Archive for April, 2021

Why shouldn’t Iran be allowed to enrich Uranium from its natural .7% presence of U235 up to 20%?

April 10, 2021

A sphere of 400 kilograms of 20% U235 with 80% U238 is 34 centimeters in diameter, and gets spontaneously supercritical (extremely dangerous, sometimes fatal) studies have shown. Now, adding a few tricks to this 20% enriched core enables to lower the critical mass a lot. (Beryllium reflects neutrons back to the core, quadrupling neutron density; thick, strong tamper for example in U238, bottles down the chain reaction, while adding to it with fragments of exploding U238; core with tritium, lithium deuteride adds neutrons of appropriate energy; an exterior neutron source starts the chain reaction.) 

The Iran nuclear bomb problem is geopolitical: if Iran gets the bomb, a world war is much more likely. Indeed several Arab countries and Turkey, maybe Azerbaijan and its deadly enemy Armenia then of course large and mighty Kazakhstan, would get the bomb… So those who have the bomb already (China, Pakistan, India) would bomb up some more, meaning they would have to acquire much more capability to engage in nuclear war, thus lowering the trigger point… (India purchased Rafales from France in part because they can be used as hard-to-stop nuclear bombers.)

  • French thermonuclear explosion Canopus, 2.6 megatons, 200 times Hiroshima, 24 August 1968, Fangataufa, Tuamotus, South Pacific. The explosion was beyond the horizon, 35 kilometers away, but the shock wave (initially hypersonic) is only a mile away (look at the black clouds).

Logically Israel would have to strike Iran first (with the approval, not just of the West, but of plenty of Arabs, who should, and do detest Aryan Iran much more than Semitic Israel…)… and strike hard. Some Iranian facilities are deeply buried. Although they tend to spontaneously explode in recent years, maybe one will need to use nuclear bombs to help them with the on-going fireworks. 

A few countries agreed to stop or reverse their nuclear bomb programs (Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa which had officially seven bombs). Why? One cannot have dozens of countries with nuclear bombs… if one wants to avoid a nuclear world war. If bombs start to get used, the tendency will be to go all out and use reduced arsenals before they get taken out.

Pakistan has many of its bombs into deep caverns below its enormous mountains. hard to get to without precision bombing or nuclear bombs. The Islamist Republic of Pakistan is actively developing nuclear weapons, and long range rockets to carry them. Experts project that Pakistan may have the 5th largest nuke arsenal by 2025 with 220-250 warheads. A nuclear war between Pakistan and India would have a high probability to involve China if India “wins”. One has to realize that Islam has a serious violence problem (Islam won over the already violent, and holocaust prone, Roman catholics by being even more violent…). Nuclear war, once launched, will prove highly contagious.

Meanwhile, for the first time in more than a generation, the French military is preparing for an “Engagement Majeur” (major war)… within a few years and France has augmented its war preparation to 2% of GDP. Differently with what happened in 1870, 1914, and 1939, this time, at least under Trump, the preparation for war is involving the USA… which has now replaced Britain as France’s major military collaborator… Not that Britain is unwilling: it simply does not spend enough although it is close to the 2% of GDP, and is also augmenting its military spending, having lifted its cap on nukes by 40%… and so is Germany (greatly at France’s urging). Whereas the US, France’s rambunctious child, spends 3.4% of GDP on defense… The nuclear bomb collaboration between France, Britain and the USA dates all the way back to 1939… Should Iran develop nuclear weapons, European military spending will augment enormously.  

Some will whine disingenuously: why can Israel have nukes, and not Iran?

Well, Israel, starting way back, say with the Judean War (circa 70 CE, two millennia ago), has been submitted to persecution. First from the Romans, then from the Roman Catholics (a worse species, actually), and finally the Muslims … said Muslims were parroting their friends the Catholics: Muhammad got two high quality slaves as gifts from the Catholic bishop of Alexandria; but Muhammad’s relation with the Jews was cross after he exterminated a Jewish tribe in Yathrib; the Qur’an is full of absurd insults against Jews from all sorts of angles [1]; the Hadith is way worse). This is not to be taken lightly: after a revolt of the Samaritans, the Roman Catholics basically eradicated them… there are 2,000 left today!

