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China's Great Firewall...A Success?

wrichcirw
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3/31/2015 9:04:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
http://www.cnn.com...

It wasn't supposed to work.

But China's Great Firewall -- a massive Internet surveillance and content control system -- has, in many respects, been an unparalleled success.

"If you are sitting in Beijing, what's the problem?" asks Bill Bishop, China watcher and author of the Sinocism China newsletter in the latest episode of "On China."

"You are still in power, you have 650 million Internet users, you have billions of dollars of economic value going to the Internet everyday, you've used the Internet to increase government transparency, investors love us and they can't throw enough money at our companies that have more than half a trillion dollars in market capitalization," says Bishop.

Well folks, it's now 2015 and China has done the impossible.

It's nailed the Jell-O. China has proven it can have its Great Firewall and enjoy great prosperity too.


---

Discuss.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/1/2015 2:12:58 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/31/2015 9:04:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
http://www.cnn.com...

It wasn't supposed to work.

But China's Great Firewall -- a massive Internet surveillance and content control system -- has, in many respects, been an unparalleled success.

"If you are sitting in Beijing, what's the problem?" asks Bill Bishop, China watcher and author of the Sinocism China newsletter in the latest episode of "On China."

"You are still in power, you have 650 million Internet users, you have billions of dollars of economic value going to the Internet everyday, you've used the Internet to increase government transparency, investors love us and they can't throw enough money at our companies that have more than half a trillion dollars in market capitalization," says Bishop.

Well folks, it's now 2015 and China has done the impossible.

It's nailed the Jell-O. China has proven it can have its Great Firewall and enjoy great prosperity too.


---

Discuss.

I pretty much agree with the article.

A free Internet is a necessity in the West or other capitalistic countries because freedom of information is essential to capitalism. It is necessary for such countries to maintain freedom to encourage innovation and whatnot.

China, however, is a planned economy. The government is a top-down bureaucracy (well, in theory). If Mr Xi wants to impose 1984-style censorship across China, he probably can. (Shenzhen has tens of thousands of surveillance cameras around the city...) If the government wants innovation in IT, they just have to draft it in a five-year plan, and it will be done. The list goes on. They have annual purges to cleanse the Internet of improper material (this is done by the CNNIC), you must provide your real name to open an account on any site, and there are increasingly strict rules to account creation on social media - 70% of requests to create accounts on Sina Weibo are denied, IIRC. There are also laws that restrict freedom of speech on the Internet, like the recent law under which sharing news is illegal (seriously - though I highly doubt if it's actually enforced unless the news is sensitive in nature. It's probably one of those laws put in place 'just in case the government will need it sometime' - don't all governments have those?)

Is that good or bad? It depends.

China's control over the Internet can be good or bad, depending on the intents of whoever's in power. Since rising to power, Mr Xi has been trying to make China a benevolence dictatorship - strengthening both the 'benevolent' part and the 'dictatorship' part. This is reflected in his Internet policies. He has done a plenty of great things through the Internet. His judicial reforms are the best example - the Court now releases details on court cases online, and citizens are encouraged to report corruption and graft online. There are many limitations to the latter (see my opinions question: http://www.debate.org...), but it's an important step forward - a journey of a thousand miles does begin by a single step.

Of course, the Chinese government can also control the Internet for less-than-benevolent reasons, like, say, suppressing information about protests. A plenty of protests can be avoided if the government communicates with the people instead of sealing sources of information or even downright concealing projects up until the moment they start (Kunming PX factory, Jiangmen uranium factory) - they just had to convince the citizens that the government had done everything to ensure that the factories are safe and will not threaten their health. Censoring search keywords is not a panacea for everything.

At the end of the day, China's full control over the Internet can be good or bad - it comes down to each policy. So far, it has done a substantial amount of both and I don't think we can deny that.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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4/1/2015 7:25:00 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/1/2015 2:12:58 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 3/31/2015 9:04:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
http://www.cnn.com...

It wasn't supposed to work.

But China's Great Firewall -- a massive Internet surveillance and content control system -- has, in many respects, been an unparalleled success.

"If you are sitting in Beijing, what's the problem?" asks Bill Bishop, China watcher and author of the Sinocism China newsletter in the latest episode of "On China."

"You are still in power, you have 650 million Internet users, you have billions of dollars of economic value going to the Internet everyday, you've used the Internet to increase government transparency, investors love us and they can't throw enough money at our companies that have more than half a trillion dollars in market capitalization," says Bishop.

Well folks, it's now 2015 and China has done the impossible.

It's nailed the Jell-O. China has proven it can have its Great Firewall and enjoy great prosperity too.


---

Discuss.

I pretty much agree with the article.

A free Internet is a necessity in the West or other capitalistic countries because freedom of information is essential to capitalism. It is necessary for such countries to maintain freedom to encourage innovation and whatnot.

China, however, is a planned economy. The government is a top-down bureaucracy (well, in theory). If Mr Xi wants to impose 1984-style censorship across China, he probably can. (Shenzhen has tens of thousands of surveillance cameras around the city...) If the government wants innovation in IT, they just have to draft it in a five-year plan, and it will be done. The list goes on. They have annual purges to cleanse the Internet of improper material (this is done by the CNNIC), you must provide your real name to open an account on any site, and there are increasingly strict rules to account creation on social media - 70% of requests to create accounts on Sina Weibo are denied, IIRC. There are also laws that restrict freedom of speech on the Internet, like the recent law under which sharing news is illegal (seriously - though I highly doubt if it's actually enforced unless the news is sensitive in nature. It's probably one of those laws put in place 'just in case the government will need it sometime' - don't all governments have those?)

Is that good or bad? It depends.

China's control over the Internet can be good or bad, depending on the intents of whoever's in power. Since rising to power, Mr Xi has been trying to make China a benevolence dictatorship - strengthening both the 'benevolent' part and the 'dictatorship' part. This is reflected in his Internet policies. He has done a plenty of great things through the Internet. His judicial reforms are the best example - the Court now releases details on court cases online, and citizens are encouraged to report corruption and graft online. There are many limitations to the latter (see my opinions question: http://www.debate.org...), but it's an important step forward - a journey of a thousand miles does begin by a single step.

Of course, the Chinese government can also control the Internet for less-than-benevolent reasons, like, say, suppressing information about protests. A plenty of protests can be avoided if the government communicates with the people instead of sealing sources of information or even downright concealing projects up until the moment they start (Kunming PX factory, Jiangmen uranium factory) - they just had to convince the citizens that the government had done everything to ensure that the factories are safe and will not threaten their health. Censoring search keywords is not a panacea for everything.

At the end of the day, China's full control over the Internet can be good or bad - it comes down to each policy. So far, it has done a substantial amount of both and I don't think we can deny that.

1) You've made a false dichotomy...capitalism and planned economies are not mutually exclusive...capitalism and socialism are mutually exclusive. A planned economy can be capitalistic, indeed, this is China's model for the most part. They've let go of any pretense towards egalitarianism and have embraced a system of merit via capitalism, all guided by the heavy hand of the state. The state has made some very bold (some may say inhumane) moves by dislocating millions of people for the sake of economic development and capitalization.

2) Many cities in the US are crawling with CCTV. That they're not necessarily government owned actually makes me a bit more nervous. At least the government has reasons aligned with public good for its motives...private actors are not restrained by such. According to this article, there are 30 million CCTV cameras in the US currently... http://www.popularmechanics.com...

