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”

Margaret Thatcher’s Tribute to Friedrich von Hayek

To mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of Friedrich Hayek‘s The Road to Serfdom, several of Hayek’s personal items were auctioned at Sotheby’s in London on March 19th.

Hayek, together with Gunnar Myrdal (the economist from the opposing camp), was awarded the “Nobel Memorial Prize” (not really a Nobel prize) in 1974. At Sotheby’s auction, Hayek’s award citation and gold medal went for over $1.5 million.[1]

Although the Nobel prize[2] gave renewed vigor to the then 75-year old Hayek, he was absolutely clear that economists should not be honored with prestigious prizes. “Nobel Prize confers on an individual an authority which in economics no man ought to possess,” he said. Continue reading “Margaret Thatcher’s Tribute to Friedrich von Hayek”

Whoever Fights Monsters …

I was one of Narendra Modi’s biggest fans.

I supported his candidature as the prime minister of India years before he became the phenomenon during the 2014 general elections in India. I can honestly claim that to the extent that I could I even worked indirectly for the Modi campaign.

Sadly, I am no longer a supporter. My support was based on the promises that Modi had made about the policy changes he would make if he were to become the PM. Professionally as a development economist — right from the very inception of the discipline of economics my tribe seeks to understand the nature and causes of the wealth of nations — I am interested in India’s economic development. Not just professionally, personally I am moved by the pity I feel for the poor and impoverished of the world and naturally India, my native land. My support for Modi was contingent and instrumental. I believed Modi would do what was needed to transform India into a developed nation. I wrote a damn book on “Transforming India” in 2011.

The fact is that Modi had made many promises, most of which were pleasing to classical liberals like me. We believed those promises because they were consistent with our beliefs and ideologies — limited government, prohibiting the  government from running commercial enterprises, non-discrimination, secularism, etc. Continue reading “Whoever Fights Monsters …”

Sardar Patel, Power, Persuasion and Statue

The Sardar Patel statue, also called “The Statue of Unity” which is to be unveiled tomorrow Oct 31st, is the biggest statue in the world at 182 meters tall. Built at the cost of Rs 3000 crores, it must be impressive to behold because of its sheer size. It is supposed to represent unity of the nation and to be a tribute to a great man who united India.

Maybe that’s so. But to me, it represents the power that those in government use to force people to do their bidding. Certainly, it’s not the worst form of naked tyranny like marching people off to the gulags to be worked until they die but it is something that reasonable leaders of a free people should never do. It is a shameful display of a gigantic ego and the misuse of power. Continue reading “Sardar Patel, Power, Persuasion and Statue”

Shourie’s Address at Mumbai on 12th September

A number of Rotary Clubs of Mumbai had invited Shri Shourie to address them on the evening of Wednesday 12th Sept, 2018 at the Yacht Club in Colaba. The following is a report of what he said. I lay out the main points. I believe I have faithfully recorded the ideas. 

For the record, I admire Shri Shourie immensely. I respect him for his integrity, knowledge, wisdom, scholarship, work ethic, and his tireless dedication to the nation. A brilliant raconteur, his wit never fails to entertain even as he informs. Also for the record, the following should not be taken as endorsed by him. It’s my recounting and could differ (but not substantially) from what he actually meant. With that disclaimer, here goes. Continue reading “Shourie’s Address at Mumbai on 12th September”

The Catholic Church is Force for Good in the World

I love a good debate, and naturally so because I am the argumentative kind. Most of all, I like debates centered around religion.. The line dividing the opposing sides is sharp, and the positions irreconcilable. I delight in the skewering that monotheism takes in them.

A superb example of that is the intelligence2 debate in which the proposition before the house was “The Catholic church is a force for good in the world.” Opposing the motion were Steven Fry and Christopher Hitchens. For sure they are masters of their mother tongue, and more pertinently they are implacably opposed to the Catholic church.  Continue reading “The Catholic Church is Force for Good in the World”

A Bit of Fry

I confess that I am a youtube glutton. If ever there was a reason for my lack of progress at work, it’s youtube. But as they say, wasting time doing what is fun is not a waste of time. There are hundreds of topics that interest me, and scores of amazing people whose videos I simply love. Too many musicians, thinkers, teachers, and on and on. One of those people is Stephen Fry. He’s funny, wise, interesting, a brilliant raconteur and an

amazing debater.

One of my favorites is where Stephen Fry opposes the motion “The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World.” in an Intelligence2 debate. It’s 20 minutes of sheer delight. The man’s eloquence is breathtaking. Watch.  Continue reading “A Bit of Fry”