Posts Tagged ‘Gandhi’

How much do we really need?

September 27, 2015

The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.
        ==Attributed to Gandhi

I believe that, with good luck and good management, the world is capable of feeding the world’s people through the hoped-for demographic transition, when population growth levels off.

But I doubt that the world is capable of keeping all of the world’s people at as high a material standard of living as I enjoy as a middle-class American, barring some breakthrough that is beyond my imagination.

numberRTE_DVstuffwedon'tneedOf course the world is not limited by my imagination.  I have no way of knowing what the future will be like.  Many of fears of 50 or 60 years ago proved unfounded.  Maybe my present fears will prove equally unfounded 50 or 60 years from now.

But, as the saying goes, hope is not a plan.  Suppose things are what they seem to be.

What is required to provide for everyone’s need?  How much is enough?

Back in the 1930s, thinkers such as Bertrand Russell and John Maynard Keynes projected that economic growth would, in the foreseeable future, provide enough so that human beings—at least those in the USA and UK—could cease striving for more and lead lives based on higher values than acquiring money.

This didn’t happen because the definition of “enough” changed.

I am unhappy if my Internet connection goes down for a few days.   I am in acute discomfort if my gas furnace ceases to function.   But I was happy as a boy without those things, and so were my parents.

If you go back in history, highly civilized people such as Ralph Waldo Emerson or Samuel Johnson lived happily without electricity, indoor plumbing or private automobiles, and their contemporaries put up with pain and discomfort that people today would find unendurable.


The passing scene: Links & comments 11/20/14

November 20, 2014

Gandhi vs. the Mafia by Jesse Walker for Reason.

More than 900 Sicilian business owners, most of them in Palermo, have successfully defied the Sicilian Mafia and refuse to pay protection money.  It is an example of the success of the tactic of mass defiance, as pioneered by Mohandas K. Gandhi and explained by Gene Sharp.

The power of a small organization such as the Mafia to compel the obedience of large numbers of people is based on the fact that the masses of people are divided and the Mafia is united by powerful bonds of loyalty.  But if great masses of people decide together, all at once, that they will not submit, no matter what, their oppressors cannot kill them all.

I’m reminded of the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian novelist and dissident.  “Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t obey them.”  And the words of Solidarity Forever.  “The union makes us strong.”

Why the US has the most powerful currency on the planet by Matt Phillips for Quartz.

The American dollar replaced the British pound as the world’s currency of choice after World War One, when the United Kingdom became a debtor nation and the USA became the world’s greatest creditor nation.   Now the USA is a debtor nation, but the world’s business is still done in dollars.

Matt Phillips wrote that the dollar maintains its position because of the inconvenience of shifting to another currency.  I would add that if nations start to sell off dollar-denominated holdings, such as U.S. Treasury bonds, in large amounts, this will cause the exchange value of the dollar to fall against other currencies.

Holders of dollars wouldn’t want the value of the dollar to fall.  But once it starts to fall, they wouldn’t want to be caught at the last ones holding dollars.  If and when the world abandons the dollar, the fall could come very quickly.

The Norovirus Demagoguery Starts Here by Mike the Mad Biologist.

The Norovirus causes gastroenteritis and kills an estimated 570 to 800 Americans a year, as well as causing 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations, 400,000 emergency room visits and 1.7 million to 1.9 million visits to physicians.

One of the main ways it spreads is by infected and obviously sick people working in restaurants.  As Mike the Mad Biologist notes, mandatory sick leave for restaurant workers would be a good public health measure.

Mahatma Gandhi’s seven blunders of the world

October 14, 2012

Wealth without Work

Pleasure without Conscience

Science without Humanity

Knowledge without Character

Politics without Principle

Commerce without Morality

Worship without Sacrifice

Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandus Karamchand Gandhi, said his grandfather wrote these words for him in 1947 on their final day together before his assassination.