Day: October 2, 2022

October 2022: A Personal Update + Some Good Reads


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


Hello Friends 

It has been a while since I sat down and wrote one of these personal updates— the last one was when summer was like a cat about to stretch itself. And here we are in Autumn, the season of color and cool air. A time when baseball has become a bit more urgent. And we start thinking about festivals, jingles, and worrying about the winter ahead. It is also why people around the world start craving that disgusting drink, Pumpkin Spice Latte! Nevertheless, the reason why we love this concoction is that it triggers memories of this season. According to two scientists who researched the problem, the trigger is the smell. 

“The association that the smell has with the season in our memories allows it to powerfully evoke the refreshing feelings of fall,” according to Jason Fischer, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins. The smell is a one-way ticket to nostalgia and memories, as perfume makers have known forever. The faint smell of roses takes me back to my childhood, and so does the haunting, mellifluous smells of (frangipani) Champa, a smell so uniquely represents my hometown to me! These trees line many avenues and Delhi streets, and the smell is so pervasive, especially as we enter cooler days. 

Even though Delhi has become bustling, busy, and overwhelming, I could still smell the flowers while visiting my parents last month. Mark Vanhoenacker, in his book, Imagine a city, devotes many pages (Read more...)

Burning Man: Experiencing Rationing



Susan and I went to Burning Man this year for our first time. We had a wonderful experience together with our friends Cindy and Robin (who is an experienced Burner and acted as our guide). There are many justified criticism of Burning Man and the festival will likely to have to change substantially over the coming years (a subject for a future post).

Today I want to write about the absence of prices at Burning Man. Once you get to Black Rock City, everything is free (well, not everything, as ice was $20/bag – more on that shortly). People have written about hopes and aspirations for a gift economy before but my key takeaway was about the importance of allocation mechanisms.

Without prices at Burning Man everything is rationed. You can go have a free drink at any of the bars (remember to bring your own cup and your ID – yes, that’s strictly enforced). But the bartenders will pour you a limited amount and then send you on your way. Same goes for all other goods and services. There are defined quantities available and that’s what you get.

Now “rationing” has a negative connotation but it isn’t inherently bad. It is a different allocation mechanism that has pros and cons when compared to the price mechanism. One advantage is that rationing treats people equally independent of their financial means, which can be desirable from a social cohesion perspective (well, rationing does that at least in theory – back (Read more...)

Burning Man: Experiencing Rationing



Susan and I went to Burning Man this year for our first time. We had a wonderful experience together with our friends Cindy and Robin (who is an experienced Burner and acted as our guide). There are many justified criticism of Burning Man and the festival will likely to have to change substantially over the coming years (a subject for a future post).

Today I want to write about the absence of prices at Burning Man. Once you get to Black Rock City, everything is free (well, not everything, as ice was $20/bag – more on that shortly). People have written about hopes and aspirations for a gift economy before but my key takeaway was about the importance of allocation mechanisms.

Without prices at Burning Man everything is rationed. You can go have a free drink at any of the bars (remember to bring your own cup and your ID – yes, that’s strictly enforced). But the bartenders will pour you a limited amount and then send you on your way. Same goes for all other goods and services. There are defined quantities available and that’s what you get.

Now “rationing” has a negative connotation but it isn’t inherently bad. It is a different allocation mechanism that has pros and cons when compared to the price mechanism. One advantage is that rationing treats people equally independent of their financial means, which can be desirable from a social cohesion perspective (well, rationing does that at least in theory – back (Read more...)

For the good of the community


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog


One way to serve the community is to see it as a market and solve one of its problems.

When people choose to buy something, it’s ostensibly because the thing you sell is worth more to them than it costs. And so value is created.

And when you make a profit selling something and pay taxes, those taxes go to create services for the community.

Those are two reasons culture has evolved to enable capitalism.

When this system gets out of whack, two things happen–first, some businesses use their market power to extract more value than they create. And second, they use their lobbying power to pay no taxes.

The market hasn’t failed, but the system used to address market and community needs sometimes does.