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Understanding doesn't come in bits -- read Kuhn or Wittgenstein or Hayek.

The metaphor of bits and "items of information" is destructive of understanding of how understanding is generated and passed on from one person to another.

Spend some time reading Kuhn on how science is generated and transmitted to get some sense of how "bits of information" has nothing to do with it.

Or read Wittenstein on how language competen d is passed from one person to another, or Hayek on the transmission of rules and the how they evolve.

The "bits of information" metaphor is pernicious and blinds our understanding of how institutions are transmitted, grow, solve problesm, and evolve.

Hayek repeatedly -- and from 1929 -- pointed out that formal Econ constructions built out of bits of "given" information fails to capture the non-fixed, non-given, open-ended character of price signals. Actors in the market come to the world with constantly adapting and changing *rival* understanding of their unique situation in the nexus of local conditions and changing relative prices.

The metaphor of "bits of information" deeply falsifies this situation and this causal process (even if Hayek himself once of twice uses the problematic and I many ways misleading and unhelpful metaphor of 'information').

Kuhn's exploding of the "given bits of information" tied to a formal construction picture of science and knowledge is parallel to Hayek's exploding of the "given bits of information" tied to a formal construct picture of the economic & socialism and Wittgenstein's exploding of the "given bits of information" toes to a formal construction picture of language.

The "given bits of information" tied to a formal construction model of language, science & the economy gave us a false picture, a failed and pathological science of language, science and market -- but that professors won't give up this false and false science, because this false model produces endless formal puzzles that provide objective standards for "excellence" in the processes of teaching, giving out PhDs, publication, and tenure.

But the professors won't give up this false picture and false science, because this false model produces endless formal puzzles that provide objective formal standards for "excellence" and "smarts" in the processes of teaching, giving out PhDs, publication filtering, and tenure.

Thanks so much for sharing DeCanio's paper! It's really quite excellent. There are a few areas where I disagree with him, but I can't think of a better paper on the topic of dollar voting versus ballot voting. His paper really attacks the wide-spread assumption that the political process adequately conveys information about citizens' preferences.

If anybody wants to help combat this misconception...

http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=261357

This is truly a wonderful paper. (I should be a bit bitter that he is gazumping my phd research, but I enjoyed it too much!)

My take is that it's a kind of epistemological justification for what I call 'laboratory panarchism.' It would seem that the upshot of DeCanio's paper is that we want a political-institutional system composed as some combination of parallel governance (i.e., non-territorial federalism, a la Renner, Bauer, and now Nimni and Long) and unbundled governance (i.e., functional federalism, a la Frey, Hooghe & Marks, and Kling). At least from a knowledge problem perspective.

Where that combination is set, and how far this is from the traditional, territorially-monopolistic state, we don't know, but it would seem the design space should be composed of 'extent of exclusivity' and 'extent of bundledness' dimensions. Would love to hear thoughts.

As a 'young scholar,' I do wonder what sort of impact it will have, and if indeed it will come to be thought of as 'the modern starting point' for evolutionary-epistemological public choice/comparative institutional analysis. Exciting times.

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