General Election Polling Discussion Thread (June 2020)
Welcome to the /politics polling discussion thread for the general election. As the election nears, polling of both the national presidential popular vote and important swing states is ramping up, and with both parties effectively deciding on nominees, pollsters can get in the field to start assessing the state of the presidential race. Please use this thread to discuss polling and the general state of the presidential or congressional election. Below, you'll find some of the most recent polls, but this is by no means exhaustive, as well as some links to prognosticators sharing election models. As always though, polls don't vote, people do. Regardless of whether your candidate is doing well or poorly, democracy only works when people vote, and there are always at least a couple polling misses every cycle, some of which are pretty high profile. If you haven't yet done so, please take some time to register to vote or check your registration status.
Below is a collection of recent polling of the US Presidential election. This is likely incomplete and also omits the generic congressional ballot as well as Senate/House/Gubernatorial numbers that may accompany these polls. Please use the discussion space below to discuss any additional polls not covered. Additionally, not all polls are created equal. If this is your first time looking at polls, the FiveThirtyEight pollster ratings page is a helpful tool to assess historic partisan lean in certain pollsters, as well as their past performance.
Prognosticators are folks who make projected electoral maps, often on the strength of educated guesses as well as inside information in some cases from campaigns sharing internals with the teams involved. Below are a few of these prognosticators and their assessment of the state of the race:
Cook Political Reports - Charlie Cook's race ratings are well regarded in the political field, and he's been in the business for a while. Cook is known to incorporate both public and nonpublic (ie. internal polling) information in his projections. Also covers (and is perhaps better known for) Senate and House races.
Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball - Larry Sabato has also been in the political prediction business for a while now, and the team at the UVA Center for Politics has been fairly successful in past cycles. Towards the end of the election cycle, Sabato has a policy of making a call in each state, refusing to leave any race in the tossup category. Also covers Senate and House races.
Inside Elections - Inside Elections, run by Nathan Gonzales, is the successor to Stu Rothenberg's Rothenberg Political Reports, which used to be a part of Roll Call. This prognosticator did fairly well in 2018, though Rothenberg himself boldly (along with some other pundits) predicted in 2016 that Donald Trump's path to the presidency was nonexistent. Also covers Senate, House and Gubernatorial races.
Daily Kos Elections - Daily Kos Elections is the direct successor to the Swing State Project website, which merged with Daily Kos in 2010. Despite the liberal lean of the site as a whole, the Daily Kos Elections predictions tend to be fairly even-handed, if not even slightly bearish for Democrats. Presidential numbers aren't up yet but they have Senate, House and Gubernatorial races.
RRH Elections - Red Racing Horses Elections is a site founded by former conservative-leaning members of the Swing State Project community. Despite the conservative nature of the commentary, like DKE, the race predictions tend to be fairly neutral, if slightly bearish for Republicans. Like the Crystal Ball, RRH will call all races before the election so that none are left in the tossup category. The presidential rankings have not been published but they do cover Senate, House, Gubernatorial and Row Officer (statewide elected officials, such as state Attorney General, Secretary of State etc.) races.
Polling models are similar to prognosticators (and often the model authors will act like pundits as well), but tend to be about making "educated guesses" on the state of the election. Generally, the models are structured to take in data such as polls and electoral fundamentals, and make a guess based on research on prior elections as to the state of the race in each state. Below are a few of the more prominent models that are online or expected to be online soon:
FiveThirtyEight - this model isn't active yet, but it's the original model from Nate Silver that debuted in 2008 and really kicked off this genre of race prognostication. For now, here's the polling aggregates that they've set up in lieu of a now-cast (which is likely not returning to the model this year). Will likely also include Senate and House projections like in past years.
Princeton Election Consortium - this is the model run by Dr. Sam Wang, a neuroscience professor at Princeton University. This model has run in the past two cycles as well, though Sam Wang famously said he'd eat a bug if Donald Trump won the election because his model predicted no path to victory for the eventual winner of the 2016 election. Also includes projections for Senate and House.
JHK Forecasts - the earliest model on the scene this cycle. Jack Kersting's model is one of the newer ones this year and also includes projections for Senate and House.
The Economist - this is the model run by G. Elliott Morris, who previously had a midterm election model under The Crosstab.
Niskanen Center - Rachel Bitecofer's projection, which only seems to update a couple times a cycle. Part of this has to do with Bitecofer's central argument that there are generally no swing voters, and electoral fundamentals drive the outcome of the election. This was put to the test in the 2018 midterms, where Bitecofer very early on predicted a Democratic pickup of 40-45 seats in the House, which fell about where the election ended up.
Lean Tossup - a foreign model from Canada. This model did relatively well in the 2019 Canadian election, but this appears to be the first time they've tried forecasting the US Presidential election. Also includes Senate and House projections.
Prediction markets are betting markets where people put money on the line to estimate the likelihood of one party winning a seat or state. Most of these markets will also tend to move depending on polling and other socioeconomic factors in the same way that prognosticators and models will work. Predictit and Election Betting Odds are prominent in this space, although RealClearPolitics has an aggregate of other betting sites as well.
Sam Harris on Michael Bloomberg and stop-and-frisk
Hi folks. In the latest podcast episode (189) Harris made some comments about Michael Bloomberg and stop-and-frisk. Let’s first of all take a look at what Harris said: “Let’s start with Bloomberg, because he’s someone who is getting, you know there’s at least an attempt to defenestrate him based on a few things he said as mayor which may have been politically imprudent or too candid by half, but in many respects not obviously wrong. And the arguments against him really seem to be pseudoarguments. And so, at the time of recording this this is a fairly vivid scandal or pseudoscandal in journalism now. But, the Democrats are pillorying him over remarks he made that were just unearthed from the Aspen Institute in 2015 when he was talking about stop-and-frisk. And I have the quote here, so this is Bloomberg in 2015, after he was mayor. He was I believe mayor for 11 years of New York City, and the policy for those who don’t recall it, it’s been since more or less phased out, but, the cops were stationed more in minority areas and stopping and frisking people looking for guns, mostly, and crime rates plummeted. There’s some uncertainty about the causal factor there, but it was not irrational at the time to think that stop-and-frisk was part of the policy that was succeeding in causing crime rates to plummet. Anyway, so Bloomberg said: '95% of your murders and murder victims fit one MO. You can just take the description and Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities 15-25. That is true in New York. That is true in virtually every city in America. And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people who are getting killed. So you want to spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets. Put those cops where the crime is. Which means minority neighborhoods.' And then in a subsequent interview he said: 'One newspaper and one news service, they just keep saying ‘Oh it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group.’ That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the crime. In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much, and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they’re saying. I don’t know where they went to school, but they certainly didn’t take a math course, or a logic course.' Alright so he’s clearly making it difficult for himself there, in hindsight, politically. But the reality is, all the data I’ve ever read about violent crime support what he’s saying here. The disproportionate number of perpetrators and the disproportionate number of victims are coming from minority communities. And what these communities suffer from is not too much policing, it’s been the wrong type of policing. There’s too much policing around petty crime, and not enough policing around solving murders, and how to get that right is a difficult question. But the people who are saying that the only way to have arrived at a stop-and-frisk policy was borne of racism, and not caring about the disparities of the way in which crime victimizes communities, that’s just clearly untrue. A completely rational and compassionate attempt to mitigate violent crime could have given you this policy. And it seems to me that the thing the Democratic party has to be able to admit at this point, in order to talk anything like sense on this topic, is that it’s a difficult social problem, that, the mayor was right in his diagnosis, that you could win money all day long in a casino that would allow you to place a bet on the age range and gender and minority identity of a perpetrator of a violent crime in New York City. You know, it’s not the ultra-Orthodox Jews who are mugging people in New York City. But that’s a politically toxic thing to make salient, and the remedy of stop-and-frisk became politically toxic, and probably wasn’t worth doing in hindsight. He could have figured that out earlier than he did, perhaps. But, the fact that he’s being castigated on the left as a racist monster, just seems to be emblematic of all of the miscalibrations in our politics on the left, that the wokeness is ensuring. And it seems, above all, a recipe for giving us four more years of Trump in the end.” Okay, well I have some thoughts about this. Let’s break this down into what was said, and what wasn’t said.
What was said.
Firstly, Harris is generally misrepresenting the situation when he says Democrats are ‘pillorying him’ over remarks he made. If you look at the transcripts of the tworecent debates, the comments aimed at Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy are generally not about the comments Harris quoted, but the policy itself. From Nevada: Sanders: ‘In order to beat Donald Trump, we’re going to need the largest voter turnout in the history of the United States. Mr. Bloomberg had policies in New York city of stop-and-frisk, which went after African American and Latino people in an outrageous way.’ Warren: ‘Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women and of supporting racist policies like redlining and stop-and-frisk.’ Biden: Well the fact of the matter is, he has not managed his city very, very well when he was there. He didn’t get a whole lot done. He has stop-and-frisk, throwing close to 5 million young black men up against a wall. And when we came along in our administration, President Obama and said, “We’re going to send in a mediator to stop it.” He said, “That’s unnecessary.” Biden: ‘Yes. Let’s get something straight. The reason the stop and frisk change is because Barack Obama sent moderators to see what was going on. When we sent them there to say, “This practice has to stop,” the mayor thought it was a terrible idea. We send them there, a terrible idea. Let’s get the facts straight. Let’s get the order straight. And it’s not whether he apologize or not, it’s the policy. The policy was abhorrent and it was, in fact, of violation of every right people have. We are the one, our administration sent in people to monitor it. And the very time the mayor argued against that. This idea that he figured out it was a bad idea. He figured out it was a bad idea after we sent in monitors and said it must stop. Even then he continued the policy.’ Warren: ‘When the mayor says that he apologized, listen very closely to the apology. The language he used is about stop and frisk. It’s about how it turned out. Now this isn’t about how it turned out. This is about what it was designed to do to begin with. It targeted communities of color, it targeted black and brown men from the beginning. And if you want to issue a real apology, then the apology has to start with the intent of the plan as it was put together and the willful ignorance day by day by day of admitting what was happening. Even as people protested in your own street, shutting out the sounds of people telling you how your own policy was breaking their lives. You need a different apology.’ From South Carolina: King: ‘Mayor Buttigieg, mayor to mayor, mayor to mayor, you've certainly had your issues with the black community as well. Do you think the New York City's implementation of stop and frisk was racist?’ Buttigieg: ‘Yes, in effect, it was. Because it was about profiling people based on their race. And the mayor even said that they disproportionately stopped white people too often and minorities too little. ’ O’Donnell: ‘Senator Klobuchar, was the way that the mayor implemented stop and frisk racist?’ Klobuchar: ‘Yes, and I think that what we need to do instead of just reviewing everything from the past is talk about where we're going to go forward.’ So we can see that generally, the comments being made by Democratic rivals are about the policy, how it was implemented, or how Bloomberg responded to criticism of the policy. Ditto comments made in the press:
Repeating the phrase, “We will not beat Donald Trump with,” Sanders ticked off the issues that have dogged Bloomberg for a week: a “racist” policy like stop-and-frisk that “caused communities of color to live in fear,” his past opposition to raising the minimum wage and that he “blamed the end of racist policies such as redlining for the financial crisis.” Biden slammed Bloomberg’s record on policing in New York and other issues important to African American voters, a crucial demographic for the Democratic nomination -- and especially for Biden, who has lost black support as Bloomberg’s support among blacks has picked up. “You take a look at the stop-and-frisk proposals. You take a look at his ideas on redlining he’s talking about. You take a look at what he’s done relative to the African American community,” Biden said. So the idea that the criticism is simply about remarks Bloomberg made is either a misrepresentation or is misleading commentary.
