My dad has mentioned once or twice a book called “600 Million Customers”, written by some guy back in the 30’s about being a travelling salesman in China, obviously before the Communist takeover and when China had less people.
The title pretty much sums up the attitude of much of the West to China. Holy crap! So many people to sell stuff to! We’re going to be rich! (Protestant evangelical efforts and Western commercial efforts have been closely linked I think, although I don’t have the history background to really know- linking back to my master culture. I don’t know why Moldbug has never looked at the commercial side of the universalist system.)
The problem here, of course, is most of those people are dirt poor and in no position to buy anything, most of those who do have money are saving it, and to the extent they do buy products from the outside they will not be from us. Mostly they want to sell stuff to us, which may be cheap but is often crappy. Even poor people in Africa don’t want this junk- see “zing zong” at the end-
I bought a Lenovo ThinkPad aptop a couple of years ago on the strong recommendation of a friend who had owned many. I was excited, and tracked its journey on UPS all the way from Shenzen. I had a variety of problems with it, but I had bought the on site service plan and after many phone calls to IBM (which sold Thinkpad to Lenovo but supports it in the US) I finally got another computer.
The phenomenon of the low-quality Chinese product is taken on in this book- http://www.amazon.com/Poorly-Made-China-Insiders-Production/dp/0470405589 and my Thinkpad recommending friend has his own stories about the difficulty of doing business with the Chinese.
The problem is that a certain part of the elite sees China not as just a great commercial opportunity, but as a society to be emulated. Thomas Friedman is a big China shill; James Fallows not as well known, but even bigger. But it’s hardly news that the elite despises democracy, or that the press listens closely to and carefully imitates it’s master’s voice.
Who is our one daily voice against workplace insanity? Dilbert, of course! Scott Adams is a smart guy, but even he has been bitten by the China bug- http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/freedom_of_data/
I think the failure of the great unwashed to respond more warmly to Obama has turned the elite even more against democracy. The rule has been the people are permitted their occasional temper tantrums, a la 1994, but things will quickly be put right again. Obama hasn’t been meaningfully thwarted in any way, but just the robustness of populist conservatism is upsetting to them.
China isn’t a meritocracy run by engineers, as Adams would have it. It’s a fascist dictatorship run for the benefit of the people in power and their families. Imagine if the pointy-haired guy could have you tortured, killed, or jailed for life; that’s China.