China vs. USA; Soft metrix comparisons
(had to write this before censorship cleans all articles about China)
This is a brief(ish), and in no way even pretending to be an authoritative or deeply studied article. All the numbers are from publicly available, but IMHO, reliable sources. I do not promote either country, I love Finland too much. With all its flaws, Finnish model is still superior to both. I’m biased as hell, but so is everybody else. So suck it up and read, don’t stop 'til I say so!
China is a meritocracy. America is a kakistocracy.
China is not communist “regime”. America is not a “free” republic, nor a democracy “on a shining hill”. Both nations are functionally different from their labels. So let’s look at what they functionally operate as.
The United States
The masses call America a republic, but why does everyone call it a democracy? Those are two different modes of governance! The typical answer is ¨It was changed by amendment into a democracy by mandating popular elections.” Republics don’t do that. But all democracies evolve.
Here’s the evolutionary stages of a democracy. This is not my opinion. It is history.
Democracy evolves to an oligarchy.
And if the oligarchy isn’t destroyed by popular revolt, it evolves into a Military Rule.
If unchecked, a military Rule evolves into a military empire.
And all military empires devolve into a kakistocracy.
And historically a kakistocracy always collapses one way, or the other.
This is where America is today.
kakistocracy = a government of a state by its most stupid, ignorant, least qualified and unprincipled citizens in power.
Contemporary China was established by Chairman Mao as a Communist nation.
This changed upon his death, and there were various factions fighting for power. Eventually, under Mr. Deng, China embraced capitalism, and democracy, while maintaining a single party rule. Thus it became a “Social Democracy”.
Over the years, boundaries and limits have been placed on which elements of socialism fit the Chinese culture, as well as which elements of capitalism fit the Chinese culture.
Today, they have a unique government style, very reminiscent of the government described by Robert Heinlein in Starship Troopers.
Government participation is voluntary. To join the government (the communist party) you must contribute to society without any profit motives. As they said in Starship Troopers, “Service guarantees citizenship” (You got to see the movie, it’s very….educational).
So, if you want to vote in China’s democracy, you must first volunteer for the military, or any other volunteer government agencies. Then you must apply, and your membership is reviewed by your merit. There is a strict grading system, and your sponsor into the communist party is held personally responsible for any failings or errors you may make.
Up the chain of command, every step toward leadership roles are through merit driven avenues.There is an entity known as the “corruption police” that root out, and punish any communist party members that take bribes, involve in graft, do bad or poor behaviors, and they are punished MOST severely.
There are no similar structures anywhere else in the world. Not even in history.
China is an absolute meritocracy.
So to recap;
China is a meritocracy; a society governed by people selected according to merit.
America is a kakistocracy; government by the least suitable or competent.
Both America and China have different cultures, and different societies. But here I judge the benefits of one society over the other by the size of it’s middle class.
In this case, we will extract the size of the middle class in a binary fashion. Saying that aside from the top 0.01%, the society can be broken down into two categories.
There is the poor. And there is the middle class.
Where within the middle class are stratified levels or layers.
But as long as you are in this middle range, you are doing well. Sure, you might not own your own private jet, but you won’t be starving either. An idealized nation will have everyone living without want or need; they would all be middle class. They would own their own home, always have enough food, medical care, and a role in society.
Now keeping things real, “Middle class” is not a measure of how many houses, or cars that you own. It’s a measure of whether or not you need the government to assist you in meeting basic needs of food, shelter, and medical care.
Again, using public information…
China middle class = 98% of people
America middle class = 50% of people
Freedom and Responsibility
The mainstream media talks about how America has “freedom!” as if it actually existed. Freedom is not just words on a piece of paper that can be taken away by legislation, it’s something that you live with. And since it is something that you live with, it comes with responsibility.
America and China differ substantially in this regard.
America is a land of “anything goes” freedom with zero responsibility. The boundaries on the use of that freedom are defined by law. Limitations on what laws can exist is supposed to be met under the terms of the Bill of Rights, but that document has been riddled with so many exceptions that it no longer is a functional document. Thus you have a society where people can do anything, just as long as they are not caught by the police in breaking a law.
China, on the other hand, treats freedom as something precious that is dished out in measured amounts to those who are responsible. This is measured by the “Social Scoring” system. If you are responsible, you are permitted a great deal of freedom. If not, then you have your “wings clipped” and live a more restricted life.
America = All freedom. No responsibility, can act within the confines of law.
China = Freedom and responsibility are intertwined, and measured for compliance.
You can also measure society by its communities. This measurement comes in many forms, but fundamentally it is a complex mixture of safety, social interaction with others, access to basic transportation, quality of life, costs of groceries, access to parts and public areas, and friendships.
This is all hard to measure. So we have to look at this in a broader sense. We will look at the most popular community structures in China and America and then compare them.
In China, most people live in these housing complexes. These are enormous skyscrapers that are surrounded by a wall, and are secured by security police known as BaoAn’s. Within that complex is at least one park, multiple recreation areas, kindergarten and elementary schools, police and local government administration office, a post office, and individual parking.
While homes can be rented in these complexes, most people buy an apartement. Thus securing a long term residence that allows direct participation with all their neighbors. Additionally, people in the building complexes are all on social media and share thoughts, stories, issues and needs in real time, as they develop.
It is not at all unusual to see evenings filled with children playing in the open areas, the parks and the buildings. Old people walk on the sidewalks and walkways, and BaoAn mingle with the residents. This is normal China.
In America, most people yearn for a home. They buy a home in the country, or suburb, and (if they are rich enough) a home / apartment in a city. In all cases, they are isolated from each other. If they want to be part of the community, they must make an effort to do so. It is not automatic, and thus many people tend to stay inside and isolate. The suburbs in America are some of the quietest and loneliest places on the earth.
China = An active community of participation.
America = A nice home in isolation with little community participation.
Of course, not everyone in America lives in suburbs, or in their own homes. And not everyone in China lives in these huge mega apartment complexes. And not everyone in America is isolated, and not everyone in China is part of the community. But the point is that the vast bulk of them are.
And that is what we are talking about here. In America you will have an occasional little oasis of community, and one of prosperity and safety. But those numbers are dwindling.
China is a homogenized nation. Everyone speaks one language, and no one is hyphenated. You won’t hear any Chinese calling themselves Hunan-Chinese, or Xinjiang Chinese.
We have to see things as they really exist. Not as we want them to be.
Judging from the billions of pro-America articles out in social media, so many people love living inside of America. They have this thing called “democracy” and “freedom”. Though what it actually is, is really hard to nail down. If you ask them if the election systems actually work, most would say no. If you ask them if their representatives will represent them, they would also say no. And if you ask them if the bill of Rights is being followed, they would also say no.
So, perhaps, America is just floating along on this vaporous cloud of ignorance and hope.
America is the land of the 0.1% of people. If you can become one of them, then this place is for you. Meanwhile, the rest of the nation toils to one day be able to reach that point. Maybe you too can become a billionaire and fly into space!
China is the land of the 90% of people. Everyone can get a decent life. Some better than others, but all within a fine band of comfort. And you know, it is possible that one day, you will be able to fly into space. If not you, then your kids. But it is actually really possible.
Today in the United States, what’s keeping the masses of people from revolting and trying to hang the government (again…) is the few Covid-checks, and television/internet.
It reminds me of Rome, where Ceasar provided Rome’s citizens with bread and circuses.
(Repurposed a lot of this article from MM. Thanks!)