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Eureka: The rise and fall of government
by Jay Gutman
2017-01-03 09:41:41
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I have a theory about the fall of governments. Governments fall when they try to sell cheap gold. That’s the main factor I look at. Gold is expensive by nature, and people who pay for it know what they’re getting.

demo01_400Let me elaborate on the cheap gold metaphor. Gold is as much an item of display as it is an item that is sold when the household is experiencing a bit of a financial downturn. People buy some gold to display (rings, necklaces, earrings etc.) and some gold as a security so that if there’s a currency crisis they can hope gold prices can be more stable. A bit of an inflation control gimmick. But suppose in a country everyone is trying to buy gold for displaying purposes and forget the inflation control part. That’s when governments start falling.

To put things simply, the main thing any government needs to control is the amount of attention it is getting. Too little attention and you get anarchy. Too much attention and the government starts over-acting, that is starts taking too many token decisions. In sum, any government or country wants people to know that they exist, but don’t want people to know much more than that if they want to operate effectively.

To put things in perspective, if at the workplace people know you’re there but don’t know much more about you, you can work optimally. If people seem to be constantly noticing you and looking at you, that can be very psychologically distressing, as you will be a victim of what’s called the “observer’s paradox” that is you will start working in ways that you think will match the expectations of the observer. If you are not being observed at all, you will start not showing up to work. So you want to be observed, but don’t want the observer to look into your details.

There are two dimensions to government: the national dimension and the international dimension. At the national level, the government will want its citizens to know that it is busy, but will not want citizens to know every detail of its functioning. A silent government will lead to anarchy and massive speculation and rumors on how it is operating, while a government that seeks too much attention will have the effect of taking too many token measures that are counterproductive.

Same goes at the international level. A government that refuses to express itself and its position clearly and rationally at international events will lead to it either being ignored or being the object of the wildest rumors and speculation. A government which makes itself too visible at the international level will have the effect of starting too many token and symbolic gestures which will affect its rational and pragmatic functioning at the international level.

As with gold, you want to display some of it, and save some of it for inflation control. The same goes with government. You want to show some of the work that you are doing, and save lots of the work that you are getting done for inflation control purposes. If you want to provide citizens with every detail of the account of actions being taken, that will lead to token gestures. If you don’t communicate with citizens that will lead to rumors and speculation.

Too many token gestures lead to security, economic and financial mismanagement, as security and the economy will be managed at the micro level rather than at the macro level. Too much silence from the government will lead citizens to assume that they have to control their own destiny, leading to no management at the micro or macro level. In both cases governments fall.


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