Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Anniversary

Russian people under socialism encapsulated their position with.

"They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work"

A Chinese under post Mao "socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics". might say

"They direct a play, "The Market", we pretend to act within it"

Mao spawned great things. One is the New China. Can it evolve without revolution.

The more I know China the more I love and understand Mao Tse Tung thought and the mistakes he was drawn into in its practice. Mao was a truly great thinker. He had a gargantuan task, to overthrow the restrictive excesses of 5000+ years of a Chinese way of being.

"A Dream of Red Mansions" chart the terminal throws of its cycle we call it in the UK "clogs to clogs in three generation". This is the essence of Pearl Buck's "The Good Earth". This charts a family's decline, an other's rise in this cycle lasting 5000+ years.

Mao, with Chou, struggled to end it. The forces driving it run very very deep in the Chinese psyche. New age Gong Zhang Dang's inherit this. Mao's Autumn being their Spring.

Ba Jin (巴金) in "Family (家)", "Spring(春)", and "Autumn (秋)" charted the process that led to China's long hard Winter on the way to the New China. Mao ended this winter in 1949. His inheritors with the one child policy can exorcise the crushing influence of family on Chinese development.

Hope exists. A generation can be born in an unending summer freed by Maoist thought and "market socialism with Chinese characteristics" from the forces of frozen familial futures.

Let tomorrows children be players not actors in the global game unfolding on The Way(道)

A Letter to the Phillippines

Princess Venture Enterprises

Together you and I are on the Way(道). In the current era this can bring an end to conflict, revolution and hegemony. It is this end we symbolize. My life was in NATO working against enemies, now gone, yours on the Pacific Rim struggling to end a hegemony now gone. Where now is the Way(道)?

We in the end game of our lives seek evolutionary harmony, he (和), in now uncontested spheres of influence of West on East and East on West, discarded segments of what is one sphere, our planet. In this conscious systemic evolutionary harmony, he (和), is now the essence of mans survival on the Way(道). Not the irony (同一个世界同一个梦想) of one world one dream (vain hope) of the Chinese Olympics but 同一个世界同一个做梦 but one world having one dream of the Martin Luther King variety as manifest in Obama.

There is a category error in human reasoning. Categories are helpful. They aid understanding but danger lurks in seeing “yin” (阴) and “yang” (阳) as alternatives systems instead of distinct part of ONE process. Profound Chinese philosophy sees this, people see structure not the processes their mind’s eye can create.

With this error ones talks of sub-systems un-systemically as systems when there is only one. Lao Tse called it "the way"(道). Newton called it the heavens. Einstein called it the universe. A correct understanding of its processes leads as Mao rightly conceived, to a need for continuous revolution. Evolutionary harmony requires these to be many and small.

The USA attempts this dominance of yang(阳) over yin(阴) and fails. Fecund errors propagate easily in such free environments producing systemic crisis, 1926, 2009. Flow in any undefined uniformity, a river delta, creates a need for a continuous flow of new flexible channels to guide it.

Such understanding leads to, the “Yi Ching” (易经), focused on the process, “evolution”, not the forms, local to time and place, it creates to enable it to stay on “the way” (道) it cannot leave.

Yin (阴) and yang(阳) are not alternatives but part of the one Way(道) Smooth Evolution requires balance between them. Without this sudden change, revolution, is inevitable to repair “the way” (道) This will happen with or without conscious human intervention. Chinese philosophy recognizes that socially true “he” (和) can avoid such revolution but the neo-Confucian thought of Zu Chi (朱熹) as captured by emperors and farmers was used to sustain their way at the expense of the way competitive technology can modulate business. This domination of yin(阴) over yang(阳) made Ci Xi (慈禧) and the Chinese revolutions that followed inevitable. For balance “The Way” (道) required Western yang(阳) to dominate for a time.

Our job is to find true he (和) as a balance between the processes of the East, with 阳dominant, and West with 阴dominant. Victory of one over the other as seen above is disastrous. Creative dynamic harmony between man and nature requires inclusivity not just of East and West but of Islam and the Spanish speaking world the Philippines encapsulates. For “one world to have one dream” the Philippines must flourish in more than its people.

A truly global University, as we at Nottingham aspires to be, can perhaps assist this.

Dr Brian Hilton, 岵屯来恩(博士)
Associate Professor of International Business,
Nottingham University Business School, NINGBO, China

Saturday, September 26, 2009


just a signal that i have not given up and am on the search for new material. i will blog properly again within the week and maybe even later today


岵(hu)屯(tun)来 (lai)恩(en

in Chinese "hu" is a wooded hill and "tun" is a place where soldiers are stationed, a very small administrative unit of living perhaps like a village maybe a small town and lai means "comes" and en means "kindness" a name I share with Chou En Lai a man and a sentiment that was his life and i hope is now mine.

Brian Hilton

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Reflections from a Day in Beijing

Today was and will remain significant to me. It was a wake-up call to arms in my own war to develop intellectually stimulating relevant ideas.

I hope the price of my learning was not excessively high.

I was confronted in Beijing with a pessimistic if realistic world view. This was important to me. It underlines my view that most human activity is driven by belief not reality. The current world crisis like all crisis of a similar "financial" nature is one of human beings confidence in their own beliefs. It has nothing whatsoever to do with any underlying change in human needs, wants and capabilities. The real economy today is no different now than it was a year ago though our confidence in it has been significantly undermined. The consequence is that without belief in it, it does not work.

The recent G20 suggests we humanity are learning how to organize collectively to constructively prevent our lack of confidence in our self belief being undermined for an inconveniently long period. Hopefully this will work on this occasion. It can perhaps, as did Bretton Woods, provide a means of sustaining significant self belief over time without resort to religion.

China's current strength, as was Britain's in the 19th Century, an irrational but sustained confidence in its capacity and will to prevail over all tribulations put in its path. You just have to see the "irrational" public buildings put up in the 19th Century in Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds etc to see this and compare them with the irrational "unrealistic" building going on in Beijing yesterday. The Beijing Olympics personified this as does the fact that over 25% of the residential property constructed here remains empty on completion - I have a researcher working on this phenomena as I write.