3) Personally, I think setting up restrictions towards account creation is a good thing. Here, anyone can create an account in most places on a whim...the requirements are usually a valid email address, and anyone can create a valid email address within 5 minutes. Such proliferation of dummy accounts is IMHO a big reason why the internet is such an inhospitable cesspool for trolling.

4) lol, I find it interesting that China's legal system is more transparent than the moderation of this website...regardless, that's a separate matter.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/1/2015 8:31:31 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/1/2015 7:25:00 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/1/2015 2:12:58 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 3/31/2015 9:04:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
http://www.cnn.com...

It wasn't supposed to work.

But China's Great Firewall -- a massive Internet surveillance and content control system -- has, in many respects, been an unparalleled success.

"If you are sitting in Beijing, what's the problem?" asks Bill Bishop, China watcher and author of the Sinocism China newsletter in the latest episode of "On China."

"You are still in power, you have 650 million Internet users, you have billions of dollars of economic value going to the Internet everyday, you've used the Internet to increase government transparency, investors love us and they can't throw enough money at our companies that have more than half a trillion dollars in market capitalization," says Bishop.

Well folks, it's now 2015 and China has done the impossible.

It's nailed the Jell-O. China has proven it can have its Great Firewall and enjoy great prosperity too.


---

Discuss.

I pretty much agree with the article.

A free Internet is a necessity in the West or other capitalistic countries because freedom of information is essential to capitalism. It is necessary for such countries to maintain freedom to encourage innovation and whatnot.

China, however, is a planned economy. The government is a top-down bureaucracy (well, in theory). If Mr Xi wants to impose 1984-style censorship across China, he probably can. (Shenzhen has tens of thousands of surveillance cameras around the city...) If the government wants innovation in IT, they just have to draft it in a five-year plan, and it will be done. The list goes on. They have annual purges to cleanse the Internet of improper material (this is done by the CNNIC), you must provide your real name to open an account on any site, and there are increasingly strict rules to account creation on social media - 70% of requests to create accounts on Sina Weibo are denied, IIRC. There are also laws that restrict freedom of speech on the Internet, like the recent law under which sharing news is illegal (seriously - though I highly doubt if it's actually enforced unless the news is sensitive in nature. It's probably one of those laws put in place 'just in case the government will need it sometime' - don't all governments have those?)

Is that good or bad? It depends.

China's control over the Internet can be good or bad, depending on the intents of whoever's in power. Since rising to power, Mr Xi has been trying to make China a benevolence dictatorship - strengthening both the 'benevolent' part and the 'dictatorship' part. This is reflected in his Internet policies. He has done a plenty of great things through the Internet. His judicial reforms are the best example - the Court now releases details on court cases online, and citizens are encouraged to report corruption and graft online. There are many limitations to the latter (see my opinions question: http://www.debate.org...), but it's an important step forward - a journey of a thousand miles does begin by a single step.

Of course, the Chinese government can also control the Internet for less-than-benevolent reasons, like, say, suppressing information about protests. A plenty of protests can be avoided if the government communicates with the people instead of sealing sources of information or even downright concealing projects up until the moment they start (Kunming PX factory, Jiangmen uranium factory) - they just had to convince the citizens that the government had done everything to ensure that the factories are safe and will not threaten their health. Censoring search keywords is not a panacea for everything.

At the end of the day, China's full control over the Internet can be good or bad - it comes down to each policy. So far, it has done a substantial amount of both and I don't think we can deny that.

1) You've made a false dichotomy...capitalism and planned economies are not mutually exclusive...capitalism and socialism are mutually exclusive. A planned economy can be capitalistic, indeed, this is China's model for the most part. They've let go of any pretense towards egalitarianism and have embraced a system of merit via capitalism, all guided by the heavy hand of the state. The state has made some very bold (some may say inhumane) moves by dislocating millions of people for the sake of economic development and capitalization.
I agree, the degree to which private decision-makers own property is a continuum, and China can have capitalistic characteristics. However, I insist that China's economic model renders Internet freedom unnecessary for a thriving IT industry. Don't forget, even private enterprises aren't free from control by the government; rather, they're closely scrutinised with great suspicion and a plenty of rich business owners have ended up in jail. What happens in China's economy is, for the most part, kept in check by the government.
2) Many cities in the US are crawling with CCTV. That they're not necessarily government owned actually makes me a bit more nervous. At least the government has reasons aligned with public good for its motives...private actors are not restrained by such. According to this article, there are 30 million CCTV cameras in the US currently... http://www.popularmechanics.com...
I agree, the prospect of private CCTV cameras supervising your every move is a bit scary. Someone might release a YouTube video of you picking your nose...
3) Personally, I think setting up restrictions towards account creation is a good thing. Here, anyone can create an account in most places on a whim...the requirements are usually a valid email address, and anyone can create a valid email address within 5 minutes. Such proliferation of dummy accounts is IMHO a big reason why the internet is such an inhospitable cesspool for trolling.
I agree, but there has to be a balance between setting up rules to stop trolls, spammers and impostors, and convenience. In China, it's more than a mere SMS confirmation - to have a verified account, you need proof of your identity, proof of employment, and other stuff.
4) lol, I find it interesting that China's legal system is more transparent than the moderation of this website...regardless, that's a separate matter.
Haha, it's mainly the Supreme People's Court at the moment. Regional governments don't necessarily listen to the Central government - if you're familiar with Chinese politics, you've probably heard of the phrase 'shang you zhengece, xia you duice' - and can remain quite opaque. However, Mr Xi has been trying to regain Beijing's control on regional courts, so that could change soon.

I've forgotten to mention another advantage of China's all-encompassing Internet control. Government websites are no exception, and recently, the Central Government has been scanning all government website to make sure all websites work smoothly and are constantly updated. That's another move towards transparency.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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4/1/2015 8:56:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/1/2015 8:31:31 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/1/2015 7:25:00 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

1) You've made a false dichotomy...capitalism and planned economies are not mutually exclusive...capitalism and socialism are mutually exclusive. A planned economy can be capitalistic, indeed, this is China's model for the most part. They've let go of any pretense towards egalitarianism and have embraced a system of merit via capitalism, all guided by the heavy hand of the state. The state has made some very bold (some may say inhumane) moves by dislocating millions of people for the sake of economic development and capitalization.
I agree, the degree to which private decision-makers own property is a continuum, and China can have capitalistic characteristics. However, I insist that China's economic model renders Internet freedom unnecessary for a thriving IT industry. Don't forget, even private enterprises aren't free from control by the government; rather, they're closely scrutinised with great suspicion and a plenty of rich business owners have ended up in jail. What happens in China's economy is, for the most part, kept in check by the government.

I guess this really gets at the meaning of "capitalism". A popular definition equates it to private ownership of the means of production, but by such a definition feudal societies were capitalistic, so IMHO the definition is neither adequate nor descriptive.

IMHO a better definition is a system that encourages the use of capital to create more capital, regardless of ownership. This is essentially how Marx defined it via M-C-M, and he essentially wrote the book on capitalism.

