Intellectual curiosity is neither a habit, a hobby or a profession.
It is a way of life.
A few years ago, I had a key moment of truth - that I would not do anything
about any social issue e.g. the mass shootings in US schools, unless
and until it directly affected me or happened in my neighborhood school.
I was so profoundly disturbed by this realization that I ended up making
a documentary film that is now being used to promote nonviolence education
in classrooms. The calling was intense and the experience, transformational.
By exploring the political and moral colorings of discoveries about
what makes us tick, we can have a more honest science and a less fearful
Traffic crashes are all too common and have devastating
impacts on contemporary societies. Global traffic fatalities reach up
to 1.3 million peyear, with a figure
that is ten-times higher for severe injuries. According to the World
Health Organization (WHO, 2018), traffic crashes are the leading cause
of death for young people around the world. However, we now relatively
little of how these crashes are reported in mainstream media
There can be no doubt about
the importance of economics for many areas of our society. At the most
basic level, economics attempts to explain how and why we make the choices
we do. Four key concepts: scarcity, supply and demand, costs and benefits,
and incentive can help explain many decisions that humans make. But
are they all what drives our behaviour? They are rooted in the history
of economic thinking. As the world emerges from a corona crisis the
argument over the sources of decline and recovery are reigniting a debate
among followers of the usual and established economic theories: classical,
neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian. This is an important and recurring
discussion as after 1929 a doubt was cast over the classical economic
theory according to which government should not intervene in the economy.
The crisis brought deflation, banks going bankrupt and massive unemployment
with businesses shutting down in masses. Since the 1930s, four macroeconomic
theories have been proposed: Keynesian economics, monetarism, the new
classical economics, and supply-side economics. All these theories are
based, in varying degrees, on the classical economics that came before
the advent of Keynesian economics in the 1930s. All these theories are
still based on rational behaviour and theoretical models.
The dismal science
Sometimes economics is
called the dismal science, a description coined by Thomas Carlyle, who
was inspired by T. R. Malthus's (1798) whose gloomy prediction that
population would always grow faster than food, dooming mankind to unending
poverty and hardship still props up very once and a while. Even so economics
is sometimes like science in that it can be used to improve living standards
and but also to make things worse. That partly depends on the priorities
of society and what we consider most important. It can help improve
living standards and make society a better place. Standard economic
theory forces us to think of economics solely in terms of seeking profit,
which refers to maximizing an individual's advantage. With An inquiry
into the wealth of nations published 1776, Adam Smith installed
himself as the leading thinker on economic thought. Currents of Adam
Smith run through the works published by David Ricardo, Karl Marx in
the 19th century and by John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman in the
20th century. Important and great names that still exert a large influence
on economic thinking and thus on policy and policymakers.
Neo classical economics
Neo-classical economics has built equilibrium models that have increasingly
become divorced from the lives of real people and businesses. Consumers
and businesses are both assumed to act rationally, consumers optimize
their purchasing power by equating the marginal utility per pound spent,
whilst producers seek to maximize profits in both product and labour
markets. It has been the dominant force in economic thinking and policy-making
for many years formulating precise economic laws regarding production
and consumption through the calculation of cost and benefit at the margin
where that preciseness doesn't exist. Neo-classical economics believes
in the concept of equilibrium and the power of market forces to achieve
an efficient allocation of resources. If there are instances of partial
and complete market failure, neo-classical it favours the usefulness
of conventional interventions such as taxation and subsidy to change
incentives by altering relative prices and thus alter behaviour to help
align social cost and benefits. But do these interventions align with
what we now know from human behaviour because the neo-classical model
of behaviour is built on these assumptions:
Agents choose independently
An agent has fixed tastes
Agents gather complete
information on alternatives choices
Agents always make optimal
choice given his/her preferences
Critics of neoclassical
axioms argued that the human brain is unable to evaluate all possible
choices, to bring them in a transitive order and evaluate the consequences.
