Monday, September 15, 2014

The Billionaire

To be clever enough to get all that money you have to be dull enough to want it.*

1. The August 11, 2011 Edition Of The New York Post:
'A beautiful Brazilian soap star has the lead role in her own daytime drama, which casts George Soros, the billionaire financier of lefty causes, as a heavy who not only broke her heart, but also reneged on a promise to give her an Upper East Side apartment worth $1.9 million.

The drama will be staged in Manhattan Supreme Court, where 28-year-old Adriana Ferreyr yesterday filed a blockbuster $50 million suit charging, among other things, that the frisky octogenarian slapped her around while they were in bed discussing his real-estate betrayal.

The sultry actress and the mogul, who's worth some $14.5 billion, had dated for five years before he heartlessly dumped her a year ago, the lawsuit says.

But they briefly reconciled, and while spending a romantic night together, he whispered in her ear that he'd given the apartment to another woman.

"While still in bed, Soros slapped Ferreyr across the face and proceeded to put his hands around her neck in an attempt to choke her," her lawsuit claims.

Soros, 80, then allegedly at tempted to strike her with a glass lamp, and though he narrowly missed, it smashed on the floor and she cut her foot, which required three stitches.

According to a police report, she called cops, but no charges were filed.

Soros "denies throwing the lamp and totally denies trying to choke her," a friend of the billionaire's told The Post.

"This is about a lot of money and an apartment."

Soros' lawyer, William Zabel, called the lawsuit "frivolous and entirely without merit."'

2. The Economy Of The United States, 2012:
$15 Trillion is the current U.S. Deficit.
There are more than 300 Million Americans.
That makes $50,000 borrowed in the name of each American.

Where did the $15 Trillion go?
A few percent to social services.
The greater part of the rest went to tax cuts for corporations and to paying corporate military contractors.

15 Trillion dollars borrowed from Americans and given to corporations. The money isn't gone. It is in corporate bank accounts. Each of 300 million Americans pays between one and two thousand dollars interest each year on the money borrowed and given to the corporations.
3. The June 23, 2011 edition Of The New York Review Of Books:
George Soros reflects on his 30 years of philanthropy in the course of which he has given away 8 Billion dollars:
"I have made it a principle to pursue my self-interest in my business, subject to legal and ethical limitations, and to be guided by the public interest as a public intellectual and philanthropist. If the two are in conflict, the public interest ought to prevail. I do not hesitate to advocate policies that are in conflict with my business interests. I firmly believe that our democracy would function better if more people adopted this principle."
4. The March 12, 2012 Edition Of The Daily Mail:

Hungarian-born Soros, while being a notable philanthropist championing liberal causes, is  also known as the 'Man Who Broke The Bank Of England'.

He made an estimated £600 million during the 1992 'Black Wednesday' UK currency crises, correctly predicting that the British government would have to devalue the pound.

On 16 September, 1992, his fund sold short more than $10 billion worth of pounds, profiting from the UK government's reluctance to either raise its interest rates or float its currency - finally withdrawing from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and devaluing the pound.

In 1997, the UK Treasury estimated the cost of Black Wednesday at £3.4 billion.'
5. The October 13, 2011 Edition Of The New York Review Of Books:
George Soros puts himself on record saying that the world's bankers and politicians, methodically causing economic distress, are leading the world's democracies into civil war. He can't decide whether they are doing this because they are incompetent or they want what they are working for.

According to Soros, in boom and bust cycles, a boom of unrealistic optimism, where the crowd of optimists imitate and predict each others actions, is followed by bust, a realistic pessimism where the crowd of pessimists imitate and predict each others actions.

Acting on the false economic principle that free markets benefit all, most of the world has gone from boom to bust, but not the bankers and politicians, who because of their ability to control governments with their money are still in a boom. They are richer than ever, than in any time in world history.
6. Budapest, Hungary, Below The Citadel:

