A Misplaced Sense of Pride

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, polymath, inventor, scientist, writer, diplomat, etc., etc., Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) observed that “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” An analogous statement about nations could be that all nations are born poor but it requires hard work to keep it in poverty. Not surprisingly that hard work is properly done by the politicians of poor countries. What’s surprising is the evident pride they appear to take in their dismal accomplishment. They obviously revel in the fact that the country is poor and proclaim it loudly for all to marvel at. A recent statement on twitter (image below) by the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India, retweeted over 1500 time no doubt approvingly by Indians, brought this to mind.
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Just deserts: India Deserves the Congress

In an opinion piece in the Financial Times of April 15th (hat tip: Sudipta), Razeen Sally writes that “the Congress deserves to lose the elections”. Right up front, Sally wrote about “the do-nothing, zero-reform record of Manmohan Singh, prime minister, and his government.”

I have an excerpt from the piece below the fold. I agree with the particulars that Sally (who is director of the European Centre for International Political Economy) mentions supporting the argument that Manmohan Singh is a singular disaster but I cannot agree with the title of the piece. Continue reading

The War and the Circus

Perhaps most humans are congenitally belligerent and can be reasonably expected to get into fights. But it takes institutionalized big businesses to create a war machine that raises ordinary human belligerence to levels of superhuman insanity. The war machine — and one can argue that indeed there is only one such thing but with a global reach, even though its components are multinational in the sense that people from various nations participate in their creation and maintenance — is so pervasive that it seems to be as natural, unchangeable, and logical as the seasons. Like the seasons, the war machine dictates how people carry on with their lives unquestioningly. People generally accept the war machine as naturally they do the seasons.
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In Praise of Dead White Men

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva’s recent accusation that the financial crisis was caused by “white people with blue eyes” at a joint press conference with UK Prime Minister Brown is illuminating if not entirely accurate. [1] Everyone involved in the financial crisis certainly does not have blue eyes, although they may all be uniformly white. Da Silva claimed that he had never met a black banker. Continue reading

Keith Hudson’s Lesson on the Present Crisis

I am privileged to be on Keith Hudson’s mailing list. He is an English polymath, a Renaissance Man in the strictest sense of the term. With his permission I am quoting from one of his musings on the present financial crisis. He quickly hones in on the systemic trouble at the base of the problem: that those who are in charge are incapable of comprehending the system, and the lag between the institutions of yesterday and today’s technical and scientifically advanced world.

Here, for the record, is an excerpt from Keith’s recent observations.
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