What would it take for Russia to be #1?
Posted 25 April 2004 - 03:09 AM
I'd argue for a system that has the smallest possible government IF some basic goals are achieved for all. Food, healthcare, education, shelter, jobs should not be on the table. And for those falling out, there should be some kind of net.
An example, if libertarian enterprises and coops can't address a 30% of children going uneducated, then the good old fashion lion comes into place with some bureaucratic scheme or whatever to solve the problem. In other words, if a "no lion policy" can't solve the problem then we call the lion...
*I'm importing this debate*
<i would have wanted an anarcho-democrat category
.. since wherever possible self rule should apply?>
Anarcho democracy would be a choice similar to what I propose, democracy, DIRECT DEMOCRACY, being part of the daily life of the coops. More or less like this...
DEMOCRACY (IN THE WORKPLACE): in the context of this study, attempts to give "voice" to individuals' interests, beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge within their employing organizations. Put another way, workplace democracy means the "codetermination" by all members of an organization's basic goals and pursuits.
But I'd expand the democratic concept to INCLUDE COMPETITION, NOT ONLY AMONG POLITICAL PARTIES, BUT AMONG ECONOMIC ENTITIES, from the left coops to the right libertarian enterprises. And those who don't fit any of them, can always stay with the good old fashion lion...
Posted 25 April 2004 - 04:30 AM
>>>"Govt isnt necessary to effect order" was your response Pliny to my statement, then you repeat what I said by saying " It (referring to govt) is the collective will to protect safety and security" What is order then?
We both agree it is to serve the people.<<<
An individual can effect order, a group can effect order. Therefore, government is not necessary to effect order. Honest, ethical, rational people do not engage in coercive behavior with each other. They mutually agree on things even if it is to leave each other alone. When agreements and communication breaks down, coercion must not be resorted to. If an impasse is reached, a third party - justice must intervene and it must have the force necessary to settle dispute. It must also rule when coercion has been employed in disputes or acts of criminality.
Order for the individual is the placement of himself and his property in the position he wants it, basically, control of himself and his property. Order to a group, any group, even government, is basically control of it's sphere of inflluence.
That is why government must be limited in it's mandate which is the protection of the citizenry and the security of person and property. It must not concern itself with philanthropy, multiculturalism, alternative lifestyles, healthcare, education and a myriad of other things it is involved in. To do so is to be in control of those areas and it will put order in as it sees fit. This would be fine if it kept the interests of the people foremost but it doesn't. It concentrates power which attracts individuals that DonQ would call the Lion. It is a magnet for some people who wish to impose their will on the populace for whatever reasons.
What both you and DonQ wish to do, and I find no fault with the intent, is to eliminate the harsh realities of life. That is the basic struggle. The means of achieving that is the argument.
Can we agree that large centralist governments are not a solution?
Posted 25 April 2004 - 05:08 AM
I do not think the majority of libertarians despise paying fair taxes. They certainly do not advocate the coercive methods of extracting those taxes from the citizenry and are well aware of the waste and inefficiencies inherent in big government.
It may appear hypocritical to accept government services on the one hand and not wish to support those services through taxes.
If one is living under a government and must abide by it's rules, pays his taxes, it seems silly to not extract what services he is being offered.
What do you mean by the lesser being? There are those that are disadvantaged, low IQs, physically handicapped. I think that what is promoted in today's society, at least in the west, is to use those disadvantages to their advantage. In other words, not look for a viable way to contribute to society as most do, but to promote any handicap as a justification to be contributed to.
I'm afraid that only leads to further degradation and the invention of all manner of handicaps from people who should know better.
It is not a sham Bader.
We, in my province in Canada, had a social credit government. It used to be one of the two most popular choices. There was the Social Credit and the left-wing National Democratic Party. They try and popularize themselves with the term democratic but are socialists. I quiite liked the leader of the Social Credit but he left in disgrace. A scandal that has since been dwarfed by his opposition. Under the NDP, 10,000 people left the province. If their goal was to preserve the environment they contributed well.
They disallowed alot of activity. Mining and oil were pretty much shut down. Jobs, other than those already with high paying union jobs that purloined what they could from the public coffers, were in short supply.
Why is a social safety net not the answer? Run by government bureaucracy it is wasteful, inefficient and controlling.
Where are the answers? Not in government. Order must be instituted by some other means!
Posted 25 April 2004 - 08:14 AM
We are going around in circles again.
I am not going to split hairs over "order". You originally mentioned safety and securty, which is law and order and one could add justice. No justice, no order. Would you advocate privatising the Law and justice systems?
I thought it was clear some time back that we agreed that large centralist govt is not a solution, but part of the poblem. If I advocate people be empowered financially to become more responsible then Govts that are common around the developed world would suffer a famine besides the point I made about the elite not having the game to themselves.
Did I not mention that the socialists(who love big govt) hated the Social Credit School of thought?
Why are we going around the block again?
