another fine mess you’ve gotten us into

so wall street types are more psychopathic than psychopaths:

“According to a new study at the University of St. Gallen seen by SPIEGEL, one contributing factor may be that stockbrokers’ behavior is more reckless and manipulative than that of psychopaths….

“Particularly shocking for Noll was the fact that the bankers weren’t aiming for higher winnings than their comparison group. Instead they were more interested in achieving a competitive advantage. Instead of taking a sober and businesslike approach to reaching the highest profit, ‘it was most important to the traders to get more than their opponents,’ Noll explained. ‘And they spent a lot of energy trying to damage their opponents.'”

but everybody’s always known that the financial world is full of the crookedest of crooks. always.

the OWS people shouldn’t be targeting downtown manhattan. they need — we ALL need — to get after our psychopathic leaders [sic] (and they are probably psychopaths, too, the lot of them — with a handful of narcissists thrown in).

congress should just be emptied of all of its occupants, with the possible exception of ron paul. they’re the enablers of the wall street crowd by doing things like repealing glass-steagall, along with uncountable other actions.

and every single last lobbyist in washington should be run out of town — no, out of the country.

but it’s not entirely their fault, either. everybody’s happy to have psychopaths do the dirty work as long as we all benefit — as long as the economy is ticking over nicely and everything’s alright. then we don’t have to get our hands dirty, right?

is that one of the reasons why there are always some psychopaths present in the population? in an inclusive fitness sort-of way they also benefit some of their fellows in their population?

(note: comments do not require an email. watch out for the psycho-path.)

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from the tell-us-something-we-didn’t-know files

“Share Traders More Reckless Than Psychopaths, Study Shows”

“According to a new study at the University of St. Gallen seen by SPIEGEL, one contributing factor may be that stockbrokers’ behavior is more reckless and manipulative than that of psychopaths. Researchers at the Swiss research university measured the readiness to cooperate and the egotism of 28 professional traders who took part in computer simulations and intelligence tests….

“Appetite for Destruction

“‘Naturally one can’t characterize the traders as deranged,’ Noll told SPIEGEL. ‘But for example, they behaved more egotistically and were more willing to take risks than a group of psychopaths who took the same test.’

“Particularly shocking for Noll was the fact that the bankers weren’t aiming for higher winnings than their comparison group. Instead they were more interested in achieving a competitive advantage. Instead of taking a sober and businesslike approach to reaching the highest profit, ‘it was most important to the traders to get more than their opponents,’ Noll explained. ‘And they spent a lot of energy trying to damage their opponents.’

“Using a metaphor to describe the behavior, Noll said the stockbrokers behaved as though their neighbor had the same car, ‘and they took after it with a baseball bat so they could look better themselves.'”

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financial crises and lizard brains

hmmmmmmmm. from michael lewis’ latest:

“[A]s he talked about the bankrupting of Vallejo, I realized that I had heard this story before, or a private-sector version of it. The people who had power in the society, and were charged with saving it from itself, had instead bled the society to death. The problem with police officers and firefighters isn’t a public-sector problem; it isn’t a problem with government; it’s a problem with the entire society. It’s what happened on Wall Street in the run-up to the subprime crisis. It’s a problem of people taking what they can, just because they can, without regard to the larger social consequences. It’s not just a coincidence that the debts of cities and states spun out of control at the same time as the debts of individual Americans. Alone in a dark room with a pile of money, Americans knew exactly what they wanted to do, from the top of the society to the bottom. They’d been conditioned to grab as much as they could, without thinking about the long-term consequences. Afterward, the people on Wall Street would privately bemoan the low morals of the American people who walked away from their subprime loans, and the American people would express outrage at the Wall Street people who paid themselves a fortune to design the bad loans….

Dr. Peter Whybrow [is] a British neuroscientist at U.C.L.A. with a theory about American life. He thinks the dysfunction in America’s society is a by-product of America’s success. In academic papers and a popular book, American Mania, Whybrow argues, in effect, that human beings are neurologically ill-designed to be modern Americans. The human brain evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in an environment defined by scarcity. It was not designed, at least originally, for an environment of extreme abundance. ‘Human beings are wandering around with brains that are fabulously limited,’ he says cheerfully. ‘We’ve got the core of the average lizard.’ Wrapped around this reptilian core, he explains, is a mammalian layer (associated with maternal concern and social interaction), and around that is wrapped a third layer, which enables feats of memory and the capacity for abstract thought. ‘The only problem,’ he says, ‘is our passions are still driven by the lizard core. We are set up to acquire as much as we can of things we perceive as scarce, particularly sex, safety, and food.‘ Even a person on a diet who sensibly avoids coming face-to-face with a piece of chocolate cake will find it hard to control himself if the chocolate cake somehow finds him. Every pastry chef in America understands this, and now neuroscience does, too. ‘When faced with abundance, the brain’s ancient reward pathways are difficult to suppress,’ says Whybrow. ‘In that moment the value of eating the chocolate cake exceeds the value of the diet. We cannot think down the road when we are faced with the chocolate cake.’

“The richest society the world has ever seen has grown rich by devising better and better ways to give people what they want. The effect on the brain of lots of instant gratification is something like the effect on the right hand of cutting off the left: the more the lizard core is used the more dominant it becomes. ‘What we’re doing is minimizing the use of the part of the brain that lizards don’t have,’ says Whybrow. ‘We’ve created physiological dysfunction. We have lost the ability to self-regulate, at all levels of the society. The $5 million you get paid at Goldman Sachs if you do whatever they ask you to do—that is the chocolate cake upgraded.'”

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hope springs eternal

whiskey says:

“The one ‘bright spot’ is that a huge shock, nuclear attack by Iran or AQ, cyber sabotage taking down infrastructure, massive oil shocks due to a widespread Arab revolt, all promise to create massive instability and financial destruction. In which women would spell Beta Males (who are willing to fight, and can do so effectively) P-R-O-T-E-C-T-I-O-N. Think the LA Riots. Or any third world disturbance. Of course X-box playing guys are probably limited in their usefulness in fighting, but one looks for silver linings where ever one can.”

funny, but i often have similar thoughts (altho not about global thermonuclear war — don’t want that under any circumstances, thankuverymuch).

he’s talking about how to solve our society’s mating problems (and we do have such problems); but i usually have these sort of thoughts related to political correctness and things like the mass immigration of non-westerners to the u.s. and europe (and the antipodes). and of some westerners, come to think of it. i mean, how many poles do we really need to have in the u.k., huh?

i sometimes find myself “hoping” for some sort of disaster that will force westerners to WAKE UP. i don’t think, tho, that we have to “hope” for an oil shock or any sort of cyber sabotage. we just have to wait for helicopter ben to finish his handiwork.

*sigh*

but, as rs just commented:

“This is frequently a sad world, yet our job is to find happiness and greatness in it, and create more of the same – both among our own, and also worldwide. Securing our own, first of all – which is the prerequisite to helping to promote others.”

well put. well put, indeed.

and, now, for something completely different (to cheer us up a bit!)…

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