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Jonathan Chang wrote:

>     I talked to my father about this. He just said it's a symptom of their
> whole-hearted embrace of Western _bok qwai_ materialistic values.
> "They worship the Western religion of the Machine. They are not critical
> enough to see what is of real value. A car is just a machine. Machines always
> break down eventually... as do so-call 'Civilizations.' Look at what is
> happening to England. Bloody shame it's turning into a Third World nation.
> And you know that the Industrial Revolution started there, right?"

I'm not sure I would be so harsh.  It is true that the UK has seen a significant
decline in relative economic, and therefore to a large extent political, power
during this century, but that decline set in long ago, by the late 19th century.  This
was in part simply because France and Germany, both nations with larger
populations, had not undergone that same industrialization, nor had the US with
an even larger population.  By the 1880s, the US had already surpassed Great
Britain in terms of aggregate GDP, and by the end of the First World War, also
in per capita income, share of world trade and share of world investment. I'm
not sure Britain could have avoided these things, in fact.  With a population
of 58 million, it would be hard-pressed to compete with any nation much larger
than they are, and that is certainly not their fault.   A similar process might be the
fate of the US, if China or India ever get their acts together. At any rate, Britain's
current status, is therefore not really the result of any recent government at all.
Indeed, after the US, Britain is one of the major leaders in biotechnologies and
finance, if not the leader, and is competitive in defense industries. Its economy is
also much more stable and prosperous in terms of growth than most of the continent.

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Tom Wier   |     "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero."
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