Michael Mauboussin describes the first of the three elements of “complexity” in this way: “the system consists of a number of heterogeneous agents, and each of those agents makes decisions about how to behave. The most important dimension here is that those decisions will evolve over time.” These heterogeneous agents might be ants, investors, businesses, genes or neurons. Mauboussin makes a key point here for investors and business people about the significance of this element: “markets tend to be efficient when the agents operate in a truly heterogeneous fashion and the aggregation mechanism is working smoothly. Diversity is essential, both in nature and in markets, and the system has to be able to take advantage of that diversity.” When diversity breaks down, as was the case during the internet bubble or the lead up to the 2007 financial crisis, markets can get very inefficient. Collections of intelligent and diverse heterogeneous agents are capable of forming self-organizing, learning, adaptive collectives that can exhibit the “wisdom of crowds.” The method that some people have pursued to study the interaction of heterogeneous agents is known as agent-based modeling.
Rancher Dan Evans heads into Bisbee to clear up issues concerning the sale of his land when he witnesses the closing events of a stagecoach robbery led by famed outlaw Ben Wade. Shortly thereafter, Wade is captured by the law in Bisbee and Evans finds himself one of the escorts who will take Wade to the 3:10 to Yuma train in Contention for the reward of $200. Evans's effort to take Wade to the station is in part an effort to save his land but also part of an inner battle to determine whether he can be more than just a naive rancher in the eyes of his impetuous and gunslinging son William Evans. The transport to Contention is hazardous and filled with ambushes by Indians, pursuits by Wade's vengeful gang and Wade's own conniving and surreptitious demeanor that makes the ride all the more intense. Written by commanderblue