Lancelot Link, Secret Pimp


Reader Lorin Hochstein points to this NY Times Magazine article about a Yale researcher who trained monkeys to use money by Freakonomics authors Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt. A snippet:

Something else happened during that chaotic scene, something that convinced [economist Keith] Chen of the monkeys' true grasp of money. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of money, after all, is its fungibility, the fact that it can be used to buy not just food but anything. During the chaos in the monkey cage, Chen saw something out of the corner of his eye that he would later try to play down but in his heart of hearts he knew to be true. What he witnessed was probably the first observed exchange of money for sex in the history of monkeykind. (Further proof that the monkeys truly understood money: the monkey who was paid for sex immediately traded the token in for a grape.)

Chen and collaborator psychologist Laurie Santos' research has found, in the Furry Freakonomics Brothers' gloss, "monkeys responded quite rationally to simple incentives; responded irrationally to risky gambles; failed to save; stole when they could; used money for food and, on occasion, sex. In other words, they behaved a good bit like…Homo sapiens."

Whole thing here. Mind you, these are Yale monkeys, which may explain their need to pay for sex. No word yet on whether any of the simians have been tapped for Skull & Bones.

(For those who must, Lancelot Link link here.)