Matt, Sarah and Ezra on a new, blockbuster study on racial mobility — and whether Mark Zuckerberg should shut down Facebook.
Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States
Dylan Matthews' piece
Income Mobility Charts for Girls, Asian-Americans and Other Groups. Or, Make Your Own
Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys
Matt's case against Facebook
United States


00:00:00did I just screw something up it's important
00:00:15hello welcome to another episode of the weeds in the Box media podcast Network I'm not doing glesius joined at as usual bite by Sarah Kliff Ben Ezra Klein although tragically at we will not probably have another episode with with the three of us together for it for a while come. That usual it's going to become unusual we are coming and so I'm going to book leave starting in a couple days and going through early June I'm going to be writing a book I think listeners will not be shocked to hear about political polarization and why American politics is so great these days but we'll be doing that I'm going to be going to keep going with my interview podcast but I'm going to vacate my chair on the weeds for for 10 weeks and and other weeds are is come in and talk policy and politics in America
00:01:15come back from Buck leave right at the time I am expected to be having a baby so I will be spending the summer on maternity leave so I will be gone from the weeds are few months of Summer I promise you all plenty of contents about the healthcare system as experience through having a child but the good news is we will also have more weed stores in here and we have been doing a lot of work to get the next season of the impact my other podcast ready for the fall so much more podcasting to come in the future even if the weeds crew is separated for a little while to the studio I hope life transitions on the weeds in my future child cited for the future when we get to do it every week again but it's why for our our our last hurrah episode for a little while we have planned a really amazing excellent super weeds episode Blockbuster
00:02:15by looking at a huge newspaper really really really important new paper on racial mobility in America and they're going to talk about whether or not it is time to get off of Facebook unless of course you're in the weeds Facebook group in which case you paper so just came out about a week ago now the New York Times give it an unbelievably cool splashy visualization which you don't really send a rocket and Stratosphere but this is paper in the lineage of the berries Raj Chetty papers about the Economic Opportunity in America by Raj Chetty Nathaniel hendren Maggie Jones and Sonia Porter and what they're looking for using their soda traditional models of obliging tax data to life outcomes data
00:03:06is what is happening to children born in one part of the income distribution from somewhere else or another over the course of Our Lives How likely are they if they're born well off to remain How likely are they if they are born a poor to remain poor and what they find is massive massive massive difference is cross racially in in Mobility so they find that white children whose parents are in the top speed of the income distribution and I'm quoting Dylan Matthews is great dive into this paper here but why children whose parents are the top 50 income distribution have a 41% chance of remaining there was an adult so if you're white and your parents are pretty well-off 41% chance you can be pretty well off to for Hispanic children the rate is 30% for Asian American children its 50% for black children it is only 18% and for American Indians 23% so for blacks in American Indians you're looking at a rate of remaining at the top of percentile that is where you started that is less than the end up kids
00:04:06African Americans half of what it is for whites look at the bottom V right now you looking at mobile to go in the other way can you climb the income letter it does not look much better 10.6% of who are born in the bottom fit of the income distribution make it to the top V themselves as to 25% of Asian Americans by contrast only seven percent of Hispanic children born in the bottom of make it to the top V and along with 3% of American Indian children and only 2.5% of black children for boys right if I am if I'm reading Dylan right in and understand this paper right no but the but the texture are driven particularly for African Americans by boys there is very little difference between white and black women who started at similar levels of the income distribution but among white and black men it is huge that they the gaps are cute which has a ton it I think that's probably been the most important a controversial finding of the paper because it is a ton of applications for how you think
00:05:06what is going on here for instance if you are tagging this onto a genetic explanation which I've been doing a lot of writing about the people who are doing that lately and you are you know your assumption is so what you're saying is you know just differences in genetic capabilities or you would not expect that to be operating interest between men and women that so that basically shreds that explanation to be clear what would they show about African American women cuz it's their parents income African American women and white women do about equally well in reality that means African American women do considerably worse than white women. Because they tend to start off with with you, is it bandages and women of course in general as we've discussed various papers have lower incomes than men and you know so bad and there is an observed racial
00:06:06for black women but as far as we can tell by the research it is not driven by Grace specific factors except insofar as it's that's reflected in the family's economic standing where is for men it's different when I did that black men who come from middle class families do quite a bit worse than white boy to come from economically similar families and so there's a there's a big gender gap with in there for Hispanics and Asians it's a little bit more more texting all this regards I was the New York Times but you can check if only people whose parents are native-born so for Asians in particular if you include immigrant parents really high levels of upward Mobility for Asian Americans which appears to be the large
00:07:06Garden by the fact that many immigrant mothers are relatively low income and then their kids probably know English a lot better than their parents and white up doing way way way better but some of the white comparison immigration doesn't make up a huge difference is mostly a native-born population and a huge gap and the Gap is driven by differences in in initial starting conditions but then also seemingly by specific racial disadvantage that's located on men guess I think there are two things just zooming out a little bit will trust in contact so I think what about the study is that it is a lot that the data that is using a lot of the research coming from Raj Chetty at Stanford is really been using this anonymize tax data to do studies that we haven't been able to do before the show intergenerational change over time and let us understand you know how raise affects at how different factors affect that this is part of going to a long growing body of work and I think in some ways
00:08:06this paper it seems to flow through some myths and answer some questions but also raised a lot of questions at the authors are quite job quite open about that they are not able to resolve in this paper and I think this gap between black men and black women as one of those when Dylan Matthews are calling your email Raj Chetty about this year he wrote back that he thinks this Gap is quote the key question to be focusing on as it rolls out many series that wouldn't be when obviously differ by gender like this is I want to say to punch if you're wondering why is this different the researchers don't fully know yet at this point and these are kind of like the people who are leaving the research on this they have some theories on it some of the things they looked at our educational attainment incarceration way traits black women tend to be incarcerated at lower rates the black man that might be one thing that's going on that's Shifting the dynamic for women versus men but it really is an unresolved question in this in this research about what is difference between the
