I put this in the philosophy section because it is vaugely philosophical.
If you can think of a better forum for it, please move it or tell a mod.
I developed, upon thinking about one of the running arguments I have going on here at frihost, a line of development evey nation undergoes.
There are four 'ages' a society or nation goes through:
The expansionist age describes countries that have yet to use up their natural resources. These countries are prone to religious extremisim, but are usualy peacefull, often engaging little in forign trade.
Examples of this expansionist nations:
Pre-civil war USA
-Nations enter this age immidiately after being organized
The imperial age describe nations that have exausted too many of their resources to continue to live off of them. These nations are prone to wars of conquest, and sometimes amass great power. They often create infastructures that will outlast them in order to trade with their colonies. Nations in this age are prone to slavery.
Examples of Imperial nations:
Post-civil war USA
USSR (The USSR was just exiting the imperial age during the cold war)
-Nations enter this age because they need more raw materials. If a nation has no organized neighbors at this point, it will expand peacefully utill it meets neighbors.
The industrial age describes nations that have begun to produce goods from imported raw materials as a way of life. Agriculture will begin to decline during this age. These nations are prone to nationalisim, but result in technological advancement.
Examples of industrial nations:
Pre-Information age USA
Modern Japan (Japan is on it's way out of the industrial age)
-Nations enter this age when people look for more efficient ways to process imported goods. Nations can also enter this age at any time by being traded with by an information age nation.
The information age describes nations that export mainly information. No countries are full in the information age yet, but several are getting there. An information age nation exports manufacturing expertise to industrial nations in return for finished products and raw materials. Manufacturing declines in this age.
Examples of emerging information age nations:
Modern Western Europe
-Nations enter this age when the cost of labor inside the nation are vastly higher than it's trading partners. (A result of the idustrial age.)
Please tell me what you think of this theory!
Suggestions of ways to fine-tune it and polish it would be nice as well.
instead of being locked in an age, nations are more different percentages in different ones. i mean nations start trading long before they use up their resources. and surrounding/intereacting nations have a lot of sway on where a country sits in the scale(you vaguely addressed this).
nations in the expansionist age will start trading as soon as they meet others.
and religous extremism is more based on how/how quickly information is spread between citizens than how developed a nation is (though has some influence on information spread/exchange)
Interesting, but there are some problems.
Where cultures are at different levels of development, the development of the 'lesser' cultures will inevitably be influenced to a great extent by the more developed cultures around them. Normally this is an exploitative and highly damaging interaction for the less developed culture (in fact I can think of no exception to that). Less developed cultures can only go through a natural development process if they are hidden, protected or remote from more developed cultures, because otherwise a strange mish-mash will occur - like the Aborignal Australian with a painted face and body, carrying a spear in the outback and listening to his IPOD as he strolls on...(that is an example from personal experience).
Imperialism happened in Europe long before natural resources were a critical issue. The driving factor was largely greed rather than need.
Is China more nationalist than, say, the US ? I would argue not.
It is interesting, but I have seen other samples of "nation evolution steps" somewhere... Where any civilization would go through a golden age of about 300 years then fade into anarchy or decadence. That was interesting too, as it applies up to now to most past and even present civilizations.
Thanks for the pointers; keep 'em coming.
It sounds very plausible to me - although it could probably be broken up into many smaller units and transitional phases. Overall it sums it up quite nicely, I think.