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How many jellybeans?

David Runciman: Non-spurious generalisations and why the crowd will win, 5 August 2004

Profiles, Probabilities and Stereotypes 
by Frederick Schauer.
Harvard, 359 pp., £19.95, February 2004, 0 674 01186 4
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The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few 
by James Surowiecki.
Little, Brown, 295 pp., £16.99, June 2004, 0 316 86173 1
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... made against an automatic presumption in favour of personal judgments, and this is the one put by James Surowiecki in The Wisdom of Crowds. Surowiecki points out that, in a surprisingly wide variety of circumstances, even the best individual can be outperformed by the impersonal group. Take the trivial instance of ...


David Runciman: Dylan on the radio, 19 July 2007

... outrage in a country that sees competition as the only guarantee of a decent product. But, as James Surowiecki pointed out in March in an article for the New Yorker, there are good reasons for thinking that a monopoly provider is just what satellite radio needs. It would bring all the various stations available together in a single package, keep a ...


Paul Farmer: Ebola, 23 October 2014

... drugs required to treat so-called ‘emerging infectious diseases’ do not exist because of what James Surowiecki has called ‘Ebolanomics’. ‘When a disease’s victims are both poor and not very numerous,’ he says, ‘that’s a double whammy. On both scores, a drug for Ebola looks like a bad investment.’ The Onion recently ran the ...

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