Two new additions to the list of links I like. First, the Triple Crisis blog, which has contributions on crises in finance, development and the environment by, among others, the excellent South Asian economist Jayati Ghosh. I interviewed her for Stuffed and Starved, and have seldom encountered a sharper mind. Next, my friend and fellow-writing-grotto-partner Scott James who now has a column bearing his name in the New York Times Bay Area edition. Scott has been writing some fine columns for a while now but I wanted to flag his column for what I think’s one of the most important pieces in a long time. No, it’s not the column he’s about to publish, but his article on open gay marriage published last Friday. What’s so terrific about it is that, unpretentiously and honestly, challenges one of the most foundational social assumptions – that a marriage necessarily involves monogamy. In the debate around gay marriage, the judicial debates invokegay couples who very closely resemble the white-picket-fence world of the perfect straight couple. The debate around gay marriage can, however, be a way to discuss far richer and deeper questions that affect the whole of society: about how love can flourish in a range of different arrangements, monogamy being only one among many. It’s quiet, sensible, unflinching dynamite.
In general, it’s not healthy to think that the world is being run by a small cabal of men hidden in smoke filled rooms. This sort of thinking leads to the wearing of tin-foil hats and needless paranoia: most of the dangerous political and economic behaviour that alters our world happens in plain sight.
I’ve just come across a piece by Frederick Kaufman in the British Medical Journal . He interviewed Amartya Sen as part of an investigation into the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s approach to fighting hunger through something called “Purchase for Progress”. You can read more about it at the BMJ or at Fred’s site, but the paragraphs that caught my eye are here:
The North American book tour is winding down, and I’ve had many more invitations to speak than I’ve been able to accept. But that’s okay. In the course of a couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to hone my presentation a little and one of my favourite events was at the Town Hall in Seattle on January 18th, 2010, Martin Luther King Day. Thanks to Ed Mays (who has a version of this talk as a Windows file), you can watch it below, all 70 minutes of it. It’s a more environmentally sustainable way of doing things than my flying around. And, yes, it’s free.