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5 posts tagged with economics by blahblahblah.
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If she weighs the same as a duck... she's made of wood!

Trials by Ordeal were a method of determining guilt or innocence by putting the accused through various torturous experiences. Today these approaches are frequently-mocked and banned almost everywhere, though Sassywood remains common in Liberia. However, economist Peter Leeson argues that trial by ordeal may have been a very effective way of dispensing justice, especially when courts and juries were expensive or broken. According to the paper [PDF], a superstitious belief in iudicium Dei, or the justice of God, may have discouraged the guilty from ordeals, while tilting the scales in favor of the innocent - echoes of the practice persist today in swearing on a Bible. Even Sassywood [pdf] may be better than Liberia's broken justice system.
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 30, 2013 - 11 comments

Big riches

"There are several factors which determine the value of stone money. The first is the number of human lives that were lost on the journey to bring the stone home..." The giant stone coins of Yap were used for hundreds of years before the island experienced inflation of the most literal kind due to the entrepreneurship of a shipwrecked American fugitive. Today, the Yap islanders are trying to save their currency, as well as their caste system; while an economist at the Federal Reserve considers what Yap says about our money. [last link pdf, some html excerpts here]
posted by blahblahblah on Dec 9, 2006 - 22 comments

The ties that bind

The International Networks Archive is an effort by a group of sociologists to understand 2,000 years of globalization through mapping the network of transactions that link the world, rather than geography. The project is still ongoing, but you can see some of the results: an interactive map that uses travel time to visualize the world; a graphic of the growth of Starbucks and McDonalds; the distribution of government jobs (apparently the 3,412 postal inspectors can carry firearms); the cashflows of movies and tobacco; and, of course, the world at night. There is also access to a lot of detailed data, as well as more maps and information at the Mapping Globalization wiki.
posted by blahblahblah on Aug 22, 2006 - 5 comments

The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right and who is dead.

Game Theory at the movies. The Princess Bride demonstrates the use of common knowledge, Butch Cassidy laments pareto equilibrium, and Swingers is an example of pooling equilibrium. Though no longer on the site, you can still see the most involved rock, paper, scissors game ever filmed [.mov].
posted by blahblahblah on Jul 19, 2006 - 25 comments

Cognitive biases and other fun tricks

You are very bad at making decisions. Welcome to the world of cognitive biases. They are why it is so easy to see conspiracies in the death of microbiologists, to be unaware of how incompetent we are, to regret our bids on eBay, and to be superstitious rationalists. Perhaps you should learn to use them before you are taken in. Finally, cognitive biases are why you will remember the end of this po
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 6, 2005 - 27 comments

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