Astonishing wealth inequality graphic

Inequality isn’t my favourite hobby horse, mainly because: “Fair” and “equal [being / having the same]” are often (wrongly) assumed to be the same thing; “Equal [being / having the same]” and “[of] equal [worth]” also seem to get conflated; I don’t think that “equality [being / having the same]” for all people is possible or desirable, assuming that we’re…

Values in tension (2): resource allocation

How we allocate our scarce resources – particularly money, time and attention – shines a bright light on how we prioritise between values. Most of us can have most of the things we value: wealth, physical beauty, time to ourselves, family, a sense of meaningful contribution, a fabulous car, deep friendships, fitness, artistic accomplishment, solidarity with those who have less,…

Values in tension (1)

I’ve been thinking a lot about values recently. I mean things like justice, peace, loyalty, family, courage, etc. etc. I think it’s super important to understand your values, to make good decisions for yourself and for the world, but it’s also easy for those values words to replace thinking. You can use the word in a sentence without really having…

Plato on ageing well

I love this little riff from the start of Plato’s fascinating-but-politically-iffy* Republic: We went with Polemarchus to his house; and there we found his brothers … There too was Cephalus the father of Polemarchus, whom I had not seen for a long time, and I thought him very much aged. He was seated on a cushioned chair, and had a…

A slice of the pie

Jane has one pie. John has none. Should Jane give John a slice? The situation is unequal, but we need some context – including some history – to be able to decide if it’s unfair. Your feelings might change if… Jane and John were each given a pie by a friend, but John has just finished eating his. Jane bought…

By invitation and by necessity

I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of “outsiders coming in.” … I am here, along with several members of my staff, because we were invited here. I am here because I have basic organizational ties here. Beyond this, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here…

Seth Godin on authenticity

Here’s the authentic Seth Godin with one of his best riffs: Authenticity is a crock. Authenticity is overrated. Authenticity is a trap. Because the last time you were authentic you were three months old lying in diapers with poop in them, crying. Ever since then you have done things with intent. You’ve done things on purpose. You wake in the…

The operative word

Misquoted dialogue from Madam Secretary: “With the lives of tens of thousands of people on the line I hope this works.” “Hope being the operative word.” “Isn’t it always?”