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november 11th 1918.....the hinge of fate

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Showing 26-48 of 48 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Nov 2011 19:09:09 GMT
monica says:
Huh? Different because I was curious about the homeless being put into camps and you weren't, or different because I didn't know where/why they were put into camps and you did? Or something different?

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Nov 2011 21:28:47 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Nov 2011 21:29:58 GMT
gille liath says:
Because (no offence light, if you read this) I'm not interested in her family history.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Nov 2011 00:07:08 GMT
Peter CLARK says:
The fact that it seemed an interesting subject and somehow got hi-jacked, (as these things can), was my very point, and the fact that it was now effectively so meaningless as to be a waste of time. Not in the sense of "You're all total morons!", but in that it would be good to go back again to the original premise and have another go. ie I can't hang up yet!

Posted on 16 Nov 2011 10:24:12 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Nov 2011 10:25:07 GMT
gille liath says:
Well, be my guest. Since the OP has gone, how about this:

"This house believes that the manner in which WWI ended, combined with the alternating aggression, appeasement and isolationism of the Allies, led directly to WWII."

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Dec 2011 19:43:33 GMT
Peter CLARK says:
France in particular wanted their "pound of flesh" by emasculating Germany because it was quite apparent from the period from 1876 onwards that Germany was the pre-eminent economic force in Europe, and they (the French) were not. The British to a certain extent went along with this if only to preserve our Empire and Colonial powers, ie having the most powerful navy. Remember, this was the only reason why we joined in the Great War in the first place, because we saw it initially as a European civil war (to stay out of), but it was the thought of Germany having direct access to the North Sea by having the Rhine Estuary at Rotterdam/Antwerp as a harbour that made us go in. Belgian neutrality was the least of the reasons. Also, our getting involved made it a World War in that once we were mobilised, so was every country that was pink on the globe.
Hiltler, on the other hand, just wanted to re-write history and have the victory that the WW1 Generals at the time chose not to have through what he saw as their incompetence.
This emasculation of Germany directly produces Hitler; yes, Germany was politically in chaos, but the economic sanctions were the turning point for him to come to power. So in many respects, the victorious allies brought WWII on themselves.

Posted on 1 Dec 2011 21:00:55 GMT
Interesting but a partial view. The Americans created the need for extensive reparations because they sucharged the British for the war material they sent. Britain was seriously economically damaged by WW1 and the industrial infrastructure of France was wrecked.

There are plenty of examples of wars where winner takes all, Roman invasion of Britain, Norman invasion of Britain, British invasion of Ireland.

The problem with WW1 is that the British and French went half way with their demands. They also failed to nullify Germany in the 1920's.

It was the inflation that killed the Weimar Republic and this era was ironically the cultural flowering of Germany in art, music, literature and philosophy.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Dec 2011 09:54:22 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Dec 2011 10:31:36 GMT
gille liath says:

Britain arguably takes the biggest share of the blame, because they signed up to a treaty which they always had a bad conscience about, and then failed to help enforce it - as Dr Elvis says, the worst of both worlds.

But we shouldn't forget to include America (should we light?), which washed its hands of the treaty it had orchestrated and of the whole situation; refused to join the League of Nations, the forerunner of the UN; and went off (according to a recent film on Channel 5) to plot an attack on the British Commonwealth.

Nevertheless, again as the Dr implies, all might have been well if the world economy hadn't collapsed at the end of the 20s. Scary thought...

Posted on 2 Dec 2011 19:24:57 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Dec 2011 19:25:51 GMT
J A R P says:
J M Keynes was some sort of delegate at the Versailles talks. Shortly after, he wrote a book about it which I read a while ago.
He noted at the time that a war would follow the treaty signed there because the Germans would not put up with the agreement.

The agreement was badly made because:

1. The Germans were not present.
2. The French chief representative acted throughout in the most vicious way possible, demanding as much repayment as possible from Germany.
3. President Wilson was totally outwitted by the French premier and his advisors.

That is, Wilson took a very patronising approach to it all, and gave in to the French because he did not want to upset anyone. The Germans were not present, so he just signed French demands.

This is probably right on the surface. But then it is possible to imagine, and may even be provable, that the US, which had recently given its Federal Reserve powers over to a cartel - and had thereby created a ruling privately owned central bank (the hallmark of a true economy of capitalism - a private bank with only govt appointed head - chosen from a very short list) it is possible to imagine that this Wilsonian attitude was coached in him by his banker-advisors.

