Disasters, Price Gouging, Greed, Ignorance, and Stupidity

You can bet on this fact: that occasionally there will be natural disasters like floods, fires, and earthquakes. You can also bet on a follow-on fact: that in those places, prices of essential goods and services will go up. And finally you can bet your life on this: that popular accusations of price gouging by greedy corporations and windfall profits will motivate politicians and bureaucrats to impose price controls.

Of all the harm that a natural disaster brings in its wake, one of the most harmful and the most avoidable is the deliberate, the imposition of price controls. It’s entirely human-caused. There is no justification. The move to control prices is based on ignorance of reality, a desire to do good, to signal a virtuous concern for the plight of the poor. It is wrongheaded and outright evil in its consequences. Continue reading

S Gurumurthy is a True Gandhian

Kerala floods have washed up more than the debris and garbage you normally expect. It has revealed S Gurumurthy to be a true Gandhian.

Here’s a tweet of his that Gandhi would have approved of.

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Right to Bear Arms

I respect two former prime minsters of India — Shri PV Narasimha Rao and Shri AB Vajpayee. If only they had had the mandate to make those fundamental changes that they wanted to make. Both, unfortunately, did not have the necessary popular support in the parliament. And equally unfortunately, those prime ministers who did have massive parliamentary support did not have the vision to put India on a path to prosperity. Indians collectively suffer very bad karma.

But I am thankful for small mercies. Today I learned that Shri Vajpayee supported the right to self defense and wanted Indians to have the right to bear arms. (Hat tip: Akshar Prabhu Desai.)  Continue reading

A Bit of Fry

I confess that I am a youtube glutton. If ever there was a reason for my lack of progress at work, it’s youtube. But as they say, wasting time doing what is fun is not a waste of time. There are hundreds of topics that interest me, and scores of amazing people whose videos I simply love. Too many musicians, thinkers, teachers, and on and on. One of those people is Stephen Fry. He’s funny, wise, interesting, a brilliant raconteur and an

amazing debater.

One of my favorites is where Stephen Fry opposes the motion “The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World.” in an Intelligence2 debate. It’s 20 minutes of sheer delight. The man’s eloquence is breathtaking. Watch.  Continue reading

Why I will not pull the lever

The trolley problem posits the scenario that the trolley would kill five unsuspecting people along its tracks but by pulling a lever it can be sent along a different route where only one person would get killed.

Would you pull the lever?

The trolley problem is a hypothetical intended to provoke discussion and to illuminate moral dilemmas that people face in real life. In my view, it is good to work through hypothetical so as to arrive on general principles that could be applied if the situation arises. It could spare one pointless agonizing and indecision. Continue reading