Bryan Caplan  

The Center Will Hold: I'll Give You 10:1

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The Wicksellian Natural Rate o... Minimum Wage Debate: Meer vers...
Since there appear to be zero takers for my latest bet, I hereby up the odds I'm offering to 10:1.  Thus, if you Paypal me $x, I will send you $11x if the bet goes in your favor.  This provides ample extra compensation for inflation, foregone interest, and my mortality risk. 

Remember, the bet resolves as soon as a civil war in Western Europe officially surpasses 10,000 fatalities.  So if you win, you will probably win well before 30 years have passed.  If you would have accepted 10:1 odds for a 20-year bet, you should absolutely accept my terms, because I'm giving you ten extra years to win for free.

P.S. I don't include Cyprus, which is often though not always classified as non-European.

Update: I have two taker.  Chris Lemens is in for $10.  Samuel Dangremond is in for $100.  I'm still willing to take another $390 of your wagers.


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COMMENTS (19 to date)
Dangerman writes:

I am eager to bet at least $100, given two clarifications of the definition of "civil war":

1. the phrase "civil war" shall encompass any violent conflict between two or more demographic groups, regardless of whether either or both attempt to lay claim to a "legitimate" government... and therefore regardless of whether media outlets label the conflict as a quote unquote "civil war."

and

2. the violent conflict, and the stated death toll, takes place within a single country OR *within the boundaries or Europe as a whole.*

Tom DeMeo writes:

Why doesn't Turkey count?

Gongtao writes:

Bryan, I will make you a bet that in 20 years rates of crime, unemployment, and welfare usage for Muslims in Germany are at least double those of the ethnic German population. Send me $100 now and if I am wrong in 20 years I will send you $300.

RPLong writes:

Gongtao, how will you count "ethnic Germans" who are Muslims? How will you count "ethnic Germans" who subsequently convert to Islam? How will you count children of immigrants who do not identify with Islam? How will you count immigrants who leave Muslim-majority nations, but who are not themselves Muslims? How will you count Muslims who immigrate to Germany from traditionally Muslim-minority nations, e.g. China, the United States, etc.?

In short, it appears to me that your bet addresses the suggestion that Islam itself, not immigration, causes higher rates of crime, unemployment, and welfare usage among its own practitioners. Is this indeed the nature of your bet?

_NL writes:

Dangerman: That's basically a different wager, since you said it doesn't have to be confined to one country and doesn't have to be called a civil war.

So if there is a long-running organized crime war across multiple countries that results in 10,000 casualties, encompassing a dozen different criminal organizations, you'd call that a civil war? Was the death toll of US cops and gangsters in the 1920s and 1930s a civil war?

It sounds like if there were just three or four horrible terror attacks in the span of decades, that you could argue that was a civil war and count it on your way to 10,000 deaths. So a 2018 bombing in France, a 2023 gas attack in Germany, a 2026 bombing in Finland, could all be aggregated, along with maybe certain street crime murders? That really stretches the notion of civil war.

Also, I question what you mean by "Europe as a whole" given the parameters of the bet. You mean only the non-communist countries otherwise subject to the bet, right?

Gongtao writes:

to RPLong:

I don't have time to address all of your comments right now. But no, I don't really think that Islam itself is the problem. I think the problem is moving an early 21st century Muslim population (I see the past 60 years as a bad time for islamic civilization) into modern liberal Europe. The two do not mix well, for various reasons.

See, for example, outcomes for Muslims in Britain vs Hindus and Sikhs.

Sieben writes:

Guys, stop trying to make little modifications to the bet. The whole point of Caplan saying:

Any front page story in The New York Times, Washington Post, or Wall St. Journal stating that a literal civil war in one of the specified nations has led to 10,000 or more fatalities in that nation ends the bet in my opponents' favor.

Is to remove either party's ability to niggle over details. Otherwise if there is a "conflict", you risk arguing nonstop over whether it technically counts as a "civil war", or whether or not certain fatality figures are trustworthy, etc.

IVV writes:

The only nation I see there being the remote possibility of this happening is Greece. And even then, it is remote. As in, remote enough that I don't want to take this bet.

gongtao writes:

RPLong:

For purposes of the bet, I would accept anyone who self-identifies as a Muslim to be one.

