Wednesday, December 03, 2003
It has been known for decades that the majority of managed mutual funds underperform the S&P 500 index. Thus was the concept of the index fund fund developed. Instead of trying to outperform the S&P 500, a task that few fund managers seem able to do, why not just settle for equaling the performance of the S&P 500, thus guaranteeing that the investor in the index fund will do as well as the market?
Chris, at the blog Signal + Noise, wrote a post entitled Mating Response, in which he wonders how a man knows that a woman is a potential mate (in contrast to a man, or whatever else you might look at that's not a woman).
I guess it should be obvious that our brains are genetically programmed to find the opposite sex attractive. Species in which the opposite sexes aren't attracted to each other would die out pretty quickly.
I suspect that male and female brains start out relatively similar, but the sex hormones in our bodies cause the brains to develop differently, resulting in men and women having biologically different brains. Much of this sexualization happens in the womb before we are even born.
What about gays, who are attracted to their own sex instead of the opposite sex? Do gay people have a biological condition that causes their gayness, or is it an environmentally learned response? If gayness is biological, why haven't the genes that cause gayness been eliminated from the human race a long time ago? Because gays don't have children, they shouldn't be passing on their genes to the next generation.
What if the genes that predispose people towards gayness also provide some kind of survival advantage? This could explain why the genes that cause gayness have not been eliminated from the human gene pool. This conjecture would even be consistent with real world observations! Gay men seem to be more intelligent, have a better sense of style, more artistic talent, etc., than regular men. They are even supposed to be better looking. That's the stereotype. Is there a genetic basis for the stereotype?
I suppose this post is possibly "politically incorrect" because it talks about the genetic basis behind human differences. If anyone is offended by this post, please Email me and I will try to address it. Please indicate if you are straight or gay, because if I've only offended straight people, but not gay people, then it's not really politically incorrect, because the rules of political incorrecentess state that it's OK to offend the majority, only the sensitivity of minorities need to be taken into consideration.
Monday, December 01, 2003
In his blog Insults Unpunished, Robert Prather writes a pro free trade post. He says:
When this country was founded 19 out of 20 people worked in agriculture. By the middle of the 19th century employment in agriculture had decreased to half of the work force and the country was richer. Today, employment in agriculture has dropped to less than 3% of the work force and we are richer still. Why? Temporary unemployment and dynamic labor markets. Labor is freed for other pursuits and the total product of the economy increases.
The problem for the United States, not addressed by Mr. Prather, is that free trade will cause the economy of the planet as a whole to increase. But how will the United States fare?
As I've written before, the ease in which jobs can be exported today, because of technology, is unprecedented in the history of economics. This will cause all wages throughout the planet to equalize. This will be of great benefit to a country like India, but it will painful to the United States.
Most jobs involving what I consider to be "real work" will be moved overseas, and the only jobs left here will be marketing and sales, services that cannot be performed overseas (such as cooking food), and ownership of capital (making money from already having money).
The United States' only source of continued wealth is our huge stockpile of capital. As Gordon Gekko said in the movie Wall Street, we will no longer create, we will only own (he said something similar to that, anyway).