00:09:06two groups of people and why is one keeping up I think the one thing that felt really clear to me coming out of this research is that it really is a disaggregation of class and Andreas I think a lot of times you see those things put together and you and you kind of sure these newsbytes about oh well it's the lack of income it's the lack of a two-parent household and that's one of the things they specifically debunking the study they look at white children who grow up you know what just a single mother black children who grew up with a single mother in the similar income bracket and you see that they are very different outcomes what are things you see one of their findings is that a black man raised by two parents in the 90th percentile sis is making like a hundred forty thousand a-year they are in the same and adulthood as a white man raised by a single mother making $60,000 alone so that is you know that kind of blows through this idea that there is something different about these families in terms of who is raising them the educational attainment
00:10:06where they're living in a kind of leaves you with race is the thing that is that is different not all these other things that could be going on that could be confounding factors I want to pick up on that because this is an important piece when you're thinking about this study and studies like it as a whole one way to look at how American Mobility operator does not operate is to think about compounding disadvantage one thing that we tend to do in studies is who isolate a variable and then we'll say okay why is there an income differential to begin looking at that end in enter the application of that as well forget old to get the income differential closed then everything would be fine something you see in a lot of these studies is that discrimination Prejudice racism in this country operate across so many different mechanisms that even should begin to equalize or even give folks and advantage on one variable another it often does not translate it did the outcomes you expect so it's it's there you just mention the findings that I really think it's funny cuz extraordinary that a black man raised by two
00:11:06the 90th percentile is about the same as a white man raised by single mother making 60000 but there's also research from from Kevin Sharkey the sociologist showing bit black families that make more than $100,000 a year they live in neighborhoods with the income composition of white families make less than $30,000 a year she been making a lot of money as an African American Family you're still likely to be in the neighborhood with professional connections send an end and social networks that are quite a bit less rich and afford less opportunity again honestly that much much much poor whites look race in America is multifaceted I think even in this study you're seeing with a difference between men and women that did it operates in ways that are not unknown but but but sometimes defy expectations but it just shows how hard I promise it's another fighting in the stated that I just find it really really depressing one of the things that the chedi and is called those across various papers have tried to focus on its Geographic analysis they have often been looking to see
00:12:06okay well if you're worried about social Mobility sure maybe America's and where you wanted to be but surely there are some places in America to do it well and and usually they do they find some places in America that do it well and then you know you can have this relatively happy conclusion bike well let's go look at what they do. They cannot so the the author's they try to identify neighborhoods or black boys do well as well as whites and the New York Times said he says the problem is there are essentially no such neighborhoods in America that is depressing yes
00:12:40you know one thing I do want to say I was I was playing with the New York Times made these are very elaborate real focus in this paper on a lot of this line of research on the question of relative Mobility like what you really see in the attractors but there's also with researchers about is like moving from Queen tile to tile and this kind of shuffling and I don't wonder as like a policy objective how much sense it really makes to think about this kind of thing that you know this this comes out of a larger project that's called the equality of opportunity project and to be like a little bit flip about it it was like we had a debate in America where some people were saying like we need to worry more about inequality and then people on the right where I know what really matters is opportunity and so now this is big economic research project and it shines a lot of sort of progressive left-leaning lights on the way
00:13:40in which we don't have the quality of opportunities but but I've always felt that like the better response to both the concern about equality of outcome and the concern about an equality of opportunity is just like what we really want is like broadly shared Prosperity right that if the average income is like flat or if incomes for the whole bottom 80% of the population of falling the question of like shuffling between quintiles is like not that interesting to people and one like really poor dominant dominant political sentiment in America these days like that I think we really like it drives Donald Trump it drives a lot of things is white people of about middling income and middling educational attainment feeling that the trajectory of their families economic expectations has like leveled off that America used to be disliked Rocketship of upward goodness and like now it's turned
00:14:40flats and they're like hearing all the time about how much privilege they have and they don't feel privileged they feel that things have gotten worse and something this paper shows is that like they really are privileged in a way compared to it to African-American and native-american and to an extent Latino families but the like really simplistic naive like unsophisticated research that shows that median household income used to be rising a lot and now it is not Rising a lot still just seems like it's more important to me like I don't know how much we would care about this relative Mobility if wages and incomes across-the-board we're Rising a lot and in fact they aren't and that's like sets off all kinds of zero some scrambled because of projects like this way like I'm actually really know what to say about this research the best hypothesis that they seem to have is that racial disparities in the criminal justice
00:15:40are driving this because that seems like something that falls much more on black man that I'm black women right because men are in jail much more is driving the incarceration crisis on their own terms right I was reading the story of up stuff on Clark who was shot in his grandmother's backyard by police it in Sacramento because he was holding a cell phone and police officers I guess they thought it was a God that's horrible right now in terms you don't need a like complicated linked administrative data to like say that the racial disparities in these circumstances are so incredibly impressive project but I don't know what it what it leaves you with exactly other than what we knew going into it which is that like it would be good for everyone
