It's incredibly hard to think about what goes on in other countries unprompted. It's not that ideas from foreign countries are dismissed for xenophobic reasons, it's just psychologically abnormal to even notice them at all, especially under stress
A lot of people who do compare policies between countries (eg the MPs who asked about covid stuff at the select committee) have spent periods living in other countries or are married to foreigners, it does seem to alter the default geographical scale of thinking
Obvs suspicious of anything which favours my own demographic so if anyone studies the long term effects of / associations with people who live in multiple countries
Maybe we could survey civil servants on their international experience and see if it correlates with the geographic range of policy ideas or something

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More from @MWStory

21 Aug
Are any psychologists studying individual level cheemsing? Something like 'status homeostasis' - the internal alarm which starts to sound when we begin to achieve 'too much' or think 'too big'. People talking themselves out of applying for better jobs etc
It seems basically true that among richer people in richer countries the practical limits of what's possible for someone to achieve are rarely the barrier to improving a life, and psychological limits like "comfort zone" or anxieties about status gains play a much bigger role
There are massive rewards for those able to switch if off (and certain cultural scripts can make you and your whole society richer by drowning it out) but judging by revealed preferences it must be really hard to do, so who is studying how to do that?
Read 6 tweets
20 Aug
This is obviously silly but it's an interesting example of two trends:

1 the (poss unconscious?) reflexive defence of any decision made by 'authorities'

2 (related) the need to frame any institutional imposition on kids as somehow in their best interest…
Reflexive deference to authority is easiest to spot when the authority changes position, and suddenly new pathologies emerge to explain what was previously the virtuous viewpoint
framing institutional impositions on kids as being in their best interest disguises how much of their time is wasted at school because it recasts inefficiencies as learning opportunities. That's why homeschooling/tutoring takes so little time
Read 4 tweets
1 Aug
Weirdest thing I remember about learning languages at school
was how keen the textbooks were to make the country you were learning about seem completely atomised and boring. They presented the reward for years of learning as access to a sanitised suburb with no history or culture
Maybe that's helpful and too much difference will scare off the median kid from learning anything. But then what could possibly be the point given we have sufficient access to deracinated blandness as it is?
Everyone has their own "fix society with schools" thing that doesn't work but it is really noticeable that kids at the more comfortable end of society get exposed to so much more of the world than their mainstream counterparts, and it seems to benefit them a lot
Read 4 tweets
21 Jun
More convinced that "social classes are sticky / fuzzy cultural adaptations to economic positions" is basically right, having seen people switch economic positions and develop new cultural norms similar to other groups in their economic position, even if the groups don't interact
Not surface-level culture like tastes in food or music or clothes etc, those things change all the time and don't mean much, but norms and attitudes which may not be explicitly acknowledged- like attitudes to work, interests, money, status, relationships etc
Taiwan has pretty generous visa and tax arrangements for people who are relatively high NW and willing to move, so in Taipei you meet international people who made enough cash in bigcorps to not *need* to work anymore, and who are adjusting to that new economic position
Read 12 tweets
23 Apr
15 months apart
The border belief described here was incredibly powerful and wormed its way around institutions the world over. The pandemic preparedness index ranked you *less* prepared if you had previously closed borders in the event of disease outbreaks
The WHO had measures to *prevent* border closures in the event of disease outbreaks written into the international health regulations, and even built tools to track outbreak-related border restrictions, so they could lobby to get them removed…
Read 4 tweets
23 Apr
There's a good essay in the psychological/social condition (rather than just the direct economic position) of smart upper middle class young adults, and why Altman observed founders disproportionately coming from that background
Obviously by definition there are very few "super successful" people so it could still be that their offspring have an even bigger advantage than the UMC kids and it's obscured by their scarcity, plus thanks to homophily Altman is gonna know more UMC people anyway but
It does seem like UMC kids have some unusual advantages in building new things even beyond what you'd expect given their economic status (can afford to risk a career year on a new biz, likely to have savings, not supporting parents financially, good education to fall back on etc)
Read 10 tweets

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