Wednesday, January 4

Spotting the Losers: Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States

National success is eccentric. But national failure is programmed and predictable. Spotting the future losers among the world's states becomes so easy it loses its entertainment value.

In this world of multiple and simultaneous revolutions--in technology, information, social organization, biology, economics, and convenience--the rules of international competition have changed. There is a global marketplace and, increasingly, a global economy. While there is no global culture yet, American popular culture is increasingly available and wickedly appealing--and there are no international competitors in the field, only struggling local systems. Where the United States does not make the rules of international play, it shapes them by its absence.

The invisible hand of the market has become an informal but uncompromising lawgiver. Globalization demands conformity to the practices of the global leaders, especially to those of the United States. If you do not conform--or innovate--you lose. If you try to quit the game, you lose even more profoundly. The rules of international competition, whether in the economic, cultural, or conventional military fields, grow ever more homogeneous. No government can afford practices that retard development. Yet such practices are often so deeply embedded in tradition, custom, and belief that the state cannot jettison them. That which provides the greatest psychological comfort to members of foreign cultures is often that which renders them noncompetitive against America's explosive creativity--our self-reinforcing dynamism fostered by law, efficiency, openness, flexibility, market discipline, and social mobility.

...The greater the degree to which a state--or an entire civilization--succumbs to these "seven deadly sins" of collective behavior, the more likely that entity is to fail to progress or even to maintain its position in the struggle for a share of the world's wealth and power. Whether analyzing military capabilities, cultural viability, or economic potential, these seven factors offer a quick study of the likely performance of a state, region, or population group in the coming century.

The Seven Key “Failure Factors”:

• Restrictions on the free flow of information.
• The subjugation of women.
• Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure.
• The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
• Domination by a restrictive religion.
• A low valuation of education.
• Low prestige assigned to work.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters
Excerpted from Parameters, US Army War College Quarterly
Spring 1998, Vol. XXVIII, No. 1, pp. 36-47

[Note that this essay was written eight years ago and perfectly describes the glaring shortcomings of the Umma. This leads me to understand that our current war on terror came about over more than religious extremism, although Islam certainly contributes at every step. Unfortunately, the war we have encountered is based upon deep cultural and economic pathologies which are unlikely to soon disappear. Go ye and read the entire article.]

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