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Singapore is a Meritocracy* [EXTRA LONG POST]
Edit: Thank you for all the comments and chat messages! I'm trying to go through each one. Writing thoughtful comments in the midst of having a full-time job is HARD WORK. I think I've missed a few questions, drop me a message if you're interested in continuing a discussion, I'm open to listening! There has been a lot of good comments, a few with great perspectives, and now I have a whole lot of things to read up on. --- Now that the 2020 General Election is firmly in our rear-view mirror, there is something that I have been meaning to write about: institutionalized racism affecting the minorities, especially the Malays, in Singapore. If you are groaning at this thinking you have been misled by this post’s title, I assure you that by the end of this post you will understand the caveat behind the above-mentioned title. I plead for a little of your time and patience. We have seen many discussions online about majority privilege and systemic racism impacting the minorities. Many of you may have even participated in some of these discussions. I will not try to explain those terms for they have already been repeatedly debated to death. What this post aims to achieve is to bring to light Singapore’s history and government policies that have either benefited the majority race or kneecapped the minority race. Or both. Why am I doing this? It is frustrating to see some Singaporeans fully buying into the narrative that Singapore is a truly meritocratic society; that the government’s policies do not discriminate against minorities, or if a Singaporean worked hard enough he or she will succeed (whatever the definition of success is), or that we have anti-discriminatory laws that protect the minorities. Some even claim that the Malays enjoy special privileges due to Section 152 of the Constitution describing the special position of Malays, and that the Malays are blessed with free education in Singapore. Section 152, “Special Position”, free education for all Malays?
Minorities and special position of Malays 152.—(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore. (2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognise the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.
"The aim of the government is not to turn out a few well-educated youths, nor a number of less well-educated boys; rather it is to improve the bulk of the people, and to make the son of a fisherman or a peasant a more intelligent fisherman or peasant than his father had been, and a man whose education will enable him to understand how his lot in life fits in with the scheme of life around him".
"The great object of education is to train a man to make a living.... you can teach Malays so that they do not lose their skill and craft in fishing and jungle work. Teach them the dignity of manual labour, so that they do not all become krannies (clerks) and I am sure you will not have the trouble which has arisen in India through over education"
Like communism, feminism ignores basic, natural rights. Communism, striving for the happiness of the proletariat, trodden among others property rights. Private property was to be abolished, everything was to be shared, and everyone was to receive from common property "as needed." It was necessary to make the unconscious working class aware that it was being exploited by the capitalists. The most conscious part of the proletariat - the communists - were to lead it and bring about a change of regime by abolishing property rights and abolishing the exploitation of the working class. One of the dogmas of communism was the theory of "class struggle". The victory of the proletariat would lead to the liquidation of the bourgeoisie as a relic of the previous epoch and the creation of a classless society. While communism was the ideology of one social class (and fascism - the ideology of one nation), feminism is the ideology of one sex. In seeking to "liberate" women, it ignores basic, natural laws, incl. ignores the fact that gender largely determines social roles. Feminism postulates, inter alia, introducing gender equality. To realize the ideals of feminism, women need to be made aware that they are abused by men. Feminists will be at the forefront of women, eliminating inequality and abolishing the exploitation of women. The victory of feminism will lead to the creation of an androgynous society - in which gender will not determine the social role. Instead of the communist dogma of "class struggle" in feminism, we find the dogma of the "eternal war of the sexes." In feminist magazines, on the other hand, we can find serious considerations as to whether a woman will still need a man in the new society. A feminist is someone who believes that there is such a thing as an "eternal war of the sexes." She is convinced that a patriarchal society oppresses women. He fights for a "brave new world" in which gender will not determine anyone's role in society. She calls for equality, seeing the discrimination against women in the different treatment of women and men. We who have experienced communism find it easier to understand feminism when we realize that feminist concepts are a carbon copy of the communist newspeak. This is illustrated by the following table: communism Feminism class struggle war of the sexes bourgeois white heterosexual men rotten capitalism, oppressive patriarchy classless society androgynous society (asexual) social justice equality points for origin of gender quotas imperialist warmongers, perpetrators of domestic violence class consciousness sense of belonging to the female "gender" class exploitation of women elimination of social inequalities; elimination of gender discrimination fideistic superstitions patriarchal stereotypes people's democracy parity democracy historical necessity (inevitable collapse of capitalism) human progress (inevitable collapse of patriarchy) communists in the vanguard of the world proletarian revolution feminists in the vanguard of the world women's liberation movement reaction Ciemnogród enemy of the people (class enemy) male chauvinistic pig In the case of the communist ideology, it turned out that property rights were the driving force of the economy and that their elimination led to widespread poverty. It turned out that the implementation of the postulates of communism is either impossible or leads to absurdities in social life. It also turned out that average workers generally do not want communist power and the communists lose in free elections. Likewise, in the case of feminism, roles are found to be generally beneficial to families and to society. Implementing the postulates of feminism is either impossible or leads to absurdities in social life. It also turns out that average women generally do not want the power of feminists, and feminists, having no chance to enter the Seym under their own banner, must join a group dominated by men. Alleged or real oppression of women as a pretext for feminism For feminists, the pretext for making absurd demands to meet "here and now" is the real or imagined suffering of women "somewhere and in the past," for example, the suffering of circumcised women in Africa may be the basis for feminists to make demands to improve the situation of women in Poland. Let us ignore the fact that the suffering of African women cannot be the basis for claiming compensation from men to women in Poland. Nor can it be denied that there have been situations in human history where women have suffered a lot. However, if we were to bid on who suffered the most in recent centuries and for what reasons, gender would not be the most important criterion for differentiating the amount of suffering. During the Vendée massacre in revolutionary France, women, children and men were murdered alike for their Catholicism. The Turks murdered millions of Armenians for their faith and nationality. Likewise, Jews were murdered for racial reasons. The communists, on the other hand, murdered according to the class affiliation of the victims. The gender of the victims was not a particularly relevant criterion, and if anything, women were often treated more leniently. The situation of women throughout the history of Poland and feminist propaganda Outraged by the "oppression of women", feminists in Poland disregard the real situation of women in Poland, as well as Polish history and Polish conditions, repeating mindlessly the slogans imported from the West. Meanwhile, if we look at the real situation of women and men in Poland, we can see that women in Poland have never been discriminated against. Although there was a division of roles, women have always enjoyed great social respect. Slavs, as a rule, respected women. Moreover, the adoption of Christianity (where a woman is considered to have a soul just like a man), Marian cult, chivalrous culture and the role of women in uprisings further strengthened the respect for women. A man who did not treat women with respect placed himself on the margins of society. For these reasons, feminism has never had any significant influence in Poland. Despite this fact, women in Poland gained the right to vote at the same time as men, simultaneously with Poland regaining independence, in 1918, by a decree of the Chief of State, as something obvious, without any debates on this matter (for example in such a "progressive "France only a few years after World War II). Feminists did nothing for Polish women. The right to vote for women in Poland was introduced not because feminism was so popular, but despite the fact that feminism in Poland never mattered. Similarly, in Poland, feminists did not have to fight for women's access to education. Also under partitions, women could take part in the general self-education movement, which could, inter alia, result in receiving the Nobel Prize by Maria Curie-Skłodowska. Current statistics indicate even a greater percentage of female students than students in Poland (perhaps men should demand the introduction of quotas?). Feminists who proclaim the slogans of defending women against discrimination cannot understand how it is possible that more women are gathered in Poland by any parish procession than by the feminist manifesto. They do not understand why women, even more than men, have traditional political views and are more attached to the Catholic Church. It is no coincidence that the League of Polish Families is the grouping with the highest percentage of women in a parliamentary club. To explain the fact that women do not feel discriminated against, feminists coined the concept of "false consciousness". If a woman claims that she wants what a patriarchal society is forcing her to do, feminists say she has "false consciousness." For example, a woman may think that she wants marriage, but in fact she is forced into it by the force of patriarchal stereotypes that say that a woman fulfills herself most fully in the family. So she marries against her real desires, secretly dreaming of a career as an aviator or firefighter. Who is really discriminated against in Poland? When repeating their slogans about discrimination against women, feminists try not to accept facts that could indicate the opposite - for example, discrimination against men. Meanwhile, a comparison of the real situation of both sexes in Poland shows that if we were to talk about discrimination, it would be more justified to say that men are discriminated against. Women in Poland enjoy the privilege of retiring five years earlier. Moreover, taking into account the fact that men live shorter and earn more - men earn money for long-term pension payments to women, using it themselves to a small extent. If the pension societies entered into agreements with future pensioners on market principles, determining the amount of the pension contribution based on the average life expectancy in retirement - the premium for men would be lower and the pension paid could be higher. Men are required to undergo military training and defend the country in the event of war - which women do not have. The Universal Defense Duty Act is clearly contrary to the constitutional principle of gender equality, and it is even strange that no dissatisfied conscript has yet requested The family code especially discriminates against fathers of illegitimate children. The woman then has a choice that the man does not have. He may decide to raise a child alone and sue the man for maintenance. She can also give up motherhood by leaving the baby in hospital or giving her up for adoption. In the latter situation, a man who is not the husband of the child's mother cannot recognize the child as his own - without the woman's consent. He cannot raise him alone (or sue the women for alimony). His child may be adopted by someone else, and he has no rights. Pregnant women enjoy specific privileges. The employer is obliged to transfer the pregnant woman to another position if she works in harmful conditions, and she is not allowed to work shifts. At the same time, he has the right to keep his current remuneration. On the other hand, a breastfeeding mother has the right to an hourly break for breastfeeding (instead of a break, she may leave work an hour earlier). Single mothers bringing up children are entitled to tax benefits. In addition to legal privileges, there are many customary privileges for women: passing the door, kissing on the hand, paying in the premises by a man, Women's Day, Mother's Day, Grandma's Day, marked places for mothers with a baby in their arms in buses, the privilege of serving out of order pregnant women, etc. ., etc. If the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Status was really intended to deal with the implementation of equal status for women and men, she should first of all deal with real problems - for example reducing the very high and increasing excess of male mortality. The difference in the average life expectancy of men and women is already 8 years! Meanwhile, the analysis of the expenditure of the Ministry of Health shows that, despite the advantage of women in terms of life expectancy, still more funds are allocated to combating typically female diseases