Monday, September 24, 2007

Analytical deliberation

"The commission* gave me a wonderful opportunity to test my favorite hypothesis about collective rationality, which is that if you put people of strongly opposing views in a room together, and infuse their discussion with data, background studies, and unhurried time for debate, it is possible to bridge seemingly irreconcilable positions among the members of the group. I have come to call this process analytical deliberation. It works."

(Jeffrey Sachs, "The end of poverty, economic possibilities for our time", chapter "The voiceless dying: Africa and disease")

* World Health Organisation Commission on Macroeconomics and Health.

François, this is not exactly your favorite hypothesis about collective wisdom, but it is close to it !

1 comment:

François Ascani said...

Although J. Sachs refers rather to a situation where what matters is to reach a consensus and to get a final answer from a group than to know if the group answer is smart or not, he effectively describes some of the conditions necessary to achieve rational results within a group: diversity in the group and strong communication between members (see Wisdom or madness of crowds?).