Trial, Error and the God Complex. – and just a comment

July 15, 2011

I would like to share this video from Tim Harford, first because I liked one of his book on economics (probably it would be good to get the last one “Adapt”), and second, because this video has an interesting teaching that can not be enough remembered by all of us. It’s about an illness [not really an illness] that a smart doctor, with experience in the Spanish Civil War and WWII, found among our species.

Anyways, here below is the way Tim Harford explained about him. Below I typed the part when he specifically introduces this specific illnes.

“Archie Cochrane all his life fought against a terrible affliction, and he realized it was debilitating to individuals and it was corrosive to societies; and he had a name for it, he called it the ‘god complex’. Now I can describe the symptoms of the ‘god complex’ very easily, so, symptoms of the ‘god complex’ are… no matter how complicated the problem, you have an absolutely overwhelming belief that you are infallible right in your solution. Now, Archie was a doctor, so he hangs out around with doctors a lot, and doctors suffer from the ‘god complex’ a lot. Now, I’m an economist I’m not a doctor, but I see the ‘god complex’ around me all the time: in my fellow economists, I see it in our business leaders, I see it in the politicians we vote for. People who in the face of an incredible complicated world, are nevertheless absolutely convinced that they understand the way the world works. (…) The world is simply far too complex to understand in that way.”

I love this quote, and the whole speech.

Unfortunately, I think like all of us, he’s not free from this illness. In the same speech to prove his point he mentions than 10% of the American business disappear every year. That is for him an example of the crucial trial-and-error process.

Trying to explain the entrepreneurial dynamics only through these entrepreneurship rates… it’s as he would say: “simply far too complex to understand in that way“.

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