One World Everybody Eats

My friend Prakash told me about a movement which runs cafes where the rule is pay-what-you-can. The One World Everybody Eats has “more than 60 pay-what-you-can community cafes operating in America, and over 50 others are in the planning stages in six countries.”

The deal is that you eat what’s on offer at the cafe and then pay whatever you wish. They claim that no one is turned away. They note on their website,

Healthy, dignified dining is available to everyone who walks into our cafes, including the nearly 50 million people in America who are experiencing food insecurity, utilizing social programs, and who don’t know where their next meal will come from.

Prakash wanted to know what I thought of the idea. He said that the cafes are “overall profitable.” Continue reading “One World Everybody Eats”

How to Make Medical Services More Affordable

The simple answer to the question, “how to make medical services more affordable?”, is to remove all government-imposed barriers to entry in the medical services area. This should be a no-brainer but unfortunately it isn’t. Not just in medical services, but in every kind of human enterprise, all government-imposed barriers to entry should be discarded.

Let’s invoke a general principle, or a law if you will, of economics. All price controls are pernicious. Mandating price ceiling is bad, as are price floors. Nothing good can ever come out of it. Why? Because they create barriers to entry and exit. They impede the functioning of a free market. Just to be sure what we mean by a “free market”, it’s one in which there are no barriers to entry or exit. In free markets, all voluntary trades are mutually beneficial. In technical terms, Pareto optimal outcomes obtain in free markets. What’s Pareto optimality? It’s a situation such that you cannot make anyone better off though any intervention without making at least one person worse off. Continue reading “How to Make Medical Services More Affordable”

Democracy, Taxes and Bullshit

I am a fan of Princeton philosopher Prof Harry Frankfurt’s book On Bullshit in which he proposes “to begin the development of a theoretical understanding of bullshit, mainly by providing some tentative and exploratory philosophical analysis. … My aim is simply to give a rough account of what bullshit is and how it differs from what it is not”. Continue reading “Democracy, Taxes and Bullshit”

An 1980 interview with Hayek

This is a Friedrich Hayek interview by Bernard Levin at the University of Freiburg which was broadcast in May 1980. Hayek was, in my professional opinion, one of the greatest economists of all times. We are wonderfully privileged to be able to watch videos of his brilliant exposition on the web. I am also impressed by Mr Levin; he does his job as the interviewer magnificently. Continue reading “An 1980 interview with Hayek”

100th Anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre aka the Amritsar Massacre was done on April 13th, 1919, one hundred years ago.

General Dyer’s soldiers, the ones who murdered unarmed innocents were Sikh, Gurkha, Baluchi, Rajput troops from 2-9th Gurkhas, the 54th Sikhs and the 59th Sind Rifles. Indians murdered wholesale Indians at the command of a foreigner. How morally depraved can a people become.

Truth be told, Indians have always helped the invaders — Islamic and British — to kill Indians. It’s cultural. It’s shameful. It’s morally detestable.

The Supermassive Blackhole in M87

A couple of days ago, a picture of a black hole’s silhouette taken by the Event Horizon Telescope (ETH) was unveiled. The black hole is at the center of the galaxy Messier 87 which is around 55 million light years from earth. The black hole is huge — around 7 billion times the mass of the sun.

The National Geographic reports:

The new image is the stunning achievement of the Event Horizon Telescope project, a global collaboration of more than 200 scientists using an array of observatories scattered around the world, from Hawaii to the South Pole. Combined, this array acts like a telescope the size of Earth, and it was able to collect more than a petabyte of data while staring at M87’s black hole in April 2017. It then took two years for scientists to assemble the mugshot.

It also includes a video on “Black Hole 101“. Continue reading “The Supermassive Blackhole in M87”

David Deutsch – Can Science Provide Ultimate Answers?

David Deutsch of Oxford University is my favorite physicist. He’s sharp as a tack, and sensible to boot. It’s always a pleasure to watch his videos on Robert Kuhn’s “Closer to Truth” youtube channel. Here’s one that I particularly like where he addresses the question “what are the limits of science?”