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384 - Spring Snippets

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An article in The Conversation caught my eye. Here are five economists' rules that apparently we generally ignore. Having worked through these I return to my complaint with this paper, that 'journalistic flair' ruins the 'academic rigour' they claim. On this occasion the author (Renaud Foucart, Lancaster University) has linked to sensible reports that support the comments; this is good. The editing has distorted 'things that economists know' into something far nearer clickbait. Here we go:-

1. A lowest price guarantee means you will end up paying too much.

The observation is that guarantees of this general sort imply collusion to maintain a price. Collusion is illegal, so if we assume that collusion is not physically occurring we must have an economic rule applying. Business A offers to match any lower price in the locality; Business B wants more trade and offers a lower price; but the customers have no reason to move, since they can claim the difference while at A. So the discount provides a limited benefit and, even if B drops a price without loss (say while maintaining the expected profit margin), then at best this drops the local price down to 'reasonable'. In general, the trend will be to keep prices much as they are; they may go up, but they won't trend downwards. I do not think that means the result is 'paying too much'. I think the lowest price guarantee achieves very little.  Further, as a reluctant shopper, I now accept some value attaches to the shopping experience; I really do not enjoy the exit routine at Aldi and would rather pay the odd percentage more for a less unpleasant experience, such as I find at Asda and Tesco. In a sense, I see how Aldi can undercut the competition but I don't like the result enough to want to join the experience. My wife feels quite differently.

2. Housing subsidies given to tenants often benefit landlords.

I see this as unforeseen consequences, unforeseen by politicians, at least. At the same time I don't believe this is an economist's rule but a specific example, in this case that subsidies often do not benefit the targeted group. My first thought was of Help to Buy, which seems to put money in the pockets of the bigger house builders (bigger companies, smaller houses). The argument offered as being from the economist would be to simply give money to the targeted group (those who rent, say) and let them decide how best to use the funds. Politically, I cannot see this ever being a viable option. The economic argument here is that, thinking of rented housing, if you add funds to tenants they aim higher (larger); the market is very inelastic, so the price rises for the larger property and it is the landlords in general who benefit. in the same way, cutting housing benefits [53] drives people to smaller properties and those at the bottom of this scale, not-quite-managing, are left with bigger bills, while the landlords in general are the ones out of pocket. So rental subsidies go, pretty directly, into landlords' pockets. Change would occur if a lot more housing became (suddenly) available, or if rents were (more) regulated.

3. Cost of living concerns are never a valid reason to avoid taxing pollution.

I have difficulty believing this is an economist's rule; there must be a more general statement that applies, such as the cost of living issue being short-term and the climate issue long-term. In which case the economists' observation might be that short-term reasoning does not help long-term reasoning, especially when the long-term goal is significant. In the case of these two particular issues, any fuel rebates seem to be funding energy suppliers, not least Russia. of course, this does nothing to ease emissions. The article suggests that almost the reverse would be a better approach; adding tariffs to Russian oil and then using this money directly to ease the CoL crisis, but by lowering taxes, not discounting fuel costs.

4. Politicians are often more credible when they delegate.

I agree; the example I thought of before reading it in the article was moving the setting of interest rates to the Bank of England. Centralised funds are of course prone to favouritism and political patronage, which in the UK would reduce the credibility of the government in its plans to “level up” the country. One of the linked articles [51. Well done, Conversation] looks at allocation of public funds in Indonesia, using a formula to avoid bias; the results show that non-formula-based special allocation grants are systematically biased toward Indonesia's national Budget Commission members' home districts. The home districts of the same set of Budget Commission members do not, in contrast, receive significantly higher per capita transfers under the formula-based transfer design.  So avoidance of distorted results (patronage, cronyism, favouritism, etc) can be done.

5. Investors consistently beating the market are probably doing something illegal, 

I have no problem with this; if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn't true. What occurs may not quite be insider trading, but the end result is the same as if insider trading had occurred. Perhaps the very successful trader is very good at reading hints? Bu then there will be other trades, such as favours...


[50]  https://theconversation.com/five-things-that-economists-know-but-sound-wrong-to-most-other-people-182698?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%202289422775&utm_content=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%202289422775+CID_14562999ddd1ef1b1c4c03a5f3471d48&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=article%20exposing%20five%20facts%20that%20economists%20know

[51] https://www.econstor.eu/handle/10419/243265

[52] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-12/france-plans-2-2-billion-fuel-rebate-in-bid-to-help-motorists Discusses France's fuel rebates.

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The three entries that referred to Ukraine, Russia and NATO moved to essay 385  in mid-May. the consequential consideration of a new leap in fossil fuel prices moved to §386.

