Sanding our assholes with 150 grit.

Here's why America has been so out of synch with the world

I am referring to why it's so darwinian in comparison to other countries.

Wish that I could recall who came up with this thesis back in the 1980s, but memory fails me. It was probably some economist.

Now bear in mind that he said this more than 20 years ago and things have changed in Europe since then due to the huge influx of moslems.

Basically, this unkown fellow said that the main reason for such dramatic attitudinal differences regarding social programs and safety nets between Europeans and Americans lies in the fact that the former are all related.

Think about it.

If you go back sufficient generations, you discover that all Germans are related to other Germans. Same applies to the French, Belgians, Czechs, English, etc. They have a sense of family.

Conversely, this being the land of immigrants it's next to impossible to feel a desire to share with neighbors from strange lands.

If I were living in a country comprised exclusively of "my stock", I'd be happy to pay a little extra in taxes so that everyone had access to health care and old people weren't homeless.

But here in the USA I just don't give a shit anymore about my fellow man. Why should I? He doesn't give a shit about me. (BTW, I have lived for extended periods in the USA, Canada, and Europe.)

Sadly, I think that the attitudes in Europe and Canada, due to massive immigration from peoples no longer interested in assimilating, are deteriorating into a US-like condition of "devil take the hindmost".

And that my friends, sucks the Big One.
Permalink Great Expectorations 
March 17th, 2005
I wonder what popping your posts into Google would turn up. Considering the dreck that is the majority of your pseudo-anonymous posts, I suspect that you steal all of this sort of thing from blogs and paste it here.

I think I'll check that out.
Permalink muppet 
March 17th, 2005
You are obsessed with me.

Jellus much?
Permalink Great Expectorations 
March 17th, 2005
Hmmm. I'm Canadian and I don't give a shit about my fellow man. I guess I better start thinking about a move south of the border, eh?
Permalink Crazy Old Guy 
March 17th, 2005
Like I said, Canada is turning its back on the principles of civilized society as well.
Permalink Great Expectorations 
March 17th, 2005
Evidently got no idea of the history of Europe.

The population of France was made up of around 35% immigrants (mainly Italian, Spanish and Portuguese) before immigration from North Africa started.

There was much more immigration into (and emigration from) the UK before the Asians started coming in the sixties and seventies until afterwards. If you go back to the very beginning of the 20th century you will find the newspapers full of claims that the East End of London was full of foreigners who didn't speak English and caused unspeakable crimes. Then they were Jews who spoke Ukrainian and now they are Moslems who speak Bengali and there have been other nationalities inbetween, but the complaints are the same (indeed this was near the area where they had riots against the Huguenots who spoke French in the 18th century).
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 17th, 2005
Stephan Jones:
I think you're missing the guy's point. His point is simple: America has a far more heterogeneous population than any country on the planet. And the more heterogeneous the population, the less kindness felt for yer kinfolk. That's it. This does not require an in depth analysis of migration patterns of peoples in the UK. Why do you always have to spout useless fact after useless fact in your posts? The history of Europe is irrelevant. The only relevant fact is the present heterogeneity of the given populations.
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 17th, 2005
> > Basically, this unkown fellow said that the main reason for such dramatic attitudinal differences regarding social programs and safety nets between Europeans and Americans lies in the fact that the former are all related.

> His point is simple: America has a far more heterogeneous population than any country on the planet.

Isn't Canada as heterogenous as (or more so than) the States, but with social programs like Europe's?
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 17th, 2005
Yup. We're so hetero that we even allow same sex marriages.
Permalink Crazy Old Guy 
March 17th, 2005
Consider that new Americans explicitly give up any ties to their former countries by taking their citizenship oath. America was called the Great Melting Pot. Immigrants were expected to "become American". Anybody taking a cursory look could be excused for thinking America had one culture, and forgiven for thinking it was spelled "kultchure".

Part of being Canadian is accepting that people come from all over the world. Somehow, by and large, most of the time, we all live together and accept our differences. One advantage is that here in Calgary there's at least one restaurant serving food from just about any ethnic culture, and almost all of them are really good.

