Dinsdag quote

Many policy prescriptions are themselves no more than metaphors. Both the centralizers and the privatizers frequently advocate over-simplified, idealized institutions – paradoxically, almost ‘institution-free’ institutions. An assertion that regulation is necessary tells us nothing about the way a central authority should be constituted, what authority it should have, how the limits on its authority should be maintained, how it will obtain information, or how its agents will be selected, motivated to do their work, and have their performances monitored and rewarded or sanctioned. An assertion that private property rights are necessary tells us nothing about how that bundle of rights is to be defined, how the various attributes of the goods involved will be measured, who will pay the costs of excluding non-owners from access, how conflicts over rights will be adjudicated…

Elinor Ostrom (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, p 22

Zaterdag quote

What moves us, reasonably enough, is not the realization that the world falls short of being completely just – which few of us expect – but that there are clearly remediable injustices around us which we want to eliminate.

Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice (2009), p vii

Dinsdag quote

But there is also this very, very basic fundamental insight of economics, which is that it’s possible for things to get better. It’s possible for people to cooperate, even if they’re not very nice people, and it’s possible for gains to be created. I think if you have that view baked very deep into the way you see the world, that changes the way you see things, and it’s very beneficial for your general outlook on life.

Tim Harford

Zaterdag quote

The “moral” of any objective critical survey of the social policy problem is to be cautious or conservative to action. The possibility of acting intelligently is very limited; and any other action will probably have results more bad than good, if not disastrous.

Frank H. Knight. (1921). Risk, Uncertainty and Profit, p lxi