Defense Issues

Military and general security

Islamic “Fundamentalism”

Posted by Picard578 on February 24, 2015

Slightly East of New

If your conception of ISIS imagines illiterate fanatics making suicidal charges in pickup trucks and are confused about how a glorified motorcycle gang could conquer half of Iraq and Syria, wiping out a $25 BN US investment in the Iraqi army in the process, you might want to learn more about the roots of the movement and how it is trained and led today. Such an understanding may come in handy in the future.

For background, try William R. Polk’s article, Understanding Islamic Fundamentalism, on consortiumnews.com. As he explains:

Some of [Sayyid Qutub’s] writings bear comparison to the Islamic legal classics. As a group, they have attracted a mass readership — believed to be in the tens of millions — throughout the Islamic world and have apparently influenced men as opposed to one another as the leaders of the Taliban, the Saudi Royal Establishment, al-Qaida, the Iranian and Iraqi clerics [Arabic: ulema]…

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25 Responses to “Islamic “Fundamentalism””

  1. Duviel said

    Sometimes the best strategy to win a war is to not fight it. Maybe allowing these radical movements to do their thing will eventually lead to them alianating their own societies as they fail to bring a better life to the people. IS might be doing that as we speak.

    Ensuring that the pro-west governments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Kurdistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Etc are able to provide better lives for the general poulation is a good way of destroying this Salafist revival. Of course we have to try to ensure these pro-west governments dont fall prey to religious indoctrination as well.

    We need to succeed in Iraq & Afghanistan. Not militarily alone, but in creating prosperous, inclusive, free (comparetively) societies that the people are happy with. If we do this we would have dealt a HUGE blow to this extremist movement. The enemy knows it too.

    Maybe we should take a page from Pablo Escobar and try the “plata o plomo” (silver or lead) strategy. We can show the islamic world that their is lots of good in our system (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Kurdistan, Shia Iraq, Afghanistan) and lots of blood and suffering in the alternative. IS has been helping us in this one.

    We might not succceed regardless and we might continue to see a long-term war between Islam and the current world order anyways. A war just as throughout human history. Various alliances will arise, etc.

    I only know we have to win. The Islamists have targeted the West, Israel, and Russia and we know how they feel about revenge. I wish we would have stayed out of that region altogether. All that oil is not worth it.

    In the end no one will win this war (as in all wars) one side will lose big the other will lose a little less.

    When will we realize that war never succeeds and find ways to settle issues in different manner?

    Of course it takes two to tango and if just one party is set on war the other has to fight as well.

    • vyse said

      “Ensuring that the pro-west governments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Kurdistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Etc are able to provide better lives for the general poulation is a good way of destroying this Salafist revival. Of course we have to try to ensure these pro-west governments dont fall prey to religious indoctrination as well.”

      -I would not describe those countries as being “pro-west”. Depend of what you mean by that.

      Egypt maybe, could be seen as walking in the same direction as occident. Al Sissi is defending laicity, and has made his position quite clear about the place of religion in society, even daring to speak about the evil role Islam has played in the whole arab world. It could constitute an alternative middle east link to occident than Israel, which despite sharing occidental values is acting belliquiously and reminds of colonialist Europe from 19th century, with all the terrible consequences it has over the region, feeding the “clash of civilisation” feeling in all involved parts.

      Iraq is in such a bad situation, it’s not “pro-west” either, but rather a “puppet of the west”, as was Afghanistan in the last deceny (with same success).

      Kurdistan is a myth, and with Erdogan’s (talk about a true radical islamist in disguise) Turkey it is not going to materialize anytime soon.

      All other quoted states are very ambiguous, their fight against Islamism being totally political. They defends their own interests, while they may even share the terrorists ideology in some cases. Saudi Arabia in particular is not only financing terrorism, it is actually applying a radical version of sharia which doesn’t differ to Talibans or ISIS one.

      “When will we realize that war never succeeds and find ways to settle issues in different manner?”

      -I don’t want to play the cynical and point you as a naive idealist, but seriously, you understand what kind of people we’re talking about?! Islamists are making Islam the only power and reference for religion (obviously), culture, society (from family to Land scale), justice, politics … And everything else too.

