Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Pride and the Art of the Possible Don't Always Mix

There was an interesting conversation (scroll down) over at the UB Post about foreign investment in Mongolia. Basically, several commentators are seem pleased that Mongolia plans to instate what some view as prohibitively high tax rates on foreign investors. This, they believe, allows Mongolia to maintain a degree of economic self-determination. Understandably, much of their oposition to more competetive tax rates seems rooted in misplaced national pride.

Anyway, Jay, one of the guys who is for lower tax rates, brought up a great point in answer to this sentiment:
Foreign investment will not only jump-start the economy by providing immediate employment, but also help establish an industrial base in Mongolia. This means that factories will be built, workers will be trained, and technical knowhows will be provided. Although the bulk of the profit generated from the operations in Mongolia may be repatriated back to such countries as Canada and the U.S., foreign investment in general will be good this country in the long run. With a sound industrial base and a strong and skillful workforce, Mongolia will fare much better than it does right now.
Exactly. Let me add: I'm an American and I love my country. Of course, I want the best for my country in all circumstances. But there are sometimes when America can't get wants and has to settle for what's possible. That's why politics has been called "the art of the possible." I think that everyone who loves Mongolia--I include myself in that category as someone whose wife is a Mongolian patriot--has to have the same attitude. It is a fact, of course, the Mongolia doesn't get its way as often as the USA gets theirs, but the principle is the same: it gets what it can when it can. And when it can't, it must consider the option of settling for what's possible (as opposed to what's most desireable).

Unfortunately, Mongolia is not currently in a position in which it can always dictate the terms most favorable to itself. As I've noted before, it's a classic case of Thucydides' maxim: the powerful do what they want, the weak do what they can. If Mongolia is to grow economically, there's going to have to be a lot of doing what they can. It's a short-run difficulty. And, as any patriot knows, the national pride will take a few lumps. But it's the first step that every fledgling country has had to take--history teaches us that America was no exeception--on the way to long-term growth and advancement.

1 Comments:

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