RE: [Kudlow] In Praise of Economic Freedom.

Hokkun Pang (
Fri, 31 Dec 1999 01:19:24 -0800

I think the Economist conveniently renamed 'colonialization' with 'economic
growth' as the main engine of progress for the past 500 years. In the case
of China, the so-called social values all existed in various periods. In
fact, ancient Chinese probably enjoyed far more economic and religious
freedom than the modern Chinese. But China as a country rarely expanded
beyond the mainland. The reason was very simple: China is naturally bounded
by Siberia in the north, Pacific ocean in the east and south and mountain
and desert in the west. All these regions were not suitable for
colonialization. Moreover, when governed properly, the China mainland had
enough natural resources to support a nice standard of living for an
agricultural society. China didn't need anything from her neighbors. On the
other hand, the Europeans had everything to gain from trading. The balance
of power in Europe made it hard for one country to unify the whole
continent. Colonialization was an easier option to fullfil the greeds of the
elite class.

I'm not here to denouce colonialism or greed. I do believe greed is good.
Without greed as the motive, there would hardly be any progress in
technology. As the Nasdaq shown, greed will continue to be the driving force
for innovations for the years to come.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ciamac Cyrus Moallemi
To: Dave Long
Sent: 12/30/99 9:11 AM
Subject: Re: [Kudlow] In Praise of Economic Freedom.

At 03:56 AM 12/30/1999 , you wrote:
> > So here's the virtuous cycle: economic freedom incents
> > freedom which begets innovation which in turn creates more economic
> > freedom and prosperity.
>This may indeed be a virtuous cycle, but if it were that easy, the
>early greeks, or the renaissance italians, or the mercantile dutch,
>(or perhaps even the antebellum southern planters), or the imperial
>british should still be out-prospering the rest of the world.

There's an interesting article in the millennium issue of the Economist
[1], to put this into a historical perspective. They point out that a
number of civilizations historically experienced tremendous
and economic advances but subsequently ground to a halt: the Roman
the Islamic world up to 1200's, China up to 1400's (which until that
was far more advanced technologically than the West). They suggest the
reasons for the boom in Western civilization in the past 250 years are
fact the society embodied a particular set of social values (willingness
accept change, acquisitiveness, willingness to establish trust and
reputation) and further that there were a number of competing countries
Western Europe, so that no single government could hold back change to
preserve the status quo, making our current boom much less a historical
inevitability than a remarkable confluence of events.