Sunday, 29 May 2016

Didier Fassin and the Critique of Humanitarian Reason

Following the end of the Cold War, and during the period Economists called 'the Great Moderation', it was suggested that Humanitarian Reason, as exemplified by organizations like 'Doctors without Borders', had replaced Kantian 'Practical Reason' or Marxist 'Dialectical Reason', or- the joker in the pack- Post-Colonial Reason (i.e. whining about being Black, or Bengali, or being a Black Bengali Belgian or whatever)- and thus we were on the verge of seeing a new kind of Politics- i.e. a new way of wasting other people's money- a new type of Jurisprudence- i.e. a new pretext for confiscating it in advance- take on a vanguard role.

Thus some worthless shithead was bound to write a book called 'the Critique of Humanitarian Reason' same as Satre who wrote 'A Critique of Dialectical Reason' when strung out on speed and Gayatri Spivak who wrote 'A Critique of Post Colonial Reason' while shopping for a handbag.

At first blush, Didier Fassin looks like the man who has pulled it off. He's French; he quotes Benjamin and Agamben and Hannah's Aunt; he's a Professor at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton. He must be shite.

Sadly, this is not the case. The fucker is an actual Medical Doctor. He was Vice President of Medicin sans Frontiers. Yes, he quotes Benjamin and Agamben but only because he's a fucking Medic and doesn't realize how stupid this makes him look.

Before examining what he has to say, let me briefly outline the standard, if unspoken, theory of Humanitarian Reason. Essentially one non dissipative way moral entrepreneurs- i.e. shameless people who seek a reputational rent from being holier than thou- compete is by pretending to have saved a lot of souls. If they do this under some rubric other than the purely Humanitarian- i.e. souls are not linked to bodies- they then have to show that some ingroup capitalized goodwill has accrued from their arbitrage. If not, the reverse is the case- i.e. there is rent dissipation for the ingroup- or, at least, a further stratification.

However, actually saving a few lives and acquiring an alethic knowledge base (as opposed to holier-than-thou gobshittery) and genuine administrative skills segments the market such that some moral entrepreneurs have a shadow price (i.e. they have scarce skills) in first-order markets- i.e. they can actually do something to increase the output of valuable goods and services rather than shamelessly pretend that their 'activism' is a 'second order' activity which somehow boosts the supply of the good or service they are demanding, rather than crowding it out. Thus, there is a costly signal in the background which leads to a separating equilibrium.

Modern Nation States found that some, not shameless but unabashed, Moral Entrepreneurs were highly useful- like Joseph Lancaster who used the South Indian model of popular education to boost literacy among the British working class, or Florence Nightingale who compiled better statistics about morbidity among soldiers than the War Office, and thus whose proposed reforms saved the Government money while boosting its tax base- i.e. increasing rents all round.

Furthermore, some noveau riche Technocrats found that Humanitarian Work acted like the old Roman 'Cursus Honorum'- i.e. accomplishing a feat of Disaster Management in a Crisis area permitted one to go on to occupy Public Office.  Herbert Hoover is the paradigmatic example here. His reputation for getting things done enabled him to negotiate minimum wages (and price cartels) in what were previously 'repugnancy market' industries characterized by sweated labor. Unfortunately, his reputation is now mud because he didn't understand the nature of the monetary shock the U.S suffered during his Presidency. In the end, by increasing wage and price stickiness, he contributed a little to the severity of the Great Depression and its legacy of duality in a range of markets.

I suppose I could mention Quisling as the other Head of Govt. who rose thanks to his Humanitarian work- he was Nansen's protege and dealt with the Ukrainian Holodomor. However, clearly, this affected his world view and later, thanks to well meaning Quakers!, he ended up converting to the Nazi ideology.

However, the real point I'm making here is that Humanitarian Work of genuine Utility can be a deceptive signal of suitability for high office because perverse hedging effects in second-order markets- e.g. that of Financial Instruments- can gain salience and thus second-order solutions, which are the reverse of Utilitarian, crowd out such do-gooders as actually do some first-order good.

 More generally, since it had become blindingly obvious that what had saved the Economy was. Game Theoretic, Operations Research based, Total War, Humanitarian Reason as part of Republican Paideia's Cursus Honorum died still born. Thus Joseph Kennedy didn't send his son off to minister to Displaced People in Taiwan or West Berlin. Instead he got him onto Sen. McCarthy's Committee- along with Nixon and Roy Cohn- and the rest, as they say, is history.

Turning to what Dr. Didier Fassin has to say- and let me emphasize once again that this guy started off as an actual Doctor, not a festering haemorrhoid on the arsehole of Academia- we find, that in conformity with the theory of contested rent seeking, that there is- at least in France- a close nexus between the separating equilibrium  of 'moral entrepreneurship', and recruitment into the higher ranks of the Bureaucracy or even Ministerial Office. Given the 'closed', elitist, highly dual, character of the French Economy, this should be no surprise. Equally, it should come as no shock that there is a further separating equilibrium whereby such technically proficient recruits shamelessly start talking worthless Credentialist shite so that aggregate waste of resources is conserved.

Humanitarianism is not a political issue and it should remain separate from political maneuvering,” asserts Rony Brauman, a former president of MSF. Pointing to the renaissance of nongovernmental humanitarianism during the 1970s and 1980s, at a time when communism’s star was waning, he even sees in this new configuration a sort of historical fluid mechanics based on the principle of the communicating vessels: “It is as if, during these periods when the ideological tide is going out, humanitarian action comes to occupy the space left vacant by politics.”
'Agamben offers a more radical version of this thesis, suggesting that “the separation of politics and humanitarianism that we are witnessing today represents the last phase of the separation of human rights from civil right.” For the Italian philosopher, the image of the refugee becomes “the most significant sign of bare life in our era,” and he sees the refugee camp as the “biopolitical paradigm.” This being the case, humanitarianism, insofar as it distances itself from the figure of the nation-state, abandons the political field.
 However, I believe that the contemporary world does not become more intelligible viewed in these terms, and one may doubt whether there exists, in one’s own society or in any society, a space empty of politics or even a space outside politics—all the more given that these interpretations relegate the dominated and the excluded to this depoliticized space, leaving the political space to the dominant and the included. They are thus doubly problematic—first empirically, for all investigations show that on the contrary, forms of political life continue to arise even in the camps, and second ethically, since this reading appears to reinforce the domination and exclusion by denying the possibility of a political life to those who are subjected to them in practice.
 Other avenues therefore need to be explored. In fact everything suggests that rather than become separate, humanitarianism and politics are tending to merge—in governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental spheres. In France at least three former presidents or vice presidents of MSF have become ministers; some have been elected to political office, others have entered the civil service at high levels—not only in the traditional aid sector, but also in health and social welfare
 Conversely, former ministers of social affairs or of health have become presidents of Action contre la faim (Action Against Hunger) and the French Red Cross. Thus one is seeing a humanitarianization of national health and social policy and a politicization of humanitarian organizations. 
Okay, the good Doctor made a mistake by reading Agamben, but then he is French so allowances should be made. What he isn't saying- and this is the nigger in the woodpile- is that, during the 'Great Moderation' Western Economists came to see Refugees as a good thing- they freed up a Supply Side constraint. They couldn't actually come out and say 'we need more dusky foreigners desperate to drive our cabs and look after our infants and Alzheimer afflicted elders'. So they tugged their forelock to some supposedly Kantian Categorical Imperative to let dusky people do shitty jobs so cost-push inflation would be contained.
That's it. That's the whole story. Our good Doctor presents all the evidence but can't draw the only tenable conclusion. Second Order Moral Entrepreneurship- including the Agamben Availability Cascade- crowds out First Order, Utilitarian, separating equilibrium Moral Entrepreneurship because, once the Business Cycle reasserts itself, Second Order solutions- i.e. the creation of stratified rents- reduce Uncertainty and freeze up the malignancy of hedging effects transmitted by Second Order markets.

Why can't there be a 'Critique of Humanitarian Reason'? After all, Seyla Benhabib gave a talk to the Germans with that title a couple of years ago. What's stopping her dashing off a thousand page tome? The answer is that Frau Merkel has now pulled that particular rug from under Academia's feet. Furthermore, in the age of You Tube, the Refugees have increased Hirschman 'Voice' and 'Exit' whereas the Academo-bureaucratic dicks are already calculating their redundancy packages or golden parachutes.

Fassin, poor credulous fool, didn't get the memo that Levinasian alterity, like Subaltern Studies, is shite. He thinks there are two types of lives- one's which can recount their own story and others which can only be recounted by others. This is shit. I am a starving Black Man, who judging by my book sales, can't recount any sort of story to fucking save my life, but I just used another starving, not Black, but Nepali origin man, as illiterate and inarticulate as myself, as a sort of human selfie stick. The picture he sent to my local tandoori was sufficient to elicit an immediate humanitarian response. A young Pakistani gentleman, not necessarily starving but modishly emaciated, will deliver my standard order of sag-aloo and garlic naan in thirty minutes or less. No money will change hands thanks to the good folks at Paypal.

That's Humanitarian Reason achieving Pareto Efficiency right there. All it needs to become operational is a Second Order market for Credit- i.e. Belief, Faith, doxastic commitment, semantic normativity- call it what you will.
The conditions under which this happens are
1) the existence of at least one uncorrelated asymmetry giving rise to a separating equilibrium- e.g. some people being able to cook sag-aloo and others literally starving because they haven't that ability
and
2) enough turbulent flow in the underlying dynamics to canalize latent liquidity
Or, more succinctly, Humanitarian Reason is unproblematic so long as Human frailty is tolerated- i.e. rent dissipation is not total.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Doubting Thomas & Thy Mantrin Maharaj

Your Literalism bankrupts utterly & latterly drives your son to self-slay
So?- ours the catastrophe of endless cataphoric delay
Your Credit's Golgotha's the Gedankenlosigkeit Cemetery of over-extension.
Till its uncorellated asymmetry works that sentence's suspension

Envoi-      
Prince! thus did thy Mantrin Maharaj with Doubting Thomas dispute
So savoury the roast seed of His bitterest fruit!



Seyla Benhabib & the Flying Spaghetti monster

Seyla Benhabib doesn't write utterly stupid shite even though she is a Professor of Poli Sci at Yale and has as richly Orient & all rational Criticism disorienting a cognomen as Gayatri Spivak or Homo Baba.

