Saturday, January 20, 2024

Response to uglysuprith

“I think you're an AnCap.” 


 “Capitalism is definitely better than feudalism, for sure, it gives more freedom than feudal States. But the control over masses just shifted to financial form in capitalism, from military control in feudalism,. It's just a better & indirect form of control.”

But it isn't control. All they can do is not offer you resources, and the cure for that is literally anyone who thinks your labor/product is worth something. This isn't just a different type of control, it's not control at all.

 “ "As usual the less capitalist a system is the worse it is.", For that it depends on the stage of capitalism.”

No, whatever stage of capitalism you're in (and I don't agree with Marxist ideas on “stages of capitalism because Marx was usually wrong), the worst elements are the furthest from capitalism. The banking system is terrible, and the most regulated industry (except perhaps health, which is it's own nightmare), property speculation is entirely the result of the government's interference in the money supply. But the worst is the industry that runs on “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”. I speak of course of the police. Yes that's how the run, taxes are taken roughly according to ability to pay, and the police do things when you need them to. That's how it's run. Now you can say they actually don't treat everyone the same, that they aren't efficient, that they're more interested in maintaining the status quo than doing their jobs, but that's all Marxist systems. If the cops were run on a capitalist basis would there still be firms that shot Black people so often? Or beat people up for owning a plant? Or enforced a thousand stupid laws that are not designed for the public benefit but as a sop to the corrupt? Or would firms that tried to do that find they had no customers? 

The worst things about a partially capitalist system is the least capitalist parts. And the least capialist countries are the worst too. Look up the Index of Economic Freedom and compare it to corruption, bad water, low income, anything. 

 “Early stage capitalism is almost a utopia & late stage capitalism is surely a distopia, with almost everything owned by single or very few people,” 

Except that it hasn't been shown that the result of capitalism, rather than political control of the economy. “who (financially) rule over the majority, distorting the supply and demand, thereby controlling markets & the system..” 

But the current elite don't financially rule over the majority, they ACTUALLY rule over the majority. They control the political system, which is specifically not trade of value for value, i.e. not capitalist.

“Capital is power, & when we work to make our boss more money than he pays us, we are effectively increasing his power over us.” 
No, you're increasing his power to acquire goods and services. You could well be accumulating capital at a faster percentage rate than him. 

 “More money that he pays us” isn't a relevant measure. Shaquille O'Neal made his boss more money than he was paid. Does he seem powerless to you? Only way for equilibrium is by some businesses going bust or not making any profit accumulation. Or else we'll end up in monopoly land..” 

The free market has never led to monopoly. It just doesn't happen. 

 “When anyways Not making profits, why not just switch to true socialism, working for people, not profit..” 

Because no making profits reduces the total capital in society which reduces total benefit to society. Socialism has done nothing good for over 100 years, why hold out hope?

Friday, December 29, 2023

A better measure than the Bechdel test.

The Bechdel test[1] is seen as a marker of feminism, if a work passes it it's implied that somehow that means it good for women, or their rights or something. But a work that passes this test need not be feminist or not anti-feminist or even not misogynistic. I propose the Asexual Alien Test (AAT) as a better test for feminism, misogyny, misandry and other things you might want to know. The AAT imagines that a extraterrestrial from a species without distinct sexes (e.g. hetromorphic) watches a film or consumes another work with the sexes of characters pointed out to them. Based on their viewing what woulld the conclude about males and females? For instance viewing "Star Wars" would lead them to believe that females were rare, usually in leadership positions, brave, intelligent and often combat capable. [1] From wikipedia: The movie has to have at least two women in it, who talk to each other, about something other than a man.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Uber, price gouging and class warfare.

Uber's was price gouging in Sydney in the wake of the Cityrail delays on March 8.  For the sake of the working class I hope they continue to do so.  Price gouging is generally seen as evil businessmen taking advantage of poor, hapless, consumers.  In the case of Uber however almost 3/4 of the benefit of "price gouging" goes to the working man.  Or possibly the working woman, the Uber computers are not clear on the difference.  Given the prices allegedly paid for Uber trips clearly those "price gouged" were relatively rich.  Poor people don't generally pay $500 for a trip from the city to Mount Annan.  According to google maps that should take a bit over an hour.  So some worker got 72.5%*$500 = $362.50 AUD for the trip. This is a good thing for the working class. 

