The Federal Reserve's Explicit Goal: Devalue The Dollar 33%


By Thedaytoday   Follow   Fri, 25 Jan 2013, 10:50am   13,680 views   532 comments
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The Federal Reserve's Explicit Goal: Devalue The Dollar 33%

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) has made it official: After its latest two day meeting, it announced its goal to devalue the dollar by 33% over the next 20 years. The debauch of the dollar will be even greater if the Fed exceeds its goal of a 2 percent per year increase in the price level.

An increase in the price level of 2% in any one year is barely noticeable. Under a gold standard, such an increase was uncommon, but not unknown. The difference is that when the dollar was as good as gold, the years of modest inflation would be followed, in time, by declining prices. As a consequence, over longer periods of time, the price level was unchanged. A dollar 20 years hence was still worth a dollar.

But, an increase of 2% a year over a period of 20 years will lead to a 50% increase in the price level. It will take 150 (2032) dollars to purchase the same basket of goods 100 (2012) dollars can buy today. What will be called the “dollar” in 2032 will be worth one-third less (100/150) than what we call a dollar today.

The Fed’s zero interest rate policy accentuates the negative consequences of this steady erosion in the dollar’s buying power by imposing a negative return on short-term bonds and bank deposits. In effect, the Fed has announced a course of action that will steal — there is no better word for it — nearly 10 percent of the value of American’s hard earned savings over the next 4 years.

Why target an annual 2 percent decline in the dollar’s value instead of price stability? Here is the Fed’s answer:

“The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) judges that inflation at the rate of 2 percent (as measured by the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures, or PCE) is most consistent over the longer run with the Federal Reserve’s mandate for price stability and maximum employment. Over time, a higher inflation rate would reduce the public’s ability to make accurate longer-term economic and financial decisions. On the other hand, a lower inflation rate would be associated with an elevated probability of falling into deflation, which means prices and perhaps wages, on average, are falling–a phenomenon associated with very weak economic conditions. Having at least a small level of inflation makes it less likely that the economy will experience harmful deflation if economic conditions weaken. The FOMC implements monetary policy to help maintain an inflation rate of 2 percent over the medium term.”

In other words, a gradual destruction of the dollar’s value is the best the FOMC can do.

Here’s why:

First, the Fed believes that manipulation of interest rates and the value of the dollar can reduce unemployment rates.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/charleskadlec/2012/02/06/the-federal-reserves-explicit-goal-devalue-the-dollar-33/

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  1. thunderlips11


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    493   1:34pm Thu 14 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    Are you kidding me again? When did the Gracci brothers live? circa 120-130BC. When did West Roman Empire collapse? late 5th century AD. What you are saying is essentially the equivalent of blaming our current economic problems on something happened 100 years before Columbus set sail? before even the last Norse settlement on Greenland died out?

    I'm explaining the dynamics of the Roman Republic and Empire. The seeds of destruction were already present when it transitioned to Empire. Sulla and then Caesar are the results of the breakdown. The destruction of the tax base and the reliance on non-Roman soldiers are all factors that arose out of the concentration of wealth and land into smaller numbers of hands.

    I didn't think what I wrote was so hard to follow.
    Reality says

    What you are saying is essentially the equivalent of blaming our current economic problems on something happened 100 years before Columbus set sail? before even the last Norse settlement on Greenland died out?

    I don't follow. I think you're making another bad analogy.

    I'm tracing the outcome of an unequal distribution of land over time in one state. The United States is not a direct descendant of the Spanish Empire or the Vikings. The Roman Empire, however is a direct descendent of the Roman Republic, and while some of the early Emperors mitigated many of Rome's problems, the Equestrian interests still triumphed, and their failed policies doomed Rome.

    Reality says

    Perhaps you don't understand the concept of "primorgeniture": The first-born (son) inheriting the entire estate, then in practice in Western Europe. Henry's dad was "the government" then his elder brother was "the government" of Portugal. Henry was not. That's why he had to find his own domain on the high seas. The order you talked about is the Portugese branch of what used to be "Knight Templer, " obviously a "non-profit" (but very wealthy) and non-government organization like the Catholic Church or the RedCross except some of their members can be heavily armed, not surprising considering the main branch had been previously mass-murdered by the king of France coveting their wealth.

    Not this again. Henry was the Duke of Viseu, governor of the Algarve.

    By the way, know how Henry became the Grand Master of the Order of Christ? King John of Portugal asked the pope to make him so.

    Military Orders got their wealth from land grants from the nobility anyway.

  2. thunderlips11


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    494   1:44pm Thu 14 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    Your thesis that somehow CA and NY property tax goes to building highways in the south doesn't make any sense at all.

    Another Strawman. My point is that sources other than gasoline taxes pay for highways, particularly on the local levels.

  3. Reality


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    495   2:03pm Thu 14 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    I'm explaining the dynamics of the Roman Republic and Empire. The seeds of destruction were already present when it transitioned to Empire. Sulla and then Caesar are the results of the breakdown. The destruction of the tax base and the reliance on non-Roman soldiers are all factors that arose out of the concentration of wealth and land into smaller numbers of hands.

    I didn't think what I wrote was so hard to follow.

    You are going way too far back. Only court historians go back 600 years to explain something happening in front of their eyes. In real life, cause and effect are much more immediate. When was the last time when you explained anything happening to something that took place before Columbus discovered the New World? That was only 520 years go.

    thunderlips11 says

    I'm tracing the outcome of an unequal distribution of land over time in one state. The United States is not a direct descendant of the Spanish Empire or the Vikings. The Roman Empire, however is a direct descendent of the Roman Republic, and while some of the early Emperors mitigated many of Rome's problems, the Equestrian interests still triumphed, and their failed policies doomed Rome.

    Do you think the foreclosure wave that took place a few years ago had much to do with the town incorporating master deeds that took place merely 300 or 150 or even 100 years ago? The Gracci brothers were 600 years before the final collapse of Rome, with many reforms, revolutions, rebellions, wars, almost-collapses and more reforms in between. Linking these two together would be as silly as talking about the interaction tetween dynosaurus and early homo sapiens (e.g. Flintstones).

    thunderlips11 says

    Not this again. Henry was the Duke of Viseu, governor of the Algarve.

    By the way, know how Henry became the Grand Master of the Order of Christ? King John of Portugal asked the pope to make him so.

    European feudalism doesn't work like modern bureaucracy. Henry went on his voyages in his private capacity as the old king's younger son , who is not inheriting the kingdom.

    Military Orders got their wealth from land grands from the nobility anyway.

    Any charity and non-profit can get government grant. When Henry went on his voyage, it was his way of taking leave from his older brother Edward the new king's court, so Henry wouldn't be any threat to Edward or vice versa.

  4. thunderlips11


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    496   6:48am Fri 15 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    You are going way too far back. Only court historians go back 600 years to explain something happening in front of their eyes. In real life, cause and effect are much more immediate. When was the last time when you explained anything happening to something that took place before Columbus discovered the New World? That was only 520 years go.

    What about the Federal Reserve devalue the dollar argument (95+% in about 100 years) or the "Slowly losing our liberties" idea (That esp. since the Civil War, the Fed Gov has grown stronger...)? Those are just two popular ideas. Historically, the Industrialization of England began way back in Middle Ages with Mills and was a long, slow process that gradually "gained steam" as time advanced. The Catholic Church Reformations, which also lasted over centuries - Luther wasn't first, either. There were also the Hussites, Lollards, etc. So yes, one can see social trends over several hundreds of years, sometimes a thousand years.

    Those involve century(-ies) long timeframes.

    Reality says

    European feudalism doesn't work like modern bureaucracy. Henry went on his voyages in his private capacity as the old king's younger son , who is not inheriting the kingdom.

    Of course it didn't work like modern bureaucracy. That doesn't mean Henry wasn't a titled ruler with governing responsibilities; and like many powerful noblemen of the time, he held a variety of positions simultaneously. You're dismissing the fact that Henry had many governorships and powers granted to him by the State.Before that he was given governorship of the entire Algarve, and before that made commander of the defense of Ceuta. In 1448 he was given exclusive rights by the King to all trade arising in Guinea, for example. Not to mention appointed Grand Master of the Order of Christ, all of which gave him the resources to fund expeditions and build observatories.

    Henry didn't go on voyages of discovery around Africa, he arranged them.

  5. Reality


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    497   12:33pm Fri 15 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    What about the Federal Reserve devalue the dollar argument (95+% in about 100 years) or the "Slowly losing our liberties" idea (That esp. since the Civil War, the Fed Gov has grown stronger...)? Those are just two popular ideas.

    Do you honestly believe that the Federal Reserve will last another 500 years? or for that matter the United States as currently constituted?

    Historically, the Industrialization of England began way back in Middle Ages with Mills and was a long, slow process that gradually "gained steam" as time advanced.

    So are you going to attribute your access to internet today to the prototype Steam powered water pumps in the coal mines 400 years ago? Remember, that's only 400 years ago, compared to the 600 years between Gracci Brothers and the collapse of WRE.

    The Catholic Church Reformations, which also lasted over centuries - Luther wasn't first, either. There were also the Hussites, Lollards, etc. So yes, one can see social trends over several hundreds of years, sometimes a thousand years.

