If Fairness is Innate, How Do You Explain Opportunism?

In this blog, I’ve argued that fairness is innate in humans and other social animals such as Capuchin monkeys. But if that’s the case, how do we account for greed, selfishness, and opportunism, especially when it doesn’t serve the individual’s long-term self-interest?

Marketing and the Social Good: Accounting Profits and Economic Profits

In their September 2013 issue, Harvard Business Review ran an article titled, “Innovating for Shared Value.”  The article lays out a five-piece framework for how companies can “deliver both social benefit and business value.” It also references a HBR piece from January this year, “Creating Shared Value,” that argues the next competitive frontier for companies...Continue reading

Park Avenue: A documentary of two cities

As Park Avenue stretches through Manhattan in New York City, it represents the wealthiest neighborhood in the U.S. Then, Park Avenue goes north across the Harlem River in the South Bronx, and enters the poorest Congressional district in the country. It’s hard to find a more convincing graphical, and geographically, depiction regarding the fairness debate in...Continue reading

Designing Social Mobility Helps Everyone

As pointed out in a recent Brookings Institute report, economies with larger income inequality have lower social mobility. The chart accompanying this post shows social mobility correlated with income inequality for selected countries. The U.S., which holds itself out as the “land of opportunity,” resides in the middle of the pack. Our social mobility is...Continue reading

Unfair income distribution hurts even the rich

In a previous post, I talked about the transition from hunter-gatherer societies, where hording was a threat to group survival and thus not tolerated, to settled agrarian societies, where it was possible to amass resources and thus have more than your neighbor. Having more translated into advantage and power. So long as everyone had enough,...Continue reading

In social evolution, communication trumps selfishness

In a previous post, I explored how game theory helped us understand the value and power behind social cooperation, which is the basis for public services. One classic example of game theory, however, has pointed towards selfishness, which puzzled evolutionary biologists. Cooperation abounds in the natural world, not just among humans, so how could this...Continue reading

Our Social Nature Impacts Our Genetic Inheritance

I’m not a scientist by training or profession, but I am fascinated by what science can tell us about our social nature. In the past few years, new discoveries and techniques in genetics and data mining have revealed new levels of our interdependence, levels that can impact our genetic inheritance in a single generation and...Continue reading

For Living in Communities, Computers Teach Us to Play Nice

In a previous post, I proposed a game called Commons Poker, where all players would win big if all cooperated, but cooperation was not guaranteed and selfish behavior would be rewarded. It was a useful little thought experiment, but would it stand up to rigorous computer simulation? Luckily, the world doesn’t have to rely on...Continue reading

What is marketing? It's much more than advertising.

What is Marketing? It’s More Than Just Advertising

What is marketing? Many people equate it solely with advertising, which irks me. I even caught Shama Kabani doing this in her book The Zen of Social Media Marketing. On page 48, she use the definition of “promoting a product or a service to increase sales.” Not true. It is a lot more than advertising.

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