Then came the Hitler madness, when Luther’s torturous dreams against the Jews were enacted into a Holocaust. By 1949, top French nuclear physicists of the CEA were collaborating with Jewish colleagues to give the just (re) created Israel, the Bomb. So the Israeli bomb is first of all a defensive weapon. At this point, Israel is basically the nuclear arm of the Semites, that is, the Arabs… Considering its tiny size relative to giants like Iran, Israel has no reason to attack, and a good reason not to (too risky).

If they build them, bombs, they will use them, bombs. Whether they want it, or not.

Patrice Ayme

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[1] From the Cow (second chapter in the Qur’an):

[2.87] We made a covenant with the children of Israel: You shall not serve any but Allah and (you shall do) good to (your) parents, and to the near of kin and to the orphans and the needy, and you shall speak to men good words and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate. Then you turned back except a few of you and (now too) you turn aside.

[2.88] And they say: Our hearts are covered. Nay, Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief; so little it is that they believe.

[2.98] Whoever is the enemy of Allah and His angels and His apostles and Jibreel and Meekaeel, so surely Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers.

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[4.160] Wherefore for the iniquity of those who are Jews did We disallow to them the good things which had been made lawful for them and for their hindering many (people) from Allah’s way.

[5.33] The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement,

[5.51] O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

[5.64] And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up! Their hands shall be shackled and they shall be cursed for what they say

[5.73] Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.

[5.78] Those who disbelieved from among the children of Israel were cursed by the tongue of Dawood and Isa, son of Marium; this was because they disobeyed and used to exceed the limit.

[6.146] And to those who were Jews We made unlawful every animal having claws, and of oxen and sheep We made unlawful to them the fat of both, except such as was on their backs or the entrails or what was mixed with bones: this was a punishment We gave them on account of their rebellion, and We are surely Truthful.

[9.30] And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!

[9:34] O you who believe! most surely many of the doctors of law [rabbis] and the monks eat away the property of men falsely, and turn (them) from Allah’s way; and (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way, announce to them a painful chastisement….

[16.118] And for those who were Jews We prohibited what We have related to you already, and We did them no injustice, but they were unjust to themselves.

[17.4] And We had made known to the children of Israel in the Book: Most certainly you will make mischief in the land twice, and most certainly you will behave insolently with great insolence.

[62.6] Say: O you who are Jews, if you think that you are the favorites of Allah to the exclusion of other people, then invoke death If you are truthful.

Can Life Evolve On WOWs?

April 10, 2021

Around stars, there are “habitable zones”, defined by water on the surface. Several years ago, introduced my own subtility, the “radioactive zone”, where planets have a very active radioactive core, which I viewed as necessary for life. It turns out that new developments (2021) buttress my case (life living off radiation, see below). 

Probes sent around the solar system have revealed water to be much more common than expected. We expected the solar system to be a desert, with just one blue water planet. Well, there is an enormous blue planet in the Solar System, Neptune (blue because CH4 absorbs the red and yellow light). Others may not be blue, but they are full of water. Three worlds seem to have worldwide oceans, below the ice: Callisto, Europa, Enceladus. Move away, old concept of habitability! In general, WORLDWIDE OCEAN WORLDS (WOWs) seem common in the galaxy.

Habitability, that is availability for Earth life colonization is one thing. Clearly many worlds are habitable in the Solar System after extrapolating a bit from present tech.  Another concept is indigenous bioevolvability… a planet where life could evolve. There are going to be a tiny fraction of bioevolvable planets, relative to habitable planets, because catastrophe will be many.

Thus another possibility, unforeseen and new, is life evolving outside of the traditional habitable zone… in WOWs… Worldwide Ocean Worlds… Europa may have twice the water oceanic volume of Earth. Can life evolve on a WOW? We (PA and Ian Miller, see below) do not think so.