Secondly, ‘the arguments against him really seem to be pseudoarguments’. Which arguments? Because lots of arguments have been made about stop-and-frisk as it relates to Bloomberg, and we’ve already seen that the criticism of Bloomberg isn’t narrowly lazered in on some comments he’s made about it, but is about the policy itself as implemented and handled by Bloomberg. Without specifying the arguments that have been made, or the people who have made them, this is just a lazy and vague assertion. Nevertheless, we can actually look at some arguments against Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy:
It was ruled unconstitutional in how it was being carried out, violating the Fourth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment. I presume Harris wouldn’t consider this a ‘pseudoargument’.
evidence has emerged of the harms created by the strategy. We now know that students heavily exposed to stop-and-frisk were more likely to struggle in school, that young men were more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, that this exposure fostered cynicism in policing and government writ large, and that it made residents more likely to retreat from civic life. In effect, Mr. Bloomberg’s policing record — one of his greatest liabilities as voters begin to appraise him at the ballot box — may have clouded the other accomplishments that form the strongest case for his bid as president, in areas like education, public health and good government. Recent research by Mr. Bacher-Hicks and Elijah de la Campa found that black middle-school students exposed to more aggressive policing were more likely to later drop out of school and less likely to enroll in college. The researchers looked at parts of New York that had many stops, not necessarily because those places had high crime or other correlated factors, but because they happened to be assigned a precinct commander who was more likely to advocate frequent stops. Within these neighborhoods, students may not have been stopped themselves. But they went to school in communities where this kind of policing was pervasive. The negative effects on education appeared for girls, too, even though they were far less likely to be stopped by police than boys or young men. That implies, the researchers suggest, that something deeply embedded in the girls’ environment — like fear or distrust of authority that students learned from it — might have hindered their education. More police stops, the researchers found, were also associated with chronic absenteeism. That study adds to other research in New York finding that black male students who were more exposed to stop-and-frisk had lower test scores. And other research using surveys about experiences with the police has found that students around the country who were arrested or stopped, or who witnessed these encounters or knew of others involved, had worse grades. That these effects appear strongest for black students suggests that aggressive policing could worsen racial achievement gaps in school as well. “All these kinds of disadvantages can accrue and build up,” said Aaron Gottlieb, a professor at the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who has studied policing and student grades. “Let’s say a police stop reduces the likelihood that you go to college. That’s going to impact your earnings in the long run.” Other research shows that negative interactions with the police can shape how residents think about government and civic institutions, and even democracy more broadly. “It teaches something really important — and something really negative — about what agents of the state and bureaucracies are supposed to be doing in your community, what role they play, what their character is,” said Amy Lerman, a political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. She and Vesla Weaver, a political scientist at Johns Hopkins, have found that even minor encounters with police can reduce the likelihood of voting, a pattern other research of stop-and-frisk in New York has documented as well. Ms. Lerman and Ms. Weaver have shown that aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics can even have a chilling effect on whether residents use a service like 3-1-1 to report issues that have nothing to do with crime at all.
Is this a pseudoargument?
As a general widespread and crude policy, in how it was carried out, it may not have provided much, if any, benefit in crime reduction. That is, the benefits may have actually come from more focused or justifiable policing efforts:
Data suggests that the vast majority of street stops made by the police in New York at the height of stop-and-frisk weren’t particularly helpful in fighting crime: Few led to arrests or uncovered weapons. But research has found that a small subset of stops, those based on specific suspicions by officers and not general sweeps or racial profiling, do appear to have helped reduce crime.
Impact zones were significantly associated with reductions in total reported crimes, assaults, burglaries, drug violations, misdemeanor crimes, felony property crimes, robberies, and felony violent crimes. Impact zones were significantly associated with increases in total reported arrests, arrests for burglary, arrests for weapons, arrests for misdemeanor crimes, and arrests for property felony crimes. Impact zones were also significantly associated with increases in investigative stops for suspected crimes, but only the increase in stops made based on probable cause indicators of criminal behaviors were associated with crime reductions. The largest increase in investigative stops in impact zones was based on indicators of suspicious behavior that had no measurable effect on crime. The findings suggest that saturating high crime blocks with police helped reduce crime in New York City, but that the bulk of the investigative stops did not play an important role in the crime reductions. The findings indicate that crime reduction can be achieved with more focused investigative stops.
Is this a pseudoargument? Thirdly: ‘There’s some uncertainty about the causal factor there, but it was not irrational at the time to think that stop-and-frisk was part of the policy that was succeeding in causing crime rates to plummet.’ While it’s not possible for me to say whether it was rational or irrational at the time to think that stop-and-frisk played some role in crime reduction, even at the time, going back to at least 1999 (predating Bloomberg’s first mayoral term), the City had been aware that stop-and-frisk involved widespread constitutional violations:
[The City has] received both actual and constructive notice since at least 1999 of widespread Fourth Amendment violations occurring as a result of the NYPD’s stop and frisk practices. Despite this notice, they deliberately maintained and even escalated policies and practices that predictably resulted in even more widespread Fourth Amendment violations. . . . The NYPD has repeatedly turned a blind eye to clear evidence of unconstitutional stops and frisks.”
Which would not seem to be a great thing for a Presidential candidate to have aggressively expanded and vigorously defended over many years, when there was awareness of widespread constitutional violations at the time. Fourthly: ‘A completely rational and compassionate attempt to mitigate violent crime could have given you this policy.’ If such a policy were rooted in rationality and compassion, would there not have been consideration for the known widespread constitutional violations and the fact that the vast majority of those being stopped were innocent people having negative experiences with law enforcement? In addition to which, when the New York City Council passed bills which provided oversight of the stop-and-frisk policy, including an independent monitor of the police department, Bloomberg vetoed them both! Surely someone being motivated by rationality and compassion would not object to oversight of their practices? Fifth: ‘And it seems to me that the thing the Democratic party has to be able to admit at this point, in order to talk anything like sense on this topic, is that it’s a difficult social problem, that, the mayor was right in his diagnosis, that you could win money all day long in a casino that would allow you to place a bet on the age range and gender and minority identity of a perpetrator of a violent crime in New York City. You know, it’s not the ultra-Orthodox Jews who are mugging people in New York City. But that’s a politically toxic thing to make salient…’ So Harris says that this is a politically toxic thing to make salient, but for some reason the Democratic party are supposed to say ‘Well, Bloomberg was right that it’s mostly young black or Latino people committing violent crimes, in fact you could win money all day long betting in a casino on this very proposition!’ and this is…supposed to help them in the election? This sounds utterly ridiculous and a surefire way to alienate and anger voters and depress voter turnout. Lastly: ‘the remedy of stop-and-frisk…probably wasn’t worth doing in hindsight’. Is this all Harris can say in assessing the policy, it probably wasn’t worth doing in hindsight? No mention of its being unconstitutional in practice, of widespread constitutional violations being known since at least 1999, of the majority of those stopped being innocent people, of various harmful effects it could have caused and which may still be ongoing? This statement is so devoid of awareness or familiarity with the details that it just comes across as either callous or oblivious.
What wasn’t said.
Repeating myself, but: the practice was found to be unconstitutional. This is a major thing to omit from a discussion of stop-and-frisk under Bloomberg.
When saying the practice was ‘more or less phased out’, this omits the fact that it was massively amplified under Bloomberg, and that when Bloomberg says he cut the practice back by 95% this is based on cherry picking by comparing against a high figure from his expanded usage; when he left office there was still a net increase in reported stops compared to when he first took office.
Anyway, I have to say that, when considering both what Harris did and didn’t say about stop-and-frisk, I didn’t find him to be making much sense on this topic. What are your thoughts?
Meme Magic Is Real, You Guys I know you already have your explanation for Donald Trump being elected. But I’m telling you: it’s false. He was elected because of Chaos Magick, Memes and a Frog-like creature named Lord kek. Theødor Nov 11, 2016 · 12 min read The King of Troll has won. That’s it. Trolling clearly went from horse-shit to an art form in a matter of years. And now : it’s a powerful political tool to become the commander in chief. For some people, it has become religion : trolling is a way of life and Memes… are prayers. And yes, I’m talking about 4chan. I don’t know if you know that, but the Politically incorrect chan has been one of the many to pledge itself for the Donald. For month, it’s been acting to make him win against Sanders. And to destroy their arch-enemy : You-Know-Who-Clinton. Hand in hand with The_Donald subreddit and others groups, they’ve been part of the infamous “Trump army” to defend him by creating memes, that Donald Trump sometimes used, harassing in the footstep of Milo Yiannopoulos and going as hacking democrat phone lines. I’m not going to dwell on what 4chan is or isn’t, but the /Pol/ channel is probably one of its most active place, and the one that received the most criticism — to say the least. The medias wrongfully summarize their political stance as Alt Right or white nationalist, whereas its a place that is far more diverse than you think. And far more chaotic : some people come here for intense trolling of the ones they want to get revenge from. Others because they have a real politic agenda. It’s a place where free spirits and vengeful dropouts gather to take on a trolling crusade on whoever they want. Disclaimer : don’t take all this too seriously because 4chan is so deep into trolling that nothing is one-sided : all I’m about to tell you is partly shitposting but it’s also perfectly serious at the very same time. Did you know the name they gave their champion ? They call him… the God-Emperor. And now that the Emperor defeated all his enemies and was elected emperor in chief… they’re rejoicing ! Here you can see them enjoying “Your Tears” : I’m not here to drink yours, but to bring your attention on a very serious matter. Precisely, on this type of discussion, hidden in plain sight in the 4chan feed. There’s so much mystery and internet folklore in this thread, that it’s going to blow your mind. The Birth of Meme Magic Did you know internet memes had super power ? That’s obviously what is at stake here: “Trump was memed into the white house”, they say, meaning that memes were powerful enough to have a tremendous effect on reality. Is it magic ? For its creator, Richard Dawkins, who coined the work in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, it was just a way to explain how cultural information spreads. His definition of an internet meme, was close to the Darwinian concept of genes, but for ideas : just like a gene, a meme is an idea that spread by random changes and accurate replication. However, it’s not the survival of the fittest anymore, but the survival of the funniest. Memes has become a gigantic trend the past ten years, and message board, where they are created and shared, are generally not considered influential. But did you know they even managed to use their memetic power… to order a Russian bombing Syria General. This. Is. Crazy. I don’t have confirmation that the strike was, indeed, carried out. But for those guys, it was proofs that they hold power that went beyond harassment and mundane trolling. They could troll reality. And then Trump came. The King of Trolls inspired them. Moreover, they shared with him many views of the worlds, such as his will to change the American foreign policy, to get closer to Russia, to side with Assad. Inspired by Alex Jones (Infowars) and the likes, they considered Clinton to be a crooked murderer at best. A Bilderberg Illuminati lizard at worst. When Trump appeared, things really change for them. And things changed… for Pepe. Pepe the Frog. The Rise Of Lord kek Pepe the Frog was just a meme like many other. In the beginning, it was a character of a comic series called Boy’s Club, created by Matt Furie in 2005. It’s an humanoid frod that mostly smile and say “Feels good man”, except in its variation, such as Angry Pepe. He started appearing on 4chan in 2010 and soon become the unofficial mascot of the Politically Incorrect channel on 4chan. When Trump appeared, the guys back at /Pol/ just mixed all their icons together, in a typical mash-up fashion, and here was the result : And then weird stuff started to happen. Internet magic. To understand them fully, they are two other things that you need to know. Dubs I didn’t knew about Dubs before "￼; background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">that guy explained it to me : “Every post on 4chan and similar venues comes with an 8-digit numerical stamp. This number represents that post’s entry position in the entire posting lineage of the imageboard”. With the amazing amount of messages 4chan gets, the last numbers are, for the most part, totally random. So for 4channers, it’s basically like rolling a dice, and it soon became a game : “When a poster gets repeated digits, its called “dubs”, “trips”, “quads”, and so on”. Therefore, users started placing bet as to what number they were going to get : When you win, it’s called a “GET”. kek At the same time, in another corner of the web called World of Warcraft, the term “kek” was born. The online meme dictionary, Know Your Meme, explains it better than me : In the online multiplayer role-playing game WoW, released on November 23rd, 2004 , players can choose to play on either the Alliance or Horde factions, which are considered enemies within the game’s universe. Players of separate factions are unable to communicate with one-another, as their typed text is run through an in-game translator. For players of the Horde faction, typing the letters “LOL” results in members of the Alliance faction reading “kek”. Internet magic All those elements came together and things happened : Pepe the Frog was mixed with Donald Trump as mascots of 4chan.4chan users started noticing that discussion associated with Trump contained more “GETS” than others.