Monday, July 28, 2014

Big bag of blogs

Adam Smith put forward the basic idea of the stationary bandit vs. roaming bandit applied to India. Basically the Britishers overseeing India who expected to leave again were there primarily to take as much they could get their hands on, while those who had a more permanent interest wanted to invest in the country and make it more prosperous. Trying to get the incentives of the temporaries to align was difficult, in part because of the more permanent leaders didn't understand their own interest perfectly either.

People who lived in East Germany were more likely to cheat than people who lived in West Germany.

Cass Sunstein's (and Sumner's) defense of utilitarianism. The most interesting line for me is this argument:
the enterprise of doing philosophy by reference to such dilemmas is inadvertently replicating the early work of Kahneman and Tversky, by uncovering unfamiliar situations in which our intuitions, normally quite sensible, turn out to misfire. The irony is that where Kahneman and Tversky meant to devise problems that would demonstrate the misfiring, some philosophers have developed their cases with the conviction that the intuitions are entitled to a great deal of weight, and should inform our judgments about what morality requires. A legitimate question is whether an appreciation of the work of Kahneman, Tversky, and their successors might lead people to reconsider their intuitions, even in the moral domain.
Large retail chains give higher wages, mostly because there are a lot more middle-management and support positions.

A description of how people lived in Britain 100 years ago. It makes for a fascinating comparison to show how much living standards have improved.

Why you should probably self-publish.

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