Ancient Cultures & the “Civilization” cycle

Ancient Cultures & the “Civilization” cycle

During my early educational process, I had assumed that civilization was developed through a logical process of incremental steps from the earliest cave dwelling humanoids on to the present day which was the pinnacle. In recent years my view has changed. I now suspect that there have been numerous cycles that involved the movement toward civilized and more advanced groups of humanity only for that attempt to eventually devolve for reasons that have eluded us, or perhaps not. Did not the Greek city states & Rome have advanced architecture, engineering and enlightened forms of governance? When compared to the “Dark Ages” it appears than European civilization devolved.

Other examples of this can be seen in the Mayan and other civilizations of Mexico and Central & South America.

This above is more than circumstantial evidence which brings me to my hypothesis (one that is shared by an increasing number). We know little other than what has been recorded and much of that was documented after the fact. When tend to not believe verbal history, even though much of what was recorded in the oldest books was a recounting of verbal stories. It seems that merely writing it down provides credibility?

What I propose is that there likely have been ancient civilizations with some amazing technologies, but that knowledge has been lost. Conventional wisdom provides that the Step pyramid was the oldest and that the Giza pyramids were later improved versions. Also, that pyramids were built as tombs for various pharaohs. I suspect that the Giza pyramids were much older and the Step pyramid was an attempt to replicate that architecture at a much later date. Also, there is no direct evidence that the purpose of a pyramid was as a burial chamber as no body or even a sarcophagus has ever been found in any pyramid. The notion that the crude box found in the Great Pyramid was intended to be a sarcophagus is laughable. 

The notion that the amazing stone work at both Cusco and Machu Picchu was accomplished by the Incas seems incredible to me. Their culture was in power for a very short time (less than 100 years), they apparently could not envision using a wheel in any capacity and yet they had mastered the technology of moving a 360- ton boulder over ten miles and up a 45-degree slope for a ½ mile. Then they positioned it to fit between two other large boulders in such a way that it fit so precisely that not even a razor blade can penetrate the joints (and no mortar was used). They then positioned another level of boulders on top, some weighing over 100 tons, so that they had the same precision of fit. There are several thousand stones in the 50 – 150 ton category at the site! They went from an agrarian society to one with this technological capability in less than 100 years! Does this make any sense at all?

More on this topic in next week’s post

Registered Voters & The Electoral College

Registered Voters & The Electoral College

Our country’s current population is roughly 328 million and increasing at the moderate annual rate of .8%. Currently all of our growth rate is due to immigration as our death rate is slightly higher than our birth rate.

There are currently 229 million persons over the age of 18 (potential voters) and 200 million are registered to vote. Voter registration is up by 54 million since 2000! There are currently 157 million in our workforce. The very rough breakdown of the registration is: Democrats = 82 million, Republicans = 67 million & Independents = 51 million.

Following stats are from 2003 which is why the totals will not equal our 2019 population, but the ratios are still roughly the same. The electoral college allows for a vote for each Representative and each Senator. I have The intention was to give the smaller (by population) states more influence. Note that Wyoming has more than 3 times the number of votes, per capita, as compared to California:

States 2004 Population 2004 Electoral Votes % vs. National Average
Alabama 4,530,182 9   Reps: 6 Rep 1 Dem 108% 
Alaska 655,435 3            1 Rep 250%
Arizona 5,743,834 10          4 Rep 5 Dem 95%
Arkansas 2,752,629 6            4 Rep 119%
California 35,893,799 55          8 Rep 45 Dem 84%
Colorado 4,601,403 9            3 Rep 4 Dem 107%
Connecticut 3,503,604 7            0 Rep 5 Dem           109%
Delaware 830,364 3            0 Rep 1 Dem 197%
Dist. of Columbia 553,523 3            0 Rep 0 Dem 296%
Florida 17,397,161 27         14 Rep 13 Dem  85%
Georgia 8,829,383 15         10 Rep 5 Dem 93%
Hawaii 1,262,840 4            0 Rep 2 Dem 173%
Idaho 1,393,262 4            2 Rep 0 Dem 157%
Illinois 12,713,634 21          5 Rep 13 Dem 90%
Indiana 6,237,569 11          7 Rep 2 Dem 96%
Iowa 2,954,451 7            1 Rep 3 Dem 129%
Kansas 2,735,502 6            3 Rep 1 Dem 120%
Kentucky 4,145,922 8            5 Rep 1 Dem 105%
Louisiana 4,515,770 9            5 Rep 1 Dem 109%
Maine 1,317,253 4            0 Rep 2 Dem 166%
Maryland 5,558,058 10          1 Rep 7 Dem 98%
Massachusetts 6,4716,505 12          0 Rep 9 Dem 102%
Michigan 10,112,620 17          7 Rep 7 Dem 92%
Minnesota 5,100,958 10          3 Rep 5 Dem 107%
Mississippi 2,902,966 6            3 Rep 1 Dem 113%
Missouri 5,754,618 11          6 Rep 2 Dem 104%
Montana 926,865 3            1 Rep 0 Dem 177%
Nebraska 1,747,214 5            3 Rep 0 Dem 156%
Nevada 2,334,771 5            1 Rep 3 Dem 117%
New Hampshire 1,299,500 4            0 Rep 2 Dem 168%
New Jersey 8,698,879 15          1 Rep 11 Dem 94%
New Mexico 1,903,289 5            0 Rep 3 Dem 143%
New York 19,227,088 31          6 Rep 21 Dem 88%
North Carolina 8,541,221 15     9 Rep 3 Dem 1 Open 96%
North Dakota 634,366 3            1 Rep 0 Dem 258%
Ohio 11,459,011 20          10 Rep 4 Dem 95%
Oklahoma 3,523,553 7             4 Rep 1 Dem 108%
Oregon 3,594,586 7             1 Rep 4 Dem 106%
Pennsylvania 12,406,292 21           8 Rep 10 Dem 92%
Rhode Island 1,080,632 4             0 Rep 2 Dem 202%
South Carolina 4,198,068 8             5 Rep 2 Dem 104%
South Dakota 770,883 3             1 Rep 0 Dem 212%
Tennessee 5,900,962 11           7 Rep 2 Dem 102%
Texas 22,490,022 34          23 Rep 13 Dem 83%
Utah 2,389,039 5             3 Rep 1 Dem 114%
Vermont 621,394 3             0 Rep 1 Dem 264%
Virginia 7,459,827 13           4 Rep 7 Dem 95%
Washington 6,203,788 11           3 Rep 7 Dem 97%
West Virginia 1,815,354 5             3 Rep 0 Dem 150%
Wisconsin 5,509,026 10           5 Rep 3 Dem 99%
Wyoming 506,529 3             1 Rep 0 Dem 323%

