Archive for July, 2009

CONCEPTS MATTER MORE.

July 31, 2009

I use the physicist Faraday to demonstrate that CORRECT CONCEPTS MATTER IN MATH, PHYSICS, ECONOMICS… MORE THAN ANY OTHER LOGICAL INGREDIENT.

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MATH IS AS PRACTICAL AS YOU CAN GET:

The question of the nature of mathematics may sound unduly abstract to those who err in the real world, searching for meaningful employment. But few questions are as practical: economists advise the powers that be, and justify their models, with equations. But even when equations are right, what do they equate? In the real world, they have equated to plutocracy.

It is not because an equation is brandished that a model is right, or relevant, or removed from the basest motives. Verily, mathematical economics looks good, and has been used for oppression, and exploitation, both when it works (for the likes of Goldman Sachs) and when it does not (for the rest of the world).

Before doing good mathematics, or good physics, it is necessary to use good concepts (which then will be equated as equations do equate things, namely in increasingly complicated ways, as civilization advances, and minds become more subtle).

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MATHEMATICS IS FIRST ABOUT CONCEPTS, AND SECONDARILY ABOUT EQUATIONS.
Applications of this observation are all over thinking, physics, economy, politics, etc. I am targeting in particular mindless, equation based economics with no soul to call its own, and little regard to reality…
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GETTING SOME GUIDANCE FROM FARADAY:

The main intellectual adventure of the famous English physicist Michael Faraday embodies how important it is to find the right concepts, even before finding the equations.

By inventing the concept of FIELD, Faraday made the mathematical breakthrough that had eluded the likes of Newton with gravitation, and Coulomb (and others) with electricity. So doing he made Maxwell’s equations possible, and thus what became Einstein’s "Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" ( = "Special Relativity").

Faraday’s method was in blatant contradiction with Newton’s bombastic claim to logical purity. Faraday’s "Hypotheses Fingo" method has deep consequences on mind management. Not just in physics (where it was, could, and ought to be employed to domesticate the Quantum), but also in economics. And, of course, it is the essence of the philosophical method.

In economics the Faraday question becomes: did economists find the fundamental concept to apply their equations to?

Well, no. And the answer comes in two blows:

1) Money cannot be a fundamental concept. Because it was man-made, government made, before it degenerated down to being made by the Gold-Man-Sacks.

2) Physics applies field theory to energy. Ecology and its subset, economy, are therefore about energy. Thus energy is the universal currency and fundamental concept.

So, when Larry Summers talk about "balances", etc, he is knowledgeable, a bit as alchemists were, and all too empty of meaning, as alchemists were all too much (although some of the alchemists’ body of knowledge, going back to the oldest Egypt, was real). Both were mistaken because of primitive concepts getting in the way (besides the conversion of lead into gold).

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NEUROLOGY ABSTRACTED = MATHEMATICS.

What is mathematics? The question has been asked for ever, and there are standard answers, some funny, some bombastic. My answer is that mathematics are coherent pieces of abstracted display of valuable human neurology.

Trick questions: what is "neurologically valuable", what is an "abstract"? Well, a way to define complicated things is by telling what they are not. A rictus, or an epileptic crisis are not valuable neurology.

"Abstract" is anything that can be put in a finite set of symbols, or, more generally a drawing or painting, which can also be pictured as a finite set of pixels, and which SIMPLIFIES a body of knowledge .

Now Einstein was "amazed" that the universe was written in mathematics, as Galileo had already professed. But from the point of view here, nothing is more natural: the universe fabricated human neurology (through the process of nanological evolution known as biology). It is no wonder that the Son (human neurology) looks like the Father (the universe; sorry for blaspheming all over Catholic imagery).

Indeed, why did neurology evolve? To make baby universes inside one’s head, so as to be able to predict, more often than not, the behavior of the universe at large. This is done by safely studying at leisure the baby universes inside one’s head (for example when sleeping, which Socrates called his "daemon", and modern US politicians call their "Dimon".)

Hence the brain is made to build theories of whatever comes to the senses, and beyond, from there, to whatever it can make up, as if it had really occurred.

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HYPOTHESES FINGO

This brings us to Michael Faraday. Of modest social extraction, he had not studied the advanced mathematics of his time (which were not as advanced as arrogant mathematicians or physicists thought at the time, this is going to be the main point).

Anxious to understand electromagnetism, the mathematically unsophisticated Faraday did what he could, trying to visualize what really happened. So doing he discovered he could draw it. That was derided, because there were no "mathematics" in these pathetic drawings: no differential equations were involved.

Differential equations had been used, in the two centuries prior, to go from forces (say) to the effect of the forces, through the computation known as integration. For example, describing the forces of gravity and the pull of a chain on a small element of chain (the differential equation), one could "integrate" it (a symbolic mathematical manipulation) to get to the description of the entire chain hanging (a so called catenary curve well known by suspension bridges and overhead electric trains).

The problem Faraday confronted was more basic: describing the force. No forces described, no differential equation, so the usual approach of going from an infinitesimal element to the big picture failed.

On the surface, the electric force had been solved: Coulomb had found that it was proportional to the electric charges involved (with likes repelling and opposites attracting), and inversely proportional to the square of the distance (like gravitation). But Faraday did not feel that everything that could be seen had been said.

Maybe he thought about Newton’s perplexity about what gravitation did between bodies. Faraday saw that there was something there, that there was a lot to be said about what was going on between bodies, that Newton had not bothered making theses about.

Faraday was familiar with the strange patterns of magnetic fields, and weird orientations of compass needles. He drew them down, visualized them, helped by materials that responded to them, like metallic, or magnetic powders.

With a number of application of common sense, he thus invented the concept of field. Where the lines were densest, the field was greatest, Faraday said. Bringing two opposite electric charges close together, there was a characteristic pattern, a "dipole". If the charges came in contact, they annihilated each other. Naturally Faraday ASSUMED ("hypothese fingo") that the field would then die in the center, and the death of field would propagate. If the charges oscillated, the field would oscillate as it propagated out.

By pure mind work, Faraday had legislated that interactions propagated at a finite speed (at least in magnetism and electricity; it was only natural to suppose it would be the same for gravitation; Newton had been bothered by gravitation as an instantaneous interaction, but, since he "did not find hypotheses", that is the way his equations looked at it … which, by itself was nevertheless an hypothesis of his, however he felt about it.)

This is of course the big picture behind radio and gravitational wave effects. None of the illustrious predecessors of Faraday, and there were many, including Laplace, Newton and Leibnitz, had thought about that picture. Retrospectively, some will say it was not much. But it was everything. Mathematically it just associated to a charge a smooth function: f(x,y, z, t).

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FARADAY WAS DOING MATHEMATICS THAT NO ONE HAD DONE BEFORE!

What was Faraday doing as he invented his field concept and drew the lines? New mathematics, and new physics, because he had discovered a new entity. This is highly ironical: Faraday was cordially despised in his lifetime for his lack of mathematical knowledge. His recourse to drawing fields, instead of beautiful equations, was called spitefully "Faraday’s crutch".

As it turned out, Coulomb’s law, just as the gravitational law Newton had been using so well, did not contain all what could said about the electric and gravitational interactions. Newton had been highly mystified by the nature of the gravitational force, that he could not visualize as propagating through empty space. He grumbled: "Hypotheses non fingo." So Newton did not find "theses" that lay "below" what he observed. But Faraday proceeded to do just that.

(Though, although more modestly, so did Newton when, sitting on his farm below a tree, he hypothesized that the apple and the moon were both submitted to Earth’s gravitation, although one of the two, the moon, had an important perpendicular inertial momentum, as first explained by the physicist Buridan in Paris, 350 years before… Another one with "hypotheses fingo".)

Lesser mathematicians confuse proving theorems and solving well known problems with the entirety of mathematics. But actually theorems are not its hardest part (although they, or their proofs, often motivate one to invent new concepts).

The hardest part is finding out new concepts with which to construct new mathematics (examples: the zero, negative numbers, and other sorts of new numbers, algebraic notation, infinitesimals, curved geometry, etc…).

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BAFFLED & BLINDED BY SCIENCE:

Greek mathematicians were stopped in their tracks when they met curved geometry and irrational numbers, and thereafter they shrunk their field of study to whatever they could understand without asking themselves too many deep questions.

They left the study of weird numbers to business men, and concentrated on Euclid’s simple, flat geometry. The knowledge was left to percolate to India and central Eurasia. It was a near miss, and Rome can be guessed to have something to do with it: Archimedes had invented a piece of infinitesimal calculus all by himself, but he was killed by a Roman soldier, and that was Rome’s rare contribution to mathematics. A strictly negative one, for sure, but Romans did not understand negative numbers, so they were all right, and free to pursue their anti-intellectual drive, for many centuries to come. (Infinitesimal calculus had to wait 19 centuries after Archimedes’ assassination until Fermat resurrected it, using Descartes’ just invented concept of algebraic notation).

To finish the Faraday story: Faraday viewed fields as physical objects. Using another imaginary device, the ether, Maxwell succeeded to gather all known electromagnetic law into four equations (now, with differential form theory, we are down to just two tiny equations!) Then he proved that the field was a wave, and that wave travelled at a finite speed, which happened to be the speed of light. But light was known to be a wave, so Maxwell declared he "could hardly avoid to deduct that light was an electromagnetic wave" (or words very close to this).

Later the ether as conceived by Maxwell turned out to be incoherent, and so did the Galilean addition of speeds. Einstein turned around the former, and Lorentz found the correct speed addition law (also involving the speed of light).

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Morality: CLEAN AND MODERNIZE YOUR CONCEPTS, THEN THINK: Some people will quibble that Faraday did not do mathematics, but just invented a new concept on which to use mathematics. But that is an objection that could be addressed to a lot of mathematical objects (negative numbers are just there to use addition on them, etc.).

Mathematical playground and, or just physical concept, the field changed physics, and even mathematics into completely different … fields. Actually the mathematician Riemann in 1866, thinking of forces in general, noticed they could be described as a curvature field (that is the fundamental idea of "Einstein’s" theory of gravitation).

Are there consequences for the economy ( = house management) and politics (~philosophy applied practically to civilian society)? Sure. It’s important to start with the right concepts. Correct fundamental axioms from which to proceed.

Faraday observed that a force was not just about exerting force, it was about creating a field, and this field behaved as a physical concept of its own. Faraday had found a correct concept underlying physics.

A pollution with erroneous fundamental concepts was the problem with Alchemy for a very long time (because the occult mixed with secular experiments). Pollution with erroneous, or irrelevant, concepts is the problem with many other fields of activity.

In the war in Afghanistan, for example, the right concept is not fundamentally used. When applying war, namely ultimate violence, on, or in, a country, it is necessary to have a clear idea of what one is fighting for. That is the fundamental right concept for war. As I explained in other essays, this condition is not met in Afghanistan. Dying for Karzai, or for the Islamist constitution, are, de facto, the underlying aims, and they are not clearly expressed, because, if they were, the war would be found inadmissible in an instant.

In economy the proper fundamental concepts are not used. That is why the theory is like a castle in the air, instead of being grounded in physics (hence energy). Although there are some valuable parts hanging up there magically, this has major negative consequences for most people and the fate of the biosphere. Being grounded in the air is most useful to the plutocracy, though, so it perdures…

Patrice Ayme

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P/S 1: There is a strict definition of abstraction in mathematical logic (from Alonso Church, 1930s). It has turned out very difficult to use, even to prove the simplest arithmetic. Thus we may as well stick to the vaguer definition of abstraction used above.

P/S 2: I used the word “neurology” above, but what I truly meant is neuroglialogy, a neologism describing what is really going on: 90% of the brain tissue is made of glial cells. Glial cells make networks, and interact so closely with neurons they direct their growth and geometry, when they do not turn into them outright.

P/S 3: QUANTUM FIELD ANYBODY? By this I do not mean the Quantum Theory of Fields ("QFT") but whether the Quantum itself can create a field. Bohm, expanding his way on ideas of De Broglie, has such a field in his hidden variable version of Quantum Mechanics.

It is my observation that there is something as a Quantum field (but more general than Bohm’s) and that Faraday’s basic reasoning can be extended to that field.

P/S 4: From the news wire, July 30, 2009: In 2008, Merrill Lynch and Citi got 55 billion dollars in TARP funds from taxpayers, because they were broke, and then distributed 8 billion dollars to their employees, the very same ones who had broken the banks. The New York State Attorney General is enquiring.

Economically and politically, though, it is clear that something is as wrong as possible there. Indeed, searching quickly through history, all the way back to Egypt’s Old Kingdom and the Sumerian Cities, 5,000 years ago, I do not know of a single, more brazen theft… except, of course for Gold Man Sacks’s promised and still to come, conversion of 13 billion dollars of TARP funds into its own bonuses…

Grand larceny to this extend is tolerated because the breakdown of economic and political theories, from incompetent concepts at their foundations, leaves people so incapable of mentally processing the situation, that enough of them are incapable of even feeling indignation. Reminding us of a tuna on a beach, trying to breathe, Obama gulped that "we saved the financial system". By the skin of the back of the People, and on this raw flesh the plutocrats shall keep on riding…

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WHY HEALTH CARES FOR PROFITS NOT.

July 28, 2009

 

ECONOMY IS NO PLUTONOMY.

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Abstract: Before inventing for themselves the Nobel Prize in economy, economists should have consulted philosophers to find out what the subject was all about.

Democracy is not just about one man one vote, it is also about democratic institutions. The later not only turn around some limitations of the plain voting of the uneducated masses, but also allow to go where the profit motive cannot reach. An example is the medical system viewed as a self regulating democratic institution, as found in France. This is the real secret of the all around performance of French "Sante’" ( = health = health care).

The medical system in the USA is not so much a democratic institution, as it is a plutocratic plot ( = a conspiracy to make profits for the rich; one of the conspirators, Buffet, is then called a "friend" of the (supposedly liberal) president, Obama). It goes without saying that democratic institutions are pillars of democracy, whereas plots undermine them.

The way out of the USA health quagmire is to out compete the profiteers by confronting them to health as a democratic institution (similar to the US DOD, which is the institution in charge of defense). Studying the French health care system, which succeeds to be endowed with all the qualities of the system in the USA, plus much more, should help.

[Disclaimer: although having always been covered permanently, with “excellent” private health insurance in the USA, the author prefers to use, whenever possible, the French system, paying out of pocket – French health care is that much better! So the author is in a good position to debunk the cynical propaganda of health care profiteers who exploit the American people.]

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BETTER TO BE RICH AND STUPID RATHER THAN POOR AND RIGHT, SAY THE CYNICS ( = DOGS, in Greek).

Politically, it has long been fashionable in the USA to speak of "progressives" and conservatives". But it is not clear what, if anything, the American "conservatives" conserve, and the "progressives" have not been progressing. That is probably why new distinctions are in order, namely between those who are pro-plutocrats, and will say whatever, however stupid, to help the hyper rich they serve, or are, and those who are not paid to be stupid (Clearly Obama has been toying with these notions).

As Paul Krugman puts it in his blog (July 25, 2009, "Why markets can’t cure healthcare.") "There are no examples of successful health care based on the principles of the free market, for one simple reason: in health care, the free market just doesn’t work. And people who say that the market is the answer are flying in the face of both theory and overwhelming evidence."

The reason is simple: for health care you need insurance (because costs are enormous for only a haphazard few). But, if insurance and “care” are private, the sick represents a "loss" so private insurance and “care” will "basically spend a lot of money on socially destructive activities" (Krugman). This is nevertheless the conceptual foundation of for-profits health insurance and Health Maintenance Organizations. As the Nixon tapes demonstrate, the day before Nixon created the contemporary health care system in the USA, with presidential fiat, and tax dollars, Nixon confessed the system would rest on gouging the Public.

(Paradoxically, the attack against private health insurance, as we will see, needs to be nuanced: private French health insurance companies are doing great, but precisely because they do not insure basic, primary health care, which is taken care of by a different system .)

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SMITH OUGHT TO HAVE LEARNED MORE THAN FRENCH:

Fundamentally, economy literally means housemanagement . The word, and the idea, came from Greek philosophers, not from people who can make up an equation or two. Because normal people do not understand differential equations, it is easy to blow them out of their minds by throwing equations in their faces. But, more important than the equations are the idea behind the equations. Equations without ideas, that’s called irrelevant math, it should not be called housemanagement.

Another thing economics is not, is profitmanagement (a loose translation of this is plutonomy, dear to plutocrats, and their banker valets: they used to celebrate it).

Adam Smith, having apparently confused his mastery of French with a mastery of economics, grabbed the word "laissez faire" from the French self christened "Economistes", and thought that this "invisible hand" had solved housemanagement, for the better. Adam Smith did not invent the theory of the "invisible hand", either, it was written down before Smith was born (by Mandeville who subtitled his famous Fable of the Bees, with: "Private Vices Public Benefits" –this striking formulation pretty much extols the naivety of it all).

Well, "laissez faire" and invisibility of manipulators do not provide necessarily with the best housemanagement. Every country that has established a government insured health care system has long known that.

Dr. Krugman said that knowledge is inside a paper of Dr. Arrow. But such knowledge was in European country wide practice before Dr. Arrow, the American, was born. It’s not because a bushman learns to write that he invented writing, however good it feels. As Reagan put it:"An economist is someone who, on being shown that something works in practice, wonders if it would work in theory." (When it does they give each others’ the "Nobel" prize.)

There is a more general economic principle that ought to be at work here. Handsome profits to some individuals do not necessarily add up to an overall profit to society. It is a grievous mistake to believe it does. To push it to the extreme: some murderers profit from murder, but society rarely does. The "invisible hand" (a theory written down before Smith was born) can easily turn into the "black hand" (a deadly terrorist organization of a century ago).

This philosophically grotesque mistake, "Private Vices Public Benefits", is nevertheless the pillar of American free market theorists. Why? Because those theorists find it neither grotesque, nor a mistake. This is something Europeans overlook about the American intellectual tradition: what looks sometimes naive and waddling, is often a cover-up for very sophisticated plutocratic or imperial exploitation schemes.

“Laissez faire” invasions of Indian lands and the “invisible hand” of plutocrats supporting dictators (most famous example: the crucial support of many American business leaders for Hitler), worked just fine, thank you. Fine as far as spreading the influence of the strange government in Washington is concerned.

