"Never was so much owed by so many to so few" is a quote that is attributed to Sir Winston Churchill about the air war of the Battle of Britain. Sir Winston a man known for prevaricating when espousing his personal agenda which he so graciously conflated with the public good and the public fisc. In keeping with so many of his personal servant ilk he got it wrong! It was also a graphic novel taking extreme liberty with some smattering of actual history. More importantly it is a quote attributed to Arthur Keith referring to the great mathematicians who created the Age of Reason: "Take three hundred men out of history and we should still be living in the stone age". Truer words were never spoken.
The economic bubble popping around the world in the last 24 months can also be taken as a literal truth. Central Banks everywhere are printing, injecting, liquefying, cajoling and seizing assets in the fiscal conflagration of their creation. The logic here being that if you are an alcoholic, have a drinking problem, and your life is suffering from it one must just double down and drink with both hands or maybe a funnel until you drink your way thru your drinking problem! Perhaps a new form of liquidity injection has been created. Still this is essential to the title here: "Never was so much owed by so many to so few" but this time we mean the bankers.
A new Battle of Britain is upon us, and metaphorically, upon the whole industrialized world as well. Independent specialists have published forecasts showing that an extra 50,000 public officials will have been recruited in the six months to the end of the year. The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) forecast that over that same period some 300,000 private sector workers will have lost their jobs. Nothing was lost. They were fired and they will not find their jobs again. Statistics show that government borrowing (printing actually) is still on the rise. Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, expected to announce that it could reach 68billion this year. The Treasury had to borrow money in October, usually a strong month for collecting taxes, for the first time since 1994. Doug McWilliams CEBR chief executive, said: “There is an issue of how the pain should be shared out. What is clear is that the public sector is insulated from the pain and is getting special privileges." Brilliant Doug, are you always this quick? England is one tenth the size of the United States so multiple all these numbers by ten and you will have a fair approximation of component of this mess. Central bankers and their closely allied friends are busy capitalizing toxic assets by printing money. This magnum opus of fiscal legerdemain be nothing more than a massive wealth transfer from the private sector to the ultra-private sector: the 300 bankers that benefit from it all. It’s an elite club, no new members allowed. This gives new meaning to the many, to the few and who owes whom.
Billions of human beings have lived and died, still most of the human beings that ever existed in history are alive now as I type this. They owe dearly to the few because without modern capitalism and the benefits it produces like the capability to feed, clothe, and house 6 billion simultaneous breathing, eating and excreting human beings safely life would be very different on this blue jewel orbiting an ordinary star, in an ordinary solar system in a ordinary galaxy in an ordinary galactic cluster. Modern capitalism, bloodied as it is, is a direct product of the Age of Reason. The Age of Reason is a product of science and engineering descended directly to us courtesy of Sir Isaac Newton and his friends. Mathematics births physics which gives rise to engineering. Engineers dissatisfied with the state of mental tension created from dissatisfaction use capital, Human Action, and the market to give reification to their desire. From whom we all benefit. The root of this tree is the actual 300.
The preface to The Encyclopedia of the Natural and Mathematical Sciences by Professor Ari Ben-Menahem:
"Many books are published every year on the history of science, but I know of no comprehensive treatise that blends the essential historical data (chronology, biographies, major background political and economical events, etc.) together with science proper (principles, laws, experiments, observations, theories, equations, etc.). The present encyclopedic treatise does just that; it tells the reader not only who did it and when it was done but also precisely what was done.
"The saga of this history of ideas, discovery and invention in the natural and mathematical sciences — spanning about 100 generations of great thinkers from Thales to Feynman unfolds in all its grandeur before the eyes and mind of the reader. Whether to professional scientists, students, or unassuming curious laymen, the doors of this shrine are open, inviting them to browse, linger and study whatever suits them. I believe that every intelligent person can understand the development of science when properly presented from its beginnings. The historical method is the best for introducing scientific facts and ideas to unprepared minds in a thoroughly understandable manner.
The history of science is more than the arithmetical sum of the histories of all sciences, for it also explains the interrelations of them all. Indeed, our division of science into many branches is largely artificial. Like the branches of a living tree which have no separate existence, but grow together — the progress of each science is dependent upon the progress of all the others. The main postulate of science is the unity of nature: nature is one; and therefore, science is one. Finally, the fact that simultaneous discoveries have been made by diﬀerent groups of workers, in different settings, organizations and nations, demonstrate that mankind is one: one mankind through one science is unfolding the mysteries of one nature. It follows that the only rational way to subdivide this history is not according to the sciences or countries involved, but only according to time; for each period of time we have to consider at once the whole of science’s historical and intellectual development. This calls for the marshaling of all scientiﬁc facts, activities and ideas in a definite order; which means that we must try to assign to each of them a date as precise as possible — not just the date of their birth or their publication, but also that of their actual incorporation into our knowledge — often a very diffcult thing to do, as the reader will not fail to appreciate. Such work of erudition is the bedrock upon which this history is built."
This is a heavy book; it contains more than 6000 pages. This is the true saga of the Human Action of the real 300 plus or minus a few, that keep us out of the stone age. It is a little pricey, but if you shop around the Internet you may find a deal on it. If you get started on it know you may be able to get it finished by the time that the global economy returns to economic growth. Based on the amount of government interference worldwide distorting markets thru malinvestment and the Central Bank you may have plenty of time.