The Internet as the Great Truth-seeking Machine

rashomon Rashomon

After I watched the movie Argo, I had a one of those Rashomon moments, a realization that there is more to the story than was related to you. You may recall Rashomon (1950) introduced the master movie director Akira Kurosawa to the wider world. Set in medieval Japan, it is the story of the rape of a woman and subsequent mutually inconsistent accounts told about the incident by various eye-witnesses. According to Kurosawa, there are no particular truths, no definitive version of what actually happened at a particular time and place. What is recalled and later told depends on the observer and the particular vantage point.
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Hauled from the archives: The Three-ring Anti-corruption Circus is in Town

Dumbo is in town
Elephants
Alright, time to get down to some serious work. The weekend is here and I have places to go, people to meet. And of course I have to get back to reading and writing. So while I do that, here’s one old post hauled from the archives. It’s from August 2011 and titled “The Three-ring Anti-corruption Circus is in Town.

Below the fold I quote a bit from the start of that post to lure the reader into the tent.
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Buildings Don’t Matter, Intentions Do

calI. UC Berkeley

My alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley, is an extraordinary place. It consistently ranks among the top few universities in the world. The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked it fourth overall—behind Harvard, Stanford and MIT. It ranks world’s second best in science, and third best in engineering, and in social sciences.
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Why Socialism Fails – Part 1

Ken Olson, co-founder of Digital Equipment Corp, said in 1977, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Even very smart people sometimes make statements which, in retrospect, are proven to be ridiculously mistaken. Technology is hard to predict, partly because innovation which drives its evolution is by definition unpredictable. Those foolhardy enough to make predictions about technology get generally ridiculed years later when everyone knows what no one knew before. Hindsight is awesomely accurate while foresight often misses the barn, leave alone the target painted on it.
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Ideas dictate the destiny of economies

What is poverty? Who’s a poor person? What’s a rich economy? These questions have engaged some of the brightest people for centuries — and no doubt it will continue to fascinate some for centuries. My answer to what is poverty is simple: poverty is a lack of stuff. A poor person is one who does not have enough stuff. It is a technical word. You may not see it used very extensively elsewhere but stuff is a very important word.

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The End of Work: An Essay on the Dawning of the Post-work World

“The progress of civilization can be measured by how many people are available to not do any work. The trend has been that of an increasing number of (as well as a larger percentage of) people that don’t have to work. The lower the percentage of people in it that work, the better off the civilization.” Continue reading “The End of Work: An Essay on the Dawning of the Post-work World”

Favorite Bits from the Archives: Competition

Competition on the supply side is good if you are on the demand side, and competition on the demand side is good if you are on the supply side. Otherwise competition is evil. That is why governments of third world countries limit competition on the supply side — the better to extract rents from the economy.
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Favorite bits from the archive: Types of Government

India is very widely celebrated as having a democratic government. India’s government can also be accurately described another way. A kakistocracy is defined as government by the most corrupt and the least principled. As India’s case clearly demonstrates, the two are not mutually incompatible.
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The Dollar Auction: Some Figures

I have maintained for a while that the reason that Pakistan gets propped up by the US and its allies is that India and Pakistan are engaged in a dollar auction game and therefore anytime Pakistan is about to go bankrupt (and therefore be unable to continue the game), the US and its allies rush to prop it up. How much money is involved in keeping Pakistan alive so that it can continue to wage jihad against India? Here are the figures from an article, “Fail, then reap rewards,” by Brahma Chellaney in the Deccan Chronicle. Continue reading “The Dollar Auction: Some Figures”

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