The emerging critique of neo-classical economics first came from economists
who questioned whether complete information really existed or was really
possible. Akerlof and Stiglitz showed that people suffer from information
failure, that there are many information asymmetries and this can lead
to sub-optimal decisions (aka market failure). But in their work people
were still assumed to make the 'best' choice given the information they
have. The work of Stiglitz and Akerlof extended the realism of conventional
theory and has been widely absorbed into mainstream economics, especially
with policies designed to change the information available to consumers
when the government is trying to change consumption of merit and de-merit
goods. But still the important element of human behaviour seems to be
In an ideal world our decisions would be the result of a careful weighing
of costs and benefits and informed by existing preferences; we would
make optimal decisions. In the 1976 book The Economic Approach to
Human Behavior, the economist Gary S. Becker famously outlined a
number of ideas known as the pillars of so-called 'rational choice'
theory. The theory assumes that human actors have stable preferences
and engage in maximizing behavior. Becker, who applied rational choice
theory to domains ranging from crime to marriage, believed that academic
disciplines such as sociology could learn from the 'rational man' assumption
advocated by neoclassical economists since the late 19th century. The
decade of the 1970s, however, also witnessed the beginnings of the opposite
flow of thinking, as discussed in the next section. While economic rationality
influenced other fields in the social sciences from the inside out,
through Becker and the Chicago School, psychologists offered an outside-in
reality check to prevailing economic thinking
Herbert Simon in a paper published in 1955 added further to the questioning
of neo-classical economics with his concept of bounded rationality.
People have limited attention spans and computational capacity. As mentioned
above people have limited information and lack the computational capacity
to evaluate all their alternatives and the consequences. Most consumers
and businesses are unable to make fully informed judgements when taking
their decisions and the increasing complexity makes life difficult.
The later increased by digital transformation and social media.
Bounded rationality suggests that consumers and businesses will opt
to satisfice rather than maximize. They will use rules of thumb or heuristics
and guesswork when acting across different markets. Behavioural economists
point out that bounded rationality is not the same as irrationality,
because decisionmakers are still attempting to make as rational a decision
as possible. Rationality is bounded and humans may try to achieve aspiration
levels - satisfying -- rather than aiming for the maximum.
Behavioral economics assumes that people are boundedly rational actors
with a limited ability to process information. Behavioral economics,
although producing important insights and regularities is far from a
unified theoretical model. Critiques of behavioral economics come from
neoclassical economists but also from psychologists who see the approach
as excessively output-oriented and guilty of applying the "as-if"
While a great deal of research has been devoted to exploring how available
information affects the quality and outcomes of decisions, a newer strand
of research has also explored situations where people avoid information
altogether. Information avoidance in behavioral economics people choose
not to obtain knowledge that is freely available. Active information
avoidance includes physical avoidance, inattention, the biased interpretation
of information and even some forms of forgetting. In behavioral finance,
for example, research has shown that investors are less likely to check
their portfolio online when the stock market is down than when it is
up, which has been termed the ostrich effect. While information
avoidance is sometimes strategic, it can have immediate hedonic benefits
for people if it prevents the negative, usually psychological consequences
of knowing the information. It usually carries negative utility in the
long term, because it deprives people of potentially useful information
for decision making and feedback for future behavior. Furthermore, information
avoidance can contribute to a polarization of political opinions and
Most of us know that there is no such thing as an ideal world. Research
has shown what was for centuries common knowledge that a lot depends
on how people behave and people's behavior is often strikingly at odds
with the theories and predictions of standard economic theory and its
models. Contrary to the homo economicus view of human motivation and
decision making, behavioural economics (BE) does not assume that humans
make choices in isolation, or to serve their own interest. Aside from
cognitive and affective, emotional dimensions, an important area of
BE also considers social forces, in that decisions are made by individuals
who are shaped and embedded in social environments.
The disagreement is not over what the economic facts are, but rather,
over the operating assumptions about human behavior used to interpret
economic facts. Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman published a number
of papers that appeared to undermine ideas about human nature held by
mainstream economics. They show that decisions are not always optimal.
