Friday, 23 June 2017

Logos as Pneuma in Theotokos' ear

That the Big Bang be but our Clay's Anaximenean belch
Pray our Economy's Strato, such Ecclesia yet felch
That Logos as Pneuma in Theotokos' ear
Protrude a turd from Plato's rear


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Loan waivers keep people poor

Hori Lal is 70. He cultivates one acre of potatoes assisted by his three sons, their wives, and ten grandchildren. He took a loan of a little more than a thousand dollars in 2015.  According to calculations made by a Hindustan Times reporter, he loses about 300 dollars, not counting his family's own labour, each season. This, assumes that he has a good harvest and manages to sell it all at the high Government support price. In the past, there have been years when Hori Lal got nothing.

Why does Hori Lal cultivate potatoes when he knows he will lose money? He says 'What else can we do? This is what my family has always done. This is all we know. At least, it gets us some vegetables for the home.” Lal says sending his sons out to work is not a solution: they were unskilled and would get Rs 250 ($4) as labour charges for a day, which they could get in the village too. “At least we are together.”

. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

Should we believe Hori Lal is telling the truth? No. Of course not. Nobody can be that stupid. He must be borrowing as much money from the Government as he can, promising to grow an unprofitable crop, because he knows he won't have to pay it back. In his position, we would do the same.

Any elected Government is going to want to keep Hori Lal and his family on their acre and a half of land at the price of regular loan waivers. His family probably has ten voters at the moment and that number will only go up.  So writing off a thousand dollars of debt every couple of years is a pretty economical way of buying votes.

There is a twist to this story. It has to do with minimum support prices. People like Hori Lal do actually grow potatoes, not because they are dependent on selling them to cover their living expenses- they do that by availing of other Government schemes and also labouring for contractors- but because it can be an enticing speculation- potatoes can suddenly spike in price yielding them a windfall. However, this can only happen if there is no minimum support price and thus 'cowbeb' like price volatility. Notice that it is speculative behaviour, not adaptive expectations, which enables this volatility. Yet this speculation is of a peculiar sort- punters seem to be betting on the stupidity of their own class- Hori Lal's labour in his potato field is the moral equivalent of the West's urban poor spending a portion of their dole on scratchcards.
This is an example of Muth Rational Expectations creating a repugnant type of negative sum stochastic game absent moral viciousness. But why? There can be only one explanation. Hori Lal and his ilk are doing something extraordinarily eusocial. They are sacrificing a portion of their own number so at least a few can climb out of their common poverty trap over the corpses of their fellows. Needless to say, that trap was not dug by them but for them by bien pensant elites.

In this case, marginal producers like Hori Lal are squeezed out by support prices intended to shore up their miserable standard of living. The contract farmers benefit, agribusiness benefits, corporate supply chains are protected, everybody wins- except Hori Lal. Why? Well, his credit has been shot to pieces. Had he grown nothing on his land and sent his sons off to the City to work, he could have raised about 70,000 dollars on one acre, or more than 100,000 if he sold it outright. As things are, he is shut out of the relevant credit market.  This is a pity because a scarcely literate (and therefore trustworthy) yeoman who commands the labour power of three hard working sons and ten grandchildren should be able to raise 50,000 dollars with a low real interest rate 50 percent mortgage, and generate a gross contribution three times that in the far less inherently risky small scale tertiary sector.

This is a case where what is good for Hori Lal is also good for the Economy. He and his family- assuming they have the sort of work ethic common in the area- will be affluent in a decade and wealthy in two.  Instead of being a drain upon the exchequer, they will be paying more and more into it.

Why does the State not want this outcome for Hori Lal? The answer is that, at the moment, politicians giving Loan waivers believe they are purchasing votes cheaply. They dread the day when they have to deliver something more substantial. Since the Administration- from the 1890's onward- too dreads that day, both politicians and administrators have conspired to shut Hori Lal out of informationally efficient credit markets, preferring instead to corral them into an informationally inefficient, incentive incompatible, welfarist 'pooling equilibrium' such that the representative agent is forced to be either stupid or a liar or a particularly stupid liar. Indian Social Science is not similarly constrained but displays its empathy for the surd and subaltern masses by being nothing but a bunch of stupid lies.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Baby Jesus, Thou migrant born, under the Red Sun of doomed Krypton

I was so attentive a student in Catechism class
How did this cataclysm come to pass?
Baby Jesus, Thou migrant born
Under the Red Sun of doomed Krypton

Must those who, Thee in Me, yet surmise
Be galled to recall we were once the same size
& as the Selfish Giant of our Common Past
View me alone thus aghast?

I hid my heart's horcruxes in whom to hurt none need
I am that Goliath saved in David's seed
Who to ward myself, not a mutual wound bewail
Became the hammer of Thy every nail.



Envoi-

Peace's Prince! Eve's umbilical so tolerates torsion
Thy Iyer's birth is my Messiah's abortion. 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Ghalib's ghazal 126

My severed tongue had served to second hers berating my butchered heart as dross
In Hurt's howl, how assay the elegiac, or in Suicide, foul, Art as Loss?
That she heavier scowl, my head spins like an owl
Into fight's ring, flyte's towel to toss

To my despair divide, whomsoever I draw
So defamed for consuming it raw
 A tongue of fire, Grief must sire
 Or burn up Love in its craw!

Hearing the Heavens thunder over its natal heath
 Only the caged bird can attest
How, as forked as Fate's Lightning sheath
Longing obliterates its nest




See F.W. Pritchett's site for detailed commentary here.
kisī ko de ke dil koʾī navā-sanj-e fiġhāñ kyūñ ho
nah ho jab dil hī sīne meñ to phir muñh meñ zabāñ kyūñ ho

vuh apnī ḳhū nah chhoṛeñge ham apnī vaẓʿa kyūñ chhoṛeñ
subuk-sar ban ke kyā pūchheñ kih ham se sar-girāñ kyūñ ho

kiyā ġham-ḳhvārī ne rusvā lage āg is muḥabbat ko
nah lāve tāb jo ġham kī vuh merā rāz-dāñ kyūñ ho

qafas meñ mujh se rūdād-e chaman kahte nah ḍar hamdam
girī hai jis pah kal bijlī vuh merā āshiyāñ kyūñ ho


Friday, 16 June 2017

Grenfell Tower & Democracy's Inferno

The towering inferno in North Kensington which has so shocked this country was predicted almost exactly 6 months ago on the Grenfell Action Group's blog-

'It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders. We believe that the KCTMO are an evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia who have no business to be charged with the responsibility of looking after the every day management of large scale social housing estates and that their sordid collusion with the RBKC Council is a recipe for a future major disaster.'

What is the KCTMO?
An evil Corporation, right?
Probably owned by a shady oligarch through a series of shell companies in the Caribbean.

Even if this 'mini-mafia' is convicted of 'corporate manslaughter' in the Courts, only James Bond will be able to penetrate the oligarch's secret lair atop some Swiss mountain, or deep inside a Japanese volcano, in order to deal out summary Justice.
But, it turns out, KCTMO aint some heartless Corporate behemoth.
The truth is stranger than fiction.

According to its website- 'In the early 1990s, the tenants and leaseholders of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea decided to pursue their legal right to manage their own homes. Following two separate ballots in 1994 and 1995, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) was established on 1 April 1996 and the responsibility for managing 9,760 properties passed from The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to the Tenant Management Organisation.

In 2002 KCTMO took over the responsibility for major capital works from the Council to access extra resources and funding to enable KCTMO to bring the properties up to the Decent Homes Standard.

In other words, because a Labour Govt. refused to give money to elected Local Councils to spend on repairs, KCTMO, being an 'arms-length' organisation was able to use public funds to meet the Government's new energy efficiency target by installing external cladding which appears to have been highly flammable. Prior to 1986, the Law prevented them from doing anything so silly. External walls had to offer at least one hour's fire resistance. Then, under Mrs. Thatcher, this stipulation was dropped. External walls could be combustible but ought not- as happened here- contribute to flammability.

It has been suggested in the newspapers that they could have used a superior type of cladding for just a few thousand pounds more. No doubt, they'd have done so had the Residents wanted a change to the exterior- in which case they are scarcely likely to have sacrificed fire security for aesthetics when an extra spend of Five thousand pounds was all that was required. The truth is the Residents weren't initiating these renovations. KCTMO was only complying with the Blair Govt's target because public funds were available to do so and the Borough Council wanted to prettify this eyesore. The alternative was knocking the place down.

It is noteworthy that the residents don't appear to have fought hard for a sprinkler system- which might have cost a couple of hundred thousand pounds and added to the disruption caused by other up-grading work. With hindsight, this was a bad decision but, to be fair, the residents are mainly working people or retirees who are just managing to get by.
Thus, on the face of it, this is an example of poor people being economically constrained in the exercise of democratic control.
After all, their building sounds as if is run democratically.
KCTMO is managed by a Board of Directors comprising of eight elected tenant and leaseholder members, four appointed Councillor members and three independent appointed other members.

KCTMO is a company limited by guarantee with members whose main residence is in Council owned or leasehold accommodation. There are currently over 4,500 members of KCTMO, and we actively encourage residents to become members. If you are interested in becoming a member, please visit the KCTMO Membership section of this website.

The Board meets on a regular basis to monitor how well KCTMO is doing, agree plans for the future and decide on policies. Board members are also involved in committees, sub-committees, working groups and panels. Board members are elected for three years. They are not paid for their work and are not allowed to do paid professional work for KCTMO.

A Chief Executive, appointed by the Board, has overall responsibility for the successful operation of KCTMO, and for ensuring that the Board's decisions and policies are carried out.

At the time of the transfer of management responsibility to KCTMO, approximately 18% of the properties had been sold on long leases. Many of these had been bought under the Right to Buy legislation, first introduced in 1980, although for many years before the Royal Borough had been using its discretionary powers to sell property to its existing tenants. Many residents who purchased under the Right to Buy legislation have since sold on their properties and a large number of our leases are held by residents who have bought on the open market. These residents continue to be subject to the terms of the original lease.


What could be more democratic and decent than an organisation set up by residents to manage the properties they themselves live in?

A year ago, if anyone had drawn my attention to the Grenfell Action Group's blog, I'd have dismissed it as the work of a crank- perhaps someone who had lost an election to the Management Board or else someone with an eccentric or extremist political agenda. After all, KCTMO is a democratic set-up. Democracy is always a good thing- right?
Wrong.
The Grenfell Action Group explains why- 'Unfortunately, the Grenfell Action Group have reached the conclusion that only an incident that results in serious loss of life of KCTMO residents will allow the external scrutiny to occur that will shine a light on the practices that characterise the malign governance of this non-functioning organisation. We believe that the KCTMO have ensured their ongoing survival by the use of proxy votes at their Annual General Meeting that see them returned with a mandate of 98% in favour of the continuation of their inept and highly dangerous management of our homes. It is no coincidence that the 98% is the same figure that is returned by the infamous Kim Jong-un of North Korea who claims mass popularity while reputedly enslaving the general population and starving the majority of his people to death.

