Lloyd-Jones vs Austin

Fri, 11 Apr 1997 01:58:45 EST5EDT
Terry Boswell (TBOS@social-sci.ss.emory.edu)

Academic debates are some of the most interesting features of an
email list. Unfortunately, the rapid yet faceless nature of email
tends to encourage an unintentional spiral of increasingly personal
attacks by otherwise rational scholars. It seems to me the latest
exchange has fallen into this whirlpool. The only way I know to
escape is to not respond in kind, that is, take the insult and not
reply. I realise this is difficult, but the last one to attack is
typically given the blame regardless of who made the first move.
Besides, defending one's honor is pointless anyway if everyone hits
"delete" as soon as they see your name.

There were some interesting points hidden in the discussion about
future wars and perhaps about the meaning and viability of historical
materialism. I would like to hear more about these topics. My own
impression is that the threat of China is greatly exaggerated. While
China has a very high growth rate, it is due in part to starting with
a low base and from having a previous bottled-up supply capacity now
uncorked. The level of development is still rather low and a long
way off from reaching core levels. To be sure, uneven development
means that certain areas will be highly developed, but that also
means that those developed pockets have room to expand. There were
some interesting scenarios about China accidently initiating a war
(over Hong Kong or Singapore), but I do not see how this compels a
major power conflict that would necessarily escalate into a global
war. That is, I do not see how it is comparable to the Balkans in


Terry Boswell
Department of Sociology
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322