THE GOVERNMENTS ARE COLLAPSING:
The Cities of the Plain
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
During the second quarter of 2006, entire chunks of the world became, conspicuously, subjects of an accelerating and spreading pattern of collapse among leading and other governments. The most notable examples include the Blair government of the United Kingdom, the Chirac government of France, and the Bush-Cheney government in the United States. This global calamity is now spreading, most notably, throughout the rest of western and central Europe.
There is no possibility that coincidence in this pattern is merely statistical; the timing and pace of this spreading pattern of current governments which are now in a state of virtual existential crisis, around more and more of the world, is a reflection of the onrushing disintegration of the present form of global monetary-financial system. In other words, these are not as much individual cases as they represent symptoms of a dynamic process of interaction within a global system of self-destruction. This is a process which is typical of the fag-end of the recent decades' drive toward globalization.
Unless that current process is stopped, soon, by a radical change from the presently ongoing system, the presently onrushing wave of collapse would have to be considered as already at the verge of taking over the nations of this planet as a whole. This expresses an economic degeneration of the planet's economy under the influence of post-industrial and related ideology, an ideology which is collapsing the physical-economic "carrying capacity" of the planet. The result is: unless this recent trend of nearly forty years in "post-industrial" economic policies, is now reversed, the planet as a whole is being plunged, rapidly, into what will become a global "new dark age," That is to say: plunged into depths of depression of population-levels and standards of existence which fit the meaning of barbarism.
The presently accelerating pattern is reflected in the obvious, presently hyperbolic tumult in the recently soaring prices of hoarded primary materials; but the causes, the driving forces responsible for this effect, lie at a deeper level of the system as a whole. The set of policy decisions which generated this onrushing political and economic catastrophe, is a product of a moral crisis embedded in the economic characteristics of the recent decades' policy-shaping patterns of behavior of those presently collapsing, and other regimes, most notably those of North America and of western and central Europe.
In sum, the spread of this crisis is an existential, moral crisis, a crisis, of governments, whose cause is embedded in that virtual tyranny which the dominant financier and related powers of the present, post-1971/1972 world system, the floating-exchange-rate system, have exerted over the relations among the nominally sovereign nations of the planet.
To understand the direction this present pandemic among the systems of today's world is taking, it is useful to think of this situation poetically, as a crisis of a modern Cities of the Plain. At root, when the cause for this pattern is taken into account, this is a moral crisis of the relevant current cultures. The world as a whole is presently at the end of an entire era of post-World War II world history.
The various, earlier dark ages of known past world history are examples of such patterns. Plato's Timaeus opens with the discussion of that theme. The collapse of the Roman Empire, and the subsequent collapse of the Byzantine empire, are outstanding examples. The nearest approximation of that quality of the immediate threat to today's planet, is the collapse of medieval Europe's imperial ultramontane system, a system of shared rule by the forces of the Venetian financier-oligarchy and Norman chivalry. It was that medieval feudal system's inherent, long-term characteristics, which were responsible for the plunge into that so-called, Fourteenth-Century "New Dark Age." The current drive toward a return, in the name of globalization, to some approximation of that medieval form of financial-oligarchical model, defines the element of moral crisis underlying the onrushing global economic crisis menacing the world at large, physically, today.
Otherwise, one of the suitable images of the particular threat today, comes, thus, from ancient Biblical accounts of the fall of the Tower of Babel, the self-inflicted collapse of an earlier attempt at "globalization."
All known actually historical accounts of such cases, provide us a frankly rational explanation for such pandemic forms of political crises. Every civilization which went down in such an awful fashion, did it, not naturally, but willfully, to itself. The composition of Classical tragedy, since ancient Greece, addresses this class of phenomena. The former Soviet, and present trans-Atlantic powers of the post-1962 period, are most typical of the relevant responsible parties who, in this process so far, have already brought a foretaste of potential such global state of ruin upon the nations.
Greenspan and Bernanke
As I shall explain here, if we recognize the principal cause for the recent weeks' spread of a pattern of disintegrating incumbent governments, such as, most notably, those of France, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.A., we are presently confronted with what must be seen, at bottom, as a broad-ranging, spreading systemic crisis, a crisis affecting global civilization as a whole. When the relevant present pattern among the failed governments of Central Europe, including the former Comecon region of eastern Europe, is also taken into account, the relatively universal nature and extent of the threat emerges as clear.
This crisis is the presently leading expression of an economic collapse, a physical-economic collapse which has been generated by an already embedded, systemic form of prevalent moral failure. That moral failure is rooted, chiefly, in the post-1967 shift away from a modern system of respectively sovereign nation-state economies, toward a Tower of Babel-like, "globalized" system, a so-called "environmentalist," "post-industrial" utopia.
The nearest historical precedent for the immediately onrushing, systemic calamity, the current, breakdown-phase of this system, is, as I have already indicated above, the chain-reaction bankruptcy of the medieval Lombard League's usurious banking system, a collapse which was merely typified by the most celebrated case of the Lucca-based House of Bardi. This model was the predecessor for today's globalized system of "hedge funds," known as Heuschrecken (locusts) in today's Germany. The chief high priest of that locust-swarm, until his recent retirement, was U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
It was not Greenspan's retirement itself, which caused the pattern of critically failed governments now being experienced; his retirement merely unlatched the gateway through which the eruption of the recent weeks' crisis was unleashed. The panic was triggered by the awesome display of incompetence and loss of nerve exhibited by Greenspan's successor, Ben Bernanke. Bernanke's behavior drove the best-informed international financial speculators to near desperation, through his bungling efforts to find a politically correct way of outliving the explosion of the hyperinflationary bomb which Mr. Greenspan's practice had produced.
