I don’t really follow the logic that certain cases of asymmetric information are bad from some general perspective and so the world/society better off if that asymmetry is reduced, therefore blackmail is good.
Blackmail is about privately benefiting from maintaining the condition of asymmetric information within whatever population is relevant.
I did like jimrandomh’s comment about norm differences, which then gets to the whole question about privacy rights, individual freedoms and other aspects of social life that need to be unraveled before one can say and given case of revealing the secret is a positive or negative.
As the project grows large enough, we should expect to be perpetually choking on one bottleneck or other.
I did understand that but was suggesting that the criteria as a mega project was really not about the costs—though fully expect a high costs to be associated with such effort. As you say, they cannot be easily be separated into more manageable sub-projects. Perhaps I can rephrase my though. Is the position that any and every project that costs $X or more necessarily has the type of complexity and non-separability?
If not then the ability to classify high cost projects should be useful—and point to alternative management requirements if all projects greater than $x still suffer from many of the same inefficiencies.
Each new stakeholder is a stupendous increase in the political complexity of the project, so much so that even at the smaller level of projects where we know the right answers about how to do them applying the right answers is often impossible because of the different interests at play.
Sure, and you run into whole problem of what exactly is the right answer as the different stakeholder are maximizing slightly different (and likely equally legitimate) criteria. That alone is not a bad or wrong thing. But the approach of limiting participation, in a way, seems exactly the same thing as chunking the project into manageable bites. But it’s not clear that can be done much better than disassembling the project into smaller, simpler and more manageable sub projects.
If so, limiting the stakeholders then the assessment of the project will always be one of partial failure. That would also drive various type of cost over run and time delays when such excluded stakeholders seek to influence the project from outside the management process.
It’s not clear to me that would be the optimal solution to all mega projects.
Plus one on that point.
In once sense though it seems a rejection of, what I will call, the S-Curve mentality. That would be the thinking all growth always plateaus (and it seems that is a dominant view in terms of economic growth there—developing economies can grow faster then developed economies so all these fast growers are doomed to the fate of Japan, Europe or the USA). That thinking can lead to acceptance rather than effort to overcome some current limitation/constraint.
Interesting. One think I would like to see more of mentioned here—but perhaps will have to dig for myself—would be about the structure of the project management. It seems one clear characteristic is complexity of the whole. While cost, and overall “size”, would clearly be well correlated. However I don’t think that is the critical feature. I would perhaps pose it as a separability issue. Can the overall whole be chunked out into bite-sized bits without too much coordination type work or not?
As more of a side thought, I wonder if anyone has done much in the way of spill-over type effects on these mega projects and if any categorization or characteristics are identifiable. We know there have been spillover from both the space program and military programs. Not sure about more commercial or government mega projects. But you would think all infrastructure type projects should benefit from some positive network externality effects.
I don’t try to make any “if you built it they will come” argument here. If any it would be a “people are pretty good at figuring out how to make lemonaide from a lemon” type “argument”. This kind of goes along with the too complex to manage well cases as well. We often will not know what the end benefits will be for many things—if the USA didn’t do the electrification project to get power to rural communities would we have the same type of communications networks we currently have? Worse? Better???
Of course this is not really about how to better manage such projects and it’s likely better managements would allow such aspects greater potentials and lessen any such affects.
Small edit to my own comment. I neglected to point out my comments and assessment were really about the what I understood to be the position of the paper under review and not about the analysis per se.
First, I did not get though the entire post. That said, some thoughts that occurred to me.
Under what conditions is does this generalize? I was trying to apply it to my world. If I am hiring part of the problem is not about hard skills but soft skill—and those will differ a bit based on what team the new person will be part of.
Good game theory always wins seems to have directed at the candidates but what happens when the game master (lack of a better term) has poor game theory or doesn’t think such behavior good? Again, from a corporate hiring standpoint that might be a real situation. In terms of consumers shopping around that might also apply (the average advertiser is a better game theorists than the average consumer). Do the conclusions still hold here?
Closely related to the first bullet, just what market settings were considered for the analysis.
I recall an old paper that asked if duopoly was more competitive than the standard atomistic competition in the Econ 101 pure competition model. That was largely driven by search costs and asymmetric information problems. Would theory here be complementary?
My gut reaction is there is some value and truth here but that it should not be taken too seriously. Consider it an area of consideration and element of a solution rather than a solution to any problem of getting the best out of the messy social institutions that mediate our activities and greatly influence the collective/aggregate results.
Extending that the legislation and law in general seems appropriate as well. I wonder if one contrasts and compares slice of time views of both common law regimes and statutory law regimes if there would be any differences.
I seem to work (and possible live) in such a setting ;-)
On one level I wonder how much we need to worry. The idea behind that comment is the problem we all face with the asymmetric nature of our knowledge when facing the future. The distinction here is not to say that sloppy planning and maintenance should be consider acceptable but that we can only avoid the spaghetti to some extent. This is not to suggest the author was suggesting that. Only saying we might want to think about where the margins of efficiency are.
I was also wondering if some of the innovations in graph theory might help manage decision-making in a spaghetti world. The idea of a programming language that can help refactor the spaghetti might use such tools.
The last (actually first but...) thought I had was “Hello Gordian Knot.”
I will second Hazard’s comments on the way to approach the reviews. Seems so obvious after you said it.
I am wondering what you were considered in terms of skills.
