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China's Rise: Should the West be concerned?

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Posts

  • UrQuanLord88UrQuanLord88 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    Another very interesting quote vis-a-vis China's agnostic foreign policy, from a speech by one of the Communist Party's heads back in 1979, when China was having a lot of internal ideological back-and-forth: "Black cat or white cat -- if it can catch mice, it is a good cat." That says volumes about the present Chinese approach.

    That would be Deng Xiao Ping, at just about the time when China was recovering from the Cultural Revolution, to emphasize the idea behind China's economic reforms.

    I urge everyone in this thread to read up on the modern history of China. There is much to be learned about China today by just taking a look at its most recent century or two of history. I was going to briefly summarize 1800-1990 but there is just too much to be covered.

    China was under Western pressure to give up its lands, had rebellions (one of which was led by the Chinese younger brother of Jesus), saw its centuries old government collapse in the early 20th century, been through civil war while having to fight off the Japanese invaders in WWII and had its intellectual and cultural legacy almost entirely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. And yet it persists, largely by its own efforts for self preservation which, I believe, drives the government's actions to this very day.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Robman wrote: »
    I watched this one video of a dude trying to make contact with some illegal group in China, and his government tails freaked when the turned the video camera on them. They shouted at them and he backed off. No biggie.

    Then I watched this video in America of the police swarming around this dude in Miami and pointing guns at him, demanding that he turn over his video equipment - he only kept his video because he hid the SD card in his mouth. His crime? Filming the cops surrounding a vehicle and opening fire. He filmed a legitimate police shooting and they still demanded his phone at gunpoint. They then smashed that phone.

    But herp da derp CHINAAAA I guess

    External threats are still threats even when internal corruption is rampant. I agree that the primary threat to American happiness and prosperity is actually Americans at this time, but Chinese prosperity is bad for the US. We have nothing to game and much to lose from runaway resource exploitation, military expansion, pollution, and R&D capabilities outpacing us.

    I think the best offense in this case is actually good defense, such as improving infrastructure, education, health, living conditions, science, etc, etc. stateside so that we flourish more quickly than they do, but not being on top is not good for you.

    Bullshit. Chinese prosperity could fuel an American boom. Most of their economy is based around saving right now, but imagine the amount of money we would get when every Chinese kid wants a Kindle, a cell phone, an MP3 player and a computer?

    Very rich Japanese tourists?

    PSN: allenquid
  • Ethan SmithEthan Smith Origin name: Beart4to Arlington, VARegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Quid wrote: »
    Robman wrote: »
    I watched this one video of a dude trying to make contact with some illegal group in China, and his government tails freaked when the turned the video camera on them. They shouted at them and he backed off. No biggie.

    Then I watched this video in America of the police swarming around this dude in Miami and pointing guns at him, demanding that he turn over his video equipment - he only kept his video because he hid the SD card in his mouth. His crime? Filming the cops surrounding a vehicle and opening fire. He filmed a legitimate police shooting and they still demanded his phone at gunpoint. They then smashed that phone.

    But herp da derp CHINAAAA I guess

    External threats are still threats even when internal corruption is rampant. I agree that the primary threat to American happiness and prosperity is actually Americans at this time, but Chinese prosperity is bad for the US. We have nothing to game and much to lose from runaway resource exploitation, military expansion, pollution, and R&D capabilities outpacing us.

    I think the best offense in this case is actually good defense, such as improving infrastructure, education, health, living conditions, science, etc, etc. stateside so that we flourish more quickly than they do, but not being on top is not good for you.

    Bullshit. Chinese prosperity could fuel an American boom. Most of their economy is based around saving right now, but imagine the amount of money we would get when every Chinese kid wants a Kindle, a cell phone, an MP3 player and a computer?

    Very rich Japanese tourists?

    The point I'm making is that this mercantalist zero-sum thinking has little to no place in economics, and this zero-sum thinking is used all the time in our relations with China. If China is gaining from trade with us, that doesn't mean that they are taking that wealth out of our pockets.

    Also there's a lot of people buying the authoritarian relativist concept of human rights, that somehow it's harder to have human rights without plenty. And I agree that it's hard to have economic rights (Health care, unions, minimum wage, etc), and that it's hard to have a functioning democracy in a poor country. But at the same time, the "I can't eat and have human rights at once!" argument is mostly used by dictatorships in order to not give freedom of speech to their citizens, and it's another authoritarian myth that somehow dictatorships where we have a civil war when the guy dies are more stable than democratic governance.

