Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by tmarket, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

    The upshot of this book by Jared Diamond is that the decision makers in a society are unlikely to make sound decisions if they are insulated from the average members of the society. Case in point: New Orleans, where the poor occupied the low ground and the rich (and the politicians) occupied the higher ground. The rich in this case is unlikely to care whether the dikes are in good repair. This is in contrast to the Nederlands where everybody is potentially underwater and the dikes are always in good repair for the good of all.

    This analysis can be extended to the global financial crisis. The rich and the politicians in this world are usually the ones who suffered the least and they make decisions based on self interest, not for the good of the whole society. Case in point, Henry Paulson, Dick Cheney, Phil Gramm, George W Bush. They were insulated from the average American and they don't see the harm that their decisions can have on the average middle class American. If you made 700 million from the financial industry as Paulson did, or 40 million from the oil industry as Cheney did, you are less likely to suffer any personal economic harms from oil price spikes or financial collapses.

    The famous quote from Phil Gramm, the ex-senator from Texas and the original co-campaign manager of John McCain was that this economic crisis was a "mental recession", blaming the average American for not being able to cope - how insulated do you have to be in order to make a statement like that?

    The conclusion from this book is that no matter what political parties you belong, it is good for the society as a whole if the rich and the powerful suffer along with the average or the poor. It forces the decision makers to choose the right paths and ultimately be enviromentally and fiscally responsible for the whole society, instead of a few.


    http://www.amazon.com/Collapse-Societies-Choose-Fail-Succeed/dp/0670033375

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_(book)
     
  2. The rich and the politicians in this world are usually the ones who suffered the least and they make decisions based on self interest, not for the good of the whole society.

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    You might say the same about the middle class. We make dozens of desciions which effect our self interest in the burbs with no regard for the people who chose to live below sea level. We design land us plans, zoning, vote for higher school taxes for better education, commute to jobs with personal sacrifice in time and money.

    Ehh, the guy is academic who publishes popular topics on bashing the rich with no solutions,not saying aything bad about the guy but editorials are a dime a dozen.
     
  3. "Case in point: New Orleans, where the poor occupied the low ground and the rich (and the politicians) occupied the higher ground."

    So, did they go ahead and decide to spend billions of taxpayer money and rebuild the same parts of New Orleans that are 30 feet below sea level?
     
  4. If there is something about the media attention on Obama entering the White House and the whole issue about the Blackberry that has struck me, it is how cocooned and removed from the everyday the president is. It is not good when there are obstacles in the way of the leadership getting an accurate gauge of the pulse of the people.

    That said I'm not sure that explains this current fiasco. The thing is there wasn't an active interest on the part of the past leadership during the boom years to actively ask the important questions: "What can go wrong?" "What are the real risks?"

    There was a complete disconnect in perspective with myopic attention affixed to the low risk of the dangers of terrorism coupled with a disregard for the dangers posed by the unwieldy financial system. It was like a homeowner fixated on exterminating a couple of cockroaches while being oblivious to the gas leak waiting to blow up.
     
  5. Citing events that had happened to goofy small populations like the Polynesians as examples of what can happen to larger countries is a little absurd. Hurricanes hit the US every year, so what. Even in there's a change in trade it's the same. A large industrial country offers far more than a bunch of coconut picking islanders, so yeah a loss of trading partner could wipe out the island but not so for the larger diversified country.

    I'd rather look at the education levels of a country to get an idea of its stability.
     
  6. Hardly earth shaking.

    The case for personal accountability spans millennial.

    Convoluting that simple ideal into hundreds of pages of self-aggrandized, ego-stroking, sounds more like an auto-biographical tale in self preservation.

    Lawyers do it with law.

    Academics do it with Truth.

    To over-complicate simple matters to justify ones own existence.

    IE. Legalese.

    IE. Your history profs next Lecture Circuit, Textbook, "narrative".

    Lots of bullshit to go around, to be sure.