An item posted on his blog Marginal Revolution by FoC Tyler Cowen reminded me of Robert Bacon's notion of "ever changing cycles" as people jockey for advantage, acting independently on common perishable information:

"The collective optimization of individual driving routes by drivers using realtime traffic maps slows everyone down. That is, everyone picking the "fastest" route on the map results in overall slowdowns (…)".

Scott Brooks sees a religious angle:

That's one of the reasons why the saying, "everything works until it doesn't" is true. People find something good and then they tell everyone about it – and then it's ruined. We all tend to want to brag about our "find", when in reality, that is the worst thing we can do.

I use this all the time when the Jehovah's Witnesses knock on my door. I ask them, "How many people do you believe are getting into Heaven?" Of course they respond that they believe only 144,000 are going to make it into heaven (or whatever the number is). I then tell them that if I found out that only 144,000 people were going to make it, I'd stop knocking on doors and telling everyone about it.





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