Thursday, January 13, 2011

thursday reading

"the astonishing transformation since china adopted, in 1978, what deng xiaoping described as 'socialism with chises characteristics' poses a big challenge to western ideas about politics and about promoting the development of a dynamic, competetive economy within the confines of a 1-party state, the descendants of chairman mao seem to have arrived at a new social contract that says to the governed: go and engage with the global economy, set up businesses, invest, make as much money as you can, but leave the politics to us...

"from a jeffersonian perspective, what's going on may look like [a] repressive [regime] foisting unpopular policies on people striving to be free. but...these policies enjoy a good deal of popular support. "given a choice between market democracy and its freedoms and market authoritarianism and its high growth, stability, improved living standards, and limist on expression--a majority in the developing world and in many middle-sized, non-western powers prefer the authoritatian model,' [stephan] halpern writes.

"[however,] history suggests that 'market authoritarianism' is often a transitional stage of development. during the 1970s and 80s, a number of southeast asian countries employed it to drag themselves out of poverty. today, south korea, thailand, and indonesia are democracies, of sorts. singapore, on the other hand, remains essentially a 1-party city-state. who can say for sure which of these paths russia (already a democracy, albeit a distinctly curtailed one) and china will end up following? despite recent developments, still a pretty poor place, with a per-capita gdp of about $3000 in 2008. by 2050,...this figure wil rise to about $33,000, which would place china roughly where spain is today."

--from "enter the dragon" by john cassidy in the december 13, 2010, issue of the new yorker

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