Friday, August 12, 2016

Quick Note

I am working on a website that should be up and running by month's end. It will include a substantial amount of my writings on History, Philosophy and Science.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Brexit III

The EU in itself is not an economic success at all and the fact that certain areas have been successful (parts of England) and the turn-of-the millennium Irish Celtic Tiger (in the past not as much at present) are a consequence of much needed free market reforms (Thatcherite revolution in the 80s and competitive opening up of the Irish economy) that occurred despite, rather than as a result of, the EU influence. In fact the Left largely rejected both of these drives when they were proposed.

Defenders of the EU often point to historical German (or West German) success however the economic groundwork for this country can largely be attributed to the pro-free market (less regulation intense) policies that came to define the Wirtschaftswunder (Economic Miracle) after WWII. These were engineered by Konrad Adenauer and his economic minister Ludwig Erhard and preceded the formation of the Common Market in 1957.

The claim that that the EU is in a better economic state than the US also lacks foundation. The numbers don’t bare this out both at present and in the past. Unemployment (U3 numbers) in the US is less than the EU average and regularly sits at a lower level than its Euro rivals (only 4 out of the 28 European countries currently have a lower unemployment rate than the US).  Spain for one has an unemployment rate that sits at a horrific 21.4% with youth unemployment residing in the stratosphere at the unbelievable number of 51%.

As for Scotland and Ireland both their respective unemployment rates are above the UK average. In fact at present Ireland sits at 9.6% well over double the German average.
Norway and Switzerland, both non-EU members, boast unemployment rates of 4.6 % and 3.4% each of which is ahead of the US.

In addition GDP per capita is 1.4 times higher in the US than it is in EU with only the Banker’s Republic of Luxembourg (hardly representative of the Bloc) exceeding the US. In fact 49 out of 50 US states have a higher GDP per capita than the EU Average. If the UK were an American state it would rank about somewhere around the 40 – 45 mark in state GDPs per capita. Forbes takes an even grimmer view.

Economic issues aside. The key driver for the population’s rejection of the EU mandate ie. The loss of local autonomy. For me this was the greatest concern (followed closely of course by the over regulation hysteria of the EU). I am surprised that a proud Celtic nationalist would not be more concerned? What’s the point of winning independence from the UK only to hand it over to faceless bureaucrats in Brussels? The Scots especially will be deeply impacted especially with regards to their North Sea Oil. This is one of the big reasons that Norway stayed out of the Union to begin with.

For more reading outside the echo chamber check out

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/11949038/Europes-glory-days-at-an-end-warns-Juncker.html

Friday, July 01, 2016

Brexit II

This is my reply to an Irish Nationalist who pretty much damned the English to hell over the Brexit result and then called for union of the various Celtic Nations....

The EU is far from the success that you make it out to be. It has failed to stall the drop in European clout that has seen a drop in the region's Global GDP footprint from 25 to 15 % over the last thirty years or so. Many of the countries in the EU consistently demonstrate high levels of unemployment and wealth disparity in England in particular has actually widened (compare London to the rest of the country). 

My biggest problem with the EU and is that it has added a layer of government that is overwhelmingly bureaucratic. This has decreased the efficacy of grassroots activism and fostered a new elite focused on entitlement. Key autonomy has been lost and this is anti-democratic.It also has created unnecessary barriers to potential imports from outside the Bloc which have been particular tough on African and Asian producers (Is this fortress Europe concept not racist in itself?) while ensuring that prices in Europe remain high (fine for the elite but not everyone else). 

I am not convinced that Scotland will leave the UK (despite your wishes). I think that you are overselling the numbers. If they do so the Scots would likely have to forgo their investment in the British State mechanism (pensions and all) and drop the Pound (which is still a solid option as a currency for Third world investors particularly the Middle East). The Euro is highly volatile and has already been rocketed by several crises in Greece, Italy and Portugal to name a few. Others are likely to follow. It seems to me that your position is more motivated by an anti-English Irish jingoism than anything else although I could be wrong. Damning the English to history considering the brave stance of this people in facing Fascism in WWII is particularly galling (where were the Irish nationalists then?) . 

As for your take on Northern Ireland a closer breakdown on results from the referendum indicates that the vote was split along sectarian lines with many Protestants (who regard any union with Ireland to be toxic) voting to leave. I doubt as well whether the large Scottish protestant core would also back such an alliance with Ireland in a Greater Celtic Band.

Life thought

I think that one of the most important realizations one has to make as a parent is that your kids are not, nor ought they to be, a replica of yourself.

Brexit I

I think its too early to judge what the long term ramifications of the exit will be. Economists have a poor track record in long term forecasting and markets have a tendency to readjust rapidly (look at the Dow). One cannot judge any decision in purely economic terms as there are other numerous factors involved but I think that the Brexit vote is a welcome win for grassroots democracy.

Funny

Point to consider.....At a dermatology conference focusing on Acne do they have breakout sessions?.

On Diversity

Why is it when so many people talk about diversity its almost always diversity of skin colour or sexual preference? More important than that in my opinion is diversity of class or socioeconomic status. However what supersedes them all, and what is very rarely mentioned, is diversity of thought.