      Sadly, Islam is not particullary peacefull in it’s preachings, so it makes all these domains of humanity veered toward totalitarism, proselytism and obscurantism.
      It is really looking as a cancer, trying desperately to replace sane cells with its corrupted genes. Local civilisations are suffering from it, and quite certainly most would prefer a life based on less rigid rules, allowing to live peacefully with other civilisations. As every human being, they’re mostly asking to live a decent life, having the right to prosperate and seeing their children grow and progress through life…

      But as long as the West will intervene to fight against it, arab people will feel like being agressed, and will instinctively defends what they despised because of that. It is normal. This is their very own cancer. They should have been the ones fighting against it initially, and the West joining them later, instead of the contrary…

      • Duviel said

        The Middle East and Africa are a HUGE MESS!

        Im im not saying we have good allies there but at least less dangerous alternatives to the Salafist, Islamic Fundamentalists. If the alternatives fail than what. We have to provide an option that is more attractive than ISIS or Iran (if you are Shite).

        “When will we realize that war never succeeds and find ways to settle issues in different manner?”

        Im am not saying that we can make peace with the religious extreme. Because of their nature we probably cant. I am just saying I WISH both sides would be smarter and realize that victory is only trully possible if you avoid war. Even if West sent every man and weapon they have (or can draft or build) into this region the result will be sad for all sides. No one wins in war.

    • picard578 said

      “Maybe allowing these radical movements to do their thing will eventually lead to them alianating their own societies as they fail to bring a better life to the people. ”

      Quite likely, especially since one of reasons for success of these groups is people’s disaffection with the current governments and situation.

      “Of course we have to try to ensure these pro-west governments dont fall prey to religious indoctrination as well. ”

      And to corruption. Politicians care only about themselves. And that is part of the problem. One of the ways of how militants recruit new personnel is by providing food, health care and education to children of potential recruits.

      “Of course it takes two to tango and if just one party is set on war the other has to fight as well.”

      Agreed.

      • Duviel Rodriguez said

        Thank you for agreeing, for once. LOL.

        Its hard to stick to any statement in these cases as there are so many exceptions and factors that could change the equation.

        It has to be a fluid strategy that can be altered as you move along.

  2. Chris said

    One of the serious (and willfully ignored) problems that has happened is that the neoconservatives and the military industrial complex (along with a large part of the political base) have opted for actions that have substantially worsened the situation. Combine that with voter apathy and you have the current situation.

    There’s one more consideration – if the US does manage to spend itself into fiscal difficulty, it will be every bit as serious as if the US had been defeated in a conventional war against a third generation opponent. The problem with these wars and the military industrial complex is opportunity cost. The US has tons of domestic problems that could use the money – rather than expensive weapons like the F-35 or invading places like Iraq.

    It seems to me that there’s 2 problems – religious fundamentalism and the self-inflicted problems today.

    • Duviel said

      “if the US does manage to spend itself into fiscal difficulty”

      It is very possible but a lot harder than some might think. The US has the ability to succeed economically without participation in the world economy/financial syastem. Very few countries can say that today.

      Us has large diverse resource rich landscape, large population (but not too large in relation to land size), technological and manufacturing ability, Etc, Etc.

      Before the US was a big participant in world economy/financial system (pre-world war’s) they were still doing well.

      If US Government/Dollar goes bankrupt it will hurt non-Americans as much as Americans. China (our top lender) cannot thrive without US consumers for example.

      Also all those countries holding large Dollar reserves and exporting big to US would be in trouble.

      Allowing the Dollar to implode and the US economy to withdraw from world market will hurt a lot more than forgiving most of the debt. Especially if you know you wont get paid anyways if you push it.

      If push came to shove US would probably pay the debt (instead of defaulting) but, they would do it by printing most of it. This is expected to lower the value of the debt (and the dollar overall although, {the fact that most of that new money is being horded in reserve might explain why} w have been printing over 1 trillion yearly since 2008 and no inflation yet) and the payee does not want that.

      The US government is running a ponzi scheme on the world and the lenders mostly know it. but, in a weird way they benefit from the scheme as much as the schemer.

