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The Behavioral Sink

The Behavioral Sink
Cabinet and the author regret that a previous version of this article omitted its sources. To readers who are interested in learning more about Calhoun's research, we highly recommend "Escaping the Laboratory: The Rodent Experiments of John B Calhoun and Their Cultural Influence" by Edmund Ramsden and Jon Adams, LSE Department of Economic History, 2008, to which this article is indebted. How do you design a utopia? In 1972, John B. Calhoun detailed the specifications of his Mortality-Inhibiting Environment for Mice: a practical utopia built in the laboratory. Every aspect of Universe 25—as this particular model was called—was pitched to cater for the well-being of its rodent residents and increase their lifespan. Four breeding pairs of mice were moved in on day one. Calhoun’s concern was the problem of abundance: overpopulation. Mouse utopia/dystopia, as designed by John B. But Calhoun’s work was different. So what exactly happened in Universe 25? Wolfe wasn’t alone. John B. John B.

An Ordinary Person's Guide to Overthrowing the Corporate Elites by Chris HedgesThe Occupied Wall Street Journal Robert E. Gamer’s book The Developing Nations contains a chapter entitled “Why Men Do Not Revolt.” In it, Gamer notes that although the oppressed often do revolt, the object of their hostility is misplaced. They vent their fury on a political puppet, someone who masks colonial power, a despised racial or ethnic group or an apostate within their own political class. Gamer and many others who study the nature of colonial rule offer the best insights into the functioning of our corporate state. A change of power does not require the election of a Mitt Romney or a Barack Obama or a Democratic majority in Congress, or an attempt to reform the system or electing progressive candidates, but rather a destruction of corporate domination of the political process—Gamer’s “patron-client” networks. But we must first recognize ourselves as colonial subjects. The danger the corporate state faces does not come from the poor. This is why the Occupy Movement frightens the corporate elite. Malcolm X

Mass Incarceration and Criminal Justice in America A prison is a trap for catching time. Good reporting appears often about the inner life of the American prison, but the catch is that American prison life is mostly undramatic—the reported stories fail to grab us, because, for the most part, nothing happens. One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich is all you need to know about Ivan Denisovich, because the idea that anyone could live for a minute in such circumstances seems impossible; one day in the life of an American prison means much less, because the force of it is that one day typically stretches out for decades. It isn’t the horror of the time at hand but the unimaginable sameness of the time ahead that makes prisons unendurable for their inmates. That’s why no one who has been inside a prison, if only for a day, can ever forget the feeling. For most privileged, professional people, the experience of confinement is a mere brush, encountered after a kid’s arrest, say.

What Makes Countries Rich or Poor? by Jared Diamond Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson Crown, 529 pp., $30.00 The fence that divides the city of Nogales is part of a natural experiment in organizing human societies. North of the fence lies the American city of Nogales, Arizona; south of it lies the Mexican city of Nogales, Sonora. Different economists have different views about the relative importance of the conditions and factors that make countries richer or poorer. The reason that Nogales, Arizona, is much richer than Nogales, Sonora, is simple: it is because of the very different institutions on the two sides of the border, which create very different incentives for the inhabitants of Nogales, Arizona, versus Nogales, Sonora. There is no doubt that good institutions are important in determining a country’s wealth. That cruel reality underlies the tragedy of modern nations, such as Papua New Guinea, whose societies were until recently tribal.

In a Cave Article Print By William Deresiewicz I wrote a post a couple of months ago about the loss of equality and justice as political ideals in this country, in favor of an exclusive reverence for the ideal of freedom. In particular, I advocated for economic equality and social justice as ideas that need to be reintroduced into our public discourse. Economic equality, in other words, is nothing other, in my understanding, than equality of opportunity—a goal that conservatives claim to support but one they are conspicuously uninterested in doing anything to further. As for social justice, the other name for that is Christianity. Freedom is a relationless ideal. Equality and justice are, precisely, relational. Freedom is the ideal of adolescence, the desire to be quit of restrictions. The word autonomous appears in Homer. Political theorist Isaiah Berlin said that the tragedy of politics is that our ideals are not perfectly compatible and so cannot all be fully realized.

William James Proposes the Moral Equivalent of War Voices in Time The war against war is going to be no holiday excursion or camping party. The military feelings are too deeply grounded to abdicate their place among our ideals until better substitutes are offered than the glory and shame that come to nations as well as to individuals from the ups and downs of politics and the vicissitudes of trade. There is something highly paradoxical in the modern man’s relation to war. Modern war is so expensive that we feel trade to be a better avenue to plunder; but modern man inherits all the innate pugnacity and all the love of glory of his ancestors. Our ancestors have bred pugnacity into our bone and marrow, and thousands of years of peace won’t breed it out of us. “Peace” in military mouths today is a synonym for “war expected.” So far as the central essence of this feeling goes, no healthy-minded person, it seems to me, can help to some degree partaking of it.