So, feudal societies with monarchies more concerned about maintaining their own power base than growing economies would not be capitalistic. I think the reason why everyone focuses on private ownership is because of the wide consensus that private actors are more efficient at allocating capital than central control, and how in Europe a central dynamic involved feudal lords discouraging "inter-polity" forms of commerce (vs "intra-polity" forms) out of fear of ceding power. However, 1) that dynamic is rather unique to Europe (although you can easily argue that Qianlong made that same mistake), and 2) I think China has made a compelling argument that a good mix of both is preferable, at least when innovation is less of a concern. Right now, China is still in the stage of copying/pirating others' technology...when such efforts cease to be fruitful, there will be a greater abundance of privatization movements.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/1/2015 10:53:26 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/1/2015 8:56:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/1/2015 8:31:31 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/1/2015 7:25:00 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

1) You've made a false dichotomy...capitalism and planned economies are not mutually exclusive...capitalism and socialism are mutually exclusive. A planned economy can be capitalistic, indeed, this is China's model for the most part. They've let go of any pretense towards egalitarianism and have embraced a system of merit via capitalism, all guided by the heavy hand of the state. The state has made some very bold (some may say inhumane) moves by dislocating millions of people for the sake of economic development and capitalization.
I agree, the degree to which private decision-makers own property is a continuum, and China can have capitalistic characteristics. However, I insist that China's economic model renders Internet freedom unnecessary for a thriving IT industry. Don't forget, even private enterprises aren't free from control by the government; rather, they're closely scrutinised with great suspicion and a plenty of rich business owners have ended up in jail. What happens in China's economy is, for the most part, kept in check by the government.

I guess this really gets at the meaning of "capitalism". A popular definition equates it to private ownership of the means of production, but by such a definition feudal societies were capitalistic, so IMHO the definition is neither adequate nor descriptive.

IMHO a better definition is a system that encourages the use of capital to create more capital, regardless of ownership. This is essentially how Marx defined it via M-C-M, and he essentially wrote the book on capitalism.
Fair enough, I see what you meant there - that capital accumulation is a defining characteristic of capitalism.

So, feudal societies with monarchies more concerned about maintaining their own power base than growing economies would not be capitalistic.
Fair enough. Mencius was a vocal proponent of free trade, but it was a step towards wang dao rather than about economic growth.

I think the reason why everyone focuses on private ownership is because of the wide consensus that private actors are more efficient at allocating capital than central control, and how in Europe a central dynamic involved feudal lords discouraging "inter-polity" forms of commerce (vs "intra-polity" forms) out of fear of ceding power.
I'm not sure about your second reason. It seems the more probable explanation is that most people don't have that much knowledge or experience about traditional economies and thus do not take such economies into consideration. I think most people (who, like me, haven't familiarised themselves with Marx's slave->feudalism->capitalism->socialism theory, nor considered historical or third-world economies) see a dichotomy between the planned economies of the former USSR and its satellite states, and the capitalistic economies of Western countries like the US and the UK.

However, 1) that dynamic is rather unique to Europe (although you can easily argue that Qianlong made that same mistake)
Wow, I actually had no idea about this. I generally associate Western civilisation with trade - probably because of the significance of trade in Greco-Roman times. In Ancient China, trade was not considered too important. As you may know, the people were divided into four 'classes' (by 'class' I mean 'type'): in descending order of social status, scholar, peasant, craftsman, merchant. There were policies to restrict trade (e.g. Emperor Wu of Han) and merchants were not highly respected (Fan Li being probably the first example of a respected merchant AFAIK).

and 2) I think China has made a compelling argument that a good mix of both is preferable, at least when innovation is less of a concern. Right now, China is still in the stage of copying/pirating others' technology...when such efforts cease to be fruitful, there will be a greater abundance of privatization movements.
Sorry but I don't really understand here. What does 'both' mean? Inter- and intra-polity trade? Private and central control?

I don't deny that China's copying a great deal at the moment, but there are innovations too. Take Baidu Baike, for example - it's somewhat based, technically, on Wikipedia's model, but instead of Wikipedia's tradition of making decisions though community consensus, it is has a rather top-down model of management. I wouldn't say that is better or worse than Wikipedia (although Baidu Baike is generally better than Wikipedia in terms of depth, comparable in terms of breadth, and significantly lower in terms of quality.)

When do you think 'copying efforts' will cease to be useful?
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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4/1/2015 11:54:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/1/2015 10:53:26 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/1/2015 8:56:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

I think the reason why everyone focuses on private ownership is because of the wide consensus that private actors are more efficient at allocating capital than central control, and how in Europe a central dynamic involved feudal lords discouraging "inter-polity" forms of commerce (vs "intra-polity" forms) out of fear of ceding power.
I'm not sure about your second reason. It seems the more probable explanation is that most people don't have that much knowledge or experience about traditional economies and thus do not take such economies into consideration. I think most people (who, like me, haven't familiarised themselves with Marx's slave->feudalism->capitalism->socialism theory, nor considered historical or third-world economies) see a dichotomy between the planned economies of the former USSR and its satellite states, and the capitalistic economies of Western countries like the US and the UK.

Well, it bears mentioning that MCM is a rather basic concept to the point of banality...it stands for "money -> commodity -> money" vis a vis CMC, or "commodity -> money -> commodity", the latter of which Marx did not associate with capitalism but with more of a "traditional" economy (what Marx called either Oriental despotism or feudalism).

MCM is what merchants have been doing since commerce was invented...it's not a European renaissance invention by any stretch. The idea is that during Europe's feudal period, markets and trade in general, which thrived under the Roman empire, gave way to self-sufficiency and limited trade, i.e. CMC. In regards to my comment below, the reason why the dynamic is unique to Europe is that Europe was a fragmented mess during its Middle Ages, which facilitated a merchant class rising to power, since there was no centralized authority with enough power to suppress it. In places like China, there was a strong, centralized authority that suppressed it (or so goes the theory...there are some evident weaknesses in such a theory when you look at the Spanish and British empires)

However, 1) that dynamic is rather unique to Europe (although you can easily argue that Qianlong made that same mistake)
Wow, I actually had no idea about this. I generally associate Western civilisation with trade - probably because of the significance of trade in Greco-Roman times. In Ancient China, trade was not considered too important. As you may know, the people were divided into four 'classes' (by 'class' I mean 'type'): in descending order of social status, scholar, peasant, craftsman, merchant. There were policies to restrict trade (e.g. Emperor Wu of Han) and merchants were not highly respected (Fan Li being probably the first example of a respected merchant AFAIK).

Right, and I do question the historical validity of the quasi-caste system you're talking about...I just don't know enough to make an argument about it. I wonder whether or not the four classes was something resultant of the Mongolian invasions...I consider the Ming dynasty to be an extreme reaction against "foreign" rule and a return to "Chineseness" that may have very well resulted in some rather prohibitive measures taken against foreign trade, to include cultural indoctrination/increased emphasis in these four classes. You can see this evident Sino-centrism when you look at the Ming borders, and how it did not include any territories that weren't Han.

Most of my knowledge of east Asia centers around Qing-era history, and I know during this time Qianlong made a rather big point about self-sufficiency being a mark of pride. You can still see this kind of pride manifesting itself in the region, like North Korea's Juche ideology.

It is interesting though, the arguments I've heard supporting the 4 classes structure resemble the exact same arguments levied against stock brokers in the movie "Wall Street", that traders don't actually make anything tangible, that they are just opportunistic vultures that have a weak moral compass, etc...

and 2) I think China has made a compelling argument that a good mix of both is preferable, at least when innovation is less of a concern. Right now, China is still in the stage of copying/pirating others' technology...when such efforts cease to be fruitful, there will be a greater abundance of privatization movements.
Sorry but I don't really understand here. What does 'both' mean? Inter- and intra-polity trade? Private and central control?

These are terms I just made up...you can replace "polity" with "national" if you want...just that the concept of "nation" can be at times nebulous when you deal with city-states and empires. The idea is that "intra-polity" trade is easier for an authority to control and is proliferate in places with strong central authorities, like China. "Inter-polity" trade on the other hand is much harder for an authority to control, and is proliferate in places with decentralized authority structures, like medieval Europe.

