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Posts Tagged ‘China’

How and Why China Has Succeeded Where USSR Failed

June 13, 2019 11 comments

A few days, I started writing a post about why China will defeat USA in any long-term trade or ‘cold’ war. However, it quickly became obvious that many concepts in that post had not been well explained in previous ones. I then realized that an older draft post (abandoned over a year ago) contained enough elements for a prequel post. Readers should, therefore, see this post as a partial explanation for why the challenge posed by China to the terminally-ill american empire is fundamentally different from anything the later has encountered in the past, and indeed beyond what the anglo- mind is capable of imagining. As you will see in a future post, there is a reason why I chose to say that it is beyond the comprehension of “western” minds.

Let us now get back to the topic of this post, namely why China succeeded in spades at what the erstwhile USSR failed. USA, since its inception, has faced only two semi-credible threats, the first being Japan during WW2. However, as any person with a half-decent map and some basic stats about the two countries in 1940 can figure out, the manufacturing base of USA at that time was about 10 times larger than Japan. Moreover it’s land area was about 1/20th of contiguous (lower 48) USA and hence had far fewer natural resources. And ya, I am aware that Japan had occupied Korea and some parts of China- but it was never a close fight. Even Isoroku Yamamoto (of Pearl Harbor attack fame) was quite open about USA being the inevitable winner if the war lasted over one year. In other words, neither pre-WW2 nor post-WW2 Japan was ever a real threat to USA.

USSR, on the other hand, was land and resource rich (about twice the area of lower 48). While its population was a bit less than USA, especially in the immediate aftermath of WW2, it rivaled and often surpassed USA in areas ranging from high technology to the manufacturing and deployment of large numbers of diverse weapon systems. Furthermore, it was able to build its own sphere of influence in eastern Europe after WW2. So why did a country with more natural resources than USA, about the same population (in aftermath of WW2), tons of very smart scientists and military tacticians finally implode in 1991. Many Americans attribute it to all sorts of solipsistic bullshit, ranging from “socialism”, “Reagan”, “Afghanistan” to even more ludicrous ones such as “race” and “people yearning for human rights”.

In my opinion, the real reasons why USSR finally collapsed in 1991, but China just kept going and went on to become the world’s largest economy in real terms about a decade ago has to do with reasons which the vast majority of Americans are either unwilling or incapable of understanding. So let us start listing them, though not necessarily in order of importance.

1] China had both the size and population advantage. While is has about half the area of USSR, China is a bit larger than the lower 48 of USA. Moreover, unlike USSR (or Russia) it’s population has been at least 3-4 times larger than post-ww2 USA. Possessing a large enough landmass and population translates into a very respectable amount of natural resources and enough people to properly exploit those resources. With the exception of oil and a handful other minerals, China is large and populous enough to be internally self-sufficient. It also helps that most of China is neither too hot nor cold and the only limiting factor for human habitation is availability of water in its western half. But that is no different from the South-Western quadrant of USA being either a desert of semi-arid region. In other words, China is more than the equivalent of USA in Asia.

2] Issues surrounding race and culture. One of the most infrequently talked about, but important reason, why USSR seemed like a follower to the “West” and generally susceptible to its influences has to do with how most people in that country (and in Russia today) saw themselves. For a number of historical reasons, Russians have always seen themselves as white and western, perhaps a bit distinct from the “western” mainstream- but still white and western nonetheless. In my opinion, this inability to create a distinct cultural identity led to many other pathologies and bad decisions which shall be partially enumerated later in the post. Chinese, for obvious reasons, did not have that option and neither were they interested in being white (at least most of them).

3] Many of you might have noticed that post-1980 China seems to have stable and good to OK relations with a very diverse range of nation states all over the world. Contrast this to USSR, whose relations with countries in Africa and Latin America were colored with racial paternalism- though not as bad as USA. But why was that so? Well.. USSR (and Russia today) unfortunately bought into the whole white racial supremacy bullshit- which is ironic since we all know what Hitler thought of Slavic people. To be clear, I am not implying that Chinese people are not racist- just far more pragmatic and not so obsessed with race.

4] One of the other visible differences between China of erstwhile USSR concern administration. It is no secret that China, and east-asian countries in general, seem to have this bureaucracy thing figured out far better than the west. The most relevant differences between the two, in this area, concern how responsibility is delegated. More specifically, east-asian bureaucrats have far more latitude and autonomy to get things done- as long as they didn’t fuck up too badly and embarrass the central government. This translates into a far more robust, flexible and innovative system run by fairly competent people with skin in the game. There is a reason why China achieved in 20-30 years what took many other nations over a century.

5] Pragmatic and flexible ideology. Unlike USSR, China (except between late 50s-late 60s) was never obsessed with ideological purity. They just tried to solve problems facing them in the most optimal manner, given their resources and ability. That is why, for example, China was fine with people becoming rich after 1980s. They, correctly, saw the influence of capitalists on governance rather than its mere presence as the real problem. One of the reasons why things went so bad in Russia between 1991 and 2000 was that the system was run by capitalists at the expense of everybody else. China, on the other hand, focused on curtailing the political power of capitalists rather than making sure nobody got rich. We can all see who got it right.

6] China never really bought into western ideas of money, finance and “austerity”. Many of you heard about how material conditions for average citizens in USSR weren’t that good and quality of consumer goods were bad. But why was that so? Why couldn’t USSR spend enough to ensure that the quality of life for its citizens was good. Well.. it comes down to how they saw money and finance in general. Long story short, they bought in the “western” idea of money as a limited resource over which the government has little to no control. China simply decided to go down the MMT route, before it was even a thing. That is why China never seemed to be short of money to build new cities, apartment blocks, roads, airports, high-speed railways, factories, shopping malls, universities, research institutes etc. It is profoundly ironic that an allegedly communist country displays the best practical understanding of economics.

