Tag Archives: Ideas

Why ideas – not labor or capital – will decide countries’ economic success in the future

New World Order

Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy

By Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee, and Michael Spence

Recent advances in technology have created an increasingly unified global marketplace for labor and capital. The ability of both to flow to their highest-value uses, regardless of their location, is equalizing their prices across the globe. In recent years, this broad factor-price equalization has benefited nations with abundant low-cost labor and those with access to cheap capital. Some have argued that the current era of rapid technological progress serves labor, and some have argued that it serves capital. What both camps have slighted is the fact that technology is not only integrating existing sources of labor and capital but also creating new ones.

Machines are substituting for more types of human labor than ever before. As they replicate themselves, they are also creating more capital. This means that the real winners of the future will not be the providers of cheap labor or the owners of ordinary capital, both of whom will be increasingly squeezed by automation. Fortune will instead favor a third group: those who can innovate and create new products, services, and business models.

The distribution of income for this creative class typically takes the form of a power law, with a small number of winners capturing most of the rewards and a long tail consisting of the rest of the participants. So in the future, ideas will be the real scarce inputs in the world — scarcer than both labor and capital — and the few who provide good ideas will reap huge rewards. Assuring an acceptable standard of living for the rest and building inclusive economies and societies will become increasingly important challenges in the years to come.

LABOR PAINS

Turn over your iPhone and you can read an eight-word business plan that has served Apple well: “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.” With a market capitalization of over $500 billion, Apple has become the most valuable company in the world. Variants of this strategy have worked not only for Apple and other large global enterprises but also for medium-sized firms and even “micro-multinationals.” More and more companies have been riding the two great forces of our era — technology and globalization — to profits.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
Learn more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141531/erik-brynjolfsson-andrew-mcafee-and-michael-spence/new-world-order

 

Judicial Jinn (genie) – By Waris Husain

My father told me that when he was growing up in a remote village in Pakistan, his community wholeheartedly believed in jinn (genies), and he would see them often as a child. He left his village at a young age to attend school in the city, where he was able to interact with people outside his small native community and develop independent ideas.

Upon his return to the village, all the jinn of his childhood vanished, even though the people of his community who spent their lives in the village still saw them. This is the story of Pakistan’s Courts, which are viewed by average citizens as genies that magically appear to solve unsolvable problems. However, those who have “ventured outside the village” know that there are no judicial genies, just human judges who are liable to make mistakes. This means that the Court must create standards to limit its own powers, lest it become a jinn the people can’t put back in the lamp.

Jinn are described as “smokeless fire,” possessing superhuman powers including the ability to travel expansive distances unimaginable by man. In some stories, the jinn grants three wishes to an individual, allowing the wisher to accrue untold power and wealth. These supernatural abilities distinguish jinn from humans, as jinn possess a greater power to control their environment or reality.

Lately, the media has depicted politicians as weak humans, while assigning a mystic ability to the Court to unilaterally “do justice” in the country.

Continue reading Judicial Jinn (genie) – By Waris Husain

BEYOND THE SACRED

I gave a talk called ‘Beyond the sacred’, on the changing character of ideas of the sacred and of blasphemy, at a conference on blasphemy organised this weekend by the Centre for Inquiry at London’s Conway Hall on Saturday. Here is a transcript. To talk about blasphemy is also to talk about the idea of the sacred. To see something as blasphemous is to see it in some way as violating a sacred space. In recent years, both the notion of blasphemy and that of the sacred have transformed. What I want to explore here is the nature of that transformation, and what it means for free speech.

For believers, the idea of the sacred is key to moral life. ….

Read more » Kenan Malik

Past present: Why Sufism? By Mubarak Ali

To counter the emergence of fundamentalism in Pakistan, the ruling classes as well as intellectuals are advocating the revival of sufism. However, it is evident that ideas and the system cannot be revived because fundamentalism is a product of a certain time and space and fulfills the needs of that age.

