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Posts Tagged ‘rome’

Barbarians at the gates

October 2, 2011 3 comments

Ancient Rome or modern America – the rich get education and the poor die in wars.

Ancient Rome was exactly the same. Modern education too, 'teaches' the selected few how to retain control of the system. (Image source and courtesy - http://anticap.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Ancient Rome was exactly the same. Modern education too, 'teaches' the selected few how to retain control of the system. (Image source and courtesy - http://anticap.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Barbaric Rome

Was Rome a civilization? Ever?

With nearly a million slaves in the city of Rome itself, with wars, butchery, massacres (in Gaul, Carthage et al), on what basis could Rome be called a civilization? When people are civil to each other, the society can be termed as a civilization. One imagines that education will stop us from accepting propaganda as history.

Is ‘education’ the answer?

Take this extract below, for instance. Written by a well-known talking head on TV, a pollster, a political analyst, writes about JPC confrontation between the Congress and the BJP

Exactly 1,600 years ago, on August 24, 410, the barbarians (the Visigoths) were at the gates of Rome. They sacked and pillaged a prosperous but decadent Rome. Thousands of Romans fled to the countryside, leaving the “Urbi” devastated. Thirty-five years later, the Vandals also sacked Rome. Though Rome survived for some more time, the sacking in 410 marked the beginning of its disintegration.

The other day, Ratan Tata used the word “banana republic” that outraged us. We already have crony capitalism and loads of corruption and now parliamentary vandalism. The barbarians are at our gates too. Our foot is already on the slippery banana skin. Ek dhakka aur do, and we’ll get there. (via Dorab R Sopariwala: Barbarians at the gates).

Strange – to think, accept and call the Romans as civilized. The largest slave-owning empire of the ancient world deserved destruction. In my book, Alaric The Goth, was far more civilized than the Romans. Possibly, Alaric’s Goths attacked Rome to end its slave capturing ways.

Squash the bug

Let us assume that the imagery of a civilized Rome destroyed by a barbarian Goths is right.

Still the analogy of civilized Congress versus a barbarian BJP is completely inept. Neither is the Congress superior nor is the BJP any less civilized than the Congress. If at all, the fight by the Opposition to demand accountability through the JPC route, is commendable. After all, the issue at stake, is arguably, India’s biggest scam.

Fooling enough people, most of the time, by using lotsa money! Is that the trick? (Image credits embedded). Click for larger image.

Fooling enough people, most of the time, by using lotsa money! Is that the trick? (Image credits embedded). Click for larger image.

All the people … all the time

Dorab, between you and Ratan Tata, you share a common trait. You believe that the desi noise, smells, heat and dust of Indian democracy is below you.

Remember that JRD is buried in France. India was not good enough for the dead body of this Bharat Ratna.

Tatas have made a long-standing claim that they are superior to other Indian businesses. A claim, supported only by assertions and repetitions. Without empirical data or evidence.

In fact, surveys show that Indian companies have higher reputation in home markets than most other corporations across the world. Going by anecdotal evidence, Tatas cannot be superior than others. Just like BJP cannot be much different from Congress.

Flawed comparisons, all round. Romans and Goths, Congress and BJP, Tatas and Others.

New fools for old wine in old bottles

August 31, 2010 2 comments

Using GDP numbers you can prove a lot of things. Using history, you can disprove the same economics. Duh!

PT Barnum’s maxim

There is a sucker born ever minute – (more on PT Barnum and on this quote.)

A significant number of Indians are fooled by the ‘achievement’ the West – especially those who are ‘educated’ in English. A few days ago, Mint, a business newspaper carried a post by Manas Chakravarty, who was using an old report by Angus Maddison to support absurd conclusions.

Transatlantic Slave Trade (Table Courtesy - http://www.nps.gov/ethnography/aah/aaheritage/histContextsD.htm)

Transatlantic Slave Trade (Table Courtesy - http://www.nps.gov/ethnography/aah/aaheritage/histContextsD.htm)

Writes Manas Chakravarty,

By 1600, the centre of Europe had shifted northwards and the golden age of Holland had begun. Dutch per capita income was $1,381 in 1600, while Britain in Shakespeare’s time had a per capita income of $974.Recall that 1600 was the year the East India Company was founded. In contrast, India’s per capita income continued to be $550, while China’s was $600. Note that even Ireland, one of the poorest of Western Europe’s countries, had a per capita income of $615, higher than India’s and China’s. In short, the per capita GDP numbers mirror the changes in power, prosperity and cultural and scientific achievement.It wasn’t till 1981 that India had a per capita income of $977, beating that of Britain in 1600. And it wasn’t until 1993 that India’s per capita income of $1,399 surpassed what the Dutch had achieved in 1600. Maddison’s calculations show that in 2008, India’s per capita GDP in 1990 dollars, PPP terms was $2,975, slightly more than one-third of the world average of $7,614. We have a long way to go. (via World history by per capita GDP – Columns – livemint.com).