Still, in mitigation, I might mention she's Turkish, so let's just blame Attaturk and seek for the all darkening Ghalibian thread- though, admittedly, Sheikh Galip was but a pale shadow of our own Mirza Sahib- or derisive tajjali of auto-poietic self-parody which alone could constitute this astute Ariadne's abandonment to so Havisham an oeuvre.

Since the Germans, with their typical Himmelfarting humour,  have given her the 'Meister Eckhart' prize for some particularly egregious nonsense concerned with 'Human Rights', let us interrogate, under that rubric alone, this deisidaimon Martha (who unlike our Desi Marys, actually possesses genius and, more unforgivably yet,  has done some genuine homework) to establish if she really has 'chosen the better part'- i.e. that of treading the weird of becoming a worthless, workless, Mary whose academic apotheosis is by Grace alone.

I begin with her stricture- based, it appears, on a NYT article by one not Litvak but Liptak and what's more an Adam- on Scalia and Roberts, who, quite rightly reject, as alien to American Constitutional Law, the notion that any Judgment of a foreign Courts can have a legitimate place in an indigenous ratio decidendi. (My remarks are in bold)

'The status of international law and of transnational legal agreements and treaties with respect to the sovereignty claims of liberal democracies has become a highly contentious theoretical and political issue.  Rubbish. Either Liberal Democracies can enforce their Sovereignty by force or they don't exist. The Syrian Liberal Democratic Republic of EcoFeminist Organic Farmers does not exist. Why?  Its sovereignty claim may well have been a highly contentious 'theoretical and political issue' for Benhabib and her ilk. But, it wasn't for anybody else, was it? In fact, truth be told, Benhabib herself didn't waste any time contending with anybody about its viability. 

On September 18, 2008 The New York Times carried an article by Adam Liptak entitled “U.S. Court, a Longtime Beacon, is Now Guiding Fewer Nations.”  Liptak detailed how in the last decade citations of decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court had declined, while the influence of the European Court of Human Rights and the Canadian Supreme Court had grown. As we would expect to happen as indigenous case law accumulates. The European Court has salience for European countries bound by the relevant treaty, whereas Canada has salience for Commonwealth countries by reason of an historic tie. What is important is not whether an American ratio is quoted but whether American judgments are complied with. This happens in an asymmetric manner because America is hugely powerful in relation to most other nations.  This evidence was all the more surprising since so many of these courts and their leading constitutional documents – such as The Indian Constitution of 1949 which was explicitly derived from not the American but Irish model; the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982 which naturally looks to America not Britian because only the former has a Federal structure the New Zealand Bill of Rights of 1990 and the South African Constitution of 1996-- which all drew on what had become a Commonwealth tradition as opposed to some supposedly unique American constitutional principles at their inception.
Benhabib, how stupid are you actually? Do you really think that the American Constitution arose autocthonously? Do you not understand that Coke's magisterial Institutes were the mother's milk of American constitutionalism? Are you utterly illiterate in the English language? Have you never read Macaulay and Bagehot? Do you really not understand that Americans aren't the inheritors of Cherokee wisdom but that of the English Whigs? What prevented you from talking to Irish, Israeli, Kiwi or Indian Jurists to find out how foolish your argument is?
BTW a particular Juristic Hermeneutic can have cross-border mimetic effects but no fucking Constitution in the World aint essentially autocthonous in its stipulation forbidding judicial reliance on foreign fatwas or deracinated Deduktionsschriften.
At stake is not only the esteem in which the U.S. Supreme Court is held world-wide, which is based on the American Executive's willingness and ability to give force to the Judiciary's decisions- but the standing of international and foreign law itself in U.S. courts.  America, even at Yale, even in Benhabib's classroom, is eminently and effectively sovereign. Of course, there are limitations on this Sovereignty and that 'discovery process' has more or less been done, at least with respect to Turkey, India and Israel. In his highly controversial decision that struck down the death penalty for juvenile delinquents, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy cited the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, among other documents. Did Kennedy, who BTW, was a Reagan nominee , really violate the American Constitution in the manner suggested? Why? Did the fellow suddenly turn into a drunkard or was he simply stupid? Why not just ask him? Oh! You'd feel stupid asking a stupid question of a very intelligent man. 
What is the point, Benhabib, of your suggestio falsi re. Chief Justice Kennedy? Who is it meant to be take in? We've all got smartphones now and can fact check from Wikipedia.
Why are you telling stupid lies? Oh! You are trying to compete with Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Spivak, is it? Give it up, Benhabib. You haven't the necessary revanchist post Colonial irreason. Your bloviating aint surreal- just stupid.
 In his dissenting opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia, thundered: “The basic premise of the court’s argument – that American law should conform to the laws of the rest of the world – ought to be rejected out of hand.”  Seeing this as an all or nothing equation, Justice Scalia drove to a reductio ad absurdum: “The Court should either profess its willingness to reconsider all these matters in the light of views of foreigners, or else it should cease putting forth foreigners’ views as part of the reasoned basis of its decisions. To invoke alien law when it agrees with one’s own thinking, and ignore it otherwise, is not reasoned decision making, but sophistry.” (Emphasis in the original)
Scalia's bluster points to the one thing Kennedy didn't do- viz. reconfigure stare decisis on an other than autocthonous basis- yet you fucking cite this as your leading argument? Why? Because you believe everything you read in the NYT? How fucked in the head are you exactly, Benhabib?
This controversy concerns not only the heft and weight of foreign courts in influencing the decisions of Supreme Court justices- urm, it is zero except in the sense of showing the broader genealogical persistence of a nativist hermeneutic which has to do with protecting liberty- even the liberty of States to be wrong from the point of view of a perfectly just society- but broader issues such as: what is the proper epistemology of judicial decision-making? The proper epistemology? Are you fucking kidding me? Jurisprudence is an Epistemology- otherwise it is nothing. It concerns an autopoietic Knowledge System which generates its own mixed strategies of survival by performing its own Dedekind cuts upon Hermeneutic algorithms and by  constituting its intuitions on the basis of what Turing needed purely Brouwerian choice sequences for.
What? I'm talking nonsense? Yet, my nonsense is actually in a viable 'Marxist' tradition. Benhabib is simply spouting stupid lies.
Why should judges not learn from other colleagues who have considered similar problems in their own jurisdictions? Urm... why did the Sanhedrin discriminate against univocity? Even if all Judges in every jurisdiction agreed as to what constitutes a just society, still, States must have the right to be wrong about some things. 
If Life evolved by Natural Selection, it must be the case that Human Beings will valorize Tiebout Sorting rather than Jurisprudential univocity.  In any case, purely as as an error detection mechanism, every judicial algorithm will be in re. de juri criteria, if not de facto acceptation mechanisms, wholly stare decisis autochtonous. Otherwise, Hannan Consistent regret minimization is defeated and our species is known to be a priori maladaptive.

Isn’t legal epistemology enriched by looking across the border and even the ocean? Isn't Scientific Method enriched by just looking across the ocean and accepting Voodoo?  Citing a foreign ruling does not convert it into a binding precedent, does it?  Nope. But you just went ahead and pretended there was some 'Kennedy type' stare decisis which did something Scalia and Roberts- the fuckers!- inveighed against.
Coz like obviously if Scalia says something in a dissenting Judgment, it must be true and so you're not just making up this shite out of whole cloth at all.
Not only Justice Antonin Scalia, but Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. as well, OMG, Roberts as well! oppose this liberal-minded problem-solving approach (what? Reagan's appointee Kennedy was 'liberal-minded' was he? Both Bork and Kennedy restrict the scope of substantive due process a la Griswold and do so for reasons of autochthony- explicitly 'originalist' in the one case and small 'l' 'libertarian' in the other) to judicial decision-making that would learn and borrow from other courts and international documents.  
Benhabib thinks Jurisprudence can be a rule-bound ratocinative process which is indiscriminate in terms of doxastic inputs.
In other words, there is no difference between Supreme Court Judges and editors of Physics or Mathematics Reviews.
It's a reductio ad absurdum, okay, by why precisely is it fucked in the head?
Legal processes are the solution of a David Lewis type Conventional Schelling focal co-ordination game. Technological or Mathematical co-ordination games are of an entirely different type because there is a substantive not salience based, i.e. hysteresis ridden,  solution for canonicity.
Why is Benhabib's cri de couer for a non stare decisis Jurisprudence fucked in the head?
One answer focuses on qwerty type hysteresis and evaluates the cost of conversion in comparison to the immediate efficiency gain for new entrants. Essentially the former swamps the latter, which in any case turn out to be imaginary.
Another answer, which involve basic Economic Principles , better addresses a situation where there is 'Exit' between (not just) Anglo-Saxon legal regimes. Here the notion of the optimality of Tiebout Sorting under Knightian Uncertainty has salience. Benhabib didn't read about this in the NYT so she does not address this issue- which was lucky because otherwise she'd just cash out as Timur Kuran!- which would be confusing for their respective spouses.

Justice Robert considers the citing of foreign law to be not an innocent exercise in decision-making- as opposed to what it actually was- viz a genealogical argument of an entirely hermeneutic nature, hence perfectly in conformity with autochthonous stare decisis- but a compromise or dilution of sovereignty.  Liptak quotes Justice Roberts from his 2005 confirmation hearings: “If we’re relying on a decision from a German judge about what our Constitution means, no president accountable to the people appointed that judge and no senate accountable to the people confirmed that judge. And yet he is playing a role in shaping the law that binds the people in this country.” By blurring the distinction between “citing an opinion” and “creating a precedent,” Justice Roberts raises the specter of the weakening of democratic sovereignty and judicial accountability. Fuck off. Roberts and Scalia weren't 'blurring' anything nor were they raising up any unclean spirits. It is you who are doing so, Benhabib. But you iz talkin about people wot really exist and whom we can talk to to check whether you are telling the truth. By contrast, Spivak and Bhabha just talk obviously wog-gobshittery about how Jane Austen went Ass to Mouth on Hegel and Rudyard Kipling  was actually Ronald Firbank or whatever and round off by denouncing Narendra Modi in a manner which makes diehard Congress fuckwits like me think There is No Alternative to NaMo.