00:16:40comes to be higher and also that racial disparities in criminal justice are bad I felt left with with more than that from reading this Saturday I think one of the things I listen to Emily Badger he's a New York Times Reporter has been covering this talk about this study on their podcast the daily and one of them's I got really into ducts in which was my most depressing finding from this study aside from this neighborhood situation is that even for what when you look at a multi-generational look so one of things are doing here is working across 30 years of data so you can look at someone their kids and grandkids at this point because it is such a long term data set is that even when when a white kid can move up economically when they're able to move up a quintile or to their kids are decently likely to stay there that once you achieve that higher economic status you pass it on to your kids for black families that isn't true that even when you see in the chedi date
00:17:40that a black man or woman is able to move out back in on the clean a quintile that doesn't really do much for their kids their kind of fighting the exact same fight over again so I think the median wages and media row that masks very different stories that are happening for people who are in the numbers look quite similar who are having similar names has like a similar trajectory who recently if you met them would look quite different and I think that's a pretty profound finding in my view that knowing about where median income in is where the larger trends for the rest of the US doesn't doesn't dilute for me in some way sick break Dollar Shave Club Shave Club you may use Dollar Shave Club I don't have use it right there in the name write an amazing affordable shape but there is so much more to Dollar Shave club.com
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00:19:51so this is something we're one weakness of the study and I don't like all weekend so they can do what they can do but I do think the accountant of wealth needs to be added into this because we haven't NC to talk a lot about income in in part because we have a lot to get that on in, but it's a very intuitive the concept of people but wealth is I think a lot more important for some of the things were talking about here then Benning, I'm separately working on a big project around the racial wealth Gap and something that is very very clear in the date on well that is it even when you have white and black families have similar income levels they have very very very disparate levels of wealth because while they sell multigenerational so if I'm remembering these numbers right in and this is for memory so forgive me if I'm a little bit off but she woke up right now in America the median white family has roughly $171,000 in net worth and the median African American family has roughly I believe it's $14,000 an hour so that is a huge gap and you often have something
00:20:51mission where you know but see of a family white family where the household income is save $70,000 so you're not in the top quintile are the top decile but you know you come from a family that has had homes in its in good neighborhoods for years it has had some multigenerational saving and so you know you have 200 or $250,000 of net worth or maybe just have a hundred a hundred fifty thousand below the median on that where is an African American Family where somebody's a first-generation in their family go to college and a bike grappled their way into the upper income portions you know maybe to make $120,000 a year as a household but they have in a well and so they are are they very little well and so a couple things happen in that scenario 1 if your community does not have much wealth and your the richest member of your community of your family circle of your friends circles a lot of people need to come to you for help so you end up spending a lot of your money and money that you could be using to build a nest egg Roar by houses
00:21:51our neighborhood you end up spending it helping your mom get medical care or helping your cousin that pay their school bills this is a huge thing around wealth creation in in America and it's much less of a problem if you're coming from a context where more people around you have a savings buffer the other thing is that it makes it really really hard to handle shocks so again you know if you're a family making $70,000 a year be $150,000 in in net worth and something goes wrong you lose your job or there was a medical emergency or any of the many many things that can end up derailing families progress you have the space to deal with it for a bit and then get back on your feet where is if you have your make it $100,000 a year trying to support you know folks in your folks in your network trying to kind of you to send your kid to a good school and something goes wrong you lose your job is a medical emergency again whatever it is you don't get back to you you fall down the ladder and it's much harder to climb back up and say something that I think would make a lot of these results look more normal
00:22:51I think it's very surprising to read a result that says well white families with Xing, do much better than black families with even more income than that you look at that doesn't make any sense and it does when you add in institutional racism and other things but there's a reason to the findings being seen as soon as appalling if you read it the same numbers by wealth I'm not sure would look like that at all I think you'd see in a lot of these cases you had family stab me with more wealth just doing better than families with less well then and want to begin to look at this in terms of multigenerational wealth and wealth building across generations for African Americans and American Indians in this country has been we have done an enormous amount of a huge amount of American public policy with singularly oriented towards making that as impossible as possible just looking at this generation I think hides a lot of that is for call Legacy a lot of public policy of the United States as income sensitive but wealth blind so I was in I was in Wisconsin recently and you are new ish policy where it's at I forget exactly what the deal is
00:23:51it's if it's tuition for your debt free but first in-state families that are from below the median at state income taxes point I mean a Wisconsin family that is at the 75th percentile of the States income the odds are that an African American Family at that level has much less actual financial resources that a white family that's at that income level because a white family at that income level will likely be a family that has been in the middle class for several Generations that has cool mequity in the suburbs or you know it in the world Lariat it things like that so Apollo see that aims to help people who are at the bottom while for the sake of affordability to not help people who don't need help it's not intended to be racially skewed in that way
00:24:51but by sort of relatively disadvantaging low-wealth slightly above average income families it's sort of punishes those efforts to like get on the ladder you know if you were the first in your family to go to college to get a professional job you're being treated as equivalent to a lot of white families in fact have a lot more financial resources than you do and governments have we have our reasons for doing that but it's like when wealth tests are applied to programs they normally exclude owner-occupied housing and retirement savings which is for some good reasons but again like that's the sort of the Workhorse of white middle-class well in the United States is exactly what a lot of African American families that are superficially doing okay and it is much more difficult we don't measure wealth well in the United