Basically, Indians are such rotters! That is what Shri Manasbhai Chakravarty is saying, in simple English.

I know a little English, Shri Manasji!

In the light of day

Any reading of history will show how hollow and risible Manasbhai‘s conclusions are.

One problem with economics is the complete lack of ethics. Economists (like Manasji Chakravarty) cannot be bothered with ‘facts’. For them numbers must do the talking and walking. Some ‘good’ economists like Angus Maddisson can even put up a good strip-tease show with numbers. Admirers can view these ‘assets’ admiringly.

Like Manasji Chakravarty seems to be enjoying Angus Maddison’s strip-tease show.

Poster annoucing sale of slaves in the USA.

Poster annoucing sale of slaves in the USA.

General Julius and the Gauls

Take Italian GDP, of which Bhai Manas has a high opinion.

Sum and substance of the Italian Job? Julius Caesar, (he would be an Italian now), loots the Gauls.

What happens?

Economics (and Shri Manasji Chakravarty) will tell us that Italian GDP goes up. What great history and important economic conclusions can we draw from this loot?

Nothing, except that Romans were good at looting others. Let us forget, for now, that after Roman loot, French GDP goes down.

Cynical economists like Angus Maddisson  could point out that Julius Caesar also massacred hundreds of thousands of Gauls. Loss of lives and wealth will have no effect on GDP as both cancel each other out. Since fewer Gauls now have lesser wealth, per-capita GDP will remain static.

Right, Manasji?

The other thing that the Italians (called Romans then) did well, was kill slaves.

After using them.

Rome, the city alone, had a million slaves. Crassus, (full name Marcus Licinius Crassus) a Roman general, was very good at killing slaves. Crassus was himself, finally, killed at Indian borders – when he made the mistake of thinking that Indians would be easy targets for loot and enslavement.

Crassus, Julius Caesar’s patron-in-chief,  lined Rome’s highway, Via Appia with the bodies of 6,000 slaves. A lesson for revolting slaves. The French, Spanish and the Brits also learned their Roman lessons well, history tells us.

Too well, I say!

Learn your lessons

Soon, it was the turn of the French. The Spanish and the British also. To start the killing.

Increase productivity in Manasbhai’s words.

And time for Native Americans and Australian aborigines to die.

The West (the French, Spanish and the British were very good at this) ‘imported’ at least 10 million, maybe even 20 million slaves, from Africa into West-controlled territories. Economic output of the West goes up! (What else did you expect.).

The output of these slaves is included in Western GDP calculations. But slaves are excluded from census calculation! The lives of African slaves and the deaths of Native Americans are excluded from this economics. But Western GDP goes up. That is what the ‘numbers’ tell.

And good job says, Shri Manasji Chakravarty.

What can I say! Apart from pointing out that Manasji Chakravarty is wasting a lot of wood-pulp.

Most probably from modern Norway.

You can always get slaves! Why bother about people?

You can always get slaves! Why bother about people?

Optical illusion in economics

Norway! My favorite ‘case’ study in modern economics.

Modern Norway does two things very well.

One – they exploit nature very well. Dig up the earth to extract aluminum, cut down forests, and suck oil from the North Sea.

Two – all  Norwegians over-pay each other.

Over-paid taxi-drivers pay huge amounts for a haircut. Over-paid waiters fork out fancy amounts for a car-wash. And so on. Compared to, say Indians, Norwegians are paid some 10-20 times more.

A waiter in Mumbai earns between 125-200 dollars. A Norwegian waiter earns closer to US$1500-2000 per month. Both do the same job and the net economic output should not change. But it does. What Norway does is overstate Norwegian economic output – by over-paying everybody.

Democracy, you see!

This economic ‘trick’ creates a brilliant optical illusion. Of higher wages, profits, turnover, prices – and GDP. Now replace Norway, with any Western economy.

Same story and the plot does not change.

Old wine, old bottle … new fools

This great science of economics has another trick up its sleeve. Norway’s manufacturing out-put is a gargantuan, awesome, jaw-dropping 1 percent of Norway’s annual GDP.

