Thursday, August 25, 2011

Aurora of Empire Part 2

For fifteen hundred years from the decline of Rome until London in 1800 no civilization in the western world supported a city of a million souls.  While across this era global population continued its steady upward crawl, it did so by populating increasingly marginal parts of the planet, adapting and improving them to support forms of living mostly familiar from antiquity.  When the improved technology of early industrialization began to transform the possibilities of urbanism, drawing ever-greater portions of society into cites as it did, the pressures of density began the systematic transformation of every aspect of the human habitat. 

Cities and the increasingly remote agricultural systems on which they depend became ever more man made artifacts. In the last 200 years we have remade our habitat to conscious tastes without regard to, in fact in near total ignorance of ancient genetic adaptations we physically embody for an organic habitat we have left behind and are now actively extinguishing.  The demographic pressure driving this destruction has both aesthetic and ethical implications and before returning to aesthetics is Part 3, a digression into ethics is warranted because very real ethical constraints explain much of why the complexity of the modern world is so confounding .

Friday, August 5, 2011

The National Asset Base

Is this really the best Washington can do? It is pathetic.  So hopelessly lost in the mythology of neo-classical economics is our cult of Mammon in DC that they can not see past their own greed, what they see as their greatest virtue.  The US is the fiscally sovereign issuer of a floating fiat currency.  This means it can afford whatever it wants that can be purchased in the dollar economy any time it wants.  This includes Social Security, unemployment benefits, infrastructure, education, banker bailouts, multiple wars, etc, anything that is available to purchase that can be purchased with dollars. 

This also means that the very conceptualization of “the national debt” is an archaic relic of the expired gold standard era.  In that bygone world, for the government to spend beyond tax receipts it was in fact required to borrow in the international market from other hoarders of gold, and as it did so interest rates went up because those external creditors got to set the rate at which they would lend.