Walking down Vaci Street to Vorosmarti Square I met an old acquaintance in the city tour business. He complained about gangsters running the country:
- They try to destroy the lives of everyone except their friends. If you don't have a million Euros you're nothing. I've given up expecting things to get better. These past years have been the worst in my life by far.
- For me too. But things will get better. Greece is standing up to the liars and thieves of the European Union, at Camp David last week they already backed down, at least in words. In the U.S., the law was overturned that allowed the government to kill, torture, abduct, secretly imprison without trial or representation. Your buses go up to the Citadel, right? What's happening up there?
- The owners are all in jail.
- I'm not surprised. What did they get them on?
- Something about taxis at the airport. I only read a few lines in the newspaper.
- When was that?
- A few days ago.
- You know, I first stayed there in 1996. This year I was usually the hotel's only guest. The same people have worked at the hotel for decades. They told me they liked me to be there, mostly because they cooked the books to show I wasn't there and pocketed my rent. I was a profitable guest. One day they asked me to pay the balance, and the next day said it was all over, everything ends, time to go. Leave today. Do you know anything about the Citadel?
- No. Only from the news.
- According to the receptionist, the one who liked to talk with me, this family that runs it is always fighting the city. Their contract with the city giving them the right to rent the castle and grounds was never signed. It's been in court since, unresolved. He said the city had shut down their taxi company, and the city forbid them to use the terrace they built in the castle courtyard. They operate a radio station from the Citadel the city won't give them a license for. I'd be sitting in the lobby and the police would come in and demand the station be turned off. When they left it would resume broadcasting. Then the police came and broke down the door to the equipment room and carried away the transmitter. A new one was then set up outside the Budapest City limits, also without license, and the station was back on the air.
- Now they're in jail.
- The previous holder of the Citadel was murdered, according to the receptionist. The current bosses, their problem was, he said, they didn't have the million Euros to hand over. He was a failure but his bosses were bigger failures.
- I didn't know any of this.
- I like to talk. I used to meet like this all the time, acquaintances, friends, walking down the street. Something happened to all these people I used to meet, talk with. What you said about gangsters destroying the lives of everyone not with them. I'm used to the idea that gangsters help their friends, hurt their enemies, but ruin the lives of everyone not in their gang? That's new to me. It explains something I've been wondering about, why the EU, the American government deliberately destroy the world's economies. Conspiracy theorists say they want to cause riots and respond with repression, make everyone a slave. But maybe they are clearing the field. Destroying all normal life, all capacity for normal business, and then without competition their companies expand into the vacuum.
7. Budapest, Hungary, Public Lecture by George Soros, November 3, 2011, The Central European University:
Question-and-answer afterwards. I as member of the audience make a suggestion:
- If someone like you supports the Occupy movement it would mean something.
- It depends on what direction it develops.
- Say general strike, and a call for resignations.
- That becomes counter productive. The trouble is, reality is very complicated. And people look for simple answers. And especially in moments of stress and fear everybody is trying to advocate his own self interest. And yet the European project requires cooperation. Cooperation is something you can achieve in times when there is hope and a functioning leadership. And at the moment you don't have it.*

* "And perceptions reflexively reinforce reality - belief in stability leads to arrangements reinforcing that stability, and vice versa." (George Soros, Reflexivity and the Theory and Practice of Social Change, 2011.
8. Budapest, Hungary, American Embassy:
- Do you need help filling out the papers?
- Sure, it couldn't hurt. What kind of papers?
- Visa application. Are you here to get a visa?
- They are going to take away my passport, so I may need a visa.
- Why are they taking your passport? Are you an American Citizen?
- Yes. When you apply for an emergency loan they confiscate your passport.
- Anyway you don't need a visa to your own country.

- What can I do for you?
- I saw on the Embassy's site that you provide emergency repatriation loans. I would like to apply.
- Are you destitute?
- Probably. What's the definition?
- No money to buy a ticket home and no way to get the money.
- OK.
- What?
- I fulfill the requirements. What next?
- You have to prove that you've made an attempt to get the money.
- How?
- You have to provide the names of 3 people you have asked and who have refused. Can you do that?
- Sure. There are billions of people I can ask and be refused.
- You have to put it in writing.
- I can do it.
- Give me your passport. We'll do a background check. Take a seat.

- My colleague explained something of your situation. I'd like to ask you for more information.
- You're the Vice Consul?
- Yes. You said you have no money. Can you tell me how this situation arose?
- Whole life story or shorter?
- Start with the most recent events. When did you arrive in this country?
- About 4 months ago.
- What have you been doing?
- Reading and writing. Not employed.
- Were you employed in the United States before you came here?
- No. Doing the same. Reading and writing.
- Do you normally live in Europe or the United States?
- For the past about 20 years, mostly Europe.
- With trips back to the United States.
- Yes.
- How long were you in the United States last time?
- About 9 months.
- Where did you live?
- With friends.
- And before that?
- Here. I was tutoring business executives in English.
- For how long?
- 4 months. And then United States again.
- Are you married?
- Yes. Possibly.
- Possibly?
- My wife disappeared, then wrote me that she'd obtained a divorce.
- Do you know you wife's name?
- What if I answer No?
- You don't know your wife's name?
- I'll spell it for you. Do you want to find her for me?
- We're the government but we can't do everything.
- You know, forget about the repatriation loan, just find my wife.
- When was the last time you saw her?
- A year, maybe year and a half ago. Look, is it true you're going to take away my passport if you decide to give me a repatriation loan?
- Yes, it is.
- Couldn't I use, just temporarily, the passport of one of the directors of Goldman Sachs, or General Electric, or Bank Of America? The government took away their passports when they loaned them $900 Billion after they lost all their money in bad investments. They took away their passports, right? They didn't?
- We're not open tomorrow, and over the weekend, and on Monday, an American holiday. Are you going to be alright?
- Probably.
- Where will you be going when you arrive in Los Angeles?
- I don't know.
- You have to provide an address. We can't arrange your travel without knowing you have a place to go.
- Why not?
- We are here to help.
- Are you concerned about my address here if I don't leave?
- We'll try to help.

