Discussion Group Issues
Bill Schrader Pavilion
11 January, 2017
12 noon to 13:30
E C D F A B
A – Daniel Kahneman argues that we are story tellers and in the interests of a coherent plot ignore the significant role that chance plays and attribute agency. Was Trump’s win brilliant, underhanded, or lucky? Offer a percentage for the likelihood of each choice. See quote below.
B – The gasoline price crises appears to have accentuated narco violence. Is our little ex-pat community living in denial?
C – A lot of high priced real estate is on beautiful beaches. These beaches are on the front line of global warming. Should these properties [threaten to] turn from asset to debt it could trigger another great recession in spite of the fact that most of them (in the US) have low-cost government insurance. Do you agree?
D – This group is generally happy with living in Mexico, but what do you most miss that you enjoyed back home? Speak even if you realize “it” cannot be here.
E – Superficially, Brexit looks a lot like the Trump win: unexpected, dear to the left-outs, and not accepted by many losers. But of course, elections are strongly local and local differences are important. Which do you believe were most important; the differences, or the commonalities?
F – Australia has a draconian refugee policy for small-boat arrivals — indefinite imprisonment in tiny off-shore foreign islands. Is this necessary and proper?
This article by a now in America Russian reporter highlights most of what I said last week on Putin. A worthwhile read
Lewis: Well, it’s a market for a politician, but people have this sense that the market did something really screwy, and they’re not unjustified. There’s a very clear sense right now that a lot of the people who voted for Trump may not have been voting in their best interests. It really seems like an irrational act to put this man in office, especially to people who didn’t vote for him. And so people want to understand what was going on in the minds of these people.
I did find myself listening with a kind of Kahneman and Tversky ear to what was going on around me after the election. But the first thing I noticed was how people undid it. You could predict, given their discussions, how the imagination works and how the undoing was going to get harder and harder. As Danny points out, when a tragedy just happens, it’s easy to undo it. You start from the event, and the first thing that you can undo moving backwards in time and change the result, you change: So the FBI director’s email, or the ground ball that goes through the first baseman’s legs in the bottom of the ninth inning, or the field-goal kicker missing at the end of the game. This is all the same stuff.
But then what happens is, the consequences of Trump pile up. To undo the election, your mind has to undo all this other stuff that happens as a result of Trump being elected, and you just stop doing it. It will seem quaint in six months to be talking about the FBI director and what he did with the emails; people won’t feel that it changed everything. There’ll be a sense that this was always going to happen, that we were always going to have Trump as President, that whatever happens will feel more determined or more inevitable or fated than it actually was.
I was listening to that, this brief moment after the election where people appreciated that this wasn’t a deterministic event and lots of things could have happened to prevent Trump from being president, but their minds fixated on just a couple of those things. I don’t think Trump knows any of this. I think he’s just making it all up as he goes along, but he’s really well-suited to being both a victim and a beneficiary of the [human thinking] mistakes that Danny and Amos point out. He’s pure intuitive judgment, and he’s appealing to other people’s pure intuitive judgment. There’s no real strong rational argument he’s making about why he should be president.