Summary of How Equal Do We Want the World to Be? You’d Be Surprised

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  • Controversial
  • Eye Opening


The three pillars of any democratic society are liberty, equality and justice. Yet while the United States promulgates democracy, the nation suffers crippling inequality. And as behavioral economist Dan Ariely has discovered, the reality is even more acute than common perceptions. Moreover, most people don’t desire an equal society. Ariely’s argument is confident and well-paced, and he reinforces his points with vivid visuals. getAbstract recommends his oration to students of law and economics, as well as concerned US citizens.

About the Speaker

Dan Ariely is a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University.



True objectivity is an unobtainable ideal. Human experiences taint perceptions, and expectations influence physiology. When scientists told a test group that they were taking a costly painkiller, group members reported that the drug was effective. When the researchers informed a second group that the same medicine was cheap, participants claimed the drug was ineffective. Similarly, people are opinionated about the flavor and intensity of certain beers, but in a blind taste test, subjects were unable to distinguish among beers.

Such preconceived notions and expectations manipulate human perceptions on broader issues, too. For example, consider

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    P. G. 5 years ago
    A really interesting way to compare something very simple (beer) with something very complex (equality) to highlight human factors