What Game of Thrones spoilers tell us about the role of expectations

One of the most common devices of plot telling is that of the twist. This is why many of us are averse to spoilers. We don't want to know what writers have in store for us, because it can ruin the drama.

When an important episode of Game of Thrones - "The Rains of Castamere" - was released to US audiences this Sunday, many took to the internet to discuss the dramatic events.

For many of those that watched the events from George R. R. Martin's book (released nearly 13 years ago), the story was shocking. But for those that had read about them online, the twist was markedly less interesting.

The disparity between what viewers expect and what happens is jarring, and for most, the shock is enjoyable. Spoilers take away that shock.

In economics, it's this sort of drama that most of us are keen to avoid. When we speak of forecasting and market expectations, these are important so that we might pre-empt the future. Knowing what's coming ahead of time allows entrepreneurs to be more confident.

Markets help to co-ordinate differing opinions about what's yet to come. When one trader believes that others are wrong on what's likely to happen, arbitrage opportunities present themselves, where people stand to make money off inaccurate predictions.

These strong profit making incentives mean that we can aggregate the ideas of large groups of people, co-ordinating information. Ultimately, thousands of individuals contribute to devise forecasts of future economic events.

There is no George R. R. Martin writing the plot, but a hive of individuals collaborating to make things easier to understand. The bad guys of the real world are the politicians and central bankers who distort this process through the abuse of discretion.

These villains of the marketplace can disrupt co-ordination and scare away investment. Systems with less political discretion, and more spoilers, make for a less alarming marketplace.