Sunday, October 25, 2009

Link Love Sunday

Here are a few pieces from the last few days worth reading:

  • Webguy of HitCoffee puts the hurt on WalMart.

    Wal-Mart’s products are either (a) the same stuff you can get elsewhere, or (b) a really, really crappy knock-off, which undermines the ability to get many products of usable quality. They break quicker, they’re almost always engineered not to be able to be repaired. A “$20″ dvd player with a cheap korean laser that wears out in a year isn’t much good. A $99 lawn mower that only lasts one summer and is then thrown out? It goes on and on and on… and so Wal-Mart, ecologically, contributes to the “just throw it away” trash phenomenon. And oddly enough, even if it’s the same “brand name” you could get elsewhere, it’s likely not the same product. For example, the blue jeans with the Levi brand sold at Wal-Mart are made in a different factory than the ones sold at Target, from lower-quality materials. The “Schwinn” bicycles at Wal-Mart are the same way, they are a “special” line only sold at Wal-Mart produced with crap components and priced to meet Wal-Mart’s target.

    His commenters take issue.

  • LeninOfLiberty of Distributed Republic brings some fresh ideas to voting systems.

  • Overcoming Bias reports on a study linking cleanliness and godliness:

    Subjects in clean-scented rooms were less likely to exploit the trust of their partners, returning a significantly higher share of the money. The average amount of cash given back by the people in the “normal” room was $2.81. But the people in the clean-scented room gave back an average of $5.33. … Participants surveyed in a Windex-ed room were significantly more interested in volunteering (4.21 on a 7-point scale) than those in a normal room (3.29). 22 percent of Windex-ed room participants said they’d like to donate money, compared to only 6 percent of those in a normal room.

    In my experience, the touchy-feely folks who talk the most about wanting to encourage more trust and charity do not get along that well with the anal folks who want everything to be very clean. So I expect the first group will be reluctant to accept that this second group has been right all along – they want more charity their way, via folks feeling guilty, not via folks feeling clean. So even if this study is confirmed by further research, I expect lots of resistance to its policy implications. After all, politics is less about policy, and charity less about outcomes, than about who should be admired.


Thursday said...

Our sense of morality is linked up with our sense of purity. It makes sense that those with a higher level of their purity instinct also have a higher level of the overall moral instinct.

I'd advise taking a look a Jonathan Haidt's work on morality. Ross Douthat has some commentary on Haidt over at his old Atlantic blog.

Burke said...

I posted commentary Haidt myself, here and here.

I think you hit the nail on head about the positive correlation between purity and the other moral dimensions.