People aren’t very good at making decisions



Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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23 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    “roll the bones”

    So to speak.Report

  2. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Perfectly infuriating. Good job.Report

  3. Avatar wardsmith says:

    Let’s say that you found yourself with sewage backing up into your basement. Would you call a master plumber with 10 (or 15, or 20) years of experience (with, perhaps, an apprentice or journeyman plumber helping him) or would your eyes immediately be drawn to the guy who brags “I’ve never held so much as a plunger!”

    Of course I’d only hire the plumber who knew how to properly fill out a twenty-seven B- stroke six, silly questions.Report

  4. Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

    This post reminds me why I am so glad we don’t let libertarians anywhere near public policy.Report

  5. Avatar Boegiboe says:

    Great. Now I’m a communist. Curse you, Jaybird!Report

  6. Avatar James K says:

    Nice work Jaybird, your topic is thematically related to mine.Report

  7. Avatar Matty says:

    Are we meant to seriously argue back against this?

    OK the most obvious flaw is that there is no way to pick out the people who are good at making decisions so they can set the questions for everyone else.

    If bad deciders are the majority then they can’t be trusted to pick good deciders to lead them so the good deciders will have to be self appointed. But then being bad at judgement the rest of us will have no reliable way of telling good deciders who have seized power from people who just think they are good, which brings us right back to the problem.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      It’s easy, Matty. We’ll just let the people who are good at making decisions choose those who will make the decisions for us. And we’ll chose those people the same way. And we’ll choose their choosers the same way. And so on, all the way down.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      My general assumption is that I am one of the people who is good at making decisions.

      A corollary to that assumption is that you are one of the people who isn’t.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      You choose who is good at making decisions by, um, actually letting people make decisions. Or, more precisely, writing algorithms to do so.

      Then you run the algorithms, and evaluate based on performance.

      And then you get the Stock Market Crash of 2009 (or the one in the 80’s) because there WILL be black swans.Report

  8. Avatar Fish says:

    But…but…what about the children? Oh, wait, you covered that in the last paragraph. Well done.Report

  9. Avatar Elias Isquith says:

    I bet 19th century progressives are going to be SO PISSED when they read this post.Report