    And I'm not claiming that China isn't getting better. It is so hard to make a real argument about China precisely because they aren't, precisely, a traditional 'silent' authoritarian government. I'd say that China has more in common with the Kaiser Reich or with Tsarist Russia post-1901 than with any recent authoritarian system.

    The desire to deprive some of our citizens of their rights—economic, civic or political—has the same basic motivation as actuates the Fascist mind when it seeks to dominate whole peoples and nations.
  • Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Quid wrote: »
    Robman wrote: »
    I watched this one video of a dude trying to make contact with some illegal group in China, and his government tails freaked when the turned the video camera on them. They shouted at them and he backed off. No biggie.

    Then I watched this video in America of the police swarming around this dude in Miami and pointing guns at him, demanding that he turn over his video equipment - he only kept his video because he hid the SD card in his mouth. His crime? Filming the cops surrounding a vehicle and opening fire. He filmed a legitimate police shooting and they still demanded his phone at gunpoint. They then smashed that phone.

    But herp da derp CHINAAAA I guess

    External threats are still threats even when internal corruption is rampant. I agree that the primary threat to American happiness and prosperity is actually Americans at this time, but Chinese prosperity is bad for the US. We have nothing to game and much to lose from runaway resource exploitation, military expansion, pollution, and R&D capabilities outpacing us.

    I think the best offense in this case is actually good defense, such as improving infrastructure, education, health, living conditions, science, etc, etc. stateside so that we flourish more quickly than they do, but not being on top is not good for you.

    Bullshit. Chinese prosperity could fuel an American boom. Most of their economy is based around saving right now, but imagine the amount of money we would get when every Chinese kid wants a Kindle, a cell phone, an MP3 player and a computer?

    Very rich Japanese tourists?

    The point I'm making is that this mercantalist zero-sum thinking has little to no place in economics, and this zero-sum thinking is used all the time in our relations with China. If China is gaining from trade with us, that doesn't mean that they are taking that wealth out of our pockets.

    Perhaps, the kind of shit China is pulling now is exactly the same thing America did to Britain and Belgium in the 19th century, right down to the complete disregard for patent rights and internal protectionism, and both saw decreases in growth following the rise of America.

    Yes trade is not a zero-sum game, but if the other guy isn't playing fair, and you can do jack shit about that because they're the nascent superpower, it will cost you.

  • MorranMorran Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Ego wrote: »
    *grin*

    Chinese pump knock-off cell phones out of family-run 'factories' in ridiculous numbers. I've bought some, just to fool around with them (iphone clones and symbian models, but they have blackberry and android clones too --and yes the androids run android OS, though they generally can't access the android marketplace to buy software, they have to steal it.) You won't be selling mp3 players or cell phones or kindles to China (or India for that matter, it's just as rampant there) any time soon. Patents really do mean nothing to China.

    That said, a booming Chinese economy means more loans to the US which, right now, is probably still a good thing.


    China have a lot poor people, but also a shitload of rich guys with money to spend on luxurious gods. The ipad 1/2 sold really good in china.

    EDIT
    Not only fancy electronics sells well in China:
    http://www.economist.com/node/18184466
    China is already the largest market for Louis Vuitton, a maker of surprisingly expensive handbags, accounting for 15% of its global sales. Within three years, reckons Aaron Fischer, the report’s author, China’s domestic market for bling will be bigger than Japan’s. By 2020 it will account for 19% of global demand for luxuries (see chart). And that is only half the story.
    /EDIT

  • Ethan SmithEthan Smith Origin name: Beart4to Arlington, VARegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    Fareed Zakaria seems to feel it belongs to him.

    Incidentally, I wasn't previously aware that Fareed Zakaria actually coined the phrase "rise of the rest." I'd always kind of had this sneaking suspicion that Zakaria really just pilfered / condensed the foreign policy community's views and put them in mainstream-accessible novel form.

    Zakiria is similar to Huntington or Fukuyama, in that he created a good enough branding term that people with different foreign policy philosophies would be able to agree with him. Also, coincidentally, all 3 of them work for Foreign Affairs, who's schtick is pretty much "take FP views and make them mainstream-accessible".

