China’s Desire For Ivory and the Effect Upon African Countries 


China is one of the only countries in which recently acquired ivory can be sold legally, and because it is in such high demand, China’s insatiable thirst for ivory is devastating elephant populations around the world. 80% of the Chinese middle class own one or more pieces of ivory and 84% of those people intend to purchase more in the future. Trade between Africa and China between 2003 and 2013 has jumped from $6,000,000,000 ($6 billion) to over $100,000,000,000 ($100 billion). China has been investing in Africa, building roads and shipping ports as a way to streamline the trading process. Some of the most popular goods traded include turtles which are eaten, shark fins which are also ingested, rhinoceros horn which is ground up and consumed, and elephant ivory which is carved into decorations. 60,000 shipping containers enter Chinese ports each day, with less than 1% being searched, making Chinese ports a smugglers paradise. Only 16% of ivory sold in China is legally traded and can be verified to have been sourced from legally acquired sources. Kenya has achieved success with elephant protection due to private philanthropy which funds the ability to patrol Kenyan parks via helicopter and land vehicles with armed security personnel, trained guards who have been authorized to shoot to kill when poachers have been identified actively poaching or attempting to poach

The Unsustainability of Massive Debt 


A major driver of prosperity during the last 50 years of the 20th century has been debt. Prior to World War II, significant debt (e.g. mortgages) did not exist. Debt has been the fundamental driver of all of this forward momentum. This system of prosperity is dependant upon one’s financial ability to service it, and although it is accepted as normal, it is unfortunately unsustainable. This movement has created the enormous financial sector and markets which the industrialized world is now familiar with. The mindset of enjoying now and paying later creates a mindset in which people are divorced from affordability. History has consistently demonstrated that this model is highly volatile and worse, unsustainable in the long run

The Vancouver, Canada Housing Market and the Theory of the Greater Fool 


The Fraser Valley is the fastest growing suburb in Canada. The housing market in Vancouver, British Columbia is by far the most expensive in Canada, even more so than in Toronto, Ontario which for a long time was the most destabilized market in Canada. The most expensive region of Vancouver to live in is West Vancouver. 65% of residents of Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver area which includes the Fraser Valley are homeowners. Fundamentally, the Vancouver housing market is easy and cheap income, and from that, lots of it. The chasing of returns on a speculative basis has no basis in reality in terms of what an assets (e.g. a physical property) true valuation is but it is justified on the notion that it does not matter what a buyer pays now, as another buyer will pay more in the future. This is referred to as the “Greater Fool theory” in that the next person will cover the cost of the last person. This model is for obvious reasons unsustainable

The Ancient Greek Ruler Draco and the Ancient Greek Reformer Solon 


Draconian laws which are associated with being especially unfair and cruel stem from the tyrant Draco who commissioned them in 621 B.C.. Draco forced farmers who couldn’t pay their debts into slavery and simple crimes like stealing a cabbage were punishable by death. The wise reformer Solon saved Athens by freeing all indebted slaves, eliminating the death penalty for all but extreme cases, and wrestling the political power out of the hands of noble bloodlines by establishing a council of 400 citizens to run the city, a bold step during its day, to untether governance from inheritance

The Ancient Greek Philosopher Thales 


The Ancient Greek philosopher Thales, considered the world’s first philosopher by Aristotle, used geometry to calculate the distance of ships from the shoreline, the height of the Great Pyramids of Egypt, was the first person to predict a solar eclipse, and posited a cause for earthquakes. Thales perceived that the earth floated upon water like a giant raft which of course was wrong, but his scientific inquiry into the reasons as to why things occur rather than attributing it to the god’s was the first glimmering scintillation of a revolutionary way of thinking. Thales inspired more great minds like Pythagoras who developed the concept that numbers and mathematics could explain the universe, and Hippocrates who developed an ethical code for practicing medicine

The Forced Exploitation of Afghani Farmers By the Taliban 


Not only does the Taliban force Afghani farmers into growing poppies for opium production by methods of intimidation and the threat of violence and/or death to the farmers and their families, they also incentivize these people by paying large loans in cash beforehand which is attractive to poor Afghan farmers who see the money as a quicker and more reliable method rather than farming the land to feed their family. This system is intentionally designed to ensure the farmers are monetarily indebted to the person providing the loan so that they must produce and yield a certain amount of crop in order to pay that debt back. Some opium farmers end up selling their daughters in an exchange to become debt free, having daughters as young as 12 marry drug lords who often acquire 4 or 5 wives because they have the income to do so. Over 1,000,000 (1 million) people in Afghanistan are addicted to heroin making the problem both localized as well as internationalized abroad. 90% of the world’s heroin production comes from Afghanistan. The Quran actually stipulates that it is against Islamic law to both grow as well as consume opium. While other crops take 3 – 5 years to reach their full potential in terms of yield each year, poppy crops are immediately fruitful after their first year

The Hypocrisy of the Ancient Romans Towards the Ancient Druids 


The Druids were a terrifying spectacle to the ancient Romans, even to those who were battle hardened soldiers. The Roman historian Tacticus in 60 A.D. described the Druid’s as, “the enemy in a close packed array of armed men interspersed with women dressed like furies in funeral black, with streaming hair and brandishing torches, round about were the druids, their hands raised to heaven, pouring out dire curses”. Celtic Iron Age priests ruled Druid territory with an iron grip based upon religious intimidation and human sacrifice. The Druids were believed by the Romans to be maligned priests who held supernatural powers. The Romans wanted to eliminate the Druids as they viewed them as savages and barbaric due to their tradition of human sacrifice. Ironically, this was during the same era of the Circus Maximus and Colosseum holding gladiator battles which often went to the death