PHILOMADRID

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Modern democracies: their virtues and failures.

Dear friends,


This Sunday we are discussing a very modern topic; Modern Democracies:
their virtues and failures.


I have written a short essay this time basically outlining my main two
ideas on this subject. I hope you will have the time to join us and let
us know what you think about this very philosophical subject.

See you Sunday and take care

Lawrence

IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW

++TINA HAS A FLAT IN USERA SHE WOULD LIKE TO RENT:
The flat is in Usera near the underground , totally furnished and 60 m2,
3º floor.
matutina.gonzalez@fnmt.es

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar

Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************

+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Modern democracies: their virtues and failures.

At the end of the Second World War, a number of events took place. Those
dictators that went a step too far in their expansionist policies in
Europe were comprehensively defeated. It heralded the end of world wars
at least until now. It changed the nature of wars and conflicts. And
finally, it brought a semblance of democracy for most of the
participants of this world conflict, including, I must add, the United
States and Britain.

We can also say that the immediate post world war period started an
unstoppable movement to democratise nations especially the ex-colonies
of the European powers. The post war period would be a good place to
establish as the beginning of the modern democratic era. And to support
this movement towards democracy new institutions were set up to give a
helping hand: the United Nations, The Treaty of Rome (EEC), later to
become the European Union, the IMF and the World Bank, Nato and many
more less prominent institutions.

There is a problem with this time line. According to the Economist
Intelligence Unit democracy index 2006* only 28 countries (n=167) made
it to full democracy status in 2006. And if we want to be generous and
include what the Economist calls Flawed democracy (54 countries) this
leaves us with just over 51% of the world population living under some
sort of democracy, flawed or not. If we feel optimistic we can say that
at least just over half the world population are familiar with democracy.

If we take these figures at face value and want to be realistic at the
same time, we can conclude that with only twenty eight countries as
fully functioning democracies the post war movement to democratise
everything in sight has failed. But if modern democracy has failed, what
is replacing it? And why has it failed?

The Economist index, as with similar indices, attempts to measure the
level of democracy in a country (see the reference below and Wikipedia
on Democracy for more details), but it also concedes that democracy is
very difficult to define. The Index itself measure electoral process and
pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political
participation; and political culture. We might want to add other
features to this list, but it does not really matter. What matters is
that we know a democracy when we see one. For example, I would
personally add freedom of information as a key feature of a democracy.

If we look at this list, or any other list, we see that these features
really address the workings and function of government. Even civil
liberties, that seem to be the odd one out, are in my opinion either a
function of government or at the very least a feeling of being a
function of government. We tend to speak of civil liberties as if they
were some collector's item which we keep safe in our closet. Ready to be
used and traded when the need arises. In reality, no matter how much we
are entitled to some bureaucratic piece of paper we still have to queue
for ever to get it. Civil liberties are in reality what restrictions a
government place on themselves and not something we have or owe. We know
it should not be like that, but there you have it.

But there is also another way that Modern Democracies might tend to fail
and it is precisely the threshold governments or society place in order
to apply these democratic principles. For example, running for
parliament is not a matter of just filling in the forms, there are
qualifications to be fulfilled, deposits to be paid and posters to be
printed. But in many countries running as an independent candidate does
not work well or the money required for a campaign are beyond the reach
and influence of most people. Thus failure need not only imply
non-availability of democratic principles, but also the cost of
accessing democratic principles.

Against this interpretation of modern democracy is the awareness of
precisely the very democratic principles that democracy functions on.
Knowing that there are such things as civil liberties and political
franchise is of course one of the virtues of a modern democracy. It is
also contagious: the more we know about democracy, the more we want it
for us. All this even whist we make an allowance for the realities of life.

In a way, the realities of life might resemble a hall of mirrors and
just to take an example, the EU is not an institution trying to
introduce no economic liberalism or democratic principles. The EU is
today's answer to a serious problem that faced European powers in 1939.
However, the interpretation we have of modern democracy is that today's
institutions are there to promote modern democracy and economic freedom.
But this interpretation of what a modern democracy is all about is, in
my opinion, inadequate. We can use a different time line and a different
set of criteria.

Despite the realities on the ground, another feeling we have of
democracy is that we are free to act as we wish or believe we ought to
act. Thus, we have a sense that if we really wanted to run for
parliament we are, in principle, free to submit our nomination as a
parliamentary candidate. In my opinion Modern Democracy has evolved into
what I will call, for a better name, the Self Care Democracy. And
governments have capitalised on this sense of freedom.

In the mid 1980's governments in Europe and then further afield, started
doing something which would change, in my opinion, the shape of
democracy and government in general. This period was a time when
governments started to divest themselves of industries and sectors which
were nationalised earlier in the century. Not only had this liberated
governments from a mill stone that had failed, but with a good feat of
public relations this divestment was portrayed as giving economic
freedom to individuals. By giving away a few shares in a monopoly and
creating a frenzy for share ownership people were expected to be also
responsible for their economic welfare. Remembering, in the meantime,
that for millennia human being have been trying to achieve the exact
opposite; economic power to be held in the hands of the few rather than
given full economic franchise.

Of course, the universal share ownership movement soon came to a halt,
not because the stock exchange is not a good place to make money, but
because, like every thing else, only a few people have the means and the
skills to make money. With this new political philosophy people were
expected to finance their education, and things such as housing and
employment were to be controlled by the so called market place. There is
nothing wrong with the market place, it is indeed very efficient and
effective, however, different goods are best sold in their respective
markets. Setting up a stall in the middle of the village green is not
necessarily the best way to sell fresh fish and dishwashers. By the same
token, for example, borrowing money for one's education might not be way
to educate a nation.

