Weekly Roundup 102: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web
Handpicked to satisfy your intellectual curiosity!
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Must Read Articles!!!
Teaching Rats To Become Traders - via Rat Traders.com – The following text and pictures illustrate an experiment I carried out that involved training laboratory standard rats in trading in the Foreign Exchange and Commodity Futures markets, with the result that I managed to outperform some of the world’ s leading Human Fund managers. The conceptualizing, training, and organization of data was hard work- I broke it down into different steps:
The Devil Made Me Do It: A Look at The Salem Witch Hunts (Video) - via Good – Many people were persecuted and slain in America and Europe in the late 1600s, but the Salem witch hunts of 1692 are uniquely haunting. A town named for peace or “Shalom,” Salem, Massachusetts, still serves as a reminder of the dark side of human nature and our human history of persecution of innocent people who don’t follow the norm. It’s also a good example of how fear can be the quicksand of society and spread into blood-stained pandemonium—something we can still find examples of to this day. As part of a look at the tapestry of American experiences, we traveled to Salem to speak with experts on that period, and view the fields of Gallow Hill where 19 women and men, some as old as 70, were put on trial and killed. In a time of chaos that coined the term “the devil made me do it,” those who confessed to witchcraft had a better chance of living than those who denied it. Filming this reminded me of the modern day iterations of the same paranoia and persecution model. From the McCarthy hearings and the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans in WWII or more subtly in places such as school bullying and even our politics where the term “witch” is trending—fear of those who are “different” is still a sword by which many innocent people are attacked. It makes me wonder, what is the nature of fear? And what are we afraid of anyway?
The first study of inattentional blindness? - via Invisible Gorilla – I’ve just added a new post on what might well be the first series of studies documenting inattentional blindness. It comes from an unlikely source, but it’s seasonally appropriate. Check it out.
Why your desk job is slowly killing you -via MSN Health-Do you lead an active lifestyle or a sedentary one? The question is simple, but the answer may not be as obvious as you think. Let’s say, for example, you’re a busy guy who works 60 hours a week at a desk job but who still manages to find time for five 45-minute bouts of exercise. Most experts would label you as active. (Put your body to the test: 10 standards to assess your fitness level.) But Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., has another name for you: couch potato. Perhaps “exercising couch potato” would be more accurate, but Hamilton, a physiologist and professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, would still classify you as sedentary. “People tend to view physical activity on a single continuum,” he says. “On the far side, you have a person who exercises a lot; on the other, a person who doesn’t exercise at all. However, they’re not necessarily polar opposites.”
Letters in Words Are Read Simultaneously, Not in Left-to-Right Sequence – via Sagepub
Information Search in Decisions From Experience: Do Our Patterns of Sampling Foreshadow Our Decisions? – via Sage – Do different patterns of sampling influence the decisions people make, even when the information the decisions are based on is equivalent? Do more and less switching between options correlate with different kinds of decision policies? In past research, the correspondence between search and decision patterns has been difficult to ascertain because the information obtained has often been confounded with its consequences in an exploration-exploitation trade-off. We used a sampling task in which information is explored prior to being exploited. We found that search patterns did reveal decision policies. Individuals who transitioned more frequently between options were more likely to choose options that win most of the time in round-wise comparisons and were more likely to underweight rare, risky events. Less switching between options was associated with choosing options that win in the long run on the basis of summary comparisons—decisions consistent with expected-value maximization and linear weighting of outcomes.
Malcolm Gladwell: Taxes Were High and Life Was Just Fine - via Openculture – Malcolm Gladwell, the bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, has lost some friends lately among geeks (term used lovingly, if not self-referentially) and conservatives. First came the suggestion that Twitter hasn’t made human change agents obsolete. We still need MLKs and Gandhis to change the world. And then, speaking at The New Yorker Festival earlier this month, Gladwell had to remind us of an inconvenient historical fact. During the Eisenhower presidency, taxes on the wealthiest Americans peaked at 91% (more than double what they are today). And, even more galling, life in America was just fine, even downright good.
Guiltless Gluttony: The Asymmetric Effect of Size Labels on Size Perceptions and Consumption - via JCR – Size labels adopted by food vendors can have a major impact on size judgments and consumption. In forming size judgments, consumers integrate the actual size information from the stimuli with the semantic cue from the size label. Size labels influence not only size perception and actual consumption, they also affect perceived consumption. Size labels can also result in relative perceived size reversals, so that consumers deem a smaller package to be bigger than a larger one. Further, consumers are more likely to believe a label that professes an item to be smaller (vs. larger) in the size range associated with that item. This asymmetric effect of size labels can result in larger consumption without the consumer even being aware of it (“guiltless gluttony”).
