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Authenticity and self-interest

Some thoughts after reading this: Quiggin, J. & Potts, J., 2008. Economics of non-market innovation and digital literacy. Media International Australia, (128), 144-50.

The article is a debate about the significance of the non-market productive interactions - with Open Source as the main example.

Quiggin argues that the non-monetary sector will begin to direct the monetary sector, reversing previous pattern of monetisation of non-commercial practices etc. Potts argues that the sectors always interact, and non-market innovations lead into the market.

Quiggin sees a shift back to household production: "innovation is coming from the collective contributions of individuals and households driven by a range of non-economic motives." (146); he also pronounces on forms of rationality - "It is difficult to be both a profit maximiser and a charity. They are indeed competing versions of rationality." (147)

Later Potts kicks in with: "altruistic or otherwise community-minded behaviours are entirely consistent with individual rationality once we account for the existence of the implicit other (mostly future) markets in which the agent perceives themselves to be potentially engaged." (147)

--> Are they arguing about whether or not it's rational to do something altruistically? I'm not sure... but it's a different argument to the one about whether or not the monetary and non-monetary markets are linked. Potts argument ultimately depends on speculating about the motives of the actors, and implying that - whatever they say - the actors are rational and self-interested.

Potts later makes a good point: "it is not the case that there is a domain of markets and market activity on one side, and a domain of non-market activity on the other, but rather an ever-shifting process where behaviours in markets fnd non-market contexts, and this in turn creates new market contexts, and so on." (149)

--> But this does not relate directly to the intentions or motivations of the actor. Motivation is often relative to the beholder, and frequently a post-hoc rationalisation. The assumption of intrinsic self-directed and self-aware action is fundamental to the construction of the authentic self. In contrast to the modernist self-interested rational individual, this authentic self can be marked out symbolically by her ability to deny self-interestedness; the lack of agency implicit in the rational self-interested argument is in opposition to the post-modern paradoxical search for authenticity.

Are humans selfish?


People often disagree with me when I say that most humans want to help others, and will help others, and it ends up being a debate about whether people are basically selfish or not.

There’s a difference between being selfish and self-interested: selfish means – for example – not helping another person when there is little or no cost for you (e.g. not giving one ringgit to someone who clearly needs it, and you can easily spare it); self-interested means not sacrificing yourself – it is not selfish to refuse to give your car to someone, when you need it to get to work and support yourself, for example.

One of the reasons I decided that most people are not selfish is that I used to travel quite a lot, and I used to hitchhike often too. I travelled thousands of kilometres in strangers’ cars, and often they would go out of their way to drop me somewhere convenient for me. In all the places I travelled to, I have always been able to count on someone helping me out if I’m lost, or for some other reason.

OK – you may say that it was only a minority that helped me, and that’s true. But think of this – if everyone was really so selfish, how would societies work at all? We all cooperate willingly with other people every day, and think nothing of it. The idea that if there were nobody to force us to cooperate, under pain of punishment, we would turn around and become crazy beasts just flies in the face of all evidence. Wherever people group together, the first thing they will do is try to find some common means of communication and common standards to operate on. The problem, in my opinion, is that so many people are trained to expect others to make decisions for them, so when they are faced with a situation where there are no clear and obvious rules, they turn to someone to lead them – depending on that individual leader, they may or may not end up acting in violent and unsocial ways.

Anyway, all of this is because I was pointed to this interesting experiment - tweenbots. It sounds like some marketing cartoon for kids, but in fact
Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.

Check out tweenbots to see what happened when this was tried in Central Park, New York

And the winners are...

For the myBlogS 2009 survey, those who finished the survey could enter the prize draw for Platinum Movie Suite vouchers (two pairs) and cinema vouchers (five pairs).

There were 327 people who left their emails - I used RANDOM.ORG to select the winners... and they are...




