Societies that are willing to sacrifice self interests have a much better probability of succeeding than societies that pursue self interest.

“Governments are smaller than markets; markets are smaller than cultures.”  The reasoning is simple:

  • Governments can only control a fraction of what an economy or culture does.  Governments that are overbearing on an economy or culture may gain greater proportional control, but the size of the pie will shrink.  More of the economy or culture goes into hiding, away from the prying eyes of the government.
  • Markets only express a fraction of what mankind does.  They cover the tradeable aspects of what we do, but typically do not give us our deeper goals or desires for ourselves, and the culture as a whole.

When I look at the biggest economic problems facing the world today, many of them stem from deeper cultural problems.  Let’s start with the current poster children, or, canary in the coal mine,,, Greece.

Greece got into the Eurozone via subterfuge; they lied about the true status of their indebtedness, and Wall Street (with its counterparts in European investment banking) helped them do it.  So did a number of the other nations in the Eurozone that are presently under stress.

Now, the core members of the Eurozone wanted the Euro to grow as a currency — they were committed to an ever-wider and -deeper union.  The dream of a united Europe made them willfully blind to the low probability that the nations which were fiscal basket cases had genuinely changed.  The core should have been skeptical, and now they are paying the price.

The core nations that pay or guarantee to help Greece are playing a tight game.  They act as an internal European IMF, insisting on reductions in the Greek budget deficit.  Greece does its part by saying it hasn’t asked for aid, which was not true.  At the same time, reductions in the Greek budget deficit bring the competing political factions inside Greece out in force.  Protests!  Strikes!  There are few arguing for what is best for Greece overall, and many arguing for a larger piece of what is a shrinking pie.  In a situation like this, it might be better for outsiders to let Greece fail.

The banks in the core nations can’t afford a default by Greece, and by contagion it leads to defaults in Portugal, Spain, Italy, and now Ireland.  A failure of the banking system does not conduce well to maintaining power for elites.

If Europe was rational, they would abandon the experiment now, or press for a Federal Europe akin to the US.  I don’t see either happening — I just see slow suffering for now, and futile playing for time. People in power have a vested interest in staying in control.

Many US States and Municipalities are in a world of hurt, because they compromised the long-term financial position of the people to solve short-run budget crises to stay in power.  That is the nature of the crises that we face today.

The same is true of the current US government — they fight for short term political advantage, rather than the long term good of the nation.  Who will favor the long-term and sacrifice for the greater good?

Societies that are willing to sacrifice self interests have a much better probability of succeeding than societies that pursue self interest.

Wikileakes to expose corruption of more bankers


Then The Truth will breed Trust Again

Comments (12)

First Amendment Law Prof Blog has analysis of efforts by law school and graduate school administrators to discourage students from accessing Wikileaks posts.

Posted by: Kathleen Bergin | December 07, 2010 at 01:06 PM

keep up the good work. people have to know how the government is screwing us….thanks

Posted by: john | December 07, 2010 at 01:06 PM

Thnax Facebook….People need to know the truth….

Posted by: Pulasthi M | December 07, 2010 at 01:33 PM

Have Americans figured out the occupying federal government is not the one authorized by the US Constitution?

Posted by: August | December 07, 2010 at 01:34 PM

Kudos to FaceBook, finally a big company with a backbone.

Posted by: JR | December 07, 2010 at 01:36 PM

I think Facebook will pull WikiLeaks page down pretty soon. If Facebook don’t yank the page they can expect Joseph Lieberman, FBI and the IRS knocking on their door.

Posted by: Vivian Vance | December 07, 2010 at 01:38 PM

hum.. hum… F^^^ to our Federal Government… This is like Our Gestappo telling it’s workers can’t read WikiLeads! My Plead to the WORLD COMMUNITY:… FREE ASSANGE NOW!… FREE ASSANGE NOW!… FREE ASSANGE NOW!..

Posted by: gil mendozza zuntzes | December 07, 2010 at 02:24 PM

revealed today: America is NOT a democracy.

Wikileaks cables show your subsequent governments are lying and bodyscans do the rest to show the naked truth.

Posted by: John | December 07, 2010 at 02:25 PM

What in the world makes westeren power’s to play with 3rd world. Now they are crying out loud for their secretes, Shut Up You All.

Posted by: akbar | December 07, 2010 at 02:37 PM

Due to the decision of Facebook to allow Wikkileaks access, as reported by the L.A. Times today, I am cancelling my use of the website. The safety of many people are in jeopardy. Please take a stand.

Posted by: Laurie Lynne | December 07, 2010 at 04:10 PM

Finally!! A corporation that shows some backbone!!! Thanks Facebook!

Posted by: Robert Harding | December 07, 2010 at 05:29 PM

Notice Assange has been hauled in on independent charges. These will simply act as ‘holding charges’ and my bet is that he is totally innocent of them.

I’m closing my Amazon account.

One man did the world a favour and look at the response. So much for Freedom of Information, Free Speech and Democracy – to say the least.

Want my vote? Release him.
Want my business? Release him.

Long live transparency.

Posted by: A Noble | December 07, 2010 at 06:12 PM