Social Credit doesnt reduce Govt and leave the masses stranded
neither financially empowered and no safety net. The libertarians
dont recognise these two issues outside of reducing Govt because they are content with their standard of living - Im alright Jack.
People financially empowered will effect the order you want the individual to effect, is this not responsibility, as you advocate, and I advocate people be empowered to fulfill.
Yet there is common ground for the whole nation to chose to have Govt run regimes like company law, health regs for food industry, safety regulations, environmental protection, national parks. Its pretty much logical and academic.
Alberta once had a Social Credit Govt yes but the Federal Govt of Canada if I got the Fed part right refused to allow the Province to create its own debt free money. It was in name only and not
recognised by the "home" body in the UK. The founder was
originally going to move to Alberta to assist in an advisory capacity but he never made the trip due to personal and technical
problems with the man himself who led the SC party to victory.
I have a book on it. It is a common accurance for people to get excited with a little bit of knowledge and then think they are experts with their own ego to please. A lot of people think they are social crediters because they agree on how fraudulent the debt money system is and they believe that nations should create their own debt free money which is fine but they tend to want Govt to do it which is like turning from the lion to the wolf
to guard the henhouse.
Once people are empowered the shrinkage of govt will be natural
and it is up to the people to determine how far as their sovereign choice, in a democracy, hence I refuse to speculate how long/short a piece of string should be.
Please also remember that a debtfree money system means no tax or perhaps an exceptionally low tax. That is starvation of govt as we know it. Thus I cant understand why you still think I believe in big govt.
DonQ is right, it was the free market capitalist society that exploited people and reduced standards of living that drove the development of the so called democratic socialist/liberal state after the Great Depression- health, education, benefits etc.
People died fighting big business through trying to form unions
in the late 19th century, they were murdered.
Yet we are back there again in Asia to help maintain the wests standard of living.
Lesser beings I refer to are the lower paid, semi-skilled, cheaper housing/renting, older cars etc.
It amused me greatly that the libertarian Party of NZ only got
going after the free market revolution restructuring of NZ. The single most important issue to my knowledge that drove it into
existence was the increasing threat to private property or perhaps one could put it as the increasing intrusion by laws and regulations of both central and local govt. So much for the rheteric of the free market propoganda.
The global free market forces are a crucial stage in the development of world govt. The UN has already worked out a global tax.
Posted 25 April 2004 - 08:35 AM
although I dont believe it was a single issue that caused the
demise of the Soviet entity.
Some believe Russia has the most powerful weapons, has more old nuclear weapons in storage while the US dismantled much of theirs.
The US service man is being made sick through DU and the immunisation cocktails, possibly spiked, that they are dying and being sent home through incapasitated.
The rise of the corporate military forces that charge Uncle Sam for expert mercenaries up to $1500 per day so I have read. Because
the corporate forces arent subject to public scrutiny directly or indirectly they can as scorched earth brutal as they like in order to restore order in places like Iraq because they will be paid for results. When Iraqis have been reduced to the psychological state of the Palestinains who will never give up fighting and even suicidal, plus the general hatred generated by the methods of the silent unseen corporate military it will be the national entity which will pay and remain to carry the mess.
The pay and equipment are both deteriorating as well.
Posted 25 April 2004 - 11:26 AM
The government is not to entrusted to any one because of consideration of birth or wealth, but for personal character and fitness for ruling and the rules must be to the law.
The state exists then not for good of any one class of men, but for the leading of the good life.
Plato expressly clings to communism as an ideal.; citizens will possess house and land but he contemplates provisions for the prevention of the growth of a wealthy and commercial state. for example; the citizens should have a currency that passes only among themselves and is not accepted by the rest of mankind.
All those who are horse or foot soldiers or foot soldiers have taken part in war during the age for military service shall share in the election of magistrates. The bride and bridegroom should considerer that they are to produce for the state the best and fairest speciment of children which they can.
Science of politics , the royal and kingly science cannot be identical with the general art of the judge or minister. the royal science therefore must be superior to all these particular arts and science and may be defined as that common science which is over them all, and guards the laws and all things that there are in the state, and truly weaves them all into one. Plato ; The State. When Siegfriedson on http://engforum.prav...?threadid=71031 says; *Two Tyrannies: Saddam's Iraq and Our USA
Let's look a bit deeper into the Iraqi culture and make a few comparisons.
The Iraqis didn't pay any direct taxes, had minimum restrictions on starting businesses, free medical care from cradle to grave, no property taxes, no sales taxes, minimal zoning and planning laws, free college education with daily meals provided in the campus cafeteria. Iraqi's were encouraged to own guns, had virtually no crime, no homeless (the Bedouin choose their nomadic lifestyle), and Iraqis were free to travel, write, create, make art and worship their God.
The state funds it all with natural resource development. I could go on but I think the picture is clear. So where's the tyranny?
