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Materialism and History

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    Posted: 04 Jun 2011 at 07:13
This thread is intended so that we can discuss the importance of material factors (geopolitical power, flow of capital, concentrations of wealth etc) on the rise and fall of nations and empires compared to the impact of moralistic and cultural concerns. Really Akolouthos and I derailed one of my earlier threads and so we ought to continue that here. But the subject in itself is very much worthy of discussion and so any additional views are very much welcomed.

Let's continue where we left off:

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

At the end of the day the same people who put Bush in power are the same who put Obama in power. They aren't concerned with social issues - though they will exploit special interest groups who are. Their interest is economic and financial.

Gay marriage isn't a big issue. It doesn't effect anything in anyone's lives except those getting gay married (and yes, it doesn't affect heterosexual marriages either). At the end of the day all they care about is the economics. Which is why the same corporate welfare, tax cuts on the wealthy, increase in spending on the military and failure to take punitive measures against tax cheats have remained as much a part of US life under Obama as they were under Bush.

So long as the little people can be distracted from these important issues by emotional ones like religion, marriage, abortion and the like - so much the better for the ruling clique.


I think we differ on this one. It is not just "the little people", but a large portion of Obama's base which is passionately concerned with what you characterize -- and I'm assuming you meant to refer to all of the issues I mentioned; correct me if I am reading you wrongly -- as small issues. I think it would also be a mistake to misread Obama's own emphasis on such concerns; when it comes to social policy, he is a devoted ideologue -- while there has been a continuation of certain fiscal and foreign trends, Obama is actually rather like the "anti-Bush" when it comes to things like abortion, and we saw how devoted he was to his "belief" that marriage is "between one man and one woman."

Nor do I think that these issues are inconsequential; indeed, history teaches us that cultural decay and moral decline can deeply and negatively impact the ability of a society to sustain itself. I don't deny that there is a class of crypto-aristocrats that tend to dominate Washington, but I think it would be a mistake to view the American political scene entirely through them.

-Akolouthos


Economic decline ruins empires and nations, and social decline is often blamed in its stead.

Late imperial Rome actually adopted many of the policies which conservatives in today's USA today consider laudable: outlawing (capital crime) homosexuality, banning abortion, vehement and vicious enforcement of Christian religious doctrine and obedience. And yet that empire collapsed in contrast to its more socially liberal state of being in the previous centuries.

Why? Because of failure to adapt economic policy to changing circumstances. The legions could not be paid, the people could not be fed, infrastructure could not be maintained and every class baulked under excessive taxation that served only to enrich the emperor's court and his military subordinates.

Societies often, erroneously, react to economic difficulties by blaming moral ones. 16th century Venice certainly did so, cracking down on social immorality by raiding brothels when the real cause of its declining fortunes was the rise of the Ottomans in the east, replacing the weak and previously easily exploited Byzantines. Needless to say, the strict penalties handed down by the Doge and his council did not revive Venice's fortunes.

Americans will continue to lose their jobs, do without health cover and live in a world in which wealth is concentrated in ever fewer hands. The plutocrats have ensured this, and emotive non-issues like gay marriage help to distract the victims of these policies.

Fix the economy, and all other social and moral benefits will surely follow.


At this point would it not seem that you and I could just as well continue the conversation by stating our opinions regarding materialism as historical theory? I'm not trying to be glib, but it seems that, starting from such separate fundamental premises, we would have trouble getting anywhere we haven't already been over in the brief discussion as it stands now. Would we not just be saying "no" to each other -- politely of course -- with an ever increasing number of words?

It wouldn't be the first time we disagreed to this extent, to be sure, eh? Wink Let me know if I'm misreading the discussion.

I do appreciate the analysis you've given the topic in your most recent post; and if I held to the underlying presuppositions I would even agree to a large extent. That said, I would quibble a bit with your interpretation of the situation Rome in the late Classical Era and early Late Antiquity -- try saying that five times fast. LOL

The decaying West was generally Christianized more slowly than the resurgent East; not that this affects the situation under discussion, but it does bear mentioning as I think it partially invalidates the analogy. I will also note that some of the Augustan reforms dealt with social issues which Octavian felt were of critical importance. As for whether Cato's critiques of the appetite of Romans for luxury in his day are better characterized as social/moral or material, I suppose one might make a case either way.

Finally, as for what value a materialist view of history holds, I think we should start a thread on it; it does seem like something that should be addressed at every history forum, and I am unaware of one here already. Would you be game?