My position is that modern democracy is not about political freedoms
anymore but economic freedoms. The virtue of self care democracy is that
we take responsibility for our own lives, thus recognising the role of
the individual as a political entity. And as a consequence those
political freedoms which the Second World War was supposed to guarantee
can now be implemented. On the other hand economic freedom carries with
it the danger of blurring the thin red line between legitimate and
equitable economic gain and illegal and inequitable enrichment.

But by putting the emphasis on economic freedom and not political
freedom, not only has the onus been put on the individual for his or her
major economic welfare, but in a way this new criteria exonerates
governments from safeguarding political freedoms. A sort of economic
freedom justifies turning a blind eye to some indiscretions by
governments. For example, no one would disagree with the statement that
China is not a politically free country; I use China because today it is
one of the economic powers in the world, and soon it will be the
economic power of the world; the same arguments could apply to many
other countries in the world. Whilst the Democratic index for China has
not changed much, see for example the Freedom House Index**, its Gross
Nation Income (The World Bank***) doubled between 2000 ($1.2 trillion)
and 2006 ($2.6trillion). Needless to say that these figures are neither
instructive in themselves and hardly enough to lead to any philosophical
conclusions. But if I were to draw any conclusions there is certainly
one conclusion I would draw, economic wealth does not necessarily lead
to a causal effect of political freedom. Or to put it in an other way,
as M and J**** pointed out in one of our meetings recently, it is
difficult to go out and protest for justice when one is fully burdened
with debt; to finance one's education.


Take care

Lawrence

*Economist Intelligence Unit democracy index 2006 (PDF file)
http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/DEMOCRACY_INDEX_2007_v3.pdf


** Opening Paragraph from the Freedom House Web Site: "Freedom House is
a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world. Since its
founding in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie and other
Americans concerned with the mounting threats to peace and democracy,
Freedom House has been a vigorous proponent of democratic values and a
steadfast opponent of dictatorships of the far left and the far right."
http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=15


***The World Bank Group
China Data Profile
http://devdata.worldbank.org/external/CPProfile.asp?CCODE=CHN&PTYPE=CP


****I have the names, but those who were at the meeting would remember
the discussion.


from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Modern democracies:
their virtues and failures.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Why are Mafias a good business?

Dear friends,
This Sunday we are discussing a rather unusual question; Why are Mafias
a good business?
I have not been able to finish the essay this week, but if you want to
prepare yourself I would direct you to these two sources on the internet:
Life of Crime: Organised crime in the UK, BBC 2005, (including radio
programme)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/uk/2001/life_of_crime/crime.stm
Organized crime: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organized_crime
And if you really want some heavy stuff, I would suggest you Google the
historical documents at the FBI site. It's very interesting.
See you Sunday,
Take care
Lawrence
IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW

++TINA HAS A FLAT IN USERA SHE WOULD LIKE TO RENT:
The flat is in Usera near the underground , totally furnished and 60 m2,
3º floor.
matutina.gonzalez@fnmt.es

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);
http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar
Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);
http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************
+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Why are Mafias a
good business?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, MIRAFLORES Saturday and Sunday meeting: Education, the role of the state and parents

Dear friends,
Two things.
This Saturday we are going to Miraflores for our usual walk in the
countryside; might as well take advantage of the good weather we are
having. The other thing is the subject for Sunday's meeting: Education,
the role of the state and parents. I am not sure I will be able to
finish the essay by Friday. Sorry.
The details for Miraflores are:
Meet Plaza Castilla bus station, bus number 725. The bus leaves at
10.30am (Ten thirty in the morning). We should arrive in Miraflores at
about 11.30am which is a good time for a quiet breakfast. A packed lunch
might be in order although I am sure we can buy provisions in
Miraflores. Return buses are every hour at 15 minutes past the hour, the
last bus back is at 22.00hr.
Pass the message
See you Saturday and Sunday
Take care
Lawrence
IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW

++TINA HAS A FLAT IN USERA SHE WOULD LIKE TO RENT:
The flat is in Usera near the underground , totally furnished and 60 m2,
3º floor.
matutina.gonzalez@fnmt.es
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);
http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar
Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);
http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************
+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, MIRAFLORES Saturday and Sunday
meeting: Education, the role of the state and parents




___________________________________________________________
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Is the march of technological and economic development a step in the wrong direction?

Dear friends,


This Sunday we are discussing a rather complex but rather important
topic for our times: Is the march of technological and economic
development a step in the wrong direction? I am sure that this is
something that affects us all.


In the meantime, I hope those of you in Madrid with a long weekend
holiday have a good time.


See you Sunday,

Take care

Lawrence

IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW
+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++TINA HAS A FLAT IN USERA SHE WOULD LIKE TO RENT:
The flat is in Usera near the underground , totally furnished and 60 m2,
3º floor.
matutina.gonzalez@fnmt.es

**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar

Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************

Is the march of technological and economic development a step in the
wrong direction?


No, but. Technological and Economic development are not only necessary,
but maybe inevitable. In itself these should not create any serious
problems, however, what does create problems is how we manage these
developments.