What indeed is the status of foreign and international law in a world of increasing interdependence? Increasing interdependence? Are you fucked in the head? Do you not know any fucking Economics you soi disant Marxist? The Stone Age exhibited interdependence militating for normative convergence- thus making possible the exchange of wives and knives. Ever since then, we have had Tiebout Sorting Civil Societies- i.e largely eusocial, non-coercive, re-inforcers for a purely transactional, not substantivist at all, type of ethics Does foreign and international law dilute sovereignty? No. At the margin, it adds noise to signal. In the case of failed or failing States, sure, no doubt, immigrant populations may become the prime mover of new initiatives- but the countervailing power of non-failed States tend to prevent any utterly pathological germination. What is the source of the anxieties and fears invoked by so many in these debates about the problematic relation of transnational legal norms and democratic sovereignty? You are. If a fuckwit like you can teach at Yale how are we to trust to the traditional idiocy of all its alumni?
Let me distinguish between foreign, international and transnational law from the standpoint of a political theorist rather than that of a legal scholar OMG, you are a political theorist who doesn't know Law! You are just shite aren't you? A fucking token appointment. You are just a willing participant in a Circus of Diversity or, more to the point, a recumbent presence in an entirely spurious Xenophilia's Cosmic Zoo: By ‘foreign law’ I will broadly understand special obligations, privileges and encumbrances which emerge among states as a consequence of bilateral or multilateral treaties.  Thus, tax agreements, commercial contracts and the like among countries pertaining to individuals or corporations would be prime examples. Foreign law already has a specific meaning for American jurisprudence. Wikipedia defines it as follows- Foreign law is law referenced or cited by a court that comes from a country other than that in which the court sits. Foreign law is usually not binding on the court siting it, and citation to foreign law as persuasive can be controversial. However, in some circumstances, a court may be called upon to determine the meaning of a foreign statute, such as when one is incorporated into the language of a contract before the court. By contrast, Benhabib blurs the distinction between the controversial and conventional acceptations of the term so as to pull off a piece of question begging sleight of hand.
By ‘international law’ I understand public legal conventions pertaining to the world community at large, some of which may be formulated in written form, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and others of which, such as norms of jus cogens, are unwritten but pertain to customary international law.  Jus cogens norms mean that any treaties among nations and international agreements which engage in gross human rights violations by advocating genocide, ethnic cleansing, slavery, mass murder are eo ipso invalid.
Jus cogens is a peremptory law which can only be implemented against a defeated or weak country, otherwise, its sovereign immunity is de facto effective and jus cogens remains a dead letter. The American Supreme Court, in the Michael Domingues case, did not admit that killing kids was against 'jus cogens', nor did it hold that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had the power to make any judgment binding upon itself. Take the case of Pakistan. It engaged in genocide and mass murder. However its Treaties with Britain and America and so on did not become eo ipso invalid. 
In defining ‘transnational law’ I follow Harold Koh’s processual focus on “transnational legal process.” He writes: “… the theory and practice of how public and private actors including nation-states, international organizations, multinational enterprises, nongovernmental organizations, and private individuals, interact in a variety of public and private, domestic and international fora to make, interpret and enforce rules of transnational law… transnational law is both dynamic –mutating from public to private, from domestic to international and back again – and constitutive, in the sense of operating to reconstitute national interests.”
Harold Koh? You are quoting Harold Koh? The apologist for Obama's drone strikes? You are seriously badass Benhabib! (Actually, poor old Benhabib was writing this a couple of years before NYU students started agitating against Koh's appointment as Professor of International Human Rights Law! Still, its good to know that the availability cascade on which she has so thoughtlessly hopped was going in the direction of extra judicial killing as a fun video game for all the family)

What about the status then of multilateral treaties concerning human rights in particular? I will raise this question not with specific reference to the U.S. case alone- in which case your blathering could be falsified- but against the background of larger transformations in international law- in which case, your blathering is worthless.

I approach these questions as a political philosopher and not as a legal scholar
. Why not approach them as a plumber or a person looking for the loo? I want to look at the alleged conflict- you being the person making the allegation- between one class of international legal norms in particular, namely those pertaining to human rights, broadly understood, and sovereignty, and I want to argue that in fact the alleged conflict between such norms and democratic sovereignty derives from an inadequate understanding of yours as to how international and transnational norms function. Such norms enhance rather than undermine popular sovereignty which however remains just a made up word like good vibrations.

Since these transformations are altering norms of state sovereignty where? The U.S? Nope, that isn't happening nor is it happening anywhere you can point to as well as impacting the actual capacity of states to exercise sovereignty rubbish! The constraints on capacity to exercise Sovereignty are what they have always been- nothing at all to do with some transformation you imagine is occurring it is important at the outset to distinguish between state sovereignty and popular sovereignty. No it isn't. States exist and exercise sovereignty by putting people in prison and waging wars. Popular sovereignty is just a made up word. It doesn't pertain to anything in the real world and therefore suffers no constraints. It can repeal the law of gravitation as easily as it can dissolve international borders- i.e. it can't at all.  The concept of ‘sovereignty’ ambiguously refers to two moments in the foundation of the modern state which never occurred and the history of modern political thought which is worthless rubbish in the West since Thomas Hobbes can plausibly be told as a negotiation of these poles or equally plausibly as a pole dancer: First, sovereignty means the capacity of a public body, in this case the modern nation-state, to act as the final and indivisible seat of authority with the jurisdiction to wield not only ‘monopoly over the means of violence,’ legitimate violence you cretin. When you beat your husband, Obama bears no blame to recall Max Weber’s famous phrase, except, you didn't recall it correctly did you, you worthless cretin but also to distribute justice and manage the economy.

Sovereignty also means, particularly since the French Revolution, why particularly? What about the Glorious Revolution or the American one? popular sovereignty, that is, the idea of the people as subjects and objects of the law, or as makers as well as obeyers of the law. Like what happened when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor. Popular sovereignty involves representative institutions, the separation of powers, and the guarantee not only of liberty and equality, but of the “equal value of the liberty of each.” Right! That's what happened after the French Revolution! Who knew? Etienne Balibar a Marxist fuckwit who teaches Modern Languages to shitheads has expressed the interdependence between state sovereignty and popular sovereignty thus: “… state sovereignty has simultaneously “protected” itself from and “founded” itself upon popular sovereignty to the extent that the political state has been transformed into a “social-state”… passing through the progressive institution of a “representation of social forces” by the mechanism of universal suffrage and the institutions of social citizenship…”ii Where does Balibar think this has happened? How does he think it could have happened? What type of Sovereignty lends itself to be the foundation of its antithesis? We could much more meaningfully replace the term 'state sovereignty' with 'the catachrestic rule of Cat King' and popular sovereignty with 'the omnipotence of the flying Spaghetti monster' because there is a You Tube Video which shows that there is a compossible state of the physical universe in which Balibar's blather has an other than availability cascade based acceptation.

My question is: how does the new configuration of state sovereignty influence popular sovereignty? The answer is- in the same way that the catachrestic rule of the Cat King influences the omnipotence of the flying Spaghetti monster. Which political options become possible? Which are blocked? I will argue that cosmopolitan norms enhance the project of popular sovereignty while prying open the black box of state sovereignty. Really? You are going to point to a real world situation where that has happened, are you? But, Benhabib, if you could do so you wouldn't be a worthless fuckwit would you? Thus you can't do any such thing. The truth is you are just going to string together non sequiturs and not present an argument at all. They challenge the prerogative of the state to be the highest authority dispensing justice over all that is living and dead justice over the dead eh? within certain territorial boundaries coz that's where dead people can be found- within territorial boundaries. In becoming party to many human rights treaties, states themselves “bind” their own decisions. No they don't. America is not so bound. Ask Chief Justice Kennedy. The U.K is not so bound. The Judiciary holds the Queen-in-Parliament to be sovereign. There is no legal challenge to Brexit. A small or weak or hopelessly divided country may say 'we no longer exist as a sovereign state. We will make no laws for ourselves but rely upon others to do so'. However, when this happens, that country ceases to exist except notionally or as a geographical expression.

The argument presented in this paper bears upon but does not lead to a definitive position regarding the global justice debate in contemporary political philosophy. No. Because then you couldn't just talk worthless shite. You'd have to do some thinking. One aspect of that debate, largely between Rawlsians such as Thomas Nagel and more cosmopolitan theorists such as Thomas Pogge as well as Joshua Cohen, concerns the picture of the world order from which we proceed. We? We? The people you quote are Academics- i.e. worthless shitheads. How does it matter how you proceed? Just don't rape your students or call them a nig-nog. That's all we ask of you. You are child minders, nothing more.

From International to Cosmopolitan Norms

It is now widely accepted by hyprocritical shitheads that since the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, we have entered a phase in the evolution of global civil society which is characterized by Mcarthyite Witch Hunts, Stalinist purges, Ethnic Cleansing, Thermo-nuclear Cold Wars and proxy hot wars all of which don't signify at all a transition from international to cosmopolitan norms of justice. While norms of international law emerge through treaty obligations to which states and their representatives are signatories, cosmopolitan norms accrue to individuals considered as moral and legal persons in a world-wide civil society. In other words, during the Cold War and its Neo-Con continuation, States abandoned the Westphalian principle of Cuius regio, eius religio and asserted a sort of euphemistic sovereignty over each others supposedly suffering and mute subjects.  Even if cosmopolitan norms also originate through treaty-like obligations, such as the UN Charter, can a norm arise through a treaty? Nope. If the treaty was entered into strategically, then no norm existed, there was only the pretense of one. Shitheads in Academia may be fooled but no one is surprised when the pretense is dispensed with when it ceases to be expedient and even if the various human rights covenants can be considered for their member states, their peculiarity is that they bind states and their representatives, sometimes against the will of the signatories themselves. Okay. So if you do something strategically but forget you did it strategically or meanwhile lose the capacity to act then, yes, your sovereignty has indeed withered away. But that was because of some other, more basic malaise in your polity- e.g. letting to shithead Professors fuck up the country. This is the uniqueness of the many human rights agreements concluded since WWII. I want to describe this process as ‘multilateral covenantalism.’ As opposed to what it actually is- viz a strategic Nash Equilibrium. Benhabib lives in the U.S. She knows that the U.S made no caveat re non-refoulement when signing up to the ICCPR, yet did and does a lot of 'rendition' that amounts to precisely that. Moreover, its allies are more or less complicit in this. This proves 'multilateral covenantalism' was purely strategic, not normative at all. 

