A new paper, "Why Did Putin Invade Ukraine? A Theory of Degenerate Autocracy," by Georgy Egorov, a managerial economics professor at Northwestern University, and Konstantin Sonin, a political economist at the University of Chicago, attempts to shed light on why dictators make disastrous decisions, such as Hitler deciding to attack the Soviet Union, or Putin deciding to invade Ukraine. The abstract suggests "an institutional environment in which better-informed subordinates have no chance to prevent the decision from being implemented ... the incumbent puts more emphasis on loyalty than competence."
As I pointed out in the comments when Tyler Cowen posted a link, this seems to be at least partially a restatement of the SNAFU principle in Illuminatus! that communication is only possible between equals.
Here is another new paper: 'The Counter-Reformation, Science, and Long-Term Growth: A Black Legend?" by Matías Cabello of Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. A posting on Twitter offers a handy summary: "New paper: before the Counter-Reformation, Catholic and Protestant cities had comparable numbers of scientists per capita. Afterwards, Catholic cities experienced a persistent relative decline. Counter-Reformation's search for heresy was a negative shock to science."
In an interview that I can't give a citation for, because I cannot remember which one it was, Robert Anton Wilson noted that Sigismundo Celine, the hero of his "Historical Illuminatus!" novels, discovers that England is more advanced in many ways than Italy, because it is more free -- it doesn't have an Inquisition.
And although I can't point to that interview, I can note that Wilson makes much the same point in the introduction to The Walls Came Tumbling Down, which as I noted the other day, has just been reissued by Hilaritas.
Wilson writes, "After the coming of the Holy Inquisition, nobody discovered any new chemical elements in the Catholic nations of Europe; all the new chemical discoveries, i.e. the majority of the elements now known, came from Protestant nations. (See my Reality Is What You Can Get Away With for more data on this.)
"Even today, the effects of the Inquisition linger on, visibly, in the quality of life in most of northern Europe as compared to southern (Catholic) Europe."
Tom, The Sigismundo Celine quote is from THE EARTH WILL SHAKE. Keep up the good work.
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