      “he US has tons of domestic problems that could use the money – rather than expensive weapons like the F-35 or invading places like Iraq”

      Very true but for some reason our leaders dont care about those domestic problems as much as they care about the military/industrial complex and foreign interests. Maybe its because they know that they have to take advantage of right time to spend on war, while at anytime it would be accepted to create debt or print money (create inflation, we assume) to solve those domestic/infastructure issues.

      Its never about money (money is cheap and easily created) its about power and control!

      Its about resources that cannot be printed. Money just makes it easier to trade and consume but money is nothing.

      • picard578 said

        “Very true but for some reason our leaders dont care about those domestic problems as much as they care about the military/industrial complex and foreign interests.”

        Reason is simple. Modern representative democracy is in reality a plutocracy, true power is held by those who have money, and MIC has a lot of it. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Add in what you wrote, and overall situation is quite clear.

        • Duviel said

          I was thinking it. Im glad you said it. There are many large interests in roads, bridges, nuclear power plants, domestic oil, etc. So, expect those to begin to consume greater funds soon.

          It also benefits them to keep the poor (mostly uneducated and unemployed) quite and peaceful. Thats why they have all those welfare programs for them. The working middle class is too busy trying to “make it” to have time to stir up trouble.

          Young people have always been trouble for them but they soon grow up and get too busy in this rat race to have time for protest.

          There is more to it as well. But, i’m sure you like I don’t have the time to write a 100,000 word post on this topic.

      • altandmain said

        The problem here is that none of this has made any real improvements on the living standards of the average person. The American middle class, once the great engine o manufacturing and consumption in the world is in serious decline. In particular, the loss of manufacturing is huge. Real wages have been stagnant for the past 40 years or so, and if you believe that the real rate of inflation has been higher than the official published figures, then they have declined drastically.

        The wealth has been for the most part transferred upwards. This I think is indisputable. Had the same money been invested in domestic priorities, it is likely the US would be a much stronger place than it is now.

        Alas the plutocrats have no morals.

        • Duviel said

          Depends how you qualify “living Standards”

          I make a whole lot more money than my father ever did yet I am not sure my living standard is better. I just own more expensive stuff but I work about 60 hours a week. The work is not as intensive or physically demanding but the time required of me is greater leaving me with less time for family, kidss, leisure, etc.

          Things like good health factors and medical care, enough good food, education, information, transportation, and having time for family, kids and leisure.

          Thats what I look at.

          Middle class wages have been stagnant not because of lack of government funds but becuase of government making laws and media instilling ideas that have destroyed unionization, organization of the working class, and labor laws that help the working masses. Free Market is awesome in moving economies and creating newer, better, and more. Problem is that over time if not well regulated the wealth begins to occumilate in the hands of those with more resources and talents. Free market is a sink or swim, dog eat dog system and that is what best motivates humans and creates newer, better, and more but it needs to incorporate protections.

          Not only has the government failed to protect the general population, they have actually instituted laws that help the wealthy even more than the system already does by itself.

          Tax loopholes that only the very rich can access.

          Non-regulation of financial instruments.

          15% flat tax (no matter how much you make) on dividends, capitol gains, interest, How the uber rich make most their money.

          Regular income (the income most regular folks make most of) is taxed progressively up to 36%. But, that means nothing to the top 1%, they dont make regular income.

          FDA, FTC, FCC, DEP, DOL, etc. These agencies that were supposed to protect the interests of the people against large business interests clearly do the opposite most of the time at the federal and state level.

          The solution is not to print more money into welfare programs. Welfare is an acid that eats at the prosperity of society. What we need is protections that stipulate better sharing of revenues with the workers of the firms. Laws that help strenghten collective bargaining for workers and strongly police labor leaders to ensure the interests of the workers is being put first, etc.

          Laws to enforce balanced trade among nations. If China is exporting more stuff to us than they are importing from us over extended period than we should start heavily and progressively taxing Chinese goods that enter the country until trade reaches relative balance. This would protect American jobs and industry and create a better, fairer, more balanced international system of trade. Of course if real unemployment is very low we can loophole the balanced trade laws to allow consumers to consume more than they can produce internally. Etc, etc, etc.

