Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Cycle of Cathay

Information Processing has a translation of Lee Kuan Yew's interview with Der Spiegel on the future role of China in the world. Lee believes China is patiently building up the basis of its power, carefully avoiding any outright confrontations with the United States, yet pushing forward industrially, in outer space and geopolitically. (Hat tip: K) The rise of the non-European world is not a new development, Lee says, but a springing back after the removal of the historical distortion of 19th century European expansionism. An older equilibrium is returning.

SPIEGEL: The political and economic center of gravity is moving from the West towards the East. Is Asia becoming the dominant political and economic force in this century?

Mr. Lee: I wouldn't say it's the dominant force. What is gradually happening is the restoration of the world balance to what it was in the early 19th century or late 18th century when China and India together were responsible for more than 40 percent of world GDP. With those two countries becoming part of the globalized trading world, they are going to go back to approximately the level of world GDP that they previously occupied. But that doesn't make them the superpowers of the world.

Lee says Europe has lost the technological edge which once enabled it to bestride the world. Today, it has become just another collection of small countries that must work hard if it is to survive in the world.

SPIEGEL: When you look to Western Europe, do you see a possible collapse of the society because of the overwhelming forces of globalization?

Mr. Lee: No. I see ten bitter years. In the end, the workers, whether they like it or not, will realize, that the cosy European world which they created after the war has come to an end.

SPIEGEL: How so? 

Mr. Lee: The social contract that led to workers sitting on the boards of companies and everybody being happy rested on this condition: I work hard, I restore Germany's prosperity, and you, the state, you have to look after me. I'm entitled to go to Baden Baden for spa recuperation one month every year. This old system was gone in the blink of an eye when two to three billion people joined the race - one billion in China, one billion in India and over half-a-billion in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

SPIEGEL: The question is: How do you answer that challenge? 

Mr. Lee: Chancellor Kohl tried to do it. He did it halfway then he had to pause. Schroeder tried to do it, now he's in a jam and has called an election. Merkel will go in and push, then she will get hammered before she can finish the job, but each time, they will push the restructuring a bit forward.

SPIEGEL: You think it's too slow? 

Mr. Lee: It is painful because it is so slow. If your workers were rational they would say, yes, this is going to happen anyway, let's do the necessary things in one go. Instead of one month at the spa, take one week at the spa, work harder and longer for the same pay, compete with the East Europeans, invent in new technology, put more money into your R&D, keep ahead of the Chinese and the Indians.

Read the whole thing. Although it is unstated, the concept underlying Lee Kuan Yew's outlook is that the confluence of the scientific revolution, maritime navigation and the industrialization which fueled the expansion of Europe into a dominant position across the globe, culminating in the grand empires of the 19th century, has passed. Now that those methods have been diffused, all the countries that opened their systems are potentially equal to the West. Under those equalized conditions, demography and culture will reassert itself; the giant and ancient civilizations of India and China will rise again to their 'rightful' places. He does not address the subject of Islam, but it would logically be both a winner and loser in the retreat of Western empires. Winner in that it will no longer lie beneath the shadow of the Western Mandates; loser in that it must confront resurgent and ancient civilizations, which in its time it had endeavored to conquer. In his own way, Lee asks Kipling's question, inviting Europe to raise its eyes from the level of its little, politically correct streets to the drama in the globalized world.

Winds of the World, give answer! They are whimpering to and fro --
And what should they know of England who only England know? --


Blogger enthymeme ∙ said...

Years away from home and I've quite forgotten how exceptionally clear-eyed and brilliant the man is. Were his legatees as acute.

9/04/2005 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

A good reminder from a man we should always listen to carefully that the great challenge to the West is how they cope and deal with the rise of Asia.

Our great challenge is not Dubya Bush's "Evildoers".

America cannot just abandon it's technological and industrial base and expect to borrow hundreds of billion dollars perpetually from Asia so we can become a nation of "care-givers, gov't employees, golf course designers, and wealthy lawyers.

Europe cannot have less than 1 kid per family or expect to have power and wealth if they have 20% on the full benefit dole, and the other 80% of their population working 35 hour weeks with 6-8 weeks of paid vacation.

Whatever America and Europe do, Asia will rise, and 3rd World and Western standards of living must inevitably fall to be competitive with Asia as long as the "free trade and labor globalization" system the world's wealthy devised as a way to get wealthier remains intact.

Free trade fanatics, libertarians, Ayn Rand and Hayek and von Mises acolytes nonwithstanding in their dogma ---a rising tide does not lift all boats ----like in New Orleans, plenty will drown as others get their Chinese-made flatscreen TVs that America not only lacks the cheap labor, but also the technological knowledge and industrial base to build as well.

9/04/2005 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

He does not address the subject of Islam, but it would logically be both a winner and loser in the retreat of Western empires. Winner in that it will no longer lie beneath the shadow of the Western Mandates; loser in that it must confront resurgent and ancient civilizations, which in its time it had endeavored to conquer.

Civilizations that do not harbor the paralyzing guilt of the West.

Perhaps we should loosen Aubrey de Grey on Europe. Sclerosis and senescence can kill a civilization, too.

9/04/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

As I understand the neoconservative position, dealing with the threat posed by radical Islamic fundamentalists is but one step towards reaching a position where the western world is poised to deal effectively with the changing kaleidoscope of geopolitical power.

9/04/2005 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


Mr Blair and wife Cherie will spend two days in China before flying on to India.

His spokesman said: "As PM of Britain and president of the EU it is part of his responsibility to have good relations with two countries which are already important players in the world and which will become more so."

9/04/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

"(Spoken) In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history lived a strange race of people: the Druids. No one knows who they were, or what they were doing, but their legacy remains here into the living rock... of Stonhenge.

Where the demons dwell,
Where the banshees live,
And they do live well

Where a man is a man.
And the children dance,
To the pipes of pan.

Tis a magic place,
Where the moon doth rise,
With a dragon's face.

Where the virgins lie.
And the prayer of devils,
Fill the midnight sky.

And you my love,
Won't you take my hand.
We'll go back in time,
To that mystic land.

Where the dew drops cry,
And the cats meow.
I will take you there,
I will show you how.

And oh how they danced, the little children of Stonehenge, beneath the haunted moon for fear that daybreak might come too soon.

And where are they now? The little people of Stonehenge. And what would they say to us, if we were here...tonight."


9/04/2005 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion, creeping nigher,
Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly-dying fire.

Does society need the drumbeat of war to avoid a deep, and final, repose? Did Radical Islam save us from death by comfort and the assisted suicide of complacency? Look at how deeply the infection runs already. How long before it would have become terminal?

A perverse twist if true. End of history indeed.

9/04/2005 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Yes, but Wretchard, India and China are not simply nations but civilizations in and of themselves. It is by no means certain that China will be able to survive in the 21st century given the pace of technology (weakening the institutions of the nation-state…although technology may enhance China’s position as its hardly patterned on the European nation-state). What could happen is that China, if it liberalizes, if it must or is forced to, might have to undergo a federalism crisis or devolve into a third Era of Warring States (hyperbole, but it should be taken as a warning, a worst case scenario).

India is much the same, there are pockets and patches that are gleamingly modern among vast tracts of ‘other’ civilization, repeated over region and city.

The trick is that India and China are rising during a era in which nations are being waylaid, much like America and Japan rose as Imperial contenders during an era in which empires cost blood in a way it didn’t a century before (Philippines and the “China Mess”).

9/04/2005 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Stop extravagant resource consumption:

If time were a bird forever on the wing, it would witness the significant improvement in Chinese people's lifestyle, especially in big cities.

A palatial, Western-style villa, luxury cars, plasma-screen TVs, Italian marble floors, top-brand jewellery ... This is the extravagant lifestyle of some urban nouveaux riches in today's growing China. These, to them, are signs of fortune, wealth and power in society. And it is no surprise that many foreign companies view China's gigantic consumer market as a vast, fertile land for investment.

