Showing posts sorted by relevance for query dopamine hegemony. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query dopamine hegemony. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Hegemony is usually understood to mean the one-sided ability to influence others. In contrast to an empire, which actually has formal political control over the affected territory, the hegemonic power merely has the power to influence events. Since the decline of conventional imperialism, hegemony has been revived as the organizing principle of international relations.

“People are pretty much the same everywhere; they all want the same things.”

In the fin d'siecle dopamine hegemony, this is a common suggestion. Seldom if ever do you hear the countervailing point that this is due in largest measure to “want creation” by the global media, due to a “revolution of rising expectations”, and so on.

“America couldn't be all bad, otherwise everyone wouldn't want to live here”, is still another common suggestion. It is far more accurate to state of immigrants to America that a certain kind of person from every other type of culture wants and has wanted to immigrate to America, the kind of person with a certain framework of values, a certain constellation of wants - a certain definite neurotype. Wants unquestionably imply things -- and pretty much only things.

Non-economic migrants have always been a very, very small subset of those who have made their way to America - and non-economic motivations have always been a very, very small component of any mixed bag of immigrant motivations.

The neurotype that wants things, that wants the same things - is the neurotype unfailingly drawn to aggregate with the dopamine hegemon.

Given the distinctly psychological nature of this hegemonic phenomenon, we are faced with an urgent demand-side problem. The demand-side is the controlling variable in the short and mid-term.

Given that the gathering planetary energy crisis is exponential in nature, the neurotype that is expressing the hegemon's values, its media-driven constellation of wants - is THE major component of the failing energy foundations of the prevailing global civilization (dopamine hegemony).

Solar energy and natural resource supplies are fairly well fixed; whereas, the effects of increments of growth in demand have exponential and not proportional consequences.

What will survive the inevitable collapse of dopamine hegemony?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Neuroeconomics - Dopamine Hegemony (REDUX Originally Posted 12/02/07)

For decades it has been known that these neurons and the dopamine they release play a critical role in brain mechanisms of reinforcement. Many of the drugs currently abused in our society mimic the actions of dopamine in the brain. This led many researchers to believe that dopamine neurons directly encoded the rewarding value of events in the outside world.

That last one is a gem. Even though the discipline is barely aborning, it's already become value-laden and placed in the service of a political agenda.

Neuroeconomics has been described as:

  • "an emerging transdisciplinary field that uses neuroscientific measurement techniques to identify the neural substrates associated with economic decisions” (Zak, 2004, p. 1737)
  • “Economics, psychology and neuroscience are converging today in to a single unified discipline with the ultimate aim of providing a single, general theory of human behavior. (…) The goal of this discipline is thus to understand the processes that connect sensation and action by revealing the neurobiological mechanisms by which decisions are made". (Glimcher & Rustichini, 2004, p. 447)
  • “the program for understanding the neural basis of the behavioral response to scarcity” (Ross, 2005, p. 330)
Money's effect on the brain is faster than language processing or face recognition. Money is ancient tricknology and not the human cultural artifact we commonly take it for granted as being..., when you study money, you're studying biology - not culture.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Neuroeconomics - Dopamine Hegemony

Physiological utility theory and the neuroeconomics of choice;

For decades it has been known that these neurons and the dopamine they release play a critical role in brain mechanisms of reinforcement. Many of the drugs currently abused in our society mimic the actions of dopamine in the brain. This led many researchers to believe that dopamine neurons directly encoded the rewarding value of events in the outside world.
That last one is a gem. Even though the discipline is barely aborning, it's already become value-laden and placed in the service of a political agenda.

Neuroeconomics has been described as:

  • "an emerging transdisciplinary field that uses neuroscientific measurement techniques to identify the neural substrates associated with economic decisions” (Zak, 2004, p. 1737)
  • “Economics, psychology and neuroscience are converging today in to a single unified discipline with the ultimate aim of providing a single, general theory of human behavior. (…) The goal of this discipline is thus to understand the processes that connect sensation and action by revealing the neurobiological mechanisms by which decisions are made". (Glimcher & Rustichini, 2004, p. 447)
  • “the program for understanding the neural basis of the behavioral response to scarcity” (Ross, 2005, p. 330)

Friday, July 18, 2014

let's talk about dopamine hegemony...,

pnas |  The D4 dopamine receptor (DRD4) locus may be a model system for understanding the relationship between genetic variation and human cultural diversity. It has been the subject of intense interest in psychiatry, because bearers of one variant are at increased risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (1). A survey of world frequencies of DRD4 alleles has shown striking differences among populations (2), with population differences greater than those of most neutral markers. In this issue of PNAS Ding et al. (3) provide a detailed molecular portrait of world diversity at the DRD4 locus. They show that the allele associated with ADHD has increased a lot in frequency within the last few thousands to tens of thousands of years, although it has probably been present in our ancestors for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

in the bowels with dopamine hegemony

WSJ | A group of Nestle SA researchers here are on an unusual mission: They hope to create new foods based on gut instinct.

