Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Links, December 7

Tom Slee in WikiLeaks Shines a Light on the Limits of Techno-Politics:
"A side effect of the WikiLeaks cables is to show that, for all the talk of movements and revolutions, these beliefs are empty of real political content. The cables prompt some tough questions, but the fault lines those questions reveal run perpendicular to digital attitudes, not parallel. When push comes to political shove, open source proponents and so on are found on both sides of the debate. The Internet is a new terrain, but the battles being fought on it are old ones."

WikiLeaks: lesson in brevity for Indian diplomats

Amar Bhide and Howard Stevenson in (based on an empirical study) Why Be Honest If Honesty Doesn't Pay:
"Since ancient times, philosophers have contrasted a barbaric "state of nature" with a perfect, well-ordered society that has somehow tamed humankind's propensity toward force and fraud. Fortunately, we have created something that is neither Beirut nor Bucharest. We don't require honesty, but we honor and celebrate it. Like a kaleidoscope, we have order and change. We make beautiful, well-fitting relationships that we break and reform at every turn.

We should remember, however, that this third way works only as long as most of us live by an honorable moral compass. Since our trust isn't grounded in self-interest, it is fragile. And, indeed, we all know of organizations, industries, and even whole societies in which trust has given way either to a destructive free-for-all or to inflexible rules and bureaucracy. Only our individual wills, our determination to do what is right, whether or not it is profitable, save us from choosing between chaos stagnation."

Mike Konczal on centralization and local knowledge in Amar Bhide, Tom Cox on Foreclosures and Knowledge.:
"Here the financialization of our economy is actually a cover for the centralization of the mechanisms in which value is transfered from one part of the economy to another. Whatever economics of scale that are gained through centralizing are hampered by the inability for the financial sector to see things outside of automated, statistical projections of aggregate data. The real local knowledge that can facilitate a more robust and venturesome economy is lost, and at the end all you end up with is a handful of firms rent-seeking over crucial conduits for how our economy functions. Though quite skilled at pumping hot money into bubbles on the way up, the financial system is too thin to be able to manage the following collapse."

Amar Bhide in The Judgement Deficit:
"Statistical models have deprived the financial sector of the case-by-case judgement on which capitalism thrives."

Ilana Yurkiewicz in the Science Progress post (Don’t) Keep it Simple: Why a Culture of Journalism Isn’t Working for Science:
"However, increased awareness that journalism templates do not—rather, cannot—apply to all subject material is a good starting point. To the copy desk, I offer this: Be careful with what you snip. That science article may take a few extra seconds to read, but we may be miles ahead in what we learn in the long run."

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