“kek” kept appearing in the messages, notably because of the amounts of “GETS” but also to celebrate the a new trolling by Donald Trump. …and then 4chan started believing : something was really happening. Something was telling them one thing : TRUMP WILL WIN. Below, you can see how a user managed, on June 19th 2016, to obtain the ultimate GET with the most sacred of number : the 77777777. But that’s just the beginning. It gets weirder and weirder. On November 27th, 2015, a 4chan user submitted a post about the Egyptian deity to the /his/ (History) board on 4chan, featuring a depiction of the god as a frog-headed man. It had the head of a frog. And — OH MY GOD — HIS NAME REALLY HIS “kek”. I’m sorry I freaked out but you have to admit that’s a pretty big coincidence. Then we head right into synchromysticism, an internet practices that consist in “drawing connections in modern culture and finding connections that could be coming from the “collective unconscious mind”; and finding connections between occult knowledge (i.e. esoteric fraternities, cults and secret rituals), politics and mass media.” But that’s not it yet. The /Pol/ channel greeted the news with praise and a bit of awe : how could this be real, and what did it meant ? What was even more fascinating was "￼; background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">the description of that Egyptian God : kek (Kuk, Keku) means darkness. He was the god of the darkness of chaos, the darkness before time began. He was the god of obscurity, hidden in the darkness. The Egyptians saw the night time, the time without the light of the sun, as a reflection of this chaotic darkness. As a god of the night, kek was also related to the day — he was called the “bringer-in of the light”. This seems to mean that he was responsible for the time of night that came just before sunrise. The god of the hours before day dawned over the land of Egypt. This was the twilight which gave birth to the sun. The “bringer of the light” sounded awfully like the Donald to them. The proof kept piling up : this statue of kek appeared on the message board. However "￼; background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">fake it may be, the hieroglyphic name of kek literally blew 4chan’s mind: At that point, a “kek worship general” thread was created on the /trash/ (off-topic) board on 4chan. On June 25th,board asking if viewers had “accepted lord kek, ancient Egyptian god of darkness, into their lives?”. At that point, the Cult of kek was born — and Meme magic seemed more real than ever. As far as 4chan is concerned, it was as official as it could be, and it had a precise theology, centered around “Memetic Magic, the manipulation of the Root, social matrix and the fabric of reality” : Of course, by that time, Trump had started using those unexpected allies, and winking at them on social medias. Can you imagine that ? Underdog troll of society getting the attention of the (future) President of the United States ? And along the long campaign they led on social media, they started to notice how they managed to succeed in destabilizing their opponents. They started to feel their power of disturbance, and the power of “Kekism” and “Memetic warfare”. It became so strong… it got to Clinton. September 11th : Pepe the Frog rises On the 10th, Donald Trump JR posted this on his Facebook page : The day after was a historic date in Kekism. First, Clinton famously fainted. For all of 4chan, it was a sign that the forces they had conjured were answering the call. Second, Hillary Clinton campaign team posted an article against… Pepe the Frog, making him more real and more powerful than ever, describing him as a “cartoon frog who began his internet life as an innocent meme enjoyed by teenagers and pop stars alike” : But in recent months, Pepe’s been almost entirely co-opted by the white supremacists who call themselves the “alt-right.” They’ve decided to take back Pepe by adding swastikas and other symbols of anti-semitism and white supremacy. Then all forces of memetic magic were unleashed. Strongly ingrained in conspiracy theories, and with Alex Jones on their side, the Trump Army viewed the struggle as a real fight against Satan. The number of the Beast was considered a bad signs on message board as Hillary Clinton became an embodiment of the evil God Moloch himself, as part of a Luciferian globalist conspiracy and all New World Order Illuminati theories: They were very involved in Spirit Cooking hysteria, where the contemporary artist Marina Abramovic (seen above) was accused of holding satanic pedophile rituals for the global elites, arguing that some Wikileaks leaked emails were proof that John Podesta partook in some of them. Of course, the Clintons are accused to be part of most Satanic orgies in the world, and that Bill would never miss a "￼ Bohemian Grove party, another elitist all male secret society that have polarized the attention of a lot of conspiracy theorist: Wether they believed it or not, they used the American public belief in conspiracy theories to discredit their enemies. That’s smart, isn’t it ? But they like to play with magic too, and how it’s supposed to works is deeply rooted in internet folklore and the tradition of… chaos magick. From Chaos Magick to Meme Magic It has been at the root of a lot of internet phenomenon for years. To sum it up, Chaos Magick emphasizes the paranormal power of thoughts, ideas and beliefs to influence the minds. It’s NOT magic per se, of course. One its most famous practice is the creation of Sigils, on which a chaos magician is going to gather and focus his will. This way, Sigils are believed to allow one’s project to enter the realm of reality. But as years passed, a question appeared : what about memes ? As collective entities, created by the will of thousands around a single thought, repeated and refined, it was the utmost sigil. And “hypersigil” some said.
It’s July 2020 and I’m about to turn 76, which, as far as I’m concerned, officially makes me an old man. So put up with my aging, wandering brain here, since (I swear) I wasn’t going to start this piece with Donald J. Trump, no matter his latest wild claims or bizarre statements, increasingly white nationalist and pro-Confederate positions (right down to the saving of the rebel Stars and Bars), not to speak of the Covid-19 slaughter of Americans he’s helped facilitate. But then I read about his demand for a “National Garden of American Heroes,” described as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live” and, honestly, though this piece is officially about something else, I just can’t help myself. I had to start there. Yes, everyone undoubtedly understands why Gen. George Patton (a Trump obsession) is to be in that garden, not to speak—given the president’s reelection politics—of evangelist Billy Graham, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and former president Ronald Reagan. Still, my guess is that most of you won’t have the faintest idea why Davy Crockett is included. I’m talking about the frontiersman and Indian killer who died at the Alamo. Given my age, though, I get Trump on this one and it gave me a rare laugh in a distinctly grim moment. That’s why I can’t resist explaining it, even though I guarantee you that the real subject of this piece is Osama bin Laden’s revenge. After all, The Donald and I grew up in the 1950s in different parts of the same bustling city, New York. We both had TVs, just then flooding into homes nationwide, and I guarantee you that we both were riveted by the same hit show), TV’s first miniseries, Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, starring the actor Fess Parker. Its pop theme song swept the country. (“Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free… Kilt him a b’ar when he was only three… Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.”) The show also launched a kids’ craze for coonskin caps. (Who among us didn’t have, or at least yearn, for one?) So how could a statue of Fess Parker not be in the Garden of American Heroes? And since Donald Trump is himself the essence of a bad novel (though he’s also become our reality), I just wonder: What about the Lone Ranger and Tonto, especially since there are no plans for Native Americans in his garden-to-be? They were a crew obviously put on Earth to be wiped out by white colonists, cowboys, and the cavalry in the kinds of Westerns both of us trooped to local movie theaters to see back then. Or how about Hopalong Cassidy (Hoppy!), that other TV cowboy hero of our childhood? Doesn’t he deserve to ride in that garden next to another Trump military fixation, Gen. Douglas MacArthur? After all, I know that Hoppy was real and this is how: When I was seven or eight, my father had a friend who worked for Pathé News and I rode in front of the tripod of his camera on the roof of that company’s station wagon in a Macy’s Day Parade in my hometown. (I still have the photos.) Somewhere along the route, Hoppy himself—I kid you not!—rode by on his white horse Topper and, since I was atop that station wagon and we were at about the same height, he shook my hand! And here’s what makes Cassidy especially appropriate for The Donald’s garden landscape: In the 1950s, he was the only cowboy hero who dressed all in black right up to his hat (normally, a sign of the bad guy) and, in the process, created a kid’s craze for black shirts (his version of a coonskin cap), breaking its past association with either Italian fascism or mourning and bringing it back into the culture big time. Tell me honestly, then, don’t you think a garden of “heroes” in the age of Trump should have a few black shirts and an increasingly Mussolini-ish look to it? AN AMERICAN GARDEN OF BLOOD So Donald Trump and I both lived through the same TV world in our childhoods and youth. We also lived through 9/11, still in the same city, although unlike him, I wasn’t practically a “first responder” at the site of those two downed towers, nor did I see all the Muslims celebrating across the river in Jersey City (as he claimed he did). Still, of one thing I’m convinced: Donald Trump is Osama bin Laden’s revenge. Of course, that was all so long ago. The new century had barely begun. I was only 57 and The Donald 55 when those two hijacked planes suddenly slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in our hometown, a third one plunged into the Pentagon in Washington, and a fourth (probably heading for the White House or the Capitol) crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after its passengers fought back. Ever since, all you have to do is write “9/11” and everyone knows (or thinks they know) what it stands for. But on 9/11, there was, of course, no 9/11. It was a breathtakingly unexpected event (although, to be fair, the CIA had previously briefed President George W. Bush on Osama bin Laden’s desire to hijack commercial planes for possible terror operations… oh, and there was that FBI agent in Phoenix who urged headquarters “to investigate Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools”). Still, the downing of those towers and part of the headquarters of the singularly victorious military of the ultimate superpower of the Cold War, the one already being called “indispensable” and “exceptional” in 2001, was beyond shocking. Admittedly, there’s history to be remembered here. After all, it wasn’t actually that military or that Pentagon that downed the Soviet Union. In fact, when the American military fought the Soviets in major proxy wars on a planet where nuclear catastrophe was always just around the corner, it found itself remarkably stalemated in Korea and dismally on the losing side in Vietnam. No, if you want to give credit where it’s due, offer it to the CIA and Washington’s Saudi allies, who invested staggering effort from 1979 to 1989 in funding, supporting, and training the Taliban’s predecessors, groups of Afghan Islamic extremists, to take down the Red Army in their country. Supporting them as well (though, as far as is known, probably not actually funded by the United States) was a rich young Saudi militant named, believe it or not, Osama bin Laden who, before that war even ended, had founded a group called “the Base” or Al Qaeda, and would, in 1996, declare “war” on the United States. Oh yes, and though it’s seldom mentioned now, when charges are flying fast and furious about the possible recent Russian funding of Taliban militants to kill at most a few Americans in Afghanistan, in those years the United States poured billions of dollars into… well, not to put it too subtly, empowering Islamic extremists to kill the soldiers of that other superpower by the thousands in… yes, Afghanistan. How’s that for shocking? In 1989, the defeated Red Army finally limped home from what the Soviet Union’s leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, had taken to calling “the bleeding wound.” Only two years later, his country imploded and the United States was left alone, officially victorious, on Planet Earth (despite future fantasies of a horrific “axis of evil” to be faced), the first country in endless centuries of imperial rivalry to find itself so. And what exactly did that triumphantly indispensable, exceptional superpower do but, a decade later, get dive-bombed by 19—just 19!—largely Saudi hijackers in the service of tiny Al Qaeda and that wizard of terror Osama bin Laden, whose urge was then to provoke Washington into a genuine war in the Muslim world and so create yet more Islamic extremists. And did he succeed? You bet—and in a fashion even he undoubtedly hadn’t conceived of in his wildest dreams. Think of 9/11, in fact, as the greatest example of “shock and awe” in this century. Here’s a feeling I still remember from the weeks after the 9/11 attacks when I saw where the administration of President George W. Bush was heading toward the invasion of Afghanistan and then, God save us, Iraq; when I watched our mainstream media narrow its focus to this country as the most victimized yet dominating and exceptional place on Earth and Osama bin Laden as the ultimate evil on this planet; when I watched the never-ending memorial ceremonies begin and what soon came to be called “the war on terror” be launched with up to 60 (count ’em: 60!) countries in its gunsights, even if I didn’t yet know that, on 9/11 in the damaged Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had turned to an aide and said, “Go Massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not,” with a future invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq clearly in mind, though the Iraqi autocrat had no relation whatsoever to Al Qaeda (something you wouldn’t have known from the top officials in that administration in those years)—when, in short (though I didn’t yet think of it that way), I watched my own country become a “bleeding wound” that has never stopped flowing and, in Donald Trump’s Covid-19 moment, has turned into an American Garden of Blood. Back in late September 2001, despite having been deeply involved decades earlier in the nightmare of the Vietnam War (and opposition to it), I could already sense war coming, and it occurred to me that this was going to be the worst period I had ever experienced. Now that we’re in Donald Trump’s America, with hundreds of Americans dying daily of a disease that a reasonably responsible president and administration could have brought under control, the 3,000 deaths of 9/11 are beginning to look like a drop in the casualty bucket. (By the beginning of April 2020, Covid-19 deaths in New York City alone had already surpassed those of 9/11 by 1,000.) And I wasn’t wrong in that hunch about this being the worst period, was I? Mind you, it was just a gut feeling then, no more—even though it would soon enough lead, almost inexorably, to the creation of my website, TomDispatch, and its focus on what turned out to be America’s never-ending wars of this century. A PASSPORT TO NOWHERE Let’s get one thing straight, though. If, at that moment, you had told me that this country was going to launch a series of forever wars across what would turn out to be a significant part of the planet and fight them hopelessly for almost two decades or that, the more success proved absent in those same years, the more one administration after another would pour taxpayer dollars into the US military, the 17 “intelligence” agencies, and the rest of the national security state; that what’s still known, with no accuracy whatsoever, as the “defense budget” would years ago have become larger than those of the next seven best-funded military powers on the planet combined and, by 2020, the next 10, and would still be rising; that domestic investment, from infrastructure to pandemic preparedness, would be starved for money in those same years, and that just about no one would protest any of this in the halls of Congress or the streets of America, I would have thought you a madman—or rather, the world’s best writer of dystopian fiction. If you had told me that, in those very years, of the two great powers of this century, China and the United States—one rising, the other ever more clearly falling—the latter would lose approximately 7,000 military personnel (and at least another 8,000 military contractors) and many more wounded, not to speak of those who came home with PTSD or, under the pressure of repeated deployments to the sorriest of conflicts, committed suicide, while the former, as The New York Timesreported recently in the wake of a bloody (but