7] China understands censorship far better than USSR and the supposedly “free West”. One of the other realities of life in USSR, as told to me by former inhabitants, was that open humor and mockery of the establishment was not a good idea. Contrast this with how the Chinese system works, where polite criticism of the government (especially as far its ability to solve problems) is not especially problematic. While making off-color jokes about the government on the internet might get you temporarily banned or a visit from the authorities, very few end up in prison for being loud on social media. Also, unlike USSR, the Chinese government is not interested in regulating the private lives of its citizens beyond what is necessary to keep up external appearances. But by far the best censorship of dissent involves making sure that people have enough jobs, opportunities to make more money, reasonably good and affordable consumer goods and no persistent shortage of essentials.

And now I can write up the rest of that post about why China will prevail over USA in any long-term trade or ‘cold’ war.

What do you think? Comments?

2019 and 2020 Will be Much Bigger Shitshows than 2015 and 2016

May 30, 2019 14 comments

As regular readers know, I often make predictions on a number of topics which later turn out to be right (or pretty close) with a high rate of success. More importantly, I am able to accurately identify the underlying dynamics, trends and forces responsible for the ultimate outcomes. Now let me make another seemingly obvious prediction, but with far greater insight and details than possible for quacks.. I mean credentialed “experts”. My prediction is that 2019 and 2020 will be far larger and more problematic shitshows than 2015 and 2016. Some of you (MikeCA?) might argue that every day since the election of Trump has been a shitshow.. and that is technically sorta true. But if you think that 2017 and 2018 were shitshows, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

There are many reasons why this period of 1.5 years will be an epic meta-shitshow of the likes we haven’t witnessed in living memory. However, it is not simply the sheer number or magnitude of individual shitshows that will make this period memorable, but how one shitshow will feed into another and so on.. you know, synergy. But before we go there, let us talk about why 2015 and 2016 marked the beginning of our current era of shitshows. It all began with an orange Buffoon riding down a gaudy escalator alongside a trophy wife with a face pumped full of cosmetic Botox. Initially it seemed that his campaign for the republican presidential nomination was just another publicity stunt to obtain a larger payout from the reality show in which he was starring.

However it became obvious to me within 4-6 weeks that his outrageous and colorful persona had far more public support than effete Washington DC ‘insiders’ realized. And yes.. I never changed my opinion on that issue and turned out be right. And ya.. I also predicted he would win against Hillary in early 2016, even at times when even the most radical presstitues.. I mean journalists.. thought that HRC might somehow prevail against him on election day. I also explored the real reasons why HRC would lose to that buffoon– before the election took place. FYI- majority of my accurate predictions have been about issues and topics other than Trump. But enough about the orange buffoon. Let us now talk about Brexit- more precisely, why the ‘remain’ side lost.

MSM news outlets in that rapidly decaying country (UK) want you to believe that Brexit was due to the stupidity of poorly educated people in that country. However a simple look at the geography of that vote tells you all you need about Brexit. Long story short, post-2008 austerity measures in UK hit parts of the country that are not London pretty hard. People who live in those regions, aka most of that country, got progressively disillusioned with the shitty status quo. They expressed their discontent by voting against something which stood as a placeholder for the widely reviled status quo. You know.. just like people in the Mid-West finally got tired of Obama’s 8-year long lie about “Hope and Change” voted for Trump over the symbol of continuity aka HRC.

But both these shocks to the Establishment, their aftermath and colorful rhetoric accompanying both those changes are nothing compared to what we will witness in 2019 and 2020. While I will restrict my predictions to USA, things are also likely to get interesting in other parts of the world- maybe a bit too interesting. But before we go to the list, a word of caution. The most obvious reasons are unlikely to be the most consequential. The less glamorous reasons, further down the list, carry far more weight than the shiny but superficial ones which are obvious. So let us start by listing them in order of apparent obviousness.

1] Ever since Trump won the republican nomination in mid-2016, democratic establishment and deep state types have been trying to find enough dirt to stop his victory in the 2016 presidential election (which they failed) or impeach him. As things stand today, they have not uncovered anything more scandalous than Trump getting his disgraced lawyer to pay hush money to two women he had sex with while married to his current wife. While this revelation does provide fodder for supermarket tabloids, it is totally unsurprising and in line with Trump’s past behavior. More importantly, the Mueller investigation has not uncovered evidence of “collusion” between Trump and Russia or Putin. Nor has it shown any definitive evidence for obstruction of justice by Trump. And I know MikeCA will have something to say about my characterization of that report.

But these severe setbacks have not stopped an increasing number of democrats from demanding his impeachment, because face it.. they always knew he was “guilty” of something impeachable. Today, the patron saint of pro-impeachment brigade aka Robert Mueller came out and all but openly encouraged democrats to start the impeachment process, even though his report does not contain enough evidence to prosecute Trump for either “collusion” or obstruction of justice. And ya.. I am aware of the legalese bullshit about not being able to exonerate him- but let us get real, people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It also helps to be rich and white, but that is a topic for another post. My prediction is that democrats will initiate pre-impeachment proceedings against Trump, irrespective of potential negative effects it might have on their electoral prospects in 2020. But how does this translate into a nasty shitshow?

Well.. for a few reasons. Firstly, it is unlikely Trump will be impeached, tried and made to resign before November 3, 2020. Secondly, the pre-impeachment investigation is going to be long and highly contentious. It will also overshadow democratic primaries and possibly the presidential election to such an extent that other issues will be effectively sidelined. So be prepared for a democratic primary in which candidates offer endless paeans to bipartisanship, civility in politics, reestablishing “norms” and impeaching Trump at the expense of all the other stuff most voters in the general election actually care about. You know.. stuff like antitrust action against various monopolies and oligopolies, medicare for all, doing something about student debt etc. Think of HRCs “what will the children think” 2016 campaign on steroids. But in some ways, this will be smallest shitshow of them all.