9/04/2005 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

I couldn't find a full version of Spinal Tap's Stonehenge. Here's a clip of it however. (Click the orange rectangular button on the lower right of the screen.)

9/04/2005 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Loss of faith in the certainties of materialism and the progressinve globalizing of human experience reinforce one another in the longing they inspire for understanding about the purpose of existence.

Basic values are challenged; parochial attachments are surrendered; once unthinkable demands are accepted.

And yet, Wretchard, beneath all of the dislocation and suffering, the process is essentially a spiritual one:"The breeze of the All-Merciful hath wafted, and the souls have been quickened in the tombs of their bodies." The Lord of Hosts

9/04/2005 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

I agree that Asia is poised to be a major player in the next century, more important than Europe. There is a major problem with China being the dominant force, however. China has many cracks beneath the facade. The old criminal gang will try to hold onto power, but they are fighting history.

India and Japan are more likely to survive the next century of change and to thrive.

Europe has to restructure its welfare states, and change its attitude. Europe continues to act as if it has won the race in perpetuity, and can afford to sit on its laurels. That is a huge mistake.

9/04/2005 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Anne Rice makes the following argument in the New York Times:

"And where was everyone else during all this? Oh, help is coming, New Orleans was told. We are a rich country. Congress is acting. Someone will come to stop the looting and care for the refugees.

And it's true: eventually, help did come. But how many times did Gov. Kathleen Blanco have to say that the situation was desperate? How many times did Mayor Ray Nagin have to call for aid? Why did America ask a city cherished by millions and excoriated by some, but ignored by no one, to fight for its own life for so long? That's my question. ...

But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us 'Sin City,' and turned your backs."

Replace the term 'New Orleans' with Europe and you may hear the same cry: 'I cannot die for I am beautiful'. And would Cleveland, Ohio, have any smaller claim? There are other strengths which the fanciful must possess to survive. Perhaps that's unjust, but it's the way it is.

9/04/2005 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Wing Hang Bank Eyes Targets In China, Macau:

Wing Hang Bank said it hopes to open its first sub-branch in Shenzhen later this year, with the eventual expansion of the network to 8-10 sub-branches.

Wing Hang Bank acquired local lender Chekiang First Bank in August 2004. Fung said Wing Hang Bank could have cost savings of HK$80 million for the full year because of the purchase, which he said was one of the major reasons for the bank's 30% on-year growth in first-half net profit.

9/04/2005 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Bob Dylan
Copyright © 1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

9/04/2005 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Capitalism is a powerful germ, alike as it is to individualism (random variation), the core engine of Darwin's factory of successful organisms.

We live in interesting times. Right now, capitalism seems to be trending up, over alt Communism. Even the Chicomms are turning Capitalist.

America sucks in capitalists, humans willing to work hard for fair pay. We're built from the ground up to work this way, success breeding success, and more eager workers running to the sound of money.

I look forward to watching the inexorable flame of capitalism burn bright for decades hence in India and the rest of Asia. I can't wait to see if China can somehow keep the flame of capital in a hurricane lamp.

9/04/2005 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Is that what is happening in Europe right now, Wretchard? Ten years before, yes, definitely, but look at Germany, look at France, they are making slooooooooooow reforms that are nonetheless painful to their constituents. I don’t applaud their progress, I abhor the European community for what its becoming, an unaccountable bureaucracy based on the sordid irredentist leftist philosophies long dead and all of that bestride the continent most storied for its bloodshed.

Yet here we are in a circle. Europe confederates, yet fails in its most critical hour, towards true nationhood. There will not be a United States of Europe for some time and owed to God’s hand or some political huckstery, its attainment would be disastrous. Its one part, not going to happen with one part, wouldn’t work if it did.

I think history is working against both the European projects, and against China and India (Russia for that matter too). Technology drives geopolitical power and favors systems of government like America’s, not technocrat (EU) or autocrat (China). Those systems of government in turn favor delegation to the lowest levels, federation and not central rule.

China, India, Europe, and Russia, for that matter, Africa, Islam, Indonesia, Latin America (Portuguese and Spanish), and even the US, have to embrace a future in which other forces will come to dominate; the free market, democracy, technology, and so forth. That or retain their position of misery.

9/04/2005 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Typhoon death toll rises in China:

Typhoon Nabi, a separate storm, is heading towards Japan, with winds of up to 160km an hour (100 mph).

It is expected to batter much of Japan over the next three days.

9/04/2005 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I don't know about India but I do know a little bit about China (PRC). I have a relative that works there so I travel there. I agree with Singapore's Prime minister Lee. There will be a period of pain for Europe and the rest of the west. Sure as others have pointed out to much of Europe is on the dole. But, the other reasons are manifold and some times paradoxical.

The Chinese are hungry for economic expansion. They have a culture that promotes education and they have a lot of workers. Further, the workers are in much better health that just 12 years ago (when I first started traveling to China). For example, there are taller and more heavy set than in the past. They are quite materialistic (or at least the up and coming generation). On the long flight to Shanghai, I was seated near Chinese Stewardess who was discussing how the "older generation" had no money and was depended upon the State for support while the younger generation was entrepreneurial and their own business, cars, and in some cases houses. From my travels in China I agree.

Politically, China seems to be more capitalistic than most would expect from a "Communistic" nation. There are many individual business, including "franchize businesses." There are some upscale foreign business which deal in luxury goods and luxury cars (and, yes some Chinese do drive BMWs and other luxury cars - the price of gas is about equal to the USA price).

My understanding of the political system is that the 3 major cities have a high degree of autonomy for the central government. Certain business practices in Shanghai maybe frowned upon in Beijing or by the central government - yet are allowed unimpeded. Hence, these power bases are free to experiment with capitalism at a high rate. This seems to produce a competitive situation where each power bases wants the fastest economic growth. I will not go on about the huge amount of building and new infrastructure being constructed. But, I will just say that in certain cities there are huge buildings being built. These building have the usually plywood barrier to the construction site. But, painted on these plywood barriers are impressive pictures of high rise buildings and vast business complexes (the Chinese have dreams and they are now coming true). I did notice the new elevated monorail train in Shanghai and it looks quite impressive.

One of the unique advantages the Chinese have is lack of OSHA rules and other anti-business red tape that we have in the USA. Sure there is child labor (while traveling in the southern province I saw a bunch of school children running from the building after a bell rang - I was later was told it was not a school but a garment factory). But, with the absence of these anti-business rules business formation is quite rapid. I would speculate that the USA's OSHA rules and other red tape combined with lawsuits puts the US and, I would guess Europe as well, at an economic disadvantage. The tax system is mostly based on sales tax for the average small business (although many pay no tax) - the large business pay various social fees to support the government.

As for crime in China, it there - but it is dealt with quickly and harshly. I would hate to think of how the Chinese would handle the New Orleans looters. Needless to say it would be quite bloody.

I'll touch upon religion. It was originally outlawed - period. The people I know are all non-religious (except for a couple of Christians). One of the main reason for original banning of religion is that there are Muslim population centers which have proven quite violent (particularly against Buddhists). For example I went to Beijing and to Xian (I took Air China and was pleasantly surprised to find modern Airbus aircraft instead of the aging Russian junkers). At the entrance to some of the public Buddhists temples there were metal detectors and baggage scanning machines. My translator had to put her purse through the baggage scanner. She explained that the authorities were checking for bombs (the temple was an enclosed area with many people - a suicide bomber would have caused much death).

Just for informational purposes we decided to check out the Muslim sector of Xian. It's quite poor with many beggars. They have many street vendors selling food and other items. And, there are a few parents who have trained their young children to fleece the visitors.

