“A fast moving hurricane will have scant rainfall but its speed would be very high. A slow moving hurricane will have less wind speed but a heavy rainfall.” Strength of a man is in numbers. More the numbers are, his strength shall be bound by some rules so the weaker may get a little stronger. Success of Nations is in determining how much.
Posts Tagged ‘inversion principle’
Posted in economy, governance, Law, politics, tagged Abacus Federal Bank, Benny Thomas, Collateral consequences, criminality of poverty, Fannie May, finance, Holder memo, inversion principle, Matt Halibby, morality, Obama, the Clinton Administration, The Divide on May 22, 2014| 3 Comments »
In the City of God St. Augustine narrates an anecdote,( which in all probability was drawn from Cicero-de republica)), where Alexander the Great confronts a pirate. When that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, ‘What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.’ Augustine’s argument is that, in fact, the existence of justice is the only qualitative difference between legitimate and illegitimate coercive power: “Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies?”
Isn’t this anecdote relevant even these days?
Have you noticed how law is weighted in favor of majority than small in numbers? Let me give an example: the President of a nation with his superior numbers may invade a country and in the ensuing war the casualties mount. Is he hauled before the law of the land and tried as a warmonger? On the other hand a man gets into a brawl after drinking one too many and kills one. Do you think he shall escape the law because of he was drunk? The President whose rhetorics led to a war situation and after so many provocations ratcheting between the two states, shall become all the more laudable despite the deaths of some 20, 000 deaths. He may even win a second term for the many advantages of war being added to the Treasury of the State. He may retire with the aura of a statesman. Not so with the individual who killed another one in a drunken stupor. Certainly he shall be squeezed dry in the rigmarole of legalities that face him and its trauma haunt him for the rest of his life.
Now we see similar situation in the world of finance. One of the few things not in dispute in the criminal case against Abacus Federal Savings Bank is that it began with a mortgage closing on Friday, Dec. 11, 2009, for a two-family home in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn.
On May 31 of 2012, the Manhattan district attorney’s office announced criminal charges against the bank and 19 former employees, some facing up to 25 years in prison. “Mortgage fraud became institutionalized at Abacus Bank,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said at a news conference. Abacus, like many banks, had sold its loans to Fannie Mae (FNMA), taking the proceeds and lending them back out to earn more interest. The huge government-backed company in turn bundled those mortgages into securities it sold to investors. Abacus lied about applicants, Vance charged, because otherwise its loans wouldn’t have met Fannie Mae’s income requirements, and the bank depended on Fannie’s money for a significant chunk of its profit.(bloomberg businessweek of Jan 31,2013/drake bennet)
But why was that bank prosecuted and why was Goldman Sachs or Chase not prosecuted? Legal authorities consider it not feasible to go after companies of a certain size, while Abacus is a small fry and easier to succeed if they threw the book at them. While it may be more satisfying to go after the bigger companies, to quote a SEC commissioner who talked about “shot selection,” like in basketball, bureaucracies go for the baskets with the greatest chance of scoring.
It’s not just about poor people. The agencies hesitate before they decide to proceed against a well-heeled, well-defended company [against which] they’re going to have to fight for years and years and years just to get the case in court.
This situation isn’t anything new. It goes back to the Clinton years: Clinton signs on to welfare reform, Clinton and the Democrats begin to court the financial services sector and begin to adopt deregulatory policies.
So now you have political consensus in both parties on both issues; both have the same approach to poverty, to people at the bottom, and they have the same approach to enforcement. And so what begins as deregulation of Wall Street concludes, ultimately, in potentially non-enforcement of crime; and what begins as being “tougher” on welfare cheats in the ’90s, and being tougher on the whole process of giving out benefits, devolves into something pretty close to the criminalization of poverty itself … And that’s just something that happens naturally when you have a political consensus, which is what we have now.
Holder, as deputy attorney general in the Clinton years, outlined what was actually sort of a “get tough on crime” document. He gave prosecutors all these tools to go after big corporations. But, at the bottom [of the memo], he outlined this policy called “collateral consequences,” which was — all it really said was, if you’re a prosecutor and you’re going after a big corporation that employs a lot of people, and you’re worried about innocent victims, you can seek other remedies. Instead of criminally prosecuting, you can do a deferred prosecution agreement, a non-prosecution agreement or, especially, you can levy fines.