But Credible, I hear you cry, you're an anarcho-capitalist, you love rich people and hate the poor right?  Wrong.  What I love is humans getting what they want, provided it doesn't infringe anyone's rights.  Charging a rich person more when something is in short supply doesn't infringe anyone's rights.  While in an ideal world neither rich nor poor would have suffered hours-long delays at least because of Uber the rich can get home.  This benefitted not just the rich Uber passengers but also bus riders who had less crowding and delays than otherwise would be the case.  

Also the voluntary transfer of wealth from rich to poor served the interests of both.  The Law of Returns says the marginal utility of money to poor people is greater than to rich people. So a transfer of money from poor to rich would theoretically raise total utility.  This is a far better argument for socialism than "fairness" arguments.  However obviously a coercive transfers are unlikely raise total utility as history has proven time and time again.  Here however the transfer was voluntary, the rich trading time for money at a rate the poor were more than happy with.  The higher prices available obviously would have caused some Uber drivers to clock on who otherwise would not have, which didn't happen with traditional taxis to the same extent.  Increased supply of useful services and their distribution to those who valued them highest were achieved. Both money and time ended up with the people who wanted them most.  Which isn't surprising since getting things to the people who are prepared to trade most for them is what capitalism does.

But didn't the workers and Uber management take unfair advantage of the consumers?  Well what makes it unfair?  The passengers have no right to have Uber drivers give them a ride.  They have no right to get a ride ahead of other passengers.  If they were treated unfairly they should be able to point to something they should have been given that they weren't.  But they were given everything they were requested.  They wanted a ride and they got it.  They preference over hundreds of other potential customers and they got it. So what weren't they given?  Oh, yeah, all of that for no additional money.  That's not a rights violation, that's a reality check.  The people complaining about the high prices they were charged didn't complain that they got home ahead of people who weren't prepared to pay as much.  So they wanted the benefits of a system that charges high prices, but not to pay the actual high prices.  Frankly it's upper class arrogance at it's worst.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

If black lives matter, why do we still have communism?

This essay isn't what you think it is.  You probably think that a right-winger is comparing the vast slaughter communism creates with the relatively modest number of killings by police of black men.  No I'm saying modest number of killings by police of black men is part of the vast slaughter communism creates.  

Some might be skeptical of police communism but they do provide service to citizens "according to their needs" and it gets funded by income tax i.e. "according to their abilities".  Don't bring up that they don't actually provide service completely according to need.  No communist does and we're not having the "it's not real communism" argument.   

But surely racism is the cause not communism, right?  Nope.  At worst 60% of black deaths at the hands of US police are due to racism.  This is assuming that all of the disproportionate black deaths are due to racism.  The greater violence of US police compared to UK police is responsible for well over 90% such deaths.   This is because the UK has much less than 10% of US police deaths per capita.  So even compared to other police services organized on communist lines the US is far more lethal to blacks than it would be if simple racism were the problem.  

So why would removing the communist system largely solve the problem?  Because the problem is one of incentives and accountability, and communism does both badly.  Consider what has to happen for a police officer to be punished for killing someone.  The body that employs him, the government, has to admit it's at fault.  The people who have to cooperate with the cops to help their prosecutions have to   act against them.  Fundamentally the system has to decide to inflict harm on it's own support.  The only reason this would happen is if the political cost of not punishing the cop is greater than not doing so.  This removes accountability but crucially it removes it both ways.  If a cop isn't punished when public perception says he should be it's blamed on political efforts to protect him, even if that is not the case.  

Privatizing police would remove both problems.  The government wouldn't control the private police, so they can't be blamed for their actions.  Because there would be multiple competing private police forces any police officer would be investigated by one (or more) independent organizations.  His buddies couldn't have his back even if they wanted to.  As a private citizen doing a private job he would have no special privileges like "qualified immunity".  The government decision to prosecute or not a private cop would not be seen as a political decision, any more than prosecuting any private citizen would be.  No interest group would see it as enabling abuse if cops didn't get charged.  A failed prosecution wouldn't be seen as a political blow either, merely incompetence. 

Lawsuits against private cops would also be more just because they would not be political.  It would not be a political matter whether a police organization settles a case of supposed police brutality.  There might be accusations of racial injustice, but those accusations wouldn't be used to win elections.  They would be a matter of corporate PR.  

