20 November 2021

Might Makes Right, Darwinism, and the Double Harm from Procreation

The argument for antinatalism is that having kids increases suffering. The world is filled with exploitation and suffering. The lion eats the antelope, humans eat meat, children are being raped, etc.

One argument given against antinatalism is that suffering is just nature, which I agree with, but this is more of an argument for antinatalism rather than against it. Suffering indeed is part of nature. Most suffering I think occurs due to exploitation. Life evolved to exploit others. When there is a mutation in a living being that increases its ability to exploit another weaker living being for personal gain, it increases the probability of survival, which means that this gene is more likely to be passed down. As such, exploitation is written in our DNA. Looking at it this way, the solution to reduce exploitation and suffering is to prevent DNA replication.

IS SUFFERING OBJECTIVELY GOOD OR BAD?


I'm not saying suffering is necessarily bad or good. I just personally dislike it. For example, if someone has a child, I would dislike it if he is raped by a paedophile, which could happen. Some people may argue that there is nothing wrong with a child suffering because he is being raped by a paedophile. That's just their preference. But because I dislike suffering, I think it's safer if living beings do not exist because existence is the catalyst for suffering.

Imagine if you have a child and he is raped and if the paedophile is an untouchable billionaire who then asks you to justify why the suffering of your child is bad. What would you say? This example illustrates how nature, Darwinism, and "might makes right" creates a world filled with suffering and exploitation. I would not want to bring a child into such a world.

I believe in cultural relativism. Morality depends on each individual and can change depending on who you ask. However, this is not an outcome I like. Think of the example I gave before. What if a very powerful politically connected billionaire rapes your child? There is nothing you can do because there is no objective morality and because "might makes right." So because "might makes right" and because there is no objective morality, any life exposed to this reality has to deal with these risks. If I don't have a child, he or she cannot be raped. He or she cannot grow up to become a rapist.

I do believe we live in a "dog eat dog" world, a hierarchy with the billionaires at the top exploiting the millionaires in the middle exploiting everyone else at the bottom. This is the nature of reality and the reality of nature.

THE DOUBLE HARM FROM PROCREATION


Another benefit of not having kids is that kids are expensive, which means that if you don't have kids, you become richer, which makes you more powerful, which makes you better off in a "might makes right" world. Because of the cost of having kids, you will literally become weaker by having kids because money is power. The less money you have, the more you will be exploited by those above you in the hierarchy.

When you have a child, you create yet another worker whom those at the top of the hierarchy can exploit, and because you have to pay so much money to look after your child, you yourself become less resilient to exploitation from those above you in the hierarchy, so there is a "double harm" from procreation. Your child starts from nothing and needs to work his way up the hierarchy and be exploited along the way while you drop many levels down the hierarchy because of the decrease in net worth associated with having a child.

Why bring a child into a Darwinian world?






06 November 2021

Could Lying Flat Reduce Property Prices in Australia?

It seems now that house prices in China are starting to decline. There are many reasons for this e.g. the Evergrande crisis, but another possibility is that it is caused by recently proposed property taxes in China. It also looks like these property taxes have been proposed due to the lying flat movement.

 In China, many young people are protesting excessive consumerism, competition and high house prices by "lying flat." The lying flat movement involves doing the minimum possible, that is, working just enough to afford to lie down all day.

It should be emphasised that lying flat doesn't mean not working at all. It means working the minimum to be able to afford to lie flat. This will reduce consumption, reduce demand, reduce asset prices, reduce corporate profits and reduce government tax revenue.

Many young people have embraced the lying flat movement in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has condemned this movement, even trying to censor social media posts about it.

However, there is considerable evidence that the CCP is concerned about the lying flat movement and has been introducing policies to appease the lying flat movement.

For example, the CCP has cracked down on tech firms including crypto miners and has shifted the focus from tech to manufacturing. 

The benefit of manufacturing over tech is that manufacturing is low skill and can employ much more compared to the tech sector. In the tech sector, a small proportion of the population with high education and skills are hired and paid a large salary. However, in a manufacturing economy, very large portions of the population can be hired and wages are spread out over many people. This should encourage those who would otherwise lie down into working.

