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The West In Decline?

The West was great. But what about now? Debt. Fear. The Euro. Is the West out of gas? Is our time up? Big-time historian Niall Ferguson gives us his take.

Historian and author Niall Ferguson talks about his new book, "Empire," during an interview in Cambridge, Mass., April 11, 2003. "Empire," a follow-up to a television series that drew 2.5 million viewers in Great Britain, is a spirited defense of Britain's record as an imperial power. (AP)

Historian and author Niall Ferguson talks about his new book, "Empire," during an intetrview in Cambridge, Mass., April 11, 2003. "Empire," a follow-up to a television series that drew 2.5 million viewers in Great Britain, is a spirited defense of Britain's record as an imperial power. (AP)

For five hundred years, the ascendancy of the West has driven world events.  Sometimes brutally.  Sometimes beautifully.  But it’s been the West on top.  Now, as Europe shakes, the U.S. struggles, and China and India rise, historian Niall Ferguson is asking whether the long era of Western ascendancy is over.

Whether we’re living through a long decline – or could see a sudden collapse.  Maybe soon.  Avoiding that means a cultural and institutional “reboot” says Ferguson, to revive the sources of Western strength.  Our “killer apps.”

This hour, On Point: Niall Ferguson on the fate of the West.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and author of Civilization: The West and the Rest.

Highlights

Anyone worried about the gradual decline of the west might to be looking through rose-colored glasses. The financial crisis gripping Europe – coupled with the “powder keg” of new, unassimilated immigrant communities – could help trigger a global power shift from West to East, contends Harvard historian Niall Ferguson.

Niall Ferguson in the studio with On Point's Tom Ashbrook. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Niall Ferguson in the studio with On Point's Tom Ashbrook. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

“When you look at complex organizations, whether it be empires or corporations, they are much more likely to collapse very suddenly,” Ferguson said. “As we look at our own civilization, we should steer clear of the assumption that a gentile decline is all we have to worry about. We should be much more worried about collapse, than decline.”

Historically when the West encountered other civilizations, they crumbledswiftly, Ferguson noted, pointing to the Inca and Aztec empires, as well as the Ming dynasty in China. The Roman Empire, for its part, fell apart quite quickly in the early 5th century, “in the span of a few decades,” he said.

The current financial crisis paralyzing Europe is a case in point, the historian said. “The project to integrate Europe into a single monetary union is, in fact, unraveling at a terrifying speed.”

More worrying, the financial crisis may be only the trigger for something worse. Ferguson called unassimilated immigrant communities in Europe “powder kegs.”

“When economic shocks hit multiethnic societies which haven’t been well integrated, look out,” he said. “Those people who have created enclaves of multiculturalism, i.e. of Sharia law, in parts of Western Europe, have created, I think, a very unstable situation.”

“If the rule of law is different in certain parts of a country, you’re already in dangerous territory. I think we need to bear in mind that the potential for ethnic conflict in times of economic crisis has not gone away,” said Ferguson. “And that the multiethnic cities that have been created in the Western world are not necessarily going to remain stable if economic growth remains as low as we’re currently seeing.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The Guardian “It has been an intellectual spat of some savagery, so far largely confined to the refined pages of one of Britain’s most respected literary magazines.”

TED “Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture — call them the 6 killer apps — that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable.”

Newsweek “There’s another problem. Just like the populists of a century ago, the Teapopulists are drawn compulsively to disastrous presidential wannabes. I never asked you what you thought of Mitt Romney, Ted.”

 

Excerpt

In this book I want to show that what distinguished the West from the Rest – the mainsprings of global power – were six identifiably novel complexes of institutions and associated ideas and behaviors. For the sake of simplicity, I summarize them under six headings:

1. Competition
2. Science
3. Property rights
4. Medicine
5. The consumer society
6. The work ethic

To use the language of today’s computerized, synchronized world, these were the six killer applications – the killer apps – that allowed a minority of mankind originating on the western edge of Eurasia to dominate the world for the better part of 500 years.

Now, before you indignantly write to me objecting that I have missed out some crucial aspect of Western ascendancy, such as capitalism or freedom or democracy (or for that matter guns, germs and steel), please read the following brief definitions:

1. Competition – a decentralization of both political and
economic life, which created the launch-pad for both
nation-states and capitalism

2. Science – a way of studying, understanding and ultimately
changing the natural world, which gave the West (among other
things) a major military advantage over the Rest

3. Property rights – the rule of law as a means of protecting private
owners and peacefully resolving disputes between them, which
formed the basis for the most stable form of representative
government

4. Medicine – a branch of science that allowed a major
improvement in health and life expectancy, beginning in Western
societies, but also in their colonies

5. The consumer society – a mode of material living in which the
production and purchase of clothing and other consumer goods
play a central economic role, and without which the Industrial
Revolution would have been unsustainable

6. The work ethic – a moral framework and mode of activity
derivable from (among other sources) Protestant Christianity,
which provides the glue for the dynamic and potentially unstable
society created by apps 1 to 5

Make no mistake: this is not another self-satisfied version of ‘The Triumph of the West’. I want to show that it was not just Western superiority that led to the conquest and colonization of so much of the rest of the world; it was also the fortuitous weakness of the West’s rivals. In the 1640s, for example, a combination of fiscal and monetary crisis, climate change and epidemic disease unleashed rebellion and the final crisis of the Ming dynasty. This had nothing to do with the West. Likewise, the political and military decline of the Ottoman Empire was internally driven more than it was externally imposed. North American political institutions flourished as South America’s festered; but Simon Bolivar’s failure to create a United States of Latin America was not the gringo’s fault.

The critical point is that the differential between the West and the Rest was institutional. Western Europe overtook China partly because in the West there was more competition in both the political and the economic spheres. Austria, Prussia and latterly even Russia became more effective administratively and militarily because the network that produced the Scientific Revolution arose in the Christian but not in the Muslim world. The reason North America’s ex-colonies did so much better than South America’s was because British settlers established a completely different system of property rights and political representation in the North from those built by Spaniards and Portuguese in the South. (The North was an ‘open access order’, rather than a closed one run in the interests of rent-seeking, exclusive elites.) European empires were able to penetrate Africa not just because they had the Maxim gun; they also devised vaccines against tropical disease to which Africans were just as vulnerable.

In the same way, the earlier industrialization of the West reflected institutional advantages: the possibility of a mass consumer society existed in the British Isles well before the advent and spread of steam power or the factory system. Even after industrial technology was almost universally available, the differential between the West and the Rest persisted; indeed, it grew wider. With wholly standardized cotton-spinning and weaving machinery, the European or North American worker was still able to work more productively, and his capitalist employer to accumulate wealth more rapidly, than their Oriental counterparts. Investment in public health and public education paid big dividends; where there was none, people stayed poor. This book is about all these differences – why they existed and why they mattered so much.

From CIVILIZATION: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson. Reprinted by arrangement of Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright (c) 2011 by Niall Ferguson.

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  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org Steve Banicki

    Yes it is.

    He who plans for the future usually does better than the one who takes one day at a time. This is why China is quickly becoming the number one power in the world and the United States is slipping. Chinese history and culture goes back more than 3,000 years. The history of the United States covers only 235 years. This is the basis of their long-term perspective.Much of America’s population living today takes for granted that we are the leading country in the world, both economically and militarily. Many in this country believe that God endowed us to be the leader in the world. If one believes that God created America to lead the world, us mortals living in America have less urgency to compete because we know God is on our side. I have some stunning news; God also created the Chinese. More:  http://bit.ly/vFBbR8

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Really?  God created other people?  Are they people?  These are some of the questions in the religious forum, evident by the way they try to treat others-NOT as they wish to be treated!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Walts/1366163819 Jim Walts

    In keeping with the other comment.  I wonder what role religion has played in limiting inspiration and curiosity?  It seems the more religiously dogmatic societies are more backward and repressive.  Witness the view of science of late with the radical religious right wing here in America.

    • flytrap

      You are either a bigot or ignorant.  Great secular govt’s of the world, Post revolutionary France, Lenin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s China, Kim Il Sung’s Korea, Castro’s Cuba, Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia that I can think of.  Only the Germans and Soviets could reasonably claim technological advancement.  And that was shortlived.  Looking at history I would have to say that secular places don’t do much for inspiration and curiosity. 

  • Roy Mac

    Implies that the east/mid-east/somewhere else is ascendant.  Need some countervailing evidence.  Today, maybe; next month, hard to say.  Hardly the premise for an hour of air time.

  • Yar

    I thought the tools of Western conquest were Barbarianism, Opportunism,  Racism, Religion,and Disease.  
    The value of writing down history can never be underestimated. We don’t know much about the peoples of Canaan, but we know from Genesis 17 verse 8 “I will give this land to you and to all your descendants. I will give you the land you are traveling through—the land of Canaan. I will give you this land forever, and I will be your God.”  
    Was this the seed of Western colonization?  What better justification can one have than; “In my religious text, God gives me what belongs to you.” 
    Travelers also have an environmental advantage, they are already exposed to diseases and have built up some immunity, the sick are left behind.  Genghis Khan is quoted “The
    greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you,
    to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him
    shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and
    daughters.”

     It is said that even Genghis Khan was chased by somebody.  
    The current problem with Western Expansion is we have already covered the globe.  The current model of “make a mess and move on” has come back to haunt us on a global scale.  
    Somehow single cell organisms learned to work together and become the complex body we call self, we now live in a world that needs to learn to work together and become one.  Can you see this world as a single organism? The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Ghengis Khan, Hannibal, Napoleon, the Spanish Conquistadors, the French trapper-traders, the British colonists, the colonizers of ANY countries, the timber barons, the coal barons, the oil barons, the manufacturing barons, religious conquerors, and others, ALL have GREED as their controlling emotion!  There’s NOT a lot of difference in ALL of them!

    • Steve

      Thank you for the broader view.

      I would like to respond to..
      “In my religious text, God gives me what belongs to you.” 
      I think that an even larger context would examine the ramifications of “belongs to…”

      Religious:
           -the earth belongs to the Lord and the fullness
             thereof…
      Economic:
           -cooperative and accumulative
      Pscychological:
           -humility and arrogance
      Governmental:
           -freedom and responsibility
      Utopian:
           -perfectability and balance

      List is off the top of my head and not by any means conclusive.

      I look forward to the conversation and thoughts on the board.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Was Caanan land NOT occupied by people, when Moses led his people there?
            Was Palestine NOT occupies, before the state of Israel was established in 1947?
            Are not ALL people God’s people?
            Is the Bible wrong in that?

    • notafeminista

      Bears mentioning that “mess” is relative.  

  • JustSayin

    IMO The mechanism of power is a society structured to most efficiently capture and then exploit available resources.

    The West is declining because of the logistics of resource exploitation.

    China’s rise is due to discarding ideology in favor of structured capitalistic exploitation of existing resources, mostly its people.

    Also, the US has been able to capture the intellect and talents of world populations for many decades, this will slow somewhat due to US social and structural decay. Intellect no longer needs to leave India, Brazil, or China to live a prosperous life (The Brain Drain).

  • Doug Welch

    The Industrial Revolution has been the ultimate bubble.  It is very appropriate that you asked, Is the West out of gas?  Our decline and its current symptoms reflect the decline in cheap, plentiful fossil fuels.

    This line of thought is nothing new.  The historian Walter Prescott Webb implied as much in his 1951 book, THE GREAT FRONTIER.  Before the Age of Discovery Europe has reach a subsistence level balance between land, people and resources.  The discovery of new lands and resources made the West what  has been for the past five centuries.   Now we are reaching a subsistence level balance between land, people and resources on a global level.  In order to continue our current abundance we would need to swing another earth or two into our orbit to provide resources and plenty.  That is not going to happen. 

    The question is whether the West declines or can handle the transition to a materially spare, culturally enriched civilization.
    Denial of our current predicament is great, and the lessons of history are not encouraging.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      It COULD be done!  Re-use, Re-cycle,  Re-consider before buying!  Cheap energy is blowing all around us, shining down upon us!  Spending MORE energy to obtain fossil energy, instead of the modest needs to obtain free energy, says a lot against us!

  • Ed

    The West started to practice abortion, the killing of human beings. Apart from the massive moral evil, it deprived the West of 1/3 of a generation of people whose talents and contributions were lost, and they aren’t there to support and participate in the society. Decline as a rest is predictable and fast.

    • Anonymous

      Oy vey.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Id deprived depraved priests of VICTIMS to rape!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        It deprived depraved priests of VICTIMS to rape!
            That’s why these Catholics oppose abortion!

    • Anonymous

      No abortions in China and India?  We lack jobs for the actual people.

    • Brett

      How do we know that this so-called “1/3 generation” “lost to abortion” would have had talents and contributions to “support and participate” in society? Maybe they would have mostly been lazy and in need of consequences from the criminal justice system? Maybe they would have been gay, atheist or worse, Muslim! Maybe there would have been a Charles Manson or two in the bunch? Maybe some of those abortions prevented a murderous psychopath from inhabiting the world? Maybe one of those abortions would have produced a world figure who single-handedly would have brought down Catholicism?  

      • notafeminista

        But above all, they would have been alive.  Are you implying they are better off otherwise?

    • mary elizabeth.

      Abortion is as old the ages. 

      • notafeminista

        …in other words….”we’ve always done it this way.”   

        Sound reasoning.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Ed, you NEVER adress the massive moral evil of the Catholic church promoting Child-Molesting and Child-Abuse, by hiding, protecting, and lying about  the pervert priests!!   YOU are morally qualified to judge morality?

  • Anonymous

    Niall Ferguson makes some interesting points.
    However he seems to let colonialism and all the horrid things that went along with it out his thesis. At least on what is posted here.
    Having not read his book I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

    I guess the fact that the British Empire forced British made cotton onto the Indian subcontinent is addressed.
    This was one of Gandhi’ acts of quite rebellion, home spinning.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    THE WORLD is in Decline!!  The GREEDY rich have bought politicians, judges, regulators, and other key people, to get control of everything that matters!!  National Security, Finance, Patents, Energy, Pollution Regulations, Business Regulations, the Justice System, Water, Congress, Religion, Jobs, and almost every aspect  of life is contaminated by their control.  NOT just in the United States, but MOST of the world.  Listen to several sources of news, not just Celebrity notes, and it becomes self-evident!
        They call for sacrifice from unions, workers, citizens, and other poor or working-class, while GRABBING MORE! 
        The Greedy rich are STRANGLING the world, for more power!
        What do you do with a $Billion, grabbed by GREED, and immoral methods?
        What is your life worth, when you are CONSUMED, and CONTROLLED, by GREED?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    I wonder if this shift should be viewed not in terms of the precipitous decline of the West and the meteoric rise of the Rest but more in terms of a global balancing of the scales. As Mr. Friedman has stated numerous times we are a world that is getting hotter, flatter, and more crowded by the minute and the longer the human race remains divided between West and Rest the closer we all come to decline. I recognize that history is not on the side of unification and shared sacrifice across borders but is this not the time for nations from both West and Rest to seek another, higher path? Rather than worry about the rise of the Rest, the West must offer help and guidance so that all may rise together. Idealistic thoughts of a millennial? Sure. Necessary for a 21st, and dare I say a 22nd century of human advancement and prosperity? Absolutely.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      GREEDY rich OWN the law-makers, and others that judge, regulate, enforce, and interpret the laws and regulations that they usurp for their own power to waste resources!

