jerryking + self-interest   10

Why It’s So Hard to Put ‘Future You’ Ahead of ‘Present You’ - The New York Times
Sept. 10, 2018 | NYT | By Tim Herrera.

Are there instances when Past You has, quite inconsiderably, set up Future You for failure.

Why do we do this to ourselves? What makes us act against our own self-interest, even when we are acutely aware we’re doing so?....At work is present bias, our natural tendency to place our short-term needs and desires ahead of our long-term needs and desires. A lot of the time this comes in the form of procrastination.....we perceive our future selves the same way we perceive total strangers. In other words: When I’m brushing off responsibilities, part of my brain unconsciously believes that they’re now the problem of an actual stranger. ....starts with thinking of your future self as … you......Let’s say you habitually neglect your retirement savings. Instead of looking at future saving as making “financial decisions,” put yourself in the mind-set of thinking about the lifestyle you want when you’re retired. Picture yourself however many years hence, now retired, living the life you set up. Experts say this simple paradigm shift can change your entire approach to those decisions — even though they’re exactly the same.

Yes, this idea of future projection — “What will my life be like after I make this decision?” — is difficult to wrap your head around, especially when Future You is getting a better deal than Present You.
biases  present_bias  procrastination  retirement  self-interest  self-sabotage  visioning 
september 2018 by jerryking
US and China must find ways to control their elites | Financial Times
July 1, 2018 | FT| Rana Foroohar. Pinboard saved article/artifact #25,000

Success rests on heading off popular unrest, rather than winning trade fights.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Tension between the US and China is driving much of what is happening in the markets today. The analysis has focused on tariffs, currency manipulation, strategic technologies and which country has the most to win or lose in a trade war.

But there is a more important question to be asked when thinking about the future success and stability of each nation: which country will be better able to control its moneyed elites?

In his 1982 work The Rise and Decline of Nations, the economist Mancur Olson argues that civilisations tend to decline when the moneyed interests take over politics. That has clearly happened in both countries, where the levels of wealth inequality are not dissimilar; the top 1 per cent in China own about 30 per cent of the economy; in the US, the figure is 42 per cent.

........Chinese leaders also believe that America’s inability to curb its own elites will be the country’s downfall [Achilles’ heel]....America’s elite business class has, for decades now, sought to distract from rising oligopoly with hypocrisy. US companies complain vociferously about unfair Chinese trade practices and intellectual property theft.
U.S.  China  elitism  Rana_Foroohar  societal_collapse  the_One_Percent  self-interest  books  economists  Mancur_Olson  entrenched_interests  Achilles’_heel  Xi_Jinping  corruption  Chinese_Communist_Party  conflicts  confrontations  U.S.-China_relations 
july 2018 by jerryking
Donald Trump Poisons the World
JUNE 2, 2017 | The New York Times | David Brooks.

This week, two of Donald Trump’s top advisers, H. R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, wrote the following passage in The Wall Street Journal: “The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a cleareyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.”

That sentence is the epitome of the Trump project. It asserts that selfishness is the sole driver of human affairs. It grows out of a worldview that life is a competitive struggle for gain. It implies that cooperative communities are hypocritical covers for the selfish jockeying underneath.

The essay explains why the Trump people are suspicious of any cooperative global arrangement, like NATO and the various trade agreements. It helps explain why Trump pulled out of the Paris global-warming accord. This essay explains why Trump gravitates toward leaders like Vladimir Putin, the Saudi princes and various global strongmen: They share his core worldview that life is nakedly a selfish struggle for money and dominance.

It explains why people in the Trump White House are so savage to one another. Far from being a band of brothers, their world is a vicious arena where staffers compete for advantage......In the essay, McMaster and Cohn make explicit the great act of moral decoupling woven through this presidency. In this worldview, morality has nothing to do with anything. Altruism, trust, cooperation and virtue are unaffordable luxuries in the struggle of all against all. Everything is about self-interest. David Brooks contends that this philosophy is based on an error about human beings and it leads to self-destructive behavior in all cases.

The error is that it misunderstands what drives human action. Yes, people are self-interested but they are also wired to cooperate....Good leaders like Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt and Reagan understand the selfish elements that drive human behavior, but they have another foot in the realm of the moral motivations. They seek to inspire faithfulness by showing good character. They try to motivate action by pointing toward great ideals.

Realist leaders like Trump, McMaster and Cohn seek to dismiss this whole moral realm. By behaving with naked selfishness toward others, they poison the common realm and they force others to behave with naked selfishness toward them........By treating the world simply as an arena for competitive advantage, Trump, McMaster and Cohn sever relationships, destroy reciprocity, erode trust and eviscerate the sense of sympathy, friendship and loyalty that all nations need when times get tough.....George Marshall was no idealistic patsy. He understood that America extends its power when it offers a cooperative hand and volunteers for common service toward a great ideal. Realists reverse that formula. They assume strife and so arouse a volley of strife against themselves.
op-ed  climate_change  Donald_Trump  Gary_Cohn  decoupling  human_behavior  worldviews  WSJ  H.R._McMaster  selfishness  U.S.foreign_policy  Greek  morals  realism  George_Marshall  Marshall_Plan  self-interest  autocrats  Thucydides  David_Brooks  transactional_relationships  national_interests  institutions  international_system  values 
june 2017 by jerryking
What Romantic Regime Are You In?
MARCH 7, 2017 | The New York Times | David Brooks.

