Sunday, November 09, 2014

commenter "Wallace Stevens"
I find this OP wretched and appalling. But since so few others do, I wonder if it’s just me. Isn ‘t Waring really just saying “It’s great to be rich!”? I know the feeling. I was an expat in Hong Kong in the early nineties: the private schools, the maid-ironed uniforms, people coming and going from one exotic place to another, etc. Most of the OP sounded like back-handed, covert bragging–sprinkled with a heavy dose of cloying, corn pone “y’all’s” to show that she’s a good Ioway farmer’s daughter at heart, or whatever. And the kids! Oy! Smart as whips and learning all these languages! I’ve been trapped by elderly people like this who then want to show you all the pictures in their wallet/purse. But Waring, I take it, is a relatively young woman. Hard to figure. (I did a little research. According to her wedding announcement she is related to the robber baron, Jay Gould. Now, no one is responsible for their ancestors. But why make such a point of it? Especially when John “only a Holbo” Holbo’s ancestory gets no mention at all.)

But so much for form. What about substance? Yes, in places like Singapore, even philosophy profs can live well. But for the most part this is because it is a Republican paradise. No minimum wage, tough on crime, control of the media to ensure that the right people get elected, limited concern for due process and human rights–oh yeah, and lingering “white privilege” makes being a WHITE woman extra safe, in a kind of belt-and-suspenders way. What’s not to like? Singapore is by no means the worst place on earth. Some people on the Left, apologists for Castro for example, believe that there must be some kind of necessary trade-off between human rights and economic
development. I’m not one of them. But for those that do, Singapore should be ashining example. They have achieved far more–in terms of living standards and health for the poorest–while being much more free than Cuba. In fact I have always wondered why Singapore didn’t get more attention and praise from the the authoritarian Left. But for anyone with democratic instincts…? I don’t think so.
Davies defending Waring and quoting her own reply.
Am I supposed to lie about my life? Not discuss the interesting ways it differs from the life I ever thought I’d have? We’d all gain what now?

As far as I can tell, the party line of CT commenters is that one is allowed to exist, but never to say anything good about one’s life and career. In principle, there might be some level of wailing and repenting, sackcloth and ashes and general screaming about what a horrible person you are for being part of such a horrible system, which might excuse you, but nobody’s ever found it yet. The crazy thing is that it’s not just you living in Singapore or me being a stockbroker that they object to; even the academics on the blog seem to get the same treatment for mentioning that they’ve been promoted or got a prestigious scholarship or something.
and again responding to others
Stevens again
Dsquared @ 93: I’d like to distance myself from any of the CT commentators that begrudge Waring, or anyone else for that matter, their good fortune. I’ve enjoyed great good fortune in life myself, so it would be hypocritical for me to resent others. For example, I have enjoyed immensely Daniel’s CT posts on his travels–even though Daniel is clearly in a privileged position to do the kind of the trip he is doing. It is just that Daniel writes well about interesting things, and Waring doesn’t. So all you have is this parading, unselfconscious privilege.

My objection to this OP, in its original form at least, was two-fold: first it had the preening, “look at me” tone that I found distasteful; second it seemed to blithely ignore
the price at which the affordable help and public order in Singapore are purchased.

As Waring points out herself, tenure or no tenure, she’s not really at liberty to say what she thinks anyway. That’s a handicap for a writer. Maybe she should write about something else.
neoliberalism: a bad thing, except when you're living it.

Belle Waring is a bright, shallow, spoiled, emotionally damaged (she's referred to it enough), awful human being. Her's husband's just an ass. All repeats. I like DD, but he's also an ass. After taking a beating for his defense of bankers, he took his own blog private. Both DD and Waring are here. Holbo's silence about Singapore was a running theme with me for a while, with his attacks on Zizek
(The origin of the reference in the previous post).

Rakesh Bhandari makes a Freudian slip. responding to Bertram.
Of course it is not only the poor in the poor nations who suffer relatively; and it is not only the poor in the rich nations who do the excluding. Those opposed to immigration may not be the upper-class in the rich countries; though they may prefer anti-immigrant populist sentiment to other forms of political expression, e.g. higher inheritance taxes. 
...oops meant it is not only the rich in the rich nations who do the excluding.
"populist sentiment" refers to the -perceived and actual-  self-interest of the native born lower middle and working classes. As Dean Baker has pointed out again and again, it's government policy to have working classes compete against each other, while regulating the immigration of the educated. The rich and poor move back and forth; the professional classes are protected. There's no open market in economists and college professors, and they're happy to moralize about fellow citizens, above and below, if it doesn't go against their own self-interest.

Chart from EPI
Bertram's long history
-It is indeed remarkable how all the places inhabited by the super-rich (Kensington, Mayfair, much of Geneva, the XVI arrondissement …) are really crushingly dull. At least little of real value will be lost when we burn them down. 
-First, I’m sympathetic, I really am, to the idea that people should work and consume less and that we should attend more to real life quality. But this doesn’t seem very realistic in my own life for two reasons: first, even if my employer were sympathetic (unlikely) I feel very hard pressed now to produce the level of research output necessary for me to stay competitive with other academics (not just in the UK, but elsewhere)….  Second, it is all very well Juliet Schor telling us to transition to a low hours/lower consumption economy. I’m cool with consuming less. The problem is that I, and just about everyone else, has taken out huge mortgages and bank loans to pay (in part) for the consumption we’ve already had. Hard to reduce the hours unless (or until) the debt goes away. Third, there was distressingly little discussion of the politics of this. 
Again all long term repeats, except for recent refs to the tension between republicanism and liberalism, Aristotle and Montesquieu. Liberalism is amenable to fans of science since it can claim reasonably or not to be without priors. Republicanism is a virtue ethic and priors are explicit: burdens precede freedoms, making hypocrisy more difficult to hide, from yourself at least.

Liberal objectivity: "If her interests have the same value as his, then my interests must have the same value as yours." The opposite of virtue.

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