In behavioural models:
People have limited
computational capacity - they aim to satisfice rather than maximise
They are strongly influenced
by social networks (where copying behaviour is common) and by prevailing
They often act reciprocally
by making kind and generous gestures
They lack self-control
and they tend to be present-biased (for example by heavily discounting
future benefits in favour of now)
They are loss averse
- hating losses far more than commensurate gains
Their behaviour is strongly
attached to existing default choices
They are influenced
to some extent by persistent cognitive biases. A bias is a systematic
deviation from what is believed to be rational choice
The economist Richard Thaler,
a keen observer of human behavior and founder of behavioral economics,
was inspired by Kahneman & Tversky's. According to him people think
of value in relative rather than absolute terms. Systematic deviations
from rationality are observed challenging many of the assumptions of
conventional thinking. He has popularized the concept of nudges and
argued that "the real point of behavioural economics is to highlight
behaviours that are in conflict with the standard rational model. His
approach brought scientific insights into the world of business and
management and they are challenging
classical economics in the workplace, the marketplace and top management.
Living in the moment
Behavioral economics (BE) uses psychological experimentation to develop
theories about human decision making and has identified a range of biases
as a result of the way people think and feel. BE is trying to change
the way traditionally trained economists think about people's perceptions
of value and expressed preferences. According to BE, people are not
always self-interested, benefits maximizing, and costs minimizing individuals
with stable preferences - our thinking is subject to insufficient knowledge,
feedback, and processing capability, which often involves uncertainty
and is affected by the context in which we make decisions. Most of our
choices are not the result of careful deliberation. We are influenced
by readily available information in memory, automatically generated
affect, and salient information in the environment. We also live in
the moment, in that we tend to resist change, are poor predictors of
future behavior, subject to distorted memory, and affected by physiological
and emotional states. Finally, we are social animals with social preferences,
such as those expressed in trust, reciprocity and fairness; we are susceptible
to social norms and a need for self-consistency.
Incentives still matter but behavioural economics suggests that the
motivations we have when making choices are not those that are taught
in orthodox economics. Cognitive overload is common when we are faced
with a huge array of choices and people frequently fall back on simple
heuristics in these situations. When it comes to addressing persistent
economic and social problems such as gambling addiction, rising obesity,
anti-social behaviour and the causes of instability in financial markets,
behavioural ideas seem to have plenty of validity and there is plenty
of room to move when we are faced with problems such as change management,
digital transformation etc. In our complex world where uncertainty is
the new normal we cannot use a 'one size fits all' model for understanding
the economy. Economist Paul Ormerod has argued, "An economist can
no longer be said to have a good training in economics if he or she
is not familiar with the main themes of behavioural economics."
In a modern networked economy dominated by knowledge, information services
and digital transformation where networks are vitally important is bit
is better to use and implement ideas drawn from behavioural economics.
It is exactly here that we need to look at how behaviour and expected
behaviour align or not align. It here that we are up against resistance
when we work with customers or in approaching prospects. Our science-backed
methodology can take on vested interests or build bridges where they
are needed. We should also draw on new ideas from other subjects. For
example, we are becoming more expert in understanding neuro-economics
- how our brain processes decisions and the limitations that our neuro-system
imposes on our choices.
Woven City - A Prototype City of the Future
Planet Group, we are on a mission to design a happier planet
through secure, connected mobility solutions. Starting business in January
2021, Woven Planet Group is an expansion of the operations of Toyota
Research Institute - Advanced Development, dedicated to bringing its
vision, Mobility to Love, Safety to Live to life. Under
this shared goal, our four companies, Woven Planet Holdings, Woven Core,
Woven Alpha, and Woven Capital are transforming how people live, work,
and move through new innovations and investment in automated driving,
robotics, smart cities, and more.
Woven City - A Prototype City of the Future
ENEOS Corporation (ENEOS) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced
that they have agreed on a new partnership to explore the utilization
and application of hydrogen energy at Woven City, the prototype city
of the future that Toyota has started to develop in Susono City, Shizuoka
Prefecture. ENEOS and Toyota, together with Woven Planet Holdings (Woven
Planet), a subsidiary of Toyota, leading the Woven City project, intend
to conduct testing and demonstration in areas related to a hydrogen-based
supply chain, from production, delivery to usage of hydrogen, in and
around Woven City. Through this effort, they aim to help achieve a carbon-neutral
society by 2050 as Japan and many other countries around the world have
Mandar is the Founder & Executive Director of Cities4Peace - a not-for-profit
initiative that actively promotes peace in cities worldwide. The flagship
program was held in Los Angeles, where over 200 community members including
LAPD officers, former gang members and victims of violence were trained
as Ambassadors of Nonviolence. Similar programs are now being offered
in many other US cities.
