Home > Analysis > Hans Rosling: sovereignty and capitalism got China and India moving

Hans Rosling: sovereignty and capitalism got China and India moving

Following is a TED talk given by Hans Rosling about two years ago. Rosling has a unique skill in visualizing large data sets that span civilizations. In a nutshell, it was freeing from colonialism and foreign invasions followed by capitalism that is finally enabling China and India to slowly catch up to their Westerner counterparts. His data and visualization couldn’t make it any clearer. Niall Ferguson has been making his rounds about the six “killer apps” of the West where he argued were responsible for the West’s success in the last five centuries. I thought this Rosling talk is every bit relevant to what Nial Ferguson is saying, or rather, what he neglected to explicitly say. Most of the rich countries today managed to keep such a distance in terms of wealth and power because they kept the rest of the world down through war and plunder.


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  1. zack
    November 5th, 2011 at 13:28 | #1

    This is of course assuming the Indians don’t go to war with China for the US’ sake of “containing China”; this is of course assuming that Indians don’t let themselves be played by their former colonial Western overlords to weaken themselves and China for the West’s gain.

    I’ve seen some in the Indian leadership do some pretty stupid things along those lines

  2. November 5th, 2011 at 14:10 | #2

    Here’s a related TED talk by Yasheng Huang. He exposed the myth so favored by Indian nationalists and many westerners in excusing India’s relative lag behind China’s economic development by claiming that it is due to India being a “democracy” and China being “autocratic.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR-uWwvpn5c

  3. xian
    November 5th, 2011 at 15:26 | #3

    Niall Ferguson is an unapologetic neo-con and a good example of selective truths. His ‘6 apps’ are not wrong, but those advantages are minor in comparison with the huge amount of wealth plundered and land occupied by the Europeans. And at the end of the day, it’s money that builds civilizations.

  4. xian
    November 5th, 2011 at 15:42 | #4

    @melektaus
    I’d say they’re right though. The difference is that Indians take pride in being a democracy, when it’s really nothing to be proud of. Huang is right about the symptoms, infrastructure, corruption, illiteracy etc. But I believe it is precisely because of their dysfunctional, bickering democractic system that makes the Indian government incapable of making wide sweeping, ‘authoritarian’ changes. They are met with political roadblocks, sabotage, and collusion from all kinds of opposing parties. They have much less control over their own country than the CCP. Few nations develop under a truly multi-party democracy, and India isn’t one of them.

  5. Ajax
    November 5th, 2011 at 15:54 | #5

    I think conventional thinking from the west tend to ignore the role sovereignty plays in success.

  6. November 5th, 2011 at 16:16 | #6

    @xian

    You confuse “bickering” and “corruption” with democracy. These are totally different concepts. I say that India is a corrupt society. That doesn’t mean that democracy is responsible for their bickering (in fact, I don’t think they are very democratic).

  7. xian
    November 5th, 2011 at 17:37 | #7

    @melektaus
    No… I don’t think I have. They have a multi-party democracy with several factions seeking to grab votes and slander its opponents. You don’t think there’s some bickering going on simply due to this? Technically a democracy could make it work, but in reality a [benevolent] authoritarian government gets things done faster, and more effectively.

  8. November 5th, 2011 at 18:04 | #8

    @xian

    They have a multi-party democracy with several factions seeking to grab votes and slander its opponents. You don’t think there’s some bickering going on simply due to this?

    No, democracy and “bickering” are totally different concepts. Now many non democratic societies also bicker (in fact, India and the US are precisely such countries). And there are some democracies that do not “bicker”a whole lot (consider the Scandinavian countries). Corruption is also a totally different concept than democracy. There are many corrupt nondemocratic countries. There are also noncorrupt democratic countries.

    So you are just conflating all these totally different concepts.

  9. November 5th, 2011 at 18:09 | #9

    Only a fool thinks that “democracy” is responsible for India’s relative lack of development. See the Huang video for how foolish this claim is. I also made similar comments in another thread.

    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/10/collective-defamation/#comment-45981

  10. xian
    November 5th, 2011 at 19:16 | #10

    @melektaus
    No, I don’t believe I have. I said democracies bicker, and can be corrupt. I did not say democracy = bickering = corruption. But surely you’re not telling me that having more than one party, fighting for a voter base, doesn’t result in bickering? Even Scandinavian democracies fight between parties, quite a lot these days actually, over immigration.

    It’s far from foolish. Many Westerners have been wondering whether authoritarianism is the better model for developing countries. Those vehemently opposed tend to have vested ideological beliefs, that democracy is the best form of government, the most civilized, the only one that allows freedom, and other such nonsense.

  11. Wahaha
    November 5th, 2011 at 21:13 | #11

    #6 …That doesn’t mean that democracy is responsible for their bickering …

    #9 Only a fool thinks that “democracy” is responsible for India’s relative lack of development….
    ************************************************

    It is inevitable in a western-style system, because it is anti-science , #3 of its fatal flaws in the link below.

    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/06/yin-yang-and-political-system/

    and the paradox (#1) is another reason why democracy doesnt deliver.

  12. November 5th, 2011 at 21:55 | #12

    @Ajax
    Exactly! Not that they don’t understand the importance of sovereignty. Their media propaganda diminishes the importance of other’s sovereignty to help justify foreign intervention by their governments.

    On the other hand – despite all the criticisms of the West, I honestly believe the current world order is much improved compared to the colonialism days. I think the U.S. deserve credit for that. If the U.S. had stuck with the British Empire ways, I wonder what kind of hell hole this planet would still be.

  13. November 5th, 2011 at 21:56 | #13

    @xian and @melektaus

    I think you guys are disagreeing mostly on semantics. I actually agree with the both of you.