There's a famous joke. CBC host Peter Gzowski was asked what nationality his name was. He said "It's a Canadian name". Hurray for him for making that point.
Permalink Calgarian 
March 17th, 2005
And now that I think of it, Canada has been accepting far more immigrants as a percentage of population than any other country in the world. I'd suspect Canada is a far more diverse "ethnic" country.
Permalink Calgarian 
March 17th, 2005
I don't think its hetrogynity as such, but the fact that many of the sub groups can grow large enough, in the US, to effectivly isolate themselves from the "main" culture.

European countries are, in general, pretty small, which means people are more likely to be exposed to the sub groups. This decreases the sense of "otherness". If you cut social security in an avrage sized european country, its likely that almost everypone will personally know someone who is affected.

In the US, you can move in to a white middle class suburb, and basicly live out your entire life without having to be exposed to anything but white middle class people. But, you will still share your taxes with the rest of the country.

(Consider how for example, New Yorkers (who are exposed to the sub groups within their community to a larger extent than most in the US) relate to this issue.)

Secondly, I think the US political culture encourages decisions based upon whats "right" as opposed to what works. I'm certainly not suggesting the all european countries work flawlessly. But in many of them, people have observed that having strong social safty nets reduces crime and healthcare expences in the long run. And so we act accordingly.
I mean, its not really right that my hard earned money goes to support some dude who cant find a job or what ever, but empiricly we know that if we dont, crime rates will go up and it will end up costing more.
So in essence we are paying for people not to commit crimes, and I can certainly understand why this seems wrong. But it works.
Permalink Eric Debois 
March 17th, 2005
People always ask me where I'm from, and I refuse to answer anything but "Brooklyn" or "New York City." I never really understood the importance of where my parents or my parent's parents came from.

Grammarians in the audience probably hate me right now.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 17th, 2005
Too bad Canada is becoming so balkanized. Ever travel through the neighborhoods of Vancouver populated by Chinese or East Indians? They live in their own hermetically sealed little worlds.

I had an office in a building owned by a friend many years ago. As soon as the building was purchased by chinese all of the white support staff were shit-canned and replaced by other chinese who barely spoke English.
Permalink  
March 17th, 2005
---" Why do you always have to spout useless fact after useless fact in your posts? "----

I can imagine facts inconveniencing you. You certainly don't seem to have any use for them as far as coming to a conclusion goes.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 17th, 2005
"Too bad Canada is becoming so balkanized. Ever travel through the neighborhoods of Vancouver populated by Chinese or East Indians? They live in their own hermetically sealed little worlds."

Not every Chinese are like that.

Besides, even caucasian went to Chinese and East Indians center? Why? Stuff are cheapers.

You know, people are cheap...
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 17th, 2005
"I can imagine facts inconveniencing you. You certainly don't seem to have any use for them as far as coming to a conclusion goes."

Why do I smell a rabid misandrist feminist behind that male alias?
Permalink  
March 17th, 2005
"People always ask me where I'm from, and I refuse to answer anything but "Brooklyn" or "New York City." I never really understood the importance of where my parents or my parent's parents came from."

They are trying to peg you as a furrener.
Permalink  
March 17th, 2005
Men could be feminists, you know.

TROLL.
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 17th, 2005
One of the historical reasons for certain socialist measures in the UK was the feeling that the troops and ordinary people whould be compensated for what they had done in the war. The same tning happened in the States, and one result for example was the GI bill. Health care in the UK was taken over by the State through nationalization (in most of the rest of Europe the insurance model holds place). In the US the same problem was dealt with by the Unions getting health care and other benefits from the employer. I suspect the split in competencies between the individual states and the federal administration made the corporate subsidized model more attractive in the States.

People also tend to forget that there is massive resdistribution of wealth between the rich parts of the States and the poorer parts. The sums involve dwarf the amounts redistributed by the European Social Fund.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 17th, 2005
>> "I can imagine facts inconveniencing you. You certainly don't seem to have any use for them as far as coming to a conclusion goes."

Stephan, another useless fact. What facts mean to me has absolutely nothing remotely to do with the topic. Please look up ad hominem attacks.

And I did not come to a conclusion. I stated nothing whatsoever about whether I agreed with the "unknown fellow's" theory. I simply pointed out that the history lesson you presented have nothing to do with anything on this thread, and I asked why you so often load your posts with useless information. Is it that you are deliberately trying to obfuscate, or do really not get that how many Moslems who speak Bengali in the UK has nothing to do with the thread?
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 17th, 2005
---"Why do I smell a rabid misandrist feminist behind that male alias?"----

Because your intuition is as fucked up as your logic?
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 17th, 2005
----"Basically, this unkown fellow said that the main reason for such dramatic attitudinal differences regarding social programs and safety nets between Europeans and Americans lies in the fact that the former are all related.