Secondly, the very idea of revivalism indicates intellectual bankruptcy and lethargy of our intellectuals who are either not ready or do not have the capacity to understand the very phenomenon of religious extremism and its advent as a result of social, economic and political changes in society. A number of myths are associated with sufis. One of the arguments being that they converted non-Muslims and are responsible for the spread of Islam through the subcontinent. To portray them as missionaries discredits them as an impartial community. To convert someone means that they initially did not believe in the truthfulness of other religions. If this view is correct, it does not explain how they could create goodwill among people belonging to different religions.

Continue reading Past present: Why Sufism? By Mubarak Ali

SHAHEED ZULFIQAR ALI BHUTTO – SINDHI SPEECH

In 1969, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto addressed students at Liaquat Medical College, Jamshoro, Sindh. He was allowed to speak on the condition that he would not talk about politics. However, in his speech, he said being a political animal, he could not refrain from speaking on the subject. He said the following:

If Shah Lateef were alive today, he would be behind the bars. For all his poetry is based on democratic ideas.

One unit is an evil. Were Shah Bhitai alive today, he would oppose One Unit.

– A child’s education should be in his/her mother tongue. No doubt Urdu and Bengali are national languages, I feel and as a minister I tried that Sindhi children be educated in Sindh.

Via → Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups → Mohammad Ali Mahar → YouTube

SANA’s 27th annual convention begins in St. Louis, USA

St. Louis: Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) is a symbol of peace, brotherhood, love & unity. It is a platform where cultural ideas meet practice. SANA is holding its 27th Annual Convention in Saint Louis, Missouri from July 1-4. We will have two nights of Sindhi music at the Convention. We have invited best artists from Sindh.

The venue and the room reservation: The venue of the Convention is ST. LOUIS AIRPORT MARRIOTT, 10700 Pear Tree Lane · St. Louis, USA.

Pakistan: Drifting towards fascism

Dictator Zia

by Mazhar Arif

Retreat of socialism, particularly in former Soviet Union, and rise of “Ziaism” in Pakistan depressed the progressive (Leftist) and secular forces in the country which resulted in fading of “battle of ideas” in media and educational institutions. The consequences are the general intellectual bankruptcy and emergence of media-obsessed intelligentsia and the result is the “Ziaized” elitist intellectuals are on the center-stage …

Read more → ViewPoint

Sindhi Sangat Seminar – if we all come together, we can make miracles happen!!

Sindhi Sangat Seminar In Mumbai on 30th April

Mumbai: Calling all dedicated Sindhis … All those who want to do something to save their identity… Here is the right opportunity for you… We invest our time & money in so many things – do we treat this important?

We like Hindi and English dramas, dances, music and movies – have we realized such milestones are achieved by Sindhis also in our language but only a handful know about this. Do we realize that our culture is dying out to great extent? Do we know the people behind our rich Sindhi heritage and culture?

A platform to VOICE YOUR ideas Sindhi Sangat invites all young and ‘not so young’ individuals to come and discuss their ideas. Sindhis are dynamic and practical… If we all come together, we can make miracles happen!!

This is a get together of like minded, proud Sindhis will be held in Mumbai on 30th April 2011 at 5 pm. Entry by Invitation Only. You will be informed about more details of the event via email / sms / phone.

A meaningful contribution is what we are looking for from every individual who is a true Sindhi at heart! Contribution is not in monetary terms.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 22, 2011

Debate on HEC Devolution

by Dr Azhar A. Shah

In the context of present debate on the devolution of HEC when we present some facts and figures to support our arguments in favor of devolution; most of the opponents of the devolution have come up to negate these facts not by counter arguments and supporting evidence but by labeling it as a campaign for regionalism and provincialism. They issue directives to us to be Pakistani and stop this debate! To them, being Pakistani means surrendering the right to present our point of view on a matter which is directly related to the very field that we are an important stakeholders of!.

I think it is this attitude of opposing any argument/voice in favor of limited regional autonomy (decentralization, devolution, delegation, provinces’ rights ), which is guaranteed by the constitution of our country, that would further enhances the gaps between provinces and regions. We must learn to respect each other by considering all of us as equal citizens, as equal Pakistanis and providing every one a chance to participate in the debate with equal dignity without questioning her/his level of Pakistaniat! It seems a very mean thing to remind a person of his nationality (Pakistaniat) while she/he is debating a point in terms of academic discourse! Every one understands that not all the participants in the debate could be right. We could be wrong! But it doesn’t imply that we don’t think as Pakistanis!.

