The passing scene: Links & comments 11/20/14

Gandhi vs. the Mafia by Jesse Walker for Reason.

More than 900 Sicilian business owners, most of them in Palermo, have successfully defied the Sicilian Mafia and refuse to pay protection money.  It is an example of the success of the tactic of mass defiance, as pioneered by Mohandas K. Gandhi and explained by Gene Sharp.

The power of a small organization such as the Mafia to compel the obedience of large numbers of people is based on the fact that the masses of people are divided and the Mafia is united by powerful bonds of loyalty.  But if great masses of people decide together, all at once, that they will not submit, no matter what, their oppressors cannot kill them all.

I’m reminded of the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian novelist and dissident.  “Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t obey them.”  And the words of Solidarity Forever.  “The union makes us strong.”

Why the US has the most powerful currency on the planet by Matt Phillips for Quartz.

The American dollar replaced the British pound as the world’s currency of choice after World War One, when the United Kingdom became a debtor nation and the USA became the world’s greatest creditor nation.   Now the USA is a debtor nation, but the world’s business is still done in dollars.

Matt Phillips wrote that the dollar maintains its position because of the inconvenience of shifting to another currency.  I would add that if nations start to sell off dollar-denominated holdings, such as U.S. Treasury bonds, in large amounts, this will cause the exchange value of the dollar to fall against other currencies.

Holders of dollars wouldn’t want the value of the dollar to fall.  But once it starts to fall, they wouldn’t want to be caught at the last ones holding dollars.  If and when the world abandons the dollar, the fall could come very quickly.

The Norovirus Demagoguery Starts Here by Mike the Mad Biologist.

The Norovirus causes gastroenteritis and kills an estimated 570 to 800 Americans a year, as well as causing 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations, 400,000 emergency room visits and 1.7 million to 1.9 million visits to physicians.

One of the main ways it spreads is by infected and obviously sick people working in restaurants.  As Mike the Mad Biologist notes, mandatory sick leave for restaurant workers would be a good public health measure.

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One Response to “The passing scene: Links & comments 11/20/14”

  1. prayerwarriorpsychicnot Says:

    Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.


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