Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, is an ambitious book, with a title that one might deem grandiose. But the author, Robert Wright, crafts a satisfying, readable tour de force that synthesizes human history, anthropology, game theory, biology, and ethics. The book first explores the evolution of human societies towards larger and more complex social […]
Role of government
What’s Missing from What You’re Hearing About Washington’s Budget
Last June, Gov. Jay Inslee made headlines when he signed a state budget totaling $43.4 billion in spending for 2017-19. Which of the following statements about that budget is true? A. State spending will grow 15.3% by 2019. B. State spending will grow 6.1% by 2019. C. State spending will grow 3.2% by 2019. D. […]
Was the Noble Savage noble? Or savage?
There has been a debate in the press recently about whether the state (nation) is fundamentally a source of exploitation and war, or whether it’s a civilizing influence on humans’ natural brutal nature. The debate has echoes of Jean-Jacque Rousseau versus Thomas Hobbes, as well as echos of FDR versus the Koch brothers. In short, […]
Conservatives treat selfishness as a virtue and charity and cooperation as sins
Government and taxation are a form of cooperation and charity for those less well off.
Burbank: Our successes were built on contributions of others
We are approaching the Fourth of July, when we celebrate American independence and the success of the colonists’ desire to be self-ruling. The United States was the first of England’s many colonies to gain its independence, something that would not be repeated until Canada broke away nearly a century later. It’s a testament to Americans’ […]
Good summary of Koch-funded conservative attack on government
What Is the Far Right’s Endgame? A Society That Suppresses the Majority Nancy MacLean, author of an intellectual biography of James McGill Buchanan, explains how this little-known libertarian’s work is influencing modern-day politics.
Bloomberg: Sweden's economic miracle based on high taxes
Sweden’s economy has outperformed its OECD peers over the past two decades High taxes, strong unions and an equal distribution of wealth. That’s the recipe for success in a globalized world, according to Magdalena Andersson, the Social Democratic economist who’s also Sweden’s finance minister. The 50-year-old has been raising taxes and spending more on welfare […]
It takes a web of public support to keep ourselves healthy
Mention “the web” and many people will think you’re talking about the Internet. But when you’re having a serious medical problem, you see an entirely different network in action. Two weeks ago, as my body tried — at first, in vain — to fight off a serious infection, my family and friends were the first […]
The Republican scam, and the Democrats' unwillingness to oppose it
Last night I was listening to AM talk radio, and a Republican candidate was promoting the following conservative narrative: “Yes, there is terrible wealth inequality, and it’s due to government waste, corruption and regulations. We need to slash taxes and get rid of regulations so that the middle class can have jobs and thrive. Government […]
Deceptive anti-government article in the Seattle P-I
The Seattle P-I often publishes click-bait photo essays, which ask the user to click through a series of Getty images to read short summaries. The photo essays hardly count as “articles”. The first page is a rewording of some source article. The reader spends most of her time clicking through the pretty photos. I suppose […]