I don't deny that China's copying a great deal at the moment, but there are innovations too. Take Baidu Baike, for example - it's somewhat based, technically, on Wikipedia's model, but instead of Wikipedia's tradition of making decisions though community consensus, it is has a rather top-down model of management. I wouldn't say that is better or worse than Wikipedia (although Baidu Baike is generally better than Wikipedia in terms of depth, comparable in terms of breadth, and significantly lower in terms of quality.)

When do you think 'copying efforts' will cease to be useful?

Well, Baidu Baike is an archetype of "copying"...there's nothing original in getting a bunch of people together on the internet to make an informal encyclopedia...that's exactly what wikipedia does.

Innovation would be, for example, America taking the lead in developing cars and airplanes at the turn of the 20th century. Sure, America had a solid industrial base before that, but it was still largely copying European standards and technology and was more or less still considered a backwater. You don't see China innovating just yet, and China is still a "developing nation". Once it reaches "developed nation" status, you'll likely see far less copying and far more collaboration and innovation. It will probably reach such a status 10-20 years after it overtakes the US GDP-wise, so 20-30 years from now.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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4/1/2015 12:02:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/1/2015 10:53:26 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/1/2015 8:56:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

When do you think 'copying efforts' will cease to be useful?

Perhaps a much shorter and succinct answer to this question is - when China is able to export indigenous brands to other countries that are purported leaders in their fields, then it will have ceased "copying" and begun "innovating".

I mean, Lenovo barely cuts this mark...Lenovo exports products made by formerly IBM's PC division. Huawei (to my understanding) has extreme difficulties breaking into Western markets, and really began to rise only after entering into a joint venture with 3Com.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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4/2/2015 8:28:42 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/1/2015 11:54:06 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/1/2015 10:53:26 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/1/2015 8:56:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

Well, it bears mentioning that MCM is a rather basic concept to the point of banality...it stands for "money -> commodity -> money" vis a vis CMC, or "commodity -> money -> commodity", the latter of which Marx did not associate with capitalism but with more of a "traditional" economy (what Marx called either Oriental despotism or feudalism).

MCM is what merchants have been doing since commerce was invented...it's not a European renaissance invention by any stretch. The idea is that during Europe's feudal period, markets and trade in general, which thrived under the Roman empire, gave way to self-sufficiency and limited trade, i.e. CMC. In regards to my comment below, the reason why the dynamic is unique to Europe is that Europe was a fragmented mess during its Middle Ages, which facilitated a merchant class rising to power, since there was no centralized authority with enough power to suppress it. In places like China, there was a strong, centralized authority that suppressed it (or so goes the theory...there are some evident weaknesses in such a theory when you look at the Spanish and British empires)
I see.

However, 1) that dynamic is rather unique to Europe (although you can easily argue that Qianlong made that same mistake)
Wow, I actually had no idea about this. I generally associate Western civilisation with trade - probably because of the significance of trade in Greco-Roman times. In Ancient China, trade was not considered too important. As you may know, the people were divided into four 'classes' (by 'class' I mean 'type'): in descending order of social status, scholar, peasant, craftsman, merchant. There were policies to restrict trade (e.g. Emperor Wu of Han) and merchants were not highly respected (Fan Li being probably the first example of a respected merchant AFAIK).

Right, and I do question the historical validity of the quasi-caste system you're talking about...I just don't know enough to make an argument about it.
I don't really think there was a 'quasi-caste' system (then again I don't know enough about ancient society either - there was usually an emphasis on 'ke shao ji qiu' but I don't think that can be called a caste system if not institutionally enforced); my point was that trading was not a respected, er, trade in Ancient China. Another thing -when Mencius was a kid, the family lived near a marketplace at a time and Mencius started imitated the merchants. His mum feared that Mencius would learn merchant ways, and decided to move away.
I wonder whether or not the four classes was something resultant of the Mongolian invasions...I consider the Ming dynasty to be an extreme reaction against "foreign" rule and a return to "Chineseness" that may have very well resulted in some rather prohibitive measures taken against foreign trade, to include cultural indoctrination/increased emphasis in these four classes. You can see this evident Sino-centrism when you look at the Ming borders, and how it did not include any territories that weren't Han.
IMO that's quite unlikely, since the concept is found in several pre-Qin works... A quick search on ctext shows it's in Shuo Yuan, Wenzi (I'd never heard of it until just now, but it's a Daoist classic according to ctext), as well as Guanzi. It seems to be more of a perception of the relative importance of the four trades, rather than an actual system.
Most of my knowledge of east Asia centers around Qing-era history, and I know during this time Qianlong made a rather big point about self-sufficiency being a mark of pride. You can still see this kind of pride manifesting itself in the region, like North Korea's Juche ideology.
True. If that hadn't happened, there would have been no Opium War, [string of causation later] my maternal grandfather wouldn't have met my maternal grandmother, my mum wouldn't be born and I wouldn't be here now.
It is interesting though, the arguments I've heard supporting the 4 classes structure resemble the exact same arguments levied against stock brokers in the movie "Wall Street", that traders don't actually make anything tangible, that they are just opportunistic vultures that have a weak moral compass, etc...
Same here. Yongzheng, for one, held this opinion.
and 2) I think China has made a compelling argument that a good mix of both is preferable, at least when innovation is less of a concern. Right now, China is still in the stage of copying/pirating others' technology...when such efforts cease to be fruitful, there will be a greater abundance of privatization movements.
Sorry but I don't really understand here. What does 'both' mean? Inter- and intra-polity trade? Private and central control?

These are terms I just made up...you can replace "polity" with "national" if you want...just that the concept of "nation" can be at times nebulous when you deal with city-states and empires. The idea is that "intra-polity" trade is easier for an authority to control and is proliferate in places with strong central authorities, like China. "Inter-polity" trade on the other hand is much harder for an authority to control, and is proliferate in places with decentralized authority structures, like medieval Europe.
Actually, my question was what you meant by 'both' in 'a good mix of both'.
I don't deny that China's copying a great deal at the moment, but there are innovations too. Take Baidu Baike, for example - it's somewhat based, technically, on Wikipedia's model, but instead of Wikipedia's tradition of making decisions though community consensus, it is has a rather top-down model of management. I wouldn't say that is better or worse than Wikipedia (although Baidu Baike is generally better than Wikipedia in terms of depth, comparable in terms of breadth, and significantly lower in terms of quality.)

When do you think 'copying efforts' will cease to be useful?

Well, Baidu Baike is an archetype of "copying"...there's nothing original in getting a bunch of people together on the internet to make an informal encyclopedia...that's exactly what wikipedia does.

Innovation would be, for example, America taking the lead in developing cars and airplanes at the turn of the 20th century. Sure, America had a solid industrial base before that, but it was still largely copying European standards and technology and was more or less still considered a backwater. You don't see China innovating just yet, and China is still a "developing nation". Once it reaches "developed nation" status, you'll likely see far less copying and far more collaboration and innovation. It will probably reach such a status 10-20 years after it overtakes the US GDP-wise, so 20-30 years from now.

I see what you mean there. True, there's still a plenty of 'copying' at the moment. So far, though, as far as domestic use of IT is concerned, the Chinese IT/Internet scene is growing robustly and the lack of freedom hasn't really stifled technological development significantly (although I remember there was once a a crowd of netizens spamming Obama's Google+ complaining about their lack of Facebook and Youtube... and well, let's be honest, Youku and Tudou are much slower than YouTube... There is certainly dissatisfaction among Chinese citizens about censorship, but it's not stifling enough to hinder the growth of the IT sector.)