00:25:51rigorously I because you have to pay income taxes on an annual basis the government has administrative records verifiable on everybody's incomes well it's a lot of it is tied up in houses we can sort of impute how much a person's house is worth but is that mr. liquid it's on a surly well measured you know you don't really know what your house is worth until you try to sell it in a certain sense obviously like owning a home is worth more than not owning a home but but our policy tends to be blind to that kind of things which is play into this again I would emphasize I mean the darkness of the gender split is relevant to your right I mean if it was driven entirely by family well you'd expect to see a gap between black women and white women start would you don't like when you control for family income alone that the black white cap goes away for women so something is happening to black men again I'm in the criminal justice hypothesis seems plausible or just some other kind
00:26:51slightly Oddball discrimination in the way people eyeball these situations I just I'm like overflowing with solutions to problems in America but like not particularly to this so I think that actually speaks to the one kind of optimistic finding a came out of this study was I know but you don't rush to do you said there are no neighborhood seems to be as late over statement seems like there is a number of neighborhoods one can count on your fingers wear black boys and white boys to have similar outcomes one of them is pretty close to where we are Silver Spring Maryland which is like Urban almost suburban area right outside the DC line I think also the New York Times article they mention some areas and in Queens and the Bronx in those are literally the three that I am aware of so we're talking about a small number and one of the things they went to a whole host of what what is different about these places what what what can we learn from this 1% and one of the things I found is at these places tend to
00:27:50higher presence of black fathers in the community would seem to matter in the outcomes of the study is not necessarily whether you had a father at home but whether there were examples of black fathers around you and there's they were not able to look into what what is that transmission mechanism like what might the presence of more black men who are fathers to children in the community change but some of the ideas that they raise their is that you have more people to Model Behavior on the to see someone who's a teacher who wears a suit who kind of does something that you could Envision yourself doing and you have this sort of role model aspect going on and I think it actually speaks a lot to the incarceration you know if you're thinking about will why is the gap between black women and white women so small in this gap between black boys and white boys so large it seems plausible that if the one thing that is setting this tiny fraction of neighborhoods apart is that they have a law
00:28:50your presence of black fathers in the community and really it's speaks to me as the incarceration problem could be pretty key and eating what we're saying that's happening the difference between these two groups that is really want to emphasize but I don't have data on this but I don't want to say I'm not persuaded by the incarceration hypothesis what I want to say is it it I think that that to who is reflection of a problem as opposed to two to the problem itself that the reason you have black men being locked up in large part at much much much higher rates in than white men the reason that young black boys are often seen as Man by the criminal justice system in the way the young white boys are and the reason that black man who do drugs at the same rate as white man get arrested more often that it's flowing from the same kinds of societal stereotyping and racist attitudes that other things here flying from some of it is some of the mechanism your maid definitely be worth
00:29:50think through diverting black man into the criminal justice system I don't deny bad in anyway but I don't think that those attitudes only exist there they also exist when young black man walk into a job interview they also exists when folks impression. Deciding what I meant are they at they also exist in all these other places so again I don't think the paper incarceration is in a piece of it here but incarceration is I think I also reflecting the same thing I would I would say that these are you do multiple things that are are stemming from some of the same attitude in our society those attitudes end up playing out in all kinds of different venues I do hope that this team will do a paper at some point on world modeling across the different things we talked before about an earlier paper that this team did that looked at patents and inventors and one of the most interesting things they found there was that that girls are cross race is here here was a gender gap but not a racial Gap in every metro area in America
00:30:50girls are less likely than boys to grow up to be Avengers but the Gap was smaller in places where there were more women inventors when they grew up right and it wasn't about where you where you live but beside like if you were a young girl in school in a metro area that had a disproportionately large number of women inventors you were disproportionately likely to grow up to be an inventor and specifically even in the field that they were women getting pants while he was another thing we're like they said like we cannot demonstrate like what causes this exactly right it's a little it's a little odd for me to even think that people would be aware of something like that but it supposed to very different domains right like black boys versus like likelihood of becoming an adventure for academically talented girls of all Races there appears to be a community level affect right of some kind
00:31:50like if there are people like you who are locally present who seem to be doing well at something you become more likely to do well at that exact same thing and it's it's this is like absolutely the kind of terrain the professional Economist or like not that well I think I quit to investigate or even to conceptualize because I'm in a good economic model of human behavior but this is not impact your incentives or even your formal opportunities like at all and you can also I mean like you can imagine why something like that would matter but it's a weird it's like so touchy-feely and bizarre that like casual observation of what people are doing but have a large impact on your life but but possibly true search that I think a year ago I would have lost total bullshit is one where my views have changed not because of this particular study but a lot of writing I was doing around the 2016 election about
00:32:50gender and politics and kind of what it would mean for there to be a female president in the United States and one of them's I started looking and she was the body of research around women and politics are a surprising number of countries that have gender quotas in politics and a lot of that really changed my my view on this kind of ether of Role Models idea which I thought was really squishy and like what does it matter you know what if it's not like actually more money coming in your house if you're not seeing your own parents go to a job what are the studies that I found in this is like super far away is geographically academically from this one was on a study in the journal science from 2012 that looked at when an Indian Province mandated a gender quota and their local governments and you just saw a perfect natural experiment where phased-in over years some places got the gender quotas earlier than others and just really significant changes rubbing more women in government Steve