Think about it.

If you go back sufficient generations, you discover that all Germans are related to other Germans. Same applies to the French, Belgians, Czechs, English, etc. They have a sense of family."----

Are you seriously telling me that this has nothing to do with immigration?

The guy is saying that European attitudes towards social programs are caused by the fact they are all related and that this may have changed because of "the huge influx of moslems."

I point out that there was more immigration before 1980 than since and that his argument simply doesn't fit the facts and you tell me what I am saying has nothing to do with the thread.

I don't know what you think the thread is about, but you don't seem to have got your idea from reading what's actually said.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 17th, 2005
Stephen Jones = cubicclegirl
Permalink Great Expectorations 
March 17th, 2005
Godless Visigoth,

The facts steven brings up are not useless. OP theory is that US is more darwinian because people in US are less related to each other.

Steven said that even in Europe there are so many immigrants that people in the same countries are that related.

My 2 cents.
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 17th, 2005
Stephen Jones whined: I point out that there was more immigration before 1980 than since and that his argument simply doesn't fit the facts and you tell me what I am saying has nothing to do with the thread.



Listen up, the social program and safety net I am referring to were introduced in the last century. Mostly after ww2.
Permalink Great Expectorations 
March 17th, 2005
Mr tang,

Good point.

However, my point still stands. Please reread my point about people being far more agreeable to lend a helping hand to members of their ethnic group. Hence my specific examples of Germans being open to helping other Germans. Ditto for the French, Czechs, Belgians.

I do agree that racial or ethnic minorities in most countries have been mistreated.

Exhibit A: Jews
Permalink Great Expectorations 
March 17th, 2005
>> "The facts Steven brings up are not useless. OP theory is that US is more Darwinian because people in US are less related to each other.

"Steven said that even in Europe there are so many immigrants that people in the same countries are that related."

No history is relevant to the theory. None whatsoever. The theory is speaking of US and Europe as they stand today, therefore only today's ethnic mixes matter.

Furthermore, if Stephan had bothered with relevant facts instead of his useless historical anecdotes, he would have noticed that the US is far more diverse than the UK.

http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ca.html
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 17th, 2005
> Too bad Canada is becoming so balkanized. Ever travel through the neighborhoods of Vancouver populated by Chinese or East Indians? They live in their own hermetically sealed little worlds.

Perhaps it's a language thing; not to mention shopping.

There are many Eastern Europeans in my current neighbourhod in Toronto. Before that, I lived in little India; and before that, in Little Italy; so it's not so hermetic.

My current Tai Chi teacher, he spoke virtually no English this tme last year ... and, not too surprisingly, he was usually with other Chinese people: who translated for him. His English is improving rapidly though, especially compared with my non-existent Chinese.

As for whether Canada is "*becoming*" balkanized ... have you forgotten about la Francophonie already? Or have you never heard of it? In either case, ...

When I visited Vancouver, I was pleased to see that you still have maples over there ... only yours are *Japanese* maples; and you still have bilingual Yellow Pages ... only yours are English/Chinese.
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 17th, 2005
I never denied that the US was more diverse than the UK, merely that the safety nets introdcued after World War II were not introduced into ethnically homogenous societies, where everyone was related.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 17th, 2005
Stephen (or whatever her real name is) said: I never denied that the US was more diverse than the UK, merely that the safety nets introdcued after World War II were not introduced into ethnically homogenous societies, where everyone was related.


Earth to you. Nobody here has claimed that.
Permalink  
March 17th, 2005
Actually I often disagree with Stephen's POVs.

But I think this time the theory is not good.

My alternative theory is the 'American dream' -- every Americans through hard work could achieve their goals. So if the government takes away your hard-earn money it is destroying your chance to achieve you dreams.

Of course, the crucial ingredients are education and health care.

And IMO, abortion issue is the main issue that divides America.
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 17th, 2005
Incidentally the CIA factbook figures for ethnic make-up for the UK are useless. It classifies as "English" people of Cypriot, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, Spanish and Middle-European origin, but classifies those from the West Indies or Pakistan separately, whilst the Irish in Northern Ireland are classified as Ulster and those on the mainland are classified as Irish (a minority) or English (the majority).

