Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, June 3, 2011

You Gotta Dance With Who Brought You

Megan McArdle has written several posts claiming Netflix is making poor business decisions and she is showing no sign of stopping. As McArdle cares about nothing but her purchasing power and how she might leverage that power to greater social status, it might be useful to follow the money in an attempt to explain her inexplicable dislike for the company.

This is where it comes in handy to be a long-time student of the McArdle con game. Past research has revealed that Google is closely intertwined with The Atlantic and the New America Foundation, both of which pay McArdle, of course.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt Appointed as Chairman of New America Foundation's Board of Directors
Published: February 7, 2008

The New America Foundation, a nonpartisan ten-year-old think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., announced today the appointment of Dr. Eric Schmidt, the chairman and chief executive of Google, Inc., as the new chairman of New America's Board of Directors.

Dr. Schmidt, who has been a member of the New America board since the policy institute's founding, will succeed James Fallows, the author and national correspondent of The Atlantic. Fallows will remain on New America's board after the transition, which will take place on June 1st; Fallows was New America's founding board chairman.

"New America is a place where first-rate scholars are producing concrete, creative solutions for some of our nation's biggest challenges," said Dr. Schmidt. "I'm proud to be associated with the Foundation and look forward to helping shape its work and future."

"New America's influence and excellence over this last decade exceed what any of its founders could reasonably have expected," said Fallows. "We couldn't be more fortunate than to have Eric Schmidt devote some of his time, intelligence, and public-mindedness to New America's next stage of growth."

Dr. Schmidt's election to the chairmanship coincides with the arrival at New America of a new president and chief executive, the journalist Steve Coll, a staff writer at The New Yorker and former managing editor of The Washington Post who has twice received the Pulitzer Prize. Coll succeeded New America founder Ted Halstead last September; Halstead remains a New America board member.

"New America's success has been built on innovation and the search for promising new voices in scholarship, policy and journalism," Coll said. "Building cultures of innovation and seizing on breakthrough ideas has been the hallmark of Eric Schmidt's extraordinary career in Silicon Valley, and most recently at Google. New America has long benefited from Eric's counsel and support, and everyone here is delighted about his new role, which will strengthen the Foundation immeasurably in the years ahead."

One of New America's priorities during the next several years, Coll said, is to evolve toward a "digital think tank" model that will use new technologies to improve the Foundation's reach; to generate innovative research and develop new ideas; and to create networks of expertise around the most important issues facing the United States in domestic and international policy arenas.

"New America has experienced tremendous growth and success by trying to work outside of the traditional think tank categories and boundaries," Coll said. "We remain focused on our investments in great people, great ideas, and great scholarship and journalism, but we are searching for new ways in which our scholars and researchers can make themselves heard, and make a difference in national life -- and we think new technology can be an important part of these ambitions."

"Generating ideas about public policy is still a very traditional business," said Fareed Zakaria, the author and editor of Newsweek International, and a New America board member. "Eric brings high intelligence and erudition, of course, but also a fresh perspective and focus on innovation that will be extremely valuable."


If you wonder why James Fallows is willing to cheapen his image by associating with Megan McArdle and Jeffrey Goldberg, it is probably because he is too deeply involved with Big Business's capture and selling of information to leave. He's waist deep in the big muddy and not going anywhere.

Google and Nexflix are competitors.

Move Over Netflix, Android Gets Google Movies
By Mike Melanson

While Netflix has been seen in the wild on Android devices, the last we've heard from Netflix itself was last November, when the company explained that digital rights management was holding back an Android version of the beloved streaming movie service.

If you're a Google fan, this has left you largely lacking in the streaming movie world...until today. This morning on stage at the Google I/O developer conference, Google announced a streaming movie service of its own.

Previously, mSpot offered streaming movies on Android, but that was about it. (Surely, let us know if there were others in the comments below.) Now, Google has begun offering movies via the Android Market that are available to stream on both the tablet, the phone and the home computer. The announcement is actually the continuation of yesterday's announcement that YouTube would begin offering 3,000 titles for rent.

According to the team at the Google press conference today, the movie rental feature available on the Android Market is powered by the same back-end as the YouTube rental service and offers the same listing of movies. As a matter of fact, if you rent a movie on YouTube, it is available on all of your Android and Honeycomb devices and vice versa.

Movie rentals start at $1.99 and, once rented, are available for 30 days. Once you have begun streaming a movie, you have 24 hours to complete your viewing. Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures and Universal Studios have all been rumored to be involved in the deal.


What a surprise. Megan McArdle throws her reputation (such as it is) behind the people who pay her money. This is a woman who would literally sell your kidney to make a buck. It's amazing that all businesses have to do is simply call their PR flack a "journalist" and people will believe they are impartial. Bradley and his cohorts paid a lot of money for McArdle and no amount of criticism or exposing her lies will make any difference to the world or help our fellow Americans from being milked dry by Corporate America. And most of our fellow Americans Consumers will not care until they are as poor as our permanent underclass.

65 comments:

atat said...

Wow, she's making no sense at all in the comments. Goal posts are moving, straw men are being built, and when that fails she's just spouting gibberish. This is clearly a topic she knows next to nothing about.

NonyNony said...

This is clearly a topic she knows next to nothing about.

Shocking!

Wait no - not shocking. The opposite of shocking. Anti-shocking. Perhaps shock-absorbing.