2] Stupid old losers who constitute a majority of democratic primary voters in large states seem to be enamored by “gun control” aka banning civilian ownership of guns. Given that everyone in the packed clown car of democratic candidates is expected to appeal to them, one should expect increasingly shrill and strident anti-gun ownership rhetoric. While appealing to these losers might help one win the primary and a few coastal states in general, it is almost guaranteed to backfire in swing states- especially those with large rural and semi-urban populations. Now add in a few random mass shootings (almost inevitable?) between now and Nov 3, 2020 and you can imagine how nutty this could get. Expect the Democratic house to pass one or more atrociously written anti-gun ownership laws and a few high profile court cases.

To make matters worse, if that is possible, we have seen a recent trend by private corporate monopolies/ oligopolies based in heavily democratic states to deny services based on ideology. Here are a few recent examples.. Software Maker Salesforce Tells Gun Retailers to Stop Selling AR-15s, YouTube Alternatives for Gun Videos & Content Creators and Bank of America to Stop Financing Makers of Military-Style Guns. I, for one, don’t see how pissing off millions of well-armed and single-issue voters who live in gun-ownership friendly jurisdictions is a smart idea when your party has to win their votes in 2020. Then again, this is the same party which think that Joe Biden in 2020 would make the best general election candidate. Or maybe the Democrats don’t want to really win national elections. Who knows..

The large number of democratic candidates vying for the party nomination will make things even weirder than the republican field in 2016. We have all seen how small campaigns which use far less costly traditional advertising and advisers can prevail over larger “mainstream” operations. Between this and the proliferation of small donors, expect far more candidates to remain in the race even after the first major primaries are over. And the DNC and other party establishment are going to try hard, and ineffectually, to stop Bernie by hook or crook. Don’t be surprised if the 2020 democratic convention is held under even more acrimonious circumstances than 2016. And there will be anonymous leaks, just like last time. It is going to get real ugly by mid 2020.

3] Let us now turn to the less obvious, but far more consequential, trends which promise to make 2019 and 2020 the biggest shitshows in living memory. Long story short, we are due for at least three independent nasty blowbacks from Trump’s foreign and trade policies. Let us start by talking about Iran or more precisely how his stupid policy towards that country has the potential to backfire in a spectacularly disastrous manner. It is no secret that idiots such as Pompeo and Bolton, urged on by Zionists and Saudis, are trying to start a war. What they don’t understand, or are willing to understand, is that any war with Iran in addition being unwinnable would make the Iraq misadventure look like quaint in comparison. The outcome of such a war would include Iran finally developing nuclear weapons (perhaps with Chinese assistance), prolonged and massive oil shortages with resultant price hikes and many other bad long-term effects (on USA).

Moving on.. Kim Jon-un has repeatedly conveyed to USA that unless economic sanctions are at least partially removed by end of 2019, he will restart testing ICBMs. My guess is that DPRK will demonstrate an entirely solid-fueled ICBM in early 2020, unless Trump and the idiots running “foreign policy” in USA openly abandon the idea of DPRK giving up its nukes and ICBMS- because the later ain’t going to happen. Which means that sometime in 2020, Trump will have to decide on how to respond to new ICBM and perhaps even nuclear tests by DPRK. To make matters even more interesting, this escalation will likely occur around the same time as Iran is likely to finally leave the JCPOA and restart its uranium enrichment program at maximum capacity. But wait.. it gets even better, or worse, depending on your viewpoint.

As most of you know by now, Trump is involved in an unwinnable trade-war with China. And here is why.. China’s economy and manufacturing capacity is far larger than USA in real terms. While the american economy and system will implode without Chinese imports, the converse is not true. There is also no other country in the world that has as large, varied and sophisticated a manufacturing base as China. Did I mention that USA and rest of the “West” are economically stagnant, demand saturated and in overall decline. China is not going to compromise on Huawei, give in to demands of american corporations or basically change anything significant about how it works or does business. It is the USA and rest of “West” that will have to ultimately eat crow. And they will start hurting USA by screwing over Boeing and make life interesting for every american corporation which does significant amounts of business there or dependent on its exports.

Tensions with Russia could exacerbate further given the current political climate in USA and provide opportunity for yet another shitshow. Did I mention how conflicts between internet monopolies and right wingers could spill into the real world with potentially disastrous results for the former. To summarize, the rest of 2019 and whole of 2020 will almost certainly witness far larger and problematic shitshows than anything in living memory. Even worse, many of these shitshows could feed into each other to create meta-shitshows.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Inevitability of Iran Acquiring Nuclear Weapons Within 5 Years

May 26, 2019 3 comments

The idea that Iran will, one day soon, develop and test nuclear weapons is not new. Losers such as Netanyahoo have been telling anybody willing to listen that ‘Iran will develop nuclear weapons within six months’ for, at least, the last 15 years. But for some reason, this never came to pass. In this post, I will give you my analysis on why Iran did not build and test nuclear weapons for past 15 years, but is almost certain to do so within next 5 years. And yes.. the reasons for that change are linked to my choice of word to describe that opportunistic nutcase. It is also important that you understand that I have no horse in this race, and have pretty negative views about all parties involved in this slow-motion train wreck.

