Machan's Musings - Predictability and Free Will in Economics

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Wed, 2006-01-11 06:02

At the beginning of each term I mention an apparent problem for students taking my business ethics course in our school of business and economics: While economists tend to approach their discipline with the understanding that human beings are relentless utility maximizers, in business ethics that idea would be very odd. The reason is that business ethics assume economic agents to be free to choose what they will do and holds them responsible to do the right thing.

The late Nobel Laureate George Stigler of The University of Chicago put the widely embraced economists’ stance quite succinctly when he said, “. . . Man is eternally a utility-maximizer—in his home, in his office (be it public or private), in his church, in his scientific work—in short, everywhere.” In contrast, the position of business ethics teachers could best be expressed as Professor M. van Swaay of Kansas State University puts it: “Because ethical behavior implies free choice, it cannot be captured in rule. The standard of reference for what is ethical has to exist 'outside human definition,' and therefore cannot be open to human negotiation. Some may know that standard as Human Rights, some may know it as the Seven Virtues, some may know it as the Ten Commandments, and some may know it by yet another name. It is impossible to force adherence to that standard: the notion of coercion itself is foreign to it. But individually we can make a promise to abide by it....” Ethics and, in particular, business ethics assumes that human beings can choose what they will do, what they will pursue in life, how they will conduct themselves.


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New FAQ: How do I send private messages?

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Tue, 2006-01-10 23:41

SOLOMail is back! Once again, SOLOists can send each other private messages in much the same way as emails. I've added two more answers to the FAQ page explaining how to do this - specifically How do I send a private message to a user? and Where are my private messages?


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New FAQ: How do I turn off sidebar blocks?

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Tue, 2006-01-10 01:45

You might have noticed that I've turned on a bunch more sidebar blocks, for example Who's online and Popular content. What you mightn't know is that you can turn off some of those blocks if you find things too cluttered for your taste.

I've added a new answer to the FAQ page explaining how to do this.


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Brokeback Mountain

Ashley's picture
Submitted by Ashley on Mon, 2006-01-09 17:24

I know some of you have been looking forward to seeing this film, so I wanted to report that I saw it last week and thought it was excellent. It was tender and lovely. The relationship was treated honestly but not sensationally. The theater was filled with older couples mostly, which surprised and pleased me.

Has anyone else seen this yet?

Recent Comments:
Ok, I saw it! — by atlascott on Wed, 2006-05-24 23:01
John Wayne certainly would not have been tolerant of gay cowboy — by Landon Erp on Wed, 2006-04-26 01:36
Stupid Me — by Michael Moeller on Wed, 2006-02-15 14:33

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Machan's Musings - Woody Allen the Subversive

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Mon, 2006-01-09 02:58

By now there are actually books about Woody Allen’s philosophical
ideas—for example, by my former colleague Professor Aeon Skoble. (Indeed,
you might find interesting his single-author and edited books about
Seinfeld and even The Simpsons.) This isn’t all that surprising to those
of us who are fans of Allen, albeit sometimes disappointed ones. His work
does often contain fascinating themes, among which the most recent one,
explored in his well-received movie Match Point, is the phenomenon of luck.

Unfortunately Allen drives home the point so obviously and with so little

Recent Comments:
Tibor got unlucky with the theme — by Marcus on Mon, 2006-01-16 00:29
I took a course on Woody — by Andrew Bissell on Fri, 2006-01-13 05:33
Woody Allen — by seddon on Thu, 2006-01-12 09:22

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State of the Union

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Sat, 2006-01-07 09:19

Righto - time to get things rolling in the New Year. We're not resting on our laurels - SOLO is already great, but we'll be working to make it even greater in 2006! Myself & Julian have a lot planned for the site over the next few months - including ...

  • Merchandising
  • Money for articles
  • Live online chat
  • SOLO Youth

Needless to say, these things will take time to set up, & will be done so inbetween working on other things in the SOLO Suggestions forum. Nonetheless, look to see some changes here


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Inaugural SOLO NZ Meeting

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Sat, 2006-01-07 09:03

My first task as SOLO NZ coordinator is to announce a meeting in Auckland, at 1900 on Friday 13th January. The venue will be Ken Riddle's house at 45A View Road, Mt. Eden, Auckland. Lindsay and Tim will be there as well, and we'll be discussing plans for SOLOC 4.5. It promises to be a monumentous event in the history of SOLO - I hope to see you there!

