Not The Grub Street Journal

Exegesis Hermeneutics Flux Capacitor of Truthiness

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Once upon a time it is taken for granted that chickens can be
allowed to feed only from the grains of corn they can find in horse
manure. The result is that to give their chickens enough to eat,
farmers must give their horses too much; and, when they stop
giving their horses too much, their chickens get too little. Farm
management policy is in a stop-go trap, for ever doing U-turns
between giving too much corn to horses that are already too fat,
and allowing too little food to chickens that are already too thin.
JAMES ROBERTSON, Real Critical Thought.!!
Interviewed in the secrets of Oz i was fascinated by this Gentleman’s calm amused and bemused insights o googled and read the Wikipedia article. He reminded me of Tony Benn so I was surprised to see he had contested Bristol south West or whatever seat back in the early 70’s standing against Tony Benn.
What a wealth of information the site is with a lot of amusing insights into so much of the difficult stuff that causes many of us to scratch our Heads. One example Horse Shit Economics ( absolutely Lovely the Chickens to thin and the Horses too Fat. Anyway here is the link I hope others will watch both the Secrets of Oz and follow over to James Robertsons excellent Web Site.
Although Dionysius of Halicarnasus didn’t say it, parables are another kind of story that philosophy uses to teach us by examples. Here are a few examples.
“Devil’s Tunes” or “An Infernal Strategy Review” (1992)
This four-page strategy review, presented to President Satan by his Ministers, discusses why he should authorise them to encourage humans to continue on their present catastrophic course.
Beyond The Dependency Culture, Chapter 10.
Top Secret Memorandum to the President
After the last Stygian Council meeting a hundred years ago, You
asked us to review infernal strategy for the next century and the
next millennium. This is a summary of our report. It is for
discussion at the forthcoming Council meeting.
Since the Council first met several millennia ago we have
steadfastly pursued the goal we then agreed. This was well
summarised by a Mr. Milton in a report on those early events. That
report, titled Paradise Lost, is quite recent and You may not yet
have had time to read it. Milton describes our aim as “seducing the
race of Man” into “wasting God’s whole creation” to the point where
He “with repenting hand would abolish His own works” – an accurate
reflection of our self-appointed task.
We are able to report good progress over the past few hundred
years. The cancerous impact of the human species on itself and on
the ecosystems of the Earth has now well and truly taken hold – to
the point where it could soon prove terminal. This offers us the
prospect of an important victory over the Enemy. We can take
satisfaction from it.
Beyond The Dependency Culture – Devil’s Tunes, 1992
However, we must not be complacent. As increasing numbers of
humans come to recognise the gravity of the world crisis they are
creating (with our concealed assistance), they might be inspired to
halt their stampede toward the abyss. They could still change
direction just in time to thwart our Plan.
The following is a possible scenario. A United Nations Conference
on Environment and Development is to be held in June next year in
Brazil. This Earth Summit will be a historic event,
For the first time ever the peoples of the world will meet together to
discuss their “common future”. And 1992 will be a historic year. It
will be the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to the western
hemisphere. That voyage marked the beginning of the modern
Euro-American period of human history, which now promises to
culminate in the global disaster for which we have been working.
The suggestion is that, when such a historic meeting in such a
historic year confronts humans with the occasion for worldwide
reflection and repentance, this will bring then to their senses; and
that then the approach of “The Year 2000”. which many of them will
see as the time for a millennial breakthrough, will strengthen their
determination to switch to a different path of progress for the
We have examined this scenario and understand it, but we do not
find it realistic. The pressures of career competition and survival in
business and finance and politics and government around the world
will almost certainly be strong enough to frustrate the success (from
the human point of view) of the Earth Summit. Furthermore, in this
as in other matters of concern to us, our infernal skills of
disinformation and public relations will keep the professional
communicators on our side. We can rely on the world’s media to
ignore the potential significance of the Earth Summit until it is
actually taking place, and then to concentrate on its entertainment
value rather than the serious issues at stake.
Nonetheless, we recommend that infernal observers watch very
carefully the efforts humans make in the next few years to change
their present path of development. We should continue to
encourage them to play down the severity of the risks they now
face. We should persuade them that prudence and good judgment
call for delay until scientists and economists can agree on what
needs to be done. (We can rely on economists to argue for many
years about what “sustainable development” actually means.) For
Beyond The Dependency Culture – Devil’s Tunes, 1992
the longer term we must make sure that the efforts which humans
eventually make to achieve sustainability are positively
In that respect we must follow the pattern of our previous
successes. We contrived to persuade humans to transform the
Christian atonement of 2000 years ago into the service of their own
material ambitions and struggles for power. We helped them to
transform the initial journeys of Christian explorers from Europe
500 years ago into a worldwide wave of destruction, in which many
peoples and cultures and biological species have perished – and
continue to perish today. In the last two or three hundred years we
have successfully encouraged them to transform the scientific
revolution and the “Enlightenment”, on which they originally
embarked with such high moral and spiritual purposes, into more
powerful engines of physical and moral and spiritual destruction and
waste than have ever existed before. We have helped them to
redefine “the creation of wealth” as a competitive struggle for
supremacy and survival among themselves, and to redefine
“economy” as a compulsive addiction to unnecessary extraction and
wastage of nature’s resources.
These are no mean achievements. The challenge is to live up to
them now. But this should not be beyond our powers.
Influential human leaders are already calling for “a new wave of
