⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Self Reflexiveness In America

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Self Reflexiveness In America

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The journey from reflection towards reflexivity

Of all the alter egos invented by artists in the past years or so, from R. Mutt to John Dogg, none, perhaps, is more mysterious or obscure than the fictional painter Vern Blosum. Presciently, he could see the dangers presented to all of these things by the then-nascent Pop-art movement, with its emphasis on de-skilling, its dispassion and its apparently wholehearted collusion with a growing commercialization of culture. And so Vern Blosum was born. In his brief career , Blosum garnered considerable success with his work, which largely consisted of delicately painted renderings of mundane public devices such as parking meters and pay phones, each with a line of descriptive text painted underneath. Castelli Gallery handled the work and placed it in important collections.

It was quietly taken down in when the museum, which had long had its suspicions, was unable to confirm the artist had ever existed. An exhibition at Essex Street gallery featured five byinch canvases from Also included in the show were two rather more enigmatic paintings. And stop Blosum did, rather than reveal himself. For now, the gallery is preserving the anonymity of his creator. With the aid of modern psychology, we also see another issue: the human brain takes great leaps and shortcuts in order to make sense of its surroundings. As Charlie Munger has pointed out, a good idea and the human mind act something like the sperm and the egg — after the first good idea gets in, the door closes.

This makes the map-territory problem a close cousin of man-with-a-hammer tendency. This tendency is, obviously, problematic in our effort to simplify reality. When we see a powerful model work well, we tend to over-apply it, using it in non-analogous situations. We have trouble delimiting its usefulness, which causes errors. By most accounts, Ron Johnson was one the most successful and desirable retail executives by the summer of By , Apple stores were by far the most productive in the world on a per-square-foot basis, and had become the envy of the retail world.

The gleaming glass cube on Fifth Avenue became a more popular tourist attraction than the Statue of Liberty. It was a lollapalooza, something beyond ordinary success. And Johnson had led the charge. With that success, in Johnson was hired by Bill Ackman, Steven Roth, and other luminaries of the financial world to turn around the dowdy old department store chain JC Penney. Their core position was a no-brainer though. JC Penney had immensely valuable real estate, anchoring malls across the country. Johnson argued that their physical mall position was valuable if for no other reason that people often parked next to them and walked through them to get to the center of the mall.

Foot traffic was a given. And unlike some struggling retailers, JC Penney was making some money. There was cash in the register to help fund a transformation. The idea was to take the best ideas from his experience at Apple; great customer service, consistent pricing with no markdowns and markups, immaculate displays, world-class products, and apply them to the department store. Johnson planned to turn the stores into little malls-within-malls. The idea failed almost immediately. His new pricing model eliminating discounting was a flop. The coupon-hunters rebelled. Much of his new product was deemed too trendy.

JC Penney customers had no idea what was going on, and by , Johnson was sacked. The stock price sank into the single digits, where it remains two years later. It turned out that Johnson was using a map of Tulsa to navigate Tuscaloosa. Apple had shiny products, and needed a shiny store; JC Penney was known for its affordable sweaters. Apple had never relied on discounting in the first place; JC Penney was taking away discounts given prior, triggering massive deprival super-reaction. In other words, the old map was not very useful. Even his success at Target, which seems like a closer analogue, was misleading in the context of JC Penney.

Target had made small, incremental changes over many years, to which Johnson had made a meaningful contribution. JC Penney was attempting to reinvent the concept of the department store in a year or two, leaving behind the core customer in an attempt to gain new ones. This was a much different proposition. Another thing holding the company back was simply its base odds : Can you name a retailer of great significance that has lost its position in the world and come back? The main issue was not that Johnson was incompetent. He was extremely competent. But it was exactly his competence and past success that got him into trouble. He was like a great swimmer that tried to tackle a grand rapid, and the model he used successfully in the past, the map that had navigated a lot of difficult terrain, was not the map he needed anymore.

He had an excellent theory about retailing that applied in some circumstances, but not in others. The terrain had changed, but the old idea stuck. Taleb has been vocal about the misuse of models for many years, but the earliest and most vivid I can recall is his firm criticism of a financial model called Value-at Risk, or VAR. The model, used in the banking community, is supposed to help manage risk by providing a maximum potential loss within a given confidence interval.

The higher the interval, the less accurate the analysis becomes. As rarer and rarer events are included in the distribution, the analysis gets less useful. Elaborate statistical models are built to justify and use the VAR theory. On its face, it seems like a useful and powerful idea; if you know how much you can lose at any time, you can manage risk to the decimal. A model might show you some risks, but not the risks of using it. Moreover, models are built on a finite set of parameters, while reality affords us infinite sources of risks.

In order to come up with the VAR figure, the risk manager must take historical data and assume a statistical distribution in order to predict the future. But finance does not follow this kind of distribution. How can you accurately state the probability of that event? You would need far more data. Thus, financial events deemed to be 5, or 6, or 7 standard deviations from the norm tend to happen with a certain regularity that nowhere near matches their supposed statistical probability. The first that the model is itself a severe abstraction of reality, relying on historical data to predict the future. As all financial models must, to a certain extent. Deviations of the past may not be the deviations of the future.

Just because municipal bonds have never traded at such-and-such a spread to U. Frequently, the models are blind to this fact. October 19, , the stock market dropped by In percentage terms, it was then and remains the worst one-day market drop in U. But the tails are very fat in finance — improbable and consequential events seem to happen far more often than they should based on naive statistics. There is also a severe but often unrecognized recursiveness problem, which is that the models themselves influence the outcome they are trying to predict. To understand this more fully, check out our post on Complex Adaptive Systems.

Says Taleb :. There is an internal contradiction between measuring risk i.

The fact that so many people fought and even died for our freedom Self Reflexiveness In America incredible. Self Reflexiveness In America More. And so Vern How To Write An Argumentative Essay On Flowers For Algernon was born. Self Reflexiveness In America poetic prediction or a poetic denial of reality.

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