(If you have any questions, please feel free to call me on my mobile - 027 253 6395).

Recent Comments:
Reminder! — by Andrew Bates on Fri, 2006-01-13 03:34
Kinda ... — by Duncan Bayne on Mon, 2006-01-09 22:05
Inaugural? — by Tim S on Mon, 2006-01-09 11:14

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Right, that was easy enough.

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Sat, 2006-01-07 08:54

Well, I've finished moving my blog over to SOLO. Didn't take much, as a matter of fact. Just posted a notice at my old blog, & this new post here.

I should shortly be posting some new stuff here. Much has been happening of late; new leathers (for racing the NSR150), sold the GSXR (same reason), now officially debt free (except for my mortgage & student loan), & I'm starting a new job soon. I've also resolved to post at least weekly to my blog Smiling


A Call to Articles

Andrew Bissell's picture
Submitted by Andrew Bissell on Fri, 2006-01-06 10:34

Greetings, SOLOists! We can now say of SOLO’s first month in these new premises: “Stick a fork in it, it’s done!”

The first weeks have seen SOLO: The Bigger Badder Sequel off to a roaring start, despite a season that left many (including yours truly) in the depths of holiday malaise. Linz finally caved in to demands for a “SOLO Thrust,” where resident horndogs Jody and Ross have set up shop. (Demands from the Phunny Pharm that the new feature be named “SOLO Dinner and a Movie and Maybe Something Else Later but We Won’t Go Into That Sinful Business” went unheeded.) MSK has laughed his last LOLOL, helpfully putting SOLO right on track to meet The Management’s new “Purge One a Month” policy. And as always, all the world’s troubles, from energy policy to FAA regulations, were considered and solved in short order by the brain trust that inhabits the forums.

Recent Comments:
Queue? — by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-10 23:55
Ross-Good point about Solo — by Jody Gomez on Sat, 2006-01-07 00:58
Jody!?! Defend yourself, — by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2006-01-06 23:26

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Tibor on Linz' Show!

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2006-01-04 04:28

Tibor Machan will join me on air next Wednesday 9 am NZ time, Tuesday noon Californian time. Non-kiwi listeners, go to http://www.radiolive.co.nz/

Recent Comments:
Martinis — by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-10 21:59
2nd assassination attempt — by Andrew Bates on Tue, 2006-01-10 21:38
Hi Guys,Trying to listen to — by Robert on Tue, 2006-01-10 20:54

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Holiday Reprise - Go Well, Chris Lewis!

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Tue, 2006-01-03 03:39

Elsewhere on SOLOHQ is recorded the departure of New Zealand tennis ace Chris Lewis for the United States. Actually, this is not yet the final move—he and his American wife are currently deciding where in the States they and their three children will settle pending a final farewell to Kiwi shores. As a close friend, I'm saddened to think one of my real-life heroes will now be thousands rather than hundreds of miles away; as a soulmate, I couldn't be more pleased for Chris. This move is as overdue as it will be efficacious. Can-do America, much more than mediocrity-worshipping New Zealand, is Tall Poppy Chris' spiritual home.


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Linz at TOC!

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Mon, 2006-01-02 18:19

I'm delighted to report, following a communication I received this morning, that I'll almost certainly be speaking at this year's TOC Summer Seminar after all. I look forward to seeing lotsa SOLOists there (as well as at SOLOC 5, of course!). I promise a memorable presentation. This is a wonderful development, and a tribute to TOC's commitment to the SOLO/TOC cross-fertilisation that began with Will Thomas' attendance at SOLOC 3 & mine at TOC-Vancouver. Thank you Sir Edward, Will, et al! Smiling

Linz

Recent Comments:
Top last year? — by bidinotto on Fri, 2006-01-06 02:29
Linz at TOC — by James Heaps-Nelson on Thu, 2006-01-05 19:54
This is wonderful news! As — by Andrew Bissell on Thu, 2006-01-05 19:26

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Genetics versus Objectivism.

Montauk's picture
Submitted by Montauk on Mon, 2006-01-02 18:16

Only a short post but...

