"You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

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Sertorio
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Re: "You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

Post by Sertorio » Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:25 pm

neverfail wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:01 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:03 am

Probably. But I would still like to know what those similarities are supposed to be...
You very likely invited Cassowary to explain the comparison and I am also waiting to read his take. But the temptation for me to butt in is irresistible - so please pardon me if I appear rude.

neverfail wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:18 pm
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/10/artic ... -spengler/

The idea of public trust and subsidiarity that’s fundamental to democracy is unknown to the Chinese.
Italy, like China, is ancient. It is the second most ancient pocket of civilization (as we normally define 'civilization') in Europe after Greece. The times I have been there I came away with the impression of layer upon layer of civilization superimposed one atop the other - like successive layers of organic trash in a compose heap nurturing the dense growth of weeds sprouting on top.

Compared to Italy, even France looked and felt like a young country.

(Bearing in mind that I dwell in the very last region of planet Earth to have emerged from stone age conditions - so I am, sort of, a bit of an expert on young countries and correspondingly something of a connoisseur of antiquity. 8-) )

Now, after that digression I get to the point. Ever since the end of the Second World War, after the Italians lynched the Fascist dictator Mussolini and his mistress, Italy adopted parliamentary democracy as its mode of government. Democracy was after all the mode of government cherished by Italy's WW2 invaders and Italians have a long history behind them of striving to please and flatter their invaders and conquerors.

Democracy in Italy has not worked. The whole point of elected government (or so I have been led to believe) is to provide good government. Italian democracy has failed to furnish even a single term of good government. There are millions of Italians who hanker for their sham of a democracy to be abolished in favour of something more autocratic. Benito Mussolini (so legend has it) "made the trains run on time". Authoritarian government gets things done whereas elected politicians waste their time and the country's resources frigging about trying to perpetually outmaneuver one another.

Italian society, like Chinese society, lacks public trust and subsidiarity. For this reason I consider parliamentary democracy to be something like an alien graft on the surface of Italian society. Like the Chinese they lack a culture that sustains democratic forms of government that truly and accurately expresses who and what they are.
...................................................................................................................................

Here is food for thought for you Sertorio. With Mediterranean Europe I get the impression that they all suffer from a touch of the Italian syndrome of great private virtue in combination with equally great public squalor. manifest in ineffectual government and high public debt. By contrast the Nordic countries are well governed with wonderful public probity; high levels of trust and with national indebtedness under control. Yet while the Latin and Hellenic nationalities, allegedly the longest civilized, seem to collectively represent Europe's southern zone of corruption and public mismanagement the Nordic lands, allegedly the last in Europe to emerge from barbarism, seem to be by far the best governed. Having an old and venerable record of civilization is not necessarily an unmitigated asset while there is lots to be said for being a young country - don't you agree?

:D
Neverfail,
You might want to look up Venice and Florence, and see how they were run in the renaissance. Not being democratic in the modern western model, they were nevertheless pretty democratic, in the sense that people had a true voice in the running of public affairs. And Portugal had its version of the Magna Carta less than one hundred years after the English kings were forced to sign it. And in 1383 the Cortes only elected Prince John as king of Portugal under the condition that he would assemble those Cortes (where the common people were represented, together with the nobility and the clergy) every year, to consult the people about state affairs. Which he very much did. It was only starting in the 18th century (17th century as far as Portugal was concerned) that southern Europe got into trouble. Trouble that got worse when we failed to have an industrial revolution at the same time England was starting it. We fell behind, economically, and it is only now that we are starting to catch up. And corruption is not worse than in northern Europe.

neverfail
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Re: "You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

Post by neverfail » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:35 am

Sertorio wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:25 pm

Neverfail,
You might want to look up Venice and Florence, and see how they were run in the renaissance. Not being democratic in the modern western model, they were nevertheless pretty democratic, in the sense that people had a true voice in the running of public affairs. And Portugal had its version of the Magna Carta less than one hundred years after the English kings were forced to sign it. And in 1383 the Cortes only elected Prince John as king of Portugal under the condition that he would assemble those Cortes (where the common people were represented, together with the nobility and the clergy) every year, to consult the people about state affairs. Which he very much did. It was only starting in the 18th century (17th century as far as Portugal was concerned) that southern Europe got into trouble. Trouble that got worse when we failed to have an industrial revolution at the same time England was starting it. We fell behind, economically, and it is only now that we are starting to catch up. And corruption is not worse than in northern Europe.
Agreed Sertorio. I have visited both Florence and Venice and from first hand observation agree that their Renaissance achievements in architecture were/still are quite dazzling. Mediterranean Europe got off to an early start in recovery from the dark ages (well, Italy, Spain and Portugal did - Greece was under Ottoman rule). Apart from some inspiration loaned by the remains of Greco-Roman civilization I believe that there was another reason why Europe's south initially led the north - economic.