Apart from the ethical implications of economic and technological
development there are issues relating to efficiency, scope, and purpose.
Of course, each of these aspects impinge on the other, and as a
consequences change the course each development follows and the
direction each takes. But first what do we mean by development and what
would be the right direction? Maybe the easier concept to explain and
understand is that of technological development.


In a way, we have an instinctive understanding of technological
development since technology is one of the very few characteristics we
generally have that other animals don't share with us. Sure, gorillas
and chimps use sticks to reach for fruit on trees or termites building
the equivalent of termite skyscrapers. But I don't think that we are
going to see, some time soon, gorillas building spaceships to reach for
the stars.


Why we need technology and why we need to develop technology is quite
clear cut: to exploit our environment more effectively and efficiently.
But as I hope to show, and as the title of the discussion suggests,
there seems to be a shift from genetic motivation or instinct to develop
technology. I will use genetic in a rather general meaning and not
necessarily in a strict scientific meaning.


We usually associate early technology with tool making, including
hunting and fighting instruments, building technology, agriculture and
even domestic use of technology. Consider this quotation from an article
in the Guardian (Falling price of gadgets fuels a worldwide buying
frenzy, Larry Elliott Friday October 26, 2007): "….. a piece of
audio-visual equipment bought for £100 in 1987 would cost the consumer
just £15 today. Over the same period, the cost of living has doubled."*


The article attributes this fall in prices mainly to technological
advances and globalisation, that also gave us different new products and
better quality products. Although, the Guardian suggests that this
anomaly between cheap consumer prices and the doubling of the cost of
living as a paradox, it explains this through globalisation and
technology. However, I would argue that there is indeed a paradox but a
different one from what the Guardian suggests. The paradox is that given
this technological advancement, why should the cost of living (in the
UK) double over a period of ten years? Whatever technology is doing it
is certainly not having an effect on how much it costs to conduct our
day to day lives.


One answer might be that although technology might be responsible for
better and different products, the price factor might be a result of
something other than technology: maybe profit or turnover targets rather
than say efficient management of raw materials. But another factor is
what the Guardian describes, but does not explain, as globalisation.
Officially ( whatever that may be) we are supposed to understand by this
as open and free access to all the markets of the world. The unofficial
meaning is of course, unhindered opportunity to move production to
centres with cheaper labour costs. Which might explain why the average
British person (or Chinese) is not necessarily better off with the new
advancements in technology. Technology might be the reason why some
consumer goods are cheaper than before, but it does not seem to
contribute to an overall cheaper cost of living. In which case, why not?
another thing that has not been said is that the retail price of a
consumer product does not include the environmental cost in producing or
disposing of that product. Of course, I am not criticising the Guardian,
they are just giving us the facts and their point of view, and for that
we should be grateful.


Hence, as far as technology is concerned, at the very least, we can say
that technological development is a natural ability we have inherited
and something humans are very good at. A question that is more
interesting is what technologies are being developed? And as a
consequence, we can then ask such questions as, why is it that people
have more access to a new t.v. set than medical attention; today
15.8percent of the US population do not have a health insurance cover.**


If technology is something that comes from a genetic impulse what
motivates and initiates economic development? I would argue that
"economic development" is a by product of evolutionary pressures,
precisely competition. Not only is competition the basic strategy for
survival, but competition is also an efficient way of managing markets.


What do we mean by economic development? Wikipedia distinguishes between
economic growth and economic development which briefly means the
well-being of the inhabitants of a region or county. However, it is the
creation of wealth that really matters and economic development can be
none other than the distribution of the wealth created in a given
society. Thus, if literacy is an indicator of economic development,
someone must have been spending money or resources to train children how
to read and write. And if no such resources are available then surely
the literacy rate wouldn't improve much. In other words, we cannot speak
of economic development without at the same time accounting for wealth
and wealth creation.


If technology is supposed to help us exploit our environment more
efficiently and competition is the most efficient and productive way to
create wealth, why is it that we see living standard discrepancies even
in developed countries? This is the point where philosophical analysis
changes into emotion politics. And usually demonstrated by the
invocation of the usual monsters of spending on weapons, capitalism
being exploitative and communism being oppressive and so on and so
forth. In other words not a very useful direction to investigate.


I take the view that economic development and wealth creation, in the
modern sense, is just an other aspect of evolutionary competition. And
despite the obvious advantages of competition, especially when compared
to bureaucratic creations, there are still a number of design problems
or flaws with evolutionary competition.


The first of these flaws is that the winner of a fair competition (not
illegal or fraudulent, but see further down) tends to take all the
spoils or at the very least the biggest share of the prize. If there are
six buffalos in a meadow and our tribe catches four of them for dinner
the tribe at the other end of the valley have only two buffalos left.
Other times the winner does take all, and this is well ingrained in our
mind set: from lottery tickets to Olympic Gold medals.


The second problem is that competition has an in-built tendency to want
more. We want more as individuals and collectively. We either want more
to be better off than our neighbours or more to improve our present
situation. I can either want a new two room forest hut either because my
neighbour has a two room hut, or because I can live more comfortably in
two rooms: more is the key here. As Oliver Twist understood very well.


Thirdly, having more can become in itself a commodity we crave for; in
other words we can become addicted to getting more in the same way we
can become addicted to other things such as television, medical
attention, drugs and tobacco. Why else would someone or some entity risk
their good standing in the business community for $20m illegal profits
when the entity is already worth $194billion? (see later for details)
Let us put aside for the time being that to maintain our status quo we
still need to spend energy and must have energy to spend; the physics of
thermodynamics has already explains this.


