Saturday, January 5, 2013

Malaria and the Fall of Rome

BBC - History - Ancient History in depth: Malaria and the Fall of Rome: The DNA work of Robert Sallares has now confirmed that malaria was a killer during late Roman times. The children of Lugnano died of malaria, and it is likely that there were also many adult victims of the disease, although their cemetery has not yet been found. This would have made it difficult for farmers to collect crops and for the local army commanders to raise troops. What was once a footnote in the history books on the fall of Rome, must now become a whole chapter. David Soren's theory that malaria contributed to the fall of Rome has finally been vindicated.

Oy-R contagion can lead to a collapse of a Y-Ro state whether from R terrorism or an R disease.

How Ayn Rand Seduced Generations of Young Men and Helped Make the U.S. Into a Selfish, Greedy Nation |

How Ayn Rand Seduced Generations of Young Men and Helped Make the U.S. Into a Selfish, Greedy Nation |: I am done with the monster of “we,” the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame. And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: “I.”

Objectivism looked at objects rather than subjects, it sought to completely remove V-Bi cooperation and replace it with competition. 

While Harriet Beecher Stowe shamed Americans about the United State’s dehumanization of African Americans and slavery, Ayn Rand removed Americans’ guilt for being selfish and uncaring about anyone except themselves.

Competition and selfishness became a philosophy leading to deception about taxes. 

Not only did Rand make it “moral” for the wealthy not to pay their fair share of taxes, she “liberated” millions of other Americans from caring about the suffering of others, even the suffering of their own children.

The idea is this competition will produce more innovation leading to less poverty, however it tends to create a nations of weeds using up all resources in booms and busts.

Trashing the Tea Party Movement by Trashing the American Revolution

History News Network: The British, arrogantly refusing to learn anything from the Stamp Act upheaval, imposed new taxes in 1767. Crain says the merchants who persuaded the masses to protest once more and called for “non-importation” agreements to retaliate against the British were motivated by a glut of goods. Cutting off imports enabled them to sell off their surplus without reducing their profits. They called on another agitator, William Molineux, to smash windows and smear feces and urine on the homes of customs agents and merchants who did not cooperate.

The people were Bi but became Ro protestors as resources became scarce under taxation, as happened in the french Revolution. Sending Y soldiers to crush this coming revolution failed because R soldiers could hide and scatter like modern day terrorists.  

Crain casually reports that these antics prompted the British to send troops to Boston who occupied the city for a year and a half. He has nothing to say about what happened when agitators attacked a group of British soldiers, who gunned down a half dozen of them. Though the soldiers acted in self-defense, as their attorney, John Adams, demonstrated at their trial, the “Boston Massacre” created a justifiable grievance against the Mother Country for resorting to an armed occupation, with its almost predictable results.

World War I and the 1920s: export-led boom and bust

WW1 & 1920s: "At present, there is clearly a global movement toward solving all international issues through understanding and cooperation among concerned powers, and not by narrowly self-serving policies, excessive use of militarism or interventionism. ... Japan is no longer permitted an isolated and independent existence in the Far East, interested only in its own affairs. As a major member of the League of Nations, Japan now bears a heavy responsibility for promoting world peace and happiness of the human race. Japan must participate in the discussion of all these important issues, even if they have only indirect influence on Japan's own interest. The fact that Japan must bear such responsibilities is beyond the question; it is necessitated by the force of history. The great progress of history is making us to take up these responsibilities."

But the Japan-US relationship gradually deteriorated due to the problem of Japanese immigrants on the US Pacific coast (California, Oregon and Washington). Because Japanese (and to some extent Chinese) immigrants worked too hard and had different cultures, they were discriminated against by Americans. Their schools were segregated, their freedom was restricted, and finally their property was confiscated. The Japanese government agreed to stop sending new immigrants to the US but demanded fair treatment of the Japanese already there. This issue soured the bilateral relationship.

After WW1 the exhaustion from a Y-Ro war of attrition led to more cooperation and attention to I-O international law. However there was still Oy-R distrust between races, the Japanese were seen as oy predatory immigrants when often they were more Iv winning by being more competitive than other Americans.  

The Dictator's handbook

When debt exceeds the ability to pay, the problem for a leader is not so much that good public works must be cut back, but rather that the incumbent doesn't have the resources necessary to purchase political loyalty from key backers. 

A Y leader like with lions must get food for the team or be deposed.

Circumstances were ripe to prompt these politically crucial but fickle friends to seek someone better able to ensure their wealth and prestige.

Oy and Iv cronies on the fringes would become unstable, they can also be highly deceptive in undermining Y-V.

Meanwhile, Louis had to do something about the old aristocracy. He was deeply aware of their earlier disloyalty as instigators and backers of the antimonarchy Fronde (a mix of revolution and civil war) at the time of his regency. To neutralize the old aristocracy's potential threat, he attached them—literally—to his court, compelling them to be physically present in Versailles much of the time.

He made them more transparent and so they had to act as part of the Y-V team.

In place of the old guard he brought up and into the inner circle members of the noblesse de robe and even, in the bureaucracy and especially in the military, some commoners. By expanding the pool of people who could be in the inner circle, he made political survival for those already in that role more competitive. Those who were privileged to be in his winning coalition knew that under the enlarged pool of candidates for such positions, any one of them could easily be replaced if they did not prove sufficiently trustworthy and loyal to the king.

