January 20, 2008

Cowen Highlight 2 on Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins (or not)

While reading the second half of Tyler Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist, Some very eye opening ideas were presnted in chapter eight. Chapter eight is called avoiding the seven deadly sins (or not) and there would not be a title to better fit the chapter. The chapter really points out the fallicies in our daily lives, or the obbsessions and habits that we fall into.

The first deadly sin is called superbia and focuses on certain leverages that we take to get ahead in life. Cowen states... "Self confidence can be a good motivator, but when accompanied by excessive leverage, off the books partnerships, and phony accounting, watch out." If any of us students become CEOs or high ranking executives, we need to do our part to be fair in our business practices, or we will be going to jail.

The second deadly sin is called avaritia and is sononimous with greed. I would agree with Cowen that some markets are directly tied to greed, however there is a difference between moral greed that makes a company money and immoral greed that will end up hurting someone. In the world today it can be easily seen that our business world relies on entreprenuers looking out for number one, when our human nature enters the busness world. It is important that we use our best judgement and try to find solutions that will benefit more that just ourselves.

The third deadly sin is called luxuria, which Cowen defines as extravagence and later lust. This type of corruption is seen everywhere in our world today. A great example is Cowen's equation where alcohol plus a cell phone usually ends up in next day drama. I have personal experience with this and now have found it easier to turn the cell off, or hide it from myself. I think that this application could apply to other aspects of life such as habits, drugs, taking oneself out of a volient situation, etc... I think that we as humans do a lot of stupid things that we wish we would have taken a couple extra seconds to think about. This theory applies on only to personal life, but into the business world as well.

The forth is envidia, or envy. This is one that I am shying away from because I don't believe that we as humans are capable of not being jealous. I know I'm not capable.

The fifth deadly sin that Cowen uses is Gula or gluttony. I am incredibly guilty of this type of sin, and am also guilty of loving certain meals. In all reality there are not many meals that I cannot stop myself from consuming. Although I personally don't think it is as bad of a problem for myself, I can see that some people have trouble controlling their edible urges. I am able to balance a somewhat healthy diet with daily exercises, and am able to say that once you get in the habit of a 20 minute a day workout schedule, some gluttony is ok. This is where I can see that (or not) clause in Cowens chapter title comes into play.

The sixth deadly sin that Cowen uses is Ira, or wrath. He relates this into murder and my own personal opinion is that killing another person is 100% immoral and should not be tolerated, whether this be war, abortions, or one man (or woman) killing another human.

The seventh deadly sin is acedia or sloth. Sloth is also a (or not) type of "sin." I believe that leisure is good for the human soul, and we as humans need a break from our daily hectic lives. My personal leisure activities are playing beer pong, snowboarding, and playing guitar. I believe that if a person is willing to work and be able to afford leisure time and activities, than he or she should have fun in life.

I believe that there are some types of markets which we should do away with and some markets that do have a purpose.

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