Those same banks later paid for Hitler to take power. Academics say that this is 'capital' at work. They reduce the influence of private individuals in the circulation of money, and tend to reduce the likelihood of conspiracies, willfully destructive policies.

But if Keynes could see the outcome, others could to, and can you believe that the Wilson advisors did not somehow want another war, and knew it could happen? Why would they do that.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Dec 2011 19:39:00 GMT
gille liath says:
Of course they didn't want another war. They were just dumb, and not thinking any further than their next domestic election.

Posted on 2 Dec 2011 19:41:09 GMT
J A R P says:
It is not clear from accounts of the decline of Rome into Empire, but the following is definitely true.

The Wars with Carthage, and Hannibal's family, impoverished Rome and Italy greatly. It was Italy vs. the Phoenicians, a war which Italy eventually won. The defeat of Hannibal and the destruction of Carthage resulted in Rome as the one single world superpower.

But the cost was that the old Rome of farming, a land made up of individual farmers, no longer existed. The farmers had been bought out, and robbed, by the state in order to strengthen the war effort.

Rome thereafter became an oligarchy, with massive land owners at the top of society, and poor disenfranchied victims of war policy. Republican Roman history prior to Julius Caesar is the story of a class war. The two factions had their political parties. When Marius took control he slaughtered terrific numbers of the rich party. When Sulla killed him, he too slaughtered thousands from the poor party.

The 'world state' of Rome emerged eventually, when Caesar, Pompey, and Cassius formed a senatorial triumvirate in the years just before the birth of Christ. The Triumvirate was supposed to bring peace to the rival factions of rich and poor. There is no doubt about this: wealth distribution was the prime issue then. It resulted in the Civil war when Pompey took his army, took control of Rome for the patricians, and when Caesar invaded Italy to defeat him for the 'poor' party. Caesar refused the imperial title afterwards because he was for the plebians.

Eventually, his adopted son, Augustus became dictator, the world state emerged, and thereafter, a succession of reigns in which the emperors mostly did what they wanted, with military rule either backing or toppling them.


My point is, the story repeats itself, perhaps. A world state emerges as a result of several devastating wars. Wealth distribution is the main issue powering history after that. And then, after a definitive war, the world is fully united under a serious of usually poor leaders, led by a class of ruling soldiers who enforce law with weapons randomly.

We will probably end up in a universal state, brought about by war and impoverishment of the majority. And general world wide stagnation, in which taking no notice of the world (Stoicism) is the prevaling philosophical attitude.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Dec 2011 19:43:38 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Dec 2011 19:45:52 GMT
J A R P says:
That's what Keynes said. Wilson was like a practical man, a cowboy, and didn't understand the Frenchman's quick intelligence, and that that was the 'hinge of fate'.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Dec 2011 19:53:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Dec 2011 20:11:22 GMT
gille liath says:
I don't see the history of Rome as 'powered by' wealth distribution, but by power distribution. I don't agree with the Marxist analysis that everything is about money. Power and prestige make the world go round; wealth is mainly a means to that end.

As far as whether history is repeating itself, as Dr D says, the history of the C20th is almost the opposite of Rome and Carthage: instead of annihilating their enemies, the Allies ended up helping them back on their feet. If there is a process of assimilation, such as we may be seeing in the eurozone, it promises to be peaceful.

Re Versailles - I don't think the French were as diabolically clever as all that. The treaty itself wasn't anyone's fault in particular - it was just the result of trying to reconcile too many different aims. The real fault was that the Allies should either have enforced it rigorously, or abolished it once it was obvious it caused more problems than it solved. But as always, that was easier said than done.

Posted on 2 Dec 2011 20:13:57 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Dec 2011 20:23:22 GMT
J A R P says:
The diabolism was Keynes's view. And he was there.

As for Roman politics, it definitely was about wealth. Sulla and Marius were representatives of political parties representing the aristocrats and the plebs, respectively. When you follow a party and hope it will win, do you do so out of a search for power, or because of wealth distrubution? Do you think that a Roman man was any different? The Roman system of government was originally set up with wealth and justice distrubution at the core of it. Tribunes of the people were set up to represent economic interests, and the senate was a house of representatives.


