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Christie’s Jussi Pylkkanen and superauctions
NOVEMBER 10, 2015 | FT | John Gapper.

....Of all his crafty sales tactics, the one used to greatest effect by Christie’s 52-year-old global president — the auctioneer on top of the wave of wealth in the world’s art market — is the query: “Are you sure?” He asks it as one of the last two bidders in an auction drops out, threatening to finish it. As he halts the action for a few seconds — what he calls “the auctioneer’s pause” — pressure builds on the reluctant bidder.

'Are you sure, sir?'

Auctions are unusual in the 21st century - most things, even luxury items such as watches and clothes, sell at fixed prices although there is some room to haggle. Even many items on eBay, the electronic platform, are sold at fixed prices. In The Dynamics of Auction , Christian Heath, a professor of work at King's College, London, describes them as "a somewhat anachronistic method of selling goods, more common perhaps to traditional agrarian societies than post-industrial capitalism."

They are still used for art because every painting is different and has no intrinsic value - it does not yield anything and the cost of manufacture is usually tiny. They are also a good way to get high prices - when buyers compete against a deadline, they behave differently. The desire not only to acquire it but to beat others causes what Deepak Malhotra, a Harvard professor, terms the "emotional arousal" of auctions.

"We know that the Modigliani [being sold on Monday] is the artist's greatest work," says Pylkkanen, never short of an extravagant compliment for his inventory. "We know that it was painted in 1917. We know that it is being sold 100 years later, and that nobody in their lifetime has had an opportunity to buy it on the open market. We're all individuals and when we get a chance, it's like, 'That's the one. I've got to go [for it].' "

The task of the auction house is to gather as many people as possible - especially wealthy people - in a saleroom, or on the end of a phone line to the room, and to create the atmosphere for such moments to occur. The auctioneer must be charming, relaxed, and pleasantly ruthless. "You need poise, control and an element of openness because you're inviting people to this thing. You're making them compete without pushing too hard."
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Marxists Internet Archive
MIA contains the writings of around 850 authors representing a complete spectrum of political, philosophical, and scientific thought, generally spanning the past 200 years.
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To Build Truly Intelligent Machines, Teach Them Cause and Effect | Quanta Magazine
All the impressive achievements of deep learning amount to just curve fitting,
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