So, Shri Manasji Chakravarty, before you massage numbers and get an ‘erection’ of fancy conclusions, like your ‘guru’ Angus Maddisson does, look behind those numbers.

Take a 2ndlook.

Reinvented narrative

After WWII (1939-1945), using favorable US-dollar  exchange rates, Europe climbed out of rubble and destruction. Recovering from 50 years of bloodshed, faced with the rise of USA and a certain liquidation of their colonial empires, Europe needed to reinvent their history.

One task for this new narrative was to explain the rise of the West. A plausible econo-metric modelling effort from the 1970’s was led by a British economist, Angus Maddison. This model explained away Europe’s economic growth to increased ‘productivity.’

Eyes closed, mouths agape

This study gained some following in India also. India, this analysis estimated, for the last 1000 years, accounted for 50% of the world economy and a world trade share of 25% for much of the 500 years during 1400-1900. The real problem with this study was the trojans that came with this model.

40 years after this report first came out, Indians still cannot use this report critically.


An encounter in Athens

July 21, 2010 9 comments
Socrates being offered hemlock - death by drinking poison! The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David at Metropolitan Museum of Art. Click for larger image.

Socrates being offered hemlock - death by drinking poison! The Death of Socrates (1787) by Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748–1825) at Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York - Metropolitan Museum of Art. Click for larger image.

Socrates, the greatest of all oral communicators, was freaking out over “the very latest communications technology, written language based on an alphabet” though as Powers concedes, “writing wasn’t completely new”. Socrates believed that scrolls would erode thought by permitting people to forget what they had learned because they’d be able to look things up, that “they wouldn’t feel the need to ‘remember it from the inside, completely on their own.’ ” Worse, writing wouldn’t “allow ideas to flow freely and change in real time, the way they do in the mind during oral exchange.” (via Born to Check Mail By LAURIE WINER, Published: July 9, 2010, Book Review – Hamlet’s Blackberry – By William Powers – NYTimes.com).

Indian yogis in Athens

Socrates was a great believer in oral teaching. The shruti tradition in India was alive before Socrates was born. Was that a coincidence? After all, Valmiki committed to palm leaves pre-existing history. Similarly, Krishna Dwaipayan Vyasa wrote the pre-existing history of Mahabharata!

Mentioned by Aristoxenus and recalled by Eusebius, Socrates’ encounter with an Indian yogi however, is not well-known. Mentions of the Athenian encounter between the Indian yogi and Socrates are a rarity in modern history. Socrates was accused of

disrespect for the gods whom the state recognizes, of introducing new divinities and of corrupting the young

Socrates was condemned to death by poison. Compare this to Indian ethics which forbid violence against the intellectual class – the Indian brahmins, priests, and rishis.

One question!

What were the alien gods that Socrates was promoting? What was it that Socrates was teaching that ‘corrupted the Greek youth’. The alien gods and teachings that Socrates was accused of promoting – were these from India?

Why would the ancient Greeks be anti-Indian?

Pliny’s moralizing verdict on the Roman trade with India,’ borders on being an anti-India polemic. Pliny’s India writing’s remain a significant academic memory even today.

Why the anti-Indian polemic?

Indic ideas that threatened the world

Indian teachers and intellectuals were sent to all corners of the world. The spread of Buddhism in Asia is well-chronicled. In 2nd century AD, Origen, a Christian pioneer, attributed the spread of Christianity “The island (Britain) has long been predisposed to it (Christianity) through the doctrines of the Druids and Buddhists, who had already inculcated the doctrine of the unity of the Godhead”

Why did Buddhism become the most popular religion in the world. Pretty statues, musical chants? Unlikely ... (Photo by Benoy K. Behl, Courtesy - ngenespanol.com)

Why did Buddhism become the most popular religion in the world. Pretty statues, musical chants? Unlikely ... (Photo by Benoy K. Behl, Courtesy - ngenespanol.com) Click for larger image.

Mani, the Buddhist teacher,  and his adherents, known to Christians as Manicheans were the nightmare for Christianity till the 15th century, feared by the Vatican for a 1200 years. Vatican killed, burnt and quartered all those who displayed any leaning towards Manichean-ism.

St.Augustine was canonised for his conversion from Manichean to Christianity. When Mani called for overthrow of slavery, the Vatican at the Council of Gangra, re-affirmed its faith in slavery. Islamic invaders searched and destroyed statues or boet /buta (meaning statues of Buddha?).