    Those involve century(-ies) long timeframes.

    What social trends today are you able to attribute to something that happened 1000 years ago? It's not like the Gracci Brothers started a new religion like Christianity or Islam. We are talking about a couple politicians, the likes of which come and go every generation.

    thunderlips11 says

    Of course it didn't work like modern bureaucracy. That doesn't mean Henry wasn't a titled ruler with governing responsibilities; and like many powerful noblemen of the time, he held a variety of positions simultaneously. You're dismissing the fact that Henry had many governorships and powers granted to him by the State.Before that he was given governorship of the entire Algarve, and before that made commander of the defense of Ceuta. In 1448 he was given exclusive rights by the King to all trade arising in Guinea, for example. Not to mention appointed Grand Master of the Order of Christ, all of which gave him the resources to fund expeditions and build observatories.

    This is a brain dead argument to support government. At the time of Henry, all wealth were concentrated in the hands of feudal lords of one type of another. I argue that feudal lords are just the equivalent of wealthy landowners today. You argue that feudal lords were part of the government. Well, are you then arguing that we need to bring back the feudal lords in order to have new discoveries and innovations? Obviously it takes wealth to organize discoveries and innovations. Before the emergence of widespread merchant class, the feudal lords were the only ones with the resources. Then of course voyages of discovery would have to be funded by them. That's hardly an argument for the need of government in order to have any discovery or innovation.

    Your argument essentially boils down to this: because Nazi Germany led the world in Rocket technology and they used slave labor to build rockets, it's prove positive that advancing technology is impossible without slave labor!

  6. thunderlips11


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    498   1:24pm Fri 15 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    Do you honestly believe that the Federal Reserve will last another 500 years? or for that matter the United States as currently constituted?

    No, I don't think the Federal Reserve will last unchanged as it currently is for the next 500 years. The US has started and ended several incarnations of national banks with varying levels of public and private controls. I doubt the US will remain in more or less its current configuration 500 years from now.

    Reality says

    This is a brain dead argument to support government. At the time of Henry, all wealth were concentrated in the hands of feudal lords of one type of another. I argue that feudal lords are just the equivalent of wealthy landowners today. You argue that feudal lords were part of the government

    Counts, Dukes, Barons, Governors, Viceroys, etc. didn't:
    * enforce laws and hear legal cases
    * administer justice (however shitily)
    * raise armies
    * collect taxes
    * build infrastructure and charge tolls
    * finance mills
    * patronize scholars and artists
    * Grant charters to orders, for the incorporation of cities, merchant companies, etc.

    Of course they did so.

    Reality says

    Your argument essentially boils down to this: because Nazi Germany led the world in Rocket technology and they used slave labor to build rockets, it's prove positive that advancing technology is impossible without slave labor!

    That's a false dilemma, not my argument at all.

    For example: Rocket Technology can also be developed by NASA and the DoD spending tax dollars without the slave labor, but well compensated employees.

    Reality says

    Obviously it takes wealth to organize discoveries and innovations. Before the emergence of widespread merchant class, the feudal lords were the only ones with the resources. Then of course voyages of discovery would have to be funded by them. That's hardly an argument for the need of government in order to have any discovery or innovation.

    I'm arguing against the idea that only private enterprise can carry on research effectively. The point all along was that government can and does create innovation and sponsor discovery. Many times in history, theoretical research is too speculative for private agents to engage in and only government has the power to support it.

    The US is an incredibly productive place for R&D, and one of our secrets is generous grants, patent protections, heavily subsidized world class universities and laboratories that people around the world compete with each other to study and work at, and other government services.

  7. Reality


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    499   4:54pm Fri 15 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    No, I don't think the Federal Reserve will last unchanged as it currently is for the next 500 years. The US has started and ended several incarnations of national banks with varying levels of public and private controls. I doubt the US will remain in more or less its current configuration 500 years from now.

    So why did you even bring the FED up to defend an untenable thesis that postulates 600 year delayed effect in government policies? when much more proximate reasons were readily available.

    thunderlips11 says

    Counts, Dukes, Barons, Governors, Viceroys, etc. didn't:

    * enforce laws and hear legal cases

    * administer justice (however shitily)

    * raise armies

    * collect taxes

    * build infrastructure and charge tolls

    * finance mills

    * patronize scholars and artists

    * Grant charters to orders, for the incorporation of cities, merchant companies, etc.

    Of course they did so.

    Some medieval feudal lords did, others didn't. The difference was quite significant from one region to another, from one time to another. For example, the powers of English barons at the time of King John of England was very different from the powers of French barons at the time of King Louise XIV, which was again different from Russian barons at the time of Peter I.

    Some medieval feudal lords, especially kings of major domains, were best approximated as the equivalent of government in today's society, others are much better compared to the captains of an industrial enterprise with a few hundred thousand employees.

    In any case, Henry was sponsoring the voyages in his private capacity. Are you going to argue that Einstein's Relativity Theory was also impossible without government because he was a patent office clerk at the time? obviously a government employee?

    thunderlips11 says

    That's the fallacy of the false dilemma, not my argument at all.

    For example: Rocket Technology can also be developed by NASA and the DoD spending tax dollars without the slave labor, but well compensated employees.

    Then why is it so hard for you to make the next cognitive step forward: Rocket technology can also be developed in the private sector by private companies and individuals?

    The NASA and DoD approach is actually much closer to the German approach than you think: most Germans researchers were government paid scientists and military officers, just like NASA and DoD. The Germans forcibly took almost all the surplus labor of a few hundred thousand laborers and made that available to Werner von Braun and his crew. First DoD then NASA forcibly took part of the surplus labor from millions of laborers and made that available to Werner von Braun and his crew. Your alleged middle-road is actually little different from the typical statist solution.

    thunderlips11 says

    I'm arguing against the idea that only private enterprise can carry on research effectively. The point all along was that government can and does create innovation and sponsor discovery. Many times in history, theoretical research is too speculative for private agents to engage in and only government has the power to support it.

    So you are indeed arguing that Einstein undertook his purely theoretical work on relativity only possible because he was a government office clerk!

    Government itself does not do research. Government bureaucrats direct other individuals to do research. Those bureaucrats sometimes can be associated with research results, in the same sense that the soviet bureaucrats sometimes could get people to put food on the store shelves too! Do you honest believe that the food wouldn't be there without the government bureaucrats supporting it? or do you recognize that food got to the shelves, when they did, despite the soviet bureaucrats' meddling?

    thunderlips11 says

    The US is an incredibly productive place for R&D, and one of our secrets is generous grants, patent protections, heavily subsidized world class universities and laboratories that people around the world compete with each other to study and work at, and other government services.

    The US used to be a very productive place for R&D when the universities were privately funded, and when the government just started to infiltrate the institutions that were still largely operating on private enterprise principles and personal responsibility. As more and more money wash through American universities, they are becoming just like government funded universities in other countries and church-funded universities before the industrial revolution: researchers and students twisting their funding proposals according to political needs! Why do you think the Russians, Japanese and Chinese produce far more degreed scientists and engineers every year than we do, yet they have far less productive R&D results to show for all that heavy handed government investment? Because for many decades, their universities have been over-run by nonsense political research subjects akin to our Anthropogenic Global Warming in recent years. That's the natural result of government funding for research institutions: it corrupts the research environment. Government bureaucratic process always seek to preserve existing order and take up more resources, and what better to preserve the pecking order than researching nonsense that has no real solution or new breakthrough possible? That's why in the most recent years, the most productive R&D's are moving away from university campuses onto corporate campuses like Google and Microsoft . . . while college graduates are finding themselves having paid a princely sum for learning nothing useful, just like the millions of Russian, Chinese and Japanese college graduates.

  8. thunderlips11


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    500   8:33am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    So why did you even bring the FED up to defend an untenable thesis that postulates 600 year delayed effect in government policies? when much more proximate reasons were readily available.

    Nobody said there was a delayed effect. I said these were recurring problems that were never satisfactorily resolved in the Roman Empire. I used several other examples, including the industrialization of England. Another example in Western History of a struggle lasting many centuries would be religious toleration between Christian - and later other - Sects. Had the West not solved the issue, it may have retarded or even destroyed Western Civilization.

    The point, of course, was to show that there are similar narratives in Libertarian thought ("Losing our Freedoms" and "Central Banking") that span generations in length, so any criticism of my thesis based on length of time apply to many libertarian ideas.

    Reality says

    In any case, Henry was sponsoring the voyages in his private capacity. Are you going to argue that Einstein's Relativity Theory was also impossible without government because he was a patent office clerk at the time? obviously a government employee?

    Again, Henry was a commander of Portugal's Army, Governor of the Algarve, a Duke, and the Grand Master of a religious order.

    To say that as Governor of the Algarve that Henry had no governing power, never mind powers from all his other titles, is extraordinary. And extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    What about King John II continuing the explorations Henry began, and sponsoring Vasco da Gama's trip to India after Henry's death? What about the English sponorship of the Cabots, and Queen Isabella's sponsorship of Columbus? Were all these actions performed by Royal Family members solely in their role as private actors, too?