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We managed to have a holiday in Ireland. Yes, both bits. We were struck by the variety of languages we heard. W bnoth already understood that English is expected across the whole island, some six million people. We also understood that Irish, a form of Gaelic, is encouraged in Eire. Investigating while there, we discovered that there are many schools teaching in Irish, that Irish is a compulsory subject through secondary school (and on offer in Northern Ireland, there are some 30 Irish-medium schools). Some 50,000 students (that's about 6%) attend Irish-medium schools on the island.While not having a noted ear for Irish we were not at all sure that the non-English we were hearing was irish. Around 98% of all Irish speakers live on the island; the total is around 1.2 million irish speakers and around 170,000 speak it as their first language. Wikipedia [11] says that in 2016 1.76 million in the Republic claimed to speak Irish, plus 105,000 (5.5%, 0.2% as main language) in the north. Those that have studied the language —which is the first official language of Eire, with English the second official language—constitute some (176k/4761k) 3.6%. I am amused that the number of irish speakers is the same as the population increase in the previous 5 years. Quoting [13], and referringf to those speaking outside the education system (so we count students speaking Irish outside school), 17.4% speak some and 1.7%, a tenth of those, speak Irish on a daily basis, i.e. outside education. Among what I'd call six-formers about a third say no they don't speak Irish and two-thirds say they can. See fig 7.2.

So what were these other languages? Staying with 2016 data, there were more than half a million, say 12% of the population, non-irish nationals. Of those nationals these were most often Polish. See [15, table 1.2]. The non-Irish tend to gather in towns (Eire is 66% rural), raising some town's populations past the 30% mark. Monaghan, for example, has 30% non Irish in 7600 people, a whole thousand of whom are Lithuanian. Longford, also a county seat, has 27% non-Irish in 10,000 people, 1000 of whom are Polish. At the 2016 census, 80% of the population were Irish, 2.6%Polish, 2% British, 2% from Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Czech and Ukraine (say north and eastern Europe ) , 0.2% from each of Spain, Italy, France, Brazil, Germany, China and the US and smaller numbers from elsewhere.

This distribution is subject to change. I note that the rise in population is more from immigration than from excess births (1.9 per woman is below replacement rate). The 2022 population has just passed the 5 million mark and, for the April 20220/21 growth of 34,000 a third is migration and the remainder excess births (over deaths). Since 1990 this is pretty linear growth, but if there are observable trends, it is that natural increase is slowly declining and net migration has shrunk. The Ukraine war may change that; they've taken 5500 already this year.

[11]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_of_the_Irish_language

[12]  https://www.cogg.ie/wp-content/uploads/learning-to-read-in-irish-and-english-a-comparison-of-children-in-irish-medium-gaeltacht-and-english-medium-schools-in-ireland.pdf

[13]  https://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/newsevents/documents/census2016summaryresultspart1/Census2016SummaryPart1.pdf See pp66-9 One really wants to see the 2022 census information, but it has only just occurred (20220403, our first day on the island))

[14]  https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-pme/populationandmigrationestimatesapril2021/mainresults/

[15]  https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-cp7md/p7md/p7anii/  See table 1.2

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In a very similar way, an article moaning about the loss of girls to Physics accurately observes that girls have the same success rate as boys in the subject, but that evident gender stereo-typing has occurred by the time subject choices are required. This is presented as a loss to Physics, which it is. But there must be balancing losses, subjects that boys might have chosen if there was less stereotyping - here I'd suggest languages, including Eng.Lit. But the issue is surely about desire (of Physics over Spanish), not about ability. The suggestion that people duck Physics becasue the maths is hard have not looked at both - for the maths in Physics only rarely goes beyond GCSE maths, and providing an excellent argument for logs to return to GCSE, or for a bridging maths unit of a few weeks to provide to non-mathematicians wanting Physics. [I've seen this and done it.]  AS Maths would easily suffice. There is a converse viewpoint, which is that from [57] it is clear that takers of A-level maths are already achieving well and that those who do Physics without maths are achieving less already and will do so in the end result by about a grade.

As for why, could it perhaps be that it is as simple as a preference for/against writing at length? I don't think that stands scrutiny. It is Physics and Comp Sci that stand out as non-girl and science, while the guys are clearly spurning arts in general, all the way to History in 7th (but 8th for girls). Chemistry is the balance point and History next closest. Eng Lit is, as I'd guessed, the polar opposite to Physics. And Sociology to Further Maths.

[56] https://theconversation.com/there-are-reasons-girls-dont-study-physics-and-they-dont-include-not-liking-maths-182382?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%202289422775&utm_content=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%202289422775+CID_14562999ddd1ef1b1c4c03a5f3471d48&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=quashing%20the%20stereotype

[57] https://ffteducationdatalab.org.uk/2021/09/which-a-level-subjects-have-the-best-and-worst-gender-balance/  This is a good source if you're in education and concerned what is occurring. For example, why English/arts have low take-up (to an extent, they've moved from English towards Psychology and Sociology. I'll bety that, at school level, these are seen as more transferable knowledge, more 'useful'.