'It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block or similar high density residential property is the most likely reason that those who wield power at the KCTMO will be found out and brought to justice! The Grenfell Action Group believe that the KCTMO narrowly averted a major fire disaster at Grenfell Tower in 2013 when residents experienced a period of terrifying power surges that were subsequently found to have been caused by faulty wiring. We believe that our attempts to highlight the seriousness of this event were covered up by the KCTMO with the help of the RBKC Scrutiny Committee who refused to investigate the legitimate concerns of tenants and leaseholders.'


Why did Grenfell Tower Residents not use their voting power to effect change?
My guess is that many of them were sub-leasing and thus could not register to vote.
The original tenant's proxy vote remained with KCTMO who thus had less incentive to check this reflected actual occupation.
No doubt, there is a class angle to this as well. Those Council tenants who could exercise their right to buy probably sold up and took a windfall profit. Subsequent owners probably found it more remunerative to rent out units in decrepit high-rise buildings rather than live their themselves. Their proxy votes might well support an organisation which cuts corners when it comes to poorer people while delivering a good and cost effective service to better off members living in salubrious areas.

Reading the Grenfell Tower Action Group's blog shows that Local Councillors tend to be responsive to resident's concerns. However, they are a minority on the Board. Thus, though the normal Democratic check, via the intervention of elected local politicians, is in place, it has in fact been diluted- and, it may be, defeated- by the appearance of something more Democratic yet- vz. the fact that elected Residents formed the majority on the Board.

The Grenfell Towering Inferno has become a symbol of the failure of what appear to be Democratic Social Choice Mechanisms across the breadth of the land. Even the Daily Mail's front page is carrying stories trashing Conservatives- like the former Head of the Council who says the residents didn't want the disruption associated with putting in sprinklers, or Boris Johnson who, as Mayor, told a Labour colleague to 'get stuffed' when tackled over his swingeing cuts to the Fire Services. Amazingly, the Daily Mail appears to be praising Jeremy Corbyn for suggesting that the empty apartments of the ultra-rich in the Borough should be seized to re-house the victims. Theresa May, on the other hand, is disparaged for her cowardly refusal to meet the aggrieved local people. Grenfell is being called her Katrina movement. More than her political future is now in doubt. Even the Telegraph has a picture of Corbyn comforting a grieving young woman. His claim regarding the 'North South' divide in the Royal Borough is, rightly, being treated as a call, even by the die-hard Tory press, for root and branch reform within the party. Sadiq Khan, London's Mayor, is taking a beating for having been lukewarm to Corbyn. 

Emma Dent Coad, the new M.P for the area- elected with a margin of just 20 votes- sums up the anger we are all feeling. She claims that the work done on the Grenfell Tower- which turned it into a fire-trap- was a purely 'aesthetic re-fit' which the residents neither wanted nor benefited by. The Council's sole concern was to improve the optics of the area so as to attract yet more speculative development from which nobody really benefits.

Something similar happened to democratic politics when image won out over substance. There was a purely 'aesthetic re-fit' which ended up making the whole structure more flammable.


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

zamin bhukh

Qazi, tho' upon thy shrunken shoulder, again & too briefly rests
The bier of thy son, the martyr, sole, our noble insurrection attests
A burden more unbearable yet is zamin bhukh- Love's love of Land
Which buries all no matter what the nonsense for which they stand.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Bacholan & Qarin.

When the grandmother, who brought you up, went to her eldest son's to die
You accepted the first  match the bacholan brought
Was it your qarin uttered qubool to the N.R.I?
Or was Bilayat your ziyarat to her burial plot?

Today, I wanted to say, trusting to a bacholan of another sort
To the girl crying in the Royal Marsden parking lot
That bit of Britain between the two of you en-stitched
Has, for us all, Jannath enriched.

Envoi- 
Prince! Twixt the heart's insurrection & Islam's shaking fist
Tears are the shrapnel of thy true Terrorist

Friday, 9 June 2017

Black Rod & the Well Hung Parliament

Internet Rule 34- 'if it exists, there is a porn version of it'-  has been reversed this morning.
Political pundits across the breadth of the land are writing versions of- 'Black Rod & the Well Hung Parliament'- a Soho classic of my adolescence. 

For the benefit of readers who attended a less depraved educational institution than the London School of Economics and Political Science, I should explain that Black Rod summons the Commons to hear the Queen's speech. If there is a well hung Parliament, there's a good chance that there will be no Queen's speech and so Black Rod will look a right dick.

What complicates matters is that Theresa May, like her predecessor, David Cameron almost exactly a year ago today, went to the country with high hopes of attaining supremacy within the Tory Party only to find that she had cut her own throat. Cameron yielded power to the Brexiters- previously a minor if very vocal irritant. May, more disastrously yet, has delivered up the Nation to a bunch of homophobic Ulstermen. 

May has a 'confidence & supply' agreement with the Unionists and so can pass money bills and survive confidence votes. However, her legislative program will have to be drastically curtailed otherwise there will be no Queen's Speech and Black Rod, denied legitimate employment, will take to the streets knocking on the doors of all and sundry. 

Theresa May has certainly given us a lot to think about- specifically this

Friday, 2 June 2017

Borges & Godse

A young Indian Professor, with the delightfully euphonious name of Manash Firaq Bhatacharjee, has suggested that Gandhi's assassin, Nathuram Godse, is somehow prefigured by the Nazi narrator of Borges's Deutsches Requiem.

Manash writes-
'The character of a German fascist in Borges’s work shares uncanny similarities with Nathuram Godse – both consider acts of bloodshed more honourable than inconsequential acts of apostolic service.'
On the face of it, this is bad 'Babu' English. We all understand that Fascists will resemble each other because they are Fascists. Ultra-Nationalist Assassins will resemble Ultra-nationalist Commandants of Extermination Camps because they share a belief in the political efficacy of murder. The resemblance between them is natural and genetic. It is not uncanny at all.

 There can only be an 'uncanny similarity' between things or persons fundamentally different in kind. One can say there is an uncanny similarity between a Fascist Concentration Camp Commandant and Mother Theresa because the humble Saint is of radically different kind from the Nazi beast. However, one couldn't say this of Borges's wholly made-up Nazi because, clearly, his life-narrative is based on that of Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, who was similarly, if ingloriously, wounded in his sex.

Is Manash just a bad writer? Or is the fact that he teaches at Ambedkar University a clue to what he is really saying. Like Godse, Ambedkar thought India was better off without the Mahatma. Amebdkar wrote to the lady who would later become his wife (but who, because she belonged to the Bhramin caste, was ostracised by his heirs) in the following terms- ' "My own view is that great men are of great service to their country, but they are also at certain times a great hindrance to the progress of the country. Mr Gandhi had become a positive danger to this country. He had choked all the thoughts. He was holding together the Congress which is a combination of all the bad and self-seeking elements in society who agreed on no social or moral principle governing the life of society except the one of praising and flattering Mr Gandhi. Such a body is unfit to govern a country. As the Bible says that sometimes good cometh out of evil, so also I think good will come out of the death of Mr Gandhi. It will release people from bondage to supermen, it will make them think for themselves and compel them to stand on their own merits.'
As a matter of fact, Ambedkar was wrong. Gandhi's slaying was particularly opportune for the Congress party. It was he who was sidelined during his life-time- though in recent years his stock has shot up while Gandhi's has greatly fallen.

Returning to Manash's article and before rushing to judgement let us look at the remainder of the sentence I quoted. Manash isn't saying 'Fascists think bloodshed is honourable- no matter whose throats they are slitting'. Rather, that Fascists consider consequential bloodshed more honourable than some inconsequential action of a particular description ('Apostolic Service') which we will examine in a moment.

Since Godse killed Gandhi without regard to Dr. Ambedkar's wishes in this respect, perhaps Manash is saying  'Gandhi's actions were inconsequential. Thus killing him was utterly inconsequential and not honourable at all.  Godse killed Gandhi and then wrote some worthless self-exculpatory shite to justify himself before he was hanged. Thus Godse was like Borges's Linde, who only killed the 'good', obedient, Civic minded, Jews who queued up in orderly fashion to ascend the cattle trucks.  Indians think of Korczak's 'kinderplanet'- who breaks the law by getting his orphans to put on an 'Aryan' play- it is Tagore's 'The Post Office'- before yielding to the inevitable, albeit in a very different spirit to the corrupt and cowardly Rumkowski. 

Let us now turn to the term 'Apostolic Service' as used by Manash. What does it mean? I excerpt the following from an article in 'the American'-
An apostolic spirituality differs somewhat from a contemplative spirituality, whose central image in many cases is nuptial union between God and the person. The fundamental imperatives of the Christian vocation express themselves in both traditions. But apostolic spirituality views particular moments of prayer as means to enable the individual, as someone growing in intimacy with God, to serve the neighbor with more discernment and more fully. These differences of nuance between two traditions of spirituality bear witness to the Spirit’s action in the church, action which brings about a variety of gifts and charisms.

A famous story concerning Ignatius makes the point about apostolic spirituality. When told of a Jesuit much admired for his prayerfulness, Ignatius simply asked his interlocutor, “And how mortified is Father X?” By this he meant, how free is Father X from his false self, from disordered attachment to self, because only such freedom will allow him to be available to be sent to any part of the world at any time when service of the neighbor requires it.

In this little incident, we can find some of the principal features of an apostolic spirituality: prayers and “mortification” (taking measures, with God’s grace, to die to one’s false self) are instrumental, a means to something else. Love of the neighbor is where it all comes together, and freedom to be sent—freedom to be available to the neighbor in need—is the fundamental disposition of this spiritual path.


Inconsequential Apostolic Service, thus, appears to mean some self-mortification designed to show empathy for the suffering neighbour which however does not relieve that suffering at all. Gandhi pretended to be doing something for the victims of Partition- but it was just 'inconsequential Apostolic Service' or play-acting that is all. Godse too claimed to be acting for those same victims. Like Gandhi's Apostolic Service, his actions were wholly inconsequential- save in that some Brahmins in Pune got lynched and Savarkar's position as a loony-toons utterly beyond the pale was confirmed. Congress profited by Godse's actions and Gandhi's legend got a neat ending. The  political marginalisation of the RSS, too, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It acquired a sort of declasse respectability. In Gujerat, two old RSS chums- Shankarsinh Vaghela and Narendra Modi became Chief Ministers for different parties. Vaghela is still the Congress leader of the Opposition in Gujarat, while Modi is Prime Minister. Unlike the Youth cadres of other political parties, the RSS- which is supposedly apolitical- has a reputation for 'consequential' Apostolic Service. It is believed to actually do some good when it sends volunteers to the scene of a natural disaster. By contrast, back in the Thirties, the Gandhian Economist and Chartered Accountant, Kumarappa, refused to pay Gandhi's Ashramite for their services out of the Bihar Earthquake Relief Fund. Why? They were useless. Gandhi protested but in the end had to tap some other fund to pay his useless acolytes.
Nobody, nowadays, thinks Gandhian volunteers can do anything useful anymore than they think Mother Theresa's nuns aren't a sanctimonious money-pit. Every Gandhian or neo-Gandhian scheme- khaddar, basic education, bhoodan, fasting for a Lok Pal, etc- is now known to be 'inconsequential Apostolic Service' of a worthless type.  Still, it is better than assassinations or pogroms- which rebound quickly on the heads of their instigators.

