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Tag Archives: population

No Longer A Superpower: Why Venice Went Into Decline

“IN the early 14th century, Venice was one of the richest cities in Europe. At the heart of its economy was the colleganza, a basic form of joint-stock company created to finance a single trade expedition. The brilliance of the colleganza was that it opened the economy to new entrants, allowing risk-taking entrepreneurs to share in the financial upside with the established businessmen who financed their merchant voyages.

Venice’s elites were the chief beneficiaries. Like all open economies, theirs was turbulent. Today, we think of social mobility as a good thing. But if you are on top, mobility also means competition. In 1315, when the Venetian city-state was at the height of its economic powers, the upper class acted to lock in its privileges, putting a formal stop to social mobility with the publication of the Libro d’Oro, or Book of Gold, an official register of the nobility. If you weren’t on it, you couldn’t join the ruling oligarchy.

The political shift, which had begun nearly two decades earlier, was so striking a change that the Venetians gave it a name: La Serrata, or the closure. It wasn’t long before the political Serrata became an economic one, too. Under the control of the oligarchs, Venice gradually cut off commercial opportunities for new entrants. Eventually, the colleganza was banned. The reigning elites were acting in their immediate self-interest, but in the longer term, La Serrata was the beginning of the end for them, and for Venetian prosperity more generally. By 1500, Venice’s population was smaller than it had been in 1330. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the rest of Europe grew, the city continued to shrink.”

LINK

Sir Macfarlane Burnet Recommended Use Of Biological Weapons Against High Population Asian Neighbors

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/03/09/1015365752044.html

World-famous microbiologist Sir Macfarlane Burnet, the Nobel prize winner revered as Australia’s greatest medical research scientist, secretly urged the government to develop biological weapons for use against Indonesia and other “overpopulated” countries of South-East Asia.

The revelation is contained in top-secret files declassified by the National Archives of Australia, despite resistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Sir Macfarlane recommended in a secret report in 1947 that biological and chemical weapons should be developed to target food crops and spread infectious diseases.

His key advisory role on biological warfare was uncovered by Canberra historian Philip Dorling in the National Archives in 1998.

The department initially blocked release of the material on the basis it would damage Australia’s international relations. Dr Dorling sought a review and the material was finally released to him late last year.

The files include a comprehensive memo Sir Macfarlane wrote for the Defence Department in 1947 in which he said Australia should develop biological weapons that would work in tropical Asia without spreading to Australia’s more temperate population centres.

“Specifically to the Australian situation, the most effective counter-offensive to threatened invasion by overpopulated Asiatic countries would be directed towards the destruction by biological or chemical means of tropical food crops and the dissemination of infectious disease capable of spreading in tropical but not under Australian conditions,” Sir Macfarlane said.

The Victorian-born immunologist, who headed the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, won the Nobel prize for medicine in 1960. He died in 1985 but his theories on immunity and “clonal selection” provided the basis for modern biotechnology and genetic engineering.

Its use has the tremendous advantage of not destroying the enemy’s industrial potential which can then be taken over intact.

Reversing Trends In Dysgenic Breeding

Awhile back, Giovanni posted the question, what if humans took a much care of their own genetics as they do dogs?

And then recently, Al Fin made yet another post on dysgenic breeding trends and the lowering of global IQ.

So, in the spirit of moving the debate forward I offer solutions for increasing children from more genetically fit parents and decreasing ones from those who aren’t.

To deal with the left half of the bell curve:

  • Create a project prevention on a larger scale. Offering them money, vouchers, or even booze would work effectively. If drugs were legalized, doubly so. People on the left side of the bell curve have extremely low executive function and very short future time orientation. Ultimately, I believe that such a program would have to have global reach. Every antibiotic resistant strain  of disease in Africa, can just as easily pass through the borders of developed countries and infect the local population via immigration. First world nations have tools to detect the existence of these problems, 3rd world ones don’t and won’t for the foreseable future. Africa should be on top of the list, as in some cases they start as epidemics there and move with the migrants.
  • Use TV as a propaganda tool. Excessive TV viewing tends to skew towards those on the left half of the bell curve of IQ and tend to be more violent. Obviously any preventative measure that gets people interested in things other than TV should be encouraged, however we should also coordinate social programs into TV programs. Overall TV has been shown to lower birthrates somewhat on it’s own, but the content method matters. Match the Sabido method, which has had some success in Mexico, and we’ll be off to a good start.
  • The third method involves increasing their per capita income, there is some correlation between more income and less children. It’s going to be extremely difficult to pull 5+ billion people up to our standard of living without them pulling some of the weight. Education programs have been tried with some good results, but large programs have also shown themselves to be open to fraudulent grading to game the system. Decentralized and cheaper education may help this trend somewhat.

