What all the developed countries have in common - Page 9 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

"It's the economy, stupid!"

Moderator: PoFo Economics & Capitalism Mods

Forum rules: No one line posts please.
#15106610
wat0n wrote:
To enrich the British (and specifically the British) and the local elites they were aligned with at their opponents' expense. As importantly, it doesn't seem to have had any clear effect on development itself - it would depend a lot on those local elites if there would be any positive effects for their societies at large. A classic case of how the quality of elites (who are the ones who have the greater means to shape institutions and concrete policies) matters for the collective good.



(This is a version of the 'White Man's Burden' argument.)



As a poet of imperialism, Kipling urges the American reader and listener to take up the enterprise of empire, yet warns about the personal costs faced, endured, and paid in building an empire;[1] nonetheless, American imperialists understood the phrase The white man's burden to justify imperial conquest as a mission-of-civilisation that is ideologically related to the continental-expansion philosophy of Manifest Destiny of the early 19th century.[2][3][4][5]

The title, the subject, and the themes of "The White Man's Burden" provoke accusations of advocacy of the Eurocentric racism inherent to the idea that, by way of industrialisation, the Western world delivers civilisation to the non-white peoples of the world.[6][7][8]



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Man%27s_Burden
#15106612
ckaihatsu wrote:(This is a version of the 'White Man's Burden' argument.)


No, it's not :eh:

Outcomes depended on the local elites themselves, some of which were as bad as the colonial power while others which were quite competent and were able to prove themselves during the existence of the colony and even more so after decolonization.
#15106616
wat0n wrote:
To enrich the British (and specifically the British) and the local elites they were aligned with at their opponents' expense. As importantly, it doesn't seem to have had any clear effect on development itself - it would depend a lot on those local elites if there would be any positive effects for their societies at large. A classic case of how the quality of elites (who are the ones who have the greater means to shape institutions and concrete policies) matters for the collective good.



ckaihatsu wrote:
(This is a version of the 'White Man's Burden' argument.)



wat0n wrote:
No, it's not :eh:



Yes, it is.


wat0n wrote:
Outcomes depended on the local elites themselves, some of which were as bad as the colonial power while others which were quite competent and were able to prove themselves during the existence of the colony and even more so after decolonization.



You're just calling for a *marketing campaign* aimed at smaller-scale / local power brokers, to support the aims of the *nationalist* power brokers / elites, supposedly to 'shape institutions and concrete policies', though you're far from clear on what those institutions and policies are *for*, politically.
#15106617
ckaihatsu wrote:Yes, it is.

You're just calling for a *marketing campaign* aimed at smaller-scale / local power brokers, to support the aims of the *nationalist* power brokers / elites, supposedly to 'shape institutions and concrete policies', though you're far from clear on what those institutions and policies are *for*, politically.


How is a description of the past political advocacy? The only thing I said is that local elites would often cooperate with the British. This was of course done to advance their own interests - but sometimes, their interests would be aligned with establishing pro-growth institutions. Politically, their goal was of course for them to maintain their relative power within the colony, believing they would be better off being in good terms with the British than letting hostile local competition displace them. Why else do you think there was a substantial degree of collaboration between the local elites and the colonial power?
#15106622
wat0n wrote:
How is a description of the past political advocacy? The only thing I said is that local elites would often cooperate with the British. This was of course done to advance their own interests - but sometimes, their interests would be aligned with establishing pro-growth institutions. Politically, their goal was of course for them to maintain their relative power within the colony, believing they would be better off being in good terms with the British than letting hostile local competition displace them. Why else do you think there was a substantial degree of collaboration between the local elites and the colonial power?



Yeah, you're empirically describing the comprador bourgeoisie:



A comprador or compradore (English: /kɒmprəˈdɔːr/) is a "person who acts as an agent for foreign organizations engaged in investment, trade, or economic or political exploitation".[1] A comprador is a native manager for a European business house in East and South East Asia, and, by extension, social groups that play broadly similar roles in other parts of the world.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprador
#15106625
wat0n wrote:
@ckaihatsu not just bourgeoisie but nobility too.



I *guess*, but I *doubt* it, because there's nothing economically *progressive* about the aristocracy / nobility, since they made their wealth and social position by exploiting serfs *directly*, under feudalism, and not through the use of (foreign) finance capital.
#15106635
ckaihatsu wrote:I *guess*, but I *doubt* it, because there's nothing economically *progressive* about the aristocracy / nobility, since they made their wealth and social position by exploiting serfs *directly*, under feudalism, and not through the use of (foreign) finance capital.


Right, my point was more about the compradors. Of course among the elites I mentioned, there were nobles - and indeed it's entirely possible they were less likely to support pro-growth institutions at the time.
#15106638
wat0n wrote:
Right, my point was more about the compradors. Of course among the elites I mentioned, there were nobles - and indeed it's entirely possible they were less likely to support pro-growth institutions at the time.



