Spring 2021 Colloquium Series - 12 March
Thi Nguyen :: Value Capture
Friday, March 12 2021
Abstract: Value capture occurs when an agent enters a social environment which presents external expressions of value — which are often simplified, standardized, and quantified — and those external versions come to dominate our reasoning and motivations. Examples include becoming motivated by Twitter Likes and Retweets, citation rates, ranked lists of best schools, and Grade Point Averages. We are vulnerable to value capture because of the competitive advantage that such pre-packaged value expressions have in our reasoning and our communications. But when we internalize such metrics, we damage our own autonomy. In value capture, we outsource the process of deliberating on our values. And that outsourcing cuts off one of the key benefits of personal deliberation. When we tailor our values to ourselves, we can fine-tune them to fit our own particular psychology and place in the world. But in value capture, we buy our values off the rack.