than typically male diseases. Absurdities and contradictions of feminism Feminism is against nature and against common sense. The implementation of feminist postulates leads to absurdities in social life. To meet feminists' demands that women have access to male professions, standards are being lowered so that women can meet them. In the USA, the cross section of fire hoses has been reduced so that women can bear them. As a result, they now pump less water, to the detriment of the firefighting speed. In Poland, when women were admitted to officer schools, the requirements for the fitness exam were lowered. However, it is difficult to count on the enemy to be equally generous in the event of war, adjusting the attack force to the gender of the soldiers. Promoting feminist slogans, considering whether a man is needed - leads to the weakening of the family. Some feminists choose to have children in advance, assuming they will not be with the child's father. A man is treated only as an object - as a donor of genetic material and provider of maintenance. Meanwhile, modern science unequivocally confirms that the best conditions for raising children are in full families. Of course, sometimes divorce is an unpleasant necessity, but no reasonable person marries, planning in advance the divorce and raising children alone. On the other hand, some feminists, especially those with lesbian inclinations, decide in advance for single motherhood. They use a man, treating him instrumentally - as a donor of genetic material, but most of all they hurt the child. Feminists often believe that a woman has the right to have an abortion because "only she can decide about her belly," and the legal prohibition of abortion is an expression of "a patriarchal culture that oppresses women." Let us ignore the fact that attitudes to abortion do not depend on gender, but rather on a system of values and the view at which human life begins. There are both women and men for and against. It can even be assumed that it is women who, in practice, find it more difficult to decide on an abortion than men. However, if, according to feminists, we recognize that only a woman has the full right to decide about the fate of the fetus, then it should be consistently assumed that only a woman bears full responsibility for her decision (full power = full responsibility). This would therefore release the father from responsibility for the child and from the maintenance obligation if the woman decides to give birth to the child. This is where feminists are already stopping - they demand full power for a woman, but they also want the man to be jointly responsible for her decision. The situation is similar in the case of parities. Feminists demand the introduction of quotas for women on the electoral lists, recognizing that women's participation in power is insufficient. On the one hand, they argue that women have the same governing abilities as men, and on the other hand, that they bring some undefined "new quality" to politics (this is difficult to reconcile, because if women have "the same abilities", then they do not can bring any "new quality"). They ignore the fact that this and no other participation of women in power is the result of a democratic decision of a society in which the majority are women. However, the principle of parity would require that it be introduced not only where the proportions of the participation of women are unfavorable to them, but also where women dominate - in studies, in education, in the middle-level state administration or among office workers - where women definitely prevail. . Consistent adherence to the principle of parity would require that parities also apply in professions such as miners, steel workers, soldiers, policemen, and also among prisoners - which would require taking into account gender when issuing sentences (the vast majority of convicts are men). The principle of parity should also be applied when making decisions on granting custody over a child after divorce - so that the percentage of children specified in the act would be taken over by fathers after the divorce. Meanwhile, feminists are calling for quotas only where women might gain - and are defending themselves against introducing quotas where they might lose. Consistent application of the principle of gender equality would require that this principle be introduced also in sport, eliminating the current gender segregation. Therefore, it would be necessary to lead to joint competitions of women and men in all sports. The belief that women have the same abilities as men, and the observed differences are the result of stereotypes - should also result in the introduction of gender parities in team games. For example, half of the players of any football team should be women. The captain of the Polish football team should be, for example, Edyta Górniak, who has already proved that she can bring a new quality to Polish football. Kinga Dunin, promoting gender equality in "Wysokie Obcasy", advanced the postulate that men should take a hormone - prolactin, in order to grow their breasts. He believes that they could then ease women by taking over some of the duties related to feeding infants, while women could fulfill their professional work to a greater extent. Unfortunately, she did not write whether instead, as part of gender equality, women should take testosterone, for example to increase their aggressiveness in the workplace. However, I'm afraid the idea of men with breasts and women with a mustache and beard will not be very appealing to the heterosexual majority. Rather, I think the average woman would rather devote herself to caring for a baby than sleep with a husband with large breasts and grow a mustache and a beard or shave their hair every day. Feminist hypocrisy Feminists generally do not try to live up to the ideology they preach. A feminist who demands to be treated as a human, not as a woman, forgets about it when invited to an elegant venue. He does not then demand that everyone pay for himself. Receiving a female version of the menu from the waiter (without the prices of the dishes), he does not protest against such discrimination, but treats it as a compliment ("apparently I don't look like a sponsor"). A feminist who laments that women are paid less for "the same job" in her own company also pays women less, arguing that she must do this to keep herself from going out of business. But if women work just as well as men, then it could hire only women, pay them less, and win against the stereotypical competition by employing men. Unfortunately, it turns out that this is impossible and the men in her company are essential, and to keep them, you have to pay them more (both examples are authentic and taken from an online discussion forum). Feminists who demand the introduction of quotas on electoral lists or condemn the Catholic Church for disagreement with the priesthood of women should start by introducing their demands in their own organizations. When such views are expressed, it would be fitting for half of the positions of board members of feminist organizations and the position of vice-chairman to be given to men. Unfortunately, at home - in the authorities of feminist organizations - they do not introduce parities. Women are also employed in the office of the Plenipotentiary for Equal Status in substantive positions. Where the balance is upset in favor of women, quotas are apparently no longer needed ... The desirability of discrimination against men is mentioned by some feminists explicitly, sometimes using the term "positive discrimination" or justifying it as the necessity of a transitional period. As we remember, leftist revolutionary ideologies have it to themselves that they "temporarily" approve all measures in the fight against "the enemies of the people", in the name of future universal happiness. The vision of a "bright future" for the next generations justifies the suffering of the present generations, and especially the suffering of "class enemies". In May 2002, at the invitation of Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka, the plenipotentiary of the Swedish government for equal status of women and men, Mrs. Lise Bergh, was in Poland. In an interview published on May 14, 2002 in Gazeta Wyborcza, Bergh made the following statement: "Yes, for a while, until a balance is achieved, men will have to be discriminated against. So that women will no longer be discriminated against and will not be discriminated against in the future." In this way, the spokeswoman for the alleged "equality" and the plenipotentiary for "equal status" - openly promotes discrimination against men. Feminism is therefore an ideology full of contradictions and hypocrisy such as "we want equal rights, but we don't want equal obligations." The slogan of discrimination against women is used by feminists completely instrumentally - either in the struggle for power or demanding additional, unlawful privileges. But they don't want any equality when it comes to responsibilities. The difference between men and women and social roles Feminists demand that "gender does not determine social role." At the same time, they deny the existence of differences between men and women, arguing that any perceived differences are the result of environmental influences. The social environment expects children to behave in accordance with the stereotype appropriate for their gender. The perceived differences between women and men are, according to feminists, the result of social expectations to which both women and men adjust. The remedy for this is to be a change in social awareness, which will make it possible to fully interchange social roles, regardless of gender. Free from the influence of stereotypes, women will be able to exercise power and work in men's professions, and men will be able to take care of the house, wash, clean and raise - depending on personal preferences. It is a fact that women have long been able to work in many male occupations and men have been taking care of the home, but still few families choose to do this. However, according to feminists, it is culturally conditioned and will change as social awareness changes. Meanwhile, human culture arises on a biological basis, and although it is quite plastic, it cannot be freely shaped. Human habits and behaviors often correspond to those of animals that are biologically conditioned. It is interesting to note that there is no equality among primates. Only males participate in the competition for control of the herd. The behavior of the monkeys in the herd - making tactical alliances, intriguing, provoking one another - is deceptively similar to the behavior of employees in the office. The seizure of power comes with certain privileges - priority in access to food, priority in access to females - but also with specific responsibilities. The march of the baboon herd follows specific rules that make it practically impossible for predators to kidnap the young or the female. The marching herd forms a triangle-shaped formation, headed by a dominant male, and at the other vertices of the triangle - males occupying subsequent positions in the hierarchy. This example illustrates well two regularities: (1) the differences between the social position of women and men are not only culturally but also biologically determined, and (2) each social position is associated with specific privileges and corresponding duties. The logical consequence of the first of these regularities is that it is impossible to change human culture to one that ignores human biological predispositions. Biology has a "higher priority" than culture, because while we can change culture to a certain extent, biology remains unchanged and it ultimately sets the framework for possible changes in culture. The second of these regularities says that it is not possible to enjoy the privileges of a particular social position on a permanent basis without taking on the corresponding, specific obligations. Meanwhile, feminists try to build a new society by ignoring both of these patterns. They want women to be treated the same as men where it pays them off, but they do not want to be treated the same where they might lose out. The differences between the sexes are revealed already in childhood. In Vasta, Haith and Miller's "Child Psychology," Chapter 15, "Gender Role Development and Gender Differences," we read that boys are better at reasoning math tasks and that the difference increases with age, shows greater spatial abilities, while girls show greater abilities verbal. When it comes to personality and social differences, boys are more active, more willing to explore their surroundings, and more independent of their mothers. Girls need more encouragement to dare to go out. Boys are also more aggressive than girls and are more likely to resolve conflicts using physical force, while girls prefer verbal persuasion. Feminists argue that the observed differences between boys and girls are the result of pressure from a patriarchal society that forces them into specific social roles from birth. Can the power of a patriarchal society be so great that it also affects monkeys? It turns out that male monkeys prefer to play with toy cars, and female monkeys prefer to play with dolls - just like human children. This suggests that a similar preference in children may be a congenital feature, not an acquired trait, says the American researcher in "Evolution and Behavior". The results of the research therefore challenge the belief that the preferences of boys and girls in choosing toys are shaped by upbringing in response to cultural and social expectations. Gerianne Alexander of Texas AM University, a specialist in the field of sex-related differences in behavior and their biological basis, tested the validity of this belief in studies on vervets. The observations concerned the reaction of monkeys to various toys. It turned out that, just like in children, animal preferences were related to gender. Thus, males spent much more time than females playing with toys traditionally considered "boyish", such as a soccer ball or a toy car. Females, on the other hand, devoted more time to dolls