December 4, 2013

A thought on the cause of growing inequality

In this globalist age, we all know that nationalism was the worst thing ever. 

Except that the masses tended to do pretty well for themselves under nationalist governments that needed well-educated, well-fed, and enthusiastic populations to man their giant armies.

Perhaps Tyler Cowen's "Average Is Over" is, fundamentally, a function of the development of smart bombs, cruise missiles, stealth, and other military technology in the 1970s that increased the accuracy of weaponry, and thus decreased the need for large numbers of conscript soldiers firing vaguely in the general direction of the enemy to make them keep their heads down. 

During the Great Compression in the middle of the 20th Century, elites needed mass armies, so they treated the masses well economically. But, warfare has gone high tech and the need for cannon fodder has dropped sharply, so elites don't need the masses to fight their wars for them, so they don't feel any longer the need to cut the masses a large share of the economic pie anymore.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quite possible.

Also possible is the less closely related to you by blood your ruling elite are the more likely they are to betray you.

Anonymous said...

A nation needs to balance both.

South Korea is nationalist and internationalist. So are Japan and China. But ultra-nationalist North Korea is a pisspot.

Japan became less nationalist after WWII but treated its people much better.

I guess, in either case, it's damned one way or the other.

Elites treat you well to use you as soldiers or cannon fodder or treat you less well but don't send you to war.
Oddly enough, the US military is far more generous to recruits today than yesterday.

I guess the draft made the government take manpower for granted. But now, men have to be lured to join the army.

Ichabod Crane said...

"During the Great Compression in the middle of the 20th Century, elites needed mass armies, so they treated the masses well economically. But, warfare has gone high tech and the need for cannon fodder has dropped sharply, so elites don't need the masses to fight their wars for them, so they don't feel any longer the need to cut the masses a large share of the economic pie anymore."


I believe the truth is different in a subtle, interesting way. It wasn't to support armies that the elites allowed the lower classes to flourish, it was to reward armies. The welfare states of England and America, and the GI bill came about immediately after the large-scale wars (when armies were shedding soldiers), when most people believed they lived at the dawn of peace without end.


There was a genuine feeling of solidarity between the classes. After all, officers fought alongside men. The solidarity has declined for two reasons: 1) the higher classes don't go into the military, and feel little solidarity with the peons who fight our just-for-fun wars, and 2) the upper and lower classes both feel contempt rather than gratitude towards the lower classes. (Yes, the lower classes feel contempt for themselves -- they don't tend to organize themselves into unions and stand up for their own rights. Blue collar people don't even have enough self-respect to make sure they are represented by a political party!)

Anonymous said...

South Korea is nationalist and internationalist. So are Japan and China. But ultra-nationalist North Korea is a pisspot.

This all depends on how "internationalist" is defined.

North Korea has friendly relations with China and Russia, and seeks friendly relations with most countries. The US does not recognize North Korea as legitimate and the US has greater influence over other countries than NK does.

bjdubbs said...

Maybe Fareed Zakaria's intern will address this issue in his next column. Who needs Mike Royko when we've got an abundance of Oxford educated foreigners to choose from?

Anonymous said...

After winning a war, the elites toss bones like the Land Grant universities (Civil War) and the GI Bill (WW2) to the newly discharged conscripts so they won't shoot the elites.

Anonymous said...

But, warfare has gone high tech and the need for cannon fodder has dropped sharply, so elites don't need the masses to fight their wars for them, so they don't feel any longer the need to cut the masses a large share of the economic pie anymore.

I know this was not the intention of your post, but this notion that modern, high-tech weaponry having made soldiers less important is overblown.

First, what good are modern weapons when you can't use them? A nation with nukes cannot use them unless they themselves are threatened with destruction. If on the other hand the nuclear nation is slowly being taken over by an immivasion, those weapons are useless.

Second, as we learned from the past decade, it still takes troops on the ground to occupy and administer territory. You might use high-tech weaponry to surgically take out targets, but if you want to control, change, nation-build, etc., you still need large armies. We never had enough forces in Iraq or Afghanistan to effectively control them.

If only we would have used our stand-off, accurate, high-tech weaponry on Afghanistan, and not embarked on an endless occupation. But, what should have been never was.

Third, the irony is that it is the lack of surplus young people in Western nations that has probably prevented the West from more aggressive nation building operations. If the West still had surging numbers like it did in the 1950s, coupled with no opposition from a USSR type opponent, we'd be all over the place nation-building and dragging every third world hellhole into the globalist multicult.

