Jag Bhalla's Contributions
  • The Poetics of Data: Science Depends on Precise Metaphors

    Science and poetry both depend on metaphor. Science typically uses at least two. The first is usually Pythagoras’s astonishingly fruitful, but also limiting, “all things are numbers.” The second shapes what...

  • The Logical Limits of Liberty & Needism

    Your needs can’t all be as easily fenced off as land. But that map-like model lurks behind unbalanced ideas about private and public interests. The “public good” is both bedrock and climate to all private...

  • Markets & Curing Spontaneous Disorders

    Is the “invisible hand” always benign? Or can it be bad? Free-market fans love the idea that “spontaneous order” emerges from local decisions. But what prevents “spontaneous disorder”? Does prudence reliably trump...

  • Kahneman's Mind-Clarifying Strangers: System 1 & System 2

    Feeling is a form of thinking. Both are ways we process information, but feeling is faster. That’s the crux of Daniel Kahneman’s mind-clarifying work. It won a psychologist an economics Nobel. And strange...

  • What "War on Reason"? Kahneman's Truce

    Are reason and emotion sworn enemies? Many expert reasoners feel they are. But these supposed opposites overlap, emotions have logic and reason often blunders. Plato’s chariot and the anti-Freud can clarify. ...

  • Data vs. Stories: Incalculable Consequences

    "Be suspicious of stories," warns economist Tyler Cowen. Stories lower “your IQ by 10 points or more,” by seducing you into simplistic “good vs. evil” thinking.” Life is too messy to “filter” through the...

  • Human Brain = "Sexually Selected Ornament"

    Love might be blind, but she is rarely deaf: Language and love have always been intimately entangled. Indeed Darwin believed love was one of the main reasons we have language and why it's so witty and ornamental....

  • The 1% and Good Rich vs Bad Rich

    Much talk about “the 1%” ignores three key issues. First, not all inequality is equally bad. Second, the rich are mostly as replaceable as you and me. Third, if the rich succeed because they’re strong, surely...

  • Markets, Unnatural Laws and Choices

    We’re letting unnatural laws unduly influence us. A fuss about “simple economics” can remind us that markets aren’t like gravity, and their so-called laws are neither laws of nature nor commandments carved in...

  • Moral Math And Team Logic

    The math and logic of teams sometimes (perhaps often) opposes maximizing self-benefit.