log(book)

The Limits of Organization

Cover of The Limits of Organization.

Didn’t finish this book, my brain isn’t sufficiently economist-shaped. I even tried to read it twice this year, so I’m declaring this an unsuccessful attempt. Still, some very rough and unedited notes on what I read before giving up:

Leftists (as in: anarcho-syndicalists) call for unity between individual and social roles, whereas the right/libertarians deny the role of collective action/responsibility, and substitute the market. Most of us operate in the middle of this tension between social conscience and self-preservation, forgetting social claims for a while and then remembering and fulfilling them.

Organisations are means of achieving benefits of collective actions in situations in which the price system fails. We need social groups to mediate the use of and competition for scarce resources, and to generate advantages of cooperation. Because while markets may be efficient, they are not enough: we need to deal with hard/impossible-to-price stuff. There’s a bunch of arguing that not everything can be priced and that the market relies on impossible to price things like trust and responsibility: big surprise.

Information has costs, especially lack of information, scond-guessing, uncertainty. But also information handling: everybody’s capacity is limited and costly, as is expanding it (learning a language, joining an ingroup etc). All information inflow changes our expectations and outlook, and it’s hard to know which information to invest effort in, since we can’t know information value and distribution (as in: adjacent information is easier to acquire).

Ideally, we’d know our priorities and values, but practically, we can’t, and also they change a lot.


108/ The Limits of Organization by Kenneth J. Arrow. After two attempts to read this book, I've concluded that my brain isn't sufficiently economist-shaped for this book. https://books.rixx.de/kenneth-j-arrow/the-limits-of-organization/
108/ The Limits of Organization by Kenneth J. Arrow. After two attempts to read this book, I've concluded that my brain isn't sufficiently economist-shaped for this book. https://books.rixx.de/kenneth-j-arrow/the-limits-of-organization/ #rixxReads

Quotes

Rabbi Hillel: β€œIf I am not for myself, then who is for me? And if I am not for others, then who am I? And if not now, when?”

Herbert Simon: An employee is selling willingness to obey authority.