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Saturday, December 26, 2015

On Transcendence

Maslow identified the highest level of his hierarchy of needs as self-actualization.  I have expanded this to, in aggregate, a concept that I call 'The Finely Crafted Life'.  This includes not just self-actualization, but also self-improvement (for Polymathicans erudition is a large portion of this), aesthetic expression, social justice and transcendence.

Maslow Hierarchy of NeedsAs incomes explode across the world, most populations will be pushed up Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  In other words, when median household income is 500,000 2015USD, the lower level considerations of shelter, food, clothing, health care, etc. will become relatively insignificant. Everyone will have these things and people will begin to think of higher level needs.

Among the quintessential Polymathicans I have only gotten push back on transcendence.  Apparently many perceive this as code for religiosity.  While consideration of religious questions is part of transcendence, that is an inaccurate interpretation.  Transcendence, as I use it, is a relatively complex concept that actually contains its own hierarchy of meaning.

At the most basic level it means transcending the purely animal aspects of our motivations, behaviors and interests that are fairly well summarized in the lowest of Maslow's levels.  The Polymathican quest for erudition is a good example of this.  People who are functioning at the lower Maslow levels view education as a route to a job, which is a route to money, which is necessary to satisfy Physiological and Safety needs.  Polymathicans view erudition as an expression of humans' basic curiosity and consequently seek knowledge and understanding for their own sake, not as a tool to satisfy animal needs.

Transcendence also can be interpreted as a desire to externalize oneself, or to transcend self-interest, even enlightened self-interest.  Specifically, the transcendent person will be informed by ethical principles that are not based upon efficient functioning within their proximate social environment.  In this sense, transcendence stands opposite to Utilitarianism and more generally Consequentialism.  It implies that principles govern and that while the ends inform us as to the morality of the means, they do not, alone, justify them.

It has not been uncommon, in the history of Philosophy, to reify the non-animal character of humans as a soul or, alternately, the super-ego. Contemplative, reflective and synthesizing, it appears, experientially, to be in some way non-corporeal.  It is to this definition that some Polymathicans object.  In doing so, they are confusing the answer with the question.

The question is, 'To what do I refer when I refer to self?'  For some the answer may be a higher order, self-referential, manifestation of cognitive activity.  This answer does not make humans unique in their transcendence.  There is strong evidence that several other mammals are capable of recognizing themselves as individuals. However, it is an Objectivist interpretation of transcendence, not a logical repudiation of it.  In other words, it recognizes that some animals, including humans, cannot be explained entirely by describing them as 'survival optimized stimuli-response machines'.  There is something more, transcendent, about these animals.

There is a second order interpretation of transcendence that involves the contemplation of the human species' relationship to the rest of the universe. As a greater percent of the population gains sufficient affluence to focus on the higher Maslow's levels, this has become an important issue.  Some people believe that humans, in fact all species, have a moral imperative to place their well-being above the well being of other species.  Others think that humans in their ethical considerations should weigh the well-being of all species equally.

This is inherently a transcendent question.  Pure animals will pursue their own survival and well-being without any considerations of transcendent meaning. In fact, no animal, save humans, will contemplate the question at even a rudimentary level.  For that matter, only transcendent humans will.  Many, perhaps most, people spend little to no time thinking about this.

So, while I appreciate the negative connotations that the term transcendence has for many people, including some Polymathicans, I do not apologize for its inclusion.  In fact, I would argue that transcendence, in its several meanings, is above self-actualization on a modified Maslow's Pyramid.  I would also say that Polymathicans are not characterized by their answers to transcendent questions, but rather by their interest in them.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Catalonia, The Donbass and the Coming Left/Right Divorce

The Catalonians had a referendum on secession from Spain in 2014 and secession won with a commanding 80% of the vote.  The Catalonian Regional Parliament had an election in September, 2015 and the parties favoring independence took a majority of the seats. They are moving toward independence. This is interesting because while it was close, similar movements in Quebec and Scotland lost. The next time, they may not.
Catalonian leadership as of a month ago has vowed to implement independence from Spain within 18 months. The Spanish national government sued for and received from the Constitutional Court, the opinion that Catalonian secession is illegal. So, an 18 month fuse has been lit. Perhaps they will find a way to put it out, but right now, it looks like we are going to have an interesting experiment on separatist movements in the very heart of the developed world.
How Spain, Catalonia, the EU, NATO, and the UN handle this is going to set the tone for a future that is likely to see a growing number of regional independence movements.  It could also modify the accepted processes in resolving currently contentious separatist movements as exists now between Ukraine and The Donbass.
In the Ukraine, when the new central government announced that it intended to pursue a course toward EU membership, both Crimea and the Donbass declared independence. For these Russian Identity regions, the declaration of EU membership without Russia was a step beyond an example of acceptable majority rule and was taken to be an example of 'tyranny of the majority.' In both cases, the central government's reaction was to bring in troops, tanks, and rocket launchers to forcibly return these regions to Ukraine.
Russia moved in protect Crimea from the Ukrainian military and subsequently accepted Crimea's request to join the Russian Federation. This has been improperly characterized as a Russian annexation.  In fact, it was petition for membership in the Russian Federation favored by the vast majority of Crimeans, that had historical precendent but was illegal by Ukrainian law.

 The Donbass did not have such a history nor such a clear majority in favor of secession. So, in that case Russia offered limited and covert protection for the Donbass against violence from the central government while advocating that both sides sit down and negotiate.
That eventually happened in Minsk, Belarus, with France, Germany, Russia, Kiev and representatives from the Donbass at the negotiations and after two sessions, Kiev agreed to allow effective autonomy to the Donbass while issues were worked out. This, of course, is where it should have started and if it had, a whole lot of bloodshed could have been avoided.
That is clearly not the model that we want to use for the handling of separatist movements. Declaring the secession illegal and moving in with military enforcement is not the proper response no matter what the Constitutional Court says.  And, it is very difficult to imagine that it is what the Spanish government will do. It is posslible that they will roll tanks into Barcelona, but that would be a surprising and unfortunate response to Catalonian independence.
The Catalonian situation is of international significance because it is an opportunity for the community of nations to have a better model for the proper response when a region decides it no longer wishes to be a part of the nation as a whole. If the Ukraine model stands, the 21st century is going to be a violent one. However, I do not believe that Madrid will respond that way. I think that once it is clear that the Catalonians won't back down (if that is how it goes), I think they will go immediately to negotiations.

The Catalonian independence movement is the direct result of the EU and, in some ways, it is surprising that it took this long for a major independence movement to arise.  The nation state in Europe has had the problem that the EU weakens national identity because some of the sovereignty has been transferred to the EU.  Because of this, by comparision, regional indentities have become more important than national identities.  This is a phenomenon not unique to Spain.  Certainly, U.K., Germany, Italy are all good examples of EU nations with identifiable regional identities.

This is also important because the U.S. is heading for a divorce. While separatist movements in the EU are the result of regional identity, in the U.S. it will be the result of underlying cultural values of the Right and Left that have reached the point of being irreconciable differences. Crafting compromises has become ineffective, which is why Congress has become so confrontational.  It is reflecting the changing attitudes of the electorate.  Simply put the U.S. is reaching the point where the benefits of the union are less than the costs of unacceptable compromise.

