Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived
A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?
Update: seemingly not
Update: Oh yeah!
Friday, May 15, 2009
"Built to last" vs "Built for a purpose"
This week I have been mostly reviewing David Aaronovitch's "Voodoo Histories" over at Aaronovitch Watch. In doing so, something struck me about a particular form of argument, advanced several times by Aaronovitch in his book on conspiracy theories, but also by various kinds of economist who want to downgrade the importance of antitrust policy and the ubiquity of cartels.
The argument's a variant of the "nobody could organise something so big; somebody would talk" theory. It specifically states that the number of conspiracies/cartels which have been proved to exist in the past, is evidence against anyone who believes in a conspiracy in the present, as they all "failed", and demonstrate that it's impossible to organise a big plan against the public interest without being found out.
Except ... what's the definition of "failure" here? My guess is that the people who organised MK-ULTRA, or the Gulf of Tonkin incident, weren't necessarily all that concerned about posterity. An awful lot of these conspiracies were "found out" long after the people involved had retired on full pension, with their medals and with the political objectives they aimed to achieve long since won.
An engineering maxim variously attributed to Ferdinand Porsche, Colin Chapman and others, holds that the perfectly designed Formula One racing car would be one that crossed the finish line one metre ahead of its nearest rival and then fell to pieces. On that basis, the perfect conspiracy was Iran/Contra - it was exposed roughly five minutes after it was no longer needed, and everyone involved was acquitted of the major charges. Job's a good 'un; Oliver North is still considered an American Hero by everyone whose opinion he gives a fuck about. Conspirators do not need to take a bridges-and-tunnels approach to designing their secrecy arrangements.
this item posted by the management 5/15/2009 06:46:00 AM