Did Psychopaths Play a Role in the Financial Crisis?

I recently had the pleasure of listening to author and journalist Joris Luyendijk in conversation at the Dalkey Book Festival about his book Swimming with Sharks. Joris is an inspiring example of a journalist fulfilling a role that is essential for the health of democracy – dispassionate enquiry into the abuses within the financial system. The following post is my summary of Joris’ main findings in Swimming with Sharks, as well as a suggestion for something important he may have missed…     Continue reading

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DR Congo – Understanding Africa’s Largest War 3

The story of the Congo wars is one of state weakness and failure – the weakness and failure of Congo to defend its borders, impose law and order in its eastern provinces, and build the institutions of state necessary to improve the impoverished conditions in which the Congolese population live.

The weakness of the Congolese state explains why the Congo wars have no simple narrative. In the absence of a strong power in Kinshasa, rival factions have been able to proliferate, adding a layer of confusion to an already complex picture. At various times in the conflict, there have been up to forty different armed groups in Eastern Congo alone.    Continue reading

A Scientific Definition of Morality

We live in an age of moral confusion. Is homosexuality immoral? Can female genital mutilation be justified? Is forced child marriage ever acceptable? Our present confusion is partly a result of the globalised age in which we live. Never before have we been so exposed to the enormous diversity of cultural norms and moral values that exist in different parts of the world as we are today. And never before has it been so obvious that people in different cultures see morality in very different ways.    Continue reading

Cambodia’s Path to Genocide

In the six decades since Independence, Cambodians have suffered under three governments – the dictatorial rule of Sihanouk, the genocidal reign of the Khmer Rouge, and the twenty five year rule of current Prime Minister Hun Sen.  During this time, Cambodians have suffered unimaginable horrors because of the absence of true democracy and the lack of protection against the rule of dangerous elites.    Continue reading

Psychopaths and the Financial Crisis

This article first appeared as a guest blog on Dr Alf’s Blog.

Moral Defects in the Financial Machine

The movement against war is sound. I pray for its success. But I cannot help the gnawing fear that the movement will fail if it does not touch the root of all evil – human greed.

Gandhi Continue reading

Demons and Angels

War appears to be old as mankind, but peace is a modern invention.

Henry Maine

The Most Peaceful Era in History

The New York Times review of Steven Pinker’s most recent book The Better Angels of Our Nature praises Pinker for addressing some of the biggest questions we can ask: Are human beings essentially good or bad? Continue reading

The Origin of Evil

Andrew Lobaczewski – Pioneer of Science

Science progresses by discovering new evidence that overturns our previously cherished views of reality. In the history of science, three figures stand out as having revolutionised our view of the world, and of ourselves. Nicolaus Copernicus recognised that the earth was not the centre of the universe, and that the earth orbited the sun, rather than the other way around. Continue reading