Article: The Guardian Long Read on The White Helmets

This article – about the tragic death of James Le Mesurier, co-founder of The Mayday Rescue (also known as The White Helmets) – is both an inspiring story of a life of service and a dispiriting account of cynical politics at its worst. It’s also a good example of the administrative challenges of work in NGOs in contexts where most…

The Atlantic on trust and on the remote working revolution

These two articles from The Atlantic are worth reading. On Social Trust The first is about politics in the broadest sense of “how we live together.” Social trust is a measure of the moral quality of a society—of whether the people and institutions in it are trustworthy, whether they keep their promises and work for the common good. When people…

Thucydides on the prosperity that comes with peace

This is Thucydides writing in 432 BC. Apart from the general description of how stability affects the accumulation of wealth he also gives what is probably the earliest description of the resource curse. … it is evident that the country now called Hellas had in ancient times no settled population; on the contrary, migrations were of frequent occurrence, the several…

Victor Hugo: two faces of political violence

They wanted an end to oppression, an end to tyranny, an end to strife, work for men, education for children, social goodwill towards women, liberty, equality, fraternity, bread for all, an idea for all, a paradise made of this world, progress. And that good, sweet blessed thing, progress, they demanded fearsomely, driven to extremity, to utter distraction, half-naked, with bludgeon…

Five in a row from Seth Godin

Attitudes are skills “No one ever bought anything on an elevator. The elevator pitch isn’t about selling your idea, because a metaphorical elevator is a lousy place to make a pitch. When you feel like you’re being judged and only have a minute to make a first impression, it’s tempting to try to explain the truth and nuance of who…

Kevin Kelly on the future of progress and prosperity

Here’s a dose of optimism from KK – part of his excellent series of videos on The Future of X. It’s well worth checking out. I believe there are going to be another two decades of increased productivity, increased prosperity, around the world on average. That doesn’t mean everywhere, it doesn’t mean every person, but taken as a whole, the…

Privilege(s)

Youth Age and experience Health Strength Energy Being loved Wit Family Beauty Opportunity Education Being born a socially advantaged gender Being born to socially advantaged ethnic group Being born to the ‘right’ parents within your group Not somehow ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time Friendship An enthusiastic disposition To have struggled and overcome The right chance…

Victor Hugo on right, reality and the morality of the past

The July Revolution is the triumph of right in the overthrow of reality. A splendid thing. Right overthrowing reality. Hence the magnitude of the 1830 Revolution, hence also its mildness. Right that triumphs has no need to be violent. Right is that which is just and true. Characteristic of what is right is to remain eternally beautiful and pure. Reality,…

Seth Godin on books, culture and influence

For five-hundred years, books have mattered. Books have never reached the preponderance of people because there are just so many different titles. It’s possible for a movie to be seen by twenty or thirty million people. It’s likely that a national TV show could be seen by almost as many on a regular basis. But a book? If a book…

Podcast recommendation: Seth Godin on The Hedonic Treadmill

This episode of Akimbo is a thoughtful look out our tendency to seek more of what we like – whether loud music or extreme sports or money or beauty. In a nutshell:It’s almost inevitable that we’ll experience diminishing satisfaction from a given amount of whatever brings you pleasure, so we’re always seeking to turn the dial to eleven (out of…