Sunday Feb 05, 2006

A Modest Proposal for the enforcement of standards

Some standards are so important that the state takes responsibility for enforcing them. From the earliest times the value and integrity of the currency has been one such standard. When circulating currency consisted of coins minted from precious metals it was constantly in danger of debasement. Since "bad money drives out good", the consequences could be severe.

In late 17th century England "clipping and counterfeiting emerged as serious threats to England’s commercial base and its bid to become a global power". The state responded by imposing the death penalty for these offences. Sir Isaac Newton was appointed Master of the Royal Mint with responsibility for the detection, capture, and prosecution of offenders against the currency, a task he performed "with great vigor and success" (see The Death Penalty as Monetary Policy). For a fictional account of these events see Dark Matter.

Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned from this?

Hanging's too good for them!

Saturday Feb 04, 2006

Words

When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all.'

 

Through The Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll

Humpty Dumpty

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Patrick Curran

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