Find me a topic she knows something about. THAT would be shocking. She certainly seems to know very little about business or economics. She really should get a real job and have to work for a living for a little while - maybe she'd learn something and it would help her writing.

Lurking Canadian said...

To be fair, there is one subject on which she is an unmatched expert, due to long, long hours of practice: Ways in Which Megan McArdle is Better Than You.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

This is clearly a topic she knows next to nothing about.

Darn it, Nony, I sat around too long savoring that morsel.
~

KWillow said...

Megan (wearing white lab coat): "I'm notan economist, or a _____ or a ______ or a _____ or a cook, but I play one at the Atlantic!

Myles said...

Megan (wearing white lab coat): "I'm notan economist, or a _____ or a ______ or a _____ or a cook, but I play one at the Atlantic!

I would propose that Megan, in fact, does cook better than the average adult American. So that, statistically speaking, qualifies her as a cook.

atat said...

Now you're just being silly. You've eaten her food?

Myles said...

Now you're just being silly. You've eaten her food?

In her kitchen video, she seems to demonstrate a level of culinary skill that exceeds that of the average American.

Anonymous said...

That's a little mylesian joke. Megan would throw an unopened can of baked beans on a fire and watch it explode if someone important told her to do so.

aimai

Clever Pseudonym said...

Myles,
Thank you for illustrating one of my biggest problems with Megan's "work." Her culinary skills no doubt exceed your own if you are the slightest bit convinced that she has any to speak of. She simply owns all the right gadgets and kitchen gear while largely possessing little or no clue how to use them. She sifted flour in a Cuisinart, for goodness' sake. I've spent my whole life cooking and I can assure you Megan doesn't have the slightest idea what she's doing other than to fiddle and pretend. To those who don't know otherwise, she superficially appears to know what she's doing. That doesn't change the fact that she's a completely incompetent phony when it comes to cooking. Her recipes vary from bland to awful. Her "tips" she gives with her ridiculous gift guides are stupid and wrong and, as for that video, her cake looked like an over-cooked, dense, dry brick. She wasn't even capable of making enough frosting for the damn thing. Unlike you, I have not read Culinary Skills of the Average American, but I'm guessing if Megan's appear to exceed most, it's because the majority of Americans don't go around pretending to be capable of something they're not.

Susan of Texas said...

Susan of Texas said...
You can fake economics but you can't fake baking. It is a science; baking recipes depend on exact ratios and chemical reactions. And baking methods are handed down from mother to daughter for hundreds of years; nearly the only trace left of my ethnic heritage is baking scones.

The proof is, literally, in the pudding.

McArdle might be able to cook for dinner parties and follow the latest trends set by other people but she did not demonstrate any culinary skill and even demonstrated culinary ignorance, as well as sly dishonesty.

McArdle has said several times that dry ingredients like flour should be weighed, not measured, but she wanted to emphasize progress so she used measuring cups. Old English recipes used weight (or guesstimates as she says), as does McArdle herself.

McArdle praised pre-measured butter and plopped two sticks into her bowl, although the recipe on the screen called for 2/3 cup of butter. Butter sticks aren't measured by thirds, they are measured by quarter cups and tablespoons. The wrapper reads "1/3=51/3 Tb" and you have to guesstimate a bit.

McArdle does not know how to mix sugar and butter by hand, which is not surprising but she is purportedly teaching about the differences in old and new kitchen techniques.

She uses a large machine to aerate the flour, which shows that she reads cookbooks but has not yet learned to streamline her movements in cooking. When you make a cake every week you want to knock that sucker out and you know that a quick stir with a whisk saves you a lot of time and effort and gets the same result. One whisk will do everything you need; aerate the flour and mix in the chemical leveners and spices.

Her biggest mistake was cracking the eggs directly into the moving mixer. Bits of shell often fall off and you risk ruining your expensive butter with finely minced egg shell.

She calls a nut cracker a nut grinder. That might be a regional thing, but the nuts are not being ground and she doesn't want ground nuts. She uses the food processor to chop all the nuts at the same time, which means she'll get some that are oily and pulverized and some that are too big. She says she'll put the food processor's parts in the dishwasher but if that is done frequently the dishwasher tends to scratch the plastic. Cuisinart bowls, lids, and blades take a lot more time to clean up than a knife and cutting board.

McArdle does not grease and flour the baking pans evenly and the cake tears, as we can plainly see. In time you learn to be liberal with the fat and flour, or you use parchment paper cut-outs. You can even buy silicone cake pan liners, which are fabulous. McArdle also did not tap down the pans to even out the batter. The cakes are uneven--you can see it when she is frosting the cake.

She did not stack her prep bowls and tidy up her work area to make room, and put the dirty beater down on the counter instead of inside the dirty bowl.

She filled the dense, heavy cake with whipped cream that was not stabilized and will break down the next day. She doesn't know that frosting recipes usually must be doubled and her process of frosting the cake was deeply unskilled. For all her love of gadgets, she doesn't have an off-set spatula, which helps frost cakes evenly.

All this is very small stuff and most of it was too trivial to include in my post about her cooking video, but please don't tell us that she has culinary skills when she, and you, have only a hazy notion of baking.

(edited to correct error)

Clever Pseudonym said...

I scarcely bake at all, with the exception of a rare batch of cookies, and even I could tell she didn't have a clue what she was doing. If she weren't such a self-absorbed, arrogant twit I would have felt sorry for how much of a fool she made of herself in that video. She makes Sandra Lee look like Wolfgang Puck.

