Sunday, 18 October 2015


This (old) piece by Bryan Caplan is a brilliant way of thinking about libertarianism: it brings out both how logical it is, and how dangerous and dysfunctional.

The sociologist Kieran Healy has a paper entitled Fuck Nuance.
Abstract: Seriously, fuck it.
From the body:
By calling for a theory to be more comprehensive, or for an explanation to include additional dimensions, or a concept to become more flexible and multifaceted, we paradoxically end up with less clarity. We lose information by adding detail. A further odd consequence is that the apparent scope of theories increases even as the range of their actually-accomplished application in explanations narrows. ... The particulars are “brought in” to the theory as general dimensions or levels of analysis—e.g., by nesting individuals, interactions, neighborhoods, and states; or by considering social- psychological, cultural, and structural aspects of the phenomenon; or by the simple claim that (for example) institutions matter, power matters, and culture matters, along with something new that the particular case suggests also matters.... Concept stands near concept—“Culture!” “Structure!” “Meaning!” “Power!”—like a herd of Brontosauruses ruminating in a primeval swamp.
Article in the FT which nicely talks about the tradeoffs between public and private companies.