Indeed, at first sight there could be more than refueling possibilities for humanity in WOWs. There could be native life. Viroids, maybe?… (Once we have mastered thermonuclear fusion, hydrogen, thus water, will be important because that’s what we will need the most in space, for colonization…) In any case, the concept of WOW augments considerably the habitable zones. In the Solar System, the presence of water may make more than half a dozen worlds colonizable by humanity… once we have compact thermonuclear fusion. This includes Pluto. (Mercury, Luna, Mars, Ceres, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Enceladus, Pluto…) 

Water worlds on moons around giant planets may be the way to exo-life (because they have tides, angular momentum stability, comet protection, are geologically alive, etc.). In any case the plethora of water worlds means the galaxy is eminently and imminently colonizable, and colonization is what we do…

In my not so humble opinion, I think it is likely that WOW will have no life, because life requires lightning and cosmic & solar radiation to appear and evolve ever greater complexity in a timely manner, in the genetic material of said life… Both lightning and radiation are found only on the surface of planets… Intriguingly, this idea may be why terrestrial life became more advanced than oceanic life on Earth! Marine mammals are advanced, right… But they evolved on the continents. 

Huge tides would help too, by mixing things up… Plus a mighty nuclear engine inside the planet to bury carbon with plate tectonics in an homeostatic way, and fabricate a huge magnetic shield. (I have proposed that nuclear fission helped in the creation of Luna; my theory would require that Luna and Terra have the same exact isotopic composition… As observed… If that is correct, a huge IF, it would mean that having a big moon, or being a big moon, is a requirement for evolving sophisticated, Earth style life…)

But of course whether WOWs can evolve sophisticated life is an experimental question: missions should be flown to try to detect organic activity… And the Viking experiments on Mars (which apparently found life!) should be repeated (that was refused for “Perseverance”!)  It is rather baffling that a big effort was not made by, say, Europe, to find evidence of life on Europa. Are they all spiritually dead yet, out there? Just waiting for America to design vaccines for them? 

My friend Ian Miller, a chemist, with a broad science background, has opinions on the scientific aspects of life on other worlds:

ianmillerblog

on April 5, 2021 at 10:47 pm said:

My argument is there is no life under ice on Europa. Reasons include no nitrogen (there is more sodium in the extremely tenuous atmosphere than nitrogen, unless the analyses are wrong), and no significant carbon. Additional reasons include no possibility of reproduction because besides no nitrogen and carbon: phosphates would sink to the bottom, no real mechanism to make lipid equivalents (too wet and cold), and no mechanism to make phosphate esters. The only one so far discovered that is plausibly abiogenic is photophysical, so it needs light, and no phosphate esters, no reproduction. Enceladus at least has nitrogen and carbon, but I think the light is still a killer, as is the limited phosphate.

There is one further issue. Abiogenic chemistry in oceans suffers from the problem of dilution. Even if you can get condensation reactions to work (very difficult in water, without light or enzymes and you can’t start with the latter) the dilution effect means polymers are always far too short to be useful, like two mers.

Patrice Ayme: Wow (pun intended). Very interesting comment Ian! One sees the chemist unfolding wings of understanding. Basically you say Europa’s chemistry is not rich enough. However, there may exist a carapace of 80 kilometers of ice above the Europa ocean… so what we may see may not be much. And Callisto seems also to have liquid water (it generates a magnetic field). 

You seem to be saying that life started on land? One can have concentration in ponds… on land, like in tidal pools. However, continents seem to be an emerging feature on Earth: they are the foam from tectonic plate activity… Thus they may have started after life (????)

On the face of it, except for cephalopods (no culture there), culture bearing animals on Earth evolved mostly on land (that’s my point). Land animals have had migrations for 300 million years apparently, and collective migrations mean culture and society. Instead of dilution, I look at the greater occurrence of genetic evolution through mutations… on land.

Finally there is this:

Now it turns out that bacteria in sediments below the ocean floor use radioactivity as power source: The contribution of water radiolysis to marine sedimentary life

(Justine F. Sauvage, Ashton Flinders, Arthur J. Spivack, Robert Pockalny, Ann G. Dunlea, Chloe H. Anderson, David C. Smith, Richard W. Murray & Steven D’Hondt 

Nature Communications volume 12, Article number: 1297 (2021)) 

Abstract:”Water radiolysis continuously produces H2 and oxidized chemicals in wet sediment and rock. Radiolytic H2 has been identified as the primary electron donor (food) for microorganisms in continental aquifers kilometers below Earth’s surface [This hydrogen is mostly produced by alpha and gamma radiation inside the sediments; this is the point]. Radiolytic products may also be significant for sustaining life in subseafloor sediment and subsurface environments of other planets. However, the extent to which most subsurface ecosystems rely on radiolytic products has been poorly constrained, due to incomplete understanding of radiolytic chemical yields in natural environments. 