    Zakiria is too culturalist for my taste, which is a problem that I have with pretty much all of Foreign Affairs' current writers.

    The desire to deprive some of our citizens of their rights—economic, civic or political—has the same basic motivation as actuates the Fascist mind when it seeks to dominate whole peoples and nations.
  • jabbausafjabbausaf Registered User
    edited June 2011
    I expect China to be the America of the 21st century. I don't really see that there's anything anybody can do individually to change that, and it really doesn't bother me that much, as empires and leaders will always rise and fall through human history. Yes, I know there's a crapload of problems with the Chinese government. But I also remember a time in our own country when you could be jailed for criticizing war, or killed for forming a union.

    Certainly if the West wants to continue as King of the Hill, it should be concerned, but I do not think that we in the West are capable of making the kinds of changes we'd have to make to stay on top.

    I've had a wonderful time, but this wasn't it.
    -Groucho Marx
    Steam: [SF] Progurt
  • jabbausafjabbausaf Registered User
    edited June 2011
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    The thing to remember is that China is still largely a third-world country. Yeah, the cities are going gangbusters, but 1 billion of their 1.3 billion population is still rural and poor. The only reason they've made such a big splash over the last decade is that when 1.3 billion people make even incremental progress, in a world of 6.7 billion, it makes huge waves. Same for India.

    Something to keep in mind is that the .3 billion of the 1.3 billion that isn't rural and poor is roughly equal to the entire population of the United States.

    Side note, has anybody else been following these riots in a Chinese manufacturing town? http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/06/17/china.riot.town.yoon/index.html

    I've had a wonderful time, but this wasn't it.
    -Groucho Marx
    Steam: [SF] Progurt
  • KageraKagera Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    jabbausaf wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    The thing to remember is that China is still largely a third-world country. Yeah, the cities are going gangbusters, but 1 billion of their 1.3 billion population is still rural and poor. The only reason they've made such a big splash over the last decade is that when 1.3 billion people make even incremental progress, in a world of 6.7 billion, it makes huge waves. Same for India.

    Something to keep in mind is that the .3 billion of the 1.3 billion that isn't rural and poor is roughly equal to the entire population of the United States.

    Side note, has anybody else been following these riots in a Chinese manufacturing town? http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/06/17/china.riot.town.yoon/index.html

    NatGeo had an article recently about China's growth and how it has to maintain an 8% increase if it doesn't want rioting, regime change to be part of that growth. Right now it's about 7.5%

    Of course this article mainly dealt with green technology in China, not 'are they gonna set us up for destruction'.

    “This is America. We’re entitled to our opinions.”
    “Wrong. This is Texas. And my opinion is the only one that counts."
  • HamurabiHamurabi Cambridge, MARegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    China basically has to devalue their currency to keep creating jobs for all these newly uplifted rural poor; the paradox of course is that once all those people earning $200 a month in a factory job start getting more confident, and demanding higher wages and more from their government, China is really in for it. Modernization is a rough game -- especially when you do it in just thirty years.

  • Ethan SmithEthan Smith Origin name: Beart4to Arlington, VARegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    And my opinion has always been that once China actually democratizes then I won't be worrying about it as much. Not for the silly reasons of 'democracies never declare war on each other', but that a democratic China will be dealing more with domestic problems rather than getting people to ignore their own issues by waving their metaphorical dick around some islands.

    The desire to deprive some of our citizens of their rights—economic, civic or political—has the same basic motivation as actuates the Fascist mind when it seeks to dominate whole peoples and nations.
  • HacksawHacksaw J Duggan Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    The easiest way to deal with China is to take away their women.

    Oh wait they're already on their way to doing that to themselves.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Nah, they started working on that issue some time ago. Basically there are a lot of government benefits to having a girl now.

    PSN: allenquid
  • HacksawHacksaw J Duggan Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Like what? Tax breaks?

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Possibly, but the ones I know about are access to better schools, health care, etc. Mainly services the government already provides.

    PSN: allenquid
  • override367override367 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    So we can go with Hacksaw's plan of taking their women?

    XBLIVE: Biggestoverride
    League of Legends: override367
  • TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "In a America, first you get de money, zen you get de power, zen you get de women"

  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Very zen.

