Had China democratized in 1989, what would the last 30 years have looked like for China?

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,741
They want national rejuvenation and China to return to a more powerful and prestigious state.

The Chinese want to honour their ancestors and be excelled by their progeny.

On an individual level, the Chinese like to have a good life, like anyone else in the world.
Fair enough. Once accomplished, then what?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,741
That would depend--what do the people in China themselves actually want?

@HackneyedScribe previously provided a link to a poll that said that only 29% of Tibetans actually want to secede from China. I wonder if the figures in the Uyghur-majority Kashgar Valley are going to be higher than this; possibly, given China's recent treatment of the Uyghurs.
That's where the lack of a free formation of opinion in a society becomes a problem. It's hard to know what the public wants if the public is constantly being operated on by a state that is not accountable and lacks actual feed-back loops to a freely formed public opinion.
 
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HackneyedScribe

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
6,494
As I said:

Also people need to address the inconsistency of "free media" before bringing it up, despite how the one drop of truth is consistently drowned in an ocean of BS. Even something as small as Winnie the Pooh is drowned in BS. China censors Winnie the Pooh? Any Chinese can go into a Chinese search engine and see that's not true. So it's really hard to pass this off as some honest mistake that everyone made at the same time. Just one example amongst many, and the vast majority of people fell for it hook line and sinker. The most effective propaganda is the one in which people don't know it's propaganda.




As far as I'm concerned everybody is exposed to restricted information. Some hides the truth by drowning it in lies, others simply covers up the truth.
 
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YouLoveMeYouKnowIt

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
4,574
Canada
Fair enough. Once accomplished, then what?
Once accomplished, every Chinese citizen should put ballots into a box every 4 years just for shits and giggles.

Or, the question is malformed. It asserts that there is a progression with Western Liberal Democracy as the end. No. China is better off running itself with its own unique political system.

That's where the lack of a free formation of opinion in a society becomes a problem. It's hard to know what the public wants if the public is constantly being operated on by a state that is not accountable and lacks actual feed-back loops to a freely formed public opinion.
Actually the Chinese government has actual feed-back loops, that's why it enjoys such high legitimacy in the eyes of Chinese citizens and Chinese diaspora who don't even live there and have the same access to "free" media as you do.

We can't even be sure most people here in the West understand what they are talking about because the "free" Western media on China is mostly a hodgepodge of proven lies, yellow journalism, and sensationalism, with little actual objective journalism.
 
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YouLoveMeYouKnowIt

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
4,574
Canada
What are China's feedback loops?
Very simply by listening to what people want. The CCP is expert in conducting research, short and long-term studies. It is a party of 80+ million, and they feed up information on what what people want, how they feel, etc...

The government use the people's needs and wants as research data and consultation on what to do. It does a very good in using that information in realising Chinese aspirations and national goals. We could see the results by looking at China's track record and high approval for the CCP.

I'd recommend:

The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy by Daniel A. Bell
 
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Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,856
India
Historically China has had huge civil wars and genocidal levels deaths in wars when ruling dynasty was kicked out.

The aftermath of Qing victory over the Ming dynasty decimated Sichuan and south western provinces. Taiping rebellion resulted in 20-30 million dead. Dunguan series of revolts resulted in around 15 millions death. Aftermath of Qing dynasty resulted in warlords and civil war and invited Japanese invasions.

So Chinese people are very nervous when this talk of changing power structure comes. With some very good justifications.

China saw what happened to USSR after democratic reforms. Everything went down for Russia and central Asian republics for more than a decade.
Civil wars, inflation, joblessness and so on. Chinese are also a risk averse people.

so people should give some slack to the Chinese people. They are not idiots and they have not been brainwashed by CCP. People genuinely like the communists in China.
90 percent Chinese are Hans so thinking USSR type disintegration for China looks bizarre. KMT failed to keep China united so communism flourished. also there is no guarantee that China type economic model under communism would work elsewhere. In places like India communism dont this ethnically diverse nation, only Parliamentary democracy would work.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,755
SoCal
Indians and Chinese are both in the same species.
Technically speaking, though, there is a lot of variation in various traits within the same species. For instance, some humans have extremely low IQs, some have average IQs, and some have extremely high IQs. This is true even within ethnic groups. If there were different evolutionary pressures, then different groups within the same species could theoretically evolve differently--including on important traits. For instance, if, in one group, a disproportionate percentage of the babies were born to the elites while in the other group the elites reproduced no more and perhaps even less than everyone else did. In such a scenario, even if these groups initially had the same average IQ, the first group could gradually evolve a higher average IQ than the second group as a result of these different fertility patterns. Thus, just like there can be variation in various traits between individuals, there can also be variation in various traits between sub-groups in a particular species.

I do think that India right now is severely underperforming for environmental reasons and that it could experience a significant IQ rise once healthcare and living standards will significantly improve there. As to whether India will converge all of the way up to China's level in regards to performance, well, ultimately time will tell.

One is not inherently smarter than the other, if there's a difference in human capital then it's mostly or entirely due to human policies which caused that difference.
Well, India's License Raj might have held back India's development a bit. IMHO, India should have fully embraced capitalism much sooner than it did in real life.

Difference in GDP growth has to be caused by SOMETHING, be it greater OR more efficient investment in technology, trade, infrastructure, human capital, or something else.
One way that GDP can grow is if a country performs significantly below its potential and yet pursues smart (often free-market) policies in an attempt to actualize its full potential.

