Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Friday, 7 May 2010

Quote of the Day, 7 May 2010

Filed under: Life, Politics, Quote of the Day — Tags: , — mikewb1971 @ 12:42 PM (12:42)

Voicing an opinion is costless — anyone can argue that socialism is great, or that the government won’t really inflate a fiat currency.

Having a false opinion may be costless if it doesn’t affect your life much, and it can produce a benefit of feeling good. So people may choose an opinion based on how it appeals to their hopes, rather on on what they believe is true.

An example of a more incentive compatible system is gambling. While people often gamble irrationally, gambling still tends to draw out more beliefs and less hope than mere discussion. By placing a wager, you tie your opinion to a personal gain or loss, so you care whether you are correct. Hence ‘Wanna bet?’ really means ‘Do you actually think that, or are you just saying it?’, and its a great way to call the windbag’s bluff. People offer absurd opinions much more often than they make idiotic wagers.

Patri Friedman


  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Blogspot / LiveJournal / Tumblr / Xanga
  2. Listening – I Hear Black by Overkill

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