          The government needs to stop this crazy over spending and building of debt as well. But, that is not the biggest issue. government spending (especially if spent on the right things that the people need) is actually a very important boost to the well being of the nation. Although it can become a big issue if not controlled soon.

          Overtime laws…………………………..etc, etc, etc

          I could write all day but I dont have the time.

          I think economically we are fine. But, we could be so much better (for the general public) if some things were changed.

          I was flirting with a political career at one time but than I realized I had no chance with my ideas. I would have to sell my soul to get any funding and support.

          that reminds me one of the biggest problems. Campaign funding!

      • Chris said

        I agree with some what you’ve said and disagree.

        Middle class wages have been stagnant not because of lack of government funds but becuase of government making laws and media instilling ideas that have destroyed unionization, organization of the working class, and labor laws that help the working masses. Free Market is awesome in moving economies and creating newer, better, and more. Problem is that over time if not well regulated the wealth begins to occumilate in the hands of those with more resources and talents. Free market is a sink or swim, dog eat dog system and that is what best motivates humans and creates newer, better, and more but it needs to incorporate protections.

        Essentially we have a system that extracts economic rent for the very rich. The productivity gains of the past few decades have gone almost entirely to the top 1%.

        I’m not so sure an unfettered Free Market is the god of innovation it seems to be either. Let’s not forget a substantial portion of the innovations that we see were developed at public research institutions, universities, and the like. I’m not saying the free market does not have a purpose, it is that American culture tends to overrate it.

        I also think that one area that the Western world has done poorly at is private-public partnerships, something the East Asians have done much better at.

        The solution is not to print more money into welfare programs. Welfare is an acid that eats at the prosperity of society. What we need is protections that stipulate better sharing of revenues with the workers of the firms. Laws that help strenghten collective bargaining for workers and strongly police labor leaders to ensure the interests of the workers is being put first, etc.

        This is one area I disagree with.

        There does need to be an elaborate benefit state. Tomorrow for example you could be in a car accident. Totally out of your control if someone else hits you. Plenty of bad drivers on the roads these days. The problem is, what will happen without such a state? You would be in far greater danger of hitting rock bottom.

        Truth be told, we need both – workers need real bargaining power and there needs to be something for people that fall between the cracks.

        Laws to enforce balanced trade among nations. If China is exporting more stuff to us than they are importing from us over extended period than we should start heavily and progressively taxing Chinese goods that enter the country until trade reaches relative balance. This would protect American jobs and industry and create a better, fairer, more balanced international system of trade. Of course if real unemployment is very low we can loophole the balanced trade laws to allow consumers to consume more than they can produce internally. Etc, etc, etc.

        The East Asian economies are much more clever here. They’ve deliberately undervalued their currencies. Japan has even faked having a recession (the Lost Decades are grossly exaggerated, as a look at their life expectancy and other metrics will show).

        The Finance industry in particular wants an artificially overvalued currency.

        • Duviel Rodriguez said

          “Essentially we have a system that extracts economic rent for the very rich. The productivity gains of the past few decades have gone almost entirely to the top 1%”

          Yes when you have money and resources you can make money just by having those. That too creates complacency as with welfare.

          “I’m not so sure an unfettered Free Market is the god of innovation it seems to be either. Let’s not forget a substantial portion of the innovations that we see were developed at public research institutions, universities”

          Not the god but better than any other system known. Even public research is free market in a way becuase these institutions pay their researchers pay to keep pay with private institutions. If it were not for this competition public institutions would stagnate. Big government sponsored projects prospered in USSR too, what did not was innovations for the public/consumer. China is also using the free market system; with some variances. Just in case you want to make that argument for the fututre.

          “I also think that one area that the Western world has done poorly at is private-public partnerships, something the East Asians have done much better at”

          Maybe? Not sure what you define as public-private?

          “There does need to be an elaborate benefit state. Tomorrow for example you could be in a car accident. Totally out of your control if someone else hits you. Plenty of bad drivers on the roads these days. The problem is, what will happen without such a state? You would be in far greater danger of hitting rock bottom. Truth be told, we need both – workers need real bargaining power and there needs to be something for people that fall between the cracks”

          Not elaborate but, yes well planned. I am not against a safety net to protect those who fall into temporary trouble and for those who CAN’T care for themselves due to things past their own control.

