Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Truth is clearly overrated among our kind (2)

They're making people everyday, but they ain't makin' any more dirt.
(Will Rogers)

Trespassers will be shot or worse

In July 2015 the United Nations estimated a global population of 7.349 billion people. Right now (2016) we are currently at 7.4 billion and increasing.

In 1700, only 316 years ago, the human population of the entire planet was approximately 600 million. In what we now call the United States the population (Europeans) was approximately 250,000 people. The industrial revolution in Europe wouldn't begin for another 80 years or so. The human footprint across the globe was still relatively benign in 1700.

A momentous change in agriculture had begun in Europe, starting in England in the late 17th century. It had a profound effect on the lives of people and one of the key factor in the global demographic explosion that would take place in the next 300 years.

The first change was the enclosure movement. Hedges began encircling more and more farmland. Before, land had been largely communal; everyone could graze their animals and raise crops on community land. But as new crops, new methods of breeding, and new cultivation techniques developed pressure grew to enclose the land, in order to improve both the yield and the quality and insure better management. While the farming system was undoubtedly revolutionized, many people lost their land, became dispossessed and had to find work in the cities.

With the spreading enclosure of land and the rising power of the landowners, the Norfolk Four-Course System was established. Throughout the Middle Ages and up to the late seventeenth century, field lay fallow every three years; farmers slaughtered their farm animals in the fall because they had no forage crops to feed them in the winter. The Norfolk system changed all this.

The fallow year disappeared and fodder crops, such as cornstalks, hay, and straw were fed to animals. This produced a lot of manure and urine, enriching the soil and ultimately increasing the harvests.

These new methods and techniques spread to the rest of Europe and ultimately moved in one form or another to the United States, where Europeans found some of the most fertile and productive land on the planet with few human obstacle to stop them from claiming it. For landless Europeans who could only dream of possessing property of their own, the world to the west seemed like a Garden of Eden with infinite abundance.

A book was published in England in 1776, arguably one of the most influential books ever written. The author was Adam Smith and the title of his work was An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. He defined the free-market, what it was and its value in creating wealth.

Politicians in America, in particular, have always loved to talk about the free-market, its central role in America's greatness and “exceptionalism” and, not surprisingly, government must not be allowed to impose regulations on that “invisible hand” that knows best.

Well, not often stated, even the venerable Adam Smith in the 18th century told us to beware of capitalists because they could manipulate the “sanctity” of the market. In fact, he said, “The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from [capitalists] ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined...” America, however, was going to demonstrate how the big swindle ought to be played on a continental scale.

You cannot solve the problem with the same kind of thinking that has created the problem.
( Albert Einstein )

The idea that human beings are better off acting selfishly would have been laughable to Shakespeare, anathema to Jesus, absurd to Darwin and insane to Freud. Even Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, would have recoiled from the crass self-interest philosophy promoted by Ayn Rand....
(Lynn Parramore, Institute for New Economic Thinking and founding editor of New Deal 2.0)


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