So let us start with the first and most obvious question- why hasn’t Iran already developed and tested nuclear weapons. They certainly spent a lot of resources building their nuclear program. Other countries who devoted similar resources to developing nukes such as Pakistan and DPRK managed to develop them within a decade of serious effort. Given the number of competent engineers Iran produces every single year, they certainly do not lack human capital. Iran also does not lack ingenious sources of Uranium ore. Economic and technology sanctions are totally ineffective at stopping nations from developing nuclear weapons- look at China, India, Pakistan and DPRK. We have to look elsewhere to understand why Iran hasn’t yet developed nukes.

Some of you might think that Israel’s use of Stuxnet or paying idiots to assassinate a few Iranian scientists stopped Iran from developing nukes. Here is the sad reality.. Stuxnet did not even slow down Iran’s uranium enrichment program. The idea that it was effective is something impotent computer geeks, blusterous Israelis and few western think-tanks want (you) to believe. Even worse, Stuxnet spurred Iranians to build bigger, more secure and more efficient centrifuges. Talk about a counterproductive effort. Similarly, a few highly publicized but minor bombings of Iranian nuclear scientists ended up giving their government the excuse to crack down on internal dissent- much more harshly than otherwise possible. Way to go, Bozos!

So why hasn’t Iran developed nukes yet? The simple answer is that, for a long time, the utility of such weapons to Iran was marginal- at best. Iran is a pretty big country, with a large population and army competent in many overt and covert forms of warfare. It dominates its middle-eastern neighbors to such an extent that no country within a couple of thousand kilometers, including Israel, has a prayer of winning a land war against it. Even an unstable Iran, such as existed in early 1980s, could hold its own against an Iraq supplied with almost unlimited amount of conventional weapons and money by the West and, curiously, USSR. More importantly, only Iran and Turkey are natural states in the Asian part of Middle-East. To make a long story short, Iran did not require nukes to defend against its neighbors.

While Iran dabbled in developing nukes in decades following the 1979 revolution, it went down that path only after the failed american occupation of Iraq in 2003. That is right.. Bush43 is the real reason Iran decided to seriously pursue development of nuclear weapons. Think about that for a second.. it was the actions of USA, not Israel or Saudi Arabia, which led to the current situation. To make matters even more.. interesting.. Iran did briefly stop its nuclear program in 2003 and offered Bush43 administration a rare chance at normalizing relations. Bush43’s administration, however, was full of delusional ‘muricans who thought they could get a better deal and effect regime change in Tehran. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? By 2005, Iran figured out that american occupation of Iraq was doomed to end in humiliation and restarted the program.

However, this time they decided to ramp up the scale and resources devoted to nukes. However, unlike DPRK, they were still non-committal. In my opinion, replacement of the ailing Kim Jong-il by his son, Kim Jon-un, after 2011 was the biggest reason for DPRK decision to build nukes and ICBMs at scale. And let us face it, KJU was correct in pursuing such capabilities. Iran, on the other hand, thought they could use their nuclear capability as a bargaining chip to normalize relations with the west. Some famous western idiots may claim it was economic sanctions which brought Iran to negotiating table in 2013, but who are we kidding.. an Iran with nukes that could hit anywhere within 2000 kms can block the strait of Hormuz without sending a single extra patrol boat or firing a single shot. If Iran had developed nukes by 2012, they would not have to sign that worthless agreement in 2015. So why didn’t they develop nukes?

The thing is.. one faction in the Iranian government was extra-greedy and thought it could make tons of money by using the nuclear program as a bargaining chip. And that was the case- at least in the short run. Of course, they did not anticipate a weak, greedy and stupid man such as Trump to be elected in 2016. And mark my words, Trump will be the reason why Iran finally ends up developing, testing and deploying nukes. The orange buffoon with a Zionist son-in-law and Bush43 administration rejects such as Pompeo and Bolton, thought that he could do what Bush43 also thought he could but failed miserably. By now, you might have noticed that I have not mentioned Gulf state monarchs such as MBS. Here is why.. hereditary rulers in that region are at best, comic sideshows, of little consequence to the larger strategic picture. They don’t matter.

Getting back to the change in situation with Iran since Trump was elected in late 2016.. the orange buffoon is apparently stupid enough to think that he can win multiple military and non-militarily conflicts by empty bluster and economic sanctions. Which is why he has antagonized many countries, from Russia and China to Venezuela and Cuba. As I wrote in a previous post, it won’t end well and Trump will be remembered as the guy who presided over second act of american imperial collapse. We have already seen the idiot and his old delusional advisers try and flounder repeatedly even against such supposedly easy ‘targets’ such as Venezuela. Trump’s hare-brained schemes have, however, exposed a fundamental flaw of the “western” system.

Any treaty or agreement between two or more countries is possible only if both parties believe there is a reasonable chance for things to work out in a half-reasonable manner. This is especially true when both parties are real countries and not fake ones such as those found in Central and South america or Gulf region. Since 1991, USA has consistently shown that it is unwilling to fulfill its obligations in any agreement or treaty. While they might have gotten away with such behavior prior to 2003-2005, things have changed a lot since then. USA is no longer the largest economy in world since 2008-2009, it makes little of global importance other than CPU chips and one family of airliners- and even that will be over within five years.

Did I mention the part where most of its citizens are now a paycheck or two from ruin and have to beg others to cover their “healthcare” costs. Or how its people would rather overdose or drink themselves to death or how its “heartland” is a poor and de-industrialized shiscape. My point is that USA is simply not in the same position it was in between 1991-2003. Its leadershit, however, still thinks it is 1997. The rest of the aging, shrinking and dying “west” is in similar shape, but still think the 1990s never ended. The net result of these senile western delusions is that they still think they can get away with behavior which they cannot. While this was not that obvious before Trump’s election in 2016, many of the decisions he has made since then have exposed the unwillingness of USA and its vassal states to stand behind agreements and treaties as well as a highly misplaced belief in their ability to influence events.

