Novembro 2023

Novembro 2023

“If you would persuade, appeal to interest, not to reason.” - Benjamin Franklin

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Sociologia

Sobre as diversas faces da quebra do capital cívico norte-americano ao longo das últimas décadas. Um excelente resumo do trabalho de um membro da intelligentsia de fato preocupado em descrever o mal-estar generalizado das tranches de renda mais baixas antes de prescrever soluções “fáceis”.

Putnam proposes various programs and services that would help the poor families cope. (…) His stories imply that what has deteriorated most from the old days is not the community, but the family. The fundamental change is that rates of marital breakup and unwed pregnancy are dramatically higher than those of decades before — first in the parents, and then, too often, in their children. How these declines in familial stability relate to the disappearance of the factories is unclear. And although the problems are most common among minority groups, they have recently increased among less-educated whites. Lacking self-command, such children are much harder for the wider community to identify with than the youth of yesteryear. They no longer qualify as ‘our kids’.”

Em uma veia similar, uma interessante crítica ao tribalismo da classe intelectual, e em especial às crenças “de luxo” (luxury beliefs) que primam mais pela sinalização de morais bem aceitas pelo in-group que uma efetiva leitura da realidade. Ainda mais interessante é o fato deste artigo ter sido escrito nos anos ‘70; período coincidente com o início da malaise tão bem descrita no artigo sobre Robert Putnam.

The point I wish to make, however, is that if the intellectual ethnic group were a little less concerned with its own rectitude and moral purity and a little more concerned about understanding what was going on in the United States and providing broad consensus for social change it might begin to ask itself whether the members of other ethnic groups are saying something very important, however inelegantly (…). However, it is much easier to dismiss other people as fascists than to try to understand them.

‘See how amusing these Texans or Hoosiers are,’ says the intellectual, ‘how droll, how boorish, how fascist!’”

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Desenvolvimento Econômico

O economista Andrew Batson sintetiza uma das teorias do historiador econômico e vencedor do Nobel, Douglass North. Revisitando grandes tendências de crescimento econômico, North propôs uma “inversão” da usual explicação sobre a relevância da existência de instituições sólidas e direitos de propriedade como razão pelo sucesso longevo de determinadas nações.

Mais do que alavancar o crescimento em épocas de bonança, o amparo institucional protege o downside; acolchoando inevitáveis períodos de retração, e por conseguinte evitando o corolário das nefastas repercussões de segunda ordem (transmutação de crises de liquidez em crises de solvência, deflação, radicalização política, etc.) semeadas por estes momentos.

A long-term growth rate of zero does not mean, however, that societies never experienced higher standards of material well-being in the past. A zero growth rate implies that every period of increasing per capita income was matched by a corresponding period of decreasing income. Modern societies that made the transition to open access, and subsequently became wealthier than any other society in human history, did so because they greatly reduced the episodes of negative growth”

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Psicologia Experimental

O psicólogo experimental Adam Mastroianni discorre sobre a “ilusão da profundidade explicativa": como certos tópicos (particularmente aqueles que parecem mais óbvios) são suscetíveis a uma falsa percepção de conhecimento.

Uma interessante teoria complementar sobre o motivo de diversos conceitos simples e intuitivos acabarem sendo desenvolvidos tardiamente quando comparados a temas mais abstratos.

This, I think, explains the curious course of our scientific discovery. You might think that we discover things in order from most intuitive to least intuitive. No, thanks to the illusion of explanatory depth, it often goes the opposite way: we discover the least obvious things first, because those are things that we realize we don't understand.”

(…)

There are ideas that are simply too obvious to see, obscured by our theories that seem to make more sense than they actually do. Wherever our convictions are strong and our evidence is weak, there is a breakthrough waiting to happen. And then hundreds of years from now, our descendants will look back and say, ‘I can't believe it took them so long!’.”

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Miscelânea

A relevância do Scenius como explicação para diversos capítulos importantes do progresso civilizatório.

“Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.”

(…)

What Camp 4 illustrated is that the best you can do is NOT KILL IT. When it pops up, don’t crush it. When it starts rolling, don’t formalize it. When it sparks, fan it. But don’t move the scenius to better quarters. Try to keep accountants and architects and police and do-gooders away from it. Let it remain inefficient, wasteful, edgy, marginal, in the basement, downtown, in the ‘burbs, in the hotel ballroom, on the fringes, out back, in Camp 4.