    Zooming out even further, it seems to me the consequences of what you are suggesting regarding the private status of many feudal lords, including even some Monarchs, must mean that the pre-Modern time period in Europe can be characterized as a libertarian/anarcho-capitalist system dominated by private actors?

    Reality says

    So you are indeed arguing that Einstein undertook his purely theoretical work on relativity only possible because he was a government office clerk!

    Another False Dilemma. I did not argue that all theoretical research is always too speculative for private actors to get involved.

    From his patent office job to the University of Zurich (founded by the Swiss Government) to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (now Max Planck Institute), the first and most fruitful half of his professional life, Einstein was doing his thinking in Government Institutions.
    Reality says

    Government itself does not do research. Government bureaucrats direct other individuals to do research.

    I could turn this argument around into:

    Managers and Admins don't produce, they simply direct. It's the lumberjacks and the truck drivers that actually do the work at Acme Sawmills Inc. Therefore, we should axe all the executives and let the workers control the company and get rid of the dead weight.

    The ironic thing about free marketeers is that their Hayek-derived complaints about a small number of individuals controlling too much can easily be thrown back on their private heroes, for example commercial banks where a tiny group of people control massive amounts of resources with limited oversight from other groups.

    Reality says

    The US used to be a very productive place for R&D when the universities were privately funded, and when the government just started to infiltrate the institutions that were still largely operating on private enterprise principles and personal responsibility

    Do you have evidence for this assertion?

    Patent filings, a good indicator of R&D, are growing almost everywhere, both the US, Japan and China. Note that in almost every category, the US is in the top 2. Our only rival is Japan, which is even more state capitalist than we are:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_patents
    (Source is the World Patent Organization)

    Even more interestingly, the countries with the highest ROI on R&D is South Korea followed by Japan, again, both more state capitalist and protectionist than the USA.

    I've discussed the glut of STEM grads before in other threads.

  9. Reality


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    501   8:52am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Nobody said there was a delayed effect. I said these were recurring problems that were never satisfactorily resolved in the Roman Empire.

    In case it's not obvious, aside from the historians with racial leanings, the employment of soldiers from outside of the city of Rome itself was never a big problem: after all the Republic and the Empire lasted half a millenium using hired soldiers.

    I used several other examples, including the industrialization of England.

    The First Industrial Revolution took place over only about 70 years, from circa 1760 to 1830; the 2nd Industrial Revolution took only about 30 years, from circa 1840 to 1870. You are having difficulty grasping the time span of 600 years; it's like the 3yr old toddler counting: 1, 2, 3, many!

    Another example in Western History of a struggle lasting many centuries would be religious toleration between Christian - and later other - Sects Had the West not solved the issue, it may have destroyed Western Civilization.

    From the time of of Martin Luther putting forth his "95 Theses" in 1517 to Peace of Westphalia in 1648, there was only about a century and half. That's a far cry from 600 years! For you to make a link across 600 years, it's like blaming the recent Pope resignation on Martin Luther of the early 16th century! That's rather preposterous.

  10. thunderlips11


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    502   8:58am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    Then why is it so hard for you to make the next cognitive step forward: Rocket technology can also be developed in the private sector by private companies and individuals?

    Because that's speculative. Practical Rocket Technology was developed largely by government efforts in funding and direction, we don't know what would have happened if left up to private efforts.

    Reality says

    The NASA and DoD approach is actually much closer to the German approach than you think: most Germans researchers were government paid scientists and military officers, just like NASA and DoD. The Germans forcibly took almost all the surplus labor of a few hundred thousand laborers and made that available to Werner von Braun and his crew. First DoD then NASA forcibly took part of the surplus labor from millions of laborers and made that available to Werner von Braun and his crew. Your alleged middle-road is actually little different from the typical statist solution.

    So you're comparing direct slave labor to paying income taxes?

  11. Reality


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    503   9:01am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Again, Henry was a commander of Portugal's Army, Governor of the Algarve, a Duke, and the Grand Master of a religious order.

    To say that as Governor of the Algarve that Henry had no governing power, never mind powers from all his other titles, is extraordinary. And extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    What about King John II continuing the explorations Henry began, and sponsoring Vasco da Gama's trip to India after Henry's death? What about the English sponorship of the Cabots, and Queen Isabella's sponsorship of Columbus? Were all these actions performed by Royal Family members solely in their role as private actors, too?

    Zooming out even further, it seems to me the consequences of what you are suggesting regarding the private status of many feudal lords, including even some Monarchs, must mean that the pre-Modern time period in Europe can be characterized as a libertarian/anarcho-capitalist system dominated by private actors?

    You are making the classic mistake of "classification mania." Not everything can be classfied neatly into "government" vs. "private," especially for the time period that we are talking about. Even in modern life, a head of house hold in an isolated place can be the de facto government of that household. The most crucial difference between "government" vs. "private"
    is whether the relationship between individuals is Hegemonic or Contractual.

    More importantly, back to the core point, the reason why those feudal lords became sponsors was because they were the only source of great wealth after they plundered the rest of the society. It's like the Soviet government was the sponsor of scientific research in that country because the soviet government monopolized all resources in that country. It's not at all proof that R&D would be impossible without the government, like you claimed.

  12. Reality


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    504   9:05am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Another False Dilemma. I did not argue that all theoretical research is always too speculative for private actors to get involved.

    From his patent office job to the University of Zurich (founded by the Swiss Government) to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (now Max Planck Institute), the first and most fruitful half of his professional life, Einstein was doing his thinking in Government Institutions.

    Yet most of his intellectual output was done before he joined any of them. Perhaps the politics at the institutions bogged him down? If anything is proven, it seems to be the counter-productivity of such institutions.

    If high theorectical work can be done and often is done outside the government sponsored institutions, then your whole thesis about their necessity becomes invalid.

  13. Reality


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    505   9:11am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Managers and Admins don't produce, they simply direct. It's the lumberjacks and the truck drivers that actually do the work at Acme Sawmills Inc. Therefore, we should axe all the executives and let the workers control the company and get rid of the dead weight.

    That's exactly why lumberjacks and truck drivers should be allowed to choose which company to work for . . . instead of the ancien regime arrangement of serfs being attached to particular management institutions!

    Government does not allow people individually choose what service to buy what refuse service on.

    The ironic thing about free marketeers is that their Hayek-derived complaints about a small number of individuals controlling too much can easily be thrown back on their private heroes, for example commercial banks where a tiny group of people control massive amounts of resources with limited oversight from other groups.

    That's a ridiculous statement. Apparently, the government bureaucratically run deposit insurance schemes and central bank schemes have been running so long that you have completely forgotten what a bank-run involving thousands of people was like. Bank-run by all the depositors is the ultimate market supervision on commercial banks.

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    506   9:13am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    But many companies love those bases and the military spending. Boeing uses a lot of "Money-Speech" to "Convince" the government to spend like water on aircraft, no. KBR loves the lucrative, cost-plus contracts knowing their Money-Speech guarantees that they'll never be held to account for non-performance. GE makes a bundle on military gear. Even ol' IBM collects nice checks from the military.

    The contributions of the MIC - aka "Money-Speech" - are major factors in military spending and intervention.

    ^^ I agree with this. A lot of this is just one vicious cycle at our expense. And it's a great hustle: These corporations not only get us to buy their goods/services, but they get an additional kickback via our tax dollars to fund so-called government activities.

  15. Reality


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    507   9:18am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Do you have evidence for this assertion?

    Patent filings, a good indicator of R&D, are growing almost everywhere, both the US, Japan and China. Note that in almost every category, the US is in the top 2. Our only rival is Japan, which is even more state capitalist than we are:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_patents

    (Source is the World Patent Organization)

    Goes to show the brain-deadness of the modern college-bred brain. Just by looking at the lack of innovativeness in Japanese economy compared to the US should give you a hint that perhaps patent filing numbers is a very very poor indicator of innovativeness. . . yet it's cited because the mainstream professional misleaders use it. Goes to show you the modern college education has become the training of regurgitators perfected suited for reciting scriptures.

    Even more interestingly, the countries with the highest ROI on R&D is South Korea followed by Japan, again, both more state capitalist and protectionist than the USA.

    How are those ROI on R&D calculated? Do you like believe every printed number dropping into your laps?

  16. Reality


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    508   9:30am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Because that's speculative. Practical Rocket Technology was developed largely by government efforts in funding and direction, we don't know what would have happened if left up to private efforts.

    Considering the massive success that the private industry had with flight and automobile despite much more backwards manufacturing base, it takes serious lack of imagination to think that the private sector wouldn't be able to do space technology without the government. If space technology had developed at a comparable pace to flight earlier, there should long have been space hotels and perhaps even colonies on the moon by now, instead of having resources mis-directed to the pre-mature moon-shot then three decades of space shuttles.

    thunderlips11 says

    So you're comparing direct slave labor to paying income taxes?

    The difference is in degrees, and with income tax rates rising the difference becomes smaller. BTW, the state slaves of Roman and Egyptian time faced an effective tax rate in the teens.