- Before we can issue a repatriation loan and buy your ticket you have to provide an arrival address.
- I did.
- It can't be a hotel.
- Why not?
- It has to be your residence.
- It will be my residence.
- It has to be your own, or belonging to someone we can contact.
- It's a residential hotel. The address is on my driver's license. They know me there.
- Show me your driver's license. What is the manager's name?
- Betty.
- No. We need to be able to talk with someone who will be responsible for you.
- Why?
- We need to know you will be safe.
- Why? I'm not safe if I stay in Europe.
- As I said, you need to provide us the name of someone who will take care of you when you return to the U.S.
- If I knew someone like that would I now be applying for an emergency loan?
- Then we can't help you.
- How long would this person have to be responsible for me? My whole life? One year? One month? A week?
- Several weeks.
- And there is no explanation for this demand?
- I don't have to explain.
- Why not?
- It's the rules.
- It can't be. What rule?
- This conversation is over.
9. Budapest, Hungary, Unpublicized 2012 Appearance By George Soros, The Central European University:
In an informal on-stage interview, Soros, in a reflective mood, admits that the numerous institutions he's funded to study the failure of economic thinking have succeed in demonstrating how economies fail, but not in discovering what to do about it.

The source of the problem, he explained, is relying too much on theory, on knowledge, and not on how our not knowing what to do makes us act in ways that change the world, which world we don't see because we expect it to conform to our theories. We need to be able to discard our theories when they are proven wrong, and we need to understand that no general theory is enough, because our actions are constantly changing the world we need to respond to and understand.

I said to him when he stepped down from the stage:

- You have divided human activity in two parts, theory, and manipulation. Theory doesn't work, and manipulation of markets is based on crowd behavior, that is, fear. But since ancient Greece, the parts to human activity have been divided into not two, but three: you have left out practical action.

Practical action differs from manipulation, fearfully following and leading each other, in that its end is making learning easier. It's purpose is outside of itself, in the part of life where we learn, where we find beauty, what makes life good.

Why not establish institutions that study how economic relations are practical: what forms of cooperation lead to a life of learning and freedom from manipulation, and which don't. And study how to make the transition from the present institutions based entirely on greed and fear to the kind we need to have. Do you understand?

- I have studied maximization of happiness.
- No, that's not what I mean. Counting results of fear based behaviors: doing that is living still in the world of the theoretical and the manipulative. We need to study how to cooperate, study what forms of cooperation help us learn to make our lives better.

Let's go, says George Soros assistant, urging him as she has been doing for the last few minutes as we talked. OK, I say, I tried.

- You remember me, right?
- Yes.

(The week before when I walked through the door of the University the guard said to me, Soros just left. Go talk to him. / Why? / Ask him for a job. I caught up with him and did. He took my card, passed it to his assistant, and said he was in a hurry.)
10. The April 6, 2006 edition of The London Review Of Books:
"The same Soros who gives millions to fund education has ruined the lives of thousands thanks to his financial speculations and in doing so created the conditions for the rise of the intolerance he denounces."
11. Budapest, Hungary, Award Ceremony, Central European University:

The former President and Rector of the Central European University today was given an honorary doctorate degree by the present President and Rector. The degree recipient said in his acceptance address:

Our universities are teaching a false economic theory that making the rich richer will also make everyone else richer, that free markets, absence of regulation and neglect of social services support democracy.

Everyone applauded. I didn't say anything. But what might I, and the others in the audience, have asked both present and past Rectors and Presidents of George Soros's University?

Why did you, in your 10 years as President and Rector, allow the false economic theories to be taught here? Why do the false economic theories continue to be taught? Why didn't you stop it? Why aren't you trying to now?*
hy·poc·ri·sy (h -p k r -s ). n. pl. hy·poc·ri·sies. 1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or  virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.

After he had spoken his few words and the audience was dismissed I went up to the former President and Rector of the University and said:

- Criticizing free markets - you realize you are in the enemy camp here.
- I've been there my whole life.

