ATTENTION ECONOMICS

By Karl Arnold Belser
19 September 2013




I am constantly fishing for ideas and insights that relate to the uncertain future, and I strongly believe that what might happen depends on the adjacent possible. See my essay on The Shadow Future.

I recently read an article in Democracy by Henry Farrel called The Tech Intellectuals. The article made me realize that in addition to the advantages that the Internet brings to writing as I describe in my essays in this blog, Journalism and Education, the Internet through Blogs makes it possible for intelligent people to express their ideas without the constraint of business or university politics. In doing so, these people, in many cases, are exploring the adjacent possible, and I want to know what they think and why they think it.

I don’t like the category called intellectuals because it implies esoteric thought that may be outside the scope of understanding by the common man. Farrel, in my opinion, is far too intellectual to the point that his point, whatever it was, is lost through name dropping and obscure references that only a well-read intellectual would understand. The only conclusion that I got was that many intellectuals are writing to aggrandize their reputation and wealth by picking on some issue that is in the public attention, but which in many cases is irrelevant to the big picture.

This hyping of trivia is Attention Economics and I intend to recognize and avoid this type of writing. The key to skepticism I believe is looking for the data and underlying facts about the issues.  As the old saying goes, Can 50 million Frenchmen be wrong? The answer is Yes. This type of “attention getting” is a facet of mob behavior that a skeptic might try to recognize and  avoid.
   
Last updated November 27, 2013
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