Speaking of corporate PR the cops would have a great incentive to behave and to hire people who will behave.  Even ignoring lawsuits there's the problem that people hire people that protect them, not shoot them.  An officer that can't be trusted to refrain from homicide is not an asset to someone trying to compete in a market.  What is an asset is an officer that will respond to things that hurt their clients, and only those things.  Enforcing drug laws, arresting people who braid hair without a license won't get new clients.    

If government provided funds to individuals to buy their own police protection the poor would still have protection.  Possibly they would have more protection than they currently have since a private firm would have to protect their clients to avoid losing them.   In some cases police forces have failed to protect some minorities for decades, effectively leaving them with no police force (although they still get taxed).  In the event of widescale violence against a group police firms would have incentives to protect, rather than abandon, the oppressed.  

All problems with police, past and present, ranging from race-based oppression, political spying and intimidation, selective enforcement depending on victim or offender, repression of sexual and religious minorities etc. all stem from the police being part of the State's monopoly of force.  All stem from the Marxist mantra being applied to policing.  It's time to use the best method for producing cars, holidays, and insulin to producing security.  It's time to say no to communism, if you really want to protect black people, or anyone.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Stakeholder capitalism is just fascism for a good cause. Which means it's just fascism.

The first claim of "Stakeholder capitalism" (which I will call stakeholderism) is that it treats all stakeholders equally, which is a lie. Stockholders alone under Stakeholderism are not allowed to have anyone represent their interests alone.  Customers are allowed to buy solely on their perceived costs and benefits alone. Similarly workers are not compelled to keep at their jobs, either permanently or when they wish to take a break.  All other parties can proceed as though their interests were paramount to them except for stockholders.  

So it's based on a lie, but might it still be a noble lie, good for society?  No.  Even assuming that the goals of Stakeholderism are noble and worth taking control of someone else's property, this does not achieve goals easier than current methods.   Everything that can be done by taking control of companies policies could be done cheaper and more effectively by simply legislating or paying the companies to do things.

To understand why consider the people who would actually implement the policy of Stakeholderism and their incentives.  These would be corporate executives that get promoted and paid bonuses according to at least 3 competing goals.  These would be 1) long term profit, 2) short term profit and 3) serving the political goals of the government.  Let's not pretend that the goals would be set by anyone else but the government.  Their incentive would be to appear to be achieving all of these goals, even if that's impossible.  They would not be accountable for the failure of any of these goals because it would be impossible to sort out what was done to achieve which goal.  Any failure to be profitable would be blamed on the effort to achieve "social*" goals.  Any failure to achieve "social*" goals will be blamed on the necessity to produce profit.  They would have no special training in achieving "social*" goals  Any training they did have would be inadequate because there simply isn't the time to learn to be a good profit maker, a good social reformer and actually work at either profession.

But the incentive structure gets worse when we consider the government.  Large corporations are vulnerable to control by government because even small decisions can cost them millions or even billions of dollars.  They need to keep the government sweet at almost all costs.  So the corporation has a massive disincentive to pursue solutions that conflict with a government agenda.  Actually it's worse than that because no corporate officer could be sure how pursuing social goals might politically influential people.  So they would avoid funding or otherwise helping any program that might be politically controversial.  This is actually worse than leaving social programs to the government, since the government presumably knows what politically influential people want because they tell them.  If Program A has features that might offend feminists, race hustlers, "family values" people or whoever but it actually doesn't offend them, the government would know.  The corporation wouldn't even ask for fear of a backlash and potential political costs.

Stakeholderism actually makes the problem of government control of corporations worse.  If an organization openly says that it's all about profit they can't be questioned for pursuing it.  By claiming to be all about social good it makes it easier for the government to pressure them into supporting programs that suit the government.  There is no guarantee that programs the government supports will  achieve worthwhile social goals efficiently or at all.  There is no guarantee that government goals will be positive.  Governments have supported, at various times, racism, classism, inverted classism, religious bigotry, persecution for political opinions and homophobia.  Now you might say that the bad days are all behind us.  But if that's the case explain why Trump was either needed or happened (depending on whether you're for or against him).  

Now consider the control corporations have over government, which is inevitable once corporations realize the government controls them.  If a group controls you then human nature makes you want to control them, at least to the extent their control is neutralized.  This means that government might be prevented from examining the results of those pursuits by corporate influence.  If corporate influence isn't sufficient to prevent an examination the examination is unlikely to be objective.  The judgement will be made on political grounds not objective benefits because either the corporation or it's opponents will rig the results.  This is almost literally the worst method for determining the worth of a project.