Exactly how it will play out is impossible to say with precision. However, it is possible that Texas will reach a point similar to Catalonia where they do not see that the submission to the majority on a series of issues is sufficiently compensated by the benefits of the union. After all, Texas is larger than many significant countries and has a very nice coastal region.  It is a viable nation state.

If Texas secedes, the Republican Party will become a permanent minority and strongly red states will likely follow suit and sue for membership in the new Republic of Texas. It is quite possible that Houston's Harris County will not secede as well as a Democratic swath of counties along the Rio Grande. There are probably several other states whose majorities would vote for independence where urban counties would not secede with them.

Given the political polarization that Pew Research has found to have emerged over the past decade, public opinion is actually ripe for a secessionist movement. One way that it might begin is with County referenda on whether the County favors membership in a Conservative nation.  The referendum might be phrased like this - 'If a portion of the U.S. became a separate, more Conservative, nation would you favor XYZ County becoming part of it?'

Such referenda would have no legal force and would likely be declared illegal by Federal courts.  However, they probably would not be taken any farther than the press reporting that XYZ county has voted to join a hypothetical, more conservative, nation if it were to come into existance.  Neither the Federal government nor the county would attempt to move any further.

Unlike the first U.S. secession, where northern leaders were strongly in favor of forcing the South to remain part of the Union, today, many Democratic thought leaders are moving toward the view that it would be better for the rest of the U.S. if Texas seceded.  They see a long string of legislative initiatives that are being thwarted by red state majorities in Congress such as gun control, the death penalty, climate change, etc.  Also, a number of issues currently settled or mostly settled, such as ACA, abortion, gay marriage ,etc. are being put under pressure with every election.  The successful secession of just a handful of strongly red states would likely turn the U.S. permanently blue and allow those states that remain to move toward a European style social democracy.

There is a serious question whether the strongly liberal northeast and the more laid back liberal Pacific coast, if separated by a mid continent conservative nation could continue on as a single nation.  The rest of EUNA (roughly equivalent to the NATO nations) would probably see the eventuality of three daughter nations as beneficial.  Far too often, due to its sheer size, the U.S. has behaved like a playground bully.  The three nations would be closer in population and GDP to other EUNA nations and would have foreign policies that would differ significantly from one another.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Case for Energy Subsidies

Energy is unambiguously unsexy.  It runs our cars, warms and cools our houses, which are necessary functions, but we really want it to be as invisible and inexpensive as possible.  This distinguishes it from nearly every other purchase we make, where both price and features enter into our decision.  We do not all buy the least expensive car, least expensive sofa, least expensive shirt, etc. However, we do want our energy to be the least expensive available.

This assumption that all energy is fungible is inherent in the alternative energy conversation where comparison of 'cost per unit' becomes the primary, and in some cases only, consideration.  However, a growing number of people are inclined to inject the features of cleanliness and renewability into the conversation.  These are not benefits that redound to the individual consumer, but rather to society as a whole.  As such, there is an altruistic element to it.

A problem arises in the implementation of any additional features to energy supply because the ability and willingness to subsidize these features varies substantially among citizens.  The typical two wage earner professional family with a household income of, say, 150,000 USD is likely to be willing to pay 50% more for electricity in order to subsidize clean and renewable sources.  A single mother of three with a household income of 30,000 USD may simply not be able to afford it.

Given that we want a clean, functionally inexhaustible source of energy, the best base load will likely be Enhanced Geothermal Energy (EGS), though it will likely never be the least expensive.  The essential technology is to drill a hole until a depth is reached where the rock is of an optimal temperature.  A chamber of fractured rock is created, water is dropped down which converts to steam and is used to run a turbine.  Water is condensed and recycled.  

The technology is particularly attractive because it has minimal surface presence, unlike solar and wind that require enormous 'farms' covered with energy collection equipment.  In fact, the power plant could be built underground so that all that is visible on the surface is the transmission cables.

Of course, much of our energy usage is currently in the form of hydrocarbons.  We use gasoline to move our cars and natural gas to heat our buildings.  However, technologies are emerging that will allow both to be accomplished using electricity.

Modern heat pumps will cool building interiors and heat them when the outside temperature falls as low as -20F.  Fuel costs are competitive with natural gas and less expensive than heating oil.  With populations consistently moving to lower latittudes, this will eliminate nearly all carbon based heating.

The ultimate transportation solution, which may be upon us prior to 2030, will be self driving electric cars that get their energy by induction from the roadway rather than being stored in on board batteries.  This will likely be less expensive, in total, than our current gasoline driven system, however, transitional periods may be more expensive.

The ability to subsidize energy premiums related to benefits that accrue to the common good increases exponentially with income.  I am not in favor of subsidies for the cost of goods and services as a remedy to income disparities.  It is more efficient to subsidize income directly.  Also, by subsidizing specific products and services the government is making lifestyle judgments which reduces liberty.  However, here we are recognizing that the cost of energy has two identifiable components, 1) the cost of energy by the least expensive source and 2) a premium related to specific choices for the sake of cleanliness and renewability.  It is not only acceptable to subsidize the second, one my justifiably argue that since the benefit is to the community, the cost should be borne by the community.

The U.S. has attempted to subsidize energy sources directly which has led to large payments to energy equipment manufacturers that have subsequently become bankrupt and thus benefited nobody.  It is much better for the government to mandate a percent of energy supply that must be clean and renewable and then compensate the producer so that they may charge the ultimate consumer the price that would prevail with a least cost supply.

In my ongoing planning of a Polymathican microstate, this is precisely what I propose.  The microstate will subsidize the production of electricity, with base load satisfied with an Ocean Thermal Gradient System (OTEC), with the difference between the microstate's cost of service and the average of Southeast U.S. rates.

We will use OTEC because the island, Samana Cay is very close to deep water and the surface water temperature is extremely high.  Using the open cycle design, it will produce truly enormous quantities of fresh water.  Peak Shaving will start with the daytime burning of garbage.  Excess base load will be converted into synfuel that will then be burned during peak load times.  A strategic supply of synfuel will be retained to provide emergency supplies.

The net effect of the above is that we will not develop piles of garbage, all energy production will be local and the supply is secure from interruption.  This will not be as cheap as building coal fired plants, but the benefits to the community are worth the additional cost.  It just shouldn't be borne by individuals but rather by the community as a whole.  I hope that this model becomes the norm as North America and Europe moves toward renewable energy supplies.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Polymath, Visionary and Indefatigable Change Agent

I define myself as a Polymath, visionary and indefatigable change agent.  It is a self-definition that I wish was more common among the intelligent.  The world needs more of them.  Polymathica absolutely needs them.

As a Polymath, I have dedicated my life to learning.  I am capable of reading with comprehension peer reviewed articles in dozens of fields in the natural and social sciences.  Over the years, I have become quite expert in several fields including Economics, Psychometrics, Business theory and practice, Philosophy, Statistics, Physics, Population Genetics, to name a few.  

I have a number of standing search strings at Google Scholar.  So, after I have checked my e-mail and had my morning coffee, I start my day with Abstracts.  If any of the articles appear to be worthy of a full read (which actually isn't very common), I tag it for later in the day. 

