Venkatesh Rao compares Francis Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order, Pankaj Ghemawat’s World 3.0 and David Graeber’s Debt: the first 5000 years. It’s interesting to note that Fukuyama was born in 1952, Ghemawat in 1959 and Graeber in 1961. Personality-wise — and perhaps this is a function of age — they come across as gentle, impatient and angry, respectively. Along another dimension, Fukuyama is mostly descriptive (though his politician-fans often mangle his ideas into prescriptions), Ghemawat is weakly prescriptive in a tentative and technocratish way, and Graeber is strongly normative. And along a third dimension, Fukuyama is mildly reactionary (taking on classical man-in-the-state-of-nature models, but reconstructing rather than destroying them), Ghemawat is moderately reactionary (simultaneously taking aim at what he labels “globaloney” arguments on the anti-globalization side and Thomas Friedman on the pro-globalization side) and Graeber is almost entirely reactionary (devoting the entire book to attacking the foundations of mainstream economics rather than constructing an alternative framework). After intro stuff about all 3, this first post focuses on Fukuyama. He dealt with the harder foundational questions to his own satisfaction (and to the satisfaction of about half the people who think about this sort of stuff) back in 1993. This book can be understood as a reading of history, assuming the conceptual framework of The End of History as a starting point... His former mentor, Samuel Huntington, and later Huntington’s student, Fareed Zakaria, fought back with counterarguments in books like The Clash of Civilizations and Illiberal Democracy. These reactions (in my opinion) conspired to miss the point: attempting to counter a purely conceptual argument intended to illuminate philosophical questions. (more)

esp the Federal Budget (though Local Government matters also)

Nathan Lewis gives his Economic Stimulus recommendation (no, not QE2). Banking system meltdown and other "systemic" factors are a real risk. The proper banking solution would be a debt restructuring with government oversight, probably combined with what amounts to a Super Glass Steagall, to once again separate regular banking from investment banking, securities trading, derivatives dealing, and everything else that is not simple commercial lending. I say Super Glass Steagall because I think that we should also separate securities brokerage (executing customer orders) and prime brokerage (securities custodianship) from the market-making, derivatives dealing, HFT and proprietary trading, and investment banking of today's broker-dealers. A three-way split... Second, we could help along the natural process of economic self-healing with a big tax reform, something like the 13% Flat Tax that Russia passed in the depths of economic collapse in 2000. (more)

projects designed to piss tax dollars into the home districts of powerful US Congress-men as a form of bribery (more)


Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time... GDP can be contrasted with gross national product (GNP) or gross national income (GNI). The difference is that GDP defines its scope according to location, while GNP defines its scope according to ownership. In a global context, world GDP and world GNP are, therefore, equivalent terms. (more)

In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government revenue collection (taxes or tax cuts) and expenditure (spending) to influence a country's economy. The use of government revenues and expenditures to influence macroeconomic variables developed as a result of the Great Depression, when the previous laissez-faire approach to economic management became unpopular. Fiscal policy is based on the theories of the British economist John Maynard Keynes, whose Keynesian economics theorized that government changes in the levels of taxation and government spending influences aggregate demand and the level of economic activity. Fiscal and monetary policy are the key strategies used by a country's government and central bank to advance its economic objectives. The combination of these policies enables these authorities to target inflation (which is considered "healthy" at the level in the range 2%–3%) and to increase employment. Additionally, it is designed to try to keep GDP growth at 2%–3% and the unemployment rate near the natural unemployment rate of 4%–5%.[1] This implies that fiscal policy is used to stabilize the economy over the course of the business cycle.

In economics, crowding out is a phenomenon that occurs when increased government involvement in a sector of the market economy substantially affects the remainder of the market, either on the supply or demand side of the market. One type frequently discussed is when expansionary fiscal policy reduces investment spending by the private sector. The government spending is "crowding out" investment because it is demanding more loanable funds and thus causing increased interest rates and therefore reducing investment spending. This basic analysis has been broadened to multiple channels that might leave total output little changed or even smaller.[1] Other economists use "crowding out" to refer to government providing a service or good that would otherwise be a business opportunity for private industry, and be subject only to the economic forces seen in voluntary exchange.

