Tag Archives: matthew yglesias

Matthew Yglesias tells us not to worry about the new industrial revolution

Summary: The new industrial revolution has begun, yet we have not yet begun to prepare. An article by Matthew Yglesias, neo-lib story-teller extraordinaire, shows why. He explains that faith-based economics assures us all will work out for the best.

Industrial revolution


Last week I posted Well-meant minimum wage increases will accelerate automation. On the same day Matthew Yglesias posted “Will minimum wage hikes lead to a huge boost in automation? Only if we’re lucky.” at VOX. He provides an unusually clear example of liberals’ love of just-so stories to explain the world in a pleasing fashion — much like the follies of conservatives that liberals (correctly) condemn (e.g., Megan McArdle).

Yglesias explains the new industrial revolution in simple and non-threatening terms. No need to worry, let alone act, since the experts are in control (it’s the neoliberals’ mantra). The opening states his thesis.

“…one major line of criticism from outlets like the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Forbes’s Tim Worstall is that big increases in pay floors only lead to job loss via automation. Both critics point to initiatives at McDonald’s and Wendy’s to automate more of the service process, and warn that robots, rather than workers, will be the real winners if liberals succeed in boosting minimum pay.

“This is doubly wrong. On the one hand, there’s little guarantee that increased minimum wages really will increase the pace at which labor-saving technology is developed. On the other hand, there’s no reason to think this would be a bad scenario.”

To draw these confident conclusions he closes his eyes and makes stuff up. This is a common response to the new industrial revolution, one large reason we are so poorly prepared for its obvious effects. Yglesias supports his first assertion by saying…

Continue reading

Examples of blind allegiance to tribal truths, keeping us weak & ignorant

Summary: Truth has become a tribal thing in America. Scores of posts have documented this on the Right and Left. Today we have two fun examples by the Left, with sublime but blind confidence in their tribe’s truths. Our tribalism divides us, making us weak. Our blinders keep us ignorant. The combination probably makes reform impossible for America.

Spirit Of Truth



  1. Matthew Yglesias indicts Bush, defends Obama
  2. Tribal truths about climate vs George Will
  3. For More Information


(1)  Yglesias indicts Bush, defends Obama (blindly)

An analysis by Matthew Yglesias  VOX, 16 June 2014 — Excerpt:

The US military is the finest military in the world, the sharp spear of the mightiest empire in human history. But the considerable virtues of America’s fighting forces do not give it any particular expertise in micro-managing Afghanistan politics.

And the fundamentals in Afghanistan have simply never been very good for a peaceful and democratic settlement. The country is not only divided between sectarian groups, but sandwiched between two rival regional powers … and neither power having any particular interest in democracy and pluralism. Throw in the well-known phenomenon of the resource curse and the country’s lack of stable institutions, and you’ve got a recipe for problems, problems that a bunch of heavily armed young people — no matter how well-intentioned or well-led — are not capable of solving.

This is a searing indictment of Obama’s war policy. During the 2008 campaign he advocated boosting the war effort in Afghanistan, despite 7 years of futile but expensive effort. Which he did starting in early 2009. Now our failure is obvious to all who look (although many prefer to see with closed eyes).

Surprise! This was in fact a defense of Obama, and by implication an attack on Bush Jr, titled “The mess in Iraq proves Obama was right to leave“. In this excerpt Afghanistan was swapped for Iraq, and resources for oil. Yglesias writes it with no sign of awareness that his logic defending Obama’s Iraq withdrawal also condemns Obama’s Afghanistan surge.

Continue reading

A note about practical propaganda

Summary:  A brief note foreshadowing the next post.

Propaganda has become a powerful tool used by both Left and Right to shape American’s views about the world.  Slowly we recognize this.  Republicans do so by their adoption of it as a primary policy tool, as seen in the health care debate.  Political commentators do so by evaluating the efforts of opinion-manipuators, and their effect on the American people — as Yglesias does here:

{C}overage of the actual content of the bill is by necessity more favorable to the bill than the hokum that’s dominated the conversation thus far. After all, most of what people have been talking about is either straight-up lies — death panels — or hystical mewling about the death of freedom and the gulag. Any time you have medical doctors on television talking about new insurance rules, or newspaper writers drawing up charts showing what kinds of people will be impacted in which ways, you’re into the universe of sober-minded discussion of an importance series of tweaks to people’s existing care, and the expenditure of a bunch of money to make insurance affordable to those who don’t have it.

Now realistically, the evidence suggests that once misconceptions get into people’s heads they’re hard to dislodge. So I wouldn’t count on enormous changes in public opinion ensuring from this shift in coverage. But it’s bound to help at the margin.

— “The changing tide“, Matthew Yglesias, posted at ThinkProgress, 22 March 2010

The next post discusses this theme in greater detail.

A real-time example of the birth and spread of climate propaganda

Summary:  In our weak condition, America has become unusually susceptible to propaganda.  Accepting of it, so long as it confirms our views.  Loving lies.  If we become sheep, don’t blame the wolves for preying upon us.  This post traces the evolution of  science research into propaganda.  Real science, exaggerated into propaganda, a doomster story that will circulate for years.  People questioning it will be derided as ignorant — the story is science.  These techniques are effective because sheep are easily ruled by fear.


  1. Real science:  the original journal article
  2. Accurate summaries of real science for a general audience
  3. Exaggeration of science to create propaganda
  4. Result:  ignorant fear
  5. Articles about using these methane deposits as a problem — and a solution
  6. More information on the FM website

(1)  Real science:  the original journal article

Extensive Methane Venting to the Atmosphere from Sediments of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf“, Natalia Shakhova et al, Science, 5 March 2010 — Abstract:

Continue reading

Updates about hot issues discussed on the FM website

Some articles about themes discussed on the FM website.

  1. Demographics, shaping our world
  2. India
  3.  Japan
  4. American’s greatest enemy
  5. America’s rotten boroughs — States with 2 Senators, but few people

(1)  About Demographics

Excerpt from “Falling fertility“, The Economist, 29 October 2009 — “Astonishing falls in the fertility rate are bringing with them big benefits”

Continue reading