The Chinese have now built the longest bridge in the world, plan the tallest building, and the longest high altitude railway etc, the superlatives go on. They do this for similar reasons to those prevailing in 19th Century Britain. These beliefs were so powerful that they even managed to echo downwards into my education and lifetime in Great Britain in terms of us Brits being able to "punch above our weight". Of course this conceptually sells the pass. It does did however keep us in a game despite the "reality" that we are now largely irrelevant players.

It is in feelings of irrelevance, perceived or potentially perceivable, that danger lies. If one's life has no prospect of meaning except through belief then in death for that belief your life has meaning. Persecution for such beliefs heightens the value of such a death. Aggressive police action to suppress the holders of such beliefs is thus perversely the best way to spread their power.

Action providing hope of personal redemption through another route to meaning can succeed. My own take on Northern Ireland is that by finding a way of helping provide such belief for the growing Catholic majority we the Brits succeeded in assisting peace to begin to evolve there. Peace did not proceed out of the 1st World War. It ended with the victors depriving the Germans of all hope of economic or social redemption. World War IIs aftermath was different. Marshall Aid, Bretton Woods and the generosity of the US to its two main defeated enemies changed the game fundamentally.

I believe we need to give Islam and Israel a route to such redemption. I believe this is possible but as it is not yet in place. It cannot be constructed quickly. In the meantime we can at best deploy the kind of life skills you personally have developed to a work to meliorate the consequences. Unfortunately as you know, as did Pontecorvo, most people involved in the “engranage”, that can be your business, in Israel, the US, China, Iran and China do not see it that way. They can and do act in a manner that spreads, rather than dissipates, the consequences of the anomie that leads onto “engranage”. Your personal approach I know and see acts to attenuate the consequences of some people's lack of confidence in their own capacity to provide meaning for their lives except through death, their own and that of others.

Some seem heavily engaged at the tactical level in this battle. They like Shang and the other Chinese legalists are for destroying the enemy as they present. This is their way to meaning and social harmony – it worked in Japan and for a time in China under the Chin.
Others are deeply engaged at the operational level. They arguably have had lives with no mean level of success, with a number of key parts of the game, in Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Grenada and the Balkans.

On the other hand I have chosen to stand on the sidelines of our planet’s part in this great universal game. I choose to think and write about it.

Hopefully, in the end this may assist, the "evolutionary development" of a strategy humanity might use to continue to survive in it. My meaning is found in a small hope that this might be so and humanity can thus survive to continue to play a constructive part in the resolution of our segment of the great universal game existence presents to us. We of course are playing an unbelievably irrelevant small part but we humanity have the capacity to maintain a huge "hubritic" perception of our significance to the process.

Belief is in the end is everything. This can be good.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Neo-classicists and the Neocons are not Economists but Phsyicist and Mathematicians Lost in the Maze of the Real Economy

I am an economist and a mathematician turned business studies lecturer because my subject was invaded by failed physicists and mathematicians who new and understood nothing about the economy, economics or its traditions. For a well crafted detailed indictment of what they have done and why they were always wrong and why they have all failed now read Mirkowski's "More Heat than Light".

All these so called economist from Debreu on, Nobel for his 'The Theory of Value', knew nothing whatsoever about the economy or economics. Debreu himself said on many occasions that he was not an economist. His Nobel prize winning work is a well crafted piece of differential topology, an existence theorem, to prove a solution exists to Walras' hypothesis, of a hundred years previously that prices could adjust by a process of trial and error, 'tattonement', to converge to a General Equilibrium - a set of prices such that that all markets cleared, i.e. supply equaled demand in every market.

His work is a beautiful demonstration of the wrongness not the rightness of General Equilibrium Theory and the Neo-Classical Economics that has now so catastrophically failed us. It is in fact a proof of what utter nonsense this perspective is. He shows that for General Equilibrium to be possible. There needs to be a set of markets defined over a complete, differentiable measure space defined over all time from the day of Genesis, the Big Bang, to the Present for all goods each of which must exist at all points of continuous time and between all points of time for this result to hold. His mathematics is beautiful but what arrant nonsense as economics.

For General Equilibrium to Exist even as an aspiration the universe has to be in stasis for eternity. Beautiful math that proves that economics based on the idea of tattonement leading in the limit to General Equilibrium is complete and utter nonsense. Instead his success with his Nobel acclamation charted a route that other followed in the Journal of Economic Theory, etc.

Marshal, the First Professor of Economics at Cambridge and Lord Keynes a successor were both excellent mathematicians, Keynes wrote a well respected treatise on probability theory but math never ever appeared in their published works in economics although it is clear they used it to discipline their thinking about the real economy, that especially Keynes practically knew so well. Keynes became very rich as did his College from his understanding of the stock market. Note that David Ricardo the second great economist, after Adam Smith, became very rich too from playing the markets in the early 19th Century - his father threw him out at 26 because he married a gentile. He retired to write around ten years later on what he made trading bonds on the London market.

Keynes summed it up in his General Theory to paraphrase "it is impossible to keep all necessary partial differentials you are holding constant at the back of your head when solving an economics problem" The relatively stable environment it is possible to create in physics both as a thought experiment and in the laboratory is simply non-existent in economics. Politics, society, human psychology and the natural environment co-evolve in a complex way with economic change such that it is impossible to truly keep track of where we are using mathematical formalism. The tradition of economics was to except the impossibility of uselessly formalizing the formalism you might choose to discipline your thinking in the background but which Debreu proves and Keynes recently vindicated "General Theory" demonstrates tend to obfuscate the economics.

Economics was a great discipline but we have now got to accept it has been wrong headed in its driving mentality for the last half century and seek other ways to pursue the study of the economy consonant with the traditions that died with Hicks Pigou and Schumpter and has not yet died in the person of Paul Samuelson whose beautifully crafted piece on Economic Analysis makes two things very clear. One if you cannot explain it to a wife uneducated in economics it is definitely bad economics and if anyway comparative static analysis which the General Equilibrium people revel in is only a tiny tiny part of the economics discipline which needs to embrace dynamics,in smooth, stochastic and historic spaces where completeness, differentiability and ceteris parabus writs do not run.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Evolutionary Development of Mutuality in Hubris of Fundamentalist Christian Creationist & Naive Darwinian Evolutionary Dice Players

I feel obliged to write. I have already blogged about the consistency of evolutionary theory and intelligent design. In my view they are totally compatible with each other despite the rabid positions taken on this debate by both sides.

