Assorted links

1. Most influential books, chosen by Matt Yglesias.

2. How are prostitute networks different?

3. The influence of J.G. Ballard.

4. The evolution of fairness toward strangers, and here.  Important if true, from my hotel room I've just glanced at it but worth a read.  It's pro-Hayek and minimizes the influence of evolutionary biology, at least under one reading.

5. One proposal for pricing attention.

6. Jenny Davidson's book list.

7. Unhappy Yemen.

8. Will Wilkinson's book list, including the tale of his unfinished denunciation of me.

9. Webcast of Econblogger's conference, with Alex, Megan, Mark Thoma, others (not me).

Comments

I attempted to read Tariq Ali. His use of the term "wage slave" and subsequent denunciaiton of the Christmas bomber's obvious radicalization (his own father was worried about his son's "extremist views," http://www.weaselzippers.net/blog/2009/12/christmas-flight-attempted-bombers-father-went-to-us-embassy-nigeria-in-november-to-warn-them-about-.html) stopped me).

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,659577,00.html

"Eco: We have a limit, a very discouraging, humiliating limit: death. That's why we like all the things that we assume have no limits and, therefore, no end. It's a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don't want to die."

Since reading that post, I've sworn off lists. Also, I'm wondering if there's a signaling post coming up about these lists, and I don't want to be on it. Did anybody say "The Joy of Sex"?

If you're very intellectual, try carrying around a copy of Playboy for a day and see if people treat you differently. I mean, all it really shows is that you're physically carrying around a copy of Playboy.

About #4, I read that and I'm entirely unconvinced about the validity of the study's findings. I think it's more correct to say that experience with markets modulates fairness. And even then... my counter to the study would be that unfamiliarity with markets leads to more cautious offers, because people don't want to losers, and they're unfamiliar with how fair offers should work. And frankly, the idea that we share the cultural elements that lead to the norm of reciprocity with other chimps and bonobo is much less likely than genetic factors, if only because the transmission of genetic factors is far more certain than cultural!

"Same goes for psychological features that are adapted to agricultural or market economies. If you're instinctively more fair-minded than others, if your economic institutions make fair-mindedness pay off in survival and reproduction, and if genetic differences are associated with personality differences, then natural selection will kick in."

This can actually cause a positive feedback loop: A culture emphasizes a certain attribute, those who best express that attribute are more likely to prosper and pass on their genes. Then, as those that have the trait gradually replace those who don't, they culturally emphasize the trait even more and the whole process starts over.

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