I don't think modern weapons are the cause of shrinking armies. I think shrinking populations, which lead to shrinking armies, are the cause for modern weapons that minimize your casualties.

BTW, another misinterpretation of this belief that modern warfare has become an automated endeavor is the massive push to allow women in the infantry. Even though there were episodes in our recent wars of intense small unit fighting, most think the days of bayonets and living in the field are relics of another age. When the day comes that our infantry engages in such brutal action again, God help them if their ranks are filled with women.

d..... said...

I think you are overthinking it a bit.

What happened was that birthrates went down, and women got educated. Now I know that the Fred Reed types hate eddificated women, but it's a fact that middle class moms were the ones who lent moral strength to the anti-war movements that criminalized strategic wars (like Vietnam).

We still need a few boots on the ground, so along with all the smart bombs we need the children of illegal aliens. I don't think that illegal aliens are just cheap labor and cheap votes. They don't even vote. But they do have kids. There aren't enough working class white boys. The children of Hispanics are the reserve army of the empire.

DPG said...

This gives the elites too much credit. You think they have a coherent, explicit strategy of self-interest?

I'm more of a believer in Robin Hanson's "politics isn't about policy." The very well off who I know tend to think of themselves as "citizens of the world." It's cosmopolitan, high-status. They think: the world is becoming peaceful, open, looser in its mores, less hierarchical in its business and social institutions. These are fine things for high-functioning individuals. I worry about what it portends for everyone else.

If we want elites to adopt conservatism, it has to be about raising the status of national interest over that of global cosmopolitanism. Right now, conservatism is associated with "They took errr jobs" and "The body can shut that whole thing down."

We need to associate conservatism with Switzerland and Japan, liberalism with the world of the movie Elysium. Wouldn't you rather the United States as a whole was Elysium, rather than a place that needs to be escaped on a space station?


Upon reflection, however, Steve's hypothesis may be exactly in line with how the elites of China think.

dearieme said...

I'm not inclined to agree with you, Steve, but it's an interesting suggestion. It can therefore be guaranteed that conventional- wisdomeers will mock it on autopilot, without even troubling to engage with it.

Henry Canaday said...

I’d say the first half of your speculation contains some truth. The role of common men in World Wars I and II spurred both compassion on the part of the elite and confident assertiveness on the part of the common men. The effects ended, not because mass armies were not needed, but because the strategy was falling apart. Unionized labor was destroying companies and industry. The generosity of the welfare state helped accelerate sloth and family breakdown, which is now a major cause of inequality. Paying CEOs and other managers like senior civil servants eventually yielded civil service levels of efficiency and innovation.

Paul Krugman hasn't noticed any of this, but I thought you had. The U.S. military still depends on finding a lot of competent citizens, perhaps by the hundred thousand rather than millions. Many of America's welfare policies are actually much more generous than they were during "more equal" days. They are just not generous enough to offset the collapse of behavior that they encourage.



sunbeam said...

Do our elites actually seem elite?

They aren't professionals at getting up on stage of course.

But compare someone like Feynman when they spoke publicly on something.

Then watch Zuckerman or Gates.

Maybe I was already predisposed to think certain things, but I always go Wow when I see some kind of clip of Feynman.

When I see Gates or Zuckerman I think of that Michael Collins quote about the English: "How did these people ever get to run an empire?"

And in the spirit of having a contradictory thought, the elites don't even need the masses economically anymore.

Which makes their fixation on immigration even more puzzling.

Of course Ma and Pa Kettle don't really need the elites, at least the elites who aren't involved in the sciences and engineering.

But the odds are pretty long they figure that one out.

And yeah, I think the knife of technology is cutting both ways. I really do think the function NY and Wall Street play in things could be made redundant. But I think someone is going to hold their thumb on the scale.

Matias F. said...

I think you are right. Nationalism was a success, because since the French revolution, nationalist countries defeated non-nationalist countires in war. Germany needed a nationalist movement to remove Napoleon's armies.

But I would say it was during the space race when it became clear that nationalism was not enough, that the internationalist powers were so much above others that no nation could stand against them. Any nationalist leader would have to be a servant of internationalist powers, so there's not much point.

In Finland (where I live), Soviet occupation was a real threat until about 1983, so the country remained nationalist for a decade or two longer than Western Europe. The workers were treated well so they wouldn't launch a general strike, which communists could use to stage a coup.

David said...