Soccer Upsets....love them or hate them...here are a few

15 Greatest Cinderella feats at the World Cup or European Championship

  1. Denmark obtaining a late invite into the 1992 European Championship (Yugoslavia was banned from playing) and then going on to win the competition.
  2. Greece fighting their way to the final and then defeating hosts Portugal in the 2004 European Championship.
  3. Czechoslovakia defeating World Cup Winners and defending champion West Germany to win the 1976 European Championship.
  4.  North Korea defeating Italy 1-0 in the World Cup group stage in 1966
  5. The US defeating England 1-0 in the World Cup Group stage in 1950
  6. Uruguay defeating hosts Brazil in front of a crowd of almost 200,000 to win the 1950 World Cup
  7. Northern Ireland defeating hosts Spain in the 1982 World Cup Group stage
  8. Algeria defeating West Germany in the 1982 World Cup Group Stage
  9. Cameroon defeating defending World Cup Champions Argentina in the Group stages in 1990 and then going on to reach the quarterfinal
  10. Senegal defeating defending World Cup Champions France in the Group stages in 2002 and then going on to reach the quarterfinal
  11. South Korea defeating Portugal, Italy and Spain on route to reaching the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup
  12. Costa Rica defeating Uruguay and Italy to reach the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup
  13. Bulgaria beating Argentina and Germany to reach the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup
  14. Iceland 2 England 1 European Championship 2016
  15. Wales 3 Most expensive team in existence Belgium 1

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Free Trade Liberals

Its time for free trade liberals to be honest with themselves and admit that at the most fundamental level they abhor the nation state, which is ultimately why so many are enthusiastic about such trans national behemoths as the EU. For you see Nation States are impediments to the single market. They create barriers to prevent the free flow of goods and labour (the cheap kind especially) thereby producing complexities that stifle the uniformity that the ease of production ideal craves. In short, the nation state in the liberal view is an anachronistic nuisance that has survived from an earlier era but in the world of bloc trade ought to be relegated to the dust heap of history. Once it disappears then the market can truly dominate. The market of course being the very essence of liberalism.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Some more cool moments in Physics

James Clerk Maxwell unifies the world of the electricity and magnetism on a theoretical level and shows how the speed of light in a vacuum is a function of two key constants that govern each of the electric and magnetic fields. Maxwell’s work gives rise to the notion of electromagnetic waves two types of which will be identified by Heinrich Hertz (Radio Waves) and Wilhelm Roentgen (X Rays)

Max Planck solves the Blackbody Radiation Problem by arguing that energy is produced in discrete packets called quanta and that the Energy of each quanta is directly proportional to the frequency of oscillation of the quanta. Planck’s model answers the challenge of the UV catastrophe which classical physics had failed to adequately address. I developing his concept of the quanta Planck borrows heavily from the work of Ludwig Boltzmann, the father of statistical mechanics.Planck, himself is regarded as the Father of Quantum Mechanics (and indeed Modern Physics)

JJ Thompson determines the ratio of the mass of the electron to its charge. Robert Millikan will follow on later with a determination of the charge of the electron (through his oil droplet experiment) allowing for the eventual determination of the mass of the electron. Quantum nature of charge will play an important role in future developments in Modern Physics.

Henri Becquerel documents the realities of radioactive decay. Work will continue thanks to the research by Pierre and Marie Curie

Michelson and Morley Experiment shows that the Aether wind (thought to be the background of space) does not exist.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Muhammad Ali

News outlets are falling over each other in praise of Muhammad Ali. While there is no doubt that he was a tremendous athlete and iconic figure whose story translates itself well into the 60's narrative I have always found the superlative Great as used with the man to be somewhat misapplied.

For one he was not a great human being. Look no further to his treatment of arch-rival Joe Frazier before their third fight in Manila (the notorious thriller). His use of the ‘gorilla’ term to taunt his opponent on looks alone was classless at best as was his use of racist language to imply that Frazier (who was Black) was the White Man’s Champion but was essentially an Uncle Tom when juxtaposed against Ali himself.

Not only were these slurs cruel and unnecessary (and bothered Frazier for the rest of his life) they were especially vile as it was Frazier who gave Ali financial support during his ban from boxing and it was Frazier himself who lobbied hard to have Ali reinstated as a fighter.

Ali was arrogant, continually mocked ‘whitey’ but was never to high above the moral quandary to reject the money that came his way from a largely Caucasian audience. In fact it was white journalist such as Howard Cosell who played a huge role in creating the legend that was Ali as was his legendary trainer Angelo Dundee.

That he was a skilled fighter is a given but his record doesn’t standard head or shoulders above some of the other heavyweights of renowned fame. In fact one could argue that it was less impressive than some of the sport’s leading lights. He did not retire undefeated like Rocky Marciano (39-0) or have the knockout record of Foreman (76 wins 68 by knockout compared to Ali’s 56 wins 37 by knockout), nor did he come close to holding on to the title as long as Joe Louis who carried the belt for 12 years (that included 25 an unbelievable defenses).

