Archive for April, 2015

Beware Of Those Who Brought Greeks Gifts

April 20, 2015

The hidden logic in various human activities is often different from the apparent one. This is true in sociology, politics, economics. Consider NAFTA (North American Free Trade Accord), QE (Quantitative Easing: make banks richer so they be gooder), TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership: Terrifying Plutocracy Punishing China), etc.

For a decade the Greeks, having had their Drachmas converted into Euros at twice their natural worth, brought gifts to the rough Germans, by buying their luxury cars. Now Germany is rich and powerful, and Greece poor, and weak. Best conditions to pay for Greek arrogance.

There is totally no economic reason to keep on punishing Greece at this point. So why do the punishments keep on coming? One has to resort to a few twisted psychological explanations.

Lots Of Debt: Some Can Be Turned Into Tax, Some To Foreign Extortion

Lots Of Debt: Some Can Be Turned Into Tax, Some To Foreign Extortion

My twisted psycho analysis will complement the excellent editorial from Krugman: ”Greece on the Brink”.

“…Can Greek exit from the euro be avoided?

Yes, it can. The irony of Syriza’s [the present governing party, in alliance with nationalists] victory is that it came just at the point when a workable compromise should be possible.

The key point is that exiting the euro would be extremely costly and disruptive in Greece, and would pose huge political and financial risks for the rest of Europe. It’s therefore something to be avoided if there’s a halfway decent alternative. And there is, or should be.”

Notice that Paul Krugman has now an opinion on the “Grexit” exactly opposite to the one he had just two years ago. What he and others have not understood, is that I do not see why Greece could not default and stay in the Eurozone. To identify both concepts, is a way to terrify, but it does not have to be, except as a terror instrument.

Krugman: “By late 2014 Greece had managed to eke out a small “primary” budget surplus, with tax receipts exceeding spending, excluding interest payments. That’s all that creditors can reasonably demand, since you can’t keep squeezing blood from a stone. Meanwhile, all those wage cuts have made Greece competitive on world markets — or would make it competitive if some stability can be restored.

The shape of a deal is therefore clear: basically, a standstill on further austerity, with Greece agreeing to make significant but not ever-growing payments to its creditors. Such a deal would set the stage for economic recovery…

But right now that deal doesn’t seem to be coming together… the creditors are demanding things — big cuts in pensions and public employment — that a newly elected government of the left simply can’t agree to, as opposed to reforms like an improvement in tax enforcement that it can. And the Greeks, as I suggested, are all too ready to see these demands as part of an effort either to bring down their government or to make their country into an example of what will happen to other debtor countries if they balk at harsh austerity.

Rightly so: if Greece default, students in the USA, with an outstanding, non-extinguishable debt of 1.2 Trillion dollars (!) may think: ’Why not us?’

Greece has a ratio of 170 per cent of debt to GDP. However, the debt has a very low interest rate and a maturity of over 15 years. Its impact on the economy is much lower than in Portugal, Spain, or Italy. And that is the entire point: the Italian economy is terrible. Last year 170,000 refugees flooded Italy (they came back to be colonized again by the big bad colonialists!)

A new round of Greek restructuring would create political problems for Eurozone governments which, as a percentage of GDP, face a higher interest bill than Greece. How can the Spanish or Italian Prime Minister tell their aghast subjects: ‘Greece has a lower interest burden than we have, but we need to alleviate their burden! And not yours!’

And then there is the question of countries like France, where austerity is applied, while the country is paid by investors to consent to store their money there. That can only mean that, in the light of our guides, austerity is an absolute good.

Krugman detects the will to torture the Greeks, because:

To make things even worse, political uncertainty is hurting tax receipts [and investing!!], probably causing that hard-earned primary surplus to evaporate. The sensible thing, surely, is to show some patience on that front: if and when a deal is reached, uncertainty will subside and the budget should improve again. But in the pervasive atmosphere of distrust, patience is in short supply.

It doesn’t have to be this way. True, avoiding a full-blown crisis would require that creditors advance a significant amount of cash, albeit cash that would immediately be recycled into debt payments. But consider the alternative. The last thing Europe needs is for fraying tempers to bring on yet another catastrophe, this one completely gratuitous.”

None of these apparently absurd policies imposed on Greece, are absurd. They just look absurd to those attached to human rights. From the point of the perpetrators, they are fully logical. And they are certainly not gratuitous.

Contemplate this: If the Greek government succeeded to augment tax revenues, it would succeed to tax the 1% significantly, especially the super-rich. If, in combination with a primary surplus, that was deemed sufficient for the rest of Greece creditors (including those based in Washington, like the IMF), that would be a demonstration for all to see that the present economic crisis has to do with NOT taxing the hyper rich enough. As taxing them would be enough to solve everything.

This is exactly the lesson the plutocrats and their servants do not want to be advertised.

Hence their reluctance to accept that taxing the hyper-rich is enough. But there is a further twist. The “Socialist” French Finance Minster, Sapin, is as hysterical as his German colleagues to insists Greece should pay… Until catastrophe ensues. Of course, as all the others, he has to think about his income once he gets kicked out of government within 2 years (probably). But there is still another angle.

Suppose catastrophe ensues: Greece defaults, exits the Eurozone. Then what? The Euro probably goes down much more (for a long number of reasons… no least that there would have been a default, and Greece would still have to be helped!)

Then the Euro, may go as low as it was when Germany was in great difficulty, a decade ago. So it would be good for Europe: whereas the USA depends only for 13% upon international trade, France depends at 28%, and Germany much more.

Right wing individuals, many of them who have been partners at Goldman Sachs (Monti, or the head of the ECB), or in general are tied in to High Finance, are not interested in seeing a left-wing government succeed, where the right has failed. Creditors will keep destroying the Greek economy. They may be nice people, but mostly with their kind.

One could point to creditors that they were the ones who converted the Drachma at twice its real rate against the Euro. As co-responsible, they should be punished too! However, this would not go in the sense we are supposed to attribute to history.

This Greek tragedy makes sense. Plutocratic sense. This is a world where the weak and small is in debt to the mighty, and has to learn living that way, as serfs did, in the Middle-Ages. Otherwise, they can be made an example of.

Patrice Ayme’

Putting Up With Putin

April 18, 2015

Russia is the largest state on Earth. This colossus spread across eleven time zones, until Putin a few years ago reduced it to nine, by putting more zones under Moscow time.

Russia is 70% larger than the other very large countries: Canada, China, and the USA. With a bit more than twice the French population, Russia controls more than 30 times the land area, with a total wealth that is not even half that of France.

Russia, as a state, is superior mostly in weapons and military power. Aside from its supergiant empire, and its oil and gas, sheer physical force, threatened or applied, is what makes Russia powerful. That, and the conquests of imperial Russia.

