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TanGeng
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I would like to think that humans shouldn't be too happy. That breeds complacency and stagnation. Many great inventions that reached human society are the result of dissatisfaction. What really should be avoided is being jealous of your fellows and their success. Picking the best cups isn't a bad thing. But eying your neighbor's is a bit different. Job, money, and position are substantive parts of life. These aspects aren't just window dressing.
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2012 on Savor Your Cup at RedStateEclectic
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As much as I agree that the State has a powerful niche in society that is forever in demand, most of the State serves destructive and negative impulses. We would be better served if society had fewer State catered demands. Yet, it does feel like the negatives and positives ascribed to the State is largely a reflection of society. The difficulty of anarchy is the value system that must underpin such a society to make it stable. Achieving such a value system over a large population would be very difficult and we'd have to get rid of anyone with political ambitions.
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While personal items like clothing and jewelry articles are generally universally accepted forms of possessions, the tradition of property rights in labour and distribution of wealth is not so uniform in acceptance. The tradition of property and governance in general can be traced back through the rhythm of history to the needs of two types of primitive societies. The former social organization is that of an agrarian economy with permanent settlements. The latter society is a nomadic society that sustains it by following herds of animals, both domesticated and undomesticated. In agrarian societies, the fruits of labour comes during harvest at the end of a long growing season. For many crops, the reap of the harvest is highly correlated to the labour inputs of the growing season. Attention to detail, application of pesticides, removal of weeds, and timely watering all play a big part. Yet, the harvest represents a bulge in labour since all of the fruits must be collected from the fields before the fruits and grains fall to the ground and spoil where they stand. The high correlation between labour and output, the temporal lag between effort and reward, and the easy demarcation of land sets the stage for one set of property rights tradition. While water rights are very important, farmers mostly want to be left to their own design. The division of labour in society is simply achieved through impersonal commerce. In nomadic societies, there is far less correlation between effort of labour and the rewards. Nomadic societies compete with foreign societies over hunting grounds when following undomesticated animal herds. They compete for watering holes and grazing lands when tending domesticated animals. It becomes a matter of diplomacy between amicable parties and war between belligerents. Nomadic societies must pool its resources together to provide united front outwards and the domination and submission themes run stronger. But when it comes to butchering animals or sharing in the hunt, the distribution of food is communal and the division of labour is achieve from social pressures. When nomadic societies conquer agrarian societies, the two sets of ethics mixed into one. If nomadic traditions ruled over agrarian traditions over long periods of time, the rulers eventually evolve to be more similar to their subjects and adopt many agrarian values. The sole caveat is that the ruling party maintains its domination and its subjugation of the rest of society. Eventually after some generations, the new society would in turn be conquered by yet another nomadic tradition and repeat the cycle. The pattern runs its course in China with Qin, Mongol, and Qing dynasties, and in Mesopotamia with Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, and Macedonians. The origins of government for cities is in such a mating of agrarian and nomadic traditions. At its foundation, the city is based on agrarian traditions because only impersonal commerce scales well for the division of labour necessary in a city. Agrarian societies are already permanent settlements expanded for concentration of people and commerce. The more warlike nomadic socities will in time conquer such a society and establish a domination-submission paradigm with a political elite. Thus, government tradition has always held the dual purpose of providing order and property rights for city life and maintaining control of the citizenry for rulers, the political elite. The political elite has often provided justification for its subjugation of the rest of society. Certain oligarchies culture the idea of noble obligation and the need to rule magnanimously in exchange for the luxuries afford by taxation of the ordinary peasantry. French word, Noblesse oblige, and the teachings of Confucious are such examples of ruling traditions. Of course, there is no guarantee that the political elite will abide by those rules as the dynasties of China and French have shown. Such is the legacy of human civilization that we must now contend with. Compared to the libertarian ideal, government in its present form is a chimera, a frankenstein, but one that has deep roots in human culture. The domination-submission themes are indellibly entwined with the law and order and the political elites are always fostering government traditions as raison d'etre. Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
This is an interesting expression of mating of ideas together. Cultures and ideas benefit radically from cross pollination. While wealth is the accretion of capital, efficiency of capital is improved with better ideas and better application. Idea exchange essentially widens the scope of trial-and-error experimentation. While some mistakes have to be made repeatedly, models of success can be copied and mutated as widely as they have have been propagated. By looking at how fast mutations are generated, tested, fail, and propagate, it's easy to see that cultural evolution is going to be orders of magnitude faster than its biological counterpart. The hypothesis of progression through cultural evolution leads to both complete destruction of barriers to trade and destruction of idea propagation. Protectionism, nativism, and intellectual property all would get the defenestration treatment in favor of unbridled openness. That is highly radical.