The notion that Europe helped each member back onto its feet is contestable. The US helped, all sides. And the aim was unification. The US wanted unification. Unification of the world, not kindness, influenced that. Also, historians of note have started saying that the War didn't end (WWI and WII) until 1989. So, helping Europe was just a way of winning the War.

You Gille seem to see the world as a caring and loving place, far in advance of Rome. True, we don't have slaves, but slaves were the result of Carthagian wars and poverty. It is a great mistake not to learn from history. Nazi hierarchy were devoted to Greek imitation; French revolution was a resurrection of Roman principles. When important and decisive things happen (good or bad) they usually happen because of a sympathetic link with the past, a past which is seen as better than our day.

Roman people were no less people than those for whom you have consideration and affection. Their desires were the same, and they did not live like blank slaves watching as the high and mighty played games of 'power'. Caesar's funding and his armies came from people who wanted economic change.

Wealth, it is hard to admit (because we are so kind to each other (right!)) that actual money, not this vapid 'power' is the motor behind us and Rome, and it is what a war will decide for us. It is disheartening to admit that money does matter to the health of states and individuals in them. that is because it is so obvious that you and I are probably really losing out in this game, massively.

Besides, if power = money (as it does) then what's the difference if you say power and I say money?

The story of the pre-Christian mediterranean is the story of the rise of small independent states, democracy (in some of them), freedom and independence economically. Then, the next stage, big wars of unification. Then, impoverishment of the masses, and the birth of superstate. Then, a long period of stagnation, buoyed up by colonial conquest, immigration. Ending in collapse.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Dec 2011 20:31:41 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Dec 2011 20:34:01 GMT
gille liath says:
I put 'power' originally and changed it to 'power and prestige'. I think the latter is really what drives most people. Money makes power, power makes prestige (although there are also other ways of getting it). The difference it makes is that you do not, as many Marxists think, do away with conflict by creating economic equality. Even if that could be done, people will still want the prestige that comes from dominating others.

I did say 'the Allies', so that includes the US. I'm not claiming they acted purely out of altruism but, from the Axis point of view, there is certainly a massive difference in the end result.

I do think we're a little in advance of Rome, though maybe not that much. Not sure what point you're making in saying they were people like us. Anyway, most of them didn't have enough information to make informed choices between rivals - less still would they have had any concept of economics, a science that didn't exist then as we understanfd it. They'd have just joined, or been conscripted into, the first army that happened by.

All your references are actually to the Republican period of Rome. Perhaps this can be explained in economic terms, to a degree, but I don't think the Imperial period can be. If you want a simple explanation of that, it can only be the more or less successful struggle of individuals, mostly from the same social class, for the throne.

I certainly agree with you about the losing out part, though.

Posted on 2 Dec 2011 21:37:41 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Dec 2011 21:41:01 GMT
J A R P says:
When you say that economic equality does not do away with struggle, I agree. But, it is the kind of struggle which can change with economic equality. This has to do with your outlook on the potential of the human soul. Great philosophers never speak highly of human potential, but they should. (Can it be that philosophers have always been selected for their use as pro-capitalist propagandists?).

We have not shown much more than artistic abilities over our history. People are capable of great understanding and achievements in isolation, by freak accident. They are also capable of more if they are educated properly, with kindness and economic encouragement.

Thus it might be that, once the economic imbalances are stuffed aside, people might be capable of entering a different kind of evolution than the one which is roughly circular, in which a society rises, is corrupted, then falls. People could be capable of enriching the world in ways that philosophical frauds and heretics have always told us that they can. For instance, developing higher intuition, attaining some sort of hidden power contained in the universe.

The cycle of wars, which exploit the loyalties and the bestial side of humans, might be ended - and will end when the problem of wealth is sorted out.

You say, in the same breath as you say that we have advanced, that we have a science of economics which the Romans lacked.
That is rather strange thing to say. Insiders point out that there is actually no science of economics, and that the Etonians and Oxbridge types who lead the machinery of the City into battle almost all have no idea what they are doing at root. Computers are doing much of the work there. Once, there was a boast that the City was full of experts, physicists, legal whizzkids, graduates in all the chief disciplines of our day, who were running the financial markets of the world. I understand that prior to 2008 this was the sort of attitude. It meant that they received good salaries, and they could always laugh at a person who asked why money HAD to rise upwards, and create inequality. These smart people and their 'science' was really believed in.