* "While noble motives are typically evoked in the context of ceremonial speeches, the university’s various stakeholders generally do not typically commit themselves to clear aims for their institution."- from the former President & Rector's upcoming book, The University In The 21st Century.
12. Budapest, May, 2012, Downtown:
- What happened with the email?
- What email?
- The one you got when you were at the cafe, that night, Friday.
- From the Israelis. Yes, I remember now.
- You didn't know if it was real.
- Yes. It was real.
- Good!
- There's a story behind it. Where are you guys going? The whole staff of the cafe is right here on this corner, on the other side of the city. Great to see you all.
- We have a minute, or two.
- I'll be fast. The theory, the best I have, why Israel turned friendly comes from a guard at the Central European University. He said Israel likes me now because I'm fighting the American Embassy.
- That's still going on?
- Yes. It's getting worse.
- How?
- Last week I visited the office of the President of the University one more time, a former Ambassador himself, and friend of the current Ambassador to Hungary, and left a message for him to try once more to get the Embassy to answer my emails and stop forbidding me to enter the Embassy.
- They forbid you to enter the Embassy?
- Yes.
- That has to be against the law.
- You'd think so. Anyway, yesterday at the University there was a series of lectures celebrating the history of friendly diplomatic relations between the United States and Hungary. I listened to the first for a while before I got bored, and later was on my way to the reception at the lunch break when I was stopped by a woman with a clipboard, who addressed me with these words:
- Mr. Miller! You can't go in.
- I can't go in? It's gratifying you know my name. I don't know yours. What is your name, what is your job exactly?
- Mr. Miller, this is not a joke. You didn't RSVP, so you may not be admitted.
- I am on the guest list.
- No you are not.
- Yes I am. Go check it out. I was placed on it this morning in person before my very eyes. I am an eye witness to the truth of my statement.
- I don't have time for this. Come back in 15 minutes and we can discuss it.
- No, I'm not interested. Thanks anyway.
- So they forbid you to enter the University?
- Yes. I'd noticed the extra security guards, not the University guards who all know me and discuss politics with me, the one's guarding the visiting diplomats, were looking at me strangely, were staring at me, in fact, so that was explained now.
- Why did they do it?
- Why did this University, founded by George Soros, and his Open Society Institute, forbid me entrance?
- Yes. Open Society Institute!
- Later in the afternoon, seeing the long face of one of the friendly University guards, I asked her what was wrong.
- There's a problem.
- Well, tell me.
- They told us not to let you in the building.
- I'm in the building now.
- Before, while the congress was going on.
- Yes, I know about it.
Then another friendly University guard offered the explanation: the American Ambassador had been there, and the Embassy was behind my banishment from Open Society.
- Wow. You really think so? The American Embassy stopped you entering the University to stop you talking with the Ambassador?
- Why not? They already block me from the Embassy.
- What about Israel then? Are they going to let you go there?
- It looks like it. That same last guard, it was his theory that the Israelis are watching me like the Americans, and they, being tough guys, like that I am a tough guy too and defy the Americans.
- But what did you do? All you did was try to visit the Embassy, your own Embassy, and when they didn't let you, wrote about them. And you say yourself almost no one reads what you write.
- No but the American Embassy is my most dedicated reader.
- You know that?
- The site records their visits. They don't hide.
- They want you to know they are reading.
- And I want them to know I know.
- That's insane.
- It's a game.
- But you'll be able to go to Israel.
- We'll see.
- Then good luck. See you at the cafe.
13. Budapest, Hungary, Jewish Agency For Israel:
- You're the other American.
- I am.
- They say you and me tell similar stories. Vicious Jewish families, disappearing Hungarian wives. They asked me if I knew you.
- They asked me if I knew you.
- Do you?
- No.
- They're processing us as a package deal.
- Yeah. They say they get a better price on the tickets, I don't know how.
- Me either. One way tickets, Budapest to Tel Aviv aren't expensive anyway. Maybe the attraction is not saving money, but double the result for the same effort. It makes it easier to justify to themselves the exception they are making, the Israeli Agency dealing with Americans in Hungary. It's a strange coincidence. Or maybe it isn't. When did you first come here, to this office?
- A few days ago. When did you?
- Two years ago. They told me to go back to L.A. I did, and a year later the Los Angeles office told me it would be immoral to help me go to Israel.
- Really? Why?
- They said I wouldn't be a success.
- But they've changed their minds now.
- Yes. Where did you get the idea from? To come here, I mean.
- From the Consul at the American Embassy.
- Of course.
- Why of course?
- The diplomats over there take an interest in my life.
- You mean they knew you had applied to go to Israel, and they sent me over to go with you?
- That's the way it looks. They forbid me to enter the Embassy, they send you over to Israel.
- They won't let you in? What did you do?
- I told them they were wrong. What did you do?
- They couldn't help me.
- The American government is too busy taking bribes from corporations, doesn't have time to deal with Americans anymore. Sends them over to Israel to handle. Anyway, it's good luck for me.
- Why?
- Because my application was stalled until you showed up. Two for one.

* * *

The Odeon Cinema, Officer Of The Jewish Agency, Chance Meeting:

- Have seen you the other American today too?
- No, but I just talked to him on the phone.
- It's hard for me, having a double of like that.
- You noticed too? It's strange.
- We're not really alike. Only our circumstances.
- What circumstances?
- American Jewish families that hate truth, love money. Seeking truth is part of the religion, but lying is more profitable. The conflict leads to extremes of behavior.
- They hate you two because you tell the truth.
- Yes, believe it or not. Maybe we learned to love truth more because they hated it.
- Not every American Jewish family is like that.
- A lot are.
- The whole world is moving that way.
- Yes.
- You could have stayed in the U.S. and looked for better people.
- I thought I'd have better luck in Europe. I did have better luck. Then luck ran out.
- Why?
- As you said, the way the whole world is moving, it's the way of the place I was trying to escape.

