Authors Noah Smith

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Today's @bopinion post is about how poor countries started catching up to rich ones.

It looks like decolonization just took a few decades to start

Basic econ theory says poor countries should grow faster than rich ones.

But for much of the Industrial Revolution, the opposite happened.

Why? Probably because the first countries to discover industrial technologies used them to conquer the others!

But then colonial empires went away. And yet still, for the next 30 years or so, poor countries fell further behind rich ones.


Possible reasons:
1. Bad institutions (dictators, communism, autarkic trade regimes)
2. Civil wars
3. Lack of education

But then, starting in the 80s (for China) and the 90s (for India and Indonesia), some of the biggest poor countries got their acts together and started to catch up!

Global inequality began to fall.
When Republicans started to believe in racial bloc voting - when they stopped believing that nonwhite people could ever be persuaded to vote Republican - they started to see immigration as an invasion.

This explains why immigration is now at the center of partisan conflict.

Of course, the belief in ethnic bloc voting becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When a slight Dem tilt among Hispanics and Asians caused the GOP to turn against them, Hispanics and Asians shifted more toward the Dems. Etc. etc. A self-reinforcing cycle.

Bush's 2006 amnesty attempt, and the 2013 intra-GOP fight over immigration reform, were two moments when the GOP could have turned back to the approach of Reagan, and courted Hispanics and Asians.

But they decided against this, we are.

What will disrupt this bad equilibrium, and save American politics from being an eternal race war?

A) More white voters will grow disgusted with the GOP approach and defect, or
B) The GOP will find some non-immigration-related issues to attract more Hispanics and Asians.

As long as both parties see elections in terms of racial bloc voting - where the only way to win is to increase turnout among your own racial blocs or suppress turnout by the other party's racial blocs - American politics will not improve, and the country will decline.

1/I'm thinking about the end of Apu in the context of the national debates on immigration and diversity.

2/Apu's presence in Springfield represented a basic reality of America in the late 20th and early 21st century: the presence of nonwhite immigrants.

3/As Tomas Jimenez writes in "The Other Side of Assimilation", for my generation, immigrants from India, China, Mexico, and many other countries aren't strange or foreign. On the contrary, they're a

4/But that America I grew up with is fundamentally ephemeral. The kids of immigrants don't retain their parents' culture. They merge into the local culture (and, as Jimenez documents, the local culture changes to reflect their influence).

5/Simpsons character don't change. But real people, and real communities, do. So a character who once represented the diversity that immigrants brought to American towns now represents a stereotype of Indian-Americans as "permanent foreigners".
Yes, we have been more divided than we are now. Within living memory.

Labor disputes used to kill hundreds of people!

In 1932 Douglas MacArthur called in tanks on protesting veterans, injuring over a thousand people!

In 1967 there were 159 race riots in cities across

In 1921, rioters used airplanes to bomb black businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma! Hundreds were killed in the riot!
Time for panel #3: Big Tech and regulation!

I will be live-tweeting again, and you can also watch video at either the Twitter or Facebook links below!

Kaissar: Every industry gets regulated when it gets big. The question is what kind of regulation Big Tech will get,and whether the companies will be proactive in shaping it.

Kaissar: More profitable companies have higher returns. Why? Maybe it's a risk factor, because more profit = higher risk of getting regulated.

Bershidskyis showing a diagram of GDPR complaince pop-ups. What a massive ill-conceived bureaucratic mess.

Ritholtz: It's 2018 and we're still talking about Facebook privacy settings?! If you're still giving your personal data to Facebook, you just don't care about privacy!
Bloomberg Ideas conference now starting! I will be live-tweeting it. You can watch on our Facebook or Twitter pages (links below)!

Our first panel is about cryptocurrency! We have @matt_levine, @tylercowen, @eiaine, @nirkaissar, and Camilla

Ou: Crypto will be useful for the unbanked.

Cowen: Crypto has to compete against a bunch of other emerging payments technologies. Bitcoin is too inflexible.

Cowen: I'll bet on the payments companies over crypto.
"Competitive wokeness", like "virtue signaling" and "preference falsification", seems to be something people on the right say in order to pretend that people on the left don't really believe what they claim to believe.

Basically we have a whole bunch of ways of saying "You can't possibly believe that!!". Which helps us avoid the terrifying fact that yes, people generally do believe it.

Of course, "believe" doesn't mean what it means in econ class. It means that people get a warm feeling from asserting something, even if they don't know what it means. "God is omnipotent", etc.

A lot of times we believe extreme things, simply because asserting those things all together in a group gives us a warm feeling of having an army on our side.

It's not competitive wokeness. It's COOPERATIVE wokeness.

"Virtue signaling" isn't fake or pretend. It's real.

"Virtue", when it comes right down to it, means membership on a team.

Sometimes, to prove you're on a team, it helps to say something people on the other team could never bring themselves to say.