How East Asian males in America can attain more status and power

I read through some comments of wokeAZN on Reddit and I actually created a page where I began to collect his quotes. Of course, what he says many already know, but few will actually say, for obvious reasons. I think that yes, East Asian males really need to confront the reality and change certain flawed attitudes, and this is most easily done if the realities however unpleasant are laid bare before us.

Let me briefly list some of main points, far from inclusive.

  • the American system set up for the interest of privileged whites
  • Asian women making Asian men look like losers by marrying white men who give them a white voice on Asians via their media power
  • the bamboo ceiling set up by whites to guard against highly intelligent, hardworking, and high achieving Asians
  • big, dominant, assertive Asian men auto-triggering fragile white men on a regular basis
  • physical inferiority of Asian males
  • highly competent Asians ending up mostly working for white owners
  • Asian parents training their kids to be passive hard workers for the white man who don’t complain or fight for themselves
  • Asians not working out enough
  • The Anglo world’s having pretty much conquered the East

All this is really quite obvious to me, but maybe it isn’t to a lot of people. There is also that Asian-Americans cannot win under the current system, and how much because of that the powerful Chinese in America are mostly from China.

So naturally, if Asians in America want to go beyond where they are right now, they should try to develop more connections with powerful people from their home countries. That means they should seek out Chinese VCs with connections to important people in Chinese companies.

Here, I’ll use Asian to mean East Asian. Indians will be excluded, because they are kind of white the dark skin notwithstanding by virtue of both their appearance, their culture, and their mannerisms, as well as the bamboo ceiling not really applying to them as much. Also noteworthy is that India has already been fully conquered by the Anglo world. In some sense, they’ve already lost, whereas East Asians still have hope of creating an independent entity competitive with what the West, whites have.

I’ll start with some essential historical context. First that the Japanese shattered much of the perception of inherent white, Western supremacy. It started with the Russo-Japanese War. (By the way, Russians were conquered by the Mongols in the 13rd century, so they’re not fully white. Still, Russians are pretty white, even if the Anglo-Saxons hardly identify with them.) Then, there was how during WWII, the Japanese defeated without much difficulty the British in Hong Kong and Singapore and demonstrated their ability against America too. Even though Japan eventually lost, it was much due to their small size along with their overextension. Clearly, they were extremely formidable in a combination of their technology and fighting prowess.

Back then, it was only the Japanese who could be considered honorary whites in this sense. The Chinese were extremely backwards and weak and suffered much from Japan for this reason, and the Koreans were colonized by Japan for over 30 years. There was obviously a penalty against Japan by the white, Western powers who were too proud to treat Japan as an equal. After Japan defeated China militarily in 1895, the Western powers only felt more entitled to extract more out of China, the indignity of which culminated in the Boxer Rebellion.

To everybody’s great surprise, China stood up not long after the Japanese invaders surrendered and left. Remember how on the declaration of founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1st 1949, Mao Zedong in front of Tiananmen Square said, “the Chinese people have stood up.” People in China who view history honestly will sort of laugh at it. Chinese back then were incompetent weaklings, so one Chinese army evicting another doesn’t really prove much. It was during the Korean War when China really stood up. It managed to do what the Japanese couldn’t, which was to defeat white, Western countries in a war. Of course, the Chinese fought using relatively primitive means, with minimal use of air force, but even so, they kicked the US led UN Army out of North Korea and maintained that position for almost 3 years, eventually pressuring the US to sign an armistice acknowledging its inability to defeat the Chinese army. I heard somewhere that after that, the Japanese would no longer refer to Chinese using the derogatory 支那.

Because of that, China could not trade with the United States and found it very difficult to trade with other Western countries. Until, China developed nuclear missiles among other things, finally forcing America to give up again.

Among ethnic Chinese who dislike the PRC, some of whom will say 反共不反华 (anti-communist but not anti-Chinese), from the historical context, they are best perceived as Chinese who are anti-Chinese in a half-closeted way. They will point to all the failures under Mao and the poverty in mainland China relative to the other East Asian countries under American patronage, but the reality is evidently that it was the Chinese communists who won the highest international position and power among Asians. Moreover, they did so in a very sustainable way, unlike Japan, which took it too far and eventually lost, losing all hope of becoming a world military power under the post WWII arrangement. Of course, Japan did scare America a bit with its cars and electronics. Their science and Nobel Prizes too, except that can’t change its status as an American, white vassal state. I guess once China becomes powerful enough, Japan may dump America and shift towards China, but that’s still a fair ways away.

So Asians indignant about the status of the group in America and internationally can best advance it by supporting China. Swallow the pride and sense of superiority inculcated under colonialism, it’s pathetic. The fact that America can get Chinese in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and in the West to feel superior to and even utterly contemptuous their counterparts in mainland China is a sign of their surrender and lack of self-confidence. If you support America, you’ll be mostly viewed by white American elites as a useful tool to keep down their most threatening competitor. On the other hand, if you support China enough, China will eventually treat you as one of their own.

There are already very few Chinese in America rising to a position of power by virtue of the bamboo ceiling. Even if you do, you are there as a minority, and so you have much less power than a white guy in the same official position. You defeat a system by boycotting it not by hard struggle within its rigged game.

