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Message started by freediver on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am

Title: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am
Why Nations Fail (by Acemoglu and Robinson) is a book I am currently reading that attempts to explain the enormous variations in wealth seen in the world today. It attributes these differences to economic institutions, which are largely dictated by political institutions. Institutions is intended in the broad meaning - eg property rights, democracy etc. It highlights how both the patterns in wealth and the patterns in these institutions have been very (though not entirely) stable over the last 150 years, and argues an institutional inertia (my term) that goes beyond the influence of the powerful individuals involved. It suggests why it is so hard to break the mold, and how to break it (not up to that part yet).

It also rejects some of the conventional arguments - eg:

* Culture - that Protestant, Judea-Christian, European or Roman culture is what makes the west so rich, while attempting to disentangle the various meanings of culture. Culture is part of the economic and political institutions that make countries rich or poor. He even argues that the middle east is not poor because of Islam, though I suspect he has never met anyone like Abu.

* Geography - that people in hot countries are lazy, or the soil is less fertile, and various more complicated version of this theory. It addresses the "Guns, Germs and Steel" hypothesis of Jared Diamond and puts it in it's place as an explanation for why the west was able to dominate the world, while highlighting the inability of this theory to explain vast differences in wealth seen in those countries colonised or settled by Europeans.

* Ignorance - that leaders or people in poor countries do not understand how to get rich. This is the explanation favoured by many modern economists. It highlights that even when they do understand, the people in power usually don't want to. Even when they are forced to or try to make the change, it is fraught with danger, because the problems are institutionalised within the economy and the politics. The idiotic economic policies of various tinpot dictators are not determined out of ignorance of economics, but by the economic and political institutions that for the tinpot dictators are an unchangeable reality they must work within.

The causes of wealth and poverty are economic and political freedoms and rights that are closely linked or interact. For example - secure property rights, including patents, economic freedom, democracy and a broad distribution (separation) of political power.

In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Taipan on Mar 15th, 2014 at 8:42am
The enormous variations in wealth is due to the creation of and destruction of nations by a power elite who have been on the go with their 'mystery religion' from time immemorial.

You have to go into the histories of the Canaanites who became the Phoenicians who then became the Venetians after they moved into Venice. After establishing their banking monopoly and infiltrating many of the royal and noble houses of Europe, becoming known as the Black Nobility, AND THEN taking power in England in 1717 you will find the real reason for the variations in wealth we see today but its an awful lot of history to read about. You also have to try and obtain the relevant books, especially those written before the second world war. Many books today are written for the express purpose of hiding the activities of the Elite.

I should also mention that a mystery religion is a "system of civilisation", the Babylonian system which wasn't actually exclusive to Babylon, but was the updated and improved version of the ones that came before, is in operation today but on a global scale, compliments of the descendants of the black nobility.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:25am
Niall Ferguson wrote some interesting points on the success of the West.

He outlines 6 points that made it succeed:

Competition, Science, Property, Modern Medicine, Consumerism, Work Ethic.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/civilization-west-and-rest/killer-apps/#.UyOrp_mSySo

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:36am
But I suppose it comes down to definitions of 'fail'. What is a failed society? One with pre-modern customs, or is it one that has wide gulfs in income (as the op seems to insinuate)? Or is it something else?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Sparky on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:48am
A big issue that causes countries to fail is when the elite see the population under them as a statistic . My workplace has just been purchased by Australia Post. First they sacked  the short term casuals, then the made the long term casuals part timers on $590 a week and slashed the wages for the rest. As a result morale is low, blokes chuck sickies and the place is failing. Who wants to work harder for less??? When the elite create such a gulf with the wider population problems occur. Understanding of needs and issues are always misjudged. Just like my Aus Post management and the poor workers. Ancient Rome all over again. Just over money. Money will damage our country.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Richdude on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:05pm

Sparky wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:48am:
A big issue that causes countries to fail is when the elite see the population under them as a statistic . My workplace has just been purchased by Australia Post. First they sacked  the short term casuals, then the made the long term casuals part timers on $590 a week and slashed the wages for the rest. As a result morale is low, blokes chuck sickies and the place is failing. Who wants to work harder for less??? When the elite create such a gulf with the wider population problems occur. Understanding of needs and issues are always misjudged. Just like my Aus Post management and the poor workers. Ancient Rome all over again. Just over money. Money will damage our country.


No the lack of understanding will...
The knowledge of a medium of exchange (money) and how to use and manipulate it has been known since ancient times. It is the most profitable of all business and yet one in a thousand understand this. Don't you find this strange?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Oh_Yeah on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:06pm

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:36am:
But I suppose it comes down to definitions of 'fail'. What is a failed society?


Here is a definition of a "failed State" by a US think tank which pretty much sums it up


Quote:
A failed state has several attributes. Common indicators include a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; sharp economic decline.


Enormous variations in wealth is the process which causes a nation to fail rather than a symptom of it.
Once you have an enormous variation in wealth then corruption and criminality is going to increase and the economy is going to decline. The government will also start to have less control as the corporations and billionaires start to influence all decisions.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Taipan on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:17pm

Richdude wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:05pm:

Sparky wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:48am:
A big issue that causes countries to fail is when the elite see the population under them as a statistic . My workplace has just been purchased by Australia Post. First they sacked  the short term casuals, then the made the long term casuals part timers on $590 a week and slashed the wages for the rest. As a result morale is low, blokes chuck sickies and the place is failing. Who wants to work harder for less??? When the elite create such a gulf with the wider population problems occur. Understanding of needs and issues are always misjudged. Just like my Aus Post management and the poor workers. Ancient Rome all over again. Just over money. Money will damage our country.


No the lack of understanding will...
The knowledge of a medium of exchange (money) and how to use and manipulate it has been known since ancient times. It is the most profitable of all business and yet one in a thousand understand this. Don't you find this strange?


That is exactly what I'm talking about when I say Babylonian system, or mystery religion.

First they force their currency on the people. This is then followed by taxation and with taxation comes the Law. They also give the people their culture and their religion.
Its called 'civilisation' and that's what a mystery religion is all about.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:19pm

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".


Utter nonsense ~ as he would well know.

The author is obviously a disciple of PC politics and a moral coward who simply cannot bring himself to say that the West beat the Rest because it's institutions of governance, industry, and learning were far superior to that of the Third World.

While the Third World countries were turned inwards on surviving on cottage industries and centuries-old traditions that discouraged change and experimentation, the West meanwhile exploded with technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries, etc ... it had its Renaissance while the rest of the world slept.

But your author is too much of a leftwing arsehole to give credit to the West lest this 'offend' a few sensitivities amongst our immigrant Third Worlders.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by The Grappler 2014 on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:29pm

The_Barnacle wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:06pm:

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:36am:
But I suppose it comes down to definitions of 'fail'. What is a failed society?


Here is a definition of a "failed State" by a US think tank which pretty much sums it up


Quote:
A failed state has several attributes. Common indicators include a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; sharp economic decline.


Enormous variations in wealth is the process which causes a nation to fail rather than a symptom of it.
Once you have an enormous variation in wealth then corruption and criminality is going to increase and the economy is going to decline. The government will also start to have less control as the corporations and billionaires start to influence all decisions.


Interesting view - but quite obviously one taken from a position of relative wealth and privilege.

I beleiee a firmer picture of 'failed' in this context could be gained from discussion with the Man Under The Bridge.

According to that definition, Australia is not a failed nation - yet it is near collapse in many ways, and so far the only thing the incumbent government has got right is that there is a need for hard decisions.

I have yet to see or hear of one valid 'hard decision' being offered other than the usual scare-mongering and inducement of heart troubles in the poorest in the land.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:30pm

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:36am:
But I suppose it comes down to definitions of 'fail'. What is a failed society?


These are societies from which large percentages have over the years chosen to abandon their ancestral homelands for the opportunities and the rich rewards that are found in countries whose success has been largely due to the broad and all-encompassing technical expertise and cultural excellence of the British and their cousins in the colonies.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Sparky on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:41pm

Richdude wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:05pm:

Sparky wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:48am:
A big issue that causes countries to fail is when the elite see the population under them as a statistic . My workplace has just been purchased by Australia Post. First they sacked  the short term casuals, then the made the long term casuals part timers on $590 a week and slashed the wages for the rest. As a result morale is low, blokes chuck sickies and the place is failing. Who wants to work harder for less??? When the elite create such a gulf with the wider population problems occur. Understanding of needs and issues are always misjudged. Just like my Aus Post management and the poor workers. Ancient Rome all over again. Just over money. Money will damage our country.


No the lack of understanding will...
The knowledge of a medium of exchange (money) and how to use and manipulate it has been known since ancient times. It is the most profitable of all business and yet one in a thousand understand this. Don't you find this strange?
No. I believe a lot of people at the top understand nothing but their own pockets and needs. Many inherit their positions. One day those poor  areas in your country like parts of Baltimore and parts of mine are going to grow and grow and the lawlessness might lick at the feet of the 'nice" suburbs. The poor live in   growing areas. It's happening all around the world. The rich should start to understand that maybe their safety is determined by how well they run their systems. They might end up walling off the poor like in John Carpenters Escape From  New York.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 15th, 2014 at 1:41pm
The style of the book is similar to Jared Diamond - easy to read, using the best or most interesting examples to introduce concepts.

Some more interesting points:

* State centralisation is a prerequisite for wealth. Somalia for example has distributed political power, but this is because there is no central government. The result is chaos.

* Oppressive, or 'extractive' political and economic institutions tend to go hand in hand, and reinforce each other in a sort of positive feedback loop. If there is a mixture of the two, they will tend to sow the seeds of the other's destruction, and the society will eventually drift further in one direction. The extent of oppression is really only limited by the risk that if the entire economy is destroyed, there will be no wealth to extract from it.

* Economic and political inclusion (used to mean the opposite of oppression or extraction) always has losers as well as winners. But it is not just the wealthy elite who push a society down the path of oppression. The "creative destruction" of capitalism leads many to oppose it, for coherent reasons. The book gave the example of the British artisans who opposed the mechanisation of the industrial revolution because it undermined their profession. We see similar behaviour right here, with people complaining in a thread on the general board about the risk of check-out chicks losing their job because of automated or self service check-outs (drones thread). Sparky gave another good example.


Quote:
But I suppose it comes down to definitions of 'fail'. What is a failed society? One with pre-modern customs, or is it one that has wide gulfs in income (as the op seems to insinuate)? Or is it something else?


The book is really about wealth disparity. Failure is less wealth and a poorer standard of living, in relative terms. The poorer states are mostly 'functioning' in the normal sense of the word.


Quote:
Enormous variations in wealth is the process which causes a nation to fail rather than a symptom of it.


Not really. This is mostly a symptom, not a cause. There are successful states with huge wealth discrepancies. There are failures who share the wealth (most communist states). Of course, truly huge variations are unlikely to arise or be sustained in a "good" system, but they will arise where the contribution of a group of people is genuinely significant (eg the modern tech barons).


Quote:
The government will also start to have less control as the corporations and billionaires start to influence all decisions.


This is a genuine risk, though usually vastly overstated, IMO.


Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:19pm:

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".


Utter nonsense ~ as he would well know.

The author is obviously a disciple of PC politics and a moral coward who simply cannot bring himself to say that the West beat the Rest because it's institutions of governance, industry, and learning were far superior to that of the Third World.


No, he is pretty much saying just that. He is merely pointing out which institutions are actually responsible, and which are the useless cultural baggage. This is not actually a theme of the book, but my interpretation of the explanation for why the situation in the US and Canada differs to much from the rest of the Americas.

If you insist on going off on long rants about how they got it wrong, based on a one-line comment from someone else, you will merely look like you don't know what you are talking about. You would probably like the book, and agree with it.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by The Grappler 2014 on Mar 15th, 2014 at 2:17pm
Hmmm - does the author give any idea of a 'timeline' or event schedule that MAY lead to a 'failed nation' status?

Might be interesting... and interesting to look at where Australia stands now.

We need to be very careful - in discussing 'services' etc - many of those 'services simply do not and never did exist in some countries... therefore have no relevance other than a rich Western comparison in any statement of 'failed nation' status.

Ummm - got something somewhere from my Terrorism studies... might still have it...

Ah - here it is.....

http://ffp.statesindex.org/


Umm - Australia is stated as 'sustainable'.. hmmmmm.. higher than the US....

Jah, jah - Sveden und Vinland mit der schtrong Feminsme are zer only vones zat vill surfife der goming gatastrophe.. unlezz zomeone infades zem!

Here is the nub of the matter - for those who can't research a site:-

http://ffp.statesindex.org/methodology

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 15th, 2014 at 2:27pm

Quote:
Hmmm - does the author give any idea of a 'timeline' or event schedule that MAY lead to a 'failed nation' status?


No. It's not really about the 'status' of failure, and they do not mean failure in the sense you describe. He points to 150 years of stability in relative global wealth distribution. The longest timeline give is 70 years - the time that Russia managed to defy the trend he suggests. Most of the timelines for "evidence" to emerge are much shorter, however it gets worse over the centuries, and there are many examples (eg most of the Americas) that are a hangover from the 1600s. 500 years ago, the global trend was pretty much the opposite of what it is now.


Quote:
Might be interesting... and interesting to look at where Australia stands now.


Close to the top.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 15th, 2014 at 2:28pm

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 1:41pm:
If you insist on going off on long rants about how they got it wrong, based on a one-line comment from someone else, you will merely look like you don't know what you are talking about. You would probably like the book, and agree with it.


Over the last 10 years I've watched a number of 'historical' documentaries made by university historians on the subject of Britain and its history of the past 300 years.

In every case except one, these simpering 'black armband' guilt-ridden middle class pricks were telling us to hang our heads in shame.

No balance.

No recognition of the export of British inventions, and industry, and medical developments that have brought the Third World out of the Stone Age.

Not a mention. All bad news and self-flagellation.





Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 15th, 2014 at 2:30pm

Quote:
In every case except one, these simpering 'black armband' guilt-ridden middle class pricks were telling us to hang our heads in shame.


Except they were not actually saying that were they? The shame you feel is an expression of your own humanity. You need not feel ashamed about that.


Quote:
No recognition of the export of British inventions, and industry, and medical developments that have brought the Third World out of the Stone Age.


LOL

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Sparky on Mar 15th, 2014 at 2:35pm
We see similar behaviour right here, with people complaining in a thread on the general board about the risk of check-out chicks losing their job because of automated or self service check-outs (drones thread). Sparky gave another good example. By Freediver.

My workplace doesn't have people being phased out due to technology. It's too complicated . The people at the top cut the wages of the people at the bottom so they don't have to cop a pay cut. Just like QANTAS. We are owned by the same people as a matter of fact. It's because they under estimate their importance. It's the social gap again. Elitism.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 15th, 2014 at 2:51pm

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 2:30pm:

Quote:
In every case except one, these simpering 'black armband' guilt-ridden middle class pricks were telling us to hang our heads in shame.


Except they were not actually saying that were they?


Are you serious?

It doesn't take a Mensa IQ to sit through a series of one hour documentaries about the British to soon realise the entire exercise is some poor neurotic academic's idea of doing penance with a birch-rod on his back.

I don't mind honest self-appraisal and critique of British history from these pathetic bastards ~ as long as they apply the same criteria of unbridled damnation to the other countries in the history books ~ which they never do.

It's like pissing on Christ as an art form, but not uttering a word of criticism of Islam even when your trains and buildings and street marathons are being bombed to smithereens.

It's the same mentality in operation.


freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 2:30pm:
The shame you feel is an expression of your own humanity. You need not feel ashamed about that.


Who feels 'ashamed'? Me? About Britain's contribution to world progress and civilisation these 300 years?  ;D Are you drifting around in a tinny with a six-pack and a line over the side somewhere in Sydney harbour? Not feeling any more pain?  ;D


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 15th, 2014 at 3:12pm

Quote:
My workplace doesn't have people being phased out due to technology. It's too complicated . The people at the top cut the wages of the people at the bottom so they don't have to cop a pay cut. Just like QANTAS. We are owned by the same people as a matter of fact. It's because they under estimate their importance. It's the social gap again. Elitism.


Your workplace is still going through the process of privatisation. This is a good thing. If you don't like it, get another job. If all those other jobs pay too little, perhaps you were getting overpaid on the public teat.


Quote:
It doesn't take a Mensa IQ to sit through a series of one hour documentaries about the British to soon realise the entire exercise is some poor neurotic academic's idea of doing penance with a birch-rod on his back.


Either that, or they are trying to present history accurately. I don't see how romanticising it to the point of self deception actually helps anyone. Then again, I don't actually know what you are talking about. Perhaps you have a peculiar knack for self flagellation that you like to blame others for. Here's a tip, if you don't like historical documentaries because of how they make you feel, don't watch them. Or have a cry somewhere else.


Quote:
I don't mind honest self-appraisal and critique of British history from these pathetic bastards ~ as long as they apply the same criteria of unbridled damnation to the other countries in the history books ~ which they never do.


Which they cannot do, because it is not actually damnation. That is all you.


Quote:
Who feels 'ashamed'? Me?


Yes. You are having trouble working through your emotional response to discovering the ugly truth about history. This is your self help group. Keep telling us about your feelings about these historical documentaries, without actually revealing anything about their content. It's all about you, remember.

Fancy forgetting to bag Islam in a documentary about British history....

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Sparky on Mar 15th, 2014 at 3:45pm
Your workplace is still going through the process of privatisation. This is a good thing. If you don't like it, get another job. If all those other jobs pay too little, perhaps you were getting overpaid on the public teat. By Freediver.

I do 2 jobs because they cut my first one from $900 to $570. Many people including family men had that done to them. No thought at all for the consequences of this pay cut on children etc. This is what is happening to the western world, corporate greed. It isn't complicated , just simple greed.  That will be our downfall.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 15th, 2014 at 4:26pm

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 3:12pm:
Either that, or they are trying to present history accurately.


If you didn't watch these several series of 'British History' then you're at a slight disadvantage in this conversation.


freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 3:12pm:
I don't see how romanticising it to the point of self deception actually helps anyone.


Off with the pixies again. Who said anything about a romanticised version of history being the only way to make it palatable for a British audience?

I've been saying that a biased version that paints the British as having been evil monsters without any virtue is about as false a representation of history as one can get. 


freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 3:12pm:
Then again, I don't actually know what you are talking about.


As I suspected. A lazy afternoon floating around the harbour with a bottle Jack Daniel's and a laptop on the Esky.


freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 3:12pm:
Here's a tip, if you don't like historical documentaries because of how they make you feel, don't watch them.


You borrowed that from gandalf, didn't you? ~ only he was telling you not to concern yourself with Islam so much because of the way it was making you feel.


freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 3:12pm:
Or have a cry somewhere else.


In the Islam threads? Now who's 'being emotional'?i


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:34pm

Quote:
I do 2 jobs because they cut my first one from $900 to $570.


So you were getting overpaid to the tune of $330 per week? But it's someone else's fault now it has ended?


Quote:
Many people including family men had that done to them. No thought at all for the consequences of this pay cut on children etc. This is what is happening to the western world, corporate greed. It isn't complicated , just simple greed.  That will be our downfall.


Except it isn't, and hasn't been, despite people parroting the exact same nonsense for centuries. Our downfall will be if people ever start taking arguments like your seriously.


Quote:
If you didn't watch these several series of 'British History' then you're at a slight disadvantage in this conversation.


That's OK. I can still tell that you are full of it.


Quote:
I've been saying that a biased version that paints the British as having been evil monsters without any virtue is about as false a representation of history as one can get. 


Except of course for the bits where they were vile creatures without any virtue. That's what history is, one vile deed after another. Not sure why you think Britain should get the spineless apologist treatment.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Sparky on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:52pm
Except it isn't, and hasn't been, despite people parroting the exact same nonsense for centuries. Our downfall will be if people ever start taking arguments like your seriously. By Freediver.

Hey mate, they won't take me seriously. They'll make up their own minds. You need to catch up on your history. I'm into the fall of South Vietnam at the moment. That same thing has happened plenty of times. When a society starts doing the most for the least you get the same thing happening. I'd laugh if you lost your job and ended up on the dole.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:57pm

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:34pm:
That's OK. I can still tell that you are full of it.


Don't drop that crystal ball on your toes, will you?

If this is the way you've been conducting your conversations with gandalf, then he has my sympathy. Behaving like a boorish smartalec every time you feel you're being disagreed with, seems to be your fall-back position.

We've spoken about your petulance before, haven't we?


freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:34pm:
That's what history is, one vile deed after another.


That's a simplistic, ignorant, and downright stupid thing to say ~ as any school child will tell you.



Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Sparky on Mar 15th, 2014 at 8:03pm
I thought Freediver was above taking the argument in an insulting way. I was wrong. He's just a bore like a bunch of them on here. Big men on the internet but lacking balls in society.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 15th, 2014 at 8:10pm

Quote:
When a society starts doing the most for the least you get the same thing happening. I'd laugh if you lost your job and ended up on the dole.


Sorry I thought we were talking about bringing overpaid public servants back down to earth. Anyone would think you are talking about dictatorship. Who's to say you were not one of the "parasitic elite" taking money, by force of government, from people who were less well off than you?


Quote:
That's a simplistic, ignorant, and downright stupid thing to say ~ as any school child will tell you.


By now a school child would have said what they actually thought was wrong with the documentary. You can't because the things you insist are wrong are all in your head. I can tell this without even seeing the documentary you are complaining about.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by The Grappler 2014 on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:18am
CHILDREN - let us discuss the Grappler Principle of Reducing Cost of Living alongside Cost of Labour.. then we can start talking about whether or not our nation is failing...

When the cost of living outstrips the cost of labour and yet the cost of labour is cited as the 'cause' for the demise of the country - are we not already looking at a massively dividing schism between two components of our society/nation?

We hear constantly how a few - fewer and fewer each year - are actually carrying the tax burden in many ways from various approaches; some saying the poor are a burden, others saying the rich and the companies are the burden - how then to retain viable services and all the other components of a non-failed nation when it seems that nobody is going to be paying for those services etc if we continue down the same path we are on now?

THAT, Grasshoppers, seems to me to be the nub of the matter.  :-/

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Winston Smith on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:07am
Do nations really fail? Which nations have failed?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:38am

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 8:10pm:
You can't because the things you insist are wrong are all in your head. I can tell this without even seeing the documentary you are complaining about.



Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by sherri on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:49am

The_Barnacle wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:06pm:

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:36am:
But I suppose it comes down to definitions of 'fail'. What is a failed society?


Here is a definition of a "failed State" by a US think tank which pretty much sums it up


Quote:
A failed state has several attributes. Common indicators include a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; sharp economic decline.


Enormous variations in wealth is the process which causes a nation to fail rather than a symptom of it.
Once you have an enormous variation in wealth then corruption and criminality is going to increase and the economy is going to decline. The government will also start to have less control as the corporations and billionaires start to influence all decisions.



I would agree with that definition.
I would probably add that displacement of the population would be the really major marker. If you have high levels of displacement, refugees etc then I think you probably have a population where there is lawlessness and where people don't feel safe or feel there is a future for their family.

I don't think it is always about money. I was reading once that yearly income wasn't a reliable indicator of happiness as some very poor societies showed a fairly high degree of happiness. But I suspect those societies were settled, social traditions were upheld and probably most people were in the same boat.
I can remember once talking to a woman who said that she had a very happy childhood but she now realised her family was probably on the poorer side. But that she never knew that at the time as everyone else in the family and all the neighbourhood was exactly the same.


Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:19pm:

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".


Utter nonsense ~ as he would well know.

The author is obviously a disciple of PC politics and a moral coward who simply cannot bring himself to say that the West beat the Rest because it's institutions of governance, industry, and learning were far superior to that of the Third World.

While the Third World countries were turned inwards on surviving on cottage industries and centuries-old traditions that discouraged change and experimentation, the West meanwhile exploded with technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries, etc ... it had its Renaissance while the rest of the world slept.

But your author is too much of a leftwing arsehole to give credit to the West lest this 'offend' a few sensitivities amongst our immigrant Third Worlders.


I would agree. Over the last 20 years or so, there has been a bit of  PC wave of thought that tends to insist that we see all people, all religions, all societies as 'equal' and just as good as any other.

People take offence if there are any claims one way of life is any better than another. You see it, for example, if any study dares to suggest that 2 parent families are generally better for children than being in a single parent family.

But it applies on a broader front too. Western society got ahead because it was stable enough for technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries to go ahead. There was enough food and security for some people to spend time on those things instead of simply fighting for existence.
That doesn't mean western society was perfect with everyone getting a fair deal, or that there was no poverty, just that there was enough stability and enough general wealth for those countries to forge ahead.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Winston Smith on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:07am

sherri wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:49am:

The_Barnacle wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:06pm:

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:36am:
But I suppose it comes down to definitions of 'fail'. What is a failed society?


