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Category Archives: scotland

Revolutionary divides

It is in the nature of successful revolutions (successful in the sense of imposing a new political order which persists) to divide their society. They represent a political bargain implemented by force. Those against whom such force was applied are not participants in the revolutionary bargain, they have it imposed on them. The Glorious Revolution, the American […]

Banking privilege as social bargaining: a nice case study

Have been reading Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit by Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber. It is an excellent, and highly readable, history of banking: slides from a presentation explaining the basic thesis of the book are here (pdf). The information in the book also explains a puzzle of economic history. Technologically, the key […]

The Gigoyle

A gargoyle on an historic 13th century abbey has caused a social media sensation with its resemblance to the monster from the Alien films. Reverend Alan Birss, minister at Paisley Abbey, said most of the gargoyles were replaced during a refurbishment in the early 1990s. He thinks that one of the stonemasons must have been […]

States as coordination problems

Economist David Friedman’s theory about the size and shape of nations leads him to postulate that the increased importance of labour income–a result of the Industrial Revolution: one of the ironies of history is that greatly increased propensity to produce capital increases both the scale (through increased demand) and then the average income (through increased relative scarcity) […]

Under Siege

A seal has boarded a Royal Navy amphibious-assault ship as it was about to carry out military exercises near Carnoustie. HMS Bulwark was making preparations for the multinational training exercise Joint Warrior when the seal swam up the ship’s landing dock. The animal sat and watched the crew for about half an hour. It was […]

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Three priests and a former priest have said that they felt “vindicated” after Scotland’s Cardinal Keith O’Brien admitted sexual misconduct. The group had accused the senior Roman Catholic clergyman of “inappropriate behaviour” towards them in the 1980s. Catherine Deveney, the journalist who broke the story in The Observer, said she had spoken to the four […]

Eye Candy De Heir

Facebook. Besides being invented for the social glue that is the ‘poke’ (who do YOU poke and how often and can anyone explain why) it’s for sharing cool stuff like this 1930s aerial photograph of Edinburgh, the legendary city where I live. Originally by Alfred Buckham, I nicked it off SL’s page where it was […]

Flag capers

In one of those eccentricities of time and date, Burns Night in Scotland (January 25) shades into Australia Day (January 26), especially for anyone using social media. This made for a very odd Friday evening this last week while I was working late. I saw Scots cheerfully celebrating their country’s greatest poet and the bonhomie […]

‘That’s what the faeries sent you’

The above was an oft-repeated observation of my mother’s, whenever some of what a Buddhist would probably consider karma landed in my lap after I’d been a bit of a shit. Among Europeans, the phrase (and the reaction) seems to be commoner in Celtic cultures, although I’m sure it has its residues elsewhere. To that […]

Low Ryder

The cost of sending a delegation led by First Minister Alex Salmond to the Ryder Cup golf tournament in America was almost £470,000, the Scottish government has said. The trip in September was part of a plan to “maximise the economic benefits” of hosting the cup in Scotland in 2014. The government estimates the event […]