In "Self-Reliance," philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson argues that polite society has an adverse effect on one's personal growth. Self-sufficiency, he writes, gives one the freedom to discover one'strue self and attain true independence. Emerson urges his readers to follow their individual will instead of conforming to social expectations. Emerson encourages his readers to be honest in their relationships with others.
A Brief Ec onomic History Economic history is an important field of study. In the so-called primitive economiesfood was the greatest wealth, which was directly related to the land.
As political empires grew, so would their wealth-concentrating capacities. The earliest industries, such as the forging of copper and irongrew from artistic endeavors, and the metal that became the subject of more human passion than any other, gold, may have been the first metal that was worked, although it is more generally thought that copper was worked first.
Gold was associated with the Sun, was considered a sacred substance in many cultures, and was used in artwork. Gold was too soft to make tools or weapons, but it became the artistic and sacred metal.
Whereas the Fertile Crescent had little gold, Egypt had the first great gold mines, out in the desert. Worked by slaves, with their bones littering the mines, Egypt set the pattern of Western gold mining labor standards. The slaves were deemed expendable, and properly feeding and housing them was more costly than obtaining new slaves, so the logic of the day demanded that the slaves be worked to death in the minesif they even survived the journey to them.
Gold abounded in the royal quarters, their thrones, and tombs. Gold was officially a royal monopoly, although there was a black market for it. The gold made its way in small measure to the commoners, and the other burgeoning civilizations lusted for it. The gold buried with the Pharaohs was eventually dug up by grave robbers and made its way into the economy as jewelry and a symbol of wealth.
In the Old Testa ment, even the Jewish god lusted for gold. Egypt eventually declined, and from Assyria to Babylonia, from Hittites to Minoans to Phoenicians and Carthaginians, from Persia to Greece, empires continually rose and fell in that region.
Gold was a central concern of all of them, and was the universal measure of wealth. As an empire rose, it plundered all the gold it could from its neighbors. The same piece of gold could pass through many incarnations over the millennia, perhaps starting as a work of art after being gleaned from the earth.
Then it was buried with its owner, then the grave was robbed and it was sold for food. Mining took place across that part of the world, usually in or near mountains. Using much of what the Etruscans taught them, the Roman Empire built great buildings, roads, and aqueducts that people still marvel over.
The Roman Empire was also one of the most murderous, greedy, and cruel regimes that the world has known. Political murder, debauchery, and greed were standard features of Roman life. If one became part of the middle class or better, life could be pretty good.
Yet, the Roman Empire was built on the blood and bones of those who did the work. To entertain the masses, people were forced to murder one another at the various arenas, and the grandest was the Coliseum, where the Emperor would lead the festivities.
The slaves often preferred taking their chances in the arenas rather than work in the imperial mines. Rome eventually ran out of energy and collapsedand Europe reverted to a primarily agrarian culture for the next millennium.
Civiliz ed people did not comprehend the difference between real wealth and its symbol. Gold was the ultimate currency, because it was scarce and durable. There is no intrinsic wealth in gold. Ancient peoples could not eat it, or make a tool or weapon from it.
A produce of which the value is principally derived from its scarcity, is necessarily degraded by its abundance. It is perhaps the most disadvantageous lottery in the world, or the one in which the gain of those who draw the prizes bears the least proportion to the loss of those who draw the blanks: Projects of mining, instead of replacing the capital employed in them, together with the ordinary profits of stock commonly absorb both capital and profit.
They are the projects, therefore, to which of all others a prudent law-giver, who desired to increase the capital of his nation, would least choose to give any extraordinary encouragement, or to turn towards them a greater share of that capital than what would go to them of its own accord.
If one had expendable slaves, gold mining made sense. Ancient Egypt had slaves, and ancient Rome greatly advanced the craft, creating technological improvements and borrowing some from Greece in order to enhance mining efficiency.
It was efficient in that they mined more gold, and efficient from the standpoint of getting more production from the slaves before they died.
What those ancient civilizations failed to comprehend was that true wealth was food, shelter, clothing, and an environment that could sustain it.BOOK I. OF NATIONS CONSIDERED IN THEMSELVES. CHAP.
I. OF NATIONS OR SOVEREIGN STATES. § 1. Of the state, and of sovereignty. A NATION or a state is, as has been said at the beginning of this work, a body politic, or a society of men united together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by their combined strength..
From the very design that induces a number of . 1. Foreword by David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Corruption is the cancer at the heart of so many of our problems in the world today. Updated 24 November, Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor by Garrett Hardin, Psychology Today, September For copyright permission, click here..
Environmentalists use the metaphor of the earth as a "spaceship" in trying to persuade countries, industries and people to stop wasting and polluting our natural resources. The myth of Neo-colonialism.
By Tunde Obadina. More than three decades after most African nations became independent, there is no consensus on the legacy of colonialism. Envisioning the United Nations in the Twenty-first Century Proceedings of the Inaugural Symposium on the United Nations System in the Twenty-first Century.
(and accept the fact that, yes, the right is happier than the left).