He did win the Heavyweight title three times but that was largely a consequence of circumstance (the Don King Rumble Initiative and Leon Spink's suspect decision to avoid Ken Norton the #1 contender at the time and defend against Ali instead).

In fact a breakdown of Ali’s key fights shows a spurious win against Sonny Liston (Phantom Punch…likely a fix), controversial use of the rope-a-dope tactic (arguably illegal) in the Rumble, a wrong victory decision against Ken Norton in the Third Fight and a over hyped win over Frazier in Manila (when Ali’s corner were seconds away from throwing in the towel themselves).

While he was quick to talk the talk when it suited him Ali was too often caught up by his own hubris. He refused to retire with grace and was taken to task for his efforts by both Larry Holmes and the less than stellar Trevor Berbick.

Ali defined an era but had feats mired in hyperbole and for this he will be remembered. Boxing will forever be indebted to him but to call him the Great (or any fighter for that matter) simply overlooks the bigger picture that necessitates such a call to glory.

Friday, March 25, 2016

JFK on Economics

JFK's greatest success economically was championing a policy of lowering tax rates on average earners. This unfortunately was only realized after his death with the passing of the bipartisan Revenue Act of 1964. His approach was neither that of a strict Keynesian nor that of a supply-sider but hogged the midpoint with the intent of increasing demand via disposable income. It worked. The mid 60's was a Golden Era in US Economic history. Unemployment sat at a low of 3.8 % in 1966. GDP growth was in the 5% range. You are correct Nixon's record is poor but it wasn't all of his doing. The ongoing Vietnam War impacted the Federal budget. It also didn't help that he introduced wage and price controls to curb the inflation that resulted from Johnson's Great Society spending Initiatives.

Logic and Sense Knowledge

I think that logic can be viewed as a type of gradualism that is water tight and invaluable in moving us toward a genuine source of knowledge or truth. However it does appear that there are other mechanisms which use a more punctuated approach, that while not as stringent in its application, and indeed not as gradual, use value judgement acting on sensory information to reach a similar conclusion. Is the latter a type of reason? I too would argue yes. Can it be reduced? Possibly. But perhaps something is lost in doing so. Maybe it functions on a level that bypasses the need for mini-steps, chunking information in bigger bytes to reach its endpoint with a greater efficiency.

On Philosophy

I started my own personal study of philosophy by making sure that I had a strong general overview of the key thinkers before going into any great detail about any one individual specifically. Philosophy is best understood by acquainting oneself with the history of the discipline as many ideas put forward essentially arise out of a critique of an earlier philosophy and build on each other. Hegel's March to Reasons sums up this idea but is not the overriding factor. Avenues of thought can splinter in many directions and these can be difficult to predict. I think that the key point in philosophy is to work with, and in a way, celebrate the idea. Examine thoughts from different angles and avoid the temptation to expect eureka moments at every turn.

The West - A Wake up Call



The West in its present state is weak. Leadership is poor, priorities are wrong and more than anything else most Westerners can't even articulate what our civilization stands for. Jihadism will not bring down the West but the inability to champion our exceptionality and defend the essence of what we have on all fronts will most certainly do. We no longer believe in ourselves and this is tragic.

The Post-Modernist leaderships that dominate most Western Government are partly to blame for fostering such a malaise but so has the culture of guilt and self-flagellation that has worked its way from academia into mainstream society.

While the US –the epicenter of the West - is still ten or fifteen years behind a moribund Europe in this regard but its path has been accelerated by an abysmal Presidency that has to be routinely prodded to recognize evil for what it is and continues advocating for an appeasement of such malignancies. However the opposition has not been much better. While it talks with an air of authority from the other side of the aisle, when in office, it too often succumbs to the lure of a ‘Realpolitik’ that short-changes our values for the sake of political expediency.

It is most obvious that the West is in a demographic death spiral (certainly with respect to birth rates). Entitlement is rampant, education standards are falling, illegal immigration is out of control, and our manufacturing sectors have been gutted by a free trade mania and crony capitalism has shifted power away from the vital middle class to a worthless financial elite that has no loyalty to anyone other than themselves. A fixation with identity politics – both race and gender – has further poisoned the water and encouraged an odious narrative that has proved to be extremely divisive.

Add to this a growing national debt load (19.1 trillion dollars in the US for example and increasing) and the future does not bode well for the next generations. Partisan Hacks will point to declining unemployment numbers when convenient, but these rarely tell the full story and conveniently leave out the growing number of people who have dropped out of the labour market altogether and no longer factor in such statistics. With a weak manufacturing sector and the hypnotic appeal of open border economics this troublesome pattern seems likely to continue.

While we still have the luxury of the circus shows that engulf the lives of so many of us we need to move against apathy and indifference. What is needed is a broad movement centered on the engine of the middle class that cuts across ossified party lines and places at its core the Western values of free speech, rule of law, rationalism, an emphasis on necessary tradition, earned respect, and ultimately self-sufficiency built on a strong work ethic. The People can still take back the nations of the West. In fact not only can they, it is becoming increasingly important that they must.