How is Aikido like Economics?

It's probably not a question you were pondering today, but the author of Economics for Dummies hazards a guess in an interview posted at Stephen Dubner's Freakonomics blog:

I think the nearest thing to aikido in economics would have to bethings like confirmation bias, hyperbolic discounting, and other perceptual problems that make it difficult for people to adjust optimally to changing circumstances.

Aikido doesn’t so much use people’s energy against them as it adds something new and unexpected to a situation where they are moving — and it does so in a manner to which they are ill equipped to respond.

Good marketing guys can do this with us. We come into any situation as consumers or investors with a set of cognitive biases that make it difficult to respond optimally to a given situation if it evolves in an unexpected way. If they can manipulate the frame, we are carried along without even realizing it — until it’s too late. (Blam!)

This also resembles the dynamic in comedy, which uncovers a whispered truth - our "confirmation biases" - only to use that thought against us by sending it to a new and unexpected place.


Wikipedia: Aikido