Individual Freedom and Bondage

0781_8477First post of 2014 and therefore sets the tone for the rest of the year — freedom. Individual freedom. Actually, freedom is about individuals. Collectives are really an abstraction and in reality only individuals exist. So to say that a particular collective is free — Indians or Americans or Africans — what is really meant is that each individual in that collective is free. The question is: what is the individual free from? From coercion by other individuals. The following is an opinion piece published last month in Niti Central.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2014.
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Leadership through inheritance is a compelling sign of a poor or a declining nation

Ruling a banana republic does not require special qualifications

Item: Captain John Wright, 58, is retiring as a senior pilot. He has had a distinguished flying career with 35 years of sitting in the left hand seat in the cockpit, much of it of heavies like the Boeing 747s and Airbus 340s. But it’s time that he hangs up his wings and retires from a job well done. Bluesky Air, the airline that Captain Wright served so competently, has announced that on Capt Wright’s retirement next month, his seat will be occupied by his son Jack. Jack will move from his job as a janitor at Burger King to be the chief pilot at Bluesky Air. He will fly the planes that his father flew.
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On constitutions and the generality principle

This is the continuation of the previous piece on the government creating and profiting from conflict. This piece was originally published at Niti Central on Dec 3rd. Here it is, for the record. Continue reading “On constitutions and the generality principle”

Profiting from Conflict — The Monkey and the Cats

This question has bothered me for a long time: Why are there riots and other forms of social unrest in India? Are Indians intrinsically unsocial or is there a structural reason for this? What is it in its political makeup that there is inter-group conflict? I explored that question in a piece I wrote for Niti Central a few days ago. I am posting it here, for the record.
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The Indian mission to Mars is a Waste

Countries, as much as individuals, have to allocate limited resources rationally. Even those tasks that have net benefits have to be considered in relation to the net benefits of other tasks that could instead have been done — the simple idea of opportunity costs explored in the previous post, “The Importance of Prioritizing and Sequenceing.” In the following I argue why India’s mission to Mars is a waste of valuable resources.
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The importance of Prioritizing and Sequencing

Our successes and failures are a consequence of the choices we make, individually and collectively. Consistently good choices made over extended periods of time lead to success, barring any unfortunate and unanticipated circumstances. I explored that idea in a recent column at Niti Central. Here it is, for the record.
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