>Blue collar people don't even have enough self-respect to make sure they are represented by a political party<

Yes, and in America much media energy goes into insinuating that blue-collar people are all in the criminal class. All the awful "true crime" TV shows, for example. We are reminded every day that if you aren't a wealthy member of the elite, you are headed to a (privatized) prison sooner or later, and you belong there. (This message isn't broadcast consistently but that's the upshot.)

A relatively new development is the ubiquitous little $1 tabloids that contain nothing but mug shots of local criminals. It is now possible, in most areas of the US, to think that you live in an area or nation full of nothing but scum. Criminal scum or rich and famous people on TV is the divide being pushed a lot. (And by "pushed," I do imply "deliberately.")

The desire is to see the surplus population in pri$on or at least in the criminal justice (sic) system. I'd rather go in the Army.

Advice to non-wealthy/non-connected American whites: more than ever before, steer clear of trouble. Don't even jaywalk or spit in the street. You think this is joke, you're wrong.

Jason said...

Interesting, but I don't know Mr. Sailer: nationalism led to millions of men getting mowed down in wars, which is not exactly a good thing. I prefer patriotism, where people love their countries but also don't get carried way. Also, I think that "War is the health of the State" mentality, or the employment of soldiers in peacetime to provide work - while merited in some cases - is too sweeping. I would argue that 19th/20th century prosperity was largely based on manufacturing and world trade that a few countries (namely the U.S. and Western/parts of Central Europe) were able to dominate. Needless to say, that epoch in history is now gone, gone with the wind.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous @ 12:10:

"South Korea is nationalist and internationalist. So are Japan and China."

Wait, in what sense is South Korea internationalist? In the sense that it sends students abroad and hasn't completely closed itself off from foreign trade? I guess.

But South Koreans are basically fascistic in their nationalism, and have some of the highest levels of xenophobia in the world. Take a look -- they're right down there with Egypt and Iran in their intolerance (though more hospitable than India, for what little that's worth). Japanese and Chinese, in marked contrast, really don't have a problem with foreigners, even if they may not like them much.

a very knowing American said...

Latin America may be an illustration of this argument, having mostly sat out the great wars of the twentieth century. (For the exception-that-proves-the-rule, you'd have to go back to Paraguay's miserably failed attempt in the 1860s to imitate Napoleonic France.) Latin American armies suck up a fair amount of money, and are useful for maintaining order, but not very impressive at international war. Latin American elites are mostly OK with this, and OK with lots of inequality. Then you get populist dictators who are good at throwing money around as long as the money lasts but aren't really too eager for military mass mobilization against hated foreigners. Although parts of the region have seen decent economic growth from very poor foundations over the last century, the amount of rent-seeking and the tolerance of corruption, inequality, and general fecklessness in the region are still pretty striking.

In this as in other respects, America's future may be more Latin American than its past.

Anonymous said...

"In this globalist age, we all know that nationalism was the worst thing ever."

North Korea may be the most nationalistic country on planet, but it certainly doesn't treat its people well. Those in the military have to be fed and taken care of to some extent, but civilians could starve in the millions, but the NK state doesn't care. So, free society and free voice have more to do with the welfare of the people than the nature of the military. (US and parts of Europe are in trouble because the elites and the masses don't see eye to eye, and this is largely due to the fact that the elites are either Jewish or bought/sold by Jewish power--I mean just take a look at the GOP establishment who play shameless whore to AIPAC and Zionist Wall Street globalists; the likes of Blair, Cameron, McCain, Hollande, and Romney are not leaders of their own people but puppets of globalists.)

In contrast, some nations have had very small or insignificant armies--especially the small Scandinavian states of Europe--, but they have developed social programs that treat people well.

US is a mixed bag. On the one hand, globalism ships jobs overseas and imports cheaper workers, even illegal ones. But Americans today receive far more generous benefits from the government than ever before. Look at medicare, food stamps, so-called 'tax credits', and etc.
Indeed, despite all the Republican anti-government rhetoric, even GOP politicians know its political suicide to vote against government programs that benefit their own communities. And consider how the great majority of Americans sided with Obama against the Tea Party when it came to budgets.

Indeed, even with the economic slump, the US has continued to print and borrow money to keep the state running, on which so many Americans have come to depend.

Anonymous said...

"Second, as we learned from the past decade, it still takes troops on the ground to occupy and administer territory. You might use high-tech weaponry to surgically take out targets, but if you want to control, change, nation-build, etc., you still need large armies. We never had enough forces in Iraq or Afghanistan to effectively control them."

You're simply not on the right scale, numerically. 13% of the entire US population was mobilized for WWII (and 70% of them went overseas). Now THAT is cannon fodder. A mobilization of this magnitude structurally modifies the economy. Another 1, 2, or 5 million men on the ground in Iraq/Afgh is peanuts.