Although these flaws might not be causally linked they certainly display
a certain progression. Of course, in many cases the outcome of
competition is a clear cut result: win or lose. But in real life, there
seems to be an in-built safety mechanism for competition. In real life a
lot of people and countries cooperate and help each other; after all, it
makes sense as the evidence shows. Just because there is a clear cut
winner in a competitive race, the losers might still get to share in the
spoils, as market share, or to run again in an other race.


But the idea of wanting more is not as straight forward as the concept
of competition. We know that we cannot just want more ad infinitum: even
the universe is not that big. Thus the idea of wanting more is a priori
flawed and as a consequence something will have to give. Could it be
that in the march to want more we simply forget why we want more?


Furthermore, could it also be that "wanting more" is something (a
character trait) we inherited from our ancestors? Something they had to
develop in the early stages of evolutionary life in order to succeed.
The same could be said about enjoying the chase more than the prey. If
our ancestors didn't "enjoy" (maybe an adrenaline rush), or at least
like the hunt, they might not have been that persistent or that keen to
win against nature and the competition, and hence probable extinction.
Ask yourself this question: would you rather wake up in the morning and
go to work where your boss is nasty, the pay and conditions are bad and
the work is mind-numbing boring? Or a job were you are respected and
given every opportunity to succeed and your work helps you achieve
excellence and satisfaction? If you have a nasty job you can be sure
that someone is enjoying a good hunt at your expense.


Consider this second article which appeared in the same edition of the
Guardian as the previous article. (Don't invite traders to your
barbeque, Andrew Clark.***). I will summarise the facts: for the full
details follow the link. In 2004 a team of BP commodity traders in
Huston decided to gain price control of an otherwise esoteric commodity:
propane. This is the stuff that is used to fire barbeques and by seven
million poor and elderly Americans to heat their home.


By the end of February 2004 BP/the team (??) had a "dominant position"
of the market. This meant that they bought the gas for $0.8US cents per
gallon and sold it for an illegal price of over 0.9cents. An average
trade would be at least 10,000 barrels and each barrel has 42 gallons.
You do the maths. From this little scam, British Petroleum was fined
$303m, is to refund $53.5m to buyers and the team face and faced
criminal charges.


BP, as some other companies involved in similar ventures, was
financially strong enough to be in a position to buy itself a dominant
position in the market. Except that would have been an illegal position,
and they knew it. The company or the team only made $20m illegal profits
(thisismoney.co.uk, 29 June 2006) from this scam whilst BP reported in
their Financial Statement (As of 2004-12-31; Google Finance)
$194,630,000,000 worth of total assets. The traders themselves were not
exactly paupers, some of them held senior management position at BP USA.


What is important for us is that these although these errant companies
(BP, Enron and similar) eventually got caught the damage and the
hardship had already been done. Ask the pensioners from Enron. Thus the
strategy of making the competition pay dearly for their survival had
succeeded, even if at the end their scam backfired. Mind you by
competition I do not mean BP and other petroleum companies, but the
trader and the rest of humanity he or she were involved with. Moreover,
that some companies get discovered is evidence that wanting more cannot
go on ad infinitum; something has to give. The next question must surely
be, how many scams are not backfiring at the moment?


In a way, it is not the morality of these scams that ought to concern
us, but the effects such scams have on the effectiveness and efficiency
of businesses. No matter how wealthy BP might have been, a $303m fine
and $53.5m rebate is not exactly loose change; as any BP employee might
tell you. And this does not take into account the public relations
damage and market image of the company.


The take home message about competition and economic development is the
question: what plan B have businesses and governments have in place in
order to deal with the vagaries and flaws of evolutionary competition?


To conclude, there is nothing wrong with technological and economic
development. The balance between competition and cooperation is still a
reasonable one, and any efficient exploitation of the environment (not
distraction) is still a valid objective. What in my opinion seems to
have happened in recent years is that we have turned a disciplined march
into a sprint run and are discovering that our "genetic shoes" are not
exactly fit for this new endeavour. And as a result, some people are
finding themselves in some very sticky situations. Otherwise known as
global economic disparity, low incomes, child labour, criminal fines or
jail sentences.


Take care


Lawrence

* Falling price of gadgets fuels a worldwide buying frenzy, Larry
Elliott Friday October 26, 2007,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/oct/26/10


** "-- According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans who
are uninsured has increased from 13.4 percent in 1990 to 15.8 percent of
the population today." United Health Foundation November 05, 2007 05:00
AM Eastern Time (Press Release)

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20071105005277&newsLang=en


*** Don't invite traders to your barbeque, Andrew Clark in New York.
Friday October 26 2007.

http://business.guardian.co.uk/onamerica/story/0,,2199784,00.html


from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Is the march of
technological and economic development a step in the wrong direction?





___________________________________________________________
All New Yahoo! Mail – Tired of Vi@gr@! come-ons? Let our SpamGuard protect you. http://uk.docs.yahoo.com/nowyoucan.html

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Is the march of technological and economic development a step in the wrong direction?

Dear friends,


This Sunday we are discussing a rather complex but rather important
topic for our times: Is the march of technological and economic
development a step in the wrong direction? I am sure that this is
something that affects us all.


In the meantime, I hope those of you in Madrid with a long weekend
holiday have a good time.


