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God complex

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It's the 2nd World War a german prison camp and this man Archie Cochrane is a prisoner of war and a doctor and he has a problem The problem is that the men under his care are suffering from an excrutiating and debilitating condition that Archie does not really understand the symptoms are this horrible swelling of the fluid under the skin but he doesn't know whether it's infection or whether it's due to malnutrition, he doesn't know how to cure it and he's operating in a hostile environment people do terrible things in wars... the German camp guards they've got bored they taking to just firing into the prison camp at random.. for fun at one particular occasion one of the guards threw a granade into the prisoners' lavatory while it was full of prisoners he said he heard suspicious laughter and Archie Cochrane as the camp doctor was one of the first men in to clear up the mess and one more thing Archie was suffering from this illness himself so the situation seemed pretty desperate but Archie Cochrane was a resourceful person He'd already smuggled vitamin C into the camp and now he managed to get hold of supplies of marmeid on the black market now some of you would be wondering what marmeid is marmeid is a breakfast bread, beloved by the British it looks like crude oil it tastes zesty and importantly, it's a rich source of vitamin B12 so Archie splits the men under his care the best he can into two equal groups he gets half of them vitamin C he gets half of them vitamin B12 he very carefully and meticulously notes his results in an exercise book and after just a few days it becomes clear that whatever is causing this illness marmeid is the cure so Cochrane then goes to the Germans who're running the prison camp you gotta imagine at the moment this photo imagine this guy with this long ginger beard and the shock of red hair he hasn't been able to shave- sort of Billy Connolly figure Cochrane he starts ranting at these Germans in his scottish accent in fluent German by the way but in a scottish accent and explains them how German culture was the culture that gave Schiller and Goethe to the world and he can't understand how this barbarism can be tolerated and he vents his frustations and then he goes back to his quarters breaks down and weeps because he's convinced that his situation is hopeless but a young German doctor picks up Archie Cochrane's exercise book and says to his colleagues this evidence is inconvertible if we don't supply vitamins to the prisoners it's a war crime and the next morning supplies of vitamin B12 are delivered to the camp and the prisoners begin to recover Now I'm not telling you the story because I think Archie Cochrane is a dude although Archie Cochrane is a dude I'm not even telling you the story because I think we should be running more carefully controled randomized trials in all aspects of public policy although I think that would also be completely awsome I am telling you the story because Archie Cochrane all his life fought against a terrible affliction and he realized it was debilitating to individuals and it was corrosive to societies and he had a name for it he called it the God Complex Now I can describe the symptoms of the God Complex very easily so.. the symptoms of the God Complex are: a.. no matter how complicated the problem you have absolutely overwhelming a believe that you are infallibly right in your solution Now Archie was a doctor so he hung around the doctors a lot and the doctors suffer from the God Complex a lot I am an economist I am not a doctor and I see the God Complex around me all the time in my fellow economists I see it in our business leaders, I see it in the politicians we vote for people who, in the face of incredibly complicated world, are nevertheless absolutely convinced that they understand the way the world works and you know with the future billions we'have been hearing about the world is simply far too complex to understand in that way let me give you an example imagine for a moment that instead of Tim Harford in front of you there was Hans Rosling presenting his graphs. ..You know Hans you know the Mick Jagger of TED and he'd be showing you these amazing statistics, his amazing animations and they are brilliant, it's wonderful work but in typical Hans Rosling graph think for a moment not what it shows but think instead about what it leaves out so it will show you GDP per capita population, longevity. that's about it... so 3 pieces of data for each country 3 pieces of data! 3 pieces of data is nothing but have a look at this graph, this's produced by physicist Cesar Hidalgo, he's at MIT you won't be able understand a word of it, you know just this' what it looks like Cesar has crawled the database of over 5000 different products and he's used techniques of network analysis to interrogate this database and graph the relationships between different products and it's wonderful, wonderful work he show all these interconnections all these interrelations and I think it will be profundly useful in understanding how it is that economies grow brilliant work ...Cesar and I tried to

Video Details

Duration: 18 minutes and 6 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Views: 77
Posted by: liborsupcik on Jul 20, 2011

Tim speaks about the gods complex which is what most people in charge tend to suffer yet should be made aware of. We others should with humility succumb not to authorities but to trial and error process at least in our minds. Parallel to teachings of don Miguel Ruiz in his 5th agreement.

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