Andrew Bartosh

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Solid article that explains some thought processes well, but I do still ultimately fall on the same side as one of the early comments: I am not pre-disposed to believe that (most) Trump voters are any dumber than the average person, but they are (in my opinion, of course) making a dumb decision.

That said, human psychology is strong and it isn't like I'm immune to the "burn it all down" school of thought at times. Sometimes the only escape does feel like breaking anything.

But yeah. Empathy and understanding of people from outside your sphere is important.

(Also in before comments re: Drew, Never Trump, etc)

EDIT: The longer I work as a professional writer, the more often I make really weird errors in message board posting.
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Donald
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How much of this can be applied to Sander's supporters?


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Andrew Bartosh

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Donald wrote:
How much of this can be applied to Sander's supporters?


Probably depends a lot more on how you perceive the two class division. Strictly speaking, a lot of Sanders supporters might get grouped as part of the "elite" as postulated by the article.

That said, the same basic ideas should still apply.
 
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Nope, still foolish. Consider this bit:

Quote:
Your downside is flat, your upside isn’t.


There is no interpretation of this claim on which it is true and does what he needs it to. If he means that things can't get any worse for those in the bottom economic tier, it's straightforwardly false. If he means there's a floor below which they can't fall but no ceiling above which they can't rise, that's true for everyone and doesn't suggest a pure-volatility strategy. Here's a simple example which also has that feature:

Suppose I offer you a bet on a fair six-sided die. On a 1-5, you pay me everything you have. On a 6, I pay you a dollar and you get another roll. It's true, exactly as in the author's case, that losses are necessarily limited while potential gains aren't. But it's still a bad bet.

In the real case, even poor Americans simply aren't so badly off that they couldn't get worse off. That's exactly the same reasoning behind Brexit--the poor and old generally voted for a policy which has dramatically increased volatility, but it hurt everyone, including them.
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rinelk wrote:
Nope, still foolish. Consider this bit:

Quote:
Your downside is flat, your upside isn’t.


There is no interpretation of this claim on which it is true and does what he needs it to. If he means that things can't get any worse for those in the bottom economic tier, it's straightforwardly false. If he means there's a floor below which they can't fall but no ceiling above which they can't rise, that's true for everyone and doesn't suggest a pure-volatility strategy. Here's a simple example which also has that feature:

Suppose I offer you a bet on a fair six-sided die. On a 1-5, you pay me everything you have. On a 6, I pay you a dollar and you get another roll. It's true, exactly as in the author's case, that losses are necessarily limited while potential gains aren't. But it's still a bad bet.

In the real case, even poor Americans simply aren't so badly off that they couldn't get worse off. That's exactly the same reasoning behind Brexit--the poor and old generally voted for a policy which has dramatically increased volatility, but it hurt everyone, including them.


How about the case of

If you take my bet, on a 1-5 you give me everything you have. On a 6, I give you a dollar. If you don't take my bet, you lose a nickle. I can offer you this bet once a quarter.

I think this is how many people perceive the current situation for lower class (and increasingly middle class) people in 1st world countries.

The equivalent bet being offered immigrants is,
If you take my bet, on a 1-5 you give me everything you have. On a 6, I give you a dime. If you don't take my bet, about 1:10000 of you will be killed AND you'll still lose a nickle. I can offer you this bet once a quarter.
 
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A very good analysis, but Drew, I thought you hated sociology! laugh

What WAS missing is that the "bottom rung" also denigrates the "top rung" as well, as being godless, effete intellectuals who know absolutely nothing of real value and only managed to get their money through inheritance or luck, or both. I would, however, disagree that the "press" doesn't understand the two-tier make-up of society. In fact, I think the press (regardless of its political leaning) harps on this all the time.

But Trump and Sanders did represent a strong current in American politics. Both groups believe Washington is corrupt, awash in money from their "handlers" and totally divorced from the reality the vast majority of Americans face on a daily basis. How grounded this is in reality is subjective, of course, but objectively, it is a driving force in this election. Both of the radical candidates echoed Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign slogan: it's the economy stupid.

