New Age History and Economics

The Day We See The Truth And Cease To Speak it, Is The Day We Begin To Die. MLK Jr.

Friday, December 21, 2012

What is Scarcity?

Scarcity and money;

Money or gold or anything else has value due to the interaction of supply and demand. That is, there is human demand for a thing (for whatever reason), and there is only a limited, finite supply of that thing (it's scarce). VALUE arises from human interaction in society. It's a social thing. 

When some resource is scarce -- and nearly everything is scarce, because that only means it's not readily available in infinite supply anytime anyone wants it -- when a resource is scarce, then the people who have or control it won't give it up unless they receive something desirable in return. And the people who want it must make a choice -- what other thing will they have to give up in trade for the desired object? Making a choice, giving up one desirable thing in order to obtain another desirable thing -- that defines value. VALUE is that quality of the scarce resource that makes you willing to give up something else in order to get it.

OF COURSE all value is arbitrary -- there is no such thing as "intrinsic value" -- it's all about human opinions and emotions and mass psychology and fashion, and willingness at any moment to swap one thing for another. Those opinions change, and so the value of things can change radically.

Money has value because people want it (obviously), and the authorities who control the supply of money ensure that it remains scarce. We don't produce infinite amounts of money, because we know if we did it would lose its value. Therefore money has value and clearly is not "worthless". 

You can't deny there is demand for money can you? It doesn't matter WHY there is demand for it to have value. I don't understand why there is any demand for Justin Bieber music, but apparently there is, so it has value. But it's not hard to see why there is demand for money. By custom we use it to acquire things we desire. Our society has made a collective decision that little pieces of paper with a $1 printed on it will buy so much, and little bits of paper with a $5 on it will buy five times as much. We agree on that, and the monetary authorities strive to ensure 1's and 5's remain scarce so as to retain that value. 

Currencies last because they work so well and there is a lot of inertia built into the status quo. We are paid in US dollars and use US dollars to buy things. How and why would that ever change? You may say money is worthless, but are you going to open a restaurant and NOT demand money for your food? If you opened up a store in Texas and demanded to be paid in Hungarian Forints, or tulips, or in-kind barter, you'd quickly go out of business. It's like natural selection -- approaches that don't work quickly die out. 

Again, value arises from interaction in society. Society has set up guidelines such that money has a purpose and retains value according to basic rules of supply and demand.

More deeply, people demand money because it is an incredibly valuable tool in many ways. No we don't trade goods and service directly because you will seldom find that YOU have what someone else wants, when THEY have what you want. Economists calls this the "coincidence of wants problem". You can have a crude, inefficient, localized economy based on such barter -- like the ancient world did before money was invented 2600 years ago. But you don't get far past the stone age without money, and we'd certainly never achieve anything like modern civilization without money.

Furthermore, a money system and a pricing mechanism serve to transmit information about what is needed, when, where, how much, and by who. This is called the allocation problem. In any moneyless society you'd never be able to allocate resources efficiently so as to satisfy peoples' needs very well.

just have fun - a filler. Merry Christmas.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Scotland's Victory over England - Battle of Bannockburn Robert the Bruce

Common misconception;
England and Britain, UK and one and same.
The truth;
England + Scotland + Wales = Great Britain
Great Britain + Northern Ireland = UK (United Kingdom)

The long subjugation of Scotland by England and the wars of independence by Scotland have long and tenacious history. Here is the most famous of them all. The Battle of Bannockburn 24th June 1314.

You have read the background at Part I here

The Battle of Bannockburn 24th June 1314. Part II

September 1306: Edward I again marched north. Bruce's queen, Elizabeth, his daughter Marjorie, his sisters Christina and Mary, and Isabella MacDuff were captured in a sanctuary at Tain, and sent to harsh imprisonment, which included Mary and Isabella being hung in a cage at Roxburgh and Berwick castles respectively for four years, and Bruce's brother Neil was executed. Robert was like a persistent spider mending its web in a cave.

10 May 1307: At the Battle of Loudoun Hill in Ayrshire, Robert the Bruce defeats forces loyal to the English.

7 July 1307: King Edward I of England dies.

Friday, 13 October 1307: Pope issues decree against Knights Templar. All over the sphere, Knights Templar’s were rounded up and burned at stakes. Many escaped and headed to Argyll and Firth of Forth. They knew Robert the Bruce was excommunicated by the pope and hence decree of Pope will have no effect there. Alos St Clair a Knight Templar himself had links in Roslin. Hence Templar’s made Scotland their sanctuary. They lend military support to Robert the Bruce.