Here is a definition of a "failed State" by a US think tank which pretty much sums it up


Quote:
A failed state has several attributes. Common indicators include a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; sharp economic decline.


Enormous variations in wealth is the process which causes a nation to fail rather than a symptom of it.
Once you have an enormous variation in wealth then corruption and criminality is going to increase and the economy is going to decline. The government will also start to have less control as the corporations and billionaires start to influence all decisions.



I would agree with that definition.
I would probably add that displacement of the population would be the really major marker. If you have high levels of displacement, refugees etc then I think you probably have a population where there is lawlessness and where people don't feel safe or feel there is a future for their family.

I don't think it is always about money. I was reading once that yearly income wasn't a reliable indicator of happiness as some very poor societies showed a fairly high degree of happiness. But I suspect those societies were settled, social traditions were upheld and probably most people were in the same boat.
I can remember once talking to a woman who said that she had a very happy childhood but she now realised her family was probably on the poorer side. But that she never knew that at the time as everyone else in the family and all the neighbourhood was exactly the same.


Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:19pm:

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".


Utter nonsense ~ as he would well know.

The author is obviously a disciple of PC politics and a moral coward who simply cannot bring himself to say that the West beat the Rest because it's institutions of governance, industry, and learning were far superior to that of the Third World.

While the Third World countries were turned inwards on surviving on cottage industries and centuries-old traditions that discouraged change and experimentation, the West meanwhile exploded with technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries, etc ... it had its Renaissance while the rest of the world slept.

But your author is too much of a leftwing arsehole to give credit to the West lest this 'offend' a few sensitivities amongst our immigrant Third Worlders.


I would agree. Over the last 20 years or so, there has been a bit of  PC wave of thought that tends to insist that we see all people, all religions, all societies as 'equal' and just as good as any other.

People take offence if there are any claims one way of life is any better than another. You see it, for example, if any study dares to suggest that 2 parent families are generally better for children than being in a single parent family.

But it applies on a broader front too. Western society got ahead because it was stable enough for technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries to go ahead. There was enough food and security for some people to spend time on those things instead of simply fighting for existence.
That doesn't mean western society was perfect with everyone getting a fair deal, or that there was no poverty, just that there was enough stability and enough general wealth for those countries to forge ahead.


Define ahead.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by sherri on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:47am
It's not easy, is it. :)
But I will have a go.

You know how they often rate Melbourne as the world's most liveable city?
Apparently it is based on surveys-things like access to health, education, housing, services. How satisfied people are with their life/lifestyle.

I would say you also need to look at change in a society & the expansion of the knowledge base.

So.. is the society fairly stable, with law and order? Are most people voluntarily staying put?
Is it a society that has some shared values?

Education and skills are important as they can make life more comfortable and give that society an edge.

Maybe you won't agree with some of these as 'ahead' but I think you have to ask yourself-why, in the last 150 years, did the USA see such a rush of migrants and people wanting 'in' to their society? I would suggest it was because a lot of those migrants saw USA as offering a 'better' life.
If they had to rate the countries, they were in fact putting USA ahead of their own.
Why do we currently have a lot of people trying to get into Australia? Do you ever hear of huge numbers of Aussies trying desperately to get citizenship in Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan? Why not?

Thee are some very politically/socially unstable parts of Africa at the moment. Would you like to go live there, or prefer to stay put?

What about groups that didn't get 'ahead' in science/technology? Was their society necessarily any worse? Take the aboriginals (as they seem to be everyone's fav topic on this forum). I am sure they had stable societies, there were rules, people were probably happy in their communities.
But basic food was sometimes a problem, they got by but had to work at it. And in the end, was the spear or boomerang any match against a gun? Or the sheer numbers of outsiders? I would suggest not.

When we look back at past civilisations, what are some of the things we look at? Not just their beliefs, but their buildings, their innovations, what put them ahead of their rivals.

I'm not necessarily suggesting wealth or knowledge or technology makes for a moral superiority, but stability, a feeling a safety and enough wealth to allow some to tinker with technology & science sure makes for a society people want to live in.

Maybe that is a good enough definition of ahead. A society a lot of people want to live in.
Oh-but ahead also implies some movement/change. can't stay static. :)



Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 8:22am

sherri wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:49am:

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:19pm:

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".


Utter nonsense ~ as he would well know.

The author is obviously a disciple of PC politics and a moral coward who simply cannot bring himself to say that the West beat the Rest because it's institutions of governance, industry, and learning were far superior to that of the Third World.

While the Third World countries were turned inwards on surviving on cottage industries and centuries-old traditions that discouraged change and experimentation, the West meanwhile exploded with technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries, etc ... it had its Renaissance while the rest of the world slept.

But your author is too much of a leftwing arsehole to give credit to the West lest this 'offend' a few sensitivities amongst our immigrant Third Worlders.


I would agree. Over the last 20 years or so, there has been a bit of  PC wave of thought that tends to insist that we see all people, all religions, all societies as 'equal' and just as good as any other.

People take offence if there are any claims one way of life is any better than another. You see it, for example, if any study dares to suggest that 2 parent families are generally better for children than being in a single parent family.

But it applies on a broader front too. Western society got ahead because it was stable enough for technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries to go ahead. There was enough food and security for some people to spend time on those things instead of simply fighting for existence.
That doesn't mean western society was perfect with everyone getting a fair deal, or that there was no poverty, just that there was enough stability and enough general wealth for those countries to forge ahead.


Thank you, Sherri.

As always, yours and Lady Mantra's posts are the epitome of good sense and calm reasoning that make them such an inspiration to us all.

"Accidents of history" is designed to be a face-saving sop to the readership whose ancestral homelands were cruising in neutral while those of the Anglo-Sphere were gearing up to Fast-Forward civilisation by 1000 years within a relatively very short time.

And the petulant non-British people have been sulking ever since, with this boorish resentment accounting for almost all of the energy they direct towards abusing and insulting the British and the Americans.

FD, John Smith and the like are not happy campers in any conversation that might even remotely give credit to the British and their colonial off-spring.

 

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Winston Smith on Mar 16th, 2014 at 8:57am

sherri wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:47am:
It's not easy, is it. :)
But I will have a go.

You know how they often rate Melbourne as the world's most liveable city?
Apparently it is based on surveys-things like access to health, education, housing, services. How satisfied people are with their life/lifestyle.

I would say you also need to look at change in a society & the expansion of the knowledge base.

So.. is the society fairly stable, with law and order? Are most people voluntarily staying put?
Is it a society that has some shared values?

Education and skills are important as they can make life more comfortable and give that society an edge.

Maybe you won't agree with some of these as 'ahead' but I think you have to ask yourself-why, in the last 150 years, did the USA see such a rush of migrants and people wanting 'in' to their society? I would suggest it was because a lot of those migrants saw USA as offering a 'better' life.
If they had to rate the countries, they were in fact putting USA ahead of their own.
Why do we currently have a lot of people trying to get into Australia? Do you ever hear of huge numbers of Aussies trying desperately to get citizenship in Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan? Why not?

Thee are some very politically/socially unstable parts of Africa at the moment. Would you like to go live there, or prefer to stay put?

What about groups that didn't get 'ahead' in science/technology? Was their society necessarily any worse? Take the aboriginals (as they seem to be everyone's fav topic on this forum). I am sure they had stable societies, there were rules, people were probably happy in their communities.
But basic food was sometimes a problem, they got by but had to work at it. And in the end, was the spear or boomerang any match against a gun? Or the sheer numbers of outsiders? I would suggest not.

When we look back at past civilisations, what are some of the things we look at? Not just their beliefs, but their buildings, their innovations, what put them ahead of their rivals.

I'm not necessarily suggesting wealth or knowledge or technology makes for a moral superiority, but stability, a feeling a safety and enough wealth to allow some to tinker with technology & science sure makes for a society people want to live in.

Maybe that is a good enough definition of ahead. A society a lot of people want to live in.
Oh-but ahead also implies some movement/change. can't stay static. :)


You can only know the price paid for getting ahead from your own experience.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am
The question of China's 'sleep' from around the 16th century until the late 20th century was one that prompted Joseph Needham to write his massive 7 volume account of China's history 'Science and Civilisation in China' which detailed the incredible superiority of Chinese society until it ended relatively suddenly around the 16th century.

The list of inventions and technology that he discovered were developed and deployed in China hundreds of years before the west is impressive.

It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"

No definitive and complete answer has ever been proposed, but the question is more of a rhetorical one than a call to inquiry.

One thing is for sure, he is honoured in China (known in Chinese as Li Yuese) as the man who helped the Chinese rediscover themselves.

If his predictions prove true, China will reassert itself as the leader of world civilisation again and the past 500 years (in Chinese cultural terms) will be something akin to a good night's rest!



Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:06am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"

No definitive and complete answer has ever been proposed,


And that's only because political correctness forbids Britain and America's current crop of de facto Social-Marxist academics from claiming a superiority for the West that might embarrass and upset China for its 'Third World' status.

Of course our academics know full-well why the West succeeded whereas China continued with its agrarian rice-bowl economy ...

The Chinese lived under a succession of rigid dictatorships that forbade any deviation from the norm. The strict hierarchal system ~ similar to the Vatican ~ stifled liberal individualism to the extent it quashed any creativity that was not directly under sanction of the Royal Court of the prevailing dynasty. 


NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
One thing is for sure, he is honoured in China (known in Chinese as Li Yuese) as the man who helped the Chinese rediscover themselves.


And who kept tactfully silent on anything that might have caused them to 'lose face'. It's an old strategy for currying favour with those not of British or American background.

Tickle their tummy, and tell them they're just as good as those who they have had a chronic inferiority complex about (the English, et al). I've done this many times with Greeks and Italians, much to their appreciation.

Read any books lately by academics giving an honest critique of pre-settlement aboriginal traditions and cultural practices?

Of course you haven't.

That would spoil the Victimhood 'narrative', and make the Brits not look so bad by comparison.






Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:16am

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:06am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"

No definitive and complete answer has ever been proposed,


The Chinese lived under a succession of rigid dictatorships that forbade any deviation from the norm. The strict hierarchal system ~ similar to the Vatican ~ stifled liberal individualism to the extent it quashed any creativity that was not directly under sanction of the Royal Court of the prevailing dynasty. 

Yes, that's the common answer to the Needham Question.


Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:06am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
One thing is for sure, he is honoured in China (known in Chinese as Li Yuese) as the man who helped the Chinese rediscover themselves.


And who kept tactfully silent on anything that might have caused them to 'lose face'. It's an old strategy for currying favour with those not of British or American background.

Tickle their tummy, and tell them they're just as good as those who they have had a chronic inferiority complex about (the English). I've done this many times with Greeks and Italians, much to their appreciation.

Read any books lately by academics giving an honest critique of pre-settlement aboriginal traditions and cultural practices?

Of course you haven't.

That would spoil the Victimhood 'narrative', and make the Brits not look so bad by comparison.

I think its true to say the British did not act any worse than other imperial nations (maybe better than many)... But that's not to say they didn't commit crimes in the cause of empire... Now that the British aren't writing the history without serious rivals as they did in the 19th century, naturally there's now a focus away from the glories of the Empire towards the cost borne by others as a result of empire. Is that so surprising?


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:19am

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:06am:
Tickle their tummy, and tell them they're just as good as those who they have had a chronic inferiority complex about (the English, et al). I've done this many times with Greeks and Italians, much to their appreciation.

Good ole, English cynicism... The cornerstone of 'divide and rule'.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Oh_Yeah on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:46am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:16am:
I think its true to say the British did not act any worse than other imperial nations (maybe better than many)... But that's not to say they didn't commit crimes in the cause of empire... Now that the British aren't writing the history without serious rivals as they did in the 19th century, naturally there's now a focus away from the glories of the Empire towards the cost borne by others as a result of empire. Is that so surprising?


That is exactly right. What the Conservatives like to deride as "political correctness gone mad" or "victim mentality" is actually a backlash against the establishment which for too long has been writing it's own history and blowing it's own trumpet.

When there is even the hint of a suggestion that under modern civilised values the treatment of our indigenous population was quite barbaric, the Conservatives get very defensive, bury their head in the sand and try to justify it by proclaiming racial and cultural superiority. 

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:47am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
The question of China's 'sleep' from around the 16th century until the late 20th century was one that prompted Joseph Needham to write his massive 7 volume account of China's history 'Science and Civilisation in China' which detailed the incredible superiority of Chinese society until it ended relatively suddenly around the 16th century.

The list of inventions and technology that he discovered were developed and deployed in China hundreds of years before the west is impressive.

It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"

No definitive and complete answer has ever been proposed, but the question is more of a rhetorical one than a call to inquiry.


One thing is for sure, he is honoured in China (known in Chinese as Li Yuese) as the man who helped the Chinese rediscover themselves.

If his predictions prove true, China will reassert itself as the leader of world civilisation again and the past 500 years (in Chinese cultural terms) will be something akin to a good night's rest!



It's been written about quite a bit. But you've got to read the texts written before the 1960s. From the 1960s onward history was taken over by Marxists and post-structuralists. Instead of examining and revealing its achievements, they went for the complete "oppression" angle. That said, you can often find a historian here and there that doesn't cower to trendy "oppression" theories.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:49am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:16am:
I think its true to say the British did not act any worse than other imperial nations (maybe better than many)...


Jesus on a crippled donkey! Didn't they have comparative history at your school?

While the rest of the European colonial powers were butchering and slaughtering across the world ~ committing real genocide and stealing their gold ~ the Brits meanwhile had the Death Penalty around 1800 for any of their own who should kill one of the local Stone Aged natives.

No other colonial power dreamed of hanging one of their own for killing one of the local abos. It was inconceivable to them.





Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:52am

The_Barnacle wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:46am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:16am:
I think its true to say the British did not act any worse than other imperial nations (maybe better than many)... But that's not to say they didn't commit crimes in the cause of empire... Now that the British aren't writing the history without serious rivals as they did in the 19th century, naturally there's now a focus away from the glories of the Empire towards the cost borne by others as a result of empire. Is that so surprising?


That is exactly right. What the Conservatives like to deride as "political correctness gone mad" or "victim mentality" is actually a backlash against the establishment which for too long has been writing it's own history and blowing it's own trumpet.

When there is even the hint of a suggestion that under modern civilised values the treatment of our indigenous population was quite barbaric, the Conservatives get very defensive, bury their head in the sand and try to justify it by proclaiming racial and cultural superiority. 


You're making a common mistake. You're applying modern day trendy morality to past acts. This in no way actually gives an insight into the time and why things occurred as they did. True history involves understanding the morals, laws, mores of an era and how they were justified. Just looking back and claiming the past was 'barbaric' reveals more about the values of the person making the claim than anything in history.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:54am

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:47am:
It's been written about quite a bit. But you've got to read the texts written before the 1960s. From the 1960s onward history was taken over by Marxists and post-structuralists. Instead of examining and revealing its achievements, they went for the complete "oppression" angle. That said, you can often find a historian here and there that doesn't cower to trendy "oppression" theories.


Thank you, Culture Warrior.

Don't be surprised if a certain petulant and boorish individual should make an appearance here soon to tell you "It's all in your head" ~ and he "KNOWS you're full of sh!t"

Stand by with a mop-and-bucket ready for him. The Sydney Fish Markets close early on a Sunday, so he should be here soon.

***

At the school I went to in the '50's we had ALL the 'dirt' told to us about Britain's past ~ but they also told us about all the good stuff.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:56am

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:47am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
The question of China's 'sleep' from around the 16th century until the late 20th century was one that prompted Joseph Needham to write his massive 7 volume account of China's history 'Science and Civilisation in China' which detailed the incredible superiority of Chinese society until it ended relatively suddenly around the 16th century.

The list of inventions and technology that he discovered were developed and deployed in China hundreds of years before the west is impressive.

It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"

No definitive and complete answer has ever been proposed, but the question is more of a rhetorical one than a call to inquiry.


One thing is for sure, he is honoured in China (known in Chinese as Li Yuese) as the man who helped the Chinese rediscover themselves.

If his predictions prove true, China will reassert itself as the leader of world civilisation again and the past 500 years (in Chinese cultural terms) will be something akin to a good night's rest!



It's been written about quite a bit. But you've got to read the texts written before the 1960s. From the 1960s onward history was taken over by Marxists and post-structuralists. Instead of examining and revealing its achievements, they went for the complete "oppression" angle. That said, you can often find a historian here and there that doesn't cower to trendy "oppression" theories.



There's a book by Ricardo Duchesne called The Uniqueness of western Civilization that explains in detail the differences between China and Europe, particularly Britain, from about the 14th century to the 19th century century right down to things like the size of crop yields.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by The Grappler 2014 on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:57am
a)  What is said about China could be stated about Ancient Persia etc - they had some amazing stuff but fell into disarray and then into a neo-fuedalism under certain religious groups.

b) What you say may well be true, Herb, and the English system of law as written is the basis for many such institutions throughout the world today.  However - it can be and has been bastardised by governments of many to become an instrument of oppression.  Australia is a fine example.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Oh_Yeah on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:03pm

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:52am:

The_Barnacle wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:46am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:16am:
I think its true to say the British did not act any worse than other imperial nations (maybe better than many)... But that's not to say they didn't commit crimes in the cause of empire... Now that the British aren't writing the history without serious rivals as they did in the 19th century, naturally there's now a focus away from the glories of the Empire towards the cost borne by others as a result of empire. Is that so surprising?


That is exactly right. What the Conservatives like to deride as "political correctness gone mad" or "victim mentality" is actually a backlash against the establishment which for too long has been writing it's own history and blowing it's own trumpet.

When there is even the hint of a suggestion that under modern civilised values the treatment of our indigenous population was quite barbaric, the Conservatives get very defensive, bury their head in the sand and try to justify it by proclaiming racial and cultural superiority. 


You're making a common mistake. You're applying modern day trendy morality to past acts. This in no way actually gives an insight into the time and why things occurred as they did. True history involves understanding the morals, laws, mores of an era and how they were justified. Just looking back and claiming the past was 'barbaric' reveals more about the values of the person making the claim than anything in history.


"True history" involves seeing it from both sides, not just the victors.
So would it be equally a mistake to apply modern day trendy morality to the 18th century slave trade?
Those who do not learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:09pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:49am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:16am:
I think its true to say the British did not act any worse than other imperial nations (maybe better than many)...


Jesus on a crippled donkey! Didn't they have comparative history at your school?

While the rest of the European colonial powers were butchering and slaughtering across the world ~ committing real genocide and stealing their gold ~ the Brits meanwhile had the Death Penalty around 1800 for any of their own who should kill one of the local Stone Aged natives.

No other colonial power dreamed of hanging one of their own for killing one of the local abos. It was inconceivable to them.

All imperial powers steal something... gold, land etc... How else do they pay for empire?

Or write founding documents that benefit the purposes of the empire (e.g. Terra Nullius). Or write documents that are cynically disregarded when they are no longer of much use (e.g. NZ's Treaty of Waitangi).

Or attempt to keep possessions by force long after its evident that the locals no longer want them there (e.g. India). Its true that Britain could not remain in India after WW2. It was bankrupt and the Americans were the new masters of the (free) world, who had an historical distaste for the British Empire.

None of this is unusual about empire... as dictators never willingly relinquish power... Imperialists never surrender the empire they serve except at the point of a gun, or due to the impossibility of holding it together.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:11pm

The_Barnacle wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:03pm:
"True history" involves seeing it from both sides, not just the victors.


Okay. But theories of "oppression" are more often than not a projection of the author rather than an insight into the times. Theories of "oppression"  become popular from about the 1960s and are retroactively projected onto historical acts. Foucault was the master at doing this.


Quote:

So would it be equally a mistake to apply modern day trendy morality to the 18th century slave trade?
Those who do not learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them.


Yes it would be a mistake because slavery was considered normal for the time.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:21pm

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:52am:
You're making a common mistake. You're applying modern day trendy morality to past acts. This in no way actually gives an insight into the time and why things occurred as they did. True history involves understanding the morals, laws, mores of an era and how they were justified. Just looking back and claiming the past was 'barbaric' reveals more about the values of the person making the claim than anything in history.

Do you believe that Southern US slave owners truly believed (by sole virtue of the morals, laws, mores of their era) that the African should by his nature be subjugated? Or were they more concerned about the destruction of their economy that the end of slavery would unleash were they to admit what was easily provable - That a black man had the same capacity as any white man to succeed or fail deploying the same natural predispositions?

What is the excuse of large companies today (e.g. Apple) who happily allow Chinese workers to endure slave-like conditions to build their products cheaply?


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:23pm

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:11pm:
Yes it would be a mistake because slavery was considered normal for the time.

Who's time? It was not considered normal at all even by the American founding fathers, who wilted at the writing of the constitution. And not because they thought there was anything normal about slavery at all.

Thomas Jefferson commented that it would take another 200 years for the new US to rid itself of the scourge of slavery.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:31pm

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:09pm:
All imperial powers steal something... gold, land etc... How else do they pay for empire?


Trade.

It was all about trade.

We're talking about the colonial powers here ~ not the Vikings, the Visigoths, and the Vandals.

The Spanish in South America were after plunder, of course, and to this very day the Vatican has looted gold booty stacked to the ceiling in subterranean chambers.

I read a calculation made after Britain had withdrawn from India, which showed that the British Raj had cost the British government more to finance than it earned from trade during all of its years of occupation.

Britain left a magnificent railway system, and thousands of solid Victorian-era buildings all over the subcontinent. The Indians still have statues of Queen Victoria in all their major cities. Britain's universities also taught and trained generations of Indians on how to be civil servants, administrators, business people, and government bureaucrats.

They left a legacy ~ and who knows how many widows have since been spared a horrible death from being burned alive on their husband's funeral pyre because the British banned the practice.





Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:39pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:31pm:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:09pm:
All imperial powers steal something... gold, land etc... How else do they pay for empire?


Trade.

It was all about trade.

We're talking about the colonial powers here ~ not the Vikings, the Visigoths, and the Vandals.

The Spanish in South America were after plunder, of course, and to this very day the Vatican has looted gold booty stacked to the ceiling in subterranean chambers.

I read a calculation made after Britain had withdrawn from India, which showed that the British Raj had cost the British government more to finance than it earned from trade during all of its years of occupation.

Britain left a magnificent railway system and thousands of solid Victorian-era buildings all over the subcontinent. The Indians still have statues of Queen Victoria in all their major cities. Britain's universities also taught and trained a whole generation of Indians on how to be civil servants, administrators, and business people, and government bureaucrats.

They left a legacy ~ and who knows how many widows have since been spared a horrible death from being burned alive on their husband's funeral pyres because the British banned the practice.

Trade? Terra Nullius was about trade?

Didn't the English loot Spanish ships and steal their gold whenever they could? Did they then return it to its rightful owners? Or did they keep it for themselves?

The British left a legacy of infrastructure in India (and more because they had fallen under the country's spell, than for any love of the Indian people) but not before deploying a cynical divide and rule policy to disunite the Indians.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by ian on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:44pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:31pm:


I read a calculation made after Britain had withdrawn from India, which showed that the British Raj had cost the British government more to finance than it earned from trade during all of its years of occupation.

Britain left a magnificent railway system, and thousands of solid Victorian-era buildings all over the subcontinent. The Indians still have statues of Queen Victoria in all their major cities. Britain's universities also taught and trained generations of Indians on how to be civil servants, administrators, business people, and government bureaucrats.

They left a legacy ~ and who knows how many widows have since been spared a horrible death from being burned alive on their husband's funeral pyres because the British banned the practice.
a few points, wherever you read that calculation, if you read that calculation, it is wrong. The colonisation of India was started as a purely business venture by the east india company.
also, the Indian rail system is not magnificent, it is a complete shambles, the bureaucracy that the British left behind only ensures that everything is done at about 1 percent of the pace it should be, it is a disaster. If you have ever tried to buy a train ticket in india you would be aware of this. I have also never seen a statue of Queen Victoria in India, however a google search tells me there are 5, 1 in a major city. Also while the British did outlaw suttee it was unsuccessful and the practise continues to this day. You need to stop making stuff up Herbert.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:57pm

ian wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:44pm:
a few points, wherever you read that calculation, if you read that calculation, it is wrong. The colonisation of India was started as a purely business venture by the east india company.
also, the Indian rail system is not magnificent, it is a complete shambles, the bureaucracy that the British left behind only ensures that everything is done at about 1 percent of the pace it should be, it is a disaster. If you have ever tried to buy a train ticket in india you would be aware of this. I have also never seen a statue of Queen Victoria in India, however a google search tells me there are 5, 1 in a major city. Also while the British did outlaw suttee it was unsuccessful and the practise continues to this day. You need to stop making stuff up Herbert.

