Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jan 12 Michael Shermer - The Mind of the Market

Saturday, January 12, 2 - 4 pm

Michael Shermer, Ph.D.

Discusses and signs
"The Mind of the Market"
Available for purchase at the event

National Science Foundation, Room 110
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA (map)

Drawing on research from neuroeconomics, Shermer explores what brain scans reveal about bargaining, snap purchases, and how trust is established in business. Utilizing experiments in behavioral economics, Shermer shows why people hang on to losing stocks and failing companies, why business negotiations often disintegrate into emotional tit-for-tat disputes, and why money does not make us happy. Employing research from complexity theory, Shermer shows how evolution and economics are both examples of a larger and still somewhat mysterious phenomenon of emergence, where one plus one equals three.

Along the way, Shermer answers such provocative questions as, Do our tribal roots mean that we will always be a sucker for brands? How is the biochemical joy of sex similar to the rewards of business cooperation? How can nations increase trust within their borders? Finally, Shermer considers the consequences of globalization and what will happen if nations allow free trade across their borders.

Throughout his entertaining and surprising new book, The Mind of the Market, Shermer considers the morality of markets in a discussion of what he calls virtue economics. Although we are selfish and altruistic, cooperative and competitive, peaceful and bellicose, in the main the balance is heavily on the side of good over evil. For every random act of violence that makes the evening news, there are 10,000 nonrandom acts of kindness that go unrecorded every day. Markets are moral and modern economies are founded on our virtuous nature. The Enron model of business is the exception and the Google motto of “Don’t Be Evil” is the rule.

NSF is one block south of Ballston-Marymount University metro stop Orange Line. For most drivers, Route 66 to Fairfax Dr. to Stuart Dr is the easiest route. Enter NSF from the corner of 9th and Stuart Streets. Room 110 is on the left before the entry guard -- you do not need to go through NSF security. Parking is available in the Ballston Common mall, in the NSF building, and at other area parking lots and garages. Metered parking is also available on the surrounding streets.