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November 29, 2006

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If the Third World wants to rise up and achieve our level of prosperity, more power to them.

This reminds me of a poll taken in the 1980s that was shown to me as an economics major in the early 1990s, where Americans were asked to choose between two future states of economic well-being:* (i) where their future economic well being had increased by 5% and the economic well being of the Japanese was 5% below Americans'; and (ii) where their future economic well being had increased by 10% and the economic well being of the Japanese was 5% above Americans'. The vast majory chose (i) over (ii) despite the fact that they were more economically well off under (ii).

*I almost certainly mucked up the details of the poll.

"If the Third World wants to rise up and achieve our level of prosperity, more power to them."

Let me backpedal a la Ugh's comment and note I wouldn't enjoy a future in which a US-parity China annexed its neighbors and effectively ended their cultures, where a Europe-parity Africa was run by fundamentalist Christians, where [your highly unlikely dystopia here]. Or a future where parity led to instability and ungovernable violence. On the other hand I'm by disposition an optimist about the future of humanity and suspect things will work out well, at least until the computers achieve singularity.

If the Third World wants to rise up and achieve our level of prosperity, more power to them.

That, actually, is well underway. There is an enormous transfer of wealth to other nations occurring at the moment. This will likely require a significant reduction in the living standards of most Americans in the years to come, by a large factor. Also called "poverty."

Don't think that's parallel - enslaving a people and not helping the whole Third World enough (in the absence of agreement on a clear practical path to equality) aren't the same.

Neither are "not helping the Third World enough" and "colonizing much of the Third World, taking away many of their resources, fighting wars on their land, breaking their traditional societies, then going home and leaving them poor and tits-up in the bargain."

DaveC,

Don't feel so bad, I'm sure all those "good-ole-boys" and down-home Christians were just defending Western civilization.

If anyone cares to keep at this, a post at TiO awaits

Quoth zmulls:

Can anyone name issues causing North/South tension that were *not* traceable to issues (moral and economic) related to slavery?
Although the cotton was being produced in the South, the majority of the industrial plants that processed that cotton were in the North, allowing for at least a little price-gouging when the thingsmade from cotton were sold back to the people who's grown the raw product.

Saith Slartibartfast:

Well, I'm thinking that hilzoy's post had quite a few lynchings of black people in it. Conflating that with north/south animosity doesn't seem to be well done.
Neither is it particularly well done to do as Glenn Reynolds did and choose to willfully ignore the fact that they took place, since that's the only way one can argue that America came out of the Civil War with no lingering bitterness the way he did. Trying to spin what Hilzoy wrote about it into a claim that she was attempting to "think of the Civil War as the South's war on black people" comes across as at least slightly disingenuous, Slarti.

Speaking of Hilzoy, she contributed this to the conversation:

It did not succeed in rolling back the 13th amendment, though one could argue (I chose to duck this issue) that the sharecropper system, as implemented in large chunks of the South, wasn't that far removed.
As the descendant of white sharecroppers, I feel a need to point out that while this may qualify as an attempt to roll back the 13th amendment, it was not anti-black as much as anti-poor.

And then dmbeaster had this to say:

There was nothing amicable at all about the process of reconciliation between North and South.
As I learned things, it wasn't until theSpanish-American War that the soldiers from the South began to completely accept that they were citizens of America, rather than just of their home states.

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