Rich countries are the Predators and Poor countries are the Prey, Do you agree?

Use this forum to discuss the December 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, A Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir by Dr.Ghoulem Berrah
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Sy Borg
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Re: Rich countries are the Predators and Poor countries are the Prey, Do you agree?

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Good_Egg wrote: February 12th, 2022, 4:28 am
Sy Borg wrote: February 11th, 2022, 7:18 pm The Taliban is akin to a small, tough predator that ruthlessly preys on whatever it can dominate but does not much spread out, like a honey badger. Even apex predators can hesitate in the face of honey badger ferocity. It should be said that Afghanis are not thriving, so it's clear that the Taliban, being focused only on the welfare of the ruling posse, will prove to be a less effective ideology than those that aim to improve the welfare of people rather than just dominate them.
Seems to me that the fallacy we need to avoid here is identifying the success of the group with the success of the individuals that comprise the group.

Suppose you ask people "if you could be any sort of animal, what sort of animal would you be ?" I'd bet that most of the animals people choose would be apex predators. Eagles and lions fit our notions of an attractive life for an individual.

But few biologists think that only apex predators are successful species. A successful species is one that survives a long time. Through factors such as adaptability to changing circumstances and the ability to fill a particular ecological niche better than potential rivals.

Species survival may involve high birth rates and high death rates, which may not be all that comfortable for the individuals involved.

What do we mean by success for nations and cultures? Is Poland a successful nation ? Do you answer that by GDP - a measure of whether Polish individuals live a materially comfortable life ? Or by whether Poland has been on the giving or receiving end of armed force by other nations ?

Does the analogy hold, or break down at this point ?
Fair points. All analogies have limits and you are right to point out that colonialism etc creates a distorting lens. I also agree that predation is just one of a range of successful survival strategies. And yes, having high birth and death rates can be a successful strategy, eg. cephalopods.

If we are to determine what is the difference between a "successful" nation and one that is doing poorly, analogies won't help because the differences can be subtle, eg. Who is the most successful culture - Poland, Hungary or Romania?

Still, we can at least distinguish between the most competitive and most uncompetitive societies. Ultimately, any culture that fails to utilise the potential half of its people will be at a disadvantage against cultures that educate and utilise the minds of women.

Historical attachments can also act a drag on societal strategies. A strategy may have been effective for centuries in the past, but is ineffective today. Consider how Japan and Germany became industrial powerhouses after WWII destroyed their old capital works, replacing them with state-of-the-art infrastructure. Likewise, we see latency in action with climate change; coal was essential to modernisation but has become problematic. Likewise, a culture's refusal to move on from old successful approaches, eg. subjugation of women, tribal affiliations can stymie their ability to compete with newer cultures.
Ecurb
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Re: Rich countries are the Predators and Poor countries are the Prey, Do you agree?

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Sy Borg wrote: February 12th, 2022, 8:06 pm Who is the most successful culture - Poland, Hungary or Romania?

Hungary produced the magnificent Magyars of the 1950s, who lost in the 1952 World Cup final to underdog Germany. Puskas and Kocsis, the teams leaders, escaped the 1956 Hungarian revolution, and became world superstars at Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.

Poland did reach the 1972 World Cup semi final, and perhaps the best stiker in the world today is Robert Lewandowski, but they finished second.

Hagi and a quarterfinal appearance in the 1994 World Cup leave Romania a distant third.

The answer is clear!
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Re: Rich countries are the Predators and Poor countries are the Prey, Do you agree?

Post by GE Morton »

Sy Borg wrote: February 12th, 2022, 8:06 pm
Historical attachments can also act a drag on societal strategies. A strategy may have been effective for centuries in the past, but is ineffective today. Consider how Japan and Germany became industrial powerhouses after WWII destroyed their old capital works, replacing them with state-of-the-art infrastructure.
Japan and Germany were industrial powerhouses before WWII. Had they not been they would not have been capable of waging a war it took the Allies 6 years to win.
Likewise, we see latency in action with climate change; coal was essential to modernisation but has become problematic. Likewise, a culture's refusal to move on from old successful approaches, eg. subjugation of women, tribal affiliations can stymie their ability to compete with newer cultures.
Not to mention adherence to archaic religious dogmas.

Your post, though, suggests a question: Is assuring the success/future of the species a moral obligation? I.e., if enough people in a society, or even globally, decline to have children, or more children, because it would interfere with their preferred lifestyles, resulting in negative population growth (and thus eventual extinction of the species), do they have some moral obligation to "be fruitful and multiply"?
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Sy Borg
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Re: Rich countries are the Predators and Poor countries are the Prey, Do you agree?