and toys imitating dishes. Moreover, toys assessed by the researchers as "gender neutral", such as a picture book or a teddy dog, enjoyed equal interest from both sexes. According to the researcher, the results prove that whether a toy is "boyish" or "girlish" is not related to cultural stereotypes or upbringing, but primarily to gender-specific preferences for toys of a different type. According to the researcher, preferences as to the choice of specific items have become established in the course of evolution in relation to the roles played by individuals of both sexes in the past, at the beginning of the development of the human species. Thus, boys show an innate tendency to choose objects that can move around in space and whose use requires physical activity. These preferences may be associated with such features as good spatial orientation, which made it easier for men to hunt game, search for food or a partner. Objects of this type also enable more aggressive and active play, characteristic of males of most species of mammals. In turn, the preferences of girls are largely based on the color of the object, which may reflect, among others, the role of women in caring for their offspring. For example, choosing a doll that is pink reveals a woman's desire for bodily contact, which increases the likelihood of survival of the newborn. Denying the role of genes and leftist utopias Denying the role of genes has a long tradition in leftist, utopian ideologies. It is worth returning to the sources of feminist views rooted in the beliefs of the Marxist biologist Trofim Denisowicz Łysenka. This Russian agrobiologist, in the years 1948-1956 chairman of the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the USSR, denied the existence of genes and heredity in biology. He tried to transfer the ideas of Marx's dialectical materialism to the field of natural sciences. He argued that the physiological and morphological features of organisms are formed only in the course of their development and are acquired through similarity and adaptation to forms that coexist in a given environment, which in the animal world is known as social determinism. He believed, among other things, that wheat can grow rice (and vice versa) as long as these grains are sown in a rice field, hence he believed that plants can be hardened by planting thermophilic varieties in the vicinity of crops resistant to cold, he believed that it was possible to grow rice in Siberia, and domestic dogs released into the forest could give fox offspring under favorable conditions (without trying to mate them with foxes). Although it may seem improbable today, baldness was the dominant doctrine of agrobiologists in the Eastern bloc, and Lysenko himself led to the imprisonment of several dozen geneticists. For example, the chairman of the Institute of Genetics in Moscow, N. Wawiłow was imprisoned and then banished from the country. Polish geneticists who wanted to keep their positions also rejected Mendel's laws of heredity by going over to Łysenka's side. Fighting the traditional family The traditional family is sometimes portrayed by feminists as a modern form of female slavery and the source of all evil: violence, alcoholism and sexual abuse. What seems to us to be only a family pathology, a perversion of an otherwise good and necessary institution, for feminists is the very essence of patriarchal marriage. In their opinion, domestic violence results directly from the patriarchal culture and is allegedly universally accepted. As Anna Lipowska-Teutsch writes in her book "To raise, heal, liberate": A patriarchal culture is a culture of domination that does not respect differences related to race, age, gender, abilities, and preferences, but constantly uses these differences to dehumanize and exploit others. Violence is a fundamental element of patriarchal culture and serves to enforce obedience and maintain domination. Violence against women by their husbands and partners is a form of control and submission that is widely accepted in patriarchal society. The family is a microcosm that reflects the patriarchal order and is at the same time the foundation of a patriarchal society. Domestic violence is not an anomaly of this system, but is the essence of patriarchal power. At the same time, feminists idealize homosexual cohabitation, presenting it as a seat of pure love. Some feminists even claim that women are bisexual in nature and therefore may choose their sexual orientation. Sometimes they also treat sexual orientation as part of a feminist ideology, according to the slogan: "feminism is a theory, lesbism is a practice". Meanwhile, research shows that homosexual relationships are the most unstable. This is where changes of partners occur most often, and in such relationships the most violence (especially in lesbian relationships, where violence occurs in 50% of relationships). Without denying the fact that pathologies do occur in traditional families, it must be stated, however, that it is the traditional family that can best and fully satisfy human needs. Also the needs of women. Numerous studies show that a successful relationship with a man has a beneficial effect on the emotional balance of women and that this relationship is biologically determined. Feminists and normal, emotionally healthy women As has been shown many times, women are different from men and this difference determines (though not uniquely) their role in society or in marriage. Normal women understand and accept this fact, not wanting to trade roles with men for nothing. Feminists, on the other hand, feel inferior because of this, and to alleviate this feeling, they prove to themselves and to the whole world that they are just like men. Unlike a feminist, a normal woman: she likes men and expects that the chosen man will be the closest person to her (even closer than friends or children); has generally positive expectations of men, attracts, contacts and makes closer acquaintances with men with whom she feels good (despite all awareness that there are also brutes, alcoholics and deviants in the world - but these she generally tries to avoid); as a husband she willingly chooses a strong man who gives her a sense of security; is content to be a woman and takes full advantage of female privileges (adoring, dressing up and painting, coquetry, sex, etc.); does not envy men their privileges, or rather, on the contrary - would not like to trade with them for anything; she feels fulfilled as a woman when she becomes a mother; giving birth and raising children becomes more important to her than professional work; if she previously thought otherwise - such a re-evaluation takes place, for example, during pregnancy (possibly under the influence of hormones) or during breastfeeding; even when she works professionally, a close emotional bond with the child is a source of much greater gratifications for her than professional work. The feminist, on the other hand: he hates men, is afraid of them, is unable to make lasting, successful relationships with men; as a husband she willingly chooses a henchman whose submission gives her a sense of security, while towards a strong man she is distrustful and prepared for divorce (e.g. she secretly sets up a separate bank account from her husband, just in case); has generally negative expectations of men, perceives them mainly as brutes, alcoholics and sexual deviants - and indeed often attracts them to him; cannot enjoy the fact that she is a woman, even if she sometimes enjoys female privileges, her sex life is unsatisfactory due to fear of giving herself fully to a man; envies men of their privileges and would gladly swap with them (but without taking on male responsibilities); more than in motherhood he seeks fulfillment in power, prestige, or high professional position, sometimes he denies the existence of the maternal instinct. author Maciej Kołodziejczyk
Zoning: why it sucks, why it's hard to change, and how we can fix it
(First time effortposting - hopefully this isn't too long) Zoning refers to policies that divide land into zones that are regulated for specific purposes. Zoning is used as a mechanism of urban planning to separate different uses of land that are seen as incompatible or to prevent activities that would interfere with and degrade existing uses of land. TL;DR - Zoning reduces economic efficiency, increases inequality, increases racial segregation, and hurts the environment and our health - Zoning reform hasn't occurred due to concentrated costs and dispersed benefits - Zoning reform requires restructuring the political process and adjusting the incentives of homeowners What is zoning? There are three main types of policies associated with zoning. 1. Regulating what activity is permitted in certain zones e.g. residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial, or open space 2. Regulating the density at which these activities can be performed e.g. from single family homes to high-rise apartments 3. Regulating the parameters of what is being built e.g. the height of buildings, the space it occupies etc. What are the problems associated with zoning? There are four main issues associated with zoning. 1. Reduced efficiency due to labour immobility 2. Increased inequality and reduced social mobility 3. Increased racial segregation 4. Miscellaneous harms to the environment and to personal health Why does zoning cause inefficiency? Zoning keeps affordable housing out of neighbourhoods, with minimum lot size requirements, single residence per lot requirements, minimum square footage requirements, and costly building codes. These prevent the building of multi-family rental units and reduce the supply of available land, driving up housing costs. - Glaeser and Gyourko 2002 show how the price of housing is mostly equal to the marginal physical costs of new construction in the USA, but where they aren't, they are associated with zoning and land use controls. - Glaeser, Gyourko and Saks 2003 demonstrate that often, the gap between the price of housing and the cost of construction is accounted for by zoning acting as a regulatory tax, with that tax rate reaching 53% in San Francisco. - Glaeser and Gyourko 2018 calculate the minimum profitable production cost (MPPC) of a house, adding up the costs of land, labour, construction, capital and an industry average 17% profit margin. The three cities where the price-to-MPPC ratio is greater than two are San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oxnard, all of which have more regulatory barriers and fewer building permits issued than in an average city. The consequence is that people are less able to move around and find the best job for them, because they are unable to afford the inflated house prices. Instead, people, especially lower-income workers, remain trapped in low-productivity parts of the country. That is, we get booms without booming towns, This leads to an inefficient allocation of labour and means the benefits of agglomeration are reduced. These benefits include lower transport costs, information spillovers and the ability to invest in human capital knowing that there will be job openings demanding your new skills. - Hsieh and Moretti 2019 calculate that these restrictions on labour mobility from zoning decreased aggregate US growth by 36% from 1964 to 2009. - Schleicher 2012 notes that the most successful parts of the country have seen large increases in housing prices but only small increases or even decreases in population e.g. San Francisco and Boston. In fact, Silicon Valley lost population in the late 1990s and lost domestic population from 2000 to 2010, due to housing prices rising faster than wages. Meanwhile, there were huge population inflows into less productive but unrestrictive regions like Houston and Atlanta. This labour immobility hurts other macroeconomic goals, by limiting the gains from trade and making monetary policy less effective. - There can be harms from trade onto individual industries and areas. Traditionally, this should result in labour reallocating to industries and areas less exposed to trade. This didn't occur in the 2000s as Acemoglu et al. 2016 describe. - The role of zoning is confirmed by Autor et al. 2013, which finds "no robust evidence ... that shocks to local manufacturing lead to substantial changes in population", and by Autor et al. 2014, which says that "geographic mobility is not a primary mechanism for adjusting to trade shocks". Workers were unable to move around and mitigate the harms from trade. - The divergence of various regions within a country can cause asynchronous regional business cycles. Optimum currency area theory suggests that in order for it to make sense to have the same currency across different business cycles, there needs to be enough internal factor mobility. The labour immobility caused by zoning leads Beckworth 2009 to suggest that it limited the effectiveness of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy. Why does zoning cause inequality and prevent social mobility? Zoning denies lower-income families the chance to move to and access to the resources found in wealthier neighbourhoods. That means being denied better funded schools and better employment opportunities. Instead, lower-income families will be concentrated in the same area. Kahn, Vaughn and Zasloff 2010 note that after the creation of a coastal boundary zone to regulate construction near the California coastline, household income rose faster in Census tracts inside the zone than outside. The general impact is shown by Levine 1999, who observes that cities that enacted more growth control measures between 1979 and 1988 had higher incomes in 1990, controlling for 1980 income. This results in cycles of poverty, seen in how poverty has become more concentrated. Jargowsky 2015 finds that between 2000 and 2013, the proportion of the poor that lived in high-poverty neighbourhoods went up from 10.3% to 14.4%, representing a jump from 7.2 million Americans to 13.8 million. Zoning matters in causing this because the place where you grow up has a huge impact on your future prospects. Chetty and Hendren 2015 find that growing up in Baltimore, Maryland generated a total