Thursday, March 27, 2008

Are we in a Pre-Colonial Situation?

I did a lot of my academic work studying colonialism. In most colonies there was a "pre-colonial" period, in which forces external and internal reshaped society in way that lead to becoming controlled -- both economically and politically -- by an external western power. And in such a way that the colonial power could exert the control with an amazingly small number of its own people.

The key was the creation of a "mediating elite." These were folks who even while local manufacturing was being destroyed by factories in Manchester were making bundles and improving their economic and social positions by selling those products in the local markets. You could see them as economic traitors or of as free marketers. They often seamlessly became the local collaborators with the positions in the colonial administrations once the economic domination was supplemented with political control.

There just seems to be a parallel between this piece of history and people like Sam Walton and becoming rich with Walmart's role in replacing American manufacturing with made in China. There also is a deeper connection with many of the policies of the last eight years that I will explore in later posts.