And then there is the curious history of the Anglo-Indians (once known as Eurasians) a class of people the British cynically created to act as a buffer between themselves (the overlords) and the Indians (the underclasses) - Another act of dividing and ruling. How was it done? By encouraging British soldiers and workers to mate with the local women (marry them if you must), the lower the caste, no doubt, the better... Nothing to lose for the low caste woman and everything to gain.

This cultural strata - Anglo-Indians - were awarded most if not all public service positions in the service of their overlords... They were encouraged to remain in contact with Indians and remain fluent in the Hindi dialects of the region but to consider themselves British. And, for that loyalty, they were well rewarded... That was until the Anglo-Indians, by a sheer force of numbers, became a threat to the overlords who then began to discreetly discriminate against them... Deploying British public servants into the most senior positions and maintaining a glass ceiling such that the Anglo-Indian could not rise according to merit but remain subjugated.

These same poor people at the end of the Raj were considered collaborators and were not well accepted, hence their mass migration from India to Britain, Canada, Australia etc...

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:02pm

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:39pm:
Didn't the English loot Spanish ships and steal their gold whenever they could?


Yes, indeed they did. But do you know the story behind it?

Of course you don't. The luvvies don't want to spoil the 'narrative' of the 'Evil British'.

You've been watching British history as told in TV documentaries by university academics who would never have secured their tenure if the Dean and the Board of Directors had suspected they weren't committed to anything other than a 'Black Arm Band' version of British history.

When Wilberforce persuaded the British parliament to outlaw slavery, it left a fleet of British ships with nothing to do.

And so, Wilberforce told their captains that they could loot the Spanish galleons that were still plying the Atlantic in the filthy trade of delivering fresh slaves for the tobacco and cotton plantations of the Old South.

Result: The captains of the British West Africa fleet earned a living helping to discourage the trade in slaves while being paid in looted Spanish gold and Doubloons.

The slave trade withered and stopped for being no longer profitable due to these British naval interceptions.








Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:09pm

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:09pm:
All imperial powers steal something... gold, land etc... How else do they pay for empire?



Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:31pm:
Trade.

It was all about trade.



NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:39pm:
Trade? Terra Nullius was about trade?


Don't make my efforts here a pointless exercise, helian.

India, China, the West Indies, Malaya, Singapore, British Guiana, etc etc ~ all about trade. 




Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:19pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:02pm:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:39pm:
Didn't the English loot Spanish ships and steal their gold whenever they could?


Yes, indeed they did. But do you know the story behind it?

Of course you don't. The luvvies don't want to spoil the 'narrative' of the 'Evil British'.

You've been watching British history as told in TV documentaries by university academics who would never have secured their tenure if the Dean and the Board of Directors had suspected they weren't committed to anything other than a 'Black Arm Band' version of British history.

When Wilberforce persuaded the British parliament to outlaw slavery, it left a fleet of British ships with nothing to do.

And so, Wilberforce told their captains that they could loot the Spanish galleons that were still plying the Atlantic in the filthy trade of delivering fresh slaves for the tobacco and cotton plantations of the Old South.

I think you'll fin that the English had been looting Spanish gold for over 200 years before Wilberforce... and long before they developed a conscience over slavery.

Destroying the Spanish economy was an obsession with the English since the time of Elizabeth I.

I'd bet that destroying Spanish ships in the 19th century was more to do with keeping the British as naval masters and the overlords of world trade than saving black people from slavery.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:36pm

ian wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:44pm:

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:31pm:


I read a calculation made after Britain had withdrawn from India, which showed that the British Raj had cost the British government more to finance than it earned from trade during all of its years of occupation.
a few points, wherever you read that calculation, if you read that calculation, it is wrong.


Ah, okay ... Thanks for informing us, sahib.

It was probably calculated by someone whose 'Black Armband-of-Guilt-and-Shame had temporarily slipped off his arm while he was typing the results.

I'm sure he was mortified when after returning home from posting his thesis he discovered it lying there on the floor.


ian wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:44pm:
the Indian rail system is not magnificent,


It was one of the proudest achievements of any colonial power. That it was left to fall into disrepair by successive Indian governments, post-raj, is hardly Britain's fault.

And the population has doubled or tripled in the past 65 years or so, with hardly any additional tracks having been laid.


ian wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:44pm:
the bureaucracy that the British left behind only ensures that everything is done at about 1 percent of the pace it should be,


Rabid nonsense.

The British Raj didn't train generations of young Indians at British universities so that trade would be slowed to ...


Quote:
"about 1 percent of the pace it should be ...



ian wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:44pm:
I have also never seen a statue of Queen Victoria in India ...


;D ;D ;D

"bugger Google!" hey?

Let's pretend there's no such thing as Google, okay? I've had a nice Sunday lunch and I'm feeling generous.

So ...


ian wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:44pm:
I have also never seen a statue of Queen Victoria in India ...


Hmmm .. well, okay ...  :-[ My bad.


ian wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:44pm:
Also while the British did outlaw suttee it was unsuccessful ...


No prosecutions? No lives saved? No investigations post-mortem?


ian wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:44pm:
and the practise continues to this day ...


Oh well, that's definitely an evil legacy from Britain's imperial years ...


ian wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:44pm:
You need to stop making stuff up Herbert.


Have a nice day, Ian.  :)

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:41pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:09pm:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:09pm:
All imperial powers steal something... gold, land etc... How else do they pay for empire?



Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:31pm:
Trade.

It was all about trade.



NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:39pm:
Trade? Terra Nullius was about trade?


Don't make my efforts here a pointless exercise, helian.

India, China, the West Indies, Malaya, Singapore, British Guiana, etc etc ~ all about trade. 

China forced to trade at gunpoint wasn't it?

Do you think Britain will return the Kohinoor diamond to India? Stolen by the East India Company wasn't it?

I think your efforts on this thread are largely pointless... More the effort of an old British bloke defending his country's legacy, than someone prepared to accept a more balanced view of its history...

No one could really argue that the British Empire was 'evil incarnate'... It was an Empire and empires sometimes (or often) commit crimes against those they rule by force or by guile... That's just the way of empires.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:06pm

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:41pm:
I think your efforts on this thread are largely pointless...


I suspect you might be right.

I'll leave you to wallow in the entirely negative, self-flagellating version of British history, helian.

I think that's the version you prefer.

It will make you very popular with your ethnic friends. Compensate them for their national inferiority feelings.




Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Aussie on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:10pm

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:41pm:

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:09pm:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:09pm:
All imperial powers steal something... gold, land etc... How else do they pay for empire?



Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:31pm:
Trade.

It was all about trade.



NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:39pm:
Trade? Terra Nullius was about trade?


Don't make my efforts here a pointless exercise, helian.

India, China, the West Indies, Malaya, Singapore, British Guiana, etc etc ~ all about trade. 

China forced to trade at gunpoint wasn't it?

Do you think Britain will return the Kohinoor diamond to India? Stolen by the East India Company wasn't it?

I think your efforts on this thread are largely pointless... More the effort of an old British bloke defending his country's legacy, than someone prepared to accept a more balanced view of its history...

No one could really argue that the British Empire was 'evil incarnate'... It was an Empire and empires sometimes (or often) commit crimes against those they rule by force or by guile... That's just the way of empires.


I've told this story before....dunno whether here.  On a trip to India, we toured through the Pink Fort at Agra.



Then, it was still being used as a military barracks, so there were many parts off limits.  But.....there was this huge tiled area, maybe the size of a football field and the tiles were quite large, at least a metre squared.  In every tile, there were holes (like hail dents) on each corner, thousands of such holes.  The Guide was asked what was the story with those holes.

"They did contain gems stones, all removed and taken by the British when they left."

A couple of years later, we were looking through Windsor Castle, and there was a large display of fine gem stones, all marked 'Acquired from India by King (whatever the name was.)'  The Indian Bride was pissed off, and it did leave a lousy taste in the Aussie mouth.

Bloody thieving Poms!



Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:11pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:06pm:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:41pm:
I think your efforts on this thread are largely pointless...


I suspect you might be right.

I'll leave you to wallow in the entirely negative, self-flagellating version of British history, helian.

I think that's the version you prefer.

It will make you very popular with your ethnic friends. Compensate them for their national inferiority feelings.

Awww, come on...Don't throw teddy in the dirt!

All this defending of your ex-pat sense of superiority is making you petulant. You don't have to fight so hard for the old Empire...


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:29pm

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:11pm:
Awww, come on...Don't throw teddy in the dirt!

All this defending of your ex-pat sense of superiority is making you petulant. You don't have to fight so hard for the old Empire...


Oh come on, helian!  We both know you're one of a great many Vichy Brits and Aussies who are committed to an ideological version of British and Australian history that has no room for anything other than damnation and eternal penance for the sins of the past.







Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:31pm

Aussie wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:10pm:
Bloody thieving Poms!


Aw, no. Look what the cat dragged in.  8-)

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Laugh till you cry on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:53pm

Aussie wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:10pm:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:41pm:

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 1:09pm:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:09pm:
All imperial powers steal something... gold, land etc... How else do they pay for empire?



Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:31pm:
Trade.

It was all about trade.



NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:39pm:
Trade? Terra Nullius was about trade?


Don't make my efforts here a pointless exercise, helian.

India, China, the West Indies, Malaya, Singapore, British Guiana, etc etc ~ all about trade. 

China forced to trade at gunpoint wasn't it?

Do you think Britain will return the Kohinoor diamond to India? Stolen by the East India Company wasn't it?

I think your efforts on this thread are largely pointless... More the effort of an old British bloke defending his country's legacy, than someone prepared to accept a more balanced view of its history...

No one could really argue that the British Empire was 'evil incarnate'... It was an Empire and empires sometimes (or often) commit crimes against those they rule by force or by guile... That's just the way of empires.


I've told this story before....dunno whether here.  On a trip to India, we toured through the Pink Fort at Agra.



Then, it was still being used as a military barracks, so there were many parts off limits.  But.....there was this huge tiled area, maybe the size of a football field and the tiles were quite large, at least a metre squared.  In every tile, there were holes (like hail dents) on each corner, thousands of such holes.  The Guide was asked what was the story with those holes.

"They did contain gems stones, all removed and taken by the British when they left."

A couple of years later, we were looking through Windsor Castle, and there was a large display of fine gem stones, all marked 'Acquired from India by King (whatever the name was.)'  The Indian Bride was pissed off, and it did leave a lousy taste in the Aussie mouth.

Bloody thieving Poms!


I toured a stateley house in UK many years ago. The guide was pointing out Flemish tapestries, French furniture, Spanish fireplaces and Dutch Master paintings. I remarked loudly to my friend "the bloody poms had no culture at all. They stole everything."

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Aussie on Mar 16th, 2014 at 3:03pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:31pm:

Aussie wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:10pm:
Bloody thieving Poms!


Aw, no. Look what the cat dragged in.  8-)


Now, now Walter, play nicely or I'll get your Nanny to take you back to the Nursery.  No toys either.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 3:57pm

Aussie wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 3:03pm:

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:31pm:

Aussie wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:10pm:
Bloody thieving Poms!


Aw, no. Look what the cat dragged in.  8-)


Now, now Walter, play nicely or I'll get your Nanny to take you back to the Nursery.  No toys either.


You should be out patrolling for duplicate and triplicate threads.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Aussie on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:06pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 3:57pm:

Aussie wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 3:03pm:

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:31pm:

Aussie wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:10pm:
Bloody thieving Poms!


Aw, no. Look what the cat dragged in.  8-)


Now, now Walter, play nicely or I'll get your Nanny to take you back to the Nursery.  No toys either.


You should be out patrolling for duplicate and triplicate threads.


No, it's "Lady" Mantra's shift.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:07pm

Laugh till you cry wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:53pm:
I toured a stateley house in UK many years ago. The guide was pointing out Flemish tapestries, French furniture, Spanish fireplaces and Dutch Master paintings. I remarked loudly to my friend "the bloody poms had no culture at all. They stole everything."


... and across the ditch on the European continent guides in a score of stately homes and castles were telling their tourist visitors ...

"Herren und Damen! Hier ist ein ... Constable oil painting ... und ober dere ein Turner oil painting ... und heir ist ein page von Shakespeare's original 'Hamlet' ... und Isaac Newton's calculations are unter dis glass panel ... und mein Gott! dar ist zum priceless dinnerware by Wedgewood ... und dare ist ein prototype off Baird's television invention ... und ... Gott in Himmel! ve haff ein Rolls Royce ober dere in its original condition ... und ... "  

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:08pm

Quote:
It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"


Jared Diamond answered this question in "Guns, Germs and Steel", with another go at it in "Collapse" I think.


Quote:
And that's only because political correctness forbids Britain and America's current crop of de facto Social-Marxist academics from claiming a superiority for the West that might embarrass and upset China for its 'Third World' status.


It's surprising how doggedly you resist the reality.


Quote:
Read any books lately by academics giving an honest critique of pre-settlement aboriginal traditions and cultural practices?

Of course you haven't.


Neither have you, I'm guessing. Not because they don't exist either, but because it spoils your victimhood narrative.


Quote:
You're making a common mistake. You're applying modern day trendy morality to past acts. This in no way actually gives an insight into the time and why things occurred as they did. True history involves understanding the morals, laws, mores of an era and how they were justified. Just looking back and claiming the past was 'barbaric' reveals more about the values of the person making the claim than anything in history.


Yet it is necessary to communicate what went on. It was barbaric, whether or not everyone else was being barbaric at the same time. Instead of getting all hung up on whether it is OK to judge it, why not just call it for what it is and get over it?


Quote:
None of this is unusual about empire... as dictators never willingly relinquish power... Imperialists never surrender the empire they serve except at the point of a gun, or due to the impossibility of holding it together.


I think you'll find that Britain gave up India more readily than just about any empire in history, and has continued to benefit greatly from that move.


Quote:
Okay. But theories of "oppression" are more often than not a projection of the author rather than an insight into the times.


False dichotomy. One person can call it oppression. Another can call it gifting a superior culture by force. Neither is a barrier to insight. The only barrier to insight is people like you who whine about the shame they feel.


Quote:
Yes it would be a mistake because slavery was considered normal for the time.


Slavery could become normal again. All it takes is to make it more common. Would that also make it moral?


Quote:
Do you believe that Southern US slave owners truly believed (by sole virtue of the morals, laws, mores of their era) that the African should by his nature be subjugated?


If you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.


Quote:
What is the excuse of large companies today (e.g. Apple) who happily allow Chinese workers to endure slave-like conditions to build their products cheaply?


You already know what the "excuse" is - that those Chinese are actually better off for Apples' employment of them. There is no coercion.


Quote:
It was probably calculated by someone whose 'Black Armband-of-Guilt-and-Shame had temporarily slipped off his arm while he was typing the results.


So it is the motivations behind the words that matter, not whether they are actually true? All you ever talk about is your feelings of shame.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Aussie on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:17pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:07pm:

Laugh till you cry wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:53pm:
I toured a stateley house in UK many years ago. The guide was pointing out Flemish tapestries, French furniture, Spanish fireplaces and Dutch Master paintings. I remarked loudly to my friend "the bloody poms had no culture at all. They stole everything."


... and across the ditch on the European continent guides in a score of stately homes and castles were telling their tourist visitors ...

"Herren und Damen! Hier ist ein ... Constable oil painting ... und ober dere ein Turner oil painting ... und heir ist ein page von Shakespeare's original 'Hamlet' ... und Isaac Newton's calculations are unter dis glass panel ... und mein Gott! dar ist zum priceless dinnerware by Wedgewood ... und dare ist ein prototype off Baird's television invention ... und ... Gott in Himmel! ve haff ein Rolls Royce ober dere in its original condition ... und ... "  



I'll finish the sentence.  'Ve haben nicht gems aus India.  The Poms stole them all.'

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:26pm


Quote:
Read any books lately by academics giving an honest critique of pre-settlement aboriginal traditions and cultural practices?

Of course you haven't.



freediver wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:08pm:
Neither have you, I'm guessing.


Actually I have, and probably before you were born. In those days the books in the NSW State library had not yet been sorted out according to whether they conformed to the neo-Socialist prohibition against any material that contravened the ideology of political correctness. The reading in public libraries was quite interesting in those days.

Don't believe me? ~ you can test this yourself. Go to any library you like and try to find a book that takes an academically critical look at Islam. They used to be there. You will now not find a single one anywhere.

Political correctness, and politicising our reading material has burned books just the same as Hitler did with his night-time bonfires all across Germany in the local parks.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by longweekend58 on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:49pm

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
Why Nations Fail (by Acemoglu and Robinson) is a book I am currently reading that attempts to explain the enormous variations in wealth seen in the world today. It attributes these differences to economic institutions, which are largely dictated by political institutions. Institutions is intended in the broad meaning - eg property rights, democracy etc. It highlights how both the patterns in wealth and the patterns in these institutions have been very (though not entirely) stable over the last 150 years, and argues an institutional inertia (my term) that goes beyond the influence of the powerful individuals involved. It suggests why it is so hard to break the mold, and how to break it (not up to that part yet).

It also rejects some of the conventional arguments - eg:

* Culture - that Protestant, Judea-Christian, European or Roman culture is what makes the west so rich, while attempting to disentangle the various meanings of culture. Culture is part of the economic and political institutions that make countries rich or poor. He even argues that the middle east is not poor because of Islam, though I suspect he has never met anyone like Abu.

* Geography - that people in hot countries are lazy, or the soil is less fertile, and various more complicated version of this theory. It addresses the "Guns, Germs and Steel" hypothesis of Jared Diamond and puts it in it's place as an explanation for why the west was able to dominate the world, while highlighting the inability of this theory to explain vast differences in wealth seen in those countries colonised or settled by Europeans.

* Ignorance - that leaders or people in poor countries do not understand how to get rich. This is the explanation favoured by many modern economists. It highlights that even when they do understand, the people in power usually don't want to. Even when they are forced to or try to make the change, it is fraught with danger, because the problems are institutionalised within the economy and the politics. The idiotic economic policies of various tinpot dictators are not determined out of ignorance of economics, but by the economic and political institutions that for the tinpot dictators are an unchangeable reality they must work within.

The causes of wealth and poverty are economic and political freedoms and rights that are closely linked or interact. For example - secure property rights, including patents, economic freedom, democracy and a broad distribution (separation) of political power.

In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".


what does 'fail' mean?  it sounds very much like a very subjective word.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:27pm

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 12:21pm:

Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:52am:
You're making a common mistake. You're applying modern day trendy morality to past acts. This in no way actually gives an insight into the time and why things occurred as they did. True history involves understanding the morals, laws, mores of an era and how they were justified. Just looking back and claiming the past was 'barbaric' reveals more about the values of the person making the claim than anything in history.

Do you believe that Southern US slave owners truly believed (by sole virtue of the morals, laws, mores of their era) that the African should by his nature be subjugated? Or were they more concerned about the destruction of their economy that the end of slavery would unleash were they to admit what was easily provable - That a black man had the same capacity as any white man to succeed or fail deploying the same natural predispositions?

What is the excuse of large companies today (e.g. Apple) who happily allow Chinese workers to endure slave-like conditions to build their products cheaply?


At the time, Africans were not considered equal to Europeans, hence why they were slaves.


As for Apple and similar companies, some might consider it slavery, others might see it as helping them to integrate into the global economy. However, under the modern conception of Human Rights, it would be considered, by Westerners, to be a form of slavery.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:33pm

freediver wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:08pm:
Yet it is necessary to communicate what went on. It was barbaric, whether or not everyone else was being barbaric at the same time. Instead of getting all hung up on whether it is OK to judge it, why not just call it for what it is and get over it?


You're also under the false impression that there's a timeless form of morality, and it happens to be the one you hold here in 2014. A cursory read of history shows countless moralities.


Quote:
False dichotomy. One person can call it oppression. Another can call it gifting a superior culture by force. Neither is a barrier to insight. The only barrier to insight is people like you who whine about the shame they feel.


Any shame is your projection. I feel more pride than shame.
Yet, when I am in analytical mode, I feel little.


Quote:
Slavery could become normal again. All it takes is to make it more common. Would that also make it moral?


Morality is all perspective.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:46pm

freediver wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:08pm:

Quote:
It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"


Jared Diamond answered this question in "Guns, Germs and Steel", with another go at it in "Collapse" I think.

As did Simon Winchester, although maybe less assured than Diamond, in 'Bomb, Book and Compass' his biography of Needham.


freediver wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:08pm:

Quote:
None of this is unusual about empire... as dictators never willingly relinquish power... Imperialists never surrender the empire they serve except at the point of a gun, or due to the impossibility of holding it together.


I think you'll find that Britain gave up India more readily than just about any empire in history, and has continued to benefit greatly from that move.

Actually Churchill begged Truman and Eisenhower for the Empire back and they agreed but only on the proviso that they allow full independence to any colony that requested it. There was a plan to retain India but with no money and the horrors of WW2 still fresh in British minds (including the holocaust) there was not the national will, nor the national belief in Empire, to carry it out. Of course, if the Americans were saying no, it wouldn't have mattered what the British national will was. The US was the new leader and its will be done.


freediver wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:08pm:

Quote:
What is the excuse of large companies today (e.g. Apple) who happily allow Chinese workers to endure slave-like conditions to build their products cheaply?


You already know what the "excuse" is - that those Chinese are actually better off for Apples' employment of them. There is no coercion.

Yes that'll do. Without reference to the obvious - that those Apple products are cheaper... Seems like the same sentiments govern us today as governed the southern states of the US. Cheap labour, cheap cotton.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:56pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:29pm:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 2:11pm:
Awww, come on...Don't throw teddy in the dirt!

All this defending of your ex-pat sense of superiority is making you petulant. You don't have to fight so hard for the old Empire...


Oh come on, helian!  We both know you're one of a great many Vichy Brits and Aussies who are committed to an ideological version of British and Australian history that has no room for anything other than damnation and eternal penance for the sins of the past.

We both know, do we?

I haven't cried 'shame, shame, shame and Britain is to blame'...

I think you're over-reactive in your defence of Britain. But, then again, the end of the British Empire is still within some peoples' lifetime. The Austrians were peeved about the loss of theirs too and were only too happy to join the German Reich in the naïve belief that they were reclaiming their greatness.

Now they couldn't give a turd about the Austro-Hungarian empire, nor whether anyone criticises it. That, to them, has faded into history. I'm betting there's no geriatric Frenchman sitting in a café getting uppity about defending Napoleon's empire either.

The British Empire is still within your living memory, I'm guessing, so find a café and defend away...

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:02pm

Quote:
what does 'fail' mean?  it sounds very much like a very subjective word.


The authors do not actually use the word in the book. The subtitle on the book is more reflective of the content: "The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty". It is really about relative wealth.


Quote:
However, under the modern conception of Human Rights, it would be considered, by Westerners, to be a form of slavery.


I am a westerner. I do not consider it slavery. Words have meanings. Use them.


Quote:
Actually I have, and probably before you were born. In those days the books in the NSW State library


Ah I see your problem. It's not the academics. It's that you want the books for free, paid for by the government, but spinning history your way, and not forgetting to bag Islam in a history of the British Empire.


Quote:
You're also under the false impression that there's a timeless form of morality


It was barbaric. I am calling it barbaric. I don't need to have a debate on the philosophy of morality to do that. I am simply calling a spade a spade. I find it helps to communicate the reality of world history if we are honest about where we come from. It certainly helps in avoiding going back there.


Quote:
As did Simon Winchester, although maybe less assured than Diamond, in 'Bomb, Book and Compass' his biography of Needham.


Was it the same theory?


Quote:
Yes that'll do. Without reference to the obvious - that those Apple products are cheaper... Seems like the same sentiments govern us today as governed the southern states of the US. Cheap labour, cheap cotton.


That was actual slavery. Are the Chinese coerced? I am not a fan of Chinese politics, but I am not going to call them slaves in an attempt to prove a vapid point.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:20pm

freediver wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 4:08pm:
... why not just call it for what it is and get over it?



Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:33pm:
You're also under the false impression that there's a timeless form of morality, and it happens to be the one you hold here in 2014. A cursory read of history shows countless moralities.


Very astute observation.

One dimensional moral minimalists such as your dancing partner here, are legion. If you don't keep it really simple, and not be 'difficult' ~ they're apt to start telling you "you're full of it" ... and they "can tell".  ;D


Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:33pm:
Any shame is your projection.


Nice counter-punch. Go for the 'rear naked choke' (RNC) when you see an opening.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:39pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:20pm:
they're apt to start telling you "you're full of it" ... and they "can tell"

One of those Freudian moments, I think...