See you Sunday,

Take care

Lawrence

IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW
+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++TINA HAS A FLAT IN USERA SHE WOULD LIKE TO RENT:
The flat is in Usera near the underground , totally furnished and 60 m2,
3º floor.
matutina.gonzalez@fnmt.es

**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar

Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************

Is the march of technological and economic development a step in the
wrong direction?


No, but. Technological and Economic development are not only necessary,
but maybe inevitable. In itself these should not create any serious
problems, however, what does create problems is how we manage these
developments.


Apart from the ethical implications of economic and technological
development there are issues relating to efficiency, scope, and purpose.
Of course, each of these aspects impinge on the other, and as a
consequences change the course each development follows and the
direction each takes. But first what do we mean by development and what
would be the right direction? Maybe the easier concept to explain and
understand is that of technological development.


In a way, we have an instinctive understanding of technological
development since technology is one of the very few characteristics we
generally have that other animals don't share with us. Sure, gorillas
and chimps use sticks to reach for fruit on trees or termites building
the equivalent of termite skyscrapers. But I don't think that we are
going to see, some time soon, gorillas building spaceships to reach for
the stars.


Why we need technology and why we need to develop technology is quite
clear cut: to exploit our environment more effectively and efficiently.
But as I hope to show, and as the title of the discussion suggests,
there seems to be a shift from genetic motivation or instinct to develop
technology. I will use genetic in a rather general meaning and not
necessarily in a strict scientific meaning.


We usually associate early technology with tool making, including
hunting and fighting instruments, building technology, agriculture and
even domestic use of technology. Consider this quotation from an article
in the Guardian (Falling price of gadgets fuels a worldwide buying
frenzy, Larry Elliott Friday October 26, 2007): "….. a piece of
audio-visual equipment bought for £100 in 1987 would cost the consumer
just £15 today. Over the same period, the cost of living has doubled."*


The article attributes this fall in prices mainly to technological
advances and globalisation, that also gave us different new products and
better quality products. Although, the Guardian suggests that this
anomaly between cheap consumer prices and the doubling of the cost of
living as a paradox, it explains this through globalisation and
technology. However, I would argue that there is indeed a paradox but a
different one from what the Guardian suggests. The paradox is that given
this technological advancement, why should the cost of living (in the
UK) double over a period of ten years? Whatever technology is doing it
is certainly not having an effect on how much it costs to conduct our
day to day lives.


One answer might be that although technology might be responsible for
better and different products, the price factor might be a result of
something other than technology: maybe profit or turnover targets rather
than say efficient management of raw materials. But another factor is
what the Guardian describes, but does not explain, as globalisation.
Officially ( whatever that may be) we are supposed to understand by this
as open and free access to all the markets of the world. The unofficial
meaning is of course, unhindered opportunity to move production to
centres with cheaper labour costs. Which might explain why the average
British person (or Chinese) is not necessarily better off with the new
advancements in technology. Technology might be the reason why some
consumer goods are cheaper than before, but it does not seem to
contribute to an overall cheaper cost of living. In which case, why not?
another thing that has not been said is that the retail price of a
consumer product does not include the environmental cost in producing or
disposing of that product. Of course, I am not criticising the Guardian,
they are just giving us the facts and their point of view, and for that
we should be grateful.


Hence, as far as technology is concerned, at the very least, we can say
that technological development is a natural ability we have inherited
and something humans are very good at. A question that is more
interesting is what technologies are being developed? And as a
consequence, we can then ask such questions as, why is it that people
have more access to a new t.v. set than medical attention; today
15.8percent of the US population do not have a health insurance cover.**


If technology is something that comes from a genetic impulse what
motivates and initiates economic development? I would argue that
"economic development" is a by product of evolutionary pressures,
precisely competition. Not only is competition the basic strategy for
survival, but competition is also an efficient way of managing markets.


What do we mean by economic development? Wikipedia distinguishes between
economic growth and economic development which briefly means the
well-being of the inhabitants of a region or county. However, it is the
creation of wealth that really matters and economic development can be
none other than the distribution of the wealth created in a given
society. Thus, if literacy is an indicator of economic development,
someone must have been spending money or resources to train children how
to read and write. And if no such resources are available then surely
the literacy rate wouldn't improve much. In other words, we cannot speak
of economic development without at the same time accounting for wealth
and wealth creation.


If technology is supposed to help us exploit our environment more
efficiently and competition is the most efficient and productive way to
create wealth, why is it that we see living standard discrepancies even
in developed countries? This is the point where philosophical analysis
changes into emotion politics. And usually demonstrated by the
invocation of the usual monsters of spending on weapons, capitalism
being exploitative and communism being oppressive and so on and so
forth. In other words not a very useful direction to investigate.


I take the view that economic development and wealth creation, in the
modern sense, is just an other aspect of evolutionary competition. And
despite the obvious advantages of competition, especially when compared
to bureaucratic creations, there are still a number of design problems
or flaws with evolutionary competition.


The first of these flaws is that the winner of a fair competition (not
illegal or fraudulent, but see further down) tends to take all the
spoils or at the very least the biggest share of the prize. If there are
six buffalos in a meadow and our tribe catches four of them for dinner
the tribe at the other end of the valley have only two buffalos left.
Other times the winner does take all, and this is well ingrained in our
mind set: from lottery tickets to Olympic Gold medals.


The second problem is that competition has an in-built tendency to want
more. We want more as individuals and collectively. We either want more
to be better off than our neighbours or more to improve our present
situation. I can either want a new two room forest hut either because my
neighbour has a two room hut, or because I can live more comfortably in
two rooms: more is the key here. As Oliver Twist understood very well.


