Are We Doomed to Keep Making the Same Mistakes … Or Will We Learn from History?

We Should Have Known …

We’ve known for 5,000 years that mass spying on one’s own people is usually aimed at grabbing power and crushing dissent, not protecting us from bad guys.

We’ve known for 4,000 years that debts need to be periodically written down, or the entire economy will collapse. And see this.

We’ve known for 2,500 years that prolonged war bankrupts an economy.

We’ve known for 2,000 years that wars are based on lies.

We’ve known for 1,900 years that runaway inequality destroys societies. … and leads to revolution.

We’ve known for 1,700 years that torture is a form of terrorism.

We’ve known for thousands of years that debasing currencies leads to economic collapse.

We’ve known for millenia that – when criminals are not punished – crime spreads.

We’ve known for thousands of years that the rich and powerful try to censor their critics under the guise of heresy.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that the failure to punish financial fraud destroys economies, as it destroys all trust in the financial system.

We’ve known for centuries that monopolies and the political influence which accompanies too much power in too few hands are dangerous for free markets.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that companies will try to pawn their debts off on governments, and that it is a huge mistake for governments to allow corporate debt to be backstopped by government.

We’ve known for centuries that powerful people – unless held to account – will get together and steal from everyone else.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that standing armies and warmongering harm Western civilization.

We’ve known for over 300 years that going into debt to pay for war ruins any nation.

We’ve known for 200 years that allowing private banks to control credit creation eventually destroys the nation’s prosperity.

We’ve known for two centuries that a fiat money system – where the money supply is not pegged to anything real – is harmful in the long-run.

We’ve known for 200 years that a two-party system quickly becomes corrupted.

We’ve known for over a century that torture produces false and useless information.

We’ve known since the 1930s Great Depression that separating depository banking from speculative investment banking is key to economic stability. See this, this, this and this.

We’ve known for 80 years that inflation is a hidden tax.

We’ve known for 79 years that war is a racket that benefits the elites but harms everyone else.

We’ve known since 1988 that quantitative easing doesn’t work to rescue an ailing economy.

We’ve known since 1993 that derivatives such as credit default swaps – if not reined in – could take down the economy. And see this.

We’ve known since 1998 that crony capitalism destroys even the strongest economies, and that economies that are capitalist in name only need major reforms to create accountability and competitive markets.

We’ve known since 2007 or earlier that lax oversight of hedge funds could blow up the economy.

And we knew before the 2008 financial crash and subsequent bailouts that:

  • The easy credit policy of the Fed and other central banks, the failure to regulate the shadow banking system, and “the use of gimmicks and palliatives” by central banks hurt the economy
  • Anything other than (1) letting asset prices fall to their true market value, (2) increasing savings rates, and (3) forcing companies to write off bad debts “will only make things worse”
  • Bailouts of big banks harm the economy
  • The Fed and other central banks were simply transferring risk from private banks to governments, which could lead to a sovereign debt crisis

Postscript: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it … and we’ve known that for a long time.

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  • NOS

    We’ve also known for 5,000 years that all empires are ephemeral.

    Don’t worry, be happy!

  • Josh Stern

    Knowing history…true history, hidden history, is important & helpful. However, there is potentially a lot of merit in an ahistorical perspective as well. The set of ideas I’m thinking about goes something like this:

    Human beings evolved from as part of social groups/tribes in conflict for limited resources. Sometimes their tribe fought against other species, or against indifferent nature, and sometimes it fought against their own species. Emotions and cognitive heuristics for recognizing and dealing with conflicts among different social groups are probably wired into our DNA.

    Fast forward to the present, and human beings are no longer in natural state of severe conflict for resources. Technology, organization, and know how has created a potential for species wide material comfort that was unknown to the evolving ancestors. More recently, technologies of subterfuge, as employed by intelligence and counterintelligence agencies have taken quantum leaps forward. Today, those agencies have the capability to fake almost anything, while keeping reality and their role almost impercetible to targeted event participants and superficial investigations. Like magicians, illusionists, and demagogues, these masters of subterfuge are skilled at taking advantage of perceptual and emotional heuristics in order to create compelling, but false perceptions of events. One of those techniques involves claiming that we must blindly trust them, for our own good, and getting agents of the govt. and the dominant media outlets to go along with that premise.

    Due to these combinations of recent and ahistorical developments – increases in technology, increases in species wide material wealth, and increases in technologies of subterfuge – we’ve now reached a point where most of our most salient perceptions of conflict are actually products of subterfuge. Perceptions of events are being manipulated by design, to generate support for insincerely expressed agendas which are NOT pursuing the goals they claim to be.

    As a society, we have fallen into a system of paying professional agents of subterfuge to mislead us, motivated by the false belief that they are much needed and helpful for protecting our safety and enhanching our material interests.

    This is a new state of affairs. In earlier historical periods, wealth and well being were more clearly affected by surviving & winning actual conflicts for resources. Today, our vestigial impulses to to tribal wars are being manipulated to fund pointless adventures and largely fictionalized narratives about scary enemies which inevitably turn out to be our own, covert creations.

