Different Standards for Different Folks

F. Scott Fitzgerald had noted that “the rich are different from you and me.” Ernest Hemmingway agreed and said, “Yes, they have more money.” Having more money is a significant difference because the most important of its derivate effects is that they have more power. The concerns of the rich are more important; their pain is more acute; their viewpoint is more worthy of consideration; their comprehension of the world more accurate. As Tevya, the poor farmer in The Fiddler on the Roof notes while dreaming of being a rich man, “When you’re rich, they think you really know.”
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The Iran-India Pipe Bomb

No very deep knowledge of economics is usually needed for grasping the immediate effects of a measure; but the task of economics is to foretell the remoter effects, and so to allow us to avoid such acts as attempts to remedy a present ill by sowing the seeds of a much greater ill for the future. —- Ludwig von Mises

Indian policy makers’ optimism is matched only by their short-sightedness when it comes to dealing with matters of national security. To recount all the instances when they have been caught with their pants down would require a book-length treatment, not a short few paragraphs on a blog. But I cannot pass up the latest blunder in the making. I hope that I don’t have to say I told you so in a few years’ time. I hope I am wrong in my analysis but I am afraid that I will be proved right.
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The Care and Feeding of the Permanent Arms Industry — Part 2

There must be a cheaper method of ensuring security for India. I am referring to the talk that is going around about the US selling F-16 fighter planes to India. I don’t know how much they cost exactly but I guess that they go for about a $100 million a piece. India may end up getting about 125 of them from the US for a whopping $10 billion. There is much rejoicing going on in some circles at that prospect. For me, that is one of the most depressing news going around.
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The Care and Feeding of the Permanent Arms Industry

Don’t let me stop your great self-destruction.
Die if you want to, you misguided martyr.
I wash my hands of your demolition.
Die if you want to, you innocent puppet!

————– Pilate to Jesus at the trial in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Fact: A permanent arms industry requires perpetual wars for its sustenance.

Fact: The most advanced industrialized economies have the most high-tech industries.

Fact: The arms industry is one of the most intensively high-tech industries.

Final fact: The US has the most sophisticated high-tech armaments industry.
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The Unbearable Silliness of Loving One’s Enemy

Anant in a recent comment on this blog concluded with the seemingly wise statement “to revenge is pleasure, to forgive divine.” I say seemingly wise because it does not withstand any level of scrutiny. Forgiving an enemy may or may not be a very wise principle if you are dealing with an individual. Being magnanimous towards someone who in a momentary lapse of reason has harmed you could be a good strategy if the person realizes his folly and is genuinely sorry about his aberrant behavior. But it could be counterproductive if a priori a person knows that forgiveness will be forthcoming irrespective of how badly he behaves. In such cases, pious hopes that forgiving someone is divine only leads to less than desirable social outcomes.
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India’s Development and the Terrorist State of Pakistan

Economic development is a complex matter which touches every aspect of a society, public as well as private, domestic as well as foreign. One cannot seek to understand (and subsequently act to change) the existing order by narrowly focusing on a just a few aspects of development. It is in that spirit of eclectic investigation that I recently wrote on the true weapons of mass destruction. Understanding conflict and how to minimize conflict is as important to development as the use of IT tools and other such mundane matters.
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The Military-Industrial Complex

Over fourty-three years ago in January 1961, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address warned of the dangers of the “military-industrial complex”. In view of the upcoming US presidential elections and the global conflict that the US is engaged in, I think it is appropriate to carefully consider what he had to say. Continue reading