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carnival of the capitalists with a brain- September 17, 2007


Wel­come to the Sep­tem­ber 17, 2007 edi­tion of car­ni­val of the cap­i­tal­ists.

First, a puzzle. Why do we have the brains we have? specif­i­cal­ly, why do humans have pro­por­tion­al­ly big­ger and bet­ter con­nect­ed frontal lobes (the blue area behind our foreheads) than any oth­er species? The answer: to be able to learn and adapt to chang­ing envi­ron­ments dur­ing our life­time. Neu­ro­sci­en­tists say that the frontal lobes are the “CEO of the brain”, and that we need that type of frontal lobes to exer­cise our so-called “Exec­u­tive Func­tions” that enable us to 1) Under­stand our envi­ron­ments, 2) Set goals and define strate­gies to accom­plish our goals, 3) Exe­cute those strate­gies well.Frontal Lobes

Now, let’s see how all these car­ni­val con­trib­u­tors are putting their frontal lobes to good use. Giv­en the vol­ume of sub­mis­sions received, we had to be real­ly selec­tive. Enjoy!


1) Under­stand­ing our envi­ron­ment: macro­econ­o­my, real estate slow­down, and lob­by­ing.

James won­ders, “Can the Fed begin as it must to cut the tar­get rate and still avoid Tim’s slip­pery slope? I think so, and here’s how.”

Ian presents a force­ful case that No, Greenspan Doesn’t Get To Reha­bil­i­tate His Rep­u­ta­tion, at Fire­doglake. Very time­ly post, giv­en that Greenspan is releas­ing his book today. 

The recent sub-prime mort­gage fias­co and its effect on our invest­ments prompt­ed us to recon­sid­er our portfolio’s risk tol­er­ance capa­bil­i­ty”, says FIRE Finance, out­lin­ing these Invest­ment Risks at a Glance. Along sim­i­lar lines, we can read that “I am not hop­ing for the mar­ket to get worse. I just know it will, because that is the nature of mar­ket cycles” at Is The Hous­ing Cri­sis and Stock Mar­ket Decline Bad Enough Yet?, by My Wealth Builder.

If you won­der what may have con­tributed to the real estate mess grow­ing so big, you may enjoy read­ing Pork: Wha’ss On The Bar­beque In Con­gress Is Your Future. The Ago­nist says: “In the Unit­ed States today, the sim­plest, eas­i­est and safest way to make mon­ey is to bribe the gov­ern­ment to pass laws or sub­si­dies favourable to you. So let’s take a clos­er look at the inter­sec­tion of cap­i­tal­ism and polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion, Amer­i­can-style.”

Matthew presents the opti­mistic side of the coin: Why the Real Estate Mar­ket Slow­down is great for Con­sumers post­ed at Get­ting Green. “The hous­ing cor­rec­tion we’re see­ing will actu­al­ly be quite healthy for the coun­try, because it will move the coun­try back to a place where home prices are more afford­able for the aver­age per­son.”


2) Set­ting goals and defin­ing strate­gies:

Strat­e­gy Vs Tac­tics by Alvin: “With­out a well thought out strat­e­gy, your busi­ness is mere­ly like a per­son walk­ing aim­less­ly in the dark.”


3) Exe­cut­ing those strate­gies: what to do, and what not to do.

a) At the Orga­ni­za­tion Lev­el: sys­tems, mar­ket­ing mes­sages and pro­mo­tions, sales comis­sions.

Wal­ly asks, “What do Toy­ota and the Roman Army have in com­mon? They both rely on sys­tems instead of heroes and tal­ent­ed genius­es to pro­duce results. They both cre­at­ed sys­tems that enabled ordi­nary peo­ple to pro­duce world-con­quer­ing results.”. More on Romans, Toy­otans, and Taylorians at his great post here. 

Ever thought “OK, enough cor­po­rate blah blah blah”? Charles presents When On-mes­sage Mar­ket­ing Makes for Off-trust Sales at Trust Mat­ters, say­ing, “When you let your mar­ket­ing depart­ment con­trol your sales mes­sag­ing you are like­ly to harm your sales because sales requires con­ver­sa­tions, not “on mes­sage” robots who don’t engage with their prospects.” Pity that Al Gore didn’t read this post years ago.

Sil­i­con Val­ley Blog­ger, over at The Digerati Life, dis­sects an exam­ple of a bad mar­ket­ing pro­mo­tion. Don’t do that-use your brain.

There is no busi­ness with­out rev­enues. There are lit­tle rev­enues with­out sales efforts. Still, Wayne needs to make the case for Sales com­mis­sions: Expense or invest­ment? post­ed at Blog Busi­ness World.


b) At the Indi­vid­ual Level: words, puz­zles, deci­sion-mak­ing under fear, train­ing our brains.

Edith presents 7 Phras­es Suc­cess­ful Peo­ple Would Nev­er Say. This is is prob­a­bly a stu­pid ques­tion, and you prob­a­bly don’t have time for this, but can I go to the bath­room?. I hope I may.

Dawn at The Jour­nal Blog has a thoughtful post titled This game of busi­ness: “run­ning my busi­ness is a lot like Frontal Lobes fMRIsolv­ing a puzzle…just like the way I play Mahjongg, I’ll keep doing that over and over again until I win.” She may well be exer­cis­ing her brains more than her five boys (fMRI picture shows active frontal lobes).

Brett at Trader­Feed helps us Make Sound Finan­cial Deci­sions Under Con­di­tions of Fear. “Quite sim­ply, our brains func­tion dif­fer­ent­ly under con­di­tions of fear (and greed!) than under cool­er emo­tion­al con­di­tions. As a result, we can make deci­sions with our mon­ey that lat­er (in our more calm modes) seem puz­zling to us.” He sug­gests some great tech­niques.

Final­ly, I inter­viewed Dr. Judith Beck on How to Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Per­son. Even if you are not inter­est­ed in weight loss, you will enjoy her insights on how to train our mind­set to acom­plish our goals…including man­ag­ing that fear that Brett talks about.

That con­cludes this edi­tion. Sub­mit your blog arti­cle to the next edi­tion of car­ni­val of the cap­i­tal­ists, which will be host­ed at The Vir­tu­al Hand­shake Blog, using this car­ni­val sub­mis­sion form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog car­ni­val index page.

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9 Responses

  1. FIRE Finance says:

    Great car­ni­val! Thanks for host­ing and includ­ing our post on Invest­ment Risks.
    Excel­lent Blog! Keep it up.

  2. Alvaro says:

    Fire Finance: thanks for your nice com­ment. You had a great arti­cle.

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