Film Review: Mind Over Money – $20 auction


NOVA has a new film called “Mind Over Money” where they show an auction for $20. The only catch is that the second highest bidder must pay the amount he bid, but gets nothing. In the end the winner pays something like $28 for the $20 bill and the second highest bidder pays $27 for nothing.

This is a neat exercise to do with a group of logical thinkers who are not allowed to communicate. They need to be given some quiet time to map out their strategy first. The result is a textbook example of “independent derivation”. Logical beings come to the same conclusion.

The only reason the auction turned out bad is because of speed and volume. Humans are trained to pit themselves against each other. I can assure you that within 1000 years (or 100,000 years, depending on how long speed and volume is sustained) this $20 auction will be played by children with an intellect comparable to contemporary 10-year-olds. They will have one person bid $1 and then split the $19 profit.

I accuse all 6.8 billion people alive today of being fact-based fools guilty of sustaining speed and volume. Be ashamed of yourselves.

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