Watch Michael Weinstein and Joseph Siegle talk about their book The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. I very much agree with what Leslie Gelb has written about this fascinating book: “It is very rare when you have established experts do a mountainous amount of hard research on a complex new subject. It is rarer still when the subject cuts across the boundaries of foreign policy, economics, and domestic politics. The result is far and away the best book to date making the argument that democracy furthers economic development better than authoritarian rule.”
Poooh! I’ve just finished reading all the violent and cruel stories in both the Bible and the Quran that I was able to find. I may have missed some, but probably not too many, because I used several good sources to find them. Here is my impression:
- Both books are astonishingly violent. Both gods use cruel violence themselves and demand their followers to do the same.
- There are more violent stories in the Bible.
- But the Bible is a much longer book. There are a little more violent stories in the Quran relative to the size of the text.
- There are a little more very cruel acts in the Bible – like genocides, ethnic cleansing, the killing of children or the stoning of people -, and they are described in more detail.
- The Quran is a little worse than the New Testament.
- The Old Testament is a little worse than the Quran.
- But, all in all, there aren’t any major differences between the texts.
- Much of the violence is very similar.
What can we learn from these comparisons? Not very much. Let’s just focus on the positive stories in both books! There are enough of them to help us win the struggle against fundamentalism! Peace, shalom, and salam to everyone!
Is there any scientific evidence that the differences in violence across societies aren’t caused by religious differences? Yes, lots of it! First, there are hundreds of studies which show that poor countries are – on average – many times more violent and undemocratic than rich ones. And then there is one very comprehensive and rigorous study by Inglehart and Welzel which shows that there is only a very small – almost insignificant – cultural influence if you control for other factors – especially economic ones – and that economic change leads to cultural change (many times more than the other way round). I highly recommend their book on the topic from which I have learned more about the world we live in than from any other one.
This is the most impressive, informative and frightening documentary on the last economic crisis – and the next one:
It is not too late – yet! – and it’s all up to us, but we have to change course.
Watch evolutionary psychologists Cosmides and Tooby explain why most people distrust the modern world and the market economy at Reason.tv.
Matt Ridley is the author of “The Rational Optimist”, which is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Watch him explain how ideas making love can save mankind at this Ted Talk!
Well, it already is. Watch this fascinating talk by David Bowen.
Watch John Kasaona from Namibia explain How poachers became caretakers at TED.
Neda Agha-Soltan was 27 when she was shot dead in the streets of Tehran on June 20th, 2009. Watch a touching and powerful documentary about a courageous, lively and beautiful woman and her struggle against theocratic rule and gender apartheid in Iran.
(also available in Farsi or Arabic)
Economists Shaohua Chen and Martin Ravallion have studied “The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on the World’s Poorest”. Their analysis shows that the world poverty rate keeps declining despite the crisis:
“The same (post-crisis) growth projections imply that the aggregate $1.25 a day poverty rate will fall from 21% in the “pre-crisis” year of 2008 to 18% (1040 million people) in 2009; the pre-crisis growth rate for 2009 would have instead brought the poverty rate down to 17% (987 million). Using the $2 a day line, the poverty rate falls from 42% in 2008 to 39% (2,232 million) in 2009 under the lower expected growth rate, while the pre-crisis trajectory would have brought the poverty rate down to 38% (2,169 million).”
Listen to Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji speak at the Cato Institute – from which he received the “Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty 2010″ – about the liberation struggle against the theocracy and the great dangers of military intervention.
Watch one of the most informative and touching documentaries ever made on of the most impressive nonviolent freedom struggles in history – a whole nation rose up against a brutal occupation and started… singing!
“Imagine the scene in ‘Casablanca’ in which the French patrons sing ‘La Marseillaise’ in defiance of the Germans, then multiply its power by a
factor of thousands, and you’ve only begun to imagine the force of
‘The Singing Revolution’.” – The New York Times
Political scientist Robert Pape has a clear and simple answer to this question, which will surprise only those who blame Islam. Watch him explain his theory and his latest research on Iraq and Afghanistan at the New America Foundation:
The Rise of Suicide Terrorism
(I couldn’t find the first part, but I don’t believe there is anything of great importance missing.)
Watch a very informative, entertaining and fair debate on the issue,
featuring Dambisa Moyo, Hernando de Soto, Paul Collier and Stephen Lewis – four experts on aid and development, four independent and innovative minds, four people, who really care about the poor…
Watch Richard Tren and Donald Roberts from “Africa Fighting Malaria” talk about their book “The Excellent Powder: DDT’s Political and Scientific History” at Reason.TV:
They made fun of Americans, Canadians, Latin Americans, Europeans, Asians and Africans, liberals, conservatives, socialists, environmentalists, feminists, animal rights activists, pacifists and war mongerers, self-centered hippies and snobby yuppies, Michael Jackson and Radiohead, Bush and Obama, George Clooney and Barbra Streisand, Family Guy, the Simpsons and – of course – themselves, fundamentalist Christians, Scientology, arrogant atheists and radical Muslims.
So that makes 29 reasons. What’s the last one?
No one and nothing will ever stop them!
Watch Matthew Hoh, a former Marine Corps Captain in Iraq and Foreign Service Officer in Afghanistan, explain why he resigned in protest over the war in Afghanistan:
Watch the premiere of “10 Rules for Dealing with Police” at the Cato Institute. Know your rights – and how to defend them effectively!
“If a free society depends upon an informed citizenry exercising oversight of its government, then more people need to know how to handle themselves in a police encounter…”
Dissidents and human rights activists from China, Tibet, Vietnam, Burma, North Korea, Indonesia, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Cuba and Venezuela gathered in Geneva, Switzerland on March 8-9, 2010 for the Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy.
Here you can watch videos of all the debates and speeches.
Watch historian Stephen Davies explain why mankind has been experiencing the most radical revolution ever in the last two centuries – and why this revolution has only just begun!
Stephen Davies at the Mercatus Center – Locating Ourselves Historically
(Scroll down to find the video).
Watch this very informative “Enterprise Africa” – panel discussion on fighting poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa featuring some leading experts on the issue:
Jeffrey Robinson, William Eaterly, Peter Boettke
John Kasaona, Shadrack Mabuza, Temba Nolutshungu
Q & A
Yes, they can – and so can every country in the world! Watch Hans Rosling – the funniest statistician ever! – explain his optimism to an Indian audience:
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell
Don’t miss this frightening documentary!
Yo! Check this sh++ out, my econ-homeys! The battle of the century!
I believe, there are three main reasons for this terrible tragedy: Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. Haiti is a very undemocratic country. And, well… there was an earthquake of major proportions.
Why do I believe that? Because it is common sense – and because of this impressive scientific study, which shows that there are far fewer deaths from natural disasters in rich and democratic societies:
Democracy, GDP and Natural Disasters -
Gregory E. van der Vink and co-authors
Most people believe that only lunatic lefties are in favour of free migration. Unfortunately, they are very close to the truth. I wish that more moderates, liberals, conservatives and libertarians would speak up against all barriers to immigration. A crazy idea? Watch or listen to this wonderful speech by British economist Nigel Harris, author of Thinking the Unthinkable – The Immigration Myth Exposed, at Gresham College: Refugees, economic migration and the future of the world economy