The one area where there is no freedom is in the political arena where absolute faith and loyalty to Saddam's regime is required or else. The brutality is well recorded, the torture, murders, rapes and violent resolutions. No jury of peers, No objective judge, sheer punishment without regard for justice.
All of the things that irritate me as an American and a businessman race through my mind. The horrendous tax burden I carry, the way taxes are collected, the fear we all
share every April 15.
I began thinking about Ruby Ridge, Waco, Donald Scott, long retired stories of government tyranny. I got mad, really mad.
Zoning, planning and building laws and restrictions, parental authority being undermined by the state, anonymous phone calls bringing out the state child snatchers, people being jailed for not paying taxes, smoking pot, loss of property rights, the regulations and hurdles put in front of start up businesses, the idiotic bureaucrats wielding their authority like a slave masters whip. I get mad, really mad.*
I agree with Plato saying ; Democracy is the *worst of the all lawful government and I opt for noble , decent, knowledgeable dictatorship .
Posted 25 April 2004 - 01:52 PM
: ...... Shelter Off the table when you have got
: nearly every local council in the world
: restricting vertical development and
: therefore creating a permanent undersupply of
: living space.
: When you tax income which is not limited in
: supply and fail to tax land which is you
: create a situation where real estate
: investors become as much hoarders of land as
: they are providers of living and working
: Its a bit pointless taking healthcare off the
: table when you are requiring people to spend
: 6-8 years getting a Medical Degree before
: they can even begin to specialise. When you
: could be recruiting more experienced medical
: staff from all over the world and when you
: have health insurance for non-catostrophic
: health spending such that medical costs have
: ballooned out to thirteen percent of GDP.
: Its a bit pointless taking education off the
: table if you haven't tried the voucher system
: and haven't taken income tax and payroll tax
: off the table for parents who would be
: struggling to educate their kids under a free
: enterprise environment and who are having to
: pay gargantuan rentals on both their own
: homes and the classrooms because of a
: systematic undersupply of living and working
: You might also want to look at your legal
: system which imposes vast costs on everyone.
: Taking things off the table means making them
: MORE and not LESS expensive. The people you
: read are dreamers and folks whose eyes glaze
: The first step to making any country number
: one would be to orchestrate a relentless
: oversupply of high rise living and working
: space by taking rental income out of the tax
: system now as compensation to landowners for
: locking in a land tax for perhaps twenty
: years hence.
: That is to say giving them one tax break now
: in return for bringing on another tax in
: twenty years and even then only gradually.
: But the good thing is even though the tax is
: later it will force them to start making
: better decisions now.
: And systematically apply CONVENTIONAL
: economics to all your markets that are not
: working. And while you're doing this be kind
: to folks who are struggling by not taxing
: them where ever possible.
: Try all these things prior to letting your
: eyes glaze over. Mostly what we are looking
: at is conventional market failure due to
: rather obvious uneconomic market structures.
: But it is the real estate market which will
: be the most important and politically the
: hardest nut to crack. Once thats done all the
: costs in all the other things you are trying
: to do will start reducing
I don't expect that you are going to come harshly on bureaucracy, but a good big bureaucracy is possible. Just look at Scandinavia! All those country fair first in low corruption! But let's assume people don't want to pay 50% taxes or feel that their tax money goes to the wrong causes or feel intimidated by Big Brother whatever. What you do? Go in the direction of the Swiss, perhaps even expanding the canton concept to new levels of COMPETITION among different economic entities, including coops, and then let the people "vote with their feet among them."
Now going back to your subject of Real Estate, the approach I'd take is build more of it, much more, so their prices will come down. It's a basic of capitalism: The more supply, the less demand, which will result in lower prices, no? And those who are still not happy join the coops.
I'd illustrate the point with this story. At first sight, it would look tempting to launch a revolution and grab the lion share away from the beast, but true lasting prosperity--and peace--comes from building your own water well...
HOW THE LION BENEFITS FROM THE LITTLE ANIMALS' POVERTY
One day all the little animals went up to the King of the Jungle and complained about their poverty, and in particular about the fact that every time, during the dry season, they had to travel long distances to drink the precious fluid, and demanded a WATER WELL be built for them... They cited how the resources that they contributed to the kingdom were wasted in WARS and EXTRAVAGANT PROJECTS to the tastes of the King... He, however, replied with all kinds of excuses: the lack of resources, that it wasn't a matter of him not wanting it, but that it was a matter of "priorities" --which was one of his favorite words...
Meanwhile, an Owl --who had very good eyes-- had been observing life in the jungle, and thought this way: "Every time there's a dry season the little animals must come to the little dirty waterhole where the Lion waits for them... Had they been well fed and strong, he would have had to run after them and even risk resistance. And, more importantly, the little animals are forced to fight the Lion's wars as the only way out of poverty..."
And that's how the Owl landed an important --and well paid-- post in the brand new Astronomy Department created by the King of the Jungle --to the effect of exploring life in other planets...
