Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Questions from the drive to work this morning

1) Bumper stickers are popular around election times and, of course, these linger well beyond the polling date. One of my neighbors' cars has a number of no-W stickers on his car; I presume he was content with the last election. Maybe he just doesn't like the letter W.

Anyway, if we were to track who gets in car accidents and what bumper stickers were on their cars, how do you think that would play out? I think there's more pro-Obama stickers out there to be had, so that needs controlling for, but I'd be curious to see the results.

And what do you think the bumper sticker distribution on redeemed cars in the cash-for-clunkers program was?

2) Why is it that when people write reviews online, the negative ones are so much more so in magnitude than the supportive ones? Do people really get that upset over something that didn't go their way? I know from writing op-eds that you're not going to ever get lukewarm responses to your work; cost-benefit wise, it's just not worth it to voice your opinion when you're not feeling strongly one way or the other.

I think it's based in surplus. If you buy something and you like it, you've got some surplus from the matter, but if you buy something and don't like it, you're put yourself in a worse-off state (at least in relation to where you thought you'd be). Maybe people react proportionately more strongly being worse off than better off, but I'd be willing to wager that if you were to measure the surplus of the situation, you'd be losing more than you'd be gaining. Granted, measuring surplus is going to be extremely difficult if not impossible, but let's put that aside for the moment. Maybe it's your perception of matter-- if you order a $200 suit, you feel enjoyment from it, but remember the $200 outlay. If you order a $200 suit and it somehow doesn't satisfy you, you feel like you're out $200-- perhaps perceiving value below cost is a difficult concept for the mind to grasp. I don't know...but there's got to be more to the matter of vicious negative reviews than "people respond more strongly to bad things than good things."

3) Per the post on Michael Moore's new movie, is he currently the most successful anti-capitalist around in a capitalist society? I suppose it's all in the definition; I view "anti-capitalist" in this sense as someone willing to plainly denounce the market process, and "successful" as gaining momentum in people accepting his views.

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