The Classics

A friend of Crescat 2.0 notes this observation by Tyler Cowen, with broader applicability than just finance: “Go back and read the classics, and hang your heads in despair.” (Tyler is referring to the lack of progress in intellectual consensus.)

Yet this observation by Frank Easterbrook is also apt:

Most mutations in thought, as well as in genes, are neutral or harmful– but because intellectual growth flows from the best of today standing on the shoulders of the tallest of yesterday, the failure of most scholars and their ideas is unimportant. High risk probably is an essential ingredient of high gain.

The fact that we have the classics to go back to gives us a high vantage point, even if most of us fall from it rather than rise above it.