The American media and culture loves to degrade the self-confidence and self-respect of Asian men. Well, you can do what you can to ignore it. Instead, immerse yourself in some Chinese communist culture and promote it to your other Asian friends as well. For sure, that’s much better for a masculine Asian identity than what America has to offer. Learn the Chinese language well enough and develop some connections in and from China for a chance of making some career there. For as long as you’re stuck in America, do what you need to do to make a living that doesn’t harm the group interest much and outside that, maybe try to connect with some other like minded Asians to start an independent enterprise. You can also try to influence the American media, culture, and politics to your favor, and maybe try to gain more stakes in power institutions such as Hollywood too. Don’t expect too much there though, as America is a country run by whites with a white majority. In any case, if Asians as a group want to win under the current system in America, they’ll almost certainly have to gang up with money and power from China. Remember that unless you immigrated after age 18, you ended up here not by choice. So you have every right to choose not to identify with America as part of a politically marginalized minority group too different to truly assimilate. You need not let the American media and education cage your mind, and you don’t have to give a damn about what the white majority thinks as long as you can get by. Instead, feel lucky to be of the same blood as a rising superpower who you and your posterity can truly be part of and do all you can to take advantage of and contribute to it in return.

Elizabeth Holmes, Kaifu Lee, and some remarks on fraud and manufactured success

Haha, father VP at Enron, fraud seems embedded in her bloodline. Fleischmann is Jewish, that means maybe Elizabeth Holmes can also go onto my Scandalous Jews list?

Recognition for “tireless optimism and a particularly warm smile.” What the fuck!? And lol, why would Chinese universities buy C++ compilers from her when they can easily obtain it free of charge.

You know this sounds like some real conspiracy theory out of Washington to manufacture a female Steve Jobs. Yet it failed miserably. Couldn’t the US elite do a better job of at least masking their corruption and nepotism a bit?

Speaking of which, a few days ago, I learned that Kaifu Lee, former Microsoft and Google VP, who was extremely popular among young people in China as a role model in the internet technology sector with widely read books on his life experience and on advice for youth, was actually exposed for fraud or at least gross misrepresentation and exaggeration of his career history and achievements, with many on the Chinese internet even suspecting him to be a half-closeted foreign influence agent. The guy who first ratted him out to the public on Weibo, where Kaifu has millions of followers, was Fang Zhouzi, a University of Science and Technology of China graduate and PhD in biochemistry (from Michigan State), who after doing a postdoc became a science writer and crusader against academic fraud. Fang pointed out how in his autobiography, Kaifu had written of himself as 卡尼基梅隆计算机系最年轻的副教授 (the youngest associate professor in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University). Fang emphasized the big difference between assistant and associate professor (one is tenured the other is merely tenure track), as well as the misleadingness of “youngest,” as Fang found a guy who had become an assistant professor in the same department as Kaifu earlier. In fact, there is not even solid evidence that Kaifu was even an assistant professor there; it’s possible that he was for less than a year before leaving for Apple. This was back in 2011 I believe, and it was all through Weibo, on which Kaifu finally had to give an apology, when excuses such as “nuances in translation” no longer worked.

As for the “foreign influence agent” part, we shall note how Kaifu was born in Taiwan, and his father was a historian there who wrote books to smear the Chinese communists. With some searches on Baidu one can also easily find that his uncle was executed by the communists soon after the PRC established, for allegedly having taken an active role in some campaign to kill Chinese communists earlier on. There are, too, accusations of his promotion of Taiwanese independence activists and the likes on his Weibo. Some people are even doubtful whether he actually got cancer; they suspect he might have gone to Taiwan where he could, with his political connections, fake it, all the while planning and organization with supporters there his next major influence operation. Note that while he did renounce his American citizenship (for tax reasons), he retained his ROC one (instead of switching to PRC citizenship). One can see much more such information on Kaifu here.

I was somewhat surprised as I had been under the impression that he has a very positive reputation in China. Certainly, I thought more lowly of him after realizing that much of what he had written in his book 《与未来同行》(A Walk into the Future), which I had read in high school, was basically superficial bullshit, which I’ve also mentioned here.

Yes, I much dislike it when people who are not actually all that smart and talented pretend to be and market themselves as such, even using PR professionals if they’re rich and connected enough. The truth is that there are some things one cannot fake, at least to a subset of people sufficiently knowledgeable. It’s obvious to me and many by now that some fields are much harder than others and thus the people in them tend to be much smarter and more talented on average. Similarly, stuff like SATs and math contests cannot be faked, and the existence of an actual cognitive hierarchy grounded on reality is apparent from the consistency of results in such contests. A 100 meter sprint time cannot be faked either. People who run sub 10 s times or close are real genetic freaks of nature, marvels of human biology. On the other hand, promotions and career success in the likes you get uplifted much under the whims of those already in power often reflect political favor and connection as opposed to actual ability and accomplishment. Even in the internet technology sector, you have politically enabled people taking credit for the work of others and even creating a cult of themselves within the company or the sector at large. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. We cannot really be that sure of them as individuals. We can be sure that their companies had some actually very talented and capable people who contributed collectively to their successful products. Yes, in statistics, it is sample size that can easily exponentially increase the level of statistical significance. On this, I shall note that if an individual fails out in the career/promotions world where there is a relatively high random component, it could have well been due to bad luck, though certainly, the longer the career, the more samples we have and thus the more confidence. In contrast, if a large group, like a nation or ethnic group, fails to produce top people or companies, we can be relatively sure that that group really is less competent at either the individual or collective level.

