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February 18, 2004

 
Policy and Population in Asia (via Volokh). Great essay on population trends and Asian demographics, especially the social impact of the aging populations of China, Japan and Russia. Interesting bit: by 2025, India will be the youngest large-population country in the world -- ahead of an aging China. (Outlook (free reg. reqd.) ran a cover story that mentioned this by-the-by some time ago). The only fly in the ointment? AIDS.

 

 
(Via Instapundit) On Defensetech: The Darpa project, called "Metabolic Dominance" or "Peak Soldier Performance," is part of a wider, future-facing Pentagon research push to develop grunts who are pretty much immune to normal human demands.

 

February 16, 2004

 
Clay Shirky on the last Internet campaign:
Those of us watching Dean thinking "This is it - the campaign we've been waiting for" were, in a way, correct. This is it, or rather that was it, before Dean decided that he could run a populist campaign without the support of the populous. The big surprise, to me and to many of us, is how little it mattered. Though Trippi said "It's all about money", they blew through $40M to surprisingly little effect.
I have a bad terrific case of schadenfreude about this: I am laughing about how paypal-tipping Deaniacs are still scratching their heads about how they're still behind 0-9. The entire Dean campaign, with the "Internet constituency" as one of its most vocal (or is that blogarrific?) drivers, reminded me far too much of the second superpower meme floating around a while ago. That meme, like the energy behind the Deaniacs, fed on a vicious cycle of groupthink and faux bleeding-heart politics. At least the Deaniacs spent $40m of their own money to realize exactly where they stand -- i.e., nowhere; which is more than can be said about the reflexive anti-war brigade.

 

February 13, 2004

 
Bye bye, Nanny state: Good opinion piece from The Telegraph on the IIM fee dustup:
A few decades ago, the middle class was regarded as one of the catchment areas of socialist populism. The so-called progressive politicians of yesteryear like Indira Gandhi and Jyoti Basu, used the politics of envy to nurture societies built on inefficiencies, mediocrity and deprivation. That economic model ran out of steam by the mid-Seventies, although it was another three decades before it was formally junked. Today, India’s middle classes are impatient for change. They detect opportunities and want to demolish the numerous roadblocks of the past. The mood is fiercely euphoric. The middle class has broken emotionally with the third world mentality.
Actually, while I agree about the generally upbeat atmosphere (whether based on sound fundamentals or not), the nanny state is far from rolling over. Urban India, remember, is just 30% of India's population, and only a small fraction of that 30% live in cities that get any benefit at all from the new `knowledge economy'. In India's tier 2 cities, and its numerous villages, there is enough teeth in the old license-permit raj (think grain procurement, think fertilizer subsidies, think untaxed electricity for irrigation) to last generations to come.

 


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