Sunday, September 25, 2005

Neutron Economics

What is the future for the industrial economies and liberal democracy. In the west they have had a shared history. For the past 250 years increases in production from the industrial revolution have led to, because of liberal democracy, to raising living standards. The high living standards of the west are not automatic consequence of production efficianies. The fight to raise the living standards for the vast bulk of the population over the last 250 years, althrough bitterly fought, succeeded only because of liberal democracy.

However industrial development and trade is not wedded to any political philosophy. Most of the political philosophies that have existed or exist now are less concerned with individual living standards of populations then our western civilization. There other animating philosophies than crass materialism and grubby vote buying. When such societies proceed down the path of industrial development the result are societies with productive capacity of the West without a means or inclination to distribute the fruits of production.

Let us look at the productive tyrannies of recent history and how successful they have been at raising living standards. Many such monsters and their appologists would protest that our aims are not their aims. They have other goals and dreams. Sometimes their goals were even more focused on industrial production. Sometimes they were fixated on some mystical ideal. And sometimes the leadership of the productive tyranny would be busy itself with personal luxury. Because of their various hobby horses these regimes didn't let increasing production from industrial development filter down into higher living standards.

There is a new political philosophy that is good for business and bad for people, sort of like neutron economics. Recently read a depressing little tract about how the west is doomed because of deindustrialization. Not because we are using less manufactures but because the factories owners are have transfered their factories to cheaper lands. The trouble is the kind of country that is willing to oppress its own populace to keep down the cost of labor is also the kind of country will violate other contracts. The countries that run tanks over their own citizens will also cheerfully nationalize foriegn assets.

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