Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Self-Reinforcing Effects Of Ignorance

Outside of baseball there had been, for decades, an intellectual revolt, led by a free thinker named Bill James, devoted to creating new baseball knowledge. The movement generated information of value in the market for baseball players, but the information went ignored by baseball insiders. The market’s willful ignorance had a self-reinforcing quality: the longer the information was ignored, the less credible it became. After all, if this stuff had any value, why didn’t baseball insiders pay it any attention? To see the value in what Bill James and his crowd were up to you had first to believe that a market as open and transparent as the market for baseball players could ignore valuable information—that is, that it could be irrational.
That's Michael Lewis, more here. In particular, to find value in old, unorthodox stances, you have to believe in the possibility of status quo bias.