God bless, Constantine, and as always I wish you all the best. It's good to get the chance to talk again like we used too before we got so busy. Smile

-Akolouthos

P.S. Sorry if that was horribly disorganized; I actually have to run, or I would have looked over it.



Please, it is I who has been tardy in responding promptly. Chasing fraudsters, interpreting legislation and finishing up audits has kept me rather busy; but this Saturday I have a free afternoon Smile

I am pleased that you brought up your theory on East and West Rome, as this perfectly serves to highlight my thesis that many are inclined to attribute the fortunes of nations to moral factors when what is really important are the economic ones.

East Rome did not outlast West Rome because she was more Christian and Christian earlier on. She outlasted her Western sister because she was wealthier, geographically more defensible and also better populated. When the Empire was split in two, the West Roman frontier commitments were less viable now that the Western emperors lacked access to eastern money and eastern manpower from Anatolia and the Balkans (major recruiting grounds). Because the east had these resources, the remarkably unimaginative and conservative eastern empire was able to survive despite its deep lack of innovative spark and energy.

When the eastern empire wished to cement itself as a viable state, she was able to remove the Gothic foederati and replace them with native Isaurians. For the West this was not an option, they were denied access to the Anatolian recruiting grounds and in any case being the much poorer half of the empire did not have the money to pay the standing army with. At the same time the Byzantines killed off the Goths and replaced them with native troops, the West Roman emperors became mere puppets of their Gothic foederati (see Ricimer). So the decline of the West had nothing to do with being less Christian than the east, and everything to do with it being less defensible geographically, poorer and less populated. Afterall, if moral issues were the concern, one would expect the Catholic West Romans to more than hold their own against the heretical Arian Goths or non-Christian Huns, no?

Now don't get me wrong, I do think moral concerns are important. Subject populations will not fight or pay taxes towards a government which they consider unjust - and that is the undoing of many a nation state. But to my mind one must clearly demonstrate a link between immoral practices and that alientation before claiming that supposed immorality changed the fortunes of a country. Widespread prostitution in 19th century Britain seems to have done nothing to harm the fortunes of that most successful of empires, for example.

And then we also must ask: "what is immoral". In this day and age, I think we are in a position as rational human beings to accept that the morality or immorality of a certain thing is determined by the extent to which it causes harm and the extent to which it causes good. It seems simplistic, I know, but I find it makes sense and is generally workable. With that in mind, I do think that some things which are considered immoral by some, are considered immoral for reasons which are irrational. If gays get married, nothing bad will happen. You know it and I know it. The terrorists won't win, Texas won't secceed, and Nazis won't return to the world wielding tommy guns and riding on utahraptors to terrorise one and all. Effect on the fortunes of the nation state will be precisely zero.

The sad thing is that a hundred years from now the uninformed will look back at the early 21st century. They will ignore the insane concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, the abandonment of American companies for cheap foreign outsourcing, the failure to protect the border from illegal immigrants, the unwillingness of government to ensure adequate educational and healthcare provisions to keep the general population healthy and highly skilled. All these things which are vital to the success of today's America will be overlooked. And instead they will look at the tremdendous reversal in the nation's fortunes and blame it on gay marriage.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 2011 at 09:15
I was watching this discussion earlier and meant to get involved.
 
I don't think that economic prosperity and moral behaviour are in any way disconnected. I think that moral behaviour leads to economic prosperity both on a state and personal level. The primary problem in this sort of debate is a trivilisation of moral virtues into metrics such as the number of prositutes in a region, or whether gay marriage is legal or not. Niether of these are good metrics, and they are even poor indicators, of whether a state is moral or not. Attempting to prevent moral decline by banning immorality is even more absurd, because the act of banning is probably just a symptom of the same immorality.
 
The simpliest example I can think of is honesty.
If a person is honest, or the majority of people in a country are honest, then corruption will be minimised and reduced simply by the character of the people. People inclinded to dishonesty will be discouraged by the culture, and the country will have a far superior chance of economic prosperity.
This applies on a person level as well. Your honesty will encourage people to hire you, you are unlikely to cheat your books, and less likely to get yourself into serious self-inflicted economic hardship.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 2011 at 09:19
We may here question wether most so-called "materialists", not least marxist, but also others have theories that "take the consequences", or that their "material factors" are that material.
But then I feel obliged to say that I do not define myself as "materialist" though physical factors are extremely important.
Most "materialists", it seems to me, in fact only go "halfway" or less, so You may ask how they could be more consequent? Those I know of, usually stress the importance of social, economic and political factors in history, to a point were they, and for some (not all, but marxists)"class struggle" become the driving factor in history. Here we should be carefull, since such factors are not necessarily that "material". What is, as isee it, is the geographical, physical, environment for humans, so why not go more to the point and stress the importance of the "environmental factors", including natural changes? Find out were natural history and history meets and pay more attention to geology, climatology, biology, even astronomy and relate to history and "prehistoric" sciences.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 2011 at 11:32
The difficulty is that peoples' concepts of 'morality' differ so widely - not just in defining what is 'moal' and what 'immoral' but in defining which are moral issues and which not.  (There is aa similar difficulty between distinguishing what is social, what economic and what political, but generally seaking it seems to me people don't get so confused over that.)
 