In response to the imminent crash, the choice of the leading speculators, has been an accelerated "gold-rush fever"-style plunge into hoarding of control over the bulk of the world's available primary commodities, such as petroleum and precious and industrial metals. The relevant presumption of intent expressed in such hyperinflationary speculation, is the presumption, that when most, or even all the world's present currencies vanish, "1923 Weimar Germany"-style, that whoever owns the world's supply of primary materials will claim that they own the world.
So, as of the present moment, the world is gripped by a wild-eyed panic. So far, this has tended to take the form of overlapping threats of runaway world hyperinflation and momentary outbursts of generalized, precipitous collapse. The problem is not that relevant people and powers have lost confidence in the system. The situation is far worse than that. Rather, the system has lost political confidence in both the people, and in the people's usually failed, recent choices of governments. This kind of situation has often constituted the most deadly internal threat to any civilization, the conditions under which failure to replace incompetent government with a morally competent form of government, opens the doors of history for something as bad as Europe suffered in the 1922-1945 rise and reign of financier-backed tyrannies.
At present, were operating parameters of the world market not altered by one among several acceptable ways, the system as it is operating now would be due, presently, to come down by approximately September 2006. This should be obvious from considering the present specific, shock-wave-like, hyperbolic rate of rate of increase of hyperinflation in primary commodities. That date itself is not inevitable; but, with pending deep-going changes in policy, that threat remains inherent in a failure to change the currently operating policies of the U.S. and other relevant governments.
The scientific significance of September, is that the recent rate of accelerated hyperinflation corresponds nearly to a Leibnizian least-action rate, a rate which signifies that it is the characteristic statistical curve of the presently operating global system. Under those parameters, the system could either blow out as a hyperinflationary explosion, like that of Germany, October-November 1923, or as a collapse, or as a combination of both factors, whichever route the dominant policy-shapers might choose.
There are alternatives to such outcomes. The collapse could be controlled, and recovery begun, if certain measures which I have indicated were adopted. However, happier choices are alternatives which exist only outside the bounds of those parameters which are to be associated with the axioms of the system as it is operating today. The obvious implication is that if we are, in fact, sane, we, members of the U.S. Senate and others, must act immediately to change the parameters of the system, as I have specified earlier.
In brief: such a successful change is available, if the will to do just that is forthcoming.
Therefore, that point taken into due consideration, the issue is not what happens to failed-state-like governments such as the Blair, Chirac, and Bush-Cheney regimes. They are soon doomed, in any case. The issue is: what do we do quickly to replace those and other relevant failed governments, with new governments which bring an end to current world policies—economic policies, first of all. These changes must be effected immediately, by governments which move quickly to install the urgently needed new parameters of progress. To muster the relevant forces for that urgently needed new step, we must make clear the nature of the psychological and moral disorder which has caused the people themselves to tolerate the insanity which has led the world into this present threat of a planetary new dark age.
So, history itself rises to express itself, to Bush, Blair, and Chirac, and to other leaders of the moment: "You all disgust me! Now, get out of my sight!" There is no place, any longer, for such wretched governments among the leading powers of this planet.
Now, let us look at this challenge on a deeper level.
1. A Problem in Physical Geometry
The cure is found on two levels.
First, we could return to the policy-matrices which President Franklin Roosevelt employed for conquering the 1930s Depression and the uniquely indispensable role of the U.S. in defeating what would have been inevitable, otherwise. It were certain that Hitler would have established a world empire, but for the indispensable contribution which the U.S.A. made to Hitler's defeat.
Second, the degeneration of the U.S. and most of the world economies since the late 1960s, is, in one sense, just one more cyclical disaster in the history of European civilization so far. Only if we reverse the presently onrushing collapse, as Franklin Roosevelt did, could we hope that the world would not soon sink back to terrible old ways, as it tended to do, and did, after Franklin Roosevelt's death.
Here, I treat these two issues in succession.
The present economic form of this onrushing breakdown of the system, did not originate within the real economy: the physical economy, as distinct from the mere monetary system. The crisis could be halted by putting the source of the problem, the present world monetary-financial system, into reorganization-in-bankruptcy, if this were done in concert by a relevant set of cooperating national governments. Under present circumstances, the monetarist's options, loose money, or tight money, are forms of political masturbation, like sheepishly bleating ritual references to "supply and demand." For those who believe in a real economy, that is, a physical economy, rather than being part of the faction of some monetarist babbling, the solution to the crisis is the same principle expressed by the measures which were taken, successfully, by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.
The U.S. Federal Constitution is unique among states which are sometimes called "market economies." Our Constitution, when served, limits the control of the issue of currency to the assigned Constitutional power of the Federal government to utter currency. The outstanding function of the authorization, by the U.S. Congress, for a supplementary utterance of U.S. sovereign currency, is a form of public credit. The principal function of such utterances, is twofold: a.) to provide public Federal capital as investment in the expansion and improvement of basic economic infrastructure; b.) to make such Federally-created capital also available for loans for desired capital investments by suitable private concerns and individuals.
Under our Constitution, private banking is regulated, and also nourished under the protection and supervision of some appropriate form of Federal national banking system. The bankrupt U.S. banking system of today, requires the establishment of that form of protection, if a recovery from the presently onrushing financial collapse is to be successfully controlled.
Massive public credit can be generated safely in this way, provided it is, chiefly, secured as long-term investments of up to a quarter- to half-century, and mobilized within a fixed-exchange-rate mode of a regulated monetary-financial system. Whereas, under a deregulated system of floating exchange-rates, the world's situation would already be virtually hopeless, as it would be under any attempted continuation of the policies presently operating, today.
