Monday, December 6, 2010

Heads-up for 6 December 2010

Mahabharata Podcast
Welcome back, Arjun
from by (Lawrence Manzo)
Episode 35 - It's deja-vu all over again, as the Pandavas move from the hermitage of Nar-Narayan to another one on the slopes of Mt Kailash, named for Arstisena. Another flower wafts down the hill, and Draupadi again sends Bhima off in search of the source. Bhima completely forgets Yuddistira's injunction about making trouble and he invades Kubera's kingdom, starting a war with the god's "genial leprechaun" army.
(review, feed)

Selgin on the Fed
George Selgin, of the University of Georgia, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 has been a boon or a bust for the U.S. economy. Drawing on a recent paper by William Lastrapes and Lawrence White recently released by the Cato Institute, "Has the Fed Been a Failure?" Selgin argues that the Fed has done poorly at two missions often deemed to justify a central bank: lender of last resort and smoother of the business cycle. Selgin makes the case that avoiding bank runs and bank panics does not require a central bank and that contrary to received wisdom, it is hard to argue that the Fed has smoothed the business cycle. Additional topics discussed include whether the Fed has the information to do its jobs well, the role of the Fed in moral hazard, and the potential for the gold standard to outperform the Fed.
(review, feed)

Perception of African pasts, politics and cultures

Here is a short recommendation to listen to the podcast Africa Past and Present, where the latest issue had an interview with historian Paul Landau who has been reviewing the African historiography and draws the conclusion that much of this body has been formulated in a non-fitting terminology. (feed)

Landau is not the first to point out in podcast that it is hard for historians to find a proper language and framework for grasping African history. We have also had a lecture by Joseph Miller at Virginia Tech which took a step back from historiography and pointed out that in order to describe the history of Africa, one must work outside the box.

To give but one example: Western thought has imposed upon the African reality a social structure using the word Tribe and with it carrying a lot of implications Landau and Miller attempt to show that are not applicable. This causes the reader, the viewer and even the researcher to view divisions where there are none really and interpret connections where they are anthropologically misconstrued.

More Africa Past and Present:
After the Cup,
Podcast Review: Africa Past and Present.