14. Budapest, Hungary, Reception Desk, Central European University:
- We'll miss you. We're like in prison here.

- And I your regular visitor, on my way in and out of the building.
- We've enjoyed talking to you, you know that. Will you go on talking to people about revolution?
- With University guards who say they are prisoners? I don't know. Is that how you see me? As someone who talks to people about revolution? Put that way it sounds futile. I like finding words to describe the situation we're in.
- You're lucky you can leave. We wish the best for you.
- Do you have time to talk, one more time, in the way you like? I thought maybe I was boring you with these conversations. That you would talk to anyone, that even being bored by a bore on his way out was better than being bored alone.
- No. We like you here.
- Alright. Lecture begins, last in the series, visitors on their way out, parting words. Title: Correlation And Causation. Do you know the difference?
- No.
- People who eat red meat have more heart attacks than people who don't. New Harvard University study. This place is a Harvard colony, you know.
- We know. The Rector, the lecturers.
- Yes. Red meat and heart attacks. That is correlation. When you start doing experiments to separate out other factors that lead to heart attacks, you get close to causation.
- I don't understand.
- It could be that people who like red meat also like to go without sleep, or are nervous, or aggressive, and any of these might be what is really linked to heart attacks.
- What's the difference?
- If you want to prevent heart attacks, and you don't do the experiments, telling people not to eat red meat will have no effect at all, if really the connection, the cause is aggressive behavior.
- I see now.
- Next: social life, success in career, works with correlation, not causation.
- You've lost me again.
- You know George Soros' theory of Reflexivity?
- Yes.
- When I talked with him a few days ago, when he was up on stage of the auditorium down the hall - were you there?
- For a minute. Then I had to go back to work.
- So maybe you heard him say the usual economic theories have now been proven wrong, it was irrational to continue to apply false theories. And how his own theory described only irrational group behavior, how in the stock market traders in good times followed each other in overconfidence, then reality hit and they followed each other in flight from their overconfidence.
- Yes. I know these ideas.
- Ok. Business operates by finding correlations: do this, and profit follows. Why exactly this happens is not known. To find out you'd need to conduct experiments. To be successful in business is the same: you do certain things, go to certain schools, dress a certain way, repeat certain formulas: doing this gets you the job, then in the job, you do the same thing, whatever works, without knowing why. Correlation, never causation. In the stock market you see this reduced to the simplest terms. Correlation need not reflect any real relation. The reason for confidence in a stock, or the market as a whole, may be, usually is, entirely false, a correlation, not a causation. Eventually this comes out and a downturn follows.
- Ok
- Good. I don't like this economics any more than you do. Really it makes me sick. But here's the point. Have you ever wondered why economists are always talking about efficiency?
- No, can't say I have.
- Well they do. It isn't because they are technocrats, because they have knowledge of technique. They don't know anything, as Soros said right here a few days ago. All they know are correlations, which almost always are sooner or later proven false. So what do these technocrats, technically educated people do?
- What do you mean by technocrats?
- I mean people educated at places like this University, teaching correlations without causation.
- Ok
- Efficiency for people who don't know anything means reducing complexity. It means eliminating the distance between causation and correlation.
- Again, you lost me.
- If you don't know why there is a correlation, you nevertheless know that as long as you can keep things the same, you keep the real causes connected to the false ones. If you are making money in the stock market, in banking, you will try to simplify everything else so as to make banking and stock trading go more smoothly, efficiently, without change from outside.
- And you say that is what economists mean by efficiency?
- You've got it now. Austerity measures, smaller government, lower deficits, all this means more efficiency in the areas where people making money are relying on presently unstable correlations. Let's go back to the Harvard red meat study.
- OK
- Harvard, the government all is funded by business, by professional associations. Let's say someone is making money factory farming chickens and pigs. We don't know why eaters of red meat get more heart attacks. But what if we can stop people being aggressive, nervous, afraid of being discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, nationality, age, income? We control, eliminate all other possible causes. Correlation will suffice, all will work more efficiently.
- But that's crazy.
- No! It's literal reality. And no more crazy that the last 50 years' imposition of so-called neo-liberalism, the long proven-false economic theory that unregulated markets works to the benefit of the majority and to the stability of democracy. This university, funded by George Soros' Open Society Foundation, teaching tolerance of all nations, ages, sexuality, races, religions is putting into effect the same kind of efficiency.
- Explain that.