I then scan a series of online newspapers, including Guardian, The Economist, BBC.com, RT.com, Pravda.ru, al Jazeera America, et alia.  This allows me to see different takes on the same events as well as gain an understanding of who is being made of aware of which news stories.  Right now, the Syrian military actions are the point of greatest divergence in reporting.

Surprisingly, it also leads me back to some peer reviewed papers.  For example, today The Economist drove me to a Nature article on  important experimental results on Bell's Theorem 

I call myself a visionary because, dispositionally, my interest is primarily in how things could be better than they are today.  The global Western civilization of free markets and liberal democracy arguably has given us the best time in history.  However, that is good, only if one grades on a curve.  I do not.  On an absolute scale, I would give it a C- at best.

We have an opportunity during the Transformation to create the first true Golden Age of Mankind, with liberty, justice and universal affluence.  I discuss this in my blog under the pages The Transformation, Cultures of Affluence, The Finely Crafted Life, and Rise of Microstates.  The world I envision is far different than the world of today.  And, because it is multicultural, it does not depend upon my personal notions of what is good or better.

For example, currently there are many neomarxist movements sprouting up everywhere, primarily using the coming wave of technological unemployment and the resultant income disparity as a tool to argue for large institutionalized income transfers.  I am not in favor of them.  However, I am in favor of allowing proponents of these visions to create microstates where their particular brand of neomarxism is implemented.  Everyone, if they have at least a few thousand compatriots, should have a shot at their utopian vision.

My vision, and I think there are quite enough compatriots in this to eventually make it a reality, is to create a Polymathican microstate(s).  I explore the idea deeply at the end of the page 'Rise of Microstates.'

Indefatigable Change Agent
I am also an indefatigable change agent.  This is important because, despite the thankless nature of the activity, I am forever attempting to mobilize people to begin the process of creating the Information Age civlization.  I try to argue from several perspectives.  Some people, I hope, are visionaries and will be motivated by the nature of the vision.  However, also, people who stay on the forefront of the Transformation will also be among the people who achieve Information Age careers and income well in advance of the general population.

Hyperintellectuals (160+ D15IQ) people are strongly inclined toward being lotus eaters who consider small group arguments as the height of action.  That is a generalization, of course, and as a change agent, I am constantly trying to find the exceptions.  It is a thankless job, but I will never stop doing it.

To this end, I do need to find people of action to create Polymathica, complete with a web presence and The Polymath magazine.  Our first step is to create curated groups/forums that will, over time, through blogs, advertising, etc. build Polymathica into the multi-million member community that it should be.

We also need to create educational systems and certification processes for Polymaths.  This will be useless if we do not, also, have people who are promoting the value of a Certified Polymath.  The most powerful argument will be the contribution of our Certified Polymaths, so, despite the current lack of respect, we need to find people who are willing to be pioneers in certification.

So, A Call to Action
A global network of culturally and values defined microstates is an inevitable outcome of the Transformation and I believe that Polymathica will be one of those Cultures of Affluence that eventually will be manifested in many microstates.  While the Libertarian City-State of Honduras looks like it will be the first, I believe that Polymathica can be one of the first few microstates.  However, we first need to make the first step.  In order to do that, it must attract more than just I as a Polymath, visionary and indefatigable change agent.

Perhaps you?  If so, subscribe to The Polymath and join our group http://polymathica.network-maker.com

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Fallacy of the 1%

I listened to U.S. Democratic Presidential debate the other day and I was dismayed by the incessant hammering the participants applied to the 1% richest people. This only works as a political tactic, and it works quite well on the left side of the spectrum, because people don't understand statistics very well.  Specifically, people are predisposed to accept a reification of a statistically defined classification.

Four years ago, $350,000 per year household income was sufficient to be in the 1%.  Today, household income must be over $500,000 to make the top 1%. People look at that and conclude that while the rest of the country saw little or no real increase in their income, the 1% saw an increase of nearly 50%.  Let me state this without equivocation.

This is good politics but it is horrible statistics!!!

This 'us vs them' mentality has become so pervasive that it will not be easy for most readers to have their perspective on this corrected.  However, it is very important that they do.  It is one of those cases where people's thoughts are being manipulated for political gain.

The 1% is not a monolith.  It is fluid. Families enter the 1% and then, as often as not, leave it.  By age 60, 11.1% of families have at least one year in the top 1%. Only about 60% of those families who are in the top 1% for at least one year in their life will be in the top 1% for ten or more years.  This is what I mean by reification.  There is no ccommunity of wealthy  While some members of the top 1% persist, it is generally comprised at any one time of less than 10% of those who will be in the group at some piont. 

For example, a family that earned $350,000 in 2010 was in the upper 1% that year.  Even if they got raises of 6% per year, well above what was received by the middle class, in 2014 their income would be about $440,000 and they would no longer be in the upper 1%.  Put another way, it is not that the wealthy got huge income increases, though some did.  Rather what happened is the amount of income needed to make the top 1% increased significantly, primarily because new people entered the ranks of the wealthy and often they did so at an income level well above the minimum requirement.

Part of what causes this are many small business owners who sell their business and retire.  In the year of the sale their income can reach the upper 1%, but it will go back down the next year and from then on.  They only sell out and retire once, but there are so many small businesses that they still comprise a significant portion of the top 1%.  Because the 'baby boomers' are retiring now, this is particularly important.

The idea that there are these 1% wealthy families who are getting huge income increases and everyone else is getting nothing is just not correct.  The proper analytical approach is to choose an income level designated as 'wealthy' and look at what percent of the population meets or exceeds it.

Let's look at $350,000 per year which in 2010 was the cut off for membership in the despicable 1%.  Because we want this to be absolute purchasing power, we will increase it by the CPI.  That means that in order to have the purchasing power of 350,000 2010USD a household would need to earn 373,915 2014USD.  So, this is the proper way to look at it.  

In 2010, 1% earned over $350,000.  In 2014 about 1 1/2% earned over $373,915.  It is not so much that the rich got richer as they got more plentiful.

It is likely that for those who were in the 2010 1%, their income increased significantly.  After all, they are participating in the Information Age economy which is inherently growing.  For example, during this period, online sales increased at a rate of aboutr 11% per year, substantially higher than the economy as a whole. However, the arithmetic process of determining the average income of the 2010 top 1% and the 2014 top 1% does not valid.  As we see from the above, in 2010 we are calculating 100% of what we are calling 'the rich' where in 2014 we are calculating the top 67%.  The average income of 'the rich' is going to go up just because of that.

There does exist an emergent and more meaningful demarcation of the population. However, it is not defined directly as income, which actually serves to obfuscate rather than elucidate.  It is properly defined as those who are entering the Information Age economy and those who are stubbornly (or desperately) holding on to the Industrial Age paradigm of trading time for wages.  

The former typically have incomes in the '1%' range (now the 1 1/2%) and are seeing rapid incremental increases in their income.  The latter are finding that their value added, at best, is remaining unchanged.  With an approaching wave of accelerated technological unemployment this situation is going to become much, much worse.