Let me list here briefly the numerous human rights declarations which have been signed by a majority of the world’s states since the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR):iv the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the UN General Assembly on December 9 1948 (Chapter II); the 1951 Convention on Refugees (which entered into force in 1954);v the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR; signed in 1966 and entered into force in 1976, with 152 countries are parties to it)vi; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR; entered into force the same year and with similar number of signatories),vii and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW; signed in 1979 and entered into force in 1981). viii These are some of the best known among many other treaties and conventions.

But what does all this really mean? What possible significance do these multilateral human covenants have if states continuously and brazenly violate them? Are these not mere words at worst or aspirational ideals at best that have little traction in limiting state conduct? Can these treaties be considered law at all? 
No. Law is what the Judiciary says it is. In the American case, Judges have said that International Treaties mean shit- even if the Executive wants them implemented.
Since Judges are not swayed by Benhabib type blather, she is wasting her own and our time. What's more she knows this because she quotes 'a recent article entitled, “When Judges Make Foreign Policy,” Noah Feldman discusses the case of Medellin v. Texas to illustrate the complexities of the status of international law in the U.S. courts. “The case, Medellin v. Texas, grew from a conflict between the Supreme court and the International Court of Justice over death-row inmates in the United States who were apparently never told that they had the right to speak to the embassies of their home countries, a rights guaranteed by a treaty called the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The international court declared that the violation tainted the inmates’ convictions and insisted that they have their day in court to try to get them overturned…. The Supreme Court disagreed….What made this conflict between the Supreme Court and the International Court of Justice particularly stark was that the Bush administration had for once taken the side of international law.” Noah Feldman, “When Judges Make Foreign Policy,” The New York Times Magazine (September 28, 2008), p. 56.
 I do not agree with the kind of political pragmatism that Feldman recommends to the Court in attempting to resolve these issues in the future. We need a more principled normative account of the ways in which international and transnational norms do or do not enhance democratic popular sovereignty. In the Medellin v Texas case they would have obviously done so by enhancing the rights of all, particularly inmates, to due process. What can be more democratic than protecting due process rights? The Court upheld an undemocratic sovereigntisme in this case. 

So there we have it. The U.S is a real country. It definitely has State Sovereignty. It definitely is under the Rule of Law. Yet that Rule of Law is wholly autochthonous and has no truck with any academic availability cascade to do with 'popular sovereignty' or 'multilateral covenantalism'. Benhabib is welcome to say 'Boo to the Supreme Court!' but so can an upholder of the catachrestic Rule of the Cat King or a votary of the flying Spaghetti monster. What keeps her safe from contempt proceedings, should she attempt to prejudice an actual trial, is the far greater contempt her Credo produces in fair minded people. But, Sophia has ever felt so about those who profess Philosophia- 

As Ghalib said- 
Neath thy eyebrow's Islamic arch, for wine's fountain we prayed
& brothels yet nestle in the Mosque's hoary shade
Proving that, in no wise prodigal, Abounding Grace
So all things perish, saves a single face.
Notes-

{131,1}

مسجد کے زیرِ سایہ خرابات چاہیے
بھوں پاس آنکھ قبلۂ حاجات چاہیے

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Prof. Santosh Saha's countervailing unveiling of Amartya Sen as a closet Hindu Supremacist

Prof. Santosh C Saha- a distinguished Historian and old school bhadralok polymath like his friend from College days, Amiya Kumar Bagchi- has presented a defense of Amartya Sen's Idea of Justice on the basis 'that although subjective theories of instrumental reasoning have their attractions in social scientific explanation, almost all attempts to develop the idea of rational action seek to justify some constraints on what constitutes reasonable beliefs that underlie an instrumental choice in keeping the promise of human rights.'

Clearly, Saha is making a claim about doxastic commitment- i.e. willingness to act on one's belief- and its relationship to 'instrumental reason'- i.e. a rational calculus concerned with finding the most efficient means to an end which is not itself evaluated.

Saha is not saying there is any necessary connection between the two. Rather he suggests that there is a 'co-ordination game' for decent people who believe in Human Rights to interact in a beneficial way. The Schelling focal solution to the game may not be known, or be fiercely contested, but, surely, we can all good-faith agree that there is a benefit in looking for a separate 'inter-subjective' set of doxastic commitments which is derivable, subject to some constraints, from what lies behind the veil of individual subjectivity.

Under the rubric of Rawlsian 'overlapping consensus', this seems a perfectly reasonable proposition.

 However, in his paper, Saha focuses on Sen's invocation of the 'countervailing power' thesis familiar to Economists from J.K Galbraith. Essentially, Galbraith envisaged a dis-coordination game wherein workers lose by interacting with managers, consumers lose by exercising (Hirschman) 'voice' with respect to producers, wives lose by talking to husbands, and thus all potentially adversarial parties should separate from each other so as to form opposite poles from which to engage in collective bargaining. Thus workers should join a Union, Consumers should line up behind Ralph Nader, Wives should join a Woman's Group which would teach them how to  resist Patriarchy's attempt to control their minds and make them iron hubby's underpants.
In at least one case, as Saha notes, viz in the field of industrial relations, Galbraith's thesis did make sense at the time. This was because under diminishing returns, and assuming workers, the weaker party, had permanently lower elasticity of supply or demand, collective bargaining, modeled as a monopsony dealing with a monopoly, looked like a better 'steady state' or (if your maths was up to it) even a 'golden path'.

Still, for the Philosophy of Justice, an obvious problem remained in that countervailing power involves turning every potentially adversarial situation into two separate dis-coordination games whereas, for Instrumental Reason, 'good faith' constrained inter-subjective doxastic commitment is the solution of an all-synthesizing co-ordination game. 
Now, it could be argued that dis-coordination based normative 'overlapping consensus' can converge on this sort of inter-subjective Instrumental Reason. However, Conley & Nielsen (2012) have shown that 'cultural market makers'- i.e. arbitrageurs between the two polar representative agents- can gain a rent. This means there will be contestation of 'obligatory passage point' status. But this means that there is now a new countervailing power dis-coordination game and the process can go on ad infinitum. Thus, first we have a 'rainbow coalition' of the oppressed demanding countervailing power. Then the rainbow unravels to create a new dingier spectrum of those of the oppressed who have been swindled by their representatives. This is a recipe for not Maoist 'total revolution' or Jayprakash Narayan's 'sampoorna kranti' or Venezuelan Chavezismo, because these are not economically sustainable- people starve or stop listening to their supposed champions- but, rather, the irremediably factionalist politics of the Kaleckian intermediate class- e.g. Sen and Saha's native Bengal.

It might appear that there is a 'Levinasian' workaround for this. We could say 'Human doxastic ipseity arises only in meeting the needs of its alterity'- which only registers itself as such if it organizes itself under the rubric of countervailing power.
However this is only feasible if  there is some universal symbolic currency- in other words, dis-coordination games and countervailing power are abandoned and their arbitrageurs erased- such that the problem of 'double coincidence of wants' is overcome and the rich man can give away his material wealth and gain the spiritual wealth of the poor in a manner satisfactory to inter-subjective Instrumental Reason.
Where this happens, we could say Society has implemented an Alan Gibbard type semantic normativity- i.e.  a 'good faith' inter-subjective doxastic commitment has been turned into a simple procedural rule based on ubiquitous 'zero knowledge authentication' or acceptance . As a matter of fact, there is a General Equilibrium model based on the credo of the Japanese Sage Sontoku Ninomiya, which, for all I know, could get rid of all the 'anything goes' (Sonnenschein-Mantel-Debreu) and hedging (Alan Kirman) and preference revelation or increasing returns (Greenwald Stiglitz) or other problems in that branch of Economic Theory.

In any case, if there can be 'Aumann agreement' re. constrained inter-subjective doxastic commitment for Instrumental Reason', then there can certainly be an Aumann signaler motivating a co-ordination game to reach an otherwise infeasible correlated equilibrium.

Even if, for reasons of computational complexity, inter-subjective Instrumental Reason can't arise as something like the above by any algorithmic or 'Publicly Justifiable' process, still, there is no theoretical reason to dismiss what I have called the 'Levinasian workaround' or 'Ninomiya General Equilibrium. Indeed, since the Levinasian workaround is founded upon the simple 'Mussar' rule in Judaism, and Ninomiya showed how his principle of conduct was independently derivable from both Confucian and Buddhist texts regulating behavior, and, furthermore, Ninomiya's gospel was taken up by Irenic Christians and Progressive Gandhians, and finds echoes in people like Mao's old comrade Liang Shu Ming- it therefore follows that the burden of proof re. the reasonableness of the claim I attribute to Saha has in fact been discharged.

However, this creates a more serious problem for Saha's larger thesis regarding Sen's contribution. The fact is, Mussar ethics or Ninomiya type economics are deontological and use all relevant information in a purely rule-based and transactional manner. In Amartya Sen's terminology- they are 'niti' not 'nyaya'. There is no substantivist 'nyaya' type information available outside the system- every externality has already been internalized; Gibbard's 'Revelation Principle' holds sway sans cavil.

Suppose there is a change in the information set at time t. One agent alone possesses this information. Well, invoking the relevant 'niti' rule, thus gaining prescriptivity, he engages in 'parrhesia'- he reveals this information and there is an immediate cascading movement to the new 'Muth' rational equilibrium. Small hysteresis effects may be observed but vanish quickly, restoring ergodicity and by that very action, returning Economics, to paraphrase Samuelson, to the service of a truly inter-subjective Instrumental Reason.
Notice that in this instance, there is some coalition which functions like a Turing Oracle or Aumann signaler and so, for Doxastic systems which believe in 'avatar' type repeated incarnation- more especially 'partial incarnation' such that the coalition is deified as the 'Sangha' of Refuge- no scandal can arise by any ratocinative process of Public Justification.