One should not forget that the most prominent underlying reason for American Independence was probably not a problem in Boston with the tea, but rather the English desire to prevent the Colonists to go West and South to steal Indian lands.

Jefferson, for all his lofty rhetoric, was a bloody partisan of civilization, not to say plutocracy, or slavery, and, when he was president, gave the native owners of the land no quarters, starting a tradition of successful plunder unequalled by any other European colony (although Russia conquered Siberia the rough way, Siberia was much more empty than North America, once the Tatars were out of the way; there is a difference in how much the government got bloody hands). 

Ever since American theory has been partial to “laissez faire” and “invisible hands”. But now the situation has changed, as the “American frontier” has met the frontiers of well established nations (and the Moon’s hostile dust).

It should become an axiom of house management  that profits that are systematically not profitable to the overall society should be made unlawful.

That would generalize the reasoning about crime to a more abstract level, on a secular basis, (this secular, hence more sturdy, basis is by opposition to those who believe, like Collins, the NIH nominee, that "moral law" is based on superstition, and otherwise does not exist, the moral calculus error that led the Catholic Hitler in the usual Catholic rage against the Jew).

A good example of this would be Goldman Sachs: "what is good for Goldman Sachs is bad for America", Paul Krugman observed. That badness for America ought to be good enough to outlaw the sort of trading Goldman Sachs engages in. Cocaine is bad for health, so it is outlawed, so why not outlawing Goldman Sacks? What does this sort of "firm" do besides diverting precious capital to high frequency trading sheltered by well rewarded politicians? Diverting so much precious capital allows this Gold Man to sack Americans, diverting jobs overseas where the invisible hands hid them in places so polluted that, invisible or not, nothing can be seen. 

The truth is that the house, in "housemanagement", is now the civilization itself. To manage civilization, in the first order, profits are completely irrelevant. Profits are there to motivate children, or marginal activities. The core of civilization does not use the profit motive, but higher pursuits.

Civilization is a concentration of intelligence sustainable if and only if it achieves an energy balance providing it with enough food, water, and appropriate shelter, while keeping enemies at bay. It is not made by the stupid, for the stupid. It is made by the intelligent, for the intelligent. It is not made for profits, or even with money, in its first order approximation.

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WHY DON’T BLUE DOGS SELL THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE?

"Blue dogs" used to call themselves yellow. There was a philosophical school in Greece that said that man was not much better than a dog. Now a large part of the democratic party defines itself in this literally cynical way. By itself, this says a lot. How do you argue with the self glorified lowest of the low?

That the core of civilization is psychologically motivated by higher ideals is in particular why the plutocrats do not completely run the Defense Department (they try to profit from it, but so do we all). Defense is mostly run by the government of the civilization itself, in a public manner. There are no DMOs (Defense Maintenance Organizations). Defense is not a question of free market and lowest bid ("My name is Buffet, “friend” of president, and I have a strategic nuclear submarine made in China to sell to you, capable of eradicating dozens of millions of people with its cheap Pakistani crew, please profit from this cheaper deal, free market does best.")

If the so called “Blue Dog democrats” want so badly that the USA go to the dogs, I recommend, indeed, the total free market approach for defense, as they already do for health. (Bush-Cheney tried this with Halliburton, Black Water, etc…) After all, waiting for all Americans to die of natural diseases from the breakdown of their health care system may take too long…

OK, let’s leave the dog house. That profits are not the best guide is why there should be no giant HMO system to the exclusive extent they are developed now. Health is too serious a subject to be left to profit alone. In a way, it’s similar to the bank profit scheme.

To keep bankers honest, and profitable to the economy at large, they will have to be carefully watched over by civilizational governance. Bankers have a fiduciary duty, and ought to be treated as officers of the republic, subject to a fiercer ontology (“do not harm civilization” by wanton self interested use of capital”). Doctors are already submitted to the Hippocratic oath, but profits interfere with it.

 

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FRENCH HEALTH CARE: AN INSTITUTION SELF ORGANIZED AROUND THE HEALTH MOTIVE:

Let’s be reminded that slavery, and racial slavery at that, started as a “free market” in the USA. That the plutocrat is free to enslave others and profit from them does not necessarily advance overall freedom.

Just as it would be grotesque to have the “free market” rule defense exclusively, it ought be the same for health care.

In a country such as France, the health care system behaves as a tightly self regulated beast. It is like a giant hospital system functioning as one unit. It uses one computerized "Vital Card", that has all the medical information of the patient, produced and modified with each medical act (such as purchasing prescribed medications in a pharmacy). Doctors cross refer and consult each other on a casual basis, so any patient is never far removed from any specialist.

It is a misrepresentation to believe that the elected French government directly rules the medical system. It does not. Instead, the set of all administrators, doctors, nurses, researchers, technicians, midwives, "aides soignants", hospitals, cliniques, University Hospital Centers, research health institutes, etc… have constituted themselves in a giant democratic institution, which is both highly consultative and hierarchical. That institution has studied nearly all imaginable solutions, and presents "protocols" for nearly all situations, that careful dedicated research has established. Those "protocols" are recommendations that lower level practitioners find handy to follow because they are the best (and they provide legal and administrative coverage).

In France, the financing of health is also nearly independent of the government (although it runs a deficit that the Federal government has to bridge). Aside from being in possession of an intrinsic efficiency advantage, because of the absence of the exaggerated motive since its compensation is determined from its interaction with the public (which agrees what it should be), the Public system has its enormous mass to handle pharmaceutical companies (which have to spend all their persuasion not on marketing products to consumers, but to negotiate with the appropriate committees in the medical system which decides on drug approval and reimbursement schedules).

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FIRST ORDER: PUBLIC. SECOND ORDER: PRIVATE.

Can the profit motive co-exist with public health care? Yes. But it should be the junior partner, because only the massive structure of Public Health can provide with the protocols. In France, most doctors are in private practice (although the latter is smoothly integrated in health as a democratic institution).

Why do we want the profit motive in health care? Because, private enterprise, made by definition of small groups, can innovate by trying some breakthrough treatments or methods that the massive Public system will be less capable of, per its mass.

In France, nine out of ten citizens have supplementary PRIVATE health insurance, because they prefer their health care gold plated, beyond the basic universal generalized health care guaranteed by the French constitution. So, paradoxically, and contrarily to legend, much more French citizens have private health insurance than Americans do! This demonstrates that the argument that a Public health plan would terminate private plans is completely erroneous. It would terminate abuse, that’s different.

An argument has been made by ex-Senator Frist (a heart transplant surgeon): Canadians do not do medical research, so their health care system is cheaper, because it is parasitic, while American heroes do all the research, that the Canadians use for free. I do not know the Canadian system enough to have a firm opinion, one way or another (although there seems to be medical research in Quebec, from what I saw on Quebec TV). Frist’s argument seems suspiciously close to the usual chest thumping found in forest gorillas (Canada has also only 33 million citizens, in 2009).

This is a variant of the argument that pharmaceutical companies ought to sell their products at high prices in the USA, because they do all the research. That may have been  true 25 years ago, but now, in the USA, most of their disposable capital of “big pharma” is spent on marketing, and financial maneuvers (as proven by the dearth of new drugs).

That argument, that American health care ought to be rich, because it does all the research, is obviously not true for France, where medical research is first class, from discovering tissue groups (the He-La system) in the 1950s (allowing transplants) to discovering electronic stimulation to cure neurological diseases (Parkinson, etc…) and making the first artificial spinal disks, or the first hands, arms and face grafts, more recently.

Paradoxically, the very gigantism, and careful institutionalized power of the titanesque health system in France allows it to be much bolder than the American health care private mess.

To start with, because everybody knows that the primary motive of the entire French system is health, everybody trusts it to a degree inconceivable in the USA (law suits are nearly unknown in French health care).

The French doctors who did the first chancy grafts (hands, arms, face) in France could do them because they were not afraid to be sued in case something went badly wrong (those grafts were not necessary to extend life, while being more prone to rejection because of more immunological reactions caused by skin and harder to do because of the necessity of fine neural growth; because of the nature of anti rejection drugs, transplants are always dangerous; the French doctors found new methods to lower the immune response, independently of drugs, thus making these elective grafts possible) .

Why is French health care bolder? Because it has the entire French medical establishment and hierarchy behind it, in a carefully considered hierarchical pyramid (no credible doctor can have been found second guessing the crack medical teams backed up by the highest medical authorities’ top committees, for the good and simple reason that they are all in it). The entire French medical hierarchy had studied thoroughly, and then allowed cautiously, the medical experimentation that happen inside the "systeme de sante’". No judge would ever find anything against them: the judicial system in France is another democratic institution, similar to the medical establishment, with ultimate seriousness, professionalism, independence, self regulation, and pride (most of the time!). Those huge beasts respect each others… Besides to sue the Public health system would not be appreciated by the public: best to fix it direct.

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NIXON’S GREATEST SHAME IS NOW PLUTOCRACY’S LINE IN THE SAND:

So, to fix health care one needs the rock, the ground, of a Public Health system first. It is an insurance to the doctor themselves, and a cognitive source (from those carefully pre-established protocols). It also allows to transfer patients and teams quickly . Health, in first approximation, ought to be Public health. The USA, thanks to Richard Nixon, has a, your-money-or-your-life, or at least, your-life-or-your-house, profit jungle where health is compromised.

Watergate was bad, truly a shame, but what Nixon did to health care was far worse. (No wonder it is now defended by dogs, apparently turning blue from lack of thinking).

To transit from this unhealthy jungle to the solid ground of Public health care can only be done by beefing up the existing Public system enough so that a groundswell of support can carry it even further in the future.

But the plutocrats know that if they lose that one, and health cannot stay the tremendous source of astronomical profits it is for them right now. Soon banking, high frequency trading, and even higher education would follow (higher education enables the rest of the machinery through networks of all sorts).

Should this malignancy of encroaching civilization occur, and devour the stupendous profit machine, the USA would become a bigger version of France. A common populace with an attitude could not be far behind.

The hyper rich Americans hate this perspective: next thing they know, the French and American governments , all too happy together, would plot, hand in hand, to take away their tax heavens.

Plutocrats would have to flee to Putin’s Russia. But alas, that crafty one has already bought himself a 30 room multi heliports chateau in the Saint Tropez area, ha! Thus, if all plutocrats’ roads lead to France,  it’s understandable hyper rich Americans want to keep it that way, enjoying the human fulfillment of France’s Cote d’Azur for themselves any time they please. If the USA became too similar to France, American plutocrats would not feel as special anymore. Ah, what a cruelty it would be, what a lessening of the American spirit!

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Patrice Ayme

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com

***

P/S 1: In a related scandal, the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trade Commission) has just discovered that, as I alleged, and contrarily to what Paul Krugman claimed, speculators caused the oil price spike in 2008. It was the “laissez faire” and the "invisible hand" at their best. To argue otherwise was, as Obama would dare put it, stupid. Same problem with health. Talking without knowing is as if walking without standing.

 

P/S 2: I said, in the past, that Medicare was more efficient than the private profiteers. Fortunately the most calm and patient Krugman is coming to the rescue now! To quote from Krugman’s blog (July 29th):

“I notice from comments that a fair number of readers think that Medicare has had runaway costs. What you need to ask is, runaway compared to what?

Here’s the raw fact, from the National Health Expenditure data: since 1970 Medicare costs per beneficiary have risen at an annual rate of 8.8% — but insurance premiums have risen at an annual rate of 9.9%. The rise in Medicare costs is just part of the overall rise in health care spending. And in fact Medicare spending has lagged private spending: if insurance premiums had risen “only” as much as Medicare spending, they’d be 1/3 lower than they are.

We don’t have a Medicare problem — we have a health care problem.”

And the problem is PROFITEERING by the plutocracy, the same as with banks, commodities, etc…. It is compounded in health, as I said, by the failure to comprehend, as I argued above, that HEALTH CARE OUGHT TO BE A DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTION.

The cry: “Medicare is a runaway”, is classic main stream plutocratic propaganda, and some talking heads are actually paid to opine thus (or they know they will ingratiate themselves to the powers that be, which boils down to the same). It is a testimony to the extensive grip of the plutocratic octopus that the Congressional Budget Office director is now among them (see the post of Krugman preceding the one I just quoted). 

***

TOO SICK TO CARE?

July 21, 2009

 

IF ONE THING OUGHT BE FREE, IT IS HEALTH. TO THINK OTHERWISE SURRENDERS CIVILIZATION TO LIFE-THIRSTY VAMPIRES.

***

Obama is trying to sell his health care plan by saying that it ought to be paid by spending cuts elsewhere. Strange morality, fitting well these ethically desiccated times… Was not life worth something incommensurable, before? Or has that notion become quaint?

Why is it that the Federal health care budget is not supposed to augment? To save money? To whom? Sometimes increased spending by the government allows most private citizens to decrease their overall spending.

That is why Air Traffic Control, and the National Park System, are not private. Sometimes government spending allows a function that would not otherwise exist. That is why the Army, the police, the fire brigade, and the Justice system, among other basic necessities, are not private. Private armies, and private justice, do not sound good. It was found, sometimes during the Middle Ages, that, to avoid big fires such as the one that burned most of Rome under Nero, fire fighting ought to be a government function, free of charge (otherwise, in the fullness of time, all houses burn). Nero thought so: he rushed back to the city to organize fire fighting, and opened the imperial grounds to the refugees. Even Nero did not try to make a buck out of human distress on such a massive scale. But making money out of the direst human distress is the fundamental ideal of health care insurance (and many an American billionaire is all what we have to show for it).

“Economy” means “housemanagement”. The entire budget of the house, the USA, has to be looked at, not just what billionaires and their watchdogs in the Senate think of it.

Thus, what has to be looked at, is not how much the government spends on health care, but how much the entire nation spends on health care. Government health care is intrinsically cheaper, because GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE DOES NOT HAVE THE PROFIT MOTIVE.

Some will say: why not extend this silly observation to the entire economy and go communist? Why not to do with the profit motive everywhere? The point is this: the main function of an airline is to make a profit, whereas the point of health care is health. One, flying, needs the profit motive. The other, health, is hobbled by profit.

Why this difference? Because flying around is a luxury, whereas health is life, and life is not a luxury. People do not need to fly, they have to be enticed to do so, flying is itself a product that is being sold. Flying necessitates advertising budgets, and spending to induce people to engage in the activity, and pay more than reasonable.

Life does not need to be sold, it’s not a product, but the most fundamental necessity. And it’s reasonable enough.

One ought not to have private people selling us life, and withdrawing it if we don’t pay, or humor them. One ought not to have a gigantic profiteering industry that counts providing a medical gesture as a "LOSS". (What they mean is that they underwent a financial loss, but the bitter taste remains that the health care providers view providing health not as saving grace, but as depriving loss.)

Maybe the expression "health care" is the entire problem: it’s not clear what it is supposed to be. Indeed, is it about care, or about health, or is it about caring about health? ‘Health’ is clearer. ‘Health’ one clearly cannot make money from. We do not want a society where some private individuals are endowed with the power to ask: "Your money, or your life?"… in all impunity. Not just this, but those private individuals make fortunes out of it, encouraging the furtherance, the glorification, the industry of “Your-Money-Or-Your-Life?”.

In a country such as France, the distinction is made: "health care" is small subset of the overall "HEALTH" budget. A big part of the Federal State expenditures is "health spending" (it is paid by a direct tax, the single payer health insurance, very cheap by US standards).

In France, there is ‘health care’ for profit (operated by private, for profit enterprises) and the "health" that saves lives. The private system makes profits on plastic surgery, and other unnecessary procedures or luxuries (for which there is private insurance). Governmental "health" takes care of all the life saving processes.

Making a living out of lives, that is what cannibals do. One OUGHT NOT to make money out of lives. Still, that is what the HMOs, and the insurance industry, succeed to do.

The rot is not confined to HMOs and insurance, and the plutocracy behind it. It extends to the pharmaceutical industry. Fewer and fewer drugs are produced each year (we are down 70% in 20 years). The reason? Pharmaceutical companies spend less and less of their revenue on research, and more and more on Wall Street, and Wall Street like maneuvers. Thus, instead of enjoying thousands of new drugs a year, soon, we will be getting none.

Unfortunately private companies involved in health care in the USA behave increasingly as the tobacco companies of yore. Just, instead of providing with poison, they withdraw life.

***

Conclusion: The economy is not fundamentally about profiteering, it’s about managing a house in common. A lesson that many of those paid all too well from teaching what they call "economics" have profitably avoided to learn.

That there is even a debate about financing health care is a symptom of acute civilizational failure. The profit motive ought to stay away from the pursuit of life. Those who think otherwise are seriously diseased, and in need of basic philosophical treatment. All the money they get from the health care machinations of billionaires will not save their depraved souls. However much they feel that money ought to buy everything.

The existing health care system in the USA is bad, philosophically, economically, pharmaceutically and medically, and the least improvement would be to give it some competition from a superior species, a public plan.

The philosophy of health care in the USA is all wrong. Its economy is all wrong too. There is only one sane way out: wiping out the entire monstrosity.

***

Patrice Ayme

http://patriceayme.com/

http://tyranosopher.blogspot.com/

 

***

P/S 1: WHY FEWER & FEWER NEW DRUGS: An article in Science Magazine (vol 325; 10 July 2009, page 161) shows that whereas nearly 80 new medical drugs were introduced in the USA in 1987, after a persistent decline only 25 were introduced in 2007 (latest numbers). The article is written by Canadian chemists who insist that the potential for new drugs, from natural products is enormous, "in the millions". So why is the production of new drugs going down? The European commission officially suspects "anticompetitive practices". The Science article sees business practice as the main reason for the decrease. In so many words, it sees that "purchases and acquisitions" of drug companies by larger drug companies is diverting funds to Wall Street, and "shareholders". "Such large sums affect the way drug discovery is done".

P/S 2: Let’s mention in passing that what FOX’s Glen Beck repeats ad nauseam, that the French are not happy with their governmental health system is not correct. The French are very satisfied, but they want to be even more satisfied. Submitted to "health care", in the style of the USA, any European country would go French, throw things around, and go on strike. American style health care would not last an hour anywhere in the EU.

P/S 3: How did Europe establish its public, government payer health plans? Well the German one, historically the first, was established about a century ago, with fascistic efficiency, under the Second Reich. It was so good that the occupied Alsatians and Lorains wanted to keep it after being liberated in 1918, and the French republic made arrangements to do so (and so it is to this day).