00:33:50parents who thought that their daughters occupation should be determined by their in-laws to climb from 76 to 65% the number of minutes young girls spent on housework to client 18 minutes I'm nothing change for boys and the educational attainment of young boys and young girls completely closed that didn't happen in the areas that did not have this influx of female leaders and I think knowing this research I found that a really compelling an interesting argument about what might be different and what might lead to success is just this seeing people around you he might not even trying to interact with that much you might be like a teacher you have one year or even like seeing people going to jobs and commuting and saying oh that person looks like me I have revised My Views over the past year or so that that can be a pretty powerful force let's take a break and talk about Facebook
00:34:50I'm in service it's probably the leading the best music streaming Sports out there all kinds of songs whatever you want on demand it's fantastic but we're here now for podcast listeners to tell you that Spotify has podcast and I which is really cool that means you can listen to your podcasts on your phone on your desktop with Spotify however you want but also the exist on on Smart speakers right it's a great reason to use Spotify for your podcasting is that then you can listen on your Google home on your Amazon Alexa or whatever you want start streaming today to stay up-to-date on the world's latest news on Spotify know you open the app on your mobile device or desktop browser only click on the podcast section and then you can use the world's best audio streaming service for Podcast Addict
00:35:35fish market in a bit in the news lately because of this the Scandal around Cambridge analytica that that we talked about last week last week on the on the weeds with Android and Dara but I was as I said before at the University of Wisconsin I've been talking to a lot about journalism students and professors public policy students and professors and it inspired me to start a different for a long time which is said Facebook like many things it has its ups and its downs and it's it's basically bad is my take and I want to explain what I mean Facebook should be illegal right at make an analogy right like Sour Patch Kids right delicious we should make Sour Patch Kids I Like Sour Patch Kids I had some the other day
00:36:26but you're not good for you and their questions about regulatory tax policy that you can ask my dad but I think most of all their social questions that you can ask uncontroversial to say that Sour Patch Kids are bad like no one's going to be like what we should all do is Triple R consumption of Sour Patch Kids Place in this analogy said I think those widespread like uncomplicated be that they're pleasurable show me to get into this I didn't even there the question Facebook has different wheel businessman to tell them run the company and so he tries to recruit at successfully John sculley from Pepsi and his pitch to him like you famously ends with do you want to spend your life selling sugared water are you want to help me change the world right and that's integral to Silicon Valley's role in American society right is a belief that likes to lot of companies and do a lot of stuff
00:37:26but a lot of the stuff that other companies do like well it's fine it's like trivial to harmful like getting people to drink more sugary water right where as the technology industry is changing the world and it is like never been suggested that like man we really ought to do with America's high schools is apply the learning from the candy world right to successful candy company all the times definitely do that though with applying those earnings and Americas High School vending machines all the time so Jess and I think not without reason that we should like look to innovators in the technology space as like as I thought leaders right in American society is people who are doing something that is like more interesting more important and more valuable than like a little hot sauce on the street and it matters to the companies because they are trying to is a very competitive labor market like they are trying to get really talented Engineers like right out of school to come work for these companies
00:38:26important part of the pitch is not just like we can pay you a lot of money because all the companies can pay you a lot of money but that like feel like this is good like this is a good place to work we are we are doing things these companies they all have a lot of high flying rhetoric about themselves and it and what they're doing and like anything in corporate marketing like you expect a fair amount of bullshit in anybody saying I've been with Facebook I think it's really add another level than what you would you see it at some of these things that there's a very destructive forces at work here and you can see it in the things that the face of people themselves say like one of the craziest quotes that that I've ever read was it was a story about how Facebook is fueling genocide in Myanmar and they they quote the guy who runs Facebook news feed not that people are using the platform Facebook was like
00:39:26use whatever it is going and Gary trible news you know what that's being used to attend flame hatred of course not unfamiliar ride like it was a radio station near other not a radio station that was owned by an American Media Company loses sleep over and she keeps harassing this from Facebook like all like we're sorry that there's all kinds of fake news on a platform we're really going to try to find something so it's not like a huge mechanism for this information or their latest thing when they said they were going to like downgrade news Andre up like you know, doing about your friends dogs and stop Facebook's own people sided research showing that like using Facebook the way most people actually use Facebook to just like scroll through the feet and check stuff out like
00:40:26makes you lonely and sad and so they want to try to read engineer how it works to like downgrade the loneliness and sadness and stuff
00:40:37I have not quit Facebook. I've use Facebook way longer than than most people I think it's okay it's it's okay for me I like the weeds Facebook group I like tomorrow in my articles but there's like a good Danish study with it they took a thousand people and they randomly assign them like quick Facebook keep using Facebook if I let the people quit Facebook are happier more satisfied in their life but then they are heavily concentrated among the heaviest Facebook users read this is just like using Facebook at all like it's fine it has utility and it doesn't have any damaging impact on your life but using it a lot can actually create real problems for you again right if you describe a person who a couple times a year enjoy some Sour Patch Kids like that's great bright like a tasty it's happy but if you're eating tons of Sour Patch Kids all the time that's really bad but when you have industries that are built around profiting off Attic So you see this in alcohol use eating gambling
00:41:37like it's really distracted cuz you can say like a million people visit the casino once in awhile and they have fun they lose some money but like so what that's great but when you talk about like the real profit Center is like sad Attucks pulling the lever at slot machines all the time like that's not so great but like that's that's Facebook it's kind of funny you bring up Sour Patch Kids like literally my favorite candy and the one of the best car they're delicious and so often for some reason like when I'm in airports and let you know what I'm going to treat myself to some Sour Patch Kid and I feel disgusting after eating them afterwards in a weird way like it's almost very similar to the bridge like spending an hour on Facebook where you feel like I like what did I just like spend that time related Lee do the flight delays for a long time
