COMPARATIVE NATIONAL CULTURES
13 November 1957
Member of the Faculty, ICAF
School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.
INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE OF THE ARMED FORCES
Washington, D. C.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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