On economic growth

Yes! There will be growth in the spring! Chance, the gardener in the film Being There (1979) It is a truth universally acknowledged that economic growth is a good thing. Well, not quite universally, but it’s the view you’ll find in the mainstream media and on the lips of pretty much every politician and pundit.Continue reading “On economic growth”

On desperation

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays Desperation is not, of course, to be confused with despair. Both are marked by the absence of hope, but whereas despair is passive, desperation is active. People sunk into despair tend to do nothing; desperate people will doContinue reading “On desperation”

On resilience

When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade. Anon. After last week’s discussion of efficiency, it’s time to talk about its complement: resilience, literally the quality of springing back, like a rubber ball. It’s a broader and vaguer concept, with none of the satisfyingly crisp arithmetic we can bring to bear on efficiency, but IContinue reading “On resilience”

On being overwhelmed

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. Wilkins Micawber in Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist This is where we are: we have a wide range of urgent problems which all need to be solved, and the resources toContinue reading “On being overwhelmed”

On fear

No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. – Edmund Burke I don’t know about you, but I’m quite scared a lot of the time. I’m talking lying-awake-at-night scared. There seems to be a lot of it about at the moment. People fear the unknown. InContinue reading “On fear”