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For the two top prizes of Platinum Movie Suite vouchers - congratulations to:

Chong Wei Ling who blogs at Care For A Byte?

and

Jerral Khor who blogs at Museless

And the runners up for one pair of movie vouchers each are:

Gunaseelan David Muthuswamy
K1F aka 3POINT8 who blogs at 3POINT8
Feeling good guy who blogs at Open Heart, Mind & Soul
Ashley Tan
and
Nadia Syuhada binti Abdull Muain

Tahniah!! :-D


Congratulations to all of you, and THANK YOU! again to all of you who took part in the survey :-)

I know many of you want to see the results. I'll be working on them over the next month, and hope to post an 'executive summary' in about two weeks. If you left your email and said you wanted to see the results, I'll email you then - otherwise just keep an eye on this blog.

Three hundred and thirty three thousand kilometres

Well I'm feeling a bit down, disoriented, and blehh - work stress, dealing with people stress, and general planet misalignment I suppose... Solution? Do a random blog post to feel like I've done something useful! :-D

I have an old Nissan Sunny 130Y (aka 'Sunny Boy'); it's about 16 years old, and I paid RM6,000 for it in 2005 - honestly it's probably the best car I've had, if one takes into account its age. It still works wonderfully and I've never had a significant problem {touching wood :-O } (though it needs new aircon now).

A couple of days ago I noticed that it has done 333,003 kilometres!


I've decided that is a good luck number, and therefore I feel better! :-P

Have a good day all!

Learning to camwhore with Malaysian Dreamgirl

Today has been procrastination day - for some reason I couldn't get started on anything really... so I've spent most of my time watching Malaysian Dreamgirl (Actually that was yesterday, while writing this I further procrastinated by camwhoring)

I'm not that interested in models and so on, but I like to watch a Malaysian show - the people all seem a bit more real and close to home. The concept of the online reality show is interesting and they are doing a good job overall. Though the bits they have between scenes, the speeded up shots of KL are kind of boring I find - I mean, who needs to see more traffic jams?? Also the relentless plugging of various corporate interests (Beautilicious, Lim Kok Wing, etc...) is tiring.

I like seeing the bits with photo shoots, when they are talking about how to do the poses, etc. It's interesting to see all the work that goes into presenting oneself as a model; and I understand more why some girl bloggers like to try out their different angles and all that when they are camwhoring. In fact, it makes me feel like trying it out a bit - just out of interest and for fun, though it feels kind of silly to me :-P


OK - there you go, me camwhoring. Conclusions: yes I am getting old! Too much smiling and wrinkles shoot across my face like Freddy Krueger or something! Solution? Only show small photos where it’s difficult to make out too much :-D

Which is my best profile? I have no idea - they all look pretty dodgy to me! What do you think?

Back to MDG: I particularly liked the photo shoot in series nine with Jimmy directing them, he explains well what he wants and why he’s doing it; the catwalk episode was OK too, though one of the models looked scarily thin; the other one seemed to be a very conscientious teacher though.

As for the competition. Who would I vote for? I guess Juanita, Dawn, or Shasya would be in my top list. I find Ming kind of boring, and Farah looks so just so uninterested in it all.

Another thing I'm curious about (and why I started to write this post actually) - the MDG film streams really well, much better than YouTube etc. Even when some other sites are taking ages to download - the most obvious reason I can think of is that they pay streamyx to guarantee them full speed on the network. If that's the case, then network neutrality is already history in Malaysia; not good :-(

Dragonball Evolution - One ticket to give away!

Nuffnang was being nice again, and I won a pair of tickets to the Premiere Screening of Dragonball Evolution, thanks to Gambit (our dog) who does a great Kame Hame Ha! :-D

The thing is, WW can't go, and I haven't found anyone else to go at short notice - so, one ticket is available to any blogger out there who wants it! (Hope this doesn't infringe some Nuffnang conditions :-O )

The screening details are:

Date : 10th Mac 2009 (Tue)
Time : 9.30pm
Venue : GSC One Utama
Hall : 9

Here are the conditions:
• Leave a comment below
• If more than one ask for it, I'll give each comment a number and do a random number generator thing. Last entries by 6.30 am tomorrow, and I'll announce the winner in this post at 7am.

Then - go to GSC One Utama tomorrow, and I'll meet you there at 9pm and give you the ticket :-)

**10/03/09: Sorry closed already, Bernard below gets it :)**