Another piece of evidence that shows that the CCP is trying to appease the lying flat movement is the proposal of a new property tax. This property tax proposal has been strongly opposed by property interest groups but is likely to pass in order to appease the lying flat movement. It is believed that by taxing property, prices go down and those who would otherwise lie flat would be able to afford an apartment and feel like they have an incentive to work with the system rather than rebel against it. 

The reason why, in Australia, policies are continually implemented to raise house prices is because many people own houses. The government needs to be elected and so needs to give what voters want. Voters mostly own houses and so will demand the government increase house prices. However, if young people in Australia threaten to lie down and do the minimum e.g. work for one day of the week and spend the rest of the week literally lying down, then this threatens the economy. If enough young people lie down, the demand for housing falls, labour costs go up thereby reducing profitability, which reduces corporate profits, which reduces corporate tax revenue as well as income tax revenue. Government will have an incentive to implement policies that appease those who lie flat.

24 October 2021

My Experience with a Vasectomy

About a week ago, I had a vasectomy, and I am very glad I have done this. I want to share my experience with others as it may help others out there thinking of getting a vasectomy.

Find a reputable doctor

Before getting a vasectomy, ask others who have had a vasectomy which doctors they recommend. Look for a reputable doctor. In Australia, I recommend Dr Snip, but if you are elsewhere in the world, check out the Childfree Friendly Doctors List

Shaving your balls

The first difficulty of vasectomy is shaving your balls and penis. Basically when you get a vasectomy, the doctor needs to be able to see what they are doing, so they will normally ask you to shave your balls and penis beforehand. When I learned about this, it turned me off getting a vasectomy or at least it provided me with an excuse to delay it. I had a lot of public hair on my balls, so the thought of shaving it filled me with fear. It didn't want to cut myself down there.

Before booking the vasectomy appointment, over many months, I practised shaving my balls in the shower. Over time, I got used to shaving my balls after so much practice. My balls became quite smooth over time as was my penis. The key to shaving your private parts is to use a shaver with many blades on it and to also do it in the shower when the surface of the scrotum is slightly wet but not too wet. A bit of moisture helps make shaving your balls much easier. Also you start from the base of the penis and work your way down the balls. This makes it easier to shave.

Book the vasectomy and distract yourself

After you are confident with how to shave your balls, book the vasectomy and then don't think too much about it. Once it is booked, then the hard decision of whether to do it or not is gone. You are just following a process now. You are no longer proactive but reactive.

On the day of my vasectomy, I took the entire day off from work because I didn't want the hassle of juggling work and vasectomy. I wanted to keep the day as free from stress as possible.

After the shower, I had some brunch. To distract myself, I watched a lot of Netflix throughout the day. Before I knew it, it was time for my vasectomy, so had a shower, got dressed and drove to the medical centre. 

Was the vasectomy painful?

The procedure was not too bad. There is a little bit of pain at the start when they inject the anaesthetic. There is about ten seconds of pain as the anaesthetic goes in, but after that it was fine. It reminds me of when I got my wisdom teeth removed back when I was a teenager. The only pain was when the orthodontist injects the anaesthetic into your gums, but after that there is no pain, but there is a weird feeling because you are awake and see the orthodontist drilling and pulling things out of your teeth, so it is scary. With a vasectomy, it is similar. You don't feel much but you know that they are working on your privates, and there is something unsettling about that.

I was able to drive back home. The doctor told me to take ibuprofen for the pain and if that doesn't work to also take paracetamol.

Recovering after a vasectomy

My balls felt quite sore and sensitive right after the vasectomy, so I was sure to take my ibuprofen and paracetamol. Over time, this soreness started to wane. After one week later, the soreness was almost gone and I was confident enough to masturbate again.

Generally speaking, right after the vasectomy, you should take it easy. Don't do any strenuous exercise. Also consider sleeping on your back for a few nights as sleeping on your sides means that your balls are pressed in between your legs. In my opinion, if you're not used to sleeping on your back, sleep with two pillows. Put one pillow under your head and the other on one of the sides of your head, right up to your ear. Usually when you're used to sleeping on your side, you're used to having a pillow on your ear.

