Economics got to this spectrum idea 150 years ago of course

As The Guardian notes a current fashion is to insist that things exist upon spectrums:

Coined by Isaac Newton in 1672 to describe refractions of light, today referencing a “spectrum” is almost always shorthand for acknowledging a metaphorical range of nuances.

While the word is most commonly used in relation to autism spectrum disorder, political ideologies and gender expression, there’s really no end to things that have been described as falling on a spectrum, from perfectionism, to homelessness, to social media use.

The observation is correct of course. No one with any experience of either boarding schools or prisons is going to insist that male sexuality is entirely fixed and invariate - incentives matter. The spectrum from male to Aspie to compiler programmer is much joked about in computing circles.

But of course this is just the change that happened in economics in the 1870s, the marginalist revolution. Things are not solely one thing nor the other, action happens at the margins as behaviours bleed into each other. That is, economics got there 150 years before the rather more woke social sciences.

To continue the amusement there is that little point that precisely those who do insist - rightly - upon much human behaviour being on a spectrum are those who - wrongly - try to reject neo-classical economics. You know, the very form of correct economics which encapsulates the very same point. But then intellectual consistency among the woke isn’t something we generally observe, is it?