The Curious Absence of American Emulationists in the Third World

The Curious Absence of American Emulationists in the Third World, by Bryan Caplan.

After World War II, virtually every Third World country had a major political faction that looked on the Soviet Union as a model society. What path should their nation take? The answer was obvious: Emulate the Soviet Union. …

But there’s a stark asymmetry. While most Third World countries had a faction that wanted to ally with the U.S., few had factions that emphasized their desire to emulate the United States.

Commenter Steve F. writes:

How a society is made better by an invisible hand of freely acting individuals is not intuitive to the human mind.

How a society is made better by a group using force to mandate its morality does make intuitive sense to the human mind.

The former works and the latter doesn’t, but the results are too isolated from the ideas, so where the former ideal hasn’t taken root in the society already, people tend to follow the Marxist idea that makes most intuitive sense instead of the Smithian one that yields the best results.

The advantages of free markets and competition are more difficult to understand. No wonder they took longer to emerge, and only appeal to more advanced societies. And makes it harder to be non-left.

hat-tip Matthew