Saturday, March 13, 2004


Will Rogers has been widely quoted as worrying more about "what people know that's wrong" than about what they don't know. More up-to-date scholars like to point out that we do not know anything; it is all about cultural constructs.

The problem with knowing is how we measure and how we interpret. (The latter via the rules of evidence, not political trendiness.) When researchers point their Hubble lenses at the evolving global distribution of income and wealth, they necessarily find a fuzzy picture but the more they focus, the better it looks. The Economist features several pieces that summarize the news.

Undergraduates, reporters and politicians are slow to update their views. So, it seems, are many scholars.