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Welcome to the Economic History Forum

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Welcome to the Economic History Forum
    Posted: 10 Jun 2009 at 01:24
This sub-forum is established for the purpose of providing those interested in economic systems, theories, trends and institutions with a place to discuss specifically these. The flow, distribution and generation of material resources has been a feature of humanity from the earliest of times, increasing at an almost exponential rate as civilisation becomes ever larger and more sophisticated. Very often the economic state of affairs will permeate all other aspects of historical affairs, and as such they are very worthy of respect.

Following are some threads on economic history from the previous forum which you may find useful or a source of inspiration for further discussions:

The Welfare State
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=20705

Sugar and Cotton before the New World
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=24081

Please feel free to contribute more to this area, enjoy your stay.





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Janson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Janson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2014 at 02:12
Do governments ever pay off there debts?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2014 at 13:40
Originally posted by Janson Janson wrote:

Do governments ever pay off there debts?

Usually, no. And usually, it's not a problem.

And welcome to the forum Janson.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2014 at 12:10
Who is going to open the first thread? I wish to talk a day about "savage capitalism" :)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2014 at 19:08
From an "outsiders" point of view (mine) Economics seems to be a strange hybrid, that has pretentions in so many directions, yet does not go the whole way. Economics touches the humanities, since after all it is about humans, there are some strong links to the natural sciences, but it is not one of those. Then there is of course the "social sciences", but it is not only about human relations, but also very much about their relations to the surroundings, at least after the abolition of slavery. Then we could think of it as not a "real" academic discipline,but an art or craft, but even that is not sufficient. And the "Nobel Prize in Economics" is not a real Nobel Prize.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2014 at 02:59
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Who is going to open the first thread? I wish to talk a day about "savage capitalism" :)


How savage do you want to get? Should we move the furniture aside?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2014 at 12:26
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
How savage do you want to get? Should we move the furniture aside?
 
Well, early capitalism was quite savage. Colonialism is a meat machine (invasions, piracy, genocide, land robbery, rapings, slavery, peasentry, etc. etc.) as you know, but it was driven by capitalism. Early industrial revolution was also quite savage in the explotaition of workers... Otherwise we wouldn't have communism. 

Only recently, but only in a few areas of the world, capitalism has been tammed, and got converted in the ox that carries the economy. But once in a while, savage capitalism is reborn! and we have a new crisis... Confused

Good for a start, isn't?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2014 at 13:30
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
How savage do you want to get? Should we move the furniture aside?
 
Well, early capitalism was quite savage. Colonialism is a meat machine (invasions, piracy, genocide, land robbery, rapings, slavery, peasentry, etc. etc.) as you know, but it was driven by capitalism. Early industrial revolution was also quite savage in the explotaition of workers... Otherwise we wouldn't have communism. 

Only recently, but only in a few areas of the world, capitalism has been tammed, and got converted in the ox that carries the economy. But once in a while, savage capitalism is reborn! and we have a new crisis... Confused

Good for a start, isn't?

It is indeed. I'll move the furniture later.

Capitalism taps certain human urges, and in some ways this is productive, but it is in no way a panacea, or a way to structure society without any other notions. Today "capitalism", or at least the unregulated, uncaring form, is being reborn in the incoherent mutterings of Rand Paul, or the self interested bleatings of a Mitt Romney, or the goofy, academia free protestations of Tea Party activists who feel government should not touch their medicare program, among other curious positions.

Young people today are in danger of having to fight the street battles of the labour movement of the mid nineteenth century to the 1940s all over again. The economy is shifting from one where the leverage of labour was significant, to where it is insignificant, and capital is paramount. Instead of a hundred thousand auto workers, today we have a few thousand in Silicon Valley that are producing wealth, and said wealth is migrating to ever fewer hands. Wealth begets wealth, and is a multiplying factor. We can clearly see this today, as some individuals demand more for their supposedly valuable services than is the GDP of some countries.

