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[P]
A new form of state: A state without form

By JohnJacob in Op-Ed
Fri May 10, 2002 at 12:26:06 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

A very large number of wars have their fronts along ethnic or religious lines. From Kashmir to Iraq to Indonesia to Ethiopia, a lot of these wars are wars for self-determination for a particular ethnic group.

So, while certain parts of the world are uniting in spite of their ethnic differences, like in Europe, other parts of the world are fighting because of their ethnic differences. This is particular bad in the former colonial states, where ethnic groups were simply lumped together. The states created by these amalgamations are often instable, and usually break out into civil war at some point. Look at the history of civil wars in Africa for example.

I would like to propose here a new form of statehood, one that gives independence to all the ethnic group, without splitting up the world into hundreds of thousands of mini-states which cannot support themselves.


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The proposed solution

Rather than granting every ethnic group a state of its own, the state should change to a union of ethnic groups. Take Afghanistan for example. Rather than having a central government controlling all the resources of the country, and catering to the wishes of the majority, there should be a government for every individual group, which can then vote in a council to implement decisions that affect all of them. Decisions that affect only a particular group should be taken by each group individually.

This system seems familiar, doesn't it? Well, that is one of the ideas behind a federal government system, like is implemented in Germany, the United States and Nigeria, for example. The problem with the federal government system is that there is too much power at federal government level, and that if the largest ethnic group were to decide to form a voting bloc, none of the other ethnic groups could get any measure passed.

So I suggest that the concept of state be eroded till it is hardly existent. What should remain should be unions of ethnic groups, or interest groups, that wish to represent themselves under one authority. These groups can vote every 10 years to join any other union, and the members of the union can then vote to accept this new member.

The union does not have an army; each union member should have an army/police force if it wishes. Every member of the union signs a contract to protect every other member from attack, and should there dissent within the union, the union votes to remove the offending member, then mobilizes against that member.

The European Union is on the correct path towards the idea I represent here. However, the groups in that particular union are simply the old city-states, with a central recommendation panel, and not really a union.

Africa as an example

Africa was worst hit by the colonisation drives of the Europeans, in part because it has the largest number of different ethnic groups, and because the countries were arbitrarily demarcated, often with razor sharp lines. Clashes between ethnic groups are common in Africa, and many civil wars for independence have plagued this continent.

If the countries were converted to unions, for example the "Union of Ghana", each ethnic group would be in control of its economy, its resources, and its security. The ethnic groups could then decide if they at all want to be a part of Ghana, where a certain ethnic group has a significant majority. Often, they will not go off to form their own country, because there is little economic inviability in an ethnic group of 600 000 people forming a country. Also, because each ethnic group is independent from the other, and determines its own future, tensions will drop significantly. Staying in the union will mean that there are no borders between the ethnic group, and there is a common currency and police force. So there will be impetus for staying in unions.

At the same time, there will always be conflicts between minority groups and majority groups. Traditionally this would result in one ethnic group picking up arms, and rebelling, provoking destruction of property and loss of life. In the case where the ethnic groups are part of a union, and not part of a country as currently existent, the ethnic group simply votes to leave the union, and closes its borders to the belligerent group.

When the warring groups become independent from one another, and shut down contact between the group members, violence between the two rivals will drop. This means that there is much more of a chance that there will be a political dialogue, and not mutual armed aggression. Also, when the rivals discover how difficult it is living apart (no more trade, no more loans, a new currency), there will be a move towards peace. Many rebel leaders often do not appreciate how difficult it is to run a country.

Take the lower coast of West Africa for another example. This region has a great many ethnic groups which are stuck in the one country or the other. Often, ethnic groups are more interlinked with groups from other countries, like the Hausa in Northern Nigeria and Niger.

If these groups had a choice, they could vote to combine together, leading to a homogenous (implying conflict free) union in the middle north of Africa. Of course, the unions will not, and should not encourage ethnic homogeneity. So, the Fulani, which are nomads that live together with the Hausa, would find it advantageous to join the Hausa union. For the Hausa union,  it would be advantageous if they could get the southern coastal tribes (which are usually have small populations) to join their union, because that is where the oil is. So there will be a move to make the Hausa union economically advantageous to all other groups in the area, and there will be a sustained impetus to keep it attractive, seeing as the oil rich areas can vote to leave the union at any time.

So, in effect, what happens is a free market competition for the various groups, where it doesn't matter what their size is, but only how rich they are. Somewhat like the European union, where countries have to meet certain economic criteria to join in, certain groups can form unions, where a certain economic ability is necessary to join in. This way, there will be impetus to improve the economical situations in many of the African countries.

Aggression and Empire Building

Every once in a while, somebody thinks he has thought up the perfect form of governance. There will come some point, where the idea of having a huge empire will be back en vogue, and some country will attempt to conquer union states, and subjugate them, perhaps to take over control of their resources.

Well this is actually a good thing. Think of it as the Kuwait-Iraq problem. Kuwait is small and weak. Iraq is big and strong. Kuwait has oil, Iraq wants oil. Why can Iraq not simply take over Kuwait? Because Kuwait has a partnership with the United States.

Two people could find an oil field in their backyard, and decide to declare a group, and vote to leave whatever union they are living in. But to be able to stay independent, they will need to join some other union (like with the U.S.), which can defend them. And when they do that, their entry conditions will probably stipulate that they give up a part of the oil they have to the United States (which has a large population). So that oil they drilled will be spread more evenly among the worlds population, and not be confined to the two people.

Without Form

With these fluid unions, there can unions that are spread all over the world. They do not have to be geographical neighbours. That way, groups that are comfortable with one another interact with one another, and those that are not do not have to do so. The result will be a more stable world, with less conflict, and more power to the people.

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Poll
Should ethnic groups group themselves in unions?
o Yes, it would work better than the current systems 7%
o Yes, but only for some countries 10%
o No, it would cause conflict 33%
o No, it won't work 38%
o I don't know 9%

Votes: 77
Results | Other Polls

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o Also by JohnJacob


Display: Sort:
A new form of state: A state without form | 139 comments (92 topical, 47 editorial, 0 hidden)
Public goods (4.00 / 1) (#2)
by Paul Johnson on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:38:38 AM EST

So what about public goods? Thats economist-speak for stuff that people want, but which cannot conveniently be parcelled up and given in return for money. Examples include street lighting, roads, law and order, clean air and public health.

What happens if group A want cleaner air but group B is afraid that the necessary regulations will damage their industry? Similar issues apply to any other public good.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.

They will have to negotiate it out (none / 0) (#10)
by JohnJacob on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:01:43 PM EST

Just like every normal country would. If they are part of a union, then the union probably would vote to either ban it or allow it. If they don't like it, they leave the union, or get voted out.

So there will be pressure to conform to union rules.

Soulshare! A file sharing app by K5 lusers.
[ Parent ]

So this "union" is a superstate? (none / 0) (#96)
by Paul Johnson on Thu May 09, 2002 at 05:30:16 AM EST

So is this "union" a sort of super-state? I can sort of see how that works. You have "national" governments where a "nation" is some identifiable group, and a "union" which is some kind of federation of these "nations" that has authority to legislate on matters that affect eveyone. Sort of like the EU, but without national borders or physical territory.

What about the right of people to "move" from one "nation" to another (excuse the quotes, but I want to make it plain I'm not using these words in the normal sense). Physical countries have various rules about who can be a member, based either on birth (e.g. Germany, Israel), location when born (e.g. USA, UK I think). How do you allocate new-borns to the right "nation", and how do you deal with people who want to move to another "nation"?

When I think about what will be left for these "nations" to decide after the "union" has legislated on things that affect everyone, it looks to me like about all that is left are taxes and social security: how redistributive do you want your "nation" to be? And what happens when someone who was rich and belonged to a low-tax "nation" finds he has falllen on hard times and wants to move to a high-tax "nation" in order to enjoy the relevant benefits? As far as I can see, any feasible answer has these "nations" looking very like finance companies who also happen to send delegates to the "union" legislature.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Cyprus, Germany, Israel, Belgium (none / 0) (#9)
by cem on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:56:30 AM EST

In Germany the federal state system works very well. The 16 states are very powerful and no new federal law will pass without the positive votes of these states. Police, culture and other policies are local issues. Defense, Foreign Affairs, etc are feral issues.

Cyprus would be a very good case for a federal system. Today it's practically divided into two states and there is a controversal dispute about the greek and turkish side.

In theory Israel could also be one. Consisting of the Jewish, Palestine and a neutral Jerusalem area. Like Begium with the Flamish, Dutch and its neutral capital Brussels.

I like the federal government system. It's very pragmatic especially in cultural or ethnic mixed areas. But it has to have a very outbalanced constitution and in general you have to have a two chamber system at the federal level.


Young Tarzan: I'll be the best ape ever!

This has a precedent (4.50 / 6) (#13)
by streetlawyer on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:12:39 PM EST

Well done; you've just invented the state of Yugoslavia.

Traditionally this would result in one ethnic group picking up arms, and rebelling, provoking destruction of property and loss of life. In the case where the ethnic groups are part of a union, and not part of a country as currently existent, the ethnic group simply votes to leave the union, and closes its borders to the belligerent group.

Two words; Bosnian Serbs.