An ideal world is one where people recognize and respect those more talented than they are and get out of their way. If somebody else can visibly do a job much better than you can, you should just let that person do the job. Do something you’re better suited to. If you’re mediocre, then take a mediocre position and keep a low profile. Don’t pretend to be a genius when you’re obviously not. People in the likes of Elizabeth Holmes do enormous damage directly to actual quality and quantity of productivity by making shit out of vast resources they manage to accumulate out of family and political connections, that would have been made much better use of controlled by more appropriately competent people. An even more insidious effect is the trust it erodes in our society, which can be very difficult to recover. Elizabeth Holmes, her family, and her financial supporters must bear collective responsibility for the damage they’ve wrought to America, as this country’s elite. Evade it as they probably will and the long term consequence will only be more dire. Talented, capable people from other countries will want to come here less, and talented, capable people already in America will feel less incentivized and inspired to actually contribute. Eventually, they can bring this entire country down.

As for Kaifu, he was obviously a pretty legit research engineer, nothing like Holmes. His later public intellectual behavior is questionable though, especially his gross inflation of himself in his autobiography, which he had the ego and lack of judgment to publish before retired. Yes, Kaifu appears on the surface to have good intentions. In his book, he wrote about his dream of creating impact in China, about how he dreamed of returning to his motherland, which his father was not able to do. He considered himself very successful and a rightful inspiring figure, teacher, and role model for young people in China interested in technology. But he took that way too far, and even lied about his past experience to sell himself, which is quite shameful really. Also, there are a good number of mainland Chinese in his generation far more accomplished than Kaifu at science and technology at least; wouldn’t they, based on their achievement alone, make much better role models than Kaifu, let alone the shared background. As much as I dislike to judge people based on their national and political background, I’m realistic to acknowledge that it does matter to some degree as far as role models for a nation’s young people are concerned. Why Kaifu when there are mainland Chinese in computer science, let alone science and technology in general, visibly more talented and accomplished? I can think of off the top of my head Robin Li, the founder of Baidu, who as far as technical computer science is concerned, did win a Rankdex patent that the Google guys cited in their PageRank paper, though he does not have a PhD, let alone from a top CS school like Carnegie Mellon. Robin Li was from a pretty average family in a so so place in China, tested into Beijing University, was very successful though not wildly so in the US, and later returned to China where he founded China’s top search engine that has also created its own deep learning library and framework called PaddlePaddle. He is visibly a much better role model for young Chinese interested in computer science and internet technology than Kaifu both in terms of his achievement and his national/social/political background, but he does not have the vanity of the likes of Kaifu, becoming a social media celebrity and publishing all this superficial, even misleading advice for young people.

As for the KMT background of Kaifu’s family, I hate to say it, but human reality is such that one’s political associations and actions affect indirectly to some degree or another the outcomes of one’s offspring, and thus, one also takes some responsibility for the actions/crimes of one’s ancestors. Yes, in one’s behavior, one should not only think of how it affects oneself in the short term, but also how it would in the long term affect those inextricably bound to oneself. History has already proven his family to have sided with the losers, with those who failed to save China, as “patriotic” as he may appear in his words. Maybe they had good intentions, but nobody in the right mind would believe that a political party and army who lost a civil war the way they did would have done a much better job developing and modernizing the country had they taken over. Again, it can easily be hard to speak for particular individuals, but that the KMT got massive aid from the US and managed to lose control of all of mainland China meant that they MUST have been a seriously rotten and incompetent organization.

So if he wants to be taken seriously by the majority of Chinese in mainland China as truly patriotic, he would have to do somewhat more in terms of tangible contribution directly towards China than a mainland Chinese would and perhaps also make some political move to at least implicitly denounce the political background he inherited from his family not by choice. Yes, he was part of the founding of Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing, which did help cultivate many computer science talents in China and likely also transferred some substantial technology to Chinese companies. Quite applaudable. Still, Microsoft is not a Chinese company, and Google much less so, as advanced as they may be in their technology. Kaifu has not as far as I can tell made any meaningful and recognized contribution to an important Chinese company or organization. So people are naturally skeptical, especially given his public intellectual activities and Weibo celebrity status, which some suspect to be supported behind the scenes, perhaps even directly from Washington itself, in the likes of Holmes’s case.

It does seem that Kaifu Lee is no longer that big in China now compared to a decade ago. Surely, Fang Zhouzi discredited him quite a bit, and the courage it took in Fang to question a figure as high up and “authoritative” as Kaifu Lee is very admirable. And he did so in a very detailed, factual, and objective way, in contrast to the vague, generic advice Kaifu has given to young people.

As for Kaifu Lee’s Google background, I do recall how an ex-Googler from China, who characterized himself as a Han chauvinist 😉 had said that certainly his having worked for Google would not be considered a plus in the case that he later tries to make a serious career in some very government organization in China. I was somewhat surprised, but in retrospect, I can see how that is the case. So suspicion of Kaifu Lee in China is but natural.

It was certainly amusing how he regarded limitations to his career prospects within the Chinese government and its organizations as a much bigger deal to him than Google. Well, after all, the Chinese government runs a near superpower that is the largest economy (by PPP) and most populous nation on earth, whereas Google merely runs the most advanced internet search and distributed systems (and likely also AI) company in the world. Google needs the Chinese market much more than China needs Google. Without Google, China still has plenty of similar products which may not be technically as good but are definitely good enough. They left back in 2010 purportedly out of objections to censorship compliance, and now they’re trying to return with another censored search product, that 1000+ of its rather politically delusional employees are jointly protesting against. Of course, there is also that that guy is well aware how as a mainland Chinese, there’s basically no way he’ll ever rise up to even a modest position of power within Google, unless he sells his soul, as even the ones who joined quite early on were unable to do so, so there’s not much to lose anyway.

What’s wrong with the Ivy League

Very recently, a Chinese-American Yale undergrad cold emailed me expressing approval of this blog, and we not long after began to talk regularly.