  14. November 6th, 2011 at 14:35 | #14

    xian :
    @melektaus
    No, I don’t believe I have. I said democracies bicker, and can be corrupt.

    Then you are over generalizing. Like I said, many non democratic countries bicker and many democratic countries do not. the reason India bickers and is corrupt has to do with their culture and their *lack* of certain legal, cultural, and even democratic institutions. It’s not because they are a democracy. It’s because they are India.

    I did not say democracy = bickering = corruption. But surely you’re not telling me that having more than one party, fighting for a voter base, doesn’t result in bickering? Even Scandinavian democracies fight between parties, quite a lot these days actually, over immigration.

    So? Do you expect any country not to ever bicker and be corrupt? No there is no such absolute. There is only relative “bickering” and “corruption”. the Scandinavian countries do not bicker and are as corrupt anywhere near India’s level even though they are even far more democratic.

  15. xian
    November 6th, 2011 at 16:55 | #15

    @melektaus
    I think you are crossing certain lines when you say India fails because it’s India and/or because of its culture.

    I’m not implying any absolutes, I’m saying that a single party leadership would lessen infighting and effect greater changes without constant political opposition, thus act more decidedly on India’s problems. Scandinavian countries are already developed, so it is natural they have more room to exercise democracy without worrying about the basics. In contrast, if China had been a multi-party democracy these past few decades, each party fighting for rule, shutting down the opposition’s measures, dividing the populace on every issue etc. Would China be what it is today? I am not confident it would. If you mean to debate the merits of democracy against single party authoritarianism, then we can talk about that.

    @YinYang
    Well, I believe a willing authoritarian government is better equipped to deal with problems faced by developing countries. I’m don’t know if melektaus shares that view. There is a tendency around the world, even in China, to “appeal to democracy”. Argue around it instead of against it, because many believe it’s the ideal system. Me, I’m not so sure it is.

  16. Wahaha
    November 6th, 2011 at 17:12 | #16

    Then you are over generalizing. Like I said, many non democratic countries bicker and many democratic countries do not. the reason India bickers and is corrupt has to do with their culture and their *lack* of certain legal, cultural, and even democratic institutions. It’s not because they are a democracy. It’s because they are India.

    *************************************************

    Is this corruption ?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1645089/synopsis

    “A major theme is the pressure from the financial industry on the political process to avoid regulation, and the ways that it is exerted. One conflict discussed is the prevalence of the revolving door, whereby financial regulators can be hired within the financial sector upon leaving government and make millions.”

  17. Wahaha
    November 6th, 2011 at 17:22 | #17

    ….bicker and many democratic countries do not.

    *****************************************

    There is no such example unless the government has a deep pocket that makes everybody happy.

  18. November 6th, 2011 at 18:04 | #18

    Sorry I was a bit late in watching this but did you guys realized that the Indian state of Kerala was run by the communists since the 1970s? It is still not rich but has among the highest life expetancy in India due to better availability of health care, education and better income distribution.

    I think this is among the best kept secret in mainstream press!

  19. raffiaflower
    November 7th, 2011 at 08:09 | #19

    India’s development is hampered not only by its political bickering but also its class divisions (caste system), IMO. Not forgetting the colonial hangover of some Indians who strive for their parity with their old colonizers, above their own kind.Contrast this with China, where lingering feudal vestiges and class system were brutally stamped out in the Cultural Revolution. However Kishore Mabubhani opines that there is a plus side to the tragedy. He claims that CR created a ‘can do’ mentality that enabled Chinese to move forward as one unified force when Deng introduced Four Modernizations, rapidly creating the country’s economic miracle.

  20. raventhorn
    November 7th, 2011 at 10:51 | #20

    @raffiaflower

    I totally agree that CR created a “can do” mentality. Chiefly, CR was a literal “reset” on the Chinese socio-economic paradigm, and any good “reset” requires almost a complete shut down of the system, to get everyone back to the starting line, to get rid of all the negative baggages (and some of the good), so that people can rediscover and decide what are good and bad.

    Hard “resets” (from revolutions) I think are necessary.

    The gradual peaceful “Democratic” processes, sometimes don’t resolve anything. People just get further and further apart. Classes, parties, become divided.

    Think about it this way: Today, the Rich and the Poor in the West are complaining about each other. The Rich say they earned their wealth, the Poor say the Rich do not work hard at all. Neither side can prove the other wrong, except perhaps through a hard “reset”.

    If you are Rich and you deserve to be because you are smart and you work hard, then you can start all over again and get to the same place. (But I don’t think the Rich today are willing to do that).

    A CR every now and then, answers that type of questions. (If some of the CR’s excessive abuses can be avoided, I would recommend it every 50 years or 2 generations).

  21. November 7th, 2011 at 12:56 | #21

    xian :
    @melektaus
    I think you are crossing certain lines when you say India fails because it’s India and/or because of its culture.

    This is too vague. In what exact ways am I crossing lines? Which lines and how I am doing that?

    I’m not implying any absolutes, I’m saying that a single party leadership would lessen infighting and effect greater changes without constant political opposition, thus act more decidedly on India’s problems.

    That is irrelevant. The point is is that you first attributed their so called ‘infighting” and “corruption” to their being a democracy. That is doubly wrong so don’t change the subject. It is wrong because the reason they are corrupt and “infight” is not because of democracy, it is due to cultural, social, educational, economic, and other factors. You also assume they are democratic when their institutions are actually very undemocratic. Another way they may lesson corruption is through becoming more like the Scandinavian countries which is far more democratic than India.

    Scandinavian countries are already developed, so it is natural they have more room to exercise democracy without worrying about the basics.

