Peter Thiel, Roger Scruton, Ebola, Francis Fukuyama, Amazon

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

Competition Is For Losers

Peter Thiel | Wall Street Journal | 12th September 2014

In praise of well-run monopolies, of which Google is the poster-child. Americans "mythologize competition" as the essence of capitalism. They fail to see that "capitalism and competition are opposites". Capitalism is about making profits; whereas, under perfect competition, all profits get competed away. "Only one thing can allow a business to transcend the daily brute struggle for survival: monopoly profits" (2,280 words)

How To Be A Conservative

Jonathan Derbyshire | Prospect | 12th September 2014

Conversation with philosopher Roger Scruton about his ideas of conservatism. "Socialists, when they see a problem, they want a centralised answer to it. Whereas conservatives are more open to the thought that if a problem arises locally, it must be solved locally—to the extent that it can be solved at all. Also, conservatives are open to the thought that most [political] problems are not soluble" (1,830 words)

Hell In The Hot Zone

Jeffrey Stern | Vanity Fair | 12th September 2014

Gripping report on West Africa's Ebola epidemic. It took Guinea by surprise. "Until its final stages, Ebola can easily be mistaken for cholera. It can also look a lot like malaria, another long-tenured killer in Guinea. If you’d told any of the investigators, as they considered the crisis developing in Meliandou, that they were looking at Ebola, they either would not have believed you or, just as likely, would have asked you what Ebola was" (5,100 words)

Destination Denmark

John Gray | Literary Review | 4th September 2014

Francis Fukuyama seeks "an overall pattern in history that, while leaving room for human choice, normally eventuates in democratic government". But his model assumes far too readily the universal appeal of bourgeois virtues such as prosperity and fairness. Other forces drive society, including "national myths, identities and enmities". These forces can take precedence over democracy, and, indeed, anything else (1,350 words)

Amazon, Publishers And Readers

Clay Shirky | Medium | 12th September 2014

Amazon has handled its battle with Hachette badly. But readers should still be backing Amazon. First, because the instinct of traditional publishers is always to drive up prices. Second, because Amazon is a force for the democratisation of literature, whereas publishing is an elitist industry. "Bezos understands that running a great bookstore is more like running a great grocery store than running a great opera company" (3,400 words)

Video of the day: How Paper Gets Made

What to expect: Music by Duke Ellington; time-lapse video by New York City Sanitation

Thought for the day

The meal is not over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself
Louis CK (

A Talk in London

Come and see Browser favourites Felix Salmon (ex-Reuters) and Izabella Kaminska (FT) discuss art, 3D printing and Bitcoin on September 24th. Admission is £5, and includes a glass of wine (or two). Tickets are available here ( .

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