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February 2021

"‘A managerial Mephistopheles’: inside the mind of Jeff Bezos"

So here's a self-identified socialist and a person with "moral principles," writing for the Lefty British paper The Guardian, struggling with a big problem. He believes Amazon to be the evil embodiment of the very evil capitalist system and that Jeff Bezos is obnoxiously--even obscenely--wealthy because of it. He thinks he shouldn't patronize Amazon one bit, not one tiny bit. But he can't help himself: Amazon is just too good.

Funny or sad: you decide. 

But here is where I encounter the problem of my own moral inertia. If a thing is available for purchase, and I want to buy it, I know for a near certainty that I will be able to get on Amazon, and that I will in all likelihood be able to get it quicker and cheaper than I would elsewhere. . . .

And here we come to the core of the problem: Amazon works too well. Its success and ubiquity as a consumer phenomenon makes a mockery of my ethical objections to its existence. 

Similarly funny or sad: "The Snowplow Test".

"Unspeakable Truths about Racial Inequality in America"

Economists should be proud that Glenn Loury is included in their number.

What is more, there is a deep irony in first declaring white America to be systemically racist, but then mounting a campaign to demand that whites recognize their own racism and deliver blacks from its consequences. I want to say to such advocates: “If, indeed, you are right that your oppressors are racists, why would you expect them to respond to your moral appeal? You are, in effect, putting yourself on the mercy of the court, while simultaneously decrying that the court is unrelentingly biased.” The logic of such advocacy escapes me.

"What are some of the most mind-blowing facts about Australia? What are some things that might even surprise people who live there?"

Quora discussion. Some of the supposed facts did surprise me. Examples:

"Australia is as wide as London to Moscow, or roughly the same size as continental USA".

Australia is the sixth "fattest nation in the world".

"In the 1880s, Melbourne was the richest city in the world."