Monthly Archives: January 2014

Langone & Pope Francis

LangoneAndPopeWhile I just love listening to a Wealthy Man try an scare this Pope with the threat of ending large donations to the Catholic Church I really am more intrigued with all the possibilities this opens up.  Let me be very clear, I am not talking about the relationship between Pope Francis and Catholic Billionaires.  I’m much more interested in starting a set of dialogues over the fundamental philosophy of capitalism and Christianity.

To start off with the apparent amoral position on all economic decisions, as expressed in the statement “It’s just Business”   and the classic Christian position  that all decision made by man must be moral.

Another is the relationship between capitalism and Christianity and Usury and/or greed and/or wealth.

All of these questions go to the root of the socioeconomic philosophy known as capitalism.

So to start this off let us first agree that capitalism is not   synonymous with ‘free market’.  That either one can exists with out the other. I submit for your consideration that ‘Capitalism’ denotes a socioeconomic system and ‘free market’ denotes an economic system and socioeconomic is not economic.


A Modest Proposal – With Appologies to Johnathan Swift

A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick

Jonathan Swift

Inspired by Dr Swift I would like to put forward this modest proposal to help solve both our overclouding of our prisons and our devastating governmental budget deficit.  Consider, if you will, allowing anyone who kills, comets any form of unlawful homicide, to pay to the local, state, and federal government a fine equivalent to the expected taxes to be paid by the person(s) killed.  The benefits to the fiances of the government are immediately obvious to everyone.

The state would not only have a new, non-tax, form of revenue but also the state would no-longer have the expense of incarceration.  To make things even better we could make the alternate penalty, in lieu of cash remuneration to the state, the person convicted would be to be put to death as soon as possible,  to the date of conviction.  If upon conviction the person(s) in question now wishes to pay the state then all of the state’s expenses will be included.  This has the additional benefit of encourage the early, pre-trial, agreement to paying of the state the loss of tax revenue of the decedent(s).

It should be obvious to all that this system has the advantage of discouraging the negligent killing of the most productive members of society by making it prohibitively expensive.  Even more benefit to the government revenues by calculating the fee based upon both the taxes payed in the form of income, investment, and capital gains but also taxes such as sales and property taxes.  We could even include utility taxes just to make things fair.

People in ‘Stand Your Ground’ jurisdiction would be motivated not to act rashly as you would still be held liable for the death of another.  Police would be encourage not to use deadly force.  Doctors, Nurses, EMTs will be fully motivated to act so that the patient does not die.  Also they would be no question of ‘pulling the plug’ on someone as the person or persons would then be easily shown to be responsible for the death.

Another benefit is the creation of a new insurance industry, we would have ‘Death’ insurance to join ‘Life’ insurance.  In the case of ‘Death’ insurance, the buyer would be insured against being held responsible for the death of another.  As this would normally be a very rare occurrence the companies providing the policy would have a very nice profit margin.

The final benefit is society would now have an objective measure of the worth of each member.  No longer would there be any question of an individuals worth.  The worth of everyone would be know, in point of fact it would be in the governments best interest calculate everyone’s worth on a regular basses and for individuals to insure that this valuation is as high as possible.  People worth more would be encouraged to dress in a distinctive way manner that would not be simply or easily copied or imitated by those worth less.  New business would spring up to provide this service to the worthy stimulating the economy and providing gainful employment.

As has been shown here this proposal is a ‘win’ ‘win’ for all.


The other day I saw a TV Commercial talking about how much energy is in gasoline, that is, high energy density of gasoline.  What it doesn’t tell you is just how difficult it is to get this energy into a usable form.  The most common way we convert the energy from gasoline is with the one form or another of the “Internal combustion engine” in our cars and such.  Most IC engines used in cars run about 18%-20% (see link), that is the engine generate about 80% waste heat that is not converted into to usable form. Contrast this with the efficiency of your basic electric motor (citation needed).

To really measure and compare engine efficiency we need to include the amount of energy used to create the fuel, including all of the extraction process of all of the raw materials (for now lets ignore the energy expended in making the tools to do the various process’ )  In the case of a gasoline powered IC engine would include, but not limited to, drilling, pumping and refining the fuel.  For  an electric motor this would include, but not limited to, the extraction & processing of the fuel, if any, the electrical power generation.  In an ideal case the amount of energy wasted, used, to transmit the energy from where it is generated to a typical use point should also be included.

Finally, we should also include the amount of energy needed to deal with all of the wast products of the process.  To my knowledge, now disinterested third party, that is someone not connected to any of the parties profiting directly for either the IC engine or electric motor, has done any such analysis or studies.  I would be very interested in hearing about any, wouldn’t you?