Saint Michael Cathedral, Kiev. It Survived the Mongols, Not Putin's Soviet Teachers

Saint Michael Cathedral, Kiev. It Survived the Mongols, Not Putin’s Soviet Teachers

[The cathedral was destroyed by Stalin in 1935, and rebuilt identically in the 1990s. Although against religious fanaticism, or precisely because of that, I am for the safeguard of beautiful religious buildings, and that includes a lot of magnificent mosques.]

On the face of it, one should say that Russia is a classical example of military imperial overstretch: bloated land control, vast military, little else.

On April 17, 2015, Putin just gave a public conference that lasted 4 hours. Then he talks some more informally with the press outside. He denied his aim was to reconstitute the Russian empire. The bear denied he would ever eat again.

Old nations such as Russia have long traditions. Ukraine is more than a millennium old, and was launched as a Christian state in Crimea, by Vladimir of Kiev around 990 CE.

Ivan III, a bit more than 5 centuries ago, beat the Mongols, and united Moscow with Novgorod and Tver. This makes the Muscovite state half the age of Ukraine (although it is possible to argue Russian history descended from Alexander Nevsky, and the republic of Novgorod; Nevsky’s son founded Moscow).

Ivan III’s grandson, Ivan The Terrible launched many of the Russian state’s worst traditions. The growth of the Muscovite state was spectacular. Many died horribly, and unsavory ways got enshrined as normal, or destiny (in particular torturing to death and otherwise killing individuals next of kin to the ruler). That was all more terrible, because Ivan was successful in creating an enormous empire. Ever since then, Russian rulers come to rule, persuaded that Ivan’s ways are intrinsically Russian, intrinsically good, and on objective grounds, how to have a successful nation. Indeed, which nation is bigger? Ivan is now being rehabilitated under Putin.

Russian propagandists now say that official history about Ivan the Terrible, was only terrible “Western” propaganda against Russia.

Why such bad faith? Another Russian tradition is the West’s bad faith. The fall of Ukraine and elements of Russia, to the Mongols, in the Thirteenth Century, without any West European attempt to save it, is still resented.

(According to the Mongol generals themselves, they could not beat the Franks in Western Europe, in part because of the unfavorable ecology, which did not allow the Mongols to use their bows, or to maneuver around the heavily armored knights. Once the Franks/French got their hands on gunpowder, they quickly evolved field guns… That is how the “English” were thrown back to the sea… All the more as the knights had previously surprised and annihilated the Welsh archers.

The fact remains that the Franks were (mostly) allied to the Mongols (!) and an expedition to free Ukraine from the Mongols was not suggested.

Moreover, the conquest of Constantinople by the Franks in 1204 weakened Kievan Rus. The Mongols attacked in 1236.)

In some ways, Putin is more xenophobic than the worst leaders of the USSR.

Stalin treated Crimea very badly: he threw out most of its Natives, the Tartars, and exiled them far away. Yet, Putin dared do what even Stalin had not dared to do: invade and annex Crimea.

Putin has created trouble in many zones peripheral to his supergiant empire. Not just south of the Caucasus (where he occupies parts of Georgia, a nation much older than Russia), but all the way to the Carpathians (West of Ukraine).

The obvious reason is that Putin’s regime is unstable if not united by the fascist instinct of rising against a common enemy. So Putin’s regime is stable, if, and only if, it has enemies.

Thus, the more one tries to accommodate Putin, the more one reduces the enmity he faces, and thus the more anti-Putin one is. That therefore requires Putin to attack, threaten, and invade more, to re-establish the enmity he needs to reign.

So it has been with many tyrannical regimes in the past. However, Russia has profited from this, so far. This is why it is Earth largest empire, by far.

Just like Hitler was the more popular, the more Nazism he engaged in, because the Germans thought they did not have a choice, but to abandon themselves to hatred, expect the same with the nationalist regime in the Kremlin.

Putin said in his call-in that the USA “doesn’t need allies, they only need vassals” and that Russia would never accept that role.

Well, the Republican Congress just gave full powers to is president Obama full powers to negotiate fast (“fast track”) the TPP, the Trans-Pacific-Partnership. From what I hear, that treaty, which excludes China, in its present version, would allow corporations to sue the government of the USA (something corporations cannot do now).

So who is the boss, Putin? The “USA”, or the plutocrats and their corporations? And tell me how your crony plutocracy differ from that?

Some would argue that Russia became Russia, that giant empire, well, precisely because it had all the traditions of an empire, and that means the ability to get down to the hard and dirty. American traditions say the same. This is why both Russia and the USA ended with forts in California. Since then the American power has grown, propelled by the will to empire, and helped by more democracy than in Russia.

Democracy is not a luxury. It’s a weapon. Just go ask the Spartans (the Lacedaemonians and their civilization mostly disappeared). Or just ask the giant, multi-ethnic plutocracy of plutocracies, Persia. At Marathon, the giant Persian army was charged by the Athenian phalanx. Athens was a direct democracy, with around a tenth of one percent of the Persian empire directly charging, the elite units of the undefeated largest empire in the world. And Athens won. Not just that day, but that way. The way that became the way of the world.

It would be smarter for Russia to get over its Mongol complex, and join the way that wins, instead of embracing the desperate way of losers.

Patrice Ayme’

“New Economics” Europe’s Fraud

April 17, 2015

We, and in particular Europe, have been led by fraudsters. Sometimes it takes courage to say it, to denounce fraud. Ed Milliband, the Labor Leader just rightly accused the anti-European politician Lafarge (head of UKIP) to be a fraud, to his face, because leaving the European Union would ruin Britain.

Right. The problem with the EU, though, is that the politics there has been a fraud. Since the 2008 crisis, the USA government injected 8 trillion dollars in the economy. The Eurozone, with the same population, injected only one trillion (the UK did in between).

Europe Is Recovering Worse In the 2010s Than In The 1930s

Europe Is Recovering Worse In the 2010s Than In The 1930s

Another editorial of Paul Krugman asserting that the USA pulled out of the 2008 crisis with standard economics (which Krugman and his kind call Keynesianism, although historical examples are as old as Themistocles’ Athens and even Darius’ Persia. The modern version is assuredly from Henri IV of France and his fiancé minister Sully, around 1600 CE).

That Old-Time Economics

BRUSSELS — America has yet to achieve a full recovery from the effects of the 2008 financial crisis. Still, it seems fair to say that we’ve made up much, though by no means all, of the lost ground.

But you can’t say the same about the Eurozone, where real G.D.P. per capita is still lower than it was in 2007, and 10 percent or more below where it was supposed to be by now. This is worse than Europe’s track record during the 1930s.”