I think Rick and Eric are much nearer the mark than the OP on this. British and European newspapers have been carrying articles almost daily for the last fifty odd years about 'immigrants' sponging off social benefits.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 17th, 2005
>> "Incidentally the CIA factbook figures for ethnic make-up for the UK are useless."

Well, you know, thank God for you. I'm sure all the PhD actuaries and demographers at the CIA will be phoning you shortly to help them clean up their act.

BTW, this is off the topic of this thread, but you just can't seem to grasp this "rationality" stuff. On another thread you criticized Harvard's Summers for putting forward anecdotes as intellectual argument. By noting the differences between his son and daughter, he was simply putting forth a data point which contradicts the womyn's studies theory that society imposes gender identity and that it's not inborn. It's not anecdotal. All you need is one freakin' data point to call a theory into question - and that's what he did. It's called the scientific method. Look into it. It's been all the rage for the better part of a millennium. In that speech, he specifically challenges the scientific community to do the peer review. But I guess, according to your hippie buddies in the X-studies departments, science is just a arbitrarily constructed tool of the oppressive white man to keep minorities an womyn down, right?

Deconstruct this!
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 17th, 2005
"Actually I often disagree with Stephen's POVs"

My observation tells me that you are incapable of forming a coherent thought therefore your stance towards Stephen's comments are of no value as far as I am concerned.
Permalink Dan Denman 
March 17th, 2005
There may be some merit in the idea that because the USA is a manufactured nation of many immigrant groups and that a great many of those immigrant groups retain their identification in some romantic way (look at St Patrick's Day yesterday for example which is much more important in the US than it is in Ireland, even the Taosieach was there), but that the actual country is polically run and dominated by one group, which is the anglo-dutch group of original settlers, and it is this which separates it from the rest of the world.

I think, rather, though is is the small townism of the general american view, the parochialism. This might be affected by cultural group, that people tend to move around less but I'm really not sure about that.

There is a physical separateness from the rest of the world geographically which has a much greater influence than the ethnic origins of its populations. Americans, (forgive all the generalisation), instinctively feel that the world is 'out there' and really a separate planet to where they live. The dominance of their culture (as they see it), proves the correctness of their culture even though its the parochial view tends to confirm them in their prejudices.

Again, this is not all Americans and it is probably a small percentage of Americans that come here and its not an attitude which is just American, there are places in the UK which are just as parochial and just as out of sync, albeit in different ways, as small town America.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 18th, 2005
To say that the socially supportive aspects of european culture are based on some sort of clannish 'big-family' self interest are pure rubbish. Precisely the opposite is true. That culture arises from the European struggle against hereditary elitism and the on-going process of supporting and assimilating the down-trodden and dispossessed. Yes you can argue that Europeans did a lot of the down-treading, but we all learn and grow up.
Permalink WoodenTongue 
March 18th, 2005
Seems to me that a few people here don't actually read the posts they are criticising properly, judging by the number of different ways Stephen's name has been spelled.
Permalink WoodenTongue 
March 18th, 2005
Simon Lucy,
A fur clad barbarian in classical times might be called parochial if he were not aware of Roman culture. It is beyond ridiculous to suggest, however, that a Roman citizen might be called parochial because he was unaware of the barbarian culture and the latest trends in raccoon cuisine and tent dwelling. The idea that Americans are parochial because we're not aware of some crappy, insignificant place like Luxemburg is actually quite laughable. It is incumbent on you to pay attention to us, just like it was incumbent on the rest of the world to pay attention to London during your imperial era.

"If I'd lived in Roman times, I'd have lived in Rome. Where else? Today America is the Roman Empire and New York is Rome itself." --John Lennon
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 18th, 2005
I think you've proved my point.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 18th, 2005
>> "I think you've proved my point."

Honestly, Simon? You actually believe then, that, in the global scheme of things, Luxemburg, Belize and Burundi are just as culturally significant as the US? Hmmm....

I often hear old Europeans who are so impressed with themselves because they travel "internationally" and most parochial Americans don't even have a passport. They fail to mention that their countries are smaller than our states, and that, since Europe changes its borders more often that they change their underwear, many Europeans travel internationally by sitting in their parlors. I'd have to drive three days to get to Mexico, but Europeans can't take a Sunday afternoon drive without bumping into some other country, thus qualifying themselves as world-wise international sojourners.