00:42:37someone from the sour patch company is right under the sink to the weeds and has been a real roller coaster like to sponsor the weeds and I are big fans I have seen this before I forget where I saw it first but it's a to this comparison of Facebook to junk food but it still feels really true this feeling you get after spending a long time without there's one of the studies you cited in your peace Matt is a study that found that spending time on Facebook at least your negative mood ring by quote a feeling of having wasted time would you probably didn't need academics to figure out but I think one of the things that you I've been thinking through as I've been getting ready for that segment like what is different about Facebook and other social networks that I spend time on that I bet I don't feel disgusting after using and I think probably out of accounts the social network but I think Google chat or like to chat is a very very different
00:43:37experience of interacting with people who you're not actually talking to face to face and The Chew infrastructures could not be more different on Gchat like you have to start up a conversation with someone usually people like aren't added like I don't have random people from 10 years ago and my Gchat contact sending me messages are me randomly getting updates about their life it's a much more interactive discussion that's happening versus this kind of passive browsing through to people you haven't seen for a decent amount of time that in a weird way this reminded me of some discussion were having last week as her about how Economist often talk about revealed preference and I called you keep going back to Facebook like clearly that just must be the thing you prefer but said feels very wrong at this point given all the research we have about how bad people feel after spending a lot of time there it is like Matt was saying it kind of speaks to some of the things we see in
00:44:37diction in the other spaces seem to be surfacing here as well and is left to to Really push this time well spent movement inhumane design you become a very big critical of these organizations I meant he makes your argument very eloquently about did many many ways in which these products are built to protect us and that's where it gets different than just revealed preference I mean we all know smokers who wish they had never started smoking who yes but I mean there were deal preference think about five times a day even when it's cold even when they wish they could quit and smoke a cigarette but that is not like how they wish their lives were going it and I have to find an LG drugs helpful here again if you look at the revealed preference is opioid use her as a reference is do you saw the opioid a lot of people regret doing that in the first place I do think though this conversation benefits from a little bit more of a compared to what as are indications herpatch can suggest
00:45:37are a lot of things in the economy things in our world that you know their point is not to make us better there pointed said whatever their pleasurable even if even if in large quantities are not pleasurable I don't know if people have people who like in drinking soda they like eating sour patch kids at so you know people are not doing Facebook what would they be doing if we shut it down tomorrow what would happen if we shut it all down tomorrow we like to be smart phones while what happened I think they're interesting question to ask I thought your indication of g chat and then before that a i m pour one out you know I thought about that I thought about for a long time how old in high school how much time I spend on a i m a s l e with people things it is substituting here is Stevie right is it better to just be staring at your television and using Facebook Facebook does provide you a lot of news some of that new city been true
00:46:37they provide you blinks two interesting things as more opportunities to engage video games are hyper addicted part of these massive multiplayer games I mean there is a Coterie particular although not only have been in this country who are playing video games astonishing amounts now to be to the extent that there is a debate and economics about whether or not video games have reduced male labor force participation if you didn't have Facebook would people instead just be playing you know Diablo OverWatch or League of Legends or other no other video games there are a lot of things about Facebook that concerned me to a lot of things about all these social networks it concerned me mad I think you're bigger Twitter fan that I am but I find Twitter really anxiety-producing like I go on there and take a shot of cortisone in my bloodstream even as I also find it interesting and other things and I feel on Facebook and put in all these places in this reflects my particular job but I can't just leave like a
00:47:37I have to be there it's part of it was part of my role and I don't think it makes me happy but on the other hand there's just a lot I do not always I'm not confident at bit just ripping through this stuff you get the substitution effects if you would want to get and so how bad it is I think has to be thought of as a comparative question I think they would it look if we could bargain down to like Facebook is exactly average right if Mark Zuckerberg looks like I am an average CEO would like an average business man is just trying to make money for myself cuz I missed Ur average and this is an average place to go work and spend your time like it's not special anyway we have no unique mission to connect the world like I don't need this weirdo corporate governance structure cuz this is just one of infinite number of totally normal totally average totally been all ways to make money off kind of exploiting people like that itself would be revolutionary and its impact on society
00:48:37second reason that they don't piss themselves that way my wife I didn't meet her on Facebook but after we met the white wheat we met up cuz she was looking at a room in my dirty group house but after we met the way we started talking to each other was through Facebook and I don't believe Facebook as average as much worse than average for example Elite executive at Facebook loses sleep at night over the wall his company plays in fueling genocide which like I don't think it's true of your average soft drink salesman but like the client that they are making for the kind of way to fence right like if you went and you went to like you wouldn't be talking about baby Mark Zuckerberg will run for president maybe Sheryl Sandberg should be treasury secretary maybe we need to look at silicon Valley's models of disrupting
00:49:36higher education rights Augusta place of of hyper social influence and like they don't deserve it at particularly the Facebook people don't deserve it and like it some you know it's like it's happening to say I think the claim your article is like Mark Zuckerberg he's a good person to shut Facebook down tomorrow you should I could go to one of the servers pull the thing I have fallen I go to Facebook societally should be lowered I think that's happening very effectively right now I don't think I'm going to be hearing a lot about Mark Zuckerberg 2020 Sheryl Sandberg with somebody would be it would have been considered US Treasury secretary to hellopet Administration I don't think that's going to happen anymore I think that I need to text back while she's leading to a status revaluation which if that's the whole aim been it's been that's already going to have a status on Facebook
00:50:36what are the Aether in any sort of maybe like Mark Zuckerberg it does not become president but like where people actually you know I know like there's like this delete Facebook movement I do really curious to see internal analytics of Facebook I like my guess is what it looks like as a wave of people quitting and then like slowly trickling back on as they like get invited to a social event at like something happens you know I think all three of us use Facebook professionally is like we're all going to maintain our accounts on there the same with Twitter even if you lose the prestige for some of the people at the very top I don't know if I really like poles Facebook out of the way we interact with each other regulatory issues coming online I think next month right American companies are not only lobbying against it furiously in Europe they have successfully lobbied the American government to make it like the national policy of the United
