the three most powerful forces
operating in the world today:
markets, democracy and ethnic hatred.
There exists today a phenomenon – pervasive outside the west yet rarely acknowledged, indeed often viewed as taboo – that turns free market democracy into an engine of ethnic conflagration. I am speaking of the phenomenon of market-dominant minorities: ethnic minorities who, for varying reasons, tend under market conditions to dominate economically, often to a startling extent, the indigenous majorities.
Market-dominant minorities can be found in every part of the world. The Chinese are a market-dominant minority throughout southeast Asia. In 1998, Chinese Indonesians, only 3 per cent of the population, controlled roughly 70 per cent of the private economy, including all of the big conglomerates. In Myanmar, the Chinese dominate the economies of Mandalay and Rangoon. Whites are a market-dominant minority in South Africa – and, in a more complex sense, in Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala and much of Latin America. Indians have historically been a market-dominant minority in east Africa, the Lebanese in west Africa and the Ibo in Nigeria. Croats were a market-dominant minority in Yugoslavia, as Jews are in post-communist Russia (six of the seven biggest “oligarchs” are of Jewish origin). India has no market-dominant minority at the national level but plenty at the state level.
Market-dominant minorities are the Achilles heel of free market democracy. In societies with such a minority, markets and democracy favour not just different people or different classes but different ethnic groups. Markets concentrate wealth, often spectacular wealth, in the hands of the market-dominant minority, while democracy increases the political power of the impoverished majority. In these circumstances, the pursuit of free market democracy becomes an engine of potentially catastrophic ethnonationalism, pitting a frustrated indigenous majority, easily aroused by opportunistic politicians, against a resented, wealthy ethnic minority. This conflict is playing out in country after country today, from Bolivia to Sierra Leone, from Indonesia to Zimbabwe, from Russia to the middle east.
Since 11th September, the conflict has been brought home to the US. Americans are not an ethnic minority. But Americans are perceived as the world’s market-dominant minority, wielding disproportionate economic power. As a result, they have become the object of the same kind of popular resentment that afflicts the Chinese of southeast Asia, the whites of Zimbabwe, and the Jews of Russia. ...
--AskThePinoy in The Filopino -- quoting Amy Chua in Prospect magazine UK.
hat tip to Romel Tavares Bagares
-- posted here by Politicarp