The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Price Tolerance

Very, very interesting chapter. I want to read it again several times…. over an extended time period.

My only small quibble is with the example at the beginning of behavior of an individual ant vs the behavior of the ant colony. These two behaviors are at distinctly different levels, and should not be compared. No-one would attempt, for example, to compare the behavior of an engine part to the behavior of an engine. The ensemble does not “behave in ways not predicted by the components”, the ensemble is a different entity, with entirely different purposes, goals, entirely different behaviors.

The article is not actually about emergent properties of complex systems in themselves, it is about the emergence of complex elements, communities (intolerant communities), or sub-communities within the system and relationships between these complex elements and the individuals and other communities (more tolerant communities), a complex multi-layered-community system.

One interesting item not discussed — is perhaps a parallel to the automatic transmission issue. eg. Most people don’t know how to drive a standard, so it becomes harder to buy a standard transmission.

In similar fashion, many high value products cannot be purchased local stores, because the price is dramatically out of line with the low value products on offer. One obvious example is vitamin supplements. All of the products on sale in local stores are very low quality — when rated independently. All are low priced. And all of the highest quality products can only be purchased through special memberships, or multi-level marketing, etc. and the prices are much higher. It becomes very difficult to compare price for value in these situations. For examples see:

In similar fashion, it becomes hard to sell specific nutritional products, like organic foods, non-GMO foods, because the cost of production is higher. In the grocery story, and in the current wider community, it is difficult to impossible to demonstrate the invisible extra value.