Godfree Roberts


Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions


Ideal governance (for companies, countries and more)

What kinds of designs could exist that aren't common today? 

There are at least three, very successful, democratic designs, though TINA shields us from their baneful influence: Switzerland, China, and Singapore.

If we measure their implementation of six components of democracy–formal, elective, popular, procedural, operational and substantive–we find none of the three follows (slave state) Athens' model. 

Each implements 'of the people, by the people, for the people' uniquely.

The Swiss invest unimaginable time and energy voting for almost everything,: call it 'input legitimacy'.  A 37-year-old Zuricher has had the opportunity to take part in 548 referenda, 181 of them federal, 176 cantonal, and 191 municipal. Average turnout is 45% so he has voted in about 246 referenda. 

Second place goes to China, both in its citizens' estimation and in decades of surveys by Gallup, Harvard, YouGov, and Edelman. The PRC uses heavy opinion polling to guide policy formation, and amateur politicians to provide democratic oversight. It's 90% cheaper than Swiss democracy but still runs it a close second.

Singapore's third-place model blends Confucian officialdom and British parliamentarianism and depends upon outcome legitimacy: the ruling/founding party has always been in power because it so consistently produces good outcomes that nobody seriously considers chancing alternatives.

More on this from Daniel Bell's The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy and China's New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society.

For a more comprehensive explanation of China's success read Why China Leads the World: Talent at the Top, Data in the Middle, Democracy at the Bottom, by me.


Lives of the Cambridge polymath geniuses

Needham was fooled into believing the US had used biological weapons in the Korean War??

Not at all.  None of his detractors have withstood investigation, despite the combination of massive physical suppression of the Report, combined with a well-funded 'debunking' industry.

The accuracy of the ISC Report was confirmed on the basis of documents not available in 1952, by Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman in their book 'The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea' (Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1998). See also Thomas Powell, "Biological Warfare in the Korean War: Allegations and Cover-up" (2019): http://sdonline.org/73/biological-warfare-in-the-korean-war-allegations-and-cover-up/

There were few more qualified researchers than Needham in 1951, and he was no fool. As a lifelong bench researcher, he knew and avoided the many pitfalls in his discipline, as a casual reading of his report demonstrates: 'The Report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of Facts Concerning Bacteriological Warfare in Korea and China' (the ISC report). ISBN: 978-1-7358213-3-7


In addition to the ISC Report, the Amazon edition, above, contains 200 pages on the war's origins  and its social impacts, together with testimony from nineteen pilots who flew the missions, from journalists who interviewed them, and from biowarfare experts.

When Money Is Abundant, Knowledge Is The Real Wealth

Nonsense among friends is not the problem here, clearly. It's nonsense let loose among hundreds of millions of people simultaneously. That's been a problem for every government since the beginning of government. And it's one the Chinese largely solved 2500 years ago and, thanks to which, have thrived ever since.

As John Stewart Mill[1] observed, “The Chinese are remarkable in the excellence of their apparatus for implanting, as far as possible, the best wisdom they have in every mind in the community”  and, Mill might have added, "Slowing the unconfined spread of nonsense”. That's the job of their Chief Censor, who is usually the country's leading public intellectual (as he is now). Imagine Noam Chomsky as media referee and you get the flavor of Chinese censorship. Young people, especially university students, find it constricting. Their parents say they understand the necessity of it and thinks it's well-managed. Their grandparents think that the government has gone to the dogs, permitting pornography, and ....

Official  information has always been treasured in China, because those who heeded it prospered while those who did not languished: as they still do. Jack Ma will heed whatever advice he gets today because doing so has always been the smart way to bet. He's talking to geniuses, guys who are far, far smarter than he, who are responsible for their country's next 25 years.

Senior officials practiced–and still practice–xuānchuán–propaganda, transforming the people through honorable behavior and instruction–and lectured on the Emperor’s Sacred Maxims while exemplifying them in daily life (as they still do):

Highly esteem filial piety and brotherly submission to give due weight to social relations.

Behave generously toward your family to promote harmony and peace.

Cultivate peace within the neighborhood to prevent quarrels and lawsuits.

Respect farming and the cultivation of mulberry trees to ensure sufficient clothing and food.

Be moderate and economical in order to avoid wasting away your livelihood.

Give weight to schools and academies in order to honor the scholar.

Wipe out strange beliefs to elevate the correct doctrine.

Elucidate the laws in order to warn the ignorant and obstinate.

Show propriety and tactful courtesy to elevate customs and manners.

Work diligently in your chosen callings to quiet your ambitions.

Instruct sons and younger brothers to keep them from doing wrong.

Hold back false accusations to safeguard the good and honest.

Warn against sheltering deserters lest you share their punishment.

Promptly and fully pay your taxes lest you need be pressed to pay them.

Join together in hundreds and tithings to end theft and robbery.

Free yourself from enmity and anger to show respect for your body and life.


[1] On Liberty. John Stewart Mill. 1863.