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<nettime> RE: Networking Nation-States..well written but wrong.
Tyler Durden on Thu, 29 Jan 2004 12:57:48 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> RE: Networking Nation-States..well written but wrong.


>Without civil
>society, importing the procedures, rituals and even institutions of
>democracy results only in instituting one more set of spoils for families
>and groups to fight over at the expense of the rest of society.  Democratic
>mechanisms no more create civil society than wet streets cause rain.
>Similarly, the market economy is more than the absence of socialism or
>strong government; it is the economic expression of a strong civil society,
>just as substantive (rather than formulaic) democracy is the political
>expression of a civil society and civic state. Entrepreneurship in business
>uses and requires the same talents and often the same motives that go into
>starting a church, a nonprofit organization or a political party. The
>society that can create entrepreneurial businesses tends to be able to
>create the other forms of organizations as well. Often, the same
>individuals start several of each form at different stages in their 
>lives...
>The market economy also requires a civil society with general acceptance of
>a common framework of laws, practices and manners. Without a general
>acceptance of fair dealing, an agreement on what fair dealing means, and an
>adjudication system that can resolve and enforce resolution of disputes, a
>true market economy cannot exist-as developments in the post-Soviet sphere
>indicate."

Nicely written prose, but simply wrong. The existence of China as a
freewheeling capitalist superpower but yet with little civil "democracy"
per se pretty much proves that this widely-held myth is wrong. And I don't
see any inherent reason to believe this will change.

And even on the economic side, deals in China follow closely upon the
power of relationships. If you are well-connected you have a much better
chance of your business succeeding than if you are not. Indeed, if you are
not well connected then you run the chance of eventually running afoul of
whatever laws exist out there and your operation could be greatly
curtailed. If you are well-connected than almost no law can stand in your
way. And China won't be the only society that follows this pattern.
Vietnam will go a similar route as well perhaps other nations in SE Asia.
Perhaps North Korea will eventually follow this model.

And you know what? It works, and there looks like there's no inherent
reason to believe it somehow has to be more egalitarian or more fair. In
the end our beliefs about democracy and free markets have much more to do
with Western history and social development than any divine law of the
universe.

The moral of this story is that having a "free market" (whatever that
means)  is not the same thing as having political freedom. You have to
continue to fight for both. Those that tell you that capitalism equals
freedom are probably the same ones that will launch a war in Iraq for the
grand cause of Halliburton and Bechtel, touting this set of nice lies so
that the locals will lay down and take it up the ass, all in the name of
"democracy".  Fortunately, people are getting wise. Anyone know the
current body count of US soldiers in Iraq?

-TD


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