Presently, the chief source of the presently existential problems of the U.S. economy, is that the rate of investment in basic economic infrastructure has been systematically collapsed to levels below a national-economic breakeven, as this is most readily seen in respect to levels of needed replacement. That entropic trend has been continued, by reigning policy, over virtually the entirety of the 1971-2006 interval to date. Now we have reached the phase where the effects of attrition show us that the time has run out for the present, post-1971 system, unless fundamental repairs are made soon.
Since the systemic wrecking of the Roosevelt recovery-measures by the Trilateral Commission regime of 1977-1981, there has been a morbid downshift in the ratio of investment, from emphasis upon technologically progressive, high-physical-gain-rate investment in production of goods, to low-skilled, labor-intensive "services." This economically suicidal trend downward, has been aggravated by "outsourcing," which has savagely reduced the physical productivity of the total labor-force, to levels such that, contrary to wild-eyed, official lying by the U.S. government and Federal Reserve system, the net real physical income of the United States, per capita and per square kilometer, has been collapsing at an accelerating rate over more than two decades. The abundant decay around us today, speaks for the folly of recent decades of our leading political parties' policies, and also decadent trends in prevalent popular opinion.
The passion for getting the objective of one's momentary desire, without actually paying for it, has become the prevalent form of the reign of sophistry in our recent times.
Thus, a kindred pattern of accelerating decadence has been rampant in Europe, most visibly since 1989-1991.
There Is a Cure for This
The successful creation of long-term capital, depends upon the stability of the physical value of that capital over the term of its assigned fiscal life. This requires assistance from both a system of fixed exchange-rates and a matching system of "fair trade" regulation in prices and international trade. With proper such measures, a recovery of the economy can be accomplished, as the U.S. demonstrated under President Franklin Roosevelt's design for the post-war monetary and trade system:
Under a fixed-exchange-rate system, long-term credit issued by governments, as under the U.S. Constitution, or in the form of long-term trade-agreements of a quarter- to half-century among nations, will provide the basis for resumed stability and continued growth in world economy.
Therefore, under constitutional measures of bankruptcy-reorganization by the U.S. government, the U.S. current physical output per capita and per square kilometer could rise above breakeven levels, and the U.S. dollar could become, within approximately a generation, once again, the leading currency, in long-term stability, in the world.
At the present time, such a recovery would require the organizing of a surge-potential represented by Federal action, to rescue the idled capacity of the automobile industry, using that presently idled capacity as a driver for a high-technology reversal of the recent three decades of "post-industrial" ruin. Without a science-driver surge potential, which could be mobilized, chiefly, within the portion of the auto industry being looted by financial predators today, there is no clear hope of avoiding a worse-than-depression-level collapse of the entire U.S. economy in the immediate future.
Under such a remedial program of action for today, the first phase of recovery must be, as under the first term of the Franklin Roosevelt Administration, the mobilization of a physical-economic surge capability as a platform for the resumed net growth of the economy. After that, the mustering of the developed surge capability will produce a long-term perspective of vigorous growth. Under those improved conditions, the degree of engagement of a recovering U.S. economy, would be more deeply involved as a participant in global cooperation, than at any time in earlier history.
Were the United States to adopt such measures of reform based on the successful precedent of the Franklin Roosevelt Presidency, it were likely that something echoing the pre-1971 Bretton Woods, fixed-exchange-rate system, would emerge as the basis for organizing a general recovery in technologically progressive world production and trade.
The principal cause for the present threat of a breakdown of the U.S. and other economies, is, that since the fateful year of 1968, the world generally, has been shifted into an orientation toward reversal of that 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, on which all of the best constitutions of Europe were subsequently premised. The tendency toward post-nation-state globalization, is a form of economic and, also, moral degeneracy, which echoes the ultramontane form of Venetian financier-oligarchical imperialism known as the Middle Ages alliance of Venetian financier-oligarchy and Norman chivalry. That imperialist orientation is the systemic root of the ruinous present state of the world economy, as seen most clearly in the present condition of the Americas, Africa, and Western and Central Europe.
That problem of today is not only a potentially fatal economic condition; it is also the embodiment of a grave, still plunging moral depravity.
Where Physical Geometry Comes In
The key to comprehension of all competent economic policy is recognition of the essential difference between man and ape. The usually taught treatment of the subject of economy, in academic lectures and textbooks, ignores that difference. The frequent result of such miseducation is a disastrous monkeying with the economic system. I explain.
In the history of physical science, this difference between man and beast is traced from the meaning of the Classical Greek dynamis, a term which is congruent with Gottfried Leibniz's use of the term dynamics for competent methods of physical science, as distinct from what Leibniz demonstrated to have been the incompetent, mechanistic method of Descartes. The most famous typification of this distinct notion of scientific and Classical-artistic creativity, is the case of the purely physical-geometric action of construction of the doubling of the cube, as that challenge was mastered by Plato's friend, the Pythagorean Archytas.
This is the same geometrical notion of dynamis which was, in fact, presented by Carl F. Gauss's 1799 doctoral dissertation, in which Gauss refuted the fanatically reductionist blunders of such empiricists as D'Alembert, de Moivre, Euler, and Lagrange. It is also the significance of the infinitesimal in Gottfried Leibniz's discovery of an infinitesimal calculus of universal physical least-action, as it was the crucial feature of the founding of modern astronomy by the Johannes Kepler, whose demand for the development of an infinitesimal calculus by his successors, was based on the inherent implications of Kepler's own uniquely original discovery of universal gravitation.
In modern economy, the role of this notion of dynamis is most clearly expressed by the relationship between experimental proof of universal physical principles and the role of machine-tool design in enabling scientific progress's expression in the successful invention and design of improved products.