That the universe was created complete in "six days" can hardly be a reason for dispute. The "big bang" people probably think that 6 days is too long but as a day had no meaning before their was an earth to go round the sun and spin on its axis that is hardly a big issue.

It was indeed seen as "Good". All the evidence is that the system that came into being in this very short space of time came with the complete blueprint for stars, galaxies, the milkyway, the solar system and all "goods" creatures including the, rose, horse and man as well as that slowly manifesting being Gaia of which we are a small but integral part. As Teilhard du Chardin, the great Belgium priest and scholar of divinity and philosophy maintained we are manifested in this universe as part of the goods "global consciousness"

Those who say the PROCESS that came into being at the creation of the universe as entirely random are mathematically and scientifically wrong headed, no evidence supporting their view is sustainable on the evidence. The very short timescales observable for speciation are far too short for their theories of randomness to be sustainable. Anyway it is well documented that randomness is a manifestation of our perceptual ignorance not some universal truth about reality. It is true we are unable to identify the patterns in the 'good'. Generallywe try to see it on time scales where the unfolding blueprint of the 'good' is not immediately manifest in observable outcomes.

Those who take the design position choose at one level to ignore the 'good's' PROCESS and see it as complete at its point of manifestation. In doing so they inconsistently chose to ignore the history of the ongoing PROCESS so integral to their beliefs.

Christ they argue was born and died to help us right the wrong of "original sin" and our casting out from access to the bounty naturally provided complete to us by the"good's" PROCESS on this planet - "look at the lilies of the field" etc.

The process of evolutionary development as set out in the Old Testament illustrate the dangers of humanity's huge capacity to indulge in hubris. We not only left the Garden of Eden we set out to systematically and ruthlessly destroy every manifestation of it with the ultimate hubris of the "peaceful" farmers who with their tools and weapons turned most of the "goods" plants into weeds to be eradicated, its creatures into vermin to be destroyed and our own kind into enemies to be killed. The Old Testament makes manifest the consequences of all this.

Christ in the New Testament provided a means for us to begin to undo "original" sin, seek the 'goods' forgiveness and forgive others their perceived transgressions against us, "judge not that ye be judged" Of course Christ did not dispel hubris he only gave as a means to seek the "goods" forgiveness for our wanton destruction of its bounty. In doing so our hubris took this as a license to start a new period of human evolution which is only to end with a Day of Judgment to be meted out by the good.

In this modern period our hubris knew no evident bounds. manifest to its worse degree in the deep, black and evil hypocrisy of so called 'believers' in the Good and Christ. They choose to use the Good and Christ's New Testament as grounds to destroy and or kill others sure in their belief that their actions will be forgiven by the Good at the Day of the Good's Judgement which we acknowledge will surely come but will it end in tears or joy and for whom?

Such unbound hubris produced the enlightenment and the modern age. In this we have not just been content to eliminate the good's living plants and creatures but in this modern age to systematically exhume the dead of the goods PROCESS and burn and consume its dead in such huge and unsustainable quantities that this is accelerating our approach to the Good's Day of Judgment.

We are just beginning to be able to see this reality. Some are truly preparing for that day. The only danger remaining comes from the hypocritical hubris of farmers and modernists, i. e. creationist believers and evolutionary dice playing non-believers. One can only hope that the good, with Christ's help, may still save us from the dangerous hubris of both. Their self indulgent sustained efforts at maintaining there respective manifest ignorance of the 'good's' creation may unfortunately result in us becoming redundant to the achievement of the evolutionary ends it created. Instead of being forgiven at the Day of Judgment we may instead be confined in Toto to the pit. Lets hope and pray not.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Falicy of Organizational Heirarchy: the Evolution of Self Organization

I think there is a fatal flaw in the argument that some make that organizational heirarchy is needed or that it even exists.

These arguments often start with a presumption that the human corpus is centrally controlled. This is simply inaccurate. Stafford Beer many years ago in “The Brain of the Firm” used the human brain as an analogy appropriate in considering the “managerial cybernetics”, the organization, of enterprise.

The whole point of his credo and his analysis is that the human or nay brain is very very far from being a centralized directive and controlling system. In a very real and practical sense 70% plus of its operations are entirely decentralized to autonomous systems that keep our heart beating, our lungs working, our food being digested or rejected and our bodies repaired with no reference whatsoever to any central authority.

Even at the level of the cerebral cortex and the other “higher levels” of our central nervous system’s behaviour decision making is NEVER centrally directed or controlled. It emerges as a consequence of a self organizing process. In it “good and evil” in a myriad shades of gray fight for dominance over every minute outcome we seek or need to achieve. Most of the activity involved is sublimible. It is located in our unconscious not our conscious mind - we are lazy, energetic, sexually aroused or positive about things not as a result of rationale logical decisive cetnrally directeed thought but as a result of stuff welling up from a heaving morass of unconscious neural activity guided by past experience and fearful of irrational expectatios as to possible outcomes unrelated to the immediate stimuluses we have constructed a belief that we are reacting to - behaviour is the result of learning and is not not enacted inthe moment.

To top all of this our central nervous system is emmersed in a chemical bath, our body and the things it senses which have a continuous but unseen impact on what we like to call our state of mind. This chemical matrix has a huge impact on our choices. Hormones determine huge ammounts of our behaviour as do other less evident factors such as the amount of oxygen and many other chemicals in our blood.

This is an organization it is true and organization that is necessary but it is anything but centrally directed or even really heiracrchical. It is a self organizing network of semi-autonomous but interconnected systems that embraces external social institutions and societies as wella s our bodies and none of which has any truly evident part in directing the actions of the whole.

Lao Tze in the Tao de Ching saw the best leaders as those we were not aware of because they empower as so effectively that we believe in our own capacity to act and decided effectively using our mind and the institutions and societies we can effect. The search for the myth of leadership and or the necessity for central direction is surely that a myth an other philosopher's stone.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Money Illusion and Hubris

I must keep up the pace. That is of writing. I have not heard from Susan for sometime. Why? Nor come to think of it my daughter. I wonder what is going on over there in the UK. It is interesting how one adapts. We are special. Yet we are not. We are human.

China or at least this little bit of England in its vastness, Nottingham University, is simply great. My students are the best I have ever had. They absorb knowledge and understanding like it is food and drink. Maybe to the Chinese consciousness come to think of it , it is.