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Ego wrote: »
    *grin*

    Chinese pump knock-off cell phones out of family-run 'factories' in ridiculous numbers. I've bought some, just to fool around with them (iphone clones and symbian models, but they have blackberry and android clones too --and yes the androids run android OS, though they generally can't access the android marketplace to buy software, they have to steal it.) You won't be selling mp3 players or cell phones or kindles to China (or India for that matter, it's just as rampant there) any time soon. Patents really do mean nothing to China.

    That said, a booming Chinese economy means more loans to the US which, right now, is probably still a good thing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUT39op2Pp8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBBMnY7mANg&feature=relmfu

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • jabbausafjabbausaf Registered User
    edited June 2011
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    The easiest way to deal with China is to take away their women.

    Actually, this would create a huge population of military age men, with nothing to lose, in a country with significant natural resources and a hefty manufacturing capability.

    Which historically is a recipe for war. Fortunately we personally don't have to worry about ever being conquered by China because there's no way to get their people here. Oceans make great walls. But if I was an Asian nation with anything of value and a shared border with China I'd be getting pretty nervous.

    I've had a wonderful time, but this wasn't it.
    -Groucho Marx
    Steam: [SF] Progurt
  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Quid wrote: »
    Nah, they started working on that issue some time ago. Basically there are a lot of government benefits to having a girl now.

    In rural China and India, killing your female baby is still the most economical decision. The concessions that the government makes are pretty inadequate.

  • DemiurgeDemiurge Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Quid wrote: »
    Nah, they started working on that issue some time ago. Basically there are a lot of government benefits to having a girl now.

    In rural China and India, killing your female baby is still the most economical decision. The concessions that the government makes are pretty inadequate.

    The demographic has normalized noticably though. In China anyway.

    DQ0uv.png 5E984.png
  • GlyphGlyph Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    jabbausaf wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    The easiest way to deal with China is to take away their women.

    Actually, this would create a huge population of military age men, with nothing to lose

    Precisely. I've been told by my mainland Chinese friends that to marry a woman and start a family is the be-all, end-all for most Chinese men and the ultimate way to honor one's family. Without it, they literally lose their purpose in life and in absence of that seek to fill the void, a situation which history has proven lends itself quite handily to military application. Never underestimate the tactical potential of millions of lonely men with nothing left to lose.

    MyBannerII4.jpg
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Glyph wrote: »
    jabbausaf wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    The easiest way to deal with China is to take away their women.

    Actually, this would create a huge population of military age men, with nothing to lose

    Precisely. I've been told by my mainland Chinese friends that to marry a woman and start a family is the be-all, end-all for most Chinese men and the ultimate way to honor one's family. Without it, they literally lose their purpose in life and in absence of that seek to fill the void, a situation which history has proven lends itself quite handily to military application. Never underestimate the tactical potential of millions of lonely men with nothing left to lose.

    The German invasion of the western USSR basically created a demographic catastrophe by killing off a huge portion of the present generation of males between about 20 and 40, either in warfare or the attempted genocide of the Slavs. The ~25 million people whom were killed were staggered disproportionately male, though the USSR employed more fighting women than in any point in history (more than a million by some estimations). It took several decades to correct, and it outlasted the USSR.

    On the other hand, that resulted in an overabundance of women versus men, not the other way around.

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • L|amaL|ama Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
  • GospreyGosprey Registered User
    edited June 2011
    No need to invade, I am pretty sure you can get Russian wives over the internet. And to fund that, there are heaps of Nigerian princes looking to pay big bucks to get money out of their home country.

  • jabbausafjabbausaf Registered User
    edited June 2011
    That is an interesting thought, what if the Eastern European and former Soviet states with plenty of marriageable women start heading to China instead of the US? Wonder if there'd be enough of them to have any significant effect on Chinese culture. How would this be viewed in China?

    I've had a wonderful time, but this wasn't it.
    -Groucho Marx
    Steam: [SF] Progurt
  • HamurabiHamurabi Cambridge, MARegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    What I'm more interested in than China specifically is how the U.S. is going to respond to try and become competitive again. We're basically sitting on gains made from the 1950s to the '90s thanks to the Golden Era of middle-class expansion and globalization, respectively. Our education system is the worst in the world by basically all metrics; our political system has become paralyzed by special interests and ideological gridlock; our infrastructure is crumbling and there're still people in this country who don't have access to broadband Internet (which makes a bigger difference than you might think); there's a huge swath of the population who is basically locked into socioeconomic stagnation because of things like lack of access to higher / vocational education; we're going further and further into public debt because we can't make tough decisions about entitlement reform; and we've made basically no progress on what a lot of people feel is the defining global problem of the 21st century -- global climate change.