Anonymous said...

As for South Korea, can we say its national policy is really nationalistic? Weren't there massive protests for a long time in South Korea--given the frequency of the coverage on NPR and BBC, they were clearly of global significance--by common people, especially farmers, who protested the opening of trade barriers that might undermine the domestic economy, especially in agriculture and small industry?
It seems like the Korean elite relented to globalist pressures and decided it had to open its markets in order to have access to markets abroad. In doing so, the South Korean economy boomed in certain areas but shrunk in others. In cars and electronics, it boomed with greater access to markets abroad, but cheaper imports in many products such as cigarettes, rice, and etc. decimated less technologically advanced sectors.

And one gets the impression from the (awful)gangnam style video and violent-vengeful Korean films that the class divide over there is poisonous, with the have-nots filled with burning rage at the haves who live in their own cloistered world of pricey prep schools, plastic surgeries, sending kids to American colleges, and etc, and it seems as though Korean elites look down on the masses even more than American elites look down on rest of America. The difference is, since all Koreans are Korean, even if they are divided along class lines, they are united by race and nation whether they want to be or not.

At any rate, there may have been a time when the Korean economy had a place for winners, not-so-winners, and even losers. Korea used to sell stuff like cheapie lighters and can openers as well as cars and electronics. Today, China and Vietnam have completely taken over the cheapie goods industry, so Koreans have nothing left but high-tech(and have to compete with Japan and Silicon Valley that have much deeper pockets). But if China catches up with Korea in hightech, Korea has lost even that advantage. Koreans can no longer sell can openers but must focus on selling top notch cell phones, and that means the Korean economy really has little room left but for the top talents. This is the result of New Globalism(with China as the main game changer), of which the Korean economy is full a part.

So, the Korean craze for testing may be more a product of globalist mentality than nationalist mentality. It's like, you MUST BE a super-winner in Korea cuz there's no place for anyone else. You can work for Hyundai or Samsung but everything else is gone or going. At least nations like Spain, Greece, and Italy have a great tourist economies. But who the hell wants to go to Korea?

Since only winners win the prize in the new Korean economy that is so integrated with the rest of the world, the test craze may eventually have an anti-nationalist effect in Korea. People will come to see that only a handful of top test takers go to the best colleges and win everything while there's little else for everyone else.

Anonymous said...

So, even though we may see Korea's test-craze as a case of healthy nationalism, it may actually be the result of breakdown of nationalism. In a nation where only a few win anything good in society, more and more people compete like crazy to win that precious thing, which may get even more precarious if China begins to make pretty good cars and cell phones.
Koreans probably feel squeezed by hightech Japan and low-tech-but-gaining China. They have to stay ahead of the game, but how does a nation of 40 million really compete with a nation of 100 million and a nation of 1.3 billion? In the long run, maybe it can't, and maybe Korean mania for testing(on the 100,000 hrs rule) reflects that.

For a nation that supposedly takes care of its own people, it sure produces a lot of people who want to emigrate to other countries, especially the US. While super-winners have reason to stay in Korea and work for top companies, everyone else seems to be looking for an exit visa to come to the US.

PS. If Koreans are so nationalistic, how come they don't care about all the misery in North Korea? When Jews see suffering Jews, they wanna help out. Even when West Germany was wrecked and in desperate straits after WWII, they still felt sympathy for other Germans and did much to take in and take care of refugees. South Korean attitude to North Korea seems to be, 'what does it matter if they starve as long as I have my smart phone?'
Koreans may not be a trashy and shallow as Filipinos, but they are awful close.

Anonymous said...

"I think you are right. Nationalism was a success, because since the French revolution, nationalist countries defeated non-nationalist countires in war."

Generally, nationalism is self-defeating when it tramples on the nationalism of others.
Germany was doing great under a new nationalism until 1939, but the Hitler had to invade other nations and turn them against Germany.
Japan made great progress with nationalism, but then it had to start a war with China and then attack the US.

Nationalism should remain within national borders. Napoleon would have died a winner if he hadn't invaded Russia.

Anonymous said...

"South Korea is nationalist and internationalist. So are Japan and China."

"Wait, in what sense is South Korea internationalist?"

That's why I said it is nationalist AND internationalist. Unlike North Korea that is wholly nationalist, South Korea tries to serve its nationalism by working with internationalism. But I have a feeling that the Korean elites are vain, and as more of them become chummy with Western elites, they'll care more about winning approval from the 'right kind of people'(of Jews and homos) than care about their own people, something they suck at doing anyway.

