Plainly, all empires collapse. The much more interesting and difficult questions are “Why?” and “When?”
As to the why, there is a fair bit be said for the explanation of Joseph Tainter, who in 1988 published The Collapse of Complex Societies. In short, he tested various popular explanations about why civilisations collapse against numerous case studies. The usual explanations of moral decay, disease, innovation et cetera do not stack up very well. Instead, it is when the ER0EI – as applied to social complexity – falls off that an empire is ruined. In large measure, this social complexity manifests itself in the expansion of a class of information producers and analysts who are not involved in primary resource production. Bureaucrats, in other words.
There is a thing called the Vanguard Myth. At the early stages of the development of an empire, there are benefits to be derived from increased levels of complex bureaucracy. But after a while, those benefits tail off, and then become negative. The bureaucrats, of course, do not see that; they see themselves as in the vanguard of development, and forge ahead doing more of what they have previously been doing. Eventually, a tipping point is reached. It is in this zone that the risk – which eventually becomes a certainty – arises of collapse.
What is the topicality of all of this? Well, it is to do with the “When” part of the question. Adapting an old syllogism:
- All empires collapse,
- The EU is an empire,
- The EU will collapse.
But when? There is a detailed and interesting analysis of this by Gwythian Prins, which is to be found on the Briefings for Brexit website. Gwythian Prins is a bright chap. He taught history and politics at Cambridge for over 20 years, is Emeritus Research Professor at the LSE and since 2016 has been senior academic visiting fellow at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr. For various detailed reasons, which he spells out, he thinks that the collapse of the EU might be coming sooner rather than later. He starts with the Tainter Continue reading
What a disgrace:
Let every Remoaner hang his or her head in shame.
Is he seriously suggesting that the Russian habit of state assassinations on EU soil should be any part of the new “cooperative pan-European security order”? In any event, to suggest “positive relations” after the attack on – and probably, sadly, murder of – the Shripals is odious.
The sooner the UK cuts loose from these people, the better.
And did no-one ever tell him that it is very bad form to begin every single paragraph of a letter with “I”?
Well, two Continue reading
writes this on his Twitter page on 28th February:
Does Guy have any other bright ideas, Continue reading
I never been a great fan of religion, let alone missionaries. Among Christians, the Catholics are particularly unwelcome; by large, the Protestant puritans have generally caused less trouble. But bizarrely, puritans do go in for witchhunts. Famously, of course, it was Salem, but it certainly hasn’t stopped there.
Take Oxfam for example, which has recently been in the press. The offence? It turns out that some of their people have been using prostitutes in Haiti, and other disaster struck places.
Now, I am not an expert in prostitutes, by any means, but I imagine that if you have chosen that particular profession, a major natural disaster – the sort of thing that will get Oxfam turning up – is likely to be very bad for business. I’m not saying it’s a good business, or something that we should encourage. I am simply saying that if a particular young woman – or even a somewhat older woman – chooses to earn her income by offering sex for money, then she will be among the many people adversely affected by a national disaster. So, a natural disaster happens. Business dries up for this young woman. That’s bad. After a little while, the aid agencies turn up, with their cardboard boxes full of food and their white SUVs full of earnest do-gooders.
And here’s the thing. If you happen to be a prostitute, and if one of these do-gooders in a white SUV is willing and able to be a good customer, that is not bad news. On the contrary, it is Continue reading
Although his website site does have a somewhat deranged feel to it, Piers Corbyn (brother of the more famous Jeremy) seems to have been correct in his long-range forecasts of the present cold and snowy weather in the UK and elsewhere.
Piers is not only much cleverer than his brother, but is free to say what he really thinks. And to indulge his propensity to crow a bit about the fact that his forecasts are consistently more accurate than those of the Met Office. It is all a bit counter-intuitive. The Met Office looks all solid and dependable, but in fact is ridden with barking-mad climate change group-think nonsense. Conversely, Piers looks as mad as a March hare, but time after time events, as they have unfolded, have vindicated his forecasts. Which is, after all, the gold standard of real science. This reversal of the norm is rare, but then again, we live in strange times.
Here are a few of Piers’ observations about weather, climate and others things at his website/twitter feed Continue reading
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and so I spent a few moments this weekend searching the Internet to see whether, when the UK first joined the Common Market (as then was) back in 1973, did our continental friends say:
Non, non, non, mes amis! No need for you to put your hand in your pocket just yet. Absolutement pas! We would not expect you to pay for any of the projects that we planned before you joined, nor ever to have to pay for the pensions of our existing bureaucrats.
