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Economists And Pyscopaths.

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"The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that."

CNBC Anchor, Larry Kudlow, commenting on the devastating Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and radioactive fallout

With an estimated 18,000 Japanese dead or missing to date, a half million homeless, others living without heat or electricity or running water, facing severe food, gasoline, and other shortages, World Class Asshat and Psychopath Larry Kudlow is relieved that, despite all this overwhelming human suffering, his investment portfolio remains intact. (He later apologized, presumably after being taken to the woodshed by management.)

If "psychopath" seems too harsh or hyperbolic a term, consider the school of economics to which Kudlow and his ilk belong. Some seventy years ago, mathematicians developed what has come to be known as game theory to:

capture behavior in strategic situations, or games, in which an individual's success in making choices depends on the choices of others (Myerson, 1991). While initially developed to analyze competitions in which one individual does better at another's expense (zero sum games), it has been expanded to treat a wide class of interactions, which are classified according to several criteria.

One of the most studied fields of applied game theory is economics. Kudlow embraces a particular theory of economics that might best be described as economic Darwinism, a zero sum game where for every winner there's a loser. Tellingly, the theory originated with studying the actions of poker players, each of whom is assumed to want to take all the other guys' chips. Decades of subsequent social science studies, perhaps the most famous of which is the Prisoner's Dilemma, undermine such a simplistic, selfish view of human nature. As the late Quentin S. Crisp summed it up in his Economists and Psychopaths:

"It has been found that the only people who really fit the simplified mathematical model of self-interested rational behaviour at all times are economists and psychopaths."

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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