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miércoles, 15 de febrero de 2012

La falacia de la auto-atribucion

Reading their work, it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family you’re likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family you’re likely to go to business school.

The rest of us are invited, by governments and by fawning interviews in the press, to subscribe to their myth of election: the belief that they are the chosen ones, possessed of superhuman talents. The very rich are often described as wealth creators. But they have preyed upon the earth’s natural wealth and their workers’ labour and creativity, impoverishing both people and planet. Now they have almost bankrupted us. The wealth creators of neoliberal mythology are some of the most effective wealth destroyers the world has ever seen.

But between 1979 and 2009, productivity rose by 80% , while the income of the bottom fifth fell by 4%(5). In roughly the same period, the income of the top 1% rose by 270%(6).

In his book The Haves and the Have Nots, Branko Milanovic tries to discover who was the richest person who has ever lived(9). Beginning with the loaded Roman triumvir Marcus Crassus, he measures wealth according to the quantity of his compatriots’ labour a rich man could buy. It appears that the richest man to have lived in the past 2000 years is alive today. Carlos Slim could buy the labour of 440,000 average Mexicans. This makes him 14 times as rich as Crassus, nine times as rich as Carnegie and four times as rich as Rockefeller.
Until recently, we were mesmerised by the bosses’ self-attribution. Their acolytes, in academia, the media, think tanks and government, created an extensive infrastructure of junk economics and flattery to justify their seizure of other people’s wealth. So immersed in this nonsense did we become that we seldom challenged its veracity.

Añado una referencia a la primera cita del artículo que el enlace que ponen ha expirado:

How cog­ni­tive illu­sions blind us to rea­son (The Guardian):

Why do Wall Street traders have such faith in their pow­ers of pre­dic­tion, when their suc­cess is largely down to chance? Daniel Kah­ne­man explains.

- “Look­ing back, the most strik­ing part of the story is that our knowl­edge of the gen­eral rule that we could not pre­dict had no effect on our con­fi­dence in indi­vid­ual cases. We were reluc­tant to infer the par­tic­u­lar from the gen­eral. Sub­jec­tive con­fi­dence in a judg­ment is not a rea­soned eval­u­a­tion of the prob­a­bil­ity that this judg­ment is cor­rect. Con­fi­dence is a feel­ing, which reflects the coher­ence of the infor­ma­tion and the cog­ni­tive ease of pro­cess­ing it. It is wise to take admis­sions of uncer­tainty seri­ously, but dec­la­ra­tions of high con­fi­dence mainly tell you that an indi­vid­ual has con­structed a coher­ent story in his mind, not nec­es­sar­ily that the story is true.” …

- “The sub­jec­tive expe­ri­ence of traders is that they are mak­ing sen­si­ble edu­cated guesses in a sit­u­a­tion of great uncer­tainty. In highly effi­cient mar­kets, how­ever, edu­cated guesses are no more accu­rate than blind guesses.”

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