But at least Stakeholderism provides more resources to achieve these noble goals right?  No, taxation can already transfer as much resources as Stakeholderism could to "worthwhile" causes.  The limit in either case is the potential collapse of the company not the unwillingness of corporate executives to support social goals.  If the income is taxes they have no choice but to support such goals.  Government doesn't ask.  Worse Stakeholderism encourages dodgy accounting to inflate the apparent cost of pursuit of social goals.  

Stakeholderism also encourages action on the wrong scale.  Large corporations are, or should be, at the most efficient size for their commercial pursuits.  Smaller than a certain amount and they cannot access economies of scale, larger and they can be crippled by management problems or other diseconomies of scale.  There is no reason why the proper size of an organization to correct a social problem would be even close the the proper size of any particular corporation.  If an effort is sufficiently small compared to the organization then it won't have a significant effect on it's decision making, it will be ignored by those in charge.  This will lead to either under- or over-resourcing of a project because the organization has no reason to care about small amounts.

A good program to correct a social ill requires a number of things, 1) resources, including labor, 2) a plan to efficiently use those resources, 3)  a method to asses the good and bad effects of the program, 4) a way to adapt the program to minimize the bad effects and maximize the good (if necessary by scrapping the project),  5) a way to avoid interference in the program by those who interests are compromised by it.  Stakeholderism is worse at all of these criterion that current methods, bad as they often are.

* Actually political goals.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Why racism is not an issue of "predatory" capitalism

This is a review of "Why racism is an issue of predatory capitalism" by Sam McKenzie Jnr. At no point in his article does Mr. McKenzie define capitalism, so he's not a serious thinker. Nevertheless he deserves a reply, because he wasted my time and must be punished.

 "Capitalism and racism are two systems in the soiled fabric of America’s flag that many agree will never lower or end."

Starting with a mixed metaphor isn't great but perhaps he was on a deadline.

"Until now, I don’t have many words on record about capitalism and how changing capitalism is key to ending racism."

Well you could start by showing that societies that ended capitalism became less racist, or at least didn't get more racist.  Since racism predated capitalism as most historians understand it it would be hard to argue that capitalism caused racism , but again he doesn't define capitalism.  Maybe what he calls capitalism actually predates racism.  Racist stereotypes by the way date back to at least ancient Athens.  

" In addition, the Black middle and upper classes don’t stand on solid ground because racism makes them more likely to fall into lower classes."

Actually we can't say that.  If there is significant racism that's a barrier to black people getting into the middle and upper classes, meaning that those that do achieve it are more capable.  Therefore it might be the case that black middle and upper class people are LESS likely to fall into the lower classes than white people people.  This is really his second claim and his second claim without evidence.

"But for those who fall, capitalism is an accomplice, an accomplice that demands the widest class divisions."

And here we go from unconfirmed claims to outright wrong ones.  The class divisions of capitalism are nowhere near as big as those of North Korea, medieval Europe, Dahomey under the warrior queens of almost any other society.  Capitalism is the greatest negater of class in existence.  There are no capitalist lords who can execute peasants, no capitalist bishops who can be tried only in ecclesiastical courts. When leftists talk about privilege they prove how little privilege there is.  I mean REAL privilege is being able to carry a weapon when no-one else is, or demand trial by combat.   It's not having people not assume you're stealing stuff in a shop. 

"In her book, bell hooks also writes, 'capitalism creates an environment of domination.' "

Before capitalism was there an "environment of domination"?  Hell yes, so clearly capitalism didn't create it.  Did it sustain it then?  Well it depends on what you call "capitalism" and again, because Mr. McKenzie is a professional agitprop producer he didn't.  What we do know about the actual progress of what most people call capitalism is that it eroded domination.  It ended slavery and serfdom in country after country. 

What caused most of the domination during the time when "capitalism" could be said to exist?  Well there's colonialism, which was a massive money loser and therefore not what most people call capitalist.  It was also exclusively empowered by government, not private business, although private business did of course take advantage of opportunities, abusive or otherwise.  There's also war, which again, is a loss-making government endeavor.  So again not "capitalist" as most people understand it.


