walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Complaining about _Agendas and Instability_

The first complaint was sufficiently lame that I could not bring myself to actually blog it: the first 6% of the books is made up of repetitive introductions to various editions. So there's that. I know, it's a common issue with popular text-book-y things, and it helps to contextualize what changed and why.

The book takes some ideas from math and science. Without actually mentioning linearity, they sort of skip right to non-linearity and then whether or not politics exhibits behavior characteristic of equilibria or not. They do all of this completely qualitatively, so I was prepared to treat it as a metaphor, rather than actual math. Their other metaphor is "punctuated equilibrium" associated commonly with Stephen Jay Gould, but with a longer and more interesting history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium.

It is _okay_ to use metaphors from science to think about other things. I don't have a problem with that. It is _not okay_ to think that you actually get the kinds of things that go with actually doing the math to come along with that metaphorical use, and I don't know yet whether these authors will attempt that.

In the meantime, I'm complaining about an incorrect name.

"This is the well-known paradox of voting, first analyzed by the French mathematician Concordet [sic] in the late eighteenth century and rediscovered by Duncan Black in the 1950s."

Concordet? What, like a miniature SST, or short peace treaty? No. Condorcet. Math people do math stuff, and I apply math rules to determining their accuracy, relevance, plausibility. Word people do word stuff, and I apply word rules to etc. _Condorcet_.

This is the second edition. 6% of the book is introductions, plural. And we can't get the proper nouns right? I actually _have a rule_ about not buying poli or econ stuff from University of Chicago. And here's another reason why.
Tags: not-a-book-review
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