Manash sees Borges as a Fascist himself. He writes- Jorge Luis Borges’s ideas on fascism are not much known or discussed.

He is rather infamous for his endorsement of General Pinochet’s Chilean regime. After travelling to Santiago in 1976 against good advice to receive a special honour, Borges praised Pinochet for saving freedom and order, “especially in an anarchy continent, a continent undermined by communism.” That act, it is believed, cost Borges the Nobel Prize. His discomfort with Soviet communism left him unimpressed by Salvador Allende. For Borges’s open dislike of his regime, Juan Perón appointed the writer “poultry inspector” at the ‘Buenos Aires Municipal Wholesale Market’. Borges refused the honour.


Borges was an old fashioned Conservative and saw Pinochet as a staunch anti-Communist embracing 'Chicago School' Free Market policies rather than the Corporatist populism of Juan Peron. On balance, this was a reasonable view. Allende had gone off the deep end. Even Chicago can't damage an economy or a polity as much as Chavismo- as Venezuela has learnt to its rue.
What was really troubling about Borges was his enthusiasm for Videla- whose despotic rule had no redeeming features- and his condemnation of Democracy- at least for his own country. Still, he was a bookish man who had lead a sheltered life. We can't judge too harshly the senility of a sage.

Returning to Manash's article, the following paraphrase is significant ' Linde discovered Nietzsche and Spengler in 1927, and upheld Spengler’s depiction of the Faustian characteristic as a soul yearning for pure and limitless space, against Goethe’s Faust, who was a disenchanted intellectual.'

Actually, Linde says Lucretius was more Faustian than Spengler's Goethe. Why? Lucretius has a purely Scientific theory of the World. Not God, but Fortuna- some stochastic process within Nature- dictates how things unfold in a manner which leaves scope for Free Will. This Epicurean atomism is not the slave of genetic determinism or some holistic Goethean archetype, rather it leaves scope for Nature itself to somersault. Thus, there may be some human project which overcomes the physical limits of the body. Heaven can be conquered, Time itself can be reversed. Christianity is the story of the son of a carpenter who becomes God and thus the incarnation prefigured by the Scripture he quotes. Brahm's German Requiem is, uniquely, a Mass for the living and suffused with 'Sehnsucht'- a type of yearning- which in Hegelian 'Protestant Grief' rises above reconciliation to the the finite.

Borges begins his story with a quotation from the Book of Job. Lovers of Ghalib may know that 'khagazi pairahan' in 'Naqsh-e-fariyadi'- i.e. the custom of appearing in court dressed in a paper document recording one's complaint- is a predicate of Job. He is the first figure in Universal Literature who says he will appear in Court dressed in his own petition.

Borges knew Al Arabi's concept of Barzakh from Miguel Asin Palacios. He was aware that by in investigating 'the limit' case of his own alterity- an erudite Nazi!- he was bound to come up against a Barzakh such as that at which Moses and Khizr encounter each other. What happens then is that mortality, or finitude, is imposed upon the one (kya kiya Khizr ne Sikandar se?) while the immortal wanders namelessly away.
De Lind also creates his 'limit' of his alterity in the poet David Jerusalem. He finds the latter's 'zahir' (which, we suspect, is actually his own) and forcing the other to think constantly of it, drives him to suicide. But this dissolving of the mirror means that De Lind ingests (or gains by 'ibbur') Jerusalem's characteristic quality as the poet of Happiness. This 'reverse Jesuit' correctly predicts that Europe will attain stability thanks to the brutal ethnic cleansing of German speaking people which was occurring at the time Borges wrote this story.

How does Borges's Gnostic parable relate to Godse- an intellectually unimpressive figure? The truth is, only Congress benefited from Gandhi's assassination. The RSS and Hindu Mahasabha would have lost elections anyway because they were no good at ethnic cleansing. The old 'bourgeois' parties, led by lawyers- rather than Doctors or School Teachers- were better at wielding the big stick and presiding blithely over mass killings and expropriations. After Gandhi's assassination, Brahmins in Pune got their comeuppance. Patel was quite content to use the RSS once he had shown them who was boss. It was the same story with Muslims. They were under no illusion that anybody at all, not Gandhi, not Nehru, had any special tenderness for them. Their job was to vote for Congress and keep their mouths shut.

Their political marginalisation of the RSS and Muslim parties meant, however, that their organisers and youth cadres were less noxious than the netas and youth cadre of other parties. Thus a respectable tailor may say 'my son goes to the Shaka'- even if the thug in question is actually a retainer of some local dynast- because this statement does not automatically mean 'my son is a rapist'.

Manash writes 'Linde and Godse uncannily share a similar language of rationalist violence and the territorial soul of the nation.' No. Linde is saying it doesn't matter whether Germans are ethnically cleansed by Slavs or it happens the other way around. Like Koestler's 'erudite Nazi', who justifies Hitler as uniting Europe so that its Economy can develop more rapidly, Linde's view is endorsed by History. Germany gained by having a smaller territory and taking back German speaking people to its East. Europe too gained by German willingness to act as the Economic nucleus for the Continent.

Manash is on safer ground when he says ' Both (Linde & Godse) consider acts of bloodshed more honourable than inconsequential acts of apostolic service.' The problem here is that the RSS has a reputation for consequential humanitarian work. Gandhi  has a reputation for folly or fraud masquerading as 'acts of apostolic service'.
Manash writes- 'For both (Linde & Godse) , the other is the disease, and the new resurgence of national spirit demands its elimination.' If this were true, neither would be interesting. Rather the monstrous aspect of both is the underlying theme of murder as a means to ingest the soul of the other. Godse was certainly useful, not to say Providential. But no one can cast him as Brutus to Ceasar. The man's mind was too mean. The same problem arises with linking this vulgar Erostratus to the Ephesian mystery of Borges's Linde. Cannibalism isn't Communion. It is the coprophagy of the shithead.

The curious thing about Manash's article is that he must have been aware that Gandhi often spoke of the ennobling effect of bearing arms and fighting- provided one did so in a dispassionate spirit rather than a desire for victory. Godse held no such view. He thought the Hindu majority should tyrannise over the Muslim minority- unless defeated in which case it should skulk or run away. In practice, that's what happened wherever it was incentive compatible for the land-hungry dominant group to dispossess the minority. It may be that some Religions are more aggressive than others. They still get a bloody nose and are chased away if it is profitable to do so. The RSS certainly appeared more aggressive than the Congress party. Its adherents wore khaki shorts and carried sticks. They were easily beaten to death by people wearing dhotis. There is a lesson here, as Gandhi was wont to say, which all who run can read. 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Ghalib 98- kal ke liye kar aaj nah khissat sharab mein

Stint not Tonight's Wine to provision a Vain Tomorrow
  Will not Heaven's Saqi vint Hope's vaster Sorrow?
Tho' we know not, alas!, how durée's disgrace came to pass
Did not Angels bow to what from Dust we yet Borrow?

Why does life begin to leave us at rhapsody's first breath?
The viol's catgut too imprisons Passion's endless death.
The fleet steed of life full gallop then attains
When no foot is in the stirrup, nor hand upon the reins

Though I need to but rise to coincide with my essence
Frozen to the marrow by alterity's delusive presence
Seeing witness and witnessed and witnessing are One
Amazement is the maze which, with us, is never done.

The Ocean encompasses every wave of Existence
Here is but the foam's vain bubble of Persistence
Bashfulness is delightful tho' it but blush at its own.
How many are more naked for veiled 'fore the Throne?

From self-adornment's torment ne'er at leisure
The eye is a Mirror veiled to its own pleasure
Presence, we know, is hidden by the nothing it hides
Who wakes from a dream, over a dream yet presides.

Ghalib, your cup companion has a different scent today
Only the Father of Dust pours Wine of this bouquet.


Transliteration extracted from Prof. Pritchett's 'Desertful of Roses' site which features a comprehensive commentary on each couplet. 
kal ke liye kar āj nah ḳhissat sharāb meñ
yih sū-e z̤an hai sāqī-e kauṡar ke bāb meñ

haiñ āj kyūñ żalīl kih kal tak nah thī pasand
gustāḳhī-e farishtah hamāre janāb meñ

jāñ kyūñ nikalne lagtī hai tan se dam-e samāʿ
gar vuh ṣadā samāʾī hai chang-o-rabāb meñ

rau meñ hai raḳhsh-e ʿumr kahāñ dekhiye thame
ne hāth bāg par hai nah pā hai rakāb meñ

utnā hī mujh ko apnī ḥaqīqat se buʿd hai
jitnā kih vahm-e ġhair se hūñ pech-o-tāb meñ

aṣl-e shuhūd-o-shāhid-o-mashhūd ek hai
ḥairāñ hūñ phir mushāhadah hai kis ḥisāb meñ

hai mushtamil namūd-e ṣuvar par vujūd-e baḥr
yāñ kyā dharā hai qat̤rah-o-mauj-o-ḥabāb meñ

sharm ik adā-e nāz hai apne hī se sahī
haiñ kitne be-ḥijāb kih yūñ haiñ ḥijāb meñ

ārāʾish-e jamāl se fāriġh nahīñ hanūz
pesh-e naz̤ar hai āʾinah dāʾim naqāb meñ

hai ġhaib-e ġhaib jis ko samajhte haiñ ham shuhūd
haiñ ḳhvāb meñ hanūz jo jāge haiñ ḳhvāb meñ

ġhālib nadīm-e dost se ātī hai bū-e dost
mashġhūl-e ḥaq hūñ bandagī-e bū-turāb meñ

Monday, 29 May 2017

Rta, Vrta & Coase's Moses

For Rta is to Vrta as Coase is to Moses
Commandments no Khizr supposes
Only in Bhishma is all Niti
& Krishna this Riti.