Maybe one day, China will start taking the lead in IT, once it has become an MDC as you say - they've already tried to copy the Silicon Valley/Route 128 model with sites like Zhongguancun - and whether that will start as an initiative in the 13th five-year plan or in the head of a university dropout like Gates, I don't know. Either way, the government's unlikely to relax their shackles on the Net to help the industry grow.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

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Diqiucun_Cunmin
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4/2/2015 8:37:20 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
A further observation - IMO, the greatest obstacle to China's road from manufacturer and imitator to innovator is not the Great Firewall, but the lack of respect to intellectual property rights, considering that there was a recent case in which the violator of a copyright (or trademark, or patent, I can't remember) sued the original creator back... Exchange of ideas is essential in the IT industry; we need foreigners to settle in the country, but they aren't going to be comfortable with that with this level of respect to IP rights.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
wrichcirw
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4/2/2015 1:10:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 8:28:42 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/1/2015 11:54:06 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

I don't really think there was a 'quasi-caste' system (then again I don't know enough about ancient society either - there was usually an emphasis on 'ke shao ji qiu' but I don't think that can be called a caste system if not institutionally enforced); my point was that trading was not a respected, er, trade in Ancient China. Another thing -when Mencius was a kid, the family lived near a marketplace at a time and Mencius started imitated the merchants. His mum feared that Mencius would learn merchant ways, and decided to move away.

There was institutional enforcement - that's exactly what the imperial examination was. It enforced the legitimacy of the elite...it wasn't necessarily a hereditary caste, but it had many caste-like characteristics. In Japan, the system is very similar with only a minor change at the top, where samurai were born into their societal rank and thus you had an actual caste system. They were still expected in peacetime to perform scholar-official duties, and the rest of the 4 class structure was the same as China's.

I wonder whether or not the four classes was something resultant of the Mongolian invasions...I consider the Ming dynasty to be an extreme reaction against "foreign" rule and a return to "Chineseness" that may have very well resulted in some rather prohibitive measures taken against foreign trade, to include cultural indoctrination/increased emphasis in these four classes. You can see this evident Sino-centrism when you look at the Ming borders, and how it did not include any territories that weren't Han.
IMO that's quite unlikely, since the concept is found in several pre-Qin works... A quick search on ctext shows it's in Shuo Yuan, Wenzi (I'd never heard of it until just now, but it's a Daoist classic according to ctext), as well as Guanzi. It seems to be more of a perception of the relative importance of the four trades, rather than an actual system.

Well, this gets into what I was explaining in our prior discussion...there are so many points made in Confucian texts (that whole literary tradition, not just things written specifically by Confucius) that you can really support nearly any perspective with those texts...it's all been said and done before. So, what's more important is what is emphasized, and my theory is that post-Yuan the Chinese emphasized self-sufficiency and intra-polity trade.

and 2) I think China has made a compelling argument that a good mix of both is preferable, at least when innovation is less of a concern. Right now, China is still in the stage of copying/pirating others' technology...when such efforts cease to be fruitful, there will be a greater abundance of privatization movements.
Sorry but I don't really understand here. What does 'both' mean? Inter- and intra-polity trade? Private and central control?
Actually, my question was what you meant by 'both' in 'a good mix of both'.

I think what I was talking about was "both" private and public ownership of capital goods. Regardless of ongoing privatization efforts, many important sectors in China are still state-owned...indeed the best Chinese companies tend to be SOEs. That a large portion of China's industrial base is publicly owned does not disqualify it from being capitalist, as long as those industries focus upon economic growth instead of socialistic policies.

Anyway, back to the OP, apparently the centralized nature of China's economy has not proven to be much of a hindrance. You seem to agree on this count.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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4/2/2015 1:11:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 8:37:20 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
A further observation - IMO, the greatest obstacle to China's road from manufacturer and imitator to innovator is not the Great Firewall, but the lack of respect to intellectual property rights, considering that there was a recent case in which the violator of a copyright (or trademark, or patent, I can't remember) sued the original creator back... Exchange of ideas is essential in the IT industry; we need foreigners to settle in the country, but they aren't going to be comfortable with that with this level of respect to IP rights.

Yeah, as long as China is playing catch-up, it really doesn't have much reason to adhere to IP rights. Most of its technology is "borrowed", not innovated, and IP laws stifle this borrowing, lol.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
PetersSmith
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4/2/2015 1:15:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/31/2015 9:04:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
http://www.cnn.com...

It wasn't supposed to work.

But China's Great Firewall -- a massive Internet surveillance and content control system -- has, in many respects, been an unparalleled success.

"If you are sitting in Beijing, what's the problem?" asks Bill Bishop, China watcher and author of the Sinocism China newsletter in the latest episode of "On China."

"You are still in power, you have 650 million Internet users, you have billions of dollars of economic value going to the Internet everyday, you've used the Internet to increase government transparency, investors love us and they can't throw enough money at our companies that have more than half a trillion dollars in market capitalization," says Bishop.

Well folks, it's now 2015 and China has done the impossible.

It's nailed the Jell-O. China has proven it can have its Great Firewall and enjoy great prosperity too.


---

Discuss.
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GamrDeb8rBbrH8r
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4/2/2015 1:19:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/31/2015 9:04:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
http://www.cnn.com...

It wasn't supposed to work.

But China's Great Firewall -- a massive Internet surveillance and content control system -- has, in many respects, been an unparalleled success.

"If you are sitting in Beijing, what's the problem?" asks Bill Bishop, China watcher and author of the Sinocism China newsletter in the latest episode of "On China."

"You are still in power, you have 650 million Internet users, you have billions of dollars of economic value going to the Internet everyday, you've used the Internet to increase government transparency, investors love us and they can't throw enough money at our companies that have more than half a trillion dollars in market capitalization," says Bishop.

Well folks, it's now 2015 and China has done the impossible.

It's nailed the Jell-O. China has proven it can have its Great Firewall and enjoy great prosperity too.


---

Discuss.

Behold.... the great firewall of China! It has been under construction for like a decade or something and it's not done yet!
"There's no diversity because we're burning in the melting pot."

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wrichcirw
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4/2/2015 1:28:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 1:19:31 PM, GamrDeb8rBbrH8r wrote:
At 3/31/2015 9:04:59 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
http://www.cnn.com...

It wasn't supposed to work.

But China's Great Firewall -- a massive Internet surveillance and content control system -- has, in many respects, been an unparalleled success.

"If you are sitting in Beijing, what's the problem?" asks Bill Bishop, China watcher and author of the Sinocism China newsletter in the latest episode of "On China."

"You are still in power, you have 650 million Internet users, you have billions of dollars of economic value going to the Internet everyday, you've used the Internet to increase government transparency, investors love us and they can't throw enough money at our companies that have more than half a trillion dollars in market capitalization," says Bishop.

Well folks, it's now 2015 and China has done the impossible.

It's nailed the Jell-O. China has proven it can have its Great Firewall and enjoy great prosperity too.


---

Discuss.

Behold.... the great firewall of China! It has been under construction for like a decade or something and it's not done yet!

It's been up and running for nearly a decade already...
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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4/2/2015 1:38:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 1:10:24 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/2/2015 8:28:42 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/1/2015 11:54:06 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

I don't really think there was a 'quasi-caste' system (then again I don't know enough about ancient society either - there was usually an emphasis on 'ke shao ji qiu' but I don't think that can be called a caste system if not institutionally enforced); my point was that trading was not a respected, er, trade in Ancient China. Another thing -when Mencius was a kid, the family lived near a marketplace at a time and Mencius started imitated the merchants. His mum feared that Mencius would learn merchant ways, and decided to move away.

