Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three Interesting Articles.

A few good recent articles, courtesy of Rational Review News Digest:

Five cities that will rise in the New Economy:
From Seattle to Huntsville, Ala., five cities are poised to prosper in the New Economy because of exports, innovation, clean technology, and healthcare. .By Ron Scherer November 20, 2009 edition

While President Obama fumbles clumsily with the buttons of macroeconomics, local adaptations to the recession are already occurring. Note, in particular, the following paragraphs, which deal with features I've written about before: specialization, knowledge sharing, and economic integration of a locality to form a unified system of production, like the old factory towns but without a single corporate owner:

In the approaching “creativity economy,” as some are calling it, education will be more vital than ever. This means not just an educated workforce but universities that are interwoven with their communities.

The ivory tower is no longer the model. Now it’s being replaced with universities that turn out corporate spinoffs as well as graduates. Cities such as Huntsville, Ala., – which has a greater concentration of PhDs than it does Baptist churches – are becoming factories for the most important product of tomorrow: ideas.

In other areas, healthcare complexes are evolving into microeconomies in themselves. They attract labs and researchers. Patients fly in from around the world, needing hotel rooms, and laundry and banking services. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center annually pays out $2.7 billion in salaries to its 50,000 employees – the equivalent of the entire Canadian aerospace industry.

While Obama's stimulus packages, healthcare program and bubble loan policy continue to declare the American people too incompetent to help themselves, the people, at the city level, continue to come up with creative solutions to pull progress out of the jaws of failure and keep moving forward. Get Out Of Their Way, Mr. President!

The Paradox of Self-Government. Posted on November 21st, 2009 by Daniel McCarthy

A brief essay on why mass democracy isn't.

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto. A Book by J. Neil Schulman

The beginning of J. Neil Schulman's new ebook. This is a series definitely worth following.

Some of the things he wrote struck home: for instance, that libertarians tend to be more rational and less emotional than average, and thus that libertarian culture tends to appeal to a limited audience. I've just been reading Simon Baron-Cohen's The Essential Difference, and I am clearly a "high systematizer" rather than a "high empathizer" -- unlike the majority of females, acording to this book's data. These individual differences can explain a lot. For instance, the whole "sensitivity mindset", so dear to cultural leftists, doesn't appeal to me at all. I am not a sensitive person, and I don't appreciate radical-feminist efforts to censor language and media in order to protect women's sweet feminine sensibilities. The current wave of radical feminism, like most of cultural leftism, seems to be based on the preferences of extreme high empathizers -- which is why such beliefs meet natural resistance (pejoratively labeled "backlash" by the leftists) among the majority of the population whose biochemical balance is closer to the middle of the spectrum.

However, it also goes the other way: libertarianism, as it currently is, does seem to appeal mainly to high-systematizer outliers (like me) who actually think economics is sexy. These differences in temperament create divisions which hamper effective communication and learning. Valid leftist arguments can be rejected because they happen to be couched in touchy-feely, bleeding heart rhetoric, just as valid economically-conservative and libertarian arguments can be dismissed because they are too hard and cold and mathy. The need is for people who are able to translate, to cross-correlate different points of view, and to communicate effectively with people who are unlike themselves.

Schulman also writes of the need for passion, and the fact that many of us cold-hearted outliers actually do feel it, but lack the means to express it in ways that will make others listen.

My own thoughts.on that: what is required seems to be a careful balance of genuine, free self-expression and diplomacy, the latter of which requires, yes, empathy. I've never been a whiz on the diplomacy front, but I've gotten somewhat better at it over the years. And there are, undoubtedly, many others better suited to this task than I.

A few pertinent words from Carl Jung: "It is indeed almost impossible for one type to understand the other completely, and a perfect comprehension of another's individualiity is impossible. Due regard for another's individuality is not only advisable but is absolutely essential.... It should not be forgotten that the one type thinks that he is leaving another person free when he grants him freedom of action, and the other type when he grants him freedom of thought."
C. G. Jung, Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology, 1922, p. 454.