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:46pm

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:39pm:

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:20pm:
they're apt to start telling you "you're full of it" ... and they "can tell"

One of those Freudian moments, I think...


Exactly.

A clear case of 'projection', as Culture Warrior so correctly observed.

I'm hoping to see a little 'ground-and-pound' from Cultural Warrior once he trips up his dancing partner in this thread.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:50pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:46pm:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:39pm:

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:20pm:
they're apt to start telling you "you're full of it" ... and they "can tell"

One of those Freudian moments, I think...


Exactly.

A clear case of 'projection', as Culture Warrior so correctly observed.

It just gets Freudier and Freudier!!!

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 17th, 2014 at 5:43am
I'm not all gung-ho! about the British Empire as some would like to tar-and-feather me as being. Objecting to a Black Armband version of British history is not the same as being a one-eyed fanatic.

I've worked with nine .... let me repeat that: nine immigrant ethnicities whose countries had been militarily assisting Nazi Germany in wiping out democratic sovereign nations one after the other, and making slaves of those who were fit to work in armament factories and on the farms, and genocidally murdering the rest.

Nine. Working alongside me here in Australia.

I've talked to those who were railroaded to Hitler's factories. I've talked to those who survived Hitler's death camps.

No one mentions a word about these people and the evils their nations assisted with in such recent times.

But mention what the Brits did in shooting a few Abos who were persistently stealing sheep and cattle from settler farmers out in the bushlands where the living was precarious to say the least ~ and EVERYONE starts baying for blood and asking that their Australian descendants should hang their heads in shame, and have a 'Sorry Day'.

The hypocrisy and cherry-picking is pathological.






Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by sherri on Mar 17th, 2014 at 5:59am

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 5:43am:
I'm not all gung-ho! about the British Empire as some would like to tar-and-feather me as being. Objecting to a Black Armband version of British history is not the same as being a one-eyed fanatic.

I've worked with nine .... let me repeat that: nine immigrant ethnicities whose countries had been militarily assisting Nazi Germany in wiping out democratic sovereign nations one after the other, and making slaves of those who were fit to work in armament factories and on the farms, and genocidally murdering the rest.

Nine. Working alongside me here in Australia.

I've talked to those who were railroaded to Hitler's factories. I've talked to those who survived Hitler's death camps.

No one mentions a word about these people and the evils their nations assisted with in such recent times.

But mention what the Brits did in shooting a few Abos who were persistently stealing sheep and cattle from settler farmers out in the bushlands where the living was precarious to say the least ~ and EVERYONE starts baying for blood and asking that their Australian descendants should hang their heads in shame, and have a 'Sorry Day'.

The hypocrisy and cherry-picking is pathological.


You are very right in a lot of ways, Herbert.
I do think though that although there was a sense of 'Don't mention the war', people certainly remembered it. My mother never really cared for Germans en masse (so she said) till her dying day, which was only 5 years ago. Mind you, she had some German  neighbours and friends but that was 'different'. :)
Nowadays no one-well most people-would not take it out on present day Germans because let's face it, most were not alive in the war or were very young and not responsible.

Yet it was a great and deliberate evil. My cousin's husband's parents lost most of their extended family in the holocaust. The survivors did mention it but not in the sense of hating all germans. Hating the evil.

It makes no sense to blame present day Australians for the british settlement either, or for the fact the world has changed so drastically in the last 200 plus years.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 17th, 2014 at 6:39am

sherri wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 5:59am:
You are very right in a lot of ways, Herbert.




Oh, please ... you'll have me blushing.


sherri wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 5:59am:
My mother never really cared for Germans en masse (so she said) till her dying day, which was only 5 years ago. Mind you, she had some German  neighbours and friends but that was 'different'. :)


My condolences. I lost my brother and best friend 10 years ago, and it still hurts.

My mother taught English to German kids in Shanghai just before the war was declared, with a huge portrait of Hitler above the blackboard.

Hitler was like a pop-star. He was a celebrity who a lot of people admired for having pulled Germany out of the Depression and creating 'best standard' road systems like the autobahn. Even Churchill told the House of Commons that if Britain had a Hitler things would be greatly improved.

But then Adolf became belligerent and greedy, and it all went south after that.


sherri wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 5:59am:
Nowadays no one-well most people-would not take it out on present day Germans because let's face it, most were not alive in the war or were very young and not responsible.


The closest we have today that resembles Hitler's ideology, is Islam. It contains most of the elements of Hitler's Manifesto ~ including a genocidal hatred of the Jews, and the subjugation of Non-Believers to the status of Dhimmi, and of course, rule by dictatorship.


sherri wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 5:59am:
It makes no sense to blame present day Australians for the british settlement either, or for the fact the world has changed so drastically in the last 200 plus years.


Exactly.

You'll notice that 'Generational Guilt' is never applied to themselves, whether this be aborigines, or our immigrant finger-waggers. 

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 17th, 2014 at 6:41am

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 5:43am:
I'm not all gung-ho! about the British Empire as some would like to tar-and-feather me as being. Objecting to a Black Armband version of British history is not the same as being a one-eyed fanatic.

I've worked with nine .... let me repeat that: nine immigrant ethnicities whose countries had been militarily assisting Nazi Germany in wiping out democratic sovereign nations one after the other, and making slaves of those who were fit to work in armament factories and on the farms, and genocidally murdering the rest.

Nine. Working alongside me here in Australia.

I've talked to those who were railroaded to Hitler's factories. I've talked to those who survived Hitler's death camps.

No one mentions a word about these people and the evils their nations assisted with in such recent times.

But mention what the Brits did in shooting a few Abos who were persistently stealing sheep and cattle from settler farmers out in the bushlands where the living was precarious to say the least ~ and EVERYONE starts baying for blood and asking that their Australian descendants should hang their heads in shame, and have a 'Sorry Day'.

The hypocrisy and cherry-picking is pathological.

I'm assuming these nine ethnicities are not those who you "Tickle their tummy, and tell them they're just as good as those who they have had a chronic inferiority complex about (the English, et al). "?

I'm not surprised that collaborationist ethnicities don't mention the war.

But if you think that those nations who suffered under Germany have forgotten, I think you're very wrong. The hatred can run so deep in Europe (particularly for those who personally endured it) that mentioning the war can have unpredictable emotional reactions.

There are Jews alive in Australia and elsewhere who do remember the war and even the hearing the German language can make them feel not just emotionally upset but physically ill.

Another no-go in Europe is mentioning the Irish-English issue in the mixed company of British and Irish people. Interestingly, its the Irish in the group who do not appreciate the subject being brought up because they cannot predict their emotional response as the conversation delves into Irish grievances. They particularly do not like foreigners bringing up the subject. Some conflicts leave a cultural scar on the psyche.



Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 17th, 2014 at 6:52am

sherri wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 5:59am:
I do think though that although there was a sense of 'Don't mention the war', people certainly remembered it. My mother never really cared for Germans en masse (so she said) till her dying day, which was only 5 years ago. Mind you, she had some German  neighbours and friends but that was 'different'.

It reminds me of watching Nancy Wake's speech... I think it was when she (ridiculously belatedly) was honoured by Australia when she was finally awarded the Order of Australia in 2004. She first made mention of her enduring hatred and disgust for all German people and (if I remember correctly) publically said she thought the only good German was a dead one. (The Germans had tortured and murdered her French husband during the war).

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:04am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 6:41am:
Another no-go in Europe is mentioning the Irish-English issue in the mixed company of British and Irish people. Interestingly, its the Irish in the group who do not appreciate the subject being brought up because they cannot predict their emotional response as the conversation delves into Irish grievances. They particularly do not like foreigners bringing up the subject. Some conflicts leave a cultural scar on the psyche.


Correct.

Not many Irish who hate the English are aware of the fact that Irish immigrants in New York, soon after 'The Famine', went on a 10-day rampage of genocidal butchery aimed at killing every black man they could find. They dragged the blacks out of their hiding places and slaughtered them in the streets.


Quote:
"... but ... but ... but it's only the ENGLISH who are the villains in the English/Irish narrative, isn't it?"


Throwing stones in glass-houses does have it's hazards.

I once had a Croatian thug giving me a hard time about the British Empire, and stealing Australia from the abos .. etc. He wasn't smiling. He genuinely was a nasty thug of a human being.

It never occurred to him that perhaps his own country also had a few questionable skeletons in the cupboard ~ such as an exterminatioin camp that even disgusted visiting German Nazis.

link 




Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:12am

Much of the world’s growth is coming in English-speaking countries. Here, according to the Heritage Foundation, are the freest economies on earth in 2014:

Hong Kong
Singapore
Australia
Switzerland
New Zealand
Canada


Only in our present age would anyone think it impolite to point out what five of the six have in common.

What’s so special about the Anglosphere? Chiefly the common law. While other legal systems are deductive, in the sense that a law is written down in the abstract and then applied to particular cases, the common law builds up case by case, like coral. It concerns itself, not with theoretical principles, but with actual disputes. In consequence — and no one is really sure how this came about — it rises from the people rather than descending from the government, assuming residual rights and personal liberty. If something is not expressly prohibited, we expect to be able to do whatever we bloody well like. That attitude makes for a strong economy and a free society.

One man who knows this in his bones is Tony Abbott. He is the most flattering kind of Anglophile: one who sees us British as we are, ‘with all our crimes broad blown, as flush as May’, and yet likes us anyway. But he has given up using the word ‘Anglosphere’ since, whenever he does so, his opponents affect to see connotations of nostalgia, colonial cringe and even racism. In fact, of course, the Anglosphere concept is about institutions, not ancestry. It explains why Bermuda is not Haiti, why Hong Kong is not China, why Singapore is not Indonesia. Regular elections, uncensored newspapers, habeas corpus, sanctity of contract, individual freedom, open markets — these things are not the natural condition of an advanced state. They were evolved overwhelmingly in the language in which you are reading these words. When we call these precepts ‘Western’, we’re being polite: they became Western because of a series of military victories by the English-speaking peoples.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/australia/australia-diary/9153721/diary-656/

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Deathridesahorse on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:12am

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
Why Nations Fail (by Acemoglu and Robinson) is a book I am currently reading that attempts to explain the enormous variations in wealth seen in the world today. It attributes these differences to economic institutions, which are largely dictated by political institutions. Institutions is intended in the broad meaning - eg property rights, democracy etc. It highlights how both the patterns in wealth and the patterns in these institutions have been very (though not entirely) stable over the last 150 years, and argues an institutional inertia (my term) that goes beyond the influence of the powerful individuals involved. It suggests why it is so hard to break the mold, and how to break it (not up to that part yet).

It also rejects some of the conventional arguments - eg:

* Culture - that Protestant, Judea-Christian, European or Roman culture is what makes the west so rich, while attempting to disentangle the various meanings of culture. Culture is part of the economic and political institutions that make countries rich or poor. He even argues that the middle east is not poor because of Islam, though I suspect he has never met anyone like Abu.

* Geography - that people in hot countries are lazy, or the soil is less fertile, and various more complicated version of this theory. It addresses the "Guns, Germs and Steel" hypothesis of Jared Diamond and puts it in it's place as an explanation for why the west was able to dominate the world, while highlighting the inability of this theory to explain vast differences in wealth seen in those countries colonised or settled by Europeans.

* Ignorance - that leaders or people in poor countries do not understand how to get rich. This is the explanation favoured by many modern economists. It highlights that even when they do understand, the people in power usually don't want to. Even when they are forced to or try to make the change, it is fraught with danger, because the problems are institutionalised within the economy and the politics. The idiotic economic policies of various tinpot dictators are not determined out of ignorance of economics, but by the economic and political institutions that for the tinpot dictators are an unchangeable reality they must work within.

The causes of wealth and poverty are economic and political freedoms and rights that are closely linked or interact. For example - secure property rights, including patents, economic freedom, democracy and a broad distribution (separation) of political power.

In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".

They don't change their momentum!

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Deathridesahorse on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:13am

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
Why Nations Fail (by Acemoglu and Robinson) is a book I am currently reading that attempts to explain the enormous variations in wealth seen in the world today. It attributes these differences to economic institutions, which are largely dictated by political institutions. Institutions is intended in the broad meaning - eg property rights, democracy etc. It highlights how both the patterns in wealth and the patterns in these institutions have been very (though not entirely) stable over the last 150 years, and argues an institutional inertia (my term) that goes beyond the influence of the powerful individuals involved. It suggests why it is so hard to break the mold, and how to break it (not up to that part yet).

It also rejects some of the conventional arguments - eg:

* Culture - that Protestant, Judea-Christian, European or Roman culture is what makes the west so rich, while attempting to disentangle the various meanings of culture. Culture is part of the economic and political institutions that make countries rich or poor. He even argues that the middle east is not poor because of Islam, though I suspect he has never met anyone like Abu.

* Geography - that people in hot countries are lazy, or the soil is less fertile, and various more complicated version of this theory. It addresses the "Guns, Germs and Steel" hypothesis of Jared Diamond and puts it in it's place as an explanation for why the west was able to dominate the world, while highlighting the inability of this theory to explain vast differences in wealth seen in those countries colonised or settled by Europeans.

* Ignorance - that leaders or people in poor countries do not understand how to get rich. This is the explanation favoured by many modern economists. It highlights that even when they do understand, the people in power usually don't want to. Even when they are forced to or try to make the change, it is fraught with danger, because the problems are institutionalised within the economy and the politics. The idiotic economic policies of various tinpot dictators are not determined out of ignorance of economics, but by the economic and political institutions that for the tinpot dictators are an unchangeable reality they must work within.

The causes of wealth and poverty are economic and political freedoms and rights that are closely linked or interact. For example - secure property rights, including patents, economic freedom, democracy and a broad distribution (separation) of political power.

In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".

They don't change their momentum!

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:16am

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:04am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 6:41am:
Another no-go in Europe is mentioning the Irish-English issue in the mixed company of British and Irish people. Interestingly, its the Irish in the group who do not appreciate the subject being brought up because they cannot predict their emotional response as the conversation delves into Irish grievances. They particularly do not like foreigners bringing up the subject. Some conflicts leave a cultural scar on the psyche.


Correct.

Not many Irish who hate the English are aware of the fact that Irish immigrants in New York, soon after 'The Famine', went on a 10-day rampage of genocidal butchery aimed at killing every black man they could find. They dragged the blacks out of their hiding places and slaughtered them in the streets.

That's true. The immigrant illiterate Irish were the most reviled of white nationalities in New York and were the ones who competed with blacks for low paying jobs.

The Irish were roundly despised in Australia as well.


Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:04am:
Throwing stones in glass-houses does have it's hazards.

I once had a Croatian thug giving me a hard time about the British Empire, and stealing Australia from the abos .. etc. He wasn't smiling. He genuinely was a nasty thug of a human being.

It never occurred to him that perhaps his own country also had a few questionable skeletons in the cupboard ~ such as an exterminatioin camp that even disgusted visiting German Nazis.

Yes. The Croats I've known have either never been told (or so they say) of their nation's collaborationist history or refuse to talk about it... But, then again, so do many Austrians, whose collaborationist history was mostly ripped out of their history books.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:53am

Soren wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:12am:
Much of the world’s growth is coming in English-speaking countries. Here, according to the Heritage Foundation, are the freest economies on earth in 2014:

Hong Kong
Singapore
Australia
Switzerland
New Zealand
Canada


Only in our present age would anyone think it impolite to point out what five of the six have in common.

What’s so special about the Anglosphere? Chiefly the common law. While other legal systems are deductive, in the sense that a law is written down in the abstract and then applied to particular cases, the common law builds up case by case, like coral. It concerns itself, not with theoretical principles, but with actual disputes. In consequence — and no one is really sure how this came about — it rises from the people rather than descending from the government, assuming residual rights and personal liberty. If something is not expressly prohibited, we expect to be able to do whatever we bloody well like. That attitude makes for a strong economy and a free society.

One man who knows this in his bones is Tony Abbott. He is the most flattering kind of Anglophile: one who sees us British as we are, ‘with all our crimes broad blown, as flush as May’, and yet likes us anyway. But he has given up using the word ‘Anglosphere’ since, whenever he does so, his opponents affect to see connotations of nostalgia, colonial cringe and even racism. In fact, of course, the Anglosphere concept is about institutions, not ancestry. It explains why Bermuda is not Haiti, why Hong Kong is not China, why Singapore is not Indonesia. Regular elections, uncensored newspapers, habeas corpus, sanctity of contract, individual freedom, open markets — these things are not the natural condition of an advanced state. They were evolved overwhelmingly in the language in which you are reading these words. When we call these precepts ‘Western’, we’re being polite: they became Western because of a series of military victories by the English-speaking peoples.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/australia/australia-diary/9153721/diary-656/


And here I was thinking the Americans invented freedom and democracy. Now you say it was the British?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 17th, 2014 at 9:18am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 6:52am:

She first made mention of her enduring hatred and disgust for all German people and (if I remember correctly) publically said she thought the only good German was a dead one.


Correct.

It surprised me too.

Her hatred was uncompromising and all-embracing.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 17th, 2014 at 2:50pm

freediver wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:02pm:
I am a westerner. I do not consider it slavery. Words have meanings. Use them.


You'll have to take that up with NorthofNorth.



Quote:
It was barbaric. I am calling it barbaric. I don't need to have a debate on the philosophy of morality to do that. I am simply calling a spade a spade. I find it helps to communicate the reality of world history if we are honest about where we come from. It certainly helps in avoiding going back there.


I see. You want to "avoid[] going back there". So your point is political rather than analytical.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 17th, 2014 at 7:37pm
False dichotomy. It serves both purposes, as I clearly explained in the passage you quoted. If you want to go back to basket weaving, be my guest.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:10pm

freediver wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 7:37pm:
False dichotomy. It serves both purposes, as I clearly explained in the passage you quoted. If you want to go back to basket weaving, be my guest.


"The reality of world history" has little space for your prejudices.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:39pm

freediver wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:53am:
And here I was thinking the Americans invented freedom and democracy. Now you say it was the British?


The British and the French invented the idea that is manifest in America - and Australia and Canada and NZ.

The French manifestation of the idea is France (at least 5 revolutions since the late 1700s and at least 5 devastating and humiliating losses in wars) as well as Algeria, Vietnam, Haiti, New Caledonia, Central African Republic, etc. In a word - disasters. Great baguettes but otherwise disasters.

The Enlightenment is a European idea but its British practice is far superior to any of the other versions of it.
Common law and the institutions and social relations that it presupposes and maintains make it far more successful than French or German or Italian Enlightenment. The Germans and the French wrote great and stirring books about it but they just can't DO it.




Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 17th, 2014 at 9:19pm

Quote:
Common law and the institutions and social relations that it presupposes and maintains make it far more successful than French or German or Italian Enlightenment.


What institutions and social relations, other than the rule of law?

What do you mean by the different flavours of enlightenment?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:21pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 9:18am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 6:52am:

She first made mention of her enduring hatred and disgust for all German people and (if I remember correctly) publically said she thought the only good German was a dead one.


Correct.

It surprised me too.

Her hatred was uncompromising and all-embracing.

Yes, she summarised the genesis of cultural enmity in the way only a true unquestionable hero can.

The best of us enfranchising the worst in us.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 18th, 2014 at 6:46am

freediver wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:53am:
And here I was thinking the Americans invented freedom and democracy. Now you say it was the British?


The Magna Carta pre-dated the founding of America by several hundred years.

If you can get hold of one of Richard Nixon's speeches 'to the American people' ~ you'll find he itemised a long list of cultural, political, ethical, educational, etc attributes and institutions that the US inherited from the British.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 18th, 2014 at 7:01am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:21pm:
Yes, she summarised the genesis of cultural enmity in the way only a true unquestionable hero can.

The best of us enfranchising the worst in us.


That's made my head spin.

Would you mind deciphering that for me please?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by sherri on Mar 18th, 2014 at 7:17am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 6:52am:

sherri wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 5:59am:
I do think though that although there was a sense of 'Don't mention the war', people certainly remembered it. My mother never really cared for Germans en masse (so she said) till her dying day, which was only 5 years ago. Mind you, she had some German  neighbours and friends but that was 'different'.

It reminds me of watching Nancy Wake's speech... I think it was when she (ridiculously belatedly) was honoured by Australia when she was finally awarded the Order of Australia in 2004. She first made mention of her enduring hatred and disgust for all German people and (if I remember correctly) publically said she thought the only good German was a dead one. (The Germans had tortured and murdered her French husband during the war).


I used to be shocked when my mother made statements such as 'Germans are a cold, merciless people". But I realize now it was her truth, she lived through the war as a teen. Her father was killed by a German (in Australia, which surprised me when I found out), but she always said she never blamed Germans for that as her dad would have killed them first if he had had the chance, that was war.
Nancy Wake had her personal reasons and it's no good saying they should have felt differently as I doubt they could.
I suppose the main thing though is if you do hate a nationality, you would need to realize why you felt that way, know it was a bit irrational to project it onto present day people and leave it at that. Neither my mother nor Nancy Wake went around actively killing Germans after the war, for example. In fact, in my own home, my parents practically adopted a young German migrant, who was at our home all the time, and my father found him a job etc. But that of course was 'different'. :) in my mother's eyes.
Germans as a concept didn't appeal to her, but individually she liked them fine and several were her friends.
Her attitude didn't make any kind of logical sense of course, it was just an emotional reaction.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 18th, 2014 at 8:35am

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 18th, 2014 at 7:01am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:21pm:
Yes, she summarised the genesis of cultural enmity in the way only a true unquestionable hero can.

The best of us enfranchising the worst in us.


That's made my head spin.

Would you mind deciphering that for me please?

I think national heroes bear a greater responsibility than the rest of us not to cultivate hate.

Heroes such as her are rarely called to account in the way any one of the rest of us would be.

Acid spitting expressed her dark side and, because of her status, in its own small way, legitimises the same in others.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 18th, 2014 at 8:40am

sherri wrote on Mar 18th, 2014 at 7:17am:
Germans as a concept didn't appeal to her, but individually she liked them fine and several were her friends.
Her attitude didn't make any kind of logical sense of course, it was just an emotional reaction.

Yes, a good example of the irrationality we can all express.

In the (comical) reverse.... "I love mankind ... it's people I can't stand!!” (Charles Shultz).

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 18th, 2014 at 8:41am
Oops! Double post.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 18th, 2014 at 9:20am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 18th, 2014 at 8:35am:
Heroes such as her are rarely called to account in the way any one of the rest of us would be.

Acid spitting expressed her dark side and, because of her status, in its own small way, legitimises the same in others.


Okay, but let's not forget that for as long as Hitler's hordes were successfully riding roughshod over independent nations for the purpose of enslaving millions of people under a dictatorship ~ the German public treated the SS and the Wehrmacht as conquering heroes.

It was only when the tide turned that the German public became a little more reserved in their praise.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 18th, 2014 at 9:30am

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 18th, 2014 at 9:20am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 18th, 2014 at 8:35am:
Heroes such as her are rarely called to account in the way any one of the rest of us would be.

Acid spitting expressed her dark side and, because of her status, in its own small way, legitimises the same in others.


Okay, but let's not forget that for as long as Hitler's hordes were successfully riding roughshod over independent nations for the purpose of enslaving millions of people under a dictatorship ~ the German public treated the SS and the Wehrmacht as conquering heroes.

It was only when the tide turned that the German public became a little more reserved in their praise.

And, in many cases, they hid it away... Talking to old Germans and Austrians who lived through or participated in the war, I was amazed, once you'd gained their trust, how pro Nazi they still are (Not many left now, of course!)... Demons are immortal too.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Ahovking on Mar 18th, 2014 at 9:59am

Sparky wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:52pm:
Except it isn't, and hasn't been, despite people parroting the exact same nonsense for centuries. Our downfall will be if people ever start taking arguments like your seriously. By Freediver.

Hey mate, they won't take me seriously. They'll make up their own minds. You need to catch up on your history. I'm into the fall of South Vietnam at the moment. That same thing has happened plenty of times. When a society starts doing the most for the least you get the same thing happening. I'd laugh if you lost your job and ended up on the dole.


His right, after all it what happen is the USSR, and more recently in Venezuela were the socialist elites have cars, and food, the worker is finding it hard to find a store with food and even when they do, having enough money to pay for that food is rare.

And if he lost his job....He will just get another job... I know weird hey.. and maybe if he cant find a job, he will just create his own business.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 18th, 2014 at 10:48am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 18th, 2014 at 9:30am:
And, in many cases, they hid it away... Talking to old Germans and Austrians who lived through or participated in the war, I was amazed, once you'd gained their trust, how pro Nazi they still are (Not many left now, of course!)... Demons are immortal too.


