Robert Heilbroner (1919 - 2005) defined socialism as "a centrally planned economy in which the government controls all means of production." Why is Heilbroner worth quoting on this matter? Because he knew what he was talking about. He was a committed socialist all his life. He was a best-selling author. His book The Worldly Philosophers: The … Continue reading What is Socialism?
The human freedom index -- A Global Measurement of Personal, Civil and Economic Freedom -- of 2017 is out. There's India near the bottom of the list. Indians are not free -- but that's not news, is it? For a couple of centuries at least, Indians have not been free. This fact goes a long … Continue reading The Human Freedom Index 2017
In the list of historical figures I'd have loved to meet, Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 - 1859) figures near the top. Together with a close friend, he visited the United States at the age of 25 for only nine months. He went back to France and wrote a book. His book Democracy in America (in two volumes, De La … Continue reading Quote of the Day: Tocqueville on Self-interest
There are things we can accomplish as individuals and there are things that we can more effectively and efficiently achieve collectively. For the latter, we create what are called institutions to serve as instruments for getting things done. The lunch club introduced previously is a simple example of an institution. Institutions The club, like all … Continue reading The Wednesday Lunch Club
I'd like to explore a few important concepts like government, constitutions, democracy, etc. They are embedded in the fabric of Indian society. Taking a clear-eyed view of their genesis, nature, function, modes of failure, and implementation can be intellectually rewarding but more importantly it can help in creating the good society. I'll start with something … Continue reading Clubs and other Collectives (and the Welsh Incident)
In response to my piece "Censorship on the Internet", a friend from Mumbai emailed me two questions: "How should we look at issues like pornography. Is it okay to let people say/show what they want to and let children and other vulnerable groups see/listen to all that ?" and "How can India move in the … Continue reading Censorship on the Internet — Revisited
To a previous piece , "The End of Poverty", my friend Indradeep added a few thoughtful and thought-provoking comments. I take him seriously since he's a fellow member of my tribe (namely, economists). In the following, I will do my best to address the points that he has raised. But first, here's what I wrote … Continue reading The End of Poverty — Revisited