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StrayCat
StrayCat e2 Member 1014795 forum postsStrayCat vcard Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
30 Apr 2013 - 10:08 PM

Niall Ferguson

If you have a few minutes you might find his talk interesting.

Denny

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30 Apr 2013 - 10:08 PM

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StrayCat
StrayCat e2 Member 1014795 forum postsStrayCat vcard Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
30 Apr 2013 - 10:35 PM

You'll have to scroll down and select his talk, sorry.

gcarth
gcarth e2 Member 102289 forum postsgcarth vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
5 May 2013 - 5:02 PM


Quote: Niall Ferguson

If you have a few minutes you might find his talk interesting.

Denny

Well, I find his talk very biased and selective: He gives no credit to the East - not all great ideas have come from the West.
In my opinion, he completely disregards the simple fact under all our noses that continued economic growth is unsustainable.
He also makes the extremely arrogant, not to say, ignorant assumption that the West's promoting of the Neo-con brand of 'Free Market' capitalism has been a success - but of course, he would he's a Thatcher apologist.
So, I'm naturally biased against what I see as his over-bearing over-confidence and self-promotion.

StrayCat
StrayCat e2 Member 1014795 forum postsStrayCat vcard Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
6 May 2013 - 7:21 AM

Like many other professors Garth.Smile

gcarth
gcarth e2 Member 102289 forum postsgcarth vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
6 May 2013 - 8:42 AM


Quote: Like many other professors Garth.Smile

Yes. It must be difficult to stay 'grounded' when you reach the dizzy heights of a professorship!
Niall Ferguson, of course, is a professor in History, but he seems to think he's equipped to be an economist as well - in fact, I always think of him of a right-wing economist and forget that he's actually supposed to be an Historian.
My favourite professor is Noam Chomsky - he's also occasionaly been accused of arrogance: I probably can't distance myself to give an honest opinion, but I think at least Chomsky recognises the complete lack of self-critical awareness of Western governments like the US and UK.
Of course a great fellow countryman of yours was the economist John Kenneth Galbraith: He was also described as arrogant - but I guess he would give that impression as he was 6 feet 8 inches tall and this would surely seem to emphasise his superiority! (He was also described as being warm and kind, with a good sense of humour)Smile

Last Modified By gcarth at 6 May 2013 - 8:43 AM
collywobles
6 May 2013 - 9:22 AM


Quote: Well, I find his talk very biased and selective: He gives no credit to the East - not all great ideas have come from the West

You are correct of course that not all great ideas have come from the West but most have. I believe his talk was very factual, I have always asked myself why places like Africa, Sth America, Asia or the Aborigines in Australia did not develop as fast as the 'West', after all we were all placed on this earth about the same time give or take a couple thousand years, so what happened along the way to the East. Now one or two of you will probably respond that the West colonised and controlled the East with their free market capitalist ways, but my argument is that that's fine but why do you not see anywhere where the East did the same to the West. I'm not saying that the East did nothing after all there were the great Egyptians, Myans, and Inca nations, ----- but where are they now though? Take Afghanistan at the moment, Western lives are being lost in order to help the people from vile violent controlling tribes - but we all know that when the West pulls out Afghanistan will revert to its old tribal ways and atrocities. His comparisons of North/South America and North/South Korea and East/West Germany were very valid points - some are your so called Socialistic/Communism countries - really helped their own populations didn't they! North Korea of course cant even feed its own population, although some of you will blame the Wests blockade for that! India/Pakistan have nuclear weapon systems and yet their people are one of the poorest on this planet, even a 6 year old child can see that's wrong

I don't know the answer, but one sure thing is that there is a common thread running and is consistent about the East and its failures to modernise and it cant all be blamed on the West. I use the term "modernise" in the sense of improving their populations welfare.

Last Modified By collywobles at 6 May 2013 - 9:27 AM
thewilliam
6 May 2013 - 9:57 AM

The relay baton of technological advancement and civilisation tends to be passed from one people to the the next every 200-500 years. China was the most advanced country in the world when the British were painted with woad. Britannia ruled the waves for little more than a century.

Jared Diamond gives a plausible explanation for the lack of advancement in Africa in his book "Guns, Germs and Steel". Well worth a read!