There is a counter-argument to what I have suggested in the paragraph above. In essence, it is that conflict is desirable, nay vital, to our species-being, perhaps even to the continued existence of the Cosmos itself. This was Mao's theory of class conflict so poignantly repudiated by Liang Shu Ming who had actually worked with the peasants to raise them up- not first use them as canon fodder and then steal their land and leave them to starve.

However, if we grant this counter-argument, we have to abandon both Galbraith's notion of the beneficent nature of countervailing power as well as the notion that intersubjective constraints on doxastic commitment can serve Instrumental Reason, as opposed to Paranoid Purges or Moral Panics.

Prof. Saha is no Maoist. He represents Sen as critical of existing power structures, including Trade Unions, Leftist Parties, Farmer's lobbies etc, and as promoting the panacea of 'building “countervailing” agency on the part of the disadvantaged. Here, both “solidarity” and “assertion” form intrinsic and instrumental values.'
In other words, Saha's Sen recognizes that there is an Agent-Principal Hazard in Collective action such that Trade Unions end up hurting their members; Mutual Funds end up serving not their Stakeholders but Hedge Fund managers; Leftist parties end up impoverishing their vote banks etc. Yet, instead of trying to fix the Agent-Principal problem with 'mechanism design'- i.e. doing some actual Economics- Saha's Sen won't even mention 'curtailment of Agency Power'- though that's a problem that can be fixed and should be fixed- preferring instead to demand more of the disease and less of the cure!
I say this because, if 'disadvantaged' people unite under the banner of 'countervailing power', then a doxastic commitment to 'solidarity' and 'assertion' cashes out as the weakest going to the wall so as to secure a rent for the strongest- just as happened with Trade Unions and Mutual Societies and Leftist Parties and so on.

Why does Saha's Sen behave like this?
Well, it turns out, he hasn't read David Lewis on Conventions, and, in consequence, believes silly things. Saha tell us that Sen 'in his essay about Asian values and human rights, follows Wend and others to argue that collective cognition regarding rules and norms constitute identities and are in turn constituted by them.'
This is foolish. Coasian 'Law and Economics' might be called 'collective cognition regarding rules and norms'. It does not constitute any identity whatsoever. On the contrary it continually decomposes such legal personalities as obtain, to permit the reallocation of resources so as to 'internalize' externalities.
Perhaps the reader will feel I am being unfair to Sen. He surely couldn't have been living in cloud cuckoo land all these years. Yet this is what he has to say about countervailing power in his masterwork-
Why does Sen think that a decrease in 'countervailing power' (e.g. weaker Unions, less interest in 70's style Feminism or Ralph Nader type 'Consumer Advocacy' etc.) in the U.S has resulted in the Executive seeking to 'exercise more power' than the Constitution intended?
The facts are known to all. 9/11 was a game-changer. How would the Teamsters, or the Bra-burners, or Ralph Nader banging on about how the new Ford model is 'unsafe at any speed', have changed anything? The fact is the American people wanted to get tough on the bastards who had attacked them. In the short run, the Judiciary and the Media 'Liberals' and so on could drag their feet on this matter. Longer term, some opportunist- like Trump- was bound to come along and throw a scare into 'the Establishment' thus changing 'Conventional Wisdom' in a manner that would reduce bureaucratic and judicial inertia in this respect.
Even crazier is Sen's invocation of countervailing power in the context of the Soviet Union. Does he not get that the Bolsehviks were a bunch of crazy genocidal gangsters? They killed large classes of people on bare suspicion of future disloyalty. Stalin, like Mao, decimated his own Party repeatedly.
Sen is writing as though Stalin and Beria and so on were Undergrads designing a Social Democracy for extra Credit. They got high the day before their Term Paper was due and so omitted to put in a provision for countervailing power. In other words, they failed to ensure that the people they shot had enough guns and artillery to shoot back thus preventing their own massacre. This was not because they were sociopathic gangsters but because they didn't attend the right lecture or have a good enough Tutor for Poli Sci 101.
Okay, maybe Sen is just a very polite guy who doesn't want to rub the Commies collective nose in their own shit. Surely, when it comes to a 'plural Democracy', he must be right? Don't we need the countervailing power of a powerful Trade Union movement with which the Govt. can strike a deal 'over beer and sandwiches'? The answer is no- Britain in the Seventies was held to ransom by the Unions. Nary a tear was shed for the mighty Union Barons- like Arthur Scargil who was the subject of universal revulsion at his last public appearance- whom Mrs. Thatcher was able to crush because the Electorate was behind her. Indeed, higher skilled Union members voted for her in '79 because the 'countervailing power' equilibrium- known as Prices and Incomes Policy- was unimplementable since Rule of Law Democracies can't shoot Union leaders, or rogue Industrialists, in the head pour encourager les autres. Keynes knew this very well. The German edition of his General Theory admits as much.
Similarly, the way to resolve the Terrorist threat is not for Govt. Ministers to sit with bearded nut-jobs drinking kahva & munching halwa and uttering the obligatory 'Death to Israel!'. No. The answer is to get tough with those bastards. Failure to do so could lead to a 'countervailing' extremist movement taking on the job themselves.
Won't killing a few nutjobs with drone strikes turn every member of their community into a terrorist?
Nope. It will embolden the majority to beat and chase away the nutjobs. Unless, of course, a countervailing bunch of nutjobs from a different community have been given a free hand. In that case the Govt. is disintermediated and loses salience. That is what happened in Iraq and Syria and Libya.
What about Tunisia, you might ask? Wasn't it the case that the strong Union movement there was a countervailing power to the nutjobs?
The simple answer is- no. If the Unions were doing such a good job at being a countervailing power there would have been no Tunisian spark for the Arab Spring in the first place. The fact is Tunisia doesn't have oil which can be captured and sold by a faction which assumes an extremist mantle so as to recruit from the veteran jihadi community.
Countervailing power is a thesis with no explanatory force. If a country is a democracy, under the rule of law, and if agents face a monopoly or monopsony then Galbraithian countervailing power will be a feature of the system. However, since market power tends to fall and elasticity of supply and demand tends to rise over time, such countervailing power has a diminishing horizon of salience.
One corollary is that one can have quite rapid non-coercive changes in perceived 'identity' in any given area or field without any trigger or tipping point such that a violent war to the knife erupts.
Why?
The answer is that, in general, collective cognition will only generate 'cheap talk' signals for the majority. There may be a minority- ten percent perhaps- for whom the Evolutionarily Stable Strategy is to turn a given doxastic commitment into a costly signal and shed blood over it. However, under scarcity, there must be a situationally rational reinforcer, otherwise no lasting hysteresis will be observed.

This brings us to the question, what is the situationally rational reinforcer at work here such that Prof. Saha's  reading of Sen is canonical?

One clue can be found in what our distinguished Historian says about Emperor Akbar- 'Western humanist such as Grotius was not different from the Mogul Emperor Akbar ( 1556-1605), who was not a democrat, but did put various human rights, including freedom of worship and religious practice, at the heart of his program in a way that could not be have been found in Europe of that time. Akbar, a Muslim, with deep interest not only in Hindu philosophy and culture but also in Christianity, Jainism and the Parsi religion in India, presided over an imperial system that provided elementary human rights.'

What sort of Muslim demands that other Muslims perform 'sajda' (worshipful prostration) to the throne? It violates Islamic law. This isn't 'religious freedom', it is naked tyranny.

Okay, Sen and Saha and yours truly are non-Muslim but we are Indian and all Indians know the truth about Akbar. What many Indians do not know is that Grotius's De Indis provides a moral and theological defense of predatory Multi National Companies like the Dutch VOC which enslaved Indian Tamils and shipped them to Ceylon to work on their plantations on such miserable rations that few survived longer than six months. This was fine because the VOC- which Grotius had shown (against Mennonite objection) to be fully justified by both 'Natural Law' and Holy Scripture- could just send out more slave-ships across the Palk Straits.

Oho! I get it now! Saha's Sen talks up Akbar and Grotius because both brought shame upon their own Religions- not our 'Sanaatan Dharma' (which means 'eternal religion'- because, pace Pascal, there will always be more prattling Pundits than the puja of Poverty Alleviation)

More generally, the Sen-Saha strategy- though appearing to bear some relation to actual Social processes- consists of taking anything non-Hindu that is valorized in the context of some more or less moribund academo-bureaucratic availability cascade and pretending that ancient Hindus were even more addicted to that nostrum than any one else. Thus two purposes are served- one, that moribund academic availability cascades can continue to trundle on yet more meaninglessly, and two, that Hindus get paid the same as Whites to talk worthless rubbish about India and its suffering millions.

Full disclosure
Professor Saha, in his essay, takes notice of this humble blog, in the following paragraph-
'It is alleged that Nyaya in Sen’s formulation is something that cannot be known and cannot be acted upon in a reliable manner. If so, then Sen’s idea of Nyaya is meaningless for practical purposes in human rights and duties. It is further alleged that Sen includes that philosophy of Nyaya ethics in his concept of freedom and development that can be prerequisite for human rights in education and health. “This particular silliness of Sen’s interpretation worked out well for him because interpersonal comparisons” of utility, freedom, development, and exclusion “screw things up” in the case of rights.'

What I was saying was that Sen invokes 'substantivist' Nyaya- i.e. the solution hit upon by an omniscient Benthamite planner- so as to side-step the problems Economics and Philosophy have found regarding 'preference revelation', information asymmetry, inconsistent doxastic commitment (e.g. Kavka's toxin), reversal of the arrow of time in evidential decision theory etc, etc. Essentially, Sen thinks he has found a way to resurrect interpersonal comparisons of Utility under the rubric of Public Discourse theory. The problem here is that if Public Discourse is mostly 'cheap talk'- and it is bound to be so because of contested rent seeking- then no semantic normativity can arise. There will be no 'conceptual tie' to action. People will just talk high minded shite till everybody else loses interest and goes home.
Clearly, something better than Public Discourse exists. We don't go to the market to demand the human right to toilet paper, we use money to buy the stuff. Similarly, if we suffer an injustice, we don't go to the court to denounce all human inequity and demand the reconstruction of Society on a truly humane basis, rather we present a sort of demand draft which only receives acceptation if a robust inter-subjective vinculum juris obtains and thus every right we successfully assert has, in fact, an extant remedy. In other words, both in the market place and the Law Court, we use a symbolic currency according to narrowly defined, highly context specific, procedural rationality- or Niti.