    For example, consider the Lockerbie bombing from almost 30 years ago which was used to justify military action against Libya (before Gaddafi eventually became a CIA asset, and then was eventually killed by our forces…). Looking back at the history today, it seems there are NO, serious, surviving claims of any evidential connection to Libya. The bombing was not seriously investigated. Initially, it was blamed on some Palestinian groups, and then some fabricated evidence was introduced to claim a Libya connection because, it seems, that was who the US military wished to target at that time. The principal piece of forensic evidence introduced at a trial later turned out to be a proven fake The best surviving lead in the case suggests that a bomb was introduced in the Frankfurt airport in a suitcase, and that this mechanism of swapping suitcases was a known channel of drug smuggling being operated by a unit of the CIA. We don’t know who put a bomb in a suitcase or for what reason, but the chance that it was really someone connected to the Libyan govt. are slim & none.

    • Fermin

      Who said that the Brexit referendum is legally binding?
      The High Court has ruled the following:
      “For the reasons we have set out, we hold that the Secretary of State does not have power under the Crown’s prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the TEU for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.”

      The UK Government appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard the case over four days, early December and is set to issue its judgement in mid-January.

      Brexit 2016: Referendum Opens Pandora’s Box of Legal Challenges

      Conversely, do you think the SELECTION of reality-show entertainer Donald Trump as president of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (an established corporation) will have significant repercussions on the existing policies?

      That’s why the ignorant and gullible masses MUST always be governed by technocratic-scientific elites.

      • Carl_Herman

        You blame the victims, Fermin. What will humans achieve when their “Emperor’s New Clothes” breakthrough occurs?

        You present zero evidence of “ignorant and gullible” being anything more than a stage of learning to grow up.

        We’re all in this game together. What outcome are you playing to achieve?

        • Hue Von

          Better start getting well familiarized with the contents of the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, since it is effectively public law:

          Most likely “alternative media” sites like WB either will cease to function or their contributors may opt not to challenge the policies of the Sovereign from this point – simple because of the legal consequences expressed in these new laws.

          Just remember, the Bill of Rights and the subsequent Amendments to the Constitution ARE IN REALITY A SET OF PRIVILEGES GRANTED BY THE SOVEREIGN (the Federal Government and NOT the so-called “We the People” as many ignorant tend to believe).

          • Josh Stern

            Is there any way to read that and figure out what sort of activities it is supposed to be able to support? Does it support secret accusation and secret hacking/denial of service or harassment of people who critize the official govt. (often false) propaganda? How can we damand an explanation of the limits of those vague directives?

            Also, if US govt. sponsored statements are supposed to be exempt in principle, isn’t there something inherently unconstitutional in the act? It seems to legislate the US govt. ability to speak falsely, while attacking any who challenge on the claim that they are either spreading disinformation or under suspicion of being linked to a foreign group – an acccusation which itself can easily be the product of other US govt. sponsored disinformation, including disinformation from covert sources.

      • Josh Stern

        Good vs. Bad Points of representational govt. and a strong executive should be viewed as a different topic than the problems with Intelligence Agency sponsored disinfo, lies, and false flag attacks. I’d really like to draw a sharp boundary.

        That said, it’s true that intelligence agencies are partly motivated by the belief that they know better than the general population. So advances in democratic, directly particpative government may have tame some intel agency hubris. I agree with your point that the exact legally binding status of referendum votes should be clarified before the voting. It is insulting and misleading not to do that. In the case of Brexit, it would be a good think to hold another vote wherein the elites can propose the resolution “UK should first introduce such and such democratically controlled procedures for governing immigration and work visas then try to rejoin the European Union” or something of that sort, and put it to another vote.

      • Pollento

        Critical thinking is not an attribute of the ignorant and gullible masses: Brexit, and the recent US presidential elections (a reality show instead) are clear examples of how easy is to manipulate voters’ expectations.

        Fermin is accurate on his assessment.

        End of story

  • cstahnke

    We are living at a time when what was usually hidden is now being discovered and spread throughout the world–only a minority is interested but the paradigms we’ve been living with will shift within the next few years and all that learning and more will bear fruit. Most people have been living in a completely fictional world at the same time as information is being disbursed to counter that fictional world. An amazing time so we won’t have to repeat the mistakes of the past as much as we have done recently.

  • David S

    “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of
    – Aldous Huxley

    Even the bible made it quite clear as to the problems of putting faith in kings, yet thousands of years later we continue to subvert our own freedom and liberty by willingly allowing others to rule us simply because of some “magical” process called an election.

  • ICFubar

    All true but what we don’t know is that history puts in place law to create money under which a system is brought into being which enslaves the population as guarantors to all the debt of a monetary system that is extractive, consumptive and exploitive as used by the owners of that system and that such a system is based on a death cult that will eventually destroy the planet, or that in the system’s present phase it is very far along in its predictable and predicated collapse, or that this collapse will be used by the owners to shift to a new paradigm of their making.