    • AC

      Who determines this ‘higher path’? i like what you are saying, but if you spend any time in the east, you will see it is VASTLY different. I personally feel I would have a difficult time accepting some of their ideals. In fact, I know I couldn’t. Especially as a woman….shared sacrifices aside, it may be a matter of philosophy were the hangs ups occur.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

        I have spent time in the east and I do agree that it is drastically different philosophically, but that is an area where I believe the West has a role to play in encouraging the protection and perpetuation of human rights and democracy. This would be part of the “higher path” I alluded too. Higher path may have been too broad though. Global path would be better I think, and I would like to see it laid out and implemented by a better funded and strengthened United Nations with a broader and more inclusive Security Council. Though the Rest are rising, the West still has plenty of power and influence left. If that power is put towards expanding the role of international organizations and establishing a fairer and more inclusive international government then differences in philosophy and culture can be acknowledged, discussed, and perhaps even improved upon.

    • Steve

      A utopian “higher path” is always a dream away but I think that a ”universal higher path” is not practical unless you believe in the inherent goodness of man.

  • Anonymous

    When Richard Nixon began the end of isolation of communist China, he unleashed a competitor now with over a 1 billion slave laborers not protected by child labor law, EPA or OSHA. Reagan and his Free Trade Crusade didn’t help because the only ones playing by the rules were US. In the interest of  promoting the success of our global corporations, we have impoverished The People who they once employed. Thirty years ago it was clear that local manufacturing was competing on an unlevel playing field with respect to safety, health and environmental regulation, but ideologs plowed full speed ahead ignoring the concerns of industry and labor unions: free trade was the ultimate policy for success! The effects of shipping tens of thousands of jobs overseas every single month for decades are now hurting us really hard.
     
    What were they thinking? Doh! They weren’t! The facts are in, were are in decline and its not Obama’s fault:  these are the fruits of the Republican Revolution: the wealthy are three times wealthier and the middleclass has been devastated. They have won and many of us face poverty if not immediate, in the future. We risk entering an era of neofeudalism if we can’t get past the ideological obstructionism of the Tea Party.
     
    Republican politicians are blaming everyone except themselves for the devastation caused by decades of imbalanced republican tax, regulatory and trade policies.  Moving forward, it won’t help to base our governance on the ideology based policy that have undermined our strength: that would only help accelerate the damage of chaotic change. How about some reality based policy like changing the tax laws that makes it advantageous for businesses to ship jobs overseas and not pay taxes like GE and Verizon. Oh, but not, that would be raising taxes on ‘job creators’. Ooooo.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Too True!!  You can expect a visit, or at least monitoring by one or more of the 85,000 Security Contractor personnel, for insulting their gravy-train!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      The Rich transfered all manufacturing jobs overseas to save money from retirement plan, health insurance and other benefits that will cost them a fortune to invest with American employees. China’s law for workers are not require to have those benefits.

    • Anonymous

      “Globalism” has and is worshiped by both of our major political parties. 

      It is the instantaneous global deployment of capital taking advantage of the lowest labor costs, regardless of working conditions, along with an utter disregard for the impact of this on any individual country, that is the problem.  People may have allegiance to a country, but money doesn’t.  Couple that with a huge decrease in the amount we require that globally-deployed capital to contribute to the well being of the country of its holder (taxes) and you have a recipe for disaster.

      • notafeminista

        And providing jobs (and economic freedom) to those who had none before.  Remember, a large population of the planet lives on less that $2 a day.

        • Anonymous

          Like I said, it constitutes a race to the bottom, with capital at the betting window.

          Or maybe you know of a place in America where one can live on $2 a day.

          • notafeminista

            Maybe you know why Americans deserve those jobs more than non-Americans? 

            We like Malayasians (Guatemalans, Indonesians, fill in the develeoping country of your choice) just fine, just make sure I get mine first right? ;-)

    • Fredlinskip

      How about tying tax cuts to employing American workers. Why are corps given huge tax incentives and even subsidies (i.e- theythey are taxing Americans) when they are investing, hiring, and even purchasing everywhere but in America.
          GOP are currently calling for corporate tax cuts and deregulation similar to that which was present just before the Great Depression- Brilliant

  • Siva

    Great topic! Is this really the decline of the west or the
    collapse of its economic model? The west got to realize that its “quarterly-based push up further”
    economic growth model is not only unsustainable but also against the
    eco-system of the nature. We have used up the most of the earth’s finite
    resources. People are no more interested in bubbles and busts. The daily stock
    market drama has exposed the irrationality of rational decision makers. Joe the
    commoner has nothing more to lose. Is
    now the time to finally acknowledge that the west’s economic model is collapsing?
    I guess Niall is the best person to answer. I expect an honest answer.

  • Anonymous

    What does Professor Ferguson think about Newt getting paid $1.6 million as an historian?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Don’t ALL historians get $1.6 $Million?  History is important!  Especially the history of a less-than-century-old financial organization! 
          Historians are important people, to certain organizations.  HONEST people call them LOBBYIESTS!

  • Anonymous

    I find the whole notion of the West in decline to be ironic.

     

  • Bob from Vermont

    I think you can split the globe another way too. Northern cultures because of the harsh winters developed storage, thus accumulating nature’s abundance in the growing season, which made one wealthy in early the development of civilization. The closer you lived to the equator, the more likely the culture was a foraging one where there was abundance in the rain forest or a nomadic one in the case of desert climates.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Good Points!

      • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

        But in many tropical areas, you have a problem with disease and parasites that you never see in colder climes.  And that’s, of course, yet another problem with global warming that no one is talking about.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Then there is plague, which I read was raging even as my ancestors were deciding to leave the continent. But I believe that came to Europe via those Portuguese exploring ships after the Chinese ocean navigation stopped.  And if you look up plague in medical sites, you’ll find that it is a thing that could still raise its ugly head.  Not in the tropics, but here.  Don’t talk about it, though.  These things are always mutating, and could mute right into our midst with horrible effect, and no oceans dividing us like they used to.

          • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

            True, and I think most forms of plagues are currently treatable.  I’m talking about the diseases that aren’t currently treatable.  Western cultures brought smallpox and measles that wiped out more native Americans than the wars did.  American cultures “gave” early European travelers more kinds of VD that spread throughout the rest of the world.  We’re just very lucky that the last fast-spreading pandemic was nearly 100 years ago (AIDS, luckily, isn’t airborne, and while many people have it it doesn’t spread as quickly as the flu).

          • Tina

            As you possibly already know, many fishing ventures took Europeans to the shores of the Americas before the settlements at Jamestown and Plymouth.  Those earliest landings, plus exploratory  ventures from other countries, including Spain, brought diseases to the Native Americans such that their populations were already devastated and destabilized when the Europeans landed in what would later be called Virginia and Massachusetts.  The loss of so many men, women and children is thought by many scholars now to be the reason why some Native American leaders created confederations of tribes to better meet the challenge of what was happening and what they suspected might happen with the coming of these new people.  The reason that some of the Native American leaders were willing to be so conciliatory in certain deals with the newcomers is now thought to also be a response to the loss of so much of their “man”power to illnesses.  Earlier historians made Native leaders out to be “power hungry” when creating confederations, and “stupid” when making deals with unknown newcomers.  The Native leaders made rational responses to the extraordinary destabilization of their communities because of the huge loss of population that occurred BEFORE the events that Euro-Americans consider(ed) significant.  

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Good Point!  Some of us are!

  • Anonymous

    I wish Jack Beatty was on today too.  That would be a great discussion. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Remember that fisherman that caught a huge Tuna Fish? one of the biggest that was caught so far.The tuna was worth $200,000. Federal government confiscated the fish because it was not caught by reel and rod. The fisherman has the legal Permit to catch that fish.

    That’s how Greedy the Federal government.

    • Anonymous

      The rule is to protect the fish from being caught using nets as that would destroy the population. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        It was totally legal for him to catch that Tuna. The net was legal if it wasn’t how come he got a permit? He obied the law

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          How can a fisherman catch a 754 pound tuna with fishing rod?

          • Nutricj

            there are deep sea fishing rods that can pull in that weight and more

        • Anonymous

          The net was legal for some fish but not others.  He caught something that wasn’t legal to catch with the net and therefore it was confiscated.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Did he have a legal permit to catch tuna in a net?  Just because you have a license to fish, does NOT mean you can fish with dynamite.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I guess I’ll have to buy the book to understand how a society can exist WITHOUT competition.  It seems what we have is pseudo competition between multinational entities that to some extent depend on the existence of the few other corporate entities in the category to keep the game going.  They can buy the governments to prevent self-destruction in their excesses.  
        However, there is also the other kind of competition, where the best turkey has the most guests, who are then more or less obligated to the host.  I suppose that exists and has existed globally.  This is not the same as warlords, but it is akin to the local coffee shops vying for the best and most reliable clientele.

    • Tina

      Hi, Ellen!  That concept of “the best” when it comes to competition….  So many restaurants around here are vying to be ‘the best” that they offer weirder and weirder food.  I’m in love with the food at a new restaurant which makes food that tastes like my mom would have made it (she was born in the early part of the 1900′s!!). Yet, I watch regularly as restaurants that serve food that I like open up with food that pleases me only to wind up changing their menu over time until the food offered is more of the same old, same old that I can find in dozens of local restaurants.  In other words, MY “the best” is NOT the locally agreed-upon taste.  Then, talking about “the best”, as in “the best” price, people line up to go to the discount Big Box stores which I avoid on principle and because I don’t like wasting my money on the junky version of a brand name item because I’ll only have to replace the item in the future when the cheap one breaks.  I’m all alone, instead, off in a small store, often with locally-made items, hoping they have something I can give as a gift so that I can support the local economy while pleasing a family member.  Sometimes “the best” gift to give is not to be found, in spite of my “best” efforts.  The local commercial landlords pretty much guarantee that there will NEVER be a competition between creative stores in my town:  the rents are too high (for NO good reason because there is a downward spiral of business failure here) for the creative, unique stores, so we get nothing but boring corporate stores that NO ONE SUPPORTS, so they go out of business within a year, OR we get real estate and insurance agency storefronts, which guarantees the boredom that is bad for all potential commercial ventures!!  I’m exaggerating slightly, as there ARE one or two nice stores and one or two nice restaurants, but for the size of the town, those numbers are ridiculously low!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Did you watch 60 Minutes last night? if you did you saw and heard how greed can be legal in Wall Street even if it will cost the entire American economy.

    • Ellen Dibble

      It has seemed immoral to be successful for some decades now, here in the USA.  There are elements of exploitation in so much of American success — not the original Protestant work ethic of God rewards the hard workers at all.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Hard workers are rewarded with MORE hard work, handed down by the GREEDY rich, to divert attention from the GREEDY rich rewarding themselves MORE from the hard-workers!

        • notafeminista

          Open your own business then.  No law says you have to work for someone else.

  • DohdoubleGee

    Whatevs Dogg…

  • Ellen Dibble

    Mayb the current bubble is the outsize incomes of the uberrich, where they keep saying they have to be paid more than the next guy or they’ll quit.  The ecosystem may play a part in pulling that down, but will “it” take down all the killer apps listed above?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Quoting from the excerpt from Ferguson above:  ”Austria, Prussia and latterly even Russia became more effective administratively and militarily because the network that produced the Scientific Revolution arose in the Christian but not in the Muslim world. ”   Here’s where I’m thinking there are other “styles” of competition — because the Arab world gave the original boost to science, which was then taken on board by the West at the time of the Renaissance.  Not that the Holy Catholic Church was really on board with that, but maybe some institutional stability figured in, and the accumulation of wealth by a nation or city versus an individual with weapons…

  • Dee from NYS

    All empires end, most badly. Failing to plan for it and acknowledge it ensures the end will be worse than it need be.

  • Anonymous

    We’ve gone global – or at least the 1% has. For them there is no west or east, just places to make money. And over the past generation that has created a byproduct of growing China and India, while pushing the west to spend themselves broke.

    It has much, much more to do with greed than politics.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The Western model is that the individual if the fundamental unit.  We have rights that we’re born with, not privileges that we’re given by society.  As powerful as the collective models can be, I still bet with the West.

    • Anonymous

      Western Society has determined that we are born with those rights. 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        I’d say that Western society has discovered that we’re born with them, not determined.

  • Iccheap

    The West may be moving towards a much lower standard of living, but it isn’t a result of being out competed by China, or other low wage (and subsidized economies) countries.  These countries aren’t following a new paradigm – it’s just more of the same, but more cheaply done.  They’ll fail too, much more rapidly than we have.  Welcome to “power down”.

  • Chris in Maine

    If one takes a walk in the deep woods, one sees old trees, dead trees, and little sprouts of new trees. There is a natural effort to vie for more sunlight and moisture. It is just as natural process in world economies. It would behoove us to be comfortable with this natural fact.

  • Akfaka

    History is like a sine wave, every culture will reach its apex and decline. No culture can resist this natural rhythm.

  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org Steve Banicki

    Americans are not good at looking at the long term. Long term for us is more than a year. Long term for the Chinese is well over a century. Part of the reason is that our country is just over 200 years old while China has been around well over 3,000 years.

    Both countries are willing to make short term sacrifices in order to gain a long-term advantage. The problem is our definition of short term is measured in months and years while the Chinese measure short term in decades or maybe centuries. More:  http://bit.ly/uthSK3

    • Anonymous

      It is measured in quarters more than month or years. 

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Science is showing that we are in for a decline — the environment will crash unless we change our energy use quickly.

    Neil

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Renewable energy and better conservation methods will be the best changes!!

  • Hal from East Boston

    Niall Ferguson has left out of his important list the one that underlies all the rest: the free play of intellect. Intellectual liberty, the right to employ the mind in speculation and the development of new concepts is the key to all the rest.  This includes , importantly, religious liberty. Look at the Muslim world, once progressive and inventive. They have embraced the most foolproof formula for stagnation and decline humankind has ever devised, RULE BY PRIESTS. A billion people forced onto their faces five times a day, touching their foreheads, the seat of intellect, to the dirt. How much of what we call progress can be expected in such a world? Let us hope the Arab Spring eventuates in the overthrow of clerical rule, for all our sakes. 

    • Anonymous

      It won’t.  The Islamists are the only groups organized enough to win elections. 

      • Hal from East Boston

        You may very well be right, John. That is why I chose the word “eventuate” (as in eventual.) I think there are considerable numbers of people in the Muslim world who aspire to the personal liberty and opportunity for personal development and individuality we enjoy  in the West, but who cannot be too open about it under present circumstances. It is probably going to be a painful and dangerous struggle for such as these,  but I believe the general direction of history is liberal and progressive, and that one day there will be a sufficient number (a critical mass, if you will) who because of pc’s and internet and personal ambition will one day be able to raise that tattered but noble banner that all despots fear to see, the one that says “We’re not afraid of you bastards any more!” I think the Arab Spring has emboldened many and will continue to embolden more. Here’s to the separation of church and state, of sectarian religion from overnance, of priesats from the levers of power,  in every land. 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          RIGHT ON!!!

    • notafeminista

      Forced? 

  • Ed

    One could say that many of these developments result from the world view from Judeo-Christian theology.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Not so, at least not entirely.  The humanist element of those religions certainly participated, but it was humanism in general that taught us the value of liberty.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Judaism seems to me a lot about cohesion of a group bound by history, genes, beliefs.  Christianity seems to me, at root, almost the opposite.  Let the widow Trump pay for the fish; leave your family and your inheritance and live like the lilies of the field, taking the Good News about loving kindness across the globe, indiscriminately, not just to “us.”  So that’s different.  It seems to me the killer apps evolved IN SPITE of those two.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      “Do as I SAY, NOT as I DO!” religion, that cannot fix itself!