The source of a lot of Medieval/early Renaissance (especially northern Italy's mercantile city-states) prosperity was economic. The simple fact was that the trade routes out of Asia led down to the eastern Mediterranean. The northern wing of the overland silk route from China terminated at the ports on the Black Sea - from where Chinese silk and other valuables were shipped on to Constantinople which for centuries served as the entrepot distribution centre for the entire Mediterranean basin. Meantime, the spice route from India and the Moluccas Islands led to ports on the eastern shoreline of the Mediterranean such as Antioch, Beirut and Jaffa.

After the Venetians sacked Constantinople early in the 13th century it seems that the rulers of Constantinople, probably out of spite, entered into a pact with Venice's bitter commercial rival Genoa that made this city state the monopoly distributor of silk and other Chinese valuables to the entire western end of the Mediterranean and northward over the Alps into central and northern Europe as well. Venice retaliated by seizing several strategically located islands in the eastern Mediterranean (including Crete and Cyprus) and then entering into a series of trade pacts with Arab merchants in Levantine seaports - giving itself a virtually monopoly on imported south Asian spices.

Meantime, how did northern and central Europe fare in all of this. Not too well it seems. The high cost of importing high cost luxury goods from south of the Alps placed these in the position of being the end users and the very end of the trade routes in luxury items from out of Asia. So predictably it would have been a constant drain on their gold and silver specie: creating shortfalls of acceptable money thereby keeping these lands poor and backward.
...............................................................................................................................................

All that changed from the mid 15th century onward when new seaborne trade routes to Asia were pioneered from the Atlantic coast of Europe. It was YOUR country, Portugal, that first got the ball rolling too Sertorio. The new seaborne routes, more cost-effective than the old ones, bypassed the Mediterranean Europe rendering the region a commercial backwater.

Southern Europe's "fall from grace" from around 1600 onward can easily be explained in those terms.

The new seaborne routes that tapped into the riches of Asia (along with those of the New World as a bonus) effectively fed the economic growth of the lands on the northwestern shoulder of Europe while sending the once wealthy Italian city-states bankrupt. Portugal which initially, for around a century, with a dominant seaborne commerce with the lands of monsoon Asia and the very first sugar producing colony in the New World was potentially positioned to lead Europe in industrialization but after 1600 was knocked out of the game by an aggressive new rival from the north - the Netherlands. Over a period of around 50 years the Dutch took over all but a few of the Portuguese trading posts in southern and eastern Asia and the sea lanes as well. The Dutch even made a bid to take Brazil but failed in the attempt.

I hope that historical overview helps explain a lot to you Sertorio.

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Milo
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Re: "You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

Post by Milo » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:59 am

neverfail wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:35 am
Sertorio wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:25 pm

Neverfail,
You might want to look up Venice and Florence, and see how they were run in the renaissance. Not being democratic in the modern western model, they were nevertheless pretty democratic, in the sense that people had a true voice in the running of public affairs. And Portugal had its version of the Magna Carta less than one hundred years after the English kings were forced to sign it. And in 1383 the Cortes only elected Prince John as king of Portugal under the condition that he would assemble those Cortes (where the common people were represented, together with the nobility and the clergy) every year, to consult the people about state affairs. Which he very much did. It was only starting in the 18th century (17th century as far as Portugal was concerned) that southern Europe got into trouble. Trouble that got worse when we failed to have an industrial revolution at the same time England was starting it. We fell behind, economically, and it is only now that we are starting to catch up. And corruption is not worse than in northern Europe.
Agreed Sertorio. I have visited both Florence and Venice and from first hand observation agree that their Renaissance achievements in architecture were/still are quite dazzling. Mediterranean Europe got off to an early start in recovery from the dark ages (well, Italy, Spain and Portugal did - Greece was under Ottoman rule). Apart from some inspiration loaned by the remains of Greco-Roman civilization I believe that there was another reason why Europe's south initially led the north - economic.