Says Krugman: “I’ve been revisiting economic policy debates since 2008, and what stands out from around 2010 onward is the huge divergence in thinking that emerged between the United States and Europe. In America, the White House and the Federal Reserve mainly stayed faithful to standard Keynesian economics. The Obama administration wasted a lot of time and effort pursuing a so-called Grand Bargain on the budget, but it continued to believe in the textbook proposition that deficit spending is actually a good thing in a depressed economy. Meanwhile, the Fed ignored ominous warnings that it was “debasing the dollar,” sticking with the view that its low-interest-rate policies wouldn’t cause inflation as long as unemployment remained high.

In Europe, by contrast, policy makers were ready and eager to throw textbook economics out the window in favor of new approaches. The European Commission, headquartered here in Brussels, eagerly seized upon supposed evidence for “expansionary austerity,” rejecting the conventional case for deficit spending in favor of the claim that slashing spending in a depressed economy actually creates jobs, because it boosts confidence. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank took inflation warnings to heart and raised interest rates in 2011”

One has to look at whom the “new economic thinking” profited: high finance, whose power and wealth has grown enormously.

The European leadership, from the central bank to the European Commission, is full of people who made stints in High Finance hedge funds, companies (conspiracies such as Goldman Sachs: heads of the European Central Bank, and even Italy, and many EC commissioners, where partners there.) Or maybe they were in banks (such as Rothschild, see young Macron the French finance minster) , or hope to do so some day (and often, some more). This phenomenon is even more marked in Europe than in the USA.

Krugman is not as accusatory: he cannot insult those he meets all the time, and is supposed to mingle with.

“…while European policy makers may have imagined that they were showing a praiseworthy openness to new economic ideas, the economists they chose to listen to were those telling them what they wanted to hear. They sought justifications for the harsh policies they were determined, for political and ideological reasons, to impose on debtor nations; they lionized economists, like Harvard’s Alberto Alesina, Carmen Reinhart, and Kenneth Rogoff, who seemed to offer that justification. As it turned out, however, all that exciting new research was deeply flawed, one way or another”

We have seen that story before: in the 1990s, Harvard economists gave self-interested advice to Yelstin, which destroyed the Russian economy, and paved the road for Putin’s reaction.

In Germany, an aging population has built several causal loops favorable to the present situation of austerity. Some are major UN-SAID (French: Non-Dit, what is not said, religiously).

For example the (relatively recent) German European supremacy necessitates immigration, and the latter is (wisely) encouraged by the Chancellor (who is aware of the dearth of reproduction by Native Germans). So the real German discourse, behind closed doors, is different from the official one (which makes little sense, especially considering how poorly Germany was doing ten years ago; a super low Euro, and Germany running deficits above 3% then helped).

Hence imposing “new economics” on Europe was not due to chance, but to forces below the surface. They have nothing to do with better economics for the majority.

Empires have known, for millennia, that, to be prosperous, they need everybody to work. Europe does not want to know that, because it is not thought of as an empire. Instead it is still thought of as a “common market”, and a “free” one, at that. In the USA, the government governs an empire and knows unemployment is intolerable, no matter what. So the Fed gave enough money for banks’ lending.

What Europe needs right away, before switching to real, more direct democracy, is to get better leaders, such as Ed Miliband, the UK Labor Leader, who had the courage to tell the truth about Europe (Europe is good for Britain). We don’t need liars like the UKIP (UK Independence Party), or like the UK Conservatives (who want to conserve the money power for their call, by not taxing revenues of their own, as long as they are overseas, even when the overseas presence is just make-believe… Labor wants to change that).

Tax evasion by the hyper rich and their corporations is part of the reasons both necessary and sufficient for imposing austerity on those who are not hyper rich.

However, when the 99% shrink financially, economically, an in their democratic power, so does the economy, and the society. And the democracy.

Patrice Ayme’

Really New Philosophy Fights, Or Is Not

April 14, 2015

When we look back on history, considering the greatest strides which were ever made, most, if not all, originated in strife.

Take the Heliocentric system. How many people got killed for suggesting it? Many. Millions were terrorized. There is an extant dialogue, deep in the Middle-Ages when the Duke Of Normandy relentlessly questions a top religious authority and professor about why is it that the Earth is not moving.

The eminent scholar insisted that the guy who suggested this heresy to William is no scholar, but a perpetual drunkard.

Nature Is Ruled By The Physical Law Of Basic Forces

Nature Is Ruled By The Physical Law Of Basic Forces

Correct ideas threaten the establishment.

But, then, one may want to ask, why is it that the establishment so often foster idiotic ideas?

I have a spectacular answer: the establishment fosters idiotic ideas, precisely because they are idiotic.

Idiotic ideas have two main advantages:

  1. The very idea of plutocracy is idiotic. Idiotic in a major way. So, should one be in the habit of ferreting out idiocy, one would ferret out plutocracy.
  2. Conversely, if one learns to tolerate idiocy, one would be naturally led to tolerate the biggest idiocy of all, plutocracy.

By making We The People stupid, herd like, the establishment, the oligarchy, the plutocracy, can rule better.

Those who love wisdom though, view idiocy as a prey. That does not mean they eat it with delight. Wolves are often hated because they enjoy killing and maiming much more than they can eat (ask French herders: sometimes dozens of sheep are found killed or otherwise mangled by a wolf).

Why wolves do this has to do with who they have evolved to become: not just eaters of vegetarians, but guardians of ecology.

Similarly, the philosophical drive in the genus Homo may have evolved to be guardian not just of wisdom, but the terror of brute force.

Hence we can tell real good philosophy by the power of the enemies it makes.

In particular, philosophy that caresses the masses the right way, is assuredly philosophy that fit their masters just right.

One may want to consider the following assertion: in the last 4 centuries, the politics and policies of the Anglo-Saxon immigrants to America were diabolically clever. Demonstrate. In full, to make sure of acquiring lots of enmity.

In particular the exact role played by the USA in the World Wars of the Twentieth Century, I suggest, have to be carefully considered.

My thesis differs vastly from official history’s main truth. It is a sort of meta-truth, a higher way to look at what happened. A good suggestion for leads to elucidate a crime is by checking to whom the crime profits. It is not too difficult to find out that:

The Equality Liberty Fraternity Republic of France was attacked by German fascists, in WWI and WWII, at least in part, because the latter were helped, aided, & abetted, by racist American plutocrats. 

I have written many essays demonstrating this in detail. Not surprisingly conventional historians would, correctly, view such an examination as a career killer. An overall interrogation, though, is what good would it make, to demonstrate this.

