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I am no expert on China, either!  Marco?  But they have a 2400 year tradition of central rule by an authority that needed to be seen to possess "the mandate of Heaven."  The Maoist State re-cast that paradigm in a modernizing communist mold.  But the official ideology was sort of thrown in a cocked hat by Deng's new dictum: "It is glorious to be rich."  Unfortunately, many of the new rich are seen to have been corrupt cadres whose behavior is little better than the officially stigmatized landlords of the Chinese ancien regime. Given the poison food scandals, which all involve virtually sociopathic disregard for anything but individual profit for the entrepreneurs involved, they seem to have a problem.

This is not unique to China.  The term "pork barrel politics" in the USA came from military contracts to meat packers for portable, preserved food for the US Army.  In the event of the Spanish American War it turned out that many of these barrels of pork were preserved with formaldehyde!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 01:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
But they have a 2400 year tradition of central rule by an authority that needed to be seen to possess "the mandate of Heaven."

Europe is no stranger to the "divine right of Kings" either, and whist secular government has made great strides in Europe in the past few centuries, it sometimes seems that no one other that fanatical (if utterly hypocritical) Christians can successful stand for election in the US (or promotion in the military)...

Obama seems to be trying to out Bliar Blair with his faith based initiatives and determination not to be seen as opposed to the "Christian" "mainstream".

Thus the attempt to achieve some transcendent legitimation/justification for power does not seem to be restricted to the Chinese!  If anything, Confucianism/Taoism is much less deistic than Christianity....

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 02:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If anything, Confucianism/Taoism is much less deistic than Christianity....

Methinks you mean "theistic."

Theism. Deism. One confuses these two at the peril of making fundie heads explode. Which, while some would no doubt consider that a feature rather than a bug, does have the disadvantage that blood and brain goo are horribly hard to get out of the curtains.

</PN>

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 02:55:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Theism/Deism debate is a debate internal to a fundamental belief in God(s) and relates to theological differences of belief as to the nature of God and whether s/he intervenes in natural events.

Since most fundis seem to believe they have God more or less in their back pocket, and that they, and they only can understand Him correctly, I suspect that debate is somewhat over their heads and you need not worry over much over their heads exploding.

Certainty and self righteousness have a way of protecting you from brain strain...

Your deep and abiding concern for their welfare is, of course, noted...:-)

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 03:26:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PS remind me - how did we get from the Irish Government overpaying banks for toxic assets to a discussion of the finer points of theology?  Could it be God's way of telling us that he who would sup with the devil should use a long spoon?  Or that the Irish Government's creation of Nama is divinely inspired?  Nama has something of a biblical quality to it don't you think - a land flowing with gilt and dollars...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 03:32:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it seems to me that the necessary debt/equity swap could be looked upon as a form of Jubilee....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 03:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh shit - it's going to take 50 years to sort this out?


notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 04:06:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PS remind me - how did we get from the Irish Government overpaying banks for toxic assets to a discussion of the finer points of theology?

I believe it started when I expressed some doubt about the Chinese banks that Starvid held up as exemplary.  I suspected that they are little better than US banks, just at a different point in development.  

I certainly did not mean to imply that their system is less corrupt than ours.  Different cultural contexts, comparable corruption.  The State still holds the balance of power in China.  In the US the state is a de facto subsidiary of the largest banks.  On my own scale of corruption, the USA wins, hands down.  Reality totally subverts the perceived social ideal of "government of, by and for the people."

In the Chinese system the state is supposed to be dominant and largely still is.  But ideologically, the society is in transition.  My own perception is that the emerging capitalist elites have little if any allegiance to the Communist Party except as something that might occasionally be favorable to their business prospects.  My other point is that civil law is poorly developed in China and that enforcement of social norms or Government policy through exemplary violence, such as putting errant businessmen in front of firing squads, while possibly viscerally satisfying to many, has been known to be ineffective at least since Sir Robert Peel.    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 08:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should have said:
My other point is that civil law is poorly developed in China and that, under these circumstances, enforcement of social norms or Government policy through exemplary violence, such as putting errant businessmen in front of firing squads, while possibly viscerally satisfying to many, has been known to be ineffective at least since Sir Robert Peel.

Should have said

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 08:43:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Add to that the observations that some of the most spectacular corruption in China seems to be occurring amongst CCP cadres, many of whom are envious and resentful of business elites, and that these cadres are the current tool of choice for the Chinese Government to exercise control.  We could have the spectacle of a society moving from the equivalent of an Absolute Monarchy to an Age of Robber Barons in one generation.  

If the CCP cracks down hard, they would likely kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Plus, if any society needs rapid growth to maintain social order it is China, and their market of last resort has just tightened the belt severely. Chinese Government actions to mitigate that problem could easily end up destabilizing their financial system and/or their economy, regardless of the ethics or competence of their bankers.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 09:00:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for bring this conversation back onto the rails and a few notches up the intellectual scale!  Judging from afar, and without having been there, I find your points intuitively plausible.  

When the old CCP was in power, almost everybody was poor, and power came mostly from position in the political hierarchy. Now I suspect the real power is wielded by oligarchs who bribe who they have to to get what they want and bump off rivals.  

Massive and growing economic inequalities (perhaps even more so than the USA) will breed social unrest even when the whole economy is growing, and social stability depends on unrealistic growth for all going forward (so that the trickle down effect can help the poor) allied to a very authoritarian state.

Ironically it is a loss of state control which has helped generate both the overall economic growth and the massive increase in inequality, and thus unless the state can reassert some control over the capitalist class and rein them in, social unrest will increase.

I could thus see a re-emergence of Maoist type underground political activity in an attempt to rebalance the scales.  Unfortunately, in the absence of a strong civil society, respect for human rights and consumer protections I see the scope for conflict being much greater than in the US.

At least there is a (so far losing) battle against the corporate kleptocracy in the US.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 18th, 2009 at 05:50:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps marco will be able to provide some on the ground reality check, when he has an opportunity.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 18th, 2009 at 11:02:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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