    Bingo! So you are now saying that economic and social development has to do far more with corruption and “infighting” than democracy per se? Well, that was my point. The fact is is that there are non corrupt democracies and there are also corrupt non democratic countries which serves to rebut your claim that “corruption, illiteracy, etc” are “symptoms” of democracy. They are symptoms of India’s society at large, not of democracy. In fact, they are symptoms of a*lack* of democracy. My claim stands that India’s problems are not due to them being democratic. How could it when they are not very democratic in the first place? The little democracy they have cannot be responsible for their massive social problems and you have not provided ANY evidence that it has. In short, you have a very narrow and ridiculous view of both democracy and Indian society and this ignorance is responsible for you conflating very different things and attributing things to the wrong causes.

  22. Wahaha
    November 7th, 2011 at 13:54 | #22

    The little democracy they have cannot be responsible for their massive social problems and you have not provided ANY evidence that it has.

    ***********************************

    That makes 100% sense except I don’t think anyone knows what democracy is in your mind.

  23. November 7th, 2011 at 14:18 | #23

    @Wahaha

    I will be making a post a little later on my conception of democracy. It will give a little more detail but the conceptions of democracy I have in mind is actually quite common nowadays among political scientists and philosophers and I will be arguing that such a conception (as opposed to a liberal conception or any other conception) is a fitting model for a future China.

  24. Wahaha
    November 7th, 2011 at 14:56 | #24

    meletaus,

    Thanks.

    I don’t have clear understanding of democracy myself. I think there are always two parts : economically and politically, or economical democracy or political democracy.

    As there is no way people have direct control over capital, it is under the control of either the government or few rich, therefore either goverment or the rich has too much power.

    Hence, I don’t think people can enjoy both democracies, that is, people have lot of political power while at the same time, let the capital work for them. This, in my opinion, is impossible.

  25. November 7th, 2011 at 15:08 | #25

    Dr. Thorn:

    I totally agree that CR created a “can do” mentality. Chiefly, CR was a literal “reset” on the Chinese socio-economic paradigm, and any good “reset” requires almost a complete shut down of the system, to get everyone back to the starting line, to get rid of all the negative baggages (and some of the good), so that people can rediscover and decide what are good and bad.

    Two words: Oy vey.

    Yup, it’s good periodically to smash all the art and kill teachers and terrorize the great thinkers and philosophers and have roving bands of violent kids scare everyone to death and worship before a personality cult and turn a country into total chaos to wipe the slate clean and start anew. Brilliant. Utterly brilliant. Hell, no one ever wiped Germany’s slate clean like Hitler did, leaving the country a bombed-out shell. Then Germany rebuilt, started all over again, so let’s all congratulate Hitler for creating a “can-do mentality” for Germany.

    As I said, oy vey. You guys….

  26. Wahaha
    November 7th, 2011 at 15:30 | #26

    #25 Richard,

    Your comment clearly demonstrate why westerners will never understand “Yin vs Yang”.

    CR was a big tragedy for China, but there was positive side of it. After thousand years of feudal system, poor peasants always felt inferior to the educated, especially those journalists (maybe that is why they hate CCP so much now, as they became “nobody” under CCP.), until Mao, and such sentiment was completely destroyed by CR.

    Gandhi maybe a great person, but his idea has prolonged and will definitely prolong caste system in India for at least extra 100 years. How many people will suffer under caste system for 100 years ? Tens of billions.

  27. raventhorn
    November 7th, 2011 at 18:25 | #27

    @richard

    Richard,

    I’ll post your comment up as a perfect example of you taking wild stretches of imaginations on other people’s comments.

    (1) I did say, “If some of the CR’s excessive abuses can be avoided, I would recommend it every 50 years or 2 generations”. In case you can’t read disclaimers. So much for your “Hitler” comparison.

  28. November 7th, 2011 at 21:40 | #28

    @melektaus #23

    I’d be looking forward to your discussion of “democracy” – especially in light of your comments recently that India wasn’t really much of a “democracy”! 🙂

  29. raventhorn
    November 8th, 2011 at 05:26 | #29

    Speaking of “Cultural Revolution”, it is worth while to note that the greatest “Cultural Revolution” on going currently now for many decades, is the “Cultural Revolution Western Style”,

    ie. Iraq, Afghanistan, “Arab Spring”, Regime Change, Democratization, “War of Civilizations”, etc.

    One that has been waged against MILLIONS of innocent people, using all manners of resources, weapons, economic pressure, etc., all the name of Western ideological/moral/cultural superiority. And they do not care who pays for their “Revolution”, or what consequences might befall.

    *Thus, I do not think Westerners object to “Cultural Revolution”. Ironically, Westerners just prefer to (1) see it happening to others, and (2) while West pull the strings.

  30. November 8th, 2011 at 09:16 | #30

    Nice shift to the US, the most predictable way out of anything.

    Thorn, I quote you verbatim.

    I totally agree that CR created a “can do” mentality. Chiefly, CR was a literal “reset” on the Chinese socio-economic paradigm, and any good “reset” requires almost a complete shut down of the system, to get everyone back to the starting line, to get rid of all the negative baggages (and some of the good), so that people can rediscover and decide what are good and bad.

    This is an interesting way of saying the CR was ultimately good for China, even if there was some bad stuff, too. Ask the people in China whether they think the CR was a good thing. I have. Not a scientific survey, more conversation, a conversation I’ve had many times. None believe the CR was good. Ask Xujun Eberlein who lived through it. Ask the ghost of Deng Xiaoping if he thought it was good. Ask the ghosts of the many who died, like Liu Shaoqi, if they felt it was good. If you answer that the US is worse, we know you have no case. That’s a very separate argument.

    Does everyone agree that the CR was good because it got rid of baggage and allowed China to start over? Can anyone deny that with that logic you can say Hitler was ultimately good? All the old baggage was swept away because of him. I’ve never heard such contorted logic before. Ten years of anarchy that deprived an entire generation of their education and resulted in incalculable destruction of art and human life can really be a good thing because what came after was better? Again, the same can be said for Hitler. Look carefully at Thorn’s own words and tell me, were the horrors of the CR a good thing for China?

