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Sandpit

May 29th, 2017

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

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  1. Greg McKenzie
    May 29th, 2017 at 11:07 | #1

    I would like to hear opinions on civil wars. I am writing an e-book on a fictional civil war, ostensibly set in an Australian city, but with no place names so it could be anywhere. I have already written 48 000 words and am ready to finish this first e-book. But all my knowledge of civil wars is from books. Plutarch’s Roman Lives is good but written by an ancient poet not a philosopher. The English civil war accounts were all written by Roundheads. Most civil war histories were written by the winners. Of course, there is the imbedded news journal reports, but how unbiased are these sensational expose. I need eye witness accounts to check my fiction against, as far as I can I wish it to read as creative reality and not Hollywood drivel. Please help if you can. The economics of civil wars I get. Black markets, the dark web and the loss of human capital and the destruction of infrastructure gives savage shocks to any economy. It’s like that show Survivor but everyone dies from lack of needs. But the social costs of civil war have to be lived with, to really appreciate their demoralising effects.

  2. poselequestion
    May 29th, 2017 at 13:41 | #2

    @Greg McKenzie Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia”. So the full futility of a civil war and the involvement of the uninvited can be fully appreciated read
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n24/james-meek/worse-than-a-defeat

    and in particular a book discussed in the above.
    An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict 1978-2012 by Mike Martin
    Hurst, 389 pp, £25.00, April 2014, ISBN 978 1 84904 336 6

  3. Richard Mudford
    May 29th, 2017 at 13:50 | #3
  4. Richard Mudford
    May 29th, 2017 at 13:53 | #4

    Oops – that was clumsy. This is a reply to Greg McKenzie. I’m wondering whether you might find this book review interesting?

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/06/08/what-gets-called-civil-war/

    Also, have you looked at isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry? Also Shelby Foote’s 3 volume history of the American Civil War contains many eye witness accounts from both sides. I also remember the Ken Burns TV series as being very good.

  5. Brenton
    May 29th, 2017 at 14:43 | #5

    Antony Beevor, The Battle For Spain. Not a particularly easy read but it gives a good account of how, once conflict breaks out, disparate militia groups spring up; each with their own agenda, and will cross sides as the haggle for who they believe will serve their agenda.

  6. Greg McKenzie
    May 29th, 2017 at 15:14 | #6

    Thanks to Richard Mudford and Brenton. That is exactly what I need. The Spanish Civil War was one I drew on for my fictional account. I remember a documentary on the brutal loss of life in the American Civil War. The southern states accused the Northern armies, under Ulysses S. Grant of what we would, today, term ethnic cleansing. On one battle field the loss of life was measure in the tens of thousands for just one engagement. Having won the battlefield, the northern General proceeded to reduce the nearby town to rubble with his cannons. Now the loss of civilian lives was also in the tens of thousands. But it has always been thus, Plutarch mentions one civil war (he lived through four such events) where the dead were piled up two meters high. I apologize to Plutarch supporters, when I called him a poet I was quoting my Ancient History lecturer. The Twenty-First Century ancient historians classify him more frequently now as a moral philosopher.

  7. May 29th, 2017 at 15:33 | #7

    Here is a proposal to make owning a home affordable without changing the existing system but by bringing competition to the loans market.

    I would be interested in finding holes in the explanation of how it works. It is short because it had to fit into the restrictions of a “letter to the editor”.

    https://medium.com/@kevin_34708/affordable-housing-with-coops-40d1d57712b

  8. Moz of Yarramulla
    May 30th, 2017 at 09:49 | #8

    @Kevin Cox

    That “coop” structure would require a large pile of capital to get started in order to make the early repayments before borrowers started paying, on top of the initial lending capital. There would also be great difficulty operating within the limited liability framework imposed by Australian law. Specifically, deferred repayments when people can be declared bankrupt or even die.

    The local co-op building society when I was a lad worked by everyone pooling their savings so that they could incrementally buy houses. Crudely, each year the co-op accumulated a pile of money sufficient to buy another house, and a non-house-owning member was chosen by ballot to be given that money as a mortgage. That actually worked for 50 years or so.

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