Noah Smith 🐇🇺🇦 Profile picture
Writes about economics, tweets about rabbits. Check out my Substack and sign up for the free email list:
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Sep 19 7 tweets 2 min read
All the crypto in the world is worth about 8% of all the gold in the world, about 0.9% of all the stocks in the world, and 0.02% of all the real estate in the world. Bitcoin, by itself, is worth about 3.3% of gold.
Sep 17 5 tweets 2 min read
The Financial Times recently wrote an article describing the U.S. as "a poor society with some very rich people".

This is very wrong. In fact, the broad U.S. middle class is quite rich compared to the middle classes of other nations.… In addition to my beef with the "poor society" phrase, I think the graph @jburnmurdoch posted is (unintentionally) deceptive in two ways.

First, note that the U.S. data ends a year earlier than others. This makes Norway look ahead of us at the median, when they're not.
Sep 17 7 tweets 2 min read
I just don't understand how this headline and tweet fit with the data presented in the graphs. The graphs show that at the 50th percentile -- i.e., the middle class -- America is richer than nearly anyone else. It is just bizarre to say that America is a "poor society" when its median income is higher than almost any other country's.
Sep 16 4 tweets 1 min read
Many people now think of the 90s as this golden age of good feelings and social unity, and yet it featured a ton of right-wing terrorism, including one attack that killed 168 and injured 800. Imagine if a rightist blew up a building and injured or killed almost a thousand people today. Imagine Waco and Ruby Ridge and the Atlanta bombings today. Most people would call it a civil war.
Sep 13 13 tweets 6 min read
1/A few days ago, I posted a pair of charts about carbon emissions. Both were fairly well-received.

But both received some criticisms regarding the use of per capita emissions vs. total emissions, some of which I will now post. ImageImage 2/People criticized the graph on the left for not looking at per capita.

People criticized the graph on the right for looking at per capita. ImageImage
Sep 11 6 tweets 2 min read
My guess is that China will provide some economic assistance to Russia in order to get cheap oil and gas, and then basically just leave a dysfunctional, unstable, weakened Russia to be a North-Korean style distraction for Europe. My suspicion is that because China's leaders know they aren't good at doing true alliances, and because they don't really respect any other country, they want to build up a portfolio of "rabid dogs" -- dysfunctional militarized regional powers to distract potential rivals.
Sep 10 4 tweets 1 min read
In 2009, I remember buying a cup of Tazo Awake Tea. On the teabag was written something like: "Picture yourself on a lush tea estate in 19th century India. Your morning cup of tea would have probably tasted something like Awake." I remember showing it to the person next to me and saying "Well, this is assuming I wasn't one of the people working in the fields..."
Sep 9 5 tweets 2 min read
Batteries are crucial to the industries of the future. Drones are crucial to the future of warfare.

Right now, China absolutely dominates both of these industries. That needs to change.

Here's how we can change it:… Our first step is to switch to EVs as rapidly as possible. Right now, China is zooming ahead of everyone else in EV adoption. We need to catch up!!
Sep 8 4 tweets 1 min read
I feel like I knew why Nazism was bad before I ever took a humanities class of any kind If you need a professor to explain to you why murdering millions of people is a bad thing, maybe what you actually need is a psychotherapist.
Sep 7 4 tweets 1 min read
In honor of Chile rejecting its draft constitution, I wrote a giant post about Pinochet.… 13 graphs in this one. Was gonna put in a few more, but it was already getting pretty epic.
Sep 7 8 tweets 2 min read
I think this is it, yeah. Social media -- especially Twitter and Facebook -- initially steered us toward non-exclusive circles, which meant that instead of finding your people, you spent all your time defending against people you didn't really want to interact with. The censoriousness of 2010 wokeness was just an outgrowth of social media, I think. In the 90s you could seclude yourself in a subculture; in the 2010s, every FB group degenerated into flame wars.
Sep 7 8 tweets 2 min read
For me, the biggest red flag about 2010s wokeness was that it didn't come with any improvement in lifestyle. 60s/70s wokeness merged with the hippie movement, and that meant it had love, drugs, sex, rebellion, art, creativity, a search for new ways to live. 2010s wokeness, though, didn't seem to offer any of that. It was always problematizing itself into perfect sterility. Hippie culture was all about doing the things you weren't supposed to; 2010s wokeness was about always finding more and more things you weren't supposed to do.
Sep 5 7 tweets 3 min read
If American workers are going to be able to thrive and win in the modern economy, they need lots and lots of automation.

It's time to leave the "great robot freakout" of the 2010s in the past.… South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Sweden all use more robots than we do.

And guess what? More of their workers are employed in manufacturing than in the U.S.

This is not a coincidence.
Sep 5 6 tweets 2 min read
This agrees perfectly with what I see from a lot of Republicans -- they wish Trump would somehow go away, but they can't actually oppose him because that would be giving progressives and Democrats a W. This is why Nixon resigning was such a boon to the Republicans of the 70s. The libs got a brief W in 1974, but by 1976 it was all in the past and the pendulum was swinging back hard toward Reagan.
Sep 4 4 tweets 1 min read
Matt Taibbi was a professional basketball player in Mongolia.… Matt Taibbi is half Asian/Pacific Islander
Sep 3 4 tweets 1 min read
Yep. I think a lot of people got obsessed with the idea of "winner-take-all" markets and finding the "next Facebook". But in fact, most companies don't need to be Facebook -- an economy dominated by a few mega-corporations has a lot of problems. I mean, with stiff competition from TikTok and others, and its stock back down to 2017 levels, it's not clear that even Facebook fulfills the 2010s VC dream of a natural monopoly bestriding the world like a colossus.
Sep 3 8 tweets 2 min read
Thread about conservatives' unhelpful obsession with looking tough: I would add that liberals consistently seem to bait their foes into rash action by looking a lot less tough than we are. This is why Richard Hanania predicted the Ukrainian army would crumble, and why Putin thought Europe wouldn't unite against him.
Sep 3 5 tweets 1 min read
Biden's move here was blunt, even crass, but the message was clear: There will be no Spain 1936 situation in the U.S. in 2024.… Remember, the one truly scary civil war scenario is that a disputed 2024 presidential election causes the military to split and fight itself on behalf of the two claimants.

Biden is sending a message that this will not happen.
Aug 29 4 tweets 1 min read
Car loans are not owned by the federal government, so can't be discharged by executive action like student loans were. Also, FWIW, car loans are dischargeable in bankruptcy, and unlike student loans, nobody takes out a car loan but only gets half a car.
Aug 28 7 tweets 1 min read
The future of galactic panspermia is that every sentient species will kind of look like Elon Musk On Mars, where he makes the laws, Elon will clone himself a thousand times, enslave the clones, and put them to work pumping out sperm 24/7 in order to fertilize all the women of Earth
Aug 26 12 tweets 2 min read
I lived abroad in Osaka.

In Japan, I discovered an ancient art of living.

10 ideas to find balance in life: Hokenkinsagi - 保険金詐欺

If your gang has fallen on hard times, you must make money however you can.

Sometimes it is necessary to burn down one of your buildings for insurance fraud.

Remember to pay off the fire department.