The source of a lot of Medieval/early Renaissance (especially northern Italy's mercantile city-states) prosperity was economic. The simple fact was that the trade routes out of Asia led down to the eastern Mediterranean. The northern wing of the overland silk route from China terminated at the ports on the Black Sea - from where Chinese silk and other valuables were shipped on to Constantinople which for centuries served as the entrepot distribution centre for the entire Mediterranean basin. Meantime, the spice route from India and the Moluccas Islands led to ports on the eastern shoreline of the Mediterranean such as Antioch, Beirut and Jaffa.

After the Venetians sacked Constantinople early in the 13th century it seems that the rulers of Constantinople, probably out of spite, entered into a pact with Venice's bitter commercial rival Genoa that made this city state the monopoly distributor of silk and other Chinese valuables to the entire western end of the Mediterranean and northward over the Alps into central and northern Europe as well. Venice retaliated by seizing several strategically located islands in the eastern Mediterranean (including Crete and Cyprus) and then entering into a series of trade pacts with Arab merchants in Levantine seaports - giving itself a virtually monopoly on imported south Asian spices.

Meantime, how did northern and central Europe fare in all of this. Not too well it seems. The high cost of importing high cost luxury goods from south of the Alps placed these in the position of being the end users and the very end of the trade routes in luxury items from out of Asia. So predictably it would have been a constant drain on their gold and silver specie: creating shortfalls of acceptable money thereby keeping these lands poor and backward.
...............................................................................................................................................

All that changed from the mid 15th century onward when new seaborne trade routes to Asia were pioneered from the Atlantic coast of Europe. It was YOUR country, Portugal, that first got the ball rolling too Sertorio. The new seaborne routes, more cost-effective than the old ones, bypassed the Mediterranean Europe rendering the region a commercial backwater.

Southern Europe's "fall from grace" from around 1600 onward can easily be explained in those terms.

The new seaborne routes that tapped into the riches of Asia (along with those of the New World as a bonus) effectively fed the economic growth of the lands on the northwestern shoulder of Europe while sending the once wealthy Italian city-states bankrupt. Portugal which initially, for around a century, with a dominant seaborne commerce with the lands of monsoon Asia and the very first sugar producing colony in the New World was potentially positioned to lead Europe in industrialization but after 1600 was knocked out of the game by an aggressive new rival from the north - the Netherlands. Over a period of around 50 years the Dutch took over all but a few of the Portuguese trading posts in southern and eastern Asia and the sea lanes as well. The Dutch even made a bid to take Brazil but failed in the attempt.

I hope that historical overview helps explain a lot to you Sertorio.
Geography and economics, once you account for those forces there's little else influencing societies.

neverfail
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Re: "You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

Post by neverfail » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:20 pm

Milo wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:59 am
Geography and economics, once you account for those forces there's little else influencing societies.
Together they still do not explain everything but they certainly explain a lot.

Thanks Milo!

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Sertorio
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Re: "You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

Post by Sertorio » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:21 am

You cannot fight Chinese power!...

China 1.JPG
China 1.JPG (26.63 KiB) Viewed 206 times

:lol:

Jim the Moron
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Re: "You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

Post by Jim the Moron » Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:29 am

Sertorio wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:21 am
You cannot fight Chinese power!...


China 1.JPG


:lol:
Speak for yourself, Sertorio. Memories . . .

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Sertorio
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Re: "You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

Post by Sertorio » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:50 am

Jim the Moron wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:29 am
Sertorio wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:21 am
You cannot fight Chinese power!...


China 1.JPG


:lol:
Speak for yourself, Sertorio. Memories . . .
Memories so old that they no longer rate as memories... :D

Jim the Moron
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Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:51 pm

Re: "You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

Post by Jim the Moron » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:02 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:50 am
Jim the Moron wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:29 am
Sertorio wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:21 am
You cannot fight Chinese power!...


China 1.JPG


:lol:
Speak for yourself, Sertorio. Memories . . .
Memories so old that they no longer rate as memories... :D
True that, Sertorio. Are you speaking from experience?


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cassowary
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Re: "You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

Post by cassowary » Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:43 am

neverfail wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:33 am
cassowary wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:09 am
neverfail wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 4:52 am
cassowary wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:23 am
Chinese people have no friends? What nonsense.
I thought that particular observation by Spengler might be a little suspect too.

Yet despite that possible omission; is he wrong in identifying Chinese society as one of dog-eat-dog competitiveness within: to the point where it is a society of ever ambitious anarchists held together from disintegration only by respect for the overriding power of their central government?

