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COMPARATIVE NATIONAL CULTURES

13 November 1957

 

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION--Colonel T. L. Crystal, Jr. , USAF,

Member of the Faculty, ICAF

 

SPEAKER--Dr. Carroll Quigley, Professor of History,

School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

 

GENERAL DISCUSSION

 

Publication No. L58-54
INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE OF THE ARMED FORCES
Washington, D. C.

 

General Discussion

 
COLONEL COOPER: Gentlemen, Dr. Quigley is ready for questions.
 
QUESTION: Sir, if I may be so impertinent as to say this, your stylized presentation that you made, as compared to the increase of knowledge, may change the time cycle as shown on your chart. I am leading to the knowledge you seem to have of the efforts in birth control and their effect on this demographic explosion. Will this increased knowledge change and compress the time cycle so that it can be done in appreciably less time than in past history.
 
DR. QUIGLEY: Being a historian and thus acquainted with the past rather than a fortune teller who can look into the future, I really cannot answer that question. It is true that many of these nations are trying--India and others, particularly Japan--to use birth control methods in order to reduce the impact of the demographic explosion. But that will alleviate, I think rather than change the order of things; and it will still leave many other problems of a major character, namely, for example, where do they get capital? They still have to get it out of their agricultural system.
 
So you can by such things as birth control and many other techniques alleviate this problem. I don't think, though I don't know this, that you can make any major rearrangement of the sequence. I hope you can. I don't want to be pessimistic. I think there is a solution for Asia. Last year, when I talked on this, I made a point which I neglected to make today. That is that in Asia they have a choice right now between using the method which the Russians are using, that is, to take it out of the hides of the peasantry, or adopt some new method, which is not the American method. The American way of life is not exportable to these people, it seems to me, because of this sequence of the arrangement. They have in Asia today the example of China, which is copying the Russian method, and the example of India, which is fumbling around trying to find the third way. And I think this is the most critical problem of that whole area: Will China or will India, by conclusively demonstrating that it is superior, lead to a kind of panic to adopt and follow their procedures? If China wins out, I think we will be in a very serious situation with the whole buffer fringe that may go to the Communist bloc simply because they have to adopt the Communist method if it works.
 
QUESTION: On this chart of the demographic cycle I was interested in Asia, where you said the demographic explosion is yet to come. Is this a sort of second cycle? Was that earlier invasion of Europe by the Mongol hordes an expression of another demographic explosion in earlier years?
 
DR. QUIGLEY: No. These things don't happen over the weekend. They don't even happen in a year's time. The demographic explosion in Asia has definitely already started, but it is going to get worse. But I simply divided this up into 50-year periods, and I don't want to put it at 1950, because the real impact is in the future. So I made it the year 2000. But the one that has begun now is the same one which will hit in a real blow some time in the future.
 
QUESTION: Is this a repeat cycle from the old cycle of the hordes that came over to Europe? 
 
DR. QUIGLEY: No. They were forced out not by a rise in population, but by the drying up of Asia. In other words, when the desert areas of Asia dried, the Desert of Gobi became larger, and that forced pastoral peoples outward. They either went down into China, as the Huns did in the year 300, or they came westward toward Europe. That was climate rather than population.
 
QUESTION: Do you foresee any possibility of these buffer states to have enough room to increase productivity on existing land as they come to the agricultural revolution ahead of the Industrial Revolution and therefore provide the capital and manpower to do the job in the future?
 
DR. QUIGLEY: I feel pretty strongly that they must get the agricultural revolution before the Industrial Revolution if they are going to do it in a non-Communist way.
 
Now, the situation is diverse. In China there isn't available land. In India there is a large quantity of available land. In the Near East, in the Arabic countries, there really isn't much land. But there are ways in which they can increase it, because there are many of those areas, for example, the Islamic countries, which have rather low food productivity now, but which had much higher food productivity 2,000 years ago. Simply copying what the Romans found when they went there would be a very helpful thing. The people of Israel are trying to do that, as you know, in Neguib and the southern desert-and other places. So the problem differs from area to area. On the whole, except for India and Ceylon, I wouldn't say that there's much spare land, but that does not mean that the problem is insoluble.
 
QUESTION: In your chart that you put on the screen, the development sequence of the Western group as against the buffer fringe seemed to be somewhat different in terms of timing. Could you relate the principal development of those two together in terms of approximate times? I realize that the last two in the buffer fringe--
 
DR. QUIGLEY: You mean I didn't date the ones in the buffer fringe?
 
QUESTION: Yes. I was trying to tie the two together.
 
