Weekly Reading List

November 26, 2019

Dear Friends,

Welcome to another edition of the weekly reading list.

We have three pieces this time. Let’s get into that.

  1. Economic development is invariably linked to uninterrupted growth. However, the question is, is such growth possible and sustainable in the long term?  We always have the notion that without growth, we cannot maintain the quality of life for people. However, this idea of uninterrupted growth may have a different meaning in different parts of the world. In the developed world , where, people enjoy a very high quality of life, once growth reaches a peak level it may not be possible to increase it further without causing damage to the environment.  It was in this background, certain economists proposed the idea of a limit to growth. It means that once we reach such a level, we must aim for a kind of economic development where we stop producing more and more but aim for an environmentally sustainable life. Read this very informative essay by Clive Thompson who is discussing these issues here.
  2. It is difficult to find someone who never procrastinated something in life. Procrastination is a universal weakness among human beings.  It’s a fact that there are chronic procrastinators and despite being aware of the cost of their procrastination they find it difficult to come out of it. What makes people procrastinate things in life?  How can one come out of it? What are the major studies done on the topic? What is the science of procrastination? Read this illuminating essay on procrastination here. I also often succumb to procrastination and that was one reason why this essay caught my attention. As the author says, though procrastination gradually chips away at the most valuable resource in the world: time, a sizeable number of people find it difficult to overcome that.
  3. This is an interesting take by novelist Manu Joseph on acquiring degrees in the wake of the ongoing agitation by students of JNU against fee hike. Written hilariously, the author raises important questions about the frantic chase after degrees which often do not add any value to people. He suggests delinking degrees and employment at least in case of non-technical jobs. On the attempt by the marginalised to fight their oppressors by acquiring degrees, the author writes, “All revolutions against the elite that involve imitating the elite fail. You don’t fight Brahmins by glorifying what they have created; rather by destroying it. As a literature student, what I learned is that half of humanities is a veneration of a wrong analysis of the world by rich Caucasian men and the mentally off-kilter”. Read, Manu Joseph column here.

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