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2012 on Adam Darwin at RedStateEclectic
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I don't see how an Empire can ever sufficiently fund its "armed forces" a la the quote: PERSON 1: I personally believe that the problem arose when the British began spending so much on costly wars that they could no longer afford to maintain order abroad. The Boer War was a fantastic embarrassment for the Empire when they lost despite spending millions of pounds on the conflict. WW1 and WW2 were both victories but practically emptied Her Majesty's Treasury. It would appear in my opinion that the problem that led to the demise of the Empire was its inability to properly fund it's armed forces to put down colonists in the various colonies around the world following WW2. The depression also played a part in this. Not just war. The independence of the United States, for example, is a case of "inability to fund" the Empire after the Seven Year's War in the American theatre. Before that war, there was the policy of Salutary Neglect. After said war, there was the policy of open trade. In the between, the British tried to collect taxes and house soldiers in colonist homes. Then there was a rebellion. The problem with Empire is that it is easy to overreach. It's easy to be spread thin. It's easy to be too optimistic of power projection. As the most powerful and influential, it's tempting to think every little project as a bit too simple or less costly than it actually is. As huge lumbering entity, foreign policy is subject to the diseconomies of scale and to internal political power struggle of bureaucrats and careerists on large scales. The Empire is full of contradictions. It is self interested economics. It is selfless spread of civility. It is unified imperial action. It is individual careerist initiative. It is self funded venture. It requires huge amounts of taxation. It is benign rule. It requires brutal repression. It brings the benefits of trade. It prohibits local capital development. The build up of debt as picture is a example of imperial innovation. It uses banking and the sale of government debt to funds its temporarily unsustainable government action, in this case Imperial military action. Such debt in theory should be paid out, but now it just build and build until the government cannot borrow anymore. Before the innovation of sovereign banking or when the innovation of sovereign banking fails, governments uses coinage, clipping, and gold sales to fund empire. The political elite raided wealthy rivals and confiscated from unpopular segments of its citizenry. It pillaged captured citizenry and sacked enemy cities. Such activity of course is even less sustainable than borrowing.
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2012 on Help Me Out… at RedStateEclectic
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There is no real end game in a battle with Islam. Any sort of battle would ultimately result in annihilation or worse mutual annihilation. The idea that we are in a battle with Islam (all of Islam) clouds the aggressors and the aggressive ideas, the terrorists and their hateful ideas, with all of Islam. Pulling in the religion just creates too much opportunity for collateral damage, and it's a good way to escalate the conflict far beyond its original scope. While there is a difference between the moral fabric of those that specifically target innocents like terrorist do and those that merely subject innocents to harm like the American counter-terrorism effort does, the underlying morality of any strategy of war depends solely on the number of innocents that get caught in its destructive. In that light, the US military machine is far more destructive because of its far greater destructive scope. Its “unintentional" (also: foreseeable, somewhat intentional, etc) collateral damage is bigger than the targeted damage of terrorism (against US populations anyways). On top of the direct collateral damage, the US war effort subverts justice in areas where its footprint is strongest. Normal rules of justice go out the window in a "war zone" and the interests of war trump the interest of developing sound governance (US often finds itself propping up unpopular and repressive regimes) and provokes acts of domestic terrorism. It's also hard to difficult to argue that the provocative covert actions that are the supposed basis for terrorist actions did not target innocent people in the foreign nations. Assassinations, weaponry sales, weaponry training, and foreign aid in unpopular organizations for political gain doesn't fall in the category of justifiable action. Two wrongs don't make a right, but when one side repeated aggresses without remorse, the victims often would rather devolve into self-destructive behavior in order to get the aggressor to stop. That behavior should be reason for a bit of self-reflection before taking a more liberal approach to collateral damage.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2011 on A Man Walks into a Restaurant at RedStateEclectic
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If that headline had been Federal-Government-Ravaged... it'd been truly appalling. We'd been really worried, Eric.
