Bryan Caplan  

Overcoming Popularity

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Why Europe Goes Wrong... Sobering Projection...

Eliezer at Overcoming Bias has an interesting anti-majoritarian piece that is very similar to my "Intellectual Gladiators" argument:

You can survive by being popular, or by being superior, but alternatives that are neither popular nor superior quickly go extinct.

P.S. I noticed a couple commenters on my original Intellectual Gladiators post questioned my assumption that more populous countries would do better in the Olympics. I was too big of a geek not to check. For the 2004 Olympics, the correlation between countries' population and their number of gold medals was +.46. That's despite the fact that India won zero.


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COMMENTS (3 to date)
John Thacker writes:

And the 2006 Olympics? The Winter Olympics generally have a weaker correlation between population and success, thanks to the outsized success of small cold countries.

John Thacker writes:

Secondly, if anything, one might expect that the big population advantage would show up even more in total medals. A single fantastic athlete can take quite a few golds (Ian Thorpe).

It's no wonder why the US tends to especially dominate relays.

Also, my understanding is that medals are also, unsurprisingly, correlated with GDP per person as well.

Caliban Darklock writes:

I developed a similar aphorism: "You can lead the market either by being the first, or by being the best - but if you're the first, nobody can take it away from you."

It's a cute saying, but the reality is you have to be the first that doesn't suck.

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