Shooting The Messenger: Justin Fox on How Arguments Really Work
Here's more from Justin Fox's article, about the ingrained biases we bring to important debates:
I wrote a post on whether the Internet era has been a time of world-changing innovation or a relative disappointment, inspired by comments from author Neal Stephenson, who espoused the latter view. It was a piece juxtaposing Stephenson with MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson, who has been amassing evidence that a digitization-fueled economic revolution is in fact beginning to happen.
When I saw that Wired.com had republished my post, I cringed. Surely the technoutopians there would tear the piece to nanoshreds. But they didn't. Most of the Wired.com commenters instead jumped straight into an outrage-free discussion of innovation past and present. That's probably because, if there is one person in the world whom Wired.com readers consider a "knowledgeable member of their cultural community," it is Stephenson. I'm guessing that Wired.com readers were conditioned by the sight of Stephenson's name to consider his arguments with an open mind.
Fox is the editorial director of the Harvard Business Review Group and the author of the bestselling book The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street. As one of America's most trusted business journalists, Fox talks candidly about markets, the economy, and how to speak constructively about them.