A few days ago, in an email to Steve Hsu, me, and some others, he wrote:

I think the Ivy League is best understood as a giant money-making organism. Attached to it like a leech is a seminary for training priests and spreading the gospel of the American progressive religion. Attached to that leech is an even smaller leech which actually contains smart people doing good technical work. And gmachine1729 is right that the average Ivy student is not that great (but the top end does represent the best of the best).

Relatedly, I just saw an essay on Zhihu in Chinese by Yale finance professor Zhiwu Chen on the matter of 中国人那么优秀,为什么美国人还是更喜欢印度人?(Chinese are so exceptional, why do Americans still like Indians more). The essay was one of Chinese are smart and hardworking but modest, passive, conformist, filially pious per the Confucian tradition and emphasize hard skills at the expense of soft skills, while Indians, like Americans, are assertive and confident with strong leadership qualities. The comments, of which there were 27, were mostly dismissive. The first one, and the most memorable one was

你对比下毛主席和甘地还不能明白点?

In translation,

Can’t you better understand the situation by comparing Chairman Mao with Gandhi?

I’m very happy to see this. It means that Chinese are no longer dazed by Ivy League credentials. They are beginning to think more independently, to have more confidence in themselves. Maybe in another decade’s time, non-STEM professor at Ivy will become an explicit negative signal among Chinese in China.

wokeAZN

I stumbled upon the reddit by the handle wokeAZN. Guessing from his handle, he advises Asian-Americans on how to fight for equal rights. One of his main points, which I’ve long realized and written about on this blog, is that in the current system, privileged whites have no incentive to not preserve their privilege, which necessarily means depriving Asian-Americans. A representative comment on that would be

Correct. Asian-American activism as of today is entirely focused on begging the predominantly white owners to change their ways without even considering to challenge or disrupt the ruling mechanisms to begin with. Their weapons of choice are politeness, copying SJW concepts that worked for other marginalized groups and political correctness. Good luck with that.

Look at the recent Harvard and specialized NYC HS admissions controversy for example. Asians loudly speak up in droves protesting the process changes yet none of them even thought about the need to challenge and dismantle the administrations and institutions that are in charge of the admissions processes. Same goes for any activism directed towards Hollywood and the Western media etc.

This was in response to the quote:

“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.”- Assata Shakur.

This is nothing but obvious to me. Reminds me of how in essence, Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance signals nothing but weakness. India’s nominal independence didn’t really liberate India. She remained at her core still a British colony. I recall how Chinese Marxist philosopher Ai Siqi (艾思奇) wrote of Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance with disdain, a fact I had commented on before in Chinese. The Chinese communists on the other hand actually won a war against America in Korea, the reason they are so despised in the West. So yes, if Chinese-Americans want equal rights in America, they should go unambiguously more in the direction of the Chinese communists. It’s not about morality; it’s about leverage. I heartily hope that Asian-Americans can stop exhibiting a form of Stockholm syndrome manifested in the form of defensiveness and attachment towards a system that treats them as second-class citizens.

I’ve written the following:

You can probably tell that I want Chinese to obtain more position of power internationally. It would make a better world. By default Chinese have less sense of entitlement which also hinders their rise to the top. I used to blindly revere the top STEM people. Now I realize that not only should you be strong technically but you should also have the political awareness of what your technical strength is going into. Who is reaping the fruits of your labor. A guy I know told me he got promoted, with the help of someone higher up, after he sort of went on strike and only then did management realize how much he was needed. See this is leverage. There are a lot of eager earnest people churning out a ton of value for the company without demanding more and executives love that. Their existence lowers the leverage of the value creators. I’m thinking of what could possibly give Chinese-Americans more leverage. Little, as they’re for the most part unwelcome in positions of power in the US. Again many Chinese have false hopes of meritocracy. Yes, it’s meritocratic up to a certain point, but in terms of actual political power it’s far from it. The Chinese who do get promoted in the media and politically by the mainstream American establishment tend to be those who are against collective Chinese interests. Why do you think the successful Chinese entrepreneurs in America have a hardware focus. Because those require real expertise with high barrier to entry.

The struggle for socioeconomic position of Chinese-Americans I expect to be largely futile. It’s already very saturated at this point. Way more technically smart and well-trained Chinese than the system can tolerate. There are some rich Chinese who hit it big with entrepreneurship but they generally have far less political power than a white guy with the same net worth due to relative lack of elite networks. Those rich Chinese from China in the states have little actual power; all they can really do is make a dent on the real estate market, and fund some pro-Chinese activities there, though with that, there will only be increasing scrutiny. If Chinese are to gain massively, it would have to be based from what comes out of China. Basically become like the Jews. Develop a reputation of fuck with us too much and there will be consequences. To do so, China would have to play the extortion game very aggressively too. What leverage does China have now? For one, large market. This is why airlines have to accept demands to list Taiwan as part of China; if they don’t they lose a ton of business. What else? Potentially encourage the Chinese with hard to acquire expertise in critical STEM fields to stop working for American companies, go to China instead. Take it to the very extreme, if China/Chinese want to be truly feared on the international stage, they can once they’re adequately prepared to guarantee victory encourage North Korea to invade again as Stalin did in 1950 with a serious pledge to back them up, use anti-ship/anti-aircraft missiles to prevent Americans in Seoul from escaping, then America will negotiate with China to save members of their own political elite. China could demand complete withdrawal of US forces from the Korean Peninsula as a condition. Now, anti-ship/anti-aircraft missiles would make it not that hard to enforce blockades near one’s borders; the era of American military dominance by air is over. China is already in the process of deploying the state of the art S-400 it got from Russia to cover most of Taiwan and has already deployed its own, less advanced but still formidable, air defense system on the South China Sea islands, enough to render US fighter jets practically useless in the region.