An excellent good: when We The People realizes how manipulative and lethal the present, plutocratically controlled political system can be, and how good a it is at covering-up its crimes, We The People will realize how serious the situation is.

Patrice Ayme’

Wisdom, Science: The Eternal Saw

April 13, 2015

Philosophy, the love of wisdom. But what is wisdom? A little research on the origin of the word is enlightening: in all languages it turns out that the concept of wisdom has to do with knowledge. The Proto Indo-European (PIE) root is “WEID” which means to know, to see (hence the “Veda” , I know, in Sanskrit “Videre” in Latin, hence French “Voir”, “Vision”, the German “Wissen” to know, etc.)

(Weirdly, “Sophia”, one of the two Greek versions of divinized wisdom, is an outlier, of unknown origin.)

I will show here that wisdom, and science, have a war-like behavior at their heart. The ability of sawing and cutting. Thus real wisdom and science is all about a mood not conventionally associated with them.

Real Wisdom Is Certain, Certain Wisdom Is Real

Real Wisdom Is Certain, Certain Wisdom Is Real

Lao Zi (previously known as Lao-Tzu, the Old Master), 26 centuries ago, the famous contemporary of Confucius, insisted that the knowledge of the self was superior, while knowing too many things could be inferior. Also not knowing that one did not know was a “defect”.

(Yes, Lao Zi’s wisdom is quite similar to some of the wisdom coming from various Greek sources at the same time; the difference with China, is that Greece, or, at least some city-states such as Ἀθῆναι, Athēnai, were able to enact superior wisdom into superior political systems. The Greek political enactment of superior wisdom in turn inspired many others, as superior Greek democracies were established from Anatolia (Phrygia, Phocea, Miletus, etc.) to “Great Greece” (South Italy) to a small empire in Southern France and beyond (based in Marseilles, Nice, and Athenopolis, aka Saint Tropez).

One should think of systems of thoughts, and moods, in one word, mentalities, as axiomatic systems, highly hierarchized, yet, entangled, as causal webs.

These are actually neurological structures… And that make them very stable.

Superior mentalities discard and throw away axiomatic bits that are inferior. Superior wisdom has to do with amputating. This is why the very concept of science is all about cutting.

The Latin scire, to know, is thus originally from the Latin scindere, to cut, divide; interestingly the French scier, to saw, is thus at the root of science:

Je Sais, Donc Je Scie.

This is not a play on words; it is serious. However, it’s untranslatable in English (‘I science, thus I saw?’)

An example I gave on my essay on the “Flat Universe”, or in “100 Billion Years Old Universe” is my proposal to cut-off (decide, see below), the hypothesis of Big Noise Inflation (“Cosmological Inflation) as we already have another inflation, all too real, Dark Energy.

Gunther Grass died today, he wrote down a piece of imagination, about a boy who was a drummer under the Nazis. Grass helped teach the Germans how Nazism worked. Literature has to be made appealing. Philosophy, though, is not literature, it does not have to sneak in some truths with bed time stories for children. It focuses on reality: somebody has to do it.

Science does not have to be nice, it cannot be nice: after all, it is about sawing off some parts of other people’s neurologies. This is why the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, is also a warrior goddess. Not that the concept was just Greek. It may have originated where a lot of Greek ideas and theories originated, Egypt. The most ancient Egyptians, in the Predynastic period, more than 5,200 years ago, worshipped a goddess whose Egyptian name was Neith. Neith was identified, by both Greeks and Egyptians, 25 centuries ago, with Athena (Herodotus, Histories 2:170–175). Neith was the war goddess and huntress deity of the Egyptians. (Neith was also identified with weaving, the high tech of the times.)

To find the truth, one has to decide what the truth is. From the Latin de-caedere, what comes from caedere, from “cut”, literally: cut-off.

Science is about sawing. Science can get over-enthusiastic, and amputate parts of knowledge (wisdom) that, after all, were true.

The Ancient Greeks, or more exactly the Hellenistic dictatorships which followed the independent city-democracies of Greece at its peak, were rife with massive, ill-advised amputations of knowledge.

Non-Euclidean geometry got amputated, Greek algebra and numeration (a proto-modern system) was also amputated, and then emigrated for further development in India. Archimedes’ Infinitesimal Calculus got discarded. The Heliocentric system of Aristarchus, also. Even Mechanical Computers, although extensively developed, were then thrown away.

All these amputations happened because the philosophy at the helm, plutocracy, was antagonistic to creative thinking (And Aristotle has a lot to do with it; at least, so I think).

Philosophy acts as meta-controller on all mentalities, including science.

This is why modern science was launched by Middle Ages philosophers (Buridan, his student Oresme, etc.), who then found that they had to make their discourse more precise, inventing inertia, momentum, stating Newton’s First Law, inventing coordinates, graphs, etc.

A deep strategy of Buridan was to refuse to study theology. Still he was elected rector of the world’s greatest university, Paris. I have in my hand the brand new book of Steven Weinberg (Nobel discoverer of the Electro-Weak theory). “To Explain The World”, 2015. Weinberg gives the greatest place to Buridan ever found in an English speaking book written by a physicist. (Weinberg still makes a hash of Buridan’ throwing out Aristotle’s vertical arrow experiment, as Weinberg conflates the refutation by Buridan from Buridan’s exposition of Aristotle error! This an error traditionally made in secondary American literature. Not everybody reads Medieval Latin!)

Why is it important to give Buridan, and other Middle Age French philosophers and scientists their correct place? Because it is giving reason its correct place.

It is not just about showing that the real Renaissance was in the Middle Ages, or that how exactly Europe pulled ahead of the rest of the world in technology.

To understand how wisdom proceeds, one has to look how it proceeded before.

And to understand well that the mastermind of all important progress in understanding is philosophy. Science without philosophy is like a chicken with a freshly chopped head: spectacular and vigorous, but not for long.

Patrice Ayme’

Flat Universe Flattens Twisted Logic

April 11, 2015

The observed universe is flat. I will explain what it means in practice, before going into a bit of theory. Including a sickle move through the lamentable precedent of the heliocentric system.

Basically, when we look at a galaxy which is very very very far away, it appears to have the same size as it should have considering its distance. Ah, yes, because we can determine the distance of a very very remote galaxy, or so we think, by looking at its red shift (how much redder it looks than what it would be if it were next door).

This apparently innocuous set-up creates lots of problems for the ruling cosmological theory, the Big Noise Bang. The barnacles attached to the Big Noise, thousands of professional cosmologists, would not be happy to see their ship sink, so they insist it’s doing all right. Yet I am dancing all around with the facts, and, should they read me carefully, they would be less sanguine about the respect they will enjoy, in the fullness of time.

