HUMINT: Contagious Behavior

HUMINT: The best economic theory of the day suggests human behavior is contagious. It follows logically that what the article "IRAQ's NATURAL STATE" says about human nature is that"empowering figures" build self sustaining societies whereas "power consolidators" slowly descend into hell, taking every body else with them. The idea that Iraqis will reject violence sooner if more of them have jobs is a legitimate argument only if those jobs are sourced from free market investment. The entire country needs some version of Milton Freidman's Negative Income Tax. If on the other hand, tribal chieftains and theocratic oligarchs are put in control of the country's natural recourses (the only viable revenue stream based on international trade and investment at this time) the country will continue to decay. No matter how many jobs that policy would create, the country would still descend into an even worse hell than now because no faction would be happy until they control all of Iraqs resources.

I don't want to second guess any American law maker decisions (I'm probably the only one) but U.S. investment in Iraq should be from the ground up... Indeed, the entire Middle East should be looked at from that perspective. The root cause of the hell we see today is because of the suggestion offered by the authors of IRAQ'S NATURAL STATE that I excerpted. Iraq's future, and many secondary and terciary futures, are dependent on empowering populations, not elites. That's how societal transitions are made from:
  1. Primitive
  2. Limited Access
  3. Open Access

Macro and micro social dysfunction usually begins when elites start to think they matter far more than the population that authorizes their elitism. American geopolitical stability and prosperity, along this logic, can be found in our aggregate worship of everyday underdogs who become heroes by being themselves. Do Europeans do that? Not really. Instead they find themselves admiring Americans and realize that their society is far less likely to reward real heroism, they curse America for revealing their own social dysfunction. The same is true of the Middle East who are simply the economic bastard children of the U.S. or Europe anyway. Should we be surprised about the cost of social change in Iraq - or Europe...? No, not really, unless we seek a policy of empowerment. Empowerment policies are the least expensive and most effective, so I say "BOLLOCKS" to the expensive policy of dividing Iraq's natural resources between competing elites.

Patriarchal fascists have no intention of empowering their populations. They'd rather go down fighting in an exchange of nuclear weapons than lose their grip on power. What then do we do to save ourselves from them? We must save the fascist's societal children - their sons, daughters, wives, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers... We have to empower them to overcome their social dysfunction in order to save ourselves. Any other approach is delaying the inevitable WMD dual between - Limited Access and Open Access societies.

These comments are inspired by "CLUB AMERICA" By Victor Davis Hansen

TOLIK: In case you missed it, take a look at Arnold Kling's article in TCS on difficulties of transition from the limited access order (that is more or less a natural state) to open order society - democracy in our understanding. The logic of article is the best argument against hopes of succeeding in building democracy in Iraq. Nevertheless, he also put force many interesting open-ended questions that require more thinking. New and intriguing angle (at least for me).

IRAQ'S NATURAL STATE: EXCERPT --- If we want to set up a limited-access order, then we have to determine which factions we want to have in the governing coalition, and we must give each of them something of value in return for maintaining peace. To put it crudely (so to speak), one could imagine giving each major party in a coalition government control over a particular set of oil wells. Factions that we do not want in the coalition (Al Qaeda in Iraq, for example) would have to be hunted down and killed. Factions that receive an allocation of oil wells but continue to engage in violence would have to be declared outlaws and deprived of personal security, with their oil resources confiscated and redistributed to other factions.




  • HUMINT: Contagious Behavior

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