Not the type of instinct one normally equates with intuitive decision-making, but the sophisticated processes that take place in our digestive tracts to let us know when we're hungry. There, a collection of nerve cells work together and communicate much as the neurons in our brain do. It's essentially an autonomous and self-governing second brain that we all carry in our belly.

Nestle says products using its new science could be available within five years. Widely known for its chocolate, the company makes a broad array of foods including cereal, drinks, coffee, frozen meals, bottled water and pet food.

This avenue of food science, which is also being pursued by other food companies, could represent a fresh assault in the fight against flab. One in four Americans is obese, and obesity rates are also rising dramatically in parts of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Although food companies have long tried to make effective fat-fighting food, their results have been modest.

Nestle and other food giants are now on a push to decipher the language of satiety—the complex signals our gut brain sends to the big brain—and use that knowledge to make better satiety-inducing foods, or foods that make you feel full longer. Nerve cells in the gut are located in the tissues lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon. Like the central nervous system, the gut brain makes use of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hegemony for Health!!!

In the NYTimes - Warning: Habits May Be Good for You in which the methods of dopamine hegemony are shown both to have turned you into an automatized consumer and revolutionized your health and well-being in the process. (not to mention selling bazillions in products, as well.)

If you look hard enough, you’ll find that many of the products we use every day — chewing gums, skin moisturizers, disinfecting wipes, air fresheners, water purifiers, health snacks, antiperspirants, colognes, teeth whiteners, fabric softeners, vitamins — are results of manufactured habits. A century ago, few people regularly brushed their teeth multiple times a day. Today, because of canny advertising and public health campaigns, many Americans habitually give their pearly whites a cavity-preventing scrub twice a day, often with Colgate, Crest or one of the other brands advertising that no morning is complete without a minty-fresh mouth.

A few decades ago, many people didn’t drink water outside of a meal. Then beverage companies started bottling the production of far-off springs, and now office workers unthinkingly sip bottled water all day long. Chewing gum, once bought primarily by adolescent boys, is now featured in commercials as a breath freshener and teeth cleanser for use after a meal. Skin moisturizers — which are effective even if applied at high noon — are advertised as part of morning beauty rituals, slipped in between hair brushing and putting on makeup.

“OUR products succeed when they become part of daily or weekly patterns,” said Carol Berning, a consumer psychologist who recently retired from Procter & Gamble, the company that sold $76 billion of Tide, Crest and other products last year. “Creating positive habits is a huge part of improving our consumers’ lives, and it’s essential to making new products commercially viable.”

Through experiments and observation, social scientists like Dr. Berning have learned that there is power in tying certain behaviors to habitual cues through relentless advertising.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Strict Father Smacking The Lipstick Off The Cathedral's Neoliberal Pig

WaPo |  Thiel’s secret financing of multiple suits against Gawker was legal. But that shouldn’t erase the squeamishness brought on by a billionaire leveraging his wealth to obliterate a media outlet, all as part of a personal vendetta. (Thiel did not respond to request for comment.)

That vendetta is complicated. Thiel claims that Gawker outed him as gay. The author of the “outing” article claims Thiel was out already, but that those who knew assumed the information should remain restricted to certain circles. That attitude was “retrograde and homophobic,” the author argues, and it merited an exposé.

But more about Gawker’s coverage may have rankled Thiel than, as he put it, the website’s “creepy obsession with outing closeted men.” Gawker’s tech-focused website Valleywag trained a skeptical and often searing eye on Silicon Valley culture. It reported on what tech titans said they were about and what they actually did.

Thiel was a titan, so he was also a target. Thanks to the lawsuits he funded, Gawker had to stop bothering him. If he gets his way again, any trace of that troublesome writing may be erased. This starts to look an awful lot like book-burning.

The good news is that ALL institutions are currently in play. Been taking a deep dive with the youngest into questions about dopamine hegemony and the science and engineering of money. Cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency-speculation being all the rage at the moment among the young, dumb, and “want something for nothing” set. 