00:51:36states to fight against European regulation of technology companies in international trade talks right we should not do that instead of fighting European regulation we should be saying the same regulations that are part of Europe were going to buy them they can be stricter here we're going to be traced to see which developed country has the toughest like most throw the book at you your life and career will be ruined forever if you have a data right now if you do an ad on TV political advertising trust regulation of technology companies we use the antitrust Regulators to penalize brick-and-mortar businesses that have tried to fight that was that the Apple e-books case of real consequences that could be unloaded and the defensive all this or the kid gloves treating the industry's been well no like it's so good fried like it needs to be protected in Foster but like if it's not good if it's actually bad then
00:52:37we don't need to err on the side of you know letting these these got to do whatever she brings up though a couple of super interesting questions Fitbit help us talk about this isn't as an industry is supposed to say company so one I thought there was an interesting interview is Mark Zuckerberg a for he said I did not expect to have to make the Descent paraphrasing like the quality political decisions now what is paid speech like you know how should people die to be treated that that I'm making any kind of sound like you know there are places I wouldn't mind regular just doing this for me you know so it's not on me and you're not getting mad at me there's a lot of this data breach the Alphabet Killer much going to privacy regulations that end up enhancing kind of Facebook's lock on data the lock on the advertising Market they create an incumbency effect I'm broadly actually on the same page of us are the regulations you were just bringing up map of that I do think one thing here is that one of the issues is Facebook now operates almost as a quasi governmental entity I mean it is something in between the private Market in the the government
00:53:37we'd Mark Zuckerberg had this huge Manifesto now it's probably 8 months a year ago but it's very very ambitious and he was really talking about creating something that was like a reinvention of Civil Society like a mediating Civil Society infrastructure that I brought about at the time and the closest thing to what he was talking about was a real religion has played in in in human life like that was a size of the ambition and when you are going to be that big in that powerful the things you were they going to have to decide to deal with the kinds of effects like around a massacre in a country that you're not even paying that much attention to are unbelievably huge and so they eventually can be a comfort to be like you know what the political system has accountability measures for this to go don't like them already like let them take the heat on it so it's one thing the other though and end this is why I do push on this point of comparison let's say that we have a regulated Facebook in the way that we put Microsoft and antitrust a couple years back or let's say we broke Facebook up or let's say that we turn Facebook off tomorrow
00:54:34I think that we are facing a problem here that is going to prove over the next 20 30 50 year is much bigger than anyone company which is that we are getting better and better and better at understanding how to manipulate the brain's pleasure centers and it's addictive centers we are developing consumer technologies that can be very addictive and can be very powerful and can be very immersive and that have in many ways a very similar form of effect on people as drugs but instead of how we treat hard drugs which is we try to make them a possible to get we cheer every subsequent increase in consumer electronics power and affordability Ready Player one a couple years ago and I just read on box like a big back last of the spoken but better I'm a white guy from the 80s and book spoke to me which I think is the issue here but it's a pretty interesting portrayal of what I think it was like the VR dystopia
00:55:34which is 20 years from now the addiction qualities and immersion qualities a Facebook account electricity all that's why Facebook pay billions of dollars to buy oculus rift because they CVR as a coming thing that will disrupt them and now you're going to put on a headset in the world is going to get much more interesting podcasts which is why I'm done but you're on linear who is the founder of Eternal virtual realities been an innovator in the space for a long time she's around to Mystic about it but he does talk about the way can be the most terrifying Skinner box ever created I mean it's such a powerful tool for Behavioral modification because its ability to measure what is happening in you at any given moment your heart rate your movement is profound and it can alter your surroundings get exactly the physiological responses it wants so I'm in my view this is a real challenge for going to be facing I see Silicon Valley spending a lot of time worrying about a are risk OB I guess they're going to create a strong artificial intelligence so powerful that it begins making itself smarter and more powerful than ever accelerating cycle
00:56:34she decides Idaho is a byproduct of its Ambitions or acid actual ambition to get rid of humanity enslave Humanity whatever my Panda's real like Elon Musk is worried about this and Mark Zuckerberg computer I'm sorry but Peter teal and a lot of these folks right Bill Gates are thinking about this and I think that at least in the near term the real profound danger is it were going to get so good at building these immersive pop forms and environments that for a lot of people there just going to begin to lose touch with reality we think it's happened with some books and video games now but where we are now on that is nowhere compared to where we're going to be in 30 years and I don't think Society is at all ready for that disruption to end and I think Facebook is like a small version of what is coming what is that actually mean and feel like four people cuz you don't feel like I like my job I like hosting the weed I like writing I would be I think I would miss something if I was in virtual reality but if you're working like a job you don't really
00:57:34liking all of a sudden like automation is making it way cheaper to live and you can spend you know 80% of your time in this VR atmosphere I don't know I have not thought through whether I think that is necessarily a bad thing or not if that is you know if you're able to get by and then that is your again this gets into some like a difficult questions of weather that is actually a preference or you're just being kind of pushed in this direction shutting down Facebook I don't know where that leaves us I think it leaves us you know just looking at a lot of other things that are similar are you know one thing I've done and I have been using Facebook last scene I don't have the app on my phone and logged out of my phone I can basically only see it when I'm at my work computer and then unfollowing anyone who I haven't talked to you in real life in a year so that makes it a much smaller Universe a harder place to get sucked into but then I just like spend a lot of time my phone like reading pregnancy message boards because if anyone was pregnant nose that's like a sinkhole you can just fall into that is