Why do so few people buy long-term care insurance? - via Economic Logic – On a regular basis, my employer offers workshops and sign-up drive for long-term care insurance. I have never bothered with it, and I do not think any of my colleagues has. Yet, it makes perfect sense to participate: the likelihood that one needs long-term care, either with a visiting nurse or in a nursing home, is high and expensive. Yet, this is an eventuality that is so far away that it is discounted heavily from our minds.
Risk, uncertainty and prophet: The psychological insights of Frank H. Knight - via JDM -Economist Frank H. Knight (1885–1972) is commonly credited with defining the distinction between decisions under “risk” (known chance) and decisions under “uncertainty” (unmeasurable probability) in his 1921 book Risk, Uncertainty and Profit. A closer reading of Knight (1921) reveals a host of psychological insights beyond this risk-uncertainty distinction, many of which foreshadow revolutionary advances in psychological decision theory from the latter half of the 20th century. Knight’s description of economic decision making shared much with Simon’s (1955, 1956) notion of bounded rationality, whereby choice behavior is regulated by cognitive and environmental constraints. Knight described features of risky choice that were to become key components of prospect theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979): the reference dependent valuation of outcomes, and the non-linear weighting of probabilities. Knight also discussed several biases in human decision making, and pointed to two systems of reasoning: one quick, intuitive but error prone, and a slower, more deliberate, rule-based system. A discussion of Knight’s potential contribution to psychological decision theory emphasises the importance of a historical perspective on theory development, and the potential value of sourcing ideas from other disciplines or from earlier periods of time.
The Meaning of Halloween-Candy Psychopath Stories - via Atlantic – The whole point of Halloween for kids these days is taking candy from strangers. Of course, that’s just what we are never supposed to do. To protect children from the dangers of strangers’ candies, parents everywhere are on high alert for the menace sometimes known as the “Halloween sadist.” You know the one—that psychopath who uses the occasion of trick-or-treat as an opportunity to poison the neighborhood kiddies with strychnine-laced Pixie Stix and razor blade-studded caramels. Every piece of candy is guilty until proven innocent by thorough examination…..The idea that someone, even a greedy child, might consume candies hiding razor blades and needles without noticing seems to strain credulity. And how, exactly, a person might go about coating a jelly bean with arsenic or lacing a molasses chew with Drano has never been clear to me. Yet it is an undisputed fact of Halloween hygiene: Unwrapped candy is the number-one suspect. If Halloween candy is missing a wrapper, or if the wrapper seems loose or flimsy, the candy goes straight into the trash.
Not All Biases Are Created Equal - via Streetwise Professor – Matt Ridley, discussing a paper Slavisa Tasic presented at the Instituto Bruno Leoni conference at which Renee also presented*, reminds us that regulators can have cognitive biases too. This is a pretty unexceptional point. But it raises the question. If both individual decision makers in markets and regulators are both subject to cognitive biases, isn’t it kind of a push? I say no. Decisively no. For two reasons. First, the feedback mechanisms are different. Individual decision makers are subject to market feedback, and this feedback is often quick and ruthless. For instance, an individual trader who uses a biased decision rule is likely to lose money, and often a lot of money. Indeed, those who get rich in these markets often do so at the expense of the fools–or should I say, the cognitively biased/impaired? Evolutionary rationality often trumps individual irrationality.
Miguel’s Favorite Articles
Dan Ariely: More on resilience - via Predictably Irrational – A couple months ago, I wrote about a study showing that those who had experienced a little (but not too much) adversity were better at handling physical pain than their pain-free counterparts. Now, a new study finds the same trend – but with mental health and wellbeing. It seems that both physical and mental resilience can be achieved through a healthy amount of adversity. When we face hard times, we adapt and build a callous that helps us take on future challenges.
Group effectiveness and intelligence - via Information Processing – A colleague sent me this interesting Science paper on the effectiveness of groups at solving problems. The effectiveness of a particular group, while not strongly correlated with the average or maximum intelligence of group members, does depend on the nature of social interactions. I think this could be generalized to large societies as well — some societies with less human capital might nevertheless be more effective for other reasons related to individual tendencies for cooperation or mode of organization (communism vs market economies is an obvious example). Some academic departments have a very low collective intelligence, not just due to the individual average.
