Tobold's Blog
Saturday, September 08, 2012
Democracy Despite Itself

I would like to thank one of my readers for a donation. Normally I have the "buy Tobold a coffee" button in the top right corner of the page for that. But as I was recently citing Churchill on democracy, he offered to buy me the book Democracy Despite Itself. Fortunately I have a Kindle, and Amazon has a service where you can buy Kindle books as gifts for other people, so I got the book the same day he offered to give it to me. I'm still in the middle of chapter 1, but I'm already very much enjoying the book. It gives an interesting perspective of how democracy can work in spite of voters obviously being mostly unaware of what politicians are actually doing, be it from lack of interest or just because they've been told mostly lies.

Actually, that does look like an interesting book. I'll have to check it out when I have a bit of free money.
The genious of crowds? You could argue that an averaging of the decision-making process is of value when there's no expert opinion.

You should check out Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking Fast and Slow, where it basically says that politicians (and economist) are basically a lot worse at predicting outcomes because of their belief in the "science". When averaged, a group of layman is much better at predicting outcomes.

Enter medicine, firefighing, and other professions where that is obviously not the case. Expertise in these areas can evolve because there's repeatability. If you've seen 1000 cases of disease X, you can make a pretty good guess.
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