… we show that all common marine sediment types catalyse radiolytic H2 production, amplifying yields by up to 27X relative to pure water. In electron equivalents, the global rate of radiolytic H2 production in marine sediment appears to be 1-2% of the global organic flux to the seafloor. However, most organic matter is consumed at or near the seafloor, whereas radiolytic H2 is produced at all sediment depths. Comparison of radiolytic H2 consumption rates to organic oxidation rates suggests that water radiolysis is the principal source of biologically accessible energy for microbial communities in marine sediment older than a few million years. Where water permeates similarly catalytic material on other worlds, life may also be sustained by water radiolysis.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/no-star-no-problem-radioactivity-could-make-otherwise-frozen-planets-habitable

ianmillerblog on April 6, 2021 at 3:06 am said:

Yes, Patrice, what I am saying is that the Jovian system is deficient in nitrogen and carbon, which is why Ganymede and Callisto have no atmosphere worth mentioning, while Titan has. It has to do with the ices that formed the planets. What I am saying is that as the ices warmed up, first the N2 and CO that helped form Neptune vaporized, then the argon and CH4 that helped form Uranus, then the methanol and ammonia that helped form the Saturnian system, leaving the Jovian system essentially with only water and solids.

I think the basics of life came from underground, with geologic processing, and life probably started around fumaroles. the reason being it was easy to get wet-dry cycles. With splashing cycles it is possible to get APM and UPM to form RNA fragments of u to 100 mers in a few hours, so the next trick is how to get AMP and UMP, and that is where sunlight comes in. It is not so much to provide energy, but rather to provide very high vibrational energy from an excited state decaying through internal conversion, which is why we use ribose – it is the only sugar that forms a furanose, and the furanose form is the only form that can relay the vibrational energy. That’s my view, anyway.

The radiolytic provision of hydrogen is interesting because life had to use hydrogen for the early anaerobes. There is obviously a lot more to life than what I outlined above, but I think that would be the way it started because this alone gets reproduction AND catalysis started.

Radioactivity has been ignored all too long in the evolution of life, indeed. Radioactivity was considerable in the past, when life emerged, because Earth was covered with U235… Yes, a concentration of which exploded above Hiroshima… There used to be one hundred times more! Before I come back to that in a future essay, let’s momentarily conclude:

And now a final word for those who believe that wisdom should not worry about other planets: there are two types of wisdom. Mussel wisdom, clinging to the rock one knows well, and human wisdom, clinging to the hope one does not know yet. Humanity and its ancestry has clung to progress as the examination worth having most. We have brains to progress. It was always so, and those believing something else, were wiped out, and always will be.

Patrice Ayme

Cuomo And His Admirers: Bully Lovers

April 5, 2021

Too much power into too few hands.

We need to be controlled by superior ideas, not highly successful bullies. To change this requires changing the nature of politics and “leadership”: instead of trying to elect miracle leaders, we need to find out what the better ideas are, and accept to be ruled by them, the better angels of logic and compassion. So we need to learn to aspire to be led by debates, not by bullies. 

Representative democracy, as we have it now, disingenuously represents that a few individuals represent all of us. They can’t. It’s a lie to pretend they can. Democracy should not be about the one replacing the many. Democracy should be about people power (what demos-kratia means), and the power of the people is what comes out of the debates of the people: suggesting ideas, adjudicating them, modifying them, and accepting them. As long as we look for brutish “controlling” autocrats, to “lead” us, we will get them. Cuomo is just the latest blatant example. It is the aspirations of the political system, what the “demos” wants, which need to be changed. As long as we prefer to listen to lies rather than finding the truth, we will be the victims of pseudo-progressives and pseudo-democrats.  

New York Times: “You can’t call yourself a progressive champion while cutting school funding and Medicaid. You can’t call yourself a progressive champion while fondling young women and making them feel as if they are only valued for their high heels and short skirts. You can’t call yourself a progressive champion when your quest to assert your dominance leads to needless death. But Mr. Cuomo has tried to pull it off by using his political might to divert our attention.

