Sunday, March 1, 2015
Saturday, February 28, 2015
|Cover of Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary|
Voltaire was a great French writer, historian and philosopher, below is an excerpt from his Philosophical Dictionary. Apparently, not much has changed since the 18th Century...
Few bankruptcies were known in France before the sixteenth century. The great reason is that there were no bankers. Lombards, Jews lent on security at ten per cent: trade was conducted in cash. Exchange, remittances to foreign countries were a secret unknown to all judges.
It is not that many people were not ruined; but that was not called bankruptcy; one said discomfiture; this word is sweeter to the ear. One used the word rupture as did the Boulonnais; but rupture does not sound so well.
The bankruptcies came to us from Italy, bancorotto, bancarotta, gambarotta e la giustizia non impicar. Every merchant had his bench (banco) in the place of exchange; and when he had conducted his business badly, declared himself fallito, and abandoned his property to his creditors with the proviso that he retain a good part of it for himself, be free and reputed a very upright man. There was nothing to be said to him, his bench was broken, banco rotto, banca rotta; he could even, in certain towns, keep all his property and baulk his creditors, provided he seated himself bare-bottomed on a stone in the presence of all the merchants. This was a mild derivation of the old Roman proverb–solvere aut in aere aut in cute, to pay either with one’s money or one’s skin. But this custom no longer exists; creditors have preferred their money to a bankrupt’s hinder parts.
In England and in some other countries, one declares oneself bankrupt in the gazettes. The partners and creditors gather together by virtue of this announcement which is read in the coffee-houses, and they come to an arrangement as best they can.
As among the bankruptcies there are frequently fraudulent cases, it has been necessary to punish them. If they are taken to court they are everywhere regarded as theft, and the guilty are condemned to ignominious penalties.
It is not true that in France the death penalty was decreed against bankrupts without distinction. Simple failures involved no penalty; fraudulent bankrupts suffered the penalty of death in the states of Orleans, under Charles IX., and in the states of Blois in 1576, but these edicts, renewed by Henry IV., were merely comminatory.
It is too difficult to prove that a man has dishonoured himself on purpose, and has voluntarily ceded all his goods to his creditors in order to cheat them. When there has been a doubt, one has been content with putting the unfortunate man in the pillory, or with sending him to the galleys, although ordinarily a banker makes a poor convict.
Bankrupts were very favourably treated in the last year of Louis XIV.’s reign, and during the Regency. The sad state to which the interior of the kingdom was reduced, the multitude of merchants who could not or would not pay, the quantity of unsold or unsellable effects, the fear of interrupting all commerce, obliged the government in 1715, 1716, 1718, 1721, 1722, and 1726 to suspend all proceedings against all those who were in a state of insolvency. The discussions of these actions were referred to the judge-consuls; this is a jurisdiction of merchants very expert in these cases, and better constituted for going into these commercial details than the parliaments which have always been more occupied with the laws of the kingdom than with finance. As the state was at that time going bankrupt, it would have been too hard to punish the poor middle-class bankrupts.
Since then we have had eminent men, fraudulent bankrupts, but they have not been punished.
Friday, February 27, 2015
No Plans To Sack Jega, Says FG
Whilst the Internet has been crazy about arguing about whether a dress is blue and black or white and gold, we Nigerians have been debating on the rumour that the federal government through the Head of Service of the federation might ask the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to proceed on terminal leave next week...
The Supervising Minister of Information, Edem Duke has said that President Goodluck Jonathan has no plan to sack the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) He however noted that Jega’s exit as the chairman of the nation’s electoral umpire will take natural course.
The minister, who was answering questions from journalists on the purported plans by government to send the INEC chairman on terminal leave said, urged the media to exercise due diligence in separating propaganda and the truth.
“Those who are competing for office and have no record to back their aspirations have spent a lot of money in building the social media propaganda. Some of them, their prowess is propelled by the social media and they are creating something that is not. “They recruited international PR companies to build a product that does not exist. But please be guided by the fact that truth struck down a thousand times will rise up again. You cannot use all the social media and billboards to say that the trains that were not working are now working,” he said.
Duke observed that the Yoruba Youth Worldwide and the Northern Elders Forum’s endorsement of President Jonathan is an eloquent testimony to Jonathan’s achievement, which cuts across all the sectors of the nation’s economy.
The minister, who solicited the cooperation of the media in ensuring a hitch free elections said: “I came with enthusiasm and determination considering the general elections that is forthcoming and expectations from Nigerians. “I urge the media to apply a sense of patriotism, decorum and be guided by professionalism and the tenets of our profession. Pursue the agenda of sustaining national unity and inter-religious harmony and ensure that Nigeria come out stronger. We must be sensitive of the words that come out from individuals and groups clamouring to lead this nation,” he added. -
See more at: http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/news/national-news/199907-no-plans-to-sack-jega-says-fg#sthash.dONTmwkB.dpuf