Are you copying the right thing?

I’m fascinated by the notion of copying in society. It’s everywhere. Making sure you’re copying the right thing appears to be very hard:

Dubai copied the skyscrapers of New York and ended up with a fake city. Hong Kong copied the basic freedoms and ended up with skyscrapers and a real city.

Everyone is copying the black rectangular nature of the iPhone, rather than something deeper like the Apple org-chart or other attributes like secrecy or having a HQ in Cupertino, or a British head of design.

Rich people have nice cars. Therefore people buy nice cars and expect to be rich.

Silicon Valley has venture capital firms. Therefore, European nations and cities create venture capital firms expecting silicon valley to show up.

Rich people tend to be educated, therefore you send your child to get educated in the expectation that they will get rich. In fact, richness tends to lead to education not the other way around.

Prosperous countries have money. Therefore if we send metric tons of money to poor countries they will become prosperous.

China’s wholesale copying of the United States; from fast food to an aerospace industry. Everything apart from the important thing; the constitution.

Fit people tend to exercise and eat well. So you try to exercise and eat well but fail, because you’re not copying something deeper like self-discipline.

We live in a cargo cult world.

10 Responses to Are you copying the right thing?

  1. Russell Nelson July 31, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Yep. People who aren’t poor have money, therefore if we give money to poor people, they won’t be poor anymore.

    Trillions of dollars later, we still have the poor with us[1], as Jesus warned us. It’s not about the money (which is what leftists think). It’s about the fact that we haven’t helped them, and it’s about the fact that in spite of decades of failure, the leftists refuse to give up on it.

    Deep copying is intransigent.


    • Scott Masengill July 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

      We live in a cargo cult world. I think there is a festival this year with that very theme.

    • Nick Whitelegg August 3, 2013 at 3:32 am #

      So how exactly do you help them then? To give the poor opportunities in life needs money, does it not? To help the poor find jobs you need to fund them to pay for job finding tools such as computers and the internet (pretty essential for finding jobs these days), transport to interviews, courses to help them improve their skills, etc.

      The money may not be being used in the right way but it’s still needed. And as a British person I will say that the USA needs more “leftists” – in many ways it’s a great country but in some areas, particularly health care, backwards Victorian attitudes sadly still preval.

    • Nick Whitelegg August 3, 2013 at 3:40 am #

      Is The New American really a reliable publication though? Googling it suggests that it’s published by the John Birch Society. Granted Wikipedia[1] may not be 100% accurate but they don’t exactly sound middle-of-the-road.

      I think it’s a given that money is needed to help the poor. Maybe that money isn’t being used in the right way, but to send the poor on courses to improve their skills, pay for computers and the internet for them so that they can apply for jobs, transport to interviews, etc, all involves money. The private sector ain’t going to do that on their own, as there’s nothing in it for them. Some Government intervention is needed I’m afraid.

      In many ways the USA is a great country but the lack of a solid public sector is one of its weakest aspects, and its attitude towards the health service is the one reason I could never live there permanently.

  2. John Fagan August 1, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    Creativity isn’t magic. Everything is a Remix.

  3. Bernie Johnston August 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    Fascinating thought. It seems like something we should all be on the lookout for. Thanks.

  4. Alex-7 February 10, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    If all countries on Earth become prosperous and all people rich, as it is understood now, would not it be an additional pressure on the planet’s ecological system (which is overloaded even without it)?

    Our main wealth is our nice unique liveable planet. And it sort of belongs not only to all people but to other species too.

    It is a complicated issue.


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