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    509   9:32am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    From the time of of Martin Luther putting forth his "95 Theses" in 1517 to Peace of Westphalia in 1648, there was only about a century and half. That's a far cry from 600 years! For you to make a link across 600 years, it's like blaming the recent Pope resignation on Martin Luther of the early 16th century! That's rather preposterous.

    Sorry, what's preposterous is your assertion that the Peace of Westphalia ended religious discrimination in one fell swoop. It was centuries before religious toleration existed in Europe. In most European countries, Jews and non-majority Christians were persecuted by law and did not gain the same rights of ordinary citizens until well into the 19th Century, 300 years after Luther.

    Religious persecution also didn't begin with Lutherans. There was also the Hussites, Wycliff and the Lollards, Cathars, Bogomils, the Knights Templar, and many other sects and orders that were discriminated against and persecuted throughout European history.

    How many times has the Jesuit Order been banned by various States, including Catholic ones?

    In the 17th Century, about the same time as the Peace of Westphalia, England passed various laws restricting the rights of Catholics and various Protestant "dissenter" groups (like the Puritans). Many of these Puritans left for MA, where they quickly began exercising plenty of intolerance of their own, particularly against Quakers and Unitarians, plus a good witch craze to boot.

    Around 1600, France tolerated Calvinists (but not other Protestants) - but they did not enjoy full rights. Yet in 1700, France had repealed the toleration and began persecuting protestants again.

    It wasn't until 1829 when state discrimination of Catholics pretty much ended in Britain.

    In the 1700s, Maryland banned Catholics from holding office. It was founded by Catholic Lord Baltimore almost a hundred years before and had established no religious test. Yet the demographics shifted and, led by Puritans, who had previously been given shelter there, soon controlled the colony and imposed their intolerance on Catholics, who suffered legal discrimination, including the prohibition on holding office, banning of catholic churches, religious instruction, and a ban even on sending away children for religious instruction out of the colony, for many decades to come.

    Jews couldn't join the Prussian military until 1812.

  18. Reality


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    510   10:15am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Sorry, what's preposterous is your assertion that the Peace of Westphalia ended religious discrimination in one fell swoop. It was centuries before religious toleration existed in Europe. In most European countries, Jews and non-majority Christians were persecuted by law and did not gain the same rights of ordinary citizens until well into the 19th Century, 300 years after Luther.

    You were talking about intra-Christian religious conflict that threatened the very survival of western civilization. That was the period between Martin Luther and Peace of Westphalia. What intra-Christian religious conflict since Westphalia has threatened the very survival of western civilization?

    General discrimination and religious conflicts have been with humanity long before Martin Luther, and probably will go on till the humanity ceases to exist.

  19. Reality


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    511   10:29am Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    How many times has the Jesuit Order been banned by various States, including Catholic ones?

    The Jesuit Order was founded in 1534. Do you want to argue countries ban it for religious reasons till 600 years later 2134 for religious reasons relating to something St. Ignacious of Loyola personally did in 1534? as opposed to political ones utterly unrelated to its founding 600 years earlier?

    thunderlips11 says

    In the 17th Century, about the same time as the Peace of Westphalia, England passed various laws restricting the rights of Catholics and various Protestant "dissenter" groups (like the Puritans). Many of these Puritans left for MA, where they quickly began exercising plenty of intolerance of their own, particularly against Quakers and Unitarians, plus a good witch craze to boot.

    What's your point? That was all within that couple hundred years after Martin Luther's "95 Theses" not 600 years later in 22nd century. Like I said, you are suffering from: Dynosaurs lived a long time ago, early homo sapiens lived a long time ago, therefore they must have played together like in the Flintstones.

    thunderlips11 says

    Around 1600, France tolerated Calvinists (but not other Protestants) - but they did not enjoy full rights. Yet in 1700, France had repealed the toleration and began persecuting protestants again.

    Again, it was 1700, not the 2200's, 600 years after Calvin.

    thunderlips11 says

    It wasn't until 1829 when state discrimination of Catholics pretty much ended in Britain.

    That was still only a couple hundred years after the last time when Catholicism was the state religion of England (Britain didn't even exist as a political entity back then, but only a geographical concept).

    thunderlips11 says

    In the 1700s, Maryland banned Catholics from holding office. It was founded by Catholic Lord Baltimore almost a hundred years before and had established no religious test. Yet the demographics shifted and, led by Puritans, who had previously been given shelter there, soon controlled the colony and imposed their intolerance on Catholics, who suffered legal discrimination, including the prohibition on holding office, banning of catholic churches, religious instruction, and a ban even on sending away children for religious instruction out of the colony, for many decades to come.

    As you can see, things change dramatically in 100 years. Blaming Maryland discrimination on something happened 600 years prior would be silly.

    thunderlips11 says

    Jews couldn't join the Prussian military until 1812.

    What was "Prussia" in 1212? A land of pagans ("Old Prussians" unrelated to Germans that later conquered the land) 600 years before 1812. The Duchy of Prussia did not even exist until the 16th century.

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    512   4:53pm Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    You are making the classic mistake of "classification mania." Not everything can be classfied neatly into "government" vs. "private," especially for the time period that we are talking about. Even in modern life, a head of house hold in an isolated place can be the de facto government of that household. The most crucial difference between "government" vs. "private"

    is whether the relationship between individuals is Hegemonic or Contractual.

    When somebody with actual law making and law enforcement powers and the command of force to back it up makes decisions, I call that government.

    You seem to want to have Feudal Lords as paragons of private investment when useful for your ideology, but ignore their role as rulers when it is inconvenient for your ideology.

    Reality says

    Yet most of his intellectual output was done before he joined any of them. Perhaps the politics at the institutions bogged him down? If anything is proven, it seems to be the counter-productivity of such institutions.

    Einstein made his bones when he got 4 influential papers published in one year while working at the Swiss Patent Office.

    Maybe the nice leisurely pace at the government bureaucracy allowed him bounce ideas of his coworkers and plenty of time to expound his ideas.

    Reality says

    What intra-Christian religious conflict since Westphalia has threatened the very survival of western civilization?

    Shifting goalpost.

    I said:

    Another example in Western History of a struggle lasting many centuries would be religious toleration between Christian - and later other - Sects Had the West not solved the issue, it may have destroyed Western Civilization.

    The main point was to establish that the struggle for religious tolerance was another example of long term trends in history, to counter your argument that the impoverishment of the Roman Farmer and Craftsman wasn't a long general trend across the Late Republic and Empire. The mention of the potential to destroy Western Civ was an ancillary remark.

    You are very interested in 600 years, as if I asserted there is some mystical trend of 600 years in anything and everything, rather than a remark about the impoverishment of Roman plebes starting in the late Republic.

    Reality says

    What's your point? That was all within that couple hundred years after Martin Luther's "95 Theses" not 600 years later in 22nd century. Like I said, you are suffering from: Dynosaurs lived a long time ago, early homo sapiens lived a long time ago, therefore they must have played together like in the Flintstones.

    As stated above, my point was to identify a long term trend.

    Lutherans weren't the first religious group to challenge Catholic dominance and be on the receiving end of active, state-sponsored discrimination. Your arbitrary date of 1517 ignores a thousand years of religious intolerance in Europe previous to Luther.

    Bogomils: circa 900s - six hundred years before Luther
    Waldensians: circa 1200s - three hundred years before Luther
    Cathars: circa 1200s - three hundred years before Luther (the first recorded persecution of Cathars was in the 1000s)
    Lollards: circa 1400 - more than one hundred years before Luther
    Hussites: circa 1400s - one hundred years before Luther

    Furthermore, there were great religious persecutions that happened during the Roman Empire, before the collapse of the Western Empire and the birth of the Dark Ages. For one, Arianism, circa 200s. For another, Donatism, about the same time.

    That's more than 1500 years of religious discrimination before finally freedom of religion was universally embraced. I'd say that's a bit of a long term trend.

  21. Reality


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    513   5:55pm Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    When somebody with actual law making and law enforcement powers and the command of force to back it up makes decisions, I call that government.

    That power was simply absent for a little Portugese duke in dealing with sea-farers. The latter could easily move to Spain, France or Italian city states if the duke decides to squeeze them with force.

    You seem to want to have Feudal Lords as paragons of private investment when useful for your ideology, but ignore their role as rulers when it is inconvenient for your ideology.

    Not at all. Like I stated numerous times, the feudal lords got involved with the activities of the age of discovery because they were the only available bags of money at the time, and not so coincidentally they were competing against each other like big plantation owners. Your labelling them "government" is completely irrelevant. Claiming that voyages of discovery therefore would be impossible without government support would be as silly as claiming the insightful Declaration of Independence would be impossible without slave ownership: because the primary authors were slave owners. Slave ownership gave them the wealth and time to read, study and contemplate. However, it is the time and knowledge that was decisive, not slave ownership. Likewise, it was the money that made the hiring of sea-farers possible (and the scribes to record it), not the government office-holding per se. If anything, the concentration of wealth into the fuedal lords (mostly via tax on trade) in medieval time probably impeded commerce and sea-faring, and therefore discovery.

  22. Reality


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    514   5:56pm Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Einstein made his bones when he got 4 influential papers published in one year while working at the Swiss Patent Office.

    Maybe the nice leisurely pace at the government bureaucracy allowed him bounce ideas of his coworkers and plenty of time to expound his ideas.

