Germany goes anti-nuclear

The fact that Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel, a former physicist, follows the sentiments of the German people of dislike for nuclear energy must be considered an interesting development.

Germany gets 25% of its electricity from nuclear power and if they perform a change like the proposed one it must be possible. I have earlier advocated for the center-right parties in Sweden to take initiative from the Green party on energy which is exactly what Merkel is doing in Germany. This is probably more important than my earlier support for nuclear power as an alternative for Sweden because it might prevent new left of center coalitions to form.

If the technically highly proficient Japanese ran into such problems with Fukushima this has to be taken seriously. Three Mile Island 1979, Chernobyl 1986 and now Fukushima is beginning to be too much. This demonstrates that the technology is too unsafe together with the problem of storage of spent nuclear fuel. Furthermore, the technology seems to be problematic to keep up and running with resulting power shortages in Sweden lately during the winter time.

The decision of Merkel's government is going to keep the pressure up on Germany's green technology industry and stimulate to even more serious research in the field. This will probably be good also for Swedish initiatives. I regard Merkel's initiative as a liberal conservative step forward in time. I have earlier asked the question if politicians with science background are path-finders and the politicians of the future. By following the sentiments of the public and rating various security risks, I think Angela Merkel is doing the right thing. The initiative is probably going to cost some carbon dioxide but this is in all probablity a lesser problem.



Something is unsustainable in the West as this word is being used more and more. However, Sweden is currently having a growth of 6,4% during the first quarter 2011 with some of the highest taxes on Earth. It should be mentioned that the OECD ranking of GDP growth in Sweden is going to fall during the upcoming years.

The health care spending in the US is twice as expensive per capita as the one in Sweden and some say that it is on the average not of the same quality, even if the US has the sharpest health care in the world. The Republican Congress is presently not raising the debt ceiling of the nation. Some say that instead of pondering the size of the ceiling they should balance the budget. There seems to be a general consensus that expenditures rather than revenue, or taxes, should be considered.

Perhaps it is a little frustrating that the Nordic way does not ring any bells at all in the US. What is perhaps of great interest is why this is so. I have not calculated on this but my gut feeling is that is would not be possible to lower costs and fund a balancing of the US budget. Taxes have to be raised.

So we are talking about cultural differences where Sweden seems to be a posh suburb of the US and that a comparison straight off country by country is not really possible. A surplus country like Sweden also fared better during the financial crisis that highly leveraged deficit countries like the US and the UK.

It would be interesting to know whether the US or Sweden scores best on innovation per capita? I don't have that comparison but if Sweden was to score better there should be an argument for the US following Sweden's lead. However, if the US scores better Sweden have to ask themselves if contributing to the top class innovation of the world is not more important that living poshly. Is living standard more important than contribution to progress?


It's different this time--but analogous?

Niall Ferguson, the Harvard historian, has said that the four most dangerous words are "it's different this time".  Gideon Rachman, chief foreign correspondent at the Financial Times, writes in his column today that some people say world wars are "blips" in the progress of humanity in science and technology. He thinks there will be more blips on the way.

Could it be that such a blip just passed with the financial crisis of 2008, which by the way is still ongoing, and that this was analogous with World War I and that we are unhappily awaiting a second major economical war. It's different this time--but analogous. Conventional wars are history and the chief military officer of the US becomes the leader of the CIA. The fight has become intelligence-driven.

The world, and especially Asia, seems to have engaged in a major tussle half a generation down the line where education and IQ is promoted in a fashion that martial arts where promoted in Japan prior to World War II. Asia has seriously "downloaded" the science and technology app and is going to show the world which system or culture that promotes this lore most efficiently.

The West is taking a beating and its neighbors are trying to break free in the Arab Spring. The reaction of the West is to tailor make a response that is ideologically corrupt and that they hope will improve the relation that is unfolding. Rachman called it at one point "the last hurrah of the West" which it is, as long as people are trying to tell the Arabs what to do instead of just helping out.