Consider a person who is working for $60,000 per year in an Industrial Age job and then decides to create an Information Age career.  The research indicates that typical successful Internet companies will triple their revenue each year for the first three years.  Then growth will begin to slow down until the enterprise reaches market saturation.  

Let's assume that this person starts his or her business with a book value of $100,000 and has a theoretical return of $67,000 per year (See Death of Capitalism).  In the first year or two, (s)he will actually experience a decrease in both cash flow and stated income, because most of the return will go to growing the business. However, by year four income has reached $1,800.000 ($67,000 x 3^3) and growth has slowed enough to create significant cash flow.  The person now is safely ensconced in the '1%'.

This is what we are seeing.  People literally leap into the Information Age income range over the course of just a couple of years, sometimes in just months.  They leapfrog members of the '1%' and displace them.  Here in Sunny Isles Beach, which is designed for households with million dollar plus incomes, I see it often enough.  

For example, one fellow lives in a $3,000,000 condo on the beach and owns a Bentley, Ferarri and AMG S65.  He became an affiliate for an online pharmacy and found a way to drive huge amounts of traffic to the site.  Many online pharmacies are paying 25% commissions, so 10,000 customers buying $20 per month of medicine is $50,000 per month in income.  He apparently does better than that.  He hasn't shared how he does it.

Another fellow drives around Sunny Isles Beach in a new white Rolls Royce Wraith.  Just last year he started a business where he charges wealthy Russians $150,000 each to get permanent residency status.  His service just exploded on the scene in a matter of a couple of months.  Just one new client per month puts him comfortably in the top 1%.

Yet, another fellow started an online pet supply site.  It went from two employees to 170 employees in just four years, easily exceeding the tripling every year for the first three years that is the norm.   Now, he owns a yacht parked next to his penthouse condo at the marina and drives a Bentley.

These are the new members of the Information Age elite.  They literally leap into the upper income ranges from the lower 99% and displace previous members of the 1%.  They vastly outnumber the investment bankers, hedge fund managers, Fortune 1,000 CEOs and top level lawyers that we are encouraged to think of when we think of the 1%.  These new Information Age workers are getting almost all of the increase in GDP per capita from the U.S. economy.

This distinction is very powerful.  One thinks quite differently if one thinks in terms of the top 1% getting all the GDP growth than if one thinks in terms of an additional 0.1% of the population joining the Information Age workforce each year.  With the first you will likely think in terms of a closed door country club to which you do not belong and to whose members all the goodies go.  You will tend to think of income acquisition as a zero sum game and you are on the wrong end of that game.  In the second you are more likely to ask, 'Why them and not I?  Why do I not decide to become one of the 0.1% who join this group each year?'  Why not, indeed?

By 2040, more than 50% of the population will belong to 'the 1%.'

Clearly, from the country club, zero sum game world view of 'the 1%' the above statement is ridiculous. However, when viewed from income rather percentile, plus sum game, it makes perfect sense.  Whatever income level a person sets as the cut-off for 'the rich', the number of households that achieve it, in real dollars, is growing and will continue to grow.

Like most economic trends, the percent membership in the Information Age workforce will grow following a logistic or 'S' curve.   In other words, for a couple of decades the 0.1% growth in the Information Age workforce will increase - 0.1%, 0.12%, 0.14% etc.  This means that while the increase in the '1%' is easy to miss today, it will become obvious within ten years.  As it does, the clear bimodal profile of Information Age workforce and Industrial Age workforce will become apparent to all.

Income and wealth inequalities are unavoidable and, for most cultural value systems, appropriate.  The current concern is over its relative increase over recent history.  In 2007, the top 1% earned about 22% of total income, a percent last seen nearly 100 years ago right before the great depression.  (Note: some non peer reviewed sources place this as high as 28%)

It has generally been blamed on rather simplistic mechanisms such as the transfer of costs from labor to capital expenditures.  Because the wealth disparity has always been greater than income disparity, an increase in capex is seen as the source of the increase in income disparity.  However, a Council on Foreign Relations white paper that, while including technological unemployment, also assigns some of the cause to globalization of the labor market, increases in the education premium, etc. 

However, while not invalid, that is an Industrial Age way of thinking.  If we consider who is entering the top income tier and often entering well above 500,000 USD 1% floor, it is essentially people who have mastered the use of high efficiency Information Age marketing.

The pet supply marketer succeeded because he uses the more modern advertising techniques where you will or will not see his display ads based upon the cookies on your computer.  The permanent residency consultant and online pharmacy affiliate found very efficient ways to connect their potential customers and their service.  That is the single biggest secret to joining the Information Age workforce.  It is not easy which is one of the reasons that only 0.1% are managing each year.

We see two countervailing forces at work.  Advanced robotics and AI are increasing GDP through improved productivity.  It is causing technological unemployment which depresses compensation of Industrial Age jobs.  At the same time, the new productivity tools are making it possible for individuals and small groups to enter the Information Age workforce which allows them to jump quickly to high income.

There are three steps that appear to be essential to success.  They are

  1. Find a product, service or content that is marketable to an identifiable market niche
  2. Find a marketing channel that will allow cost effective access to the market niche
  3. Create a business model that is profitable and allows for high internally funded growth
Of these three, number two is usually the stumbling block.  In fact, seasoned Information Age workers understand that finding a product is easy, building a viable business model is not difficult, but finding your customers profitably is the big challenge.  That is why the Internet is full of advertisements promising to show you how to acquire leads cheaply. By the way, they rarely work.

Despite this, every year some people succeed at it and jump to Information Age incomes.  
As this happens, no matter what is taken as the floor income of the rich, the percent of the workforce that achieves it by joining the Information Age workforce increases over time.  However, by defining the rich on a percentile basis, whether that is 1% or 0.1% or even 0.01%, you are creating a moving target.  Every year 'the rich' is redefined and is forced to be an exclusive club with the same number of members.  As we saw, this kind of thinking results in some members of 'the rich' enjoying a healthy income increase and still finding that they are no longer rich.

However, if we define 'the rich' by an absolute, even if CPI adjusted, dollar amount, there is no limit to how many people can join.  Globally, over most of the developed world, I generally think in terms of 1,000,000 2015USD per year as a reasonable goal.  It will fund two super-luxury automobiles and a 500 meter home in most places.

At present, fewer than 1% of households earn that much and even fewer do so year after year.  However, over the next 20 to 30 years, 20% or more of households will reach that level.  The other 80% while not reaching that level of affluence will still earn a median household income of 500,000 2015USD. There will still be a 1%.  However, one need ask whether it will have any significance by today's standards.

By reifying percentiles of income we are confusing ourselves and interfering with our ablity to think productively about our collective economic future.

