Tag Archives: china

How things look depend on where you stand

This post from Stratfor points out that the US faces much less stressful challenges than the EU or China or Iran. So, the re-elected President Obama faces a world where the US’s hand, vis-a-vis other Powers, is strengthening rather than weakening. I really don’t get the angst about President Obama’s foreign policy. Yes, he has […]

Coercive competition

A useful way to think of organised crime is as the application of coercion for profit in social spaces where the power of the state does not effectively reach. It is common to think of organised crime gangs as having “territories”.  Such as this map of the territories of Mexican drug cartels. Obviously, the drug […]

War and peace

We think of the World Wars of the C20th as being unprecedented in their death tolls. That is not true in either total deaths or, still less, death rates. While the 1939-45 War did have the largest death toll of any war in history, the 1914-19 War does not come second. When one considers the huge […]

Going for gold: perils of entering the goldzone

Who would want the global monetary system to be at the mercy of the Bank of China?  Not conservative, free market types in the United States and elsewhere, one guesses. Actually, it turns out lots of them do; all the people who support some sort of return to the gold standard, who think that the […]

Corrupting risk on top of the surplus pyramid

In a real sense, human history starts with the creation of a social surplus, a surplus beyond simple subsistence. Such a surplus could be used for–indeed, was required to–build more complex societies. This included the literal building of the monumental architecture, the most striking creations from the existence of such surpluses. More food, more babies Merely increasing production does […]

The divine law disadvantage – Guest Post by Lorenzo

[LE: Something I often wonder about when studying history is: why do certain civilisations develop in certain ways, and others (which are equally technologically advanced, if not more so) do not develop in the same way? I suppose it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy speculative fiction so much: speculative fiction plays a game […]

Risky Business

China has scolded the US over its “addiction to debt” after rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US’ top-notch AAA rating to AA+. State news agency Xinhua said unless the US cut its “gigantic military expenditure and bloated welfare costs,” another downgrade would be inevitable. But other countries, such as Australia, France and Japan, […]

Burning the Midnight Oil

CLIMATE change is a global problem that all humanity has to tackle because “human beings can’t live on the moon”, the Dalai Lama says. On a one-day visit to Parliament House today, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader appeared unfussed that Julia Gillard had refused to meet with him, at one stage referring to the Prime […]

Enforcing filial piety via legislation

(from Wikimedia Commons) According to Confucian ideals, filial piety is the ultimate value. Hence, it permeates many Asian societies. There is notionally no need for the state to provide for care for the elderly, because the children will look after their parents in their old age. The rather creepy statue above depicts Japanese man Ryochi […]

Brother Number One Says Markets Make Great Prosperity!

Over at Catallaxy, Sinclair has a very thought-provoking and chewy post on states that are economically capitalist but politically illiberal (to greater or lesser degrees). He asks whether those states will one day move beyond their illiberality, or whether they can remain illiberal while enshrining many of the things that make political liberalism possible: secure […]