          Every rule has exceptions but, when the exception becomes the rule that is a problem. You have millions who live most of their lives being cared for by the public and are not motivated to become self-sufficient becuase their needs are met by welfare in many forms.

          Food Stamps= free groceries
          Section 8 (and other housing welfare)= free housing
          Medicaid/Obamacare= free health care

          Disabilty benefits are grossly abused and too easy to get. A large portion of my patients are “disabled” and I can tell you they are really not.

          I lived most of my pre-adult life pretty poor, per US standards (parents were immigrants with no skills or education), and I know how much of the poor learn to live on welfare programs and never do anything to lift themselves up.

          You can survive in this country without lifting a finger. That creates memebrs of society that are unproductive and living off of the public. If not for welfare millions of Americans would have to become productive to survive and that sort of motivation is needed in an economy.

          “The Finance industry in particular wants an artificially overvalued currenc”

          Yes. Also, the big firms who benefit by producing in low labor cost countries (China, India, Etc.) and than selling their product in western countries without paying a tariff. I can’t blame the firms I would do it to if allowed. Its the governments job to fix this.

      • Andrei said

        “Medicaid/Obamacare= free health care”

        Also equals very expensive health-care. Because you don’t pay just the doctors but also the employees of the insurance companies sealing health-insurance. US pays at least twice as much for health-care then any other country, but has lowest health statistics of the G8 countries, it has lower health statistics then Cuba even.
        The answer is public health-care as in UK, Canada, France, Israel basically any western country other then US, were medical bills are paid for by the state, without involving any intermediaries such as Medicaid and insurance companies. And I don’t think you can say that the public health-care system in France, Sweden, UK etc. encourages laziness. They have problems with immigrants abusing free health-care (mostly UK that has the most extensive system) but that will be easily resolved when they reform the system to benefit only citizen and non-citizen residents which have jobs.

        • Duviel Rodriguez said

          Way more expensive than it should be. Big profits for big companies and lots of middle man/middle companies= too expensive.

          Statistics have to be analyzed. You can say there is less sicknes statistically because nobody is getting care because services facilities non-existant (Cuba) or less care because wait time for care and red tape excessive (Canada).

          The less you see the doctor the less diagnosis and medical services used. I prefer to look at life expectancy as barometer and even that has to do with life style not just health care.

          Its like when crime goes down because cops are not arresting anybody not just because less crime commited.

          More cops almost always equals more crime. More health care equals more sicknesses diagnosed.

          If health care is free universally it does not encourage laziness as much because you will get it even if you make good money. With US welfare if you have a decent job you make to much to qualify for welfare. It pays to not work.

          Having some type of work requirement (with a few exceptions) and citizenship requirement is good idea for the society.

      • Andrei said

        “Statistics have to be analyzed. You can say there is less sicknes statistically because nobody is getting care because services facilities non-existant (Cuba) or less care because wait time for care and red tape excessive (Canada).

        The less you see the doctor the less diagnosis and medical services used. I prefer to look at life expectancy as barometer and even that has to do with life style not just health care”

        Before you go any further I realized from your name that you might be from Cuba and know a lot more of it and its healthcare first hand. If so I apologize in advance if my words offend you by seeming preachy or incorrect from you own point of view. It is what I learned from reading various sources and if it’s incorrect I would appreciate being set straight.

        Don’t know much about Canada except that they have the highest health statistics, but about Cuba I know a little bit from an easy about the implications of peak-oil and how they can be observed in Cuba, which because of the embargo, finds itself since the fall of the USSR in a post peak-oil society.