Monday, September 28, 2015

On the Right to Self Determination

In 2014 a Scottish independence vote lost 55%-45%. It probably seemed a little odd to most people that such a thing could happen in a stable, first world nation. However, yesterday the pro-independence parties of Catalonia won the majority of seats in their legislature. They have stated that they will move toward independence from Spain. However, the rhetoric holds no force, since the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that it would be illegal for Catalonia to secede from Spain. Yet, there it will be - nearly 8 million Catalonians have formally, if not legally, declared that they don't want to be part of Spain.
This is not ourt of the ordinary, actually. Abkhazia and South Ossetia don't want to be part of Georgia. Transnistria doesn't want to be part of Moldova. The Donbass doesn't want to be part of Ukraine. Chechnya doesn't want to be part of Russia.  The Kybelians don't want to be part of Algeria. The Sahrawians don't want to be part of Morroco. The Tamil do not want to be part of Sri Lanka. The Kurds don't want to be part of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to separatist movements. We don't know much about them because the press won't give them oxygen. The Catalonia vote may change that.
Thirteen British North American colonies, in their declaration stated 'The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.' Anyone who is familiar with the history will likely conclude that this was hyperbole in the support of what they wanted to do. However, in retrospect, the secession generally has been granted legitimacy.
It seems that a right to secession won't be viewed as legitimate without some justification. In other words, a people can't just decide one day, 'Hey, you guys are nice and all, but we really have decided that we want to be us, not a part of you.' I'm not sure why, but that seems to be universally frowned upon.  
We readily confess, however, that at some point subjugation of a region reaches a level of severity where secession is morally justified. However, there has been no formally stated set of criteria that delineates when that point is reached and we have ample evidence that the severity of usurpations is in the eyes of a, usually, not unbiased observer.
The secession of the Balkan states from a Serbian dominated Yugoslavia was generally assessed to be legitimate by the EUNA, but not by Russia. The secessation of Crimea was assessed as legitimate by Russa, but not by EUNA. In a just world, the criteria for legitimate secession would be clear, allowing for objective adjudication.  
I, for one, would be inclined to institute a relatively low hurdle. I have stated that, in my opinion, the first principle of Information Age political philosophy will be that no person should be required to live under a body of laws, programs and policies that they consider to be fundamentally unjust. That is not to say that political disagreement constitutes justification for secession. However, morality informs us as to what constitutes just laws and if we can't agree on basic moral questions, we can't very well craft a nation ruled by law that seems just to all. It assertion seems quite reasonable if, to many, impractical. If shown to be practical, I do not think there is will great resistance, at least in principle.
From a practical standpoint, I think that any region that can demonstrate that their will is consistently thwarted by the will of the national majority is in a strong position to say that their right to self-determination has been sufficiently abridged. I realize that this would probably allow much of the South to secede from the U.S. even today. However, I would argue that it is well justified.  
The South, in a majority, doesn't want abortion on demand, gay marriage, the current level of adjudicated separation of church and state, etc. The, in the main, believe in less Federal control of local affairs. In other words, they are, generally, not living under a body of laws, programs and policies that they consider to be morally correct. While they would not vote in favor of any of these, the majority of Americans do not live in the South and in its entirety, these laws have support. However, the notion that the people of New York and California, by virtue of their very large populations may impose their will upon the people of Alabama and Mississippi is sharp, to say the least. I am having this problem right now with the Ukraine. The Donbass was OK, if not thrilled, with being part of Ukraine until a government came to power that stated without equivocation that it intended to pursue EU membership. The ruling party has a history of disenfranchising the Russian language, the majority language of the Donbass. These are what is causing this violence in the Donbass, not Russia. The Donbass, by a rather wide margin, does not want to be in the EU, given the hostility that the EU has demonstrated in word and deed toward Russia. Kiev is attempting, through force, to enforce a continued sovereignty over the Donbass to do so.
The International community of nations has 'international law' that prohibits self-determination for the Donbass. Most countries have national laws that forbid secession (the USSR was an exception). So, it is claimed by the people of Brussels, Washington, or Kiev that Donbass secession (and Catalonian secession if it comes) is illegal. Isn't this properly an issue between and among the people of the Donbass? We can, improperly I think, get it all lost in issues of Russia-EUNA relations which may mean little or nothing to the people of Eastern Ukraine who are just looking for some right of self determination.
However, now the Catalonians will present the problem again without the International political intrigues. In other words, EUNA vs Russia is not going to cloud the issue. And the Catalonians will hardly be the last. This statement of Catalonian national identity will likely embolden the Kurds, for example, to their desire for an independent Kurdistan. Sooner or later, the community of nations with transcend the 'our friends can secede, but our enemy's friends cannot' approach and develop consistent, objective and fair criteria. Mostly, I hope that EUNA, Russia and China will develop a attitude of neutrality and allow local peoples to resolve local issues.  
When we draw a clear line between International law and the rights of a regional population, the world will become a kinder, gentler place.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Future of Prostate Cancer Treatment

On July 17, 2015 I was diagnosed with high risk but localized prostate cancer.  In the subsequent two months I have learned just about everything there is to know about the treatment and prognosis of prostate cancer  Prostate cancer is an adenocarcinoma which forms from mucous producing tissue.  It is a common form of cancer, in addition to the prostate, of the lungs, pancreas, colon, and others.  Consequently, though I am specifically studying prostate cancer, the advances in treatment will have importance over a broader range of cancers, among which are some of the most deadly.

We are probably closing in on very high 'cure' rates for many of the more stubborn cancers by utilizing multimodal approaches.  For example  the treatment that I have chosen begins with four to six months of multi-drug neoadjuvant treatment.  The three drugs I will be taking are Lupron, Cassodex and Metformin.  This will be followed by Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT).  This will take between 6 and 8 weeks.  Then we will use the same drugs for adjuvant treatment, except we will add a statin.

Here is the logic.  Lupron and Cassodex, in combination, lower available testosterone to nearly zero.  Prostate cancer needs testosterone to survive and grow.  Lupron stops the 90% to 95% of the testosterone made by the testicles and Cassodex interferes with the availability of the remaining 5% to 10%.  The result is that the prostate cancer cells have no access to testosterone.  

These drugs do not constitute a cure because over about three years, the cancer evolves into one that survives despite the absence of testosterone.  However, the two in the short term shrinks the tumor by as much as 50%.  This allows the largest radiation dose to be focused on a smaller volume.

Lupron, Metformin and, perhaps, a very low carbohydrate diet, weaken the cancer cells more than normal cells.  Consequently, after four to six months treatment radiation therapy is much more successful.  This may partially be due to prostate cancer's relative inability to metabolize ketone bodies.  Both Metformin and a ketogenic diet lower glucose availability which doesn't much affect normal cells but starves cancer cells.  

Lastly, both Lupron and Metformin through metabolic modifications of reactive oxygen species, make the cancer cells more susceptible to radiation damage.

After the radiation therapy the vast majority of cancer cells have died.  However, even a few escapes can eventually grow into a new, more resistant cancer.  So, after the radiation therapy, we want to make the body's environment as hostile to the cancer as possible.  This is done first with a continued testosterone starvation using Lupron and Cassodex.  Between the two 99% of testosterone is either turned off or unavailable to the cancer

However, we also want to continue with the combination of Metformin and a statin.  In one study, Metformin use reduced risk of disease specific mortality (DSM) by 24% for every six months of use.  Another study found that combining Metformin and statins result in a 40% reduction in DSM.

The key to this is that Casodex, Metformin and statins attack the cancer in different ways. While Metformin weakens the cancer cells to radiation in the neoadjuvant phase, it has a different role in the adjuvant phase.  There is a cellular mechanism called apoptosis by which a cell recognizes that it is not well and commits suicide.  Clearly, because cancer cells are not well, in order to survive apoptosis must be turned off.  Metformin appears to turn it back on again.