Sorry, but your proposal will work just fine if everyone is rational and behaves according to their enlightened self-interest rather than out of ethnic suspicion and hatred. In other words, it won't work at all.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

Very different (none / 0) (#14)
by JohnJacob on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:17:57 PM EST

Yugoslavia had a central government, whereas, my proposal hardly have one.
I don't see the parallels - Yugoslavia was a normal multiethnic federal government.

Soulshare! A file sharing app by K5 lusers.
[ Parent ]

That is my point (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by streetlawyer on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:25:54 PM EST

Yugoslavia had a federal government for the period 1945-1989, during which period it was a peaceful, multiethnic state with few racial problems (it was also the least repressive of the Communist regimes and by all accounts rather nice).

It then split up, lost its federal government, reorganised itself into a bunch of loosely-affiliated ethnically based statelets (who then allied themselves with larger overseas powers -- Croatia with Germany, Serbia with the USSR and Bosnia with, among others, the Al Quaeda organisation). Then it descended into the hellhole which was the Balkans in the 1990s.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#21)
by JohnJacob on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:30:39 PM EST

Why exactly did they start fighting each other?

Soulshare! A file sharing app by K5 lusers.
[ Parent ]

1389 (none / 0) (#26)
by gibichung on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:40:00 PM EST

1389: The Islamic Ottoman Turks defeat the Christian Serbs in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

1453: The walls of Christian Constantinople fell to French cannon employed by the Ottomans.

Kosovo today is 90% Albanian, because the Albanians converted to Islam and were given favor in the Ottoman Empire. Ever since, the descendents of the Turks and of the people who converted to their religion have been hated by the Christians and vice versa.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

True to an extent (none / 0) (#33)
by aphrael on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:57:03 PM EST

but the hostility between the Croats and the Serbes was a ninteenth century invention.

[ Parent ]
Not necessarily so (none / 0) (#19)
by cem on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:27:34 PM EST

Not if you have a very outbalanced consitution and a good regulation to make federal laws (two chamber system). And of course if you actively support the federal system in your culture.

Yougoslavia fell apart after Tito's death. He was the garant of the union. That's a good example that a single person (leader) is not capable to just order a federal system. It would not last his legacy.

Makarios of Cyprus was also such a man.

Federalism is an idea, a concept, it is a culture you have to implement.


Young Tarzan: I'll be the best ape ever!
[ Parent ]

World getting weird (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by wiredog on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:59:54 PM EST

I have, in the past 6 moinths or so, cited Chris Hitchens in support of an argument, agreed with greenrd, valenko, and now streetlawyer. In addition to p_d_c and trhurler.

What next? A plague of frogs and rivers of blood?

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Could be worse (none / 0) (#71)
by KilljoyAZ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 05:14:50 PM EST

At least medham isn't on the list yet. Unless the rumors are true and medham is streetlawyer.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
My god, I agree with him. Someone shoot me. -nt (none / 0) (#80)
by Kasreyn on Wed May 08, 2002 at 10:16:33 PM EST

nt
"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
The solution lies in changing identity (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by Torgos Pizza on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:20:51 PM EST

The solution to ethnic problems is to change the way people think about their identity. By changing their perception and priority of their ethnic identity to that of their national identity, creates a stable nation with a unified government.

The United States is the example to follow in this respect. While I might be proud of being Texan and my Scottish heritage, I know that I'm an American above all else. This one trait seems to show itself whenever any national tragedy occurs. We drop the pretense of self-importance and bind together as a group despite our differences. Not that it didn't take a lot to get where we are. The US still has problems with race and ethnicity, but the importance has always been placed on being an American first.

If the African states could shift the importance of tribal identity to that of national identity, it would go a long way towards making peace in the region. If they want to have any hope for survival in the future, they will have to make the change to placing national identity first as a people.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

Aha! (none / 0) (#18)
by JohnJacob on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:27:23 PM EST

There is a difference between choosing where you want to be, and being forced to be there. I suggest, giving everybody choice, after which they can concentrate on a national identity.

At the moment it doesn't work because people are put together who don't want to be together. How are they supposed to concentrate on national identity.

And this isn't an African problem. Africans have mostly solved this problem - look at a map of wars currently running on the continent. Not very many civil wars anymore.

Soulshare! A file sharing app by K5 lusers.
[ Parent ]

Jews and Arabs? (none / 0) (#22)
by cem on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:31:43 PM EST

Do you think Jews and Arabs (living in Israel) would, could, should change their thinking about their identities? ... No chance.


Young Tarzan: I'll be the best ape ever!
[ Parent ]
Why not? (none / 0) (#75)
by delmoi on Wed May 08, 2002 at 07:22:50 PM EST

The 'situation' there is only like 60 years old or something. It hasn't really been that way 'forever'.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Only in America (2.50 / 2) (#23)
by jabber on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:38:02 PM EST

But the American sense of identity will only work in America, because with the exception of the few remaining Indians (no, Native Americans is a bullshit term) from the various tribes and nations that are indiginous to North America, everyone else here does not have a millenia-old claim to the land.

You can't tell the Serbs and Croats to 'just get along'.. The Serbs lived in this valley for hundreds of years, and the Croats always came and stole their cattle, and vice versa.. They have heritage and history on certain pieces of land, and will NOT simply let the sons of the enemies of their fathers (and so on a dozen generations back) move in next door.

This is what Americans, and many Europeans can not understand.. France and Germany, and even Poland, have had a national identity for centuries.. But the south eastern European area has only had an ethnic identity because the borders floated to fast and so often.

Why is there so much anti-Semitism in Europe? Because the Jews there have no claim to the land, really.. Why is there less of it in the US? Because NO ONE in the US has much claim to the land.

When an American farmer loses his land, it's an economical tragedy. When a European farmer loses his, it is the end of identity for his family in many cases. Talk to a French or Italian wine maker about his soil some time..

Americans, by the nature of their history and culture, are simply unable to grasp the significance of "This land is my land" without also adding "This land is your land".. It just doesn't work that way.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

That's why America is such a sucess story (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by Torgos Pizza on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:48:38 PM EST

Which is probably why the world is about to enter an age of Pax Americana whether others like it or not. Until others can set aside the past to move to the future, they will be mired in a vicious cycle of violence.

Some countries are understanding the meaning of the American Dream. Germany was able to reunite a divided country sucessfully with only a few minor bumps. They were greatly helped that the people felt that they were Germans and belong together.

You do have to be ever vigilant though. Canada has problems with the renegade province of Quebec and the UK is having issues with Scotland. Perhaps you're right jabber. Could the Great American Experiment only happen in the US and nowhere else?

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
[ Parent ]

German divided? (none / 0) (#31)
by linca on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:55:31 PM EST

I think Germany was not divided because the people were separated, but rather because their rulers disagreed. There was no hate between East and West Germans. I don't see the relevance of Germany in this discussion, really. It /is/ the weight of the past that made Germany reunite.

Also, the absence of link to the past does not only breed hate, it can also be a great help into such things as working together. Why do you think the US citizens are the most individualistic of the world? That does not necessarily make it a stronger country.

[ Parent ]

Although (none / 0) (#35)
by gibichung on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:59:37 PM EST

It does sound like he was talking about East/West Germany, he could very likely have been referring to 1870 or even the Anschluss.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
talking about the American Dream (none / 0) (#37)
by linca on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:01:41 PM EST

in the context of 1870 or the Anschluss would be, errr....nonsensical?

[ Parent ]
I fail to see (none / 0) (#40)
by gibichung on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:05:24 PM EST

How the East/West reunion had anything to do with the "American Dream," either. Torgos?

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
I'll give it a try (none / 0) (#48)
by Torgos Pizza on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:14:24 PM EST

I might be streching it a bit, but I'll give it a go. The American dream, as I define it, is that anybody can achieve whatever they want regardless of race, color, creed, religion or origin. The reunification of Germany could have gone two different ways. The first way is the way it has already gone. The second is that the West could have resented the economic situation of the East and could have resented most of the economic flow of cash to the East. Each side could have decided to keep their identity of West German or East German above that of just being German.

While not the best example, my intent was to show that Germany was able to reach into the national identity, in this case it was a past national identity, in order to forge a new modern one. Could the tribes of Africa do something similar? Having no past history of nation building they couldn't do what Germany had done and go back in the past to look for examples on how to become a single nation. But if Africa wants to rise above the cycles of tribal warfare, they need to start.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
[ Parent ]

strikes me that... (none / 0) (#50)
by linca on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:26:20 PM EST

The American attitude (everyone responsible for its fate, less taxes = more freedom), would seem to imply West Germany refusing to pay for the East Germany (Compare White America criticising the Black Welfare America ; I'm simplifying). Whereas what hapenned is that the West paied to bring the East to its level.

[ Parent ]
Sort of. (none / 0) (#66)
by aphrael on Wed May 08, 2002 at 04:44:16 PM EST

West Germany is *still* paying. And the east still isn't up to its level, at least in part because businesses that could move there would rather move to poland/CR/slovenia instead.

[ Parent ]
Scotland (none / 0) (#115)
by katie on Fri May 10, 2002 at 05:19:58 AM EST

The UK is not "having issues" with Scotland. Not in that sense anyway.

The Scots have an issue with "England", but when you talk to them most of them don't so much have an issue with England as with LONDON. And the rest of England has the same issue...

