Dutch historian Rutger Bregman asks the question whether people are inherently bad or good. Should we follow Hobbes’ view that civilisation is necessary in order to keep the bad at bay, or should we listen to Rousseau who claimed that it was civilisation that had corrupted men? In his book ‘De meeste mensen deugen‘ (which will be published in English in a few days as ‘Humankind: A Hopeful History‘) Bregman analyses a ton of scientific research – from archaeology to psychology, biology and political scientific research – to show that although we tell ourselves differently, mankind is inherently good. And that research that seemed to show otherwise (think Milgram’s experiment, consider the Stanford prison experiment) are actually based on a false representation of the facts that resulted from those experiments. People were not bad or evil, but when scientists push them in a certain direction people will follow. Because if there is a flaw to humanity, according to Bregman, it is that they want to help others, even if that means they need to do bad things.
Reading books can give a distorted idea of what evil is, and what it means to be a good person. And especially when we start using falsely attributed quotes that are both misleading and wrong, we need to reconsider what it actually means – to do good.
The power of a good story
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of good books, with stories that stay with me, hopefully forever. But I have always read a lot of books. As a child, I would go to the library every week and find a new set of books – 6 as that was the maximum. Carefully selected of course, as it would have to last me a week. Continue reading “Forget this "When good men do nothing…"”
I am part of the top-% of the highly educated people. Yet never have I taken one class or seminar on economics, leaving me in the dark about what macro & micro economics look like and how these processes are deeply connected to political history and our future. It was time to change that, so I started reading.
I am part of the top-% of the highly educated people. Yet never have I taken one class or seminar on economics, leaving me in the dark about what macro & micro economics look like and how these processes are deeply connected to political history and our future.
With the encroaching crisis of 2008, and the many attempts the media has made to explain this crisis to the ignorant mass to which I counted myself, I did realize something was wrong – why would governments and the European Union decide to lend money to bankrupt banks and countries, money that would instantly be used to pay off other loans of the same institutions that were so ‘generously’ offering the new loans? Why would they not invest these in the backbone of what makes a country – the people actually doing the work, trying to keep their jobs and feeding their family? (Let alone take care all those without work!) I didn’t understand, but these governments must know what they were doing, right? Or not? I had no idea. Continue reading “On Europe's Future”