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Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit by George Akerlof, Paul Romer :: SSRN
"Our theoretical analysis shows that an economic underground can come to life if firms have an incentive to go broke for profit at society's expense (to loot) instead of to go for broke (to gamble on success). Bankruptcy for profit will occur if poor accounting, lax regulation, or low penalties for abuse give owners an incentive to pay themselves more than their firms are worth and then default on their debt obligations. "
economics  looting  business  recession  finance  crisis 
august 2011
Einstein on Wall Street, Time-Money Continuum: Mark Buchanan - Bloomberg
"This so-called exponential discounting -- reducing the value of something by a fixed percentage for each unit of time -- is standard practice in economics. It comes into play whenever people consider investing for long-term payoff, whether by building railroads for high-speed trains or reining in carbon emissions to preserve the climate. And it discounts the distant future especially drastically. This is why economists and others often squabble over the right annual percentage to use -- should it be 5 percent, 7 percent, 1 percent? Change this a little, and values change a lot. "
economics  discounting-rate  future  benefits  rational-markets  rational  time 
august 2011
The Evitable Future of the Digital | Easily Distracted
"But the silver lining here is that what will most improve or sharpen practices of new media creation and interpretation is not technical skill with hardware and software nor is it being the most brave-new-worldish professor on the block. What would most dramatically improve or transform existing digital practices of cultural interpretation and information literacy would be the extrapolation and extension of many of the existing and long-standing strengths of humanistic inquiry. Note I do not say, “Just keep doing what you’re doing.” New media environments are new, and the jobs and practices which extend from them are also novel. "
education  future  technology  humanism  humanities  pedagogy  teaching 
august 2011
The Great Splintering - Umair Haque - Harvard Business Review
"For many years now, societies have been limping on with broken institutions and splintered social contracts — right into the heart of this perfect storm. And I'd bet most of us have assumed that we'll continue to "get by" — that we can wait for the economy to repair itself, for the next economic boom to provide shelter from the approaching cyclone, for the invisible hand to pick us up and put us back on our feet. Yet, I'd suggest: the upheavals we're seeing now are stark evidence that the status quo's faith-based modus operandi hasn't worked — and isn't working. We're not magically going to "find" shelter from the gathering clouds of this economic whirlwind. We're going to have to build shelter: more resilient, less dysfunctional institutions that can deliver on the promise of real human prosperity that matters, lasts, and multiplies. Because if you didn't know what a lost decade looked and felt like before — well, you sure do now."
crisis  recession  economics  inequality  poverty  business-as-usual  income-distribution 
august 2011
New Statesman - The suburb that changed the world
"In Sofia Coppola's 2006 film of the life of Marie Antoinette, there is a scene where an entourage of palace jeunes filles sweeps through a ball at which the set and costumes are period, but the music and manners are straight out of a modern dance club. The proposition seems to be that an elite few were able to put a toe into the future to experience what is ordinary today.

