Daily Data Dump – Monday

By Razib Khan | August 23, 2010 10:07 am

I hope you had a good weekend.

Why is Israel So Poor? Israel is a nation with a high level of human capital and moderate wealth. The author points out that Israel is a “low trust” society. It is not often remembered that Israel is arguably the most ethnically diverse developed society in the world, because “Jews” get lumped together into one category by outsiders. Additionally, I think Israel’s geopolitical situation is probably an economic drain. Long term uncertainty is probably does not encourage investment. Why not put your capital to use somewhere safer?

Genes May Overpower Diet in Battle of the Bulge. The title is kind of deceptive, the article is much more nuanced, and puts the focus on gene-environment interaction. Precisely, not everyone has the same effect from the same change in diet. This is why I’ve started to get annoyed by my “paleo fundamentalist” friends (I lean paleo myself, but I’m not a purist). Humans vary, including in their response to diets, and what may work for most may not work for all.

Death of the ‘McMansion’: Era of Huge Homes Is Over. Does even Joel Kotkin like McMansions?

Bangladesh bans enforced Islamic dress code. From what I recall of Bangladesh (last time I visited was 2004) the vast majority of women didn’t cover their hair, but a small minority did don the full-on burqa. I didn’t see many women wearing just a plain headscarf, as is common in Arab countries or among religiously conservative Western Muslims of all ethnicities. Also, I hate the term “moderate Islam.” Something so insipid about it.

Sequencing the Genome of Sitting Bull and Other Famous People. Serpentor is on the way!

MORE ABOUT: Daily Data Dump
  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/ Uncle Al

    Israel bears a crushing Welfare state supporting its Ultrareligious faction whose productivity sums to studying the Talmud and 10-child families. They will be the voting majority within two generations. One presumes a test of faith is in process.

    An initiative to digitize the Talmud (100% unindexed) plus a search engine was met with riots. Such would displace autoritative situational scholarship with common access knowledge – the death of faith.

  • bioIgnoramus
  • John Emerson

    Very high military and security spending, and beyond that heavy security has intrinsic costs beyond its economic cost.

    In retrospect, the idea that Jews could protect themselves by moving into an area where they’d be surrounded by sworn enemies does not strike me as having been a good one.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    agree about military. and to be fair, they weren’t “sworn” enemies at first. the zionist project occurred in a step-by-step fashion, and sometimes dynamics are not easily reversible even when you wish perhaps they would have been….

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    Uncle Al as usual manages to mix a minimally true statement with absolute nonsense. The first claim about the charedim being largely welfare dependent and having little economicly productive behavior is true. The claim about riots over digitization is just false. First, indexes of Talmudic texts have been around for centuries. And fully digitized Talmuds have been around since the early 1990s. Sonchino for example had a digital, searchable in 1994.

  • omar

    About the genetic basis of response to various diets, check out this test being sold by interleukin:

    The test does not actually test for the genes that determine this difference. While the company has not revealed what markers are being tested, they basically took the best responders from each group and typed them and developed a test based on that genotyping. They have a set of markers, not necessarily the actual genes involved.

  • Tom Bri

    …Humans vary, including in their response to diets, and what may work for most may not work for all…

    And of course that depends on what you want your diet to do for you when you say a diet ‘works’. I go paleo myself, and I like it, but then I am gluten intolerant. Paleo works for me. All the unpleasant stuff I thought was just normal middle-age disappeared after going paleo.

  • Tom Bri

    Oh, and I know a paleo diet fanatic who is also a young-earth creationist. Yeah. World’s full of funny people.

  • dan
  • http://www.rishon-rishon.com David Boxenhorn

    Israel has been doing very well throughout the world-wide economic crisis of the past two years. My theory is that there are many factors holding Israel back that will continue to be relevant and have some effect (e.g. the political/military situation), but the critical factor is Israel’s history of socialism. Israel has been moving away from socialism since 1985, and the process seems to have passed critical mass in 2003. I think that Israel’s current economic success is due to non-cyclical factors; that is, if the world economy were better right now, it would be even greater.

  • benj

    As said before, high military spending, particularly in the past (25% of GDP in the 80s, 8% now, 4% in the USA, 1-2% in Europe), former socialist economy, and I would add the fact that Israel had to integrate millions of refugees from all the world, mainly Arab countries, refugees who amounted to more than the original population. These Jews from Arab and Muslim countries were often among the elites if these countries but these were poor third world countries anyway. So these populations were lacking the level of education and social skills of a western country, and they arrived without nothing, no money and no capital, in a country poor and at war.

    So yes Israel did very well at the end. Israel is now a rich westernized country with a GDP per capita of $29,000 now (ppp) when the average of the EU is $32,000. Israel is doing better than most developed country since 2003 and the free-market reforms and should cross the EU average this decade.

    Regarding the ultrareligious, they are indeed a big problem but lately Israelis, all of them, have begun to deal with it, even these ultrareligious who understand they can’t continue this way forever. The changes are coming.

  • pconroy

    Razib, David, Benj,

    I have added some more data to the GNXP.com site that you may find interesting – and an alternative explanation based on IQ…


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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