Spengler's comparison was with a Sicilian Mafia cell. It is only the power of the godfather that prevents the homicidal fiends who make up the cell's rank and file from slaughtering one another.
Chinese society is indeed very competitive. For us family is very important. That is why we put our family name first. So instead of John Brown, it would read as Brown John.

Families are very close. But this encourages corruption. People think that it is not wrong to be corrupt for they are only doing it for their families.

I know what you are going to say. "Then how come Singapore is not corrupt?"

Singapore, like HK, is different. It is in fact a hybrid between Chinese and western societies. LKY and other founders were educated in England and 150 years of British colonial rule have rubbed off on us.
But not to the point where it has eliminated your Chinese roots, eh?
No. But as I said, we are a hybrid - somewhere in between. Its the same for HK. That is why the one country two system is failing. The HK people simply do not think like the mainland Chinese. Neither do Singaporeans.
cassowary wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:23 am
So it is dangerous for anyone to think that Chinese or any society is static. Like all societies, China has changed and will change. You cannot assume that just because China was ruled by an emperor supported by a mandarinate, it will continue to do so.
But why not? In terms of their domestic power structure the only difference I can see between the PRC and that of the Imperial dynastic states of old is that in the case of the latter the Emperor administered his empire through a privileged scholar-bureaucracy, well versed in the teachings of Confucius and selected via public examination. The new Emperor (sorry, President for life) of China rules through a party-bureaucracy purporting to be Communist but whose members probably never deign to read up on Marx or Lenin. Even the little red book of the late Chairman Mao is probably even disdained as passe'. The only difference I can detect (figuratively) amounts to a change in the colour of the icing - not in the texture of the cake.
It is very different. The emperor inherits his throne. The Chairman of the CCP had to fight his way to the top. Confucianism put some check on bad behavior. So did Marxist-Leninism. Both had codes of ethics that restrains human greed. Today, there is no such restraint.

China's modern emperor is replacing Marxist-Leninism with nationalism. This means anything that promotes Chinese wealth and power is good. This will be a pain for the world for they see Chinese dominance is the ultimate good.
cassowary wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:23 am
The west must prove that their democracy works better. What I see is the left (eg warren and Sanders) keep pushing the country into bankruptcy with their policies.
I believe that "democracy" (not to be confused in identity with the USA) has nothing to prove but that China, for reasons vividly described by David Goldman, is highly likely to ever become one.


Democracy has something to prove. If, as we all hope, China is to evolve into a peaceful democracy, then the people must be convinced that democracy will give them a better life.

If they see the world's champion of democracy (the US) behaving irrationaly then they might conclude their own system is better. In fact, that is the idea the Chinese leaders are trying to promote - for their own selfish reason of course. They want to stay in power.
As for Warren and Saunders neither are in government so how can you allege with any credibility that they are pushing the country into bankruptcy with their policies? :?
Then you don't understand how democracy works. Even if they are not currently in power, an election is coming. Their Republican opponents, in a tight race, may be forced to also buy votes by promising the voters more free stuff. Over time, these extravagance accumulates and the country becomes another Venezuala.
The Imp :D

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cassowary
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Re: "You can never be China's friend" : D. Goldman

Post by cassowary » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:17 am

Sertorio wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:39 am
neverfail wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:33 am
cassowary wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:23 am
One more comment. I think the closest western society to the Chinese is the Italian.

I absolutely agree with that observation Cass. You might even like to discuss that point with me further?
Would either of you care to explain how China looks like Itay, or vice versa?... :shock: :shock: :shock:
Italians and Chinese are the heirs of ancient civilization and empires. The Italians had the Roman empire which had about the same population as the Chinese empire at that time. Heirs of ancient civilizations have self confidence that borders on arrogance.

Both Italians and Chinese are very family oriented. This has good and bad effects. It means that we take care of our relations, especially our own kids and parents. Like the Chinese, there are still three generation Italian families living together.

But it also means they care less for you if you are not family. As a result, there is little public trust. That is why my grandma thinks politicians are out for themselves and not to serve the public. (I think she is right. That is why I made jokes about politicians out to gain power, money and girls.)

There is a lot of corruption in China and Italy (one of the bums of Europe). I think the close family ties is the root cause. People are more loyal to their families than to the public good. It is difficult to collectivize people like that, as Mao found out. Close family ties also give birth to crime families. Italy has its mafia and the Chinese have their "secret societies".

On the other hand, close family ties also means that each member tries his or her best to bring honor to their families. They work hard and avoid doing things that will bring shame to their families.
The Imp :D

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