Rise of Communist China - Why "Its not fine"



I enjoyed your book greatly and I was left with one question at the end of it which is especially as a Vancouver right and that is so why does it matter who cares if if if if the way I see it the the East has joined the West they've really downloaded our killer apps and have joined us and and if the Koreans are building more ships than the Scottish and are working harder than the Scottish and are more Presbyterian than the Scottish is is that a bad thing or is that a good thing and when I think of that I did the vivid picture I have in my mind is of a boss I had from New York who came here to Vancouver in 1990 and quickly summed up the history of BC is as well you had the Aborigines they lived along the the peoples lived at the First Nations living along the shores they had a great life they the fish came up once a year they scooped them out of the river there was berries you know a few yards away deer were running around and then all these Europeans came in and started rushing around and building things and they're saying what are all these people rushing around for they're crazy and now and this is 20 years ago he said now the Europeans they're sitting on wreck beach naked smoking pot and watching all these Asians coming in here and going why are all these people rushing around for why can't and so my question is isn't it just a good thing that they're kicking our butts and making us work a little harder and isn't this just part of the competition that gets started in Europe and it's now worldwide so I'm trying too hard understand why is it a bad thing and is it a bad thing well this is a great question you know should we care does it matter at some level it's it's as I said a cause for celebration that the most populous societies in the world have abandoned non functioning models and are embracing institutions that that make for prosperity but I was very careful to make the point that that China has not downloaded six of the killer apps it remains a one-party state in which the rule of law is highly compromised by the arbitrary power of the party at the central and above all at the local level and I think that if anybody thinks seriously about history they should feel at least some disquiet at the prospects of within four years according to the IMF an economy that is run by the Communist Party becoming the largest in the world we should feel some d'squared at the thought that a fifth of humanity currently live in a communist run state which retains a power over its people that we all would find intolerable were we subject to simply to say what goes around comes around and it's probably good is I think dangerously complacent of course it may be that China will continue to move in the direction that I hope it will in the direction of the rule of law and the direction of representative government and away from the one-party state with all the abuses that come with that but it is far from certain right now the reality is that unlike in the Cold War the ideological antagonist is going to win the economic race the Soviet Union failed to do that at no point did it come close to overtaking the United States despite all the bluster of Khrushchev the IMF has China overtaking the u.s. in terms of GDP in 2016 and in some way is that understate the scale of the Chinese challenge it's Chinese challenge in the realm of cyberspace is very real and if your cooperation hasn't experienced it then you are either lucky or oblivious that's a challenge a strategic challenge in what might be called the new frontier of strategy that I take very seriously indeed and so by the way to the leading military thinkers and strategists of the United States so no I don't think we can simply say whatever it's fine it's not fine it's not fine that leadership is passing to a society that is not based on individual freedom that is not fine and anybody who thinks it's all gonna be okay doesn't really understand the historical process transitions in the balance of power are seldom peaceful and that's another important point I try to make in the book we need to be very acutely aware of the dangers that lie ahead as this moment arrives when the US for the first time since the 1880s ceases to be the dominant economy in the world I hope I've answered your questions we just have a follow-up question here and then we'll go back to the audience so you speak about the success of the 300 million Chinese middle class how do you think the Chinese government will extend this opportunity to the other 1 billion of their citizens well it's not yet 300 million I mean it's it's probably not even a hundred million but by 2020 most people reckon that there'll be a middle class of some 200 million but that will still leave an enormous number of Chinese people living in what we would we would consider abject poverty as is well known capitalism when it's unleashed generates inequality you don't have to be a Marxist to believe that China's Gini coefficient it's as a measure of inequality that's quite a good one it's probably getting close to the US now it's not as as bad as say Brazil but it's certainly a much more unequal society than it was in the time of Mao do the Chinese have a plan for their poor well they have a better plan for their poorer than say the Indians what's really striking if you look at China's development developmental trajectory is that many many more people are being lifted out of that super poor sub-saharan African poverty in China than in any other comparable country the middle class is going to be way larger than the Indian middle class if you simply to look at people with incomes above 10,000 up to 100,000 it's a much much larger number so I think that the Chinese could credibly claim that they are they are moving in the right direction but what they have to do is to continue to take people out of basic agriculture and move them into cities that's the plan and that's what they're doing and that the speed of urbanization compares with the speed of urbanization in the United States 50 to 100 years ago so I don't think that's their problem I mean it's not the super poor that really the Chinese regime worries about I recently asked her leading economists there what was his biggest worry and I thought we would have a conversation about the real estate bubble or possibly excess investment in infrastructure but actually the conversation we had was entirely about politics and he said oh I worry about how we give some kind of voice to this new articulate class the microblogs about corruption every time a train crashes and that that I think is the real challenge that they face and and it's by no means clear there is no clear road map that tells you how you get from a one-party state to something that resembles representative government




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