Category Archives: Economics

A Roman Industrial Revolution?

Kingdom of the Wicked is set in a Roman Empire that’s had an industrial revolution, something long considered plausible by economic historians. There are all sorts of theories as to why it didn’t actually happen, although the presence of chattel slavery looms large. The Roman society I’ve depicted has abolished slavery; I’ll be frank and […]

The depths of Palestinian dysfunction

We are about three years away from the centenary of the (third) Palestine Arab Conference in December 1920 which demanded an end to Jewish migration into Palestine and just under three years from the centenary of the April 1920 Nebi Musa riots, the first fatal clash between Jews and Arabs in Palestine on the matter […]

Why there is so much nonsense spouted about fascism

If you are going to invoke the interwar period, particularly the 1930s, please do so intelligently. By which I mean, non-propagandistically. And by interwar period I mean the phenomenon of fascism and neo-fascism. Despite self-serving (look at me, I am opposing fascism!) shrieking, there is not a lot of fascism or neo-fascism in contemporary Western politics. […]

Hitler defeated Lenin, Chiang defeated Mao

It is a commonplace that the victors write history. But which victors? The victors that are claimed to write history are normally taken to be those who win wars and other conflicts. But just because one side wins a war or conflict, it does not follow that its ideas triumph in the longer term. Consider […]

Stop with the projecting

If you assume some factor is behind everything, it is very easy to find it everywhere you look–you just project it onto phenomena. Marxists assumed everything was driven by class dynamics and–surprise, surprise—they found it everywhere they looked. As a friend of mine said to me years ago; Marxist academics didn’t look for evidence, they […]

Globalisation, internationalisation and globalism

It has become something of an analytical commonplace to see the rise of populist nationalism (or national populism)–the development of nationalist parties in Europe, the Brexit vote in the UK and The Donald winning the Electoral College (and thus the US Presidency) in the US–as signifying “a revolt against globalisation”. That is not a useful way […]

Multiculturalism is an experiment that might fail

Multiculturalism has become a sacred marker of progressivism: one absolutely has to be in favour of multiculturalism, or one is not a good person. A person seriously critical of (let alone hostile to) multiculturalism is, in fact, outside the moral pale. There are deep problems with this. First is defining what one means by multiculturalism–there are quite a […]

Why hasn’t the politics of immigration in Australia gone feral?

As one contemplates the rise in anti-immigration parties in Europe, and the fraught politics of immigration in the US, it is very striking how little political angst Australia’s very high level of immigration has caused. True, the nationalist One Nation Party recently scored 4 Senators in the 2016 Federal Election, but that was on 4.3% of the […]

Are we heading towards peak globalisation? The ages of trade, globalisation and IT

This is based on a comment I made here. The history of (long distance) trade can be divided into 4 eras, one of which is regional and transitional: Continental-coastal: outside local areas, trade was limited to thin networks of high value items with some (highly fluctuating) upward tendency in the extent of such networks, but […]

Defending openness with cognitive closure

The Economist recently had a piece claiming that the left-right divide had been overtaken by the open-closed divide. It had this to say on the Brexit vote: So far, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has been the anti-globalists’ biggest prize: the vote in June to abandon the world’s most successful free-trade club was […]