Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Various Links

* A bibliography of texts nominated by the SWIP-L and FEAST listservs (PDF) as the most influential texts in feminist philosophy. It is alphabetized by first name rather than last name.

* A good post by John Wilkins on fear, risk, and freedom.

* John Farrell notes the anti-scientific underpinnings of one particular type of argument from evil.

* Chris Clarke's This is the title of a typical incendiary blogpost. (ht)

* Jonah Lehrer on Self-Control and Peer Groups

* Rothbard on Bernardino of Siena. It's interesting but not wholly fair: Rothbard too easily conflates usury with lending practices, and it is precisely Bernardino's point that charging interest is actually a secondary matter in lending practices, and he put the point into practice by furthering the development of the montes pietatis. What Bernardino saw, and Rothbard does not, is that many forms of interest (and many practices associated with it) restrict the class of people whose lives can be benefitted by reasonable loans, and therefore impede borrowing where it can do the most good even as it encourages lending where it can do the most harm; and what Bernardino also saw was that alternatives to interest-charging are available. There are personal free loans, of course, which people are constantly making anyway, and which can be regularized and facilitated by certain practices and customs; there are partnership-based lending practices in which loans get real returns from the investment rather than interest; there are also pawn shops, which can be run in a way that is not quite so sleazy as our current stereotype of pawn shops (in Bernardino's time they were quite respectable, and often charitable, institutions); and who knows what else. St. Bernardino would love the idea of microlending -- in a sense, the montes pietatis he furthered were an early experiment in that -- although probably not all microlending practices.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please understand that this weblog runs on a third-party comment system, not on Blogger's comment system. If you have come by way of a mobile device and can see this message, you may have landed on the Blogger comment page, or the third party commenting system has not yet completely loaded; your comments will only be shown on this page and not on the page most people will see, and it is much more likely that your comment will be missed.