quadibloc on February 12, 2011, 08:02:04 pm
Or does the Earth government think that Ceres has huge piles of precious metals just waiting to be seized?
I think that their idea is that Ceres has a productive population... waiting to be enslaved. If they can maintain Ceres' productivity, but subject its people to the level of confiscatory taxation that the Earth middle class suffers, the UW's economic collapse will be staved off until its leaders are no longer around to care about it.

Of course, the existence of rejuv puts one hole in this, since the UW's leaders would certainly take advantage of that.

The other problem is how a world-wide dictatorship managed to even have an economic collapse. It's noted that they're printing money as a stopgap measure. Obviously, the government can do that. But I'm not sure if the implications of the ability to print money have been grasped. (Of course, the UW may not have a Baldur von Schirach working for it.)

The UW has the Moon and Mercury under its control, and Mars and the asteroid belt are not under its control, if I understand the story correctly.

Economic collapse means... running out of money. Real money that you can manage to spend - not paper Continentals no one trusts.

A world-wide dictatorship can tell its people to work and produce... whatever they're capable of producing. The "business cycle" is a feature of a free-enterprise economy; there is no need to fear that an internal business cycle will disrupt the fulfillment of the next Five-Year Plan. Instead, the Five-Year Plan will get foiled because of bureaucrats lying to their superiors about what the workers under their control can really do, and so on.

So, basically, the only economic (as opposed to physical) problems a dictatorship faces are problems of external trade. But if the UW is gradually losing the ability to produce things that Ceres and Mars want to buy, which is a problem because they need to import something (Metals? Fertilizers from cometary materials?) from Ceres and Mars... that would not normally be called an "economic collapse".

I suppose I need to draw the conclusion that the UW is not a Stalinist command economy, but instead (because they don't work) it maintains a facade - with a good deal of reality behind it - of free enterprise. Which allows things like economic collapses to happen (first, you have to have an economy before it can collapse). Even North Korea had to repudiate its currency recently.

But they can't usefully steal money from Ceres, they can only steal real wealth from it. What do they need that they can't pay for? And what had they been using to pay for it?

Plane on February 12, 2011, 09:45:27 pm
I
Every day I wonder, are we Americans better off than in 1775?  New management yes, but?


Perhaps that is the wrong question; it discounts the passage of more than two centuries of change in both America and Great Britain.

Is it better to be an American or a Brit? For all that we Americans object to today's taxes, gun control laws, and other aspects of American socialism run rampant, the Brits seem to have it even worse than we do.

I think we'd need to agree a set of criteria on which "better" is determined in order to answer that question.

If "better" is definied as lower taxes and less gun control then I would have to concede that the US beats the UK - but I think it's a pretty narrow definition.
As a Brit with some (albeit limited) knowledge of life in the US I would currently rather still live in the UK - i.e. by my perosanl definition being a Brit is "better", but I would not expect your personal definition to match mine.

What in particular needs to be "better" for you?
There are lots of diffrences, I am well adapted to the enviornment I grew up in .

Plane on February 12, 2011, 09:50:09 pm
During the Mexico City Earthquake several large buildings collapsed into their own footprint, it is not true that this is a rare circumstance to occur accidentally, but only that large building collapses themselves are events  infrequent enough that we are not accustomed to it .

There is nothing impossible in the official story , which is the first hurdle that any alternative story ought to jump.

Then there ought to be a plausable reason to think it more likely.

J Thomas on February 12, 2011, 11:12:22 pm

It wasn't simply that the American colonists didn't think that the Crown's war debt was in any way a legitimate call upon them (you've got to understand how wars were fought and funded in the 18th Century, when professional armies took to the field, supported from stocked arsenals and magazines, with little or no call upon the rest of the nation) but that H.M. government didn't undertake the kinds of military actions the colonists actually wanted, which was principally to drive the French and the recalcitrant Indian tribes out so that the American colonists could push their own settlements further into the continent. 

Parliament and the Crown had the "big picture" in mind, and that included maintaining good trading relations with the tribes along the Great Lakes and in the Ohio River basin.  The colonists' acquisitive aspirations threatened this, so it's not really possible to speak of those colonists as having considered themselves under any kind of moral "obligation" at all.

They weren't, after all, given any voice whatsoever in setting those British Empire "big picture" objectives and policies, and were being very much thwarted in their own ambitions thereby.

I agree with all this, and note that some Americans did agree with the British view.

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Beyond that, it's wrong to speak of "whatever trade restrictions the Americans had during the war" as if these were merely wartime exigencies.  They weren't.

Oops. I don't know why I said that. I meant "before the war". I understand that things were worse during the war than afterward. I have seen the claim that things were worse after the war than before. That being thrown out of Britain's trade was even worse for the colonies than being stifled by it had been, for decades.

