A week ago I summarized and critiqued five books wherein Peter Turchin tries to document and explain two key historical cycles: a several century cycle of empires rising and falling, and a fifty year alternating-generations cycle of instability during empire low points. In his latest book, Turchin tentatively tries to apply his theories to predict the U.S. near future.
I generally reject theories of cycles. To me it seems that to be a cycle the time period needs to be the same each cycle and the up must logically lead to the down.
Was your question to Tyler Cowen in a video or a presentation or part of a larger discussion in that manner, and if so is that publicly available or will it be?
Thanks. This is speculation, but I wonder how much of that is because the cities haven't yet caught up to the demand. Flight from urban areas took a few decades (and started with boomers' families taking to the suburbs), and I bet re-urbanization will take a while, too. If/once the primacy of the car is reduced a little, I think the shift will begin in earnest. But now I'm drifting from the post topic...
Robin was very diplomatic. Were I to have reached Robin's conclusions about the book, I would express it as "Tyler published his book prematurely." There's just not enough there to constitute a book.
I take this point to obliterate Robin's "explanation."
No, actually Sondre is right. Reversion to the mean is an observation, not an explanation. It is just as incorrect to use it as an explanation as to attribute soporific qualities of opium to its dormitive virtue. The actual explanation of the underlying mechanism may be as simple as "luck isn't likely twice" (reversion to the mean in a sequence of coin tosses) but it is necessary and distinct from the observation of the reversion to the mean. Also, I find "luck" an unsatisfying explanation of almost anything more complicated than shooting dice. Using it to explain cultural patterns is the acme of superficiality.
Yes, thanks, that is fair.
But still, unless Hanson thinks it's all random in culture and nothing matters except luck from one period to the next, then it is still a relevant question to ask.
But now that you say it, I have a sense that reversion to mean isn't the right model, but that just mixing or entropy is. As culture is becoming globalized and the internet came, one would expect the US culture to be mixed with that of everyone else. Which would yield the same observations as reversion to the mean, but instead because there weren't strong enough containing or self-reinforcing mechanisms to the US culture or systems to maintain it's system.
You don't understand reversion to the mean exactly. It doesn't need a driver, it happens even if you assume the next generation is exactly the same as this generation, just because those who were above the mean were lucky and luck isn't likely twice.
About this: "Only today did the idea of the "American dream" as owning a house in the suburbs get superseded by milennials who are happy in walkable inner cities".They may be happier than boomers in walkable inner cities (I sure think they are), but "millenials are less urban than you think" (https://fivethirtyeight.com....
"Aging" gets mentioned in passing, but it strikes me that the baby boom explains a lot more of American culture (writ large) than it's usually given credit for. Such a numerically and thus culturally dominant demographic bulge has ossified American notions of what is "right," to the the detriment of the mobility that preceded it. (It doesn't help that the bulge coincided with the spread of technology enabling a more national culture, like TV.) Only today did the idea of the "American dream" as owning a house in the suburbs get superseded by milennials who are happy in walkable inner cities; the words "anti-war" still conjure up hippies, not rational adults opposed to destruction; the Trump election is plausibly seen as enabled by those seeking an economy (and society?) more akin to that of the 1950s and 60s; etc etc. There are surely other trends, but let's not forget that the boomers have dominated American culture for decades in a way no other generation had.
"I would like some clarification on this. Who is the top innovator? "
It depends on the survey. Bloomberg ranks:
1. South Korea2. Japan3. Germany4. Finland5. Israel6. United States7. Sweden8. Singapore9. France10. United Kingdom11. Denmark12. Canada13. Australia14. Russia
I too find it amazing how all those people, including e.g. Bryan Caplan, manage to be so blunt in their criticism to each other's work and remain such close friends. The kind of people able to do that is rare and admirable.
I do think any system that exists over time must have self-reinforcing mechanisms built in to survive over time. The seeds of its future creation.
In government we have constitutions and the supreme court as such a check to prevent reversion to mean on "key principles". Though I suppose we don't really have such a built-in system for regular check-ins and clearly defined principles in culture, so it will just mix with global culture, as it has.
A strong point, but aren't these two perspectives better together than apart?
-> Reversion to the mean usually happen-> But what is the driver?-> In this case it may be peace, wealth, satisfaction. (I have a sensethat globalisation of culture is also a driver)
Without guessing the driver of the reversion, one cannot hope to draw anything normative from the analysis. Wouldn't you agree?
Reversion to mean seems to be a big and general problem. Any successful people, organisations, countries will want to avoid reverting to the mean on what make them successful in the first place. While on "bad" things, it might be useful.
How can we avoid reverting to the mean on our "good traits", when we are good and the average is bad.
Well, I've already named education, health care, relationships, and governance. Education and health care have sort of been tied into the market, but it's not clear how much that has lead to improvement even though it has lead to a whole lot of spending. If those two are removed from gdp figures, things get real grim, real quick. Markets work best when goods are simple, tangible, and quickly and easily exchanged. If I make the rough comparison of education and health care to relationships and governance (although this is a guess based on apples and oranges), then there does appear to be some advantage to markets in these areas, but it's small and expensive.
New systems of conversion would include prediction markets and bitcoins. The best alternative existing system would probably be academic publishing which primarily trades in prestige, but alternative ideas I think could lead to something useful include wikis and the good judgment project.
I am honored to have Tyler as my colleague and friend.