- I used to think the problem with current politics is that the demand for tolerance, to see all ideas as relative, dependent on personal circumstances, had made people incapable of talking to each other, of caring about each other. Democracy was failing because everyone tolerant of everyone has nothing in common with anyone.
- And you don't believe that anymore?
- I never had confidence in the idea because I saw that, at least in America, people still liked strangers, truly liked them.
- What is the problem then?
- It is knowledge. Knowledge! Correlation and causation.
- And you are going to explain that to me.
- Yes. Do you know what it means when we say we rely on intuition?
- Yes. But I'd like to hear what you have to say.
- It means that we have noticed correlations in our personal lives - when we do this, that happens - and we have tested that correlation, acted on the relation, done experiments to see if it was a chance relation, or a real one. Over time we get a general, what we call intuitive sense of which kinds of correlations are likely to be real relations. But only because we have been actively testing these relations in our own lives.
- That's interesting.
- If you are a stock trader, a banker, a government official or a university founder, president, or professor, you make your living by keeping your behavior in role, keeping your role tightly correlated with other roles.
- What does that mean?
- It means you play by the rules. You have to to keep your job, to be a success. Adapting your behavior by personal experiments, looking for knowledge, not mere probably false correlation, will make you a cause of inefficiency in the organization, will cause everyone else trouble.
- I know that from personal experience. You have no idea what it's like to work here.
- I have an intuition. I know you are mocking me when you ask about the revolution, my political aims. I just write stories, find words. I've found new words, that's all, but for what it's worth, here they are: no matter how corrupt, idiotic, inefficient our governments are revealed to be, people can't do anything, can't respond, because they too have become like politicians.
- How?
- They are living in this open society. Society that is all correlation, no causation. Everyone has his type, his role, all is acceptable, open, all in fact as meaningless as red meat being correlated with heart attacks because no one is agressive, anxious, discriminated against anymore. Look at the dead faces of the students here. They rigorously study the correlation  between red meat and heart attacks. They follow rules, they're all ambition to make money and be a success, they create a personal efficiency by the elimination of all human qualities.
- You think so?
- Yes, I do. Personal investigation, personal development is punished by career failure, social exclusion. In fact, the Open Society leads to closed society.
- How?
- The ignorance it is based on is exposed, the false correlation revealed, by increasing social disruptions. The society supposed to be efficient above all else is revealed to be inefficient. Think about George Soros, the billionaire who founded this university. Efficiency policies result in monopoly, concentration of wealth. Efficiency creates billionaires. Billionaires monopolize property. Which means more and more people have no property. Democracy cannot function, no matter the perfections of institutions and efficiency, when people own no property and are in the conditions of slaves who can be forced by life or death necessity to do anything. This is a destructive influence enough, but monopoly of property inevitably leads to bribery. Or in the case of our open society times, to legal bribery, where bribery is seen as an expression of the personal opinion of the wealthy.
- How can bribery be legal?
- According to numerous Harvard and other University professors it makes democracy into an efficient "marketplace of ideas".
- Hard to believe.
- The open society leads to corruption, to legalized bribery; it leads to concentration of property and consequent slavery of the property-less, which leads to social disruption. Finally the open society, we see this happening now, leads to repression in the name of efficiency, and in some places, is leading to an attempt to return to the original role relations, the original ignorant correlation before outside influences, foreigners, and foreign trade disrupted things. When you don't know anything the best you can do is return to the conditions where things seemed to work better.
- You're talking about Fascism. Neo-nazis.
- It's the destiny of the open society. The invisible hand of economics. Which is no more than people who know they don't understand what they rely on trying to lessen the risk of their ignorance. The invisible hand of economics is the efficient protection of ignorance. Remember, I told you the story, I asked Soros when he spoke here another time to support  the Occupy protest movement? He answered that he couldn't. It was a disruption which would lead to more disruptions. He sympathized with the people's suffering, but efficiency was the high principle he worshiped.
- You really think he believes that?
- Yes. His two principles are open society, and efficient management of marketplace ignorance. Together they are a sort of religion, the invisible hand of ignorance protecting itself by monopoly and social repression. He's collected every type here in these buildings -  every variety of sexuality, nationality, age, race, each is in its cage, each incapable of communicating with the other types in their cages, each incapable of getting out of the cage by personal testing and experiment, incapable of looking for the truth. A zoo where there is no relation of red meat to heart attacks except the profit to be made by assuming there is one.
- And this is your good-by to the University.
- Red meat thrown to the cages!


