Jonathan Franzen on Technology and Love. "The ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes... with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self," writes author Jonathan Franzen. Indeed, "our technology has become extremely adept at creating products that correspond to our fantasy ideal of an erotic relationship." One prominent example of the commodification of love is the Facebook "like" button. As the desperation to be liked in humans is manipulative, technology products are "great allies and enablers of narcissism." But the "world of liking is ultimately a lie... And this is why love is such an existential threat to the techno-consumerist order: it exposes the lie." It is "tempting to avoid love and stay safely in the world of liking," but "when you consider the alternative — an anesthetized dream of self-sufficiency, abetted by technology — pain emerges as the natural product and natural indicator of being alive in a resistant world. To go through a life painlessly is to have not lived."
Liam Halligan on Politicians at the IMF. "Lagarde has, with a depressing inevitability, secured the backing of most European countries," notes Halligan, "Europe seems determined to retain its prerogative of appointing the boss of the world's most important financial watchdog." However, he argues that the IMF "needs to reflect the extent to which the world has changed since it was launched" rather than choosing Lagarde. The next IMF boss, "while not hailing from the West, also shouldn't be a politician," particularly one "still hankering after high office," as was the case with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and now may be with Lagarde. "If she lands the IMF job, which seems likely, Lagarde will be well placed, if she can avoid her own judicial pitfalls, to run for the Élysée in 2017. This will be on her mind every single day she spends at the helm of the Fund – which is precisely why she's unsuitable."