The Lost Tools of Learning That I, whose experience of teaching is extremely limited, should presume to discuss education is a matter, surely, that calls for no apology. It is a kind of behavior to which the present climate of opinion is wholly favorable. Bishops air their opinions about economics; biologists, about metaphysics; inorganic chemists, about theology; the most irrelevant people are appointed to highly technical ministries; and plain, blunt men write to the papers to say that Epstein and Picasso do not know how to draw. Up to a certain point, and provided the the criticisms are made with a reasonable modesty, these activities are commendable. However, it is in the highest degree improbable that the reforms I propose will ever be carried into effect. Have you ever, in listening to a debate among adult and presumably responsible people, been fretted by the extraordinary inability of the average debater to speak to the question, or to meet and refute the arguments of speakers on the other side?

The Surprising Truths About Income Inequality in America: Big Issues As I drive along the Pacific Coast Highway into Malibu, I catch glimpses of incredible cliff-top mansions discreetly obscured from the road, which is littered with abandoned gas stations and run-down mini-marts. The office building I pull up to is quite drab and utilitarian. There are no ornaments on the conference-room shelves—just a bottle of hand sanitizer. An elderly, broad-shouldered man greets me. You almost definitely won't have heard of him. I approached Wayne, as he's known, for wholly mathematical reasons. "I live my life paying my taxes and taking care of my responsibilities, and I'm a little surprised to find out that I'm an enemy of the state at this time in my life," he says. He has a big, booming voice like an old-school billionaire, not one of those nerdy new billionaires. "Has anyone said that to your face?" "Nobody has to," says Wayne. "You mean the Occupy Wall Street crowd?" Is he, though? But the reality is that rarely are enemies of the state treated so well. "Right."

Myth of the Rule of Law John Hasnas (1) Copyright 1995 by The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System Reprinted by permission of the Wisconsin Law Review Originally published in 1995 Wisconsin Law Review 199 (1995) Stop! Before reading this Article, please take the following quiz. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides, in part: "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; . . . ." (2)On the basis of your personal understanding of this sentence's meaning (not your knowledge of constitutional law), please indicate whether you believe the following sentences to be true or false. _____ 1) In time of war, a federal statute may be passed prohibiting citizens from revealing military secrets to the enemy. _____ 2) The President may issue an executive order prohibiting public criticism of his administration. _____ 3) Congress may pass a law prohibiting museums from exhibiting photographs and paintings depicting homosexual activity.

Former McDonald's Honchos Take On Sustainable Cuisine | Wired Business Photo: James Wojcik The big dude with the tattoos and a bad case of five o’clock shadow served up a plate of roasted kabocha squash, organic brussels sprouts, and free-range chicken breast. None of this would have been worth noting had the dish been just another locavore delicacy, prepared by just another hipster chef, during just another lunch hour here among the food-obsessed in Palo Alto, California. But this artfully arranged plate—the chicken breaded and “unfried,” the veggies tossed with parsley and chives in a Dijon vinaigrette, all sprinkled with dried cranberries—was something else. It was the future. I had come to the artisanally fed vale of Facebook and Tesla to sample the first fruits of Lyfe Kitchen, a soon-to-be-chain of restaurants that might just shift the calculus of American cuisine. Yes, for the moment the only Lyfe Kitchen is here on Hamilton Avenue in Palo Alto. There is one overriding reason to believe that this venture will work. As in? Where was Roberts going?

RIP Military Historian John Keegan, Who Saw War as Product of Culture Rather than Biology | Cross-Check John Keegan, whom The New York Times called “the preeminent military historian of his era,” is dead. 78 years old, he died after a long illness in England, where he was born and bred. Among his 20-plus books was A History of Warfare (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993), one of the best-written and most insightful investigations of violent conflict that I’ve read. Keegan’s book serves as a potent counterpoint to—and more, refutation of—popular claims by scientists such as Richard Wrangham and Edward O. Although he declared war to be an “entirely masculine activity,” Keegan also viewed it as cultural more than biological. Evolutionary psychologists and others who favor biological theories of war cannot dismiss Keegan—as they often dismiss other critics of their stance—as a lefty peacenik postmodernist. Keegan clearly admired many soldiers and aspects of the martial culture. Keegan once said that, after decades of studying World War I, he was more baffled than ever as to why it had erupted.

Americans Want to Live in a Much More Equal Country (They Just Don't Realize It) - Dan Ariely We asked thousands of people to describe their ideal distribution of wealth, from top to bottom. The vast majority -- rich, poor, GOP and Democrat -- imagined a far more equal nation. Here's why it matters. Reuters The inequality of wealth and income in the U.S. has become an increasingly prevalent issue in recent years. It is relatively easy to think about inequality as being too great or too little in abstract terms, but ask yourself how much you really know about wealth distribution in the U.S. With this in mind, from the total pie of wealth (100%) what percent do you think the bottom 40% (that is, the first two buckets together) of Americans possess? The reality is quite different. This is the level of wealth inequality that exists in America, and it is clearly higher than people think, but in Goldilocks-esque fashion, we can ask: Is the real level of inequality too high, too low, or just right? But what does it mean to ask people what level of inequality they want? Wolff, E.