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Ordinary people have plenty of time, attention span, willpower, and intelligence to deal with arcane sports statistics. Yes, there is a league table because we're talking about tournaments to select a winner, but sports league tables have a gazillion columns full of stats.

I think only a minority of people -- a minority of sports fans, in fact -- only the real sports otaku, really get much data beyond who won or lost.

Sure, there are other domains: movies (who won which Oscar prizes, made the most money at the box office, said what in which film, acted with who in which film); fashion (who wore what at which gala event, who was People's sexiest man alive in 2002, etc.); and tons of other pop culture domains where people gather, retain and analyze plenty of data.

But here is the big difference:  Just as baseball otaku are a tiny minority of the world population, and just as football otaku are another tiny minority, ditto for movie otaku and fashion otaku and restaurant otaku, etc., economics otaku are also a tiny minority of people in the world.

The difference is this:  Economics affects everybody in the developed and developing world.  But who won Wimbledon in 2001, who directed the most Oscar-winning films, which restaurants in New York serve organic food, barely affects anyone.

What gives people the "bandwidth" to be informed about and have a good understanding of lots of (often subtle) data on a topic beyond a single (or a tiny handful of) figure(s) is a deep personal interest in that topic.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people do not have a deep personal interest in economics.

So we need to come up with something that most of us can deal with: something that is concise and succinct, but that is reality-based and reflects accurately their living conditions, opportunities and hazards.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Fri Oct 20th, 2006 at 07:05:01 AM EST
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