Friday, November 21, 2014

Trojan Horse

This testimony on the prospect of war is interesting (tip to Instapundit), but for this post I want to highlight a portion about China's economic development that amounts to playing with fire.

This part of the testimony is interesting:

Mass urbanization is a revolutionary process that involves great cultural and social change. In China alone, urbanization has been a driving force behind the lifting of hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty, but urbanization has lifted them at the same time into a new political consciousness and is creating new sources of tension within China and, consequentially, in the region around it.

History tells us that as people’s material comfort grows, they do not tend to stop wanting more. In fact, quite the opposite happens as societies move from pre-modern to modern conditions; people gain the time, educational background and security to turn their attentions to political and social desires. At the same time, because state policies matter more to people living in modernizing economies and in urban areas than to illiterate farmers in traditional rural societies, city dwellers tend to be more politicized than peasants, and demand more from their rulers.

Various societies are reacting to mass urbanization in different ways, and they are at different stages in the process. China is in the climactic phases of a dramatic shift while India is still at a relatively early stage with massive movements to the city still to come.

India could experience tremendous growth as China has if it seriously urbanizes. But at least India has democracy to cope with rising demands of urbanized people.

But what of China, which has abandoned communist economics while keeping Chinese Communist Party monopoly on power? What will be the result of this urbanization?

I wonder if the Chinese party leaders are deliberately achieving the source of their own doom:

I wonder if China's Maoist tradition of a peasant-based Communist revolution really appreciates the problem of urban residents for the stability of the state?

Marx viewed urban workers as the natural source of a Communist revolution. He thought Russia wasn't fertile ground for a revolution. Lord knows what he'd have thought of China.

Lenin brought the communist revolution to Russia by making his forces the vanguard of the proletariat that was still too small to erupt in revolution.

Mao bypassed the whole urban-based revolution to go to what China had lots of--peasants from the rural areas.

And now China is urbanizing on purpose? And aging, too, making problems of economic growth more acute?

I know the new and larger cities are supposed to encourage a transition from manufacturing to higher end manufacturing and consumer spending--China's growth can't continue at this rate without such a transition--but doesn't this run the risk of creating the fertile ground for unrest and revolution if growth isn't achieved?

And given that increasing material growth a bit just leads to a desire for more--and for political gains, too--isn't China's policy just a Trojan Horse for revolution?