Nation of Beancounters

Thoughts left lying around

Posted in Uncategorized by Navin Kumar on February 23, 2013

1. “Fear sells” is the same as “security sells”. Indeed, the second is ‘more’ accurate, closer to what the sellers think they’re selling and buyers think they’re buying. To argue that they are “really” selling fear, one must first demonstrate that fear to be completely baseless, which very few people do well.

2. I’d take essays about media bias more seriously if they didn’t all invoke the same standards of evidence: ‘The Media doesn’t report enough about what I think is important’ or ‘The Media disagrees with me about this issue in which I am obviously correct.’

3. Unless you want to render monetary policy more or less useless, minimum wage ought not be linked to inflation. In India, this is less of a concern, primarily because no-one really knows or cares what the minimum wage is.

4. We frequently use labels to communicate new information about ourselves (and others). The label “pediatrician” contains new information about a person and is useful; the label “carbon-based biped” does not and is useless. This is why the label “feminist” cannot be defined as “believes in social and political equality for men and women” – when everyone (or almost everyone) fits this description, the label contains no new information about the person and is useless. Thus the label ‘feminist’ must mean something else – a person who thinks a lot more than normal people about gender issues, or agrees with feminist philosophy, or is more politically active about them than most people are etc. Thus it’s not surprising that people don’t consider themselves feminists. In a sense, feminism is a victim of its own success.

5. Universities must be places where individuals can freely express ideas, regardless of what administrators, faculty or even students think of the person or his ideas. Unfortunately, this means Narendra Modi as well. The behaviour of the police was, of course, abhorrent.

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3 Responses

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  1. Saumya said, on February 28, 2013 at 11:27 am

    “when everyone (or almost everyone) fits this description”

    -an important condition that remains unfulfilled.

    • Navin Kumar said, on February 28, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Within certain socioeconomic circles, this condition is fulfilled. If members from this circle are communicating largely with each other (and in this polarized world, they are), the above argument holds. Even if they aren’t, if the perception is that everyone fits this description (because everyone in my circle fits this description), then it should be obvious why people do not think the label applies to them.

    • Navin Kumar said, on February 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      Phrased differently, belief in equality is the norm now, and the world is split into the sexists at one end, the feminists at the other, and the rest of humanity in between. The Rest of Humanity largely believes in equality. They may acknowledge that the “sexists” exists, but it is no longer necessary to be a “feminist” to not identify with them.


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