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 asking the right questions

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail. Abraham Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being It is not, I suppose, controversial to suggest that many people these days are confused about a lot of things. I know I am. Sometimes,Continue reading “On asking the right questions”

On the abuse of logic

Here, in a sentence, is the moral case for fossil fuels, the single thought that can empower us to empower the world: Mankind’s use of fossil fuels is supremely virtuous – because human life is the standard of value, and because using fossil fuels transforms our environment to make it wonderful for human life. AlexContinue reading “On the abuse of logic”

On education

When Scythrop grew up, he was sent, as usual, to a public school, where a little learning was painfully beaten into him, and from thence to the university, where it was carefully taken out of him. thomas Love Peacock, Nightmare Abbey All human societies produce children in much the same way; education, in the broadestContinue reading “On education”

On time, its uses and abuses

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Only the Maya can claim to have been half as obsessed with time as our industrial civilisation is, and even they only went as far as devising a calendar so accurate it is said to be used by NASA. (ThisContinue reading “On time, its uses and abuses”

On putting people into boxes

Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. President George W. Bush There is much talk nowadays about polarisation, in politics and in society more generally. This is often blamed on social media, and the algorithms that tend to show you more of the same rather than anything likely to challenge yourContinue reading “On putting people into boxes”