Only two states apportion their electoral votes (Maine & Nebraska) according to the popular vote. In all other states it is all or nothing. Consider the following example: Three candidates are on the ballot. The Democrat gets 39% of the popular vote, the Republican gets 38% and the Libertarian gets 23%. The Democrat receives all of that state’s vote. Note: there are a few states that require the winner to have at least 50%, but most do not.

There have only been three occasions when the winner of the presidential election did not win the popular vote:

In 1824, John Quincy Adams (Democratic-Republican) was elected president despite not winning either the popular vote or the electoral vote. Andrew Jackson was the winner in both categories. Jackson received 38,000 more popular votes than Adams, and beat him in the electoral vote 99 to 84. Despite his victories, Jackson didn’t reach the majority 131 votes needed in the Electoral College to be declared president. In fact, neither candidate did. The decision went to the House of Representatives, which voted Adams into the White House.

In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes (Republican) won the election (by a margin of one electoral vote), but he lost the popular vote by more than 250,000 ballots to Samuel J. Tilden.

In 1888, Benjamin Harrison (Republican)  received 233 electoral votes to Grover Cleveland’s 168, winning the presidency. But Harrison lost the popular vote by more than 90,000 votes.

In 2000, George W. Bush (Republican) was declared the winner of the general election and became the 43rd president, but he didn’t win the popular vote either. Al Gore holds that distinction, garnering about 540,000 more votes than Bush. However, Bush won the electoral vote, 271 to 266.

In 2016, Donald Trump (Republican) won the electoral vote by 304 to 227 over Hillary Clinton, but Trump lost the popular vote. Clinton received nearly 2.9 million more votes than Trump, according to an analysis by the Associated Press of the certified results in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Based on this history, if you are a Republican, you likely favor the electoral college method, but if you are a Democrat not! r

Income Inequality and how the middle class has been screwed – final

Income Inequality and how the middle class has been screwed

Obviously, our country is not the only one that has screwed the middle class but the fact that our wage gap continues to widen is alarming. I think it worthwhile to see how we stack up when compared to other industrialized countries that operate within a democratic system:

UN and CIA list – income ratios and Gini indices

Key:
R/P 10%: The ratio of the average income of the richest 10% to the poorest 10%.
R/P 20%: The ratio of the average income of the richest 20% to the poorest 20%.
Gini: Gini index, a quantified representation of a nation’s Lorenz curve. A Gini index of 0% expresses perfect equality, while index of 100% expresses maximal inequality.
UN: Data from the United Nations Development Programme.
CIA: Data from the Central Intelligence Agency‘s The World Factbook.

Country UN R/P World Bank Gini [3] CIA R/P [4] CIA Gini[5] 
10%[6] 20%[7] Year 10%Year%Year
         
Australia 12.55.834.7201012.7199430.32008
Austria 6.94.930.520146.8200426.32007
Belgium 8.24.228.120148.3200025.92013 est. 
Canada 9.46.23420139.5200032.12005
Denmark 8.1428.52014122000 est.24.82011 est. 
Finland 5.63.926.820145.7200026.82008
France 9.15.232.320148.3200430.12013
Greece 10.27.135.8201410.42000 est.34.42013 est. 
Hungary 5.54.930.920145.6200224.72009
Iceland  3.625.62014  282006
Ireland 9.45.131.920149.4200033.92010
Israel 13.49.841.4201211.8200537.62012
Italy 11.66.634.7201411.7200031.92012 est. 
Japan 4.55.432.120084.5199337.92011
Netherlands 9.24.428.620149.2199925.12013
New Zealand 12.4     36.21997
Norway 6.14.126.820146200026.82010
Poland 8.8532.120148.7200234.12009
Portugal 156.435.620149.21995 est.34.22013 est. 
Slovakia 6.74.126.120146.7199625.32012
Slovenia 5.93.725.720145.9199823.72012
South Africa 33.128.463201431.9200062.52013 est. 
Spain 10.37.336201410.22000342011
Sweden 6.24.627.220146.2200024.92013
Switzerland 95.232.520138.9200028.72012 est. 
United Kingdom 13.85.434.1201413.6199932.42012
United States 18.59.441.52016142014 est.472014
 World    122002 est.382007

The US ranks highest in terms of unequal distribution of income among all of the above countries! =