Re: Neuroeconomics

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun 02 Mar 2003 - 22:29:05 GMT

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    >"Incidentally, Mrs Burke was lucky. In Eskimo societies, to hoard is
    taboo. Rich people who are ungenerous are sometimes killed."

    Even in our Western society you can find people resentful of those who have more than the rest of us. As soon as a man builds a business to the point where he can hire help, the help becomes labor and the man who built the business becomes management and attracts resentment in the process. Communism seemed to be mostly about resentment against the disparity between the rich and the poor.

    In china, the (relatively) rich were exterminated by the millions. Now they're looked up to in some degree, although how they got rich is a big factor in whether they are resented or not. The theme I see in all of society seems to be the belief that people who gain more than others impoverish their neighbors by doing so. Even when the prosperity of the neighborhood is the result of one man's success as building a business. I was just reading today that the Town of Hershey is 100 years old and owes it's properity to the man who built the Hershey candy factory.

    It's ironic that in the U.S., labor unions drove the price of labor so high that many industries moved their factories to other countries where labor was cheaper. The laborers who worked in the factories resented the fact that they made less money than their supervisors and organized to reduce the disparity. Now they resent the fact that they have priced themselves out of the labor market and no longer have jobs.

    Today, China is getting rich off this movement of manufacturing, but at some point will meet the fate of Taiwan, which was for a while the cheapest skilled labor in the Far East but have lately entered a recession brought on by their relatively high labor cost and manufacturing facilities having moved to the mainland. The same can be said of Japan and Hongkong.

    It looks to me like a worldwide cycle. Money chases cheap labor and said labor wants to be rich. When labor becomes too expensive, manufacturing moves on in search of cheaper labor again. The driving force behind this cycle appears to be human nature and the resentment of people who are richer than we are. What will we do when machines take over all manufacturing? Can people compete with that?


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