Whereupon Dr. Ernie and Pundita struggle to define China's system of government.....
"Hi, Pundita, re your essay Another kind of darkness, I particularly liked this image:
"What rules in China doesn't have a neat label. It's imprecise to call it gangsterism or totalitarianism, nor can it be labeled mercantilism or communism. It's the worst of everything about every bad system of government, glopped together."
Perhaps we should start calling it "glopism." [Here is my definition]:
"When corrupt government colludes with thuggish businesses and organized criminals to perpetuate a vicious circle of economic, political, and social destruction at the expense of those too ignorant to understand, too weak to resist, or too law-abiding to fight back."
Is that pretty much what you meant?
Dr. Ernie in California"
Dear Dr. Ernie:
Pundita likes the term "glopism" -- but how to apply it with precision to China's government? Without precision, a term is useless for building up a body of knowledge. I venture that your description is too narrow because a corrupt government is not necessarily a military dictatorship.
China is a military dictatorship behind the mask of the Chinese Communist Party. China's government is also corrupt -- but so is India's. The same can be said for numerous others. However, India and many other corrupt governments are not a military dictatorship.
Another problem with defining glopism: there can be a corrupt military dictatorship that does not enslave the population for the express purpose of making their workers competitive in certain areas of business. China's government, on the other hand, does engage in this practice. A crash course in how it works:
If China's government decides they need X number of say, software or electrical engineers in order to be competitive in a certain area of global trade, they 'order up' those workers by imposing the necessary specialized education on the needed number of Chinese.
The penalty for refusing to major in a particular subject and specialize in a particular profession or business? The same penalty that was imposed on Taishi villagers who wanted to vote out their corrupt chief; really unpleasant things, which can include imprisonment of one's family.
So today's China has a method of governing that has more in common with the rule of the pharaohs than with capitalism. Thus, the Pundita essay titled Pharaoh. I pointed out that apologists for China ignore that individual workers in democracies are not in competition with individual Chinese workers for jobs.
They are in competition with China's government, which is another way of saying they are competing with China's military. Individual workers in democracies are playing against a stacked deck when it comes to competing with China's workers for jobs in the globalized marketplace.
How do you define the pharaoh aspect of China's government? I guess you could simply call it "Massah" or "slave management" but there are other elements as well:
There is also an element of feudalism; the government views landholders as serfs who do not have rights to their property. This element is still mixed with communist doctrine. Then there is an element of capitalism and one that can be described as mercantilistic. And let's not leave out the oligarchical element.
And we shouldn't overlook bao jia; although the system helped unify Chinese under a central authority thousands of years ago, it was greatly abused in modern times. I've written about bao jia before. Because I can't stress enough how important it is for Westerners (this to include the US Department of State) to learn about bao jia, I'm putting up another post on it.
Because of bao jia, I don't think one can't lump Chinese and Indian government and other Asian governments together when talking about "Asian gangsterism." Bao jia might not be a unique governing system, but the extent to which it conditioned thinking might be unique to the Chinese. It's a question that should be explored by a scholar -- if it hasn't been to this date.
So what are we looking at here, Dr. Ernie? It's the worst elements of every kind of bad government the human race produced. Then why is China's government still standing? The answer is that they're not; they're being carried by the advanced democracies, in the same way the oil kingdoms of the Middle East have been carried. The result in the Middle East? Practices that should have died out in the last century among Arabs and Persians are alive and well and lobbing suicide bombers at us.
Same happened to China's bao jia system. In much the same manner that British colonialism propped up the maharaja system of government in India, the West and in particular the American government propped up bao jia in China.
With regard to China, during the latter half of the last century the advanced democracies followed in the footsteps of the European colonialists. The colonizers came upon societies that were unfit to sustain a big population. Instead of modernizing the societies, the colonialists used their modern techniques to manage them.
The upshot? Ancient methods of government were preserved in amber. This made the governments incapable of ministering to burgeoning populations in the 20th century, which leapfrogged in number thanks greatly to antibiotics, vaccinations, crop pesticides, etc. Result when the colonizers pulled out? Disaster after disaster.
History repeated itself when the NATO governments saw China as a useful wedge against the Soviet Union. The upshot was a mess. But what do the Western apologists call this mess? "China's Confucian-style government." Not only is that view uninformed, it's an awful insult. Confucius would roll in his grave if he saw the government in today's China.
I think it will eventually dawn on China's leaders that democracy is not really an option once the population gets into the mega numbers. You either democratize or die out -- unless you are being carried.
However, withered legs have their downside, as Chinese familiar with their imperial history know. Eventually the cult of the emperor in China meant that the ruler was deemed too sacred to walk. Thus, his leg muscles withered because he was carried everywhere. That made him completely dependent on the Mandarins who ministered to him.
That's an unwise situation for a billion people to land themselves in. So, if you were a deeply cynical person such as Pundita, you might find yourself asking whether apologies for China's government actually represent satisfaction with the status quo, which is a China dependent on being carried by the most developed nations.
Of course, we might be able to hang onto your description by terming it something other than glopism. Come to think of it, "creepy" might be a better fit for the criteria you've defined.
In this way, we could preserve the purity of the glop term for referring to modern China's government, and use "creepy" to refer to governments that merely mix corruption and organized crime.