  31. November 8th, 2011 at 11:47 | #31

    @richard
    It’s interesting too that you bring Hitler into the comparison. In fact, your last two comments on this blog have Hitler in them when you talked about the CR.

    To imply the CR was similar to the period of Nazi Germany is retarded. The only reason I can think of you doing that is your desire to demonize ‘China;’ with the same impulse as those media propagandist who equate the 2008 Olympics as the “genocide Olympics.”

    Don’t you think that’s disgusting.

  32. raventhorn
    November 8th, 2011 at 14:00 | #32

    @richard

    Hey, Way to quote partially.

    I guess I have my interpretation of CR, which included good and bad, and you have yours.

    “Look carefully at Thorn’s own words and tell me, were the horrors of the CR a good thing for China?”

    Did I say such things about the “horrors of the CR”?

    Good to know that Westerners like Richard like to take things to EXTREMES. Just self-explanatory to “With us or Against us” Western ways again.

    “This is an interesting way of saying the CR was ultimately good for China, even if there was some bad stuff, too.”

    This is an boring way of twisting words according to Richard.

    If you say so, Richard. I’m not saying it. You are! 🙂

  33. November 8th, 2011 at 16:01 | #33

    @Allen

    It will actually be a continuation of your earlier talk from a couple years back.

  34. November 8th, 2011 at 21:28 | #34

    @richard
    Your understanding of the CR and history is hazy as best. Is Lincoln the most muderous US president ever? Since he refused to let the South secession from the union the ACW is the most destructive war ever fought by the US. 10% of adult male population die, the whole south was completely devasted. On Sherman’s march to sea how many cities were burned to the ground? Why are these two fellows considered hero? Well, it is the legacy that counts.

    The biggest culprit of the CR is actually the students who took things too far. Most people including you, thought Liu and Deng are plain victims but do proper research. Liu and Deng presided over the commitee and started the purge of CR (Read the speech given by them before the start of CR). The movement was supposed to be a purge of bad traits from China’s culture and society. It become an anarchy were 2nd and 3rd tier leader took the chance to attack the top leadership. The most famous being the gang of 4 and a top tier leader, Lin Biao. Of course Mao is also at fault but he already lost the position of president in 1959 and didn’t really run the government in 1966. CR is a classic case of the road to hell is paved with good intention.

    Frankly, the horror of CR paled in comparison to the ACW, raven was right that it steered China in a new direction again. The leadership that suffered the most eventually become even tougher and more determine to move ahead. It brought in an era of pragmatism where the goal was to improve the life of the people. The CCP and the Chinese people realized that ideaology and other mumbo jumbo are all nonesense. 发展才是硬道理

    I personally knew and interviewed many victims of the CR. You better do more study before you talk out of your axx. From 1966 to 1972, China still fought US to a stand still in Vietnam, fought a border with the Soviet Union in 1969. Although it hurt China’s developement, technology advancement did not stop for China. New advances in satelite, rocket, industry etc were all being made in the same period. On top of that in 1971, the PRC got voted back into the UN as a member of Big 5. The US during this period was barely doing better by their quarmire in Vietnam. However, in about the same way, the war allowed the civil rights movement to prosper.

  35. November 8th, 2011 at 21:57 | #35

    @richard
    I would have to add this. I personally think the suffering inflicted mostly on the top CCP leadership, intellectuals, and many innocent people are unjustified. However, as a historian, I doubt it is an event that can be avoided, much like the GL and the anti-right movement of the 1950s. China was in a revolution mode. The CR was the first event where children born or grow up completely under the PRC was to play a major role. They were young, zealous and has too much sense of self-righteousness. Do some search on the comic published by the gang of 4. When certain people were classified as counter revolutionary who is hell bend on destroying the new Chinese republic was identified, all hell was let loose on them. Those kids spare no mercy on those class enemies.

    The gang of 4 and Lin Biao etc were charged for doing the targeting. Anyway, Mao seeing the anarchy, directed the red guards to the country side in 1968 and thus reducing the damages they caused. Then he moved against Lin (who fled and died in a crash in 1971). After that he called back Deng and a bunch of old timers and put Hua Guofeng as successor and gave order to remove the gang of 4. Mao has to take the biggest blame for CR but he did picked up the pieces, stopped it and has a good exit plan. He is not a crazed, delusional lunatic like Hitler. Of course people in the US hate him because even during the CR, the PRC was screwing the US over. I think this is the major reason he is vilified. As you probably know Mao was a controversial figure in China, easily a third of the people questioned his legacy. Contrast that to the US, how many American questioned, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt who are potrayed as near saints in US history book. If you do an honest no bs assesement of the character, legacy of those presidents compare to Mao, the latter actually stood on a very solid ground.

  36. November 8th, 2011 at 23:11 | #36

    @Richard – I saw that comment, and thought about replying, but really, there’s no point. This is the same blog on which people talk blithely about burning Paris and London to the ground – do you really think you’re going to get anything out of a discussion on this?

  37. hehe
    November 8th, 2011 at 23:36 | #37

    Richard,

    Why don’t you go back to the roast duck place where the censor button can be triggered more freely by some control freak?

  38. raventhorn
    November 9th, 2011 at 05:23 | #38

    @FOARP

    Oh look, 2 peas in a pod of “Taking to the Extremes”.

    1 overcooked waterfowl, 1 horse rolling in the mud. 😉

    Seriously, you 2 expect people to talk to you seriously?

    Yes, while we are having a serious conversation about good and bad of historical events and hypotheticals, you 2 peas prefer to make generalized conclusions and 1/2 quotes about what we just said.