Post by Sy Borg »

Ecurb, I hear that Romania has a better jazz scene :)
GE Morton wrote: February 12th, 2022, 10:11 pmIs assuring the success/future of the species a moral obligation? I.e., if enough people in a society, or even globally, decline to have children, or more children, because it would interfere with their preferred lifestyles, resulting in negative population growth (and thus eventual extinction of the species), do they have some moral obligation to "be fruitful and multiply"?
Humanity's control over itself is severely limited by historical enmities between and within nations, and by inevitably powerful commercial interests. Deep ideological differences and varying capacity to comprehend complexity do not help.

In short, whatever is going to happen with population, consumption and environmental breakdown is going to happen. Political and commercial choices will only determine how fast things happen and how hard we will land when the upcoming breakdowns and state changes bite more deeply.

At this stage, China is hell bent on becoming the strongest nation, with over sixty percent of their electricity generated by coal. Apologists point out that the west created the climate change problem and now China is just catching up. Each side makes a fair point, leading us to exactly the kind of wicked problem that dooms attempts to slow and reduce the harshness of change. Likewise, the shareholders of fossil fuel stocks logically expect that the management will make decisions that improve the share price, not save the world. So those companies lobby governments to minimise climate change action.

This current period - the calm before the upcoming storm - may prove critical in establishing which cultures will remain unconsumed after "Armageddon". The next couple of decades look to be the last opportunity for straggler nations to catch up.
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Re: Rich countries are the Predators and Poor countries are the Prey, Do you agree?

Post by LuckyR »

GE Morton wrote: February 12th, 2022, 10:11 pm
Sy Borg wrote: February 12th, 2022, 8:06 pm
Historical attachments can also act a drag on societal strategies. A strategy may have been effective for centuries in the past, but is ineffective today. Consider how Japan and Germany became industrial powerhouses after WWII destroyed their old capital works, replacing them with state-of-the-art infrastructure.
Japan and Germany were industrial powerhouses before WWII. Had they not been they would not have been capable of waging a war it took the Allies 6 years to win.
Likewise, we see latency in action with climate change; coal was essential to modernisation but has become problematic. Likewise, a culture's refusal to move on from old successful approaches, eg. subjugation of women, tribal affiliations can stymie their ability to compete with newer cultures.
Not to mention adherence to archaic religious dogmas.

Your post, though, suggests a question: Is assuring the success/future of the species a moral obligation? I.e., if enough people in a society, or even globally, decline to have children, or more children, because it would interfere with their preferred lifestyles, resulting in negative population growth (and thus eventual extinction of the species), do they have some moral obligation to "be fruitful and multiply"?
I don't think so. If the human species started having a negative population growth today (which it does not globally), the species would pass through a prolonged period of better times long before extinction. In addition, as health care advances continue, future lifetimes may re-reverse the negative growth back to positive.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Rich countries are the Predators and Poor countries are the Prey, Do you agree?

Post by Good_Egg »

Ecurb wrote: February 12th, 2022, 9:49 pm Hungary produced the magnificent Magyars of the 1950s, who lost in the 1952 World Cup final to underdog Germany. Puskas and Kocsis, the teams leaders, escaped the 1956 Hungarian revolution, and became world superstars at Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.
Ah, so Spain is a predator ?
"For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" - James 1:20
Ecurb
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Re: Rich countries are the Predators and Poor countries are the Prey, Do you agree?

Post by Ecurb »

Good_Egg wrote: February 14th, 2022, 4:19 am

Ah, so Spain is a predator ?
Well, perhaps Russia was the predator in 1956, and Puskas and Kocsis were the pronking springboks. Their pronking was so spectacular that the Russian Bear looked elsewhere for prey.

Cortez and Pizarro showed predatory tendancies, of course.
Good_Egg
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Re: Rich countries are the Predators and Poor countries are the Prey, Do you agree?

Post by Good_Egg »

Ecurb wrote: February 14th, 2022, 12:15 pm Well, perhaps Russia was the predator in 1956...
What's changed ?

Seems to me that if every act of military aggression counts as predation then it's endemic to the human species.

Basically, we aren't herbivores.

Rich and poor has nothing to do with it. Strong and weak is what matters.

Some of us aspire to something better. But that idea hasn't triumphed yet.

And then we're tempted to use military force to impose that something better on others ...
"For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" - James 1:20
Belindi
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Re: Rich countries are the Predators and Poor countries are the Prey, Do you agree?

Post by Belindi »

Good_Egg wrote: February 16th, 2022, 3:38 am
Ecurb wrote: February 14th, 2022, 12:15 pm Well, perhaps Russia was the predator in 1956...
What's changed ?

Seems to me that if every act of military aggression counts as predation then it's endemic to the human species.

Basically, we aren't herbivores.

Rich and poor has nothing to do with it. Strong and weak is what matters.

Some of us aspire to something better. But that idea hasn't triumphed yet.

And then we're tempted to use military force to impose that something better on others ...
True about strong and weak but aspiring to something better is still on the table. Note how Biden and Co are still using diplomacy and threat of economic sanctions.Note also the successes of the UN. Note how religions are generally become more reasonable and aimed at peace.
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