The US Elections Are a Spectacular Sideshow

The US presidential elections are scheduled for next week Tuesday, Nov 6th. A lot hangs on the outcome for the US — and perhaps the world. In a piece that I wrote a few days ago for, I argue that its importance for India is overblown since what happens in the US does not materially affect India’s fortunes. For the record, here it is below the fold. If you wish to comment, please do so on NitiCentral.
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Common Sense

I was on the phone with my friend JP, talking about how extraordinarily successful the United States has been. I believe that part of that success arises from extraordinary luck. Around the time when the US became an independent nation, it had a bunch of amazingly wise people guiding it. As in the case of individuals — what one inherits is a random draw from the lottery of creation — so also for nations: the endowments that a nation is born with is random and exogenous. Among the giants who are called the “founding fathers” (a much abused phrase applied without justification to others in other nations) of the United States was an Englishman named Thomas Paine.
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The Religion of Peace — Part 4,746,225

CANDLELIGHT: A Buddhist woman prayed in front of a Buddha sculpture in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Wednesday. Bangladesh’s High Court has asked the government to explain why officials failed to protect minority Buddhists whose homes, temples and businesses were attacked after a picture of a burned Quran was posted on Facebook. (Andrew Biraj/Reuters)

Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain

Paraphrasing the German poet, historian and playwright Friedrich Schiller (1759 – 1805), you can say that against ridicule even the gods struggle in vain. While Sonia Maino and her family still appear to be largely unscathed from all the scandals enveloping the supremely corrupt Congress party, her son-in-law is the target of some well-deserved ridicule. It is interesting to note that the main stream media in India still does not have the guts to report the truth. It is therefore the social media which has taken on the burden of shaming the guilty through ridicule.
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Sex-selection is a good thing

Over at Quartz, my piece on the topic of sex-selection in India is titled, “Why Indian parents should be allowed to choose whether to have girls.” Writers often don’t have control over the titles of pieces but this one is not bad compared to the really lousy title of my piece in NitiCentral published yesterday which should have been titled “Sonia Gandhi’s travels are more mysterious than the Shroud of Turin & costlier than going to Mars.” C’est la vie and all that. Anyway, an extended excerpt below the fold.
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Sonia Gandhi’s travels are more mysterious than the Shroud of Turin & costlier than going to Mars

Sonia Gandhi’s travels are more mysterious than the Shroud of Turin & costlier than going to Mars. That should have been the title of my piece on NitiCentral — but it is not. Go read it all.

Five Exciting Classes offered by Stanford University for Free

John Mitchell, Vice Provost for Online Learning , Stanford University announces five more exciting classes offered by Stanford University for free. Here is the list:
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Happy Gandhi Jayanti

Shri Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as the “mahatma,” was born on this day October 2nd in 1869. Popular opinion associates Gandhi with non-violence. I differ. I believe that poverty engenders more violence against innocent humans than any other single cause or condition. Perhaps he genuinely was against violence but what Gandhi achieved resulted in unimaginable violence.
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