On July 29, 1914

Saturday, 15 February, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Allow me to quote from that edition of the New York Times (which at that time cost one cent in New York, Jersey City and Newark, and two cents everywhere else) :

Austrian Emperor to Take Command at Vienna Headquarters

WAR FEVER AT CAPITAL

Crowds Cheer Outbreak of Hostilities and Demonstrate at Friendly Embassies.

OUTBREAK OF FOOD RIOTS

Prices soar as Hostilities Are Declared and the Government Steps In to Regulate Them.

MANIFESTO FROM EMPEROR

Forced to Grasp the Sword, He Says, to Defend the Honor of His Monarchy

FRANCE FEARS A GREAT WAR

Army Moves to the Frontier -- Belief in Paris That Russia Will Not Desert Servia

Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES
VIENNA, July 28.-- Upon the issue of the formal declaration of war against Servia today Emperor Franz Josef gave orders for the removal of the Summer Court from Ischli to the capital. His entourage tried to persuade him that Vienna air would not suit him, but the aged Emperor replied :
"I do not want the air of Vienna. I want the atmosphere of headquarters."ii
The opening of the war has caused the imposition of all kinds of restrictions upon public business. All the railways, of courseiii, are under military control, and the telegraphs are being reserved entirely for the service of the State.
The hope is still entertained here that the war will be confined to Austria-Hungary and Servia. The report that Russia and France have intervened in Vienna is incorrect. In official circles here it is maintained that any action by those powers must be supported by the third party to the Triple Entente, namely, Great Britain. It is known that Great Britain and France do not want a European war. Peace among the great powers or war among the great powers must depend on the action of St. Petersburg.
At the Foreign Office here it is freely stated that now that war has begun Austria-Hungary will be bound to no more conditions such as she propounded prior to the outbreak of hostilities.

Food Prices Up in Vienna

There was an abnormal rise in the price of provisions today, which caused great indignation on the part of the public, who flocked to the markets to lay in stores in anticipation of a possible scarcity. Vegetables in many cases trebled in price. Feeling ran so high that in many instances stallkeepers in the markets were mobbed or assaultediv, and the police had to be called out to restore order. The authorities declare that the sudden increase in the prices of provisions and vegetables is totally unwarranted.
A permanent committee appointed to deal with the question of provisioning the country, sat today to discuss the regulation of prices in order to prevent the public being cheated. A similar meeting with the same object also was held in the Diet.
It was officially asserted that there was no reason for apprehension with regard to the food supply, and that it was needless for citizens to start the accumulation of stores of provisions. The only effect of such procedure, it was added, would be to still further raise prices.
Official arrangements have been made to take care of families of reservists called to the colors. In the event of a reservist being killed or reported missing an allowance of about 25 cents per day for each adult and 12 1/2 cents a day for children will be continued for six months.

This would make an excellent summation of the contribution of government in the wellbeing of society and people generally :

Step 1. Take boneheaded measure.

Step 2. Declare that the market reaction to your boneheaded measure is "unwarranted". Because you'd know better than the market. Really.v

Step 3. Organise "commissions" and other bureaucratic nonsense to fight the market and authoritatively misrepresent the situation. Because this can be done. Really.

Step 4. Make sure the people are "taken care" of, in the sense that the surviving families of anyone killed as a result of following your boneheaded notions out in the field receives enough small changes to buy multiple newspapers each day. Or perhaps a potato, or half a celery root.vi

Step 5. Profit. By which we mean, of course, disaster. Complete, utter, absolute and unmitigated disaster.

But that's okay, surely a new government or five are ready to pick up where the previous attempt left off. All this because god forbid people find themselves in that horrible state of not having a government! Why, that'd spell out chaos! Disaster! Famine! Millions of people would kill themselves in ditches over a couple of miles, there'd be no food, no order, nothing.

Right ?

———
  1. Bad Ischl, on Traun River in the centre of the Salzkammergut. []
  2. It is said that Austrians are principally to be remembered for two major accomplishments during their otherwise unremarkable history, the first thereof being they convinced the world Mozart was Austrian (he was Bavarian) and the second being they convinced the world Hitler was German (he was Austrian). It it perhaps also worth observing that Austrian nationals managed to start both World Wars. []
  3. Why of course ?! []
  4. In common law the crime of assault is giving rise to the apprehension of violence, which is why the word is contrasted with "mobbed". []
  5. In the particular case at hand, idiot Austrian "authorities" declare there is no need to make stores. In 1914, this. Clearly it'd serve no purpose to have food set aside right before WW1. []
  6. Suppose factories and generally economic activity were organised by this principle, that labour is free, and should anyone get killed in the process of working their asses off the family will receive a quarter a day for a whole half year. []
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6 Responses

  1. Klinsmann`s avatar
    1
    Klinsmann 
    Friday, 10 April 2015

    Popescu Imi pare ca desenezi elsuiimtl mai mult din wish-list si mai putin din starea de fapt. Indivizii nu se nasc egali intr-o arena cu lei de unde cel mai destoinic reuseste. Elitele, in realitate, nu au ca singur criteriu succesul. Imi pare ca tu excluzi mostenirea succesului din ecuatie. @Dana Ideea unui model imi pare mai fegraba utopica decat pragmatica. In fapt civilizatia moderna occidentala evolueaza incremental si orice schimbare completa de paradigm a avut efecte dezastruase (nazism, comunism). De aceea cred ca determinarea unui model ideal e un efort inuti. In fapt e suficient un criteriu ce trebuie de fiecare data aplicat actului politic. Omeneste vorbind, ca politician dar si ca elector, e mult mai simplu sa verifici un criteriu. Imi pare ca asta e si sensul unei doctrine politice in societatea moderna.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    2
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 10 April 2015

    Bai da' sunteti obositori cu elitismu' azi, v-ati vorbit sau ceva ? Mostenirea succesului e asa, ca daca esti un dezmostenit de-al successului de-ala inghite si tu o furculita ceva ca n-are nimeni timp de fata ta.

    Cine-i Dana.

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