"Capitalism and racism have an unending collaboration.

This alliance is visible in environmental racism, wage gaps, food sources, housing prices, lending practices, the drug trade, healthcare, the criminal justice system, student loan debt, and even stereotypes."


We will see below that he doesn't show this alliance is visible in any of these.  In fact he doesn't even show that "environmental racism" exists, let alone that capitalism increases it.


"We’ve seen businesses hide under capitalism as an excuse for dumping toxins in Black neighborhoods. It’s far too easy for business executives to say, 'we’re not racists, we’re capitalists.' But for the people on the receiving end of that toxic line, that’s a distinction without a difference."

Ok, firstly when have we seen this?  And what would be the point?  Dumping toxins in neighbourhoods gets you in trouble regardless of the race of the residents.  Even if capitalists did say this why would it not be true?  Do you imagine that someone who dumps dioxin in a black neighbourhood wouldn't do it in a white one?  Why?  


"Many health disparities swell in Black communities from the noxious combination of capitalism and racism that leaves people parched in food deserts with no stocked, affordable, and quality grocery stores."

So are you saying that there are no such stores because people don't want to sell to black people, or because black people don't make such businesses profitable?  Because if capitalism is stopping people selling "quality groceries" in black neighbourhoods where rent is cheaper then racism doesn't come into it.  Capitalists wouldn't open, or keep open, a loss-making store in a white area either.  If changing the race doesn't change the outcome, there is no racism. 


If on the other hand he's saying that "stocked, affordable and quality grocery stores" would make a profit that's worse.  He's saying that there are literally thousands of opportunities for profit and every single one of millions of potential capitalists are so racist they ignore it.  Bear in mind thousands of them are black. 


"For those who wish to grow old in their homes, it’s capitalism that prices out long-time residents."

No it's other people who want to live in those homes.  Why is the desire of one person to live somewhere more important than another person's desire to live there?  He seems to think that staying in a house you neither built nor paid for is somehow a right.  He doesn't justify this implication, or even make it clear, because he's a propagandist not an intellectual.


"That same capitalism allows preying banks to lend without end..."

Again, what does he mean by capitalism?  He seems to be condemning credit expansion here, but that's something government interference in the market creates, not the market itself.  Is he saying the current central bank model is capitalism and no other system is?  Because if you can get rid of the central banks the banks can't "lend without end" and therefore capitalism without central banks doesn't have this problem.  Or is he saying that there are multiple capitalisms and the one we have now allows these practices? 


" and use the most biting and bloodsucking practices."

Such as?  And where is his evidence that it's capitalism, rather than the State that allows these practices?  In a capitalistic system without massive state interference in banking might these practices end?  Might free market competition and a lack of government guarantees persuade bankers to abandon practices that alienate their customers?    Talking about what he refuses to cover takes up more space than what he does cover.


"If we want to talk about the drug trade, capitalism and racism push drug dealers to push drugs."

No drug buyers do that.  Nobody sells drugs because they don't like black people.  They sell them because that allows them to consume more goods and services.  Unless you propose a system where satisfying consumer demand doesn't benefit you that's going to be a constant.  Imagine what that system would be like, if what you produced had nothing to do with what someone wanted.  Still want to abolish capitalism.


"For a pharmaceutical industry, that’s callous with a stupidity and a cupidity for cash, we can blame capitalism for the lack of regulation and access."

There are literally billions of dollars of regulatory hurdles in the drug business.  Satisfying regulations takes YEARS.  If this is what he calls "lack of regulation" what would he be satisfied with?  And how is it capitalism's fault that drugs are hard to access after government adds years hundreds of millions of dollars to the cost of bringing them to market?  This man seems to know literally nothing about the subjects he talks about.


"but healthcare and gaping wage gaps aren’t the concerns for a frighteningly frigid and rigid system of capitalism conjoined with racism."

You have shown literally no evidence for racism in the health care industry.  As for the frigidity and ridigity of the system where is the evidence that's due to capitalism and not the massive interference in the workings of capitalism in the healthcare industry?  Healthcare if probably the second most regulated economic sector in the USA, after banking.


"With criminal justice, capitalism and the criminal justice system are an illicit pair that reproduce unequal brutalization. It’s capitalism that heavily arms police forces as their suppliers get richer. "

No police forces are not capitalist institutions and without capitalism the police would still be armed.  Or do you imagine that police are only given guns so politicians can place gun orders?  Because that's paranoid as hell and provably wrong.


