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Cretino
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:30 pm

ThePhilosopher wrote:
I'd give the first video a 4/10 or a 5/10, maybe.

wall of text
I like your summary/resume. Can you do the same for Brazil?
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:33 pm

Okay sure, that title is clearly exaggerated. But I found it interesting how geography affects countries.
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:23 pm

Good books about Brazil's economy if you're interested, Cretino
https://www.saraiva.com.br/por-que-o-brasil-cresce-pouco-desigualdade-democracia-e-baixo-crescimento-no-pais-do-futuro-7486644.html
https://www.saraiva.com.br/complacencia-entenda-por-que-o-brasil-cresce-menos-que-pode-7352895.html?mi=VITRINECHAORDIC_similaritems_product_7352895

Broadly speaking:

Brazil's colonization goal was the extraction of resources. A few families would come here and extract sugar cane. The money was extremely concentrated on those few families, and a good swath of the population was slaves. So no money changing hands, no incentive to trade or to produce anything new. The most developed parts of Brazil (São Paulo and downwards) had different colonization processes, with european families coming here and having an actual job which gave them income. Produced goods would come from europe, cheaper and of higher quality, and the land-owners had no incentive to raise taxes on them just so that a manufacturing elite could rise.

Religious belief was catholic christianity. Catholics lack the work ethic of protestants, are accostumed to give large amounts of their own money to the church and are taught that poverty is a virtue.

Institutions and policies: With the colonization goal being extraction, the job of Brazil's government was to take as much money as possible from the population and give it to Portugal. When the Independence came, the political class simply changed from giving money to Portugal to giving to themselves, using all the colonial apparatus Portugal had forced on Brazil to do so.
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Cretino
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:49 pm

Bravo. A week of study resumed in a single post in the shadow on the corner of internet.
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:52 am

I still have to applaud Draggy: the videos discussed the impact of geography rather well.

That is of course only a fraction of a destiny of any nation, but little could be done if geography is disfavorable. Hard to make Saudi Arabia a great agricultural produce exporter, for instance...
The only true examples are Japan, Taiwan and Singapere, all countries with good management and Confucian work ethics (more Protestant German than Protestant German engeneers...). One might argue that Israel qualifies as well, but they are leeching their economical growth off of US' resources...
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:36 pm

Geography played a more important role from the birth of civilization till maybe 1800s- 1900s
And even then some things that we take for granted are not always so.

Great Britain, for example, would never have become a naval power without ample incentives from the crown to do so (and continue to be so), over centuries of existence. Same thing with GB's manufacturing capacity.

Japan was a tiny rock populated by honorabru tiny people. After the Meiji Restoration it became an Imperial power to defeat an european power (the first time it happened in modern times, I believe) and threatened to conquer all of Asia if it didn't joined the losing side.

And I'm always very skeptic of anyone who says "confucian work ethic". Sure, it's exactly like protestant work ethic, but all these confucian-based countries were dirt poor up until 1950's, 1960's-ish

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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:46 pm

ThePhilosopher wrote:
Geography played a more important role from the birth of civilization till maybe 1800s- 1900s
And even then some things that we take for granted are not always so.

Great Britain, for example, would never have become a naval power without ample incentives from the crown to do so (and continue to be so), over centuries of existence. Same thing with GB's manufacturing capacity.

Japan was a tiny rock populated by honorabru tiny people. After the Meiji Restoration it became an Imperial power to defeat an european power (the first time it happened in modern times, I believe) and threatened to conquer all of Asia if it didn't joined the losing side.

And I'm always very skeptic of anyone who says "confucian work ethic". Sure, it's exactly like protestant work ethic, but all these confucian-based countries were dirt poor up until 1950's, 1960's-ish

Those same countries were the riches on Earth for more than a millennium, lost only in the 19th century, because Europe had modern ship artillery (UK vs China: Opium Wars). Economy means nada if your opponent could just take your shit after shelling the crap out of you...
China lost to two things: cooling climate (less rain and crop failures in 17-19 centuries) and lack of modern fleet. The Manchus were too backward to see the need, means were there. Ming China used fleets and gunpowder, as the Portugese and the Dutch learned painfully. Then narrowminded tribal people aided by corrupted officials came to power...
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:37 pm

What "same countries" are we talking about?

Obviously economy doesn't mean shit without the military, it goes without saying.

Sorry, but I haven't figured out how the things you've said are related to the "subject" at hand. Care to explain? Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:15 pm

In response to the discussion I did some googling (duckduckgoing actually, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it) and came across this article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/10/28/why-the-industrial-revolution-didnt-happen-in-china

I can't really say if the given hypothesis is true or not, but it sounds plausible.