Am absolutely loving the open warfare erupting in the Impyrian heights among the oligarchs and then licking down like lightning to destroy errant peasants who attempt to fly too high. Ahhhh.., the petty satisfactions of pedestrian schadenfreude. 

Anyway, what we can all know and see for certain at this moment, is that the NYC-DC establishment is going into a strong second-half push in this destroy Trump game. Now that russiagate has failed, it’s down to adultery and faux racism. All just window-dressing over the real game in play – that game being control of the money pump. The Koch/Thiel/Mercer block is not going to easily surrender to the status quo whigs, and the whigs are fresh out of new tricks against their invigorated asymmetrical elite political adversaries.
One of the theoretical forerunners and bases of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is chartalism, an economic theory which argues that money is a creature of the state designed to direct economic activity. The theory has recently been popularized by David Graeber’s book Debt: The First 5,000 Years, a wide-ranging work that touches upon issues ranging from gift economies, the linkage between quantification and violence, and the relationship between debt and conceptions of sin. In charting out the history of money, Graeber notes that, despite anthropological evidence to the contrary, economists have long clung to the myth of barter.
However, money does not emerge from barter-based economic activities, but rather from the sovereign’s desire to organize economic activity. The state issues currency and then imposes taxes. Because citizens are forced to use the state’s currency to pay their taxes, they can trust that the currency will carry value in day-to-day economic activities. Governments with their own currency and a floating exchange rate (sovereign currency issuers like the United States) do not have to borrow from “bond vigilantes” to spend. They themselves first spend the money into existence and then collect it through taxation to enforce its usage. The state can spend unlimited amounts of money. It is only constrained by biophysical resources, and if the state spends beyond the availability of resources, the result is inflation, which can be mitigated by taxation.
These simple facts carry radical policy implications. Taxes are not being used to fund spending, but rather to control inflation and redistribute income. Thus, we can make the case for progressive taxation from a moral standpoint concerned with social justice:
Meanwhile, smart black folk recognizing the game of musical chairs on the deck of the Titanic - FULLY REALIZE the ruthless screwing handed down to us by the DC-NYC establishment over the past 50 years, with the replacement negroe program, mass incarceration, and systematic demonization

Friday, January 12, 2018

Decision Neuroscience (REDUX Originally Posted 11/24/08)

This will not be the first time you've heard this from me, I've variously addressed it hereabouts under the rubrics neuroeconomics or dopamine hegemony - but this morning my very good friend Arnach hit me up back channel with a morsel supportive of the theory that global human governance boils down to the science of stimulating and controlling dopaminergy in the individual brain.

From the Stanford Storybank we have This is Your Brain on Bargains.
Scientific inspiration can derive from the most mundane experience. Archimedes was said to have figured out how to compute volume in his bathtub. When Uzma Khan had her eureka moment, she was sprawled on her couch, just back from a shopping mall where she had gone to avoid working on her dissertation.

Khan—then at Yale, now an assistant professor of marketing at the Graduate School of Business—knew all about the supposed levers of consumer behavior: supply, demand, advertising, discounting. Traditionally, business theorists described consumer behavior as being based on rational decisions about value and price. But as Khan looked at the shopping bags strewn around her apartment she realized that the conventional wisdom was, well, bankrupt. She was sure that her buying decisions had much less to do with price than they did her frayed nerves. She had gone shopping to feel better. Once home, the thrill was gone. “I looked at all that stuff, all those bags, and I thought, 'I don't need this stuff. I'm going to take most of it back. What was I thinking?'”

Khan's professional focus today is answering that question—what are we thinking when we go shopping? She is one of a growing number of researchers at Stanford and elsewhere working on consumer mysteries: Why are our needs and wants so disconnected? Why do people dig themselves into debt from foolish spending? Why do our brains perceive expensive products as superior? And what are the biological bases for the pleasures that shopping or even the anticipation of shopping can unleash?
So simple, elegant, and obvious. Selective governance via the natural tendency of the brain's neuronal circuits to Do What They Do..., what could be easier, more powerful, and more durable than that? The basic fact is that humans are routinely exploited by those with the wherewithal to "engineer" values in the outside world and a little knowledge of the workings of the "inside" world. - This takes us then to the meatus of the economic beatus - which isn't quantum mechanics - but a depth psychology informed by an expansive understanding fractal unfolding and the poised realm what that knowledge is and where exactly it came from.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

destruction of the system of dopamine hegemony is the end: everything else is merely conversation...,

