How does a Country Become Great?

Huntn

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Is it through a strong economy where most citizens benefit and a strong central authority or is it through a libertarian, every man for himself, weak central authority?

Think about of the countries in history regarded as the greatest, did any of them have weak central authority? And who may very well take over the U.S. in the economic, research and development fields? Who has great amounts of revenue to spend on infrastructure? China. Not to imply that China has no upcoming issues, environmental hazards, lax regulation, growing health problems, rising wages, and others I can't currently think of.

What's the point of this post? I don't think that countries become great when segments of society try to neuter central authority, starve it, when citizens try to achieve affuency on their own, fail to hold the common good as a high priority, and revenues are not high enough to accomplish much of anything. It's a recipe for failure IMO.
 

G51989

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Historically, a country is considered great when it's projection of power and influence is at it's peak, and its population is prosperous. These are things normally fostered by a strong centralized form of government.
Indeed, and America has peaked if we are talking about America, it reached its peak of power and prosperity, its all downhill from here.

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Think about of the countries in history regarded as the greatest, did any of them have weak central authority?
No

And who may very well take over the U.S. in the economic, research and development fields? Who has great amounts of revenue to spend on infrastructure? China. Not to imply that China has no upcoming issues, environmental hazards, lax regulation, growing health problems, rising wages, and others I can't currently think of.
China is a big one, and is an upcoming superpower.

The other place you want ot look at to overtake the US of A more than it already has is the EU.
 

McGiord

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It's all relative. Great to whom? Define great.

For example, in my opinion a company is great when it treats really nicely all their employees, as well as their suppliers, customers and competitors without killing anyone, provides great products and services and makes enough money to satisfy their stakeholders and invest into new products and services.

If we try to extrapolate this to a country, it's a little complicated as there is a big caveat that a private company is very selective to hire the diverse talent it needs to operate, develop and expand.

In my opinion the US is still the best balance when compared with any other country.

Records from the past are highly biased on how history was written and who is reading it.

A country has so many aspects to cover that it cannot be perfect for all of them.

A common good could be fatal if the population has poor education, ethics, and values.
Very large populations are difficult to manage no matter what system is used.

Let's imagine that you are tasked to create a new country, and try to be "realistic": where in the world will you place it? How big would it be? With how many people will you start it? What official language? Currency? Political system? Economy? Taxes? Constitution? Armed forces? Key legislation to enable economical development? What would be your initial budget? Immigration policies? Education system? Health system? Infrastructure? Transportation? Development? Trade agreements? etc...
 
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McGiord

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I kind of disagree that China is as great as many think. I think that their population is not always happy, and will never be when they have limitations on the quantity of descendants they can have. The levels of toxicity and pollution will always take a toll on their population. Once they reach a critical mass of middle class population there might be another revolution unless they change certain things.
The currency value is strongly manipulated (many countries and its internal economy rely on it). Even they own other countries debts, they also depend on them.
I wildly guess that there are plenty of chinese people out of China, and certainly they know their ways to make more money and grow their businesses.
It's a great market for the next centuries to come.
 

localoid

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Feb 20, 2007
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According to the Good Country Index, Ireland is the overall greatest country in the world.

The idea of the Good Country Index is pretty simple: to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away. Using a wide range of data from the U.N. and other international organisations, we’ve given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
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It's all relative. Great to whom? Define great.
I was thinking of a country capable of amassing enough wealth to do big, but good things for humanity. In the past certain countries have stood out, for their wealth and ability to project power and have/had a major impact on the development of humanity. Of course we could eventually morph into a real world government, but until then it is usually smaller units, like the US, EU who can coordinate maybe effectively, projects for the common good.

Consider humanity's future, space, if we want to have a future, we've got to get into space, at least that is my impression. Who is going to have the money to do this? It won't be little rag tag groups of Libertarians* mostly concerned with individual liberty. It will be societies who can pull together for the common good, "us" vs "me". Right now, I don't see that in the US. I see it becoming all about "me".