After the Nazis were defeated, Europe was so traumatized, and so enraged at having come so close to extinction, that she was in no mood to let other profiteers keep on sucking life and blood to turn them into profits, Nazi style. After all the Nazis made profits from selling hair, teeth or even skin, and the fundamental reason why they killed Jews was to steal their possessions and redistribute them to their followers.

So basic life care was nationalized all over, and the global cost of health went down, while health got better. (By the way, the French national health care system will pay for dental work such as crowns; simply it will not pay for artificial teeth of the very highest esthetics; for those who want teeth costing four times what the basic ones are worth, private insurance kicks in. The government saves huge amounts of money on drugs by negotiating prices with the drug companies, which themselves save money by having not much advertising budget; the result is that the same drug from the same company, in the same package, will cost a small fraction in France than the USA, often less than the "co-pay"…)

P/S 4: As I said, Nazis killed Jews to make themselves popular by redistributing the profits. In the contemporary USA, failing to pay “health providers” is the prime reason for bankruptcy: there is no need to put them in the oven, just withdraw necessary medical treatment. Not a nice comparison, I must recognize, but the essence of the matter, nevertheless.

P/S 5: As I advocated in the past, THE TROJAN HORSE OF A PUBLIC PLAN would OUTCOMPETE the profiteers’ HMOs and health "insurance". Indeed, the public plan would not have the expense of the profit motive, so the public plan will be able to provide the nation with better ‘health’, at cheaper cost, for the nation in its entirety.

So ultimately, the health care public plan would desiccate the vampires who have been sucking blood and health to enrich themselves so much that they own private jets, and live among private enclaves, while sending their children to $50,000 a year private schools so that they can pursue their oligarchic takeover of America through the next generation and the one after that. Before the Bush family sent the USA to conquer Iraq, Afghanistan, and the like, it enriched itself from Adolf Hitler (for creating and managing the most important company in Hitler’s military industrial complex, as Hitler himself pointed out; the amazing part is that they got the money in 1953, showing how deeply the plutocracy is implanted; it survives the demise of its darkest stars, as if nothing had happened).

To propose a public plan that would drive private profiteering of life to extinction is Obama’s approach, on a good day.

And then there are probably the days when he listens to the plutocratic sirens of the human-sacrifice-for-money plutocracy, like his supposed "friend" Warren Buffet (a hero of how to turn other people’s failing health into billions of dollars for himself).

The health care plutocracy also knows that a strong Obama plan, is a Trojan Horse. That is why it tries its best to make Obama fail, using its usual, very effective, scare tactics. Senator Jim DeMint claimed about Obama’s push for health care reform: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him”.

Before he got busy comparing the democratically elected president of the USA with a fascist Corsican dictator, DeMint got nearly three million dollars from the health "care" industry in 2004. Another republican Senator got even more. Or is that even worse?

American health is failing, and Pluto, down among fire and the riches of the underground, has never felt better, torturing bodies and soul.

***

WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODNESS?

July 19, 2009

 

GOLD MAN SACKS AND AMERICAN MAN SLACKS.

Abstract: Good and his abbreviation, God, are civilization dependent. As civilization change, so do they. The recent, multi-decades long anti-civilizational dive in the USA has changed the definition of worth. Now worth is defined, in the USA, by financial profit, and by financial profit only. This has resulted in a diminished sense of goodness.

This degeneracy into semantical and philosophical poverty is fully illustrated in the contrast between the lavish sums spent for the war and well being of the masters of the universe, when Americans go begging, and their health is deprived of care. Just because the masters of the universe pinch pennies down to the last one they stole.

The Gold Man sacks the American because the American has learned a different sense of goodness: Warren Buffet as grand father, and sport scores to replace culture. Back to the Greco-Roman empire, otherwise said.

***

CHANGES OF GOODNESS ONE CAN OBSERVE IN HISTORY:

Civilizations are not just mental exoskeletons. They are exo-minds, but also minds of their own. Civilizations do not just have ideas, they also have feelings, and emotions. They impart them to their citizens. They also evolve into new ones.

In primitive Rome, the Pater Familias (= father family) had right of life and death over the (presumed) critters that composed the family, his wife and children. After coming in closer mental contact with the more ethically advanced Greeks and Etruscans, the Roman legislature changed the law, and the Roman civilization became less fascist, and less misogynistic.

It was a positive evolution, back to where humans are supposed to be. Indeed, prehistoric men did not have the ability, and thus the right to assassinate their wives. It was unlikely they tried it much, since the well armed, and well trained wives could have insured mutual destruction; thus the lethal ascendency of the husband over the wife in primitive Rome was civilizationally assisted, as it is presently in politically Muslim countries. Men fabricated laws to help enslave and terrorize women. A sense of natural goodness was removed, as it always is when mutual, altruistic appreciation is replaced by selfish exploitation. (The human mind is made most optimally as a social mind.)

Greater intelligence consists in a greater ability to make distinctions. The evolution of civilization towards greater subtlety does not have to be one way. Civilizations sometimes devolve. Because they depend upon a sense of goodness, and that can point towards evil.

Examples of devolving civilizations abound. Easter Island and the Mayas are striking examples well known to the white man. Both were overwhelmed by enormous ecological forces. We know from direct historical evidence in the case of the Aztecs, and archeological in the case of the Mayas (and as evoked in the movie “Apocalypto”), that very brutal plutocracies reigned in these civilizations.

The perverted sense of goodness of these civilizations contributed to their fall; in the case of the Aztecs, Cortez’s small 2,000 men army found 80,000 native soldiers willing to help, so hated the Aztecs were. In the case of the Mayas, instead of imposing global solutions, there was global mayhem. Mayas went from executing prisoners massively to executing each other even more massively (a much reduced Mayan population and civilization dragged itself for five centuries, until the Conquistadores showed up; followed a further several centuries of uncertain struggle in the jungle).

Other examples of a perverted sense of goodness closer to home are given less weight, because they hurt so much, although Western civilization took drastic countermeasures, sometimes long ago.

Historically, the republics and democracy of Greco-Roman Antiquity were brought down by fascism (itself with various causes: Persia’s attempt at worldwide plutocracy, Sparta’s meanness, Athens’ democratic follies, Macedonian gangsterism, and Roman plutocracy gone nuts). In the modern West various countermeasures were taken to prevent a recurrence.

For example, when Germany veered into fascism, Persian style (young empire, freshly united, go to grab the world in a spirit of unison with itself), Britain and France united, and fought back.

Enough British and French leaders had studied the classics enough to know the importance of unity when facing fascism, a simple truth that had eluded Greece. True, the Greeks did not the notion of fascism, especially it’s evil side. (The good side of fascism became the symbol of the Roman and French republics, and, implicitly, of  the American republic.)

So that was a lesson well learned (it was not learned as much in the USA, which could not quite tell the difference between democracy and fascism, apparently from ignorance, but more probably from the hidden design of weakening its direct democratic competitors, Britain and France, not to say Europe; even nowadays, another Obama adviser, Martin Feldstein, is still another European hater; that puts in strike relief, the continual whining about “Anti-Americanism”).

The great non-said of Western history, though, is that imperial Christianity boosted Roman fascism into the Dark Ages. Gibbons said it, but it is worth repeating, because it is a warning, a lesson, and also analyzing what happened presents us with solutions to contemporary, rather lethal difficulties.

Some will point out that I seem to be contradicting the historian Pirenne’s thesis, which was that it was Islam that caused the Dark Ages. Well, criminally insane Catholicism of the rabid imperial type caused events that made the Islamist attack possible. So accusing Catholicism allows to accuse the criminal gang of hangers-on too.

It is true that Western Europeans did not give up on spices (used for food preservation), silk, camels, paper, and trade with the rest of world because they suddenly went primitive in their minds. nor was it caused by their own diminished sense of goodness. The sense of goodness had changed overseas.

The Europeans were forced to forgo all these goodies because the Islamists had appeared out of nowhere, and engaged in total war, including a total embargo that cut Western Europe from all its trading routes with the rest of the most advanced civilizations (in particular India and China). The Crusades would stop once the French and English governments (both based in France at the time) established a treaty with the Kurd Saladin, head of the Egyptian “Mamluks” (“owned”), to reestablish the trade routes (which was facilitated by the roaming presence of the Mongols with whom the Franks were allied on and off).

At that point a wrong had been corrected, improving goodness (spices were life saving, because they helped preserve foods).

Books, intellectuals, teachers, and knowledge itself were nearly all destroyed in the Roman empire by an internal enemy, literal, dictatorial Christianity (whose modern direct descendant is literal , dictatorial Islam).

The degeneracy into apocalyptic superstition and mass murder of body and mind would have been irremediable if the Franks had not changed tactics, and embraced Catholicism to better smother it. This amounted to an official change of goodness (the Franks were pagans, although they had been sitting at the heart of Catholic Rome for two centuries).

In earlier attempts, about 150 years before, the top leaders of the Franks, who were also the top Roman generals, opted for direct confrontation with the imperial forces of Catholic superstition, but apparently because God was truly a Catholic, and also because the Romans were racist (thus reluctant to be led by Germans such as the Franks), they lost the crucial battles and conflicts.

In their second attack on the problem, the Franks opted for subtlety, embracing the idiots to lead them out of the swamp; by then even the bishops had understood that Christianity was morally erroneous, and that helped considerably. “Converting” voluntarily to Catholicism, officially proclaimed that the Franks had the same sense of goodness than the millions of Catholics they were ruling (already).

How the Rome of the self made man, philosopher and Consul (!) Cicero ended in Christian madness is a testimony to the fact that fascism mixed with plutocracy makes an excellent emotional black hole, most welcoming to an unending fall into criminal mental retardation.

The Franks broke fascism by using a level of military power that fascism had become too mentally and physically incompetent to exert. This was fully demonstrated when the Hitler-like Catholic emperor Justinian, who had embarked on the conquest of the world, destroying everything in his wake, from Anatolia to Spain and Italy, attacked everybody, except the Franks.

The Franks and Justinian had different notions of goodness. For Justinian, even more than for Iran’s Khamenei, goodness meant to please God. Khamenei has a son, and wants to transmit power to him, as they do in Muslim governments, but Justinian was childless (ironical, but perhaps related to how many abortions his beloved wife Theodora had). In a sense, after his wife died, Justinian’s family was God Himself. God was good. Being good meant being God. Since the Christian God is a fascist of the apocalyptic type, so became Justinian.

The sense of goodness of the Franks was not about pleasing a fascist God, but about pleasing themselves and their big families, as happy human animals, not as fascists longing for the Apocalypse (as good Bible readers, and obviously Justinian, were).

***

THE WORSE THE HEALTH, THE BETTER THE PROFITS: GOODNESS 2009, USA:

In the USA, in the last few decades, a change in the notion of goodness has been observed. As everything else, it is now defined by financial profits.

Maybe the defining moment was when Nixon whispered, after hesitating, but knowing full well what his embarrassed aide wanted from him: "fine". The aide had pointed out that Health Maintenance Organizations would make profits by withholding care. Nixon created them the next day.

So now Obama is trying to provide health care to many citizens of the USA who do not have it. Obama’s plan is rather modest, but the profiteers of care see it (correctly) as a Trojan Horse, and are firmly determined to not admit it to their citadel of vile lucre.

So they whine to the moon, the plutocrats and their servants, deploring the immense dolor of the cost of Obama’s desire to aid the sick. indeed: Obama’s health care would cost a trillion dollars over TEN YEARS. That would be 100 billion dollars per year.

Please remember that the government of the USA was spending more than 100 billion dollars a week when their cherished bankers were threatened with destitution. Please remember that the cost of the Iraq war will be in excess of three trillion dollars (thus 3,000 billion dollars says the most honored economist, Joe Stiglitz). Please remember that the cost of the war in Afghanistan will be at least a trillion dollar too: here goes your health care.

The Inspector General just announced (July 20, 2009) that all the financial engagements of the government of the USA about mostly rescuing the banksters (Gold Man Sacks, etc.), amount to 23.7 trillion dollars (23,700 billion dollars). That is twice the yearly GDP, and about ten times the normal yearly budget of the USA. The White House whined that it could not possibly be true…

Please remember that both wars, which have achieved strictly nothing except devastation, have killed more than 5,000 citizens of the USA (and hundreds of thousands of innocent people).

But now goodness has been restored: the cherished bankers, the same ones who personally conducted the disaster, will get billions again to buy themselves mansions again in their tax haven island paradises, private jets to get there and yachts cruising around from which to elaborate further plots to milk the planet.

***

DUMBNESS MAKES GOOD:

In Antique Greece, entertainment meant watching Greek theater, and watching naked athletes compete in the Olympic games. As Rome became a fascist empire and forgot that the law was for everybody, not just commoners, entertainment took a sinister turn. First gladiatorial games were introduced, with fights to death. A century later gory executions became entertainment. they corresponded to the maximal extent of the empire.

The fascist leaders by then had understood that they had to make the population of Rome impotent: it was best to pay it to do nothing, and concentrate on games. The ultimate stage of this process of disempowerment was to move the capital somewhere else, as Constantine did (he visited Rome only thrice: 312, 315, & 326, although he spent an enormous time in Britain).

Romans, and inhabitants of Constantinople, were trained, like one trains dogs, to get obsessed by chariot races. This worked splendidly, and for many centuries. The passion for racing had replaced the passion for democracy and culture.

The USA is plainly engaged in this process. The American war across southern Eurasia is a good lethal show of the Roman type; in some ways, it’s much better than the games at the circus: there are big explosions, and one can see on TV prisoners of the "enemy" plead for their lives. Is that the "enemy", or is it just the other side of the crew in the "reality show"? Would Al Qaeda have to be invented, if the CIA had not created it around 1984. "1984", indeed, I could not have made that up: the CIA has a good sense of humor!

All the sentimentality of the Greco-Romans had veered towards charioteers, and the important thing in life in Constantinople, even more than whether one was Christian, was whether one was for the "Greens" or the "Blues" (there were other "colors" too). After generations of confrontation, this turned into outright civil war, the Nika riots of 532 CE, when at least 30,000 people died in the center of the city. Justinian thought to abdicate.

The enormous hippodromes were located in the centers of Rome and Constantinople. Gigantic amount of money were bet. Thus the greatest minds in Rome and Constantinople learned to obsess about races, and that’s all the culture they had.

This is one thing the partisans of Goldman Sachs ("Gold Man Sacks") do not understand: where most of the money is, most of the passion also is. The USA, in 1969, had put its money on the moon, in 2009, it has put its money in the pockets of its lords of finance (destitute last year, but now replenished, to the greater glory of the average American health care beggar).

Many an American mind is undergoing a similar process these days. Talk culture, whatever it is, and they will look at you just like fishes in an aquarium. If you ask them what they think, they tend to have that old Nazi cultural reflex: "When I hear the word ‘culture’ I pull out the Browning" (as the Nazi culture minister said: notice he mentioned an American brand of revolver, because those were sent graciously, thanks to American plutocracy, the same institution that has now sent over Rubin, Summers and Geithner). They increasingly view the question: "Why" as an aggression. What they like to do is watch sport on TV and keep scores, as degenerated Greco-Romans used to do, when they had learned to relinquish their civil rights.

Because that is the funny part: supposedly, under the Roman "Principate", the republic was still going on (the Roman Senate lasted until around 600 CE for sure; attempts to seriously revive it were made 4 centuries later, in the meantime, the Islamists had partially occupied Rome, until the Franks chased them away). In theory, the full republic could have been reinstated at any instant. To make sure that would not happen the fascist plutocratic leaders had the games and Christianity, and finally unsure that just killing intellectuals and burning books did the tricks, they outright outlawed schools and academies.

So back to our Americans; in the USA culture now means you know your sport teams and your scores. Anything else is an aggression. The president, dutifully, makes his sport predictions on TV in front of a blackboard, in detail.

But then he can’t find money for his measly care… How much do American corporations spend on spectacle sports already? did not Gold man Sacks announce it was going to use twenty billion dollars of task payer money onto the 1,000 worthies that compose that conspiracy? How many Gold Man Sacks do you need to pay for health care?

Oh, Gold Man Sacks and company are sending all the jobs to China so Americans are penniless and listless? So the Americans cannot pay for their own health care, but just for the Gold Man that sack them from their jobs to export them to China?

So what? Is not that exactly what the ROMAN plutocracy did? Send all the jobs overseas so that the Greco-Romans in the center would become totally impotent, and unable to generate a revolution in the center? (The latest archeological findings tend to indicate that the peripheral regions of the empire did fine economically, with an increasing GDP, from Britain and Gaul to Syria, until Justinian became crazy.)

How did the Greco-Romans sink that low? Because GOD HAD DISPLACED GOOD. Who needs to be good when you have god? It’s all between you and god, meanwhile you may as well please the emperor.

Pleasing the emperor does not mean just avoiding death, it means loss of opportunity otherwise. Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff made 16 million dollars working two years for a bank. So what does he do for an encore? Well, Mr. Emanuel goes in front of the board of JP Morgan, one of these banks that was already part of the conspiracy that sent, eighty years earlier, "Browning revolvers" (among other supports and weapons) to Adolf Hitler (see other writings in my works to find out what I am alluding to).

[The preceding sentence was published July 19th; on July 20th, the next day, the White House made it known that, after all, Emanuel will not go the JP Morgan board, citing conflicts of interest. Ethical thinking is slow, but it occurs, sometimes.]

The question is: will Rahm Emanuel, after he is done serving them, enter JP Morgan, or Gold Man Sacks?

How did all the banks make all their profits this year? Through trading. But they have their eyes, their ears and even personnel throughout the Obama administration (same for Bush, same for Clinton). Gold Man Sacks always has officers in the government, of course absolutely not telling their colleagues what are the great next trading opportunities.

When the head of JP Morgan, Dimon, is "friend" (said Obama himself) with the president, how hard can trading be? The White House is literally crawling with plutocratic critters. Besides the usual roaches from Gold Man Sacks, worthies such as Michael Froman can be distinguished. Froman was “operations chief of Citigroup Alternative Investments”. The Wall Street Journal shows him being cuddly with Calderon, the Mexican president. he is now a “senior White House aide focused on national security and international economic affairs”.