The unmasking of Mr. Cuomo’s aggressive and abusive tactics offers a moment for us to reflect on the kinds of leaders we want and the best ways for them to pursue change. “I am a controlling personality,” he writes of himself in his new book. “But you show me a person who is not controlling and I’ll show you a person who is probably not highly successful.”

This is wrong. Requiring our leaders to be ruthless makes it harder for women and people of color to enter the halls of power. It associates competence with cruelty, which is something white men are allowed to brandish but other leaders are not.

The NYT says that we should have known about Cuomo long ago. Yes, starting with the fact his dad was NY governor too, so he inherited the job. But not just that: democrats should know they don’t have democracy, as it is, and structural reforms are needed.

Patrice Ayme

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More NYT on Cuomo: “For Mr. Cuomo, government has always been a show, and that was the case long before he won an Emmy for appearing on TV with PowerPoint slides. His flashy policy actions were paper thin, a veil for his pointed attacks on the most vulnerable.

In truth, he has long championed deep austerity even as he has touted high-profile progressive social issues. As early as his first year in office, he crowed about a “historic and transformational” state budget that reduced spending by more than 2 percent, in particular through reductions for Medicaid and education. The budget also eliminated some services for domestic violence victims and the homeless.

He has been at it ever since. In 2019, he clashed with newly empowered leaders of his own party in the Legislature when he resisted an increase in spending on education and other social programs. The next year, as a health crisis hit, he was still insisting that he couldn’t complete a state budget without cutting Medicaid. He has long opposed education increases, even for the neediest schools. When Congress sent coronavirus relief funding to the country’s highest-poverty schools in March 2020, including those in New York City, Mr. Cuomo cut the exact same amount from the state budget that the city would normally receive, wiping out the new money with a stroke of his pen. (This came after he had the gall to accuse Democrats in the State Legislature of failing to increase funding for poor school districts in 2019.)

All along, before the pandemic and during it, he has refused to consider raising taxes on the wealthy (until very recently),

His focus on his own image over and above improving life for New Yorkers has bordered on the absurd. Beginning in 2014, Mr. Cuomo installed more than 500 “I Love NY” signs along our highways as a PR move, despite being told that the Federal Highway Administration wouldn’t allow them, costing the state a $14 million fine. (The signs themselves had already cost $8.1 million.)

We still don’t know if, or when, Mr. Cuomo’s many scandals will ultimately depose him. But whenever he leaves power, New York should be ready to pick a different kind of leader. It would be a mistake to replace Mr. Cuomo with someone who pursues actual progressive policies with the same brutal aggression. We need someone who can get things done without leaving a path of abuse in his or her wake.

America Was Always A Governmental Project

April 3, 2021

The colonization of the West Indies, Central and South America, but also North America, were all governmental projects manipulated by private individuals. The “Crowns” of Spain, France, Portugal, England (in that chronological order) financed them. And so it was for centuries: government first, organized everything. The myth that the “Free Market” colonizes all, and is the ultimate organizer was just a (self-serving) myth invented by US plutocracy to better colonized all. Wait, some will say, aren’t you contradicting yourself? No, century or so was a period when the wealthiest individuals in the world, US plutocrats, acquired a variable, but occasionally domineering level of control of the US government: cursus honorum, as the Romans used to call it, American style.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the government, in a real democracy (people-power)… Except for the flaws Athens exhibited in its short lived total democracy dominance (namely over-passionate, poorly studied, hubristic and intemperate decisions). Now Athens had a basic problem: it was not the domineering military power (Sparta was stronger on land, and Persia was immensely stronger on land, more than equal at sea). Right now, the West is domineering militarily. but democratically incomplete. Biden is trying to grow government. He can be exactly what the doctor ordered, IF done right (spending where government spending will change the future for the best).

Governmentalism, done right, is growing, and has to grow… Be it only because it works so spectacularly in China,while the “free market” is failing spectacularly in Europe (see the European COVID debacle; Europe did less well than China, or the US, the latter mostly at the origin of the vaccines, through Trump’s efforts).

Overall, since the Communists took control, China has been driven by smart (and violent) governmentalism… when the government intervenes in all ways. For example, the Chinese Communist Party intervenes decisively by outlawing marriage with close relatives (which bolster kinship). What the CCP was doing was to impose frantically laws similar to those of Western Europe. Western Europe, led that way mostly by France, had been, for two millennia, the prime actor of governmentalism. England, a subsidiary of France initially, was not far behind.