Why get a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a relatively simple and cheap way for a man to sterilise himself so that he cannot have a baby. There is a little bit of pain involved in getting a vasectomy, but it is quite small compared to other operations. 

The cost of a vasectomy varies by cities and countries, but after government subsidies, I paid about 500 AUD (about 373 USD). This is a small price to pay compared to the cost of raising a child, which by some estimates is as much as $1 million.

Many of those who get vasectomies already have children and do not want anymore. Perhaps they realise how difficult it is to have kids and don't want anymore. If a heterosexual couple does not want kids, a vasectomy makes sense. Female sterilisation (aka the tubal ligation) is a much more complicated and invasive procedure. Condoms do work, but they are not foolproof. All it takes is a condom bursting and you suddenly have a baby.

There are also many single and childfree men who are deciding to have vasectomies e.g. they are concerned about climate change and burdening the planet with more babies. Some men are wealthy and are worried that their sperm may be stolen by women who are hungry for child support payments from them.

For me, it is a combination of all these arguments. I am less worried about the cost of children because I am in my mid-thirties and have a net worth of about $1.9 million now, so I think I can afford a child or two. I do worry sometimes about being targeted by women wanting child support payments, but I think this is a lower risk because even though I am almost a multimillionaire, most of the wealth is in intangible and invisible assets e.g. ETFs and cryptocurrency. I don't own any mansions or luxury cars, so I don't look rich. My main motivation for getting a vasectomy relates to the environment and animal welfare.

Humans cause a lot of destruction on the planet, polluting the oceans with plastic and filling the air with carbon dioxide. Furthermore, one billion animals are slaughtered every week just to feed humanity

Not having kids has an exponential effect. If I don't have a child, not only does my child not pollute the earth or cause thousands of animals to be slaughtered, but so too my grandchild cannot pollute or slaughter others. My grandchild is likely to have kids as well, so my great-grandchildren also cannot harm others because they won't exist. If you get a vasectomy, the impact will be exponential. 

Many people will claim that there is no such thing as morality or right or wrong in this world and therefore they are free to do as they please whether it is killing animals or polluting the planet or, if we take their logic a further step, rape children.

However, this lack of justice or morality in the world is another strong argument for not having children. Without any objective morality, there is no accountability on anyone to do anything right. As such, people engage in behaviour that cause others to suffer. As a result, new life created is at risk of suffering or is at risk of causing suffering. If we dislike suffering (which I do) then it makes no sense to have kids.

My life after a vasectomy

Getting a vasectomy has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. All the harm that my descendants would have caused has been prevented. I am also much more financially secure and can afford a higher standard of living in the future. I can also have sex with women without any fear of pregnancy. It has been a week since I've gotten my vasectomy, but I haven't told too many people. In fact, I haven't told any of my family members as they are somewhat conservative and may disapprove, but I do plan on bringing up the topic at some point. I am going to make an effort to talk to as many people as possible about the vasectomy so that I can possibly encourage others to also get vasectomies. I will try to encourage other men to get vasectomies, and I will also try to encourage women to encourage their husbands or boyfriends into getting vasectomies.

21 August 2021

Is Plastic Accelerating Population Decline?

Global fertility rate is currently declining and has been doing so since the 1960s. As an antinatalist who thinks that population reduction is necessary to reduce pain and suffering in the world, I am keen on trying to understanding why this is the case because it suggests that whatever society is doing now is working.

One of the explanations for global fertility decline is rising female equality, contraception, etc as well as economic development, which puts more work demand on young couples.

However, another potential cause of fertility decline is plastic e.g. microplastics, endocrine-disrupting chemicals etc that bioaccumulate into soil and groundwater and make their way into the food chain by building up in fish, animals, and people.

This suggests that one of the ways that antinatalists can promote population decline is to knowingly and directly harm others via plastic pollution to achieve their means. However, the whole purpose of antinatalism is to reduce suffering in the most humane way possible i.e. by not reproducing. 

What is difficult is that most of us will go on to cause extreme suffering on others. For example, if you free a lion from a cage and let it walk the streets, it may eat someone. Likewise, if you let a human do whatever it likes, it will most likely harm others e.g. by eating meat.

