Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The West's brief moment of glory

Without explanation, Brad DeLong hoists a review of Landes' The Wealth and Poverty of Nations that he wrote in 1998.  Brad himself seems to explain the supposed rise and wealth of the West as a result of policy superiorities, including specifically governance by a Committee of the Bourgeoisie (a Marxist term he turned on its head without attribution).

I suggest a look at the comments, which are a lot more receptive to alternatives to the quasi End Of History view that Brad seemed to be promoting back in 1998.

I added, or at least attempted to add, this comment:

Uh, so how is that committee of the bourgeoisie doing these days? And while that committee most certainly includes Democrats and Republicans (and especially the so-named representatives in government), it seems that most of the business owners, managers, and the like I've ever known, read, or heard about lean heavily Republican, and that fact has changed little as the Republican party has gone deeply over the cliff of short sighted greed and irrationality as Brad is always pointing out. It seems to me that it ought to be pretty obvious that this system isn't working now, and by possible never did, since what happened before has simply led us to now.
If, as seems almost certain to me, there is catastrophic collapse of the economic and social well being (and many lives as well) in the coming century as a result of horrible resource mismanagement for at least 300 years by the dominant West, we won't be pondering the historical policy superiorities of that West.
Instead, we perhaps should be trying to figure out what made proxy rulers like the Shogun effective at curbing resource destruction, and trying to figure out how we can also do that, but with something like constitutional representative democracy.

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