These little pension funds, my students, are without doubt seem now to be a lot better investment than those pension funds insurance companies and blue chip public companies to which those in the West had confined their hopes. These are taking a hammering. Knowledge can never depreciate even if the value we choose to allocate to it does. In this its value is no different to that of the financial instruments apparently loosing their value at the moment.

It will be interesting to see a year from now whither the global downturn in confidence seeps into this market. It may. Times are hard but only in our minds. This must be remembered.

Money and finance are a social illusion that depend entirely on belief not reality. Things have more or less value simply because we believe them to be. The McKinsey Quarterly has just published a paper that tells us this although that was not its intent.

The paper to which I refer demonstrates that the distribution of companies in an industry follows a power curve not a normal distribution. The big get bigger and more successful and then there are the rest clustered way down the power curve. Success breeds success. To me this is unsurprising.

In THIS POST MODERN WORLD value is determined as much by belief as by objective reality. Modern banks from the dawn of their existence worked on a lie and a deception. They were where the gold was. People "knew" One could alway ask them for our money and get it provided everyone else did not at the same time and they never did as long as we believed it was there which it was not.

Certificates of gold deposit were for our convenience treated as if they were gold because this served the human social purpose. This was so and is so even more today when they do not have gold at all. In the past they never held much more than 10% of the gold their bits of paper said they had. Their certificates of deposit were money. Such was money such is money and such will be money. An illusion born out of convience. Despite the recent crisis this remains so. The houses on which the so called subprime mortages were raised still exist unlike the gold that formed the base from which banks were constucted. People still need to live in them and pay their rents. The crisis(?) what crisis.

Value is a convenient lucrative illusion we human beings create for our convenience. We believe in the illusion and it works for us. We cease to believe in the illusion and it will not.

The solution to the current crisis is for us to rekindle our belief in value. Things will be valuable if we believe they are. waht is the value of the gold that started all this other than belief its utilitarian purposes are almost non-existent other than as a foil to our capacity to believe.

We do not really need a bunch of politicians to convince us that everything is OK. It is OK if we choose to believe it is. I suppose to give them their due our politician's job is to help as re-find our belief in what we have to believe in ourselves. If we want to we can just do it with out their assistance ourselves. What people, us, choose to consider valuable, do-able and worthwhile is valuable, will be done and is worthwhile. We only have to believe.

In this we are God. What we conceive was, is and will be.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Letter from America

Dear Ern,

I would love to hear your views, especially given the result in your state of Virginia.

I have blogged about it but what do you think is more important to me working here in China ?

The new President if he makes it to office has a Democratic Congress and an opposition to which he owes little in that the Republican successes seem to be in the Bible Belt and redneck country to which he owes no allegiance.

Could he be as close to absolute power as a US President can get ? He has a strongly Democrat Congress but not the Supreme Court.

What's your call on it all ? Is there not future real mileage in the result for Moderate given that the fundamentalists have so clearly lost out ?


Hello Brian!

Great to hear from you. I do not offer good news. Even ignoring what you are breathing, you are in peril.

I'll proceed from your last question first. The religious fundamentalists you refer to were deeply convinced in 2000 that the Christian God had His hand on George W. Bush's shoulder. But eight years later either that hand has not helped, or else it was disdainfully removed if it was ever there at all. I trow this as a believing Christian.

Moderate Republicans, few as we presently are, have the best chance of anyone to bring the GOP and the country back out of the wilderness and into pragmatic reality once more.

I'm enclosing my draft article submitted to a law review appraising in cybernetic terms the G. W. Bush Administration's radical adventures in Constitutional interpretation. The Constitution and laws flowing from it are supposed to govern without regard to religious tenets. The Supreme Court has as yet exercised but little constraint upon the outgoing regime, though not as little as is attributed to the Supreme Being. There is more litigation in the pipeline which will not be concluded in the Supreme Court until Bush is well out of office.

Democrats currently have a numeric majority in both houses. Those people will have an impact between the November General Election and January 4th. More economic legislation is due and expected before then. Those majorities will swell after January 4th. Yet those legislative majorities can be relied upon to exercise a braking influence upon President-elect Obama before and after his taking over January 20th, even though they share his party affiliation.

Here is why Obama can't even get close to absolute power. There are several constraining reasons, due to the nature of Congress and the expectations of his prevailing voters.

For example, Black people comprise 16% of this country's entire population. They are extra-dependent upon government. The very best thing they could do for their champion is make no special demands upon him. But they are Hell-bent to gain more preferential changes in their distinct favor. It was Booker T. Washington in the early 20th Century who wrote that any capable Black man must carry this most trouble-prone segment of our citizenry upon his back.

Democrats in Congress have a severe propensity to overreach whenever given the chance. That dubious opportunity is now at hand. Furthermore they never perform as a group in as disciplined a manner as Republicans do. Restraint seems to be absent from Democrats' DNA; they are datable but not marriageable. It is ironic that their "man on a white horse" who has run away with their spirits is Black.

Even the Caucasian Democrats have sky-high expectations. This comes at a time, before Obama is even sworn in, where economic and military conditions are in a trough. Any improvements sure to come will be attributed to Obama even before he is sworn in. This effect will extend, amplify and swell widespread expectations even further.

In his most gracious and mature concession speech John McCain made clear that all of us really need Obama to succeed in a big way. It is critical that voter support be translated into imparting what sanity we can to the Democrats in Congress. In their euphoria and tumult they are institutionally deaf, and that artificial inebriation can be expected to persist for months and perhaps years.

Saying that Obama seems personally more sensible than most of his fellow Democrats is not saying very much. On principle they all are keen to violate every tenet of cybernetics.

Democrats' inherent baked-in problem (their original sin) becomes glaringly evident at the Why stage. Their bred-in-the-bone tendency to overreach limits and compromises the likelihood of getting the three transitions from one level of logic to another anywhere close to right.

By the way, Republicans' baked-in problem (our original sin) occurs further along, at the tactical levels, where we are too cautious about going far enough. Possessing a deeper respect for history, realism and the constraints of human nature than do Democrats, we Republicans are potentially better cyberneticians.

These cybernetic insights operate much like engineering solutions. The engineer must rearrange the structure and sequence sufficient to allow the calculus when deployed through the nested rearrangement to fully do its work.

