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 →
One of the benefits of living in a security-state aka mass surveillance state or Big Brother State is that one is constantly under the threat of being put under the microscope and dissected. Benefit? Nope. For those who love freedom, mass surveillance is a cancerous evil that should be resisted.
I came across a May 2015 article You’re a Criminal in a Mass Surveillance World – How to Not Get Caught by David Montgomery. It’s immensely long. But its length is absolutely required to get across the important issues it deals with — how to live in a society where mass surveillance is the norm. I am extracting a bit from that article. A small step toward freedom from Big Brother is to get a secure email channel. Here’s how. Continue reading →
Leadership is endogenous to the system which selects them. Leaders emerge from within the system and gain legitimacy through the acceptance of the people within the system. Thus there are two components: the people and the system. Both are causally related to some extent but can be considered separate for analysis.
Bad leadership cannot emerge out of a good system with good people in it. Conversely, good leadership cannot emerge from a bad system and bad people.
That leaves two other scenarios: good people, bad system; and bad people, good system. My conjecture is that in both of those, bad leadership is very likely to happen. Continue reading →
Public talk by Anuj Dhar. Author and researcher of events connected to Netaji’s life and times. Students, professionals and anyone interested in the history of post-independence India are welcome to the talk.
About Anuj Dhar (wiki): Indian author and former journalist, Dhar has published several books on the death of Subhas Chandra Bose which (according to official and academic views) occurred on 18 August 1945, when a Japanese plane carrying him crashed in Japanese-occupied Taiwan. Dhar claims in his books that there was no air crash and that Bose actually died in the 1980s after living as hermit monk named “Gumnami Baba Bhagwanji” in Faizabad. Dhar is also the founder-trustee of New Delhi-based not for profit organisation Mission Netaji.
The event is free.
Sep 23, 2017, 10 AM to Noon.
Venue: Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies [SIMS]
Range Hills Road, Khadki, Near Military Hospital, Pune – 411020, India
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Post script: I have no interest in the matter. Perhaps NSCB died in 1945 or maybe he did not. I am not familiar with Anuj Dhar’s work. But I am mystified by one thing: why would NSCB do what Dhar claims he did? If he indeed was alive all those decades when Nehru and his spawn ruled India, why did he not oppose their misgovernance? For all the effect he had over those years that Dhar claims NSCB was alive, it basically amounts to the same thing as he having perished in a plane crash. In fact Gamnami Baba Bhagwanji appears to have had the same impact on India as I had over those years — namely zero.
The lack of basic competence among those who hold political power is very likely one of the primary reasons that some nations suffer needless poverty. The recent cabinet reshuffle (is it a deck of cards in a game of chance that it needs periodic reshuffling, I wonder) in the Modi government prompted this line of thought.