Given that capitalism is about acheiving your own ends through the means of your own body and skill, and the standard response of capitalists being "The poor can get richer under capitalism" when asked about the less fortunate, do advances in genetics that prove that certain things as inherent (IQ, ability to withstand addiction, the so called "criminal gene") which affect a person's ability to be a free and productive person challenge objectivism (and capitalism) when the above factors contribute a great deal to whether an individual can make a living for themselves through their own merits?

Recent Comments:
Already covered. — by Joe Idoni on Tue, 2006-01-03 16:20
Capitalism is a system based — by Ross Elliot on Tue, 2006-01-03 08:01
Even if there is some person — by dvo on Tue, 2006-01-03 03:26

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East Versus West: One Sees Big Picture, Other Is Focused

Marty's picture
Submitted by Marty on Mon, 2006-01-02 09:29

Click here to read the article, "East Versus West: One Sees Big Picture, Other Is Focused."
http://www.lsa.umich.edu/psych/news/department/news/?id=77

The article contains some good observations and stimulates thought. But it does makes some errors. There's confusion on perception and our interpretation of the perception.   There is also confusion between a mental setting for context as opposed to a separate form of cognition. If an Englishman hears 'paddle your own canoe,' he will interpret it one way, while if a Frenchman hears 'pas de leur on connu,' he will interpret it differently. It's a no-brainer that cultures can influence the way we interpret data. But that doesn't add up to a difference in the way man engages in concept formation, quantitative reasoning, induction, deduction, causality, etc.   This article is an example of today's "gather-lots-of-data" science without sound philosophical guidance and interpretation.


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Holiday Reprise - Making Life Extraordinary

Ashley's picture
Submitted by Ashley on Mon, 2006-01-02 05:10

When Joe asked me to speak, I was concerned about choosing a topic I would feel comfortable speaking about while standing amidst giants. Given that we are in New York City today, one topic seemed appropriate. It has been burned into my head for almost a year now, and when I heard that our conference would be held here it became clear, as it has personal significance.

I have always been enthralled by the vision of an airplane making its way across the sky. Whether in an office or home, walking on the sidewalk or riding in my car, the flash of sunlight on steel was enough to make me take pause-a moment to dream, to imagine something enormous, as big as the sky itself. This feeling has stayed with me from childhood. Perhaps it has contributed to my love for travel; even the fact that I sometimes fly several times per month for work never diminished my fascination with planes and airports.

Recent Comments:
St.-Exupery — by AdamReed on Mon, 2006-01-09 05:02
Wind, Sand, and Stars — by Ashley on Sun, 2006-01-08 19:35
I think I'd seen this before — by Landon Erp on Wed, 2006-01-04 01:22

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Ed Hudgins's picture
Submitted by Ed Hudgins on Sun, 2006-01-01 18:00

Given their proximity to the international date line, Linz and the other kiwis are the first to welcome in 2006. Let's continue to work for a world of reason, individualism, achievement and freedom -- with passion, of course!

Happy New Year to all!

Recent Comments:
And the same right back! :-) — by Lindsay Perigo on Mon, 2006-01-02 05:21

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Reprise - Western Pride vs. Multiculturalism

Marty's picture
Submitted by Marty on Sun, 2006-01-01 03:36

Multiculturalism sounds like a great idea, right? Let's learn from all cultures. After all, all cultures have some good attributes. American Indians made beautiful blankets—and didn't waste any part of the buffalo, as the cliché goes. African tribes lived together in harmony. Ancient Chinese built the Great Wall and gave us tea and silk. The Mayans had a good calendar, and so forth. So let's not be ethnocentric—a term reserved almost exclusively for Westerners who think their culture of reason, liberty, the free market, and science is superior to, say, New Guinea head hunters, Taliban zealots, Indian tribes with witch doctors, and totalitarian governments of the twentieth century.