One basic problem, throughout history, is that a leader's ego tend to expand along with his (and it usually is his) power base. Such people get to believe their own propaganda and rarely form a dynasty. One exception seems to be" King" Jung Un of DRPK, the third of a dynasty that's been very successful, although the welfare of the population doesn't seem to figure anywhere on the list of priorities.

gcarth
gcarth e2 Member 102289 forum postsgcarth vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
6 May 2013 - 10:14 AM

Well, you seem to agree with the arguments of Niall Ferguson, Colin. Now I'm sure I can agree with elements of what you and Niall Ferguson say, but not of course with the overall thrust.
I simply feel that Ferguson is wrong to base his argument on the questionable premise that colonization is good for economic growth of the world's economy as a whole.
In principle, I think that the spread of ideas across the world has to be a good thing (unless it is a Friedman type Free Market Economics which mainly benefits the host country at the expense of those countries it exploits).
I certainly wouldn't defend the many abhorrent and Medieval practises and beliefs of much of the East - but then I don't see that much difference between them and us! Sad
Ferguson and his 'Free Market' supporters seem to me to wrongly assume that it is O.K. and necessary for a dominant nation to invade other nations and impose their ideas and culture forcibly on that conquered nation.
I don't see why in a civilized world, we shouldn't be able to influence (and be influenced by) other nations in a climate of peace. Obviously I'm being Utopian, but I strongly feel that is the direction in which we have to aim.
Of course, I can see there is plenty to debate about here...Smile

Quote: One basic problem, throughout history, is that a leader's ego tend to expand along with his (and it usually is his) power base. Such people get to believe their own propaganda and rarely form a dynasty. One exception seems to be" King" Jung Un of DRPK, the third of a dynasty that's been very successful, although the welfare of the population doesn't seem to figure anywhere on the list of priorities.

Very True WinkSad

gcarth
gcarth e2 Member 102289 forum postsgcarth vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
6 May 2013 - 10:29 AM


Quote: Take Afghanistan at the moment, Western lives are being lost in order to help the people from vile violent controlling tribes - but we all know that when the West pulls out Afghanistan will revert to its old tribal ways and atrocities.

I think the invasion of Afghanistan has made things worse. I don't think for a moment, we invaded Afghanistan "to help the people from vile violent controlling tribes" - we invaded Afghanistan for strategic reasons and for someone to blame for 9/11.
I don't think any nation has any right to invade another nation on spurious 'humanitarian grounds' - violence just breeds more violence.

Quote: I don't know the answer, but one sure thing is that there is a common thread running and is consistent about the East and its failures to modernise and it cant all be blamed on the West.

Well, yes - that has to be conceded - however, I think that we in the West have often impeded the progress of other nations in the East and elsewhere.
Obviously this debate could go on for ever!Wink

collywobles
6 May 2013 - 4:18 PM


Quote: Ferguson and his 'Free Market' supporters seem to me to wrongly assume that it is O.K. and necessary for a dominant nation to invade other nations and impose their ideas and culture forcibly on that conquered nation.

He did not say or imply this at all. He demonstrated that the West has moved on where the East hasn't (broadly, there are a few minor exceptions) and there must be an underlying rationale for that. It would be interesting to know how much money the world has donated over time to, for example to Africa, and measure that against how much good it has actually done to the ordinary population rather than being spent on Swiss Bank a/c's, expensive cars, tartan armies (apologies to my Scottish friends) etc.., I think we would be shocked, but this is the culture. It cant be that difficult with all the money that has been made available for them to provide clean water, industry, health care etc. for their own people, but they don't.... where we in the have..

As for Afghanistan, you are correct, the west (US & UK mainly) went into Afghanistan due to 9/11, but it was the culture in Afghanistan/Pakistan that led to the mind set of those that did that terrible deed. The fact that we (the west) also prevented more women and girls being beheaded (in public) for adultery and allowing young girls to go to school is a great by-product of the wests involvement so I have no regrets at all.


Quote: violence just breeds more violence

I agree with you here, but even a pacifist would agree that sometimes you just have to punch someone on the nose!

gcarth
gcarth e2 Member 102289 forum postsgcarth vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
6 May 2013 - 4:58 PM


Quote: He did not say or imply this at all.

I thought he suggested that the East had ceased to build empires and that was why the West had forged ahead - maybe I'd better listen to his broadcast again...

Quote: I agree with you here, but even a pacifist would agree that sometimes you just have to punch someone on the nose!

