Category Archives: Politics & Economics

Content related to politics and economics.

Courts of Law or Theaters of Sadism

In this program I explore the legal ramifications of MIlgrams discovery that people will behave sadistically towards strangers if an authority figure instructs them to do so.

I don’t believe that people are inherently obedient, rather this is a product of cruel child-rearing practices by parents and schools. Distrust of and lack of empathy for strangers may well have a biological basis. Our primitive ancestors are though to have lived in bands linked by male kinship.

Some ancient pre-state societies didn’t have adversarial courts with a professional “prosecutor” (i.e. persecutor) and lay jurors. Instead kritarchies had professional jurors and no prosecutor. The seasoned jurors heard evidence and then pronounced their findings. Typically the focus of these courts was restitution and not punishment. Public humiliation was punishment enough in tribes.

The adversarial penal system of the state implements a form of martial law that appeals to the inherent sadism of most people and their willingness to behave sadistically when instructed to do so by an authority figure. Such a system of “law” has nothing to do with justice. It’s about cruelty power and greed.

I’ll be exploring the shadow side of the human psyche more in a forthcoming review of The Empathy Trap.

Sources
Milgram Experiment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

Adverserial system
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adversarial_system

Early Irish law
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Irish_law

Kritarchy
http://voluntaryist.com/forthcoming/kritarchy.html

Defense Against the Psychopath
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgGyvxqYSbE

Propaganda

It’s propaganda! And there’s nothing wrong with circulating information to promote a good cause. But is the propaganda factual and the cause good?

This is a response to a false propaganda piece that I saw on facebook some months ago. It concerns a cartoon by Milt Priggee that seems to lay blame for the US foreclosure crisis upon “free market capitalism”.

But is the property market an example of free market capitalism?

Sources:
Definition of ‘Free Market’
Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/freemarket.asp

Definition of ‘Capitalism’
Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/capitalism.asp

Definition of ‘Barriers To Entry’
Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/barrierstoentry.asp

Cartoon by Milt Priggee, Puget Sound Business Journal

Bitcoin Summer Analysis

An analysis of the Bitcoin market post MtGox!

Dramatic declines in Bitcoin price towards the end of December left some pundits calling a bubble in Bitcoin. However a few weeks later in early January, after reviewing the situation it was clear that the bubble did not pop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Tj7n6sJ-o0

Bubbles tend to occur when non-professional investors attempt to trade on gossip causing a dramatic price increase that attracts more greedy investors to join later to catch some of the action. Once the high is reached everyone sells off to try and take profit and prices return to their original levels. A money market like Bitcoin was a poor candidate for a price bubble and as I explained, the price range established mid November offered support to what appeared to be a crash.

The failure of MtGox did not shake the other exchanges and although prices continued to decline in a down-trend on lowering volumes, prior lows probed more deeply but held and then the down-trend broke after consolidation mid May followed by recovery.

Summer brings a return of confidence in the market with consolidation around $450 in May and $550 to $670 area in June-July.

Conclusions
Overall a bullish outlook but still with concern from the lower low swing down to $350 in April. Opportunities to trade short if $550 breaks to test below $350 or if $670 area breaks, then up to $850 and perhaps probe the highs again at around $1150.

The above information and the associated program are purely intended for educational purposes, they are not intended as advice or a solicitation to trade.

Interested in more regular Bitcoin updates? Then please let me know.

Errata: At 8:08 I describe the bottom at $670 instead of $570 (dark blue line in B region).

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Divorce by Force

In this program I review recent news that the judiciary would like to extend access to the divorce process to the unmarried. I look at the cause of declining rates of marriage and the effects this is having on the divorce industry.

Sources and further reading:

The Telegraph, Top family judge calls for no-fault divorce for all and putting cohabitees on a par with married couples
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/divorce/10796954/Top-family-judge-calls-for-no-fault-divorce-for-all-and-putting-cohabitees-on-a-par-with-married-couples.html
ONS, Marriages in England and Wales (Provisional), 2011
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/marriages-in-england-and-wales–provisional-/2011/stb-marriages-in-england-and-wales–provisional—2011.html#tab-Marriage-Rates

Talking About Family Law
http://www.talkingaboutfamilylaw.co.uk/judge-speaks-out-on-no-fault-divorce-and-rights-of-unmarried-couples/

The Guardian
Couples should be able to divorce without going to court, says top judge
http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/apr/29/divorce-consent-handled-registrar-courts

Mail Online, Let couples get quickie divorce at register office and protect unmarried women left on scrapheap, says top family judge
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2616123/Couples-able-divorce-simply-signing-form-says-countrys-family-law-judge.html

BBC, Divorce Reform Act 1969
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12417483

Divorce since 1900
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/olympic-britain/housing-and-home-life/split-pairs/

Family Law Reform Act 1969
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1969/46

A brief history of divorce
http://www.cflp.co.uk/a-brief-history-of-divorce/

Mail Online, The wife who changed history – by asking for the first divorce
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-508936/The-wife-changed-history–asking-divorce.html

Family breakdown ‘could cost taxpayers £46bn’
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/divorce/10674267/Family-breakdown-could-cost-taxpayers-46bn.html