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  1. #91

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    I have been reading posts by both factions here for all ten pages or so, Freetrader had made really good arguments in his initial posts, but, for some reason the moment TheBrit came on the scene it all went downhill.
    I agree with what Mat is saying here and let me give you my reason to believe why the western styled democracy is probably not the best way forward for China.
    It's been 64 years since India got independance, and is the so-called one of the biggest democracy in the world today. But, has it changed anything for the people in rural areas, no. They are still struggling to get water, food, a roof over head, clothes to wear, electricity, education, medicines. If you go today and ask any of them, they'd probably say they don't care if the govt is democratic, or dictatorship or any other form. Because, for them, nothing has changed in last so many decades.
    Why is that so? Probably because, India, as China is, geographically, culturally, a very diverse country. There are as many as 30 languages and further more dialects, and as many a cuisines, rituals etc. Then, there's the religion aspect, caste system and what not.
    For the comman man even though the whites left, but, in their place brown-whites came and they continued the beaurcractic and ridiculously corrupt system going and improving it. If you have read the recent news, you'd know that the anti-graft bill that has been in news, because of one man's crusade, has been going round in circles for last 40 years, because none of our democratically elected honourable members of parliament, would allow the bill to pass. If that bill had passed, it'd have curbed the blatant corruption that has been so rampant and in-your-face.
    The Indian populace has accepted corruption as way of life, part of life. You need electric connection, pay the guy under the table at the electricity board office. you need your pension started, pay the guy to move the file. You got caught by traffic police, irrespective of whether you are at fault or not, you have to pay him to leave, else you are caught in the rut of courts. Everyone knows that in India, a court case can go on for years and years and except the lawyers no one benefits.
    Despite of what people believe as regards to the so called IT revolution of India, we still have 45% men and 50% women who are illiterate. That revolution has reached and benefitted only a few.
    These are the only few examples I have quoted here, I can write till the cow come home on this.

    Somehow the democracy in India has failed her people, totally and utterly.
    I think, if you give sudden freedom to the Chinese, chances of civil wars, reverse growth would be much higher. I am sure people want more freedom, but, may be if things are done slowly and gradually, it'd have a longer lasting impact then a sudden jerk of free-for-all.
    There's still lot of illiteracy, poverty, hunger in rural China, and a sudden change of government would invite chaos and who knows which way things go from there....

    Last edited by gunsnroses; 12-04-2011 at 10:54 AM.

  2. #92

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    Gunsandroses, thanks for the compliment, and for the thoughtful post. Let me tell you why I disagree.

    1.) It is not democracy that failed India, but socialism. India achieved independence at the time when statist, quasi socialist, and neo-Keyensian econonic views held sway. That is why it still takes two months to incorporate a business in India even though the economy has been liberalised and has been growing faster for the past 20 years. Compare with Hong Kong. Not to say the colonial Brits were racist, but they just didn't want to spend the money to develop the worker's paradise in HK that that Clement Atlee was trying to develop in the UK. So they went laisez-faire, liberalized the government, provided a bare safety net, and by 1980 the Honkees were richer than the Brits. Go figure. It's lucky for Hong Kong that the Brits didn't really care about the place - they would have an unsustainable welfare state like every other rich country on the planet. Getting back to India, it is true that the Soviet-style industrial policy took many years to get off track. On the other hand, the amount of torture and executions of dissidents has been pretty low, and particularly, there have been no massive top-led upheavals like those that, several times over the past 60 years, have left millions dead in China.

    2.) India's diversity. As Churchill once said, "India is a geographical expression. It is no more a united country than the equator." Of course, he said that when what are now Burma, Bangladesh, and Pakistan were included in the mix. It is true that India is a 'new nation', really. Do you really think that China is? India does not have a 3000-year old sense of nationhood to fall back on, like the Chinese do. The chaos of the 20th Century that disrupted China was due to two factors: i.) the Japanese war, which prevented any positive progress that the KMT or other non-totalitarian regime would have been able to make with regard to rural poverty and the emancipation of women (all of which started during the Nationalist years), and ii.) the CCP itself, about which I hardly need to explain - up through about 1980, their rule can only be described as disastrous. The Chinese state and people is a pretty solid concept (try marrying into a Chinese family if you don't think Chinese culture is strong) so it is absolutely riduculous to claim, as some do, that it is only the CCP that is China keeping 'alive'.

    3.) Corruption - India vs. China. Both places have massive corruption. In India, corruption is sought out and publicized by the free press. In China, the corruption is directly linked to the government that controls the press. You choose.

