Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Fashionable concepts

I find it most enjoyable when the media pick up on a concept and run with it for all it's worth but act as if they've always known about it and always used it in their arguments.

The current craze seems to be the concept of "Capture"

I first came across this in the Economist a few weeks ago. In that context, they were talking about "Regulatory Capture" (I think it was a piece suggesting that the UK's Financial Services Agency was too close to some of the financial firms it exists to regulate).

I thought it was a neat way of characterising certain pathological behaviours one often sees.

Then, this morning I was reading last week's economist and - lo and behold! - I see capture again. We were more ambitious this time..... the article was about "State Capture". The journalist was using it as one way of explaining why democracy and economic growth are often correlated. (In undemocratic countries, the claim is that it is easier for special interests to capture the state and mould it to further their own aims... which are often not compatible with the success of the country as a whole).

The concepts are useful and a nice way of expressing a common phenomenon.

I just thought it was amusing that it was a concept that I'd never seen in the mainstream press before and now it's mentioned twice in a month.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Testing commenting