I'm glad my ancestors got off that continent when they did!
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 18th, 2005
Do you honestly believe that the Roman empire was more significant (whether culturally or otherwise) than the Chinese?

I'd guess that anyone (including the Roman Emperor himself) who imagines that they're at the center of the entire world is therefore parochial.
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 18th, 2005
Why is everyone so ANGRY in this board these days? Seriously, chill the fuck out! Any conversation about "this is better, no that is better" or "people are nicer where I'm from" are always going to be turned into flame wars. Stephan uses like 3 facts in his first post in this forum and gets totally bombarded, wtf? Chill. Take a vacation.
Permalink Jared M. 
March 18th, 2005
I said nothing about cultural significance, the OP is why is America so out of sync, I simply suggested that it was the small town view, the parochial view, and that that was engendered more because of the geographical isolation from most of the world (Canada is a significant country but you'd be hard pressed to find an American citizen willing to accept that that hadn't already emigrated), than because of any population make up.

Rattling on about Luxembourg rather proved the point is all I suggested, further waving of the arms in the air isn't going to diminish that.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 18th, 2005
"Why is everyone so ANGRY in this board these days?"

Everyone? Call me paranoid but I think some of these names are used by the same person.
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 18th, 2005
>> "I simply suggested that it was the small town view, the parochial view [...]"

And I simply said that it's ridiculous to use the word parochial to describe the US. Lookit. I live in crappy little Pittsburgh. It's fair for a New Yorker to call me parochial if I ignore the trends in the Big Apple. It would be utterly absurd for me to suggest that an urbane New Yorker is parochial because he doesn't know what's going on in Pittsburgh, USA, or Cincinnati, or Podunk. Sorry, but the US is the center of the universe right now. Get over it.

It should be noted, however, that in a few short decades, China will be the center of the universe because instead of the US and Europe increasing our solidarity and building on our shared Western heritage, Froggy Chirac is pushing his notion that a united Europe will serve as a counterbalance to the United States. It, no doubt, tickles China pink that we're fight amongst ourselves. Viva la France!
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 18th, 2005
"parochial"

I learn more English here everyday!

"Do you honestly believe that the Roman empire was more significant (whether culturally or otherwise) than the Chinese?"

I only know that many Chinese used to believe their Empire more significant than everyone else.

Until we got smacked in the 19th and early 20th century.

The only (sort of) major blow to US is the Vietnam War. Not sure what influnce it has on Americans.

Back to the beginning. Are American really more darwinian?
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 18th, 2005
I've always said that New York is probably the most parochial place in the world. The reason, as Simon and Christopher have said, is that it is so culturally important that it can pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist.

If you live in Mumbai, or Melbourne, or Madrid or Manchester you will no doubt overestimate the importance of your own city, but you won't think it's the only one on earth, as you may well do if you live in Manhattan.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 18th, 2005
>> "[...] you won't think it's the only one on earth, as you may well do if you live in Manhattan."

I suppose our debate is primarily semantic because I agree with this remark. My objection is to the use of the word "parochial" to describe such a place as NYC. 'Parochial' is synonymous with 'provincial'. You just can't be provincial if you're from the big city and *not* from the provinces.
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 18th, 2005
The point is everybody lives in a province because there isn't a centre.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 18th, 2005
> 'Parochial' is synonymous with 'provincial'.

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=parochial says ...

"confined or restricted as if within the borders of a parish : limited in range or scope (as to a narrow area or region) : PROVINCIAL, NARROW"

... where in this case it means "provincial" in the sense of "a person of local or restricted interests or outlook".
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 18th, 2005
>> "The point is everybody lives in a province because there isn't a centre."

Well then, I guess our disagreement is more than semantic because the US *is* the center for the time being. And while I'm unaware of any empirical data, I'm sure one can find some to support the assertion that the US has exported more popular culture than anyone else during the last forty years. We've certainly been the biggest economic powerhouse. We're certainly the strongest militarily. How else would you define 'center'? Why else would Jacques "Froggy" Chirac need a united Europe to serve as a counterbalance to the United States if we weren't the center?
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 18th, 2005
" the US *is* the center for the time being"

If history repeats, it would not last forever.
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 18th, 2005
>> "' the US *is* the center for the time being'
If history repeats, it would not last forever."

