Thursday, October 2, 2008

Make Wall Street Pay Even if It Hurts Us

Duke’s behavioral economist Dan Ariely yesterday on NPR’s market place explains why Americans want revenge against Wall Street.

In lab experiments Ariely and other have found when two players play a game and one player feels cheated, the cheated player will pay money to take away some of the gains of the other player.

This might be worth thinking of in terms of Wall Street and mortgages. A lot of people feel Wall Street cheated them out of their 401k. Similarly in the housing market people who have sat on the sidelines savings, while others in their mind cheated by lying on loans and taking out more than they can afford should suffer too.

There is also a bit of schadenfreude, as Lisa Simpson taught means finding joy in others suffering, on real estate sites, like socketsite.com which covers the bay area market.

Ariely claims its human nature to want some kind of revenge, but can the House of Represenatives rise above that revenge?
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2 comments:

Be said...

When considering human behavior and motivations, never underestimate the power of spite.

Gregorus said...

I don't see how it's revenge to decide not to reward someone; the bailout rewards bad behavior. Not bailing out Wall Street would not be negative reinforcement, it would just be a lack of positive reinforcement.