DR. QUIGLEY: Well, the reason I didn't date them was because they are all in the last 150 years. In other words, the Empress of China went in to open up China in 1794, Perry went to Japan in 1854, and so forth. So it's all the last 150 years or at least the last 200 years for the developments in the buffer fringe. And when you look at that diagram, please be aware that this is a rigid, much oversimplified thing. If I have to talk about it in only 50 or 60 minutes, I have to oversimplify it.
 
QUESTION: You stated that stage D of the demographic cycle was theoretically based on extrapolations from the previous stages. Don't we have a preview of that in Ireland? From what I have read about it, they have a low birth rate
and--
 
DR. QUIGLEY: Yes. In other words, Western Europe seems already to be approaching this. You may remember that the French General Staff has been worried for more than 50 years, going back to 1910 or even earlier, over the fact that the birth rate in France was falling while the birth rate in Germany didn't seem to be falling. So there were bound to be many more Germans in the future and many fewer Frenchmen. It is quite true that in the extreme western edges of Western Europe we already see it. We don't see it just in Ireland. It's also true in Brittany, and it's probably true in places like Galicia and Spain. Why it is true on the western edges I don't know. But you can observe the beginnings of it there.
 
QUESTION: You say on the one hand that the American way of life is not exportable. At the same time we as a Nation seem to be encouraging our private capital to go abroad, to make investments in these foreign countries, these underdeveloped countries. Presumably the export of our capital , our dollars, carries with it some strings which could tend to impose on these countries some measure of the American way of life. Are these two situations compatible, or fundamentally is it possible that the export of our capital may not be as wise as it sounds?
 
DR. QUIGLEY: This once again is the result of oversimplification. American capital can go abroad, but it isn't really used in the American way. To give you an example: If American capital goes abroad and goes into mining or goes into industry, the whole ways in which it is used are not the ways it is used here. For example, in the mines, let us say, of southern Africa you bring the natives on a 3-, or 4-, or 5-year contract, lock them up in a compound, feed them, and take entire care of them. That's the method adopted by Cecil Rhodes some 50 or 60 years ago, you see. That isn't the American way of doing mining, even though, they are using American capital, as they must use capital if they are going to industrialize. Or again in other parts of the buffer fringe you will get a great deal of part-time labor. Even where people come to work in industry, as in India, they do not leave the farm. They are still peasants. They take off in the harvest season. They take off in the planting season. They come back to work. You never know whether you have them or not. So the whole labor problem, the whole technology problem, and many other things are quite different from what they are in America. And when I say that the American way of life isn't exportable, what I mean is that when we go abroad, let's look at what is there, see what their problems are, see what solutions are feasible in terms of what is available, and do not go out there, as so many Americas do, saying: "We've got to make nice little Americans out of them"; getting out at the 5-o'clock whistle and rushing home to look at TV or something like that. That's what I meant really by that.
 
QUESTION: You mentioned that the overthrow of the ruling group in China was a result of the mass arming of the peasants, as opposed to what is taking place in western Asia. Do you have in mind primarily our military aid programs? If so, are we in fact contributing to the creation of revolution rather than maintaining stability , as intended by these programs?
 
DR. QUIGLEY: No. I was referring to something earlier than this. You notice that in the buffer fringe sequence the first  one here is weapons. I was referring rather to the fact that the Chinese Government armed its own peasantry not with a modern, specialized weapon so much as they did with the earlier amateur weapons, simply the rifle. Now, if a government begins to get the modern, specialized weapons, then it will again be in a position to oppress its own people and thus adopt the Russian system, which is that the Russian ruling group, with specialized weapons, can force the peasantry to give up most of what they produce, to pay a 60 percent or larger turnover tax on the consumer goods they buy, and so forth. Now, this process of giving weapons into the hands of the lower classes, which leads to the overthrow of the upper class, was true in the Far East. It was true in much of the Malay area. It has not yet been true in India. There are very peculiar reasons there--Gandhi and so forth. It certainly has not been true in the Near East, where the Arab governments still have the weapons and the Arab peasants do not have them and cannot get them. And when the government finally does get armored cars and tanks and these other things, some of which they do have, I don't see how the peasant will be able to resist them if he is able to get, let us say, a revolver. It depends on the guerrilla thing. The ability of the guerrillas in southeast Asia and Morocco to withstand modern specialized weapons is to me most reassuring in terms of the future of democracy, although it may seem to most of you as military men a very bad situation , because as military men you would prefer a situation where the military could impose their will upon the people. But I, as a defender of liberty, prefer a situation where the ordinary individual can tell any government, "I won't. " "No" is a beautiful word except when it's from the lips of a beautiful woman.
 
COLONEL COOPER: Dr. Quigley, I will not attempt to pull a Tom Crystal act here. I'd just like to say that you have shown a great depth of knowledge of your subject, which has been presented in a most excellent manner. Thank you very much.

 

End - Back to Lectures

 

 

Professor Quigley of Georgetown University

 


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