I just stated the algorithm and heuristic for what the incoming President must do. The inflated expectations of his own Majority Party are his greatest obstacle to achievement. What is needed most is competence, not inspiration. To paraphrase his amateur would-be genito-urinary surgeon Jesse Jackson, "keep hope alive" with deeds instead of words.

It is competence that is most needed to silence his critics in the Bible Belt and redneck country. They already see through him (and his wife Michelle) as clearly as if they were panes of glass. The anodyne liberal nostrums the recent winners have so fetchingly spoken and published are about to collide with reality and human nature. VP-elect Biden offers no more realistic a prospect than does Obama. Both Biden and Obama offered few specifics when campaigning, just remarkably resonant rhetoric.

For example, Obama and his Democrats carried Virginia for the first time Presidentially in 44 years. A repeat in 2012 or even the 2009 gubernatorial contest is unlikely. The Virginia Democrats managed to raise voter registration to 5 million from 4.5 million, and to achieve the zenith of voter turnout here, especially among young people 18-29. This feat has been a thoroughly good thing for little-d democracy.

But until competence overcomes and surpasses mere rhetoric, a disabling letdown from current bloated expectations is inevitable, and shortly to arrive. It's analogous to but not the same as the predictable result of excessive hubris. Having overpromised we can fully expect under-delivery. Disillusionment will set in sooner rather than later. When it arrives and the hot air balloon loses altitude with a crashing finality, the picture will not be pretty.

Projecting from Virginia's parochial example to the international scene in which you are embedded, here's what I think is more important to you. Keep a close eye on what the Obama-Biden Administration does at levels A and B. Because things are going to get rough and unattractive at levels C and D for those of you inside China. You are very vulnerable where you are to any lack of competence emerging from the political leadership here in the United States.

The further away from Washington one gets the more obvious will be C and D level inadequacies. It reminds me of the children's game Crack the Whip. You are living at the extremity where the forces accelerate. Obama and his Democrats-in-Majority simply do not grasp the Conant-Ashby Theorem (revealing that any competent regulator of a system must contain a model of the thing to be regulated). Their own version of lacking technical variety occurs at levels A and B.

Here in Virginia, L. Douglas Wilder became the nation's first elected Black Governor, and in this Southern state and ex-Capitol of the Confederacy. He served from 1990-94, but no person of his race has managed a statewide nomination to any office ever since. The high point of his career (which later included a barely remembered Presidential run) was simply winning the Governor's office, not what he accomplished there.

Given Obama's indecisiveness in the Illinois State Senate I am not hopeful about his leadership. He was so afraid to fail that he voted present 129 times in eight years. Obama's constituents got the same result 129 times as if he had been absent. We know his Presidential election has been the high point of his accomplishments to date. Let's hope that he can achieve more than Doug Wilder.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Victory for Hope

Well Obama has won and we can maybe now become one.

God bless America and its people. When my friends, US and others, criticized GW and the US I always said he was excellent news. He could only do 2 terms. In 8 years of rule one cannot change the course of social evolutionary development accept for the good. American democracy limits the potency of presidential tyranny and power. It always sets an end point to it on a tolerable horizon. If a presidential style is particularly unacceptable then all it does is immunize the American body politic against possible future invasive attacks by the same, or similar, political viruses. So it has turned out.

However the reaction has gone far further on this occasion than it general does and the US electorate has given Obama a democratic congress. This is a relatively rare combination. However Obama is not the political leader of the Democratic Party and even then the party is not like parties elsewhere with strong internal discipline. Congress men can be and often are very much their own men, as in fact was the gracious John McKane.

It should be remembered that Obama was not the Democratic Party's evidentially preferred candidate. That was Hilary Clinton. Obama cannot expect blind obedience to his chosen line by congress. He will have to compromise his own position if he wishes to act. His actions to be effective must show respect for the position of all of his fellow democrats on the Hill and he knows it.

On the other hand the Republicans remaining strength is in the South and the bible belt. This should bring good cheer to African Americans and those truly committed to lieberty. The newly elected congress and the president have to owe no allegiance to this band of scary fundamentalist who are only equaled in their vehement wish to destroy the modern world by the Wahabi followers of Bin Laden and a few, nevertheless powerful, Zionists all of whom should be far more concerned than they seemed to be with the likely consequences of their commonality in hatred. The possibility, devoutly sought by many of them, for the Day of Judgement to come sooner rather than later with a predicted nuclear like event. What the Book of Revelation suggests would occur somewhere in Palestine/Israel, Armageddan. Is such an event truly to be visited on the poor suffering people of this region? I hope not.

The day of atonement one hopes does not have to manifest itself in such a manner. If it is I am sure its only consequence would be precisely the opposite to what its fundamentalist catalysers imagine. It would be the at-one-ment of the rest of humanity in seeking to root out the fundamentalist virus from our planet's body so we could unite in the joy that it offers to the planet's current generation of children. This would allow the continued growth of our intellectual creativity and its unfettered distribution to all who can use it to the advantage of the evolutionary development of our universe, the Way of Lao Tze. Let us hope we can achieve this without the pain of such a dreadful battle.

The America's founding father's envisaged such evolution to be possible without revolution, war and the naked use of the violence of power. The American people have just taken that tool, their and our Planet's inheritance and shown that everything is possible if one starts from the acceptance of the right of others to pursue the liberty they seek in their own lives unfettered by the views others seek to impose on them. Such freedom Americans have always ways been willing in the end to fight and die for. The Liberty Bell has been struck again by Obama's election. One hopes the Planet hears it in time to prevent yet more sacrifice in the name of what can come by other means, human at-one-ment. This is clearly being brought about by the evolutionary development we call globalization and it is on the Way. Nothing can stop it now and even the blackest of events of which the USA hs demonstrated some of its citizens are capable of perpetrating can stop it now. Such would only accelerate the process it perpetrator sought to achieve Martin Luther King's spirit in Obama bares stark testimony to this truth.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A New Era in american Politics or a False Dawn?

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I am still working on the mass of material I got from the First EvoDevoUniverse Conference in Paris a few weeks ago. it was truly wonderful to see such hard work being done on the processes underlying evolution seen at its most general. Nottale's work on relativity and quantum dynamics was truly awe inspiring.

However that is theory. The current election in the USA is social evolution in practice. Clearly the US population as i myself predicted would not suffer long term from GW's reign. All good things come to an end. The population is now clearly well inoculated against that particular version of the virus of naked economic power.

