I like Daniel Hannan’s analysis and his position on matters political. From 1999 to 2020 he was a Member of European Parliament (MEP) for South East England. Here’s a short opinion piece he published yesterday at the John Locke Institute website.
“Free trade, the greatest blessing a government can bestow on a people, is in almost every country unpopular”, wrote Lord Macaulay in 1824. Since then, average global incomes have risen, at a conservative estimate, by 3,000 per cent – having previously barely sloped upwards at all. Globalisation and open markets have been miraculous poverty-busters. Take any measure you like: literacy, longevity, infant mortality, female education, calorie intake, height. Continue reading
Today is Saraswati Puja. And also Kamadeva Puja, the deva I am named after. Kamadeva is also “Atanu” — meaning “one without a body.”
On this day, we Hindus worship Devi Saraswati. Bengalis traditionally place books and pens next to an image of Ma Saraswati. She is always associated with learning and music. She is depicted playing the veena and holding a book in her lower left hand. She has to be one of my favorite Devis because I like to learn and I like music intensely.
Bengalis believe that one can have either Ma Saraswati’s blessings or Ma Lakshmi’s blessings but not both. Meaning you can either be learned or you can be rich but not both. I accepted that uncritically when I was little but when I grew up I realized that that cannot be true. Without learning there cannot be creation of wealth, and without wealth there cannot be learning. Continue reading
This week in my online class “How the World Works – an Introduction,” I introduced a few basic economics concepts — starting with the easy to understand law of demand and supply. We call it a law but it is not the same sort of thing we call laws in the natural sciences. Social sciences are qualitatively different from the physical sciences like physics and zoology. Societies are not machines made of inert matter engineered by designers; societies are ecosystems of organisms that have minds which have volition and act purposefully to achieve their goals.
Social engineering — the deliberate transformation of an entire society according to some design — is doomed to failure because people are not inanimate objects that can be manipulated at will. The basic difficulty boils down to a lack of knowledge and the open-ended nature of the future. Nobody has the required knowledge of the present conditions of every person in society and the future state of the society. Continue reading