    I think in any sense of the word, that is not a “discussion”. That’s just you 2 making trollish potshots. So, get a life.

  39. bill rich
    November 9th, 2011 at 05:49 | #39

    Just another unresearched speech of something important.

    Japan rose economically faster than China because the Japanese elite saw what Western civilization was capable of, good and bad, an decided to learn seriously, while the Chinese counterpart was resisting the temptation, using slogans like “Chinese in essence, Western for usage” and forbid any real change. That plus the Chinese tendency to make do with less whenever possible to be passable, slowed down the growth.

    India did no rise as quickly as China after the 70’s because India was still using a planned economy after China had relaxed some of the rules, not because of the democracy.

    China had a great run in growing the per capita GDP. But only a very small fraction of the people were beneficiaries of that growth. Majority had enjoyed very little growth since late 70s. Most of the rich in China got their wealth through relationship with the powerful, locally or nationally, or were powerful themselves. 70 percent of GDP growth in China were in state directed investment. Whether these investment can continue or well leverage future growth, especially in domestic productivity is still to be seen, in particular, how are the empty apartments, shopping malls, office buildings and empty towns are going to help economic growth is unsure.

    China is facing hundreds of thousands of civil unrest a year now. How this will change, and what impact these will have on the economy is still unknown. Right now these civil unrest are dealt with by force, police, ministry of culture, chengguan, hired thugs, and armed police. News about these unrests are suppressed rigorously though administrative means, prosecution, arrests, threats, blocking and censorship. Whether these means are sustainable is still unknown.

  40. bill rich
    November 9th, 2011 at 06:02 | #40

    CR was a hard reset all right. It reset moral and ethics of Chinese back to the pre-Zhao era, a thousand years before Confucius, when the rules of the jungle were the laws. That how people were capable of poisoning babies with milk additives, watching little girl die on a street without lifting a helping hand, while courts decided that doing otherwise is confession of guilt. Is that good ? Depends. It was good for Mao. He got back in administrative control of the nation. And it was good for a lot of other people, the west included.

  41. raventhorn
    November 9th, 2011 at 07:01 | #41

    @bill rich

    You have got to be kidding. You are going to (1) make a generalized condemnation of current morality of Chinese society without any relative comparisons, and (2) blame that on CR which was almost 40 years ago?!

    Hell, you might as well blame the current moral crisis of all of humanity on Adam and Eve’s “Cultural Revolution” on God.

  42. November 9th, 2011 at 07:42 | #42

    @FOARP #36

    This is the same blog on which people talk blithely about burning Paris and London to the ground

    FOARP – we know each other and have communicated on side. This is uncalled for. If you want – provide link to a comment that I may not be aware of. If this is merely about one person’s remark that you may have misinterpreted – that I already have addressed on your blog – I take offense to you “blithely” labeling my blog this way.

  43. November 9th, 2011 at 08:57 | #43

    @bill rich
    Other than aping what he read in the newspaper he offer no analysis of his own. China’s economy is actually unlike the US where the middle class shrank, poverty rises and the rich got richer. In China, the number of poor actually dropped from around 80% to 10%, the middle class is growing (simply look at number of automobiles, eletronic, consumer product sales figure yearly), well the rich is also getting richer especially the top 1%. The richest man in China now is one of the founders of Sany. If one are to look at the Huron list, all of the multi-millionaires are all self made and they are in industry that political connection played little part. That’s why China is moving ahead of ALL the emerging/developing economies.

    Please stop quoting the “guanxi” bs that got thrown around in western press. China is simply a very market economy orientated place, the success of the following women are proof of that. China is actually very different compare to Japan or Korean societies view of the roles for women.

    China has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs of any country in the world. And the rate is still going up.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2010-05/24/content_9883497.htm

    Half of the world’s richest self-made women are Chinese.
    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-10/17/content_8806489.htm

    http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/22/billionaire-women-entrepreneur-china-richest.html

  44. raventhorn
    November 9th, 2011 at 11:55 | #44

    I find it interesting that CR started around 1966 with the announcement of “4 great Democracies” added to the PRC Constitution, (which urged the Big Character posters to criticize and denounce academics and leaders), and coincidentally ended around the same time that Deng abolished those “4 Democracies” in 1979.

    Now, is “Democracy” overall good for China? We need to look only at the CR to realize where it went wrong.

    🙂

  45. zack
    November 9th, 2011 at 12:03 | #45

    we also have to remember that democracies-even liberal democracies-aren’t above taking some rather illiberal measures in order to maintain social order and control; forget about the Patriot Act, look at the way the FBI monitors secessionist and cult groups (such as the falun dafa) or even attempts to subvert themas some have alleged during the civil rights and hippie movements of the 60s.
    and that’s not even counting the heavy militarism, nationalism and ‘breads and circuses’ of hollywood and american idol which the US must utilise in order to keep the population docile and compliant.

    i’m not saying those are bad things, but please, don’t pretend they’re any better or any different to a government that does what it has to do to maintain social harmony and cohesion

  46. pug_ster
    November 9th, 2011 at 12:20 | #46

    Mr doom and gloom Bill Rich is just pointing out the stuff that we already know, the side effects of capitalism. So what? Let me know if the Chinese government or economy is going to collapse soon.

  47. November 9th, 2011 at 13:17 | #47

    @Allen – I’m sorry if I have offended you. However, Raventhorn’s comment is quite clear on the cultural revolution being something he would like to see happen again (so long as SOME of the excesses of the original were avoided), just as Jxie’s comment was quite clear that he was “OK” with burning London and Paris in revenge for the burning of a palace more than 150 years ago.

    It may be that these gentlemen now wish they had not made these comments, or, if they had meant to say something different, written more clearly. I prefer to take them at their word until they actually say otherwise.