That's been my experience too ~ but not just with Germans.

I've had Turkish workmates who thought Nazi Germany was the bee's knees. And then Hungarians, Russians, and Poles who hated the Jews. In fact nearly everyone across Europe hated the Jews.

My Dutch neighbour hated the Jews.

That's why anyone opposing Hitler was thought to be in league with the Devil for being on the side of the Jews.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Herbert on Mar 18th, 2014 at 11:15am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:16am:
Yes. The Croats I've known have either never been told (or so they say) of their nation's collaborationist history or refuse to talk about it... But, then again, so do many Austrians, whose collaborationist history was mostly ripped out of their history books.


Some of my best friends were Croats, and they worshipped Ante Pavelic like a demi-God.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Mar 18th, 2014 at 11:18am

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 18th, 2014 at 10:48am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 18th, 2014 at 9:30am:
And, in many cases, they hid it away... Talking to old Germans and Austrians who lived through or participated in the war, I was amazed, once you'd gained their trust, how pro Nazi they still are (Not many left now, of course!)... Demons are immortal too.


That's been my experience too ~ but not just with Germans.

I've had Turkish workmates who thought Nazi Germany was the bee's knees. And then Hungarians, Russians, and Poles who hated the Jews. In fact nearly everyone across Europe hated the Jews.

My Dutch neighbour hated the Jews.

That's why anyone opposing Hitler was thought to be in league with the Devil for being on the side of the Jews.


Quote:
Russian officer: You have been liberated by the Soviet army!

Itzhak Stern: Have you been in Poland?

Russian officer: I just came from Poland.

Itzhak Stern: Are there any Jews left?

Michael Lemper: Where should we go?

Russian officer: Don't go east, that's for sure. They hate you there. I wouldn't go west either, if I were you.
Schindler's List.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 18th, 2014 at 7:36pm

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 18th, 2014 at 8:35am:

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 18th, 2014 at 7:01am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:21pm:
Yes, she summarised the genesis of cultural enmity in the way only a true unquestionable hero can.

The best of us enfranchising the worst in us.


That's made my head spin.

Would you mind deciphering that for me please?

I think national heroes bear a greater responsibility than the rest of us not to cultivate hate.

Heroes such as her are rarely called to account in the way any one of the rest of us would be.

Acid spitting expressed her dark side and, because of her status, in its own small way, legitimises the same in others.



Famous people are criticised far more than most people, even if they are "heroes".

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 19th, 2014 at 8:54am

freediver wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 9:19pm:

Quote:
Common law and the institutions and social relations that it presupposes and maintains make it far more successful than French or German or Italian Enlightenment.


What institutions and social relations, other than the rule of law?

What do you mean by the different flavours of enlightenment?



...it explains the source of the fundamental division that, despite several predictions of its imminent demise, still doggedly grips Western political life: that between the left and the right. From the outset, each side had its own philosophical assumptions and its own view of the human condition. Roads to Modernity shows why one of these sides has generated a steady progeny of historical successes while its rival has consistently lurched from one disaster to the next.

Most historians have accepted for several years now that the Enlightenment, once popularly characterized as the Age of Reason, came in two versions, the radical and the skeptical. The former is now generally identified with France, the latter with Scotland. It has also been acknowledged that the anti-clericalism that obsessed the French philosophes was not reciprocated in Britain or America. Indeed, in both these countries many Enlightenment concepts—human rights, liberty, equality, tolerance, science, progress—complemented rather than opposed church thinking.

More here:
https://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/which-enlightenment-1288

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 19th, 2014 at 7:24pm
Which of those concepts are linked to common law?

Google turns up nothing on the distinction between radical and skeptical enlightenment. Did you mean radical vs moderate enlightenment?


Quote:
Roads to Modernity shows why one of these sides has generated a steady progeny of historical successes while its rival has consistently lurched from one disaster to the next.


;D

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 19th, 2014 at 9:45pm

freediver wrote on Mar 19th, 2014 at 7:24pm:
Which of those concepts are linked to common law?

Google turns up nothing on the distinction between radical and skeptical enlightenment. Did you mean radical vs moderate enlightenment?


The skeptical one is linked to common law (what did you think?)

If you look at David Hume and Jacques Rousseau, you will get it instantly. Or Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution.


Or if you really felt adventurous, you could read David Stove.
http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/davidstove.html
"The greatest philosopher of the twentieth century may not have been Wittgenstein, or Russell, or Quine (and he certainly wasn’t Heidegger), but he may have been a somewhat obscure and conservative Australian named David Stove (1927-94). If he wasn’t the greatest philosopher of the century, Stove was certainly the funniest and most dazzling defender of common sense to be numbered among the ranks of last century’s thinkers, better even—by far—than G. E. Moore and J. L. Austin. . . . What separates Stove from your average angry-eyed reactionary is the startling brilliant way that he argues, combining plain horse sense with the most nimble and skillful philosophical reasoning this side of Hume, along with a breathtaking wit."

—Partisan Review






Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 20th, 2014 at 8:43pm
I am having trouble figuring out what your argument about common law is. You made some grandiose claims about it earlier. Those claims have vanished into thin air and been replaced with some moronic rightards vs leftards argument.



More on the "historical accident" theme - again, this is not explicitly stated by the authors:

When the bubonic plague hit, most of Europe was in pretty much the same boat, politically and economically. It was a feudal system, with the lords owning land, charging rent etc. There was a slight difference in that the lords in the east were a bit stronger and better organised.

The plague killed off about half the population (2/3 according to wikipedia). Almost overnight, land values and rents plummeted, and the value of labor skyrocketed. Lords were tempted to offer financial incentives to get more labor onto their land. As a group they resisted this and tried to maintain control of the situation and maintain their income by restricting people's right to move. The people revolted, everywhere. In the east, they failed, because the lords were a bit more organised. The lords took more of the land and instituted forced labor (eg 1 to 3 days a week for free). In the west they succeeded, and a sort of free market in human labor arose. The initially small difference at the time of the plague lead the two halves of Europe to drift further apart. The west started buying food from the east, which compounded the difference, because it increased the value of the land owned by the eastern lords and their power over the people.

Skip forward a few centuries and a few rebellions. England, France and Spain all have their own citizen's assemblies that are competing with the crown for power. The Spanish crown is filthy rich from all the gold they are getting from American colonies. In contrast, England is a bit player and the crown is weak. There are some wealthy and powerful English merchants around and the queen has to beg them for money. In return she yields more economic and political rights. The merchants, benefiting from an initially slight improvement in economic rights, were able to reinforce those rights by virtue of their new wealth and power.

It was no coincidence that the industrial revolution first took off in this environment.

The British Navy is largely a private merchant navy and many are starting to make money trading across the atlantic. This competes with the Spanish royal navy, so Spain sends the (far more powerful) Armada to put an end to it. This could have put a stop to the process, but the British have a very lucky naval victory. Their trade across the Atlantic and elsewhere expands, as does their merchant Navy, which was to have great ramifications later on.

When the British established a colony in America, they initially intended to do the same as the Spanish - ie take all the gold and put themselves at the head of the existing oppressive social structure, easily enslaving the entire population. Unfortunately Spain got the good bits long ago. The Brits were left with modern day US - no stockpiles of gold, and a fraction of the human population to exploit. Although they landed in a relatively large empire with a central authority, that authority was weak and in no position to exploit the population. So they turned to exploiting their own people. The first colony turned into a mini communist dictatorship. They starved to death. Over and over again, the British tried to set up an oppressive regime. They failed, not because the peasants revolted, but for far more practical reasons. A more robust economy was needed merely to survive. Furthermore, being a frontier, the peasants could simply wander off and join the natives, or competing colonies. The British rulers had to establish not only property rights and free trade, but inclusive political institutions. These institutions were, in accordance with a central theme of the book, self reinforcing, and grew into the "land of the free" that we know today.

Although not stated as part of the theory, there seems to be a recurring theme that relative poverty and disorganisation are what sowed the seeds for the inclusive political and economic institutions that later grew into the economic powerhouse that was western Europe and North America. Prior to the plague, pretty much the whole world was under some sort of oppressive regime and the world's wealth concentration was pretty much the opposite of today - ie concentrated in tropical regions.

The book explains this in terms of "small differences" and "critical junctures" (eg the plague).

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 20th, 2014 at 9:10pm
The above analysis, while containing some elements of truth, appears far too Marxist (the reduction of history to class relations and wealth). This doesn't explain how or why there was a great push in technological inventions.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 20th, 2014 at 10:25pm
So a book claiming that rights to private ownership and democracy are the foundation of wealth is too 'marxist' for you?

Some reasons for the industrial revolution:

1) The plague made life easier for all by reducing the population - more free time.

2) Free trade, property rights (including patent ownership), and a banking and investment market opened up all sorts of opportunities and provided the incentives needed. We take many of these things for granted, but before this time, the King or Queen basically handed control of an entire market to a single individual or company. If you invented something and spent your life getting it working, you might make someone else rich. Under the new system, you would make yourself rich. Furthermore, other people could invest in your ideas, hard work or business skills, growing the more efficient and inventive businesses.



My previous post made me think of the middle east in Muhammed's time. By the standards described above, it was ripe for a similar event. It was on the fringe of existing civilisation. Different groups lived together, somewhat uneasily, but as equals, with political power broadly distributed. Mercantilism was a recent introduction (according to Gandalf). It lacked a central state or authority, but the people recognised the need for one, and Muhammed initially gained his authority by being asked to step into such a role in Medina.

Unfortunately he created a strong, oppressive state, with control vested in one person - initially himself, and then the Caliphs. Non-Muslims were sometimes tolerated (not pagans), but by religious decree were excluded from any political power. Muslims themselves were also excluded and political authority was distributed among religious leaders. This was not a church-state coalition of convenience seen in Europe. Rather, it was the same group of people being the religious and political leaders. The oppressive regime was self reinforcing, and the religious connection was so strong that even today Muslim countries struggle to break the cycle and adopt democracy and liberty. Islam also created many economic barriers, forbidding conventional banking and taxing any significant accumulation of wealth, effectively destroying every successful business that arose.

Muslims often talk about the Islamic "golden age" but the reality is that it was a squandered opportunity that locked most of the wealthier parts of the world into an unchangeable regime and stifled innovation. Muslims often attribute Muhammed's rise to a rejection of the "decadence" of mercantilism. Had Muhammed instead created a society based on free trade without arbitrary injunction by the state, or divested political authority among the different clans he was invited to adjudicate over rather than himself, the world may have reached it's current state centuries earlier, without the hangover of a global economy turned on it's head in the space of a few centuries.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 21st, 2014 at 8:31am
Marxist analyses of history focus on class relations and the movement of money. The book you're reading, while making some very good points, appears to leave out other phenomena of the time that sees Europe create the modern world. Property rights and wealth may go some way toward explaining Europe's advances, but is missing something else: the creative mind; and the circumstances that allow, not only the expression of this mind, but the discipline and focus required for it to come into being. Many states have property rights and wealth, but have no creativity; they merely import their technological advancements from either Europe or America (or maybe Japan).

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Deathridesahorse on Mar 21st, 2014 at 9:57am
??

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Deathridesahorse on Mar 21st, 2014 at 9:59am
My double question mark post wasn't aimed at anyone... c warriors post was not visible until i posted it!

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 21st, 2014 at 12:52pm
So it is marxist because it is not sufficiently racist for you? The British invented nothing and discovered nothing until very recently in human history. Their contributions followed closely behind the economic and political changes that enabled them. I challenge you to find the same set of conditions that enabled the industrial revolution in any preceding society.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 21st, 2014 at 1:08pm

freediver wrote on Mar 21st, 2014 at 12:52pm:
So it is marxist because it is not sufficiently racist for you?


As stated several times, the analysis of history as class conflict begins with Marx. All historians that use this paradigm are taking this idea from Marx (although a similar, but not identical, idea can be found in Hegel, from which Marx gets his idea from).


Quote:
The British invented nothing and discovered nothing until very recently in human history. Their contributions followed closely behind the economic and political changes that enabled them. I challenge you to find the same set of conditions that enabled the industrial revolution in any preceding society.


As stated previously, I agree with some of the points you have made. What needs to be added to the discussion is how a culture of invention came to be prominent. The approach of the reduction to property rights and wealth is limited because it leaves gaps in our understanding of how certain phenomena came to be. Plenty of people have property and wealth, but are as dumb as door knobs.

There's no need to take offence, just try to be a good scholar and remain impartial and examine the evidence as it comes in.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 21st, 2014 at 6:58pm

Quote:
As stated several times, the analysis of history as class conflict begins with Marx. All historians that use this paradigm are taking this idea from Marx (although a similar, but not identical, idea can be found in Hegel, from which Marx gets his idea from).


So no historian prior to Marx and Hegel ever noted that the peasants were revolting?


Quote:
As stated previously, I agree with some of the points you have made. What needs to be added to the discussion is how a culture of invention came to be prominent. The approach of the reduction to property rights and wealth is limited because it leaves gaps in our understanding of how certain phenomena came to be. Plenty of people have property and wealth, but are as dumb as door knobs.


Likewise, property and wealth exists in oppressive regimes. I think you are over-reducing it.


Quote:
There's no need to take offence, just try to be a good scholar and remain impartial and examine the evidence as it comes in.


What evidence? So far all you have done is try to equate everything with marxism, even when it is pretty much the opposite of marxism.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 21st, 2014 at 7:34pm

freediver wrote on Mar 21st, 2014 at 6:58pm:
So no historian prior to Marx and Hegel ever noted that the peasants were revolting?


There may be some commentary on the French revolution. The Jacobins perhaps? But they were Republicans more than supporters of workers and peasants. Feel free to let me know of any class conflict literature before Marx.


Quote:
What evidence? So far all you have done is try to equate everything with marxism, even when it is pretty much the opposite of marxism.


If you read back you'll see I've provided two sources. Plus, I've asked a few times how does property and wealth on their own lead to technological innovation. You've yet to provide any answer to this.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 21st, 2014 at 7:54pm
I haven't answered it because it is a stupid question. I have however explained how property rights are important - something that I thought would have been obvious, especially to someone who complains about Marxism.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 21st, 2014 at 9:29pm

freediver wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 8:43pm:
I am having trouble figuring out what your argument about common law is. You made some grandiose claims about it earlier. Those claims have vanished into thin air and been replaced with some moronic rightards vs leftards argument.


YEAH, SORRY, FD, I assumed too much education and didn't reckon with the plebian reflexes. Anyway, the idea was first articulated by Churchill (yes, the one who knows nothing about history compared to the experts clogging up this board).

He identified Law, Language and Literature as the things that bind people together. He specifically referred to English common law and regarded its manifestations, from the Magna Carta to the American Declaration of Independence, as expressions of the same, unique, bottom-up social and legal thinking.

At the risk of spelling it out - nobody here needs anything spelled out, of course - the continental, Roman Napoleonic legal thinking is top down. This is in no small measure the source of tension between the UK and the EU and accounts for much of the English (not British_) popularity of UKIP. It nicely illustrates the tension between common law tradition and of trying to bring together common law and codified (Roman/Napoleonic) law.

And I am very sorry there is no royal road to these insights and I am afraid no Wiki either. You will simply have to read books and Mr Google will not be of much use. Start with Churchill's History of the English Speaking peoples, Vol 4 The Great Democracies. It was one of the works Churchill got the Nobel Prize for (literature, not peace, you will be surprised to learn). It is a superb example of the Language and Literature that binds us, even if you want to (you know you wan to ) argue about the Law.






Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 21st, 2014 at 10:17pm
Which of those institutions does common law "presuppose"?

Don't be afraid to spell it out. Pretend people have no idea what you are talking about.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 21st, 2014 at 10:30pm
I could see  you reply before I signed back in - but now I can't see it.

Can you fix up this problem? People have been complaining about it for months.

As to which 'institutions' common law presupposes - what does that actually mean? I am happy spell out anything provided you are able to articulate what you want spelled out.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 21st, 2014 at 10:41pm

Soren wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:39pm:
Common law and the institutions and social relations that it presupposes and maintains make it far more successful than French or German or Italian Enlightenment. The Germans and the French wrote great and stirring books about it but they just can't DO it.


I have no idea what it means. You said it. I am still trying to figure out your very first post. Instead of simply explaining it you just kept responding to my questions with progressively wackier nonsense. You are starting to sound like the light.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 21st, 2014 at 10:51pm
Common law - bottom up.
Statute law (Roman/Napoleonic) - top down.

Did you get that?  It is the crucial difference.  Let me know if you see that difference. We cannot proceed until you do.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 21st, 2014 at 11:01pm

freediver wrote on Mar 21st, 2014 at 10:41pm:

Soren wrote on Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:39pm:
Common law and the institutions and social relations that it presupposes and maintains make it far more successful than French or German or Italian Enlightenment. The Germans and the French wrote great and stirring books about it but they just can't DO it.


I have no idea what it means. You said it. I am still trying to figure out your very first post. Instead of simply explaining it you just kept responding to my questions with progressively wackier nonsense. You are starting to sound like the light.



Another thing - did you know that the Australian constitution (the constitution of a one of a handful of common law countries) is older that the constitutions of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria - in fact, older than almost all non-common law countries' constitutions. It is a century older than even the Vatican's constitution.
The difference? Common law (granite) versus statute law (sand).






Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by The Grappler 2014 on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 1:26am
Why Failures Nationalise is more the point...

**mounts soap box**

Beware the Tides of Marching socio-fascist Uberkontrollers bent on subordinating your nation/society to their whim, and establishing cont-rol control over every aspect of your life.

(just thought I'd fling that one in)...

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 8:59am

Soren wrote on Mar 21st, 2014 at 10:51pm:
Common law - bottom up.
Statute law (Roman/Napoleonic) - top down.

Did you get that?  It is the crucial difference.  Let me know if you see that difference. We cannot proceed until you do.


So common law presupposes the proud British institution of "bottoms up"? And it maintains it? What is so inherently good about bottoms-up? The book makes a strong case that centralisation, law and order etc are absolute prerequisites for growth.


Quote:
Another thing - did you know that the Australian constitution (the constitution of a one of a handful of common law countries) is older that the constitutions of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria - in fact, older than almost all non-common law countries' constitutions. It is a century older than even the Vatican's constitution.
The difference? Common law (granite) versus statute law (sand).


That's great. Common law allows us to hold onto and function with a constitution that does actually guarantee any of our rights. What exactly is your point? Statutes are set in stone (granite). Common laws can change (sand). You are not actually making any kind of coherent argument, but merely making vague associations. Your argument is little more than cobbling together a few similar sounding proverbs.


Quote:
Why Failures Nationalise is more the point...


That is sort of what the book is saying.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 9:04am
More on the "accident of history" theme, and the role of centralisation:

The Neolithic revolution (transition to farming, about 10 000 years ago) is often described as farming being the cause and more complex societies being the result. However the evidence suggests the reverse. The transition first happened where crops and animals were more suitable, in line with Jared Diamond's thesis. However within those regions his theory has little explanatory value. The evidence suggests that some societies first formed extractive, hierarchical political institutions, then settled and accumulated some wealth (houses and heavy tools that they would not otherwise carry) in areas where this was possible, then turned to farming, perhaps as a way for the elite to extract more wealth. This was not determined by geography, but was likely heavily influenced by the initial social structures of the hunter gatherer tribes. Farming spread quickly into Europe, but not into Africa where slightly different social structures worked against it.

The relative wealth in central and south American countries today is pretty much the opposite of what it was prior to Spanish colonisation. The wealthy kingdoms were based on extractive institutions. The Spanish maintained and strengthened these. Even after decolonisation the institutions themselves were maintained. The areas that were previously poorer, lacked centralised extractive political institutions, and created less incentives for the Spanish to take control of and enslave, are today the better functioning states.

When Europe and America started pushing for more trade in east Asia, China had a strong centralised government that resisted them. Japan also had a centralised government that resisted them, but it was weak. Direct threats by the US resulted in a revolution that put Japan on the path towards more inclusive political and economic institutions that laid the groundwork for Japan's later rise. Again relative poverty and disorganisation was a small difference at a critical juncture that lead to a rapid divergence between Japan and China.

Other East Asian countries (eg South Korea, again under some western influence, compared to the North that the Russian got control of) made sudden leaps in technology and wealth as a result of adopting the same institutions. China is an interesting case because it's current rise is due to changes to the economic institutions, but not the political ones. The authors predict that China will either stall in the same way Russia did, or the inclusive economic institutions will lead to inclusive political ones and further reinforce the change. South Korea started the same way, and fortunately continued down the path of liberalisation. There is no guarantee that China will follow the same path - only that if it fails to, it's growth will be unsustainable. When Gorbachev tried the same in Russia, the economic liberalisation lead to political liberalisation that weakened the state and lead to Russia's "collapse". The Chinese leaders have a lot to lose by going down the path they have chosen.

Botswana bucked the trend in Africa, due largely to the efforts of one man at the time of decolonisation, and a few fortunate circumstances. The Congo is given as an example of extractive political institutions being made worse by trade (in slaves) with the newly liberalised Europe, leading to collapse of the state.

Several historical examples of economic growth resulting from centralisation of the state, law and order, and limited economic reforms under extractive economic institutions are given. Russia transferred latent inefficient effort from agriculture to industry and leaped forward as a result, but the growth was then limited by the nature of the institutions. Ancient Mayan and the more recent Kuba Kingdom in Africa did the same, with centralisation itself playing a role in creating a growth that was not sustained. In the Caribbean, colonists built wealth by putting slave labor to work growing sugar for cash. This was a revolutionary economic change that resulted in wealth, but did not lead to sustained growth.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Culture Warrior on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 10:40am

freediver wrote on Mar 21st, 2014 at 7:54pm:
I haven't answered it because it is a stupid question. I have however explained how property rights are important - something that I thought would have been obvious, especially to someone who complains about Marxism.


I see what the problem is now, dialectical argumentation isn't your forte. You have a single point then try to ram it home. The best theses have to look at counter-arguments and/or additional information.

I'll give you a few marks for effort, but will take a few off for ignoring additional vital information.

55/100

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 12:05pm

freediver wrote on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 8:59am:
So common law presupposes the proud British institution of "bottoms up"? And it maintains it? What is so inherently good about bottoms-up? The book makes a strong case that centralisation, law and order etc are absolute prerequisites for growth.


What is good about bottom-up, common law, is freedom. English-speakers are heirs to a common law political system that has been built from below, by the free association of individuals and the workings of the common law.

On the other hand, from French absolutist monarchy and the French Revolution to the European Union, continental government has conceived itself in ‘top-down’ terms, as an association of wise, powerful or expert figures, who are in the business of creating social order through regulation and dictated by statute law.


freediver wrote on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 8:59am:
Common law allows us to hold onto and function with a constitution that does actually guarantee any of our rights. What exactly is your point? Statutes are set in stone (granite). Common laws can change (sand). You are not actually making any kind of coherent argument, but merely making vague associations. Your argument is little more than cobbling together a few similar sounding proverbs.

Look at continental Europe - they change their base law (constitution) every couple of decade. England doesn't even have a constitution. Two actual constitutions that grew directly out of the English system, codifying comon law in a constitution bringing free states together - the US and Australian constitutions - are among the oldest and most stable in the world.

Don't tell me you see only unrelated proverbs in all of this.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 1:29pm

Quote:
You have a single point then try to ram it home.


Have you figured out what it is yet?


Quote:
The best theses have to look at counter-arguments and/or additional information.


I am currently reading a whole book full of them. Am I supposed to copy and paste the whole thing?


Quote:
What is good about bottom-up, common law, is freedom.


Is this one of the things that common law 'presupposes'?


Quote:
English-speakers are heirs to a common law political system


And here I was thinking we were talking about a legal system.


Quote:
that has been built from below


Is this from the "invent your own facts" school of history?


Quote:
Look at continental Europe - they change their base law (constitution) every couple of decade. England doesn't even have a constitution.


America is pretty much the opposite in this regard, yet is also doing fine.


Quote:
Don't tell me you see only unrelated proverbs in all of this.


I'll tell you what I don't see. I don't see a coherent argument. I am still not sure what you are trying to say. It changes with every post.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 1:48pm
More on the "creative destruction" theme, and why even in inclusive political and economic systems there are strong incentives for the elite to reverse the very freedoms that made the country rich.

The Roman Republic/Empire was initially built on pluralistic (compared to other societies at the time) principles. It grew wealthy as a result, and at first the tendency reinforced itself and the political and economic institutions grew even more inclusive. Roughly halfway through it's life this trend reversed and eventually lead to the collapse of the Roman Empire. It was by no means predetermined, but there was a long class struggle as the elite fought off efforts by the poor for more property rights and a more inclusive political system. The "barbarians at the door" were not the root cause of Rome's collapse, but one of many symptoms of the failure from within. There is an interesting and detailed record of Roman economic activity in the form of shipwrecks and ice cores from Greenland, that show the gradual rise and fall of atmospheric lead, copper etc.