It's not that all the money gets spent on England, and nothing on Scotland and that the Scots get disenfranchised because of it. It's all the money gets spent on London, and the whole of the rest of the country gets disenfranchised by it.

It's like this whole taxing the roads thing. The government wants to tax roads to get people to use public transport. The M6 is a prime candidate.

The M6 is the way you get to London if you're in Glasgow. It's also the way you get from one end of the midlands to the other. So the Scots are unhappy about the sort of attitude where "the English" tax them, essentially for being Scottish.

In the Midlands, we're not too chuffed about the idea either.

Especially as all the public transport funding gets spent on the tube network or railway lines to get people from Surrey to the City. National football stadiums get built in London, millenium celebrations are held in London, rather than in the middle of the country... all the investment ends up in London.

I'll forgive them for feeling aggreieved that all the investment is happening 400 miles away and that's a long way. But the situation isn't any better if you're only 100 miles away...

At least the Scots might actually get to leave the union eventually. England's going to be stuck with it...


[ Parent ]

But you contradict yourself (none / 0) (#74)
by delmoi on Wed May 08, 2002 at 07:20:18 PM EST

But the American sense of identity will only work in America, because with the exception of the few remaining Indians (no, Native Americans is a bullshit term) from the various tribes and nations that are indiginous to North America, everyone else here does not have a millenia-old claim to the land.
...
This is what Americans, and many Europeans can not understand.. France and Germany, and even Poland, have had a national identity for centuries..

So are you saying then that there is no one in france, germany or poland with 'millenia-old' claim to the land? Or are you just stupid?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Read it again (none / 0) (#100)
by jabber on Thu May 09, 2002 at 02:26:37 PM EST

Just because 'many Europeans' (especially young Urbanites) don't understand something does not make that something untrue for the countries where they live. Just because 'many' don't understand something does not mean that 'no one in France, Germany or Poland' doesn't.

And really, I find it amusing that you'd rate my post 'trash', call me stupid and in the same post, fail to capitalize names of nations AND use hatori in your sig.. You're quite the academic, aren't you?

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Doomed to fail, especially in the US. (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by jabber on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:23:10 PM EST

So, how do you implement such a multi-dimensional matrix organization in the US? Do we have a White Council, a Black^H^H^H^H^HAfrican American Council, a Mulato Council, a Vietnam War-baby Black reformed Methodist formerly Lutheran Council?? A first generation immigrant from Eastern Europe council? A Feminist who is also an NRA member Council? What about a Vietnam War-baby Black feminist NRA member wife of a first generation Irish Immigrant pacifist who recently converted to Judaism council?

If you think that the government if bloated and ineffective now, just wait..

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

U.S unlikely to need such a system (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by JohnJacob on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:28:46 PM EST

In the U.S., there is no need for such a system. Given the choice, all U.S. groups will probably vote to remain part of the U.S. So it remains the union it is right now.

This is a solution for the places where this conflict exists.

Soulshare! A file sharing app by K5 lusers.
[ Parent ]

True enough (none / 0) (#25)
by jabber on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:39:38 PM EST

But then, where does a USian get off telling the rest of the world what political system it should adopt? It's not unlike a flea making suggestions to barnacles.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

yes and no ... (none / 0) (#32)
by aphrael on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:56:02 PM EST

the state structures in almost all of africa were imposed by the colonial powers when they picked up and left, and while they have evolved some since then, there have been no revolutionary changes except in places like somalia where the state has completely ceased to function, or in south africa. this is more along the lines of the industrialized world saying 'oops, we're sorry, we should have done *this* instead, why don't you try it?'

[ Parent ]
Is that right? (none / 0) (#57)
by winthrop on Wed May 08, 2002 at 03:04:55 PM EST

The New Afrika folks don't think so. Their ideas might seem far-fetched, but 15 years before Indian independence, so did the idea of a seperate Muslim nation within India. Incidentally, one of the original concepts of Pakistan was similar to your idea: Muslim Pakistan and Hindu Hindustan would be federated together into a single country, India.

[ Parent ]
If that site isn't a joke (none / 0) (#59)
by gibichung on Wed May 08, 2002 at 03:24:53 PM EST

creating a New Afrikan country of our own in the Deep South as free and at least as powerful as Canada.
Canada, you have a fan!

On a serious note, the region enclosed by that creepy little map is probably the most impoverished in the nation. Without federal subsidies, the excessive poverty would prevent the governments there from even maintaining their current infrastructure. The little chunk of my home state of Mississippi not included on their map pays 80% of the state's taxes, and even with South Mississippi, the state can't come close to paying for its own government. Without federal money, funding for even the most basic government services would be impossible. No roads, no schools, no police, etc.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

So Genocide is the answer! (none / 0) (#91)
by opendna on Thu May 09, 2002 at 04:26:18 AM EST

What? That's how the U.S. convinced all it's independent-minded ethnic groups to sit down and shut up.

There's a reason the Seminole live in the desert, you know...



[ Parent ]

You ignore the logistics of physical location (5.00 / 4) (#41)
by Elkor on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:08:20 PM EST

Group A is located smack in the center of Union A.
Group A decides it wants to join Union B.
Geographically it is surrounded by Union A, so is dependant upon Union A's good will whether it is a part of that Union or not.

Or, what if Group A just wants to seperate and become its own Union, C? What is to prevent Union A from entering Union C and subjugating it? In the case of the United States, this is exemplified by our Civil War. The South wanted to secede, the North didn't want it to. The North declared war on the South and conquered it.

Your proposed solution appears predicated on the assumption that someone will be willing to accept the group into their union and protect them.

Well, you have to look no further than a High School gym class to see that there are some people that nobody wants on their team, and if they are given the chance, will avoid or ignore them and let someone else beat them up.

What happens to them?

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
Nice dream.. (none / 0) (#52)
by Kwil on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:36:06 PM EST

..but it seems to forget the fact that we are inherently physical.

To be honest, I fail to see that you've actually suggested anything but new terminology for what we have now as the U.N. No matter what happens, we're still going to have physical neighbors that affect us, and we're still going to have to deal with the scarcity and transportation issues of physical resources. A lot of hand-waving about "Oh, I'm in the Dibbity Doo Union, so your representatives have to listen to mine" isn't going to change anything.

Remember, they're not just fighting over political/religious reasons down in Israel. Because if that was the case, the palestines could just say "Screw you" and close up shop, and war over, right? I'm sure the Israelies would be more than happy to let the Palestines go off and govern themselves if it meant they'd get left alone.

Unfortunately, the war is over physical resources as well. Specifically the land that the palestines and israelies both believe is their own.

You also seem to forget that violence is also horribly physical. Hell, we've got what you talk about now, there are a probably number of people in the US who feel themselves to be more part of the "Al Quada" union. These people are free to opt out and leave the US union, but they don't. Why? Because they feel that their land/religion/rights/whatever are being encroached on by the people who belong to the U.S. union, so they're going to do violence to
it, hopefully weakening it enough so that more people will choose to leave it. (Or have no choice but to leave it).

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


This fails on the basic purpose of a state. (3.66 / 3) (#53)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed May 08, 2002 at 02:13:19 PM EST

The basic purpose of a state is to protect the lives of it's members. A state without defined physical borders would have a hell of a time managing that task. Particularly if it was up against the old-fashioned kinds of states.

People didn't invent nations because they wanted to be taxed - they did it first, for self-defense and later to accomplish other tasks that were needed but to large or unprofitable for individuals or businesses to achieve. How will a "formless" state manage these tasks? How would it deliver the (e-)mail? Provide water and sewage?


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


Confederation? (none / 0) (#56)
by leviramsey on Wed May 08, 2002 at 02:43:16 PM EST

What about a confederation, a la the Swiss?



Switzerland isn't a confederation. (none / 0) (#72)
by Rk on Wed May 08, 2002 at 05:20:17 PM EST

At least not anymore. Switzerland was grounded as a confederation in 1291 AD. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Switzerland was invaded (without any real resistance) by the French and thus became the "Helvetic Republic", a centralistic republic based on France. After Switzerland became independant again in 1815 due to the Treaty of Versaille, it once again became a loose confederation. In 1848, it became a federal republic with a bicameral parliament based on the American system. In 1874, after a very short, bloodless civil war, Switzerland became a hybrid direct democracy on the federal level (the individual cantons [=states] had direct democracy long before that).

Switzerland's political structure is similiar to that of America, though Swiss cantons have different responsibilities than their American counterparts. Switzerland's constitution underwent a full revision in 1999, which changed mostly the form, rather than the substance of it, though list of fundamental rights was ammended adding previous unwritten rights, that were recognised as a right but not listed in the constitution, such as freedom of expression. (article 16, paragraph 2) Yet another revision introduces a new form of generic plebiscite, in addition to the two already available. One of them, the most often used, is to ammend the constitution with an article written by the person who originally starts the iniative. The other existing form is to formally request (force) the parliament to write a constitutional ammendment to a particular effect, which is then voted on by the electorate. The new form of plebiscite is similiar to the latter, but allows the parliament to implement the changes in either law or the constitution. This is probably a good thing, since the Swiss constitution is already very long, for historical and political reasons.

A little bit of background is available at http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/law/sz__indx.html. The translation gives you a general idea, but is a little akward. Also, article 72 paragraph 3 has since been removed from the constitution.