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There's a decline in insect population, at the very least in the UK. I think it is very likely that a decline here implies a decline elsewhere, too. In particular, the UK survey shows that there is a severe decline in flying insects. Just a little looking on google shows that there is a wealth of data pointing to this as a global issue. Now, like global warming, at a personal level this is a good thing —I too want to be warm and free of insect interference at an individual level—but the implications for our production of food is not at all good.

How fast is the drop and what does this imply? [32] suggests that the number of flying insects is declining by an average of 34% per decade.  Now there's a figure to work with. Giving a figure across a decade allows for population variability, which I already know from teaching A-level differential equations is often a cyclic (oscillating) matter. 34% a decade is very close to 3% a year (2.97) and so, if we have 97% of the previous population every year then in 30 years we have a mere 40% of 'now', in 50 years 22% and in a century a mere 5%. All of which assumes we continue as we are and that these rates remain so. Even over another generation (30 years) we're clearly predicting massive loss of species, which must include extinction.

Nor should we expect such change to be uniform. [33] is a survey of a particular piece of rainforest in Puerto Rico, showed a 98% loss of insect life across 35 years. That's equivalent to a 10% loss every year (how is shown below). In Germany a study [34] showed 75% loss (of flying insects) across 25 years (5.4% a year). Of course, if we lose insects, we soon lose the consequences of insects; the life that lives off them, the processes that they promote, such as decay or pollination; no doubt a range of activities that we won't recognise until they is lost.


Of course, this is yet another Thing we should be worried about. One of those Things that pales into comparison with how to pay for food and heating. Yet if we encouraged insects in only our gardens, this would make a significant impact. The total domestic land is 5% of total land area, and I found a sensible estimate [35] that total land area is around 4330 km². Though we ought to recognise that the rules for new build produces small(er) gardens, means of 113m² rather than 190m². Garden trees amount to 30 million (we have 13% of UK area under woodland, but this is not the same as counting hedgerow or garden trees, so exploration of this is difficult since so much data is simply absent. I found a count of about 3 billion trees in the UK, so garden trees represent a mere 1% of that total. I found a count of three trillion trees in total: we lose around ten million hectares per year (4.8 Wales-areas(i.e wales, see units and measures) per year) which is at least 1000 times that in trees, possibly five times as much, so that is 10-50 billion trees each year, around a percent of all trees every year, but up to ten times that. We need very much better records.

So if we turned our gardens into places that encouraged insects, we might stem the decay in numbers that is going to blight our landscapes. As we move towards a position where we measure much more carefully how we produce food, this may turn out to be a significant matter.


[30]  https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/news/2019/february/the-world-s-insect-populations-are-plummeting-everywhere-we-look.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwyMiTBhDKARIsAAJ-9VsQ0ezkXz_ROZEBJObwVEY8D8Qj1zzeLyrjI-M0BQ6QZ5t7eM_4tGkaAgrVEALw_wcB

[31]  https://www.buglife.org.uk/campaigns/no-insectinction/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwyMiTBhDKARIsAAJ-9Vt-upO7A44Mz3jADsCKVN804A95roEh3ztgJi4zgRl72XWRmdvDbQwaAq2fEALw_wcB

[32]  My prompt towards this topic. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/05/flying-insect-numbers-have-plunged-by-60-since-2004-gb-survey-finds

[33]  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/15/insect-collapse-we-are-destroying-our-life-support-systems

[34]  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/18/warning-of-ecological-armageddon-after-dramatic-plunge-in-insect-numbers

[35]  

If decay is x across n years resulting in L% loss, then (1-x)ⁿ = 1-L.  So 75% loss over 25 years gives (1-x)²⁵ = 0.25, so 25 log(1-x) = log 0.25, leading to x=0.0539, which I call 5.4% because I started with at best 2 figure resolution.      98% loss over 35 years gives (1-x)³⁵= 0.02, x=10.5752%.   Working around the other way, a steady loss of 2.97% means each year we have 1-.0297=0.9703, 97% of what we had the year before; so across 50 years, 0.9703⁵⁰=0.2215, implying that at that loss rate we would have 22% remaining after 50 years.

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Unknown

Not entirely unrelated to the last topic, is a work that seems to be referred to by a significant formula Y=arctgX. I think this is a corruption of arctan, the inverse tangent. The book referenced is by Max Ostrovsky and typically £59. I've copied a description from [42] below.

As I understand it, the argument runs that a political unification begins with war, one way or another. If the borders are closed (China under the Han), then unification occurs; if the borders are open (Rome) then the fighting at the edges will eventually cause a breakdown. Ostrovsky (again, as I understand it) suggests that the modern world leaves us with everywhere within reach, so that while we might close a border, such as China did and might repeat, it is more likely that we share the planet, so there is a potential to have no more borders. Therefore the Chinese model applies and there is little to cause a world empire, once formed, to collapse. I can disagree with a lot of assumption based on so few data points—even if Ostrovsky uses all the data we have, it is still sparse information— but there is an unmistakeable trend for political units to grow in both territory and population. To conclude that it implies political unification of the planet is acceptable. 

