Keep The People Poor To Maintain Power

Discussion in 'Politics' started by pspr, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. pspr


    A couple of economists have determined that rulers around the world keep their subjects in poverty so they can maintain power. What does this impart to us about where our country is headed today?

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, an economist at Harvard, published a study in 2006 that found political elites tend to stand in the way of development because it suits their needs.

    "Political elites," they said, "will block beneficial economic and institutional change when they are afraid that these changes will destabilize the existing system and make it more likely that they will lose political power."

    Acemoglu and Robinson believe that advances might erode elites' "political advantages relative to other groups that are benefiting from the changes or weaken (the elites') ability to control political challenges."

    Please allow us to offer our interpretation: In other words, autocrats can control poor subjects better than they can prosperous citizens, and they set up systems that allow them to do exactly that.

    It's hard to find a nation that's both wealthy and under the domination of an oppressive government.

    The two don't go together. Dictators hate free markets. Tyrants want to keep technological advances out of the hands of their people. Monarchs fear property rights. Despots loathe the rule of law. To the totalitarian and the oligarch, an open society and transparent governance are anathemas.

    No one would try to make the case that modern American Democrats in office fall under any of the six job titles listed above. Yet they often exhibit authoritarian urges. They line up behind policies that have harmful economic consequences, undermine the rule of law, ignore property rights, meddle heavily in private affairs and govern behind closed doors.

    It should not be considered radical to argue that it looks like today's party of the left is following a Cloward-Piven-like strategy of purposely ruining a country so that it can be rescued with a bigger, stronger, much-further-left government. Remember, it was the president's first chief of staff who said "you never want a serious crisis to go to waste" and it was his current secretary of state who said "never waste a good crisis."

    When an economy is taxed, manipulated and obstructed by central planners, and when life becomes more regimented by a furtive government, people are less free and political elites more powerful. That describes today's America much more closely than it should.
  2. 1) Well, duh! :D
    2) Confirmation of the obvious :p
    3) One can get a "better" education at BC or BU instead. :eek: :cool:
  3. Some obvious questions.

    What about places like China, Hong Kong or Singapore? Are they the exceptions where authoritative governments institued beneficial policies?

    Or Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states? Oppressive but rich.
  4. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    Who is rich in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states? It certainly isn't the people! You mean the royalty?
  5. There are plenty of rich businessmen there. Not all are royals. Obviously, it helps to have connections.

    The ordinary citizens of the Gulf states, except maybe Bahrain, have incomes that would be considered rich in most countries and they live a very comfortable life.
  6. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    Can you provide me the backup behind the ordinary citizens of the gulf states having incomes that would be considered rich in most countries? With the exception of Qatar, I think GDP per capita for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait is around 40k. Hardly rich.
  7. pspr


    The Arab states with extreme oil revenue are rich because of the oil. It's my understanding that the general populace is very repressed and only has what the Kingdom gives them. When the oil revenue dries up they will return to just a bunch of warring tribes, IMO.

    The gains in Hong Kong and Singapore are a result of loosing power and becoming more democratic. The same is true in China to a degree. At some point in a decade or two China is going to have to experience a democratic revolution or begin to fall behind. Currency disparity and cheap labor aren't going to last forever.