medialens |  If Julian Assange was initially perceived by many as a controversial but respected, even heroic, figure challenging power, the corporate media worked hard to change that perception in the summer of 2012. After Assange requested political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the faux-feminists and corporate leftists of the 'quality' liberal press waged war on his reputation.
This comment from the Guardian's Deborah Orr summed up the press zeitgeist:
'It's hard to believe that, until fairly recently, Julian Assange was hailed not just as a radical thinker, but as a radical achiever, too.'
A sentiment echoed by Christina Patterson of the Independent:
'Quite a feat to move from Messiah to Monty Python, but good old Julian Assange seems to have managed it.'
The Guardian's Suzanne Moore expressed what many implied:
'He really is the most massive turd.'
The attacks did more than just criticise Assange; they presented him as a ridiculous, shameful figure. Readers were to understand that he was now completely and permanently discredited.

We are all, to some extent, herd animals. When we witness an individual being subjected to relentless mockery of this kind from just about everyone across the media 'spectrum', it becomes a real challenge to continue taking that person seriously, let alone to continue supporting them. We know that doing so risks attracting the same abuse.

Below, we will see how many of the same corporate journalists are now directing a comparable campaign of abuse at Russell Brand in response to the publication of his book, 'Revolution'. The impact is perhaps indicated by the mild trepidation one of us experienced in tweeting this very reasonable comment from the book:
'Today humanity faces a stark choice: save the planet and ditch capitalism, or save capitalism and ditch the planet.' (p.345)

renunciation of dopamine hegemony is the beginning..,

medialens |  Even more astutely – and this is where he leaves most head-trapped leftists behind – Brand understands that progressive change is stifled by the shiny, silvery lures of corporate consumerism that hook into our desires and egos. He understands that focused awareness on the truth of our own personal experience is a key aspect of liberation from these iChains:
'Get money. I got money, I got the stuff on the other side of the glass and it didn't work.' (p.56)
'I have seen what fame and fortune have to offer and I know it's not the answer. That doesn't diminish these arguments, it enhances them.' (p.202)
'We have been told that freedom is the ability to pursue petty, trivial desires when true freedom is freedom from these petty, trivial desires.' (p.66)
In a wonderfully candid passage – unthinkable from most leftists, who write as though they were brains in jars rather than flesh-and-blood sexual beings – Brand describes seeing a paparazzi photo of himself emerging from an exclusive London nightclub at 2 a.m with a beautiful woman on each arm:
'I can still be deceived into thinking, "Wow, I'd like to be him," then I remember that I was him.' (p.314)
Brand tells his millions of admirers and wannabe, girl-guzzling emulators:
'That night with those two immaculate girls... did not feel like it looked.' (p.315)
So how did it feel?
'Kisses are exchanged and lips get derivatively bitten, and I am unsmitten and unforgiven, and when they leave I sit broken and longing on the chaise.' (p.316)
The point, again:
'This looks how it's supposed to look but it doesn't feel how it's supposed to feel.' (p.186)
Exactly reversing the usual role of the 'celebrity' ('how I loathe the word' (p.191)) - Brand sets a demolition charge under one of the great delusions of our time: 'Fame after a while seems ordinary.' (p.189)

Everything, after a while, seems ordinary – external, material pleasures do not deliver on their promises.

So why are we destroying humanity and the planet for a vampiric corporate dream that enriches a tiny elite and brings alienation and dissatisfaction to all? The answer? Thought control:

Friday, January 24, 2014

organic negativity is not false, it's just weaker than consumerism and dopamine hegemony

itself | In a wonderful if hilarious article for the 1989 December issue of Telos, Timothy Luke, one of the primary progenitors of the artificial negativity thesis, writes a delicious article ‘Xmas Ideology: Unwrapping the New Deal and the Cold War under the Christmas Tree’1, which is replied to directly afterwards by Paul Piccone2. In it Luke claims that Christmas films such as It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Holiday Inn and White Christmas are an almost perfect example of artificial negativity. Against the crass commercialisation of Christmas, they appear to offer an authentic core of love and human compassion that are unspoilt. In fact, Luke argues, they are merely a way of briefly compensating for the aggressive fragmentation of late capitalism, and actually perpetuating it. The films “generate ideologies of self-gratification and fulfilment as in the cult of Christmas, which rather than being cast as a Christian celebration of Christ’s birth, is instead turned into a fantasy of self-fulfilment and collective solidarity as part of a celebration of materialistic giving (and receiving)”.

