corrosive culture of cheating, plutocrats versus true capitalists, a dangerous combination – high risk appetite and low risk intelligence

Lies or lying is unavoidable. For those that try to live an ethical life the act of lying is a daily paradox. Your most cherished relationships, your livelihood and in some circumstances, your life is doomed without the white lie. These lies keep society going. Sometimes they are even virtuous when the choice is between telling a small lie or unleashing an unnecessary cruelty. There are also blatant lies, medium to large lies that are used to shift blame or avoid responsibility. These tend to be corrupting lies. they ripple out in circles of friends, in institutions and business. They could also be called selfish lies. They are also hard for even the most ethical to avoid. They have a direct relationship with money and power. The more of one or the other, usually both, the the larger the quantity and frequency. One of the consequences of mass communication, only amplified by the internet, is the massive explosion of blatant lies. The spotlight of public life makes some people feel they must lie for self preservation. And that is true to a large extent. Though preserving power and large incomes by way of lies is not virtuous. These big lies include a subcategory of lies of magnitude. If you’re a professional comedian large exaggerations are part of what makes something funny and the form itself is understood by a willing audience. The same allowance does not or should not apply to people who exaggerate a cold draft into a spirit from another dimension or claim that certain personal acts that harm no one will result in eternal damnation. We do not hear enough or discuss enough the self lie. People get into the habit of the self lie early. You really do not like that music but most of friends listen to it so you convince yourself it is good. The reverse also occurs. You listen to some country music secretly because none of your friends like it. Children as young four lie to avoid ‘getting into trouble’. Cheating is lying. We all do it. Though if these researchers are right, the phenomenon is so wide spread and goes so deep it is reason to be pessimistic about a world culture whose technological sophistication is moving and already has achieved in many ways, the level of science fiction fantasies. Why We Lie We like to believe that a few bad apples spoil the virtuous bunch. But research shows that everyone cheats a little—right up to the point where they lose their sense of integrity.

But that is not how dishonesty works. Over the past decade or so, my colleagues and I have taken a close look at why people cheat, using a variety of experiments and looking at a panoply of unique data sets—from insurance claims to employment histories to the treatment records of doctors and dentists. What we have found, in a nutshell: Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats—just by a little. Except for a few outliers at the top and bottom, the behavior of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations. On the one hand, we want to benefit from cheating and get as much money and glory as possible; on the other hand, we want to view ourselves as honest, honorable people. Sadly, it is this kind of small-scale mass cheating, not the high-profile cases, that is most corrosive to society.

postman by august sander

two girls by august sander

When Donald Trump, the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and Mitt Romney say they are pro capitalism, that is a lie. They make as much money as they can taking as many short cuts as possible. The way the average person understands capitalism is that making a good product or service is rewarded. Working hard and/or smart is rewarded. Producing some extra value with that work is virtuous. As these interlocking gears of work, service, products, value, competition and demand turn – stake holders, otherwise known as the vast number of workers from which all capital originates, are rewarded. If you believe in this cycle and that if done ethically it is a system that produces more good than harm, you’re a capitalist. if you support the economic visions of Romney, Trump et all, you’re a conservative or a libertarian. You believe in the plutocracy and the supposed virtue of oligopolies and monopolies, in cronyism and institutionalized corruption. Calling real capitalists Marxists is just a lame deflection. How Did Mitt Romney Get So Obscenely Rich? Robert Reich Explains

Is a good article on risk taking and probability good if its scary and gives you reason for hope. What Gamblers and Weather Forecasters Can Teach Us About Risk

Your book presents a rather worrying finding—that doctors have a very low risk intelligence?
Absolutely. In fact, as they get older, they become more confident, but no more accurate, which means their risk intelligence actually declines. One study I looked at showed that when doctors estimated patients had a 90 percent chance of having pneumonia, only about 15 percent had the condition, which is a huge degree of overconfidence. Another way of putting it is that they think they know more than they do. One explanation is that doctors have to make so many different decisions about so many different things they don’t get a chance to build up a good model. Maybe if you have to make life and death decisions, you feel you have to exude confidence otherwise you’d be too damned scared to do anything.

Is the appetite for risk a very different thing from being intelligent about risks?
Yes. They are often confused. Appetite for risk is an emotional thing, while risk intelligence is a cognitive skill. You could have people with both an appetite for high risk and a high risk intelligence or people with low levels of both. A particularly dangerous combination would be high risk appetite and low risk intelligence.

That last combination of personality traits would describe much of the thinking in the world’s biggest banks or financial houses that handle complex trades in exotic investment instruments like CDOs.

blue expressionist wallpaper

Unleash Your Fingers : Next Generation. This is a commercial, but has some impressive special effects.

To celebrate the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III in France, Samsung has brought back JayFunk to create the anticipated sequel of 2011 Youtube hit “Unleash Your Fingers”. This time, the finger tutting star has some very personal surprises under his sleeve.

Music : Helix by Justice
Special Guest : Jayfunk’s brother Joey Daniels