Ayn Rand’s novel ‘Atlas Shrugged‘ posited a world of socialistic irrationalism where the most astute entrepreneurs disappeared mysteriously. In the novel, the microcosm of the entrepreneur-less world was a place called ‘Starnesville’. It was in Starnesville that the ‘Robin Hood’ principles were¬†taken to their logical conclusions. Is the UK headed toward the decay and depravity of Starnesville?

 

The recent news that HSBC might move from London to Hong Kong got me thinking about Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and – in particular – Starnesville. There is a peculiar thing that goes on in this country; not only do the majority of people support socialistic fantasies, but they do not regard these fantasies as socialistic. Such are the consequences of the crowd’s tendency to pervert the meanings of words. Today (in the UK), one can argue vehemently for progressive taxation and still be regarded a capitalist!

 

continue reading »

Recent events in the Middle-East remind me of some insights from Carroll Quigley’s ‘Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in our Time’. Here, I explore current events in the context of very long-term changes in¬†civilizations.

 

As was described by Carrol Quigley, civilizations typically follow a certain path from their inceptions to their deaths. I quote his lucid description:

 

… each civilization is born in some inexplicable fashion and, after a slow start, enters a period of vigorous expansion, increasing its size and power, both internally and at the expense of its neighbors, until gradually a crisis of organization appears. When the crisis has passed and the civilization has been reorganized, it seems somewhat different. Its vigor and morale have weakened. It becomes stabilized and eventually stagnant. After a golden age of peace and prosperity, internal crises again arise. At this period there appears, for the first time, a moral and physical weakness which raises, also for the first time, questions about the civilization’s ability to defend itself against external enemies. Racked by internal struggles of a social and constitutional character, weakened by loss of faith in its older ideologies and by the challenge of newer ideas incompatible with its past nature, the civilization grows steadily weaker until it is submerged by outside enemies and eventually disappears.

 

continue reading »

An update of the daily treasury statement charts:

continue reading »