The Christian rituals of Christmas, then, have been remanufactured by capital and the state during WWII and the Cold War into “Xmas”. Without it, the rituals of life in consumer society might disintegrate even more than they have already, making Xmas an essential aspect of exchange. It mediates the forms of subjectivity in the intimate sphere of caring with corporate agendas of spending and having. Christmas as “Xmas” becomes in film the essential simulation of settled social traditions, family unity, and collective purpose for many modern American Pottersvilles that otherwise lack these qualities.

For Luke, as in It’s A Wonderful Life, such stories are a New Deal fantasy dealt out by corporations and one side, and the state seen as benevolent protector on the other through the medium of bureaucracy – Clarence the angel attempting to get his wing is after all part of a bureaucracy of angels much like the New Deal state.

Suffice to say, Piccone doesn’t like this much. He believes the films as quite capably critiquing the American they found. Indeed, rather than stressing the values of capitalism and welfarism, these classic Christmas films: “If anything, it is the concept of solidarity and, particularly in It’s A Wonderful Life, communitarian values which are idealized”. Indeed, one of the main enemies in It’s A Wonderful Life is the heartless landlord Mr Potter. The protagonist of It’s A Wonderful Life, George, is the son of the owner of a small bank Savings and Loan. When his father dies, the slum landlord Mr Potter wants to start denying loans to the working poor, because these loans are not profitable and to also take over the company. In an very famous scene in front of the board of directors, George argues that from an economic perspective the loans his father made may not have been good sense, but from a human perspective, in getting people out of the slums, they had been an obvious good “People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped, […] they’re cattle”. This convinces the board of directors to reject this, and to put him in charge of the company. Thus the older, benevolent capitalism of the small town with its concern for human values and the desire to enable people’s ambitions even if it was not profitable, the bank as service provider for people not profit, is contrasted to the centralised despotic and money orientated capitalism of Potter where profit is the only concern and people are pure objects from which to extract it. The film speaks to spiritual and moral values over money values. The same is true of Miracle on 34th Street, speculative capitalism is opposed to kindly capitalism of the small banker who knew your needs and ambitions. These films are not artificially negative, but authentically and organically negative. But this leads to a problem – they were still created by the Hollywood and, as Piccone claims, became more popular during the Reagan years because of the family values agenda he articulated. How can they be organically negative if they are put so easily to use by the Reaganite neo-conservative New Class? Piccone never accounts for this – but whatever we think of the films at hand, this small example of the major theorists of the concepts of Artificial Negativity and the New Class clashing over a particular object shows some important conceptual flaws – how do we point genuine versions of organic negativity out and be attentive to false artificial negativities? In this light, after a little anaylsis we can see that these terms have, first, no theoretical coherence and second, fulfil only one role, a purely polemic way of labelling and dismissing the distasteful.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

dopamine hegemony depends on the wattles..., | via Northrup Grumman Information Technology - most fascinating data source research funder...., The neuropsychology of religious activity in normal and selected clinical populations is reviewed. Religious activity includes beliefs, experiences, and practice. Neuropsychological and functional imaging findings, many of which have derived from studies of experienced meditators, point to a ventral cortical axis for religious behavior, involving primarily the ventromedial temporal and frontal regions. Neuropharmacological studies generally point to dopaminergic activation as the leading neurochemical feature associated with religious activity. The ventral dopaminergic pathways involved in religious behavior most closely align with the action-extrapersonal system in the model of 3-D perceptual–motor interactions proposed by Previc (1998). These pathways are biased toward distant (especially upper) space and also mediate related extrapersonally dominated brain functions such as dreaming and hallucinations. Hyperreligiosity is a major feature of mania, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, temporal-lobe epilepsy and related disorders, in which the ventromedial dopaminergic systems are highly activated and exaggerated attentional or goal-directed behavior toward extrapersonal space occurs. The evolution of religion is linked to an expansion of dopaminergic systems in humans, brought about by changes in diet and other physiological influences.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

kufi on too tight....,

quoth Bro. Makheru: If all language in the locker room or on the battlefield is fair game, why don’t we hear about Black players/soldiers using derogatory terms like “crackers,” “peckerwoods,” “honkies,” or “devils?” Why is that? White supremacy?

After 1978 or so, nobody outside the pathologically identified and the perpetually aggrieved use those terms of endearment - either in the heat of anger, or, in the throes of overwrought righteous indignation. The exception is of course "peckerwood", and the all-time classic conjugation of "redneck peckerwood" - which I haven't heard comically screeched since the last time I was at the Texas state fair. When that happened, I nearly had to have CPR I was laughing so hard hearing it inveighed by one loud and bumptious rednecked peckerwood against yet another only slightly less boisterous representative of the caste.