In Russia, people tend to regard love as a sort of divine madness that descends from the heavens. Love is regarded... as “a destiny, a moral act and a value; it is irresistible, it requires sacrifice and implies suffering and pain....In America people tend to ask: Does a partner fulfill your needs? Do you feel comfortable asserting your rights in the relationship? Does your partner check the right boxes?

While Russians pursue a "Regime of Fate", Americans seek a "Regime of Choice".....The most important requirement for choice is not the availability of multiple options...but the existence of a savvy, sovereign chooser who is well aware of his needs and who acts on the basis of self-interest. Brooks sees those who have mastered the notion of lifelong commitment to belong to a third regime, one he calls the Regime of Covenants in which a covenant is not a choice, but a life-altering promise and all the binding the promise entails.....In the Regime of Covenants, making the right one-time selection is less important than the ongoing action to serve the relationship.

The Covenant people tend to have a “we” consciousness. The good of the relationship itself comes first and the needs of the partner are second and the individual needs are third. The covenant only works if each partner, as best as possible, puts the other’s needs above his or her own, with the understanding that the other will reciprocate....Covenant Regimes require a framework in which exit is not an easy option, in which you’re assured the other person’s love is not going away, and in which the only way to survive the crises is to go deeper into the relationship itself.

The final feature of a covenant is that the relationship is not just about itself; it serves some larger purpose. The obvious one in many cases is raising children. But the deeper one is transformation. People in such a covenant try to love the other in a way that brings out their loveliness. They hope that through this service they’ll become a slightly less selfish version of themselves.
romantic_love  David_Brooks  reciprocity  self-interest  serving_others  covenants  Russia  lifelong  marriage  relationships  commitments  sacrifice  transformational  parenting 
march 2017 by jerryking
Training Wheels for Treasury Secretaries - WSJ
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS JR..
Updated Dec. 11, 2002

Public choice holds that politicians and government officials have interests, like anyone else, and understanding these interests is a better guide to their behavior than some disembodied notion of the "public good." In the words of Prof. Buchanan, "If you want to improve politics, improve the rules, improve the structure. Don't expect politicians to behave differently. They behave according to their interests."
public_choice  appointments  Holman_Jenkins  interests  politicians  organizational_structure  public_servants  politics  U.S.Treasury_Department  incentives  self-interest  public_goods  behaviours 
february 2015 by jerryking
Why Machiavelli Still Matters - NYTimes.com
By JOHN SCOTT and ROBERT ZARETSKY
Published: December 9, 2013

“The Prince” is a manual for those who wish to win and keep power. The Renaissance was awash in such how-to guides, but Machiavelli’s was different. To be sure, he counsels a prince on how to act toward his enemies, using force and fraud in war. But his true novelty resides in how we should think about our friends. It is at the book’s heart, in the chapter devoted to this issue, that Machiavelli proclaims his originality.

Set aside what you would like to imagine about politics, Machiavelli writes, and instead go straight to the truth of how things really work, or what he calls the “effectual truth.” [Effectual truth means not only that the truth will have an effect, a consequence, but also that its effect will show. Those who try to live by a profession of good will fail and be shown to fail. ] You will see that allies in politics, whether at home or abroad, are not friends....Machiavelli teaches that in a world where so many are not good, you must learn to be able to not be good. The virtues taught in our secular and religious schools are incompatible with the virtues one must practice to safeguard those same institutions. The power of the lion and the cleverness of the fox: These are the qualities a leader must harness to preserve the republic.

For such a leader, allies are friends when it is in their interest to be. (We can, with difficulty, accept this lesson when embodied by a Charles de Gaulle; we have even greater difficulty when it is taught by, say, Hamid Karzai.) What’s more, Machiavelli says, leaders must at times inspire fear not only in their foes but even in their allies — and even in their own ministers.
cynicism  Niccolò_Machiavelli  Medici  indispensable  advice  friendships  politics  power  virtues  interests  consigliere  leaders  self-interest  fear  adaptability  political_power  self-preservation  effectiveness  Charles_de_Gaulle  negative_space  primers 
december 2013 by jerryking
What is good for a business isn’t necessarily good for the country
Aug. 27 2013 | The Globe and Mail |CHRISTOPHER RAGAN
...Most non-economists probably think economics and business are the same. But anyone who has studied economics knows they are very different. Having done so for about 30 years, I am very comfortable thinking about how markets work, how they often fail to function effectively and how various government policies affect their operation. But I readily admit to having no expertise about product development, marketing campaigns, distribution networks or managing employees.

