AMA Reply: Universal Basic Income

Money, money, money. Must be funny. It's a rich man's world. Aki asked, “What are your thoughts on universal basic income?”

We could start with the definition of “universal basic income” (UBI) which the Wiki says is “a form of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, in addition to any income received from elsewhere.” Continue reading “AMA Reply: Universal Basic Income”

Getting There from Here

You can't always get what you want
No way, Jose.
James Burke tells a story about a time when he and his team were lost in some place in Ireland. This was before Google maps and mobile phones. They asked a local for directions to some place who replied in all seriousness, “To get there, I wouldn’t start from here.”

The humor in that statement arises from the fact that to get anywhere at all you have to start from where you are, and not some ideal place that you are not at. You have to make do with what you have, and not what you should ideally have to get the job done but in fact you don’t. Continue reading “Getting There from Here”

Ask Me Anything: “The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words” Edition

The description of this video says, “The whole world was watching for the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States: Donald J. Trump. Because we realize it’s better for us to get along, we decided to introduce our tiny country to him. In a way that will probably appeal to him the most.” Hilarious.

Now that the humor and silliness is done, it’s time to get serious. What’s on your mind?

Why does India grow so fast if its education system is so poor?

educationWe have to admit that India’s education system gets an F grade. India does not feature in any of the world rankings of universities. Sure there is a lot of hype about the IITs but aside from the delusions of the seriously uninformed, the IITs don’t add up to a hill of beans. I have been writing about IITs on this blog for a over a decade. Here’s one — IITs are not what they are cracked up to be, which is likely to stick in the craw of many IITians.

If India’s education system, including higher education, is so poor then how is it that it is one of the fastest growing large economy?
Continue reading “Why does India grow so fast if its education system is so poor?”

Hanson’s essay on “Trump and the American Divide”

Make America Great Again
Make America Great Again

Victor Davis Hanson, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford University, wrote a long piece for the Winter 2017 issue of City Journal magazine titled “Trump and the American Divide.” I find reading a well-written, thoughtful long piece in a magazine more interesting and informative than a few dozen breathlessly written newspapers short pieces. Good long pieces take time to write and are usually written a reasonable interval after the event(s), which allows both the writer and the reader a wider perspective. Continue reading “Hanson’s essay on “Trump and the American Divide””

Ludwig von Mises on Socialism

lvm-human-action“A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings. To stress this point is the task of economics as it is the task of biology and chemistry to teach that potassium cyanide is not a nutriment but a deadly poison.”

Source: Human Action. Ludwig von Mises. Yale University Press. 1949, 1998, 2010

Maya, Moksha, Nama and Rupa

Maya

Pondering the fact of death, I am reminded that impermanence is a central feature of the world we live in. The phenomenal world — of things and events — is called maya in the dharmic traditions (namely Jain, Hindu, Buddhist & Sikh.)

The world is maya. Many people simply translate it as “ the world is an illusion” but that is incorrect. The world is real. Maya does not mean that the world is unreal or that it is an illusion. It means something like this: the world as we perceive it is not what the world actually is. We cannot directly perceive the reality that is at the foundation of what exists. That reality is given a word — Brahman. Most of us cannot comprehend the Brahman because we are limited beings. Continue reading “Maya, Moksha, Nama and Rupa”

Material and Cosmological Beliefs

nataraja2I am a Hindu.

In what sense am I a Hindu? Does what I read, write, wear and consume make me a Hindu? I think, read and write in English, I wear Western style clothing, I live in a Western country, etc. Even then I am a Hindu at the core of my being.

What defines me as a Hindu is my core belief system. How I comprehend the world is what determines whether I am a Hindu or not. The important distinction here is between “material beliefs” and “cosmological beliefs.” Continue reading “Material and Cosmological Beliefs”

The Ownership Society — Revisited

deg320 The idea of “empowering” people was all the rage a few years ago. The answer to all of India’s woes, it seems, lay in empowering people, whatever that meant. I thought it was basically stupid. Why? Because people who are not free in any meaningful sense of the word cannot be empowered. Here’s what I wrote back in October 2005 on what is an “Ownership Society.” Brief excerpt follows: Continue reading “The Ownership Society — Revisited”