Monday, June 11, 2012

Spain's bailout indicative of a bigger problem


I read today that Spain is going to need a $125 billion bailout.

Here are some relatively recent unemployment rates according to Wikipedia:

North America
  • Canada, 7.2 percent
  • United States, 8.2 percent
Europe
  • Germany, 5.4 percent
  • United Kingdom, 8.1 percent
  • France, 10.2 percent
  • Italy, 10.2 percent
  • Portugal, 15.2 percent
  • Greece, 21.7 percent
  • Spain, 24.3 percent.
Compare Spain's 24.3% unemployment rate against Canada's highest rate during the Great Depression: 19.3% in 1933; the United States reached 24.75% in that toughest of years. 

The thing is, Spain “a few years ago took pride as the continent’s economic superstar only to see it become the hot spot in the Eurozone debt crisis.”

What’s the value of a system that can call a nation a superstar even while the very machinations of its undoing must have already been underway? How do they get to Depression Era unemployment numbers without us seeing it coming?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Diffusion of responsibility, NIMBYism and deciding to be someone in support of a free society



Scenarios

In 1964 New York City, Kitty Genovese is repeatedly attacked over the course of a half hour in the courtyard encircled by several apartment buildings. No one calls police. 

In your typical baseball game, a high fly ball is falling in shallow centre. The 2nd baseman has tracked back while the centre fielder as ranged forward. At the last moment, both stop and the ball drops between the two millionaire professional baseball players.

In a standard social psychology textbook, these are examples of what is called “diffusion of responsibility.” And, in the case against Luka Magnotta (born Eric Newman), diffusion of responsibility can't impose upon jury availability if we want justice, but who is going to want to view the video evidence of the murder, indignities and dismemberment of Jun Lin?