    Like I suspected in the last post, the statist training in your bones is leading you down the path to believing slavery made Declaration of Independence possible. LOL.

    Regarding Einstein, have you ever thought of the possibility that if not for the myriads of government office holders and military spending in Germany, the entire German people, not just Einstein, would have had more leisure time, and there would have been more men with great theoretical scientific accomplishment like Einstein?

  23. Reality


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    515   6:20pm Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Reality says

    What intra-Christian religious conflict since Westphalia has threatened the very survival of western civilization?

    Shifting goalpost.

    I said:

    Another example in Western History of a struggle lasting many centuries would be religious toleration between Christian - and later other - Sects Had the West not solved the issue, it may have destroyed Western Civilization.

    No shifting of goal posts at all. What intro-Christian religious conflict after the Peace of Westfalen has threantened to destroy Western Civilization? There has been none. The existence-threatening religious conflicts due to the emergence of the Reformist Churches of the 16th century were over within a couple hundred years.

    thunderlips11 says

    As stated above, my point was to identify a long term trend.

    There's no trend there. Conflicts emerge, conflicts resolved or overshadowed by some other bigger conflicts. There will always be conflicts. You are searching in futility for something to support your untenable thesis.

    That's not a trend. thunderlips11 says

    The main point was to establish that the struggle for religious tolerance was another example of long term trends in history, to counter your argument that the impoverishment of the Roman Farmer and Craftsman wasn't a long general trend across the Late Republic and Empire. The mention of the potential to destroy Western Civ was an ancillary remark.

    It's preposterous to draw such 600-year long trend of impoverishment. Obviously the society held together for 600 years despite your alleged trend. So why did it suddenly collapse towards the end of 5th century? What would you call the cause of the latest economic crash that we are having now? the discover of the New World and arrival of European colonists on borrowed travel expense 500 years ago? That's the sort of silly explanation that you are giving.

    thunderlips11 says

    Lutherans weren't the first religious group to challenge Catholic dominance and be on the receiving end of active, state-sponsored discrimination. Your arbitrary date of 1517 ignores a thousand years of religious intolerance in Europe previous to Luther.

    Bogomils: circa 900s - six hundred years before Luther

    So are you going to give Bogomils as the reason for the 16th century religious wars in Europe? instead of Luther? Are you serious? You are proving my point about the ancient events being irrelevant when there are much more proximate causes.

    thunderlips11 says

    Furthermore, there were great religious persecutions that happened during the Roman Empire, before the collapse of the Western Empire and the birth of the Dark Ages. For one, Arianism, circa 200s. For another, Donatism, about the same time.

    Are you going to claim these too as the reason for the16th century European conflict? Or are you going to give these as the reason for the recent Pope resignation?

    thunderlips11 says

    That's more than 1500 years of religious discrimination before finally freedom of religion was universally embraced. I'd say that's a bit of a long term trend.

    You are going to claim today's religious freedom in some countries is because of the religious persecution in some parts of the world 1500 years ago?? Are you serious? The events you list are mostly unrelated to what's happening today, heck mostly are not even related to each other. There is no universally embraced religious freedom even in today's world. There is some degree of religious freedom in the US and Western Europe. In case you didn't know, ancient Persian Empire embraced religious freedom, that was 2500 years ago. Ptolemic Greeko-Egypt had religious freedom for 3 centuries. Ancient Roman Empire for a time also tolerated religious freedom so long as subjects pledged ultimate fealty to the state authority (similar to our "religious freedom" today); then a few emperors made the enforcement a lot more strict for a couple centuries; then the persecuted religion became the state religion. Go figure! There's hardly a trend in there over thousands of years. More important, the events across multiple hundreds of years do not have causal relationship with each other.

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    516   11:52pm Mon 18 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Reality says

    Considering the massive success that the private industry had with flight and automobile despite much more backwards manufacturing base,

    So you are saying that the model T and planes made of cloth, wood, and wire are comparable technology to an orbital rocket? That's an interesting opinion.

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    517   12:02am Tue 19 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    bob2356 says

    Reality says

    Considering the massive success that the private industry had with flight and automobile despite much more backwards manufacturing base,

    So you are saying that the model T and planes made of cloth, wood, and wire are comparable technology to an orbital rocket? That's an interesting opinion.

    Considering the primitive manufacturing facilities and technologies they had circa 1910 for boot-strapping both automobile and aircrafts, and building from that base into entirely new cities with enormous mass production facilities dedicated to churning out millions of cars every year within a couple decades, and trans-pacific passenger air routes, all with private sector funding . . . it should not be much of a stretch to imagination that space flight should proceeded much farther along if that industry had not become a government monopoly.

    The idea that only government would make big investment is completely false when one look at the enormous production plants that Ford and GM built, or the type of aircrafts and aircraft handling facilities that Howard Hughes built.

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    518   1:31pm Tue 19 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    Like I suspected in the last post, the statist training in your bones is leading you down the path to believing slavery made Declaration of Independence possible. LOL.

    Regarding Einstein, have you ever thought of the possibility that if not for the myriads of government office holders and military spending in Germany, the entire German people, not just Einstein, would have had more leisure time, and there would have been more men with great theoretical scientific accomplishment like Einstein?

    Maybe, maybe not. It's a fact that Einstein had his papers published while working at the Swiss Patent Office, that there would have been other Einsteins had those poor taxpayers not been forced to pay for evil government services like patent protection is speculation.

    If memory serves - and I may be wrong on this - the reason he was at the Patent Office was because he was rejected from University on account of his bad math scores.

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    519   2:54pm Tue 19 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    That power was simply absent for a little Portugese duke in dealing with sea-farers. The latter could easily move to Spain, France or Italian city states if the duke decides to squeeze them with force.

    Where's the beef? You have evidence or are you just going to speculate more about the powerlessness of a Duke with multiple titles, including an explicit governorship?

    How about Dias and Da Gama? Were they also wholly funded by the "private sector" and not by the state?

    Reality says

    Not at all. Like I stated numerous times, the feudal lords got involved with the activities of the age of discovery because they were the only available bags of money at the time, and not so coincidentally they were competing against each other like big plantation owners. Your labelling them "government" is completely irrelevant.

    You've said it many times, but I still find your notion that feudal lords aren't "Government" to be quite bizarre, requiring substantial evidence on your part, and not just assertions.

    Reality says

    It's preposterous to draw such 600-year long trend of impoverishment. Obviously the society held together for 600 years despite your alleged trend. So why did it suddenly collapse towards the end of 5th century?

    Roman suddenly collapsed? Seems to me it reached it's greatest extent around 100 AD; after that it began to surrender territory it could no longer hold. It took centuries for the Western Empire to decline to the point to where an invader could sack Rome.

    The collapse of the Roman Empire wasn't sudden and a bolt out of the blue. It was the culmination of one or more trends.

    Reality says

    Claiming that voyages of discovery therefore would be impossible without government support would be as silly as claiming the insightful Declaration of Independence would be impossible without slave ownership: because the primary authors were slave owners. Slave ownership gave them the wealth and time to read, study and contemplate.

    I don't claim they're impossible, ever, under any circumstances.

    I claim as a fact that the Voyages of Discovery were indeed funded by government.

    And the Declaration was drafted by committee, with the majority of the members not being slave owners: Sherman, Livingston, and John Adams - lawyers and politicians to a man. It's debatable who were the primary authors as no minutes were apparently kept, and Adams and Jefferson have differing accounts of it.

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    520   8:05am Thu 21 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Where's the beef? You have evidence or are you just going to speculate more about the powerlessness of a Duke with multiple titles, including an explicit governorship?

    How about Dias and Da Gama? Were they also wholly funded by the "private sector" and not by the state?

    So do you think without the Nazi's, the autobahn would never have been built? Like I explained several times already:

    1. The feudal lords historically became the sponsors of exploration because they were the only money bags in those "countries"/entities, not because they were "government." In an earlier time, wealthy men like Crasus of Rome even sponsored wars.

    2. The "governmentness" of little Portugal and its sub-entities were hardly government in the modern sense. Those entities had only a few hundred thousand people (some as few as few tens of thousand, if not a few thousand), no bigger than a large corporation today, and the seafarers could easily go to a different feudal lord if squeezed too hard. For example, Columbus was an Italian, not even a subject of Spain until he chose to get Isabella's money; at the same time he was lobbying for Isabella's money, he had sent his brother to English court to do the same thing. If the Spanish money bag had refused to fund his voyage, the English money bag would have. The whole dynamics was very different from today's concept of "government."

    thunderlips11 says

    Roman suddenly collapsed? Seems to me it reached it's greatest extent around 100 AD; after that it began to surrender territory it could no longer hold.

    100AD was more than 200 years after your claimed cause for Roman collapse. Gracci brothers lived before 100BC! Your theory is as silly as claiming the current economic problem was due to British tea tax on the colonies 200+ years ago, just because the resistance at both times call themselves "Tea Party."

    It took centuries for the Western Empire to decline to the point to where an invader could sack Rome. The collapse of the Roman Empire wasn't sudden and a bolt out of the blue. It was the culmination of one or more trends.