My research of the 1975 referendum suggests that the answer is emphatically “no”, but I have been unable to find the figures. Perhaps one of my Europhile friends could oblige?
Why is this the least bit interesting? For this reason: we already know that the UK has no obligation to pay anything to the EU following its departure from the club. But unsurprisingly, the avaricious wastrels who now run the EU are telling the UK that there is some sort of implicit or moral obligation on an outgoing member of the club to fully pay out any existing projected expenditure anyway. The basis of this argument seems to be a suggestion that the burden of paying for any EU expenditure falls on whoever were the members at the time that expenditure was planned.
But if, as appears to be the case, there was no such suggestion when the UK joined, it is hard to see that there is any implicit or moral justification for that suggestion now.
And as far as the morals go, nobody with a set of decent bones in their body would seriously suggest that it is morally right to Continue reading
There is a theory about why gentlemen prefer blondes which started as a sort of academic joke. It goes like this. It is much easier to tell whether a blonde woman is healthy or not. Sick blondes look red and blotchy, whereas illnesses in brunettes, with their darker skin, are harder to spot. But then evolutionists tended to take the theory a bit more seriously; after all, there is indeed an evolutionary advantage for a man in choosing a healthy-looking blonde as a mate, since he can be better assured that she will be able to bear and look after healthy children.
Not all that far up the road from this theory is one about feminism. Before feminism, there was relatively little opportunity really smart men to meet really smart women. They would meet the children of their parents’ friends, of course, and their neighbours. They really wouldn’t meet many women at all at university, because there were very few women at university. If they qualified as young doctors, it would meet nurses, and if they joined an office, they would meet secretaries. Some nurses and secretaries are smart, but not all.
Now, there is much more opportunity for really smart men to meet really smart women. As fellow students at university. As colleagues in their professional life. And in every Continue reading
It is now over a year since Francis Hoar’s careful analysis that the UK is not prohibited by European law from now negotiating trade deals with non-EU countries which will take effect in March ’19. But it is an analysis that is becoming more compelling now.
Jean-Claude Juncker has suggested that the UK cannot negotiate these trade deals during the 2 years period under Article 50 (Frans Timmermans is more realistic), but it seems clear that Juncker is wrong about this.
It is true that in the Blue Skies Case (Commission v United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Germany), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) declared illegal an agreement entered into by various EU countries with the USA for co-operation in the area of aviation. But note the summary of that case Continue reading
I have been installing a lot of solar panels on my roof. And in the garage, inverters and battery etc.
This is not because I am a fan of solar power, or this State’s Government’s obsession with renewables. Just the opposite. I think that that obsession will lead to yet more massive increases in mains electricity prices here, and even more power cuts. The home battery bit is expensive, but one needs it, apparently, to maintain power during the power cuts (you would have thought that you could use the electricity coming from the panels. But you can’t. That has to go into the grid, and if the grid is off, it’s thank you and goodnight.)
Already, my taxes do not lead to much return. I have
- No mains water (I collect my water from the roof);
- No rubbish collection (I burn as much as possible);
- No mail deliveries (I have to collect from the post office in the local township of Myponga);
- No sewerage (I have my own Envirocycle system);
- No mains gas (I use bottled gas for cooking on the hob);
- A very poor telephone line, incapable of carrying an internet connection;
- Very poor mobile telephone reception (I had to put in an 8 metre high antenna);
- No road surface (the road I live on is just a strip of dirt).
So, with my own electricity generation, I will be even further off grid. I bake Continue reading
What on earth is the UK Government doing? Binding itself to pay tribute to the EU for years after Brexit is barking mad. The worst of all worlds.
Perhaps they have just been worn down by endless remoaning. But this is a road that leads to never-ending servitude to the EU. Logic would say that the EU should be paying for access to the UK market, since it sells more to the UK then it buys, not the other way around. But there is no more logic here than that which drives a battered wife into continuing submission to her abusive husband.
The UK’s best hope is that the EU is so utterly intransigent in its demands for even more Danegeld as to eventually scupper the negotiations entirely. Then the UK can just leave, as mandated by the referendum, without paying anything, and without any Continue reading