On the perils of accountancy

Many of our psychologists, sociologists, economists and other latter-day cabalists will have numbers to tell them the truth or they will have nothing. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business When I graduated from university, back in the 1980s when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, there used toContinue reading “On the perils of accountancy”

On economists

Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist. Kenneth Boulding (attr.) What on earth is “the economy”? It is a term much bandied about. Its study is an academic heavy industry, and its exponents are listened to with great reverence, but what isContinue reading “On economists”

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 supermarket shopping

The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard. Joel Salatin,Continue reading “On supermarket shopping”

On management and control

The I of the basic word I-Thou is different from that of the basic word I-It. Martin Buber, I and Thou (1923) In this week’s essay, I want to discuss the concept of management: not just the management of a company or other organisation, but the notion of control in general. We really, really likeContinue reading “On management and control”