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Those trade and other restrictions were applied against the American colonists under the aegis of mercantilism and require a helluva lot more consideration here.

All Americans know about the time-honored practice of using remote rustic areas to hide whiskey distilleries, and wandering in the woods of Appalachia one can easily come across the remnants of once-flourishing stills that had been discovered decades before by the Revenooers and smashed to uselessness.

Under the Royal government of these American colonies, the manufacture of stonewear was a crime.  The colonists were supposed to purchase such stuff from manufacturers in Great Britain.  Simple porous clay pottery (about what one sees in a flowerpot) could lawfully be made here, but not the hard, durable, watertight stuff preferred as common houseware in that era. 

So in places that were once wilderness in the old colonies can be found today the remains of secret potteries where criminalized ceramics were thrown, glazed, and fired for the American domestic market. 

A number of manufactures and imports were forbidden the American colonists, even when there was no state of war obtaining.  The Americans were supposed to be a captive market, able to purchase only from sources in Great Britain.  To this end, H.M. government did much to prevent the colonists from developing trade within and between their colonies, too, so there was a deliberate policy to keep specie - coins - out of America.  It was understood that without hard currency to facilitate trade, exchange would be more readily funneled through the ports and merchants of the motherland. 

Force the colonists to dicker by way of barter. So much weight of tobacco for this, so much dried cod for that, this man's note-of-hand for such, another guy's I.O.U. for something else.  Keep the colonists' commerce screwed up and inefficient. 

How the hell do you think the Spanish dollar came to be the de facto (and only eventually the de jure) unit of currency for these United States?  The pillar dollar struck in the Spanish governor's mint in Havana came into the American colonies by way of wholly illegal trade to take the place of the shillings and pounds that Parliament did its best to keep out of the colonies they wanted to victimize. 

To speak of any alleged "moral obligation" on the part of the American colonists is to ignore the decades during which Parliament and the Crown put the economic screws to those colonists.  In the musical 1776, the authors put the following through the character of Benjamin Franklin:

"Never was such a valuable possession so stupidly and recklessly managed than this entire continent by the British crown. Our industry discouraged, our resources pillaged...."

Though not drawn from Franklin's own writings. this line rings true because this attitude was indeed prevalent at that time.  Read Paine's Common Sense and other contemporary pamphlets. 

The costs of remaining "part of the British Empire under the conditions that Britain allowed" were simply too damned high for whatever minimal benefit that might accrue, and the colonists understood that. 

That's certainly a legitimate point of view. I don't know enough about the details to argue with it, and I tend to agree, but I note that proponents of the opposite view point to Canada -- they say that Canada did not rebel and did not suffer terribly under the British heel.

As a separate matter, could the Chinese government be thinking in mercantilist terms? They are still communists, and they have the clear concept that when they trade with capitalists they're living in a wolf-eat-wolf world.

mellyrn on February 13, 2011, 08:19:22 am
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During the Mexico City Earthquake several large buildings collapsed into their own footprint

I'd like a citation for that.  For a building to collapse into its own footprint, all the supporting structures on a given floor have to give way at the exact same moment.  Any slight resistance here or unusual weakness there will cause tipping -- which in turn causes the load to arrive unequally on the supports below, which exacerbates the tip.

For "into the footprint" to continue, then, the next lower supports have to coordinate their collapses to compensate perfectly for that imbalance, in order to restore the "straight down" trajectory.

I don't see that happening, especially not in an earthquake which is damaging the structure with complex ground shifting, including lateral.  So, please, send me some info.


quadibloc on February 13, 2011, 08:37:08 am
I'd like a citation for that.  For a building to collapse into its own footprint, all the supporting structures on a given floor have to give way at the exact same moment.  Any slight resistance here or unusual weakness there will cause tipping -- which in turn causes the load to arrive unequally on the supports below, which exacerbates the tip.
I don't know about the structures in Mexico City, but in the case of the Twin Towers, that statement, reasonable though it may seem, is not correct.

There were basically two supporting structures holding the Twin Towers up: the central core, and the load-bearing walls. The first things to give way as those buildings collapsed were neither of those structures, it was the floors that gave way and fell on each other.

If a hijacked airplane under similar circumstances had crashed into the Empire State Building, a skyscraper of conventional construction, then, indeed, it would not have collapsed largely into its own footprint.

However, it is a proven fact, as one of the skeptic sites reminded me, that a Bush Administration conspiracy cost, or will cost, the lives of thousands of Americans.

In the wake of the attacks of 9/11, much of Lower Manhattan was covered by a cloud of dust.

Some newspaper columnists speculated that if Lower Manhattan were shut down for weeks or months, this would cause severe damage to the American economy.

