The Great Unsettling

Introduction I have written a few hundred essays over the last five years, with a year and a half in the middle being devoted to a single text, the Mahabharata. I might start the Jayary again this fall, prompted…

Startup Thinking

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash Startup Thinking I have a firm leg in the doom and gloom camp. My friends alternate between sending images of the burning Amazon and pictures of Amazon — the company, not the lungs of the planet — replacing all…

The Failing State

Photographer: Jason Leung | Source: Unsplash The nation state is the most successful and important social institution in the world. Anything larger — the EU for example — tends to be a technocratic exercise without emotional pull. Anything smaller lives at the mercy of the…

Money can’t buy me love

Photographer: Fabian Blank | Source: Unsplash Man is the measure of all things. So sayeth Protagoras, ancient scientist. If you’re the religious kind you might condemn Protagoras for idolatry, for only God has the measure of all things. Or if you’re…

Introducing the Animal Left

Every year about a hundred billion animals are slaughtered for human consumption. Closer to home, India has become a major exporter of beef, mutton, poultry, and dairy by-products, despite political posturing about the welfare of animals. These animals are often…

The Great Game 2.0

Photographer: Anagha Varrier | Source: Unsplash After the recent actions in Kashmir, I have read numerous comparisons between India and Israel, of turning Kashmir into Gaza. Not surprising, since both the Indian and the international left have historical sympathies with the…

The State of Algorithmic Politics

Emotional Truths Why is it that at a time when the future of human existence is threatened by climate change, the future of work is threatened by automation and the future of every other living being is threatened by humans,…

Why is Liberalism in Trouble?

Photographer: Pedro Lastra | Source: Unsplash One of the characteristics of the modern era is the importance of politics. We expect it to give us freedom and equality, prosperity and progress, and in a dystopian mode, fear and destruction. It’s a…

Every Utopia becomes a Dystopia

A Map of Utopia I remember Reagan saying to Gorbachev “Tear down this wall.” Sorry, that’s fake news. Or at least white lie news. There’s no way I could have heard a live conference in West Berlin in 1987. It was…

The Collector of Dystopias

Photographer: Pawel Janiak | Source: Unsplash Star Wars and Scotch Tape I am a technophile; always was and always will be. It doesn’t prevent me from agreeing with Gandhi’s critique of technological modernity. Instead, we can have fun asking such questions as:…