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I have to say, flogging Gore is getting old.
Toggle Commented Sep 20, 2011 on Dr. Tim Ball on the Goreathon at RedStateEclectic
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Speaking of civilizing the savage, over a century ago, just around the opening of the 20th century, Rudyard Kipling penned a short poem called the White Man's Burden, penned about America's introduction into the art of imperialism. Theodore Roosevelt and other war mongers achieved a fait accompli in grabbing the Philippines, Guam, and Cuba from Spain in the Spanish American War. The people of the Philippines were already revolting and continued revolting against Spain with the blessing of American forces until the Spain ceded the island to the US for 20 million dollars in the Treaty of Paris. The people of the Philippines glad to be rid of one oppressor quickly found themselves under the thumb of another and promptly revolted against the American regime1899-1902 and continued in guerrilla fashion well afterwards. The White Man's Burden of Kipling Era was in essence an attempt to civilize "the savage" in the empire. Civilizing the savage involved beating them into submission by any means available including total warfare against the native civilian population. That ended up involving forcing civilians into concentration camps and declaring everything outside a dead zone to be destroyed. Everyone and everything, crops, livestock, buildings, people, not inside the camps was to be destroyed. All civilians that dared defy the decree were valid targets of war - "enemy combatants" if you will under the rules of engagement. There were numerous other atrocities committed, torture (specifically waterboarding) was used on captives, soldiers demeaned and denigrated the native civilian population and were largely indifferent to their welfare in the concentration camps. The entire American venture in the Phillipines should seems familiar. The argument is no longer "civilizing the savages" since that is considered too demeaning of the occupied population. The new rationale is "bringing democracy." But the rhyme of history should be abundantly clear. A similar insurgency, a similar total warfare, a similar use of torture, a similar unnecessary cost, and perhaps a similar outcome. While US promised independence to the country, it would be nearly 50 years until 1946 and after World War II that it was finally granted. Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2011 at RedStateEclectic
Hmmm, I'm perplexed. That excerpt about Indonesia is about the country's government's issue of dollar denominated bonds. Those bonds have to be paid back in dollars. It would be like US federal government issuing gold-demoninated bonds that have to be paid back in gold. Indonesia certainly doesn't have license to print dollars but it does have license to print lots and lots of rupiah if the organization is so inclined. S&P's rating of Japan though is curious since I think Japan only issues yen denominated bonds. I guess on of the things to look at is a government's liabilities that are real rather than denominated in their own fiat currency. If a government's debt requirements outstrips the supply available in its own currency, then the government may have to promise to repay in units that are outside its domain of control and outside its central bank's ability to conjure up out of nothingness.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2011 on How To Rate Limitless Money at RedStateEclectic
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Oh it's correct now. It's strange that I got the Powell video for this post as well last night. Yeah Georg posted the original.
Toggle Commented Jun 2, 2011 on Raising Cain at RedStateEclectic
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Yeah, I heard some tidbits too. It's nice to see some convergence of ideas among the best candidates, even if it all seems like common sense.
Toggle Commented Jun 2, 2011 on Your Presidential Guess at RedStateEclectic
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I have to say that there are a lot of what appears to be voodoo for many economists is simply entrepreneurs responding to or chasing after price signals. The Invisible Hand or the Efficient Market Hypothesis. It's not magical and no proper explanation should leave out entrepreneurship as a cornerstone of the free market and its health. I'm looking forward to a Rothbard critique of Smith. But about that article. There are lots to hate about it. The British were never model citizens on free trade during the late 18th century and early 19th century.
Toggle Commented May 3, 2011 on Napoleonic Economics at RedStateEclectic
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Any loan agreement is dependent on having insurance. The financiers aren't going to be footing the bill unless they have insurance guarantees. Beyond that it's up to the states.
