It has been a while since I last posted here. The last time I posted here, I had just started my PhD at the University of Warwick. This has now changed. I have officially...
In theory, this kind of cooperation should not exist. If every utility executive were in fact a rational specimen of Homo economicus, he would gleefully greet hurricanes that put his competitors at a disadvantage and imposed large losses on them. (Utilities may not often compete directly with one another for customers, but they do compete for capital.) The difference of a few tenths of a percentage point in the dividend could be the difference between a large institutional investor putting its money into Jones Power instead of Smith Power, with billions of dollars potentially at stake. And, yet, Jones Power does not revel in Smith Power’s troubles — instead, it sends its own workers into Smith’s market to help out Smith’s customers.
No doubt you could construct a plausible economic narrative in which this can all be explained in terms of each firm seeking to secure its own self-interest very broadly defined — utilities maximizing utility.
But that misses the point.
This rainbow-flag polity, Plato argues, is, for many people, the fairest of regimes. The freedom in that democracy has to be experienced to be believed — with shame and privilege in particular emerging over time as anathema. But it is inherently unstable. As the authority of elites fades, as Establishment values cede to popular ones, views and identities can become so magnificently diverse as to be mutually uncomprehending. And when all the barriers to equality, formal and informal, have been removed; when everyone is equal; when elites are despised and full license is established to do “whatever one wants,” you arrive at what might be called late-stage democracy. There is no kowtowing to authority here, let alone to political experience or expertise.
The very rich come under attack, as inequality becomes increasingly intolerable. Patriarchy is also dismantled: “We almost forgot to mention the extent of the law of equality and of freedom in the relations of women with men and men with women.” Family hierarchies are inverted: “A father habituates himself to be like his child and fear his sons, and a son habituates himself to be like his father and to have no shame before or fear of his parents.” In classrooms, “as the teacher … is frightened of the pupils and fawns on them, so the students make light of their teachers.” Animals are regarded as equal to humans; the rich mingle freely with the poor in the streets and try to blend in. The foreigner is equal to the citizen.
And it is when a democracy has ripened as fully as this, Plato argues, that a would-be tyrant will often seize his moment.
As promised, a somewhat more substantive post about my wedding.
Taking stock of my weight-loss goals and my progress so far.
In Memoriam to Singapore’s first Prime Minister
Where Murali ties everything together.
If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha – Gautama Siddhartha
Because JamesK didn’t!
Murali pushes back against the apparently complete obliviousness of the League to the way taboos pertaining to purity work.
I got engaged today.
Burdens of proof are always symmetrically distributed
We don’t know and it doesn’t matter anyway.
I’ve had it up to here with people saying that the such and such people just want to control other people’s bodies. Not because such claims are false, but because they are trivially true.
So, you guys have a cruel and unusual punishment clause in your constitution. But I’ve got a few questions:
Something I discovered recently…
Confucian tradition recommends honouring one’s ancestors even when they are criminals. South Korea and China should be familiar with this tradition and thus their reactions to Abe’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine is more political theatre than genuine offense.