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20 December 2007

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mikey mcd

Very good piece, thanks for sharing. I have one question/point... Dick Dickenson- "Government is needed to referee between the people and the powerful economic interests who exert so much control over us."- Does this belief acknowledge that the current US system only acts to make the power of the "economic interests" law, punishable by the government? As expected by Austrian economists the evil economic interests/capitalists, which the government is designed to protect the people from, evolve to "own" the entity which was established to "referee" them in the first place. Could it be an illusion that governments with ever increasing rules and regulations in the name of protecting the people evolve into machines fueled and driven by the enemy?

Mikey McD

DAVID GRAY

"A Century Ends"

Cast your eyes into the distance
Try to focus on it all
Find a spirit of resistance
Instead of pride before the fall
Forge some opposition
From disparate strands
It ain't the prettiest position
As a century ends

Unstable situation
Faces made of wax
Streams of melting glass
Sheets of butchered facts
The roar of the machine
Hooded hearts and jewelled hands
And anger spilling out like gasoline
As a century ends

Everything I seen, everything that I heard
It ain't even the tip of the iceberg
Fire down memory lane
So pass me my rose tinted glasses again

Through a fog of contradiction
Out to the lake of tears
See society admiring it's own reflection
Chase a light that shines and disappears
Careful what you say, 'cos reality offends
Just sit back and let your soul decay
As a century ends

And it's easy to get weary
As you fight to get it done
Gainst a popular theory
That it's over 'fore it's even begun
Strain the limit of compassion
Tend a wound that never mends
And honesty still out of fashion
As a century ends

Al Fin

Remember under President Jimmy Carter how unemployment, inflation, and interest rates were all in the double digits? Remember the great "national malaise?"

A prophet of the Carter era could have made very similar predictions to your 20 year scenario, with all the valid downward signals. What would they be missing? Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, the computer/telecom revolution, the biotech revolution, etc.

A seer needs to be humble, or will probably look foolish when his predictions fail. The future will not be a straight-line extrapolation of current trends.

Look for the spoilers in any scenario. They are there. You just have to find them.

George Rebane

Good points Al Fin. The distribution of futures is always fairly flat with bumps here and there. According to my lights such a future is possible and most likely (i.e. is one of the bumps). Will it occur exactly as I have laid it out? - not really. Have I got technology covered? - yes, the Singularity will sweep all before it. And I choose not to be a 'humble seer'; their prognostications fill the pages, covering both sides of each street so thoroughly that none can tell what they really see. The future will paint us all - humble and brash - with foolish colors. My aim was to give you plausible food for thought.

George Rebane

Dick Dickenson, my friend and co-conspirator in these views of the future, has some problem accessing these comments and asked me to post the following as his response to Mr. McD -

"I'm not quite sure what Mr. McD means by "the current US system only acts to make the power of the 'economic interest' law, punishable by the government." What is the 'economic interest' law and what is its power?

I wasn't suggesting anything remotely close to the idea that "governments with ever increasing (sic) rules and regulations in the name of protectring the people evolve into machines fueled and driven by the enemy" nor do I consider our business community as "evil economic interest/capitalists" Those are his words.

Now that I've tried to clear some of the verbal underbrush let me restate my position. I merely say that we need government not only to protect us from external enemies but to regulate matters within our society--policemen, for instance. Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution western societies have recognized the need to occasionally regulate powerful economic powers when they get out of control and damage the entire community--as happened in the stock market crash of 1929 partly because we allowed people to trade on too small a margin (10 percent) and more recently with Enron, which grievously hurt thousands of employees and stockholders and played a role in your recent electricity rate crisis in California.

To say that sometimes economic entities need regulating and policing does not condemn the entire capitalist/free market system any more than the need for police condemns the entire population. It's simply a matter of common sense confirmed by historical experience.

What does he mean by "an illusion that governments with ever increasing (sic) rules and regulations in the name of protecting the people evolve into machines fueled and driven by the enemy?"? Am I correct in assuming that his "enemy" is a sardonic reference to his also sardonic "evil economic interests/capitalists"? Correct or no that most definitely was not my meaning."

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