  • Pffefer

    Ferguson is exaggerating again. The western domination of our world is ingrained in almost aspect of our life to the degree that modernization equals “westernization”, sadly. It is simply impossible to reverse it today or in the near future. More importantly, the current world order, aka the “rules” that the US always accuses countries like China of not playing by, are designed by the west to benefit the west. As long as the rest of the world continue to be absent at the table making and amending the rules governing the world, they will continue to be stifled by the west, regardless of what economic progress they have made. I do agree with him though that rule of the law is one thing that enabled the west to come ahead, and it is something that has to be emulated by the non-western world. China’s capabilities will never be realized until rule of the law is established. I’d say the next 500 years belong to the west.

  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org Steve Banicki

    “Should it really matter if some other country is richer and more militarily powerful? Who cares if some other country has economic supremacy as long as your country is prosperous and can manage its own internal affairs. For example the countries of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, each

    economically advanced, seem to have no qualms about who rules the world as long as they are left alone to be prosperous and peaceful, though their attitude might well change were whoever held the purse strings to start to curb their freedoms and encroach upon their way of life. But until that happens, whether the global financier is China, Russia or America seems, for them, largely irrelevant.” How the West Was Lost Dambisa Moyo
    America is losing it and it will take drastic action for us to get back on course. Why has this happened?  More: http://bit.ly/r24Vrn

  • Who needs the Connection

    I have been telling people that my daughter will be attending university in Singapore. When they ask when she starts I respond, “in 17 years because she is only 9 months old now”. I see a dim future for the US & Europe (we spend summers in Portugal).

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Better education with Singapore Math.

      • AC

        she’ll need to master giggling first…how Singapore likes their girls – ‘cute’ and ‘quiet’

  • Dan Wilson

    With the increasing compression of economic progress that will result from a growing worldwide population fighting for dwindling resources, seems to me that societies with more efficient central planning will succeed where more “democratic” societies will suffer.

    • Nutricj

      i often wonder if we will progress to more continental combined governmentally oraganized systems- rather than countries at all. based on money- just as he is discussing the marriages based on money- canada/usa combine. european countries combine. etc. we have seen the beginnings with the euro for the financial “benefit.” what will it all look like 100 years from now if we follow the money marriages of nations?

    • Imrightdammit

      Ethnically or racially homogenous perhaps (aka Han Chinese) but in fact multiple points of planning/interaction in your economy strengthens it against attack at the center. That said, I hope you’re wrong about everything.

  • Iccheap

    I believe the property rights issue was integral to the West ascendancy.  The problem now is the lack of ecological respect given to the benefits land affords.  It’s always appeared to be an endless bounty (capitalistic redux), but we understand many ag lands are hitting breaking points and will lose large amounts of productivity in the coming years.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think Tom Ashbrook might need more answers when he says isn’t consumerism unsustainable, in terms of what the globe can handle.  Maybe that part of our toolbox of killer apps OUGHT to be retired.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Does Ferguson think the cake is going to get bigger (which he presents as the answer) without wrecking the environment?

    • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

      And that’s the problem with the classic conservative model of the world – it really isn’t sustainable.

  • AC

    what about the statistic showing female infanticide still on the rise in Eastern countries? i just googled it and saw a site claiming by 2020 they will have 30 to 40 million more boys than girls? Won’t women start becoming persecuted? even more so in china and India? How can they continue to be strong?
    (The person saying they want their daughter to go to college in Singapore should consider self-defense lessons for her…..)
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=there-are-more-boys-than-girls

    • Terry Tree Tree

      With the reduction of females comes, a RISE in homosexuality, female abuse, female subjugation, RAPE, economic and violent competition for females, and a myriad of other serious problems, in my opinion!

      • notafeminista

        You find homosexuality to be a serious problem?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I’m tolerant, but NOT interested.  Most religions, governments, and societies still find homosexuality to be a problem!  I just pointed out some results of a decreased population of women, of which I am VERY FOND of!

  • John C

    Tom,
    Get out your guest’s way. He actually said he spoke to someone in China who was involved in hacking US sites… what an opportunity to hear something significant. I would have liked to hear what he heard. You cut him off, again and again.

    • JayB

      Tom seems in a particularly interrupt-y mood today.  It would have been nice to hear the guest complete some of his thoughts.

  • yankeetex

    Ah, here we go again.  Another “decline” crisis, which – to my memory at least -started with Spengler’s “The Decline of the West”.  I suggest that everyone view Ferguson’s book (along with Tom Friednman and Michael Mandelbaum’s recent “That Used to Be Us”) as catering to a periodic “declinism” panic that has recently been embraced by the publishing industry.  To help you understand what’s really going on – and as a dose of smelling salts to relieve any paroxysm of despair – I recommend for your reading Adam Gopnik’s excellent essay in the New Yorker, “Decline, Fall, Rinse, Repeat”. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/09/12/110912fa_fact_gopnik  Gopnik concludes that “Declinism is a bad idea, because no one can have any notion of what will happen next. Yet the idea of our decline is emotionally magnetic, because life is a long slide down, and the plateau just passed is easier to love than the one coming up.  One of the painful things that smart people learned in the last century is that the future cannot be an object of faith, and only the credulous can see clear auguries in patterns of the past.”

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Yes, but civilizations do indeed, fail. 

      Listen to the voices of the past – prior to declines, or wars, and you’ll hear voices on both sides of the argument.  There’ll be people utterly dismissive of those they call pessimists, or defeatists, and those who see the facts for what they are.Mixed in are alarmists to predict collapse will happen the day after tomorrow – and so, when the world doesn’t end, they’re discredited – and the peril(s), if real, continue to worsen.   What’s unsettling – for anyone paying attention – is there are many distressing fronts of worry which, speaking for myself, can’t be chucked aside as so much hysteria or fear mongering.  

  • Knowitall

    Whether or not the West is in decline is up for grabs, but Ferguson is correct about the cyber warfare threat. The attack on the water pumping station last month was an attack, despite the denial by DHS. I found the program that did it up on the piratebay.

  • JMC

    our way of living is unsustainable, a lack of confidence in the system is what i see taking place. We canot rise again until the marketplace receives an enema and a new marketplace is created. Other countries are expanding under the same premise that it will provide a return of wealth but they are ignoring the same fact that eventually the majority that receives little or no benefit to such a system will reject this approach.
    Putting confidence in ideology of an economy instead of placing facts of its outcome is eventually a faulty foundation that will crumble in any society, it is just a matter of time.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Agreed! The electoral angst is palpable. At the root of our dismal mood is a growing awareness of limits – tinged with the terrifying proposition that we either change, or it’ll forced upon us such that the slide will get ugly indeed.

  • Dick

    Jared Diamond in “Collapse” posited that the arc of societal growth, success and then decline is predicated on the leverage of a certain resource, be it wind power, coal / steam and in our western case, oil. What is the resource that the East will tap into to create their “arc” over time?

    • Anonymous

      Cheap labor. 

      • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

        I spent a few weeks in Australia last year, and I was very impressed by the more rational use of resources than in the States.

        • TFRX

          Isn’t Austrailia more arid than any year-round populated place with “civilization” on earth? Once a community realizes it’s running out of water, they may be inclined to not “saw off the branch they’re sitting on” for all ecological matters.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Good question.  Given the dwindling supply of easy to extract oil, the competition for what remains at a sustainable price will be fierce – not to mention a potential point of conflict. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        UN-NECESSARY conflict, and competition!  Re-newable sources are FAR cheaper!!  FAR more available, too!!  Just harder for the GREEDY rich to control, and reap GREEDY profits from!!

        • notafeminista

          Not really.

  • Ellen Dibble

    The societies that do not reproduce many children, Ferguson says, example Italy, “screams decadent society” to me.
       Hey, has he ever heard of people who don’t have the wherewithal to establish a family and even try to raise children?  It isn’t as if everyone were living on farms, where food grows out the front door.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    The West invented something that will make the poor more poorer around the world.

    Capitalism!!!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Genuine capitalism makes a larger percentage of the population well to do than any other economic system.

      • TFRX

        True, but capitalism also has the distinction of being the only economic system that can ruin capitalism.

        • notafeminista

          As opposed to Communism or Socialism that ruins everything.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Crony Capitalism, Subjugating Capitalism,and Phony Capitalism by the GREEDY rich, are the problems of Capitalism!

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think the killer apps are ingenuity, transparency, that sort of thing — not the killer apps of the past, to be sure.  But that’s what’ll pull us through.

  • Ed

    “In the West we find a strange lack of will for the future.” Pope Benedict.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Catholicism and Islam BOTH seem to have great belief in a future that is in heaven.  Plan for it, or ELSE.

      • Anonymous

        True, but only Islam lets murderers, rapists, racists, and other people of poor moral quality into heaven.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Only Islam?  Have you looked into Christianity lately?

          • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

            Forgiven people get to go to Heaven, according to most brands of Christians.  If Hitler asked God for forgiveness, he could have gone to Heaven (unless God was a Calvinist, of course).

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            It’s easier to get forgiven when the deed was in support of the official theology.  Heretics, on the other hand. . .

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Just lately??  That HYPOCRICY has existed for thousands of years!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Catholic church protects perverted priests, that Molest and Abuse children!  Doesn’t that indicate that they think that will get them into Heaven?

          • Ellen Dibble

            Apparently those priests can “confess” and be forgiven, and thereby get into heaven.  And of course those confessions are privileged communications, direct to God, and cannot be extorted by the legal system.  (Or can they?)

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Catholics believe that a priest “confessing” in private, to another molester and abuser, relieves the trauma of hundreds of VICTIMS of his?  I’m sure that makes it all better!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          ONLY Islam?  ONLY if you don’t know History!  The Catholics if the Spanish Conquistadors, the Protestant belief in ‘Manifest Destiny’ that depended on raping, killing, and stealing the lands of the Native Americans, enslaving, raping, killing of the African Americans they brought over here to exploit?   Get a clue!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Of course he says that.  People aren’t obeying him any more.  The Papacy has fallen since the Renaissance, when the popes controlled armies.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      If you future is continued RAPE by priests, then condemnation by the church, for the resultant perversion of the VICTIMS, what will for the future would YOU have?

  • Anonymous

    The west will decline if we don’t throw the progressives out of office and return to traditional american values.

    • AC

      which decade of tradition do you mean?

      • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

        Slavery, women not having legal rights, child labor witchhunts, the usual “traditional” values.

        • AC

          o god. that really would make the West just like the East…..no wonder some are for it…

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Those WERE the ‘values’, NOT so long ago, here!   SUBJUGATION, while preaching ‘equality’, ‘brotherhood’, ‘respect’, and many other ‘relgious’ ‘beliefs’, that are deceptions!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Yes, those ‘conservative’ values, along with HYPOCRICY of sexual dalliances, hetero AND homo!   The ‘traditional’ values that ALL preach so openly?

        • notafeminista

          Oh stop it.  Parents didn’t need to put their children to work, they chose to out of a desire for more economic freedom. And if you want to talk witch hunts, look at some of the posts in response to  so-called conservatism. 

          • notafeminista

            Furthermore, slavery is hardly an “American” tradition – unless one assumes history began in 1620.

      • TFRX

        The one he time-travels back to via the “Pleasantville” portal.

      • Anonymous

        American traditions don’t change over short periods of time like decades.  You should read some american history to better understand American traditions that have held our society together.

        • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

          Some lines of my family have been in this country since 1642.  I had one gXgrandfather who was a minister who was fired for daring to travel on the Sabbath to treat a sick child (ministers often served as doctors in those days).   I think one difference with our ancestors who immigrated to this country is that they were looking for the future, and not just trying to replay “traditional values.” Some “traditional values” are nothing short of evil.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            1619, for one side of my family, THOUSANDS OF YEARS, for some of the others, so many of the ‘American Traditions’ of the Native Americans were wiped  out by the late-comers!

          • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

            Please don’t hate me for having an ancestor who was nicknamed “The Indian Fighter.”  That was then, this is now…

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Although the European branch of my family tree is mostly preachers, I’m sure there were ‘indian fighters’, too.
               I don’t hate people, I hate what they do! 
              Actually, I ‘liked’ your reply, and liked your reply!  
               What your Father, Mother, Sister, or other ancestors did, is NOT you, and your actions!

          • notafeminista

            Then isn’t it high time the US stopped apologizing and doing penance for slavery?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I have heard that Texas is getting text books that say it didn’t happen!  Does that sound right to you?

          • notafeminista

            Once, again, you didn’t answer the question.

        • Anonymous

          To quote another poster: “J”

        • AC

          this is very vague. can you please offer more specific information?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      There is no such thing has American traditions.
      American’s tradition is celebrating Holidays.

      • Ellen Dibble

        lololol

      • Anonymous

        You should come visit america sometime.  You will quickly be able to see some of the american traditions that have held our society together.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          Excuse me I live in Boston for 20 years now and I’m still here. The American tradition that I experiences for 20 years in America were Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving Day or Christmas but traditional values is non existant.

          Do American take care of their elderly until they die? Do American kids respect the old people? the list goes on my friend.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The party of ‘NO’, has been NO help in making things better! 
         ‘NO’ lost over $44 $Million, trying to save $16 $Million spent on small airports!
          MANY other examples of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse, Supported by the party of ‘NO’, due to their racist agenda against the President!

  • Bob

    Tom, pleas Ask Neil what about the radical wealth transfer towards the 1%?  His premise that things like social security are are “the problem” goes unchecked.  I think it’s about gaming the system and having it become too tilted towards the wealthy. 

  • Anonymous

    FYI: China has 50% of the workers working for the government and 50% working for the private sector

  • Tina

     —- Ahhh, “property rights” supported by the “rule of law” is how the Europeans got so much swindled or stolen lands from the native Americans, adding to Euro-American wealth.  The Europeans’ “property rights” over their African and/or African/American slaves gave them power over the human labor which did all the work on that ill-taken land.  What a way to accumulate wealth, and these methods MUST be seen as fundamental to how Western wealth was made, altho many people do NOT see things this way, preferring to think that early colonial and early federal Protestant “hard work” was “rewarded” with the wealth that still underlies things here. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      BINGO!!  Amazing isn’t it!

    • notafeminista

      I thought it was fairly well agreed upon that native Americans didn’t have a system of ownership………….?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Agreed-upon, by whom?  Those that took the land and posessions, justified by the religions that proclaim brotherly love, love all, as you treat the least among you-so you treat God?

        • notafeminista

          It is possible I am incorrect.  Is it or is it not a given that then native Americans did not have a system of ownership?

          • Anonymous

            Hey, that’s a great idea.  I must regret to inform you that my “system of ownership” requires you give everything you claim to own to me.  Or don’t you believe in the rule of law?

          • notafeminista

            Begs the question.  In order for something to be given or stolen, it must be owned.  Was it or not?

  • Webb Nichols

    The party is over. Growth is no longer an indicator of resiliency. Innovation rewards the innovator and the investors. Manufacturing rewards the business and all who participate.

  • Anonymous

    Everyone agrees a capitalist model requiring infinite growth is just not sustainable.

    Well, we’re there – US and Europe are full up. Investors are fleeing to where there’s still growth.

