Wednesday, September 19, 2007
My friend Eddie (of Hidden Unities) sent me "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, by Nathan Nunn (pdf download). In the paper Nunn finds a correlation between a region's loss of slaves in the Atlantic Ocean, Sahara Desert, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean slave trades and present levels of misery.
Certainly one explanation is that Africa's misery is the result of the slave trade. Indeed, that conclusion is the title of Nunn's paper. Another is that regions that are so capital-starved and economically-screwy that they export a substantial fraction of their work force probably will remain capital-starved and economically-screwy.
Whatever the course -- slavery, anti-state guerrillaism, or just low general intelligence, the moral of the story is the hard part of shrinking the Gap is ahead of us. Building up a Military-Industrial-Complex and waiting seems to have been enough to globalize eastern Europe and eastern Asia,
However, when it comes to the hard part of globalization -- hookin up the Muslim world and especailly Africa -- are record is not so good. The world lost the highest-functioning indigienous Systems Administration forces it had in those areas -- French Algeria and South Africa -- while the Empires of Japan, France, and Britain - which did so much good for so many -- were disolved in the wake of World War II.
This is why building a Sysadmin Industrial Complex, as we are currently doing in the United States, is so vital. It's not fair that merely leaving the deepest parts of the Gap alone will actually help end misery. We need to do more. A Sysadmin Industrial Complex of the military, Congress, and private contractors -- resting on and supported by the people -- is the only institutional way to move shrinking the gap beyond politics and to results.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Barnett, T.P.M. (2007). I was -- quite literally -- a night deposit at the FDIC. Thomas P.M. Barnet :: Weblog. September 7, 2007. Available online: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2007/09/i_wasquite_literallya_night_de.html.
From Tom's blog:
I am the first to quasi-testify to the panel. We meet in a HASC room with me at the center of the U (open end) and the seven of them surrounding me. Cooper asks me to start off and I do an impromptu summary of both books and my thinking in general, highlighting on the SysAdmin-Leviathan split, AFRICOM, and the Dept of Everything Else. Asked for some focal points on incremental change, I cite: 1) Africom’s stand-up, 2) the possible creation of a civilian reserves corps, 3) the rise of the SysAdmin industrial complex through the lens of Lock-Mart’s acquisition of PA&E (I use Dan Abbott’s concept a lot in discussions with people), and the likely suggestion of the HELP Commission (where I testified a long while back) regarding the splitting off of USAID from State (fingers crossed!).
It's an honor!
(And "Sysadmin Industrial Complex" rolls off the tongue easier than "Military Industrial Complex "anyway!)
Monday, September 03, 2007
Robb, J. (2007). Unleashing the dogs of war. Global Guerrillas. September 2, 2007. Available online: http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2007/09/unleashing-the-.html (from ZenPundit).
John Robb has an excellent piece on the Sysadmin-Industrial-Complex, the institutional support needed to expand and defend globalization against terrorism, socialism, and stupidity:
If you think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will end with this US presidency, think again. These wars will likely outlast the next several Presidents. The old Vietnam era formulas don't apply anymore. The reason is that the moral weaknesses that have traditionally limited the state's ability to fight long guerrilla wars have dissipated, and modern states may now have the ability and the desire to wage this type of war indefinitely. Here's what changed:...
[T]he military and its civilian leadership still don't have the ability to garner wide domestic support for guerrilla wars beyond the initial phases. However, they do have the ability to maintain support within a small but vocal base...
The current degree of corporate participation in warfare makes the old "military industrial complex" look tame in comparison.
If this Long War really came down to a "war of ideas," we would lose. Fortunately, it won't. However, it's still useful and helpful to have a "small but vocal base" to distract and wear down opponents as the broader structure of the Military-Industrial-Sysadmin-Complex fights on.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Stephen DeAngelis, CEO of Enterra Solutions, says that the government should expand the safety net for contractors in Iraq. I agree completely. Besides being the morally right thing to do, such an expansion would strengthen the sysadmin-industrial complex, that iron triangle of contractors, congress, and government workers needed to keep shrinking the gap.
Outside the Beltway isn't so happy with the scheme. OTB's argument is just as honorable as those who argued we should not care for Vietnam veterans, because they opposed that war. Opponents of shrinking the gap naturally oppose real care for veterans (public-service or private-service), because they correctly recognize that care institutionally supports the broader mission. (Read the comments at Outside the Beltway for less polite formulations of the anti-veteran line.)