Children are exposed to images of violence
almost every day, whether through the media or in real life. Consumption
of violent imagery can take a harmful toll on a child’s mental and emotional
shows. Parents, especially those with young children, may
be asking themselves how
to talk about violence with their kids.
Here are four articles from The Conversation
U.S. that offer insight into how to have hard conversations with children
1. Teach children to be
LoBlue, an assistant professor of psychology
at Rutgers University-Newark, writes
about ways parents can foster a supportive environment to
help children develop resilience in stressful situations.
Genuinely listening to children talk about
how they feel not only shows care and acceptance for the child, but
it also helps them validate and contextualize their feelings, LoBlue
writes. Allowing children some autonomy to solve their problems on their
own – even if they fail – can help them practice resilience.
“Helping children build resilience is particularly
critical now, as Americans face particular turbulence in daily life,”
LoBlue writes. “Parents, too, need to guard their mental health in order
to provide kids with crucial support: Building resilience isn’t just
2. Teach kids to think
critically about systemic inequality
Perhaps no profession has
been under as much public scrutiny lately as that of the police officer.
In less than a month’s span in spring 2021, there were at least three
high-profile fatal police shootings that claimed the lives of young
people: 13-year-old Adam
Toledo in Chicago; 20-year-old Daunte
Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota; and 16-year-old Ma'Khia
Bryant in Columbus, Ohio.
Not only do such experiences
shape how children come to view the police, but those perceptions are
formed at an early age, writes
Adam Fine, a criminology and criminal justice professor,
and Kathleen Padilla, a graduate student of criminology and criminal
justice, both at Arizona State University.
“These perceptions don’t
just affect individual kids; they affect society too,” Fine and Padilla
write, noting that negative perceptions of police can dissuade young
people of color from pursuing careers in law enforcement. “As the nation
is engaging in critical discussions about the future of policing, part
of that introspection should focus on why the pipeline of youth of color
entering law enforcement is almost entirely shut off.”
Engaging students in discussions around
past and current violent events can allow them to express and process
what they feel in a safe environment, writes Greenwalt’s co-author,
Kawashima-Ginsberg, director of the Center for Information
& Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.
“Do not dehumanize any student because of their opinion – but teach
them to always consider the intent and impact of their response.”
“Parents have an important role to play,”
Flannery writes. “Knowing where their children are, what they are doing
and with whom are some of the best ways to help support children. That
their ability to cope with what is going on in the world
Editor’s note: This story is a roundup of articles from The Conversation’s
Dasia Taylor is a 17-year-old
from Iowa City, who used beet juice to create color-changing sutures.
Beets change color "very quickly"
right around when skin's pH becomes basic, Taylor found, going from
a healthy light purple to a darker magenta as pH increased - the "perfect"
natural indicator, she said.
Her invention has the potential to save
many lives. She invented a revolutionary new type of suture that changes
color if surgical wounds become infected. This feature can alert doctors
and help prevent fatal infections.
"It's just so amazing to see how
I'm already changing the world in really just being myself and having
fun and exploring my intellectual horizons," Taylor said. "I
just never knew I was gonna do all of this at 17 years old."
The Schibsted Future Report is our annual
outlook on trends within tech, people and business. Its written
by our own people who share ideas and insights on themes we find interesting
and important. In Schibsted we believe that being open and having discussions
is more important than ever.
Why do people
commit acts of violence towards themselves and others? What do the opioid
crisis, hate groups, suicide, mass shootings all have in common? Chris
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, New York
Times bestselling author, professor at Princeton University, activist
and ordained Presbyterian minister. He has written 11 books, including
the New York Times best-seller Days of Destruction, Days of
Revolt (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco.
His other books include Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative
of Revolt (2015), Death of the Liberal Class (2010), Empire
of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
(2009), I Dont Believe in Atheists (2008) and the best-selling
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America
(2008). His book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003)
was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
and has sold over 400,000 copies. He writes a weekly column for the
web site Truthdig in Los Angeles, run by Robert Scheer, and hosts a
show, On Contact, on RT America. Hedges holds a B.A. in English literature
from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard
University. He spent a year studying classics at Harvard as a Nieman
Believe it or not, today we may be living in the
most peaceful moment in our species' existence. In his gripping and
controversial new work, New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker
shows that despite the ceaseless news about war, crime, and terrorism,
violence has actually been in decline over long stretches of history.