Thirdly, having more can become in itself a commodity we crave for; in
other words we can become addicted to getting more in the same way we
can become addicted to other things such as television, medical
attention, drugs and tobacco. Why else would someone or some entity risk
their good standing in the business community for $20m illegal profits
when the entity is already worth $194billion? (see later for details)
Let us put aside for the time being that to maintain our status quo we
still need to spend energy and must have energy to spend; the physics of
thermodynamics has already explains this.


Although these flaws might not be causally linked they certainly display
a certain progression. Of course, in many cases the outcome of
competition is a clear cut result: win or lose. But in real life, there
seems to be an in-built safety mechanism for competition. In real life a
lot of people and countries cooperate and help each other; after all, it
makes sense as the evidence shows. Just because there is a clear cut
winner in a competitive race, the losers might still get to share in the
spoils, as market share, or to run again in an other race.


But the idea of wanting more is not as straight forward as the concept
of competition. We know that we cannot just want more ad infinitum: even
the universe is not that big. Thus the idea of wanting more is a priori
flawed and as a consequence something will have to give. Could it be
that in the march to want more we simply forget why we want more?


Furthermore, could it also be that "wanting more" is something (a
character trait) we inherited from our ancestors? Something they had to
develop in the early stages of evolutionary life in order to succeed.
The same could be said about enjoying the chase more than the prey. If
our ancestors didn't "enjoy" (maybe an adrenaline rush), or at least
like the hunt, they might not have been that persistent or that keen to
win against nature and the competition, and hence probable extinction.
Ask yourself this question: would you rather wake up in the morning and
go to work where your boss is nasty, the pay and conditions are bad and
the work is mind-numbing boring? Or a job were you are respected and
given every opportunity to succeed and your work helps you achieve
excellence and satisfaction? If you have a nasty job you can be sure
that someone is enjoying a good hunt at your expense.


Consider this second article which appeared in the same edition of the
Guardian as the previous article. (Don't invite traders to your
barbeque, Andrew Clark.***). I will summarise the facts: for the full
details follow the link. In 2004 a team of BP commodity traders in
Huston decided to gain price control of an otherwise esoteric commodity:
propane. This is the stuff that is used to fire barbeques and by seven
million poor and elderly Americans to heat their home.


By the end of February 2004 BP/the team (??) had a "dominant position"
of the market. This meant that they bought the gas for $0.8US cents per
gallon and sold it for an illegal price of over 0.9cents. An average
trade would be at least 10,000 barrels and each barrel has 42 gallons.
You do the maths. From this little scam, British Petroleum was fined
$303m, is to refund $53.5m to buyers and the team face and faced
criminal charges.


BP, as some other companies involved in similar ventures, was
financially strong enough to be in a position to buy itself a dominant
position in the market. Except that would have been an illegal position,
and they knew it. The company or the team only made $20m illegal profits
(thisismoney.co.uk, 29 June 2006) from this scam whilst BP reported in
their Financial Statement (As of 2004-12-31; Google Finance)
$194,630,000,000 worth of total assets. The traders themselves were not
exactly paupers, some of them held senior management position at BP USA.


What is important for us is that these although these errant companies
(BP, Enron and similar) eventually got caught the damage and the
hardship had already been done. Ask the pensioners from Enron. Thus the
strategy of making the competition pay dearly for their survival had
succeeded, even if at the end their scam backfired. Mind you by
competition I do not mean BP and other petroleum companies, but the
trader and the rest of humanity he or she were involved with. Moreover,
that some companies get discovered is evidence that wanting more cannot
go on ad infinitum; something has to give. The next question must surely
be, how many scams are not backfiring at the moment?


In a way, it is not the morality of these scams that ought to concern
us, but the effects such scams have on the effectiveness and efficiency
of businesses. No matter how wealthy BP might have been, a $303m fine
and $53.5m rebate is not exactly loose change; as any BP employee might
tell you. And this does not take into account the public relations
damage and market image of the company.


The take home message about competition and economic development is the
question: what plan B have businesses and governments have in place in
order to deal with the vagaries and flaws of evolutionary competition?


To conclude, there is nothing wrong with technological and economic
development. The balance between competition and cooperation is still a
reasonable one, and any efficient exploitation of the environment (not
distraction) is still a valid objective. What in my opinion seems to
have happened in recent years is that we have turned a disciplined march
into a sprint run and are discovering that our "genetic shoes" are not
exactly fit for this new endeavour. And as a result, some people are
finding themselves in some very sticky situations. Otherwise known as
global economic disparity, low incomes, child labour, criminal fines or
jail sentences.


Take care


Lawrence

* Falling price of gadgets fuels a worldwide buying frenzy, Larry
Elliott Friday October 26, 2007,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/oct/26/10


** "-- According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans who
are uninsured has increased from 13.4 percent in 1990 to 15.8 percent of
the population today." United Health Foundation November 05, 2007 05:00
AM Eastern Time (Press Release)

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20071105005277&newsLang=en


*** Don't invite traders to your barbeque, Andrew Clark in New York.
Friday October 26 2007.

http://business.guardian.co.uk/onamerica/story/0,,2199784,00.html


from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Is the march of
technological and economic development a step in the wrong direction?

Friday, November 02, 2007

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Is humanity doomed to repeat its mistakes?

Dear friends,


Don't forget that tomorrow we are meeting at around 10am – 10.15am in
Nuevos Minsterios station to catch the 10.39am train to Escorial. For
those who plan to arrive late we'll be at the front end of the train.


