Week With Economist
by Chandrakant Sampat and Niti Sampat-Patel
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This is what we found interesting from the current issue of the “The Economist” (August 18th-August 24th 2012)


Leaders (page 9):


“Microbes maketh man” provoked me to think about the prevailing conditions of civil society in today’s fractured world. It also reminded me of Richard Dawkins’ work “Selfish Genes”. When protein molecules lose control over warring genes the organism suffers some very serious diseases. Similarly, we are making futile attempts to cure our ‘ailments’ (financial, political, social, civil) through instruments, which are not in tune with nature.


“Humans are not a single organism, but a super organism made up of lots of smaller organisms working together”. In today’s global civil society with a multiple of several organisms, cooperation is totally absent. Instead, society functions under conflicts which “are more visible when things go wrong”. Unlike nature’s bio-description of togetherness, we continue to strive for success through confrontations.


Politics and Finance:


In the US today, politics, economics and civil society are fractured. Perhaps the two opposing parties have the same end, but there is hardly any cooperation amongst them to achieve that end. Mr. Ryan, the republican, “consistently reminds America that deficit reduction is a necessity and not a luxury”. Medicare is unaffordable and if left unreformed, it will go bankrupt. He also made a call for sweeping tax reforms. Marginal rates are too high and the system has too many exemptions, giveaways and rebates that cause the effective rates to go lower. The system benefits accountants and lawyers and leaves the government short of cash. Mr. Ryan proposes to replace six different rates for just two whereas the democrats believe that this will deliver the “spoonful of sugar but no medicine”. There is no cooperation and what America may face is a two hundred and forty trillion dollar deficit by 2040. The euro offers an identical example of bio non –cooperation stress. It is fracturing the politics, economics and civil society of Europe. Non- cooperation is the direction in which the globe seems to be moving and the way in which the banking system operates.


(Read the article “Sticking together” on page 12 of the issue: “Breaking universal banks is a bad idea. There are better ways to make them safer.”)


Climate Change:


The page titled ‘Digital Highlights refers to “Hotting up” which is another instance where nations coming together to curb climate change do not cooperate to achieve this objective. “James Hansen, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is alarmed by the risks posed by man-made global warming. He recently caused a stir with the publication of a paper that says heatwaves are becoming more common due to climate change.”


Your feedback is welcomed at nitisp@gmail.com and sampat@capitalideasonline.com