A country that is under attack by an external enemy can't afford to have ripple effects undermining its strength. And, so, government officials told Americans that the air in Lower Manhattan was safe to breathe.

It wasn't - some of the damaged buildings did have asbestos in them.

You don't hear anyone defending the proposition that while some people dying of lung diseases later is sad, risking a large-scale economic collapse in the United States, which would have put it at a disadvantage in defending itself (after all, for all the Administration knew, al-Qaeda could have been put up to it by, say, a Chinese conspiracy, or, in some other way, there could have been other forces waiting to move, to exploit the aftermath of 9/11) would be catastrophic.

No one is willing to stand up and say that the nation can demand sacrifices of its people in order that it can continue to preserve their freedom in a dangerous world. So, even though people were talking about "the wheels falling off" the U.S. military, the draft was just off the table as far as Iraq and Afghanistan were concerned.

So GWB played the "fool me once" card - and we all know that the "fool me twice" card doesn't work nearly as well.

Congratulations: AnCap has won the battle for the hearts and minds of the American people. As, I suppose, we should have realized back in the days of Proposition 13.

mellyrn on February 13, 2011, 09:14:49 am
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the central core, and the load-bearing walls. The first things to give way as those buildings collapsed were neither of those structures, it was the floors that gave way and fell on each other.

The "floors" gave way?  The horizontal structures?  Dude, something was holding them up off of each other.  And then it wasn't.  If it wasn't the core and/or the load-bearing (hint:  "load bearing") walls, what the dickens was it?  The antigrav machine?


Brugle on February 13, 2011, 10:30:48 am
A world-wide dictatorship can tell its people to work and produce... whatever they're capable of producing.
Yes, talk is cheap.

The "business cycle" is a feature of a free-enterprise economy;
Only to a very small degree.  Booms and busts can occur in essentially free markets, but free markets adjust and the economy recovers rapidly from a bust.

The massive, long-lasting bust is a feature of a semi-free economy, with significant government controls.  Central banks make booms and busts worse.  Fiat money makes booms and busts worse.  Many other interventions make booms and busts worse.  And, when a bust occurs, government efforts to prevent markets from adjusting makes busts last longer.

Not only do government economic controls make busts worse and longer-lasting, they increase the harm.  During a bust in a free market, most prices fall considerably, cushioning the impact somewhat.  However, governments typically try to keep prices high during a bust, which harms most people along with slowing the recovery.

there is no need to fear that an internal business cycle will disrupt the fulfillment of the next Five-Year Plan.
"Five-Year Plans" typically fail anyway, often by huge amounts.

Instead, the Five-Year Plan will get foiled because of bureaucrats lying to their superiors about what the workers under their control can really do, and so on.

So, basically, the only economic (as opposed to physical) problems a dictatorship faces are problems of external trade.
No.  Such lying might contribute to the failure of a "Five Year Plan", but they would still fail without it.  Without accurate prices, it is impossible to produce efficiently.  (This isn't just a problem in a command economy, it can occur in a large bureaucracy--the larger, the potentially worse.)  For details, look up "socialist calculation problem".

I suppose I need to draw the conclusion that the UW is not a Stalinist command economy,
Bingo.  The first strip should have given you a clue.

quadibloc on February 13, 2011, 11:38:48 am
The "floors" gave way?  The horizontal structures?  Dude, something was holding them up off of each other.  And then it wasn't.  If it wasn't the core and/or the load-bearing (hint:  "load bearing") walls, what the dickens was it?  The antigrav machine?
No, the Twin Towers weren't equipped with a structural integrity field.

Basically, the floors had girders under them to make them rigid.

The core and the outside walls had a lot of metal in them, because they held the building up.

And the floors were attached to those things... as illustrated here.

Airplane crashes into floor N.

The bottom layer of girders keeping the floor of floor N+1 rigid weakens from the heat. That floor buckles in the middle and comes crashing down - slipping off the angle clips that hold it to the walls and the core.

The sudden impact of that floor on the floor of floor N causes that floor to buckle in the middle, and come crashing down, with the floor of floor N+1 on top of it, on the floor of floor N-1. Repeat.

Eventually, the immense energy released by this process does cause outward pressure on the walls so that they don't remain unscathed.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2011, 12:58:11 pm by quadibloc »

J Thomas on February 13, 2011, 12:22:05 pm
I'm not aware that there are problems with the official story, however. The World Trade Center had an unusual construction, so that it pancaked when the aviation fuel from the fully-fueled jets weakened the metal supports.

Yes, that's the story. Friends of mine who are engineers and architects assure me that is not possible. Never in the history of the world has any building--much less three--collapsed in its own footprint other than ones brought down by controlled implosions. And of course, jet fuel played no part in Building 7.

