January 24, 2005

Politics: Okay, Give It Up

There is a saying: "Quitters never win, and winners never quit." Personally, I prefer: "When your population is starving to death, maybe a bit of capitalism isn't such a bad idea."

North Korea has just decided to cut the food rations it gives to its population down to HALF the daily minimum requirement: it's now at 250 grams. That's less than nine ounces of food. I've had sandwiches bigger than that.

So here's another saying: Guns and Butter. What that means (in the short) is an example of simplified economics that appears in some textbooks: what if a nation only produced two items, guns and butter. Spend too much on guns, and the people starve. North Korea, a country of 22 million people (about 8 million less than Canada), has a standing army of 1.2 million people.

To compare: Canada has a total military personnel of 60,000, or five percent North Koreas army. The biggest difference, of course, is that the countries which border North Korea are not exactly friendly: South Korea (of course), China and Russia. I'll stick with the U.S., thanks. At least they got over the whole "Manifest Destiny" bunk in North America. The rest of the world? Well...

Even so, when you spend almost a quarter of your Gross Domestic Product on a standing army, your country is going to be in trouble. Especially if it's a questionable economy because your somewhat freakish dictator is a paranoid fanatic who is an utter xenophobe.

So, guys: I know you're reading this (because hey, who wouldn't) so I'll give you some free advice.

Less guns, more butter. Your welcome.


posted by Thursday at 6:17 pm


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