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Utopia Village

By Peter P follow Peter P   2006 Sep 12, 5:18am 12,056 views   222 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    

Tell us your vision of a perfect world. What will housing be like in this world? What is the role of development planning?


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161   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 12:02pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Sean Snaith, an economist who tracks regional economies in California, has opined that the Bay Area at worst would endure a housing soufflé that weakened slowly, not a bubble that evaporated.

A soufflé does not weaken slowly. A hole will appear and Grand Marnier will be poured in.

Quick! Help me counter this!

Is my answer satisfactory?

162   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 12:23pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Mankiw quit his fed job?

163   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 12:24pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        


fed = federal government

164   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 12:28pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I’m game for talking the pros and cons of eugenics now.

hmm, social Darwinism, at least. vive survival of the fakest, à la dubya, david lereah, millions of attorneys, the chattering class, the entire ruling class, etc...

165   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 12:33pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        


Sorry, I didn't mean to object. I just didn't realize Mankiw stepped down from his post at the council of economic advisors. I must have missed a news cycle somewhere.

He writes quite a few of the introductory economics text books.

166   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 12:41pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Actually, I'm quite serious. In the US, eugenics tend to be a slur and have negative connotations associated with Nazism and Southern White bigotry. But it ought to be a seriously and openly discussed in public discourse. How government policy effects the gene pool (and how the government knowingly chooses to educate its children) will effect the future makeup of this country.

167   DinOR   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 12:42pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Doug H,

Since I've spent a great deal more of my life on the "sell side" vice the "buy side" I really revel in it when given the opportunity. I'm not out to make enemies b/c everything I share is in an effort to advance the process. One of the things I'm sure you've noted during this "escalation of commitment" is that there's a point where the seller realizes he doesn't have some "newbie" on the other end of the phone.

There's a pause, an awkward, uncomfortable pause. He's trying to figure out how to "disposition" the call/conversation. Most times they'll decline, but once in awhile they'll "buckle" and you have to go after them. It's all over.

It's the type of buying expertise you see employed by larger companies where the vendor is really just trying to get their foot in the door with the promise of bigger volume down the road.

How do you work the scenario when it really is a ONE TIME transaction like a home purchase? How do you create a sense of urgency within the seller's mind that would lead him to believe this could be the "first of many" deals if he plays his cards right? That's really the only leverage I've ever been taught. I'd like to know how to pull that off!

168   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 12:52pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

it was a popular topic in UK and US right up until the nazi atrocities, then fell out of favour for some reason. some new human rights-based ethical philosophy came along to fill the gap at that point...

we don't do enough eugenics with our pets -- i only had one cat that was intelligent enough to answer to its name, and it accidentally had two kittens who were both neutered, so that's the end of that line. if i'd found another intelligent cat, i could be breeding a new super-intelligent race of cats now, possibly even working on breeding in opposable thumbs... or maybe i should focus my efforts on lower order primates...

169   DinOR   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 12:54pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

"not wanting to buy anything because it will be cheaper tomorrow"

Well...... yeah I can go along with that in principle but I object to the notion of "anything". Not everything is overpriced! I find that most things are pretty reasonably priced (except wedding photographers) sheesh! Anyway, that's a whole other topic.

Buyers have the right to sit on their wallets until we see some restoration in the relationship between incomes and housing prices! I think we have a long way to go before we worry about HARM's Deflation Bogeyman!

170   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:08pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The major critique of eugenics is that you're playing God. Modern westerners, even non-Christian ones, are hesitant about playing God. And in my opinion, rightfully so.

171   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:11pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The major critique of eugenics is that you’re playing God. Modern westerners, even non-Christian ones, are hesitant about playing God. And in my opinion, rightfully so.

The central bankers play God, don't they?

I am a supporter of eugenics, although I do not believe in genes. Perhaps intellectual/cultural eugenics.

172   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:15pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I don’t think I have ever heard a discussion on eugenics that wasn’t in the context of Nazism. I think it’s a topic that too touchy for the politically correct crowd.


It is not unreasonable to think that child-bearing is best left to loving people who have the means to raise and educate their children.

173   HARM   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:22pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Corrupt members of the REIC, serial refinancers and FBs should not be allowed to reproduce. Beyond that, I have no objections, as long as the parents can support themselves + children.