Now, the great Sam Peckinpah was intensely fond of this particular term of endearment, and he used it whenever and wherever possible in his westerns. It turns up in both Major Dundee and in the Wild Bunch.  So Bro. Makheru, in partial answer to your rhetorical kwestin, "why don't we hear black soldiers using these specific derogatory terms" - I'ma go with the answer "you better have been a very special brand of badass back in the day to have had the nerve and audacity to say it and live to tell of it", and, in consequence of this fact, it never caught on and became popular outside a small circle of intensely identified folk who LOVE to use these terms of endearment when they gather together to reminisce about the glory days of the early 70's.

quoth Bro. Makheru: “Where men are required to depend on one another, the spoken word doesn't even come from the same psychological spigot…” That is pure unadulterated, historically revisionist, bovine excrement!

Because I'm decidedly not a team player, you won't find me representing on behalf of either the Amerireich or the NBUF..., as a species-level guy, I find it preferable to observe and assess the antics of deuterostems in more universal and powerfully explanatory ethological terms, thus my preference for "killer-ape" on the small scale, "dopamine hegemony" on the largest scale, and global system of 1% supremacy to identify the controlling minority who rules it all.

quoth Bro. Makheru: The above mentioned derogatory words all come from the same psychological spigot--the spigot of white supremacy. Epithets don’t lose their meaning, particularly when a specific epithet is repeatedly used by the same group of people with violent intentions.

As the nominal and symbolic commander of the whole and entire machinery of global supremacy, the boss is not merely a figment of the imagination. The Hon.Bro.Preznit signifies where black Americans stand in the fourth and final quarter of this game. With nothing else left to prove. Everything else is - as they say - merely conversation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

twelve conscious men working together CAN rule the world...,

This video provides a visual analogy for how social cohesion is obtained in groups of people.  Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions are influenced in the direction of the group norm by information received from other group members.  Over time, the psychological pressure on non-conforming members tends to bring them into line with the developing group consensus.  It's an evolved mechanism, and explains why it's so hard to get action on an issue when the group consensus either opposes it or favors another action that has mutually exclusive requirements.  Like respectable americans vs. ratchet dysgenic breeders, legalization vs. war on drugs, infrastructure investment vs. war on terra, culture of competence vs. dopamine hegemony....,

It takes strong system-level pressure to shift the overall group norm from one stable state to another. That pressure can be in the form of either effective legislation or a shift embraced by a minimum critical mass of non-conformants and supported by generally available information. Fist tap io9.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

prohibition costs billions, legalization would earn billions - but what about its effect on dopamine hegemony?

aclu | Over 300 economists, including three Nobel Laureates, recently signed a petition that encourages the president, Congress, governors and state legislatures to carefully consider marijuana legalization in America. The petition draws attention to an article by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, whose findings highlight the substantial cost-savings our government could incur if it were to tax and regulate marijuana, rather than needlessly spending billions of dollars enforcing its prohibition.

Miron predicts that legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement, in addition to generating $2.4 billion annually if taxed like most consumer goods, or $6 billion per year if taxed similarly to alcohol and tobacco. The economists signing the petition note that the budgetary implications of marijuana prohibition are just one of many factors to be considered, but declare it essential that these findings become a serious part of the national decriminalization discussion.

The advantages of marijuana legalization extend far beyond an opportunity to make a dent in our federal deficit. The criminalization of marijuana is one of the many fights in the War on Drugs that has failed miserably. And while it's tempting to associate only the harder, "scarier" drugs with this botched crusade, the fact remains that marijuana prohibition is very much a part of the battle. The federal government has even classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance (its most serious category of substances), placing it in a more dangerous category than cocaine. More than 800,000 people are arrested for marijuana use and possession each year, and 46 percent of all drug prosecutions across the country are for marijuana possession. Yet this costly and time-consuming targeting of marijuana users by law enforcement and lawmakers has done little to quell use of the drug.

The criminalization of marijuana has not only resulted in a startlingly high number of arrests, it also reflects the devastating disparate racial impact of the War on Drugs. Despite ample evidence that marijuana is used more frequently by white people, Blacks and Latinos account for a grossly disproportionate percentage of the 800,000 people arrested annually for marijuana use and possession. These convictions hinder one's ability to find or keep employment, vote or gain access to affordable housing. The fact that these hard-to-shake consequences – bad enough as they are — are suffered more frequently by a demographic that uses marijuana less makes our current policies toward marijuana all the more unfair, unwise and unacceptable.