not weaponized) clash on China’s disputed Himalayan border with India, would have lost next to none, I wouldn’t have believed you. (“In four decades,” as the Times wrote, “the People’s Liberation Army had lost just three soldiers to fighting abroad—troops who were killed in United Nations peacekeeping operations in Mali and South Sudan in 2016.”) If you had told me that, facing a devastating virus, the leader of one would largely suppress it—admittedly using the most authoritarian of methods—while, in his search for reelection, the leader of the other, officially still the greatest power on the planet, would ignore it, open the economy, churches, schools, and institutions of every sort and watch it run wild without a plan in sight; if you had told me that fewer than 5,000 people would die in the first of those countries and more than 134,000 (and still counting) in the other, leaving the American dead of 9/11 and the bloody wars of this century in the shade, and that it was all only getting worse, I wouldn’t have believed you. Not for a second. And if, above all, you had told me that, deep into those years of bleeding abroad and increasingly at home, a near majority of Americans would vote to (as I wrote during election campaign 2016) send a suicide bomber into the White House, I would have told you that, though Osama bin Laden had been killed by SEAL Team Six in Pakistan and buried in the briny deep in 2011, Donald Trump was his living revenge, and that bin Laden had won twice—once thanks to those ludicrous, murderous forever wars across much of the Muslim world, and the second time thanks to the pandemic from hell and the president from the same place. It’s July 2020 and I’m about to turn 76, which, as far as I’m concerned, officially makes me an old man. So put up with my aging, wandering brain here, since (I swear) I wasn’t going to start this piece with Donald J. Trump, no matter his latest wild claims or bizarre statements, increasingly white nationalist and pro-Confederate positions (right down to the saving of the rebel Stars and Bars), not to speak of the Covid-19 slaughter of Americans he’s helped facilitate. But then I read about his demand for a “National Garden of American Heroes,” described as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live” and, honestly, though this piece is officially about something else, I just can’t help myself. I had to start there. Yes, everyone undoubtedly understands why Gen. George Patton (a Trump obsession) is to be in that garden, not to speak—given the president’s reelection politics—of evangelist Billy Graham, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and former president Ronald Reagan. Still, my guess is that most of you won’t have the faintest idea why Davy Crockett is included. I’m talking about the frontiersman and Indian killer who died at the Alamo. Given my age, though, I get Trump on this one and it gave me a rare laugh in a distinctly grim moment. That’s why I can’t resist explaining it, even though I guarantee you that the real subject of this piece is Osama bin Laden’s revenge. After all, The Donald and I grew up in the 1950s in different parts of the same bustling city, New York. We both had TVs, just then flooding into homes nationwide, and I guarantee you that we both were riveted by the same hit show), TV’s first miniseries, Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, starring the actor Fess Parker. Its pop theme song swept the country. (“Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free… Kilt him a b’ar when he was only three… Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.”) The show also launched a kids’ craze for coonskin caps. (Who among us didn’t have, or at least yearn, for one?) So how could a statue of Fess Parker not be in the Garden of American Heroes? And since Donald Trump is himself the essence of a bad novel (though he’s also become our reality), I just wonder: What about the Lone Ranger and Tonto, especially since there are no plans for Native Americans in his garden-to-be? They were a crew obviously put on Earth to be wiped out by white colonists, cowboys, and the cavalry in the kinds of Westerns both of us trooped to local movie theaters to see back then. Or how about Hopalong Cassidy (Hoppy!), that other TV cowboy hero of our childhood? Doesn’t he deserve to ride in that garden next to another Trump military fixation, Gen. Douglas MacArthur? After all, I know that Hoppy was real and this is how: When I was seven or eight, my father had a friend who worked for Pathé News and I rode in front of the tripod of his camera on the roof of that company’s station wagon in a Macy’s Day Parade in my hometown. (I still have the photos.) Somewhere along the route, Hoppy himself—I kid you not!—rode by on his white horse Topper and, since I was atop that station wagon and we were at about the same height, he shook my hand! And here’s what makes Cassidy especially appropriate for The Donald’s garden landscape: In the 1950s, he was the only cowboy hero who dressed all in black right up to his hat (normally, a sign of the bad guy) and, in the process, created a kid’s craze for black shirts (his version of a coonskin cap), breaking its past association with either Italian fascism or mourning and bringing it back into the culture big time. Tell me honestly, then, don’t you think a garden of “heroes” in the age of Trump should have a few black shirts and an increasingly Mussolini-ish look to it? AN AMERICAN GARDEN OF BLOOD So Donald Trump and I both lived through the same TV world in our childhoods and youth. We also lived through 9/11, still in the same city, although unlike him, I wasn’t practically a “first responder” at the site of those two downed towers, nor did I see all the Muslims celebrating across the river in Jersey City (as he claimed he did). Still, of one thing I’m convinced: Donald Trump is Osama bin Laden’s revenge. Of course, that was all so long ago. The new century had barely begun. I was only 57 and The Donald 55 when those two hijacked planes suddenly slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in our hometown, a third one plunged into the Pentagon in Washington, and a fourth (probably heading for the White House or the Capitol) crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after its passengers fought back. Ever since, all you have to do is write “9/11” and everyone knows (or thinks they know) what it stands for. But on 9/11, there was, of course, no 9/11. It was a breathtakingly unexpected event (although, to be fair, the CIA had previously briefed President George W. Bush on Osama bin Laden’s desire to hijack commercial planes for possible terror operations… oh, and there was that FBI agent in Phoenix who urged headquarters “to investigate Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools”). Still, the downing of those towers and part of the headquarters of the singularly victorious military of the ultimate superpower of the Cold War, the one already being called “indispensable” and “exceptional” in 2001, was beyond shocking. Admittedly, there’s history to be remembered here. After all, it wasn’t actually that military or that Pentagon that downed the Soviet Union. In fact, when the American military fought the Soviets in major proxy wars on a planet where nuclear catastrophe was always just around the corner, it found itself remarkably stalemated in Korea and dismally on the losing side in Vietnam. No, if you want to give credit where it’s due, offer it to the CIA and Washington’s Saudi allies, who invested staggering effort from 1979 to 1989 in funding, supporting, and training the Taliban’s predecessors, groups of Afghan Islamic extremists, to take down the Red Army in their country. Supporting them as well (though, as far as is known, probably not actually funded by the United States) was a rich young Saudi militant named, believe it or not, Osama bin Laden who, before that war even ended, had founded a group called “the Base” or Al Qaeda, and would, in 1996, declare “war” on the United States. Oh yes, and though it’s seldom mentioned now, when charges are flying fast and furious about the possible recent Russian funding of Taliban militants to kill at most a few Americans in Afghanistan, in those years the United States poured billions of dollars into… well, not to put it too subtly, empowering Islamic extremists to kill the soldiers of that other superpower by the thousands in… yes, Afghanistan. How’s that for shocking? In 1989, the defeated Red Army finally limped home from what the Soviet Union’s leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, had taken to calling “the bleeding wound.” Only two years later, his country imploded and the United States was left alone, officially victorious, on Planet Earth (despite future fantasies of a horrific “axis of evil” to be faced), the first country in endless centuries of imperial rivalry to find itself so. And what exactly did that triumphantly indispensable, exceptional superpower do but, a decade later, get dive-bombed by 19—just 19!—largely Saudi hijackers in the service of tiny Al Qaeda and that wizard of terror Osama bin Laden, whose urge was then to provoke Washington into a genuine war in the Muslim world and so create yet more Islamic extremists. And did he succeed? You bet—and in a fashion even he undoubtedly hadn’t conceived of in his wildest dreams. Think of 9/11, in fact, as the greatest example of “shock and awe” in this century. Here’s a feeling I still remember from the weeks after the 9/11 attacks when I saw where the administration of President George W. Bush was heading toward the invasion of Afghanistan and then, God save us, Iraq; when I watched our mainstream media narrow its focus to this country as the most victimized yet dominating and exceptional place on Earth and Osama bin Laden as the ultimate evil on this planet; when I watched the never-ending memorial ceremonies begin and what soon came to be called “the war on terror” be launched with up to 60 (count ’em: 60!) countries in its gunsights, even if I didn’t yet know that, on 9/11 in the damaged Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had turned to an aide and said, “Go Massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not,” with a future invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq clearly in mind, though the Iraqi autocrat had no relation whatsoever to Al Qaeda (something you wouldn’t have known from the top officials in that administration in those years)—when, in short (though I didn’t yet think of it that way), I watched my own country become a “bleeding wound” that has never stopped flowing and, in Donald Trump’s Covid-19 moment, has turned into an American Garden of Blood. Back in late September 2001, despite having been deeply involved decades earlier in the nightmare of the Vietnam War (and opposition to it), I could already sense war coming, and it occurred to me that this was going to be the worst period I had ever experienced. Now that we’re in Donald Trump’s America, with hundreds of Americans dying daily of a disease that a reasonably responsible president and administration could have brought under control, the 3,000 deaths of 9/11 are beginning to look like a drop in the casualty bucket. (By the beginning of April 2020, Covid-19 deaths in New York City alone had already surpassed those of 9/11 by 1,000.) And I wasn’t wrong in that hunch about this being the worst period, was I? Mind you, it was just a gut feeling then, no more—even though it would soon enough lead, almost inexorably, to the creation of my website, TomDispatch, and its focus on what turned out to be America’s never-ending wars of this century. A PASSPORT TO NOWHERE Let’s get one thing straight, though. If, at that moment, you had told me that this country was going to launch a series of forever wars across what would turn out to be a significant part of the planet and fight them hopelessly for almost two decades or that, the more success proved absent in those same years, the more one administration after another would pour taxpayer dollars into the US military, the 17 “intelligence” agencies, and the rest of the national security state; that what’s still known, with no accuracy whatsoever, as the “defense budget” would years ago have become larger than those of the next seven best-funded military powers on the planet combined and, by 2020, the next 10, and would still be rising; that domestic investment, from infrastructure to pandemic preparedness, would be starved for money in those same years, and that just about no one would protest any of this in the halls of Congress or the streets of America, I would have thought you a madman—or rather, the world’s best writer of dystopian fiction. If you had told me that, in those very years, of the two great powers of this century, China and the United States—one rising, the other ever more clearly falling—the latter would lose approximately 7,000 military personnel (and at least another 8,000 military contractors) and many more wounded, not to speak of those who came home with PTSD or, under the pressure of repeated deployments to the sorriest of conflicts, committed suicide, while the former, as The New York Timesreported recently in the wake of a bloody (but not weaponized) clash on China’s disputed Himalayan border with India, would have lost next to none, I wouldn’t have believed you. (“In four decades,” as the Times wrote, “the People’s Liberation Army had lost just three soldiers to fighting abroad—troops who were killed in United Nations peacekeeping operations in Mali and South Sudan in 2016.”) If you had told me that, facing a devastating virus, the leader of one would largely suppress it—admittedly using the most authoritarian of methods—while, in his search for reelection, the leader of the other, officially still the greatest power on the planet, would ignore it, open the economy, churches, schools, and institutions of every sort and watch it run wild without a plan in sight; if you had told me that fewer than 5,000 people would die in the first of those countries and more than 134,000 (and still counting) in the other, leaving the American dead of 9/11 and the bloody wars of this century in the shade, and that it was all only getting worse, I wouldn’t have believed you. Not for a second. And if, above all, you had told me that, deep into those years of bleeding abroad and increasingly at home, a near majority of Americans would vote to (as I wrote during election campaign 2016) send a suicide bomber into the White House, I would have told you that, though Osama bin Laden had been killed by SEAL Team Six in Pakistan and buried in the briny deep in 2011, Donald Trump was his living revenge, and that bin Laden had won twice—once thanks to those ludicrous, murderous forever wars across much of the Muslim world, and the second time thanks to the pandemic from hell and the president from the same place. Imagine if, in 1991 when the Soviet Union imploded, I had told you that in 2020, not quite three decades distant, an American passport would be, more or less literally, a document for a trip to nowhere. Talk about a bleeding, or even hemorrhaging, wound! In the years to come, I think it will be ever more obvious that Donald Trump was, in fact, proof of Osama bin Laden’s success, of the fact that 9/11 and those 19 hijackers were all that was needed to produce the world of his dreams and the wounds that went with it. And if, by the way, you wondered why I wrote this piece with the longest sentences I could possibly create, the answer is simple enough: two decades into the 21st century, I think it should be obvious that Americans have been given an exceptionally, perhaps even indispensably long sentence without parole on a planet already heating to the boiling point, 94,000,000 miles from the sun. No, this truly won’t be “the American century,” but I doubt it will be the Chinese one either. By the time this crew is done, it may be nobody’s century. Thanks a heap, Osama! This is your bleeding wound, too.
nowadays in western society. This post does not intend to tackle the statut of women throught history since the subject is about now and not the past. The History revisionnism of a certain activist group has been debunked Historical revisionism debunked here Moreover, i will not debunk the wagegap here since it has been debunked countless times. here if you want to have look a glassdoor study. The subject of this post is why we don’t live in a partriarchy in western countries nowadays. First of all lets look up for some definitions. The définitions will be taken from the Cambridge dictionnary and from wikipedia. According to the Cambridge Dictionnary, Patriarchy is :
a society in which the oldest male is the leader of the family, or a society controlled by men
in which they use their power to their own advantage:
a form of social organization in which fathers or other males control the family, clan, tribe,
or larger social unit, or a society organized in this way.