"The prison system has a quenchless demand for more prisoners to fill their ready-made roles because of capitalism."

But the prison system is mostly not capitalist and wasn't capitalist at all for the first century or so of it's existence.  In fact many prisoners are there for being capitalists.



"But also, it’s class and capitalism that make it easier to avoid jail or get out of jail for the right type and price."

Again, the court system isn't capitalist.  Even the legal system isn't very free market as there are strong government controls to restrict the trade.  Without restrictions on capitalism legal defence against criminal charges would be much cheaper, probably within the means of the poor.  But even that isn't the real problem.  Again the court system is not a capitalist system.  It doesn't have customers and therefore is not constrained to bring cases only against those who people want brought before it.  People who have not agressed against anyone and owe nobody compensation can be brought in and subject to it's judgement, regardless of whether anyone thinks it's worth spending the money to have this happen.  


"When I think about our schools, I see how capitalism and racism lead and lace them at every level. "

Then you're delusional because the education system in the USA is almost pure socialism.  Tens of thousands of dollars of a product is given away for free, mostly to people who wouldn't buy it for half it's cost and in many cases to people who don't want it at all. 


"Then for Black college graduates, saddled in a rat race with student loan debt much heftier than white students, "

No explanation is given of why that is or if this is after controlling for course selection.  Do black students take more expensive courses?  I don't know, so I can't say if this claim is even meaningful. 


"And as industries either saturate or abandon captive communities, predatory capitalism can engineer stereotypes with its systematic and selective exploitation and exclusion.'

None of this means anything.  He doesn't define what "saturating" a community would mean, nor how that community is "captive".  He doesn't say what "engineering" a stereotype would look like.  He doesn't show that "exploitation" has a meaning, let alone a negative one.


"My justice requires restitution for this mess. "

It's either justice or it's not, there's no such thing as "my justice". 


"To see progress and to end racism, we must finger capitalism too.

And with all the ways predatory capitalism attacks us by race, we need many hands striving to change capitalism.

Capitalism and racism are symbiotic, and capitalism finances the system of racism.

Malcolm X rightly told white America they 'can’t have capitalism without racism.' ”

There is literally no evidence for these claims in the article. 

"It’s clear white America wants capitalism and racism. "

White people have been voting against both for decades.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Eugenics works.

Could eugenics work?


First let's define work as "create a society which is more like the society someone might want". Eugenics is the effort to increase the frequency in a human population of genes useful for a purpose and decrease the frequency of genes harmful to that purpose.


The answer is yes. Thousands years of selective animal and plant breeding has shown that you can alter the gene frequency in a population and achieve desired results. There is no physical difficulty in applying the same methods to human populations, other than potential resistance by the subjects. Obviously humans are better at preventing breeding by direction rather than as they like than dogs are. Of course morally most people have more problems forcing two people to breed or not breed than they have with two horses or wheat plants.

There are limitations on the usefulness of eugenics.
Firstly the effect you want to create must be possible by changing individual humans, even if you're changing a lot of them. Changing genetics will not directly make a society more democratic, so eugenics prevent or abolish dictatorships. It might however change behaviour patterns of people to promote or diminish democratic values, if those values are heritable.

Secondly the quality to be changed must be heritable, although it need not be entirely heritable. Heritability is quantifiable and equals the proportion of variance of a trait in a population that is due to heredity. For instance height is about 80% heritable. If you have a group all of whom have the genetics equal in effect on height their actual heights will vary by about 20% as much as the general population. The more heritable a trait is the more eugenics can be used to alter it. If a trait is only say, 20% heritable you will only be able to change 20% of the variation in the trait at best. Not that heritability talks about the variation in the trait not the trait itself. You can't increase height by 80% because heritability is 80%. You can change it by (at most) 80% of how much it varies. So if humans varied in height from 1m to 2.2 height varies by +/- 120 cm so at most you could change height by 96 cm. In practice that you couldn't change height that much for various reasons.

