Meditations on History  




Its seems ridiculous that people make suggestions about the future of a thing without first getting to know its past.   When you factor in all that there is to know about a thing or a place or an event, it is inconcievably large.   Thus, only by knowing history can you know enough to make proper judgements about a thing`s future. 

For example.   "Globalization."   A common enough buzzword, but equally commonly enough misunderstood.   By going back a mere 100 years in the history of commerce, you have the British Empire (india), the French Colonies (Vietnam), the Portugese Colonies, etc. which are all in Existence specifically for mercantile interest.  Going back another one hundred years, in most of these Islands and Territories there was ongoing tribal warfare as well as dozens of long-established empires which usurped previous long established empires, largely to control trade routes and major passes, primarily for mercantile interests.  Going back a thousand years you have the Persian empire deliberately controlling traderoutes and bottlenecking and taxing every product to cross its borders.   Going back four thousand years you have the Egyptians, the Mesopetamians and the Chinese and the Indus Valley civilization, all along the same natural rodes that are the Silk and Spice roads.  The history of Civilization is the history of commerce.   Globalization is just its current manifestion.  And there are sound reasons why it came to be as it is.  It was not planned, except to offset the evils of the previous paradigm.

Previously the military played an obvious, explicit, and critical role in the conducting of commerce.  One`s power as a nation/race of people was in the ability to demonstate said power.   This is still true today.  America has demonstrated that they are an undefeatable power, or if defeatable, only at extremely heavy costs.   Thus, America is able to defend its lines of commerce outright, but is able to in most cases, lay in the shadows.   This is an obvious fear in Globalization.   That it will revert to previous modes, which have been proven ineffective.   The British Empired was just that, and US Dollar-centric commerce is the modern day successor.  In fact, without maintaining colonies outright, America has secured military bases internationally.  There are hundreds and hundreds of bases, pieces of US soil, scattered around the world.    Think of it.   Japan, Korea, The Phillipenes, Afganistan, Tajikistan, Kazakstan, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Germany, England, Australia, to name a few...  To say nothing of an undisclosed actual number of nuclear submarines which could litereally be anywhere on 2/3ths the surface of the earth at any time.  

But the misdirection here is that we are still judging it based upon our Revulsion for the abuses of the East India Company, acting under the Qween, but with zero democratic process for the colonists.  A corporation was running India.   Not the parliament.  Today we see the same thing internationally, but in little bits and pieces.  Big corporations can buy control of vast regions of land, and have zero accountability for their actions, as the regional government has been made beholden of big business and the workers rights are far from secure. 

However, look back a few dozen centuries.  The alternative to Nike sweatshops was constant ongoing tribal warfare, unsafe highways, the last "Traffic Police" were Roman Centurians across most of the near East, and Persian princes in the middle, and the 230BC Mauryan Empire in India.   Some of the Mogels did good but were constantly committing paricide and fratricide and thus destabilizing the region.  Some areas of the world, like Afganistan, literally have never known 100 years peace.  The very first Mesopatamian and Chinaman probably got into a fight.  What corporations require for operating are peace and stability.  Markets don`t like unstable governments, or dictatorial regimes.  They like a thick and complex paper reality in which due process of law is universally applied.  If a Kim Jung Il has the authority to shut down a plant arbitrarily, then a multinational would probably rather invest elseware.   Likewise, if company workers are routinely kidnapped on their way home from the office, then the chances are a multinational would look for other opportunities.   Still, there is a growing investment in Brazil, in Pakistan, in Venezuela, where organized violent crime is firmly established, and workers of multinationals in the region do go missing with frequency.  Most companies will quietly ransom their workers and make no mention to the police or press.  

However, choosing how and when to apply political pressure is not exclusive to enforcing and protecting commerce anymore.  These days, we are one step removed from that.  Rule of law covers almost all the developed nations (And think how few they are, and what a small percentage of the world`s population they represent).   The developed nations control the majority of the world`s currency by a large stretch.  And the method by which the Developed nations of the world are seeking to economically control the vast resources of the undeveloped world is through the often forcible instigation of Rule of Law upon unstable regimes.   Moral considerations have consistently given sway to practical solutions in recent past.

However it is improvement.  Compared to A military campaign to capture a neighboring kingdom who is harrassing your borders,  leading to bloodshed and violence for tens of thousands, the laying siege to fortressess for months on end, and burning of all villiages for miles around, we now have running military and civilian body counts and every one has a name.    We are rapidly converging on a time when Rule of Law will be stretched around the globe and encompass all the world.   When wars can be fought in courtrooms and on sports fields, we will have finally achieved Civilization.   Globalization is not to be eliminated, for that`s impossible.  It is to be understood, and it evils exposed, long before it falls, and falls apart shy of its goal.  


Let us now examine history, and see what it teaches. In the 4 battles fought in 1881 and the two fought by Jameson, the British loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, was substantially 1,300 men; the Boer loss, as far as is ascertainable, eras about 30 men. These figures show that there was a defect somewhere. It was not in the absence of courage. I think it lay in the absence of discretion. "   -  Mark Twain, Following the Equator, part 7



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