05 July 2011

Comparing Peoples--References

      International policy-makers, particularly economic ones, often consider the Earth's inhabitants as peas in a pod.  All the same, interchangeable units, that one can plug into an equation any old how--the average Kurd, as well as the average Japanese, can be represented as variable "x."

This blog disagrees.

Policy equations reckoned in such a way tend to come out cock-eyed, yet no one ever seems to try fiddling with variable "x."  By our calculations, says Important Washington Think Tank, Anglo-style liberal democracy should be flourishing in Russia, and Ethiopians should be exporting luxury cars as fast as their factories can spit them out.

And twenty, thirty, fifty, a hundred years after all the 'right conditions' have been put into place, when the people in question is still as authoritarian or as poverty-stricken as ever, Think Tank-ers refuse to change the one variable that counts more than any other.

Variable "x."

So let's take one of their very favorite tools, statistics, to find out why Think Tank-ers just might want to have another think coming.

  • One could consider how the pride of Northern Europe, Anglo-style liberal democracy, is faring around the world (in some places decades after it's been put in place).

  • [One could also consider those same details by region.]

  • [Or to take a look at corruption levels by region, too,...  just to see if there are any patterns.  Crazier things have happened.]

  • Or at self-reported levels of happiness.  Is it possible that the residents of Oman, lacking both liberal democracy and a luxury car industry, could claim to be happier than the residents of Germany, who have both?  To ponder.

  • For the truly adventurous Think Tank-er with time on his hands, he could even visit the endlessly fascinating World Values Survey online database, where he can find out how the average South Korean, Jordanian and Ghanian respond to a whole bevy of questions.  Such as 'Which is most important to you, maintaining order in the nation, protecting freedom of speech, or fighting rising prices?' and 'How important is it that religious authorities dictate the law?'

He might be surprised at the answers.

He may even conclude that different peoples have different ideas on what a State should look like, and that no matter what we think an Economy should look like, we may not all have the ability (or even the desire, heaven forbid) to put it into place.

Which might lead to said Think Tank-er jumping right out the window in suicidal despair.

Or it could lead to something improbable but dazzling to contemplate:  Foreign policy--including foreign economic policy (that means you IMF and Eurozone)--based not on egalitarian fantasy, but on nature's most cruel and marvelous legacy, Human Biodiversity.

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