“But how do you make that defense if the rich derive much of their income not from the work they do but from the assets they own? And what if great wealth comes increasingly not from enterprise but from inheritance?” After reviewing Capital in the Twenty-First Century by french professor Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman reflects on why this particular book is reshaping the debate on wealth and inequality.
“And whoever tells you that they have nothing to hide simply haven’t thought about this long enough. ‘Cause we have this thing called privacy. And if you really think that you have nothing to hide, please make sure that’s the first thing you tell me because then I know, that I should not trust you with any secrets because obviously, you can’t keep a secret [sic]”
“I would suggest that it is more useful to take a holistic democratic accounting of lawful access laws and their implications. Where such laws are prospectively damaging to the fabric of the democracy, perhaps by threatening rights of free speech, association, and limitations of governmental search powers, then those are the areas that we as citizens, journalists, and commentators must focus our attention. Such democratic narrative can be supported by technological and legal facts and opinions, but critically the basic narrative is not on corporate products, whiz-bang technologies, nor legal minutia, but the very principles of a democracy.” Christopher Parsons in 2012, more than one year before Edward Snowden, is right on the money pinpointing the implications of unrestrained government surveillance.
“I think there is an equally diffuse malaise today—waiting for a new kind of journalism to bring it into focus. Like with McClure’s it won’t be just a catalogue of shocking facts—it will be an imaginative leap that pulls all the scandals together and shows how they are part of some new system of power that we don’t fully comprehend.” Adam Curtis attempts to define the point at which journalism fails and modern power begins.
“Our choice isn’t between a digital world where the agency can eavesdrop and one where it cannot; our choice is between a digital world that is vulnerable to any attacker and one that is secure for all users.” Bruce Schneier regards ubiquitous surveillance as a quixotic undertaking that does nothing to keep us safe and does everything to undermine the very societies we seek to protect.
“The rich are not merely different: they’ve become a cult which drafts us as members. We are invited to deceive ourselves into believing we are playing for the same stakes while worshipping the same ideals, a process labelled ‘aspiration’.” Priyamvada Gopal does not regard vast economic inequalities as either natural or just.
“Paradoxically, it was God who created Hell as a place to store evil. He didn’t do a good job of keeping it there, though.”
“We do not arrive at any idea of what is best for the collective unless we are prepared to seize the day and practise it on our own behalf. Most mature individuals understand what this means in respect of themselves—it’s just all those feckless others that they don’t trust to act appropriately.” Things may be for the worst in a less-than-perfect-world, but Will Self is determined to hold on to his idealism.
“Would he ever consider buying a foreign car? Too polite to say no, Schlüter gave a slightly apologetic smile. After decades of industrial neglect and regional decline, Britain has a long way to go before such popular pride in homegrown products goes without saying”, Julian Coman reports. This story captures some of what it should mean to be German.
However, given the current state of the Eurozone, Germany’s outlook might not be so bright after all.
“We all have the capacity to be quite bad—under the right circumstances.”
“Everyone has their own private Steve Jobs. It usually tells you a lot about them—and little about Jobs.” Ben Austen considers what we know about Steve Jobs’ personality, which, depending on who you are, lends itself to vastly different interpretations.
“I’m not sure that more than a very small percentage of medical research is ever likely to lead to major improvements in clinical outcomes.” David Freedman reports on John Ioannidis and his quest to improve the quality of medical research.
I was just following the swearing-in of Barack Obama as the 44th President and listening to his Inaugural Address. It appears to me that, at long last, the United States of America have got a class act to lead them.
“When you say ‘I think he’s a racist’, that’s not a bad move because you might be wrong. That’s a bad move because you might be right.”
Robin Cook, one of few political figures to command my lasting respect, has suddenly died on August 6, 2005. If you are only ever going to read one political statement made to the House of Commons, read Robin Cooks’s resignation speech from 18 March, 2003.
“Caring about truth means that you have to be open to the possibility that your own beliefs are mistaken. It is a consequence of the very idea of objective truth.” An article by Michael Lynch.