Again, it's Megan thinking she's so special and so superior to the rest of us that she honestly believes nobody will be able to tell that she has no idea what in the hell she's doing. Spending a lot of money at Williams and Sonoma does not make someone a cook.

Syz said...

Megan cooks better than Americans who don't cook. Just as Megan knows more about economics than Americans who know nothing about economics. And while it is true that the average American doesn't cook and knows nothing about economics, that is not really a recommendation.

Myles reminds me of a fellow I work with who was convinced that the world was going to end on May 21. When the rapture came and went without incident, he was not discouraged. Like Myles, he merely lowered his expectations and kept on believing. True believers are remarkably resilient that way.

Myles said...

Her culinary skills no doubt exceed your own if you are the slightest bit convinced that she has any to speak of.

Well I can't really cook, so her skills (and presumably yours) probably exceed mine own. I'll probably get an induction cooktoop in the next little while, so I'll be able to learn to cook. (Right now we have a conventional electric cooktop, instead of a gas one, so cooking is supererogatorily time-consuming. Hopefully with additional precision possible with induction cooktops it would be easier to learn to cook.)

Susan of Texas said...

CP, that's one of the first things that really struck me about McArdle--if a an average person can figure out McArdle's blowing smoke, why couldn't economic bloggers?

Then I saw her attack and intimidate people who challenged her.

(I forgot to mention that you're supposed to crack eggs on a flat surface so they don't shatter. The wonder is that she did anything right.)

argosyjones said...

This is a nut chopper. or nut grinder. It's easy to use, compact, and produces a fairly uniform result. I'm not sure why anyone would use a Cuisinart.

Anonymous said...

Myles,
While I hate an electric stove, and understand from my cooking friends that they love their induction stoves, if you haven't bothered learning to cook while you have electric its probably an error to imagine you will suddenly learn to cook with induction. People either love to cook, because they love fiddling, creating, and eating or they simply don't. You can make as marvellous a pasta dish on an electric stove as you can on a gas or induction one, after all. I don't even know what you mean by arguing that its too time consuming. The only real difference between gas and electric is that gas is more responsive and you are more likely to grasp that things are underheating or overheating with a gas stove than and electric. Plus, wok cooking.

Good luck learning to cook, however. Its a lifetime skill that everyone should master.

There's nothing wrong with somene, such as Megan, not being a good cook, not caring about cooking, or being the passive recipients of other people's labor. Lots of people get through life like that. What's pathetic is her insistence that her patent incompetence and the inedible food she produces are the product of intellect and skill. As though ordinary men and women haven't produced better food, with less fuss and posing, for thousands of years. You need absolutely none of her gadgets to turn out fantastic food. But you do need...well, skill, intellect, generosity, imagination, and taste. These are, alas, things that can't be bought.

aimai

Myles said...

I don't even know what you mean by arguing that its too time consuming.

Pre-heating, which exists with electric but not gas.

From what I've read on the NYT, induction offers the most precise time and heat control, i.e. you can time something to within the minute and it will be repeatable. Which element of precision will be useful for the novice, as "getting the hang of it" is generally a bit harder than "follow instructions and repeat until you understand the procedure and can experiment on your own."

(It's like doing math: difficult math is understood after you do the guided problem sets, not before. Trying to understand calculus without a foolproof set of guided procedures is incredibly inefficient. Which is why, by the way, professors who sub quizzes for problem sets are just making things worse unnecessarily.)

Susan of Texas said...

I liked the induction stove we had in the past but it had to be repaired several times. Our gas stove sat idle for a couple decades and worked immediately after we reconnected it.

Timing though, depends on a lot of things. Thermometers help you time meat but experiences helps you with most things. The hardest part of learning to cook a cake is learning when to take it out of the oven and that can depend on many different factors. The most important thing isn't doing it perfectly, although you do have to be exact with baking. It's practice, learning what you like and don't like, and learning how to best use whatever methods and products you cook with.

Lurking Canadian said...

I would follow up on the point Syz made. I am willing to stipulate that Megan can cook better than average. She is also more educated than average and no doubt knows more about economics than average. But "better than average" is not a compliment. "Better than average" means that when you submit something to the bake sale, the ladies auxiliary doesn't throw it out unsold.

The standard for a position as editor of a major publication is way the hell and gone above better than average.

Batocchio said...

There's nothing wrong with somene, such as Megan, not being a good cook, not caring about cooking, or being the passive recipients of other people's labor. Lots of people get through life like that. What's pathetic is her insistence that her patent incompetence and the inedible food she produces are the product of intellect and skill. As though ordinary men and women haven't produced better food, with less fuss and posing, for thousands of years. You need absolutely none of her gadgets to turn out fantastic food. But you do need...well, skill, intellect, generosity, imagination, and taste. These are, alas, things that can't be bought.

Glibertarianism and Randism exemplified. Megan simply must be a genius! Let the masses eat poorly-made Galt cakes.

Don't forget the Rand-inspired "The Selfish Path to Romance."

KWillow said...

My favorite stove was a smooth-top range, with halogen heat (I think). I loved it because it was so easy to clean! The salesman at the appliance store kept going on & on about how fast it heated up, and how HOT it could get, which was amusing since I like to cook soups & stews and chilis and pot roasts- they all take hours to cook at low heat. And spatter a bit, which was why I liked the easy-clean smooth top.