When he wrote that, it was nearly a decade before the too-big-to-fail era, but when he came back to office [as Obama’s attorney general], this idea, which initially had been completely ignored becomes the law of the land now, insofar as these systemically important institutions are concerned.
Consequently the agencies think about collateral consequences before they go against companies like HSBC and UBS because they’re worried about what the impact might be on the world economy.
What’s interesting about it is that this idea suddenly matches this thing that happened with our economy where we have the collapse of the economy in 2008, [and] instead of breaking up these bad companies, we merged them together and made them bigger and more dangerous. Now they’re even more unprosecutable than before, now this collateral consequences idea is even more applicable. And that’s the reality we live in now; it’s just this world where if you can commit an offense within the auspices of a company like that, the resolution won’t be a criminal resolution, it will be something else.(‘It’s total moral surrender’/Matt Talibbi from his book The Divide/interview with Salon/Elias Isquith)
In 1928 at Neidenburg in the East at the local elections Nazis got only 2.3% of the votes cast. After the Great Depression the Nazis did not have a party office there. Neither did Hitler visit the place to drum up support. By 1933 the Nazi party got 53 % in Germany( actual figures I cannot vouch for.I am quoting this secondhand-b).
Nazi Manifesto was still the same as at the time of its founding and in 1933. People in Germany were dejected with the economy and disruptive Communists were for rejecting democracy. In such a flux energy of each German was in ferment and was ready for taking.
Energy of individual is in full flow when he sells himself to an idea. Look at the post-war Germany what with the hyperinflation and political chaos man on the street was waiting for one father figure who would guide him out of the woods. Defeated and humiliated German had already sold to fall in and Adolf Hitler seized the chance. Having got so much energy from so many Hitler like the Piedpiper of Hamelin led Germany to ruin.
Integration principle shows the pernicious influence of Nazi cult surviving even though National Socialism as a political movement was finished. Its evil has worked its way into the pores of the national life. Neo-Nazis for example.
Here are two principles at work:
How come the first Woodstock festival was a roaring success while the second music-fest was a colorless affair?The natural outgrowth of social changes of 69 was energy that each participant brought there. It is like a flash flood that made a path upturning the whole social landscape. The youth had laid claim to have a say in their destiny that let old fogeys who represented the Establishment give in. Eastern philosophy, music and a new moral order that experimented with multiple lifestyle choices connected to give the social changes its structure. It was natural while the music fest at the Woodstock 30 years later was organized. The first demonstrated Integration principle in creating something new from many influences already in flow.
A similar phenomena we see in the founding of the Church. When John the baptist began his ministry people were agog with expectation. Coming of Messiah had gripped all. Similarly there was a great gathering on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem and all those who were there because their master had promised them an outpouring witnessed something extraordinary. Holy Spirit came down in many tongues.
A Church that is organized is like a man with an idea seeking counsel from PR man. He simply kills the spontaneous fire in his soul to get so many on the bandwagon! It happened to Christianity where the Church of Rome became a power unto itself. The originality of the teachings of Jesus became diluted with passage of time. Within the first fifty years the Early Church was busy wrestling with the question of how best it could reconcile the gentile and Jewish converts into its hold.
Integration principle must trade off with Inversion principle.
Posted in selections, tagged Benny Thomas, Classical Greece, conjugation principle, inversion principle, mass education, public taste, state funded entertainment, The Life of Aesop, theater on January 8, 2013| Leave a Comment »
“A tragic poet had his play put up before the boards. He watched a tragic actor who was required to wear thick shoes and tall wigs. Since it was his play and knew the effect he wanted from him he explained his entry called for a subtle approach. The much harried actor said when he came in such thick shoes it was a wonder he did not fall over. “So I need a cane to support myself. How much more subtlety you intend to put into my cane?”
Another time a comic actor who did not impress his audience with his witticisms asked the public, “You get two obols worth of seat, free from the city. The least you could do is show some appreciation of that?”