    4.) Economic growth - just to reiterate the point made above, India is growing as fast as China now, economically. There is no reason that India can't catch up, especially if it continues in a non-statist direction.

    5.) Poverty. Yes, the poverty in India is bad. But I am not aware of any major, millions-of-dead, famines in India since independence. My apologies if I am wrong here. It is much easier to have a famine in a police state, as China has demonstrated many times over the years.

    It is true that democracy (and by the way, we didn't start out by discussing democracy here, only freedom of the press as a first start, but what the heck) is messy. But it is better than any alternative. But heck, I'm not asking for democracy today. I will take:

    - Free the press,

    - The rule of law with an indepedent court system, and

    - Ending the hokou internal passport system.

    China has made it this far on the strength of its culture and its people, not because of a few Marxist-trained clowns in the Politburo. To become a first class nation, China needs to free its people. To argue the alternative, that only a people who are 'controlled' and cowed can make progress, is to argue in favor of fascism (I don't keep using that word lightly) and is monstrous.

    Last edited by Freetrader; 12-04-2011 at 11:24 AM.

  3. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freetrader:
    So they went laisez-faire, liberalized the government, provided a bare safety net, and by 1980 the Honkees were richer than the Brits. Go figure.
    On average perhaps, but only because there was huge wealth in the hands of a very few. The UK was then and is still a far better place to be poor than Hong Kong. And both places are far better places to be in need of medical care than, for example, the US which has a totally broken and unsustainable healthcare system, and an utterly broken and corrupt financial system.

    You seem to take it as axiomatic that having democracy fixes these problems. But pure democracy demonstrably doesn't work - look at California where the fact that any idea that gets enough people to sign up to it can become law has resulted in a bankrupt state and a totally unsustainable financial mess.

    Instead of telling us what's wrong with everything, why don't you point to a system that works? As far as I can see the least bad model at the moment (in terms of citizen happiness, wealth and quality of life) is Singapore's, but it's not all clear that it would scale much beyond a city, never mind to 1 billion+ people.
    Football16 likes this.

  4. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freetrader:
    But heck, I'm not asking for democracy today. I will take:

    - Free the press,

    - The rule of law with an indepedent court system, and

    - Ending the hokou internal passport system.
    Finally - an answer to the original question. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freetrader:
    To argue the alternative, that only a people who are 'controlled' and cowed can make progress, is to argue in favor of fascism (I don't keep using that word lightly) and is monstrous.
    You think you are not insulting people who do not agree with you? You just called us all monstrous. This is the kind of insults that I was referring to above. And the way you phrase it twists our intent anyway.

  5. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDLM:
    On average perhaps, but only because there was huge wealth in the hands of a very few. The UK was then and is still a far better place to be poor than Hong Kong. And both places are far better places to be in need of medical care than, for example, the US which has a totally broken and unsustainable healthcare system, and an utterly broken and corrupt financial system.

    You seem to take it as axiomatic that having democracy fixes these problems. But pure democracy demonstrably doesn't work - look at California where the fact that any idea that gets enough people to sign up to it can become law has resulted in a bankrupt state and a totally unsustainable financial mess.

    Instead of telling us what's wrong with everything, why don't you point to a system that works? As far as I can see the least bad model at the moment (in terms of citizen happiness, wealth and quality of life) is Singapore's, but it's not all clear that it would scale much beyond a city, never mind to 1 billion+ people.
    Don't really disagree much at all, (well, I'm actually not sure I agree that it's better to be poor in the UK but that is a fine point) except if we are going to discuss optimal systems of government, we had better start a new thread. Here, we are simply trying to make China's government less bad.

    It is clearly Singapore that the rulers of the PRC are looking to as a model for their country. Moving and some of the others believe that China will get there - eventually. I would counter that with the example of Taiwan - which has a raucously free press, a high standard of living, little poverty, and full democracy - all the while while being constantly threatened with annihilation by their 'brothers' across the straits

  6. #96

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    Yes, the socialistic form of democracy has failed in India, but, I could see why they decided to have this format for govt back then. The reason being, there was too much poverty, inequality etc. They thought this way they can bring up the first generation to normal or middle-class standard so that the subsequent generations could get a fair chance to make it big. But, nepotism (trust me this is the biggest enemy), beaurocracy, favoratism AND politics of region/language/caste/religion, etc didn't let that happen. So we still have all sorts of ludicrous "reservation" based on religion and caste, and YET, basic aminities still eludes most.
    Yes, we have had our share of deaths, albeit in different forms and continue to have so. The politics of religion, language, region, caste, is doing nothing but creating and increasing the rift between the people. I have heard a few who say bring the Brits back, or have a dictator who make sure to bring all of them in line, and I can't but wonder!!!