earnings penalty of approximately 14% compared to the national average, while growing up in DuPage County, Illinois yielded a 16% gain. One reason for these sorts of disparities is shown by Shonkoff 2007, who notes that the prevalence of stressful factors in the environment, such as high crime rates, maternal depression, and family instability can cause damage to the development of brain architecture. Another reason is that a more diverse neighbourhood and school district has many benefits, which zoning prevents. Wells, Fox and Cordova-Cobo 2016 show that there are large educational benefits of racial and economic diversity at school - cognitive, social, and emotional - and crucially, these don't just benefit students that are less privileged, but all the students. Zoning prevents this sort of diversity. - At a K-12 level, it has been found in Brown-Jeffy and Shelly 2005 that attending racially diverse schools is associated with higher average test scores and a decline in racial achievement gap in test scores. - It also results in a lower drop out rate (Mickelson 2008) and a higher likelihood of enrolling in college (Palardy 2013) - This is reaffirmed by Gurin et al. 2002, Antonio et al. 2004, and Richeson and Trawalter 2005, all of which demonstrate the positive relationship between diversity experiences and academic outcomes in college. Zoning also means that lower-income families are further away from good job opportunities. - Kneebone and Holmes 2016 find that between 2000 and 2012, the number of jobs within the typical commute distance for residents in a major metro area fell by 7%. This was especially problematic for lower-income neighbourhoods, with 61% of high-poverty census tracts facing reduced job proximity. - Ewing and Hamidi 2014 confirm that for children born in the bottom quintile of the income spectrum, they are more likely to climb to the top quintile in cities that are less-sprawling. - Chetty and Hendren 2015 note that among the 5 million children they tracked, a neighborhood's average commuting time was the strongest single correlation with the ability to move to a higher income bracket compared to one's parents. Consequently, Ganong and Shoag 2016 estimate that without zoning restrictions, the convergence in economic growth across states at the pace seen between 1940 to 1980 would have led to a 10% smaller rise in hourly wage inequality between 1980 to 2010. This is corroborated by Rognlie 2015, which attributes the increasing inequality to rising housing prices. Why is zoning racist? The words of the Kerner Commission that the United States was "moving towards two societies, one black, one white - separate and unequal" rang true when they were written. They remained true at its 30th anniversary when reviewed in The Millenium Breach and Locked in the Poorhouse reports. They unfortunately persist today. And a big part of the reason why is because the consequences of zoning occur on racial lines. That means racial minorities are excluded from economic opportunities and do not get the advantages of zoning inflating house prices. - Jargowsky 2015 finds that a quarter of black Americans living in poverty resided in high-poverty neighbourhoods, compared to only one-thirteenth of poor white Americans. This means they bear the brunt of the economic stagnation characterised above. - Shapiro, Meschede and Osoro 2013 note that the number of years families owned their homes is the largest predictor of the gap in wealth growth by race. This is because homeownership is the largest investment that most Americans families have, but especially so for black families, amounting to 53% of wealth for blacks and 39% for whites. - Unsurprisingly, Rothwell and Massey 2009 find that restrictive anti-density zoning laws increase racial segregation. What are the miscellaneous harms of zoning? One harm of zoning is environmental - because low-density zoning can create urban sprawl, they contribute towards the use of automobiles and highways instead of public transport, cycling and walking. Cervero and Duncan 2003 note that among environmental factors, land-use diversity was the most important factor in whether or not people chose to walk. This is corroborated by Frank and Pivo 2012, who demonstrate that the average land-use mix at the origin and destination points of work trips had a statistically significant effect on the likelihood of walking. Johnson 2001 goes further and suggests that zoning and the related sprawl can lead to more air pollution, more energy use and disrupt ecosystems. Another harm is medical. Although the development of urban planning and zoning allowed the creation of cities with proper sanitation that reduces infectious diseases, it has led to a rise in other medical conditions. In particular, Wilson, Hutson and Mujahid 2008 suggest that the reliance on cars caused by low-density zoning could be a contributing factor towards the obesity epidemic and cardio-vascular disease. What are some justifications of exclusionary zoning? The main argument for zoning as observed by Schleicher 2017 is the creation of residential stability. Those who own homes in the same area for a long time are more invested in the community. This can also incentivise business investment, which is often dependent upon a stable population. - DiPasquale and Glaeser 1998 found that homeownership is correlated with an increased likelihood to invest in social capital, with an increased level of citizenship and with a larger share of the government budget going to education and transport infrastructure. - Manturuk, Lindblad and Quercia 2009 confirm that there is a causal relationship where increased homeownership leads to increased voting. - Alperovitz, Williamson and Dubb 2012 argue that it is difficult to carry out coherent investment and planning with unstable populations. By contrast, a stable population that is less mobile reduces risk. The other main argument for zoning revolves around preventing the decline of property values and the changing of the "local complexion". Behind these dogwhistles lie a desire to maintain segregated spaces, on both economic and racial lines, in order to prevent perceived harms to the social environment. However, Massey et al. 2013 found that following the construction of an affordable housing complex in the wealthy New Jersey suburb of Mount Laurel, there were no effects on taxes, on crime rates, and on property values. What did materialise was all of the benefits alluded to earlier - a 22% rise in employment compared to those on the waitlist, a 52% rise in average income and a 6 hours increase in the number of hours the children studied a week. Why has zoning reform mostly failed? Ever since the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, it has been clear that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has a duty to "affirmatively further fair housing". That has not happened - and to quote the judgement from the 1985 case Young v. Pierce, HUD "has continued to actively support the system [of segregated housing] in perhaps the most effective possible way - by paying for it." George Romney, who ran HUD, was driven to resign from the Cabinet in 1972, due to Nixon's opposition to him opposing discriminatory zoning practices. As Secretary of HUD, Andrew Cuomo's proposed regulation in 1998 to make HUD funding conditional upon a city's progress in fair housing goals led to the US Conference of Mayors saying that the "proposed rule would have a devastating impact on a city’s ability to achieve housing, economic development and fair housing goals". A 2009 internal HUD study found that many communities were not even bothering to complete the required fair housing paperwork when they applied for block grants. Reforms against zoning have failed in the past - not just at the federal level described here, but at all levels. One of the reasons for this is because of the way the costs and benefits are distributed. The costs of new housing include increasing congestion, more competition for local schools and decreasing the value of the existing property. These are geographically concentrated upon existing property owners and landlords. By contrast, the benefits to renters, developers and future residents are highly spread out. This means that the costs of political organisation are lower for the homeowners and landlords. This is exacerbated by the lack of partisan competition in local legislatures as Schleicher and Hills Jr. 2011 find, meaning that the role of parties in mobilising dispersed interests is unavailable to counteract the power of special interests groups. How can zoning be reformed? The immediate solution to exclusionary zoning is inclusionary zoning. In the 92% white Montgomery County, Maryland, they enacted a zoning ordinance requiring developers to include at least 15% of units in each large development to be sold or rented out at below market value for lower-income residents. After six years, this was passed in 1974 and has resulted in the construction of more than 13,000 affordable housing units. Its black population has tripled to 18%. The Baltimore Housing Mobility Program has moved 1,500 families from segregated high-poverty city neighborhoods into racially integrated low-poverty suburbs. Engdahl 2009 found that 62% of participants have stayed in their new homes, with 80% of these participants saying that they felt safer, more peaceful and less stressed. However, Ellickson 1981 argues that inclusionary zoning could drive up prices overall, even if it provides for a few lower-income households. This is corroborated in some empirical studies, and so inclusionary zoning is a policy that has its costs. - Bento et al. 2009 find that inclusionary zoning in California caused prices to increase 3% faster relative to jurisdictions without the it. - Means and Stringham 2015 observe that in places with inclusionary zoning in California, housing supply reduced by 7% compared to those without it. To deal with the more fundamental political problems associated with zoning, Schleicher 2012 compares them to issues associated with trade deals. As such, one solution he offers is to use "zoning budgets". That is, there would be an authority at a high enough level that they could set an overall annual zoning budget which described the number of potential units permitted - this could be at a state-wide level, or a city-wide level for some larger cities. It would figure out a way to reach that number, and when faced with lobbyists, any reduction in one area would be compensated for by an increase in another area. Once this budget was finished, the local legislature would vote on it as a whole. Individual NIMBY groups would be pitted against each other, while the dispersed interests of an entire area would be empowered. This operates in the same way trade deals do, where the President can propose a single piece of trade legislation to Congress to be voted for or against. However, this is dependent on it being too difficult for people who support zoning to simply overturn the power of this commission, as that would in fact lead to a NIMBY coalition coalescing. Another idea he proposed was to use "tax increment local transfers", mirroring Trade Adjustment Assistance. Trade deals are Kaldor-Hick efficient but not Pareto efficient. The TAA allows some of the benefits of trade deals to be transferred to those who incurred the harms. TILTs would redistribute a proportion of the tax gains from new developments to those property owners who may be harmed in the process. Stronger HUD enforcement would also be helpful. Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. in 2015 had SCOTUS finding 5-4 that Fair Housing Act protects Americans from discrimination in where they choose to live, even when the discrimination is unintentional. Governments or lending institutions can be sued based in part on statistical evidence that certain categories of residents had suffered “disparate impact” as a consequence of housing policies. Finally, it is worth comparing the fundamental incentives that zoning advocates have to other places. For one, the USA disproportionately privileges real estate as an investment, via interest deductions, capital gains and property tax exemptions, and subsidized mortgages. In Japan, house prices fully depreciate in 22 years on average, which contributes to its much less restrictive zoning policy. In Switzerland, Fischel 2000 note that because imputed rents on owner-occupied housing is taxed, it has one of the lowest levels of homeownership in the developed world. Minimising the role of homeownership and real estate as the most important source of wealth and investment would go a long way. Another factor is the incredible role of the municipality in the USA - not only are public services heavily dependent on which local area you live in, but so is the determination of zoning policy. By contrast, Japan has standardised local service provisions and a nationally imposed zoning regulations, which do not require projects to face arbitrary and arduous discretionary reviews if they fit the criterion of the zoning policy. Where do we stand? It is probably true that you don't want children playing behind an industrial sewage treatment plant - there are going to be externalities from various industrial plants. So zoning can be useful in certain circumstances, such as by separating industry from other areas, though Coaseian bargaining about rights to noise pollution etc. may be a possible alternative. What is clear however is that zoning by and large has problematic consequences for society as a whole, while disproportionately benefitting the incumbents and allowing the privileged to hoard opportunities. The counterfactual looks like Houston or Minneapolis or Japan, where single-use zoning, density restrictions, segregated residential housing, minimum lot sizes and arbitrary review processes do not inhibit the construction of new developments. The way to get there is by creating political systems that are better able to overcome the special interests groups that would support exclusionary and low-density zoning. In the long-run, that means fixing the fundamental incentives faced by homeowners and legislatures.