For example, a female child came up to me and handed me a rose and said in broken English, "This is for free. I love you." I suspected it was a scam so I gave the rose to my Chinese interpreter. The child soon returned and stood in front of us rubbing her fingers together (the international sign for money). The Chinese interpreter immediately put the flower down on a table and walked a way. The Child persisted with the rubbing of her fingers. So, I relented and gave the female child 1 yuan. And, walked a way. The child persisted by running in front of us holding up 3 fingers (meaning the kid wanted 3 yuan for the rose). The Chinese interpreter then told the kid we were not going pay any more and that we did not want the rose. The Chinese interpreter told me not to take any thing from any child again because there were unscrupulous parents who train their kid's to be con-artists at a young age and accepting something from them could be a sign of a sale. I sensed the situation could have been worse if the kid was a teenager and in a different line of work.

Hence, in the long run if the majority of the Chinese population is fairly honest and industrious, and the Muslim population is dishonest and less industrious, the economic divided between to two groups will widen. Whether the Muslim side will change and catch up economically is a question.

9/04/2005 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Lee Kwan Yew is remarkable for his clarity of perception and vision, remarkable in a man who has exercised executive authority for decades. Note the implicit and unchallenged acceptance that Germans are by nature irrational because of their social contract and safety net. No wonder German ministers blame Bush for hurricanes, they have a deep contempt of the intelligence of their own citizens.

9/04/2005 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Breach closed in 17th Street Canal levee
Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005 7:32 p.m.
By Joe Darby
Staff Writer
The breach in the 17th Street Canal levee that had put the city of New Orleans underwater was essentially closed early Sunday evening after days of work and the use of “ingenuity to the max,” a top U.S. Corps of Engineers general said.
After the Corps dropped about 700 3,000-pound sandbags into the gap on the Orleans Parish side of the canal, the tops of the sandbags became visible and the breach was all but closed, said Maj. Gen. Don Riley, deputy commanding general and director of civil works of the Corps.
Corps spokesman Mike Rogers said a 20-foot space remained to be sealed by 6 p.m. and “could be closed as we speak.”
The gap, about 200 yards in from the lakeshore, and other levee breaks in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish, allowed 800,000 acre feet of water into the city and its suburbs, Riley said. That’s equivalent to a foot of water covering 800,000 acres, or with 640 acres to the square mile, 1,250 square miles.
With the closure of the 17th Street Canal breach, the process of pumping out the water can begin.

9/04/2005 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

China and India at the moment are seeming to rise up to be counted, however they are themselves great empires, should we not see "independence movements" from thier "lands"?

Why should nationalism and self determination only be at the expense of the west and it's allies (of course i am speaking why should the palestinians have a state) I look to china and india, with 2.5 billion people, to split into new nation states...

Free Tibet, Free Guangxi...

The Guangxi number 18 million... far more with a real ethnic history than any old "palestinian" with their 35 invented years of "fake" history...

Free Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region!

For some reason, i just cant get my arms around a democratic unified china...

As for India.... can we say Tamil? Kashmir!

9/04/2005 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wretchard's 6:45 PM, comment:
Was it SATURDAY when
BlankO finally gave the
order to Roll?

9/04/2005 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, nice to leave the Pakis out, since NONE of us have any idea what to do w/them.
(Duck and Cover?)

9/04/2005 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Solomon2 said...
No wonder German ministers blame Bush for hurricanes, they have a deep contempt of the intelligence of their own citizens.
The German political class bends under the sodden weight of the wooden stupidities of 19th & 20th century German philosophers. These bozos did for philosophy what Poe did for poetry: They built logical arguements on absurd foundations. The results for Poe were depressing and beautiful. The results for these numbskulls were depressing and ugly.

But the glory days of atheism have passed. They ran from the fall of the Bastille to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Nature abhors a vacume. So the current status quo will not long last.

9/04/2005 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"One of the unique advantages the Chinese have is lack of OSHA rules and other anti-business red tape that we have in the USA."
Also enough Math literate graduates to continue to produce engineers, scientists and etc.

9/04/2005 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Keep in mind, Japan's facing a demographic decline even more crushing than Europe, with no experience in immigration.

9/04/2005 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

22nd Congress on Law of World Opens in Beijing:

Among 22 topics discussed at the meeting, many are current hot issues in the world, such as United Nation status, functions and reform, anti-terrorism measures, and human rights.

China president Hu Jintao met the delegations before the opening.

9/04/2005 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Can anyone say what kind of social benefits the Japanese system provides? Pyramid scheme also?

9/04/2005 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard returns to the topic of New Orleans and Ann Rice.

While I read her piece today, the main impression I got was a sense of entitlement...that the city and people were just too important not to restore.

But cities with crap luck have been dying quiet deaths for years - Cleveland, Camden, Gary, Haverhill.

Then I thought what are the odds the Federal Gov't will pay each New Orleans resident or all the 100's of thousands elsewhere to rebuild - given the siting of their homes was reckless and in defiance of common sense?

Then I thought of the most recent evacuees - the 8,000 Israeli colonists that built in Gaza and in 10 colonies on the West Bank not even the right in Israel wanted them to establish. The US warned again and again it was reckless and stupid. Right from the outset we opposed them.

Supposedly the deal is Israel is requesting 2.2 billion in supplemental aid to fund new houses for the colonists (at 300,000 a Settler family) the balance to help pay for relocating the 12,000 Israeli Army troops that guarded the Gaza colonists.

Israel will probably get it, because politicians in both Parties in America depend on Zionists to butter their bread.

Will US citizens get what Israel demanded for it's citizens who "lost their homes"?

Well, actually many will. All the ones owning land in places where no private insurance company will cover the risk, but the sucker taxpayer will, at subsidized rates. And of course the connected "good 'ol boys" network in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida will get richer off the reconstruction contracts, They have that down to a science after all the hurricanes.

Not only the Zionists know how to butter bread.

As for the black underclass?


No way will they get what the Israelis got. They have no butter. Republicans don't care. And Democrats think the trials and tribulations of the underclass once again getting the short end of the stick is useful to get blacks nation-wide ticked off at Republicans for another reason so they vote against Republicans in 2006, 2008. All while Democrats divvy up the jobs they hope to dish out as fruits of election victory to heavy contributors, lawyer schmooozers, satrapies in America's cities run by a particular black leader and his nepotic network for decades, and the annointed few "Head Negroes" who are counted on to get out the vote.

9/04/2005 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cutler - 8:23 PM
I knew both of those facts, but never thought of both of them together before.
One benefit of present condition is relative domestic tranquility?

9/04/2005 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Perhaps. I also would expect the Japanese to be much more practical when it came to addressing the problems. The Europeans voters are simply clueless to the problems - and considering their media, will remain so until the problem is right on them. Too proud of being not like the Yanks, who step over their poor and work until they drop dead of McDonalds induced heart attacks. We are fat to start with, after all.

9/04/2005 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I thought of payoffs also C4.
That would be the begining of the end.
But how long until we hear of the millions to the 9-11 survivors?
So anything less is racist, right?
One of the all time blunders, since we all could have raised enough to give sufficient help.

9/04/2005 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

c4: Will US citizens get what Israel demanded for it's citizens who "lost their homes"?

Good question... whether the uSA helps israel or not they will be provided for by Israel, but since your pointed stick is out, let me ask you Mr Ceder, what of the 660,000 jewish people that were thrown out of the arab world, will they get cash for their homes? naw...

(i wont even bring up the murder of 6,000,000 since they were dead, so who cares)

I guess the better question is why should the USA protect arab governments that are charging us 70 dollars a barrel which they are making an extra 70 billion dollars off of, why should the USA spend 150 billion on Iraq's reconstruction and why should we give the oil companies 7 billion in tax breaks in the latest energy bill?

personally, i dont think the usa should give israel one shekel for one settlement that has been destroyed, but then I dont think we should fund abbo baba abbas one shekel either....

but C4, when the Indian that shows up on your door claims your house as "occupied lands" be ready to fork it over too, without government bailout...