Great find, Drew. Enjoyed it.
 
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Actually I do appreciate this piece so thank you for posting it.

I have to say it still blows my mind.

I can understand wanting to break the system by the downtrodden. I understand the plight of those who are not the elites. This part I don't understand:
Quote:
they chose Trump


this guy:



He is the manifestation of everything that is wrong with the current system.

He is the elite, he is the upper tier. He sits on an actual gold throne at the top of his Tower that he named after himself.

He wanted the crash to happen so he could make more money off of the misfortune of others.

I don't understand why people who hate the system chose someone who so clearly is the manifestation of that system.

I know they want a wrecking ball, any wrecking ball but why couldn't they choose someone who cared about them.
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Drew1365 wrote:
jeff brown wrote:
I don't understand why people who hate the system chose someone who so clearly is the manifestation of that system.

I know they want a wrecking ball, any wrecking ball but why couldn't they choose someone who cared about them.


And who would that be?


I agree with you that there is no one currently who is an option. So what I am failing to understand is the piece mentions that "they chose Trump". If it was an actual choice, then why couldn't they choose someone else.

Trump offered his services, people jumped on the offer. Unfortunately its a con job to desperate people. He will not break the system in a way that favors the downtrodden.
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Analysis is interesting as far as it goes - insofar as I believe that some reasoning of that variety is behind lots of people voting for Trump.

That does not stop it from being outrageously wrong.

Fact is - no matter how downtrodden working class thinks it is in USA things can get much worse for it. In fact, under any great economic or political upheaval things *would* get much worse for the working class much sooner and much more dramatically then they would for the upper middle and the rich.

Lets say President Trump successfully imposes huge tariffs on exports from China. All of a sudden, basic staples - clothes, cheap durable goods, basic electronics... all go up in price by 20%+. Who gets hurt by this the most? The upper-middle class hipster who is buying organic locally sourced expensive shit already - or the poor working class sod who shops at Walmart because it is the only way he can afford to have any sort of semblance of decent standard of living?

Lets also say that maybe, just maybe, there is an actual trade war started by all of this and that this has negative outcome on US economy. Now, you may agree or disagree whether this would happen - but it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Say that US unemployment goes up from its relatively low single figures now and hits 12, 15 or even 20%. Who gets fucked? Elites or the families with less then one pay-check saved up ?

Say there is serious but non-nuclear war. Who gets conscripted and potentially killed and maimed ?

If food gets more expensive because agricultural labour market gets deprived of cheap immigrants - who gets to worry about putting dinner on the table?

Sure, there is a point where poor can reasonably be said to have nothing to lose. American working poor who are neither starving nor homeless, nor being killed en-mass in the foreign wars are so far from that point that the fact that they could be persuaded they are there (and they *can* be so persuaded) would be funny if it was not so tragic.
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Drew1365 wrote:

And Hillary? Why should they choose her?



Because she knows more about governance than any president, probably since Nixon?
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Drew1365 wrote:
bramadan wrote:
Sure, there is a point where poor can reasonably be said to have nothing to lose. American working poor who are neither starving nor homeless, nor being killed en-mass in the foreign wars are so far from that point that the fact that they could be persuaded they are there (and they *can* be so persuaded) would be funny if it was not so tragic.


Perhaps you can't understand because you aren't there. You are quite far removed from the daily despair they feel. "Cheer up, it could be worse" is not going to persuade them.


Well, he also illustrated the point with numerous examples of ways it could be worse.
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Drew1365 wrote:
bramadan wrote:
Sure, there is a point where poor can reasonably be said to have nothing to lose. American working poor who are neither starving nor homeless, nor being killed en-mass in the foreign wars are so far from that point that the fact that they could be persuaded they are there (and they *can* be so persuaded) would be funny if it was not so tragic.


