Is the title of an op-ed by Dinesh D’Souza that really says nothing we don’t already know but says it in an interesting way. He argues that the West became rich and powerful, not through exploitation of the poor and weak, but because of a confluence of unique institutions:

Oppression and exploitation, however, were not the cause of Western success; they were the fruits of that success. Those who say America and the West have grown rich at their expense are simply wrong. The real cause of Western wealth and power is the dynamic interaction of science, capitalism and democracy. Working together, these institutions have created our commercial, technological, participatory society.

FILED UNDER: Democracy, Political Theory,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Hanah says:

    It’s the name of a whole book, which I have not read. But people say it’s very good.

  2. John Lemon says:

    The obvious point here is that if countries get rich via exploitation, there should have been a lot more wealthier countries in the world historically, and many of them should have preceeded Europe/US, which were relatively latecomers on the “world exploitation” stage. One could argue for new “technologies of exploitation” (e.g., the MNC), but why bother? Those people are just dolts.

  3. harm d. says:

    You mean the imperialist peegs got rich on account of work, political freedom & a workable economic model?

    Awww; these guys never get to have any fun…

    The likes of Gulag architects, Maoist crckpots & Khmer Rouge loyalists sure do know something a little about exploitation, though. Maybe we should inquire for some hints on how to more effectively a) murder people while b) concentrating wealth & power into the hands of a ruling clique.

  4. It boils down to the idea that if you have a piece of lemon meringue pie, you must have taken it from someone else.

    It never occurs to this sort of person that you might have actually baked the damned thing.