Archive for September 6th, 2017

The power of monuments in shaping public memories and sentiments…

September 6, 2017

Ian Buruma has a piece:

The ghastly spectacle last month of neo-Nazis marching through Charlottesville, Virginia, carrying torches and barking slogans about the supremacy of the white race, was sparked by the city’s plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, the leader of the Confederate army, which fought to retain slavery in the secessionist South during the American Civil War. The statue of General Lee on his horse has been there since 1924, a time when the lynching of black citizens was not a rarity.


Britain has a less traumatic recent history. The views of Cecil Rhodes, or Admiral Nelson, though fairly conventional in their time, are certainly no longer fashionable today. It is highly unlikely that many British people gazing up at Nelson on his column or passing Oriel College, Oxford, will be inspired to advocate slavery or build an empire in Africa.

The American South, however, is still a problem. The losers in the Civil War were never quite reconciled to their defeat. For many southerners, though by no means all, the Confederate cause and its monuments are still felt to be part of their collective identity. Although hardly anyone in his right mind would advocate the revival of slavery, nostalgia for the Old South is still tinged with racism. That is why statues of General Lee in front of court buildings and other public places are noxious, and why many people, including southern liberals, wish to see them removed.

There is no perfect solution to this problem, precisely because it is not just about images carved from stone. Resentment in the South is political. The wounds of the Civil War remain unhealed. Much of the rural south is poorer and less educated than other parts of the US. People feel ignored and looked down upon by urban coastal elites. That is why so many of them voted for Donald Trump. Knocking down a few statues will not solve this problem. It might even make matters worse.


The deploring conditions of press freedom in India…

September 6, 2017

India has been shocked due to such open bold murder of a senior journalist Gauri Lankesh.

It is really sad to media houses after media houses bemoan India’s low rankings in Ease of Doing Business but none really talk about the equally low rankings in Press Freedom Index barring just one or two reports. We are ranked 136 in a list of 180 countries which is equally bad and are barely above Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Even if one doubts quality of these rankings just like Ease of Doing Business and discounts it, we have a long way to go.

It takes much more than mere GDP/economics rankings to be called a developed country.

Monobina Gupta in Wire writes on the incident. She narrates how a Russian newspaper responded to a similar event 11 years ago:


Indian income inequality 1922-2014: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj…

September 6, 2017

Lucas Chancel and Thomas Piketty analyse the trends in this paper (HT:CafeEconomics).

Not surprisingly, the share of national income held by 1% is the highest since 1922:


From monetary money to fiscal money: Should Governments issue their own money?

September 6, 2017

Yanis Varoufakis has a puzzling column.

He says we think most money is created by central banks which is not really right. Most money these days is being created by banks who lend to each other using Govt bonds as collateral.


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