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Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Bliss of Ignorance – Part 1

The Bliss of Ignorance is… …never knowing that you are ignorant! There is a widely reported phenomenon that we all, as humans, tend to overestimate our abilities and how good we are compared with others. A study into people’s abilities at self assessment turned up some interesting results that have powerful implications. It is also […]

The Difference Between Your CV And Your Termination Letter

Our two systems of thought define the limits of what we are capable of achieving. At one extreme we have the highly positive, proactive and engaged part of our personality – our big brain. At the other end of the spectrum we have our reactive, highly emotive and survival focused part of our personality – […]

Capital Punishment

capital punishment debate has an interesting wrinkle. Politicians are frequently cited as saying, “There is no evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect.” This is a furphy. There is no deterrent effect in enacting a death penalty but there is one for enforcing the death penalty. Economic journals have been publishing evidence that […]

Like Me? Like You! – Part 3

Lets try it ourselves. While the capital punishment issue in Australia is nowhere near as contentious as it is in America, it can still raise hackles. What is your opinion on the issue of capital punishment? Here are two tongue-in-cheek views on the issue. Which is more reasonable? Pro-Capital Punishment: The position of right-wing nuts who […]

Like Me? Like You! – Part 2

Not only is our judgment subtly altered when we share a common bond with someone, our assessments of arguments and opinions are influenced by the degree to which they agree with our own! Lord, Ross and Lepper (1979) sorted a group of students into two teams, based on their opinions about capital punishment. These two […]

Like Me? Like You! – Part 1

Our ability to assess the validity of an argument or a situation can be altered by how much ‘it’ is ‘like’us. In one study, conducted by Finch and Cialdini (1989), subjects were told that they either shared or did not share their birthday with the infamous historical character, Rasputin. An irrelevant and false linkage made […]

Consumerism: A Rose’s Stench – Part 2

Deepak Chopra described what I consider the benefits of economic growth when he responded to a question about the current economic crisis. His advice was to: “Recognize the difference between wealth and money. Wealth is the progressive realization of worthy goals, the ability to love and have compassion, meaningful and caring relationships.   We have a […]

Consumerism: A Rose’s Stench – Part 1

Economics could learn a lot from marketing. That is a statement that I never thought I’d say. After all, despite seven years of formal economic education, the only class I ever fell asleep in was marketing. This was despite the fact that I had economic professors with personalities of porridge and presenting styles to match! […]

Monkey Business and Framing

Value. What is it? How can we tell when we are getting a good price? How do we discern between two decisions? Pure economics would suggest we have discrete preferences that, even if temporal, we refer to when trying to maximize our pleasure in allocating our available time and money. Not true. The reality is […]