On the failure of political leadership

Everyone stay calm! This is not happening! King Arnulf in Erik the Viking by Terry Jones Anyone who has been paying the slightest attention to current events in, say, the last couple of years will be aware of at least one crisis besetting the industrial world. We have, of course, had the Covid-19 pandemic, whichContinue reading “On the failure of political leadership”

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 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 the latest IPCC report

The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years. IPPC AR6 WG1 Headline Statements from the Summary for Policymakers I don’t propose to go into the ins and outs of theContinue reading “On the latest IPCC report”

On being the villain

Exterminate! Every dalek ever Anyone who has even the vaguest idea about Doctor Who – the British Sci-fi TV series which has been going almost as long as I have – is familiar with the Daleks. The Doctor has grappled with many foes over that timespan, but the Daleks are the classic adversaries. However oftenContinue reading “On being the villain”