Dramatists of yore wrote as they often said, as inspired by gods. The audience lapped it up and said they were enlightened and taken to a higher sphere as a result. Aesop was shrewd to note how the relationship between the writer and his audience went a shift over the years. It was progress that Aesop thought as natural. The audience became enlightened with so many plays that they attended in civic pride and it made them arbiters as well. Gradually it was the taste of man on the street that decided the kind of plays that were to be staged. Not the poet, not the muse but the uncouth rabble set the trend. It was the masses that in the end beat the system.” (selected-Ch.11.6 pp.203)
Here we see two principles at work. Mass education enabled them to understand the nuances of the play and consequently judge the dramatists as their peers. Inversion principle gave the masses the power to determine what kind of plays they wanted to see. Dramatists had to write plays to cater to their tastes or go out of fashion. Public taste was not inspired by gods but by social realities of the day. Conjugation principle gave their taste its vitality and not from exalted imagination of dramatists.
When Libya’s dictator for more than four decades fell victim to the Arab Spring, Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s influence didn’t end. It is now contributing to increased attacks by rebel groups, the arming of terrorists and a hunger crisis in other parts of Africa.
“This is a setback for the international community which has invested so much money in the past decade in democracy, peace, and security in Africa,” said Dr. Mehari Taddele Maru at the Institute for Security Studies based in Pretoria, South Africa.
After Gadhafi’s fall, thousands of his soldiers left the country with stockpiles of weapons, including machine guns, ammunition, and shoulder-fired missiles. Maru says at least 2,000 of them were mercenaries who returned to their native countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Nigeria. . Many have already returned to fighting.
In the West African country of Mali, when ethnic Taureg fighters returned from Libya well armed, it encouraged Taureg separatists to launch a new rebellion against the government in January. While Gadhafi’s weapons were no match for the NATO forces that came to the rescue of Libyan revolutionaries, they were far superior to the weapons of the impoverished Malian army. A mutiny by Mali’s out-gunned and frustrated soldiers turned into a coup d’etat when they stormed the Presidential Palace in March, erasing more than two decades of democratic rule.
In the chaos that has ensued after the coup, Taureg separatists in Mali have had more success than ever before. On Sunday they seized the last government holdout in the north, the legendary town of Timbuktu. There is now concern a Taureg victory in Mali could inspire another rebellion in neighboring Niger.
“The Tauregs in Niger got funding from Gadhafi. The government of Niger has been able to negotiate with them for peace, but for how long? That is questionable,” said Maru.
Gadhafi’s fighters and weapons also streamed into other nearby countries in the Sahel region bordering the Sahara desert. It is an area where a major Al-Qaeda affiliate has announced it acquired thousands of Gadhafi’s weapons.( Abc News of April3,2012)
This is a classic example of Cluster Principle I wrote in a number of posts in the past. West helping the rebels was part self interest, part idealism and in keeping with democratic traditions of the west. But it often cuts into the interests of the west ( as in the case of Iraq) and it underpins inversion principle. Cluster principle explains how this is brought about.
Long ago a traveler on arriving in El Dorado went to the king to pay his respects. The king was pleased and asked if he could help increase his revenues. He promised a share of it.
The stranger said he knew a way.
The king asked,’ How?’
The traveler said,” Taxes”.
The king liked the idea so much that he made him straightaway his finance minister. The man settled down in that land and amassed in course of time so much wealth.
The king died and a new king who came in found tax a convenient way to make money. The new king was very particular of doing everything strictly within the law. Thus he made it a law that all ministers who were till then exempted from paying taxes to pay up.
“ My ministers ought to set an example and serve the tax paying public.” The king insisted.
The ministers were given great many titles but their wealth were confiscated by way of tax, ‘Tax on titles’ it was called; The king had made a law of modernizing laws of the kingdom. It meant more taxes that left none.
Here we see the inversion principle.
* How keen are parents to see their infant walk for the first time! They take pride that their offspring can stand on its own and is normal like every other. That very moment also marks the beginning that child shall go its own way. It is only a matter of time.
Inversion Principle states that “ energy used by man in following a course of action will make its own motion,- that notwithstanding whatever success he may have had in making its impact on others, its backdraft will strike at the interests he represent.”
