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PART II - Genesis of the Boom-Bust Cycle

Fred Harrison Shepheard-Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub

CONSTRUCTION is a leading sector of the economy. Its performance in Britain has been traced back to 1700 by J. Parry Lewis, who documented that history in Building Cycles and Britains Growth. From his reading of the evidence, he was led to ask whether qualitative evidence confirms the suggestion that building moved in long swings with troughs approximately 18 years apart throughout the 18th century, and on into the beginning of the 19th, where statistics of brick production enable us to be more confident about the course of activity. He concluded: [W]e may assert quite briefly that qualitative evidence does, on the whole, support the inference drawn from the statistics.1

Instability was the characteristic feature of the construction trade. Booms and busts occurred with alarming regularity, but there was something uncanny about that instability. The repetitiveness became predictable. What drove those cycles? If we knew, we could formulate policies to thwart the proclivity to collapse into bankruptcy every 18 years. Lewis suggested that this periodicity was more probably associated with the impact of war.2

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Chapter 3 - Manual Transmission (Gearbox)

PR Pub PR Pub Brooklands Books ePub
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Chapter 10 - Turbo Charger and Exhaust System

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Medium 9780856832505

PART ONE - Principles

Brian Hodgkinson Shepheard-Walwyn ePub

ECONOMICS as a subject of serious study has grown up within modern societies that have been deeply affected by land enclosure and the industrial revolution. In Britain the work of Adam Smith, Ricardo and Malthus achieved fame during the decades when a final great wave of land enclosure gathered pace and the new industrial towns forged weapons for the Napoleonic wars and capital for the railway age. Such an origin has coloured the development of economic thought ever since. The apparent diminution in the part played by land in the economy, the accumulation and enhanced productivity of capital, the need for an expansion of financial resources and for the growth of limited liability companies, and above all the idea of labour as primarily employed rather than autonomous, all these outstanding features of the new industrial economy gave rise to concepts in the study of Economics which have become entrenched. It is time that such concepts were re-examined.

The ideas that have emerged from 200 years of intellectual advance in Economics centre upon the question of production. After an initial period, especially associated with the writings of Ricardo, when distribution of the product between economic classes or factors was the major concern, most economists accepted the conclusion that production was the key issue. How could it be measured? What inhibited its growth? What determined its composition? Why did it fluctuate in cycles? After all, both political conservatives and political radicals have finally agreed that it is better to have a bigger cake than to quarrel over much about shares in a smaller one. Production has become the yardstick by which almost every economic policy is assessed, even though science and technology have more or less solved the technical problems of how to produce. And yet economic unease remains, sometimes amounting to disease, in the economic organisms of advanced economies. Could it be that to look almost exclusively at production is to fail to understand the many-sided aspects of human economic behaviour, including non-technical ones about production itself?

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PART FIVE - Public Revenue

Brian Hodgkinson Shepheard-Walwyn ePub

THE MODEL of an economy from which profits, interest and the toll levied by monopoly have been stripped away, brings into relief the place of taxation. This is not an unrealistic approach for two reasons. One is that a model of rent and wages only is a reflection of the natural division of production between the two primary factors of land and labour, of which profits and the rest are subdivisions. The other is that many of these subdivisions, if not all of them, are in fact largely the very long-term consequences of the way in which taxation has been levied. The latter reason may seem to overemphasise the role of taxation, but the formative influence of government upon the economy is exerted primarily through types and rates of taxes. Moreover taxation is intimately related to another principal determinant of the economy, the system of land tenure.

Modern analysis of taxation at the micro level deals with questions like incidence and welfare effects. At the macro level taxation features in models of national income determination as a leakage or withdrawal (see Chapter 20). There is, however, an important aspect of incidence at the macro level which is ignored. Once more the omission of land from the analysis leads to the oversight. When the fundamental division of production (and therefore national income) between land and labour is recognised, the impact of taxation has a macro dimension obscured by the theory of income determination.

