Genghis Khan to Communism to Public Capitalism

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John Robb

JOURNAL: The Economic Juggernaut of Genghis Kahn

Global Guerrillas

Some fun thinking for Wednesday…

Here are some of the economic reforms that turned the horde of Genghis Kahn into a steamroller than flattened most of the world’s kingdoms/empires.*  He:

  1. Delayed gratification.  He banned the sacking of the enemy’s camp/city until all of the fleeing soldiers, baggage, etc. were rounded up.  This radically increased the loot accumulated and ensured it could be shared among all of the participants (he confliscated the wealth of those men that cheated by looting early).
  2. Systematically shared the loot based on contribution and merit.  He disregarded title or status and systematically rewarded loot to everyone in the horde that earned it (the traditional approach was to let a few take it all — sound familiar?).  Of course, that fairness pissed off the nobility since they were used to backroom dealing and hereditary rights.  However, the benefits of this system, were far greater than the costs.  To wit:  He cemented the loyalty of the men and was able to attract thousands to his banner for every noble lost.
  3. Protected those that make sacrifices.  For men killed in the campaign, he paid their share of loot to their widows/orphans posthumously.

*of course, the first unsaid lesson is:  attack the places with the most loot.

The economic strategy of Genghis Kahn works well against any corrupt, top-heavy system (loot rich targets that are defended by nobility + serfs).  Sounds somewhat similar to today’s global economic formula.  Of course, it’s also important to view this simple but effective strategy as something apart from the figure that used it. For example, a decent/moral decentralized system that replicates this merit based approach could reproduce some of the success Ghengis had against the feudal holdings and petty tyrannies of today’s marketplace.

Phi Beta Iota: Brother John raises the spectre of honorable leadership with integrity….that means no rule by secrecy, no earmarks, no back office deals.  Ronald Reagan (thank you Peggy Noonan) had it right: the US Congress [and Executive] is no better than the Soviet Politburo.  ALL “top down” elite systems have failed for lack of integrity (holistic informed analysis).  Populism failed as well–bottom up mobs are no better than corrupt elites for different reasons.  The combination of open information and honest crowds is ripe with potential.  The leaders that enable and empower the public, while revealing the “true cost” of predatory capitalism, virtual colonialism, and unilateral militarism, will go down in history as the Epoch B Founding Fathers.