Suppose you go to the Market, but it is in Venezuela, and so though you have money in your pocket your demand for toilet paper isn't effective. In that case, you are welcome to go burn buses or whatever, to protest against the injustice but you are now simply a mindless thug.
Similarly, suppose you get a judgment from a Court condemning Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Baba for Genocide in 1984 on the basis of the testimony of a bereaved grandmother who saw them on Doordarshan TV running amok along with Amitabh Bacchan and Dumbo the flying elephant. Suppose that Court was not Indian, then nothing will happen. No country will enforce the judgment and the Law will quietly be changed so that future nuisance suits of this type are barred. Nothing at all is gained, even for Roscoe Pound's 'science of law' by asserting a right absent an actionable- i.e. incentive compatible- vinculum juris.

The creation of Universal Rights may appear an example of 'countervailing power' being exercised against the Leviathan State. However, the problem here is that the State has a perverse incentive to accept that it has the Remedy, constitutive of such Rights, even when the thing is incompossible, with its own existence. This is because the State can extract a rent for appearing to provide something which it can't actually do. The Nazis gained a rent by pretending that Germany could conquer Europe and the German people would be materially better off as a result. The thing couldn't be done. Similarly Professors can gain a rent by pretending their worthless prattle is actually helping the poor and oppressed.

Clearly, 'Instrumental Reason' is nowhere in this picture, yet Prof. Saha says- 'Criticism of this type misses the arguments of Sen, who has worked out the appropriate paths to both interpretation and substantive human rights.'
This isn't true. Sen hasn't 'worked out the appropriate path' to anything except talking worthless shite. His every policy prescription has been disastrous and his theoretical work is a senile stringing together of non sequiturs.
In Economics there is such a thing as 'Samaritan's Dilemma'. If you don't know the future and aren't actually omnipotent you ought not to do things which cause other people to become fatally reliant on you. It is fraud, not philanthropy, you are practicing. Sen-tentious economics is a fraud. His theory of famines killed Africans. His recommendations re. Education in India would kill off his own ancestral bildungsburgertum class and reduce them to an equal state of moral imbecility as the Syndicate thugs who now rule in Calcutta.

Saha admits that Sen is wrong about what Nyaya/Niti means for emic Indians.
He says 'Critics are correct in arguing that the Nyaya/Niti ethic is not conducive to the recognition of individual rights, although the feeling for the other is constant (2005: 139). Indeed the Indian worldview of ethics has never accorded individual rights as an absolute category, or that a person’s reality must be recognized unconditionally and necessarily.'
Obviously, Indians weren't so stupid as to create rights without remedies- adhyatmic entitlements without vyavaharika obligations- and, more pointedly yet, agreed that most 'collective cognition' was merely conventional and delusionary- including 'Nyaya-Vaisesika itself- for reasons Pyrrho learnt in Punjab and which nobody, except rent seeking Professors, doesn't already know deep down in their bones.
 But then Saha is a Professor- an erudite one because he is old school Calcutta- and so it is entirely right and proper and part of his vyavaharika duty to say 'What critics dot not realize is that the moralistic world-view provides the necessary tools for the realization of an ethic of human rights as it necessarily implies one’s relation with the others. The Nyaya doctrine, which is ingrained with limited tolerance, promotes and actualizes the possibilities for a dignified life. Pointing to Indian psyche, Sen incisively submits that Emperor Asoka (1556-1605) allowed his counselors to speculate about knowledge, whereas Europe was burning (1600 A.D.) Giordano Bruno at the stake for his heretical views on astronomy. These examples refutes the argument that Sen is “banging the drum of justice and Human Rights,” creating uncertainty (“Poetry as Socio-proctology,” July 27, 2010).'

That last parapraxis, by which the Buddhist Ashoka is turned into a Muslim Emperor, gives the game away. Santosh Saha's countervailing power has unveiled Sen as a closet Hindu Supremacist!

It now becomes clear why Sen got involved with Nalanda Univeristy. Since it had once flourished as a purely Buddhist institution, he wanted to retroactively prove it was worthless. Clearly, had Kalam, a Tamil Muslim, been made Nalanda's Chancellor, that task would have proved difficult.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Rodrigo Duterte & Contested rent-seeking as a Polya process

Consider the following-
'In his 1989 monograph Tullock dismissed explanations for absence of large rent-seeking losses in mature democracies other than the need for surreptitious indirect political redistribution. In his 1993 Shaftesbury Papers monograph on rent seeking, Tullock’s position changes. Comparing the all-is-maximally-efficient-inpolitical-redistribution view to explaining the role of interest groups (Becker 1983 and 1985) with the approach of Mancur Olson (1965) in The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, Tullock endorses Olson, who highlighted the difficulties of mobilizing members of interest groups into collective action. Along with no social costs of rent seeking, the Becker model has no recognition of the internal costs of organization of rent-seeking groups. Considering in some depth what some years before he dismissed as a doubtful argument that “almost instantly occurs to the average economist” (p. 6), Tullock now emphasized that rent seeking is a collective activity that is subject to freeriding behavior of group members and he concluded that this is rather fortunate ‘since this undoubtedly reduces the total amount of rent-seeking activity and mitigates the resource cost to society’ (Tullock 1993, p. 53). 


Why is the above fucked?
Well, contested rent-seeking, being inherently congestible and subject to race hazard, is bound to give rise to a market for Credentials which 'mature democracies' subsume under the rubric of Paideia or Public Justification Discourse or some other such obvious Ponzi scheme or Epistemological swindle.

Recall, the term 'rent-seeking' first appeared in the literature in connection with  Indian autarky and Turkey's hindi mangal Thanksgiving to Attaturk for getting a head-lock on Gandhian Khilafat and ensuring it stayed permanently dangal mein mangal fucked. Clearly- though this only became clear to me after Rodrigo Duterte's Presidential victory- truly 'mature democracies' want the Zika fucking impredicative virus of 'hindi marangal'- id est,  them dishonourable scum, or 'piss-poor protoplasm', Dirty Harry shoots before they can dishonour more innocents- to be fucking eradicated not fucking protected by contested rent-seeking, credentialised 'Human Rights' Law-fucking-iyers or morally cretinous NGO's.

Why?
Well, if turning Knightian Uncertainty into Samuelson Erodicity is Schelling focal- or if self organizing networks have good load balancing properties- then, if markets aren't segmentable according to a possible public signal, contested rent-seeking must be equally congestible for all Ackerlofian signal providers. Thus, it must be a  Polya process- which ensures every outcome is equally likely over a given time frame- and, as a corollary of equal congestibility, something like Braess's paradox must arise- i.e shutting down an avenue reduces aggregate transit time.

In this context, 'Mature Democracies'- i.e ones which are already optimally, i.e. E.S.S-wise,  Tiebout sorted-  pitilessly shoot vectors of degenerate mimetic solutions in the fucking head.

Otherwise, Democracies cease being mature, or doxastic steady states are not democratically implementable.

N.B.
This does not mean you should shoot people like me- i.e. worthless Economystic psilosophers whining about how we iz black but not the big swinging dick type of black-  in the head.

Micturating mightily upon us, however will soon moderate our ideological fervour.

Mind it kindly.
Aiyayo.



Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Amergin, Badavagni & Horace 1.5

Pyrhha, thou named for Fire and her in whose loins our race survived
The Flood, what lad, laved in odorous lotions, hast thine ardor revived?
tho' Comically Pimpled
Who, crushing a couch of roses, supposes thy coiffed elegance contains
for so Cosmically Simple
All Memorious Gold till only Ocean's Maelstrom remains

& of changed Gods and Winds and Tempers of the Sea
He too complains, as if tuirgen too were me
Whose brine soaked weeds as offering votive
Furnish this Wall & Deluge its motive.


नमस्कुर्मः प्रेङ्खन्मणिकटकनीलोत्पलमहः-
पयोधौ रिङ्खद्भिर्नखकिरणफेनैर्धवलिते।
स्फुटं कुर्वाणाय प्रबलचलदौर्वानलशिखा-
वितर्कं कामाक्ष्याः सततमरुणिम्ने
चरणयोः ॥१८॥
The dark blue effulgence of the gems in the
anklets of Kamkshi create the impression of the dark blue sea. The red colour
of Kamakshi’s feet  appear to be the conflagration
of deluge (badavagni) on the surface of this sea. The radiance from the
nails create the impression of foam causing whiteness of the sea. May our
salutations be always to that redness of Kamakshi’s feet.







Sunday, 1 May 2016

Is Sanjeev Sanyal stupider than Amartya Sen?

Indian Economists, more particularly Bengalis, have long competed with each other by asserting the most foolish thing possible about Hinduism. Amartya Sen, being very old, has a head start but it seems he might soon have to look to his laurels.

Sanjeev Sanyal is a bright young Economist- not utterly shite to my limited knowledge- and he thinks Hinduism is a 'complex adaptive system'- which is why, no doubt, it is flourishing in Bangladesh and Pakistan and Afghanistan despite being persecuted.


Sanyal has a short essay in Swarajya magazine which I will now deconstruct to support his claim to be considered stupider than Amartya Sen.


This is his first sentence- my remarks are in bold italics.

Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism has long suffered from a very basic problem – the difficulty of defining it. 
Nobody and nothing has ever suffered from the problem of being difficult to define.  Contested definitions giving rise to differential entitlements can create conflict and suffering. However, neither Sanathan Dharma nor Hinduism, have essentially contested definitions. They are inclusivist by design, as Paul Hacker was wont to complain till I shat upon him and he ran away from Bonn. 
One can describe a particular sect, or philosophy, but it is not easy to explain the whole. 
Not easy for you, Sanyal- because you are a moron. All Dharmic sects or darshanas have a low Kolmogorov complexity canonical description. However, some of the sects defined by the traditional taxonomy- e.g. the living Sankhya tradition- have a widely divergent orthodoxy from that claimed for them on the basis of that taxonomy. This is funny- an example of 'rasabhasa'- Pundits working themselves up over the imaginary heresy of the rival sect- and has been an enduring source of comedy for all Hindus.
Thus, it is not uncommon for people to ultimately fall back on saying that it is a “way of life”. 
As opposed to a 'complex adaptive system' which is just as meaningless.
Unfortunately, such a definition is neither a meaningful description nor of analytical value. If anything, it causes a great deal of confusion only to morons like you by suggesting that Hindu religion is identical to Indic culture – the two are obviously linked but not exactly the same. 
There is no link between them at all. A lot of Muslims and Christians and Bahais and so on have 'Indic culture'. They are not Hindus. A lot of Hindus now have a wholly American or European culture. Their Religious practices alone incorporate aspects of 'Indic culture' but even in this sphere the logic of substitution has salience and the whole thing is gestural simply. For example, my fat nephew didn't don the traditional wedding finery of the Smartha Iyer (basically just a bath towel round your mid-riff) for his wedding because no one wants to see his man-boobs. He dressed instead like a Punjabi. His Endocrinologist wife, however, was properly attired in red Kanjeevaram silk- a pious tribute, no doubt, to her blood thirsty Hakka River Pirate maternal ancestry.


