The Sciences

Irrational animus?

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanMar 18, 2009 2:15 AM


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A lot has happened since the mention of the AIG bonuses yesterday on this weblog. The media is overflowing with stories on it, and people are frothing with rage from high to low. In the age when many people are becoming aware of the power of "animal spirits" and the economic irrationality which emerges from psychology, it seems like we've swung to the other extreme from exuberance. In fact, swung might indicate a smooth continuity which just doesn't reflect reality, rather, the mental state of the populace has snapped. I was IMing with a friend who has been abroad for the past 3 months, and I asked him to guess the unemployment rate in his home state of California. He paused for a long time and said "7%". He was shocked when I told him that it was ~10%, and that the national rate was ~8% (he's been kind of off the grid). We won't hear demands for higher tariffs from the pitchfork wielders anytime soon hopefully....

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