  48. November 9th, 2011 at 15:31 | #48

    I probably should have more appropriately titled this post, “Hans Rosling: sovereignty and capitalism got China and India freedom.”

  49. Nihc
    November 9th, 2011 at 19:46 | #49

    bill rich :
    Just another unresearched speech of something important.
    Japan rose economically faster than China because the Japanese elite saw what Western civilization was capable of, good and bad, an decided to learn seriously, while the Chinese counterpart was resisting the temptation, using slogans like “Chinese in essence, Western for usage” and forbid any real change. That plus the Chinese tendency to make do with less whenever possible to be passable, slowed down the growth.

    Something that should be considered when comparing the rise Japan vs China. China under rule of the Manchu during the Qing dynasty was one of the greatest reason why China was not progressing. The Manchus dominate the government despite the fact that they make up less than a percent of the population. China was pretty much fighting some of the bloodiest conflict in the history of mankind, Taiping rebellion (which makes the American Civil War look like a childish spat), the White Lotus rebellions, of which millions died in the chaos, all of which make any crimes of the CCP pale in comparison. There was essentially no meritocracy in governance, and the measured to control the population is by all means tyrannical and brutal. In fact, revolutionaries like Sun Yat-sen travel around in western controlled countries to raise funds. The fact was Manchu rule was much worse than western imperialism in holding China back. Western nations not actually seeing the ‘meritocratic’ rule that categorize the Chinese imperial political system. If Ming was still in power, it was highly likely that China could have reformed itself to save it from imperialism. After all, they had no problems kicking out the Dutch from Taiwan even during the decline of the Ming.

    Now that China is free from its afflictions. It really is steaming ahead. I expect great things to come.

  50. jxie
    November 10th, 2011 at 09:25 | #50

    FOARP,

    Jxie’s comment was quite clear that he was “OK” with burning London and Paris in revenge for the burning of a palace more than 150 years ago.

    Don’t have much time so I will keep this short. Look, had you spent just a wee bit more time reading what others actually wrote first, before you started mouthing off, you might have understood the gist of my comments. Where did I say “revenge”?

    First it was me considering myself a bystander looking at history, how nations/civilizations rise and fall, and how power shifts. I don’t assign too much right or wrong in historical events or possible future events. Instead of blaming the mid-1800s foreign invaders, I mostly blame the Qing Court not aware of the power shift in front of their eyes and acting irrationally. In case I have not spelled this out clearly enough: I am NOT angry at the UK or France. There is nothing to avenge for the Chinese. It’ll be pretty dumb, even if it can, for China to sail that far to burn down a city just to even some old score. It’s very costly and achieves no tangible goal. Plus, if the episodes of England riots in the 2011 summer are any guide, Anglostan is likely burning itself down before the Chinese is capable of militarily sailing that far anyway.

  51. raventhorn
    November 10th, 2011 at 14:36 | #51

    @FOARP

    “Raventhorn’s comment is quite clear on the cultural revolution being something he would like to see happen again (so long as SOME of the excesses of the original were avoided).”

    OK, let’s see “Horsy in Mud” trying to take this out of context some how. I think my disclaimer was quite clear. Too bad “Cooked WaterFowl” gentleman couldn’t quote it right.

    I’ll least give “Horsy in Mud” for trying for accuracy for once.

    (How he would take my quote into some kind of new conclusion? That’s a completely different question). 🙂

    I imagine it will be something along the “I see your 2 points, and I will draw the line all the way to Pluto, and call it your plan to invade outer space.”

  52. raventhorn
    November 10th, 2011 at 14:49 | #52

    @FOARP

    Isn’t it odd that some Western “gentlemen” do their best imitations of Neo-Con fear-mongers without any conscious efforts?? 🙂

    They even resort to the same “I’ll quote your half-assed and out of context, so I can connect the dot between you and Hitler” Tactics.

    Watched Fox News a bit too long, eh?? (Or perhaps it just comes naturally to the “Democratic”/”Republican” instinct?)

    🙂

    Yeah, like I said, the West is headed to a “Cultural Revolution”. No doubt about it. (They might call it differently, just to make themselves feel better, but it’s the same).

    Now, that’s not me wishing it to happen, but it seems inevitable or probable.

    “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing” for America.
    — Thomas Jefferson.

    *Now, I can take that out of context, Richard style, and it would conclude that Thomas Jefferson was advocating treason.

    🙂

  53. scl
    November 11th, 2011 at 10:58 | #53

    I somewhat agree with “I ban you because I can” richard’s view that not many good things came out of the culture revolution, partly because I think the power struggle between Mao and Liu was one of the most plausible causes of CR.

    @bill rich,
    You should do a little more reading before you spread your West triumphalist view. The real reason why Indian, China and Japan are in different phases of development now is because India was completely colonized, China was partially colonized, and Japan was not colonized at all. Here is the book that will open your eyes:

    Kenneth Pomeranz: The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy

    If you have no patience, here are some reviews of the book:

    http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/reviews/great-divergence/

    http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/totw/pomeranz.html

    http://www.uio.no/studier/emner/hf/iakh/HIS2171/v11/undervisningsmateriale/HIS2171_Vries.pdf

    http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/book_reviews/Pomeranz%20-%20JIH.pdf

    http://www.rrojasdatabank.info/agfrank/pomeranz.html

  54. November 11th, 2011 at 14:58 | #54

    scl :
    I somewhat agree with “I ban you because I can” richard’s view that not many good things came out of the culture revolution, partly because I think the power struggle between Mao and Liu was one of the most plausible causes of CR.

