Wednesday, October 29, 2008

David Brooks on "The Behavioral Revolution"

David Brooks had this op-ed piece in the New York Times:   The Behavioral Revolution. I feel like the following quote (describing Nassim Taleb) sums up so much of why I have issues with purely market based solutions:
He subscribes to what he calls the tragic vision of humankind, which “believes in the existence of inherent limitations and flaws in the way we think and act and requires an acknowledgement of this fact as a basis for any individual and collective action.” If recent events don’t underline this worldview, nothing will.
There are fundamental flaws in our rationality (which David Brooks lists):  overweighting recent events against old ones, believing that good things are the result of action on our part while bad things are more likely to be bad luck, overrecognizing patterns that don't exist.  The brain is a massive pattern-recognizing machine!  We need to rethink our ideas on what it means to be a rational actor.


  1. Hi Neha -- I know this is totally off topic -- but I'm wondering if you've had time to continue watching the Wire & if so -- what are your impressions? Like you, I started watching once the show was wrapping up -- but I've been tivo'ing the re-runs on BET. Thanks! & I hope you're in enjoying the fall in Boston!

  2. hey anonymous,

    yeah! i'm on the last season, maybe two episodes in. season 4, with the schools, was amazing. the reruns are on BET? do they cut out the crazy stuff?

  3. it's raining here and i blame myself.

    ps oh my god the 5th season of the wire, especially towards the end, gets really crazy!

  4. Neha - Thanks for responding! I also think the schools story-line is the most compelling part of the Wire & is perfectly placed in Season 4. You know what? BET edits the F-word (but not the N-word!) & sex scenes - so everything else goes. It's quite interesting to read interviews w/ David Simon & the actors -- & it's impressive how everyone is so committed to the show & has the best things to say about one another. (Btw - did you know that the actors who play Jimmy McNulty & Stringer Bell are British? I would have never guessed.)