DPRK, under KJU, has demonstrated the inexorable impotence of the dying west. He has also shown that negotiating from a position of open and obvious strength is the only realistic way to deal with the senile west and its delusions of past grandeur. Until 2016, Iran had (for reasons largely linked to monetary gains) played by the decrepit West’s rules- which did not ultimately get them what they wanted. Now their leaders can no longer pretend it was a good deal. Regardless of whether there is any military action against Iran in near future, it is now almost inevitable that Iran will develop, test and deploy nukes within next five years. And guess what.. they will get help from China who would like to make things interesting for USA and its vassals.

In case you are wondering, China has done this twice before- directly in the case of Pakistan and by looking the other way in case of DPRK. While I keep mentioning a five year timeline, it is likely that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran might happen much sooner. Regardless, my point is that the process is now inevitable even if the ongoing tensions between that country and USA and its vassals are resolved in a peaceful manner. A return to the previous order of things is now simply not possible. One way or other, Iran is going to end up developing nukes in near future.

What do you think? Comments?

Inclusive One Party Systems Outperform Democratic Counterparts : 1

April 7, 2019 5 comments

In a previous series about post-1945 divergence in outcomes between India and China, I made the point that China is today the world’s largest industrial power while India is a stunted dwarf which cannot even project its power into small neighboring countries. This divergence has much to do with fundamental differences in the type of elites and systems of governance in those two countries. India ended up with a bunch of spineless and incompetent elites who were ashamed of being Indian and constantly sucked up to white guys in expensive suits. Chinese elites, unlike their Indian counterparts, did not hate themselves for being non-white and understood that their fortunes were intrinsically linked to those of their fellow countrymen. In other words, they cared about their own country- even if they did so for pragmatically selfish reasons.

But the much larger difference between these nations comes down to their respective systems of governance. Indian elites retained the super abusive and exploitative colonial administrative system they “inherited” at the time of independence. In contrast, their Chinese counterparts went on quite the house-cleaning spree after 1949. While you may, or may not, agree about the large number of bureaucratic eggs broken by the Chinese elites during the first 30 years after regaining independence, the end product is clearly superior to its Indian counterpart. But why is that so? Is it because the Chinese have a long history of bureaucracy, racial and cultural homogeneity or are the real reasons more straightforward- if rather unpleasant to accept.

In the rest of this post, I will show you how the superior performance of the Chinese system is intimately linked to its design, rather than quality of its employees. So let us begin by asking a few simple questions: Why is the Chinese administrative system far less dysfunctional than its Indian counterpart? Do they have smarter employees or more natural resources at their disposal? Or.. is it something else? Now let me flip that question around. Why is the Indian administrative system so incompetent, short-sighted and generally incapable of getting stuff done. While some idiots might want to assign blame to everything from race, “IQ”, lack of cultural homogeneity or other bullshit explanations- the real reasons behind the Indian system’s poor performance are rather obvious and surprisingly basic- starting with lack of accountability.

Anyone who has ever interacted with the administrative system in India at any length will be aware that there is basically no accountability for its employees. They can cause endless disasters and suffering through their incompetence and stupidity without any of it having real negative effects on their job security. At most, they will be disciplined by being transferred (for a couple of years) to some undesirable locale or position. More importantly, since advancement in the system is determined by age and colonial-era rules rather than performance, there is little incentive for them to learn from their mistakes or change for the better. But why is this still the case in 2019? Why did Indian political leaders never try to reform this shitty system since 1947?

Well.. there are many reasons why Indian political elites kept the manifestly bad administrative system which they “inherited”. As I wrote in previous posts, they never cared about the plight of their fellow countrymen because they saw themselves as brown versions of their erstwhile colonial white masters. But there is another and perhaps more important reason- India went down the path of becoming a parliamentary multi-party democracy. But what is the connection between becoming a multi-party democracy and administrative dysfunction? It comes to the number of competing power centers. In India, and almost every other democracy, the executive branch of power is in direct competition with the bureaucracy. But why is that problematic? After all, don’t “famous public intellectuals” constantly tell us that separation of powers is a good thing?

Though separation of powers might sounds good in theory, its real world performance is sketchy- at best. Some of you might counter this by pointing out regimes led by strongmen, dictators and other types of totalitarian leaders do poorly in the long term and I agree with that observation. There is however another model for totalitarianism- one based in a single political entity which allows for some diversity of people and views. While this might sound like something out of ‘1984’ by Orwell, the real world performance of many east-Asian countries suggests otherwise. China.. you see.. is not the only single-party country in east-Asia. For most of it modern history (1868-1947 and 1955 onward) Japan has been effectively a single-party system. The same is true for South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

There is, therefore, no evidence for single broad-based political party system in power for decades having any worthwhile negative influence on the social and economic well-being of average citizens of said country. In fact, the converse appears to be true- especially when you compare them to India. But didn’t India have something similar under its first prime-minister (Jawaharlal Nehru) from 1947 to 1964? Why didn’t things work out nicely under him , as they did in those other Asian countries? Well.. for two reasons. Firstly, his tenure as the undisputed prime-minister of India quickly became a personality cult and he did not groom anybody other than his daughter to take over after his death. Secondly, all those other Asian leaders used their long tenures to destroy the previous colonial administrative systems.

Nehru and his successors were only interested in maintaining power in addition to appearing deferential and respectable to the ‘whites’. They did almost nothing to upgrade or reform the administrative system, let alone break it down and remake it serve Indians. Nothing was done to eliminate all those pesky multiple competing centers of power and bureaucratic fiefdoms. Almost no new unitary institutions with real power were created by him or his successors. In other words, they retained the same system and mindset which was previously used to exploit and impoverish India during the era of British colonialism- and it shows, to this day. After his death in 1964, things went from bad to worse and the rise of regional parties, formed due to inability of his national party to deliver on promises, made a bad situation worse.. much worse.