Patriarchy is also the control by men, rather than women or both men and women, of most
of the power and authority in a society. Source here Let tackle the different definitions.
>a society in which the oldest male is the leader of the family
The first one seems to be the clearer definition since it explicitly shows what legitimate the power in a patriarcal society and who benefit from it. You have to be a male and you have to be the oldest male of the family. Now let take a look. A simple question. Does your grand father is the head of your family or has a primar say in the family issues ? I bet no because the oldest male is not the leader of the family anymore. Money spending decision among the nuclear family could represent well the dynamyc between the two person of the couple. The father has not the primaty say on the money spending anymore. Women are about as likely as men to have the final say and as likely than men to make a joint decision. Cf the following document (i could note quote since it is a board and i don’t know how to do it, if you have any suggestion..)
Money, power and spending decisions in intimate relationships
or a society controlled by men in which they use their power to their own advantage
Here the power, (not even defined) is used to their own advantage and men are defined as the class who has the power. One thing which could be in their own advantage could be not to die at work and letting other doing the dirty job. However, men represent the vast majority of the work fatalities ( 5.7% against 0.6%). Men are almost ten times as likely than women to die at work. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.t01.htm Moreover men represente the majority of the homeless people (around 70%) in USA. https://endhomelessness.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/DDP-Gender-brief-09272019-byline-single-pages.pdf So men as a class does not possess more power than women as a class. The ultrasuccessful men are not representative of the class of men and the power held do not benefit to the class of men but only to the horlder We could associate this view as the apex fallacy. Taking only the best and make an abusive generalisation from this tiny group.
> a form of social organization in which fathers or other males control the family, clan, tribe, or larger social unit, or a society organized in this way.
This definition has the same idea that being a male is the reason of holding the power. The term control means they have the authority, and the power to submit to their will women to do things because of their statut of male and not bacause of their function. In other words they acess to power because they are male and not because of their jobs, etc. In a way, we could say that we are in western countries in a society with a patriarchal structure. Why did i not say Patriarchy ? Simply because the power is not held by men because of their sex but because of their choices and skills. The same goes for women. We can’t say that we are in a patriarchy because men and women have the same opportunities to access to the power. We will develop the topic of the power, its constituant and its legitimity later in this post.
The third definition is about the outcome, not the core reason of the power holding. Moreover it depict only the powerfull people and not all the class. It suffer from the apex fallacy as well as not tackling the origin of the power.
So the primary question is more about
«Do women have equal acess to the power?
” than “Is there the same number of women as men in power?” Because the first is about equal treatment and the other on equality of outcome. In the latter, it means that a group will not be treated as the other for the same skills and would be basically discrimination. Lets define more accuratly the term power • ability to control people and events • the amount of political control a person or group has in a country • an official or legal right to do something • a person, organization, or country that has control over others, often because of wealth, importance, or great military strength https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/power?q=Power As I said previously in this post, all the above are held primarly by a minority of people, men and women and among this minotity, the majority is constituted of men. So the remaining question which will determin if the legitimity of power is being a man or only skills and choices (and luck but this case is because of the capitalism not patriarchy and no, capitalism is based on skills, etc not power.) is :
« does women have the same opportunities as men to acess to power ? »
• >an official or legal right to do something Men and women have now the same legal rights and as many women as men can vote, the vote of each woman have the same impact as the vote of each man (Vote of 1 woman = Vote of 1 man) So women have an equal voting power.
Does women can acess to politc as easy as men ?
This mean , do women have the same opportunities to candidate and will they be as likely to be elected as a man for the same skills, etc ? Women have the same opportunities as man to candidate to political election, however, do they have the same opportunities to be elected ? According to the following meta analysis yes.
What Have We Learned About Gender From Candidate Choice Experiments? A Meta-analysis of 42
Factorial Survey Experiments Susanne Schwarz and Alexander Coppock∗ May 5, 2020
Candidate choice survey experiments in the form of conjoint or vignette experiments have become a standard part of the political science toolkit for understanding the effects of candidate characteristics on vote choice. We collect 42 studies and reanalyze them using a standardized approach. We find that the average effect of being a woman (relative to a man) is a gain of 2 percentage points. We find some evidence of heterogeneity as this difference appears to be somewhat larger for white (versus non white) candidates, and among survey respondents who are women (versus men) or identify as Democrats or Independents (versus Republicans). Our results add to the growing body of evidence that voter preferences are not a major factor explaining the persistently low rates of women in elected office.
Does women are seen as skillfull as men ? Are they as likely as men to be hired in prestigious jobs ?
(authority and access to prestigious jobs mean statut and wealth, so power according to the last definition of power). The answer is yes in a real situations (hired by a professionnal, etc) B)Professionnal power and skill assessment 0)Hiring
A Meta-Analysis of Gender Stereotypes and Bias in Experimental Simulations of Employment Decision Making
Women are less likely to be hire than a man for a same job
RaterGender Next, we examined rater gender. Across all job types, female raters exhibited a near-zero bias (d=-.04), and males exhibited a larger pro-male bias (d=-0 .21). However, we found different patterns when examining jobs with different sex distributionsseparately (see Table 2). For male-dominated jobs, male raters showed a stronger gender-role congruity bias (i.e., pro-male bias) than female raters, in support of Hypothesis 2. Both male and female raters exhibited a pro-male bias for female-dominated jobs, contrary to our expectations. However, it should be noted that k and n for female dominated job analyses were quite small. For integrated jobs, bias did not differ for male and female raters
(i.e.,confidence intervals were overlapping). But only when it is NOT in the contexte of real life situation of recruitment and ONLY in male dominated jobs.
For male-dominated jobs, undergraduates and working adults exhibited a larger pro-male bias (d_s=-0.19) than experienced professionals (d=-0 .04). This trend was reversed for femaledominated jobs, with experienced professionals showing the largest pro-female bias, though the sample of experienced professionals was small (n =167, k = 5). Undergraduates and experienced professionals exhibited similar levels of bias when making decisions about integrated jobs (d_s =- .07 and .05, respectively). Thus, findings on bias exhibited by different types of participants were mixed.
Does women are as likely than men to be promoted ?(acess to wealth and statut)
1)Stickyfloor and Promotion Difference It is observed that women are on average less promoted than men. The situation seems unfair, however this remains an average, like the wage gap, which can be explained by seniority, sector of activity etc. A 2015 Canadian study of 5,840 companies, 16,654 women and 24,192 men. The study shows that women have a salary increase 2.9% less than a man's for the same promotion in the same company. Moreover, it is observed that women without children have a pay return per promotion and a promotion rate very close to that of men while women with children do not.
Moving Up or Falling Behind? Gender, Promotions, and Wages in Canada
Unconditionally, women in our sample are 2.8 percentage points less likely to have been promoted in the last year than men. Controlling for worker characteristics in column 2, women are 3.1 percentage points less likely to have been promoted than men. Columns 3, 4 and 5 add controls for the worker’s industry, occupation, and both industry and occupation, respectively, to the controls in column 2 to account for the possibility that women may be employed in industries or occupations with shorter job ladders and fewer opportunities for promotion. Controlling for the industry (occupation) in which a worker is employed, the estimated gender gap falls to 1.9 (2.2) percentage points. Controlling for both industry and occupation, women are 0.7 percentage points less likely to have been promoted than their male peers—a difference which is not statistically significant. Column 6 adds firm effects to the model in column 5, but the estimated gender gap in promotion probabilities (-0.008) is little changed. Collectively, the estimates in panel A suggest that the gender difference in the probability of promotion is driven by gender segregation in occupation and industry rather than systematic sorting into firms offering fewer opportunities for advancement.
Page 9 https://ftp.iza.org/dp9380.pdf In addition, a 2018 study of wage increases for salaried employees (4888 participants) or hourly workers (5148 participants) shows that there is no significant difference between men and women.
The Gender Gap in Raise Magnitudes of Hourly and Salary Workers
The gender gap in promotions literature typically uses survey to survey imputed hourly wage changes
to measure the earnings effects of promotions alone. By distinction, we study raises with and without promotions using data within surveys that uniquely identify both the current and most recent wages of hourly workers separate from salary workers. In cross-section estimates we identify a gender gap in raise magnitude favoring men only among hourly workers who achieve promotions, but this result vanishes in fixed effects estimates. No gender gaps emerge in any other instance, including for salary workers and raises absent of promotion. We further contribute to the literature by uniquely controlling for natural ability and risk preferences of the workers, the time passed since earning the raise, and also whether the responsibility of the worker’s job changed with the raise. https://ideas.repec.org/a/spjlabre/v40y2019i1d10.1007_s12122-018-9277-8.html There is no difference in increment and promotion, all other things being equal.
Are women’s leadership skill assessed the same way (not harsher) as men leadership skills (authority and access to statut)?
2)Glass ceiling and harsher judgment Another hypothesis put forward is that of the glass ceiling which would mean that a woman cannot be promoted to high-level positions because of discrimination against her. However, according to a 2014 meta-analysis of 111 studies concerning the evaluation of the skills of a leader, male or female, the difference is minimal (Koch2015). Taking all criteria together, we have a d=0.04. For indication, d=0.2 corresponds to a small effect. CF B0). In addition, a 2014 meta-analysis of 58 published scientific articles, 30 unpublished dissertations or theses, 5 books and 6 other sources, including 100,000 people, indicates an overall difference of d=-0.06 in perceived management effectiveness (JAP). Men are assessed as less competent than women for middle positions of -0.17 with p<0.05, there is little difference for high positions of 0.04 and low positions of 0.07. In addition, experienced recruiters have less bias than young students and inexperienced workers. (d=0.04 versus d=0.19). The difference in judgement therefore has a negligible effect at best.
Gender and Perceptions of Leadership Effectiveness: A Meta-Analysis of Contextual Moderators
The distribution of effect sizes was approximately normal and centered around zero. The overall analysis of effectiveness measures resulted in a mean corrected d of =-0.05 (K = 99, N =101,676), which is not significantly different from zero (see Table 1). We examined the data for any extreme outliers (3 SD) and found two effect sizes that met this criteria (d = 1.44, N = 30 and d = 1.52, N = 40). Hunter and Schmidt (2004) argued that, when sample sizes of outliers are small to moderate, extreme outliers can occur due to sampling error. They noted that such outliers should not be removed from the data, because removing them could result in an overcorrection of sampling error. We reanalyzed the data with these two effect sizes removed from the sample, and the overall effect size changed slightly (by .01), becoming d=-0.06. Hierarchical level as a moderator. Consistent with Hypothesis 3, hierarchical level exhibited a significant moderating effect on gender differences in leadership effectiveness (Qb = 10.71, p = .05). The results of a subgroup analysis are partially consistent with the hypothesis proposed by RCT (see Table 1). Women were rated as significantly more effective than men in middle management positions, with a d of =0.17 (K = 12, N =4,570, 95% CI [=-.31, =.03]). There was a nonsignificant gender difference in effectiveness for leaders in upper level leadership positions, with a d of -.04 (K = 28, N = 12,364, 95% CI [=-.15, .07]), and in lower hierarchical levels/supervisor positions, with a d of .07 (K =37, N = 7,421, 95% CI [=-.03, .17]). Overall, Hypothesis 3 was partially supported in that women were more effective in middle management positions, although there were not gender differences in either lower or higher level positions.
https://apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/apl-a0036751.pdf Furthermore, a 2016 study (human-perf) of 3,367 managers and 9,670 non-managers (731 managers and 1,297 non-managers retained) shows that differences in performance ratings between men and women are again negligible and not statistically significant.
