Tuesday, February 05, 2008

How many brains?

I was befuddled, last night, listening to Start teh week with Andrew Marr, to hear David "Two Brains" Willets talking about game theory. more specifically, how game theory can describe how co-operative results occur within social systems. Further, he advocated state power as a means of constructing such circumstances, to attaion better social co-operative outcomes. They used to call that social engineering.

Admittedly, this isn't as incoherent for a Tory as it first sounds. After all, Adam Smith's economics was based around an assumption that free markets would produce co-operative and stale social outcomes. It was also profoundly egalitarian, believing free markets would produce socal equality. The invisible hand is a leveller.

More than that, they are now up against the weight of science, evolutionary science in particular which shows that each against each and devil take the hindmost isn't necessary nor essentially desirable. He cited Vampire Bats who will share out a good nights hunt to non-related colony members.

Of coruse, Willetts thinks this should come back to structures like the familly. Although discussing Pakistan, he noted that a high proportion of marriages are between first cousins, indicating the degree of clanishness that still exists there, and suggesting that this is a barrier to liberal democracy - maybe his brains haven't come to agreement on that one yet.

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