Moral: It's wise for the little animals to build their own well (self-employment, cooperatives, etc), but no one will build it for them, but themselves...
Posted 25 April 2004 - 04:32 PM
I think Bader and I agree--don't we?--that some people may choose market anarchism, but would you agree that some may choose the cooperative anarchism? I think you did before. Anyways we may find competing with each other in the end on the economic, social, etc, but competition is good, isn't it?
Listen, even Bader and I may find in competion over my "dancing coops," but nobody would force you to party, right?
Besides I don't think you'd have much to agree with in Epicurus...
I guess you can call us an "Epicurean Revolution"...
"Pleasure and happiness here and now"
Epicurus of Samos, the Greek "philosopher of the garden" who lived 341-270 BC, was an ancient sage who left us an enduring message of optimism. His teachings conveyed a fundamental conviction that individuals can live in serene happiness, fortified by the continual experience of easily obtainable pleasures. All we really need to satisfy ourselves, he informs us, are the sustenance of nutritious food, the comfort of a secure living environment, the comradery of good friends, and the assuring wisdom that the nature of the larger universe is benign.
But although Epicurus' hedonistic ideal is easily achieved, it's not quite as readily believed. Many of us are disposed to believe that a pleasurable life necessarily entails the winning of riches, fame, and power, only to come away feeling anxious that we still don't have enough--the goal slides forever forward, like the proverbial carrot hanging on a string. Meanwhile, religions proclaim that a pleasurable life on earth is not even desirable, but that we must strive instead for a blissful afterlife, which may be earned after a lifetime of toil and strife. Here the carrot is so far deployed into the future, that one cannot live long enough to seize it--nor can we really tell than anyone else has ever succeeded in doing so. Epicurus, by contrast, challenges us to examine the nature of the universe scientifically, to analyze the root causes of grief and anxiety, and to put pleasure and happiness in their place--here and now.
<Can we agree that large centralist governments are not a solution? >
A *large* centrist goverment--a Clinton, Carter type?--would attract a lot of Foxes in endless--and expensive--political campaigns, never accomplishing anything.:confused:
Posted 25 April 2004 - 05:13 PM
: : Sorry to
:: say, America is behind, way behind, and I
:: wouldn't only cite cases like Canada--where
:: healthcare is guaranteed for all--but also
:: like Israel, where the kibbutz are a
:: venerable institution. So, sorry, you ain't
:: #1, but there's a solution to it...
: The solution would be to move to Canada if
: you want to trade the world's best health
: care for free healthcare. Since no one in
: the US is denied healthcare regardless of
: their ability to pay, you'll find few people
: flocking northward across our border.
: As for free and accessible higher education,
: sure it looks good on paper. But what good
: is free higher education to those who already
: refuse free education through grade 12? Is
: your free higher education going to do
: anything for our high school dropouts? Of
: course not. As for 'accessible', we've
: already got it so long as one is willing to
: access it - I know because I've accessed it
: for more than one degree.
: Your ideas look interesting on paper and if
: you're so gung ho to actually try them
: instead of talk about them, there's nothing
: stopping you. That's the truly great thing
: about this country - if you've got a
: marketable idea that is self-supporting you
: have the freedom to give it a go. Likewise,
: if you've got an idea that is destined for
: failure, the US will provide you the
: opportunity to fall on your face. And
: fortunately for others, if they think your
: idea is a certain bust, they have the freedom
: to ignore you. So just let us all know where
: you're going to set up your 'solution' so we
: can see it in action and judge for ourselves
: if you're brilliant or a failure. If you're
: nearly as smart as you think you are, you'll
: find no shortage of people who will flock to
: IMHO, what you'll find when you put down the
: pen and paper is your system won't be any
: better at handling those who refuse to
: participate than is capitalism as practiced
: in the US. I'll also predict that your
: system won't be as generous to those who
: refuse to participate as we are in the US.
: If you decide to be as generous to those who
: won't work as we are in the US, sorry but you
: won't be '#1' either.
OK, thanks for your encouragement, just that I sometimes feel unappreciated when chipping in--however humbly--and sometimes ever roared at by one or another lion. Anyways, I'd argue that the main problem with America is not that it is the way it is and period. It's the fact that it is actively promoted and copied by others willing to cash in on the jungle that most affect--and most resent--others. Latin America--except for Castro, and even that is debatable--is run like a Banana Republic. Either you are like America or you are a failure like Venezuela. And what do we get in return? Argentina, Mexico at best? Face it, maybe it works for you (since you find enough people to vote for you) but it ain't working around the world. Not Latin America, not Russia, not Iraq.:confused:
Posted 25 April 2004 - 06:01 PM
Picture this, I live right in the border between the jungle and the "lions' paradise." To one side poverty, crime and "no man's land;" to the other everything is nice and beautiful. But of late, the authorities have been cracking down on every possible parking violation on one side--on the jungle side. We simply are not allowed parking space, not one. The lions though somehow got all the parking space in the world--even though they don't need it. Yesterday, they gave me a ticket AND were ready to tow away my car because of some stupid violation. The lion and hyenas--tow trucks--ready to strike. Is the city pressed for cash as its budget is being dilapidated in Iraq? I don't know, I know tomorrow is coming and I got no place to park. Talk to me about terrorism...
