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Parallels and Parables  

1. A FEW HISTORICAL PARALLELS

The ancient Greek philosopher, Dionysius of Halicarnasus, said that “history is philosophy teaching us by examples”. Here are a few examples.

Medieval Church and Modern Money System (1985)

"Money plays the central role in modern industrial society that religion played in the late middle ages. Then the local church ... Financial mumbo-jumbo holds us in thrall today, as religious mumbo-jumbo held our ancestors then."

Full quotation from Future Work, the beginning of Chapter 9.

 

A 'Dissolution of the Monasteries' (1985)

"The dissolution of the monasteries was an event that clearly marked the decline of religion in the transition from medieval to modern times. May the post-industrial counterpart to that prove to be a monetary and financial collapse so severe that ...? ... At least some later historians would look back on such an event as marking the end of the era that we call the industrial age."

Full quotation from Future Work, the end of Chapter 9.

 

Redefinition of Money now Needed (2003)

In the 19th century money was redefined to include paper banknotes as well as gold coins and bullion. "The challenge we face is similar. But our definition of money should now extend to include, not just banknotes as well as coin, but also the electronic bank-created money in our current bank accounts. ... That commercial banks still create this official-currency money for private-sector profit has become a glaring anachronism."

Full quotation from Monetary Reform - Making it Happen, Chapter 1.

 

21st-Century Introduction of Citizen's Income and 1846 Repeal of Corn Laws. (1985)

"[The introduction of a Citizen's Income] will be a historical milestone of the first importance. By officially disconnecting subsistence from paid employment it will mark the transition to the post-employment age, as surely as the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 marked the transition from an agricultural to an industrial society. It will start reversing the process that began several hundred years ago, when the common people were deprived of access to land and the wherewithal to provide their own subsistence, and so became dependent on paid labour."

Future Work, Chapter 12.

 

2. A FEW PARABLES

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.

 

"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.

 

Drowning Dogs (1998)

"The kind of society we are living in is what you might call a remedial society. We concentrate more effort on trying to put things right after they have gone wrong, than on making them go right in the first place. It reminds me of the story of the man who lived at a bridge over a river, and spent a lot of time saving dogs from drowning as they floated past. ... As a rule, it will be more effective to deal with upstream causes than with their downstream effects."

Full story in After Dependency: Healthy People and Places in the 21st Century

 

A "Modernised" Form of Cricket, as a model for the Game of Economic Life. "This is rather as if the game of cricket were to develop to the point where ..."

Full quotation in Future Wealth, Chapter 9. (1989)

 

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