More fun facts


China is a phenomenon unlike anything in economic history. The average Chinese consumes 17 times more today than in 1987. This is like the difference between driving a car and riding a bicycle or between indoor plumbing and an outhouse. In an incredibly short period of time, this formerly backward country has lifted itself into the very first rank of world economies.

Over the same period, China has moved approximately 600 million people from the countryside to the cities—the equivalent of moving the entire population of Europe from the Ural Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. To accommodate those people, it built the equivalent of a new London, plus a new Berlin, Rome, Glasgow, Helsinki, Naples, and Lyons.

It has a written system of several thousand characters that takes seven years of elementary education to learn, working four hours a day with an ink brush, ink pot, and paper. Learning these characters well enough to read a school textbook or a newspaper is how the Chinese are socialized. The current generation is the first where the majority of Chinese understand the common language, due to the centralization of the state and the mass media. But the Chinese still speak very different languages. Cantonese and Mandarin are as different as Finnish and French. In Hong Kong, you’ll see two Chinese screaming at each other in broken English because one speaks Mandarin and the other speaks Cantonese and they don’t have a word in common.

China’s Communist Party government is a merciless meritocracy, which is one reason the Chinese have difficulty understanding American politics. If you’re in the Chinese leadership, you made it there by scoring high on a long series of exams, starting at age twelve—which means you haven’t met a stupid person since you were in junior high school. The fact that democracies can frequently advance stupid people—we are entitled to do that if we wish—doesn’t make sense to the Chinese. The one thing President Xi Jinping cannot do is get his child into Peking University unless that child scores high on his exams. Here in America, you can buy your way into Harvard. You can’t do that in China. So while the Chinese Communist Party is not a particularly efficient organization, and is certainly not a moral one, it has a lot of incredibly smart people in it.

Very interesting. Also, as predicted here: “Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the China-Japan-South Korea trilateral summit in Tokyo on Wednesday to discuss economic cooperation among the three regional powerhouses. The annual summit, which was first held in 2008 but has been repeatedly postponed in recent years due to historical and territorial disputes between the three nations, comes amid an apparent detente on the Korean Peninsula.”

2 Responses to “More fun facts”

  1. feeblemind Says:

    An ancient trap awaits China and US

  2. feeblemind Says:

    Dinocrat should get in on the ground floor of this. It’s nutty enough to make millions.

    Marketing genius, diet water. Artificially sweetened of course.

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