Daily Archives: 22 Jul 08

The social psychology revolution is reaching its tipping point

“…[A]n intellectual revolution is under way that will change the way we think about public policy just as the free market economists did in the 1980s. I wonder whether one day soon a future party leader will turn round to his agent and say: “Finally, I’ve got it! Human behaviour.”

Those who doubt that there is something going on in the world of ideas should get themselves a publisher’s catalogue. One month there is a book called Nudge, the next a book called Sway. A volume called Predictably Irrational follows another called Irrationality. Since the success of Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, books on tipping points have reached a tipping point.

Behind this publishing explosion, with its PR hoopla, is real and solid intellectual progress. It comes from two streams of thought, developing alongside each other. The first is the idea of evolutionary psychology… The second stream of thought is behavioural economics. For twenty years now, some economists have been looking at the psychology of economic decision-making. Instead of seeing humans as rational calculating machines, behavioural economists have been conducting experiments to assess how real choices are made…” (Times of London)

R.I.P. Artie Traum

Stalwart of ’60s Folk Music Scene Is Dead at 65. “In a long and varied career, Mr. Traum played folk music and smooth jazz; recorded 10 albums of his own and four with his brother; produced albums; composed film scores; created guitar-instruction books and videos; teamed with his brother for a radio program; and made a documentary film about the Catskill water system.” (New York Times)
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