Posted 25 April 2004 - 07:35 PM
Surveys made in 2002 for the study show that 56.3 percent of Latin Americans believe economic development is more important than democracy and that 54.7 percent would support an authoritarian government if it resolved their problems. http://story.news.ya...erica_democracy
A fox once fell into a trap and after a struggle managed to get free, but lost his brush. He was ashamed of his appearance so decided to persuade the other Foxes to part with their tails also. So he called a meeting and advised them to cut off their tails; *****they re ugly things anyhow and besides they are heavy and it is tiresome to be always carrying them about with you.**** But one of the other Foxes (from Venezuela and Brazil) said; ****** My friend , if you hadn
Posted 25 April 2004 - 09:10 PM
I wouldn't hesitate that much support, only that their situation becomes, not better, but worse after authoritarian revolt. Usually the authoritarian government is not so good at building a new Water Well, as much as at seizing the old one from the lion. Then they hand out large chunks of it to the new government bureaucracy and spend their entire lives attacking the old lion. Believe me, it's a lose-lose situation...:confused:
< A fox once fell into a trap and after a struggle managed to get free, but lost his brush. He was ashamed of his appearance so decided to persuade the other Foxes to part with their tails also. So he called a meeting and advised them to cut off their tails; *****they re ugly things anyhow and besides they are heavy and it is tiresome to be always carrying them about with you.**** But one of the other Foxes (from Venezuela and Brazil) said; ****** My friend , if you hadn-t lost your own tail, you wouldn-t be so keen on getting us to cut off ours.**** :mad: Only Mexico Fox cut his tail, but it will not help him in election. Aesop-s fables on democratic fox tail )>
Nice, nice story about life in the jungle. Venezuela though looks a big predator with no intention of letting the little animals loose and Brazil's is probably afraid to challenge old predators.:confused:
Moral: Tail or no tail shouldn't blind us to the fact that a fox is still a fox.
<<<Nationwide, unemployment is rising and incomes are dropping. In 2003, the average Brazilian watched her pay drop by 15.2 percent to 831 reals, or roughly US$296, a month--enough to pay bills and put food on the table but not much else.
Today, it is getting harder to argue that Lula has remained true to his leftist past. Since coming into office, he has pursued essentially neoliberal economic policies, which have rankled some of his left-wing supporters. On Dec. 8, the centrist Diario de Sao Paulo reported that Lula enjoyed only lukewarm support or faced "explicit opposition" from his old allies in the powerful Central Workers Union.>>>
Posted 25 April 2004 - 10:31 PM
<<<The aim of the EZLN is to avoid the typical top-down nature of previous revolutionary movements, and the singling out of any one "leader". In reality the individualities of the speakers inevitably do come through, as in the best-known case of Subcommandante Marcos, around whom something of a personality cult has grown. In many ways this has been fuelled by the mainstream media who depict him as "the leader" of the Zapatistas. However, it is striking that in the communities he is seen rather as another companero who is respected but not hero-worshipped.
The army itself is viewed as a temporary tool to be eliminated as quickly as possible, acting in the meantime as a guarantee for the creation of new political spaces. According to Harry Cleaver, their success in the creation of these alternative spaces and the power of the Zapatista civilian base "has already led to the demotion of the Zapatista Army to a largely symbolic role".>>>
Posted 25 April 2004 - 11:15 PM
"Nowhere do "politicians" form a more separate, powerful section of the nation than in North America. There, each of the two great parties which alternately succeed each other in power is itself in turn controlled by people who make a business of politics, who speculate on seats in the legislative assemblies of the Union as well as of the separate states, or who make a living by carrying on agitation for their party and on its victory are rewarded with positions.
"Here there exists no dynasty, no nobility, no standing army, beyond the few men keeping watch on the Indians, no bureaucracy with permanent posts or the right to pensions. And nevertheless we find here two great gangs of political speculators, who alternately take possession of the state power and exploit it by the most corrupt means and for the most corrupt end --and the nation is powerless against these two great cartels of politicians, who are ostensibly its servants, but in reality exploit and plunder it."
speaking of Democrats and Republicans
"We have never had a popular government... nor are we in any danger now. Our only political party has two right wings, one called Republican, the other Democratic. But Henry Adams figured all that out back in the 1890s. "We have a single system," he wrote, and "in that system the only question is the price at which the proletariat is to be bought and sold, the bread and circuses."
The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
"I came to America because of the great, great freedom which I heard existed in this country. I made a mistake in selecting America as a land of freedom, a mistake I cannot repair in the balance of my lifetime."