Something like that went on in the Silicon Valley I knew in the 1980s. The debates and dilemmas that occupy a generation today appeared in miniature before there was an internet. We took our anticipation of the internet deadly seriously, to the point where it seemed already real. Thus I have experienced the internet age twice."
internet  history  computer  technology  1980s 
august 2011
Because I have too much spare time for reading ... - Charlie's Diary
"What do you think is the most important novel of the past 10-and-a-bit years (published since January 1st 2000)?"
recommendations  literature  fiction 
august 2011
Steve Jobs and America at Jon Taplin's Home Page
"There is a bad tendency in this country to think our “innovation deficit” lies in what policy makers call STEM (science,technology, engineering and math). But Jobs understands that the magic formula is STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). It is the basis of what we teach at The innovation Lab and it is the core of the Apple brand. Steve’s obsessive belief in the role of the artist goes way beyond his early fascination with typography. What makes each of his products so thrilling is that they are aesthetically pleasing just to look at, never mind how cool they are to operate."
innovation  creativity  STEM  education  art  design  business 
august 2011
[1106.0296] The Emergence of Leadership in Social Networks
"We study a networked version of the minority game in which agents can choose to follow the choices made by a neighbouring agent in a social network. We show that for a wide variety of networks a leadership structure always emerges, with most agents following the choice made by a few agents. We find a suitable parameterisation which highlights the universal aspects of the behaviour and which also indicates where results depend on the type of social network. "
social-networks  networks  game-theory  leadership  agents  social-science  choice 
august 2011
David Bromwich: Symptoms of the Bush-Obama Presidency
Obama’s pragmatism comes down to a series of maxims that can be relied on to ratify the existing order -- any order, however recent its advent and however repulsive its effects. You must stay in power in order to go on “seeking.” Therefore, in “the world as it is,” you must requite evil with lesser evil. You do so to prevent your replacement by fanatics: people, for example, like those who invented the means you began by deploring but ended by adopting. Their difference from you is that they lack the vision of the seeker. Finally, in the world as it is, to retain your hold on power you must keep in place the sort of people who are normally found in places of power.
obama  politics  president  pragmatism  ideology  failure 
august 2011
ScienceDirect - Cognition : The mismeasure of morals: Antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas
"Researchers have recently argued that utilitarianism is the appropriate framework by which to evaluate moral judgment, and that individuals who endorse non-utilitarian solutions to moral dilemmas (involving active vs. passive harm) are committing an error. We report a study in which participants responded to a battery of personality assessments and a set of dilemmas that pit utilitarian and non-utilitarian options against each other. Participants who indicated greater endorsement of utilitarian solutions had higher scores on measures of Psychopathy, machiavellianism, and life meaninglessness. These results question the widely-used methods by which lay moral judgments are evaluated, as these approaches lead to the counterintuitive conclusion that those individuals who are least prone to moral errors also possess a set of psychological characteristics that many would consider prototypically immoral."
morality  ethics  utilitarianism 
august 2011
Yale Law School | Dan M. Kahan
Dan Kahan is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law at Yale Law School. In addition to risk perception, his areas of research include criminal law and evidence.
people  academic  law  school(Yale)  risk  perception  culture  cognition 
august 2011 - home
The Cultural Cognition Project is a group of scholars interested in studying how cultural values shape public risk perceptions and related policy beliefs. Cultural cognition refers to the tendency of individuals to conform their beliefs about disputed matters of fact (e.g., whether global warming is a serious threat
academic-center  law  school(Yale)  cognition  culture  motivated-cognition  science  perception  bias  psychology 
august 2011
Democratic Reason: The Mechanisms of Collective Intelligence in Politics by Helene Landemore :: SSRN
This paper argues that democracy can be seen as a way to channel “democratic reason,” or the collective political intelligence of the many. The paper hypothesizes that two main democratic mechanisms - the practice of inclusive deliberation (in its direct and indirect versions) and the institution of majority rule with universal suffrage - combine their epistemic properties to maximize the chances that the group pick the “better” political answer within a given context and a set of values. The paper further argues that under the conditions of a liberal society, characterized among other things by sufficient cognitive diversity, these two mechanisms give democracy an epistemic edge over versions of the rule of the few.
democracy  political-science  collective-intelligence  collective  collaboration  decision  intelligence 
august 2011
The Cause Of Riots And The Price of Food - Technology Review
"In other words, high food prices lead to a kind of tipping point when almost anything can trigger a riot, like a lighted match in a dry forest."
riots  protests  food  economics  pricing  international 
august 2011
Citizen Science Alliance
"The CSA is a collaboration of scientists, software developers and educators who collectively develop, manage and utilise internet-based citizen science projects in order to further science itself, and the public understanding of both science and of the scientific process. These projects use the time, abilities and energies of a distributed community of citizen scientists who are our collaborators "
citizen-science  online  collaboration  science 
august 2011
Philosophical Chuck Norris Facts - New APPS: Art, Politics, Philosophy, Science
"Some facts from the philosophical version:

Chuck Norris has intellectual intuition.

