apr 16

Cumulative Advantage

NYT Mag has a fascinating little article on something that I think about constantly: to what degree random historical factors and self-fulfilling markets determine the success of cultural products. A study from the authors suggests that social influence can affect judgments of quality to exponential degrees.


The article raises several interesting questions (perhaps those brief determining historical factors are actually important to quality?), but it might suffer in picking easy targets (Timberlake, Harry Potter) for its subject matter. How would this theory work when applied to, say, the category of literary modernism (are Joyce an Elliot the same random occurrences?) or even something more radical: Einstein's theory of general relativity.

posted by Rex at 6:13 PM on April 15, 2007

sounds like the black swan in full effect

posted by glitch at 9:33 PM on April 15, 2007

See also: Mashable makes the Digg connection.

posted by Rex at 10:02 PM on April 15, 2007

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