The relative superiority of what had been modern practice of agriculture and manufacturing over the period into the time of the manned Moon landing, was this indispensable link of the practice of discovery of universal physical principles to the role of machine-tool design, in raising the productive powers of labor in general. In today's U.S.A., for example, the greatest concentration of that power of machine-tool design had become concentrated in the automobile and aerospace industries. Thus, we have the fact, almost unknown to most among the present members of the U.S. Congress so far, that the presently onrushing take-down of the U.S. automotive industry, if permitted, would be the virtual, systemic destruction of the U.S. economy as a whole.
A similar danger comes from the misinformed notion, that study of conventional mathematics, as in computer applications, is sufficient basis for scientific progress. The result of that virtually illiterate kind of misconception of human creativity, is the general ignorance of the existence of the ontological distinction of a discovery of universal principle, from a mere innovation in use of previously established principles, or even an act, falsely termed "creative." which represents nothing better than a reckless disregard for known universal principles. Consider the following illustrations of that crucial point of economic practice.
2. The Example of Kepler's Discovery
Where is the solution to the present crisis to be found?
It is usually taught, even in schools of very modest claims to competence, that Kepler's discovery of universal gravitation involved the implications of the fact that the planetary orbits are elliptical, not circular. It might astonish some to learn that, all too frequently, university graduates would understand this to mean that the principle of gravitation might be derived from the construction of an ellipse at the blackboard. Unless he or she were, perhaps, buffeted about the ears, the typical university graduate and sophist would pretend to explain gravitation in terms of the construction of an ellipse with two pins and a piece of string.
In fact, the rate of change is not Cartesian, but expresses itself in the form of an infinitesimal physical function, and that only approximately, within the bounds of something less than the smallest conceivable interval. This, in fact was the basis for Kepler's specification of the need for the development of an infinitesimal calculus, as that discovery was actually made by Leibniz, but never accepted among the Eighteenth-Century followers, such as de Moivre, D'Alembert, Euler, and Lagrange, of the reductionists Descartes and Newton.
The practical issue of the subject of economy here, is the existence of what are known as discoverable forms of universal physical principles. These discoveries, as made by man, enable man to increase society's power to exist in the universe. The point is typified by the fact than an animal species' potential population-density is determined by the beast's characteristic inability to discover and use discovered universal physical principles, whereas human beings increase the potential relative population-density of mankind, per square kilometer of available surface willfully, through the use of discovered universal physical principles.
Without that, the behavior of the human species would be that of just another species of beast. The mere absence of reference to that principle of physical economy in any discussion of economy, is the mark of incompetence among the participants, or in the relevant textbook or the like.
The relevant distinctions which that implies, are the most crucial consideration in any competent treatment of the subject of presently, ominously ruinous condition of the national and world economy. I explain:
The ontological implication in that case, is of the same quality as that which Gauss made, in refuting the blunders of Euler et al., for his clarification of the fundamental principle of algebra. The essential point, underlying both the discoveries of Leibniz and the defense of Leibniz by Gauss's work, and, most emphatically, the work of Bernhard Riemann, is that an experimentally demonstrable universal physical principle, when treated as an object of the human mind, is, by implied definition, an object of thought, an idea whose existence is as big as the universe. It, as a principle, is never containable within the bounds of any local object of sense-perception. Yet, its practical effect on the world of sense-certainty is as unavoidable as it is implicitly universal. The action this principle expresses, appears as the infinitesimal in the small.
We do not know how many tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago, this discovery of the idea of a universal physical principle was made. The relevant evidence suggesting a great antiquity for the discovery, is found in experimentally verifiable features of some ancient calendars, whose records correspond to long-cycle astronomical phenomena datable to such far past reaches of human existence on this planet. Our best historical knowledge of cases of explicit, systemic comprehension of this subject, dates in European civilization from about the Seventh Century B.C., with the traces of the influence of Egypt on the culture of some of the Greeks and Etruscans, as the instances of Thales, Heraclitus, the Pythagoreans, and Plato attest to this.
The currently popular form of wrong idea about the notion of universal physical principles, is dated largely to the influence of the work of a revisionist known as Euclid, about a half-century after the death of Plato. Euclid's Elements reflect very little beyond the actual knowledge which had been discovered previously through the point of the death of Plato. Euclid's presentation of those borrowed discoveries, is essentially wrong, relative to the method known as Sphaerics, by which the original discoveries are known to have been made. Despite the fact that the Tenth Book of Euclid's Elements does report on aspects of the work of earlier Pythagoreans, and others, on the work of a science of physical geometry called Sphaerics, Euclid's work shows no comprehension of the most crucial, principled implications of those discoveries. This negative view of Euclid was affirmed by modern leading mathematicians such as a teacher of Carl Gauss, Abraham Kästner, by Gauss himself, and by Riemann. A similar proof was reflected in the work of the non-Euclideans Lobatchevsky and János Bolyai, as, implicitly, Einstein among others.
The best knowledge we have of truthful efforts to account for the early developments in European physical science, is located in the fragments of the work of Thales, of Heraclitus, the Pythagoreans, Plato, and the continuation of Plato's method as traced through the Platonic Academy through Eratosthenes and Archimedes.
Science, Law, and Agape
This approach had been introduced afresh to modern European statecraft through, chiefly, the work of a leading Fifteenth-Century figure, Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, as is notable from some of Cusa's sermons, and in a series of works on scientific method begun with his founding of a systematic approach to modern physical science, his De Docta Ignorantia. Cusa was explicitly the prompter of the trans-Atlantic voyage of Christopher Columbus, and of the scientific work of Luca Pacioli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Johannes Kepler, among others. He was implicitly, the founder of the continuation of this work by such as Fermat, Christiaan Huyghens, and Leibniz.
