production, distribution, sales and support are on rails. Stuff costs ( in cases, way ) less than it used to. There are no bears to eat us, so we make up methods and practices to stroke our narcissism.
My daughter the evolutionary biologist has a slightly dissonant phrase for this - "not enough lions."
Societies are always and have always been creatures of intentional design. The design might be good or might be bad, but to try to cordon off via, "Designed societies are bad" just amounts to denying the design of your preferred actually-existing society.
Very much agreed. From the point of view of actual radical leftists (for instance, the ones I grab beer with once or twice a month), Bernie Sanders is very much a moderate, even a kind of conservative. In trying to expand the sphere of public goods back towards where it has previously been (in some places and times) and a bit past that, he's just trying to turn our market society back into a market economy subservient to a democratic society.
Correspondingly, we also need to consider the degree to which, while we don't live in Friedrich von Hayek's or Milton Friedman's ideal society, their ideas now exercise far, far more influence over our society than they did at the inauguration of the Mont Pelerin Society. These men plotted utopia, and to a great degree, they've achieved it, exactly insofar as the social democrats whose hegemony they wanted to destroy are now seen as unthinkable radicals dreaming of utopia.
 -- http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/03/q-a-with-mi...
 -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Pelerin_Society
This is very true. It's a very interesting exercise to go back and read old copies of the Congressional Reports and compare them to ones from today. Back in the 1940s, Republicans would say things as lip service to prevailing views about labor that democrats wouldn't say today. Big sweeping appeals to the public interest in the way today people make narrow pointed arguments about efficiency and cost-benefit analysis.
Topologically, the Left pulled farther and faster, and there was also a reaction to that.
Industry became fragmented, and that's much harder to organize into unions. It was different when there were a small number of large monolithic firms.
This being said, Progressivism has a checkered past. The bleeding edge is a fickle hellcat, full of bad normative assumptions. A devout New England Abolitionist would have thought nothing of beating the Irish in his employ severely. Stuff like that.
Add to all of this the consequentialist tendencies in the political discourse.
Why do you think that? I'd say almost the opposite, that societies are not "intentionally designed", but evolve from myriad people and "accidents" of history.
Design in general is bad, if the design overrides all other measurement and input.
Wasn't More's book a reductio anyway?
There's no such thing as a Platonic form.
It is through the failure of various communities that we know, to a decent-enough approximation, how far you can scale egalitarian labor schemes. It's how we know how communal living arrangements tend to fail. Dunbar's Number  and similar ideas were largely derived based on real-world experience in nontraditional social structures (some of which were companies, e.g. Gor-Tex, not communes).
I think it's important to look at even "failed" attempts at utopian living through the lens of an experiment. Even if the outcome wasn't what was intended, we still learn something in the process, and that knowledge is valuable in the wider world as we work more incrementally.
The danger is when we allow people to run their social experiments in vivo instead of in vitro. A few dozen people choosing to share property and responsibilities and income based on a fringe socio-political philosophy is fine, assuming they're all consenting adults, and might lead to valuable knowledge. A few dozen people attempting to force that same model on an entire population is worth killing them all in order to prevent.
Utopianism in the context of people freely choosing how they want to live is a great thing; it is the cooption of putatively "utopian" ideas by violent revolutionaries, and their use of those ideas to gain followers who ought to know better, that has been an extremely deadly combination.
Utopias become dystopias by how they deal with those who do not fit into the plans.…
("On Utopia" by Darran Anderson, page 39 of http://www.ideasfestival.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/BF... -- the whole thing is worth reading!)
The only Utopia I expect is the one of my religion. I don't expect to create one.
So, yeah, simply branding it a dystopia is an oversimplification. It's much more nuanced than that. Fascinating book, and great fun to read too.
(I do have a few problems with the worldbuilding, which I think falls apart in a few places, but that shouldn't dissuade anyone from reading it. It is one of the great books of all time.)
What if someone were to have reduced the oxygen to your embryo so that you were an idiot and were happy but had no idea what I was talking about? That's ok to you?
BNW was not meant to be a template for a future society. It's a story to get the reader to try to adjust to the norm of morally reprehensible behavior and then at the end smack them back to cold, hard reality.
You mean kinda like how they put lead in the water in Flint, Michigan?
The US economy is limited by individual buying power. Most Americans are maxed out. It's not like people are saving too much. There's plenty of capital available; too much, in fact, which is why interest rates are so low. But there are few good ways to use it.
There's a broad feeling that something has gone wrong. Some of this drives a desire for new Utopian movements. (Some of this drives Trump supporters, but ignore that for now.) The article doesn't list any successful new ones, though. If anything, growth is in deliberately dystopian communities - the "prepper" movement.
Small Utopian communities don't get economies of scale. Local, artisanal stuff just takes too much labor to make. So, in practice, that's a dead end.
Regulation always increases; it never declines (except for small, select bits in little deregulation burps here and there). So long as a government endures, you can expect there will continue to be more and more laws and regulations, not fewer. Eventually the system ties itself up with too much red tape, like one of those old cartoons where the character becomes tangled in a ball of yarn.
Which is not to say total deregulation is a good thing. You need regulations in place to protect individuals, who often lack power and information, from suffering by decisions made by corporate super organisms with significant advantages in power and information.
The problem with the national movement toward ever more regulation is it enables the successful to do the same thing they do in every other socioeconomic model, which is to build firewalls aimed at preserving their class and wealth and keeping out competitors.
I say this as a diehard capitalist who sees it as the best economic model we've happened upon yet. Particularly in the early days of a well-regulated capitalist society, there's immense potential for anyone to reach the top. However, the longer the society continues, the more it stifles itself with labyrinthine laws, credentialism, certifications, and 10,000 rules to operate legally in any established industry (e.g., finance, automotive, utilities, etc.).
I do not think that it is fair to say that regulation always increases and never declines; in the U.S. we have seen regulation swing back and forth over time. The early U.S. was a largely deregulated economy, which became regulated due to demands by citizens that companies be controlled; the tide turned in the later 20th century, with widespread utilities and transportation deregulation, fewer union-favoring labor rules, the repeal of Glass-Steagall, etc.; I think it's still unclear whether the tide has turned again today.
Without regulations you have corporate anarchy and an impotent and uninformed consumer base. Free-market capitalism naturally gravitates towards monopolies without a regulatory body to step in an attempt to preserve fair competition.
Regulation can be used to entrench big players that is true, but it can also be used to prevent entrenchment. The trick is finding a nice balance and it is an ongoing struggle.
Regulation always increases; it never declines
Is clearly untrue, as it was a series of deregulations of the financial services industry beginning with Reagan's clown-act presidency that led to our last financial crash. Protections put in place in the decades before were set up to prevent exactly the problems we have faced over the last few years.