It looks however if they may be about to elect the first black American president but if they are foreigners with hopes in the consequences for as no doubt voting Americans of a particular colour no only too well a congress is being elected in part as well. If change is truly possible in the USA one needs a democratic president and a democratic congress that trusts him. Carter and Clinton found out to their cost that what one can do in america as an American president is very little indeed without the backing of congress. There is every chance now that US voters will hedge their bets and vote in a black president and disempower him with a Republican never mind an unsympahtetic Democratic Congress.

Foreigners never understand US politics properly. the president on his own without the peoples representives behind him has VERY LITTLE domestic power. In practice these cosntraints apply to foreign policy as well but as foreigners manqué US citizens take little interest in the rest of the world accept to see it as the dreadful place they or their ancestors escaped to freedom from, that now kills their soldiers and abuses them despite their generosity and to which their governement must surely be taking the gift of democracy when it uses force of arms against them. Congress is elected by the people and their are few votes in being decent to foreigners. In this the US is no different to China Foreign Devils Guizi are not to be trusted and our government when it deals with them MUST be doing the right thing.

Do not hold your breath black Americans or the worlds oppressed. The US voter can easily elect a Black libertarian President and a White Anglo Saxon Liberal Neo-conservative Congress. Watch this space and do not FOCUS solely on the presidential campaign

The Coming Together

Chapter 11


Our comments at the end of the last chapter raise the vastness of the canvas on which we have chosen to paint. To return to us and our place in an emergent sentient Gaia, a few more speculative points can be made about the process by which Gaia as a sentient entity may come to be. Because these ideas are in “our” mind, we cannot but put them out there.

We have argued that we are on the cusp of great change on our planet. We should be in no doubt that the outcome of this is by no means certain. The very conceiver of Gaia, James Lovelock, has suggested that the outcome is probably dire.

Evolutionary processes are not deterministic, and so there is no predictive guarantee of what the outcome of what we have described will be.

We have already chosen to argue that the forms that emerge from the evolutionary acceleration of positive feedback are hugely diverse. This is to be expected. The starting points are very different and things unfold at varying speeds. Positive feedback turns such small variations into huge differences in final form.

This is true, but it is also true that success breeds success. A successful form in a new environment is likely to be replicated at an impressively fast rate. In the hunter-gatherer societies of early man, this form was probably tribes based on kinship, in feudal society it was the growth of a bureaucratised state or even empire, and under capitalism it has been the democratic nation states inter-penetrating each other, largely by trade but also by war.

Each of these forms were replicated time and again in their own era with huge local variations, depending on when and where positive feedback occurred. Nature builds from what exists. It does not destroy. All of the above forms exist to this day, scattered between and within the bounds of the nation states that currently dominate the world. We can still find hunter-gatherer societies, feudal societies, and so on. No doubt the democratic nation state will survive into the New Age.

However, the biological analogy can perhaps provide some useful conjectural fruit. It has been very difficult for biologists and others to give us a proper explanation of two processes in nature. We believe a version of each of these may be imminent in the context we now find ourselves.

Most living things initially grow by cell division. This produces 2 then 4 then 8 then 16 then 32, and so on, identical versions of the initial cell/egg. However, in higher organisms differentiation occurs at some point. How do millions of identical human cells stop dividing as such, and start dividing as hand leg, arm, heart and brain cells etc.?

This process begins to occur after what biologists call gastrolation. This is a process by which what had been rapidly replicating cells reorganise themselves in relationship to each other, and begin instead to divide and grow as the differentiated cell types that form our digestive, cardiovascular, skeletal and nervous systems.

We suggest that replication within the coordinated ambit of one living thing has an upper limit to size. It becomes impossible for the coordinating signals to pass rapidly enough from cells that are ever further from each other in space. To ensure their coordinated at-oneness, they need to find a new way to achieve this, if they are to remain one entity.

At this point, we speculate that it becomes necessary, for those parts of cell activity that need to be coordinated as one, to come together in one place to assume that role for the developing entity of which each forms a part.

We conjecture that we are probably at a similar point in the development of Gaia’s brain. The replication that has occurred so far is into families, communities, villages, towns, cities and states, nearly all defined by their geo-political context. The Internet allows us to interpenetrate all of these and form relationships based as much on function as on kinship, social trust or patriotism.

The speed at which we can now communicate globally does not necessarily mean that those sharing a common functionality must come together in one place.

However, there is some evidence that there is a tendency for this to be so, as Silicon Valley illustrates.

Our experience with technology so far suggests that, while cultural melting pots seem to be very creative places, this is not universally the case. In any case, the Internet makes them unnecessary. If universities are a model for creative production, we note that some of the most successful and ancient ones once organised themselves socially on a different basis from that on which they now organise themselves functionally.

Before the Internet, creative activity could only be conducted by the proximity of scholars to each other. This may no longer be necessary. People can now choose to live wherever they find life most conducive to their being, yet carry on a functional working relationship in their area of expertise at a virtual place created on the Internet for that very purpose. Such places already exist.

The other process in biology that we think merits consideration, at this point in human evolution, is that people have found it hard to understand the specifics of how symbiosis between separate organisms evolved into a separation of functions within one organism that encapsulates the processes provided by the symbiosis.

Again, it could be that we are reaching that point in the evolution of Gaia. The loose connectivity between the geosphere, protosphere, biosphere and humanity needs to become more strongly coupled for the sake of Gaia’s survival, and our own. In fact, many feel, including Lovelock, that they must either come together, or else this evolutionary experiment will fail, for the time being. I hope not, but we do not live in a deterministic world where guarantees to the contrary hold good. However, given the billions of years it has taken to reach this point, it seems unlikely that the Way would bring such an investment to an abrupt end.

We have the physical, intellectual, and spiritual tools to tackle the problems that face us and our planet. It would be difficult to wipe us out entirely and, for that matter, to wipe out all our accumulated knowledge. As a result of the Internet, our knowledge is now so widely distributed around the planet that, for all this knowledge to be lost, the planet itself would have to be destroyed in its entirety.
However, we could precipitate geo-physical or meteorological activity that might set the whole experiment back many years.

Our brains operate with around 10 million neurons, and at some time in the coming century mankind will reach this number. However, many believe we cannot sustain such numbers, given our current lifestyles. We are altering our lifestyles, and it should be remembered that the products of the new age are helping us to consume less and less as we maintain the same level of output.

