Thursday, January 29, 2009


I am not a China scholar. However, with the advancement of China in the world economy I began watching a bit more closely. I read a history of China, to get background, perhaps a decade ago. At that time I made a prediction based on the long tradition in China of holding the merchant class in low esteem. I predicted a slow development into the world economy because of that prejudice.

I was wrong. China today is where I expected them to be in about thirty more years. They are advancing fast. I have not been surprised by the "communist" Chinese government embracing a form of capitalism and developing a stronger economy as a result. The Russian "communists" had a state capitalism that brought them rapidly into the world economy. The Chinese have done the same.

No, the real impediment I expected was the ancient prejudice toward the merchant class. I really don't know how the dynamics are working at the individual level, but China is a real economic force and moving fast.

What I expected to be a real issue for a repressive government has been the Internet. Though they try to contain the exchange of information and opinion, I expect the Chinese to fail. This article indicates that the erosion is progressing. It will be interesting to see what develops as more and more Chinese acquire ready access to information.

For other nations, such as our own, I see a progression toward reduced freedom. This will be the result of two factors. The first is population growth. Freedom necessarily diminishes with crowding. It is simply not possible to allow unrestrained freedom on an individual level when people are confined to small spaces.

The second factor is the nature of regulatory bodies such as governments. Regulators regulate, and they will naturally move toward greater regulation of societies. Mature and aging governments become choked with regulations due to this trend. Increased regulation will necessarily diminish individual freedom. Hence, as governments mature freedom naturally declines.

These last two are matters for another discussion. My point is that China is becoming progressively more interesting. This particular movement might be repressed, but it cannot now be done quietly. The world of the Internet is aware, and watching.

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