Megan's conviction that "time saving" appliances are such a big deal causes major eye-rolling in my case. Cooking isn't about speed. If you're in a hurry, use the microwave. The fun of cooking is taking time to chop and "creaming" butter & sugar, and carefully breaking the egg and separating white-from-yolk using the egg shell itself. And cleaning up as One goes along. I hate sinks full of dirty bowls & utensils, and spills and spatters everywhere. Ug.

Anonymous said...

Myles,
Very, very, few foods--whether baked, broiled, boiled, stewed, fricassed or fried rely on split second timing related to the stove top or need to be scientifically replicated *even for the novice.*

If you are truly a novice--that is, you've actually never cooked anything before--you would be far better off being more flexible, rather than less. As Kwillow points out soups, stews, fricassees and other savory dishes are incredibly forgiving as to time and temperature and even seasoning. Many benefit from trial and error.

On the baking front electric ovens are far more reliable than gas ones though I've never had any trouble with a gas stove. If you really are having trouble with your electric stove top--(and I agree that I hate them, I'm just arguing that its perfectly possible to cook wonderful meals on them) you can always pre-heat two burners to different temperatures and slide the pan from one to the other to get a good response time. This is, in effect, what those flat french stove tops do, the ones that radiate highest heat at the center and get cooler at the edges.

I have a mammoth muscle stove, a fire engine red six burner (should have been eight but I stupidly got the grill feature which doesn't work at all) Blue star range. That was my venture into vanity cooking. If I could have afforded it I'd have wanted a lacanche because you can have a gas oven, an electric oven, and a gas stove top all in the same stove. But whatever, its not the stove or the pans that make the cook. My grandparents worked in Pakistan in the 60s, they had a marvellous cook who did everything from the middle of the floor over a gas burner, up to and including a cake for the IMF with a spun sugar chicken laying a golden egg.

aimai

Myles said...

As Kwillow points out soups, stews, fricassees and other savory dishes are incredibly forgiving as to time and temperature and even seasoning.

Interesting. Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine claims IIRC that the shape of the crock pot actually has a dramatic effect on time and temperature.

My grandparents worked in Pakistan in the 60s, they had a marvellous cook who did everything from the middle of the floor over a gas burner, up to and including a cake for the IMF with a spun sugar chicken laying a golden egg.

Reminds one a bit of the Poisonwood Bible.

I never knew IMF was in Pakistan, by the way (I thought it was the World Bank, given that they don't really have a functional financial system to begin with).

Anonymous said...

Not to derail the cooking discussion, but has the New America Foundation ever actually produced anything of value? Led to any innovations? There's an awful lot of fellows and staff on that thing.

Also, i wonde if mcardle knows the foundation has taken Soros bucks?

- aws

Syz said...

Megan and her glibertarian ilk are not interested in producing anything. Their sole purpose is to provide cover for the moochers, looters and parasites who redistribute wealth without actually having to earn it.

bulbul said...

I never knew IMF was in Pakistan
IMF is not in Pakistan, whatever that means as much as Pakistan is a member of IMF.

given that they don't really have a functional financial system
Again, a nonsensical statement. They have a national bank, commercial banks of western type, commercial banks of islamic type and plenty of financial institutions of other types.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine claims IIRC that the shape of the crock pot actually has a dramatic effect on time and temperature.


Well, I haven't read this fascinating sounding tome but that is rather irrelevant to stove top cooking, and "dramatic" effects in a crockpot mean something significantly less meaningful than the word "dramatic" would imply since the crockpot is set up to cook on such a low heat that four and six hours are required for the equivalent of poaching.

Look, Myles, do yourself a favor and actually try cooking and eating something for its own sake, and not as an intellectual excercise. Try this: cut some stuff up, throw it in the pan and cook it, add a liquid, simmer it, and then adjust the seasonings and boil down the sauce to a glaze. You really don't need a microtome, an induction cooktop, or a super duper pan to do this and you can make great food.

Here's a quick recipe for polenta, for example. Take an ordinary recipe for polenta. Put the water into a sturdy pot, cold, with a huge pinch of salt and a couple of cloves of garlic crushed. Add the dry polenta/coarse corn meal to the cold water and stir with a whisk. Put the heat on very low (an electric stove will be excellent for this) and let it simmer quietly until its done. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon or a whisk to keep it from sticking. When its done to taste add a whole lot of grated parmesan or romano, a dollop of butter or some heavy cream. If its not salty enough add salt and pepper. If its too salty add more cream or cut back on the salt in the main dish. Serve it with hot italian sausage or sauteed greens--again neither thing need special tools.

You are welcome.

Oh, and of course it might have been the world bank that was visiting and needed the cake. My grandfather was working with the Ford Foundation in the sixties and I can't quite remember who was being honored at the dinner that Ali was cooking for. But I can assure you that Pakistan has and had a functioning monetary system. You seem astonishingly ignorant for a Canadian.

aimai

Anonymous said...

"I would propose that Megan, in fact, does cook better than the average adult American. So that, statistically speaking, qualifies her as a cook."

Oh, Myles, by that metric I would qualify as a physicist, a mathematician, an obstetrician, and an anthropologist. I'm none of those things and I shouldn't be writing as an expert on those topics even if I might be able to fool a good portion of Americans.

-ecl.

