Huvitavat lugemist: majandusteadlaste arvamustest Facebooki ja usalduse keemilise pooleni

Hernando de Soto näeb usalduse kadumise ja seeläbi ka finantskriis taga, mis praeguseks on arenenud majanduskriisiks, puudulike omandiõigusi, mis polnud piisavalt läbipaistvalt dokumenteeritud. Ilma omandiõiguseta ei kajasta ka hinnad informatsiooni adekvaatselt, mis viib ebamäärasuse ja usalduse kadumiseni:

Over the past 200 years, that legal authority has matured into a global consensus on the procedures, standards and principles required to document facts in a way that everyone can easily understand and trust.

The result is a formidable property system with rules and recording mechanisms that fix on paper the facts that allow us to hold, transfer, transform and use everything we own, from stocks to screenplays. The only paper representing an asset that is not centrally recorded, standardized and easily tracked are derivatives.

Property is much more than a body of norms. It is also a huge information system that processes raw data until it is transformed into facts that can be tested for truth, and thereby destroys the main catalysts of recessions and panics — ambiguity and opacity.

De Soto pakub enda üpris lühikeses arvamusloos välja ka mõned võimalikud lahendused.

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Penelope Trunk pani mõni aeg tagasi kokku 8-punktilise nimekirja põhjustest, miks kõrghariduse omandanud inimene ei peaks praeguses majandusolukorras unistavalt täiendavale kraadiõppele mõtlema. Mulle tundus üks tabavamaid olevat seitsmes punkt:

7. Most jobs are better than they seem: You can learn from any job.
When I worked on a French chicken farm, I thought I’d learn French, but I didn’t, because I was so foreign to the French farm family that they couldn’t talk to me. However I did learn a lot of other things, like how to bargain to get the best job in the chicken coop, and how to get out of killing the bunnies. You don’t need to be learning the perfect thing in your job. You just need to be learning. Don’t tell yourself you need a job that gives your life meaning. Jobs don’t do that; doesn’t that make you feel better? Suddenly being in the workplace doesn’t seem so bad.

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David Brooks kirjutas hiljuti suht muhedalt Obama piiratud valikutest, mis puudutavad USA suuremate autotootjate tulevikku, sealjuures vihjates varasematele lubadustele, mis paarikümne aasta jooksul on igasuguse usaldusväärsuse nende silmis kaotanud:

The most likely outcome, sad to say, is some semiserious restructuring plan, with or without court involvement, to be followed by long-term government intervention and backdoor subsidies forever. That will amount to the world’s most expensive jobs program. It will preserve the overcapacity in the market, create zombie companies and thus hurt Ford. It will raise the protectionist threat as politicians seek to protect the car companies they now run.

It would have been better to keep a distance from G.M. and prepare the region for a structured bankruptcy process. Instead, Obama leapt in. His intentions were good, but getting out with honor will require a ruthless tenacity that is beyond any living politician.

Karm tõde, mille vähemalt mitte-poliitikud saavad selgelt välja öelda.

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Amartya Sen’ilt ilmus märtsi lõpus New York Review of Books’is pikem artikkel pealkirjaga Capitalism Beyond the Crisis, kus Sen arutleb kapitalismi tuleviku üle samal ajal Adam Smith’i kirjutatu üle mõtiskledes:

Smith never used the term “capitalism” (at least so far as I have been able to trace), but it would also be hard to carve out from his works any theory arguing for the sufficiency of market forces, or of the need to accept the dominance of capital. He talked about the importance of these broader values that go beyond profits in The Wealth of Nations, but it is in his first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which was published exactly a quarter of a millennium ago in 1759, that he extensively investigated the strong need for actions based on values that go well beyond profit seeking. While he wrote that “prudence” was “of all the virtues that which is most useful to the individual,” Adam Smith went on to argue that “humanity, justice, generosity, and public spirit, are the qualities most useful to others.”

Muide, sama artikkel ilmus nädalavahetusel Postimehe AK lisas eesti keeles.