174   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:26pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

It is not unreasonable to think that child-bearing is best left to loving people who have the means to raise and educate their children.

how do you define educate? especially when state-based education is nominally 'free' out of tax dollars as a public good. your children used to be counted as educated when they could draw water from the well and bring it back... and what about other 'middle class welfare'? -- family benefit payments, subsidised childcare payments -- and a 'baby bonus' of about $4,000 per child regardless of income level has been recently introduced here -- so all the drug mums and so on see the money to spend on themselves right now whereas the middle class look at $4,000 and realise it isn't going to go very far in terms of lifespan expenses, and the very rich don't even care about the money...

175   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:26pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Actually, most of the eugenics discussions I have seen recently involved the involuntary sterilization of mentally ill or otherwise ‘undesirable’ Americans in the south from the 1950s-1970s.

It is touchy because it is also perceived to be a racial problem.

Involuntary sterilization is too extreme. A free societ will do no such thing! How about incentivized sterilization?

176   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:30pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

how do you define educate?

It should be define n such a way that incentives are optimized for social utility.

a ‘baby bonus’ of about $4,000 per child regardless of income level

Perhaps it should be made into a reduction of marginal tax-rate. At welfare level, the marginal rate is 0%, so child-bearing is disincentivized.

177   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:30pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

ultimately there are guaranteed legal and constitutional rights of free association, free choice of marriage partner, etc in many modern states... it's seen as something the state can't ordinarily interfere with. however, you nevetheless tend to get self-selection into social strata in more complex societies, i.e. assortative mating where money marries money, intelligence marries intelligence, looks marries looks, kevin federline marries britney spears, etc...

178   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:33pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

it’s seen as something the state can’t ordinarily interfere with

There are difference between incentivization and direct interference. Currently, the incentivization is already there, just reversed.

179   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:33pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Involuntary sterilization is too extreme. A free society will do no such thing! How about incentivized sterilization?

it was done in the US in the 20th century tho. there is a woman in detroit who is offering crack addicts $200 to get sterilised right now -- human rights advocates say that is unconscionable, and that many of the social problems in detroit are due to the poor economy and high unemployment... so there is arguably an interaction between human behaviour and market conditions rather than some innate failure of character...

180   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:34pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

"Perhaps it should be made into a reduction of marginal tax-rate. At welfare level, the marginal rate is 0%, so child-bearing is disincentivized."

ability to make money is not the only worthy trait

I you'd end up with tax fraud/loophole galore. Let's not make social policy with our tax system.

181   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:39pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Currently, the incentivization is already there, just reversed.

that's a good point, i guess the pollies realise they still have to buy everyone's vote -- when everyone has 1 vote, it's hard to get a clearly 'regressive' policy through. interestingly, the PM campaigned on a platform of 'incentivisation' once, and then does things like that -- altho apparently he was against the baby bonus, somehow the cabinet railroaded it thru... so the very nature of 'democracy' works against implementations of eugenics, and instead appeals to a philosophy of the innate rights of personhood -- and this is cemented even more in a country where adult voting is mandatory, and the elections can't really be diddled...

182   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:46pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The problem with these arguments is who gets to decide?

I agree. Who gets to decide?

I guess sometimes any reasonable decision is better than no decision. It may not be fair. But life is never fair. :(

183   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:48pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

ability to make money is not the only worthy trait

I agree. But it can be one of the factors. Education is probably also a good factor.

I you’d end up with tax fraud/loophole galore. Let’s not make social policy with our tax system.

No matter how the system is constructed, someone will be able to game it. This is why Utopia is impossible.

184   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:49pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

innate rights of personhood

To guarantee a supply of future FB's. :)

185   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:50pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

They liked me and we bonded, but there was always the feeling that they were in for a tough life through no fault of their own.

We do not know how the universe works. Examples like this compell me to believe in karma.

Or perhaps happiness is relative.

186   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:53pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

They are buying the votes of people who because of guilt/convictions/religion/whatever believe that the down and out have a right to have as many children as they care to.

Perhaps the burden of welfare should fall mostly on these people.

Well, at least they are not the same people who want over-the-top animal rights. Are they the same people?

187   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 2:08pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Is the mighty China strong enough to survive a US-led global recession?

188   Doug H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 2:10pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        


I *know* what you mean....the lightbulb goes off in their head and they wonder...Oh, crap! LOL

You sound like a professional salesman. I've met a few in my day and they are a pleasure to work with.....and a challenge. No amateur uses that venacular unless they are a pro...congrats.