Myles said...

Oh, Myles, by that metric I would qualify as a physicist, a mathematician, an obstetrician, and an anthropologist.

Cook =/= chef.

You seem astonishingly ignorant for a Canadian.

Contrary to popular perception, Canadians are neither more or less ignorant than Americans in general, or Australians, or New Zealanders, or whatever. (Most Canadians can't name their own heads of state, which, as you can guess, tends to lead to amusing, and occasionally dangerous, constitutional snafus.) Generally things even out in the Anglosphere. Hey, the British got on the mortgage/personal debt bandwagon even more enthusiastically than Americans. Swedes and assorted Continentals might be less ignorant, because a good number of them speak English disconcertingly and creepily well, although the lack of ignorance doesn't seem to have done them any substantive good.

Myles said...

Oh, and thanks for the recipe. I just recently became interested in polentas, upon having some really excellent ones while dining out, so this is really quite a god-send.

atat said...

My favorite part of this thread is that Myles qualifies his praise of Megan's cooking by admitting that he can't really cook, and then he goes on to cite a passage from a much-hyped limited edition $625 cookbook in an ego-driven attempt to school a more knowledgeable poster.

Remind you of anyone else we know?

Anonymous said...

I'm still not entirely convinced that Myles isn't Megan.

Myles said...

and then he goes on to cite a passage from a much-hyped limited edition $625 cookbook in an ego-driven attempt to school a more knowledgeable poster.

Modernist Cuisine isn't, as far as I can tell, yet in stores. I got my information from interviews and reviews and so on on Slate and NYT.

I'm still not entirely convinced that Myles isn't Megan.

Seems like paranoia to me. I've always thought Megan was in a bit of a tough position, as she's got certain skills (finance, basically) that would be reasonably valuable in an international context (Singapore, Dubai, HK, etc.), but is not very marketable in the U.S., where the market for generalist finance (as opposed to advisory and quants and so on) talent is extremely tight, not to mention really really oddly structured. Which is why I've always felt empathetic to some degree. There's also the fact that corporate America likes to treat people in the finance track like shit. (although nowhere near as badly as in the East Asian industrial economies of South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, etc.)

If I were her I would have packed up for Dubai or Singapore a long time ago. She probably would have had to do the same thing had she not gotten the cushy Atlantic job. It's never too late for this sort of thing, although she seems to have no inclination to summon up the determination to do so. She mentioned, I think, at some earlier point that when she did a banking internship she felt like she wasn't up for it; what she didn't know then (and I don't know if she knows this now) is that high finance is a lot more brutal work in the US than in some other places, and perhaps with the benefit of hindsight she might have been able to engage in a successful finance-econ career that she clearly wanted.

Myles said...

(I meant to say the market has a shortage of demand.)

Susan of Texas said...

McArdle did say once that she should be running the Fed, Myles. And since we know she loved the financial innovation in CDOs, perhaps she should have gone into finance. Sure, she would have lost all her clients' money, but so did everyone else.

bulbul said...

If I were her I would have packed up for Dubai or Singapore a long time ago.
Where she'd do ... What exactly? They have (or at least used to) the Indians / Chinese to do all the low-level jobs and Megan is underqualified for anything else, except perhaps an English teacher and nanny.

reasonably valuable in an international context
Megan has no skills. She has an MBA, not a degree in finance or economics. Plus, since when is NYC not international enough? It's the financial hub of the world, for Vishnu's sake.
And even if we buy your notion of 'international', there's no place for Megan there. Why? No language skills.

Myles said...

Megan has no skills. She has an MBA, not a degree in finance or economics. Plus, since when is NYC not international enough? It's the financial hub of the world, for Vishnu's sake.

But that's precisely my point, though. The finance track in the U.S. is kinda odd, because it's generally filtered through MBA's (which don't really teach anything) and there are actually very few specifically graduate finance programs (as opposed to business-finance or accounting-finance). Off the top of my head, a reputable one I can think of is the one at Boston College. (NYU has a finance program, but it's heavily tied into its business program and the admissions process is heavily business-weighted.) All the other finance programs are actually all research PhD-track ones. So the classic non-quant (quants come from physics, maths, etc.) finance track actually involves pretending (to a greater or lesser degree) to like business or management or entrepreneurship or whatever in order to get into business, then get a MBA, then continue on with finance. Which means that the system incentivizes dissimulation.

Also, WRT to NYC, a couple things: 1) they work you a lot harder in NYC than in some international locations (it's harder to work expats as hard), although probably not as badly as LA (which is notorious for banking brutality) or certain sectors of Hong Kong; and 2) it's a lot harder to get a finance job in NYC than in a lot of other places in the world, because the relative size of the finance sector is actually quite a bit smaller in the U.S. than in places like Zurich, London, whatever. So recruiting in the U.S. is considerably pickier and at times can be more competitive.

And also somewhat relevantly, finance in the U.S., due to certain unique historical circumstances (basically, the Pecora Commission/New Deal-era reforms that imposed a heavily regulated oligopoly, and postwar capital controls), was a fairly insular field that was heavily "here's a job for the client's son/nephew/son-in-law/whatever." This is different in kind from the nepotism in law firms, because you still have to be able to do decent law, whereas during most of the postwar era you hardly needed to know any actual finance if you were a equities broker. (Unbelievably, equities brokering used to be scandalously profitable, basically a rip-off, until the 80's.) It wasn't until near the end of the Clinton era when the old cozy banking oligopoly broke down completely. In the old American system (post-Depression, that is: before that the House of Morgan was a career track), there was hardly a finance "track" for most people in finance, because you were just sort of expected to hang around the bank for a few years, do some management work elsewhere for a bit, and go back to managing the family business. Not a terribly exciting proposition.

