Another recent Posner post I really liked. In particular his primary philosophical point – when discussing evolution (in any context), one must distinguish between “fitness” and “goodness”. That’s so true, and people seem to make that mistake all the time. Evolution tells us nothing about what’s good, only about what’s fit.

And I totally agree with how he applies it to the banking industry. The nature of competition in the industry optimizes for certain qualities, primarily risk-taking, that make firms more “fit” in an evolutionary sense, but not “good” in a societal sense. And that’s why we need regulation.

Veteran’s Day here is called Remembrance Day, and is celebrated on November 11, and I don’t think it’s a holiday. There are fewer national holidays here than in the US. That would suck if not for the fact that 5 weeks of vacation a year is fairly standard. Interestingly, a bunch of the national holidays are called “bank holidays” and they aren’t marked by any sort of occasion (e.g. Memorial Day or Independence Day or whatever) but are just holidays when banks are closed. I asked why they’re celebrated and no one could say; they’re just holidays.

Incidentally, the emphasis seems to be on the Foreign Legion, and technically, it’s to commemorate those who died in World War I, so it’s celebrated on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when something big happened in WWI. Kind of awkward at church; in the middle of greeting time, then there’s a sudden trumpet call, then 2 minutes of silence, then continuation of greeting time.

Anyway, on the couple weeks leading to Remembrance Day, people wear these fake poppy flowers, they kind of look like those pink breast cancer awareness ribbons. I wonder what immigrants think about those in the US, because it’s confusing. On TV, everyone is wearing them. We were channel flipping one night and on some music awards show, every presenter and every performer (none of whom we knew) was wearing that poppy. Took a while to figure out what they were for. In the US, there are far more varieties of lapel ribbons people wear. Must be totally bewildering for a newcomer.

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