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Why China's success is crucial

By Luc Loranhe (2010)

I don't agree with Chinese policies in every detail. But this is beside the point.

China's political and economic success is crucial for two very important reasons:

1. atheistic government

2. government by a dedicated elite, organized as a single state party

Any genuine social progress in the world cannot accommodate religions. I am convinced that sooner or later, religions will vanish anyway. That they disappear sooner rather than later is greatly in the interest of those with enough self-cognition to realize the fundamental foolishness of religions.

Since the times of Socrates, it is an established political theory that government should be an enlightened elite, and not by those who represent the sentiments of a majority of people that can easily be misguided by inciting negative emotions such as hatred and envy.

Plato calls the enlightened elite an aristocracy (which simply means "rule by the best"). The term today is associated with hereditary nobility, so Plato's term is today better translated as "enlightened elite".

Book VIII of Plato's Republic

On Plato's Republic:

Interestingly, while Plato (and Socrates) considered rule by an enlightened elite (aristocracy) the best form of government, democracy ranked only fourth among five forms. Plato's ranking, from best to worst, is:

1. aristocracy (rule by an intellectual elite, not a hereditary nobility)

2. timocracy (rule by "guardians", a dedicated military junta)

3. oligarchy (rule by the rich)

4. democracy (rule by demagogues who address the sentiments of the uneducated)

5. tyranny (rule by a whimsical dictator)

The ideal city

While in earlier times, there rarely existed intellectual elites (qualified by a substantial degree of self-cognition), there were also fewer obstacles to their rule (in the form of a mass media that can incite negative emotions and allow populists ("demagogues" in Plato's words) to ride on them).

I have no influence on Chinese politics. But I do sense that the Chinese government is aware of the fact that the competition is not just between the Chinese economy and the US economy. The competition is between two entirely different political systems. I also assume that the Chinese government has enough understanding of the dialectical course of history to know that the two political systems cannot coexist for ever. Sooner or later, there must be a winner.

And if the winner is the US political system, as it has been in the Cold War competition between the US and the Soviet Union, then it's not just that China will be the loser with respect to the prevailing political system. China will then also become a second-rate political power, in the same manner as Russia became a second-rate political power after the defeat of the political system of the Soviet Union.

History of the Soviet Union (1985-1991)

The Chinese leadership, I assume, is aware of this, and this awareness speaks out of many international Chinese policies. No other country, apart from the US, is as active as China in forming international alliances, especially in Latin America and Africa. And while China outcompetes practically all Third World countries in attracting Western investment, it is China that provides benevolent investment in Third World countries, even in infrastructure projects that are of very little interest to Western investors who always eye a short-term profit.

China's Courtship of Brazil and LatAm Makes Washington See Red

China's Rising Role in Africa

China rising: A 21st century powerhouse

Unlike the US, China attaches practically no strings to its economic cooperation, which is why there is a high and rising level of sympathy for the Chinese involvement in other countries.

Hopefully, this will be followed by a realization in other countries that the Chinese political model, too, is worthwhile to be adopted. If one searches diligently enough, one does find indications that such an export of political structures has started. Just one example:

China, Tanzania Vow to Boost Cooperation on Anti-corruption

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Copyright Luc Loranhe