Myles said...

(To give one example, Henry Kravis, one of the founders of KKR, was the son of a Texas oil executive, and it was at times thought a bit unusual, earlier on during the life of KKR, for him to have gone into finance with his feet first. As it turns out, he became spectacularly successful, but certain episodes earlier on during his career, as recorded in the Merchants of Debt, would seem quite odd to the modern eye.)

Susan of Texas said...

But what could McArdle actually do?

Anonymous said...

Myles,
That's the oddest example of sympathy for the devil I've ever seen. What you are basically saying is that with all the advantages of a top education, connections, and an MBA Megan is both not intelligent enough and not hardworking enough to make it in what remains a major financial capital *and you feel sorry for her?*

Megan's world is one in which she, and everyone else, is a rational actor with perfect information and there are pretty much no "costs" to either transactions or to actions. Megan never supports, for example, any laws that would reduce harm to the individual worker/renter because those would be inefficient and anti capitalist (that's when she's pretending to be a libertarian). When she actually needs protection, as when she was renting, she was all for those laws of course.

But my point is that if I were Jane Galt I'd look at Megan's situation and say "she either couldn't get a better job abroad or she valued other things more and stayed home, scraping by financially, until she landed a sinecure that overpaid her for her skills and allowed her to stay close to potential marriage partners and family." Its not the best of all possible worlds because in Megan's world she deserves both the top financial job, regardless of her merits, and also the comfort of home and the society of wealthy people she wants to associate with. But its the best of all possible real worlds since its the one Megan has and she has told us again and again that its useless to wish for things to be other than they are already.

Why would you feel sorry for such a person? I assume you grasp that Megan is contractually obligated to argue that her situation is optimum since the market that allocates rights, good, services, and wealth can never be wrong.

aimai

Anonymous said...

I've also got to ask, Myles, though this might seem rude: are you some kind of autodidact with poor social and reasoning skills? I don't mean this unkindly but I can't figure out why you think it makes sense (that's the poor social and reasoning skills) to bolster your patently absurd beliefs such as NY doesn't have a good financial sector or a book you haven't read by chefs with science and tech skills way beyond your dreams explains why you can't be bothered to scramble eggs on an electric stove.

I mean, you have beliefs, and you seem to get them in some spongelike fashion by reading books (or reading about books) that are not wholly related to your beliefs but which probably haven't been read by the people with whom you are discussing things. That just seems like a really dishonest or disfunctional way of entering into a conversation with people. If its wilful that is. If its inadvertant its forgiveable but still not really functional.

aimai

atat said...

"Modernist Cuisine isn't, as far as I can tell, yet in stores."

It was release back in March. But these arcane facts are difficult to uncover with only a computer and the internet at your fingertips. So you're citing a passage from a book you've never read? I suppose you name dropped it simply because of the cachet it currently carries? You and Megan really are two peas in a pod.

Susan of Texas said...

It's not healthy to have such as strong dependence on authority. You (the authoritarian) look to someone to tell you how to cook instead of picking up a fry pan and an egg, or look for someone with elite credentials to tell you what to think instead of reading a newspaper and looking up the stuff you don't know. It's an abdication of responsibility, trusting an authority to make your decisions for you because you don't trust yourself. Then, because you have handed over control over your actions to someone else, you must insist that they are worthy of this trust at all times, ignoring any evidence to the contrary.

To operate on this vague level you have to be certain to never know anything, lest you discover your authority is wrong. Your arguments are all theoretical and you avoid real-life situations since they have a way of destroying pure ideological theory.

Myles said...

I've also got to ask, Myles, though this might seem rude: are you some kind of autodidact with poor social and reasoning skills? I don't mean this unkindly but I can't figure out why you think it makes sense (that's the poor social and reasoning skills) to bolster your patently absurd beliefs such as NY doesn't have a good financial sector

Considering the meaning of the word autodidact, that seems somewhat unlikely. I hardly read nowadays, actually.

I don't mean NYC doesn't have the financial sector. (In finance, the biggest is the best, so NYC by definition is the best finance market in the world.) I was implying that someone like Megan probably can't expect to hold on to a NYC finance job.

Come to think of it, I actually don't know what's the deal with Megan. She doesn't seem to have put much effort into the whole thing. (Others like her, but who are good intellectually, generally become consultants.) And she seems to (disturbingly) conflate working in finance with status-seeking, so there's that.

My sympathy is basically from the fact that she's basically someone who would be completely useless in running an actual business, and the whole business-finance infrastructure is inclined more heavily toward business than finance, so I guess she lost out a bit there (although probably not very much). It's a lot easier being a businessman/entrepreneur/whatever in the U.S. than being a financier, so there's that.

Anonymous said...

Well Myles, I rest my case. You have some kind of mental problem with "thinking" or with representing your thoughts. In my experience, though there are lot of kinds of autodidacts, these are problems associated with autodidacts because they are self taught (the literal meaning of the term) and don't understand how to build an argument or persuade other people rhetorically. They aren't used to the give and take of academia, and they have often a profound and misguided reliance on randomly chosen authorities (sometimes books, sometimes tv personalities) who they think enable them to know some truth hidden from other people.