This Sunday we are discussing a rather complex, but very relevant
issues: Is humanity doomed to repeat its mistakes? Some of us might
certainly feel that certain events today are mistakes which have already
been done in the past.


Take care and see you Saturday and Sunday,


Lawrence


IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++TINA HAS A FLAT IN USERA SHE WOULD LIKE TO RENT:
The flat is in Usera near the underground , totally furnished and 60 m2,
3º floor.
matutina.gonzalez@fnmt.es


**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar

Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************

+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Is humanity doomed to repeat its mistakes?


How should we understand the idea of humanity repeating its mistakes?
And what do we mean by humanity? Who are we talking about?


Are we talking about humans as a collective, maybe identified as a
generation? Are we talking about individuals, for example, you and me?


And of course there is always the question: what mistakes are we
concerned with? It is evident that not all mistakes are repeated, and if
they are they are not repeated ad infinitum. Furthermore, the learning
process involves repeating some mistakes over and over again. But not
repeating the same mistakes, does not exclude that in reality we do
learn from repeating mistakes. There is nothing incongruous about this
idea; learning a new language sometimes involves this process.


I want to consider this topic by considering two issues: 1) who or what
should we understand by humanity? 2) what are the epistemological and
empirical conditions that will lead to humanity repeating its mistakes?


Concepts such as humanity, generations, society, and peoples give us the
impression that these are somehow independent ontological entities.
Ontological in the sense that they exist independent of us, and can be
show to exist through reason and a priori argument. Not necessarily
objective in the sense that my PC is an objective entity, but certainly
objective in the sense that it exists and what is required is to have faith.


How we get this idea of objectivity is central to our discussion, what
matters is that we have it. I would, however, speculate, that we get
this idea from our brain needing to extrapolate patterns from data and
information (sense perception) and giving them a name or a tag for
future use. Maybe a tag in the same way that photos on the internet are
tagged to make them easier to find. Thus 'humanity' would be a mental
extrapolation of all the beings that belong to the same group as.
Actually, what I think is happening is that we have experience of the
group of people around us and then extrapolate mentally that experience
to include those people we do not have experience of. (I am sure that
someone has already put forward this idea in a more intelligent way, I
just don't have the time to research it.) thus the idea of humanity is
an extrapolation from another extrapolation, our immediate group of
people we know (society).


Furthermore, today we reinforce this idea of ontological extrapolation
by being exposed to scientific thinking which depends on statistical
analysis and sample sets. Consider this quote from a document from the
United Nations Population Division: "Roughly one fifth of the world
population currently lives in the more developed regions…….."
(http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/charting/3.pdf) Who or
what is this population these documents refer to? In reality concepts
such as humanity and population are epistemological extrapolation which
our brain needs to function in our day-to-day affairs. Actually, that
one "fifth of the population" means Lawrence, John, Jane, Maria, Juan,
Sophie and the rest of us who live in said regions.


In the empirical world we live in, there are only individuals. We can
already see Plato's theory of forms playing a part here. Our concept
'humanity' is a very flawed representation of what is real: individuals.
This is not to say that these ideas are not useful, but rather that we
should proceed with caution when we use them in a philosophical context.
Thus we may speak of humanity as a functional linguistic tool, but in
reality we are talking about individuals with real blood and real bodies.


Of course, by suggesting that there are only individuals I am not
suggesting that we dealing with selfish and egotistic beings. Some might
reach this conclusions; individualism does not exclude obligations and
duties towards others. Nor am I suggesting that talk of humanity and
society is irrelevant. What I am suggesting is that, if humanity it to
repeat its mistakes what this means is that individuals repeat their
mistakes or repeat mistakes. Maybe their own mistakes or mistakes that
have already been made by others.


Hence, what are the epistemological and empirical conditions that would
lead humanity to repeat the same mistakes? By humanity I now mean
individuals, but we still need to qualify this. Since we also understand
by humanity the group of people that lives in this planet we can mean
mistakes made by certain individuals but the effects are felt by the
group rather than the individual.


There are many classes and types of mistakes, however, I will only limit
myself to three types of mistakes. 1) honest mistakes, 2) mistakes that
couldn't have been avoided by the individual, but are, nevertheless,
avoidable, 3) mistakes that the individual should have known better, and
ought to have known better. I am, for example, excluding mistakes such
as faulty sense perception, or straight forward deception. Although not
all deceptions are the same; I think we have an obligation to be careful
with people whom we know to be unreliable and liable to deceive others.


Whether we like it or not, epistemology cannot survive on its own in the
ether of metaphysics; it has to be an integral part of the molecules and
atoms of the material world. How this is done is not really relevant
now. What matters, though, are three things: 1) our knowledge leads us
to hold certain beliefs; and that what we think is knowledge is in fact
false information which leads us to have false belief. 2) our beliefs
motivate us into action. 3) an act (including inaction) becomes a
mistake after the act has been done.


Our state of knowledge at a given moment determines our honestly held
beliefs. For example, for many centuries people did not realise that
using lead for cooking utensils and water piping, amongst many uses, was
rather toxic (lead poisoning also known as also known as saturnism,
plumbism or painter's colic: Wikipedia). But actions live in the
physical world and have effects in the same physical world. This is the
link between the subjectivity of epistemology and the objectivity of our
actions. We also know that in the physical world causal actions tend to
lead to a chain reaction which we may or may not be able to control.
Thus mistakes are really linguistic or epistemological classifications
of actions that have evolved contrary to our intentions. In our case,
the individual acted in such a way that harmed others, or at the very
least, the effects of their actions and their intention did not coincide.


