Indivdualismist, televisioonist, eratuletõrjujatest, mullast ja isegi moekatest plaastritest

David Brooks mõtiskles New York Times’is hiljuti individualismi ja kollektivismi üle, kus mees näib puudust tundvat kollektivismist. Huvitav pole aga mitte niivõrd Brooks’i jutt kuivõrd Will Wilkinsoni järelkaja, mis tundub olevat üks paremaid individualismi kaitsekõnesid, mida mina olen viimasel ajal sattunud lugema. Kaks olulisemat lõiku:

And it is also true that we are intensely social creatures, deeply connected to one another, and the idea of the lone individual rationally and willfully steering his own life course is often not an illusion. It is least often an illusion when one inhabits a moral culture in which psychological individuation, autonomy, and independence are cultivated and prized. If we have managed to wring a relatively individualistic culture out of the raw materials of our tribal natures, that is a triumph of deanimalizing civilization. Individualism is indeed unnatural — much like other noted mockeries of the natural order, such as equality under the law, vaccination, and the wheel. Brooks might stop to note that improvements on nature are both possible and desirable. The existence of mirror neurons no more debunks individualism than the existence of retinas debunks telescopes.

ja natuke hiljem:

The difference between Brooks and Hayek on this score is that Hayek understands Western political thought, and, more generally, he grasps that sociality is an enabling condition, not the antithesis, of the ethos of individualism that created modern liberty and the wealth of the Western world.

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Natuke rohkem kui 3 aastat tagasi oli Vabalogis juttu televisiooni mõjust, mis polegi nii negatiivne kui esialgu arvata võiks ja on kohati isegi positiivse mõjuga. Wall Street Journalis ilmus artikkel, mis käsitles televisiooni mõju nii laste hilisematele õpitulemustele, sotsiaalsetele normidele kui isegi migratsiooni voogudele:

Sometimes the effects of television shows are unexpected. Michael Castlen, executive director at PCI-Media Impact, a New York-based nonprofit organization that produces television and radio shows to promote health, human rights and social change, cites “América,” a popular telenovela, or soap opera, that aired in Brazil in 2005. It depicted the lives of people who had illegally immigrated into the U.S. in harsh terms, concentrating on the dangers and prejudices they faced.

But for many poor Brazilians, the hardships portrayed in “América” seemed small in comparison to the money the characters were sending home, Mr. Castlen says, making going to the U.S. seem worthwhile. Authorities apprehended three times as many Brazilians in the U.S. illegally in the fiscal year ended Sept. 2005 as in the previous year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Inimesed, kes ilma televiisorita elamist auasjaks peavad pole enamasti teadlikud sellest, et televisioonil võib olla ka üllatavaltki positiivne mõju.

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Tuletõrje on üks nendest teenustest, mida paljude arvates ei ole võimalik erasektoril pakkuda, seega peaks sellega tegelema avalik sektor. Loomulikult ei olnud see alati nii vaid ühe hetkel tundus (ja oli) tuletõrje korraldamine läbi avaliku sektori odavam ja efektiivsem, kuid ka see olukord ei pruugi püsima jääda. USA on näiteks metsatulekahjudega tegelemine eelkõige erasektori rida, mis suudab personali õigel ajal tagada, kuid seda minimaalsete püsikuludega:


Mr. Rounsaville said the increase in private hand crews was due in part to fewer federal timber crews in the field. Such crews, who do a variety of tasks including reforestation and preparation for timber sales, are also used to help fight wildfires.

But as the Forest Service’s timber harvesting declined, so did its number of crews. “We lost those people,” he said. “So they weren’t available on a call-when-needed basis.”

The result was the miniboom over the last decade in the number of contractors, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, where the decline in the lumber industry has also stripped many communities of jobs.

Today, the National Wildfire Suppression Association, a trade group for private contractors based in Stayton, Ore., counts more than 200 business members, representing more than 10,000 firefighters, with nearly 100 companies in Oregon alone. Some Oregon community colleges have started to offer classes in wildland firefighting, complete with on-the-job training during which students cut fire lines, slash brush and lay fire hose over steep terrain.

Huvitav on ka see kui kõrgelt töötajad ise hindavad vabadust, mida taoline sesoonne töö neile pakub.

Arvestades erinevate tehnoloogiliste lahenduste paindlikkust tundub erastatud tuletõrje linnades mitte ainult võimalik ja praktiline vaid ka kasumlik.

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Mul oli põhjust kevadel üle pika aja natuke pakendatud mulda osta mõnede maitsetaimede jaoks, kuid ega ma sellele segule, mis kotis oli, erilist tähelepanu ei pööranud. Augusti keskel ilmus aga Washington Post’is lugu mullast ja miks kvaliteetkraami enam isegi mullaks ei kutsuta:


The purveyors of the more elaborate “growing media,” it should be noted, never call it dirt or soil or anything so crass.

“We usually call it artificial growth substrate. It doesn’t contain any mineral soil in general now,” said Kathryn Louis, a technical specialist with Sun Gro Horticulture in Bellevue, Wash.

What does it have? Depends on the recipe, but any kind of topsoil or potting mix is likely to be crammed with composted organic material. Topsoils can be made from composted shellfish shells, for example. Potting mixes often contain sphagnum peat moss from bogs in Canada or Ireland. Bark fines might come from a sawmill in the Deep South. Coconut “coir,” a peat moss substitute, gets shipped all the way from Asia.

A common ingredient in potting mixes is perlite, which makes the soils airier while also retaining moisture. In its final form, small white pellets, it appears to be something synthesized in a factory. In fact, it comes from a volcanic sand mined on the Greek island of Milos. Shipped to the United States, the ore is heated to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point it pops into kernels.

Juttu tuleb loomulikult ka potimulla majanduslikust poolest nagu ka sellest, kuidas naftahind isegi sedavõrd naftakauge kauba nagu potimuld hinda mõjutab. 

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Umbes kuuaega tagasi ilmus New York Times Magazine’is portreelugu Nouriel Roubinist pealkirja all Dr.Doom. Roubini on tuntud pessimist, kes juba aastaid ennustanud USA finantsturgudele keerulisemaid aegu, kuid alles viimase aasta jooksul on tema karmimad ennustused vägisi pessimistlikust, kuid kaugest stsenaariumist reaalsuseks moondumas. Kõige optimistlikum lõik artiklis:

His defenders contend that Roubini is not unduly pessimistic. Jeffrey Sachs, his former adviser, told me that “if the underlying conditions call for optimism, Nouriel would be optimistic.” And to be sure, Roubini is capable of being optimistic — or at least of steering clear of absolute worst-case prognostications. He agrees, for example, with the conventional economic wisdom that oil will drop below $100 a barrel in the coming months as global demand weakens. “I’m not comfortable saying that we’re going to end up in the Great Depression,” he told me. “I’m a reasonable person.”

Roubini on minu jaoks kohati liiga pessimistlik, kuid tegu on “musta stsenaariumi” eksperdiga, kelle sõnavõttudega kursis olemine ei tule kellelegi kahjuks. Roubini kirjutisi võib regulaarselt leida siit.

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Plaastrid kui moeaksessuaar. Heh.

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