    I mean, if it takes totalitarianism to get some damn solar panels made... well, from here, I dunno if that's such an easy call, man.

  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Gosprey wrote: »
    No need to invade, I am pretty sure you can get Russian wives over the internet. And to fund that, there are heaps of Nigerian princes looking to pay big bucks to get money out of their home country.

    Technically, most of those are from Poland, Ukraine, Romania, and I think Georgia, than Russia. Belarus would be included, if it wasn't for their draconian Soviet-era anti-wife-smuggling immigration laws.

    Funny thing is, a lot of those firms are actually coming right out and being outright honest about this. Like a guy looking for a Russian wife knows that Ukraine isn't part of Russia. Plus, Americans want blondes, right? "Ukranian" sounds a lot more blond than "Novosibirsk" or "Tatarstan". Not sure what the Chinese want though....

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • GlyphGlyph Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imhUmLtlZpw

    I think this professor does a pretty decent job of outlining why Western expectations and predictions about China have been so off-the-mark time and again. People claiming the Chinese desire Western-style democracy take note. This is a coming down to a clash of diametrically-opposed political ideologies.

    MyBannerII4.jpg
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    What I'm more interested in than China specifically is how the U.S. is going to respond to try and become competitive again. We're basically sitting on gains made from the 1950s to the '90s thanks to the Golden Era of middle-class expansion and globalization, respectively. Our education system is the worst in the world by basically all metrics; our political system has become paralyzed by special interests and ideological gridlock; our infrastructure is crumbling and there're still people in this country who don't have access to broadband Internet (which makes a bigger difference than you might think); there's a huge swath of the population who is basically locked into socioeconomic stagnation because of things like lack of access to higher / vocational education; we're going further and further into public debt because we can't make tough decisions about entitlement reform; and we've made basically no progress on what a lot of people feel is the defining global problem of the 21st century -- global climate change.

    I mean, if it takes totalitarianism to get some damn solar panels made... well, from here, I dunno if that's such an easy call, man.

    The US education system is fine once you factor in secondary education. And the idea that we're less competitive in a lot of ways is bunk. It's like white people thinking they're more discriminated against than black people because of the lessening yet still present discrimination against black people. competition is not a zero sum game.

    theres a lot of things we need in the United States but this idea that we're somehow behind other countries at this point is ridiculous. We're just not so far ahead in some ways as we used to be.

  • HamurabiHamurabi Cambridge, MARegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    What I'm more interested in than China specifically is how the U.S. is going to respond to try and become competitive again. We're basically sitting on gains made from the 1950s to the '90s thanks to the Golden Era of middle-class expansion and globalization, respectively. Our education system is the worst in the world by basically all metrics; our political system has become paralyzed by special interests and ideological gridlock; our infrastructure is crumbling and there're still people in this country who don't have access to broadband Internet (which makes a bigger difference than you might think); there's a huge swath of the population who is basically locked into socioeconomic stagnation because of things like lack of access to higher / vocational education; we're going further and further into public debt because we can't make tough decisions about entitlement reform; and we've made basically no progress on what a lot of people feel is the defining global problem of the 21st century -- global climate change.

    I mean, if it takes totalitarianism to get some damn solar panels made... well, from here, I dunno if that's such an easy call, man.

    The US education system is fine once you factor in secondary education. And the idea that we're less competitive in a lot of ways is bunk. It's like white people thinking they're more discriminated against than black people because of the lessening yet still present discrimination against black people. competition is not a zero sum game.

    theres a lot of things we need in the United States but this idea that we're somehow behind other countries at this point is ridiculous. We're just not so far ahead in some ways as we used to be.

    I don't think anyone is disputing that the U.S. is still the First World. Living standards here are lightyears beyond those in China or India or Africa -- that's a given.

    But all those places are catching up, is the point. The U.S.'s pace of advancement in education, in political progress (ie. gay rights, collective movement towards national goals, etc.), and other measures of general progress have slowed to a crawl. The only thing doing really well in the U.S. now is the tech sector. We spend more on education than anyone else in the world, and have the worst outcomes of first-world nations; we spend the most on healthcare and still have the worst outcomes among our peers.

