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The Global Power Shift

Discussion in 'Serious' started by Da_Rude_Baboon, 24 Jan 2012.

  1. walle

    walle Minimodder

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    Of course there will be those who will not have their way, but those people do not concern me that much.

    I'm more interested in comparing those "special benefits" having been denied, with those "special benefits" not having been denied, and then compare the two, and look at their respective impact.

    Long term.
     
  2. eddie_dane

    eddie_dane Used to mod pc's now I mod houses

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    You and I are, more or less, on the same page. I have a strong distaste for corporate influence on government as you. The reason why I thread the needle on "influence" vs "power" is important to me because of the roles each have.

    A classic example is somebody bribes a cop or government inspector to look the other way. Both parties are guilty but I hold the bearer of power to a much higher standard because the briber may have a million different reasons to bribe that may not hurt anyone or very much hurt someone. But the person in power that accepts the bribe is much more guilty because they are in the position to enforce the rules. My point is that both are bad but one is much worse.
     
  3. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    The point is that the west and in reality the US can't go on its own anymore. We all know that the US effectively dictates UN policy as without the US's backing they are not enforced. This is now starting to change.


    I think that is overly simplistic. America is a country built, founded and populated by immigrants and is by definition a risk taking culture. World war two saw a massive investment in manufacturing and industry. The US military actively encouraged it's servicemen to be inventive and adaptable so once the war ended they was a huge influx of disciplined, motivated innovators into the work force. Combine that with the seizure of German technology a country which was undamaged by war and huge boost in national confidence and you have a perfect recipe for success. We tend to think about the jet engines and rockets with regards to German technology but if you read into operation paperclip the Germans were 10-15 years ahead in areas as diverse as chemicals to textiles.

    Russia had nearly the same advantages as the US after the war but the outcomes of each country are vastly different.
     
  4. lp1988

    lp1988 Minimodder

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    Pretty much agree however I do have a slight problem with this one.

    You have to remember that Russia was hit hard by the war with huge loses and a shattered infrastructure they were in no way in the same situation, The US lost a "pathetic" 400 000 where Russia lost 23 000 000. There is really no comparison no matter how you look at it. At the same time right after the war Russia was essentially frozen out from European trade giving the American automotive (and more) a free shot at a huge market without any competitors.
     
  5. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    There is an important thing you're missing with that assessment. Russia was already in the club of great nations when WW2 kicked off. The USA was only just ascending to that position, after gaining a good deal of power in WW1 and the transfer of wealth from the Empire to the Americans during WW2.


    To a large extent yes. That said, they had access to an internal market which was, in population terms, not excessively dissimilar to NATO countries. Plus they had access to China. America had competitors within the decade from Germany and Japan after they both did their wunderkind thing and went from destroyed nations to economic powerhouses. They both just happened to be on the same side as the US.
     
  6. Cutter

    Cutter What's a Dremel?

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    Indeed. It also helps massively when the nations likely to be your big competitors are (a) the defeated loser of the war (Germany), (b) pursuing a political system which leads to economic suicide (Russia/Soviet Union) or (c) deeply in debt to you (United Kingdom).

    Indeed, so afraid was the USA of a possible UK economic resurgence through empire that it actively forced the UK to de-colonise via threats of economic sanction, explicit or otherwise. That attitude was in place from the get go - e.g. only lending us a few clapped out destroyers once they'd forced us to run down all our gold and foreign currency reserves, as well as leasing bases in strategic locations to them for a song for 50+ years.

    Or consider how Germany's war debts were written off in fairly short order whilst the UK was still paying them off at the turn of the new millenium.

    For all America's reputation for innovation and technical know-how, I think its often forgotten just how backwards they actually were for much of the war. Jet engines, penicillin, integrated air defence system based on radar, rocketry, computing, code-cracking, aerospace engineering in general - the UK and Germany especially were just light years ahead of the USA.

    The USA got a huge boost at the end of the war simply by being last man standing and expropriating German know-how. Nothing wrong with that, any victor would have done the same, but worth bearing in mind.

    Well into the mid-70s history is littered with examples of brilliant UK planes especially which were killed off by American economic muscle, with the promised alternatives showing up either never, late, way over budget or all three. SR177, TSR2 the list goes on. Supercruise a first for the Raptor? Nope, Lightning was there decades before. In computing, Apple/IBM the first with a RISC chip? Sorry, them limeys beat you to it again by years with Acorn/ARM.

    Quite sad really. The UK really does need to make more of an effort to stick up for its own! :D
     
  7. lp1988

    lp1988 Minimodder

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    In military power yes, however not in economic power. Russia was never a major economic before the second world war and had never been one of the major industrial power. even today many areas in Russia are industrially very far behind, and at that time Russia consisted of mainly local farmers that didn't produce any significant surplus. It was even so bad that the loses Russia suffered in WW1 and the civil war following resulted in a severe famine in 1921-22. Russia was a great nation solely based on it's size never on it's economy.


    True that the other European nations sped up quite fast but remember that again at that time China was not an all interesting market, what are they going to by? there was no money in China and the common Chinese or Russian did not care for luxury goods like cars, they hoped for the right amount of rain this season. To top this off much of the investments into rebuilding Europe went to American firms as they were the only ones available at that time, not to mention that America had money to spend where it wanted, whereas Russia was bled dry from WW2.

    What did help Russia was weapons, for some reason poor countries always need weapons and this was something Russia managed to get a lot out of.
     
  8. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo no no no. That's really not the case dude. The people who have money - fine. There is MASSIVE resentment at the influx of mainlanders to use the facilities or compete for jobs, and a right-wing movement and segregation in communities by Hong Kongese. It would be even more polarized in TW that has actually got its own government.
     
