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Old 12-14-2011, 05:08 AM
Florian Florian is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,118
Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
Except that I don't see the purpose of comparing GDP in 2011 when we're discussing systems. The GDP of France is $34,000 per capita, but the GDP of Spain is $30,000 per capita, and the GDP of Italy is $29,000 per capita. "Not that big a difference". It would be crazy for anyone to suggest that the "Italian model" or the Spanish one were functional and interchangeable with the French or British model. Instead, welcome to the deforming influence of the Euro. While France will not be as bad off as the Italians or Spanish in its aftermath, if Florian is old enough he might remember a distinct difference in living standards between 1992, say, and 2011 in France.

I am old enough to remember and older than you. And I have no idea what you mean by that last sentence. Living standards are as difficult to measure as GDP (you might want to read the piece by Stiglitz). They are also culture-bound and subjective. I have lived in the US, France, Italy, and Britain at various times in my life. As far as I am concerned the standard of living of France is superior to that of the US and Britain, even if the median income of Americans is higher than the median income of the French. Is the standard of living better or worse in 2011 than in 1992? What does that mean?

The GDP of France in 1938 was about $40 billion. The GDP of Germany at the same time was $80 billion. The GDP of Britain was $57 billion. If you're curious, the Spanish were at $9 billion and the Italians were at $23 billion. With variations between Germany and Britain at the lead, that is the usual arrangement of European economic power. France a distant third.
So what? In 1938, the GDP of Germany was largely a function of the revved-up German war machine and greater population. The population of Germany in 1938, if you include the annexation of Austria and the Sudentenland, was almost 80 million compared to 40 million French. But even if you leave out Germany's "acquisitions," it still had a population of 60 million.

This thread began as a discussion of the development of capitalism, and the relationship between capitalism and free trade. You, as usual, have digressed and diverted it for some reason known only to yourself to a comparison of GDPs---which is not relevant to your original claim, namely that free trade is the essence of capitalism, unless you can establish that differences in GDPs are caused solely by whether or not a country exercises protectionism (as I pointed out, all countries have used protectionism at various times).* Historians, sociologists, philosophers have been discussing the subject of capitalism and its "causes" for two centuries, its material and "spiritual" foundations. Why don't you make an effort to acquaint yourself with the discussion? It is considerably more interesting than comparisons between the GDPs of different countries.

*Since GDP measures and aggregates all goods and services, it is not even a measure of capitalist productivity, unless you consider teenagers cutting grass, doctors treating patients, policemen arresting criminals, soldiers blowing up ordinance, etc. etc. as examples of capitalist productivity.

Last edited by Florian; 12-14-2011 at 07:23 AM..
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