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Why Did the West Grow Rich?

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by State, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. State

    State Rookie

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    #70 Jersey

    My friend Leonard Liggio explains it satisfactorily here:
    This dovetails nicely with the book of a similar title as the entry's, How the West Grew Rich by Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Birdzell Jr.

    It's the basic idea that the competing institutions of church and state created freedom. Unlike other cultures, one didn't dominate, like in China.
  2. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Christianity is the "root of all evil" posts coming in 3,2,1...
  3. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I subscribe to the theory in Guns, Germs, and Steel, which offers a logical environmental basis for the growth of the west, explaining that the natural advantages of the band of earth that had moderate temperatures suitable for diverse livestock and plant life is the primary driving force for the developments in the west (and other advanced cultures, such as the Chinese).

    Also, it's worth noting that for much of western history, there was not much separation between church and state. Lastly, it's worth noting that growth of the west came about thanks to slavery and Colonialism, which Christianity found a way to rationalize again and again. Millions of free laborers were certainly part of the wealth of the west.

    Nonetheless, it's reasonable to suppose that separation of church and state does create a positive dynamic in the same sense that our form of government generally creates a positive dynamic.
  4. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I think the point of the thesis is that there was separation at some point.

    Slavery was as old human civilization. It did not originate in the West (same with imperialism). It is worth noting that the movement to abolish slavery originated in the West (a bunch of fundamentalist wackos who took that whole "love thy neighbor" thing to heart).
  5. Titus Pullo

    Titus Pullo Banned

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    what a horse**** thread, reeking of convenient rationalization... Replete with religious undertones as the explanation for our "success."

    America got "rich" due to slavery, its abundant natural resources and arable soil. Period.

    It waited for half the European theater of war to be over (and largely decided) before swooping in to mop up, then filled the power vacuum left behind.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  6. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You mean it had nothing to do with christianity?? Jeepers Titus and I thought it had to do with god being on our side...
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  7. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    America is the entirety of the West? Who knew? And they invented slavery?

    More slaves went to Brazil than North America. Does Brazil have any arable land or resources? Weren't you in here braying about Brazil having all of the new oil finds and praising the President for supporting offshore drilling there but not here?

    That post is replete with ahistoric nonsense and reductive analysis of the worst kind.
  8. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The west by far had the most aggressive slavery institutions in history. It came down to killing millions of natives in the United States and South America to make room for millions of slaves (especially in Brazil) and to gain complete domination of resources. Our slavery institutions had a degree of sophistication that is as sophisticated as was Hitlers--the way slaves were shipped, the splitting up of families, the conscious choices in terms of breeding, the conscious act of putting slaves from different tribes together so they did not have a common language. The way the west did slavery would make Hitler proud. And the legacy of our slavery is still there to this day, with Africa having nine landlocked nations, some of which cut tribes in half, and development of a highly corrupt philosophy that has been handed down to directly and indirectly hand-picked rulers. I don't think there anything at all to be proud of with regards to the west in terms of slavery. Not only that, I quick search shows me that countries like Russia and Japan ended slavery long before the west did.
  9. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Russia? Please. They are the kings of human trafficking.

    And Japan? They had no real slave trade that needed to be stopped.

    You just outlined that the Atlantic Slave Trade was the height of cruelty and a humanitarian disaster. People within the society that drove that helped bring it to an end despite the fact that it was still profitable. To me, the abolition of the trade was more important. In fact, slavery itself remained legal in the British Empire for another 26 years.
  10. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Slavery, was the American South the only area on this planet that had slavery, why do liberals harp on it, it was a wrong that has been righted, why do liberals seem to get their rocks off with their racist sh!t of trying to make young people today feel guilty about something they or their parents had nothing to do with.

    Slavery at one time in the past was a way of life all over the world what the f-ck has it got to do with today.

    America came to see that slavery was wrong and America fixed it, now it's part of history.

    Get A Life
  11. Titus Pullo

    Titus Pullo Banned

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    Wow. Let me know what the straw man you've created says in response.

    Brazil is doing quite well, supporting my point further.

    In fact, do you HAVE a point?

