Book review: Edward Snowden’s “Permanent record”

GIOVANNI BIRINDELLI, 26.11.2019

(Italian version here)

While reading Edward Snowden’s Permanent Record, I was astonished by the qualities of the author. Notwithstanding his understatement, these qualities clearly emerged from the details of his story: his courage, above all. His intelligence. His computing abilities, which to me seem almost supernatural. His rectitude. His profound kindness that is revealed in every line of his book. His great humaneness.

While each one of these qualities in itself would have already been extraordinary because of its intensity, the contemporary presence of all of them in the same person at the same time made me rethink the limits of what I once considered to be humanly possible.

In this article I will not discuss these qualities. I think that the best way to appreciate them is to buy the book and read it.

I’m so much humbled by them and by Snowden’s purely heroic gesture that I’m instinctively inclined to censor my own criticism of some aspects of his thought that I believe are logically inconsistent. In fact, in relation to the choices, the capabilities, the actions and the qualities of a hero of this magnitude, these inconsistencies have such little importance that they appear to be almost negligible. However, they are about the very ideas on which his gesture was based: namely, the very concept of privacy and the difference between what is legal and what is right. Therefore, perhaps a discussion of these inconsistencies may be not entirely useless. In addition, I do not believe that self-censorship would be the best way to homage the person who, at the beginning all alone, has defied the most powerful nation in the world (and its allies) to denounce its mass surveillance programs and start a debate on these issues.

Criticizing from the comfort of one’s desk, on a theoretical level, the ideas of someone who risked his own life to defend them (and who’s living in exile for having defended them), is not usually an aesthetically beautiful thing to do, I believe. However, in this particular case, I consider this criticism a tribute to the man who has risked his own life to start a much-needed debate on privacy and on the difference between what is legal and what is right. This criticism is for me a way to acknowledge the debt that I, together with my family, have with Edward Snowden and that I know I will hardly ever manage to pay back.

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Protectionism (2019)

Slides of the lectures on the subject of protectionism given at the Course in Economic Geography (Prof. A. Vitale) LLM in Sustainable Development, Faculty of Law, University of Milan.

To download the .pdf file click on image

Main changes from previous version (2018) include:

  • added section on the structure of thought (section: Introduction)
  • added section with data on new protectionist measures by US (global), between US and China, and between the US and the EU (section: 4.b)
  • added section on ‘free trade’ areas (section 4.h)
  • general revision and update

Protectionism

GIOVANNI BIRINDELLI, 4.5.2018

Slides of the lectures held at the Course in Economic Geography (Prof. A. Vitale) – LLM in Sustainable Development, Faculty of Law – University of Milan 

 

  • .pdf version:

 

Cómo convertir archivos PDF en DOC, XLS, TXT con PDF Converter

 

  • online version:

 

Protectionism: Economics, Philosophy and (Individual) Way Out of It

Giovanni Birindelli (guest lecturer)

Protectionism: Economics, Philosophy and (Individual) Way Out of It

Università degli Studi di Milano

Dipartimento di studi internazionali, giuridici e storico-politici

Corso di Economic Geography (Prof. Alessandro Vitale)

12/15 maggio 2017

.pdf file

Il rinascimento è Bitcoin, non la blockchain

Estratto (in italiano) dell’articolo It’s All About the Blockchain di Erik Voorhees

 Schermata 2015-11-04 alle 13.17

“Bitcoin ha reso il termine “fiat” una cosa, e quando qualcosa ha un nome, può essere criticata. Ogni giorno che Bitcoin esiste, dimostra la validità dell’idea ingenua che il denaro può funzionare senza pianificazione centrale. … Senza Bitcoin, una blockchain è semplicemente un database distribuito – non esattamente una tecnologia innovativa. … Rimane da vedere quanto tempo ci vorrà prima che il settore finanziario si renda conto che la vera innovazione di valore non è il registro distribuito della blockchain (che è già esistito in altre forme) , ma piuttosto la piattaforma aperta di inclusione finanziaria che non ha bisogno di una controparte o cartello di cui fidarsi (e questa è una cosa che non è mai esistita prima).  Continue reading

Law, Money, Banking and the Business Cycle

GIOVANNI BIRINDELLI, 23.10.2015

(Original publication: Catallaxy Institute)

Giovanni Birindelli’s lecture at SRH HOCHSCHULE BERLIN, 23.10.2015

(high resolution here: Law, Money, Banking and the Business Cycle .pdf)

Money and the Law

GIOVANNI BIRINDELLI (26.1.2013)

(Original Italian publication: Movimento Libertario, L’Indipendenza)

The modern (or totalitarian) State is founded on two frauds: the fraud of law and the fraud of money. The wielders of political power have replaced the law and money with things they called by the same name but which have nothing at all to do with them. These two frauds paved the way for totalitarianism, both the ‘old’ (nazism, fascism, communism) and the ‘new’ (contemporary social democracy). They have destroyed the market economy and created long-term economic decline, all for the benefit of those in power (the so-called political caste) and, in the short term, of those who allowed the caste to buy them off (with money expropriated from others) in order to obtain specific privileges.

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