George Walford: Base Over Tip

During one of the kerfuffles about financial arrangements within the EC, a writer in the Financial Times declared: ‘Amid the turmoil and confusion of the past few days, one fact emerges ever starker: politics and diplomacy can no more resist the logic of international economic forces than King Canute could turn back an incoming tide.’… read more »

George Walford: Marx Was Wrong

In 1857 the two German socialist parties, one following Marx and the other Ferdinand Lasalle, joined to form one organisation. This took place at a congress held at Gotha, and they went on to issue the Gotha Programme. Any idea that this foretold the end of dissension among socialists was quickly put down; Marx responded… read more »

George Walford: Ought This to Be?

People interested in ethics tend to maintain that one cannot derive ‘ought’ from ‘is.’ The Editor of The Ethical Record, for example: ‘There is no way that, starting from an “is” or purely factual statement, one can rigorously deduce from it an “ought” statement or a moral imperative.’ A writer in the Financial Times (25… read more »

George Walford: Against Nothing

Readers have written in, from time to time, criticising the proposition that Nothing Is Absolutely True. Personal correspondence with others suggests that they have reservations about it which they don’t express. Here we offer a passage which seems to us to formulate these objections, or at least some of the main ones, with power and… read more »

Donald Rooum: Wildcat Rides Again!

The sparkle as bright, the drawing as powerful, limitations of space and time again exploded, each cartoon making its point as sharply as ever. Yet: Does the book carry the same rapid-fire penetration as the earlier collections? This time, pursuit of a theme brings predictability; turning a page does not always produce the unexpected insight… read more »

George Walford: The Higher the Fewer

The Inquisition destroyed the bodies of its victims (or had the secular authorities do so) for the good of their souls. For its first cenury or so, while still enthusiastic (and still feeling itself insecure) the Anglican Church followed suit. Later it stopped going to such extremes, but it long set the spiritual above the… read more »

George Walford: The Problem of Solutions

Reformers have been active for a long time now, and have achieved many successes. Yet the number of reforms needed remains as great as ever, and may even be increasing. This suggests some built-in source for our continuing difficulties, and here we ask whether they may not arise, at least in part, from the solution… read more »

George Walford: Options

Although nobody has been rude enough to raise the question, readers must have wondered why IC should speak so often in favour of familiar capitalism, with the market and the state; the system does have substantial disadvantages. An explanation appears when one notices a similarity between capitalism and getting old: bad as each of them… read more »

George Walford: Why Not Us Too?

Will we give England back to the oak trees? Probably not, yet until we do we stand on shaky ground when agitating for conservation of the Amazonian rainforest. Will we give up industry and agriculture, return to scratching the ground with a hoe, use nothing more sophisticated than the bow and arrow? Probably not, yet… read more »

George Walford: Observations

Nigel Barley’s personal observations lead him to a refreshingly astringent view both of anthropological cliches and of lay misconceptions. Members of the profession disapproving of something encountered in the field risk charges of ethnocentrism; not so if they express delight in it, although this response shows just as much lack of proper detachment. [1] Laypeople… read more »