Free Markets, Free People

It has come to this–China mocks West’s political system and economics

And, at the moment, rightfully so.  That’s not to say theirs is a superior system by any stretch.  Theirs just happens to be thriving at this moment in history.  But that doesn’t change the correctness of the basic kernel of their assessment:

In extensive talks with a series of Chinese leaders, an oft-cited point of criticism is the gridlock and “dysfunction” they see in Washington. They say fawning by U.S. political leaders seeking re-election has created an “entitlement culture” where the public has grown dependent on government largesse. Now, with the United States facing monumental economic and debt problems, the political system has been unable to curb generous entitlement programs or counter the economic downturn.

I really hate to say “I told you so”, because a) as Megan McArdle said yesterday it is “so … bleeding … obvious” and b) it really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this was going to happen.  No, not China mocking us – they have their own economic problems ahead of them so I’m not particularly impressed with their mocking attitude.  The idea that running huge deficits, encouraging an entitlement culture, redistributing wealth and running up unpaid future welfare obligations was sustainable.

Heck, people like me and other authors on this blog have been saying that for years – decades even – that it was just a matter of time before it all collapsed like a wet paper box.  And we always get the hand wave from the so-called enlightened that we just don’t know what we’re talking about.

To them I say, “welcome to reality”.   Like gravity, the laws of economics will finally assert themselves.

And they have.

However, the performance of the Chinese economy in the global recession has had a beneficial effect for them among other nations.

China is now at a pinnacle of global leadership and influence as a result of its emergence as an economic superpower, even as the U.S. and other major industrial powers fell into disrepair as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, said Guo Zhenyuan, an analyst at the institute.

China gained the admiration of developing nations around the world with its ability to weather the crisis emanating from the U.S., even emerging from the downturn as the world’s main engine of growth, while its superior economic performance provoked jealousy in the U.S. and other developed nations, he said.

With that said, here’s what they’re now selling:

Mr. Chan said U.S. political leaders are so focused on short-term gains that they fail to make the painful long-term choices and changes in social programs needed to ensure the solvency of the government and vitality of the economy.

Chinese leaders, by contrast, lay out plans for the long term and systematically achieve them, producing unprecedented gains in living standards and a remarkable two decades of uninterrupted growth at nearly double-digit annual rates.

This proves that the Chinese system is better than the democratic system that the U.S. promotes around the world, Mr. Chan said.

And the dictators and totalitarians around the world take heart.  

Only because Western leaders, decades ago, perverted the true meaning of Western democracy and did exactly what the critique above says – began trading goodies for votes and created the social welfare state which was destined for failure.

Whether or not you agree that democracy is the problem is a rather moot point.  That’s what China is pitching and apparently there are eager listeners.  And we all know there are those out there who think they too can implement the Chinese model.    As Dr. Kissinger said they call it, “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”.   The rest of us call it totalitarianism, but like I said, in the face of the epic failure of Western Social Democracy and the rise of China, it’s a tough argument to fight at the moment.


Twitter: @McQandO

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18 Responses to It has come to this–China mocks West’s political system and economics

  • Nevermind that China deals with dissent by driving tanks over them. Say what you will about the useful idiots of the OWS I’d never get behind the idea of dealing with them the way China does.

    • @tkc I was thinking exactly the same thing –

      OWS & T62 tank columns, some dis-assembly acquired.

      Yeah, let’s watch their entitlement culture run up against a Chinese style government.

      Crunchies anyone?

      And if you’ve missed the videos – Arab Spring has it’s own rash of ‘mass’ demonstrations. As in demonstrating what the mass of a moving vehicle does when it encounters a crowd of people.

    • @tkc I see this morning that there is a TB outbreak at one of the #OWS sites.
      I’m waiting to hear the claim that it was deliberately caused by blankets distributed to them by the US Calvary.

      • @Neo_ @tkc no, no, that’s 20th century thinking, we have to embrace the new century – Booooooosh did it!

