Society profits, in some overall sense, when there are lots of risk-takers. Most new business ventures fail, but the few that succeed yield huge productivity gains. Most novels are never read (except by the author's mother); most scientists never make an earth-shaking discovery (or even provoke a twitch by a gnat's eyelash); most musicians and artists would be better off sticking to their day jobs. But if there were no struggling writers, starving artists, or erstwhile Nobel laureates, then global creativity and progress would be glacial.

Most pioneers are losers. They waste their lives exploring empty corners in a huge multidimensional maze. One in a thousand wins the lottery --- and everybody who didn't gamble also gets a prize. What a scam! Is there some way to run things more fairly, so that fewer lives are thrown away in vain? A more explicit social "insurance policy" to spread, and thereby reduce, individual risk and loss?

Wednesday, December 29, 1999 at 05:48:02 (EST) = 1999-12-29


In the book "How to Tell the Liars from the Statisticians", there is a quote mentioned that says, In the three stages of a company, the manager must be three things: a risk-taker, a care-taker, and an under-taker. The risk taker is the one who makes the company when it is tiny, the care taker keeps it aloft when it is big, and the under taker eases it down when it dies.

RadRob Feb 19

(correlates: TwoDreams, GiftForFiction, GeneticAlgorithms, ...)