The reason behind this ‘persecution’?

Indian economic system in 500 BC ensured property rights for all – something that Europe could achieve only in the 19th century. Property, wealth and power concentrations in Greece would be threatened by Indic thought.

Travelling salesmen stop travelling

From 5th century we increasingly see more stories of visits to India. Visits by Indian rishis begin to dry up. The last Indo-Buddhist seems to be Mani.

1000 years after Mani’s death, the Vatican was afraid of his his ‘hold’ over the European populations.

Socrates was a great believer in oral teaching. The shruti tradition in India was alive before Socrates was born.

After all Valmiki committed to palm leaves pre-existing history. Similarly Krishna Dwaipayan vyasa wrote the pre-existing history of Mahabharata!

This is not to forget the encounter between Socrates and the Indian Rishi.

From 5th century we increasingly see more stories of visits to India. Visits by Indian rishis begin to dry up. The last Indo-Buddhist seems to be Mani – of whom the Vatican was adraid even 1000 years later.

Were the alien gods and teachings that Socrates accused of promoting, from India? After Pliny’s anti-India polemic remains a significant memory even today .

Slave Religions That Promote Slavery

February 23, 2008 Leave a comment

Change in Official Catholic Moral … – Google Book Search

The three ‘desert religions’ – won their first adherents amongst slaves. Yet followers of these 3 religions were active in slaving – hunt, capture, kidnap, transport, trade, smuggle slaves till the beginning of 20th century.

The on the other hand Indic religions , promoted and propagated by the ‘superior’ castes, never allowed slavery (hunt, capture, kidnap, transport, trade, smuggle slaves).

Mani Against Slavery – Church Supports Slavery?

February 23, 2008 Leave a comment

Having laid claim to an entire continent and eradicated most of its native peoples, the Christian conquerors of North America came into possession of an immense land. The rapid exploitation of its potential required a vast labour force and, until a surge in European migration in the later 19th century, this was taken against its will out of Africa, leaving the demography of that continent permanently damaged. On the southern plantations of tobacco and cotton the captive labourers enriched an elite of white landowners who themselves provided trade and custom for the northeast and the Old World. Christianity, malleable as ever, morphed not only into the self-justifying ideology of the racist southern oligarchs, but also into the uplifting faith of freedom and salvation of the slaves themselves.

As early as 340 the Church Council of Gangra (today’s Çankiri in Turkey), in reaction to rival Manicheans urging slaves to free themselves, adopted as law a slave’s “Christian obligation” to submit to the authority of the slave master “as if to God (via Did Jesus Keep Slaves? The Church, the USA and Slavery).

Mani was a Buddhist teacher, trained in India, who saw Jesus Christ’s ‘turn the other cheek’ philosophy close to Buddha and dissimilar to the vengeful Moses. He gained significant following in from China to West Asia, Middle East and Rome. Manichean thought was a significant threat to Christianity till about the 15th century, when repeated massacres of anti-Vatican populations made Buddhism extinct in Europe.

After the Nicean Conference, Mani teachings were declared as heresy – and the Church slaughtered more than 10 million people to uproot Mani’s teachings. Starting from the Indic kings of the Hittite and Mittani territories in 2000 BC to present day India, slavery (with legal slave markets and legal trade in human beings) has been entirely absent.

Having laid claim to an entire continent and eradicated most of its native peoples, the Christian conquerors of North America came into possession of an immense land. The rapid exploitation of its potential required a vast labour force and, until a surge in European migration in the later 19th century, this was taken against its will out of Africa, leaving the demography of that continent permanently damaged. On the southern plantations of tobacco and cotton the captive labourers enriched an elite of white landowners who themselves provided trade and custom for the northeast and the Old World. Christianity, malleable as ever, morphed not only into the self-justifying ideology of the racist southern oligarchs, but also into the uplifting faith of freedom and salvation of the slaves themselves.

As early as                 340 the Church <em><strong>Council of Gangra</strong></em> (today’s Çankiri                 in Turkey), in reaction to rival Manicheans urging slaves to                 free themselves, adopted as law a slave’s “<strong>Christian                 obligation</strong>” to submit to the authority of the slave             master “<em>as if to God</em>

<em>via <a href=”http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/slavery.html”>Did Jesus Keep Slaves? The Church, the USA and Slavery</a>.</em>

Ancient City Of Ophir – India-Mesopotamia Trade 3000 years ago

February 20, 2008 Leave a comment
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