[China][US]How China sees George Floyd's death and BLM protests
DISCLAMIER: As I have been saying in my previous posts and comments, I dare not say I am an expert on any of these fields. My source of information is greatly limited by my views and therefore my opinions could be biased. It is almost certain that I could be misinformed, because Chinese media are rephrasing their American peers, who by themself would their own rephrasings; and the news that came to China would be interpreted by newsreaders that are subjective to their own inherent perspectives. Hence 3 layers of filters. This post is about China's (official and otherwise) views of an issue that happened across the ocean. My focus will be on these views, and therefore what they tell us about a grander aspect of China. I will try to be delicate with my wordings and will explicitly expound whether a statement is a fact, other people's opinion, or my own. 1. The official narratives of these events With the Sino-US tension building up and China and Trump not seeing eye to eye, it is predictable that the event will be seen generally as the oppressed groups revolting against the American government, and both the state media and Foreign Ministry spokesmen/spokeswomen are firing on all cylinders. In most recent news, Xinwen Lianbo, the official mouthpiece of Chinese government, says in a militant tone "Pompeo, the man that dines on lies, is doing everything to promote his 'Liar Diplomacy'"(把撒谎当饭吃的蓬佩奥正在全力推销“骗子外交”), and that Pompeo's lies that tie China with the death of George Floyd will "put to shame the world-class sci-fi novelists". There are many news report focusing on how African-Americans are systematically discriminated in the US, and that their struggles are objectively reflected by the protest; and specifically how Trump is tearing the fabrics of American demographics apart. We are more confident in these accusations especially after the pandemic where the US failed to control the spread compared to our successful measures, proving that US is as systematically flawed. China has been quite supportive of the civil rights movements in the US; Mao, in the 60s, wrote articles supporting these movements and expressed his condolences upon Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. Robert Williams, a civil rights leader that was exiled to Cuba at the time, visited China and was received by Mao in 1969. After all, the right side of Tiananmen gate at the center of our capital writes "Long live the great unity of the people of the world" in bold letters; and the ultimate purpose of our party is to set free all the enslaved classes from exploitation and oppression, domestic and beyond. Soviet Union, China's "Big Brother" at the time, was supportive of these movements as well. However, the supportive tone might face a backlash eventually, against the officially approved values that the keynote of China's development is stability. It is officially believed that all of China's glory in the last 40 years came from a economy-centered stable society; whether we're talking about the war times in the early 20s or the upheavals during Cultural Revolution, the conclusion is that China must maintain the stability against all possible turmoils. Hence another perspective of the official narrative is the chaos induced by the protests and the subsequent damage to American society. I am not certain about the scale of the actual protests, but quite certain that to some extent, it is being amplified by first the US press and then by Chinese media. In this scenario, China is merely "watching the opposite side of the river bank burn". The fire could potentially cause a spark on this side of river; actually, there has already been a fire sparked over a year ago in south-eastern regions of China. Therefore there seems to be a dilemma: while we are to support the protests across the ocean, it seems the same logic could be used to justify the protests down there. Many similarities could be drawn upon; started as a small criminal case, thousands of people gathering, outliers damaging properties and hurting people, police taking firm yet aggressive approaches, misinformation flying around, and even that the country leaders accusing foreign powers' involvement in stirring up trouble and later rebuked by the accused ones. I think all Chinese media, official and otherwise, are taking a cautious approach in reporting US protests and matters alike. Because going further into the issues leads to the explanation of the differences between these two protests, and why we should support one but denounce another. What helps with this approach is that overseas Chinese, or overseas eastern Asians in general, is more alienated from these massive allies with chaotic nature compared to African Americans, and tend to protect their own individual properties. I think most Americans will recall the 92' LA riot where Korean Americans equipped themselves with armors and protected there shops. There has been recent news that shops in Chinatown are being looted and overseas Chinese had to defend themselves instead of vigorously aligning with the protests. Which brings me to the next section: how do Chinese people see black people (African Americans in the US and African people in Africa)? Or more broadly, foreigners in general? 2. Blackfacing and white monkeys I remember the time when my extended family gathered around to celebrate lunar new year two years ago. We were chitchatting, dining around a large table and switched to CCTV New Year's Gala, the most important and lavish TV programme in China watched by millions of people on new year's eve (although in recent years it is losing its luster a lot). The gala involves a wide variety of elaborate performance from singing, dancing to stand-ups and comedies. It is also the most scrutinized show, with every detail carefully designed so it exhibits the most positive images and proper values. You could imagine my suprise when this happened. The comedy is about Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Railway; and while some of these actors are from Africa, one main character was played by a Chinese actress; with blackfacing, stuffed buttock amongst other stereotypical features. I immediately consulted some of my learned friends. They expressed some concerns that it might cause international controversies (which it later did); but when I turned to my family, they could not understand how it is any insulting. Here is how I think of it. I would never think that my knowledge is in any way superior than my family; after all, I am the only one active on international social media and thus have some basic understanding of these issues, and even made an analytical diagram about it. Most Chinese people are like that. They do not interact with foreigners much, and knowing blackfacing would be as useless. But this is, as is said earlier, an elaborate show that went through so many professional scrutinizing. And yet it was aired. Was none of the professionals aware of the situation? What's more, all those African actors - they went through months of practicing and rehersals with their Chinese coworkers - what did they think of the portrayal? More than that, maybe I do not understand the context of blackfacing enough either, and that perhaps the Africans from Africa don't consider blackfacing an insult, but only those living in white-majority societies do? And the fuss over this show is just us complying to a west-centric culture? This example above is to demostrate that China, while being increasingly active in diplomatics and global trade, could be more thorough when dealing with foreign-related issues. In the event of the protest, the spokesperson of China tweeted that (in English) "All lives matter. We stand firmly with our African friends. We strongly oppose all forms of racial discrimination and inflammatory expressions of racism and hatred." The two inaccuracies are 1) "All lives matter" is the slogan sometime used against BLM, and 2) "African friends" does not sound like the most proper determiner (to be fair, her statement could be justified because that was a retweet following the president of African Union). I think as the grand nation's spokesperson, at least some research is required before posting these tweets; other government leader's ill-formed tweets should not be the excuse for ours. I don't think the gala's directors and the spokesperson meant any harm against these groups, but there could be some improvements. The term "white monkey" is something I've learned after reading it on reddit's todayilearned. Some Chinese companies would hire a Caucasian person to act as their business partner during a commercial negotation and other circumstances, so that their firms would look more classy. I am not sure if this is done by a limited number of companies but exaggerated by reddit; from my work experience I have never heard of anything like that. But the mentality behind "white monkey" could be projected onto other things. One folk-adage goes "first class are the foreigners, second the officials, third the minority groups, last the Han Chinese people". I am not to discuss the underlying nationalistic hints of the saying, but in general, sometimes foreigners in China are in an awkward position, for both the foreigners and Chinese people. About the former form of inconvenience, you can read them from China where it's packed with whining foreign expats. About the latter, a large quantity of (the country is big, so a very small portion is a large quantity) believe that our administration are offering foreigners certain "super-national treatments". In most Chinese colleges, foreign exchange students, mostly from developing countries, enjoy a better scholarship policy, better dormitories amongst other privileges over Chinese students. You can see why some Chinese students are irked by the inequality: having gone through exhaustive and brutal college entrance exams and it turns out the foreign students could get admitted when they couldn't even speak Chinese, and they even have independent bathrooms? On a side note, some rich guys would register their kids with a foreign nationality just because they could admitted to top universities easier. In other news, police officers are extremely efficient in retrieving foreigners' bicycles, helping with their accommodations and others, but inefficient in offering these services to their own citizens. It is jokingly said that if you want a police officer to be mobilized to take your case, just hire a foreigner and let them do the reporting. The reasons behind these privileges are varied. I think it is mostly because 1) officials see the good treatment of foreigners as an "achievement" so they could get promoted while bad handling could cause diplomatic conflicts which means lots of trouble, 2) for some people still, foreigners are in some ways "monkeys" that, white or not, are a spectacularity that could be enshired but not respected for their dignity, and 3) for schools and some other branches, there exist some sorts of quota that, if satisfied, more fundings could be granted (I'm aware of some similar situations in US universities. maybe it exists in your country as well). The result is it attracts some foreigners, and some of them are not exactly well-behaved. I remember my school has a lot of exchange students from South Korea and they smoked like crazy, sometimes under the "no-smoking" sign (My apology to Korean people, I don't think they represent the entirety of your nation). This brings the disdain of some people, most of whom driven by a strong sense of nationalism. When it comes to people of African heritage, they would quote the situation that there are unknown amount of undocumented immigrants from African countries residing in Guangzhou, southern China, and these people has contributed to some amount of criminalities. In other news, three Chinese workers in Zambia were killed, which further brings the question that whether China's trade with Africa is as worthwhile as expected (for African people and China). During the epidemic in China, there have been reports that one African guy attacked a nurse. Many people do not distinguish African Americans and population from sub-Sahara, and therefore added the chaos in BLM protests to their argument against black people. Interestingly, I think the recent BLM protests might have a small but unexpected influence on how Chinese people view the said groups. First it is the supportive tone mentioned before: we are officially offering our sympathy for them. Secondly, I believe the domestic reports about the series of incidents are pretty all-sided. All the news reports, video footages and photographs that could be found on reddit or elsewhere are re-uploaded to Chinese social media so people could see the full picture. There are more in-depth reports and analysis than ever before, and Trevor Noah's monologues are being reposted a lot. The name "Black Lives Matter" itself was used to be unfairly translated as "黑命贵"("black lives are expensive"; indicating that black people's lives are more valuable than others) during the protests in the last few years; but the official translation is leading the interpretation back to its original meanings: "黑人的命也是命"("black people's lives are also lives"). Over George Floyd's death, after people showed remorse, some pointed out that Mr. Floyd was a recidivist and he should not be held a martyr; Others argue that no matter what his nature was, the police brutality could not be whitewashed; some other guys mentioned the former relationship between Chauvin and Floyd, and questioned if the officials are trying to minimize the influence of the conviction, from hate crime to personal revenge. The wish that we could be better at handling cross-cultural issues and that Chinese people could view foreigners more objectively might be pushed forward for a tiny bit from these reports and discussions. 3. Cultural Revolution? In the aforementioned discussions, the ones I'm particularly interested in are those arguments that exclusively exist among Chinese people. Here are two arguments that are, coincidentally or not, both tied to the revolutionary essence of China. The do not represent any aspect of my personal views, and you could think of other counter-arguments, but I think it is interesting to document them below. 1) It is believed that BLM protests would lead to nowhere and would cause no further improvements in American society, because the protestors are poorly organized. The civil rights movements in the last century had got a number of thought leaders including MLK and Malcolm X, and organizations with more unified members like Black Panther Party. Their ideologies could be radical or even morally questionable, but what makes a permanent change are the thoughts that convert people's anger into well-defined goals. It is sad that current-day BLM protestors are more indulged in minor goals like the conviction of one individual police officer or the removal of a specific statue. The unrests in the 60s had certain socialist and communist involvement, and that is very much frowned upon in modern day American society where socialism is considered a threat to the capitalist foundations; America has successfully stigmatized these terms, and protestors these days are more reluctant to embrace the conclusions from this ideology, despite its correctness: racism is not a stand-alone problem, but the tip of the iceberg named class. African Americans are oppressed not just because of the color of their skin, but also the working class that majority of them belong to. Racism against African Americans will exist as long as the inequality between classes is not eliminated. 2) Some people see the resemblance between the recent events and China's cultural revolution, and thus have got some worrisome inklings. One news that was discussed a lot was HBO temporarily pulled Gone with the Wind because of the hinting racisms in the movie. According to HBO, the movie will return with a discussion of its historical context. During Cultural Revolution and many years following that, many literature works written by the ancients and foreigners were allowed to publish only after prepended with Mao's quotes and forewords detailing how this book is from certain aspects against the modern-day socialist values. The ancient literature Outlaws of the Marsh was popularized during Cultural Revolution only because Mao revealed the novel's counterrevolutionary nature, and people are called upon to criticize the book (on Amazon, the numbers of clicks of Gone with the Wind soared). For Chinese people that have gone through this historical period, they see how these sort of reviews that tell people how to think correctly could have the potential of forcing people to form regimented thoughts. Americans (and the Brits, recently) are removing statues of historic figures that were unfortunately also slave owners, and celebrities' old speeches are dug out and re-examined with today's standards. This reminds people of Cultural Revolution too, when historic relics in remembrance of historic figures were destroyed, and "big-character posters" were put up and the people with their names mentioned in the posters were went through brutal struggle sessions because of they had said something counterrevolutionary years ago. A fight should never take this form, no matter how righteous its tenet is.
Dear CoinEx users, to keep you updated each week, we will share with you a recap of all the exciting events in CoinEx ecosystem during the previous week. Below are major events that occurred in the ecosystem over the past week.
MORE TRADING OPTIONS ONLINE
As alt season sustains bullish momentum, DeFi projects continue to draw more attention to potential traders and investors, this past week, CoinEx has listed more projects centered on DeFi. Below are projects listed during the week.
