April 20, 2014
I spoke to an Indian today, who is persuaded by this talk which describes the "wonderful" Chinese one-party system:
But this talk is sheer nonsense. So the following REBUTTALS:
1) Please listen to this first. Most of Eric's claims are fraudulent. The same party he boasts about KILLED TENS OF MILLIONS. Why was that excluded from the 'boasts' about the one-party system? And the Tiananmen massacre? And the Falun Gong tortures? What life is it when you don't have a life but in prison if you speak your mind? And what about the Tibetans? And if Facebook and youtube is blocked and you can't express yourself?
3) Then this: When a TED talk is a propaganda tool.
4) Then this: Eric X Li took his meritocracy shtick to TED Global and they ate it up. etc.
The talk is full of fundamental errors and false attributions.
First, there is no "single" Western idea. Even if there is any such idea, it is NOT about DEMOCRACY but about FREEDOM.
Democracy is fundamentally flawed. Most Western philosophers have long said that, from the time of Socrates onwards. The public choice school of thought has further clarified why it is so fraught. It has natural incentives to destroy public money and create a welfare state. (That doesn't mean democracy can't be made to work. It can – but requires very deep understanding of human incentives and ways to evaluate its natural excesses and keep them in check). The key idea we need is FREEDOM. That implies limited government and individual sovereignty. The government must be our SERVANT.
The implication of the concept of freedom is absence of central planning and letting things evolve through competition.
What Eric does is not to compare China with FREE societies, but with democracies.
BUT NO ONE EVER SAID THAT DEMOCRACY IS ENOUGH! Merely being a democracy doesn't imply freedom. India is not free even though it is a democracy. India's democracy is so badly flawed through socialist incentives that most of its outcomes are GUARANTEED to be bad (see BFN for details).
So comparing China with democracies is a very bad idea. Compare China with FREE SOCIETIES. Free societies are mostly democracies, but not all democracies are free.
When we compare China with free societies we see how badly it performs. It has no self-correcting mechanisms, no liberties, no capacity for its people to grow. Through its central planning it has built huge debt and misallocated production. It is now more free (economically) than it was in the past – which explains its productivity, but its overall freedom is nothing compared to an ordinary modern free society.
Socialism has killed hundreds of millions of people in India – not necessarily directly, but indirectly. It is SOCIALISM that kills, whether it is part of a democracy (as in India) or a totalitarian regime (as in China).
As China has increasingly abandoned its extreme forms of socialism, it is growing – as would automatically be expected.
But China is by no means a role model for anyone. The Chinese are fleeing China, just like Indians are fleeing India.
Let there be FREEDOM. That's what we are born for, not to be slaves to governments, whether democratically elected or one-party.