There was institutional enforcement - that's exactly what the imperial examination was. It enforced the legitimacy of the elite...it wasn't necessarily a hereditary caste, but it had many caste-like characteristics. In Japan, the system is very similar with only a minor change at the top, where samurai were born into their societal rank and thus you had an actual caste system. They were still expected in peacetime to perform scholar-official duties, and the rest of the 4 class structure was the same as China's.
I suppose you could call those 'caste characteristics' (although I'd insist that Ancient China was no India) - but really, my point was simply that merchants were not held in high regard in ancient/imperial times.
I wonder whether or not the four classes was something resultant of the Mongolian invasions...I consider the Ming dynasty to be an extreme reaction against "foreign" rule and a return to "Chineseness" that may have very well resulted in some rather prohibitive measures taken against foreign trade, to include cultural indoctrination/increased emphasis in these four classes. You can see this evident Sino-centrism when you look at the Ming borders, and how it did not include any territories that weren't Han.
IMO that's quite unlikely, since the concept is found in several pre-Qin works... A quick search on ctext shows it's in Shuo Yuan, Wenzi (I'd never heard of it until just now, but it's a Daoist classic according to ctext), as well as Guanzi. It seems to be more of a perception of the relative importance of the four trades, rather than an actual system.

Well, this gets into what I was explaining in our prior discussion...there are so many points made in Confucian texts (that whole literary tradition, not just things written specifically by Confucius) that you can really support nearly any perspective with those texts...it's all been said and done before.
Actually, I didn't really dig deeply into the texts - I just searched for the text string 'shi nong gong shang' LOL. Also, only Shuo Yuan was Confucian among the three classics listed. Wenzi was Daoist and Guanzi was legalist. My point was that the appearance of this string in early texts shows that the four 'classes' had been presented in this order since pre-Qin times, and not specific to post-Yuan dynasties. I wasn't making a point about the doctrines or teachings of those philosophies.

So, what's more important is what is emphasized, and my theory is that post-Yuan the Chinese emphasized self-sufficiency and intra-polity trade.
That paragraph was actually about the four-class system and not the self-sufficiency thing. I don't know enough about history to tell if it has anything to do with the Mongols and 'return to Chineseness', but there sure were other very real reasons for the Ming and Qing dynasties to shut off their coasts (Japanese pirates, Zheng Chenggong, etc.) Plus there hasn't always been a real emphasis on economic development, so the rulers probably couldn't care less about international trade. (Trade within China, on the other hand, was extremely significant during the Ming Dynasty, which was said to be the beginning of capitalism... but I don't think that was necessarily related to government policies etc.)

and 2) I think China has made a compelling argument that a good mix of both is preferable, at least when innovation is less of a concern. Right now, China is still in the stage of copying/pirating others' technology...when such efforts cease to be fruitful, there will be a greater abundance of privatization movements.
Sorry but I don't really understand here. What does 'both' mean? Inter- and intra-polity trade? Private and central control?
Actually, my question was what you meant by 'both' in 'a good mix of both'.

I think what I was talking about was "both" private and public ownership of capital goods. Regardless of ongoing privatization efforts, many important sectors in China are still state-owned...indeed the best Chinese companies tend to be SOEs. That a large portion of China's industrial base is publicly owned does not disqualify it from being capitalist, as long as those industries focus upon economic growth instead of socialistic policies.
True, and this system is running well at the moment.
Anyway, back to the OP, apparently the centralized nature of China's economy has not proven to be much of a hindrance. You seem to agree on this count.
Yep.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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4/2/2015 1:42:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 1:11:50 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/2/2015 8:37:20 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
A further observation - IMO, the greatest obstacle to China's road from manufacturer and imitator to innovator is not the Great Firewall, but the lack of respect to intellectual property rights, considering that there was a recent case in which the violator of a copyright (or trademark, or patent, I can't remember) sued the original creator back... Exchange of ideas is essential in the IT industry; we need foreigners to settle in the country, but they aren't going to be comfortable with that with this level of respect to IP rights.

Yeah, as long as China is playing catch-up, it really doesn't have much reason to adhere to IP rights. Most of its technology is "borrowed", not innovated, and IP laws stifle this borrowing, lol.

Well, yes I can't deny that haha.

Though I have to emphasise that a lot of potential investors in new technology have been put off by the disrespect of IP rights by Chinese authorities. (They don't even dare putting up expositions of toy designs in China in fear of being copied, let alone electronic products...) With new free-economy zones like the Shanghai free trade zone and Qianhai, there could potentially be new investors interested in developing hi-tech industries in China, but only under the prerequisite that innovators will be protected under Chinese law.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
wrichcirw
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4/2/2015 2:08:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 1:38:28 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/2/2015 1:10:24 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

I suppose you could call those 'caste characteristics' (although I'd insist that Ancient China was no India) - but really, my point was simply that merchants were not held in high regard in ancient/imperial times.

I agree, the classes system in China was far less rigid than it was in India...but it was a class system regardless.

My point was that the appearance of this string in early texts shows that the four 'classes' had been presented in this order since pre-Qin times, and not specific to post-Yuan dynasties. I wasn't making a point about the doctrines or teachings of those philosophies.

Again, I don't contest such a claim, nor does it refute my arguments. See directly below...emphasis is more important than just the actual texts stating such when it comes to the direction of the polity.

So, what's more important is what is emphasized, and my theory is that post-Yuan the Chinese emphasized self-sufficiency and intra-polity trade.
That paragraph was actually about the four-class system and not the self-sufficiency thing.

The way I've been arguing it here in this thread, the two concepts are related. The four-class system discouraged merchant class participation in political matters...it was a restraint that decentralized Europe did not have. By restraining the merchant class, you restrain trade in general as well as inter-polity trade, thereby encouraging self-sufficiency.

The four-class system is very, VERY conservative.

I don't know enough about history to tell if it has anything to do with the Mongols and 'return to Chineseness', but there sure were other very real reasons for the Ming and Qing dynasties to shut off their coasts (Japanese pirates, Zheng Chenggong, etc.) Plus there hasn't always been a real emphasis on economic development, so the rulers probably couldn't care less about international trade. (Trade within China, on the other hand, was extremely significant during the Ming Dynasty, which was said to be the beginning of capitalism... but I don't think that was necessarily related to government policies etc.)

Well, the Qing were expansionistic...they annexed a good deal of territory including Xinjiang, their native Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet.

As far as the "beginning of capitalism" are concerned, well, the Jiangxi province around Shanghai were always very commerce-oriented, and our professors made it a big point to note the exceptional amount of emphasis the Qing emperors (those that were competent, at least) placed upon reigning in the region...the two regions (Beijing and Jiangxi) clashed often. So, here you have a strong argument for China's strong, centralized imperial structure inhibiting "free trade", or at least a powerful merchant class..

Though I have to emphasise that a lot of potential investors in new technology have been put off by the disrespect of IP rights by Chinese authorities. (They don't even dare putting up expositions of toy designs in China in fear of being copied, let alone electronic products...) With new free-economy zones like the Shanghai free trade zone and Qianhai, there could potentially be new investors interested in developing hi-tech industries in China, but only under the prerequisite that innovators will be protected under Chinese law.

