22.9.09

THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM. The dean at Anonymous Community anticipates a relatively simple problem, circulating information in the event of a flu outbreak.
The ideas with real value are the ones that can survive heterogeneous behavior and compliance over time. Those ideas almost always fall short of the best behavior, but they have the unique virtue of being useful. The best individual performers may find the rules a bit underwhelming, and I salute them for that. They're right. But asking everyone to be perfect (or civic-minded, or virtuous, or altruistic, or...) just doesn't work.
A commenter grasps the underlying idea.
Most successful systems involving semi-independent actors are sustainable but less perfect than they could be.
That's something that economists have long learned to understand.
Interestingly, freeing individuals to pursue their interests is likely the best practical/realitic approach to what, at first blush, seems like a classical case for collective action.
(Tonight's example observed nailed to Newmark's Door.)

Now to get that idea across to individuals who argue that health care reform requires compelling people who correctly evaluate an insurance purchase as a bad bet to buy that insurance anyway, and creating a monopoly issuer of insurance that will somehow find a risk manager who will make fewer mistakes than risk managers at competing duopolists or oligopolists do, and do that better job for less money.

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