Monday, February 28, 2011

how IS the dopamine hegemony at gunpoint project going?

antiwar | Remember those heady days of the neocons’ triumphalism, when Glenn Reynolds and his fellow laptop bombardiers were proclaiming the victory of "Democracy, whiskey, sexy" in Iraq? Today the society that is emerging from the bloodstained rubble of Iraq’s cities is far from democratic, in the liberal sense, and as for whiskey and "sexy" – well, you can just forget it.

Neither democracy, nor a culture that respects human rights, can be exported at gunpoint: that is one of the lessons of the Iraq war. The neoconservative ideologues who told us otherwise weren’t just wrong: they were lying, as usual.

Their goal wasn’t democracy, or anything remotely resembling it: their strategy was simply to smash up the existing Iraqi state, and atomize the region into small, squabbling splinter-states, all the better to dominate them and make the world safe for Israel. Now that their job is done in Iraq, they’re moving on to the next victims: Iran, Syria, and on into Central Asia. Or so they think.

The great Arab Awakening, however, may very well short-circuit their plans: if and when this powerful populist movement takes down the Iranian mullahs and the Ba’athist gerontocracy in Damascus, Washington may find it harder to pursue its Israel-centric policy with impunity.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

digital dopamine hegemony

WaPo | The decision by Egyptian officials to virtually shut down Internet access to the country Friday marked an audacious escalation in the battle between authoritarian governments and tech-savvy protesters. It was also a direct challenge to the Obama administration's attempts to promote Internet freedom.

Internet access was cut off in Egypt shortly after midnight Friday, apparently after authorities ordered the country's five service providers to block it, according to experts. Cellphone service was also severely disrupted.

"The Egyptian government's actions ... have essentially wiped their country from the global map," James Cowie of Renesys, a New Hampshire-based company that monitors Internet data, said on the company's Web site.

The move came roughly a day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had publicly urged Egypt not to close off access to the technology and social media that were being used to organize demonstrations. On Friday, the administration denounced Egypt's action - first by using Twitter.

"Govt must respect the rights of Egyptian people & turn on social networking and internet," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs warned in a tweet.

U.S. officials concede that Twitter does not a revolution make. But they believe that such platforms have accelerated the pace of protest movements, citing the rapid coalescence of the Tunisian demonstrations that toppled that country's longtime leader, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and the Egyptian demonstrations that erupted this week.

"From now on, any and all dissent movements will have technology as a core component," said Alec Ross, Clinton's senior adviser for innovation.

The Obama administration has elevated Internet freedom in U.S. diplomacy, and Clinton gave a major speech on the issue last year. The State Department is currently working on plans to spend $30 million on Internet freedom projects, including software that enables activists to break through firewalls imposed by oppressive governments.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

constant conflict: a military celebration of dopamine hegemony

Video - Bob Marley Them Belly Full But We Hungry.

ICH | It is fashionable among world intellectual elites to decry "American culture," with our domestic critics among the loudest in complaint. But traditional intellectual elites are of shrinking relevance, replaced by cognitive-practical elites--figures such as Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Madonna, or our most successful politicians--human beings who can recognize or create popular appetites, recreating themselves as necessary. Contemporary American culture is the most powerful in history, and the most destructive of competitor cultures. While some other cultures, such as those of East Asia, appear strong enough to survive the onslaught by adaptive behaviors, most are not. The genius, the secret weapon, of American culture is the essence that the elites despise: ours is the first genuine people's culture. It stresses comfort and convenience--ease--and it generates pleasure for the masses. We are Karl Marx's dream, and his nightmare.

Secular and religious revolutionaries in our century have made the identical mistake, imagining that the workers of the world or the faithful just can't wait to go home at night to study Marx or the Koran. Well, Joe Sixpack, Ivan Tipichni, and Ali Quat would rather "Baywatch." America has figured it out, and we are brilliant at operationalizing our knowledge, and our cultural power will hinder even those cultures we do not undermine. There is no "peer competitor" in the cultural (or military) department. Our cultural empire has the addicted--men and women everywhere--clamoring for more. And they pay for the privilege of their disillusionment.

