The Grey Lady Today

1. Some brain injuries make people more like consequentialists: "Damage to an area near the center of the brain, several inches behind
the eyes, transforms the way people make moral judgments in
life-or-death situations, scientists are reporting.  In a new study,
people with this rare injury expressed increased willingness to kill or
harm another person if doing so would save others’ lives."

2. Apropos Alex, here is Dave Leonhardt on credit: "It’s easy to see everything since then as a step in the wrong
direction, to romanticize a time when debt was less common.  But think
about what life was like before easy money.  Think about how hard it
would be to buy a house or pay for college if a 42 percent interest
rate still seemed normal. Some of the changes are surprisingly
recent.  Just a generation ago, a temporary setback, like illness,
divorce or job loss, was much more likely to force a family to take
drastic measures than it is today.  That’s in large measure because of
debt, which allows families to smooth out the rough edges of their
financial lives.

You can see this change in the national statistics on consumer
spending.  Since the early 1990s, the peaks in spending growth rates
haven’t been as high as they were in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, but the
valleys haven’t been as low, either.  Not coincidentally, recessions
have come less often over the last two decades and they have been
fairly mild."


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