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“White Gold” Conference Talks on the Origin of Electrum Coinage

16 days ago

Some of the evidence I reviewed in this post on the origin of electrum coinage was from a conference called “White Gold: Revealing the World’s Earliest Coins,” held from 25–26th June, 2012 (International Congress at Israel Museum, Jerusalem).The edited proceedings of this conference will be published as White Gold: Studies in Early Electrum Coinage (edited by Peter Van Alfen and Ute Wartenberg), but the talks are available in these videos:(1) White Gold, International Congress, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Part 1:June 25: Session 1
Catharine Lorber and Haim Gitler, “Opening Remarks.”
Michael Kerschner and Koray Konuk, “The Chronology of the Electrum Coins Found in the Artemision of Ephesus: The Contribution of the Archaeological Find Context.”
Jack Kroll, “On the Ephesus Inscription.”

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Reply to Selgin on the Origin of Electrum Coinage, Part 2

20 days ago

This is part 2 of my response to George Selgin’s post here:George Selgin, “‘Lord Keynes’ contra White on the Beginnings of Coinage,” Alt-M Ideas for an Alternative Monetary Future, August 30, 2017.Selgin refers to various new data from the past 20 years or so, and much of the new evidence was presented at a conference called “White Gold: Revealing the World’s Earliest Coins,” held from 25–26th June, 2012 (International Congress at Israel Museum, Jerusalem).Wartenberg (2017), for instance, refers to the edited proceedings of this conference: White Gold: Studies in Early Electrum Coinage (edited by Peter Van Alfen and Ute Wartenberg). But this book will not be published until December 31, 2017, so I can hardly evaluate the evidence there, but have to go on published summaries of the

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The Majority View in Modern Scholarship on the Origin of Electrum Coinage: An Update

22 days ago

In the last post here, I gave a large sample of 48 published works in modern scholarship on the question of the origins of electrum coinage.I took a sample of late 20th and early 21st century general and specialist ancient historians, numismatists and other relevant scholars. Professor Selgin points out here that I included some MMT economists in Group 1, but I could have included some free bankers or other libertarian scholars in Group 3.This is easy to do.Once again, I take “majority” to mean more than 50% of general and specialist ancient historians and relevant scholars – and a clear majority to be a percentage in the upper range of 55–60% or, ideally, even higher.Let us start with an updated list of “Group 3” scholars. Once again, “Group 3” scholars are those who argue explicitly for

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Reply to Selgin on the Origin of Electrum Coinage, Part 1

23 days ago

George Selgin replies to my post here in the following critique:George Selgin, “‘Lord Keynes’ contra White on the Beginnings of Coinage,” Alt-M Ideas for an Alternative Monetary Future, August 30, 2017.You can follow the complete debate in these posts as follows: Larry White, “Why the ‘State Theory of Money’ doesn’t explain the Coinage of Precious Metals,” Alt-M Ideas for an Alternative Monetary Future, August 24, 2017.“Larry White on the Origins of Coined Money: A Critique,” August 26, 2017.George Selgin, “‘Lord Keynes’ contra White on the Beginnings of Coinage,” Alt-M Ideas for an Alternative Monetary Future, August 30, 2017.The issue here is how electrum coinage in ancient Lydia and Asia Minor arose, and who first invented it. The issues are so many and complex that my responses will

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Larry White on the Origins of Coined Money: A Critique

August 26, 2017

The free banker Larry White has a recent post here on the origins of coined money:Larry White, “Why the ‘State Theory of Money’ doesn’t explain the Coinage of Precious Metals,” Alt-M Ideas for an Alternative Monetary Future, August 24, 2017.White is essentially talking about the origins of coined money in ancient Lydia and Greece.First of all, there are some points in White’s article that may be freely acknowledged as correct, as follows:(1) Chartalism does not have a universal theory of the origins of money (as defined as a general medium of exchange, unit of account and store of purchasing power) anymore than Neoclassical economics does. But it does have part of the story.(2) it is true that the theories of certain MMT economists who wish to argue that ancient states chose silver and

