Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Debunking "Wisdom of Crowds" Myth - Two Examples

Crowds are not wise... crowds are equivalent of herds. Communities formed by choice are ones that constitute anything close to wisdom. To clarify how I look at defining wisdom, please see the diagram below:

Wisdom is the country of gods!

I am providing two examples, and these are not anecdotes.

First example: Did Toyota Prius make economical sense? No! I will let the reader search through the plethora of data out showing how buying a used or a modern car was far more economical than buying a Prius in the short and long term. See graph below of a test conducted by Good Clean Tech.

Yet the crowds thronged to buy the Prius creating an instant back log. As soon as the oil price dropped, the Prius is lined up on Toyota's dealership lots.

USA's oil consumption is nicely creeping back up and steadily climbing, see here from CENIMAR. Now, would a "wise" crowd try to dig themselves into the same hole they just climbed out of?

Second example: Consider the recent case of the investment manager Bernard Madoff. Please read and hear details here on NPR. Unfortunately the financial markets are full of other similar concerns.

I rest my case!

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