    We do have sense of one nation that goes back up to 5000 years, it may be not a very strict notion, but nevertheless that feeling of one nation has always been there.
    Things probably changed or started to change after the invasions in 13th century etc.
    And try marrying in to an Indian family, first of all you probably won't be able to and then if you do, you'll find out the Indian culture .

    Free press, hmm, now there's a novel idea. Most of the so called journalist in India today are known to be hand-in-glove with politicians and only report stories that are of interest to specific few or report in a way that'd benefit them.
    But, that's probably part of the ingrained corruption which has reached and hollowed the fourth pillar of state, as termite does wooden furniture.

    yes, the economic growth is there, but, doesn't reach everyone, and remains restricted to a very small percentage.

    All these three points below are fair and shows a bit of shift from your previous assertions, which is a logical consequance of a good debate.
    I am sure Mat/Moving07 would agree that if China implements these below given points then it'd be a fair good start. But, the kind of regime they have, it'd not be a very smart idea from their point of view.

    In last 20-25 years or so China has made progress in terms of the way it dealt with world and the way it runs the country. I am sure they also realise that ruling the way they did 50 years ago is not going to work, not only because the world is watching, but, even their own people won't accept it. Who knows, in few years time they might make some positive changes that'd improve the conditions for the Chinese and also improve their human rights graph.

    One question though, what if the govt keeps almost every thing as it is, but, doesn't commit any more atrocities against their own populace? Do you think it'd still be acceptable? I am sure, there would still be quite a few people with revolutionary ideas going even then.


    Sorry to sort of hijack a thread that's about China and discuss India instead. But, I had to do it, to give a background of sorts as to why I think what I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freetrader:
    Gunsandroses, thanks for the compliment, and for the thoughtful post. Let me tell you why I disagree.

    It is true that democracy (and by the way, we didn't start out by discussing democracy here, only freedom of the press as a first start, but what the heck) is messy. But it is better than any alternative. But heck, I'm not asking for democracy today. I will take:

    - Free the press,

    - The rule of law with an indepedent court system, and

    - Ending the hokou internal passport system.

    China has made it this far on the strength of its culture and its people, not because of a few Marxist-trained clowns in the Politburo. To become a first class nation, China needs to free its people. To argue the alternative, that only a people who are 'controlled' and cowed can make progress, is to argue in favor of fascism (I don't keep using that word lightly) and is monstrous.

  7. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by MovingIn07:
    You think you are not insulting people who do not agree with you? You just called us all monstrous. This is the kind of insults that I was referring to above. And the way you phrase it twists our intent anyway.
    I am simply pointing out the implications of your position. I did not say that you were monstrous, only that the implication (that the Chinese people need to be controlled because they are not 'ready' to be free) is. I mean nothing personal at all.

    The argument is no different than the one that the Boers made in South Africa during the apartheid years, or for that matter, that slaveholders used to make - we will give these people freedom and equality - someday - they just aren't ready, yet.

  8. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freetrader:

    The argument is no different than the one that the Boers made in South Africa during the apartheid years, or for that matter, that slaveholders used to make - we will give these people freedom and equality - someday - they just aren't ready, yet.
    The Boers were pretty awful people, I agree. But then I look at South Africa today (went there a few years back, it was SCARY) ... and you have to wonder!

  9. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunsnroses:
    One question though, what if the govt keeps almost every thing as it is, but, doesn't commit any more atrocities against their own populace? Do you think it'd still be acceptable? I am sure, there would still be quite a few people with revolutionary ideas going even then.
    Thanks for the response. I don't think my view has changed during the course of the debate (not to say that I wouldn't be flexible in that regard, but if you review the posts the initial comments that I responded to were to the effect that i.) it is OK to control the press, and ii.) it is OK to lock up dissidents). Democracy - or rather, representive government - is a good thing, but some other things are even more fundamental (and should eventually result in democractic government anyway).

    Getting to your point, how are we going to know whether the CCP commits atrocities against its people, when it controls the press and the courts? The fact is, the CCP commits atrocities every day. Try practicing falun gong in China sometime.

    You don't like India's press, but let's face it, it is much better to have "a hundred schools of thought contend" even if the schools represent different and sometimes corrupt interest groups, than to have one group of people, who only have their own interests at heart, dispense the information they see fit to dispense.

  10. #100

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    Cricket seems to unite Indians a hell of a lot more than many social policies!


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