Rick, I don't think English is your first language... The phrase "for the time being" has the connotation of "for now, but may not be in the future". So I fully acknowledge that we may not always be the center. In fact, in an earlier post, I predicted that China would be the center in a few short decades.
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 18th, 2005
I understand.

Just want Americans to be less arrogant.

Especially Christians. Chosen Nation? Nonsense.
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 18th, 2005
>> "Just want Americans to be less arrogant.
Especially Christians. Chosen Nation? Nonsense."

I'm an agnostic. I don't believe that America is *chosen* by any mystical deities living in the sky. And I don't think it's arrogant to acknowledge that the US happens to be the center of the universe at this given point in time. It's a simple matter of engineering. The founding fathers of this country simply happened to engineer a really good country. A really efficient country. A design devoid of the utopian aspirations of nonsensical socialism or communism - but with the down and dirty understanding that if the individual is held above the state, then the individual will aspire to more than drinking a liquid lunch every day consisting of a fifth of vodka as Russian workers did in the 80s Soviet Union.
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 18th, 2005
These maps are fun:
http://130.166.124.2/nypage1.html

It's apparent that despite the wide diversity of ethnic sources in Manhattan, they haven't mixed much.
Permalink trollop 
March 18th, 2005
I think that to say America became great because of some intrinsic advantage given it by the founding fathers is utter balderdash.

America got wealthy because of an abundance of space and natural resources. It's like a bunch of settlers found themselves in El Dorado, and they made maximum use of the gold they found there. Given the starting point, it would have taken a nation of idiots before America could have failed to become wealthy and powerful.

Today the dynamics are changing, and I think America is living beyond its means. Everyone aspires to an expensive lifestyle, but they believe this can be achieved by charging everyone else lots of money for services, without actually creating wealth by adding value to raw materials.

We now have "Intellectual Property" as a modern form of created wealth, but too much so-called IP is merely clever legal words with no substance, for which people are made to pay by means of government sanctioned extortion. It's a hollow shell that will not hold up forever.

Since less and less wealth is actually being created, it becomes necessary to buy cheaper and cheaper imports to make up for the loss. I believe the writing is on the wall today and the USA is on the verge of economic decline.
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 19th, 2005
>> "America got wealthy because of an abundance of space and natural resources."

I don't even know how to respond to this retarded comment. I mean it's so remarkably, unbelievably stupid. South America and Africa are by far much, much more abundant in space and natural resources than America and Europe combined. How does your amazing freakin' theory explain the poverty on these continents, Ian? Why can't you frickin' think about what you say before you spew forth nonsense? Aauurrgh!!!
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 19th, 2005
As far as I recall, the generally held theory as to why Africa and others never caught on to industrialism when Europe, US and Japan did is the climate.

Given how people made a living in those countries there never was an urgent need or great benefit to do stuff like build large houses or get involved in specialised trading. So there never was the large scale farms and estates which made stuff like feudal systems of government pretty useless and so on.

Cold and famine and stuff motivated Europeans to get started on the whole modern civilisation thing, which led to wars, which led to more industry and so on.

I'm sure its more complicated than I'm making it sound, but thats roughly what they taught us in highschool.

The only reason central Africa isnt a virtual paradise where people lounge about herd goats and eat lots of health fruits and nuts and stuff is the exponentially increasing population. 2000 years ago it was probably a pretty sweet place to hang out.
Permalink Eric Debois 
March 19th, 2005
I stand by what I said. It's a bit more complicated than the simple way I put it for reasons that Eric referred to, and the pioneering nature and historical background of the first white settlers in North America had a lot to do with it. But truly, how could the USA ever have failed? Once expanding borders and self-determination were in place, the rest was like water flowing down a hill.
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 19th, 2005
America was the fastest moving frontier during the Industrial Revolution. New world and all that. Fairly easy pickings as the indigines died off from disease and despair.

Jared Diamond asserts that the European was always well positioned to take control of the vast proportion of the planet by dint of the shape of the Eurasian continent and a few other factors, none of which are racial:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0393317552/002-5899539-0607247

Problem is, now the frontier has wrapped the planet, where next? Looks like the squeeze is on the rest of Eurasia.
Permalink trollop 
March 20th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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