As Duncan Watts asks in Everything is Obvious: How Common Sense Fails Us: “How can we be confident that what we believe is right when someone else feels equally strongly that it’s wrong — especially when we can’t articulate why we think we’re right in the first place? Of course, we can always write them off as crazy or ignorant or something, and therefore not worth paying attention to. But once you go down that road it gets increasingly hard to account for why we ourselves believe what we do.”

How wrong can we be? The answer can be found in Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile, in which he points out that when we use the past to determine risk we tend to take the worst historical recession, the worst war, the worst move in interest rates or the worst unemployment figure as the worst potential future outcome. “Without seeming to notice that this so-called worst-case event, when it happened, exceeded the worst case at the time.”..

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