  • Sunilx
  • Iccheap

    Anyone who has spent any time in large China cities realizes there is an emerging public health disaster.  Brain and body development in those air quality conditions can’t be good for you.

  • Paul Angiolillo

    I haven’t heard any mention of Brazil–one of the big and latest economic successes in the Western Hemisphere, and one that is following a different philosophy than the U.S. It seems a missing piece to ignore the nation with one-quarter of the world’s arable land, for starters.

    • Ericwholley

      And Brazil has one of the three largest aquifers in the world – a powerful natural asset in the coming years as water becomes something to go to war over. 

    • Nutricj

      great reminder

      and what a great example/leader in alternative fuels-

  • Anne in VT

    With the increasing power of global corporations to shift labor to where it is least expensive and their ability to influence environmental policies to their own advantage, is the very notion of individual governments becoming irrelevant?

  • Denny

    Don’t most of the innovative ideas come from the West, especially the US?

  • Ed

    One big event in China is the growth of Christianity in China, especially Catholicism.

    • Anonymous

      So there is hope for their downfall? 

      • notafeminista

        As opposed to hoping for their downfall…;-)

    • Ellen Dibble

      Of course generations were indoctrinated through Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book that religion is a ridiculous delusion.  To the extent that religion is motivating, unifying, and in many ways beautiful, the economic opening of China has included the cultural opening that has, in my own experience, allowed Chinese to look at the religion of the so-successful West, and make it their own.  Hey, it’s glad to embrace you.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Billions for priests to molest and abuse?

    • Anonymous

      Well THAT will be the end of them!!!!

  • Anonymous

    China also executes more people than the rest of the world combined!

  • JMC

    if you cannot provide a decent living wage for the person that you solely depend upon for producing your products, not able to produce products that do not include materials that are ultimately harmful to the consumers health, and must consume a greater amount of resources provided by the social population that your business resides without reinvestement back into that social collective support that keeps your company afloat you are too big and should scale down your expectations of growth down. Our economy allows gross expansion without an oversight of the consequences to size. I could care less if China or any other country has no issue with killing off their population in exchange for profit, my life and family life is worth more than a lower price of a toxic product produced by someone working at slave labor levels.

    • notafeminista

      If the worker cannot live within the means provided to him by his employer, perhaps he should scale down his expecations of what sort lifestyle he can afford.

      Is he trying to have “champagne taste on a beer budget”?

      • Anonymous

        30% of wealthy people haven’t worked an honest day in their life!!! They either have inherited their money or won some kind of lottery (winning a lawsuit, an actual lottery, or maybe discovering oil, or gas on their property, etc.). Many of the rest have also, at least, got a helping hand up from personal connections, or wealthy family members and most have never had to contend with racism either. At the very least, most wealthy people got free, very good schooling, paid for by their families. Luck plays a whole lot in whether or not you make it into the 1% (maybe as much as 50-70%). The difference between being rich and poor could be as little as an illness!!! Don’t claim it is otherwise!

        • notafeminista

          Define working an honest day.  Are you suggesting you know better than your neighbor how he should or should not earn his money?  By what authority are you granted this expertise?

          • notafeminista

            The difference between being rich and poor could also as little as a simple choice.   Peskier that way isn’t it.  No one to blame.

          • JMC

            i do not think that any of us if given the choice would have the 1% act so irresponsibly and ask us to bailout their bad decisions, as you said, live within your means.

          • notafeminista

            I don’t think that any of us have any idea what it means to live like the so-called 1%.  It is well-known that money doesn’t buy happiness, why do you keep demanding THEIRS?

          • JMC

            because without me and you they have no income, we are the consumers that create their wealth. I dont want to take anything from 1%, just play by the same rules instead of depending on me to support not only your products but also your risky behaviour.

          • notafeminista

            And without them we have no jobs and no innovation.  It’s called interdependence.  Read about it.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            If you are not part of the 1% of the ultra-rich, why do you spend so much effort defending them?

          • notafeminista

            Because I can…:-)  ain’t freedom of speech great?  I love watching folks get all exercised when someone disagrees.  Divisive indeed.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            EXCELLENT!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            The choice to be part of the GREEDY rich, that made a financial mess, then whined until the taxpayers bailed them out?

          • notafeminista

            Again, how much do you consume and/or own beyond food, shelter and fuel as you noted above?  No luxuries at all?  Living in a one room house heated by peat you dug out of the bog behind house? (Insert Monty Python reference here, lol) Walk to work do you? Grow all your own food?

            And yet, I suspect you count yourself among the 99%.

      • Anonymous

        Aren’t you the guy who claims to be able to live on $2 a day.  Is that the “means” you’re suggesting?

        • notafeminista

          I don’t claim to be able to, it is a fact that a large portion of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day.   Labor in these countries is significantly less expensive than in the US.  Why shouldn’t someone in Malaysia or Indonesia or Ghana have the opportunity to earn more than they do now?

  • Eva Moseley

    I called too late to get on the air with Niall, my next-door neighbor in Cambridge.   My question was about Oswald Spengler, who wrote The Decine of the West (in German) more than a century ago.  In my youth in the 1940s and 50s everyone knew about Spengler but I suspect no one read him.  I wonder whether Niall refers to him and how his views differ from Spengler’s.

    • Lee Kwan Yew

      Spengler is referenced in Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf and is part of a school of thought that existing around the time when you came of age. BUT it was also a bit racsit really and one came away with the sense that we were going to be overrun by eastern hordes–in short the general sense of discussion going on right now. Ferguson has a lot of of good points, but for it to succeed it really needs to be devoid of any racial sense.

      That said….hmm. Your name Eva. You weren’t a Mitford were you?

  • Mattc

     Is China is so great, then why doesn’t anyone want to move there?  Niall just stated young Egyptians ultimately want to leave Egypt to move where?  Probably the West and not China.

    • Anonymous

      Not such a great place for laboring people to move to.  Excellent destination for monied interests however.  And those “people” are moving there in droves.  

    • Anonymous

      Chinese Americans and many U.S born business people and individuals ARE moving there (at least to make more money than they can here). There have been thousands of young Americans moving there! Is it better to starve here, or move to China?

  • Sunilx

    Tom, forget Pankaj Mishra. Ask Ferguson how he answers David Bromwich who wrote a review in New York Review of Books.

  • Roger Hard

    Decline of the West is tied to the decline of the middle class.  London and Paris have already had their building-burning riots by the underclass who have lost hope.  Our “occupy(city name here)” movement was a subtle reflection of the same problem.  If some organization could afford to pay for transportation and lodging (more tents?) for the disenfranchised in this country, there would have been hundreds of thousands of demonstrators snarling the financial districts of America.  Bloomberg was worried that what happened in London would happen here… and it still can!  There’s a reason why the upper class is retiring in heavily-gated commmunities.  Watching the unrest in the mid-east and Greece could motivate others in the world to view revolution as a logical solution.  On a positive note, I think the USA has the capacity to find a solution, without having to go to war (i.e., our “liberation” of Iraq was a step backwards).

    • notafeminista

      People retire to gated communities because of the alarming number of people in our society who choose to behave in a pleasant and uncivilized fashion (to put it kindly). 

      Much of this is because there are no standards anymore  – it’s all situational ethics.

      • notafeminista

        Dratted editing.  should read “unpleasant and uncivilized fashion”

        • Terry Tree Tree

          That’s why those unpleasant and uncivilized  individuals hide behind gated communities? 

          • notafeminista

            Ready to give up all your “things” except food, shelter and fuel yet?

  • JMC

    i agree with what Ferguson states as looking what is wrong with the West, if the East can take a critical eye on the system yet provide a free marketplace that supports their citizens that could produce a very effective landscape.

  • Butchfoote

    1) The global issue is IGNORANCE.  Science is under attack in the West so that we can return to a knowledge from authority model in civilization.
    In the U.S. we have a substantial percentage of the population that are so poorly educated that they don’t ‘believe’ in evolution but they rely every day on evolution’s foundation for the medicines and care they get.
    These same people are easily swayed by the make-believe news from outlets like Fox.
    2) The U.S. became ‘wealthy’ because the settlers here found a million square miles of forest to harvest, ship to a clear-cut Europe and vast fisheries to feed them.  The transfer in net worth from Europe to the U.S. was our vc funding.  We are doing the same to China and India after doing the same for Saudi Arabia, etc.

    • Nutricj

      to your #1- have you read ‘Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free’? such a good read!

    • Anonymous

      Good points. We attack science at our own peril.

    • notafeminista

      Ah yes – the fall of the West and thus the world is stupid people.

      Science is a tricky thing…it was not so very long ago that surgeons didn’t think it was a good idea to wash their hands before performing surgery.

      Menthol cigarettes were actually prescribed to some patients with certain types of breathing ailments.

      ….science.  A useful tool and nothing more…nothing less.

    • Will H

      Don’t forget the people behind Fox and attacks on science like the populace dumb and easily manipulated.  That’s the real force behind the accelerating wealth gap, trickle up, and the decline of our democracy.  Eventually, most of us become peasants and serfs.

  • Todd

    Niall is unsurprisingly spinning a narrative that fits with his political views. His claim that China is, despite our perceptions otherwise, somehow more market-oriented is patently wrong. Half of all workers are employed by government – that is a strange correlate to supposed market dominance. (http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-11-28/markets/30449203_1_guess-public-sector-government-sector).

  • Ellen Dibble

    Ferguson says that poverty is due to globalism, “far more than the malice of people at Goldman Sachs.”
       Hey, I don’t see ANY malice at Goldman Sachs.  I suspect they give more to charity than I do.

    • JMC

      giving to charity should not provide you with a greenlight to be unethical in other areas, your intention of giving is not in the right place.

      • Ellen Dibble

        I was trying to point out something about tax deductions versus actual tax rates.  There are other ways of protecting income from taxation if you are way at the bottom of the ladder (making sure you’re in a line of work where payments are not reported to Uncle Sam).

        • JMC

          thanks Ellen, care to elaborate, I am not sure I understand your point. 
          thanks.

          • Ellen Dibble

            The rich who are personally lobbying for the right to have a fairer kind of taxation are saying (places like The PBS NewsHour) that depending on the uberrich to use charity and tax deductions is not the way to go to ensure the Common Good, as the Constitution specifies.  For that, you need something organized, like a tax rate that makes it possible for the nation to plan, to predecide on this or that space program, or fighter plane, or education system — VERSUS hoping the rich have the time to figure out what will achieve the Public Good and distribute resources accordingly.
                I agree.  Bad government wouldn’t do it, but good government would.

          • JMC

            ok, so how do you get around the way corporations are taxed compared to individuals, if I use the interstate everyday to go to work should I pay the same rate of taxes that my company is using the roads on a macro level. It would seem that their impact on the public utility is much higher justifying a higher tax rate. The company also would retain a much higher return from the use of that public utility than what I am receiving as a wage. Correct?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            CORRECT!

          • Ellen Dibble

            I don’t know about taxation of corporations at all.  As to roads, would I as a bicyclist and non-car-owner get a tax rebate?  I hope not.  I want the roads to carry people who need them, oh, yes, and to encourage car-using enterprises to consider relying on them.  But MY tax money would benefit the most, it seems to me, if it were building a buried-in-the-ground multidirectional energy grid, so anyone on a stationary bike in front of a TV would at least be feeding back that energy to the Common Good (and so that in a high wind, that power line/grid would not pull down tons and tons of branches, etc.).

          • JMC

            got it, thanks for the thoughtful comment

        • Anonymous

          The bottom 47% of Americans don’t pay any Federal income taxes already.  While they do pay other taxes, it seems like the bottom 47% of us are not overtaxed

      • notafeminista

        Y’know, given the good president’s history of giving/not giving…I think you might be on to something.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/25/obama-tax-returns-low-on-_n_93353.html

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Percentage-wise?

    • Anonymous

      “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtains…”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Capitalism is a society ruled by the profit motive. The wealthy hold disproportionate power within capitalism and use it to preserve their interests, especially the ability to make more money. But in generating these profits, the system causes various forms of social and ecological trauma.

    • Anonymous

      Is there a better system in your opinion?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        How can there be a better system when the American government destroyed the reputation of other economic systems. Do you remember all those radio and TV Ads before in the 50s,60s,70 and 80s? I do I saw them in Manila.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          American School or National System is one example.

      • Anonymous

        Will we ever be allowed to find out?

    • notafeminista

      Except it doesn’t.

      • Anonymous

        Capitalism (as practiced) brought us burning rivers.  Literally.

        Government (as in the EPA) put the fires out.

        When capitalism as practiced internalizes costs so that burning rivers are no longer possible, since nobody would vote for that result in a true marketplace, then you will be correct.  Until then, NOT!

        • notafeminista

          Fantastic.  Which tenet of capitalism specfically says burn a river or that burning rivers are good?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            UN-regulated GREED!

          • notafeminista

            And where in capitalism does it prescribe greed of any kind..regulated or un-regulated?

          • Anonymous

            A slaughter house doesn’t come out and say that killing animals is good, it just does it every day – for profit (not altruism)!!

          • notafeminista

            Of course it does.  Why do you go to work everyday?  To make money…hello?!

          • Anonymous

            The “who cares” one!!!!!! The one you support and celebrate.

          • notafeminista

            No such thing exists.  That is a projection (or at the very least a grievous assumption) by the Left.

          • Anonymous

            If one can increase their profits by doing so, is it “good” or not?  I am referring to this, which happened when pollution in the course of doing business was an accepted result of the free market:
             http://pratie.blogspot.com/2005/03/cuyahoga-river-fire-of-1969.html

          • notafeminista

            Pollution still exists and no one said the burning river was good.  No one.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Those wanting to do away with , or chain the EPA, and de-regulate polluters, DO!

          • notafeminista

            Ok where?  Be specific.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          SOOO many other examples available to one who’s mind is not closed!

          • notafeminista

            Such as?

  • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

    I do agree with Ferguson on his comments about corruption of law, politics, and the general failure of schools in many places. 

    • Ellen Dibble

      Me too.  It’s frustrating to agree with so much, and see his logic then go, to my mind, astray.  Or maybe it made sense from 1996 to 2008.  Put it that way.  Oh, to return to that enlightened way of viewing things.  NOT!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        That’s the method of the ‘conservatives’ here!  Start with some truth, then keep twisting to a warped conclusion!

  • Drew You Too

    “We have to address these issues right now”
    Well said Mr.Ferguson.

    Interesting show, great guest, and a board full of relevant comments. Good way to start the week, hope everyone has a great day.

    • Ellen Dibble

      You too.

  • Q

    The new challenges will be the acute decline of our planetary ecosystems. This will result in a new dawn of conflict, and will be generational warfare, a global community with the younger  turning the turrets toward the older generation who are currently misguided on the core issues of tomorrow, which Mr. Ferguson articulates exceptionally well.

    • Iccheap

      yep, but the problem is our younger generation is extremely disconnected (in general) from the natural ecosystem and doesn’t understand how to live in harmony with it.  The majority of our country is incredibly ingonarant about food production and the energy it takes.  Learning, for many, will be very shocking.

      • Iccheap

        oops, ignorant is as ignorant writes ;-)

  • Robert Riversong

    It is Ferguson, not OWS, who is naive and self-deluded. OWS largely understands that capitalism (the core of Western dominance and built upon those six functions) is dysfunctional, unsustainable and dying (while killing the rest of the world).