He made them compete more with each other as Iv and oy to get scraps of food from the Y-V table. So the king and his team got the lion's share of the domination of the Ro-R society and to get part of this Oy people had to be agents of this predation such as tax collectors and soldiers. For example people got paid to fight foreign wars to get enough booty to pay their wages.

hy did farming lead to hierarchical societies dominated by controlling elites?

Why did farming lead to hierarchical societies dominated by controlling elites? The standard answer has been increased production of food led to a surplus above subsistence which allowed a more differentiated society. The problem with this is, why there was any such surplus? Why did not population just increase to consume the surplus? What blocked population increase sufficient to allow the creation of the food surpluses that sustained these elites?

Once there is a surplus then the society can change to a Biv plant like structure, in this case people make more profits by trading with each other rather than Roy predator and prey. Farms become more stable and based on private property. Such a system can be self policing in I, like most forests they don't become Iv-B weed like consuming all their resources and collapsing. instead enough people cooperate to create a stable though often stagnant society as happened in Egypt with the Pharaohs.

Specialization is Iv-B, when the government is strong and neutral this is moderated as is excessive growth. Often V businesses restrict this growth to promote stability and their own profits.

 The taxman could easily appropriate what could easily be identified–that is, food production was highly transparent to the taxing autocrat (both peasant production and the performance of social intermediaries–nobles, tax officials–in managing and taxing that production). That peasants did not own their land, this was subject to assignment by local headmen controlling the local irrigation, which meant little use of debt (since peasants could not borrow against land) and limited use of law (since local headmen could arbitrate disputes and the rest was executive management). 

This is a Y-V based system with the Pharoahs in charge, however it was more moderated because disputes could be arbitrated in an I civil justice system. 

Upper Mesopotamia (later Assyria) came early to farming. Its rain-fed agriculture was both less reliable and less transparent to elites, while raiders were a much greater problem than in Egypt; leading to far more use of peasant land tenure and a waxing and waning of elite control (and population dispersal) due to shifts in relative military efficiency. If farm production is not transparent, the "stick" of dismissal is less effective and the "carrot" of share of the crop more so. If farmers cannot be sacked from the land, it is effectively theirs; they have property rights in land. Rather than working on land allocated to them, they work their own land and pay taxes on it. 

More an Oy-R system of farming, R farmers hid their crops from Oy raiders and also from Y kings. By doing this successfully they became wealthy enough to in effect own their land as B but this was more like controlling it as R by their superior deceptions.

Though, strictly speaking, Domar was analysing how and why people become property (slavery), or are bound to property (serfdom), while our authors' analysis is about whether farmers will have property rights in land or be landless. It is also notable that Robert Fogel's analysis of New World slavery stressed the efficiency of the gang system, which closely monitored production according to careful division and allocation of tasks making it much more efficient than free labour in sugar and generally more efficient in rice and cotton production.

Owning people can mean a Biv society or they might also be controlled in Roy. Serfdom is more like Biv as property rights. Division of labor into roots can make a farm more efficient as each persons specializes in Iv-B. 

The Holy Roman Empire: European disunion done right | The Economist

The Holy Roman Empire: European disunion done right | The Economist

Such a reading would warn leaders of the EU today against repeating history: Thou shalt not let the euro crisis turn centripetal forces (“ever closer union”) into centrifugal ones, with member countries exiting from the euro zone or even the EU. For this would lead to a gradual break-up of the EU similar to the erstwhile dissolution of the empire, and deliver the continent to its old curse of Kleinstaaterei (small-statism) in a world of giants such as America, China and India. 

The European Union is V-Bi cooperation with some stagnation tending to become Y-Ro in some areas. For example battles with Ro left wing demonstrators and unions in Spain and Greece. There is a V-Bi Iv-B split with leaders with some advocating more cooperation and stagnation while other want to split the Eurozone up and cause more tipping points, such as letting Greece collapse.

This so-called Thirty Years War began as an attempt to answer the unresolved question about sovereignty, then took on the guise of a faith war between Protestants and Catholics, before drawing in the other European powers in a general free-for-all, with kings, princes and enterprising generals slaughtering, raping and plundering as they could. The empire lost about a third of its population. 

The evolution of a V aristocracy combined with scarce resources can turn them into Y lion like teams plundering for territory.

The bigger idea was the “juridical” principle. It simply said that conflicts were to be resolved by lawyers rather than soldiers. Whenever disputes arose between territories, the parties had recourse to two imperial courts, one usually in Speyer and one in Vienna, which are analogous to today’s European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Even peasants could appeal in the courts.
The Reichstag itself was the other vehicle for conflict resolution.

Territorial ambitions can be settled in wars of attrition leaving everyone exhausted and in debt, this can lead to a resurgence of the I-O police to settle disputes in a neutral way. The previous wars tend to occur when I-O becomes weak.

It thus fell to the Kreise to police monetary naughtiness. Typically, a prince tried to inflate away his own debt or make himself nominally rich by mixing bits of lead or copper into the gold or silver coins coming out of his mint, so that he could produce more of them. This debased the currency, until the coins were carefully weighed again at a Kreistag. The results were captured on conversion charts, in effect the new exchange-rate pegs.

The evolution of a sophisticated I-O market with exchange rates, the I market polices the Iv deceptive debasement of the currency by exposing it to transparency.

 Rather, the problem was that Prussia became so powerful that the empire could no longer discipline it. While it cooperated with Austria, as Germany and France have done in the EU, the duo maintained order. But once Prussia began putting its own interest above the empire’s, even fighting against Austria, a far-sighted observer could have seen the beginning of the end.

Because of demographics and geography some areas can be a better territory for Y and V eventually leading to deception and chaos.