The purpose of this article is to investigate the systemic logic of Sanatan Dharma as a whole and the process by with it evolves. 
Sanatan Dharma is an Episteme with its own Logic and Hermeneutics. You are too stupid and ignorant to talk about that Episteme so you are now going to pretend that you know the Universal logic of all complex systems and that you will be able to say something meaningful on the basis of this particularly stupid species of reductionism.
You will fail. If you really knew the 'systemic logic' of Epistemes, they you would be able to predict which Research Programs in Maths and Physics and so on will succeed and which will fail.
It is not concerned here with the philosophical content or daily practice of any of the constituent sects, traditions and philosophies.
No, of course not- to write a wholly worthless article you have to exclude anything empirical.




Most world religions, particularly those of Abrahamic origin, are based on a clearly defined set of beliefs – a single god, a holy book, a prophet and so on. 
Nonsense. The Credo of a Religion must be either 'essentially contested' or else it is not Religious at all.  No scalable Religion started with a well defined Credo. In the case of Christianity and Islam, it is notable that internecine war between presbyters and proselytisers led the Secular Power to, again and again, and always in vain, intervene to achieve uniformity  regarding 'distinctions without a difference'. Yet, such uniformity killed the inner life of such Religion- it turned into an empty Imperial cultus- and thus 'essential contestation' came to be recognised by theologians and seers as the Faith's only elixir.
Jesuit sponsored Catholicism might appear a counter-example.  Here is a World Religion sponsored by the first States with truly global maritime footprints- with dedicated Missionaries and an incentive compatible proselytising strategy. Yet, despite the extraordinary achievements of the Order, the very word 'Jesuitical' came to mean the opposite of what pertains to Religion qua Religion. Indeed, if the Jesuits today deserve high praise, even from a narrowly Christological point of view, it is because their Order now displays such extraordinary diversity and doxastic humility.
These are articles of faith or axioms from which each of these religions is derived.

OMG! Has Sanyal really discovered a consistent and complete system for doxastic logic! Wow! This man should get not just the Nobel Prize but also the fucking Fields Medal! He just proved Godel and Turing and Tarski completely wrong! Why is he wasting his time writing about Hinduism in the Swarajya Ezine! How fucking stupid is he?
This why the terms religion, belief and faith can be used interchangeably in these cases (i.e. Abrahamic religions). 
Wow! So Luther's rejection of synderesis was silly. The entire Lutheran theology is false. Sanyal just keeps making amazing discoveries! Will the Pope make him a Cardinal?

In contrast, it is perfectly acceptable in Hinduism to be a polytheist, monotheist, monist, pantheist, agnostic, atheist, animist or any combination thereof. 

Urm...that's because Hinduism has been defined in an inclusivist manner. The same thing could be said for Christianity- which includes Unitarians, Doecists, Communists etc. 
In Islam, Sarmad is a Muslim Sufi Saint though he said 'La Illah', as is Mansur al Hallaj who said 'Ana'l Haq'. There is no real difference between a Muslim like Akeel Bilgrami or a Hindu like Amartya Sen. They affirm that they belong to a particular religion though they deny believing in God.
Thus Hinduism is a religion but not a faith, although constituent sects or philosophies can be termed faiths or beliefs. Instead, it should be thought of as an organic, evolving ecosystem of interrelated and interdependent elements that are constantly interacting with each other (and with the outside world).
Nonsense. Anything at all that arises in Human life can be described as an organic evolving ecosystem- if only by morons- because that's what morons do.
There are many systems that fit the above description – financial markets, economies, cities, the English language, ecological systems and so on. These are all examples of “complex adaptive systems”. Note the contrast between the organic and evolving dynamics of such systems and the static laws of Newtonian mechanics. In turn, this has important implications for how we understand Hinduism and manage it.
Urm... but complex systems are still supervenient on something like Newtonian mechanics. Hinduism is not different from Christianity or Islam. It will grow or decline for the same essentially 'Newtonian' reasons and History illustrates this amply.
Nessim Taleb's notion of 'anti-fragility' is stupid. Languages, Markets, ecologies etc do crash for 'Newtonian' reasons. 
Suppose Sanyal were not talking nonsense and Hinduism really was different from Christianity or Islam. Then, Darwin's theory of Evolution would have caused the latter two religions to crash, while Hinduism burgeoned. Nothing of the sort occurred. Islam, like Hinduism and Buddhism, simply claimed to have had the concept already by some more or less specious special pleading. Christianity, too, developed a Tielharidan 'noosphere' as foolish as Aurobindo's nonsense.

Sanyal goes on to make various other howlers too numerous to be listed here.

He says that Hinduism is more than the sum of its parts. D'uh. 
Thus, English language cannot be defined through even the most detailed description of its grammar. Similarly, the most detailed description of the Taj Mahal would not define the city of Agra. Yet, speakers of English -and the citizens of Agra have little difficultly identifying and using the language and city respectively.
Rubbish. The most detailed description of its grammar would include the parsing of every possible grammatical sentence in it. That's what an 'i-language' is. Why is this idiot pretending otherwise?
What's this idiocy about the Taj Mahal. How on earth would a detailed description of the Taj Mahal define the city of Agra? This fucker is writing in his sleep. He doesn't even bother to read his own shite.
Essentially, he starts by saying that Hinduism suffers because it is difficult to define. Now he is saying no fucking suffering actually obtains. He has just admitted that he is writing worthless shite.

Sanyal now goes on to talk nonsense about ergodicity and hysteresis-

History Dependent but not Reversible: One of the common characteristics of complex adaptive systems is that they are path dependent i.e. they carry the imprint of their historical evolution. Rubbish. There can be mimetic effects such that there is no path-dependence at all. The Japanese Navy in 1905 had zero hysteresis w.r.t its condition in 1855. Thus, most cities, biological ecosystems and living languages will show the layer-by-layer accumulation of their history. 
Nonsense. Invasion and extinction effects wipe out 'layer-by-layer' accumulation. There may be isolated islands or 'Zomias' where something of this sort obtains. But only briefly. An invasion event will soon wipe out all those layers. Readers will no doubt recognize how this applies to Hinduism. There is no 'layer-by-layer' accumulation in Smartha Hinduism. Even Shrauta Hindus don't display this, though- curiously- they were sometimes able to recover more ancient rituals than their parent population- e.g. Nambudris of Kerala.
Notice how this is distinct from Newtonian mechanics. Two identical footballs, in identical conditions, will behave in exactly the same way if exactly the same force is applied to them. There is no historical memory in the system, and it does not matter what was done with the two balls before we subjected them to this experiment. Oh idiotic Sanyal, don't you realize that every Hindu ritual is predicated on having exactly the same effect as it did in the past? When you get married or have upanayanam or perform any other ceremony, this ergodicity is what is believed to obtain. It is not the case that there is any hysteresis in the system. The fact that your grand-parents got married when a Christian monarch ruled India did not change the efficacy of the ritual- even if the fucking House of Lords refused to recognize the legitimacy, as in the Lord Sinha case, of the tie.. Their marriage had the same eusebeiac valency as that performed in the time of the Guptas or Mauryas or Vedic Rishis.