 Ṛta (Sanskrit ऋतम् ṛtaṃ "that which is properly/excellently joined; order, rule; truth") is the principle of natural order which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it.[1] 

Vrta (Sanskrit: व्रत) means "vow, resolve, devotion",[1] and refers to the practice of austerity- e.g. a vow to keep a fast on a particular day of the week.Derived from the root ‘vr’ ("will, rule, restrain, conduct, choose, select"), the word is found over 200 times in the Rigveda.[1][8]  Every man's vocation, as in hymn 9.112.1 of the Rigveda, is called his Vrata. Thus, whatever profession one is devoted to, resolves to do his best in, is deemed Vrata in the Vedic literature.[9]The act of sacrifice, in another context such as in hymn 1.93.8 of the Rigveda, is also called a Vrata.[9]

Rta is naturalistic, objective and discoverable by contemplative darshan (theoria). Vrta is an individualistic, subjective and subject to an experiential 'costly signal' type test (pariksha). Essentially a person keeping an eusebic vow which involves a 'Zahavi handicap' or 'costly signal' (i.e. reduces fitness) is 'willing' Rta and gains a Transferable Utility (which may be wholly ontologically dysphoric) as a result. In the Mahabharat (henceforth MBH) the harsh Vrtas of Seers cause them to gain Merit sufficient to alter Dharma as the Human reflection of Rta. Thus, they can make co-operative games conformable with Rta and, by granting boons or pronouncing curses, also generate initial heterogeneity in endowment of this Transferable Utility.
A 'Stationary Bandit'- i.e. King- can, by a vrata, or self denying ordinance, become focal for Tiebout sorting- as happens in the MBH where the Just King, who hasn't yet learned Game Theory, because he binds himself by vows, becomes focal for a sort of Tiebout sorting such that his new Capital is far in advance of that of his envious cousin who retains the ancestral patrimony.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Why the Law isn't perverse save by Professorial actio libera in causa

Leo Katz wrote a book called 'Why the Law is so perverse' and Peter Huang has an excellent review of it from which I will quote. Incidentally Huang consulted Arrow & Chichilnisky as well as Law Professors like Pierre Schlag- a great debunker of Chicago Transaction Costs Analysis- and Max Stearns.


Katz highlights 4 'perverse' aspects of the Law. Yet each is necessary for the existence of a Legal regime.

1) Why does law prohibit certain win-win transactions? If at least one, non-repugnant, Pareto optimal transaction is not prohibited then the Law is not autonomous. A win-win situation would be to abolish the rule of Law and substitute for it whatever always yields the same result more economically. If the Law does not prohibit its own abolition, there would be no Law- perverse or otherwise.
Moreover, if a Legal regime does not incorporate at least one 'costly signal' (in this case, the chance that at least one 'win-win' transaction will be denied to those who agree to be bound by its decisions) then there is no 'separating equilibrium' and thus Law is purely Austin 'Command' - and thus effectually an executive function. It lacks a defeasible ethos and can't burgeon on a bilateral basis.

Thus, both for 'supply' and 'demand' reasons, the Law is rational, not perverse, to have this feature.

2) Why are there so many loopholes in the law? A Loophole is an example of less than universal access or coverage.  If a Legal regime has a procedural monopoly it will practice service-provision discrimination- i.e. feature gaps in coverage or access- just like any other 'natural monopoly'. Even under imperfect competition- e.g. where jurisdiction shopping is permissible- we will expect to see service-provision discrimination and 'product differentiation' of the type noticed above.

3) Why does so much of law have a dichotomous nature? If it didn't, its scope would be restricted to univocal transactions such that no quid juris /quid facti type problem would arise. But in this case, it would lose salience and be replaced by something capable of wrestling with this demarcation dilemma.
Huang tells us, Katz takes a different approach to explaining 'why so much of the law has a dichotomous nature. The famous mathematical economist Graciela Chichilnisky introduced the condition of continuity on preference aggregation and in so doing, pioneered a field that has come to be known as topological social choice because of its use of the mathematical field known as topology that studies continuity in abstract settings. Chichilnisky offers two intuitive rationales to motivate the naturalness of her axiom that desirable voting rules be continuous. First, a desirable voting rule should produce an outcome that is tolerant of small errors in measuring the preferences of individual voters. Second, a desirable voting rule should satisfy structural stability in the sense that small changes in the preferences of individual voters should lead to small changes in the social preference that voting rule produces. The discontinuity of a voting rule means that for some small changes in the preferences of individual voters, that voting rule produces large changes in the resulting social preference.'
The problem here is that no rational voter would desire, or vote for, using up scarce resources to implement a 'desirable voting rule' of any description- more particularly Chichilnisky's.
 Chichilnisky postulates that a society will and should avoid voting rules that can generate catastrophic jumps in the resulting social preferences
This can be done by avoiding voting rules altogether and in fact that's exactly what happens except on issues where it is in everybody's interest to have dramatic saltation events with respect to focal solutions to coordination problems.
Most things in life are neither 'justiciable' nor political. Those things which are either one or the other involve situations where a small, even incremental, change in the information set drastically alters collective decisions because a boundary has been crossed. Where this happens, a strong signal must be sent and if it appears 'catastrophic' so much the better. 'Respected Doctor jailed for kissing his kids goodnight' sounds dramatic. It makes for an arresting headline. However when we read that the Doctor incrementally changed the locus of his kiss from the middle of the cheek till it was upon the lips of the child we feel it important that the fellow be made an example of.
Similarly, in 1938, everybody knew Hitler was a nasty man who was gobbling up Czechoslovakia but only a minority wanted to go to war with Germany. Within a year, that had changed decisively though Hitler was only acting incrementally.
In my second year of graduate school, I submitted to the Western Economic Association International annual conference a paper that applied Rene Thom’s catastrophe theory to analyze discontinuities in social choice. 
These discontinuities are a feature of choice as opposed to unconscious processes. Their absence, not presence, would be evidence that Social Choice in the polity was dysfunctional.
 Katz explains that Chichilnisky’s impossibility theorem has a profound implication for the credibility of law and, correspondingly, the foundations of justice in a society . He uses the phrase “sharp boundaries” to refer to the discontinuities that are the subjects of Chichilnisky’s impossibility theorems. And he observes that in the typical situation where the law generates only one of a pair of two possible outcomes, Chichilnisky’s theorem implies that two very similar legal cases may produce very different legal outcomes. For example, in the criminal law context, there can be two defendants who are so alike that most people are unable to distinguish between their cases and yet a court may find one defendant guilty and the other defendant not guilty. The possibility that comparable legal cases may result in such drastically different and even diametrically opposed outcomes makes the legal process appear to be arbitrary, capricious and unjust. Such legal discontinuities can jeopardize the rule of law by leading the public to question the authority, fairness and legitimacy of law.
Error, negligence or corruption do jeopardize the rule of law in the manner stated. However, ordinary people readily understand both the notion that 'Hard Cases make bad law' on the one hand as well as the notion that sometimes a signal has to be sent by what appears to be a violation of natural justice.

4) Why does the law not criminalize all that society morally condemns? Society has well known Preference Revelation and Falsification problems. In any case, the Law needs to guard its autonomy or risk being hijacked by an Ecclesia.

Huang writes- 'Katz proposes in the second part of his book that exploiters of loopholes introduce a seemingly irrelevant alternative precisely to cause a preference reversal between a pair of relevant alternatives. He draws the analogy between exploitation of loopholes and manipulation of voting rules, arguing that loopholes are the logically unavoidable consequence of law involving multiple criteria decision-making. In other words, because the law strives to balance partly conflicting objectives, society cannot eliminate the presence of loopholes. As he observes on page 211, it follows from the seminal result of social choice—Arrow’s impossibility theorem—that society cannot eradicate agenda manipulation in otherwise desirable voting procedures.'

This is nonsense. An individual's preferences arise in the context of multiple criteria decision making. Rationality, since at least the time of Socrates, has been defined as seeking to make one's preferences consistent with some more or less conflicting set of meta-preferences. Judicious reasoning about personal decisions is actually the sine qua non for judicial reasoning within a Legal regime. In Capitalist Societies, this consists of applying the standard of the reasonable man, though diminished responsibility might be a defence. In Soviet Russia, greater weight was given to class origin as determining consciousness because 'the reasonable man' was both subject to and the object of Dialectical Reason.
It is sufficient for us to re-define 'reasonable man' as 'Muth Rational' man- i.e. one who judges according to the correct theory- for problems of McKelvey 'dimensionality' or 'cyclicity' to disappear. Why? Well, whatever can be said of the individual must also be true of the aggregate because of the nature of Muth Rationality. No doubt there may be stupid people or those with antagonomic preferences but, if Chichilnisky's specification that preference diversity meet a Goldilocks condition of not being too little or too great- which is also the condition for the underlying subject to be effable- then the Condorcet Jury theorem has purchase. In other words, the Law can't be more perverse than the 'reasonable man'.

Huang says- 'Katz draws connections in the third part of his book between the usually binary nature of law and Chichilnisky’s impossibility theorems proving the prevalence of discontinuities in preference aggregation.'
Actually, what is salient in Chichilnisky's work is the notion of 'limited arbitrage' which only arises where there are 'gains from trade' and, in consequence, Law has a subject matter. If we further restrict our domain or enquiry to situations where 'reasonable man' type tests are salient- though the Social Choice space may feature 'holes', no great scandal arises for the Law because, once again,  no greater perversity can be ascribed to it than that which is the common lot of every Muth rational agent. Indeed, in so far as the Law is salient for co-ordination problems, 'perversity' is reduced by its actions.

Huang continues-  'Katz connects discontinuities in social choice with menu dependence by observing that drawing a sharp line between two polar endpoints of a continuum is only  necessary when considering how to rank some third intermediate alternative relative to each of the pair of endpoint alternatives . When society draws that somewhat arbitrary sharp line a discontinuity in the social ranking will result.' 
There is an obvious Hohfeldian objection we must make here. Either there is a way to 'factorise' alternatives so that they are independent or else they aren't alternatives at all but rather convey information as in the Monty Hall problem. 
Huang writes- 'Economists are trained to believe that a hallmark of rationality is transitivity of choice behavior. Conversely, economists view intransitivity of choice behavior as evidence of irrationality.'
Economists get some training in mathematics where transitivity is important. However, Economists are perfectly happy using 'representative agent' models or partial equilibrium models which have been shown to feature intransitivity and not just irrationality but downright stupidity.
Indeed, the market for Economic theories, robustly displays nothing but stupidity which is why the Econophysicists feeding off Big Data have already supplanted Economists in FinTech.
Social Choice theory is simply silly. No body would vote for a 'desirable voting rule'. The whole Academic Availability Cascade arises out of an assumption of intransitivity.
 Casual empiricism suggests that if you point out to people that their choices are intransitive, they usually will change their choices to avoid intransitivity. It would be interesting to use the methods of experimental philosophy to investigate people’s intuitions about loopholes, menu dependence and the desirability of transitivity of individual choice behavior.
No it wouldn't be interesting at all but just more Junk Social Choice. We already know about things like Cognitive Dissonance and Newcomb type problems and Hawthorne effects. Since we are time-bound creatures, we don't maximise utility but achieve something like aggregate 'regret minimization'. We do change our behaviour when someone tells us something or 'nudges' us because cognition is costly and 'crowd-sourced'. Economists, at one time, had an Aumann signalling function because they could defy Preference Falsification associated with 'Conventional Wisdom'. Since then, they have shat the bed too many times and, in any case, now publish worthless click-bait.

