The Little Things Matter

A country where people do not wait in line in orderly fashion, or where the drivers do not stay in their lanes, is usually a country with serious economic and political problems.1

If you like that passage, I recommend reading all of Arnold Kling’s discussion of Tyler Cowen’s new book, Create Your Own Economy. Tyler’s book, from which the passage is excerpted, looks like it will be fascinating.

One thing I will say: I dislike the use of the word, “autistic,” as a metaphor for a person guided more strongly by abstractions than emotions centered on persons and social groups. I am certainly among the most guilty of extending the use of psychopathological terms to daily life experiences. And I understand that we must often use these terms because we unfortunately lack the proper vocabulary at present — really, we lack the entire ontology of interpersonal differences — to express the ideas that drive us to rip terms from psychopathology out of their proper context. Yet surely the people of Germany are not such exemplars of autistic personalities as they might be made out to be.

Moreover, it is unclear to me how much of the relevant variance being attributed to “autistic” personalities is merely variance in the expression of levels of the Big Five factor of conscientiousness.

  1. Arnold Kling : EconLog : Pro-Autistic Economics