Newsletter 956

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Insupportable Equilibrium Of Economic Thought

Mark Buchanan | Bloomberg | 18 March 2013

"We’ll never understand economies and markets until we get over the nutty idea that they alone — unlike almost every other complex system in the world — are inherently stable and have no internal weather. It’s time we began learning about the socioeconomic weather, categorizing its storms, and learning how to prevent them, or to see them coming"

Bankers Are Intellectually Naked

Martin Wolf | Financial Times | 17 March 2013

"Banking is more dangerous than one dare imagine. The public have become risk-bearers of last resort. Protected by this generosity, bankers gain vastly on the upside while shifting the downside on to others. They can devour a state’s fiscal capacity ... We have failed to remove the causes of the crisis. Further crises will come" (Metered paywall)

Sun Sets On The Modern Merchant Class

David Priestland | Chronicle Of Higher Education | 18 March 2013

"While our modern societies are more complex than those of the medieval agrarian world, we can nevertheless understand our world in terms of the four main castes: warrior, merchant, sage, and worker ... It is the rise of the merchant, from a marginal position in premodern societies to near omnipotence today, that is most striking"

Looking Back On Iraq

Rory Stewart | Rory Stewart | 2 March 2013

"We have helped to create a place, which sometimes looks like a corrupt and fragile democracy, and sometimes like a Shia rogue state – somewhere on a scale between Iran and Pakistan. The question for Britain is what aspect of our culture, our government, and our national psychology, allowed us to get mired in such catastrophe?"

Gutter Press Cleans The Gutters Of Public Life

Boris Johnson | Telegraph | 17 March 2013

Mayor of London attacks new press law. "All my life I have thought of Britain as a free country, a place that can look around the world with a certain moral self-confidence. How can we wag our fingers at Putin’s Russia, when we are about to propose exemplary and crippling fines on publications that do not sign up to the regulatory body?"

Religion And The Fear Of Death

Susan Jacoby & Sophie Roell | Five Books | 14 March 2013

Discussion of five books about belief, reason and atheism by St Augustine, Thomas Paine, Richard Dawkins, Rebecca Goldstein, Christopher Hitchens. "Atheism seems to me to be reasonable, but should everyone be an atheist? I don’t know. To me that’s like asking, should everyone appreciate art? I would never set forth a dictate like that"

Talk Of The Irish

Daniel Menaker | New Yorker | 16 March 2013

"Having recently written a book about conversation, and having survived, at least for the time being, a serious illness that involved a huge number of grave discussions, and having lived seventy years’ worth of a life of words, I found myself at the end of last summer yearning to go back to Ireland, especially to the West, to hear the Irish talk"

Video of the day: A Million Times

Thought for the day:

"Banks are not special, except for what they are allowed to get away with" — Martin Wolf


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