Archive:
Economics

Bertrand Russell’s chicken (and why it was not an economist)

How introspection can lead to greater understanding — and how it may not.

The chicken that is fed by the farmer each morning may well have a theory that it will always be fed each morning – it becomes a ‘law’. And it works every day, until the day the chicken is instead slaughtered.

…Economics is at a disadvantage compared to the physical sciences because we cannot do so many types of experiments (although we are doing more and more), but we have another source of evidence: introspection… why is the farmer doing this? What is in it for him? If I was the farmer, why would I do this? And of course trying to answer that question might have led them to the unfortunate truth.

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AI don’t kill people, people do

Reflections on whether technological advances will ‘take our jobs’.

…[I]n Western societies, technical advancement has allowed many of us to extricate ourselves from physical, dangerous and demeaning forms of work, and to create careers that are fulfilling beyond renumeration: creatively, intellectually, socially… “job satisfaction”.

Historically, technological advances haven’t meant humans losing jobs. But it has meant we have taken on increasingly complex and interesting jobs. Perhaps the future will bring us further job satisfaction.

That’s not a bad place to be at all. A reminder that we should be grateful for the luxury we have in being able to pursue a good career in the first place, rather than slaving away to make ends meet.

See also: Why you shouldn’t follow your passion

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Wealth inequality is even worse in reputation economies

Wealth inequality is even worse in reputation economies Cory Doctorow on how reputation economies (like the rating system satirised in the Black Mirror episode Nosedive) have a series of undesirable effects. ...reputation is useless as a hedge against the real nightmare of a setup like Ebay: the long con. It doesn’t cost much, nor does…

Read full article — Wealth inequality is even worse in reputation economies

Nick Clegg meets Richard Thaler: ‘All it would take to stop Brexit is a couple of dozen brave Tories’

Nick Clegg meets Richard Thaler: ‘All it would take to stop Brexit is a couple of dozen brave Tories’ The Guardian set Nick Clegg up for a Skype interview with Richard Thaler, who has recently been awarded the Nobel economics prize. Thaler was a big influence on the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition and it is clear…

Read full article — Nick Clegg meets Richard Thaler: ‘All it would take to stop Brexit is a couple of dozen brave Tories’