    The six “killer aps” are the six reasons that the West has undermined its natural and human resource base, created the greatest inequality in human history, and resulted in a lower quality of life and less generalized satisfaction than even many so-called third-world societies.

    The very foundation of Western culture and dominance was wrong from the beginning and destined to self-destruct. The great tragedy is that, because we marketed it so well, much of the Rest has adopted much of our worst.

    • Nutricj

      mcdonalds at the louvre and tokyo- more profitable than in the US, kfc in communist china, spam for the pacific islanders…couldn’t agree with your last sentence more- we sell them the bag of our bad goods and they buy it more than we do.

      • notafeminista

        Gosh you’d think they’d be smarter than that.   I thought Americans were the stupid ones.

    • Anonymous

      Our laws are, clearly, NOT equitable! Just ask any poor person accused (and then quickly convicted) of a crime.

      • notafeminista

        I KNOW….just look at the application of so-called hate law.  VERY inequitable.

    • Anonymous

      From history, it would seem that eventually all large and powerful societies collapse more as a result of internal forces and conflict than from external forces. China may be the next to experience this problem much faster than even us (but both of us could go down).

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Niall Ferguson says that the root of our problem is something wrong with our “system” — the problem is pretty basic: we consume lots of different resources at rates way quicker than they are renewed.  We are not separate from “nature” or the environment.  We are very much a part of it, and our economy is a subset of the environment.

    Neil

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Almost 100 types of Economic system but only one can destroy the fabric of competition. Capitalism.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      What happened to National System invented by George Hamilton was used until the end of the 1940s?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        I meant Alexander Hamilton

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Gee, I thought you were trying to promote the perma-tan. :)

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            Imelda Marcos liked a man with perma-tan.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Ironicly, I thought it was the over-tanning that made him look older!  He was around way before 1940?

    • notafeminista

      That isn’t a tenet of capitalism.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the discussion with Niall Ferguson. However, I was disturbed by the tone of Tom’s questions. He sounded very combative and challenging, the subtext seemed to be a dismissiveness of Ferguson’s critique. Since the kind of collapses that Fergson is cautioning about are usually (always?) dismissed by the establishment before they happen, I think Tom should have been more respectful. The savings & loan debacle? The dot.com bubble? The housing bubble? Lehman Brothers? The Eurozone crisis? Be afraid… be very afraid. I am!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Niall more than held his own.

      • yankeetex

        Niall deserves the rough treatment.  He has wasted a brilliant intelligence on a fraudulent book and thesis that dates back as far as Spengler’s “The Decline of the West” in the early 20th century.

        • wenrob

          Yes, and similar criticisms have been leveled at most (all?) of those who put forth critiques or warnings that go against the received wisdom. It will certainly become clear how “fraudulent” his thesis is.

    • Anonymous

      If you have ever seen Ferguson interact with others, which I’m sure Tom has, he used the absolutely correct approach in dealing with him. 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Ironic, isn’t it?  The West is in decline, Irony is in decline, and they follow one another in programs?

    • Anonymous

      As do the right wing divisive comments above.

      • notafeminista

        Oh heaven forbid someone have a differing point of view. 

        • Anonymous

          Yours has been EXACTLY THE SAME for over 50 years!

          • notafeminista

            ….and?  It’s working just fine for me.  I LIKE freedom…I LIKE liberty….I LIKE creativity….I LIKE thinking outside the box. 

            What I DON’T like is someone telling me I can’t because of what MIGHT happen.  Good lord, if all we worried about were the “what ifs” we’d never leave the house.

        • Anonymous

          Funny, seems to me the very thing you do protest about is the very thing you wish to deny me. How is it when you go on about your ideology it’s all fine and dandy but when someone, such as myself, calls you on it you get all hot and bothered.

          • notafeminista

            I have denied you nothing.  Only moderators and web masters can do that.  However I will remind you that it was you who referred to me as divisive, not the other way around. 

  • Anonymous

    Tomorrow Obama is to give a Hugely important class warfare speech!

  • notafeminista

    Hum.  Of course the West is in decline.  The Left wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Anonymous

      Spoken like true regressive republican.

      • notafeminista

        Hey, I’ve read the coments on the board.  Have you?

        • Anonymous

          Yes, I have and the more I read of yours the more convinced I am that you fall into this regressive political ideology. I for one do not want to go back to the 1880′s.

          • notafeminista

            Well then stop encouraging it environmentally in the name of climate change.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, you’re the only one trying to STILL defend these stupid old ideas.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The party of ‘NO’ government has now been heard from!  No progress, NO laws for the GREEDY rich, NO regulations against polluters, NO consideration for the working-class, and NO morals, evidenced by their ‘leaders’!

    • Anonymous

      And the Right doesn’t have the imagination or intelligence to DO ANYTHING (but maybe take us back to the 1920s). Not one single creative idea has ever come from those on the right (and cutting taxes and regulation is NOT a creative idea – same one as 30-50 years ago).

      • notafeminista

        My my…I feel a bit like Galileo today – speaking in contradiction to accepted policy – flying in the face of the majority.  The voice in the proverbial wilderness as it were.  Quite thrilling I must say.

        • Anonymous

          They are all decrepit OLD ideas – admit it!! They have all been tried for over 50 years (with almost no success at all – except for the 1%)!

          • notafeminista

            Okay, one you are incorrect.  And two, you cannot point to a successful alternative. 

            (on the other one, one is reminded of Thomas Sowell at this point..”If you put out a fire, what do you replace it with?”

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Another silly analogy!

          • notafeminista

            Ok, if you put out a fire, what DO you replace it with?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            If the fire is burning your property, WHAT do you want it replaced with?

          • notafeminista

            I don’t want it replacde. That’s sort of the point.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          More self-delusion?

          • notafeminista

            I’m certainly not in the majority, wouldn’t you agree?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I hope you are NOT in the majority!

    • Anonymous

      Do you even know what “innovation” is????

      • notafeminista

        Yes, why?

        • Anonymous

          Most conservatives want to go back to prescience and pre-Darwin, in particular. Most conservatives don’t trust science, and scientists at all (at least until they have to go to the hospital).

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant insights and discussion.  
     
    Especially the observation that the once great “Rule of Law” in America – and upon which all the rest of our society depends  – has disintegrated into the “Rule of Lawyers”, which will have devasting consequences to the very fabric of society. 
     

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, but lawyers will get to keep having full employment!

  • leftofcenter

    First, to say that the Occupy protestors (with hundreds of groups worldwide) are “naive and don’t have a clue about economics” is frankly a cheap shot. This shows me that Ferguson and other right wingers only use that as a soundbite to help sell books. Second, if we’re still the “greatest” country in the world, the how come we’re bankrupt? Set aside the economic semantics and please face the real facts.

    • Anonymous

      We’re not broke!!! If you take what all the 1% make, we’re doing just great :-)

  • leftofcenter

    Another reason we’re still having this global depression is because the MSM (and yes, this includes NPR) are more interested in hyping economist’s personalities instead of actual discussion of real economic facts. Is that because news directors and talk show producers think actual facts are way too boring for the average listener? Therefore, let’s “sex up” the discussion instead?

    • Anonymous

      A book is just the ticket for entry into the discussion – if you don’t have a book to hock – forget it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    I will just take those jagged little pills.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      A song called Ironic by Alanis Morisitte.

  • Glider25701

    The whole development of the west, as noted in your talk in acknowledging Newton’s contribution, has largely, not entirely, been founded on technological innovation.  Asia’s progress has been based on duplication of what has been shown to work in the west, technically at least.  Until Asia shows its ability to innovate on its own, it can only follow.

    • at

      Perhaps the ratio of new patents taken out by Asians and the West is the best evidence that this is also changing as the east adopts the west views of pursuit of happiness and liberty — if they are capable — and Japan and Korea seem to be at least partially so.  Thank god for the victory at Salamis or we would all be like that.  By like that, I mean the compliant drones of a total authoritarian power structure.  One were in the past if an agent for the emperor overheard a child saying something negative about the gov or emperor, the entire neighborhood would be executed for a hundred leagues radius from the place the incident took place.  In the west we also have this authoritarian bent, and during the dark and middle ages pretty much anyone who stuck their heads up got it cut off.  This is how the royals and uber wealthy tend their flock.  Luckily we also have a lingering tradition of heated debate among equals determining our course The OWS activity is evidence that spirit of Athens still lives.  The corporate and banking, influence and corruption of our government and the near ruin it has lead to is very Asian in quality, as is the devastating gap in incomes that is polarizing and stratifying our dynamic republic

    • Anonymous

      The Ottoman empire didn’t follow at all – it just conquered! Many other societies also gained power by force rather than innovation as well. That’s the other way that power can be attained. Technology is the relatively recent way (less than 200-300 year old method).

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The technology of Leonardo DaVinci was more than 300 years ago.  Gunpowder-rocket-arrows were more than 300 years ago.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, but the economy didn’t yet revolve around these innovations – that was much later (that’s why Da Vinci was a visionary).

          • notafeminista

            Market didn’t revolve around iPods either, or the PC, or radios, or automobiles, or the use of oil as power (as opposed to coal).  Inventors, innovators see a niche and fill it, God bless ‘em.

        • Anonymous

          There wasn’t yet a big market for flying machines, parachutes, or snorkels back then.

  • notafeminista

    By morals, if you mean taking money/property away from people that you think don’t need or deserve it and giving it to people you think do need or deserve it based on nothing more than your opinion?  I am elated,ecstatic and pleased beyond all measure not to have morals like that.

    • Anonymous

      NO ONE PERSON “deserves” billions of dollars! That’s more than some small countries make. People are not the same as entire countries, or societies (especially given an individuals many, many shortcomings and moral deficiencies. NO, in order to be able to make even millions, it requires THE HELP of many, many, other people who may get little or nothing in return for this help. We need all people to be treated equitably – not just like willing suckers! In exchange for work, everyone should get their fair share of “the dream” and certainly enough to live on. $8-10/hr is not enough for most people to live on in the U.S. (certainly any millionaire would agree!).

      • notafeminista

        Says WHO?

        • Anonymous

          Says the common good of society.
          Your social Darwinism is nothing short of regressive politics. This kind of attitude gave us the Robber Barons, we don’t need this kind of backward regressive mindset. 

          • pete

            What attitude was that? Freedom?
            Choice? Self-determination? Personal property rights?

          • notafeminista

            Robber implies they took something that did not belong to them.  Care to share an example?  Furthermore how on earth can YOU dictate what is good for me?  (assuming you are part of society, no?)  You know nothing about me.  So pray tell jeffe68 what do YOU think I NEED.

          • Anonymous

            It’s called majority rule (a great invention)!!!!

          • notafeminista

            Excellent example.  Want to talk about majority rule and Prop 8 in California?

          • pete

            Or slavery in the 1800s?

          • notafeminista

            12 of the 13 colonies were slave in 1789 as I understand it.

          • Anonymous

            Doesn’t always work when not combined with basic laws protecting PEOPLE (as opposed to just property).

          • notafeminista

            Ah right then.  Inequality acceptable sometimes.  Check.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Food, Shelter, Fuel, is ALL you NEED to survive!  Got more? 
               As much as you try to rationalize for them, you must either be wealthy, or paid to rationalize for them.

          • notafeminista

            Is that all you have?

          • Modavations

            What is wrong with being wealthy.Your classist”chip on the shoulder” has  compromised your logic.American Indians are tourists from Mongolia.Please come up with a replacement Greedy Rich.What you call Greed,is what I call self interest.You still sound like a hysterical chick.By the way,you our obscenly outclassed,by Not a feminista

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You call that ‘class’?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            The Robber Barons promised top wages to people, to get them to work for them, then paid in Company Script, which was worthless, except at the Company store, and Company businesses!  If you didn’t like it, after you found out, and left, they sent hired guns to bring you back!  GREEDY rich!
               Surely you knew why they called them Robber Barons!  You rationalize for them.

          • notafeminista

            What did they take that did not belong to them?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Being extra dense today?

          • notafeminista

            You didn’t answer the question.

          • Anonymous

            What I said too!!

        • Anonymous

          Go back to your cave – please!!

          • Anonymous

            I meant – Montana!!!!

      • notafeminista

        It is not up to anyone….you or the millionaire to determine what I need or what I can afford.  We are all of us…every last one of us determined by the choices we make.

        • Anonymous

          Sure it is!!! It’s called a societal call. Happens all the time, especially in a representative democracy. We can even nationalize companies if the vast majority of people in this country want us to (but hopefully we don’t have to and they will get the message). Governments and policies don’t HAVE TO always stay the same – especially if they don’t work on behalf of the MAJORITY. You see, most people really don’t care about the 1%, even if they might dream one day of become one of them – they now see that their chances of this are better winning the lottery! Sorry, your arguments will have fewer and fewer listeners (or, rather, KoolAid drinkers). And, by the way, a new study has found that less than 17% of the wealthy actually create ANY jobs at all – most make their money by just moving it around and creating NO JOBS!!!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            The ‘job creators that got ALL those tax cuts, because they CREATE JOBS, just lied and stole the tax-cut money??  What stinking low-life, self-rigghteous, GREEDY excuse for a human being would DO that?    Just 83% of the wealthy!!
               Who can say GREEDY rich! ?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Some choose to live for GREED, regardless of who it hurts!

          • notafeminista

            I have my own job, my own car and my own place.  I am not one paycheck away from so-called disaster.   Does that make make me greedy or pragmatic.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Depends on how you got it, and how you use it!

          • notafeminista

            How so?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            If you have to ask that question, you would NEVER understand the answers!

          • notafeminista

            That means you don’t know.

          • JJJimmmanyC

            Terry I appreciate your mild and continually sane responses in this forum. 

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Thank you.  I try!

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

          apparently you were not born with a mental/physical/socio-geo-political defect.  congrats – me neither.  that makes the other 99% what, none of your biz?  You don’t care how the other part lives?  or you just washing your hands of it?  my hands have deep stains, white as they are…

          • notafeminista

            Why do you need to ensure that all of us are somehow defective and thus in need of YOUR help?   Why do you have this overwhelming need to create a dependency on you?  Just what master are you serving?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Perhaps the Jesus Christ, that many ‘conservatives’ and ‘Christians’, CLAIM to serve!

          • notafeminista

            Is it or not?  I suspect you invoke the name of the Lord in vain.  Tsk.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        notafeminista’s $Millionaires will PROVE that it is EASY to live on $8-$10 per hour, because ALL of them will live on $5 per hour, 40 hour week, for twenty years!  Families and ALL!

    • Anonymous

      Why? It’s the basis for Locke’s social contract on principles of stewardship based on Roman common law. For Thomas Jefferson, the phrasing was “usufruct” and you can read up on it in his extensive correspondences with James Madison. I’ve often found that the people who are most quick to invoke the Founding Fathers often thoroughly disregard them in the process.

      • notafeminista

        Taking others money/property by force and/or coercion is not part of the social contract.  I’ve often found that those who want to invoke the Founding Fathers often thoroughly misinterpret them in the process.

        • Anonymous

          Who said anything about taking things by force as a part of a social contract other than you. Don’t argue strawmen with me. Indeed, many people who invoke the Founding Fathers have and will continue to misrepresent them led by the people on the right like the Glen Becks, Rush Limbaughs and the Tea baggers. With what I had written in reply to your initial, wrongheaded opinion, tell me where I misrepresent Jefferson (a Founding Father):

          “… [N]o man can by natural right, oblige lands he occupied… to the payment of debts contracted by him. For if he could, he might, during his own life, eat up the usufruct of the lands for several generations to come, and then the lands would belong to the dead rather than the living, which would be the reverse of our principal. What is true of every member of the society individually, is true of them all collectively, since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals.” 

