Category Archives: economy

The Trap: We Will Force You To Be Free

This documentary look at the restrictions imposed on ourselves by simplified economic and research models into human behaviour by the wonderful Adam Curtis. Our ideas of freedom have led us to some how restrict our true selves.

“how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today’s idea of freedom.”

This documentary was originally released in 2007. I’ve only just come across this since watching the All Watched Over By Machines of Love and Grace.

Curtis discusses Game Theory in relation to the two models of liberty as highlighted by Isaiah Berlin. Game Theory originally used as part of the USA’s Cold War Strategy. This used mathematical models of human behaviour and this eventually became embedded into economic research into the Free Market. Curtis highlights the important role of John Nash (he of the movie, A Beautiful Mind) with regards to this particular theory, citing that Nash believed that all humans were inherently suspicious and selfish. More described in this link

As usual with Curtis, he has managed to delve in and really explore such a broad subject and dig into key historical events. There’s an interesting discussion raised regarding the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the part Neo-cons in the US (influenced by Game Theory) had in overthrowing these democratically elected Marxists, because it wasn’t quite the right democracy that the US wanted. He then discussed the real affect of economic freedom in Russia using the Shock Therapy tactics from US advisors.

Curtis concludes that the game theory/free market model is now overshadowed by economic research into how irrational models of behaviour is appropriate and useful. Cheekily, he comments that there have been formal experiments that prove that people who behaved exactly according to the mathematical models created by game theory are economists themselves, and psychopaths.

An interesting insight into the dangers of narrow thinking.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

“In a world upended by outsourcing, deluged with data, and choked with choices, the abilities that matter most are now closer in spirit to the specialties of the right hemisphere – artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent.”

Okay, so this article was written back in 2oo5. However, there’s a rather interesting discussion here as Pink Points out : We’ve created and lived through the ‘Information Age’ which utilised the logic of our left brain and that we are now living in a ‘Conceptual Age’, governed by artistry, empathy, and emotion.

This chap argues, that our economies have long been built on computer based logic and sequential abilities of the Information Age. So, could there now be wiggle room in our economies to really utilise our right sided inventive and empathic abilities. After all, since 2005, social media has engrained itself into our everyday culture. Facebook, needs those trite emotional outpourings and twitter needs our angry rants… as there’s money to made from those.

Also, Pink highlights that since the rise of overseas outsourcing – narrow left-brain work such as basic computer coding, accounting, legal research, and financial analysis is migrating across the oceans at low cost, it frees up employees and researchers in the UK to have a more holistic approach. We also have software that can free up laborious legal research – routine functions are routinely being handed over to machines.

‘…After a few generations in the Information Age, many of our high concept, high touch muscles have atrophied. The challenge is to work them back into shape…’

After all, we weren’t bogged down with menial number crunching way back when, we were busy creating stories and inventing.

Tagged , , , , , ,