I guess I'm having a hard time accepting that nobility types would be receiving *finance* capital from Western concerns, because that would then make them comprador bourgeoisie by *definition*.

Can you historically *contextualize* this at all?
#15106639
ckaihatsu wrote:I guess I'm having a hard time accepting that nobility types would be receiving *finance* capital from Western concerns, because that would then make them comprador bourgeoisie by *definition*.

Can you historically *contextualize* this at all?


Think about how the British colonized in general - they would often show up, and make deals with friendly locals to be able to establish a presence and gradually gain power. Were those locals always bourgeoisie? No, not really. Would they allow British-style capitalism to develop? Well, sometimes they would, sometimes they would not.
#15106641
wat0n wrote:@Pants-of-dog it's not about cherry picking though. There are also developed countries with no history of colonization abroad (e.g. Ireland, Singapore, South Korea) so it seems that the real issue has to do with policies rather than colonization.

There's lots of countries that were never colonized by European powers etc. that have low economic development, like Ethiopia, Thailand, China (on a per capita basis) etc.

Countries like Oman, Brunei etc were colonized by European powers but have GDP per capita higher than countries like the UK, Spain , New Zealand, Italy, etc. Prior colonization doesn't guarantee a poor economic development, nor does never having been colonized guarantee better development. Anyone who makes either argument is wrong and are making broad over-generalizations.

There's lots of reasons why the economy of a country sucks. North Korea and South Korea were never colonized by European powers. Clearly their governments have had completely opposite policy paths that has greatly influenced their contrasting developments. S. Korea has also had the benefit of US military protection, but there's other countries under US influence that haven't done very well, so as I said, reasons for development are complex and various.
#15106642
wat0n wrote:Think about how the British colonized in general - they would often show up, and make deals with friendly locals to be able to establish a presence and gradually gain power. Were those locals always bourgeoisie? No, not really. Would they allow British-style capitalism to develop? Well, sometimes they would, sometimes they would not.


The British Empire wasn't nice, but there were other European colonial powers that were meaner.
#15106644
wat0n wrote:
Think about how the British colonized in general - they would often show up, and make deals with friendly locals to be able to establish a presence and gradually gain power. Were those locals always bourgeoisie? No, not really. Would they allow British-style capitalism to develop? Well, sometimes they would, sometimes they would not.



Yup -- this is basically what I was thinking of, that *transitional* period between feudalism and capitalist colonialism.
#15106645
Unthinking Majority wrote:
There's lots of countries that were never colonized by European powers etc. that have low economic development, like Ethiopia, Thailand, China (on a per capita basis) etc.

Countries like Oman, Brunei etc were colonized by European powers but have GDP per capita higher than countries like the UK, Spain , New Zealand, Italy, etc. Prior colonization doesn't guarantee a poor economic development, nor does never having been colonized guarantee better development. Anyone who makes either argument is wrong and are making broad over-generalizations.

There's lots of reasons why the economy of a country sucks. North Korea and South Korea were never colonized by European powers. Clearly their governments have had completely opposite policy paths that has greatly influenced their contrasting developments. S. Korea has also had the benefit of US military protection, but there's other countries under US influence that haven't done very well, so as I said, reasons for development are complex and various.



---


Unthinking Majority wrote:
Prior colonization doesn't guarantee a poor economic development,



Why do you think the term 'Global South' exists -- ?

It's because so many countries that were *colonized* are in the *south* of the globe, while the Western colonizing / imperialist countries are in the *northern* hemisphere. Duh!

And 'Global South', of course, is synonymous with 'relatively impoverished', compared to the advanced Western imperialist countries that *colonized* them.

Korea was *partitioned* by the U.S. during the Korean War, as part of the global *Cold War* between the two superpowers. North Korea is a buffer state for China, and South Korea is Americanized.

Only a *few* countries were never-colonized -- basically the ones you listed, plus Haiti, Afghanistan, Russia, and Vietnam.
#15106676
ckaihatsu wrote:Why do you think the term 'Global South' exists -- ?

It's because so many countries that were *colonized* are in the *south* of the globe, while the Western colonizing / imperialist countries are in the *northern* hemisphere. Duh!

And 'Global South', of course, is synonymous with 'relatively impoverished', compared to the advanced Western imperialist countries that *colonized* them.

Korea was *partitioned* by the U.S. during the Korean War, as part of the global *Cold War* between the two superpowers. North Korea is a buffer state for China, and South Korea is Americanized.

Only a *few* countries were never-colonized -- basically the ones you listed, plus Haiti, Afghanistan, Russia, and Vietnam.

