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November 12, 2002
9:16 AM   Subscribe

China. Abandons Communism. Gets AIDS. May be about to lose its shirt. While everybody on the pink side of Ebenezer Scrooge is pissing and moaning about the state of America, here's one American who thinks the state of the Middle Kingdom is at least equally interesting (as in ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times.")
posted by jfuller (11 comments total)

 
A bit offtopic:
(as in ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times.")
As it turns out, this may be apocryphal.

MeFites seem to enjoy the phrase, however.

Irony alert: the above thread on "the end of interesting times?" happens to have been created on September 11 ... 2000.
posted by dsandl at 9:40 AM on November 12, 2002


[continuing offtopic] dsandl: Thanks -- needless to say, I enjoyed the historical-linguistic research, and I love the fact that the saying has been traced back to a 1950 story in Astounding! (I may actually have that issue deep in the recesses of my father's garage...) If nobody's discovered anything earlier in the last four years, maybe Russell actually invented it. If so, he certainly created something that has outlived him. [end derail; you may now resume geopolitical speculation]
posted by languagehat at 10:06 AM on November 12, 2002


SHANGAI -- At glitzy private clubs, China's nouveaux millionaires toast their guests with $1,000 bottles of vintage Bordeaux mixed with Coca-Cola or Sprite. They bid on antique Rolls-Royces and pay cash for the latest BMWs. They build ostentatious Western-style mansions, including replicas of the White House, the US Capitol, and the Hearst mansion in California.

From today's Boston Globe
posted by matteo at 10:09 AM on November 12, 2002


...saying has been traced back to...

I was more intrigued with the saying "everybody on the pink side of Ebenezer Scrooge." It makes an interesting fragment, too:

"the pink side of Ebenezer Scrooge is pissing and moaning..."
posted by Shane at 10:25 AM on November 12, 2002


" ... a people’s democratic dictatorship ...”

Only in China could someone utter that phrase with a straight face.

Thus, he defined the tasks of China’s new rulers — to fuse market economics with central party control.

Called, humorously (if slightly sarcastically) in global business circles, "Dot Communism". No one thinks it will work, because of the fundamental psychological contradiction. You cannot tell people to fully unleash and express their creativity in the economic realm, while expecting them to simply comply and conform in the political realm. I personally believe there's at least a chance that we are seeing the Chinese version of the Gorbachev Syndrome: The leadership is about to trigger forces that may ultimately sweep them from power.

It’s not at all certain that the more dogmatic members of the CCP will gladly accept billionaire capitalists into their ranks. The underside of capitalism is corruption. Rampant corruption has undermined the moral autho­rity of the Party.

Couldn't resist that paragraph. "The underside of capitalism is corruption". Good Grief ... as opposed to what - the purity and "moral authority" of communism ?
posted by MidasMulligan at 10:45 AM on November 12, 2002


> Couldn't resist that paragraph. "The underside of
> capitalism is corruption". Good Grief ... as opposed to
> what - the purity and "moral authority" of communism ?

I get your drift, but it doesn't follow that it has to be opposed to anything. It might just mean that it's dawned on the ex-commies that the underside of *everything* is corruption and neither Marx nor Adam Smith is a magic vaccine. That, all by itself, is an insight that quite a number of westerners have not yet attained.

It may also mean that if the good folks in China, all umpty jillion of them, are going to get capitalism, they may hope not to have to start with Enron capitalism and head downward from there, as Russia did.

posted by jfuller at 11:19 AM on November 12, 2002


What's more perplexing:
$1,000 bottles of vintage Bordeaux mixed with Coca-Cola or Sprite.
or
a people’s democratic dictatorship
posted by shoos at 12:10 PM on November 12, 2002


China. Abandons Communism... May be about to lose its shirt.

Obligatory Leden link: Black Shirts in Red China? Beijing today is more fascist than communist.
posted by homunculus at 12:27 PM on November 12, 2002


[bitter sarcasm]
Well, at least the Panchen Lama is "very happy."
[/bitter sarcasm]
posted by homunculus at 12:32 PM on November 12, 2002


It might just mean that it's dawned on the ex-commies that the underside of *everything* is corruption and neither Marx nor Adam Smith is a magic vaccine. That, all by itself, is an insight that quite a number of westerners have not yet attained.

A-men.

The real question of policy may be, then... how do you discourage corruption?
posted by namespan at 4:51 PM on November 12, 2002


You cannot tell people to fully unleash and express their creativity in the economic realm, while expecting them to simply comply and conform in the political realm.

Amen. That stinking, mindless insistence on compliance and conformity (leading to corruption) permeates the corporation.

Hard to see a lot of difference between many CEOs and many "communist" leaders.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:43 PM on November 12, 2002


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