I'd suggest that the fate of a society is more connected with the degree of cohesion/fragentation of the society - i.e. it depends more on how far the members of that society share a common belief on what the moral issues are and on each, which behaviour is moral and which immoral.
 
Tentatively at least a high level of patriotism and patriotic conviction to the common cause of s nstion is a plus factor in estimating the survival of a society. But is patriotism a moral issue? And if so which is more moral - placing patriotism in the forefront of concern, or giving it a low ranking?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 2011 at 16:16
I don't believe materialism alone it is the cause of the development of countries. Prosperity is an effect, rather than the cause of the economical success.
The cause of development is when a people has an image of the future; a dream that make the whole society to work together behind that goal. At least, that's what Fred Pole said in his famous essay: the image of the future.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2011 at 11:33
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

I don't believe materialism alone it is the cause of the development of countries. Prosperity is an effect, rather than the cause of the economical success.
The cause of development is when a people has an image of the future; a dream that make the whole society to work together behind that goal. At least, that's what Fred Pole said in his famous essay: the image of the future.
At first sight it seems hard - or impossible - in any way to test the idea about "images" or "dreams" as driving economical succes. On the other hand we may look at some examples: Switzerland, Norway and Luxemburg, all of them on average rather wealthy in the last decades, even compared with most neighbours. Frankly I never heard that either of them have a special "vision for the future" or an image of it. At least not more than other peoples.Then visions and expectations may not be without risks. Part of the reasons for the world wars can be seen as exaggerated expectations, and self-perceptions by some nations. And the examples of post war Japan and Germany we can see as some of nations that were deprived of illusions, but within a short timespan gained very much in economical field.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2011 at 13:18
Sure, but the relation between self-confidence, possitive thinking and investment is known.
Negative and scare people takes less risks, and tend to avoid investment
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2011 at 15:13
This is refreshing...an attempt to resurrect the corpse of Dialectical Materialism! The greatest swindlers in History have had one common trait; they were superbly self-confident and purportedly wiser people were amply positive when it came to "investing" in their hare-brained constructs for "future" prosperity. Models are supreme follies and no matter how much you read up on "risk management" your gelt today usually becomes future loess. As for "images of the future", why not read up on such--there is an ample literature--and understand that a better term would be "mirages"... 

Edited by drgonzaga - 05 Jun 2011 at 15:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2011 at 15:41
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

I don't believe materialism alone it is the cause of the development of countries. Prosperity is an effect, rather than the cause of the economical success.
The cause of development is when a people has an image of the future; a dream that make the whole society to work together behind that goal. At least, that's what Fred Pole said in his famous essay: the image of the future.
At first sight it seems hard - or impossible - in any way to test the idea about "images" or "dreams" as driving economical succes. On the other hand we may look at some examples: Switzerland, Norway and Luxemburg, all of them on average rather wealthy in the last decades, even compared with most neighbours.
I can only talk for Luxembourg and Switzerland and in both cases there is a strong sense of common 'morality'. For instance I recall some 20 years ago being comissioned to look at prospects for selling cross-border into Switzerland, including what restrictions there might be (as here are in most countries). Both privately and from the government I got thesame reaction: there were no restrictions on foreign companies selling insurance in Switzerland because no Swiss would dream of buying from anyone except a Swiss company.
Quote
Frankly I never heard that either of them have a special "vision for the future" or an image of it. At least not more than other peoples.Then visions and expectations may not be without risks. Part of the reasons for the world wars can be seen as exaggerated expectations, and self-perceptions by some nations. And the examples of post war Japan and Germany we can see as some of nations that were deprived of illusions, but within a short timespan gained very much in economical field.
After the defeat, both Germany and Japan prospered from a great deal of common beliefs and goals. Stll I'd agree that large companies are more likely to suffer from illusions of grandeur than small ones.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2011 at 16:30
But it Switzerland Swatch shown that a dream can make a difference. While most the watch industry was wiped out by the technological change and the Japanese and Chinese competition, Swatch decided to invest, renovate, robotize, get smart and do whatever necesary to succeed, and it did.