    I don't feel like pointing these things out is somehow blowing those problems out of proportion. Yeah, we have a massive headstart thanks to the infrastructure investments made during the '50s and because of the massive wealth we built up during the heady first days of globalization in the '90s... but it feels like we've just been coasting ever since.

  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited June 2011
    Glyph wrote: »
    I think this professor does a pretty decent job of outlining why Western expectations and predictions about China have been so off-the-mark time and again. People claiming the Chinese desire Western-style democracy take note. This is a coming down to a clash of diametrically-opposed political ideologies.

    Indeed.

    A parallel example: I keep waiting for the day when, with the now daily news coverage of this hacking incident or that cyber-war warning, somebody points out that our legal-based strategy of criminalising hacking isn't going to work against the main state threat, China. They simply don't see intellectual property theft as theft. It's a cultural Buddhist thing, where sharing of ideas / intellectual property is assumed and therefore you cannot 'steal' it. As an example, this is why Chinese copy cellphones, clothes etc are so blatant in mimicking logos, trademarks and model types. If you look at cheap ripoffs from elsewhere (Eastern Europe, Africa), they always change something slightly to avoid an identical appearance - not so Chinese versions.

    Unless we realise and address that a significant principle of the western / international legal system isn't accepted as valid by China - or at least that 1.3 billion Chinese people have few qualms about breaking it - we are going to have some problems sometime soon.

  • HamurabiHamurabi Cambridge, MARegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    There is at least one school of thought that sees China not as an alternative form of civilization, but as an underdeveloped, rising third-world country. This school sees democracy in China as inextricably and inevitably linked to expanding economic welfare (specifically, things like per-capita GDP). The model basically states that, as people become successful and confident, that they will eventually demand democratic reforms. This model is popular because it's basically been par for the course for the last several centuries, across the world.

    Personally, I feel like China will go down that road. It may take a long time, but I feel like once the average Chinese citizen (read: more than <30% of the population) becomes self-sufficient and empowered, they'll want the full package of westernization -- economic and cultural, not just $200/mo menial labor jobs. You already see the Chinese falling into their own trap of meteoric growth; they haven't had to reform their institutions much because everything was "growing around them," as Zakaria puts it. Eventually, though, all this growth is going to catch up with them, and they're going to need to actually do some development.

  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Glyph wrote: »
    I think this professor does a pretty decent job of outlining why Western expectations and predictions about China have been so off-the-mark time and again. People claiming the Chinese desire Western-style democracy take note. This is a coming down to a clash of diametrically-opposed political ideologies.

    Indeed.

    A parallel example: I keep waiting for the day when, with the now daily news coverage of this hacking incident or that cyber-war warning, somebody points out that our legal-based strategy of criminalising hacking isn't going to work against the main state threat, China. They simply don't see intellectual property theft as theft. It's a cultural Buddhist thing, where sharing of ideas / intellectual property is assumed and therefore you cannot 'steal' it. As an example, this is why Chinese copy cellphones, clothes etc are so blatant in mimicking logos, trademarks and model types. If you look at cheap ripoffs from elsewhere (Eastern Europe, Africa), they always change something slightly to avoid an identical appearance - not so Chinese versions.

    Unless we realise and address that a significant principle of the western / international legal system isn't accepted as valid by China - or at least that 3 billion Chinese people have few qualms about breaking it - we are going to have some problems sometime soon.

    I don't think this sentiment is born out of Buddhism, which, honestly, doesn't really say any more about the acquiring of property from others versus the 'hoarding' of property to oneself (not really a lot, classically, at least from what I remember.)

    I think this is born out, among other things, of a general "lack of respect" of the fundamentals of capitalist economies. Which is completely normal, given the cultural history of the Chinese people of the century (if very unfortunate from the point of view of a devout capitalist). In the United States, a (professed) capitalist society, you have millions of Americans who don't give a shit about the poor--they're poor, too bad for them, they freeze to death in the colder climates, etc. That's a lack of respect towards a fundamental of a modern (post-industrial) socialist economy (which, in reality, the United States, like all other roughly functioning states, has to borrow some elements from): the responsibilities of society. They don't care, or if they do, they don't care enough to actually modify their behavior, or its a minor concern compared to other immediate concerns.

