Showing posts from May, 2018

Stranger in a Familiar Land

I just visited the place where I did my undergraduate degree about 20 years ago: Simon Fraser University, aka “SFU”. It is located on top of a small mountain in the Greater Vancouver area. It is in Burnaby, which is part of the metropolis consisting of Vancouver and its satellite cities. SFU is a beautiful place, with great views of the city to the south and the mountains to the north. The architecture is unusual. It was built in the 1960s, in a style that I guess could be called “brutalist” or “hypermodern”. It’s blocky with a lot of exposed concrete. Some people find the architecture to be gloomy or oppressive, but I like the retro-futuristic aesthetic. The interior has some equally strange features, such as ribbed rubber flooring and odd little nooks and crannies in the concrete. It is a unique place. So, that’s the setting: a weird university on a mountain in the metropolis of Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in the year of 2018. Walking around the campus, I

The Sexual Underclass and Romantic Illusions

The van attack of Alek Minassian in Toronto has suddenly pushed the concept of “incels” into mainstream consciousness. Most of the jabbering class are responding in a predictable way. They are defending status quo assumptions by portraying incels as dangerous misogynists. In this narrative, incels are sexual losers who blame their failure on society, when it is their own fault. Incels are portrayed as disgusting, evil, ugly monsters who are fully responsible for their plight. Despite this predictable spin, the discussion of incels is raising awareness about the sexual problems of the modern world. A large number of men have no access to love and sex. This was not supposed to happen. Sexual liberation was supposed to create a sexual utopia. Instead, it has created a sexual dystopia in which many people are denied love and sex. The existence of a large sexual underclass poses problems for the left and the establishment. Incels are have-nots. Supposedly, the left is about helping

Purchasing Power Decline (in Big Macs)

I was reading an article on zerohedge, Big Mac Index suggests America in decade-long depression , about a decline in GDP when it is adjusted for the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac. The article showed a net decline in GDP from 2007 to 2017. An obvious thought occurred to me: what about per capita GDP? So, I looked up the population statistics and plugged them in. Here is the result: Year Nominal GDP Big Mac Price Adjusted GDP Per Capita GDP Trillions US $ US $ Trillions BM BM 1987 4.9 1.60 3.06 12,629 1997 8.6 2.42 3.55 13,023 2007 14.5 3.41 4.25 14,092 2017 19.4 5.06 3.83 11,759 I don’t think GDP is a very good measure of economic output, even when it has been adjusted for inflation. Unfortunately, there is no good measure of economic output, nor is there an ideal wa