Slate – MATTHEW YGLESIAS – Apr 17, 2013
…In Westeros, the Lannisters have the cube of gold and the Tyrells with the rich farmland of the Reach have the real resources. You can’t eat gold. You can’t feed it to your horse either. Gold doesn’t keep you warm during those lengthy winters. Gold is useful primarily because it’s a convenient medium of exchange (who wants to carry all that wheat around) and a durable store of value (keeping a whole bunch of horses alive and healthy is itself a resource intensive process). So people with claims over valuable real resources will often end up accumulating gold. But though the Lannisters have more gold than anyone else, that’s not how they got their gold. They just own gold mines.
Now don’t get me wrong, you’d rather own gold mines than not own them. But the ability to pull shiny metal out of the ground is trivial compared to the power of a well-fed army. Imagine a scenario in which the Westerlands are out of food, and the Reach is out of gold. The Tyrells and their bannermen will need to curtail their consumption of luxury goods until they can manage to sell food for gold, but the austerity will be survivable if a bit unpleasant. The Lannisters, by contrast, are going to find that if they try to trade a whole big pile of gold for a whole big pile of food that the price of food will skyrocket. The illusion of Lannister wealthy is based on the idea that we can take the marginal price of an ounce of gold, then multiply that by the total quantity of the Lannister gold supply, and then conclude that the Lannisters are hyper-wealthy. In reality, any effort to mobilize all that metallic wealth will lead to inflation rather than the ability to mobilize vast quantities of real resources.
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Artificial economic development detrimental to human society
During the reign of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, the clouds showered all the water that people needed, and the earth produced all the necessities of man in profusion. Due to its fatty milk bag and cheerful attitude, the cow used to moisten the grazing ground with milk.
The basic principle of economic development is centered on land and cows. The necessities of human society are food grains, fruits, milk, minerals, clothing, wood, etc. One requires all these items to fulfill the material needs of the body. Certainly one does not require flesh and fish or iron tools and machinery. During the regime of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, all over the world there were regulated rainfalls. Rainfalls are not in the control of the human being. The heavenly King Indradeva is the controller of rains, and he is the servant of the Lord. When the Lord is obeyed by the king and the people under the king’s administration, there are regulated rains from the horizon, and these rains are the causes of all varieties of production on the land. Not only do regulated rains help ample production of grains and fruits, but when they combine with astronomical influences there is ample production of valuable stones and pearls. Grains and vegetables can sumptuously feed a man and animals, and a fatty cow delivers enough milk to supply a man sumptuously with vigor and vitality. If there is enough milk, enough grains, enough fruit, enough cotton, enough silk and enough jewels, then why do the people need cinemas, houses of prostitution, slaughterhouses, etc.? What is the need of an artificial luxurious life of cinema, cars, radio, flesh and hotels? Has this civilization produced anything but quarreling individually and nationally? Has this civilization enhanced the cause of equality and fraternity by sending thousands of men into a hellish factory and the war fields at the whims of a particular man?
It is said here that the cows used to moisten the pasturing land with milk because their milk bags were fatty and the animals were joyful. Do they not require, therefore, proper protection for a joyful life by being fed with a sufficient quantity of grass in the field? Why should men kill cows for their selfish purposes? Why should man not be satisfied with grains, fruits and milk, which, combined together, can produce hundreds and thousands of palatable dishes. Why are there slaughterhouses all over the world to kill innocent animals? Mahārāja Parīkṣit, grandson of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, while touring his vast kingdom, saw a black man attempting to kill a cow. The King at once arrested the butcher and chastised him sufficiently. Should not a king or executive head protect the lives of the poor animals who are unable to defend themselves? Is this humanity? Are not the animals of a country citizens also? Then why are they allowed to be butchered in organized slaughterhouses? Are these the signs of equality, fraternity and nonviolence?
Therefore, in contrast with the modern, advanced, civilized form of government, an autocracy like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira’s is by far superior to a so-called democracy in which animals are killed and a man less than an animal is allowed to cast votes for another less-than-animal man.
We are all creatures of material nature. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that the Lord Himself is the seed-giving father and material nature is the mother of all living beings in all shapes. Thus mother material nature has enough foodstuff both for animals and for men, by the grace of the Father Almighty, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The human being is the elder brother of all other living beings. He is endowed with intelligence more powerful than animals for realizing the course of nature and the indications of the Almighty Father. Human civilizations should depend on the production of material nature without artificially attempting economic development to turn the world into a chaos of artificial greed and power only for the purpose of artificial luxuries and sense gratification. This is but the life of dogs and hogs.