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Showing posts from November, 2016


In the conflict between Beijing, Berlin and Brussels over skyrocketing investment by Chinese firms in European high-tech industries, China has a major advantage: It has a plan. Germany doesn’t. Neither does the European Union. It doesn’t make things easier that European businesses have little incentive to put a stop to the billions flowing out of China, which provide them with capital in the short term and help them secure access to the growing Chinese market. China’s mission to buy up companies in Europe is part of a plan called “Made in China 2025,” designed to turn the country into a manufacturing superpower. When it comes to investment, both abroad and at home, the Chinese have a plan, and they seem determined to stick to it. “One aim of ‘Made in China 2025’ is to replace foreign technology with Chinese technology,” said Jost Wübbecke of Mercator Institute for China Studies. -

Those Left Out Will Notice

Hillary Clinton slipped into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. The fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life. Liberals obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored. [ Mark Lilla (2016)]

Preference Falsification

Timur Kuran writes about the phenomenon he calls "preference falsification": people tend to hide unpopular views to avoid ostracism or punishment; they stop hiding them when they feel safe . When something breaks the spell and the discontented realize that their feelings are widely shared, at which point the collapse of the regime may seem very sudden to outside observers. Kuran calls this sudden change a "preference cascade". Novelist Bret Easton Ellis recently tweeted: "Just back from a dinner in West Hollywood: shocked the majority of the table was voting for Trump but they would never admit it publicly." What he describes is preference falsification, but if people stop hiding, it will become a cascade. A new theory by cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is garnering attention. Grounded in evolutionary psychology, it is called the interface theory of perception (ITP) and argues that percepts act as a species-specific user interface that directs beh

Os Especialistas

Em 1988, Philip Tetlock, um jovem psicólogo canadiano, lembrou-se de contactar mais de 200 pessoas em todo o mundo, todas elas especialistas de grande reputação em temas políticos e económicos. Ao longo de 15 anos, colocou-lhes perguntas sobre esses temas, pedindo-lhes que atribuíssem probabilidades a diferentes cenários sobre o futuro próximo. Quem iria ganhar as próximas eleições nos seus países? Que evoluções antecipavam para uma série de indicadores económicos? Que conflitos militares deveríamos esperar? Em 2005, Tetlock apresentou os resultados desta singular experiência no livro Expert Political Judgment. A principal conclusão? Em média, a capacidade destes especialistas para preverem o futuro próximo nas matérias que dominam é semelhante à de um chimpanzé a atirar dardos a um alvo. A quem quiser igualar o desempenho médio de alguns dos maiores especialistas mundiais em matérias políticas e económicas basta-lhe dar palpites à sorte. É difícil não olhar para ele como uma denúncia