Huang says 'The phenomenon of menu dependence and its close relatives, cycles, loopholes and discontinuities, raise deep questions about what rationality means and should mean.'
This is nonsense. The people who raised these 'deep questions' were discovered to be shitheads because they gave the worst possible policy advice. Think of Amartya Sen, Kaushik Basu or, the academically less gifted, Varoufakis.

Menu dependence does not exist unless you are an academic closing your eyes very tight and wishing upon a shooting star that your worthless paper get published and cited by other worthless papers so that your career can develop yet more meretriciously.

The examples Huang quotes are risible.
Take the case of a kid who won't eat his peas though his Mum pleads with him to do so. Later, he accepts money from his Gran to eat peas. This causes his Mum to force him to eat peas without paying him as a 'costly signal' of his love for her.
There is no 'menu dependence' or cyclicity here at all. Eating peas now has a signalling function- viz. to demonstrate love, or fear- which it did not previously have.

Amartya Sen has a story about a guest who chooses the smaller of two pieces of cake. The host now offers a third much larger piece. The guest now switches to the medium sized piece of cake. Why? Her information set has changed and so her choice which was 'take the second largest piece' has changed in a consistent manner.

Discontinuity in either individual or social ranking suggests that there is an arbitrage opportunity involving a dis-coordination game. Economists now see this as necessary for dynamic efficiency. But, Equitable Jurisprudence has had the same view since the time of Aristotle. There is no great scandal here.

'In the fourth part of his book (206-08), Katz relates how menu dependence can explain under-criminalization. It should not be surprising that how society and criminal codes rank a pair of alternative blameworthy acts can depend on whether and which other blameworthy acts are also being ranked. He analyzes non-felonious villainies which entail acts of misconduct that do not appear to be so immoral when viewed in light of the whole spectrum of all possible wrongdoing and yet will seem quite immoral when compared to a particularly innocuous offense.'
Where labour has a non zero marginal product or the cost of punitive justice is high, we are bound to see under-criminalization. Thus the Iraqi bogus refugee who raped a kid in a swimming pool because of 'a sexual emergency' has been released after a couple of years in prison- presumably to be deported. It is costly to lock him up. On the other hand, chopping off his head is cheap, so jurisdictions which go in for that sort of thing would have disposed off his case in that manner unless, of course, he had money enough to buy his freedom.

'Katz 'also provides details about how menu dependence is the root cause of these four specific examples of loopholes: contrived defenses, obtaining political asylum by subterfuge, asset protection and tax shelters (109-18). ' This can't be true.  An arbitrary Tribunal excused from having to act consistently or to publish ratios in each case might arrive at the same conclusions. Indeed, if loopholes arise by reason of discontinuities then arbitrage opportunities exist such that novel combinations of 'factorised' rights are created- these can have the feature of a Parrando Game which permit a sort of Agency Capture by reason of bilateral rent seeking.

It is the essence of ergodic Economics- as opposed to clickbait articles- that both commodity and preference space are infinitely factorizable and re-constitutable.  'Menu dependence' can't arise because opportunity cost is a global concept. All that matters is the information set. To argue otherwise is itself a wilful blindness or actio libera in causa.


Which is not to say that Spam Jurisprudence, like Junk Social Choice theory, we oughtn't to have always with us because Professors are assholes too and assholes gotta do what assholes gotta do

The marriage between Law & Economics helped securitize their joint student debt which was then sold to the stupid ordoliberal Krauts who wrongly believed that both couldn't be as utterly bankrupt as Trump University. Sad.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Could F.D.R have prevented Partition?

Roosevelt sent Louis Johnson to India to get the Indian National Congress on side in the war against the Axis powers. The Indians wanted a say in Defence matters but Churchill was adamantly opposed to this. Strangely enough Johnson came up with a formula- one in which an Indian was put in charge of 'Defence'- i.e. mobilising resources for hostilities- while the Brits retained tactical and strategic command of the War effort- which the Indians were prepared to accept and to which Cripps, the British negotiator, was personally inclined.

However, the next day, Churchill signalled his displeasure at Johnson's actions to Harry Hopkins, FDR's representative in London. Hopkins disowned Johnson. Cripps was told to reject his formula. This meant that the Congress party was frozen out of the war effort. The Muslim League and the Communist party gained in legitimacy. Partition became inevitable. Why? Because FDR chose Hopkins over Johnson. Churchill reinforced FDR's decision, or indecision, in this respect by painting a picture of the 'loyal' Muslims of the Punjab, who were stupid soldiers, as against the seditious Hindus who were wily attorneys but arrant cowards. Churchill falsely claimed that the Muslim Punjabi was the bedrock of the Indian Army and had to be placated. Later, Wavell painted a picture of the Hindu majority provinces as on the brink of a grass roots Revolution and suggested the evacuation of the White population through the Muslim provinces of what would become West Pakistan. Since the Muslim Punjabi would need money and guns to keep the Afghan at bay- and since Partition would cut off monetary help from the rest of the sub-continent, Pakistan would need American help- as indeed transpired. Moreover, its Islamic identity, albeit maintained by subventions from the West, would make it useful in opening a back channel to the resource rich and strategically located Muslim countries to its West.

Thus FDR, by failing to back Johnson at the crucial moment, decided the future course of American policy in the region.


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Godel's God, Cantor's Paradise & Arrow's Impossibility.

By 'Deliberative Reason' we commonly denote abstract dispassionate ratiocination, militating to consensus on judgements of a universal kind. Following Kant, there has been a tendency to see Deliberative Reason as categorical and univocal rather than context and protocol bound. Thus the 'artificial reason' of the Courts has been considered to be akin, or convergent to, the 'natural reason' of the Scientists.

If the a priori truths of Pure Reason can be arrived at by Deliberative Reason, then it is likely that purely metaphysical judgements are related to fundamental theorems in mathematical politics or social choice- like Arrow's Impossibility result which in the opinion of some Law Professors, like Max Stearns, has fundamental implications for Constitutional Law & Jurisprudence.

Recently, some media controversy has been generated by the fact that Judges are increasingly relying on Artificial Intelligences (A.Is) and that the possibility exists that A.Is could replace Judges altogether.

Meanwhile, A.I has scored its first big success in Metaphysics-  proving the inconsistency of Godel's ontological proof.

Godel relied on an axiom such that the set of 'positive properties' is an ultrafilter. However, as is well known, this causes problems of self-difference, i.e. something both being and not being itself,  or else endangers 'accessibility' and entails 'modal collapse' (i.e. turns every true statement into a necessarily true statement as if this were the only possible world.)

Arrow's Theorem- which, for some reason that escapes me, is not regarded as nonsense- as extended to the infinite case by Kirman & Sondermann, such that the Arrowian Social Welfare Function (ASWF) is shown to be a non-principal ultrafilter,  can come to the rescue of Godel's proof because it supports self-difference- an invisible dictator is both different and the same as a visible dictator- and, allowing 'constructibility' to be endogenous, permits a laissez passer into Cantor's Paradise without, however, having to chose sides re. the Continuum Hypothesis. Inter alia, this means the underlying proof sequence grows faster than any possible algorithmic verification of modal collapse.

This gives rise to my claims- If we accept Arrow's Impossibility theorem is true (as opposed to wrong or meaningless) then we must accept God exists.

Argument- Let the choice of axioms for this proof be the result of an Arrowvian Social Choice Function (ASWF) over all possible rational beings as conceived by a given agent or set of agents.
Let us define God as a possible rational being who could always be dictatorial but is not necessarily so.
If Arrow's Theorem is true, then (because possibly rational beings are infinite (for e.g. by cloning)) then (by Kirman/Sondermann) God exists, as an 'invisible' Arrowvian Dictator over some subset of Deliberative Reason's domain for all possible rational beings. If Deliberative Reason can have a self-consistent form, a proof that God exists must be accepted by all Rational beings.

(Depending on one's attitude to the Continuum Hypothesis (CH) more could be predicated of this 'God'. Godel disliked CH, and-currently- we don't really think of it as an open problem so much as opening doorways.)

If Deliberative Reason can have a consistent expression and features Arrow's Theorem impredicatively then it must affirm that God exists . To assert otherwise, for any bien pensant votary of  Arrow's theorem, is either a dictatorial claim, elevating oneself above 'Deliberative Reason', or else a claim to be a not possibly rational being (in which case you are not admissible for the ASWF) and thus beneath the scope of Deliberative Reason.

What do you think?

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Contra Dube & Harish, Queens are less good at both belligerence and baby-making than Kings.

Recently there have been a number of click-bait articles- and now even a Daily Mail piece- based on a Junk Social Science drive by regression utilizing weak and invalid instruments, claiming that Queens are more belligerent than Kings.

The conventional view was that Kings made War while Queens made babies.

In this post I will show that, for Europe between 1480- 1914

1) Kings made more Royal babies than Queens
2) Kings were more belligerent than Queens.

In other words, women were inferior both at making babies and making War.

Louis XIV said 'A King can only make a baby of the Royal Blood with the Queen'. According to this view, Kings can't make more Royal babies than Queens.

However, before his death, he himself raised 2 of his bastards into the Royal line of Succession. Charles XIII of Sweden went one step further. Without aid from any woman, at the advanced age of 60 he become the proud father of, first, a fat Danish Prince who promptly had a stroke and died, and then a French soldier of about 50 years of age. All this was done without the assistance of any women whatsoever. This shows that Kings made more Royal Babies than Queens over the period in question.  By contrast, Queens were vaginally constrained in this matter and, speaking generally, weren't able to legitimise bastards absent a complaisant Royal husband.
Thus, the stereotype of females as being necessary for making babies is shown to be mere Feminist propaganda, at least as far as European Royalty was concerned.

Secondly, Kings were more belligerent than Queens because only Kings have created their own Kingdoms and, almost invariably, have done so by purely military means. Napoleon created a lot of Kingdoms for his family and comrades in arms and about 4 million people died as a result. No woman has achieved anything remotely similar.

Sometimes a daughter or wife of a King proved more able than any man and managed to preserve the dynasty and expand its territories. However, such instances were rare and heralded no great change in the status of women. In other cases, where a woman was the sole legitimate heir, she might- if she survived the hazards of serial child-birth- enjoy greater longevity than a man would have done and this might correlate to what appears to be a more intensive involvement in belligerence. However, in this case, it is longevity, not any attitudinal or gender specific trait, which generates the result by means of an impact on the building up of State capacity- in particular, the ability to maintain long term alliances and honour treaty obligations.

