This week on Facebook: Money and debt caused me to review my postings from five years ago, and one from even earlier (2011). I posted Money money money…. in January 2013 and then Crises & Credit in February, the first article posted being somewhat allegorical and intending to be amusing. However, it did lead to the second article, which is intended to be specifically about private debt but mentioning both private and public debt. The difference being that private debt is the debt accumulated by individuals or private businesses in the debts of personal loans, credit cards, or business loans (including corporate bonds). Whereas public debt is the sum of the financial obligations incurred by the State and its public administrations. This debt can be accumulated by the government directly or a government agency at any level and is recovered by taxation and income from the sale of government bonds (gilts).
This week on Facebook: Sometimes a word or a particular set of words keep buzzing around in my brain and simply will not stop their buzz, buzz, buzz, until I resolve where it, or they, came from. So it was with ‘old aunt Harriet’, I knew that I had heard it used in a song but couldn’t remember the piece. Read more of this post
This week on Facebook: Occasionally at my monthly meeting with an ex-colleague we talk about art, he paints watercolours (as far as I am aware they are restricted to inanimate subjects) and has what I would call an ‘artistic bent‘. We may all understand what is meant by an artistic bent, but an internet search for articles that may relate to artistic bent (be it a colloquial expression or an idiom) were difficult to find, as were related terms that could have the same meaning or inference (for example: artistic flair). I frequently claim that I have no artistic bent at all, especially in terms of art (painting) or in recognising a photographic image worth capturing. Read more of this post
This week on Facebook: I never realised that I was living in what is called a Liberal Democracy, I would certainly not connect such a democracy with the Liberal Party here in the UK. It does however appear to be consistent with what one of my Facebook colleagues called Liberal Authoritarianism¹ and is increasingly illiberal. So what is a Liberal Democracy? It seems that even trying to define such a thing as a Liberal State² only succeeds in further dividing a disparate demos.
A fully liberal state is a state in which every citizen has equal rights and liberties, which are as extensive as they could be consistently with all others having the same rights and liberties. In these states this equality of rights and liberties coexists with a considerable socio-economical inequality. This raises questions about the extent to which these states are just and can be called true democracies. Liberal Democracy
This week on Facebook: In the 10th edition of their Democracy Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently reported the worst performance in global democracy since 2010-11 in the aftermath of the global economic and financial crisis. A special focus of this year’s report is the state of media freedom around the world and the challenges facing freedom of speech. The report aims to give a snapshot of democracy worldwide and includes 165 independent states and two territories which cover almost the entire world population.
Five categories are used to score each country: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, and political culture. Based on around 60 indicators each country is placed into one of four types of regime: “full democracy”, “flawed democracy”, “hybrid regime” or “authoritarian regime”. The Democracy Index regards freedom of expression as essential for democracy to take root and flourish. The quality of democracy in any country may in large measure be gauged by the degree to which freedom of speech prevails. Societies that do not tolerate dissent, heresy and the questioning of conventional wisdom cannot be “full democracies”. Read more of this post
This week on Facebook: Following my reading of the articles in Bloomberg’s Weekend Edition (This Week was China Week), it’s apparent that we are committed to ideologies, politicians in particular — in my view — being particularly committed to the authoritarian ideology of China’s master plan, which I posted this month. However, in whatever form they may come in, the adherence to a particular ideology produces its own zealots. Comments on the social media confirm this view, but what about the many more who do not involve themselves in ideological discussions! Read more of this post
This week on Facebook: Some weeks a back an acquaintance in the USA sent me a link to What Happens When an MBA Student Raised in Communist China Reads Hayek. While the article presents a very biased view (particularly towards the USA), it does go some way to explain the explosive rise in China’s economic growth. Perhaps it isn’t known how the Hayek doctrine of economics influences Chinese communist party thought but I’m sure that it does, especially the economic views of Xi Jinping. One thing remains certain: The Peoples Republic of China is founded on a Constitution that is vastly different from the of the United States of America, notwithstanding the economic views of Hayek. Read more of this post
This week on Facebook: It could be thought odd, even hypocritical, that NATO (as led by the USA) is so selective and clearly so inept at using military force to spread democracy. Democracy, it now appears, being as inconsequential to the USA as it is to communist China! Tibet was invaded by China in 1950, the Tibetan government in Lhasa appealed for help to both Britain and the United States (both NATO members) but non was given.
The Free Tibet campaign still has many adherents, unlike last week’s post ‘Democracy in Xinjiang‘ when the USSR’s loyalties switched to Chairman Mao and the Russians helped the communist People’s Liberation Army recapture Uighur East Turkestan. In 1949 East Turkistan became Xinjiang when it was once again integrated into Communist China. China’s expansion westward is reminiscent of Japan’s reasons for its empirical expansion during world war II. To the Chinese, there is the added dimension of interpreting their cultural history and the memory of the humiliation inflicted on China by western economic and military hegemony in Asia. Read more of this post
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