Thinks 805

Thomas Sowell: “Politics is the art of finding clever reasons for doing dumb things.” [via CafeHayek]

Anticipating the Unintended: “Truth is a contested notion in today’s world. Maybe it has always been. But there’s something clarifying about a conspiracy theory that no truth can match. It is not the conspiracy itself. That often crumbles under the lightest of burden of logic applied to it. The real deal is what prompts the need for the conspiracy. It stems from the irreconcilability of an often irrational belief that many hold with the reality of the world around them. The greater the chasm between the two, the weirder the conspiracy theory. And it is this chasm, this flight from reality, that a conspiracy theory is born to serve. By denying the facts that are around you and leaning on your own right to have an opinion, conspiracy theorists make it easier for you to dismiss inconvenient facts as mere opinions. Once you have painted facts as fabrications of another mind, you get the permission to have your own facts. That’s how conspiracy theory works.”

Shane Parrish: “Iatrogenics is when a treatment causes more harm than benefit…The key lesson here is that if we are to intervene, we need a solid idea of not only the benefits of our interventions but also the harm we may cause—the second and subsequent order consequences. Otherwise, how will we know when, despite our best intentions, we cause more harm than we do good?”

Economist: “The grandfathers of modern philanthropy are American industrialists like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller. Such men gave the bulk of their money late in their lives. They created foundations that would outlive them, employed highly qualified advisers, and were prepared to dish out funds for decades to achieve their goals. That model was tweaked at the turn of the millennium. Businessmen and venture capitalists began thinking about charitable donations like hard-nosed investments. Recipients were ranked by which offered the most charitable bang for each buck. The impact of every dollar was measured, and, if a project failed to deliver its expected “social return”, funding was cut…To the newer generation of philanthropists, raised in a business culture that prizes getting to market and scaling quickly over cautious planning, all this appears unbearably stodgy.”

Atanu Dey: “If the relaxing of rules and regulations good for special economic zones (SEZs), why is it not good for the whole economy? Why isn’t the whole economy an SEZ? The answer is that those who make the rules stand to gain from the rules they make. They make rules that benefit them but are not concerned with the costs that those rules impose on the rest. This claim is not quantum mechanics. The bureaucrats and the politicians they advise are self-interested, just like everyone else. They would impose rules that benefit them, say, $1 million even if those rules impose a cost of $1 billion on the economy. It’s not that complicated when the benefits are concentrated (on a few bureaucrats and politicians) and the costs are dispersed on millions of citizens who are not only uninformed but are too busy with their lives to take action. SEZs are good in that they create wealth and therefore special. Why isn’t the whole economy “special” in that sense? Because the politicians and bureaucrats have a lot to lose if the whole nation becomes as SEZ.”

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

Leave a Reply