Thursday, 29 April 2021

"China’s future will depend on which tendency wins out in the end."


"Homo sapiens is a cooperative species. Compared to many other animals, we are not particularly strong or fast, we don’t have armour, we can’t fly and are not very good at swimming. But we have something else that gives us an overwhelming advantage: we have each other....
    "Man is a trader by nature. We constantly exchange know-how, favours and goods with others, so that we can accomplish more than we would if we were limited to our own talents and experiences....
    "Present-day globalisation is nothing but the extension of this cooperation across borders, all over the world, making it possible for more people than ever to make use of the ideas and work of others, no matter where they are on the planet. This has made the modern global economy possible, which has liberated almost 130,000 people from poverty every day for the last twenty-five years....
    "[A]uthoritarian China is not a counter-example to the case that progress depends on openness. When China was most open it led the world in wealth, science and technology, but by shutting its ports and minds to the world five-hundred years ago, the planet’s richest country soon became one of its poorest. China’s present comeback is the result of a new, partial opening since 1979, and it is doing spectacularly well in the areas that have been opened, and failing miserably in the ones that have not. Chinese businesses competing on world markets have lifted millions of workers out of poverty, but protected state-owned enterprises are destroying wealth in growing rust belts. When Chinese scholars work in areas the party approves of, they end up in prestigious science journals, but when they sound the alarm about a new virus or something else that embarrasses its leaders, they end up in jail. China’s Communist Party wants both the benefits of openness and the certainty of control. China’s future will depend on which tendency wins out in the end."
          ~ Johan Norberg, from his book Open: The Story Of Human Progress

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