Interesting things I’ve been reading

  • One of the best New Yorker articles I’ve read in months, maybe years, and the best argument I’ve read against the death penalty. It’s by David Grann. I read it in the office (during lunchtime, folks!), and started crying in the last section and had to go outside.
  • A Tehelka interview with historian Ayesha Jalal in which she restates the central thesis of her work on Jinnah, that it is a “mistake to equate the demand for Pakistan with the partition of India.” This view of Jinnah has been at the center of the controversy in the BJP in the last few weeks.
  • A really fascinating piece from Foreign Policy on how China cooks its economic statistics, by having state owned enterprises buy goods from one another, by counting federal stimulus money before it’s spent, and more.
  • Paul Krugman’s article criticizing the field of economics for having bought into the efficient markets hypothesis so completely, and missed the warning signs for the current recession. My favorite part was Keynes’s analogy for the stock market: “In the 1930s, financial markets, for obvious reasons, didn’t get much respect. Keynes compared them to “those newspaper competitions in which the competitors have to pick out the six prettiest faces from a hundred photographs, the prize being awarded to the competitor whose choice most nearly corresponds to the average preferences of the competitors as a whole; so that each competitor has to pick, not those faces which he himself finds prettiest, but those that he thinks likeliest to catch the fancy of the other competitors.””

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