  9. eddie_dane

    eddie_dane Used to mod pc's now I mod houses

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    I'm sorry but the Ukraine alone historically made Russia a net exporter of wheat leading up to the revolution in 1913. It was Lenin's famously planned economy (several years later - plenty of time to recover from the revolution and WW1) that resulted in the famous famine that killed an estimated 6-10 million Russians. The fact that most of the Russians that died during that famous famine died specifically in the Ukraine should raise some serous red (no pun intended) flags alone.

    When Lenin deployed the Cheka to the Ukraine, it resulted in historically productive farmers not only killing their own draft animals in the millions, destroying farm implements and burning their own crops. Russia is awash of natural resources and people that had proven they could produce. The critical juncture was that their economy was being planned by Lenin and Stalin at a time that they should have been transforming from agriculture to industry it was being run by people more preoccupied with retaining control rather than production.

    Several economic studies into production after Soviet records were released showed that all major areas of production in even the most elemental forms of industrial production required much more resources than unplanned western nations. It was a cliche that factories that were designated to manufacture tractors would need to make their own bricks too to build additions to factories.

    Don't discount too the sink-hole that was forced labor that made thousands of unused miles of railroad tracks for the sake of making it. During the Stalin era, One million people died a year from forced labor camps (1/10th of the population).
     
    Last edited: 1 Feb 2012
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  10. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    +1 to that! :thumb:

    Stephen Fry summed it up perfectly for me when he said the phrase "Only in America!" was used to describe some new technological achievement or success story. "Only in Britain!" normally describes some bureaucratic nonsense.

    We are an innovative, inventive and industrious nation but we are often too polite to shout about our achievements and too cautious to run with new ideas.
     
  11. Xir

    Xir Minimodder

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  12. Xir

    Xir Minimodder

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    Govenments (at least in Germany) often decide based upon research and "expert-groups".
    If you, as a corporation, fund enough papers, and feed these papers to the government as research, and get your experts into the expert-groups...
    All a question of funding. Not bribing, funding. ;)

    That's what I mean by "Convincing", repeat selected facts until they influence legislation.

    Americans call groups like this "Think-Tanks" :D
     
  13. eddie_dane

    eddie_dane Used to mod pc's now I mod houses

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    I think you will find common ground in all democracies. Not only do we have Think-Tanks but a whole range of "advocacy groups" too (which I'm sure you have in Germany). What you describe is the process where I'm more preoccupied by the principles at play.

    It does raise a great point though about the process regarding experts. Like corporations, I don't lay as much blame on them as much as those in power. The fact of the matter is, if they did the right thing, a lot of this would be a non-issue. But you address the problem of competence in those who hold power and their need for experts. I find it much more common that people in power seek out experts to substantiate what you want to do in the first place setting up a "don't blame me, blame the expert" scenario that politicians like to evoke quite a lot. Of course, there are genuine examples of people deploying experts in the right spirit but not enough.

    Dictators don't need experts to hide behind. Politicians in democracies do, because they are beholden to an electorate. For me, experts entail too much of "fresh new ideas" and not enough of "what has worked in the past", but again, that's more of the fault of politicians who are more interested in fresh and new (relatively unaccountable) to tried and true which can prove very tangible failure if you try something that has already failed several times in the past.
     
  14. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    To me it's also a convincing argument to restricting the size of campaign and political party donations so lobby groups don't have so much influence.
     
  15. Xir

    Xir Minimodder

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    There's no govenment form as lean and efficient as a freshly established dictatorship ;)
     
  16. eddie_dane

    eddie_dane Used to mod pc's now I mod houses

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    The trains do tend to run on time don't they?
     
  17. lp1988

    lp1988 Minimodder

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    Much truth in this, but I would still say that being an exporter of wheat is not enough to be a major power XD

    But can we agree that Russia was not in the same advantageous situation as the USA after WW2 ?
     
  18. eddie_dane

    eddie_dane Used to mod pc's now I mod houses

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    Being a provider of food to the world at that point in time was a very good thing. Don't underestimate the advantage of efficient food production freeing up resources for other aspects of your national economy. My point is that the resources that Russia has/had made it poised to be right on par with nearly everyone else. The form of government during the Lenin and Stalin eras hurt Russia's development more than anything else.

    Yes, we can absolutely agree that the US was in a much better position post WWII. The US infrastructure survived virtually unscathed while much of western Russia and all of Europe was destroyed which proved to be a huge advantage.

    However, if you look at the recovery of Germany and France and what they did to recover their economies, particularly the partnership between De Gaulle and Adenauer creating the EEC and later efforts of Ludwig Erhard (who performed a monetary miracle for Germany) they pursued a much different path than Stalin and it's hard to make a case for Stalin's economic approach. It was an impossible task, to put it frankly, Stalin's economists had to set and regulate 24 million prices for everything that was being produced/consumed in the USSR.

    An interesting real-life experiment was the divided Berlin and east and west Germany. What accounts for the huge discrepancy between those two worlds who were practically identical before the puppet regime was setup?

    Not everything can be explained away by who got a head start.
     
    Last edited: 4 Feb 2012
  19. lp1988

    lp1988 Minimodder

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    Indeed it was the government that has done the most damage to the country and the world would have looked very much different had it become a democracy. It is not unlikely that Russia would have stayed a world power (still somewhat is) with as much influence as the US.

    The fast recovery of many of the countries in Europe has many reasons but one is definitely the support form the US directly after WW2, and had Russia again had a different government it may have been different.

    In the end planned economy was tried tested and failed miserably, and in many was it should never be touched again, now we just need China to stop using slaves.
     
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  20. eddie_dane

    eddie_dane Used to mod pc's now I mod houses

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    I agree with everything you said +1 (contrary to popular belief - hopefully nexxo will agree- , I like agreeing)
     

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