Exploding myths about humankind's inherent violence and the curse of
modernity, this ambitious book continues Pinker's exploration of the
essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a
remarkable picture of an increasingly enlightened world.
Steven Arthur Pinker
is a prominent Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive
scientist, and author of popular science. Pinker is known for his wide-ranging
explorations of human nature and its relevance to language, history,
morality, politics, and everyday life. He conducts research on language
and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time,
and The New Republic, and is the author of numerous books .
Brömmelstroet holds the position of Professor of Urban
Mobility Futures at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) Faculty
of Social and Behavioural Sciences. His teaching focuses on courses
around land use and mobility in the Bachelor and Master program. Marco
is the founding academic director of the Urban
Cycling Institute that is a part of the Centre for Urban
Studies. The Institute leads research into the reciprocal relations
between cycling, society and cities and is also actively involved in
international dissemination of Dutch cycling knowledge. Examples of
latter are the Summer
School on Planning the Cycling City, the MOOC Unraveling
the Cycling City and the Why
We Cycle documentary.
Here at Celtic
Reptile & Amphibian, we breed over 10 species of herptile
(amphibian and reptile) for the purposes of conservation, education
and commercial applications. Unlike other collections, all of our animals
hail from the continent of Europe, meaning we have assembled one of
the largest collections devoted to this grouping of animals.
Tweats and Tom Whitehurst are the co-founders of Celtic Reptile
and Amphibian, UK based company dedicated to the conservation and education
of European herptiles. Together they manage a lot containing several
outdoor enclosures that are home to many native species including, Tree
Frogs, Agile Frogs, Western Green lizards, Sand Lizards, Eyed Lizards,
and more. We discuss keeping replies outdoors year-round, re-wilding,
and the importance of amphibians to our planet.
Celtic Reptile & Amphibian
is a company that strives for the consolidation of reptile and amphibian
species in Europe, leading the way to a more holistic world.
So, why European species?
reptiles and amphibians have always been central to Celtic Reptile &
Amphibians philosophy. This was due to the realisation that these
exquisite species are largely underrepresented within both the herpetoculture
hobby, and interests of conservation. Unlike the exotic
herptiles which hail from the tropics, these animals are often so close
to many of us they live on, overlooked.
The preservation of these precious animals is in our DNA. By forming
a viable captive population we can achieve two very important goals;
up-close education and a crucial insurance policy.
Having a reliable source
of animals allows for education in its many forms. Whether it be personalised,
one on one experiences or within a documentary.
By successfully breeding
herptiles in captivity, we can also mitigate against extinction. This
means that if wild populations of amphibians and reptiles were to dwindle,
they can always be replenished with captive individuals, under the right
technologist, and strategic foresight
FRSA FRGS (born 3 April 1976) is a British technologist, strategic foresight
consultant, futurist, keynote speaker, broadcaster and systems developer,
based in New York City. He specializes on Adaptive Futurism and Cognitive
Risk from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Hammersley is the founder and principal of Hammersley
an international strategic foresight consultancy advising corporates
and governments on futureproofing and risk planning. Hammersley Futures
specializes on how society reacts to technological innovation and the
changing nature of the workplace, crime and conflict, and the market,
and on tools to adapt to the changes.
Ben is the founder of Agathonic.AI
Inc.. Agathonic creates cognitive technologies to enhance
the human in knowledge discovery, empower scenario synthesis, and facilitate
the non-linear decision making in complex, classified, or confidential
Hammersley has authored or co-authored several books on technology and
"The era of extreme
data, the era of being able to record everything and do massive analyses
on it might sound really boring, but the real reason for doing it
is that it takes away all of the uncertainties."
"When I'm introduced on stage by the host of a conference, the
fact that I'm the inventor of the word 'podcast' always gets the biggest
'oooh' from the crowd," says Hammersley.
The internet is the dominant platform for life in the 21st century.