Reappropriate: The Podcast – Ep. 10 | Mismatch Theory

November 11, 2014

This episode was recorded two weeks ago but for a variety of reasons I didn’t have time to publish it! This is episode 10 of Reappropriate: The Podcast, and it features guest Snoopy Jenkins (@snoopyjenkins) and I tackling the problems with the oft-cited pseudo-scientific theory of college mismatch.

You can view the podcast above or listen to the audio only version at the bottom of this post. To subscribe to Reappropriate: The Podcast, you can subscribe on YouTube or through the iTunes store.

In the episode, we mention that we will be writing more on the subject of Mismatch Theory to accompany this podcast episode. Please check back on this blog over the next few weeks to see those posts when they are published.

Check back later today for episode 11 of Reappropriate: The Podcast!

Did you like this content? Please consider becoming a patron of Reappropriate and get exclusive access to the brand new Reappropriate vlog!

  • Junweiwei

    This is funny. Two academics who want to show us that standardized tests does not measure merit – so let us implement affirmative action to get meritocracy.

    My counter-argument is – it does not matter if affirmative action promotes meritocracy or not – or if the current system promote meritocracy.

    In general meritocracy is an amoral social order, because you cannot assign people more rights and basic goods with the birth lottery. This applies to birth into rich families, but also birth with good genetics. What matters for ethical judgement are the consequences and the free will of taking sides for one party or the other.

    From the standpoint of rule consequentialism – it is always better to have admission policies which favor transnational minorities rather than white majorities and inner minorities {Black Americans, Native Americans}. We live in a world of global capitalism with core regions and peripheries.

    Transnational diasporas have family ties, cultural ties, trade ties and knowledge spillover which connects the core with the peripheries – there are always population exchanges with changing stocks of entrepreneurs, politicians, journalists, scientists, diplomats,…with the diaspora as temporary place.

    The Chinese diaspora have a rich history of supporting revolutions and social reforms. The fall of Imperial China was a project of the Chinese diaspora. The combat against colonial rule in South East Asia was a project of Chinese diaspora. The Cuban revolution was supported by Chinese diasporas.

    Black Americans have a very bad historical record of politcal merit. The decolonization was a practically a result of the hostility of the USA to European powers. After the Russian and Chinese revolutions the Soviet Union and Red China became the principal supporters of decolonization. The decolonization of India was greatly advanced with the return of Ghandi from South Africa.

    Transnational diasporas have the ability to spread political ideas. Black Americans who are descendants of slaves do not know where they came from. You cannot compare the performance of Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese diasporas political achievements who liberate hundred millions of people with the local restricted black civil rights movement who want to make American capitalism better for blacks.

    The knowledge spillover of Chinese American, Indian American, Taiwanese American,…and Chinese foreign students, Indian foreign students and Taiwanese foreign students have been validated by economists who extracted patent datas from the US patent offices. Ethnic inventors like to cite each other papers and patents, because they develop social ties at universities and research laboratories and convert them into patents. We have entire innovation cluster in Taiwan and Banglalore who serve return migration of ethnic entrepreneurs. The new combinations of factors capital, labour and technology raise the entire maritime trade volume in the Pacific Rim and the technological upgrade results in better jobs for the fast urbanization of th Pacific Rim nations. India’s poor peasantry and hungry poor is frequently overlooked, because whites like to focussed on blacks since the black civil right movement. But actually there are a comparable number of hungry poor in India and Subsahara Africa.

    There is a similar case with Latin Americans. The entire Mexican province of Zacatecas is dependent on Mexican American remittance flow which have the order of an entire annual budget. The merit of transnational politics are not very spectacular, but in general diasporas remittances are a kind of macroeconomic insurance for peripheral economies who cannot get a rating note above BBB to acess international capital markets. They get foreign currency with exports, diaspora tourism, remittances, energy exports.

    The general effect of the free macroeconomic insurance effects of transnational diasporas smooth the provision of public goods across borders, because peripheral nations use foreign currency to build infrastructure, education facilities,…This is an aggregate effect of family solidarity in times of economic crisis and the geographic distributions among local labour markets which have weak correlations with income risk in migration sending regions.

