« Walker Running | Main | Bain Drain »

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Steven Richard

Financial Policy Council Inc. (FPC) mission to INFORM entrepreneurs, investors and the public of the roles they can play to ensure that their opinions are heard by and persuade policy makers of the soundness of our public policy solutions

Fiscal Policy Issues

larry kurtz

The New World developed parallel civilizations only to be overgodded and raped by European Catholics with bigger weapons. Fourth World "poverty" is resistance to the failed repressive nature of US-style capitalism as it lays waste to the planet.

Rewilding the West combined with statehood for the tribes and Mexico would dilute the rampant earth hatred touted by your Republican Party, Ken, with the social successes evolving in France and in the South American countries.

Obama in a landslide.


These theories have credibility only if one ignores the narratives of history, which make exploitation, subjugation, and greed central points in the development of nations that cannot be dismissed.

Ken Blanchard

Erin: these theories have credibility because they are supported by the evidence. The "narratives" of which you speak may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but they have very little explanatory value.


The narratives of history are not contrived fictions to make us feel good. They, too, are based upon evidence which is put in its cause-and-effect sequences. They are not theories but the record of what happened.


Anyone who claims that there is any one "record of what happened" has never been a a student of history, and should be disregarded.

Also you must have missed the entire paragraph that starts:
"Diamond shows that the exploitation thesis is not entirely wrong."

As I'm sure you haven't read the book, please at least read the article before commenting.

Donald Pay

The problem I have is this is a gross simplification of what happened. Maize (corn) was first developed and cultivated by native peoples in southern Mexico and Central America, as were tomatoes, many types of beans, squash, peppers, chocolate and sunflowers. Potatoes were from Peru. Turkey, the fowl, was domesticated by native peoples from Mexico. Many of the plants listed above developed in subtropical or tropical environments.

One issue that I think might be partly responsible for north/south differences in development of agriculture is that the tropics provide a wide diversity of foods that are available year long. Thus, not only was food storage more difficult, but there was far less need for stored foods.

If you look at the life history of most precursors of our crops, you find most had adaptations to exploit newly disturbed areas. Thus, they would be found growing in close proximity to humans, and their disturbances. In the tropics, such disturbances close quickly from invasion by nearby perennials. In the temperate regions the disturbances are longer lived and more likely to be filled first by annuals through wind borne or animal borne seed.

There are a lot of theories for the collapse of the Native American civilizations. Some certainly fell victim ot European diseases and conquest. Some probably faded away due to climate change.


Erin, I could not find where you said there was any "one" narrative of history, but what could we majors and minors in history possibly know? I trust you have been put in your place and will never again venture to intrude your ignorance and stupid self into the palace of the only true and faithful cognition.

Ken Blanchard

Erin: Sometimes "The narratives of history are" precisely "contrived fictions to make us feel good." Consider manifest destiny. Narratives about colonial exploitation and brutality are quite genuine and tell a story that we cannot afford to ignore. The question is whether they explain the phenomena that Diamond sets out to explain. They don't.

Consider the contrast between India and Afghanistan. Which country was subject to a more thorough and pervasive colonization by a European power? India. Which is poorer and less advanced socially, politically, and technologically? Afghanistan. Diamond's analysis is very robust and explains global patterns very well. The exploitation thesis isn't and doesn't.

Ken Blanchard

Donald: I wish I had time to properly respond to your very excellent post. I have to make do with the following. All historical explanation are oversimplifications. This is especially true of any that attempts to explain global phenomena. Jared Diamond's argument is almost as robust as the tilted axis theory of the seasons, which is also a "gross oversimplification".

Your middle two paragraphs puzzle me a bit, perhaps because you know more about this than I do. As for your final paragraph: the question is not why Native American empires collapsed, but why Pizarro met Atahualpa in Peru instead of Atahualpa meeting Pizarro in Spain. Diamond answers that question.

Ken Blanchard

Anne: Erin is entitled to criticize my arguments here, as you are. I invite it. Spectre is entitled and invited to criticize Erin. You may think that Spectre's criticism was unfair, but that is what argument is all about. I have no idea what you mean when you speak of "the palace of the only true and faithful cognition." No one here, neither myself nor my spirited critics, have any such illusions.

I believe I have treated you with respect, but I understand respect to mean taking your statements seriously and plainly stating when I disagree with them.

The comments to this entry are closed.