The official story is that it did. They say that there was a great big emergency response center in Building 7, to coordinate for emergencies in all of NYC. It had emergency generators. And against regulations and all common sense it had something like 35,000 gallons of potentially-explosive fuel, which did catch fire and cause the building to collapse.

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This has been explained in credible and reputable sources. Arguing from "common sense" that it couldn't be this way, since I'm not an architect myself, would seem like trying to use "common sense" to argue against relativity, or evolution, or the Apollo moon landings.

Actually credible and reputable sources have come down on both sides of the argument.

Before the attack, nobody believed that the building would collapse from getting hit with an airplane. A possibly forged interview with Bin Ladin claimed that Al Qaeda didn't believe that -- they believed the engineering reports which said it wouldn't happen.

As you pointed out, this is a side issue. It's quite possible that whoever planned the attack had no expectation that the buildings would fall and was as surprised as everybody else when it happened. Or they could perhaps have decided they wanted the buildings to fall and secretly arranged explosives to make it happen.

I tend toward the first possibility. Flying planes into WTC and leaving big visible holes in the NYC skyline for probably years would have been quite enough to satisfy anybody. Adding explosives would add to the complexity of the plan, leaving more room for failure and more people to get caught etc. It makes sense for whoever did it to settle for just the planes, and then be surprised when the engineering reports were wrong and the towers collapsed. But of course we can't expect terrorists to make sense so the logic is not reliable.

quadibloc on February 13, 2011, 02:31:14 pm
Before the attack, nobody believed that the building would collapse from getting hit with an airplane.
The way I remembered hearing it was that the building was designed taking into consideration the possibility of being hit by an airplane accidentally - one smaller than the one that actually hit it, traveling at a lower speed, and not almost fully-fueled.

No one really had thought, one way or the other, about what would happen to the building if hit by an airplane under the circumstances that happened on September 11, 2001, because hardly anyone had thought about the possibility of such an attack. Those who had considered this kind of attack were concerned with preventing it, not with determining its precise consequences.

Tucci78 on February 13, 2011, 04:12:48 pm
No one really had thought, one way or the other, about what would happen to the building if hit by an airplane under the circumstances that happened on September 11, 2001, because hardly anyone had thought about the possibility of such an attack. Those who had considered this kind of attack were concerned with preventing it, not with determining its precise consequences.

My first information on the World Trade Center attacks had come by way of news radio audited while driving, before the second strike hit the South Tower.

My immediate impression was that an accidental impact - probably by a light twin-engined plane - had occurred, similar to the B-25 collision with the Empire State Building on 28 July 1945.  Knowing what little I did about the tube-frame structural system employed in the towers' engineering, I figured that such an accidental impact wouldn't significantly impair the integrity of the North Tower. 

I remembered having read that the design team had taken the possibility of such collisions into account when the complex had been proposed.  People in the Big Apple are stupid enough to vote consistently National Socialist, but they're not stupid enough to forget that B-25 slamming into the Empire State Building. 

It's that tube-frame structural arrangement which explains the two Towers having effectively imploded within their respective footprints.  A skyscraper with the traditional steel girder skeleton would have to yield to lateral forces when coming down in a catastrophic event.  Some elements of the framework would hang on - if only for an instant - longer than others, acting as fulcra to throw the forces of collapse to one side or another. 

But the tube-frame model gives so much resistance to lateral forces that the "pancake" subsidence seen as the result of the fires' effects on the load-bearing components of each floor at and above the airplanes' impacts (and the fuel-fed fires) was perfectly understandable.

As for thinking about the possibility of such an attack....  I dunno about anybody else reading here, but plenty of people playing Flight Simulator had been crashing every imaginable kind of jet airliner into the United Nations building ever since that computer game came on the market.
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

SandySandfort on February 13, 2011, 04:42:50 pm
As for thinking about the possibility of such an attack....  I dunno about anybody else reading here, but plenty of people playing Flight Simulator had been crashing every imaginable kind of jet airliner into the United Nations building ever since that computer game came on the market.

I was flabbergasted when I heard some government flannel-mouth say that no one had ever imagined such a scenario. I guess nobody in DC read Tom Clancy's Debt of Honor, published seven years before 911:

   https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Debt_of_Honor


terry_freeman on February 13, 2011, 06:45:14 pm
The Business Cycle is not a "feature of a free economy"; it is a feature of fractional-reserve banking ( which can and does occur in command economies ) and is exacerbated by central banking.

Google Austrian Business Cycle Theory. I'll wait while you educate yourself.

GlennWatson on February 13, 2011, 09:07:06 pm
The Business Cycle is an Austrian School invention.  The Austrian school is against government intervention.  Of course they would say governments make downturns worse and upturns longer. 

But I don't think the Austrians thought even a totally free market, if one ever existed, would avoid the cycle altogether.


 

anything