Ron Press anclondon at
Tue Apr 4 21:49:50 MDT 1995


1) I found the discussion about the Mayan civilisation very
interesting and instructive.

History has a way of turning in circles, or rather spirals. Thus
the discussion about the Mayans reminds me about the present state
of the world. Perhaps we can do better than they did.

Funny it reminds about the discussion of progress and it's
inevitability. Just as well that history does not go in circles we
would be in trouble. I would be especially so, since I cannot grow
a weed let alone a potato. As a subsistence farmer I would be

2) About envy. My experience is that when people are at the bottom
of the pile envy is not uppermost in their minds. Not to say that
it is completely absent. But as people get full stomachs and
clothes and accommodation envy does assume a larger role. Life is
never black or white but always shades of grey.

Similarly with the question of the market under socialism. There
were markets in the USSR. I remember them to be much like markets
anywhere. Noisy, full of people buying and selling. Of course what
they were allowed to sell was limited. One could bargain and
discuss. Not like our supermarkets. No discussion no bargaining.
Not really markets at all. Rather too well controlled.  It all a
question of what the aim of the society is. Markets in themselves
are merely tools. They are never free. It is who has the tools and
what they use them for. I seem to have some sympathy with the idea
of a society being directed by a morality. My problem with this is
that those who profess the highest morals almost always turn out
to be liars.

Markets are supposed to be where the equilibrium between supply
and demand is established. I think this is a myth. When a product
comes onto the market the producer charges as much as he thinks he
can get for it. Later is becomes cheaper. Later still it becomes
rubbish and is thrown away. There is never an equilibrium, except
perhaps for a short instant in time. It is the same with the
question of equalisation of profit. There is no such thing.
Profitability varies from industries with high profitability to
those with low. As capital flows from the least profitable to the
more profitable new sectors with new profit abilities arise. It is
a system in constant flux.

3) As was correctly pointed out.... To understand anything one
must understand it in context and since the context is the
universe one cannot understand anything unless one understands
everything..... Since I sincerely believe I am not god this leaves
me with a difficulty However we all must do the best we can within
our limitations. We all have a bit of the jigsaw. If we work
together this thing called progress might happen more quickly.

Ron Press.

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