Montag, August 15, 2011

An Interesting Twist...

Recent events have made it partially clear what is wrong in Great Britain:

"England is a nation of shopkeepers."

While generally attributed to Napoleon I, it is based on what Adam Smith wrote:

"To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers."  — Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Glasgow edition, 1976), Book IV, section vii. c.

Napoleon's quote is more to the point.

Back then, however, Napoleon was wrong: Great Britain, though with a much smaller population (half that of France in the day), had a superior manufacturing base and the "nation of shopkeepers" trounced the French. The same view was held by many Germans before WW2, belittling the ability of the UK to field a modern army. They were also wrong.


Goodness. Read this to understand that, if anything, Great Britain today is indeed a nation of shopkeepers, unable to assert itself in the face of what amounts to an assault on the core structure of any society.

It's an interesting twist: a general judgement of foreigners (Smith, after all, was Scottish) about the English turns out, after generations of being proved time and time again to be wrong, to be right.

Let's just hope for the case of the residents of the UK that it doesn't take generations to claw back their rights to not be intimidated by yobs and prove all those foreigners wrong. That would be the true tragedy.

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