Conversation

On crypto-currencies

The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed. William Gibson, The Economist, 4/12/2003 The crypto-currency thing has been going for a while now, but this post has been precipitated by the recent story that the government of El Salvador has expressed the desire to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. Leaving aside theContinue reading “On crypto-currencies”

On people

Some years back, Wendell Berry published an essay collection with the pertinent title: What are people for? (Counterpoint, 2010; ISBN 978-1582434872), and it’s a very good question. What, according to the commonly-accepted values of our civilisation, are people for? Economists will tell you that people are producers and consumers of goods and services. But bothContinue reading “On people”

On homelessness

Those who had wanted to go home would never get there now. Wendell Berry, “The objective” There are many people in the industrialised world who currently have no fixed address – some of them voluntarily, but most of them not. Exactly how many depends on who you believe. Government statistics will naturally understate the figuresContinue reading “On homelessness”

On democracy

The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois. Gustave Flaubert The word “democracy” comes to us from the Greeks, and was originally a term of abuse. It means, literally, “mob rule”, as distinct from “aristocracy”, or “rule by the best people.” (Of course exactlyContinue reading “On democracy”

On superpowers

Hubris calls for nemesis, and in one form or another it’s going to get it, not as a punishment from outside but as the completion of a pattern already started. Mary Midgley, The Myths We Live by According to Stewart Brand, we are as gods; and this certainly seems to be a widespread view, judgingContinue reading “On superpowers”

On cars

Personally, I refuse to drive a car – I won’t have anything to do with any kind of transportation in which I can’t read. Arthur C. Clarke, Report on Planet Three The picture above is of Kathmandu. I mention this fact just because it could be a picture of almost any city that has beenContinue reading “On cars”

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