Warren Buffet, another person Obama officially called a "friend" of his, invested 5 billion dollars in Gold Man Sacks when Gold Man Sacks was at the bottom of its share value. If i were a clueless, sport score learning American, I would probably wonder how Mr. Buffet knew the government would make him a few billion dollars.

Warren Buffet is the quintessential good American, or what passes for a good American, nowadays. A generation ago, the quintessential grand father figure in the USA was Walter Cronkite, who just passed away. Cronkite did not like the Vietnam war, and he shot it down. But now all the left loves Obama, Buffet, and shrugs the war in Afghanistan.

The sense of goodness in the USA has changed. It’s going down the black hole.

WHEREOF ONE CAN’T THINK, THEREOF ONE MUST NOT KILL.

July 18, 2009

IT IS HARD TO WIN A WAR THAT IS ALREADY PHILOSOPHICALLY LOST.

***

Abstract: There is no valid philosophical and political reason for the West to fight the war in Afghanistan, in the philosophical context in which it is presently fought. The West is secular, Afghanistan’s constitution is not. They are philosophical enemies, and wars are won philosophically first.

If one wants the Occident to fight for real, it’s necessary to go back to secularism. Otherwise it’s more of the same old same old exploitation game, until enough of the cows, or more exactly the corpses, come home.

***

What is the aim of the war in Afghanistan? For the Afghans, it is to get rid of the invaders. This is philosophical clear, of the sort of philosophy, defending the home turf, that even a chimpanzee can understand. So the philosophical force is with them.

According to president Obama, the pretence for the war is to get rid of Al Qaeda. But Al Qaeda is not in Afghanistan anymore. So why is Mr. Obama truly sending more combat troops in Afghanistan and making more war? So that more people, and more soldiers, will get killed, and maimed?
It is more important to know why one is fighting a war than to fight it. Having a superior moral reason for fighting is the most important ingredient for victory, when the issue of a war is uncertain. When one bombs people’s homes, to kill them, one better make sure one’s reasons are good. But the West is bombing people’s homes, in Afghanistan, and its reasons are no good.
Indeed, neither the Taliban, nor Al Qaeda were created by Afghanistan, or by Afghans: both were created by the CIA, or by proxies of the CIA such as the ISI from Pakistan. OK, the American government is now bombing Pakistan. But the ultimate source of Al Qaeda’s support was historically in the USA, financially around Saudi Arabia, philosophically in the Qur’an’s Jihad, and Machiavellianistically in the obscure machinations of the worldwide plutocracy (think "1984"). Why does not Mr. Obama invade and go bomb those? Too close to home? So only homes that are far away can be bombed?
To have moral superiority, it’s fundamental to know the facts of what is going on, and how logic flows between those facts. The official Western leadership’s discourse fails miserably that way, in the case of the Afghan war: it knows the facts not, and the logic of it all eludes it completely.

Here is an example. Mr. Obama heard that the Afghan parliament wrote a misogynistic law that women, by law, can be raped by their husbands, and, by law, ought to enjoy it. The president became indignant, and asked for reconsideration.

Why? Was not Mr. Obama going to celebrate Islam in Cairo? Has not he declared in Cairo he would be the defender of that faith? The Qur’an explicitly takes the position confirmed by the Afghan legislature allowing men to rape women.

This is what the Qur’an says: Sura 2,verse 223: "Oh Men! Women are your fields. Go then, into your fields when you please. Do good works and fear God."

Mr. Obama, who likes to quote the Qur’an, may have suddenly heard of this Sura, so he had to fall silent. As he put it in his superstitious, Abrahamic laced speech in Cairo: "… it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit… We can’t disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism."

So please do not pretend to be liberal, please do not pretend to liberate the women, Oh, Obama, and plows into them as you see fit (Sura2; 223: the verb "go" in that Sura above rather means "plow", according to specialists of old Arabic, and Islamist scholars). Or maybe Mr. Obama should follow the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s scathing advice: " "whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent".

Soon Mr. Obama , pursuing his Muslim education, would find in Iran other usages of Islam. Full, real Islam is not just a religion, but a system of government. Islam is the religion of a particular system of government of people in direct touch with God, killing unbelievers who unbelievably believe that they also believe in God (but do it badly, as Muhammad supposedly pointed out). That is why Muslim leaders are corrupt and why it is normal that Karzai is corrupt (by "Muslim leaders" I do not mean leaders of countries with secular constitutions such as Turkey; the private religion of the PM and president there have supposedly nothing to do with their governance, so they are secular, not Muslim leaders).

The constitution of the Islamist Republic of Afghanistan is Islam (and thus the Qur’an). So far, so good: it’s just like the crazed theocrats in Iran next door.

So what is NATO doing in Afghanistan? Is not NATO made of countries with secular constitutions? So why to defend a particular version of a primitive religion? And defending the Afghan Islamist constitution against whom? Islamists. Mr. Obama made clear he loved Islamists, just not those. Those he wants to kill. Why? Because they kill people. Why does Mr. Obama go to Afghanistan to kill Islamists? Because that’s where they live.

In so many words, Western leadership has obviously gone completely crazy. The philosophical aim of the war has become to defend a peculiar view of Islam against a certain group of Islamists (thus it aims to the establishment of a particular religion, a characterized violation of the constitution of the USA).

To understand the Afghanistan war, at this point, G. Orwell’ "!984" seems more important than American pseudo religious mumbo jumbo masquerading as a philosophy. Time to go home.

***

Patrice Ayme

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

P/S: ISLAM AS CAESAROPAPISM, AND THE CIA AS SHORTSIGHTED:

Some, like French president Sarkozy, have suggested that they are defending our civilization in Afghanistan. At least that is a bit more honest that Obama’s old saw that we are just pursuing extremists ("Al Qaeda"). But one cannot defend our civilization by defending an Islamist constitution, because (a full interpretation of) Islam as a political constitution, was never compatible with Occidental civilization.

Islam was built as a war machine against Constantinople (at least Muhammad is represented as thinking so, and his acts confirm it: he invaded the Roman empire at the head of an army of 35,000, searching in vain for the Roman army. Muhammad was a raider (among other things, an early form of trader). Arabs had been prevented from raiding within the juicy Fertile Crescent ever since Alexander the Great planned to invade Arabia.

Muhammad was inspired by, and used, the enormous resentment of south-eastern Roman Christians against pure Catholicism, Constantinople style. Especially pertaining to the Trinity, in appearance, but, deep down, because Constantinople, under Justinian, reached new heights of mass criminality in the monstrous ways of using the religion of Abraham.

Both Muhammad and Alexander died unexpectedly (so Arabia was not fully conquered by the Greco-Romans, and neither could Muhammad leave as strong an imprint on Islam as the "believers" naively believe he did, and would have, if he had lived a few more years).

But the fact that Islam had been built initially as a war machine for raiding Constantinople remained. Islam was basically an ad hoc religion to justify the rebellion of unpaid Arabic tribes against their destitute paymaster in Constantinople (the rebellion of Gaza anticipated Muhammad’s invasion by a decade).

Islam is a desert version of caesaropapism.

The key, though, is that caesaropapism is not compatible with the Occident. Their philosophies hate each other; on one side fascism, on the other, striving towards democracy. After blocking the Islamist invasion of France (721-737 CE), and then rolling Islam back out of Europe, the Franks destroyed caesaropapism in 1204 CE (when they captured, and partly burned Constantinople; the fall of the city to the Turks in 1453 was just a diminutive consequence; the hatred of the Greeks of Constantinople against the Occident was so great that significant help was not sent).

Caesaropapism survived in the East, with Stalinism and Islam. To try to have Western, democratic troops defend caesaropapism in Afghanistan is a contradiction.

The constitution of Afghanistan ought to be secular, as it was before. Pushing the Abrahamic religion, as the CIA thought smart to do worked, in the sense that it made the countries it afflicted weak, and thus easily exploitable. Hence the more they laud Islam, the more friendly they are with the exploitation (one of the Saudi princes, "Bandar Bush", asked, and apparently got, a bribe of about five billion dollars; we do not know the details, because the very Catholic Tony Blair, according to good Catholic tradition, block the enquiry, because it threatened, according to him, national security).

But the nukes of Pakistan are showing that this was, and is, a dangerous gamble. The less negative outcome, for nearly everybody, is to go back to secularism. Maybe Obama should preach that instead of the "Holy Koran/Bible/Torah".

***

DENYING HISTORY, TORTURING MORALITY.

July 16, 2009

DENYING HISTORY DENIES REALITY ITSELF, AND ALLOWS TO TORTURE MORALITY, OR HOW CIVILIZATION WOULD GO DOWN THE DRAIN IF THE TORTURERS ARE NOT PROSECUTED.

A public letter to Attorney General Holder:

No Enforcement Of The Law Means No Law, No Republic, No Civilization.

***

Historical reasons are gathered to support Attorney General Holder’s effort to prosecute those who have advocated and committed torture.

Those suspects have been deemed, so far, as too important for prosecution, thus have joined the biggest bankers in the pantheon of those who are too big to fail.

Not prosecuting those apparent criminals does not just threaten the republic and its laws, but civilization itself. Holder has to strike them down with the full power he has at his disposal, when there is still some will to do so. Otherwise, the moment could pass. This has happened before.

***

To Attorney General Eric Holder.

Dear Sir:

It may appear to uninformed observers that president Obama, perhaps for somewhat obscure psychological reasons ("Dreams of my father?"), is trying to appease the little fathers of the Republican party.

In particular, he seems anxious to forgive all the possible crimes of the preceding administration, and perhaps even have society forget that there could have been any crime committed. He seems to view law enforcement as not constructive, not “looking forward“, a luxury one cannot afford, in the world‘s richest society ever.

You must be strong in his stead. All the more since, deep down, he will agree with you. As President Obama said in Ghana: "You have the power to hold your leaders accountable." -  July 14, 2009.

President Carter, and many others, usually well informed sources, claim, that among other things, children in American custody were raped and tortured. Many cases of torture to death have been documented. But not prosecuted yet.

The old privilege of the pardon that Christian kings arrogantly used to foster their caprice is unbecoming any officer of a republic. And it ought to be so, all the more, the more senior they are. I know it cannot be easy to resist Mr. Obama’s nihilistic call to eternal cool. But the republic has been violated, and maybe gravely so.

Hopefully you can find both the gravitas and courage that seems to have deserted the president, in this republican hour of need, and strive to enforce the law (both national and international law forbid the practice of torture and war of aggression).
Although all people are equal in front of the law, and none are above, it is more important to prosecute office holders for suspected crimes than anonymous, common suspects.
Any office holder in a republic has fiduciary responsibilities that a common citizen does not have. Common citizens do not have to take a oath about defending the constitution against enemies of the republic. And, as an officer holder faults, it is not just him who faults as a citizen, but it is also the office she/he holds which is at fault. The office has to be the example of the law. If one did not want to violate the office, not just the law, one ought not to have engaged in the crime. A greater crime deserves a greater punishment.
The Roman republic lasted so many centuries because the law was enforced pitilessly: "Dura Lex, Sed Lex!" When the law enforcement against office holders, in particular senators, went lax, the republic went down, and crashed into cataclysmic, unimaginable events.

It took 19 centuries to reestablish large democratic republics in the ruins of the “Occidental Part“ of the Roman empire. The work of reestablishment of republics is still ongoing in the “Oriental Part“.

The democratic, republican, law abiding form of government, has spread from the Greek and Roman republics, to the entire planet. The economic prosperity and superiority of the West has rested on the enforcement of democratic, republican, secular philosophy with higher standards than anywhere else. But now the rest of the planet is catching up.

This success of the republic is a global success, but therein a threat: if we, in the West, were not to stay philosophically ahead, we would compromise not just our prosperity, but also our strategic superiority, and thus compromise the very order the welfare of this planetary civilization rests on.

To stay philosophically ahead, the least we can do is not to slip backwards. What president Obama has been proposing is to forget about the law. This is a metamorphosis from the State of Law, to the “post partisan” state, where there is just one party, and all the leaders are friends, and can do whatever.

After torture was made unlawful in England in the seventeenth century, some officials tortured a woman by suspending her a bit from an arm, as she rested her foot on a point. She turned out OK, but the officials were not: they were severely prosecuted.

The allegations against some Bush officials and the statements of some of them (Bybee, a lifetime appointed Federal judge, and Yoo, a law professor) are extremely grave.

Although some Nazis practiced extermination and torture on a large scale, it was not the official Nazi government policy to do so. Still, they did. If the USA fails to prosecute its torturers, it would be a regression of several millennia in the history of civilization.

Even under the Roman empire, Roman law forbid the torture of citizens.

Ever since she manifested an independent character, the English speaking colony of the Americas seems to have specialized in returning to barbarity, every time it’s convenient to its leadership. For example, the USA reintroduced slavery. Not content with this, it invented racism, and legalized it.

As a reminder, the Frankish government of queen/empress Bathilde around 660 CE forbid any trading of slaves (she was sold herself in England as a slave at the age of 12 to some Franks). By 1315 an executive order of Louis X Le Hutin made into law the liberation of any slave setting his foot in France. That law was used thereafter, for example an entire boat of African slaves was freed in 1571 in Bordeaux.

The Indians who greeted the Mayflower in perfect English (and prevented the “Pilgrims” to die of starvation during their first winter) had been liberated from slavery in Europe a few years earlier (before they elected to go back to their homeland).

Before independence, the many Americans in Paris were told by the law enforcement of the French monarchy that they could not keep slaves in France. They had to free them, and pay them a living wage.

Jefferson, the “minister” (ambassador, among other things) of the USA in Paris, started an affair with Sally, the half sister of his late wife, who had been born from her father (a white man) and a “mulatto” (meaning having some African blood) slave of his. In other words, Sally was at least three quarters white. Nevertheless, she belonged to Jefferson.

Because slavery was illegal in France, Sally and her brother James wanted to stay in France and be free. But Jefferson promised them freedom… And never gave it. After they returned to the USA, to Monticello, Sally bore six children for Jefferson, all born to slavery.

Pursuing my entirely relevant racial computations, those children had to be no more than one eight non white (at this sort of level of dilution, even the Nazis had legislated that people were full Aryans).

Those children were basically white, but they were treated as if African blood was so toxic, so shameful, so disgusting, that to have the slightest drop of it, even if one is a child of the president of the USA, of a Founding Father, was enough to make one a slave. 

And what of these lofty discourses of Jefferson? Were they just a fig leaf stolen from real philosophers, to hide greed and exploitation? Was this double faced nature why Jefferson was such a great conqueror of Native Americans?

This is where the USA comes from. Even the political philosopher who played such a positive role in the foundation of the USA was an enslaving racist of the treacherous kind.

Let’s notice that because slavery was unlawful in the Imperium Francorum, slaves were freed after the Duke of Normandy invaded England in 1066 CE (20% of the population was found in a state of slavery). Thus, in other words, in the USA, a descendant regime from the English one, slavery WAS UNLAWFUL.

Thus the following acts were unlawful:

1641: Massachusetts becomes the first colony to legalize slavery.

1650: Connecticut legalizes slavery.

1661: Virginia officially recognizes slavery by statute.

1662: A Virginia statute declares that children born would have the same status as their mother.

1663: Maryland legalizes slavery. A Maryland statute attempts to enforce a law that all blacks, even those who are free, would be slaves and all blacks born would be slaves regardless of the status of their mother.

A slave rebellion occurs in Gloucester County, Virginia.

1664: Slavery is legalized in New York and New Jersey.

Maryland legally prohibits marriage between white women and black men.

How did this all start?

Well, a ship came in 1619, needing repairs, to Jamestown, and it paid the works by selling Africans it had on board. It was tolerated. In 1626, another ship came, and it sold twenty slaves.

Allowing torturers to run around, free and loud, is the same sort of foot-in-the door first gesture towards civilization devolution that led to racial slavery.

Does “post-partisan” means just one party, as under Justinian? Historians want to know.

Long ago, as the Roman empire, which used to be a republic, before it forgot about the law, degenerated ever more, a psychological state was reached, where people just did not care anymore about anything public.

Emperor Justinian, who had been the brightest and most educated youth, was left free to waste the empire, and nobody rose to stop him during his long reign.

It is high time to find the indignation to strike infamy.

.

Patrice Ayme.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

CONSCIOUSNESS SPRINGS FROM THE QUANTUM.

July 14, 2009

A FEW THINGS THAT CAN BE SAID AT THIS STAGE OF UNDERSTANDING.

***

Many think that intelligence and consciousness have to do with enough cells, or enough classical circuitry, and there are several well financed projects exploiting that approach (see Wall Street Journal science section, page A14, July 14 2009). This conventional consideration amounts to view intelligence and/or consciousness as an "emerging property", a type of property one could characterize by "much more is completely different".

Such projects are no doubt very important, and will result in tremendous progress in making apparently intelligent machines. But such machines will be basically as intelligent and conscious as complicated enough a canal system.

Indeed I hold that “much more is completely different” is probably erroneous when considering the essence of BIOLOGICAL intelligence and consciousness. The essence of consciousness, and may be also intelligence, is probably far removed from a hydraulic system along which electrons flow (rather than water).

Instead, one has to look in the direction of Quantum Physics.

Indeed, a single neuron necessitates a full desktop computer to mimic the few things we already know that a single neuron is capable of. Thus the computing power of the single neuron can be so great that it has a processing power density thousands of times greater than our existing Central Processing Units (in contemporary computers). But the later are already built at the nanotechnological/Quantum limit. (We do not know how to break through that barrier head on, so processing progress is now made by multiplying CPUs inside computers.)

Our present technological capability cannot handle -literally- SMALL Quantum effects: full blown Quantum effects, such as delocalization and tunneling, are a nuisance, as far as conventional electronic engineering of CPUs is concerned. (Not to say that large Quantum effects are not used: lasers are an example of large Quantum devices using a large Quantum effect, the Stimulated Emission of Radiation, discovered by the Frenchman Kastler in 1953. There are many other examples of LARGE Quantum effects used today.)

Verily, various fields readily leak out of the conductors we try to restrict computing electrons to. As far as present day electronics of CPUs is concerned, the Quantum is as welcome as water jumping out of canals on its own would be welcome by the engineer in hydraulics. (Although tunneling will be used in future memory devices, since it allows the "matter field" (copyright myself) to safely tuck an electron inside a solid, through walls.)