Acharya & Lee have a paper arguing that, in medieval Europe, Kingdoms which had plenty of male heirs did better than those where such heirs were lacking and this had persistent hysteresis effects down to our own day.  One way to ensure plentiful male heirs is to increase gender dimorphism such that Queens concentrate on making babies and Social Conventions evolve such that Royal kids and women are immune from massacre. If male siblings co-operate, an even better outcome is feasible. Primogeniture with Religious sanction can help. Ottoman Turkey was weakened by the custom of killing or imprisoning the brothers of the Sultan on the legal principle of 'maslaha' (Public interest) because of Religious abhorrence of 'fitna' (Disorder) . By contrast, in Christian Europe, it was more commonly the case that the younger brothers of the Monarch were more Royalist than the King- and this sometimes created problems if they acceded to the throne.

Kingship can be sacerdotal in origin, but more commonly it arises out of military success`. War, proverbially, was the sport of Kings. Princes habitually dressed in military costume and, in extremis, took command of armies and hazarded all upon the outcome of battle. Queens, on the other hand, more especially under conditions of monogamy and primogeniture, were baby making machines. Their political value was a function of fertility not military prowess.

Sociobiology explains that male conquerors can have hundreds of babies and literally millions of descendants. Women- even Queens- can manage little more than a dozen kids. The pay-off, in terms of reproductive success, from conquest is far greater for the one than the other. Thus belligerence is a Kingly, not Queenly trait. On the other hand, being less tempted by conquest or the chance to hazard an existing domain in the hope of securing one more valuable, Queens may be more inclined to play the 'bourgeois strategy' and, it may be, this fact explains why females inherit in the absence of male siblings in some places and at some times but not others.

In the case of Europe, between 1500 and 1870- after which no Christian Queen truly ruled rather than reigned- two idiosyncratic factors are salient. Firstly, that the Balance of Power could be disrupted by dynastic marriages- as late as 1870 the Chancelleries of Europe worried over which Prince was marrying the Spanish Infanta, though, with hindsight, the whole thing was a chimera.

Royal Marriages were strategically important because of a peculiarity of Western Christendom- viz. insistence on monogamy and difficulties related to divorce in the event of the lack of a male heir (in the Eastern Church, divorce was permitted). This peculiarity was tied up to the role of the Church (which claimed to be the bride of Christ and thus insisted on monogamy without divorce) in legitimising secular power. After the Church split up, dynastic questions still had salience because of the Augsburg rule 'Cuius regio, eius religio  linking the religion of the monarch to that of the State. Ultimately, Nations asserted their right to chose monarchs of their liking and to constrain the monarch's actions.  However, this was an imperfect and sometimes dysfunctional process- more particularly in multi-ethnic polities or traditionally despotic ones like Tzarist Russia. Thus the great conflagration of 1914 had all the appearances of a struggle between crowned cousins though what was really of salience was ethnic cleansing and class warfare.
Ultimately, it became clear that Europeans couldn't be trusted to run their own continent and, in 1945, peace was restored by 2 new Guardians- one American, who still endures, the other predominantly but, alas!, not Asiatic enough, which consequently has fallen by the wayside.

A question we might ask is why some European polities, from the Fifteenth Century onward, adhered to the Salic Law- where no female could inherit the throne- while others did not. Before we do so, it would be well to point out that the Church's tables of consanguinity prevented an easy way to get round the Salic Law- viz. marry the female heir to the agnatic successor. However, the Church could be flexible. Thus, for example, the Pope was prepared to allow Henry VIII's bastard to marry his half-sister, Bloody Mary, and come to the throne that way.  Later on, the first undisputed Queen regnant of Portugal, Maria the Mad, who came to the throne in 1777, was married to her Dad's younger brother. Bu then the Church's ability to secure a rent by being flexible in this matter had declined in the same manner as its power to release vassals from their oath of obedience had previously disappeared.

Western Europe was peculiar in that Church and Crown had separate origins, legal codes, and motivating interests. Nevertheless, for a mobile 'warrior class', there was an advantage in something approaching 'matrilocality', mediated by a sacerdotal cadre. Here, the wives and daughters remain on the demense and extract resources from it with the assistance of the Clergy.  A mutuality of interest developed whereby the Church, which inherited disproportionately from women, had an interest in legitimising non agnatic inheritance.

The development of 'Civil Society' meant that a third branch of Law gained salience. This was linked to Parliament exercising a fiscal function conditional upon an increasing legislative role.

The Hapsburg 'pragmatic sanction' presents an interesting case where the last male heir disinherited his nieces in favour of his possible daughters. It is noteworthy that this succeeded because 'National' parliaments found it in their interest to affirm this departure from the dead hand of Salic Law. This marked the loss of salience of the 'Universal' Church and the growing importance of 'Nations'- as defined by Parliaments. Similarly, in 1717, the French parliament reversed the Sun King's edict raising two of his bastards into the line of succession of the French Crown- which would have had the effect of extinguishing what later became the Orleanist claim. The argument then made stressed the right of the French to choose their own King- thus anticipating the language of 1789.

Economic theory explains why 'transferable utility' is necessary so as to permit effective collective decision making under circumstances where authority is plural. Money is 'transferable utility'. So are women dowered with land. Indeed, assuming kin-selective altruism, and son preference for high status men and daughter preference for lower status men who can buy a high status husband, the course of Western European Social History is in line with what Economic theory would predict.

What Economic theory does not predict, because it is impossible, is that Queens will be more belligerent than Kings.

Yet, 2 American Professors- Dube & Harish- make this foolish claim in a much cited paper. 
The abstract reads-
'Are states led by women less prone to conflict than states led by men? We answer this question by examining the effect of female rule on war among European polities over the 15th-20th centuries. We utilize gender of the first born and presence of a female sibling among previous monarchs as instruments for queenly rule. We find that polities led by queens were more likely to engage in war than polities led by kings. Moreover, the tendency of queens to engage as aggressors varied by marital status. Among unmarried monarchs, queens were more likely to be attacked than kings. Among married monarchs, queens were more likely to participate as attackers than kings, and, more likely to fight alongside allies. These results are consistent with an account in which marriages strengthened queenly reigns because married queens were more likely to secure alliances and enlist their spouses to help them rule. Married kings, in contrast, were less inclined to utilize a similar division of labor. These asymmetries, which reflected prevailing gender norms, ultimately enabled queens to pursue more aggressive war policies.'

How do Dube & Harish achieve this result? Well, they exclude those parts of Europe which had few 'natural frontiers' or barriers against invasion and featured overlapping territorial claims- viz. France, Germany, the Balkans and so on- because, since bellicosity was geopolitically required, they had strict laws against female rulers or inheritance through the females, though, in the case of Poland (which Dube & Harish list as a 'non Queen polity') there actually was a Queen Regnant from 1575 to 1586.

Instead, Dube & Harish concentrate on peripheral parts of the continent, the Iberian peninsula, Britain, Sweden, Naples etc. This means their work is ab ovo worthless because it is not comparing like with like.
Moreover, their list of 'non Queen polities' is historically inaccurate-


Bourbonnais was Salic- except for a brief period of less than 20 years when Suzanne, the daughter of Anne of France, ruled the Duchy. After her death, the mother of the French King offered to marry her widower so as to get her hands on the Duchy. He refused on the grounds of her advanced age. Her son promptly stripped him of his titles and possessions. So much for Bourbonnais being a 'Queen Polity'.
But then Dube & Harish aren't sticklers for the truth. If Bourbonnais, a Duchy, which had Duchesses not Queens can count in their map why not Polities which did actually have Queen regnants?
Poland most definitely had a Queen- Anna the last of the Jagiellons- but it is coloured as non-Queen polity.
Maria Theresa became 'King' of Hungary and Croatia, and, by conquest, Queen of Bohemia. But still all these vast lands are coloured as 'non Queen polities'. She made her husband a co-ruler of these 2 Kingdoms and by a combination of force and bribery had him recognised as Holy Roman Emperor.

Another Austrian princess or superior ability was Maria Carolina of Naples. Once she gave birth to an heir, she was able to get the better of her father-in-law, the King of Spain, and promulgated a relatively progressive reign over which her dunce of a husband nominally presided.

Thus, the truth is, Queens have ruled the roost even in 'Salic' lands. France had Female Regents, like Anne of France- who was able to make Suzanne a Duchess in her own right- Catherine de Medici and Anne of Austria- that last notably less prone to aggression than either her husband or son.

A regnant Queen might not have any actual power if she were mad- like Maria the Mad of Portugal, or was under the thumb of her husband, like England's Mary II, or simple-minded and in thrall to a charismatic courtier, like Queen Anne, or a mere puppet for her maternal Uncles, like Lady Jane Grey, or else because the Crown itself conferred little tangible power, like Queen Anna of Poland, or Queen Victoria of England,  or because a religious or moral scruple militated against it and so some powerful prelate or confessor pulled all the actual strings.
Equally, a Queen by marriage might actually exercise all the functions of a regnant Queen either officially- as Regent, for an absent or incapacitated husband or minor son, nephew, or other heir- or else unofficially by reason of an uxorious husband content to leave power in the hands of a 'petticoat government'.
One unusual case is Empress Catherine of Russia- a servant girl of chequered past whom Peter the Great elevated to co-ruler status. After his death, she was able to rule on her own for a couple of years, with the support of the 'new men', before dying of natural causes. Her daughter, Elizabeth was able to usurp the throne some years later and, as such. can be considered the only woman to have gained the Crown entirely by her own initiative. The case of Catherine the Great is more complicated. She hated her husband but, as a foreigner, probably could not have pulled off a coup by herself. It is a matter of conjecture as to whether these Tzarinas were more or less bellicose than would have been the case if a Tzar had held the throne. Catherine's son and heir certainly wrote critically of an expansionist policy and initially suited his actions to his words after his succession; her husband too might plausibly be presented as a 'peacenik'. On the other hand, Peter III, like Paul I, had a fascination with the drill-ground and his odd views, extra-territorial interests, and propensity to hero-worship were such as were likely to involve expensive and quixotic campaigns abroad. Few doubt, on the other hand that Catherine had superior administrative skills, a more balanced character and sufficient diplomatic finesse to be an effectual international mediator.

Had Dube & Harish been serious about wishing to measure the effect of a Queen running things on the incidence of warfare they might start by picking the set of Queens (Q) considered by Historians to have had actually held power and then looking to see if there was any increase or decrease in incidence of Warfare (W) against the trend rate. The problem here is that we might want to distinguish between the effect of a King not wielding power and a Queen doing so. Suppose, in the absence or incapacity of a King, the norm is for a Regency Council to run things and that Queens in this case exercise no power even if they are regnant, then, it may be, there is one effect on W (War incidence). We need one instrumental variable to capture this effect which is about the increase or decrease in war resulting from not having a King running the show. If males, on average, turn into testosterone fuelled monsters once they get their tushy on a Throne, the 'no King' effect would yield a negative correlation with W.

