I’ve been having an interesting chat with my blog friend, Wyrd Smythe about the discovery of fire, and other game-changing advances in human civilization. We both agree that trade is of fundamental importance, but where we have differing views is whether trade is natural or whether it counts as an invention, like the wheel.
I’m going to argue here that trade isn’t at all natural or obvious, and should be considered one of humankind’s greatest inventions, on a par with writing, farming, and computers. Continue reading
Anyone interested in politics should take a good look at the Political Compass website. Here you can read about Left vs Right (economics) and Authoritarianism vs Libertarianism (social attitudes) and see how you fit into the big picture. There’s a relatively simple test to take, and here are my results, shown with the positions of the various UK political parties in the 2015 general election. It seems like I’m a political outsider, although not an extremist. Continue reading
There are lots of reasons to distrust and dislike Vladimir Putin. I won’t bother to list them all here. But I have a grudging respect for him. Putin gets things done. Not necessarily the right things, but not necessarily the wrong things either. Continue reading
Three items of news have caught my attention recently. The first is the decision by America’s Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage. Such a decision may have seemed impossible a couple of decades ago, and yet with hindsight it seems incredible that it took so long.
I know that not all readers of my blog will be in favour of this move, but we can all surely be thankful that we live in democratic countries where such decisions are made transparently and peacefully, according to the rule of law, and where open debate about them is possible. Continue reading
Despite many commentators’ predictions of a hung parliament, the outcome of the UK’s general election was a clear majority for David Cameron’s Conservative Party. It seems that on the whole, the people of England and Wales rejected the parties of the left, and embraced the party that promised to help “hard-working families.” Continue reading
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will elect a new government next week, and the comedian and political activist Russell Brand has urged people not to vote. That’s because, in Brand’s view, all politicians are in office purely for personal gain. However, after listening to a lot of voters being interviewed on the news this past week, it seems to me that it’s actually the electorate that thinks this way, not the politicians. Continue reading
A lot has been written about the recent murder of 12 journalists and cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. It’s a good sign that so much has been said – freedom of expression is alive and well – at least in the West. In many Muslim countries, by contrast, saying what you think can get you flogged or executed. Continue reading