    Whereas in China, millions of people people don't really give a shit about the apparent sanctity of patents and intellectual property law--someone somewhere makes something very nice, if other people can make the same thing more or less just as well, for cheaper, tough shit for the first party, supply and demand, etc. That's a lack of respect towards a fundamental aspect of modern capitalist economies, who often fiercly defend these sort of intellectual and patent rights. Among the Chinese, there's an incredibly diversity of opinions about capitalist political economy and the role of free market economy. It just happens that, if you asked a lot of people about something like patent law, not that many people are rushing to come to her defense. It's a very easy thing to ignore as a consumer--if you're buying a purse or a pair of headphones, your foremost interest could easily be getting it at a low price, versus the authenticity of the product. This isn't a uniquely Chinese thing either--you get it plenty in Taiwan (which, to be fair, has affected my theory here) where authentic manufactuers and patent rights are far more crucial to the economy as a whole than China. Consumers are still consumers, they want to be able to get things cheap. Chinese people know what patent laws are (enough to form a basic understanding of the concept, which is all the vast majority of Americans know as well), it just falls well behind on their list of concerns.

    But, again, this is just theory on my part, of course. Plus, there (obviously) aren't three billion Chinese people. I'm assuming you said that in jest, but it's worth pointing out in this sort of thread, since someone, somewhere, is going to assume you meant that literally.

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited June 2011
    I may have been confusing Buddhism and Conficianism. Either way, the point I'm relaying was definitely a long-standing cultural/religious basis from Chinese history, not a modern reaction against capitalism. I can't dig out the source at the moment as it's at work.

    And yes, I was taking the piss out of the standard mis-fact that people quote about China having half the world's population, but good point. I'll change it.

  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Glyph wrote: »
    I think this professor does a pretty decent job of outlining why Western expectations and predictions about China have been so off-the-mark time and again. People claiming the Chinese desire Western-style democracy take note. This is a coming down to a clash of diametrically-opposed political ideologies.

    Indeed.

    A parallel example: I keep waiting for the day when, with the now daily news coverage of this hacking incident or that cyber-war warning, somebody points out that our legal-based strategy of criminalising hacking isn't going to work against the main state threat, China. They simply don't see intellectual property theft as theft. It's a cultural Buddhist thing, where sharing of ideas / intellectual property is assumed and therefore you cannot 'steal' it. As an example, this is why Chinese copy cellphones, clothes etc are so blatant in mimicking logos, trademarks and model types. If you look at cheap ripoffs from elsewhere (Eastern Europe, Africa), they always change something slightly to avoid an identical appearance - not so Chinese versions.

    Buddhism? Really?

    I'm pretty sure they don't make minor alterations to logos and such because it's so easy to get away with it.

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  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited June 2011
    Glyph wrote: »
    I think this professor does a pretty decent job of outlining why Western expectations and predictions about China have been so off-the-mark time and again. People claiming the Chinese desire Western-style democracy take note. This is a coming down to a clash of diametrically-opposed political ideologies.

    Indeed.

    A parallel example: I keep waiting for the day when, with the now daily news coverage of this hacking incident or that cyber-war warning, somebody points out that our legal-based strategy of criminalising hacking isn't going to work against the main state threat, China. They simply don't see intellectual property theft as theft. It's a cultural Buddhist thing, where sharing of ideas / intellectual property is assumed and therefore you cannot 'steal' it. As an example, this is why Chinese copy cellphones, clothes etc are so blatant in mimicking logos, trademarks and model types. If you look at cheap ripoffs from elsewhere (Eastern Europe, Africa), they always change something slightly to avoid an identical appearance - not so Chinese versions.

    Buddhism? Really?

    I'm pretty sure they don't make minor alterations to logos and such because it's so easy to get away with it.

    ...and it's so easy to get away with because in China, it isn't legislated against in the same was as it is under countries with Western-based legal systems (which is almost everywhere else). Combine that with "theft of intellectual property" not being seen as a crime by the populace, and you get the proliferation of IP theft and direct copies (as opposed to slightly-altered ripoffs) that you have from China.

    I'll look up the source when I get back to work.

  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Glyph wrote: »
    I think this professor does a pretty decent job of outlining why Western expectations and predictions about China have been so off-the-mark time and again. People claiming the Chinese desire Western-style democracy take note. This is a coming down to a clash of diametrically-opposed political ideologies.

    Indeed.