American culture is criticized for its impermanence, its "disposable" products. But therein lies its strength. All previous cultures sought ideal achievement which, once reached, might endure in static perfection. American culture is not about the end, but the means, the dynamic process that creates, destroys, and creates anew. If our works are transient, then so are life's greatest gifts--passion, beauty, the quality of light on a winter afternoon, even life itself. American culture is alive.

This vividness, this vitality, is reflected in our military; we do not expect to achieve ultimate solutions, only constant improvement. All previous cultures, general and military, have sought to achieve an ideal form of life and then fix it in cement. Americans, in and out of uniform, have always embraced change (though many individuals have not, and their conservatism has acted as a healthy brake on our national excesses). American culture is the culture of the unafraid.

Ours is also the first culture that aims to include rather than exclude. The films most despised by the intellectual elite--those that feature extreme violence and to-the-victors-the-spoils sex--are our most popular cultural weapon, bought or bootlegged nearly everywhere. American action films, often in dreadful copies, are available from the Upper Amazon to Mandalay. They are even more popular than our music, because they are easier to understand. The action films of a Stallone or Schwarzenegger or Chuck Norris rely on visual narratives that do not require dialog for a basic understanding. They deal at the level of universal myth, of pre-text, celebrating the most fundamental impulses (although we have yet to produce a film as violent and cruel as the Iliad). They feature a hero, a villain, a woman to be defended or won--and violence and sex. Complain until doomsday; it sells. The enduring popularity abroad of the shopworn Rambo series tells us far more about humanity than does a library full of scholarly analysis.

When we speak of a global information revolution, the effect of video images is more immediate and intense than that of computers. Image trumps text in the mass psyche, and computers remain a textual outgrowth, demanding high-order skills: computers demarcate the domain of the privileged. We use technology to expand our wealth, power, and opportunities. The rest get high on pop culture. If religion is the opium of the people, video is their crack cocaine. When we and they collide, they shock us with violence, but, statistically, we win. Fist tap Dale.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

the essence of dopamine hegemony

Guardian | Excessive consumption has spread to developing countries and could wipe out efforts to slow climate change, Worldwatch Institute says. The average American consumes more than his or her weight in products each day, fuelling a global culture of excess that is emerging as the biggest threat to the planet, according to a report published today. In its annual report, Worldwatch Institute says the cult of consumption and greed could wipe out any gains from government action on climate change or a shift to a clean energy economy.

Erik Assadourian, the project director who led a team of 35 behind the report, said: "Until we recognise that our environmental problems, from climate change to deforestation to species loss, are driven by unsustainable habits, we will not be able to solve the ecological crises that threaten to wash over civilisation."

The world's population is burning through the planet's resources at a reckless rate, the US thinktank said. In the last decade, consumption of goods and services rose 28% to $30.5tn (£18.8tn).

The consumer culture is no longer a mostly American habit but is spreading across the planet. Over the last 50 years, excess has been adopted as a symbol of success in developing countries from Brazil to India to China, the report said. China this week overtook the US as the world's top car market. It is already the biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

Such trends were not a natural consequence of economic growth, the report said, but the result of deliberate efforts by businesses to win over consumers. Products such as the hamburger – dismissed as an unwholesome food for the poor at the beginning of the 20th century – and bottled water are now commonplace.

The average western family spends more on their pet than is spent by a human in Bangladesh.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


So Harvard calls the study of something vaguely reminiscent of "dopamine hegemony", situationism, interesting.

The Situationist | Situationism is premised on the social scientific insight that the naïve psychology—that is, the highly simplified, affirming, and widely held model for understanding human thinking and behavior—on which our laws and institutions are based is largely wrong. Situationists (including critical realists, behavioral realists, and related neo-realists) seek first to establish a view of the human animal that is as realistic as possible before turning to legal theory or policy. To do so, situationists rely on the insights of scientific disciplines devoted to understanding how humans make sense of their world—including social psychology, social cognition, cognitive neuroscience, and related disciplines—and the practices of institutions devoted to understanding, predicting, and influencing people’s conduct—particularly market practices. Jon Hanson & David Yosifon, The Situation: An Introduction to the Situational Character, Critical Realism, Power Economics, and Deep Capture, 152 U. Pa. L. Rev. 129, 149–77 (2003).

Situationism has been applied to such topics as power economics, natural disasters, obesity, commerical speech and junk-food advertising, Supreme Court dynamics, racial injustice, affirmative action, race and rape, employment discrimination, employee adherence to workplace rules, legitimization of war, inside counsel, corporate law, and player autonomy in the National Basketball Association, among other topics.