Things I read in July.

The Internet is Rotting

Jonathan Zittrain in The Atlantic writes about the loss of knowledge on the internet due to link rot.

Simon Sarris - The Most Precious Resource is Agency

The act of creation causes imagination, not the other way around. To understand this is to understand the ecology that fosters the unique. Agency is precious because the lucidities that purposeful work and responsibility bring are the real education. The secret of the world is that it is a very malleable place, we must be sure that people learn this, and never forget the order: Learning is naturally the consequence of doing.

Language Keepers Podcast Series

[T]his six-part podcast series explores the struggle for Indigenous language survival in California. Two centuries ago, as many as ninety languages and three hundred dialects were spoken in California; today, only half of these languages remain. In this series, we delve into the current state of four Indigenous languages which are among the most vulnerable in the world: Tolowa Dee-ni’, Karuk, Wukchumni, and Kawaiisu.

Illusions of empire: Amartya Sen on what British rule really did for India

Amartya Sen about his new book in The Guardian about British rule in India.

In the powerful indictment of British rule in India that Tagore presented in 1941, he argued that India had gained a great deal from its association with Britain, for example, from “discussions centred upon Shakespeare’s drama and Byron’s poetry and above all … the large-hearted liberalism of 19th-century English politics”. The tragedy, he said, came from the fact that what “was truly best in their own civilisation, the upholding of dignity of human relationships, has no place in the British administration of this country”. Indeed, the British could not have allowed Indian subjects to avail themselves of these freedoms without threatening the empire itself.

The politics of lies: Boris Johnson and the erosion of the rule of law

Annette Dittert, the London bureau chief for Germany’s public broadcaster in the New Statesman.

House Prices: Should we welcome a crash?

Danny Dorling in UK in a Changing Europe. A good discussion about why Labour and the Conservatives are both enthralled by house prices, and the political implications of falling prices.

Politicians cannot say that they are content with the status quo, so they most often talk about house building as the solution to the affordability crisis. However, as long as the social distribution of home ownership remains so uneven; as long as an ever-growing proportion of property is owned by landlords and by people who have second homes; and as long as a significant and growing proportion of property is at least partially unoccupied, then it does not matter how much more is built… Prices do not fall when more is built – especially when they are propped up by so much government policy to prevent them from falling. All of this racks up the stakes, making housing more and more unaffordable to the majority who have to live somewhere. Increasingly this is in their parents’ homes because younger adults can only afford to leave the family nest later in life.