A Tale of Two Shocks

Two shocks rocked the world: Donald Trump’s upset victory in the US presidential elections, and the demonetization of high-denomination currency in India. Both can be expected to have profound repercussions. I will pass commenting on the tears of Hillary Clinton — delicious though they are to yours truly — except to say that to me the result was as unexpected as it was delightful.

The Indian economy experienced a massive shock with the announcement that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes will no longer be legal tender starting from just a few hours after the announcement. An astounding 86 percent of all currency was rendered worthless for transactions, and only the remaining 14 percent was expected to serve for a short term (hopefully) the myriad purposes that money usually serves in an economy. A monetary shock of that magnitude cannot but have complex intended and unintended consequences. Continue reading

Freedom is an acquired taste

I am convinced that freedom is an acquired taste, somewhat like dietary preferences. People brought up in a vegetarian households are likely to prefer vegetarian food. People brought up free tend to prefer freedom and those brought up under command structures, prefer that. Muslims apparently prefer the stifling, humanity-denying strictures of Islam that non-Muslims generally find horrifying. Continue reading

AMA: the “What I Profess” edition

Dashboard "Bobble head" Jesus
Dashboard “Bobble head” Jesus

This is a confession of my beliefs on a variety of subjects, some fundamental and some derivative. It partly answers the question “who am I?” and goes some way in demonstrating that the matters I profess have coherence, consistency and structural integrity. I will first introduce them as a list and then expand on each item as needed. I will keep this preamble brief as I expect that I will learn much about myself in the writing of this personal piece. This ┬áis a personal confession; expect liberal use of the first person pronoun. Continue reading

Diwali Greetings

ns454 Diwali Greetings. I wish you a joyous and prosperous New Year.

I am going to be celebrating Diwali on board a flight from SFO to Seoul, on my way to Mumbai. When I arrive Monday night, flying across India I am sure to see fireworks from the air.

UPDATE Nov 1st: Arrived at the Mumbai airport early morning today.

Politics by Principle, not Interest

Politics by Principle, not Interest
Politics by Principle, not Interest

From the description of the book “Politics by Principle, not Interest” (1998) by James Buchanan and Roger Congleton.

“The very logic of majority rule implies unequal treatment or discrimination. If left unconstrained, majority coalitions will promote the interests of their own members at the expense of other persons. This book focuses on the effects of applying a generality constraint on the political process. Under this requirement, majorities would be constitutionally prohibited from treating different persons and groups differently. The generality principle is familiar in that all persons are to be treated equally. In summary, this book extends the generality norm to politics. Continue reading

The Preamble to Iceland’s New Constitution

The most important thing for the constitution of any civilized society is the guarantee that it provides that all people are treated equally and without discrimination by the government. The other bits follow logically from that principle.

And the back story to that is here. (I don’t like the video style of getting multiple people to say bits of a sentence — it’s tiresome and distracting.)

America’s Moment of Truth

We’ll know on Nov 8th which fork in the road ahead the US takes. Since I value freedom, I cannot ever support either of the major parties but I hope that Clinton does not win. But it looks like she will. Anyway, here’s my favorite commentator, Pat Condell, on what’s in store for the US.