    It would still be wrong to attribute the cause to something that took place before the Republic even had expanded to eastern Mediterranean, 100+ years before the Empire even emerged from the Republic!

    Empire of course brings ruin in the long run. The actual end of the WRE was actually quite sudden and unexpected: Odoacer had a moment of clarity in thinking: it was pointless to ascend the throne himself, unlike all the previous generals who had committed regicide. That act probably bought himself a decade of life.

    thunderlips11 says

    I claim as a fact that the Voyages of Discovery were indeed funded by government.

    The voyages were funded by money bags. If the feudal lords had not robbed the rest of the society to concentrate almost all wealth in their own hands, some other money bags would have funded the voyages. . . albeit not necessarily as many court historians recording it for the later brainwashers to cite (as illustrated by Portugese fishermen exploiting New World natural resources before Columbus arrival)

    And the Declaration was drafted by committee, with the majority of the members not being slave owners: Sherman, Livingston, and John Adams - lawyers and politicians to a man. It's debatable who were the primary authors as no minutes were apparently kept, and Adams and Jefferson have differing accounts of it.

    It's usually attributed to Jefferson. In any case, even Adams' New England fortune came ultimately from New England transatlantic slave trade.

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    521   1:50pm Thu 21 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    So do you think without the Nazi's, the autobahn would never have been built?

    I think it's unlikely, since the vast majority of roads, canals, and other transportation systems have always been built by the authorities and not by private individuals, going back to the dawn of civilization.

    I do know we got interstates because US-1 and US-22 were woefully inadequate for the military traffic during WW2; building them was a top priority of Eisenhower's Administration. Sometimes good things come from the actions of bad rulers. Speaking of good and bad:

    Isabella exiled Jews and Muslims while confiscating most or all of their wealth and encouraged the Inquisition (which also dispossessed 'heretics' and 'false conversos'). But she also supported Columbus' voyages.

    If Isabella beat up on heretics and infidels using her government power, can we say she funded Columbus only from her private revenues? Can serfs leave their lords' estate by their own free will, without his/her permission? Without serfs, where do most feudal lords get their sustenance from?

    If Serfs can't leave, isn't that because of the rules and regulations that were promulgated (and enforced) by and for these "money-bags" --- and requires exercise in a realm of authority beyond that of a private actor?

    I agree that feudal lords have aspects of private persons owning property; I disagree that they are mostly private actors; they are both the money-bags AND the government. A common historical situation.

    Reality says

    1. The feudal lords historically became the sponsors of exploration because they were the only money bags in those "countries"/entities, not because they were "government." In an earlier time, wealthy men like Crasus of Rome even sponsored wars.

    Be it in a republic or a feudal society, those in positions of command and control are often wealthy to begin with, and certainly leveraged their titles and influence to make even more money. You say Crasus, I agree and raise you Cato.

    We still have this today, it's called the Revolving Door.

    Reality says

    2. The "governmentness" of little Portugal and its sub-entities were hardly government in the modern sense. Those entities had only a few hundred thousand people (some as few as few tens of thousand, if not a few thousand), no bigger than a large corporation today, and the seafarers could easily go to a different feudal lord if squeezed too hard. For example, Columbus was an Italian, not even a subject of Spain until he chose to get Isabella's money; at the same time he was lobbying for Isabella's money, he had sent his brother to English court to do the same thing. If the Spanish money bag had refused to fund his voyage, the English money bag would have. The whole dynamics was very different from today's concept of "government."

    It's interesting that Columbus also asked for government offices, Admiral of the Ocean Seas, and for titles over any lands he might discover should he be successful, the privileges of which included a substantial amount of revenues generated therein.

    In regards to patronage, many Renaissance artists flitted from patron to patron; DaVinci worked for the Sforzas and the Borgias. Einstein left an increasingly anti-Semitic Germany that was becoming hostile to him for America. Russia and the USA raced each other to snag Germany's rocket scientists - and intelligence officers. Countless multitudes emigrate and immigrate out of the US for economic benefit today as well.

    Apparently states have competed over people for a very long time.

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    522   2:59pm Thu 21 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    100AD was more than 200 years after your claimed cause for Roman collapse. Gracci brothers lived before 100BC!

    I'm sorry, when did I say the maximum extent of the Roman Empire was caused solely by the (failed) activities of the Gracchi and nothing else? No, I identified the Gracchi brothers are being one of the manifestations of the class conflict within Rome between the Patricians (and later the "New men" and the Equites) and the Plebeian Orders, with the latter losing more and more over time, as a trend that had profound effects on the Roman Economy and Military.

    I think that's a pretty articulate presentation of my position. I can't put it any plainer than that.

    As an aside, and interesting for the debates of today, one thing we see, particularly in the later years of the Empire, is the increasing expansion of tax-free status to Senators and then Equites (roughly, the 1% and then the top 10%). While taxes on the lower orders skyrocketed (the Heritage Foundation calls this policy today "Broadening the Tax Base" and "Fee for Service"). One of the most widely-held explanations for the strange abandonment of rural farms in the further provinces is crushing taxation and compulsary service in the Frontier force, which unlike serving in conquering legions was both dangerous AND non-lucrative, while just as long (approx 20 years). There's little loot in guarding a border compared to sacking a city.

    Reality says

    Your theory is as silly as claiming the current economic problem was due to British tea tax on the colonies 200+ years ago, just because the resistance at both times call themselves "Tea Party."

    Funny you should mention that. The British East India Company was indeed a company with investors and stock. It had a high level of government support due to the wealth (and thus Power) of it's backers, which is the same reason the banks got bailed out recently. "Money-Speech" makes another appearance!

    The libertarian love of the "Freedom" of "Money-Speech" is why a libertarian society will never produce the advertised benefits, since self-interest will keep the wealthy (and thus powerful) regulating/deregulating society to their economic benefit usually above all other concerns.

    "We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate [...] Masters, too, sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy till the moment of execution; and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people". In contrast, when workers combine, "the masters [...] never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combination of servants, labourers, and journeymen."
    - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations.

    Empires are usually encouraged by Economic Interests. Did not the British East Indies Company make great inroads into India, that pushed for certain economic policies that hurt the American Colonies?

    And why was the Company eventually liquidated (with a great deal for the investors, also) and replaced by direct British government rule? Because other competing entities with interests in India and the East wanted to get the company's administration of (and privileges over) India removed so they could make yet more money.

    Reality says

    It's usually attributed to Jefferson. In any case, even Adams' New England fortune came ultimately from New England transatlantic slave trade.

    Adams was a lawyer, how much he made from the slave trade itself, even indirectly, we don't know. We do know that the Adamses, and particularly his wife Abigail, were hostile to the institution of slavery and never owned slaves themselves.

  31. Reality


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    523   4:21pm Thu 21 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    So do you think without the Nazi's, the autobahn would never have been built?

    I think it's unlikely, since the vast majority of roads, canals, and other transportation systems have always been built by the authorities and not by private individuals, going back to the dawn of civilization.

    Goes to show the depth of brainwashing you had. In case you did not know, the lastest excavations show that even the Roman roads were built on top of existing roads.

    The very idea that roads did not exist before government went about building them is quite preposterous. Roads were carved out by travelers and traders for thousands of years. The government road building process started with brigands setting up toll barriers on roads!

    thunderlips11 says

    I do know we got interstates because US-1 and US-22 were woefully inadequate for the military traffic during WW2; building them was a top priority of Eisenhower's Administration. Sometimes good things come from the actions of bad rulers. Speaking of good and bad:

    Somehow roads did not exist before Eisenhower?
    Roads are inadequate and will continue to be inadequate as long as the government is monopolizing road building, giving gasoline tax money to unions and building bridges to nowhere.

    thunderlips11 says

    Isabella exiled Jews and Muslims while confiscating most or all of their wealth and encouraged the Inquisition (which also dispossessed 'heretics' and 'false conversos'). But she also supported Columbus' voyages.

    If she didn't, the Italian sailor Columbus would have received funding already promised to his brother by the King of England.

    If Isabella beat up on heretics and infidels using her government power, can we say she funded Columbus only from her private revenues? Can serfs leave their lords' estate by their own free will, without his/her permission? Without serfs, where do most feudal lords get their sustenance from?

    You do realize we are talking about high middle age western Europe, right? Not Russia, Turkey or China. Serfs by then had become peasants in Western Europe and could leave their lords' land without permission. That's been the case since the re-emergence of European cities in the 11th century and the Black Death in the 13th century.

    In any case, don't you realize whatever Isabella may have had was looted from the rest of the society, and despite her waste on luxury and warmongering, not because of?

    thunderlips11 says

    If Serfs can't leave, isn't that because of the rules and regulations that were promulgated (and enforced) by and for these "money-bags" --- and requires exercise in a realm of authority beyond that of a private actor?

    Now you are just openly praising serfdom, in this case not even related to the discussion.

    In any case, it's profoundly silly and immoral to praise serfdom and slavery. Yet such a position is indeed consistent with your praising of government, not surprising for the typically washed brains of today.

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    524   4:34pm Thu 21 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    I agree that feudal lords have aspects of private persons owning property; I disagree that they are mostly private actors; they are both the money-bags AND the government. A common historical situation.