Late 2011, Budapest, Hungary, Gellert Hill, The Citadel:

- It's quiet tonight. Am I right that something is happening? Some big change?
- What do you mean?
- Is the city finally going to take the Citadel back from the family? What really happened with the last family that had the place? What did they do? Really do?
- Sold drugs, ran prostitutes.
- And the boss was murdered, you told me.
- In the disco.
- What does the present "family" do?
- It's in the energy business.
- And you say they "control" the territory of the Citadel without a contract with the government, the city, which owns the land and buildings?
- Yes. Just like the other family.
- How?
- Can't explain.
- Influence? Bribery?
- Can't explain.
- This "family" holds the territory, operates their "energy business" from here. But no one from the energy business world seems to be around.
- That's correct.
- I am the only guest of the hotel.
- Usually.
- There was a taxi business when I first came here, a long time ago.
- The city shut them down.
- Why?
- Can't explain.
- Influence failed?
- My boss always fails.
- But they are still here, in control of the Citadel.
- They built a terrace in the courtyard - you can see it over there, the wood floorboards are rotting away - but the city forbid them to use it.
- Why?
- They say diplomats from nearby embassies complained about noise.
- Failure of influence again. And the new radio station here? What's that for?
- It costs them a lot. They have no advertising and 16 employees.
- And can't get a permit from the city. I've been following the drama. The police come, demand you stop broadcasting, you go off the air, then go on again immediately after the police leave. Then again. Then again. Then the police come, break down the door of the equipment room and carry out the transmitter in their arms. Then you set up broadcasting outside the city limits, still without a permit. Anything I left out?
- No. Sometimes I think this place is an insane asylum.
- Because all you guys here smoke and cough and smoke and cough, because  one of you complains operatically non-stop and the other swears non-stop, because you yourself say you can't stop talking with people you don't like? Because the computer programmer in the corner room smokes so much that when he comes out into the lobby he leaves a scent trail in the air, who's a kind of walking ashtray? What about me? How do I fit in?
- You're crazy too.
- To be staying here.
- Yes. No one understands you. I try to protect you, tell everyone you're from a rich family, are here until the estate is settled.
- Sounds good
- I thought so.
- Might even have a little truth to it. Did I ever tell you the story of the fake and real Rolex I bought at a pawn shop in Atlantic City when I was visiting my mother there?
- I don't remember.
- The story goes like this. Dozens of casinos send send their losers out into the street where dozens of pawn shops buy their jewelry so they can go back to the casinos and lose more money. One afternoon I thought to visit the shops and look at their watches. At the first I came to there was a Rolex copy in the window. The Russian immigrant working there placed it on the counter and opened its back to show me the movement. He'd been tricked into buying this watch, he explained. The movement looked real, he'd never seen a fake movement before. How much did he want for the watch? 200 dollars. Take 150? Yes.
- You bought the watch?
- Yes. When I came next time to Budapest I sold it to another watch dealer for 600 dollars.
- How?
- The movement was real.
- And you knew it.
- And the pawn shop didn't. Real movement in fake watch.
- Great story.
- It is what I like to think life is like at the Citadel. We've got the "family" parading around, visiting the radio station that isn't a business, the hotel where I am usually the only guest, you guys working here smoking yourselves to death out of nothing else to do, I'm here seeing this because I make it look like a hotel and in my isolated life other people don't hear about it from me and show up asking to stay. It's all fake, but it is a real castle, it is the best place in  Budapest, you and me are really here despite the fakery going on around us.
- Very poetic. Everyone is miserable here.
- Last night I was writing about Cain and Abel.
- From the Bible?
- Yes. Should I tell you what I wrote?
- How long will it take?
- One minute. Two, maximum.
- Ok.
- I'll be fast, fast. Here goes. Pay attention.
- Ha.
- The first humans were educated by God: they broke his rules, went adventuring, had children, created lives for themselves. The first human educated by humans killed his brother.
- Cain killed Abel.
- Yes. God's education was in breaking rules. Human education is about keeping rules. Cain was a farmer. He stayed put. He followed rules of when and what and where to plant. When he looked at the land he was reminded of which of his rules to apply.

When God did not accept his sacrifice Cain responded to God as he responded when a rule no longer applied because of change of weather: he simplified, uprooted the unrewarding rule from his world. If there is a rule, "Sacrifice to God / You'll be rewarded by his love", and no love is delivered, if you kill your brother whose sacrifice has been accepted the field is cleared of all sacrifice, nothing is growing there. Cain weeded Abel from his field.

As a shepherd Abel adapted rules to the terrain his herd wandered over. The land did not remind him of any set rule. Rules remained contingent. The story of Cain and Abel is about a battle between two ways of of applying rules, destructive and creative.
- You've written this down?
- Sure, not that anyone reads anything.
- Doesn't matter.
- Yes, that's the point I want to make. Write the truth in the midst of all the fakery, you're Abel living in Cain's world. You are the only guest of the "family" hotel at the Citadel. Down in the city when I tell people about where I stay I use the Italian word for family, "mafia". I hope they don't mind.
- Nobody is interested in you.
- I'm real taken as fake, safe so long as no one sees the reality and tries to profit by it.
- What good are you to anyone?
- Well, what good was it to Cain killing his brother? It was a symbolic act. And as we see at the Citadel the whole place is functioning as a symbol of the family's power, doing nothing else in fact. I am here only so long as there is no symbolic benefit in throwing me out. I am waiting for that time to come. It will, won't it?
- Yes. You know this place.
- 17 years since the first time I stayed here.
- Time have changed.
- The world is at war, economic, social war. Cain is out to eradicate Abel, out to weed him from his field. But, you know, history has moved on. Abel is more able.
- Abel is more able. I like that.
- Abel knows better, he can put into words just how the world is a war between those educated by man and those educated by god. He knows all the words thrown about around him are fakery, are all lies, gangsters' symbols of power. Education by man begins with killing a man, but proclaims itself to be education by god. It all about following rules and goes by the name of fundamentalism.

