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tsuomela : opinion   46

Private Truths, Public Lies — Timur Kuran | Harvard University Press
"Preference falsification, according to the economist Timur Kuran, is the act of misrepresenting one’s wants under perceived social pressures. It happens frequently in everyday life, such as when we tell the host of a dinner party that we are enjoying the food when we actually find it bland. In Private Truths, Public Lies, Kuran argues convincingly that the phenomenon not only is ubiquitous but has huge social and political consequences. Drawing on diverse intellectual traditions, including those rooted in economics, psychology, sociology, and political science, Kuran provides a unified theory of how preference falsification shapes collective decisions, orients structural change, sustains social stability, distorts human knowledge, and conceals political possibilities. A common effect of preference falsification is the preservation of widely disliked structures. Another is the conferment of an aura of stability on structures vulnerable to sudden collapse. When the support of a policy, tradition, or regime is largely contrived, a minor event may activate a bandwagon that generates massive yet unanticipated change. In distorting public opinion, preference falsification also corrupts public discourse and, hence, human knowledge. So structures held in place by preference falsification may, if the condition lasts long enough, achieve increasingly genuine acceptance. The book demonstrates how human knowledge and social structures co-evolve in complex and imperfectly predictable ways, without any guarantee of social efficiency. Private Truths, Public Lies uses its theoretical argument to illuminate an array of puzzling social phenomena. They include the unexpected fall of communism, the paucity, until recently, of open opposition to affirmative action in the United States, and the durability of the beliefs that have sustained India’s caste system."
economics  opinion  silence  protest  spiral-of-silence 
february 2017 by tsuomela
Facebook Home Propaganda Makes Selfishness Contagious | Wired Opinion |
"The new ads for Facebook Home are propaganda clips. Transforming vice into virtue, they’re social engineering spectacles that use aesthetic tricks to disguise the profound ethical issues at stake. This isn’t an academic concern: Zuckerberg’s vision (as portrayed by the ads) is being widely embraced — if the very recent milestone of half a million installations is anything to go by."
facebook  ethics  propaganda  selfishness  opinion  social-networking 
april 2013 by tsuomela
The Leviathan Model
"We propose an opinion dynamics model that combines processes of vanity and opinion propagation. The interactions take place between randomly chosen pairs. During an interaction, the agents propagate their opinions about themselves and about other people they know. Moreover, each individual is subject to vanity: if her interlocutor seems to value her highly, then she increases her opinion about this interlocutor. On the contrary she tends to decrease her opinion about those who seem to undervalue her. The combination of these dynamics with the hypothesis that the opinion propagation is more efficient when coming from highly valued individuals, leads to different patterns when varying the parameters. For instance, for some parameters the positive opinion links between individuals generate a small world network. In one of the patterns, absolute dominance of one agent alternates with a state of generalised distrust, where all agents have a very low opinion of all the others (including themselves). We provide some explanations of the mechanisms behind these emergent behaviors and finally propose a discussion about their interest. "
agent-based-model  complexity  model  social  opinion  self-perception  networks 
february 2013 by tsuomela
Rate This Article: What’s Wrong with the Culture of Critique | Magazine
"Technoculture critic and former Wired contributor Erik Davis is concerned about the proliferation of reviews, too. “Our culture is afflicted with knowingness,” he says. “We exalt in being able to know as much as possible. And that’s great on many levels. But we’re forgetting the pleasures of not knowing. I’m no Luddite, but we’ve started replacing actual experience with someone else’s already digested knowledge.”"
technology  computer  online  culture  reviews  knowledge  opinion  filtering 
august 2011 by tsuomela
Shibboleths — Crooked Timber
"My feeling (derived largely from observations on climate change and creationism, which raise similar questions) is that we can distinguish numerous different belief states that go along with birtherist answers to opinion poll questions."
agnotology  ignorance  politics  epistemology  epistemic-closure  conservatism  opinion  obama 
february 2011 by tsuomela
Thomas Friedman's Latest Entry In The Long History Of American “declinism.” | The New Republic
For whatever reason, it is clear that for more than half a century, many of America’s leading commentators have had a powerful impulse consistently to see the United States as a weak, “bred out” basket case that will fall to stronger rivals as inevitably as Rome fell to the barbarians, or France to Henry V at Agincourt.
america  decline  declension-narrative  history  elite  opinion 
october 2010 by tsuomela
Manufactured Ignorance » American Scientist
There are other books treating the history of manufactured ignorance: Think of David Michaels’s Doubt Is Their Product (2008), Ross Gelbspan’s The Heat Is On (1997), James Hoggan’s Climate Cover-Up (2009), Chris Mooney’s The Republican War on Science (2009), David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz’s Deceit and Denial (2002), my own book Cancer Wars (1995), and a book I coedited with Londa Schiebinger—Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance (2008). But Oreskes and Conway’s book is the most powerful exploration to date of how climate-change denialists managed to infiltrate high ranks of the Republican establishment and to block the translation of scientific facts into intelligent action.
book  review  ignorance  agnotology  opinion  propaganda  denial  climate  global-warming  history  conservative  environment 
august 2010 by tsuomela
Open Left:: Drilling down into the manufacturing consensus
All the above shows strong and broad support for reviatilizing American manufacturing. And this support exists despite virtually no discussion of these issues in the Versailles media. The political potential for a pro-active manufacturing agenda is huge. The example of Germany shows how much there is to be gained economically. We call ourselves the "reality-based community". Will we live up to our name?
polls  economics  opinion  manufacturing  industrial-policy 
august 2010 by tsuomela
Deficits of Mass Destruction | The Nation
This all seems eerily familiar. The conversation—if it can be called that—about deficits recalls the national conversation about war in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. From one day to the next, what was once accepted by the establishment as tolerable—Saddam Hussein—became intolerable, a crisis of such pressing urgency that "serious people" were required to present their ideas about how to deal with it. Once the burden of proof shifted from those who favored war to those who opposed it, the argument was lost.