Thirdly you must be able to measure that trait well enough to guide eugenic decisions. Height is fairly easy to quantify, but suppose you wanted to breed for "niceness". How would you quantify it well enough to make a reproductive decision? Perfect measurement is necessary, but the less accurate the measurement the harder it will be make changes. I will define "proxy usefulness" (u) as the proportion of the variance in a trait that is indicated by the proxy. So instances with the same proxy rating the actual value of the trait will variance will by (1-u) * general trait variance. So for instance if you can measure height very accurately you might have a .99 proxy usefulness for height. That means that the variation in actual height from the height you record is .01 of the variation in height.

A trait high in heritability and with a good proxy to measure it by can be increased over time by eugenic means.

Fourthly eugenics will only work if a way to change reproductive decisions in a particular way. If you can't change who gets born or not born you can't use eugenics, which leads on to the next subject.


That leads to the question, should eugenics be used, and if so by what means and for what ends?
Let's deal with means first. Changing people's decisions about whether to breed is one set of means, technological means to alter the genetics of offspring are another. Let's deal with the former first. There are fundamentally 3 ways of changing a person's actions, force, reward and moral pressure.

Every attempt to use force to achieve eugenic ends has been abusive by definition and has the results you would expect from an abusive system. Those who want to put abusive systems in place tend to want to abuse, rather than solve the real problems of human beings. Therefore they are careless in their pursuit of any aims of actual value. Fundamentally a human being owns themselves, and therefore you have no right to control their reproductive system any more than you have a right to control their vocal chords. It should be noted as well that the Nazis extremely abusive in pursuing their goals and extremely vague about what those goals were. Defining what an Aryan is isn't easy. At least it isn't if you ignore all the actual science and history and make up a mythical ethnicity and call it 'Aryan'. Their efforts to eliminate mental disability were particularly clumsy because they refused to use the best proxies (which of course showed Ashkenazi Jews as smarter than Germans or anyone else).

Rewards are far preferable to force as a means of persuasion, provided the means of reward was not gained by force. This is for the same reason that wages are preferable to slavery as a means of getting cotton picked. Everyone has the right to make decisions about their own body. Everyone else has the right to offer them benefits for using it in ways the offerer would prefer. There is nothing inherently immoral about telling someone "You have a heritable trait that would make society worse if passed on, I will offer you these resources if you don't pass on those genes.". Neither is it immoral to say "I think you have heritable traits that would benefit society, you can have some resources if you breed.". It will be up to the owners of those resources to decide whether it is worth it to achieve eugenic goals.
Moral pressure is simply someone stating that they believe that doing something, or not doing it, is right or wrong. It is simply the expression of an opinion about the appropriateness of an action. If done without manipulation or deception there is no moral problems with this.

Thanks to technology selecting who should (not) breed and with who is only one eugenics method. Potential future individuals can be genetically selected or even improved before birth. An embryo found to have genes that are not beneficial can be terminated, in the case of in vitro fertilisation this can happen before implantation. This is already done with genes for serious genetic problems, but could be expanded to terminate all embryos that have genes for low IQ, or alcoholism. You can even choose to implant only those embryos that have the genes you want. This is not genetic engineering, no genes are being implanted in the embryo, they are only examined and used to determine if the embryo goes to term.

Provided you believe, as I do, that a clump of cells is not a human being then there is no moral problem in terminating it.

All these of course deal with the morality of the means, rather than the morality of the eugenic goals themselves.

Firstly of course the goals should be well-defined and refer to actual things that exist, not for instance the a mythical connection to some supposed past master race. Secondly the goals should actually make people's lives better. For example you could increase the general level of cognitive ability by eugenic means. Cognitive ability seems to have a good proxy in the form of IQ. It helps achieve improvements like better productivity, greater understand of phenomena and lower levels of violence. Other goals might be the reduction of harmful behaviours like addiction, which might have a genetic component.

Some people have claimed that eugenics would lead to problems of inbreeding, but that is unlikely to be a problem. Inbreeding became a problem with sub-species that were very intensively bred for particular traits. In dogs inbreeding became a real problem after the invention of "dog shows" that bred very intensively for very specific traits. When dogs were bred for more general traits like usefulness in sheep herding or in particular sorts of hunting inbreeding was not a serious problem. Additionally the populations they bred from were much smaller than the current human population. Even assuming that people will mainly breed within their own race* these races have hundreds of millions of members. Even if only the most desirable 1% bred (and that would be an extreme use of eugenics) there would still be enough diversity in that population to avoid inbreeding.

* Yes race is a valid genetic category of humans. Sorry if this is controversial but it's not to people who actually notice facts.