Posts Tagged ‘irrationality’

Unpredictably Rational

I don’t think humans are rational creatures but we do have an ability to make rational decisions. And perhaps an even greater ability to rationalize our (rational and irrational) behavior.  Just saying. – Ilene 

Unpredictably Rational

Muskrat :: Ondatra zibethicus

Courtesy of Tim at The Psy-Fi Blog 

Common Sense

As we go about our everyday lives we don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on the irrationality of the people around us. Certainly from time to time people do stupid things, but by and large most of us make it through most of our days without driving the wrong way up roads, roasting our dogs in microwaves or buying stocks in stupid companies. Even when we do odd things there’s usually some recognisably rational reason for us doing them.

This version of human rationality is virtually unknown to all brands of economics which largely insist on defining rationality in an irrational way and then sniggering at the human race when it fails to live up to the standards that some rather over-focused economists think it should. The problem for them is that we’re not the irrational ones, they are. The problem for us is that the people that matter listen to them, not us.

Maximal Utility

The definition of rationality that’s at the centre of modern economics is a strange conceit, based around the idea of maximising utility. Underlying this is an assumption that rationality means that we’re consistent in our choices: faced with the same situation we should always do the same thing. From this position economists have then spent a great deal of time trying to design experiments to show that this is what we do, which is just about possible when you remove all vestiges of reality from the situation (see, for instance, Be a Sceptical Economist).

Chimpanzees Take Control Of The Cameras For BBC Documentary

However, real-life isn’t like this. We rarely, if ever, face the same situation twice: life is a stream and we can’t stand in it twice. Mostly we must face each situation anew and make new choices each time. Obviously we rely on past experience to guide us in our decision making and, as we all have different experiences to guide us, we make different decisions. We even make different choices ourselves between very similar circumstances and most of us will see nothing wrong in this. It’s certainly not…
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Valentine’s Day Sexonomics

Valentine’s day revisited through the eyes of Eric and from an economic perspective.  The same principles that are used in choosing which stock to buy can be used in selecting a mate, or the other way around. – Ilene 

Valentine’s Day Sexonomics

Bottle of champagne by bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates

Courtesy of ERIC FALKENSTEIN

Steve Levitt’s Freakonomics bestseller highlighted that many quirky phenomenon can be analyzed using economic reasoning, or really, assuming individuals are self interested, and applying statistics and logic to that. Many people find this application of ‘economics’ much more interesting than applying such logic to widgets or muni bonds, so why not just get all those cost and indifference curves in price/quantity space out of economics textbooks, and replace with sexy pictures and fun sex trivia? One could then see economic lessons on Spike TV, right after Manswers. After all, sex is an object of exchange just like any other commodity, but a lot more fun for college-aged students to contemplate. 

For example, Charlotte Allen’s article on the New Dating Game, and Lori Gottlieb’s book on why women should settle rather than become spinsters, brought forth a lot of ‘Freakonomic’ issues around dating, sex and marriage, and generated considerable blog buzz (see Robin HansenSlateJezebel). Writing about these matters is always sure to get people excited, because these are issues people feel they understand pretty well, so people who disagree are way wrong! This got me thinking about the fun book, Mathematics and Sex, which is good nerd porn. Consider the application of economic models to the following issues:

Asset pricing: Choosing a young man for a long-term mate means evaluating his future value; you don’t want a young hottie who won’t age well. Hot Chippendale dancers with low intelligence aren’t good buys. But then, if you want to get the next billionaire, should you try to find the next Bill Gates or Warren Buffet? These are true nerds, and at 18 they weren’t attractive to most women (Buffet writes candidly about his social ineptness as a young man). So, should women glom on to nerds? Well, it could be that nerds have a higher top return, but lower average return, so this isn’t optimal even abstracting from their obviously lower current value. Fads based on conspicuous successes can alter the value of current young men. Perhaps your dad was a prior bubble (eg, he…
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Science, Stocks and Superstition

Science, Stocks and Superstition

Courtesy of Tim at The Psy-Fi Blog

biasesUnreliable Science

As we’ve seen – repeatedly – people aren’t particularly good at overcoming the behavioural biases built into our nature by evolution. There’s no real reason we should be – computing the statistical probability of an above average return on the stockmarket over a twenty year period wasn’t of much value for most of human history. This was partly because twenty years was more than the average lifespan of a proto-human but largely because no one had yet got around to inventing money or stockmarkets or stocks. Or ‘years’.

If these biases are inherent and cause us to do stupid things around finance we might expect that they’ll appear in other areas as well where humanity has only recently started to apply its higher cognitive functions. So it’s unsurprising that our basic intuitions about science are about as reliable as those we have about finance. To whit: not reliable at all.