"... the United States has given frequent and enthusiastic support to the overthrow of democracy in favor of -investor friendly- regimes.
"The World Bank, IMF, and private banks have consistently lavished huge sums on terror regimes, following their displacement of democratic governments, and a number of quantitative studies have shown a systematic positive relationship between U.S. and IMF/World Bank aid to countries and their violations of human rights."
--Edward S. Herman
economist, U.S. media and foreign policy critic
author of The Real Terror Network
Posted 25 April 2004 - 11:17 PM
US has only friendship in Latin America with Augusto Pinochet ex dictatorial military regime in Chile . US helped Pinochet to overthrown communist government.
Some even says that US developed enigmatic developed culture of Eastern Island where once lush palm forests were destroyed - cleared for agriculture and moving the massive stone Moai. Easter Island has become ecological disaster.
The Americans fixation with exports his democracy around the world can be only compares with Easter Island inhabitants carved and transport the massive statues around the island.. Obsession with building the great statues with red hats brought end to the oppressors. The earstwhile masters were forced to flee.
As was nothing good with the great giants structures of spiritual leader it is nothing good with American democracy as well. Significance of democracy is equal the of the red stop topknots which adorned some of the figures with red hair pulled into a knot. Gullivers in a liliputian land . In end stone giants were deliberately toppled from their stone and wrecked. Hundreds of statues once stood on walls all round the island but all of them were flung down together with topknots, which were in the past so elaborately made from a red stone found in a Vulcan crater and carried along the coast in large vessels.
The mysterious things about the Eastern island statues, majority were of the same type; one was astonishing like another, gigantic and incomprehensible . And the biggest of all was the giant seven stories high with his back as part of the solid rock. The statues fell when adzes cut their way into men of and blood instead of men of stone.
Unfortunately democracy is less mysterious and more corrupt, and in contrary to Aku-Aku giants will not bring money to their leaders. .
Posted 26 April 2004 - 12:13 AM
Well, democracy may not be misterious, but it certainly is profitable. Easter Island is the perfect precedent of what will happen to the world--if we don't stop it on time. The most valuable resources are being diverted into EXTRAVAGANT PROJECTS and WARS, while the REAL ISSUES--environmental damage, poverty, etc--are ignored. A recipe for disaster, I'd say...
"There were increasing conflicts over diminishing resources resulting in a state of almost permanent warfare."
The Lessons of Easter Island
By Clive Ponting
The history of Easter Island is not one of lost civilisations and esoteric knowledge. Rather it is a striking example of the dependence of human societies on their environment and of the consequences of irreversibly damaging that environment. It is the story of a people who, starting from an extremely limited resource base, constructed one of the most advanced societies in the world for the technology they had available. However, the demands placed on the environment of the island by this development were immense. When it could no longer withstand the pressure, the society that had been painfully built up over the previous thousand years fell with it.
It is not known how many settlers arrived in the fifth century but they probably numbered no more than twenty or thirty at most. As the population slowly increased the forms of social organisation familiar in the rest of Polynesia were adopted. The basic social unit was the extended family, which jointly owned and cultivated the land. Closely related households formed lineages and clans, each of which had its own centre for religious and ceremonial activity. Each clan was headed by a chief who was able to organise and direct activities and act as a focal point for the redistribution of food and other essentials within the clan. It was this form of organisation and the competition (and probably conflict) between the clans that produced both the major achievements of Easter Island society and ultimately its collapse. Settlements were scattered across the island in small clusters of peasant huts with crops grown in open fields. Social activities were centred around separate ceremonial centres, which were occupied for part of the year. The chief monuments were large stone platforms, similar to those found in other parts of Polynesia and known as ahu, which were used for burials, ancestor worship and to commemorate past clan chiefs.
What made Easter Island different was that crop production took very little effort and therefore there was plenty of free time which the clan chiefs were able to direct into ceremonial activities. The result was the creation of the most advanced of all the Polynesian societies and one of the most complex in the world for its limited resource base. The Easter Islanders engaged in elaborate rituals and monument construction. Some of the ceremonies involved recitation from the only known Polynesian form of writing called rongorongo, which was probably less a true script and more a series of mnemonic devices. One set of elaborate rituals was based on the bird cult at Orongo, where there are the remains of forty-seven special houses together with numerous platforms and a series of high-relief rock carvings.
