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Links to Consider, 11/18
Clifton Roscoe on race-based college admissions; Aswath Damodaran on corporate governance; Robin Hanson on government's sacred status; Bret and Heather on the Emily Oster Thing;
The data reveal a less-than-robust pipeline of highly competitive black college applicants. Colleges and universities have used race when making admissions decisions to partly offset this problem. They've also turned to black immigrants to reach their diversity goals. That seems to be especially true for America's most selective colleges and universities. Robert Cherry made this point in a RealClearEducation column from last month. As he says, affirmative action at these schools is “no longer justified as compensation for slavery and institutional racism, but solely for its potential impact on diversity.” At the same time, “the most selective schools stopped reporting on the ethnicity of their black student population.”
This is not a new issue. I'm not critical of black immigrants, but the rationale for using race when making college admissions decisions was to create more opportunities for native born American blacks, not black immigrants.
I believe that for a true shift in corporate governance to happen, we have to reframe the meaning of good corporate governance, shifting away from a board-centered, check-box driven view to one that is centered on giving shareholders the power to change company management, if they choose to. In fact, good corporate governance is like a good democracy, where shareholders (voters) get the power to change management (governments), when they believe that their interests are not being served. As in a democracy, there is no guarantee that shareholders will make the right or even informed choices, sometimes choosing not to make changes, even when change is required, and sometimes deciding to replace good managers with bad ones. Good corporate governance is sometimes chaotic and often unsettling, and it is no surprise that there are many who are drawn to the benevolent dictatorship model, where "qualified, well-intentioned managers" are given lifetime tenure, with shareholders stripped of the power to challenge them.
He sees Meta (formerly Facebook) as a poster child for misgovernance, because shareholders have almost no chance of removing Zuckerberg. But he still likes the stock at its current, beaten-down price.
Prospera keeps getting nasty unfair world press, due to so many really hating the idea of for-profit government. And yes, enough hate might take it down.
My best guess is that this hate has something to do with disliking profane money connecting to sacred governance. Which is another reason to try to study the sacred more. To see if there is any way around this problem.
I am struck by the idea that people’s views of government put it on the sacred side of a sacred-profane boundary. This seems like an important insight. It helps explain why few people, even among economists, embrace public choice theory, because it reframes government in profane terms. My guess is that my proposal for a Chief Operating Officer and Chief Auditor also threatens to cross the sacred-profane boundary.writes,
As this conversation lays bare, we need a reckoning before amnesty, and apology before forgiveness.
She proceeds to provide an edited transcript from January of this year in which she and Bret speculated that people who supported elite positions early in the pandemic and now see that the elites were wrong will try to blot out the memory of their earlier statements.
Feel free to re-read my beliefs as of April of 2020. (Note that I was doubtful that a vaccine would be found, even though it turns out one had already been created. So I was quite capable of being wrong.) Then in June, I made what I myself called outlandish predictions. Consider this one:
we may find that someone’s previous exposure to other viruses affects the immune response to this virus, so that the history of other viruses in a population matters.
Recently—I forget where I saw this—I read a paper that supported this as an explanation for “Asian exceptionalism.” As best as I recall, the paper’s evidence was weak—mostly they just eliminated other possible explanations. Still, . . .