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.
“A demoralized, timid, and hopeless mass bullied and crushed by every dominant interest and incapable of resistance.” Who said this about whom and when? Continue reading
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 topic of the Taliban gaining control of Pakistan is hot this summer. Newspaper editors are busy with lots of serious hand-wringing and mopping of sweaty foreheads. An editorial writer at the New York Times is obviously worried to distraction, it appears from the opinion piece of 27th April, “60 Miles from Islamabad.” Continue reading
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.
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.  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
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.
The Acorn says that now is the time to drop trade barriers with Pakistan.
Pakistan’s economy is in a tailspin. Since the second last thing that the international community wants in Pakistan is an economic meltdown, Friends of Pakistan are coming together to provide emergency foreign aid.
The “Friends of Pakistan are “Britain, France, Germany, the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Turkey, Australia and Italy plus the United Nations and the European Union.” Among these are nations — US, China, the Arab states, France, Britain — that give aid to Pakistan. The military component of the aid is what Pakistan uses to initiate and fight bloody wars with India. India, a desperately poor country, cannot afford these costly wars but it has to fight them because the Friends of Pakistan want that India bleeds. Pakistan is the instrument.
The op-ed “India can’t afford to fall victim to psywar” in the New Indian Express of Sept 19th did not make much sense to me. I find the entire piece confusing. Perhaps I am simple-minded and cannot navigate through contradictions, or perhaps because it is an “op-ed by committee,” signed by 20 prominent people.
SOME stray voices in the media have been questioning, with surprising nonchalance and lack of depth, the wisdom and expediency of retaining Kashmir as a part of India. This matters not because such voices reflect any growing view in our country but because they play into the hands of enemies of the nation. Their suggestions embolden subversive forces both within and outside the country, and encourage our adversaries to entertain the hope that with a little more effort, Kashmir will secede from India.
Thanks to you all who wrote to ask why the hiatus in blogging. I was very busy with reading and thinking. The problem apparently is that I can either write or I can think — but not both at the same time 🙂
Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, is what kept me busy. Reading Paine is an intellectual delight for me because I keep marveling how closely my ideas mirror his. I was hooked from the first line in the introduction to the pamphlet: Continue reading