Video: The Secret Life of Beef - via good – It’s part of INFORM’s Secret Life Series, which has explored the environmental impact of cell phones and paper. And this one tackles the environmental impact of the cattle industry in seven minutes. From butchers to farmers, the interviewees all suggest cutting back on the beef—whether that’s going meatless on Mondays or selectively eating grass-fed meats. Is that enough to make a difference? What do you think?
A misdirection of mind - via MindHacks – Scientific American has an excellent video where two neuroscientists and a street magician with remarkable pickpocketing skills explain how illusionists manipulate our attention. It’s a hugely entertaining piece and really highlights how the idea of ‘sleight of hand’ is itself a misdirection, as the most important of the magician’s manipulations is to alter where we focus and what we expect.
What’s the chance that a man’s kids are not really his, biologically? – via Bakadesuyo – In the past many studies on nonpaternity were done by looking at the results of DNA tests. Makes sense on the surface, right? Only problem is nobody thought about What kind of men get DNA tests in the first place? Men who think they have something to worry about. And as Saad explains, they may be on to something.
Procrastination - via You are not so smart – The Misconception: You procrastinate because you are lazy and can’t manage your time well. The Truth: Procrastination is fueled by weakness in the face of impulse and a failure to think about thinking. Netflix reveals something about your own behavior you should have noticed by now, something which keeps getting between you and the things you want to accomplish.
How Smokers Think about Death – via SciAM – Jamie Arndt, a psychologist at the University of Missouri, had student smokers complete questionnaires designed to induce either thoughts of their own mortality or thoughts about failing an exam. Then the researchers offered the students a cigarette and measured every person’s smoking intensity—each puff’s volume, flow and duration. Students who did not smoke often indeed smoked with less passion after being reminded of their own mortality, as compared with the light smokers who read about failing an exam. As Arndt explains, the infrequent smokers may have been responding to thoughts of death by trying to reduce their own vulnerability. But students who were heavy smokers reacted to thoughts of death by taking even harder drags on their cigarettes. Arndt suggests they might have been subconsciously attempting to dispel a negative mood with an enjoyable activity. Although the reason is unclear, the finding suggests that the psychology involved in smoking and thinking about death is more complicated than previously assumed. Therefore, graphic warning labels on cigarettes might not have the intended effect on everyone who sees them.
New Evidence Supports Snowball Earth as Trigger for Early Animal Evolution - via NSF – Spike in ancient marine phosphorus concentrations linked to emergence of complex life
Is Ideology Psychology? - via Columbia – Skeptics have cast doubt on decades of findings that suggest deep-seated fundamental differences between conservatives and liberals do exist, in part because most studies linking personality to political affiliation have relied on self-reported data, which often doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. When asked, you might say — and honestly believe — that you vigilantly recycle at every opportunity, but an impartial observer might find your true vigilance considerably lower.
Planning Persuasion - via Influence @ Work – Yes” might just be the most beautiful word in the English language when we’re trying to persuade someone to take a particular course of action. But all too often, in cases in which there is a delay between Yes and when the course of action must be taken (e.g. “Yes, I’ll be sure to bring up your proposal in the meeting next week”), the person saying it fails to deliver on his or her promise. Fortunately, a new study points the way to a simple but often ignored strategy to encourage people to follow through with their initial commitments: Have them form a specific plan for where, when, and how they will go about accomplishing task, which researchers call implementation intentions.
Staying Healthy By Being Generous - via Uveal blues – Psychologist Liz Dunn spoke with us from the PopTech conference in Camden, Maine, about the link between greed and long-term health
Choosing the dealer in poker – is dealing to the first ace a fair system? - via Mind Your Decision – In Texas Holdem, sitting in the dealer position is a strategic advantage. The dealer position generally acts last in betting and is not forced to post blinds. For a game in progress, the dealer position rotates around the table after each hand. But at the start of the game, the dealer position is simply assigned to one player. So who gets to be dealer initially?
Focus: A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction - By Leo Babauta – via Value Investing World – Today I’m happy to share with you the digital version of my new book, focus. It’s about finding simplicity in this Age of Distraction. It’s about finding the focus you need to create, to work on what’s important, to reflect, to find peace. And it comes in two flavors: free and premium.