What this means is that the cells that are not susceptible to Casodex are susceptible to Metformin and may be susceptible to statins.  In addition to these three drugs, I will continue to use a ketogenic diet to control my diabetes.  Consequently, cancer cells that survive the radiation therapy will need to survive testosterone starvation, glucose starvation and an assault of apoptosis.  That is a really hostile environment for the cancer.

There is no literature on this four pronged approach.  I may be the first patient to try it.  Also, most of the research, especially on combined Casodex and Metformin, has been on patients with metastatic prostate cancer, where the objective is not a cure but to slow the march toward mortality.  Such a broad spectrum assault on just a handful of PCa 'escapes' may be unique.

A promising fifth assault is a vaccine Provenge which sensitizes the body's immune system to PCa cells.  It is approved for use when there is pathological evidence of metastasis and is not intended as a cure, but rather to extend life.  It does so, on average by four months and costs $100,000.  It is generally, therefore, not being used.  However, it is not being tested as a normal adjuvant treatment designed not to attack a massive body wide cancer but to eradicate any escaped cancer cells after radiation or radical prostatectomy.  There, because it does not work like the other adjuvant treatments, it may be the straw that breask the cancer's back.

Also, it may be overkill in my situation.  We are not even sure that there has been any escape and BCR is assessed in my case at 70% probability.  There is a 30% chance that none of this is necessary.  However, I'm not willing to bet with the odds not in my favor.

Lastly, on average BCR takes place 27 months after treatment and with just some of the adjuvant treatment, that is delayed to 36 months.  Then, on average, it takes about five years before there is clinical evidence of cancer.  That is if it happens.  About 65% percent of the time BCR is not followed by clinical evidence of cancer.  Once the first signs of cancer are found, on average it is 8 years to death.

What that means is that IF BCR happens for me and IF it leads to clinical evidence of cancer, my average life expectancy from the time of treatment is 36+60+96=192 months or 16 years.  There is a very good chance that during that 16 years new treatments will be developed that can extend that even further.

Metformin and statins are some of the most widely prescribed drugs, are very cheap and have benefits for most older men even if there is no benefit for prostate cancer.  I am fortunate that I have a oncologist who is willing to go with me on my rather novel preadjuvant and adjuvant therapy.  My belief is that if the radiation therapy can lower my PSA into normal ranges, the four barreled adjuvant therapy of Lupron (which is standard), Casodex, Metformin and statin will place me in the 75% of men who never develop clinical relapse.

If you find yourself confronted with a diagnosis of prostate cancer and about 15% of all men will, don't let your doctors lead down a conservative treatment road unless you have very low risk prostate cancer.  You have one shot at this.  If you have a radical prostectomy and your PSA doesn't drop to zero, they will likely recommend salvage radiation therapy, but the benefit, while measurable, is not wonderful.  If you go directly to radiation therapy as I am, don't allow them to skimp on neodjuvant or adjuvant therapy.  As I said, you have one shot at it.  If it doesn't work, your options decrease quickly.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth and The Inappropriately Excluded

Yesterday I found myself in a kerfuffle over 'The Inappropriately Excluded' on Twitter.  Wow, arguing subtle points of cognitive theory and statistics in 140 character bites - that is insanely frustrating.  So, I'm moving over here to my personal blog where I am not limited and I will link back to the other combatants.

The difference of opinion was over whether https://my.vanderbilt.edu/smpy/files/2013/02/Kell-Lubinski-Benbow-20131.pdf is a strong refutation to the inappropriately excluded.  Let me say at the outset that every single scientific conclusion is made in the face of some contradictory evidence.  No theory should explain all the evidence because some of the evidence is wrong.  The research into IQ and careers by Robert Hauser is not completely consistent with my conclusions and I do not dismiss that.  It is possible that the exclusion is less dramatic and those who would want to argue that would quite properly use Hauser as an argument.

However, from the perspective of one of the inappropriately excluded the paper under question is a very poor refutation.  In defense of the paper, it really wasn't trying to make a point about very high IQ and commensurate career success.  Still, it is being used as such in my current argument.

The paper states that the children selected are one in 10,000 which implies a D15IQ of 156 which on the surface, if we also accept that their career performance at 38 is commensurate with their intelligence would be a powerful refutation.  However, to begin with, the calculation is incorrect.  The mean SAT score was 1325, which at the time was about 99%'ile and implies, if, IQ equivalent is meaningful, a mental age of about 23.  At age 13, this implies an R16IQ of 23/13=177 which equals a D15IQ of 156.  So, while the calculation is incorrect, on the surface, the conclusion appears correct.

However, that is probably a substantial overstatement of the mean IQ.  Per the Spearman model differential performance is caused by specific factors and a general factor (g).  The general factor explains about 50% of performance differences when applied to a specific performance item.  Now, as we are all aware, some people have a talent that causes them to perform in a specific area much better than their general performance.  That is clear here where the median SAT-M was 690, a truly extraordinary score for a 13 year old, and the median SAT-V was a more ordinary 545.

Among high scorers as a whole, SAT-V tends to be slightly higher than SAT-M, however, generally very close to each other.  a 145 point difference strongly suggests that something in addition to general intelligence is at work.  If we were to estimate IQ from the SAT-V it would imply a mental age of about 20 and a R16IQ of 154 or a D15IQ of 143.  So, in the absence of other problems, which I will discuss later, a more defensible conclusion would be that these young people have a mean IQ of 143 and, additionally, possess a significant talent in mathematics.

However, there are other problems.  If you were to give IQ tests to 100,000 people and select the top 100, you would have selected people with D15IQs over 146.  However, not really.  The reason is that people have good days and bad days and their tested IQ will vary based upon which they were having when they took the test.  Test makers give a margin of error of 4 or 5 points.  Well, when you do the above process, you are selecting high IQ people to be sure.  But you also are introducing a selection bias toward people who were having a good day and would probably not score as well if they took an IQ test again.  It is generally not significant, but when you are selecting one in 10,000 it does become significant and means that the computed IQ of 143 is probably high by 2 or 3 points.

There is a second selection bias.  The SAT is not an IQ test, however, during the time the test was administered, it had a correlation of about 80% with IQ.  So, one can think of the SAT as .8IQ+.2?.  In normal situations, that would probably not be significant.  However, in situations where you are selecting high SAT performers, you are also selecting high ? performers and, therefore, a conversion will tend to overstate IQ, again probably by 2 or 3 points.

Lastly, as all girls do not reach menarche at precisely the same age, not all children reach intellectual maturity at the age 16 that is assumed in calculating IQ tests.  Consequently, when you select high IQ children, you are differentially selecting early maturers.  That is important because their apparent intellectual superiority disappears when they mature early and by age 16 or 17 the other kids have caught up.  Again, in most circumstances this is not very important, but when you choose the very highest performers at age 13, you are, again, introducing a 2 or 3 point selection bias.

So, in total, this group of high SAT performers, if they had their IQs measured at age 38 would probably average between about 134 and 137.  However, because their math talent would cause them to max out their quantitative part scores, they may score as high as 140.  This places them at an IQ range where we would expect the exclusion to be moderate and a significant percentage of them would be expected to have solid careers commensurate with their IQs.