    In dealing with sailors like Columbus, they were not functioning as government, but as private entreprenuers. Columbus was Italian, not a Spanish subject until after he took Isabella's money. If Isabella had refused, Columbus would have taken English money and become an English subject, just like John Cabot (venetian named Zuan Chabotto) discovered Newfoundland (Canadian atlantic coast) in 1497, shortly after Columbus.

    BTW, most of Isabella's money probably did not come from taxing her subjects at all, but from war and looting the Arabic and Jewish commercial establishments. If you want to argue that looting and mass robbery is good for science, that's your problem. Also, the voyage wasn't some scientific mission either, it was for finding an alternative route to the Indies, the usual route having been blocked by the Turkish imperial government. Had Isabella and Henry VII of England not been acting like private entreprenuers in this sphere but like a government forming committees to study the issue, the "scientific consensus" at the time was that they had correctly calculated the size of the earth and there was no land between Azores and Indies, hence given the size of ships at the time anyone attempting what Columbus did would have died of starvation and thirst, as indeed he would have if he and his had not run into the New World.

  33. Reality


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    525   4:41pm Thu 21 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Be it in a republic or a feudal society, those in positions of command and control are often wealthy to begin with, and certainly leveraged their titles and influence to make even more money. You say Crasus, I agree and raise you Cato.

    We still have this today, it's called the Revolving Door.

    You do realize whatever scientific study they were able to sponsor was due to their wealth, not their government positon, don't you? Many wealthy people sponsored scientific studies without being part of government.

    thunderlips11 says

    It's interesting that Columbus also asked for government offices, Admiral of the Ocean Seas, and for titles over any lands he might discover should he be successful, the privileges of which included a substantial amount of revenues generated therein.

    So what, you are going to claim Columbus was a government official too, and that's why he was able to discover the new world? You may as well argue that he was an asshole, and having an asshole and being able to poop was why he discovered the New World.

    In regards to patronage, many Renaissance artists flitted from patron to patron; DaVinci worked for the Sforzas and the Borgias. Einstein left an increasingly anti-Semitic Germany that was becoming hostile to him for America. Russia and the USA raced each other to snag Germany's rocket scientists - and intelligence officers. Countless multitudes emigrate and immigrate out of the US for economic benefit today as well.

    Apparently states have competed over people for a very long time.

    Such competition made each participant less "government" but functioning more like independent enterprises. Likewise, the artists and scientists could shop around and make the best use of their own talent because there was a market of competing employers instead of a "government" ruling over their heads and telling them what to do.

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    526   4:50pm Thu 21 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    I identified the Gracchi brothers are being one of the manifestations of the class conflict within Rome between the Patricians (and later the "New men" and the Equites) and the Plebeian Orders, with the latter losing more and more over time, as a trend that had profound effects on the Roman Economy and Military.

    Patricians ceased to exist as an independent class after Caesar and Octavian. That was more than 400 years before the collapse of WRE. What Patrician and Plebian conflict would you be talking about in the 5th century? The Imperial rule makers loved the penniless masses in the Coluseums.

    thunderlips11 says

    As an aside, and interesting for the debates of today, one thing we see, particularly in the later years of the Empire, is the increasing expansion of tax-free status to Senators and then Equites (roughly, the 1% and then the top 10%).

    You have the ratio off by about an order of magnitude or two. Try 0.01% and 1%, respectively. In later years of the Empire, the Senators didn't matter anyway (often didn't even exist). It was the generals, especially of the Pretorium Guards.

    While taxes on the lower orders skyrocketed (the Heritage Foundation calls this policy today "Broadening the Tax Base" and "Fee for Service"). One of the most widely-held explanations for the strange abandonment of rural farms in the further provinces is crushing taxation and compulsary service in the Frontier force, which unlike serving in conquering legions was both dangerous AND non-lucrative, while just as long (approx 20 years). There's little loot in guarding a border compared to sacking a city.

    That's what I was talking about, high taxation discouraging frontiers farmers from guard the frontiers, before you side-tracked the whole discussion to Gracci brothers, lips thundering away, signifying nothing.

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    527   4:58pm Thu 21 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Funny you should mention that. The British East India Company was indeed a company with investors and stock. It had a high level of government support due to the wealth (and thus Power) of it's backers, which is the same reason the banks got bailed out recently. "Money-Speech" makes another appearance!

    The libertarian love of the "Freedom" of "Money-Speech" is why a libertarian society will never produce the advertised benefits, since self-interest will keep the wealthy (and thus powerful) regulating/deregulating society to their economic benefit usually above all other concerns.

    Funny you didn't realize that there's nothing libertarian about raising tea tax or having tea tax at all. That's the sort of thing the government lovers do. What's that? where would the government get the money to fund this and that if not for taxation? A point that you made repeatedly in the last few posts.

    thunderlips11 says

    Empires are usually encouraged by Economic Interests. Did not the British East Indies Company make great inroads into India, that pushed for certain economic policies that hurt the American Colonies?

    BEIC was a private company. It lobbied the government, with the support of the government-lovers, to loot north Americans.

    And why was the Company eventually liquidated (with a great deal for the investors, also) and replaced by direct British government rule? Because other competing entities with interests in India and the East wanted to get the company's administration of (and privileges over) India removed so they could make yet more money.

    No. The BEIC had some ham-fisted run-in's with the local population of India around 1860 or thereabouts, and had to be bailed out by the taxpayers of Britain in order to maintain the traders' privileged positions in India and the far east.

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    528   9:21am Fri 22 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    Goes to show the depth of brainwashing you had. In case you did not know, the lastest excavations show that even the Roman roads were built on top of existing roads.
    ...
    Roads were carved out by travelers and traders for thousands of years. The government road building process started with brigands setting up toll barriers on roads!

    Or a great hole in your education. Don't kids learn about Roman Roads in School, anymore?

    Even back in Elementary School, the big thing about the Romans was their road building. Yes, US-1 was built over existing roads, as was most of '22, and a great many improved roads were built over existing trails and tracks just about everywhere for most of history.

    The empire was crisscrossed with road investments, including paved and gravel roads. Even the lesser dirt roads were carefully engineered, with drainage, milemarkers, curbs, bridges, etc. There's a world of difference between a surveyed, leveled, engineered road with drainage and mile markers (even if it's an unpaved earth road) and a 'natural', unimproved track created simply by the passage of game and men over time.

    The road building of the Romans wasn't rivaled in scale or quality in the Western World until the 19th Century.

    I don't see what your point is. If it's to somehow discount the massive investment the Roman state made in infrastructure, the offices of road building offices like Aedile and Quaestor were highly prestigious offices because of how important the roads were to Rome.

    Reality says

    If she didn't, the Italian sailor Columbus would have received funding already promised to his brother by the King of England.

    Already promised? I know Columbus and his brother appealed to other governments across Europe, but they didn't get any commitments. You have any evidence that Henry VII accepted Columbus' proposal and was prepared to fund him?

    Anyway, what difference does it make to the core of the argument? Had Henry VII or the Venetian Doge or anyone else funded him, it's still a government project.

    Reality says

    You do realize we are talking about high middle age western Europe, right? Not Russia, Turkey or China. Serfs by then had become peasants in Western Europe and could leave their lords' land without permission. That's been the case since the re-emergence of European cities in the 11th century and the Black Death in the 13th century.

    Yes, serfdom was on the wane in Western Europe (and conversely becoming dominant in Eastern Europe), but it wasn't eliminated in England until the late 1500s and the late 1700s in France. Spain didn't ban serfdom until 1837.

    Speaking of serfs, how would you describe the economy of the Spanish Colonies from the 1500s onwards? Wonder where they got the idea to put the Indians in a repartimientos system and require a mix of rents, corvee labor, etc. from?

    The elimination of serfdom was a long trend that took centuries. ;)

    Going back again to the core of the argument, the vast majority of feudal revenue came from rents, monopolies, and services extracted from the lower classes. And, in the case of the "Catholic Kings", largely from the confiscated property of Jews and Arabs.

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    529   9:29am Fri 22 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    Patricians ceased to exist as an independent class after Caesar and Octavian.

    I said:
    thunderlips11 says

    one of the manifestations of the class conflict within Rome between the Patricians (and later the "New men" and the Equites)

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    530   10:05am Fri 22 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Reality says

    Goes to show the depth of brainwashing you had. In case you did not know, the lastest excavations show that even the Roman roads were built on top of existing roads.

    ...

    Roads were carved out by travelers and traders for thousands of years. The government road building process started with brigands setting up toll barriers on roads!

    Or a great hole in your education. Don't kids learn about Roman Roads in School, anymore?

    Even back in Elementary School, the big thing about the Romans was their road building.

    Like I already noted, your knowledge base is very limited to the statist variety that they used to brainwash kids. What Appius had was the classic government project: the official having the government spend tons of money on his pet project, so his relatives and friends can be employed far above market rate. The Roman roads were built on top of existing roads that had existed for hundreds if not thousands of years. Of course this being government project, it was not long before sychophants recording it in court history so the later generations would sing praises of the state. In reality, the taxation to pay these projects enriching the ultra rich while impoverishing the middle class, was one of the reasons leading to the gradual demise of the Republic. BTW, just like the Eisenhower highways, the Appian Way was also started for national security reasons: the Samnite War in 3xxBC.

    thunderlips11 says

    There's a world of difference between a surveyed, leveled, engineered road with drainage and mile markers (even if it's an unpaved earth road) and a 'natural', unimproved track created simply by the passage of game and men over time.

