Rome, Wisdom, Punk, War, Sexism


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

Could Rome Have Had An Industrial Revolution?

Mark Koyama | Medium | 7th November 2017

Individuals in antiquity supposedly lacked “economic rationality”, at least according to historians. They were preoccupied with the martial, the divine, the picturesque. But there is scant evidence for this view. Rome had a complex market-oriented economy enriched by trade. An economist would be hard-pressed to explain why Rome never hit the tipping-point for exponential growth reached by England in the late 18th century; or, to put it another way, why England did reach that point (2,300 words)

Does Age Bring Wisdom?

Scott Alexander | Less Wrong | 8th November 2017

Do we get wiser with age, or do we just get better socialised in our thinking? If we truly get wiser with age, why don’t we assume that even older people are even wiser? “It would be pretty awkward if everything we thought was ‘gaining wisdom with age’ was just ‘brain receptors consistently functioning differently with age’. Intuitively, going back to earlier habits of mind would feel inherently regressive, like going back to drawing on the wall with crayons. But I don’t have any proof” (1,190 words)

Maybe The People Would Be The Times

Luc Santé | Noisey | 7th November 2017

A love-letter to the New York punk-rock club scene. “1975 is a new world, somehow. Everybody gets a haircut that year, and no one can say exactly why. Psychic emanations are big. The year is a laboratory. The hippie order of knowledge has been overturned. The haircut is an affirmation of this. The time has come for us to assume our own place in the music, and that will involve an overthrow of what has come before. Life is suddenly black and white with a thin stripe of red running through” (4,950 words)

War And Nation-Building

Mark Kukis | Aeon | 6th November 2017

From pre-history well into modern times, wars have helped to build and consolidate nations. Victory and defeat could both be unifying. But the last clear example of that effect was the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, which forced all Iranians to support and legitimise the revolutionary regime. Now the pattern has changed: Wars undo nations. “In countries today ranging from Libya to Myanmar, conflict is undermining governments, much as strife tore apart the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s” (1,160 words)

Sexism On America’s Front Lines

Susan Glasser et al | Politico | 6th November 2017

Conversation about sexism and sexual harassment in national-security institutions. “When people ask me what being a woman in national security is like, my answer is often: ‘The remarkable thing is that it’s unremarkable — if you do your job and you work hard’. I think I kind of sold myself this story, and part of me really does believe that, except I’ve forgotten or compartmentalized or just had to plow through all of the crap that no man ever has to deal with in order to just do your job” (10,050 words)

Video of the day Gary Younge Interviews Richard Spencer

What to expect:

On white supremacy. I don’t pretend that this is comfortable viewing, but it is certainly compelling (2’57”)

Thought for the day

The opposite of play is not what is serious, but what is real
Sigmund Freud

Podcast of the day China In Africa | HBR Ideacast

Irene Yuan Sun talks to Sarah Green Carmichael about the attractions of Africa for Chinese investors
(23'25")

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