Wednesday, July 20, 2005

No-one could call him a fussy man...

...but he does like a bit of empirical evidsence with his discourse. Dave is perfectly right, of course! I must admit that I haven't yet looked for any evidence one way or the other, being too busy playing World of Warcraft. I did see a lot of big shiny office buildings belonging to Islamic banks in the UAE, but I don't know whether they are actually profitable- and if they are, if it is just because of government subsidies and/or customers who patronise them purely as a religious duty. Unfortunately all the countries that have mandated a purely Islamic banking system have been corrupt basket-cases, war-ravaged wastelands, or targets of long-term international sanctions, so they probably don't make a very good sample set.

I am keen for Marco to reveal where he disagrees with the analysis, so I can see if it is my bits of the analysis or Elias Khachourian's. I suspect, from my reading of The Economist, that that magazine bears rather the same relationship to real economics as New Scientist does to real science- that is, basically okay, but a teensy-bit sexed-up and gee-whizzified. Hence, if we are going to appeal to authority, I would claim that an economist might well outrank The Economist. Hmm, and I also know that Marco is much more devoted to the cause of The Economist as a nigh-infallible source of information than to the idea (which I might have manufactured myself by misreading a few throwaway lines on his blog) that an Islamic economy is necessarily inferior to a Western one, so I have just derailed the discussion completely. Damn.

6 comments:

Marco said...

As far as the analysis is concerned, a recommendation to invest in higher risk options is advisable when the general population is being too conservative as a lot of populations are at times. However, when the general population surges to invest in say property, its yields suddenly become higher and therefore it transforms from being a conservative investment to being a riskier one. I would argue that the investment of, say, having children, is more likely to be a better bet when the birth rate is at an all time low, than when everyone is having them. This being an example of a very long term financial investment.
My initial thesis is much more incensing than you suppose. To simplify the scenario - if there was a group of countries subordinate to a caliphate, and an equivalent group of countries subordinate to a UN style agency, and the only difference between the two groups is that the caliphate enforces very low abortion rates and the other doesn't. The group of countries under the caliphate I am suggesting would not be able to compete economically with the other (in the way I am suggesting the Soviet block failed to compete in its day). To my mind this is my idea of absolute truth denying any faith I have that it not be so.

Marco said...

As far as "The Economist" is concerned, my absolute favourite articles involve some economic analysis of which I do often regard as gospel the details. Mainly because it enthusiastically embraces ideas that most economist agree with, but are too afraid to spell out due to not being politically correct.

Dr. Clam said...

I am afraid your thesis is not incensing at all, in that I agree with it. Furthermore, both sets of countries would be economically uncompetitive compared to a Nazi-style set of countries which enforced a rigorous eugenics program and euthanised their underclass. However, this rests on the completely untenable proposition that there are no other differences between these sets of countries.
The most likely path for the creation of a Neo-Caliphate would be for a hegemonic United States to occupy and subsequently offer statehood to a broad swathe of the Muslim world, eventually resulting in a state with a Muslim majority, an entrepreneurial ethos, and a respect for the rule of law. Such a state would knock the stuffing out of the likely UN-style (e.g., Europe) and Nazi-style (e.g., China) states occupying the rest of the world, economically and in other ways.

Cueldee said...

I don't agree that a Nazi style set of countries is economically competitive in the long run. For instance, China's rigorously enforced one child policy may look like an economic miracle-maker, but is setting up a vicious demographic time bomb. Dependency ratios will skyrocket without some rigorous "back-end" demographic adjustment ie. China's pensioners would have to be knocked off as efficiently as their babies were. A more individual freedoms approach to euthanasia/eugenics is likely to be more economically efficient than a dictatorial one. The US occupied muslim group of countries of the future, I believe, will be an economically inferior pseudo-caliphate. It may have the overall legal structure of the US, but will ban abortion, and have no real compensating economic advantage. I think Australia would have a better chance with the Asia-Pacific countries. Perhaps an ideologically based caliphate, with a group constitution outlining basic principles like the US's.

Dr. Clam said...

"A more individual freedoms approach to euthanasia/eugenics is likely to be more economically efficient than a dictatorial one."

Yes, and the apex of this would be a Roman-style system, where the paterfamilias can knock off any economically unproductive members of his clan with impunity. You said only difference, so it is not proper to drag One Child Policy witlessness into an argument that postulates states only differing in their treatment of persons defined as subhuman.

Cueldee said...

Well, it doesn't seem I am making a point that you disagree with anyway, but it is a tough ask to find sound moral setups that are also economically competitive, because it is so easy to separate abortion as an issue between competing economies, even if their take can be quite similar. Even though you can't get the "all other things being equal", on average all other things are balancing each other economically. I brought up China for their even less moral approach to abortion being perhaps not even economically wise.