What Kind of Stories Are the Media Failing to Cover? - via Freakonomics – Dan Froomkin of the Nieman Watchdog Project interviews William K. Black about the media’s underreporting of fraud cases. Black, a regulator and professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, outlined nine stories he thinks are currently being underreported. The majority of them concern fraud: mortgage fraud, consciously fraudulent lending practices, lack of prosecution, “echo” epidemics of fraud, and the “ongoing massive cover-up of losses on bad assets.” Black also laments the “continued absence of effective regulation,” writing that “It should be scandalous that Obama left in charge, or even promoted, the anti-regulators who permitted the Great Recession. The (failed) anti-regulator of Fannie and Freddie, for example, remains FHFA’s acting director.”
Are We Social Even in the Womb? - via Freakonomics – Humans are social creatures, or so the psychologists tell us. But when does that social behavior start? Is it biological or cultural? A new study from a team of psychologists examines the behavior of twins in utero, and finds that “by the 14th week of gestation, unborn twins are already directing arm movements at each other, and by the 18th week these ’social’ gestures have increased to 29 percent of all observed movements. In contrast, the proportion of self-directed actions reduced over the same period.” The “kinetics” of the fetuses’ gestures towards each other was also “longer-lasting and slower to decelerate” than other fetal movements, which indicates that “the fetuses recognise on some level that there is something special about their twin.” Note, however, the tiny sample size (only five sets of twins).
Social networks, bubbles and market memes - via Abnormal Returns – How do ideas cross over from one social group to the next? It is an interesting question especially in light of the growth of social networks like Facebook and Twitter. This is also important to investors as well because it can be indicative of when an investment theme has reached a bubble-like state.
Interpersonal Sensitivity, Status, and Stereotype Accuracy - via Sagepub – A classic question in social and organizational psychology is whether low-status persons are more accurate in the perception of their high-status partners than the latter are in their perception of their subordinates. In a series of studies, Snodgrass (1985, 1992) tested this idea. She found that subordinates were more accurate at judging how their bosses viewed them than bosses were at judging how their subordinates viewed them, but that bosses were more accurate at judging how subordinates viewed themselves than subordinates were at judging how bosses viewed themselves. We believe, however, that these results were obscured by stereotype accuracy. Using previously collected data, we found that stereotype accuracy does lead to the pattern previously observed by Snodgrass. We also discovered that when we controlled for stereotype accuracy, subordinates’ perceptions were generally more accurate than those of their bosses, which supports Snodgrass’s original hypothesis.
When in doubt, shout – why shaking someone’s beliefs turns them into stronger advocates - via Discover -You don’t have to look very far for examples of people holding on to their beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Thousands still hold to the idea that vaccines cause autism, that all life was created a few thousand years ago, and even that drinking industrial bleach is a good idea. Look at comment threads across the internet and you’ll inevitably find legions of people who boldly support for these ideas in the face of any rational argument.
Is there a connection between atheism and intelligence? - via Bakadesuyo – Evidence is reviewed pointing to a negative relationship between intelligence and religious belief in the United States and Europe. It is shown that intelligence measured as psychometric g is negatively related to religious belief. We also examine whether this negative relationship between intelligence and religious belief is present between nations. We find that in a sample of 137 countries the correlation between national IQ and disbelief in God is 0.60.
What personality traits predict higher income and job satisfaction? - via Bakadesuyo- Measured concurrently, emotionally stable and conscientious participants reported higher incomes and job satisfaction. Longitudinal analyses revealed that, among younger participants, higher income at baseline predicted decreases in Neuroticism and baseline Extraversion predicted increases in income across the 10 years. Results suggest that the mutual influence of career success and personality is limited to income and occurs early in the career.
How to turn data into money - via Pete Search – The most important unsolved question for Big Data startups is how to make money. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on this, having discovered a thousand ways not to do it over the last two years. Here’s my hierarchy showing the stages from raw data to cold, hard cash:
It’s Alive!: Animate Motion Captures Visual Attention - via Sagepub- Across humans’ evolutionary history, detecting animate entities in the visual field (such as prey and predators) has been critical for survival. One of the defining features of animals is their motion—self-propelled and self-directed. Does such animate motion capture visual attention? To answer this question, we compared the time to detect targets involving objects that were moving predictably as a result of collisions (inanimate motion) with the time to detect targets involving objects that were moving unpredictably, having been in no such collisions (animate motion). Across six experiments, we consistently found that targets involving objects that underwent animate motion were responded to more quickly than targets involving objects that underwent inanimate motion. Moreover, these speeded responses appeared to be due to the perceived animacy of the objects, rather than due to their uniqueness in the display or involvement of a top-down strategy. We conclude that animate motion does indeed capture visual attention.