But education by God is something small and on the human scale, is the rule breaking and wandering life and goes by the name "humanism". God made humans, but humans make each other something else, something much worse, something fake, something oversimplified, something "fundamental".
- It's been much more than one minute.
- My words wandered to a field where other rules apply.

* * *

Bad Knowledge (An Academic Epilog):


"Are there one or many kinds or democracy? What is the role of religion in modern democracies? Is it true that not all societies are mature enough for democracy? Can a nation come out of poverty without a strongly centralized ‐ in fact non‐democratic – politco‐economic regime? How can the spread of epidemics be fought? Can classical economic theory, which posits the same basic model of “rational (bounded or otherwise) man", cope with poverty and hunger in widely differing societies? Universities today generally are not the institutions where answers to such practical problems are found.

What is needed, are new, integrative disciplines. For example a New Economics should integrate classical, mathematical, model‐based mainstream economics with concepts stemming from anthropology, sociology and history, such as institutions, norms, values and aspirations. Similarly for understanding and coping with the spread of infectious diseases."  - 
The University In The 21st. Century, 2012, Yehuda Elkana (Former Rector and President Of The Central European University), Hannes Klöpper

Sounds good, right? But it's all wrong.

Democracy limited by religion, urbanization, tradition? Free markets limited by norms, values, aspirations? No!

We need better theories, not ways of limiting the damage we do in trying to apply bad theories. We don't need new ways of applying bad theories to each other.

A better theory begins with love and friendship and pleasure and home and humor and creativity and goes on from there.

The inter-disciplinary model combines the failed-reason of political and economic theories with the reason-less acceptance and adaptation to local conditions of tradition, habit, desires.

The opposite model begins with local traditions, but only the good ones. Those are the above mentioned love, friendship, pleasures, home, humor, and  creativity.

The opposite model begins with a reasonable selection of the local conditions, and then continues to reason about ways to perfect them.

Not failed reason added to non-reason. That is for academics, bureaucrats, professionals.

But reason added to reason. That is for human beings.


Promotion of untested or proven false theories becomes a habit, rewarded by money and power. The habit of reasoning about life and testing ideas, unpracticed, is over time made more and more difficult to practice.

"I suspect my lie did not feel like a lie because it served to affirm what I believed to be a greater truth. My words were a heartfelt and spontaneous utterance of our passionately shared convictions." - Stephen Batchelor

Start wrong and it is a long way back.

“From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” -
Albert Einstein

Our choice is between the evidence people have reported from their own experience over a period of thousands of years that we are here for the sake of each other, and the theories of our institutions, academic and legal, which say  otherwise but make no predictions and are untested or already proven false.

* * *

The Billionaire Test (A Science Fiction Epilog)
- Do you remember, it's in one of your stories of fantasy, the billionaire test?
- "Who's Got A Billion To Spare?"
- Yes. The answer is, hundreds of people do. You wrote: 1 million children are starving in Africa. If not today, they will be tomorrow. One thousand dollars will airlift enough food for a year for each. One billion dollars will save a million lives.
- Yes. A calculation. You don't mean to say someone came up with the money?
- I do mean to say.

That is from a science fiction story. In reality, the billionaire responds: what good would it do? With my billion dollars they'd live and have more children, and there'd be more starving. I would be creating more suffering.

When a billionaire gives away money, and many make a part or full time job of it, it is usually to institutions that embody knowledge of one kind or another: universities, think tanks, medical organizations.

To save people just to save them: why?

Let's continue the science fiction conversation:

- The argument is wrong. It assumes starvation was the result of ignorance. Not from drought, or industrial over-harvesting, or war, or economic disruption of cheap imports. It is a plausible model that happens to be wrong. But even if it were right -
- Yes?
- It would still be wrong. A model wrongly applied. Why should anyone require for saving someone's life that they be living wisely?
- People don't like to encourage mistakes.
- Yes, because social life is a kind of collective art. But art is not the purpose of life, only a tool for making life better. If there is no life, there is no art. The billionaire imagines that the act of saving a millions lives would be a demoralizing example in his own world.
- But that is true, isn't it?
- No. There is nothing more demoralizing than forgetting that money serves life, not life serves money. Letting a million people die, which every billionaire on the planet does every year, is making it plain that, for them, life serves money.

In the science fiction story a billionaire comes across with the money to finance - can you believe it? - a revolution against life serving money. It's only a story. A daily comic strip without pictures, in progress. You can read it here.
*  G. K. Chesterton