On the other side of the bell curve, here are some suggestions for increasing the innovators:

  • Keep running with the decentralized/cheaper/free education trend. Education costs a lot, and it’s return on investment seems to be falling while it’s cost has been rising. It also somewhat inefficient, and therefore eats up extra early productive years. It acts as a safe haven where people can be sheltered from real life while appearing productive.
  • Right now families have a hard time getting enough money together to raise a family. I am hesitant to suggest a government program for (smaller) young families, but in this political/economic climate it might be the only way of getting it to work.
  • Most women put off having a family so that they can climb corporate/government ladders into a large corporate/government job. This is partially because these large structures must comply with affirmative action/discrimination laws. They usually end up in bureaucratic middle-management/support jobs, the types of training they get skew heavily towards these occupations. They tend to favor Public Administration, Education, Psychology and Health Services over STEM. The business degrees hasn’t changed their representation in the business world very much, many of those degrees are closer to secretarial/assistant positions.
  • If the economy dips into a deeper depression, it’s likely that many of these non-essential rolls that women fill will be cut. Employment is becoming much harder to hold on to, most jobs are being redefined so much that it’s very concept is mercurial. Men tend to be better at working with a large, shallow network of relations, whereas women work good with smaller, more intensive ones. If the trend towards technological decentralization and economic virtualization continues apace, women will likely find themselves working in smaller groups. This may provide them with a more stable, meaningful support network for raising children.
  • The economic depression, if it occurs, will provide many meaningful challenges that women in our culture have thus far lacked. It may be a good time to get rid of the dysfunctional attitudes of political correctness and start building a value system that works.

The Problem With The Israeli Economy

Officially, Israel’s unemployment rate is about 8%. But that doesn’t include Israeli citizens who are not trying to find work, either because they feel disenfranchised, such as many Arab Israelis, or because they’ve chosen a life of state-subsidized religious study, such as many ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Nearly 27% of Arab men and 65% of ultra-Orthodox Jews don’t work, government figures show. The non-employment rate for ultra-Orthodox men has tripled since 1970, Ben-David said. Link

Since it also has been traditional for most Haredi men not to work at making a living, but to devote themselves to religious studies, the political parties, often holding the balance of power in coalition governments, also became useful for extracting financial concessions from governments wanting to stay in power.

With a birthrate several times that of other Jewish Israelis, the Haredim have an average of 8.9 children per family and constitute more than 10 per cent of the population of seven million. Link

Youth gangs from the community of Sudanese and Eritrean refugees have in recent weeks been swamping Tel Aviv beaches and stealing bathers’ belongings, according to police. Most of the thefts have occurred on Tel Aviv’s major beaches. Authorities attribute the thefts to the increase in the number of refugees who have come to the city this year, and the lack of employment opportunities for them. Police say the stolen goods and money are sufficient for a day’s existence; they expect more such incidents to occur.

Eritrean and Sudanese refugees start arriving at the beach at noon, say police, especially to the strip between Jerusalem Beach and Mezizim/Peepers’ Beach. Some try to find day-labor jobs in the morning, but some who fail allegedly try to earn their daily keep by preying on beach-goers instead. Link h/t Aurini

Most ultra-Orthodox Jews lack the skills to work in a modern economy, having studied little or no math and science beyond primary school (their curriculum focuses almost entirely on religious texts such as the Torah and Talmud). As a result, more than 60 percent live below the poverty line, compared with 12 percent among non-Haredi Jews. Most also opt out of military service, which is compulsory for other Israelis. The net effect: as the Haredi community expands, the burden of both taxation and conscription falls on fewer and fewer Israelis.

According to pollsters, Haredim are consistently hawkish on the question of territorial compromise with the Palestinians, citing God’s covenant with Abraham granting Jews the land of Israel. Already the parties that represent them wield significant political power in Israel’s coalition-based system.

Link

How The Potato Changed European History

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