Davos Newbies Home

Alexandria and Google 

Appropriately in the week that the new Alexandrian library opens, Disenchanted has a fascinating comparison between the ancient Alexandrian collection and Google.

“Google satisfies the current perception of truth by finding authorities, but by doing so it may cause that perception to change. It’ll spoil us commoners the same way scholars have been spoiled since ancient Greece, because while we won’t totally abandon our respect for authorities, we will at least lose our reservations against questioning them.”

Agriculture again 

I wouldn’t have expected to be nodding in vigorous agreement with a Belgian prime minister on just about any issue you’d care to name. But Guy Verhofstadt says the right thing about Europe’s heinous agricultural subsidies: “Isn’t it hypocritical that precisely those agricultural products which are critically important to many developing countries — such as bananas, rice and sugar — are to a large extent excluded from free access to our market until 2006 and 2009?”

Oxfam’s Kevin Watkins has a strong polemic along the same lines in today’s Guardian. But, in a rare omission for The Guardian’s usually thorough site, I can’t find the article I read in the physical paper anywhere. Watkins, however, has made this argument before, notably when taking on the ostriches who still insist that poor countries should ignore export markets.

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