Monte Carlo Simulation or Nuclear Bust - PsyFi Blog – So what is this method? Well models generate a deterministic response when provided with the same input: if you put the same x in you always get the same y out. In the real world, though, many systems never actually receive the same x more than once and that means that the outputs can’t really be predicted because we can’t try every single input. The real-world tends to be infinite, not conveniently bounded. A Monte Carlo model basically works by identifying a set of possible inputs, selecting from them at random, applying these to the model and then analysing the output. A simple example is a game of battleships where your opponent has a bunch of “ships” somewhere in a grid and you have to guess where they are. Your set of possible inputs are the grid co-ordinates and if you select from these at random, apply them to the model and analyse the results you end up with some kind of approximation of what the actual configuration of ships on the grid looks like.
How the brain makes us feel - via Body in Mind – Bud Craig’s 2009 paper: How do you feel—now? The anterior insula and human awareness brings together findings of numerous authors in a discussion of functional imaging of the anterior insular cortex (AIC) and the starring role it plays in human awareness. The groundwork for this recent Perspective, and arguably for much of the research in the field, was laid by Craig himself back in 2002 when he discussed interoception—our sense of the physiological condition of our physical body.
Automation Insurance: Robots Are Replacing Middle Class Jobs – via good- The middle class is disappearing and the problem is deeper than politics. How will we understand work in the coming age of robotics?
By the Book- How telephone directories transformed America - Via Reason – Hollywood had a record year at the box office in 2009, but its $10 billion in revenues was only 66 percent of what the U.S. yellow pages industry generated last year. Remarkable as it is that clip-art display ads crafted by Topeka window cleaners are a more vital economic engine than all the CGI James Cameron can dump onto an IMAX screen, no one cares. According to Ammon Shea, author of the newly published The Phone Book: The Curious History of the Book That Everyone Uses But No One Reads, he is the first person to write an entire book about phone directories.
Happy Halloween? - via Psych Science – At Halloween, we spend a good deal of time and money in pursuit of thrills and chills. From haunted houses and slasher movies to ghoulish get-ups, we love to be scared. At first glance, these fear-seeking behaviors seem contrary to our basic instincts of self-preservation. But it could be that they are vestiges of our genetic and environmental past, and that it pays to enjoy a bit of a thrill! Read more in the Observer article “We Love to Be Scared on Halloween But Fears and Phobias Are No Laughing Matter.”
The Art of Medicine – via Brain Blogger – The health care system and its practitioners are under increasing pressure to provide efficient, effective, and consistent care to patients. Patients want to be treated as an individual, not a case number; insurance companies want to pay the least amount of money possible for services; and physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other practitioners want to provide the best care they can. Today, these constraints limit the ability of the health care provider to provide creative, innovative care and, instead, marginalize patients to an algorithm to treat their symptoms. Now, more than ever, fostering creativity may be the best way to improve the health care system.
The Intelligent Investor: Why Your Adviser Is Scared to Set You Straight - via WSJ – “The stampede into bonds… may be intensifying. A recent survey of financial advisers by Charles Schwab found that 77% planned….Yet bond prices are near all-time highs and future returns are likely to shrink. Financial advisers contend that one of their most important functions is encouraging clients to ‘rebalance,’ or sell whatever has gone up and buy whatever has gone down. The TD Ameritrade and Schwab numbers suggest, however, that financial advisers have been unbalancing instead of rebalancing their clients’ accounts. ”
Halloween best time to buy shares - via Finance professor – “A Massey University research team say their study supports the ‘Halloween Indicator’ theory – which suggests investors get the best bang for their buck if they only buy stock after November and sell by May. Professor Ben Jacobsen and finance PhD student Cherry Zhang, from the university’s School of Economics and Finance, reviewed 300 years of data from the British stock exchange from 1693.”