November 1307: Robert the Bruce secures his power base by taking castles at Urquhart and Balvenie.

1307 to 1314: From 1307 onwards, with energy and determination, Robert waged highly successful guerrilla warfare against the English occupiers, establishing control north of the Forth, and gradually won back his kingdom; The English castles while a powerful mechanism for dominating occupied country with garrisons of small groups of armed knights and men had a major weakness which lay in its day to day security.  During their campaign against the occupying English the Scots became masters of the art of taking fortifications by trick and surprise.  A standard piece of kit for the Scots, which they perfected, was the scaling ladder.  There were rarely enough men in a castle to watch the length of the fortifications fully and inevitably there were periods when such watch as there was lapsed.  Approaching with stealth the Scots would scale the walls and take the castle or town.  The classic was the capture of Edinburgh Castle on 14th March 1313 by Randolph Earl of Moray.  The castle watch actually looked over the wall at the point where the Scots were preparing to attack, before loudly moving on, leaving the Scots to scale the wall and open the gate to the waiting force, which then stormed the castle.
A particularly popular tale is the taking of Linlithgow Castle by William Bannock in September 1313.  Bannock drove up in a cart filled with fodder for the garrison’s horses and stopped the cart in the gateway thereby preventing the garrison from closing the gate.  Armed men leaped from beneath the fodder and, assisted by a band of men that rushed the gate, the castle was stormed.
As each castle or town was captured the fortifications built over many years by the English were destroyed so that the English could not re-establish their control of the country, even if the place was re-taken. By 1314, Stirling was the only castle in English hands.
In around February 1313 the brother of King Robert de Bruce, Edward de Bruce, began a siege of Stirling Castle.  In June 1313 de Mowbray put an offer to Edward de Bruce.  The offer was that if Stirling Castle was not relieved by Midsummer’s Day 1314, 24th June, de Mowbray would surrender the castle to de Bruce.  To comply with this requirement the relieving English army would need to be within 3 miles of the castle within 8 days of that date.

At the end of 1313 Edward II issued the summonses for his army to assemble.  The wording of these documents indicated that while the relief of Stirling Caste was the pretext, the intention was to re-conquer Scotland for the English Crown.

23rd June 1314: On 1st day of battle, An English knight, Henry de Bohun, saw the Scots king Robert the Bruce and turned his war-horse to charge. Robert de Bruce rode forward to meet de Bohun.  The contrast in their equipment was stark.  De Bohun was fully armoured with lance and shield and rode a heavy destrier horse.  De Bruce rode a light palfrey and was armed with sword and short axe.  He was mounted to command infantry not to take part in a heavy cavalry charge. De Bohun rode at de Bruce with lance couched.  De Bruce evaded de Bohun’s lance point and as the Anglo-Norman thundered past him Bruce stood up in his stirrups and brought his battle-axe crashing down on Henry, splitting his helm and his skull in two.

Following their king’s triumph the Scots infantry rushed on the English army struggling to clear the Bannockburn, where the ford had compelled the mass of horsemen to pack into a narrow column.  A terrible slaughter ensued, the English knights impeded by the shallow pits concealed with branches.  Among the extensive English casualties the Earl of Gloucester was wounded and unhorsed, being rescued from death or capture by his retainers.

After the engagement such of the English as had come through the ford re-crossed the Bannockburn and the Scots infantry returned to their positions in the forests of the New Park.  The English army had been convincingly repelled.  Robert de Bruce’s immediate lieutenants reproached him for the risk he had taken in giving de Bohun single combat and the King simply regretted his broken axe.

24 June 1314: English army under King Edward II sent to relieve Stirling Castle is defeated by Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn. Edward II only narrowly escapes with his life. It is the most notable single military victory in Scottish history over professional English Army whose larger army of 20,000 outnumbered Robert's forces by three to one.

The details;

Not long after daybreak on 24 June, the Scots spearmen began to move towards the English. Edward was surprised to see Robert's army emerge from the cover of the woods. As Bruce's army drew nearer, they paused and knelt in prayer. Edward is supposed to have said in surprise "They pray for mercy!" "For mercy, yes," one of his attendants replied, "But from God, not you. These men will conquer or die."

