Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The World does not want President Bernie Sanders

Americans heading to the polls in 2020 should be aware that their election is not only about healthcare or the "one percent of the one percent". They should be conscious of the fact that their vote will have repercussions around the world. They should understand that humanity has enjoyed the greatest period of peace and prosperity because of the attributes of a globalized free society with a free enterprise system. And they should acknowledge that the United States of American leads, even if they want to or not. 

The Americans' international brethren do not wish to see the most powerful state on Earth pivoting towards greater regulation and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. They pain at the thought of having the leader of the free world eschewing free trade. They abhor the thought of having the President of the United States praising Fidel Castro, the Soviet Union, and China. This is something this candidate has done; this is something this candidate represents. 

Sanders glorifies the Scandinavian model. His references to Denmark are many. But voters must see that his ideas are not those of the capitalist Scandinavian countries. These countries are flourishing free democracies because of their embrace of individual freedom and the free enterprise system (like the USA). To give just one example of the candidate's contradiction is the fact that while his policies to curb "Wall Street greed" mark his campaign, Scandinavian countries have worked to cut back on corporate taxes and regulations. If voters want the United States to resemble Scandinavia, they should look to emulate those countries in the things that make them successful. 

In the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom, at least one Scandinavian country ranks better. In the Economist's Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index all of the Scandinavian countries rank better. In the Cato Institute's Human Freedom Index at least one ranks better. In the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index at least one Scandinavian country ranks higher. In the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, the United States sits atop all Scandinavian countries. The leading economic superpower has room for improvement, but voters should see that it is by further developing what made it great in the first place, and not by shifting towards what it has spent its existence fighting against. 

The World needs a President of the United States that understands the problems facing humanity. Someone who understands that fighting climate change is not about increasing the national debt to astronomical levels in order to fund bureaucratic programs, but rather by leading a worldwide plan to put a hefty price on pollution that strongly incentivizes the development of cleaner technologies. Someone who understands that protectionism hinders economic growth. Someone who understands the power of the idea of freedom. 

Furthermore, if comparable politics like that of the United Kingdom are a meter by which to gauge the 2020 election, a candidate who positions himself to the extremes of the ideological spectrum will most probably find himself losing to the incumbent. 

In the 2016 election, the United States fell prey to the demagoguery of a populist. Voters should not fall for the same thing twice, even if it is coming from a likeable one. As memorably said by an ex-President, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice… Let's just not get fooled again!"

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Aphorisms

Compiled throughout a period of time...


The paradox of believing in God. Why believe in a sadist god? But then again we must believe in God if he is to make a difference in our reason and morality.

Socialism, Marx, is inherently a romantic proposition because as Baudelaire pointed out, "Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in the way of feeling.”

Socialism works because it is based on demagoguery.  If the IMF wants the underdeveloped world to develop, they need not throw money at said countries, but rather ideas.  Ideas of freedom will go much further to create wealth via capitalism than cheap credit or financial aid.

Communism is a religion. It is based on positive feelings, rules by autocratic ruler, and always adapting explanations to justify errors in their rhetoric.

Socialism is like religion. People get convinced through feelings, and a new excuse pops up every time it's proven wrong.

Cubans are like the battered woman.  They welcome and help, treat like brothers all who come and appear to help.

Castro: Luckiest man on earth.

Beethoven accompanies in our most human experiences.

John Foxe’s book of martyrs is an example of failed network eradication just like the drug cartels are today.

Civilization is slow to adapt to communicating/network building technologies.  Technologies of this sort produces excitement in the beginning and many ideas are accepted.  When schisms in Christianity occurred before the printing press but one religion spawned. When schisms occurred after it, Lutheranism multiplied and we now have many protestant denominations.  Ferguson?

Break your 25-hour fast with a vodka-martini.

Los gitanos son como los hippies... pero con mejor música.

La sobriedad está sobrevalorada. Y solo se la aprecia después de haberte sacado la madre con muchas cosas.  La ley de retornos decrecientes aplica de sobremanera en ciertas actividades... sabio darse un tiempo.

El gusto musical debe entenderse como el gusto en tragos.  Tragos siendo entendido como bebidas alcohólicas.  Uno siempre tiene sus preferidas, pero de vez en cuando se antoja algo diferente.  Por ejemplo, uno gusta del whisky, el vodka, el vino, o un martini.  Pero si uno está rumbo a la costa, un buen aguardiente con cumbia es lo que se requiere.

Oscars 2019: I perhaps would have voted for another, probably Roma.  But Green Book is an excellent film and all the bickering is nonsense.  Spike Lee is a cry baby, and all the loud-mouthed social justice warriors never miss a chance to ruin everything with false and annoying arguments.

