Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Giving final exams

The only even vaguely useful thing about the time I spend monitoring final exams, is that I have a 3-hour block of time in which to read. For today's final exam, I'll be reading Peter Bernstein's Capital Ideas Evolving, an update of his 1992 book Capital Ideas. See, this is what I read for fun.

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Political Consideration

Jane Mayer's most recent article in The New Yorker (currently available online) is extradorinarily distressing, and makes even more difficult maintaining the position that the government of the United States has not only condoned, but encouraged--even developed--programs of torture as a part of the increasingly cynically mis-named "war on terror."

But I have begun to consider something perhaps even more frightening. Suppose a similar report appeared detailing similar mistreatment of animals in the meatpacking industry in the US. I am completely certain that there would be front-page stories in every major newsppaer, demonstrations in every major US city. It would be an unavoidable story. What does it say about us (about me) that, when we do worse things to people than we would ever consider doing to animals, there is almost no outcry, almost no notice? That we would condemn the people who treated animals anything remorely in the same way our government is treating who knows how many people? That "reputable" politicians would condemn those who would condemn the torture and the torturers as giving aid and comfort to the enemy? Have we as a nation so lost the capacity for outrage that this just slides off our backs, and gets buried in the week's news with not even a ho-hum?