We are poised on the same tipping point with regard to the debt. Amid official unemployment of 9.5 percent and a global contraction, we shouldn't even be talking about deficits in the short run. Yet these days, entrance into the club of the "serious" requires not a plan for reducing unemployment but a plan to do battle with the invisible and as yet unmaterialized international bond traders preparing an attack on the dollar.
politics  deficit  federal  government  mainstream  opinion  propaganda  journalism 
july 2010 by tsuomela
The Gradest Generation: Do Boomers Pass Or Fail? : NPR
Baby boomers — which the Census Bureau defines as the group of 78 million or so people born between 1946 and 1964 — are obsessed with grades.

They rank everything: best to worst, least to most, zero to 100, A to F. They grade movies, hotels, beef, municipal bonds and restaurants — for the quality of food, for speed of service, for cleanliness. They mark up school essays and driving tests and citizenship exams. After the release of the 1979 movie 10, starring boomer Bo Derek, men and women began appraising each other on a 1-to-10 scale. The first Zagat survey also appeared in the late 1970s, featuring diners' ratings of cafes and restaurants. Entertainment Weekly, launched in 1990 by Time Inc. (sidebar), grades movies, books, TV shows, video games and other pop culture items on an A-to-F scale.
baby-boomers  generational-analysis  opinion  grading  politics  art  history 
may 2010 by tsuomela
Op-Ed Columnist - Root Canal Politics -
The meta-story behind the British election, the Greek meltdown and our own Tea Party is this: Our parents were “The Greatest Generation,” and they earned that title by making enormous sacrifices and investments to build us a world of abundance. My generation, “The Baby Boomers,” turned out to be what the writer Kurt Andersen called “The Grasshopper Generation.” We’ve eaten through all that abundance like hungry locusts.

Now we and our kids together need to become “The Regeneration” — one that raises incomes anew but in a way that is financially and ecologically sustainable. It will take a big adjustment.
economics  debt  government  budget  finance  opinion  politics  baby-boomers  generational-analysis 
may 2010 by tsuomela
Clive Thompson on Why We Should Learn the Language of Data | Magazine
Granted, thinking statistically is tricky. We like to construct simple cause-and-effect stories to explain the world as we experience it. “You need to train in this way of thinking. It’s not easy,” says John Allen Paulos, a Temple University mathematician.

