notes nov 17, 2008

November 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

Burke’s Historical Morality

Ryan Holston

The Johns Hopkins University

as referring to an awareness of the dependence of human existence on the development of events that have taken place in the past. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a number of thinkers from various fields of study, whose early expositors include Vico, Burke, Herder, Hegel, and Nietzsche, began to explore this theme.


to Strauss, Burke’s opposition to French rationalism “parts company with the Aristotelian tradition by disparaging theory and especially metaphysics.”3

In marked contrast to this view, the reading of Burke put forth by Peter Stanlis and Francis P. Canavan places his thinking squarely within the canon of traditional natural law theory.

Jeffrey D. Sachs: GM I

If the Bush administration allows the auto industry to collapse, it will compound the panic that started with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Washington should seize the opportunity to begin a new era of U.S. technological leadership in the global auto industry, starting with an immediate loan.

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on  law Some reported examples are appalling:

Police stopped 49-year-old Ethel Hylton at Houston’s Hobby Airport and told her she was under arrest because a drug dog had scratched at her luggage. Agents searched her bags and strip-searched her, but they found no drugs. They did find $39,110 in cash, money she had received from an insurance settlement and her life savings; accumulated through over 20 years of work as a hotel housekeeper and hospital janitor. Ethel Hylton completely documented where she got the money and was never charged with a crime. But the police kept her money anyway.

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Bankers Shake Down Congress and the G-20


The financial press has been negligent in reporting how last week’s two top financial stories are linked: first, the testimony by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his evasive Interim Assistant Secretary Neel Kashkari defending why they followed a completely different giveaway plan to the banks (their own Wall Street constituency) than what Congress authorized; and second, the G-20 standoff among the world’s leading finance ministers this weekend.

The dollar glut is one of the key factors that has aggravated the junk-mortgage problem in recent years. Looking forward, if foreign countries are no longer to invest their dollar inflows in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and toxic packaged mortgage derivatives, what are they to do with these dollars? The U.S. Government refuses to let foreign government funds acquire anything but financial junk such as the plunging Citibank shares that Arab oil sheikhs have bought.

Here’s the problem that faced global finance ministers this weekend: The U.S. payments deficit has been pumping excess dollars into foreign economies, whose recipients have turned them over to their central banks. These central banks have saved their currencies from rising (and thus losing foreign markets by making their exports more expensive) by buying Treasury bonds so as to support the dollar’s exchange rate by recycling their dollar inflows back to the United States – enough to finance most of our federal budget deficit, and indeed much of Fannie Mae’s mortgage lending as well.

read it all at  <>


We now have a third Senator stepping up and strongly condemning the idea of Joe Lieberman remaining as Homeland Security chair: Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota…

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Ah, a very important book is Philip Mirowski, Machine Dreams: how economics became a cyborg science.A very detailed analysis of the way economics and the social sciences were mechanized.


The idea of the creation of the garden (Eden) through the use of technology was prominent to , was it it mentioned in The American Technological Sublime by David E. Nye?

The author of the book about the emergence of money as a step to abstract thinking (like astronomy) was Rudolf Wolfgang Müller in ‘Geld und Geist’ (1977). It was never translated.

His publications can be found at the German wiki.



Havel was especially penetrating in his denunciation


According to Mr Dabbagh, the agreement’s terms include:

   * placing US forces in Iraq under the authority of the Iraqi government

   * US forces to leave the streets of Iraq’s towns and villages by the middle of 2009

   * US forces to hand over their bases to Iraq during the course of 2009

   * US forces to lose the authority to raid Iraqi homes without an order from an Iraqi judge and permission of the government.

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web tools for collaboration.


What is important is that the approach we are developing is high on aesthetics, conversation, participation. Because of the richness of this approach, the path was also complex.

The history might read something like..

In the 1970’s I worked on the Harvard Project on Technology Society and Public Policy and joined Michael Maccoby in an exploration of the character of technology managers. This  got me to watch how different kinds of people worked with their staffs. (see the book The Gamesman 1976)

I was then invited to participate in GBN’s online conference and attend a number of their quarter
ly meetings in various parts of the world. I came to appreciate the use of scenarios in creating better conversations.

I also worked with Harrison Owen on Open Space meetings, and came to value increased participation.

(see )

In the years that followed I blended scenario work with open space in a number of variations. (see )

I also participated in complex conferences with the ILF (see and there met Don Michael who taught us that modern complexity is out of control from a management point of view.

I had also met Jim Channon who is strong on graphical mapping of meetings. I invited him to join with me in a workshop with the Secretary of the Navy (Kelley) and the key five stars and was impressed with the coherence and rapid progress of the meeting given the impact of Jim’s graphics.

I subsequently visited Channon on the Big island where he has his studio.

Through Napier Collyns of GBN I met Bob Horn when I moved back to Northern California. His complex mapping of real issues seemed to me like a necessary element of good strategic thinking and I’ve thought a good amount about how to use his kind of graphics.

I also was introduced to dialog mapping and the use of Compendium, which i modified to use for time lines.

Meeting Tom Burns, Michael Shanks and thinking through the requirements (mostly social process) for Rich Green’s clients helped make the project more grounded.

Another line of thinking goes back to 1966 when I taught a course in the Harvard Architecture school on the use of drama theory to understand architectural space (the scene contains implicity the action) and this led me to think that typical meeting room sapce was inappropriate to good thinking. It is sterile, noisy, badly lit, and has no memory.

Some things I’ve said along the way

An organization is a page of data and a novel full of relationships.

Individuals have memory: groups don’t, unless they have artifacts and rituals

Well, this is a beginning of a complex story.


See the important graph of exports and housing prices.

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