democracy anew

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.” —John Dewey (1916)

@SamuelPepys: “To the Coffee-house, and sat long in good discourse with some gentlemen concerning the Roman Empire.”

The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Image: @ElyxYak

The world has much to learn from Cuba’s agroecological revolution – via @ShaunCoffey

“In the early ’90s, true to the Cuban people’s ability to generate creative solutions in dire times, researchers worked with farmers to move the agricultural system towards increased biodiversity and participatory plant-breeding projects. They cultivated hardy varieties not dependent on chemicals and petroleum inputs, reduced mechanization due to lack of fuel, encouraged small farmers and smaller tracts of land, and supported citizens, adults and children alike to learn how to grow food in urban gardens to help sustain their diets. In Havana, gardens sprung up where none were ever imagined. The results were nothing short of miraculous and provide a model for both developed and developing countries to follow — particularly when one considers the need for strategies that might help mitigate climate change.”

The Atlantic: “Why not cash?” via @paul1kirby

A no-strings-attached transfer of funds may sound indiscriminate, but as a panel of development researchers from the Center for Global Development (CGD) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) pronounced last year, “Cash transfers are among the most well-researched and rigorously-evaluated humanitarian tools of the last decade,” and should be thought of “as the ‘first best’ response to crises.” Given that the evidence has shown cash transfers to be an inexpensive and “highly effective way to reduce suffering,” the panel’s report went on, “The question that should be asked is ‘Why not cash?’”

There Is a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In: Leonard Cohen on Democracy and Its Redemptions – via @ShaunCoffey

There’s a line in “The Future”: “When they said repent, I wonder what they meant.” I understood that they forgot how to build the arch for several hundred years. Masons forgot how to do certain kinds of arches, it was lost. So it is in our time that certain spiritual mechanisms that were very useful have been abandoned and forgot. Redemption, repentance, resurrection. All those ideas are thrown out with the bath water. People became suspicious of religion plus all these redemptive mechanisms that are very useful. —Leonard Cohen (1991)

@MortenCaspersen: “After Gutenberg, hand-illuminated books became luxury goods. Lesson for the present? (Source:De Hamel 2016)”

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