Now suppose there is no Regency Council but, instead, a Queen runs things. We need a second, completely independent, instrumental variable to capture the effect that her gender has on W. Suppose warriors are prejudiced against females. They think a Queen running things is bound to be crap at defending her territory. Then, the 'Queen effect' would yield a positive correlation with W relating to more defensive wars.

 Taken together, these two instruments would ideally pick out every casus belli in W which directly relates to the Queen's gender. Since not all Queens or Kings are alike, what we are looking for is the average effect of having a Queen run things. The problem here is that if people have rational expectations, or, at the least, they learn from experience, then, very quickly- if we would find after running the best possible Econometric investigation that there is a zero Queen effect on W- there will in fact be a zero Queen effect on W because everybody will anticipate this outcome. However, because expectations are so important, the Q series couldn't have been independent of the W series and vice versa. What is happening here is rubbish Econometrics.

To their credit, Dube & Harish aren't even trying not to do rubbish Econometrics as opposed to click-bait Junk Social Science.

They choose the following 2 instruments
1) 'we utilize whether the first-born legitimate child of the previous monarch(s) was male as one of our instruments for whether a queen holds power.'
Consulting the table of instruments used by Dube & Harish we come in for a surprise. Empress Elizabeth of Russia is excluded from the list of Monarchs, though she usurped the throne, but is included as an instrument for Catherine the Great! Why? There was no blood relationship between them. Catherine threw her hubby in prison and took the throne. Why is she shown, by this instrument, to come to the throne as if she were a niece of Elizabeth?
It appears Dube & Harish inhabit an alternative Reality with its own History
Mary II of England is unusual in that her father was alive when her husband usurped the throne in their joint names. The reason he did so was because her father had just had a son. In other words, this is a case where a woman becomes Queen because her father has a son.
Pretty complicated right? How do Dube & Harish deal with her case? This is the table they give in the appendix-
I'm baffled. Where is Mary II? We can see her husband inheriting sole rule at her death. But what about her? Why treat her case as if it was routine? Moreover, by the Bill of Rights, the throne would have gone, not to Anne but to Anne's son had either William or Mary lived into his majority. In the event he died before William.  None of this explains why Mary features as 'instrument ruler 1 for her sister Anne. The truth is, had the 'Old Pretender' converted to the Protestant faith, he would have inherited from his aunt.
Dube & Harish supply this explanation
This makes things as clear as mud. I suspect there is some fraud at the bottom of it.

Consider the following snippet from their table of instruments regarding the Duchy of Lorraine-
Henry II tried to give the Duchy to his daughter who married the son of a guy who pressed his superior Salic right and got the Dukedom before consigning it to his son who hated poor Nicola and abandoned her and married again in defiance of the Church. He was chased out of his Duchy which he gave to his younger brother who gave it back after being chased out by the French within a few months. Charles V was the son of this brother. He was Duke in name only.   However, in Dube & Harish's fantasy world, Nicola is an instrument for his succession to a non-existent throne.  Charles IV did get restored for a few years  before being chased out again. By the time of his death, he had legitimated his own children. They would have got the Dukedom if it was worth getting. It wasn't. Charles V's loyal military service to the Austrians did however get his son the Duchy later on. This son had a son who gave up Lorraine to marry Maria Theresa.

I don't know if this playing fast and loose with instrumental variables is the result of fraud or just ignorance on the part of the authors. In either case, it invalidates their result.

A good instrument is one which correlates well with the explanatory variable (in this case, Q) but which is exogenous, i.e. independent, in respect to the 'error' term (i.e. explains nothing with respect to W).
Dube & Harish's instrument does not correlate with Q at all. It is far too weak. What matters under male preference (semi Salic) primogeniture is that no surviving male sibling exist for a Female to gain the throne in her own right. Gender of the first born is irrelevant.

In any case, 'First born legitimate child' is not well defined because Kings had the option to decide that an illegitimate child, regardless of birth order, was in fact legitimate and a legitimate child was in fact illegitimate. Henry VIII decided at one time that Henry Fitzroy was legitimate and that Mary was not because his marriage to her mother was invalid.
However this decision of Henry's had a hysteresis effect on W. So there is at least one case which shows that, methodologically speaking, this instrument must be discarded. Moreover, Kings who were not the 'first born legitimate male heir' have often fared badly. England's Charles I, James II; France's Charles X- there are numerous instances where the younger son is more Royalist than the King and his stiff necked ways bring down the dynasty.

Dube & Harish, however, are innocent of any notion of European history. More remarkably, they are also unfamiliar with any human society which has ever existed. They write-  'The lack of a first born male could spur war if it signals uncertainty in succession. Other monarchs may choose to attack the polity if they see that the first birth did not yield a male heir. If so, queens would inherit polities that are already participating in more wars, which would present an alternative path through which the instrument affects war participation.'  Wow! A King is either weak enough to be attacked now or he isn't. Typically, a King gets married in his twenties and starts having babies. If his first born isn't male, the fact will be known by his Thirties. Will anyone in their right mind attack a King when he is at his peak as a military commander? Suppose someone is foolish enough to moot the idea. He will get no support. Why? Because the fact that the first born is a girl does not mean all subsequent kids will be girls. What if the King has one daughter and is known not to be able have any more children? Does this create a problem? No. If the Kingdom follows Salic law, the Heir presumptive is easily identifiable. Sometimes this Heir will be married off to the daughter regardless of the tables of consanguinity. Alternatively, if the Kingdom is semi-Salic, the daughter can be married to a Prince of proven martial or diplomatic worth. In no case does the fact that a man's first child is female raise any suspicion in anybody's minds that he will never father a son.

 Dube & Harish may not know this but ordinary people do. By contrast, infertility of the monarch- by reason of constitution or lifestyle- could lead to predatory behaviour by foreign powers. Schleswig-Holstein followed Salic Law whereas Denmark was 'semi-Salic'.  When it became clear that the King could not father an heir, the Danes chose a Crown Prince who had a plausible claim to the Duchies so as to preserve the Personal Union. Previously, the legitimate heir to the Duchies had been bought off and had transferred his claim to the Danish Crown. However, his son revived it and, propelled by German Nationalism, and Prussia's desire to build the Kiel Canal through Duchy of Holstein territory, a War was fought on this issue.

This is a clear case where the childlessness of a King resulted in a predatory war. Thus, the infertility of a Monarch can be correlated with W. On Dube & Harish's account, 'First born is female, which we have seen is not correlated with Q, ' is in fact correlated with W. But, in that case, it is an invalid instrument because it is endogenous.

What about the notion that a country will be attacked the moment a Queen is put on the throne? Since War is costly, nobody in their right mind would put a Queen on the throne under these circumstances. If the stakeholders in the polity are not in their right mind, or if they hope to personally profit from a general catastrophe, then the polity will succumb to Darwinian forces. It will be eliminated. In this case, it was some problem in the polity, not the gender of the monarch, which is the causative factor.

Where few natural or ethno-cultural barriers to invasion exist, something like a Salian law or an elective Monarchy would be adaptive for the polity and we do find that Salic parts of Europe had this feature.

Dube & Harish aren't testing for what they say they are testing for. They are testing the proposition 'European polities between 1480-1918 lacked rational expectations and made crazy assumptions like thinking if a King's first baby was a girl this meant all his kids would be girls and so he should be attacked immediately.' Naturally they find that the proposition is false because it is one only they were stupid enough to suggest.

2) The other instrument used by Dube & Harish has to do whether the previous monarch had a sister. Typically, they show Lady Jane Grey as Elizabeth's sister though there was no relationship between them.  Elizabeth was Mary's sister but Mary has been put in as the first instrument as though she were actually her father. God alone knows if this is stupidity or fraud.

Consider the following explanation- 'Of course if the previous monarchs did not have any children, or the children died by the time of accession, or were too young to rule at the time of accession, then the throne could pass to a sibling of the monarch instead. If the previous monarchs had a sister then the throne could pass to her, as she would be given priority over more distantly related males. For example, Ulrika Eleanora became ruler of Sweden in 1718. She was preceded by her brother Charles XII, who never married or had children. In addition, all of their brothers had died by the time Charles’ reign drew to an end, leaving Ulrika as the heir. Since having a sister enhanced the chance of having a female accede, we also use whether the previous monarchs had a sister as a second instrument for having a queen in power.'
Dube & Harish are telling porkies. Ulrika was not the heir. Her elder sister's son,  Charles Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp, was the heir. Ulrika curried favour with the Swedish Parliament, with whom she had enjoyed good relations as Regent, by ending absolute monarchy and making the Crown elective. The reason she cheated her nephew out of his rights was because she was madly in love with her husband in whose favour she abdicated within a couple of years. She did not rule anything. She was a girl in love. Her brother- the famous Charles XII- loved fighting. She did not. Her husband was tolerated because he was weak and uninterested in politics. Sweden ceased to be a 'big power' in military terms thereafter. Her husband, an adulterer, had no power, though he transferred resources from his own patrimony to his new 'Kingdom.  Later the Swedes blundered into a War with Russia which they lost. Empress Elizabeth insisted that Ulrika's nephew's line be reinstated as her husband's successors- the poor chump had impoverished his patrimony in vain.

So much for Dube & Harish's second instrument. It clearly does not predict that a Queen will hold power because in the one instance they supply, the opposite happened. Ulrika lost power. The Crown lost power. There is no 'regnant Queen' here at all.

This is not Dube & Harish's view. They say 'However, the OLS estimates in Table 3 may be downward biased — for example, if the elite allowed queens to come to power more during times of stability, or prevented them from coming to power during times of war. In fact, even some reigning queens articulated the view that women should not govern if they had to lead armies into battle. This was the position of Ulrika Eleanora who asked that the Swedish Riksdag that her husband Frederick be made co-regent'. As we have seen, Ulrika was appointed Regent by her brother, an absolute monarch, who was away fighting. The Riksdag had no power to appoint anyone a co-Regent. After her brother's death, Ulrika claimed the Crown, to which she was elected after she ended Absolute Monarchy and inaugurated the 'Age of Liberty'. Since Swedish Law did not permit two people to rule, she abdicated in favour of her husband not because she was so stupid and ignorant as to think a Ruler had to 'lead armies into battle' but because she was in love.

Dube & Harish aren't historians. But they do have access to Wikipedia. This paper of theirs has been circulating since 2015. Why are they so careless and stupid? There is scarcely a single historical example they cite which does not rebound against their own argument.

They don't understand that Western Europe started off with 'limited monarchies' but moved in an absolutist direction before being pulled back again by Parliaments.

