how to organize society
May 12, 2011 4:56 AM   Subscribe

He misses the part where the foreign fishermen buy out the shaman.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 5:36 AM on May 12, 2011 [4 favorites]

You know, Stiglitz's article is right that Mauritius is an interesting place. However, his article includes so little detail, it might as well be a PR piece.

"Mauritians have chosen a path that leads to higher levels of social cohesion, welfare, and economic growth – and to a lower level of inequality."

Good for them. Yet Siglitz never tells us what that path is is and why it's relevant to us. Sigh.
posted by honest knave at 6:12 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's a parable of my own: once there was an economist who wrote trite question-begging pieces instead of reasoned essays. This made people sad, so they asked Joe in Australia what to do. He suggested that they hire someone to slap the economist on the top of his head whenever he tried to write a parable. They did this and it worked. It worked so well that they were all very happy. And the economist was happy too, and so were a bunch of other guys, and everybody lived happily ever after. The end.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:18 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

The economics of a parable are easily computed in terms of its coordiantes, eg the focus and "directory".
posted by Wolfdog at 6:59 AM on May 12, 2011

The problem with the Mauritius Miracle is that we can't all be tax havens.
posted by Copronymus at 8:35 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

we can't all be tax havens.

It worked for Ireland! Right?
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:01 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

The problem in Ireland is that the government assumed the debt from their failing banks. Iceland was in a very similar situation (low tax rates and all), but they refused to cover foreign losses and are growing now.

Islands like Ireland, Iceland and Mauritius are an interesting edge case because they're big enough to have substantial economies, but small enough to keep complexity under control. It must be so much harder to manage the economy of big, sprawling nations. The sheer size of modern populations and the diverse geographical areas would make it pretty tough to figure out who the villagers are in the first place, never mind what compromises and regulations would be in their collective best interest.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:26 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Mauritius and Botswana are the only great success stories from African independence and the darlings of development economists. And they're both tiny.
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 2:12 PM on May 12, 2011

I don't get the "happily ever after" part. The village's economic troubles couldn't have possibly ended there. Was that supposed to be sarcastic?
posted by majonesing at 8:00 PM on May 12, 2011

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