The crucial centres of ceremonial activity were the ahu. Over 300 of these platforms were constructed on the island, mainly near the coast. The level of intellectual achievement of at least some parts of Easter Island society can be judged by the fact that a number of these ahu have sophisticated astronomical alignments, usually towards one of the solstices or the equinox. At each site they erected between one and fifteen of the huge stone statues that survive today as a unique memorial to the vanished Easter Island society. It is these statues which took up immense amounts of peasant labour. The statues were carved, using only obsidian stone tools, at the quarry at Rano Raraku. They were fashioned to represent in a highly stylised form a male head and torso. On top of the head was placed a `topknot' of red stone weighing about ten tons from another quarry. The carving was a time-consuming rather than a complex task. The most challenging problem was to transport the statues, each some twenty feet in length and weighing several tens of tons, across the island and the then erect them on top of the ahu
The Easter Islanders' solution to the problem of transport provides the key to the subsequent fate of their whole society. Lacking any draught animals they had to rely on human power to drag the statues across the island using tree trunks as rollers. The population of the island grew steadily from the original small group in the fifth century to about 7,000 at its peak in 1550. Over time the number of clan groups would have increased and also the competition between them. By the sixteenth century hundreds of ahu had been constructed and with them over 600 of the huge stone statues. Then, when the society was at its peak, it suddenly collapsed leaving over half the statues only partially completed around Rano Raraku quarry. The cause of the collapse and the key to understanding the `mysteries' of Easter Island was massive environmental degradation brought on by deforestation of the whole island.
When the first Europeans visited the island in the eighteenth century it was completely treeless apart from a handful of isolated specimens at the bottom of the deepest extinct volcano crater of Rano Kao. However, recent scientific work, involving the analysis of pollen types, has shown that at the time of the initial settlement Easter Island had a dense vegetation cover including extensive woods. As the population slowly increased, trees would have been cut down to provide clearings for agriculture, fuel for heating and cooking, construction material for household goods, pole and thatch houses and canoes for fishing. The most demanding requirement of all was the need to move the large number of enormously heavy statues to ceremonial sites around the island. The only way this could have been done was by large numbers of people guiding and sliding them along a form of flexible tracking made up of tree trunks spread on the ground between the quarry and the ahu. Prodigious quantities of timber would have been required and in increasing amounts as the competition between the clans to erect statues grew: As a result by 1600 the island was almost completely deforested and statue erection was brought to a halt leaving many stranded at the quarry.
The deforestation of the island was not only the death knell for the elaborate social and ceremonial life it also had other drastic effects on every day life for the population generally. From 1500 the shortage of trees was forcing many people to abandon building houses from timber and live in caves, and when the wood eventually ran out altogether about a century later everyone had to use the only materials left. They resorted to stone shelters dug into the hillsides or flimsy reed huts cut from the vegetation that grew round the edges of the crater lakes. Canoes could no longer be built and only reed boats incapable of long voyages could be made. Fishing was also more difficult because nets had previously been made from the paper mulberry tree (which could also be made into cloth) and that was no longer available. Removal of the tree cover also badly affected the soil of the island, which would have already suffered from a lack of suitable animal manure to replace nutrients taken up by the crops. Increased exposure caused soil erosion and the leaching out of essential nutrients. As a result crop yields declined. The only source of food on the island unaffected by these problems was the chickens. As they became ever more important, they had to be protected from theft and the introduction of stone-built defensive chicken houses can be dated to this phase of the island's history. It became impossible to support 7,000 people on this diminish ing resource base and numbers fell rapidly
After 1600 Easter Island society went into decline and regressed to ever more primitive conditions. Without trees, and so without canoes, the islanders were trapped in their remote home, unable to escape the consequences of their self-inflicted, environmental collapse. The social and cultural impact of deforestation was equally important. The inability to erect any more statues must have had a devastating effect on the belief systems and social organisation and called into question the foundations on which that complex society had been built. There were increasing conflicts over diminishing resources resulting in a state of almost permanent warfare. Slavery became common and as the amount of protein available fell the population turned to cannibalism. One of the main aims of warfare was to destroy the ahu of opposing clans. A few survived as burial places but most were abandoned. The magnificent stone statues, too massive to destroy, were pulled down. The first Europeans found only a few still standing when they arrived in the eighteenth century and all had been toppled by the 1830s. When they were asked by the visitors how the statues had been moved from the quarry, the primitive islanders could no longer remember what their ancestors had achieved and could only say that the huge figures had `walked' across the island. The Europeans, seeing a treeless landscape, could think of no logical explanation either and were equally mystified.
Posted 26 April 2004 - 01:58 AM
: I'll back you on that. But the Scandinavian
: welfare states are breaking down and have
: hobbled them. You wouldn't have expected
: these vast welfare states to have succeeded
: amongst other populations.
: I'm not saying that scandinavians are
: superior its just that they've had to survive
: for so long in these harsh conditions so that
: you might expect the welfare state to last
: longer there then elsewhere before it became
: Utopians used to have Yugoslavia as their
: model but now its Scandinavia even though
: thats kind of old hat and the Scadinavians
: are now trying to reform. When I first came
: to Australia in the mid-80's we were a poorer
: country per capita then Sweden I think but
: now I think we may have caught up or
Howdy, this is a note I provide after my proposal. The Swiss system may work best among those who got the most POLITICAL MATURITY, say in the West. But those in Africa may need of a more centralized government to be led into maturity. Take into account that tribalism can be a problem in certain areas.