And this how you end up an administrative system full of essentially sinecured employees with zero accountability, no motivation or appetite for any improvement or the ability to think outside the box. That is why India still uses a criminal code written about 150 years ago which often irrelevant to the contemporary world. That is also why Indian cities look like poorly laid-out and crowded hovels. That is also why India was so late and inefficient at building power plants or even using its large coal resources. That is why cities in China look and function in ways which would shame their western counterparts- while those in India, sorta function. That is also why cities, towns and villages in India have far more uncollected garbage, sewage and filth than their counterparts in Vietnam or Indonesia. This is why the public health system in India sucks.

In the next part of this (hopefully short) series, I will talk about why the problem of multiple power centers did not seem to affect western countries from mid 1800s till the 1970s. Here is a hint: the “west” was largely non-democratic during that period and colonial exploitation of other people + post-WW2 growth provided enough surplus resources to paper over deficiencies.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Difference in Outcomes for China and India in Post-1945 Era: 3

February 16, 2019 11 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote about how post-1949 Chinese leadership put in a lot of effort to improve the conditions of its people, even if their motivations were not purely altrusitic. Then again, the same is true of every government which has every existed in human history and the present. In sharp contrast, the Indian leadershit has remained mired in their self-chosen role as darker white sahibs carrying the “white mans burden” and lording over an allegedly hopeless bunch of subhumans. One commentator in the previous post of this series made a comment to the effect that it sounded like how things work in south and central american countries- where an incompetent whiter elite (with the assistance of dying white countries) mismanage and lord over less whiter people, who they see as less than human. Yep.. that is about right.

In the previous post, I also wrote about how the Chinese leadership took a pragmatic approach to improving literacy through a variety of reforms and programs. They also built, and in some cases rebuilt, institutions and bureaucracies to function for them and their people. Sure.. they had to break a few hundred thousand eggs to achieve that- but you cannot deny that the results are quite impressive and functional. More importantly, these institutions now either do what they are meant to do, or do not interfere in what other institutions are doing. In other words, the Chinese leadership was able to build and maintain a unitary and coordinated governmental system with a pretty decent level of accountability. And all this within first three decades after 1949. So why were they able to achieve something which their Indian counterparts thought to be impossible.

Conventional explanations for this, usually put forth by allegedly “credentialed” white idiots, try to paint this as some sort of exception or aberration. However that is not the case, as some version of this had been previously implemented in Japan and the Koreas. For example, modernization of Japan starting in Meiji era and its rebuilding after WW2 was achieved by implementing a watered-down version of what China started doing after 1949. The same is true of South Korea after the early 1960s. You might have noticed that all these examples have something else common to them- other than being east-asian. Ready.. they were, or are, mostly single-party systems.. yes, even Japan. But didn’t India also have effectively have a single party system for first 2-3 decades after 1947? Yes, they did and the Congress party won most elections as the state and federal level for 2-3 decades after “independence”. So why did it work in east-Asia but not in India?

Which brings us to the part about accountability- for elected officials as well as bureaucrats. As I mentioned in previous parts of this series, almost every single Indian politician and elected official came from families who collaborated with the British colonizers of India. They had risen to their positions without facing any real challenge, struggle or conflict. Most had no real skills beyond regurgitating what they learned in British universities and they saw themselves as darker whites rather than Indians. As I said in previous part, they believed anything some white guy in an expensive suit would tell them. The Indian bureaucracy was no better and filled with sad excuses for human beings who enjoyed abusing and screwing over their own people by using rules and regulations written up for that purpose by their erstwhile colonial masters.

Long story short, both the political class and bureaucracy of India was made up of incompetent losers who saw themselves as lesser whites rather than Indians. And there is one more thing.. the bureaucracy and political system continued to exist as two independent and antagonistic centers of power. Contrast that to successful east-asian countries where the political leadership and bureaucracy are different faces of the same system. There is a good reason why I used the words such as unitary and coordinated to describe the Chinese system. But why does any of this matter? Also, does it matter that much? Well.. let me show you with a couple of examples.

Very few of you know that India was first Asian country to build its own supersonic combat aircraft. Ya.. India built the HF-24 Marut and successfully tested it in the early 1960s. While the team leader of the project was Kurt Tank, almost everybody else in the project was Indian and they went from nothing to flying prototypes in about 6 years. So what did the Indian political leadershit and bureaucracy do in response to this success? The sabotaged it in every way they could- from denying funding for better imported engines to crippling the organisation setup for developing indigenous engines. Even worse, they spent a lot of effort trying to make sure that all the knowledge and expertise gained through that project was lost. But why?

The “conventional” explanation for this behavior is that USSR offered them decent inexpensive combat aircraft. However that is not true since the USSR which made such aircraft in multiple thousands was not really bothered by this indigenous effort. Moreover, it filled a role distinct from the aircraft they supplied to India at that time. The real reasons have far more to do with the Indian psyche, especially those of its white-worshiping idiot politicians and bureaucrats. The thing is.. they could not believe that people of their skin color could make world-class products. To make matters worse, they had no ability to understand concepts such as iterative development and using the insight gained in one project to advance others. But most fatally, they believed in what white scammers told them about the nature of money.

Now contrast this to what China did during the same time period. After getting all the equipment from USSR to manufacture Mig-15s, 17, 19s etc they first kept cranking out replicas. While not the best combat aircraft of that era (mid 1960s), they were good enough. But far more importantly, they used that opportunity to train a shitload of engineers who would then go on to improve these aircraft and eventually build far better ones. They did this at a time when they were as poor as India and in politically worse shape. They also did the same with soviet diesel-electric submarines, infantry weapons, artillery etc. Did you notice that they never stopped these projects or disbanded their experienced teams regardless of domestic upheavals and other issues. Why not? And where did they get the money to do all these things?

