nonfiction

Brief Thoughts on a Few Books

By Senior Contributing Editor, Andrew Ng, ’22 Hello readers! As part of Red Ink’s new series of reviews and criticism, I’m offering my brief thoughts on a few works of fiction I’ve read recently. More reviews—of music, art, food, literature, and other areas—will be coming soon from myself and other Red Ink contributors! The Castle and The Metamorphosis: People need to realize that Kafka is funny. Not Stephen Colbert or “The Office” in-your-face-this-is-humor funny, but satirical in his own way. Similar (though different at the same time) to Vonnegut’s dark humor. But people tend to recognize Vonnegut’s humor more…

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Dismal Propaganda

A book review by Senior Contributing Editor Andrew Ng, ’22 Naked Economics is a strange book. On one hand, it offers a somewhat useful and interesting introduction to basic economic concepts. But on the other hand, it is no more than a propaganda piece; like a bad sponsored Youtube video, except it’s capitalism and not Raycon earbuds sponsoring. Wheelan’s lies range from awful strawmen of alternatives to capitalism to a typical glorification of Bill Gates. Some readers might overlook these as simply par for the course for the classical economic establishment. But the real problem with Naked Economics lies…

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What Is to Be Done

An essay by Senior Contributing Editor Andrew Ng, ’22 Vladimir: Nothing you can do about it. Estragon: No use struggling. Vladimir: One is what one is. Estragon: No use wriggling. Vladimir: The essential doesn’t change. Estragon: Nothing to be done. – Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot Vladimir and Estragon experience the Absurd, facing up against the purposelessness of life and the hopelessness of the world. The Absurd is, as Camus worded it, the “divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting.” The question of life – the question of living – bears heavily on the absurd man…

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The Universality of Bad Foreign Policy

A book review by Senior Contributing Editor Andrew Ng, ’22. Chomsky’s best-selling Hegemony or Survival is a masterful dissection of US foreign policy from the 2nd World War up to the US invasion of Iraq. While his acerbic tone may not be for everyone, I personally enjoyed Chomsky’s heavy dose of sarcasm and biting criticism of the US government, a welcome relief after my traversal of Piketty’s incredibly dry Capital and Ideology (review here). Chomsky frequently points out the blatant hypocrisy of government statements and policy, emphasizing the “logical illogicalities” to great effect. For example, one of my favorite…

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A Review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Ideology

A review by Andrew Ng, Senior Contributing Editor Although it is uneven, long, and at times dry and unconvincing, Piketty’s second major book remains an interesting analysis of the inequality through history and of our present-day politics. The scope of the book is incredibly ambitious, reaching from pre-revolution French inequality to modern-day Brazilian politics. But that ambition comes at a cost: the multitude of historical examples Piketty explains can feel unnecessarily long and sometimes makes the writing feel boring and repetitive. 

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