NOTE: I have intentionally provided several paths to prosperity and justice. Actually I think THE BEST OPTION IS TO HAVE OPTIONS. Scandinavia ranks #1 in standard of living, but has the lowest corruption in the world, something unlikely to be matched right away in the regions that most need it. Besides they pay the highest taxes on Earth. So there are two major options left: First, the decentralized Swiss system that accomplishes a lot with lower taxation under a very simple democratic principle: VOTE WITH YOUR FEET among cantons and communes; second, the cooperatives that exist in places like Israel, Basque Country and even Denmark. These are probably the highest level of cooperation among humans. We can say there's no lion in them. I favor the policy of, "DON'T GIVE 'EM THE FISH, BUT TEACH 'EM HOW TO FISH," in which case the last examples fair better, though they require greater POLITICAL MATURITY. But we should not forget that the Scandinavians are placing the highest priority on the needs of children and mothers, which is the best investment.
Posted 26 April 2004 - 04:01 AM
: If I've roared I apologize.
No, you haven't. Many do though, probably they forget what democracy is. Or mabe they are the foxy type...
: To me you seem
: extremely bright but a little too bent on the
: theoretical (or to put it differently, I
: would appreciate you more if you were my
: history/poli-sci TA in college).
: : Anyways, I'd argue
: that the main problem with America is not
: that it is the way it is and period. It's the
: fact that it is actively promoted and copied
: by others willing to cash in on the jungle
: that most affect--and most resent--others.
: I note your problem and will agree that it
: hasn't worked elsewhere as I wish it had.
: Perhaps we're just a strange accident that
: went terribly well.
That's debatable. I'm able to strike a chord when I hand out my literature because they identify themselves with the jungle I speak about. Admittedly I give it mostly to Afro Americans and immigrants. America may have worked rather well though for certain people at the expense of others.
: Or perhaps it just can't
: be imported to a failing nation with equal
: results. It took 200 years to get it right
: (or at least in that direction) here. I'm
: also open to the idea that it may not last
: here - we certainly can identify chinks in
: our capitalist armor - and by any historical
: standards 200 years is but a wink and a nod.
: What is most important is that we maintain a
: healthy work ethic and a system that rewards
: it. If it evolves to the competitive
: 'canton' system as you suggest then I would
: have no problem. You see, as long as you
: involve the ideal of 'competition' I think
: you and I are on the same side. Competition
: will bring out the best in the most capable
: of us all. Competition will ensure that the
: able-est work hard to further ourselves and
: in the works, mankind. And hopefully as
: competition moves us forward we will be
: willing to share humanity with those less
: able and fortunate.
True competition, yes. One where the lions don't have the monopoly, and the little people are given options, including the coops. "Teach 'em how to fish..."
: I'm not sure I completely agree. I think in
: the totality, the global economy is moving in
: the wrong direction but not because countries
: are embracing capitalism. Considering how
: small the US really is, it's not surprising
: that our success is not spreading across the
: globe in a noticeable manner. What I see is
: European nations moving more toward socialism
: and their condition worsening slowly. You
: can name a very few exceptions, but looking
: at the EU economy and employment figures
: paints a bleak picture. I don't see anything
: in the middle East that you can say is
: capitalist and democratic. Before you
: condemn the US for exporting a failed system,
: please run through the the nations of the UN
: that you think are actually trying to emulate
: our system and are meeting failure. When
: push comes to shove, I can't find even one.
Like I said all of Latin America follows American model, Russia and Iraq follow suit... I'd put it the other way around, Who doesn't? Perhaps Europe holds its own, and Canada too. They can afford not go into war or afford some socialized healthcare, but Banana Republics can't afford such luxuries. Honduras was notified that the money transfers from relatives in America may be affected by them pulling out the troops. By the way, another way we can learn from Switzerland is its military. Neutrality without military weakness, democracy, diversity, decentralization, social justice are all given in a model worth imitating...
Posted 26 April 2004 - 10:47 AM
have read the article and I would agree in the main but the perspective is a little different. But the comment " The introduction of money doesnt alter the essence of what credit is"
The explanation around the baker and shoemaker is not as I would see it but not too different.
I dont see any economy working off savings. Savings are only a fraction of the whole of the money, so if what is saved to day is all avialable tomorrow and what is saved of that is all available the next day etc is atrophy at high speed.
Given that money is represented by goods and services- a claim
on the same, the money supply can be created for/against what is being created and the market will see both the goods and money changing hands and being consumed and cancelling out
Posted 26 April 2004 - 10:56 AM
that is amazing about Iraq under Hussein. It would be interesting to know what was the reasons people were subject to
human rights violations. Perhaps foreign influence on people
because there was so much good things going why what would the averge person object to.
Perhaps it typifies the great good and great evil of autocracies.
What was the good side of Stalin as multi-national leader?
The quote from Plato about democracy must have been where Churchill got his from, that democracy was the worst form of
govt bar all the rest.
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