Alleycat, you’re a sucker.
Go clubbing in New York for two months and tell me that you understand the U.S. Then go to London for the same amount of time and tell me you understand the British people. If there was a dollar to be collected for you and every twit of a journalist who visited Beijing or Shanghai and idiotically thought they knew China, I could retire. You’re extremely naive and short-sighted.
I wish you could have gone to Capetown in the '70s and told me how well things ran there. Hey–as long as you followed the law things were great.
So you went to China? Ever get out of the city or go to the countryside? Ever talk to the people in the foreign provinces? Ever visit one of the factories? Ever talk to the foreigners who actually deal with Chinese management? Ever talk to someone who can’t afford the places you ate at? Ever talk to some VP at “MacroSquash” who has to grant favors to the local party leaders? Ever talk to a foreigner who’se been arrested, had the police kick them out of their apartment for dating a Chinese girl, or had the gall to carry a camera where they’re not supposed to (like a public place where someone’s practicing Falun Gong)?
You know, what I appreciate as I get older is the perspective of time. With this perspective my awareness of how things progress grows stronger. In regard to this topic, I find it easy to see how systems work–in particular, the system that is being built within China.
Party leaders have been trying to adapt a hard-core communist system into a free and dynamic capitalist system. Never mind that this effort is oxymoronic–what is harder for people like you to see is how natural social patterns are evolving. With the Communist Party still the only legal political party, there is no natural competition for reform, political freedom, or justice. The system cannot sustain itself.
What amazes me is the stupidity of the foreign business community. As a die-hard capitalist, I’m amazed that they don’t put a dollar value on a free economic system. As pointed out by others in this thread, the people who dominate the system in China have no real competition. The only reason the Communist leaders want to keep foreign investors happy is to entice more foreign investors. In this vacuum of competition there will never be any true social stability. Maybe they should talk to some of the foreigners who were around before the revolution. Instead of a pre-revolutionary China where capitalists could abuse anyone’s rights, we have a post-revolutionary where once staunch party loyalists are now jaded “entrepeneurs” and can abuse anyone’s rights. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was Rule of Law again in China?
China has built it’s present-day economic system entirely on foreign investment and growth. It has no social infrastructure for economic disaster, and no infrastructure for handling any massive unemployment that would follow. Foreign companies would be wise to have either a very quick exit strategy, or a huge cash reserve to keep themselves afloat. I’m hearing more and more about the lack of actual profits from investments in China. I keep on reading about the need for patience with their “long-term” strategy. Certainly big-name companies are treated well, as long as the Communist leaders stay savvy about any negative headlines their mistreatment would generate (and aren’t yet ready to substitute them for their own home-grown brand). But never underestimate the stupidity of the business community. Anybody remember the “The Japan That Can Say No?” Anybody remember the Internet Bubble?
I’m sticking to my forecast that within the next eight years Mainland China will go through a revolution. I’m hoping that it can break apart into a much looser federation of provinces with true democracy. But I’m afraid that it will be much uglier than that.
Taiwan has made a transition into an evolving democracy. China should be following their example. Supporting Taiwan is a sound political and economic investment.
Let’s all remember something else. The people of China don’t hear this debate. Because of the state-controlled media they’re guided to believe that either the Taiwanese are evil, or suffering from their own mis-direction.