    The roads discovered under the government built Roman Roads were also engineered. They had been there for hundreds if not thousands of years before the Roman state paved over them. It should not be a surprise. Privately funded turn-pike roads existed for over a century before Eisenhower national highway project . . . yet how much praising do you hear about that? as opposed to the constant statist praise for the Eisenhower highways.

    thunderlips11 says

    The road building of the Romans wasn't rivaled in scale or quality in the Western World until the 19th Century.

    The Roman Republic also advanced widespread use of indoor plumbing to a level that was not seen again until the 19th and 20th century. That's just reflective of the high level of economic development thanks to trade. It's also reflective of how devastating Roman Empire was: brought the economy down to a level that would take over 1000 years to recover to a comparable level of trade.

    thunderlips11 says

    Anyway, what difference does it make to the core of the argument? Had Henry VII or the Venetian Doge or anyone else funded him, it's still a government project.

    The important point is that in those two-way transactions, those regional lords were just acting as money-bags, instead of governments. Their function was little different from being a big plantation owner with a lot of money. The sailors were free agents, not ruled subjects of the lords until after taking the money (and only nominally anyway as part of the deal).

    thunderlips11 says

    Yes, serfdom was on the wane in Western Europe (and conversely becoming dominant in Eastern Europe), but it wasn't eliminated in England until the late 1500s and the late 1700s in France. Spain didn't ban serfdom until 1837.

    We are not talking about Spain, but Portugal, remember? In any case, the official banning is not the same as nobody was free until then, or even most people being serfs. The US did not ban slavery until 1865, yet the majority population in the US or colonial North America had never been slaves, not even in the 1500's! You'd be really out of your mind to think England were mostly worked by serfs attached to land until the late 1500's, France until the late 1700's, or Spain until 1837. By the time governments made laws to ban it, the reality on the ground had long changed. It's Western Europe we are talking about, not bureaucratic Russia (perhaps your favorite type of state). Old style serfdom started to phase out in the 11th century when people in Western Europe could escape to free cities and stay there for a full year and become free; the Black Death in the 13th century made serfdom unworkable in western Europe. Sure, serfdom still existed in small pockets in western europe, just like slavery existed in the US up through 1865, heck even exists today informally despite the laws!

    thunderlips11 says

    Speaking of serfs, how would you describe the economy of the Spanish Colonies from the 1500s onwards? Wonder where they got the idea to put the Indians in a repartimientos system and require a mix of rents, corvee labor, etc. from?

    Where do you think the human traffickers of today get the idea of keeping and trafficking sex slaves? Individual greed combined with government laws that do not treat all people being equals (i.e. some people being "illegal" in the eyes of the man-made law).

    thunderlips11 says

    The elimination of serfdom was a long trend that took centuries. ;)

    But whatever was happening in 1837 had little to do with something a person or two persons said or did in 1237. General trends spanning hundreds of years (subject to later development) and causality of specific events are two entirely different things.

    thunderlips11 says

    Going back again to the core of the argument, the vast majority of feudal revenue came from rents, monopolies, and services extracted from the lower classes. And, in the case of the "Catholic Kings", largely from the confiscated property of Jews and Arabs.

    So which specific category did Isabella belong? Like I said, if you want to claim looting rich Jewish and Arabic merchants is good for science, you will have to make the case yourself.

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    531   10:09am Fri 22 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Reality says

    Patricians ceased to exist as an independent class after Caesar and Octavian.

    I said:

    thunderlips11 says

    one of the manifestations of the class conflict within Rome between the Patricians (and later the "New men" and the Equites)

    You still seem to be confusing BC and AD. "New man" was a concept from about 200BC to 1st century BC. Even Equite as a rank became insignificant a century before the end of WRE.

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    532   7:58am Mon 25 Feb 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Reality says

    Patricians ceased to exist as an independent class after Caesar and Octavian.

    The Patrician class was revived by Constantine. However, there had always been orders of aristocrats and the wealthy, the honorable (medium and large landowners mostly) vs. the humbles (slaves, freedmen, and freemen). They still had financial entrance requirements and were hereditary.

    Remember, I'm postulating a long class war that's being lost steadily by the lower classes to the upper classes over time.

    Reality says

    What Patrician and Plebian conflict would you be talking about in the 5th century? The Imperial rule makers loved the penniless masses in the Coluseums.

    Why don't we start with the preceding 4th Century, since the West fell in the 5th.

    Increasingly reduced status of the Plebes is signified by several things. First of all, the term Coloni, which originally meant colonists who were free farmers, came increasingly to mean Tenant Farmers / Debt Peonage. Also, the rights of these Tenant Farmers was made more restrictive. After Diocletian, we see a several new laws, including the right of Domini to literally chain Coloni suspected of trying to escape, mandating the collection of taxes due by the Coloni to the Dominus, banning the Coloni from voluntarily switching Domini, and a penalty against Domini who try to entice Coloni away from other Latifundia.

    For non-farmers, Constantine (I believe, may have been Diocletian), promulgated laws requiring sons to follow in their fathers' trade.

    There are abundant reports of tax collectors being greeted with increased hostility in countryside, reports of poor romans joining barbarian bands themselves (more on this in a bit), and of course a decline in trade, birth rate, and an increase in autarky on the latifunida. The large estates began to produce almost everything themselves, and the landowners spent less and less time in the cities in the West (but not in the East, where they continued to split time between urban and rural).

    So here is the birth of manorialism which gave impetus to feudalism. Is becoming a tenant farmer not a reduction in status, both material and social? Is not being required to follow the trade of your father a restriction on upward mobility for many, particularly the lower classes?

    Now from the fifth century, here's a bit from Salvian, a Christian who lived in Gaul in the 5th Century, explaining the appeal of going "Native":

    None but the great is secure from the devastations of these plundering brigands, except those who are themselves robbers.

    [Nay, the state has fallen upon such evil days that a man cannot be safe unless he is wicked] Even those in a position to protest against the iniquity which they see about them dare not speak lest they make matters worse than before. So the poor are despoiled, the widows sigh, the orphans are oppressed, until many of them, born of families not obscure, and liberally educated, flee to our enemies that they may no longer suffer the oppression of public persecution. They doubtless seek Roman humanity among the barbarians, because they cannot bear barbarian inhumanity among the Romans. And although they differ from the people to Whom they flee in manner and in language; although they are unlike as regards the fetid odor of the barbarians' bodies and garments, yet they would rather endure a foreign civilization among the barbarians than cruel injustice among the Romans.

    So they migrate to the Goths, or to the Bagaudes (bandits, often mixed barbarian/roman, see Bulla Felix), or to some other tribe of the barbarians who are ruling everywhere, and do not regret their exile. For they would rather live free under an appearance of slavery than live as captives tinder an appearance of liberty. The name of Roman citi'en, once so highly esteemed and so dearly bought, is now a thing that men repudiate and flee from. . . .

    www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/salvian1.html

    (Italics mine)

    Salvian also explains how all the orders of Roman society used "Taxes" for their own personal benefit, and complains about the Roman upper classes and their leadership of Trier.

    A piece of evidence that Taxes became an excuse for shakedowns by the upper classes comes from a century prior when Julian was able to reduce taxes in Gaul by to a fraction of what they were, by a ruthless anti-corruption campaign. Only a fraction of the money or goods being paid in tax in Gaul before Julian's campaign was actually going towards government services. Another interesting moment under Julian, was that he tried to expand the Curia, as many well-to-do men were abandoning their civic duties to avoid taxation, because too many of the curia had brought exemptions from taxes by previous governments. The remaining tax burden was heavier because it was spread over fewer and fewer people; unfortunately Julian (one of my favorite emperors, BTW) didn't live long enough to continue this plan.

    One also wonders if any official numbers about the soldiers in the limitanei and the mobile forces can be trusted, since we have abundant anecdotal evidence that high ranking officials often put many non-existent soldiers on the payroll, from which they drew a little 'extra pay'.

    Another reason I believe the West collapsed and the East didn't is that Latifundia were more common in the West, Western Latifundia pursued a policy of self-reliance, we know that trade in the West declined and piracy resurfaced in the crisis of the 3rd Century (and flourished throughout the dark ages). And most important of all, the East was always more urbane, more commercial, and more 'industrial' than the West. In the past century several digs in the Levant, uncovered a increasing prosperity and growth of both cities and rural villages during the 300s-600s. In fact some places continued to grow after the Arab conquest.

    There is every sign of a great FU-based decentralization (mostly in the West) taking place after the Thirty Tyrants and accelerating into the 4th and 5th Century.

    One might even say, tongue in cheek, that the Romans decided to "Go Galt". The poor to avoid shakedowns and proto-serfdom from the Domini, and the Domini to avoid their obligations to the Roman State and pocket the tax money for themselves.

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