April 26, 2020

これは社会的ジレンマだ 外出自粛

もうすごい勢いで自宅にこもっています。どこにも出かけず、仕事しているか、遊んでるか、ごはん作っているか、の毎日。ていうかものすごい料理している感じ...。ふだんやらないような、葉ワサビの塩漬けとか、うちにいる時間が長いため保存食づくりに精をだし、保存容器が尽きる始末。

そんな時期ですが、観光地にはあいかわらず人が押し寄せているという報道もあり、なぜなんだろうと考えていました。許容できる感染のリスクの閾値が人によって違うんだろう、思いましたが、たまたまゲーム理論の論文を読んでて、ああそっか、これは典型的な社会的ジレンマだ、と思いました。出かけることによって得られる利得が大きければ、社会全体のためにはマイナスでも、人は出かけてしまう。命を守ろう、とかいう抽象的なよびかけも、たぶんあまり効果は無いでしょう。

うちでダラダラしていて「おお命を守っている!」とちょっと思えるので、超絶インドア派の自分には、出かけられないことはまあがまんできます。よく考えるとこの生活はどこかですごいデジャブなんだけど...ひたすらこもっているって、ああそれは「大学院時代」ですね。

でもどうしても外に行きたい、という向きには、進化ゲーム論的な説得が必要なんでしょうね。出かけて人に害を及ぼすと自分も害を受けるというTFT感...でもこれは実験室でやるような順序よい流れが作れないからボツ。繰り返しのあるゲームにもできないし。出かけることで困ったことになるのは「君の親戚だ!」という人類は皆兄弟アプローチもだめか...。

でもどこかでちょっと工夫ができそうな気もします。この状態で人が行動を変えるような、刺さるメッセージってなんだろう。

 

 

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April 02, 2020

Tale of Two Cities

I was in NYC right before the stay-at-home order. Some stores including Apple and Dyson were already closed then. Those remained open typically had more employees than customers. Because there were no Chinese tourists anymore,  no one "Ni hao!"ed me at Macy's. Instaed, lots of them were just staring at their phones while working.

When things were normal, I was annoyed by "Ni hao"s from salese associates who wanted to sell me awfully expensive moisturizers I cannot afford. I am Asian, but I do not speak a single word of Chinese. Now I kind miss that experience of being racially profiled.
  

We knew the outbreak was happening, but in retrospect, we were not aware how seious the situation had been. Here are some photos I took before I left. It is heart-wrenching to wake up to news of rising cases there everyday these days. 

It just happened so quickly. In late February, there were more cases in Japan --it was also dealing with the Diamond Princess debacle--and I felt safer staying in the US. It was a complete reversal by mid-March.

I learned this afternoon (April 2nd) that the capitain of my flight from NYC to Haneda was tested positive! Of course, I was not in close contact with him. I wish him swift recovery. But I am left with the feeling that I left the hot zone by a hair's breadth.  

Things look normalish on streets in Tokyo these days except virtually everyone is wearing a mask. It has far fewer cases than in NYC even though there is a surge last couple of days. People shop and restaurants are well patronized. 

The Tokyo governor told us at a press coference to avoid certain places: bars and eateries "where you are served by servers" (that is a euphemis for the kind of places where gentlmen are served by certain kinds of ladies, I think. Obviosuly, she is not talking about regular restaurants.) It is not like "Hey, stay home! Don't go out!" I do not understand why she can't be more direct and straightforward. 

Yesterday, the prime minister announced that each household will receive two masks from the government. I thought it was an April Fool joke. The effectiveness of masks in mitigating the spread of Covid-19 is not established yet. Even it is proved to be effective, its distribution should be left to a carefully regulated market as they did in Taiwan because everyone's demand is different.The black market would be flooded with these masks. If we have to get useless gifts from the government, why can't we receive bamboo sticks like when we were enouraged to fight the enermy while the Manhattan Porject was well underway? At least then we can pretend we are Jedi. And has the government have ever heard of the notion of transaction cost?

My university decided to move all classes to online this semester. I think it is a great idea. A surprisingly good decision by the powers that be. Even that means extra work for me as a sociology program head --I have to harrass the technologically challenged (cultural sociology people, I am talking about you) and force them to read the manual. They gonna hate me.

Some other universities are going online. But my concern is, other universities may not have that option. Some schools are seriously under-funded. My university introduced Microsoft Teams last semester. Of course it is not in anticipation of this pandemic, but lucky us.  I read today that one university will have regular, face-to-face classes while limiting enrollment significantly by doing a lottery for each class (Takasaki Keizai University, I am talking about you). If you have fewer students in class room, lower probability of spreading the disease. That is the rationale. But it does not make sense. Who wants to come to class knwoing that there is low and yet real chance of getting the disease. No thank you. It reminds me of The Deer Hunter. Masks. Smaller classes. We are so good at magical thinking. 


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March 28, 2020

どうせなら働く

コロナウイルスの影響で、最近は思うように外出もできず、そうなってみてはじめて、実は論文を書いたり読んだりする以外に、けっこうあちこちうろうろしている時間が長いことに気がつきました。机に向かっている時間はあまり長くない。しかしいまはそのうろうろができず、ちょっと辛くなっています。

しかし、新学期もまだ先になりそうだし、今できることをやろうと思います。5月締め切りの原稿があるので、まずはそれを仕上げること。そのためのレビューに入ります。

読もうと思っていたいろいろな本も、片づけます。来週の読書リスト。本業の社会学の本は少ない(EliasとGambettaだけか?)コロナウイルスでストレス満載なんだからもう好きなものをヤケ読みします。

A. Roger Ekrich   At Day's Close

Tara Westover Educated

Jonathan Schneer The Balfour Declaration

Rebecc Skloot The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Candice Millard Destiny of the Republic

Diego Gambetta Codes of the Underworld

Norbert Elias Involvment and Detachment

 

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