Gravitational Lensing. Lensing Without Gravitation Would Signal Curvature. So Would Apparent Size Variations. Neither Is Observed, However far We Look.

Gravitational Lensing. Lensing Without Gravitation Would Signal Curvature. So Would Apparent Size Variations. Neither Is Observed, However far We Look.

The Big Noise cosmologists may well be wrong, because they suppose plenty of things for their model. All too many things, some of them, pretty weird. I get to the same observations, while being much more parsimonious with my hypotheses.

We have seen it all before, this conflict between common sense , and complicated absurdities by great priests, themselves at the service of higher authorities. Remember the Ptolemaic system? That claimed the Sun rotated around Earth. That absurdity ruled for around 15 centuries

***

Cosmology is serious business:

The Ptolemaic System Was An Obese Lie, Thus Contradicting It, A Capital Crime:

The bigger the lie, the greater the authority. So great authority loves big lies: it is a training ground for the feeble minds which make authority so great.

The greatest philosopher of the Fourteenth Century, and the greatest physicist of the Middle Ages, the Parisian Johannes Buridanus, sent the Ptolemaic system to the bottom of the sea (1320s CE).

However Jean Buridan, adviser to 4 kings, and head of the University of Paris, did not want to be burned alive. So Buridan presented all his new physics and cosmology as something “supporters” of the point of view that “authority does not demonstrate” were talking about (he named no names).

Buridan believed that the Earth turned on itself each day, and around the sun in a year, that the arrow would fall at the same point, because of his own theory of impetus. Etc. It’s all very clear, and some of it can even be read. (In this extract Buridan supports geocentrism; in later extracts, he concludes he cannot be distinguished from heliocentrism observationally; a full study of Buridan is not extant. Some of the later arguments of Buridan are found in Oresme.)

Even the ship example used by Galileo, 300 years later, to demonstrate the undetectability of uniform motion is Buridan’s invention, for the same purpose (Buridan’s student, bishop Oresme wrote about it too).

The Catholic Church, supported by King Plutocrat Louis XI, made reading Buridan a capital crime in 1473 CE. Buridan’s cosmology was posthumously re-amplified by his student and (self) publicist, the dying Abbot Copernicus.

That fancy, the heliocentric system, was, on the face of it, quite ridiculous: Buridan said the Earth was “tiny” so it was only understandable that the tiny thing would rotate on itself, while enormous thing would stay put.

***

Authorities Love Systems Which Lie And Make No Sense:

Why the heliocentric system, was entertained so long explains much of the enthusiasm for the Big Bang. The psychology is similar: an obscure set of ideas was made more hermetic by computations nobody understands. Actually, it’s Plato who launched the Big Ptolemaic Noise, six centuries prior to Ptolemy’s efforts.

Believing in the heliocentric system was good training for submitting to stupid authority, and learning to become non-critical.

But let’s go back to flatness.

Basic Math Of Flatness:

Our universe of stars, clouds, and galaxies, is three dimensional (as I often talk of high dimensions, see note: the “3” maybe an average of the “many”).

Geometries can be flat (a plane) or spherical (aka “elliptic”; as on a round planet), or “hyperbolic” (a saddle).

A mighty theorem (Perelman-Thurston; see technical note on mathematical background) implies that astronomically plausible non-flat geometries contain flat, spherical or hyperbolic elements.

I will simplify further.

Geometries are determined by their geodesics (the shortest paths). At least locally.

A non-flat universe means that that some perspective can be found so that two neighboring geodesics will either converge or diverge.

For a proof, just look at a sphere, or a saddle; the geodesics can be determined by pulling a string between two points, making the shortest paths. They are the greatest circles in the case of a sphere. Notice that the distances between two nearby strings, once pulled to make geodesics, vary. The big math proof, with equations, does not say anything more.

No Empty Space Lensing, No Curvature:

In space, geodesics are paths followed by light. If the universe is not flat, light will either diverge, or converge, as if space itself was a lens. This means that a galaxy, or a galactic cluster, will appear bigger, or smaller, than it should.

Some may object that lensing in space is well known, and is even used to look at the furthest galaxies. However that lensing is due to gravity slowing down, and bending light, as happens with light grazing the sun. That’s called gravitational lensing. Entire galactic clusters are known to operate as giant lenses.

If one saw lensing, with nothing in between, the lensing would not be gravitational and the universe would not be flat.

But so far, this has not been observed.

A perfectly flat universe means global curvature zero. However the basic idea of the Einstein Field Equation (EFE) is:

CURVATURE = MASS-ENERGY-MOMENTUM

Actually, this equation is the basic idea, thus the ultimate simplification. As it is, it cannot work without further complications, because the object on the left has much higher dimension than the 10 dimensional tensor on the right; so one has to simplify the curvature first). The real equation is more like:

Function of Curvature = Mass-Energy-Momentum

There are a lot of mathematical details to figure out, to make that basic idea fit in. It took many stupendous mathematicians and physicists many years working together frantically to figure them out. In particular, Einstein and Hilbert cooperated intensely, helped by many collaborators… And the initial idea comes from the mathematician/physicist/philosopher Riemann (1866). So it took 60 years to make the idea work, and one should not expect casual readers to get the ideas in 60 lines, let alone 60 seconds.

An obvious (sort of) prediction was that, as the Mass-Energy of the universe is not zero (it’s full of galaxies, which have mass, and energy), then the curvature could not be zero. But then, if curvature (of the space-time of the universe) is not zero, then the universe has got to be moving.

Revolted by a moving universe, Einstein then added another curvature term, Lg. Lg counterbalanced Mass-Energy-Momentum, and gave a static (but unstable) universe.

Thus Einstein did not predict what the astronomers were starting to observe, namely the expansion of the universe. Einstein abandoned L (“Lambda”), calling it the “biggest blunder [he] ever made”.

(According to me, he made a much graver error in 1905.)

***

Dark Energy Flattens Cosmological Logic:

Ninety years later, the most basic supernovas were studied. They arise in binary systems: a star transfers part of itself to its companion, a super hot white dwarf. It is a bit like transferring gasoline on an amber: when enough mass has been transferred to Dwarf, the pressure and heat in the depth is just right for thermonuclear fusion to re-ignite explosively. It happens in exactly the same way always (although some argue about this). So these Type 1a supernovae are viewed as candles always of the same luminosity.

Large surveys (rejecting some explosion viewed as outliers) concluded that far-away Type 1a explosions were weaker than the Hubble law of expansion predicted. And the further one looked, the more the 1a explosions faded.

The conclusion was drawn that the universe expanded faster than the old model of Hubble and Einstein’s Gravitation theory predicted.

Greater expansion meant greater energy, and its source was not clear, so it was named DARK ENERGY.

