Thu, Jan 24, 2013 - Page 8

Why look to the West?

The excellent article by Will Hutton (“Davos is an example of the worst failures of Western capitalism,” Jan. 22, page 9) is a warning to all thriving economies like Taiwan that have an unseen ace card which they should treasure above all else.

The West does not have a system of true capitalism, which is based on the premise that evolution, supply and demand are interdependent.

Think of a population of foxes and rabbits: If there are no foxes, then the rabbit population flips into the exponential function, leading to numerical suicide.

This is the same problem that people and bacteria face: You reproduce in such numbers that you eventually kill the host.

Capitalism is supposed to be ruthless, like nature, and anything that becomes unviable ends up extinct. If you constantly prop up failure, as in Greece, you break these rules and it does not work.

The most important point about financial transactions is that both parties must be interdependent, they must need each other to exist. If one party becomes too powerful, it will keep taking too much until it destroys the host and itself; banks are the best example.

The universe is based on a principle of interdependent partners, “the principle of complementarity.” This is what gives us the “uncertainty principle.”

Certainty is always based on uncertainty: Classical mechanics arises from quantum mechanics, the accuracy of events in the solar system is provided by chaotic behavior, which needs Hamiltonian equations to describe it (not Newtonian as you might think).

Economies and cultures are just the same, the mathematics able to describe the state of the system as a whole cannot predict individual outcomes, these must remain uncertain. Lots of people making individual choices results in a healthy system.

A successful economy is based on the number of small transactions that take place each day, not the few big ones. This is the ace card that Taiwan has; all the small businesses are still in place, while Europe has swept them all away.

The last time I visited the UK I tried to buy food in a village, but the only shop left was a gasoline station, owned by BP and Tesco. An unhealthy, monopolistic approach to trade. It is this approach that doesn’t work, not capitalism itself.

England’s social security bill is 10 times its military budget. In Taiwan the population looks after itself. So do not look to the West, they would do well to look here to see how it should be done.

Just to prove my point, this same approach leads to cruel and dysfunctional monotheistic religions. Religion here is safe and part of everyday life.

The cruel behavior of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and Ireland are shining examples of stupidity caused by feeding power and wealth up to the top, a pope living in a palace, opulence running down the walls, kissing gold artifacts and telling people what they must do and believe: exactly what he was told by the poor intelligent individual at the beginning not to do.

Jesus Christ, you may not have noticed, was not religious. That is what people do and as collectives they are predictable.

Taiwan’s ace cards means that things are much more natural because they are self-regulating.

Think before you play your hand, the results of social and financial stupidity are in this newspaper, every day, for all to see.

Peter Cook

Greater Taichung