This had interesting consequences, as the slavery that was part of the empire was replaced by feudalism upon it's collapse. Slavery came to an end because it was no longer necessary, as the serfs filled the same role. However when the bubonic plague hit, the absence of slavery made it far easier for the serfs to take advantage of the sudden change in the relative value of human labor and land, at the same time as making the elite suddenly weaker.

Venice went further than Rome. It was a city-state of maritime traders. It sprang up in response to innovative financial contracts and systems, some approaching modern banking. This removed barriers to entry and there are detailed records showing the rapid entry of new players into this market. This was accompanied by a nascent democracy that at first grew more inclusive. However, the "creative destruction" of this powerful economic system (free trade) was a threat to those who had already "made it". They took control of the democratic process and started gradually eroding political rights and then economic rights. Eventually the state seized control of trade itself and Venice went from being the richest city in the world to just another port. Venice could have done what Western Europe did (bring free trade and political rights to the world), and came very close to achieving this. Basically, it was destroyed by the same people who complain about check-out chicks losing their jobs as a result of self-service checkouts.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 9:29pm

freediver wrote on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 1:29pm:

Quote:
You have a single point then try to ram it home.


Have you figured out what it is yet?

[quote]The best theses have to look at counter-arguments and/or additional information.


I am currently reading a whole book full of them. Am I supposed to copy and paste the whole thing?


Quote:
What is good about bottom-up, common law, is freedom.


Is this one of the things that common law 'presupposes'?


Quote:
English-speakers are heirs to a common law political system


And here I was thinking we were talking about a legal system.


Quote:
that has been built from below


Is this from the "invent your own facts" school of history?


Quote:
Look at continental Europe - they change their base law (constitution) every couple of decade. England doesn't even have a constitution.


America is pretty much the opposite in this regard, yet is also doing fine.


Quote:
Don't tell me you see only unrelated proverbs in all of this.


I'll tell you what I don't see. I don't see a coherent argument. I am still not sure what you are trying to say. It changes with every post.[/quote]


FD, I don't think you understand any of the references I made.  You are reading a generalist book and Google anything you don't understand. You seem to me very narrowly read and have adopted a narkiness  to compensate for this evident shortfall in your education.

I referred you to some larger things, like Churchill and philosophers of common law and politics. I am sorry it's all over your head but I cannot now start to educate you about the world of ideas beyond Google and Wiki.

These ideas will have to remain know unknowns for you unless you make an effort to acquaint yourself with them.

I can only lead you to ideas, FD, but I can't make you think.i

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 10:13pm

freediver wrote on Mar 22nd, 2014 at 1:29pm:

Quote:
[quote]What is good about bottom-up, common law, is freedom.


Is this one of the things that common law 'presupposes'?

[quote]that has been built from below


Is this from the "invent your own facts" school of history?


Quote:
Look at continental Europe - they change their base law (constitution) every couple of decade. England doesn't even have a constitution.


America is pretty much the opposite in this regard, yet is also doing fine.


Quote:
Don't tell me you see only unrelated proverbs in all of this.


I'll tell you what I don't see. I don't see a coherent argument. I am still not sure what you are trying to say. It changes with every post.[/quote]


Your understanding of common law and political history is very patchy. That is why all my posts about it appear to you novel and that is why you cannot see how they all refer to the same thing.


It's your ignorance, FD.



Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 2nd, 2014 at 6:49pm
Some criticisms:

The book does not discuss the relationsip between population and wealth, or the more nuanced version in the form of the IPAT equation. This is despite extensive discussion of the black plague, China's recent economic boom, some of the economic impacts of the black plague (relative value of land vs labour) and some discussion of various competing theories. The black plague had the impact of breaking much of the world out of a Malthusian distopia for a generation or so. While acknowledging the critical juncture cause by the dramatic change in the relative value of land vs labour, and the impact of this on political power and extractive economic institutions based around land, the book fails to acknowledge the political power that inevitably came from people suddenly not being on the verge of starvation and totally dependent on their oppressors. The book also discusses how extractive institutions "raise the stakes". Reducing the population lowers the stakes by making everyone wealthier. China also was starving to death a mere generation prior to the introduction of the one child policy, and a discussion of China's recent economic boom is incomplete without acknowledging the significant role this plays. The book  discusses in detail the economic impacts of the colonial era slave trade and the enslavement of the peoples of South America, but does not mention the economic impact of the long frontier period of the US and Australia - basically, the economic benefit of having endless free land. Some of the alternative theories, such as those of Jared Diamond, are given credit for their explanatory power, followed by discussion of the limitations of this explanatory power. The link between population, technology and wealth would add to this.

In addition, the book fails to condense the theory, or theories down into a simplified form, relying on lengthy and often repetitive prose. While the story-telling style makes it highly readable, I can not go back and find a clear statement of any of the theories. This is part of the reason why I am writing this down while I still remember it. The book could have done this without turning into a textbook.

The book incorrectly uses the term negative feedback in reference to positive feedback in the context of extractive (ie bad, or "negative") institutions.



The book does address the meaning of both a failed nation and a failed state. A failed state is given the common definition, and linked to the idea of a failed nation in the sense that it is merely the extreme end of failure. A failed nation is one that tends towards extraction. The tendency of both inclusive and extractive institutions to reinforce each other creates a fairly clear, yet ultimately subjective, dichotomy between successful and failed nations based on this criteria.

The book discusses why so many revolutions re-create the oppressive regimes they vowed to eradicate. It points to two key factors that make a revolution likely to "succeed" - a broad support base of competing interests who do not necessarily trust each other and thus have a strong interest in creating checks on power, and a history of inclusive political and economic institutions to build on. England and France are two classic examples of this, yet in each case their first big revolution created a dictator. Fortunately, both recovered the process of reform towards inclusiveness. Without inclusive institutions to build on, the usurpers have to re-create a complex society from scratch, which is just about impossible. Almost inevitably, they fall back into tradition and make use of the existing elite and extractive institutions. This is the "iron law of oligarchy" proposed by Robert Michels, though presented in a less deterministic way. The various tinpot dictators of Africa are classic example of this. The Europeans themselves used existing social structures to exploit the natives, particularly in the Americas. Some reasons for the iron law:

* Extractive institutions create a big gulf between rich and poor, raising the stakes and creating big incentives for those in power to stay in power, and for others to usurp power. This attracts the wrong people to politics. Even if someone has good intentions, it is hard or impossible for them to hold onto power without using the same techniques.

* Long term, reformative growth under inclusive economic institutions requires "creative destruction". This is why economic growth under extractive political institutions may be possible but is not sustainable (Russia, China). The creative destruction of economic growth upsets the balance of political power in unpredictable ways. It is thus feared by the elite. Early Russia, and the Austro-Hungarian empire for example forbade railways and many other new technologies because it may facilitate revolution directly, or create a new urban class that is hard to control.

* Extractive economic institutions weaken property rights, often to the point of outright theft by the state. This is a strong disincentive to investment.

* Disincentives to investment, theft by the state, deliberate sabotage of new technology in fear of creative destruction and infighting caused by the "high stakes" game can all undermine a state to the point of complete collapse - the "failed state". One African dictator deliberately emasculated his own army because he saw it as a potential threat. A militia from a neighbouring country waltzed in and took over.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 2nd, 2014 at 6:51pm
Two things keep the iron law of oligarchy in check and usually prevent complete collapse - the threat of revolution (ie, what people will put up with), and the need for some economic activity to exploit. This concept is note explicitly stated in the book. Dictators will typically prefer to rule over a dirt poor country securely than to risk economic growth.



The authors distinguish democracy from pluralism, or inclusive political institutions. (Presumably the same distinction would apply to capitalism vs inclusive economic institutions. The book gives one example of this in discussing the rise of monopolies in the US, such as the standard oil company, and the need for anti-monopoly laws.) Democracy can easily be subverted if the society lacks inclusive institutions, allowing elected leaders to act just like dictators. This has played itself out many times in Africa and South America. While the colonial powers usually left democracy, they did not leave inclusive institutions. For the most part, the democracies failed under the iron law of oligarchy. People vote for extremists in their desperation to end corruption, or out of fear of the other extremists that other people are voting for. Some interesting counter-examples are South Africa, the Southern US and Botswana.

Botswana shares many parallels with Britain. It owes its survival to being on the fringe of colonial society. It also had nascent inclusive political institutions, some degree of centralisation, and private property in the form of cattle herds (land was communal). Like Britain at the time of the critical juncture created by Atlantic trade, the central government was weak and relied on the continued support of the people to survive. Although the role of kings and tribal leaders were inherited under various rules, those rules were subverted in favour of meritocracy (from a limited subset of candidates), and the inherited legitimacy was explained away after the fact. The British consciously decided not to bother colonising Botswana. Rhodesia, under the control of a British company did set its sights on Botswana. Three Kings traveled to Britain to ask for help, and Botswana became a British protectorate. The British did not allow foreign trade to flourish. When independence (the critical juncture) came, Botswana was one of the poorest nations on earth. However it went through a smooth transition to even more inclusive institutions and as a result experience rapid economic growth.

South Africa succeeded because it was settled by Europeans who brought their institutions with them. Unlike Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), power was yielded to Africans by expanding the inclusive institutions that were previously only open to Europeans. South Africa had a lucky escape. In Zimbabwe the opposite happened, in the form of a coup. The usurpers simply took the place of the white elite and reinforced the extractive institutions. The success of South Africa was a very close call and probably would not have happened without the goodwill and generosity of Mandela and the reluctance of the colonists to use more brutal methods of suppression.

In the southern US, the civil war may have ended slavery, but the social institution survived in the form of Jim Crow laws. The north did not have the strength and willpower to impose genuine change on the south. As a result, the south grew poor due to lack of economic reform. Eventually, the blacks started leaving (one benefit of the abolition of slavery) and mechanisation reduced the need for cheap labour. Still, it required intervention from the north to make genuine change happen. The army had to be called in 100 years later to allow one black man to go to university in the south.



The book does not give an answer in the form of how to achieve inclusive economic and political institutions. It gives some hope in the form of the media, and specifically mentions the role of the internet in the Arab spring, but on the whole paints a pessimistic (or perhaps merely realistic) picture of the future. It paints modern efforts by the US and the IMF as being built on the ignorance hypothesis (see opening post). For example, the IMF demands reform (usually macro-economic) in exchange for handouts. However, without an inclusive base, these reforms are meaningless and are subverted at every opportunity.

Foreign aid is heavily criticised, with the exception of aid that funds education programs and disaster relief. In Afghanistan, as little as 10% of the aid actually made it through the various bureaucracies (starting with the UN) and all the local rorters. Still, the author argues that in dire cases getting 10% through is better than nothing. In many cases, aid money ends up propping up dictators.

China is unlikely to become more politically inclusive any time soon. The communist party has a tight grip on power and has been effective at censoring the internet.

Trade embargoes on luxury goods to North Korea harm the elite but not the poor. It is not going to topple them, however.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 2nd, 2014 at 6:53pm
Some of my own ideas:

In assisting people under dictatorships, give aid to competing, or at least independent groups or local NGOs to disperse. Make it entirely transparent, so that these groups are forced to represent the interests of the people. Spread it among several groups to create a broad coalition, and competition to deliver aid efficiently. This will require extensive oversight and introduce inefficiencies, but is better than the alternatives. If a functioning version of this will not be accepted, do not give aid money, as it probably does more harm than good.

China - create inclusive political institutions by making the communist party more inclusive and/or creating incentives (or forcing) branches to recruit new members. The party would then grow to represent more people and become more inclusive internally. This would create a path to inclusiveness without a violent overthrow or loss of face on the part of the leadership.

We should be far more robust in cultural imperialism - exporting freedom and democracy. We must be careful however to export genuine politically inclusive institutions rather than a malfunctioning democracy, and we must be careful to export inclusive economic institutions rather than monopolies, laissez-faire capitalism, or various hangovers of exploitative colonialism. The different paths taken by Russia and China towards privatisation come to mind here. China created some genuine and effective property rights. Russia handed over state owned infrastructure and trading rights to cronies.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by True Colours on Apr 2nd, 2014 at 8:01pm

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
* Culture - that Protestant, Judea-Christian, European or Roman culture is what makes the west so rich, while attempting to disentangle the various meanings of culture. Culture is part of the economic and political institutions that make countries rich or poor. He even argues that the middle east is not poor because of Islam, though I suspect he has never met anyone like Abu.


The culture argument is absurd. The Islamic Middle East was far wealthier than Christian Europe for about a thousand years - 500 years ago the busiest trading port in the world was in Islamic Malacca.

2 of the 3 top economies in the world today are neither Christian nor European.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 3rd, 2014 at 9:43pm
Which 2?

Prior to the industrial revolution, the geographic patterns of global wealth distribution were nearly the opposite of what they are today. The wealth tended to be in the tropical or hot areas.

Another idea - in establishing new democracy (think Iraq, Afghanistan) we should choose more pluralistic voting methods. I think there is an incorrect view that we need to see a strong elected government, but that just risks perpetuating the cycle of exploitation. In particular, we should prefer preferential (instant runoff) voting over first past the post, as FPTP artificially concentrates power in fewer parties by encouraging people to insincerely vote for the bigger parties. More pluralistic forms such as proportional representation or voting by delegable proxy would be even better, and are a good option for a senate. Two houses of parliament has definitely proven their worth. Finally, a PM rather than a directly elected president significantly reduces the risk of too much power in the hands of one person.

It is a shame that the US is the driving force behind this, as they have major problems with their model.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Yadda on Apr 4th, 2014 at 12:25am

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:

Why Nations Fail (by Acemoglu and Robinson) is a book I am currently reading that attempts to explain the enormous variations in wealth seen in the world today....






Peace [among men, among a society of men] facilitates an opportunity for men to work to create 'prosperity' [i.e. for themselves].

War/conflict destroys [created] wealth.

So, what enhances, produces an environment of 'peace' - among men, among a society of men ?

And conversely, what causes war/conflict among men ?



+++



Laws.  -  Why do we need laws ?   ['We', being a society of men [and women].]

Covenants.  -  Why do we need to understand the importance of the concept of a 'covenant' ?

[Q.
On a personal level, how do you understand, or how do you define the 'meaning' of the word 'covenant' ? ]


Justice.  -  Why do we need a 'justice system', or system of justice ?  What is the function of a 'justice system' ?

Injustice.  -  Why is the idea of being the victim of injustice so intolerable to a man/woman ?   What does such a feeling cause, within us ?

???


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Yadda on Apr 4th, 2014 at 12:35am

Yadda wrote on Apr 4th, 2014 at 12:25am:

Peace [among men, among a society of men]

....facilitates an opportunity for men to work to create 'prosperity' [i.e. for themselves].


Men and women usually work for 'selfish' reasons.

Men and women usually work because they want to achieve 'something' for themselves.

And is there any reason why someone who works, should not benefit from their labours ?



Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Yadda on Apr 4th, 2014 at 12:50am

Yadda wrote on Apr 4th, 2014 at 12:25am:

Covenants.  -  Why do we need to understand the importance of the concept of a 'covenant' ?

[Q.
On a personal level, how do you understand, or how do you define the 'meaning' of the word 'covenant' ? ]



For example, a marriage, is a solemn covenant, between a man and a woman.    [....well, it used to be regarded, as.]


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Apr 4th, 2014 at 6:20am

True Colours wrote on Apr 2nd, 2014 at 8:01pm:
The culture argument is absurd. The Islamic Middle East was far wealthier than Christian Europe for about a thousand years - 500 years ago the busiest trading port in the world was in Islamic Malacca.



So, what happened? What led to the closing of the Islamic mind?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Lord Herbert on Apr 4th, 2014 at 6:34am

True Colours wrote on Apr 2nd, 2014 at 8:01pm:
The culture argument is absurd. The Islamic Middle East was far wealthier than Christian Europe for about a thousand years - 500 years ago the busiest trading port in the world was in Islamic Malacca.


'Malacca' is right. Any Greek speakers here?


True Colours wrote on Apr 2nd, 2014 at 8:01pm:
2 of the 3 top economies in the world today are neither Christian nor European.


Meaningless in terms of how this affects the average citizen.

Let's make a list of which countries' citizens enjoy the best living-standards.

China, India, and the Middle East would kick in around about the '50s' mark ~ and that's giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Let's get real, True Blue.

No more of those deceitful statistics, please.  :P

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 6th, 2014 at 1:38pm

Quote:
Meaningless in terms of how this affects the average citizen.


Quite the opposite, as it prompts you to consider what really matters in making a country "successful". These distant concepts greatly affect every "average citizen" in the world.


Quote:
China, India, and the Middle East would kick in around about the '50s' mark ~ and that's giving them the benefit of the doubt.


Good start. Now tell us why. Then, tell us how this will look in 100 years time.


Quote:
So, what happened? What led to the closing of the Islamic mind?


The closure of the gates of ijtihad - a few centuries after Muhammed. However I think that is more of a symptom than a cause. They did achieve some wealth, but it was relative and not part of sustained growth. They achieved some economic advances by facilitating long distance trade, but they also put many brakes on it. In Arabia achieving a centralised state was itself a big step and yielded signifant economic gains compared to what existed previously. Unfortunately this was the first step of many that occured elsewhere, mainly in western Europe, and the actions of Muhammed resulted in the Arabs taking that first step and then not moving forward for 1400 years. Instead, they not only stagnated their own societies, but they exported this stagnating political and economic system to about half of what counted as the rich world at the time.

During the "golden age" many of the great scientists were more practical engineering types, and were at the mercy of the decrees of religious leaders. Many suffered greatly as a result.

Ultimately the problem was political, with all power vested in the Caliph and the religious leaders who propped him up. Regular people had no say in how things were run. Indeed, their only 'legitimate' criticism of the state could be that it failed to uphold Shariah law properly. Islamic banking, taxes, and other Islamic economic institutions are a significant barrier to economic growth.

The Ottoman empire is one of the classic 'modern history' examples of the elite deliberately deciding to block industrialisation in order to maintain their grip on power. They banned the printing press for example, and they were still copying books by hand a century or more after books were common in Europe. The government introduced one once, and set up a religious committee to approve any book and make sure they were done right. Eventually it fell into disuse. The political and social institutions of this empire were typical of extractive regimes of the time. These institutions survived through all the changes of recent history and are still a barrier to growth. In Egypt for example, the British took advantage of them and reinforced them. Despite being a democracy, Egyptian society is still built on extractive political and economic institutions. Don't expect them to change overnight. There is no reason to expect their revolutions will be any more successful than the basket case South American "democracies". But it is still a good start.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Laugh till you cry on Apr 6th, 2014 at 2:07pm

freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
Why Nations Fail (by Acemoglu and Robinson) is a book I am currently reading that attempts to explain the enormous variations in wealth seen in the world today. It attributes these differences to economic institutions, which are largely dictated by political institutions. Institutions is intended in the broad meaning - eg property rights, democracy etc. It highlights how both the patterns in wealth and the patterns in these institutions have been very (though not entirely) stable over the last 150 years, and argues an institutional inertia (my term) that goes beyond the influence of the powerful individuals involved. It suggests why it is so hard to break the mold, and how to break it (not up to that part yet).

It also rejects some of the conventional arguments - eg:

* Culture - that Protestant, Judea-Christian, European or Roman culture is what makes the west so rich, while attempting to disentangle the various meanings of culture. Culture is part of the economic and political institutions that make countries rich or poor. He even argues that the middle east is not poor because of Islam, though I suspect he has never met anyone like Abu.

* Geography - that people in hot countries are lazy, or the soil is less fertile, and various more complicated version of this theory. It addresses the "Guns, Germs and Steel" hypothesis of Jared Diamond and puts it in it's place as an explanation for why the west was able to dominate the world, while highlighting the inability of this theory to explain vast differences in wealth seen in those countries colonised or settled by Europeans.

* Ignorance - that leaders or people in poor countries do not understand how to get rich. This is the explanation favoured by many modern economists. It highlights that even when they do understand, the people in power usually don't want to. Even when they are forced to or try to make the change, it is fraught with danger, because the problems are institutionalised within the economy and the politics. The idiotic economic policies of various tinpot dictators are not determined out of ignorance of economics, but by the economic and political institutions that for the tinpot dictators are an unchangeable reality they must work within.

The causes of wealth and poverty are economic and political freedoms and rights that are closely linked or interact. For example - secure property rights, including patents, economic freedom, democracy and a broad distribution (separation) of political power.

In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".


Does the book have a chapter on house flipping as a means to wealth for a nation. That's how Singapore works. Prices are so high every time they build a new apartment tower the GDP goes up a few percent.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Lord Herbert on Apr 6th, 2014 at 2:26pm

Quote:
Meaningless in terms of how this affects the average citizen.



freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 1:04pm:
Quite the opposite, as it prompts you to consider what really matters in making a country "successful". These distant concepts greatly affect every "average citizen" in the world.


I repeat ~ If the average citizen doesn't benefit from the national wealth, then it's purely academic that a country is 'successful' in terms of wealth generated.


Quote:
China, India, and the Middle East would kick in around about the '50s' mark ~ and that's giving them the benefit of the doubt.



freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 1:04pm:
Good start. Now tell us why.


Why, is because the average citizen is walking barefoot and in rags on their homeland ground that covers godzillian-dollars of oil wealth.

I rest my case.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 6th, 2014 at 2:37pm

Quote:
I repeat ~ If the average citizen doesn't benefit from the national wealth, then it's purely academic that a country is 'successful' in terms of wealth generated.


The central message of the book is that countries who share the wealth, or more precisely, share access to the wealth, as well as access to political decision making processes, also end up wealthier on the whole.


Quote:
Why, is because the average citizen is walking barefoot and in rags on their homeland ground that covers godzillian-dollars of oil wealth.


Ah, so they are poor because they are poor?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Lord Herbert on Apr 6th, 2014 at 2:48pm

freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 2:37pm:

Quote:
I repeat ~ If the average citizen doesn't benefit from the national wealth, then it's purely academic that a country is 'successful' in terms of wealth generated.


The central message of the book is that countries who share the wealth, or more precisely, share access to the wealth, as well as access to political decision making processes, also end up wealthier on the whole.


That's what I inferred.


Quote:
Why, is because the average citizen is walking barefoot and in rags on their homeland ground that covers godzillian-dollars of oil wealth.



freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 2:37pm:
Ah, so they are poor because they are poor?


They are poor because their rich invest in other countries instead of their own.

Hence ~ no industry to employ the citizens.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 6th, 2014 at 3:00pm
So we are so poor because we set up factories in countries like China to make all our cheap plastic goods?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Lord Herbert on Apr 6th, 2014 at 3:06pm

freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 3:00pm:
So we are so poor because we set up factories in countries like China to make all our cheap plastic goods?


We're not poor. We're one of the richest countries in the world.

Not even the US has 4 weeks holiday a year for its workers (5 weeks for shift workers) ... free doctors and hospital treatment ... an unemployment benefit that has no cut-off period of 6 months ... DSP for dodgy BS like 'depression' and 'Mediterranean back-ache' ... rental assistence ... concession tickets ... family benefits ... child benefits ... Single Parent benefits ... etc etc.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 6th, 2014 at 3:09pm
So they are poor because they invest in other countries, but we invest in other countries because we are rich?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Lord Herbert on Apr 6th, 2014 at 3:18pm

freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 3:09pm:
So they are poor because they invest in other countries, but we invest in other countries because we are rich?


Wrong.

They: as in the monolith of the nation state.

And They: as in the citizens of dictatorships, and the citizens of 'democracies' (sic) such as India and Indonesia where voting is a farce and a fraud that all parties ignore as nothing more than a pro forma nicety to give the semblance of civilisation.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 6th, 2014 at 3:32pm
What are you trying to say Herbert?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Lord Herbert on Apr 6th, 2014 at 3:55pm

freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 3:32pm:
What are you trying to say Herbert?


What I said right at the beginning: The wealth of a nation is reflected in the standard of living of the average person.

It matters nothing if the ruling elite of China, India, Saudi Arabia or the US have access to all the wealth while the great bulk of the population is on Struggle Street.

Statistical Almanacs that are published each year are irrelevant if they don't state the standard of living of the average person.




Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Laugh till you cry on Apr 6th, 2014 at 4:10pm
Standard of living is a relative term. GDP has long been disdained as a measure of National wealth and entities are now evaluating other measures.