How do you get an edge over a competitor? You can by improving yourself, making your product more competitive, that’s the good way. Like it or not, you can often do equally or more by directly sabotaging the competitor in a way you can get away with. The success of Microsoft, and many big businesses, had arguably much more to do with the latter. In the case of geopolitical influence, militarily evicting the enemy is necessary. It doesn’t have to turn violent, and ideally, it shouldn’t; all one needs is enough military power for the other side to give in on the negotiating table.

As an example of China’s exercising leverage, did you know that in the 50s, after the Korean War, the US would not let Chinese with STEM PhDs return? After a few years of negotiation, the Chinese government exchanged American POWs for the freedom of those Chinese with hard-to-obtain and strategically important STEM expertise to return to their home country, where they would make a decisive contribution to the success that China is today. China/Chinese, if they really want to get ahead, need to do similarly. Their struggle in America is a losing game. Yes, there are ways to succeed massively yourself, but more often than not the tradeoff is generating much more value/money/success for others, which could even count as an anti-success given the relative nature of success.

For Chinese, it’s okay if you piss off some elite Americans. You can always go back to China and find something reasonable there. China is not what it was twenty years ago. Plus, if you’re anti the American establishment, the Chinese government will likely support you. With Indians, it might be different, since India still is shit place. And Indians have for the most part already given up. Indians cannot even create their own Internet companies.

Speaking of which, I am trying out some Chinese internet products, and while there is still room for improvement, they seem to have created a reliable alternative. Weiyun (微云) for cloud storage, and integrated with WeChat. Foxmail.com for Email. Both products of Tencent. There is also that Opera Browser, which originated from Norway, was acquired by Chinese company Qihoo 360, and it is faster and uses less memory than Chrome. Comes with ad-block and VPN by default too. I’m definitely sticking to that.

I’ll conclude with another comment of wokeAZN:

Good. Let them be afraid. TBH I live and eat because I’m taking wealth that previously belonged to whites every day probably. Not that I dispossess whites or whoever else on purpose, I just work and buy land, stock and assets here legally. So? What do you want me to do? Apologize and return my land and assets? Lol lol

Asians, keep acquiring your land and wealth while you’re here. if you dispossess whites unintentionally don’t feel bad about it.

He’s 100% correct. If Asian-Americans want equal rights, they should try to take as much from this country while contributing as little as they can in return. That’s the logical response towards discrimination. Either use this country solely to advance yourself and your group to the extent that you can, or don’t come here in the first place. There are even some Asians who bash their own for not contributing enough to the community, which is ridiculous. Seriously, have some sense of entitlement. It’s not really your community anyway. Yes, those rich Chinese who buy real estate here basically contribute nothing. If fact, they make lives harder for the middle-class by driving up housing prices. Well too bad.

More evidence for my hypothesis on South Asians vis-a-vis East Asians

Link to comment on Steve Hsu’s blog. The “my hypothesis” in the title is with reference to one of my previous blog posts. Content copy-pasted below.

https://www.imo-official.or…

In pure-visual ability, above data clearly indicated East Asian ability. Naturally they excel in STEM field.

But in silicon valley, South Asian engineers move up easily in corporate world. Advancing in corporate world is depending more on social skill than engineering skill. South Asian also display strong social skill as result of people from high density origin.

Some Chinese American engineers told me about their experience in silicon valley. They did most work while Indian colleagues seems not able to do much. But once the project is done, these Indian colleagues are fantastic at putting everybody’s work together and present to the superiors. These Indian American are natural conference presenters. Good social skill gets all credits for career advance.

Indeed, making other thinking you smart is more important than wether you are really smart in subjective world (social dependency world). This is so true for most part of world.

When objective measurement is criteria, you get totally different picture because God is judge here. Human opinion is meaningless.

 

The Brahmins

The cognitive and personality profile, and overall achievement package, of Indians as a group is a rather interestingly unbalanced one. Sometimes they do spectacular things, like discovering the infinite series for trigonometric functions of sine, cosine, tangent, and arctangent as early as the 14th century, producing a good number of real geniuses like Ramanujan and Satyendra Nath Bose, and reaching Mars orbit on its first attempt, being the first Asian nation to do so, and doing so at a small fraction of the cost expended by NASA. An IMO gold medalist I talk to once said to me that there are probably more Indians than Chinese with IQ 160+ due to very high Brahmin IQ that has stabilized (meaning regression to a stable high Brahmin mean as opposed to the low Indian mean) over millennia of inbreeding within caste. I thought maybe. Certainly, I do sometimes get the impression that Indians, at least in science, are better than Chinese at breeding the type of genius with the right combination of technical ability and scientific discernment that manages to discover radically deep and groundbreaking science in a very independent and spectacular fashion. The Chinese have produced geniuses of the highest order (or close) in science the 20th century, like Chen Ning Yang in theoretical physics and Shing-Shen Chern in pure math, with Yang-Mills and Chern classes ubiquitous now in the literature of their respective fields, which are now very intertwined. However, they did so only after much training, exposure, and reinforcement based on the whole framework of modern science developed in the West over many centuries, and ancient China, on the other hand, did not produce in pure science anything near what Indians did, a sign of lack of genius and of poor taste, both in its rare individuals and at the collective societal level. On this, I like to think that Indians are Greeks and Chinese are Romans.

