Friday, May 25, 2018

Bryan Caplan's Case Against Education and Effective Altruism

Bryan Caplan was interviewed by Rob Wiblin of Effective Altruism and they got me thinking about how much schooling the charities we support try to provide.

I think we should push for breath over depth.

1 year of schooling for all before we go to 2 years for some.
2 year of schooling for all before we go to 3 years for some.
3 year of schooling for all before we go to 4 years for some.

And the some beyond 4 years should be small, maybe only the 10% should continue beyond the 3rd grade.

Perhaps cut that in half after 12 years and only 5% go to University.

Then perhaps half of those go on to graduate school because these are the students who could greatly help push science and technology forward. 

Schools in the first 3 years should focus on reading, writing, arithmetic, basic algebra, basic general science and skills that are useful in life and in demand in their country. For us being outsiders knowing what skills are in demand is difficult. If the demand is for basic manufacturing workers teach those skills that would help with that, if agriculture focus or tourism focus on those skills, trading skills might be important (that is how not to be scammed).  but we should not assume that we know. Of course that brings up a point maybe the best thing is to give them cash and make some education available at a low price and let them buy what they see as valuable.

The problem people point out with having students stop going to school so early, is the late bloomers. You would miss out on maximising the production by missing the late bloomers.

I am one of those who would have been left behind  because I am to this day very bad at spelling grammar, I was barely advanced even here were we push everyone to higher (I failed 1st grade twice and 2nd grade once).

But that might not be so bad because, that is where the great auto-mechanics, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs come from.

Some random related data points that support my idea:

  • Even with the system that we have, the most impressive artist I have know was an electrician.
  • My son's boss is a plumber who just graduated high school, he started a business and is a millionaire at about 30 years old.
  • My grandparents went to school for just 1 year and ran a successful barber shop, speculated in real-estate were not ignorant and sent there son to Brown University.
  •  Immigrants are often ill suited for running service businesses but are forced into it and make a lot of money.
  • School completion in not important for  entrepreneurs.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

On Government Charity Nothing Happens until and if the Bond Market Turns on US T-Bills.

The Niskanen center has has a post: The Free-Market Welfare State: Preserving dynamism in a volatile world

 My comments:

Seems to me that in the USA we spend more than enough money on what I call Government charity, but that we spend it very inefficiently. For example if we changed Social Security to be like the government part the Australian pension system, where everyone over some age gets the same amount of money we could use the savings to help the non-old low income people. Maybe greatly increase the EITC. Also ideally Medicare would pay out less to providers.

But for now any politician who proposes such will be destroyed by the AARP.

We also waste a lot of money on administration in schooling with little evidence that it helps educate better. (And of course our Defence spending is ridiculously high but that is not Government charity.)

Cut all those and we might be able to do a UBI and good healthcare scheme.

But the political reality is nothing happens until and if the bond market turns on US treasury bills.