Contrary to how I sound and come across; I truly attempt to make the deal a win-win. The seller gets what they want....a sale. I get what I want....the best deal. If not, it's mental masturbation and nobody wins. After all, I did go to the car dealer to buy a car...I really do want one. Now, is the car dealer going to happy with the final deal.....hardly; but not so much they don't sell me the car. About all they get is moving a unit, a good survey, and a credit for increased allocation from the factory. I use the front side/back side approach. I lead them to believe I'll give up the back side as long as I get the front....then, I walk out of F&I with a HORRIBLE financial deal....and pay it off within a week. They lost both sides of the deal. Nothin illegal; but it is brutal.

Back to housing.....

I always, and I mean always, play the inexperienced barely knowledgable buyer. All my moves, questions, and demands are low key to put the seller at ease. I stumble along asking for everything under the sun; surprisingly, most people I deal with are clueless about selling so it's very easy to manipulate them. Also surprising is how many concessions are agreed to simply by asking. If they get pissed about ANYTHING, my dumb act covers my mistake....How was I to know that wouldn't be OK; my BIL told me it was!

The longer you "play" them, the more "invested" they are in you and the sale. You do reach that magic moment in the deal when they HAVE to see it through because they've already gone so far down the road. I hold off the heavy artillery until the end.......and by that time, they feel as if they have no choice. Not happy, but driven in desparation to comply.

Buyer's have the least influence at the beginning of the deal. The longer he can drag it out, the greater his influence. The highest level being at closing. NOTHING gets what you want quicker than pitching a fit and walking out from the closing table. The seller is minutes away from his money, the agent is already spending his commission, the documents are typed, and so on.......

I don't know how to sell the seller on the promise of future business because that's not his goal. He watches "Short Attention Span Theatre" and can only focus on his one and only goal; selling his house. The only factor I could suggest would be if are dealing with a builder and can imply you could send a lot of business his way......through your position with a large corporation; but that's a REAL long shot. Builders a pretty savy business people whereas home sellers are clueless. You can get a bunch from a builder, but have to take a whole different approach.

One thing to remember is this IS a one time thing with the listing agent and the seller. Chances are you won't ever deal with them again so, in the course of business, should they get their feelings hurt....who cares! YOU didn't do anyting other than watch out for your best interests, act in an ethical manner; albeit a very, very, very demanding manner....but such is life and business. If a buyer is concerned about receiving Christmas gifts and Birthday cards from the other parties, then pay full asking price........

The best advice I can give is twofold:

Play to, and prey upon, the seller's weaknesses. Find out as much as possible about what's motivating the sale. It's pretty easy to do; ask the right questions and do some research.

Have a "script" written out like a this....then this.....ask this...then that.....demand this.....and so on. You'll be surprised out much more organized you'll be, more confident you become, and handle the twists and turns of the deal more successfully.

Our conversation is getting harder to keep up with in all the comments; but let me know if I can help you become a Certified Nuclear happy to help. I'm not writing a book, selling anything, have some super ego to stroke; my only motivation is to pass along some tactics that were shared with me, have worked well for me, and helping others as I've been helped.

I've bought and sold three houses in my life; this one coming up, will probably be the last, so I'll be retiring from the house buying business soon.....LOL

189   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 2:34pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The problem with these arguments is who gets to decide?

I agree. Who gets to decide?

winston churchill was worried about huge numbers of 'less talented' people coming into the world in british society, given that the middle and upper classes were demonstrably not having as many kids... however, it only takes a couple of scientific breakthroughs and pieces of engineering to make life better for everyone -- the creative discoveries of a few very bright people benefit everybody.

speaking of discoveries, and keeping on the utopian topic, the other eugenics question is -- rather than selective breeding, we may be able to engage in comprehensive genetic engineering and DNA tweaking in the very near future -- once again, who decides what traits should be engineered into the 'superman' of tomorrow? and once it is possible and affordable, won't everyone want to be doing it? à la Brave New World. in other words, normal human reproduction and selection will no longer be left to chance, people will be engineered to be smarter and smarter, free of disease, attractive and physically robust. what sort of morals and ethics will the new superman have implanted? should they be blonde and blue-eyed, or darker? should they be interested in sciences or humanities? if one country makes the technological breakthrough first, will they use it to their advantage over all others? and if we engineer more and more intelligent people, won't that in turn accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and innovation? (beyond self-selection and assortative mating.) assuming they don't all try to become attorneys...

