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A few good reads October 22, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in economics, ideas.

Random links I long wanted to put up here.

I love it when people get a taste of their own medicine – here is one for Kapil Dev.

Hard to believe this article comes from Paul Krugman !

Such moral outrage is common among the opponents of globalization–of the transfer of technology and capital from high-wage to low-wage countries and the resulting growth of labor-intensive Third World exports. These critics take it as a given that anyone with a good word for this process is naive or corrupt and, in either case, a de facto agent of global capital in its oppression of workers here and abroad. But matters are not that simple, and the moral lines are not that clear. In fact, let me make a counter-accusation: The lofty moral tone of the opponents of globalization is possible only because they have chosen not to think their position through. While fat-cat capitalists might benefit from globalization, the biggest beneficiaries are, yes, Third World workers.

I tend to agree, though I am not an expert on this topic ( I am not an expert on any topic, by the way). In my opinion, poverty allieviation is not an event, but a process that takes time.

Here is an interesting article to the challenges and promise of string theory. No, you dont have to be ( just as I am not ! ) a physics major to understand most of this article. ( although being one you can no doubt appreciate and weigh arguments better ).

For nearly 300 years, science has been on a path of consolidation. In the 17th century, Isaac Newton discovered laws of motion that apply equally to a planet moving through space and to an apple falling earthward, revealing that the physics of the heavens and the earth are one. Two hundred years later, Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell showed that electric currents produce magnetic fields, and moving magnets can produce electric currents, establishing that these two forces are as united as Midas’ touch and gold. And in the 20th century, Einstein’s work proved that space, time and gravity are so entwined that you can’t speak sensibly about one without the others.

As I was reading it I was just telling myself, how Copernicus to Newton to Darwin to Einstein, every advance of science has broken the back of religion. The sphere of influence has decreased no matter what people would like to believe – more and more things that once had religious explanations now have rational scientific explanations that are testable and verifiable. Now is this part of a larger trend ? Maybe. Or maybe not.

What scares me most about those who propound faith based arguments is just how sure they are about what they believe in, how there appears to be no place for skepticism, no allowance for error in their beliefs and how they are prepared to defend to death the ‘superiority of a particular religious worldview’ merely because they are born into it. Think about it – if soon after birth, a Hindu child was put up for adoption and was adopted by a muslim family, his idea of the superior god/way of life will be so different. Laws of nature doesnt heed to these circumstancial occurences.

Listen to Dawkins here. And have you heard of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.



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