The HBO miniseries John Adams (2008) was one of the two TV shows that I binge-watched in the Fall 2014 semester. The show’s evident unadulterated creative process, engaging story telling and commitment to historical accuracy kept me hooked to the computer screen right through it’s seven episodes.
The series, which was directed by Tom Hooper (who went on to direct The King’s Speech and Les Miserables), rightfully received critical acclaim (winning four golden globes and thirteen Emmy awards). I have been trying to understand the events and ideas of the American Revolution for sometime now, and through this show, I was able to develop a basic understanding for the life of one of the centrally important founding fathers of the United States. There were many interesting ideas and events that I made a note to follow-up on as I watched the show (the Boston Massacre, John and Abigail Adams’ amazing relationship, Thomas Jefferson’s emphasis on small Government, Alexander Hamilton setting up the First Bank of the United States etc etc). I have included a small fraction of those notes in this post.
July, 2014. Rural Education Center (REC) Rishi Valley School, Madanapalle, India.
This article is an effort to describe a profitable business model for a private schooling firm in India that looks to maximize the quality and accessibility of its educational services.
The intention is to design a business model for a firm that will initiate a systemic push towards an education system designed with the veil of ignorance that was described by John Rawls (ie ensuring equality of opportunity for children of all social and economic backgrounds).
I will first discuss a series of ideas that form the foundation of this model and then finally weave those ideas together in order to describe it.
An article I recently read in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Ailing Health of a Growing Nation” describes how the public healthcare system in India is in an abysmal state. According to the article, a senior official in the Indian health ministry said that the country has too many competing social priorities (like education and infrastructure) which cause an extremely inadequate investment in public healthcare by the Indian Government (1 – 1.4 % of GDP). Upon reading the article and conducting some cursory research about the state of public healthcare in India, it was evident that the egregious healthcare problems/crises that India faces will simply not be tackled through Government programs and healthcare alone.
India’s elite undergraduate institutions are hurting it by having admission processes which cause a systemic suppression of innovation, leadership and thoughtfulness in a majority of the high schools in the country. One of the first things you read in any introductory economics text book is that people respond to incentives. The curriculum of a bulk of the high schools in Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd any country is typically designed to help students secure admission to the most sought undergraduate institutions in the country.
(This article was published on Youth Ki Awaaz. Link: How India’s Elite Undergraduate Institutions Are Suppressing Innovation and Leadership)
I hope you have been having a fun and productive summer.
I wanted to update all the core STTI members about the recent developments in our organization. There are three main components to this update: (1) Analysis of our Organization’s Strategy Last Semester, (2) New Officer and Organizational Structure, (3) STTI Chapters in India. I hope you go through this letter as it will bring you up to speed with what’s been going on.
I watched the movie Barbarians at the Gate (1993) yesterday and was interested in understanding one of its central themes, the concept of leverage buyouts (LBOs).
The movie is based on a book written by the investigative journalists Bryan Burrough and John Helyar about the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, a company that primarily sold tobacco and food products. The book in turn was essentially a compilation of a series of articles that the authors wrote for the Wall Street Journal.
The leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco in 1988 was carried out in an environment that was critical of corporate and executive excesses. There was a bidding war for the buyout of the company.
In one of the first sections of “Fear and Trembling”, Kierkegaard (as his pseudonymous self, Johannes de Silentio) notes,
“ I for my part have devoted a good deal of time to the understanding of the Hegelian philosophy, I believe also that I understand it tolerably well, but when in spite of the trouble I have taken there are certain passages I cannot understand, I am foolhardy enough to think that he himself has not been quite clear.”
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770 – 1831)
Observe that he sets the tone for opposing Hegelian philosophy over the course of his discussion very early in this work. So it is imperative for one to understand the main themes in Hegelian philosophy in order to fully appreciate Kierkegaard’s discussion about “the second inwardness” in the later sections of “Fear and Trembling”.
Bad faith (mauvais foi) is essentially inauthenticity for Jean Paul Sartre. He thinks of bad faith as an attempt to evade the responsibility of discovering and understanding one’s authentic self. Bad faith is thereby an attempt to escape the freedom that Sartre believes is an inherent feature of our lives. When Sartre says, “Consciousness is what it is not and is not what it is,” he means that consciousness is something that is a constantly integrated combination of facticity and transcendence which can be taken to mean the past and future respectively.
In the section discussing the patterns of bad faith in Being and Nothing, Sartre notes that, “The basic concept which is thus engendered, utilizes the double property of the human being, who is at once a facticity and a transcendence, These two aspects of human reality are and ought to be capable of a valid coordination. But bad faith does not wish either to coordinate them nor to surmount them in a synthesis.” It is thereby imperative to understand these two dimensions of human consciousness to understand bad faith.