Bitcoin — Not As Advertised

Sometimes it seems like everything is the exact opposite of what it claims to be. Take capitalism. It claims to be a decentralized Invisible Hand of free competition — ensuring that all economic abuses are reined in by the discipline of competition so that nobody is able to exploit anyone else. In practice, it is… Continue reading Bitcoin — Not As Advertised

A Bizarre Theory That All Economists Believe

Back when I taught Economics to gullible undergrads, and to even more gullible grad students, I posed a conundrum. (I couldn’t push it too hard for fear of heresy.) But it’s actually not that difficult if put in straightforward terms, so those who have not been afflicted with Economics courses should bear with me. It… Continue reading A Bizarre Theory That All Economists Believe

Wealth Kills the Soul

Wealth kills the soul. Our grandparents knew that. But we’ve lost that insight nowadays. Our rigidly individualistic modern culture — unequipped to probe anything deeper than personal fortune — fails to perceive the moral hazards of wealth. Evidence of that moral hazard is abundant in psychological research, limited as they are to the behavioural trends… Continue reading Wealth Kills the Soul

Frugal Living is Counter-Cultural

What if we all decided to follow the advice of just about every spiritual tradition, as well as some secular humanist traditions? What if we all agreed to live frugally, acquiring only what we need to live a life of meaning and service to humanity? All hell would break loose. Capitalism would implode. A capitalist… Continue reading Frugal Living is Counter-Cultural

Preference for the Poor

There are so many issues around poverty, but the spiritual issue is largely ignored in our consumption-worshipping culture. We’re all supposed to be medium-poor in our frugality of spirit, as we renounce the excesses of empty affluence. Instead we glut ourselves on all the commodities we can wring out of the market, and we ignore… Continue reading Preference for the Poor

Interest: Why Do We Disobey?

Both Islamic and Christian Scriptures strictly forbid anyone charging interest. Why do Muslims obey devoutly, but Christians disobey flagrantly? Spoiler. Westerners were offered a deal they couldn’t refuse. Scrap that particular prohibition on financial exploitation — and we’ll give you riches beyond your wildest dreams. “Ban, what ban? Gimme the goodies!” I’ll start with Christian… Continue reading Interest: Why Do We Disobey?

Beware of Bitcoin

Believe it or not, I’m going to trash Bitcoin on spiritual grounds. Is there no limit to my irreverence? Most people know almost nothing about bitcoin and the bewildering array of cryptocurrencies that are swirling around it now. Even for computer nerds like me, it’s a serious struggle to get a handle on it, and… Continue reading Beware of Bitcoin