Besides, Koreans are a monkey-see, monkey-do people. As one American general said, they are a race of lemmings, so while they may be culturally conservative at one time, they can switch overnight to being culturally liberal. (Koreans may be lacking in guilt conscious, but they are shameless baiters of collective guilt--almost on par with Jews and negroes--, going on and on about Japanese colonialism when it's ancient history--and when Japan actually did much good for Korea by dragging it into modernity. But it's possible that childish Koreans could be suckered into feeling guilt for its treatment of homos, mixed-race kids, and the horrible dogocaust.)

And as the generation that still remembers the war and hard times die out and a new generation weaned on facebook and political correctness grows up, things may change very fast over there.

Maybe Korean political culture lags America by two decades. So, Korea in the 70s was modeled on 50s America. And maybe Korea of today is modeled on 80s America. But 20 yrs from now, the main craze over there could be 'gay marriage'.

Anonymous said...

Another 1, 2, or 5 million men on the ground in Iraq/Afgh is peanuts.

No, that many Americans on the ground in the twenty-first century is not peanuts. Had they attempted to assemble that many, there would have been major blowback like the protests of Vietnam. That is why Rumsfeld and company were so eager to invade Iraq with less than 100K troops.

High tech weaponry gives them the ability to perform operations without losing a lot of men, which would no longer be tolerated in a nation where families are small. But to occupy and control a nation, you still need a lot of men. And what you consider peanuts in terms of WW2 standards, are not peanuts in today's world.

Anonymous said...

Technology in general has two countervailing effects on labor. Greater productivity makes a worker's output more extensive but at the same time threatens to make some labor redundant. Whether the net result is job-creating or job-replacing depends on the situation.

I think military technology is similarly ambiguous in its effects. The advent of, say, the repeating rifle or the machine gun probably made the common man more important rather than less important. When John Q Public has only a pike he may be irrelevant, but when he can fire hundreds of rounds per minute you want him doing that for you and not against you.

On the other hand, as Steve says, some military tech may indeed render certain functions obsolete and thus encourage indifference toward the people who would have previously performed them.

Of course, there have been a lot of other things going on in the world during the last couple centuries that affect social mobility and equality, so it's impossible to say what, if any, role military technology has played in social arrangements.

Anonymous said...

The end of the former Soviet Union, nasty as it was, also has something to do with it.

"If you don't like it, why don't you go and live in .... where?"

douglas said...

That's wrong. The ancients needed mass armies and there was no middle class. Two classes - very rich/powerful and underclass - near subsistence.

David said...

>That's wrong. The ancients needed mass armies and there was no middle class. Two classes - very rich/powerful and underclass - near subsistence.<

They let the soldiers share in the loot. That's worth a lot to a starving soldier, kind of a GI Bill minus the university and the education. Seriously, it was a head-swimming chance at upward mobility in a static world.

In "Henry IV" (different era, but still), Shakespeare has someone ask a military commander before a big battle whether he intends to clothe his men, who are in rags. No, is the answer - "They'll find linen enough on every hedge!"

Anonymous said...

Unlike North Korea that is wholly nationalist, South Korea tries to serve its nationalism by working with internationalism.

It's not even clear what something like "wholly nationalist" even means, but North Korea is internationalist as well. It's rejected by the US though, and the US has great influence over which countries are pariahs and have less access to internationalist relations.

Anonymous said...

But South Koreans are basically fascistic in their nationalism, and have some of the highest levels of xenophobia in the world. Take a look -- they're right down there with Egypt and Iran in their intolerance (though more hospitable than India, for what little that's worth). Japanese and Chinese, in marked contrast, really don't have a problem with foreigners, even if they may not like them much.

Not wanting neighbors of another race is "fascistic nationalism"? This would imply that all those white liberals who engage in white flight are "fascistic nationalists."

I don't think the Koreans are much different from Chinese and Japanese in their attitudes regarding foreign neighbors. Nothing about this survey suggests that the Chinese and Japanese "really don't have a problem with foreigners" in marked contrast to Koreans. If anything, it just suggests that the Koreans are more honest.

Steve Sailer said...

A lot of South Korean nationalist pugnaciousness is resenting the American military occupation. For example, the nicest part of Seoul is the giant American military base right in the middle of this crowded city, with its parks and golf courses.

Anonymous said...

"A lot of South Korean nationalist pugnaciousness is resenting the American military occupation."