Gender differences in supervisors’ multidimensional performance ratings: Large sample evidence
We examined gender differences in supervisor ratings of overall job performance and 37 performance dimensions. Based on data from a large, diverse sample of managers (N = 3,367) and nonmanagers (N = 9,670), we found that gender had only minimal effects on ratings for a small number of specific job performance dimensions. This was generally true regardless of whether the job performance dimension was more agentic or communal in nature, whether the job was a managerial or a nonmanagerial position, and regardless of the proportion of men or women that traditionally occupy a specific job. Overall, our results are more consistent with the gender similarities hypothesis than the agency/communion paradigm, role congruity theory, and the lack of fit model. We discuss future research avenues and implications.
Women are therefore seen as performing and being as competent as men in their job
Are women as likely to be promoted than men in prestigious jobs ?
3)Glass ceiling and promotion In addition, a 2013 study of 3,053 and 57,632 directors is looking at the promotion rate in Denmark of women as CEOs. (smith2013) Observations were made from 1997 to 2007. For promotions to the position of Vice President, the gross gap is 0.6 percentage points and 1.6 percentage points for the position of CEO. In this particular case, the presence of children seems to be beneficial for men's promotions, but paternity leave is heavily sanctioned with regard to future career prospects. The field also explains the difference in the likelihood of being promoted to CEO. Indeed, Vice Presidents in Human Resources, IT and R&D are much less likely to be promoted to the position of CEO than Vice Presidents and CFOs in sales and production. However, vice presidents and senior management tend to concentrate in human resources positions, which is an important factor explaining the lower promotion rate.
Why Are So Few Females Promoted into CEO and Vice-President Positions? Danish Empirical Evidence
This paper analyzes the gender gap in promotion into top corporate jobs based on employer- employee data on all Danish companies. The rawVP- and CEO-promotion rates in the data set show a fairly constant distance between males and females during the period 1997-2007. In 2007, 4.6 % of the males and 3.6 % of the females in the group of potential top executives were promoted into a VP position while for promotions from VP positions into CEO positions, the same gures were 4.4 % and 2.7 %, respectively,i.e. there was a gender gap of 1 % points for VP positions and 1.7 % points for CEO positions. Many women may not find it very attractive to become CEOs because they have to give up too much to ll a CEO position compared to the alternative as being a VP or having a lower position which is more easily combined with having more kids and full take-up of maternity leave schemes and other family-friendly schemes, i.e. to rewrite the words by the former Danish CEO, Stine Bosse: Be in positions where they can still have a life.
p35 http://ftp.iza.org/dp5961.pdf All this findings suggest that women are not less promoted to CEO positions than men simply because they are women. Moreover women at CEO position are less paid but only due to the field, the risk taking.
Women in Top Management and Job Self Selection
Using a large sample of publicly traded firms from 1994-2002, we study the type of firms that female executives prefer to work in. We find that (1) female executives predominantly work in high risk firms and in high risk industries, (2) female CEOs have higher dismissal probability and female non-CEO executives (CFO, COO and President), in general, have lower tenure at office, and (3) there is significant self selection for female to work in high risk segments despite higher dismissal rates or lower tenure at job. Consistent with Bertrand and Hallock (2001), we find that, on average, female executives are paid lower than men, a result that is mainly driven by female in safer work segments. On the other hand, female executives in risky segments have comparable pay to their male counterparts. Using a size and industry male executive benchmark for each female executive, we also show that pay differential diminishes with the increase in job risk.
Does women have less access to a mentor than men do (access to network)?
According to a meta analysis on 40 studies, there is no difference of outcomes between men and women on mentoring (as a protégé or as mentor)
A Meta-Analytic Investigation of Gender Differences in Mentoring
(it is not a strict quote but sum up the results. to have an idea, r=0.1 is a small effect size, r=0.30 a medium effect size and r=0.5 is a large effect size. The difference in access to the mentor is very weakly correlated with the sex of the protégé with r=-0.01 and p not significant. In addition, there is no difference in career development mentoring. Furthermore, women report having more psychological support than men (r=.01) (r=.06 very low gender correlation). Men report having served as more mentors than women (r=.07), provided more career development (r=.04) and less psychological support than women (r=.04). However, the results are heterogeneous and the magnitudes are very low. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206308318619 Women are seen as competent as men in politic, in companies, have about the same rate of promotions, pay raise and as likely to be hired in real situation. They have the same opportunities to access to a prestigious jobs (statut), promotion (gain in statut) pay (wealth) and mentoring (professional network). I will not treat the theme of religion because the state is separated from the Church, and there is the cult freedom. I have not tackle the problem of military power since it is indeed a form of power but is accessible to women via politic or recruitement (depending on the goals) and this power is not use among the population in usual situation.
To Conclude this part women have the same access to wealth, politic, and statut in the application.
Another remaining is :
« Are Women held back »
1)On this ground we will use the education of the parent. Does the parent raise their child in a different way, ie pushing boy to be more independant than girl ?
Gender-Differentiated Parenting Revisited: Meta-Analysis Reveals Very Few Differences in Parental Control of Boys and Girls
Although various theories describe mechanisms leading to differential parenting of boys and girls, there is no consensus about the extent to which parents do treat their sons and daughters differently. The last meta-analyses on the subject were conducted more than fifteen years ago, and changes in gender-specific child rearing in the past decade are quite plausible. In the current set of meta-analyses, based on 126 observational studies (15,034 families), we examined mothers’ and fathers’ differential use of autonomy-supportive and controlling strategies with boys and girls, and the role of moderators related to the decade in which the study was conducted, the observational context, and sample characteristics. Databases of Web of Science, ERIC, PsychInfo, Online Contents, Picarta, and Proquest were searched for studies examining differences in observed parental control of boys and girls between the ages of 0 and 18 years. Few differences were found in parents’ use of control with boys and girls. Parents were slightly more controlling with boys than with girls, but the effect size was negligible (d = 0.08). The effect was larger, but still small, in normative groups and in samples with younger children. No overall effect for gender-differentiated autonomy-supportive strategies was found (d = 0.03). A significant effect of time emerged: studies published in the 1970s and 1980s reported more autonomy-supportive strategies with boys than toward girls, but from 1990 onwards parents showed somewhat more autonomy-supportive strategies with girls than toward boys. Taking into account parents’ gender stereotypes might uncover subgroups of families where gender-differentiated control is salient, but based on our systematic review of the currently available large data base we conclude that in general the differences between parenting of boys versus girls are minimal The parent raise their children to be autonomous, at the same extend for men AND women.
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159193 Moreover, in more gender egalitarian countries, the maths anxiety among girls is higher and the parent tend to value less math among girls. It is again in contradiction with the narrative expecting that less gender egalitarian countries with greater gender stereotyope would increase the gender maths anxiety gap.
Countries with Higher Levels of Gender Equality Show Larger National Sex Differencesin Mathematics
Anxiety and Relatively Lower Parental Mathematics Valuation for Girls
Most importantly and contra predictions, we showed that economically developed and more gender equal countries have a lower overall level of mathematics anxiety, and yet a larger national sex difference in mathematics anxiety relative to less developed countries. Further,although relatively more mothers workin STEM fields in more developed countries, these parents valued, on average , mathematical competence more in theirsonsthan their daughters.The proportion of mothers working in STEM was unrelated to sexdifferences in mathematics anxiety or performance
This study shows that indeed maths is less emphasized for girls than boys in more gender equal countries but it also a part of the gender equality paradoxe. STEM are more valued for girls in less gender equal country probably to to pragmatical reason (better earning). (see the part about society) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0153857 Plus, girl in non traditional family where the woman is the breadwinner is more likely to be more traditional (their own choice)
Modern Family: Female Breadwinners and the Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Norms⇤
In this paper I investigate the intergenerational transmission of gender norms. The norm I focus on is the traditional view that it is the role of the mother to look after young children and the role of the father to be the breadwinner. I develop a model of identity formation where a child’s gender norm is endogenous to two main sources of socialisation: her family on the one hand, and society at large on the other. Using data from the Next Steps survey and the International Social Survey Programme, I examine the intergenerational transmission of gender norms in England when the norms of the family, and the society it is embedded in, are oppositional. My findings indicate between-sex heterogeneity in the transmission of gender norms from parents to children. Boys raised in modern families (i.e. where the mother is the breadwinner) are less likely to develop traditional norms. However, compared to those in traditional families, girls raised in modern families are actually more likely to be traditional; in opposition to their family’s but in line with society’s norm. Examining further outcomes associated with gender norms, I find that girls raised in modern families are also less likely to state that being able to earn high wages is important for them, and are less likely to pursue a science degree at university level. I use my identity formation model to argue that these results can be explained by heterogeneity in preferences for conformity to the family, and present empirical evidence that indeed, girls in modern families are less conformist than those in traditional families. Using a regression discontinuity design, I further show that this weaker preference for conformity is in fact a result of the treatment of living in a modern family.
Child Characteristics and Parental Educational Expectations: Evidence for Transmission with Transaction
Parents’ expectations for their children’s ultimate educational attainment have been hypothesized to play an instrumental role in socializing academically-relevant child behaviors, beliefs, and abilities. In addition to social transmission of educationally relevant values from parents to children, parental expectations and child characteristics may transact bidirectionally. We explore this hypothesis using both longitudinal and genetically informative twin data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth and Kindergarten cohorts. Our behavior genetic results indicate that parental expectations partly reflect child genetic variation, even as early as 4 years of age. Two classes of child characteristics were hypothesized to contribute to these child-to-parent effects: behavioral tendencies (approaches toward learning and problem behaviors) and achievement (math and reading). Using behavior genetic models, we find within-twin-pair associations between these child characteristics and parental expectations. Using longitudinal cross-lagged models, we find that initial variation in child characteristics predicts future educational expectations above and beyond previous educational expectations. These results are consistent with transactional frameworks in which parent-to-child and child-to- parent effects cooccur
Genetic affect also grealtly the way of parenting and the receptivness of the children. Parent adapt a lot to their children
Genetic and Environmental Associations Between Child Personality and Parenting
Parenting is often conceptualized in terms of its effects on offspring. However, children may also play an active role in influencing the parenting they receive. Simple correlations between parenting and child outcomes may be due to parent-to-child causation, child-to-parent causation, or some combination of the two. We use a multirater, genetically informative, large sample (n¼1,411 twin sets) to gain traction on this issue as it relates to parental warmth and stress in the context of child Big Five personality. Considerable variance in parental warmth (27%) and stress (45%) was attributable to child genetic influences on parenting. Incorporating child Big Five personality into the model roughly explained half of this variance. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that parents mold their parenting in response to their child’s personality. Residual heritability of parenting is likely due to child characteristics beyond the Big Five. 2) Society Does society holds back girls? Another point is that women may be held back by the social norm. Specialy in STEM where men represent the majority.
A simple hypothesis could be to take the gender equality index to assess the equality within a country (access to education healthcare etc). In less gender egalitarian countries, we would expect to find less women in STEM as they would be more held back by society, social norm and stereotype. However it is not the case. It is even the opposite. Where the gender equality index is higher, the difference is larger.
The Gender-Equality Paradox in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education
The underrepresentation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is a continual concern for social scientists and policymakers. Using an international database on adolescent achievement in science, mathematics, and reading (N = 472,242), we showed that girls performed similarly to or better than boys in science in two of every three countries, and in nearly all countries, more girls appeared capable of college-level STEM study than had enrolled. Paradoxically, the sex differences in the magnitude of relative academic strengths and pursuit of STEM degrees rose with increases in national gender equality. The gap between boys’ science achievement and girls’ reading achievement relative to their mean academic performance was near universal. These sex differences in academic strengths and attitudes toward science correlated with the STEM graduation gap. A mediation analysis suggested that life-quality pressures in less gender-equal countries promote girls’ and women’s engagement with STEM subjects.
Not Lack of Ability but More Choice: Individual and Gender Differences in Choice of Careers in Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
The pattern of gender differences in math and verbal ability may result in females having a wider choice of careers, in both science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM fields, compared with males. The current study tested whether individuals with high math and high verbal ability in 12th grade were more or less likely to choose STEM occupations than those with high math and moderate verbal ability. The 1,490 subjects participated in two waves of a national longitudinal study; one wave was when the subjects were in 12th grade, and the other was when they were 33 years old. Results revealed that mathematically capable individuals who also had high verbal skills were less likely to pursue STEM careers than were individuals who had high math skills but moderate verbal skills. One notable finding was that the group with high math and high verbal ability included more females than males. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612458937 Another large sample (300,000) studie tends to show a similar results.