The worst kind of event that we have as yet imagined, under the heading of global warming, is unlikely to be dire enough to reduce us hugely, but it would cause a hiccup in the working-out of the plan, if a population of 10 million is necessary for sentience.

Our tale contains much hope, and much of that comes from my wish to see the cup as half-full, not half-empty. Perception always has a major part to play in life. Without judgement, with forgiveness and “letting go and letting God”, life is a truly joyous thing. This is especially so if one sees that the freedom implied can be applied in any manner one sees fit in a universe so full of things to do, and of things that we need. We only have to perceive how to access them and they can be ours.

It is possible to see the world and the Way as depressing things, full of darkness and negativity. It is our belief that such darkness is entirely dependent on the perspective we take. We choose to let in the light, and the sun shines forth.

Our recipe from all this is neither indolent non-striving or competitive strife. Living off nature’s bounty as discovered by others, and fatalistically accepting whatever befalls us in our allotted role, is not on the Way. Nor is competitively pushing our fellows aside to obtain all we can for ourselves.

To act without acting, by finding the ways in which water permeates our and our planet’s lives is to be where we are, and to feel what we are becoming

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Global Way and Evolutionary Development

Below is Chapter 3 of my latest published book:

"The Global Way: the Integral Economics of the Post-Modern World".

I publish this here now as it neatly sets out my position on the process of human evolutionary development which many of my colleagues especially especially

Social Evolution

To sail beyond the sunset till the day I die

To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield

Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson

In his original state of being, somewhere in Africa, man was a hunter-gatherer, who collected from the earth’s bounty at will. It is likely that, at that time, man behaved like other animals. Territory would be defined. If one found others assertively occupying a space, then one simply accommodated to them and moved elsewhere.

Some humans still live in this way: the Kalahari Bushmen, some Australian aboriginals, etc. They achieve this by being in sustainable balance with their environment in places where others do not wish to go. Elsewhere, as man became better at using his environment, he accommodated to others by dispersing across the planet’s surface.

Two processes are at work here. One yields the food of life locally, on a daily basis. This is limited by the ability of the planet locally to support it. A second social process is then required to limit the local population to what is sustainable. Population growth beyond this is resolved by dispersal.

Thus local sustainability requires the evolution of social forces that constrain population growth to a size that maintains any increased local need for more energy to survive, day by day, in balance with the planet’s local capacity to produce it.

The dispersal strategy breaks these bounds. Eventually the whole land mass became occupied. All were then constrained to locally available sustenance. Thus social strategies evolved to restrict population to what the planet could support locally, and pressure built up to find new ways to sustain a larger population locally.

The earth’s bounty at one spot at any time is not the same as that at another, so a little trade across territorial boundaries allowed the excess of one place to be traded for that of another. This improved efficiency but, given the limited transportation available, it could not support significantly larger populations.

On the other hand, the slow discovery that one could farm one’s bounty, grow crops, breed animals, etc., changed that. Farming was new knowledge. It enabled man to satisfy his needs by using the planet’s potential more effectively. More recently, as we have exhausted the sea, we have started to farm seafood.

Hunter-gatherers do not store food. There is no payoff from stealing what they have. It has to be gathered again the next day. For farmers, the economics of theft are different. Farmers work to the rhythm of the planet, which is annual. There is a time for growing and a time for harvest. A harvest has to support farmers throughout the year. A theft of produce at harvest will thus support its thief for a year.

However, farmers learn that it pays to store even more than this. Weather, and so harvests, vary from year to year. Farmers therefore store more in the good years to support them in the bad years. This makes farmers an even more attractive target for thieves.

To protect this stored bounty from avaricious neighbours, and to guarantee a return from the work put into land improvement, e.g., irrigation, the annual farming enterprise evolved a long-term social structure to protect it: a state.

States aggressively defend territory and police any tendency of citizens to prey on each other. As we have seen, such exclusivity is aggressive to others. War is then likely, unless gifts or trade are proffered as alternatives to rape and pillage.

The Vandals, the Huns, the Vikings, the Mongols, etc., all raped and pillaged as adjuncts to their stable nomadic lifestyle. However, in the end they became part of the communities they penetrated. If one is to survive, one’s prey must also do so. For example, the Mongols became part of developing Han Chinese culture, and they did so while maintaining a separate identity as locally sustainable nomads in Central Asia.

In Asia, and especially North East Asia, the rich soil and the communal governance system adopted to support agriculture were so successful that the richest states in the world were found there until the 19th century.

In the West, a feudal system evolved, based on individual rights and obligations. This proved less stable. War became perennial. Wealth and power moved from empire to empire, state to state, locale to locale, over a long period of time.

Stability and civilisation wandered like nomads in this desert of social chaos. It had strong beginnings in the autonomous city states of Greece, but it was then captured by the Roman Empire, which eventually split in two: its Eastern part was absorbed by the Islamic world and dominated the Central Asian trade routes, the Silk Road, that connected East and West for five centuries.

It stayed thus until the religious authorities and the Islamic states closed the Gates of Ishtehad in the 15th Century. Ishtehad permits freedom of action, thought, ideas and expression for everything not explicitly prohibited by the Koran, or by the sayings (Haddith) of God’s last Prophet, Mohammed. Everything new was thus free of regulation. This provided a powerful incentive for creative inventiveness. However, this may be destabilising. The Caliphates governing Islam grew wary of this and began to suppress such creativity. They closed the Gates of Ishtehad and spawned Islamic fundamentalism.

At this point, civilisation moved back to the West, at a time when intra-European trade was beginning to flourish. In Italy, the basis of the old Roman Empire, there occurred the Renaissance.

The disturbances in Islam made the land bridge to the East, the Silk Route, more problematic. It was operated by Muslim traders. This led those seeking wealth and power in an increasingly commercial West to seek new connections to the East.

A Genovese Italian, Christopher Columbus, convinced the Spanish government to explore a Westerly route to China. Columbus discovered the Americas. Portuguese traders found routes around Africa into the Indian Ocean. These Spanish and Portuguese navigators were soon replaced by the French, Dutch and British. In the end, the latter dominated the trade connection to the East.

The intellectual and commercial seed of the West, as described earlier, depended for its success on self-seeking expression, and the huge returns that could be earned from trade, especially in the exotic products of the Far East: spices, tea, silk, etc.

