Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Econlinks for 19-09-07

  • Good reads from Becker and Posner on the disappearance of the formal kibbutz and the rejection of socialism in general. A relevant excerpt from Becker's:

"Utopian socialistic experiments like the kibbutz movement, and countries that tried to create large-scale efficient socialism, all failed for the same reasons. They did not realize that while the zeal of pioneers, and the result of revolutions, could sustain a collectivist and other-serving mentality for a short while, these could not be maintained as the pioneers died off or became disillusioned, and as circumstances became less revolutionary. Basically, they ignored the evidence of history that self interest and family orientation is not the product of capitalism, but is human nature due to selection from evolutionary pressure over billions of years. Sure, there is abundant altruism toward one's family, and some altruism toward others, and the latter might sustain a society for a brief time. But it shows a depressing ignorance of history to believe that a little propaganda and the enthusiasm of some leaders can organize an effective long-term society on the basis of any altruism and desires of most persons to help institutions, such as a kibbutz or a country, rather than themselves and those close to them."

  • Dimitrie Cantemir's notes as inspiration source for a Swiss musician who set up to rediscover the Turkish music's roots. The Economist article describes Cantemir as "a Moldavian Christian, Prince Dimitrie Cantemir". I always had the impression that Cantemir might be more useful-- think "branding"-- on the long run, than scores of other Romanian (or what were then parts of Romania) kings, princes, leaders in general-- it has to do with wisdom over lesser qualities :-). We're almost there...

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