9/04/2005 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

True, but their xenophobia has run very deep, at least up to now.
In Hawaii, they consider themselves superior for intermarrying the first time!
As if no one else ever did!

9/04/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

c4: Supposedly the deal is Israel is requesting 2.2 billion in supplemental aid to fund new houses for the colonists (at 300,000 a Settler family) the balance to help pay for relocating the 12,000 Israeli Army troops that guarded the Gaza colonists.

Interesting term "colonist"

Why shouldnt Israelis live any where in world? Why do you support JEW-free lands of the arab world? Do you support Arab free Europe? Or should the arabs of israel simply be thrown out as the jews were from the arab lands?

tell me, i am interested in hearing your point of view that claims only arabs deserve to live in gaza or the Judean Hills of the west bank...

9/04/2005 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I can't see "Israel" "Zionists" "Israel's Lapdog" and such in C4's posts:
Smooths the conversation.
Like those Maps in Palestine.

9/04/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Heathen Chinee:

Which I wish to remark,
And my language is plain,
That for ways that are dark
And for tricks that are vain,
The heathen Chinee is peculiar,
Which the same I would rise to explain.

Ah Sin was his name;
And I shall not deny,
In regard to the same,
What that name might imply;
But his smile it was pensive and childlike,
As I frequent remarked to Bill Nye.

It was August the third,
And quite soft was the skies;
Which it might be inferred
That Ah Sin was likewise;
Yet he played it that day upon William
And me in a way I despise.

Which we had a small game,
And Ah Sin took a hand:
It was Euchre. The same
He did not understand;
But he smiled as he sat by the table,
With the smile that was childlike and bland.

Yet the cards they were stocked
In a way that I grieve,
And my feelings were shocked
At the state of Nye's sleeve,
Which was stuffed full of aces and bowers,
And the same with intent to deceive.

But the hands that were played
By that heathen Chinee,
And the points that he made,
Were quite frightful to see, --
Till at last he put down a right bower,
Which the same Nye had dealt unto me.

Then I looked up at Nye,
And he gazed upon me;
And he rose with a sigh,
And said, "Can this be?
We are ruined by Chinese cheap labor," --
And he went for that heathen Chinee.

In the scene that ensued
I did not take a hand,
But the floor it was strewed
Like the leaves on the strand
With the cards that Ah Sin had been hiding,
In the game "he did not understand."

In his sleeves, which were long,
He had twenty-four packs, --
Which was coming it strong,
Yet I state but the facts;
And we found on his nails, which were taper,
What is frequent in tapers, -- that's wax.

Which is why I remark,
And my language is plain,
That for ways that are dark
And for tricks that are vain,
The heathen Chinee is peculiar, --
Which the same I am free to maintain.

9/04/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

enthymeme ∙ said...
Years away from home and I've quite forgotten how exceptionally clear-eyed and brilliant the man is. Were his legatees as acute.

4:11 PM
Yeah I like the guy too. He's also a very good weather vane as to the forces at work in Northwest Asia.

9/04/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Natural gas the real economic problem:

“The story is not oil, the story is gas,” said Joseph Clark, a certified financial planner and managing partner of the Financial Enhancement Group LLC in Anderson.

Stephen Martin, professor of economics at Purdue University, said the hurricane just accentuated trends already under way.

“The average American person controls the economy and it all comes down to discretionary income,” Clark said. As people begin to pay down their debt, they have more money to spend. So far, they’ve been able to maintain their spending, despite rising gasoline prices.

And those prices will stay where they are, Martin said, because of increasing energy demands in China and to a lesser extend India and because “in the United States we’ve simply not continued to make investments in energy that we were making in the ’80s. That all stopped. It didn’t backslide, but there was no further progress.”

9/04/2005 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

“The average American person controls the economy and it all comes down to discretionary income,” Clark said. As people begin to pay down their debt, they have more money to spend. So far, they’ve been able to maintain their spending, despite rising gasoline prices.

I wonder.. what the real cost of oil is (not counting iraq etc) in real dollars adjusted for inflation, then I'd like to compare that to what the typical consumer in america gets for today's dollar...

please correct me if I am wrong..

the quality of homes for the average person has gone up and cost has been driven down

the quality for food as it being eatable (not as the french would claim as it's being tasteless) and it's cost has been driven down

the quality of general consumer durable goods (cars & household appliances) has gone up and costs have been driven down...

if 70 bucks a barrel doesnt seem to have an impact, is that because so many other things (from telecommunications to etickets) keep outpacing inflation buy costs being driven out?

9/04/2005 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Chinese President Meets EU Delegates:

The E.U. delegates include British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now holding E.U.'s rotating presidency, president of the European Union (EU) Commission Manuel Barroso and E.U. foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

The eighth China-E.U. Summit is expected to cover political dialogues and economic and energy cooperation between the two sides.

9/04/2005 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Katrina medical help held up by red tape .
This is truly sick, in every sense:
Multimillion dollar post9-11 field hospital, doctors spend days getting ready, get on scene and cannot save patients.
Pierre's Aunt, a Dr. was last heard giving calls for help from the Hyatt after she evacuated 'Dome for her own safety.
I will check w/him again.

9/04/2005 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A federal official says the department's Office for Domestic Preparedness reminded the Louisiana and Mississippi Governors' offices about the stockpiles on Wednesday and Thursday, but neither governor had requested it.

As the picture becomes much more clear many in Congress believe that a total collapse of communications on the local and state level contributed to the catastrophic conditions the city of New Orleans has been under.

"It has become apparent that after President Bush declared the state of Louisiana a state of emergency a few days before the hurricane hit, communication with the White House and FEMA from city officials in New Orleans and the Governor collapsed," says Senator Dr. Bill Frist, who is currently helping victims with medical needs around the city.
"Our priority now is to save as many lives as possible, and things are improving by the hour," adds Frist.

9/04/2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I don't know; I'm not convinced China and India can overcome the instability inherent in hundreds orf millions of people in near abject or abject poverty. And a China in flux, for example, has rarely been a peaceful China. I've heard the arguments and seen the numbers, but I think the folly consists in presuming this transition from end of empire, decades of civil war, occupation by the Japanese and decades of brutal Communism will transist smoothly, among all nations, into this next-phase capitalist model of development. It's at least an unprecedented logistical problem. I just can't imagine China solving it; they never have before. China solves this quintessential modern problem without tremenedous theory-warping fallout? I highly doubt it. It's as easy to doubt sudden, 20th century-style revolution as it is to see that that will just not happen. That guy seems pretty astute though. I guess we'll have to see.

9/04/2005 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

There is that little energy problem ahead:
And if China solves theirs w/coal, we may actually see a nuclear winter.

9/04/2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Garret Hardin might be wishing for some sudden reduction in the World's Population, that some fraction thereof might still survive.

9/04/2005 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Doug -

Yes, I'm afraid the millions in payouts to each of the 9/11 victims families, and billions to others "victimized" by the "evildoers" that day - set an unfortunate precedent. Every time a big disaster comes along, many expect their big payday. I shudder to think from now on, Congress guarantees a few million to each victim of terrorism and only terrorism (except soldiers). What if a nuke goes off in a city? A few trillion goes to make every "victim family" a millionaire a few times over? *shudders*

I do think what will really gall black leaders is seeing citizens of a foreign country get 300,000 for their lost houses while American blacks get squat. They will say that shows where blacks rate in the big scheme of things, and they will be right. Its who butters the bread that matters. Pork for Yahweh says something to the effect that the colonists deserve US tax dollars to pay for new homes because other crappy countries besides Israel ran Jews out. Maybe it's just me, but I care less and less about America loosing lives and treasure for the benefit of all the crappy little countries - including Israel.

Back on China.

Thank you Leger, for a very fine post. I haven't been in China for 15 years, HK in 8. I expect I'd be staggered to see Shanghai again, taking the train ride from Guandong Prov. I'm staggered just from the TV shots.

