Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I wonder...

I have noted, with more than a little amusement, US conservative commentators seeking to blame the last Democrat president, Bill Clinton, for China moving away from it’s ‘communist’ past. My apologies here, I would have thought these people would have seen turning communism as a joyous event.

But of course nothing is that simple.

  • Point one is that Bill C, like his wife, is nothing more than an opportunist; a loveable opportunist to some but still an opportunist.
  • Point two is that the road to capitalism for China started well before Bill came along.
  • Point three is that China still has a long way to go before they really reach an effective transition to the effective totalitarian capitalist manipulation.

The last is not the sort of goal many of us would wish, but it is well developed and the mandarin emperors simply can’t even grasp the basics. Having won the Olympics China can enforce building an infrastructure faster than any other any of their predecessors. Good on them, but they miss the point.

The Olympics is the paramount PR event of our time, but China misses this great opportunity because the country’s administration simply can’t move beyond crude bully control tactics to some sort of, quasi-sophisticated bully tactics.

Some footage from Central China TV today underlines my point. They showed constructed video of how China might deal with a range of security issues. The answer I should add was ruthlessly. But it did look like they were doing a Hollywood prep in case things became too boring.

China has also limited non Chinese tickets to about 25% for venues. Well they are a big country, and I don’t want a ticket, but I wonder about the PR image of that limitation on a world full of sports fans. China is currently building a small city every month at the moment, but can’t accommodate visitors.

The latest news is that they are banning the import of specific national foods for contestants. I’m sorry, but I can’t see any great difference now from the control freaks that have always controlled China. I don’t think the country will remain intact for more than a decade or so, but you can’t say they didn’t have their chance.

Sorry, I drifted off the Clinton issue there. The point being the US is in deep shit economically because no one seems to understand that we aren’t being screwed by ‘isms. I have a soft spot for Bill, (I think he was really a great politician - note the was) but he was still an integeral part of the decay.

It is not about socialism, communism, capitalism, globalism or any other ism, except perhaps opportunism . It is about plain “I will win because I am the best bully’ (expletives deleted). I wonder constantly why a few hundred bullies still manage to intimidate the billions…


lindsaylobe said...

I favor India to China for the reasons you mention.

Following India’s bloody partition I think it has embraced its independence to develop rapidly into a significant world democracy capable of achieving sustainable annual growth rates of 8%.

Although China has emerged from the terrible post Mao period of de humanization and the 'Cultural Revolution' to achieve even greater rates of 10-11% it seems that remnants remain, for whilst acknowledging significant developments for the better there remains corruption and dislocations.
Unlike China India has developed its own unique home spun dynamic intellectual capital arising primarily from its investment in education whilst retaining its history and traditions. It does not rely on foreign investment for their future growth anywhere near the extent of China nor has alienated its workforce or seen peasantry exploitation.

I think it has the ability more so than China to enhance the well-being of its population, to reduce prejudices and to assist those impoverished areas of population dependant on subsistence agriculture.

By a coincidence both powers still have about 50%of their population engaged in peasant farming, but this is reducing substantially as both are rapidly resembling or attempting to emualate modern day western economies.

The difference in china is there increased growth rates are at the expense of the environment and occupational heath and safety.Even so there are postive signs emerging n China. We should be investing more in clean technologies which we can export to China.

It will be interesting to see what finally emerges but I think politically we should be forging much stronger ties with India.

Best wishes

TomCat said...

Frankly, I don't consider the US a capitalist country. Capitalism requires genuine competition, and we have that only at a local level and there only to a small degree. In China party insiders run the show with a heavy hand. Here, it used to be more of a velvet gloved tyranny, per de Tocqueville, but the glove is coming off.

Cart said...

Lindsay, I can’t argue with any of that… I don’t have any great problem in dealing with China, except my expectation that the country is going to undergo some massive changes and possible breakup. I guess that just means a rough patch but business as usual for resources.
But the fact is we do have strong cultural ties with India, as does Canada (even without the cricket). Rudd must have been in pig heaven when he found departments already forging essential economic and development ties with India.
I’m often amused here when some of the locals throw insults at my Sikh cobber. Unlike them he has served in the Australian army and can actually speak decent English. We often laugh about that over a beer.

“Capitalism requires genuine competition, and we have that only at a local level and there only to a small degree.” Tom, having researched and written on a transition period in Australia, the introduction of the ‘competition policy’, I’m not convinced by the first part of that. Mind you, I haven’t dismissed the idea; I just need to chew on it.
The qualifying comment reminded me of a discussion I had with my daughter, living now in Boston. She was actually in Eugene when she first moved to the US. So my politically astute daughter insisted that real democracy in the US exists at local level, and diminishes as you approach federal level. It almost suggests a structural anomaly.

abi said...

Agreed on your point about those "isms" you mention not being to blame, altho the Clintons' sure are well versed in opportunism.

To me, the most destructive ism we face is corporatism.

TomCat said...

There's plenty of party machine at State lever here, Cart. In Portland, local offices are officially non-partisan, but take that with a wink and a nod.

D.K. Raed said...

I'm sorry, I'm still trying to wrap my brain around "totalitarian capitalist" ... sounds even worse than corporatism (about which I agree w/Abi is destroying us).

Cart said...

Ok Sneezy, we all know those tot-caps and their corporate paymaster will continue to run the show. I we allow them.
But I'm also thinking Abi is getting far too much kudos of late ;)

D.K. Raed said...

lucky me, the wind died this afternoon as did my sneezes.

TomCat said...

In that case, belated bless you.

D.K. Raed said...

Thank you, Tomcat. Allergies have had me down (but not out). Hope to get around again later today.