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Machan's Musings - America, The New Switzerland

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Sun, 2006-01-01 00:47

Back in the mid-80s I lived a while in Lugano, Switzerland but I had
traveled in the country and through it several times before. And while
there are innumerable desirable features of the place—the great Alps, the
brilliant lakes, the clean neighborhoods everywhere, the efficiency of the
train system and the general abundance rarely found elsewhere in Europe
even back then—one runs across a few irritants as well. One of them I used
to find comical was that in Swiss restaurants one had to pay for
everything—well, maybe not the use of the napkins. But if you wanted
water, you had to pay for it. The same thing for bread, then butter, and

Recent Comments:
It's so unfair! — by Marcus on Sat, 2005-12-31 12:18

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Holiday Reprise: Iran Earthquake - God Dunnit

David Bertelsen's picture
Submitted by David Bertelsen on Sun, 2006-01-01 00:33

Strike up a few more lives to the death toll reaped by religion this century. Another 40,000 plus, whose philosophy of "God will protect us" failed, dismally, despite an all-pervading religious state, temples pointing in the right direction, week-long sessions of chanting, fasting, self-flagellation. One can safely assume that in Iran, that haven of Islamic correctness, whatever the wise script-readers interpreted as being his Almighty's preferred form of suffering has been preached, tested, implemented. And yet ... still, he chose to direct the full brunt of his anger at the very source of his most fervent faithful.


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Holiday Reprise - Thirty Great Crapolae of our Time

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Sat, 2005-12-31 01:49

1) That wisdom resides in Academia.

2) That modern "intellectuals" are not Lenin's "useful idiots," driven by vanity and besotted by flattery.

3) That an MBA graduate has a brain; that an MBA degree has something to do with entrepreneurialism.

4) That flow charts and spread sheets are a substitute for kicking ass.

5) That pedantic, nit-picking clever-dick smart-asses who ejaculate to arcane masturbations about the meaning of the word "meaning" are authentic philosophers.

6) That wisdom's face cannot be joyous, or angry, or anything other than impassive.

7) That the world owes one - and pedantic, nit-picking clever-dick smart-asses - a living.

Recent Comments:
"14) That contemporary music — by Grey on Fri, 2005-12-30 17:05
31 — by Kenny on Fri, 2005-12-30 16:36
31) ... — by Summer Serravillo on Fri, 2005-12-30 13:01

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College Bowls

Ross Elliot's picture
Submitted by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2005-12-30 06:55

Man, I'm on a roll. I picked both Nebraska & Oklahoma to win and despite not being favorites, they did.

Nebraska really kicked Michigan's ass coming back like they did & the Sooners held Oregon out despite a hammered Rhett Bomar. Great games. Shit, the NFL looks ponderous compared to college football. Don't you think?

I'm really looking forward to the big games next week.

Recent Comments:
Well, have to say that this — by Bill Grazier on Mon, 2006-01-09 16:38
Oh, there's a lot of — by Ross Elliot on Mon, 2006-01-02 22:34
The specialization of the — by Wes on Mon, 2006-01-02 18:56

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Prodos interviews Lindsay Perigo

administrator's picture
Submitted by administrator on Fri, 2005-12-30 05:49

[Listen to this interview] Prodos (an Australian radio presenter & Objectivist radical) interviews Lindsay Perigo ...

Recent Comments:
This interview was my — by Duncan Bayne on Wed, 2005-12-28 22:00

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Need Appropriate Suggestions to Understand Philosophy

Wazir Ali Baber's picture
Submitted by Wazir Ali Baber on Thu, 2005-12-29 20:47

Hi...

I need an appropraite suggestions to understand Philosophy and also refer me some basic books as i can be able to improve my knowledge in this subject and i want also be expert because i got more intrest in this field..

I am studying Philosophy as my major subject in the university. So do fever me

Recent Comments:
I've re-categorised this post ... — by Duncan Bayne on Mon, 2006-01-09 09:23
Philosophy — by Jason Quintana on Thu, 2005-12-29 23:04

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A year of blogging...

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2005-12-28 23:41

As my farewell too you all for the year (now, now, don't cry), I've posted links below to some of my own favourite and more reflective posts from the past year so you don't get 'PC withdrawal' over the holiday season. I've tried over the year to be pithy, thought-proving and entertaining -- I've enjoyed writing these pieces, and I'd like to thank all of you who've visited my blog, who enjoyed what you found there, and who left me feedback about what you read.

Feel free to print off a few copies of these pieces and take them with you to the beach. Smiling


Machan's Musings - Critics of the Halfway Free Society

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Mon, 2005-12-26 05:09

Most of us who champion a certain political system concern ourselves mainly with showing why its full implementation would be best. Few people argue for a halfway house—socialists, libertarians, welfare statists, and so forth all tend to find their system of political economy to be sound when it is in full bloom.