If I am showcasing the weaknesses, the faults, the troubles, the unfairness, the inequality of our system of our organizations, it is meant to be noted for correction, it is meant to be noted for improvement, it is meant to be noted for progress. We should get rid of that old feudo-military mindset that represses the ideas, that represses the creativity, and that considers every opponent ideas as enemy number one.

That said, I would present an example of how regional voice and concerns are being encouraged, supported and responded by the civilized societies of the world . Please respect the ancient civilization of our ingeniousness ancestors and refrain from further turning of our present society into militant society!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 14, 2011

A Primer on Class Struggle

by Michael Schwalbe

When we study Marx in my graduate social theory course, it never fails that at least one student will say (approximately), “Class struggle didn’t escalate in the way Marx expected. In modern capitalist societies class struggle has disappeared. So isn’t it clear that Marx was wrong and his ideas are of little value today?

I respond by challenging the premise that class struggle has disappeared. On the contrary, I say that class struggle is going on all the time in every major institution of society. One just has to learn how to recognize it. …

Read more : Common Dreams

A divided Pakistan buries Salman Taseer and a liberal dream

by Declan Walsh in Lahore

Liberals have long been a minority force in Pakistan, reviled for importing ‘western’ ideas and culture; now they are virtually an endangered species.

There was silence in the ancient city of Lahore yesterday as Salman Taseer, a pugnacious son of the soil who made his name by speaking out, was lowered into an early grave. …

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

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To read BBC urdu column, click here

Faith and Foolishness

Faith and Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous

Religious leaders should be held accountable when their irrational ideas turn harmful

By Lawrence M. Krauss

….. Religious leaders need to be held accountable for their ideas. In my state of Arizona, Sister Margaret McBride, a senior administrator at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, recently authorized a legal abortion to save the life of a 27-year-old mother of four who was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering from severe complications of pulmonary hypertension; she made that decision after consultation with the mother’s family, her doctors and the local ethics committee. Yet the bishop of Phoenix, Thomas Olm­sted, immediately excommunicated Sister Margaret, saying, “The mother’s life cannot be preferred over the child’s.” Ordinarily, a man who would callously let a woman die and orphan her children would be called a monster; this should not change just because he is a cleric.

To read full article >> Scientificamerican

NICE THOUGHTS

The smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention. – Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important. – The best vitamin for making friends B. – The 10 commandments are not multiple choice. – The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. – Minds are like parachutes.. . they function only when open. – Ideas won’t work unless YOU do. – One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time. – Don’t learn safety rules by accident. – One thing you can give and still keep is your words. – A friend walks in when everyone else walks out.

via  – Farzana

Washington DC Discussion – Those who Control Pakistan’s National Narrative do not allow other Ideas

By Khalid Hashmani

Washington D.C. – On February 19, 2010, the South Asia Studies program of School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) organized yet another (SAIS) thought-provoking discussion with Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa. The writings of Dr. Siddiqa, who was once the Director of Naval Research with Pakistan Navy, have boldly challenged supremacy of Pakistani military and hegemony of thought process imposed by the growing religious coalition in Pakistan. Her two books Military Inc, Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy and Pakistan’s Arms Procurement and Military Buildup exposed the Pakistan military’s growing hold on the decision making process and gaining effective control of politics and economy of Pakistan. Although the title of her session “Salvaging Pakistan: The Changing Face of Civil Society” has mild connotations, her hard-hitting presentation and her responses in the follow-up Q&A session were not only provocative but also challenged many of the current assumptions and predicaments. She spoke in no uncertain terms that the extremism will continue to engulf Pakistan unless the the current national narrative of Pakistan is changed and there was a genuine tolerance for religious diversity in terms of other religions and other Muslims whose opinions differed from Sunni-Devbandi-wahabi ideology.

Continue reading Washington DC Discussion – Those who Control Pakistan’s National Narrative do not allow other Ideas