philosophy Societies

All Mass Societies Are Built on Coercion

To suppose coercion would go away without governments is foolish.  Those who rail against tax collection forget that if there were no large government, small governments would quickly take over.  Instead of paying taxes, we’d pay protection money to the local gangsters.  Then, over time, one gang would centralize power and eventually grow into a state that collects taxes. We’d be right back where we started.

One of the hard facts of being human is all our societies are founded on parasitism.  Since the foundation of agricultural settlements most people have lived in poverty while a small, dominant group extracted tribute from everyone else.
Before farming, there may not have been parasitism on the same scale, but those who got in the way of the strong were simply killed instead.
There’s never been a paradise because a tough grind with high attrition has always been the normal state of the natural world.  Humans are just another animal in the wild.

To change this state of affairs we’d have to transcend the trap of natural selection which thrives on scarcity and suffering to select ourselves instead.
Since transhumanism will remain science fiction for some time to come, it remains incumbent on anyone who wants to change anything to find ways to identify and enfranchise the best people and mitigate the damage done by the worst.
For the individual human, it is impossible to change the nature of billions of people, it is reasonable perhaps to form tribes of those with similar temperament and create within that sphere the world they wish to see, and that sphere finally formed, devise a means of its further transmission.

economics history

A Tale of Two Debtors: Britain and France After the American Revolution

By the 1780s, France and Britain had approximately the same debt after spending huge sums fighting over the American colonies.

One recovered and the other collapsed into revolution.

The difference was their systems of finance and taxation.

While the outstanding war debts may have been the same, the interest rates were not.

Bourbon France had to pay twice as much interest on its loans as did the British. And that made all the difference.

To begin with, the English system relied far more on indirect taxes and tariffs for its income.
The French system meanwhile focused on many direct taxes that ended up discouraging economic growth.

The result was that by the time of the French Revolution, England yielded more tax revenue despite having only 1/2 the population of France.

Britain and France were set apart most of all by their systems of credit.

England had relied on the world’s 1st national bank since 1694 to efficiently raise large long term loans. At the same time, new loans kept flowing and interest rates dropped because the English parliament had the power to consistently raise enough taxes. The stability of this system drew in a steady steam of further capital from Dutch investors.

The French crown on the other hand relied on a host of middle men—tax farmers, nobles, high ranked clergy, lenders, and merchants for loans, at high rates of interest.
Without a central source to consolidate its loans, the crown found itself struggling to raise money quickly, keep track of its loans, or pay interest.

Worse, in the French system of direct tax farming, it was more profitable to farm taxes and loan out advances than it was to start businesses and engage in productive industry.
The French system encouraged parasitic plunder while stifling real economic growth that would produce more wealth in the long run.
Wealth ended up being gradually drained from the economy even as the French national debt skyrocketed with each successive war…

Paraphrased and summarized from:

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
Paul Kennedy, 1987
Pages 76-86


UK public debt from National Bank founding to modern times


French Debt Until the French Revolution
French Debt Until The French Revolution