๐Ÿ’Ž The paradox of progress (and the paradox of choice)

The Paradox of progress, and the paradox of choice: There is a familiar story of a New York banker vacationing in Greece, who, from talking to a fisherman and scrutinizing the fisherman’s business, comes up with a scheme to help the fisherman make it a big business. The fisherman asked him what the benefits were; the banker answered that he could make a pile of money in New York and come back to vacation in Greece; something that seemed ludicrous to the fisherman, who was already there doing the kind of things bankers do when they go on vacation in Greece.

The story was well known in antiquity, under a more elegant form, as retold by Montaigne (my translation): When King Pyrrhus tried to cross into Italy, Cynรฉas, his wise adviser, tried to make him feel the vanity of such action. “To what end are you going into such enterprise?โ€ he asked. And Pyrrhus answered, “To make myself the master of Italy.” Cynรฉas: “Then ?” Pyrrhus: To conquer Africa, then … come rest at ease.” Cynรฉas: But you are already there; why take more risks?”

Excerpt from: Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

๐Ÿ’Ž One problem with the client-agency model is that it encourages complex clever answers (rather than simple, effective ones)

As we saw, a bureaucratized system will increase in complication from the interventionism of people who sell complicated solutions because that’s what their position and training invite them to do.

Things designed by people without skin in the game tend to grow in complication (before their final collapse).

There is absolutely no benefit for someone in such a position to propose something simple: when you are rewarded for perception, not results, you need to show sophistication. Anyone who has submitted a Scholarly paper to a journal knows that you usually raise the odds of acceptance by making it more complicated than necessary.

Excerpt from: Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb