Books, Uncategorized

Order By Accident

It is interesting that the Satoshi Kanazawa’s book on conformism in Japan is titled “Order by Accident”. Of course, the social order in Japan emerges from coalition politics. Firms are coalitions that employees serve. Now, observe. As Kanazawa points out, firms are deviant subcultures. Order won’t emerge within firms through sheer co-operation. Much of co-ordination emerges from coalition politics on a much smaller scale. There might be self-interested behavior inside firms, among coalitions, but if people joined more powerful coalitions and if the management encourages this, this wouldn’t be so disastrous as it seems. This isn’t analyzed as much as democratic politics, though even the white collar crimes done to serve the firm are seen as crimes. How often have we seen intellectuals wondering how order emerges within coalition-ridden firms, and how this makes firms less efficient? If intellectuals really do see office politics as nasty, they wouldn’t hesitate to expatiate on it.

Again, democratic politics is a form of coalition politics on a much larger scale. But, unlike in a firm, there won’t be a top-down attempt to channel coalition politics in more productive directions. More importantly, it is improbable that the most powerful coalitions in democracy are the most informed and competent, in formulating policies. If anything resembling order emerges from this, shouldn’t this be far more surprising? But, almost everyone agrees that democratic politics is necessary for order. Democratic politics doesn’t have such a bad press as office politics. But surprisingly, this is scrutinized in detail, and there is a large body of literature that analyzes how this makes the world less efficient. What possibly explains this?

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