M.I. Finley (The Ancient Economy) talks about the absence of economic thought and theory in Ancient Rome.  He says markets and economic motivations played little if any role on ancient economies: Bollocks!

Paul Krugman advocates for government protection of certain industries in order to produce worldly competitive industries.  Nonsense!.  The Chaebols in South Korea, which are prime examples of government sponsored monopolies should be the forefront example against Krugman’s assertion.

GMOs are to food what drugs are to the religious experience.

Our profession in this world is to suffer and die, and yet we still need money to do that.

True effect of technology: ennui at the expense of being more efficient in completing tasks.

Aletheia: The end of female human sexuality… to open without retreat.

Nietzsche was a liberal: His life affirming (excellence, individual development, nobility) vs life denying (self-sacrifice, compassion, equality) philosophy is that which favors the risk and total liberty sought by true liberals.

I see no “public intellectuals” giving opinions on theoretical physics.  Why are public intellectuals, like Chomsky, entitled to give opinions on economics?

It seems to me that as society progresses in technology, it experiences devolution in our humanity.  We have invested so much time and effort into becoming more productive that we have forgotten to invest time and effort into our humanity.

We dream to remember.  When we dream about a possible future outcome based on real events, the dream is an indication of correct connections.  Prophecy? if you dream it, it can be true.  Not really...



Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Is athleticism the virtue of our time?

About 50,000 runners participated in this year's NY city marathon, growing the number of applicants and participants from previous editions[1].  The Chicago marathon also drew record numbers with roughly 45,000 runners[2].  300,000 athletes compete in Ironman triathlons around the world every year[3], record numbers of climbers at Mount Everest, and award-winning films about athletic achievements are made and celebrated (as was the admittedly spectacular Free Solo).  General interest for sport from around the world—as demonstrated by the increasing viewership of such events—indicate not only interest but general admiration towards athletics.  

The FIFA World Cup is a greater attention-grabbing event than any scientific breakthrough, artistic composition, or presidential election.  Followed perhaps by the Olympic Games, the UEFA Champions League, the Super Bowl, the Copa Libertadores, Le Tour de France, and a list of several other sporting events held around Earth[4].  

Health crazes have resulted in a $100 billion a year fitness industry[5] where consumers gravitate towards wellness products that include gym memberships, exercise apps, supplements, special diet plans, cryotherapy, and even alcohol-free cocktail bars.  Government also stepped in by memorably outlawing smoking in public spaces, and at times even proposing nonsensical laws like banning big-gulp sugary drinks.  

Athletes themselves possess great power.  Ordinary sportspersons enjoy bragging rights and respect from members of their communities, and elite athletes have influence over our culture as much as world leaders do.  Let us not forget the case of American football player Colin Kaepernick when he spearheaded a political movement in the most powerful country in the world.  Association football powerhouses Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are glorified role models for youngsters everywhere.  Incredible athletic feats as those by Alex Honnold, Kilian Jornet, or Eliud Kipchoge are staples of dinner party conversations.  George Weah is president of Liberia more because of his football talent and celebrity, than his actual talent in public policy.  

Although we can point to other eras in human history where athleticism was considered integral to the examined life (such as in Hellenistic Greece), this has not always been the case.  A century ago, marathon runners might have made use of a little brandy to help them during race day, and not many people dared to climb the tallest mountains.  Certainly, sportsmen did not have the power of kings.  Collective interest has been put elsewhere at different times, and civilization's other virtues like art or philosophy have taken center stage in other epochs just like athleticism seems to be doing in the current one.  

Other virtues, actually, seem to be at a relative impasse.  No noticeable artistic movements seem to be penetrating the collective imagination, and music has objectively deteriorated.  A war of ideas showing a decay in our collective philosophy is certainly transpiring, as exemplified by known phenomena like "post-truth", call-out culture, and patience-exhausting ideas like those of flat Earth societies.  Our gravitation towards athleticism might be due to the fact that our lives are much more comfortable now and so we seek adventure and physical pain to stay sane? Perhaps, but we should consider that our collective snub at other virtues will have had their effect.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Concerning Jordan Peterson's insistence on the need for religion

Jordan Peterson, as we know, is a devout follower of both Nietzsche and Jung.  As we also know, both Nietzsche and Jung believed our culture was suffering from an existential crisis because of our de-christianization.  “God is dead” Nietzsche famously wrote.  To address this, both believed individuals should try to perfect themselves and by so doing improve culture.  Nietzsche also wrote that just as one summons a physician to improve an ailing body, so too we must be physicians to cure our culture’s ailments.  Ailments that have been brought upon us by the assassination of our religion, a religion that has been living with us for two thousand years.  

