by Henry Farrell on May 21, 2005

A few items that I’ve wanted to link to, but haven’t, thanks to grading pressures over the last few days.

The “Chronicle of Higher Education”: on allegations of skulduggery in the world of poetry publishing.

Matt Yglesias “complains”: about economists’ tendency to look at problems as strategic bargaining situations, rather than as the products of history and path dependence. My rejoinder (stolen like much else from my mate Jack Knight) is that there is no reason that you can’t have both. Many informal social institutions, such as the woman taking the man’s name when she marries, can be seen as a sort of institutional curdling of power inequalities in bargaining games that have been repeated over a very long period. More to the point – Jack makes a very convincing argument that informal institutions are almost by necessity going to reflect power inequalities – only in those relatively unusual situations where people care more about coordinating with each other than about which solution they coordinate on (for example: deciding which side of the road to drive on), or where there aren’t substantial power asymmetries, can we expect the development of the simple efficiency-enhancing institutions that many economists assume to be the norm.

“Sploid”: on South Park Republicans (via “Nick Gillespie”:

And “Mark Schmitt”: has lots of good links in re: the rise of conservatism and right-wing foundation money.



buzz 05.21.05 at 2:22 pm

Re: South Park Republicans.

Don’t you see? The terrorists hate our freedom! You’re playing right into their hands! If we don’t allow psychologically maladjusted young men to abuse people who are different than they are, then the terrorists will have won.


bryan 05.22.05 at 3:02 am

makingLight has talked about foetry before in an open thread,

first mention here:


paul 05.22.05 at 12:36 pm

The short version of that rejoinder to Yglesias seems to miss the obvious point that the rules in all of these retrodicted bargaining games have changed substantially over time as well as differing by region. By the time you’ve done all the requisite adjustments, it’s not clear to me how far you are from tautology or ev psych.

But I guess I’ll wait until it comes out in Betamax.


Gorkle 05.23.05 at 7:09 am

Shorter version: squeezing a theory out of a metaphor is a lot like resting a bulldozer on five cantalopes, you can do it, do it effortlessly, but it won’t get you any closer to Albuquerque.

Even shorter version: life is like a game ‘cept we’re all cheating.

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