In sharp contrast to China, India in practical matters has been largely a complete fuckup, or at least vastly outmatched by China. It is well known that the ancient Chinese invented gunpowder and paper-making, whereas nothing of equal direct impact came out of ancient India. In modern times, China developed nuclear weapons way faster than India did, and even before that, defeated India in a war in 1962, which, even worse for India, was entirely her fault. Economically and infrastructurally, holistically speaking, India, exemplified by its frequent power outages and accident-prone train system, could be regarded as a few decades behind China, which is further confirmed by that India’s life expectancy and infant mortality rate is, today, where China had been at 20+ years ago. Given that the two had been around the same level in 1950, India’s development has unambiguously been a complete failure.

How to explain this? On this, I recall how my Chinese friend’s mom had said that it’s not because China’s elite is smarter than India’s elite, but because China’s grassroots is smarter than India’s grassroots. This is well-confirmed by international IQ studies which tend to put China’s average IQ at around 105 and India’s around 82, which is a 1.5 sigma difference. So even if India’s +3 sigma is as smart or smarter than China’s +3 sigma, there are too many dumb, dysfunctional people holding India back, from their needing to be fed while doing the routine work rather poorly. So, the smart, (usually) high caste Indians opt to go to America to escape India’s dysfunction, so ubiquitous that even the ultra-rich at home cannot immune itself. The best and brightest in that category tend to go through the IITs at home for undergrad, the most reliable ticket to a high paying tech job in the United States. That stratum of Indians has established by now quite a presence in top American tech companies and universities (just about every top STEM academic department in the US has several prominent Indian profs). For example, Microsoft and Google both have Indian CEOs, and plenty of Indian engineers and managers, with many of them in high ranking positions, especially at Google. In contrast, there are few Chinese in top leadership positions. When I learned that Google has several Indian SVPs but no Chinese, a guy from China responded with humorous ease followed by sarcastic insult: “不用担心,阿里巴巴的SVP全都是中国人,百度的SVP也全都是中国人,没有一个印度人。(In translation: Don’t worry, Alibaba’s SVPs are all Chinese, Baidu’s SVPs are all Chinese, not a single Indian) What does India have? Tata? Infosys?” This is, based on my experience, similar to how people react to the astronomical success of certain Indian academics, entrepreneurs, and business leaders in America. They will say: “Sure, an individual brilliant Indian does extremely well in America. But what does India as a nation get from that?”

Even such brilliance of these elite Indians is somewhat questionable. On TopCoder, which plenty of Indians obsess over on Quora, now infested by low status Indians, India is ranked, as I am currently writing this, only 11th out of the 31 countries on there, with only two red (the highest category) coders, despite having more than twice the number of members as China, the second most populous nation in this algorithmic coding contest. They’ve actually done better in recent years. I remember back years ago when I participated, I, having been on the lower side of yellow (the second highest category) coder, would have ranked close to the top among the Indians. Of course, one must not discount the possibility that the best Indians have better things to do than practice for a contest where one solves artificial algorithmic problems, which is consistent with my having seen and worked with many Indians who are very competent at real software engineering, with quite a strong sense for systems design and real world production code, which are rather orthogonal to, and much more consequential than, what one sees in those contrived coding contests and interviews. Still, the dismally low performance of Indians on TopCoder still raises suspicions, because TopCoder, like the International Math Olympiad, which India is complete garbage at, is a 100% objective and fair contest, whereas success in the real world software engineering, determined by promotions and professional level, has a political and context component. It’s not just the Indians at home; even in America, where the smartest Indians tend to go, the Chinese kids beat the Indian kids by a wide margin on the elite math, computing, and physics olympiads, even when the Indian kids seem to have improved a fair bit over the recent years. From this, one can only conclude that Indians are naturally not that strong in the abilities which these contests load on, though of course they may be relatively much more talented in research and engineering, for which these contests are very imperfect predictors.

You, the reader, have probably noticed that up to now, we’ve focused mostly on brains and technical ability. Yes, they are essential, but personality characteristics (both individual and collective) and “soft skills” also matter, especially if one wants to rise to a leadership position. From my personal observation, Indians are, in general, very good at projecting confidence and assertiveness from the way the talk and present themselves, much better than Chinese are, at least in the American cultural context, even when you discount the language barrier Chinese face relative to Indians. I’m talking not only about how one says things in terms of word choice, but the vocal tone and body language behind it. Sure, you can disdain this as superficial, but it matters. Perception matters as much, and in some cases, more, than substance. There is also that Indians seem to have a stronger network and help each out more in the career world. Collective intelligence or ethnic nepotism, you be the judge.

I have stories to tell on this. First of all, I remember vividly how when I interned at the same place as an Indian schoolmate, he was the only one who scheduled, successfully in a few cases, coffee meetings with executives, as an intern (!!!!!), when it never would have occurred to me, or probably almost everyone else except him, to even try. One can sort of link this to collective intelligence, in that it is an indicator of discernment with regard to who matters (the executives) and who doesn’t (the engineer worker bees) within the political organization. And needless to say, you rise up in the organization by aligning yourself with the people who matter. Yes, my telling a full-time engineer this was met largely with a response in the likes of, “He knows who matters and who doesn’t. And even if he completely fucks up, he has nothing to lose, he’s only a 2nd year college intern. In any case, he gets good practice interacting with people who matter.” There is also that multiple people I know have complained about blatant Indian favoritism in interviews in the likes of what is described in this Quora answer. Yes, others have told me that when Indians interview other Indians, the bar is much lower. It’s not just in interviews. Another guy told me about how he once worked for a company that turned into ruins after Indian managers protected some Indian fuckups from getting fired. Personally, I have seen a case of Indians getting promoted way faster than those of other ethnic groups on a big team with an Indian director. So sometimes, I ask myself the verboten. Could it be that Indians really are far higher ranked in tech companies than their ability and contribution, because they are much more self-promoting and collectively nepotistic than those of other groups? Moreover, could it be that many people secretly think and resent this but are too afraid to say out of fear of being publicly vilified for “being racist” and having their careers ruined from alienating a national group increasingly powerful in corporate America? And that gradually, other groups, as they awake to the rigging of the game and get past, reluctantly, their moral objections, will quietly do the same, transforming tech companies and the American workplace at large into literal prison gangs contend, destroying whatever is left of the ideal of meritocracy and fair play in this country, ever more mired in identity politics?

