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Showing posts from April, 2008

The subprime mortgage collapse for dummies

For all the hoopla about subprime mortgage woes, the media do a fairly bad job of explaining how this problem could even come about in the first place. These are complex phenomena that can be difficult to interpret, because they're so large that it's difficult to see the whole thing. It has taken me until recently to connect the dots and figure out to my satisfaction why it happened.

First, the core problem of the subprime mortgages is that many - many... many - U.S. mortgages were given away to people with incomes too low to repay them in the long run. The loans were made, however, because the people were able to pay them in the short run.

The reason why people were able to pay these loans in the short run were two-fold. First, some loan-givers offered introductory low rates that may have actually been loss-leaders. Second, interest rates throughout the U.S. economy were low.

Interest rates across the economy are determined by the central bank. In the case of the United States, …

IQ and Global Inequality

Take a look at the Amazon page for this book.

For a while now, Richard Lynn and his co-authors have been trying to get the message across (1) that average IQs are far from identical across nations, and (2) that average IQs of nations are strongly correlated (0.7) with their economic performance.

Unfortunately, Lynn's message is being studiously ignored in an era when everyone wants to believe that it's "self-evident" that everyone is "created equal". For some reason, people seem to have a deep-seated aversion to accepting that there is any strong genetic component causing differences in people's intellectual abilities - let alone that this results in vast economic differences on the level of nations, worldwide.

I understand that people recoil at the thought of cruel extremism like the world saw in World War II. Thinking that a difference in intelligence warrants such extremism is an awful mistake - and it is one that I think may ironically be committed mo…