Leitores usuais do meu blog sabem que eu gosto bastante do que o Cosma shalizi escreve no blog dele. Talvez não saibam que gosto também do que o Henry Farrell escreve no the Crooked timber (gosto menos o que ele escreve no The Monkey Cage). Eis que Farrell e Shalizi escreverem um drat argumentando que democracia são superiores ao mercado e hierarquias para resolver problemas complexos. desnecessário dizer, é o que eu penso.
Ainda não tive tempo de ler tudo e com cuidado o texto deles, mas de pronto já o recomendo aqui para os meus leitores. Está em inglês, mas assim que tiver um tempo (pode demorar) eu tento fazer um resumo do argumento deles. Abaixo coloco um trecho do texto:
In this essay, we outline a cognitive approach to democracy. Specifically, we argue that democracy has unique benefits as a form of collective problem solving in that it potentially allows people with highly diverse perspectives to come together in order collectively to solve problems. Democracy can do this better than either markets and hierarchies, because it brings these diverse perceptions into direct contact with each other, allowing forms of learning that are unlikely either through the price mechanism of markets or the hierarchical arrangements of bureaucracy. Furthermore, democracy can, by experimenting, take advantage of novel forms of collective cognition that are facilitated by new media.
Lu Hong and Scott Page (2004) use mathematical models to argue that diversity of viewpoints helps groups find better solutions (higher peaks on the landscape). The intuition is that different individuals, when confronting a problem, “see” different landscapes — they organize the set of possible solutions in different ways, some of which are useful in identifying good peaks, some of which less so. Very smart individuals (those with many mental tools) have better organized landscapes than less smart individuals, and so are less likely to get trapped at inferior local optima. However, at the group level, diversity of viewpoints matters a lot. Page and Hong find that “diversity trumps ability”. Groups with high diversity of internal viewpoints are better able to identify optima than groups composed of much smarter individuals with more homogenous viewpoints. By putting their diverse views together, the former are able to map out more of the landscape and identify possible solutions that would be invisible to groups of individuals with more similar perspectives.