But there is reason to the blip-theory. We have advanced since the 16th century despite all wars in a breath-taking speed. However, few people inhabit both the science technology domain and the political ditto and this can make politicians think scientists are cynical not worrying about the negatives of technology. Wars are fought over differences of value systems and the dominating value systems are economy-linked today. Is it the most efficient economy or the most humane that is going to win.

An interesting scientist turned politician is Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. Is she the politician of the future? She has recently been very cautious about nuclear power after the Fukushima catastrophe and she listens carefully to the public opinion. In a present educational war to empower the peoples of the nations such a leader might be optimal. And Germany is doing rather well economically as well. Margaret Thatcher was also a scientist turned politician via a lawyer's degree.

The question is, however, if Francis Bacon's old maxim "knowledge is power" is benefitting science and technology today sending the world out in a power and money innovation-driven quest. The risk is that politicians lose the average guy somewhere along the way. Care has to be taken to making innovation both in economy and science interesting also for the common man. Should it be linked to nationalism and dressed up like team sport? Sport serves the world well right now as a safety valve for exuberant emotions in the physical domain. Perhaps we need something similar for the spiritual domain.


Gap between the rich and the poor is increasing everywhere--a Noah's Ark phenomenon?

Now, what can this phenomenon depend on? In Sweden there is only 25% of the people that want to join NATO but a large parliamentary majority for the Libya and Afghanistan operations. The elites think differently than the people. The same thing seems to be happening in Germany, except for Libya, but for Greece and Portugal.

This is Sweden where the gap is supposed to be unusually low. In an election in Spain people want what they call real democracy. They want the people to be a resource.

In the world at large we find to lanes. One where the people is a resource and the other where government is afraid of the people that has to be controlled. Ian Bremmer discusses this phenomenon by means of what he calls the J-curve. You can move from one state to the other via a minimum. But how do you peacefully move from an order where government fear the people to where they think the people is a resource? Did this ever happen in modern times, actually? Probably not if you talk about countries like the UK and China. There was a democracy wave but I have my doubts on how serious the democracy is in these cases because people might just be controlled in this new way that nobody talks about.

There has been hope, and still is in some quarters, that the two lanes will merge and liberal democracies all over the world will live peacefully ever after. However, recently many voices have appeared that say we are in for a Zero-Sum game and conflict. One large potential trouble is the competition for resources. India and China say the Earth cannot support us if we consume like the West. The West probably sends this moral back by humbly asking if they are not too many already.

Science did help us in one very important aspect. Contraceptives. It has been estimated that the world population will peak at 9bn around 2050. This is a very positive thing. After that, we can manage. However, one question that pops up is if the increasing gap between the rich and the poor is a Noah's Ark phenomenon? If it is, it will be very hard to counteract.

CIA is becoming a four letter word in Sweden again?

I read today in Svenska Dagbladet, the center-right top Swedish daily, a sour article about two CIA operatives that had been caught spying on terrorists by SÄPO, the Swedish secret police, without coordination with the latter organization.

There are two ways of dealing with this information. You can feel passed by and offended or you can ask yourself why the US might have done this. If you like I do, think that the security of the United States is good for the security of Sweden and that the CIA is a force for good, you think that there might be a reason for why CIA did not coordinate with SÄPO or "Secret Service", and then I assume that SÄPO knows what "secret service" is doing.

The obvious question then is whether or not there are leaks that would tip off the prospective terrorists in the security organizations? As usual for Sweden, it is a matter of chosing sides or staying neutral.


Ask the average atheist

Atheist: There is no God. The supernatural does not exist.

Pantheist: Has the quest of science then come to an end or what is the unknown?

Atheist: The unknown is what we do not know yet. Wonderful things.

Pantheist: But how many wonderful things? Do you vision an end to what could be revealed?

Atheist: I believe not.

Pantheist: Very well then!