190   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 2:37pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

What do you guys think about selecting birth times through cesarean sections?

191   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:03pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Doesn’t adversity sometimes breed ingenuity?

True. We need adversity to motivate as well as luck to resolve. This is why sucessful people usually have the "right" squares AND trines in their charts.

Needless to say, I can’t answer that objectively.

But you did not choose the birth time in an attempt to "engineer" the fate though.

I have nothing against c-section. The safety of the mother and the child is always the most important.

192   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:03pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

"I wonder if we were to go back and look at the most brilliant minds in history, would we find that they came from brilliant families?"

almost all of them come from the upper classes, though part of that is due to opportunity (or lack thereof)

But I maintain that playing God is too dangerous when we do it based on imperfect knowledge and subjective opinions.

193   Randy H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:05pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        


First off, what’s so scary about price deflation, especially when it’s occurring in a grotesquely overpriced speculative asset.

I am talking about secular, broad-based price deflation. Deflation of one asset class, or cyclical deflation of a broader nature isn't necessarily bad; it's part of the process by which free markets reallocate capital. Recessions are broad-based cyclical deflation.

But, when the trend turns secular it becomes a positive feedback loop that kills capital very quickly. Much more quickly than inflation. Even worse than hyperinflation because it's much harder to break out of.

The Great Depression was so incredibly devastating -- globally -- that I am increasingly fearful as it fades further into the past for a repeat of those mistakes. I give it 30 years before another such event becomes possible. After the very last of the Silent are dead. Then we'll have "geniuses" tell us to "just raise rates and let the process work as it was meant to, killing off the weakness". 10 years after that we'll be fighting a war and socializing 60% of the economy to prevent total collapse.

194   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:05pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

ajh, I knew about Q1. :)

How much is a mid-range unit there in terms of AUD$/sqft?

195   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:06pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

There's a recent report out that say C-sections have high rate of infant mortality, even adjusted for pre-existing risks.

I wonder if women would still get pregnant if they can rent a womb (3rd world human or artificial) at a relatively low cost.

196   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:09pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Deflationary depressions are the ultimate in sticky situations, aren't they?

197   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:12pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I am talking about secular, broad-based price deflation.

There will not be broad-based price deflation because CPI measures only things we do not need.

198   Randy H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:14pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I know nothing about Mankiw. He was just listed on Boggers “blog’s of note” and I thought Randy might want to take a look.

I have Mankiw's text "Macroeconomics" listed on my blog in the reference reading column. He is probably the most coherent and convincing of the neo-classic camp, and his works were largely responsible in my neoclassic bias (although I am not religious about neoclassic economics, but I think the meta-framework is largely incontrovertible).

I haven't read his blog in a while, but I used to quite a bit. I've been spending more time delving into behavioral economics (Eric Johnson; Columbia, whom I had the pleasure of studying under for a term at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin during my international semester. The other was Joseph Stiglitz at London Business School.)

199   Randy H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:20pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

...and I missed the whole eugenics debate, sadly. I'll just say:

1. There are plenty of good, logical, practical arguments against it.
2. There are probably good genetic diversity/evolutionary arguments against it too.
3. It will happen anyway. It's just a matter of when and for whom.
4. If it already is happening, and the result are the CNBC girls, then I say sit back and enjoy it until we're fossils in someone else's evolutionary record.

200   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:22pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

is it dangerous tampering with human diversity? leaders, followers, religious people, sceptics, honest people, dissemblers, scientists, humanists and writers, economists, musicians, comedians, sportsmen, calm people, emotional people, are all different...

however, market societies seem to be selecting on a combination of intelligence and drive... resulting in a one-dimensional valuing of the ability to accumulate unto oneself...

and what if there was a fatal flaw in the genetically engineered übermensch? what if they were a narcissistic powerpath? what values should be inscribed in the genome? self-entitlement or altruism? carnality or cerebrality? how many different models should we make? etc

i think genius is 100% innate tho, as long as a person has a reasonable upbringing regarding nutrition etc. however, we can posit many kinds of specific intelligence which seldom occur at once in any one person: musical, physical (sporting), social, humour, mathematical, visual/spatial, artistic, verbal. currently, IQ tests tend to focus only on verbal and mathematical/symbolic intelligence. even speed and accuracy of recall plays a strong part in defining this sort of intelligence, which once again is seldom measured...

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