Browsing Archives of Author »Aldo Matteucci«

328 – Sunk costs have zero value

May 3, 2015


(An elegy on the Greek “problem”) But when he came to himself he said, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I […]

327 – Worlds that vanish – unnoticed

May 2, 2015


Thanks to the internet, nothing is forgotten nowadays: or is it? As we returned at sunset to the port of Hydra, I took this photo: One notes the reflections in the hand-made window panes. As the glass sheet is pulled, rather than rolled, such minimal imperfections inevitably arise. They give “depth” to an otherwise dull […]

326 – Do ideas have genealogies?

April 24, 2015


In a recent essay,[1] the Italian philosopher Giorgio AGAMBEN outlines the “genealogy” of the concept called dispositif,[2] tracing it to Hegel and other precursors. I was perplexed. One of the origins of the term is in genetics. It describes the transmission of information – encoded in DNA – from one generation to the next. The […]

325 – What can the Amazons teach us?

April 1, 2015


It is a fact – even though it may have escaped the New York Times – the Amazons were real fighting and warring women of the Scythian steppes that extended from the Danube basin all the way to Mongolia. In the last ten years, advances in DNA techniques allowed archeologists to determine the sex of […]

324 – “The rights of future generations” – the emptiness and the plenitude

March 30, 2015


While there were certainly many precursors, the “rights of future generations” theme entered the international political mainstream with the Brundtland Commission Report.[1] The report spoke of “sustainable development”[2] a complex and ambitious if ambiguous concept. The discussion, however, soon “hardened:” “Most agree that the central idea of the Brundtland Commission’s definition of ‘sustainable development’ is […]

323 – Sifting through the midden of IBRD yearly Reports

March 26, 2015


By sifting through middens, archeologists find information about the daily life of long gone cultures. Linguists have applied the same principle to IBRD yearly reports, and they too have come up with interesting findings.[1] Discarded words reveal much about the person’s[2] or an institution’s mindset as it changes over time. Spurning content, the authors have […]

322 – The merits of parallel diplomacy

March 23, 2015


If you want to go into an African village, Always let someone from the village accompany you. Houphouët Boigny – President of the Ivory Coast Since their beginning in the Renaissance,[1] diplomats were an exclusive and tetchy lot. Seeing themselves as personal representatives of their sovereign, they seldom took lightly to free-lancers or the practice […]


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