That’s precisely the point. We often say, rightly, that literacy is crucial to public life: If you can’t write, you can’t think. The same is now true in math. Statistics is the new grammar.
statistics  education  science  opinion  mathematics 
may 2010 by tsuomela
The Space Review: essays and commentary about the final frontier
The Space Review is an online publication devoted to in-depth articles, commentary, and reviews regarding all aspects of space exploration: science, technology, policy, business, and more.
space  science  news  astronomy  technology  weblog-group  opinion 
april 2010 by tsuomela
From Inside and Out, Climate Panel Is Pushed to Change - Dot Earth Blog -
Internal discussions about the methods of the IPCC regarding outsider opinions, long-tail risks, and the notion of expertise.
climate  global-warming  science  policy  decision-making  transparency  ipcc  risk  long-tail  outliers  opinion  expertise 
january 2010 by tsuomela
Op-Ed Columnist - The Big Zero -
Paul Krugman on the 2000s as the decade of failure, disappointment, and delusion. "What was truly impressive about the decade past, however, was our unwillingness, as a nation, to learn from our mistakes."
opinion  2000s  commentary  economics  via:askpang 
december 2009 by tsuomela
Independents Take Center Stage in the Obama Era - Pew Research Center
Centrism has emerged as a dominant factor in public opinion as the Obama era begins. The political values and core attitudes that the Pew Research Center has monitored since 1987 show little overall ideological movement. Republicans and Democrats are even more divided than in the past, while the growing political middle is steadfastly mixed in its beliefs about government, the free market and other values that underlie views on contemporary issues and policies. Nor are there indications of a continuation of the partisan realignment that began in the Bush years. Both political parties have lost adherents since the election and an increasing number of Americans identify as independents.
politics  polls  opinion  public-opinion  independent  self-identification 
september 2009 by tsuomela
ASCII by Jason Scott / Opinion Spectrum Collapse Disorder
"As the accessibility of a conversation increases, so too does the spectrum of opinion brought to that conversation, until the opinions range along such a wide spectrum that the conversation simply cannot move forward. It will continue to grow, but like a tumor it is useless and for all purposes dead. It will not better anyone involved in it. The conversation has collapsed from the width of the spectrum of opinion."
online  culture  discussion  dialogue  conversation  opinion  flame-war  disagreement  community 
march 2009 by tsuomela
Guatemala News | Blame the Economists, Not Economics
column by Dani Rodrik
Economics' richness has not been reflected in public debate because economists have taken far too much license. Instead of presenting menus of options and listing the relevant trade-offs - which is what economics is about - economists have too often conveyed their own social and political preferences. Instead of being analysts, they have been ideologues, favoring one set of social arrangements over others.
economics  opinion  politics  crisis 
march 2009 by tsuomela
America the Banana Republic: Politics
These are people who want to be rewarded as if they were entrepreneurs. But they aren’t. They didn’t have anything at risk.

That’s almost exactly right, except that they did have something at risk. What they put at risk, though, was other people’s money and other people’s property. How very agreeable it must be to sit at a table in a casino where nobody seems to lose, and to play with a big stack of chips furnished to you by other people, and to have the further assurance that, if anything should ever chance to go wrong, you yourself are guaranteed by the tax dollars of those whose money you are throwing about in the first place! It’s enough to make a cat laugh. These members of the “business community” are indeed not buccaneering and risk-taking innovators. They are instead, to quote my old friend Nicholas von Hoffman about another era, those who were standing around with tubas in their arms on the day it began to rain money.
economics  opinion  commentary  crisis  bailout  risk  finance 
october 2008 by tsuomela
Op-Ed Columnist - Palin’s Kind of Patriotism -
I only wish she had been asked: “Governor Palin, if paying taxes is not considered patriotic in your neighborhood, who is going to pay for the body armor that will protect your son in Iraq? Who is going to pay for the bailout you endorsed? If it isn’t from tax revenues, there are only two ways to pay for those big projects — printing more money or borrowing more money. Do you think borrowing money from China is more patriotic than raising it in taxes from Americans?” That is not putting America first. That is selling America first.
taxes  tax-cuts  politics  opinion  commentary  patriotism 
october 2008 by tsuomela
When people feel powerful, they ignore new opinions, study finds
Don’t bother trying to persuade your boss of a new idea while he’s feeling the power of his position – new research suggests he’s not listening to you. “Powerful people have confidence in what they are thinking. Whether their thoughts are positi
psychology  power  business  social  confidence  opinion 
june 2008 by tsuomela

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