Curiosity Over Pride (FYI: To comment, send an e-mail to

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Well worth reading

Fascinating Hypothesis by Dani Rodrik I came across on Mankiw's blog

I highly recommend it


Thai said...

For comments

Rachael said...

Complex systems, like Capitalism, always have internal contradictions, not that the aforesaid contradictions are internal as such. I think Globalization has clearly always had as part of its agenda the destruction of national sovereignty and democracy.

Rachael said...

have always had...

Rachael said...

Rachael is Edwardo, BTW.

Dr John said...

Could not the exact same argument be made on some levels about the federal govt. and states rights/responsibilities? Remove Greece and the EU and substitute it with California and the Federal Govt. This is all about the same problem. Larger and more powerful central govt.Ugh.

Thai said...

John, yes.

Thai said...

The idea that "you can have any two but not all three" is rather obvious upon consideration but I have not thought of it in terms of a classic Three body (or N-body) problem (which is really a restating of a conservation law from a different perspective)

It explains so much of the acrimony we see/read in the newspapers and blogs around this stuff.

We have those who talk about a sinister evil group of globalist corporations intent on destroying the individual liberties of people; I find this line of thinking quite bizarre.

We have those who are quite anti-immigrant; I find this rather bizarre.

Even take Edwardo/Rachaels's comment: "Globalization has clearly always had as part of its agenda the destruction of national sovereignty and democracy".

From my perspective, this is absolute "nonsense".

But if I think about it from Edwardo's- he is correct.

For I do have to admit that there are certain sovereignty issues I am willing to concede in order to Globalize as I intuitively understand they are incompatible with globalization.

And while I certainly don't think doing this is "anti-democratic", I do understand that if the issues I'm willing to compromise on (e.g. minimize) are important to someone else, and further that my view is carrying the day and theirs is loosing, then to them (Edwardo), it appears that Democracy is loosing as well.

So to someone like Edwardo (and I may be mis-speaking for him here), it seems that tying the hand of certain sovereign abilities is an affront to democracy and therefore globalization in his eyes is anti-democratic.

And while I can't really disagree with him on this, my only response is to fall back to his original comment: "Complex systems, like Capitalism, always have internal contradictions".

Why choosing the loss of some sovereign freedoms (especially in regards to things like the welfare state) is the particular inconsistency he wants to get upset over is beyond me?

Which then gets back to the issue of aspect and morality.

Since he clearly comes into this discussion with a moral matrix slightly (and importantly) different than my own, this is offensive to him.

But since I have more Libertarian tendencies (Edwardo is not a Libertarian), I see what is happening as a good thing.

Both are valid ways to build the proverbial bread box but the choices made for one are incompatible with the choices of another.

Thai said...

The "you can have two but not all three" paradox would explain why America is having an easier time with Globalization than other countries in the world. And why the concept of government itself is most in question during globalization.

Being a nation with a smaller welfare state than others European nations, and further a nation with a stronger sense of individual responsibility than collective acceptance, globalization's suppression of some forms of sovereignty in a democratic system would be a much bigger problem for Europeans and Americans with European mindsets.

I'd say the systems globalization is dismantling were simply propping up freeloaders anyway so: "good riddance, let them get a job" (and we'll find other ways to help the truly needy as we redesign things) but I do see how others would find this view so offensive.

It implies we have a very difficult issue as a collective since this becomes one of morality

Dr John said...

That' the problem with collectives. We cannot really be expected to share the same "morality" when it comes to things like me working to take care of you and you thinking I am an immoral SOB for telling you to go f... yourself and get a job. It's easy to be "moral" on the backs of someone else.

Thai said...


Of course the problem is we are a collective even if we do not want to be.

Whether we have none, a small or a large army, we are a collective on this point. We can try having lots of separate armies, but even this has issues.

Or even if we have no government yet still have some kind of common rules we all agree to, still the fact that we have common rules means we are a collective if only on these rules.

Or we can have no rules at all, yet even this still has its problem.

The concept of collective is more an issue of perspective than an actual distinction.

Dr John said...

I agree Thai we are a collective but we need not force collectivization on every level of human existence. As I know you agree it just does not work. I am a libertarian not an anarchist. I am also a big fan of Thomas Hobbs. You really should have voted for Bob Barr.

Thai said...

Perhaps I should but I hate to think of throwing my vote away any more than I currently throw it away in Maryland where there is never ant question who is going to win the election.

As for levels of communal-ism

We agree

But when I'm poking fun at myself for promoting individual responsibility (which I constantly do) I do need to remind myself that even when it comes to (say) collective monies, when an individual purchase index funds, he/she is really are betting on the collective over the individual.

And I have index funds

Dr John said...

I have lots of Index Funds too. In fact almost all my money is in index funds. I read a book

He outlines statistically how index funds perform over time as well or better than any "active" money manager and outlines the usury costs associated with active money managing and why this is to be avoided. I have done well with the approach he outlines.

I guess unless you pull all your money and farm while living off the grid you are part of the cooperative regardless of your personal opinion about it.

Dr John said...

By the way a vote based on ones beliefs is never "wasted".

Thai said...

I'm sure your right and there are some things I really do beleive in strongly

But the list keeps getting smaller

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits

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