*the purpose of this thread is not to attack Libertarians per see. ;)


I kind of disagree that China is as great as many think. I think that their population is not always happy, and will never be when they have limitations on the quantity of descendants they can have. The levels of toxicity and pollution will always take a toll on their population. Once they reach a critical mass of middle class population there might be another revolution unless they change certain things.
The currency value is strongly manipulated (many countries and its internal economy rely on it). Even they own other countries debts, they also depend on them.
I wildly guess that there are plenty of chinese people out of China, and certainly they know their ways to make more money and grow their businesses.
It's a great market for the next centuries to come.
As I said in my original post, they will face a reckoning, but in the mean time they are loaded with $$ and are in a position to do big things for good or for bad. Bottom line, it takes a strong central authority, while acknowledging that is a double edged sword. A BAD central authority, one who's intentions are malevolent can be a nightmare.

Interesting. This is good although I would not classify Ireland as great within the context of this discussion.
 

impulse462

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When the people living in it have high influence in science, literature, and art and use their influences to further their country in various forms of innovation.
 

jkcerda

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Jun 10, 2013
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In America it is the other way around, the ignorant, meek and stupid run the show.
Wonderful whites of west Virginia
Honey Boo boo
the Crapdashians
Buck Wild
Teen Mom
Jersey Shore
Jerry Springer
Maury Povich
assorted singers
ALL "news" channels with regurgitated one sided "news".

Americans LOVE to glorify stupidity.
the NEW "American dream" is to be screwed up enough to on your own "reality" show. people are moving from the entertainment of a train wreck to wanting to BE that type of "entertainment" .

only way I am going to make it out of the U.S is if I hit the lotto. Canada /France would be places I would like to visit & perhaps consider staying.
 

impulse462

macrumors 68000
Jun 3, 2009
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Wonderful whites of west Virginia
Honey Boo boo
the Crapdashians
Buck Wild
Teen Mom
Jersey Shore
Jerry Springer
Maury Povich
assorted singers
ALL "news" channels with regurgitated one sided "news".

Americans LOVE to glorify stupidity.
the NEW "American dream" is to be screwed up enough to on your own "reality" show. people are moving from the entertainment of a train wreck to wanting to BE that type of "entertainment" .

only way I am going to make it out of the U.S is if I hit the lotto. Canada /France would be places I would like to visit & perhaps consider staying.
I don't engage in any of that stuff, but I don't mind nor do I judge people who do. But do you think the fact that its so prevalent is why American is going "downhill?"

For example, I have 2 friends who used to watch Jersey Shore, but they knew it was just this reality BS kind of show. Both are smart and have promising careers already, but they still watched it just in their spare time. Do you think they are in the majority or minority?
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
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The Misty Mountains
In America it is the other way around, the ignorant, meek and stupid run the show.
It feels that way.

I find it interesting that the GOP speaks frequently of starving the Federal Govt, in essence neutering it. But I think the real agenda is fighting off the liberals, then seizing control for a strong central authority that they approve of. This is the double edged sword I referred to. Could the reverse argument be made? Absolutely. It all boils down to what kind of authority you want to be subject to.
 
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jkcerda

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Jun 10, 2013
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Criminal Mexi Midget
I don't engage in any of that stuff, but I don't mind nor do I judge people who do. But do you think the fact that its so prevalent is why American is going "downhill?"