Neoliberalism or neo-liberalism[1] is the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism and free market capitalism.[2]:7[3] Those ideas include economic liberalization policies such as privatization, austerity, deregulation, free trade[4] (globalization) and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.[12] These market-based ideas and the policies they inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which lasted from 1945 to 1980. (more)


Modern Monetary Theory or Modern Money Theory (MMT) is a heterodox[1][2][3][4][5][6] macroeconomic theory that describes currency as a public monopoly, and unemployment as evidence that a currency monopolist is overly restricting the supply of the financial assets needed to pay taxes and satisfy savings desires.[7][8] MMT is an alternative to mainstream macroeconomic theory. It has been criticized by well known economists but is claimed by its proponents to be more effective in describing the global economy in the years following the Great Recession of 2007–2009 (Credit Crisis 2008). (more)

book by Charles Murray - Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 ISBN:978-0-307-45342-6 (more)

Austerity is a set of political-economic policies that aim to reduce government budget deficits through spending cuts, tax increases, or a combination of both.[1][2][3] Austerity measures are often used by governments that find it difficult to borrow or meet their existing obligations to pay back loans. The measures are meant to reduce the budget deficit by bringing government revenues closer to expenditures. This reduces the amount of borrowing required and may also demonstrate a government's fiscal discipline to creditors and credit rating agencies and make borrowing easier or cheaper as a result.

Cory Doctorow on Full Employment. I’m an automation-employment-crisis skeptic. That is, I believe that even if we were – by some impossible-to-imagine means – to produce a general AI tomorrow, we would still have 200-300 years of full employment for every human who wanted a job ahead of us. I’m talking about climate change, of course. Remediating climate change will involve unimaginably labor-intensive tasks, like relocating every coastal city in the world kilometers inland, building high-speed rail links to replace aviation links, caring for hundreds of millions of traumatized, displaced people, and treating runaway zoontoic and insectborne pandemics. (more)

Ben Hunt on Modern Monetary Theory or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the National Debt. (more)

A unitary state is a state governed as a single entity in which the central government is ultimately supreme. Unitary states stand in contrast with federations, also known as federal states. (more)

Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems (voting system) in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body.[1] If n% of the electorate support a particular political party or set of candidates as their favorite, then roughly n% of seats will be won by that party or those candidates.[2] The essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result—not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts (also called super-districts), as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, PR systems that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats.[3]

Voting systems are methods (algorithms) for groups of people to select one or more options from many, taking into account the individual preferences of the group members. (more)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (UK: /ˈruːsoʊ/, US: /ruːˈsoʊ/;[1] French: [ʒɑ̃ʒak ʁuso]; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political, economic and educational thought. His Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought. Rousseau's sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise (1761) was important to the development of preromanticism and romanticism in fiction.[2][3] His Emile, or On Education (1762) is an educational treatise on the place of the individual in society. Rousseau's autobiographical writings—the posthumously published Confessions (composed in 1769), which initiated the modern autobiography, and the unfinished Reveries of the Solitary Walker (composed 1776–1778)—exemplified the late-18th-century "Age of Sensibility", and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing.

Robert Levy's Dirty Dozen ISBN:1595230505 covers 12 Supreme Court cases that the authors see as most undermining the US Constitution (cf States' Rights). (more)

In a first-past-the-post (FPTP or FPP; sometimes formally called single-member plurality voting or SMP) electoral system, voters cast their vote for a candidate of their choice, and the candidate who receives the most votes wins. FPTP is a plurality voting system, and is primarily used in systems that use single-member electoral divisions. FPTP is used as the primary form of allocating seats for legislative elections in about a third of the world's countries, mostly in the English-speaking world (the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, Pakistan, and other countries in the Commonwealth of Nations).


This is the publicly-readable WikiLog Digital Garden (17k pages, starting from 2002) of Bill Seitz (a Product Manager and CTO) (also a Wiki-Junkie).

My Calling: Reality Hacking to accelerate Evolution by increasing Freedom, Agency, and Leverage of Free Agents and smaller groups (SmallWorld) via D And D of Thinking Tools (software and Games To Play).

See Intro Page for space-related goals, status, etc.; or Wiki Node for more terse summary info.

Beware the War On The Net!