by Paul Craig Roberts
April 19, 2012
Americans, the British, and Western
Europeans are accustomed to thinking of themselves as the
representatives of freedom, democracy, and morality in the world.
The West passes judgment on the rest of
the world as if the West is God and the rest of the world are
barbarians in need of chastisement, invasion, and occupation. As
readers know, from time to time I raise questions about the validity
of the West’s extreme hubris. (See for example, the following
Insouciance Has No Rival' and 'Is
Western Democracy Real or a Facade?')
China is often a country about which Washington’s moralists get on
their high horse.
However, China’s “authoritarian”
government is actually more responsive to its people than America’s
“elected democratic” government. Moreover, however incomplete on
paper the civil liberties of China’s people, the Chinese government
has not declared that it can violate with impunity whatever rights
Chinese citizens have. And it is not China that is running torture
prisons all over the globe.
For some time I have had in mind a realistic comparison of the two
countries instead of the standard propagandistic comparison, but
Ron Unz has beat me to the task (see, 'China’s
Rise, America’s Fall' and 'Chinese
Melamine and American Vioxx - A Comparison').
a chance for an education. Don’t miss it.
Unz has done an excellent job. Moreover, he cleverly understates the
case for China and overstates the case for America so as not to
unduly arouse the flag-wavers. Nevertheless, the conclusion is
clear: The Chinese are less threatened by their “extractive elites”
than Americans are by their counterparts.
Moreover, it is America’s, not China’s, extractive elites who are
bombing, occupying, and droning other countries. As the bumper
sticker says, “Be nice to America or we will bring democracy to your
As for economic management, there is no comparison. Unz reports that
during the past three decades China has achieved the most rapid rate
of economic development in human history. Moreover, most of the new
income has flowed into the pockets of Chinese workers, not to the
one percent. While American real median incomes have been stagnant
for decades, incomes for Chinese workers have doubled every decade
for three decades.
A recent World Bank report attributes
more than 100 percent of the drop in global poverty rates to China’s
In the last decade China’s industrial output quadrupled. China now
produces more automobiles than America and Japan combined and
accounted for 85 percent of the increase in the world’s production
of cars in the past decade.
In 1978 the American economy was 15 times larger than China’s. In
the next few years China’s GDP is expected to exceed that of the US.
This is heady stuff providing astonishing details of how poorly
Americans are served by their elites.
America has failed, because political elites represent only the
powerful special interests that write the country’s laws in exchange
for funding the political campaigns of “lawmakers.”
To divert attention from their failures,
American elites point fingers at external scapegoats. China, for
example, is accused of manipulating its currency.
As Unz says,
the scapegoating is political
theater designed for the ignorant and gullible.
America’s economists, or most of them,
have so prostituted themselves that propaganda has become wisdom.
Most Americans believe that if China
would simply let the value of its currency rise more rapidly
relative to the dollar, America’s economic woes would be at an end.
It is beyond belief that any economist
could think that Americans with stagnant and declining incomes would
be made better off by a sharp rise in the prices of goods
manufactured in China on which Americans are dependent, or that the
US dollar’s role as reserve currency, the main source of American
power, could survive such a manifestation of Chinese economic
Americans associate lawlessness with unaccountable governments and
view China’s government as unaccountable. However, Unz points out
that it is the Bush/Obama Regime that has declared itself to be
unaccountable to both US and international law.
The demise of the War Powers Act and the Geneva Conventions, and the
asserted power of the executive to imprison without trial or charges
or to assassinate any American whom the executive thinks might be a
“national-security threat” are indicative of a total police state
masquerading as an accountable democracy.
In America six-year old little girls who
misbehave in school are handcuffed, jailed, and charged with
felonies (see, '10
Disgusting Examples of Very Young School Children Being Arrested,
Handcuffed and Brutalized By Police').
Not even Hitler and Stalin went this
Americans have lost control of the government, and governments that
are not controlled by the people are not democracies. In America
today, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, and the entire social
safety net are threatened by the vociferous desire for war profits
by armament plutocrats and by financial institutions determined that
ordinary citizens bear the cost of
the banksters incompetence and
Unz’s comparison of how the Chinese media and government handled the
melamine or infant formula scandal and how the American media and
government handled Merck’s Vioxx scandal is especially damning. It
was China’s controlled media and unaccountable government that
punished the infant formula wrongdoers, while America’s free press
and accountable government allowed Merck to walk.
Unz’s conclusion is that it is in America, not China, where life is
regarded as cheap.
Ron Unz is an American hero, and a very courageous one.
As George Orwell said,
“In a time of universal deceit,
telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
It is an even more courageous act when
no one wants to hear the truth.
As Frantz Fanon said,
“Sometimes people hold a core belief
that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that
works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted.
It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable,
called cognitive dissonance.
And because it is so important to
protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even
deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”
Or as it is explained to Neo in the
“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That
system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around,
what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The
very minds of the people we are trying to save.
But until we do, these people are
still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy.
You have to understand, most of
these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are
so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will
fight to protect it.”
Most of the people I know personally are
not willing to be unplugged. I assume my readers are, so seize the
opportunity to be further unplugged and read Ron Unz’s comparison of
America and China.
Then do what you can to unplug others.