As for the Megan thing only someone who had an almost absurdly uncritical approach to Megan's oeuvre could see her total failures of intellect and work ethic and be puzzled by her real world financial failures. You generally come on here to defend Megan as not as stupid, or as ill intentioned, as we say she is. But against pretty well reasoned arguments, backed up by Megan's own specific, published, history you generally offer incoherent rebuttals based on something you read (or claim to have read) or something you assert (but later take back).

I used to think you were a spoof troll, because your defense of Megan was so dopey. But now I really think you are just a really badly informed, emotionally overinvolved, mentally juvenile fanboy of Megan's. What's the logic of that, I can't tell. But that's my diagnosis.

Susan, of course, cut to the chase with fewer words.

aimai

Myles said...

In my experience, though there are lot of kinds of autodidacts, these are problems associated with autodidacts because they are self taught (the literal meaning of the term) and don't understand how to build an argument or persuade other people rhetorically.

I find the notion of someone who goes to a top-30 college being an autodidact, of all things, being pretty bizarre. Ignorance would be possible, but autodidacticism would not. And considering I actually have taken classes in classical literature and Greek rhetoric, I find the notion doubly odd, and a bit patronizing.

I mean, seriously, not everyone who holds different opinions necessarily came by the same by entirely different means. People study the same thing and come away with different conclusions.

I'm waiting for you to say that Slate/New Republic writers are autodidacts who are bad at rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Myles,
All you have to say is, "no, I'm not technically an autodidact" because I had a good formal education." Perfectly acceptable. The question arose because of your weird habit of a) asserting things that are untrue or apparently misunderstood and then b) correcting them with long winded and slightly off point references to books on topics that are not under discussion or that you subsequently claim not to have read.

Needless to say a person can be an autodidact on topics for which they did not receive formal education and lots of people are. In addition one can be an amazing audodidact, or a rather tedious one. There's nothing wrong with being an autodidact per se. My grandfather, who left college early without receiving a formal degree, was an autodidact in five fucking languages and received many honorary degrees in recognition of his work.

The main reason I asked you is because you seem to combine a passion for being slightly off topic, asserting things that are incorrect, proud of the imagined obscurity of your observations/readings, and kind of unresponsive to the actual meat of the conversation.

Also, please note that I offered you the helpful, if insulting, suggestion that you merely had some kind of social/personality problem that made you unable to grasp how weird it would be to go off into a long winded account of a book about some financial guy not at issue in a discussion of Megan and the New York financial system.

aimai

Myles said...

Needless to say a person can be an autodidact on topics for which they did not receive formal education and lots of people are.

Probably yeah, but I guess part of the purpose of formal education is that even when self-instructing, it would be done so in a systematic and methodical way in accordance with the formal methods one had been taught, in such a way as to make the autodidacticized parts of one's learning indistinguishable from those that were formally taught.

The main reason I asked you is because you seem to combine a passion for being slightly off topic, asserting things that are incorrect, proud of the imagined obscurity of your observations/readings, and kind of unresponsive to the actual meat of the conversation.

It's summer. I'm getting on with the spirit of the silly season.

Anonymous said...

My apologies, of course, to everyone else on the thread for taking up Myles so sharply. Its just that I don't regard Megan and her work as something that is worthy of sympathy. The notion of sympathizing with Megan as a person strikes me as meganifically sick. I try to have compassion for all sentient beings and in that sense I have compassion for Megan because she's such a tremendously pathetic person--she is a talentless hack who sells her soul everyday in order to purchase a little false security by betraying and attacking poor people, working people, the environment or whatever else her paymasters tell her to attack. She's no different from a Tobacco advertising exec who, for a large or small sum of money, is willing to peddle poison to teenagers.

But although I have compassion for Megan because she's so deluded as to her actual class position and her actual relationship to safety it is tempered with contempt for her self indulgence, her lack of work ethic, and her inability to recognize that she is both being used, and a user.

Megan reminds me of a recent blog I discovered--its called something like "white people's problems" and it simply lists recent tweets and letters from americans asserting various hoekstroikas like "the lack of bottled water at my reserved seat at the movies was as bad as the holocaust." Megan's like that. Her whole shtick is to assert that her petty life her foods, her consumer purchases, are equivalent in meaning to the struggles of ordinary people to get food everyday, or to get paid for the work they actually do. Its unforgiveable.

And myles, I'm afraid you are coming in for the cresting of the wave of my contempt for Megan because you seem not to get this fundamental fact about Megan and her position in American political discourse. She's a paid sycophant to power. Her only relevance and meaning is this: she takes money to say whatever shit will make her rich masters a tiny bit richer. No matter whose elderly grandmother or whose premature baby has to suffer and die to make lower taxes for billionaries a continuing reality.

aimai

Anonymous said...

Myles, your post crossed with mine. We must both be avoiding something of more importance.

As to your point about an autodidact with a college degree being a creature of a different sort than a total autodidact, I would disagree on that point. In my experience there are certain branches of academia that lend themselves to the production of exactly the opposite kind of autodidact. I'm thinking of that perennial favorite of the anti evolution crowd: the civil engineer who thinks he can "disprove" Darwin, the Nobel prize winner who becomes hooked on "the brain" or "vitamin C" or something else that is far away from his original field and which he thinks he can master swiftly and completely because he's a genius. High achievers in one field are often, of course, high achievers in several but they are just as likely to be more delusional about what it takes to master another field as someone who found his/her first Ph.D. rather difficult.

aimai

Susan of Texas said...