One thing that also impressed me is how the lack of lawyers and command economic decisions allows China to do stuff fast, orders of magnitude faster than the US.

China decided 3 years ago it needed more LNG terminals. It announced plans to build 9 along it's coast. Construction has started. In America, lawyers would tie that up in knots for decades. In my area, we have a major highway that has been stalled, halfway built, by environmental and eminent domain lawsuits for TWENTY-FRIGGING-FIVE years! It's great. Cruise along and eventually signs and flashing lights originally put up in 1979 warn the highway ends. It does. Ahead are blasted hills with grading done and a rusty half-finished bridge. Then 30 miles on a crowded 2 lane through 2 built-up cities and several towns to connect to another highway....


Perhaps the Chinese model is superior...and maybe some of those bullets they used in the 50's and 60s went into the right heads. Noooo- what am I saying! Though all the Chinese trains run on time, as did Mussolinis, and freedom is messy as Rumsfeld likes to say about places like Haiti and Iraq - better for now to be a fat, dumb contented American than a grad engineer commie-fascist Chinese working his ass off to take away another American industry.

9/04/2005 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Costello deflects petrol price pressure:

Mr Costello said high oil prices could affect nations such as China, upon which Australia's economy is increasingly dependant.

He said high oil prices could precipitate a recession, which would be good for no one.

9/04/2005 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

" Cruise along and eventually signs and flashing lights originally put up in 1979 warn the highway ends. It does. Ahead are blasted hills with grading done and a rusty half-finished bridge. Then 30 miles on a crowded 2 lane through 2 built-up cities and several towns to connect to another highway...."
That's a good investment simply for how nuts it will drive future Chinese Anthropologists trying to make sense out of it.
...then they'll give up and try to figure out where that 200 million dollar bridge to 'knowwhere' goes in AK in the present Pork for DC Pukes Bill.

9/04/2005 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I'd like to nowhere that bridge is.

9/04/2005 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Don't pay him no nevermind:
That's Lou Costello and he's just puttin you on.

9/04/2005 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(Bud Arrives)
Howdy Pardner!

9/04/2005 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

(Doug Blurts)
Greetings, Pineapple!
(Baby Ruth)

9/04/2005 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(Baby Ruth)
deserves a LOL!
On a "serious" note, I was just checking to see if you had read all the comments in the previous thread.

9/04/2005 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

No..not yet...why, did you write one?

9/04/2005 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Were his legatees as acute."
I wonder about his wive's.

9/04/2005 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, that was the Pardner reference.
One and only 1 or two to you.
You're welcome.

9/04/2005 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I've been trying to help my daughter. Schoolwork. She came home the other day announcing that her school was getting two Brazilian exchange students. I said "Great!", she said "Are you crazy, have you got any idea how many a brazilian is?"

9/04/2005 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bush Considers Picking Roberts as Chief Justice....
Oh please, God, Just this one favor.
But then they'd demand Dershows.... to replace O'conner.

9/04/2005 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

They have a Gay old time down at UT these days.

9/04/2005 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Dershowitz ain't so bad. Would be if he wern't a Longhorn, though.

9/04/2005 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Pork for Yahweh says something to the effect that the colonists deserve US tax dollars to pay for new homes because other crappy countries besides Israel ran Jews out. Maybe it's just me, but I care less and less about America loosing lives and treasure for the benefit of all the crappy little countries - including Israel.

actually c4, you mis-speak....

i said: personally, i dont think the usa should give israel one shekel for one settlement that has been destroyed, but then I dont think we should fund abbo baba abbas one shekel either....

please dont lie and distort what i say....

9/04/2005 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think I'll try to remove myself from this Cycle of Cathy's before I hurt myself, or someone else does it for me.
Thanks for the laughs.

9/04/2005 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

China-EU textile talks end with no agreement:

The talks, which started yesterday, were headed by Chinese commerce minister Bo Xilai and EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.

Mandelson also said that the agreement reached in Shanghai in June limiting China's textile exports to the EU to 8 to 12.5 pct annual growth across 10 product categories was an example of how China and the EU could work together.

9/04/2005 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The low-cost producer has had the corner on the market ever since the first guy quit hunting so he could make flint spearpoints and trade 'em for prime-cut Mastodon.

9/05/2005 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

I for one am touched that Cedarford sees a lack of lawyers as a boon to Chinese growth. It isn’t. Lack of lawyers is a genuine lack of LAW, except for the party dictat. While China can simply build material machinery such as plants and factories it can’t produce the talent that drives that machinery and plants beyond what it can imitate, copy and steal.

China has little property rights, physical, intellectual, and beyond. Its massive piracy sector is instructive here; it can copy but hardly create. You might even see the Chinese as an insurgency of sorts in the economic sphere; a wide base of illicit activity with a few cells of competence.

But illicitness has a cost, a tremendous cost in fact; allowing cheating goes right through to the core of the Chinese business, increases costs, drives up risks, and can damage growth. I give you Chinese banking as an example; bad loans get passed on keeping bad companies afloat. What works is merely kicking the goal posts down the road a block at a time, but you have to pay for it eventually.

China cannot remain China in the 20th Century unless she becomes something much different.

9/05/2005 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger miklos rosza said...

I know that in France every baby step at necessary reform causes the unions to scream and overreact and ordinary citizens are aware of this and have come to dislike the unions quite a bit. For example, earlier this year in Bordeaux the electrical workers decided out of nowhere to strike "as a warning" and shut down all electricity one evening without telling anyone beforehand.

The next day Jean-Marie Le Pen or any other fascist could have won an election just like that.

Everyone waits for Nicholas Sarkozy. He is charismatic enough and (voila!) plain-speaking enough that it seems very possible he can get people to accept needed reforms.

Chirac has had a (minor, they say) stroke. Supposedly Dominique de Villepin (who does not have the common touch to say the least) is his political heir.

Things could could get interesting real soon. I'm not overhyping Sarkozy. He debated Tariq Ramadan and kicked his ass on France2 TV.

The Socialist leader, meanwhile, Francois Hollande, is the separated-at-birth twin of Zapotero in every way.

9/05/2005 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

China may lack innovation now, but that will change. What's most important is the sheer advantage of labor costs for both China and India. LKY wasn't lucky in building up my country to where it is today; he's made very few mistakes, and he's still one of the sharpest analysts of our times.

Between China and India, the odds currently are that China's control and command ability enable it to make much faster economic progress when it makes the right decisions. In contrast, the Indians are half-stumbling, and their sheer population density and uncontrolled growth will kill them sooner if not later. China's inhuman evil choice for infanticide was a decision made of necessity, to prevent a more terrible fate down the line. India has left it too late.

The demographics alone point to China as the better bet, especially once the boom generation passes and they can move back to a 2.1/2.2 child per family system(already happening in cities, a thinly veiled eugenics program).

The only big problem is the building banking crisis, but as long as China is making a net profit from exports, it should be fine.

9/05/2005 02:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sperm bank operator introducing Japanese women to Seoul surrogacy service .
A Tokyo company has offered to help women access a surrogacy service in South Korea, a procedure that is banned domestically by Japanese doctors, it has been learned.

"The technical level (of surrogacy services in South Korea) is on par with that of the United States," the president said. "I think South Korea is more appealing (to Japanese) because services in the United States involve higher traveling costs."
(I would have guessed appearance might be main concern for many.)

In Japan, surrogacy services are not legally prohibited, yet doctors generally adhere to a self-imposed ban on the practice. One doctor in Nagano Prefecture, however, has announced his involvement with a surrogacy service.

South Korea has no regulations on surrogacy services. (Mainichi)

9/05/2005 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Red Cross bureaucracy causing frustrations .
Read this before giving any more money to the Red Cross.