[ Parent ]

What if they don't let you... (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by mingofmongo on Wed May 08, 2002 at 03:06:08 PM EST

Here in the US, I could decide to split off and form my own union with the guy down the street.

Fine. But the US will still want taxes. They will not be amused when I say, "I am a citizen of Mongo, and I am not under your authority." They would say, "I have the guns, and you look like a kook, and you will do as we ask or go to jail."

Why would governments that are currently in power, have any interest in handing over their power? These people work hard their whole lives, forming and breaking alliances, cheating, stealing, killing and more, just to gather up the power they have now. They like it. They want more, if they can get it.

And anyway, people who are dumb enough that they can't separate race and religion from government, are too dumb to care whether their form of government makes sense.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

You don't need to pay taxes (none / 0) (#68)
by JohnJacob on Wed May 08, 2002 at 04:53:46 PM EST

Since there will be no federal government. And if you create a union on your own, you will need some start capital, will need to register with the "U.N", and will be responsible for all your trash, as well as cleaning your street.

You just might now want to do it.

Soulshare! A file sharing app by K5 lusers.
[ Parent ]

Wasn't this tried already? (5.00 / 2) (#64)
by John Thompson on Wed May 08, 2002 at 03:50:27 PM EST

JohnJacob wrote:

Rather than granting every ethnic group a state of its own, the state should change to a union of ethnic groups.

Take a look at Yugoslavia to see how this might play out in the Real World. Post-WWII Yugoslavia was a fragile amalgam of half a dozen distinct ethnic groups with as many languages and at least two different alphabets. While Tito maintained an iron grip on things, Yugoslavia seemed to work, but when he died it was only a few years before Yugoslavia fell to pieces and even now it's still not stable. Feuds over what land "historically" belongs to which ethnic group have frustrated attempts at bringing peace to the region.

So, what does this mean? Perhaps your vision of a state can only persist as long as there is a benevolent tyrant to preside over it. Not especially encouraging, I guess...



Africa not interested. (3.00 / 2) (#69)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed May 08, 2002 at 04:54:47 PM EST

If I remember correctly, one of the tenents of the African Unity Organization is the promise that the current borders will not be altered.

So good luck.
---
_._ .....
... .._ _._. _._ ...
._.. ._ _ . ._.. _.__

Racist on it's face. (5.00 / 2) (#73)
by delmoi on Wed May 08, 2002 at 06:56:50 PM EST

So, you're saying instead of the 50 states we have now, we should split America into 'Latino' 'black' 'white' 'Asian' and 'native' coalitions? What's wrong with the system we have now?

Oh, but you don't mean in America right, were totally stable and everything works. What you want to do is use this system in other, less 'stable' (In your opinion) places like central Asia and Africa... where people aren't 'civilized' right?

I'm sorry, that's a terrible idea. And it's guaranteed to cause problems. You mention Afghanistan, well. AF did have a system just like that for hundreds of years before the soviets tried to take over. The Loyal Jurga was comprised of groups from all the different groups under a pashtun king. Look what happened, the groups won't even speak to each other (demanding to go to the doctor on different days and things like that)

All you'd be doing with this system is taking any existing ethic tensions and formalizing them in a totally arbitrary manner.

The fact is, ethnicity is as artificial as any existing government border. Look Kabul is obviously in a different place then Beijing and Beijing is in a different place then Moscow, but is there really any true difference between 'Afghanistan' and 'china' and 'Russia' at the border? If you took a Hutu and a Tutsi out of Africa and put them in the US they (or their kids at least) would be 'black' and they would identify themselves as such.

And it's not like having a central government would smooth things out either, it's not like having a central government helped ease things between the north and south united states in the 1800s, and it's not like Quebecois feel happy and wonderful as a part of Canada, just because they have seats on the central gov (well, ok they don't exactly mind that much but there is still tension)

All your ethnic situation would do would be to inflame ancient stress, cause artificial delineations, and war as 'ethnic nodes' who felt slighted tried to split off.

The best thing is to instill a sense of 'national' pride above ethnic pride, and try to dissuade people from thinking of their race or whatever as best.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
*puzzled look* (4.00 / 1) (#84)
by aphrael on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:50:07 PM EST

The best thing is to instill a sense of 'national' pride above ethnic pride

Er ... what's the difference?

[ Parent ]

I guess the major diffrence is (none / 0) (#87)
by delmoi on Thu May 09, 2002 at 02:09:02 AM EST

You can always change nations, not quite so easily with ethnicity.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
wrong assumptions (none / 0) (#78)
by KiTaSuMbA on Wed May 08, 2002 at 09:51:04 PM EST

wars are made of interests: nationalism and religious fanaticism are only the fuel to be used in such cases. What makes you think that other "excuses" cannot be found, even if we consider that your proposal works out - which I doubt is the case.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
Oh, wonderful. (5.00 / 4) (#79)
by Kasreyn on Wed May 08, 2002 at 10:06:07 PM EST

Let's have MORE ethnic/religious fanatic states like Israel and Afghanistan. That "melting pot" idea? Let's just kick it out the window and go back to out-and-out race wars and strife. Let's have MORE Jihads and Crusades. Great idea there.

The way to end ethnic / racial strife is for the people to stop ghettoizing, to live and work together, and to learn that we're all humans after all. You do not eliminate conflict by insulating groups from the people they're not "comfortable" with. That just leads them to dehumanize the others even more.

Of course, your proposal is also IMO self-defeating. If ethnic groups control all the power in the world, and are seperated from each other, they will continue to see each other as subhumans and enemies. The system will corrode as those ethnic groups with greater resources and numbers will enslave or otherwise control those of fewer numbers. "Unions" of ethnic groups will be even less harmonious and effective than the League of Nations was, and will scatter to the four winds at the drop of a hat.

And I submit that the civil wars and strife you mentioned in Africa when various ethnicities were 'lumped together', were caused by the government treating them unfairly and unequally. If people feel they're getting their fair share / day in court / equal vote, etc., they typically don't rebel! Just look at the United States, where there is a widespread public perception (and perhaps realization) of these equalities; it's been 137 years since our last significant rebellion, which for most nations is a pretty long peaceful streak.

People defining themselves by their ethnic group, and defining others by theirs, is racism in a nutshell. It leads to less communication and more discord. And you can't defeat racism by hiding it and wishing it will go away. People should choose all the groups they belong to; I did not choose my race, so why should it matter? Assuming I would want to live in an all-white nation is a bit insulting on your part. I can't help but think how BORING it would be.

I'm not against your idea to find world peace, I just think it will lead to more disunity and war. I say, mix them all together and let them find harmony the hard way. It takes more work to find compromise than it does to chicken out and live in insular, homogenous enclaves, but the potential rewards are far greater.

Voted: Abstain


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
A historical example (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by khallow on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:48:06 PM EST

The Hanseatic League was a mercantile organization (collection of city states) with the effective power of a nation that lasted about two centuries. However, it couldn't competely militarily with the serious military powers of Europe (in particular Sweden, Austria, and France). Partly, this was due to the disorganized nature of the Hansa (tje League) which was govern by a loose parliament (the Diet). This seemed to suit the region quite well for much of its lifespan.

What's interesting about it is that for most of its lifetime, few cities acknowledged belonging to the League. At the end, it appears that the league couldn't defend itself from outsiders and instead got the best deal it could - negotiated by the largest cities in the region (Hamburg, Collogne?).

Stating the obvious since 1969.

From Bad To Much Much Worse (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by thelizman on Thu May 09, 2002 at 12:21:54 AM EST

One word - Balkanization. If we tolerate the idea of intolerance, segregation, and so forth we will only create conditions of even greater and more fierce intercultural strife. Ultimately, every culture can be divided into greater subcultures, with their own individual clans, and so forth.

Although I hate to openly say this (partly because it'll make me sound like a damned lib, and partly because it's so fundamental it shouldn't have to be said), the only answer is to foster the acceptance of differences, promote the golden rule, and decide that ultimately we are all human.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
No. (4.00 / 2) (#86)
by bjlhct on Thu May 09, 2002 at 12:49:59 AM EST

So lets do government by race? Race is little of genetic variation. And culture is well, a cultural thing.

The US and Nigeria? Whoa, what awesome, efficient, popular governments. Who does have a good government? Well, at least the Swiss are getting somewhere, with proportional representation.

This is getting to the anarchist's "protection agencies." For a taste of them, check out the warlords in Afghanistan. They're there. They don't work.

erhaps you could get equilibrium, but questions of ownership in conflict leaves members possibly dumped, and so insecure, or losing their stuff, or having stupid wars.

Utopia does means "no-place" you know.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism

Nationalism is Incompatible With Peace (5.00 / 3) (#90)
by opendna on Thu May 09, 2002 at 04:14:57 AM EST

Let's break this down:
  1. The current state system doesn't work because elites war for control of institutions of power (i.e. church, state, economy).
  2. The states defined in the post-colonial period force seperate ethnic groups to share the same political space.
  3. As a result the rhetoric of political contest appropriates the language of ethnic identity and manifests in battle as "ethnic cleansing".

    and your solution is

  4. Re-establish the nation-state as the basic unit of political organization.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but this isn't a new suggestion. The nation-state has been the basic unit of political organization for hundreds of years. France is a nation, the U.S. is a nation, China is a nation, Mexico is a nation, etc. These states are stable and relatively free from ethnic contest because an artificial nationality was constructed and superimposed over existing diversity.