Thus, neuronal physics operates at a scale that involves Quantum Physics, and, somehow, neuronal physics has been able to turn around delocalization and tunneling, and has got to be using them profitably.

Hence the first problem we have with trying to model consciousness is that our electronic technology is classical and macroscopic, whereas anything having to do with consciousness (starting with one neuron) has to do with electronics that is intrinsically nanotechnological and Quantum.

We know such physics exists. After all that is what Quantum physics is, and we know an enormous amount of very complicated logics about it, but, even then, we also obviously know very little about it. (There are very few explicitly solvable problems in Quantum mechanics, and some hope the Quantum computer will be able to solve more.)

The Quantum is the riddle at the root of physics, responsible, among other things, of the glaring contradictions between Relativity and Quantum physics (physicists generally do not like to talk much about these contradictions, because it makes them appear less as the great sorcerers they would prefer to be taken for). These enormous contradictions are as strong now as when they were made glaring  in the EPR thought experiment in 1935 (which, in a way, was Schrodinger’s cat, delocalized in space, not just time).

What can those who only know Galileo’s obsolete boats, and Einstein’s quaint trains, their dusty platforms, and their frigid reference frames, imagine, when confronted with macroscopic delocalization?

Even a single electron "going through two slits" exhibit what, at first sight, looks like telepathy. Is it intelligent? It is tempting to think that consciousness, somehow, has to do with that. After all, if one supposes that the electron is always in one place, then, somehow, it is aware of the other slit. And, if not always in one place, then, somehow, it extents some form of awareness over some macroscopic distance, anyway.

Casual observation of many single cells and single celled organism shows that they are capable of very complex behaviors similar to those we associate with intelligence.

As Brian J Ford puts it: "this problem-solving propensity, define it how you will, is evident even in single cells. Rather than being the lowly building blocks of higher and more illustrious forms of life, I postulate that cells embody the fundamental properties of intelligence. The manifestation of mental ability in more highly evolved organisms is not a feature that emerges from their complexity; rather, it is inherent in each cell. The community harnesses and amplifies this ability, but only because it is a property of the single cells of which these life-forms are comprised."

Some may object that single cells could not possibly be aware , and thus neither intelligent nor conscious. But this objection is not valid, because intelligence, consciousness, and awareness, are distinct notions. Self awareness is a different concept from con-sciousness.

Consciousness, etymologically, means to be with-science, to be with knowledge, and this necessitate neither memory nor the ability to make a big theory about oneself.

Indeed, when we measure knowledge, we just set up an experiment to find out if an organism can solve a problem: how it does it exactly is irrelevant. If an ameba gobbles a cell, we do not have to ask it how it knew, and how it did it. It just did, very cleverly, that’s all what the experiment shows.

Self awareness means awareness of self. One needs therefore an organism extended enough in space, and time, to have parts able to build a model of the rest. Thus the organism has to be extended enough. Self awareness is a more macroscopic quality, intrinsically, than consciousness.

If the preceding is correct, the effort towards building a Quantum computer will use some of the fundamental elements necessary to understand biological intelligence and consciousness.

If structures exploiting Quantum effects are found in living organisms, beyond the simple machinery of energy (which already exploits Quantum effects for electron transport), it is likely that they will have to do with what’s left, namely the machinery creating consciousness.

***

Patrice Ayme

http://tyranosopher.blogspot.com/

http://patriceayme.com/

***

Note: Today’s CPU are squares with 10 millimeters sides (so 100 square millimeters). A neuron can be as small as 4 microns, in other words, 2,500 smaller in its linear dimensions. Thus the neuron cannot escape Quantum effects, because the present circuitry in CPUs nearly suffers from it, being packed so close, and because the neuron’s logic is at least as elaborated: the neuron has to be packed tighter by three orders of magnitude.

Moreover, it is already known that biology does use some Quantum effects, even tunneling. In a way, it’s obvious: physics is quantum physics.

PROGRESSIVELY BACK TO THE BUSH?

July 12, 2009

OBAMA’S TWO MAIN MISTAKES ARE CIVILIZATIONAL, NO LESS:

Abstract: Some background on the two deepest mistakes of the Obama administration, so far. By trying desperately to fix the unfixable, the Nixon-Reagan-Clinton-Bush civilizational model, which ought to be known as the plutocratic model, Obama is losing track of his own agenda. That Nixon-Reagan model has pushed the economy in the coffin corner: the greater what passes for an economic activity, the agitation of money, the more civilization loses support, and the more it gets cornered into an ever poorer outcome.

Increasing this wasting of hope and outcome is the fruitless agitation the military-industrial complex provides with in Afghanistan. Nobody seems to have noticed that the philosophical justification for the war there are now inexistent, due to Western self contradiction. Having been already philosophically annihilated, pretty much insures defeat in a war. That crushing defeat will be preceded by an enormous waste of life and treasure insuring further the descent of Obama’s dream down into the abyss.

Not to say that there are no ways out before the trap snaps shut. But how much more of a ride can Obama get on "we had incomplete information"?

***

PATHETICALLY INADEQUATE STIMULUS, OR JUST FIG LEAF?

Paul Krugman observes that: "…before Inauguration Day some of us worried that the stimulus plan would prove inadequate… The bad employment report for June made it clear that the stimulus was, indeed, too small. But it also damaged the credibility of the administration’s economic stewardship. There’s now a real risk that President Obama will find himself caught in a political-economic trap." (New York Times, July 9.)

This essay supports and extends Krugman’s critique. Some could object that Krugman, a few weeks ago, had ridiculed right wingers for not giving enough time to the stimulus, and that he has now flip-flopped. But, in truth, Krugman used his brain: meanwhile, the deterioration of the already dismal economy has appeared as a new factor. Just watch California’s IOUs.

It is not just a question of the stimulus being too small. One may wonder if that "stimulus plan", so far rather an anti-stimulus plan, was not just a fig leaf to hide the real thing, a giant gift to the few, the better, the richer, the private individuals who truly decide who gets what, the masters of the universe, the bankers.

Some will say I exaggerate. But they should get better informed: putting a few private individuals in charge of money creation and distribution is the essence of the fractional reserve money system. The recent crisis shows that it was a grotesque mistake: the government should regain what was one of its main functions, since civilization was created, and money became crucial to the market. That function is the control of the currency. It should not be left to Goldman Sachs.

Between outright gifts, various loans and guarantees, the amount provided by the government to the private bankers amounts to many trillion dollars (how much exactly depends upon what one looks at).

That banks should have kept on functioning, and that the government should have made sure of this is beyond question. That capital (= money) should have been given by the government was therefore necessary. But that the money should have been given, or lent, or guaranteed to the very people who caused the disaster, and the theft, is beyond the pale. It is turning the government into aiding and abetting organized crime (presumably to go along not prosecuting, and thus approving the theoreticians of torture, all the more since one of the justifiers of torture is no less than a Federal Judge).

It has been exactly as if, alerted of the Madoff Ponzi-pyramid scheme, the government, instead of arresting Madoff, had given, lent and guaranteed, enough money to him, and his associates, so they could go on with their organized crime business. But here we are.

Meanwhile, only 140 of the largest 500 companies are American, the lowest number ever; this shows that the plutocratic gang can’t even get economic imperialism right, so busy they are filling their own pockets.

***

ESSENCE OF CIVILIZATION:

A large class of American economists, politicians , thinkers, neoconservatives, entrepreneurs, journalists, pundits and other opinion makers and controllers in the USA have clearly not studied the classics and history with enough depth to realize that the USA ought to be attached to civilization, and to have a correct feeling about what civilization is made of. For short, and to be polite, we will call that happy ensemble the oligarchy.

Civilization is about cities: the New York Times was explaining today that the cities were getting less money from the stimulus than rural areas, relatively to their contribution to GDP, and taxes. So, just as the neoconservatives before, the Obama administration does not seem to understand where civilization occurs.

Civilization is about people living on top of each other, contributing skills and ideas to each other, factorially (in the sense of the n! function) contributing new thoughts and feelings to each other. The strength of cities is in the massive production of ideas, from inter-netting with each other’s minds.

Now all this is complicated: a city is like a gigantic beast, it has to be taken care of, fed, defended, cleaned, organized, its vivifying juices have to flow. And it needs a mind to organize all of this, and making it so. Part of that mind is called the government. Therein the essence of eco-nomy, house-management; it is about managing the city.

Trade, of course is a necessity: the city lives off the land, and some of this land can be pretty far. Goods have to be brought over. And the city needs to entice those bringing the goods with something the city produce, thanks to its superior intelligence.

Archeology, for example in Peru, shows that the early cities earned their keep through trade, adding value through their skill sets to commodities from far away. So it was also during the rise of cities in the European middle ages. Thus the freer the trade, the better. As long as it is not a strategic threat, security being the prime directive: existence precedes essence.

Thus, an army could not be avoided, because the city was richer, and had to defend its trade routes it depended upon, and its agricultural areas that fed it, and the water it drank.

***

MONEY IS NOT THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS:

Where was money in all this? Money is not of primary importance. The gigantic Inca empire (Tawantinsuyu), did not use money. In Cuzco in 1589, Don Mancio Serra de Leguisamo — an original conqueror of Peru — wrote in his will:

"We found these kingdoms (Tawantinsuyu) in such good order, and the said Incas governed them in such wise [manner] that throughout them there was not a thief, nor a vicious man, nor an adulteress, nor was a bad woman admitted among them, nor were there immoral people. The men had honest and useful occupations. The lands, forests, mines, pastures, houses and all kinds of products were regulated and distributed in such sort that each one knew his property without any other person seizing it or occupying it, nor were there law suits respecting it… the motive which obliges me to make this statement is the discharge of my conscience, as I find myself guilty. For we have destroyed by our evil example, the people who had such a government as was enjoyed by these natives. They were so free from the committal of crimes or excesses, as well men as women, that the Indian who had 100,000 pesos worth of gold or silver in his house, left it open merely placing a small stick against the door, as a sign that its master was out. With that, according to their custom, no one could enter or take anything that was there. When they saw that we put locks and keys on our doors, they supposed that it was from fear of them, that they might not kill us, but not because they believed that anyone would steal the property of another. So that when they found that we had thieves among us, and men who sought to make their daughters commit sin, they despised us."

The Incas used commodities as currency though: salt, cacao, etc. Taxes were also paid in work due on myriad crop terraces, irrigation canals, temples, or fortresses, and an extremely extensive road network (which was how trade and armies could go around the 4,000 kilometers long empire). Rulers paid their laborers in clothing and food. The taxation system was similar to the one serfdom established in the European Middle Ages.

Indeed in Middle Age Europe, in order to compensate the local Lord’s protection and rendering of order and justice, European serfs owed strictly legislated work, and products of their work. By escaping their village and duties for, say, 30 days, they were rendered free of their obligations.

In light of the preceding, in the modern European states, money is basically used in two ways. One way is as currency of the free market system, about half of the economy. The other way, the other half of the economy, is government directed, and money is used as the accounting medium making the system as lean and honest as possible. Government indeed is a monopoly, and so are its instruments, so abuse is tempting, and strict accounting a must.

For example defense departments in large countries, starting with the USA, are monopolies. When Eisenhower wanted a freeway system covering the entire USA, he followed Hitler’s example. Eisenhower, just as Hitler, observed that a freeway network was a strategic asset, and thus established it by government fiat and spending.

France was less rushed, and used less governmental an approach. France established a Public-Private partnership model for freeways, and very high speed train lines. It has now been extended to the nuclear sector. France started this Public-Private model in 1924, when CFP (Compagnie Francaise des Petroles = French Oil Company) was founded by enlisting ninety banks and companies at the behest of Prime Minister Poincare’. That was to avoid the alternative of depending upon Royal Dutch Shell (now Shell is the world’s largest company by revenue, and Total CFP is the sixth).

American free marketers have reigned in Washington for decades, and they have veered away from the strategic approach of Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower or Kennedy.

The American oligarchy instead has insisted to make money the measure of all things, instead of making the city itself the measure of all things. Thus the oligarchy has supported only what it could measure with money.

As the years, and then the decades passed, that error was ever deepened. The GDP measures the agitation of money, not the plenitude of civilization. The more money is agitated, the more GDP grows: traffic jams in cities, and, in general, inefficiency in energy processing, are excellent for GDP. The more efficient France gets, the lower her GDP, the more inefficient the USA gets, the higher its GDP. Of such little ineptitudes glory is made, and hubris swells.

The model of ubiquitous money cannot work, because a lot of the economy cannot function from and by the profit motive. Thus entire crucial sectors of the economy get ignored, and the economy dies, because some of its vital organs are dying.

This is why the European Union has now 163 companies among the 500 companies with the largest revenues, and the USA only 140 (latest numbers, 2009). One would expect the USA to crush the EU in that particular dimension, since, after four decades of relentless submission to and celebration of, money and corporations, corporations with money made in the USA should dominate, worldwide. Instead, they are shrinking, and have not been so shrunk, ever.

Thus, not only does American plutocracy make for a bad society, it makes for increasingly uncompetitive capitalism. One of the reasons is well known: American companies are supposed to organize health care for their workers. OK: why not bed and breakfast, marriage and burial services too? Verily the health care plutocrats try to maximize their profits, and are ready to devour themselves to do so. So great is their obsession with money making, that they have forgotten that money making is the pretext for great products, not the other way around. For them, money is the ultimate product.

An example of this is the sorry state of Boeing. Boeing always made great planes. Maybe not always within budget or on time, but great planes nevertheless. Until now. The "Dreamliner", the 787, is turning into a flatliner nightmare. Major problems with engineering have surfaced, in a silly attempt to leap frog Airbus, by introducing Airbus style technologies that even Airbus thinks are going too far. (It looks like the 787, a plastic plane, will need seriously more titanium.)

Why is Boeing, the prime high tech company in the USA going down the drain? Because the money men invaded Boeing, just as they invaded GM, or the Silicon Valley. The result: mediocre products, all over.

***

RESCUEING PLUTOCRACY THROUGH MORE AGITATION WILL FAIL:

A new model, the coffin corner model, explains that the more the agitation of money, the more the flow of money is detached from the house it is supposed to support, so the more civilization loses support, goes down, and crashes.

The efforts of the government of the USA have been mostly, so far, to bring back the agitation of money, in the hope that agitation means civilization. It does not. Instead it is an example of flying the coffin corner. The coffin corner explains, among other things, how mighty civilizations can lose their way, and the more they try to get out of their error the old fashion way, by doing more of the same more frantically, the more they contribute to it. The more they lose support and tumble to the ground.

For example the Mayas reacted to the abuse of their environment by abusing it some more. Instead of analyzing the problem, taking a time out, and enforcing new solutions, the Mayas did more of the same, just more agitated. In the end, they got so agitated they killed each other. (To be fair, let’s point out that there were victim of a stupendous, multi decade drought that their formidable irrigation systems, with its giant reservoirs and canals was unable to resist; but maybe a timely transformation into a hydraulic dictatorship, Middle Eastern style, would have saved the Maya civilization: instead, there were a lot of small and nasty states, soon at each others’ throats.)

The large European governments of the Middle Ages got out of the coffin corner the right way: they RESTRICTED the velocity of some economic activities (to save or reconstitute the forests), and they pushed advanced technology. The French government, with characteristic imperial decisiveness, "banned" people, all people, from some mountain areas, so that forests and soil could grow back. By the fourteenth century, intellectual debate in Paris had left the Greeks in the dust (see note).

The European governments also got two lucky breaks: the Black Plague and the war between Paris and London (which boosted individual wealth, while lowering that dreadful velocity/demand/ecological load). It’s no coincidence that both redeeming catastrophes started together (1337 and 1348 CE). (All the more since they were accompanied by famines and the early symptoms of the Little ice Age, just a few years before; the later struck a society victim of ecological overstretch, hence the rest.)

***

SERIOUSLY REPRESSED:

This Great Repression out there is much more serious than the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Depression of the 1930s was the result of a deliberate maximum growth policy in the UK and the USA, to get out of the economic shadow of World War One. It was an accident in the course of human events: a deliberate bubble, in the 1920s, got out of control, and efforts to control it turned out to have been misinformed, and inappropriate.

What we have now is different: these are the symptoms of a civilizational crash. Forces latent for centuries, if not millennia, are at work, and they are interfering with each other, causing rogue waves, threatening the Occidental ship of state, as never since the Huns and Nazis breathed down the neck of the Occident .

The mighty economic counselors of Obama have understood this strictly not. How could they? They set the fire! Biden saw the light, declaring: "we did not see this coming". But, Obama cooled that breezily with a soothing “there’s nothing we would have done differently”. Presumably, indeed, nothing could have been done differently to revive the monster that devoured civilization: the agitation of money directed by those private individuals who decide who gets what in the USA, since the government has abdicated its most major organizational role.

So far the stimulus for the People has been about 50 billion dollars. The banks got trillions. But the Obama stimulus intends to direct 140 billion dollars towards the states as these intend to cut 166 billion dollars. So, overall, once Obama will have been done stimulating the states, it will not be a stimulus, but an ANTI STIMULUS. A new financial innovation, I guess.

The coffin corner model insists that economic activity should directed towards supporting the house ("eco"). To have money activity is not enough, and too much of it, especially when misdirected, is literally counterproductive.

Through AIG, Goldman Sachs (which placed advisers in the Obama administration, presumably to tell it where to send the money) was given 13 billion dollars from the taxpayers. Yes, given, not lent. This $13 billion gift is different from the money given to Goldman under the table by the Fed secretly (if any) and the money lent through the TARP to Golman. Goldman has announced twenty billion dollars, at least, will go to bonuses (hence two thirds of the outrageous bonuses will have been paid by taxpayers).

To make a long story short, the stimulus to the People is 50 billion dollars so far, and the stimulus to the private individuals called bankers, at least 2,500 billions, 50 times more.

By itself, the London unit of AIG got 180 billion dollars. And so on.

And what of the latest investment in the Forever War, the trillion dollar to be spent in Afghanistan to defend Afghanistan Islamist constitution, against, well, Islamists? Because that is what the Afghan war boils down to at this point: Al Qaeda is not in Afghanistan anymore. And the country is, officially, an Islamist republic, which means, in particular that women do not have the same rights as men (then Obama is indignant about that: but so, why does he sent his soldiers to enforce what outrages him?)

If this is a competition of crazy ideas, it’s hard to see which one will win, with so many strong contenders. Only two losers though: the planet, and the American People.