The problem with Dr. Peterson in my opinion, is that he—and to bring about an example from politics—like Bernie Sanders insists on a cure that will not work.  Socialist policies will not make our economy better, strengthen our liberties, and injustices disappear.  In the same manner, our existential dread, our frivolous values will not improve by insisting on dogmas that have lost respect and admiration.  In our age we need a new holy book (i.e. set of shared values) that may draw upon many of the values the Gospels teach us, but we must not insist on being hostage to a single religion with many faults and doubters.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Más allá del Bollillo Gomez


Si pensamos que el éxito del Ecuador en el fútbol internacional solamente depende de un buen equipo técnico, estamos siendo completamente miopes hacia todos los factores que contribuyen al éxito en este deporte.  Hay varias razones, y el dinero gastado no es la principal.  Si así fuera, China o Qatar, con sus estratosféricas inversiones, consistentemente golearían a una selección como Uruguay que con una población de 3,5 millones es a la que todos apostaríamos para que sea esta la que golee en este ejemplo.   

Estudios compartidos por The Economist apuntan a ciertas variables que tienen correlación con el éxito de una selección nacional.  La productividad de un país, medido por el PIB per cápita, es naturalmente una variable de peso.  Mientras entrenadores en Senegal deben desparasitar a sus jugadores antes de entrenarlos en canchas de tierra, en Europa disfrutan de las mejores dietas, y césped en los campos de juego.  Otra variable importante es la popularidad del deporte dentro de un país.  En China solo el 2% de la población jugó fútbol en el año 2006 comparado con el 7% en Europa y Sudamérica.  

La Federación ecuatoriana de fútbol no puede hacer mucho para mejorar el PIB per cápita, igualmente no puede hacer mucho para que el fútbol aumente más en popularidad.  Sin embargo hay cuatro acciones que sí puede y debe tomar.  Primero y obvio es una buena preparación para las competiciones.  Pero también es esencial que los jóvenes talentos desarrollen creatividad en su juego.  También, asegurar que los jóvenes talentos tengan donde mostrarse.  Y por último, asegurar que la liga ecuatoriana esté conectada a la red internacional del deporte.  

En cuanto a la preparación, es indispensable organizar presupuestos que se puedan cumplir.  Muchas selecciones, incluida la nuestra, han caído en malos momentos por el impago de bonos e incentivos.  Segundo, es importante que el cuerpo técnico haga uso de las diferentes tecnologías y análisis para poder sacar esas mínimas ventajas que son las que hacen la diferencia en las mayores competiciones, como la de un mundial.  

En cuanto a la creatividad de los jóvenes es importante dejarlos jugar.  Algo que podríamos aprender de Uruguay y su programa de Baby fútbol, un esquema a nivel nacional que pone en la cancha a jugar a niños de entre 4 y 14 años.  Cavani y Suárez están entre los graduados de este programa.  Cabe mencionar, que algo que diferencia a este programa de otros es que no son academias estrictas que interfieren con el desarrollo del juego creativo de un joven jugador.  

Esto también lo entienden los alemanes.  Los clubes alemanes desde el 2001 han invertido más de USD 1 mil millones en desarrollar academias para jóvenes.  Crucialmente, estas academias se enfocan en el desarrollo creativo de los jugadores.  Por ejemplo, un popular ejercicio en estas academias es el de disparar balones desde diferentes ángulos al jugador para que este los controle como quiera y luego pase como se le antoje.  

También es importante que los jóvenes talentos tengan donde mostrarse.  Y en esto, los franceses nos han dado una lección a todos.  En Francia tienen un sistema nacional de academias centrado en el Institut national du football de Clairefontaine dedicadas a entrenar a jugadores franceses.  Además, este es un sistema que organizadamente produce y muestra los mejores talentos de esa nación.  Más aún, sigue desarrollando jugadores que pudieron ser ignorados por los cazatalentos a primera vista.  En otras palabras, la FEF pudiera ayudar a los clubes nacionales a encontrar y desarrollar talentos.  


Finalmente, es esencial que el fútbol ecuatoriano esté conectado a la red del fútbol internacional que hoy en día tiene su epicentro en Europa Occidental,  lugar donde se encuentran los más poderosos clubes del mundo.  Croacia es un excelente ejemplo de esto.  A pesar de tener una liga doméstica relativamente débil, ha exportado la mayor cantidad de jugadores per cápita a las ligas más importantes del mundo.  Entre algunas acciones que se pueden considerar para mejorar en esto es lo que hizo Liga de Quito hace unos años cuando firmó un acuerdo con el Real Madrid para mandar jugadores a sus filiales. Esto deberían emular más clubes ecuatorianos.