[FoRK] Who would bin Laden vote for?

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Tue Jul 20 16:12:15 PDT 2004

Owen Byrne wrote:
> Gee - funny how that in 1939-1941, thats exactly what the world did - 
> turn a technologically advanced bloc into a
> military command economy. Out of necessity.

Apples and oranges.  A twenty year lead in military technology today is
a hell of a lot different than a twenty year lead in military technology
in the first half of the 20th century.  Nor are the economic
fundamentals in the equation comparable.  And "necessity" doesn't trump
physics, economics, or other nasty aspects of reality.

To have a chance of catching up, you would have to spend several times
what the US spends, which has at least two obvious problems.  First, the
poorer economies of technologically capable blocs (e.g. the EU) would
make it very difficult as a practical matter.  For example, it would be
economically painful for the EU to spend as much as the US spends right
now.  Spending 3-4x what the US spends would put it in a USSR style
economic death spiral because the US could easily afford to double what
it spends just to watch the EU eat itself trying to catch up.  The
second problem is just a variation on this: the US is a significant
enough portion of world GDP that it puts a relatively hard cap in
absolute terms on another blocs ability to outspend the US to any
significant extent.  The US is currently 30% of the world's GDP, and if
you add Japan to the mix (a country unlikely to be part of an anti-US
bloc), you are getting close to half the world's GDP.  In other words,
you would not only have to marshal the rest of the world's GDP, you
would have to grow it massively to have a real prayer.  And most other
countries have a really lousy track record at growing GDP.

So it is not gonna happen, even in your wildest wet dream.  Not only is
it highly impractical and unrealistic, but a lot of countries would see
it as foolhardy and defect to the arguably safer American team, push
come to shove.

> You were in the armed forces? 


> Did they practice sodomy while you were 
> there or was that a new addition.

Only in the Navy.  If this is the only reason you want to enlist you may
be disappointed with the reality.

j. andrew

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