Sanctions vs. war [vs. trade]

Dave Long dl@silcom.com
Wed, 22 Jan 2003 10:16:39 -0800


> Russia always got more out of trade with the West than the West did.
> Lenin had the part about the West selling the rope he needed to hang
> them with to him -- on credit.

Doesn't trading involve win-win scenarios
for both sides?  I'd thought the notion
that free trade unfairly advantages one
party was in the dustbin of history along
with dependency theory.

Consider again the original idea:
> I'm beginning to think trading with an enemy, particularly a totalitarian
> one, is the easiest way to kick his ass.

I'd decided it was plausible, based
on Jane Jacob's two moral syndromes:

  Commercial Moral Syndrome
  -------------------------
  Shun force, come to voluntary agreements, be honest, collaborate 
  easily with strangers and aliens, compete, respect contracts, use 
  initiative and enterprise, be open to inventiveness and novelty, be 
  efficient, promote comfort and convenience, dissent for the sake of 
  the task, invest for productive purposes, be industrious, be 
  thrifty, be optimistic
  
  Guardian Moral Syndrome
  -----------------------
  Shun trading, exert prowess, be obedient and disciplined, adhere to 
  tradition, respect hierarchy, be loyal, take vengeance, deceive for 
  the sake of the task, make rich use of leisure, be ostentatious, 
  dispense largesse, be exclusive, show fortitude, be fatalistic, 
  treasure honor

When we trade with people, we come up
with mutually advantageous deals -- and
as it turns out, it doesn't matter much
if each disapproves of the other party's
sex life, politics, and religion -- we
still create value together.

When we insist upon maintaining ritual
purity by shunning the impure, we may
learn independence and strength, or we
may learn the quicker, easier, more
seductive lessons of totalitarianism.

(It may very well be that both syndromes
are compatible with a totalitarian state,
but some are more compatible than others)

Would you rather become the dragon, or
have the dragon become you?

-Dave

:: :: ::

> It is always a foul to bump another boat in a sailing race.

Yes, sorry -- I'd been thinking about a
particular (qualifying) race, but wrote
a general statement.  (what's a mailing
list equivalent for the penalty turn?)

My point still stands, however: when I
run across sports which have the concept
of a "right of way", the ROW makes clear
which the stronger position is, and also
discourages risky moves from the weaker.

Since such rules exist because there is
a large temptation for the weaker party
to play a riskier game, it supports the
notion that in asymmetric contests, the
stronger party (with an eye to preserve
its advantage) would prefer to constrain
the allowed possibilities, reducing risk.

(I've only taken a sampling of sports,
not a survey, so counterexamples are
welcome, as always)