Saturday, March 30, 2019

Regression to the mean

Lake Wo-be-gone, where the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are all above average.

One quirk about the statistical concept of "regression to the mean" is that it dominates as numbers get larger.

In a town with one child, there is a 49.9999% chance that the child is above average.

In a town with twenty children, here is a 1.0e-6 chance that all children are above average.

So it is with professions. A profession with a half dozen practitioners can be stellar compared to the average for the species.

A profession or industry that comprises a significant percentage of the gross domestic product, not so much.

Assume the ridiculous, that healthcare expanded to 99% of the economy.

Healthcare could have the same percentage of buffoons, knaves, idiots, psychopaths, illiterates, greedy fuchs, zealots, heroes, saints, nauseum as the general population.

In the long run, perhaps the most corrosive consequence of the college admissions scandals is the inarguable fact that the gate-keepers were bought. The person administering your meds might have gotten into, and passed based on the largess of their parents.

Nor did the best engineers design your automobiles, airplanes and bridges.

What can you do?

Learn to pack your own parachute.

1 comment:

Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.