(I prefer the word “governmentalism”, to “statism” which is too… static. The most dynamic societies have practiced “governmentalism… but were, precisely, far from static. Landing on the Moon, a government project, was not static!)

In 2020, massive intervention of the US government in private research, through development funding and rewards brandished, brought the spectacular arrival of half a dozen vaccines (“Operation Warp Speed”). The European Union did nothing similar to what Trump did, brutal governmentalism. Instead Europe waited for private enterprise (much of it now financed by Trump or… Boris Johnson!) to come up with solutions. So Europe failed monstrously, and now depends upon Trump financed vaccines. Now this is not exactly about Trump: governmentalism and mercantilism (governmentalism applied to “free trade”) have always been American traditions.

The part of America which became the USA has long been a government enterprise. English America was first founded by the “West Country Men”, a group of famous plutocrats which had included Sir Francis Drake, who died in an American military expedition… and where King James I would be most prominent.  

The Erie Canal made New York the economic capital of the USA, displacing Philadelphia.

The English North American colony, the 1607 project, was founded by the Virginia Company, a joint-stock entity which was empowered by the Crown to govern itself… with the help of military officers (such as the fierce and experienced Captain John Smith who was part of the governing council). So, from the beginning, the North American colony was a joint military-government-investors venture. 

Biden wants to augment significantly government spending, in a reversal of the Reagan program of considering the government as the enemy. There are powerful antecedents to this: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, JFK and LBJ. Ike rose the marginal tax rate to 91% (a bit higher than Truman left it).

Nowadays, what needs to be industrialized correctly is the entire world. In particular, in the long term, no more fossil fuels, no more deforestation, no more environment killing plastics, chemicals, heavy metals, phosphates, etc.

This reconfiguration of the world economy can only happen at the direction of governments. Taxation, anywhere in the world, just as the economy, anywhere in the world, or democracy, anywhere in the world, is a global problem. There never was, and never will be, a free market as the adjudicator of all things economic: it is the government itself which is the adjudicator. The government determines what freedom is, and what the market is. 

Around 655 CE, the government of Queen Bathilde of the Franks ruled that trading slaves was unlawful: this restraining of the free market led to investments in education and higher technology, making Europe what she became: a fulcrum of progress and relative freedom… As usual the link is indicative; I do not fully agree with the description of Bathilde as given by Encyclopedia Britannica; in particular, the British encyclopedia lies about Bathilde freeing only Christians. Bathilde [correct spelling from contemporaneous 7C, Seventh Century Latin documents] OUTLAWED SELLING and BUYING SLAVES… Even from OUTSIDE FRANCIA: more exactly, a slave bought outside Francia was automatically freed when brought into Francia. The religion, ethnicity, gender and origin of the slave did not matter; the slave was freed. The Bathilde governmental policy of outlawing slavery did not just change the socioeconomy of Europe, but of the planet.

She outlawed slavery: Most important political leader of the planet? Ever?

All the great civilizations have been driven by smart governmentalism: Darius greatly improved the Achaemenid Empire by experimenting with the free market, while engaging in massive government spending in all sorts of infrastructure, canals, some underground, irrigation, communications, roads, state banking, a powerful navy, etc. China built a giant canal system, over millennia, and had a powerful educational system. Nowadays the most important spending should be research in fundamental science, something the “free market” and its greed can’t provide for… The world CO2 crisis can only be solved scientifically, not fiscally

Bidenomics consists, roughly speaking, of more of what I call “governmentalism”: large-scale public investment paid for with more taxes. 

The Biden administration infrastructure fact sheet alludes to part of that history, declaring that the plan “will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways [Ike] and won the space race [JFK, LBJ].” I have long advocated to bring back the Dwight stuff — with much higher government investment as a share of gross domestic product than we do now, and also much higher tax rates on both high-income individuals and corporations.

The era of big government investment and high taxes on the rich coincided, not incidentally, with the US and Europe’s 30 glorious years the greatest generation — the post WW2 decades of rapidly rising living standards….

Public investment and progressive taxation in America in particular and the greatest civilizations in general goes back much further than the mid-Twentieth Century.

