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>I think the point isn't that totalitarian states won't last: we know
>that.  The point is that those trying to establish a totalitarian
>state can do a hell of a lot of damage to the rest of us before they

That's not clearly true.  The totalitarian states we know of developed years
ago in a much less fluid environment.

A few years ago, there was a UK TV drama about a contemporary Labour Party
Prime Minister.  In the course of the show, the new PM announced that he
would immediately impose exchange controls to "keep money in Britain."
(This was written before the real Labour Party officially eschewed exchange
controls in a furtue Labour government.)  The joke is that two weeks before
the election of a Labour PM, all the loose investment funds would have left
the UK anyway.  Nothing left to block.

I think that a *new* totalitarian state would have a hell of a time
borrowing money and all of the existing states are cash poor.  They need to
borrow.  They don't want to be distracted by rioting pensioners.  Even the
secret police don't work for free.  Currency devaluation would hurt as well.

After all, there can't be a totalitarian state that doesn't massively change
(introduce uncertainly into) the conduct of life and business in its country
(and if it is large, in the world).  Markets have a way of dealing with
uncertainty.  Capital flight (seeking safer investments) and high interest
rates (to compensate for risk).