From The Smart Set, on “Our Greatest Enemy: Optimism”: The bias in favor of exaggerating chances of success in war and “rosy scenarios” in economic policy seems to be shared by dictatorships and democracies alike. Individual leaders, whether they rose to power by election or force, are likely to have inflated notions of their personal ability to achieve great deeds. In democracies as in autocracies, the leaders are likely to be surrounded by yes-men and yes-women, afraid to anger the leader by bearing bad news.
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