Usually related to education, philosophy or society, I write these to give form to some of things I grapple with. If they can spur on debate and reflection so much the better.


On Progress

Each and every time I pick up and read a newspaper or magazine, there is inevitably some story involving progress or development. “London fails to makes progress in blah blah” “BRICS pioneering development” etc.. The two concepts of progress and development, although different (the former relating to a goal while the latter is a mere process) seem unavoidably intimately bound up. What is interesting is the way in which these terms are used and understood. In a majority of cases, they seem to be synonymous with ‘Good’ and represent an end in themselves. Hence progress is the implied end of science - and because progress is good, so too is science and vice versa. By a similar nexus of synonyms

Letter to The Economist

Sir, I was surprised to find your leader on the new approach to progress and the subsequent special report on the world economy filled with lackluster ideas for its improvement. Only a few weeks ago you wrote a commendable review of ideas which gave astute and informed direction to this very quest - that for a better world (“Insatiable longing”, July 21st). As you said, such protagonists “think the West’s true malaise is not mechanical but moral”. It’s a shame then that these ideas were nowhere to be seen when it came to the business of shaping the world to come. Just as your report refuses to acknowledge the ethical nature of its subject by veiling it with the language of pragmatism, its si

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© 2020 by Pierre Smith Khanna