Among the more successful of the post-colonial states in this regard is Mexico, which defined the race of the nation as the mixing of European and Indigenous blood. If you superimpose a map of Mexican insurgency over a map of ethnic make-up you'll find that areas with higher concentrations of indigenous people coexist with revolutionary activity. No surprise if we recognize that they are explicitly not part of the Mexican nation; they are only citizens.

The problem isn't one of structure, it's one of content. The problem of ethnic violence will not be solved with new constitutions favoring centralized federations or decentralized republics unless the underlying devisive identities are reconstructed.

It doesn't matter whether you've got one big nation or hundreds of little ones; the mass concentration of identity centralizes power in the hands of elites which most adeptly manipulate it. In short, Nationalism is incompatible with peace.

Many anthropologists have written that social structures similar to what you suggest are common among "pre-state" societies. Concentric circles of self-identification have many models. All ballance power between individuals, families, bands and tribes, and provide for common defense against outsiders, but none begin with the whole ethnic group.

Imagine a pyramid and a spider web. The current state system is a bunch of pyramids battleing against eachother and the people at the top trying to keep them together. If you want to end war, smash the pyramid and build a spider web. Applied to national identity I conclude "Diaspora Unite!"



Nationalism is peace (2.00 / 3) (#94)
by gibichung on Thu May 09, 2002 at 05:14:12 AM EST

You argue that nationalism is incompatible with peace, but you admit that the only truly peaceful places are very nationalistic.

How can you explain this contradiction?

Indeed, replacing a person's tribal identity with a national one is the key to establishing peace. Are today's wars fought between nations? That ended 50 years ago. No, the strife of today is between petty tribes or sects within nations, each fighting petty wars over ancient feuds. While you might point to the World Wars and lament the loss of life, these irrelevant feuds have cost far more since the beginning of time. This disunity is inherently destructive. "So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe..." (Not that this speech ever really happened - at least according to Seven Pillars - but it was a nice touch.).

If you look at the progress made in the last 600 years, you'll find that it's almost entirely contained within nations who were able to consolidate themselves. Your "spider webs" lead to nothing but endless, inconsequential suffering. As the human race wasted millennia in your petty "Spider Webs," perhaps you'd sound more revolutionary if you advocated the ultimate destruction of the "tribal" identity. My question to you is:

Do you believe that short, and indeed violent if need be, assimilation is preferable to perpetual stagnation and waste of life?

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

Nationalism is War, Assimilation, Reaction (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by opendna on Fri May 10, 2002 at 05:34:55 AM EST

This disunity is inherently destructive.

On that alone, we agree.

Your final question is silly, as my (equally silly response) should make clear:

Do you believe that short, and indeed violent if need be, assimilation is preferable to perpetual stagnation and waste of life?

Stagnation is an illusion because it is in reference to progress, which is an illusion. Life is never wasted, it is lived. It begins and it ends, it is for us to determine how.

Ecological sustainability is both regression and progression, according to different measurements. Likewise nuclear war and holocaust are both regression and progression according to different measures. We could kill 5 billion people today and ensure world peace, but there aren't many who find that solution very attractive.

In order for me to affirm that quick national purification is preferable to sustained diversity, as you suggest, I would have to legitimize all acts of genocide, including the Great Evil of World War II. I'm not ready to do that.

You argue that nationalism is incompatible with peace, but you admit that the only truly peaceful places are very nationalistic.

But are they peaceful from a global scale? The U.S. has relative internal peace but can't help but kill millions each year abroad. Accept the supremacy of nationalism and you accept that one American is worth 5000 Iraqis. The British, having solidified their nation, colonized and enslaved much of the world. Together with the Spanish, Dutch and French they inslaved and slaughtered millions outside their national core while maintaining peace internally.

When you attribute peace to nationalism, where do you find this peace?

If you look at the progress made in the last 600 years, you'll find that it's almost entirely contained within nations who were able to consolidate themselves.

Again with the progress. If you live in the west, you work more hours each day to survive than the Dobe!kung of Namibia. What is this progress you speak of? But I digress.

The first thing any nation does upon consolidating itself (read: after crushing its internal rivals) is turn its war machine outward. Obsolete you say? Didn't Iraq invade Kuwait? Didn't Somalia invade Ethiopia? Didn't Argentina invade the Falkins? Doesn't China eye Taiwan?

Are today's wars fought between nations? That ended 50 years ago. No, the strife of today is between petty tribes or sects within nations, each fighting petty wars over ancient feuds.

600 years of nationalism and we're going to point to the last 50 years as proof that nationalism brings peace? You'll find a stronger relationship between hegemony (bilateral and unilateral) and peace, if you care to look.

Petty? Your mythical tribes fight over the ownership of traditional lands with spirtual significance while nation-states fight over toxic black sludge from the ground. What gives that sludge more value than the burial grounds of their ancestors? Your own national prejudices, nothing more.

That aside, stife today isn't between "petty tribes", it's between elites, through the nations they command, for power. Those "petty tribes" are nations. They are attempting to establish a monopoly of force over a geographic region, aka to create states. That the geographic regions are set in stone by western powers with no interest in the consolidation of more nations is another matter.

you'd sound more revolutionary if you advocated the ultimate destruction of the "tribal" identity

I advocate the destruction of all collective identities whether national, religious, tribal, linguistic or otherwise. I reject forced assimilation because it reinforces subaltern identities and feeds violent contervailing nationalist revivals, if not for its horrific human rights record.



[ Parent ]

Where to start? (3.50 / 4) (#120)
by gibichung on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:51:41 AM EST

The U.S. has relative internal peace but can't help but kill millions each year abroad.
I'll start here. It's obvious that if you can convince yourself to believe this, you can believe anything. Such a ridiculous claim need not be refuted. It cannot just be assumed to be true; it must be proven, and I'm well aware that you're incapable of doing so.
The British, having solidified their nation, colonized and enslaved much of the world. Together with the Spanish, Dutch and French they inslaved and slaughtered millions outside their national core while maintaining peace internally.
That isn't the slightest bit unique in world history. I will dare say that every inhabited square mile of land was indeed taken from some previous occupants. The idea that a people are entitled to perpetual ownership of the land they occupy and it is immoral to force them to move is a concept contained to civilized societies.

The only difference between the British Empire and the Mongol Empire was that Great Britian itself remained after the empire was gone.

Again with the progress. If you live in the west, you work more hours each day to survive than the Dobe!kung of Namibia. What is this progress you speak of?
The progress I speak of is that the average life expectancy in the United States of America is 77 years. Your bushmen average about 32 years. How old are you?
600 years of nationalism and we're going to point to the last 50 years as proof that nationalism brings peace? You'll find a stronger relationship between hegemony (bilateral and unilateral) and peace, if you care to look.
The first 50 years, ever? You bet.
What gives that sludge more value than the burial grounds of their ancestors? Your own national prejudices, nothing more.
What makes fighting over something more valuable than fighting over absolutely nothing? My own prejudices? I doubt it.
That aside, stife today isn't between "petty tribes", it's between elites, through the nations they command, for power.
I beg to differ. But I don't have to explain Tutsi and Hutu, Pashtun and Tajik, or Hashem and Hazimi. The difference between a war and a blood feud is that blood feuds are perpetual. They are petty only in goals and reasons for fighting; indeed, when was the last "Western" society where 50% of adult males have lost thier lives in battle for hundreds of years without end?

While tribalism in isolation might achieve a balance (even if it is perpetual stagnation and waste), they are completely unable to withstand civilized society. For evidence of this, you need only look at North America, 1620-1860. When the fragile stability of tribal warfare was disrupted, the people nearly wiped themselves out.

You've offered no alternative to the nation state. You advocate the destruction of identity, but you fail to offer any solution as to how that is to be accomplished. I dare to say that forcing such a change on the world would be more destructive than the national assimilation. Once completed, national assimiliation leads to a path of peace; yours leads to anarchy and the eventual reappearance the same identities that you would seek to destroy. Such is human nature: you can force temporary change but you can't keep it from resurfacing.

You mourn the "horrible human rights record" of modern society while you completely ignore the past. You idealize anarchy because you've never seen it in action; you'd destroy the order that for the first time in the history of our race allows you to sit in your chair and lament minor injusticies in complete security. Surely you can see the irony?

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

You know you've struck a nerve (none / 0) (#122)
by gibichung on Fri May 10, 2002 at 11:53:21 AM EST

When someone's world-view is so fragile that they'll 0 a perfectly good comment rather than confront it.

I'm not sure if I should feel satisfaction or pity. Any input, krek?

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

Sorry for the delay (none / 0) (#138)
by krek on Thu May 16, 2002 at 04:36:33 PM EST

While reading this thread, I was struck by enduring wrong-headedness of one of the posters, but opendna seemed well able to deal with this individual. As, what I felt to be, well constructed arguments, I marked opendna's comments up with the '5' that I usually use. If someone disagrees they can mark it down.

Comments like "When the fragile stability of tribal warfare was disrupted, the people nearly wiped themselves out" and "You argue that nationalism is incompatible with peace, but you admit that the only truly peaceful places are very nationalistic" caused my hackles to rise, especially the one I quote first. Despite the generally confused nature of the comments, I was inclined to just leave them alone, but, as I was already rating one set of responses, and, I was appaled by some of the logic employed, I decided to rate these ones as well, with the only other rating I usually use, a '0'.

