Re: Tale of Two Economies

Michael Lorrey (
Wed, 18 Mar 1998 08:21:34 -0500

Anton Sherwood wrote:

> > > > Michael Lorrey wrote:
> > > > > You should look at the political arena as more of an x/y coordinate system,
> > > Dwayne wrote:
> > > > I would argue that it has a potentially infinite number of dimensions. Political
> > > > decisions are rarely made on the basis of one or two variables.
> > Michael Lorrey wrote:
> > > Sure, but as a general axiom, most issues are either a matter of social freedom or
> > > economic freedom, or a combination thereof, or can be framed within that system.
> Dwayne wrote:
> > I thought we were trying to transcend all of this dualist
> > nonsense? People find it incredibly easy to separate reality into
> > "us" and "them", "good" and "bad" etc. This doesn't make it
> > accurate, merely convenient.
> "an x/y coordinate system" implies a *continuum*, not a dichotomy.
> Reducing the number of dimensions to two does not make it "dualism".
> I don't think anyone here disagrees with your point that the true number
> of political dimensions may be very large. The territory represented by
> my map of San Francisco has at least three dimensions (what are the
> physicists saying these days, ten dimensions?), and yet two is still the
> most convenient number.
> > I live in Australia. We have one of the highest standards of
> > living in the world. I can't honestly think of a single person I
> > know who in any way envies life in the United States. [thinks
> > hard] Nup.
> Well, I know a few Australians who live in California by choice.
> (Our government, of course, "protects" us from many others who would
> make that choice.)
> > > While most other democratic governments utilize a parliamentary system of government,
> > > these have proven to be rather unstable and prone to rapid populist influence (bread and
> > > circuses),
> >
> > Oh. Okay. You are of course referring to something other than the
> > Westminster System which as far as I know is quite a robust
> > parliamentary system.
> Robust because plurality elections produce a two-party system and thus
> usually give one party a majority which it would not have in a more
> representative system. Thus the ruling party can weild sweeping power
> without provoking constitutional crises; I'm not convinced that's
> entirely a good thing. ;)
> (I advocate proportional representation with a separately-elected
> executive - and high standards for the use of power.)
> > Two words: Ronald Reagan.
> Four words: Longest peacetime economic expansion. I'm not a fan of his,
> but what's your point? Maybe it's self-evident to you, but I don't read
> the same papers you read.

Apparently he doesn't. additionally: End of the Soviet Union, as credited by the KGB itself.

> > > the US uses a republican system with, as you must know, three equally
> > > powerful branches that are capable of checking the other. This system provides a measure
> > > of negative feedback that helps hold in check the most contagious of populist fads and
> > > foolishness.
> >
> > You are of course joking. The President of the United States has
> > as much power as the other two branches of government. This has
> > always struck me as dangerously absurd, but given that it was
> > created in the wake of a monarchy, understandable.
> Has Tony Blair less power?
> We are taught in elementary school that none of our three branches can
> do much of anything without at least tacit consent of the other two (the
> "checks and balances"). In practice, the "balances" have long since
> gone out of whack and the "checks" function more the other way, to put
> each branch in the pocket of the others - in particular, the judiciary
> is the creature of the very people against whom it is supposed to
> protect us.
> (If I were at Philadelphia in 1787, I'd have argued against creating a
> separate federal judiciary.)

If I were in Philly, I would have created them separate, and with separate capitals. Putting all
the rats in one town to collude together is the problem. Possibly have them separately elected,
though I don't really have that much faith in elected judges.