November 04, 2007
MENA Idiocies overheard
Actually - I do bloody swear - at my hotel lobby this evening:
Group of Americans (I presume given where I am business or American development assistance people) talking:
"You know there has never been a war between two countries with Mc Donalds"
[blithering on about McDo]
"We should work harder to get McDonalds in these [presumably MENA] countries, and the culture of getting along will improve [or grow, frankly I forget the precise wording]"
Ensued was a long, statistically illiterate discussion on the impact of FDI and peace, politics, pro Americanness, etc. which provoked a deep desire to jump and shot "Black Swan, Nassim Taleb" and obscenities.
As I have to suspect the American government subsidized or otherwise promoted this illiteracy, I give my condolences to those who tax payments are subsidizing sheer idiocy... (although frankly the understanding of the limited applicability of certain kinds of observations or stat analysis is not politically driven so I have to limit my ranting)
TrackBack URL for this entry:
It's worse than you think. I think the McDonalds thing was something Friedman said. It's also pretty much false. To my knowledge there's a McDonalds in Belgrade but that didn't stop the U.S. from bombing the crap out of Yugoslavia/Serbia.
Posted by: Anonymous at November 4, 2007 09:27 PM
I think the Serbs had a Burger King and that might have offset the Ronald McDonald effect.
In some weird way there is a minor truth buried in there sort of, about the salutary effects of mass consumer economics. The most multicultural place on earth I ever saw was a McDonalds in Dubai.
Posted by: matthew hogan at November 5, 2007 02:19 AM
I distinctly remember eating a McSomething in Beirut, and I'm pretty sure they have restaurants in Israel too. So if the McPeace thesis survived the Balkan wars, it definitely died in 2006.
Anyway, about the truth buried in there, it's not so minor. I think it was Bastiat who said something along the lines of "if goods do not cross borders, soldiers will", and Voltaire quipped something even smarter about how the stock exchange is the only place where Christian, Muslim and Jew get along fine -- and "the bankrupt is the only infidel". I prefer those to Friedman's hamburger theory.
Posted by: alle at November 5, 2007 04:17 AM