What makes for a good leader? That depends on how you define good and the context — a corporation or a nation or a social movement. How much do qualities such as morality, integrity, intelligence and other personal traits matter? Are leaders born or are they made by accidental circumstances? Can a political leader really alter the trajectory of a nation dramatically for the better?
Because questions like those matter to me, I found much of interest in the Youtube video of the October 2000 interview of Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore by Harvard Kennedy School professors David Gergen, Ron Heifetz, Dean Williams, and John Thomas. Continue reading →
Twenty-five years ago today, on March 23 1992, Friedrich August von Hayek died. Winner of the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Hayek was an Austrian / British liberal. I consider him to be not just one of the greatest economists of all times but one of the world’s most enlightened social thinkers.
Reading Hayek makes me marvel at the heights that human intellect is capable of. Compared to him, some of the most renowned economists appear to be pygmies. I feel sorry that most people — even those who claim to be economists — have not even heard of him, let alone read him. Here are a few excerpts, from Hayek and about Hayek. Continue reading →
“Why India Needs a New Constitution.” is the title of the chapter I contributed to a Festschrift published in November 2016 by the Center for Civil Society in Delhi.
That idea rubs Indians the wrong way because Indians generally believe that the constitution is a fine work. Not that they have examined it for themselves. They think that it must be so because politicians praise the constitution and uncritically accept their verdict.
It is like the fable of the emperors new clothes, except in this case the people have not themselves seen the emperor in his new clothes. They have only heard of reports that the emperor has a new set of clothes, and experts who have seen the new clothes have declared them to be wonderful. The belief has been implanted in the people, and they will vehemently oppose any suggestions to the contrary.
I argue that the emperor’s new clothes are in fact his old clothes, and therefore the “new” clothes do an equally bad job of hiding his unsightly nakedness as his old clothes did.
To persuade you to read the chapter in the book Liberalism in India (link at the end), here are a few excerpts below. Continue reading →
Some time ago I published the draft of a “Constitution for a Free India” (click to read, right-click to download pdf) which I propose should replace the current Indian constitution. In the preamble of the draft, it says —
“… The people of India as the principals agree unanimously through this constitution to empower as their agents governments at the national and state levels which shall carry out the legitimate wishes of the people as expressed by their political choices in elections. … “
What does “agree unanimously” mean and imply? When you agree to something, you give your consent, assent. Agreeing implies coming to a common understanding or arrangement. Continue reading →
I haven’t read these books that Amazon recommended to me via email today. But I hope that within the pages of these books the authors somewhere explain the economics of textbook publishing and why these books on the principles of economics cost an arm and a leg.
Thankfully in modern times, the principles of economics is accessible to many who can’t afford those prices. It’s all there on the web. Continue reading →
This ad is probably from the mid-1980s. A massive 26MB hard drive for only $5K. As the ad points out, that’s less than $200 per MB. Now that’s a deal you couldn’t have refused. We should note that $5K in those days is equivalent to $10K in today’s dollars. Imagine, paying $10K for storage just enough for a few mp3 songs! Continue reading →