For example, I have 2 friends who used to watch Jersey Shore, but they knew it was just this reality BS kind of show. Both are smart and have promising careers already, but they still watched it just in their spare time. Do you think they are in the majority or minority?
hard to say, they are contributing to glorifying stupidity by watching the shows.
stupidity pays big time
http://okmagazine.com/get-scoop/can-you-guess-how-much-cast-teen-mom-2-makes/
Gary Head‘s fans wondered how much he got paid to appear in a few recent episodes, and he responded on Twitter saying he ONLY got paid $1,500. But that’s basically pennies compared to what the four main girls each get – a reported $60,000 per season. Multiply that times 4 (there’s been 4 seasons of Teen Mom 2 thus far) and you get $240,000 each, not including all the stuff they get paid for their endorsement deals and appearances. Good for them.
all of this crap is in your face at the super markets, tons of tabloids out there pushing the fecal matter into every one, things are not as simple as changing the channel when you are stuck at the register & you glance over the headlines. how many "teens" are STUPID enough to think they can get their own show?
http://www.projectcasting.com/casting-calls-and-auditions/want-to-be-on-mtvs-teen-mom-mtv-teen-mom-3-casting-call/

the level of stupid pushed on the population is amazing.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

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Feb 11, 2010
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In America it is the other way around, the ignorant, meek and stupid run the show.
I must be completely misunderstanding you.

I have never heard Richard Mellon Scaife or the Koch brothers being called "meek and stupid" -- they would be insulted, and rightly so.

Extremely selfish and very short-sighted, sure. But, just because they were/are so good at manipulating meek and stupid voters doesn't mean that they themselves are.
 

aerok

macrumors 65816
Oct 29, 2011
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A nation becomes great by following:

- The wise social words of Plato
- Follow the advices of John Maynard Keynes
- Apply the Tommy Douglas model
- Fill in the blanks with teachings from Niccolò Machiavelli
 

G51989

macrumors 68030
Feb 25, 2012
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I must be completely misunderstanding you.

I have never heard Richard Mellon Scaife or the Koch brothers being called "meek and stupid" -- they would be insulted, and rightly so.

Extremely selfish and very short-sighted, sure. But, just because they were/are so good at manipulating meek and stupid voters doesn't mean that they themselves are.
Oh, the Meet/stupid are the show.

People like the Kochs run behind the scenes ;)
 

palmerc2

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Feb 29, 2008
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I've never once looked at the daily life of a worker in China and think "gee, I want to live there". I'm sure many of them are anxious to move to America. But wait, they have to jump through a lot of hoops because it's a communist country. Oh you want to have more than one kid? Lol nope.

They're living the dream!
 

McGiord

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There have to be a balance between "me" and "us". The difficulty is the definition of "us", is it "us" that we have common interests and a way of approaching live, or "us" where diversity is one key element.

Diversity is a difficult thing, as the more the merrier is not always the case, and trying to please everyone requires a lot of sacrifices in the way we are used to live, specially if our differences are significant to generate a conflict that cannot be resolved unless the resolution is no deal or lose something.

In countries like India, for example, they were united by the british empire, and as of today it's one of the most diverse countries with all their different ethnic groups, for the rest of the world they are all "indians", but they have so many differences.
I was there once due to work, and reading the newspaper in the hotel where I was staying I capture some interesting news, they were running the electoral campaign for the next governor of the Maharashtra state, to my surprise there where 3 candidates from the same political party running in parallel and they were not primaries, their campaign was based similar things:
1- Promoting why the other candidates were worse options
2- None mentioned any reason why they should be the next governor
3- Commonly they promise implementing laws to prevent "immigration" from other states to take over the local jobs (like they will be illegal workers)

Another interesting and shocking thing I read in the same newspaper was an analysis of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. It mentioned that if Pakistan used all its bombs they will hit 7 key cities and about 1.5 million people will die, on the other hand it India used all their arsenal they could wipe Pakistan (the whole country) out of the map. The conclusion of the article was something like: in this scenario India could solve a couple issues completely elimating the risk from Pakistan for the future of India and reducing their population in overly populated cities.

Again I still believe that in the USA, there is still a great balance between all different aspects of life. Obviously there are states and cities where this is not the case, but overall there are great places where you can develop a fruitful life without suffering or making someone else suffer.

