My Photo

Core topic

« Optimism thwarted | Main | "Endemic surveillance" »

01/03/2008

Comments

dan tdaxp

Good post. Thank you for the link.

Core and Gap are intermediate variables. They explain variation well. [1] But as you point out, being "Core" or "Gap" is not some platonic nature of a country, but rather a snapshop of where (or rather how) it is.

Certainly the problems of Pakistan are different from the problems of Lebanon. Indeed, I've examined these differences before on my blog, arguing that the African and Islamic Gaps require different approaches [2].

You raise a number of supporting points that we can discuss if you wish. For instance, both constitutional discrimination against Shia Muslims and for Catholics and Sunni Muslims in Lebanon, as well as the legacy of the failed nation-building projects in Africa, are important factors.

The collapse of Islamic civilization and the rise of the West you mention is puzzling, but I agree that it happened. Probably a lot of things affected that. But the important thing is that it happened.

You're right that the core/gap model is simialr to other world-spanning theories [3,4]. Good catch.


[1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/05/18/redefining-the-gap-11-results.html
[2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2007/11/03/all-right-who-s-first-africa-or-the-islamic-world.html
[3] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/05/11/redefining-the-gap-4-first-geopolitical-theories.html
[4] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/10/22/marxism-barnettism-tpbm-s-marxist-roots.html

Chris Albon

Good post. I am glad to see there are others to this Gap idea is nonsense.

Just a small example, Botswana has been stable and peaceful since its independence (and well before that), yet gets placed into "the Gap".

To say the problems facing Botswana's government (i.e. attracting new corporations investors, bringing quality health care to rural communities) have anything in common with the problems facing Iraq or Lebanon's government (i.e. surviving the next year, defeating a well supported insurgency) comes from sheer ignorance or rampant reductivism.

Chris Albon

Edit:

I am glad to see there are others who think this Gap idea is nonsense.

Alex

Also, there is no way in which South Africa is part of "the Gap". Nor are Israel, Egypt or Jordan, all of which are in your geographical definition. The Cape of Good Hope has never been part of any Gap since da Gama, for very good strategic reasons.

dan tdaxp

Chris & Alex,

South Africa and Botswana at at places 121 and 124, respectively, of the United Nations Human Development Index. Both are better places than Cambodia or Pakistan. But not as good as Jordan, Palestine, or Syria. [1]

Chris,

"Just a small example, Botswana has been stable and peaceful since its independence (and well before that), yet gets placed into "the Gap"."

Yes, and here's why. [2]

Alex,

"Also, there is no way in which South Africa is part of "the Gap". "

Then what countries would be, and what is your requirement for determining this?

It seems you can either attack a categorization scheme by claiming that it does not explain the variation it should, or else that some other scheme explains it better. Which line of attack do you use?


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index
[2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/05/16/redefining-the-gap-9-methods-and-operationalizations.html

J.

I have never liked the Gap theory either. It was just too pat and condescending for my tastes, and IMHO, was developed to justify the SysAdmin theory that really can't be implemented.

sglover

Jargonized 'Gap/Core' hokum used to inspire nothing but scorching disdain, but now I see that Barnett's managed to turn his obfuscating magic into the only thing that matters -- access to more of that sweet, endless DoD money. "Development-in-a-Box" (tm!!!!!!) -- that is truly some planet-sized bullshittery.

Hey, why can't we include HTML tags in our comments? I wanted to include a link to Barnett's "Enterra" chop shop.

Jay

A fair question: Have any of the above critics actually read Barnett beyond occasioning his blog?

sglover

"A fair question: Have any of the above critics actually read Barnett beyond occasioning his blog?"

I skim-read his original, over-rated bestseller. I tried to actually read it, until the clunky jargonizing finally became too much. I came away from the experience convinced that Barnett indulges in the awful prose not because his "ideas" are so profound, but rather because they're so vacuous or impractical or unoriginal or all of the above.

You might want to visit the "Stiftung Leo Strauss" blog. The author of the site has had the dubious privilege of actually attending one of Barnett's PowerPoint extravaganzas. He has some particularly interesting things to say about Barnett's tendency to indulge in bogus and maudlin victimization ploys.

If Barnett hadn't wormed his way into the Pentagon honey trough, he'd be selling used cars.

The comments to this entry are closed.