The problems with the famous social “experiment” described are many and the possible interpretations almost as varied. I tend to think that the reason few people stopped to listen and give any money is that in the real world very, very, very few people actually like to listen to the violin. In fact I would suggest that the number of people who actually like and appreciate the violin, particularly as a solo instrument, are so outnumbered by those who have no opinion or actively dislike it, that this experiment had no chance of any other outcome. A violin concert is a collection of a tiny, tiny, tiny, nanosubet of people, many of whom are quite wealthy and can afford to pay hundreds of dollars to listen to someone play the violin. A subway platform is a collection of a huge swath of diverse people, who have a variety of incomes, but many more are poor than rich and almost none, close to zero, actually like the violin. The real world is much more similar to the subway platform. It really doesn’t matter how good or bad the violin player is, it only matters that he/she is playing the violin, an instrument almost no one (compared to the total number of people in the world) actually cares for.

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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