Spain vs Italy

10 posts

President Camacho
Thomas777 Roland niccolo and donkey Bronze Age Pervert Broseph Theo popfop Asterion

Topic spilled over from SB.

Spengler contrasts the 3 Faustian peoples-- Spaniards, Englishmen, and Prussians-- who supplied the world with universal ideas (ultramontanism, capitalism, and socialism, respectively) with the parochial and less dynamic cultures of Italy and France. From Prussiandom and Socialism:
Bronze Age Pervert

Came in expecting post on soccer, left disappointed...


This is still true today, Spain is very powerful.

Niccolo and Donkey
I, on the other hand, am relieved.
President Camacho

Contrasting the anarchic French culture with the hierarchical English and Prussian (the former based on wealth, the latter on authority) cultures:

President Camacho

Among the American Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton advocated for "Prussian"-style economic organization, with government investment in infrastructure, a strategic national tariff system, and a central bank authority designed to subsidize productive output rather than stock market speculation. See the "American School" of economics. While styling himself as the consumate Anglo-Saxon gentleman as was the norm among his contemporaries, Hamilton often revealed his strong preference for authoritarian measures (ie, during the Whiskey Rebellion) in lieu of parliamentarian faction.

"English" capitalism-- stressing the unregulated "free market" and private wealth accumulation through investment-- was exemplified best by Ben Franklin, especially, as Weber noted, in his maxims and instructions laid out within Poor Richard's Almanack . Franklin was also a master of the parliamentary style of politics, in which the business of the state is synonymous with the business of private individuals. In the days leading up to the secession of the colonies, Pitt the Elder's carriage was a regular sight outside of Franklin's London townhome, in a series of last ditch attempts to parlay with the American for peace-- and also to drop him the occasional stock tip for the London exchange. Franklin remained close friends with his British political enemies both during and after the Revolutionary War.

The "anarchic" French economic impulse was best personified by Thomas Jefferson--infamous among his political enemies as a rabid supporter of Revolutionary France-- who preached constantly against both capitalist AND State hegemony while championing a sort of parochial syndicalism. Jefferson romantically envisioned a nation of small landowning farmers working in relative isolation-- even though, even in TJ's era, the agrarian economy was rapidly becoming dominated by large slaveholding plantation owners like Jefferson himself.


This is great. We can also describe them via economists.

Prussia: Fichte (Closed Commercial State) then Muller then List (also in America w Hamilton)

England: Smith obv

France: I reckon a pendulum btwn Colbert's Mercantilism and then the English Agent Physiocrats like Say.

You could make this comparison but I think there are strong differences; there is a reason a reason it is referred to as the American System of Economics. I don't think the Hamiltonian program represents something more Prussian than it is English. The National Bank system he proposed, for example, consisted of a private development bank capitalized mostly by tax revenue but whose proceeds were pocketed privately and whose banknotes would circulate at a tax privilege. I can't remember where I read it (really wish I could remember now) but the initial capitalization of the bank took $2mln from the state and $8mln from private investors, but the $8mln was actually pledged in the form of IOUs, the time-frame for whose eventual payment was unsurprisingly very relaxed. Meaning that the Bank got started basically for free for its investors. The First National Bank thus represented an opportunity for financiers to buy in at $0 both to profit from lending and guide the growth of the economy toward their preferences.The English also had a private national bank which functioned differently in some aspects, serving more to fund the government than to guide industry.

There are definite similarities in terms of policy between the Hamiltonian program and a traditionally Prussian program but the worldview of the former still seems to be English. Hamilton's bank took government authority and transformed it into an instrument of private profit-making, above which there was effectively no guiding pole, despite all the fancy talk of civic virtue; it's based on a Mandevillian worldview, whereas I would think a Prussian development bank would lend out and then put the repaid funds toward state expenditures or something. Lyndon LaRouche always liked to ascribe pure and Continental values to Hamilton and his intellectual successors (Henry Clay, McKinley, etc.), believing that everywhere and anywhere Centralization represents a step against Int'l Plutocracy. It's easy to see why he would think that, as the idea of having a Nat'l Bank to subsidize industry is not very English. But based on the above reasons maybe it's not Prussian either but simply American.

Good post. But I think the comparison with Prussia is in the area of Trade. Hamilton's aggressive protection and creation of domestic industry is very Prussian. As is his position on tarriffs etc.

And it think we don't want to buy the English story as to what they actually did. They peddled a Smithian laissez-faire ideology to everyone else, but in practice they were anything but.

I have only recently come to appreciate how European History from Elizabeth onwards was the story of England ruthlessly exploiting its geographic and manufacturing advantage via subversion on the continent.