I think the general approach should work really well in some settings. I do wonder what the limits might be. For instance, I could probably use this approach well to learn how to write in a programming language, or how to weld or how to machine parts. I’m not sure it’s as helpful for, say, learning a new language.
Perhaps the distinction is between skill and knowledge?
My comment must necessary be something of an aside since I don’t know the Hamming problem. However, your statement “We are not designed to be rational” jumped out for me.
Is that to say something along the lines of rationality is not one of the characteristics that provided an evolutionary advantage for us ? Or would it mean rationality was a mutation of some “design” (and possibly one that was a good survival trait)?
Or is the correct understanding there something entirely different?
I had a could of thought, to follow, but in thinking on them the issue of separability seemed to come up. If we think of rationality as either a mental skill to develop or some type of trait that can be developed related to our decision making, and therefore actions can that truly be separated from all the other things that make up being human.
Are emotions and any part of our emotional responses part or rationality? The enemy of rationality (I think many people would consider emotional and rational as opposites—not sure about a more sophisticated view that is found here. Are there certain complementary aspects/elements?
Intuitive rationality (maybe something like Hayek’s idea of inarticulate knowledge)? Where does that fit?
Last is the issue of subjective values and recognizing other’s rationality. What limits would that place on observing rationality in others as well as assessing our own rationality.
I liked the distinction you make. Restating, very similar activities will often have different targets and so need to view the same actions from very different view points. That said, I don’t think it’s a binary, but more a continuum. For a successful, ongoing and growing enterprise more than just understanding the distinction is needed.
I think that was clearly implied but I didn’t really see that developed in the discussion but think it should be. The organization will not just be in “learning” phase of existence or “doing” phase but both throughout its life. There needs to be a third leg that then mediates between the two philosophically different view points to create the real synergies between the two a successful enterprise will need.
Perhaps I’m just being dense here but why is liking and happy being linked together the way they are? I don’t think “I like pizza.” (presumably to eat) is a completely different statement from “I am happy when I eat pizza.”
I do agree that we often do things that ultimately are not in our own interests but I don’t really see that as a huge problem. We’re rather complex in our existence. I don’t think we have some internal utility function with a single metric to maximize. What we end up dealing with is more a constrained maximization case. Moreover, the various margins we maximize on are often not only mutually exclusive but mutually incompatible.
There’s an old song that says “language is a virus”—the meaning of which has changed for me over time and the phrase itself offers multiple interpretations.
Might I suggest that your values are what help define how you prioritize your alternatives and efforts within that ends-means framework.
My bad. I thought you were saying the term itself was not something you were familiar with.
I agree that it is difficult to understand in what settings status would fit the “X-sum” structure. My general thinking is perhaps it is more of the mindset for the person in the situation (in this case, the author) than some external objective metric outside observers would all be able to confirm.
That said, I took the zero-sum as an assumption “for the sake of argument” type rhetoric. I was interested in the bits about heuristics though it seems the main focus is really about how to deal with workplace relationship, in the context of status, which doesn’t greatly interest me or shed much light on the value of heuristics as rule and why they may be more valuable than attempts as some rational calculus in making one’s decisions in certain aspects of life.
My understanding of zero-sum is: assume a pie of a fixed size that will be eaten, entirely, by several people. The size of any given person’s slice and only be made larger but making at least one of the other slices smaller.
Positive-sum would be settings where the interactions of the eaters could increase the size of the pie—or perhaps number of pies to eat. Negative sum is just bad all around—stay away ;-)
While this response may well deserve to be a bit more tongue-in-cheek I wonder if there isn’t some possibility. What if the followers are actually all the AIs that have been replacing the people? If all the IoT predictions on number of connected devices are correct the potential “population” is going to be huge.
Shimiux is also on to something very important I think. We keep casting the picture are AI replacing existing man but forget that what will quickly take place is the merger of technology and man—including perhaps any number of subordinate AI elements in the enhanced human.
This seems to be a similar argument Lachmann makes in _The Structure of Production_. That argument is very similar, probably well thought of as an extension of Smith’s division of labor limited by the extent of the market applied to capital. Technology simply being something of a more general classification that applies to both labor and capital.
For me it’s about considering innovation through the lens of complementarity with the rest of the economy and particularly at the “edges”. If we consider the economy a tapestry the edges will be frayed, not well bound. That will be where innovation can take root and integrate into the broader picture by finding new relationships with the existing threads on the frayed edges. In some cases that results in brand new economic areas. Most of the time I suspect it results in advancements in how existing economic activity is conducted or needs are met leading to the Schumpeterian process of creative destruction.
I wonder if the Euclidean graph type approach really captures the full texture of the processes at work or not. Perhaps it hides as much in the shadows as it sheds light on.
Over at MR Cowan was just talking about how the great Venture Capitalists were all generalist, not specialist. This post seems to be in the same vein. I tend to be very sympathetic to the idea that humans will do best if they are not overly specialized. Might be something from my dad—he always told me I should get a trade and a profession and that way I will always be able for find a good paying job. That is a type of generalist.
I also agree that it’s not merely being something of a jack of many trades but to have those skills that are complementary with the others, not substitutes ( the anti-correlated relationship romeostevensit mentions).
Clearly it’s an example of the whole being greater than the sum of the part idea.
(Confession—I’m tired and my eyes hurt so to say I’ve done more than skim a few passages would be a gross overstatement)
Very tangential questions here. In these types of games does anyone use the concept of network effects in terms of understanding any of the behaviors and results?