So, are the end to end principle (pdf) and worse is better really the exact same idea? Both are kind of negative in tone. Both have MIT appearing as a character in their stories.
End to end isn’t a paper about the risks of agency, or middlement, but those issues are clearly in the background. Worse is better is more conscous of the social engineering that is going on as the designer makes choices about the shape of his system. Neither is particularly clear that the designer is crafting an option space, a search paridigm, a platform, or a standard. To my mind both have become deeply assocated, over time, with our culture’s romatic notions about the little guy, the rural, the entrepenur. Ideas that are currently appear in the role of “long tail.”