The retreat of "scientific selfishness," a literature review

Neoclassical economics was built on the straw-man of "homo economicus," an inherently selfish utility-maximizing actor, and since the mid-1970s, we've been building systems and institutions that take this kind of sociopathic behavior for granted. Read the rest

Study blames Uber/Lyft for San Francisco traffic, Uber/Lyft blames Amazon, propose surge pricing

A new report from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority attributes the majority (51%-73%) of the prodigious 2010-2016 increase in San Francisco traffic congestion on Uber and Lyft; the rideshare companies dispute the finding and say that it's really down to increased Amazon Prime delivery vehicles and Lyft has offered to work with the city on "congestion pricing" whereby use of the public roads are taxed at the same rate for both the city's incredibly wealthy tech elite and struggling underclass, with the intention of limiting private vehicle use. Read the rest

Large scale psych study identifies "homo economicus" as the source of all evil in the world

A German-Danish study of more than 2,500 people, published in the APA's Psychological Review, investigates the correlates of the "dark traits" in human personality ("egoism, Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, sadism, spitefulness" and more) seeking the underlying "tendency" that they all share. Read the rest

The psychological design tricks McDonald's uses to tempt you into buying its preferred menu items

McDonald's deploys a number of design tricks that are intended to tempt you to buying from its more expensive, higher-margin new menu: they're largely trivial and obvious (putting up big pictures of the menu items, animating the preferred menu-items to catch your eye), though sometimes the explanation for these rests in highly speculative accounts of the evolutionary pressures on early hominid (the idea that we are attracted to moving things because it helps us "spot predators" -- an evidence-free conjecture based on the imagined lives of our distant ancestors who left no record of their social conditions). Read the rest