Complex adaptive systems, however, have an additional property – irreversibility. This means that the system will not reverse to its origin even if all historical events were reversed. Nonsense. Holland was occupied by the Nazis. It's political and socio-economic regime changed. However this change was entirely reversed once the Nazis were defeated and thrown out. No doubt, there were some irreversible entropic physical changes, but no imperative changes proved irreversible. Hinduism is an imperative, not a physical, system. It can reset because it is not physically constrained.
Thus, reversing history will not take English back to Old Saxon but to some other language. What is this 'reversing History' Sanyal is wittering on about? It is perfectly feasible to reverse demographics and technology and the official language and so on such that some Saxon type dialect is spoken. Nobody would want to do this but it is feasible. 
In the case of Paninian Sanskrit, we could have high confidence that what was spoken was the same as the literate language of the Gupta age.
Reversing the events of human evolutionary history will not take us back to our ape-like ancestors but to a new species. Nonsense. Reversing evolutionary history means changing the fitness landscape such that only a past state of the system is evolutionarily stable for a particular genotype. Either the program crashes- the genotype disappears- or, assuming unbounded resources, that is exactly what happens. Relaxing the constraint on the genotype means it becomes much more probable to reach, by convergent evolution, some 'ape-like' ancestor. 
Similarly, reversing urban history will not take a city back to the original village settlement. More likely one will get a deserted city like Detroit or a museum city like Venice. Again notice the difference with Newtonian mechanics where a perfect reversal of factors will take the system back exactly to its origin. Rubbish. If the arrow of Time was reversed that's exactly what would happen. Supervenient processes have no salience.
An implication of these characteristics is that Hinduism carries its history within it but cannot return to a pure origin or “Golden Age”. It is necessarily about constantly evolving and moving forward even as it draws inspiration and ideas from its past. The holy books, traditions, customs and tenets of Hinduism should not be seen as a path to an ideal “Kingdom of God” or “Caliphate” to which everyone must revert. Sanyal believes that there is some nutter somewhere who wants to put India in a Time Machine. He is the only nutter who holds this belief.  Rather they are the accumulation of knowledge and experience. Critics may argue that idea of “Ram Rajya” contradicts this point but this is a misunderstanding. Hindus draw inspiration from the idea of Ram Rajya as a time of prosperity and rule-of-law, but it is not vision for a return to the Iron Age. So, Sanyal admits that no one wants to return to the Iron Age. Why then is he making a bogus point about irreversibility? Ram Rajya has been defined by people like Sant Tulsidas as 
                                               Danda jatinha kara bheda jahan nartaka nrtya samaaja
Jeetahu manahi sunia asa Raamacandra ken raaja!
(Much prattles the Machiavellian parrot of Stick & Carrot, Divide and Rule
But Love’s plural dance of Ego-conquest was Ramrajya’s only tool!)
In other words, a compassionate, ethical Ruler can act as an Aumann signaler to achieve Myserson feasibility without the usual stipulations in the theory of repeated games or Mechanism Design. We might say, that the conduct of the maryada purusha has a mimetic effect such that games turn into relationships of the sort some Japanese General Equilibrium theorists attribute to the Sage Ninomiya.
No Equilibrium State: Yet another characteristic of complex adaptive systems is that they do not have an equilibrium or steady state in the long run. No. They go extinct. Again, note the contrast with Newton’s laws. Thus, the English language will keep adding words and usages with no tendency to stop. It will also keep dropping words. If the English speaking nations are conquered or lose economic salience, the language may go extinct. Similarly, successful cities will keep changing and/or expanding. Only if they get the mechanism design right.However, a corollary is that if the system begins to contract, because of incentive incompatibility, it can keep contracting with no tendency to self-equilibrate. Thus, a fucking horribly managed city like Detroit kept declining even though some stupid moron's theory would suggest that falling real estate prices would attract back people. Financial markets too behave in this way if they are incentive incompatible or there is a missing Credit market necessitating dynamic turbulence as a driver for liquidity– they will keep rising past what people think is a “fair value” and then fall back well below – hardly spending any time at the so-called equilibrium. Sanyal is assuming that Knightian Uncertainty is fixed and doesn't fluctuate. Why? We honestly know less today then twenty years ago about what type of energy is going to be cheapest in 2030. Our Information Set features more Uncertainty. The return on soi disant riskless assets probably really is negative because of this.
This behavior has important implications for how to manage complex adaptive systems. No it doesn't. Management means actually having some power. Talking worthless shite isn't management of anything. First, it means that managers should not attempt to hold the system at some preconceived steady state. Really? So if I manage a car factory, I shouldn't attempt to hold the car manufacturing system to a preconceived steady state such that my cars are safe to drive? Rather they need to accommodate the fact that the system is characterized by “increasing returns to scale” which can push the system into spiraling expansions or contractions. This does not mean that one should not attempt to manage such ecosystems – far from it, financial markets, cities and even ecological systems can benefit from active management. However, the management should allow for constant movement. A city mayor or a financial market regulator who insists on holding the system to a static equilibrium will either fail or effectively suffocate the system. A Mayor or Financial Regulator who insists on holding the system to an imperative- i.e. deontological- equilibrium which is Muth Rational and incentive compatible is doing his fucking job. If he doesn't do it, sack the cunt.
Although Hinduism does not have a centralized leadership- like Christianity, Islam etc-  the above characteristics have many implications for how Hindus think about their religion and manage its future. For instance, they suggest that Hindu leaders refrain from being too prescriptive of where Hinduism should go in the long run. Really? Hindu leaders shouldn't say 'Hinduism should become more Spiritual, Empathic, Charitable, Equitable, Knowledge based, Humanitarian etc? Why not? Fuck is wrong with you Sanyal?
Much better that they focus on continuously updating and reforming the system on an ongoing basis while taking care to maintain internal diversity. So Hinduism is actually a computer. Nobody told me. Boy, do I feel stupid. The lack of uniformity may seem like a disadvantage in the short-run but is a big advantage when dealing with an unpredictable long-term future. This is analogous to a species maintaining genetic diversity as a bulwark against epidemics and other shocks. Urm...yes, but that genetic diversity is only useful if there isn't too much phenotypal diversity or geographic dispersion.
Another possible implication of this intellectual framework may be that one needs to be less enthusiastic about “anti-conversion laws”. But, Sanyal Sahib, Hindus who convert take their 'genetic diversity' with them. Experience shows that where Hindus become a minority, they are driven out unless, as happened in Jammu, they take the initiative and do the ethnic cleansing themselves. These have been proposed by some activists as a way to “protect” Hinduism in some Indian states but these laws are based on an idea of static equilibrium. Rubbish! Static equilibrium is your idea- no one else's. Our analysis, however, suggests that such laws will have little benefit if the Hindu community is shrinking for whatever reason. In which case they are doomed- unless they hire thugs to do ethnic cleansing.In other words, a defensive tactic cannot work if the community is in a downward spiral in a particular area. It would be far better to focus on expansionary strategies to re-inflate the system. Yes, but an anti-conversion law provides cover for thugs beating up supposed converts till they cry Uncle and either run away or go with flow. These could include intellectual and cultural innovation, social and missionary work, building alliances with other like-minded religious traditions and so on. Which is why the Episcopalian or Anglican Church is in such great shape even on its own native soil.Some of these efforts can be derived from the past, but it is perfectly alright to use completely new strategies. Like talking shite about complex adaptive systems.
The Importance of Flexibility: One of the learnings (sic) from the study of complex, adaptive systems is that flexibility will always triumph over brute strength in the long run.Hinduism is thriving in Pakistan because it is a complex adaptive system and thus can't be coerced in any way by a theocratic Government. Every year, the number of Hindu temples and patshalas is increasing in Pakistan.
By contrast, Sumerian Religion was not a complex adaptive system. That is why it is not thriving in Iraq.
Sanyal does not get that even a relatively small amount of organized coercion or incentive incompatibility can cause a Religion or a Language or Economic regime to tip over from having agents of one Type to those same agents amalgamating with a completely different Type. Kill or threaten or pile discriminatory taxes upon enough Hindus and they convert to some other Religion or no Religion at all. Talk of 'complex adaptive systems' is sheer stupidity. History has shown that Hinduism can revive if it fights back and makes itself incentive compatible. It doesn't matter if Acharyas of rival sects denounce each other. What matters is fighting prowess and incentive compatible financing of that fighting prowess.
Instead of saying 'Hinduism is a complex adaptive system- so we can adopt a Managerial approach and never have to roll up our sleeves or get a bloody nose' why not just say 'Hinduism is an emanation of the Godhead. It survives or perishes by His Will alone- thus we need do nothing'.
Why is Sanyal writing this nonsense? Is it really the case that some Hindus have been annoying him by trying to impose 'Shrauta' Hinduism on him? No. He is not a Nambudri. There are no Shrautas in his part of the World. 
What about the Smartas- are they harassing Sanyal, perhaps by inviting him to a Smarta Vicharam to discuss his use of un-orthodox beverages like tea and coffee? Nope. There are no such Smarta Vicharams around any more.
Sanyal probably does have some contact with Brahmos or Arya Samajis but they long ago gave up any separatist chauvinism and don't condemn people like me as idolaters or purblind followers of Sayana. 
In any case, judging by his education, surely he can pick and choose whom he consorts with? It is not really the case that Sanyal, at this late date, needs to remind anyone that Smriti is defeasible according to a Mimamsaka principle that people like Chief Justice Gajendragadkar popularized before he, or I, was born.
There are a lot of people talking nonsense about Complex Adaptive Systems at this moment. ISIL is described as complex adaptive system by stupid academics with a vested interest in getting a bit of Pentagon research funding. Killing those evil nutters, however, is the simple and effective solution. Nobody doesn't know this.
Sanyal is an economist. He misses the fact that the Just King in the Mahabharata has to learn statistical game theory to overcome his 'vishada', He doesn't get that ancient Iron Age Religions incorporated the discrete Math decision theory of their day. Aumann shows there is Game Theory in the Old Testament. But Aumann was actually smart- not a stupid gesture political pedant like Sen or Basu. Indian Economists are too stupid to understand what they read even when it comes to the simplest of that 'Fifth Veda' which was specifically designed for the instruction of ordinary people. 
Why is Sanyal saying Hinduism is not ergodic? If so, it is deontologically and doxastically empty. It doesn't exist as a 'dharma'- (oh dear, did I just use a desi word? My apologies. I mean an eusebeia) 
If the Economy is a Complex Adaptive System, does Sanyal believe that it features no ergodic processes? If so, as Samuelson pointed out, he professes an empty subject. 
It defies belief that a Hindu intellectual, a well educated one, at this late date, does not get that Muth Rational Co-ordination and Dis-coordination games function so as to restore ergodicity to socio-economic processes. Capacitance diversity does get stored up at the margin but is expressed by a saltation or speciation event such that the underlying object of discourse disappears.
Of course, it would be unfair to judge an economist by the worthless drivel he pads out his policy prescription with rather than focus on what he tells us we need to do. In this case, Sanyal is clearly hoping to top Sen by making the worst possible prescription ever. Sen, idiot that he is, wants a Nalanda University where the lecturers have diplomatic immunity, even if they are Indian citizens. This is because the hankers after the 'benefit of clergy' enjoyed by medieval Universities in Europe.
Similarly, Sanyal wants -' to revive the tradition of writing new Smriti texts, a practice that went into decline in medieval times.'
This is extraordinarily stupid. Smarta Brahmins wrote Smriti texts and set up Smarta Vicharams because this secured a Tiebout manorial rent for their patrons. 
Now that India is unified, they won't do this for any money because it is stupid and unpatriotic and a waste of resources. Let me be clear- tying yourself up in legal knots while letting an active adversary free rein is a recipe for annihilation.
Smartas will happily sing the Bhakti songs of the Saints and participate in worthwhile Social Reconstruction. They won't go down a blind alley. At the margin, some will no doubt embrace the stupidest possible psilosophies and availability cascades on offer- like 'effective altruism' or some eco-feminist vegan nonsense. One or two might even pose as Swami Agnivesh type shit-heads- abolishing child labor without actually do any such thing and then glomming onto Anna Hazare or whatever- but the only proper response to such exhibitionism is ridicule or, if that doesn't work, urinating copiously into their open mouths. This is because malicious micturation is a complex adaptive system. We should not aim to manage it on the basis of a static steady state equilibrium. Kindly see my book 'Managing Micturation- for Fortune 500 Companies'.