          - Jefferson to Madison, Sept. 6, 1789.

          • notafeminista

            Right at the very end.  “the rights of the whole CAN BE NO MORE than the sum of the rights of the individuals.”   In other words collectivism.  The rights of the whole.  Or perhaps you are choosing to ignore (maybe misinterpret) that section?

          • Anonymous

            Actually, I did no such thing and I’m growing more confused by your lack of understanding not only of my position as cited through the Founding Fathers and through Lock’s social contract, both of which you’ve wrongly accused of me of having mislead, but by your own initial premise which reeked of social neo-Darwinism and which now is stuck somewhere between there and collectivism. Feel free to keep accusing me of being dishonest however while you’re working out your reactionary whims. 

          • notafeminista

            It means the collective (the whole in this case) cannot be more important than (or subjugate the rights of) the individual for the sake of the common good.

          • Anonymous

            Collective meaning the heirs of an estate passed down from generation to generation without regard to the labor invested into the land which to Jefferson and his property theory stood as the only claim to ownership and not some deed. 

            From Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia: “Every person of full age neither owning nor having owned [50] acres of land, shall be entitled to an appropriation of [50] acres in full and absolute dominion, and no other person shall be capable of taking an appropriation.”

            Clearly, the above attests that Jefferson believed in a form of collectivism. It’s just not the same Marxist or Maoist collectivism you’re insisting upon and are arguing against. 

  • Ellen Dibble

    Just looking at Massachusetts, which made its Indians full Massachusetts citizens at the time of the Civil War, there were immediately land issues. The Indians in the case I’m familiar with at that time, 1860, had stretches of land that the state government wanted surveyed and declared either common land (the equivalent of town farm, town right-of-way, town common) or the property of specific individuals or families.  There may still be reservations in the sense of non-transferrable tribal land, but I’m not sure, but also I think there is ownership by Indian descendants on other land.  
    Other tribes, other locations, other dates, other states, I bet it varies.  

    • Anonymous

       Considering that most of the native people died from disease brought over by the Pilgrims the very idea of giving Indians full citizenship is a little to little to late.
      Look up King Philips war.

      • Ellen Dibble

        These were the Wampanoags, they of the First Thanksgiving, and Deerfield, too, I think.  But yes, there was a law granting citizenship (a mixed blessing, probably, but anyway).  I’ll fetch it, or reference to it.  Hold on.

      • Ellen Dibble

        http://books.google.com/books?id=NH-QMdK9-F4C&pg=PA152&dq=Gay+Head+fishing+rights&hl=en&ei=JG2HTrKVHsbh0QHJ0YD2Dw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Gay%20Head%20fishing%20rights&f=false
        I can’t paste from it.  But I retyped some.  And then it says in 1870, the town was incorporated and given to include the nonpersonal property. 

         ”A more successful land return based upon a violation of the trade and Intercourse Act of 1790 involved the Wampanoag tribe of Gay Head, Massachusetts.  In 1746 the state legislature appointed trustees or guardians nfor the tribe and gave them authority to lease and allot land in the Gay Head area.  The trustee arrangement continued until an act passed in 1869 gave citizenship to the Indians and guaranteed title to lands they owned individually.”

        • Ellen Dibble

          More from that site:  http://books.google.com/books?id=NH-QMdK9-F4C&pg=PA152&dq=Gay+Head+fishing+rights&hl=en&ei=JG2HTrKVHsbh0QHJ0YD2Dw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Gay%20Head%20fishing%20rights&f=false
          “Another act in 1870 incorporated the area into the Town of Gay Head.  All common lands, common funds, and fishing rights were transferred to the newly incorporated town.  This arrangement did not seem to disturb the Gay Head Wampanoags in managing their financial and cultural affairas since they owned and controlled most of the town at the time.  But over the years, many Indians sold their allotments to non-Indians, thus reducing the Wampanoag local economic and political base.”

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Why do the American indians have to apply for Citizenship when they actually own the land or North America?

      • Ellen Dibble

        I don’t know.  From the laws I’m referring to in Massachusetts, the American Indians had no choice but to become citizens, without any application whatsoever, in 1869.  I don’t think they could opt out.  Perhaps they could go to another state and another tribe, not yet “naturalized,” would take them in.

        • Mona D

          The American Indians had no choice because they were subjugated by conquering colonial powers: Spain, France and England. They didn’t have Roman, Napoleonic or English legal traditions in which deeded property would have a meaning. How peculiar. Unfortunately, they were pushed out. Stamped out. Marginalized. So other people could march up and, completely out of hand, claim everything within sight belonged to King and Queen. Those then sovereign rights provided these miraculous land deeds from an authority granted them by divine right. Witness how a story, a language twists and turns to deny not only the very existence of the bloody past but even the imagining of it.

      • Ellen Dibble

        I believe the American Indians, broadly speaking, saw the planet as a common good, to be tended not plundered.  The tribes fought for “turf” rather than actual property, as in top rights to make a living off this area or that area, not rights to take it from the Common Good altogether, out from the aegis of tribal and broader good.  So the Indians are not depicted as having ANY concept of ownership of land.  They could therefore be convinced to transfer usage rights, I suppose as they understood it, for what is called “trinkets,” and if that included guns, all the better.  They valued, apparently, a cooperative alliance with the white people, which is not to say the white people equally valued alliance with them.  But I am NO WAY a historian.  This is grade school stuff.

        • notafeminista

          You aren’t implying they might have killed each other for land…?

          • Ellen Dibble

            For use of land.  As in, You killed buffalo on my land.  If your land has been depleted of buffalo because you used it rashly, well, you had what’s coming to you.  If you are now going to do the same to OUR turf, Thimk Again. 
                I’m sure as the Indians were squeezed by the Gold Rush and the various westward advances, first the Pony Express, then the telegraph, then the railroad, with the Conestoga wagons and settlers thinking about God’s Destiny for American White Men, or some such — they may have stopped fighting each other in favor of fighting the USA.  I don’t know.  If you compare the number of native North Americans lost to tribal warfare in the centuries between say 1600 and 1830, to the number of Americans lost to warfare 1860 to even 100 years later, I  would guess Indians come across as more peaceful by a large factor.  If you want to measure a civilization by how many live in poverty, then — I’d be interested… 

          • notafeminista

            Right, but if one tribe was found to be hunting on land that was understood to be the turf of another tribe for example, the response or consequence was what?

          • Ellen Dibble

            Powwow.  Or:  Pow.
            Do you think I’m arguing that bows and arrows were only used for shooting deer?

          • notafeminista

            Not at all.  Thanks for the clarification.  One assumes this occurred long before the arrival of the evil white Western Europeans?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

            every human culture has the capacity to kill or be killed – troll

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

            i’ve learned recently the indigenous peoples even killed wild animals, possibly to extinction… behaving just like humans… imagine that

  • Jim Correnti

    Western Socialism and Capitalism can work together. For a new economic model for the United States go to;
    http://www.RepresentativeCapitalism.com

  • Ellen Dibble

    See my post at 10:56 AM Monday, including:  ”Hey, I don’t see ANY malice at Goldman Sachs.”  I got into taxation, and the highways versus improvements to the energy grid as uses for public money.
         I should clarify.  ”Everyone on his stationary bicycle” having the opportunity to be feeding into the energy grid seems a no-brainer.  This is how the Nazi’s kept their noise-makers buzzing in basements of bombed-out houses at the fall of the Third Reich:  by making sure one survivor was always manning the stationary bike in the cellar.
        I figure it like this.  We no longer walk say 10 miles a day, which is unfortunate, because in order for human-type food to nourish us, we need not only the calories but the nutrients that are associated.  If you are only eating 2,000 calories a day, those calories can’t include pancakes and still carry the needed trace minerals and vitamins and so on.  So I have an idea.   This is win-win, because the energy that runs out cars is energy we need to be burning to nourish ourselves.  And that energy for cars needs replenishing.  If 300 million Americans saw even a modicum of monetary benefit to pumping energy back into the grid, I think we are greedy enough to do it.  If it takes say 40 calories an hour to keep us warm, the calories above that could return to the grid, and power our cars.  Multiply every couch potato times the energy equivalent of about a potato per day, and there begins to be real progress — fiscal, physical, international… what else.

    • Jgregory Seattle

      This whole pumping energy back into the grid thing???  It seems like every real life case I’ve heard of … for one reason or another .. they were unable to do that .. rollback their own meter?  However it works?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        You have been mis-informed!  Many places that people ‘roll back their meter’.  Big Oil, Big Coal, and other vested interests, DON’T want the news to get out much!

  • Anonymous

    N Ferguson doesn’t understand that the US can indeed wind down trade with China just fine, for instance over a 5 year period…..  For example, by legislating a gradually ramping tariff to fully offset currency manipulation subsidies (one of several workable methods).  It would create a lot of American jobs if in 5 or 7 years only free trade nations were allowed access to American markets.  (In free trade, currencies float freely, without manipulation, and trade imbalances therefore cause currency value changes that eventually reverse the trade imbalance).

    • SillyWabbit1

      I think so too.  Of course for us to be so independent we would need a more equal distribution of our own wealth.  I don’t think that it will happen because it won’t keep the 1% in yachts, but the US could move into a totally green economy were everyone was well off but no one was obscenely wealthy and the focus of our nation would be the good of the people.  I mean if it takes less than one percent of the population to feed the rest of us, why shouldn’t everyone have a free food card?

      • notafeminista

        Because eventually you run out of other people’s money.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

          really?  why, who’s skimming off the top?  the poor?  the undeserving?  what would those idiots do with money – spend it? right… i thought wealth creators could create wealth no matter what/// they do, then they spend it to deceive.

          • notafeminista

            Missed the point altogether.  It is THEIR money – tell me what right and/or by what authority does someone else have to it?

  • L.

    One of the best “On Point”s ever – speaker as well as listener comments. 

  • Potter

    Listening to the show and then reading the Guardian article about the feud between Ferguson and Mishra in the LRB it did seem to me that Ferguson left himself open to criticism regarding racism. I don’t think he is a racist just from listening to the context and the larger idea but I can see how a reviewer like Mishra with certain sensitivities could jump to those conclusions. And maybe others would too. Again, I don’t. It also seemed to me that though Ferguson was understandably offended he really went on the defensive to the point of being offensive. I think the LRB should be criticized too for setting this up.  

  • Roy Mac

    They (we) only remember those who turn out to have been correct.  This guy is just hawking a book that’ll appeal to his crowd of neo-cons.

    • JamesW3

      It is true that Fuergy has sort of turned into an apologist for the British Empire and the banking industry, but he is really  not a mouthpiece for any opinion but his own, in my opinion.  His War of the World also was a “western culture is on the decline” view, nevertheless contained many facts that I was unaware of, and I found that valuable even though I despise the British in general, and the royals in specific.  In my opinion we should never have supported the British in WW1, they had been meddling in world politics to keep other European nations from having access to resources and continually undermining the progress of European nations with their meddling.  They burned Washington to the ground and more soldiers in the Continental Army died in their prison ships in New York harbor than in all the battles in the Revolution combined. Almost all the countries in the middle east and some in other parts of Africa were left by the British with a minority in charge so that there would be continual internal strife even though the British were gone — and that is what happened.  They are another example of a plutocracy and the ascendency of the Banking Industry in a country that no longer has significant manufacturing.  The language is the main reason people feel a kinship with the British but we are far superior to them. And our troops represent the real continuation of the Greek and western tradition, and are far beyond there’s in both effect, tradition, and ideals. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

        i’ll save you a dollar or 2///  the west’s (e.g. britain’s) ‘rise’ was/is due to its depletion of it’s own natural resources (hence ‘expansion’ to control elsewhere what it depleted at home), its ‘fall’ was/is due to its multiculturalism, sicne it’s couldn’t in good conscience kill every single one of those whom’s home, they (the west or east or north or you know) uhm, exploited.  rinse, repeat = humans… next book please?

        • Cmb

          Disagree… Intelectual property, seems to hold no value in Asia.  However, that is the true metric for monetary growth in the information age.  This is why companies such as Facebook, Google, and Apple can and do thrive in the west where intelectual property has value and investors are willing to risk capital for a significant and extrodinary return.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

            yea, really?  the western thinking is that’s for 7 or 15 or 20 or 50 years, depending on your categorization/valuation (or more import, your geo/legal Value added) on such… facebook being a mediocre graphical newsgroup that also allows adverts and all, so, what do you give it in terms of profitable lifespan?  Why was AOL able to ‘aquire’ TimeWarner when AOL was not all it was touted?  Cause what was ‘Touted’ trumped real value?  history will tell… well, heck it told!  lol… suckers

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

            oh, i just learned that the ‘rectangle’ shape of competitors is apple’s latest complaint with regards to ‘intellectual’ props = the grandiose of our dear departed ‘west’ (waste)

          • Mona D

            There is very little, if any, genuine intellectual property ensconced in the things you mentioned. They are all ‘borrowings’ of ‘borrowings.’ They thrive because the Americans have far superior marketing compared to the rest of the world. In fact, it is perhaps the single major achievement of the culture. Too bad it can’t be patented.

        • JamesW3

          lol — thanks.  I am sure your are spot on however it is the details and not his general gist that I usually find of any value. If it weren’t for Fuergy I wouldn’t know that it was a Jewish bolshevik that first conceived and implemented the death-camp in the Soviet prison system long before the nazis reiterated it in their “final solution”.  And I just have a weakness for historical irony when  it comes to current assumptions that circulate in the noosphere of consensus reality.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

            you should really expand your horizons for human depravity, genocide, omnicide, etc, are eon’s in the making… it’s only the narrowness of our minds that exclude us from the chance we could/would/DO this same act

  • Jim Correnti

    Western Socialism and Capitalism can work together. For a new economic model for the United States go to;
    http://www.RepresentativeCapitalism.c...

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

      thanks Jim, maybe i’m totally way off base here, but i thought we used to call that fascism?  that whole binding of bondings, the individual succumbing to the company succumbing to the state bound together and for all, it’s working together as long as we all get along (and don’t question the leader)… yea?  i tend to like friction, free press , even bad press, but that’s just me

  • Jarene

    How have you managed to discuss this topic for 40 minutes without mentioning the two major sources of wealth for the “West” and the US the the transfere of CAPITOL through the ”institution” of SLAVERY and the wholesale THEFT of land from the Native Americans?

    • CarlStrauss34

      Well you must be listening to a tape of the show so don’t expect and answer on air or anything.  I would like to point out that Europeans did not introduce slavery to the Americas.  It was already here in spades. As far as theft of land, well that is the same thing that happened everywhere on earth when a one culture that was vastly beyond another in technology and culture came in contact with primitive people.  The main difference here is that most, of the Native Americans died of European introduced diseases (not intentionally introduced that is an urban myth) before they ever saw a European in the flesh. In fact it has been suggested that these diseases generally spread by natives who came in contact with mountain men and trappers of various sorts to other natives who themselves had never seen a European and the main wave of contagion spread well ahead of the settlers.  We now have a quite idealized vision of the native American peoples, but the archeology shows that they were certainly not environmentally benign and that as they spread south a wave front of animals hunted to extinction moved along with them.