Replenishing the individuals who caused the economic disaster, those particular bankers and their class, by sending them trillions is incoherent: or is it that we, and Obama, want that disaster again? Replenishing the Islamist philosophy that caused 9/11 and Islamist dictatorships all over, by sending them trillions and the armies of democracy is also incoherent. Or do we want a Forever War?

This two incoherences are going to be devastating. For starters, the debt of the USA is jumping from 43% of GDP to 80% of GDP, and there is strictly nothing to show for it. It has jumped over the French national debt, but France has much infrastructure to show for her own debt.

***

PLUTOCRACY IS NOT A "TENDANCE LOURDE", BUT GLOBALIZATION IS:

"Tendance Lourde" is a picturesque new French expression: it means a heavy trend, not easy to change. So what of these forces at work on a millennial scale, these tendances lourdes, causing the present crisis, that I alluded to above?

I mentioned the fact that the USA is falling in the usual plutocratic trap, as so many societies and civilizations did before. The mentally feeble efforts of the USA to get out of it without understanding it are pushing it in the coffin corner. But there is more: the occident is victim of its own success. Western civilization has become planetary.

France just invited India as "Invite’ d’Honneur" for the Fourteenth of July "Fete Nationale". So the Indian army will go down the Champs Elysees. It may as well, because, philosophically, India has become like France. India is not like Nazi Germany (although it used to, or rather vice versa: this is why Hitler took up the Swastika, including the correct sense of rotation to express malevolence). India is not like the USSR. India is not like India used to be. India is not even going in the direction of the USA: India, led by a just reelected economist, Singh, has a real stimulus program, not an American style banker program stimulated by a fig leaf. No, India, a republic, has inherited the republican tradition elaborated by the Franks and their heirs (that includes Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Britain) in the last 16 centuries.

But one has to be careful, then. Be careful making the other strong.

After all, the Corsican traitor, that scientific genius of a bandit, Napoleon, took the French republican tradition, and dumped it, in its degenerated form, over Germany. So Germany found itself as a part of France, cut into departments, and unified. Germans and Poles came to constitute a lot, if not most of Napoleon’s Grand Army, which experienced the worst winter in decades, with catastrophic results. But Germany had been unified, and enjoyed much of the empire while it lasted. That spirit paved the way for Bismarck, W.W.I, and Hitler (the Nazis were obsessed with Napoleon, and claimed he would never have been defeated if he had had the telegraph; but, just as Napoleon, they had a winter which was the worse in 40 years, for which they were totally unprepared. Whereas the breath of Napoleon’s soldiers would crystallize, and float in the air, the shivering Nazis found their machinery frozen, while the army rushed from Siberia enjoyed the relative warmth.)

In a similar fashion, but on a more grandiose scale, the main force confronting Western civilization now is itself, amplified by globalization, reflected by success. Sometimes, civilization has nothing to fear, but success itself.

Globalization is, in a way, the immense victory of the Occidental civilization ("occidental" as in occidentalis, the western part of the Roman empire, to be differentiated from the eastern part, which succeeded its fascism very well, so well that it had to be intellectually rescued by Persian force, before they got both so weak that they could easily devoured by desert savages rendered righteously mad by Judeo-Christianism).

Globalization means that India has given up its class system for the slave-less social model of the Franks. So now, we are facing potentially more than one billion free and clever Indians, instead of a billion lower caste creepy crawlies.

Globalization means that China has put Confucius’ dusty bureaucratic and adoring of order and the powerful philosophy in a museum. It also means that China is going out of the fascist model of the Chinese emperors to embrace democracy (free market capitalism is an aspect of freedom). Instead China has embraced the social technological model of the Franks, as India did.

***

GLOBALIZATION, OR THE DARK SIDE OF COLONIALISM RESCUCITATED:

Globalization means that most of the people on earth are learning what the white man learnt, and want to share their place on earth equally. Imagine Gandhi coming back to haunt you, without his idiosyncratic short sighted tribal primitivism, but with a big check, Mital Steel style

This surge of tribes or nations with pigmented skins, of course, is what happened in the later stages of colonization. India and Africa proved most useful to Britain and France, when they fought the German fascists and their Nazi paroxysm.

When the choice came between honoring their obligations, and defaulting selfishly on them, the colonialists defaulted. De Gaulle explained that the colonialists would default out of "egoisme" (= selfishness). In truth, the imperial pressure of the USA and the USSR became a good reason to move out, while the imbecilitic leftist public opinion, understanding rigorously nothing, provided the convenient fig leaf of human rights the conservative, nearly racist leaders needed to leave the primitives to their own governmental devices (the conservatives immediately came back with the exploitations schemes they could not use when they were the government, but that they could use once they had put some king like locals in nominal charge) .

But now we are back to square one: the colonizers are being colonized, and it is also known as the left’s so far incomprehensible nightmare .

***

WHEN THE PATIENT DOES NOT FEEL SICK:

Clearly, Obama should stop listening to the architects and accomplices of the disaster, such as Summers, who spent years under Clinton demolishing Roosevelt great financial and economic architecture. Instead Obama should listen to people who have at least enough mastery of history to know who Henri Pirenne was. (This is an allusion to Krugman; there are Pirenne-like theories in my writings, but with even more bite…)

Oh, why does the oligarchy want so much to destroy the State? Well, because it still incarnates (some of) the power of the People (which is what demo-cracy means). Plutocracy wants to be free. This has happened again and again throughout history, as the historian Polybius explained in details in 130 BCE, more than 21 centuries ago, as he saw it happening to the mighty Roman republic.

And what next? Well, even if Obama understands all this, for the better, and wants to act accordingly, he has to deal with representatives and media types who are mostly plutocratic devices. Enlightenment can come only from realizing how bad the coffin corner is going to be, how hard it’s going to be to extract the USA, and the entire planet, from it.

***

Patrice Ayme

http://patriceayme.com/

http://tyranosopher.blogspot.com/

***

P/S: Some will say: why to pick on Obama? Did not Bush start it all?

No, if anybody got it started, it was Nixon (he helped create the private HMOs with public money). Of course Bush went nuts: he invaded Iraq, and spewed contempt on those who worried about greenhouse heating. But Clinton was also doing Iraq, with a lethal embargo, and did nothing against heating. Now Obama is doubling up on the Afghans, while going upside down on fighting CO2 (instituting a green grocery for the traders instead of just slapping taxes on carbon to augment efficiency).

Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum. Right now, be it with banks, or Afghanistan, even maybe Iraq, and certainly with closing his eyes on torture and winking to the plutocratic thieves, Obama is persevering along the Bush methodology in the facts of what he does (forget the lofty discourses). Obama is persevering, and that, should it persist to be the case, could not be viewed as an error from incomplete information. It would be diabolical persistance.

Note:  The mental superiority reached during the European Middle Ages has been hidden by successful Christian church propaganda later. Just an example: The adviser to kings, Buridan, head of the University of Paris, physicist, mathematician and philosopher, had thrown down Aristotle’s physics and proposed the heliocentric system (thanks to so called Newton’s First law, that Anglo-Saxon believe that later genius invented 350 years later). Alarmed, the theocratic fascists cracked down later, during the so called Rennaissance, which was mostly a brawl between theocrats (the mightiest of them being Philipe II, emperor of Spain, son of a Bourguignon), and progressives.

FLYING THE COFFIN CORNER.

July 5, 2009

A NEW MODEL FOR CATASTROPHES, AND ITS APPLICATION TO THE GREAT REPRESSION.

Abstract: I am proposing, in analogy with aviation, a completely new model for the mathematical nature of many catastrophes. In particular it models the disintegration and fall of many a society and civilization. The model helps understanding the past, present and future of situations which, without this understanding, would be hopeless. (It’s a new way of modeling catastrophes, beyond the seven types of Catastrophe theory.)

By changing the inputs, the essence of the model can be applied both to the entire planetary civilization we have (the singleton case), and to the case of the shredding of the most advanced societies’ social and industrial fabrics in the present “globalization” (the multinational case).

The model illuminates the mathematical nature of the current Great Repression. It’s not just a question of being depressed. This is much more serious. What is being repressed is essentially what supported civilization in the most advanced countries, the human spirit itself.

The model shows that the remedy to the economic crisis is not to reinstitute the (literally) shocking hyperactivity of the financial system. This attempted "remedy" cost 2.5 trillion dollars, so far, in the USA alone, about 50 times what the Obama administration put, so far, in the real economy of the USA (these are fast changing numbers, but that particular imbalance is now a historical fact creating its own initial conditions, in the differential equation meaning of the notion). It has been like treating cancer, by reconstituting the cancer itself. The model below shows precisely why the hyperactivity, that augmentation of velocity, is precisely the problem.

The remedy instead is to put the most creative, most advanced minds back in charge, and morph out of our limited socioeconomic geometry. Otherwise we will fly the coffin corner all the way into the ground.

***

COFFIN CORNER ECONOMY?

Is the global financial crisis which exploded in 2008 over? Most government officials, worldwide, led by Summers and Geithner, claim that so it is. When asked about what happened, those worthies evoke "many causes" (the conservative leaders in Europe are a bit more helpful about the plutocratic causes of the disaster, see note T1).

Not all serious people agree that the crisis is over, nor that it is that complicated to understand.

Instead Simon Johnson, MIT professor and ex International Monetary Fund chief economist (2007-2008): "… is rather more skeptical regarding whether we are really out of crisis in any meaningful sense. In this view, the underlying cause of the crisis is much simpler – the economic supersizing of finance in the United States and elsewhere, as manifest particularly in the rise of big banks to positions of extraordinary political and cultural power. If the size, nature, and clout of finance is the problem, then the official view is nothing close to a solution. At best, pumping resources into the financial sector delays the day of reckoning and likely increases its costs. More likely, the Mother of All Bailouts is storing up serious problems for the near-term future." [Simon’s "Baseline scenario", June 09].

Presently the ratio Debt/GDP in the USA is going from 41% to 80% (about the same as in France, but without much infrastructure to show up for it in the USA, except for huge military assets, worldwide, which, of course, well, maintains world order, namely a steady flow of fossil fuels and manufactured goods and commodities from developing countries in exchange for pieces of paper called US Treasury bonds).

Paul Krugman, famous anti invasion of Iraq editorialist and Nobel Prize winner, points out the similarity with the depression of the 1930s: world industrial output is collapsing in a similar fashion. Indeed we are actually tracking the first year of the Great Depression of the 1930s quite closely. Here is the comparison between the world industrial production, comparing the ‘30s with 2008/2009:

clip_image002

***

BEYOND EXPONENTIAL & PLUTOCRACY, THE COFFIN CORNER:

As I pointed out in the past, the exponential function is at the root of the concentration of capital, hence of the need for progressive taxation and inheritance taxes. In this particular essay, I go well beyond the exponential function, to reveal in the distance a new mathematical phenomenon with vast consequences.

As a philosopher finding a lot of inspiration in history, I have been harping for years on the theme that plutocracy caused the decay of republican Rome starting in 202 BCE because plutocracy got control of the democracy then. In the end, the plutocracy itself lost control to various centrifuge forces, including the usual rebellious soldiers and fanatical religious mobs. Societies tend to cycle through this, opined historical philosophers such as Polybius (who wrote around 130 BCE, just when the Roman plutocracy had acquired control of the Roman republic, as we can retrospectively assert).

In general, as an application of the exponential function, plutocracies tend to acquire fascist control on their subjects. Then they call themselves aristocracies.

The present essay analyzes the very nature of the loss of control, when a society, or an economy collapses. Does the loss of control proceed according to some rules?

I have suggested a completely new model of the loss of control, which is a close analogy to a phenomenon well known in aviation:

***

THE COFFIN CORNER, OR WHY HIGH FLYING SUBSONIC PLANES CAN FALL OFF THE SKY (high flying economies too):

Aircrafts advance fast through the air, and the shape of their wing creates a high pressure below the wing, and a low pressure above, adding one to the other lifts them up. To go faster, planes go higher, because up there the air is less dense, and thus air resistance much less (air resistance was the greatest obstacle to reach 600 km/h in high speed train tests in France).

As planes go higher, though, air supports them ever less (half of the atmosphere is below 5,500 meters). Thus planes are in danger of falling off, the higher they go. But it does not happen smoothly.

As the density of air goes down, so does the speed of sound in that air. Thus part of the airflow on the wings, constricted here, accelerated there, can go supersonic, generating shocks, and losing contact with the aircraft. This causes a high speed stall: the faster the plane goes, the less lift it gets (see Note T2).

The coffin corner is the altitude at or near which an aircraft’s low speed stall equals its high speed stall: the aircraft has nowhere safe to go, and will stall. At this altitude the aircraft becomes nearly impossible to keep in a stable flight.

Since the low speed stall speed is the minimum speed required to maintain support from the air, any reduction in speed will cause the airplane to stall and drop.

Since the high speed stall (also called the critical Mach number, less than one, around .9 Mach) is the maximum speed at which air can travel over the wings without losing lift due to supersonic flow separation, from the wings, and from shock waves, any increase in speed will cause the airplane to lose lift, too

My claim is that the so called “Anglo-Saxon capitalist model” finds itself in an exactly analogous situation; it’s both flying too fast and too slow, and it is stalling. But first a recapitulation of what one should call the first order theories of economic collapse.

***

WHEN PLUTOCRATIC IMPLOSIONS COLLAPSE CIVILIZATION:

Krugman, Johnson, many others, and myself observe the obvious: the financial “industry” has become way too big, and way too free to do whatever it wants. The question is what is it used for? It borrows short to lend long. (Government can do that too.)

But, left to its own devices, the “financial industry” is like a crocodile that has been fed too well and too long: now, enormous, instead of producing a pelt, and meat, it has become totally uncontrollable, devouring all that moves. This situation has been seen before, with poor outcomes to the societies concerned.

I have presented a number of reasons explaining why this situation was intolerable, and the mathematics (of capital) explaining why it tends to reoccur.

While it is well known that civilization can collapse from ecological catastrophe (Sumer, Maya, Angkor, countless islands), ecological collapse tends to affect less the large civilizations. Those have enormous resources, by definition, and can afford to modify their environment in a timely manner (Sumerian civilization moved north, actually; European and Japan societies took drastic measures against ecological collapse in the Middle Ages).

Large societies tend to collapse from PLUTOCRATIC and related FASCIST IMPLOSIONS.

The best example of this was the Greco-Roman world: it became ever more fascist, over a period of eight centuries, until German nations reestablished some measure of democracy in the West. But in the Part Orientalis of the Roman empire, the fascism became ever worse. (Culminating with the crazed out fanatical Catholic emperor Justinian who gave orders to his corrupt generals to go out and destroy all those who did not believe as he did. In a way, he was the first Jihadist, and killed far more than any Jihadist ever would.)

Plutocracy leads to fascism (Hitler), but of course fascism can be gained directly (Assyria, the Mongols, Napoleon or Stalin are examples). Plutocratic fascism is more stable when it is made in a religion. That is why Constantinople lasted 1,000 years, inventing little. That is also why the Abbasids reigned more than 500 years before being destroyed by the Mongols: Islam was the heir in errancy of Greco-Roman theocratic fascism. That is also why the Ottoman Caliphate could last so long, while doing everything wrong, and especially progress.

Commanding in the name of God, commands both power and morality. Such was Christianity. Such still is Islam in all too many places.

When plutocracy reigns, many things can go wrong. Ultimately, if nothing else first, the mechanism that kills the civilization will be intellectual fascism, which is any system of thought where only a few ideas reign (often helped by groupthink). Drastic stupidity ensues, followed by lethal civilizational mistakes. Plutocracy loves intellectual fascism, because the more stupid the sheep is, the easier it is to guide. Thus Intellectual fascism is its own value. An example is Rome: under the Antonine emperors, viewed by some (not by me) as the apogee of the Greco-Roman world, there was a clear relaxation of political fascism (hence Gibbons’ admiration), but, nevertheless, intellectual fascism kept increasing.

The quality of the Roman mind kept going down; this soon shows up with the decay of art (cut and paste was invented to create “new” works), and of creativity in philosophy, science and technology (allowing in turn the Parthians and Sassanids to catch up militarily).

This decay of the mind is all the more striking, since (officially sanctioned) thinkers were the highest paid ever (billionaire philosophers, from their philosophy alone, were common. Many imperators had philosophers by their sides (Pompey the Great, Caesar), some reached the top (Cicero was elected Consul in 63 BCE, the philosopher Marcus Aurelius became emperor). Constantine co-founded Constantinople with a philosopher. There was a similar phenomenon in imperial Germany when it went ever fascist: this was denounced by Nietzsche as loudly as possible, as he observed the situation with his unbelieving eyes. He had to sacrifice his friendship with Wagner, as the later quickly embarked on the fascist bandwagon.

STUPIDITY BREEDS STUPIDITY, BUT THERE IS MORE:

Still there is a second order question: given all the stupidity, given that stupidity breeds stupidity, why so much stagnation?

Why the terminal stagnation that affected Rome after Augustus, and especially after Constantine? Why so much stagnation in China, or Japan, sometimes for centuries, a situation where a civilization cannot progress anymore, and waits like a sheep for the fatal blow from Germans, Arabs, Mongols or Manchus? (Compare with the few generations of a few Athenians!)

Why is it that plutocracies do what they do, and end up misleading societies they lead until they collapse? It cannot be solely caused by selfishness, because, ultimately plutocracies, by persisting in the error of their ways, fight against their own self preservation.

How come, indeed, that the plutocratic leaders of a civilization can persist in their ways, although they, their children, and grandchildren, and their class, and all they know, will perish from them? How come they cannot pull out of their fatal dive? Well, I suggest that they are trapped, and not just by fascism, intellectual fascism, stupidity, ignorance and corruption.

I model a trap those civilizations find themselves in, and of understanding the way out.

I am trying to find out the mathematical nature of their mistake. It shows that as they get active, and augment the activity, the plutocracies make the situation worse. (An example is that. As the Mayas got frantic and exploited other tree species, archeology shows that they ran ever more out of resources.)

***

COFFIN CORNER ECONOMY, SINGLETON CASE:

This concerns the case of an isolated civilization (such as the Mayas when they collapsed, or Rome, Japan or China, when they decayed, or today’s global planetary economy viewed as a unit, as it is running out of room to maneuver). Later I present the multi body case, more pertaining to the present quandary the most developed countries find themselves in, and the USA in particular.

