I’ve spent the last few months talking to more than 40 researchers, development practitioners, foundation employees and other Silicon Valley philanthropists, asking them about the difficult business of giving money away. They told me about their own Newarks: Promising ideas scaled into oblivion, donations that disappeared into corrupt governments, groupthink disguised as insight. But they also told me about projects that worked, that scaled, that matched the ambitions of the new philanthropy while avoiding its blind spots. And it turns out that some of the best ideas are the ones Zuckerberg is the least likely to hear in Silicon Valley.
Calculus and higher math have a place, of course, but it’s not in most people’s everyday lives. What citizens do need is to be comfortable reading graphs and charts and adept at calculating simple figures in their heads. Ours has become a quantitative century, and we must master its language. Decimals and ratios are now as crucial as nouns and verbs.
Good on Paper is a multilayered, cleverly structured novel. The balance between an emotionally engaging tale of family on the one hand and an intellectual exploration of translation on the other is not always perfect, but, despite this, Cantor creates a playful and rewarding read.
One of the problems with globalisation — from the earliest times to its most recent avatar — is the obsessive pressure toward a linear homogeneity of structures and narratives. At the same time, cultures in conflict often invoke their essential heterogeneity in a carnivalesque pageant offering resistance and seeking identities through difference. In our own times with its post-industrial traces, Europe is processing itself from the homogeneity of several post-enlightenment nation-states to a larger heterogeneous political and cultural entity called European Union; and India, characterised by a historically established heterogeneity, is permanently struggling against homogenising tendencies that seek to unsettle its constitutionally established secular diversity. This struggle is easily borne out by the cultural contours of language in everyday use as well as in its literary contexts. Perhaps it is a truism to state that there is an unseen link between colonialism and monolingualism. Multiculturalism and multilingualism in the eyes of imperial powers is nothing but unchaste and impure.