Are they really happy with their present government?”
Answer is probably “NO” but that’s irrelevant as I’ll try and explain. A Democracy would probably make a lot of Chinese feel good, and would probably also make you and a lot of people here in Africa feel good, but it might turn China into another Brazil or Mexico, definitely not the “holy crap look at their economy” China.
Here’s a little food for thought for the day:
If you have to pick, between a loaf of bread every day, and a voice in your government. Which do you choose?
If you’re reading this on your fancy iPhone or on a computer, you’ll probably choose “a voice in your government”. But imagine you make k20 dollars a month, and feeding your family costs half of your salary, and the year is 1949.
The Chinese chose the bread. Later the bread was replaced with bicycles, TVs, smartphones, etc… recently that question was asked again: “High speed rail system covering the entire country, or voice in your government?” And the answer:
“Why Shouldn’t Chinese People Fight For Democracy?”
They really should in our opinion, right? What crazy creature wouldn’t want democracy? Then let’s give it to them right? because you know, of course Americans know best what’s good for them.
Here’s the shocker:
Democracy is conservative by nature
Considering the fact that not every decision is subjective to a referendum. Even in a perfect democracy, government conforming to the will of the majority is by definition, conservative. Think about it. If the country is the size of a small village, and there are 100 people in it, and 70 people want free access to the drying well, then democracy says “you shall have it!”
Then one day, seeing the well is drying up, a few young adults proposed to dig a new well. But digging wells cost money, so they want to go around and collect k10 from everyone to do it. The elderlies think it’s crazy to have to pay since they’re in their 70s and the drying well can last at least another 20 years, so they said NO. They convinced people in their 40s and 50s pointing to the fact that “That well has served us for generations”. The kids don’t get to vote, since you know, they’re under 18. Before you know it, votes were cast and it’s 50 NO vs 25 YES, with 25 kids that didn’t get to vote.
The well keeps drying up…
Capitalism says, surely a fine gentleman will rise to the occasion, gather the capital required to fund the new well, then charge a monthly fee of k1 for anyone that will use it. After all, who doesn’t want to become rich?
While that does solve the problem, remember the other well is not completely dry yet, so people probably don’t want to pay. And let’s hope the new well wasn’t funded by a loan with interest, because before you know it the well might become bank property as collateral.
Truth is, Democracy is usually conservative, Capitalism is usually progressive. And that balance is what allowed countries like America to thrive.
But what if there’s another solution out there? There is…
A meeting was called, the proposal was made to dig a new well. Village leader asked the young adults to state their view: “We have to dig a new well to support the growing population” said the young adults. The leader turns to the mathematician and ask for her advice, Kangwa says “Yes, the well might dry up in 20–30 years, at current rate, but with growing population it might dry up in 10”. “Let’s dig it then, we have to!” says the leader, turning to Jack the builder, “What do we need? Money? Labor?” Lweendo says he’d need 10 strong men for 6 months, and k500 in funding. The leader gives him all that, but reminded everyone that we might have to cut back on this year’s traditional celebrations to fund the well.
Soon, a second well was built, people don’t have to line up for water any more.
First, the legitimacy of the regime rests solely on its ability to improve the well-being of its people. Credit where credit is due, the Party in China has done that consistently for 40 years or more. What happens if, perhaps due to causes beyond their control, they can no longer do that. Now their only legitimacy comes out of the barrel of a gun, and that will only work if the military are looked after, which the government would have to prioritise over the needs of ordinary people.
In a democratic country we blame the government and elect another lot. In China? Revolution is the only answer- Dr Charles Sinkala.
Now those 40+ years of growth have been relatively easy. You have picked the low hanging fruit. It’s easy to grow when you discard a very inefficient Communist economy. Especially when you have well-educated and hard-working people. But that easy growth is finished. You are entering the ‘Middle Income Trap’. There are bubbles everywhere and to protect itself, the government hides bad news. This it can only done to a point.
But there is more 25% of the Chinese economy is large and very inefficient industries owned by the military or Party apparatchiks. They cannot be allowed to fail because of powerful vested interests.
And Chinese are not immune to the weaknesses of human nature. Greed and corruption are endemic. How much is President Xi’s family worth? Where did so much money come from? Yes, officials are arrested for corruption, even senior ones, but none that are not rivals or threats to those at the top.
Not that democracies are immune from corruption, but the corrupt are not protected by an all-powerful unelected government.
And democracies are not just simple vote-driven places. Over time there have evolved numerous checks and balances.
Chinese government at the moment is a hybrid of Communism, Socialism, Meritocracy and Technocracy. And no, it’s not what the people asked for, but good Lord does it work well for that country. Does it have its flaws? Absolutely. Would the Chinese trade it away for a voice in the government? Just ask yourself the same question:
In Africa What would you choose? A voice in the government? Or a second well?