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18 July 2017

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Very astute observations Chips.

My son, who served in Iraq during the war, came away convinced that the USA and the other members of the 'coalition of the willing' have absolutely no interest in stopping any of the various wars going on in the Middle East because it is in their best commercial interests for them to continue.

I also agree that corruption and nepotism in PNG is a normal state of affairs and has simply been transferred to the parliamentary system. It does occur to me that any sense of concern by an MP for his people has suffered in the process but I guess the wantok system answers that thought.

How you fix it - well that's another matter altogether.

Chris, Breasted's Ancient Times is so well written and so easy to read that it enabled me to gain Ancient History Honours in Year 12, and I still have my copy, which I often read when trying to understand the current problems of the Middle East. One fact is certain, and that is, that because these people have been fighting each other for the last three thousand years, they are not likely to stop now. So seeking peace in the Middle East is a futile undertaking. Breasted's lesson for today in PNG is that tribal enmities and shifting alliances which have obtained since time immemorial are not likely to change just because PNG now has a parliamentary system of government. What seems to us to be corruption amongst the ruling elite is for PNG people situation normal and what is happening there now is just a modern version of what political control there was like before the colonial era. As the oracle has said, the more things change, the more they stay the same, as you can now see in the current elections in PNG.

I have just come across the works of that great contemporary of John Maynard Keynes, William Harold Hutt who did a "Winschuttle" on the British historians such as the Webbs, of the history of that county's labour unions and criticised some of Keynes chief ideas. For his audacity he was basically banished to South Africa wherefrom he continued his endeavours with writing his own accounts of the rise and genesis of apartheid. In 1964 he wrote a treatise entitled "The Economics of the Color Bar" which postulates that idea that discrimination is a most inefficient use of resources and costs heaps. His works are well worth reading.

Very interesting essay Chris and a good summary of what's going on in the world. It's amazing what reading an old book can spark in the mind.

It's curious that Trump, who has apparently recognised the problem, is tackling it by withdrawal and isolationism. He is, however, spending lots more money on the military. That seems counter intuitive. Perhaps he is a believer in Armageddon like George W Bush and is gearing up for the final battle.

I guess globalisation is the ultimate aim of capitalism. The globalisation that China now practises has a basis in capitalistic ideas. Some of the more fabulously wealthy capitalists are now Chinese. Globalisation, like capitalism, seeks to take from the poor and give to the rich, hence the increase in inequality and the unrest it is causing. At least the Chinese are sharing it around a bit.

The theory about the inevitable fall of empires has been superseded by the development of globalisation. When globalisation encompasses the whole world, including the Muslim world, the fall will also encompass the whole world. That fall seems less likely to be about a failure of capital and power but more about the environment and climate change. Despite the few crying in the wilderness we are well on our way to that end.

I really feel for my grandchildren having to deal with the mess they will inherit.

Great synopsis Chris. You have effectively brought the world into perspective. It's a bit like the scenario in George Orwell's '1984' where three large empires continually fought each other for world power and prestige while using the contests as a reason to effectively perform mind control on their subjects.

The prospect of promising greater or threatening lesser wealth unleashes a powerful force that can be used for both good and evil.

Many Americans in the USA find they can't pass ion their standard of living to their children. Mostly that's because their work and employment has been outsourced by the business owners to overseas manufactures that initially pay less to the workers. Australia has slavishly followed this model and is therefore going down the same track.

Our ancestors worked and fought hard for what we now enjoy but our children and grandchildren may not yet have worked this out.

Exactly where all this leads us has been shown again and again throughout human history.

Our leaders have mostly lost the plot because as you point out, their loyalty lies with their political party and not with the electorate.

Whether Western democracies still have what it takes will become increasingly tested as the world population explosion nears saturation of available resources.

The Four Horsemen are always waiting in the wings: War, Famine, Disease and Plague.

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