        Basically it’s less : ” nobody is getting care because services facilities non-existant (Cuba) ” and more ” life expectancy […] has to do with life style “. Cuba doesn’t have much access to modern medicine, because of the embargo, and also can’t implement a hospital based system, were healthcare is centralized in hospitals, because people aren’t able to get to hospitals due to lack of fuel. So what they did starting from the early 90s was to develop preventive medicine. Basically they downsized hospital medical-care and encouraged doctors to settle in small communities were they could easily monitor the health-care of the residents. Basically the average doctor doesn’t wait for patients to come to him, but becomes a very active and visual member of his community, and visits all the members of his community on a weekly or monthly bases and is able to thus ascertain their health evolution more easily. In Cuba you don’t go to doctor, doctor comes to you … on a regular basis, and considering that there are 1 doctor for every 175 patients that is actually quite simple. Coupled with an emphasis on preventive measures in the doctors training and an eduction on healthy life-style and eating through national television programs, results in Cubans being able to avoid a lot of degenerative conditions, like obesity, or can catch disease like cancer in the early phases when treatment is possible, which increases their life-expectancy without the need for extensive medical care. In Cuba hospitals are strictly for treatment and operations not diagnosis.
        Basically because of this systems Cubans can get medical check-ups a lot more frequent (on at worst a monthly basis) then any western national which, if they follow doctors orders get bi-annular check-ups but mostly only go to the doctor when something is wrong, and in some cases (cancer) when it’s to late.
        A little bit of what I said above you can also read in this section of the wikipedia article relating to healthcare in Cuba: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Cuba#Contrasting_views_on_Cuba.27s_health_system

  3. Chris said

    Not the god but better than any other system known. Even public research is free market in a way becuase these institutions pay their researchers pay to keep pay with private institutions. If it were not for this competition public institutions would stagnate. Big government sponsored projects prospered in USSR too, what did not was innovations for the public/consumer. China is also using the free market system; with some variances. Just in case you want to make that argument for the fututre.

    I would argue the East Asian system is superior.

    A simple look at the economic growth of Japan between 1950-1990, South Korea since 1960, Taiwan since after WWII, and increasingly, China would suggest that American style free market capitalism is a bad idea. Certainly the crash of 2008 suggests that hard questions need to be asked.

    Another reason to question is to take a look at the Nordic Social Democracies too suggests that likewise, the American system has serious shortcomings as well. They generally do better at living conditions, although unfortunately, inequality has been rising there too.

    The less you see the doctor the less diagnosis and medical services used. I prefer to look at life expectancy as barometer and even that has to do with life style not just health care.

    By this logic, nations like Japan should be scrutinized closely. Singapore and Hong Kong do very well as well.

    Actually, it’s been argued that the American healthcare system may be a contributor to the lower life expectancy in the US. The rest are the European social democracies.

    I would argue that the evidence strongly suggests that the idea of a universal healthcare system is vastly better and that the HMO system is pretty much economic rent.

    Not elaborate but, yes well planned. I am not against a safety net to protect those who fall into temporary trouble and for those who CAN’T care for themselves due to things past their own control.

    Every rule has exceptions but, when the exception becomes the rule that is a problem. You have millions who live most of their lives being cared for by the public and are not motivated to become self-sufficient becuase their needs are met by welfare in many forms.

    Disabilty benefits are grossly abused and too easy to get. A large portion of my patients are “disabled” and I can tell you they are really not.

    It’s not the black-white issue you make it seem like. It’s with many shades of grey.

    What if for example a person who works in a field like manufacturing, construction, forestry, etc is injured at work and injured permanently? I have no doubt that there are those who are on these programs who should not be. But others too need help that they don’t get.

    • Duviel Rodriguez said

      Economically speaking the US system is far from perfect (maybe not the best either) and becoming worse due to greed and corruption up top. Free Market does tend to produce inequality that’s why you need smart regulations and tax systems that help lessen the problem of concentration of wealth, resources, and means of production over time. The issue is I don’t trust big institutions (government or private) to correctly manage the economy without bias and corruption.

      I have not studied the Asian or Nordic economies enough to make intelligent comment on these. But, if I were an economist given task of advising government on macroeconomic pathways I would most certainly look at those more closely. Also, remember that it is easier to grow from 10 up to 50 than from 50 up to 100. The bigger you get the harder it is to grow at large percentage.

      From stats and polls I have seen Nordic nations do very well in creating high basic standards of living for majority. But, in US basic standards are also very high but numbers are skewed somewhat because many benefit from doctoring their income and living conditions down to qualify for benefits. Also, in US people feel poor even with high living standards because first, advertisers/media make you feel like you need fancy things that you really don’t need. And second many actually spend their income on a bunch of this fancy stuff and then don’t have enough for the basic needs. Therefore in polls of economic content, US ranks low.

