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Economics

This category contains 8 posts

Digital money

Digital money attempts to keep financial transactions reliable and trustworthy without the need for a bank. To achieve this it does two things that computer networks do well: distribute and encrypt. If I create a painting then it’s a one off. If I sell it then I pass on ownership of the painting to the … Continue reading

Why experts are better than algorithms

Why are experts inferior to algorithms? This is the question posed by Daniel Kahneman in his influential book Thinking Fast and Slow. Kahneman argues that in many cases mechanical procedures provide better decisions than human experts, a view that ostensibly challenges the tenets of philosophical hermeneutics. The hermeneutical thesis is that expert judgement involves taking a … Continue reading

Delayed gratification

Children have been known to run up huge debts on their parents’ credit cards (Guardian). Neither parent nor child realized that the modest one-off cost of the game is supplemented by subsequent purchases of game components and privileges. There’s an issue here of game publishers unfairly, though perhaps inadvertently, benefiting from the tendency amongst  children to … Continue reading

Cooperation or complicity

According to Karl Marx “crime must not be punished in the individual, but the anti-social source of crime must be destroyed” (p.154). Liberal democracies modify this to something like: crime must not only be punished in the individual, but the social sources of crime must be held to account. So the liberal press directs anger … Continue reading

Making friends

People don’t attract enemies. Nor do they collect them. They make enemies. Enemies aren’t out there, pre-existing, like wasps or storm clouds. Enemies are manufactured by our actions and circumstances. It takes a concerted effort to surround yourself with enemies. Enemies are like friends in this respect. We make friends. We would probably not ask, … Continue reading

Crowdfunding in the gift society

How do you get financial support for a project in these difficult times? Hsiao Ying Huang is helping Eglė Petrauskaitė raise funds to support her development of a digital animation. They are doing this through crowd funding, via an Indiegogo campaign (site active June/July 2012). Hsiao Ying is the “broker” or coach, Eglė is the talented designer (perhaps reticent … Continue reading

Posh boys and mirror neurons

Last week the BBC reported renegade UK Tory back bencher Nadine Dorries’ assertion that not only are the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer “two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk, but they are two arrogant posh boys who show no remorse, no contrition, and no passion to want to … Continue reading

Electronic commerce, philosophy and the Greek city

Much has been said of the parallels between the network economy and the agora (or forum), the centre of commerce of the ancient cities of Greece and the Roman empire. There are further spaces that feature prominently in ancient philosophy: the stoa (that bounded the marketplace or agora), the academy, the garden, and the household. … Continue reading