On an economic NATO, the benefits of colonialism, and Big Boy jealousy

Der Spiegel argues for a US – EU free-trade zone, an economic NATO. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always thought it ludicrous that the US should consider free-trade with Mexico whilst Uncle Sam and Old Europe play tit-for-tat tariff games. All the while (as Washington frets over European steel and Brussels wonders whether American GM food will cause babies to be born with three heads) Asia quietly, steadily begins to swallow-up the world.

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Researchers from Dartmouth College claim that the longer an island was colonised by European powers, the higher its standard of living today. “Each additional century of European colonization is associated with a 40 percent boost in income today and a reduction in infant mortality of 2.6 deaths per 1,000 births.” Come back, Cecil Rhodes, all is forgiven.

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Not all anti-Americanisms are the same. There’s “liberal anti-Americanism,” that “criticize[s] the United States bitterly for not living up to its own ideals. ” You find this in the UK and its former colonies. Then there’s “social anti-Americanism,” that despises America’s social and political institutions. Bonjour Old Europe. China (and I would suggest Russia too) embodies “sovereign-nationalist anti-Americanism,” where America is seen as a potential threat to national sovereignty (and one that cannot, at this time, be matched militarily). Call it wannabee big boys jealous of the Big Boy. “Radical anti-Americanism” = Cuba, North Korea, Jihadists. “Elitist anti-Americanism” is what you read in the Guardian and drink in French water. “Legacy anti-Americanism” is what you get when countries remember how the Yanks screwed them: Mexico, Iran, Spain. The good news here is that countries can learn to forget (Vietnam).

So, what kind of anti-American are you?

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7 thoughts on “On an economic NATO, the benefits of colonialism, and Big Boy jealousy

  1. the longer an island was colonised by European powers, the higher its standard of living today

    The longer an island was colonised by European powers, the fewer members of the indigenous population remain to drag down the economic statistics.

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  2. Lemming,

    I don’t think that’s how it goes. The study was of small islands. I don’t think any experienced mass exogenous colonisation.

    The best coloniser? The United States:

    Their verdict is that the islands that are best off, in terms of income growth, are the ones that were colonized by the United States—as in Guam and Puerto Rico. Next best is time spent as a Dutch, British, or French colony. At the bottom are the countries colonized by the Spanish and especially the Portuguese.

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  3. Being a colony of the right power might make a state wealthy. Competing at the top of the inter-state food chain makes states even wealthier.

    Anyone who is familiar with the mercantilist policies of European powers will not be surprised by the Dartmouth study.

    Spanish and Portuguese colonies were about resource extraction. France, Britain, and the Netherlands used their colonies to aid their emerging manufacturing sector. It is hardly surprising then that their colonies developed better.

    By the way, the British, Dutch, and French models were driven initially by the need to get a bite at the Spanish and Portuguese new world gold. While the Latin powers could steal and mine gold and silver, the northern Europeans had to produce marketable goods that would attract Spanish and Portuguese customers.

    Even though northern European governments assigned their colonies the low end of the division of labor, participating in manufacturing was still more advantageous than developing only a resource extraction economy.

    Notice that the most wealthy countries were never colonized. Japan developed a high standard of living much faster than its colonized neighbors. The same is true of the European powers.

    The Europeans became wealthy because of the pressures of war. The desire not to become someone’s colony required a strong government that would respect its subjects, at least with regard to their economic activities.

    State leaders were typically experts of coercion. While they had the wherewithal to coerce their own people, the princes had to figure out how to obtain and preserve the support of their subjects in war. The solution was to design credible guarantees for property rights. When there are credible property rights then people can invest. That’s why Europeans became rich.

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  4. Unnessary fear.==Iam from India, most western thinkers did not know the ground reality of India, only handful people are rich in India, 95p.c. people are poor, and poverty is increaasing day by day, because most por people are uneducated and unskill labour.
    Morden techonology need educated and skilled labour,Yes some syber cooli are earning better income, but they are cooli.

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