Video: Dave McClure: What Is Your Plan to Make Money? - via Fora.tv- Free is not forever. Your company can’t survive if you don’t charge your customers something. The internet doesn’t have to be FREE. Google is making 2.5 Billion per quarter. Zynga is making (a reported) 50 million per month. As an entrepreneur, you need to think hard, plan strategically and in control of your own revenue future. Just because the crowd is saying Freemium is the way to go doesn’t mean you have to follow the followers.
The Snow/Leverage Connection - via Infectious Greed – Economists often argue that reducing a debt overhang improves borrowers’ incentives and thus performance. This paper provides empirical support for this argument using a sample of Austrian ski hotels undergoing debt restructurings. The vast majority of the hotels experience substantial debt forgiveness, resulting in significant reductions in leverage of about 23% on average. These reductions in leverage, in turn, cause statistically and economically significant improvements in operating performance of about 28% on average. Changes in leverage during the debt restructurings are instrumented with the level of snow in the years prior to the debt restructurings, based on the argument that if a ski hotel had only little snow in the years prior, then the causes for the hotel’s distress are more likely exogenous. The effect of snow is both statistically and economically significant: a one-standard deviation increase in snow is associated with a reduction in leverage of about 23% on average.
Who really rescued General Motors? - via Malcolm Gladwell – “Overhaul” is not a Washington memoir, even though it is set in Washington, and it involves one of the most deeply politicized issues in recent memory. It is a Wall Street memoir, a book about one of the biggest private-equity deals in history. The result is fascinating—although perhaps not entirely in the ways that its author intended.
The Big Lie About Social Security - via NYRB – With the midterm elections days away, Republicans and quite a few Democrats have once again been attacking Social Security for running up the federal deficit. The president’s own deficit commission is likely to make Social Security reform a priority. In view of all the rhetoric, voters may be surprised to find out how little Social Security will actually contribute to the future budget gap. In fact, most would probably be stunned.
The Documentary BP Wants You to Disregard – via Propublica- ProPublica and PBS FRONTLINE having been working since June on a documentary about BP’s safety record that will air on most PBS stations at 9 p.m. Tuesday. (Check local listings ). ProPublica will also publish an investigation detailing the company’s missteps and one EPA attorney’s decade-long effort to force BP to improve its operations and comply with federal law.
The Press and the Public Sphere: Magazine Entrepreneurs in Antebellum America – via Ucal-How has access to the public sphere been affected by the rise of mass media? We address this question by studying magazines in America from the eighteenth century, when all periodicals had small circulations, to the mid-nineteenth century, when many reached mass audiences. Specifically, we investigate how the social positions of those who founded new magazines changed over this period. Previous research is divided on whether the rise of mass media made it more difficult for non-elites and industry outsiders to launch new magazines by creating large and powerful publishing houses, or made it easier by fostering acceptance of magazines as legitimate cultural products and improving access to resources needed for publishing. Using Goodman’s (1972) modification of multiple regression for the analysis of categorical data, we examine whether magazine founders were increasingly drawn from social elite and from inside publishing, or from an increasingly broad swath of society. We find that magazine publishing was originally restricted to industry insiders, elite professionals, and the highly educated, but after the rise of mass media, most founders came from outside publishing and more were of middling stature – mostly small-town doctors and clergy without college degrees. We also find that magazines founded by industry insiders remained concentrated in the major publishing centers, while magazines founded by outsiders became geographically dispersed.
Modeling Financial Crises: A Schematic Approach - via Texas Christian -What is now known as Post Keynesian economics began with John Maynard Keynes’ efforts to explain the greatest crisis in the history of capitalism. Among his conclusions were that such incidents were systemic and that, unless serious reforms were implemented, they would tend to grow in frequency and severity. Today, we again find ourselves in the midst of global financial collapse. Addressing our current problems and protecting ourselves from repeat performances requires that we understand the essential character of crises.
Withering Academia? - via Policy Pointers – This 18-page working paper argues that strong forces are leading to a withering of academia as it exists today. The paper identifies the major causal forces
Some Big Companies Assuming Pension Returns of 9%-10% - via Research Recap – If someone promised annualized returns of 9% to 10% in today’s economy you’d be right to be skeptical. So why are big companies such as General Mills, First Energy, Johnson & Johnson and Honeywell assuming such a high level of return on their pension funds? Audit Integrity’s Jim Kaplan gives his opinion in this guest post excerpted from his latest Chairman’s Corner.