Showing posts from April, 2009

Math to the Rescue

Sunday the renowned economist Hernando de Soto wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in the Los Angeles Times . De Soto is unquestionably one of the preeminent thinkers today, and his essay was a fine elucidation of what's really going on. The problem is, it is still a World perspective from a World operative. While I do admire de Soto and his work, there are still holes in his premise that only a Kingdom perspective can fill. If I may, de Soto's piece is in the smaller font, and my comments are in the larger following each paragraph. As a Peruvian educated by British and American teachers, I learned never to embark on a major task without first "doing the math." No more of that Latino "happy go lucky, trust your gut and say three Hail Marys" approach to life. What exactly is "the math"? Is it statistics, damn statistics, or the truth ? Math is fine and I know he's certainly making the point that things should be valued veritably , but why is it w

Modern American Tax Farming

In doing research for my next home page piece, I came across an interesting practice called "tax farming." When European kings needed funds for expensive military jaunts, they borrowed money from wealthy benefactors. Those "patrons" would be repaid by taxing everyone else and collecting a shade more for themselves. This may have been common throughout history, I don't know--Rome did the same kind of thing to get its revenues--this particular incidence I read about was in the 18th century. I thought about how much this resembles the way tax collection occurs today in the United States. Really, it is all just a nice pleasant institutionalized racket, not much different from the tax farming technique of centuries ago. Today the federal government requires $3.6 trillion (its latest budget figure) to fund its expensive enterprises. And really, it's all war. War against terrorism, war against poverty, war against bankruptcy, war against embarrassing inconsequence.