Monthly Archive: March 2009

Mar 17 2009

The colonial experience-4: The economic transformation

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) Perhaps the biggest disruption caused by the British colonialists was the massive change in rural life and agricultural practices as a result of the conversion from a somewhat communal, subsistence form of agriculture, where much of the local resources used for food production (such as water supplies, …

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Mar 16 2009

Jon Stewart takes on Jim Cramer, CNBC, and the financial news industry

Most people would have heard by now of the Daily Show-Jim Cramer face-off, but I want to comment on it anyway. It all started when CNBC reporter Rick Santelli tried to fan outrage against Obama’s plan to rescue some homeowners from their current situation. Santelli went on the floor of the stock exchange and riled …

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Mar 13 2009

The colonial experience-3: The missionaries

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) It is well known that in the colonies conquered by the Europeans, the Bible and the gun went hand in hand. Soon after a country was militarily overpowered, missionaries were often the next group to go in under their protection, even before merchants and traders. These missionaries …

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Mar 12 2009

Are Facebook and MySpace killing religion?

There was welcome news in a recent survey (sent to me by Bill, a reader of this blog) that found that the number of people professing themselves to be Christians in America has declined while the numbers of nonbelievers has risen significantly. According to the ARIS survey, compared to results in 1990, “The percentage of …

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Mar 11 2009

The colonial experience-2: The (mostly) bad

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) While many of the things introduced by the British had beneficial features, almost every one had its own negatives, apart from the introduction of universal suffrage. The reason was that each of these things was not created exclusively for the benefit and advancement of the local population …

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Mar 10 2009

The power of the internet

The internet has had one major positive effect and that is that it has reduced the power of the establishment media to control the public discourse. It used to be the case that once you had achieved a position of authority in the media, you could say pretty much what you wanted and, as long …

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Mar 09 2009

The colonial experience-1: The (mostly) good

In a comment on my earlier post on portrayals of the developing world in western culture, Jared raised a really interesting point about his odd experience of taking a class on “British Colonialism in India” and finding that, while he was the only non-Indian student, he was also the only one who seemed to think …

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Mar 06 2009

The need for a government-run single payer health care system

I have said before that while I voted and supported Obama against McCain, he is firmly committed to following the policies of the pro-war/pro-business elites that govern this country. No politician can get elected to high office otherwise. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than his attitude to single-payer health care. I have written extensively about …

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Mar 05 2009

Why I am not a good judge of novels

I serve on a committee to select the common book reading for Case Western Reserve University. This is a book that is sent out to all the new incoming students each year in the summer prior to their admission and forms the basis for some programs during their first year on campus. In 2008, for …

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Mar 04 2009

Paul Newman, 1925-2008

I want to pay a long overdue tribute to Paul Newman, who was one of the truly great actors of our time. Although his good looks and acting talent alone could have secured his place purely as a romantic leading man, what made him special was the roles he chose, taking people who were flawed …

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