Perhaps you can't understand because you aren't there. You are quite far removed from the daily despair they feel. "Cheer up, it could be worse" is not going to persuade them.


I understand and I am not trying to persuade.

I am just saying that if the American working poor think that they have nothing to lose by upending the system they live in - they are massively, desperately wrong.

Simply being wrong is not enough to persuade though and it does not change the fact that many of them feel the way they feel.

How to persuade people not to be self-destructive is an entirely different question from whether or not they are acting in any way rationally.
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Drew1365 wrote:
This is a really good piece on Trump voters.

It's worth a read in understanding why people who are choosing to vote for Trump can't be dismissed as complete idiots, even though you've convinced yourself that they are.

For those who demand charts and graphs, there are charts and graphs.

Excerpt:

Quote:
Voters in the lower tier want to move to the higher tier. For African-Americans that means supporting the Clintons, who have spent 40 years working to convince African-Americans they will work for them, socially and economically. They may not like where they start, but Hillary is clearly working for them.

Many working class whites presently don’t feel they have that. In the past they voted the same as elite Republicans, who they saw as sharing their values, and would move them higher.

That hasn’t happened. Economically or socially. The bailout of Wall Street (and in their view, acquiescence on social issues like gay marriage) was the final blow.

Frustrated with broken promises, they gave up on the knowable and went with the unknowable. They chose Trump, because he comes with a very high distribution. A high volatility. (He also signals in ugly ways, that he might just move them, and only them and their friends, higher with his stated policies).

As any trader will tell you, if you are stuck lower, you want volatility, uncertainty. No matter how it comes. Put another way. Your downside is flat, your upside isn’t. Break the system.

The elites loathe volatility. Because, the upside is limited, but the downside isn’t. In option language, they are in the money.

To put it in very non-geeky language: A two-tiered system has one set of people who want to keep the system, and another that doesn’t. Each one is voting for their own best interests.

Where do most of the press and elites get it wrong? They don’t believe that we live in a two-tiered system. They don’t believe, or know they are in, the top tier. They also don’t understand what people view as value.


When the Democrats under Clinton in the early ‘90s shifted towards a pro market agenda, they made a dramatic shift towards accepting the Republicans definition of value as being about the economic.

Now elites in both major parties see their broad political goal as increasing the GDP, regardless of how it is done.

This has failed most Americans, other than the elite, in two ways. It has failed to provide an economic boost (incomes are broadly flat), and it has forgotten that many people see value as being not just economic, but social. It has been a one-two punch that has completely left behind many people.

For many people value is about having meaning beyond money. It is about having institutions that work for you. Like Church. Family. Sports Leagues.

In addition, the social nature of jobs has been destroyed. Unions provided more than just economic power, they also provided social inclusion.

You can scrap this entire analysis as silly if you want, but please try and understand the core point missing from much of the current dialogue — large parts of the US have become completely isolated, socially and economically.

Kids are growing up in towns where by six, or seven, or eleven, they are doomed to be viewed as second class. They feel unvalued. They feel stuck. They are mocked. And there is nothing they feel they can do about it.

When they turn to religion for worth, they are seen by the elites as uneducated, irrational, clowns. When they turn to identity through race they are racists. Regardless of their color.

The only thing they can do, faced with that, is break the fucking system. And they are going to try. Either by Trump or by some other way.

A very interesting piece. I don't see very many factual errors.

And I do think that the system will be changed in a big way soon.

Strauss and Howe [in their books Generations and The Fourth Turning have predicted as much.

They claim that it is a reoccurring event in the cycle of the history of Western & American history. That there comes a time when "the stars have aligned just right" and the younger generation [those now 15 to 30 yo] follow the directions of the elder generation [now 70 to 85 yo] to reform the nation or culture for the better.