Girls’ comparative advantage in reading can largely explain the gender gap in math-related fields
Gender differences in math performance are now small in developed countries and they cannot explain on their own the strong underrepresentation of women in math-related fields. This latter result is however no longer true once gender differences in reading performance are alsotakenintoaccount. Usingindividual-leveldata on 300,000 15-y-old students in 64 countries, we show that the difference between a student performance in reading and math is 80% of a standard deviation (SD) larger for girls than boys, a magnitude considered as very large. When this difference is controlled for, the gender gap in students’ intentions to pursue math-intensivestudiesandcareers is reduced by around75%,while gender gaps in self-concept in math, declared interest for math or attitudes toward math entirely disappear. These latter variables are also much less able to explain the gender gap in intentions to study maththanisstudents’ differenceinperformancebetweenmathand reading. These results are in line with choice models in which educational decisions involve intraindividual comparisons of achievement and self-beliefs in different subjects as well as cultural norms regarding gender. To directly show that intraindividual comparisons of achievement impact students’ intended careers, we use differences across schools in teaching resources dedicated to math and reading as exogenous variations of students’ comparative advantage for math. Results confirm that the comparative advantage in math with respect to reading at the time of making educational choices plays a key role in the process leading to women’s underrepresentation in math-intensive fields.
www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1905779116 The last point on the choice is that a recent meta analysis showed that increased individualism and decreased ecological stress tend to increase the gender difference of personnality traits but not the culture and stereotype itself.
Nature and evoked culture: Sex differences in personality are uniquely correlated with ecological stress
Sex differences in personality were found to be larger in more developed and more gender-equal societies. However, the studies that report this effect either have methodological shortcomings or do not take into account possible underlying effects of ecological variables. Here, a large, multinational (N = 867,782) dataset of personality profiles was used to examine sex differences in Big Five facet scores for 50 countries. Gender differences were related to estimates of ecological stress as well as socio-cultural variables. Using a regularized partial-correlation approach, the unique associations of those correlates with sex differences were isolated. Sex differences were large (median Mahalanobis' D = 1.97) and varied substantially across countries (range 1.49 to 2.48). Global sex differences are larger in more developed countries with higher food availability, less pathogen prevalence, higher gender equality and an individualistic culture. After controlling for confounds, only cultural individualism, historic pathogen prevalence and food availability remained. Sex differences in personality are uniquely correlated to ecological stress. Previously reported correlations between greater sex differences and socio-cultural liberalism could be due to confounding by influences of ecological stress.
Women have the same opportunity and access to power (politic and money), are seen as competent as men even at high responsabilities jobs (authority), take also important decisions in the family (spending power and intra family authority) and are raised to be as independant as men and not held back. So the power is not legitimated by the sex of people but on the skills, choice and some luck (good or bad) due to the contingence of life. It is more about inequalities than gender inequalities and does not tackle the « Patriarchy » but capitalism.
How Argentina learnt to stop worrying and combat coronavirus
As anyone who hasn’t spent the last month under a rock knows, the COVID-19 coronavirus is a big deal to the global economy, and governments have taken a number of potentially disruptive measures to contain it. The aim of this post is to look somewhat closely at the likely impact to the economy of this famously unstable country, and to briefly weigh the policy actions of the Alberto Fernández administration against their costs.
A little context
Argentina and economic collapse, name a more iconic duo. In the past decade, the inflation rate went from the twenties to the fifties, and 2019 had the highest recorded figure in almost thirty years: 53.8%. The country has not grown for two consecutive years in an entire decade, and official figures for most relevant variables, including unemployment and production, are unreliable (to put it kindly) since the official statistics agency was intervened by politicians and pretty much faked its data for ten years. In 2015, the reign of a faction of Peronism (the dominant political ideology/party in Argentina, an economically left, nationalistic, autarchic, anti-globalization movement) known as Kirchnerism, with more ties to the hard left and more socially progressive than the rest of the party, came to a close after 12 years of dominance: their prefered Presidential candidate, Daniel Scioli (an unpopular, unexciting, uncharismatic Governor who lost an arm in a boat racing accident) narrowly lost a runoff to the center-right Mauricio Macri, the mayor of the country’s capital. Macri ran on a platform of change (his coalition of centrist parties was literally named Cambiemos, or Let’s Change) and promised to lower taxes, reduce regulations, open the economy, and lead Argentina into a new era of market-based prosperity. This did not pan out: after a rocky first year, where the lifting of currency controls and sky high raises in public utilities led to a 40% inflation rate, nearly 15 point above the previous year’s, 2017 looked bright: GDP grew, wages increased, inflation returned to its prior levels and seemed to be going down, and the government scored a double-digit win in the midterms. 2018 was even more promising, until May: following a series of policy and communications missteps by the government, investors became more bullish on the nation’s ability to repay its significant dollar-denominated debt; when the Fed raised rates in May, capitals bled out of the country and the peso began depreciating for months, more than doubling from 19 pesos per dollars to over 40 by the end of the year; the economy took a beating, with GDP collapsing and completely erasing the previous year’s gains. 2019 was tougher: Macri became, obviously, increasingly unpopular - but still stood a chance because his likeliest rival, the divisive and corrupt former President and sitting Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, appeared to be an even less palatable candidate - and voters going to moderate Peronist economist Roberto Lavagna looked more like Macri than Kirchner supporters. In an unexpected, risky gambit, Kirchner picked her former Chief of Staff, the little known and more moderate Alberto Fernández (no relation, it’s a common surname) to run for President, with her being his running mate. This bet paid off: Fernández united the entire Peronist party (no easy task, since Kirchner wasn’t particularly popular with Peronist Governors) and surpassed all expectations: while polling had him in dead heat against Macri, the high number of undecided voters made the race extremely volatile. After two hours of delays, the results of the national primaries (basically a trial election) came in: Fernández had beat Macri by nearly 20 points, 49 to 32, and was, by all intents and purposes, the next President. The markets did not take this well, since the winning candidate was notoriously vague and tight lipped in his positions: in a single day, stocks and bonds plummeted by 55%, and the peso depreciated another 33% - to 63 pesos. Macri performed better in the October elections, getting 40% to Fernández’s 48% due to higher turnout, but still lost. 2019 was another bad year: GDP shrank by 2.2%, unemployment soared to 9.7% (it later came down to 8.9%), and poverty rose from 25.4% (a historic low) in 2017 to 35.4% in the first semester; the only positive figures are the fiscal deficit, which went from 4% in 2015 to 0.5% in 2019, and the trade balance, which reversed sign and was an astounding 19 billion surplus; the current account deficit was reduced from a staggering 31 billion in 2017 to 3.4 billion in 2019, the lowest since 2012 and mostly caused by the positive trade and service balances. The Fernandez administration, meanwhile, surprised in its moderation: efforts have been made to somewhat maintain fiscal balance, while also increasing welfare payments without committing “populist excesses”, to somewhat speak. The fiscal balance has been weak, though, with Economy Minister Martín Guzmán only vowing a surplus in 2023 and returning to the much dreaded “gradualism” of the Macri era. Fernández seemed mostly interested in one issue: restructuring the country’s substantial debt (nearly 90% of GDP), which included a record breaking program by the IMF and the products of a previous restructuring, in 2005, after the country defaulted in 2002 (it would partially default again in 2014) - Guzmán himself is an academic focusing on the issue, and a disciple of the “heterodox” Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz at Columbia.
The healthcare system
Argentina’s healthcare system is complex, heterogenous, and very poorly supervised - public health is not mentioned in the Constitution, putting it under the purview of provinces, except for some compromises between jurisdictions to make it run smooth. Considering the demand side of healthcare, the age structure of Argentina is not particularly concerning: only 15% of the population is over 60, and, on average, 88.5% of those over 60% have some kind of health insurance. Speaking of, 60% have any kind of insurance, according to census data - higher with age. Although 35.4% of the country lives in poverty, this number plummets to around 10% in older groups - providing a better safety net for the most vulnerable groups (children, by comparison, have a 52.5% rate). The country is only worryingly densely populated around the nation’s capital, the City of Buenos Aires, whose metro area comprises 13 million people and an expanded definition is inhabited by almost 20. On the provider side, the country’s hospitals are mostly run by the provinces, except a handful in the orbit of the national government. According to the government, the country spent 9.8% of GDP on healthcare - 6.6% by the public sector, and 2.8% by private companies. The country seems to have a low number of physicians, hospital beds, and nurses - yet the larger provinces with a higher number of cases seem better prepared. Still, the glaring inequalities in the country make it clear that being ill in the wealthy City of Buenos Aires or the oil producing, sparsely populated Santa Cruz would be highly preferable to Chaco or Misiones. Another notable issue is the disparity between systems: private insurers (“prepagas”) offer extremely high quality care, as does PAMI, Argentina’s equivalent to Medicare (it is, in fact, a state-run public insurer for the elderly). The problem comes with the public system, which is much higher quality in richer provinces, especially in the less populated Patagonia. The country, despite not being at such apparent risk, has taken measures extremely early: a full quarantine was announced roughly 20 days after the first confirmed case. The main situation is the country has only really tested those who either traveled abroad recently or were in close contact to those who did - meaning that official statistics of 500 infected, 8 dead aren’t particularly meaningful, and the number of tests administered isn’t publicly available.
Employment, poverty, and consumption
The country being under a quarantine poses a significant risk: 35% of the labor force works in the informal sector, and another 15% is self-employed. This means that, under a lockdown, nearly half of the population wouldn’t receive any income. The Catholic University of Argentina's Observatory for Social Debt (sworn enemies of mine, if you’ve read my previous post on poverty) estimates that 32% of people don’t receive any kind of formal salary, and that just two thirds of those families don’t even collect welfare checks - so 10% of homes will be deprived of all forms of income during a lockdown. The government has tried to mitigate this: bonuses for welfare recipients and the poorest retirees were announced, a $10.000 bonus for the unemployed,and some self-employed people was enacted, and the steps have been taken to ensure that people don’t lose access to basic necessities: a temporary ban on eviction and loss of utilities, a freeze on housing credits and rent, and price controls. The Social Development Minister, Daniel Arroyo, recently declared that 11 million people are receiving nutritional assistance, 3 million more than before - and 3.5 million of whom are children. The consulting firm IDESA paints an even bleaker picture: they claim 45% of all Argentinians live off of informality, meaning the quarantine, on this basis alone, could deal a crippling blow to nearly a majority of families. Others have gone further: a recent report claims that 5.5 million people are at “very high” risk of losing their jobs based on their employment status (self employed of informal) and at slightly lower risk depending on the sector they work in, even if they are registered. The government responded to this by banning firings and suspensions by decree, which will obviously negatively affect job creation (which is at historic lows anyway, according to Ministry of Labor data). Consumption has also been negatively impacted, since the incomes of those newly unemployed will obviously decrease; some retailers have experienced decreases of 50% in sales, and many have estimated that people simply won’t be able to afford their living expenses or their credit card bills (which were recently postponed until after the quarantine is over).