Regardless of the tricky ethical question it poses, it's interesting that humanity may already be making itself extinct through its own action, through its environemally destructive behaviour.

11 July 2021

Is Renting the Key to Solving Housing Unaffordability?

I have been watching a video (see further below) that suggests that the problem with housing affordability is that there is too much focus on buying and owning property, which encourages speculation, which causes unaffordable housing. The solution should be to focus on renting. When watching this video, I think it makes a lot of sense. 

Property developers have two choices. They either build to sell or build to rent.

If they build to sell, they typically build low density housing because buyers want more land so they can engage in land speculation with the hope of making more money. However, if a developer builds and rents the property out, the buyer typically focuses on low rents, which incentivises the developer to build more high density buildings, which increases supply, which leads to lower rent.

All this can be achieved by providing more incentives (e.g. tax benefits) to private develops to create "build to rent" projects. There should be more high rise apartments, which will push down rent and reduce housing affordability problems.

It is true that buying and owning a house and owning land allows you to speculate on land, but more should be done to encourage people to speculate instead in others areas e.g. the stock market or crypto market. For example, rather than buy an $800 detached house made up of $400k house and $400k land, instead rent or buy a $400k apartment and invest in $400k worth of diversified speculative cryptos and stocks. This would improve housing affordability by moving speculative money away from land.

The video above states that one of the downsides of focusing on renting is that it can increase wealth inequality beacuse home ownership is often used to build wealth. However, as I mentioned before, the wealth is built through land ownership. If the renter also invests then in theory they shouldn't be disadvantaged. Perhaps a forced investing system for renters similar to superannuation is the answer, but I'm not sure.



06 June 2021

Renting and Buying Crypto is Better than Buying Real Estate


Many people say that they are investing in crypto in order to be able to afford a deposit or downpayment (usually 20%) on a property. However, based on my analysis, it would be better to keep renting and investing in crypto rather than buy a house or apartment.

Historic prices
Most people use historic or past prices as a guide to future returns, so e.g. in America or Australia house prices double approximately every 10 years. See https://www.brickx.com/properties/BRW01/returns to get an idea of typical house price growth.

If you check out the global crypto market cap chart, you'll see that it multiplies by 10 approximately every 4 years. See https://coinmarketcap.com/charts/ to get an idea of crypto price growth. This means that in ten years crypto should multiply by 500.

So the assumption here is that real estate doubles every ten years but crypto 500xs every ten years.

Analysis

So let's say you have two people, a crypto investor and a property investor, and they want to live in a house that costs $1 million. In order to meet the downpayment or deposit requirements they would need to save up 20% or $200k.

So the property investors, after saving $200k, buys the house and now has $800k in debt and pays a mortgage. Assume this investor gets a 30 years loan. After 30 years, the debt is fully paid off. The house doubles every ten years, so that means after 30 years the house multiplies by 8 which means the property investor, after 30 years, has a net worth of $8 million.

However, the crypto investor, after saving $200k, rather than buy a house, continues to rent and puts the $200k into crypto. The crypto then 500xs every ten years, which means that after 10 years, the renter has $100 million net worth. After 20 years, the renter has $50 billion. After 30 years, the wealth is too much for my calculator to handle.

What this demonstrates is that it is better to rent and invest in crypto rather than buy a house.

Is it right to use historical futures to predict future returns?

Some may argue that you cannot take historic crypto prices and extrapolate them to the future, but this applies to property as well. If we cannot use historic prices as a guide for future returns then we cannot make any decision on renting vs buying. We need to make a decision, so imperfect information leading to a decision is better than no information leading to no decision.

Is property less risky than crypto?

Some argue that crypto is risky and volatile whereas property is not, but this is not true. With crypto, you can diversify easily. The $200k downpayment can be diversified across multiple coins, including stablecoins and gold-backed coins to reduce volatility. Furthermore, there is an option of dollar cost averaging that the renter has. The property investor has no such option. The property investor is all in one property in one location and is leveraged. There is also no option for dollar cost averaging. Furthermore, the price stability of property is not real. Crypto prices update every minute, which creates perceived volatility. However, if there is an auction on your property every single day, you will see price volatility. Only having an auction when you buy or sell a house and seeing only two price points and drawing a straight line between these two points is equivalalent to buying crypto ten years ago, never looking at the price, and then ten years later looking at the price.