The principal opponent of Cusa's Classical method in modern science, was Venice's Paolo Sarpi, and such followers of Sarpi, known as the empiricists, as Sarpi's personal lackey and teacher of Thomas Hobbes, Galileo Galilei. The skein of modern science running through Gauss, Dirichlet, Riemann, Planck, and also the later developments in the work of Albert Einstein, reflects the systemic approach to science traced thus from Cusa through the late work of Einstein.
The Fifteenth-Century Renaissance is pivoted, as a conception, upon the developments around and within the great ecumenical Council of Florence. This includes the role of Nicholas of Cusa's contribution of his Concordantia Catholica, which superseded Dante Alighieri's earlier stated case, De Monarchia, for the modern sovereign form of nation-state. This included the work of Brunelleschi, who employed the same physical principle of the catenary which was later defined by Leibniz, to master the challenge of constructing the cupola on the famous Cathedral of Florence, the event associated with that Council. It included the subsequent founding of modern experimental physical science, beginning with Cusa's De Docta Ignorantia.
These developments shaped the impact on modern Europe's existence, in Cusa's crucial role in impelling the trans-Atlantic voyage of exploration by Christopher Columbus, and in the launching of the modern European science continued by Pacioli, Leonardo, and Kepler. This was the Renaissance which responded to the judicial murder of Jeanne d'Arc with the founding of the first modern European nation-state under Louis XI, and the subsequent launching of the second such nation-state by Louis' follower and admirer, Henry VII of England. This was also the laying of the cornerstones for the Fifteenth-Century launching of modern European economy, despite the effort to prevent this by the religious warfare of 1492-1648, launched through the man who was to become the adopted model, by Count Joseph de Maistre, for crafting the roles of Napoleon Bonaparte, and, therefore, Adolf Hitler: Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada.
The deep principle on which the accomplishments made within modern European civilization have depended, is the same Classical Greek principle of agape as presented in Plato's Republic and adopted by the Apostle Paul, as in I Corinthians 13. This is the modern commonwealth principle of the government of France's Louis XI, England's Henry VII, the Winthrops' and Mathers' Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the fundamental principle of Constitutional law set forth as the Preamble of the U.S. Federal Constitution. Under this principle of law, the present government is commanded to act in service of the general welfare of both present and future generations, in the same sense as the opening statement of that 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Habsburg-directed, 1492-1648 orgy of religious warfare within Europe.
The distinction of this principle of constitutional law, as traced from Solon of Athens, through Plato's Republic, to modern European civilization, is that it rests upon the recognition of the essential difference in quality which distinguishes human beings from beasts. All contrary modes of government, throughout known history, have treated large parts of the human population as virtually animal life, as the modern Spanish and Portuguese and others, such the British and Dutch, and the rebelling Confederacy treated human beings of African descent; as herds of cattle to be selectively bred and culled as cattle are. So, the culture of Sparta, of Rome, of Byzantium, and of the alliance of medieval Venetian financier-oligarchs with the Norman chivalry, functioned on the basis of a commitment to war against Islam and persecution of Jews.
The essential distinction, as in physical science and Classical modes of artistic composition, of human being from beast, is the same creative quality which is denied by the adversaries of Plato, Cusa, Kepler, and Leibniz, the same quality of intellect which is usually denied, either explicitly, or implicitly by the conventional teaching and practice of political-economy in schools and colleges, and in accounting and related practice, still today. What is denied in such educational programs, is the same quality of intellect typified by Kepler's discovery of universal gravitation, and denied by the method of the attempted plagiarists of Kepler, including Galileo and his followers Descartes and Isaac Newton, and by the relevant architects of the British school of Liberal political-economy, such as John Locke, Bernard Mandeville, François Quesnay, Jacques Turgot, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, and Karl Marx, or by the U.S.A.'s John von Neumann, Arthur Burns, Milton Friedman, and George P. Shultz.
3. Economic Creativity and Society
Now, where might a permanent solution for the cycles of recovery and decline be found?
To answer that question, return attention to the earlier summary here, of the essential functional distinction between man and ape. Reintroduce that discussion here under the heading of "What do human beings know?"
The human being of ape-like leanings would tend to argue for simple-minded sense-certainty: "What my senses tell me, is what is there." Meanwhile, more intelligent human beings are able to prove that that is not true. What we think we experience, is our interpretation of the experience of our sense-organs. The best we can do within those bounds, is to determine when the experience of the senses actually comes from outside our mental processes as a system, and when that system itself has generated a false impression, an illusion.
Physical science, and also Classical modes in artistic culture, are the most general social expressions of the difference between a society of men and women, and a pack of higher apes. Such is the point of the definition of man and woman in Genesis 1; it is also the lesson of actual human historical and archeological evidence. The comprehension of the essential nature of this distinction, is to be found in rigorous reflections on the significance of what are rightly named ideas, especially ideas of principle: what are experimentally demonstrable to be universal ideas of principle.
After that first hurdle, the notion of ordinary human ideas, had been conquered, we were faced with a second principled hurdle. Once we had learned to locate the coordination among the experiences of the sundry organs of sense as such, we were confronted with a different, uniquely human problem. We find that we are also confronted with experiences which can not be explained in terms of merely the coordination of sense-perception. What are universal ideas, and how do we know and use them?
Take three famous cases for purposes of illustration of these issues here:
- Archytas' solution for the doubling of the cube by no means other than geometric construction.
- Kepler's discovery of universal gravitation.
- Fermat's discovery of the pathway of quickest action, and the treatment of this subject by Christian Huyghens, Gottfried Leibniz, and Jean Bernouilli.
And then, finally, consider, a bit later, a fourth crucial class of case, the core of the development of a more perfect anti-Euclidean geometry by Bernhard Riemann.
