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Joseph Sternberg finds cause for celebration as 2023 draws to an end. A slice:

The world’s population keeps getting larger. We’re on track to welcome our 8,100,000,000th global neighbor in 2024, after population growth of around 70 million this year.

Yes, this is a good thing. People have been going out of fashion since the days of the Rev. Thomas Malthus, and the trend only picked up steam in the 20th century with nonsense such as Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book, “The Population Bomb.” Even today, the fashionable rich like to signal their putative virtue by announcing their plans to have fewer children.

But people are an asset, not a liability. On a human level, more people means more family relationships and friendships. The former in particular are in short supply in countries such as China that have had the capacity (and the nihilistic ideological antecedents) to limit population growth in draconian fashion—with catastrophic social consequences. On an economic level, more people means more potential for innovation and therefore more, rather than less, prosperity.

John McWhorter, writing in the New York Times, explains why Claudine Gay should resign her post as Harvard’s president or be fired from it. (HT George Leef) Two slices:

Harvard has a clear policy on plagiarism that threatens undergraduates with punishment up to the university’s equivalent of expulsion for just a single instance of it. That policy may not apply to the university’s president, but the recent, growing revelations about past instances of plagiarism by Dr. Gay make it untenable for her to remain in office.

As a matter of scholarly ethics, academic honor and, perhaps most of all, leadership that sets an example for students, Dr. Gay would be denigrating the values of “veritas” that she and Harvard aspire to uphold. Staying on would not only be a terrible sign of hollowed-out leadership, but also risks conveying the impression of a double standard at a progressive institution for a Black woman, which serves no one well, least of all Dr. Gay.

It has always been inconvenient that Harvard’s first Black president has only published 11 academic articles in her career and not one book (other than one with three co-editors). Some of her predecessors, like Lawrence Bacow, Drew Gilpin Faust and Lawrence Summers, have had vastly more voluminous academic records. The discrepancy gives the appearance that Dr. Gay was not chosen because of her academic or scholarly qualifications, which Harvard is thought to prize, but rather because of her race.


If it is mobbish to call on Black figures of influence to be held to the standards that others are held to, then we have arrived at a rather mysterious version of antiracism, and just in time for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in less than a month. I would even wish Harvard well in searching for another Black woman to serve as president if that is an imperative. But at this point that Black woman cannot, with any grace, be Claudine Gay.

David Harsanyi weighs in on the latest ProPublica hit piece on Clarence Thomas. A slice:

All non-leftist justices have been the target of these sloppy hits, but there is a fervent disdain for Thomas, who’s committed the gravest sin of defying the Left’s racial stereotypes.

Arnold Kling remembers his teacher Robert Solow.

Pierre Lemieux ponders social choice.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board understands the migration from blue states to red states. A slice:

Eight states saw population declines, with the biggest in New York (-101,984), California (-75,423) and Illinois (-32,826). They can blame population flight. California lost the most residents to other states (-338,371), followed by New York (-216,778), Illinois (-83,839), New Jersey (-44,666), Massachusetts (-39,149) and Maryland (-30,905).

You don’t need artificial intelligence to spot what these states have in common: High taxes, burdensome business regulation and inflated energy and housing prices. Most donor states also have higher than average unemployment as a result of businesses moving or expanding their workforces in other states. California and New Jersey have both had significant increases in unemployment over the last year.

An interesting natural experiment has been Washington state, which gained tens of thousands of people from other states on net each year in the last decade. But since enacting a 7% capital-gains tax on higher earners in 2021, Washington has been losing residents to other states at an accelerating pace—15,276 this past year. Could that be a reason, or is Seattle’s crime problem a better explanation?

Williams Chou argues that objections to the sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon “don’t stand up to scrutiny.” A slice:

Claims that the deal is a threat to national security aren’t convincing either. Opponents on Capitol Hill are urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to use the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or Cfius, to block the sale. This doesn’t make sense. Japan, unlike China, is an important American ally. Earlier this month, the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party recommended that Congress put Japan on the Cfius “whitelist” of close allies. Countries already on the list include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K. Being on this list exempts qualifying investors from Cfius jurisdiction over noncontrolling transactions, real-estate transactions, and mandatory filing requirements.