First off the mark was the Earl of Gloucester.  Edward had treated his suggestion of a day to recover from the previous day’s battle as cowardice and Gloucester intended to disprove this slur.  The English knights hurled themselves onto the Scottish spear line with a terrible crash.  The charge fell on Edward de Bruce’s schiltron.  Many of the English knights were killed in the impact: Gloucester, Sir Edmund de Mauley, Sir John Comyn, Sir Pain de Tiptoft, Sir Robert de Clifford among them.

Randolph’s and Douglas’s schiltrons came up on the left flank and attacked the unengaged English cavalry waiting to charge in support of the first line.
On the extreme English right flank the Welsh archers came into action causing a pause in the Scots attack until they were dispersed by Keith’s force of light horsemen.

Supporting the assault of the spearmen of the schiltrons the Scots archers poured volleys of arrows into the struggling English cavalry line as it was pushed back across the dry ground into the broken area of the Carse.
The Scots spearmen pressed forward against the increasingly exhausted and hemmed in English army. The cry went up “On them. On them. They fail. They fail.”

The final blow was the appearance of the ‘Small Folk’ believed to be Knights Templar’s who came in to support King Robert the Bruce. To the English army, close to exhaustion, this appeared to be a fresh reserve and they lost all hope. Panic spread.The English forces north of the Bannockburn broke into flight. Some tried to cross the River Forth where most drowned in the attempt. Others tried to get back across the Bannockburn, but as they ran, “tumbling one over the other” down the steep, slippery banks, a deadly crush ensued so that “men could pass dryshod upon the drowned bodies”. English army was totally and comprehensively routed.

King Edward II of England fled with his body guard and was taken to the gates of Stirling Castle.  Here de Mowbray urged the King not to take refuge in the castle as he would inevitably be taken prisoner when the castle was forced to surrender to the Scots.  Edward took this advice and with his retinue skirted around the battlefield and rode for Linlithgow.  He then rode to Dunbar and took boat to England.

The Earl of Hereford was exchanged for King Robert’s wife and daughter who had been held for a number of years by the English, Queen Mary in a cage on the wall of Roxburgh Castle, and some 12 other Scots prisoners held by Edward.

1315: Robert the Bruce invades Ireland and his brother is declared King.

1318: Robert the Bruce captures Berwick Castle.

6 April 1320: The Declaration of Arbroath, drafted by Bernard, Abbot of Arbroath, is addressed to the Pope in an effort to have him recognise Robert the Bruce as King of Scotland (and remove the excommunication that followed his murder of the Red Comyn in a church). It defines the relationship between the Scottish King and the Scots people.

1324: the Pope recognised Robert as king of an independent Scotland.

1327: The English deposed Edward II in favour of his son Edward III and peace was then made between Scotland and England with the treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, which began

17th March 1328: The Wars of Independence end with the Treaty of Edinburgh and Northampton and Scotland gains its freedom.

4th May 1328: Treaty of Edinburgh and Northampton is ratified by Edward III with England's total renunciation of all claims to superiority over Scotland.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Scotland's Wars for Independence.

Common misconception;
England and Britain, UK and one and same.
The truth;
England + Scotland + Wales = Britain
Britain + Northern Ireland = UK (United Kingdom)

The long subjugation of Scotland by England and the wars of independence by Scotland have long and tenacious history. Here is the most famous of them all. The Battle of Bannockburn 24th June 1314.
The Battle of Bannockburn 24th June 1314. Part I

A bit of History;

19 March 1286: Alexander III, aged 44, dies in a fall from his horse en route to be with his new bride Yolande de Dreux in Fife. With his death, the ancient line of Celtic Kings which had ruled Scotland came to an end. His granddaughter Margaret, "The Maid of Norway" becomes Queen of Scots at the age of three.

September 1290: Margaret, Queen of Scots, sails from Bergen for Leith and an arranged marriage with Edward the young heir to the English throne. However, on 26 September 1290, while en route, she dies of sea sickness, still aged only seven, leaving succession in dispute. Scotland became weakened by infighting

30th November, 1992: King Edward I of England took advantage of the situation by lending support to John De Balliol over Robert Bruce, and placed John Balliol on the throne of Scotland demanding in return that Balliol become his vassal. People were not fooled and called Balliol "Toom Tabard" (empty coat/Gown / Kings Gown -he wore was empty Gown as there was no King underneath in real terms. Balliol being ‘Glove puppet of Edward I’).

