2 See Reuven Brenner, History: The Human Gamble (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983); Reuven Brenner, Force of Finance: Triumph of the Capital Markets (Texere, 2002); Reuven Brenner, “Unsettled Civilizations: How the US Can Handle Iraq,” Asia Times, June 23, 2004; Reuven Brenner, “Prohibiting the Pursuit of Happiness,” Center for the Thought of John Paul II, June 6, 2016.
3 In Ulysses, a goddess tempts Ulysses unsuccessfully, and in the Aeneid, Dido, queen of Carthage, tempts Aeneas unsuccessfully, too.
4 This is one reason underlying the flaws of another “ism”—“libertarianism”: dealing with uncertainty (being threatened by “neighbors” being just one example) requires reliance on family, tribe, religious community, or a nation and calls for sacrifices and military efforts, the latter representing centralized cooperation.
5 Genesis had a point: Consider today’s Balkanization even within the United States, with some eager to destroy century-old monuments (and tribal conflict in places like the Middle East leading to far more violence).
6 Consider Europe handing out infrastructure money to Hungary and Poland, among others, while the two disregard—legally—directives of the Brussels bureaucracy on immigration.
7 And only when settled does a tribe become a “nation” (“am” in Hebrew; until then they are an “eda,” a “tribe,” in Hebrew). Note that two national epics, Homer’s Ulysses and Vergil’s Aeneid both rely on ancient legends before having been put in writing following wars, political upheavals, and economic chaos. In the first, Ulysses overcomes tragedies and temptations, hoping to restore a stable society. Aeneas goes through similar trials and temptations, and promised to found the nation of Rome. But both Ulysses and Aeneas must first reach “lands”—whereas the Jewish tribe depends on “the book.”
8 See Brenner, History, and Reuven Brenner, Betting on Ideas: Wars, Inventions, Inflation (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1985).
9 See Brenner, Force of Finance.
10 The text had to be succinct since the texts had to be hand-written on papyrus or expensive leather, so the content transferred orally and memorized. See Brenner, History.
11 Sumerian legends describe similar events. The story of Dumuzi and Enkidu, the first, a shepherd, competes with the second (a farmer) for favors from the goddess Inanna, who makes her decision based on the importance of the offered produce. This goddess vacillates between the two, but chooses the shepherd to be her husband. See Gary Greenberg, 101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History (Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks, 2000), 69. See also, Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer (New York: Harper and Row, 1983); note that “The Sumerian Dumuzi, who comes from the agricultural, more traditional area of southern Sumer . . . is characterized as the force in the grain. . . . The Akkadian Dumuzi, comes from the northern nomadic peoples, who emphasized the arbitrary will and power of the gods, is characterized as the shepherd” (p. ix). Cf. Tikva Frymer-Kensky, “The Atrahasis Epic and Its Significance for Our Understanding of Genesis 1–9,” Biblical Archaeologist 40, no. 4 (December 1977): 147–55; William H. McNeill, “Violence and Submission in the Human Past,” Daedalus 136, no. 1 (Winter 2007): 5–12.
12 See Brenner, History, ch. 1–2; Reuven Brenner, World of Chance: Betting on Religion, Games, Wall Street (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), ch. 1; and Brenner, “Prohibiting the Pursuit of Happiness.” “Primitive laws” were extremely precise about contracts and compensations, but they were oral, and the laws were enforced by family and kin. Relatively isolated, small-sized tribes cannot have much specialization.
13 Now the internet can be used for watching “brothers”—though most “brothers” do not want to be watched.
14 See Brenner, History and World of Chance on human nature and how institutions can mitigate envious, destructive reactions, and also accommodate ambition.
15 Yom Kippur is on top, as the “Shabbat of Shabbatot.”
16 See Melville J. Herskovits, Economic Anthropology (New York: Knopf, 1952), ch. 15, titled “Land Tenure: Hunters, Herders and Food Gatherers,” about both various arrangements considering rights to land tenure and resolution of disputes as population density grew.
17 See Reuven Brenner, Labyrinths of Prosperity: Economic Follies, Democratic Remedies (Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press, 1994), ch. 3. But the Dutch Republic was no welfare state: immigrants sank or swam, as was the case in the United States, too, for much of its history.
18 See Brenner, Betting on Ideas.
19 The Industrial Revolution notwithstanding, Europe was still an agricultural society with a 70–90 percent rural population in the nineteenth century.
20 Recently Rep. Rashida Tlaib came up with “people-ism”—whatever that means.
21 See Brenner, History, ch. 2.
22 See Brenner, History and “Prohibiting the Pursuit of Pleasure.”
24 And possibly in China too. See discussion in Brenner “Toward a New Bretton Woods Agreement.”
25 This internationally recognized principle may even have made things worse by raising expectations of any group which had any grievances, and who could now appeal in the name of “self-determination” to the new great powers (which, when it was in their interests, were happy to comply). Such expectations could only start conflicts or prevent them from being settled more quickly. Events leading to World War I showed how this happened in the past. Recent events in what was Yugoslavia are a reminder. See Brenner, Force of Finance, ch. 6.
26 They had to: when governments inadvertently destroy or weaken capital markets (in communism case because of ideology), they have to take on increased roles as financial intermediaries. See Brenner, Force of Finance, ch. 1.
27 Such regime existed between 1904 and 1929, an epoch titled “Dollar Diplomacy.” See Faisal Z. Ahmed, Laura Alfaro, and Noel Maurer, “Lawsuits and Empire: On the Enforcement of Sovereign Debt in Latin America,” Law and Contemporary Problems 73, no. 4 (Fall 2010): 39–46.
28 How many immigrants can a country absorb within a certain time, without changing the features of its political institutions? Can Canada open the doors to, say, 37 million migrants, doubling the size of its population?
29 See Brenner, Force of Finance, ch. 1. Many academic advocates of shock therapy at the time came from top U.S. universities yet were blind to the fact that these countries had weakened domestic institutions, religious ones among them, and did not have legal and political institutions to prevent rapid, outrageous corruption.
30 See Brenner, Force of Finance, ch. 1.
31 Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (New York: Random House, 1987).
32 Such centralization is accompanied by rising envy, since people’s success is perceived as related to government favors, corruption and arbitrariness, rather than merit. See Brenner, Labyrinths of Prosperity, ch. 5 on envy in communist Russia.