How to create a really twisted ruling class, the golf course edition

People are generally good, and it takes quite a bit of effort to turn them into monsters. You have to start at a young age as that’s when people are most impressionable. One method is to send them to a madrassah, where they grow up mentally stunted and fed mental poison for years, with their […]

Stephen Cohen on Pakistan’s Road to Disintegration, 2011 edition

A depressing read on Pakistan, including state failure, growing insecurity, govt failure and the increasing reliance on China: “The fundamentals of the state are either failing or questionable, and this applies to both the idea of Pakistan, the ideology of the state, the purpose of the state, and also to the coherence of the state […]

Send your ads to Awab, the happy new year edition

My friend Awab is running a free advertisment campaign to highlight stuff needing highlighting, so here’s my pitch for all the issues hiding in obscure dark corners all over Pakistan, and much deserving of recognition: How about an ad for all those lonely groups of brigadiers and colonels toiling away in obscurity hatching plan after […]

Other countries just like Pakistan, but with extra oil

Russia steps up to the plate, but being somewhat more literate it’s descent into a mafia state is done way much better than Pakistan’s ongoing slide… Russia is a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy centred on the leadership of Vladimir Putin, in which officials, oligarchs and organised crime are bound together to create a “virtual mafia state”, according to […]

Playing Ostrich with the Taliban

The more I read about the western world’s adventure in Afghanistan and Pakistan, bombing villages here and there to bits and occupying a country, the more surreal it gets. The latest news is a doozy – the taliban leader the US have been negotiating with for a peace deal turns out to be a fake […]

The effect of Colonial rule in India

A paper on the effect of colonial rule in India, comparing areas ruled directly by the British against the indirectly ruled ones: This paper compares economic outcomes across areas in India which were under di- rect British colonial rule with areas which were under indirect colonial rule. Controlling for selective annexation using a specific policy […]