Pierre Lemieux writes:
>Why do people have crazy opinions? What are the social consequences of
>crazy opinions? More importantly, How are promising ideas selected among
>crazy and non-crazy opinions? What makes an opinion sound crazy, and
>another one look serious? For example, why do libertarians look more or
>less crazy in public discourse, and are often absent from public debates,
>while PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) runs half a dozen
>websites (including cowsarecool.com) and wage campaigns with slogans like
>"Help chickens in China"?
Empirical evidence tells us that most marginal ideas (ranging from PETA's
"Your kids ought to drink beer, rather than milk, because beer isn't ripped
from a cow's udder" campaign to the libertarian "Privatize the roads"
campaign) are typically ignored or ridiculed by popular culture and
non-intellectuals. If we stick to the assumption that 'people make rational
choices,' the obvious conclusion would be:
Evaluating crazy ideas requires more time / effort than would likely be
A dedicated sociologist, working with a good economist, could probably form
some complicated derivative to determine the percentage of crazy ideas that
pay off, the amount of time required to evaluate a crazy idea, and the
potential pay-off-utility of a given crazy idea. Of course, it need not be
belabored that any sociologist who invested this much time in a fruitless
cause would, most likely, be crazy.
"In the long run, John Maynard Keynes is dead."
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