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Andrew Kramer

I found this on Andrew Sullivan's Website this morning ( "So this is what I asked Friedman: Is there a contradiction between his technological optimism and his premise of radical uncertainty? When I say optimism, I don't mean a belief that technology will be good; I mean a belief that it will work. His talk was full of bold scenarios: conquering aging, developing artificial intelligence 100 times smarter than us in the next 30 years, and administering mind-control drugs that induce credulity. I agree that these scenarios are fascinating, and when I first came into this field, I took them very seriously. But everywhere I look, the news is telling me another story. The story is that in many fields, and in biology in particular, causality is turning out to be way more complex than we anticipated. The immediate manifestation of that complexity is that even our most conventional attempts to manipulate biology are producing unexpected and often decisive ill side effects."

I think that your post here on money is definitely a little more evidence of the "complexity of causality" and its decisive ill effects.


Marc Andreessen has a must-read post on incentives. It includes long quotes from Charlie Munger.

Here's a taste:

"The design of tactical incentives -- e.g. bonuses -- is a whole topic in and of itself, and is critically important as your company grows. The most significant thing to keep in mind is that how the goals are designed really matters -- as Mr. Munger says, people tend to game any system you put in place, and then they tend to rationalize that gaming until they believe they really are doing the right thing.

"I think it was Andy Grove who said that for every goal you put in front of someone, you should also put in place a counter-goal to restrict gaming of the first goal."


Here's an essay that explores similar ideas:

Tracey Taylor

Fascinating stuff. And that is quite a conclusion: "that making money more vivid may, in fact, rob people of their wisdom." I'll remember that next time I'm feeling low on pennies.


This is a really fascinating post. I wonder if the people with the pile of money in front of them were less helpful because they had a false sense of high status and therefore helping another person was "beneath them"?

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