Posted in history, tagged ayans, Cluster principle, inversion principle, Osman Gazi, Ottoman Empire, sharia, Sick Man of Europe, Turkish emirate, İbrahim Müteferrika on December 3, 2011| Leave a Comment »
The role of religion in the political history of the Ottoman Empire is discussed here.
If one examines the rise and fall of Islamic Empires, one finds the same old stuff in the case of their history. These had a beginning a middle part and end. Timurid Empire died a quick death after Timurleng’s demise while the Ottomans suffered a lingering death after Suleiman the Magnificent left the fate of his empire to the harem politics. No dynasties could prevent the march of events and their bad governance reverberate even to this day. The Arab spring perhaps may prove a change in the muddled state of affairs.
Let us examine the course run by the Ottoman Empire. It was melded out a number of Turkish principalities, or emirates, many of which were led by gazi warriors. Out of a gradual collapse of central authority in Asia Minor rose one such warrior, Osman Gazi. His small emirate was closer geographically to the Byzantine Empire than any other, and thus he had many chances to prove his abilities as a gazi warrior against them. His continuous forays proved successful which brought other gazis from neighbouring emirates to take part in these victories and obtain their share of the spoils. Plunder was their motive and sword their language. Their political wisdom did not go beyond the power that they could wield over their subjects. In 1301, with the victory of the Ottomans over the Byzantines at Nicaea, the former Byzantine capital, the Ottoman emirate established itself as a powerful military force.
The Ottoman Empire reached its peak by 1600, after which time it fell into a gradual decline, as a result of both internal disorganisation and pressure from its external foes in Europe and Asia. Inversion principle points to the fact: greater speed with which they annexed territories seeds of its destruction grew at faster rate. Power was surrounded by self interest and corruption which the interest groups could exert.
No dynasty can survive in a vacuum or on faith alone. Their religious law called sharia (TR: şeriat) was supplemented by royal ordinances and customary law and such governance stood in contrary to the wishes of subjects who were Greek Orthodox Christians, Armenian Gregorian Christians and Jews. The millet system of communal self-government gave the Ottoman state a multi-ethnic character but the rise of nationalism swept through many countries in the period after the French Revolution put pressure on the Ottoman Empire.
The state would gradually lose its control over the Empire’s territories. On one hand, Ottomans were forced to allow the European powers to intervene on behalf of the Empire’s Christian subjects, which meant increasing foreign influence on Ottoman internal affairs, and on the other hand, in a time when feudalism was weakening elsewhere, the Ottoman Empire saw the rise of local ruling notables, called ayan, in the provinces. These local rules were able to exercise almost absolute authority, collecting taxes for themselves, thus depriving the Imperial Treasury of an important financial source. The Cluster principle explains the various power centers that flexed their muscle- and the ayans were power within the imperial power while clerics had their own interests to follow.
It was the people, of all ethnic and religious groups, who suffered most. Their situation worsened by a large population growth in 16th and 17th centuries accompanied by a decline in food production. Landless peasants began to flee to the cities in the hope of making a living. Those remaining in the countryside joined rebel bands, which further weakened the central governments power in the provinces.
The Ottoman rulers failed to identify the real causes of the decline, since they were completely isolated from developments outside. European powers were exercising mercantilist policies promoting local productivity and favouring a national bourgeoisie. They were advancing in industry, science, technology as well as political and military organization. The powers that be were lulled into inertia by interest groups who saw little need to change the status quo from which they were benefiting.
How backward were they can be judged from the following fact: it was not until 1727, three centuries after Johannes Gutenberg, that the first printing press was set up in Istanbul by a Hungarian convert called İbrahim Müteferrika.
There were some attempts at reforms which were done to change the traditional Ottoman system based on theocratic principles to that of a modern state. However, they reforms did not manage to reverse the decline of the Empire. Yavuz wrote: “The reformers were handicapped by a lack of sources and trained staff, besides a tough opposition by conservatives who argued that the reformers were destroying the Empire’s fundamental Islamic character by following the Western modes”.
Do we not hear the same arguments even these days? Libya has got rid of one dictator for another? There is a talk that liberated Libya must follow Sharia law. For whose benefit, for the good of the people or for those who fatten themselves on religion?