23rd October, 1295: In 1995, war breaks out between England and France. Edward seeks Balliol’s support. Some Scottish barons are sent to France and on 23 October 1295 Balliol signed a treaty of mutual assistance with Philip IV of France called the ‘Auld Alliance’.

30th Marc h 1996: Edward I declares war on Scotland by marching to Berwick and two-thirds of the 12,000 residents are massacred.

27 April 1296: Edward I defeats the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar, opening the way to his conquest of the country and taking many prisoners, including Andrew Murray and John III Comyn.

8 July 1296: John Balliol is deposed and Edward I Claims direct Rule over Scotland. To ensure that no Celt could make a counter claim, the Englishman carried off the Symbol of Scottish Independence, the ancient “Stone of Destiny”, or “Stone of Scone” as it is also known.

The “Stone of Destiny”, or “Stone of Scone” is small, roughly hewn, rectangular block upon which the Kings of Scotland had long been crowned was taken to England.

On Christmas Day 1950, four nationalist students removed the Stone from Westminster Abbey and drove it north. It resurfaced some four months later following a huge public outcry, having been left symbolically in Arbroath Abbey, draped in a Saltire. It was taken by the police and restored to Westminster Abbey.

On 30 November 1996, St Andrews Day, the Stone of Destiny finally returned to its homeland after being kept by England for 700 years amid much ceremony, and was installed in Edinburgh Castle, taking its place alongside the Honours of Scotland, the country’s crown jewels. Provision is made to transport the stone to Westminster Abbey when it is required there for future coronation ceremonies.

After stealing the symbol of Scottish Independence, the English King set about strengthening his hold over Scotland by Governor in Scotland to rule it on his behalf. He build a network of stone castles or walled towns each occupied by an armed force under a loyal local or English knight.

May 1297: Under 1st resurgence of Scottish Independence, William Wallace sacks Lanark Castle, killing the Sheriff and other English in the town. It is the spark for more widespread rebellion for independence.

Summer 1297: Andrew Murray leads a revolt in the north, captures a series of English castles in the Highlands and the north east, and besieges Urquhart Castle.

11 September 1297: William Wallace and Andrew Murray comprehensively defeat the English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Murray subsequently dies of wounds suffered during the battle.

29 March 1298: William Wallace is titled "Guardian of Scotland".

22 July 1298: William Wallace is defeated by Edward I at the Battle of Falkirk. Wallace resigns as Guardian and becomes guerilla fighter and keeps on harassing the English.

24 February 1303: 8,000 Scots, not soldiers but tinkers, tailors, farmers all common men faced 30,000 well trained English troops, a professional army. The dying embers of Scottish patriotism burst into vibrant flame and English were routed at the Battle of Roslin. The annihilation of the English army was almost total. Wallace, Comyn, Fraser and St Clair led from the front.

3 February 1304: The Community of Scotland under the Guardianship of John III Comyn or the Red Comyn, agrees a peace treaty with Edward I. Scottish patriots look towards for Robert the Bruce.

22 April 1304: Edward I besieges the Scottish stronghold, Stirling Castle. It surrenders three months later when the food runs out.

3 August 1305: William Wallace is betrayed and captured near Glasgow. He is tried in London on 23 August and executed.  Sir Symon Fraser was captured in 1306, taken to London, drawn and hung until he was dead, then was beheaded, his headless corpse then was hung again and his head set on a spike on London Bridge next to Wallace's. The chiefs of the Frasers of Lovat are today called Macshimidh in memory of Symon the Patriot.

10 February 1306: Robert the Bruce, the grandson of the Robert Bruce who had competed with John Balliol for the crown in 1292, murders John III Comyn, the Red Comyn, head of one of the most powerful familes in Scotland and his only rival as future king in a church in Dumfries. This brutal act committed on the steps of the Church outraged both Edward and the Pope. The pope excommunicates Robert the Bruce. The Scottish patriots took it as a brave deed of open defiance against the English because Comyn was supported by Edward I.

25 March 1306: Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scots by Bishop William de Lamberton at Scone, near Perth with all formality and solemnity. The royal robes and vestments which Robert Wishart had hidden from the English were brought out by the Bishop and set upon King Robert. The bishops of Moray and Glasgow were in attendance as well as the earls of Atholl, Menteith, Lennox, and Mar. The great banner of the kings of Scotland was planted behind his throne.

To be continued Battle of Bannockburn