    Oh. So it's our adherence to our Bible and our unique nationalistic "spirit" then? LOL

    Never mind that no where in the bible does it advocate accumulation of wealth.
  12. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    But, the ruins of slavery still remain, and that's a serious problem. The west has not addressed that reality at home or abroad, and frankly I don't know if it ever will.

    As far as Russia goes, there will always be a correlation between weak national government (which conservatives here favor) and human rights abuses. In our own country, human rights abuses against women, blacks, gays, working people, and others only ended when the Supreme Court (or the Congress) overruled the states.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  13. The Brandon Five

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    #75 Jersey

    The OP was about the West. You responded about America. Are you changing your username to "straw man"?

    Your post was about America. Brazil was not doing "quite well" at a time when America had already abolished slavery and they had not (not until 1888). Even today, their "quite well" means the same GDP per capita as we had in the 1960s.

    It's about culture.

    In the Old Testament, there are passages that can be read that way, but yes, Jesus warned about the danger to one's soul from becoming attached to possessions. He did not, however, advocate malingering in poverty.
  14. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    No question. Actually, slavery itself is alive and well. Even though it is not legal anywhere in the world, there are more slaves today than at the height of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. That does not happen without governments turning the other way. Police all over the world are being paid off.

    I'd say Putin and his gangster friends are in charge. Sometimes there is a correlation between strong national government and human rights abuses because they are being committed by the government itself. I think what you are trying to say is that the rule of law is necessary to protect the rights of all, with which I enthusiastically agree.

    Yes. I don't know if states rights were the cause of those abuses, but yes, universal rights need universal protections.
  15. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    That could not be farther from the truth...the slavery part, anyway. Slavery made many rich southern "gentlemen" but they in turn used it to be gentlemen and maintain fine plantations. industrialization and real wealth came from the north.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  16. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, slavery is alive and well, as is the corruption needed to keep it that way.

    Actually not. Our system is pretty well designed to prevent a ruthless dictator. Not only do we have a strong separation of powers, but we have a powerful relatively independent media, a powerful capitalist class, a still strong labor movement, and other groups with considerable power. Last but not least, we have a national guard. The worst thing about the conservatives, and especially the libertarians, they basically want to leave the national government with its military intact (or stronger) and little else. That to me is a recipe for disaster.

    Even now, you can look at the discrimination against gays, women who have abortions, people who speak English as a second language, and poor people at the local state level, where in some states there are still terrible injustices. The slow killing of someone by treating them badly is certainly not as bad as the more visceral forms of abuse exploited in war and terror, but it's still very bad in my opinion.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  17. Titus Pullo

    Titus Pullo Banned

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    And yet you say its "our culture" at the bottom. Odd. What "culture" would that be that is axiomatic of "the west?"

    Now you're just plucking segments of my post, and talking in isolation. What I CLEARLY said was that it was slavery, abundant natural resources (oil) AND abundant arable landmass that made us an empire.

    There's a binding culture throughout "the west?" Just what about it made us "rich?"
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  18. The Brandon Five

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    #75 Jersey

    Not sure which part the "actually not" is directed at, but your characterization of libertarians is incorrect.

    No argument there, but discrimination is not borne of state's rights it is born in the human heart. Prejudice lives in all of us. Some much more than others.
  19. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    The most successful nations in the West were part of the Britannic inheritance, but I'd say more broadly that elements of Greek and Roman civilization (democracy, Socratic method) and what you might call Judeo-Christian culture are the key differences. People who are irreligious can still live by such values. Most people in "Christian nations" are "culturally Christian".

    And my first response was about Brazil having all three. My point was that if those three are the only variables that matter, then why are their such big differences in results.

    I think that is the question that the OP was trying to answer. A question which you dismiss out of hand.

    Here are is an older take on the question:

    J. M. Roberts, The Triumph of the West (Boston: Little, Brown, 1985), pp. 13-33
  20. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Libertarians largely restrict the role of the national government to military matters. If you have a government like that, then the military I believe will eventually take matters into its own hands, like you see time and again in Africa.

    Discrimination may be borne in the human heart, but it's mostly been the federal government that has addressed the issue on a national level. That's why most minorities tend to be liberal. They know that their equality is due to the national government (sometimes the Supreme Court and sometimes the Congress).

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