As hedge fund managers take home a billion dollars in salary, the former middle class hopes they can land that job as Wal Mart greeter for the minimum wage. Rebirth indeed.

I should quit now before pounding my fist on the keyboard any more. We can discuss deficits tomorrow.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Oct 2014 at 10:36
Francis Fukuyama wrote that the recent millennium might just be the end of history. Meaning, communism had collapsed, and all and sundry were then doing a virtual tap dance around the idea of a materialist, global, capitalist supremacy.

Well, the end of history may be possible, but right now, if it should occur, it is looking more like a new feudal age, complete with baronial lords, errant knights, and trampled peasants. Yes, a kind of corporate feudalism, in which the well heeled and leveraged call the shots from their gated and guarded communities, and the unwashed masses toil at Wal Mart, 7-11, or other such peasant entities. Wealth disparity is rocketing upwards, year by year, and although the Tea Party/ crazed militia/ right wingers will insist otherwise, this phenomena today is much less an effect of personal contribution, and much more one of the triumph of capital. 

Labour means little today, as competition from the desperate in the third world, and the more unemotional competition from digital workers, means downward pressure on wages is extreme. Labour is in surplus, but capital is in excess. This is because of the startling and historic increases in productivity enabled by the digital revolution, automation, globalization, relatively cheap energy supplies, and a general advancement of science. Today capital flashes around the world at the speed of light, enriching the connected, trashing the unwary, and generally has free reign. Labour, on the other hand, is condemned to stagnation and decline in the west, and indeed the more developed of the developing world is merely buying time, before their "end of history" moment comes.

As there are very few at the top of the economic heap that can claim personal control over these global trends, then it seems to follow that the same people cannot claim a massive share of global wealth. But....they are. In fact we are almost back into the 19th century, in terms of wealth disparity.

Some commentators today are speculating on some negative effects that might ensue from such an "new world order". What do you think?



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Janson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Oct 2014 at 05:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Janson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Oct 2014 at 06:06
thank you for your welcome.

Your reply puzzles me, if government are not held accountable, why are we, shouldn't the same rule apply to the goose as well as the gander. somehow we have allowed the system to entrap us all, the general public was it big business or the politicians who fooled us, it appears our fore fathers where asleep at the wheel. janson 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2014 at 09:37
Originally posted by Janson Janson wrote:

thank you for your welcome.

Your reply puzzles me, if government are not held accountable, why are we, shouldn't the same rule apply to the goose as well as the gander. somehow we have allowed the system to entrap us all, the general public was it big business or the politicians who fooled us, it appears our fore fathers where asleep at the wheel. janson 

In this case, the goose and the gander part company in significant ways. Household debt is not the same thing exactly as public debt. Running up your credit card can mean big trouble if you are an individual, but not necessarily for a government.

For one thing, government domestic purchases are not really purchases at all, but redistribution of resources. Your tax dollar becomes a few bricks in  a hospital or school. A portion of Starbucks profits becomes pay and expenses for the local fire department.  Of course, the wisdom of any such distribution becomes a political issue, and open to a great deal of subjectivity. But in the case of domestic spending at least, the "wealth" does not leave and go anywhere, it merely changes form.

Government also has tools to manage debt unavailable to the private individual, including the ability to set interest rates, manage inflation, or increase or decrease the money supply, among other things. These are routinely used to favorably manage debt.

Debt, within reasonable limits, is not bad for a society, and indeed is pretty much a necessity. When the private sector comes up short, it is only a central banking authority that can make the financial adjustments necessary to keep the economy on track, and this often means debt instruments.

Today it is not so much a matter of holding governments accountable, but the private sector. The mania for deregulation and low taxes has shifted wealth from the public to the private sphere. This means more for speculation and profit seeking, and less for desired public goals. That's why today local government beg for funds for things like transit, while billions fly around the world in currency speculation, or other uses that perform no worthwhile social purpose, other than the enrichment of a tiny handful of individuals.
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