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when right trite when nocel wrong, 19. Februar 2000
This book is a pretentious regurgitation of a half-digested science. The logic of the book goes like this. First, cooperation problems are ubiquitous in social and economic interactions (a common place idea). Second, human societies cope with these problems by devising institutions aimed at detecting cheaters and spreading information about them (also a common place idea barely worth repeating). And third, successful cooperation not only creates immediate material gains, but also gives rise to the need of more cooperation as some interactions that were hitherto impossible become viable (this idea, despite being the key for the whole book, is barely stated and never convincingly proved). If you want to write about science, it makes sense to use some method. State your hypothesis first and then show the evidence. Wright mixes up theory and evidence, perhaps knowing that his arguments wouldn't withstand any serious scrutiny.