Here’s what the video above is about: Continue reading
No sufficiently distant goal is achieved in one big step. But take enough number of small steps in the correct direction consistently, and you are guaranteed to reach your destination.
Recall the “digital” solution that Ajit, the archetypal Bollywood villain of the past, once adopted to get rid of the hero. He told his minions that they should put the hero in a computer. Why, the puzzled minions asked. Ajit said, “Bit by bit mar jayega.”
Indians are also getting that digital solution — where the means are technological and the end appears to be their total enslavement to the state. The government has all the powers that it needs to be in absolute control of what the citizens are allowed to do, what they must do, and what they must not do. It is using those powers, bit by bit. And the citizens merely adjust to the government control of their lives without protest.
“At the heart of economics is a scientific mystery: How is it that the pricing system accomplishes the world’s work without anyone being in charge? Like language, no one invented it. None of us could have invented it, and its operation depends in no way on anyone’s comprehension or understanding of it. … The pricing system–How is order produced from freedom of choice?–is a scientific mystery as deep, fundamental and inspiring as that of the expanding universe or the forces that bind matter.”
There are fundamental facts about the nature of the world we live in which are unalterable by human desire or action. Conservation laws are an example of this. You cannot get something for nothing, on the aggregate. Certainly, A can get something for nothing but only if someone else, B, gets nothing for something.
When the government gives something to some identifiable group, it cannot do so without taking (usually by force) from some other person or group. On the aggregate, the government does not produce the goodies it distributes. It merely takes through taxation what it intends to distribute, keeps part of it for its own consumption and distributes the remaining (often a very small part of what it takes) to certain groups to buy their allegiance. Continue reading
Here’s wishing you a happy and prosperous Diwali.
A bit about what Diwali is about from a previous year’s post follows. Continue reading
Death and Taxes
In 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
I beg to differ. Unlike the certainty of death which is imposed by nature, taxes are entirely man-made and therefore avoidable. But most people accept taxes with the same resignation as they do the inevitability of death, and by this uncritical passive acceptance of taxes they acquiesce in the persistence of a system that is positively harmful to personal well-being and social welfare. What’s worse, they consider taxes to be a social good.
The existence and persistence of bad institutions and norms can only be attributed to wrong ways of thinking and acting. An inverted view of reality that considers what’s harmful as beneficial causes untold avoidable harm. Continue reading
As commercial airlines go, Air India is nothing to write home about. Air India ranked third-worst performing airline in the world, reported Economic Times in Jan 2017. Air India’s all-round dismal performance–customer service, timeliness, cabin service, heavy commercial losses, etc., etc.–is not surprising considering that it is a Government of India enterprise. Nothing that the GOI does is ever done competently and well. The bureaucrats and politicians are perhaps the least competent in the world, barring a few African banana republics. Continue reading