Saturday, October 30, 2010
I would at some point like to get back to talking about America under the Articles of Confederation, and, for that matter, the fact that we lost most of what liberties we had gained from the Revolution during the tumultous period from say, 1787-1800, but I've no time. I would observe that the American revolution was completely unique in the history of the world because of geography. In no other country, in no other time, was it possible for things to turn out the way they did. And primarily because of the prospect of unlimited land. Property was rarely mentioned in revolutionary texts precisely because it was so taken for granted. Don't like where you are? Well, all the Injuns is pretty much killed off or helpless before us, move on! Grab some frontier property! It's free! Or might as well be.
That wide open petri dish of a continent for our particular colony of bacteria allowed Americans to spread and breed at the absolute biological maximum, and boy did we ever! And this has never happened in recorded history. I suspect something like this hsn't happened since upper Paleolithic times, when hunter gatherers followed the herds into the New World.
At any rate, I am reading excerpts of Matt Taibbi's upcoming book "Griftopia". (Some may know Taibbi as the man who branded Goldman Sachs the "vampire squid sucking on the face of humanity". With colored prose like that, how can it not be a good read?) It promises to be an interesting read, and there is an excerpt of the book at Rolling Stone magazine.
I would mention that Indiana governor Mitch Daniels is being groomed as the sane Republican candidate for 2012. His (my) home state has been fortunate the past few years for not running a budget deficit, and Daniels is strutting around that. Of course, fortune is the appropriate word. And we will see how it goes if all those dumb Hoosiers vote in the proposition to cap property taxes, like California did years ago. It's not so much skill as luck, and, of course, pawning off state property, like the Indiana Toll Road, to foreign investors, so that he could plug budget holes. The Indiana Toll Road, over the span of the hundred year lease, is expected to pull in 80 billion in net revenue. Mitch got a whopping 2 billion. Way to go, Mitch! If President, how much could he get for our national parks, I wonder?
I think George Carlin once said "Ever since the invention of priests and bankers, humanity has just been circling the drain". Well, I think he is spot on about banks, I've always maintained that money, like air and water, is something we privatize and commodify at our own risk. I'm not quite a Marxist like the Founding Fathers were but I do think a very good case for nationalizing the creation of credit can be made.
As recounted by the experience of Ben Franklin:
"When he arrived, he was surprised to find rampant unemployment and poverty among the British working classes… Franklin was then asked how the American colonies managed to collect enough money to support their poor houses. He reportedly replied: “We have no poor houses in the Colonies; and if we had some, there would be nobody to put in them, since there is, in the Colonies, not a single unemployed person, neither beggars nor tramps.” In 1764, the Bank of England used its influence on Parliament to get a Currency Act passed that made it illegal for any of the colonies to print their own money. The colonists were forced to pay all future taxes to Britain in silver or gold. Anyone lacking in those precious metals had to borrow them at interest from the banks. Only a year later, Franklin said, the streets of the colonies were filled with unemployed beggars, just as they were in England. The money supply had suddenly been reduced by half, leaving insufficient funds to pay for the goods and services these workers could have provided. He maintained that it was "the poverty caused by the bad influence of the English bankers on the Parliament which has caused in the colonies hatred of the English and . . . the Revolutionary War." This, he said, was the real reason for the Revolution: "the colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England took away from the colonies their money, which created unemployment and dissatisfaction."