I'm not sure it's right, but I agree with you! Wink

Quote: The fact that we (the west) also prevented more women and girls being beheaded (in public) for adultery and allowing young girls to go to school is a great by-product of the wests involvement so I have no regrets at all.

What worries me is I have the impression that there are many mad warlords over there, just as bad as the Taliban - so on balance, I'm not at all sure that you're right on that. Mind you I'm not 100% sure if I'm right on this particular issue either...Wink

thewilliam
6 May 2013 - 6:34 PM

I seem to remember that Japan tried to build an empire in the 1930s. It went very well for them until they picked a fight with Uncle Sam.

One problem with aid payments is that the administrators seem to assume that the money will be distributed with some degree of honesty. Afghanistan was listed as the most corrupt country on earth. One friend who'sout there in the forces told me about their police pay system, where the police chiefs have a habit of paying their officers something like a quarter of the wages that they're entitled to. Unless infrastructure projects are needed by the military, the materials just evaporate. They're playing the western powers for suckers! Vietnam was little different.

StrayCat
StrayCat e2 Member 1014795 forum postsStrayCat vcard Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
6 May 2013 - 7:04 PM


Quote: One problem with aid payments is that the administrators seem to assume that the money will be distributed with some degree of honesty. Afghanistan was listed as the most corrupt country on earth. One friend who's out there in the forces told me about their police pay system, where the police chiefs have a habit of paying their officers something like a quarter of the wages that they're entitled to. Unless infrastructure projects are needed by the military, the materials just evaporate. They're playing the western powers for suckers! Vietnam was little different.

That's one good reason that those countries lag so far behind the rest of the world, internal corruption; there is nothing I despise more. I remember my the first flight I did to Mexico; it was a charter out of western Canada to Puerto Vallarta. We picked up the passengers in Windsor, Ontario, and before we got under way, we were given a list of names with the amount of cash each was to be given in Mexico, or we would have major delays leaving there. The total amount was something over $1700.00 USD, which they gave us. There were about 20 names on the list, which was acquired from the US Embassy in Mexico. About half of those on the list were sitting in a bare room with a desk and a single open light bulb hanging from the ceiling, and a big fat Mexican behind the desk. We just had to give him the money, nothing to sign, and leave. Not what we were accustomed to. I wonder how much the people who did the actual work were paid? All handling charges were extra.

That's not to say greasing the palm doesn't happen everywhere, because it does, but those countries take it to a new level, much like it was in the colonies.

Last Modified By StrayCat at 6 May 2013 - 7:06 PM
StrayCat
StrayCat e2 Member 1014795 forum postsStrayCat vcard Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
7 May 2013 - 2:11 AM

What I found interesting in Niall's talk is his emphasis on land ownership. Many republics that fell to rebels have gone through extremely unstable times with land being taken from the rightful owners and given to friends and relatives of the overthrowing junta. Instability in that respect will send investment elsewhere, for a long time. Take a look at Cuba; I'm sure many of you have been there on holiday and thought it was grand. I've been there many times myself, and it was only in the last few years that I flew to Cuba that the ramp workers weren't wearing military uniforms, including the cleaners. Having been there so many times I recognised the people working the flight as the same, only without the uniform. A good friend of mine was exiled from her homeland, Argentina, for being a political activist, and she spent 4 years in Cuba living with a typical family. She said there's one thing most Cubans have in common, that seems to give them a sort of common bond, and that's the fact most of them have nothing, but she said they're happy, they all get together on Thursday nights and have a big party. However, think about it, such a beautiful country, with so much to offer, and who would invest in it? An investor could lose everything overnight, it's too risky. I think Niall's reasoning is right on the money.

mikehit
mikehit  56450 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
7 May 2013 - 8:43 AM


Quote: but it was the culture in Afghanistan/Pakistan that led to the mind set of those that did that terrible deed.

Bin Laden is Saudi, as are most of the Al Qaeda hierarchy yet Saudi Arabia remains untouched by US sanctions - and as for the 'benefits' of liberation....don't get me started when it comes to Saudi Arabia.
The Taliban themselves had no real interest in things outside its own borders and the only thing they did to incur the wrath of the US was to take Bin Laden's much-needed money and allow him to stay in the country. Yes they were ideological cousins but Taliban had no impetus in pushing its agenda outside to foreign soil.

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