Ironically to describe the simplest way to describe it was just to re-introduce the Lg term Einstein had introduced and then rejected, while he blundered about clumsily.

***

Your Humble Servant Flattens All:

It remains that the original theory of Einstein requires a very fine tuning of parameters to make our universe explode into its present very flat state in a bit less than 14 billion years. It also requires a supplementary explosion, called “Cosmological Inflation”.

I don’t have this problem.

I just wipe Einstein and his cohorts clean. I am master of my own soul. They have two Cosmological Inflations. I have just one, the one that is observed.

And my version of the universe can be 100 billion years old, or more.

I don’t confuse gravitation and revolution, inflation and what not. The Einstein Field Equations are correct, I just don’t apply them to the universe.

Simple does it.

Making something complicated simply because it allows to “shut and calculate” (the philosophical doctrine of contemporary physics) has been seen before. This was the trap into which Ancient Greek astronomy fell, making ever more sophisticated versions of the Ptolemaic system.

We should avoid duplicating our forebears’ mistakes.

Patrice Ayme’

Mathematical Note:

That I consider the universe three dimensional may sound as a strange admission, as I always advocate all sorts of dimensions, from the brain to fundamental physics. But not so: just view the three dimensional aspect as an… average.

(Here I am going to talk as a common physicist or mathematician, and elide the tweaking of fundamental axioms of topology and logic that I am wont to engage in, because I want to present the simplest picture.)

More precisely, this is what happens in two dimensions. In one dimension, the line or circle, there is just one geometry.

The USA mathematician Thurston launched a theorem, proven by the Russian Perelman, which showed there were just eight fundamental geometries in three dimensions.

(Disgusted by the dog eat dog attitude of famous mathematicians, some of whom I personally know, Perelman refused prizes, and abandoned math; I do share Perelman’s indignation, and then, more. Austerity, as imposed by plutocrats, has made even mathematicians like rats, prone to devour the innocent. The problem is not just in physics.)

Cultural Evolution: More Intelligent Than “Darwinian”

April 10, 2015

A dangerously entitled paper in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Series B, Biological Sciences). Here are the first 4 lines:

How Darwinian is cultural evolution? By Nicolas Claidière , Thomas C. Scott-Phillips , Dan Sperber (31 March 2014).

Darwin-inspired population thinking suggests approaching culture as a population…”

(My comment to Scientia Salon elevating the debate was censored.)

The supposedly proven idea that the scientific philosophy known as “Darwinism” rules humanity is exactly why we ended up with Hitler. Hitler and his friends were penetrated by “Darwinian” ideas. Explicitly. For the Nazis, Darwinism, the Selection of the Fittest, was “science”. Nearly a century later the most prestigious scientific society in Britain is still pushing the notion, with a devious title.

Peul Gentleman In Formal Attire.

Peul Gentleman In Formal Attire.

[There are 30 million Peuls, with their own languages, through 20 countries, in the Sahel and its neighborhood.]

The ideology of “Darwinism” as the end-all, be-all, is bad science, and bad philosophy. But of course an excellent mentality for vicious oligarchies. A century ago, it brought us Nazis, more recently it brought us Neo-Conservatism, and now “Austerity” and plutocracy.

Darwinism, A Philosophy Of Force, Chance, Heredity As Necessities:

At some point, around the 1960s, from some experience of Medawar on mice, some scientists thought that biological evolution was only driven by chance and selection. Thanks to haphazard variations in genetics, new organisms would differ from their ancestors. Among some of these new organisms, some would survive better, and thus (probably) reproduce better. That “adaptative” mechanism driven by chance was supposed to explain everything.

A philosophy of sorts evolved from that view of evolution, according to which everything evolved by chance, and survival determined worth. “Intelligent Design” was removed, not just from religion, and the view of the world, but from society itself.

This explanation and its philosophical extension, came to be known as “Darwinism”, or “Natural Selection”.

The Connection Between The Crisis Of The West And Neo-Darwinism:

If culture is due to chance and survival is what determines its value, why to try to make an intelligent, fair and moral society? Would not that be against nature? If we were led by genes, and genes were selfish, was not the Neo-Conservative model more natural?

In the 1960s and 1970s an argument was made that we were our “genes”, and that our genes were “selfish”. The ideas became ubiquitous in the Anglo-Saxon world, and were, truly a new philosophy, a sort of Jihadism without god.

Unsurprisingly that culture of chance, force and selfishness facilitated the not-so spontaneous creation of a new generation of selfish politicians and ideas promoting selfishness, force, and the chance heredity provides with (namely, if you inherited your position in society it was just because this is how nature is).

Societies of note tend to prefer cultural traits which they believe will promote their survival. A society not endowed with that meta-belief, and meta-practice, will not long survive.

Societies tend to be “Darwinian” in that sense. Beyond this, the notion that chance drives culture is of limited utility, because culture is anything but haphazard.

***

Natural Selection Is Not What Evolution Reduces To. Natural Selection Is Just One Of Three Evolutionary Mechanisms:

Unfortunately for the “Darwinists, they did not get their science right.

Selection was not really new. “Artificial Selection”, aka, selective breeding, was not just known, but long practiced. Aristotle relates that in “free” roaming cattle of Epirus, weak cows, or cows with traits viewed as undesirable, were culled to prevent them from breeding.

Beyond selection, artificial or natural, Lamarck, the scientist who first established evolution, suggested two new evolutionary mechanisms.

It turns out that modern quantum physics offers plausible mechanisms to check Lamarck’s suggestions. Experimental efforts are under way to check them (one grant proposal heading that way is $49 million!) Preliminary results are already in.

The bottom line is that Quantum Mechanics is intrinsically TELEOLOGICAL (it computes from the ends). This is why the Quantum is so baffling. It offers mechanisms for driving genetics from environmental influences directly (without going through the selection of the carrying organism).

Such mechanisms do not contradict natural selection. Far from it: they just accelerate it, while bending it towards more intelligent solutions. (Yes, the Quantum is clever: it was hinted since Fermat’s Principle of Least Time.)

Conclusion: Cultural Evolution Is Not Darwinian, It Is Much More Than That, And, First Of All, Teleologically Intelligent:

Culture is history, but much of that history was developed with ends in mind.

For example, a cultural trait such as executing Muslims who are deemed not to obey “Islam” has contributed to the survival of Islam. And it was, literally a clever strategy (it was established by a general, strategos). Islam started as an army at war. Quitting an army at war means execution.

Thus cultural evolution is teleologically driven. Cultural structures never seem to originate haphazardly. When we think that a cultural trait evolved haphazardly, further examination generally reveals that the trait evolved at a time and place when and where it made sense.