From my studies, "guangxi" is everything, especially in politics.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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4/3/2015 1:09:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 2:08:34 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/2/2015 1:38:28 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/2/2015 1:10:24 PM, wrichcirw wrote:


My point was that the appearance of this string in early texts shows that the four 'classes' had been presented in this order since pre-Qin times, and not specific to post-Yuan dynasties. I wasn't making a point about the doctrines or teachings of those philosophies.

Again, I don't contest such a claim, nor does it refute my arguments. See directly below...emphasis is more important than just the actual texts stating such when it comes to the direction of the polity.

So, what's more important is what is emphasized, and my theory is that post-Yuan the Chinese emphasized self-sufficiency and intra-polity trade.
That paragraph was actually about the four-class system and not the self-sufficiency thing.

The way I've been arguing it here in this thread, the two concepts are related. The four-class system discouraged merchant class participation in political matters...it was a restraint that decentralized Europe did not have. By restraining the merchant class, you restrain trade in general as well as inter-polity trade, thereby encouraging self-sufficiency.
Ooooooooh, okay, finally I got what you meant. Sorry I wasn't smart enough to understand earlier in our discussion. You're right, there have been strict policies to restrain trade throughout history and yes, merchants have never been able to take power.
The four-class system is very, VERY conservative.
I think it's a kind of division of labour that we pretty much take for granted. Different people are in different occupations and thus take different roles in society. The scholar class is the class that does the ruling.

If you're interested, Mencius' ideas about division of labour can be found in Mencius 5.4. While I understand that 'emphasis is more important than just the actual texts stating such' as you said, I think what Mencius said here completely nailed the idea behind China's 'class' system:
http://ctext.org...
I don't know enough about history to tell if it has anything to do with the Mongols and 'return to Chineseness', but there sure were other very real reasons for the Ming and Qing dynasties to shut off their coasts (Japanese pirates, Zheng Chenggong, etc.) Plus there hasn't always been a real emphasis on economic development, so the rulers probably couldn't care less about international trade. (Trade within China, on the other hand, was extremely significant during the Ming Dynasty, which was said to be the beginning of capitalism... but I don't think that was necessarily related to government policies etc.)

Well, the Qing were expansionistic...they annexed a good deal of territory including Xinjiang, their native Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet.
I'm aware of that, though I don't know enough history to know whether they had motives other than expanding their power. There could possibly be economic motives, but I'm not aware of them (maybe you have more information concerning this?) I've never studied Chinese history beyond a junior secondary level, so I wouldn't know.
As far as the "beginning of capitalism" are concerned, well, the Jiangxi province around Shanghai were always very commerce-oriented, and our professors made it a big point to note the exceptional amount of emphasis the Qing emperors (those that were competent, at least) placed upon reigning in the region...the two regions (Beijing and Jiangxi) clashed often. So, here you have a strong argument for China's strong, centralized imperial structure inhibiting "free trade", or at least a powerful merchant class..
I didn't know any of that before, but yes that would make perfect sense since Chinese rulers have always had a habit of restraining trade. The 'beginning of capitalism is the Ming Dynasty' thing is just a common saying I've heard of a few times before, but I've never bothered looking deeply into it - I'm just aware that there was a surge in private enterprises at the time.
Though I have to emphasise that a lot of potential investors in new technology have been put off by the disrespect of IP rights by Chinese authorities. (They don't even dare putting up expositions of toy designs in China in fear of being copied, let alone electronic products...) With new free-economy zones like the Shanghai free trade zone and Qianhai, there could potentially be new investors interested in developing hi-tech industries in China, but only under the prerequisite that innovators will be protected under Chinese law.

From my studies, "guangxi" is everything, especially in politics.
I think you mean 'guanxi'. I think that's true everywhere, though admittedly to a much greater extent in China because our family-based culture values primary groups over secondary groups. I'm guessing that your point is the significance of 'guanxi' renders the proper implementation of IP laws impracticable?
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
wrichcirw
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4/3/2015 12:00:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/3/2015 1:09:14 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/2/2015 2:08:34 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

The four-class system is very, VERY conservative.
I think it's a kind of division of labour that we pretty much take for granted. Different people are in different occupations and thus take different roles in society. The scholar class is the class that does the ruling.

If you're interested, Mencius' ideas about division of labour can be found in Mencius 5.4. While I understand that 'emphasis is more important than just the actual texts stating such' as you said, I think what Mencius said here completely nailed the idea behind China's 'class' system:
http://ctext.org...

This was a very interesting read, thank you. Apparently it's a key passage...a lot of my professors repeatedly talked about several of the concepts in it. Even my professor on Tokugawa Japan talked about the well-field system (the 9 squares portion).

Still, there is almost nothing in there that is relevant to the 4 classes system. It does not compare artisans, farmers, and merchants...it only highlights the virtues of education.

Well, the Qing were expansionistic...they annexed a good deal of territory including Xinjiang, their native Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet.
I'm aware of that, though I don't know enough history to know whether they had motives other than expanding their power. There could possibly be economic motives, but I'm not aware of them (maybe you have more information concerning this?) I've never studied Chinese history beyond a junior secondary level, so I wouldn't know.

There were cultural motives, apparently the Manchus were culturally very similar to the Tibetans and the Mongols, especially on religion. They were far more Buddhist-centered, rather than China's neo-Confucian syncretism. This does not explain Xinjiang however, so IMHO one has to conclude that they did it for the same reasons why other nations expand, i.e. empire.

IMHO it's important to note that the Ming had none of these inclinations...they seemed to be extremely Han-centered.

From my studies, "guangxi" is everything, especially in politics.
I think you mean 'guanxi'. I think that's true everywhere, though admittedly to a much greater extent in China because our family-based culture values primary groups over secondary groups. I'm guessing that your point is the significance of 'guanxi' renders the proper implementation of IP laws impracticable?

Yeah, my Chinese isn't very good, lol, thank you. Anyway, I don't think guanxi and IP laws are mutually exclusive or that one works to the detriment of the other, just that given the relative uselessness inherent in China developing indigenous IP law at the moment, guanxi replaces it in importance.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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4/3/2015 12:59:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/3/2015 12:00:44 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/3/2015 1:09:14 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/2/2015 2:08:34 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

The four-class system is very, VERY conservative.
I think it's a kind of division of labour that we pretty much take for granted. Different people are in different occupations and thus take different roles in society. The scholar class is the class that does the ruling.

If you're interested, Mencius' ideas about division of labour can be found in Mencius 5.4. While I understand that 'emphasis is more important than just the actual texts stating such' as you said, I think what Mencius said here completely nailed the idea behind China's 'class' system:
http://ctext.org...

This was a very interesting read, thank you. Apparently it's a key passage...a lot of my professors repeatedly talked about several of the concepts in it. Even my professor on Tokugawa Japan talked about the well-field system (the 9 squares portion).
Actually, Mencius 5.4 refers just to the passage with the conversation between Mencius and Chen Xiang (i.e. the 4th chapter)... but I'm glad you found it interesting. :P
Still, there is almost nothing in there that is relevant to the 4 classes system. It does not compare artisans, farmers, and merchants...it only highlights the virtues of education.
The point of 5.4 is that it details Mencius' idea of division of labour. He believes the intelligentsia is responsible for governing; artisans and farmers each have respective duties as well. It is the scholar, and not the farmer, artisan or merchant, who has a place in politics; it is the farmer, not the scholar, artisan or merchant who takes care of husbandry, etc. That's the idea behind the 'classes' of people - each 'class' has its own respective duties. There was thus no way for a merchant class to rise to power as you mentioned happened in Europe; politics are not within their duties. 'He who is not in any particular office has nothing to do with plans for the administration of its duties.' (Analects 8.14); 'The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this.' (Doctrine of the Mean 14)
Well, the Qing were expansionistic...they annexed a good deal of territory including Xinjiang, their native Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet.
I'm aware of that, though I don't know enough history to know whether they had motives other than expanding their power. There could possibly be economic motives, but I'm not aware of them (maybe you have more information concerning this?) I've never studied Chinese history beyond a junior secondary level, so I wouldn't know.