      • Anonymous

        I’d urge you to read the correspondences between Lord Jeffrey Amherst and Col. Henry Bouquet during Pontiac’s Rebellion that make reference to the distribution of blankets to “innoculating the Indians” with small pox.

        While the original poster of this comment may have overstated his position, had copyright laws existed during the 11th – 15th centuries, China would have sang a different tune on the issue of intellectual property than the one they’re singing now.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

          indeed, why even separate at all since this is really only an ‘anglo’ POV and book and money, the viewers of this book/program only see/read what is comfortable/conforming to the set hubris?  but that would be a discomfort to all but Tom A, who I really dig

      • Anonymous

        You should look up manifest destiny.
        I also take issue with your theory about slavery in this country. While it is true that some Indian tribes took slaves the idea of it as an huge busniess that spanned three continents was all European in origin. If we want to get into the historical traces of slavery one could go back to Babylon and the Egyptians. However I still take issue with your thesis as it seems to be trying to dismiss the the history of what happened here.

        Look up the Trail of Tears and tell me that white Euro-centric were not responsible for the wanton genocide of the native Indian nations.  

      • Mona D

        Moral relativity? The kings of the Atlantic slave trade were the Portugese. I realize this group exists now somewhere on the outer fringes of Ferguson’s ‘West,’ but they thought they were Europeans! Anyway you must be right, those non-environmentally benign aboriginals were cleansed from the land to make it pure for real Americans in an act of rational moral eugenics. Not. What holy high-ground exactly is it your claims are meant to preserve?

    • SG

      The West has already paid dearly for its sins, it has been chastened and slowly has changed into a place that honors diversity ,honors the man who said “content of ones character ” is what matters in our relationship with each other, and is the first to help whereever diaster strikes. If a new power say China or Arabia would arise they too might do terrible things to those they rule as they already are doing to minorities in their own borders. Better an old ruler (west) who has improved over time, than a new leader who has yet to learn the lessons of history. Minority groups are not honored in China or Arabia- even those who belong to the majority are treated roughly and often live in fear of the ruling class. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

        yea, better the devil you know than the one you don’t?  seems someone opened pandora’s box too soon?  And those ‘allies’… too bad they can only live for a short lifetime or 3, eh?  that’s the crap Washington warned imperialist about wasn’t it?

    • Anonymous

      Good points. This nation was built on the suffering and displacement of the Native nations. Slavery was the corner stone and it is still our legacy today.

      Mind you I read somewhere that a Indian leader said they are taking back their country one casino at a time. 

      • notafeminista

        Well.  Good but incomplete points shall we say.  We’ve still not established whether or not the Native nations actually owned the land or considered themselves the owners of the land and as such cannot determine whether or not it was “stolen.”    Let’s also keep in mind that the Native nations were doing plenty of suffering and pillaging of each other before those evil white Europeans showed up.

        • Mona D

          That is a standard colonialist defense the world over. I guess I’ll move into your home and push you out because I know I’ll make superior use of it.

          • notafeminista

            Begs the question.  Once again, if I lay no claim to the home nor can I produce any documents proving ownership of the home AND if I cannot successfully defend the home (oh yes the Native Americans fought back, and brutally so) then why shouldn’t you have the home?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        MOST casinos that I have heard locals talk about are ‘run’ by a sicilian-sounding “management” !

    • Mona D

      Actually, the economics of slavery in North America were bad economics. So no, it was not a cornerstone of the West’s or American ascendancy. It was a miserable failure economically and socially. Actually relatively few African slaves came to North America. The preponderance went to South America and in particular Brazil. Fat lot of good it did them. As for the fate of the American Indian, you are entirely correct. Evidently, it was the Americans’ “manifest destiny.” Puts me in mind of the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

      However, your statements are entirely US-centric whilst Niall’s view is rather more Euro-centric. So you might forgo the benefit to the West of the demise of the American aborigine and at least reference the real Indians and the equally real Chinese and Africans. Who, while not ‘slaves’, were just as thoroughly ground beneath the colonial jack boot. Indeed, youcan roam the world over and be hard put to find a spot not raped at some time by Niall’s ‘West.’ But as he is fond of implying, they liked it.

  • That_1_haunted_lady

    Mr Ferguson is being polite. One could say when China rules the world we will all be Tibetans…
    IN TROUBLE–
    China is having problems of their own with having bred too many males I wonder what effect it will have on their culture if all the children have to be created through some sort of artificially means as in loss of the family unit which the Chinese are so much bound into as a rules system to moderate their behavior. With so many men the future is looking like prostitute might decimate their numbers from where they are right now.. No civilization is without the possibility of decimation from an outside source and it can be rather quick . They are going to die in large numbers from their pollution as well. I do not see a long future for them any more than the rest of the planet. They pollute their people’s environment and kill them and o not care. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

    to be honest, i stopped listening as soon as i realized tom a is ‘on point’ for another book shilling, and ferguson is just another guy saying the obvious – ‘we’re all gonna die!!!! (as people or culture or race or species)’….. one of these days’ which while factual and eventual, is boring as all hell…  until then, may as well read revelations, or any numerous apocalyptic prophesy’s from our near and dear right wing weasels. I really liked hal lindsey in the day when i was of similar mentality = 12 yrs old

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

      follow up to tom a – you really did set the tone and i appreciate that tone tom!  one we all should heed, indifference, skepticism, objectivity if and when at all possible… and finally that, this guy IS TRYING TO SELL A BOOK!

      • Doubting_Thomas

        That’s what I always love about Tom- he does his best to make sure that both sides of an argument are represented, going so far as to play Devil’s Advocate if necessary.

  • Cmb

    West in decline? Why is it then that Chinese students and
    other Asians are flocking to Harvard, MIT and Stanford?  Why did the declining west invent Facebook,
    the iPhone, Twitter, and the internet for that matter?  I heard nothing of creativity in Asia.  After all as we in the west have proven over
    decades, the real money is in ideas! 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

      yea, that or perhaps you don’t (can’t) read chinese/hindi/etc?

      • Cmb

        Caught me… Or is our educational system superior?

        • Anonymous

          Neither, but US/UK universities do offer a great compliment to Asian education. Clearly, the flips side is that US educators especially have embraced the Asian K-12 education model especially in the math and sciences. But “superior” or “inferior” isn’t a helpful perspective with regards to systems of education and their effectivenesses on the populace.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

            heck, 1/3 to 1/2 of my college math and computer profs in the 90s in this southeast locale were/are ‘asian’.  where is everyone else living, mars?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

          superior is a lake, education is a personal matter.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

          not that i don’t feel for the imbalance, i just tend to make myself in disposable to those that just cannot do for themselves and sometimes they pay – but they take almost as much

        • Jay

          Education in the US can never be great until teachers can be hired or fired by merit, not the number of years of employment.

          • Mona D

            In general, I think the conversation is aimed at higher education rather than the public grammar school.

    • Jgregory Seattle

      Ironic isn’t it .. with the intellectual elites always seeming to hold these titled posts, such as Harvard History Professor?  Yet they are the only ones ever making any good sense when it comes to it all .. and you get these points of views only rarely and never in the mainstream media … It would be an interesting comparison for someone to write about the culture of Harvard’s history v. Economic v. Computer Science, Physics, whatever nano-tech.  I’ve agreed with all Harvard-y scholarly political and economic theorists since I was 18 … and am constantly amazed and confused by the rest of it, and the b.s., and the levels of it and willingness to be totally full of it, etc.  Capitalism doesn’t work because it got too big for government or responsible people to properly regulate it.   But I couldn’t get into Harvard to save my life.  My douchey cousin went there for biz school and he seems to have high end biz opportunities just thrown at him … and he’s all real secretive, and doesn’t se4em to work a lot.  Probably inherited some.  And there’s the other gynormous “invisible” elephant in all this.

    • Anonymous

      You’re perpetuating aged stereotypes. Do you really think the Chinese, Koreans and the Japanese are incapable of new ideas and innovations? Do you honestly believe that the Asian will not come up with genetic research, STEM and/or green infrastructure innovations and advancements? Do you honestly believe that all innovations came from the west? I’m not sure from where sentiments like these originate other than from defensive hubris.

      • Doubting_Thomas

        Point of interest: Whenever I hear more buzzwords than indication that the one uttering said buzzwords understands them, I lose a little bit more faith in humanity.

        It has to do with style of education. To vastly generalize, many American students don’t do very well because they are taught to learn. Perhaps ~25% of those I’ve worked with are brilliant, creative and hardworking, and the other 75% are lazy. Again vastly generalizing, any students trained in the rote repetition and memorization style of learning need several years of retraining to learn how to think creatively. ~10% of them are brilliant and don’t need very much in the way of retraining to be creative, while 90% have a lot of trouble with it. However, 99% of them tend to be hardworking. Think of it as a trade-off.

        I’ve seen this as recently as a few months ago, and last year when I had to travel to China. Will it change over time? Perhaps, but it has to do with the culture of schooling over there, not genetics (as I’ve noted some like to believe). However, that culture of schooling also leads nearly all of their children to be diligent and hardworking about school, lest they incur the wrath of their parents. 

        Instead of schadenfreude-ing, why don’t we keep the best of our system, while making sure that American mother becomes more like Asian tiger mother in some ways, and American father becomes more like stern Asian father in other ways?  It’s possible to be both loving and disciplined at the same time. One could even argue that if you don’t make sure your children are disciplined, you’re not really loving them (i.e. doing what’s best for them even if it hurts).

      • Hidan

        Right on, some of the top of the line gaming systems came/come from Japan and for the longest are often years ahead of the U.S.

        Coming from Japan,

        http://www.robotliving.com/robot-news/japans-first-robot-teacher/

    • Fredlinskip

       America may be better at innovation, but it seems that often other countries can be better at capitalizing on those ideas. 

      • Fredlinskip

        Let me rephrase:
        America may be better at innovation, but it seems that often other countries can be better at capitalizing on ideas in ways that benefit that country’s citizenry. 

    • Mona D

      You are right. It is questionable that the ‘West’ is in decline. Probably massive historical changes are in motion and perhaps the posture if not the position of the West will change. On putting forward the notion that this is ‘decline,’ I take it to be hyperbole in advertisement for a book.

      You cite Facebook, Twitter and the iPhone as technological advancements, inventions even. If these manifestations of pop appeal are our evidence of superiority then indeed we have stagnated. I would put the Internet itself in a separate class. That is not a technological advancement anymore than the US national highway system was a technological advancement in the ’60s. It is an infrastructure enhancement.

    • Cime

      Real money in ideas and most likely made overseas!! Not!!

  • Guest

    Nail missed the point, the west got ahead by pillaging elsewhere…
    he omits the slave trade in the rise of the west…

    • Mona D

      I believe you are half right. Possibly three-fourths. The pillaging part is quite evident. After all that is the nature of the hegemon. All resources flow to the center by force if not by trade. Improvements in transport certainly accelerated this flow over prior historical epochs. That slavery was employed did not make it the most economically sensible choice. While it was certainly an important mode of domination, the mistake often made is that slave labor is free. But this has never been the case. The North American industrial model proved more efficient because it severed the well being of the worker from the care of the employer. In today’s popular parlance, it set the coal miner, textile worker and meat packer “free.”

      On the pillaging side of things, Ferguson does refer to technological advances of the Northern Europeans. Many of those were military, a principal engine of colonization.

      • Hidan

        “North American industrial model proved more efficient because it severed
        the well being of the worker from the care of the employer.”

        Not true. The Northern Industrial model during than and for years relied the model China now uses, sweat shops, child labor, and gave rise to the Robber Barons. The North Model(far better than slavery of course) was more efficient cause it didn’t have to house or take care of the workers reducing such workers to mere labor slaves.

        As for well being with the exception of probably Ford this wasn’t even case until probably the 1950′s but even than blacks and other minorities were often excluded from such well being.

        • Mona D

          You restated my point.

  • UMomma

    Wow the cacophony has stopped.  It’s so nice I am almost hesitant to point it out lest it start up again.
    How wonderful to have intelligent gentle discourse again.

  • Castilloorlando

    How much of the rise of East is due to our own failure or our own encouragement?

    • ConstanceBlink1

      A lot of it I would say.  Nixon was the start but Clinton was the master when it came to voluntarily ripping out the heart of American manufacturing and handing it to the Chinese.  And if people on this blog are to be believed that Mormon dude did his fair share too.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NDS2BYFUN37U2UVKYGWRIHCO4Q A Yahoo! user

        Reince Priebus i presume?  you ever thought about that GOP lock after ’96?  you must know of that veto proof
        Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, no?  repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act was an all-REPUGLICAN bill for Bill’s infidelity

        • ThePope

          Yep both the Republocrat parties are to blame and stop being so simplistic.  That is: every time somebody criticizes the Democrats you don’t have to respond with “oh and the Republicans bla bla bla.” What are you a child? They both suck out loud, and you have to be a fool to be loyal to either party (unless you are a mulitmillionare  because they are both owned by the power elite.

          • Anonymous

            Some folks just can’t take the truth.
            For me it’s the lesser of two evils.
            So I end up voting for the Democrats. In the end wall street and large corporations such as GE really call the shots. 

          • Mona D

            Don’t forget the Insurance industry.

  • Anonymous

    For those who think the ripping off of intellectual property flows in one direction, LG had introduced an “iPAD” in 2001 that was Linux based. And I say this as a devout Apple-krishna, having owned nothing but Apple products from their original Apple II all the way to the current line-up.

    http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/LG-demonstrates-wireless-Linux-Web-pad-at-CeBIT/

  • Hidan

    Dude wife is even scarier and far more extreme then this guy. She has no problem lying to prove a supposed point.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Dude….we don’t want to hear about your marital problems.

      • Hidan

        If such was true I might have to change my alt name to something involving “Worried for”

        • Mona D

          I think we all get the fact that you are here simply to run down Ferguson’s wife and Ferguson by association. Your remarks have not a whit to do with any topic presented. It is evident, you are simply a gossip.

          • Hidan

            If you knew the history of Ferguson and his wife you think otherwise and both extremism especially his wive you think otherwise. Atlas I doubt you do.

            If you knew so you see my comment relates to the topic since Ferguson book is on the decline of the West mostly like his wife argue it’s due to the browning mainly Islam of Europe and lack of Christian faith and repression of others. As you can see by his interview with tom he holds non-western nation in low regard and as some other posters have pointed out it’s quite ludicrous to think new Tech can’t come from anywhere else but the west. Add on top both work for the AEI an NeoCon think tank.

            Feel free to dispute that both are not what I listed above.

          • Hidan

            “alas”

          • Mona D

            No need to fret about a misspelling. Look my point is simple. I did not mean to sound as though I was attacking you, although I suppose I may have sounded that way. Apologies for that.

            Attack the ideas, their foundations, not the man and certainly not his family. What he is saying is entirely unsound to the point of being fatuous. However, he does sway a lot of people. He is convincing. And he says what many would like to hear. You’ll never weaken his position with the claims you make. He is not running for elective office. Correct the history, correct the interpretation, and correct the theory. If you can’t do that I’m afraid you’re never going to get anywhere with this. IMO

  • Cime

    The West sold itself out!

  • Mfcarr

    This is admittedly a minor point, but Ferguson’s repeated use of buzzwords (presumably designed to show students he’s hip and with it) like “killer app” is annoying.

    He reminds me a bit of Tom Friedman in that regard.  They both try to frame complex issues using simplistic analogies and metaphors that don’t really apply.  Neither is as wise or as clever as they’d like to think.