So first you have a lack of industrial revolution and falling behind European powers, then you get communism, and only once they adopted capitalism-which-is-totally-not-capitalism-honest in the 90s did China start to really catch up.
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:57 pm

ThePhilosopher wrote:
What "same countries" are we talking about?

Obviously economy doesn't mean shit without the military, it goes without saying.

Sorry, but I haven't figured out how the things you've said are related to the "subject" at hand. Care to explain? Suspect

Those with confucian work ethics. China mostly. The leading cultural, economical and military power throughout the most of last two millennia. Country with not so great geography (tons of deserts and crazy neighbors...).
I quite agree with the article that Draggy posted. China was great when competition was encouraged; under Han (mostly), Sui, Tang, Song... The Ming, shocked by the Mongol invasion, hit the brakes and demanded control over competition... Through bureaucracy. The Qing, as foreign invaders, had seen all innovation as a threat to social order and an attempt to undermine their power. Innovation, change itself, was virtually prohibited. Fairbanks wrote quite a bit on this. Under them, China did not even try to compete with the outside world, let alone lead any trends in innovation.
There is a second problem, namely the effectiveness of an innovation. In underpopulated North America a machine was the cheaper option. In overpopulated east Asia human labor was. This is an issue for a separate essay.

How does it tie up into geography of countries? Of course, the potential itself gives you nothing. It has to be utilized. This is why Japan or Taiwan are maritime powers: they used they potential to transport goods quickly. Similar geographically Indonesia did not. Culture plays a role, of course.
And I tie organizational culture into it.

As to how it relates to your post: those confucian countries used to be ahead of Europe for centuries. Then their rulers mixed things up, which coincided with environmental problems, willful ignorance of the administrative caste towards new challenges (what could we learn from unwashed barbarians?)...
And we got a textbook recipe on how to topple a civilization a la Jared Diamond.

I would not agree with you that Japan had nothing: they had lumber (fleet) and fast learning people (craftsmen, then engineers). Their rulers kept them in the feudal era, but when they ceased, it took Japan 30 years to catch up.

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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:38 pm

I like the fact that you speak European and we speak Portuguese, yet we still understand each other Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:19 am

We speak WHAT!? Shocked Shocked Shocked

We speak the glorious tongue of Newton, Darwin, Hobbes, Locke, Smith...
Not some frog squealing or Sauerkraut farting!

European, as if one... *grumbles on*
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:04 pm

Yeah, it's like Brazil is closer to Saturn or something...
Laughing

Edit: And this: https://img-9gag-fun.9cache.com/photo/aDzMVjB_460sv.mp4
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:15 pm

@Draggy: The modernization of China started at the 80's.

However, I completly believe the arguments made about the flaws of the Mandarin system. It could not possibly the only reason but it might be the bigger one.

Human beings answer to incentives. If by learning a certain trade "A" I will earn 5000$ a month, and learning a certain trade "B" I will earn 2000$ per month, human beings will try to go to trade A everytime, all things equal. Other important thing is security. If I can earn a little less, but that money is guaranteed and it'll be very hard for me to lose my job, that factor enters the analysis aswell.

Case in point:

Brazil has more law courses than the entire rest of the world combined. It's the third country by numbers of lawyers in the world. Why so many law courses and so many lawyers?

Because the incentives for law in Brazil overpower nearly all others. The Law courses are very easy compared to a course in engineering or hard sciences. The public jobs in Brazil, in which you have to pass a certain test to qualify, always have some subjects of law in it, almost always half if not more of the test. And the highest paying jobs in the public sphere(non-elective) are almost exclusively of the judiciary, and outright demand a diploma in Law + experience as lawyer.

The public jobs here not only pay more in salary, but you work far less, have access to special benefits and privileges that can make you earn almost 5x the salary every month, have far more free time, it's almost impossible to fire you and even in some jobs, like judges, you can never get fired, just "forced retirement". Oh and those with public jobs here are entitled to a full retirement, earning the same amount that they did before retirement, basically the only class of people in which this happens.

So when millions of Brazilian youth could be going to learn something useful and productive like engineering, computer sciences and the like, instead they go to Law courses and become Satan's little cock holsters for the pay is bigger, easier and more stable. Add to that the fact that we know lawyers cause gdp loss while engineers do the reverse (http://www.nyu.edu/econ/user/bisina/murphy_shleifer_vishny.pdf) and we have one reason as to why Brazil is so dirt poor. So yeah, I can definetively see it happening in China.