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James Keir Hardie’s Views on Mass Immigration

August 26, 2017

James Keir Hardie (15 August 1856–26 September 1915) was the founder of the British Labour Party (which was founded on 27 February, 1900), its first leader, and its first Member of Parliament.In 1899, James Keir Hardie appeared before the UK House of Commons Select Committee on emigration and immigration. He – as a leading socialist of Britain – gave his opinion on mass immigration into Scotland:“James Keir Hardie, Secretary to the Ayrshire Miners’ Union and to the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Party (pp. 63–69) stated that 2,500 foreign workmen were employed in Glasgow, 300 in Leith and 20 at the Glengarock Ironworks in Ayrshire. There were between 2,800 and 3,000 foreigners in Scotland altogether. ….In many cases, they only stayed in Scotland a few months, to earn sufficient money to

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Sam Bowles on “The Death of Homo Economicus”

August 20, 2017

An interesting interview of Sam Bowles (Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst) by Marshall Auerback on the Neoclassical myth of homo economicus:[embedded content]A great interview.See also his book: Bowles, Samuel and Herbert Gintis. 2011. A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and its Evolution. Princeton University Press, Oxford and Princeton, NJ.

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Breitbart on “Racist Socialists”

August 17, 2017

Breitbart has an eyebrow-raising article here on early American socialists and their attitudes to race.There are two points here.First of all, it is true enough that many early socialists, Liberals and even some Marxists did believe in the biological reality of race and racial differences. We know that Karl Marx at the end of his life seems to have believed in the reality of races, and even in a kind of racial phrenology and the racial pseudo-science of Pierre Trémaux (1818–1895) on racial degeneration.Worse still, Marx’s attachment to racial phrenology is confirmed in one of his letters to Engels, in which Marx complains about the German radical Ferdinand Lassalle (1825–1864) who visited Marx in London in 1862:Dear Engels, From the enclosed scrawls you will partly see how bothered I am.

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Orwellian Social Media

August 16, 2017

In essence, if there was any doubt at all that the Cultural Left has massive ideological control of popular social media like YouTube and tech companies like Google, then there can be no doubt now.Sargon of Akkad exposures the massive private censorship on YouTube:[embedded content]And Sargon himself has been suspended from Twitter:[embedded content]I had my differences with Sargon on economics and his feeble “Classical Liberal” world-view, but he did heroic work exposing SJW lies and insanity, and these social media purges and Orwellian censorship are ominous signs.See Sargon of Akkad’s other social media:Sargon of Akkad on YouTube (main channel)The Thinkery (second channel)Sargon of Akkad on FacebookSee also Dave Rubin and Dave Rubin:Gad SaadThe Rubin Report

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The BBC, Mary Beard and Diversity in Roman Britain

August 11, 2017

The BBC produced a cartoon as part of their “The Story of Britain” series called “Roman Britain”.In the original description (which the BBC has since changed), the family depicted was described as a “typical family:
The video presents a black person as a high-status Roman officer and, according to the description above, as the head of a “typical family”:[embedded content]But why on earth is a person who appears to be a sub-Saharan African (or possibly an indigenous North African) being depicted as a head of a “typical family” in Roman Britain?To be “typical,” this entails that this is what the average family looked like, whether of Roman personnel in Britain or of all people in Roman Britain generally, and that in turn entails that the majority of Roman personnel or the majority of all

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Chronology of Human Evolutionary Prehistory and Early History (Updated)