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Translator’s Notes to Part One

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub
Medium 9780856833656

Summary of Meno, Concerning Virtue

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub

THERE ARE FOUR kinds of method used by Plato: example, assumption, reasoning, and reflection; and how these come about is clearly shown in the abridgement of Alcinous , which we have also translated. There we find three types of Platonic dialogue; and his practice is to use specific methods for specific dialogues. For one dialogue will merely ask questions and refute falsehood; another will merely expound and teach the truth; another will be focused on the One. The first is enquiring and contentious; the second is expository; the last is called a combination.

Now although Meno is a combination, for the most part it investigates and refutes, and it touches upon all these methods. In order that no one who is gathering the meanings from the other dialogues of Plato which pertain to exposition rather than to inquiry and who turns his attention to this Meno should find it difficult to elicit the main point of this debate, it is this: to investigate what virtue is and how it is present amongst us. This Socrates does while he refutes the four definitions of virtue given by Meno, Aristippus, Gorgias, and Prodicus; and, with two objections, he retracts his own definition, which was given after those four. Indeed, the truth shines forth from the refutation of falsehood.

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Plato’s Lysis or Concerning Friendship: Summary Dedicated to Piero de-Medici, Father of His People

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub

WHEN SOCRATES holds discussions with the Sophists and their followers, he refutes false opinions; but rather than teach true opinions he merely hints at them. For when the false have been refuted, then keen minds hunt out the true on a faint trail.

This is evident in Euthydemus , Protagoras , Meno , Hippias , Euthyphro , and Lysis. But when he converses with his own pupils and students, he reveals and teaches what is merely inferred from many of the dialogues. And so, since in Lysis the discussion about friendship takes place among the disciples of the Sophists, Socrates is concerned more with refuting the false than with demonstrating the true. From this book we can infer Platos view of friendship and love, but from the books of the Laws and from many others we can gather it more fully.

He defines friendship as an honourable communion of everlasting will. Its end is one life, its beginning is kinship, and its middle is love. By saying honourable he excludes the associations of depraved men and the couplings of the licentious. By everlasting he maintains that the fickle affections of young people, even though they be honourable, are not yet worthy to be called friendships. By will he shows that no similarity of opinion or conduct is enough to give rise to friendship. By communion he indicates the variable nature of affection. The end of communion is that one mind arises from two by will, one life from one will, and lastly from one life the fulfilment of one godhead and its principle.

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Summary of the Lesser Hippias

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub

MARVELLOUS IS the goodness of Socrates and our Plato, for in many ways and in all places it takes the greatest care to ensure that credulous youths are not caught in the treacherous snares of the Sophists or, if already caught, do not perish; and Plato is quite justified in employing two dialogues, the Greater and the Lesser , to assail Hippias of Elis, the most arrogant and the most deceitful of the Sophists.

In the Greater he shows that Hippias, who professes to speak of all that is most beautiful, has not the slightest knowledge of what beauty is. In the Lesser he shows that Hippias, who is boasting that he is better than all others at distinguishing a man who lies from a man who speaks truthfully, is completely wrong in his definition of both; and it thus becomes evident that Hippias, the most arrogant of all, is also the most ignorant of all and appears as the most incapable of all.

I merely allude to the fact that Plato depicts him, in his usual way with Sophists, as boastful and brash and grasping, offering words in all things but in fact proffering nothing, and boasting of all that is greatest while stumbling over the smallest.

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Summary of Laches, Concerning Courage

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub

PLATO AGAIN and again puts the best magistrates above the laws, because without magistrates the laws seem to be quite useless, for no one will observe them; but the best magistrates are the laws. He says, however, that the best magistrates cannot appear unless the citizens are the best of men; and the men will not be the best unless the youths and the boys are also the best. For this reason, in almost all the dialogues, Plato exhorts parents to first bring up their children properly, for he knows that the human race cannot live honourably or be governed happily without the very best governors.