Since Archytas and the Cube
The famous case of the purely physical-geometric construction of the doubling of the cube by the Pythagorean Archytas, was celebrated by competent figures from throughout the subsequent history of physical science, as the prototype of physical-scientific discovery, as by the Platonic Academy's Eratosthenes. This was treated then as a crucial example of the principle of dynamis known to modern science since Leibniz as the notion of the intrinsically dynamic conception of the universal principles of physical science, rather than the mechanistic (e.g., Cartesian) misconception.
The conceptions of physical science as such, as developed in principle by the Pythagoreans and Plato, are universal ideas in one sense. However, as the work of Russia's V.I. Vernadsky has clarified the point, the ancient Classical Greek thinkers already knew of two classes of ideas, two distinct phase-spaces of experience, which lie beyond comprehension within the bounds of simply physical objects. These are the concept of life, as categorically distinct from non-living processes, and the concept of the human mind, whose powers of discovery are beyond the capacity of any relatively lower form of life.
The issue we must consider, if recovery from the present world disaster were not to be prelude to yet another later disaster, is a matter which lies within a better comprehension of the nature of the human species as such.
We now proceed accordingly.
The notion of dynamis, or Leibnizian dynamics, is the key to the systematic understanding of the functional meaning of ideas in defining the existence of society, and, therefore, also economy.
The conception of dynamis appears to have arisen from recognition of astronomical and other occurrences which do not fit within the limits of a simply spherical astronomical domain.
Over the period from the Fifteenth through the Eighteenth Century, and beyond, the exploration of cubic (and, also biquadratic) roots led to a systemic crisis in Eighteenth-Century mathematics, a crisis which D'Alembert's collaborator de Moivre named the problem of "imaginary numbers." As Gauss demonstrated in his 1799 doctoral dissertation, there was nothing "imaginary" about these magnitudes; they are physically efficient, and implicitly universal magnitudes, whatever might be argued to the contrary by ivory-tower mathematicians in the Cartesian tradition.
In physical science, these types of numbers associated with the complex domain, represented the physical reality of Leibniz's catenary-cued universal physical principle of least action. They corresponded ontologically to the role of Kepler's universal principle of gravitation, the same work of Kepler which had prompted Leibniz to develop an infinitesimal calculus, and Gauss, among others, to take up the mastery of elliptical functions. The physical significance of what foolish opinion called "imaginary numbers," is that, in reality, they correspond, simultaneously, to the effect of action caused by principles which extend throughout the universe, principles which are therefore expressed in any local case, as ontologically efficient infinitesimals.
As Eratosthenes, the contemporary and correspondent of Archimedes, emphasized the importance of Archytas' doubling of the cube, the conical function included in Archytas' construction is crucial for the development of mathematical physics through Kepler, Fermat, Pascal, Leibniz, et al.
This set of examples touches prominently on the issue of sense-experience introduced above.
Archytas' physical-geometric doubling of the cube has been regarded by informed persons, such as Eratosthenes, since as the exemplary case for demonstration of the principle of dynamis, the notion of the demonstrable existence of mental conceptions which enable mankind to change the organization of the experienced universe in which we dwell. The connection between the famous aphorism of Heraclitus and the argument of Plato's Parmenides dialogue, typifies the topic at issue. Kepler's discovery of universal gravitation, is the exemplary demonstration of the same point of principle of the complex domain, a principle which had been illustrated, in fact, by Archytas' doubling of the cube.
However, looking at the human individual's approach to dealing with simply physical processes, tends to leave aside something of crucial importance respecting the human individual's knowledgeable relationship to those simply physical processes. The specific issue I am addressing here, as bearing upon qualitative differences among types of economic policies of human practice, is the notion of universals as commonly associated with the Classical Greek legacy of the Pythagoreans and Plato, as with the qualitative difference between modern European civilization in the form typified by the legacy of Nicholas of Cusa, and the oligarchical and imperial tradition identified as the enemy of mankind, as the latter was so exposed in Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound.
How are these principles of man's relationship to the knowledge of simply physical processes made knowable?
The essential distinction of the human individual from the sundry individual beasts, is that the human mind has the capability of generating practicable knowledge of universal physical principles, principles whose existence is bounded by nothing less than the universe as a whole. Through mastery of such knowledge of principles of this type, mankind has a limitless potential for increasingly expanded power of our species to exist within the universe. This notion is expressed by the way in which the Pythagoreans and Plato employed the term dynamis, and Leibniz the conception of dynamics. It is this characteristic power of the member of the human species which has enabled mankind's population to be increased from a potential of not more than several millions living individuals, to the more than six billions today.
This is the power of the human species which places mankind above all other living creatures, as in the sense of the definition of the function of man and woman in Genesis 1.
When mankind drifts, yet again, into a new phase of relative decadence, we must ask: Why did society let it happen? Why did society, which had conquered a previous outbreak of such decadence, not prevent itself from sliding into another such folly?
How We Were Corrupted
However, the contrary political tendency within society has been, to hold the majority of the human species in an animal-like status, in which, as in the argument against the evil Olympian Zeus posed by Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, mankind is prohibited from the use of discovered knowledge of universal physical principles. The enemy of the human species, the adversary of humanity, is the notion, as associated with the satanic qualities of the Olympian Zeus, of condemning the majority of humanity to the depraved, bestial-like status of creatures confined to a relative state of bestiality by a policy of "zero technological growth."
For example, it would have been impossible to abort the scientific-technological progress of the U.S.A. and Europe, without the mid- to late-1960s introduction of the ideology of zero technological growth. This Luddite-like change from the principles on which all of the successful progress of modern European civilization had been premised, is the key to the driving impulses which have brought the world to the looming threshold of a global "dark age" of humanity today. Virtually all of the aggravated misery suffered increasingly during the recent nearly four decades, by the peoples of the Americas and Europe, has been produced as an outgrowth of the intellectual-moral decadence expressed by the 68ers' rallying to the Olympian guidon of "zero technological growth."
