Blog Entries: 14

## Revolutions and Prosperity

or

Do we need revolutions for prosperity?

or

Is revolutions one of the factors that determine prosperity?

defn
Revolutions : Overthrowing the governments
Prosperity : Good living standards e.g. literacy and life expectancy.

Scope:
Only last 500 years

I have been thinking of this question for more than a month. I am still not confident about what is the right question to ask and how we can answer the right question.

It might also be a good idea if we limit ourselves to last 500 years so we do not consider anything that happened before that. Otherwise, countries have come up and down through out the history so it might be meaningless to look at last thousand years to answer this question.

I thought about going back and finding all revolutions that happened in the past and finding if revolutions brought better living standards and comparing it to possibility if the revolution did not occur. Other way will be comparing two similar countries: one that overthrew its government and one that did not.

Please refrain from unsubstantiated personal opinions or propaganda.

Unfortunately, currently I do not have sufficient time to study this myself so I thought I would put here.
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 I think you can state categorically that every communist revolution in the 20th century resulted in a lower overall standard of living, if only for the ubiquity of large famines the issue would hinge on the existing institutions (legal system, property rights, civil discourse etc) and whether they were preserved or not. The US had the common law system to fall back on and the UK which they revolted against was the among the most liberal political systems in existence during that time, so things really did not change that much. In contrast, Spanish colonialism was much more brutal and repressive and there were not stable civil institutions for Latin America to fall back on. Egypt has better institutions than Libya where Quadafi ran a totalitarian regime - which bodes better for Egypt

 Quote by rootX Do revolutions lead to prosperity?
Generally speaking, violent revolution does not end well.

http://www.newsweek.com/2011/02/27/u...volutions.html

Mentor

## Revolutions and Prosperity

Is the question even relevant? The question implies to me that revolutions are about an attempt to increase prosperity. What if they have nothing to do with prosperity - is it a relevant question?

In fairness to the OP, I think in political science economic hardship is considered a sufficient condition for revolution. Whatever the ostensible motivations, generally, poor people rebel and wealthy people don't.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anatomy_of_Revolution

 Brinton summarizes the revolutionary process as moving from "financial breakdown, [to] organization of the discontented to remedy this breakdown ... revolutionary demands on the part of these organized discontented, demands which if granted would mean the virtual abdication of those governing, attempted use of force by the government, its failure, and the attainment of power by the revolutionists. These revolutionists have hitherto been acting as an organized and nearly unanimous group, but with the attainment of power it is clear that they are not united. The group which dominates these first stages we call the moderates .... power passes by violent ... methods from Right to Left."
I read the question as, "do they make those poor people any better off?" The answer is, usually not.

 According to Brinton, while "we must not expect our revolutions to be identical" (p. 226), three of the four (the English, French and Russian) began "in hope and moderation", reached "a crisis in a reign of terror," and ended "in something like dictatorship - Cromwell, Bonaparte, Stalin". The exception is the American Revolution, which "does not quite follow this pattern". (p. 24)
 Is it possible that Entitlement programs (expanded in the 1960's) in the US have given a false sense of prosperity to millions of beneficiaries?

 Quote by russ_watters Is the question even relevant? The question implies to me that revolutions are about an attempt to increase prosperity. What if they have nothing to do with prosperity - is it a relevant question?
The Egyptians seemed to think so.

 Quote by WhoWee Is it possible that Entitlement programs (expanded in the 1960's) in the US have given a false sense of prosperity to millions of beneficiaries?
I wouldn't confuse a safety net with prosperity.

 Quote by nismaratwork I wouldn't confuse a safety net with prosperity.
Unemployment is a safety net - lifelong participation in food, housing and medical is not (IMO).

 Quote by WhoWee Unemployment is a safety net - lifelong participation in food, housing and medical is not (IMO).
It sure as hell isn't anything a reasonable person would call prosperity either. I'm not arguing against abuses in these systems; they are MEANT to be safety nets.

 Quote by nismaratwork It sure as hell isn't anything a reasonable person would call prosperity either. I'm not arguing against abuses in these systems; they are MEANT to be safety nets.
Let's think about that a minute. In the 1960's, the expansion of welfare was a dream come true to many - now - it seems it isn't good enough "to a reasonable person"??? My turn to laugh (sorry).

 Quote by WhoWee Let's think about that a minute. In the 1960's, the expansion of welfare was a dream come true to many - now - it seems it isn't good enough "to a reasonable person"??? My turn to laugh (sorry).
Not what I said: it isn't "PROSPERITY."

edit:
 Quote by Wikipedia Prosperity is the state of flourishing, thriving, success, or good fortune. [1] Prosperity often encompasses wealth but also includes others factors which are independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health.
 Quote by Princeton •an economic state of growth with rising profits and full employment •the condition of prospering; having good fortune
Welfare is not that, unless you're engaged in MASSIVE fraud.

 Quote by nismaratwork Not what I said: it isn't "PROSPERITY." edit: Welfare is not that, unless you're engaged in MASSIVE fraud.
If you recall, this started when I said "Is it possible that Entitlement programs (expanded in the 1960's) in the US have given a false sense of prosperity to millions of beneficiaries?" my bold

 Quote by WhoWee If you recall, this started when I said "Is it possible that Entitlement programs (expanded in the 1960's) in the US have given a false sense of prosperity to millions of beneficiaries?" my bold
...I don't see how the dole queue gives a false sense of Prosperity unless the word is to be butchered.
 If a family receives $500 per month in food,$400 in rent subsidy, $1,500 in medical,$100 in transportation, $300 in utility subsidy, and$900 SSDI - total $3,700 per month =$44,000 per year PLUS EIC (if someone worked a few hour - maybe $1,000 per year?) of perhaps$5,000= $50,000 gross @ 20 years equals$1,000,000 - isn't it like winning the lottery?

 Quote by WhoWee If a family receives $500 per month in food,$400 in rent subsidy, $1,500 in medical,$100 in transportation, $300 in utility subsidy, and$900 SSDI - total $3,700 per month =$44,000 per year PLUS EIC (if someone worked a few hour - maybe $1,000 per year?) of perhaps$5,000= $50,000 gross @ 20 years equals$1,000,000 - isn't it like winning the lottery?
1 million USD for a family over 20 years, at the most? No, and I'm not arguing for or against it, but no matter how you flip it, that's still not prosperity.

 Quote by nismaratwork 1 million USD for a family over 20 years, at the most? No, and I'm not arguing for or against it, but no matter how you flip it, that's still not prosperity.
I said "false sense of prosperity" - IMO - the nation is starting to wake up and pay attention. Again IMO, if there's a "revolution" this time - it's going to be by the taxpayers and non-union people who are tired of hearing how bad unions and people on welfare have it - and aren't buying the line that only the "rich" people need to pay - again IMO.