All that the City's 'science' amounts to is: creating money from nothing in ingenious ways; and following the dictum that if you make a rich man richer, he will let the crumbs fall to the rest. That was the story of the Rothschilds in the C19th, and Victoria, who was more or less at his feet, begging for money to further conquest and build more extreme bridges toward the Great War.

However, what we know is that when the rich man has too much, he starts thinking of wars for the plebs to fight. AJP Taylor said as much, and every A Level history student knows that it was the giant capitalist enterprises which needed that WWI.

There is no science of economics, and there is no perpetual cyclic warfare. There is, in fact, no proper science of anything at the moment, except foreground technology, which is an exploitation of what is given, and an avoidance of human potential and human need to be more than a brief noise between sleep and sleep.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Dec 2011 21:49:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Dec 2011 14:24:32 GMT
gille liath says:
Some interesting points. For now I'll content myself with replying that, if there is no science of economics, there can be no theory of history (such as the Marxist one) based on it. And what every A-level student 'knows' may still be wrong - though for that matter I studied that topic at A-level, and I didn't come to that conclusion.

Posted on 2 Dec 2011 22:00:44 GMT
Science of economics is another of Hans Vanheiger's "guided fictions" a necessary lie that people need to believe in. The latter Marx was incorrect about his predictions, try the earlier less mechanistic version. He makes more sense.

Posted on 2 Dec 2011 22:59:24 GMT
J A R P says:
I know Hegel better than Marx - who I never have read, besides the Manifesto.

Speaking of which, I answered your question in my own way, Delvis, on the Hegel thread. I wonder what you have to say.

Note, Hegel said that everything is Spirit or consciousness, and there is an easy way of explaining this.

I will not say anything about Marx's books, not having read them.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Dec 2011 10:41:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Dec 2011 14:11:59 GMT
gille liath says:
I agree abt Marx - not entirely abt economics. When I say 'Marxist', I don't primarily mean 'the works of Marx'. It's received wisdom - in fact, generally an unquestioned assumption - on the Left that history can be explained by economics, even among people who haven't read a word of Marx. Since appearances are generally against this theory, Marxists are encouraged to look for all sorts of motives in people other than the obvious ones, and that's probably why many of them are so fond of conspiracy theories.

It is possible, though, to study how economies behave *as a whole*, and predict their future within certain limits. For instance, it was predictable to anyone with any knowledge of the subject that the present govt's policies would result in stagnation.

What isn't possible, is accurately to predict the behaviour of an individual company - that's really what you're talking about with financial speculators. So there is a science of economics, but people shouldn't be fooled that the speculators are applying it - they're just gambling.

Posted on 4 Dec 2011 00:07:57 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Dec 2011 01:12:27 GMT
J A R P says:
I can't believe that the Romans didn't know this stuff you are describing. Financial speculators, trading, my god, that is no more than gambling, and everyone knows it. But you never make any profit on the stock exchange as an investor. You make money on the stock markets by buying things up with loans, and selling them on during a bubble - which will burst eventually. That is a fact, isn't it? The Romans didn't have this sort of situation, I understand. Somehow though, they achieved centuries of growth (cancerous in nature).

It is worth considering that institutions such as the bank of England, and the non-stagnation policies which people are bound to approve of, require a 'bank' to print money so that people can work and earn it.

In other words, a bank essentially issues a permit to work. Now, somewhere in history (around the late 17C) the United Kingdom gave the power to print these work permits to a cartel of rich financiers (the Bank of England). In 1913 the US did the same, and pays interest to the bank for the privelege of using their services.

The Bank was nationalised for a period, but then the old conspirators took control again with Thatcher and Blair. Once again, the BoE and its like are in the position of letting us work, or not. We will not be allowed to work and live until European Union is achieved. Am I right? Is this some sort of conspiracy, or what?


We are right to be glad that we are not being held at knife point in the UK because we are not in Eurozone: give Europe more powers, or perish. That is what they are saying. The high moral tone is all about Europe having more power, these days, because we would all suffer if it didn't.

Of course, it doesn't matter much to us since, because of the City, we are not part of the Eurozone. What people don't say (it is too 'mad' for some reason) is that it is dangerous in the extreme to give away powers of the state to Brussels, grey men, nobodies, technocrats. And especially with arguments about how terrible it would be if we did not. Damn it, we are walking into a nightmare Orwell world, and nobody notices.