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Anti-government maybe and prompting food riots. I have yet to see how it manifest itself as hatred of US and secular governance. It's really hard to trace food prices back to some kind of "defense of Islam" or "hatred of US" or "intolerance." Every governing body is going to face some pressure especially the authoritarian ones where inequality is rife.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2011 on Egyptian Upheaval at RedStateEclectic
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Not compromising core principles. That's the argument to make. Make compromises on details, peripherals, and specific timelines, but don't make compromises on principles. That's the path of ruin.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2011 on The Apple… at RedStateEclectic
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Unfortunately, lessons like that have to be re-learned every two decades or so, and it doesn't stick for a very long time either. It's sort of like fighting wars. People don't remember the horrors of fighting wars for a long time.
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Georg, Care to do a bit of exposition of the health care system as you know it in Germany? I'd be interested to find out what you think of it.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2011 on The Audacity of Mope at RedStateEclectic
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Laura, Did I miss the update? Whatever happened to your cat? Hope it's safe.
Toggle Commented Jan 22, 2011 on Curiosity and the Cat at RedStateEclectic
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I just don't understand how US's business oriented ethics and "isolationism" was responsible for the catastrophic costs of World War I and World War II. European rivalries have always exacted terrible costs and they were always borne by Europeans citizens who never really did seem to learn from the terrible games that their leaders seems to play from time to time. If anything, the two World Wars were necessary experiences to ensure peace in western Europe for the last 6 decades. The nationalistic fever of the early 20th century took their bloodthirsty politics to the next level. US had no reason to get involved in their alliances. It's not like the first intervention in World War I prevented its replay in World War II a generation later. On the matter of drugs, its use should change from a legal taboo into a social taboo. Drug use is clearly a social issue and a social ill, but legal prohibition merely pushes that responsibility onto the police. It trades a bit of usage for a lot of violence. Social intolerance of drug users, olive branch to those that want to quit, drug rehabilitation, and demystifying drug usage are the ways to tackle the drug problem. Anything else is collectively putting our heads in the sand. Yet, it will never totally get rid of drug use. Total eradication is a pipe dream. Society needs its examples of self-destructive behavior to serve as warning to those tempted to go down the same path.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2011 on Reminiscing at RedStateEclectic
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The other problem with the deflationary thinking is that we have to have prior knowledge that the Fed can truly control inflation. If the money multiplier ever increases again, the Fed will have to conduct a massive buyback of reserves by selling US Treasuries and MBSs. If those securities are valued less than what the Fed needs to buy back, then the Fed will be unable to reign in the money supply.
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I guess I will say that the political class has more clout in the Fed than the paper gives them credit for. It was in 1974 that Fed added its dual mandate of full employment and stable prices. Not fulfilling the full employment portion of the mandate will bring huge political pressure, and the Fed will set interest rates to inflate. The political pressure for short term economic gain is the reason why debt-free money - paper bills issued by the US Treasure - might be even more terrifying than a managed currency.
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I think the only problem with his analysis is that US government depends on negative real interest rates for survival/non-default. That in turn helps the banks as well by holding interest rates very low. We have deflationary forces. The demographics point to deflation in general consumer areas and inflation in concentrated areas like health care for the elderly. This is also important because that is also where most government liability is concentrated. The working population is also decreasing, but I also expect people to work longer once they realize government won't be fully good on its word. If we have default, there will be deflation. If we don't, negative real interest rates will take the money supply through the roof.
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2011 is a la nina year. It'll be colder. In general. Other than that it'll be weather as usual. China is a large enough for its own prediction segment.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2011 on 2011 Here We Come at RedStateEclectic
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The idea behind ^TNX's rise to 4.9% is based on multiple debt ceiling rises during the year. The rising public demand for loans and competition coming out of the private sphere will create an atmosphere where unless the Fed brings irresponsibility in monetization to a whole new level, (not that I'm am completely putting that past them) we will see rising rates. I expect investors, speculators, consumers, and entrepreneurs to shed their defensive shrinking of balance sheets and follow in the Fed's footsteps in US treasuries. QE2 is unlike QE1 in that it's buying up treasuries instead of bad commercial debt. Bad commercial debt repaired broken balance sheets but did nothing to really increase M2. The peak ^TNX yield will come in October, and despite the correction in the stock market, the Fed will find it hard to put the genie back in the bottle. US T-Bonds will no longer be safe haven of choice like it was in 2008.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2011 on 2011 Predictions at RedStateEclectic
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