    Black Americans have in the majority in the USA localized families who cannot influenced the growth paths of the kin nations of transnational diasporas and I doubt that there educational performance even influence the American GDP.

    There are of course exceptions with Haitian Blacks, because we have evidence that Haitian Blacks remitted money when natural disaster occured and help Haiti – a nation which cannot afford a disaster insurance. Because of the similarity of Haitian blacks (generally Caribean Blacks) to Asian Americans these groups are naturally allies for Asian Americans because they belong to the same social type of minorities.

    Similar effects are reported with the case of diasporas communities from Subsahara Africa in France in times of drought who remitted money to provide relief and enhance the damand functions and foreign currency of the disaster kin state to provide emergency help for the hungry ones.

    So there are actually a political divide between transnational diasporas who are interested in transnational justice and the majority of Black Americans with no diaspora identities who are certainly disadvantaged in white America, but they are also very nationalistic and proud of the USA and nativism and anti-immigrant sentiment are easily plant in the Black American mind.

    The political tasks of transnational communities is to spread political education and historical knowledge about transnational history, revolution history and transnational labour activism.

    Black civil right movement and their Asian American and Chicano spin-offs were only an insignificant episode of the transnational histories of diasporas. Step back and look at the bigger picture and trace the co-evolution of diasporas and modern nation states. Not Black Americans are the greatest performer in racial equality, transnational diasporas are actually the ones who help to build the modern world.

    Hence we have every incentive to help other transnational diasporas to make a difference in history. Black Americans will always embrace and defend the American empire, if they get the chance to make career in the system. On the contrary, the alliance with the American empire with US-based diasporas is a temporal alliance to balance other powers in the kin states. Black American have serious limits in their political ideology and cannot provide an actionable framework to advance the majority of humanity and workers.

Comment Policy

Before posting, please review the following guidelines:

  • No ad hominem attacks: A person's identity, personal history, or background is not up for debate. Talk about ideas, not people.
  • Be courteous: Respect everyone else in this space.
  • Present evidence: This space endeavours to encourage academic and rational debate around identity politics. Do your best to build an argument backed not just with your own ideas, but also with science.
  • Don't be pedantic: Listen to those debating you not just for places to attack, but also where you might learn and even change your own opinion. Repeatedly arguing the same point irrespective of presented counterfacts will now be considered a violation of this site's comment policy.
  • Respect the humanity of all groups: To elevate the quality of debate, this site will no longer tolerate (racial, cultural, gender, etc.) supremacist or inferiority lines of argumentation. There are other places on the internet where nationalist arguments can be expressed; this blog is not those places.
  • Don't be an asshole: If you think your behaviour would get you punched in the face outside of the internets, don't say it on the internets.
  • Don't abuse Disqus features: Don't upvote your own comments. Don't flag other people's comments without reasonable cause. Basically, don't try to game the system. You are not being slick.

Is your comment not approved, unpublished, or deleted? Here are some common reasons why:

  • Did you sign in? You are required to register an account with Disqus or one of your social media accounts in order to comment.
  • Did your comment get caught in the spam filter? Disqus is set to automatically detect and filter out spam comments. Sometimes, its algorithm gets over-zealous, particularly if you post multiple comments in rapid succession, if your comment contains keywords often associated with spam, and/or if your comment contains multiple links. If your comment has been erroneously caught in the spam filter, contact me and I will retrieve it.
  • Did a comment get flagged? Comments will be default be published but flagged comments will be temporarily removed from view until they are reviewed by me.
  • Did you not play nice? You may have gotten banned and a bunch of your comments may have been therefore deleted. Sorry.

I monitor all comment threads, and try to address comments requiring moderation within 24-48 hours. Comments that violate this comment policy may receive a warning and removal of offensive content; overt or repeat violations are subject to deletion and/or banning of comment authors without warning.

I reserve final decision over how this comment policy will be enforced.


Play nice and don't be a jerk, and you'll do just fine.