INTUITION: WHY WE NEED HUMILITY IN THE FACE OF ITS ASTONISHING POWERS
by Gerry McCarthy
In David Myers’ new book Intuition: Its Powers and Perils, there is an interesting example of how overconfidence wreaks havoc with economic intuition. Myers writes that: "In 1984, The Economist asked four European former finance ministers, four chairs of multinational firms, four Oxford students, and four London garbage collectors to predict the next decade’s inflation, growth rates, and sterling exchange rates. Adding up scores ten years later, the garbage haulers tied the company bosses for first place, and the finance ministers finished last."
But Myers doesn’t want us to think all intuition is bad. When I reach him by telephone at Hope College in Michigan, he says the first three chapters of Intuition "testify to this exploding new scientific literature on the powers of unconscious, out-of-sight, automatic, implicit thinking-feeling memory."