    A parallel example: I keep waiting for the day when, with the now daily news coverage of this hacking incident or that cyber-war warning, somebody points out that our legal-based strategy of criminalising hacking isn't going to work against the main state threat, China. They simply don't see intellectual property theft as theft. It's a cultural Buddhist thing, where sharing of ideas / intellectual property is assumed and therefore you cannot 'steal' it. As an example, this is why Chinese copy cellphones, clothes etc are so blatant in mimicking logos, trademarks and model types. If you look at cheap ripoffs from elsewhere (Eastern Europe, Africa), they always change something slightly to avoid an identical appearance - not so Chinese versions.

    Buddhism? Really?

    I'm pretty sure they don't make minor alterations to logos and such because it's so easy to get away with it.

    ...and it's so easy to get away with because in China, it isn't legislated against in the same was as it is under countries with Western-based legal systems (which is almost everywhere else). Combine that with "theft of intellectual property" not being seen as a crime by the populace, and you get the proliferation of IP theft and direct copies (as opposed to slightly-altered ripoffs) that you have from China.

    I'll look up the source when I get back to work.
    The film industry in the US moved to California because they didn't want to pay Edison on patents for the early version of movies, and it was easier to get away with it there. Hell, if I remember correctly, some guy walked out of his boss' office in England, got on a boat, sailed to the US and set up shop with his boss' water mill design right around the start of the Industrial Revolution. Patents and trademarks only start to be desired in an area once the people in that area have something they would protect. Right now, the vast majority of the scare information (which is really what IP laws are trying to create) is in the hands of people not in China. When China starts to get a really serious quantity of people with information they want to be able to charge for, expect their stance on the issue to change.

    Right now, all China really has is a lot of people without original research/work who would love to have the benefits of someone else's research but can't afford the absurd prices those people will charge for it (indeed, its fairly likely that even if they could afford it that the prices are high enough to make it unprofitable to purchase a license to use the information). You could substitute any number of things in for China, include upper middle class American teenagers (and software), its not a uniquely Chinese issue and the solution is unlikely to be particularly uniquely Chinese either (in that they'll start noticing patent law once it helps them more than it hurts them).

  • override367override367 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    What I'm more interested in than China specifically is how the U.S. is going to respond to try and become competitive again. We're basically sitting on gains made from the 1950s to the '90s thanks to the Golden Era of middle-class expansion and globalization, respectively. Our education system is the worst in the world by basically all metrics; our political system has become paralyzed by special interests and ideological gridlock; our infrastructure is crumbling and there're still people in this country who don't have access to broadband Internet (which makes a bigger difference than you might think); there's a huge swath of the population who is basically locked into socioeconomic stagnation because of things like lack of access to higher / vocational education; we're going further and further into public debt because we can't make tough decisions about entitlement reform; and we've made basically no progress on what a lot of people feel is the defining global problem of the 21st century -- global climate change.

    I mean, if it takes totalitarianism to get some damn solar panels made... well, from here, I dunno if that's such an easy call, man.

    The US education system is fine once you factor in secondary education. And the idea that we're less competitive in a lot of ways is bunk. It's like white people thinking they're more discriminated against than black people because of the lessening yet still present discrimination against black people. competition is not a zero sum game.

    theres a lot of things we need in the United States but this idea that we're somehow behind other countries at this point is ridiculous. We're just not so far ahead in some ways as we used to be.

    I don't think anyone is disputing that the U.S. is still the First World. Living standards here are lightyears beyond those in China or India or Africa -- that's a given.

    But all those places are catching up, is the point. The U.S.'s pace of advancement in education, in political progress (ie. gay rights, collective movement towards national goals, etc.), and other measures of general progress have slowed to a crawl. The only thing doing really well in the U.S. now is the tech sector. We spend more on education than anyone else in the world, and have the worst outcomes of first-world nations; we spend the most on healthcare and still have the worst outcomes among our peers.

    I don't feel like pointing these things out is somehow blowing those problems out of proportion. Yeah, we have a massive headstart thanks to the infrastructure investments made during the '50s and because of the massive wealth we built up during the heady first days of globalization in the '90s... but it feels like we've just been coasting ever since.

    I completely disagree about social progress. Gay marriage is going to be a reality, it's a question of "when" not "if", this would have been crazy talk 50 years ago, then again so would the idea of a black pres. The tea party is a media created abomination, and not reflective of America's social progress as a whole.

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