If we reflect on this development of recent decades in the globally extended experience of European culture, we should recognize, quickly, that this has actually been a persisting threat to humanity as far back as we know. Looking back from today to the roots of European civilization as such within ancient Classical Greece, we have the following relevant case.
As historian, dramatist, and poet Friedrich Schiller emphasized in a famous Jena University lecture, the root-issues of European civilization are to be traced continuously from the conflict between two leading paradigms from the history of ancient Greece. This was the conflict between the legacy of Solon of Athens, on which, for example, the idea of the constitutional republic of the U.S.A. was largely premised, and the opposing, oligarchical model typified by the slave-holding state of the Apollo Delphi cult's Lycurgan Sparta. Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound presents the Delphic legacy of the Olympian Zeus, who, like the zero-technological-growthers from the ranks of the '68ers, denies the use of scientific principle to mankind, as in that Zeus' role as the virtual Satan of the oligarchical domain.
The fact is, that the higher and other education programs of the post-1945 decades tended to drift, more deeply than the immediately preceding times, away from any active concern with the underlying universal physical principles of scientific work, into a descent from a Classical scientific outlook, into a kind of mechanistic "how to" proficiency. This trend for an existentialist mode of intellectual and moral decadence in globally extended European culture was, in part, a reflection of the decadence of the post-World War I 1920s Europe and North America. Yet, this time, during the aftermath of World War II, this was typified by the more virulent existentialism of the Congress of Cultural Freedom; our culture slid more deeply into the pit.
The extreme to which this kind of decadence has carried European culture today, especially since 1968, emphasizes the fact that, whereas European civilization has repeatedly emerged from relative dark ages of its cultures, it has yet to attain an efficient degree of prevalent insight into the causes for those recurring periods of decadence. The problem, essentially, is the failure of the prevalent cultures of European civilization today to attain a concept of the nature of mankind itself, the inability to prevent itself from sliding once again, into the same old evils as before.
The Whore Which Was Babylon
The Christian Apostle John reported a dream which featured the image of a "Whore of Babylon." That figure was the Roman Empire, which was known to Jews and Christians of that time as the new incarnation of the evil of the Babylon familiar from earlier times. In the centuries immediately preceding, the image of the Babylonian Empire was already identified with what was now called "the oligarchical model." That oligarchical model was characteristic of the empires centered in Mesopotamia, and was the model upon which the successive Roman, Byzantine, and medieval and modern European empires were premised.
The characteristic social feature of the oligarchical model, is the division of society between ruling castes and a mass of humanity treated as a collection of specimens of animal herds.
The systemic feature of that oligarchical model is located most efficiently in the functions of the Delphi Cult of the Pythian Apollo, the cult which devised both the Lycurgan constitution of Sparta and the religious cult around which the power of the city of Rome was organized. This oligarchical model was delayed, only temporarily, by the death of King Philip of Macedon, and the subsequent change in Macedonian policy by the cooperation between Alexander the Great and the Platonic Academy. The end of the Second Punic War and the subsequent Roman conquest of Syracuse, led into a period of wars over the imperial rule of the Mediterranean region, a process which was concluded on the Isle of Capri through a pact between the heir of Julius Caesar, Octavian, and the cult of Mithra. From that time forward, excepting the time of Alcuin and Charlemagne, Europe was largely dominated by empires according to the oligarchical model: Rome, Byzantium, and the medieval alliance of the Venetian financier-oligarchy and Norman chivalry.
Then came the Fifteenth-Century Renaissance, centered in the combination of the great ecumenical Council of Florence and the emergence of the commonwealth modality of sovereign nation-states in Louis XI's France and Henry VII's England, were the hotly contested, belated birth of modern European civilization.
This birth of modern civilization was threatened with extinction by the enemies of civilization, such as the Habsburg dynasty, the Venetian financier-oligarchy, and Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada, notably in the form of the religious persecutions and religious wars of the 1492-1648 interval. Then, the accomplishments of Cardinal Mazarin in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia and the work of Mazarin's associate, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, in promoting modern science-driver development of the modern nation-state, were set back by a faction organized by the Venice-centered European financier oligarchy, thus creating the new form of emerging imperialism known as Anglo-Dutch Liberalism.
Since the British East India Company's acquisition of imperial power, in the February 1763 Treaty of Paris, the wars organized, against the emerging young U.S. republic and the potential rivals of British imperialism, have dominated world history increasingly, up to the present day. However, the wars themselves do not fully explain the pattern of alternating intervals of progress and moral-intellectual decadence which have characterized the history of modern European civilization in particular. Look at the method of the Roman Empire, as its legacy has been continued in different costumes, over the centuries to date since Octavian's taking the name of Augustus, as the first Emperor of Rome.
Imperialism: Its Wars and Its Culture
The policies associated with the Hitler regime's process of replacement of the German Wehrmacht by the Waffen-SS have been resumed for the United States by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, with energetic support from a one-time financial backer of Chile's Pinochet regime, Felix Rohatyn. That practice was not original to the Hitler regime; it was the policy of practice in the use of bankers' private armies by the British Empire's East India Company. It is a direction in military practice of governments today, which coincides with the intention to replace a waning system of sovereign nation-states by a "globalized" system of world government, by syndicates of private financial groups, as Rohatyn's policies of privatized military dovetail with the practice of Rumsfeld and Halliburton's Cheney.
This was also the military practice of the Crusader system established as an integral part of the ultramontane system controlled by the Venetian financier-oligarchy and Norman chivalry. It was the practice of the Roman Empire on which the Nazi system was to be modelled.