Moreover, there will never be good princes in the state unless they are the most upright of men, carefully nurtured right from their tenderest years. But since the regulation of childhood for the most part is quite often put into the care of servants, while youth, finding some licence and shaking off some of its fetters, strays hither and thither without restraints, our Plato is justified in putting his main emphasis on the need to correct and restrain young people.

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Summary of Phaedo

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub

OUR BOOK on religion confirms something that is sufficiently well-known of itself: that the life of Christ is the ideal pattern of all virtue.

But the eighth book of our letters demonstrates that the life of Socrates is an image, or at least a reflection, of the Christian life. The Old Testament is confirmed through Plato, and the New Testament through Socrates. Anyone who doubts the validity of this comparison with Socrates should read Xenophon and Plato and the other writers who have drawn together the words and deeds of Socrates, and should attend particularly to Platos Gorgias , Apology , Crito , and Phaedo .

Let us therefore proceed to run through the theme of this Phaedo at a brisk pace, or even in leaps and bounds; for we would seem to have given an adequate exposition of its mysteries in our Theology . Let us bear in mind one thing above all others: No one should be surprised that of all the reasonings pertaining to the immortality of the soul Socrates has here omitted that very one in which he places his trust in the Phaedrus , namely, that the soul is the beginning and principle of movement, from which it follows that the soul moves continually of itself and ever lives of itself alone.

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Discussion by Marsilio of the Third Letter, Written by Plato to the Tyrant Dionysius

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub
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Discussion by Marsilio of the Seventh Letter

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub

THE SEVENTH LETTER of Plato was written to Dions relatives and friends, after the country was given its freedom through the work of Dion and after Dion was unjustly put to death.

But in order that many things relating to history, both in this letter and in others, may be clearly understood, it is necessary to go over them a little more thoroughly.

Plato travelled three times to Syracuse: once at the age of forty, in the days of Dionysius the Elder; and twice later, when Dionysius the Younger ruled as the tyrant. But what he did on each of these journeys, or why he made them, can be found partly in the biography which we wrote of him and partly in these letters.

Now Dion seems to have been of the same family as Dionysius and to have had various other connections with him, since Dionysius had previously married Dions sister, Aristomache, while Dion had married Dionysius daughter, Areta. But Dionysius the Younger was not the son of Dions sister but was the son of another wife, named Doras.

During Platos first visit, Dion became one of Platos hearers and thus directed his life towards virtue and began to strive for the common weal of his country. And so, on the death of Dionysius the Elder, when Dionysius the Younger became the tyrant and, being still a child, was to be ruled in all respects by Dions counsel, Dion chose to direct him towards a desire for the philosophic life and summoned Plato to Syracuse with many entreaties and also persuaded Dionysius to invite him.

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Discussion by Marsilio of the Eleventh Letter

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub
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Introduction by Marsilio Ficino of Florence to the Ten Dialogues of Plato, Translated for Cosimo de-Medici, Father of His Country

Ficino Ficino Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd ePub

WHEN PLATO, the father of philosophers, wrote to Dionysius, Tyrant of the Syracusans, he stated that the nature of power and wisdom was such that they yearn for each other and, through a natural impulse, unite as closely as they are able to. His reason for thinking this is perhaps the fact that the cause of all things is accompanied by the mind, the power of nature is conjoined with order, and the power of human skill is accompanied by reason and by an ordered sequence of what needs to be done.

This is why princes and people in power summon learned men to themselves, and why skilful people, for their part, flock to princes from all directions. Hence arose the close relationship of the wise Simonides with Hiero and Pausanias; of Thales of Miletus with Periander of Corinth; of Anaxagoras with Pericles; and of Croesus and Solon with Cyrus. Following these examples, the poets link Creon and Tiresias; Polydus and Minos; Agamemnon and Nestor; Ulysses and Palamedes; and perhaps even Prometheus and Jupiter.

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