Now, for the record, I do not agree with either of you. If anyone, I agree with henrik.

Nationalism is neither good nor evil, and is neither conducive to peace or anathama to it. It is mearly a state of mind. In fact Nationalism, in my opinion, is a misnomer, it should be called collectivism or something, since, it is not at all restricted to Nationality. Nationalism is what drives/drove the women's movement, the hippie movement, the crusades, sports team fanaticism, the eco-movement, the open-source movement, and many more. In the past Nationalism has been beholden to geographical position and proximity. No longer; TV, radio and the Net have eliminated this resriction and allowed people to belong to an idea rather than a space. What this will do to the concept of Nationalism, I do not know, but I do know that it will not go away.

Nationalism is a tool, it can be wielded by good people and evil people alike, in the hands of the good it can weld people together in a common bond of mutual respect and prosperity (this is the idea that the USA was founded on, if I am not mistaken), in the hands of evil, it can be thrust between people to pry them apart, and then used to incite hatred, intolerance and violence (what the USA has started moving towards, if I am not mistaken).

However, Nationalism is a very easy and effective way to control a population. Humans evolved a concept of society as a survival trait, "safety in numbers" and all that, and because of this, have a very powerful need to belong. It really does not matter to what we belong, as long as it provides us a sense of conectedness (this is also the root cause of various addictions; drugs, shopping, gambling... it is better to belong to a group of dysfunctionals than nothing at all). By exploiting this extreme desire for conectedness, an entity can impose certain desires and ambitions into a group. As everyone else in the group seemingly already believes 'it', you will have to believe 'it' as well, or else risk loosing your conectedness. This can best be seen in the open-source movement actually; most open-sourcers have very little idea what is up in the tech world, but they do hate microsoft. Bonded by this common thread they achieve a group mentality, then come in the open-source leaders. They feed the open-source community 'fact' upon 'fact' (well-researched 'facts', and in my opinion correct ones, for the most part), the community memorises these 'facts', and, now, well armed, go out to do battle with those closed-source, closed-minded bastards.

Whether the cause is just or not, matters not. It is the fact that we, as human beings, are infused through and through with Nationalism, without it we would all have died off shortly after climbing down from the trees, and as such, should be treated as part of our heritage. We need to learn how to control and affect our own personal Nationalism, it is something too powerful and too personal to be left where others can fiddle about with it; besides, it is the foundation of democracy, you wouldn't want to trash that now would you?


[ Parent ]
Sticks and Stones (5.00 / 1) (#135)
by opendna on Tue May 14, 2002 at 04:57:19 PM EST

It's obvious that if you can convince yourself to believe this, you can believe anything. Such a ridiculous claim need not be refuted. It cannot just be assumed to be true; it must be proven, and I'm well aware that you're incapable of doing so.

I'm rubber and you're glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.

Your model of argument:

  1. Deflame the other guy
  2. Announce that he is deluded
  3. State that whatever he said is false and cannot be proven
  4. Reject all evidence as lies and distortions
  5. Declare victory
Do you write for an AM shock radio channel?

[Imperialism] isn't the slightest bit unique in world history.

[yawn] Tell me something that isn't self-evident.

I will dare say that every inhabited square mile of land was indeed taken from some previous occupants.

Written like someone who can't understand that property is socially constructed. "Taken" indeed!

The idea that a people are entitled to perpetual ownership of the land they occupy and it is immoral to force them to move is a concept contained to civilized societies.

Most egalitarian societies had very close spiritual ties to their lands. This manifested in a reluctance to conquer (because conquered lands would have no value) and a very tight relationship between land and ethics.

Can you find an example of a "civilized society" which didn't take land from other peoples without compensation? Perhaps all civilized societies are immoral.

You know what? Forget it.

You don't know your history particularily well; if you did you wouldn't claim the last 50 years have been either the only period of peace ever or a period of peace at all. If you knew your anthropology you wouldn't be dragging out tired Hollywood cliches of precolonial societies. Worst of all, you rely on mental slop like "human nature" and "end of history" to support your arguments.

I don't try to bend fragile minds and try to avoid spending time on people who aren't able to bend mine. I was really hoping you'd be able to put together some good arguments, or at least be internally consistent. [sigh]



[ Parent ]

Nationalism (none / 0) (#136)
by gibichung on Wed May 15, 2002 at 12:51:43 PM EST

Your reply is a little late, don't you think? But I'm game.

Your model of argument:
  1. Deflame the other guy
  2. Announce that he is deluded
  3. State that whatever he said is false and cannot be proven
  4. Reject all evidence as lies and distortions
  5. Declare victory
Prove that Americans kill "millions" every year, and I'll be happy to post a retraction. It is indeed interesting that you make such generalizations about my arguments without any refutations whatsoever. Since neither he nor you has bothered to provide evidence for this assertion, I maintain that I'm not obligated to prove anything.
Do you write for an AM shock radio channel?
1. Deflame the other guy (what does deflame mean anyway?)
Written like someone who can't understand that property is socially constructed. "Taken" indeed!
Personal property, perhaps. But the land occupied by a people is a reality, socially reinforced perhaps; but not a social construct by any definition. Or are you going to claim that the range occupied exclusively by a single pod of whales is also a social construct?
Most egalitarian societies had very close spiritual ties to their lands. This manifested in a reluctance to conquer (because conquered lands would have no value) and a very tight relationship between land and ethics.
Hollywood cliches indeed.
Can you find an example of a "civilized society" which didn't take land from other peoples without compensation? Perhaps all civilized societies are immoral.
Of course all civilized societies have done immoral things. This is a moot point. The point is that American Indians still exist, whereas if they'd had their way, white Americans would not. The Indians regularly wiped out competing tribes and never considered it to be "wrong."
You don't know your history particularily well; if you did you wouldn't claim the last 50 years have been either the only period of peace ever or a period of peace at all.
I beg to differ. The last 50 years have been the most peaceful 50 years in recorded history. This is less true in a few hot spots, but there have always been "hot spots." The real difference is that the "world powers" have put an end to their wars and have severely curtailed petty strife. It's all about accountability; the centalization of authority and the risk of escalation of petty conflicts has served to nearly end the perpetual "blood feuds" and petty power struggles that dominated history until the era of nationalism. Yes, this sometimes boiled over into wars, but they have nearly ended in the last 50 years. When people ceased to always be at war, they were able to achieve great things. Thus, this is the most peaceful 50 years, ever.
If you knew your anthropology you wouldn't be dragging out tired Hollywood cliches of precolonial societies.
I know my anthropology. Studies of the "hunter-gatherer" societies that have survived to modern times in the Amazon and in Africa have shown that these people fight perpetually among themselves. Granted, most of the conflicts are not as organized or as bloody as wars, but that doesn't mean that half or a third of their men don't die in them. Look at all surviving evidence of tribal societies - these people were usually armed to the teeth. Look at the ancient Celts or Germans; I'd bet that their tribal fighting was much, much worse than that of relatively peaceful people like the Dobe!Kung or the Amazonian rainforest peoples. Did Rome conquer Gaul by the force of its Legions alone? No, Caesar disturbed the balance and let them destroy themselves.

This is a terrible waste of human life; it has limited human achievement and curbed progress since the dawn of time. Nationalism brought it to an end.

Worst of all, you rely on mental slop like "human nature" and "end of history" to support your arguments.
I said that you can't suppress human nature forever without an active influence. Even if you achieve "world peace," you can't keep it without some perpetual institution; thus, "the destruction of all collective identities whether national, religious, tribal, linguistic or otherwise" cannot last forever. I don't know if I'd call that "mental slop." I'm not sure where you got "end of history" from.
I was really hoping you'd be able to put together some good arguments, or at least be internally consistent.
Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you. If you want the meat of my little rant, I've bold-ed it for you above.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
War will end (none / 0) (#121)
by acronos on Fri May 10, 2002 at 11:49:36 AM EST

when the whole world is one nation.  Then the world will use police rather than solders.

Notice the trends of the world.  The most influential and most successful peoples are places like the United States, Europe, China, Russia.  Do you notice a trend here?  All of these are conglomerates of peoples that were once built of smaller nations or colonies.  I think it probable that this trend will continue.

[ Parent ]

uh... (none / 0) (#137)
by krek on Thu May 16, 2002 at 03:32:06 PM EST

I won't comment on the US

The EU has not really had the time to demonstrate that it is a stable and peacful organisation, still too early to tell if that venture will be successful.

There are many areas of China that do not want to become part of that Union, and others that want to leave. Again China has not proved itself to be a stable and peaceful entity.

Ditto Russia; except it has decended into full scale disintegration.


[ Parent ]
On a smaller scale (none / 0) (#139)
by acronos on Thu May 16, 2002 at 09:25:45 PM EST

Small nations used to be made up of smaller tribes. The larger nations were more successful. There are almost no tribal nations left. As soon as society's structure and communication abilities can support larger communities, it becomes advantageous to implement them. For the first time in history, a true one world empire is possible. Communication from any part of the world to any other part of the world can be essentially instantanious. Current government technologies can scale up to the entire population of the earth. We will eventually have a one world government if current trends continue.