00:58:34not useful and probably harmful in the same way Facebook is harmful I guess I don't I'm not decided at this point about like what it would mean if we had more people spending time in these alternative environments I think generally my hunch is not bad better know that's from like the situation I personally come from I think there's a fastening mismatch between what technology billionaires say they spend a lot of time worrying about and what day if you never talk to them appear to be worrying about which is fanatical rabid dog scramble to cut their own taxes and have no regulation at all on their businesses I have never heard Peter TL and an interview say all I care about is just lying my pockets with as much money as possible but like that's what they're doing to it you know like Facebook is hiring 11 people for various jobs about privacy in public policy manager of consumer products in emerging technology a politics and government Outreach manager they've at like 11 list
00:59:34things with policy in the name in DC right now like 3 in Brussels is like they just want to be able to keep on fucking people over all the savings are companies operating within a capitalistic structure Zuckerberg is specifically structure in Facebook so that he's not accountable to shareholders are directors or things like that like he can do what he wants and like I don't really know like why are some people you know what I don't like you guys have criticized me for the stance I take that like I think these people like I think they want to be good people want to try to do the right thing but like it is really hard to think critically about yourself and the impact that what you do is having on the world and like I would love to see some actual self-reflection if I'm going to tell the New York Times but I am losing sleep at night Over the Rhone my work is playing in fostering ethnic cleansing like what are you going to do about it man like what's what's the issue here and they all
01:00:34he sings As if you see a lot in the in the in the news just like they will talk about what a difficult problem it is for them to have a service that does not provide people with rampant visit formation that does sound hard like they have not figured it out right because like one answer that they really don't want to do is hire a bunch of professional journalists and like have them knock stuff down because one thing they will rise It is Well if we do this or that conservatives will yell at us so now they've been really hard problem like how do you not do miss information but also not get yelled at by conservatives as an experienced journalist myself I can tell you this is an unsolvable problem right like it can't be solved you have to like bite the bullet on some level either sometimes conservatives will yell at you or sometimes you run an accurate story is because that's like that's politics for you man and I'm not even saying anything but I don't see how you could possibly have accurate information but at some time
01:01:34getting yelled at by liberals to health you can take us out of politics entire life to try to have accurate information about health right like know that Crystal you're holding does not do anything good to you can't put this article up about this holistic treatment that has no evidence behind it how many people get real mad about that but like we have at box and journalistic organization has a journalistic culture and an editorial value system I'd like a belief that like sometimes you're going to have to get yelled at and hold like what you think is the right thing to do I think we all wish that we could like get out of that bind and you could have something that like we both feel good about in terms of accuracy but also literally everybody uses and nobody ever yells at us for feel like you can't do it and they're just like stuck in this in this room of like not wanting to buy bullets not wanting to suggest like maybe we should just hit pause I'm home news thing if we
01:02:34prepared to figure out how to make it work it's like I mean the slogans like we got to move fast and break things but like why why do you have to break you want to change the past couple years but I do one one thing looking at all this is these firms think of themselves not as media companies protect companies and they've been very very invested in what I not think it's like this myth of open platforms right there just going to be an open platform and then one way they can be so big is to not make any decisions and so anybody can come on and it's a free market ideas and the best offer rise to the top because people will be no press the like button or you know they will get angry when they lied to you. And it just can be being open platform and I think what we're seeing is that you cannot be arguing Ever Was An Open platform that's number one all the stuff had a lot baked into it but you can not wield the level of power scale and societal influences they want to be old with which is again it's governmental and it's scale you know two billion people on Facebook it's bigger than any government
01:03:34the world obviously big they don't pay taxes to it but it's still a remarkable mad at people for whom it it interfaces in their lives in a very very daily and insignificant way you then begin having to make kinds of decisions governments make orbit religions make or the big Civil Society institutions make and those decisions make people unhappy and I do think that there is ultimately a trade. Like you can be an open platform but not be quite so big and not being quite so many fears and dimensions of of of life right I think Instagram the way it is built I think of Instagram hits 2 billion people it is not going to have a lot of problems even so because it just it's not built to be Central and politics and it's not built to be you know to take over news distribution it's it's just it's much more narrow in so they can computers being what they are they the limited what their platform does and that allows a lot more scale without the scope and consequence of the decisions you need to make expanding beyond your
01:04:34actual capacity make them but but Facebook and it says he's everything to explode down the road like Twitter they have to make the decisions that basically governments make any don't want to do that they want to be open platforms and they're still stuck between those two conceptions of himself the conception of institution connecting to bill in people and changing the entire world and institution that is open and there just creating a venue for people to do some stuff on there and you know like at hopefully everything works out okay but those two conceptions of themselves I think are currently under review but they do not have an answer for it who wants to join the weeds exactly right answer for you I will see if we can see me contact even better though then joining the weeds Facebook group is to go to people who you know in real life and say to them do you subscribe to the weeds podcast I think the thing to do
01:05:34I think the Big Lots in a Valdez it's bad timing social platforms what you should do is you should go subscribe to the Ezra Klein show where I had a great interview with Mitch Landrieu this week is going to stop today explain every day that's like 20 minutes and you get this amazing dive into an issue should go subscribe to World 8 where you learn about the world and it's credible and it's thoughtful and it's a new one I think you're interested thanks learn about culture is going to be to be happier and more well-informed get your headphones on block the world out wait for new season the impact try to try to keep doing what you're doing but comes out maybe you should buy it maybe we'll have to see if it's good I will if you want to hear me in in your ears I will still be doing Ezra Klein show and I'll be listening to the weeds twice a week every week
01:06:34enter and will be back on track

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