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Nonlinearity of Progress and the S curve

Nonlinearity of Progress and the S curve.
I once had to choose for a post-conference dinner between a lively Greek Taverna and a high-high class restaurant with Michelin Star etc. I was voted down in favor of the high class restaurant, where I had to suffer through the “experience” of eating complicated tiny stuff (very very complicated) with paired wine, etc., while listening to some bullshit by the sommelier and faking that I was not bored. Other customers in the room seemed, as we say in Lebanese, to have a cork stuck in their behind (all men wore ties). The meal cost the organizers ~$200 per person.
After the meal (I was still starving), I drove to my favorite pizza place and got 2 slices of Nick’s Pizza for $6.95. I was furious, feeling hoodwinked by some constructed story that everyone was buying.
Now let us discuss constructed preferences vs natural ones: if I had a choice: between paying $200 for a pizza or $6.95 for the French complicated experience, I would pay $200 for the pizza, plus $9.95 for a bottle of Malbec wine. Actually I would pay to not have the Michelin experience.
There exists a sophistication that has negative utility. This tells us something about wealth & GDP growth in society: the presence an “S” curve beyond which you get incremental harm. It is detectable only if you get rid of constructed preferences.
Now societies have been getting wealthier and wealthier, many beyond the positive part of the “S” curve. And I am certain that if pizza were priced at $200, the people with a cork in their behind would be lining up for it. But it is too easy to produce so they opt for the costly, and pizza will be always cheaper than the complicated crap.

Nonlinearity of Progress and the S curve

via Timeline Photos – Nassim Nicholas Taleb | Facebook.

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