Link of the Day

Yes, it’s in the New Yorker, so it’s unprofessional and idiotic by default but it’s an important issue that, as Amy Wax says, nobody wants to discuss. And if you do manage to get through the introductory section (which I don’t recommend), you’ll see why.

The question of why some countries do great while others are constantly in deep shit is fascinating. Completely stupid people say “colonialism” because they like see the world in terms of colonizing winners and colonized losers. But that’s idiotic. Look at Russia and Finland. Russia keeps colonizing everyone in sight, including Finland. But Russia is in deep shit, always, constantly, relentlessly. And Finland is a paradise in comparison.

There’s obviously nothing racial in my example because I’m talking about the same ethnic group. This could be a fascinating discussion but it won’t be because there are too many dumbos who want to scream “colonialism” and “racism” instead of learning anything.

8 thoughts on “Link of the Day”

  1. “why some countries do great while others are constantly in deep shit is fascinating”

    Colonialism certainly did a lot of damage (and some intermittent good) and racism is very real and damaging but those don’t account for the differences the way that values do (that is the personal values shared by a majority of the population).

    As an example take Ralph Peters’ (non-academic) “failure factors”:

    -Restrictions on the free flow of information.
    -The subjugation of women.
    -Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure.
    -The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
    -Domination by a restrictive religion.
    -A low valuation of education.
    -Low prestige assigned to work.

    How do those apply to Russia vs Finland?

    There are also factors like future (vs past-present) orientation, attitudes toward inequality, dealing with new and uncertain situations etc

    There are a lot of clues but they all lead to thoughtcrime: not all cultures are equally adaptive in the modern world…. and no one wants to deal with that.


    1. AFAIK, this is the actual article by a Ralph Peters, that Cliff Arroyo refers to: Spotting the Losers: Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States

      The article is over 20 years old and was published in Parameters, a quarterly academic journal published by the United States Army War College. So, YMMV. [The international relations analysts at the time were kind of lost and dazed since “the Cold War [was] over!”]

      Apparently Peters is better known for being a Fox News analyst and publishing military fiction.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “The article is over 20 years old and was published in Parameters”

        Yeah, lots of caveats, but…. still when you apply it to actual countries there’s… something there. I think of Peters as a kind of idiot savant, mostly full of hot air but with occasional (very occasional) flashes of insight.
        From the national culture comparisons by Geert Hofstede smaller family size and long term (future time) orientation seem to have economic implications for societies.
        I do think cultural value norms play a huge role in the life of countries (and in question of standard of living, safety etc).
        Look at religion in Europe and there’s a clear…. hierarchy of quality of life/institutions by traditional majority variety of Christianity – Protestant (highest) Catholic (middle) Orthodox (bottom) it’s not 100% but that’s the trend.
        It’s a sensitive area but worth looking into…


  2. The question of why some countries do great while others are constantly in deep shit is fascinating.

    Sometimes it is just technical aspects of finance and economics. With the advent of the Euro, Ireland transformed from a Country in poverty to a prosperous country. I just spent eleven days in Ireland, where I learned this.

    Liked by 1 person

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