Thursday, December 8, 2016

What Caused The American Revolution Against Britain?

There must be a ton of historical books on this topic.  This article was written by economists.  They take the position that is was not about taxation in the colonies because they were much lower than taxes in Britain.  Colonial leaders wanted to be represented in the British Parliament.  Britain could have prevented the revolution if it allowed the colonies to be represented in parliament. Why did British leaders refuse to allow the colonies to be represented in parliament?  It is argued that political tensions in Britain led to the bad decision that promoted the revolution.  Monarchists, and the landed gentry, feared that it would weaken their political control in a parliament that was responding to democratic forces that were inspired by the movement to industrial capitalism and away from feudalism. The tension between these forces in Britain had been going on for many years.  The feudal system eventually gave way to the emerging capitalist system. 

There is a similar tension in Western societies today.  There are tensions between the globalization of the economy, that has been underway for many years, and the ability of nation states to deal with many of the consequences of globalization.  Our largest firms have an incentive to maximize profits in a global marketplace.  That creates all kinds of conflicts between business interests and the national interest.  What's best for our large corporations is not always consistent with the national interest and the ability of nation states to effectively manage conflicts that arise. Our large corporations have been more effective in responding to globalization than national governments which have to serve two masters.  That is, corporate interests and citizens who are differently affected by a perceived loss of national identity and economic opportunity.  We have been rudely awakened by the events of the last few years. There are no easy solutions available to the nation states.

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