Curve (CRV) Launched: A Governance Token with Time-weighted Voting and Value Accrual Mechanisms
CRV is a governance token with time-weighted voting and value accrual mechanisms. -Governance with time-weighted voting -Value capture mechanism to promote certain pools -Locking mechanism to accrue rewards for long term liquidity providers -Fee burn (once enabled by governance further down the road) CoinEx will list CRV with trading pairs of ETH, BTC, and USDT. Due to the limited current circulating supply of CRV tokens, CoinEx will announce the exact trading start time once CRV deposits have reached a level sufficient enough to ensure healthy market dynamics. Prior to its exact trading start time, adequate announcement will be made. About CRVWebsite | Explorer
JUST- JST Launched: Building the Financial Infrastructure for Billions of People Worldwide
Continued Publication Of “Trade to Get 20 BCH Airdrop” Winners Everyday
As the second event of BCH 3rd Anniversary CelebrationTrade to Get 20 BCH Airdrop continues, winners of the second event will be published daily from August 6th to 16th August. Winners are encouraged to check their CoinEx account to see rewards within two weeks after the end of the event.
Third Event — Conduct Perpetual Contract Trading to share 6,000 USDT Begins
The third and final event for BCH 3rd Anniversary Celebration now ongoing. Rules: Users can choose to complete any of the following tasks, and share the corresponding rewards in terms of the amount of tasks completed. Task 1: Invite a Perpetual Contract newbie (newly registered during the event and conduct a Perpetual Contract trading) Task 2: BCH contract trading value reaches 500 USD Task 3: Net deposit up to 100 USD (applicable for all coins/ tokens ) (1) Complete 2 tasks can share 2,000 USDT (2) Complete 3 tasks to share 3,000 USDT
July rewards For “Hold ONT/VET/NEO to receive ONG/VTHO/GAS“ has been allocated
After a successful snapshot, all CoinEx holders of the mentioned coins have got their staking rewards allocated. Rewards were allocated on the 10th 0f August, users are encouraged to check their account for their staking reward. Hold & get staking incentives 1. Hold NEO and get GAS 2. Hold ONT and get ONG 3. Hold VET and get VTHO Details here
Suspension of ONG Airdrop for ONT Holders
Users holding ONT positions will not continue to receive ONG airdrop rewards. This is coming after the Ontology team upgraded the Ontology Governance and Staking Economic Model in accordance to ONT (Ontology) Official Plan.
As a global and professional cryptocurrency exchange service provider, CoinEx was founded in December 2017 with Bitmain-led investment and has obtained a legal license in Estonia. It is a subsidiary brand of the ViaBTC Group, which owns the fifth largest BTC mining pool, which is also the largest of BCH mining, in the world. CoinEx supports perpetual contract, spot, margin trading, and other derivatives trading, and its service reaches global users in nearly 100 countries/regions with various languages available, such as Chinese, English, Korean and Russian. Click hereto register on CoinEx! Reach CoinEx on TELEGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | API
In line with the upcoming maintenance of BTS, withdrawal and deposit for BTS will be suspended until the successful completion of maintenance. Notes: 1. Trading and inter-user transfer of BTS trading pairs on CoinEx will not be affected during this period. 2. Users will be updated if there’s any latest information or newer development.
CoinEx Project Research
Ampleforth Research Report
https://preview.redd.it/mfvxi1n6nvi51.png?width=321&format=png&auto=webp&s=3ce9e8003f8b35ff6bc88642d750c8abe05eefe0 Ampleforth has managed to create what used to be an imaginary perfect asset with infinite supply, the owners of which don’t have to worry about it getting devalued. Ampleforth has to some degree successfully redesigned the way money works despite only being a few years old. Their influence has not penetrated a huge portion of the market as of yet but there is a lot of room for them to grow. And being part of the DeFi movement makes it a lot easier to gain more traction. In fact, over 36 million AMPL has been deposited in Geyser as of now. This is a great stepping-stone for the protocol. Full Research Reportby Gamals Ahmed, CoinEx Business Ambassador
As a global and professional cryptocurrency exchange service provider, CoinEx was founded in December 2017 with Bitmain-led investment and has obtained a legal license in Estonia. It is a subsidiary brand of the ViaBTC Group, which owns the fifth largest BTC mining pool, which is also the largest of BCH mining, in the world. CoinEx supports perpetual contract, spot, margin trading, and other derivatives trading, and its service reaches global users in nearly 100 countries/regions with various languages available, such as Chinese, English, Korean and Russian. Click hereto register on CoinEx! Reach CoinEx on TELEGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | API
The Democratic Party Platform Draft - A Review (Part 1/?)
Hello friends. The draft of the platform is out but it's 80 pages long and I'm sure some of you will be unable to read the entire thing due to your busy schedules so I offer a humble review, section by section. The draft begins with acknowledgement of indigenous peoples and lands, specifically acknowledging the tribes whose land the convention is being held on. Not much to say here, it's harmless politically and the right thing to do.
The Preamble is next and really is all you'll probably need to read to get a feel for the platform. Calling out having defeated communism in the opening line is a nice prebuttal to people who will accuse this of being a leftist document. It'll alienate commies but they're used to that by now. It talks about covid and the current economy, placing much of the blame on Trump and stressing that the country needs to do better. It also accuses Trump and "America First" of being weak on foreign policy. The preamble also states that Republicans have rigged the economy in favor of the wealthy and that "a new social and economic contract" is necessary to create millions of jobs and fight inequality. It also promises guarantees on the rights to join and form unions and securing retirement for everyone. All in all, I love it. I think this paragraph highlights many of the problems labor has with the current economy. After that it says that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and that universal healthcare will be pursued. There's also a discussion of expanding voting rights, combating racism, and protecting other minorities based on gender, sexuality, religion, disability, etc. There is a paragraph dedicated to fighting climate change, another to improving education that includes the words 'school-to-prison pipeline' which is good to see. It ends by stating that foreign policy will be pursued with a focus on domestic renewal (jobs) and fighting climate change. All in all it's about what you'd expect. Not a lot of policy specifics and instead staking out general outlines of where the party's ideology is. I don't see anything that I would complain about in it.
PROTECTING AMERICANS AND RECOVERING FROM THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
For the second time the platform states that Trump is directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. I suspect this will be a common refrain throughout the campaign. The first page or so is an indictment of Trump's handling of the pandemic and a recognition that marginalized and poor people have suffered the most during it. It then goes into the Democratic plan. It opens by stating that testing, treatment, and any eventual vaccine should be free to charge to everyone in the United States without qualification. Great! It then goes on to talk about how the crisis has made it all the more clear that a lack of health insurance coverage leaves people vulnerable and talking about how expanding the ACA is essential. I imagine this will come up again. I'm saddened to see the platform focusing on health insurance as I believe that system needs to eventually go away but I'm sure there are others that are happy it's not pushing for nationalized healthcare. Interestingly, it mentions that during this pandemic, and future health or economic crises, a public option would be created that low-income Americans are automatically enrolled in with zero expenses paid by them, but that they'd have the option to opt out of it. Sounds like a way to test out the public option for eventual universal use. The next section discusses returning to pre-Trump policies on pandemic prevention and reinvesting in technology and medical infrastructure. After that it returns to discussing labor, stating:
During acute economic downturns, Democrats believe that we must take care of our workforce and aim to keep workers whole. We will reform the current unemployment insurance system to enable more workers to remain attached to their jobs, including by promoting payroll support and work-sharing programs with generous rates of wage replacement and requirements that employers maintain workers’ benefits. For those workers who do lose their jobs, we will expand the unemployment insurance system to cover more workers, including independent contractors and gig, part-time, and tipped workers; make sure platform companies and companies that misclassify employees as contractors pay in to support the system like other employers do; and raise wage replacement rates, which are far too low in many states. We will expand, not cut, nutrition assistance and food security programs that millions of Americans are relying on in this crisis. Democrats will also make long-overdue investments to upgrade and modernize states’ unemployment system technology and ensure the Department of Labor conducts strong oversight of state unemployment systems to make sure that unemployed workers can quickly and efficiently access the benefits they are owed.
The platform is making a consistent pitch for working class voters so far. It ends by discussing investing in states to create domestic jobs and to counter reduced tax revenues, increasing oversight of large companies, providing assistance to small companies, and subsidizing universal access to high-speed internet for all households.
BUILDING A STRONGER, FAIRER ECONOMY
This is where we start seeing references to the "Obama-Biden Administration." It seems like that could've been used in the prior section as well so I'm guessing different authors worked on different sections. I'll quote this paragraph here as it probably tells you everything you need to know about this section:
But our economy was rigged against working families and the middle class even before the novel coronavirus sickened millions and killed more than 140,000 Americans. Working families’ incomes have been largely stagnant for decades, while the cost of basic needs—from housing to health care, higher education to child care—keep rising at precipitous rates. Meanwhile, the rich have been capturing a larger and larger share of the economic pie, with incomes for the top one percent growing five times faster than those of the bottom 90 percent.
A big theme of this section is "a new social and economic contract" with Americans that promotes "shared prosperity" instead of allowing the wealthy to continue hoarding the majority of economic gains. Housing is a right, protecting unions, increasing wages, and fighting inequality is what this section is all about. The labor section specifically calls out a $15 minimum wage and repealing right-to-work laws, while also protecting the right to boycott and launch secondary boycotts. There will also be new regulations to do away with "non-compete clauses, no-poaching agreements, and contracts that force workers into mandatory arbitration to resolve violations of employment laws." This entire section is written clearly and specifically to appeal to union voters. The part about holding executives criminally liable if they interfere or attempt to discourage unions from forming is fairly notable. It also mentions guaranteeing collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees through a new federal law. There's some standard stuff about protecting families and investing in infrastructure that follows so I'll skip to the next section I assume people here will care about, talking about trade. It's a pretty short section so I'll just quote it in full.
For too long, the global trading system has failed to keep its promises to American workers. Too many corporations have rushed to outsource jobs, and too many countries have broken their promises to be honest and transparent partners. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the risks of relying too heavily on global supply chains, as shutdowns and shortages have created chaos for workers and consumers and made our public health response even more challenging. The Trump Administration has failed time after time to deliver for American workers on this crucial issue, siding with corporate interests over our workers and launching a trade war with China that they have no plan for winning—creating incredible hardship for American farmers, manufacturers, workers, and consumers in the process. Democrats will pursue a trade policy that puts workers first. We will negotiate strong and enforceable standards for labor, human rights, and the environment in the core text of our trade deals. Future trade agreements should build on the pro-labor provisions added to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by Democratic members of Congress. Democrats will take aggressive action against China or any other country that tries to undercut American manufacturing by manipulating their currencies and maintaining a misaligned exchange rate with the dollar, dumping products like steel and aluminum in our markets, or providing unfair subsidies. Unlike President Trump, we will stand up to efforts from China and other state actors to steal America’s intellectual property and will demand China and other countries cease and desist from conducting cyberespionage against our companies. We will eliminate President Trump’s tax and trade policies that encourage big corporations to 8ship jobs overseas and evade paying their fair share of taxes. If companies shut down their operations here and outsource jobs, we’ll claw back any public investments or benefits they received from taxpayers. And we will take immediate action to repair the damage President Trump’s reckless policies have done to American farmers, by working with our allies to stand up to China and negotiate from the strongest possible position.