If you are preoccupied based on what you read and watch over the mass media you will be overwhelmed. It is better to stay occupied with the things that matter to you and your close people, certainly in your community you can get engaged into anything to make it better in way that are not even possible in most of the other countries.

If something exists in the world it is available in the US, you can either buy it or make it, sale it. Also it's one of the few places where you can dedicate your life to do the things that you like and make money, this is very difficult in other countries.

Good things happen and many times they are overlooked.
 

Eraserhead

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I kind of disagree that China is as great as many think. I think that their population is not always happy, and will never be when they have limitations on the quantity of descendants they can have.
De-facto everyone here (and in the US) has a limit on the number of kids they can have. It's probably ~3 for me, but I'm much richer than the average Chinese person.

The levels of toxicity and pollution will always take a toll on their population. Once they reach a critical mass of middle class population there might be another revolution unless they change certain things.
Except that they've been better governed that our Western democracies.

The currency value is strongly manipulated
The Chinese currency has strengthened substantially. It's not so weak anymore.
 

McGiord

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De-facto everyone here (and in the US) has a limit on the number of kids they can have. It's probably ~3 for me, but I'm much richer than the average Chinese person.



Except that they've been better governed that our Western democracies.



The Chinese currency has strengthened substantially. It's not so weak anymore.
Everyone meaning all the people? The quantity is not limited in most of the countries, that some people choose not to have more kids is another thing, at the end it is each individual decision what to do about it. Other countries suffer the opposite they have too many people for the resources available to most of them (the country may have plenty of resources but they are not well invested for positively impacting their population).

Can you please elaborate on what are the specific good things that China had done and is doing to improve the environmental and fix their pollution situation?

About the currency, I mean that it is manipulated, if it becomes too strong it would not be attractive anymore for their foreign customers.
In Brazil for example one of their struggles is when their currency gets stronger their exports significantly suffer.

Anyone has a good source (website) with data for comparison?
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,044
16,536
The Misty Mountains
A nation becomes great by following:

- The wise social words of Plato
- Follow the advices of John Maynard Keynes
- Apply the Tommy Douglas model
- Fill in the blanks with teachings from Niccolò Machiavelli
Could you summarize?

I've never once looked at the daily life of a worker in China and think "gee, I want to live there". I'm sure many of them are anxious to move to America. But wait, they have to jump through a lot of hoops because it's a communist country. Oh you want to have more than one kid? Lol nope.

They're living the dream!
The Chinese are coming from a different place. The average Chinese worker is not as well off as the average Western citizen (my impression) but in the last 40 years they have seen their prospects rise substantially. As I said previously, they will face a reckoning with pollution, but if they as a group hold "we" as a higher priority then "me", they will prevail in the long run. Are there excessively wealthy and powerful people in China? Based on corruption, I assume so.

In the US, if the relatively few who hold power and excessive wealth continue to press their advantage, I feel there will be a substantial backlash to what result, it's hard to speculate.

There have to be a balance between "me" and "us". The difficulty is the definition of "us", is it "us" that we have common interests and a way of approaching live, or "us" where diversity is one key element.
I agree that a balance must maintained. The rest of your post rambles a bit. :)
 

Eraserhead

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Nov 3, 2005
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Everyone meaning all the people? The quantity is not limited in most of the countries,
It effectively is limited as only a tiny proportion of the population earns enough to have more than a small number of children and those families that exceed that limit get massive state subsidies for their kids which no one likes and those kids land up with substantial disadvantages in later life. I also agree that the de facto limit here of 2-3 kids is higher than China and that people can stretch themselves a bit, but it isn't really acceptable/possible to have more kids than that and give them a reasonable chance in life without being very rich.

Can you please elaborate on what are the specific good things that China had done and is doing to improve the environmental and fix their pollution situation?
Having the worlds longest high speed rail network, massive expansion of urban transport, massive investment in solar, massive tree planting programs, requiring cars to meet European emissions standards (albeit not the absolute latest ones).
 
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