Yet hardly anyone expects a full blown actualization of the theory he or she has conceived as the best. This is because we are all aware that millions of people make up a society and there is a great deal of disagreement among them as to what is the best kind of human community. Although whatever system one defends, one will make the case that it is indeed right for everyone, that will not suffice since many will no be convinced and will continue to support others.


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Linz On Air!

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Mon, 2005-12-26 04:49

Monday December 26 I begin a 6-week stint on the Radio Live network in NZ. Mainly I'll be doing 10am-2pm/9am-noon, but in the last two weeks I'll be hosting the breakfast show, 6-9 am. Kiwi SOLOists, spread the word, and feel free to call in. Reason & freedom are back on the air! Smiling

Recent Comments:
"I especially enjoy how you — by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2005-12-30 06:20
Listened for a while today — by Jason Quintana on Fri, 2005-12-30 02:08
Congratulations — by Marcus on Thu, 2005-12-29 17:40

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Xmas Xultations!

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Sun, 2005-12-25 22:40

I am writing this at lunch-time, Friday December 23 in New Zealand. A preposterously dark sky is being lit up by lightning flashes. Thunderclaps rend the air, and it's raining at a rate that would startle even Noah.

It's been that kind of year for SOLO!

The sun came out for SOLOC 4. Galt, did it blaze! Then, thunder and lightning, rain and more rain ... and weather-weary dejection.

I'm not going to look back on the year and pretend that it was not a great one!

Painful, yes ... excruciatingly so. But great.

How so?

The Credo speaks of sincerity, of the rejection of mind-games, of saying what one means and meaning what one says. It speaks to the "rationally exuberant and exuberantly rational." It disdains the reason/passion dichotomy. It is my provisional assessment that the floods have cleansed SOLO of those who embrace such a dichotomy. In particular, the especially pernicious notion that evil substance may be overlooked if the style is "good" (meaning "tempered") has been purged. Vileness can no longer expect to be applauded just because it is expressed politely.

Recent Comments:
Merry Christmas — by Marcus on Sat, 2005-12-24 19:56
Congrats — by sjw on Fri, 2005-12-23 22:36
Three cheers for loafing Linz! — by Joe Idoni on Fri, 2005-12-23 13:24

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Season's Greetings

JoeM's picture
Submitted by JoeM on Thu, 2005-12-22 20:22
Season's Greetings

Happy Holidays!

Recent Comments:
Happy Holidays! — by sciabarra on Fri, 2005-12-23 11:14
Jeez, Joe, are you taking — by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2005-12-23 06:28
Finals — by James Heaps-Nelson on Fri, 2005-12-23 03:41

Jimmy Wales

Ciro D Agostino's picture
Submitted by Ciro D Agostino on Thu, 2005-12-22 16:16

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Wales

I wonder why on the English version of wikipedia it is not mentioned that Wales is an objectivist,while on the italian version it is  mentioned that he is an objectivist, and also that he was the moderator of an objectivist mailing-list forum.

He has a daugther named Kira!

Are people afraid to say that are onjectivists once they become famous?

 

CD

Recent Comments:
 I think he simply wants to — by Ciro D Agostino on Fri, 2005-12-23 21:04
Jimmy Wales — by James Heaps-Nelson on Fri, 2005-12-23 16:09

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We Three Kongs

Ed Hudgins's picture
Submitted by Ed Hudgins on Thu, 2005-12-22 14:41

Let's have a discussion about New Zealand's latest great export, after Linz, of course! By the way, which role did he play in the new Kong movie? -- Ed Hudgins

Link from TOC/TAS website
http://www.objectivistcenter.o...

The article:
-------------

We Three Kongs.
By Edward Hudgins

If art holds a mirror to reality, the original 1933 King Kong, the 1976 remake and the latest version by Peter Jackson, show a culture that swung from a romantic optimism to cynicism and now perhaps is returning to a healthier sense of life.

The original Kong very much reflected the values of its maker, Merian C. Cooper.

Recent Comments:
I agree with Marcus — by Ed on Tue, 2005-12-27 23:20
Marcus -- Glad you liked the — by Ed Hudgins on Sat, 2005-12-24 23:01
Kong too long — by Marcus on Sat, 2005-12-24 20:33

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