A Lesson in Humility

An important bit of wisdom from p. 25 of Rolf Dobelli’s The Art of Thinking Clearly:

There are about one million trained economists on the planet, and not one of them could accurately predict the timing of the 2008 financial crisis (with the exception of Nouriel Roubini and Nassim Taleb), let alone how the collapse would play out, from the real estate bubble bursting to credit swaps collapsing, right through to the full-blown economic crunch. Never has a group of experts failed so spectacularly. The story from the medical world is much the same: Up until 1900 it was discernibly wiser for patients to avoid doctor’s visits; too often the “treatment” only worsened the illness, due to poor hygiene and folk practices such as bloodletting.

The lesson to be learned is a familiar one: beware the rule of experts. No matter how clever you are, be a student of society. Don’t try to be its savior. That is well beyond any one person.

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