Mutual Financial Interests Trumped Political Squabbles

The title of this post is taken from Chapter 9 of Jack Weatherford’s “Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world”. It relates how the Mongol Khans often fought with each other but would pause long enough for each other’s commercial interests, which for one Khan often lay in the other Khan’s territory, to be brought to them. It outlines the example of how Khaidu, cousin to Khubilai Khan, had shares in the form of craftsmen and farmers in the Chinese city of Nanjing, and how Khubilai had a share of horses and other goods on the steppes, and how there would be lulls in the fighting so that each could collect his share of the goods. I remember cracking up when I read this and thought about the Soviet train laden with goods Stalin had promised Hitler moving southwards towards Germany even as the Wehrmacht advanced northwards towards the Soviets.

In the last few weeks, I have heard remarks about how people felt a sense of foreboding, a sense of unease, here in alternately hot and wet Singapore. Passengers might remark that they somehow felt as if something were waiting to unfold, and they had no idea what it was. Well, for those of you who accept it, that feeling is endemic to all people who have no faith in God, or at least have not put their faith in a Higher Power, or Constitution, or something or Some One greater than themselves. We make very poor gods, so it is always better to put your faith in a Higher Being or Higher Purpose. Money does not make the world go round. Neither do people. Neither does what many call “Love”, because, like someone called Foreigner, most people do not know what “Love” really is. That is why people devolve to being nothing more than economic animals, because there is a propensity in all humans towards covetousness. I have said before that although Economics is the study of the production and distribution of scarce resources which have alternative uses, the heart of Economics is really the ongoing pursuit of the most humane way of managing human covetousness. Since covetousness cannot be satiated and new and cunning devices for making oneself rich will always be spawned, Economics becomes a playing field where the goalposts are always moving. There is a line in Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” which goes “All wars are caused by population pressure”. Perhaps that embedded idea is also behind futile efforts to control human populations, either by drugs, mechanical devices, abortions (murder, actually), migrations and the like.

Are you worried about being able to maintain your unsustainable lifestyles in a world subject to entropy? Don’t be. Focus on developing your own Human Capital and the Human Capital of people you are responsible for and those you are able to influence. Don’t try to change the world for the better, get off your high horse. Come down to earth and just get better at your current job every single day. The one percent improvement per day is a good concept to live by, the only thing is to grasp “One percent better at what?” If you can grasp THAT one, it brightens up your mood for certain! Oh, make as much money as you like, by current economically ecological means, but keep seeking better. Keep doing the small things that will make for your legacy when you finally leave this world. And, for me personally, I hope that leads you back to the God who created you, loves you, and desires you to turn from your sinful ways and back to him. If you don’t want to believe in God, at least find some noble raison d’etre for your own life.

Come talk to me if those things are what concern you. I certainly will not force my beliefs down your throat, but I will be able to point out what trajectory you’re on at the moment and how to set course towards where you would like to go. You’re welcome!

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