"The best thing Napoleon could have done for France is made a batallion of lawyers and sent them to the frontlines"

@Feral: Will answer you soon.

As for now, have the video of the day, 2 for the price of one:

https://img-9gag-fun.9cache.com/photo/ad9bBG2_460sv.mp4

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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:13 am

Philo, I am gonna make you my knight!

Now I get it why Brazil uses it's vast resources so shittily. Genetic resources first and foremost. You have code for enzymes able to do almost anything in that forest of yours and you use it for logging...

Bureaucracy and etatism could bring any nation down...

Why only a battalion?

I eagerly await your response.

Great video, too.
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:35 am

Those are some seriously messed up incentives.
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:26 am

And that is the tip of the iceberg!
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:33 pm

@Feral:

Sure, the Asian (and Middle Eastern) were richer than the European countries for a long time. But then they were poorer and dominated for 200-400 years. You say: "But the rulers of the country caused it!". Well, if something like the ruling class or the institutions can cause a country to be poor, geography and confucian work ethics notwistanding, isn't that the most important factor that we should analise?

Japan's isolationist policy was enforced by their rulers, yes, but so was the modernization of the country. It wasn't a case of ,once the Shogunate was removed, the Japanese people could finally use their qualities. The govenment went into gigantic pains to ensure the modernization of Japan. They hired foreign experts in a number of varying fields, they installed roads and railroads, modernized the army and the navy, sent students abroad to learn science, etc etc. It was considered not only a matter of national security but also a matter of national survival and sovereignty. The greatest part of the Meiji Restoration was top-down, not bottom-up.

I dislike this geography explanation for the same reason I dislike the "confucian ethics" explanation. It's a cop out. It assigns zero power to the institutions of the nation (which some economists argue, and I agree with them, that the institutions are the most important part about development and growth) and also ignores the relationship between the institutions and culture (like Brazil's lawyer problem). It can also be changed at a whim: "Japan is poor because it doesn't have much land" goes to "Japan is rich because he is in a good spot to be a world trader". Sure it plays a part, but in modern times not that much.

Japan, South Korea and China would all be poor rice exporters right now if their institutions didn't incetivize productive behavior from their citizens, geography and confucian ethics or not.




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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:04 pm

You rise good points, truly.

But the connection between culture and institutions is deeper than you seem to think. I would argue it is where ethic, confucian or otherwise, comes into play.

You are right in what you write about Japan in Meiji era. I would argue with location part: top 25 trade powers are all maritime countries. It is rather hard to trade when you depend on goodwill of others to export your produce, ask Bolivians if you doubt. Best wearing a Chilean soccer team shirt... Seriously, few landlocked countries ever sported great commerce.

China could land as a poor rice exporting country a la Campucha only in case of really bad governance... Yes, I agree with you on that from the beginning, as you happen not to notice.

Alas, those doing the governance are humans, not faceless institutions. Humans think according to their culture. I will give you an example. There were two maritime, agriculture based countries in the 19th century: Japan and Egypt. Both hired Western advisers, modernized, set up schools, factories, modern armies and navies... Japan got to be a Great Power, Egypt, a colony.

There were of course many factors that contributed to it, but the case study is still interesting, as both countries have little to no natural resources.
I see the main differential in the cultural field: even after similar on paper European governments were introduced, people manning them thought as they learned before. Japanese were then task oriented and competitive, Egyptians looked where to employ their relatives, regardless of their competences. I learned this from my Egyptian co-PhD student, who was shocked and amused to find the same attitude in Poland...
The result was of course enormous and totally indolent administration, unable to achieve anything on time, if at all (as is in Poland).
Japanese official of the Meiji era would have committed seppuku after failing as much...

To sum up: of course I agree geographical location is not all. It provides barriers to what could be done, as well as potential. Then there are people who live in a given country, with their culture and institutions.
It is like Dostoevsky put it in "Anna Karenina". To paraphrase: all successful countries are similar.
Of all the failed ones, each is failed in its own way.

By chance, have you read any of the books by Jared Diamond? He explains rather well why civilizations thrive or fail. Broadens how you look at things. I think you would like them.
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:02 am

Feral wrote:
By chance, have you read any of the books by Jared Diamond? He explains rather well why civilizations thrive or fail. Broadens how you look at things. I think you would like them.

I read Collapse. Interesting book. I aslo remember he did a TED talk that's a short summary of that book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IESYMFtLIis
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:09 am

I wanted to post a video but then I opened the thread and went naaaahh...
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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:58 am

Why nah?



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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:59 am

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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:47 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Video of the day   Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:45 am

That was quite underhanded...
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