A culture of envy

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2024-05-11 22:30:12

Matt Welsh, a software engineer who previously was a Harvard professor, wrote about the Fame trap last week, telling us that the pursuit of academic fame made him unhappy:

Once I had kids, I really started to appreciate the toll it was having on my family (…), and I started to realize that maybe I had my priorities all wrong. (…) I think chasing academic fame is not the best reason to go down that path. I wish I had known that when I was finishing my PhD.

The scholarly book of the year is probably Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. This book has served as a rallying point for all of those who worry that managers are enriching themselves without bounds.

What is at stake in all cases, is that people insist on playing what Carse calls finite games. They may not realize that it is what they are doing… they may not even realize that they agreed to such games, but that is what they do nevertheless.

In finite games, there are winners and losers. The acquisition of a high social status… only makes sense as games if there are winners or losers.

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