Sunday, June 30, 2019

Jack Ma's Catch-22

An unconventional leader of the People’s Republic of China, Deng Xiaoping, set in motion market-driven economic reforms in 1978 after almost thirty years of orthodox Communist rule. That same year, Jack Ma was a 14-year old self-taught English tour guide who bootstrapped his way to a college degree ten years later.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Joe & Jo Pleb

My last blog post, titled Déjà Vu?, described how technological innovations of the last 200 years radically altered the course of history.

To recap: before the industrial age, the majority of human beings worked on the landWithout access to machines, labourers and farm animals alike were fed from harvested crops, thereby depleting outputs and reducing agriculture to a subsistence enterprise. At that time, thplebeian class also included craftsmen, miners, hunters, fishermen, and foot soldiers, who literally had to win the bread that kept their families alive. On their part, women’s childcare and housekeeping chores were deemed as necessary, but insufficient, exertion that fell short of being acknowledged as bona fide work.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Déjà Vu?

The generations born after World War II could be forgiven for believing that economic growth was their birthright. Nowadays, intrinsic metrics for human progress have come to include faster, always on, more abundant, thinner, more liberal, cheaper or, better still, free. As these and similar expectations ratchet up in a frenzied and hyper-connected world, perhaps a little perspective is in order.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Zero-Sum Delusion

Professor John Nash received the Nobel Prize in 1994 for his contribution to the field of game theory, the premise of the zero-sum game. A couple of years later, the movie A Beautiful Mind featured Russell Crowe as Nash spiralling into schizophrenia in an ironic twist to the film’s title. Emotionally wrenching in parts, the dramatisation of John Nash’s life may have led some viewers to infer that genius is not cost-free.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Law and Othèr

As a 14-year old student, Newton’s Third Law of Motion \For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction/ represented a higher gear shift for an impressionable if fledgling scientist. Much later, I discovered that many non-scientists were vaguely familiar with this law, seemingly appropriated into general lexicon.