Leta Hollingworth placed an upper limit on the range of success at 155 R16IQor 144 D15IQ.  While that is the point where the exclusion reaches a relative 50%, I would set it higher, since about half of Nobelists have IQs higher than that.  So, we see that based upon the 'one in 10,000' statement, this group would appear to be outside Hollingworth's 'success sweet spot' (and mine as well), but based upon the likely actual IQ, they are comfortably within it.  And, with a pronounced talent, high performance especially in STEM is to be expected.

However, in truth, the performance of the group is not particularly impressive.  They achieved 107 graduate degrees out of 320, which, while good, is not impressive.  11% or 35 became tenured professors, but between them, they only published 60 papers by age 38.  Many individual academics manage that by themselves.  Arthur Jensen published over 400 peer reviewed papers, for example.  They are responsible, as a group, for 49 patents.  There are 37 currently active inventors who have individually created more than 500 patent families (a patent family is all the patents registered with regard to one invention).

To reiterate, there are always research data that are at odds with a conclusion.   Robert Hauser's research, while not eliminating the exclusion, is the most contradictory.  I don't place as much weight on his work as I would if he reported IQs above 133.  A few STEM luminaries have taken a few high IQ tests, notably the LAIT and Mega, and have done very well on them.  This, in addition to some theoretical considerations, explains why I have a caveat about Math and Physics in the article.

We need a comprehensive 150+ IQ study similar to the Minnesota Twin Study on the heritability of intelligence.  Without it, my conclusions, while well supported and generally consistent with a preponderance of the evidence, are not as strongly supported as I would like.

Yesterday's kerfuffle is a good example of how confirmation bias interferes with the thought processes of the highly intelligent.  Those who argued with me don't want the inappropriate exclusion to be true and they went out to find evidence that it wasn't.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Either I Am Insanely Brilliant or Steve Hsu is Wrong Again

Steve Hsu made the claim that if parents have a mean IQ of n, their children will have a mean IQ of .6n.  Ok, my children have a mean IQ of 2.5 sigma.  That means that their mother and I have a mean IQ of 4.2 sigma.  Their mother has an IQ of 1.8 sigma, so my IQ must be 6.6 sigma.  Of course, that would statistically make me the smartest person in the world.  I think that there may be a different explanation.

The answer is that regression to the mean isn't 40%.  In fact making that assumption leads to other curious conclusions.  The Terman subjects had a mean IQ of 3.25 sigma.  Their children had a mean IQ of 2 sigma.  So, from this we can calculate the mean IQ of the spouses.  It is 3.4 sigma.  In other words, despite the difficulty of finding spouses in the same intellectual range for people with IQs above 2 sigma, the Terman subject managed to find spouses that were even smarter than themselves.

Let's take a more reasonable assumption.  Suppose the Terman subjects managed to find spouses at 2.5 sigma.  That is high and, actually, not very likely.  Still, from this we can conclude that regression to the mean would be about 30%.  This would calculate my IQ at 4.65 sigma.  High but at least not outrageous.

What astonishes me is that we don't KNOW the answer to the regression to the mean.  It is not a hard piece of research.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Our Founding Team

The Polymathic Institute will start The Polymath with some articles, and standing advertisements for a 3 semester credit online course entitled 'Remediation for the Inappropriately Excluded' and an e-book store featuring titles of interest to Polymathicans.  In order to succeed, we will need a Founding Team.  This will include the following functions.

  • Article writers, we will need three to begin with who write one article every three weeks.  Because we have such a small writing staff to start with the writers will need to be notably polymathic.
  • Course creator.  I will necessarily take this main position, but we will need a person who is competent in the technical aspects.
  • We will need about 3 people to create and stock the e-book store.
  • We should have one person who starts the process of advertising sales
  • One circulations expert to run our subscription program
  • A financial person to handle payments and record keeping.
  • A layout person for The Polymath and the Archives
That is about a dozen people.  We probably will add a few more as we go as highly motivated participants search for their niche on the founding team.

Right now we have six people on our team, but only two have really been identified with a position.  So, if you want to become involved, let me know.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Billionaire Philosopher King?

In the late 1990s I came to two important realizations.  First, I realized that Internet television would emerge and eventually end Cable TV.  The second was that a confluence of forces, including Internet TV, would result in the emergence, probably in the 2010s or 2020s of a new trend toward semi-autonomous microstates, similar to Andorra, Bahamas, Luxembourg, etc. that will be carefully designed to enable and facilitate a specific set of values and lifestyles.  

The Internet TV realization, when I published it, was universally rejected. The microstate argument was simply ignored.  Today, with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, CBS All Access subscriptions and iTunes, Amazon and Google Play purchases, the idea that Internet TV will replace Cable is not so far fetched.  The first values based microstate is being planned right now in Honduras.  It is the first, but it is far from the last.

There are about 600 million households in Western civilization and by 2040 at least a third of them will have entered the Information Age (median household income of 600,000USD) and moved to microstates and independent city states such as Singapore.  If the average micro state is comprised of 100,000 households, Western civilization will need 2,000 of them by then.  With an average market value of 3 million per household, that is 600 trillion USD of construction.

Because most microstates will be an expression of a larger Culture of Affluence, the developmental structure will likely be two tiered.  To make this more concrete, I will use the example of Polymathica, though it will likely be just one of 25 to 50 Western Cultures of Affluence.  As I mention elsewhere, the population of the various Cultures of Affluence will likely follow a Pareto distribution.  So, adjusting for the 1/3 that will live in microstates at that time

  1. 10,000,000 households
  2.   9,500,000
  3.   9,025,000
  4.   8,573,750
  5.   8,145,000
  6.   7,738,000
  7.   7,351,000
  8.   6,983,000
  9.   6,634,000
  10.   6,302,000
I suspect that Polymathica will likely be the eighth largest Culture of Affluence and, therefore will have about 7 million units built at a total market value of 21 trillion USD.  Within the Polymathic Institute will be a general design team that will receive a 1/2% fee for design, copyright and marketing services.  Most of this will accrue to the Institute, itself, and be used to promote polymathic research, education, careers and lifestyles.  However, each microstate will have a dedicated design team comprised of creative visionaries.

Polymathica will build 7,000,000/100,000 = 70 microstates by 2040.  They will average 100,000 households but will vary from as little as 10,000 to as much as 500,000.  The average will have a market value of about 300 billion USD.  The design team of each will differ, of course.  Some may have a single dominant designer, others may have design teams of 2 to 6.

The microstate design team will receive a design fee of 2 1/2%, which will, then average, 7.5 billion USD, and create anywhere from one to six billionaires per microstate.  Of course, of the 70, some designers will move to a second microstate.  Still, this process will likely create nearly 200 billionaires among the designers, just in Polymathica.  Among all the Cultures of Affluence, the total will likely exceed 5,000, compared to the total of about 1,500 billionaires today.