I think that used to be the case, at least among Korean leftists. But, if we trust the NY Times and Western sources of news, most of Korean nationalism seems to be directed at the Japanese. Maybe the rise of China--and even the admittance on the left that communism has been one massive failure--has made Koreans more accepting of American presence in Korea.

Or maybe Koreans really do feel a lot of resentment against Americans--not only due to 'ugly American-ness' but the humiliation of having to rely on a foreign country for protection--, but since America is its closest ally, the full extent of the hostility cannot be expressed and is channeled at the Japanese, who are a much easier target.

Anonymous said...

Besides, Koreans are a monkey-see, monkey-do people. As one American general said, they are a race of lemmings, so while they may be culturally conservative at one time, they can switch overnight to being culturally liberal. (Koreans may be lacking in guilt conscious, but they are shameless baiters of collective guilt--almost on par with Jews and negroes--, going on and on about Japanese colonialism when it's ancient history--and when Japan actually did much good for Korea by dragging it into modernity. But it's possible that childish Koreans could be suckered into feeling guilt for its treatment of homos, mixed-race kids, and the horrible dogocaust.)

If Koreans are lemmings, then Americans must be super-lemmings, since Koreans have remained relatively nationalistic and conservative and haven't "switched overnight" the way the US has in recent decades.

Regarding Japanese colonialism, it's not ancient history in East Asia, and not just Korea, but other East Asian countries such as China have a problem with postwar Japan's relations with other East Asian countries regarding Japan's colonialism. You're a movie reviewer who just watches movies and anime and doesn't know anything, so you don't know anything about this issue either. Japan has not made amends or been very apologetic about its colonial and wartime history, unlike Germany's postwar relations with France, the UK, and the US, and its good faith efforts to mend relationships.

Anonymous said...

"If Koreans are lemmings, then Americans must be super-lemmings, since Koreans have remained relatively nationalistic and conservative and haven't "switched overnight" the way the US has in recent decades."

No, Americans are LEADING than FOLLOWING IN the way of self-destruction. Americans have been not only pioneers in winning the power but in losing it.

Jeff W. said...

I think Steve has identified an important reason why elites no longer care about the cannon fodder classes.

Here is another reason. Years ago the elites got most of the money needed to fund their wars and their other awesome projects through taxation. In order to get a lot of money from taxation,they needed a healthy tax base.

Since the U.S. abandoned the gold standard in 1971, top elites get now more and more of their money from money printing. Each year they want to print a lot of money, spend it, and not cause price inflation.

From the elite's point of view, the most important thing the masses can do today is not get wage increases and not cause commodity price inflation. The more the U.S. economy trends toward a deflationary slump, the more they can print and spend.

The question you must ask about the controlling elites is, "How do they get their money?" If you understand that, their behavior becomes much more understandable.

Anonymous said...

Interesting theory Steve.

Of course, these things are always cyclical. The French Revolution is the classic example of what happens when the elites push it too far. So far nothing like that has happened in the modern era, in fact, the last mass movement of 'people power' was the 'proletariat' throwing out marxists in order to re-establish capitalism!. Therefore after that little triumph of neoconnery, the elitists have just got more and more arrogant and gotten away with more and more, dare I say it they are in danger of over-playing their hand.
Of course, the French Revolution only happened in a homogenous nation bound by ties of language and blood. Don't you think that the jolly wheeze of the elitists in promoting 'free immigration' is the best possible device for not only massacring wages, (and thus creaming off all of the pie), but of balkanizing and dividing the peasants and setting against each other instead of their ruthless exploiters?

The irony is that the left is the biggest supporter of open borders after the elitists.

Simon in London said...

Smart weapons are not a replacement for mass armies. Smart weapons don't even replace artillery in terms of being able to kill lots of people quickly. Smart weapons are for precision-killing. Fighting big wars needs mass armies. The decline of mass armies is because rulers see less need to be ready to fight big wars, in particular since the end of the Cold War.

sunbeam said...

Simon in London wrote:

"Smart weapons are not a replacement for mass armies. Smart weapons don't even replace artillery in terms of being able to kill lots of people quickly. Smart weapons are for precision-killing. Fighting big wars needs mass armies. The decline of mass armies is because rulers see less need to be ready to fight big wars, in particular since the end of the Cold War. "

We'll see. I'll grant what you are saying at the current time, though obviously some things like the drones are in play now (and a few other curiosities).

But sitting here pecking away at the computer, my mind boggles at what I think is coming. The little toys I think it will be possible to build in a few years.