Myles seems to enjoy the theoretical discussion of academic concepts, which is only amusing when other people pay the consequences.

Myles said...

strikes me as meganifically sick.

Well played.

Megan reminds me of a recent blog I discovered--its called something like "white people's problems" and it simply lists recent tweets and letters from americans asserting various hoekstroikas like "the lack of bottled water at my reserved seat at the movies was as bad as the holocaust."

I'd go at this from a different perspective. The fact of being able to assert hoekstroikas is a mark of the achievement of our civilization. Civilization is softening, and as the softening effect expands so does the category of things that are incomprehensibly horrible to us, and thus become conflated into the same "fucking horrible" category. Lacking a bottle water is of course taking it too far, but the inclination is not necessarily erroneous in itself.

Myles seems to enjoy the theoretical discussion of academic concepts, which is only amusing when other people pay the consequences.

Have to disagree. Theoretical discussions should be edifying and perhaps salubrious without necessarily engendering consequences of any kind.

Susan of Texas said...

Sadly, we're stuck down here in reality, where words and actions have consequences.

Anonymous said...

Myles, Susan said it better than I could. You couldn't be more wrong about hoekstroikas being harmless. They aren't a sign that we are evolved, they are a sign that we are self indulgent and care more about ourselves than our world or others. They are the real world equivalent of that famous Mel Brooks joke: Tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall into a hole and die.

We could discuss Megan theoretically--but Megan isn't a theory. She can be treated as a text, but she's not a text. She's an actor, however pathetic, with a role to play in a real life drama called "death of our civilization." The only thing that affectst the Megan's of this world are 1) Money and 2) social ostracism. I believe as a matter of principle and as a matter of personal predilection that we should all do our bit to scorn Megan and her work as much as possible, as publicly as possible, until her life becomes untenable because socially painful. When Megan renounces capitalist lucre and all its works and devotes her life to something of actual value, or at least shuts up, will be time enough to lay down our jokes at her expense. I hope to see the day, as happened with Tbogg's "America's Worst Mother" when Megan stops writing.

aimai

Myles said...

She's an actor, however pathetic, with a role to play in a real life drama called "death of our civilization."

I daresay you are being a bit dramatic. She plays a rôle in the (possible, yet reversible) death of American greatness, but American greatness is not integral to even the civilization of Americans. The civilization of the West, of Socrates, of Plato, St Augustine, of Martin Luther, of Francis Bacon, of Kant, of Hume, of Hegel and of Wittgenstein; that will go marching on no matter how many or how few Megans there are at the megaphones.

I think we'll look back and think how little of it all even mattered. As Arthur Balfour said, nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all. Perhaps this is especially applicable to blogging.

bulbul said...

rôle
As Arthur Balfour said

You, Myles, are a pretentious idiot, fancying themselves an intellectual. You remind me of that frat boy in Good Will Hunting who tries to act like he knows shit, but ends up being humiliated by Will. Please just go away.

Anonymous said...

bulbul's right, Myles, that little piece is rather typical. I didn't say "American Greatness" but "civilization." So your whole Balfour bit is meaningless, as are your uninteresting thoughts. I came closer than I knew in suggesting you had some social or personality dysfunction that makes it impossible for you to engage thoughtfully or honestly with the people you are talking with. I don't give up on baiting you, but I certainly give up on any sliver of hope I had that behind all the pretentious maundering and twittering there's more than a very uninteresting person.

aimai

Susan of Texas said...

Somewhere a dorm room is missing its resident know-it-all.

Myles said...

Yes, I said that Western civilization will go on with or without Megan. I honestly don't know how she could have anything to do with so world-changing a possibility as the destruction of the civilization, even in a extremely peripheral role. The egalitarian desideratum (presumably that's what you don't like Megan for the lack of) isn't actually the focus of our civilization, and so the civilization will go on without it.

I mean, here's where I must respectfully broach my disagreement that Megan is even significant. She's a blogger. On the Atlantic. Who probably has less influence on the body politic than a mini-me version of Ezra Klein. The occasional weird post of Matt Yglesias's (hairdressers, charter cities, etc.) probably has more influence than Megan's entire oeuvre.

atat said...

Come on, this guy has to be a put on. You know he threw "egalitarian desideratum" just to troll for more insults about his unbearable pretentiousness. And whoops, I guess I took the bait.

brad said...

Wow.
Sometimes I think the only difference between me and folk like Megan and Myles is that I don't think acknowledging my limits as a person is an excuse for ignoring them.

bulbul said...

Aaand Susan nails it, yet again.

Anonymous said...

I think Myles is substantially older than dorm room age. The whole thing reeks of a guy who thought he'd be more than he is by this time and who lacks normal social outlets (because he lacks a social life) for showing off. The whole shtick is so second city and also ran that I am pretty sure Myles must have had some kind of post graduate life, however wasted.

aimai

Anonymous said...

"Come on, this guy has to be a put on. You know he threw "egalitarian desideratum" just to troll for more insults about his unbearable pretentiousness."

I assumed he was just taking the opportunity to plug his ska punk band.

(I'm w/Susan. dorm.)