While the construction of these microstates will undoubtedly create many additional billionaires in finance, construction, commercial real estate, retail, etc. I am focusing on these microstate designers because they are essentially 'philosopher kings'.  They will hold no political power, but by carefully designing every aspect of the microstate, they will provide the vision and wisdom that Plato imagined for philosopher kings when he said, "
philosophers [must] become kings…or those now called kings [must]…genuinely and adequately philosophize".

I have been designing a Polymathican microstate on Samana Cay in the Bahamas.  You can read much of my work on the page Polymathica Villages.  It is not yet complete, but it has sufficient information to get a general sense of the process. As I have done this, I have come to realize that this is precisely the kind of work that is appropriate for a 150+ D15IQ member of the Inappropriately Excluded.  The traits of high IQ and polymathic knowledge are absolutely necessary for success.  And by doing it, if it leads to billion dollar plus net worth, one can accept that it is fair compensation.  He or she has created a near utopia for 250,000 people.  That should be worth a lot.

The village or microstate design is more than just platting and designing buildings.  Yes, comprehensive line of sight renderings will be executed.  Skyline renderings will also be done.  The physical structure will be designed with the utmost of care.  However, also, a complete economic model will be built that allows the designer to set realistic rules.  Retail and professional services will match demand against economies of scale.  Infrastructure will be designed to assure efficiency and effectiveness.

In other words, when I set the minimum wage at $50 per hour, I first made sure that boutiques, restaurants, etc. would be sufficiently profitable at that labor cost without requiring overly burdensome prices.  Part of that is establishing the proper number of permits.  What cities tend to do is allow overbuilding to the point where labor rates are driven down to their lowest acceptable rates.  The argument is that the additional choices improve the prevailing quality of life.  However, if by maximizing choices, it creates a large underclass, that simply isn't true.  

Samana Cay will have a 1,400,000 square foot fashion mall with average revenue per square foot of around $4,500.  That is sufficient to provide a robust selection for the residents but still allow a minimum wage of $50 per hour to be supported.  In fact,, my calculations suggest that competition for the best fashion consultants may push hourly wages substantially higher than minimum wage.

I also work deeply into infrastructure, energy, water and sewer, transportation, etc.  In otherwords, every last detail is worked out to assure that the microstate runs efficiently.  I also do a whole lot of role playing.  For example, I may imagine that I am a twenty-something age couple with a household income of 170,000 USD.  Where do they live?  What work do they do for how many hours per week?  How do they get to work, to shopping, to entertainment?  It is Saturday morning; what options do they have for the day?  Can they afford them?  In other words, I am not just designing a village or set of villages, I am designing lifestyles that are proper for Polymathicans.  The village designs encourage polymathic lifestyles.

When people consider relocating to Samana Cay, they will be given detailed descriptions of the body of laws, programs and policies.  I design them, though we will use 'focus groups' a lot to determine how Polymathicans will react to different ideas after they have been explained.

The importance of this is that political action, and the social friction it causes, is minimal.  If a family doesn't like the rules, they will move somewhere else rather than village.  By relying on market mechanics, the importance of politics fades to relatively insignificance.  This is what I call Market Based Governance. The rules are part of what you sell.  It doesn't mean that there are no democratic processes; it means that they are relatively innocuous.

This is a massively polymathic design process and an extremely complex project.  It will require the best minds available who, frankly, today are being excluded from large scale projects such as this.  They will not be exactly what Plato imagined as a Philospher King, but they will provide essentially the same services.  Upon success, they will not only be very wealthy, they will be lionized by the residents.  The won't be George Washington - more like Benjamin Franklin.

While it is still a half decade before even the first microstates will start having residents, it is certainly not too early to start planning.  So, I hope that at least some of our Polymathic Institute Members will use the tools that they will acquire from membership to begin the process.  I know that I will dedicate some time to building a design team for Samana Cay.  Do you want to build a eight or nine figure net worth doing something really, really important?  I know that I am not averse.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Polymath and The Polymathica Villages

I am sick and I'm trying to rest, but my brain doesn't actually ever stop.  We have this amazing opportunity to grow Polymathica to its full potential.  Briefly, by posting articles to The Polymathic Institute page and encouraging subscription to The Polymath, I am adding subscribers for 40¢ - 50¢ each.  That is a stunning number because The Polymath, alone, given proper execution, should generate that much free cash flow per month.

While, operationally impossible, financially, we are able to double our circulation every month.  That means that, after a successful crowd funding, we can focus on producing and monetizing the best magazine we can.  Subscriber acquisition is handled.

The Polymath subscriber is often more than a reader of intellectually sophisticated articles; often subscribing is a statement of identity.  It says 'I am intellectual.  I am committed to lifelong, polymathic learning.  I am disinclined to a dissolute lifestyle'.  In other words they are a Polymathicans.

While few will grant its practicality, many Polymathicans are attracted to the Polymathica Villages (note the tab).  It is not a Utopian vision, though, for the Polymathican, it is such a vast improvement over the Mediocracy and the resultant,  inappropriate exclusion, that the distinction is moot.

I have assumed that it is a project for my dotage - impractical prior to 2030.  I have assumed that I may observe its birth, but that younger, more vigorous Polymathicans will midwife the first Polymathican microstate.

I think that periodic infirmity may not be without some compensatory benefits.  Since I am unable to focus on problems to my usual degree, I give associative mental processes more emphasis.  So it is today.  I realized that the ability to increase circulation of The Polymath to 4-5 million in three years also changes the timetable for the Polymathica Villages.

The reason is that The Polymath provides over 60 million USD of highly productive annual advertising to P.E.N.  members which, in turn, enables 3 billion USD of enterprise revenue.  It also enables project crowdfunding, Polymathica TV and Polymathican education and certification.  In other words, we will have many members capable of acquiring a finely crafted life and able to start a Polymathica Microstate within five years.

Initiating a Polymathica Microstate has a multiplier effect.  It works like this.  Suppose a family of four that has recently acquired a 1.5 million USD 'live anywhere' income decides to move to the Polymathica Villages.  They sell their house, pay off their mortgage and buy a 4 million USD house in the Polymathica Villages, taking out a 3.5 million USD mortgage.

The sale creates a 120,000 USD commission for the agent.  It also creates 60,000 USD commission and securitization profit for the mortgage.  The contractor gets a 272,000 USD profit.  The selling price includes 960,000 USD of fabrication labor. While the family brings 1.5 million USD of annual income, the first year, through borrowing, they bring over 3.0 million of income to island income.

The family will need doctors, lawyers, teachers, public safety personnel.  They will shop, eat at restaurants, patronize the arts, etc.  As a general rule 50% of their purchases are income to other Polymathicans who spend it with 50% becoming income for other Polymathicans, etc.  So, we have 1+.5+.25+.125..... = 2.  However, primary immigrants will have at least 2X the Microstae median, so every primary immigrant will create two secondary immigrants.

That means that we will need 33,333 primary immigrants over ten years who will be acquired from 4 million Polymathicans.  That is 33,333/4,000,000 = .833%.  We currently have 2,600 Polymathicans × .833% = 21.6 primary immigrants.  I am confident we have that many.

In the end, these Polymathican villages and microstates fuel my vision.  Right now we need to focus on The Polymath because it creates the global community of Polymathica which enables everything else.  But in the end the triumph will be in Microstates that express Polymathican ideals.