A spectre is haunting the world, the spectre of a dominant Middle Kingdom:
China promises a good life to those who work hard. In return, they stay out of politics.Amy Qin and Javier Hernandez, “Unspoken Bargain”, New York Times, Sunday, November 25, 2018
Already a superpower, China’s political elite has maintained its iron grip on the country while allowing something like a free market. As the New York Times documents on its Sunday, November 25 front page, “playing by its own rules, China now leads the world in homeowners, college graduates, and, by some counts, billionaires. It has become a global lender, flexing its muscles in Asia and beyond as it builds dams, power plants and ports…” There is, however, a price the Chinese people have to pay. The prosperity has not come with political freedom. Again, the Times summarized it: A good life is possible for anyone–but don’t make waves.
Dr. He Jiankui, a scientist working in China, also made the front page of the New York Times (11/27/2018). He claimed, without presenting proof, that he genetically engineered twins to be resistant to the HIV virus. Perhaps he has gone rogue, perhaps he has gone crazy. Genetically altering human embryos. Standards worldwide restrict the use of CRISPR technology on humans. His colleagues at Cold Spring Harbor thought his earlier presentations tame, well within acceptable norms when he presented his research at US conferences. But he went ahead and did it on human embryos anyway. In China, he hasn’t made waves, as a loyal scientist. Will a revived Middle Kingdom seek to extend its dominance by directing investment in cutting edge genetic research, artificial intelligence, weapons technology, nanotechnology, space exploration, sprinting way ahead of the plodding US? How will an authoritarian political elite, unaccountable to the people, exploit these technologies? Will the governments of the world compete by emulating the Chinese example?
Speaking of examples: are the last 75 years of the American Century an example of enlightened leadership? After World War II, the United States imposed an imperial policy seeking to turn the world into a Mall of America, backed by the military industrial complex and the world’s reserve currency. To make the world safe for US corporate interests, we have fought wars, and installed a worldwide military grid to safeguard them. Can we say the American Empire has been somewhat benign overall in spite of installing dictators or assassinating heads of government?
But what would a Chinese Imperium look like? Their Belt and Road Initiative is a vast collection of infrastructure projects around the world (hey, don’t we need some of that in the US, Mr. Trump?), “as the means of recreating the Silk Road, the trails navigated in ancient times by merchants carrying goods between Asia and Europe.” (“China Rules”, New York Times Special Report, November 25, 2018). In 2008, when the US government and the Federal Reserve were bailing out banks amounting in the trillions, the Chinese government started spending $600 billion to build rail lines, highways, power lines, and infrastructure throughout the country. Since then, the Belt and Road Initiative, for which the LaRouche people should share credit, has expanded impressively. The Chinese government has projects in Africa and Asia to build rail, water systems, industry, agriculture, energy and space. China seemingly is intent on lifting up the world. The US sees it as competition for global hegemony.
Well, China does have an authoritarian political structure. Are they bearing Greek gifts?
A final thought: Alexis de Tocqueville, in his Democracy in America, wrote: “Dispersed intelligence is the key to effective democracy”. Are we not now challenged by concentrations of economic power, political power, and information “power”, in a very few hands? The dispersion of information through information technology is perhaps the only weapon people have to organize and bend these top down plans to uplift humanity, and not just corporations and governments.