I personally would feel safer owning BTC than real estate. You can own BTC with a seed phrase. However, when you own property, your name is on a register maintained by the government, and who knows what could happen to this register or your name on it. Furthermore, property is hard to divide. You can buy 0.0005 BTC but not 0.0005 of a house. This limits your ability to diversify or dollar cost average.

Of course, I do agree with you that crypto prices are volatile and more volatile than property. As I mentioned, crypto is expected to 500x in a decade whereas property is expected to 2x. This clearly has more volatility. However, volatility is the reason why you'd invest in property vs holding cash. Crypto is volatile, but property is also very volatile. It can double in ten years or it can halve in ten years. If you wanted no volatility, you wouldn't invest in crypto or property but rather keep your money in USD or whatever your local fiat currency is. The fact that crypto is highly divisible means you can diversify more easily and scale how much volatility you want. For example, just putting 1% of your net worth into bitcoin and the rest in cash would have outperformed the S&P500. You can scale your BTC or crypto exposure to achieve a level of volatility that suits how much risk or volatility you can stomach.

Could crypto prices go to zero?

I think if you diversify across many crypto, especially the larger cryptos (e.g. BTC, ETH, ADA, BNB, etc), it's highly unlikely it will go to zero. Diversifying across the top cryptos is a good strategy, in my opinion.

Property can go to zero. Your ownership of property comes from your name in a government register. The government could collapse or there may be a change of government, with malicious politicians coming in and seizing your property. There are many example of property disputes that resulted in people losing their home.

You can insure your house but you cannot insure cypto

Property insurance e.g. floor insurance or fire insurance, are pretty much contracts taht allow you to take a short position on property. So when there is a flood or a fire, the value of your property goes down, and the insurance company pays you to compensate. Basically, the insurance company pays you if the price goes down. The crypto equivalant is shorting the crypto or simply selling a portion of it. This reduces the degree to which you are long the asset.

Crypto as "online property"

Furthermore, crypto and property are somewhat similar. In my view, crypto is a type of "online property." You are buying online real estate when you buy crypto. The argument many give that crypto is speculation can apply to property as well. If you look for a good property that is in a good location close to a train station, etc then that is no differnet to if you look for a good crypto that has good developers, etc. It is all speculation, so you may as well make informed speculation.

Is real estate better because it is tangible?

Something being tangible doesn't make it safer or better.

A good example is if you compare property to USD. Property is tangible but USD is not, but property is a more volatile asset compared to USD.

One reason why I don't like tangible assets is because of the risk of theft. If you own a house or e.g. physical gold, someone could come and destroy your house, steal the title deed, or steal your gold. Properly stored crypto cannot be stolen. Mathematical law in cryptography ensures e.g. bitcoin cannot be stolen. However, the laws of physics enable physical gold or the title deed to property to be stolen.

Why I am bullish on crypto

When interest rates go down very low and bank interest rates go down to almost nothing (or negative) then why wouldn't someone go into crypto and earn higher interest via staking or defi? This should increase demand for crypto and increase prices.

I admit this is speculation, but this sort of speculation on supply and demand is no differnet to the speculation required when you buy property e.g. you predict how much demand there will be for the property based on its location, pedestrian traffic, etc.

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27 February 2021

Would Decreasing Interest Rates Decrease Fertility Rates?

Lower interest rates increases the value of stocks and property because the future stream of dividends or rental income is discounted with a lower discount rate. As a result, the value of stocks or property rises as interest rates go down.

However, the same would apply to liabilities and expenses (rather than assets and income). Having a kid is a liability. You calculate the net present value of the child by discounting future steams of expenses. If interest rates go down, discount rate goes down, and value of the liability of the child rises. Higher cost of children means you have fewer children according to the law of demand.

The empirical data seems to back this up. Interest rates were low during WW2 and then rose until the 1970s. This coincided with the post-war baby boom. Global fertility collapsed from 1970s right as interest rates went down.