William Davies · What are they after?: How Could the Tories? · LRB 8 March 2018
The reality is that in addition to the ideological and cultural forces behind Brexit, it is also happening thanks to the recklessness of individuals who see public life as an opportunity to show off. This is the more fundamental sense in which Westminster is being permeated by Trumpism.

These men’s contemporaries on the centre-left had the existential fortune of beginning their careers in tandem with Blairism. The likes of Ed Balls, David Miliband and Andy Burnham threw themselves into the details of policy design and implementation, with a level of technocratic commitment that would eventually provoke populist derision from both left and right. No doubt this clique contained some planet-sized egos too, but one thing that can be said for the New Labour generation is that they saw politics as a serious business, requiring hard, serious work. Among Tory Brexiteers, by contrast, ignorance and a lack of effort is taken almost as a mark of distinction – how else to explain David Davis? Having spent so long witnessing the Blairite policy machine churn out evidence and evaluations, year after year, with impeccable economic logic, it’s as if they have abandoned such dull, humourless pursuits altogether. Hence their disdain for the Treasury and for the man, ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ Hammond, who runs it.
march 2018
Why hiring the ‘best’ people produces the least creative results | Aeon Ideas
The burgeoning of teams – most academic research is now done in teams, as is most investing and even most songwriting
february 2018
[no title]
"Lowers the bar for fraudsters – create a document that
has the same defect as a well known document instead
of trying to create a perfect document|"
december 2017
Nicola Barker: “I’m a niche writer and see no harm in it. I like niches”
At a recent Goldsmiths Prize event it was argued that the novel has lost its cultural centrality and is destined to become a niche artform. What do you think – and if you agree, why do you think that has happened?

I think this is absolutely true, but it doesn’t really upset me because I’m a niche writer and see no harm in it. I like niches. I also see the world as a series of ongoing narratives – eternal conversations – expressing themselves, perpetually, through all of the art forms (painting, dance, music, fashion, TV, film). All these forms bleed into each other and enrich each other. It’s a big patchwork quilt. Why should one form be dominant? Everything flows, borrows, nudges. That’s exactly as it should be.
writing  HTBI  from instapaper
november 2017
How economists rode maths to become our era’s astrologers – Alan Jay Levinovitz | Aeon Essays
The economist Paul Romer at New York University has recently begun calling attention to an issue he dubs ‘mathiness’ – first in the paper ‘Mathiness in the Theory of Economic Growth’ (2015) and then in a series of blog posts. Romer believes that macroeconomics, plagued by mathiness, is failing to progress as a true science should, and compares debates among economists to those between 16th-century advocates of heliocentrism and geocentrism. Mathematics, he acknowledges, can help economists to clarify their thinking and reasoning. But the ubiquity of mathematical theory in economics also has serious downsides: it creates a high barrier to entry for those who want to participate in the professional dialogue, and makes checking someone’s work excessively laborious. Worst of all, it imbues economic theory with unearned empirical authority.
HTBI  from instapaper
july 2017
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