Why didn’t the Tatas (and others who extol the virtues of the free market) acquire their land on the open market? (Rahul Siddharthan)

Now let me get this straight. It is not enough for† Amit,† Shruti, me, the editors of the Mint, etc. to just write in support of property rights for farmers. We should have actually gone ahead and pooled our money and bought the land on the free market for Tata?

Good Really Old Days

This is Survivorship Bias week at The Examined Life.

Hunter-gatherers may have been so lithe and healthy because the weak were dead. The invention of agriculture and the advent of settled society merely swapped high mortality for high morbidity, allowing people some relief from chronic warfare so they could at least grind out an existence, rather than being ground out of existence altogether.

Notice a close parallel with the industrial revolution. When rural peasants swapped their hovels for the textile mills of Lancashire, did it feel like an improvement? The Dickensian view is that factories replaced a rural idyll with urban misery, poverty, pollution and illness. Factories were indeed miserable and the urban poor were overworked and underfed. But they had flocked to take the jobs in factories often to get away from the cold, muddy, starving rural hell of their birth.

That is from the Economist once again.†Here is something I posted on my blog four years ago.

(A tip: The Christmas special issue of the Economist is always worth reading. Lots of interesting stuff. )