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MBM Principal Sources

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24 April 2007




I think we need a term to describe a knowledge process that delivers erroneous information. What's the opposite of a knowledge process? Not an "ignorance process" - at least with ignorance, you know that you don't know.

What do they call it in the world of spies when you feed the enemy bogus intelligence in order to mislead him - a disinformation campaign? Perhaps we should call these "disinformation processes".


Alastair Walling


While I think that someone a lot more important than me is going to have to come up with official MBM lingo, I see no reason why I cannot venture some sort of informal term that may or may not take off. I guess our natural inclination would be to call BS, but the problem with knowledge systems like “savings rates” is that they sound so credible. So we are looking for a term that describes a seemingly credible knowledge system that is in fact deceptive because of variables either excluded or overemphasized. There could also be an element of the speaker actually knowing or deluding themselves into believing that the knowledge system is accurate. Your example of planting false information with the enemy made me think, so may I suggest the term “mincemeat.” Operation Mincemeat was a British plan during WWII to plant a body off the coast of Spain with a briefcase containing plans for a fake invasion of Sardinia and Greece, which would presumably distract the Axis from the planned invasion of Sicily. Anyway the historical details are quite interesting, but I think the term mincemeat is appropriate – not quite as catchy as say “spam” but it works. Let me know what you think.


Bill Conerly

Nice point about metrics needing to change.

As to the savings rate, you're probably counted as a saver; but that probably won't be true when you retire, even if you don't spend all your income. I have an article explaining why the savings rate calculation is bogus, if your interested. It's at

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