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Showing posts from October, 2010

‘Zero-Sum World’

By Gideon Rachman Most of my career has been spent reporting on a world where things were steadily improving. I started work in London during the Thatcher boom of the mid-1980s. At the BBC World Service, we followed the spread of democracy around the world, from Latin America to south-east Asia. I first visited Moscow during the Gorbachev years, as the long Soviet nightmare was coming to a close. I was in Madison Square Garden to see Bill Clinton accept the Democratic party nomination in 1992, while the crowd danced to “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”. I spent the next five years reporting on Asia – witnessing how rapid economic growth was transforming people’s lives from Bangkok to Bangalore. Based in Brussels from 2001, I followed the reunification of Europe under the umbrella of the European Union, as countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic rejoined the ranks of free and prosperous nations. I was in London when Tony Blair won his first electoral victory in May 1997, swep

What Is The Correct “Number” to Buy Back Your Personal Freedom? - October, 2010 When people discuss “the Number”—that is, the number they need to easily retire and continue their lifestyle—they usually miss the entire point. The reason you are trying to calculate “the Number” in the first place is that you are looking for the bare minimum you need in order to purchase your freedom from the slavemasters of corporate America. If you want to live in Manhattan and have a house in the Hamptons then you aren’t really looking for the Number. You’re still willing to be enslaved in order to achieve small incremental advantages over the overwhelming benefit of personal freedom. So I’m going to make some basic assumptions: A) You want personal freedom above all else. Which doesn’t mean you’re willing to live in a homeless shelter. You want some basic conveniences and fun in life. But you’re willing to forego extreme extravagances. B) You aren’t going to send your kids to college. C) You don’t need to own a home. B and C are usually the biggest expens