An example is the construction of the Erie Canal between 1818 and 1825. It imitated what the Romans and the French had done. When Marius’ legions arrived in Provence and waited two years for the savage German invaders to deign showing up, he occupied his soldiers by building a canal. The land which came to be known as France would keep on building canals, at government expense, for another two millennia. 

Unlike the privately owned canals of 18th-century plutocratic Britain, the original Erie Canal was built by the government of New York State, at a cost of $7 million (in 1818 dollars). This was carried out over the years 1818 to 1825. The canal is a 363-mile  (nearly 600 kilometers) waterway that connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River in upstate New York. It connected New York City to the Great Lakes, and through Chicago, to the Mississippi system. 

The legislative act allowing bonds to be sold to finance the canals’ construction specified a maximum interest rate of 6 percent… apparently was the interest rate which the bonds actually paid. Over the period from 1824 to 1882 the total tolls collected amounted to approximately $121 million. This ranged from $300 thousand in 1824 to $4.5 million in 1862. Thus the canal paid for itself in less than twenty years.

Britain had immensely wealthy individuals and banks, the USA did not (both the US Revolution and presidents such as Jackson made sure to keep away European plutocrats and their banks). So governmentalism was a necessity in the USA. As a share of state G.D.P., the canal was probably the equivalent of  $1 trillion today

Big public role in infrastructure continued down the generations, and it was accompanied by a policy not of “Free Trade” but “Mercantilism“: the US government would mostly maneuver to advantage private enterprise and greed, at the cost of all and any notions, including basic decency or filial piety… for example profiting from World War One by selling to racist fascist invasive mass homicidal genocidal Kaiser Germany what it needed to keep fighting World War One, by evading the Franco-British high seas blockade; this caused great suffering and weakening of France and Britain, the parents of the USA.

The US government would send the US Cavalry, massacre and clear the Indians, and distribute their lands around the newly built railroads. Land grants enabled railway construction and universities. Teddy Roosevelt finished the Panama Canal (started by the French Ferdinand de Lesseps and his French banks). F.D.R. brought electricity to rural areas. Eisenhower built the interstate freeway network.

So what is today’s infrastructure to be built? Mostly fundamental science. We need to leap scientifically: COVID was just a little warning. Very sophisticated scientific advances (mRNA vaccines and Adenoviruses gene carrier vaccines) enabled to solve the crisis promptly. Meanwhile the climate and toxic crises are squeezing ever more the world ecology. After the enormous expansion of the world population, it is to be feared that, barring spectacular scientific advances, cannibalism may come back. After all, it was practiced in the original English colony of 1610 CE, not just the Donner Party of the Nineteenth Century.  

When India was created as a modern country, respect was paid to Islam: (wealthy) Muslim men were allowed to follow their religious edict, the Sharia, and marry several women. Meanwhile, China, duplicating Europe, was explicitly outlawing polygeny. So India was created with a low level of government intervention, the opposite of the brutal dictatorship of the CCP. India was then wealthier per capita than China. Now China is much wealthier than India in capital (but not in capita).

In 2015, the India Supreme Court found that secular law should apply to Muslim men too. Thus governmentalism has been on the rise in India… And so has been the economy. The smartest governmentalism implies the smartest laws, the smartest “free market”, the smartest tech and science, and the smartest driver of them all, the smartest smarts… The latter point escapes autocrats. As Biden (who has personal experience with them) pointed out, autocrats such as Putin and Xi think the world has become too complicated for democracy and requires autocracy. Well, it is democracy, democratic governmentalism, which created that more complicated, smarter world. Yet, yes, it is a fine line, sometimes democracy backfires, as Socrates pointed out luridly, indeed, there are all sorts of thin red lines not to cross. But, done right, democratic governmentalism can’t be beat.

A piece of advice: too much spending giving money directly to low lives, is what was started in Rome, and it brought only the opposite of what it claimed to want to achieve. Besides many “Republicans” may resist it (rightly). The way to improve civilization the most is through education, availability of work, and fundamental science. A consensus should be buildable in that perspective.

Patrice Ayme


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GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

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because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

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an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

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Writer, Editor, Berliner

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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

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Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

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in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

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Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

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an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

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Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

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