My guest for this episode of Economics Detective Radio is Bart Wilson of Chapman University. He is the author of many experimental economics studies. Our conversation today focuses on one particular study entitled Language and cooperation in hominin scavenging. The abstract reads as follows:

Bickerton (2009, 2014) hypothesizes that language emerged as the solution to a scavenging problem faced by proto-humans. We design a virtual world to explore how people use words to persuade others to work together for a common end. By gradually reducing the vocabularies that the participants can use, we trace the process of solving the hominin scavenging problem. Our experiment changes the way we think about social dilemmas. Instead of asking how does a group overcome the self-interest of its constituents, the question becomes, how do constituents persuade one another to work together for a common end that yields a common benefit?

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  • I don’t want to steal ErickR’s thunder because he started the post “Laguage of Liberty”. I started this thread because I also don’t want to sidetrack his thread by focusing on the procedure of language instead of his particular-subject-matter. That said the evidence shows that Libertarians have trouble coordinating efforts for the promotion of Libretarianism. This is a given when one considers that many Libertarians are, by nature, Independant-thinkers. Coordinating independent-thinkers is like trying to herd cats, however even independent-thinkers manage to get together on some things. Take the math problem: 3+3= 6. Are there any Libritarians who don’t “agree” that 3+3= 6? If no one speaks up I would presume that it is because Libritarians “agree” that a standard-set of rules is necessary if one wants to get a true, correct and certain-answer for the math-problem each time one does the same procedure for the same math-problem. I am also going to presume that Libretarians want their pay check calculated with math which is true, correct and certain. Now, for the hard part: Why is it that people accept “rules” for the correct operations of math, but reject rules for the corrct-construction of a sentnece? THIS IS A DO IT YOURSELF TOOL KIT. You have to figure it out for yourself. Facts: Do you have the same piece of evidence as a fact if you modify that evidence? If you went to a crime-scene and pulled a knife out of a victim with your bare hand, have you “modified” the murder-weapon with your finger prints? If you give a “red” barn a coat of white paint is it still a “red” barn? If you charge someone with gross-neglence is it the same as neglence? If you use a pronoun such as he she in place of the actual-name of a witness or victim how does anyone know who you are talking about? When you can answer these questions correctly you will have the beginning of a tool kit for the correct-construction of a sentence.

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  • The words we use reflects and affects the way we see the world. The number one collectivist tool is the language of generalization. Try to eliminate “groups” from your language and watch how your perspective changes. For example, I try not to refer to a country as a person. The “USA” cannot act, only the people with power can. So saying the US did this or that is an illusion. But this language is used by so many that the illusion is considered real. Accepting this falsehood leads to all kinds of propaganda and manipulation. How many ways can we alter our language to better reflect the true view that collective generalizations are not realities, but just conceptual aggregates?

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  • A course that teaches the different cases (a lifesaver). A vocab course of 2000 words, listed according to word frequency.   And here are a few guides I use: – General Declension Pattern – Prepositions and their parts of speech.

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  • A topic where anything and everything can be discussed about this genre of video games (my personal favourite), and in particular I’m interested in what you all think makes a good RPG, and some of your personal favourites. Personally my favourite RPGs tend to be open world games that have a huge modding community, such as the Elder Scrolls games, and Fallout 3/New Vegas. This is probably due to the huge number of ways to play them, and the unlimited level of customisability/extra content that comes with the modding community which is in direct contrast to most other games, where after one playthrough you’ve seen everything (my love of liberty does indeed stretch into my game preferences). I’m currently playing Fallout New Vegas and I’m enjoying it a lot right now, it’s honestly a breath of fresh air from Skyrim, which despite all the thousands of mods available (30,000 on the main Skyrim modding site) simply can’t be saved from its terrible story and awful characters.

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