Links to Consider, 2/10
Marc Andreessen on the business environment; Erik Torenberg critiques Peter Zeihan; Kling and Michael Gibson critique Zeihan; Rob Henderson on the dating pool; Eric Levitz on empty office space;
Interviewed by Dwarkesh Patel, Marc Andreessen says,
Look, there's stress in every profession and there's certainly stress in being an investor, but it's a completely different kind of stress. Because when you're a startup founder, it's all on you.
The flip side of that is that when you’re an investor in a startup, you have to live with the founder’s mistakes. When you’re the founder, you only have to live with your own mistakes. Because of that, I preferred the stress of being a founder to that of being an angel investor.
On managerial capitalism, Andreessen says,
managers don't build new things. They're not trained to do it, they don't have the background to do it, they don't have the personality to do it, they don't have the temperament to do it, and they don't have the incentives to do it.
…the economy is like 99% managerial, and if we can just keep the 1% of the old model alive, we'll keep getting new things. By the way if venture capital ever gets snuffed, it's outlawed or whatever, it just fails and there is no more venture capital, there's no more tech startups or whatever then at that point the economy is going to be 100% managerial.
He thinks that in some sense we have too much capital chasing too few founders. Great founders are harder to find than capital.
Pointer from Tyler Cowen.
Dunking on Peter Zeihan, Erik Torenberg writes,
Japan is on rocks, Singapore has no natural resources, Israel is in a desert, and still they all kick ass relative to countries with lots of “young people” and “natural resources”. If Zeihan were right that natural resources and birth rates were all that mattered, Venezuela and Iraq and Brazil would be major world powers. And yet they aren’t. Similarly, America’s geography is not only luck, it’s because of the Monroe Doctrine and many other efforts to keep Latin America a backwater. Or in other words, the product of culture, technology, and institutions.
Less concise, but also a critique of Zeihan, can be found in the discussion I had with Michael Gibson.
For every 100 men with bachelor’s degrees, there are 130 women. For those with master’s degrees, for every 100 men there are 134 women. The situation for educated women seeking educated male partners doesn’t look good. Furthermore, more men identify as exclusively homosexual relative to women. Which suggests the dating pool for heterosexual women may be even smaller than the above numbers suggest.
The pattern of relationships that results?
Jon Birger, in Date-onomics, describes the dating scene on campuses with imbalanced sex ratios. On colleges with more men than women, such as Caltech, steady relationships are more widespread. Students go on dates, and men demonstrate commitment in partnerships. Men are more willing to do what women want in order to be with them. On the other hand, when there is a surplus of women relative to men, women are more likely to adapt to men’s preferences. They compete with one another to be what men want. And this is what we see on campuses with more female students relative to male students. On colleges with more women than men, such as Sarah Lawrence, casual sex is more widespread.
The hookup culture that conservatives want to blame on declining moral standards is instead partly a result of gender imbalance.
Across the nation as a whole, only about 47 percent of offices are occupied.
All this translates into plummeting demand for commercial real-estate, which translates into plummeting property values, which translates into plummeting tax receipts. A recent study from New York University’s Stern School of Business found that office values fell 45 percent in 2020, and are likely to remain 39 percent below pre-pandemic levels for the foreseeable future. If that projection proves true, it would wipe $453 billion in property values off American cities, thereby slashing a critical source of municipal revenues.
In New York City, property taxes are the single largest source of public funds, supplying one-third of the city’s tax revenue. Office buildings account for one-fifth of that sum. The declining market value of Manhattan’s major office districts alone cost the city $5.24 billion in revenue.
Pointer from Niccolo Soldo. There was a pre-pandemic, pre-Zoom equilibrium in commercial real estate and the economy of large cities. There is the ultimate equilibrium in the future. My question is where are we now? If we are already 70 percent of the way to the ultimate equilibrium, then fine. But if we are only 10 percent of the way there, then a lot of pain is still ahead for municipal budgets, banks with commercial real estate loans, etc.
Substacks mentioned above:
The lower classes are the ones with the most sex relations problems and I don't think there is a sex imbalance there.
As to liberal arts colleges being dysfunctional, it may have to do with the kind of people that go to liberal arts colleges.
I can only report my own experience in my 20s. Most people are going to bars/parties and hooking up. Add apps to that. At best they "hook up regularly" with the same person for awhile. This is largely dysfunctional.
The only people not doing that are people really into religion. When I started going to a church group everyone eventually got married and I met my wife through a friend from there. Nobody went on a date they didn't think at least had the potential for marriage, even if every relationship wasn't going to end up that way.
There were probably more women than men in our church group but it didn't cause any dysfunction.
I'm not sure I follow the wording and meaning correctly but it seems that Torenberg is saying the US benefits from latin America being poor and ill-governed. Can someone explain that?
I get that we gain something from immigrants from these countries but my economic training suggests we gain far, FAR more in numerous ways if the rest of the world is prosperous. What am I missing?