Thank you for your comment. I agree w/ most of you wrote and it is quite clear from "Capitalism, Alone" as well as from my work on global inequality (some of which will be uploaded tomorrow, and deals extensively w/ China). But where I disagree is that I think that China (despite its successes) does not have a simple model that can be easily sold elsewhere, neither in economics nor in politics. I think this is because the CHN model was created pragmatically, inductively, responding to specific conditions. Something so specific cannot be easily transplanted elsewhere. It ought to be "packaged" (if possible) in more general, abstract principles.

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The argument is terribly flawed. Liberal democracies are - to quote Marx - ‚a democratic swindle‘. It is a game of distraction where the people have no real say in decision making. To state as in the article ‚it is not the end result but the process‘ is exactly that game of distraction bourgeois democracy has been playing all along. People are reduced to gullible voters while the real power relations are decided behind the scenes. The establishment tells you they have set up a system which they call parlamentiary democracy and which has been institutionalized.

So they say, pick one of us, a member of the democratic institutions, i.e. one of the establishment, because we are qualified and we will do the job for you. This creates the illusion of say in decision making through a representative, who always is one of the privileged classes, because otherwise, given the predominant power relations and the ownership structures, you could not make your way through the institutions. In fact it is something which is perfectly in line not just with what Hume has been stating, but with the principles of the founding fathers of America: Whoever owns the country should rule it.

In economical terms Adam Smith expressed this as the vile maxim of (the ruling class*) the masters of mankind: All for ourselves and nothing for other people.

Marx most strikingly subsumed all of that in the statement of the democratic swindle:

One side was the utilization of democratic forms as a cheap and versatile means of keeping the exploited masses from shaking the system, of providing the illusion of participation in the state while the economic sway of the ruling class ensured the real centers of power. This was the side of the “democratic swindle”.

The only real, but unfortunately short lived democracy ever existing was the Bolshevik set up of soviets (councils) which enabled direct voting and control of and through the people. Lenin was forced to reverse most of that under the military and economical pressure during the years of war communism. Direct democracy exerted by the masses is the only thing rulers and elites are afraid of. As long as you do have a class society you can play the distraction game. Just look at despicable identity politics which is pitting one group against the other just so people do not realize we are all in the same boat. Liberal fake democracy is a matter of avoiding class politics. It is a hoax and only serves power to preserve existing structures. It is an individualized society where people are not free - politically, socially and economically. The cheap substitute of so called free speech is powerless if no one will hear you. The vote has no weight, because you only can choose between different sides of the same coin. Western capitalist systems equate democracy and freedom with the available level of consumerism for individual preferences and choices. It is a pathetic buffoonery.

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The problems you raise are only apparent, I suspect: "This is indeed a challenge that China has had in influencing the economic organization of the rest of the world for a while: inability to formulate general (abstract) principles that should guide other societies too”.

The general (abstract) principles are hiding in plain sight. In the Analects, in Mencius' discourses, and in 3000 years of published consideration: a civilization in which everyone's basic needs are met, everyone can contribute skills and energies, and everyone has ample time for the arts, leisure, and meditation.

Confucius called it a dàtóng society, Mao made it the Party's overarching goal, eliminated poverty and homelessness last year took China to the 25% mark, and it will reach the halfway mark by 2049, when the QOL will be comparable to Finland's today.

We don't have this information because our governments employ thousands of people to professionally conceal it from us. Tant pis pour nous.

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Should not ‘foot voting’ be accorded some weight in deciding what is the best way of running societies? It has been noted that, while the idea of turning China into some form of ‘America’ has clearly failed, there certainly (many) millions of (very) capable Chinese who would be very happy to be given the opportunity to become American.

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Alan Fiske's Relational Models Theory may help here. Among the 4 fundamental modes of social organisation were Authority/Ranking(AR) and market/Pricing (MP). He did not, as far as I know, ask the question whether one mode or another could be the dominant model, the organising principle, within a society.

If we do this then MP is, obviously the choice in the capitalist West, and AR in China. An AR society has each person in their assigned role, the lower ranks have less and must obey those above them, but the higher ranks must look after and protect the lower. The result is a "harmonious" society, and social harmony is the core value that China can set against the free society ("freedom") the organises the the MP West.

I suspect that MP societies will eventually predominate almost everywhere because they are more robust against corruption and periodic social collapse (as has punctuated Chinese civilisation). But Freedom v. Harmony is a fair contrast, and at the right level of generality, perhaps.

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So what do you think about “Democracy does cause growth” by Acemoglu et al.? I am sceptical, because the literature has never come to a firm conclusion and it seems unlikely that the question it asks has a clear-cut answer. Still, it’s a serious piece of work which claims that democracy _is_ best for economic growth.

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