En route to this grand conclusion there are some wonderful discoveries, such as the correlation between ability to grow crops, especially grain, and the borders of the empire. That is there is a correlation between the areas where grain can be grown and where the empire holds sway (and that the edges are pretty well defined). As ever correlation does not guarantee causation. More, that the land required to grow grain appears to define the geographical limits of empire. Allied strongly to this is whether the system political is circumscribed; the observation is that the more a system is circumscribed, the sooner it unifies and the longer its unity persists. Thus we have the conclusion that the moment of the New World Order (described in 1990) is upon us, in the historical sense; the trend is towards a unipolar hegemonic world order.  So, the view is that we either dissolve back into multipolarity or we turn into a global empire. The question then to consider is those forces acting in either direction. Ostrovsky argues that because we have global communication, we have circumscription (the planet) and so the empire should be the result. Inevitably, then what we have at the moment is those competing ideas (to be that empire) and the push against anything anti-hegemonic is to be expected. Thus we should expect one of two extreme conditions:  nuclear devastation and the consequent utter collapse of civilisation as we recognise it; or in a different meaning of nuclear, the genesis of a world state. One wonders how close to the brink we might come and still avoid disaster. 

The link to cereals / grains is not obvious. However, the effect of this book (2006) shows if you look up 'cereal'. The ability to supply food (and, at its most basic, that means cereals) generates the ability to employ a rising percentage of people (their time, their work) toward the objectives of the society (and think nation-state, empire here). In a sense, the fewer people we need to generate food, the more we have to service the objectives of that society. Maize, wheat, and rice together accounted for 89% of all cereal production worldwide in 2012, and 43% of the global supply of food energy in 2009 [43]   Ostrovsky outlined that the cereal power determines the percentage of manpower available to non-agricultural sectors including the heavy industry vital for military power. [44] Taken from space, map of the global illumination is said to indicate by its brightest parts the industrial regions.[18]  These regions coincide with cereal regions. Ostrovsky formulized a universal indicator of national power valid for all periods: total cereal tonnage produced by one percent of nation's manpower. For the present, this indicator demonstrates a unipolar international hierarchy.[Ostrovsky, p119]

What I find disturbing about this work, the little I can discover without shelling out £60 for a book I am no longer certain I want to read, is that the current situation in the Ukraine fits so very well. We do have several competing forms of rule; the competition can very easily be seen as an exercise in military might, and while it remains unclear to me what the Russian model is pursuing (heads? land? resources? reduction of competitors?) It is simultaneously clear that if cannot rub along in friendly competition seen as beneficial to all, then we will at some point descend into violent competition. And eventually we will go nuclear and risk the end of practically everything. Well, that won't solve the ecological problems but those all stem from humans being an infestation. We have to form a planetary consensus or we go to war first. And, if we go to war, we risk having so few of us left, and so little left to work with, that we deserve these consequences. It remains obvious to me that we could dodge this. But, in order to do so, we have to find agreement. It is the greed, of wanting-what-I-want-and I-don't-care-about-you that prevents the accommodations that compromise requires. The failure to produce meaningful consensus action over the climate crisis demonstrates, to my mind, that we are not yet ready to form any global society since we appear still unable to view the position as a whole – that the planet is threatened and that this is more important than any national position. While we persist in claiming ownership / belonging to very small groups, we continue to push in the wrong direction. That says to me that we actually move closer to those positions at which the larger systems flip in a sudden and usually catastrophic way to a different state. 

Of course, history takes the long view. Man tends to do the opposite and so (far too) many people will grab all the short-term advantage that they can so as to advance their own tiny interests. Meanwhile each such action pushes us more towards that catastrophic moment. So I conclude that Ostrovsky is probably right, but at the same time whether the tipping point is now or in another fifty years means nothing from a truly historical perspective. Yet at the same time I feel that we could be right at the very edge of the precipice.

When disaster is imminent we have few choices. For most of us, the only perceivable action is any route to survival. For a few, those who can see the wider picture and have the capacity for action, there may be routes to avoidance for the whole. But every one such body is countered by others who see the opportunity quite differently, as one in which they can pursue their own ends. This is why history says we have a war before we have an empire. The issue for us as a species is that we may have too few of us left after the coming war for their to be a peace; in which case we are as likely to fall back into fractured and competing systems as to have a consolidation and hence, however small and weak, the predicted empire.

Not good.