I'm not going to google up numbers, but it is my impression that it took roughly $30,000 on average, to kill an enemy combatant in WWII, the war of iron bombs and other such.

The price has only gone up since then.

Part of us is that we are unwilling to think or wage war like a Victorian. You know, sacrifice accuracy and precision for body count. I'm sure lots of folks will quibble with that statement on right and left, but it really is true.

The Victorians were like that old guy who is buck naked in the spa, drying his nuts with a blow dryer. They just did not give a damn.

If you were willing to adopt a Mongol mindset, and stack bodies to the sky, my mind shudders at what you could do with current technology, let alone what is coming.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I really do think mass death is going to become "too cheap to meter."

This disturbs me because my personal inclination is that of an isolationist or something more than anything else. I might not care to have a bunch of Pakistanis in this country, but I really have no interest whatsoever in killing them, or changing their worldview or anything of the sort.

I really kind of think that there is a messianic mindset common to "elites" in America, inherited from New Englanders that causes America to be a really busybody nation.

And you brits go along for the ride, because for whatever reason, you guys live for adventure. Plus you have a lot of the same cultural influences that make you want to save the world from itself, even if Christianity is no longer a deciding issue in your society.

Bill said...

DPG said...

This gives the elites too much credit. You think they have a coherent, explicit strategy of self-interest?

I'm more of a believer in Robin Hanson's "politics isn't about policy." The very well off who I know tend to think of themselves as "citizens of the world." It's cosmopolitan, high-status.


Robin Hanson is an excellent data point for those who believe in a long run secular decline in Anglosphere IQ. That he is surrounded by "smart" people who find his transparently deus ex machina BS insightful is lots more such data points.

Seriously, how can anyone fail to see that "people do X because X is high status" is not an explanation of anything? And, no, there is nothing more to this part of his schtick.

Captain Tripps said...

Steve said, "A lot of South Korean nationalist pugnaciousness is resenting the American military occupation. For example, the nicest part of Seoul is the giant American military base right in the middle of this crowded city, with its parks and golf courses."

The resentment waxes and wanes. It makes good local politics every so often and serves as a steam release valve, particularly when an American serviceman goes berserk and rapes/kills. There’s nothing like coming off the Seoul subway up to the street level and find it deserted, only to see a line of Korean riot cops marching toward you (true story).

True, we’d probably feel the same way if a foreign army had a huge base in Georgetown. But, DC isn’t in range of rocket artillery from the massive Mexican army artillery divisions along the border. Seoul is. If Kim Jung-Crazy picked up the phone and said go, the NORKs could be raining projectiles on downtown Seoul in 30 minutes. Kinda tends to focus the mind a little more, and put that whole occupying-foreign-army-resentment thing on the backburner. It’s an insurance policy, really. If the shells start falling some Yanks will inevitably get wounded/killed, thus necessitating some response/support from us. Even so, plan is in the works to turn the whole thing over and move all US Soldiers (including along the DMZ) down south 30 miles or so (to Camp Humphrey), by 2019.

Personally, I’d wager a year’s salary that the ROK could mop the floor with the NORKs. The NORKs have the numbers, but how good is their decades-old Soviet/Chinese stuff? Could it stand up to sustained combat usage over weeks/months? The NORKs have NO ability to manufacture replacements at a sustained rate; I’d even question their ability to maintain/repair what they have consistently. Would the Chinese be willing to bankroll sustainment to any degree? And they have very few combat veterans, or any significant amount of military leaders who have experienced sustained operations (maybe some advisor vets from Soviet-era communist wars, i.e. Afghanistan). I think if Kim Jung-Crazy started to get really squirrelly in any serious way, the Chinese would find a way to quickly usher him out of the country in exile in some sort of bloodless coup.

Meanwhile, the ROK has a huge manufacturing base that I bet could be switched over to wartime support rather quickly if needed. They operate and maintain modern equipment we’ve sold and trained them on, and a large part of their equipment base is domestically manufactured. They train regularly with us in combined ops (integrated air, sea and land ops) and are quite proficient. Plus, they have veterans who fought alongside us in units in Iraq and the Horn of Africa. So they have experienced leadership. Plus, a NORK invasion would be a defense of their home turf, and nothing quite focuses the mind like defending your town/village against the Hun.

That’s why the NORKs are so keen to have nukes; it gives them a leverage they would need, because the Chinese will NOT come in to save them if they initiated an assault and started to get their tails handed to them by the South.

Josh Yellowfever said...