Bhutan uses GNH, Gross National Happiness. Hideous Herbert would be a negative contribution to that measure.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/22/gdp-only-measure-wealth

Under current GDP measures, countries that cut down forests for timber exports, dynamite their reefs for fish, pollute and degrade their soil for intensive agriculture and allow farms and factories to contaminate their waterways get rich.

GDP has been similarly challenged and deconstructed in Europe. In 2009, the then French president Nicolas Sarkozy recruited a team of economists "to tear the GDP apart as they saw fit". They too found that GDP should be replaced and that other indicators should be introduced to monitor social and environmental, as well as economic, change.

The UN is working to value ecosystem services – or natural capital – and this year adopted a new international standard to give natural capital equal status to GDP. Speaking at the UN's conference Rio+20, Nick Clegg said the UK was committed to including natural capital in its national accounts by 2020.

One notable exception to the reign of GDP across the globe is Bhutan, which for the last four decades has used "gross national happiness" as the important measure, instead of GDP. With its long experience of alternative measures, Bhutan is now instrumental in current debates about national wealth and wellbeing.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 6th, 2014 at 9:47pm
LTYC, those criticisms of GDP are hardly revolutionary. They are part of any half decent macroeconomics 101 course.


Quote:
What I said right at the beginning: The wealth of a nation is reflected in the standard of living of the average person.


Ah, so they are rich because they are rich?


Quote:
It matters nothing if the ruling elite of China, India, Saudi Arabia or the US have access to all the wealth while the great bulk of the population is on Struggle Street.


Perhaps you should have said median rather than average. The wealthy elite in China in no way make up for the rest of them being poor. The current economic boom is a genuine one and is being felt by the average Chinese person. I think Saudi Arabia is also doing pretty well.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Lord Herbert on Apr 7th, 2014 at 8:00am

freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 9:47pm:
Ah, so they are rich because they are rich?


Huh? I'll let gandalf field that one. Metaphysics isn't my strong suit.


Quote:
It matters nothing if the ruling elite of China, India, Saudi Arabia or the US have access to all the wealth while the great bulk of the population is on Struggle Street.



freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 9:47pm:
Perhaps you should have said median rather than average.


I should have said the majority of the ordinary people.


freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 9:47pm:
The wealthy elite in China in no way make up for the rest of them being poor.


Wages are poor in China by State decree, not because there isn't enough wealth to pay good wages, but because China is the world's warehouse for only as long as millions receive only a slave-wage.

It was exactly the same during the British Industrial Revolution. Nations build up their capital on the backs of millions of drones working for a pittance.


freediver wrote on Apr 6th, 2014 at 9:47pm:
The current economic boom is a genuine one and is being felt by the average Chinese person.


Correct. But the ordinary Chinese worker gets his reward mainly through government services, benefits, and free housing for life ~ not disposable cash in the bank as we know it.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 7th, 2014 at 10:19pm
A German friend of mine lives in China now, running a few night clubs, raves etc. He is not living off handouts. He runs his own businesses. I'm sure it's not as free or fair as here, but the reality is that this is why China is booming. If they continue to loosen the reigns, the boom will continue.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Lord Herbert on Apr 8th, 2014 at 7:35am

freediver wrote on Apr 7th, 2014 at 10:19pm:
A German friend of mine lives in China now, running a few night clubs, raves etc. He is not living off handouts. He runs his own businesses. I'm sure it's not as free or fair as here, but the reality is that this is why China is booming. If they continue to loosen the reigns, the boom will continue.


At heart the Chinese are the world's most ardent capitalists. They love money for the status it brings and the toys it can buy.

Unfortunately (for them) they are also the world's most keen gamblers.

One of the most pathetically obscene images one can think of is James Packer's Casino Express flying Jumbo Jets full of multi-millionaire South East Asian gambling addicts to Australia to unload their fortunes at the high-stakes gambling tables in the High-Rollers Room where the cheapest chips are thousands of dollars each.

It really is an obscene image. The barrel of these planes stuffed with serried rows of Asian faces all sitting quietly like the condemned being trucked to an execution ground.

There's something horribly surreal and nightmarish about it.

Asia's best on their way to being fleeced by James Packer's shearers.

There's also status in being able to lose fortunes at the table. If you can lose a King's ransom at the tables it all the more demonstrates just how rich (successful) you are, and how lofty your social status.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Apr 8th, 2014 at 8:16am

Lord Herbert wrote on Apr 8th, 2014 at 7:35am:
There's also status in being able to lose fortunes at the table. If you can lose a King's ransom at the tables it all the more demonstrates just how rich (successful) you are, and how lofty your social status.


Quote:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;


from - IF - British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling.

Seems the Chinese aren't the only ones who see honour in high stakes gambling.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Lord Herbert on Apr 8th, 2014 at 8:46am

NorthOfNorth wrote on Apr 8th, 2014 at 8:16am:

Quote:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;


from - IF - British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling.

Seems the Chinese aren't the only ones who see honour in high stakes gambling.


Kipling was referring to penny-ante stuff compared to what these sickos from China drop on the table each trip to Australia and Macau.

Tit-bit: I used to live in the building where Kipling trained as a journalist.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by NorthOfNorth on Apr 8th, 2014 at 9:18am

Lord Herbert wrote on Apr 8th, 2014 at 8:46am:

NorthOfNorth wrote on Apr 8th, 2014 at 8:16am:

Quote:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;


from - IF - British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling.

Seems the Chinese aren't the only ones who see honour in high stakes gambling.


Kipling was referring to penny-ante stuff compared to what these sickos from China drop on the table each trip to Australia and Macau.

Tit-bit: I used to live in the building where Kipling trained as a journalist.

Oh, OK thanks for that! I thought he meant make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, as a metaphor for courage of spirit over flesh (which, I guess, is honorable).

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Apr 8th, 2014 at 9:56am
On common law (ie English) and continental (French) notions on freedom:

Chelsea, in London, now sounds like an arrondissement of Paris. According to the BBC, London is the sixth-biggest French city in the world.

The bureaucratic French are fearful of entrepreneurialism. They dare not take chances—they dare not risk their precious culture; their lunches; their months-long summer breaks; their endless public holidays that slop over into the weekend; their right to relax, to shrug their shoulders, to not work to the same strictures as everyone else.

How did it come to this? Well, there is a difference between the French vision of liberté (as in their revolutionary égalité and fraternité) and our freedom. It’s the liberty to be, and the freedom to do. Freedom you are born with—it comes from the bottom up—but you are given your liberty. It is handed from the top down. So the French system, with its huge state—its committees, academies, and conventions of wise men—is prescriptive for your own good, to protect all the things it deems most important. While we tend to think you should leave freedom alone. Indeed, if you don’t leave it alone, it’s not really freedom. It creates two apparently similar but fundamentally very different systems. In France, they look to their lives and culture to be protected. For the rest of us, we want to be allowed to get on and remake our lives and our culture.
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2014/04/francois-hollande-affair-french-culture

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 8th, 2014 at 6:50pm
Can you give some examples of how the french concept of liberty is prescriptive?

Other than vague parallels about top-down and bottom-up, you didn't actually make a link with common law.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Apr 8th, 2014 at 8:04pm

freediver wrote on Apr 8th, 2014 at 6:50pm:
Can you give some examples of how the french concept of liberty is prescriptive?

Other than vague parallels about top-down and bottom-up, you didn't actually make a link with common law.

http://www.ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1388035852/153#153

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 8th, 2014 at 9:54pm

Quote:
The common law does not impose order but grows from it. If government is necessary, in the conservative view, it is in order to resolve the conflicts that arise when things are, for whatever reason, unsettled.


Greedy reductionism. Common law is merely a different way of imposing order. It is more responsive in the sense that it is quicker, but it is also less accountable to the people. Not that I am criticising it. I just don't see your point.

The French vs British thing is interesting. The book credits France with spreading pluralism throughout the rest of western Europe via Napolean. I appreciate the two different models. But you are not making the relevance of common law stick. You are just playing word association games. Bottom up = good.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Apr 8th, 2014 at 10:25pm

freediver wrote on Apr 8th, 2014 at 9:54pm:

Quote:
The common law does not impose order but grows from it. If government is necessary, in the conservative view, it is in order to resolve the conflicts that arise when things are, for whatever reason, unsettled.


Greedy reductionism. Common law is merely a different way of imposing order. It is more responsive in the sense that it is quicker, but it is also less accountable to the people. Not that I am criticising it. I just don't see your point.

The French vs British thing is interesting. The book credits France with spreading pluralism throughout the rest of western Europe via Napolean. I appreciate the two different models. But you are not making the relevance of common law stick. You are just playing word association games. Bottom up = good.



1. Self-determination - bottom up - good.

2. Top down:
After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
(Bertold Brecht, The Solution)


You say you understand the different models but do not understand the role of common law in the one and lack of it in the other as a reason for the difference. Is this what you are saying?


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Soren on Apr 8th, 2014 at 10:56pm

freediver wrote on Apr 8th, 2014 at 9:54pm:
Common law is merely a different way of imposing order.

Of course. ANy law's function is to impose or create or maintain order.


freediver wrote on Apr 8th, 2014 at 9:54pm:
It is more responsive in the sense that it is quicker, but it is also less accountable to the people.


That is my central point - if you read David Hume and Jacques Rousseau, you will see just how different even Enlightenment can be. So the difference common law makes is the point.


freediver wrote on Apr 8th, 2014 at 9:54pm:
It is more responsive in the sense that it is quicker, but it is also less accountable to the people. Not that I am criticising it. I just don't see your point.


How is it less responsive to the people? It is discovered/made in open court, drawing on past cases and the way they were resolved before other open courts. The common, shared life and experience of the people IS the central feature of common law.


freediver wrote on Apr 8th, 2014 at 9:54pm:
The French vs British thing is interesting. The book credits France with spreading pluralism throughout the rest of western Europe via Napolean.


Napoleon crowned himself emperor - he ended up as unpluralistic as pre-1789 France. Not even Louis XVI was an Emperor.



Quote:
I appreciate the two different models. But you are not making the relevance of common law stick. You are just playing word association games. Bottom up = good.



If you appreciate the different models of English and French Enlightenment, political and legal systems - to what do you attribute the difference if not to the way the English and the French organise themselves into a society, the way they relate to each other, the bonds they recognise etc?
Common law is possible in a society like the English and Danish societies (the two oldest common law countries) and their similarity to each other and difference to France and the French style social organisation is remarkable and obvious even after a cursory look.

The legal system is a daily expression of how people relate to each other and to their countries and communities and how they regard the nature of their bonds to each other. If this is not a determining factor shaping a society - what is?





Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by True Colours on Apr 9th, 2014 at 12:52am
Nations tend to fail because they deserve to. Greed, laziness, arrogance, hedonism...the reasons are many and nowadays you can apply most of them, if not all, to the failing state  of the US. China has not quite reached that point yet, but seems that they are fast learners, and I doubt that they will be great for long.

Sometimes a nation can be humbled back into greatness. Many nations were reenergised by giving up their sins in the face of some disaster such as we saw after WWII. Sometimes the nation is too far gone and is destroyed completely like the Roman Empire was.


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 13th, 2014 at 10:56am

Quote:
That is my central point


So why didn't you say it?


Quote:
if you read David Hume and Jacques Rousseau, you will see just how different even Enlightenment can be. So the difference common law makes is the point.


Are you capable of communicating the argument they make?


Quote:
How is it less responsive to the people?


So it is your central point, yet you get it backwards? How about you state your central point in your own words.


Quote:
The common, shared life and experience of the people IS the central feature of common law.


The central feature is that it is generated by the court system.


Quote:
Napoleon crowned himself emperor - he ended up as unpluralistic as pre-1789 France. Not even Louis XVI was an Emperor.


Yet he dismantled the extractive institutions of society and replaced them with more inclusive ones - not just in France, but in the lands he conquered. It was a different path, but it went to the same place.


Quote:
Common law is possible in a society like the English and Danish societies (the two oldest common law countries) and their similarity to each other and difference to France and the French style social organisation is remarkable and obvious even after a cursory look.


The legal implications are significant. But you seem to be implying they have far greater reach.


Quote:
Nations tend to fail because they deserve to. Greed, laziness, arrogance, hedonism...


Thanks TC. Does this mean the Muslims must start slaughtering the infidel again if they are to become great nations once more?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Ajax on Apr 13th, 2014 at 9:31pm
My 2 cents,

It started in the 1980s & 90s as the New World Order that didn't sound too good cause that was the slogan of Hitler.

So they called it Globalization.

That didn't go down too well either, cause we would ask do we loose our identity???????? here or what...........!!!!!

So now they have renamed it to FREE TRADE.

That's why nations are failing look at Europe but you don't have to go there just look at our own backyard.

GMH, FORD, BP, ALCOA, BOEING.

All because of free trade.

That's right these hungry mungrels are taking our jobs to asia where they pay those people cents to do the same job.

All because all governments around the world will not protect their countries and have sold the shirts of there backs.

That's why Nations fail.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 13th, 2014 at 9:34pm
True. We could all be very successful basket weavers. But free trade forces us to make billions shipping dirt to Asia, while they make everything for us.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Ajax on Apr 13th, 2014 at 10:14pm

freediver wrote on Apr 13th, 2014 at 9:34pm:
True. We could all be very successful basket weavers. But free trade forces us to make billions shipping dirt to Asia, while they make everything for us.


I wish we did make billions shipping dirt to Asia but unfortunately we don't.

Mining corporations only give 6% of the takings to the host nations the rest is thiers.

A few years ago BHP Billiton made $25 billion that's billion dollars profit.

Our stupid government only got 6%.

If it was up to me I would tell them all to bugger off and we dig it up and sell it our selves.

So all Australians can share in 100% of the profits.

Serious look it up our dumb governments only get 6%.

Those hand full of rich people must be licking their chops and having a good giggle at our stupidity.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Deathridesahorse on Apr 13th, 2014 at 11:17pm

Ajax wrote on Apr 13th, 2014 at 10:14pm:

freediver wrote on Apr 13th, 2014 at 9:34pm:
True. We could all be very successful basket weavers. But free trade forces us to make billions shipping dirt to Asia, while they make everything for us.


I wish we did make billions shipping dirt to Asia but unfortunately we don't.

Mining corporations only give 6% of the takings to the host nations the rest is thiers.

A few years ago BHP Billiton made $25 billion that's billion dollars profit.

Our stupid government only got 6%.

If it was up to me I would tell them all to bugger off and we dig it up and sell it our selves.

So all Australians can share in 100% of the profits.

Serious look it up our dumb governments only get 6%.

Those hand full of rich people must be licking their chops and having a good giggle at our stupidity.

Australia is quite corrupt: money is made hand over fist and we get served up the likes of copper internet and still think we're rock stars  ;D


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by True Colours on Apr 13th, 2014 at 11:22pm

Ajax wrote on Apr 13th, 2014 at 10:14pm:

freediver wrote on Apr 13th, 2014 at 9:34pm:
True. We could all be very successful basket weavers. But free trade forces us to make billions shipping dirt to Asia, while they make everything for us.


I wish we did make billions shipping dirt to Asia but unfortunately we don't.

Mining corporations only give 6% of the takings to the host nations the rest is thiers.

A few years ago BHP Billiton made $25 billion that's billion dollars profit.

Our stupid government only got 6%.

If it was up to me I would tell them all to bugger off and we dig it up and sell it our selves.

So all Australians can share in 100% of the profits.

Serious look it up our dumb governments only get 6%.

Those hand full of rich people must be licking their chops and having a good giggle at our stupidity.


It's a strange system. All mines should be nationalised. Mining companies can then provide tenders for contracts to dig the stuff up for us.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by ian on Apr 14th, 2014 at 12:36am
Communism has been tried. It doesnt work. Just ends up being an extreme form of capitalism.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Ajax on Apr 14th, 2014 at 6:52pm

ian wrote on Apr 14th, 2014 at 12:36am:
Communism has been tried. It doesnt work. Just ends up being an extreme form of capitalism.


Hi Ian

I don't know how old you are but I have lived through both government own and privatization.

Now when our government owned the commonwealth bank, our telecommunications, public transport, our utilities.

We most certainly where not a communist nation, never have been and I hope never will be.

When this was the case our governments  had the cash cows at their finger tips.

Commonwealth bank was making $5 billion dollars profit per annum when it was sold, WTF sell it.....?????...to a few rich men at the expense of the Australian population.

You know that when the RBA passes a interest reduction the commonwealth under the government would have passed it on verbatim.

Now there all privatized they give us Sophia Loren stories with crocodile tears that they cant afford to pass the full cut to us plebs.

By privatizing our commonwealth bank they killed off any competition, otherwise where would you bank.

Telstra was making $7 billion per annum again WTF sell it to a few rich men...................................!!!!!

When our government had all these things at their finger tips and needed money they would rise the price of everything just a little and presto there's the money.

Now they have sold the shirts of their backs they only road to revenue is taxing all of us, that's all they have left.

We should throw all minister from Bob Hawke onwards in jail for what they have done to our great nation.

There is many forms of capitalism, today we seem to be practicing the worst possible one.

One mans idea Milton Freidman and his theory to put corporations in charge of everything and the rest will sort its self out.

bbbullishit.

Freidman's capitalism and Marx's communism are two sides of the same coin.

If WA is in debt to the tune of $30 billion after coming out of a mining boom this system is broken.

I only hope we don't end up on the streets before anything is done about it.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 14th, 2014 at 7:18pm

Quote:
Mining corporations only give 6% of the takings to the host nations the rest is theirs.


Crap. Most of it goes to employees. Guess who they are?


Quote:
It's a strange system. All mines should be nationalised. Mining companies can then provide tenders for contracts to dig the stuff up for us.


It's a lot simpler to just tax it and let the companies drive strategy. The last thing you want is politicians trying to run a mine. The independent strategic decisions required for running and directing a mining operation are totally incompatible with the interests and motivations of a politician. You complain about the mining companies making huge profits. Nationalising them would simply destroy those profits and the jobs, not direct them to the government.


Quote:
Commonwealth bank was making $5 billion dollars profit per annum when it was sold, WTF sell it.....?????


Because the government is not in the business of running banks. Private companies can do it much better.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Ajax on Apr 14th, 2014 at 7:50pm

Quote:
Crap. Most of it goes to employees. Guess who they are?


Do you understand what profit means..........?????

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/sting-in-bhps-23bn-record-as-marius-kloppers-warns-of-wages-blowout/story-e6frg8zx-1226121605599


Quote:
It's a lot simpler to just tax it and let the companies drive strategy. The last thing you want is politicians trying to run a mine. The independent strategic decisions required for running and directing a mining operation are totally incompatible with the interests and motivations of a politician. You complain about the mining companies making huge profits. Nationalising them would simply destroy those profits and the jobs, not direct them to the government.


If politicians cant run a company what the hell are they doing trying to run a country.

The same structures would still be in place, a CEO a board but the government would own it.


Quote:
Because the government is not in the business of running banks. Private companies can do it much better.


Who told you that Milton Freidman was it...?????

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 14th, 2014 at 8:09pm

Quote:
If politicians cant run a company what the hell are they doing trying to run a country.


They can run a company. Most would be pretty good at it. There are two main issues. One, it is not the government's core business. Two, there is a very strong conflict of interest inherent in the government being in charge of what is in all other aspects a private enterprise. It is basically the communism vs capitalism argument. Communism fails spectacularly because all the businesses are nationalised. Nationalising some of the businesses fails, but less spectacularly so.


Quote:
The same structures would still be in place, a CEO a board but the government would own it.


The problem is that the decisions being made would be governed by the political interests of the politicians - that are often directly opposed to more competitive or efficient delivery of service.


Quote:
Who told you that Milton Freidman was it...?????


It's called thinking for yourself. The government has no business running a bank.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Ajax on Apr 14th, 2014 at 8:30pm

Quote:
They can run a company. Most would be pretty good at it. There are two main issues. One, it is not the government's core business. Two, there is a very strong conflict of interest inherent in the government being in charge of what is in all other aspects a private enterprise. It is basically the communism vs capitalism argument. Communism fails spectacularly because all the businesses are nationalised. Nationalising some of the businesses fails, but less spectacularly so.


Our past governments labor/liberal both ran the commonwealth bank for eons without interfering in the day to day running of the bank and when it was sold in the mid nineties was racking in $5 billion dollars profit per annum.

Why sell it to a few filthy rich men....??????

When all of Australia would have prospered from our governments owning it......?????

If they had all these cash cows, our pensioners would be shopping top shelf not bottom of the barrel.

Now a few pigs that own big oil and have their fingers in most pies reap the rewards the commonwealth bank would have otherwise given back to the Australian people.


Quote:
The problem is that the decisions being made would be governed by the political interests of the politicians - that are often directly opposed to more competitive or efficient delivery of service.


For years our governments ran the commonwealth bank without interfering in its day to day running, why should it be any different now...????

Its not labor's bank its not the liberals bank it was the Australian people's bank.


Quote:
It's called thinking for yourself. The government has no business running a bank.


Your wrong when its the assets of the Australian public then its their business.

I suppose your in favour of our RBA being in the hands of a few rich bankers, so every time we get a loan we have to pay interest on it.

Well I say the government should p!ss these pigs off and print its own money without having to pay interest on loans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_mVoOVVykI

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 14th, 2014 at 9:24pm
You have no idea at all what is going on do you Ajax?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Ajax on Apr 14th, 2014 at 9:37pm

freediver wrote on Apr 14th, 2014 at 9:24pm:
You have no idea at all what is going on do you Ajax?


I'm all ears................................................

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Apr 16th, 2014 at 9:44pm
Nationalising every industry is an incredibly stupid idea. Nationalising the banks, auto industry, or whatever other industry some idiot is getting wound up about is also an incredibly stupid idea, just on a smaller scale. Justifying it by saying it "belongs to the people" is circular reasoning. One big reason it is a bad idea is because the politicians have the wrong incentives. They know perfectly well how to run them properly. They choose not to. Why run it efficiently and see someone else get the money and you loose your job, when you can run it inefficiently and get more votes and secure your power?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by The Stunt-free Horse on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 7:52am

freediver wrote on Apr 16th, 2014 at 9:44pm:
Nationalising every industry is an incredibly stupid idea. Nationalising the banks, auto industry, or whatever other industry some idiot is getting wound up about is also an incredibly stupid idea, just on a smaller scale. Justifying it by saying it "belongs to the people" is circular reasoning. One big reason it is a bad idea is because the politicians have the wrong incentives. They know perfectly well how to run them properly. They choose not to. Why run it efficiently and see someone else get the money and you loose your job, when you can run it inefficiently and get more votes and secure your power?

Why can't privately run industry be 'inefficient'?

You are implicitly defining 'efficiency' but when you are dealing with the worlds minerals why should the use of those minerals be defined as being used 'efficiently' by private means?


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 9:59am

Quote:
Why can't privately run industry be 'inefficient'?


They can. You can do whatever you want with your own business. You can be inefficient and bankrupt, or efficient and rich.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by The Stunt-free Horse on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 11:42am

freediver wrote on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 9:59am:

Quote:
Why can't privately run industry be 'inefficient'?


They can. You can do whatever you want with your own business. You can be inefficient and bankrupt, or efficient and rich.

Ah, see: you think private wealth means efficiency!

You are defining 'efficiency' as money going into private hands!!


Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by The Stunt-free Horse on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 11:44am

freediver wrote on Apr 16th, 2014 at 9:44pm:
Nationalising every industry is an incredibly stupid idea. Nationalising the banks, auto industry, or whatever other industry some idiot is getting wound up about is also an incredibly stupid idea, just on a smaller scale. Justifying it by saying it "belongs to the people" is circular reasoning. One big reason it is a bad idea is because the politicians have the wrong incentives. They know perfectly well how to run them properly. They choose not to. Why run it efficiently and see someone else get the money and you loose your job, when you can run it inefficiently and get more votes and secure your power?

..also, how does it follow that running it inefficiently leads to more votes and security of power?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 12:02pm

Quote:
Ah, see: you think private wealth means efficiency!


Property rights are necessary for a functioning economy. This is demonstrated over and over again.


Quote:
You are defining 'efficiency' as money going into private hands!!


It is not the definition, just the reflection of reality.


Quote:
how does it follow that running it inefficiently leads to more votes and security of power?


That's what happens when the government runs a business. It becomes bloated and inefficient. We also see this demonstrated over and over again. Politicians concern themselves with the political consequences of firing people. Private companies concern themselves with the economic consequences. It is inevitable that people with different motives will act in different ways that reflect those motives. If a person is only influenced by the political but not economic consequences of a business's employment policy, they will only be motivated by the political consequences, and their actions will reflect political but not economic motives.