DJS 20220505


[41] http://www.kotoba.ne.jp/word/11/Comparative%20studies%20of%20the%20Roman%20and%20Han%20empires

[42] http://www.kotoba.ne.jp/word/11/Y%20=%20Arctg%20X:%20The%20Hyperbola%20of%20the%20World%20Order

[43] https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Cereal

[44] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cereal  includes some of the content of [43] 


[42]: Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order


''Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order'' is a nonfiction world history and world politics book by historian Max Ostrovsky with a "Foreword" by anthropologist Robert Carneiro. It aims to explain why certain civilizations existed as systems of independent states while others evolved into universal empires, what conditions cause the pendulum to swing one way or the other, what the drawn theory implies for the future of the modern civilization, and where we stand now.
==Overview==

An inexorable trend occurred throughout the human history: political units strove to grow larger in size and fewer in number. Leafing through pages of historical atlases, this trend strikes the observer. With scientific regularity appeared record-breaking empires in terms of both territory and population.〔List of Largest Empires〕 It looks as expanding pulsation of mathematically describable social trend.〔Hart, Hornell, "The Logistic Growth of Political Areas", ''Social Forces'', 26, (1948), 396-408; Naroll, Raoul, "Imperial Cycles and World Order", ''Peace Research Society'', 7, (1967), 83-101; Marano, Louis A., "A Macrohistoric Trend Towards World Government", ''Behavior Science Notes'', 8, (1973), 35-40.〕
The implication of this trend is obvious and its significance is hard to overestimate. The trend actually represents a process of the ongoing political unification of the world. The projection of the trend into very close future suggests the appearance of a single world-wide empire.〔K'ang Yu-wei, ''The One World Philosophy'', (tr. Thompson, Lawrence G., London, 1958); Vacher de Lapouge; George, ''L'Aryen: Son Rôle Social'', (Nantes, 1899, chapter "L`Avenir des Aryens,"); Robert Carneiro, "Political Expansion as an Expression of the Principle of Competitive Exclusion", ''Studying War: Anthropological Perspective'', (eds. Reyna, Stephen P. & Dawns, Richard Erskine, Gordon and Breach, New Hampshire, 1994); Robert Carneiro, "The Political Unification of the World", ''Cross Cultural Survey'', 38/2, (2004), 162-177.〕
''Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order'' analyzes the trend in order to offer an explanatory theory and project the theory into future. Based on four civilizations—Egypt, Mesopotamia, China and the Mediterranean—the theory is tested on the whole world. Beginning since the dawn of history, it proceeds through the present stage into future. It combines the theories devoted to the theme from the earliest, drawn by Shang Yang,〔Shang Yang, ''The Book of the Governor of Shang Region'', (tr. Perelomov, L.S., Moscow, 1993).〕 Kautilya,〔Kautilya, ''Arthasastra'', (tr. Ramaswamy, T. N., Asia Publishers, London, 1962).〕 and Polybius,〔Polybius, ''Histories'', (tr. Tijev, A. J., Ladomir, Petersburg, 1994).〕 until the latest ones, by Edward LuttwakEdward Luttwak, ''The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire from the First Century AD to the Third'', (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976).〕 and Zbigniew Brzezinski.〔Zbigniew Brzezinski, ''The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives'', (Perseus Books, New York, 1997).〕
The analysis finds that any political system with a firm agricultural foundation is pre-destined to politically unify and turn the state of unity into norm. A long list of secondary factors lacks determinative influence but merely deflects the process whether accelerating or decelerating it. The main secondary factor is geopolitical circumscription〔Robert Carneiro, "The Circumscription Theory: Challenge and Response", ''American Behavioral Scientist'', 31/4, (1988), 497-511.〕—the degree to which a political system is spatially compact, static and isolated from other systems. The more a system is circumscribed, the sooner it unifies and the longer its unity persists.
Circumscription explains the difference between the European and the Chinese patterns. Circumscribed China mostly existed as universal empire while ever-expanding Europe perpetuated the model of independent states. The same had held true for the difference between Egypt and Mesopotamia.〔Mario Liverani, ''International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 BC'', (New York: Palgrave, 2001); Mario Liverani, ''Prestige and Interest: International Relations in the Near East ca. 1600-1100 BC'', (Padova: Palgrave, 1990).〕
In history, two synchronous political processes occurred—external expansion and internal consolidation. Expansion complicated and sometimes outpaced consolidation. But the gap between the two processes was doomed to close due to the fact that the space of the earth is definite.
The space ended towards the 20th century. The sovereign void of the world ended. No outlet for further expansion was left.〔Halford J. Mackinder, The Geographical Pivot of History, (London: J. Murray, 1904); Fredrick Jackson Turner, ''The Frontier in American History'', (New York: Holt, Rinchart and Winston, 1920).〕 The factor of circumscription became enacted and that moment our civilization headed straight towards overall unity. The Long Peace of La Belle Epoque was doomed; instead followed the era of World Wars. The time had come for great powers to clash in the fight of elimination.
This time, the centripetal factor of circumscription was multiplied by the modern technology of warfare and communication. The technological progress reduced space and caused the world to shrink in terms of time required to overcome distance. Due to technological progress within circumscribed space, warfare drastically increased and within less than a century we overcame the centuries-old balance of power and reached a unipolar hegemonic world order.
The macro-historical view reveals the true meaning of the ''unipolar moment'' we have witnessed. Underestimated by contemporary observers, the proclamation of the New World Order in 1990 signifies a milestone in the millennia-old trend of the political unification of the world.
The synthesis of the theory with modern conditions suggests that the genesis of the World State is much closer at hand than it seems to most of us. Persistent multipolar and bipolar worlds passed their event horizon. Modern conditions swing the pendulum into the opposite direction—towards ever greater political consolidation. That is, the present global hegemony is supposed not to dissolve back into multipolarity but to turn into global empire.〔Hegemony and empire are distinguished according to Thucydides-the former as controlling only external affairs of other states and the latter their both external and internal affairs. Thucydides, ''History'', (tr. Stratanovsky, G. A., Moscow: Ladomir, 1981).〕
How hegemony is transformed into empire is exemplified by transformations of similar hegemonies in the past—Rome〔Edward N. Luttwak, ''The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire from the First Century AD to the Third'', (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976).〕 and Ch'in. Both adhered to the pattern of defensive imperialism, both began with isolationism (the earliest in history instances of the Monroe Doctrine) and both evolved from isolationism through hegemony into empire. The thesis shows that all three grand strategic transformations—of Rome, Ch'in and the United States—are essentially the same with the modern process being currently uncompleted.