There were cultural motives, apparently the Manchus were culturally very similar to the Tibetans and the Mongols, especially on religion. They were far more Buddhist-centered, rather than China's neo-Confucian syncretism. This does not explain Xinjiang however, so IMHO one has to conclude that they did it for the same reasons why other nations expand, i.e. empire.
If that's the case, what was your point when you said that Qing was expansionistic? I'm asking because I really don't understand it...
IMHO it's important to note that the Ming had none of these inclinations...they seemed to be extremely Han-centered.
They shut themselves off to the outside world because of Han-centrism - is that your point?
From my studies, "guangxi" is everything, especially in politics.
I think you mean 'guanxi'. I think that's true everywhere, though admittedly to a much greater extent in China because our family-based culture values primary groups over secondary groups. I'm guessing that your point is the significance of 'guanxi' renders the proper implementation of IP laws impracticable?

Yeah, my Chinese isn't very good, lol, thank you. Anyway, I don't think guanxi and IP laws are mutually exclusive or that one works to the detriment of the other, just that given the relative uselessness inherent in China developing indigenous IP law at the moment, guanxi replaces it in importance.
Ah, okay, I see what you mean.

China is changing, and improving, and one of these days it may become a leader in cutting-edge IT tech, instead of relying on copying. However, whether than can happen is dependent, IMO, on whether they can start enforcing IP rights to encourage innovation. We can't wait for the moment true innovation starts to appear, then decide that copying is no longer needed, and then start enforcing IP laws, because without IP laws, true innovation won't have appeared - well, wouldn't have chosen to appear in China - in the first place...

BTW, guanxi is a force that will always be here and can never be weakened; its impacts can only be lessened by institutional means, most significantly the huibei system in Ancient China. Mr Xi seems quite keen on reforming the legal system to make it as fair and just, so although there will likely never be an independent judiciary in China, they will probably suffice to enforce IP laws with minimal, or at least limited, influence from guanxi.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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4/3/2015 2:28:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/3/2015 12:59:29 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/3/2015 12:00:44 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

Still, there is almost nothing in there that is relevant to the 4 classes system. It does not compare artisans, farmers, and merchants...it only highlights the virtues of education.
The point of 5.4 is that it details Mencius' idea of division of labour. [etc]

Regardless, there's nothing in there about the evident disdain pre-industrial China had for the merchant class.

There were cultural motives, apparently the Manchus were culturally very similar to the Tibetans and the Mongols, especially on religion. They were far more Buddhist-centered, rather than China's neo-Confucian syncretism. This does not explain Xinjiang however, so IMHO one has to conclude that they did it for the same reasons why other nations expand, i.e. empire.
If that's the case, what was your point when you said that Qing was expansionistic? I'm asking because I really don't understand it...

It's to provide a contrast to the Ming's Sino-centrism.

IMHO it's important to note that the Ming had none of these inclinations...they seemed to be extremely Han-centered.
They shut themselves off to the outside world because of Han-centrism - is that your point?

Yes.

BTW, guanxi is a force that will always be here and can never be weakened

Agree, you made a good point that the concept isn't really "Chinese", it's much more universal.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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4/3/2015 8:29:37 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
BTW, guanxi is a force that will always be here and can never be weakened; its impacts can only be lessened by institutional means, most significantly the huibei system in Ancient China. Mr Xi seems quite keen on reforming the legal system to make it as fair and just, so although there will likely never be an independent judiciary in China, they will probably suffice to enforce IP laws with minimal, or at least limited, influence from guanxi.
*huibi
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/3/2015 8:31:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/3/2015 2:28:54 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/3/2015 12:59:29 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/3/2015 12:00:44 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

Still, there is almost nothing in there that is relevant to the 4 classes system. It does not compare artisans, farmers, and merchants...it only highlights the virtues of education.
The point of 5.4 is that it details Mencius' idea of division of labour. [etc]

Regardless, there's nothing in there about the evident disdain pre-industrial China had for the merchant class.
Nope, I was actually talking about the concept of the 'class' system in general, which, although not aimed at social stratification, kept everyone minding their own business.
There were cultural motives, apparently the Manchus were culturally very similar to the Tibetans and the Mongols, especially on religion. They were far more Buddhist-centered, rather than China's neo-Confucian syncretism. This does not explain Xinjiang however, so IMHO one has to conclude that they did it for the same reasons why other nations expand, i.e. empire.
If that's the case, what was your point when you said that Qing was expansionistic? I'm asking because I really don't understand it...

It's to provide a contrast to the Ming's Sino-centrism.
Oh, I see.
IMHO it's important to note that the Ming had none of these inclinations...they seemed to be extremely Han-centered.
They shut themselves off to the outside world because of Han-centrism - is that your point?

Yes.
That wouldn't explain why the Qing Dynasty continued this tradition of shutting themselves, though.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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4/3/2015 8:45:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/3/2015 8:31:33 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/3/2015 2:28:54 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/3/2015 12:59:29 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/3/2015 12:00:44 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

Still, there is almost nothing in there that is relevant to the 4 classes system. It does not compare artisans, farmers, and merchants...it only highlights the virtues of education.
The point of 5.4 is that it details Mencius' idea of division of labour. [etc]

Regardless, there's nothing in there about the evident disdain pre-industrial China had for the merchant class.
Nope, I was actually talking about the concept of the 'class' system in general, which, although not aimed at social stratification, kept everyone minding their own business.

Well, you originally brought up the point to demonstrate that east Asia was not trade-oriented.

IMHO it's important to note that the Ming had none of these inclinations...they seemed to be extremely Han-centered.
They shut themselves off to the outside world because of Han-centrism - is that your point?

Yes.
That wouldn't explain why the Qing Dynasty continued this tradition of shutting themselves, though.

The idea is that the Ming represented an extreme reaction, one that showed visible signs of lessening with the Qing. This is just a pet theory of mine.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/4/2015 11:19:47 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/3/2015 8:45:51 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/3/2015 8:31:33 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/3/2015 2:28:54 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 4/3/2015 12:59:29 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/3/2015 12:00:44 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

Still, there is almost nothing in there that is relevant to the 4 classes system. It does not compare artisans, farmers, and merchants...it only highlights the virtues of education.
The point of 5.4 is that it details Mencius' idea of division of labour. [etc]

Regardless, there's nothing in there about the evident disdain pre-industrial China had for the merchant class.
Nope, I was actually talking about the concept of the 'class' system in general, which, although not aimed at social stratification, kept everyone minding their own business.

Well, you originally brought up the point to demonstrate that east Asia was not trade-oriented.
Yeah, I was kinda straying off the original point by then. I was just responding to your point that the system was conservative.
IMHO it's important to note that the Ming had none of these inclinations...they seemed to be extremely Han-centered.
They shut themselves off to the outside world because of Han-centrism - is that your point?

Yes.
That wouldn't explain why the Qing Dynasty continued this tradition of shutting themselves, though.

The idea is that the Ming represented an extreme reaction, one that showed visible signs of lessening with the Qing. This is just a pet theory of mine.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...