Early Modern Period

The way they thought was different during the Scientific Revolution, or Early Modern Period, ie 16th and 17th centuries. They looked for connections like why the sunflower follows the sun, or the tides follow the moon or the planets orbit the sun. The era ends with Newton's law of gravitation and Kepler's explanation of the tides. Lawrence M. Principe points this out in his book The Scientific Revolution: A very short introduction from 2011. He devotes a whole chapter on this topic in his brief history.

The majority of researchers, or natural philosophers, were Christians and they operated closer to the supernatural and metaphysics. There was more of a 'why' and not so much only 'how' in their work. I have suggested that we should fuse science and religion to enter the materialistic domain and search for the unknown, thus asking why and how. The majority of people need faith according to Psychology of Religion. Perhaps they could do with the unknown rather than the supernatural? Is this to propose returning to old ways rather than breaking new ground? How important was the supernatural connection for the operation of the natural philosopher? Can it be totally replaced with that of the unknown?

The specialization that has taken place in science over the years has been very successful. But it has made people lose the overview or the holistic aspect of science. Philosophers say that philosophy is disappearing because they cannot keep track of what is going on in science. Cognitive science has started to give answers to old philosophical questions and philosophy into history of philosophy. One way of alleviating the lack of overview is that researchers switch careers and do philosophy in the end of their time to work up an overview over a larger field. The time in a researcher's career is most creative early on anyhow.

Today it is possible to monitor people's thoughts and to steer thoughts. Would it be possible to invent new ways of thinking that could improve reasoning? One way of reasoning might be good at one point in time but inefficient in another. Or is the undisturbed natural way of thinking the best. How homogenous is it?  It will of course be possible to investigate how successful scientists and philosophers think to get ideas on how to optimize thinking and perhaps to get more people thinking better.

People did probably think in a way that was new during the Scientific Revolution and that was different from how they thought in China. Is there a new way of thinking that would lead us towards a second Scientific Revolution?


Our Posthuman Future?

Francis Fukuyama has pondered the consequences of biotechnology in his book from 2002 called Our Posthuman Future. Again it is kind of the end of something. The air of the book is skeptical. He sees problems where I see opportunity.

The progress in molecular biology continues to be record breaking. One way of improving our situation, that might still be a little science fictionesque, is to speed up evolution of positive traits. How would it be, for example, to start producing humans that lack aggression at the current levels. In my humble mind and with my experience this could actually be done today by neuropharmacology, which Fukuyama might be calling the technology that no one dares to talk about.

If you are a fan of Hegel, however, this might mean that we rob future men of the experiences that deepen their personalities. It would, as Fukuyama points out, be dangerous to remove too much of human nature without saving some of the old varieties.

Another development is Artificial Intelligence. Fukuyama is pessimistic on the birth of consciousness in computers. I also have a feeling that the water-based computation that the brain does might be necessary and unique but I would really like to see us reaching the "singularity", where it would be possible to download one's mind in a computer and continue living forever with a potentially sharper intellect and a tremendous memory. A shortcut in evolution. Human nature will change and a new species would be born. A political concern would be who should be in control. The new species or the old one.

It remains very interesting to speculate on what regular evolution would do with our intellects. What kind of human we would have in 1m years. It is 60,000 years since Homo sapiens left Africa the first time and most people do not think there is any significant genetic differences between now and then. The work they are doing in Germany on the Neanderthal DNA might shed some light on this. Is there an upper limit in the intelligence that is possible to create on the current platform? This would be interesting to know because perhaps the new man made evolution via computers would be the only way of significantly improving our position.

Stem cell research has great potential but is hampered by problems with so called innocent life. The use of embryos for research should in my opinion not be problematic. Due to the unfortunate atrocities of war, we have learned that mental retardation in children from mothers living through the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings happened between week 8 to 15. This should mean that the nervous system is assembled during this time and that no functioning brain which could give rise to human life, ie pain and sorrow, could be present earlier than this period. An embryo is just cells like those in your finger, which actually also has potential for life today via cloning. The Catholic Church actually has a dogma that stipulates that life begins with sperm/egg fusion which is problematic today anyhow because life can be produced via cloning bypassing the fusion of sperm and egg.

Despite a continuous rise of the GDP per capita in the West people have not become happier. Are we wasting GDP or is science benefitting from the improvement and can deliver solutions to the stagnation in experienced happiness? Fukuyama describes how we take drugs like Prozac to improve our life. Stability is a problem these days and it is interesting that Fukuyama predicted the Arab Spring in principle by stating that demographic research says we would have old women deciding in Europe with angry young men in the Middle East. It is problematic, of course, with a giant computer dispensing wellbeing to the masses of Europe to prevent people from demonstrating in the streets and to care less about hardship. The question is how tempting it would be in the name of Peace.


Weakly deterministic?

Francis Fukuyama's book The End of History and the Last Man is an interesting book. It constantly provokes the reader. However, I'm a little surprised that Fukuyama in 2006, when he writes the Afterword in the book, still believes in his weak determinism that the world is destined for liberal democracy only. I have said most of this earlier but this is a summary.

Despite that 2006 was the culmination of problems of starting democracy in Iraq, Fukuyama discusses this problem in the Afterword and speculates that the problem of separating state and religion might be a permanent problem for Muslims to endorse democracy. The development of the Muslim communities in Europe will probably cast light on this issue. Will Europe become a Eurabia that plays down democracy for authoritarianism and sharia?

However, the largest problem with the idea that liberal democracy will win out eventually is the success of China the last 30 years. They took ideas from West, worked hard and managed to come out on top. At least temporarily. They claim that once ideas are generated democracy is inefficient. If they are equally strong, authoritarianism and liberal democracy might start to oscillate and thus co-exist peacefully.

There is a problem though. If authoritarians buy a company they will affect the lifestyle of the employees more than if liberal democrats buy a company. This asymmetry will definitely cause problems. There was an article on wsj.com the other day that advocated for letting the Chinese buy companies in the US. The argument went that there are now 700,000 Americans working for Japanese companies in the US and this is working just fine. But then, the Japanese do play baseball. In Sweden the Volvo Cars experiment with Chinese ownership is ongoing with initial positive results.

The main philosophical argument used for the weak determinism for liberal democracy is that its driven by the need for recognition. I'm not sure why the strong determinism of Hegel and Marx are to be taken serious. In retrospect they are ridiculous and why spend time on ideas from thinkers that have proven ridiculous ideas? In my own experience philosophers often have a few gems and then a lot of crazy ideas, which could be such an argument.

It is a great difference between the Anglo-Saxon pursuit of happiness and the need for recognition. I was under the impression that the latter created two world wars and that the former saved the day. Ideas that fascinate the masses can be very dangerous when wrong. Fukuyama is in principle saying that a scientist is working for the recognition he might get rather than out of curiosity when the latter is probably more biologically correct. Money comes to you. So does fame. When a scientist is getting a crazy idea the possible effects on his life comes after the fact, obviously.

The reason for why liberal democracy is more universal would be that the majority of people like being free. However, with 1,3bn Chinese, 1,2bn Muslims and 1,1bn Catholics it is possible to start wondering if this really is true. Part of mankind prefer order and no responsibility. They are natural or cultural followers and thrive in hierarchical systems. Liberal democracy is more demanding. I believe liberal democracy is a higher developmental form and that future improvements will derive from it but perhaps not as a majority system.

A good question is if it is possible to figure out if an idea is wrong even if it is popular. Have Fukuyama's idea led to too much give-aways to China so that they have evolved too fast and therefore will become intoxicated of their own invincibility, which could be a risk. During Mao, 1949 to 1976, China bottomed out in relation to the GDP of the UK. Now they will match the US GDP in 2016. If people start thinking like this, we will probably see more protectionism. A few years ago it was not uncommon to hear that doing business with China will make them change their political system. I remember watching Swedish TV where a commune politician from Karlstad was going to China and changing them.


Obama is going to be active on the Israel-Palstinian issue again

Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post writes on her blog that Netanyahu and Obama are going to meet again in Washington and discuss the fact that Fatah and Hamas has supposedly fused and how this is going to result in demands on Israel to give up land in Jerusalem and the West bank. Prior to the meeting with Netanyahu, Obama will give a speech to the Muslims again where he praises the populist movements causing the Arab spring.

The Arab spring and the killing of Osama bin Laden have remade the situation around Israel. Amr Moussa, the prospective new president of Egypt, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish premier since 2003, have apparently said recently that Hamas does not do terror anymore. Hamas has killed more Israelis than Al-Qaeda has killed Americans, Glick says, and they still do not recognize Israel. It is also going to be interesting how Hamas' militia is going to fuse with Fatah's US-trained ditto. The Fatah militia was apparently so good there was at least a theoretical possibility that they could provide security for a Palestinian state. The unification sounds on scrutiny impossible at best.

But pressure is building on Israel not only from the US but also from the EU. However, what is going to happen in the Middle East depends a little on what exactly the Arab spring turns out to be. Egypt is apparently going to dump their peace agreement with Israel and the US want to endorse the Muslim Brotherhood. It is perhaps all and well that Obama is going to praise the Arab spring but from the reports I'm reading it is not clear whether or not the populist movements really are friendly towards the West. After all the movement were against Western supported dictators. We should also remind ourselves on the hostility shown towards Western journalists so far. Progress after the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia is also very slow.


Individualism vs community

Henry Kissinger has written a book that is coming out this week called On China. Kissinger had an article on wsj.com yesterday with excerpts from the book. He ends with a wish that Zhou Enlai's "this will shake the world", from 1971 when Nixon and Kissinger opened up China, will instead become the China and the West will build the world together.

Francis Fukuyama claims that individualism is doing the US a disfavor the last decades and that more of community is in need to better the economy. In this respect is should be remembered that Barack Obama was a so called community organizer early in his career. The first Pacific president. I'm beginning to sense the real reason for the polarization of the US. It might be individualism versus community. If the Republicans are for individualism, I'm definitely on their side. The Americans might have to take a charge on their GDP per capita but this is due to reorganizations in the world economy and not due to the underlying principle on how they work.

Individualism does not mean that people can't work in a group but it means that the individual perspective is protected to prevent the status quo. Some people like to say that "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" but I believe that it is better to have an attitude of always wanting to improve things. If you believe that we have not reached the end of history, and that we need to make new leaps of faith like the Scientific Revolution to further human evolution, the principle of individualism is paramount. Our next future is not going to depend on engineering but on new profound ways of looking at things. I firmly believe that individuals do this most effectively. What has been interesting to see is that great ideas often have come from outside of universities.

So what we seem to have now is a situation where China is going to suppress the West or the West is going to destabilize China. It is going to be interesting to see if building the world together is going to work. Let's hope so but it will in all  probability be due to a realization of the need to tolerate each other's ideas and values. Not on a merger.


Is there an end to history?

I'm obviously a little late to the discussion of Francis Fukuyama's book The End of History and the Last Man from 1992. I have seen numerous references to the book over the years and always wondered why he thought there is going to be an end to history. It seems non-biological. Why should evolution stop if you don't count man made catastrophes? The political development is also part of the evolution.

What happened since Fukuyama wrote this book is the ascent of China. It is therefore interesting to find in the above book that Fukuyama writes that market-oriented authoritarian countries should in theory perform better than democracies, when he obviously does not think China would count as such a country at the time and not later in the book Trust either.

I'm not sure I agree but one of the main themes of the book is the Hegelian quest for recognition which says that the Chinese will eventually demand democracy. It is more probable that we will see continuous cycles of empires as Fukuyama writes about in his recent book The Origins of Political Order.

Should we forget about democracy then? Probably not since freedom of thought and living quality might have important effects on the development of science. This is a yet unknown. Do we want to gamble? The last ten years there has been a lot of talk that China would reform due to the contact with the West but I'm beginning to feel that the reverse is taking place on the altar of the economy. My question then is: how stable is China?

Dick Erixon brought up the question the other day if democracy would be needed in the future. He rushed of to a debate but never commented on what he learned. Should the politician re-school themselves to "whack-a-moleians" Chinese style, without any right to political opinions, or should they instead try to inspire people to work towards some goals? There is this game on American fairs where you take a hammer and begin to hit moles as they appear in the holes. It is very hard to inspire without goals and technocratic goals are not particularly intresting for most people.


Swedish weapon export to dictatorships?

There seems to be a move towards blocking Swedish weapon export to dictatorships because the governing parties have a similar view as the social democrats. A while ago I commented on the path that Sweden was to take in positioning themselves internationally. The old peace path seems likely despite a short stint in Libya which the social democrats have been intent to stop.

The free world has weapon production for defending themselves which depends on proficiency in science. This production depends on the sale of certain weapons that are not the cutting edge and that you don't fear yourself. Without this sale your security bill is going to become much higher and the competitiveness of the industry is going to be weaker.

I see nothing wrong in selling arms to dictatorships. However, as I commented on earlier I have problems with partnerships with dictatorships. Blocking sale of weapons when other NATO allies are doing this is an unfortunate moralizing event.


Money Comes to You

A few days ago I stated that the US and China seem too preoccupied with the "economy, stupid" for being in the mood for creating great science and that Europe with their more laid back style might be in this position instead. Here in Sweden government is singing their mantra about creating jobs.

With the risk of being blamed to be non-competitive, I want to say that what I rather meant was that "Money Comes to You" as the saying goes.

I thought about this when our president in the EU said that Europe is a great place to live in, and I say this again, that it would be a great pity if the best place to live does not produce the best results being the place where the ideas and creativity of people find the most fertile soil.

Nietzsche is supposed to have claimed, I don't like him by the way, that the equivalence of the European welfare state means that a slave mentality has arrived and that no one wants to achieve anything anymore. I guess what we have to prove here in Europe is that Nietzsche was wrong.


Europe Day or Schuman Day

Carin Jämtin, the social democratic press secretary, wanted to have a Muslim holiday in Sweden the other day. She apparently changed her mind. Perhaps she realized that a holiday for the peace of Europe would be more appropriate. Wolfgang Münchau at the Financial Times claimed on Sunday that Europe has a political crisis, not a debt crisis. You need a political union for having a financial union. Today Herman van Rumpuy has a column in the Svenska Dagbladet, one of Sweden's top dailies.

When I started out reading up on the EU project a few years ago I began idealistically with the idea of a United States of Europe with English as a common second language with TV channels and everything. As the years went by I realized, however, that this seems to be unrealistic even if top information recently claimed that its going to be ever closer union or large problems.

Having economics as the measure rod comparative history nowadays stratifies Europe in a way that complicates the concept of an ever closer union. Many don't want to bail out economies that do not perform. If you want an ever closer union it is not possible to have the economy as the value measurement. The political crisis Münchau is talking about is depending on this problem: what is important? In a union where defense is not important you wonder why the economy would be. The economy is today's defense, perhaps. Van Rompuy, however, states that Europe is the best place to live. Not the most progressive. It is strange that this would not mean the same thing. The same man is pessimistic on European innovation, though.

A holiday for the peace in Europe would be a good thing, however. I would not celebrate a Muslim holiday if it would be instated. Judeo-Christianism is more than a religion for me. It formed the basis for Western Civilization. Therefore our present holidays should be safe.


The War against the Modern Society

No, it is not Osama bin Laden I think of but the Pope, Benedictus XVI. The British-German blogger Alan Posener has written a book called Påvens Korståg from 2011, or the 'crusade of the pope'. He attacks the Pope's anti-relativism. According to Posener the Pope rather think we should return to before the French Revolution.

