Reality, perception, and the media’s effect on the economy

For each of us, perception is reality, and drives our behaviors and investments. The media have strong influence over the perceptions of communities, and this drives the net investments of time and money in a community.

It is this net investment of time and money that dictates changes in the economy and the community. So those who produce the information that change perceptions can manipulate the reality of the growth of the community. Is a relationship this general something that we want to foster in our own community? Will it lead down the best path for humanity? A major manifestation of this relationship is the growing value of media. Those who control the media can manipulate the users of it by biasing the information flow. Biases often manifest themselves in analysis and selection of content. It is no wonder that the latest tulip bulb incident centered around the technology and media industries that helped to create that boom-bust. Where would we go if we were not biased? Given all the info and allowed to weigh it as we see fit, we would all more independently perceive the world. The range of individuality would increase, while the volatility of consumer confidence over time would fall because correlations in idiosyncratic confidence levels would fall – affecting every cyclical market. If there is such thing as a risk premium, then people are willing to pay to reduce volatility and are effectively indicating that lowering volatility of cyclical markets would be a good thing.

Is religion succumbing to media as the primary influence in the populations’ perceptions of self and community? And if so, are we replacing one set of biases with another? The most important reason to avoid biases is that they possibly influence decisions away from what is right or best. And the development of the community is optimized when large numbers of unbiased (and rational) individuals participate in decision-making.

We are naturally transitioning toward an environment where individuals have more control over their information. The internet is a strong influence on that process. As the barriers to entry continue to fall in the media space, we will have more and more access to varied information. As this happens, we will see new tools arise that allow us to filter, select, and interpret our information. This is an important process in the evolution of our society, and is a necessary step in the transition toward fairness and truth.

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