Will U.S. Retain Its “Market-Dominant Majority”?
Francis Fukuyama famously announced at the end of the
Cold War that humanity had reached
"the end of history." Unfortunately, he forgot to
tell history not to bother coming to work.
Easy as it is to make fun of Fukuyama, where exactly did
he go wrong?
Fukuyama`s conception was formed by his expensive
miseducation in the works of
Hegel and other 19th Century German philosophers.
History consists of the struggle to determine the proper
ideology. Now there are no plausible alternatives to
capitalist democracy. History, therefore, must be
Lenin held a more realistic theory of what history is
about: not ideology, but "Who?
Whom?” (You can insert your own transitive verb
between the two words.) History continues because the
struggle to determine who will be the who rather
than the whom will never end.
Fukuyama may be the only major nonwhite American
intellectual who does not write
primarily about race. This is admirable in many
ways, but it`s a fatal shortcoming in a thinker of such
expansive ambitions. Race remains enormously relevant in
Amy Chua`s readable and eye-opening new
book "World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market
Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability"
documents just how pervasive ethnic
inequality is around the world—and how much
that drives the traumas we read about every day. (See
also Paul Craig Roberts` review of her book
Chua builds upon Thomas Sowell`s
concept of the "middle-man minority"—the
immigrant ethnic group with a talent for retailing
and banking, such as Jews, Armenians, Chinese,
Gujarati Indians, Lebanese Christians, etc. She
broadens that idea to include other relatively well-off
groups, such as un-entrepreneurial hereditary
landowners, like the Tutsis of Rwanda and the
Iberian-descended whites of much of Latin America. She
lumps them all together under the useful term
Chua begs off explaining why economic inequality exists
between hereditary groups. So let me offer a general
Creating wealth is difficult. People who have wealth
pass down their property, their genes, and their
techniques for preserving and multiplying wealth to
their descendents, rather than to strangers.
countries without a reliable system of equal justice
under the law, clannishness is particularly rational.
Businessmen must depend upon their extended families for
protection and enforcement of contracts. So they are
particularly loath to do serious business with people to
whom they have no ties of blood or marriage and who
would thus be more likely to stiff them on a deal.
"Globalization," or economic liberalization, tends to
make the poor majorities slightly richer and the "market
dominant minorities" vastly richer. Sometimes the masses
find this an acceptable tradeoff. But sometimes it
drives them into a fury.
Often, the minority`s post-globalization riches are
honestly earned, but not always. American-backed
privatization schemes in
Mexico put huge government enterprises into the
hands of the most economically nimble and politically
well-connected operators at give-away prices. (Chua and
her brave editor Adam Bellow, who published
The Bell Curve, deserve praise for calling
attention to the ethnic
makeup of the post-Soviet "oligarchs," something I
was completely unaware of.)
Chua, a professor at Yale Law School, is herself the
progeny of a market dominant minority: the Chinese of
the Philippines. Chinese-speakers make up only 1% or 2%
of the Philippines` population. But they own the
majority of the country`s business assets. They seclude
themselves in a luxurious world fenced off from the
indigenous majority, whom they hold in contempt and
wouldn`t dream of marrying.
Not surprisingly, the impoverished natives aren`t crazy
about the rich newcomers. Chua`s beloved aunt in Manila
was brutally murdered by her chauffeur. The unmotivated
cops made little effort to find him.
It`s definitely nicer to belong to the minority than to
the majority in these countries. But Chua makes clear
that, to Americans used to our norms of congeniality and
social equality, it would be an awfully depressing way
After anti-Chinese riots in 1969, the Malaysian majority
voted itself affirmative action at the expense of
the Chinese. Chua considers this quota system a success.
Malaysia has avoided subsequent violence.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the world`s pre-eminent
Muslim statesman (granted, the competition
isn`t stiff), has become disillusioned with his
plan. As he
put it recently: "I
feel disappointed because I achieved too little of my
principal task of making my race a successful race…"
The same week that President Bush tacitly
endorsed college admissions quotas, the
much grimmer example: Indonesia. The Chinese made up 3%
of its vast population, yet owned the great majority of
all businesses. The dictator Suharto, whose family had
lucrative ties to the Chinese community, fell in 1998.
Democratization set off a vicious pogrom against the
Chinese, many of whom fled to Chinese-majority
Singapore. The government expropriated $58 billion in
Not surprisingly, the native Indonesians proved inept at
running the businesses nationalized from the Chinese,
and the economy collapsed.
All of which leads to a disquieting conclusion: it can
be contradictory for America to demand that other
countries simultaneously free their economies and
democratize their politics.
are seeing this in Venezuela right now. The
Hugo Chavez is at war with the fair-skinned rich,
who want the national oil company privatized. The Bush
Administration ludicrously endorsed the white elite`s
coup against Chavez last spring as a "victory for
democracy," only to be
embarrassed when the majority rose up and
(Chua shows that all across South America since the year
2000, brown and black people are finally developing
ethnic self-consciousness and solidarity in the struggle
against the whites who have so easily held them down for
so long. This historical shift will probably be
reflected among Hispanic immigrants in the U.S., most
likely to the
electoral benefit of the Democrats. Similarly,
Beijing`s sponsorship of
anti-white racialism following Tiananmen Square has
translated into a shift to the Left among
That property rights and one man-one vote
democracy don`t always mix well would not have
Edmund Burke, or
Alexander Hamilton. Yet many Americans who call
themselves conservatives have forgotten this.
One reason: we are one of the fairly small number of
lucky countries with "market dominant majorities." We
can have our cake (capitalism) and eat it too
(democracy) because our majority group is economically
America`s perpetual trouble has been a less-productive
black minority. Black-white
economic inequality is not a problem that America is
going to be able to solve
any time soon. But, due to our market-dominant
majority, our country is rich enough to live with it.
contrast, if our current mass immigration system is
allowed to continue, America will become just another
country with a market dominant minority. Through
government policy, we will have inflicted upon ourselves
the kind of ugly society seen in most of the rest of the
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and