My point is correct though. Even though colonization typically has been damaging to economic development, it doesn't guarantee poor economic development. I'm not in support of colonialism, far from it, i'm just stating a fact. My point is that there are different variables involved in a country's economic development, and colonial past is one of the reasons, and often a significant one.

Also, Vietnam was colonized by France.
#15106707
Pants-of-dog wrote:Even if colonising countries did not invest their newfound wealth in ways that would promote economic development, there was still a wealth transfer that impoverished the colonised nation. And the colonising nation would, at worst, keep the same amount of wealth. And if they invested wisely, they would develop more depending on how wisely they invested.


They invested the same share from Atlantic trade income as from other kinds of income (or at least that's the assumption). That doesn't mean they invested too less or unwisely, it just means that income from Atlantic trade was small compared to other forms of income. Hence the term "newfound wealth" is wrong or misleading at best.
#15106716
ckaihatsu wrote:Korea was *partitioned* by the U.S. during the Korean War, as part of the global *Cold War* between the two superpowers. North Korea is a buffer state for China, and South Korea is Americanized.


That's not a case of American or European colonialism though, if so then China would also count as a former European colony (due to the European intervention in its internal affairs during the Opium Wars) and so would Afghanistan (which was turned into a protectorate by the British in the 19th century). Still, the Koreas were in fact colonized in the strict sense of the term, but by Japan. I don't understand why there's this artificial distinction between European and non-European colonialism that some leftists love so much to draw.

ckaihatsu wrote:Only a *few* countries were never-colonized -- basically the ones you listed, plus Haiti, Afghanistan, Russia, and Vietnam.


Besides the point about Vietnam, Haiti was a former French colony - and one that was a rather brutal example of how they could manage their colonies :eh:

So I guess only Russia would count as never colonized in that list - yet it arguably was (and is) also another European power. I would also count Iran/Persia as another example of a country that was not colonized, although it was left with a rather rough deal as a result of its conflicts with Russia. I also think Afghanistan would probably count as a non-colony, since it was never properly annexed or directly ruled by the British. Ditto for China.
#15106732
Unthinking Majority wrote:
My point is correct though. Even though colonization typically has been damaging to economic development, it doesn't guarantee poor economic development. I'm not in support of colonialism, far from it, i'm just stating a fact. My point is that there are different variables involved in a country's economic development, and colonial past is one of the reasons, and often a significant one.



Okay, fair enough -- no objection here.


Unthinking Majority wrote:
Also, Vietnam was colonized by France.



Yup. Forgot.


wat0n wrote:
That's not a case of American or European colonialism though, if so then China would also count as a former European colony (due to the European intervention in its internal affairs during the Opium Wars) and so would Afghanistan (which was turned into a protectorate by the British in the 19th century). Still, the Koreas were in fact colonized in the strict sense of the term, but by Japan. I don't understand why there's this artificial distinction between European and non-European colonialism that some leftists love so much to draw.



Yes, you're correct. Thanks for the clarification.


wat0n wrote:
Besides the point about Vietnam, Haiti was a former French colony - and one that was a rather brutal example of how they could manage their colonies :eh:



I was immediately thinking of the respective *rebellions* / revolutions in each, which stand out as being far more significant -- in *my* mind, anyway -- than the initial colonization of each.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_revolution

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War


wat0n wrote:
So I guess only Russia would count as never colonized in that list - yet it arguably was (and is) also another European power. I would also count Iran/Persia as another example of a country that was not colonized, although it was left with a rather rough deal as a result of its conflicts with Russia. I also think Afghanistan would probably count as a non-colony, since it was never properly annexed or directly ruled by the British. Ditto for China.



Yeah, I mentioned Afghanistan.

Regarding Iran:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iran ... 7%C3%A9tat
#15106759

States across Europe in the 18th century provided a host of sinecures—well paid appointments involving no real duties—which allowed hangers-on at the courts and in governments to live in luxurious idleness. Smith’s doctrine was an onslaught on them. It was also an onslaught on landowners who lived off rents without investing in agriculture. It was a demand that the developing market system was freed from the burdens that were holding it back. It was a programme for reform in Britain and one that could easily be interpreted as for revolution in Europe.

Smith further argued against any attempts by the state to control trade or conquer other lands. Left to themselves, people would always exchange the goods produced by their own labour for a selection of the best and cheapest goods produced by other people’s labour, he said. Everyone would concentrate on the tasks they were best at, seeking to perform them as efficiently as possible, and no one would have an interest in producing things not wanted by others. The market would coordinate people’s activities in the best possible way.

Attempts by governments to favour their own producers could only lead to people expending more labour than was necessary. Such controls might benefit certain interest groups, but Smith insisted they would reduce the ‘national wealth’. Free trade was the only rational way to proceed.