So far I'm liking basically everything I'm seeing from the platform, with a few small quibbles here and there like talking about expanding health insurance coverage as a means of achieving universal coverage. The most consistent theme I've seen so far is that this document seems to be written with unions very much in mind. I'll stop here for now as this is getting fairly long. Part 2 will (might) follow later.
Put Credit Spread Assignment Confusion (Robinhood)
I opened 10 306/307 6/19 SPY put credit spreads. At the end of the trading day, spy closed at $308, meaning my credit spread should expire worthless and I keep the credit and my collateral. The 10 $306 contracts expired worthless and initially the $307 contracts did as well. Then the expiration of the $307 were "voided" and I was assigned to buy 7 contracts of SPY (700 shares) while the remaining 3 contracts expired worthless. I've been doing credit spreads for 4 months now and never encountered anything like this. The thing that worries me that these transactions are marked as "confirmed" and I currently have a very high negative balance and received emails from Robinhood restricting my options privileges and using margin. I've also emailed them explaining what happened. Is this a mistake on their end? Usually have to wait till Monday for things to clear up but I'm a little worried about this. Thanks! UPDATE: Major thanks to u/humbletradesman for the in-depth explanation! So I was assigned 700 shares of SPY at the strike of 307. I sold all 700 shares this morning at 308, making a profit, fortunately! Definitely a learning experience and thanks to all that responded!
TLDR: Get a cash account. A lot of people complain about the 3 day trades per 5 trading days rule for accounts with less than 25K. Those complaints are completely understandable. However, there is a way to get around that rule without having 25K in your account. (Obviously if you have a $25,000 account, then you don't need to read this post.) This works with most cash accounts, but I'll be talking about thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade since that's what I use. Create an account on TD Ameritrade. It needs to be a cash account with options trading level 2 enabled. Margin privileges should NOT be enabled. Here's what day trading is like with a cash account: For example, let's say you have an account of the size $1,000. On Monday, you buy calls for $200 and sell those calls on the same day for $500. You just made a $300 profit. Your account is now worth $1,300. Now, you won't be able to use the $500 you made on this day trade for the entire rest of the Monday. You'll be able to use those funds on Tuesday. However, you still have $800 that you can use to day trade on Monday. You can basically keep day trading until available funds reaches 0 for that day. Then, those funds free up the next day and you repeat. This prevents you from force trading and over trading. Here's the best part... You can also open up a thinkorswim margin account. Link it both ways with your cash account. You now have the ability to instantly transfer your funds to margin account and vice versa. Transfer all of your funds to the thinkorswim margin account, and use up the 3 day trades on this account. You can't use margin to trade options so don't worry about interest or anything like that. Once you've used up your 3 day trades, use the instant transfer feature to transfer all of your funds from margin account to your cash account. Now day trade as many times until buying power reaches 0. Once your 3 day trades come back on the margin account, instantly transfer all funds from cash account to margin account. Use up the 3 day trades here, then transfer back to cash. Here's the bad part... You have to pay commissions of .65 cents per contract. However, once you've placed enough trades on this platform and you day trade often, you can always negotiate with the broker to lower your fees. The UI is nowhere as good as Robinhood. However, you can try thinkorswim on an iPad, it looks a bit cleaner... but nothing close to Robinhood's UI. Robinhood will always have the best UI, imo. Unfortunately, Robinhood only offers margin account. Conclusion... This setup allows you to day trade with a bit more freedom. It's not close to having 25K account and day trading, but it's still pretty damn good. If you need help setting anything up, just contact thinkorswim support team via the mobile app. Or, just PM me and I can try to help. There's also a countless number of videos and articles that can help you as well.
What you can do this summer (and how covid might impact admissions) - a guide by Novembrr, former Berkeley & UChicago reader
Note: I began writing this guide before George Floyd’s murder. I vacillated for a long time regarding posting this guide, as it feels privileged to worry about gaining acceptance to elite universities when there are disenfranchised groups of people who don’t have the ability to study, work, and live freely. But I ultimately decided to share this with you guys in the hopes that some would find it helpful. Covid has completely derailed many of your plans; from summer programs being cancelled to research labs closing to internships being nixed, many of you are looking at a long summer with nothing to do. And that’s okay. Just as universities are trying to give students grace in what they’re able/unable to achieve in a covid-19 world, extend that grace to yourself. People are dying and, tragically, death might hit close to home for some of you. People are losing their jobs and, again, your family might be impacted. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 children are going hungry during this time; you might be more worried about putting food on your table than improving your resume. You might be trapped in an unsafe, unhealthy environment without the support systems you once had. Social distancing and sheltering in place are impacting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of people worldwide. Focus first on what really matters: the mental, emotional, physical, and financial health of you and your loved ones. But many of you are wondering how covid-19 might impact your college admissions process, and I am, too. Truthfully, no one knows; college administrators are scrambling to make decisions regarding online vs in-person classes this fall, and admissions officers are trying to determine how to make the admissions process simultaneously equitable/accessible and on-par with the academic caliber of previous classes. Lee Coffin, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Dartmouth College, said in a recent Harvard Graduate School of Education webinar: “Students are coming into next year’s application process with less information than they might have had, [and] different kinds of data points that frame their academic record. We don’t have all the answers today as to what [the college admissions process this fall] might look like.” He went on to add: “As I try to anticipate the [class of] 2025 reading cycle... how do we start to think and reimagine a college assessment if the high schools are largely giving pass/fail grades right now? If that happens to continue into the fall, a transcript as we know it will look really differently... If you combine that with a lack of testing, we’ve removed a lot of data from what would have typically been our assessment.” Pass/fail vs letter grades I want to interrupt my train of thought to address whether you should take letter grades or choose pass/fail, if given the option. Multiple students have told me that their GPA and/or class rank hinges on them choosing pass/fail, even though they’ve earned all As this semester. I would not choose pass/fail to game the system; choose pass/fail (if given the option) if your grades were impacted during this turbulent time. If your grades were on par with your past performance, I’d stick to letter grades. Alongside letters of recommendation, counselors are asked to evaluate students on a few criteria, one of which is character. I worry that students’ characters will be called into question, or that a counselor might call you a “grade grubber” in their letter of recommendation. In contrast, they can talk about your ethical decision to take letter grades, and how you seem to truly love learning solely for the sake of learning (not for a grade or an accolade)—a quality, in my experience, that universities love. Alternatively, if your school is mandating that everyone go pass/fail, and you would have earned stellar grades, ask your counselor to address that fact in your letter of rec. Ok, back to regular programming. How might colleges evaluate your achievements? The question on everyone’s mind lately: How will universities evaluate applicants without test scores and with pass/fail grades? Standardized tests were already flawed—they disadvantaged students from marginalized backgrounds, for instance—but universities clung to them as a way to, in their minds, even the playing field. It’s hard to compare students from, say, an under-resourced rural public school in Iowa to an abundantly-resourced private school in Massachusetts, and so universities try to avoid doing so by evaluating students within “context”: the opportunities of their family, school, and community (i.e., if your high school doesn’t offer AP Calculus BC, you won’t be compared to peers in the high school two towns over who all take BC as freshmen; if your family lives in poverty, your achievements might look different than those of a student from an uber-wealthy community; and so on). I believe that grace has to be extended to individuals impacted by covid-19, as well; if circumstances of covid-19 (your illness, a family member’s illness, a parent’s undeunemployment, lack of access to standardized testing, online courses, etc.) impact your achievements, I cannot imagine an admissions office would not extend leniency. But at the nation’s most selective universities, everyone cannot be given a pass on everything. So I believe now, more than ever, qualitative components of an application may be heavily weighted in the admissions processes of the nation’s most selective universities. The webinar’s host, Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard senior lecturer and leader of the Turning the Tide national effort to rethink college admissions, added his opinion: “It seems to me that if you are putting less weight on the SAT, then this is a time where you really can pay attention to the social and emotional strengths—like self awareness, social awareness, self regulation, curiosity, empathy—that we know are so strongly predictive of doing well and doing good in college and beyond.” So where do you show these qualities? In your letters of recommendation, essays, and extracurriculars. Getting stellar letters of recommendation I recommend you seek out recommenders ASAP, as they might need even more time than usual to write your recommendations. Dartmouth’s Dean Coffin, in a 2017 alumni magazine article, said: “In combination with the qualitative data, the teacher recommendations that talk about grit and focus, determination and optimism, as well as the student’s own work and the essays—that’s where it all knits together and you say, ‘This is someone who’s primed for success.’” Don’t just have your teachers rehash your resume; what anecdotes can they provide that will offer detailed insight into your best qualities? Alongside your teacher letter of recommendations in the Common App, teachers are asked to evaluate your:
Quality of writing
Creative, original thought
Productive class discussion
Respect accorded by faculty
Disciplined work habits
Reaction to setbacks
Concern for others
And overall characteristics
Consider subtly addressing some of these qualities in a letter to your recommender. I recommend reading this Reddit post by u/LRFE. One point where we disagree: I don’t recommend you send your resume to your teachers, unless they ask for it; in my experience, resumes are helpful for counselors so they can put all your achievements into context. However, some teachers erroneously spend more time talking about your extracurricular achievements than your personal qualities and performance in class; your resume will be detailed in your activities list and, most likely, your essays. Your objective personal qualities won’t be detailed anywhere, unless your recommenders provide that insight. Instead of saying: “Marissa is a talented young lady! Not only does she frequently solo on the saxophone in jazz band, but she earned first place at the DECA regionals competition, is captain of the varsity tennis team, volunteers for National Honors Society, and earned silver in the United States of America Computing Olympiad. Quite the busy bee!” Your teacher could say: “Marissa is an incredibly introspective and thought-provoking young person. In a class discussion about The Great Gatsby, she challenged her classmates to reflect on their own privilege. She made reference to current events and incorporated books she read in AP US History (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, The Second Sex). What’s more, she artfully mediated what could have been a contentious discussion between her politically-divided classmates.” Do you see how the latter example would better say to universities “this student is primed for success”? And, remember, you don’t have to hope that your teacher will write with such detail—you can write them a letter and include anecdotes to remind them of your best moments in class. Doing something impactful this summer And as for extracurriculars, it would be great to do something this summer. But what? That’s the million dollar question, but you don’t need a million dollars to do something this summer that will be emotionally or intellectually rewarding and beneficial for your college applications (+ success in college).
Build a computer
Tinker (take apart and rebuild electronics, “hack” electronics to improve them, rig up devices that solve everyday problems, etc.)
