Sunday, August 24, 2008

God Bless The US and No One Else



I discovered a great new site entitled The Asian Economist.  He has a post up called Ten Ways To Piss The United States Off. I highly suggest you go and check it out.   I am sure the title pretty much makes it clear that it is a satirical polemic, however I feel that there is much to be gained from reading such work.

One of the constants in the American psyche is that evil always exists outside the borders.  Not only is America the land of baseball and apple pie, it is the land where goodness and righteousness are a constant.  Americans invade countries for the sake of freedom and hey if they happen to be able to build a pipeline or have  greater access to oil, it is all just a happy accidental windfall.  Why can't the backward Iraqis, and Afghanis realize that all of the death, and destruction is for their own good.  Americans are after all sending soldiers which they recruited in impoverished neighbourhoods to secure their freedom. Aaah freedom the greater justifier of some of the worst atrocities in this Middle Eastern debacle.  As soon as these people realize what is good for them they will be swigging coca cola and gorging on Big Macs.  Who knows maybe they will even hit the trifector and Walmart will start to open big box stores so that they can be suitably civilized Westernized.  Thank God for the red, white, and blue, we might all be swinging from trees where it not for American intervention.

Another salient point that The Asian Economist makes is about  torture and human rights abuses.  These are things that happen only on the dark continent, backward sands of the middle east, or in the anathema of the western world, China.  Of course this ignores the torture of the political detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  It further means that human rights must be kept to a very narrow definition.  I happen to believe that it should be a human right that everyone should have access to health care, education, housing, food and water but that would mean a better a division of assets.  What would the Paris Hiltons of the world do if they could not live in the lap of luxury while school children go without breakfast.  Yet these facts are not ignominious, no they represent the bonuses of living in a country where supposedly the cult of meritocracy is for the good of all.  As long as the finger is pointed outward instead of inward the white hat role of the good guy will always be played by an American.


AR said...

I happen to believe that it should be a human right that everyone should have access to health care, education, housing, food and water but that would mean a better a division of assets.

Depending on the standards you have for those categories (at what point on the scale between measles vaccines and experimental gene therapy does universal health care become acceptable?), I don't think division is enough. For one, you can't simply turn things like CPU fabrication plants into water treatment plants on the other side of the world (nor would you want to, as computing is a key part of the industrialized world's productivity), and two, even if you could simply redistribute global GDP equally, that'd be about $10,000 per person per year, which is still below the US poverty line.

tl;dr: if present global assets were divided equally, we'd all be equally poor.

Ending global poverty, therefore, requires the creation of wealth. A lot of wealth.

Renee said...

@Ar I notice that you never offer a solution to the global inequality. At any rate redistribution does not mean that we should carry on with a system that is clearly flawed. I believe in a subsistence economy. It is our very reliance on a social construction (money) that has lead to this disconnect in worth and value.

In terms of health care I cannot believe that you are using technology as an excuse to not offer aid. Malaria is one of the cheapest fixes on the planet and yet we allow pharmaceutical profits to prevent those in need of receiving adequate care. How many would be living longer with access to drugs like AZT? We begin the process low tech first (which btw would make a massive difference) and then move onward.

AR said...

Two economists were walking around when they came upon two people arguing across the street out of their second story windows. One economist said to the other, "They'll never reach an agreement."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because they're arguing from different premises."

I'd like to reply but I think it'll have to be a somewhat long post to make sure I'm even being understandable, since we clearly take different things for granted. I can't do that tonight but in the meantime I thought you might like the above, very relevant joke.

Renee said...

@AR yes I am amused...

Cooper said...

I do find it a little Ironic that those guys for to school in New Jersey. Something most in China certainly can't even dram about.

I also do not think like you that most people calling China out are unaware of what this government have done. Those unaware are unaware of either.

The economic issues are unlikely to be addresseD in coherence with social problems though interconnected, and our basic system is not likely to change. we can work within it to make changes.

Good article in the Times by David Leonhardt (yesterday), about Obama's economic philosophy, which gives me hope he really does have more of a progressive plan in mind.

You may read these already, if not you might like

Lee... said...

Excellent article from both you and Asain economist. While many seek to throw stones at other nations, they forget the terrible human rights violations committed on their own soil - and when anyone mentions it they actually come out with the fadt line "people hate is as we are free" or some other such crap.