Category Archives: History
Aug 4, 2019Posted by on
This Sunday on Facebook: It’s impossible to separate money from inflation in a fiat money world, then it is also impossible to separate money from the gold standard if the rate of exchange is determined by the State.
Money, it’s a crime
Share it fairly, but don’t take a slice of my pie
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a rise, it’s no surprise
That they’re giving none away
Pink Floyd’s lyrics, “Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie“, hold as true today as nearly 50 years ago when the song was written. A ‘slice of my pie’ is always the issue. In my post of 2011, I wrote that the war reparations of WWI that were imposed on Germany 100 years ago caused the resignation of John Maynard Keynes from the British delegation. In Keynes’ book The Economic Consequences of the Peace Keynes pointed out that the principle of accumulated wealth based on inequality was a vital part of the pre-First World War order of Society and ‘progress’ as it was understood then. Echoing a principle common in todays world that it is unnatural for a population minority to accumulate such huge wealth when so few enjoyed the comforts of life.
The hyperinflation brought about by The Weimar Republic, compounded by the Treaty of Versailles a 100 years ago, being tempered by the thought that it couldn’t happen to money in the UK. Of course I didn’t count on the Bretton Woods Agreement introducing fiat money to the world in 1971. In my naivety (I was very young at the time), I assumed that politicians acted as the representative of their electorate. Instead the State’s public debt is a common function of all working economies. There has been an increase in the debt to GDP ratios throughout the world in past decades and yet The U.S. Dollar Still Dominates Global Reserves.
Perhaps it is time that the eccentric heroine of Christopher Isherwood’s novella Sally Bowles is resurrected — thought I doubt very much that any new terms will be invented for the inflation created by the State in a fiat money world.
Part of the fascination of Weimar Berlin lies in the mirror it holds up to our own time. In Cabaret, fictional Nazis beat up the gay hero and kill cabaret owners who dare to criticise, or simply to make people laugh at, pomp and stupidity. If the musical is at last being staged in a Berlin that never made much of Isherwood, then it may be because the producers want to emphasise alarming parallels. A newly vibrant German and European capital, Berlin today has record unemployment and recession is a returning threat. Some of the young have embraced the violent right, with its hatred of foreigners and permissiveness, and parade menacingly through the streets. Wicked joys (2004)
Jul 13, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: I would venture that there never has been a time in history of mankind when there was not a wealthy Aristocracy. The Encyclopaedia Britannica opens with the definition that aristocracy means, ‘government by a relatively small privileged class or by a minority consisting of those felt to be best qualified to rule’.
Of course the vast majority of people supporting this ‘privileged class’ have no desire to rule, they are only interested in their own welfare. However, the even smaller privileged class¹ that they currently support most certainly do. Furthermore, be they capitalists or socialists, or even the demos (whoever they may be), the ruling elites always claim that they represent the views of ‘we the people’.
It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. (Aldous Huxley – Berkeley 1962)
Written nearly 500 years ago and preceding Aldous Huxley’s remarks, the prescience of Étienne de La Boétie ought to be remembered for his essay The Politics of Obedience — The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. Both are now largely forgotten by a demos that loves its voluntary servitude under a controlling oligarchy. However, searching for a political system on which there would be a consensus in the nature of a more perfect union is a fruitless task, as is any reliance on ‘we the people’ seeking political solutions to their subjugation. Read more of this post
Jul 6, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: English language¹ has always been replete with expletives and having spent from 1956 to 1969 in the forces I am no stranger to their use. I posted Philip Larkin meets the moderators, remarking that the now defunct My Telegraph site would arbitrarily imposes automated censorship by deleting expletives², which seems like a neat solution but it completely disregards the context.
Moderation unconnected with context made me unable to call King Charles II ‘a bastard’, an expletive that I had cause to believe was an apt description of his vindictive pursuit of the ‘regicides’. By way of a response to this unwarranted moderation I posted ‘Everything in moderation?’. It may even be that the general use of expletives as imprecations — with their ever increasing use on social media — become simply adjuncts to the development of the English language. Read more of this post
Mar 23, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: Following a defeat (yet again) of Theresa May’s Brexit plan by the UK parliament, the following may be of interest. They are articles on Brexit provided by the USA (European Union), Al-Jazeera (European Union News), Germany (European Union), and a video (7min) providing a good description of how the EU actually works.
It’s impossible to discuss the European Union¹ (EU) without mentioning Brexit and I have written a lot about the EU — often with a somewhat cynical view about Brexit. It has been my assumption (wrongly as it turns out) that people knew what the EU was, what it had become and where it was heading! Where the EU is heading is a difficult question to answer and one that only provides hypothetical answers, especially when the question is asked in the context, “What is the EU?”. Read more of this post
Mar 16, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: Interpretation of the rule of law brought about the English Civil Wars, vexation over it created fertile ground for the American Revolution and it is (probably) the main cause of the present split between the UK and the EU (Brexit). Last week I posted about ‘The Rule of Law‘, and on the Sunday before posted an article from the Oxford Human Rights Hub (OHRH)¹. The OHRH compared the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) support for the ‘Rule by Law’ and its meritocratic abuse with the democratic ‘Rule of Law’ espoused by governments in the West.
To my mind there is a very fine line between the two with personal wealth and influence being the key to justice under both, with the OHRH claiming that the distinction between the two is more than semantics. While both police law’s rules, the OHRH states that the formulation of the rules have quite different intentions. The human rights element is considered intrinsic to the ‘Rule of Law’, however the OHRH states that in China — ‘Rule by Law’ is less about ensuring compliance with the law than about ensuring the top leadership’s control over its bureaucracy in the CCP.
Peter Oborne wrote in his 2008 book that politicians now despise the values of traditional institutions that once acted as restraints on the power of the state — the independence of the judiciary, the neutrality of the Civil Service and the accountability of ministers to the Commons. Decades earlier in 1979 James Anderton stated that from the police point of view, what will be the matter of greatest concern will be the covert and ultimately overt attempts to overthrow democracy, to subvert the authority of the state.
Both point to a desire by politicians to increase the authority of the State and by the police to enforce the laws that do so. Increasingly the State in UK is introducing laws that increases its authority while purporting to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of its citizens. In doing so, the public administration of the UK State moves inexorably closer to that of a supreme authority who ‘Rule by Law’.