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One thing that he understands is that the China has had a *very* long time to devlop a democratic model but they have never been able to do it. He also implicitly excuses their model of government as something necessary for people who have no concept of "rule of law" (and they certainly don't have that in China, nor is it established very well in the national psyche). At least not as well as the other traditions are (Confucianism, Maoism, Daoism, Legalism).
Strengths: He understands the complex factors that go into the building of a society and a sound economy, among them being the protection of property rights and impartial law enforcement. When he gives examples, he gives enough to let us know that he is not comitting the "fallacy of composition" mistake, but not too many to bog us down with 1,001 details of the same thing.
Weaknesses: Not enough analysis of the bank loan problems, for one. Nor enough analysis of the GDP numbers. At the time of this publication, people weren't publishing enough questioning reports of China's GDP statistics.
I also question his figures about the Chinese people not having the capability of feeding the whole country. That has a distinctly Malthusian sound--something that has recieved one of the most thorough refutations of any notion in social sciences.
The book could have been taken in any number of directions at greater length. For example: He talks of the social problems that are there, such as crime and prostitution. But he did not detail where else that has happened and whether China's experience is better or worse that than of other countries under similar circumstances.
1. The Vietnamese have developed the skills of resistance fighting as a result of many years of trying to hold back the advance of the Han Chinese and their tendency to eclipse and absorb all other indigineous cultures into which they came in contact.
2. That the China of today resembles very much the imperial China of a long time ago.
3. In general, most of the worst abuses of the Chinese are at the hands of other Chinese. This includes successive governments making mistakes that everyone else had to pay for. And the abuse of the workers by corrupt Taiwanese and Hong Kong businessmen.
1. No, American children do not sing the "Star Spangled Banner" and salute the flag every day in class.
2. "Deplorably stupid" is not a good phrase to use to describe people who haven't had the experience of living in a Western society under a system that took hundreds of years to develop. "Inexperienced" or "behaviorally inappropriate" would have been a more useful phrase...China: The Next Superpower: Dilemmas in Change and Continuity (China Library) Overview
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