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As someone who accepted "our" way is the best way, only to be puzzled by so few success stories, I must say I was taken aback when I began reading Amy Chua's book, "World On Fire." It paints a very sobering view of our misguided attempts to bring democracy and free trade to developing nations.

It doesn't accuse the West of being evil or developing societies as being inherently unable to support democracy. What Ms. Chua theorizes is that when countries are democratized, and free markets are created, most of the benefits go to a few outsiders who then use those benefits to grow more wealthy and powerful while the indiginous people remain poor and powerless.

Amy Chua began looking for answers after a favorite aunt of hers was murdered by her servants in the Philippines. The police never went after them, and recorded the motive as "revenge." Most wealth in the Philippines is held by people of Chinese descent. Whether they have been there for generations or not, the Filipinos look at them as outsiders. This resentment is reinforced by the lowly position held by the overwhelming majority of the population.

In the US, people moan about the Jews controlling banks and the media or the Asians taking over stores, etc., but very little resentment is held for Bill Gates (except by Mac-heads). Ms. Chua suggests that this is because the majority consider Bill Gates to be "one of us" but wouldn't stand for it if he was a Mexican immigrant. This also may explain why Americans are so loathe to elect a black president; who wants to be ruled by the minority? In countries where the minority does rule the majority, it is usually a matter of time before revolution breaks out.

Unfortunately, our government seems to have a somewhat naive idea of just what democracy and free markets can accomplish if only the tiniest percentage of people benefit. And, since we are the standard bearer for democracy, is it any wonder why we are targeted by oppressed people for hate?

NOT THAT I'M SAYING IT EXCUSES THEIR BEHAVIOR.

Just that, if we democratized nations differently than we have in the past, and ensured that those who make up the majority of a population actually accrued some benefit, rather than seethe with anger when "outsiders" prosper and they do not, we might actually have a chance of living in a safer, happier world.

Anyway, Amy Chua's book is really fascinating, though she asserts her ideas much, much better than I just did.
 

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purplepaul said:
This also may explain why Americans are so loathe to elect a black president; who wants to be ruled by the minority? In countries where the minority does rule the majority, it is usually a matter of time before revolution breaks out.
I don't think the President rules me, but that aside, I personally don't see a problem with a black president. I'll watch for Amy's book. It sounds interesting, but I confess I'm still a believer in the Wilsonian notion of exporting democracy. Over the past fifty years we have witnessed remarkable success.
 

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Why don't you give us an example of where our attempt at democratization falls into the category you described? It seems to have worked in Korea. I can't think of another example. It could be all the driving I did today, has me a bit tuckerd out.
 

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Actually I thought of others - Japan and Germany. Same goes for most of Easten Europe, the Baltics, Russia, etc...
 

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No, actually Germany and Japan are the exceptions. Throughout Asia, the Chinese dominate the indigenous populations. In South America, the indigenous people are on the lowest rung while those of European descent hold all the power and wealth. That breeds discontent. Germany and Japan are successes because their people prospered directly. If we ensured the same happened in the Philippeans, Africa, Central America, etc., where the indigenous people have not been able to gain power or wealth, we would receive gratitude for improving their lives rather than hatred for improving someone else's life at their expense.

Paul
 

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I guess I should have spelled it out

You were talking about places in the World where we helped push democratization. I cited the examples above. The Baltic States, Russia and the rest of the Eastern Block countries were helped along by us, indirectly, where as in S. Korea, Japan and Germany, we had a direct hand in their change to a democracy.

I think you are not going to find it possible to achieve what you believe is the best answer to the problem. The lower rungs of society are generally uneducated and therefore not able to take advantage of the prosperity that change may offer. I believe the only way that comes about is through time. It took more than a century and a half for it to happen here. Education is the key. However, freedom to move about and to strive for a better way of life, should not be denied. Democracy is the only vehicle that allows individual success to flourish.

 
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