[ Parent ]
Eh? (5.00 / 1) (#124)
by henrik on Fri May 10, 2002 at 01:49:36 PM EST

You argue that nationalism is incompatible with peace, but you admit that the only truly peaceful places are very nationalistic.
Eh? I don't know of a *single* nationalistic state that's peaceful. The only two examples of longterm stable and peaceful nations that i know of (Sweden and Switzerland) are counterexamples, where nationalism isn't att all widespead. In fact, pretty much all nationalistic countries that i know of have fought wars inside the last 50 years. Some constantly (the US is one example of that).

Where i come from, nationalism just makes it easy for leaders to whip the masses into a frenzy for their own purposes. Nationalism is an appeal for people to stop rational thought and accept a we versus them mentality.

It's my opinion that nationalism will have to be abandoned if we, as humans, hope to evolve into a better society.

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

My point (none / 0) (#125)
by gibichung on Fri May 10, 2002 at 02:04:37 PM EST

was that nationalism is an important evolutionary advancement between tribalism and the modern ideals of peace and unity. Nationalism usually requires the abandonment of tribal allegiances and the redefinition of an "ethnic group" to include people that once considered each other foreign.

Once a nation is consolidated, petty infighting ends. It's true that the angst that was once directed toward neighboring tribes is often focused on neighboring nations. While wars might be more devestating than tribal feuds, random violence between nations does not occur exactly because it risks war.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

Meixco and the US (4.00 / 2) (#99)
by aphrael on Thu May 09, 2002 at 01:44:54 PM EST

Mexico is a nation

Yes-ish; there are significant native American populations living within the borders of Mexico who would probably be considered 'nations' within the normal meaning of the term.

U.S. is a nation

I disagree. The US is a multinational empire whose people have a very strong emotional attachment to their empire's political system, in which the nations are geographically dispersed in such a way as to make nationalism irrelevant as a political force.

[ Parent ]

Mexico, America: Nations & Nation-Building (none / 0) (#114)
by opendna on Fri May 10, 2002 at 04:45:39 AM EST

OPENDNA: Mexico is a nation
APHRAEL: Yes-ish; there are significant native American populations living within the borders of Mexico who would probably be considered 'nations' within the normal meaning of the term.

What does it mean when someone says "I am Mexican"? It means they identify with the state-defined nationality. The process of modern "nation-building" is not limited to building economic and political institutions, it must include the creation of a national identity. Non-Mexican nations within Mexico are constantly stuggling for self-determination, but they are only able to do so because they are outside the definition of "Mexican" and have maintained autonomous identities (i.e. Yaqui, Maya, etc).

OPENDNA: "U.S. is a nation"
APHRAEL: I disagree. The US is a multinational empire whose people have a very strong emotional attachment to their empire's political system, in which the nations are geographically dispersed in such a way as to make nationalism irrelevant as a political force.

I miswrote. I should have said "American" is a nation. That "strong emotional attachment" to the political system one component of the definition of the American nation. Add in the protestant/christian heritage (so popular in conservative circles), a common sense of history (1776, Washington, et al), shared symbology (Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge, WTC, etc) and ethics (lawfulness, independence, etc) and a common language (English). What more do you need for a nation? A common race? It took a long time for to get THAT out of national discourse.

If you think nationalism is irrelevant in the U.S. today I urge you to carefully consider the use of "God Bless America", the stars and stripes and the cynical use of september 11 (a "national" tragedy) by U.S. political elites. The carefully ambigious definition of the American nation is a necessity to keep the diverse regions in union, I agree, but this does not mean the nation is not real or that it is not the object of constant struggle.



[ Parent ]

nations (5.00 / 1) (#123)
by aphrael on Fri May 10, 2002 at 01:40:06 PM EST

What does it mean when someone says "I am Mexican"? It means they identify with the state-defined nationality.

Granted. I think what I was objecting to was the idea that Mexico is a nation-state; there are significant populations which are part of *some other nation*, and that does cause political problems.

Add in the protestant/christian heritage (so popular in conservative circles), a common sense of history (1776, Washington, et al), shared symbology (Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge, WTC, etc) and ethics (lawfulness, independence, etc) and a common language (English).

The US is a peculiar case. Yes, there is a strong 'American' nationality. Yet it isn't the same as ethnic nationalism in other parts of the world, largely because of the shallowness of its historical roots and the fact that ultimately everyone here is an immigrant. And certainly there are large populations within the state that don't consider themselves to be part of the American nation. Although 9/11 may have reduced that for a while; one of the most interesting things to me about the reaction to that was how ethnic groups known for their sense of not being "American" rallied to the flag; in many ways, I think it's the strongest nation-building event in the US since kennedy was killed.

[ Parent ]

nations, agreed (none / 0) (#131)
by opendna on Fri May 10, 2002 at 06:05:25 PM EST

The US is a peculiar case. Yes, there is a strong 'American' nationality. Yet it isn't the same as ethnic nationalism in other parts of the world, largely because of the shallowness of its historical roots and the fact that ultimately everyone here is an immigrant.

No debate there. America is possibly one of the most brilliantly defined nationalities because anyone can become American. You can't change your ethnicity so you can't belong to most nations, but dominant definitions of America don't include ethnicity. In a way, the abstract and secular nature of American symbology and ritual make the nation potentially universal. Brilliant.

Your point about Mexico not being a nation-state is legit, IMHO. But I'd make the same reservations about almost any modern state. Some of the oldest and most consolidated would-be nation-states still contain nations with secessionist/self-determiniation desires. France, Spain, Russia, the UK and China included.



[ Parent ]

I think you missed my point (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by mingofmongo on Thu May 09, 2002 at 02:41:00 PM EST

There are already governments in place, with varying degrees of stability. Do you assume that current governments will be dissolved to make way for this union thing? How will you disolve these governments? Do you think they will let their subjects voluntarily sesceed from their power? Did the US let the southern states sesceed? Many Utopian ideas are impossible to implement because they require a clean slate.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

i like the idea (none / 0) (#102)
by logiterr on Thu May 09, 2002 at 03:04:42 PM EST

but i think the your unions should not be organized around ethnicity but around those affected by decision making and proponents for certain issues. for example you get a bunch of people that are going to be affect by say health care so they get a direct say in how health care should be managed. or you have a group of people that dont agree with wage laws so they form up a little interest group union thing and do whatever they have to do. the point is to allow anyone to form up under a recognized political entity and that entity has a say in how decision making should proceed. that said, citizens are still political entities but you require a sort of momentum or whatever so become an effective political entity. we dont want just anyone who is pissed off to be able to veto a decision. but at the same time if say one person is fighting for some form of justice and no one else wants to rally behind him to form up a interest group union thing then that guy isnt worth the investment. its a pity but thats just how things work. until of course you find a way to give everyone an instant voice in the decision making process but i think we would have to be cyborgs for that kind or ala seti decision making to work hehe.

Oh, come on. (5.00 / 4) (#104)
by quasipalm on Thu May 09, 2002 at 04:18:12 PM EST

Uh, yeah, great idea. I'm German, Polish, and part "white mut," and I live in the U.S. My best friend is Native American (Aztec), Mexican and German. What "state" should we belong to? If you think "ethnic lines" are in any real way scientifically definable, you're sorely mistaken.

The idea of the boundaries between nation-states eroding is not a new one. Under the new concepts of globalization, most states will not be nearly as definable as they are now. But, replacing national boundaries with ethnic boundaries is not only undesirable, but it's (frankly) pretty stupid.
(hi)
Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#106)
by jgk on Thu May 09, 2002 at 04:41:59 PM EST

"replacing national boundaries with ethnic boundaries is not only undesirable, but it's (frankly) pretty stupid"

That's just what I was thinking.
Gore Vidal is cool.
[ Parent ]
Capitalism controls governments (none / 0) (#105)
by jgk on Thu May 09, 2002 at 04:39:48 PM EST

Regardless of the choices made by governments people are almost entirely motivated by, effected by and controled by global capitalism.

It also just seems absurd to organize people by ethnicity. Why would you do that?
Gore Vidal is cool.
Global Capitalism Digression (none / 0) (#107)
by quasipalm on Thu May 09, 2002 at 04:59:29 PM EST

I find it interesting that both of these statements can be proven true.

"people are almost entirely motivated by, effected by and controled by global capitalism."

"global capitalism is almost entirely motivated by, effected by and controled by people."

(hi)
[ Parent ]
Everyone who does not disregard money. (none / 0) (#108)
by jgk on Thu May 09, 2002 at 05:29:19 PM EST

"people are almost entirely motivated by, effected by and controlled by global capitalism."

Sorry. I should have changed "people" to "everyone everywhere who does not disregard money"

"global capitalism is almost entirely motivated by, effected by and controlled by people."

Literally true but capitalism is controlled by a ridiculously small number of people. Surely you understand that the majority of the population of the world in third world countries have no control over capitalism. Even in the first world no individual can effect capitalism and certain no group united by an opinion rather than money or power can effect it.


Gore Vidal is cool.
[ Parent ]
More digressions... (none / 0) (#109)
by quasipalm on Thu May 09, 2002 at 06:18:48 PM EST

Even in the first world no individual can effect capitalism and certain no group united by an opinion rather than money or power can effect it.

