wakingnow

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Humans are not automatically strategic

There's an important piece missing from the articles analysis.

As humans we are inherently social in nature.

We delegate a lot of our reasoning to the wider social group around us. This is more energy efficient.

The article asks 'why do many people go through long training programs "to make money" without spending a few hours doing salary comparisons ahead of time'. We do long training programs (eg, college degrees) mostly because they are socially esteemed. This social esteem serves as a proxy to their worth, and its typically information that has a lower personal cost to obtain, than going and looking at salary surveys.

The reason we do so little systematic testing for ourselves is that we have trusted our wider social grouping to do it for us. I don't find a rational argument about the bungie jump mechanism nearly as compelling evidence of safety, as I do my talking with enthusiastic friend who has done it 20 times. If I was to learn about my cars braking mechanism in sufficient detail to convince myself of why it worked, I would never go anywhere. Instead, I see others who I trust driving the car, and 'delegate' to them.

This is simply a heuristic. It doesn't always work. Just because all my friends smoke doesn't mean smoking isn't dangerous (the social influence here is well documented). But the vast majority of the time its a much more cost/information efficient way of doing things.

Any analysis of our behaviour in such circumstances must factor in our social aspects, and the fact we don't act as individuals or reach decisions in a vacuum.