Convenience vs. Social Desirability Bias

Convenience has a massive effect on your behavior.  You rarely shop in your favorite store, eat in your favorite restaurant, or visit your favorite place.  Why not?  Because doing so is typically inconvenient.  They’re too far away, or not open at the right hours, so you settle for second-best or third-best or tenth-best.  You usually don’t switch your cell phone company, your streaming service, or your credit card just because a better option comes along.  Why not?  Because switching is not convenient.  Students even pass up financial aid because they don’t feel like filling out the paperwork.  Why not?  You guessed it: Because paperwork is inconvenient.

Homeless Camping in Austin: A Modest Proposal

This winter, I’m a visiting scholar at the University of Texas.  Though Austin is gorgeous, visitors can’t help but notice vast homeless villages scattered throughout the city.  Local sources tell me that this is driven by Austin’s repeal of the ban on homeless camping.  One of the economists I’ve met here has written a Swiftian proposal for reforming Austin’s approach.  The author prefers to remain anonymous, but this is printed with his permission.  Engage your sense of satire, and enjoy!

Why Unity is Bullshit

“Unity” is usually a message to merely shut you up and to get you to go along with bullshit. It is a message of social intimidation. Once a person and/or their values can be justified in defining the group, they perpetuate their power by telling everyone that unity is doing what authority wants. It is perpetuated by those with power and dim people looking to merely get along, and is used to otherize dissent. It is used to make people look at dissenters as disunifiers and for people to make them outcasts.