9/05/2005 03:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bound for Glory: America in Color, 1939-1943

9/05/2005 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I was reading up on the life and times of Huey "Kingfish" Long in an effort to understand Louisiana. Listened to "Every Man a King", sung by Huey Long himself and read what I could of his strange assasination -- his killer fell with sixty bullets in him. It sounds like a really special place, in both the good and bad senses of the word.

9/05/2005 03:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, called on President Bush on Sunday to appoint an independent national commission to examine the relief effort.
She also said that she intends to introduce legislation to remove FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security and restore its previous status as an independent agency with cabinet-level status.

9/05/2005 03:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" his killer fell with sixty bullets in him."
Sometimes for those of us with intellect impairment syndrome, slapstick seems the only thing to do:
"Were the Wounds Serious?"

9/05/2005 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Spared history might be Big Easy's salvation .
It's home to the streetcar named Desire. In the historic New Orleans museum, the Cabildo, they have the original maps that the Spanish drew of this nation. They have Napoleon's death mask. They have one of the last existing complete collections of [John James] Audubon's "Birds of America," the original collection.

"These are invaluable treasures to this nation and to the city," Foreman said. "That's what drew all these tourists here over all these years.... The French Quarter clearly has a lot of damage to it from wind and some from water, but it may be that it is largely intact at least in terms of the structures."

Sporadic fires and explosions jeopardize the city's waterfront and that imperils a decade and a half of tourism-related development. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas sits on the river at the base of Canal Street, just yards from the ferry that crosses visitors to historic Algiers and its sherbet-colored shotgun houses.
I only learned what shotgun houses were a few years ago, even tho some relatives I knew lived in them.

9/05/2005 04:07:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Adding to what Yeo said, exactly did the US become an industrial nation so fast?

The answer is like China, we cheated. We stole every manufacturing and textile design secret we could get from the UK and the Continent, enabling us to leap start our economy. We also protected our domestic market - because free trade would have destroyed us back then and kept us a raw material based economy. We also pushed education.

China is also doing well in education. It seeks to emulate not the US, but nations with seriously good education systems --Germany, Singapore, Japan, S Korea. It now graduates 6 times the engineers the US does and matches us in graduate students.

As for the old cliche` that Asians have a racial impediment that forces them to "copycat" from the innovative Americans....Wrong. Look at this issue of the Atlantic to show a map of where the new invention patents are coming from. Leading in per capita are Sweden, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Japan, S Korea, Israel, and Denmark.

9/05/2005 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I remember reading about almost innumerable American Inventors.
Was that propaganda?

9/05/2005 04:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I read somewhere that Germany was no better than us in math.
Got a link to that?

9/05/2005 04:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

From a column by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in this morning's Telegraph:

"In two weeks ... Berlin will fall to Angela Merkel, the shy physicist who grew up under Communism as the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, a 'non-person', learning young how to question the system. ... Her putative finance minister, Paul Kirchoff, wants a 25 per cent flat tax and calls for the abolition of 90,000 tax rules. 'We will smash down the tax barriers, break the cycle of resignation. I'll be there myself on hand with a big sledge-hammer. We want to give the citizens back their freedom and let them decide for themselves what they want to do with their incomes,' he said last month. ...

9/05/2005 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

c4: The answer is like China, we cheated. We stole every manufacturing and textile design secret we could get from the UK and the Continent

great point C4, next time your in church look at your bible, the older bigger portion was stolen from those original crappy israeli colonists you hate so much....

9/05/2005 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Officials: Its going to be 'ugly'
Knight Ridder ^ | 9/4/5 | Chris Adams, Susannah A. Nesmith and Martin Merzer

NEW ORLEANS - On the seventh day, the mayor of New Orleans said he would surrender control of his shattered, nearly abandoned city to federal and state officials, and authorities issued dire predictions of the human cost of Hurricane Katrina.

"We need to prepare the country for what's coming," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Sunday. "We are going to uncover people who died hiding in the houses, maybe got caught in floods. It is going to be as ugly a scene as you can imagine."

Late Sunday, Mayor Ray Nagin told Knight Ridder that his entire police force would be pulled off the streets by Tuesday and all firefighters, paramedics and emergency dispatchers also were being sidelined. They will be sent to Baton Rouge for evaluation and counseling, he said.

He noted that two police officers committed suicide in recent days and he said the other uniformed officers were traumatized by recent events. National Guard troops and state law enforcement officers will replace them, he said.

"I'm taking them out of here as quickly as I can,” Nagin said. “I’m not going to sit back and let another one die.”

9/05/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


Will you settle for a citation from 'Mein Kampf' as being dispositive? 'Cause that's where he gets the German superiority.


I think you meant "next time you're at the mosque for taqiya lessons". If you could pick out an appropriate surrah he might be able to follow you.

9/05/2005 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Lew said...

As China and India becomes powers, the world enters its final act. The promises of Abraham are about fullfilled.

9/05/2005 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Cedarfard: Perhaps the Chinese model is superior

Cut, Copy, Paste. That's chinese model in three words.

Cedarfard again: Maybe it's just me, but I care less and less about America loosing lives and treasure for the benefit of all the crappy little countries - including Israel.

I take it this conclusion that Israel is a crappy little country is based on a comparison of Nobel Prize awards, intellectual patents, scientific/ cultural/ philosophical/ religious output of Israel/Israelis vis-à-vis China. Because I'd hate to think that was just a Copy & Paste job originating with some French ambassador.

9/05/2005 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

A major minor:
Ezra Pound’s poetry
by Donald Lyons

"The fourteen poems in the first Cathay represent Pound’s workings-up from transliterations in the notebooks of the sinologist Ernest Fenollosa; what Fenollosa transliterated were, mainly, poems by the eighth-century Tang poet Li Po, whom he, using a Japanese form, called Rihaku. They are of course to be judged as English poems, not as trots. Kenner puts the case for Cathay as a war poem: “Its exiled bowmen, deserted women, levelled dynasties, departures from far places … were selected from the diverse wealth in the notebooks by a sensibility responsive to torn Belgium and disrupted London.” Carpenter, remarking on “how very little of [Pound’s] own voice is recognizable in Cathay,”

Two better liked poems from Pound's Cathay are The Frontier Guard and The River Merchant's Wife

This is unhappy stuff. But unlike Poe where the bad start leads logically to a bad end these poems begin and end in mystery. So all one can do is mourn. Fatalism is implicit ie: we live and die in darkness; whereas Poe's writing stands as a warning sign. "Don't go this way."

The Tang Dynasty ran from 618-907
Here is a description of the Tang Dynasty's rise glory and fall

9/05/2005 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Chuang Tzu

(The Inner Chapters)

Among the ancients, knowledge was very deep. What is meant by deep? It reached back to the time when nothing existed. It was so deep, so complete, that nothing could be added to it. Then came men who distinguished between things but did not give them names. Later they labeled them but did not choose between right and wrong. When right and wrong appeared, Tao declined. With the fall of Tao, desire arose. Is there really rise and fall?

When there is rise and fall, Chao Wen plays the lute. When there is no rise and fall, Chao Wen does not play the lute. Chao Wen played the lute, Shia Kuang kept time with a baton, and Hui Tzu leaned on a stump and debated. Each of these three masters was nearly perfect in his own art. Their names will be remembered forevermore. Because they excelled, they were distinguished from others. Because they excelled, they wanted to enlighten others through their art. They tried to teach what could not be taught. This resulted in obscure discussions as to the nature of "hardness" and "whiteness." Their sons followed in their fathers' footsteps all their lives but accomplished nothing. However, if this can be called accomplishment, then even I have accomplished something. If this cannot be called accomplishment, then neither I nor others have accomplished anything. Therefore, the sage seeks insight from chaos and doubt. Not making distinctions but dwelling on that which is unchanging is called clear vision.

