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The Better Angels Who Pay Me A Lot of Money To Give Talks

claud_alexander's picture

Over at nakedcap yesterday, the study on chimps potentially being able to cook somehow reacted in my mind with the TPP fight to produce, in the comments, a "possible career-making project for ambitious young mainstream economist: Inter-State Is Over: The Case for Inter-Species Free Trade

Just imagine the Ricardian gains if all those cooking jobs (“since 2008, the food preparation sector has seen one fastest-growing in the country, yet worker productivity remains low relative to software engineers”) could be given to chimps, while the humans go off to get STEM degrees!

Ken Rogoff can write an an additional Project Syndicate piece on his theme of Free Trade and Hypocrisy on how, while we’ve been myopically and rather selfishly wailing about low wages in Bangladesh or China, we continue callously to ignore how the median chimp lives on less than 0.005 cents a day, and how, if the powerful service-sector unions and populist politicians didn’t impose arbitrary regulations regarding non-human employment in our nation’s kitchens, inter-species free trade "could lift millions of chimps out of poverty.”

Then team up with Steve Pinker and give a TED talk on how, if the concept of human rights cannot meaningfully be restricted to humans, then neither can that of human capital, therefore restraints to trade based on species-membership are as illogical as those founded on nationality.

By then the book will probably already be a hit, with enough popular traction for some Krugman to chime in with a clever, chin-scratching blog post about how, before technological unemployment started to affect humans, it affected horses, who saw their livelihoods disappear as railroads and automobiles became increasingly prevalent (“What Mr Ed Can Tell Us About the Rise of the Robots”). "Entire landscapes changed as technology replaced a once pervasive form of labor and created new ones. Uncertainty gripped those who felt their livelihoods threatened. Am I talking about America after NAFTA? No, I'm talking about cities like New York in the 1920s, when automobiles gradually replaced horses as. . . Would we really see the resulting gross inequality between the median nose-bag and the average pay of workers in automotive plants as a reason sufficient to restrict humanity to the use of non-equine transport?", etc. etc.

So far, so very commentish, but the reason I hoist the thing up now is because of the bit, Then team up with Steve Pinker and give a TED talk on how, if the concept of human rights cannot meaningfully be restricted to humans, then neither can that of human capital, therefore restraints to trade based on species-membership are as illogical as those founded on nationality.
I don't really know what suggested Pinker to me as a faddish water-carrier for horrible neoliberal ideas, but, anyway, "imagine my surprise" when, today, the guy shows up in a piece called

Steven Pinker explains how capitalism is killing war

(Vox, obviously)

BTW, I once had to study that line of GIGO polisci research, and indeed it features a large number of papers "showing evidence" that trade agreements reduce violent conflict. So of course young Ezra's boys suddenly find themselves inspired to start writing it up now.

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Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

It writes itself really. In fact they should get chimps to do it. (i understand McDonald's is already working on chimp hair nets, and we already know they can use computers, so what's the hitch?) Or they could just skip the race to the bottom (why pay chimps to cook burgers or numbers when gibbons will do it for half as much?) Just create a clone army of Malcolm Gladwells. Forget trying to train a lemur to do a chimp's job that you gave to a gibbon. The best way to win is to skip all that de-evolution and start at the Finish Line. One talk and "Malcolm" goes back to the cloning vat, in liquid form via a nutri-tube. Replace with a fresh Malcolm subcontractor when ready. Never bother with employee withholding tax forms again.

Submitted by lambert on

... that covers the entire body. Somehow, that seems like a metaphor for everything just now.

Anyhow, congratulations to Claud A for being ahead of the cyncism curve!