    On the surface it might appeared that way but if you dig deeper would it make sense for a 73 year old guy (Mao) to purge his immediate successor (Liu) who is 68 years old? On top of that the cultural revolution was launched on May 16th 1966 during the enlarged politburo meeting (known in history as the 5-16 Notification) and it was chaired by Liu. The result of the meeting was that a Cultural Revolution Group was formed. Liu’s speech accused Peng Zhen (Deputy Secretary General, Mayor and 1st Secretary of Beijing), Luo Ruiqing (the chief of staff of the PLA), Lu Dingyi (Vice Premier, Minister of Culture), Yang Shangkun (Secretary General of Central Military Commission) of being the Peng-Luo-Lu-Yang Anti-Party Clique. That’s how the eventual CR started. On top of that Deng Xiaoping acted as master of ceremony.

    The complete speech by Liu is here: http://www.stnn.cc/global/wg/wg10/200605/t20060515_213078.html

    The problem with the accusation was that it was not backed by evidence and thus has no legal basis. In a meeting these four person (as you can see by their rank they are 1st tier leader of the CCP), were removed from their posts and considered guilty. The end result was that it spread like wild fire and almost everybody of high posts in the CCP except Mao and the CR Group was purged, criticised, beaten, or imprisoned.

    The Cultural Revolution Group became the de facto center of power in China. The only reason Mao was not touched is because he is being used by the Group as a symbol to attack their political opponents.
    On May 18th, Lin Biao announced that “Chairman Mao is a genius, whatever he said is the ultimate truth, one of his word is worth out ten thousand words.” Thus starting the personality cult of Chairman Mao.
    “毛主席是天才,毛主席的话句句是真理,一句超过我们一万句”

    For more detail looked up on who’s who on the CR Group and what they did. You can get a better picture of what happened and who actually connived to remove their opponents and moved ahead in the party.

  55. Rhan
    November 11th, 2011 at 19:13 | #55

    “The Cultural Revolution Group became the de facto center of power in China. The only reason Mao was not touched is because he is being used by the Group as a symbol to attack their political opponents.”

    Ray, not quiet agree with you on this, i think Jiangqing is right when she claim “我就是毛主席的一条狗… (I was Chairman Mao’s dog. I bit whomever he asked me to bite.)”

    Mao “炮打司令部” is aim at Liu / Deng but I don’t think his intention is about grasping power. Mao don’t have to remove Liu / Deng via CR, he can do that easily in any manner. My opinion is that Mao believe China at that time is moving toward a ‘wrong’ direction.

  56. November 11th, 2011 at 19:40 | #56

    @Rhan
    Well, like I’ve said, they said that to justify their attack on their opponents. Basically, they all used Mao’s name as a cover. If you go into the details, Mao actually tried to protect quite a few people but they still got attacked. I will use the example of general Xu Shiyou 许世友. He is the commander of a military region and has to hide in the mountain. Read up detail about his biography and you will dig up lots of interesting bits. If you can’t find any let me know. He is famous for being a hard core supporter of Zhang Guotao and once tried to punch Mao in the face! However, they eventually become close friends and after Mao’s death protected Deng in the struggle against the gang of four.

    Liu, Mao, Deng etc didn’t know the CR will turn out the way that it does. If not for the PLA still being under control by Mao, the whole country would have turned upside down.

  57. Rhan
    November 11th, 2011 at 20:00 | #57

    Ray. here is another perspective, not by me but i agree with this view (call me a leftist :)).

    But all the while, from 1962 onwards, there was much dissatisfaction among urban people WITHIN THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY. These were people who’d travelled abroad and attracted by the brights lights and big cities of their neighbors. And they wanted a change in policies. On Mao’s side were young people who wanted China to continue its own unique journey, who saw the desire for personal wealth as a vice. They also thought, correctly, that those who wanted some of the old ways to return were reactionaries, for the old ways inevitably would bring about great disparity in wealth, promote a dog-eat-dog world, result in prostitution, in people believing in ancient superstitions, etc. Mao’s struggle to wipe out the old was not necessarily all that was old – that was a charge by his enemies – but the vices that he’d seen before when he was a young man. But the very idea of building the new without the old, something that demanded a total change in mentality, was not something that many party members could accept. Hence the ferocity of the Cultural Revolution.

    Most of Mao’s Red Guards were young, inexperienced, idealistic students. These were no match for their enemies in the CCP, who would often put around THEIR own armband and called themselves “Red Guards.” A lot of violence were committed by these fake Maoists – which prompted a commentator to mention about “using the name of Mao to go against Mao.” But the number of deaths was never in the hundreds of thousands. Mao’s order, after all, was to “bombard the headquarters!” In other words, his enemies were within the Communist Party, and if we divide them into two roughly equal sides there was hardly a couple of millions on each side (like all conflicts, most would stand at the sidelines). Moreover, most people don’t deal with guns, and the deaths mentioned even in the West were often stuff like beatings with sticks and so on. As usual, the West and their proxies would inflate the numbers, and in this some in the present leadership would even support as justification for their present oligarchical rule.

    Deng’s revision of history found much support in the West: Time magazine pronounced him as China’s greatest leader. Zhou Enlai, when asked about what he thought about the French Revolution, said “it was too early to tell.” Whether the present move to capitalism is really that wonderful remains to be seen. Much of the “success” of the new regime was accomplished on the backs of the poor.

  58. raventhorn
    November 12th, 2011 at 10:16 | #58

    It reminded me of what the 1st Ming Emperor did after he took power: He just sat back and watch his minions destroy each other.

    He knew that the power hungry ones would inevitably rise to the top and try to destroy one another. They were also threat against his own position as Emperor. But he needed them to manage the country. So he just let them fight amongst themselves, and he sat on top as the ultimate referee in the game of political death match.

    I think Mao did pretty much the same thing. Mao also did not curb the excesses and the abuses of his minions.