The answer to first part of those questions is that they, unlike their Indian counterparts, were not incompetent white-worshipping idiots. The second and related answer is that they saw money in a very different way to their Indian and white counterparts. To make another long story short, they implemented a form of what we today call modern monetary theory, which is fancy way of saying that they printed money and allocated resources as necessary to get important things done while making sure that this new money did not enter the general circulation at levels large enough to cause runaway inflation and currency devaluation. So ya.. they pretty much printed money and rigged their system to deliver what they wanted, which they could do because of the size of their country. Their Indian equivalents chose to believe “credentialed” white eCONomists.

In the next part of this series, I will show you (with more examples) how a unitary and coordinated government policy gave China a huge advantage over India in other sectors.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Difference in Outcomes for China and India in Post-1945 Era: 2

January 30, 2019 6 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote that India and China started from about the same level, and with a host of systemic problems, as nascent modern nation states in 1947 and 1949. While India might have initially seemed to be the more successful of the two, China slowly but surely outpaced it in almost every aspect from about the mid-1960s. The gap has now grown to such levels that the real difference between these two equipopulous Asian nations now appears unbridgeable. In the previous part, I also said that majority of difference in outcome between the two can be attributed to difference in quality of leadership and administration between them. For starters- Indian leaders, while superficially more erudite than their Chinese counterparts, came from families who had previously gotten rich by collaborating with British colonizers.

The majority of those who came to power in India had also never been tested under real life-and-death situations. In addition to displaying uncritical belief in whatever any white person wearing a suit told them, they had no real interest in improving the condition of their fellow country men and women. Indeed, most of them did not see themselves as part of India.. well at least not ‘that other’ India. They saw themselves as darker white sahibs carrying the “white mans burden” and ruling over a hopeless bunch of subhumans. Some of you might wonder as to how I reached this rather dim view about that allegedly “great” generation of leaders which India had in aftermath of gaining independence in 1947, from the now defunct British empire. Easy.. look at their behavior and actions, rather than their words- because the later is cheap unlike the former two.

1] Both India and China started life as modern nation states with very high levels (over 80-85%) of illiteracy. So how did Indian leaders go about trying to fix this problem? How about.. by doing almost nothing. That is right! While Chinese leaders put a lot of effort and force into projects such as simplifying the Chinese script, ordering translations of everything they could find into Chinese, improving primary school attendance and childhood literacy among its population by any means (including force)- their Indian counterparts gave speeches and raised slogans about removing illiteracy. While it is true that Indian leaders did fund a few elite universities and educational institutions (IITs, IIMs etc) earlier than China, they largely ignored the primary and secondary educational sector. But why? Well.. think about which educational institutions their progeny, and those of their flunkies, would attend. It is that easy.

So why didn’t the Chinese leadership behave in such an utterly selfish manner? The answer is.. because they were pragmatic. While creating elite educational institutions for your own children sounds like a good idea, doing so without creating an equally extensive non-elite educational system would almost certainly lead to them remaining a poor country. Chinese leaders were always interested in true global power and prestige. It is not possible to be powerful and feared (or respected) on the international level if your country is an un-industrialized and materially poor country full of illiterate people. Indian leaders, on the other hand, were incapable of visualizing themselves as anything other than second-rate ‘whites’ in charge of a country predestined to be poor because some white guy in an expensive suit told them so.

2] It is no secret that the administrative system and bureaucracy in India, along with its laws and regulations, had been designed to exploit and abuse Indians for the benefit of the now extinct British empire. Any person with half-a-brain who was genuinely interested in improving conditions in India after independence would have liquidated everyone in the administrative system, except its junior-most employees, and built a new one- if necessary by copying from countries where things worked. That is, however, not the path taken by Indians leaders after ‘independence’. Instead they retained almost every single part of the incredibly abusive and dysfunctional system including its pathetic white-worshiping personnel. And this is how India ended up with a shitty and incompetent bureaucracy which benefits nobody other than its employees.

Their Chinese counterparts, on the other hand, went on quite the cleaning spree after 1949. They started by getting rid of bureaucrats who were, should we say, not sympathetic to the new order or problematic collaborators to previous regimes. They reformed laws, rules and regulations to make them more useful and internally self-consistent. Moreover, they were willing to reform their system as the situation changed- for example after 1971 and 1979. Some people say that it was helpful that China has a long history of competent bureaucracy, unlike India. However, after the ‘century of humiliation’ they had to start from scratch to build a modern secular bureaucracy and so their history is not especially relevant to what happened after 1949. Let me reiterate that the Chinese leadership did not educate their people and build a good bureaucracy because they were altruistic. They did so because they wanted to be leaders of a powerful and respected nation.

In the next part of this series, I will write about how the lack of imagination and ability displayed by Indian leadership over every single decade since ‘independence’ contrasts with the willingness of their Chinese counterparts to take calculated risks, persevere along initially suboptimal routes, keep thinking big and have a viable plan (or two) to get there.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Difference in Outcomes for China and India in Post-1945 Era: 1

January 20, 2019 15 comments

Approximately three months ago, I wrote about my plans for a couple of series on topics which I had either not tackled or done in a less-than-through manner. In case you are wondering, one series would focus on the reasons why China became the world’s largest economy (in real terms) almost a decade ago while India is.. well.. stumbling around in that general direction. While most of the blame for dismal post-1947 performance of India can still be assigned to the first-, second- and third- order effects of the ‘jati’ system, there are clearly other factors at work- some of which are ‘intersectional’ to the continued existence of that wretched system. Let us start this series by examining them- starting with a comparison leadership cadre of both countries.