It doesn't diminish the importance that GDP per capita is still growing at an alarmingly fast rate. Because GDP can't grow out of thin air, it has to be caused by something. You can't just say "I'm a democracy now, so GDP should start soaring". You still have to implement policies which affect those factors which cause a rise in GDP. Albeit I admit that Chinese literacy surpassed Indian literacy in around 1960 and not 1989, but for both periods Chinese human capital should be behind that of Russia, yet Russia still didn't do very well when it tried democracy. A common saying during its vast decline in life expectancy and GDP was: "They lied to us about communism, but everything they told us about capitalism was true". It was thanks to Gorbachev, however well meaning, that Russia devolved into a state in which oligarchs and robber barons looted its economy. Chinese average household income increased exponentially during that same time period, so the average Chinese was reaping the benefits of rising Chinese GDP, whereas in some countries GDP growth is fueled completely by the rise in income of the top 1%:



Albeit inequality tend to be increasing across the board but remained stable in recent years:


Btw Demokratizatsiya was implemented in Russia in 1987 and its first nationwide democratic election for president was 1991. At the same time GDP and life expectancy dropped like a rock while inequality skyrocketed. The best way for democratic states to display a genuine interest of China adopting democracy is as so: promise to use their own resources to bail China out 100% (including opportunity cost) should Chinese policy change cause the economy to fall in any way whatsoever, considering nobody did so for the Soviet Union. But such promises will never come because it's not the same when one's own country have to shoulder the risk of poor advice, it's only an acceptable risk when other countries, especially those that are seen as 'competitors', have to shoulder it.
If you're criticizing the West for not giving enough aid to Russia during the transition period, then that's certainly a fair point for criticism--though if one wants to be fair, such aid would have probably had to be monitored by the West to prevent it from being stolen. Your point about China does appear to be a good one. For what it's worth, though, at least a part of the reason for the severe economic downturn in the ex-USSR in the 1990s was that the economies of various SSRs were so tightly integrated that the breakup of the USSR caused various industries there to collapse or at least become severely weakened. For instance, if different parts of a plane were produced in different SSRs, then it was much easier to coordinate this production when the USSR was one country than when the USSR collapsed and became a bunch of independent countries--some of them with their own tariffs, trade barriers, et cetera. China is likely to avoid this problem since it is unlikely to break up if Communism there will ever fall. FWIW, countries such as Poland fared better during the 1990s because they remained intact after the collapse of Communism.

As for overpopulation, you can either criticize China for pollution or criticize China for the One Child Policy. Criticizing China for both means you're telling them to live like cavemen. At the current rate China cannot sustain the population it has now, its rivers are drying up as we speak. Farmers who used to rely on irrigation must now rely on 'heaven' (rainfall). It was seen as a major concession that China sacrificed its agricultural industry in order to join the WTO. But in retrospect it's probably an unintentionally good thing. Agriculture takes up a lot of water. India is also suffering from the same water shortage problem.
TBH, I'd rather criticize China for the one child policy than for pollution. I mean, India managed to curb its own population growth without ever having a one child policy, did it not?

Also if you want to see just how badly the mainstream media mistranslates things, here's an example. It's by far from the only example I've experienced:
That's the downside of learning a foreign language and living your life in a foreign country. The amount of times you go 'what the heck' in terms of mistranslations or out-of-context descriptions skyrocket. What's seen and heard cannot be unseen, ignorance is bliss.
Interesting. I'll go and check it out!
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,755
SoCal
90 percent Chinese are Hans so thinking USSR type disintegration for China looks bizarre. KMT failed to keep China united so communism flourished. also there is no guarantee that China type economic model under communism would work elsewhere. In places like India communism dont this ethnically diverse nation, only Parliamentary democracy would work.
If India would have adopted Communism, it might have eventually broken up just like the USSR did.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,755
SoCal
Historically China has had huge civil wars and genocidal levels deaths in wars when ruling dynasty was kicked out.

The aftermath of Qing victory over the Ming dynasty decimated Sichuan and south western provinces. Taiping rebellion resulted in 20-30 million dead. Dunguan series of revolts resulted in around 15 millions death. Aftermath of Qing dynasty resulted in warlords and civil war and invited Japanese invasions.

So Chinese people are very nervous when this talk of changing power structure comes. With some very good justifications.

China saw what happened to USSR after democratic reforms. Everything went down for Russia and central Asian republics for more than a decade.
Civil wars, inflation, joblessness and so on. Chinese are also a risk averse people.

so people should give some slack to the Chinese people. They are not idiots and they have not been brainwashed by CCP. People genuinely like the communists in China.
What hurt the former USSR was that their economies were too tightly integrated. Thus, whole industries might have collapsed or at least experienced severe decline as a result of the USSR collapsing due to the fact that, for instance, different parts of a plane were produced in different SSRs. When the USSR was one big country, it was easy to coordinate the production of different plane parts. Meanwhile, when the USSR became 15 separate, independent countries, it became much harder to do this due to the fact that different ex-USSR countries had their own policies, tariffs, trade barriers, et cetera. It took the ex-USSR countries a while to recover from this and to reorient and recreate their industries. Personally, I blame the Bolsheviks for making these industries so interconnected in the first place.

China is unlikely to experience this since it won't collapse like the USSR did even if Communism will fall there. After all, China is 92% Han Chinese.

BTW, in regards to Central Asia, something positive did come out of the collapse of the USSR for them--specifically the return of their independence.