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Everything posted by Ananga

  1. GC: Do you think the trend of offshore software development is completely beneficial to the U.S. economy? Isn’t there a danger of harm to IT professionals locally in terms of the threat of competition from cheap labor overseas? Also I have heard reports of complaints from large corporations about the poor quality of such services.
  2. It is probably just as well for certain factions to steer clear of the path of raga-marga, since they have exhibited such materialistic tendencies while dressing themselves up as sadhus, with their accumulation of vast fortunes and spending their time increasing their political power when they should be spending it doing bhajan.
  3. That is a good question: Is the gold standard indeed obsolete, and if not, would returning to it solve any problems? Then there is the larger question when one considers a fair distribution of wealth among the populace - at what point does the earth's population of human beings begin to tax the available land and other resources? It is amazing, I guess, that the nations of world are managing to feed the people despite the exploding birth rate. However, unless there is some ingenious scheme devised, at some point Thomas Malthus's theorem comes into play and mass starvation is going to result. I just read a report the other day that the larger the farm the less productive per acre it is. That is an alarming statistic. Without resorting to complete socialism, I believe we could revamp our exising political systems to ensure the bare minimum for every person: a roof over one's head, food, water, clothing and a livelihood. Any excess earnings could then be applied to luxury items and recreation. That anyone needs to struggle to subsist is not the least bit humane. Poverty is still a formidable enemy, along with rampant disease. What comes across in Secrets of the Temple is the need for some measure of sacrifice to achieve economic goals on a grand scale. Do we want the powers that be to make decisions along those lines for us, or do we want some say in the matter? Religious doctrine supplies an ethical infrastructure upon which a fair and just government can be built. We seem to be evolving as a race towards that ideal, but there are many issues that still hold us back. Whether a varnashrama system, a democratic republic, a monarchy, or some other form of organizing principle is the optimum remains to be seen. We can see from recent history that so many experiments, such as Marxism in the Soviet Union, have failed miserably. We have also seen that what might have worked well in past millenia, such as the caste system, have only fostered horrible injustices in recent times.
  4. Corrections to above post: It is not an accident Certainly there is inherent
  5. Book review – Secrets of the Temple, How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country, by William Greider. I usually complete the reading of a book before reviewing it, but in this case (I am a little more than halfway through its 700 plus pages) I am making an exception considering the current economic slowdown, since it gives insight into the current situation and its causes. Although the focal point of the book is the Reagan administration, it covers the history of the Federal Reserve and its predecessors in American economics, as well as tracing the concept of money to ancient times. Mr. Greider describes in great detail the various forces that drive markets and the factions behind them, including wealthy investors, banks and corporations, small entrepreneurs and the common folk. He shows that Federal Reserve manipulation has caused recessions over and over again, mainly by keeping interest rates high for prolonged periods of time (as we have just seen in the too little too late rate cuts of the past few months). His deconstruction of the intertwining ‘plumbing’ (as he calls it), with the numerous valves that affect the flow of money in our society, is quite illuminating, to say the least. Not only is this a valuable resource for anyone that seeks to penetrate the mystique of modern economics and come to grips with Keynesian doctrine and monetarism, but it is an excellent thesis on the perennial link between theology and commerce. From Chapter 7, the God Almighty Dollar – “The historic connection between money and religion was established in one culture after another: the temple was the first mint, where coins were sanctified by priest-kings and therefore accepted as trustworthy by members of the tribe… Greeks, Babylonians, Egyptians – virtually every early society conferred sacred qualities on its currency. Centuries later, without benefit of clergy, gold and silver maintained their own religious connotations. The association originated in a mystical correlation with the Sun and Moon, supposedly confirmed by the mysteriously stable ratio in their values – 1:13.5 gold to silver – which astrologers decided was a precise replica of the heavenly cycles. The religious quality of gold and silver endured long after the astrology disappeared and modern banking began issuing paper. The precious metals were, after all, created by God, not man. Sophisticated modernity naturally resists the notion that money still retains religious content. On rare occasions, however, the connection is still expressed in the most explicit terms. A conservative Republican congressman from southern California, Bill Dannemeyer, wrote a newsletter to his constituents in which he explained how the U.S. government had offended God when it abandoned the gold standard. ‘It is not and accident [he wrote] that the American experiment with a paper dollar standard, a variable standard, has been going on at the same time that our culture has been questioning whether American civilization is based on the Judeo-Christian ethic or Secular Humanism. The former involves rules from God through the vehicle of the Bible. The latter involves variable rules adopted by man and adjusted as deemed appropriate.’ In most circles, the congressman’s suggestion – that the gold standard was somehow derived from God’s law – would be dismissed as reactionary fantasy. In an enlightened age of high technology, it was unfashionably primitive to believe such things. Archaic civilizations may have been governed by mystical money, but surely not the rational minds of modern times. Money was only money, a medium of commerce, a store of wealth, a unit of measure, nothing more.” Greider also examines the Freudian analysis of the concept of money being somehow tainted, and having an inherent evil power. I guess my only criticism of his discussion of the religious aspects to commerce is that money is a medium of exchange in commerce, but is not necessarily an accurate measure of wealth. Water in India has always been the standard (and not gold). The Goddess Laksmi is always depicted seated upon a lotus in the water, and for good reason. Also, historically salt was controlled by the Roman and British empires, hence the defiant act by Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi in the making of salt. Certainly the is inherent power in currency and the amassing of it by power mongers, however the natural resources that provide us with clean food, air and water and energy sources like natural gas and electricity are far more significant in our overall standard of living.
  6. I had the great fortune to sit across from one of the Baul kirtaniyas on a train once. You could tell he was not some ordinary bard and that his realization was deep.
  7. Does anyone know about that book that claims Jesus survived the crucifixion and lived out the rest of his life in India? Is there any credibility to the author's claims?
  8. It appears you are right about the brainwashing, Jayasriradhey. I think some of these people need to actually study Vedanta first hand before they try and speak knowledgeably on it.
  9. Recent evidence indicates that Sankaracarya was actually a Vaisnava. His advaita-vada is an integral component of acintya-bhedabheda doctrine.
  10. I had always thought those horrible overcrowded conditions were solely endemic to the modern day India of post WWII. Based on these reports apparently the abject poverty has been there for centuries. The devotion of the pilgrims is laudable, however the despiccable conduct of the temple agents is not.
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