Why Big data Won’t Save Central Planners from the Knowledge Problem

Among statisticians, economists, and business executives, “Big Data” is all the rage. Large and detailed data sets that, until recently, couldn’t even be stored on a computer are now managed and analyzed using innovative statistical techniques. Hopes are high that these advances will improve scientists’ ability to predict human behavior. Some enthusiasts even speculate that Big Data will render markets obsolete, enabling central planning of the economy. Big Data is more than a buzzword, but its potential is often wildly overstated. Continue reading “Why Big data Won’t Save Central Planners from the Knowledge Problem”

We’re Naturally Blind

In 12 Rules for Life, Jordan Peterson gets to a point that is paramount for healthy living:

“That’s how you deal with the overwhelming complexity of the world: you ignore it, while you concentrate minutely on your private concerns. You see things that facilitate your movement forward, toward your desired goals. You detect obstacles, when they pop up in your path. You’re blind to everything else (and there’s a lot of everything else—so you’re very blind). And it has to be that way, because there is much more of the world than there is of you. You must shepherd your limited resources carefully. Seeing is very difficult, so you must choose what to see, and let the rest go.”

Continue reading “We’re Naturally Blind”

What I Didn’t Know About Adam Smith

Last year, when I was in the horrible, awful process of moving, I had an assortment of unwanted textbooks, clothes, and furniture that combined was worth over $1,000.  I faced two options. I could take pictures of all my items and upload them to eBay or Craiglist or even Facebook Marketplace to sell them for what they were worth. Or I could sell my textbooks to my friend who was taking the same class in the fall at a heavily discounted rate. My pockets would not be as full, but I would be helping out a fellow classmate. Faced with these two options, I texted my friend and sold my textbooks to her.  Combined with a couple other sales, I walked away from my unwanted things for a grand total of little more than $200. Continue reading “What I Didn’t Know About Adam Smith”