Greek Geeks

Science has been around a lot longer than modern financial theory. The Ancient Greeks developed many concepts that aren’t out of place in the modern pantheon of university science faculties – atomic theory, planetary orbits and toga parties amongst them. Unfortunately they failed to marry their scientific insights to a stable economic system and much of their knowledge was lost for the best part of a millennium. The lesson being, presumably, that disenfranchising women and relying on slave labour is a poor way of building a stable society. Global corporations take note.

GreeksDuring that lost thousand years or so the only real legacy of Greek knowledge in the Western world was a smattering of Aristotle, who was a bloody good thinker but a bit weak on stuff like planetary motion and mathematics. Somewhere along the line Aristotle’s ideas got mixed up with Christianity and resulted in the odd position of the Catholic Church defining God’s word on the basis of the scientific writings of an atheistic Greek who died before Christ was born. We can blame Thomas Aquinas for that one.

The period known as the Renaissance – the rebirth – was marked by a remarkable rediscovery of Ancient Greek thought. Some of this came from the Muslim world, where many ideas and writings had been sustained through the European Dark Ages, and some of it from the


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Phil's Favorites

Why Jack Dorsey's Square paid a record $39 billion for Afterpay

 

Why Jack Dorsey’s Square paid a record $39 billion for Afterpay

Courtesy of Lien Duong, Curtin University and Sonny Pham, Curtin University

The A$39 billion (US$29 billion) that Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s digital payments company Square is paying to acquire Australian upstart payments outfit Afterpay is the biggest takeover deal in Australian corporate history.

It surpasses the A$32 billion European commercial real estate giant Unibail-Rodamco agreed to pay for Frank Lowy’s Westfield Corporation in 2...



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Zero Hedge

Texas Judge Blocks Governor's Order Halting Transport Of Covid-Positive Illegals

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

In a short-term victory for the Biden administration, a federal judge in Texas blocked an executive order which restricts the transport of infected illegal immigrants on Tuesday, suggesting that the order itself would have the effect of "exacerbating the spread of COVID-19."

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone of El Paso agreed with the Justice Department, which accused Governor Greg Abbott (R) of potentially worsening the spread of the virus - as impeding the transfer of undocumented migrants would prolong the ...



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Chart School

RTT browsing latest..

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Please review a collection of WWW browsing results. The information here is delayed by a few months, members get the most recent content.



Date Found: Saturday, 13 March 2021, 06:40:57 PM

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Comment: @crossbordercap Peak liquidity already evidence from our GLI momentum signal...has 6-9 month lead-time on markets and 15-20 months on economies



Date Found: Friday, 19 March 2021, 10:55:22 PM

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Biotech/COVID-19

Americans Tend To Stick To Their Stance On COVID-19 Vaccines

 

Source: Bloomberg, via ZeroHedge

Courtesy of Felix Richter, Statista

As U.S. health officials and the Biden administration desperately try to kickstart the stalling rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in face of the highly contagious Delta variant, President Biden...



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Digital Currencies

What are stablecoins? A blockchain expert explains

 

What are stablecoins? A blockchain expert explains

Stablecoins promise more stability than other cryptocurrencies. DenBoma/iStock via Getty Images

Courtesy of Stephen McKeon, University of Oregon

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency linked to an asset like the U.S. dollar that doesn’t change much in value.

The majority of the dozens of stablecoins that currently exist use the dollar as their benchm...



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Politics

Bipartisan infrastructure deal begins to address consequences of a warming planet: 3 essential reads

 

Bipartisan infrastructure deal begins to address consequences of a warming planet: 3 essential reads

A lot of coastal infrastructure wasn’t designed for the frequent flooding and crashing waves brought by rising seas. Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Courtesy of Bryan Keogh, The Conversation and Stacy Morford, The Conversation

...



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Promotions

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil Cleared For Blast Off On This Dual Breakout?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Is Crude Oil about to blast off and hit much higher prices? It might be worth being aware of what could be taking place this month in this important commodity!

Crude Oil has created lower highs over the past 13-years, since peaking back in 2008, along line (1).

It created a “Double Top at (2), then it proceeded to decline more than 60% in four months.

The countertrend rally in Crude Oil has it attempting to break above its 13-year falling resistance as well as its double top at (3).

A successful breakout at (3) would suggest Crude Oil is about to mo...



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ValueWalk

Managing Investments As A Charity Or Nonprofit

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Maintaining financial viability is a constant challenge for charities and nonprofit organizations.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The past year has underscored that challenge. The pandemic has not just affected investment returns – it’s also had serious implications for charitable activities and the ability to fundraise. For some organizations, it’s even raised doubts about whether they can continue to operate.

Finding ways to generate long-term, sustainable returns for ...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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