Peter Corning

Latest Posts in Peter Corning

Why the “Fair Society” is the Way Forward

The New Narrative: Why the “Fair Society” is the Way Forward

“Feedback”: It’s the Only Way to “Control the Controllers”

Feedback” is a hugely important phenomenon.  It plays a key role in all goal-oriented, dynamic systems, from living organisms to self-driving cars.  Feedback is information that tells a system how it is doing in relation to its goals and guides its behavior over time.  (Feedback systems are often referred to as being “cybernetic”, after the Greek word for “helmsman” – kybernetes.)  Positive feedback tells the system to continue doing what it is doing, or even to do more of it.  And negative feedback tells the system to change its behavior. 

Should We Have a “Gross National Happiness” Index?

It seems that happiness is busting out all over – like that famous lyric from the classic Broadway musical, Oklahoma.  True, happiness is not much in evidence in our  economy, or in our shrill and rancorous politics.  But never mind.  An explosion of research and a bumper crop of writings about happiness can be found -- somewhat incongruously -- in various academic journals these days, as well as in the bookstalls.  A dozen titles were counted in a local bookstore recently without breaking a sweat.

Ayn Rand Shrugged

It is somewhat amazing that Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, first published in 1957, is near the top of the current best-seller list.  It has long enjoyed a cult following as a sort of CEO’s bible, inspiring each new generation of libertarian political conservatives.  Now it seems that the gospel according to Ayn is spreading beyond the Tea Party to the parasitical “masses” that she denounces. 

Toward a New Social Contract

The term “social contract” has a deep history in political theory.  Today it generally refers to the implicit bargain that exists in any stable society over social rights and duties, and the division of economic benefits and costs. In the U.S., the social contract has become badly frayed over the past 30 years, as the gap between the rich and the poor has widened to Biblical proportions and an estimated one quarter of our population has sunk into more or less extreme poverty.