Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Future of the Middle East Hangs in the Balance

Egypt is a key ally to the United States because it is the largest Arab nation with a large influence on other smaller Arab countries. After three decades in, the Egyptian Revolution led to the resignation of  President Mubarak who handed the political power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
American policymakers are searching for a balance between getting involved (further fueling anti-American sentiment in an already hostile region) and non-intervention (with the risk of fundamentalist groups taking power and becoming aggressive towards Egypt's new democratic system, Christian minorities and their neighbor, Israel.
One of the leverages the US has is the 3 billion dollars of aid provided to Egypt of which 1.3 billion dollars is military aid.

“If, over time, the most powerful political force in Egypt remains a roomful of unelected officials, they will have planted the seeds for future unrest, and Egyptians will have missed a historic opportunity,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The decisions that are made today regarding Egypt could determine the future of the relationship between the United States and its allies and Muslim countries. If the United States continues to support military rule the chance to create a large new democracy will be lost, and the losers won't hesitate to blame Americans (the kind of thinking that inspired the 9/11 attacks). The same hostility would probably rise from an democracy enforced by the presence of the US military. However, a hands off approach would create a virtual anarchy resulting in a possible civil war and/or a new totalitarian government.

This is an extreme case of the importance of balance. History has showed us that both isolationism and interventionism can have catastrophic effects. In the Middle East specifically non-intervention policies allowed the Taliban to come to power while American involvement encouraged the development of terrorist cells such as al-Qaeda. It is up to the Obama administration to rise to the challenge and find a way to promote democracy and stability, a chance to truly justify the Nobel Peace Prize that he was given for not being George Bush.


Shane, S. (2011, November 20). Balacing us policy on an ally in transition. New York Times. Retrieved from

Sunday, November 20, 2011

India as a Role Model of Mixed-Economy Success

India's energetic sector of the economy is mainly state-planned, but an increasing role of the private sector has allowed for increased the efficiency and competitiveness of Indian companies. However, the Indian bureaucracy still has too much influence, even in what would be considered private ownership, causing huge losses which offset most of the profits made private and public-private corporations. India's middle-way needs changes.

India is still turning away from the socialism it pursued during the mid-20th century. As a result, it is still suffering from the excesses of a state planned economy. Such transitions necessarily take long amounts of time, overcompensation must be avoided too. India's turn towards a mixed-economy has helped position itself as a future world power and despite the challenges that may surge, it must avoid the temptation to return to complete government command and keep moving towards the center, where the government and private roles balance and complement each other, working hand in hand. The question now is:  how can India move towards a more capitalistic economy without deterring the economic progress the lower-classes have seen during the last decades? India, literally, has the world to win.

October 2011, The Power and  the Glory, the Economist (print edition).

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Concept of Balance

Throughout history the idea of balance has appeared in several multiple differences and in several different cultures and time periods. From religious Taoism in China to the modern Communitarian political ideology, from Aristotelian ethics to human nutrition, the proposal of avoiding excesses and deficiencies emerges time and time again.
Whether one believes balance appears repeatedly because it is a "universal truth", a natural tendency in any existing system or simply a genetic predisposition is a very subjective matter that will be left up to the reader to make his or her own conclusions. This blog will provide information regarding several different examples of theories that involve equilibrium to help readers and the blogger improve their lives and their society.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Freud's Structural Model and Balance

In 1920, Sigmund Freud first elaborated on his structural model of the human psyche.  According to this new theory, the mind is divided into 3 distinct parts. Humans are born with the Id which contains all our drives for pleasure and self interest. Soon after birth, the Ego is developed whose main focus is on interacting with reality and find ways to satisfy the Id's desires. Over the next few years, the Superego appears, which is all the rules inherited from our parents and society or the principles a person chooses.

Even if one does not subscribe to the idea of these divisions in the mind, there is still much to learn from this structure. In healthy people, according Freud, the ego successfully manages to balance to opposing forces: one's intentions (Id) and what one believes should be done (Superego). On one hand, giving in to a hedonistic lifestyle (too much Id) brings harm to one self and to others. On the other hand, an excessive sense of morality or other concerns (an authoritarian Superego) leads to a denial of one's needs and creates suffering. (Source 1).

Analysis does not set out to make pathological reactions impossible, but to give the patient's ego freedom to decide one way or another.
Sigmund Freud

Freud's conjecture is a relatively recent example of balance in Western civilization that provides a clue of how to live a better life: people should examine whether they are attending sufficiently their wants or not. If so, they should also reflect about whether or not their choices regarding self-satisfaction are in line with their principles, whether the benefits outweigh the total costs or vice-versa, and if there are better ways to find gratification.

Observation: When in colloquial conversation a person is referred to as "Egocentric", in the Structural Model he or she would be describe as having a strong Id.

Source 1: (Accessed: October 14th, 2011)