Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Contra xkcd, I'm sure thousands of corporations are helmed by people who seek guidance in prayer, horoscopes, tarot, &c. and doing just fine.

Most of these ideas don't even theoretically make sense ("health care cost reduction" isn't a market anyone can "make a killing in," which is why governments have to step in; I believe remote viewing is supposed to require people at the remote location; if the military were using hexes then they would probably keep quiet about it, and they have certainly at least tried it; and I don't think anybody would expect "crystal energy" to be energy in the sense of the physics term "energy").

And in any case, just because "capitalism" is "profit-focused" doesn't mean that individual firms succeed in discovering every possible path towards maximizing profits. Ruthlessness doesn't imply omniscience.

1 comment:

dr said...

Yep. And to argue from the other end: There's plenty of science that is true and could be profitably exploited, but isn't because we haven't discovered it yet.

Or things can be true but not be profitably exploited because they are metaphorical or personal or whatever (i.e. not a huge market for poetry).

Also also, the claims about greedy ruthlessness in capitalism usually go hand-in-hand with claims about short-sightedness. Just because something is a good and profitable idea doesn't mean much to them if it takes time to mature. For instance, basic research, budgets for which have notably declined in the last 50 years.