In a similar way, he argued for the virtues of ‘free’ labour. Slavery might seem an easy way of making profits. But because it prevented the slaves applying their own initiative to their labour, it was more costly in the long run than free labour. ‘A person who can acquire no property can have no other interest but to eat as much and labour as little as possible,’ Smith argued.65

He was extolling the virtues of a pure market system against the feudal and absolutist institutions out of which it was emerging. As Eric Roll explains, his writings ‘represented the interests of a single class… He could have been under no illusion that his main attack was directed against the privileged position of those who were the most formidable obstacles to the further growth of industrial capitalism’.66

Smith’s account of the new system was one sided. British capitalism had not leapfrogged over the rest of Europe simply by peaceful market competition. Slavery had provided some capital. The colonies had provided markets. State expenditures had been high throughout the century and had provided encouragement without which new, profitable and competitive industries would not have emerged. The crutches of colonisation, of slavery and of mercantilism had been necessary for the rise of industrial capitalism, even if it was beginning to feel it no longer needed them.

Countries without a state able to provide such crutches suffered. This was certainly the case with Ireland, whose native capitalists suffered as Westminster parliaments placed restrictions on their trade. It was increasingly true of India, as the officials of the British East India Company pillaged Bengal without providing anything in return. Once British capitalism had established a dominant position, capitalist classes elsewhere would need state support if infant industries were not to be strangled at birth.

Writing when industrial capitalism was in its infancy, Adam Smith could not see that pure market systems display an irrationality of their own. The drive of producers to compete with one another leads, not to an automatic adjustment of output to demand, but to massive upsurges in production (‘booms’) followed by massive drops (‘slumps’) as producers fear they cannot sell products profitably. It was to be another 45 years before Smith’s most important successor, David Ricardo, added a chapter to his Principles of Political Economy recognising that the introduction of machinery could worsen the conditions of workers. For Smith to have done this would have been to jump ahead of his time. However, those who want to present Smith’s writings as the final word on capitalism today do not have the same excuse.

Finally, there was a contradiction in Smith’s argument about labour and value which had important implications. Like almost all Enlightenment thinkers, Smith assumed that people with unequal amounts of property are equal in so far as they confront each other in the market. But some of his arguments began to challenge this and to question the degree to which ‘free’ labour is that much more free than slave labour.

Smith’s assertion that labour is the source of all value led him to the conclusion that rent and profit are labour taken from the immediate producer by the landlord or factory owner.

As soon as land becomes private property, the landlord demands a share of almost all the produce which the labourer can either raise or collect from it. His rent makes the first deduction from the produce of the labour which is employed upon land… The produce of almost all other labour is subject to the like deduction of profit. In almost all arts and manufactures the greater part of the workmen stand in need of a master to advance them the materials of their work, and their wages and maintenance until it be completed. He shares in the produce of their labour…and this share consists his profit.67

There is not harmony of interest, but a clash between the interests of the masters and the interests of the workers:

The interests of the two parties are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much as possible, the masters to give as little as possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower the wages of labour. It is not difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute and force the other into compliance with their terms. The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorises or at least does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen… In all disputes, the master can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer or merchant…could normally live a year or two on the stocks they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week.68

The logic of Smith’s argument was to move beyond a critique of the unproductive hangovers from ‘feudalism’, made from the point of view of the industrial capitalists, to a critique of the capitalists themselves—to see them as unproductive parasites, living off profits which come from the labour of workers. It was a logic transmitted, via the writings of Ricardo (who attacked the landowners from the point of view of industrial capitalism), to the first socialist economists of the 1820s and 1830s and to Karl Marx. The weapons which the greatest political economist of the Enlightenment used to fight the old order were then used to fight the new one.

Smith shied away from drawing such conclusions. He was able to do so by mixing his notion that value came from labour with another contrary notion. In this, he said the value of a commodity depended on the combined ‘revenues’ from it of landlord, capitalist and worker. Despite the circularity of the argument (revenues depend on value, but value is the sum of the revenues), this was the idea which was to be taken up by Malthus and the great populariser Jean Baptiste Say and to become the orthodoxy in mainstream economics after the death of Ricardo.

Nevertheless, Smith was the first to portray the central outlines of the new economic system which was emerging. It was a picture which gave British capitalists some idea of where they were going, and the would-be capitalists of other countries some notion of what to copy. It was published just as a century and a quarter of relative social peace was giving way to a new era of revolutionary upheaval. Its ideas were to shape the attitudes of many of the key actors in the new era.



Harman, _People's History of the World_, pp. 259-262
  • 1
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

We live in an era of fake news. My facts are you[…]

Blast in Beirut, Lebanon

Yeah, it was always going to be fake. But it was q[…]

@Crantag , Did you see my reply? If yes, then I[…]

AFAIK, international trade is a problem for all ec[…]