The two previous hegemonies produced anti-hegemonic back-clashes, defeated anti-hegemonic powers and established universal empires. Mainstream theories of International Relations expect anti-hegemonic power-balancing in our world too.〔Kenneth N. WaltzTheory of International Politics, (McGraw Hill, 1979); Kenneth N. Waltz, "The Emerging Structure of International Politics,"' ''International Security'', 18/2, (1993), 44-79;John J. Mearsheimer, "Back to the Future: Instability in Europe after the Cold War,"' ''International Security'', 15/1, (1990), 5-56; Christopher Layne, "The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers Will Rise?" ''International Security'', 17/4, (1993), 5-51; Christopher Layne, "The Unipolar Illusion Revisited: The Coming End of the United States’ Unipolar Moment", ''International Security'', 31/2, (2006), 7–41.〕 This work indicates plenty of symptoms confirming the gathering storm, mainly over the Eurasian land mass. The restoration of multipolarity became a universal aspiration across this continent; the transatlantic split revealed its tectonic depth; strategic partnership between major Eurasian powers is evolving; and the geopolitical doctrine of Eurasianism in Russia rose like a phoenix.〔Eurasia MovementAlexander Dugin, ''Основы геополитики: геополитическое будущее России'' (''Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia''), (Moscow: Arctogaia, 1997); Alexander Dugin, "Манифест: Евразия превыше всего," (Manifest: Eurasia over All), http://newright.il.if.ua/evrazia.html; Alexander Dugin, ''Проект Евразия'', (''Project Eurasia''), )Moscow: Jauza, 2004); Mark Bassin, "Classical Eurasianism and the Geopolitics of Russian Identity" (2001) http://www.dartmouth.edu/~crn/crn_papers/Bassin.pdf; Mark Bassin, "Eurasianism "Classical" and "Neo": The Lines of Continuity," src-h.slav.hokudai.ac.jp/coe21/publish/no17.../14bassin.pdf; Mark Bassin, "Geopolitical Culture in the Post-9/11 Era: The Masks of Prometeus Revisited", (2007), http://www.colorado.edu/IBS/PEC/johno/pub/nazi; Mark Bassin, "Classical Eurasianism and the Geopolitics of Russian Identity," ''Ab Imperio'' 2, (2003), 257-267.〕 The beating pulse of Eurasia is still beating.
The clash of civilizations is not plausible. Rather, the forthcoming clash is of Hemispheres—the Western based on North America versus the Eastern based on Eurasia. Turning to the school of geopolitics, this scenario is confirmed by the fondest of geopolitical theories.〔Halford J. Mackinder, The Geographical Pivot of History, (London: J. Murray, 1904).; Halford J. Mackinder, ''Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction'', (New York: Henri Holt & Company, 1919); Homer Lea, ''The Day of the Saxon''. (New York & London: Harper and Brothers, 1912); Alfred Thayer Mahan, ''The Problem of Asia and the Effects upon International Politics'', (Washington & London: Kennikat Press, 1920); Karl Haushofer, "Continental Bloc: Mittel Europa – Eurasia - Japan," 1941, in ''On Geopolitics'', (tr. Usachev I. G., Moscow: Mysl', 2004]; Nicholas John Spykman, ''America's Strategy in World Politics: the United States and the Balance of Power'', (New York: Archon Books, 1942); Nicholas John Spykman, ''The Geography of Peace'', (New York: Archon Books, 1944; Henry Kissinger, ''Diplomacy'', (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994); Zbigniew Brzezinski, ''The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives'', (New York: Perseus Books, 1997); Alexander Dugin, ''Основы геополитики: геополитическое будущее России'' (Foundations of Geopolitics), (Moscow: Arctogaia, 1997).〕 The geopolitical motion of the Eurasian land mass seems to indicate that close is the moment when a fight for global power would erupt mightier than the earth has ever seen, an ''Endkampf'' of epic dimensions. The two Hemispheres would clash on four fronts, exchanging multi-megaton salvos across all four oceans.
In previous civilizations, warfare of any kind and scale was not eliminated but by universal unity. The nuclear warfare, as the record of human nature strongly suggests, will not be an exception. This book is devoid of maudlin sentiment or pious exhortation. It does not flinch to state: the mightiest war on this earth is yet to be fought, whether civilization is to survive or not. Either we will have a nuclear apocalypse or a nuclear genesis of the World State.
In case the world survives World War III in one piece physically, a certain winning people would weld it into one piece politically. The War would be followed by sweeping conquest and annexation by a victorious power of the most of the world. The universal annexation would proceed under the known device: "one world or none." All weapons of mass destruction would be outlawed. The rest of strategic armor would be monopolized by the central power. The hegemonic strategy would be discredited once and for all in favor of the imperial.
With shorter interruptions, the universal empires of ancient Egypt and China persisted for two-and-a-half millennia of their circumscribed existence, until they were engulfed by larger systems. The modern system, being global, is totally circumscribed. It can neither expand, nor be engulfed by a larger system, and this geopolitical condition will remain until the end of history. We are already in the global hegemony, we can expect its transformation into the global empire already within the span of this generation, but we should not expect its fall already after two-and-a-half millennia. Reversing the famous thesis,〔Charles Krauthammer, "The Unipolar Moment," ''Foreign Affairs'', 70/1, (Winter 1990/1), 23-33.〕 the "unipolar moment" proved to be not moment but state and hence onward is not supposed to be interrupted but by rare and brief, albeit deadly and destructive, multipolar moments.
The image on the front cover (see above) shows two Egyptian gods, Horus and Seth, holding the hieroglyphic icon of unity. This 4000-year-old image illustrates the model of civilization which, besides being an exotic past, is our own very long future.
''Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order'' differs from the post-modern research, alternating between case-studies devoid of broader implication and broader topics described in relativist terms. The present theory of history is an instance of Realpolitik and Geopolitik, leading to a sweeping determinist theory and a clear future project. The world-historical trend is mathematically expressed by one short formula.
This kind of theory seems to be debut by a professional historian. The science of history neither recognizes theories nor is used to multi-disciplinary approach. On the other hand, social sciences accustomed to theories take only a little note in primary sources. This theory, by contrast, is built on a firm factual basis of primary sources comparable in their quantity and diversity only to historical source-books. They range from the ''Epic of Gilgamesh'' to ''Herald Tribune'', from Bible to ''Mein Kampf'', and from the Shang bones inscriptions to the Pentagon tapes. The uniqueness of this theory of history is a combination of the primary-sources research common for historians with the theoretical and multi-disciplinary approach common for other social scientists.

