Monday, January 22

the Fay Theories

The Fay Theory:

Here's how it goes: The brontosaurus is a dinosaur that is thin at one end, much, much thicker in the middle and then thin again at the far end.

The Other Fay Theory:

Individualism and self-interest is good; it spurs progress, growth, and technology.

In human history there have been two great ages of progress and a dark age. The first age of progress was ancient Greece, and the second is the period since the Renaissance. The dark age was obviously, the Middle Ages. What do these have in common/different?

  • Ancient Greece and Renaissance: both put individual paramount and maximized liberty which led to lots of progress in arts and technology
  • Middle Ages: everything was dominated by religion in which everything was done in the name of God, so everything was about God and helping and loving your neighbor along with very strict social order, in other words putting the community first. result: no progress anywhere, likely because there isn't much motivation

I'm willing to wager that the last quarter of the 19th century was the high tide of this cycle and we've started the slow decline into the next dark age. The same thing is going to happen as in the Middle Ages but it will be secular instead of religious. This time it will end with -ism.

What progress has come out of communist countries: USSR, Cuba, China (up until a decade ago when the started loosening up and still it's mostly just cheap labor)? Soviet and Cuban store shelves were and are empty.

Europe, more specifically, France, is stuck in socialism. I saw it this summer. It's just a lesser form of communism. Their economies are stagnant. An easy way to compare would be that Europe's unemployment runs between 10 and 15% whereas the U.S.'s economy has done very well and our unemployment has been around 5% for the past several years. Sure we're running a trade deficit; one can't put a price on the educations, knowledge, and minds that leave the U.S. for the rest of the world. We are the land of ideas and innovation, just like ancient Athens was.

Without the U.S. communism and socialism are both community oriented schemes that stifle progress and growth. Within the U.S. we now are becoming focused on the community under the guise of the environment. We are supposed to start sacrificing progress to the religion of environmentalism.

This is already starting to play out. Take this as an example: in 1882 Thomas Edison said that "[he'll] make electric light so cheap that only the rich will be able to burn candles." Nuclear power (virtually no pollution) would make electricity so cheap that only the rich will be able to burn coal and oil (lots of pollution into the air), but environmentalism aborted that. Today to reduce pollution we have to start curbing our growth which slows down the development of better and cleaner technologies.

The first part of the third millennium doesn't look good.

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