It "follows" because the politician will ensure that it does. Unless you are prepared to argue that the profitability and political popularity of employment policy (among other things) go hand in hand, then it is inevitable. If you do want to argue that, you have a mountain of reality to overcome.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by The Stunt-free Horse on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 12:14pm
'efficiency' is the word being challenged!

No good ever came from the waste of resources- for a government to allow them to be flogged off for a private profit and a meagre public one does not entail an intelligent use of that resource.

Nomenclature: everyone is watching!  :D :D

'efficiency': what a joke!  ::)

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 9:38pm
What 'resources' are you referring to? Minerals, or businesses?

In economics, efficiency normally refers to providing the service people want at the lowest price, or matching the marginal cost of supply to the marginal value of demand.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by The Stunt-free Horse on Jul 4th, 2014 at 1:46am

freediver wrote on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 9:38pm:
What 'resources' are you referring to? Minerals, or businesses?

In economics, efficiency normally refers to providing the service people want at the lowest price, or matching the marginal cost of supply to the marginal value of demand.

yeh, your faux definitions excite nobody in particular!

Economics is based on dodgy principles: explain free-trade agreements to yourself!  :o

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Jul 4th, 2014 at 4:21am
Millions of people find it interesting enough to spend years studying economics and even more years working in the field. This is a good thing, as there are enough people who understand economics to prevent idiots ruining our economy with short sighted, simplistic ideas that appeal to the ignorant.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Jul 5th, 2014 at 12:14pm
Originally by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quoted in "Antifragile - Things That Gain from Disorder" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (p96).

It seemed, wrote Machiavelli, that in the midst of murders and civil wars, our republic became stronger, [and] it's citizens infused with virtues... A little bit of agitation gives resources to souls and what makes the species prosper isn't peace, but freedom.

Some more discussion on Machiavelli's views on the role of freedom of speech and political freedoms in the strength of the Roman Empire, and it's false association with weakness:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/machiavelli/#7

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 12:42pm

polite_gandalf wrote on Feb 1st, 2015 at 9:35pm:
Thucydides provides a pretty comprehensive debunking of the "political incusiveness = great prosperity and stability" argument in his critique of the Athenian empire.


I wasn't aware that the theory was around at the time for him to debunk it. In any case, we are fortunate enough to have another two and a half millennia of history to make a judgement on, and the evidence clearly supports the theory.

I'm not surprised that a Muslim would trawl so far back into history to find someone to support such a view.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by gandalf on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 2:00pm

freediver wrote on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 12:42pm:
I wasn't aware that the theory was around at the time for him to debunk it


Shocking as it is, there was actually a city state called 'Athens' and it employed a system of government called 'democracy' - which many people believed in and fought for.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 7:40pm
Was the theory described by Acemoglu and Robinson around at the time? How exactly was it debunked?

Do you disagree with it, and if so how do you explain the strong relationship between modern wealthy nations and freedom and democracy?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by gandalf on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 9:33pm
You are free to read Thucydides for yourself FD - I highly recommend it.

I'm not attempting to explain the alleged relationship between modern wealthy nations and freedom and democracy. My comment was relevant to the discussion on ancient civilizations - namely Athens and Rome, both of whom ran aggressive, militaristic expansionist empires. Its a good comparison to make: for Athens, becoming more and more democratic proved disastrous for their ability to run and control a large empire, whereas for Rome, they ended up eliminating any (tokenistic) democratic elements that might have existed the further and further they expanded.

Bottom line - democracy sux for the prosperity and stability of militant aggressive ancient empires.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 8:39am

Quote:
I'm not attempting to explain the alleged relationship between modern wealthy nations and freedom and democracy.


Are you denying it?


Quote:
My comment was relevant to the discussion on ancient civilizations - namely Athens and Rome, both of whom ran aggressive, militaristic expansionist empires. Its a good comparison to make: for Athens, becoming more and more democratic proved disastrous for their ability to run and control a large empire, whereas for Rome, they ended up eliminating any (tokenistic) democratic elements that might have existed the further and further they expanded.


And this also lead to their demise. The wealth of Rome started to fall as soon as it became a dictatorship.


Quote:
Bottom line - democracy sux for the prosperity and stability of militant aggressive ancient empires.


And you base this on only two examples, neither of which were actually democratic by modern standards, but both of which were unusually successful due to being more politically and/or economically inclusive. One of them remained at the top for two millennia, until very recently in history. That looks like a pretty good track record to me Gandalf.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by gandalf on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 10:30am

freediver wrote on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 8:39am:
The wealth of Rome started to fall as soon as it became a dictatorship.


umm no, it started an unprecedented rise.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by gandalf on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 10:46am
by "as soon as it became a dictatorship" FD of course means about 3-4 hundred years after. 

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 1:06pm
You must be looking at different numbers to me Gandalf. It looks to me like it all turned around around the year zero.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by gandalf on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 1:28pm
Then you obviously need to check that again.

Suggest you also look at the raw figures detailed in the PDF on Morris's site I linked previously.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 7:29pm
The peak came at the turn of the millenium, which was less than 50 years after Caesar became dictator. It is hard to imagine the results matching the theory more closely.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by gandalf on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 7:48pm
The peak came at the turn of the Millenium - and remained for at least 200 years:

100 BCE 31.06 3.75 0.11 0.04 35.50
1 BCE/CE 33.78 9.36 0.12 0.04 43.30
100 CE 33.78 9.36 0.12 0.04 43.30
200 CE 32.69 9.36 0.11 0.04 42.20
300 CE 31.60 7.49 0.10 0.03 39.22
400 CE 31.06 7.49 0.09 0.03 38.67
500 CE 30.51 4.23 0.07 0.03 34.84

These are Morris's social development traits - from left to right: energy capture, organization, war making capacity, information technology - figures are for the west 100BCE - 500 CE

Figures for all traits are identical between 1CE - 100CE and held steady for another 100 years. Thus the "peak" as you call it remained for a full 200 years or so from 1CE to 200CE and only started to decline after 200CE

The Roman Empire did just fine under absolute dictatorship for the best part of 3 centuries.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 8:05pm
Rome's standard of living was rising rapidly as a republic. As soon as it became a dictatorship, it stagnated (actually, fell slowly), followed by a rapid fall.

Again, it could not match the theory more closely.

You fail to see what is right in front of you.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by gandalf on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 9:20pm
;D ;D can anyone say 'backpeddling'?

from...


freediver wrote on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 8:39am:
The wealth of Rome started to fall as soon as it became a dictatorship.


to...


freediver wrote on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 8:05pm:
As soon as it became a dictatorship, it stagnated


As I said, Roman economic prosperity was just fine and dandy under absolute dictatorship for the best part of three centuries.





Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 9:31pm
From this: The wealth of Rome started to fall as soon as it became a dictatorship.
To this: As soon as it became a dictatorship, it stagnated (actually, fell slowly)

Is restating the same thing Gandalf. You are getting desperate.


Quote:
As I said, Roman economic prosperity was just fine and dandy under absolute dictatorship for the best part of three centuries.


I am not sure what you think the theory says, but this in no way contradicts it. It supports it. Dictatorship put the brakes on Roman economic growth and lead to the demise of the empire. The growth went from the highest in recorded history and still growing, accelerating even, to falling.

The author actually cites modern examples of dictatorships causing societies to go from stagnation to rapid growth, and explains how it is consistent with his theory. If you want simplistic evidence against the theory, there is plenty, though greater familiarity with the details will render your arguments even more absurd.

Do you have an alternative theory Gandalf, to explain the "alleged" relationship between freedom, democracy and wealth?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by gandalf on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 11:14pm

freediver wrote on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 9:31pm:
Dictatorship put the brakes on Roman economic growth and lead to the demise of the empire.


You can't even get this right.

If we put the establishment of Roman dictatorship at around 50BCE, we see from Morris's data that the increase of all traits continued to skyrocket until year 1, then stayed at the same level for another 100 years. So there goes your "fell slowly" baloney.

It then stayed at almost the same for another 100 years.

You say Rome's social development "fell slowly" under the dictatorship (ignoring the fact that for 150 it didn't - and translating "fell slowly" for "stagnated" when it suits) - whereas I prefer to call it Rome succeeding in maintaining social development at an unprecedented and phenomenally high level.

There are about 100 other reasons for the decline of Rome's prosperity that started nearly two centuries after the establishment of absolute dictatorship that had nothing to do with abolishing an imaginary "inclusive" government - that exists only in your mind. Feel free to read Edward Gibbon.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Feb 4th, 2015 at 12:47pm

Quote:
If we put the establishment of Roman dictatorship at around 50BCE, we see from Morris's data that the increase of all traits continued to skyrocket until year 1, then stayed at the same level for another 100 years. So there goes your "fell slowly" baloney.


The data does not actually show this. It only has 100 year resolution. Furthermore, you are basically creating a strawman of the argument. Money does not evaporate the minute a dictator takes over. A significant lag is entirely consistent with the mechanisms involved. Despite that, the results for Rome match the theory extraordinarily well. Stagnation and fall where the was previously rapid growth is a change in fortune. If our own society stopped making scientific and economic advances and improvements to our quality of life, I would count that as a failure.


Quote:
You say Rome's social development "fell slowly" under the dictatorship (ignoring the fact that for 150 it didn't


Your own numbers show that it did - this alone is a significant change from the meteoric rise that preceded it.


Quote:
and translating "fell slowly" for "stagnated" when it suits)


Both are adequate descriptions.


Quote:
There are about 100 other reasons for the decline of Rome's prosperity that started nearly two centuries after the establishment of absolute dictatorship that had nothing to do with abolishing an imaginary "inclusive" government - that exists only in your mind. Feel free to read Edward Gibbon.


The lurch towards dictatorship can be an ultimate cause for probably most of the reasons he gives. The authors do go over some of the alternative reasons (eg blaming it on the various invaders) and explain how it is more a symptom than a cause. For example, suppose America became a dictatorship and it's GDP actually fell for the next few centuries, until one day Mexico or China or Afghanistan invaded. A simplistic analysis would blame it on the invasions. That would not actually be incorrect, as the invasion would be a proximate cause of something, but it would entirely miss the point and the lesson of history.

The same patterns are repeated throughout history, and the theory has great predictive power for what will happen in the future, as well as instructive power for how to achieve change. You do not need 100 reasons to explain 1 event. It is one reason that can explain 100 events.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by gandalf on Feb 4th, 2015 at 2:30pm

freediver wrote on Feb 4th, 2015 at 12:47pm:
uote:
You say Rome's social development "fell slowly" under the dictatorship (ignoring the fact that for 150 it didn't


Your own numbers show that it did


You'll have to explain this to me FD. How does 2 centuries (from 100BCE to 100CE) of either growth or levels staying exactly the same equate to falling slowly?


freediver wrote on Feb 4th, 2015 at 12:47pm:
The authors do go over some of the alternative reasons (eg blaming it on the various invaders) and explain how it is more a symptom than a cause. For example, suppose America became a dictatorship and it's GDP actually fell for the next few centuries, until one day Mexico or China or Afghanistan invaded. A simplistic analysis would blame it on the invasions. That would not actually be incorrect, as the invasion would be a proximate cause of something, but it would entirely miss the point and the lesson of history


Thats about a million miles away from forming a coherent case for saying 'it must, therefore have been the abandonment of a politically inclusive government' - especially when you have singularly failed to even demonstrate that they had anything resembling this to start with (hint, my repeated requests for details in the islam forum which you ignore).

Just out of interest, how do you explain the meteoric rise in China's economy - a decidedly *NON* inclusive government?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Feb 4th, 2015 at 7:29pm

Quote:
You'll have to explain this to me FD. How does 2 centuries (from 100BCE to 100CE) of either growth or levels staying exactly the same equate to falling slowly?


My bad. I thought there was a slight fall to 100 AD. 


Quote:
Thats about a million miles away from forming a coherent case for saying 'it must, therefore have been the abandonment of a politically inclusive government'


Of course. It was a response to a specific point you made, not an attempt to restate the case made by the authors.


Quote:
Just out of interest, how do you explain the meteoric rise in China's economy - a decidedly *NON* inclusive government?


Economic inclusiveness and the one child policy. The authors do cite other examples of the relationship between population and living standard in situations approaching Malthusian (most notably the black plague and it's aftermath), but it does not form part of the main thesis. China is liberalising their economy at a rapid rate (I have a European friend running businesses in Beijing). The theory does make some predictions at the consequences of this on the political situation. It will inevitably lead to pressure for political inclusiveness, and make such demands more likely to be fruitful. Furthermore, China's politics is already far more inclusive than most countries. The communist party is a very large organisation, apparently open to all comers. The political manouvering within the party to change from socialism towards capitalism looks much like any political party, except for the occasional jailing. I expect political inclusiveness to come about in the first instance through more transparency and democracy within the party before transitioning to a real democracy - more along the lines of the UK's slow change rather than the French Revolution. If the Chinese government clamps down and succeeds in reversing these changes, China's economy will slide, notwithstanding the effects of their population control.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Dec 21st, 2017 at 8:18pm
bump for Augie

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Ye Grappler on Dec 21st, 2017 at 8:30pm
... bad government following the ideas put forward by aquascoot, longie and a few other fringe dwellers with no solid idea?

Just asking...  every man advances himself by being a positive user etc of everyone else, and every man advances himself by exploiting and dominating every other man..... and then they start chopping off the tits of the women who might breed the 'lesser' beings... and then they figure there is a better way... and they build the camps....

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Karnal on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 4:09pm

Ye Grappler wrote on Dec 21st, 2017 at 8:30pm:
... bad government following the ideas put forward by aquascoot, longie and a few other fringe dwellers with no solid idea?

Just asking...  every man advances himself by being a positive user etc of everyone else, and every man advances himself by exploiting and dominating every other man..... and then they start chopping off the tits of the women who might breed the 'lesser' beings... and then they figure there is a better way... and they build the camps....


Aquascoot suggested the role of government is to pressure people and make life difficult.

It is a jolly world, you see.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by UnSubRocky on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 4:31pm
Infertile soils are what create people to be resilient in creating a functional society with adequate food resources. If you cannot handle soil infertility, then you are likely to have a very tough time with producing higher tier industries to compete.

The less religious people become, the more productive and pragmatic their work. One of the features of the Australian people was that it took 6 months to travel from England to Australia. I bet religious beliefs went out the porthole on the journey over to Australia. And then to be welcome to an unforgiving landscape and stifling hot climate would have had new colonists using their pages in the bible as toilet paper.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 6:37pm

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 4:31pm:
Infertile soils are what create people to be resilient in creating a functional society with adequate food resources. If you cannot handle soil infertility, then you are likely to have a very tough time with producing higher tier industries to compete.

The less religious people become, the more productive and pragmatic their work. One of the features of the Australian people was that it took 6 months to travel from England to Australia. I bet religious beliefs went out the porthole on the journey over to Australia. And then to be welcome to an unforgiving landscape and stifling hot climate would have had new colonists using their pages in the bible as toilet paper.


That's why the aborigines were so advanced - all our infertile soil.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by gandalf on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 7:56pm

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 4:31pm:
Infertile soils are what create people to be resilient in creating a functional society with adequate food resources. If you cannot handle soil infertility, then you are likely to have a very tough time with producing higher tier industries to compete.


Thucydides opined that Athens became so powerful because the soil of Attica is relatively infertile - causing two things: 1. no one wanted to invade them, thus keeping the population stable and homogenous, allowing them to develop and maintain a functioning society free of outside threats and 2. their lack of agriculture-based prosperity forced them to expand outwards, which caused them to develop a powerful navy and create a large empire.

Interestingly, its generally held that one reason Europe became so advanced and powerful was for the opposite reason - they were constantly invading and conquering each other, and this caused them to focus on advancing technology for their defence - plus the added factor of different cultures constantly interacting and mixing and causing advances in civilization. In this vein, you can argue the opposite of what you argue - that fertile soil is what causes people and societies to be resilient - if that fertility attracts outsiders to try and invade and conquer you.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by UnSubRocky on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 9:08am

freediver wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 6:37pm:

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 4:31pm:
Infertile soils are what create people to be resilient in creating a functional society with adequate food resources. If you cannot handle soil infertility, then you are likely to have a very tough time with producing higher tier industries to compete.

The less religious people become, the more productive and pragmatic their work. One of the features of the Australian people was that it took 6 months to travel from England to Australia. I bet religious beliefs went out the porthole on the journey over to Australia. And then to be welcome to an unforgiving landscape and stifling hot climate would have had new colonists using their pages in the bible as toilet paper.


That's why the aborigines were so advanced - all our infertile soil.


In terms of survival, yes they were very advanced. Aborigines were somewhat helpful in the colonisation England had over Australia. Aborigines teaching white settlers how to find water and other ways to survive. Aborigines just did not have the motivation or necessity to advance passed cave men standards.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by UnSubRocky on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 9:42am
You compare to countries like the United States and Australia. They are two countries that had origins of settlers from Europe. The United States has soils that are highly fertile down to moderately fertile. They can produce every kind of food product they need and have no necessity of importing food. Australia has vast land of mildly fertile to moderately fertile farmland. The problem is that rainfall is not abundant as it is in many regions of the United States. Australia produces large amounts of food products, but we still need to import some food from overseas.

When you consider that Australians have to survive with a climate and landscape that can be brutal to farm production, or general town and city development, the citizens develop a type of personality known as Australian stoicism. We endure the problems we face with grit and determination. We get labelled "rough diamonds" by the British because they can't understand why we need to be more serious about our survival than they. Our industries are not as advanced as other first world countries, and our psyche to competition is not so focused killing the competition. To an extent, we have a type of sustainable lifestyle with a mild materialistic culture among Australians.

Americans, however, generally have a favourable climate and landscape to reside. They don't have to worry as much about lack of rainfall and soil fertility. Their secondary industries are more developed. They basically have an advantage of being able to develop a competitive industry in whatever they want. But they are also closed off to any connections with other communities. It is like they are competing with each other, which is to their own detriment. But the bigger problem is that they (Americans) have become so spoiled in their lifestyle that they have stagnated creatively in their development. Given a massive power outage over there for a week, the citizens are likely to die like flies. But it really is up to the community as to how they react towards adversity.

Strength of a nation depends on the right attitude of the citizens to succeed.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 12:29pm

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 9:08am:

freediver wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 6:37pm:

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 4:31pm:
Infertile soils are what create people to be resilient in creating a functional society with adequate food resources. If you cannot handle soil infertility, then you are likely to have a very tough time with producing higher tier industries to compete.

The less religious people become, the more productive and pragmatic their work. One of the features of the Australian people was that it took 6 months to travel from England to Australia. I bet religious beliefs went out the porthole on the journey over to Australia. And then to be welcome to an unforgiving landscape and stifling hot climate would have had new colonists using their pages in the bible as toilet paper.


That's why the aborigines were so advanced - all our infertile soil.


In terms of survival, yes they were very advanced. Aborigines were somewhat helpful in the colonisation England had over Australia. Aborigines teaching white settlers how to find water and other ways to survive. Aborigines just did not have the motivation or necessity to advance passed cave men standards.


So aborigines were unique among native peoples in that they understood how to survive?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Ye Grappler on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 2:06pm

freediver wrote on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 12:29pm:

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 9:08am:

freediver wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 6:37pm:

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 4:31pm:
Infertile soils are what create people to be resilient in creating a functional society with adequate food resources. If you cannot handle soil infertility, then you are likely to have a very tough time with producing higher tier industries to compete.

The less religious people become, the more productive and pragmatic their work. One of the features of the Australian people was that it took 6 months to travel from England to Australia. I bet religious beliefs went out the porthole on the journey over to Australia. And then to be welcome to an unforgiving landscape and stifling hot climate would have had new colonists using their pages in the bible as toilet paper.


That's why the aborigines were so advanced - all our infertile soil.


In terms of survival, yes they were very advanced. Aborigines were somewhat helpful in the colonisation England had over Australia. Aborigines teaching white settlers how to find water and other ways to survive. Aborigines just did not have the motivation or necessity to advance passed cave men standards.


So aborigines were unique among native peoples in that they understood how to survive?


... or they died trying..........................................................................    ;D  ;D  ;D

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by UnSubRocky on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 4:24pm

freediver wrote on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 12:29pm:

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 9:08am:

freediver wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 6:37pm:

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 4:31pm:
Infertile soils are what create people to be resilient in creating a functional society with adequate food resources. If you cannot handle soil infertility, then you are likely to have a very tough time with producing higher tier industries to compete.

The less religious people become, the more productive and pragmatic their work. One of the features of the Australian people was that it took 6 months to travel from England to Australia. I bet religious beliefs went out the porthole on the journey over to Australia. And then to be welcome to an unforgiving landscape and stifling hot climate would have had new colonists using their pages in the bible as toilet paper.


That's why the aborigines were so advanced - all our infertile soil.


In terms of survival, yes they were very advanced. Aborigines were somewhat helpful in the colonisation England had over Australia. Aborigines teaching white settlers how to find water and other ways to survive. Aborigines just did not have the motivation or necessity to advance passed cave men standards.


So aborigines were unique among native peoples in that they understood how to survive?


They understood how to survive 700,000 strong in an uninhabitable continent. Had Australia been as fertile and plentiful in rainfall as Indonesia, the aborigines would have flourished... or had to compete with Indonesians.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Grendel on Dec 25th, 2017 at 4:40pm
Yes and their civilisation prospered and grew surpassing all others technologically etc, etc, etc...  puhlease

buildings -10
clothing -9
language 5
literature -10
art 3
music 3
agriculture 1
etc, etc....
60,000 years of almost nothing.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Dec 28th, 2017 at 8:54am

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 4:24pm:

freediver wrote on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 12:29pm:

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 23rd, 2017 at 9:08am:

freediver wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 6:37pm:

UnSubRocky wrote on Dec 22nd, 2017 at 4:31pm:
Infertile soils are what create people to be resilient in creating a functional society with adequate food resources. If you cannot handle soil infertility, then you are likely to have a very tough time with producing higher tier industries to compete.

The less religious people become, the more productive and pragmatic their work. One of the features of the Australian people was that it took 6 months to travel from England to Australia. I bet religious beliefs went out the porthole on the journey over to Australia. And then to be welcome to an unforgiving landscape and stifling hot climate would have had new colonists using their pages in the bible as toilet paper.


That's why the aborigines were so advanced - all our infertile soil.


In terms of survival, yes they were very advanced. Aborigines were somewhat helpful in the colonisation England had over Australia. Aborigines teaching white settlers how to find water and other ways to survive. Aborigines just did not have the motivation or necessity to advance passed cave men standards.


So aborigines were unique among native peoples in that they understood how to survive?


They understood how to survive 700,000 strong in an uninhabitable continent. Had Australia been as fertile and plentiful in rainfall as Indonesia, the aborigines would have flourished... or had to compete with Indonesians.


What makes you think it was uninhabitable?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Lord Herbert on Dec 28th, 2017 at 9:34am
Who was it who said ... "Empires and nations are not destroyed by murder, but by suicide" ?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Karnal on Dec 28th, 2017 at 2:50pm

Grendel wrote on Dec 25th, 2017 at 4:40pm:
Yes and their civilisation prospered and grew surpassing all others technologically etc, etc, etc...  puhlease

buildings -10
clothing -9
language 5
literature -10
art 3
music 3
agriculture 1
etc, etc....
60,000 years of almost nothing.


Some of your best friends are Boongs.

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Grendel on Dec 28th, 2017 at 6:15pm
Yes some of my friends are aboriginal or part aboriginal.

Unlike you eh.

You never get it do you... :D :D :D :D :D

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Frank on Dec 28th, 2017 at 7:47pm

Lord Herbert wrote on Dec 28th, 2017 at 9:34am:
Who was it who said ... "Empires and nations are not destroyed by murder, but by suicide" ?

Arnold Toynbee.



Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by .JaSin. on Dec 28th, 2017 at 7:57pm
The thing about the Modern World is that it is introducing stuff that has never happened before in the entire history of such areas experienced by Europe, Asia & Middle-East ...even to go so far as North America - which 'fell back' into the past of Europe and the known 'civilisation' and history.

For one thing, you have 'white people' down in the Southern Hemisphere now - that's a whole new ball game right there and you can see in the Australian society those that still 'fall back' to what is 'KNOWN', not (as Joseph Campbell once said) what is there is ...TO KNOW.  ;)

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by Ye Grappler on Dec 29th, 2017 at 12:08am
.. because they are taken over by a group of self-interested twerps who imagine that the whole idea of running a nation is to extract as much wealth from it for themselves as possible...

Any of that sound familiar?

Title: Re: Why Nations Fail
Post by freediver on Dec 30th, 2017 at 8:49am
That's actually a half decent precis of the book.

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