      There is no reason why anyone in US should ever be hungry with available resources (food stamps, WIC, food banks, and many other food resources) yet numbers show high statistics of hunger. Don’t know how this applies in other countries but in US poverty numbers are very inflated.

      My argument was that stats about greater rate of illness is due to larger healthcare utilization and being profitable to diagnose. Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong have very high life expectancies I would have to look at their healthcare system more closely.

      In European nations where healthcare is mostly free and universal, life expectancy is not very different than in US. Even though, lifestyle is probably healthier. US healthcare system (public, private, HMO, PPO, Etc.) is not bad just too costly and overused due to profit incentive. I agree with Universal healthcare just because it is cheaper for the population and does not encourage laziness as in US health welfare system.

      Nothing is black & white. Like I said exceptions exist. But in US exceptions are becoming way to frequent to be considered exceptions anymore.

      Millions of people (48 million on welfare) that (if not for welfare) would be out producing goods and services (increasing supply and real GDP and lowering costs to consumers) are instead sitting at home watching TV and consuming from the rest of the people without producing anything. That’s not good for any economy. Many people need to be pushed and US welfare system does nothing to push people into becoming self-sufficient.

      Economic academics won’t tell you this often but, increase in supply curve will lead to lower price level and in turn increase demand curve. Increasing money supply (all the quantitative easing type stuff) without increasing supply curve (of goods and services) will not create higher long-term demand/consumption (short-term demand yes but not long-term), it will just create long-term inflation. You want to increase real GDP without inflation and deflation issues you must increase supply of goods and services at the same time & rate that you increase money supply.

      Strengthen factors of production (workforce participation being just one of those factors) and ensure money supply keeps very slightly ahead of increase in supply and you have a steady growth in long-term real GDP and very slight inflation. That’s exactly what you want macro economically.

      Sounds very simple once you remove human corruption and special interests from equation. Of course there is more to it to keep system good. But, that’s a start.

    • Chris said

      I have not studied the Asian or Nordic economies enough to make intelligent comment on these. But, if I were an economist given task of advising government on macroeconomic pathways I would most certainly look at those more closely. Also, remember that it is easier to grow from 10 up to 50 than from 50 up to 100. The bigger you get the harder it is to grow at large percentage.

      It’s easier to grow when you are poor yes.

      But if you are referring to the size of nations, then one question becomes – why did China grow extremely rapidly despite having the largest population in the world? It would appear that they had the right policies in most cases.

      In European nations where healthcare is mostly free and universal, life expectancy is not very different than in US. Even though, lifestyle is probably healthier. US healthcare system (public, private, HMO, PPO, Etc.) is not bad just too costly and overused due to profit incentive. I agree with Universal healthcare just because it is cheaper for the population and does not encourage laziness as in US health welfare system.

      It’s about 3 years. That’s enough to be substantial I think.

      Another consideration is that the European welfare system is even more generous than most American ones, although as of late they are (unfortunately) under attack from austerity.

      Japan is like 5 or 6 years, which is quite a bit.

      Economic academics won’t tell you this often but, increase in supply curve will lead to lower price level and in turn increase demand curve. Increasing money supply (all the quantitative easing type stuff) without increasing supply curve (of goods and services) will not create higher long-term demand/consumption (short-term demand yes but not long-term), it will just create long-term inflation. You want to increase real GDP without inflation and deflation issues you must increase supply of goods and services at the same time & rate that you increase money supply.

      Strengthen factors of production (workforce participation being just one of those factors) and ensure money supply keeps very slightly ahead of increase in supply and you have a steady growth in long-term real GDP and very slight inflation. That’s exactly what you want macro economically.

      Sounds very simple once you remove human corruption and special interests from equation. Of course there is more to it to keep system good. But, that’s a start.

      I very strongly disagree with this. Supply side economics has been the dominant ideology since the 1980s in the West.

      Supply side economics is what helped destroy the middle class – Keynesian demand side economics is closer to what we need.