My elaboration on their theory says that since the Black Death broke the strangle hold of the Roman Catholic Church on the minds of Europeans and broke the economic strangle hold of the 1st Estate on the economy of Europe [by killing off over half of the workers, thereby giving the survivors unheard of power over their 3rd Estate lives], Western Civilization has been moving gradually in the right direction for the mass of people.

This is not something that had happened much since the dawn of the iron-age. Most the history of civilization is a history of the oppression of the masses by the rich few. At one point in the late Roman Republic or early Empire there were more slaves in the Empire than there were free people. And the free people were mostly not well off either.
. . Most of the profit that Caesar extracted from his conquest of Gaul came from the sale of slaves. I.e. the sale of people who's leaders had decided that despite having been conquered "fair and square" thought rebellion was better than paying Roman taxes. It wasn't the gold of Gaul that was Gaul's wealth it was in its people as slaves.

Anyway, Western Civilization has been taking 3 steps forward and 2 steps back every 80 or so years since the Black Death. Now it is time to take 3 more steps forward.

 
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Yep. Betting on Trump is a lot like buying all the shares of Stryker Drilling in a game of Stocks & Bonds, except there's less chance they'll strike oil and more that it'll go down 40.

 
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OK, the shambling masses want Trump to break the system to get back at the world that left them behind when it moved forward. They want a gold plated champion to take them back to a time when mediocre was the level to strive to rise to.

Sounds great.

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Altair IV wrote:
OK, the shambling masses want Trump to break the system to get back at the world that left them behind when it moved forward. They want a gold plated champion to take them back to a time when mediocre AND BORN RICH AND WHITE was the level to strive to rise to.


I added a crucial component to Trump's success...
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I don't think Trump succeeds as much as just gets away with it.
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Trumps the living proof of that old Australian joke - How does an Australian manage a successful small buisness - You give him a huge one to start with!
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Drew1365 wrote:
bramadan wrote:

I am just saying that if the American working poor think that they have nothing to lose by upending the system they live in - they are massively, desperately wrong.


How will the working poor benefit from maintaining the status quo?


How did they benefit from the French & Russian revolutions? Changing the system may be good for them, but upending (massive change all at once) could create too many gaps and problems than can be fixed before they cause mass harm.


 
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Donald wrote:

How did they benefit from the French & Russian revolutions? Changing the system may be good for them, but upending (massive change all at once) could create too many gaps and problems than can be fixed before they cause mass harm.




But we're getting to the point where the masses think it's worth it. (Whether they correctly analyzed the situation is another discussion.)

Trump is much more likely to change the status quo than Clinton, so if one is convinced that the current system is not working as desired, it makes sense to vote for him. Even if it gets worse short term, I think Trump as President is more likely to lead to change in the system, potentially (eventually) for the better. Clinton is basically running on "more of the same."

Of course, to really shake up the system, one should vote for a non-Republocrat.
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qzhdad wrote:
Trump is much more likely to change the status quo than Clinton, so if one is convinced that the current system is not working as desired, it makes sense to vote for him.


You could change the US even more by targeting nuclear missiles on all of our major cities. The magnitude of change isn't a measure of how desirable it is, you also have to consider the sign.
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Where do most of the press and elites get it wrong? They don’t believe that we live in a two-tiered system. They don’t believe, or know they are in, the top tier. They also don’t understand what people view as value.

The column largely makes sense up to this point. But in my experience he's very wrong about the press and the elites. Everyone I know is very aware that they are the winners in a two-tier system. What people disagree about is what to do about it.

Some people think they are in the top tier because they are more deserving and so the system shouldn't be changed. Even those people are not unaware of what Arnade states, they just are not concerned with it. We call these people Libertarians.

Some people think they are in the top tier and the solution is to give more people what got them into the top tier (typically, better education) while fighting obstacles that keep people out of the top tier (poverty, discrimination). We call these people Democrats.

Some people think they are in the top tier and the solution is to give them even more wealth and power so the lower tier can feast on their crumbs. We call these people Republicans.

