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In Afghanistan these last few weeks, we’ve seen just how effervescent 20+ years of assumptions about nation building can be.

The collapse of the Afghan government may or may not have been inevitable, but now, it certainly is a reality. However, the Biden Administration’s hands-off and resigned approach to Afghanistan’s demise seems to neglect a smaller strategic and operational footprint that can support US goals of undermining and containing the Taliban.

Is there an obvious reason why US military force could not rapidly concentrate in Kabul and protect it from the Taliban long enough to turn it into a heavily…


The concept of a city, of a large group of people living in close proximity to exchange value, has played an essential role in human development from the earliest recorded history to the present era. How desirable a city is to live in is one of the most fundamental factors powering civilization. Cities still prominently contribute to human development today. But it is not at all clear our conception of what a city is, and the major metropolitan areas of the world, will continue to play such a primary role in the future. The proliferation of technology may disrupt the…


All political goals require public support to be achieved. This is a basic fact of the political life of any system. And at its root, support requires trust. It is trust that empowers cooperation in society, and it forms the essential mortar to hold any project together from start to finish. But trust is effervescent, difficult to quantify, and thus hard to plan on or around. In contrast to trust, is ideology. Whereas the former is a dynamic personal attribute, the latter is an external marker of signaling between groups. In close proximity to each other, the two prescribe mutually…


The present moment is dire for the international dollar-denominated economy. Since 2008, real debt levels have grown 400% and have outstripped real productivity and wealth (with incomes rising only 30% in the same period). The pandemic has devastated the real economy and accentuated the difference between debt and value creation levels. To compensate for this, governments across the Western world have resorted to massive money printing efforts. According to one estimate, for example, almost 25% of all dollar bills ever created were printed this year alone. Major monetary policy organizations like the Fed and the IMF seem to have thrown…


Life in all its manifestations, from the sciences to the personal level is made through variation, time, and entropy, complex and variable, with change being the only seeming constant.

Change is the engine that powers the growth of difference, and it is difference that fuels Darwinian evolution, the diversification of languages, cultures, and social systems, from politics to the economy. Change is in us literally, figuratively, and of necessity. It is all-encompassing to our sense of reality and inherent to everything we do. It remains unified through all of its myriad roles. We have arisen within this reality, evolving under…


Studies suggest that people can endure more pain when they have money in their hands than when they don’t. What about holding paper or metal money makes us care so much about it? When we take a closer look at what money is, the question becomes how does it relate to value? When a state has a surplus on its balance sheet, or a hoard of gold ingots, why does this often translate into eventual economic growth? Or, why can this same abundance build something that is more than just something material, like the human talent of a strong military…


The United States today exhibits a republican government structure. It’s foundational document, the Constitution, enumerates the rights enjoyed by every citizen. These are not subject to abridgement by the vote of a majority. This limitation on the type of decisions that can be made helps define the liberal republican government we have. This is in contrast with a pure democracy. A pure democracy provides the electorate the ability to change anything they wish, for better — as with righting a wrong in society — or worse. To borrow from Winston Churchill, a democracy of this kind can be a sheep…


In a world where land is held with varying degrees of attachment, can Chinese carve a new autonomy abroad?

In my last post, I argued that development in mainland China will increase the ability of Chinese to act more freely. This could interfere with their leadership’s plans because rising wealth in a market setting also correlates with rising economic liberties. This type of choice, once exercised in the market, is likely to spread to other parts of life for Chinese. This will give them power and such power must eventually find itself at significant odds with the existing cartel in the room: the Chinese government. With Chinese being more wealthy and the home government being a capable Orwelian state…


As we in the West struggle to find our footing in the middle of one of the most severe public health crises in recent memory, coping also with political unrest, people may feel tempted to reevaluate the apparent sleek bureaucratic management style of the Chinese state. The mantra-like praise of the country’s foresight has been a frequent theme in Western media outlets over the years. We are reminded each month that China will be one of the world’s few economies that grew this year, and in a large way, at least according to official data from Beijing. There is an…

Kevin

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