After Heidegger met Chuck Norris, he agreed that Chuck isn’t thrown: he throws."
humor  philosophy 
august 2011
Law, economics, and politics § Unqualified Offerings
"This is a musing on large bureaucratic organizations. I have noticed that some people get frustrated because they do not understand that law, economics, and politics are distinct things and they are not equally persuasive as arguments."
bureaucracy  decision  politics  law  economics 
august 2011
Pareidolia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse. "
psychology  perception  pattern  patterns  bias  randomness 
august 2011
Winehouse, Breivik and Deadly Ideals -
"But it strikes me that there is something like the exact opposite anxiety — a pathological preoccupation with norms, which I want to call hypernomia — running through her music and her published interviews. Winehouse was the victim of another kind of “losing game” (other than love). It was part of her appeal that she was always outspoken and spontaneous in her conversation, so that her published statements have the quality of an intimate diary, raw and unrectified." Annotated link
anomie  norms  behavior  psychology  philosophy  scapegoat 
august 2011
Troubling News for Economic Libertarians, Death-Penalty Advocates, and Neo-Conservatives? Moral Judgments and the Dark Triad Personality Traits: A Correlational Study by Marcus Arvan :: SSRN
"This experiment examined correlations between ethical value judgments on a 17-item Moral Intuition Survey (MIS), and scores on the Short D3 “Dark Triad” Personality Inventory - a measure of three related “dark and socially destructive” personality traits: Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy. "
politics  ethics  morality  personality  libertarianism  conservatism 
august 2011
Tory ideology renders modern Britain a mystery | Speculative Humbug
"And, as ever, the problem – the obstacle to the government’s comprehension of the tensions manifesting among the populace – is a crude individualism, for which a society is nothing but an aggregate of autonomous, freely acting individuals. From such a perspective, this rioting loses its significance as a symptom. The social field is rendered devoid of structure and depth."
riots  city(London)  protests  social  reductionism  individualism 
august 2011
Rationally Speaking: On ethics, part I: Moral philosophy’s third way
"For me, moral philosophy is about a type of reasoning, which — like all reasoning, and particularly the logico-mathematical variety — begins with certain assumptions (which can, of course, in turn be scrutinized, empirically or logically) and attempts to unpack the logical consequences of such assumptions. Occasionally, some of those consequences lead to incoherence, or to unfruitful results, in which case one may want to (very cautiously) go back and revise a sub-set of the assumptions themselves before resuming the process. (This is a common procedure in philosophical reasoning, the above mentioned reflective equilibrium.)"
ethics  philosophy  metaethics  relativism  eliminativism  nihilism  morality 
august 2011
Kenneth Train's Home Page
A Distant Learning Course on Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation
statistics  analysis  learning  discrete  choice  conjoint-analysis 
august 2011
The Sorcerer's Apprentice: On the rioting in London
"The current left is irrelevant, precisely because its first gesture, is to join with the powerful, in condemning it. It shows that the leadership of the current left is, in fact, on the side of oppression, so long as their own place in that oppression is more reasonable."
riots  city(London)  leftism  liberalism  law  failure  progressive 
august 2011
Home Economics and the Nation Against the State | Savage Minds
"What does it mean that people are inclined to think of the federal budget in the subjunctive, as if it were like the budget of a typical household? What “work” does it do for the people who espouse it?"
economics  metaphor  politics  state  family  nation  anthropology  culture  common-sense 
august 2011
Predicting Premeditation: Future Behavior is Seen as More Intentional than Past Behavior by Zachary Burns, Eugene Caruso, Daniel Bartels :: SSRN
"People‟s intuitions about the underlying causes of past and future actions might not be the same. In three studies, we demonstrate that people judge the same behavior as more intentional when it will be performed in the future than when it has been performed in the past. We found this temporal asymmetry in perceptions of both the strength of an individual‟s intention and the overall prevalence of intentional behavior in a population. Because of its heightened intentionality, people thought the same transgression deserved more severe punishment when it would occur in the future than when it did occur in the past. The difference in judgments of both intentionality and punishment were partly explained by the stronger emotional reactions that were elicited in response to future actions than past actions. We consider the implications of this temporal asymmetry for legal decision making and theories of attribution more generally. "
future  perception  intention  intentionality  law  temporal  explanation  behavior  social-psychology 
august 2011
Approaching Pavonis Mons by balloon
"Alastair Reynolds, former scientist and now full-time writer. Most of what I write is science fiction, with a strong concern for scientific verisimilitude.."
weblog-individual  author  sf 
august 2011
Brainstorm - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"The pattern applies to the cultural materials on the syllabus. If teachers want students to discern the implicit meanings in commercial images, they should have students study images of more complexity and subtlety. A few days with images taken from great photography and film will equip them to “read” music videos much more effectively than will a few days with those videos themselves. Poetry by Alexander Pope and Edna St. Vincent Millay will do more for students’ verbal cognizance than will political advertisements and Twitter tweets.

This is the immediate virtue of anti-relevance. If teachers want to raise critical thinking about contemporary mass culture, they should expose students to past high culture."
education  pedagogy  culture  english  critical-thinking 
august 2011
A Point Everyone Has Already Made | Easily Distracted
"Any given episode of riot is brimming over with contingency. One is as near and present as one person throwing a brick through a window and as far away as an old lady shaking a shaming finger at a neighbor poised with a brick in his hand. Given the dire combination of circumstances in most 21st Century societies, it’s as safe to predict that there will be a riot next week, next year, next decade as it is to predict that the weather is going to change and the seasons will come. So yes, change that combination of circumstances and you’ll change the weather, but damn if there aren’t a lot of interacting elements to consider."
riots  city(London)  complexity  sociology  explanation  punishment  law 
august 2011
One small question that can change your life - The M.A.P. Maker
"Is this choice moving me closer or distancing me from my goal?"

Simple as that. One little question with two potential answers, asked over and over and over again, will effectively keep you on track and moving in the right direction. You can replace "goal" with "the life I want to create," or "my vision," or whatever else your big picture inspiration might look like, but the basic concept is the same. "
self-help  inspiration  tips  choice 
august 2011
The Fed Dissenters, Or: Examining Narayana Kocherlakota’s Gut. | Rortybomb
"There it is. Job creators hate future taxes, and unemployment insurance has left our workforce weak, so don’t expect unemployment to come down anytime soon.

For all the fancy math, this logic is very similar to Fisher. ”Now suppose that, for the reasons just mentioned, p fell by 10 percent in the past three years and z increased by 0.05 during this period” is about as close to a “gut” feeling and “gut” reasoning as you can get. This appears to be how one of the most powerful people in the world for determining the future of the United States’ economy is determining his dissent from Bernanke’s position."
unemployment  decision-making  models  econometrics  macroeconomic  economics  recession 
august 2011
Jacobin a magazine of culture and polemic
Jacobin is a magazine of culture and polemic that Edmund Burke ceaselessly berates on his Twitter page. Each of our issue’s contents are pored over in taverns and other houses of ill-repute and best enjoyed with a well-shaken can of lukewarm beer.
august 2011
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