Trump is in the third group. What's still mystifying is why people in the lower tier would pick the third group over the second group. Sure, the Democratic agenda is far from perfect. Not everyone is going to get a graduate degree and a low-effort, high-paying job. Legal remedies for discrimination are imperfect and have losers as well as winners. Moving people out of poverty is damn tough. Still, it's so much better than the Republican/Trump alternative, it's hard to understand anyone picking the latter, unless they are already big winners in the current system.
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qzhdad wrote:
Donald wrote:

How did they benefit from the French & Russian revolutions? Changing the system may be good for them, but upending (massive change all at once) could create too many gaps and problems than can be fixed before they cause mass harm.




But we're getting to the point where the masses think it's worth it. (Whether they correctly analyzed the situation is another discussion.)

Trump is much more likely to change the status quo than Clinton, so if one is convinced that the current system is not working as desired, it makes sense to vote for him. Even if it gets worse short term, I think Trump as President is more likely to lead to change in the system, potentially (eventually) for the better. Clinton is basically running on "more of the same."

Of course, to really shake up the system, one should vote for a non-Republocrat.


I get that the masses think it's worth it to change the system. That's not what the article was arguing. It was trying to make the point that they aren't foolish to want any change, no matter what it is. But poor Americans are currently living under a system which is dramatically better than it could be (while still needing improvement). DdJ's nuclear example is extreme, but trade protectionism leading to a tariff war is a more realistic possibility, and would increase prices on virtually everything, making the poor especially worse off. Market volatility would scare away investment, making employers less likely to hire or innovate. This isn't pie-in-the-sky liberal theory, it's the sort of basic economics conservatives usually love.

But that isn't even the biggest problem I have with it. What bugs me is the fundamental dishonesty of acting as though those who are currently powerful will have no control over the post-Trump landscape. The sorts of people who invest in private prisons, offer NINJA mortgages, and charge absurd fees for payday loans--those who generally make it their business to screw the poor--they're not going away, and they thrive on taking advantage of instability. Do you really think the poor are going to detect the opportunities of Trumpian policies before these types manage to insert themselves in a position to take most of the gains?

Instability makes prediction harder, so those with a lot of free time and access to information and analysis have an even greater relative advantage over normal people. The unscrupulous will take advantage of people who are slower than they are to recognize the implications of the new arrangement.
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rinelk wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
Donald wrote:

How did they benefit from the French & Russian revolutions? Changing the system may be good for them, but upending (massive change all at once) could create too many gaps and problems than can be fixed before they cause mass harm.




But we're getting to the point where the masses think it's worth it. (Whether they correctly analyzed the situation is another discussion.)

Trump is much more likely to change the status quo than Clinton, so if one is convinced that the current system is not working as desired, it makes sense to vote for him. Even if it gets worse short term, I think Trump as President is more likely to lead to change in the system, potentially (eventually) for the better. Clinton is basically running on "more of the same."

Of course, to really shake up the system, one should vote for a non-Republocrat.


I get that the masses think it's worth it to change the system. That's not what the article was arguing. It was trying to make the point that they aren't foolish to want any change, no matter what it is. But poor Americans are currently living under a system which is dramatically better than it could be (while still needing improvement). DdJ's nuclear example is extreme, but trade protectionism leading to a tariff war is a more realistic possibility, and would increase prices on virtually everything, making the poor especially worse off. Market volatility would scare away investment, making employers less likely to hire or innovate. This isn't pie-in-the-sky liberal theory, it's the sort of basic economics conservatives usually love.

But that isn't even the biggest problem I have with it. What bugs me is the fundamental dishonesty of acting as though those who are currently powerful will have no control over the post-Trump landscape. The sorts of people who invest in private prisons, offer NINJA mortgages, and charge absurd fees for payday loans--those who generally make it their business to screw the poor--they're not going away, and they thrive on taking advantage of instability. Do you really think the poor are going to detect the opportunities of Trumpian policies before these types manage to insert themselves in a position to take most of the gains?

