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Archive for February, 2012

East Asia Before the West

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

“In fact, from 1368 to 1841—from the founding of the Ming dynasty to the Opium wars between Britain and China—there were only two wars between China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan: China’s invasion of Vietnam (1407–1428) and Japan’s invasion of Korea (1592–1598).”

http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-15318-8/east-asia-before-the-west/excerpt

Wow.

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Changing bad into good

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m not sure where I read this exactly but it just came back to me. One of the problems of political theory I guess but particularly liberalism is turning private self interest which is selfish into a public good. the free market people do this through the invisible hand, socialists do this through the state? The point is the goal is to go beyond inherent human aimlessness towards some form of goal. In practice this is what a lot of early sociology was about. Why doesn’t society collapse if humans are selfish. Although we know that part of the answer is that humans are not selfish the problem remains as to how do we make the impulses of human beings tailored for small groups benefit and work in larger groups without them coming apart. Religion and nationalism has gone some way towards inducing this effect but both with destructive and murdersome qualities. (maybe in Blythe?). Liberals through the free market argue that this works itself out through self interest but I also do not htink this has been proven or is true. But still it is a problem central to the social sciences and sociology. In this respect it is important to remember that as precarious as we think society is, it actually does work, we are in it, we experience it every day and globalization hasn’t destroyed its functionality. So worth thinking about without drama.

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