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Tuesday, July 15, 2003

On My Blogging Slowdown

Well, as I expected blogging this week is light. I am back in the world of the locutorios, this time in rural Valencia, and surrounded by people speaking Bulgarian. Everbody seems to be busy chatting. And the boss here, who is also Bulgarian, is busy using his multiple skills in the back room converting it into an extension. I can hear the hammering, scraping a sawing as I type. It all adds to the theatrical feel. I keep waiting for a big crash, or an electricity outage. Actually he's a very nice boy, who is totally convinced that the principle problem his people have is an international conspiracy against Bulgaria. I have my speech prepared from the time Maynard asked me whether there might be a petro-dollar conspiracy! Meantime I hope to interview him tommorrow, if he's still in one piece.

Talking of interviews, I started what is for me the hardest part of the work yesterday. God, I hate tape recorders! They make me more nervous than they make the interviewees. And I am so ham-fisted at times. And guess what? I find when I play them back, I have a terrible tendency to talk to much. Still, as with most things, I am learning. (Thanks also to Margy's strict but enthusiastic tutoring). Hopefully, as time goes by, I will get better at it.

Last week I wrote something about Robert Shiller's theory of information herding. One thing I didn't mention was his point about the telephone and the intensity of the 29 boom. To me it's quite evident that the information age, and the internet chat and mobile phone sms, has intensified the information cascade mechanism, and this means the consequent people cascades in the case in hand. These movements, and these concentrations processes, are, as far as I can see, only going to increase.

One other anecdote: nearly everyone tells me that they are here since they feel that Spanish culture is similar to the Bulgarian one: in the sense of being 'Mediterranean like' and latin. Whether this phenomenon is real, or whether it is only another example of a self-fulfilling process, with people who feel more like they imagine Spain to be coming to Spain etc, or even whether this is rationalisation after the event needs to be examined in the light of comparative evidence. Certainly there are some striking similarities.

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