Friday, October 26, 2007


改善了賣相 認清方向

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ku Klux Klan

This is not come out because Stetson Kenndy was courageous or reolute or unflappable, even though he was all of these. It happened because he understood the raw power of information. the Ku Klux Klan ─ much like politicians or real-estate agents or tockbrokers ─ was a group whose power was derived in large part from the fct that it hoarded information. Once that information falls into the wrong hands (or, depending on your point of view, the right hands), much of the group's advantage disappears......

......Information is a beacon, a cudgel, an olive branch, a deterrent ─ all depending on who wields it and how. Information is so powerful that the assumption of information, even if the information does not actually exist, can have a sobering effect. Consider the case of a one-day-old car.

They day that a car is driven off the lost is the worst day in its life, for it instantly loses as much as a quarter of its value. This might seem absurd, but we know it to be tru. A new car that was bought for $20000 cannot be resold for more than perhaps $15000. Why? because the only person who might logically want to resell a brand-new car is someone who found the car to be a lemon. So even if the car isn't a lemon, a potential buyer assumes taht it is. He assumes that the seller has some information about the car that he, the buyer, does not have ─ and the seller is punished for this assumed information.

And if the car is a lemon? The seller would do well to wait a year to sell it. By then, the suspicion of lemoness will have daded; by then, some people will be selling their perfectly good year-old cars, and the lemon car blend in with them, likely selling for more than it is truly worth....

Chaper 2, Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Who Cheats?

Well, just about everyone, if the stakes are right. You might say to yourself, I don't cheat, regardless of the stakes. And then you might remember the time you cheated on, say, a board game. Last week. Or the golf ball you nudge out of its bad lie. Or the time you really wanted a bagel in the office break room but couldn't come up with the dollar you were supposed to drop in the coffee can. And then took the bagel away. And told yoruself you'd pay double the next time. And didn't.

For every clever person who goes to the trouble of creating an incentive scheme, there is an army of people, clever and otherwise, who will inevitably spend even more time trying to beat it. Cheating may or may not be human nature, but it is certainly a prominent feature in just about every human endeavor. Cheating is a primordial ECONOMIC ACT: gettign more for less. So it isn't just the boldface names-inside-trading CEOs and pill-popping ballplayers and perk-abusing politicians-who cheat. It is the Wal-Mart payroll manager who goes into the computer and shaves his employees' hours to make his own performance look better. It is the third grader who, worried about not makeing it to the fourth grade, copies test answer from the kid sitting next to him.......

......If morality represents the way we would like the world to work and economics represents how it actually does work, the the story of Feldman's bagel business lies at the very intersection of morality and economics. Yes, a lot of people steal from him, but the vast majority, even though no one is watching over them, do not. This outcome may surprise some people-including Feldman's economist friends, who counseled him twenty years ago that his honor-system scheme would never work. But it would not have surprised Adam Smith. In fact, the theme of Smith's first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, was the innate honesty of mankind. "How selfish soever man may be supposed," Smith wrote, "there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it."

There is a tale, "The Ring of Gyges," that Feldman sometimes tells his economist friends. It comes from Plato's Republic. A student named Glaucon offered the story in response to a lesson by Socrates - who, like Adam Smith, argued that people are generally good even without enforcement. Glaucon, like Feldman's economist friends, disagreed. He told of a shepherd named Gyges who stumbled upon a secret cavern with a corpse inside that wore a ring. When Gyges put on the ring, he found that it made him invisible. With no one able to monitor his behavior, Gyges proceeded to do woeful things-seduce the queen, murder the king, and so on. Glaucon's story posed a moral question: could any man resist the temptation of evil if he knew his acts could not be witnessed? Glaucon seemed to think the answer was no. But Paul Feldman sides with Socrates and Adam Smith-for he knows that the answer, at least 87 percent of the time, is yes.

Chapter 1, Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner