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  #28601  
Old 09-06-2017, 07:38 PM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is offline

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Okay, but what happens when the world unites to tear Nazi Germany apart? That feels like a setback.
It's the same story we see now with Germany menacing the Visegrad group for being against the mandatory refugee quotas. The many join against the one, for trying to follow their own ways.

Say what you want, and don't put any bullshit tags on me, but life on Germany was very good the years before WW2, while the winners, UK and France, were still eating shit. Stuff like roads, families having cars, etc. And to top it off, coming from a wasteland of a country, the losers of WW1. We could discuss why WW2 actually happened, and the capitalism-communism-fascism war of ideas, but that wouldn't lead anywhere really.

The point is that, until the war came, fascism worked. Germany turned into a world power in a few years. And even then, with the whole world against them, they still put up a fight.

The price, however. I'd like to believe we can become prosperous without needing to kill dissidents, burn books, etc. I value my freedom a lot, but if things keep getting worse and worse, people will trade it for safety. After all, it's just another luxury. I don't want to live in a world like that.

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Didn't he set things up for Juan Carlos to be an authoritarian monarch, but then he died and the people changed things to constitutional monarchy instead? Seems significant that these changes didn't happen until Franco died.
Well, most of that isn't public information, but I think it's easy to assume he wanted a transition, for many things out there. The country was somewhat clean of inner menaces already (well, not quite, but enough for a fresh start [didn't last long, but that's another story]), so there was no need for more dictatorship. Most of the original supporters supported him to solve a problem, and it was fixed. He wasn't needed anymore.

As for those changes, the last years were static. Had he wanted to perpetuate the regime, he would have pushed them himself, but he waited for the next guy to do them instead. I think he was an asshole, like most dictators out there, but he loved his country. I view these kind of dictators as some sort of semi-abusive fathers, but once the son grows up they just let him go.

The USA had a part on it, too, just like with Japan. Keeping the dictatorship up was a selfish interest to avoid communists taking over, but still, props to them. Had we been "democratized" by force, things would have gone way worse.

It's amazing how the model that worked so well post-WW2, is nowadays ignored when dealing with countries under dictatorships. It's almost as if they don't want things to go well.
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  #28602  
Old 09-06-2017, 07:48 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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It's the same story we see now with Germany menacing the Visegrad group for being against the mandatory refugee quotas. The many join against the one, for trying to follow their own ways.

Say what you want, and don't put any bullshit tags on me, but life on Germany was very good the years before WW2, while the winners, UK and France, were still eating shit. Stuff like roads, families having cars, etc. And to top it off, coming from a wasteland of a country, the losers of WW1. We could discuss why WW2 actually happened, and the capitalism-communism-fascism war of ideas, but that wouldn't lead anywhere really.

The point is that, until the war came, fascism worked. Germany turned into a world power in a few years. And even then, with the whole world against them, they still put up a fight.

The price, however. I'd like to believe we can become prosperous without needing to kill dissidents, burn books, etc. I value my freedom a lot, but if things keep getting worse and worse, people will trade it for safety. After all, it's just another luxury. I don't want to live in a world like that.
So let's forget about racism and holocaust for a moment...

There's clearly a distinction to be made between the fascists whose fascism was purely domestic, and those whose fascism/nazism was DOCTRINELY DEPENDENT on invading neighbors with no foreseeable end and triggering the rest of the world. The latter was the case with Italy and Germany. That's why they were doomed.
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  #28603  
Old 09-06-2017, 08:26 PM
Mertico Mertico is offline

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Originally Posted by Lon-ami View Post
It's the same story we see now with Germany menacing the Visegrad group for being against the mandatory refugee quotas. The many join against the one, for trying to follow their own ways.

Say what you want, and don't put any bullshit tags on me, but life on Germany was very good the years before WW2, while the winners, UK and France, were still eating shit. Stuff like roads, families having cars, etc. And to top it off, coming from a wasteland of a country, the losers of WW1. We could discuss why WW2 actually happened, and the capitalism-communism-fascism war of ideas, but that wouldn't lead anywhere really.

The point is that, until the war came, fascism worked. Germany turned into a world power in a few years. And even then, with the whole world against them, they still put up a fight.

The price, however. I'd like to believe we can become prosperous without needing to kill dissidents, burn books, etc. I value my freedom a lot, but if things keep getting worse and worse, people will trade it for safety. After all, it's just another luxury. I don't want to live in a world like that.



Well, most of that isn't public information, but I think it's easy to assume he wanted a transition, for many things out there. The country was somewhat clean of inner menaces already (well, not quite, but enough for a fresh start [didn't last long, but that's another story]), so there was no need for more dictatorship. Most of the original supporters supported him to solve a problem, and it was fixed. He wasn't needed anymore.

As for those changes, the last years were static. Had he wanted to perpetuate the regime, he would have pushed them himself, but he waited for the next guy to do them instead. I think he was an asshole, like most dictators out there, but he loved his country. I view these kind of dictators as some sort of semi-abusive fathers, but once the son grows up they just let him go.

The USA had a part on it, too, just like with Japan. Keeping the dictatorship up was a selfish interest to avoid communists taking over, but still, props to them. Had we been "democratized" by force, things would have gone way worse.

It's amazing how the model that worked so well post-WW2, is nowadays ignored when dealing with countries under dictatorships. It's almost as if they don't want things to go well.
Wiemar Germany was not good for the people and is what lead to rise of Hitler. Berlin was a mess, Communists had revolted and still held power. It was not a good time.
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  #28604  
Old 09-06-2017, 08:46 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Lon-Ami, I think you need to take a closer look at those finances, Germany was broke from pouring all its money into the military to puff itself up until it invaded its neighbors to pillage them
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  #28605  
Old 09-07-2017, 04:00 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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Lon-Ami, I think you need to take a closer look at those finances, Germany was broke from pouring all its money into the military to puff itself up until it invaded its neighbors to pillage them
Yes, but Germany was also racialist, hyper-nationalist, and imperialist. Same with Italy and its pseudo-Roman imperialism. Yet, these traits are not inherent to the core of Fascism, racial and ethnic imperialism really came only after Hitler, and in the beginning, Fascism was far more culture oriented.

Let's look at a hypothetical scenario. Say we had this fascist state, somewhat like Lon-ami described before. Fascist, but oriented solely inwards, representatives actually genuine, not after power or money, and very importantly, able to achieve autarky on its own, without any expansion. Would it be a pleasant place to live? Absolutely not if you were a liberal or a member of a group deemed problematic. But would it be effective? I have to say yes there. In a brutal, cold, absolutely uncaring way, but yes. Now, would it, once the situation allowed it, turn towards democracy as Lon-ami suggested? Hard to say. Perhaps under a very specific set of circumstances. But even in that case, I doubt it'd be a liberal democracy, more likely a conservative/authoritarian one.

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  #28606  
Old 09-07-2017, 04:40 AM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is offline

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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
So let's forget about racism and holocaust for a moment...

There's clearly a distinction to be made between the fascists whose fascism was purely domestic, and those whose fascism/nazism was DOCTRINELY DEPENDENT on invading neighbors with no foreseeable end and triggering the rest of the world. The latter was the case with Italy and Germany. That's why they were doomed.
Forget? You missed the point about the blood price?

You're ignoring all the previous years before the war, were Germany went from a shithole into a world power. I don't care what happened next, it's not the point of this conversation. Look at other examples with other countries that didn't get into wars if that's what you care about.

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Yes, but Germany was also racialist, hyper-nationalist, and imperialist. Same with Italy and it's pseudo-Roman imperialism. Yet, these traits are not inherent to the core of Fascism, racial and ethnic imperialism really came only after Hitler, and in the beginning, Fascism was far more culture oriented.

Let's look at a hypothetical scenario. Say we had this fascist state, somewhat like Lon-ami described before. Fascist, but oriented solely inwards, representatives actually genuine, not after power or money, and very importantly, able to achieve autarky on its own, without any expansion. Would it be a pleasant place to live? Absolutely not if you were a liberal or a member of a group deemed problematic. But would it be effective? I have to say yes there. In a brutal, cold, absolutely uncaring way, but yes. Now, would it, once the situation allowed it, turn towards democracy as Lon-ami suggested? Hard to say. Perhaps under a very specific set of circumstances. But even in that case, I doubt it'd be a liberal democracy, more likely a conservative/authoritarian one.
This, someone who gets it at last.

I think many of you are blinded with the typical "nazis were bad hurr durr". Yeah no shit. You're missing the point completely though, since you're looking at them from a "state of peace" perspective. You've always have a good life, and you can't even imagine what's like to live like shit, thus you don't understand how desperate people thinks. To make things worse, imagine that aside from those problems, you have a totalitarian force (communism, religious cults, etc) that is trying to take over.

Fascism, if implemented now, would be much worse than democracy. But democracy is going down the toilet step by step each day, with riots, unemployment, criminals getting free passes, etc. At this rate, it will be more desirable than democracy for a lot of people, and then there's no turning back.

What makes fascism dangerous is that IT WORKS. It's a cold machine that treats people like cattle. Now, animals live better free in the wild, but what if the wild turns into a shithole? You'd kill for a spot in the zoo, where there's food and a warm bed. How do you think civilization first started, if not with tyrants?

That's why fascism and authoritarian dictators have genuine support by the population, because they're desperate, and it's a good solution. When you're hungry you don't give a damn about anything else, you just want to be safe. Democracy is supposed to be better, an evolution, because it can achieve the same things, except with personal freedoms. But when democracy fails (as it's doing), what do you think it's gonna happen? Calling desperate Trump/Brexit/etc supporters names and ignoring their problems is a good example of how you get fascism. You either start listening, or we'll lose the peace and the rights we have now. And I don't think anyone here wants to live in a world like that.

In Spain, after the dictatorship and the transition ended, socialists held power for 16 years. We went from fascism to moderate socialism, so I do believe patience works. People who support authoritarianism want peace, once they get peace, they want to go back to normal. Of course, the European right is almost lefty in comparison to the USA's, but still.
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  #28607  
Old 09-07-2017, 04:59 AM
Aneurysm Aneurysm is offline

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So during that financial crisis some ten years back nearly the tax payers of Sweden ended up having to pay for the banks to stay afloat. Billions of dollars (tens of billions of SEK). Because that's what you do in a democratic society, you pull your weight, and the weight of those incapable of pulling their own. Even if they are arch capitalists you do so, because we're all in this together.

Well, at least we are until it's time for the banks to have their taxes and regulations raised and tightened slightly. At that point they fuck off over seas to avoid their responsibilities.

Howsabout we collectively and globally agree on not being profiteering, backstabbing dickwads in the future? It'd make the world great. Let's make the world great.
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  #28608  
Old 09-07-2017, 07:49 AM
Mertico Mertico is offline

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So during that financial crisis some ten years back nearly the tax payers of Sweden ended up having to pay for the banks to stay afloat. Billions of dollars (tens of billions of SEK). Because that's what you do in a democratic society, you pull your weight, and the weight of those incapable of pulling their own. Even if they are arch capitalists you do so, because we're all in this together.

Well, at least we are until it's time for the banks to have their taxes and regulations raised and tightened slightly. At that point they fuck off over seas to avoid their responsibilities.

Howsabout we collectively and globally agree on not being profiteering, backstabbing dickwads in the future? It'd make the world great. Let's make the world great.
I suggest outlawing usury every few months and no one seems to be able to stomach the idea.
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  #28609  
Old 09-07-2017, 08:06 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Forget? You missed the point about the blood price?

You're ignoring all the previous years before the war, were Germany went from a shithole into a world power. I don't care what happened next, it's not the point of this conversation.
What happened next is key, though. Italian fascist and Nazi ideologies do not exist without the doctrines of starting fights and pissing off the world. That is part of the "blood price" you describe.

I'm not blinded by "nazis were bad hurr durr". I'm stuck on "nazis were stupid because they had a deathwish to pick fights with the world hurr durr". That was a key component of the militarization you describe, the part about going to a world power. Napoleon had similar issues.

I kind of hesitate to call dictatorships "fascist" if they don't have the living-space platform Mussolini was so keen on. Like so:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Fascism
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Italian fascism was rooted in Italian nationalism, national syndicalism, and the desire to restore and expand Italian territories, which Italian Fascists deemed necessary for a nation to assert its superiority and strength and to avoid succumbing to decay. Italian Fascists also claimed that modern Italy is the heir to ancient Rome and its legacy, and historically supported the creation of an Italian Empire to provide spazio vitale ("living space") for colonization by Italian settlers and to establish control over the Mediterranean Sea.
But anyway...

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Look at other examples with other countries that didn't get into wars if that's what you care about.
Maybe you can give some examples? Right now your example is Spain. My wife had a pen pal who became atheist because Franco's government was so gung ho about forcing people to attend mass. You may know people who remember that era favorably, but I betcha we can find an equal proportion of Russians who remember the Soviet Union favorably. And again, I think it's key that the dictatorship didn't scale back until Franco's death.

What other fascist countries are you thinking about? Did any of them end with the fascist dictator re-democratizing once the "problem was solved"?

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  #28610  
Old 09-07-2017, 08:56 AM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Yes, but Germany was also racialist, hyper-nationalist, and imperialist. Same with Italy and its pseudo-Roman imperialism. Yet, these traits are not inherent to the core of Fascism, racial and ethnic imperialism really came only after Hitler, and in the beginning, Fascism was far more culture oriented.

Let's look at a hypothetical scenario. Say we had this fascist state, somewhat like Lon-ami described before. Fascist, but oriented solely inwards, representatives actually genuine, not after power or money, and very importantly, able to achieve autarky on its own, without any expansion. Would it be a pleasant place to live? Absolutely not if you were a liberal or a member of a group deemed problematic. But would it be effective? I have to say yes there. In a brutal, cold, absolutely uncaring way, but yes. Now, would it, once the situation allowed it, turn towards democracy as Lon-ami suggested? Hard to say. Perhaps under a very specific set of circumstances. But even in that case, I doubt it'd be a liberal democracy, more likely a conservative/authoritarian one.
Exactly, there's pretty much no way it was going to end well.


And I'm agreeing with the others, we'd need to see some more examples besides Spain because I'm having a hard time thinking of any dictatorships that segued to democracy like he's suggesting is 'common'.
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  #28611  
Old 09-07-2017, 10:23 AM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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Exactly, there's pretty much no way it was going to end well.


And I'm agreeing with the others, we'd need to see some more examples besides Spain because I'm having a hard time thinking of any dictatorships that segued to democracy like he's suggesting is 'common'.
Chile and Brazil were a few others. Both had dictatorships that transitioned peacefully to democracy.

Some might argue Argentina, but the fall of the junta was too closely tied to the Falklands War for me to count it.

If you want to really reach back, you could point to Cincinnatus, but the context is probably too different to really be relevant.
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  #28612  
Old 09-07-2017, 10:43 AM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Chile and Brazil were a few others. Both had dictatorships that transitioned peacefully to democracy.

Some might argue Argentina, but the fall of the junta was too closely tied to the Falklands War for me to count it.

If you want to really reach back, you could point to Cincinnatus, but the context is probably too different to really be relevant.
Thanks! Though even with those factored in, I don't think I agree with most of Lon's points about this being something inherent to fascism's collapse, but I'll have to do some more reading.
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  #28613  
Old 09-07-2017, 11:26 AM
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This is something that's talked about in political development literature, "Democratic Development Theory."

It basically posits that countries cannot be fully functional democracies until they reach a certain level of development. Distinctions are often drawn on what needs to be developed in order to create a functional democracy.

Often times we're talking things such as media access, education, literacy, culture, etc to make the way for a stable democracy.

Other elements are put into consideration such as the "resource curse" where countries rich in natural resources end up becoming dictatorial because they don't need to politically mobilize the population to make money.

Oil Rich countries like Venezuela, the Saudis, Russia aren't likely to see functional democracies.
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  #28614  
Old 09-07-2017, 11:34 AM
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Oil Rich countries like Venezuela, the Saudis, Russia aren't likely to see functional democracies.
Yet another reason to move towards solar power and other renewable energy sources.

Oil will still be used for lots of products but as we switch to being able to make more plastics from recycled garbage and plant materials this will remove the oil dependency.

Sadly this will cause a period of strain and destabilization in oil dependent areas but hopefully in the long run it'll help those places become more functional.
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  #28615  
Old 09-07-2017, 11:48 AM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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Thanks! Though even with those factored in, I don't think I agree with most of Lon's points about this being something inherent to fascism's collapse, but I'll have to do some more reading.
A lot of the fascist governments were destroyed in war because they came to power with Nazi support, and thus fell with the Third Reich. There's also the question as to how you define fascism: Pinochet was definitely a dictator, but I'm not sure that he really qualifies as a fascist.

Fascism tends to be associated more with the right wing due to its blatant militarism and nationalism, but I'd argue it's more of a "third way" position, with elements of both the left and the right. For instance, fascists tended to be fond of nationalizing industries and using the state as a mediator for class conflict, which would be seen as more left-leaning positions. Pinochet adopted a neoliberal economic model, so he may not have been a fascist.

A fascist regime will also tend to reflect the society in which it arose. While this is true of all regimes, fascism's emphasis on national history/culture makes this more apparent (in contrast to say, communism, which at least pays lip service to the idea of internationalism).

Off the top of my head, I'd say fascism has the following traits:

1) Autocratic leadership, often with a cult of personality
2) Extremely nationalistic
3) Extremely militaristic
4) Corporatist or highly regulated economy
5) Emphasis on tradition
6) Hostility toward Western values (free speech, freedom of press, etc)

They do usually arise during times of economic and political chaos, though the fascists typically contribute to the chaos. In practice, fascists are ultimately not that different from communists (in fairness, the underlying theories are quite different, but they've all turned out the same way). Someone once said that World War 2 in Eastern Europe was a struggle to determine the color of future labor camps: gray or red. During World War 2, Stalin's regime met all of the six points above. Prior to that, it had all but #5, so it was pretty close.

Ironically, fascists usually end up discrediting or weakening the cultures they seek to preserve. I'm not sure German culture has ever entirely recovered from Nazi abuse.

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This is something that's talked about in political development literature, "Democratic Development Theory."

It basically posits that countries cannot be fully functional democracies until they reach a certain level of development. Distinctions are often drawn on what needs to be developed in order to create a functional democracy.

Often times we're talking things such as media access, education, literacy, culture, etc to make the way for a stable democracy.

Other elements are put into consideration such as the "resource curse" where countries rich in natural resources end up becoming dictatorial because they don't need to politically mobilize the population to make money.

Oil Rich countries like Venezuela, the Saudis, Russia aren't likely to see functional democracies.
Yup. I remember going over this in my MA program. This also explains why most of the attempts at democracy during the Arab Spring failed; the states weren't developed enough to really attain a stable version of it. Maybe Tunisia will succeed, though I'm not that optimistic.

Middle Eastern states tend to be pretty weak, because of geography and history. It's difficult to project power over the rugged terrain, which is why so many people there depend on tribe and religion rather than the state. It's difficult to do democracy in tribal societies (though it can be done—Ghana is an example) since every political struggle becomes a zero-sum game in which your tribe (which includes your family) is in the crosshairs.

I'm not sure how the Middle East can change that, or if it even can be changed.
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  #28616  
Old 09-07-2017, 12:03 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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I feel the definition of "fascism" is sometimes so broad that Napoleonic France would qualify.

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1) Autocratic leadership, often with a cult of personality
2) Extremely nationalistic
3) Extremely militaristic
4) Corporatist or highly regulated economy
5) Emphasis on tradition
6) Hostility toward Western values (free speech, freedom of press, etc)
How many tics does it have to meet, right?
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  #28617  
Old 09-07-2017, 12:12 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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I feel the definition of "fascism" is sometimes so broad that Napoleonic France would qualify.



How many tics does it have to meet, right?
It is kind of broad, since fascism (more than communism) tends to reflect local concerns and aspirations. That makes it trickier to pin down as an ideology.

Those are just the things I thought of that are most closely associated with fascism. People who use fascist as a pejorative tend to forget about the economic nationalization, which is an integral part of any fascist regime. Stalin's regime would only qualify during World War 2, when he tapped into tradition and the Russian Orthodox Church in order to gain more support.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:13 PM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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Exactly, there's pretty much no way it was going to end well.
What exactly?

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Originally Posted by Taintedmage View Post
This is something that's talked about in political development literature, "Democratic Development Theory."

It basically posits that countries cannot be fully functional democracies until they reach a certain level of development. Distinctions are often drawn on what needs to be developed in order to create a functional democracy.

Often times we're talking things such as media access, education, literacy, culture, etc to make the way for a stable democracy.

Other elements are put into consideration such as the "resource curse" where countries rich in natural resources end up becoming dictatorial because they don't need to politically mobilize the population to make money.

Oil Rich countries like Venezuela, the Saudis, Russia aren't likely to see functional democracies.
Indeed, hence why I mentioned the ability to achieve autarky in the hypothetical scenario, even though it is not exactly the same scenario as resource curse (albeit they can overlap, which is often the worst case, autarky states rich in demanded natural resources often had very stable authoritarian regimes).
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:22 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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What exactly?



Indeed, hence why I mentioned the ability to achieve autarky in the hypothetical scenario, even though it is not exactly the same scenario as resource curse (albeit they can overlap, which is often the worst case, autarky states rich in demanded natural resources often had very stable authoritarian regimes).
Autarky usually fails if done for very long. Sometimes it's done in order to help grow native industries/companies, but the problem is that they become like hothouse plants: they can't thrive once they're exposed to competition.

Some of the post-colonial states attempted autarkic measures, going for self-sufficiency. It usually didn't work that well. India and China both isolated themselves, but eventually had to stop since they were stagnating. India had a lot of nationalized companies that were protected from competition, but these often provided terrible services.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:27 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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What exactly?
Nazi Germany.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:32 PM
ijffdrie ijffdrie is offline

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1) Autocratic leadership, often with a cult of personality
2) Extremely nationalistic
3) Extremely militaristic
4) Corporatist or highly regulated economy
5) Emphasis on tradition
6) Hostility toward Western values (free speech, freedom of press, etc)
I think you're missing a vital point in there, though I'm not sure how to word it. Personal positions in those regimes traditionally regarded as fascist are often dependent on demonstrated strength and/or cunning, i.e. the result of internal struggles within an organization. Intra-personal conflict is fomented rather than discouraged.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:33 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Nazi Germany.
I'd also add Fascist Italy. Unless he backed off the bit about reclaiming the Roman Empire.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:33 PM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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Autarky usually fails if done for very long. Sometimes it's done in order to help grow native industries/companies, but the problem is that they become like hothouse plants: they can't thrive once they're exposed to competition.

Some of the post-colonial states attempted autarkic measures, going for self-sufficiency. It usually didn't work that well. India and China both isolated themselves, but eventually had to stop since they were stagnating. India had a lot of nationalized companies that were protected from competition, but these often provided terrible services.
Are you sure you are not speaking of a closed economy and not autarky there? Autarky is simply when the state can exist without external help or international trade if needed be, but that does not mean it can't be present. For example, the United States were autarkic during the 19th century, yet they still engaged in international trade.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:37 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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Are you sure you are not speaking of a closed economy and not autarky there? Autarky is simply when the state can exist without external help or international trade if needed be, but that does not mean it can't be present. For example, the United States were autarkic during the 19th century, yet they still engaged in international trade.
Ah, I think you are correct. My bad.

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I think you're missing a vital point in there, though I'm not sure how to word it. Personal positions in those regimes traditionally regarded as fascist are often dependent on demonstrated strength and/or cunning, i.e. the result of internal struggles within an organization. Intra-personal conflict is fomented rather than discouraged.
Is that really a defining characteristic of fascism, however? Granted, fascist ideologues do emphasize strength and ambition, which I suppose would lend itself to a lot of internal struggles (since everyone wants to be strong). A lot of dictators (fascist and otherwise) enjoy pitting underlings against each other.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:41 PM
Taintedmage Taintedmage is offline

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Yup. I remember going over this in my MA program. This also explains why most of the attempts at democracy during the Arab Spring failed; the states weren't developed enough to really attain a stable version of it. Maybe Tunisia will succeed, though I'm not that optimistic.

Middle Eastern states tend to be pretty weak, because of geography and history. It's difficult to project power over the rugged terrain, which is why so many people there depend on tribe and religion rather than the state. It's difficult to do democracy in tribal societies (though it can be done—Ghana is an example) since every political struggle becomes a zero-sum game in which your tribe (which includes your family) is in the crosshairs.

I'm not sure how the Middle East can change that, or if it even can be changed.
A large part of that has to do with the partitioning of the Middle East with Sykes Pico (?) I feel. They aren't in an organic form of a common culture with a common nation-state. They are patched together so you get a whole host of Kurds who are in countries which are not Kurdistan and so there's usually conflict between them and between Shi'ites and Sunnis. Iraq is hard to govern when most of the country is Shi'ite but a portion is Sunni and that Sunni portion ended up sympathizing with ISIS.

You would have to somehow figure out a way to get certain countries to live and let live. Add onto that there's the need for further economic development and the proxy war between Iran and the Saudis and it's a difficult issue to manoeuvre.
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