China Might Never Become Number One
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  • Corlyss

    “China Might Never Become Number One”

    I’ve thought this for years, not for the reasons cited (I’m not that smart and I don’t know enough about Chinese society to speak confidently). My reason for believing that is this: the oriental societies are authoritarian and paternalistic by thousands of years of culture. They are not innovative; they are imitative. They make fine copies, but they’ll never invent anything useful again (after their spurt during the middle ages when they invented toys and entertainments the West would later make into agents of revolutionary change). Still waiting for their first Nobel science/math winner to appear. I suppose it’s wrong to say ‘never,’ but I foresee China breaking up into constituent parts long before they become the kind of dominant society that justifies predictions that the East will eventually surpass the West.

    • crocodilechuck

      @ Corlyss: read Joseph Needham’s ‘Science and Civilisation in China’?

      There’s a reason it consists of twenty seven volumes:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_Civilisation_in_China

      The series is included in the Modern Library Board’s 100 Best Nonfiction books of the 20th century.

      • Corlyss

        IS there a cliff notes version somewhere?

    • bpuharic

      I’ve worked with Chinese scientists in the semiconductor industry for 30 years. If they ever get their govt right they’re going to kick our butts.

      • Bruce

        How are they going to get their government right? They are Communists.

        • Corlyss

          Yeah, agreed, but that’s one of those imitative grafts from the West. They’re Chinese first, foremost, and forever.

    • cubanbob

      Don’t be so cocky. There is a big lag between when a Nobel laureate does their work and when the work gets them a prize. The top schools in this country are full of Asians who are majoring or have graduated with honors in the hard sciences. Lets see what happens in the next thirty years.

      • Corlyss

        Even if what you say is true, and I don’t doubt it, still waiting. The kind of science rewarded by Nobel depends on a raft of social characteristics the Orientals have yet to master. On the scale of social and cultural development important to the success of the West, I put them somewhere around the period just after the printing press was invented and began pumping tracts and research into the West’s intellectual bloodstream and the 30 years war. They’ve got a lot of ground to cover before I become concerned. Most likely I’ll be dead before I have to start worrying.

  • f1b0nacc1

    I remember this debate from the 80s, when I established my (lifelong) rep as a crank by rejecting the conventional wisdom that Japan was going to take over the world. Neither Japan nor China are ever going to be anything more than second-tier powers with unfulfilled aspirations to much, much more…

    • bpuharic

      Until the mid 19th century, the world’s largest economy was China’s.

      • Atanu Maulik

        Then the Industrial revolution made its effect felt.

  • Pete

    “An aging population means that young people and the state will soon have to care for more elderly citizens than they can afford.”

    Oh, the state will take care of its aging population, alright, especially a state like China’s that murdered tens of millions of its own people within living memory.

    If the aged in China get in the way of ‘progress,’ watch out. After all, China is not constrained by a a Christian ethic that would preclude a ‘practical’ solution to the problem

  • bpuharic

    THe American right has tried to gut environmental legislation and shut down the EPA for years. Yet here is demonstrable and real proof of the costs of pollution. I guess pollution only hurts if it’s communist pollution

    • cubanbob

      As if there is any difference between a communist and a progresive.

      • bpuharic

        As if there’s any difference between a conservative and a nazi.

        Want to play games?

        • cubanbob

          A Nazi is simply a racial-nationalist Communist. But go ahead and play your game.

          • bpuharic

            Which, I suppose, is why Hitler was backed by IG Farben, Krupp, etc. and killed every communist

            You guys have anything besides cliches?

          • cubanbob

            So a bunch of crony’s backed Hitler? Thats your case? I suppose those bastards preferred letting Adolph own the companies in all but name and letting the owners keep some of the money in exchange for management services rather than having their companies formally nationalized. Stalin was best buds with Adolph when it suited him. And Adolph was best buds with Joe when it suited him. Gangsters all. Nothing personal, just business.

          • bpuharic

            How many companies backed Stalin?

            Oh. None.

            And Stalin wasn’t ‘best buds’. He signed a non aggression pact in the delusional hope thatHitler WASN”T anti communist

            Hitler treated commies the way he treated Jews.

            Your conclusion about his love of Jews?

  • 21tigermike

    Even if China hits astronomical GDP levels (at this point we’re literally pushing the limits of gold/cash/value on Earth to get China’s GDP/Cap up to OECD levels), it is STILL meaningless if most people in the country are impoverished.

    If you go to Shanghai most people still leave hand-to-mouth, making about 600-800 dollars a month. Most of the money goes to apartment rental. And that’s IF you have a college education, etc.

    China’s problems truly are unique. No country, other than India, can truly understand what China’s burdened with.

    • Atanu Maulik

      Yes you are right. Westerners will find it difficult to understand. But I am from India and I know that China and India will NEVER be able to deliver the quality of life to their citizens that the west managed.

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