However, it was not warfare itself which was the characteristic of the ancient and medieval empires of Rome, of Byzantium, the ultramontanists, or the British Empire. Imperial warfare was chiefly a by-product of a continuing policy of population-control.
Roman genocide, including the pre-imperial cultural genocide, against the Etruscans, by the adherents of Rome's Delphic cult, is a relevant precedent. The same was expressed in Roman population-control genocide against Germans, and others later. The system of trans-Atlantic traffic in chattel slavery, by Spain and Portugal, and by the Dutch and British in their time, is a modern example of the same evil doctrine of practice.
The principal known origin of these pro-genocidal practices is, once again, ancient Babylon, although not exclusively Babylon. In European culture, the ancient origin of leading relevance for history today, has been the Delphic cult of the Pythian Apollo, the architect of the practice of Lycurgan Sparta. The core of the matter is that underscored by Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound.
The Lesson of the American Model
Take the illustrative case of the superior level of culture of the English colonies in North America over the representatives of the same population in the British Isles.
The principal English-speaking settlements in North America came to these shores as representatives of European culture, as English, Dutch, Germans, Irish, Scottish, and others, intent on developing that culture at a safe distance from the repressive reach of European oligarchical rule. The commonwealth movements within New England, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, are typical. At the time of the 1790 U.S. Census, the standard of living, literacy, and productivity of the Americans was way above that of the inhabitants of England.
It was Benjamin Franklin, for example, who brought the industrial revolution to England, while the Saugus, Massachusetts iron works was a pioneer of development policies in its time, whereas the first effective use of paper currency occurred in pre-1689 Massachusetts.
The advantage of the United States was, in large part, that we provided a place away from Europe, where the influence of the traditional European oligarchies was at a relative minimum, and where, therefore, the free play of the best of European culture could find expression within the population in general.
The British introduction of the extended practice of slavery into the United States during the 1820-1863 interval, that largely through London-backed Spanish trafficking in African slaves, had the effect of lowering the moral-cultural standards in the U.S., to such effect that the war-time developments of 1863-1865 unleashed an explosion of technological and related progress, through the period of the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial exposition.
The principal wars launched by the Anglo-Dutch Liberal financier interests, from the time of France's Louis XIV through World War I and beyond, have been chiefly means, modelled upon the practice of the Roman Empire, for controlling continental Europe. As in the instance of the de facto British asset, Napoleon Bonaparte, the "Seven Years' War" concluded in 1763, used the weakening of the warring nations of continental Europe, to secure the City of London's imperial hegemony. World War I was organized by London for that purpose. What became World War II had been pre-organized by London for the same purpose, but Nazi Germany had chosen to strike westward before taking on the Soviet Union, and London reluctantly turned to President Franklin Roosevelt for help. So, the combination of the French Revolution of July 14, 1789, of the Jacobin Terror, and Bonaparte, had destroyed the prospect of the reforms which the success of the American Revolution had opened up in Europe, and secured the durable British domination of Europe.
These and other means were employed to manage the populations in ways intended to secure imperial control over the territories of the empire as a whole.
The most significant of the methods employed by imperial powers to the purpose of political control over populations have been cultural. By playing down those aspects of human culture which express the creative powers which distinguish man from ape, a tendency for brutishness is fostered in the victims of such cultural manipulation; it is that on which empires chiefly rely. Warfare, and other modes of slaughter, are used when less bloody modes of cultural management (e.g., "regime change") of the intended human cattle appear to fail.
Thus, the most important instrument of imperial power, is used to induce the stupidity of various degrees in the generality of the population. The most important such weapon of cultural warfare in modern European experience, has been a variant of the method used to induce the self-destruction of Athens by means of the Peloponnesian War, the same Delphic method of sophistry typical of Imperial Rome.
Science and Classical Culture
Hence, history teaches the witting and willing the vital political importance of a Classical scientific culture in the tradition of the Pythagoreans and Plato, in the struggle for securing human political freedom.
A Classical culture, meaning a general artistic and related culture which is congruent in characteristic mental behavior with a scientific culture in the Pythagorean tradition of the modern physical science of Cusa, Leonardo, Kepler, Leibniz, Gauss, and Riemann, is much more than merely a means for increasing man's physical power, per capita and per square kilometer, over inhabited territory. A commitment to such culture is a goal unto itself. The goal is to capture and retain a human identity, to secure an identity as a creature unlike that of the mere beasts.
Therefore, when we promote the study of physical science, our goal should not be merely a gain in man's physical power in the universe. Our goal is to affirm the nature of the human identity as a creature cast in the image of the Creator of the universe. Our goal is to locate our brief mortal existence in the great sweep from past into future of mankind, to be useful to mankind in what we contribute during the brief interval of mortal human life. As the New Testament parable emphasizes, our mortal life expresses our talent; therefore, when death claims our mortal selves, what has our talent contributed in service of the Creator's intention?
Therefore, that view of the needed culture of mankind, is the only goal which corresponds to human nature. The most important aspect of physical science, for example, is a clear understanding of the quality of knowledge which sets man above ape, the creative powers of mankind. Those creative powers are located in modalities which the ancient Pythagoreans identified by their use of the term dynamis. The mastery of that concept is indispensable for all, because it is knowledge of the difference in physical principle, the nature of man and woman assigned by Genesis 1, which sets the human individual apart from, and above the apes. It is to the degree that that insight shapes our conscience, that we will not submit, once again, to the cycles of depravity into which mankind has fallen with such seeming regularity in the past.
If for no other reason that we must know ourselves to be human, in that sense, we must, for example, mobilize a rescue of what threatens to become the immediate wasting of our two-thirds of the auto industry, for its other, urgently needed tasks.
"Why, then, shall we rescue that industry?"
"For no lesser motive, than that we know ourselves to be human."