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It is not that hard a question. The demographic transition has increased population in mercantilistic, late feudal, capitalistic, communistic, colonial, colonised, fascist, mixed and finally neoliberal economies. To put it down to the American Empire seems a bit odd.

This sound observation actually argues my point exactly.  We have at least two, notable, dramatic collapses of large-scale institutional regimes in the non-American dominated world. China's Great Leap Forward, which regrouped the rural countryside into communes and, as official Chinese scholars themselves have come to recently admit, caused the great famine that killed tens of millions of people.  And we also have the disastrous effects of the neo-liberal shock therapy performed on the formerly Communist soviet states. In both cases collapse of the reigning institutional paradigms, and both of them very much imperialist paradigms, led to tragedies of enormous dimensions for millions of people.

by santiago on Wed Nov 24th, 2010 at 04:39:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not think I am understanding your point here. Empires falling is worse then empires existing? But empires always falls, its like saying that boom is good and bust is bad.

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by A swedish kind of death on Wed Nov 24th, 2010 at 06:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Empires don't always fall.  They eventually fall, just like people eventually die, but that is something different entirely than always falling.  

Speaking abstractly, it's only a good thing when an empire falls if the harm being done to people by that empire is truly egregious and much worse than what would occur if it collapses. I'm not sure that the "American empire" is really all that bad, even if we can find lots of bad things about it, especially compared to what could happen to a lot of people without it or if there wasn't first a better institutional framework to replace or overtake it.

by santiago on Wed Nov 24th, 2010 at 10:14:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean empires don't always fall, like people don't always die?

I suppose if you're a vampire squid you might have a different view of the process to the rest of us.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 24th, 2010 at 10:35:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Great Leap Forward did not involve the sort of collapse that you seem to be discussing elsewhere in the thread. It was a purely domestic phenomenon and the existing political structure remained intact.  Sticking with China I'd think that the drawn own end of Imperial China and its aftermath would be closer to what you're getting at.
by MarekNYC on Wed Nov 24th, 2010 at 06:49:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not what most scholarship on it, including recent official Chinese scholarship says. Most people who have looked at it fault the institutional changes caused by the Great Leap Forward for the Great Famine which occurred a few years later as people's capacity to obtaining food, as well as agricultural production declined, precipitously due to the social reorganization into communes which had different rules and norms for distributing things and controlling behavior than what previously existed.
by santiago on Wed Nov 24th, 2010 at 09:59:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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