Those seeking to learn new ways of using the planet’s potential to greater advantage thus thrust aside the bounds that existing knowledge and social control placed on social evolution.

These new systems of enterprise required expensive equipment, e.g., ships, machinery and factories, the costs of which only significant international trade could cover. Such trade has huge inbuilt gains in efficiency because it evens out the local variations in agricultural return that result from local variations in weather. It also enabled the solar energy stored in the body of the planet to be used to advantage, in the form first of coal, then oil.

The protection of a right of access to foreign markets, and of the ability to provide domestic stability for industrial production, based on machinery—capital—led to an evolution in the nature of the state and of people’s social roles. This required people to move from the country to cities, where they relied on a cash economy to sustain them, rather than direct access to food, clothing and shelter.

In the course of this industrialisation, agriculture as a value generator became relatively, but not absolutely, less significant. Humans still need the food, clothing and shelter that agriculture provides. In the First Industrial Nation, the UK, agriculture fell from 95% of GDP around 1800 to less than 3% now.

However, the feudal state had not evolved in a way that supported commerce. In fact, its vigour in defending local and international borders inhibited trade. However, artisan artefacts and their manufacture require a monetary economy in which to survive. This requires the protection of private property in sellable manufactured objects that can be moved around the planet. Feudalism was designed to protect immovable land.

The role of the state had thus to evolve to provide law for the enforcement of contracts, to protect international trade and to guarantee the value of currency in trade. All this requires a political order based on commerce as its source of power, not agriculture.

One interesting new feature of this world of industry and commerce is that it is driven by the continuous generation of knowledge and learning: learning how to manufacture ever more useful things, learning of the existence of new places to sell, learning how to extract ever more energy and materials from the planet, etc.

This system is thus continuously challenging itself. The existing order has to give way to the new on a continuing basis: old manufacturing techniques have to be replaced by the new, new sources of material have to be exploited in new places, etc. Those with existing wealth and power need to be replaced on a regular basis by those representing the new. The social order must thus be able to change at a rate consistent with the needs of enterprise.

The main consequence of this was the growth of states, based on leaderships that must regularly seek a new mandate, to ensure that they are well adapted to current needs. A constitution protects the longer-term stability required for commerce and industrialism. To survive, however, the international dimension of such capitalistic commerce creates a renewed need for war. Exclusivity of trading rights was a threat to the survival of this system, and rights to access and attempts to limit them tended to be vigorously opposed by capitalist states. This led to war.

One again we observe a short-term process aimed, in this case, at the self-interested exploitation of global resources, made conceivable by the actions of states, which were intended to produce longer-term social stability, and access to the planet as a market for a state’s products. The principal communication systems underlying this were set by the speed at which ships and trains could traverse the seas and land, respectively.

Under capitalism, we moved from the protection of an immovable asset, land, to that of a movable asset, machinery. To be cost-effective, machinery had to produce large volumes of products, and thus achieve low unit prices. For this to work successfully, one needed an accumulation of capital sufficient to fund the living of those needed to create it: it might take two years to build a ship before it could earn a return, and three or four years to construct a large factory. In the meantime, those involved in the project needed to survive and be protected. There thus sprang into existence capital-based enterprises protected by states based on professional armies and police forces, and funded out of general taxation.

We now stand on the threshold of a new social evolutionary era. Value is now created, not by the freely available bounty of the planet, nor by the cultivation of such bounty, nor by the exploitation of its accumulated reserves of energy and other physical resources, but by humanity’s ability to organise all of these using Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and thus implement them all at high and ever-increasing levels of productivity.

The new manufacturing and distribution technology that the ICT industry makes possible is now having a profound effect on how things are done. The knowledge and know-how required to effect these changes are now driving value to a far greater extent than the ownership of capital. JITs and ERP systems, and increasingly what we like to call Global Resource Planning (GRP), are now becoming the norm. These systems are inter-penetrating the boundaries set by traditional states and enterprise, in both agriculture and industry.

This requires the evolution of new longer-term processes to provide the stability within which this new form of enterprise can operate. As yet, it is unclear what will evolve to achieve this. It is clear, however, that people are using the Internet to coordinate, on a global basis, with others who share their view of the world. Greenpeace and Amnesty International are pacific examples of such means of organising, and Al Quaeda is an example of aggressive coordination to achieve shared ends. Such organisations are in many way indicative of humanity’s increasing wish to bypass organisations set up to achieve international coordination by traditional states—for example, the UN, the EU, NATO and the WTO—by creating organisations that express a shared global vision, as opposed to an international one that endorses the current socio-political hierarchy.

These new NGOs have very clear and specific long-term aims, to which both existing states and enterprises must pay attention when pursing their short-term commercial interest. They may therefore be indicative of the nature of a self-organising world order operating in the planet’s long-term interest, rather than in that of human beings’ individual, commercial or national view of what might serve them best.

We have foreshortened our story of social evolution into four eras, each of them presaged by new opportunities for the enterprising, as human knowledge and understanding of itself and the universe it inhabited moved forward. It is clear that this broad-brush approach ignores huge amounts of the detail of similar processes of social evolution that occurred in a shorter time scale in each successive locale.

However, it seems true to say that, in each age of social evolution, the more successful parts of the planet seem to have become stuck in the past while other parts have moved on. The impact of the artistic, scientific and social creativity that drove Western development was almost totally missing in the East, until they were rudely confronted by it in the late 19th century, and most of the 20th. This region of the world has now used its communal cohesion to catch up with a vengeance. It is fast becoming the industrial powerhouse of the planet, but it has yet to emerge as a centre of true creativity. This position is still held by North America and Europe.

The key thing to be observed from these stories, as we have told them, is that the observable result comes from the emergence of a human understanding of a potential in the planet that has yet to be exploited. This leads to a pushing aside of the current social order, and to explosive growth that, from within itself, generates the need for a new social order supportive of a longer-term stable social context, in which enterprising activity can realistically be sustained in exploiting available resources more effectively.

Most current global social activity now seems directed at finding a means to come to terms with stable sustainability in the information age, where value is now driven as much by human knowledge and “know-how” as it is by natural, farmed or industrially produced resources. In this New Age, there now exist serious challenges to traditional means of generating and distributing wealth. To these we now turn.