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Carlo Federico's MANIFESTO




A great reading about Utopia: A World Elsewhere, by Bernard Levin, published by Sceptre, from which I quoted several sentences above. A very good book, if anything because the author candidly admits there is nothing in the real world that cannot be improved by the believers in the unreal one. It is, again, a question of grain of salt. A further reading is History and Utopia, by E.M. Cioran (Quartet Books), even though I confess that some of Cioran's cynical conclusions I could not share. It is a provocative reading, though, and you are not supposed to agree with any of the books I am listing: while of course I am eager to read any tome suggested by you, if you will reply on this Speaker's Corner to this message of mine.

However, I think nobody could question my tenet: Slogans (and utopian Dreams, from which they often originate) have nothing to do with Ideas.

And we, the wise Rich, we cannot be satisfied with anything less than Ideas. Therefore our most enjoyable exercise is to un-learn, to search, to read, to discuss ideas among us, and never to take for granted others' opinions. Don't believe anyone saying "This is The Truth, Pure and Simple". As Algernon Moncrieff explains to Jack Worthing, the truth is seldom pure, and never simple. Please my friends, never forget to cross-check any assertion you come across. Trust nobody: don't trust those who would push you to hate, listen with a large grain of salt to those who budge you to love. Don't trust me, of course. Cross-examine any pronouncement, including mine (by the way, I assured I would utter no harangue, and what the deuce is this?). Beware, my friends, beware of everybody and everything, until you find out for yourselves the puzzle pieces to be put together in a consistent picture. And there you can build your inner equilibrium on solid grounds.

Unlearn, read, research, debate, my friends, find out for yourselves... what was the real issue of disagreement between Mahatma Gandhi's "swadeshi" and Pandit Nehru's economic view? What was the "scientism of planning" in the cumbersome economics of Mr. Mahalanobis? Which strategic advantages, around the year 1,000 b.C., abetted the Bantu-speaking minority tribe to annihilate almost all Pygmies, Hottentots and Bushmen? How did Dingiswayo in 1807, with his selective killing, subjugate 30 chiefdoms in preparation for the Zulu conquest of that large region to last nearly one century as a warrior kingdom ? Why the National Recovery Administration called for by F.D. Roosevelt in his second Fireside Chat had an impossible task? Why the Tennessee Valley Authority, on the contrary, did work? Why the Volta River Project, Kwame Nkrumah's masterpiece of African Socialism, was something less than a success, and the smelter had to import bauxite from Jamaica? Why the Inca emperor Atahuallpa did not defeat and capture the Holy Roman emperor Charles V ? Can you work out an explanation on why the difference in income per head between Switzerland and Mozambique is today about 400 to 1, while 250 years ago it was 5 to 1? No slogan, please. Why should workers bear the brunt of market globalization, nowadays? (They shouldn't, of course. The question is: how to proceed with practical ideas, circumventing the utopian edge of hilarious academic stupidity?)

(19.To be continued)

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