Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Alas, No Easy Answer

Ap, in his reply to Ben of Indonesia Anonymus, wonders:
"What's interesting was how it (US, my word) overtook Europe only less than two centuries....(w)hat's interesting was why the Europeans who conquered the world, not vice versa (or why not the Chinese)"
It's an elusive quest indeed to explain what was going on --let alone, what will be going on next. But here is some thoughts on institution, based on my limited reading.

Why China and Middle East before Europe? Geography, said Jared Diamond.

Why Europe got industrial revolution? Culture, said David Landes. Culture embedded in evolutionary biology (or demography), argued Gregory Clark. And perhaps economic institutions (a.k.a private property right and market), said Acemoglu et.al (in pdf).

Why US and later Asian Tigers? The same Acemoglu's economic institutions.

Who's next and why? We don't know (Rodrik and Easterly position).

Do you have any idea?


  1. Also don't forget the role of 'luck' -- Easterly even devoted one chapter about it. Luck is a 'random, stochastic process' in econometric term, or 'an exogenous factor that switches the equilibrium' in the multiple-equilibrium game theory.

    Sometimes in the history, China was a step close to rule the Far East. But somehow they decided to focus on the threat from the North (the Mongols). Hence it gave the room for the Europeans; the rest are history what we have seen.

  2. Noam Chomsky said that Britain and US got ahead by radical avoidance of free market at the expense of other nation. US got ahead because Brits turn their civil face after 150 years of protectionism.

  3. i think they will go smaller and smaller until at some point Canada declared their independence.

    After that, we would all be ruled by evil multinationals that transcends national borders and soaked in climate change.