As I have argued in the past, inheritability does not reduce to “genes”: we are not our genes. Nor are our cultures just the survivors of selection. All and any of their bits and pieces were invented with some purposes in mind, which functioned as mental attractors.

Culture, and evolution are both smart. Intelligent Design has become an insult, so we are ending with increasingly stupid social organizations. Stupidity and oligarchy are two notions which go together well, supporting each other.

Patrice Ayme’

Anatomy of Discovery

April 9, 2015

Discovery Is Generally Part Of A Logic. Therein A Tale.

Abstract: How does discovery works? It depends if it is about discovering where you put your keys, or if it is about discovering new scientific laws. Differently from the former, the latter always require philosophical jumps. Be it only to discard vast amounts of obsolete neurology. However most of “scientific discovery” is safe, being mostly about filling up the details of huge theories. Most of science cannot be anything else than about small stuff.

***

This is a tale of two scientific practices, at the extremities of the same spectrum. Surprisingly, they are antagonistic: the practice of small science is all too often the enemy of big science (it occupies minds, and leaves no space for the big interrogations). The theory of Ptolemy required at least three “epicycles” within “epicycles” to handle Mars alone. Even then that was not enough and Ptolemy cheated. This complicated logic was small science because the philosophy it used as context was small.

Basic Sketch In Plato Elaborated Further By Ptolemy, 6 Centuries Later

Basic Sketch In Plato Elaborated Further By Ptolemy, 6 Centuries Later

The Ptolemaic system had to introduce weird notions such as the “equant” around which the main orbit would happen at a constant angular motion, and so. This built-up of “necessary” complexities to make work previous “necessities” is not without reminding us of Quantum Field Theory’s weirder and weirder “explanations”, piled up high on top of each other.

An article in Scientia Salon on “the anatomy of scientific discovery: a case study” is ambitious, starting with its title. [Remarks below were not published by a third party as “too advanced for a general audience”. I apparently hold the readers of this site in high esteem!]

The SS article narrates the discovery of “Spontaneous Electric Fields” (abbreviated to “Spontelectrics”). However, while charming and instructive, in a smallish way, it is highly misleading, considering its all-encompassing title.

The article initially makes grand claims about what its purpose is:

“How do scientists discover new phenomena, and, just as important, how do they persuade other scientists… During its course, they do their very best to prove that their discovery is wrong, perhaps because it contradicts some well-established law. They set out to show that their new phenomenon may, in the polite phraseology of science, be an artifact…”

The first mistake here is implicit. The author reduces implicitly science to phenomenology (to “discover new phenomena”).

This is a mistake, it is too reductive. Really Big Science, as found in mathematics and physics, is about enormously complex theories, built upon a few facts. Big science is all about interpreting some facts, and organize that in a theory. A theory and its “laws” can be so strong that they prevent to discover, accidentally or not, anything outside of what it considers “relevant”.

Big scientific theories frame the discourse and reduce the facts that can be “observed”… Or the facts that will try (very hard) to observe. So Big Scientific theories tend to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To an extent that is surprising, theory controls phenomenology. We observe what theory tells us too observe. And how.

For example Aristotle claim that the heavenly bodies were part of an “ether” (not a material body). It was just a step from there to claim the Moon was a signal from god. Islam made it. Thus Muslim specialists spy on the Moon to know when god tells us when Ramadan starts. They observe, but they observe according to a theory.

This is why small science is easy, and big science is hard. Small science, by definition, works within a theoretical model it takes for granted. Whereas big scientific discoveries change paradigms.

The second mistake the author of “anatomy of discovery” makes is to give a virtuous view of science (scientists “do their best to prove” they are wrong).

Actually this is not true at all for really big science. Quite the opposite. Scientists do not “do their best” to prove that all they have painfully learned is wrong. Not only would that be a career busting mood, there is a neurological aspect. Mental inertia.

Big scientific interpretation is a form of neurology, and, scientists or not, people do not tend, or like, to “do their best” to prove their neurology wrong.

Then the author of the Scientia Salon article deflates his claim completely by “restrict[ing] ourselves here to the quite serendipitous, experimental discoveries, those that take place quite unexpectedly.”

It is quite rare that such discoveries break a paradigm. It can happen: the Michelson Morley experiment, an electromagnetic experiment showed that the simplest interpretation of the (then recently devised) ether theory could not be right.

However, looking at history, when the discovery of a really new phenomenon happens, Big Scientific models tend to stay unchanged.

A contemporary example of a potentially giant discovery is Dark Energy.

Dark Energy made the old cosmological model something one does not need anymore (it is its own “cosmic inflation”). I explained this in Billion Year Old Universe”.

The situation right now is that the official theory on cosmology has TWO different inflationary mechanisms. I have just ONE, the one that is observed. My theory is more powerful philosophically, and it’s less complex mathematically, and it depends upon much fewer hypotheses, and mine are observationally grounded.

However “scientists” working in cosmology have been keen NOT to notice my main point, that is that my theory is much simpler in all ways, thus much more powerful. Why did professional cosmologists not notice the obvious? Because they have a vested interest in the established mental order, the mandarins of which, they are. Because, if one adopted a Dark Energy centric model, all of theoretical cosmology (what goes beyond what is observed for sure) would be wiped out. Something that can be wiped out as an error is less honorable.

How is Big Science discovered? Feynman looked at it, and concluded that there was no rule.

However, I think there is. Big science is  generally discovered through Big Philosophy (Special Relativity does not escape the rule; Poincare’ and Lorentz introduced the “local time” theory to discover SR).

Meanwhile, those who really discover the big ideas, having assaulted the neurology of mandarins, will be punished.

They should be thankful.

The painless life is not worth having.

[Take that, Marcus Aurelius!]

Patrice Ayme’

Censored notes on the initial SS article:

Although presented as a big deal in SS, “Spontelectrics” is anything but. It’s just a case of contrary electric fields, the sort discovered by Faraday to explain the “Faraday Cage”. (Actually discovered by Benjamin Franklin, a rare American genius.) Make no mistake: it is interesting.

However, it is thoroughly small science, violating nothing important.

A bigger mystery, still unexplained: how rubbing one material on another can create electrostatic charge. This effect known to the Ancient Greeks require Quantum Physics we don’t master too well.

Another question rejected as irrelevant at SS is the question of why did the Geocentric System reign so long? My answer (not even attempted on SS), partly given in the past, has to do with fascism, intellectual and political. The Ptolemaic System was imposed, and endured, PRECISELY because it was bad.

For the bad, bad is good, and good, bad. So anything favoring the first is good.

