[ExI] What Made England Special?

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Apr 12 12:37:50 UTC 2008

Tom wrote

Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 2:24 PM
Subject: [ExI] Replacing Government Oversight, Deregulating Stock Exchanges

> Lee wrote: "Is *every* society and *every*
> civilization composed of historical type human beings
> necessarily capable of self-regulation,
> self-government, and almost unrestrained capitalism?
> I ask that as a general sort of question which you and
> other readers may or may not wish to explore. I myself
> don't think so."
> Well, historical type human beings are a diverse
> bunch, but they *could* take to self-regulation and
> self-government, and some form of market-based
> economy.

It would require a gradually changing mind-set for 
many people in many cultures. We even have to
start at home, because even most people in the 
most libertarian of states or nations just simply
don't understand the potential of free markets and
liberty. Nor have they any intuitions whatsoever
that wherever possible that's the direction societies
should move. 

But if I think about how long it would have taken
the ancient Romans, or the Yanomamo or Ache,
or even 19th century Japanese, it becomes clear
that not all societies are equally ready for democracy,
much less a highly libertarian form.

> Take my fine people, the British. Some people would
> like to have you believe that this blessed people were
> a Chosen People who developed the industrial
> revolution and built a large empire, and settled
> America to form a Nation guided by Providence,
> Manifest Destiny and other Wooly-Minded Concepts with
> Arbitrary Capitals. Some think there is something
> special that led the British and their English-speaking
> descendents to their place of prominence.

The book "Farewell to Alms" does a fine job of describing
what made England different. And between them, England
and Holland led the way to the modern world. A lot of it
could have come about accidentally because of the way
that power in the 13th century between the king and the
nobles happened to have gotten shared.

> I take the opposite view. If the violence-loving
> people from a bunch of rainy islands on the Northwest
> of Europe could overcome much bigger and more populous
> nations like France and Spain,

Many times they were saved from conquest by inhabiting
an island. In a very parallel way, the Japanese were permitted
by geography to work out what turned out to be a very 
powerful culture and country.

> and have their creole of Romantic and Germanic languages
> become one of the world's dominant languages, then there's
> hope for everybody. If we could do it, there's no reason any
> other culture/people/nation/arbitrary grouping of
> humanity couldn't achieve a great deal too.

Yes, in time.


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