By Oliver Thomson
It is a candid, occasionally arguable learn of the mental or different flaws of political, non secular and monetary leaders from precedent days to the current day: from Rameses II to Colonel Gaddafi, from Genghis Khan to Stalin and Hitler, from Buddha or Saint Paul to Martin Luther or Ron Hubbard, from bipolar, insecure, asthmatic or sex-addicted presidents to alcoholic major ministers, mad kings, overweight emperors and kleptomaniac dictators. among their fans we discover psychopathic police chiefs, homosexual generals, crazed philosophers, epileptic prophets and ludomaniac enterprise- males. we glance at how the minor character issues and illnesses of the few have led usually to massive distress for the various. with out slavish adherence to the most recent psychiatric models the writer makes use of a minimum of a few of these suggestions to aid examine the anti-social behaviour qualities of leaders prior and current and to evaluate the measure to which their psychological or actual country contributed to many of the world's worst man-made failures: wars, genocides, famines, persecutions, enslavements and recessions. We give some thought to the questions: what number thousands died as the Archangel Gabriel supposedly seemed to either the Virgin Mary and Mohammed? what number hundreds of thousands died simply because Napoleon used to be bullied in school, simply because Hitler did not get into the Vienna Academy, simply because Stalin had an alcoholic father or simply because Mao suffered from realization deficit hyperactivity sickness? ' it isn't reasonable that the lives of thousands depend upon the judgement of a guy whose brain is warped by means of arteriosclerosis.' C.MacLaurin,1925 'Civilization as we all know it really is mostly the production of psychopaths' Clinton Callaghan
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Additional info for A Short History of Human Error
Queen Elizabeth invested in Hawkins and Drake as pioneers of the British slave trade, supplying black labour to the West Indies and Central America. She also patronised the first three ships to sail to India in 1591,an expedition that was rationalised with the creation of what was later called the East India Company in 1600. This company developed its own colonial outposts trading in cotton,silk,indigo,saltpetre, tea and later opium for the benefit of its investors. Similarly in 1606 the Virginia Company was founded in London to establish settlements and then plantations in North America at the expense of the native Americans.
Sometimes the effects of devaluation can be subtle and not entirely harmful as with the abandonment of the gold standard by the United States in 1933 followed by other nations with a view to reviving a stagnant economy. Harold Wilson however famously misled his country when arguing that 'the pound in your pocket' would still have the same value after a devaluation. The other marginally less obvious method for a government to steal money is what Alan Greenspan described as 'confiscation through inflation', simply printing more money or creating more credit.
Though led by brilliant men like Pericles, no single politician can be blamed for Athens' aggressive policies, its misuse of the Delian League to fund huge artistic projects like the building of the Parthenon,its savage massacre of those who stood in the way like the islanders of Melos in 417. The behaviour of the Athenians provoked the war with Sparta that brought about their ruin and the virtual end of their pioneering experiment in democracy. Rome was the other great city state of the ancient world which developed a habit of corporate kleptomania that cannot be attributed to any single ruler.