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I watched a film, The Dressmaker, (2015) in which the sillier inhabitants of Dungatar, outback Oz, jumped (repeatedly) onto the crop in a silo. According to the story, one can land on wheat but will drown in sorghum. I found myself laughing several times (lol proper), which is rare indeed these days. You really can drown in a seed silo, most especially if the grain is flowing out, or moving at all. Wikipedia. You would think that a rope around the person would provide a safe route to rescue (and people find reasons to work inside a silo), but the drag to pull someone from total immersion is something like 6 times body weight, which implies permanent skeletal injury.

Avoidance is obvious; there should be no entries into the silo that humans could use. However, when a crop has spoiled in whole or part, this often needs to be reconsidered. Grain can 'stick' and there is a traditional behaviour, 'walking the grain', to avoid the bridging that can occur, disrupting the outward flow. Silos need to be cleaned, too, so an understanding of the minimum safe depth (less than half your height, I think) is necessary. Fundamentally, such situations need to be recognised as (very) dangerous and for there to be corresponding caution. Because many grain silos are remote, there are likely to continue to be deaths from such causes. I failed to find explanation what grain characteristics determine the degree of danger. Looking at the (largely US) commentary, More than half the recorded entrapments and engulfments have occurred in corn, and overwhelmingly corn stored in bins. Other grains in which victims have become entrapped include soybeans, oats, wheat, flax and canola. There are, generally, fewer cases where the seed is drier and smaller. Additional reading. Youtube video.

I suspect that rice is too small for entrapment to occur, around 1 mm² in two dimensions and 7-9mm long. Wheat grains are about the same length but much larger in section, 8 to 24 mm². Sorghum is more nearly spherical, at around 4 mm diameter, which makes any section 4π mm², say 12 mm². I think that more the spherical seeds will move against each other more easily, acting more as a fluid. Soybeans are more of an ellipsoid, dimensions around 8 in two dimensions and 5 in the other, ±1mm in all cases. Taking the observation from the US that the smaller drier grains have fewer accidents associated with them, this suggests that rice is relatively safe but that wheat while marginally less dangerous than the more spherical sorghum, is probably no safer any other grain of a similar shape. 

Book form; The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham, 1996. My copy is 2.7Mb, 252 pages long (so, not very long at all).

