Twofish's Blog

January 21, 2009

Looking at how the past sees the future

Filed under: Uncategorized — twofish @ 10:25 am

What you need to do when you study history is to look at what people *at the time* thought they were doing and why, and one thing that you quickly learn is that people are horribly bad at predicting the consequences of their actions, and history also causes actions to have unexpected consequences. Sometimes unexpected good. Sometimes unexpected bad.

The problem with reading history is we know what happened, and one thing that is interesting is to look at history with “blinders.” Read what people were doing in 1929 *knowing nothing about what happened after 1929*, and you quickly find that people seem to be doing reasonable things that had extremely unexpected consequences. The actions of the Federal Reserve and Treasury in 1929 were perfectly reasonable *given they knew what they knew*, it’s just that we have the benefit of knowing what happened. You don’t even have to go back to 1929. Go back in time to 1998, 2000, 2003, 2007 and try to remember what the world looked like at these dates. (It helps if you are older.)

This is extremely important in trying to figure out what to do, because *we do not know the future*. It’s certain that we will be doing things that will seem bizarre and stupid to people that do know how history turned out, and it’s also certain that there will be a lot of unexpected happenings. It’s also a constant of history is that the solutions of one era become the problems of the next.

Once you realize how important chance, fate, and the unexpected are to historical events, then the notion that the entire world is run by a few people that control everything becomes impossible to justify. There is a power elite in the world, a relatively small set of people that have the ability to make key decisions, but they are human and they cannot see the future or even totally understand the full consequences of their decisions.

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