Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Two views on China

Mark Steyn looks at China today and sees "a cunning simulation of external wealth and power that is, in fact, a forbidding false front for a state that remains a squalid hovel."

Sheldon Richman looks and says "some people just can’t take good news. They have to look for the gray lining in every silver cloud. ... The new anti-Chinese hysteria makes less sense than the old did. When will we get it through our heads that it is good for others to get rich? It makes us even richer."
Economically, the Chinese are freer than they used to be. Chinese entrepreneurs can raise capital, and foreigners can invest their money, to create productive enterprises. Chinese workers have far more choices than they used to have. The result has been stunning economic growth and an export boom fueled by low-priced high-quality products.
Steyn's point perhaps is that this success may not be sustainable as long as the authoritarian regime remains in place. "Betting on Beijing," he says, "will find the China shop is in the end mostly a lot of bull." But as I argue here, it is possible that trade with China will itself be a tool of liberation that eventually means the demolition of the 'squalid aithoritarian hovel.' As Richman says, "although China still has a communist-inspired authoritarian government, this is not your father’s Red nemesis. Much has changed in the world’s most populous country." Trade and prosperity is what is making that change possible.


  1. Considering the students who soak up Western ideas and culture like greedy little sponges only to return home I'd agree with you. For now, their authoritarian government allows them the freedom to complete public works projects that are required to keep them competitive with the rest of the world. But once large projects like the Three Gorges Dam is completed ... there is such an influx of business and trade and life that it will be impossible to cling to their current model and the good it could do would have been accomplished anyway.

  2. Excellent point tincanman - The bigots call to reduce the numbers of students from mainland China because they come from an authoritarian state is absurd. My argument has always been that to do so would cut off our best oppurtunity to espouse to the youth of China the benefits of freedom.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.