Sunday, March 22, 2015

For each drone kill, the “home of the brave” might become more vulnerable.

I refer to Karen J. Greenberg’s review of Grégoire Chamayou’s “A theory of the drone”, Washington Post’s Outlook of March 22.

In it Greenberg writes: “Drones are the opposite of warfare… a warrior culture in which readiness to kill has been inseparable from the willingness to die. With drones the ethics of warrior cultures have been superseded, and the warriors have turned into invulnerable, cold-hearted executioners.”

As to “invulnerable”, I am not sure. For each drone kill, as opposed to a combat kill, the executioner distances himself more and more from the real world, and so becomes perhaps more and more vulnerable to it. What we already so often hear about “not wishing boots on the ground” might be just an appetizer of things to come.

Currently many kids, by the web, walk the whole world, but rarely set their feet out in the real world. Others have no access to the web, but keep on learning how to fight it out on the streets. When push comes to shove, who are going to prevail… those handy with drones, or those handy with pliers able to cut the power lines off?


A letter not published L

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The myth of the unused wealth

Every day we read of some excessive wealth that has quite shamefully accumulated in some very few hands, and which should be redistributed for some good purpose that most often sounds very meritorious.

Unfortunately that wealth is not some magic unused wealth stored under a mattress, but something that represents value somewhere. 

If for instance part of that wealth is invested in public bonds that helped finance education in the wealthiest’ home lands, should these bonds be sold in order to finance education in the land of the poor?

Or should it finance education in poor lands before financing some green investments that could make planet earth more sustainable?

And for one wealthy to sell the Picasso he owns or a bar of gold to another wealthy does not really seem to be the source of a solution for getting rid of the inequalities either.

To phrase good intentions, without fully spelling out the full range of possible opportunity costs, and upfront suggesting squarely what should be cut, is irresponsible and does little to help to solve the great challenges the world faces.

On that we need to call out all those who make a career of creating false illusions among the needed… offering one big redistribution party but not saying a word about the morning after.

By the way, how can we redistribute wealth without redistributing powers and paying commissions to wealth-redistributors?