        • @looker @tkc What’s the difference ?

          Long hair .. short hair .. what’s the difference once the head’s blowed off ?

  • It’s a real shame that just as the Democrats pushed the US toward a “European model” that Europe shows that it is, in fact, the “Road to Perdition.” Meanwhile, the Chinese have taken up the US economic model from the 50’s.

  • I’m going to have a huge horse laugh at everyone fawning over (and terrified of) China and their economy. Because from what I read they are starting to see cracks in their economy. And they’re not nearly as prepped to weather it as we are. As discussed below, they’ll be needing those tanks again to enforce their grip on power relatively soon

    • @The Shark … like the way we “feared” Japan not all that long ago.
      It only goes to show that on the path to perfect, you are your own worst enemy.

      • @Neo_ I’m still waiting to see what they do about the discrepancy between the number of males and the number of females.

      • @Neo_ I never feared Japan. Their parasitic trade policies like China’s would only take them so far. A parasite starts to die not long after its host starts to die.

        The problem is what they do to our economy as part of that scenario.

  • China’s strength is that it had nowhere to go but up. It has a huge population, so even with a weak per capita GDP it can become a major power.

    The Chinese top down system doesn’t work, any more then the Soviet system did, although the Chinese have the advantage of pragmatism. That said, they can at least deny their people the bling that is bringing Europe down.

    The right answer is free markets. The free markets that built America.

    • @Don S China’s demographics are horrible. The one child policy means they have a huge drop-off in population coming. Cost of living is so high that the one child policy now has become a financial reality anyways, and its become a cultural norm.

  • China is laughing now, but if they ever become a democracy, they will run into the exact same problem. My wife is from Taiwan which is sort of look into a possible future China. She is amazed at how much stuff you can get from the government in the USA or how our schools are run by the teacher’s unions.

    But, she isn’t paying attention to Taiwanese politics, because they are starting down these same paths.

    Teachers just unionized in Taiwan. Expect demands for smaller class sizes and higher salaries (i.e. less work for more money.)

    Taiwan now has an old age pension. Where before, children would take care of their elderly parents, now they are getting a monthly stipend. Its not much, but each election cycle has both parties bidding this up.

    In addition to the stipend there is now a big electoral push by the left-of-center party to start up elder care centers and to pay for home care, etc. The newspaper noted this would be publicly run or privately run but publicly funded. Uh, may I have the privately run option please, because publicly run institutions in Taiwan suck. (Latest scandals are about corruption in the purchasing of school lunches. They usually find the corruption after a bunch of kids get food poisoning from them.)

    They now also have income subsidy for poor people in some cities. This is being expanded rapidly as well.

    And since housing is absolutely insanely expensive, they now are trying to create social housing, i.e. subsidized housing. How about people move out of Taipei instead? Nah, that’s crazy talk – people deserve to live in super expensive urban environments even if they can’t afford to.

    Then national healthcare system is slowly going broke so they upped the premiums for rich people…eventually that will trickle down I suspect.

    Taiwan has endless subsidies for industry, especially hot new industries like “green” LED lighting. I almost choked when I saw the numbers, and the government was encouraging the companies to stop relying on South Korean orders so much. (I am guessing South Korea blocks Chinese products, thus Taiwan can get the orders.)

    But they also subsidize good old agriculture, too. Many Taiwanese farmers are old men who could probably sell their land and retire on the money if their land was allowed to be zoned anything other than agricultural, but they can’t so they go about growing crops like bananas. Almost every year it seems like they grow too many and the government has to promote the sale of bananas to support the farmers…so every school lunch has a banana, and soldiers are forced to eat them, and my bank handed them out to every customer..LOL. Anyways, there solution is to “help out” when most likely they should tell the farmers to stop growing bananas! (Yes, they have semi-planning for this.) I should note that some Taiwan agriculture is really innovative.

    Sorry for the long post…this has been percolating for some time.