There is also another aspect of mistakes that is relevant for us. I want
to distinguish between mistakes post-act and acts that we believe are
going to be mistakes. That an act might be a mistake in the future has a
probability value, a post-act mistake has a truth value. It is therefore
not easy to establish whether an act will be a mistake or not. This
might be interpreted to mean that in reality we are unable to establish
what will happen in the future and therefore there is nothing immoral or
unethical involved in repeating mistakes. But because something is
probable it does not mean that it is not going to happen. What this
means is that given certain condition we expect certain things to happen
and we should therefore act in such a way that will take into account
both possible outcome: in street language always prepare a Plan B.


What is an honest mistake? Is it an action that an individual couldn't
foresee, or is it an inability to anticipate the way the world will
evolve? Let's take two natural disasters. The devastation of New Orleans
by Katrina and the Tsunami that hit parts of SE Asia in 2004. Needless
to say that many mistakes were done by the relevant authorities and
those in charge, the question is which of these mistakes can be
tentatively be described as honest mistakes. Consider what the editors
of Scientific American wrote in the November 2005 issue:


"Hindsight is very often 20-20, but sometimes foresight is, too. Mark
Fischetti's article "Drowning New Orleans" in the October 2001
Scientific American all too accurately depicted the devastation that an
inevitable strong hurricane would bring to that city, as have articles
in many other publications since that time. Those predictions sprang
from years of published scientific analyses. Any official who claims to
have been surprised by the tragic events that unfolded in New Orleans
after Katrina simply wasn't paying attention." Preparing for the Worst,
By The Editors:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000BDA49-FC8D-1354-BC8D83414B7F0000&sc=I100322.


Although the 2004 Tsunami took people by surprise, we can safely assume
that all things being equal, those in charge might have made an honest
mistake by not preparing for such an event. According to the Wikipedia
the Pacific region has been equipped with a warning system for a long
time since Tsunamis are more common there. The warning system that has
been installed in SE Asia is of course an attempt to prevent the second
type of mistake; the individual could not do anything about the mistake,
but is was avoidable.


This leaves us with mistakes that should have been avoided and ought to
have been avoided. This suggests that these mistakes have more to do
with intention rather than knowledge. We might be tempted to deduce that
if intention is involved then surely morality and ethical issues are
involved. Aren't the editors of SA suggesting that by not "paying
attention" those officials in charge in New Orleans were morally
responsible, at least for part of the disaster if not all the disaster?


And doesn't our question point at a moral interpretation by using the
words "to repeat its mistakes"? except that we have to explain the word
"doomed" before we can consider the moral issue. Unfortunately, the word
"doomed" is more of an emotional word rather than a philosophical term.
Should we understand doomed to mean determined? I personally do not read
full determinism in this word. At best there might be a soft determinism
implied in this word, in the sense that our physical make up determines
what we can do. We do not have wings so we cannot fly.


I would read doomed to mean failure in the character of humanity or
rather the individual. There is something about us that leads us to make
the same mistakes. In our discussion and my limitations on the meaning
of humanity I would interpret doomed to mean a sort of character flaw in
those who have authority or power to influence other human beings.


Is this character flaw compatible with the idea of intention I mentioned
earlier? How can we recognise a determined state of affairs and yet
still hold people accountable? Holding people accountable after the fact
might not do much to solve the effects of mistakes. I wonder how many
people in New Orleans feel good knowing that some officials made
mistakes, we found them morally accountable and judged them to me
morally wrong. I doubt if there are many who happy with just this
observation.


Knowing that officials did not live up to acceptable moral standards is
not as interesting or as important as know what the editors meant by
"not paying attention." I will endeavour not only to interpret the words
of the editor but also to identify the precise character flaw that leads
to humanity repeating its mistakes. For want of a better name I would
call this as: the does-not-apply-to-designer character flaw (DNAD). Let
me explain.


How many times have you been on a bus or a train or a plane and had to
use one of the features on these modes of transport and said to
yourself: if I had to design this feature I wouldn't design it like
that? Or in the street, a wrongly placed zebra crossing? For what it is
worth, I have a theory and an explanation for these things. The people
who design these things or responsible for these things do not have to
use these features. The designer of the handrails on the bus probably
travels by car to work; the designer of the economy seats on a plane
probably travels business class and the street designer surely takes a
taxi anyway.


The same is true for those members of humanity who keep making the same
mistakes. Those who are responsible for certain social policies which
turn out to be mistakes are not necessarily affected by those mistakes.
The officials in New Orleans probably lived in safe areas, anyway. The
same can be said about many historical and present characters who have
or are repeating mistakes: I'll leave it to you to find examples.
However, some of these people lack so much foresight that the could not
even imagine that their actions might bring about their demise, (Hitler,
Napoleon, Sadam Hussein.....)


Could it be that we are doomed because those that make the mistakes do
not see that what they are doing could very well be a mistake that they
will be equally affected as everyone else? Because they believe that
their policies do not apply to the designer, i.e. themselves. The
question we then have to ask is this:


If those in control of humanity do not have a shareholding or a
stake-holding in the enterprise of their intentions, what business do
they have being at the helm of their actions?


Take care


Lawrence


from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Is humanity doomed
to repeat its mistakes?





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