Archive: 10/2014

Economists Are More Human Than They Think, Unfortunately

by Hendrik Van den Berg
UNL Professor of Economics

After attending two psychology conferences this summer, I confirmed my worst fears about economists’ poor understanding of human psychology. The many papers presented at the conferences suggested a very different form of human behavior than economists customarily assume in their economic and financial models. And I have to presume that psychologists are closer to the truth about human behavior than my economist colleagues. After all, economists have made little effort to align their behavioral models to reality, while psychologists have as their main focus the understanding of human behavior.

The mathematical macroeconomic and financial models economists use generally assume that human beings rationally analyze a wide range of information in reaching economic decisions. Individuals are assumed to carefully weigh the present relative to the future in making long-term decisions. Economists’ most egregious assumption is that people behave as pure individuals and make decisions with only their own well-being in mind.

Read more

TAKE ACTION | Build Public Pressure to End Bombing

The following email is from our national Peace & Justice affiliate Peace Action. Please take a moment to read about the survey they took and then take a moment to write a letter to YOUR editor!

Last week, we surveyed our online supporters on how Peace Action should respond to the crisis in Syria and Iraq. We asked for an assessment of the situation and the most important immediate steps to take to build a visible, vibrant opposition to the war in Syria and Iraq.

After one month of the bombing in Syria, the results confirm the importance of maintaining a steady stream of letters to the editor in local and online press to argue for a way out of the crisis. Two thirds of respondents said that media activism and public education are priorities.

Read more

Pentagon Signals Security Risks of Climate Change

By Coral Davenport
October 13, 2014
The New York Times 

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Monday released a report asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster responses as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises.

The report lays out a road map to show how the military will adapt to rising sea levels, more violent storms and widespread droughts. The Defense Department will begin by integrating plans for climate change risks across all of its operations, from war games and strategic military planning situations to a rethinking of the movement of supplies.

Read more