The book contains a chapter concerning the Pope and natural science. Rodney Stark's book For the glory of God from 2003 claims that science is derived from theology. Stark seemed to have a rather pro-Catholic attitude. Reading between the lines of Posener's book I get the feeling that the Pope might have ideas like--science is a temporary phenomenon that will go away. The Church will be on top again.

It is clear that we have a battle of who's on top--religion or science. I have earlier stated that I also think that science, elucidating the unknown, is derived from elucidating God or the super natural. However, Faith in God is not a problem but Catholic faith carries a lot of dead weight such as prohibition of condom use and anti-homosexual ideas despite the fact that 20% of Catholic priests are homosexual, according to Posener.

Science today claims that morals stem both from genetics and from reason. Therefore there is a slow shift in morals over time varying in different cultures. Is this good or bad? The Pope says bad and that means we have a little over a billion people that are supposed to think the same. I think that such a drift is positive. It is part of a slow improvement of the human condition. Science, mind you, continuously offers guidance for improving things. Great care has to be taken, however, for not making the wrong conclusions. It is very hard to say that things could not be better.

That brings me to the topic of democracy. The wisdom of an educated populace is of paramount importance when it comes to the very frequent problems that experts can't judge. If the populace gets the blame for errors, there is stability. The Chairman Maos of the world rule by a Mandate from Heaven like past emperors. Confucius stated that the moral of the ruler should guide him to be benevolent towards the people. The Chinese, however, acknowledge that there were good and bad emperors and no one to blame but the top.

I have argued for fusing religion and science and I should perhaps say then that I have understood that many claim that religion and science occupy two non-overlapping domains. This is however some kind of truce. There are some people that are both priests and scientists that I have read. I could not get further than the truce if I did not remove the supernatural and replace it with the yet unknown. The reason science is taking over in the battle between religion and science is that science is developing and religion is rather stagnant. The God concept is developing. Animism, polytheism, monotheism, personal God versus impersonal God. I believe the next development is a non-personal materialistic pantheism. This means that a scientist/priest can also interest himself for why things are like they are and not just how things happen.


The First Modern Dictatorship

Reading The Origins of Political Order from 2011 by Francis Fukuyama. I'm not through the book yet but Fukuyama describes China in a fashion that makes it very easy to see what situation they are in today.

The first modern dictatorship in the world was apparently the Han dynasty, approximately 200 BC to 200 AD. This state was formed after a period of intense warfare which could have been the reason for why the Chinese decided to leave their kin-ships and accept the loss of freedom that a strong state meant. Since then there has not been any rule of law or accountability for the people in China. Today they are just operating such a state with modern technology. It has always been a lot of people relatively speaking in China, due to the rice that lets more people live on a given lot of land. The Chinese have learned how to manage large populations. Occasionally these empires breaks down, what Fukuyama calls patrimonialisation, ie the core family and extended family takes precedent again.

I have earlier written that I believe that the Chinese and those who they inspire are on a different track that does not lead towards democracy as we speak of it in Europe and the US. Fukuyama's book seems to confirm this suspicion. We therefore probably have to live with suspicious Russians and infamous Chinese to take over our car industry. If we don't drop it instead.

If I was doing research in ethics, I might wonder if it is possible to work in collaboration with the Chinese? If not corporate culture would be too different? It is one thing to buy things from the Chinese and to sell them our goods. However, it would all depend on where Sweden is heading. I haven't seen that poll but it would interest me to know what the Swedes believe is the future governing system on Earth. Europe, by the way, according to Fukuyama, developed socially before they developed politically which is unique and which contributed to our modern liberal democracy. We treasure rule of law and accountability.


General Petraeus did President Obama a favor

So he did it again! General Petraeus achieved what President Obama had promised during his presidential campaign. To hunt down and eliminate Osama bin Laden. First the surge and then what people had given up hope to achieve.

The symbolic value of having found and elimiated al Qaida's figure head should be significant. For Petraeus, now shouldering the CIA, it was important to have achieved something in Afghanistan. For Obama, this was important for his relection chances.