Writing Off Autocracy (?)
March 24, 2009 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Twilight Of The Autocrats: Will the global economic downturn usher in a new era of democracy, or will things only get worse? [first link via]
posted by Inspector.Gadget (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Things will only get worse.

There, we can close up this thread now.

actually, I look forward to reading the links. Thanks Inspector.Gadget.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:38 PM on March 24, 2009


Fascinating. I especially liked the last link concerning Russia. Thanks
posted by captainsohler at 7:56 PM on March 24, 2009


Autocrats...roll out!
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:06 PM on March 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


The thing about the Chinese is that they have been operating a superpower-scale bureaucracy for around two thousand years with occasional discontinuity. The Mao dynasty might be on its way out, but it could last for another two hundred years. When the Mao dynasty ends, it will be replaced by a dynasty with a new name that is substantially similar to every other bureaucratic dynasty they've had.

If anyone knows how to do long term stability, punctuated by the occasional revolution, it is the Chinese.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:13 PM on March 24, 2009




The thing about the Chinese is that they have been operating a superpower-scale bureaucracy for around two thousand years with occasional discontinuity.

The "Mao Dynasty"? Mao wasn't the founder of the Chinese communist party, and he was despised when he finally kicked the bucket. In fact his wife and her friends were prosecuted, so I don't see how you could call the current government the "Mao Dynasty".

Secondly, I'm not even sure what your point is. That China hasn't had a war that wiped out the entire population? They have been taken over by foreign invaders twice: By the mongols and by the Manchus, not to mention the Japanese. Some of their uprisings have been pretty bloody. The Taiping rebellion in the late 1800s killed twenty million people.

And further the confucian examination system that produced the 'bureaucracy' you talked about only lasted for 1300 years, not two thousand, and stopped in 1905.

Your statement basically equates to "The earth has been divided into countries for thousands of years. Maybe there will be some wars and the countries will change around, but in the end it will be the same." Not really very meaningful at all.
posted by delmoi at 9:01 PM on March 24, 2009


Look at the AIG debacle.

The mob screamed and the government moved to...seize the right to toss contracts out the window when they become unpopular. And to float the idea of more streamlined nationalizations.

Every time the crowd collectively screams "do something", oh, you'd better believe the powers-that-be listen and smile.
posted by codswallop at 9:19 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


the russia article was very interesting. Putin has been whipping up the "stabbed in the back" myth to legitimize himself and promising increased wealth to restore Russia's prestige. now that wealth is going to stagnate his ability to rule is still based on restoring Russian influence.

The article also talks about how the Russian elites have a lot more to lose than the 1980s Soviets did when they allowed the previous regime to fade. Makes me worry about Putin going "all in" on conquests to keep nationalism high and win some treasure for Russia, even if its highly likely he will lose.
posted by Glibpaxman at 9:51 PM on March 24, 2009


and fascinatingly nobody wants the dollar to be replaced as reserve currency either
posted by infini at 10:57 PM on March 24, 2009




Your statement basically equates to "The earth has been divided into countries for thousands of years. Maybe there will be some wars and the countries will change around, but in the end it will be the same." Not really very meaningful at all.

Not to quibble, Chinese culture is remarkably resilient and remarkably old. China may have been taken over by the Mongols and the Manchus, but China absorbed them.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:24 AM on March 25, 2009


... authoritarian regimes like Beijing and Moscow have remained in power primarily by making an implicit bargain with their most critical middle-class citizens -- you might not have freedom, but you will have money. As long as the broad middle class, which is where the most dangerous dissent would take hold, is gaining ground economically, the regime is safe.

Arguably this is true for democracies, even real ones - as long as the middle class is gaining ground economically, the party in power is unlikely to lose election. Conversely, when the squeeze hits, democracies are very likely to change leadership.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:34 AM on March 25, 2009


If we are fucked no matter what we do, why are we arguing about what to do?
posted by nax at 5:05 AM on March 25, 2009


Because being fucked in the ass is different than being fucked in the eye socket or being fucked in the ear canal. (Or so I hear. Heh.)
posted by jamstigator at 6:09 AM on March 25, 2009


I always thought "The Autocrats" was a pretty good joke, as far as dirty jokes goes, and I am sorry to hear it is on its way out.
posted by jester69 at 6:36 AM on March 25, 2009


Thanks for this. Read the Twilights article yesterday and found it not to have enough meat on the bone. Nice additions.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:24 AM on March 25, 2009


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