August 9, 2017

I have updated my chronology of human evolutionary prehistory and early history to complement my summaries of Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending’s The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution (2009).It covers both human evolutionary prehistory and early history:4 million years ago – emergence of the Australopithecus genus in eastern Africa2.8–1.5 million years ago – time of Homo habilis2.6–1.7 million years ago – Oldowan culture, the earliest stone tool archaeological industry of prehistory, in Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and Europe2.58–0 million years ago – Quaternary period:2,588,000–9,700 BC – the Pleistocene epoch
9,700 BC–present – Holocene epoch2,586,000–9,700 BC – the Pleistocene era (the Ice Age), the last glacial period2.58–0 million years ago

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Julian Assange on Multiculturalism and US Politics

August 8, 2017

Julian Assange recently tweeted out a series of interesting comments on multicultural identity politics in the US as follows:
America was historically a majority white nation. By opening America’s borders to a tidal wave of Third World mass immigration and the relentless pushing of identity politics for everybody but white people by the Cultural Left, the US white population has been driven to a type of implicit white identity politics too, which is what Trumpism was in part about.If the same policies are continued, there will be a massive shift to explicit white identitarian movements in America, and in Europe too, since white people will start to realise that – with low fertility rates and massive immigration – they will become minorities in their own nations, and perhaps even hated and

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John Hawks on Human Evolution since the Origin of Agriculture

August 8, 2017

A discussion of recent human evolution after 10,000 BC by John Hawks, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which covers many of the issues in Cochran and Harpending’s The 10,000 Year Explosion (2009):[embedded content]His blog is here.

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How to Refute the Core of Austrian/Neoclassical Economics in Four Easy Points

August 6, 2017

Both Austrian and Neoclassical economics stem from the Marginalist revolution of the 1870s. Although there are important differences between both schools, they have enough in common that is flawed to make them both subject to this critique:(1) both Austrian and Neoclassical theory ultimately hold that free markets have a tendency towards general equilibrium, and hence economic coordination by means of a flexible wage and price system, and a (supposed) coordinating loanable funds market that equates savings and investment. This is an empirically false view of market economies: it is essentially the product of Marginalists from the 1870s onwards who had physics envy and wanted to model a market economy like a self-equilibrating physical system.(2) the core Neoclassical and Austrian model in

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The 1908 Resolution against Mass Immigration by the Socialist Party of America

August 4, 2017

From the 10–17 May 1908, the Socialist Party of America held a national convention in Chicago.It was at this conference that the convention set up a special committee of five men to study the issue of mass immigration into the US, namely, Victor L. Berger, Guy E. Miller, John Spargo, Joshua Wanhope and Ernest Untermann (Untermann is well known as the first American translator of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital).On the 14 May 1908, the convention passed this resolution on mass immigration, which stated its views and set up the special committee that later reported to the 1910 conference:“The Socialist Party, in convention assembled, declares that the fundamental principle of Socialism is the struggle between the exploiting and exploited classes. The controlling principle of the political Socialist

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The Mass Immigration Debate within the Socialist Party of America from 1910–1912, Part 2

August 3, 2017

In part 1 here, the debate within the Socialist Party of America on mass immigration at their national convention in Chicago from 15–21 May 1910 was examined.In 1912, the Socialist Party of America held another national convention from 12–18 May in Indianapolis.Once again, the issue of mass immigration was discussed, and once again the committee on the immigration question produced a majority report.Remarkably, the majority report of 1912 was even more opposed to mass immigration than that of 1910. Furthermore, the authors were not afraid to examine the issue of how racial feelings and animosities were exacerbated by mass immigration and also exploited by capitalists. The full text of the majority report is as follows:MAJORITY REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION
At the national congress of

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The Mass Immigration Debate within the Socialist Party of America from 1910–1912, Part 1

August 2, 2017

The Socialist Party of America existed between the 29th July 1901 and the 31st December 1972. Before the party was repressed for its opposition to World War I and suffered splits over the question of Communist Russia, it was probably the most successful and largest radical party of the socialist Left in America, at least down to the 1920s.The Socialist Party of America was made up of Marxists, anarchists, some members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union, democratic socialists and Social Democrats of that day. Eugene V. Debs was on two occasions its candidate for US president in the elections of 1912 and 1920, and even won about 6% of the votes in 1912.From 15–21 May, 1910, the Socialist Party of America held a national convention in Chicago (Ross 2015: 119). During that