economic growth” to deal with the problems that past economic
growth has caused. What might have been dangerous ideas like
democracy and development have already been converted into
instruments – like the “free market” and “free trade” – through
which rich and powerful people can dominate and disable the poor
and weak. In the last few years concern with sustainable
development has itself mushroomed into an unsustainably wasteful
bonanza of parasitical busyness – national and international
conferences, consultations, publications, research, and so on. Mad
scientists, dreaming of nuclear reactors in 50 years’ time which will
generate heat 2000 times hotter than the sun, are given serious
attention; while sober engineers, capable of providing all the energy
humans need by a mixture of energy efficiency, energy
conservation and renewable energy supply, are dismissed as
unreliable cranks. (Our experts from the Ministry of Destruction
and Science and the Ministry of Disinformation and Public Relations
are asking for increased budgets to step up their successful
cooperation in this area.) Meanwhile leading humans, by
Beyond The Dependency Culture – Devil’s Tunes, 1992
simultaneously paying themselves huge salaries and preaching the
virtues of wage restraint, elegantly combine encouragement of
financial greed with the promotion of widespread cynicism. (You
recently recognised the brilliance of our infernal taskforce in this
area by bestowing a Satan’s Award for Excellence on the relevant
division in the Ministry of Waste and Economic Affairs.)
In these and many other ways things are going well. With discreet
help from us, the human race seems hell-bent on its own
destruction and the destruction, if not of a very large part of the
Universe, of enough of the Enemy’s creation to be well worth our
As You know, the question has been raised whether this would
necessarily turn out to be a victory for us. Might not the selfdestruction
of the human species and its environment, like the past
destruction of earlier species (e.g. the dinosaurs), help to create
conditions in which new, more advanced forms of life and
consciousness would eventually emerge on Earth? Might we not
then feel that, far from our having triumphed over the Enemy, He
had skilfully outmanoeuvred us?
We reject that doubt for two reasons. First, more advanced forms
of life and consciousness would, in fact, widen the future scope for
infernal subversion of the Enemy’s creation – corruptio optimi
pessima, as His supporters say. That is an outcome we would
welcome. Second, the disaster threatening the human species is
now so imminent that their successful avoidance of it might well be
interpreted as a defeat for us. That is an outcome we would want
to avoid.
To conclude, then, our unanimous recommendation is that infernal
strategy should encourage humans to continue on their present
catastrophic course. We seek the Council’s agreement and Your
authority to proceed accordingly.
B.L.Z. Bubb (Minister, Planning)
M. Ammon (Minister, Waste and Economic Affairs)
M.O. Loch (Minister, Destruction and Science)
B.E. Lial (Minister, Disinformation and Public Relations).
“Beyond Horseshit Economics” or “The Fallacy of Single Level Control” (1992)
A lesson for economic policy makers. It took too long for the experts to realise that limiting the amount of food for chickens to the corn they could peck out of horse manure resulted in making the chickens too thin or the horses too fat.
Full story in Beyond the Dependency Culture, Chapter 11.
Also in After Dependency: Healthy People and Places in the 21st Century.
SECTION 3 – Contents
Chapter 11. Beyond Horseshit Economics: Local Economies
In A Changing Global Environment. (1992) 132
Based on the opening speech, and a contribution to a later panel
discussion, at a conference on “Employment and Economic
Regeneration in Crisis Regions” organised by Karl Birkholzer in
Berlin in November 1992 under the auspices of the Berlin City
Government and the Technical University of Berlin. Published in
Futures, March 1993, as “The Fallacy Of Single-Level Control”.
The Internationalisation of Economic Activity
So, if that is the situation in a world of centralised national
economic policy-making, how will it be affected by the increasing
internationalisation of economic activity?
There is little doubt that further European economic integration, in
the unitary form of Economic and Monetary Union and a single
European currency as proposed in the Maastricht Treaty, would tend
to reinforce the situation I have described. It would be a further
measure of economic centralisation. It would further accentuate
economic imbalances between different regions of Europe. It would
tend to worsen the prospects of the crisis regions. It would require
a larger lifeboat operation to rectify the imbalances and remedy the
crises in the economically disadvantaged regions. That is well
recognised. The larger remedial role – the bigger lifeboat – is
provided for in the Maastricht Treaty’s proposals for a new
Committee of the Regions – and an enlarged European Regional
Development Fund, together with the so-called Cohesion Fund.
One possibility for the future would be simply to accept this, to
recognise that the present plans for European Economic and
Monetary Union will create an even more urgent need to deal with a
Beyond The Dependency Culture –
Beyond Horseshit Economics, 1992
larger number of economic crisis regions. It would then be
necessary to step up preparations to meet that need. But another
possibility is to seek an alternative to the unitary form of European
economic integration that is now proposed.
Let us be quite clear about what this means. To oppose a unitary
form of integration does not mean opposing further European
economic integration as such. Internationalisation is a feature of all
aspects of human activity today, including economic development.
That is a fact of life. Multinational corporations and multinational
banks now affect us all. The impacts of economic activity in one
country now affect others – just think of acid rain, or global
warming, or Chernobyl. At the European level, closer economic
cooperation has long been seen as a contribution to peaceful,
secure relations between the peoples of Western Europe. At the
global level, the need to evolve a more environmentally sustainable
world economy, which will also be more equitable, calls for a new
economic approach at the world level and for more effective worldlevel
economic policies and institutions in the spheres of
international trade, aid and finance.
So further internationalisation of economic structures, both in
Europe and at the global level, is – in my view – desirable and
inevitable. The important question is what form it should take, and
what should be the guiding principles underlying it.


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