Lead a social justice initiative (rally teens to protest; provide masks, snacks and water to protesters; create a “voices of our community” newsletter to highlight marginalized perspectives; and so much more)
Create birdhouses and offer to install them in neighbors’ yards
Conduct science experiments (and/or create science kits, record instructions, and share them with kids in your neighborhood)
Offer virtual babysitting, tutoring, language teaching, or music lessons
Grocery shop/run errands for at-risk members of your community
Build an app that solves a need in your community, like alerting SNAP recipients when SNAP-eligible food is in stock at their local grocery store
Start a lawn mowing business
Run the social media for a small business floundering in this economic environment
Create the website or build an online store for a small business that used to sell only in person
Translate important public health information, create a database of healthcare/public resources, or offer to virtually translate conversations with doctors for non-native-speaking members of your community
Offer your help negotiating smaller fees for services (like internet/tv) for low-income families
Fundraise to buy internet/hotspots/computers for low-income students who are otherwise unable to learn online
Create fun learning packets for students and drop them off in “subscribers” mailboxes
Do a data visualization project on covid-19 for your community
Take online courses via Coursera, EdX, MIT OpenCourseWare, Udemy, Udacity, Lynda.com, Khan Academy, etc.
Listen to podcasts associated with your intended major, like this one from MIT
Foster or transport shelter animals
Foster the pets of those who have been hospitalized
Walk the pets of those who are at-risk and cannot be out and about in the community
Drive people to routine hospital appointments/work/necessary errands who otherwise would be forced to take public transit
Create virtual mental health office hours, where classmates can call in or submit anonymous questions, and where you can host weekly guest professionals to answer those questions
Start a themed book club with friends (perhaps related to your major)
Fundraise to purchase video cameras for NICUs, labor & delivery, and covid-19 wards where loved ones cannot be present in the hospital
Ask to help design the online curriculum for a favorite teacher (even better if related to your intended major)
Edit the resumes of recently-unemployed community members
Write stories, poetry, a news/politics blog
Sew masks and distribute to those in need
Propose an independent research project and ask a professor to be your mentor
And tons of ideas that I haven’t discovered (you guys constantly amaze me with your ingenuity)
So you want to do research… It was always difficult for high schoolers to earn coveted spots in research labs, and covid-19 offers even more challenges, with the suspension of many labs. Says Polly Fordyce, an assistant professor of bioengineering and genetics at Stanford, covid-19 is “really destructive. Some people were about to do the last experiment they needed for a paper, or an experiment that would have given them months of data to analyze. And now they’re stalled.” Instead, her colleagues are “thinking creatively about existing data sets we can analyze, reading more papers… doing a paper on data that they weren’t going to write up.” I want you to think just as creatively. Where, in the past, I have helped many of my students gain research internships at highly-selective universities, don’t count on doing so this summer. Instead, consider devising your own research project—like Fordyce said, using existing data sets and papers—and ask a professor, PhD student, or professional to mentor you. I’m going to give you some ideas on topics you could analyze. I urge you not to run with one of these projects, because who knows how many other kids read this post and likewise pick the same project. Harvard will likely catch on if 500 kids all have the same research project… Instead, find the subject most closely linked to your interest for some inspiration, reflect on your unique interests, and spend a few days harvesting the internet for some ideas. If you’re truly stuck and need some help, reach out for more information regarding how I work 1-on-1 with students. So without further ado… Biology/Public Health
Cancer (under)diagnosis in queeobese/minority populations (and the healthcare biases that lead to this issue)
How cancer diagnoses are impacted by covid-19 (like this, for instance)
The cultural norms that support and the efforts to end genital mutilation worldwide
The inhalation of Lysol and the spread of misinformation in public health crises (covid-19, AIDS)
The effect of Yelp reviews on prospective patients’ selection of healthcare providers
Best approaches to treating individuals with memory loss/eating disorders/etc.
Pharmaceuticals’ roles in the opioid epidemic
The rise of the female workforce during WWII, and how covid-19 is impacting female workers
How businesses’ responses to covid-19 and the Black Lives Matters movement impact their (inter)national reputations
The challenges of being male, female, trans, or nonbinary in workplaces dominated by individuals with different gender identities
A history of black entrepreneurship
Predicted cost impacts of a year without college football for U.S. universities
NOTE: Instead of conducting research, consider pursuing a hands-on project, such as assisting a small business in their social media strategy; starting your own small business or product; or designing a mock product, website, and advertising campaign. Classics
Gender and sexuality in Ancient Rome
The use of a particular literary device across an author’s body of work
History of disease in Roman antiquity
How Bay Area tech giants succeed/fail in hiring and supporting minority engineers
The effects of avatars’ identities in video games on players’ personal identities in real life
Various approaches to introducing children to computer science
NOTE: You can also use computer science tools to analyze a topic in another field—such as using AI to predict a disease. Cultural Studies/Ethnic Studies
Why Black Americans are dying from covid-19 at greater rates
Racial disparity in the rate of police killings
The societal stereotyping of ethnic first names
The challenges refugees face before, during, and after immigration
A specific culture’s identity and representation in film
Data Science There are tons of opportunities here; pick a project that interests you and analyze the data associated with it. Don’t have any data? Check out these sites or reach out to your local librarian for help. Really dig into the data to pose questions, draw conclusions, and pursue a data visualization project. Design
The challenges of living in high-density housing during social distancing
How highways bifurcated white and black America
Minorities’ pursuit of STEM majors in predominantly white vs historically black colleges and universities
The school-to-prison pipeline
Menstruation as a barrier to education in India
Sex education’s impact on underage pregnancies
Engineering NOTE: Consider doing something hands on, like building a drone, robot, or computer; designing a bridge; or building an app or device. Here are some additional ideas from Southern Methodist University and ElProCus. Stanford Alumni Magazine just featured a “multitalented tinkerer”, and you can see some of his projects on [YouTube](alu.ms/akshay). English Literature
Analysis of an author’s use of a literary device across their body of work
How spouse/sibling authors draw upon different/similar inspirations (The Brontë Sisters, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, etc.)
Analysis of a particular style of writing within books of a certain genre
How a book reflects society and beliefs of that time (how slavery is depicted, mental health stigma, etc.)
How a book/body of work represents an author’s beliefs (John Milton, John Updike, any other notably-religious Johns?)
The representation of a minority group in a genre (i.e., LGBTQ+ within graphic novels)
How murder hornets and other invasive species have impacted indigenous species
Differences in the perception of global warming across various societies
Modern day impacts of Chernobyl, Fukushima, or other environmental disasters
Analysis of climate change policies in the Democratic debates
How a Supreme Court decision regarding a natural gas pipeline could impact the Appalachian Trail
Violence against indigenous women and the inadequate response by communities/law enforcement
History of achievements of America’s first ladies
Gender inequality during stay-at-home orders
Overcoming the gender gap in STEM
The response to the 1918 Spanish Flu and similarities/differences between today’s response to covid-19
A history of un- and under-employment in America
How businesses pivot during times of crisis (WWII, covid-19, etc.)
NOTE: There are so many cool topics in history! Here’s a good place to start (though this list is U.S.-centric) Journalism/Media Studies
Partisanship in American media organizations
Freedom of the press in [insert country of choice here]
The rise and fall of the American newspaper
Jazz’s influence on community in Harlem
Your favorite musical artist’s influence on a genre
What various cultures’ earliest musical artifacts showcase about those societies
The impacts of gerrymandering on marginalized communities
The impacts of social media on voter turnout and behaviors
The corrupt misuse of NGO funds in Third World Countries
A compare and contrast between two leaders’ approaches to international trade
Legal precedence foagainst stay-at-home orders, curfews on protestors, etc.
Freedom to/freedom from: the different approaches to personal liberties in various democratic societies
Unemployment’s impact on mental health crises during various economic downturns
Mental health risks of social isolation
Building empathy across political/racial divides
The impact of a belief in fixed vs malleable intelligence on children’s achievements
In order to get a research internship off the ground, you must be willing to put in the time and effort to devise a topic in the first place. This is not the sort of summer activity that is going to be handed to you, but it will be so rewarding to drive the project from start to finish (I promise). And if my promise doesn’t come true and you hit tons of speed bumps, well hey, at least you’ll have a great response to any prompts that ask you to address your greatest challenge. ;) How to approach mentors You can either organically devise a project you would love to pursue, or first poke around prospective departments at your dream university to see what they’re doing, before creating a spinoff project from one of their research labs. Either way, do some research into who else in the world is doing similar stuff. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a professor—it could be a principal investigator, PhD student, postdoc, or even someone at a company/non-profit). Find their email and reach out to them, outlining something such as the following:
What you love about their work/research (I like to start with sincere flattery)
How their work/research relates to your interests/experiences
Who you are and what research you are conducting this summer (be specific—not “I plan to conduct economics research this summer. Got any ideas?”)
Your first ask: Can they recommend books, data, journal articles, etc. to point you in the right direction? (Again, be specific—“know of any bio journals?” is not going to lead to mentors begging to mentor you)
Your second ask: Are they or anyone they know willing to mentor you in pursuing this project? You would love occasional guidance on your sources, data, conclusions, paper, etc.
A sincere thanks for their time
Keep it short but detailed! And add a catchy subject line to cut through their inbox. Remember: They don’t owe you. They might not respond. You shouldn’t pester. You shouldn’t spam (multiple people with the same generic email and especially not multiple people in the same department at the same university). Consider reaching out to one or two people at different universities/companies/non-profits simultaneously; if you don’t get any responses after a week or so, consider tweaking your email and reaching out to one or two more individuals. Shoot to have one to two mentors, focusing only on those who can help you maximize your learning experience and do good work. What other questions do you have for how covid-19 might impact admissions? What other ideas do you have for summer activities? Happy to weigh in! And, as a reminder, don’t stress about college if you have other stressors in your life that need your attention first. I personally realized last year, when facing a family emergency, that you shouldn’t fix your leaky faucet if your house is burning down. Put out the fire first, then turn your attention to college. I’m here for you if you need me!
The benefits of margin. When margin is used for investing purposes, it can magnify your profits, but it can also magnify your losses. Here’s a hypothetical example that demonstrates the upside; for simplicity, we’ll ignore trading fees and taxes. Assume you spend $5,000 cash to buy 100 shares of a $50 stock. Margin trading increases risk of loss and includes the possibility of a forced sale if account equity drops below required levels. Margin is not available in all account types. Margin trading privileges subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Carefully review the Margin Handbook and Margin Disclosure Document for more details. Please see Margin requirements for option trading are complicated and generally vary from brokerage firm to brokerage firm [see 7 Rules ETF Day Traders Must Know]. Securities that cannot be purchased on margin due to the inherent risks involved, include: stocks under $5 a share, penny stocks, over-the-counter bulletin board stocks, and initial public Margin trading is a double-edged sword - it cuts both ways. If the stock price rises , the investor makes twice as much profit as with his own cash only. Similarly, if the stock price falls, the investor loses twice the amount. † Margin trading increases risk of loss and includes the possibility of a forced sale if account equity drops below required levels. Margin is not available in all account types. Margin trading privileges subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Carefully review the Margin Handbook and Margin Disclosure Document for more details.
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