[ExI] Spreading beneficial ideas and institutions/was Re: The Evils of the West

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Apr 15 23:44:23 UTC 2009

Dan wrote:

> There is a time honored way that beneficial
 > ideas and institutions spread that seems to
 > avoid or at least minimize these problems.
 > This is to spread them via peaceful informal
 > trade to allow them to diffuse.

Trade had nothing to do with it. People had
been trading for thousands of years. I would
argue that trade flourished far better under
very anti-democratic Rome than it did under
comparable freer states.

The western institutions that we cherish took
many hundreds of years to slowly develop, and
it just one place. It probably was just a
historical fluke which, if the singularity
doesn't save us, will die out.

What was key was a weird balance of power between
the religious authority (the Pope), the kings,
and the barons who could hole up in a castle
(because of Europe's topography) and defy one
or the other big powers.

EVEN THEN, it took hundreds of years as King
an parliament on one small island, and a tenuous
relationship between a few folks in the Netherlands,
before the really great institutions were activated
on anything like a large scale.

And if America had failed between 1776 and 1830,
the whole idea of individual liberty might have
seemed to everyone to be sadly infeasible.


>  This allows individuals to decide what to
accept or borrow on a local level.
(Sure, there are network effects in many
cases.  If all your neighbors suddenly start
using a different money, then this makes it
very hard for you to not switch.:)
This is much better, IMO, than using the
IMF or the military to force feed foreigners
ideas or institutions.

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