It's not a perfect analogy, but think of a dollar (or pound, yen, euro, etc.) as a vote. Don't like a company? Take your votes elsewhere. Wash, rinse, repeat. Over time you are making a huge difference. As for "group[s] united by an opinion," they can make an even bigger difference. True, if capitalism is a form of economic democracy then rich people get more votes. But it's not all that bad considering that rich people do, in fact, serve a purpose in society. But, I digress. :)

(hi)
[ Parent ]
Try to boycott Sony. (none / 0) (#113)
by vectro on Fri May 10, 2002 at 12:40:23 AM EST

Just try. You'll find it exceptionally difficult.

Now try to boycott all companies that happen to be Sony's customers. You'll find that impossible.

You may, of course, substitute the large transnational conglomerate of your choice.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Bill Cosby for President! (none / 0) (#127)
by quasipalm on Fri May 10, 2002 at 04:20:51 PM EST

Just try. You'll find it exceptionally difficult.

This argument is like saying, "Just try and vote for Bill Cosby for President. You'll find he still won't win."

Freedom of choice is a good thing and if a single person could unilaterally boycott a company into bankruptcy, we'd live in a very limited-choice world. Think of all the customers and employees that would lose their freedom of choice due to the whims of very few.

I'm not an "all corporations are good" or an "all corporations are bad" guy; I realize that it's just a legal structure with the ability to be used for good or bad purposes.

I do, however, think that the corporate legal structure is in need of reform. Specifically: no more "limited-liability". This way shareholders WOULD be held responsible for the misdeeds of their company, just like owners of small business are.

I'm starting to think I'm the only "Market Liberal" on k5. :)

(hi)
[ Parent ]
You misunderstand. (none / 0) (#128)
by vectro on Fri May 10, 2002 at 05:21:32 PM EST

I'm not saying that boycotting Sony would be ineffective (although I think it probably would be, that dosen't mean it's not worthwhile). I'm saying that it is difficult to do - Sony is such a huge company that no matter what product you go to buy, there's a good chance that it's actually from a sub-sub-subsidiary of sony.

Of course, Sony is exemplary in this case. There are lots of other corporations that would probably be much better examples.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Limited Liability (none / 0) (#129)
by vectro on Fri May 10, 2002 at 05:25:36 PM EST

The problem, of course, with doing away with limited liability is that it makes capital much less free to roam. Would you invest in a company, knowing that it makes you liable for any actions the company takes? I thought not.

On the other hand, this might just change the landscape of investment from primarily equities-based to primarily loan-based. Since creditors would remain immune, loaning money to corporations would be much safer. But it would nonetheless substantially inhibit investing, which would be bad both for the investor and for the investee.

It's also not necessarily fair: Should Bill Gates be personally liable if a janitor somewhere forgets to put out a "wet floor" sign and someone trips? And executives are already liable for actions they direct.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Global capitalism? (4.00 / 1) (#110)
by psicE on Thu May 09, 2002 at 06:29:50 PM EST

There is no such thing as global capitalism, by definition. Capitalism, as outlined in The Wealth of Nations, is on a very small scale. Small states work together with small corporations, thereby exploiting greed for the common good.

In true capitalism, no company can become too big, or have utter disregard for the environment - if they act in ways that contradict the public will, their charter is revoked. Companies are not people, and thus do not have a constitutional right to life, liberty, or property. Any rights they have are granted by the state.

If we returned to a truly capitalist society, we'd all be better off for it.

[ Parent ]

Really? (5.00 / 1) (#117)
by jgk on Fri May 10, 2002 at 07:18:04 AM EST

What is this "truly capitalist society" of which you speak?

I have never heard of any kind of capitalism that doesn't alow people with the most money to make more money than any one else. In all capitalist systems the gap between the rich and poor will increase unless the rich are taxed exponentialy so they start losing money if they get too rich.
Gore Vidal is cool.
[ Parent ]
Capitalism (3.00 / 1) (#130)
by antizeus on Fri May 10, 2002 at 05:37:26 PM EST

I think in this context, "Capitalism" is one of those systems that sounds good in theory but has never been put into practice in its pure form. Sort of like "Communism" or any other sort of "ism". That's why I like to use specific language like "those rat bastards" instead of referring to ideologies. Not that I always succeed in doing so.
-- $SIGNATURE
[ Parent ]
Pure capitalism? (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by jgk on Sat May 11, 2002 at 06:17:40 AM EST

"I think in this context, "Capitalism" is one of those systems that sounds good in theory but has never been put into practice in its pure form. Sort of like "Communism" or any other sort of "ism". "

No that is not what capitalism is like. Capitalism was invented as a system to encourage competition in a consumer society. People have the choice to buy things from different companies that find different ways of making a product.

It is extremely simplistic. It always allows for the accumulation of massive amounts of wealth for no effort. This is a very popular feature demonstrated beautifully by gambling and in particular lotteries. If this aspect of capitalism was removed then it would not be capitalism in any "pure form" and as far as I know would bare no resemblance to any form of capitalism ever suggested.

Unsound Idiology

Capitalism allows companies to benefit from simply convincing consumers that there product is better than their competitors. As an ideolgy this meant that the lowest prices would convince consumers but this is no longer the case as marketing is often far more important than price and the richest have the most money to advertise*. Also in many cases a one or a small group of companies have a monopoly on an entire industry and the cost required to enter into competition with htose companies is too much to make it feasable for anyone to do so.

If you have evidence of someone using the term "capitalism" as an ideology that didn't allow there to be a rich ruling class that was unstoppable please tell me ASAP!

*Coca-Cola - spends far more money on advertising but is already the most well known brand in the world
Gore Vidal is cool.
[ Parent ]

I always thought it would be fun (2.00 / 1) (#118)
by salsaman on Fri May 10, 2002 at 08:25:23 AM EST

...to have a 'First Distributed Republic', a la Neal Stephenson's "Diamond Age"

I certainly think the way forward should be non-geographically based states.

i dunno about yr cause-effect thing (none / 0) (#119)
by turmeric on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:23:32 AM EST

you say war is caused by 'ethnic differences', but as far as i can tell, war is cauased by people not having food water and shelter, and they may use 'ethnic differences' to blame people for those problems... but if you want to stop the war, stopping that prejudice is only part of the solution....

you mention africa. first off africa was not 'worst hit'. africa is still largely populated by the natives. america and australia were 'hardest hit' because of the horrible genocide, largely due to diseases the colonials had contracted from their heavy use of domesticated livestock as food, such as smallpox.

second of all, the wars of africa are not simply 'ethnic fighting', they are people who have been used as pawns in the cold war, like in zaire, where mobutu ran around in mercedes fleets between palaces while his people were starving, who was backed by the US because he was 'tough on communism', in the face of soviet backed countries like Tanzania or whoever. the conflicts that break out in places like that are because people are fed up with being murdered and stolen from by corrupt assholes.... now maybe they blame another ethnic group for doing this, and maybe they slaughter that ethnic group, but if they hadnt been so fucked by the cold war in the first place they never would have gone the nazi route. thats my opinion.

Fundamental Flaw (3.50 / 2) (#126)
by Argel on Fri May 10, 2002 at 03:16:41 PM EST

This system seems familiar, doesn't it? Well, that is one of the ideas behind a federal government system, like is implemented in Germany, the United States and Nigeria, for example. The problem with the federal government system is that there is too much power at federal government level . . . .
Real power lies in the hands of corporations and the wealthy. Since you fail to address this your plan effectively changes nothing. Your plan needs to either create an incentive for the governments to get a long or figure out a way to dismantle the current power structure. Did it ever occur to you that hatred is one tool used by those in power (and in turn the governments that server them) to remain in power?

The internet (2.00 / 1) (#133)
by dollyknot on Sat May 11, 2002 at 06:24:13 AM EST

I find it rather amusing in all of this that nobody mentions the 'net and its global anarchistic nature. It knows no borders and nobody is in charge of it, some countries try to control it and censor it like China, but I should imagine it would be nearly impossible to control the 'net in China, once the Chinese have a 'net connection from home, at the moment nearly all ordinary Chinese only have access via internet cafes.

The 'net is still a child, just bearly entering its teens, what happens to human governance and resource management once it matures?

Peter.
They call it an elephant's trunk, whereas it is in fact an elephant's nose - a nose by any other name would smell as sweetly.

States expanding control into each other (3.00 / 1) (#134)
by MickLinux on Sat May 11, 2002 at 01:33:57 PM EST

One of the counterpoints to states is that they are now trying to tax within each others' bounds.

That doesn't just include the US -- after illegally forcing VISA and MC to hand over records, the IRS recently declared that most people with offshore accounts were tax evaders, and one can assume they mean to try to start confiscating.  

It also involves Europe -- imposing a VAT tax on any non-European online soft-service [that is, download or license sales, no shipping] businesses.

But I do have a serious question.  Suppose an American business refuses to collect the VAT tax or to try to filter out those who log on from European ISPs, but simply has a note -- no purchases from Europe, please, we can't keep track of you.

Now -- if that happens, how can/will the European government go after the American businesses?  And will the American government allow it, and thus hand over its sovreignty as well as its citizens?  Or will the American government hand over legal entities, but not citizens?

I'm very interested to hear what others think will happen, but I don't think it is worth its own post.  It isn't, after all, news.

I make a call to grace, for the alternative is more broken than you can imagine.

A new form of state: A state without form | 139 comments (92 topical, 47 editorial, 0 hidden)
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