Thursday, February 01, 2007

Where crowds go wrong.

Well I've finished the book 'The Wisdom of Crowds' and what an interesting read it was too.

It explained a little bit about why I am seen as a big mouth and trouble maker and why I always get the crap jobs because I get the job done but can't handle the surrounding bureaucracy.

As for my voting question it does actually touch on the subject in it's explanation of too much information. It seems that we can get things right better in a crowd but what happens then is we start to discuss it and we end up confusing the issues by listening to people we respect and defer too. We instinctively know what is right and just but our convictions are not strong enough when someone we respect starts talking about alternatives and we follow their advice. It's particularly strong in families where people look to their fathers for a lead. It's a PR job and as Blair is excellent at selling dodgy policies and talking his way out of things it explains how he did so well over the last ten years.

It actually gives a good reason for why real democracy is so good for us at the moment. It's because as people we tend to have a strong sense of society and high morals. It also touches on taxation indirectly with our view on fairness. It seem we don't mind paying tax when it is clear we are all doing the same and for a good reason but when it appears others are failing to keep their part of the bargain we don't like it. Similarly with crime. There has to be a visible punishment or we all think we may as well join in. Not good news for the current state of affairs and explains why Blair isn't doing so well now.

One bit I'm still trying to make sense about is when they said that Red Ken's congestion charge was the right thing to do. I'm not convinced by the argument because it made certain assumptions I don't agree with. However, I'm could if that is just my bias but I'm leaning towards the writers bias.

It has a small comment on anchoring but doesn't really go into detail which would have been interesting with an comment on inertia. Basically where we get fed false views and how we tend to put things off because it's easier to do nothing. And I thought it was just me. How choices can be made on our behalf that give us a sense of control so we are happy and go along with it.

One eye opener is that it has a chapter on how traffic jams occur on motorways. A few Reginald Molehusbands screw it up for the rest of us. It of course didn't put it so clearly. There was another on how riots start and mob mentality.

All in all an interesting real bit to verbose for the messages it passes on but that is the way I talk and write so it was ideal for me. Now on to a book on knife sharpening and this one has some pictures and not too many long words so my head won't hurt as much.


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