Taxes or Debt?

Economists define ‘the wealth of a society’ as its total stock of useful assets – homes, cars, buildings, roads, factories, cattle, money, gold … et cetera. Let us call this definition D1.

A definition serves merely as a starting point for a logical exploration of related ideas. However – and necessarily – the direction which the exploration takes depends on the definition. In any discussion of ideas, a  conscious effort is needed to understand how it is influenced by the definitions of its basic terms.

Continue reading Taxes or Debt?

Response to the Bank Chairman

The Chairman of a large global bank recently gave a TV interview about the state of the world economy [1]. Not surprisingly, the Chairman gave what was intended to be a sound and learned justification for a world order characterized by barrier-less trade.

However, the justification came out as being utterly sophomoric in its quality. That is to say, it was not too different from how a privileged undergraduate might argue in a college debate. Only the mannerisms were different – the uncle spoke, not the nephew or the niece. Continue reading Response to the Bank Chairman

From Barter to Debt: A Brief History

[In which the brilliant deductive techniques of Sherlock Holmes are applied to the origins of debt, currency and the debt-linked economy.]

  1. BACKGROUND

Imagine the simple human economic life of about five thousand years ago, based on the production and exchange of the necessities of life. If one family has a surplus goat, say, and another family has surplus wheat, then both would benefit by making an exchange — so much wheat for a goat. Economically, the exchange would make excellent sense, because it would leave everyone better off. Continue reading From Barter to Debt: A Brief History

A FALSE DUALITY

Our species today has a total headcount of some 7.6 billion, spread all over the unique and beautiful planet Earth. The species originated a few hundred thousand years ago in a region of the great continent of Africa. In this evolutionary ‘blink of an eye’, heroic individuals and groups of our species have migrated to the remotest parts of the planet − overcoming in the process innumerable and enormous challenges and adversities. Continue reading A FALSE DUALITY

Gutless Wonders

The English word ‘gut’ is rich in its range of meanings. In Biology, ‘gut’ means ‘intestine’ – as in ‘gut bacteria’ or ‘gutting a fish’; this meaning extends to the racquet strings used in sports such as tennis and badminton. In common usage, ‘guts’ refers to ‘courage’, as in ‘having the guts to take on the huge challenge of _______’ (fill in your favourite). Continue reading Gutless Wonders

Homo Implacatus

People often wrongly interpret the process of natural selection – which drives the evolution of living species – by the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’. However, the latter phrase can be highly misleading – for two reasons. One reason is that ‘survival’ may be wrongly understood as ‘survival of an individual’, whereas the correct understanding should be ‘survival and continuation of a species’. The second reason is that a criterion of ‘fitness’ is left unspecified in the second phrase. If these two potential errors are avoided, ‘survival of the fittest’ can be brought into agreement with ‘natural selection’. Continue reading Homo Implacatus

FLY ON THE WALL

‘Wish I could be a fly on the wall when X and Y meet one-on-one’. This is an ardent – and not very uncommon – wish among those who must know ‘what is really going on in the world’. X and Y are of course two global power-mongers – of the greater or the lesser kind – who imagine that they hold the future of mankind in their hands.

In the absence of the wish coming true, ardent knowledge-seekers are left with no ‘raw material’ except ill-informed and uninformed speculation, to be garnished liberally with flights of fancy and hints of the mysterious. This is how common folk are led to think ‘they know what is going on’ – by those who think ‘they know more of what is going on’. Continue reading FLY ON THE WALL

Personal insights into modern life