Without that dream and courage, there wouldn't be a watch industry in Switzerland these days.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2011 at 20:01
In my opinion when we are discussing the "morality" and "visions and dreams" in different societies and their effects upon economical growth (we may later extend it to more genral discussion of "health" or "prosperity" of societies). We can (of course, in my opinion) not justly equate the one with the other (morality and different views of future).
I think there has always been some people with "visions", therefore the pressence of such peoples cannot be the only explanation for very much, and not for a growing economy.
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Sure, but the relation between self-confidence, possitive thinking and investment is known.
Negative and scare people takes less risks, and tend to avoid investment
Not allways bad. Depends on the situation. Perhaps the last crisis had been less hard if the common attitude had been more towards "negative thinking", less "self confident", and not the least less based upon unfounded optimism, self deception and wishfull thinking.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2011 at 20:04
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

This is refreshing...an attempt to resurrect the corpse of Dialectical Materialism! The greatest swindlers in History have had one common trait; they were superbly self-confident and purportedly wiser people were amply positive when it came to "investing" in their hare-brained constructs for "future" prosperity. Models are supreme follies and no matter how much you read up on "risk management" your gelt today usually becomes future loess. As for "images of the future", why not read up on such--there is an ample literature--and understand that a better term would be "mirages"... 
since I am the only one I know of that have mentioned marxism, I think You have overlooked the fact I also mentioned my reservations towards it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2011 at 21:57
Actually does anyone, anywhere, actually discuss "dilectial materialism" as being any where existing as a beievable concept, then they seem to have missed the last 50 years or so!
Or they are somewhat "retarded?"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2011 at 23:23
Originally posted by opuslola opuslola wrote:

Actually does anyone, anywhere, actually discuss "dilectial materialism" as being any where existing as a beievable concept, then they seem to have missed the last 50 years or so!
Or they are somewhat "retarded?"

We should avoid this discussion ending up as confused or without meaning.



Edited by fantasus - 05 Jun 2011 at 23:24
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2011 at 01:28
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

I think there has always been some people with "visions", therefore the pressence of such peoples cannot be the only explanation for very much, and not for a growing economy.

The problem is that economists have made us belief the economy is just a automation, a blind robot. You put $ dolar onto the box, play the roulette, and get back $dolar + the revenue. We have replaced the inventors and visionaries, with the vulgar horse races gambler!

In the real world, things are more dependent on will. What would be the world today without the will to make true projects by peoples like: Columbus, Henry Ford, Walt Disney or Von Braun? In the future perhaps we would remember Virgin Galactics as the company that developed the huge business of massive space tourism, and Richard Branson for its leadership.

It is very likely if any of those wouldn't suceed we would have a very different world today. Because changes depend quite a lot in the will of humans, particularly when new business are opened.







Edited by pinguin - 06 Jun 2011 at 01:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2011 at 08:12
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

I think there has always been some people with "visions", therefore the pressence of such peoples cannot be the only explanation for very much, and not for a growing economy.

The problem is that economists have made us belief the economy is just a automation, a blind robot. You put $ dolar onto the box, play the roulette, and get back $dolar + the revenue. We have replaced the inventors and visionaries, with the vulgar horse races gambler!

In the real world, things are more dependent on will. What would be the world today without the will to make true projects by peoples like: Columbus, Henry Ford, Walt Disney or Von Braun? In the future perhaps we would remember Virgin Galactics as the company that developed the huge business of massive space tourism, and Richard Branson for its leadership.

It is very likely if any of those wouldn't suceed we would have a very different world today. Because changes depend quite a lot in the will of humans, particularly when new business are opened.
Here we are discussing visions at the individual level, as far as I see, more than any "collective vision", and even less "morality".
It is a question wether most of the rich became so because they had more "visions" or those with "visions" become rich, what I doubt. But then I have not so high opinion about all of the mentioned persons, and do not know branson.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2011 at 14:33
Well, most of the rich, no matter weathly, had mediocre goals. But among them, there are sometimes some people that really make the change. The enterpreneurs of the railroads in the 19th century, the manufacturers of the British Industrial revolution, the enterpreneurs of flight and computers, just to name a few.
The problem with societies is that they believe there is an economical solution to problems, but if they really are going to achieve, they need visionaries that take the risk, invest and develop the new ideas. There is still a small space for human enterprises in this computarized world.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2011 at 15:00
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Well, most of the rich, no matter weathly, had mediocre goals. But among them, there are sometimes some people that really make the change. The enterpreneurs of the railroads in the 19th century, the manufacturers of the British Industrial revolution, the enterpreneurs of flight and computers, just to name a few.
The problem with societies is that they believe there is an economical solution to problems, but if they really are going to achieve, they need visionaries that take the risk, invest and develop the new ideas. There is still a small space for human enterprises in this computarized world.
Then we are a far away from the claim that "visions are the cause of development". There may very well be multiple reasons for "development" and we may turn it around: Succes may promotes  "images of the future" , or "visions".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2011 at 16:18
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