If there is a break-down of Chinese American in Massachusetts, I am sure that they will beat Shanghai. There is a whopping 118 score gap between Asian and white in Massachusetts. All these tests including PISA, SAT, TIMSS, Stanford-Binet, Wechsler have huge genetic component there. Just like we will never see a Chinese long jump or 100 sprinter Olympic champion, we will not see US PISA score catching up with those of Japan or South Korea or Singapore because of demographic reason. We have hit a genetic ceiling here. Give it up, Steve.

Sulla said...

Every Marine is a rifleman.

pat said...

Maybe there's a need for soldiers to be smart enough to control a sophisticated weapon but if so it is likely to be only for a little while longer. The smart weapons are all heading toward autonomous functioning.

Right now there are little infantryman robots. I'm sure you've seen them on TV. They have tracks and TV. They evolved from bomb disposal robots. All it took was to add a rifle.

These things are controlled by a human soldier who has a radio control station on the battlefield. It's easy to see where this is going.

The Nazis had remote controlled bombs in WWII. The 'Goliath' however was vulnerable to having its cable cut. So too is the new generation of robots. Radio can be jammed or hijacked. Human controllers can be located. You can shoot a steel robot with a rifle and not have much effect. It is better to reserve your small arms fire for the human operator. Soon someone will suggest you just make the little robots autonomous.

I think we can take it as virtually certain that DARPA already has autonomous robot infantrymen. It's not that hard. Stick on some infrared sensors and some facial recognition software and set them loose. No human could live long on a robot infested battlefield.

I think we could have done this already had we wanted too. The robots would be 'area denial' weapons like mines. Some anti-mine activist is in the news today warning about this very issue. Armies themselves may be a thing of the past quite soon.

I think we'll see human soldiers doing something more like police work. People prefer to deal with people. But for classic invasions like Omaha Beach I think humans won't be wanted or needed.

Albertosaurus

countenance said...

I think you're overthinking it, Sailer, which is something you rarely do.

Mass non-white immigration not only means more poverty, which would increase inequality by itself, but it also means wage and salary equilibrium depression which makes the ultra-rich even ultra-richer, which hastens wealth inequality even more.

Anonymous said...

"There is a whopping 118 score gap between Asian and white in Massachusetts."

Misleading as only elite Asians tend to live in Mass(attracted by colleges and tech industry) whereas MASS whites include all whites, even 'white trash' elements. Similarly, if only smart elite whites settled in some Chinese province, they would outscore Chinese(including ignorant peasants) by a mile.

But if we were to compare white elite scores with Asian elite scores in Mass, whites(especially Jews) would be equal or even better.

Matthew said...

Also possible is the less closely related to you by blood your ruling elite are the more likely they are to betray you.

I don't know. The "elites" in Utah enjoy fucking the people over, and they're all British/German/Scandinavian Mormons, like everyone else in this state.

White non-Jewish "elites" don't generally look at the world in ethnic terms. They see the world as them vs. everyone else.

Jewish and Asian elites may be more ethnocentric, but white non-Jewish elites sure as hell aren't.

Anonymous said...

"Mass non-white immigration not only means more poverty, which would increase inequality by itself, but it also means wage and salary equilibrium depression which makes the ultra-rich even ultra-richer, which hastens wealth inequality even more."

Yes. It's quite simple really. Mass immigration increases total output (GDP) while at the same time depressing wages so where does all that extra GDP go?

It goes in the pockets of the rich and has been doing so since 1965 hence why they bribe politicians to keep the borders open. It's simply a minority of the population robbing the rest.

However this logic is always true and has played out the same way in some times and places before e.g. the Roman elite betraying their citizens with the slavery version of mass immigration, so the question is why does it happen in some times and places but not others?

I think a lot of it is the level of relatedness of the elite vis a vis the rest of the population. This doesn't just include obvious tribal differences as even in a homogenous population if the population is large enough the elite might only be very distantly related to the majority.

Jerry said...

Steve Sailer said...

A lot of South Korean nationalist pugnaciousness is resenting the American military occupation. For example, the nicest part of Seoul is the giant American military base right in the middle of this crowded city, with its parks and golf courses.

<<< This is no longer true. The base in Yongsan is being moved out.

Korean anti-Americanism has waned more generally because:

1. the job market has become more competitive, and college students no longer have time to play around with Molotov coctails. The big riots are a thing of the past.

2. Recent NK provocations like the submarine sinking and the shelling of a Korean island were a shock for South Koreans, and reminded them why the Americans were there.

3. Korea is caught between an unpalatable Japan and a sinister China, whose pollution increasingly clouds Seoul's skies. The only possible ally is America.