Sunday, October 05, 2014

Economics: Learning from Etymology

Something I learned from Greek is that Economics is a compound words made of of Oikos = House, and Nomika = Rule.  Thus, Aristotle in his Economics begins his study by considering the house, and from there how it builds into a nation.  An orderly management of the home is presumed to be a foundation for the orderly management of the state.

This reminds me of Paul's instruction on elders:

"But if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?" - 1 Timothy 3:5

Thus, the elder must be able to manage the oikos, although the Greek word for manage is not nomika here.

For our local situation, the latest news is that the local school board was forced to abandon an introduction to pornographic lifestyles textbook, otherwise known as "sex education", which was to be given to all high school freshmen.  The irony here is that the opposition of the conservative Christians was rejected, but the noise from the Indian and Muslim immigrants seems to have forced a reversal.

In terms of the upcoming election, I am still primarily screening those who I vote for as to whether or not they have any regard for the oikos, or whether or not they think an oikos to be less valuable to society than an immoral tryst.  For the Democrats, this question is automatically answered.  Republicans should be clear on this matter, but for whatever reason they are quick to abandon their principals.  

So for California Controller, we have Ashley Swearengin running.  Checking around at her positions, it seems that she views that the oikos is completely and utterly worthless.  This makes the choice easy.

Lieutenant Governor candidate Ron Nehring looks more promising and he is up against Gavin Newsom who has quite a reputation in these matters.  The Secretary of State position has Pete Peterson, who seems somewhat promising to me on many areas.  He is also he only Republican that seems to have a chance of winning in the statewide elections.

16 comments:

Max Coutinho said...

Hi Looney,

Ms Ashley should take lessons from the Romney campaign in 2012: flip-flopping doesn't work.

I agree with Aristotle: if you do not know how to run your house, then you're not able to run a state. I usually even go farther, if you don't know how to speak the national language properly, you will not be able to run a state (our Portuguese PM has proved my point).

We should all, from now on, analyse the lives and thoughts of politicians closely before casting that vote.

Great piece.

Cheers

Looney said...

Hello Max,

Thanks again for the note. You have me trying to learn a little about Pedro Passos Coelho.

Aristotle also said that democracy always commits suicide in the name of liberty. So I generally think to make the best vote I can, but realizing the inevitable has already been pronounced long ago!

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

Has it been easy to find information on Pedro Passos Coelho?

Aristotle was so right...

Have a blessed weekend, my friend.

Looney said...

There are some short articles on Pedro Passos Coelho that are usually just clips regarding a current event. Dr. Wiki is the only extended writeup that I see. This claims that he is working to reign in the runaway monster state. I am not sure that is possible no matter how good a communicator is in the PM office.

I am sure you can fill in more?

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

Well, Passos Coelho sure is trying to control state expenditure and the debt issue (although I don't know how if right before Portugal was cleared by the Troika, it was already issuing more bonds - they try to reassure the public that at low rates it's ok; but does the debt go away?). Our accounts seem to be in order now, our deficit seems under control (4 years ago it was near 11%, in 2015 it is expected to be 2.7%), employment is rising, pensions are rising, public servants' salaries are slowly being restored; indicators show that we are almost off the hook.
The problem is: our PM is such a bad communicator and is now involved in what seems to a fraud case (the so-called Tecnoforma Scandal, involving European Union funds, which he refuses to clarify before the public) that I'm afraid his coalition's work is at peril, since the intention of vote for 2015 sways towards the socialists - the very same people that puts us in the economic whole in the first place.

I didn't vote for Passos Coelho, I voted for his Vice-PM (and will do it again); but I recognise that the coalition seems to be doing a good job. However, technocracy alone does not win elections and if Passos Coelho loses next year, it's his own fault (good technician, bad politician). The people want bread and circus after years of austerity; and he is not giving it to them.

Still, Portugal needs a lot of reforms that this government wasn't able to do, due to its lack of communication skills (e.g. most of their reform proposals were blocked by the constitutional court - made up of lawyers and business people - because they simply didn't know how to play the game and talk).

Now is the time to ask: should we overlook a politician's sins when he does a good job for the country?

Have a blessed weekend

Looney said...

Well, I agree that the sins of a politician shouldn't be overlooked. But then I would note that only conservatives care about the sins of their politicians.

This does remind me of the political mechinations in much of the US. For example, in Texas the state is Republican, but the state capital is strongly Democrat. Thus, the chief prosecutors of Austin have been filing one ethics charge after another and litigating against Republican politicians endlessly for many years. Any jury convened will be strongly, if not entirely, Democrat. The local news sources are also Democrat, so every innuendo is headline news. Convictions are easily secured, only to be thrown out by appeals courts later on for the reason that it was all just political theater and completely devoid of substance.

That isn't to say that conservative politicians don't do corrupt things now and then that deserve punishment.

Does Europe have different tolerance levels for corruption depending on the politics of the politician?

Looney said...

Max, I was just given a bit more food for thought regarding politicians with vices. Have you considered the career of Catherine II of Russia?

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

I will be back to you shortly. Busy week.

Cheers

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

Is that the case of Governor Perry? He seems to be being persecuted by democrats.

"Does Europe have different tolerance levels for corruption depending on the politics of the politician?"

It depends on the country: UK, France, Germany and Italy any politician from any ideology have always been punished for corruption. In Portugal, Spain, Greece etc if you're a socialist until recently, you could get can away with almost anything (if you're a right winger, you'd go immediately to jail) but even there things are changing.

Congratulations to the GOP; perhaps politics will be more balanced now?


Max Coutinho said...

Catherine II of Russia: not yet, no.
Will look into it though.

Looney said...

Regarding the GOP victory, I am not anticipating much change. This basically moves the political situation to neutral. The left won't have a free hand to push the US leftwards, but there isn't any hope of a giving up of and of the left's gains. The Republicans won't use their position to articulate or promote any conservative values and after a few years, the left will regain momentum and the march to destruction that Aristotle prophesied will continue.

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

Are you losing hope in mankind?

Looney said...

Max, I am a Christian. We hope in Jesus Christ alone!

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

And isn't one of Jesus' underlying teachings that we are to have faith in our brothers and sisters (for better socialisation)?
You hope in Christ but isn't that hope intended to be patient towards others (and have faith that humans will see and be good)?

Looney said...

Max, this is what Jesus said:

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves." - Matthew 10:16

So yes, we are commanded to be patient, loving and tolerant, as well as good examples. But that is not because we think the character of men worthy of such behavior. Instead, we have this:

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8

Looney said...

Max, I am at a coffee shop today doing Greek translations for my class. This is the verse that just came up in the Greek:

"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness more than the Light, for their deeds were evil." - John 3:19

In this context, the Light means Jesus. The symbolism in John has much in common with Plato, but is used in a manner that is partially the same and partially deliberately contrasting.