Theory vs. Practice

One of my favorite sayings is “In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice.  In practice, there is.”

One thing that truly drives me nuts is people who continue to argue based on theory, when practice is available.

Consider the AT&T / T-Mobile merger (shot and critically wounded by the DoJ).  I actually had a guy tell me today that, all economics is taught wrong and monopolies and oligopolies are good for consumers.  That’s fine in theory, I know a lot of economic theorists that would support that.

However, let’s look at actual practice.  Competition in Europe has dropped prices on broadband and wireless service.  Almost every country in Europe has higher penetration that the US… even Latavia has more people on broadband and wireless than the US.  Many consumers in Europe have 5-7 choices for their wireless and broadband providers while most US customers have one and a small percentage have two or more.

And yet, with all of that, European consumers pay less than half what US consumers do for the same level of service and much, much faster average speeds.

So, you can argue theory all you like.  The simple fact is, competition improves customer value and monopolies and oligopolies detract from it.  BTW: Feel free to compare AT&T to Verizon and note how they same service is within about 5 cents of each other and as soon as one changes things (like bandwidth caps), the other will follow suit in a month or two.

Example the second:

ID proponents will claim up and down that Darwinian evolution is wrong and doomed and causes you to get warts, while ID is an up and coming science and it needs work, but it’s already better than evolution, etc.

The simple fact is that millions of people’s livelihood depends on evolution and no one’s depends on ID.  Thousands of businesses use evolutionary principles to improve products, workflow, and efficiency.   No one uses ID for any of that (except for the rare profits from a book).  Etc. etc. etc.  I could go on at length.

The Global warming naysayers: Oh, humans only contribute 5% to global warming or it’s not really warmer or any of that idiocy.

In practice, the ten warmest years on record have been in the last 15 years.  There were something like 200 high temperature (monthly) records broken this year alone… and not by a little bit, by a lot.  The only explanation (not the only logical or valid, but the only) that can explain this is human caused increases in the greenhouse effect.

Vaccines: Oh vaccines might hurt our kids.

Practice, an outbreak of whooping-cough on the west coast of the US.  Whooping cough which has been very well-managed for over 70 years is the only vaccine preventable disease that has an increased death rate in the US over the last few years.

WTF?  I mean really.  Theory is fine and it’s cool and you can shoot the shit all night over beers, but when you wake up in the morning with your $350 phone bill, your AC exploding because of the record heat, and a kid in the hospital with freaking whooping-cough, a thinking person should say…

“Hmmm… maybe theory isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

People, it’s time to look at what is actually happening in the world.

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