Economic Psychology

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Economic Psychology

How and why markets aren't rational. Navigational tips for charting the Bermuda Triangle of human economic behavior.

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Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
Time: Not a grid, but a wave, or - in this case - a vortex.
This opinion piece, from the Washington Post, missed the mark, and widely at that. The author, Dana Milbank, argues that Bernie Saunders may be right about the need for a revolution, but "As Sanders is learning, you can’t have a populist revolution without people."

Oh really? How soon we forget (viz, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana (1905) Reason in Common Sense, p. 284, volume 1 of The Life of Reason).

Remember the 'opiate of the masses'? The concept has a life of its own and a shape-shifting role. The Telecommunications Act of 1996, esp. Title 3  set the stage for the gutting of the news business and its takeover by corporate titans with a decided stake in keeping the people inert. It is the new opiate of the masses.

There's no accident here, nor is there any evidence that the human spirit has suddenly gone flaccid. Telecom 1996, which replaced the Communications Act of 1934, is in so many ways analogous to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which gutted Glass-Steagall - among other legal protections preventing crashes like those of 1929 and 2008. 

Who was behind Telecom 1996 and Gramm-Leach-Bliley? The constituency was/is one and the same: those who favor conglomeration of power and money to further their own ends. To be clear, I am suggesting that in the current era, corporate bosses either hire reporters blind to the bigger picture - or censor those who are not - to please advertisers like the Kochs. You don't really need that many actual human beings in a world where "corporations are people, my friend." Therein lies the rub.

Cartoon penned by Joseph Keppler and published in the January 23, 1889 issue of Puck

Plus ça change...

Worker Autonomy
It should come as no surprise that greater autonomy* leads to greater worker productivity and satisfaction, especially when the type of work is complex or requires more creativity. Yet, in my experience, it is something that few managers are willing to grant. In this fascinating, nuanced article, Rick Nauert PhD describes research conducted by two professors at Concordia University in Montreal, CA. Among other things, the article discusses what autonomy means in different cultures.

A must-read for anyone who cares about effective management and/or working well with people from across the globe.

* Definitions, cobbled together from various dictionaries: immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority, freedom to act independently based on one’s own judgment; the right or power to govern oneself.

Audacity Rules
Paul Krugman ++   Focus Hocus Pocus
True Dat!