Given that we are facing not just a financial crisis, but a major political crisis, I thought it might be appropriate to explore the nature of politics – the art of the possible in a little more depth . That will make the nature of political crisis much clearer.
To begin with, all human political structures, existing at all scales simultaneously, are essentially predatory. They exist to convey wealth and resources from the periphery to the centre, thereby enabling an enhanced level of socio-economic complexity. Each centre – whether municipal, regional, national or international – has its corresponding periphery – the region from which it can extract surpluses. (For more on this concept, see Entropy and Empire)
During expansionary times, larger and larger political structures -can- develop through accretion. Ancient imperia would have done this mostly by physical force, integrating subjugated territories into the tax base by extracting surpluses of resources, wealth and labour. We have achieved much the same thing at a global level through economic means, binding additional polities into the larger structure through international monetary mechanisms such as the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF, World Bank and GATT, fore-runner of the WTO). The current economic imperium of the developed world is truly unprecedented in scale. Continue reading “On the Nature of Political Crisis”
Let me try to resolve apparent contradictions by answering some questions from a TAE reader:
Q: In 1933 there was a shortage of everything. Commerce had been dead for enough years – killed by gold- buggery – that there was shortages except for crops that were rotting in the fields (and petroleum that was wasted, according to Jeffrey Brown, who I believe.) No money meant no production = shortages = no commerce = no new money in the system in a self- reinforcing cycle. Citizens hoarded paper dollars as they had hoarded specie. Paper dollars were still worth more than (pauperish) 1930’s commerce.
Continue reading “Oil, Credit and the Velocity of Money Revisited”
In the light of events in Greece, I want to address the structure and prospects for the eurozone, and specifically how the structure pre-determines the prospects. Talk about long term austerity measures in southern Europe by no means covers a worst-case scenario.
All aggregate human structures at all degrees of scale are essentially predatory. They all convey wealth from a necessarily expanding periphery towards the centre, where wealth is concentrated. The periphery may be either forced or enticed to join the larger structure, but that does not affect the outcome. Such structures are all inherently self-limiting, as the fundamental dependence on the buy-in of new entrants grounds them in Ponzi dynamics. Continue reading “The Imperial Eurozone (With All That Implies)”