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Confidence.

Evolution seems to have "equipped" us with a tendency to believe that which is stated with seeming confidence and an appropriate tone.  Perhaps in addition to reading, writing, arithmetic, science and speech our schools should have courses in which the students are not only randomly but convincingly lied to with various degrees of subtlety, as they are today, but also graded on their ability to sort out the lies.  This could also be used to arm them against being told falsehoods that they would like to believe.  They would, of course, also have to be taught how to "go along" in courses in which it is not the point for the lies to be detected.

Fat chance that!  Except on the subversive impulses of some faculty.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 12:31:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
Perhaps in addition to reading, writing, arithmetic, science and speech our schools should have courses in which the students are not only randomly but convincingly lied to with various degrees of subtlety, as they are today, but also graded on their ability to sort out the lies.  This could also be used to arm them against being told falsehoods that they would like to believe.  They would, of course, also have to be taught how to "go along" in courses in which it is not the point for the lies to be detected.

oh man, that's good.

how to sharpen up the collective awareness in one generation...

getting 'raised' in a family where dad was adman was a little similar!

:=)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 01:10:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so long ago, some of us were under the impression that modesty and openness are most valued by the society, while greed and assertiveness would never win. Does it mean that we were taking the role of "good guys", for the benefit of the bad ones? Or did the global society change so unconservatively that old wisdoms do not apply?

Universal teaching of bullshit recognition would be great. But isn't the modern society utterly dependent on all sorts of corporate bullshit? Isn't the effect of standard education to accept more of it? Who would stair education the other way?

Yet evolution is not necessarily that bad stupid. The modern absolute heed of corporate needs is not a normal circumstance, and it probably won't last long.  

by das monde on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 01:05:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the current organisation of production is completely dependent on all manners of corporate bullshit that makes us buy stuff we don't actually need.

But to go from there to saying that "modern society" is utterly dependent on it is something of a stretch. Production of goods is important, but it is not the sum total of society.

And the production of goods does not have to be organised like it currently is. It should be possible to find another system of production where demand is managed without having to convince consumers to consume ever more useless junk.

We'd have to jettison the delusion of having a "free market economy" for the parts of the economy that are actually planned. But that is a change in perception, not in reality, since the corporate bullshit makes a mockery of the "free market" anyway.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 02:21:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We'd have to jettison the delusion of having a "free market economy" for the parts of the economy that are actually planned. But that is a change in perception, not in reality, since the corporate bullshit makes a mockery of the "free market" anyway.
Ah, the [Galbraithian] Force is strong within you!

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 02:23:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Galbraith was an unusually perceptive man. The New Industrial State allowed me to connect a lot of dots (and caused me to revise a few previous hobby horses in light of the new pattern).

There's a very appropriate quib about it that Orwell puts in the mouth of Winston Smith in 1984: The best books are the ones that tell you things that you didn't know that you already knew.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 02:31:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are unknown knowns?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 02:48:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tons of them.

Data analysis is about finding unknown knowns: You have all the data, but you don't understand it. That is probably what is so satisfying about it. (See, that was another unknown known: I knew the Orwell quib, I knew the way data analysis works and I knew that both are satisfying. But I had never put them together before...)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 03:03:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Orwell's nugget of truth (more than a quip, imo), is that the books people put down with a feeling that they have read something exceptional that they will not forget (but life plays tricks...), are those that reveal something to the reader in an "Of course!" moment. Akin to the dot-connecting you mention above.

(The tricks life plays are that we can learn things, then forget them again. And in modern developed economies, an entire marketing, advertising, and communications industry is there to help us.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 03:29:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only problem is that humans see patterns even where there are none, and tend to connect dots which don't have anything to do with each other.

("Ah, so they've invaded Afghanistan because of the Transafghan pipeline, that sounds just like those Big Oil Bush administration people, and Cheney was even CEO of Halliburton!")

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 04:58:45 AM EST
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A good sanity check is that a model that attempts to be comprehensive should demolish some of your previously held beliefs.

In the case of me and Galbraith, the notion that there is a strong difference between the regulated private company and the public service got a rather heavy dose of salt.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 07:18:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Puts "nationalisation" and "privatisation" in an entirely new light.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 07:20:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. What matters isn't public or private, but the internal dynamics of the firm and how it relates to other firms and governments.

Of course, there is still a difference, in that the private sector is steeped in a number of cultural myths that are less strongly present in the public sector.

And, of course, there is still outrage when a public official pays himself a million € a year. Which tends to weed out one particular type of narcissistic sociopath.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 11:18:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the production of goods does not have to be organised like it currently is. It should be possible to find another system of production where demand is managed without having to convince consumers to consume ever more useless junk.

In fact the production of goods CANNOT long continue to be organized as it currently is due to issues of sustainability and we must learn to manage demand so as to minimize resource consumption.  We have to learn to maximize quality instead of quantity, in goods and services as well as in our lives.  The good news and the bad news is that our educational systems and our poopular culture, (a serendipitous typo), need to be transformed accordingly.  Utopia vs. distopia depending on the outcome.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 11:05:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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