Don’t get me wrong. There is much variance in personality and character and ability in those of any ethnic group, including for Indians, and much overlap between ethnic groups. Like, I know of this really brilliant Indian who donates most of his tech salary to very worthy causes, leaving little for himself, and he would be the last person I would expect, based on his characterized as autistic personality, to successfully climb the corporate ladder, though through sheer talent alone, he should do just fine in the appropriate position. Moreover, I have interacted with several Indians who had been very kind, tolerant, and helpful towards me. However, averages can differ by a standard deviation or more, with enormous social consequences.

I actually feel somewhat sympathetic for India and the Indians here. Somebody, on this, even said something along the lines of: “India is just such a shitty place that the Indians here have nothing to lose, so they play dirty political games and engage in the most spineless social climbing.” What can be done to resolve this? Immediately, I cannot think of anything other than drastically reducing the number of abjectly impoverished, low IQ Indians in India by simultaneously improving economic conditions and enforcing birth control on the poor and unable, so that less suffering and dysfunction is spread to the next generation. India could, instead of drinking the democracy Kool-Aid, learn from China, in a way compatible to its own culture and circumstances, just as China did from the West and the Soviet Union, to great success. Its elite needs to correct many of its deeply flawed social attitudes, and not only that, actually act accordingly with full force; otherwise, the excessive damage India does to itself, America, and the world at large with its internal dysfunction and exported corruption will always far outweigh what its elites contribute to science and technology. I can’t be optimistic on this though, barring some really radical change.

On Russia and Russians

I was told yesterday by that uber pro-American anti-communist American Jew that American liberals actually hate Russia more than they hate China. I was surprised. He said that this is seldom realized, and that

if you compared xi to putin people would consider that offensive even
people have a double standard against white countries when it comes to human rights

So, the logic is because Russia is white, they should be held to higher standards for human rights and democracy, and the extent to which Russia is “freer” (than China, which blocks Google and Facebook and is still a one-party totalitarian state) is not enough to offset the differentiated standard.

I don’t get it, why are Western liberals so intent on hating Russia, why why why? Because Russia is such a threat to their world domination? (The USSR is gone and there’s basically zero hope of Russia recovering to that level, but that’s apparently not enough.) I had also heard that in the UK it’s the Russians, not the Muslims, who are most resented, for being tall, blonde, and alpha and taking the tech jobs. It’s another one of those they’re hated for being too good. Russians being good attracts more resentment than admiration, they must have failed politically somewhere.

From my experience working, observing, reading, and interacting, it does seem like Russians are technically extremely powerful. Of course, the ones here in America are a select group. At a place where I worked, there was this big Russian guy who was quite an ubermensch programmer doing much of the technical heavy-lifting. He was also a higher up in the company, though not terribly high up, and it took him some time in officially low ranking positions (where I’m sure he contributed a ton) to get there. There is good reason to believe the pattern of Russians being ranked (much) lower in American tech companies relative to their ability and contribution, given how political promotion and performance reviews are, and the extent to which salary is determined by one’s “circumstances.” There seem to be very few Russians high up in corporate America, despite their ability. On this, I can’t help but think: could it be that the American elite only wants them to do the hard technical work (where they contribute much more than they get) and find them too threatening to allow into positions of power? It seems though that as a group, they’re more or less accepting of this treatment, content with a very intellectually stimulating job. My Russian friends tells me that very few go back due to lack of opportunity, notwithstanding that Russia has Yandex (which was, curiously, founded before Google) and vKontakte, and its own military ecosystem.

I know that there is the widely stereotype that Russians are smart and really creative, while Chinese are smart but lack spark. There is some truth to that as far as I can tell. On TopCoder and CodeForces and at the ACM ICPC, all of which I’ve participated in, with mixed success, the Chinese still cannot beat the Russians, even when they seem to try really hard. Petr was superhuman, and ACRush, while also an ubermensch, was still a notch below Petr. Though ACRush, with his Chinese connections, has started his own self-driving car company, while Petr is still working for Google. CodeForces, created by Russians, is now much better maintained and consequently more popular across the world to competitive programmers.

I’ve observed that Russians are not as obsessed about prestigious schools here in the US as Chinese are. Plenty of really smart ones only attend state schools, to save money, and also maybe because the elite schools discriminate against them too, because their being Russian and worse connected in American society would be a disadvantage for them in the career world.

From what I’ve seen, Russians are very well-rounded too, actually smart and capable in all respects. Even in athletics, they’re feared and targeted (with reference to the Olympic ban). This might mean that they’re not very good at putting on a stupid smile and going along with all the stupid bullshit that goes on in this society. If they’re this good, maybe they instead of being taken advantage of by American capitalists who only want to extract as much as they can out of them for as little as they can get away with should build their own technology and institutions in Russia, where they actually end up having ownership. They did that in the USSR days (but bad luck and stupid political decisions blew it all away), maybe they should continue to do so.