Economic activity and output
Economists estimate that each day of the quarantine reduces GDP by 1 to 1.4 billion, although there is a massive caveat - their projections are all based on national holidays and workers’ strikes, which are quite different because they are both scheduled in some advance, aren’t particularly long (the longest national holiday lasts about 3 days), and national holidays in particular have much higher “entertainment” (cinemas, theaters, restaurants, vacations, etc.) spending than usual. The aim of government policies so far seems to be to mitigate the loss of income on poor families, while not spending too much - the public sector has an extremely limited margin of action, given that current commitments make up 0.6% of GDP with revenue in free fall due to lower activity (VAT, income tax, and export taxes have been particularly deteriorated lately). The demand shock to some sectors will be highly negative: tourism, entertainment, non-basic goods, etc. As you can see here,the largest sectors of the economy (Industry, construction, and retail) will be hardest hit. Starting with construction, things are not looking good: work has ground to a halt, while it has already had its worst performance in decades. The sector also has a very high demand for labor, some of the highest rates of labor informality, and is the third largest sector of employment (360k workers in December) which makes it a ticking time bomb of lost income that has to be addressed as soon as possible - and the government has announced new credits for construction, and a 100 billion public works plan. The sector has already registered its lowest employment levels ever this year, and in an omen for things to come, the massive multinational company Techint has already laid off 1500 workers based on estimates that their profits in April will be 0. Regarding industry, after it has the worst indicators for production in since 2002, only the food and pharmaceutical industries seem to be trending upwards - and they only account for a third of industrial workers, which make up themselves a fifth of all workers.Industrial Union figures claim that just 20% of manufacturers are currently active - and that the entire sector is having difficulties paying salaries or acquiring components. Car manufacturers have shut down production until April, and expect to sell fewer than 200 thousand units this year; and the electronics sector has followed suit. While industry does not have the same level of informality construction does, some issues may arise. The main complication will be supply chains, since many key components for industrial production are imported - and most major manufacturers (notably China) are dealing with the aftermath of their own coronavirus responses. And lower projections for growth in Brazil could especially hurt the automotive industry, where 50% of units sold are destined for the Latin American country, and whose growth has a large impact on Argentina’s manufacturing sector (note: even if the article is old, it still very clearly illustrates the close relations between the countries). Retail is the biggest problem: after a 30% surge in sales in the days leading up to the lockdown (mostly in large chain supermarkets and wholesalers), sales collapsed as people became more frightened to leave their homes: restaurants have reported a 55% drop in sales, bakeries an 80% decrease, and 70% of small shops have already shut down until people are back in the street, since their sales decreased by 50% as well. Retailers in most sectors express concern, and most restaurants, bars, and “proximity businesses” (drugstores, corner shops, and small convenience stores known as “Chinese supermarkets” because their owners are generally Asian immigrants) have seen their income go from a steady stream to a small trickle, mostly due to online shopping and home deliveries - amd 20% of these smaller stores have closed their doors for the duration of the quarantine. Small business owners have already expressed their concern with the situation, with most expecting steep losses in revenue and some even reducing their staff. The sector is the second largest employer in the economy, with nearly 20% of the workforce as well, and a retail recession, so to speak, could collapse into a vicious circle where a crash in demand is reflected in sales, which forces firms to downsize, leading to even more drops in revenue, which starts the cycle all over again. Regarding other sectors: hotels, tourism, transportation, etc: have seen their income fall by billions, and combined employ as many workers as the construction construction. Agriculture and other primary activities are probably mostly affected by second order factors, such as lower international demand and lower prices - which puts them in a secondary position for aid; their main issue at the moment is the paralysis in activity affecting docks and trucking due to the lockdown. “Personal services”, the tech sectors, and other highly skilled workers can probably move home and still receive full compensation; some firms, such as “Latin America’s Amazon” Mercadolibre or companies that specialize in consulting or telecommunications, could even thrive in this context. . All in all, the economy looks like it will take a big hit from the lockdown: experts have estimated that each day in March had a 30% reduction in activity (which could be estimated by the observed drops in the demand for electricity, fuel, and transportation), and some go even further and assume a 45% daily drop in April, due to higher baselines because of seasonal factors. Goldman Sachs predicts GDP would drop by 5.4% in 2020, the largest decrease in 18 years (it was 10.9% in 2002) and more than the previous for years combined.
Trade and the external sector
To begin with, Argentina is basically cut off from financial markets at this point: country risk (the premium the country must pay to borrow) skyrocketed to 4500 points at a maximum, before settling in the high 3000’s, and the country seems to be on the verge of its 9th debt default- restructuring offers are basically dead now, with Guzmán and Fernández previously intending to negotiate during March and April. There is no clear consensus on the specific consequences of a debt default, although this publication by the IMF seems to imply it both causes tremendous damage to a nation’s reputation and cuts off growth by weakening the banking sector (which has taken a pummeling in the last year), even if defaulting itself does not cause degrowth. Since most companies are expected to have difficulties paying salaries due to low liquidity, and most people are also expected to not pay some of their obligations, a financial crash could send shockwaves into an already weak economy. In the longer run, a weak financial sector (like the one Argentina most definitely has) can constrain the access to credit necessary for investment - which is a prerequisite for sustained growth, and which already is at its lowest share of GDP in decades. The government remains adamant that its official position is not to default, but the chances of an offer that both sides are content with are slim - the IMF itself has recently weighed in and supported large haircuts for the sovereign debts of emerging economies. Secondly, trade: most of Argentina’s leading trading partners (Brazil, the EU, the US, China, South Korea) have been negatively affected by coronavirus - China’s GDP is probably going to plummet in the second quarter, and exports to Asian markets have already decreased by 30%. China alone is responsible for almost a third of all industrial exports, which will surely affect global supply chains negatively, as well as reducing imports. Argentina has mostly been a commodity exporter (they made up 40 of the 65 billion dollars in exports during 2019) and commodity prices have plunged during March - soybean, wheat and corn prices will affect the trade balance most harshly, and oil (which is key to national investment in the Southern provinces) has nearly halved in price, making the U$S 15 billion investments that were planned probably unprofitable. The agricultural sector in particular may be heading to a crisis of its own soon, since restrictions on labor and movement, issues with transportation, and blockages to roads and docks have negatively impacted production and sales - and April is the beginning of the most productive part of the year. Regarding Brazil, Argentina’s largest trading partner, relations have been tense due to the personal and political inminity between presidents Fernández and Bolsonaro (who at one point threatened to leave the Mercosur trade bloc) - and growth and industrial production projections for the neighbouring giant have steeply declined lately, which doesn’t bode well for Argentina at all: those indicators, due to the large entanglements between the two nations, are some of the strongest predictors of Argentinian growth (and vice versa: the Brazilian stagnation and manufacturing recession of these last few years have negatively impacted on its partner, which has also entered a recession of its own to the detriment of Brazil itself). Another major issue for the government is the peso becoming “overvalued”: due to the high volatility in international capital markets (almost 60 billion fled out of developing countries/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-infobae.s3.amazonaws.com/public/IG6CNPW4IFD6VM3QCC5RY5VWXQ.jpg)), most emerging currencies have been battered, rapidly depreciating with regard to the US dollar. The Argentinian peso became one of the strongest currencies of such category (honestly surprising news) because the high rates of inflation mean that any devaluation will be offset by higher national prices; as a result, any gains in competitivity done after the massive devaluations of 2019 have already been lost, since the real exchange rate is, in fact, lower than it was in August. As a result, the country will lose many of its trade advantages over its competitors, which will negatively impact the trade balance (fewer exports + more imports, despite more rigorous controls) and possibly create difficulties in acquiring the hard currency in such high demand in the economy.
Deficits, debt, and the money printers
Argentina’s government has been quick to take action on the healthcare front, declaring a quarantine not even a month before the first cases were confirmed, and extending it for nearly a full month. Their political resolve in handling the pandemic was widely praised, with leaders across the political spectrum working together and Alberto Fernández himself soaring to 90% approval, with 95% of the population approving of his actions. On the economic front, things have moved way more slowly. The government has mostly taken actions on the demand side, as was previously detailed, by increasing transfers to individuals on the basis of need and with a means-tested mechanism to ensure that nobody “with too much” gets aid. This logic may be questionable, but it is widely accepted that aiding those most in need is correct; so far, these programs have cost about 0.6% of GDP, doubling the public sector’s deficit (from 0.5% in 2019) amid slumping revenue, due to the ongoing recession (lowering income from VAT and, to a lower extent, payrolls and income) and the collapse in foreign trade (hurting export and import taxes). This will surely create difficulties all over the country, since the government will lose its margin of action concerning any future developments; provincial and municipal governments, extremely dependent on sales taxes, administrative charges, and central government remittances, will take an even larger hit (especially some, such as Buenos Aires, Chubut, and La Rioja, which are having serious difficulties with their external debt). On the supply side, on the other hand, the government has been extremely slow in offering any real support to struggling businesses. 80% of small businesses don't think they could stay in business if the lockdown continues for an entire month, and 70% of companies are planning on cutting costs. Only some sectors (such as tourism and entertainment) received tax cuts, albeit in homeopathic proportions, and some plans to help the construction sector, such as the Procrear credits and a $100 billion infrastructure plan, will take their time. Companies have shown concerns regarding how to pay their employees’ salaries, since the collapse in sales has surely impaired their liquidity - and the Central Bank took measures to inject up to $280 billion into the economy, which has led to much lower rates in short-term borrowing. The government has also recently announced two new programs: government assistance of up to a minimum wage of salaries for companies with under 100 employees, a doubling of unemployment subsidies, and a 95% postponement in payroll taxes for smaller companies (up to 60 employees). This seems to make sense, until you consider that the largest companies have been hit just as hard by the recession in the past year, and that companies with over 100 employees have bled jobs for the last 12 months; this is without even getting into the sector-by-sector measures that almost all those affected (from construction, to cinemas, and small retailers) have already demanded. The fact that this expansion to spending seems to mostly come from into aggregate demand has not put experts at ease: this will not increase revenue at a time of crisis, but it could also be insufficient to protect firms from bankruptcy. One of the biggest problems concerning an enlarged deficit is that almost all avenues of financing it are unavailable: reducing the deficit itself is impossible, as has been specified, and Argentina (as previously explained) is teetering on the verge of default, so it’s not like the financial sector is dying to lend. So the only remaining alternative is seigniorage: in March, the Central Bank assisted the Treasury to the tune of $125 billion, and has printed nearly $400 billion in this regard since December. Even if, yes, money printer go brr (for example, former Central Bank President and inflation hawk Guido Sandleris has defended the expansion as necessary, with some caveats, during a conference) many economists have recently rung alarm bells: the government's massive expansion of the monetary base (some say 62% in all of 2020, and it has recently reached the record high of 2 trillion pesos) could become a factor for inflation to still go up, from the 54.8% 20-year record in 2019 to the 60’s or even 70’s (since the exchange rate is under steep controls and the monetary base contracted massively in the previous two years, nobody serious is forecasting hyperinflation yet). The inflationary tax being a way to raise revenue in this dire context could be acceptable in the short term - the Central Bank gave $125 billion for the government, while overall emission was at nearly half a trillion and was mostly justified with measures to keep firms liquid and not allow the chain of payments to break - or force companies to not pay their taxes to stay solvent. And in another positive development for inflation doves, the demand of money has risen recently - since people and companies are having trouble paying their bills, their employees, or even buying groceries. This makes it unlikely the new pesos will go to the currency market (a leading preoccupation of policy makers), since that could put pressure for a devaluation and boost inflationary expectations - which generate inflation of their own. Concerning debt, the government has taken all available steps to create confidence - despite being at ideological odds with the organism, it was recently announced that they would accept a U$S 3.5 billion dollar SDR that was previously refused, added to smaller loans of a couple hundred billion by the IDB and the World Bank to finance the new spending caused by the crisis. The IMF itself has expressed support for emerging markets giving large “haircuts” to their sovereign debts, which Minister Guzmán seems to have taken at heart: he looks set to offer big cuts to interests and principal, a grace period, and maybe even unorthodox instruments like a GDP based bonus. Bonds recovered slightly, and country risk went slightly down; the problematic aspect could be that part of the recovery in bonds could be by “vulture funds” trying to gobble up obligations for cheap to later sue the country and get the full amount from a more friendly government (as Paul Singer famously did in 2019). While Guzmán’s good intentions were appreciated, bondholders did not accept the offer - and countered with a proposal for a 6 month break in payments and negotiations out of mistrust of the government and the options it presented.
Summing up, 2020 is shaping up to be a tough year for Argentina - or even tougher than expected. All indicators seemed to point at the economy being somewhat on the path to a recovery, with a milder recession, less inflation, and a public sector with a small deficit and a friendly (as possible, at least) debt restructuring. Coronavirus came as bad news (where didn’t it, though) at the worst possible moment. Despite the obvious political differences of most readers with the Fernández administration, it is clear that his handling of the healthcare side of the issue received wide acclaim, even if Latin America’s standards for it are depressinglylow. On the economic front, Fernández acted within the bounds of the mainstream and still focused his efforts on the poorest segments of society. In the immediate context, it could seem like a positive - nevertheless, it’s clear that all actors in the economy will be heavily affected by the crisis, and not providing aid to all of them would be inadequate. The government has also undertaken some deeply populist measures that will have no meaningful effect: a list of maximum prices, enforced by AFIP (the tax collection agency) inspectors which has mostly resulted in crackdowns for the small businesses that can’t actually afford to sell at those values. The authorities could provide the necessary stimulus to the economy, putting those least affected on the back burner until the worst of the crisis has passed; unfortunately, taking coronavirus as an opportunity to enact even stronger controls on market mechanisms out of ideological purity would do a huge disservice to the country at a crucial time.
More winning and losing bets on the 2015 general election: A Betfair punter from the Midlands who put £2,600 on a Conservative majority two days ago has won £46,000. Betting; Quizzes; Voucher codes. General Election 2015: Ed Miliband suffers blow as Labour approval rating slumps to previous election levels the same percentage it got at the 2010 General General Election 2015 odds at Ladbrokes.com Exit poll suggests Tories are certs and bookies face a bashing Conservatives heading for most seats, David Cameron heavily backed to be next PM General election 2015: 10 expert predictions on who will win the. 1/2. The Independent on Sunday carried out a similar polling exercise in April 2010, in which eight out of eight pollsters General Election 2015: Alex Salmond says SNP would 'hold the power' over minority Labour government THE former Scottish First Minister says he'd persuade Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to give Scotland
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