By the  middle of the nineteenth century, Queens generally reigned but did not rule.

They write- ' Prince Albert was Queen Victoria's most trusted advisor, and shaped her colonial policy and public relations image (Urbach 2014). In fact, Victoria was said to be most active as a ruler during Albert's lifetime.' Queen Victoria had no political power. Her Uncle was the last British monarch to appoint a Prime Minister against the will of Parliament. Victoria had no 'Colonial Policy'. Even Disraeli, who liked flattering her coz he was a great big Queen himself, never dreamt of accepting any suggestion of hers- e.g. permitting Indian Princes to enter the House of Lords.

Dube & Harish also mention Queen Dona Maria II of Portugal, a contemporary of Victoria, who was put in by the Liberal faction for the specific purpose of carrying forward a constitutional monarchy of the English type. Her husband, the Catholic son of an Uncle of Victoria's, was equally committed to Liberalism and later refused the Throne of Spain.  Neither was belligerent or autocratic. The dynasty itself ended in 1910 because it didn't really make much difference to anybody. By contrast, Maria the Mad is remembered favourably in Portugal and Brazil despite her horrible shrieking. Like Mad King George, she pursued true 'Raj Dharma'- the true duty of a King- viz. to bring Enlightenment to the Masses the only way Kings, or Professors of Economics, can do so- viz. by screaming incessantly and shitting themselves at all opportune moments.

Dube & Harish believe there is a 'division of labour' such that Queens get their hubbies to do useful work, whereas Kings just keep Queens barefoot and pregnant. Thus, Queens have more resources for war. This is idiotic. States simply do not face the sort of constraint that a middle class household does. If my wife forces me to take a job, sure, my family will be better off. If the Queen insists Prince Phillip get a job, Britain's prospects in War or Peace are not affected at all.

Leaving aside the limited Monarchies of Western Europe, there is only one Christian Monarchy which greatly expanded its domain under female leadership. This was Russia where, uniquely, an unmarried woman seized power and ruled in her own name- not as the regent of an existing or possible son. This was  Empress Elizabeth, who was followed by Catherine the Great, whose hubby was off his chump and no use at all to anybody. Neither fits in with Dube's & Harish's scheme. Indeed, even Empress Anna- who created the precedent of female rule in Russia, came to the throne contrary to the rule of succession, or Dube & Harish's instruments, because she promised to give more power to the Privy Council and was unencumbered with a husband. However, she soon reneged and re-established Absolutism, forcing Prince Golitsyn to marry a Kalmuck maiden in an ice palace while being taunted by dwarfs and zanies.

Another thing Dube & Harish ignore is whether or not a Queen has a son, for whom she can act as regent. Isabella of Castile is an example of a Queen who only became legitimate and could carry forward her policy after she had a son. She had already demonstrated bravery and capacity to lead, but that's not what clinched her prevailing over other possible female heirs.

Dube & Harish write-
Why is this first stage necessary?
The Historical Chronicles clearly state when and for how long Queens held power.
If the fact that a Queen is running the show is correlated with military challenges to the polity, any 'informative' instrument (i.e. one which correctly predicts a Queen will rule) will not be 'valid' (i.e. uncorrelated with military challenges). However, 'conditioning'  can create a Statistical artefact- i.e. can mislead. So there is no point, except to wilfully mislead, in putting in such an instrument.

Dube & Harish's equation is a piece of shit.

Take the case of Elizabeth of Russia-  the only woman to have seized the throne and  to have done so in her own right, without a husband or son. The previous rulers had been her more or less distant cousins.  The equation given by Dube & Harish features an utterly useless 'instrument' in her case. 
True, she was the daughter of Peter the Great, but there had been several Monarchs in between. Elizabeth was a fine diplomat and may have turned out to be a bellicose leader but she fell ill just at the moment when this possibility could fructify. She is unique in that she was never married to any Prince and had no children. She was a truly self-made woman. However, her passion was for extravagant balls, not battles.

 An instrumental variable is only used when the explanatory variable (in this case, whether or not the Ruler was a woman) can itself have an effect on the dependent variable (war-related outcomes in the polity). But the instrument should correlate with the explanatory variable. We can see that for Queen Regents or usurpers like Elizabeth of Russia, Dube & Harish's instrument does not correlate at all. Why use it?

Now it becomes clear.
Dube & Harish are not just being stupid they are betting Professors who read it will be equally stupid.
Why?
Professors, at least of Econ, in America are middle class.
They don't understand anything about the European Aristocracy.
There are Zero cases in the period under consideration when ' war in past reigns led children to die young' because we are dealing with Royalty- not peasants. During wars, ordinary people have to do extra jobs to make ends meet. Still their kids may die at a higher rate. This does not happen to Royals. A Queen does not need to get her hubby to take a job so the country will be better managed. A King does not lose a lot of his little kiddies coz they starve to death or get raped or bayoneted by enemy soldiers.

What Dube & Harish have written is nonsense on stilts but it looks like 'Econometrics'.
A far better approach would be to choose the following two instruments- 
1) The Ruler being widely believed to have a vagina
2) The Ruler being widely believed to lack testicles.
Such 'instruments' correlate with being a Regnant Queen and are exogenous for Statistical purposes since large scale wars are not fought because a Vagina, as opposed to pair of testicles,  reposes upon a particular Throne's cushion.  Dube & Harish's instruments do not meet this criteria because, unless polities are cohesive, there can always be conflict about who was the true first born son, for the purpose of legitimising descent under primogeniture, or deciding which sister should rule.

Their data is rubbish because we don't know the gender of any Royal's first born because it was unlikely to be legitimate- though, it could be rendered so at a later date. In the 15th Century, John the First of Portugal and Ferdinand I of Naples were bastards.  The status of Elizabeth I of England was equivocal. The Duke of Monmouth was at one time expected to be legitimised and, had he not rebelled, he might well have become King after his Uncle James II had exhausted the patience of the Commons.

It is crazy to worry about finding out the gender of who was or wasn't the first born simply so as to have an 'instrument' which looks 'exogenous' because the said instrument is in no way correlated with whether or not a Queen was running things. 
What Dube & Harish are doing here isn't Econometrics, it is play-acting of a particularly stupid and ignorant sort.


These 'controls' are worthless.
What matters is that a polity is cohesive enough to decide issues of legitimate succession itself.
If it does so, it does not matter if a Vagina or a Penis is cushioned by the Throne.
If it doesn't, what matters is the luck & cunning of the incumbent which in turn does not depend on whether they possess a Vagina or Penis.

We know this because, in recent years, Europe has been turning to pure primogeniture precisely because polities are cohesive and War unthinkable. This in turn impacts on fertility. We don't expect to see a preference for a male 'heir & spare' to continue and this means lower expected Royal family size.
In other words, what Dube & Harish are actually testing for has nothing to do with whether Queens are more or less likely to be belligerent. They are testing to see whether they can predict Queenly rule. They can't. Nobody can. But we don't need to. History tells us whether or not a particular country was ruled by a Queen or not. What determined whether a particular Queen was belligerent also determined whether she became Queen in the first place. This has to do with expectations w.r.t her adherents prevailing. Just on this basis, we would expect to see some increased belligerence, ceteris paribus, from regnant Queens. However, we would also expect to see the Queen's adherents taking steps to entrench their own privileges and thus creating or reinforcing 'limited monarchy' which by itself would damp down subsequent monarch dependent belligerence effects. In any case, War- as Clausewitz said- is only the extension of politics by other means. Selecting a King with a good military reputation may be enough, in itself, to secure all the benefits of War without its costs. Thus a humbly born French soldier was chosen to be King of Sweden purely on the basis of his military prowess. He persuaded Norway to continue a personal union under his Crown with Sweden. The House of Bernadotte still rules the latter country. In the event, the founder of the dynasty did not have to fight any battles. His reputation was sufficient.

By contrast with Sweden, the Brits, under long lived Queens like Victoria and Elizabeth II, both of whom reigned but did not rule, ended up invading or otherwise conducting military operations across countries occupying 90 per cent of the Earth's habitable surface. So what? Nothing can be deduced from this about Queenly belligerence just as nothing can be deduced from Mad Queen Maria's sojourn in Brazil. She didn't really endow that vast territory with Liberty. She shrieked loudly and soiled herself.

Dube & Harish write 'Using the first born male and sister instruments, we find that polities ruled by queens were 27% more likely to participate in inter-state conflicts, compared to polities ruled by kings.' They know that their instruments don't pick out Queens who exercised power as Regents, as can be seen from this footnote- 'France did have queen consorts who married reigning kings or queen regents who were essentially acting monarchs on behalf of child heirs who were too young to rule. Note that identifying the effect of queen regents would require a different empirical strategy than the one we use in this paper since gender of the first-born child and gender of the siblings of previous monarchs do not have predictive power in determining whether queen regents came to power.' Moreover, these instruments don't predict Queens like Catherine the Great while including Queens like Victoria who 'reigned but did not rule'.
Technically, Dube & Harish's instruments are not 'weak'- The bottom of Table 4 shows that the instruments together make for a strong first stage: the Kleibergen-Paap F-statistic is 13.7. Individually, each instrument also has a statistically significant effect on the likelihood of a queen coming to power. If the previous monarchs had a first-born male, this reduced the likelihood of a queen coming to power by 21.2%. In contrast, if they had a sister, this increased the likelihood of queen coming to power by 18.9%.- however, they could have got an even better result by choosing 'Ruler had a Vagina' and 'Ruler lacked Testicles'. We already know that most Queens inherited their position and so Dube & Harish's instruments are going to look kosher- but only to stupid Americans who think that European Queens got their Crowns by winning a pageant or because a Fairy Godmother waved her magic wand. The problem is that some other Queens, like Catherine the Great, did not inherit their position and actually ruled, unlike Mary II or Victoria who merely reigned. So what we have here is junk Social Science at its best- 'These estimates are economically important, representing a doubling over mean war participation over this period. In contrast, we find that queens were no more likely to experience civil wars or other types of internal instability.' 

Dube & Harish well illustrate the stupidity and ignorance of the Academy. Being of Indian origin, they have gone the extra mile to display racism as well as misogyny- thus, they cheerfully endorse Philip Quincy Wright's distinction between Civilised Europe and barbarians of darker hue by quoting his classification of Wars as follows- 
'

So, kids, what have we learnt today?
Women only get to Rule if their brothers die or were never born.
If married, they get their hubbies to help them coz they are shite in their own right.

What's more, the  'modern family of nations' is White and Christian.
Alien cultures aren't part of this family but Imperial Wars 'expand modern civilisation', which is a good thing coz dark people or Muslims or Hindooos or Confucians are uncivilised and not modern. 

Anyroad, that's what this pair of Indian origin American Academics want us to believe they believe.

Trump would be so proud.