Thursday, March 20, 2014


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".

PB Shelley, "Ozymandias"

"Sustainability" is a platitude. But it can be useful platitude when it warns of broken accountability mechanisms. Fossil fuels aren't "sustainable" in a technological sense, but prices provide an adequate feedback mechanism to let consumers know when relative scarcity changes. Prices encourage people to develop alternatives. Feeble promises of Utopia lack such feedback mechanisms.

Truck, barter, and exchange is sustainable (when valuable information isn't throttled). Political kayfabe isn't.

"This too shall pass" means something different to euvoluntary exchange than it does to political coercion.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?