Monday, March 14, 2011

Gambling with other people's money

I'm reading Russ Roberts's report on the financial crisis an came across a paragraph that I think directly relates to the debate on racism found two posts ago. I dug myself a hole by using "evidence" and "hints" as two different forms of proof. I should have gone with what Roberts ends up using: "direct" and "indirect" evidence. While Roberts is talking about the effects of low-probability of loss on risk taking, if you read this paragraph in relation to racism I think it also makes a lot of sense. Bold is mine.

While direct evidence is unlikely, the indirect evidence relies on how people generally behave in situations of uncertainty. When expected costs are lowered, people behave more recklessly. When football players make a tackle, they don’t consciously think about the helmet protecting them, but safer football equipment encourages more violence on the field. Few people think that it’s okay to drive faster on a rainy night when they have seatbelts, airbags,and antilock brakes, but that is how they behave. Not all motivations are direct and conscious.

No comments:

Post a Comment