Clubfoot-Hunchback-No-lips talked to Duke Ling of Wei. Duke Ling was so delighted with him that when he saw normal people, their necks appeared thin and scraggy. Jug-Jar-Big-Goiter talked to Duke Huan of Chi. Duke Huan was so delighted with him that when he saw normal people, he too thought their necks were thin and scraggy. So when goodness shines forth, the outward appearances are forgotten. Men do not forget what ought to be forgotten, but forget what ought not be forgotten. This is forgetfulness indeed! Therefore, the sage lets everything pass before his mind. To him learning is something added, conventions are like glue, morality is a bond, and skills are for trade. The sage does not make plans, so what use has he for learning? He does not make divisions, so what use has he for glue? He lacks nothing, so what use has he for morality? He has nothing to sell, so what use has he for trade? His not needing these four things is a gift from heaven. This gift is his heavenly food. Since he is fed by heaven, what use has he for men? He has the appearance of a man but not the desires of a man. He has the appearance of a man, so he associates with men. He does not have the desires of a man, so he is not concerned with right or wrong. How infinitely small is that which makes him a man! How infinitely great is that which makes him perfect in heaven!

9/05/2005 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

re: China's problems.

When you argue policy in an Intellectual Property case, you argue from utilitarianism. We protect IP because it creates an incentive to innovate. We give ideas economic value and protect against encroachment because ideas without such assurances would dry up and disappear.

It takes a lot of time and money to research and develop. China may cheat now, but when she catches up, she will find she is all out of ideas, and talent.

9/05/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Matoko Kusanagi said...

yet pushing forward industrially, in outer space and geopolitically
you forgot, bioengineering and transhuman therapies. They are already burying us in ESCR, and will continue as long as America tolerates GW's War on Science and the hideous albatross of the "bioethics" council hung around our necks.

9/05/2005 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Matoko Kusanagi said...

The War on Science in America

9/05/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Cedarford, we didn't cheat.
Ever here of a fellow named Eli Whitney? The Cotton Gin, interchangeable parts? Maybe Thomas Edison? Perhaps the ironclads, submarines, ah, aviation? From day one, the US innovated and innovated radically.

There has not been a concurrent addition to the commonweal from China that is comparable, and the reason that is is because it is command driven. Whatever macroeconomic problems China will face, she will indeed be able to surmount, because that's what she's designed for. But for innovation, under current governance, no dice.

If she prospers, she must deal with her middle class. Do centrally planned countries deal well with the needs of a middle class? Then why the circles? China cannot grow forever in its skin, someday it has to grow up out of communism or the communists will ruin it.

Not rocket science here.

9/05/2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Of copurse ChiCom militarism has to be watched like a hawk, and the losses from intellectual-property piracy will have to be made up by those same corporate victims' opening new partnership interprises in and with China. Both these adjustments are ongoing, problems being addressed. We'll change them some mopre, as timegoes on, as they will change us. This is just "life on the planet". But what I think some of us should do, is review our notions of what we've wanted for lo these many years: A prosperous open-market global trader, no longer repressing human rights, and no longer vulnerable to massive famine disasters (as PRC was in my memory). There is an optimistic view that, properly managed--starting as always with understanding our own attitudes--things are going along pretty well. The USA owns about half of all the financial capital in the world, dominance in any language, and if our influence is down from it's post WWII high, isn't a rising world, banishing hunger, joining our pointed way toward open-market free-trade capitalism, exactly what--in every forum for 60 years now--we've been saying we want?

9/05/2005 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

Expat (former) Communists from the PRC I know now joke about their kids becoming "bananas" - Yellow on the outside, white on the inside. But what they mean is Western, not white.

When one compares the Epistemologies of the East to those of the West, one stunning omission in the former immediately pops to mind - Proof by Contradiction.

The logical organization of ideas is missing from Chinese thought and they do not have organic memes and words for Logic and Reason.

Compared to the West, they have an anencephalic scholarly tradition.

Its not that abstract thought is not possible, but that abstract thought has been pruned and pruned.

During the reign of the Emperors, and during the periodic encyclicalization, the curators of the Great Chinese Encyclopedia would use force of arms to confiscate scholarly works. Every hundred years the equivalent of the Library at Alexandria would be burned.

To be a Banana means to be free to think and speak and challenge old ideas with new ones.

Economies are dynamic and people must be free to think and to act in order to maintain the machines and the firms - the old must be brought down and rebuilt anew. Its the ideas in the minds of people that drive this and freedom to recombine ideas and to act on them is key.

If the people of China cannot drop bad ideas and come up with new ones and then act upon them, China is doomed, as Russia was.

Paul Johnson can called the situation fragile in China for this reason.

9/05/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger anybudee said...

I agree with Verc and RR's take on China. Economics blew up the Soviet Union. (whether or not you believe we bankrupted outselves in order to do it) Economics will blow up China. They will either massively liberalize or do another Tiananmen, which probably won't work. At any rate, the ruling oligarchy will become extinct.

The 'rising tide' will create centers of power that will crave more. Plus an underclass, whose boats were NOT lifted, fomenting a genuine class warfare. Throw in the jihadists from right next door - Paki and four other 'stans' and now Bangladesh.

No one said there guys were stupid. Right now there are probably huge offshore accounts being built by the leaders who know that their days as totalitarians are numbered, so they are positioning themselves as titans of industry, the new warlords.

9/05/2005 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

For China to rise to world dominance, it will have to become the world's dominant consumer society where the best and the brightest want to live and add value to their shared lifestyle. But to become such a society, one must allow for a great deal of internal competition, freed from the current patronage and corruption system, to create a logical and effective internal market. Long-term growth must entail serving local needs.

They aren't very good at this yet. Consider, for example, the burgeonoing electric bike industry in parts of China, especially around Shanghai (Zhejiang province, though much of the R&D is stolen form other countries). It is an industry that seems perfectly suited to CHinese needs, with great consumer feedback so far, but it remains very regional in nature, with a lot of political obstacles to it becoming a national industry serving a national market. This is because in some cities, e.g. Beijing, the car-manufacting lobby has the ear of the politicians, or vice versa, since the high politicos have decided a modern China is one with big roads and the California lifestyle, traffic congestion be djammed. This kind of thing is a more insidious form of regulation in terms of economic development, deaf to market feedback mechanisms, than anything created by America's only somewhat parasitical lawyers.

Chinese autocracy may work well in a small place like Taiwan or Singapore, where a few smart players can realistically conceive and serve a common interest, but interests are too diverse in China to be well served by autocracy, because it only creates a number of competing regional kingpins who are increasingly going to find it difficult to resolve their differences without a free and open political, econmic and intellectual market.

So China (i.e. the various regional players who are only loosely united by the Communist party, not exactly a font of great politcal legitimacy) primarily services export markets, and will thrive or suffer along with them. I have a connection with a business manufacturing dolls and ornamental figurines in Guangzhou province. It is of course an all-Chinese workforce from the managers and designers on down, and they are right in the middle of one of the most prosperous regions in China, with a growing "middle class." Perfect setup for selling such low-value consumer goods (heck, the Chinese are great idolaters to boot)? But good luck trying to find any Asian-looking figures among this firm's products. Everything is aimed at western tastes, largely Victoriana. That's not to say Chinese aren't interested in buying into western esthetics, only that it's odd that a medium size Chinese entrepreneurs can be so focussed on the external and not looking to diversify into local styles (which other business obviously serve to some limited extent).

Even to the extent there are now a lot of consumers in China, look at who serves them: in large part western firms, from KFC to Walmart, and Mercedes to French department stores.

In other words, it is easy to ignore the great dependency of China on western consumer society, and to forget how consumption has itself become an agent of western productivity vis a vis all the knowledge-based industries. I don't see China overcoming this dependency under the current political system, which throttles development of an open domestic market, which is why there are a lot more Chinese in the west than vice versa and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Get used to the sons of daughters of the CHinese nouveau riche in your finest neighborhoods, and the scrambling middle class in your universities, because they are not yet secure at home.