For instance, they march for their pensions. They sit in for the lottery. They get boiled in a pan like a frog, not noticing that the water temperature is going up. This stuff, it is known, was planned years ago in secret meetings between reptilian sorts of people.

Who says that people who know economics and pull the levers did not let the bubble get big just so that, when collapse came, everyone would have to agree to EUROPE.

Just a suggestion. Of course, people will still exist in such times, when potentially our lives are diminished because we have no power or decision. But wouldn't it be appropriate to do something to stop it from happening? they make mistakes, politicians. They say things like: 'We have seen the end of boom and bust', even when they have all the information to show that Brown policies will lead to bust.

the 'science' of economics just means information which the media does not tell you. it is easy to follow, but hidden and not generally known. There is nothing scientific about it. It is just priveleged and restricted information.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Dec 2011 11:55:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Dec 2011 11:56:28 GMT
gille liath says:
Well, believe it...the Ancient world knew nothing whatsoever of economics as we recognise it. Even in Marx's time it was still so dimly understood that he based his theory of labour on a fatal flaw: the belief that its price is regulated by the supply side only, and has nothing to do with demand.

'Banks issue a permit to work'? I don't know about that. Both money and work predate modern banks by many centuries and, pace Marx, I don't think they're some kind of conspiracy to cheat people. We'd struggle to do without them altogether, even if we abolished capitalism entirely. be honest, I'm struggling to understand where you're going with this. But again, I would stress that economics and finance are not the same thing.

Posted on 4 Dec 2011 14:20:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Dec 2011 14:23:58 GMT
J A R P says:
The country needs money to work (bank loans to expand, loans to see it through bad times, government needs to pay off interest payments and its past loans, new business start ups need loans) money is a 'licence to work'. No money from banks, no work.

The process of interest lending to governments, and to private enterprises, means that there is never as much money, never as much work, as there should be. The system in Britain is that the money-printers (BoEngland) charge interest for their services. And, the City, overseen by BoE has for a long time been involved in creating large amounts of money for rich individuals - . Now that the bubble has burst, there is no money for work.

The BoE is printing 'licences to work' when it prints notes. It prints them for the City easily enough. But it refuses to do so for the country. Is there a plot to shut off the supply / wreck the supply, until Europe becomes a bloc, ruled by a tiny number of economists (magicians).


I repeat: there is no science of economics. Cultures flourish without finance. There is no science of economics, as Alisdair MacIntyre has said (On Virtue). It is a hocus pocus, it cannot be learnt, and you just get involved by a freak accident, or by being in the pocket of the Illuminati (*)
Make of that what you like.


What you learn at unversity in the department of 'economics' is, as I have already said, the tricks of manipulating the law, explaining the inequalities, and hiding the truth (that this is not a democracy) behind inherited platitudes.
Keynes's attitude (the closest to science it ever got) was that the government should control money supply, and audit its locations and directions transparently. Do you need a degree to understand that?

Posted on 4 Dec 2011 14:40:21 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Dec 2011 14:46:03 GMT
J A R P says:
Science generally means making empirical observations. Scientists observe material low quality experiences, repeatable, dead ones. They set up experiements in limited areas.

Sociology is not science, philosophy is not science, poetry is not science, painting is not science, economics is not science, psychology is not science, politics is not science.

Chemistry is, physics is, electronics is, elements of biology are - . No object whihc involves free agents (people) will ever be scientific. Surely that is obvious. You cannot limit freedom for by its nature, free agency is beyond prediction or quantity.

Saying that there is some higher technique of running an economy is just propping up the current rush towards a totalitarian Europe, and giving credit to men who have been robbing you of your future, robbing you of your power (money). Get over it.

Europe will one day soon be run by a relatively miniscule number of men. During the Cold War we knew that the West wasn't free. But it was better than the East - for one reason or another.
Now the war is over between West and East, it is time to admit that this is not a democracy, and not a good place. One of the bad things is the culture of greed and the culture of conspiracy amongst the elite (a revenant of Europe's royal family incest ring, in charge of it all).
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Discussion in:  politics discussion forum
Participants:  11
Total posts:  48
Initial post:  11 Nov 2011
Latest post:  4 Dec 2011

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