    The problem was, when the Minions fight among themselves, they drag everyone else into their fight. They bring in the Red Guards, the Academics, the Reformers.

    Chinese Politics is rarely a spectator sport, very few people in Chinese history ever managed to stay on the sidelines for long.

    *Hence, “Democracy” was a real bad idea, especially during such times, because Factions multiply via “Democracy”, and political feud turn into Blood Feud.

    1 man yelling fire in a crowded theater is bad enough. If 100 others start yelling fire after that, it turns into a stampede.

    What would a SANE and RATIONAL person do in the Crowded Theater?? Yell “EVERYONE SHUT UP!! STOP PANICKING and SHUT THE HELL UP!!”

    Yes, there is such a thing as RATIONAL CENSORSHIP at appropriate times.

  59. November 12th, 2011 at 11:52 | #59

    @Rhan and raventhorn
    The biggest problem with CR and the many movement before it, is that it is not done under the rule of law. Too many blatant accusation and personal attack. If you read the speech by Liu, he is guilty of it too. His accusation against Peng-Luo-Lu-Yang was that they are not politically correct or have personal problems, none of the offences are punishable by law. So when others started making moral or political accusation against him, Deng and many others, it become complete lawlessness.

    I would agree that CR does put an end to this sort of movement in China. In many ways the censorship law is a result of such legacy. On top of that vague criminal laws such as “counter revolutionism”, “hooliganism” was outlawed.

  60. raventhorn
    November 13th, 2011 at 08:40 | #60

    @Ray

    Ray, not disagreeing with you on your point, but I have to point out that in any “revolution”, the rule of law is simply contrary to the point of the “revolution”.

    Why have “revolutions” if things can be worked out under the “rule of law”?!

    The point of the “revolutions” is precisely that the “rule of law” in the existing system simply cannot handle the moral/political/socioeconomic” crisis.

    Look at OWS, it is already kind of a “revolution”, albeit 1 that tries to stay within the boundaries of “rule of law” at the current time. (But there are already enough videos of police brutality that makes one wonder. For example, the 1 recently of Berkeley police “nudging” student protesters in the stomach with nightsticks).

    “Revolutions” are reminders to Entrenched Elites of the consequences of their abuses of power.

    On the other hand, the Excesses of “Revolutions” are reminders to any would-be Revolutionaries of the consequences of their own overzealousness and overeagerness.

    Red Guards were no better off during and after the CR, they suffered in the tyranny of their own peers.

    That is a harsh lesson that we Chinese cannot afford to forget.

  61. November 15th, 2011 at 08:48 | #61

    @raventhorn
    But in this time and age a more benign form of revolution is needed. The concept of revolution is actually very old in China, first apperaing 4000 yrs ago. 汤武革命,顺乎天而应乎人

  62. raventhorn
    November 16th, 2011 at 05:31 | #62

    @Ray

    China has been preaching that, but unfortunately, US and the West has been preaching the opposite. Now, let each see the consequences of their own ideological framework.

    US and the West may now face the blow back from the wave of protests that they set off.

    And whether they can deal with their own “revolution” will put the core of their beliefs to the test.

  63. raventhorn
    November 16th, 2011 at 06:09 | #63

    @Ray
    I would add 1 more comment about this:

    The recent wave of “revolutions” across the world, indeed, bear a kind of ironic similarity to the Madoff type “Ponzi-Scheme”.

    And I recently commented that the Western Democracy is set up rather like a type of “Ponzi-Scheme” of political power.

    That is, Western powers get other nations to buy into their ideology of “democracy”, take advantage (or make the others pay “dues” for joining the club, ie. in oil, resources, military bases, sovereignty rights, etc.), for the benefit of their own “early members” of the scheme, to appease their own populous.

    But when the world goes into recession, the Ponzi-scheme start to collapse, because the bottom can’t get enough new members, and/or cannot pay up sufficient benefits to justify the whole scheme.

    Like any Ponzi-scheme, the Western Democratization process requires a continuous injection of new members for new income to pay up to the top members, ie. Western nations.

    *China, essentially refused to fall for this scheme, refused to join, and refused to pay up.

  64. November 16th, 2011 at 07:38 | #64

    @raventhorn
    I agree, China already has way too many revolution in the 19-20th century. China need peace to develope. I do not believe that the West has any monopoly on democracy, what European imperialism did from 15 to 20th century is anything but that.

    I do have to grudgingly agree on the concept of Ponzi scheme. One reason the west pulled ahead of China is the introduction of modern banking system. The use of loan and investment give the western govn’t more leverage in the development of commerce and infrastructure. However, we can also say that modern N.American and European high standard of living is also based on this bank/investment leverage. The whole pension system in the west is now set up like a ponzi scheme.

    I am talking of just the internal matter here but I do agree that it apply to an extend in regard to international relationship. Despite talks of China’s neo colonialism in Africa, 80% of that continent resources go to the west. The whole western world simply cannot function without the natural resources import from the third world! The west is actually still the largest exporting economy in the world. However, Japan and now the whole of E.Asia has joined this club. And with increased prosperity in the west the low level manufaturing jobs have shifted. But nobody asked who has taken the jobs away from third word nation which constitute 3/4 of humanity.

    The fact is, there is a serious imbalance of trade worldwide. China is simply one of the hapless player in this game. With the emergence of the BRICS economies, the west no longer has absolute say in this matter. I actually believe in democracy but is there democracy in the IMF and World Bank, the west believe that the rich should have many more votes than the poor. The world will only be a better place if true democracy prevailed. The system we have now is a legacy of colonialism and imperialism.

  65. raventhorn
    November 17th, 2011 at 13:37 | #65

    @Ray
    The world has way too many revolutions. Time to “redistribute” the revolutions. If Western nations love “revolutions” so much, they should have more of their share of “revolutions”. It would only be fair.

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