9/05/2005 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

truepeers said...

For China to rise to world dominance, it will have to become the world's dominant consumer society where the best and the brightest want to live and add value to their shared lifestyle.
the chinese have used the Japanese as their role modele in their relations with the west. the japanese have done very well indeed. it unclear however, whether both the chinese and the japanese can play the same currency game with the USA without gutting this country.

9/05/2005 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Charles, fair enough point. But Japan is not a globally dominant power, except in certain industries. It defers to the US politically and its young people are somewhat more obsessed with American culture than vice versa. The value of American currency, remember, is founded not only on wealth but on American global political power (money came originally out of the temple, as a token of the sacrifice; so it is first a token of religious-political power sharing, and only then an economic one).

Naturally there is a lot of anti-Americanism in hte world because the US is the leading nation, but imagine the Chinese trying to lead the world? That is when you really grasp the limits of their political culture.

9/05/2005 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Zhang Fei said...

truepeer: Naturally there is a lot of anti-Americanism in hte world because the US is the leading nation, but imagine the Chinese trying to lead the world? That is when you really grasp the limits of their political culture.

You can't because your knowledge of history is limited. During the height of its powers, Chinese culture and political thought were dominant in Central, Northeast and Southeast Asia. (This is why the Japanese, Koreans - and previously, the Vietnamese - use Chinese script). In the last two centuries, this fell by the wayside, as China - unlike Japan - missed a massive step-up in technological and economic thought.

What LKY is saying is that China is now a capitalist country, not a communist one.* This is what the abolition of the iron rice bowl means. A worker's health benefits, pension and so on are now tied to what he can earn and save in private industry, not to a state-owned company's bottomless resources. The labor unrest you see on an occasional basis is not a sign of imminent regime collapse - it's a sign that the Chinese government is ditching state-owned industries, and their attendant obligations, as fast as it can.

* It uses the expression "socialism with Chinese characteristics" because that is the only way to preserve its claim to power - to actively repudiate communism would bring up problems of legitimacy - if communism stinks, why are communists China's rulers?

9/05/2005 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Zhang Fei said...

ledger: One of the unique advantages the Chinese have is lack of OSHA rules and other anti-business red tape that we have in the USA.

The problem in China is a different kind of red tape - it's not regulations restricting the running of businesses - it's the bribes you have to pay to get a permit to start a business. China's problem isn't commissars - it's bribe-seeking officials and the tangle of permits necessary to get anything started. And then there's the tax collectors who are always looking for freebies.

9/05/2005 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Zhang Fei said...

truepeers: Naturally there is a lot of anti-Americanism in hte world because the US is the leading nation

With respect to the non-Western world, part of the anti-Americanism is the result of annual State Department lectures on human rights - the attitude of the locals is "who are you to tell us what to do?" American values are universal in the sense that we would like them to be universal. They are not universal in the sense that foreigners think they are universal or would like them to be universal.

For foreign regimes - even friendly ones, cultivating anti-Americanism is almost a defense mechanism against the demands we place on them - if they allowed the freedoms we want, they would be out of power, just like the Shah. Much as they like dealing with us, they're not willing to give up their power just so the State Department will pat them on the back. And allies or not, they think it's presumptuous of us to tell them that they have no right to be the rulers of their countries.

On the popular level, opposition politicians and the artistic community want to be free - the rest of the developing world's populations want to be rich. They look at China and see a model that works. They look at the Philippines and see a model that doesn't.

9/05/2005 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

You can't because your knowledge of history is limited. During the height of its powers, Chinese culture and political thought were dominant in Central, Northeast and Southeast Asia. (This is why the Japanese, Koreans - and previously, the Vietnamese - use Chinese script).

-Zhang Fei, I know enough history and can read enough Chinese to know that the Chinese are well capable of running a large agrarian empire. But what I think we can say about history generally is that it progresses as a process of secularization and decentralization and the future is not bright for empires. Neither does the political future belong to bureaucratic and undemocratic federations like the EU, but rather to nation states sufficiently coherent and adaptable (with good democratic feedback mechanisms) to learn quickly how to specialize and do a few things well economically, and how then to ally themselves intelligently in geopolitics. In such a world of nation states the leading nation must present powerful models of both nationhood and internationalism, the kind of models that will be both admired and resented, as your comments on anti-Americanism ably suggest.

What I wanted to suggest is that I can't see the Chinese serving as cultural and political models for the world beyond East Asia because they don't well understand the political model that I think is growing in importance. If they did, they would cut Taiwan a lot more slack, for example.

It's not just because the Daoist-Confucian mindset is so foreign to me (though I'm slowly learning it from Chinese friends) that I say this; it's that i see no evidence that Chinese culture will appeal to people around the world the way that the much loved and hated American culture does. And since we are no longer in the age of agrarian empires when a high culture can be imposed by an elite with all the power to ritually enforce correct meaning, I don't buy into those Confucian dreams of a Chinese imperial renaissance. I believe East Asian culture will merge with western culture in some new synthesis that will become increasingly important globally. But I don't see this being led by the Chinese political class. It is more something we will see coming from the geopolitical margins where people in flight from the overly-ritualized centers of power meet, mingle, and come to new understandings, places like Canada and Australia, for example. A small city like Vancouver is nonetheless already well known in China; it can fascinate many curious souls there because it serves as somethign of a novel cultural model of CHinese interaction with the western world, in a way that all the trappings of modern power and wealth in Beijing and Shanghai do not. Smallness and relative weakness is a much under-appreciated force in history. BUt from weakness comes necessity and freedom. Four hundred years ago there were a mere three million English speakers on the planet. But their rivals were France, Spain, Rome. The success of that small culture was not guaranteed by any grand imperial history. Quite the opposite. Similarly, the succes of Taiwan is more impressive than that of China as a whole. The latter has much bigger numbers overall, but the former suggests the relative power of smallness, given the limits demanded by any efficient system of management, as the grandiose merger men of big business must continually re-learn, along with AMericans who dream that the federal government can solve all their problems.

9/06/2005 01:26:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Eastern Civilizations may take on the technology and the trappings of their Western brother - but by the very nature of their culture, they won't wield their news tools the best.

Western Civilization, with it's internal debate, makes the better warrior. In the long run, history has proven this true.

9/06/2005 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

There has not been a concurrent addition to the commonweal from China that is comparable, and the reason that is is because it is command driven. Whatever macroeconomic problems China will face, she will indeed be able to surmount, because that's what she's designed for. But for innovation, under current governance, no dice.

I disagree. Innovation is a freeway whose pillars are global trade and participation
in the free, competitive exchange of knowledge that is the hallmark of the global scientific culture. China is getting on that freeway, as their neighbors did before them. (Think about the Korean contribution to cloning and stem cells, and the Japanese achievements in consumers electronics and many other areas.) They are making mistakes, and certain features of their society will have to be changed, but the payoffs are now so obvious that most Chinese will be willing to make them.

I believe that the geopolitics of the rise of China and India are tricky and the economics will be turbulent, but the effects on the human stock of knowledge are going to be profound.

9/06/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Guys, everybody cheats in the beginning of the modernization process. It's been said that when you start selling a new product in Japan which is even marginally successful, within 48 hours a better, superior version will appear in the sales windows. That's how seriously competitive and innovative the Japanese are.

China is also capable of the same once they reach critical mass. In fact, I've heard that such things are already happening in Shanghai.

Truepeer's account of China's preference for things Western ties in very nicely with a story I heard from my mum about an article in the local chinese paper. A singaporean went to China for some business, and when he conversed in chinese, thinking that using the common language would be better, he was stonewalled, ignored, and downright pushed away. However, when he decided to speak in english instead, they were fawning all over him.

And confucianism is, as many chinese scholars already recognise, the cause of many of China's ills. Whether they'll be able to break out of it is a fascinating situation.

9/06/2005 08:00:00 PM  

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