I only wish more business people admitted to having the opposite ignorance. People successful in their businesses obviously know a lot about running their own companies and dealing with their unique competitive challenges. But many of them believe their business acumen extends to the broader economy. They suffer from the misconception that what is good for their business is good for the country as a whole. And this is where they are terribly wrong.... Adam Smith was crystal clear about business interests, writing in 1776 that “people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”...Fortunately for us, [James Moore] understands the difference between business interests and the national interest.
Adam_Smith  business_acumen  business_interests  businessman_fallacy  delusions  economics  humility  misconceptions  marketing  national_interests  policymaking  pro-business  product_development  rent-seeking  self-interest 
november 2013 by jerryking
The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent -
October 13, 2012 | NYTimes.com | By CHRYSTIA FREELAND.

IN the early 14th century, Venice was one of the richest cities in Europe. At the heart of its economy was the colleganza, a basic form of joint-stock company created to finance a single trade expedition. The brilliance of the colleganza was that it opened the economy to new entrants, allowing risk-taking entrepreneurs to share in the financial upside with the established businessmen who financed their merchant voyages.

Venice’s elites were the chief beneficiaries. Like all open economies, theirs was turbulent. Today, we think of social mobility as a good thing. But if you are on top, mobility also means competition. In 1315, when the Venetian city-state was at the height of its economic powers, the upper class acted to lock in its privileges, putting a formal stop to social mobility with the publication of the Libro d’Oro, or Book of Gold, an official register of the nobility. If you weren’t on it, you couldn’t join the ruling oligarchy.

The political shift, which had begun nearly two decades earlier, was so striking a change that the Venetians gave it a name: La Serrata, or the closure. It wasn’t long before the political Serrata became an economic one, too. Under the control of the oligarchs, Venice gradually cut off commercial opportunities for new entrants. Eventually, the colleganza was banned. The reigning elites were acting in their immediate self-interest, but in the longer term, La Serrata was the beginning of the end for them, and for Venetian prosperity more generally. By 1500, Venice’s population was smaller than it had been in 1330. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the rest of Europe grew, the city continued to shrink....several recent studies have shown that in America today it is harder to escape the social class of your birth than it is in Europe. The Canadian economist Miles Corak has found that as income inequality increases, social mobility falls...Businessmen like to style themselves as the defenders of the free market economy, but as Luigi Zingales, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, argued, “Most lobbying is pro-business, in the sense that it promotes the interests of existing businesses, not pro-market in the sense of fostering truly free and open competition.”
business_interests  capitalism  Chrystia_Freeland  city-states  cronyism  crony_capitalism  depopulation  elitism  entrenched_interests  history  income_distribution  income_inequality  lobbying  locked_in  moguls  new_entrants  oligarchs  pro-business  pro-market  Renaissance  self-destructive  self-interest  social_classes  social_mobility  The_One_Percent  Venice  winner-take-all 
september 2013 by jerryking
WikiLeaks: Unpluggable
Dec 2nd 2010 | The Economist. It would be an exaggeration to
say that diplomacy will never be the same again. Self-interest means that countries will still send & receive private msgs. But communication will be more difficult. The trading of opinions, insights & favours necessarily requires shadow, not light. Unofficial contacts such as businessmen, journalists, campaigners & other citizens who talk to American diplomats, out of goodwill or self-interest, will think twice about doing so. Being tarred as an American crony can be lethal. What is said will be less clear & interesting. Principals will use go-betweens rather than talking directly. Clear private speech will give way to euphemisms suitable for public consumption. (e.g. “convivial” for “drunk”; “unconventional” for “mad”.) All that will make communication more difficult. ...In the
longer term the odds are stacked against secrecy...America’s need to share colossal amounts of data across a sprawling govt. machine.
WikiLeaks  diplomacy  Communicating_&_Connecting  security_&_intelligence  confidentiality  self-censorship  self-interest  opacity  private_information 
december 2010 by jerryking
Welcome home, Mr. MacIsaac
Jan 29, 2000 | The Globe and Mail pg. A.28 | by Murray Campbell. "

Executive members of the Toronto Police Association have
received advice from the Police Labor Institute, a Texas-based
organization whose motto is: "Change comes from power and power comes
from organization." Its director, Ron DeLord, is also president of the
16,000-member Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas. The
institute holds annual seminars on "power, politics and confrontation,"
where for $335 (U.S.) police unionists learn "how to become real power
brokers in the community.""
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Bill Maher October 5, 2018.

Real power isn't about making a scene or what makes you feel good. Power begets power.
change  confrontations  ProQuest  Murray_Campbell  organized_labour  police_force  political_power  power  unions  quotes  police_unions  self-interest  interests  organizational_structure  power_brokers  systematic_approaches  Toronto_Police_Association 
may 2010 by jerryking

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