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Sen’i artikli tasakaalustamiseks üks arvamuslugu Gary Becker’ilt (samuti Nobeli memoriaalpreemia laureaat) ja Kevin Murphy’lt, kes juhivad tähelepanu turumajanduse positiivsetele saavutustele ja lükkavad kaudselt ümber ka mitmed Sen’i väited:

Therefore, in devising reforms that aim to reduce the likelihood of future severe contractions, the accomplishments of capitalism should be appreciated. Governments should not so hamper markets that they are prevented from bringing rapid growth to the poor economies of Africa, Asia and elsewhere that have had limited participation in the global economy. New economic policies that try to speed up recovery should follow the first principle of medicine: do no harm. This runs counter to a common but mistaken view, even among many free-market proponents, that it is better to do something to try to help the economy than to do nothing. Most interventions, including random policies, by their very nature would hurt rather than help, in large part by adding to the uncertainty and risk that are already so prominent during this contraction.

The policies of the Bush and Obama administrations violate the “do no harm” principle. Interventions by the US Treasury in financial markets have added to the uncertainty and slowed market responses that would help stabilise and recapitalise the system. The government has overridden contracts and rewarded many of those whose poor decisions helped create the mess. It proposes to override even more contracts. As a result of the Treasury’s actions, we face further distorted decision-making as government ownership of big financial institutions threatens to substitute political agendas for business judgments in running these companies. While such dramatic measures may be expedient, they are likely to have serious adverse consequences.

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Varem või hiljem pidi see juhtuma: Facebook’i avalik hukkamõist. Matt Labash on Weekly Standard’i jaoks enda mõtted päris lõbusalt kirja pannud artiklis Down with Facebook, kus hulgaliselt teraseid täheldusi ja ennast pilkavat huumorit, kus siiski ka sügavam sõnum…vist:

For the five or six Amish shut-ins who may not yet have heard of this scourge (your tenacious ignorance is to be admired, and I’d immediately friend you if I was into Facebook and you had electricity), Facebook is an online community where colleagues, friends, long-lost acquaintances, friends of friends or long-lost acquaintances, and perfect strangers find and “friend” each other based on their real or perceived affinity. They then have access to each other’s web pages, and consequently to each other’s lives, quirks, photos, jottings, oversharings, and mental disorders, as well as to those of the ever-expanding universe of their friends’ circles, thus increasing the likelihood that you will either embarrass yourself or be embarrassed by someone whose life would never otherwise intersect with yours. (Right about now, a Facetard is ginning up an angry letter to the editor saying this would not be the case if you know how to control your privacy settings. Save the geek speech for your Facebook friends, Facetard, I already got my eight hours sleep.)

Olgu siinkohal öeldud, et ühele Facebooki passiivsele kasutajale tundus see artikkel väga sümpaatne. Mulle on viimastelt nädalatelt teisigi sarnaseid artikleid meelde jäänud. Tundub, et asi hakkab massidesse jõudma.

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Kuna usaldus ja selle kaotamine on viimasel ajal aktuaalne teema, siis ei saa mööda artiklist, kus on juttu usalduse keemilisest poolest ja kuidas vastuvõtlikus keemilistele signaalidele võib mõjutada isegi inimeste karjäärivalikut:

Oxytocin is deeply involved in the attachment process, whereas testosterone is intensely caught up in the enforcement of the social norms (which may help to explain why far more men go into such professions as the military and law enforcement). In exchange games, the more subjects are behaving in trusting ways, the more money they exchange and the higher the levels of oxytocin that are released by the brain. When Zak asks them why are they giving up so much money, subjects say such things as “it just feels right.” The moral emotion drives behavior, even if the moral calculation beneath the emotion is invisible.

Skeptics might reasonably ask whether oxytocin is the cause or the effect of trust. “To control for that,” Zak says, “we set up an experimental condition where instead of subjects freely choosing to trust someone, we had them randomly pull out a ping pong ball from a box that would determine how much money was given or received, and in those cases there was no significant change in oxytocin levels.” To find out if cooperating and trust lead to the release of oxytocin or if increased levels of oxytocin lead to more cooperation and trust, Zak infused oxytocin into subjects’ brains through a nose spray that is quickly absorbed by the body and discovered that it causes them to act more cooperatively.

Huvitav, kui tõenäoline on, et oluliste läbirääkimiste käigus (kümned või sajad miljonid dollarid) pihustab tehingust rohkem huvitatud osapool juba täna enda nõupidamisteruumi oxytocin’i? Aga poliitilistel läbirääkimistel, kus kaaluli võivad-olla inimelud?

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