To conclude, I’ll say that I’ve heard that “Russians/Eastern Europeans get macho and that leads to individualism/isolation in the workplace.” Maybe because they’re pissed that they (the ones in America are some of the best and brightest) have to answer to idiots who they have a hard time pretending to respect.

On meritocracy

I had the fortune to get to know this guy about five or six years older than me because we started a job on the same day, when I was straight out of school, who was willing to tell or at least hint to me some realities about the corporate world. I never worked directly with him, but we would chat during lunch and at various events. Most memorable was when he said to me: “like you’re more competent than most CEOs of corporations.” I was like: “wait really?” You see, at that time, I was still a clueless kid. Amused by my naiveté, he went on to tell me: “haha, being a CEO is not about competence, it’s about being in the club, once you’re in, it’s basically impossible to fail. It’s about having obtained certain credentials and networks, like a name school MBA and an executive position at a company. Once you’re in that group and the people there accept you, you’re a perpetual CEO.” Interestingly, I vaguely remember that he also mentioned Meg Whitman, in a tone that made it seem as if he actually had a high opinion of her.

Having seen more over the years, I can better appreciate what he was saying. And I feel much more at ease with what actually goes on in corporate hierarchies, including the militantly non-meritocratic aspects, accepting it as more or less an inevitable product of human nature, not that I really approve of it. As a nerd who had been fairly high up on the whole academic merit hierarchy, I certainly felt uncomfortable, or even indignant, with respect to all that at first. In fact, I still prefer and respect most people who manage to excel in what is actually more or less strictly ability-based, even if they’re not officially very high up based on the position they hold and rarely rich. Math contests and coding contests and sports are basically 100% skill based. Sure, people have good days and bad days but the variance is relatively small, an indicator that most of the variance is natural measurement error, as opposed to owing to external circumstances. As a concrete example, the p-value of Kobe Bryant’s suddenly becoming an average player (barring an injury) would be exceedingly small. STEM work is also pretty skill-based, though there, especially when working with a team and with many decisions made above under the influence of globally influenced circumstances outside one’s control (such as funding and political support), there is far more of a luck component. Entrepreneurship has a skill component but it is extremely luck-loaded. Much of it is due to access via connections derived from social class and being at the right place at the right time. Of course, in hindsight, it is easy to frame a major success as mostly a function of skill and of “vision,” a grossly overused and meaningless word, as opposed to luck. This goes back to what CEOs are generally good at: presenting a facade of vision and leadership.

I wonder what percentage of people are actually aware of what that guy told me about corporate CEOs (as opposed to entrepreneur turned CEOs, who tend to have more actual skill from what I see). I would guess less than 5% of the population, maybe even less than 1%. Certainly, many if not most in that CEO class are aware and don’t care, so long as they are winning, or maybe many of them, accounting for a sufficiently high percentage, are actually delusional, believing that their success has been mostly due to objective skill. In any case, what one can draw from this, more generally, is that the efficient market hypothesis and rational agents stuff from economics, a field I sort of disdain without having actually studied, is bullshit, or at least highly imperfect, because in reality, people act along imperfect, and often grossly incorrect, information.

I’ll conclude with the following note. Michael O Church will often say that it’s often hard to tell a great software engineer from a mediocre one who is an excellent salesman, even for technical people. This has, of course, much to do with software engineering being very specialized, with everyone having their own distinct style, niche, and combination of skills. For a non-technical person, it is almost impossible. As a technical person myself, I have also from my personal experience come to the conclusion that it is very hard, if not impossible, to judge people working in a field vastly different from yours at an advanced level. This is why people resort to prestige of institution, citations, impact factor, job title, salary, and references, often blindly, all of which, while surely possessing much genuine signal, are also very prone to noise and artificial manipulation. One has to realize an individual, no matter how smart, can only know so much, and that our collective knowledge functions as a distributed system. From this one can only infer that in non-technical, it’s even harder, which means it’s all about perception, your sociological position, and how well you play the game of peddling connections and favor on a very opaque but surely extant market.

I’ll go as far as to say that IQ, g, and technical talent are real. Academic performance depends largely on these. A guy with a genuine 145+ IQ will almost certainly find schoolwork not terribly difficult and perhaps uninspiring and will very likely excel in elite academic contests. As an example, I know for a fact that Michael O Church has quite a track record of that, having been 5th in National MathCounts, made it to the Math Olympiad Summer Program, which takes only the top 30 or so in the nation-wide high school math contest, and received an honorable mention (about top 75, with some elite international students in contention this time) on the college Putnam contest (which is difficult enough that there is astronomical score variance). This profile, which is highly replicated, is also more evidence for the stability of IQ and technical/mathematical ability/aptitude, and thereby proxies of it. He will find advanced math and science not all that hard when most of his peers (or-not) find it impossibly difficult, meaning that the grad school route will become somewhat of a default. Then, he will realize that academia and research are grossly competitive for a mediocre salary, much owing to the scarcity of jobs from stagnant or even declining funding vis-a-vis an increasing population of highly smart people, wherein probably half of the genuine 145+s in America are immigrants, often from places with GDP per capita a fraction of America’s. He will find that in a corporate job, even a technical one, his far tail smarts are not anywhere near as much an asset as they were in school, and that there are many intellectual mediocrities commanding high salaries and positions of power out of connections and political ability. He will realize that he is no longer considered terribly high up on the hierarchy, unlike in the school setting that hinges much on academic performance. He will realize that he is way more competent than most CEOs, but that doesn’t matter because he’ll still be answering to them, unless corporate America is overthrown in a way that the actual smart people end up in positions of power.