The difficulty is that peoples' concepts of 'morality' differ so widely - not just in defining what is 'moal' and what 'immoral' but in defining which are moral issues and which not.  (There is aa similar difficulty between distinguishing what is social, what economic and what political, but generally seaking it seems to me people don't get so confused over that.)
 
I'd suggest that the fate of a society is more connected with the degree of cohesion/fragentation of the society - i.e. it depends more on how far the members of that society share a common belief on what the moral issues are and on each, which behaviour is moral and which immoral.
 
Tentatively at least a high level of patriotism and patriotic conviction to the common cause of s nstion is a plus factor in estimating the survival of a society. But is patriotism a moral issue? And if so which is more moral - placing patriotism in the forefront of concern, or giving it a low ranking?
 
Totally agree with Graham on all his points.
 
Morality is a relevant term, what is moral in one place isn't in another. What determines the strength of an empire or a nation is the strength of the collective belief in nationhood that surpases any other loyalty. Once that is gone the entire social structure collapses. People replace loyalty to the nation with loyalty to some other idea and when conflict comes collapse follows. This is the main reason why many newly independent nations fail.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2011 at 16:33
It's certainly been a problem with the emerging African countries, drawn up as they were onthe basis of how the colonial administrations organised them. One problem there I think in retrospect was that there was an element of racism (well-meant though it may have been) in assumiing that all Africans would share some kind of common identity, just because they were Africans.
 
One exception to that came with the plebiscite that resulted in the 'Cameroons' part of the British colony known as Nigeria and the Cameroons sucessfully joining with the French colony of Cameroun on independence, rather than becoming part of Nigeria.
 
We've seen what's happened as a result of thinking all Nigerians shared a common sense of identity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2011 at 18:59
Societal cohesion when expressed as a function of political or economic interests is unsustainable in the face of retrogressive cultural modes that defy institutional commonalities. OK the resort to jargon is regrettable but with respect to History we must recognize that only institutional bonds overcome atavistic identities premised on elemental connections. Yes, you can speak of "empires" that enclose all of the contradictions, but these empires consolidate institutions that premise the suppression of centrifugal forces delineating the "us" from the "we". In establishing this thread, the operating assumption is that materialism represents one of the cohesive forces, but is such true? After all, absent institutional integrity establishing free access for all to economic benefits, only force will sustain the unity [in other words government not based on access is not government at all--yes the spectre of tyranny]. Nevertheless, can any assume that it is truly only a matter of money through which to establish successful government? In a way, this thread has danced around the premises characteristic of Enlightenment Thought and its essential reasoning encapsuled in a document from that period: the preamble to the U.S. Constitution rooted to the concept of government as a contract [Yipes...the social contract].   

Edited by drgonzaga - 06 Jun 2011 at 19:02
Honi soit qui mal y pense
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Goban View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goban Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2011 at 04:26
As a force of cohesion, it seems that materialism is kind of successful...but, unfortunately, not everyone has equal access unless they learn to bridge a vast cultural divide.
 
e.g.If we look at it simply in terms of acquisition, maybe in amore formative sense like learning in school (the pedagogical "intellectual capital") , the ability to succeed varies depending on a suite of cultural factors even though everyone has the same teacher, speaks the same language (arguably), and has access to the same resources. In this case cohesion is not really a result, and maybe alienation could be a better fitting term. If from the beginning we are all told that education equals money, many people still find it difficult to learn and succeed in this current system...  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2011 at 07:53

it seems not at all that clear what is meant by "materialism" in this thread, so we risk to end up in confusion. "Materialism as a social cohessive force" seems not to have been the issue from the start. And remember "materialism" and "idealism" not only exists in english language.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote historyfan28 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2013 at 03:59
I have something pretty interesting to share that is related to economic history as far as pharmaceuticals.  The social history of patent medicines is something I find extremely interesting.  Hard to believe the U.S. government allowed them to be sold with a laissez faire attitude.  
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