Shoot Them All, God Will Recognize His Own

April 8, 2015

A (white) police officer shot in the back, eight times, a fleeing, somewhat corpulent middle age man, who was obviously not dangerous (he just had some child support payments due, on some of his 4 children).

The first shot was fired at least 5 meters away. After the victim is fatally shot, the officer screams hysterically at him: “Put your hands behind your back.” Three times. Then handcuff him. I saw the video several times. It gets more instructive, the more it is watched.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/us/video-of-fatal-shooting-of-walter-scott-reignites-debate-on-police-use-of-force.html?&target=comments&hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&modref=HPCommentsRefer&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news#commentsContainer

The obviously unarmed victim had served in the Coast Guard. The police officer then handcuffed the agonizing victim, and went back 50 fifty feet to plant fake evidence.

The (black) family of the victim offered with tremendous dignity that “not all policemen are bad…” Yes, but. But we are dealing with a system here. A system of institutionalized violence. Racism is just one aspect of it.

Disobey Police In The USA, Die!

Disobey Police In The USA, Die!

[Disobedient father of four Walter Scott shot like a rabbit. The police officer, in the window, up left was charged with murder. However, to parody a dim witted American philosopher’s pontification: is that Justice As Fairness? Namely the white, thus fair, officer, shots, thus administers justice?]

Police and judicial violence in the USA is pretty much in evidence, to whoever has looked at statistics, or lived in the USA. I have seen many times, in the USA, scenes that belonged straight out of a violent movie. Roughly anything, including several violent car chases with lots of sparks, collisions, etc. I have seen roughly anything, but for large explosions.

All right, with all the guns out there, the police can take no chances. All right, in that particular city, about half the population is “black”, and 80% of the police force is white (a de facto racial situation).

Yet, police brutality is not restricted to non-whites. It is a global attitude, although black tend to be more victimized. To change this global attitude is the fundamental problem.

John Michel from South Carolina replied that:

“No one wants to look at the fundamental problem. Go ahead, take a look at the foundation of modern-day human violence.”

My reply to John Mitchel:

Violence in general is one thing. However, the level of lethal and judicial violence in the USA is much higher than in any other developed nation.

What I am saying is that, although racism amplifies it, the problem is not just racial. It is about exploiting others, violently, and imposing the existing established order, violently.

And I am saying this has become a habit, and if one questions it, as I do, it has been suggested by lesser souls that I wanted to turn the USA into Libya, or Syria and Iraq, as if only violence, from police or justice, was the one and only way to hold the USA together.

I disagree.

I believe that Americans are smarter than lethally violent Islam Fundamentalists.

I also think it’s a world problem: all too many people in the USA, including among the so-called “leaders” perceive that only violence holds the country together.

In particular the violence on the rest of society which flows from very high income and wealth, and very low taxes experienced, by the .1%

That theory, usage and practice of force, is a satanic approach to society.

It is a model for, and an expectation about, the entire planet.

It is not a debate, a conversation. It is a will to extermination. Granted, the Will To Extermination is a core human characteristic. Granted, it makes the USA strong, pitiless, successful.

However, now the whole planet is watching. There is no more frontier to push. All this violence is the bad paradigm for conflict resolution. It is not just a question of justice, it is a question of prudence. Worldwide we have to teach subtlety and restraint, not madness, vengeance, and lethally efficient authority.

That’s dangerously obsolete (besides being the Islamists, and, or, Putin’s model).

Patrice Ayme’

Essence Of The Economic Crisis

April 7, 2015

In 2008, a financial crisis blossomed. It was caused by the rich, those who control the world. Some of the rich lost considerable amounts of money, mostly to other wealthy people and institutions (who had thus become even richer). So doing, the world financial system got destabilized: bankruptcies could propagate.

The most obvious way out was to recover as much money as possible from the rich. Instead, something else was decided, by the powers that be (themselves electorally financed by those who had set-up the system that crashed, and many of them had profited from).

Since 2007, The 1% Have Gone Off The Charts, Leveraging Crisis, Through Obama

Since 2007, The 1% Have Gone Off The Charts, Leveraging Crisis, Through Obama

To resolve optimally the near-destruction of the financial system in 2008, it was decided to make We the People pay. Saving the richest individuals and institutions was objective number one. So little savers saw their saving rates go down to zero. Workers, even productive workers, such as researchers in fundamental science saw financing go down drastically. Projects went unfinanced, researchers had to quit research. This happened in Great Britain, among nearly all other developed countries (Switzerland being an exception).

Thus “Austerity” is just about We The People going starving, in all sorts of ways and dimensions. Meanwhile, the richest people and institutions in the world kept paying no, or very little, taxes.

Google in Britain made billions, and paid very little tax (a “Google Tax” is supposed to come in, the Conservatives grandly declared, a few months before the elections). Hyper wealthy Brits claim to reside overseas, and thus pay very little tax, and it is perfectly legal.

All over we see the same problem. So question: why do not the richest people and institutions, those with the greatest means, who need very little of what they have, be the first to experience austerity?

Distributing their riches would augments economic activity overall.

Conversely, not distributing the riches of the hyper rich diminishes overall economic activity.

The graph above clearly shows that this entirely a political problem. Policies (at least in the USA) were not friendly to the hyper wealthy, after the crash of 1929-1930. During, and after the war, the USA was managed in a way that was, relatively speaking, socialist.

Reagan though surfed a wave of resentment by the wealthy that originated in California with Prop.13 (and Reagan’s election as governor, and Nixon as president, earlier than that).

So here we are. A few hands take all the decisions, and they are most happy, the more they can grab in money and power.

Larry Fink CEO of the fund company Blackrock (managing more than 4 billion dollars in investments) warned companies that they are demolishing societies by redistributing too much wealth to the wealthy, at the expense of everything else.

Carl Icahn, a plutocrat worth 24 billion dollars, hearing of Fink’s critique, agreed, and lashed out at the CEO class: …”What is even more dangerous and concerning is that so many of our companies do not have CEO’s that have the ability to make investments, let alone run the companies they are now charged with…”

It is even criminal: the hyper rich, and the CEO’s class serving it, are actually not just destroying the world’s socio-economy, but threatening the survivability of the biosphere (the CO2 crisis is a case in point: a handful of plutocrats, fully using their enormous powers, have poisoned world public opinion, and decision making; so we are adding 2% of the total content of CO2 in the atmosphere, every year, half going in the ocean. That was entirely avoidable).

Most very wealthy people are not amused by Fink’s and Icahn’s opinion. They would rather deny there is a problem, they will point out that we live in the best possible world, so far.

So did the passengers of the Titanic, enjoying the most luxurious, fastest trip ever, on a perfectly unsinkable ship.

Reality can be a most ominous fate. Even for plutocrats.

Patrice Ayme’