To model such a global economy, I imagine a universe which is completely different from anything proposed before: society, or civilization becomes an aircraft, technology (industry, agriculture) supports it, as the air supports an aircraft, the consumption of the society (materials, energy, food) plays the role of gravity, and tends to bring it down, (economic, human) activity pushes it forward.

In the singleton model, height corresponds to technological competence of the economy (it’s not enough to have good science produced, the society needs to have a domestic industry exploiting it). As height is gained, technological know-how is gained by civilization X. indeed the more technologically competent it is, the more productive are its agriculture and industry (industry here covers services, if they are really useful).

In analogy with what we saw above in aviation, not enough speed, not enough activity, and society, or civilization, will stall, too much speed, too much activity, and it will stall too.

What is the interest of this model of mine? Well, it explains very well what happened to the USA, and the world “Anglo-Saxon” capitalist model. It was the object of a HIGH SPEED STALL.

That possibility has completely escaped those who try to understand the frantic “free market”, and its reign of the private bankers, the so called Anglo-Saxon capitalism. I must admit that it is an old lesson: do too much, too fast and you will crash: the turtle and the hare, but here the hare crashes head first, and kills innocent bystanders. (But there is a way out, the way not chosen enough by the West yet.)

For a number of reasons sketched in the notes, the leverage augmented, and so did the feverishness of activity (the velocity of money concentrated on the places in the economy where velocity was easy to gather, on easy targets, superficial tasks such as hamburger or mortgage flipping). Finally the economic activity disconnected from crucial part of the economy, support was lost, and the economy fell.

OK, so how did the cash flow get detached? For the same reason as the airflow gets detached on a plane that is flying too fast. Entire sectors of the economy disconnected from the investing structure of society. For example trains, or the inner cities, or public schools: all these require years to build, and give constant work to the workers, not a constant income to the frantic money changers. So the frantic money changers financed other sectors, where they can keep on frantically transacting

Why did the cash flow get disconnected from the real economy? Because the investing structure of society is mostly created by bankers in a country such as the USA. Those sorts of bankers get a cut from the activity, the velocity of money, the number of transactions . To turn Camus upside down, it is not hard to imagine the financial Sisyphus happy, because he is stealing from everybody else, and the rest of the economy, so, in the end, all that flourishes does so because of its good pleasure, and its good grace, and only because it enjoys its favor.

This suggests an immediate remedy: slow down the cash-commission flow by putting a tiny tax on every single transaction. In other ways, put the air brakes out.

In some countries, such as France and China, banks were little affected by the crisis: a French banker managing a giant French bank, and making profits, will earn less than 1/20 of what his colleague in the USA managing a bank of the same size saddled with huge losses. Yes, only 5% for the French banker. Absolute money corrupts absolutely, less money corrupts less. Thus French bankers be will less corrupt, by the magic of being less spoiled (something good parents know). So, basically the Anglo-Saxon banking sector is riddled by ever more corruption, the more corrupt it is; activity breeds activity, especially when nefarious.

In France, or Sweden, or China, the enormous size of public sector investing, or decisions taken in the name of the public sector, has prevented the monopoly of investing by the plutocratic class: the People, represented by the government, also invests. And because public projects tend to be enormous and well thought of (being a matter of extended public debate), after they are decided and engaged, it’s the workers and the engineers who are in charge, not the frantic money changers. So nothing happens, but structural work. The cash flow gets reconnected to structures supportive of society.

***

COFFIN CORNER, MULTI NATIONAL CASE:

In this related model, we have several economies, and the situation we observe today: a few smaller and richer societies (EU, USA, satellites), and many more numerous, poorer, but very hard working societies (BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and satellites). The “developed” countries got themselves in a corner, whereas the “developing” countries are all on a steep learning curve. (It is precisely the absurdity of believing that there is such a thing as a “developed” country which connects to the underlying mistake: did any of the semanticists of the word “developed” visit a “developed” world slum, ever? Because there are plenty, let me tell you.)

In that globalized world, countries are exporting to each other, according to their best expertise. This is how the top plutocrats (bankers, industrialists, and their pet politicians, mostly located in the rich countries) failed the system, because they did not allow the rich countries to maintain their technological comparative expertise.

Instead of being baboons overlording the BRIC dogs, as they used to be, rich countries devolved, turning down into dogs themselves. And now these new dogs have to learn to eat dog, as their distant ancestors used to. It is not easy: the BRIC dogs are turning out fiercer, bigger, very motivated and pretty smart.

OK, back to the more detailed mathematical model.

Lift is provided to economy X by exporting enough. Thus X needs to add enough value to the world economy to exchange it against needs it has, themselves extracted from the rest of the world economy. Thus X supports its economic weight, thus it can barter the worth it needs from the world economy, in exchange for its own worth, to keep on going.

The economy exports products to other countries from a combination of low cost and technological competency (see note T2). If X does not export enough, it will fall off. So this model considers, from the outset, that any economy with a huge exterior deficit caused by insufficient exports is falling, and, given enough time will crash (see note T3).

Velocity corresponds to economic activity (part of it, but not all of it is related to the velocity of money, and money volume). A lot of economic activity for a long time is necessary for a lot of achievement.

WHAT IS BEING “PRODUCED”? IS CIVILIZATION WORTHY?

The various theories and practices of modern economics were invented in a small area between England and Tuscany. It was a philosophical switch away from Plato and Aristotle: those two despised money, economic activity, mercantilism. Those parrots known as Christianity and Islam embraced that anti business position. (Why? Because, like Plato and Aristotle, those religions are pro-fascist, that is why they came to reign, and business from individuals is intrinsically anti fascist).

The theoretical switch to “product” theory occurred in France, led by the so called physiocrats (physis-cracy = nature-power). They called themselves the “economists”, and some were super intellectuals: their leaders were Voltaire and Quesnay (France’s top surgeon). Some were naively obsessed by agriculture, some viewed industry and “machines” as the top products.

Adam Smith popularized some of these ideas in the Anglo-Saxon world, and ever since he has been the ultimate reference in Anglo-Saxonia, and places such as the University of Chicago (where Obama taught; see Note T5, “history economics”).

The central problem of economy is: what is product, what is “economic activity”? Is it the energy of the cash flow in and around the society, or is it the support the society is provided with? (For Plato and Aristotle, a good product was a well ordered society.)

Indeed “economic activity” has to be measured carefully. It is a philosophical problem (and it is Plato, Aristotle and colleagues such as Xenophon who conceived of economics).

When French volunteers get together, and rebuild, lovingly and expertly, stone by stone, Europe’s tallest Middle Age castle, the chateau de Coucy (dynamited in 1918 by the retreating imperial army of the second Reich), is that “economic activity”?

According to American economists of the Chicago school (the ones with nearly all the Nobel prizes in economics), repairing old castles on one’s free time is not “economic activity”. So these American economists command which values we should have. Thus their country looks the way it does, the rich always richer, the poor always poorer, and the whole thing, overall, ever uglier, as it increasingly led by crooks: a question of uneven flow. (Crooks such as Madoff and Sanford and companies of crooks, such as Enron seem to be increasingly the rule, and this dates from the collaboration with Nazism, as early as the early 1920s, an entire layer of artistically buried history.)

But, in a very old country such as France, everybody is penetrated by history. In France everybody knows that repairing old castles is a valuable human activity. Thus the French differ from the Chicagoans. The French live according to the doctrine that there are valuable things money cannot buy, whereas the Chicagoan believes that anything, or anybody valuable can be bought. If it cannot be bought with huge money, it is not valuable: this is the exact argument the plutocrats use urbi et orbi to justify their astronomical incomes.

Those Chicago economists, the justifiers of the plutocracy of the USA, are not from an old civilization. So there is every reason to suspect that they do not know what it takes to run a civilization, long term. France, or China, in spite of many bloody, greedy enemies, have survived millennia. And it was not by accident, it was a question of values.

It is not an accident that China survived the Mongols. It is a telling chapter in the theory of worth. Genghis Khan conquered (North) China. Presented with plans for the total demographic and geophysical annihilation of China, down to the last tree, Genghis Khan blocked them. Genghis Khan thought that China was WORTH saving. The Mongol armies soon integrated Chinese siege and explosive technologies, in the most mobile form. Mongol leaders harnessed Chinese technology, including paper currency, and pushed it all over.

In a striking contrast, Genghis Khan annihilated the (Muslim) Khwarezmid and the (Buddhist) Tangut empires. A successor Khan annihilated the Abbasid Caliphate, with its capital, Baghdad, and the Persian Muslim civilization, with most of its books.

The Mongols had extreme, very explicit contempt for the societies they exterminated with these holocausts. But conversely the Mongols had esteem for the Chinese and the Franks. In the later case, remembering what happened to their ancestors the Huns, the Mongols left Western Europe alone, and even allied with the Franks, both happily conquering together Damascus (the grotesque Pope and the racist Saint Louis squashed further collaboration)… Thus civilizational worth can be life saving, so it’s certainly the ultimate worth, worth integrating in “house management” (= “eco nomy”)..

Those who do not come from a millennial institutional tradition do not understand what human activity really is, in the fullness of time. (I distinguish institutional tradition, what an army and its government believe in, from fake tradition, what the sheep is supposed to believe, the slave religion, Bible style, a distinction Nietzsche accentuated). But of course Chicago style economists are not so well paid to ferret the truth, but to promote illusions (Summers has two such Nobels in his close family).

Indeed, simple “economic activity”, measured in financial transactions, is not sufficient to be a source of value to civilization, or EVEN AS AN EXPORT: how do you export fraud a la Madoff? (OK, another billionaire fraudster from the USA succeeded to do just that, ruining a few islands in the process: Mr. Sanford. But this goes only that far, before other countries rebel.)

How do you export a plutocracy? The USA spent about two trillion dollars saving its plutocracy, so it can keep on being a plutocracy. Is it going to export that now? Is it going to support the economy of the USA? Well, in the past empire was a product, for the USA, and it was profitable, to the USA. Now the empire of the USA has shrunk, and is increasingly restricted to tax heavens, which are only profitable for the plutocracy of the USA (see Note).

So an economy cannot just be active, it has to be going somewhere, not just fly around in circles, it has to achieve something. What is achievement? The physical plant: the industrial infrastructure (bridges, rail, airports, roads, bridges, power plants, schools, hospitals, cities, etc.), and the intellectual infrastructure (universities, educated population, engineers, health care providers, thinkers, etc.). (see note T6, “How to discern real achievement”.)

Total economic activity is like total airflow around a plane: it cannot just be fast and energetic: in a high speed stall, the airflow around a plane is fast and energetic, but the plane gets no support. Energy flow cannot just be strong, it has to be DIRECTED.

What has been going on in the financial oligarchy dominated economy of the USA is that more and more energy has been funneled into economic activity as money flow. The greater the mass of the flow (leverage) and the greater the velocity of the flow (frantic financial transactions), the better the Chicago school believes the economy is going. BUT IN TRUTH THE ECONOMY OF THE USA IS IN A HIGH SPEED STALL: THE FASTER IT GOES, THE MORE IT DROPS.

Velocity of money and high leverage favor easy purchases, purchases of the non thinking type. These artifacts increase GDP on the cheap: it’s cheap, because these purchases do not bring any true value. Financial firms can create trillions of transaction creating trillions of GDP, using computers waving to each other, bringing no value whatsoever to the planet, while preventing the rest of the planet to do anything, by blocking their exchanges and communications, and claiming they are not worthy, hence forbidding them to work.

***

Conclusion: A NEW MODEL: Einstein explained a lot of Special Relativity by considering a model made of a moving train and the platform along which it moves. This made the baffling slowing down of local time in the moving train readily understandable. Einstein’s model was partly invented by Galileo, and could have been invented by Aristotle (but was not, and so Aristotle invented instead erroneous physics, first denounced and rendered obsolete by Buridan’s genius, see Note T 8, “relativity & modelization”).

The model here is a completely new and behaves as trains on the ir tracks do not: boats and trains a la Galileo-Einstein just move. Planes were invented three centuries after Galileo found inspiration in linearly moving boats. Subsonic planes do not just move, they float, but only at the right speed; if one wants to be able to do away with those limitations, they have to morph appropriately.

Ever augmenting the economic activity, as measured by the flow of money, in the most developed economies, is no solution, quite the opposite. A poorly measured GDP, using a wrong theory of product, is central to the problem.

Cash flow has to be slowed down: money helps to measure some economic activity, but ought not to destroy it (as it has). The invisible hand theory of Mandeville and some French economists, broadcasted by Smith, has reached its limits, in a world where what is big, and not visible, is globally unsafe. It’s true about Grand Ayatollahs’ grand fascism, it’s true also about devouring global bankers, their shadows, and their derivatives.

There is no possibility for an invisible economy and finance, looking forward. Blindly trusting the bad nature of man, as Mandeville preached, and Adam Smith echoed, is obsolete. Blind trust is spelled: A U S C H W I T Z. Some will be outraged that I connect the “Invisible Hand” to Auschwitz. But facts speak for themselves.

Civilization is the accumulation of increasingly intricate and powerful laws, increasingly intricate and clever behaviors, to master increasingly intricate and powerful technology. Technology jumped up recently, and it had to: if our technology does not keep on going up, and our valuable activity does not increase, our consumption will bring us down, because we will be unable to support it. Ecology is breathing down our necks. So we need to go higher with ever more VALUABLE activity.

Subsonic planes flying at mach .85 are prevented to go supersonic, because their geometry is not appropriate to supersonic flow. A supersonic plane such as Concorde could cruise at mach 2.2, because its geometry made it so that supersonic flows and shocks still provided support. Moreover, a testimony to increasing complexity, computers moved fuel to the back of Concorde to keep the center of mass above the center of lift as it went supersonic. In other words, Concorde had a variable geometry, so it could cruise much faster and higher. We also need to create variable geometry society, and civilization, so it can go higher, and really faster. We have no choice.

Verily the low speed stall has to be averted too: societies that do not maintain enough technological expertise are at risk, and are morally culprit of wantonly crashing countries (which had, and will have military consequences: when Weimar republic politicians opted for high inflation rather than satisfying France and Belgium, they collapsed their economy, which was worse than the alternative, as subsequent events confirmed).

When I speak of technology, I mean etymologically: specialized logics. When the German Second Reich madly pushed for making machines while shrinking ever more the rest of mental capability, it detached most of the world of mind from supporting the society, and led to unbridled fascism in Germany. Thus, by technological lift, I mean technology in the largest philosophical sense.

Thus maintaining comparative technological advantage is not just economically advantageous, it’s a question of avoiding death.

All the preceding applies globally too.

So the world economy’s frantic activity has to be slowed down: that means a WORLDWIDE CARBON TAX (including on shipping and aircraft), and a WORLDWIDE TRANSACTION TAX. Too much frantic activity precludes valuable activity.

Thus philosophy, law, science and technology have to be pushed constantly to provide enough lift (all the more since the population is augmenting quickly, and so is global poverty). It is not just an economic opportunity, but a necessity for survival: it’s a question of keeping civilizational order, and avoiding a planetary crash.

Hence nuclear power (fission and fusion) has to be pushed: one cannot just depend upon the 2,000 year old water and wind mill idea. We need genuinely new ideas in energy generation, all the way to the energy of the vacuum (a possibility brought up by Quantum Field Theory, and which will be industrially exploited within decades).

***

Patrice Ayme

***

There is a huge background to all this. Various notes:

MODELS ARE HALF OF SCIENCE: Models are used all over science, especially physics. Quantum Mechanics is a model. Special relativity, with its trains, is a model. Mathematics itself benefits from
“Model Theory”. The present author believes that the brain is a modeling machine, using its neuroglial dynamic geometry to physically make such models. The relationship between “model” and “proof” is obscure. From my point of view, if it works, it’s true (basically the “truth”, as used in aviation).

A model comprising seven stages of evolution of societies was already presented by Polybius and others in Antiquity to explain why they decayed. But the subject of this essay was a much more targeted model explaining the mechanics of the loss of control itself.

The model presented here is higher dimensional, and intrinsically more sophisticated than the linear model used by Galileo and Einstein in relativity. Having a model to brandish makes it harder for obscurantists to obtuse.

***

MATHEMATICAL NOTE: BETTER THAN GAUSSIANS: People who know some mathematics may object that what we seem to attempt to model some ideal median, the sort of things BELL (Gaussian) curves have long done. That is the conventional mathematics of exponential (- XX). That later function is used all over, often for unclear reasons.

The present model is more sophisticated, though: the function is asymmetric: on its way up it’s cubic, so tamer than an exponential, giving an illusion of safety, but on its way down it’s more non linear than an exponential, and full of shocks.

Thus it may reflect reality better than exp(-XX).

The model presented here is higher dimensional, and intrinsically more complicated (thus sophisticated) than the linear model of linearly moving boats and trains used by Galileo and Einstein in the theory of relativity.

Although the idea is to model a type of very frequent catastrophe, the model is outside of the Catastrophe theory, because there is no well behaved potential giving rise to the catastrophe. The whole idea is to model a common catastrophe, but which is much more catastrophic than anything Rene Thom thought of.

***

HOW FAKE MEASURES OF ECONOMY LEADS FINANCE TO DISCONNECT FROM REALITY THROUGH FRANTIC FINANCIAL ACTIVITY: In the present view, human activity corresponds to the velocity of society X going forward. (Assuming a constant money supply, this is equal to the velocity of money and the GDP: at this point the theory is first order.)

Indeed we have: (Total Money) (Velocity) = GDP. This is conventional, erroneous, economics.  To keep GDP going up (because we are not all rich enough, among other things. And there is only that much velocity that can be deployed. Although hedge funds tried their best they reached their limits of selling what they had not bought yet. So they concentrated on new fields such as oil trading: hence the oil bubble.

Another way to augment GDP was to augment the Total Money. In other words to augment LEVERAGE IN THE BANKING SYSTEM. That is what the banks did to the bitter end, to keep the appearance of the augmentation of riches, which justifies the ever bigger grabbing of the pie by the top bankers and their hanger ons.

Now a psychological effect gets grafted on: as GDP forges ahead, everybody wants to get richer, etc… So everybody augmented leverage, personally: subprime, Alt A, and home equity leverage crises.