But before we go there, let me reiterate a few relevant points and spend the next 3-4 paragraphs giving you some background on the topic. As I wrote in a previous post, the majority of informed outsiders looking at the situation in both countries in 1950 would have put their money on India ending up as the more prosperous of two in 50-70 years. Yet in 2019, the Indian economy is still only 1/4th or 1/5th of its Chinese counterpart in real terms, despite containing an almost identical number of people. Did I mention that they started out at almost the same level in 1950. Let us also be clear that things had not gone well for over a century in either country at that time. In the case of India, it was a heavily exploited colony of now defunct British empire.

In the case of China, it was well.. a whole host of other problems. We can start with the various large and highly damaging rebellions towards the end of the Qing dynasty. One of these, known as the Taiping Rebellion, resulted in about 20-30 million deaths over a period of 14 years. Then there was the problem of western countries such as UK and USA pushing Opium in China which resulted in probably 20-40% of the population becoming dependent on that drug. There is some irony about tens of thousands of mostly white people dying from synthetic opioid overdoses, each year, in contemporary USA- given the major source of that drug. Add into that the humiliation caused by numerous military setbacks against 19th century European colonial powers culminating in the Boxer rebellion. And it got even worse in the early 20th century.

It started with the formal collapse of the Qing dynasty and lead to the Warlord Era– which was much worse than it sounds. And then there was that other unpleasant period due to the partial colonization by Imperial Japan, which culminated in events such as the Nanjing Massacre in addition to many millions more deaths due to that invasion, including many thousands due to activities of Unit 731. And we are not even getting into all the problems caused by on-again off-again alliance between various factions of the nationalists and communists in pre-1950 China. There is a very good reason that the Chinese see the hundred odd years between 1839-1949 as the Century of Humiliation. Long story short, China started from scratch after WW2. And we have not even talked about the Great Famine of 1959-1961 and the Cultural Revolution.

My point is that the modern nation states of India and China started at almost the same time (1947, 1949) and from about the same relative situation. Both had low literacy rates (12-15 % and 15-20 %), not much of an industrial base, very few universities and technical schools etc. Both experienced chaotic conditions during and shortly after their formation (India-Pakistan Partition, final stage of civil war on mainland China). Neither country had experienced unitary self-governance for over a hundred years. Most of the lay people in both countries still believed in tons of superstitions and bullshit. Long story short, both nation states started under equally dismal conditions. And yet in 2019, the economy and global stature of India is a fraction of China.

So let us now start talking about the types of people who ended up in leadership positions in both countries, starting with those involved in their respective independence movements.

The Indian “independence” movement, at least its modern form, can trace its origins to the establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1885. Ironically, it was established by a retired British civil service officer- Allan Octavian Hume. Think about it for a moment, the organisation which came to lead the Indian “independence” movement was not started by an Indian. But it gets better, or worse. Here is something many of you might know about many of the subsequent important leaders of the Indian “independence” movement.. most were the sons of people who had grown rich and powerful from enthusiastic collaboration with the British colonizers of India. Ya.. all those “great” leaders of the Indian “independence” moment were almost exclusively the sons of greedy and treacherous collaborators.

And most did not demand total independence until the early 1940s.. just varying degrees of autonomy from the now defunct British empire. And now you know why I decided to use quotation marks for independence. Sad.. isn’t it? And it gets worse.. if that is even possible. Unlike their Chinese counterparts, most leaders of the Indian “independence” movement were oxbridge educated lawyers with close to zero ability or experience to do anything beyond giving stirring speeches and writing elaborate letters in protest. They had a serious inferiority complex vis-à-vis white people in general and the British in particular. But most importantly, they simply wanted to rule instead of the British and had no real desire to improve the condition of most people in the country, and just wanted to be seen as equal to British on an individual level.

Now let us compare this sorry bunch to their equivalents in the Chinese national movement of early 20th century. Note that I am not implying that their Chinese equivalents were any less power-hungry, double-dealing, generally corrupt and sometimes thoughtless. But there are some very important and relevant differences between the two groups. For starters, most of their leadership did not arise from a group of traitors who collaborated with colonizers. Neither were most of their leaders born in very prosperous families. Sun Yat-sen, Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek came from somewhat comfortable but not unusually rich or politically connected families. Even the second and third order leadership of the national movement was largely derived from people born into poor, middling to somewhat prosperous bourgeois families.

Furthermore, they all agreed that expulsion of foreign colonizers, restoration of unitary authority and building a new secular technological society was not negotiable. Compare this to their Indian counterparts who were fine with continuing caste divisions, widespread poverty, little to no economic development, low literacy, semi-independence etc as long as they were in power. Leaders of the Indian “independence” movement.. you see.. just wanted an equal seat at the table of their British masters so they could regale them with tales with how stupid and poor all those “other” Indian were and have a laugh about it. While it sounds harsh, this is how things went after 1947. The leadership of the Chinese national movement, on the other hand, understood that only leaders of powerful and prosperous nations wield true power.

This is why, for example, the government of post-1949 China put so much effort into improving literacy levels, setting up universities, funding research institutes, building their own weapon systems, investing in infrastructure projects etc- even when they technically did not have the “money” to do so. In contrast, multiple generations of Indian leaders used the excuse of “no money” to either not do those things or do them in an anemic and half-hearted manner. That is also why India retained the shitty colonial system of laws and administration which was designed to exploit and abuse Indians rather than build a new one to benefit them. The darkly comic part of all this is that most of them lack the ability to understand their own pathetic behavior.

Will write more about this issue in the next part of series.

What do you think? Comments?