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Psychology And Behavioural Economics

Behavioural economics is much more about behaviour that it is about economics. In psychology, behaviourism has been largely superseded by cognitive psychology. In economics, behaviourism is still in the ascendant, perhaps because it helps to rationalise the work of economists. If people are assumed to be irrational and easily manipulated, all the more need for experts to analyse and correct their failings (1,500 words)

Who Owns A Work Of Art: Creator Or Buyer?

The buyer, obviously. But beyond the physical ownership, there are assigned rights and inherent rights. If you buy a painting, you don’t automatically get the right to sell T-shirts with the painting emblazoned on them. If you re-sell the painting, and the artist disapproves, the artist can refuse to have the painting attributed to her; but you do gain the right to post photos of the painting on the Internet (2,270 words)

We’ll Keep Humiliating You

Review of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary, excerpted here. It is “no masterpiece”, even allowing for the censors’ deletions, but Slahi is “an intelligent and sensitive writer whose sense of irony somehow survived along with his sanity”. He lives now in a hut at Guantánamo taking antidepressants and playing video games. “It’s a strange ending to a book that is otherwise a relentless catalogue of grotesque abuses” (2,720 words)

Passport Tales

How to renew a passport in Pakistan. It takes for ever, unless you pay a fixer, in which case it takes two hours. “When my number was called for my picture to be taken, I was asked to sign a paper that guaranteed I believed in the finality of the Prophet. I clutched the paper, and sat down with it. The man looked at me quizzically. If I did not sign, I was a man without a passport. What civil resistance is possible?” (1,520 words)

On Having Crohn’s Disease

“It starts when you are eighteen and you can’t hold down a shot of vodka. You can’t chase the non-shot with cranberry juice. Your mother suggests heartburn, which sounds like something only fifty-year-old men have and seems to be a dig about how oversensitive you are. Your roommates are concerned. Your friends are jealous. You are not gaining the freshman fifteen. You are light as a feather, stiff as a board” (2,790 words)

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