Instability makes prediction harder, so those with a lot of free time and access to information and analysis have an even greater relative advantage over normal people. The unscrupulous will take advantage of people who are slower than they are to recognize the implications of the new arrangement.

The last few replies before it and the one quoted are interesting.

The article is about shaking up the system. The system that lets the top tier oppress the lower tier too much. That is what the main part of the problem is.
. . The Libertarians and Repuds think that the lower tier needs to be oppressed. The Democrats before 1992 thought that the lower tier need to be pulled up. [After 1992 Dems sold out to the Repuds and just offered the oppression covered with a velvet glove instead of the iron gauntlet that the Repuds use.]
. . This last thing is why Sanders did so well. There are a lot of Dems who, like me, don't like the sell out.

However, there must be a 4th way. The Democratic way obviously didn't work well enough. Poverty didn't improve enough. Equality didn't improve enough and then went downhill after the sell out.
. . What might this 4th way be? It seems to me that it needs try harder to pull the lower tier up, and it needs to pull the top tier down some. It also needs to reduce the influence of money on election outcomes. That is both in the General Elections and especially in the Primary process. It is 5 times cheaper to fund elections than it is for the wining candidates to pay their donors back with taxpayers' money.

I have said this before. There are several points to the "pull down some" policy.
1] A graduated net worth tax. There should be a point where it reaches 100%. Maybe at $5 Billion or at $1 B, but somewhere. Perhaps set by Constitutional Amendment at some multiple of the poverty line or the basic minimum income. For example 50,000 times more than the basic min. income. [Note, you can give it to your children or more distant relatives or let the Gov. take it.]
2] An inheritance tax that is larger on the super rich and about what it is now on the lower rich.
3] Repeal Citizens United and reform the way we pay for all campaigns.
4] Break up the Media giants. Just go back to the law FDR imposed.
5] Replace Welfare with a basic minimum income for all citizens [less for small children, increasing as they get older] and a 1 payer health system [with the ability of the rich to get better care if they pay for it with their own money].
6] Find some way to get back to the way it was when I was a teen, most people knew they could trust the Media to tell them the truth and the things they needed to know. We all trusted the same one source. Instead of believing that our fairytale source was the only source of true facts.
. . I don't know how to do it but, as Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself can not stand." By this I mean a culture must have essential agreement on the facts* of life to be 'a culture'. In the long run outside forces will exploit the cracks in belief to divide the nation and destroy it. [Note that I said "facts of life", I didn't say "the opinion about the good or the only moral life".]

I know that it is "radical". So what? Only radical change is going to avert disaster. In the nuclear age to have a "French Revolution" in a nuclear power is very dangerous.



. * . Facts might be defined as "things" that can be proven by science or by starting from explicitly known assumptions (that we agree are true) to prove them deductively. Supposed facts can not stand if observations contradict them.
 
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rinelk wrote:
Nope, still foolish. Consider this bit:

Quote:
Your downside is flat, your upside isn’t.


There is no interpretation of this claim on which it is true and does what he needs it to. If he means that things can't get any worse for those in the bottom economic tier, it's straightforwardly false. If he means there's a floor below which they can't fall but no ceiling above which they can't rise, that's true for everyone and doesn't suggest a pure-volatility strategy. Here's a simple example which also has that feature:

Suppose I offer you a bet on a fair six-sided die. On a 1-5, you pay me everything you have. On a 6, I pay you a dollar and you get another roll. It's true, exactly as in the author's case, that losses are necessarily limited while potential gains aren't. But it's still a bad bet.

In the real case, even poor Americans simply aren't so badly off that they couldn't get worse off. That's exactly the same reasoning behind Brexit--the poor and old generally voted for a policy which has dramatically increased volatility, but it hurt everyone, including them.

It's like crazy anarchists I know. They want the system to collapse, not thinking they might be a casualty in the collapse.
 
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