There is a distinction to observe between a general silo, which will contain the not-grain parts of a crop for eventual silage (that which comes from a silo) and a grain silo, a relatively temporary store of grain intended for market.

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PlurLIASTIC IGN9RANCE


This term applies where the majority think they are in the minority. I discovered this morning that this applies to the people who would like some of the changes we've undergone thanks to the pandemic to stay in place. WfH is a very good example. The perception is that those wanting this to stay think they are a minority; therefore their expectation that <good things> might continue is low, simply because they perceive everyone else (the perceived majority) to want something else.

It appears that those who think WfH is a good idea is actually a majority.


The obvious counter is (very) much better information. How could we know what public opinion is? What would have to happen to cause us to believe that the results were in any sense true? There is significant research that shows that the perception of majority opinion causes a shift towards that centre – all of this is perception not truth. So this tendency to want to conform actually pushes us (all, by implication) towards whatever it is that we are fed as 'truth'. Hence we might understand the wishes of the very powerful to control the media. Simultaneously we might, at an individual level, decide that we are prepared to support (£££) any and every media outlet that we think might be behaving independently. Of course, the response from any / every other  media outlet is to scream that 'we' are already and also independent and that our truth is the real truth. The result is that no-one trusts anything very much, but at the very same time makes little effort to separate out opinion and discovered fact/truth.

Which, I think, ought to be a major element of what we call education. I fail to see how we might discern what public opinion might be without having far more openness about the collection and reflection of collected opinions.Yet, without even attempting to improve the situation we are failing to be served by democracy – if everything tends to the middle (the perceived majority perception) that makes change remarkably unlikely. 


No wonder that we persist with FPTP then.


I discovered that the un-jabbed in Blackpool is 20%, while nationally it is 10%. So there is a measure, though it is presumptive to call inaction an expression of attitude. I wonder then if someone who is a conscious refusnik feels differently knowing that they are in a minority of 10% or 20%? Does a refusnik in Blackpool feel twice as 'right' as one from Inkbarrow, south of Brum?


Inkbarrow & Flyford Flavell  1st dose 94%, 2nd 90%, 3rd 77%  (between Evesham and Redditch)

Blackpool                             1st dose 80%, 2nd 73%, 3rd 53%    

Manchester                          1st dose 67%, 2nd 59%, 3rd 35%    

Newcastle centre                 1st dose 47%, 2nd 39%, 3rd 19%      

  

The very low uptake areas are (all) within major cities.

  


....and a happy new year, too. C's back in harness today; decorations removed and put away. yeah, I know 12th night isn't here yet.


DJS

The obvious counter is (very) much better information. How could we know what public opinion is? What would have to happen to cause us to believe that the results were in any sense true? There is significant research that shows that the perception of majority opinion causes a shift towards that centre – all of this is perception not truth. So this tendency to want to conform actually pushes us (all, by implication) towards whatever it is that we are fed as 'truth'. Hence we might understand the wishes of the very powerful to control the media. Simultaneously we might, at an individual level, decide that we are prepared to support (£££) any and every media outlet that we think might be behaving independently. Of course, the response from any / every other  media outlet is to scream that 'we' are already and also independent and that our truth is the real truth. The result is that no-one trusts anything very much, but at the very same time makes little effort to separate out opinion and discovered fact/truth.

Indeed. There is also a rash of 'fact-checking' businesses, which of course do no such thing but give a veneer of respectability to the same old nonsense.

Which, I think, ought to be a major element of what we call education. I fail to see how we might discern what public opinion might be without having far more openness about the collection and reflection of collected opinions.Yet, without even attempting to improve the situation we are failing to be served by democracy – if everything tends to the middle (the perceived majority perception) that makes change remarkably unlikely. 

Agreed. Students of all ages need to be taught to think (critically, but also to think at all) so that they can decide for themselves what is interesting, what is credible and what is worth their time.


I discovered that the un-jabbed in Blackpool is 20%, while nationally it is 10%. So there is a measure, though it is presumptive to call inaction an expression of attitude. I wonder then if someone who is a conscious refusnik feels differently knowing that they are in a minority of 10% or 20%? Does a refusnik in Blackpool feel twice as 'right' as one from Inkbarrow, south of Brum?


Inkbarrow & Flyford Flavell  1st dose 94%, 2nd 90%, 3rd 77%  (between Evesham and Redditch)

Blackpool                             1st dose 80%, 2nd 73%, 3rd 53%    

Manchester                          1st dose 67%, 2nd 59%, 3rd 35%    

Newcastle centre                 1st dose 47%, 2nd 39%, 3rd 19%      

  

The very low uptake areas are (all) within major cities.

Remember that's partly racialised (i.e. we know that people from racial minorities are more likely to be unvaccinated; that they are more likely to live in such places; and that, as with voting, it is common in such communities for the head of the family to make a decision that everyone else then has to abide by). Depressing nonetheless.

  





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