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Consider a freshman biology student reading her textbook who suddenly feels like she’s had a deep insight into the structure of DNA, easily worthy of a Nobel. For all of them to miss a brilliant insight sitting in freshman biology would be the same failure as everybody missing a on the floor of Grand Central, or all of Wall Street missing an easy opportunity to make money off of Google, or every entrepreneur missing a great market opportunity for a Thai restaurant.
So without her finding any particular flaw in her theory, she can be pretty sure that it’s wrong – or else already discovered.
Eliezer Yudkowsky’s catchily-titled Inadequate Equilibria is many things.
It’s a look into whether there is any role for individual reason in a world where you can always just trust expert consensus.
As everyone tried to buy it, the price would go up until it was no longer underpriced.
Big Wall Street banks have people who are at least as smart as your uncle, and who will notice before he does whether stocks are underpriced.
If you see a bill lying on the sidewalk in Grand Central Station, and you remember having seen the same bill a week ago, something is wrong. But there’s no way that such a low-hanging piece of money-making fruit would go unpicked for that long.
But if this were true, then you (or anyone else with a little money) could set up a non-broken science, make many more discoveries than everyone else, get more Nobel Prizes, earn more money from all your patents and inventions, and eventually become so prestigious and rich that everyone else admits you were right and switches to doing science your way.Or: suppose you think that US cities don’t have good mass transit.But if lots of people want better mass transit and are willing to pay for it, this is a great money-making opportunity.All the sick people would go to them, they would make lots of money, investors would trip over each other to fund their expansion into new markets, and eventually they would take over health care and be super rich.So “health care is inefficient and overpriced” seems like the same kind of statement as “a bill has been on the floor of Grand Central Station for a week and nobody has picked it up.” Therefore, health care isn’t inefficient or overpriced.
It’s an analysis of the efficient market hypothesis and how it relates to the idea of low-hanging fruit.