Thursday, December 31, 2020

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Needham and related questions

 Needham and related questions:


1.“ “Why did modern science, the mathematization of hypotheses about Nature, with all its implications for advanced technology, take its meteoric rise only in the West at the time of Galileo?”, and why it “had not developed in Chinese civilization” which in the previous many centuries “was much more efficient than occidental in applying” natural knowledge to practical needs? [16] [17]

"Gunpowder, the magnetic compass, and paper and printing, which Francis Bacon considered as the four most important inventions facilitating the West's transformation from the Dark Ages to the modern world, were invented in China".[18] Needham's works attribute significant weight to the impact of Confucianism and Taoism on the pace of Chinese scientific discovery, and emphasises the "diffusionist" approach of Chinese science as opposed to a perceived independent inventiveness in the western world. Needham thought the notion that the Chinese script had inhibited scientific thought was "grossly overrated".” from Wikipedia.

2. The great divergence is the growing economic gap between west and china over 1100 years. And little divergence is the growing gap between northern and Southern Europe.

3.Modernity from Emmanuel Todd:

First hint from [A], page 33, "...urbanization, industrialization and the spread of literacy, in short by modernization..."

Second hint from [B], pages 2-3, "This is a cultural development, beyond the realm of the material. Cultural development first shows up as a rise in the rate of literacy....In the second stage, a fall in the rates of mortality and fertility follows the rise of literacy. Man thus takes control of his immediate biological environment. Only in the third stage does development appear as an increase in the production of industrial goods or, more generally, material wealth"

 A) The Explanation of Ideology: Family Structures and Social Systems, Translated by David Garrioch, 1985 B)The Causes of Progress: Culture, Authority and Change, Translated by Richard Boulind, 1987

Two recent books: 

 Davids, Karel. Religion, Technology, and the Great and Little Divergences. China and Europe Compared, c. 700-1800.

Rulers, Religion, and Riches: Why the West Got Rich and the Middle East’ by Jared Rubin.

Todd uses family systems to gauge changes. The two recent books use the institutions spawned by religions to gauge changes.

From a review of the second book:

“By combining an institutional argument with religion through the effect that religion had on institutions and politics (rather than on cultural beliefs), Rubin’s argument is reminiscent of an important recent book by Karel Davids, which has not thus far received sufficient attention (Davids, 2013). Both books, in a different way, stress how religious institutions mattered regardless of the precise content of religion. Davids, however, emphasizes another aspect, namely the role of religion in the generation and dissemination of technology. Rubin is primarily interested in institutions that support markets. “

The first book considers:

The aim is to connect the four debates:

1 Religion and visions of nature

2 Religion and Human Capital Formation

3 Religion and circulation of technical knowledge

4 Religion and technical innovation

I am trying to read and trying to understand around these topics.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

A review of ‘Lineages of Modernity’ by Emmanuel Todd

 To be clear, half of this book is unsupported, or sometimes just trivial.  There were several times I was tempted to just stop reading, but then it became interesting again.  Todd covers a great deal of ground (the subtitle is A History of Humanity from the Stone Age to Homo Americanus), not all of it convincingly.  But when he makes you think, you really feel he might be on to something.”

India of the last

 Some stories here

Faye D’Souza on Indian farm protests


From Noah Smith

About a scary theory of the new century “ The 2019 protests that rocked every region of the planet had no real unifying theme. They included separatist movements, protests against economic inequality, protests against authoritarianism, and even climate protests. The huge, unprecedented protests in the U.S. a year later were about police brutality. I’m not sure anyone ever figured out what the protests in France were about. 

If there’s one “silver bullet” explanation for why protests are erupting all over the world, it’s technology. Social media dramatically lowers the cost of both organizing a protest and spreading a protest-related ideology. Martin Gurri’s The Revolt of the Publicand Zeynep Tufekci’s Twitter and Tear Gas are essential reading on this topic. 

Big protests create instability and can paralyze governments — or even, as we saw with the color revolutions, overthrow them. Great-power conflict in the 21st century might simply be about outlasting your opponents — holding out longer against the naturally bubbling forces of internal dissent. “

So then the question becomes: If social media driven protests are a permanent feature of the modern age, what sort of institutions and technology allow governments to resist the resulting instability?

And I’m not sure we’ll like the answer.

India’s new farm bills article from Wire

Section 13: “No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Central Government or the State Government, or any officer of the Central Government or the State Government or any other person in respect of anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act or of any rules or orders made thereunder.”

Wednesday, December 02, 2020