Meanwhile the banks created CDOs (Credit Default Obligations). It was a way to make tremendous income, but the banks had made totally insufficient reserves to honor their engagements. When mortgages started to default, some banks had to pay hefty sums (50 billion dollars, sometimes) that they did not have.

The mentally challenged Alan Greenspan commented that he had 200 PhDs working below him, and that no one could understand how the banks could hope to honor their CDOs. Well, little Alan, learn: sometimes things cannot be understood, because they are plain wrong (not like theories, which are so sophisticated that they are, intrinsically hard to understand).

In my own system things are significantly different. The equation (Total Money) (Velocity) = GDP corresponds in truth to (Value Activity) (Total Activity) = GDP. (Or more exactly my personal definition of GDP, which I call AWE, Absolute Worth Energy). Technology is how to improve value.

But more of this some other time. we have to improve Value, or activity.

***

EMPIRE AS PRODUCT, HEALTH CARE AS STRATEGIC THREAT:

Now, of course, in the past, the American plutocracy and its CIA could afford to keep on the payroll dozens of French journalists who were supposed to have good thoughts, and only good thoughts. And this was done around the world.

At the time, after WWII, a quickly built American empire expanded on the ruins of Nazi-American companies in Nazi occupied Europe (don’t laugh: IBM is an example). The USA made many of its companies into world monopolies (a system tested with the Nazis before, see Wall Street created IG Farben). This was profitable for all and any Americans: little did they see the threat to their own democracy. But people, worldwide saw it, and this is a big component of so called “anti-Americanism”.

Right now the plutocracy is paying its political servants in the USA to legislate in its favor (some of the Senators blocking progress in health care reform are getting more than 1,000 a day from the so called “health care industry”).

But it can be argued that health care, or lack thereof, has become a strategic threat to the USA. Many companies cannot compete anymore, as they, and their employees, are getting gouged by the health care plutocrats.

***

T1:PLUTO’S SHADOWS & (TAX) HEAVENS:

French and German conservative leaders have insisted on the need to strengthen regulations, and crack down on the shadow banking system and tax heavens. Many Europeans know that those have allowed massive, legal tax evasion of individuals and corporations alike: that is why a tiny Channel island is the world’s greatest banana importer (administratively speaking).

The malignant growth of plutocracy uses the shadow banking system and the heavens as its dens and fortresses. Are right wing leaders in Europe are left of the left wing of the USA, or is it just that the later does not exist?

***

T2: SPEED OF SOUND, SUPPORT & LIFT:

Sound is about air molecules hitting each other, but doing it in a particular way: a molecule is hit, then travels a bit, and hit another molecule, transmitting to that second molecule its entire supplementary momentum (in the average). If there are not enough molecules to hit, it will take longer to transmit that supplementary momentum, so it will take longer to transmit that supplementary momentum, slowing sound down. Conversely that is why sounds goes fast through a metal, and not at all in space).

Now if an object goes through a medium at higher than the speed of sound, the molecules do not have the time to push themselves away, and they both make a dense layer, and that layer displace itself as a solid object (sort of), creating a shocked layer. That layer will detach itself, because it cannot fill in opening spaces. It is a matter of information not being able to outrun a shock. That is why planes lose support, and, I argue, in analogy, so does the economy. It also has to do with information (but in the case of the plutocracy, the lack of information transmission is by design)..

(Theories have been made to explain the loss of Air France 447 this way, although this is only a theory, in that particular case, large planes have found themselves in the coffin corner before, and have plunged. With the  spy plane, at 70,000 feet, the gap between low and high stall was less than 10 kilometers an hour, so, in a turn, the left wing could find itself in a low speed stall, and plunge, whereas the right wind could be buffeted by supersonic shocks, and lose support because of that too. A plane such as Concorde had no such problems because it was designed to fly at high supersonic speeds (Mach 2.2), without detachments of the airflow from the wing).

*

Note T4: To be wanted overseas, products need to occupy a particular region in necessity-competence-cost space.

Exterior deficit in the case of the USA is caused by not exporting enough products that the rest of the world wants.

In rare cases, the deficit can be caused be a lot of investment in the country. According to the model above, the USA should be falling off. How come it did not yet? Well, first there is inertia: the USA still produces wanted products. Besides Argentina, which used to be in a somewhat similar situation, like any other plane stalling, took a while before falling of the sky. The USA is bigger: more inertia. Moreover the USA has powers outside of strict economy, which allow it to stay up: a world reserve currency, giant armed forces.

Note T5: HISTORY ECONOMICS: SMITH IS NOT GOD: First banks became strong in Italy (financing the French monarchy), then mercantilism appeared (out with Aristotle and the Catholic religion, which acted as its poodle), and finally appeared the invisible hand (Mandeville, died 1733, the expression, but not the idea, may be from Smith, born 1723) and “laissez faire” (Marquis d’ Argenson, Vincent de Gournay).

The theoretical switch to “product” theory occurred in France, led by the so called physiocrats (physis-cracy = nature-power). The physiocrats called themselves the “economists”, and some were super intellectuals: their leaders were Voltaire and Quesnay (France’s top surgeon). Some were naively obsessed by agriculture, some correctly viewed industry and “machines” as the top products.

*

Note T6: HOW TO DISCERN REAL ACHIEVEMENT: Economic achievement ought to be measured by AWE (not GDP!). it’s the Absolute Worth Energy. it measures the value of a product (it could be a mind) or a service, from how much worthy energy was put into it (a PhD or surgeon’s formation being worth more than that of a grave digger, because to form a surgeon, a lot of teaching is necessary, from a lot of predecessors, who, themselves took a lot of energy to form, etc.).

The AWE of any product is the sum over history of all other products entering its making.

***

Note T 8: In truth, Einstein pushed the same example due to Galileo, who used just one boat, demonstrating inertia thus. Einstein used two boats and added the fact the speed of light is always found to be constant. (A discovery in which Galileo was involved, since he tried to measure the speed of light, and found it faster than what he could measure).

The discovery of inertia was actually the work of the great thinker Buridan (14C), in the Middle Ages, who contradicted Aristotle by doing so. Buridan applied his discovery to the Earth’s orbit, discovering what came to be erroneously known as Copernic’s work. Buridan’s model was not linear.

*

STIMULATING THE ERRONEOUS ZONES

July 3, 2009

SINKING IN THE DRAIN, WHAT A GLORIOUS FEELING, WHAT A HAPPY REFRAIN…

***

 

Abstract: Stimulating bankers and Afghans, after stimulating Khamenei, is the change we can observe, the more of the same change we observed before: all the change go to Goldman Sachs, none go to the People. Stimulating the real economy is, so far, of the too little too late variety, and may drive it into the "coffin corner" (which I will describe in the future). A real stimulus for the real economy is needed. But the plutocracy does not want to know what the word "economy" means. (Hint: it was invented by philosophers, not swindlers.)

The timidity of Obama’s change in policies will not pay, because he gets the worst accusations (of "socialism") from the plutocrats, while not effecting as bold a change, by a long shot, as the accusations he is submitted to themselves boldly infer. In other words, Obama is not spending political capital as effectively as he could, and the time for deeper reforms, and a radical break with the past, may be gone soon. Obama seems persuaded that he has only one thing to fear, and that is to displease the plutocratic party. But his timidity, should it persist, will kill the economy. Instead he should do like G.W. Bush, and impose his will, supposing that his will is not just about change for Goldman Sachs. (This is an extension of Krugman’s editorial pleading for a further stimulus.) 

After rising unemployment clearly showed that recovery will prove elusive, Paul Krugman wonders: "Does failing to learn from history mean we are doomed to repeat it? Not necessarily, but it’s up to Washington to ensure that 1937 doesn’t happen all over again." In 1937, to reestablish fiscal discipline, Franklin Deleano Roosevelt (FDR) tightened up, and the economy fell back into recession.

Looking at the numbers is revealing: government spending went from 20% of GDP down to 18.74% (in 1937). Barely more than 5% down.

Obama passed, with fanfare, a pseudo stimulus package of around 800 billion dollars. Why so much fanfare? Was it to hide the real stimulus, the stimulus of two trillions, to reestablish the bankers and its attached plutocracy to their old and traditional preeminence, allowing the American People to feel that they are led at last, led once again? Was the fake stimulus, with all its bells and whistles, there just to hide the real thing? One wonders…

Some of Obama’s stimulus was entirely fake, such as the 75 billion dollars AMT adjustment (a standard part of the Fed budget), some was running in place: such as money sent to states that are cutting their own spending. Best example: 50 billion dollars of the Federal stimulus is sent to California, at the time when California state budget went into a deep freeze.

Thousands of California state projects were stopped, all state employees were told to stay home, and not be paid, one Friday out of two; starting July first, it’s now three days a month with no work and no pay, almost two months worth of salary, and work, a year, now reduced to zero. The pitiful Obama stimulus cannot stop that non sense. There are thirty eight million people in California, nearly the population of Spain.

Moreover, the Obama "stimulus" spent so far is, all together, about 50 billion dollars: too little, too late. China’s stimulus was about 500 billions, but three quarters of it have already been spent, and it’s on real infrastructure.

The reason to call Obama’s stimulus a pseudo stimulus was that the real stimulus was for the bankers, part of a given set of private individuals who are identified, in the USA, with the "financial system".

By comparison to the measly stimulus the commons got, Goldman Sachs, through TARP money sent to AIG, profited of a gift of 13 billion dollars from the proverbial "taxpayers", the government of the USA, in the name of the American People.

Question: what does Goldman Sachs make? What employment does it support? For example, Boeing makes planes, at the extreme cutting edge of technology (the edge which I view as morally correct).

Goldman Sachs makes transactions, as many as possible, and then extracts a cut for each of these transactions. Goldman Sachs plots to create more such transactions. (The reason why "Cap and Trade" passed before the first order energy policy of simply making energy expensive is that the plutocrats saw that they could make a bundle, as their European colleagues succeeded to. In general Goldman Sachs and other plutocratic institutions have organized a succession of bubbles, and the name of the biggest one was called Nazism.)

Goldman Sachs and other plutocratic machines do not make anything nice and real, let alone anything that would help people, except for the employees of Goldman Sachs and the elements of the plutocracy that have money invested with Goldman Sachs, and the like.

When FDR was president, government spending was a small part of GDP: after being boosted by Hoover (from 11% to 21%), in an effort to stave the depression, it went down slightly to 20%. Now, under Obama, it is reaching 45% in 2009. So FDR could do little, but to legislate very creatively and very boldly and intelligently, and all of that he did. (Let’s notice that government spending reached 29% of GDP in 1918, for W.W.I; so Roosevelt could have done more with spending. He finally did during World War Two, FDR raked up governmental expenditures up to 53% of GDP in 1945).

Under Obama, by contrast, the government controls a huge part of the GDP, 45%, but most of this control has been given to the dim witted foxes put in charge of watching the hen house (Summers and all other plutocrats controlling the government, many from Government Sachs). Let me repeat for clarity: a 50 billion dollars stimulus, so far, for 310 million people, whereas the ultra rich at Goldman Sachs alone got 13 billion, and probably more through the central bank secret operations.

Obama can do a lot more than FDR did, but, as long as he leaves the profiteers in charge of not changing the system, all he can boast of is that the profiteers are profiteering again, as he regularly does on TV, as if he accomplished something important. He identifies the profiteers with what he calls "the financial system", and, having saved them, seems most satisfied. Well, no doubt it is important for his further personal advancement in the world of personal riches to help these people, but it is not helping the planet. And what is a bunch of self impressed morons in comparison to a planet? Right, not everybody can see the difference. It takes a valuable mind.

Apparently Obama’s payments to states, when they will be done, will amount to 140 billion dollars. But the deficit of the states, combined, is already 166 billion dollars (and augmenting everyday). Obama is doing the moon walk, backwards, ready to fall backwards in the abyss of irrelevance..

Just a few examples from France about what a real stimulus looks like: the government there has decided to create a gigantic peripheral fast automatic 24/7 train in an immense figure eight connecting all four of Paris airports and business districts and central hubs. Cost: 50 billion dollars. Work on four new high speed train lines is proceeding. The high speed train line through the "metropolises" of the French Riviera (Marseilles-Toulon-Cannes-Nice) was decided this week. It will be underground a lot, so it’s immensely expensive: 30 billion dollars. Next generation nuclear reactors are under construction. And so on. That is what one calls really stimulating.

Eco-nomy means house-management. It does not mean profiteering from the house. It does not mean gouging the house. As long as Obama puts financiers (Summers, Geithner, and various other mental gnomes from Goldman Sachs) in charge of managing the house, they will keep on stealing it. That’s all they know. For a fox, the essence of intelligence is killing chicken.

House-management is fundamentally not about money. Money has two roles: its oldest role is helping to motivate the children, I mean the little actors of the economy, let their little invisible hands do their little work, and allowing to keep tabs on their activities. Its more advanced role is to keep track of activity throughout the house, compare and harmonize public and private spending.

Thus money is a sophisticated way to help manage and activate the economy, it is not the essence of the thing. The essence of the economy is productive work. The organization of productive work does not need money. It is often optimal with money, but, in some other circumstances, carrots and whips can do better. The example of a long term career in a galley springs to mind.

Stalin ran a deadly efficient economy without a profit motive. A survival motive is always stronger. Giving the choice between money and life, people tend to prefer the former: survival primes interest always.

Stalin’s friend, FDR, also ran a command economy. The Nazis lost in a hurry, because they did not dare become dictatorial enough to run a command economy, lest their "total democracy" ran into popular resentment. When they tried the command economy, it was too little, too late (thus they got deprived of the dubious honor to be the first with nuclear tans, the French back-up plan from way back).

Obama has to run a command economy too, but, instead, he seems to be flying the economy into what is called in aviation the "COFFIN CORNER". When most of the money has been spent on the plutocrats, what will be left? The plutocratic control of hysterical media explaining that none of this would have happened if only the plutocrats had been in total command (as Rush Limbaugh suggested, by wishing for a "coup" against Obama)?

It’s for the People and its democratically elected government, guided by the deepest thinkers, to decide what productive work is, it is not, it ought never to be, the business of the money swindlers. Trusting the money swindlers is Obama’s mistake, and it could all end very badly, if he does not correct this in time.

Obama’s incredible propensity to stimulate the erroneous zones is not limited to the economy of the USA. For some reason ("I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the Middle East"), he has developed pretty low standards of what "to know" means. If Obama knew Islam, he would know that Islam is not compatible with democracy. Ataturk knew this, and that is why he separated Islam from politics in Turkey. The CIA knew this very well too, and that is why it loves the worst extremists Islam ever produced (bin Laden being a particular specimen of CIA employee, but, in a way, all of Iran’s Shiites are, thanks to 1953 CIA engineered coup). Some people will say it backfired, but real cynics will notice that there is war all over the place, so the place is weak and divided, and the oil keeps on flowing.

In Cairo Obama said: " I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."

That was so incredibly refreshing. Khamenei could not believe his good luck, he had to celebrate. Khamenei took Obama to his word, within days, and together Obama and Khamenei "fought against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear". Like for example on the streets of Teheran. In an apparent effort to help, Obama even pointed out that he did not see much difference between the thug and his opponents. Finally he corrected these bold statements, after many days, and many deaths.

To say: "part of my responsibility as President of the United States is to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear" is a gross violation of the Constitution of the USA , and of the spirit of Washington, Adams and Jefferson (the first three presidents), who were very clear that the USA had nothing to do with Christianity (hence, presumably, nothing to do with Islam, which is Christianity’s wild child of the desert).

Instead the founding fathers had it that the government of the USA was not supposed to push a "particular establishment of religion", but, instead it was supposed to be about "We The People".

Nor should the government of the USA, and the stimulus of the USA about "We The Bankers of America".

But one gets the impression that Obama wants to say: " I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Goldman Sachs wherever they appear."

I know someone with a PhD who works as an quality control inspector overseeing the Food and Drug Administration. She informed me yesterday that the part of the overseeing system she works for will be cancelled in September, and she will be out of a job.

Meanwhile Mr. Obama has found another erroneous zone to stimulate. He is stimulating the Afghans by killing and terrorizing a lot of them, as his imperial troopers have been sent to conquer the southern province of Helmand. Change you can sneer by. Only change you can believe in: Goldman Sachs.

Instead of sending marines, it would have been craftier to send cash, and work: polls show that many young men go to the Taliban because the Taliban pays them five dollars a day. And the US army knows this: Colonel Tom Collins, the top Pentagon spokesman in Afghanistan, told PBS that:

   "There is a low percentage of the total Taliban force who we would call ideologically driven. We refer to them as Tier 1 people who believe their ideology, that what they’re doing is right. The vast majority of Taliban fighters are essentially economically disadvantaged young men."

So just pay them to do useful work. Paying one million Afghans ten dollars a day for four years would cost thirteen billion dollars, exactly what Goldman Sachs was given by the US government.

Funny how it all fits. Instead this Afghanistan war will cost a trillion dollars, and, in the end, just as in Iraq, it will end up with hundreds of million people hating the USA.

On the good side of it, as Goldman Sachs would point out, there will be no money to change the health care system, and people such as Warren Buffet will keep on enriching themselves through the flailing health of fellow citizens, preserving an important source of gouging for the plutocracy. And there will be no money to improve schools, preserving another source of profits and buttress of an increasingly unfair educational system. There will be no money for the USA to get out of its carbon economy death spiral, preserving another source of gouging and great pretext to have a super sized military, and so on. it all fits very well as an harmonious whole.

But there will be change we can believe in for Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, and the like. Plutocrats and the military-industrial complex will get stimulated plenty. for them, victory means stimulating the forever war.

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Patrice Ayme

http://patriceayme.com/

http://tyranosopher.blogspot.com/

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Note on future gouging: According to the Wall Street Journal, Goldman Sachs may pay as much as $20 BILLION, or about $700,000 per employee in 2009. That would nearly double its average of last year (thanks to the 13 billion dollar gift from the grateful American People). A bit more than the $661,000 of 2007.

Morgan Stanley will likely pay out $11 billion to $14 billion in compensation and benefits this year, analysts predict. On a per-employee basis, payouts are expected to exceed last year’s average of $262,000.

Citigroup, Bank of America, and others are planning to raise salaries to retain “top talent”.

As business returns and pseudo competition for “top talent” in the art of grabbing money, ratchets up, the “new” Wall Street is returning to its old self.