      • Duviel Rodriguez said

        I am not an academic and I dont subscribe to any schools of economics. Demand side and supply side go hand in hand. Increase in supply will lead to increase in demand generally. Increase in Demand will lead to increase in supply (I know of no economy producung at full capacity) if the economy has capacity. You have to put money in the hands of the middle class (increasing wages, reducing taxes, direct low interest loans, facilitating procedures and eliminating red tape for small businesses, etc.) which will use added income to consume instead of for investments like the rich. You must also increase supply which will keep prices low so that increase in money supply will lead to more goods and services consumed by the people instead of going toward inflation.

        The big picture is increasing supply curve and increasing money supply so that the population can consume more of the goods and services they want or need.

        Than, you have to look at assuring that production capacity is being put into the goods and services most needed that add most value to peoples lives. The market does that pretty well. But, industry will sometimes try to push the goods/services they prefer to produce and consumers dont always consume whats good for them. Thats were government can reinforce production of goods/services most needed (like health care, mental health, healthy natural foods) by using tax breaks and simpler regulations. And, deacresing unwanted consumption (like, tobacco, alcohol, fast foods, sodas) by taxing and regulating these products heavily.

        International trade is good for increasing supply as each nation can produce more of what they are most efficient at producing and than trade. But, trade must remain balanced or it becomes a long-term drain.

        I wanted to go into how to grow smaller businesses and shrink massive corporations but I am out of time. I have to actually work while at work sometimes, Lol.

  4. Duviel Rodriguez said

    @ Andrei

    Yes Andrei both my parents were born in Cuba. My grandparents and or great grandparents are all born Spanish and French. I was born and raised in US.

    You know a lot about Cuban healthcare generally speaking but the devil is in the details.

    I would agree their is a lot that Cuba does well and should be imitated in some things. If my parents read this they would never speak to me again, Lol.

    The embargo does not help.

    I would caution looking at any statistic or information coming out of official Cuban institutions. The government still controls information pretty tightly.

    • Andrei said

      “I would caution looking at any statistic or information coming out of official Cuban institutions. The government still controls information pretty tightly.”

      I know that, I’m from Romania and I remember very well how communism works 😐 . That’s why I take the statistics coming out from Cuba mostly with a grain of salt. But the essay I was talking about, (which I can’t seem to find in my gazillion bookmarks) was written by an American which lived in Cuba for about 6 months in 2000 something and except for statistics that he cited only once, most of what he wrote was from personal experience, observation and interactions with average Cubans. Anyway the essay was more extensive and went also into other subjects such as agriculture and transportation.

  5. Chris said

    I am not an academic and I dont subscribe to any schools of economics. Demand side and supply side go hand in hand. Increase in supply will lead to increase in demand generally. Increase in Demand will lead to increase in supply (I know of no economy producung at full capacity) if the economy has capacity. You have to put money in the hands of the middle class (increasing wages, reducing taxes, direct low interest loans, facilitating procedures and eliminating red tape for small businesses, etc.) which will use added income to consume instead of for investments like the rich. You must also increase supply which will keep prices low so that increase in money supply will lead to more goods and services consumed by the people instead of going toward inflation.

    I’d recommend taking some time to research the supply vs demand side economics before taking sides.

    The rapid rise of neoliberal economics especially since the mid-1970s is responsible more than anything else for the stagnation and decline of the Western middle class.

    • Duviel said

      Chris I have been researching and learning economics (mostly macro) for over a decade. I have forgotten more than 90% of people will ever learn. I don’t go by all those academic ideas and graphs, they are important but if you get too involved in the academic stuff you lose touch of reality and forget to use good sense.

      I don’t disagree with you’re statement. but, remember the special interests driving much of our economic policy don’t go by any specific theory either, they just know what’s best for them and that’s the root of the problem not the economic model.

      Yes I sometimes miscalculate and have to rethink and retract. Especially when writing a response in the few minutes between patients. Regardless, I know macroeconomics pretty well and although I am probably not among the top 1% (probably not even top 10%) in pure intelligence, I do believe I am among top 1-5% when it comes to having good common sense and thinking outside the box and looking at problems and issues in different ways and that goes a long way I think.

      You must be thinking this guy really thinks highly of himself. Yeah I do sound pretty self absorbed. But, I really do believe I am correct and not just delusional.

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