I would define an ethnic German as something like anyone whose grandparents spoke German within their home.

Like Bryan, I very much doubt that the current influx of migrants and refugees will lead to civil war, but I strongly suspect that their residence in Europe will lead to a lot of social problems. I would very much like to know what Bryan thinks the likelihood of that is, as evidenced by his willingness to put some money on the line.

George Hawley writes:

[Comment removed. Please consult our comment policies and check your email for explanation.--Econlib Ed.]

Maximum Liberty writes:

At 10:1 odds, I've taken that bet for $10 and the pleasure of probably being wrong.

My rationale is not that anything I see today leads me to suspect a civil war in the next 30 years. My rationale is that 30 years is an impossibly long time to predict anything. In 1905, who would have predicted World War I, the Great Depression, the abandonment of the gold standard, or Fascism? The world is a weirder place than I think it is.

The sad thing is, if I turn out to be right, I probably won't be around to collect. But whatever.

Max L.

LemmusLemmus writes:

gongtao:

"I would accept anyone who self-identifies as a Muslim to be one.

I would define an ethnic German as something like anyone whose grandparents spoke German within their home."

I don't think statistics on crime/unemployment/welfare use by either religion or what language grandparents spoke in their home are currently being collected in Germany. Am I wrong or do you think that's going to change?

Gongtao writes:

LemmusLemmus:

you are probably right. I don't know if it would actually be possible to go through with the bet, because I don't know what German crime statistics are available. My definition of an ethnic German is just intended to show how broad my definition is, and to make it clear that I am looking at this as a cultural rather than a racial issue.

I am amenable to changing the exact terms of the bet based on the availability of statistics, and I might be willing to give Bryan 5:1 with no money down. I think it is very, very likely that much of the current wave of migrants becomes part of a Muslim underclass in Europe. I really want to hear what Bryan thinks about my offer.

Dangerman writes:

_NL: re- "That's basically a different wager, since you said it doesn't have to be confined to one country and doesn't have to be called a civil war."

I agree with your objections in several ways actually. However:

First, I want *the bet* to include a definition of a "civil war" - not "whenever the New York Times says there's a civil war."

Second, the pan-European "civil war" that is not restricted to one country is highly relevant to what the doomsayers predict: that new demographic groups are displacing old demographic groups across Europe. A conflict of 5,000 deaths in Denmark and another of 5,000 deaths in the Netherlands very much looks like a "European Civil War" to me.

As for "US cops and gangsters" - these are not two demographic groups. A conflict between one demographic group and the "legitimate" government can sometimes be between two demographic groups, if that government is STRONGLY associated with a preexisting demographic group (see Iraq).

But yes on "just three or four horrible terror attacks" - if these are committed by one demographic group and deliberately targeted against another. Sounds exactly like a "civil war" to me.

I welcome further opportunities to clarify. I'm will to put several hundred on this.

liberty writes:

Similarly, I would wonder whether civil war includes a war that crosses borders, and whether a fight against Muslim uprisings would count.

If I had the cash I might take you up, just as a sort of insurance policy...

john hare writes:

Why would I let someone else hold my money on what is basically a bar bet? A dollar today is worth far more than ten dollars thirty years from now even if I won. Anyone that actually works their money would run from this 'bet'.

Miguel Madeira writes:

Suggestion of an additional point - "any war (described as that by the New York Times) between two or more countries that, at 27 September 2015, are part of the same country, should be classified as a civil war for the purposes of this bet". What do you think?

Miguel Madeira writes:

Dangerman: " the phrase "civil war" shall encompass any violent conflict between two or more demographic groups"

And about non-demographic groups, like fascists and communist fighting against each other in the streets, but without trying to overthrow the formal government?

Or ideological terror attacks (like "Bologna massacre" in Italy)?

Dangerman writes:

@Miguel Madeira: "... like fascists and communist fighting against each other in the streets, but without trying to overthrow the formal government?"

This would definitely be a civil war IMO. My points about demographic groups should be phrased "including, but not limited to..."

There are lots of types of civil war.

But the big subtext here, not quite explicitly said by Bryan, is the relation between immigration to Europe by new demographic groups and civil war.

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