    • NPR listener

      Absolutely. He’s Harvard’s Gilderoy Lockhart. Don’t know why they put up with him.

      Killer Apps were coined in California’s Silicon Valley, a place more Buddhist than Tibet, and dude goes on about Protestant Chinese tycoons. Steve Jobs was a half Arab Buddhist American, Gilderoy, it’s one planet.

  • Mfcarr

    Ferguson: “I think this is one of the more profound insights that I came to writing the book”
     
    In case you hadn’t figured it out for yourself already, Ferguson wants you to know that he’s a man of “profound insights.”  Not terribly modest, is he?

    That being said, I do take his point that America hasn’t felt the full force of austerity (and the brutal cuts entailed by austerity) on the same level as Europe has.  He says it’s just a matter of time and he may be right (unless the US government enacts some pretty huge systemic changes – which seems unlikely).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6IHV4MFIZSWLDYVHLMSSWKARZ4 Brennan511

    Narcotic ABUSE/misuse, consumerism [post war Irony], and SLAVEREY -we must return… what/who the Romans did not, just as we returned from Viet Nam [with...OUT!.!] the drug cop-out.
    But the “generAlly happy” [post dark ages, black plauge _neande'thals of Prime-evil] and “normAl geography” the algebraic PRO-TRACTION  [[[UN-desire$...equality=sterile-ABLE <3 fam_embryo]]], and navigate the normative obstacles. and SPEAK NO EVIL, dooo good god will serve civil-food. commercial-media & violence because "sales are in the mood". technopathic THREATS [faux YET tactile] will commence this peace loving police Y slice of pie, and remove the egg from our pig sti. glamour-spinning makes narcotic-winning the WRONG begining. People expect God to do the dirty work, when love is technically quite rewarding, this Schip some must be boarding [not hording] but adopting and contorting the line and the meaning.

  • Fredlinskip

    Long as average American income is at least about $35G, I don’t know why anyone should have cause to complain. 
    If one corp exec brings in 50 mil, that means two thousand Americans need make only 10 G a year.

    Where’s the problem?

    • Gregg

      When you see a fat guy standing next to a skinny one, do you assume the fat guy stole the others food?

      • Fredlinskip

        No I assume the skinny one has a little more common sense and integrity and has managed to learn how to eat and exercise a bit more properly.
         
        As far as “stealing the lunch” from rest of us- the 1%, IN GENERAL, have done a fine job of that.

        IMO

  • Adrian from RI

    The proof of the West’s decline is that well educated and intelligent people like NPR’s Tom Ashbrook are clueless as to what made Western Civilization civilized in the first place. It took a long time to get from Aristotle’s Lyceum in 335BC to the Age of Reason and the writing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

    We now live in a post-Kantian era. In this post-modern anti reason era we no longer understand what a remarkable intellectual journey it was from Aristotle to John Lock. If you are curious why the West is in decline, a decline made possible and even cheered on by Ivy League professors and Tom’s incomprehension, then I recommend that you buy a history book about the importance of ideas throughout history. That book is “The Ominous Parallels: The end of freedom in America” by Dr. Leonard Peikoff.

  • Hidan

    Ferguson wife is Ayaan Hisi Ali, She first lied about her refugee status to get to the  political asylum in the Netherlands, than ran an campaign against Muslims there and outside the country using her story as a example. her story was found to be a complete lie later  on admitting to this but in a sense saying the ends justifies the means. She also along with the likes of Geert Wilder wants sees muslims as an demographic threat. She believes that not only is Radical islam a threat but Islam in general therefore believing all Muslims are a threat and violent. She makes the claim that there’s no such thing as a muslim wanting peace and believes that Islam must first be defeated for it to become peaceful.

    Both Ferguson is his now wife believe in the cospiracy theory of Europa and both work for the AEI an Neo-Con think tank. Both promote fear,intolerance and hatred Muslims without making distinctions of radicals,moderates, and liberal 

  • Anonymous

    Is interesting to see how for Mr. Ferguson the west is such a flexible term. From his description the term “West” is only Britain, France, Germany.  Spain and Portugal he only mentioned briefly to show how the west took off but were not mentioned anymore. Because then the argument for  ”west” as contiguous monolithic civilization  is weaken.
    “West” is such vague and empty word, because if the west was so successful then what are the majority of people in Latin America are in such low level economic circumstances. And these are in part descendants from the systems stablished by those early “western” maritime power of Spain and Portugal.

  • flytrap

    From reading the comments I can deduce that capitalism, white people and Christianity are the causes of all the evils in the world including subjugation, environmental degradation and a general lack of freedoms but I have yet to hear a single solution to all these problems.  If you are going to bitch, moan and complain about something at least offer a solution, not pablum, not platitudes, not catchphrases, a solution.  Otherwise, stfu and go back to work.  

    • Fredlinskip

      Reinstate a tax code more akin to those we’ve had in the past which seemed to correspond with less unemployment, less debt & deficit, & greater emphasis on improved infrastructure.

      Reengage with the rest of the world to try and repair the damage done when America withdrew from Kyoto treaty.

      Improve our educational system to the point that people can understand that those that criticize GOP policy are not criticizing “capitalism, white people, and Christianity”, they are simply trying to open people’s eyes as to the damage to our nation’s citizens and yes our “freedoms” that these policies have wrought.

        

      • Mona D

        Well put!

      • flytrap

        I meant a solution not authored by the Brothers Grimm.  Tax codes that “seem to correspond less unemployment. . .”  And exactly what was it in the tax code that promoted growth, the myriad of loopholes and deductions, the higher rates, less rigorous enforcement, what? 

        Kyoto, which China and India aren’t part of and Canada is looking to withdraw from, will only stifle growth in the developed world while holding other countries to a different standard.  It’s almost racist in the way the minorities, (white nations) are held to a higher standard than the rest of the world. 

        How about if we improve our educational system to the point where people can understand that those that criticize Democrat policies are not racists, homophobes or bigots, they are simply trying to open people’s eyes to the damage to our nation’s citizens and yes our “freedoms” that these policies have wrought. 

        You posted platitudes full of pablum, masquerading as solutions.  But you did skip the catchphrases and I am happy about that. 

        • Fredlinskip

          To clarify: There have always been tax policy- I am suggesting it may be useful to examine past administrations of last 100 years or so to determine what were the levels that seemed to best correspond with our nations general prosperity and well-being instead of simply blindly repeating blindly “all taxes bad”.
           Austerity may help us balance our budget – it will not begin to tackle our enormous debt- revenues are required for that.
            ”Growing the pie” in America has resulted for past 30 years have resulted in greater prosperity- mostly for a few.
           
          I never suggested that GOP were racists, homophobes, bigots- you did that.
           

          • flytrap

            Why limit the study to American tax policy?  A larger study of global tax policy could better determine pro-growth tax policies. 

            It seems that with increasing social safety net of the last 30 years, the willingness to toil has decreased.  Maybe that explains the growing wealth disparity. 

            I never said “you” said the GOP was racist, etc.  but that is the general argument presented in this discussion and by the Left most everywhere else.  It’s what I have experienced personally on multiple occasions. 

          • Fredlinskip

            I agree that a larger study of global tax policy would be constructive. I have heard that austerity has not been the answer, although I do not have the facts at my fingertips right now to back my claims and don’t have time right now to do more research.
               Japan is a good case study- They basically went through 20 years ago (?) what we are  going through now.
               The only reason NOT to study other nations is because I seem to hear from GOP quarters that to do so is to divert from American Exceptionalism and likely to lead us towards “socialism”.

            The increasing social safety net is not something new. Why have we waited until now to decide to adress it?
            Were you yelling during W years?

            But again I think much could be learned by studying previous administration tax (and regulation) policy. Been there done that.

            Which rates seem to coincide with American prosperity (not just for wealthy).

            IMO

             

          • flytrap

            I was yelling during the W years and think you using “exceptionalism” is just another way to dig the GOP.  The reason not to use just American rates is b/c during the ’50′s, half of all intl trade involved the US.  Other factors have to be relatively equal to make a definitive determination. 

            You would scream, “look at the taxes in the ’50′s and 60′s!!” and I would say, look at our position in the world.  I would say, “look at the ’80′s” and you would say, “It’s all deficit spending.”  Therefore, we have to look around the world to see what trends pop up. 

          • Fredlinskip

            GOP is much more reknowned for using the words “American exceptionalism”. This term was used much during health care debates when anyone dared sugest that we might learn lessons from other country’s HC systems. Socialism is another word bandied about by GOP. These are just facts.

            I don’t quite follow your “’50s and 60′s” line 
            “Look at our position in the world”?
            In “50′s and 60′s, taxes were high and we were clearly # 1 in the world , no? This would seem to be a good thing.

            I don’t claim that it is all simple, but I do think that if we are trying to help recreate the conditions that seemed to coincide with when our country as a whole seemed to be at it’s best, studying the policies of those times is relevant. Just as is trying to stay away from  the conditions we had before Great Depression is relevant.
            Many of the same arguments we hear today are the ones being made just before Depression.

            Another country to watch now is Great Brutain. They took the complete austerity route-

            (Just a note: on my computer the longer  discussions last, the smaller the “box ” to print in becomes until sometimes the conversation can become a long string of single letters printed vertically-
             My “box” is starting to get small)

  • NPR listener

    The whole Killer App idea is ludicrous. The diffusion of ideas only went from the West to the “Rest”, is it? Why aren’t the world’s financial systems run in roman numerals then?

    What
    about the “Killer Apps” of Indian mathematics, Chinese paper &
    movable type, Chinese gunpowder, and Indian textile & dye technology
    (the industrial revolution was driven by textile manufacture, and the Brits
    took out their competition by conquest & colonization, not laissez faire)
    all of which were happily downloaded by Europeans? 

    How about the (Not-so-)Killer App of Ahimsa and civil
    disobedience without which the civil rights era in the US could have spiraled
    into violence? Nice download that. Kind of whatshisname to give credit.

     

    Hardest to stomach is the notion of a Killer App of
    Work Ethic!!! African slaves and colonial indentured laborers were real
    slackers, apparently. It was those hard working, slave driving, opium pushing Protestant Brits that were the real worker bees of civilization.

    What an idiot.

    • flytrap

      Just because a culture invents something doesn’t mean they maximize its potential.  If you believe that people are equally created, how can you conquer and colonize another culture for centuries without a better system or technology?  Civil disobedience only works when the folks in power won’t kill you for your actions.  Ask some Chinese about that.  Work ethic denotes an internal motivation, slavery and indenture an external one, don’t conflate the two.

      • NPR listener

        Sure, people can take inventions by someone else and maximize their potential–it’s called stealing.

        (Or are they’re paying to use Indian mathematics in Science, Technology, and Finance worldwide–or even remotely acknowledging the source?) Really helps too, if you can subjugate the original inventors and prevent them from maximizing that potential themselves.

        Conquest only takes better firepower, or a guy with an ipad (invented by that half-Arab American Buddhist, Steve Jobs) could take on a mugger with a knife. You have a point on slavery, but it’s ridiculous to imagine that Asians (or Africans, Hispanics, or whoever is included in the Rest) have ever lacked the work ethic/internal motivation of Europeans.

        • flytrap

          When you don’t have the concept of intellectual property, how can you be a thief?  And who doesn’t acknowledge Eastern accomplishments in mathematics?  Better firepower comes from what?  I would say advances in science and technology. 

          You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about the white people and Western Civilization that renders you incapable of seeing white westerners as anything other than evil.  When did you become such a racist?

          • Oni Olds

            A question here about better firepower: Does it really come from advances in science and technology? Or does it come come a mindset to use those scientific advancements to derive weapons of mass destruction? Remember the Chinese invented gunpowder almost a thousand or so years before the Europeans took that invention and used it to fuel their canons and flintlocks. All these centuries that the Chinese had gunpowder in how many battles has its use been recorded? It was confined to mainly non-military usage. It takes a certain ruthless mentality to kill and that is the basis of the short Western hegemony that is coming to its end now. China and India, together and separately, have been the biggest military and economic powers for most of history. Alexander’s all-conquering army mutinied against their great leader at the mention of challenging the main Magadhan Empire of India, such was the Magadhan’s military reputation. Yet the same Magadhans and all other Indian and Chinese empires, collosii of their age, never ventured beyond the borders of their civilasational influence to ever attack neighbouring powers, even when those neighbours were puny in comparison. It is a generally pacifist mindset that prevails among most Eastern civilisations (a few exempted)- a feeling that might cannot ever be right. This higher civilisational ideal was absent in the west for a long time starting from the Romans up to Hitler. No Chinese emperor or Indian Maharaja ever tried to impose Pax Sinica or Pax Indica outside of their respective countries. But a false sense of entitlement born of a civilisational ehtos of lack of humility made the Romans invade everything around them to impose Pax Romana. The latter day European powers took this further, with the British too obsessed with Pax Britannica, the white man’s burden and all that. Aggression was the only reason for Western ascendancy. And as far as their scientific superiority is concerned, let’s call it what it actually is – technological superiority. Science, including mathematics, throughout history is a distinctly non-Western phenomenon. Science is Chinese, Indian and Arabian. Take away Newton & Einstien and Europe is almost bare. Technology, though, was the West’s edge – the practical application of the scientific achievements of other civilisations. Just a pity that most of these practical applications were destructive in nature.         

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  • CommonSense

    It is a fact that the decline of the west came occurred at the same time that the role of government was continually expanding, and along with it government spending.  The rise of the west can only take hold again when we shrink government and cut government spending. 

  • your listener

    “十年風水輪流轉”

    • your listener

      Of course it doesn’t mean things/trends rotate every 10 years, just an expression.  This is how law of physics work, at lease in our solar system?

  • Yevno

     

    Niall Ferguson, Harvard

    Civilization—the West and the rest

    The Recent Rise of China is Secondary or Tertiary.

    Germanic West, not just “the West.” Germanic Angles, Germanic Saxons, Germanic Bavarians, Germanic Swiss, Germanic Franks, Germanic
    But why not Poles or Lithuanians, White Russians or Slavonized Finns?
    Ah, they were too far from Rome. They were not heirs to the Germanic Holy Roman Empire whose early forerunner—ancient Rome—was the highest achievement of mankind two thousand years ago. But why did Romans of antiquity receive their brains to build the inclusive civilization?
    Why did they become expansionists?
    Verily, their genetic code was the main reason. Their DNA, their mutations, their (Semitic?) Etruscans, their Indo-Germanic Greeks, their Alemanni…
    Fusion of Latin forums and Frankfurt.
    And thus the Romans came up with democracy, competition, consumerism, market of religions and their language which, being synthetic one, had the propensity to become an analytical one.
    Well, Chinese also they came up with medicine, work ethics,
    some science bit it was not enough.
    The Chinese are too late on the aging planet and their leaders wear Germanic attire to look civil. They have to study Germanic languages (English). My future book—
    Civilization: Londinium and the Detritus.

    • your listener

      ** The Chinese are too late on the aging planet **How true! All natural resources have been exhausted and extracted by the western exploitations for nearly last 2 centuries.

      ** ….and their leaders wear Germanic attire to look civil **
      Can you trust people wear business suits and attires?  Especially in today’s business world?  Shall I say…, wearing Germanic attire is just a leveled field to play the same “seemingly” civil game with western worlds?

    • your listener

      btw, I’m looking forward to your future publishing, please keep us informed…, thank you very much!

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Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

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Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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