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Yes it is Scary – But Necessary

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COMMENT: Hi Martin,
Once again, thank you for all the information you provide on a daily basis.  It is informative as well as scary at the same time.  I’m afraid you are preaching to the hard headed.  Here in Canada, people truly believe in government and socialist ideologies.  It is amazing to see that they do not understand that government incompetence and debt is the real problem.  They blame the corporations and the “1%” for not “paying their fair share.”  No matter what is said, we here in Canada, want more social assistance and government to help us out.  Consider the Liberal party in Ontario was re-elected, even though they wasted billions of dollars on boondoggles, and now they want to implement an Ontario pension plan where they take 1.4% from your paycheck and another 1.4% from the employer to put into a government run pension.  We only know where that will end up.
Anyway, I would like to thank you for what you are doing but I’m afraid it is too late as socialism has been ingrained from birth through education.
REPLY: This is the source of the civil unrest. The bankers should sleep with armed guards because this is the type of people who will drag them from their beds in the middle of the night when they realize all is lost in their pensions as they listen to politicians blame the 1% for their failures. The politicians will NEVER admit they do not know how to manage anything. It is always that 1% who do not pay enough rather than their lack of management skills. Society has been rising up against the bankers in every society as government. Even looking at the rule of law, in China they dragged the chief justice out in his robs and killed him on the sport for always ruling in favor of the government many years ago. Riots against bankers even go back to ancient time as well as in the Middle Ages as the people burned the bankers homes in Florence during the 14th century.
I know what I write can be scary. But my hope is to identify the problem or when the crash and burn comes we will go in that direction of communism by a different name seizing all property and handing it to government. Maybe we are condemned to just watch others repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Maybe we should all take a rock and meet in the Caribbean and start our own island where we can hide from the crazies that will rule the world.
Florence Revolt ciompi
The same set of circumstances come up repeatedly. The history of Florence comes to mind that illustrates how people will respond to similar events.In Florence, there was the Revolt of the Ciompi in 1378 that was an insurrection involving the lower classes that seized the government and created the most dynamic democratic government that would ever exist in Florence. The Ciompi were the wool carders who were the most radical of all the groups and were largely acting out of the same philosophies that were later adopted by Karl Marx in the 19th Century.

The Rise of the Florentines against the Duke of Athens, 1343 by Luigi Sabatelli

There is little doubt that this Revolt of the Ciompi of 1378 erupted from the building of tensions which had been accumulating over a 51.6 year period. The Political-Economic Revolt of 1343 was over the corruption in government against the Duke of Athens and the rising unemployment thanks to the financial ruin of many of the smaller merchant-banks as well as the Peruzzi who were effectively bankrupt by 1343 – one of the most famous bankers. Then there was the Worker’s Uprising of 1346-1347 which was caused also by the rising unemployment thanks to the French Debasement that caused coinage to be hoarded shrinking the money supply and the famine of 1346 that caused great social unrest.
Against this backdrop came the Revolt of the Ciompi in 1378 once again concerning unemployment that was manifesting into demands for what we would call today, labor unions, or in those days, the right to form guilds.Without question, this economic period of about 52 years in Florence was one of a deepening economic spiral downward. The Revolt of the Ciompi came about 34 years after the first Political-Economic Revolt of 1343. The revolt began in June 1378 and ran through July. The people petitioned the courts and the executive council (Signoria) in Florence. They were demanding equitable fiscal city policy and to expand their right to form guilds to workers who had been previously excluded. Clearly, this was the beginning of a Marxist philosophy that we will see rise again during the 19th Century.The government and the courts turned their back of the demands for justice. On July 22nd, 1378, the lower classes stormed the government and seized all the government officials. They installed a wool carder by the name Michele di Lando as the chief judge – gonfaloniere of justice. As always, the courts failed to act fairly which only ensure there would be the alternative to force that we now run the risk with our 98%+ conviction rate. Even the French Revolution began with Bastille Day – storming the prison.

Once the courts become biased and corrupt ruling only in favor of the government, they fuel the seeds of revolution leaving the people with no choice. The rule of law is so critical for once it collapses, revolution follows. The Florence government was now controlled by the guilds that was the first time in Florentine history for such an event. The Ciompi were now raised to the status of a guild. Effectively, this became similar to the American Revolution demanding representation on behalf of the Ciompi.

The Ciompi were not a guild and were part of what was considered to be the lowest of the low, and the roughest of all citizens. The wool had to be washed, then cleansed using scissors, beaten, and then carded or combed. These were typically not guild workers in the shop, but were paid by the pound. They were the rowdy lot who were often cheated by the wool merchants paying them in clipped coin. They were the people who used muscle possessing no real skill of value.

One of the demands besides a fair wage, they wanted steady employment. There were 275 workdays at that time, so it was not a complaint of being forced to work long hours with no time off. This was a reflection of the lack of steady work that was arising to a larger extent thanks to the Black Death that naturally reduced the market for finish products. The work day was from sunrise to sunset, but the beaters and carders were hired on a day to day basis, and could work at home. The guilds were strong enough so that night work was forbidden. The silk workers and velvet makers were higher skilled than the woolen industry. Therefore, the Revolt of the Ciompi of 1378 was clearly a uprising due to unemployment and the lack of work rather than being over-worked. This was a profound problem with the sharp drop in demand caused by the Black Death.


As the economy continues to implode and unemployment rises, this will be a tremendous driving force behind the civil unrest. Add to this the decline in pensions and we have a serious problem. Yes it is scary. However, if you are standing on a train track and the train is roaring toward you but you are too busy listening to your iPod, would you want me to say hey – get off the tracks?