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Marx on the Outsourcing of Manufacturing

August 2, 2017

There is a brief reference to it in a pamphlet by Karl Marx called “On the Lausanne Congress” published in July 1867: “The power of the human individual has disappeared before the power of capital, in the factory the worker is now nothing but a cog in the machine. In order to recover his individuality, the worker has had to unite together with others and create associations to defend his wages and his life. Until today these associations had remained purely local, while the power of capital, thanks to new industrial inventions, is increasing day by day; furthermore in many cases national associations have become powerless: a study of the struggle waged by the English working class reveals that, in order to oppose their workers, the employers either bring in workers from abroad or else

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A Documentary on the Natufians and the Origins of Agriculture

August 1, 2017

Below is a great documentary on the Natufians and the origins of agriculture, right down until the spread of farming into Europe from c. 6,500–4,000 BC as Neolithic Anatolian farmers migrated into Europe.One problem is that this documentary takes the older view that the Younger Dryas (c. 10,800–9,500 BC) drove the Natufians to adopt agriculture proper as a survival strategy. Today, however, many scholars see the Natufians of the Younger Dryas as in a transitional stage that was only moving towards agriculture, in which they merely experimented with wild plant cultivation. See my post here.Here are the videos:[embedded content][embedded content]A useful chronology of the Natufians and early agricultural revolution is below:c. 27,000–18,000 BC – Last Glacial Maximum (when the ice sheets

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The Natufians and the Origins of Agriculture in the Ancient Near East

July 31, 2017

The Natufians were a people in the prehistoric Levant from c. 12,500 to 9,500 BC who developed sedentary or semi-sedentary settlements to exploit wild cereals, and experimented in the early domestication of plants. Their descendants then eventually adopted the first agriculture after the Younger Dryas (c. 10,800–9,500 BC).It is possible that the phenomenon of “plant nurturing” (deliberate actions to increase the reproduction and spread of plants for food) was practised by Pleistocene hunter-gatherers long before agriculture proper was invented (Willcox 2012: 164).The extent of the Natufian culture can be seen in this map:
The early Natufians went through alternating phases of settled life and more nomadic periods in the Levant as follows:12,500–10,800 BC – Early Natufian: Natufians in

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Malthus, Darwin and Evolution

July 30, 2017

Thomas Robert Malthus’ An Essay on the Principle of Population was first published in 1798. An influential revised edition followed in 1803, and a sixth edition in 1826. In this work, Malthus mulled over the population, social and economic trends that we now call Malthusianism.Charles Darwin was driven to one of his most important insights into biological evolution by reading Malthus’ An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1838 in the sixth edition, during a terrible depression in England (Desmond and Moore 1991: 264–265; Browne 1995: 385–390). It is dramatised in this documentary:[embedded content]Darwin began reading Malthus on 28 September 1838. After he finished reading it on 3 October 1838, he soon formulated the principle of natural selection (Browne 1995: 388–390). He also took

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Chronology of Human Evolutionary Prehistory and Early History

July 29, 2017

I have made this chronology to complement my summaries of Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending’s The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution (2009).It covers both human evolutionary prehistory and early history:4 million years ago – emergence of the Australopithecus genus in eastern Africa2.8–1.5 million years ago – time of Homo habilis2.6–1.7 million years ago – Oldowan culture, the earliest stone tool archaeological industry of prehistory, in Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and Europe2.58–0 million years ago – Quaternary period:2,588,000–9,700 BC – the Pleistocene epoch
9,700 BC–present – Holocene epoch2,586,000–9,700 BC – the Pleistocene era (the Ice Age), the last glacial period2.58–0 million years ago – Quaternary period:2.58 million years ago – the

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